§ Mr. Courtenay
then rose, and said, no man who had paid attention to the history of the country—no man who had attended to the communications made from the Throne during the last four years, and particularly no one who had read the eloquent speeches addressed to the House two years ago, by the noble Viscount opposite (Palmerston), and by the right hon. member for Knaresborough, could have any doubt of the importance of the relations which he was then about to bring under the attention of the House, or the propriety of their occasional discussion in the Commons House of Parliament. That he was the individual to introduce a subject of this high importance arose from an accidental circumstance, to which he should by-and-by allude, but he could not commence his observations without claiming the indulgence of the House towards one, who, although an old Member of Parliament, was, after twenty years' service, and probably in the last year of that service, originating, for the first time, an important discussion in that House. If there were 109 general grounds for, at all times, closely attending to our relations with Portugal, there were surely, in the recent occurrences which had taken place, peculiar reasons for then demanding an inquiry into them. For four years, at least, all diplomatic intercourse with this, one of our most ancient Allies, had been suspended. In addition to this, they had been told in the Speech from the Throne, at the opening of the present Session of Parliament, "That the dangers of a disputed succession would require his Majesty's most vigilant attention to events by which not only the safety of Portugal, but the general interests of Europe might be affected." These were strong reasons for the discussion of the subject; but a third reason had operated upon him personally, and he might say, accidentally imposed upon him the duty of bringing it forward; this was his knowledge of the peculiar situation in which his noble friend, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, was placed. He was not indisposed (it would be strange if, after having been himself so many years connected with his Majesty's Government, he were so) to give to a Government considerable confidence in their administration of foreign affairs. But to this there must be some exception, when it happened that a Member of that Government was so biassed and prejudiced by his conduct before he took office, that the presumption which his talents and judgment would otherwise excite in favour of his measures must necessarily be diminished. In that predicament, the noble Lord, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs stood. Let not his noble friend suppose, from that declaration that he was about to make any charge prejudicial to the excellence of his personal character, or the consistency of his principles; on the contrary, he meant to charge the noble Lord with a mischievous consistency which was creditable to him as a man, but prejudicial to the interests of the country. It was under these circumstances that he rose to call for the production of certain documents, and to request from the noble Lord (to whom, if he did not give the appellation which he usually did himself the honour of using, it must be attributed to the peculiar circumstances of the occasion) some explanation of the nature of those relations which were particularly placed under his charge. But before he stated what his motion was, he was anxious to 110 state what it was not. He was peculiarly anxious, after all the discussions which had taken place in that House and elsewhere respecting Portugal, to state, that he did not stand there as the advocate of any one of the disputants connected with Portugal. To him Don Pedro or Don Miguel were both alike, with respect to his immediate object. His only reference was to Portugal itself. If the movement which appeared to be going on throughout Europe, and which in France was evidently tending to republicanism, and might, perhaps, lead to a similar result in other States, should convert the government of Portugal into a representative government, to Portugal, under those circumstances, would all his observations be equally applicable. His object was, not to advance the cause of any particular dynasty, or of any branch of any particular dynasty, but to take the course which, in his opinion, was most conducive to the preservation of peace; to press the observance of that system of non-interference which was practised by the last Administration, and avowed by the present on entering office; although, as he should presently show, and on this point he should demand explanations, since greatly departed from. To elucidate and justify the positions he should take, it would be necessary for him to give a short narrative of the transactions with respect to Portugal of the last three or four years. He would be as brief as possible, and he trusted the House would bear with him from the importance of the subject. He would begin at that point of time when the noble Lord (Palmerston), the Duke of Wellington, and his right hon. friend near him (Sir R. Peel), formed a part of the same Administration; and the propriety of his doing so would be sufficiently apparent in a very short time. Early in the year 1828, his late Majesty, acting by the advice of art enlightened Cabinet, of which the present Secretary for Foreign Affairs was one, addressed his Parliament in these words:—"His Majesty has the greatest satisfaction in informing you, that the purposes for which his Majesty, upon the requisition of the Court of Lisbon, detached a military force to Portugal, have been accomplished. The obligations of good faith having been fulfilled, and the safety and independence of Portugal secured, his Majesty has given orders that the forces now in that country should be immediately 111 withdrawn."* He mentioned this to shew that at that period there had been no determination on the part of the Government, indeed that there was a positive determination to the contrary, to interfere in any way with the internal affairs of Portugal. British troops were sent to Portugal, at the suggestion of Mr. Canning, to repel the foreign invaders of that country. The enemy retired, the object was attained, the troops were withdrawn. Sorry was he, very sorry, that the connexion of the noble Lord opposite with the then existing Government continued but a very short period after the latter circumstance had occurred. The noble Lord's retirement from office, however, did not take place until after Don Miguel had returned to Portugal; nor, although that prince had not then assumed the title of king, until after he had, according to the avowal of Mr. Huskisson, as well as the declaration of Sir Frederick Lamb, our Ambassador at Lisbon at that time, exhibited the most unequivocal marks of an intention to depart from the charter to which he had sworn to adhere. He had removed every officer supposed to be faithful to the constitution, or who had served under count Villa Flor. He had, besides, dissolved the Chamber without calling another, which was in itself an actual breach of the charter. Nevertheless, after this conduct on the part of Don Miguel was known, the noble Lord, as a Member of the then Cabinet, concurred in the order for the withdrawal of his Majesty's troops, and that order was signed by Mr. Huskisson. He mentioned this, not to censure the noble Viscount, but to show the position in which these affairs stood when the unfortunate separation in the Government, to which he had alluded, took place, and when the connection of the noble Viscount with the then Ministry was dissolved. Up to that time Ministers had taken no part in the internal affairs of Portugal. Of the claimants or aspirants to the throne they had determined neither to assist the one nor to defend the other. They attempted to conciliate the differences between the two parties. Those attempts were vain; and every thing continued in abeyance for nearly two years. There was, during that period, on the part of the Government, then deprived of the talent and ability of his noble friend opposite, no* Hansard's Parl. Debt vol. xvii. P. 3.112 chivalrous interference for Donna Maria, no precipitate recognition of him who had usurped her throne. Yet, at that time the Government was assailed on both sides, on one day for taking too strong a step in favour of Donna Maria; the next, for not allowing her to make this country a dépôt from which she might gather strength to attack the usurper of her rights. But, notwithstanding these attacks, the Government, throughout the whole of that period, observed a strict neutrality. Towards the end of that period, however, the right hon. Gentlemen who had seceded from the Government began to exhibit symptoms of discontent at this neutrality; and the right hon. Gentleman, the member for Knaresborough, submitted a motion to this House, bottomed principally on personal attacks upon Don Miguel, whom he represented as having been placed on the throne of Portugal, contrary to the wishes of the people of that country. The principle of Mr. Canning was non-interference, unless that rule should be disregarded by other nations. On that occasion his right hon friend (Sir R. Peel) laid down the principles of neutrality upon which the Government had acted, and clearly showed that they were the principles which Mr. Canning had followed, in common with the rest of the then Government. In the declarations of his right hon. friend, a then conspicuous Member of that House, who now held the office of Lord Chancellor, Mr. Brougham, joined. That eloquent person, using language which it would be dangerous to most speakers to adopt, said there must be "a vigorous non-interference." On that occasion, however, the noble Lord (Palmerston) made the first of those celebrated speeches upon foreign affairs, which he supposed had led to his appointment to the high place which he at present held. The noble Lord took a line of argument wholly at variance with that pursued by the present Lord Chancellor. There was an evident and great change in the reasoning of the noble Lord, and he attributed that change to the altered circumstances in which the noble Lord had spoken. The noble Lord had seceded from the Ministy of the Duke of Wellington on a question connected with Reform. It would be quite impossible for the noble Lord and those who acted with him at the time alluded to, to say that upon that question they retired as the friends of Mr. Canning. Separated from the existing 113 Government, and yielding to the feeling which naturally, under such circumstances, beset him, the noble Lord became an opponent of those with whom he had acted. Looking at the principles, known and avowed, of Mr. Canning, it was impossible to say, that, in finding fault with the late Government, in respect of its conduct concerning Portugal, the conduct of that statesman was taken as an example for guidance. As one of the friends of Mr. Canning, who had always maintained the principle of non-interference, it was impossible for the noble Lord wholly to disavow that principle. But about that time a new view was taken of the subject—a substantive and an adjective were united which had probably never been brought together before; and it was contended, that although we could not by any overt act interfere, we were bound, and that such had been the intention of Mr. Canning, to give to the party in opposition to the existing Government in Portugal a "moral support." That declaration was not justified by any thing which had fallen from Mr. Canning in that House, and was in direct contradiction to the line of argument which he had adopted on various occasions. It was contrary to the opinion which Mr. Canning, in 1821, when he was not hampered by office, expressed. At that time he treated with the utmost ridicule and sarcasm those who talked of "constructive" support; and laid it down as a principle, that the principle of non-interference, if adopted, must be entirely unqualified; that there must be no interference of any kind, unless we were ready to exert our whole power in the defence of that party we determined to support. The noble Lord, however, on the occasion to which he had alluded, argued for the enforcement against Don Miguel of the rights with which he maintained that Don Miguel had invested us by the mode in which he was governing Portugal. It was necessary to bear those facts in mind, because he believed they elucidated much of the subsequent opposition of the noble Lord (Palmerston) to Don Miguel. He had already observed, that for two years, things had been in abeyance, but two years after the Speech from the Throne, to which he had adverted, another Speech was delivered to Parliament. On the 4th February, 1830, the King's Speech informed the Parliament, that 'His Majesty has not yet deemed it 'expedient to re-establish upon their an- 114 cient footing his Majesty's diplomatic relations with the kingdom of Portugal; but the numerous embarrassments, arising from the continued interruption of these relations, increase his Majesty's desire to effect the termination of so serious an evil.'* It would be observed that that was the first even gentle hint from the Throne of a disposition to recognize Don Miguel. On that occasion the noble Lord opposite did not speak; but another noble Lord, now in the House of Peers, (Lord Goderich), declared that, in his opinion, the time must soon arrive, when it would be necessary for this country to acknowledge what was, de facto, the Government of Portugal; but at the same time expressed his earnest desire (an important circumstance to be remembered) that no such recognition should take place unless it were accompanied with an amnesty to all those persons in Portugal who were suffering from their adherence to the other side of the question. Very shortly, however, after the King's Speech of the 4th of February, 1830, the noble Viscount brought the affairs of Portugal before the House. In the speech which the noble Lord made, he differed from all the Statesmen who had preceded him, for he advocated the assertion of the rights of England against Miguel, even at the risk of war. He then came to the last Speech from the Throne during the Administration of the Duke of Wellington. On the 2nd of November, 1830, his Majesty said, 'I have 'not yet accredited my Ambassador to the 'Court of Lisbon, but the Portuguese Government having determined to perform a 'great act of justice and humanity, by the 'grant of a general amnesty, I think that 'the time may shortly arrive when the interests of my subjects will demand a renewal of those relations which have so 'long existed between the two coun-'tries.'† The language of that Speech was in exact conformity to the sentiments of the noble Lord (Goderich) he had already alluded to; and on that occasion the noble Earl now at the head of his Majesty's Government, expressed himself in a manner totally different from the opinion previously given by the noble Lord opposite. Earl Grey, referring to the recent acknowledgement by this country of the king of the French, advised the recognition of*Hansard's Parl. Debates, vol. xxii. p. 2.†Ibid. vol. i. (Third Series) p. 9.115 Don Miguel with the object of employing that recognition as a means of relieving the exiled liberals, and incarcerated patriots of Portugal; and dwelt on the advantages of that principle of non-interference which he recommended his Majesty's Government to observe, and which principle the noble Earl afterwards adopted himself. The fact was, that his Majesty's late Government did not make an amnesty the condition of recognition. But they could not recognise the government of Portugal while so many persons were suffering in a cause with which originally this country was so connected, however anxious they were to restore tranquillity to an ancient and close ally. It was generally taught that causes and effects were different and distinct; but in this case they were so much mixed up, that it was difficult to separate them. Support was, in this case, ruinous to those it was intended to assist Such was the state of things: Lord Grey and Mr. Brougham had declared against interference, and the noble Viscount had loudly called for interference, when the late Government retired, and Lord Grey became Prime Minister; Mr. Brougham, Lord Chancellor; and the noble Viscount, Secretary for Foreign Affairs. Coming thus to the Foreign Office, the noble Lord was obliged to conform, in appearance, to the principles laid down as those of the Government. Such was the case; and he had no doubt the noble Lord intended to act in the spirit of those principles; but his charge against the noble Lord was this, that whatever might have been his intentions or his endeavours, they had been unsuccessful. He asserted that the noble Lord had by connivance with one party, and permitting an attack to be prepared in this country, and to proceed from our own shores, by leaving Portugal to the oppression of a foreign power, and by widening every cause of quarrel between that country and this, not only violated the principle of non-interference, but made it almost impossible that while the present government of Portugal existed, there should be any reconciliation between Portugal and England. The next reference to the state of Portugal was in connexion with some papers laid before Parliament, detaching the account of the means that had been adopted to obtain redress for depredations committed on our commerce. This was alluded to in the next Speech from the 116 Throne, delivered on June 21, 1831, when his Majesty thus called the attention of Parliament to the affairs of Portugal:—'A series of injuries and insults, for which, 'notwithstanding repeated remonstrances, 'all reparation was withheld, compelled 'me at last to order a squadron of my 'fleet to appear before Lisbon, with a 'peremptory demand of satisfaction. A 'prompt compliance with that demand 'prevented the necessity of further mea-'sures, but I have to regret that I have 'not yet been enabled to re-establish my 'diplomatic relations with the Portuguese 'Government.'