HC Deb 15 February 1808 vol 10 cc537-53

RELATIVE TO PORTUGAL, Presented By His Majesty's Command To The House Of Commons, Pursuant To Their ADDRESS OF THE 15TH FEB. 1808.

No. I.—Dispatch from. Mr. Secretary Fox to the earls of Rosslyn and St. Vincent, and lieut. gen. Simcoe, dated Downing Street, 9th Aug. 1806.

My lords, and sir; Intelligence has been received by his maj.'s ministers of an intention on the part of France immediately to invade the kingdom of Portugal, and the French government has, by its own Declarations, left little or no room to doubt the truth of that intelligence.—It has even been formally announced by that government to his maj.'s ambassador at Paris, that an army, said to be composed of 30,000 men, is actually assembled at Bayonne for this purpose, and that the object of this invasion is nothing less than that of dethroning the present royal family, and destroying the very existence of the Portuguese monarchy; the provinces of which are to be partitioned out, one part to Spain, and the other part, with the town and port of Lisbon, to be given as a separate dominion to the prince of peace, or to the queen of Etruria.—In that case his maj. has thought it right to direct that the force now embarked, consisting of the numbers stated in the margin, should be sent forthwith to the river Tagus, there to be met by a competent naval force which has been in like manner directed to repair to that station. And his maj. has thought fit to give directions that the land force appropriated to this service, should receive successive augmentations as fast as the means of transport can be provided.—In addition to the command of the naval and military forces which he has intrusted respectively to the earl St. Vincent and to lieut. gen. Simcoe, his maj. has been pleased to direct that full powers should be granted to them, conjointly with the earl of Rosslyn, to negociate with the court of Lisbon on all matters that may concern the joint interests of the two courts in the present conjuncture of affairs. I am therefore, in this dispatch, to explain the principles on which such negotiation is to be conducted.—The object most desirable, if it should be possible to be obtained, would be, to arrange sufficient and effectual measures, by concert between the two courts, for the complete defence of Portugal against the threatened invasion of Portugal; an object which it ought not to be difficult for Portugal to provide for, if the invading force should not exceed the numbers stated by the French government.—This is therefore the first point which is to be proposed to the court of Lisbon; and if that court, either singly by its own resources, or by such co-operation as it may be able to obtain from Spain, where it is probable the plans of France will create much more alarm than pleasure, should be willing seriously to engage in vigorous and effective measures of defence; the king will approve your expressing his maj.'s disposition to support them to the full extent of such means as his maj. may be able to apply to this object.—You will however understand distinctly, that this instruction applies only to the case not merely of assurances, but, as I have already expressed it, of vigorous and effective measures, bonâ fide adopted by the Portuguese government for its own defence; a resolution which seems to be so strongly called for by the urgency of the present crisis, that one might look with some confidence to its adoption, if former experience did not give too much reason to doubt of it even under such circumstances. —Should it be found that either the means or energies of the court of Portugal are inadequate for such a purpose, the next endeavour must be to inspire that government with a resolution which they are understood formerly to have entertained, and which in the case supposed, is the only one that could be adopted either with dignity or prudence; namely, that of withdrawing at once from their European territories, and removing themselves, with all that they can carry with them, to their possessions beyond the Atlantic.—Should such be the disposition of the court, every encouragement must be given to confirm them in that intention, and the strongest engagements may be entered into, that in such case his maj. will not only by his naval forces protect and secure such retreat, but that he will respect and even guaranty to the court of Portugal the independance of its dominions in the Brazils, as well as the possession of all ships and other property that may be carried there by virtue of any such arrangement.—A case however must be provided for, different from either of the two preceding, and unhappily not the least probable, in which the government of Portugal, abandoning all idea either of resistance or escape, should wait in fearful acquiescence the approach of the danger, leaving the country with all that it contains to fall an easy and certain prey into the hands of the enemy.—In that case his maj. would feel himself impelled, as well by every consideration of duty to himself, as of regard even fir his ally, to take such steps as might be necessary to diminish the evil, by preventing the enemy from acquiring that accession of force, particularly of naval force, which the possession of the port of Lisbon, in such circum- stances, would give him, and which may have had a principal share in prompting him to the present intended outrage.—You must, therefore, from the beginning, so regulate all your conduct as to keep in view this ultimate object, the only one possibly which may at last be left to you to accomplish.—This, of course, should it ultimately become necessary, must be done not by negotiation, but by demonstrations, and possibly by actual measures of force.—But even in this case, it is very material, that you should endeavour to the utmost to impress both on the government and on the people of Portugal, that the steps resorted to, are taken with no feelings or object of hostility towards them, but are the result only of that unhappy necessity which the injustice and violence of the enemy, and the weakness of Portugal, impose upon his maj.—Conformably to these impressions, if at any period before the ships and troops of his maj. are withdrawn from the coast, and even after measures of force shall have been mutually resorted to, the court of Portugal shall be disposed on better consideration and further evidence of the danger, to accept the proposal of removing to their possessions on the other continent, you will offer them every assistance for that purpose, and make all such engagements as may best soften and conciliate their minds to so painful an extremity.—In all your proceedings you will avoid carefully any thing that may give to the enemy any handle for misrepresenting the just and upright intentions of his maj. on this occasion.