Canning presented, at the bar, the following Message from his Majesty, which was read by the Speaker:
§ "GEORGE R.
§ "His Majesty acquaints the House of Commons, that his Majesty has received an earnest application from the Princess Regent of Portugal, claiming, in virtue of the ancient obligations of alliance and amity subsisting between his Majesty and the Crown of Portugal, his Majesty's aid against an hostile aggression from Spain.335
§ "His Majesty has exerted himself, for some time past, in conjunction with his Majesty's ally the King of France, to prevent such an aggression; and repeated assurances have been given by the Court of Madrid, of the determination of his Catholic Majesty neither to commit, nor to allow to be committed, from his Catholic Majesty's territory, any aggression against Portugal.
§ "But his Majesty has learnt with deep concern, that, notwithstanding these assurances, hostile inroads into the territory of Portugal have been concerted in Spain, and have been executed under the eyes of Spanish authorities, by Portuguese regiments, which had deserted into Spain, and which the Spanish government had repeatedly and solemnly engaged to disarm and to disperse.
§ "His Majesty leaves no effort unexhausted to awaken the Spanish government to the dangerous consequences of this apparent connivance.
§ "His Majesty makes this communication to the House of Commons, with the full and entire confidence, that his faithful Commons will afford to his Majesty their cordial concurrence and support, in maintaining the faith of treaties, and in securing against foreign hostility, the safety and independence of the kingdom of Portugal, the oldest ally of Great Britain.
§ " G. R."
§ After the Message had been read,
Mr. Secretary Canning
rose, but in consequence of indisposition, he spoke in tones so feeble, that his words were very indistinctly heard. He said, that in pursuance of the custom usually observed on occasions of this kind, he should now give notice that he would to-morrow move an Address to his Majesty, thanking him for the communication which he had made to the House, and affording him the strongest assurances of the cordial support and co-operation of his faithful Commons. It would be contrary to the practice hitherto followed, for him to enter at present into any statement of the reasons which had induced his majesty to make to the House the communication they had just heard, and besides it would be unfair to the House itself, as it was totally unprepared for such a discussion. He would therefore confine himself to moving, that his Majesty's Message be taken into consideration to-morrow.
§ Sir Robert Wilson
observed, that when 336 upon a former evening he gave notice of his intention to bring the state of Portugal under the consideration of parliament, he was influenced by a sincere and honest desire to enable the government, if it had any hesitation, to uphold with a strong hand the honour and interest of the Crown, which in this country were inseparable from the honour and interest of the people. He could assure the right hon. Secretary, that in giving that notice, he was influenced by no party motive. The gentlemen with whom he acted knew of no party but their country, where its honour and its interest were at stake. He felt great happiness in hearing the communication which had just been made to them, and declared that it rendered unnecessary the proceeding which he should otherwise have deemed it incumbent to take.
§ Mr. Canning
said, it was out of the power of his majesty's ministers to make any earlier communication to the House with regard to the inroad of the Portuguese refugees, as the official despatches had arrived only on Friday night last.
§ The motion was agreed to.