* The nature of these inquiries and the redress were already known to Parliament; and before he proceeded further, he must also observe, that, for these injuries, this country had demanded and received a full measure of redress. Upon a motion which he had submitted, the papers relating to those injuries had been laid before the House, and having perused them, he must say, he thought the injuries had been overrated, and that we had been rather too hard upon Portugal, especially in the case of the captain of the Diana. He must also observe, that all the claims made by this country were founded upon Treaties which gave to England peculiar advantages, which she could not claim under the general law of nations, and to which no other country was entitled. Those treaties had been in force for two centuries, but it should also be remembered, that if those treaties gave particular advantages to England, in some respects, they also imposed responsibilities upon her in others. By the advice of his Ministers his Majesty, in his Speech to Parliament, spoke of the redress which had been demanded and received from Portugal for injuries done to the subjects of Great Britain, but before that Speech was delivered, the French fleet had entered the Tagus, captured a number of Portuguese men-of-war, and carried them to a French port. In the King's Speech, no notice was taken of the abduction of the Portuguese fleet by the French. A noble friend of his, however, had put a question to the noble Lord upon the subject, and the noble Lord, replying with a degree of levity not at all common to him, had said, that the French being at open war, had captured and carried away the fleet of Don Miguel from Lisbon, and that it was not unusual, as* Hansard's Parl, Debates, vol. iv. p. 85.117 England well knew, for ships of war to be carried off by the power which captured them. Hearing that answer, he had asked the noble Lord if it was such a war of aggression on the part of Portugal as that we were not bound to defend her? The noble Lord immediately challenged him to bring forward a motion upon the subject, and that was the accidental circumstance to which he had alluded, which had induced him to undertake a subject he well knew to be beyond his powers. In consequence of the conduct of the noble Lord, he had moved for the papers upon which the demands of this country were made, and upon which the conduct of France was justified. Those papers were extremely voluminous, and he would not weary the House by reading from them. But he must say this, that the defence set up appeared to him most unsatisfactory. In reply to some observations which he had made on our connivance in the attack made by France on Portugal, it was said, that as we had lately exacted redress from Portugal, for injuries done to British subjects, we could not interfere to prevent the French from doing the same. But that was an inconclusive argument. In the first place, we had treaties with Portugal which justified us in our demands; but those very treaties bound us to defend Portugal from an aggression which was contrary to the law of nations. If this country had wrongfully exacted recompense from Portugal, it would look bad indeed for its government to interfere with the similar proceedings on the part of France; but if that were not the case, this country was bound by those very treaties under which she claimed reparation to protect her ally from aggression. But even if the proceedings of France were justifiable, that would not affect his charge against the noble Lord, which was, that the case was decided without any attempt being made to learn what its real merits were. The noble Lord did not take the trouble to make any inquiries into the matter. The first intimation of the sailing of the French squadron was received here on the 12th of April, and, on the 4th of May, the Portuguese Government first applied for the exercise of the good offices of England, and, those failing, for the active assistance of England. He admitted, that on the 4th of May, this country could not have assisted Portugal, for the disputes between the 118 two nations were then unsettled, but that was not the case on May 14th. At that date compensation had been given to Portugal, all disputes had been put an end to, and we were placed in the same situation towards our ancient ally as if no such disputes had taken place. Some of the treaties which did exist between England and Portugal were said to be abrogated by the non-recognition of Don Miguel, but no one pretended to say, that the treaties on which he relied were abrogated, or that Portugal was not entitled to assistance from this country if assailed by a foreign enemy. On May the 14th all disputes were settled, the treaty of protection on the one hand, and privilege on the other, came again into full operation, and the noble Lord had no right to bear in mind and act upon any remembrance he had of differences which had been settled. Well, then, under these circumstances, England was appealed to by Portugal for advice and assistance with respect to France, and the noble Lord at once advised Portugal to yield to the demands of France. That was the advice given, although no written answer was returned to the application of Portugal, and no explanation was asked from France until a month afterwards. Viewing the position in which the two countries and the relations in which both stood towards France, he would put it to the House to say, was that advice consistent with good faith and sincerity on the part of this country? Yet he would affirm, it was given without even the shadow of any attempt to examine into the justice of those demands. He did not state this without being prepared to shew that the assertion was abundantly well founded; for the noble Lord, on the 17th of June, wrote two letters, one to the Vice-Consul in Lisbon, and the other to the Chargé d'affaires in Paris, recommending Portugal to give way. The latter as well as the former was full of condemnation of the conduct of Portugal, and of excuses for that of France. A grosser instance of partiality was not to be found in, perhaps, the history of diplomacy or international treaties. One of the grievances of which the French government complained, was, the punishment of a French subject. That case to which his motion would more particularly refer, was one not without analogy; indeed, he might add, there was a close resemblance between it and a case which had occurred in the time of Mr. Canning, 119 when Dr. Bowring was prosecuted by the former French government. Mr. Canning, on being applied to, replied, that if the law was administered in Dr. Bowring's case as it would have been towards a French subject, then he could not interfere. He went a little further, however, and orders were given to consult two eminent French lawyers as to whether the law had been so administered to Dr. Bowring. The answer was, that he had been treated exactly as a French subject. Mr. Canning said, he would, therefore, have nothing to do with Dr. Bowring. Mr. Hoppner, in his opinion, had paid but slight attention to the case of the Frenchman, Mons. Bonhomme, against whom the evidence was very strong, who had been punished by the Portuguese government. That individual, who was a tutor in the university of Coimbra, at the head of his pupils, committed a gross beastly offence in one of the churches, and a prosecution was instituted, not by the government, but by the university of Coimbra, and a punishment inflicted slighter than would have been inflicted on a native. Had proper inquiry been made, little doubt could be entertained that the facts would have assumed a different appearance. But even if the noble Lord should at that moment have a statement in his pocket which would prove that his (Mr. Courtenay's) information was incorrect, that would be no answer to his charge, which was, that the noble Lord had prejudged the conduct of Portugal from the beginning, and had advised Portugal to submit to the demands of France, without taking the trouble to inquire into the facts of the dispute. Great credit had been taken for the alacrity with which the advice had been given, but he complained that the advice was too quickly given. And what were the consequences of that advice? France seized all the shipping she could, and, having fully indemnified herself for her alleged losses, and inflicted punishment for the alleged insult, it might have been supposed she would have been satisfied. No such thing; a stronger squadron was sent to the mouth of the Tagus. The Portuguese government appeared to yield, but the concession was not ample enough to satisfy the French admiral, and he advanced fresh pretensions. Portugal refused to comply, and the French squadron forced the bar of the Tagus, and on proceeding up the river, a few shots were fired, but not one man was killed, and hardly 120 any wounded; yet the French admiral, taking advantage of these few shots, seized the whole of the Portuguese fleet, and the French government still keeps possession of it. The French squadron continued some time in the Tagus, and it was said the admiral endeavoured to negociate a commercial treaty between the two countries. The hon. member for Worcester had put a question to the noble Lord, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, on this subject, and had received for answer, that he possessed no information relating to such a project, nor did he believe it existed. But there were strong reasons for believing that such a treaty was thought of, although the return of Don Pedro to Europe about this time prevented its completion: a new light broke upon the French government. The lame led the blind into new projects: and France determined to effect her objects through the agency of Don Pedro, rather than by means of Don Miguel. A new system of intrigues was then commenced, which was still in progress, and to which he was much afraid the King's Government was more a party than it ought to be. In illustration of the extraordinary policy pursued by this country towards Portugal, he would call the attention of the House to a remarkable passage in the Speech delivered from the Throne at the opening of the present Session of Parliament. It was in that Speech that the first mention was made of the present state of our relations to Portugal, and that mention had been made in a manner, he conceived, extremely unadvisable. It indeed gave an entirely new view of those relations. His Majesty had been made to speak thus:—'The conduct of the Portuguese government, and the repeated injuries to which my subjects have been exposed, have prevented a renewal of my diplomatic relations with that kingdom. The state of a country so long united with this by the ties of the most intimate alliance, must necessarily be to me an object of the deepest interest; and the return to Europe of 'the elder branch of the illustrious House of Braganza, and the dangers of a disputed succession, will require my most vigilant attention to events by which not only the safety of Portugal, 'but the general interests of Europe, may be effected.'* Now, he begged to ask,* Hansard's Parl. Debates, vol. ix. p. 3.121 was it not strange that his Majesty's Ministers should cause his Majesty to tell his Parliament at one time, that complete reparation had been made by Portugal for all injuries committed on his subjects, and to say, notwithstanding, that he could not renew his diplomatic relations with that country. Again, it was stated in the Speech, that repeated injuries had been committed by the Portuguese; but would it not have been fair to have stated what those injuries were? But there were other matters mentioned in that Speech which, he conceived, demanded peculiar attention and consideration. In the first place, it announced the return of Don Pedro to Europe. He could not say, that this announcement required peculiar attention, for, in point of fact, it might quite as well have been altogether omitted, but it would appear that his Majesty's Ministers had only just found out that the sallow gentleman who had been for months driving about in a Critchta, was the retired emperor of Brazil. He had, in fact, returned so long ago as June last, before the time when his Majesty opened the Parliament in that month. But the Speech announced the return, and immediately after proceeded to speak of the danger of a disputed succession to the Throne of Portugal. This was, in his opinion, a disingenuous method of connecting these two facts, for this juxtaposition naturally led to the inference, that this return of the elder branch of the House of Braganza was connected with the question of succession. But the fact was, that Don Pedro had come from the Brazils to Europe solely because he could not maintain his government there. This, however, was not the point to which he desired to call attention, and he would, therefore, not pursue it further. The Speech from the Throne expressed an apprehension of conflict for the succession to the crown of Portugal, and for the preservation of peace in Europe. When, he would ask, were such events communicated in a Speech from the Throne, without his Majesty stating either that he would rely upon the House of Commons for the assistance necessary to support the national honour, if it were one of those cases in which the national honour was concerned? otherwise, should not his Majesty have declared, that he would observe a strict neutrality? But there was no mention of observing any such neutrality, which, he 122 thought, a most suspicious circumstance. It was well known, that a dispute, concerning the succession to the crown of Portugal, did exist. A king had been established in the government about four years, but his brother, who was formerly favoured by this country, and who reigned a short time back in certain of the foreign dominions of Portugal, had now, as the natural guardian of his daughter, claimed the throne, and appeared in Europe to attack the ancient territories of his house, and the government of his brother. Now, what ought the conduct of the British Government to be, under such a state of circumstances? He confessed, he felt much surprised at the manner in which Portugal had been mentioned, and he begged to tell the noble Lord, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, that he gave him the exclusive credit of this mention, for he was sure that neither Lord Grey nor Lord Brougham could entertain any doubt—and if they did entertain a doubt, he begged to say, that he did not—that the policy of England towards Portugal, under such circumstances, was one of neutrality. True, England was bound by treaties to watch over the interests of that country, but none of those treaties would warrant interference in the present case. They could not justify Don Miguel in calling upon us for aid. He did not know whether Don Miguel had applied for such aid; but if he had, he must have received the same answer as was given by Lord Aberdeen, some two or three years back, to a somewhat similar application from the other party—namely, that it was a case to which the treaties did not apply. It might, however, be a case in which Don Miguel might expect that we should prevent our subjects enlisting in the armament fitting out against him. There were deeds as well as words which required explanation from his Majesty's Administration. The enlistments which had been made in England for the service of Don Pedro were notorious, and, he maintained, that they should have been prohibited, not only on the principle of non-interference, but in pursuance of the law of the country. It had been the law of the country for more than a century, that our subjects should not take part in the quarrels of foreign nations, and that law had been renewed and extended within the memory of all. The reigning authorities of Portugal demanded interference of the English Govern- 123 ment for the prevention of this enlistment. But he was prepared to contend, that, on grounds of policy, independently of the law of the country, the Government of England should have forbidden any enlistment. It was impossible