—Nothing would be more acceptable to his maj. than that the court of Lisbon should continue, if it were possible, in the enjoyment of a secure and undisturbed neutrality. It is matter of great regret to his maj. to look in any possible case to the necessity of employing force against the territory of a friendly power; and it is of great importance that his maj.'s conduct on this occasion should be represented in its true light, both to the court and to the people of Portugal. It will therefore be proper, not only to deliver in official notes to this effect, but to print and circulate in the Portuguese language a manifesto, in which those circumstances should be openly and frankly explained, which justify by the evident necessity of the case, the securing beforehand those military resources which the enemy has openly evinced, and formally declared, his intention of seizing for his own purposes.—His maj. has no desire to derive from this measure any other advantage than that of depriving his enemy of means of annoyance, which are intended to be used both against the interests of his country, and for the purpose of attack against the colonies of Portugal herself. In order to avert these evils, his maj. authorizes you, to agree to any plan by which the Portuguese ships of war, if placed in his custody by that government without resorting to measures of force, shall be either retained in trust for Portugal, or shall be purchased from that government by his maj. according to their full estimated value. He cannot forego those measures, which are necessary to prevent the Portuguese navy from becoming an accession to that of France; but he is desirous of executing this purpose in such way as may be least offensive to the dignity or injurious to the interests of an ally, in whom his first wish would be to find the disposition and the means of opposing an effectual resistance against the common enemy.—The general objects which are in view, being thus explained to you, the particular course in which they are to be pursued, whether in measures of negotiation or of force, or by a mixture of both, is left with full confidence to the discretion of the persons in whom his maj. has vested such ample powers, and by whose entire and perfect co-operation in every step of whatever description that shall become necessary, the objects in view can alone be accomplished.—The precise period of the demand to be made for the debarkation of the troops, and for the placing them in a situation of security, is perhaps the most important among these points; and next to that, the mode and time of the requisition, that the Portuguese ships in the Tagus should be placed in such a state, as to be capable of being immediately removed on the approach of an enemy.—It will not escape your attention, that these are measures which must equally be adopted, in each of the three cases above stated. If Portugal intends, with the aid of this country, to defend herself; if the court should meditate a removal to the Brazils; or lastly, if a necessity should exist for measures of force, with a view to the removal of the ships: in every one of these cases, the king's troops must be landed, and a position must be occupied, that will both place them in safety, as far as possible, and will facilitate the execution of such measures as it may be necessary for the king's naval forces to adopt for the removal of the ships.—As this step therefore must at all events be taken, it would seem desirable that as little time as is practicable should be allowed for the preparation of measures of resistance against this indispensable step.—In the state of indecision in which it is not improbable the Portuguese government may now be placed, you must naturally expect, that the existence, or at least the urgency of the danger will be denied to you; and it is indeed not absolutely impossible, that circumstances may in fact occur to delay the march of the French army, now fixed, as we are told by France, for the 15th of this month. Of this you will of course have the means of procuring without difficulty, authentic intelligence from Bayonne; but you will remark, that the measures now adopted are founded on no light surmises, but on the declaration of the French government itself; that it is the habit of that government thus previously to announce its acts of violence; that other measures of a like nature were in like mariner announced, and have actually been since carried into execution; and that therefore any temporary forbearance that may occur in the execution of this particular design affords no motive for delaying measures of necessary precaution against it.—If it should be urged, that the admission of the king's forces will be considered by the enemy as a violation of the neutrality of Portugal, and will therefore afford either a motive or at least a pretext for the invasion of that country, you will remark that the neutrality of that country is at an end from the moment that a design of invading its territory arid subverting its government is openly announced by one of the belligerent parties; and that neither justice nor prudence require, that we should wait for the actual execution of such a menace, before we take measures for averting or lessening the evil. And experience has but too plainly shewn, and in too many instances, with what facility the French government finds or makes pretences for such measures, When once announced.—If on your arrival at Lisbon you should find that, either from alarms excited by any accidental circumstances, or in consequence of requisitions and demands made by the French, the country should have been put in such a state of preparation and defence, as to make the execution of any enterprise of force more difficult than it is hoped it would be found; and parti- cularly if you should judge from these or any other circumstances, that the safety of the army entrusted to your command would be compromised by a debarkation, or by the measures to be afterwards pursued; the king relies on your discretion not to adopt any step which might lead to the probable loss of the forces.—In that case the whole negotiation would of course assume merely a pacific shape.—It would be stated, that the troops are sent to cooperate in the defence of Portugal, if desired. by that government; but that such desire not being there entertained, they would proceed to their former destination. —In that case, however, as indeed in every case of discussion with that government, it must always be impressed upon them, that the certain consequence of submission to France must be, the loss of the Brazils; which, in such event, this country must occupy for its own safety.