for the Ministry to say, that they were ignorant that this enlistment was carried on, and that to a very great degree. In fact, it was notorious that it was carried on under the very windows of the noble Lord at the head of Foreign Affairs. But, even supposing the Ministers were ignorant of the fact, he was prepared to say, it was their duty to take measures for the performance and observance of the laws of the country, so long as they were laws. If they were not apprised of the actual fact of enlistment, some rumour, at least, must have reached them; and even on rumour, let it be ever so vague, they were bound to make inquiry. Under all the circumstances the Government had displayed a great degree of slackness. No proclamation had been issued; neither had British officers been informed that the Government disapproved, if it really did disapprove, of their enlistment in the service of Don Pedro. So much on the subject of enlistment. Then, with respect to the equipment of vessels, what was the reported conduct of Government? It was stated, that Government had actually released vessels which had been seized under the Foreign Enlistment Act. This he did not take upon himself to assert as true, but it was so reported. At all events, this fact had come under their notice, and it would be for them to explain on what principles their conduct in reference to it had been framed. He deemed it extremely advisable that Parliament should clearly understand what those principles were, and it was with such a view that he was about to propose some questions. It might, perhaps, be asked, is it advisable or not, that Don Pedro should succeed in his expedition? On this point he would only observe, that on the principle which his Majesty's Ministers professed to maintain, it was not to be considered whether the success of Don Pedro was desirable or not. They had come into office under a pledge of non-intervention. If they had in any way favoured that expedition, they had taken on themselves a vast degree of responsibility. Let them consider what evils must befall British residents in Portugal in the event of a civil war taking place at which 124 this country had connived. If the Government did not interfere, no shadow of blame could be cast upon it. This, however, was a trifling consideration, compared with others which pressed themselves on the mind of any reflecting man. The noble Lord knew well that no serious attack could be made upon Portugal, and Spain look on with indifference. It was notorious that the Spanish government could not approve of any change in the order of things now existing in Portugal. Would the war then be confined to the Peninsula? Certainly not; for a general war would follow, and it would, in all probability, be that war between principles which Mr. Canning took so much and such successful pains to avert. Our object, with regard to Portugal, ought to be to preserve our influence and intimate alliance with that country; obtaining, if possible, relief for those who were suffering for their opposition to the present Government. Would the noble Lord say, that these objects could be accomplished by the success of the expedition at which he was suspected to connive? We might possibly re-establish our connexion with Portugal; but it was as little doubted that France would share with us in every thing we obtained from that country. If, then, none of the objects which we ought to have in view with regard to Portugal could be accomplished by the success of Don Pedro's expedition, why had the noble Lord permitted British subjects to enter into it? The noble Lord had, on former occasions, laid great stress on the maintenance of constitutional freedom in Portugal, and concluded one of his speeches, by regretting that our policy had ended in the destruction of that freedom. Great pains had been taken to represent that as Mr. Canning's grand object also; but although that statesman wished for the establishment of constitutional freedom everywhere, he, throughout his life, refused to take any active measures to enforce its establishment in any foreign country. Mr. Canning was not one of those politicians who considered the good of all countries before his own, and throughout his life he had a dread of such men. Hear how he described one of them.Thro' the extended globe his feelings runAs broad and general as th' unbounded sun;No narrow bigot he; his reason'd view,Thy interests, England, ranks with thine Peru;France at our doors, he sees no danger nigh,But heaves for Turkey's woes th' impartial sigh;125A steady patriot of the world alone,The friend of every country but his own.This was the character described by Mr. Canning in the early part of his career as one he most disliked. It was the sort of politician that was generated by the French revolution, advocating the description of policy to which he was in constant opposition. Upon all these grounds he felt himself justified in calling for some explanation as to the long suspension of our diplomatic intercourse with Portugal, the events which occurred in consequence of the appearance of the French fleet in the Tagus, and the conduct of the Government with respect to the disputed succession to the crown of Portugal. The noble Lord had formerly lamented the destruction of constitutional freedom in Portugal, the loss of English influence, and the danger of throwing that country into the hands of Spain, which had resulted from the course of policy that had been pursued by us. But would the noble Lord's conduct restore constitutional freedom to Portugal? No; for it was a remarkable fact, which had become public only within these twenty-four hours, though strongly suspected before, that although the person on the throne of Portugal might be changed, the alteration would not give constitutional freedom to that country, and he did not believe that the noble Lord would contend that a change, in which France was so material a party, could tend to restore English influence. If the noble Lord delivered Portugal from the hands of Spain, could the noble Lord derive consolation from its falling into the hands of France? The motion he was about to make would refer only to the matters he had touched upon in the last part of his speech; and unless the noble Lord could say, that it would be injurious to the public service to grant what he called for, he trusted that the noble Lord would agree to the motion. He begged leave to move, "That an humble address he presented to his Majesty, that he will he graciously pleased to give directions that there be laid before this House copies or extracts of information (if any) received by his Majesty's Government concerning the enlistment of men, or equipment of vessels, on an intended expedition against the present government of Portugal; and of any applications in relation thereto received by his Majesty's Government, on the part of the Portuguese government, 126 and of the proceedings of his Majesty's Government thereupon."
Sir James Mackintosh
declared that he had never heard a case so entirely barren of proof as that which had just been laid before the House, and he was the more free to say so, as the deficiency of proof was no fault of his right hon. friend; he had made the best of his case, and would, no doubt, have produced proof if he possessed any—he would not have failed to tender evidence had any been within his reach. One of the objects of his Motion was to ascertain, if possible, what were the proceedings adopted by Ministers for the frustration of the expedition fitting out against the government of Portugal, assuming that government had actually taken proceedings thereon, which proceedings could alone have been founded upon what was called the Foreign Enlistment Act. That was a measure which he had ever strenuously opposed, and he retained fully his abhorrence of it; but as long as it remained the law, it must be duly submitted to in common with every part of the. law of the country; but that consideration would not lead him to agree with his right hon. friend, that the act was so liberal as that it could be stretched to the length of justifying the Government in adopting proceedings of its own mere motion against persons when no private prosecution—when no Foreign Minister had ever applied to it to enforce the law. There was no special obligation on the Minister to enforce that law more than any other statute—the obligation, if any, rather lay on the other side, as respected a statute of its vile and odious character. It was one of those laws which had never been acted on except at the instance of a foreign government or a private prosecution. The duty of a spontaneous enforcement of such a law was a doctrine perfectly new to him; and if any administration were to act upon it, such a proceeding could not fail to bring down upon it a load of odium and of obloquy; but yet upon doctrines and assumptions such as these—upon a vague rumour—a motion, such as that which the House had just heard, was to be founded. The whole case made out consisted solely of assertions—nothing like proof—not even a pledge to produce proofs. His right hon. friend had said, reports were notoriously spread abroad as to the fact of men being enlisted for the expedition of Don Pedro; 127 and something, showing the law had been broken, had been witnessed from the windows of the Foreign Ministers. It was on a statement like this that his right hon. friend wished the Motion to be acceded to, it was on such a statement that he brought forward a grave charge against the British Government. His right hon. friend had not given any pledge to the House on the subject as to the facts, but had merely alleged them on general and vague rumours. He seemed to be so conscious of the weakness of his case that, with a faintness of voice and a brevity of expression, he hurried over it as quickly as possible—feeling that the ice was giving way under his steps. This showed great ingenuity and ability on the part of his right hon. friend; but how did it act upon the House of Commons? With respect to Don Miguel, he (Sir James Mackintosh) would concede, that he possessed all the rights which a belligerent in the possession of a country under such circumstances could possess. And, as respected the treaties which existed between this country and Portugal, he was willing to admit that this country was bound to observe them. But could any man suppose that we were bound to support Portugal through any unjust war in which she might engage? No; on the contrary, the concurrent testimony of all jurists established the principle, that faith and justice were indissolubly bound together. Were it otherwise, it would be a league between robbers, and not a defensive treaty between nations. As to the course which France adopted, he confessed it did appear to him that she could not have acted otherwise. A French subject—let his crime be what it might—was treated in a manner unheard-of in civilized countries—he was whipped round the streets, and then banished to Angola, sentenced to ten years' confinement, and no doubt to hard labour. Was there any one acquainted with the climate of that place, who would hesitate to acknowledge the fearful combination of barbarities conveyed in that sentence? They were not contented with the ordinary punishment, but proceeded to inflict on the prisoner the severest in their power. Sending a man to a pestilential place of imprisonment was certainly a punishment of the severest kind. The other case was that of a poor old man, who was imprisoned, he knew not for what offence, but chiefly, he believed, because the old man 128 was a Frenchman; for the crime of being either an Englishman or a Frenchman was apparently the most heinous that could be committed against the present government of Portugal. Souvinet, the man he referred to, was removed from an ordinary dungeon to a damp dungeon, that if he might not actually be put to death in the ordinary sense of the word, he might be compelled to suffer death in a very lingering form. Applications were made by the French government to the Portuguese government on the subject of these two persons. The papers that passed on this subject would show, on the part of the Portuguese government, a series of contrivances, evasions, and artful delays, to all the applications made on the part of the French. A dispatch on the 17th of June proved that the French Consul, on making an application on this subject, was insultingly told, that being only the Consul, and not a diplomatic Minister, they could not listen to him, and he was put off till the appearance of the French ships of war in the Tagus. Was that the conduct which was manifested towards France alone? No; it was precisely the same conduct that was observed with respect to England. Was any delay spared, or was there any hope held out that the complaints made would meet with attention, if they were forwarded by a less decisive negociator than the commander of a squadron of ships of war. None whatever. The government of Portugal was, as regarded its dignity or power, a caricature of the other despotisms of Europe, while, as regarded its offensiveness, it was by no means the most contemptible. An allusion had been made to the speech of Mr. Canning, that speech in which he forfeited the support of many persons who held certain opinions, but in which he declared that he had a remedy in his power, with which he could check the proudest despot in Europe. He believed that the right hon. Gentleman had spoken truly, and that the object of those who wished to preserve peace was to guard against that political fanaticism which, not measuring the changes of the times, might be likely, by its folly, to endanger the peace in the attempt to wound the liberties of Europe. The right hon. Gentleman acted as became him, and he preserved the peace of Europe. Let those who, with the same remedy in their power, acted with the same desire to save Europe from 129 a war, have their conduct considered worthy of some commendation. They had heard that Don Pedro could now no longer interest the friends of liberty, because he did not promise to the Portuguese a restoration of the constitution he had formerly given them. If that were true, all that they had heard of the manufacture of constitutions by Don Pedro went for nothing, and there was no ground for alleging that support was given to Don Pedro because he went with revolutionary purpose to overthrow the old institutions of the country. He now came to the consideration, whether the war against Portugal was such as to call for our interference against France. Could any man be found who would say it was such a war? His right hon. friend, indeed, seemed to take it for granted that it was almost such a war, at least he appeared to imagine that it was a war begun without necessity, and with little show of justice. His right hon. friend supposed, that no inquiry had been made. How could such an opinion be held in the face of the despatches of our own agents in Portugal? The despatch to which he had already alluded, frankly stated, that the circumstances had been made known to this Government, and it stated, at the same time, the advice and opinion of the Government. That opinion was, that France had a reasonable ground of complaint; and if the Government believed that to be the fact, they were bound to inform the Portuguese government of their opinion. But then it was said there had been no great moderation in the conduct of France, and that we ought to have mediated. What was mediation, and when was it to be employed? We who had suffered the same evils as those of which France had complained—we, too, who had obtained reparation by the terrors of our ships of war in the Tagus—were we to mediate because a power that had suffered like us, had had recourse to the same means to obtain reparation? Was that a case in which men were to talk of mediation? What mediation could we offer further than that of giving our sincere advice?—and that advice we had given—and it was, that Portugal should grant reparation for the wrongs complained of. England was not in the face of all possible facts to suppose that France was the aggressor, when all had been compelled to admit that there were grounds of complaint—that applica- 130 tion for redress had been made, and that that application had been refused. When he said refused, he did not mean refused to the French Consul, only but all reparation refused to every one—refused even at the eleventh hour. What was the answer, even at that hour, which was returned to the French squadron? It was this—"We have referred all these matters to our Allies." They did not tell who those Allies were—what they had communicated to their Allies—and what answer, if any, those Allies had made. Under such circumstances, whoever, by the refusal of a just reparation, occasioned a war, was the party responsible for all the evils of that war? Was it not trifling with this question to talk of mediation? He thought it was, and, therefore, without encroaching further on the time of the House, he should content himself with declaring his opposition to the Motion.