I am, &c. C. .J. Fox. No. II.—Extract of a Dispatch from Mr. Secretary Windham to the earl of Rosslyn and lieut. gen. Simcoe, dated Downing Street, 12th of Aug. 1806.

As the wind still prevents the convoy from getting round from the Downs, I think it proper to apprise you, in addition to your former instructions, that it is thought adviseable that you should lose no time in proceeding to Lisbon in the frigate destined for that service.—On your arrival there, it is presumed, you will find the earl St. Vincent already there; you will of course, in the first instance, communicate with his lordship on the subject of the instructions which are jointly addressed to his lordship and you, and also on this dispatch.—As your arrival will in all probability precede that of the troops, it is thought proper that lord Rosslyn should, after communicating as above with lord St. Vincent, proceed to Lisbon, and there enter upon his mission; gen. Simcoe remaining with the fleet to wait the arrival of the troops.—Lord Rosslyn will begin his negotiation by stating the certainty and urgency of the danger as mentioned in your former instructions. He will remark, that while there was a hope that Portugal even by considerable pecuniary sacrifices would preserve her neutrality, the king felt too strong an interest in the safety of his ally to endanger it by any precipitate or premature measures on his part. But that the moment is now come when a decision must be taken. The enemy has announced his immediate intention of subjecting Portugal to the greatest evils to which an independent state can be exposed—the subjugation of the country, the overthrow of the government by a foreign force, the expulsion of the family of its lawful sovereigns, and the partition of its provinces. There is no reason to doubt the reality of this intention, which is indeed talked of at Paris without any secret; and the existence of the preparations for giving effect to it has been confirmed by additional intelligence received since you left London.—In this state of things, the king can no longer forbear to urge the court of Lisbon to act as the urgency of such a danger manifestly requires. A force is collected for the purpose of their destruction, and the intention of so employing it is openly avowed. In such a situation, to wait till the hostile army is put in motion, or till some decree of the French government. publishes to the world the partition of Portugal, would be to expose the royal family, the government, and the country to the certainty of that ruin with which they are openly menaced. The only question can now be, whether to defend or to abandon the country?—Even if the latter resolution were adopted, that would require to be acted upon with vigour and decision in order to preserve to the house of Braganza at least its American possessions. If the former, the first step to be taken towards it must he that of apprising the country of the nature, extent, and urgency of its danger, in order to animate the whole community in common exertions of defence. This must be accompanied by effective and vigorous measures for putting the army in a state of activity and for defending the frontiers. Under such a system, and with the aid in money, troops, and ships, which his maj. would be entirely disposed to contribute to it, if really adopted and steadily pursued, there could be little doubt that the attack of a much more powerful army than that now said to be assembling at Bayonne might be successfully resisted. And in the present state of Europe, great as the means are which France possesses, it may be doubtful whether she would be disposed to apply a larger force to the pursuit of such an object.—If therefore, it still be possible to prevent the enemy from embarking in the enterprize, the course now recommended can alone effect that purpose. If the contest be unavoidable, no other means than these can afford any hope of a successful issue. This reasoning lord Rosslyn will press in the most urgent manner.