§ Lord Eliot
could not help thinking that the Foreign Enlistment Bill, which the right hon. and learned Gentleman had introduced to their notice, had little to do with the question before the House, and all, therefore, that he should say upon it was, that as that Act was part of the law of the land, he was happy to hear the right hon. Gentleman say it ought to be obeyed. As he had heard the circumstances connected with the sailing of the expedition, they were these:—The Government had received notice of that expedition, but refused to take any steps, on the ground that the information was not properly authenticated. The persons who had given the information then applied to the Board of Customs, but it was in vain, for the Government interfered, and issued a sort of supersedeas which released the vessels detained. The object of this motion was not to pass a vote of censure on the Ministers, but to call for information on a point which had not yet been sufficiently explained. With respect to the cases of the two Frenchmen, about whom the right hon. and learned Gentleman had said so much, he must express his opinion, that, as to the first, a more gross, indecent, and blasphemous act than that person had been guilty of, he hardly knew, and in a country where religion had degenerated into superstition, it was not a matter of wonder that the severity of the sentence should be considerable. The man had been convicted of the offence before the regular tribunals, upon the testimony of fifteen 131 witnesses. It was not, therefore, a question whether the sentence was severe or not, but whether it had been pronounced according to the law of the country. What did the French demand? Why, that the Judges who had pronounced the sentence should be superseded. It seemed to him a most gross infraction of national rights to demand that seven Judges should be superseded. It was only to be justified on the principal sic voleo sic juboe. They demanded so many thousand frances for one case, and so many thousand for another; to all which Portugal said all that she could—that she was ready to refer the matter to her Allies. The Consul to whom the right hon. and learned Gentleman had referred, was not a person in the habit of treating with governments—he was nothing more than a commercial agent, and the consent of the Portuguese government to enter into communication with him was merely a matter of courtesy. The objection of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, as to the conduct of the Portuguese government, with reference to their treatment of the French consul, was, therefore, without foundation. He should not say much of the second case, that of M. Souvinet, because he was not well acquainted with the circumstances. He believed that M. Cassin had claimed that individual as a Frenchman, on the ground that he had been naturalized during the Constitutional Government in Portugal, and, therefore, that his naturalization was void. That, however, was not a sufficient reason; for private acts performed by the liberal Government had not been rendered void. He must say, that he thought the noble Lord and Mr. Hoppner (the Consul) had behaved more harshly than was necessary towards Don Miguel; but as their object had been to vindicate the honour of the British flag, an English House of Commons was not the place where a Minister was likely to be called to a severe account for having stretched a point on such a matter. There was, however, a manifest difference between the case of England and that of France. The flag of France had not been insulted—and whatever complaints France had to make on account of the treatment of those whom she claimed as her citizens, Don Miguel was ready to refer the matter to his allies, and abide by their decision. The right hon. and learned Gentleman well knew that the attempt to repel an invasion did not constitute an infraction 132 of the peace on the part of the invaded country. There was a de facto war on the part of France, but it had not been preceded by these formal acts, by which such measures were legalized according to the custom of nations. The French admiral, after he had seized the Portuguese fleet, expressed his readiness to treat in the same terms as before; he entered the river, but notwithstanding that declaration the two sets of conditions offered were very different in character. He came now to the question as to the relative rights of Don Pedro and Don Miguel. He had devoted some attention to the history of Portugal and he believed he was justified in asserting, that, by the declaration of the Cortes of Llamego in 1143, confirmed by a resolution of the Cortes in 1648, no foreign king could be king of Portugal. Don Pedro, therefore, having the Crown of Brazil, was not entitled to enjoy at the same time the Crown of Portugal, and not being so entitled, could have no right to confer on another that which he did not possess himself. However, with that question England had nothing to do. The Portuguese, alone were the proper judges of the sovereign whom they would have to reign over them. Now, with respect to the policy of not recognising Don Miguel, he had only to say, that Don Miguel had been recognised by two Powers, exactly the reverse of each other in more respects than one—he meant by the Pope and the United States. He had often heard in that House the example of the United States held up as worthy of our imitation—he did not know but that it was so in the present instance. By their recognition of Don Miguel, they had obtained in their favour a relaxation of the Commercial Code of Portugal. At a time when our manufactures were languishing for want of a market, it seemed to him very impolitic that we should close the doors of communication against a nation that would otherwise consume a large portion of our manufactures. He thought his right hon. friend had made out a case for explanation, and he should therefore give the Motion his support.
Sir J. Mackintosh,
in explanation, said that Souvinet had been naturalized by the Cortes; but the validity of their acts had been denied by Don Miguel, and the validity of similar instances of naturalization had been given up by the British Consul himself.
said, with respect to the declaration of the Cortes of Llamego, to which the noble Lord had referred, that declaration was particularly directed against foreigners possessing the throne of Portugal. In no sense of the word, however, could Don Pedro be called a foreigner, and, therefore, that declaration could under no circumstances, be understood to apply to him. But the claims of Don Pedro were still stronger than the noble Lord seemed to suppose. John 6th had declared him to be invested with authority over the Brazils in his name and, as his representative; and, at the same time, John 6th had declared Don Pedro his heir and successor to the throne of Portugal. At the decease of John 6th he accordingly succeeded to all his father's authority, and a deputation of the first noblemen of Portugal crossed the sea to Brazil to present him with the homage of his Portuguese subjects. With respect to the Declaration of 1648, it was made when the Portuguese had established their independence, and when they were desirous of adopting every method of preserving that independence. With that view, they declared, that if the king should marry a foreigner, that act would incapacitate him from reigning, but if this law were to be insisted upon, what would become of the rights of Don Miguel, as well as those of Don Pedro? The mother of both was the sister of Ferdinand of Spain, and according to that law their father forfeited his title by his marriage. He had not expected to hear the recognition of Don Miguel recommended on account of the commercial advantages we should obtain. He was ready to admit that every care, consistent with the honour of the nation ought to be taken to extend the consumption of our manufactures by foreign countries; but were we to violate all the principles on which we had hitherto acted, and, for the sake of some doubtful commercial advantages, to recognize such a creature as Don Miguel? He thought not; but even if he were wrong in that opinion, it was doubtful whether, in a mere selfish point of view, there would be any advantage in it. The advantages that commerce bestowed could only be looked for from a free government, and our interest, therefore, must urge us to wish for the establishment of such a Government, for experience had taught, us, that when groaning under such a despotism as now oppressed her, Portugal could be but a 134 very inconsiderable consumer of our manufactures. The right hon. Gentleman who had brought forward this Motion had made a most curious distinction between France and England. He had said, that France was not entitled to reparation like England, because she was not connected by treaties with Portugal, as England was. Now, it seemed to him that this distinction could not be supported, for France though not connected with Portugal by treaties, was as much entitled as any other Power to reparation for a breach of national law. He thought France had great reason to complain, for, in the case of the Frenchman who had been so severely treated, though he would admit he had been guilty of a brutal sacrilege, yet he was confined longer than was justified by law, and was whipped through the public streets. This, however, was not sufficient, but, as if for the purpose of giving a marked insult to France, when her fleet was about to sail, a second whipping was inflicted—as much as to say, if you will have him, you shall have him well flayed, at all events. It was said, that there was no proof of this. How could that be asserted in the teeth of the despatches sent by our own Consul, Mr. Matthews, and by Mr. Mackenzie, neither of whom were very likely to invent accusations against Don Miguel, or even to give those already made an unfavourable colour? When Portugal was threatened with foreign invasion, British soldiers were sent thither by Mr. Canning to guard it from that invasion; but he regretted to say, that the measures of that right hon. Gentleman had been made the means of destroying the Constitution they were intended to preserve. What had been the conduct of Don Miguel? He had taken the oath of allegiance to Donna Maria 2nd, to whom he swore to deliver up the kingdom when she came of age; and he had likewise sworn to maintain the Constitution. These were the oaths of that prejured traitor. The British soldiers, who had been sent out to preserve the. Constitution from foreign invasion, had been, he was sure, much to the disappointment, of those gallant bands, the means of establishing the tyranny of Don Miguel; for they had received orders to resist any attempt against the person of Don Miguel, and in that way they had acted as his protectors when he was engaged in establishing his hateful tyranny. He called on the. House not to concur with this motion 135 —the object of which was, to cast a slur upon the foreign policy of this country—a slur which the Ministry did not deserve, especially as to the supposed harshness towards Portugal. If reports were to be believed a Spanish army was now advancing towards the frontiers, and would probably be stationed upon them when Don Pedro arrived in Portugal. And if this was the case, what would be more likely to encourage the Spanish government in further attempts upon Portugal than knowing that we had abetted the party of Don Miguel. We were bound by treaty to defend that country from foreign aggression, but as long as the contest was domestic, we had no right to interfere, or assist one party to drive out foreign troops introduced by the other; but if we took the part of Don Miguel, his elder brother would clearly have reason to complain of us. He might properly call on us to assist him to clear the country of Spanish troops. He could only say, that he felt the most sincere wishes that the cause of liberal institutions might succeed, and that the tyrant might be hurled from his blood-stained throne.
§ Lord Morpeth:
I must say, Sir, that my noble friend, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, is the last man whom I should have expected to be attacked on this subject; and, above all, that the attack should be made by a member of the late Government. I am the more surprised at this attack, as it seems to me that the foreign policy of this country with respect to Portugal has been energetic, successful, and complete. It is the more surprising, too, that this charge should have been made by a member of the late Government, who has shown, on a recent occasion, that he at least among his late colleagues is open to considerations of candour and consistency. I have looked through the papers on this subject, and I must say, that I could not help observing the most marked difference in the conduct of the two successive Governments. The conduct of the one has displayed vigour and promptitude, while that of the other has exhibited only dilatoriness and vacillation. The resolutions of the one have been taken, and their demands enforced with consistency and perseverance; while the other, though they have assumed a high tone in the first instance, have lowered it afterwards, and it has become more and more attenuated, till their demands have been finally put off by the most 136 shuffling evasions. I do not speak this without book—there are strong points of contrast between the two Governments. The right hon. Gentleman has thought proper to open the transactions for the last four years, and he must, therefore, take the consequences of his venture. I am now going to call the attention of the House to the case of Marcos Ascoli, which is, perhaps, the most remarkable in which the late Government was engaged with Portugal. On the imprisonment of this gentleman being notified to Lord Aberdeen, he wrote to Mr. Matthews to say, "I am to instruct you, therefore, upon the receipt of this despatch, to request an audience of Viscount de Santarem, at which, should Marcos Ascoli be still in confinement, you will demand his immediate liberation, as well as full compensation for the wrongs which he has endured;" and further on the noble Earl continues, "Should your representations remain for thirty days not complied with, you will then report to me, for the information of his Majesty's Government." On the 17th of November this demand on the part of the British Government was announced by Mr. Matthews to the Viscount de Santarem, and, consequently, upon the 18th of December, the thirty days appointed by Lord Aberdeen expired, to which, however, the noble Lord afterwards added three more, after having stated that "nothing can justify the cruel treatment which this person has received." But notwithstanding the representations made to the Portuguese government, I find Mr. Matthews writing word, on the 1st January, 1829, "It becomes incumbent on me to acquaint your Lordship that Marcos Ascoli remains in gaol at this hour." And on the 17th of the same month there is a letter from Mr. Matthews, stating, "I beg leave to enclose a copy of the sentence passed upon Marcos Ascoli on his appeal, confirming the former sentence of banishment, and condemning him to the additional costs." So that, after Ascoli had suffered four months' imprisonment, he finds himself in the situation of a ruined man, the whole of his commercial business paralyzed, and himself compelled to quit the country. This, then, is one of the specimens of Lord Aberdeen's interference for the protection of the British subject, and for the honour of England. But this is not the only case. Another striking one is, that of the British Vice-Consul of 137 Tavira, who, after being confined for eight months, without any charge whatever being brought against him, was at length liberated, though without any compensation whatever for the injustice practised towards him. In consequence of this treatment, Mr. Matthews felt himself bound to endeavour to instigate the British Government to take steps to prevent such injustice in future. So counselled Mr. Matthews; but not so acted the Earl of Aberdeen. And what was the consequence of this inactivity? The continuance of the same system, exemplified in the arrests of Mr. Noble, Mr. Fragoas, and Mrs. Story—the subsequent doubling of the duty on British merchandize—the seizure of British vessels at Terceira—the levy of fresh imposts on British subjects—the allowing the Ninus to rot in the Tagus, after it was determined that there was no pretence for capturing her—the plundering of the St. Helena by the Diana, and the gross insult her captain and crew were compelled to submit to. But now let us look at what has been doing since the present Government came into office. Mr. Hoppner, who, luckily for the interests of the country, succeeded Mr. Mackenzie, commenced his duties early in last year, and in March last he took occasion to state to my noble friend (Lord Palmerston) his conviction that nothing but coercive measures would produce any effect on the Portuguese government. But as I took an instance with respect to the former Government, I will do the same in this case. The details of the outrage committed on the house of Mr. Roberts were received by my noble friend on the 9th of April; and on the 15th, not adopting the example of the noble Earl's thirty and three days, my noble friend wrote thus to Mr. Hoppner: "You will clearly explain to M. de Santarem, that these demands admit of no modification or negotiation, and you will require a categorical answer, affirmative or negative, in ten days; and you will inform M. de Santarem what are the reprisals which the naval commander of his Majesty's ships off the Tagus, and off Oporto, is ordered to make in the event of a refusal, or should no answer be given within the above-mentioned time." And what was the result of this peremptory demand? That the propositions made to the Portuguese government were acceded to, and that, in a few days, the thanks of the British residents in Lisbon were re- 138 ceived for the paternal protection which had been extended towards them. In short, the whole tenor of the two courses of proceedings adopted by the two different Governments of this country are not inaptly marked by those two great measures to which resort was had on either side. The present Government sent out the ships of the King at the call of his oppressed subjects, to secure their rights under the batteries of Lisbon; while the other Government only used the marine of England in one offensive operation—and that was in the waters of Terceira. Sir, I cannot revert to the part that this country took on that occasion, without feelings of the deepest regret. I cannot remember the way in which we put ourselves forward to check the honest ebullitions of Portuguese patriotism, without sensations of sorrow and concern; and ever must I lament that this country has, by that event, shown herself to Europe in the situation of one making an attack on the subjects of a queen—a minor, and our guest, in a place where they had a right to consider themselves perfectly safe. I believe that occurrence would not have been tolerated in the Ministry, if the House of Commons had not felt grateful to them for the Emancipation of the Catholics. I have not been able to gather from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Courtenay) what are his wishes, or in what course he desires to see the ships of Don Miguel sailing. But there is one point in which I fully agree with him—that is, a strict neutrality on our part. Hopes we cannot help having—hopes we must have; but it has already been rightly said, the quarrel is for the Portuguese, and for them alone. But when we are told that Don Miguel is popular with that nation—when it is said, that he is their choice and their favourite, I cannot help doubting i, and looking at such a statement as an enormous paradox, and a libel on the whole Portuguese people. But, at all events, let this be as it may, I trust that while the contest is yet pending, care will be taken that we shall not throw the weight of our favour into his scale, and that if he is to succeed, that success will be obtained by no other means than through the boasted sympathy of his fellow-countrymen. I feel, too, no little gratification that, on this occasion, the walls of the English House of Commons have not been profaned by any eulogium being pro- 139 nounced upon his character. I am glad that we have not been told, that a man who, on a fair computation, has consigned 80,000 of his subjects to exile, to proscription, to the scaffold, to loathsome dungeons, and to pestilential climates—that he, who is the shameful usurper of his niece's throne, and the foul deserter of a brother's blood—that he, on whom the ties of kindred and the sacred obligations of oaths are as nothing—that he, over whom the proceedings of civilized nations, nay, the very decencies of civilised life have no influence or tenure—I say, Sir, I am glad that such a man as this has not this evening, at least, found individuals ready to defend him, on the score that he is an admirer of rustic games—a lover of country sports—a sort of harmless, inoffensive specimen of the every-day country gentleman. But what seems most to be grudged by certain hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House is, that after our own honour has been vindicated, and after we have afforded to our subjects safety for their persons and their property, we have also suffered France to pursue the same course; that we have allowed the subjects of the Citizen King to procure that protection from the insults of the absolute and holy Miguel, which we have afforded to the English residents in that country. Sir, I think that in that we have done wisely. I think that the conduct pursued by the French government was borne out by the provocation received. What was that provocation? The Consul of the French was retained, and communications were entered into with him, until he became troublesome in his demands, and then he was dismissed. In consequence of what had taken place, application was made for redress. That redress was denied; and then the French government resorted to force to compel it. I must admit that I am of opinion that the French government went to the utmost point of the law of nations, but not beyond it. England, however, has no right to complain; for towards us France distinctly stated her wish of acting in concert and with deference; and this very fact, which has excited so much distrust and sarcasm in a certain party in this House, I hail as a fortunate and happy omen for the best interests of civilization, of liberty, and (above and beyond all) of the peace of Europe. Turning from this general view of the subject, to a more particular regard of what 140 has been done by the present Government, I assert, that my noble friend's conduct has shown his determination not to suffer wrong done to British subjects to go unredressed, or the honour of the British name to be tarnished; and, from this example, I do not doubt that, in his general policy, he will exhibit that absence of petty distrust which will go further than any system we have seen practised of late, to secure the full and undisturbed development of our commercial resources, and to uphold and preserve the universal concord of the world.
§ Mr. Cressett Pelham
begged leave to tell the noble Lord, that if the principles he had promulgated were to be carried to any length, they would be in direct violation of all the laws of nations. The right hon. and learned Gentleman (Sir James Mackintosh) had spoken on the subject of the enlistment in behalf of Don Pedro as if it were only matter of rumour; if it were so, he should be one of the first to advise the right hon. Gentleman who had brought forward this Motion, to withdraw it. But the fact of the enlistment was perfectly notorious. At all events, that was the real point before the House, and it seemed to have been nearly lost sight of in the course of the debate. The question was, not whether they were to run into invective against the individual who had been ruling Portugal for several years, neither were they called on to decide as to the claims of Don Pedro or Don Miguel; but the simple question for them was, whether they were not bound to uphold the laws. The statute-book declared that foreign enlistment was not to take place; and the charge against the present Ministry was, that they had shown too great a tendency to support one party against the other, and had therefore connived at the evasion of the law. He was of opinion that charge had been made good.
§ Mr. Wrangham
observed, that the noble Lord, in his speech, travelled, not a little, out of the natural topics of the debate, and contrived, most completely, to turn that which was a motion for inquiry into the conduct of the present Government into an attack upon the last. With that Government he never had the honour of being, in any way, politically connected; but having held a confidential situation, which enabled him, pretty accurately, to judge of the motives of the noble Earl who then held the situation of foreign Se- 141 eretary, he trusted that the House would allow him to say a few words on that subject. He was sure that he should not fulfil that noble Earl's wish, were he to enter into any panegyric on his conduct; but when he heard that noble Earl so vehemently and openly attacked by the noble Lord, and when a particular case had been pointed out for the purpose of building on it a sneer at the noble Earl's negligence and dilatoriness, he could not be altogether silent, more especially when he actually held in his hand a copy of the papers which had been laid before Parliament, and which most completely exculpated the noble Earl from the charge of indifference towards individuals, or of being deaf to the honour of the country. In the first place, he begged to say, that he was not the apologist of the actions of Don Miguel, or of his principles. He disavowed that altogether, though he might remark that it was not his intention to rival the noble Lord in that cheap valour which attacked where there was no resistance to be apprehended; on the contrary, he had always been of opinion, that the conduct of foreign potentates was not matter of discussion for the British House of Commons. If they set themselves up as censors of royal frailties, or of royal crimes, they would but ill discharge their duties towards the country they represented. The principal case on which the noble Lord had founded his attack on the noble Earl, was that of Marcos Ascoli; but the noble Lord had by no means given a statement of the whole of that case. The noble Lord made prominent some parts, and altogether shrouded others from view, so as to make the matter suit his own taste for the picturesque. In the first place, the noble Lord quite forgot to tell the House that, on the 1st of October, a letter was written by Lord Dunglas to Mr. Matthews, telling him, that if, on receipt of it, Ascoli was already liberated from prison, he was to require, in the name of the Government, ample compensation, and to inform M. de Santarem that the Government would not permit a British subject to be injured with impunity; and that, in the event of that compensation not being rendered, orders would be given to exact it by force. Finding, however, that this remonstrance did not produce the desired effect, it was followed, on the 5th of November, by a despatch, signed by Lord Aberdeen himself—a despatch which 142 the noble Lord had most unjustly garbled, by giving only the half of a sentence to the House, and leaving out the other half, which, by some singular coincidence, was exactly the method in which the case had been published to the world in the pages of one of the public reviews of this country. He, however, must take leave to conclude that sentence which the noble Lord only began. The passage in the document really ran thus:—Should your representations remain for thirty days not complied with, you will then report to me, for the information of his Majesty's Government; and you will, at the same time, communicate to the British merchants and others, his Majesty's subjects at Lisbon, that you have done so, in order that they may be prepared for those measures to which his Majesty will be compelled forthwith to have recourse, for the purpose of obtaining that reparation which he will have vainly expected from the Portuguese government.The noble Lord thought proper to stop at the words "Majesty's Government," though he trusted the House would mark the continuation of the paragraph, in spite of the attempt of the noble Lord and the reviewers to suppress it—a union of intention at which he was somewhat surprised, for though he could well understand it might suit the reviewers to purchase a sneer at that price, he hardly thought the noble Lord would insinuate that Lord Aberdeen had intimated no intention of ulterior measures. But this was not the only paragraph that justified the conduct of that noble Earl; for again, on the 15th of November, his Lordship wrote to Mr. Matthews:—In order to remove any doubts which you may entertain respecting the precise object of his Majesty's Government, I have now to instruct you to inform M. de Santarem, that they require that the mark of displeasure with which the intendant of Police shall be visited by the government of Portugal for his unwarrantable conduct on the occasion in question, shall be conveyed to that officer in so public a manner, as unequivocably to manifest the sentiments of the government.After this remonstrance, redress, he admitted, was given, though there was considerable delay. He was, however, sure that the present noble Secretary for Foreign Affairs would not from that delay conclude that insufficient exertions were made to obtain it. Shortly before redress was granted, a strong mode of compelling it was on the point of being had recourse to; but the redress being given, compul- 143 sion was, of course, unnecessary, which the House would surely not regret. With respect to the conduct of France to Portugal, that, according to the terms of the Motion, they were not called upon to discuss. It had been observed by an hon. Member, that Don Miguel had made use of the expression with respect to M. Bonhomme, "that if the French got him, they should not have him till his back was well flayed." That phrase was set in one of the despatches, but he doubted whether it was wise to lay such a sentence on the Table of the House, placing among serious documents, a statement that was only the gossip of the moment. He begged to ask, in conclusion, how it happened that the naval officer in command of the ex-emperor's expedition, called Admiral Sartorius, still held a commission in his Majesty's service, and that having acquired professional experience in the Tagus, under the British flag, he was now allowed to use that knowledge for the expulsion of the present ruler of Portugal?
Mr. Galley Knight
greatly respected the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down for the feelings by which he was actuated; but the hon. Member had totally failed to establish his case. If any man examined the correspondence to which allusion had been made, he must come to the opinion that the insults and injuries which we had experienced at the hands of the Portuguese government demanded an earlier and more rigorous interference. In that correspondence he would see an uninterrupted series of outrages on the one side, and complaints on the other—outrages which at length induced the late Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to use language which became a British Minister;—but what did that language produce? Why, the Portuguese government laughed at words which, it was convinced would not be followed by anything more energetic; and the wrongs of preceding years were only redressed in 1831. When the amount of the injuries that correspondence contained was considered—when the number of British subjects unjustly detained in loathsome and unhealthy dungeons—banished from the country— —struck by stipendiary ruffians—when it was recollected that British officers were beaten to the earth without any provocation—British residents tried for imaginary opinions, and condemned by a mockery of justice—that our vessels were seized at 144 sea, and condemned as good prizes at Lisbon—that fresh duties were imposed on our goods, in contempt of the faith of treaties—that the merchants of the British factory domiciliated in that friendly land, protected by so many privileges, were in danger of ruin, and in apprehension of their lives—it must be conceded, that redress had been too long delayed, and injury too long suffered. What was become of our peculiar advantages? where was the British Judge Conservator? where was the kindness of our ancient ally? and where were the thunders of England? Was our trident shrunk into a pen, and was the hand that once wielded it now only able to write? And, during the time all this was going on, were we not prostrating ourselves before the usurper, who had broken his faith with our King; acquiescing in all his idle blockade, sending our ships, sending British officers to do his work, and vainly requesting him to accept our recognition as the price of an amnesty for a few of his own most distinguished subjects. This might possibly all proceed from a respect for well-regulated governments, and the claims of an ancient ally, but it left the wrongs of Englishmen uncompensated, and excited something more than the surprise of Europe. This was the character of the first half of the correspondence; and now for the other half. Here feebleness was turned into strength—here England was herself again: the first, series exhibited wrongs inflicted; the second exhibited wrongs redressed; the first indited a few high-sounding words, the second anchored our frigates in the port of Lisbon; the first contained the grievances of British merchants, the second contained their vote of thanks for effectual interference in their behalf. It was painful, undoubtedly, to be compelled to resort to such extremities with a government with which we were at peace, but the case absolutely demanded them, and they did honour the Minister who enforced them. It was imputed to Ministers as a fault, that when similar insults offered to France provoked a severe retaliation on her part, we did not take up Don Miguel's quarrel, and rush into a war with France to save the Portuguese government from a chastisement which it had brought upon itself. It was absurd to liken this merited chastisement to the attempt of a foreign power to invade and subjugate the territory of an ancient ally. The quarrel was with 145 Don Miguel alone. No harm was meant, or offered, to the Portuguese nation—except such a share of the penalty as any country must expect that endured a Don Miguel for its ruler. The correspondence on the Table was a proof that Ministers did all that good faith required to prevent the Portuguese nation from suffering by the punishment inflicted on the government. To have gone to war with France, for the sake of Don Miguel and Serjeant Verissimo, would have been madness; but it was worthy the character of England, and due to our relations with Portugal, to make France aware that we should not permit a foreigner to take a further advantage of opportunity than the reparation of injuries required. It had afforded him great satisfaction to find, that not a man in that House seemed to desire that England should in any way interfere in the pending family quarrel—it was a case which confessedly did not come within the scope of our obligations, and for the welfare of Portugal we had nothing to fear; Don Miguel alone was in danger—Portugal was in hope. Who were the men that were terrified? bigots who blasphemed their Saviour by preaching up murder in his name—the champions of ignorance—the tools of tyranny—the advocates of mental prostration; these were the men who trembled, and, if these were alarmed, was it necessary for us to fear for the welfare of Portugal? His hope was, that we should not interfere. By interference we had done Portugal harm enough already—it had given rise to conclusions and expectations which were not fulfilled. Patriotic men declared themselves only to become the victims of tyranny, and the name of England had been mingled with that of Don Miguel in the complaints of the captive, and in the last thoughts of those who had expiated their love for their country on the scaffold. Our ships escorted him—our troops received him—from us did Portugal accept that cargo of treachery and cruelty—that standard which before had only been unfurled in glory both by sea and by land—that standard floated over the head of a perfidious usurper, and assisted the triumph of a tyrant. We had surely done enough!