—The great obstacle for lord Rosslyn to combat will be the desire of procrastination so natural to a weak power, and the delusive hope that by perseverance in the temporizing system the evils which they fear may yet be averted. This must he met by strong representations of the imminency of the danger, and of the mischief of delay.—It is probable that when pressed upon this subject, M. d'Araujo will enquire what specific assistance his maj. will be disposed to grant to Portugal, if it should by such measures as are now recommended draw upon itself the resentment of France. To this, it must always be answered, that the attack from France will not be the consequence of such measures, but only the execution of a determination taken and announced antecedently to them. But there is no difficulty in its being explicitly said, that provided his majesty were satisfied that Portugal was taking vigorous and effective measures for her own defence, there is no exertion in the power of this country that his majesty would not be ready to make for that purpose, in pecuniary assistance as well as in military and naval succours.—In addition to these general assurances, it would be proper that lord Rosslyn should state specifically that an expedition of near 10,000 men is now ready in our ports; and that although these have been collected with a view to a different destination, yet that, on any intimation of such a wish from the Portugnese government, Orders would be given to these troops; and to others which might successively follow them, to sail immediately to Portugal. But lord Rosslyn will not let it be understood that such is actually their destination.—If the Portuguese government should be induced by these representations to adopt a system of active preparation and vigorous defence, laying aside all hopes of saving themselves by any other course, they will of course cheerfully accept the proffered aid; and the arrival of the troops which will still, in all events, follow you as soon as the wind permits, will be matter of great satisfaction to them.—If they decline this assistance, front the fear of irrevocably committing themselves with France, lord Rosslyn is not, till the actual arrival of the troops, to give any intimation that he expects them; nor to employ any other language than such as is already pointed out in this dispatch.—When the troops actually arrive, he will lose no time in representing that event as the effect of the continued information received here, as to the urgency of the danger, and as the strongest proof of the king's solicitude to avert it.—He will represent that the disembarkation of these troops, when sent on such grounds, cannot be refused by the court of Lisbon, except on the ground of a resolution to abandon all measures of defence; in which case alone his majesty will be driven to consider what is due to the interests of his own crown, separately from those of his ally.—He will give the strongest and the most formal assurances that the continuance of the troops shall be limited to the extent of the danger; and on this ground he will demand their admission.—The time to be limited for a compliance with that demand must be arranged with the earl of St. Vincent and lieut. gen. Simcoe. But it will be proper that the actual knowledge of a refusal to admit the troops, as friends, should precede, by however short an interval, any attempt to disembark in any other manner.—If such refusal should take place, the Instructions already, given to you with the earl of St. Vincent will then apply in all their points, as indeed they do in a great degree to the course here pointed out.

No. III.—Dispatch from Mr. Secretary Windham to earls Rosslyn and Saint Vincent, and lieut. gen. Simcoe, dated Downing Street, 28th August 1806.