§ Sir John Milley Doyle:
I should very much like to put a question to hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House—it is this. Do they wish to be informed of the real state pf Portugal, or do they not? I 146 am sure that the right hon. Gentleman, at all events, if I may judge from his Motion, must be particularly anxious to get at something like real information; and I will, therefore, take the liberty of proposing a method to him, by which he will be able to come at the truth. An hon. Member has endeavoured to convince the House, that, during the late Government, the most energetic language was used, and the most categorical answers demanded. Now, as there is nothing like a practical illustration in these cases, I will just give the House an instance, which, I have no doubt, will be quite to the taste of the hon. Gentleman. A foreign captain (there being at that time no person to represent this country in Portugal) was intrusted with a categorical question, to which he was to demand a categorical answer in twenty-four hours. The Usurper, however, asked for another twenty-four hours; to which the captain consented, stating, that if, by that time, the answer was not given, no further time could be allowed; and that as the Don was so highly religious a character, he might expect to have cannon law carried into full effect against him. However, at length the answer came. And what was it? A plump refusal to the demand of England. The little petty tyrant of Portugal coolly sending word that he would not comply with the just request of Great Britain. Then, of course, after this the House would expect that promptitude was the order of the day. No such thing; for all that the captain was required to do was, to travel back to England, and tell his story to the noble Earl, who, according to the testimony of some hon. Gentlemen, was so vigorously resolute in his determination. And now let me say a word on the case of Marcos Ascoli. That Gentleman went out of Lisbon with a regular passport, and acted in all respects in obedience to the laws of Portugal; and yet, notwithstanding such was his conduct, he was taken out of the vessel in which he had embarked, and placed in confinement; not such confinement as a man would undergo in a common gaol in this country, but in a solitary dungeon, forty or fifty feet under ground, and with nothing to comfort him but the rats and the mice; he was not even allowed to consult with his professional advisers, nor to have any of the consolations of his holy religion. Thus, then, it was, that England was insulted, and 147 that for thirty three days this individual was exposed to the rigours and misery of a solitary dungeon; and even after that was put an end to, he was still imprisoned for a further period of three or four months; after which he came to England. But then it was urged, on the other hand, that the Government of this country insisted on ample redress. Oh, no doubt! And what was that redress in return for all the sufferings he had undergone, and for his being so far ruined as to be obliged, when in London, to seek assistance from his friends (of which I was one, though God knows that I had not much to give him, for I had been robbed under the same nefarious system)? What, for all this, was the redress that he received from the mighty Don Miguel? Would the House of Commons believe it?—Fifty-six pounds! which plainly showed that an Englishman was valued very highly by his native government, when so much as 56l. were obtained as the price of his redress for the abominable treatment he had suffered. Now, I have heard it said, that those who support Don Miguel are the great friends of England. But this I deny in toto, for they are the decided enemies of every thing British and liberal; while, on the contrary, all those who were ranged against the Usurper are the staunch and true supporters of Great Britain; and I am bound to say, that if Don Pedro were established in Portugal, every thing would be done that England desired; and I can assert this the more confidently, because I have heard it from the mouth of Don Pedro himself. I know that it has been said, that if the Duke of Braganza were to succeed, he would abolish the charter in Portugal. But I presume that those Gentlemen who argue thus, cannot have read the manifesto of that illustrious individual. I beg to say, that he there states what he goes as, and how he goes; and, therefore—however much it may be insisted that it is for himself, and not for his daughter, that he is acting—I say, that that point is altogether disposed of by his own sign manual, which is affixed to that manifesto. The consonance of opinion that has existed between France and England, with respect to Portugal, seems to have given amazing dissatisfaction to a certain party: but I think that the best way for liberal governments to be supported is, for them to support one another; and I hope that this matter may, before long, be made the sub- 148 ject of a manifesto on the part of France and England, which, had it been done in the case of Poland, as it ought, might have saved the noble Lord (Palmerston) from now having to wait for the ratification of the question between Belgium and Holland. If, however, hon. Members are so anxious to know the truth, I will suggest to them the propriety of appointing a Committee to investigate the subject, and I pledge myself to prove, that our system of interference was persevered in from January, 1825, up to the moment when Don Miguel ascended the throne. During that whole period, the ambassadors and agents from this country were continually at work superintending all departments of the government. They especially took charge of the treasury and police, and to such an extent was their interference carried, that they were even consulted as to who were the most proper persons to be elected as deputies. It was a curious fact, but no less true than curious, that at the same time that the late Ministers were sending remonstrances, and saying what they would do if these remonstrances were not attended to, and telling Don Miguel that he was a very bad boy, letters of a very contrary tendency were handed about in Lisbon from persons of high rank in this country. These letters were seen by an individual who was in the House, and who pronounced them to be the best executed forgeries he had ever seen. A right hon. Gentleman, stated in the Foreign Office, that if the noble individual in whose name those letters were written, had not asserted that they were forgeries, he should have believed them to be genuine. At the time when the fleet of Don Miguel was going to attack Madeira, the major general, addressing the officers, in hearing of an officer of this Government, and calling to them to take possession of the island for the prince whom they adored, assured them that the British Government were determined to support Don Miguel. I therefore hope, that, after this statement, the House will consent to an inquiry, in which case, I pledge myself to bring persons to substantiate upon oath the statements I have made.
deprecated the manner in which the hon. member for Sudbury (Mr. Wrangham) had mentioned the name of a British officer (Captain Sartorius) as connected with Don Pedro's expedition. He could not think that officer's conduct 149 was open to the animadversions which had been made on it.
§ Sir George Murray
had no recollections more gratifying than those associated with his humble services in Portugal; and if there was one that gratified him more peculiarly than another, it was when he called to mind the noble exertions of the Portuguese people, who had endeavoured, by their own unaided energies, to shake off the yoke of French oppression. For that noble people he entertained a high respect, for they had vindicated the independence of their soil even before they had been assisted by British arms—before they had the hope of succour, and while they were trampled on in the most cruel manner by the invader. He was a witness of the cordiality of the reception they had extended to their allies, which more closely resembled the greeting of brothers than of strangers; and he could also bear testimony to the alacrity with which they ranged themselves under the command of British officers, and under the control of that man, who was entitled to the highest reward that gratitude could offer, not only from Portugal, but from the whole of the Peninsula. It was impossible for him not to feel a warm interest in every question affecting the Portuguese, not merely on accoumt of the first burst of enthusiasm which he had witnessed, but for the disinterestedness with which they abandoned all the property they possessed, and retired, with the English troops within the lines of Lisbon, rather than yield submission to an insolent conqueror. When he reflected on these events, it was not without a sentiment of the deepest regret that he saw a line of policy pursued which tended to estrange us from Portugal. He could not, without experiencing the deepest regret, see the Portuguese people abandoned to the insults and oppression of French domination. It had been most mortifying to him to learn, that a hostile French fleet had entered the Tagus, and, notwithstanding what had been said with respect to the provocation, he was of opinion, that it had entered without any cause to warrant the aggression. The pretext for its appearance there was to avenge the wrongs of an individual who had insulted popular feeling, by a most disgusting and sacrilegious act. He was astonished when he recollected the levity with which his right hon. friend (Sir J. Mackintosh) had spoken of that 150 act; and he would ask his right hon. friend, what would be the feeling of the inhabitants of their common country, if such an outrage to a place of worship had been committed among them. They would not then have heard of the severity of the laws that punished the offender, but rather of their lenity, as compared to the terrible measure of justice that the populace would be impatient to administer with their own hands. He was not going to defend the character of Don Miguel, nor did he know any Gentleman in that House who would undertake his defence; nor was he going to discuss the character of Don Pedro; but he was surprised to hear the noble Lord, the member for Yorkshire, draw a contrast between Lord Aberdeen and his noble friend opposite (Lord Palmerston), who was, he granted, perfectly correct in proceeding as he had done, after Lord Aberdeen had cleared the way, but it should be remembered that the way had been cleared by first using those expostulations which became us in dealing with a friendly power. It would have been impossible for his noble friend to have proceeded at once to compel redress, had those expostulations not been previously addressed to the court of Lisbon. He should never wish this country to imitate the arrogance of the French. Would Gentlemen desire us to imitate the conduct of Louis 14th towards the Doge of Venice, who insisted upon his coming to Versailles, although he knew such a proceeding was contrary to the Constitution of the Republic of which he was the temporary chief. The course which Great Britain ought to pursue in all such cases was not a course of arrogance, but a course of moderation; and she ought not to talk of using force till the crisis for using it had actually arrived. From much of that night's debate, it might be supposed that the object of the discussion was to inquire into the character of Don Miguel, and into the laws and institutions of Portugal; but such was not the object of the discussion; it was for the production of papers connected with transactions which had occurred in England, and the discussion itself was commenced for the purpose of bringing under the notice of Parliament certain notorious violations of the Foreign Enlistment Act. How had his right hon. friend, on the opposite side of the House, answered the charge which his right hon. friend near him had brought against the 151 Government? By a long tirade against the Foreign Enlistment Bill. Now he (Sir George Murray) was not going to defend the policy of that bill: professionally speaking, he should rather wish for a free trade in arms. That, however, was not the question. The question was, had the provisions of that bill been violated, or had they not? It had been said by Gentlemen on the other side of the House, that we were bound to observe, and that we had observed, a strict neutrality. Now, if we had permitted the provisions of this law to be violated for the benefit of one of the parties now contending for the throne of Portugal, it was, in his humble opinion, a clear departure from a strict neutrality. He must, however, conclude by declaring, that the Motion of his right hon. friend had nothing to do with the topics introduced in the speech of his hon. and gallant friend near him (Sir J. M. Doyle), nor, indeed, with any of the other topics which had been introduced, irregularly enough, into this debate.
Sir James Mackintosh
begged to be allowed to assert, in answer to the remark made by his right hon. friend, that he had not spoken with levity of the offence attributed to the Frenchman, Bonhomme. On the contrary, he had stated, that if the charge was proved, the offence was of a most aggravated description.
Sir Robert Inglis
said, his right hon. friend, in his last address to the House, had stated, that he did not mean to palliate the offence of which Bonhomme was convicted. He would, however, state, with regard to that indecency, without entering at all into the nature of it, that he was found guilty of it, and punished according to the laws of the country. It surely could not be said, that there were no authorities to show what ought to be the conduct of that House when a foreign power applied to this country to interfere in her administration of justice. His right hon. friend would at once recollect, that he adverted to a case which occurred many years ago. He would ask his right hon. friend, when the Emperor Napoleon presumed to interfere in the administration of justice in this country, what were his views, and what were his wishes? What would be said if the American Consul were to apply to the Government of this country to stop the course of justice in respect to an American subject? With regard to Bonhomme, he had heard with the 152 greatest satisfaction, that such a punishment was inflicted upon so great a miscreant. His right hon. friend, who had characterized the laws of this country as the most bloody laws in Europe, ought to be the last man to attack the Government of a country for punishing what would be an indecency if committed in any place of public resort; but when perpetrated in a Church, was not only indecency, but sacrilege. If, therefore, we ourselves should not tolerate such an interference as that of the American or Prussian Consul applying to the noble Lord, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, to slop the course of justice against any subject of those States, how could we call upon this country to sympathise with this miscreant of French birth, because, subject as he was temporally to the laws of Portugal, he was punished by them? With regard to the observations which had been made relative to the punishment, it was not for that House to describe the colonies eight degrees south of the line as pestilential. Sierra Leone had been an object of some interest, and it was not fit to call it or Angola places to which no human being should be consigned. On the general subject he would call to the recollection of his right hon. friend, that, taking into consideration his high character, and the independence of the country from which he came, this House would receive with much more pleasure an attempt from him to advocate the cause of Torrijos, than it would receive an unintentional endeavour to palliate such a crime as that of Bonhomme.
§ Lord Ebrington
said, that although he had read all the papers which were published upon this subject, he yet had no expectation that a discussion like the present would have taken place to-night. He had, however, to thank his noble friend for the prudence, the firmness, and discretion which he had evinced in that branch of our foreign policy which related to Portugal. He had a very high respect for the honour and gallantry of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman (Sir George Murray), but, notwithstanding the statements which he had made, he must take the evidence deducible from the papers before the House in preference to them. The charge made against the Earl of Aberdeen was, not that he did not demand redress for injuries committed against British subjects, but that he did not 153 follow up his remonstrances by positive acts in proper season. He thought that the Earl of Aberdeen and the Government of which he was a member were chargeable with more than neglect, and the more so when the House must recollect the language used by the Earl of Aberdeen, in his place in Parliament, against the conduct of Don Miguel. He congratulated the country on the change which had taken place in the direction of our foreign policy, and he hoped an early opportunity would be afforded to the House, not merely of signifying their approbation of his noble friend's conduct as to Portugal, but likewise of putting his general conduct as to foreign policy to a more clear and decisive vote.
§ Viscount Palmerston
said, that if he had not presented himself at an earlier period of the debate to the notice of the House, it had been because he was desirous, and also because he felt it to be his duty, to hear all the objections which hon. Gentlemen might be inclined to urge against the policy which his Majesty's Government had pursued towards Portugal. Undoubtedly he could not but say, that it had been a great satisfaction to him to have so waited, because the manner in which the subject had been dealt with by Gentlemen on both sides of the House, left very little for him to say in reply to the motion of his right hon. friend. He should not accept the invitation of his right hon. friend to enter into a discussion of the circumstances which now, some four years ago, induced him to separate from the Government of the day. Those circumstances had been sufficiently explained at the time, and had, moreover, no bearing on the merits of the present Motion. His right hon. friend had given him credit for consistency of opinion, and had told the House very truly, that the question on which he had separated from the Government of that day, was a question of Reform. His right hon. friend had also complained that he had only been too consistent in the policy which he had since pursued towards the kingdom of Portugal. The first point to which his right hon. friend had drawn the attention of the House, was one on which he now felt that it was quite unnecessary for him to make any defence. It related to the conduct of his Majesty's Government, in enforcing the claims of British subjects to redress, 154 from the Government of Portugal. His right hon. friend had admitted that the Government of England was entitled to demand from the government of Portugal that satisfaction which, after numerous attempts at evasion, it had at length obtained in the course of May last; but had said, that we pressed too harshly on the government of Portugal when we insisted on the public and ignominious dismissal of the captain of the Diana, for the illegal detention of our vessels. Now, if the charge were true that we had demanded of the Portuguese government more than in justice we were entitled to demand, his answer on the part of the present Administration would be most easy, they had only followed up the demands made originally by their predecessors in office; and they had done no more than carry into execution that which had been threatened, but only threatened by the Administration to which they had succeeded. Indeed, the sole defence which had that night been made for the seeming apathy of the late Administration, under all the insults to which British interests were exposed in Portugal, rested upon the assertion that had threatened the Portuguese government with those very proceedings which the present Administration had felt itself compelled to take in defence of the honour and interests of the country. He frankly admitted that the late Government had acted rightly in threatening those proceedings. He was fully convinced that no man could have read the papers now upon their Table, without feeling that never was there an instance in the history of civilized Europe, in which one government had so conducted itself towards another, as the government of Portugal has conducted itself towards the Government of this country from the year 1828 almost to the present time. Those papers contained a series of cases full of the grossest insult and oppression. There was the case of an hon. and gallant Member of that House who had just spoken, and who had defended Portugal in her hour of need at the point of his sword, (Sir J. M. Doyle.) There was the case of Mr. Young, another British officer, who had bled in the service of Portugal; there was the case of Mr. Cobham, of Mr. Rospigliosi, of Mr. Noble, of Mr. O'Brien, of Mr. Macrohson, of Fragoas, of Mrs. Storey and worse than all, there was the 155 case of Marcus Ascoli. There was also the case of the Maltese sailors, who, be it recollected, were now subjects of Great Britain. Besides all these cases of insult and oppression, there was the capture of the Ninus, of the St. Helena packet, and other vessels. In all these cases, what were the distinguishing features? Violations of the laws of Portugal, and infractions of the treaties in force between the two countries—arrest upon suspicion—imprisonments without charge at the commencement, continued without trial to their close—release and reparation refused—threats, unattended with any results, except fresh insults—and threats, moreover, not duly enforced by the British Government, until the present Administration came into power. As far as the British Government was concerned, never was there, in the whole history of nations, an instance of so much forbearance under the combined operation of injury and insult; and if the British Government was to blame for any thing, it was not for having acted with too much rigour, but from having displayed too great an abstinence from enforcing its claims to satisfaction and redress for such repeated injuries. That, indeed, seemed to be admitted; but then it was said by Gentlemen on the other side of the House, "You ought to have defended Portugal from the arrogant and overbearing demands of France." By some singular accident, the demands of France had been referred to, during the whole of this debate, as if they were grounded upon the solitary case of Bonhomme. That, however, was not the case, but supposing it were, it would be worth while to consider whether the facts even of Bonhomme's case, had been fairly stated to the House. He thought that they had not been fairly stated; and he would shortly explain why. In the first place, Bonhomme was not, as had been asserted, a tutor of youth: he was himself, a student at Coimbra, who was in the first year of his studies of a course of law. The charge against him, if true, was certainly of a disgusting and odious nature; but there were, great doubts whether it was true at all. The offence was said to have been committed at least a year and a half before Bonhomme was placed on his trial. For a long time no notice whatever was taken of it. At the time of its commission, if it ever was committed, Bonhomme 156 was in company with several Portuguese students; those students were never proceeded against, but the Frenchman was selected as a single victim to answer for them all. He would suppose, however, for the sake of argument, that Bonhomme was justly condemned by the Portuguese tribunals, and even then, he would say, that France, if she put the whole of that case out of consideration, had upon other grounds, just claims for redress upon the usurper and tyrant of Portugal. Take for instance the case of M. Souvinet—a man far advanced in years. What was the charge against him? That rockets had been let off in his garden. He was tried upon this charge before a military commission; and, in the act which recorded his conviction, it was stated, that some of the soldiers who had been drawn over to the revolution had received refreshments in his warehouse. It was likewise stated, that he was not present when these refreshments were given; that he had not authorized them to be given; that be was not privy to their having been given, and that his usual place of residence was at a great distance off. But then it was said, that these circumstances did not relieve him from the imputation of guilt, "not only because he was responsible in a crime of such magnitude for whatever passed in his warehouse as its owner, but also, because he had confessed in his interrogatories, that he had been advised twice by his foreman to keep out of the way." In the record of his sentence it was argued, that such being the case, he must have been guilty, for would such advice have been given to him by his foreman, unless his foreman had been privy to his traitorous designs? The record then proceeded to state, that "this would not have happened if the misgivings of the foreman had not implicated the conscience of the prisoner, which is corroborated by the fact of his having been apprehended while concealed in the upper part of his garret, which no innocent person would be; and another corroboration may be derived from the liberal ideas to which he is so partial, as may be collected from the papers that were seized in his possession. But," continued this extraordinary document, "there is no clear proof that the rockets were let off from the house of this prisoner, or that, among the papers found upon him, there were any establishing a premeditated revolution."In spite 157 of this judicial declaration, M. Souvinet—at that time seventy-six years of age—was condemned to a brutal and barbarous imprisonment; he was thrust into a dungeon, where he was treated more like a dumb animal than a human being—where he was deprived of those comforts which are allowed even to the worst criminals—where he was subjected to blows and stripes, and other wanton cruelties—where he was compelled to endure almost every species of mental and physical torture—and all this on the most frivolous pretences, for which there was not even a shadow of proof. We had a right to say—indeed it was impossible to deny—that, if this had been the only ground, it was in itself a ground on which France had a right to demand full satisfaction from the government of Portugal. But was this the only case of oppression to which French subjects had been exposed? No; there were several other cases—there were the cases of Gambey and of Vallon, of Dupont, of the engraver Dubois, and of several other persons. All these parties had been imprisoned, one of them for a year, another for twenty-seven months—all without guilt, or even without the allegation in their sentences that the charges adduced against them were proved. He, therefore, said, that the French government was entitled to demand redress from the Portuguese government; and furthermore, that the British Government was not entitled to interpose to prevent the French government from obtaining it. His right hon. friend had said, that though we might not have known of the intention of the French government to demand satisfaction on the 4th of May when we obtained satisfaction for ourselves, we must have known it on the 14th of the same month, when, having obtained redress from Portugal, we were bound to have come forward in her behalf. To this he would reply, that, at that time, the transaction had got to a stage at which our interference, even if it had been justifiable, would have been most difficult of execution. When the French Consul General at Lisbon first interfered on behalf of his oppressed countrymen, the Portuguese minister said to him, "We cannot listen to you; you are only a consul; your note involves questions of a diplomatic nature; such communications are alien to your functions; and we regret that we find ourselves in the utter impossibility of 158 replying to them." The ministers of Don Miguel had, however, listened to the French Consul general on other occasions; but as soon as his communications began to be disagreeable to their master, they turned round upon him and said, "We cannot hear your proposals: you are no diplomatist;" True, he was no diplomatist, for diplomatic intercourse between Portugal and civilized Europe had ceased, for some time previously, to exist. Their refusal was tantamount to saying to the French Consul General, "We will injure your country at will, and for the injuries we inflict upon it, we will give you no redress." What, then, was the conduct which France pursued under such circumstances? First of all, she sent a single ship to demand redress. The demand of redress was met by a distinct refusal; but when a squadron of French vessels of war arrived, and the Portuguese knew that reprisals would be made upon their commerce, then their answer was, "Have the goodness to wait awhile; we have referred your claims to England, our good and faithful ally, and we request that you will suspend your operation, and keep your orders in your pocket, until we learn how the question will be settled by that country." What would any English admiral have said to such a proposition? What reply did the House conceive an English Commander would make, if he were told, "We have written to France for instructions—wait till we get our answer from Paris?" He well knew what an English admiral would do under such circumstances; he would shew no hesitation—he would execute his orders without delay, and would take no notice of an answer so evidently evasive. It would have been the height of injustice, if, in this crisis of affairs, we had turned round on France and said, "You shall get no reparation for your injured subjects—we are lords paramount of Europe—we have a peculiar right to compel Portugal to satisfy us, and to prevent her from satisfying any one else—we consider Portugal as part of the dominions of England—we will allow her to insult all the rest of Europe but ourselves, and if you think of obtaining redress for your wrongs, you must prepare to meet an English fleet upon the ocean, and an English army in the field." It was a remarkable phenomenon, that at this moment the political opponents of the government, 159 both in England and France, appeared anxious to goad the people of their respective countries into quarrel, and into war. He well remembered that when, some time ago, he pressed on the House his opinions as to the course which we ought to follow towards the government of Portugal, he was met by the cry, "Your voice is for war—we cannot adopt your policy without being led into immediate hostilities. If he were to retort that charge upon the opposition of the present day—if he were to say, that the course which they urged Ministers to pursue towards France, would necessarily terminate in a war with that country—he should say that which would be better founded in fact than the groundless charge which they had formerly advanced against him. He would, however, console the House and the country by assuring them thus publicly that such taunts as those would have no influence on the present Administration. His Majesty's Ministers were fully sensible of the value of the friendship of so liberal and intelligent a power as France. They hoped that they had established on a firm basis, peace, and amity between England and France. They trusted that the days were now gone by, when petty feuds and paltry jealousies, and selfish notions of mistaken interests, would have any influence on either government. The two countries had too many interests, too many feelings in common, to allow themselves to be separated by those who were the enemies of free institutions in both; and though Ministers were now charged with having been too partial to France in this instance, he hoped that the people of England would be convinced, that without sacrificing their interests or derogating from their honour, the Government had succeeded in making a cordial union with our old hereditary foe, and in pursuing a peaceful course equally honourable to both nations. He had now done with this part of the charge against the present Administration. The other part of the indictment which his right hon. friend had drawn up against them, amounted to this—that they had not observed that neutrality and that non-interference which had been laid down by their predecessors in office, and which they had sanctioned themselves. Now, with regard to the doctrine of non-interference, he must say, that the late Administration had carried it much further than 160 the present Administration was inclined to do; for the late Administration had determined not to violate the principles of non-interference, even when interference was required, by a regard of what was due to the protection of British interests. The only ground on which this charge of violated neutrality was founded, was, an assertion that the provisions of the Foreign Enlistment Bill had not been enforced by the present Ministers; and though the Motion of his right hon. friend was prefaced by a long and elaborate review of all our transactions with Portugal during the last four years, the Motion itself related to nothing more than a few alleged facts, which were said to have taken place within the last four months. His right hon. friend had been a little taken by surprise by the acquiescence of the Government on the last motion which he had brought forward, for he found the papers for which he moved granted without opposition; and, therefore, his right hon. friend was determined to guard himself against a similar surprise on this occasion, for he now moved for papers which he must know that it was impossible for any government to grant. His right hon. friend wanted to obtain a sight of certain ex parte affidavits, which had been forwarded to Government, casting reflections on individuals which were entirely unsupported by facts, and which related to matters which might be the subject of future legal proceedings. The production of these documents might excite unjust and unfounded prejudice against the individuals to whom they referred, and, therefore, they were necessarily withheld. He denied that the Administration had shewn any partiality to either of the two conflicting parties, either by what they had done, or by what they had left undone. His right hon. friend (Sir James Mackintosh) had said, and had said truly, that there was nothing in the provisions of the Foreign Enlistment Act which made it obligatory on the Government to carry them into execution. It was competent for any person to enforce the provisions of the Act; and he did not know what reason the Portuguese Consul General had to call upon the British Government to institute proceedings under that act, when, if he had proof against the parties, he could institute them himself. He repeated the assertion—the Portuguese Consul General could 161 have instituted such proceedings himself, and it was not incumbent on the Government to institute them for him. Having, he thought, fully answered that charge, he must now allude to the power which the Government possessed, under the same act, to detain ships. The Act of Parliament said, that when there was reason to believe that a ship, lying in an English harbour, was taking in arms and soldiers, to be employed against a state in amity with England, any party might lodge an information against the captain and owners of the vessel with the officers of customs, and upon that information being verified, the officers of Customs shall have power to detain the ship, and to prevent the individuals on board of it from sailing. His right hon. friend might not be aware of this fact, but he (Lord Palmerston) would remind several of his right hon. friends, colleagues in the late cabinet, of it, by reminding them of what had occurred on the detention of the ship Mary, That vessel was detained some time ago on the suspicion that it was about to proceed to the coast of Spain, as part of a projected expedition against the monarch of that country. There were on board of that ship several Spaniards, a number of arms, a quantity of proclamations addressed to the people of Spain; and there could be no doubt, morally speaking, that she was equipped for purposes of war; and yet, strong as the case was, he was sure that the hon. and learned Member for Boroughbridge would agree with him in saying, that there was no ground for detaining that vessel, except that she was preparing to take out arms which had not been entered at the Custom-house. The vessel was subsequently proceeded against for having on board contraband arms: but it was not found practicable to proceed against her under the Foreign Enlistment Act. That was a much stronger case than any which had been remarked upon on the present occasion. The vessel complained of in this instance had no arms on board, nor had she any men on board, but the men, which were barely sufficient to navigate her. She was destined for a port of France, and her cargo was consigned to French subjects. What the ulterior destination of the vessel and of the cargo were to be, it would be idle to express a doubt; but, in the execution of the law, they must look only to facts proved, and not to surmises, guesses, and doubtful inferences. 162 If they looked to any thing else but facts, when they were administering a harsh penal law like the Foreign Enlistment Act, they must inevitably run into very great and dangerous abuses. He thought that he had now said enough to prove, that the conduct of the present Administration was not open to any of the censure which his right hon. friend had passed upon it. He considered the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman to amount to an appeal to the House as to the foreign policy of the present Ministers as contrasted with that of their predecessors in office. The Motion and appeal were perfectly legitimate, and if the opinion of the House should be (as he anticipated it would) one of approval of the course pursued by his Majesty's Ministers, and that they had in that course succeeded in preserving the peace of the country without any sacrifice of the national honour, and in protecting the rights and interests of his Majesty's subjects without overstepping the limits of prudence, he felt no alarm as to the fate the Motion would experience. He should not, therefore, take the result of the Motion to be confined merely to the production of half a dozen additional affidavits, but to extend to the approval, or otherwise, of the manner in which the present Government had conducted its foreign relations.