My lords, and sir; Since the earl of Rosslyn and lieut. gen. Simcoe Sailed from Plymouth, his majesty's servants have received information which induces them to believe that the preparations for the attack of Portugal are in a less forward state than had before been supposed, though there appears no reason to entertain more doubt than before as to the final intention of the French government to carry into effect the plans for the conquest and partition of Portugal, which they have already announced.—In this state of things the whole expedition being now collected at Plymouth, and ready to sail with the first fair wind, it has been judged expedient to detain them until intelligence shall have been received from you of your proceedings, and of the state of affairs at Lisbon.—It is thought here, that there is now more prospect than before of accomplishing the objects in view, without the necessity of resorting to measures of force, which, if practicable, is highly desirable.—The troops will however he kept in constant readiness to sail on the very first order, which will be given either on receiving such information from you as shall appear to require it, or on intelligence being received here in any other manner, of the French forces being in a greater state of readiness, or of the danger of the attack from Spain becoming imminent. I am, &c. W. WINDHAM.

No. IV.—Extract of a Dispatch from the earl of Rosslyn to Mr. Secretary Fox, dated Lisbon, Aug. 30th, 1806.

I have the honour to inform you, that his maj.'s ship Santa Margarita, anchored in the Tagus late on Monday evening the 25th.—Early on the 26th lord St. Vincent came on beard, and his lordship, lieut. gen. Simcoe, and I, had a full conference upon the present state of affairs in this country.—Lord Strangford upon hearing of our arrival had made application for pratique for us, without delay.—In the afternoon I landed, and had a long conference with M. d' Araujo.—in this I took occasion to enter upon that point of our Instructions, which relates to the dangers of the country, and the proposal to assist in defending it. To this first head I chiefly confined myself. I stated the intelligence respecting the plans of the French government, and the persuasion of his maj.'s ministers, of the extreme urgency of the danger arising from thence, according to the tenor of the Instructions.—To this statement M. d'Araujo replied, that there was no actual assembly of troops at Bayonne, no camp formed, and no preparations made. That he had sept several couriers to pass through it, for the purpose of ascertaining the fact. That all his intelligence from Paris and Madrid concurred in that account, and that the forces collected there, consisted only of an Italian brigade of seventeen hundred men. That M. de Lima had given them no reason to apprehend danger, and made no communication from Paris of a declared intention to attack the country, nor of any reports to that effect.—He was persuaded that no measures had been taken for that purpose; and strongly stated the distinction between a formal declaration of the government or a conversation of Buonaparte himself, and the language held by M. Talleyrand; which he was disposed to consider as a mere device or threat to induce lord Yarmouth and Ins majesty's ministers, to con- sent to the terms of peace proposed.—M. d'Araujo further stated, that the Spanish minister had expressed such surprize and jealousy upon the arrival of lord St. Vincent with the squadron, that he had thought it advisable to say that his Britannick majesty having received information of the measures taken by Spain for placing a part of the troops on the war establishment, and especially those which were upon the frontiers of Portugal, had with a just and natural alarm for the safety of his ally, ordered into the Tagus such forces as were most at hand and most disposable.—Upon this I told M. d'Araujo that he was at liberty also to communicate the intelligence given by me relative to the apprehensions that England entertained of France in consequence of M. Talleyrand's declaration. This, however, he declined for the present; adding that he could not attribute the arrival of lord St. Vincent to preparations which he did not believe to exist, nor to declartions of which he had received no account, and which had not been made and were not known to the Portuguese minister at Paris.—He shewed the greatest apprehensions that the sensations produced by lord St. Vincent's arrival would have the worst effects upon the interests and safety of Portugal, not so much from the number of ships as from the consequence attached to his lordship's exalted character, and the importance of the mission with which he was understood to be charged; and he strongly expressed his fears that this would provoke an attack not otherwise intended.—After stating in the terms of my Instructions the immediate succours which were embarked and ready to sail for the defence of Portugal, and which for that purpose his maj. had diverted from other objects of the first importance, I explained the unexampled generosity with which his maj. had determined to increase this force by further supplies, and to furnish every assistance that the case might require, or his resources afford, as well in ships and money as in troops.—The nature and extent of these offers appeared to have a very considerable. effect, and were received with civil expressions of gratitude.—I suggested to M. D'Araujo that they must decide promptly upon the offers of succour, for that the troops being already embarked, must, if not employed for the protection of Portugal, be sent forward to their destination, and that if the offer were now rejected, his maj.'s government could not hereafter command the same means, whatever might be its disposition.—M. D'Araujo observed, that if the forces of England were distracted, and engaged in distant expeditions, Portugal would be exposed to the utmost danger, and left totally defenceless. He frequently repeated how desirable it would have been, that the arrival of a minister should have preceded the fleet, that full communications should have been previously made of the intentions of his maj.'s government and a due consideration bestowed upon the means which could be applied for the defence of the country; and seemed to be thoroughly persuaded that the arrival of a British force in the Tagus at this moment, connected with the circumstances of the present mission, would draw upon Portugal the resentment of France, and be considered as a violation of the treaty of neutrality.—I urged strongly the arguments suggested by my instructions upon that subject, and I did not omit to remark to him, that his maj. had suffered the court of Lisbon to pay subsidies to France, as long as a hope remained of its being able to preserve its neutrality. M. d'Araujo said, he found the treaty of neutrality in existence when he came into office, and believed it to be the only means of preserving Portugal, and repeated his arguments against the sufficiency of the evidence on which his maj.'s government founded their belief of the designs hostile to Portugal.

No. V.—Extract of a Dispatch from the earl of Rosslyn to Mr. Secretary Fox, dated Lisbon, Sept. 2, 1806.

I am sorry to say that I cannot see the least grounds to expect vigorous efforts from this nation in its own defence; and it is evident that no force G. Britain can possibly furnish, would of itself be adequate to arrest the progress of a French invasion.—In short it is my duty to state, that I entirely despair of the possibility of defending Portugal against a French invasion by any means to be found here, or that G. Britain can even with great sacrifices supply.—With respect to the immediate objects of my mission, I must observe to you, that no apprehensions of danger from France existed in this country; and, that all the intelligence I have been able to acquire here, contradicts the supposition of preparations at Bayonne.—It appears to me quite incredible that an army could be suddenly assembled at Bayonne,to half the extent stated from the beginning of August, without its being known to all the merchants; and when we consider the consequences with which the invasion and partition of Portugal would be pregnant, it must be evident that no efforts of the government could suppress the intelligence, or prevent the universal public alarm which the avowal of such a resolution, coupled with the preparations necessary to carry it into execution, must have produced throughout the kingdom, and especially in the towns of Lisbon and Oporto.—I must add, that I cannot imagine any interest which the court of Lisbon could have in shutting its eyes to such movements, had they been made; and it has shewn a sufficient sensibility to danger to assure us, that it could not conceal its fears if they had been really excited. I am therefore inclined to doubt this armament as stated.—I am confident that the arrival of the convoy with the troops will excite the utmost terror and despair in this government and city; but I do not think the Prince Regent will altogether refuse the permission to land when demanded. It is however unquestionable that he will protest most strongly against it, not only as derogatory to his independence, but as an infraction of his neutrality, likely to bring down upon the country the resentment of France, and to engage him in an unnecessary war. The most moderate tone that can be taken by the court here, will be to declare Great Britain responsible for all the consequences of the proceeding, and bound to undertake the defence and provide for the security of Portugal, should it be attacked. Although the permission to land and encamp may be granted, the possession of the forts will almost certainly be refused; and it is not easy to give any reason for insisting upon having them. The landing may be required because the troops are crowded in their transports and the anchorage without the bar unsafe at this season, and the Prince may content himself with not opposing it.—But if the government cannot be induced to consent to let the troops occupy the fort of St. Julian by the arguments drawn from the precedents in 1797, (which however in strictness do not apply, for the forts were then empty, and the Portuguese regiments upon the frontiers), and from representing how desirable it is that the British troops should be kept as much as possible out of the city of Lisbon; it will be a very strong step to require that the Portuguese troops should be removed, and that the absolute command of the port and city should be given up to us. No pretext of common danger can be alleged, and no apprehension for the security of any separate interest of the British can be pretended.—If the court of Lisbon take the line of expressing its gratitude for the promptness with which the succours have been sent upon the supposition of danger, and of entreating his majesty to withdraw his forces, when it appears that such danger does not exist; or should it prepare itself for war as rendered inevitable by this expedition; it will be equally contrary to the professions which we have been instructed to make, and appear a most extraordinary preliminary to the defence of an ally to proceed to a reduction of their fortresses by force without any provocation on their part, or any motive of self-defence on ours real or pretended.—Our Instructions proceed upon a supposition that the French were in force at Bayonne, and the immediate invasion of Portugal indubitable; and those measures which would have been strictly justifiable in case this government should have abandoned all idea of resistance or escape from the danger, would, in the circumstances I have stated, assume an opposite character, and be made to appear to the rest of Europe as an act of unjustifiable violence and aggression. This case has not been foreseen, and could not have been distinctly provided for. But the 11th and 12th paragraphs of the first instructions strongly indicate the sentiments of his majesty's ministers as applicable to this question, and appear to me to preclude all measures of force which are not prescribed by the evident necessity of the case, and justified by the danger of the ships and military resources of the country falling an easy and certain prey into the hands of the enemy.—Governing ourselves by the general tenor of our orders, and the spirit of moderation and conciliation which pervades the whole of them, we must endeavour to make the best of this difficult situation; nor ought we to depart in any degree from those principles while this court Manifests a most friendly disposition, except upon the near approach of an enemy. Then the reason suggested for seizing the forts and ships may with propriety and truth be alleged, and those measures so necessary for the security of Great Britain be carried into execution.

No. VI.—Extract of a Dispatch from Mr. Secretary Windham to the earl of Rosslyn, dated Sept. 13, 1806. Your lordship's dispatches have been duly received. A very careful attention has been given by his majesty's ministers to the interesting picture which your ldp. has drawn of the present situation of Portugal, and of the actual disposition of the court of Lisbon. To these two points your ldp. very properly directed your early attention, in order to ascertain to what extent the menaces of the French government, as avowed by M. Talleyrand, were actually ready to be carried into effect, and how far the pressure of that danger was imminent enough to call forth into action the utmost exertions which Great Britain could supply, as well for the protection of her antient ally, as for the security of her own maritime power and interests. Upon this great and essential enquiry did necessarily depend the prosecution of those ulterior operations which his majesty had entrusted to the direction of the distinguished officers who were for that purpose joined with your ldp. in commission to the court of Lisbon.—The peculiar and critical circumstances of the position of Portugal, and information received soon after the time of your ldp.'s sailing from England, seemed however to be such as to admit of deferring for a short time, the actual appearance of the British land forces at Lisbon. His majesty had therefore already been advised to direct the troops to remain in readiness at Plymouth till your ldp.'s dispatches from Lisbon should furnish the means of deciding upon the propriety of sending them to Portugal, or of continuing to apply them to their original destination.—In this respect therefore, the wish which has been so strongly expressed to you by his royal highness the Prince Regent and by Mons. d'Araujo, of the British troops not entering the Tagus, has been already anticipated; and your ldp. will not fail to impress his royal highness the Prince Regent with this proof of the delicacy and attention with which his majesty has consulted the wishes and apprehensions of the court of Portugal, while he was at the same time generously providing for the substantial purposes of their support and protection.—The general tenor of your lordship's most recent informations, concurring with the positive assurances of M. d'Araujo, in establishing the belief that there is no immediate menace of attack from Bayonne, and the fears and solicitations of the court of Lisbon appearing to be much alive to the supposed danger to Portugal by the continuance of the British squadron in the Tagus, your lordship is instructed further to declare to his royal highness the Prince Regent, that his majesty, having performed the duty of a faithful and generous ally by the proffer of his powerful assistance, is satisfied to withdraw for the present, that assistance, at the earnest request of the court of Lisbon, and therefore that proper orders will be accordingly forthwith sent out to the earl of St. Vincent to that effect.


Petty moved that an humble address be presented to his majesty, "That he will be graciously pleased to give directions that there be laid before this house, a copy of such communications as have passed between his majesty's government and that of the United States of America, relating to a ratification of a Treaty with the United States." In consequence of the above motion, three sets of Papers were, on the 18th and 22d instant, laid before both houses of parliament, of which the following are copies, viz.

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