Sir Robert Peel
said, that the Government would give some proof of their confidence in the justice of their cause if they condescended to state reasons for the opposition they offered to the motions which were brought before the House, instead of upon every occasion declaring that each individual question affected the general stability of the Administration, and must therefore be opposed. They would have acted more fairly now in coming forward with statements, explanatory of their acts, than in endeavouring, as they had done, to shield themselves from an inquiry into their alleged misconduct. On one occasion they turn round, and say, remember the Reform Bill; unless you vote for us, the Reform Bill is lost. On the question of the Russian Dutch loan, did not the noble Lord, the member for Devonshire, expressly state, if you suffer us to be beaten on this question, we are lost; and there is an end of Reform, unless you certify the Attorney General's law to be good law. The same course of proceeding was adopted with respect to the question then before them. Some hon. Members entertained 163 great suspicions as to the relations in which England and Portugal were now placed with regard to each other, and the instant those suspicions were propounded and an explanation demanded, up started his noble friend with a declaration, that this was an attack on the foreign policy of the present Government generally; and, therefore, he must decline considering the abstract merits of the particular question at issue. He would address himself to some of the arguments used on the other side. The noble Lord (Morpeth), the member for Yorkshire, had referred to what had taken place at Terceira, as if the opinion of Parliament had not been already pronounced upon that subject. The noble Lord had devoted the great part of his speech to the consideration of the policy of our interfering in that instance, concluding with an assertion, that the sole ground upon which the Government of that day escaped condemnation was the gratitude the country felt for the passing of the Catholic Emancipation Bill. In consideration of this measure, the Opposition of that day was unwilling to censure them. The Opposition was pacified and merciful. He did not wish to say anything unkind of the subordinate persons attached to the fortunes of the present Administration; but he might be permitted to direct his attention to the leaders. First, however, he would remark, that upon a question of censure upon the Ministry, the House had divided, and the Motion was supported by 78—opposed by 191; and consequently there was a majority of 113 in favour of the late Government. The noble Lord accounted for their triumph by attributing it to the forbearance of the party opposed to them. Now, on what ground did this pretended forbearance rest? He would not trouble himself with the course pursued by subordinate Members of the party—but would refer to the acts of its leaders. He saw on the opposite Bench five Cabinet Ministers sitting together. Those five Cabinet Ministers took a part on the Terceira question. First, there was the right hon. President of the Board of Control (Mr. Charles Grant); the noble Lord (Lord Althorp), who sat next him, was Teller in the division; the next noble Lord (Lord Palmerston) proposed the censure; the next noble Lord (Lord John Russell) voted for it; and the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Stanley) made the best 164 speech in support of it. Now, as there were only five of these gentlemen now in office, and as all the five had voted against the late Administration, surely no claim for great forbearance could be established. To address himself more particularly to the course of argument pursued by the noble Lord, he must remark, when the noble Lord accused that side of the House of a desire to censure the conduct of Government right or wrong, that he, for one, would proceed upon no such principle as that which was attributed to his party by the noble Lord. When he thought, the Ministers were not entitled to credit, he would boldly express his opinion to that effect; and when he thought they were entitled to credit, he would at once admit it. The noble Lord had said that no objection could be fairly taken either to the period or to the mode which was chosen for the enforcement of the British claims upon Portugal. He was ready to admit, that, in his opinion, there was a repeated neglect of our remonstrance upon the part of Portugal which did justify England in its interference. He would not for a moment attempt to justify the conduct of the Portuguese with respect to British subjects. He denied the assertion that his noble friend (Lord Aberdeen) had manifested the slightest disposition to overlook the just claim which those British subjects had for redress. That noble Lord had made a demand for reparation, and had informed the Portuguese government, that if this demand were not acceded to, it would be enforced by a naval expedition. Suppose thirty days had been allowed to Portugal to make reparation. Could it be justly said, that the allowance of such an interval before the actual application of force was a proof of indifference to British wrongs. He could confidently declare, that, if the late Ministers had remained in office, they would have as rigidly exacted reparation for the injuries of Portugal as their successors had done. But nothing, it appeared, would satisfy the majority of the House of Commons but the resort to force. There must be no delay—no expostulation—no consideration of tenderness towards an ancient and powerless ally, but every demand must be instantly enforced at the point of the sword. Was this the pacific policy which Reform was to establish? One Gentleman roused their passions by an inflamed 165 account of corporal punishments inflicted on individuals—another taunted them with mean and cowardly submission to insults—a third demanded that they should march troops to the relief of Poland, and yet these advocates for war had voted for Reform as the surest guarantee of perpetual peace. When the Gentlemen on the opposite side took credit for their great promptness in enforcing British claims, and, at the same time, admitted, that this proceeding upon our part justified a like proceeding upon the part of France, he thought that they demonstrated the necessity of great caution on our part, and the policy of exhausting every other means before they had recourse to absolute force. With respect to the British claims, he thought the conduct of the noble Lord was justified by the circumstances of the case. It would have been inconsistent with the honour of England to have suffered a much longer period to elapse without asserting these claims. But, to come to the next and most important point—the rights of France, were they of the same character? Decidedly not. They were entirely dissimilar. He must also say, that these claims were not put forward in the most irreproachable way. He thought the noble Lord, the Secretary of State, had made use of some expressions, from which he would be not unwilling to recede before the termination of the debate. But whether the noble Lord did or did not retract those expressions, he thought he should be able to prove that they could not be vindicated. The noble Lord said, that even if Bonhomme was justly condemned, the French government was still borne out in its demands for reparation, on account of other injuries it had sustained; and yet one of those demands was, that the judges who had justly condemned Bonhomme should be dismissed, and that the sentence passed on him should be abrogated. [An Hon. Member: that is a quibble.] A quibble! he said it was no quibble. In addition to the dismissal of the judges, a compensation of 20,000 francs was demanded for Bonhomme. Now, if the sentence was a just one, was it reasonable to demand such a payment for the man who had been justly condemned? If one state, possessing great power, were thus by force to compel assent to such demands from a weak state, he asked, what security was there for the 166 integrity or independence of any of the minor powers of Europe? Why, they would exist only by sufferance. No government had a right to make such demands. What must be the condition of judges, too, if they were to be liable to dismissal upon the application of a foreign government, for having justly condemned a foreigner who had rendered himself liable to punishment according to the laws of the country. Supposing the sentence to be manifestly unjust, he did not blame France for interfering; but he thought that, without the fullest proof of corruption in the judges, France never should have put forward a demand for their dismissal. But this was not all. The next demand was, for the reversal of all sentences passed upon Frenchmen for political offences during the last two years, without qualification, exception, or inquiry. Was not such a demand from a strong power to a weak one absolutely fatal to the integrity and independence of the weak power? The letter from the noble Lord to Mr. Hoppner stated, in effect, that as the Portuguese government had before changed their judges upon similar occasions, they might as well do so on the present. But the noble Lord seemed to doubt his own view of the case, for on the same day he wrote to the Ambassador at Paris, desiring him to recommend an inquiry, upon the part of the French government, into the true character of the transactions in Portugal. Was any such inquiry made, or did that government proceed upon vague rumour. The noble Lord (Lord Ebrington), congratulated the House upon the fact of the country's having escaped the recognition of Don Miguel by the resignation of the late Government; but here the noble Lord differed altogether from one of his leaders. A noble Lord (Lord Althorp), when allusion was made, in the King's Speech, in the year 1830, to the necessity of speedily acknowledging the sovereign of Portugal de facto, had expressed his cordial concurrence in the policy of so doing, and had moreover declared, that he did not think the Government would be justified in delaying the recognition of Don Miguel longer. In this opinion he certainly concurred with the noble Lord; for he thought that it was fair to conclude that a sovereign de. facto, who maintained his authority for three years, was the choice of the people; we were entitled to withhold our recogni- 167 tion of Don Miguel at first. It could not be denied that he had violated his promises to this country—but if we did not interrupt the relations of peace with him on that account, and if the people of Portugal admitted his right to rule over them, surely we were not justified in a permanent refusal to re-establish our diplomatic relations with Portugal. If the contrary doctrine were upheld, how could the acknowledgment of the new sovereign of France be justified. In his opinion, the private character of the prince had nothing to do with the question. He conceived that the United States had displayed a much wiser policy towards the sovereign de facto of Portugal, in recognising him, while they reserved to themselves the right of demanding reparation for injuries. He trusted, that, in the pending contest between Don Pedro and Don Miguel, England would practically observe the neutrality which her Ministers professed, that no indignation against the personal conduct of Don Miguel—no sympathy with such persons as Bonhomme—would disturb the calm judgment of the House, and precipitate the country into any course at variance with that which the law of nations, and our true interests, prescribed. Whatever they might think of Don Pedro or Don Miguel, they were all agreed that it was the duty of England to maintain a friendly and close connection with Portugal. The country was bound to do this on every principle of law, equity, and prudence; but he did fear, notwithstanding what had fallen from the noble Lord opposite, that a strict neutrality had not been observed. Any departure from it, under the present position of European polities, would be ultimately attended with the worst consequences. This country was bound to Portugal by several treaties, which gave England rights in Portugal, and imposed obligations on England in return; so that our relations with Portugal were not merely governed by ordinary international law, but by conventional law. Under that law, we claimed from Portugal particular commercial advantages, and were bound in return to support and protect that country. The alliance was not with the person at the head of the State, but with the State itself, and Portugal had a right to demand from this country an observance of the engagements into which it had entered, and which were the price of commercial privileges and immunities granted to us by 168 Portugal in return. He did not contend that, in a case of disputed succession to the throne—in a case of invasion by one of the claimants—that we were bound by treaty to assist the other in repelling that invasion, but he did contend that we were bound to maintain strict neutrality, and to give no countenance or support to the invader. The system which had notoriously been pursued in this country, of enlisting men, fitting out armaments, purchasing warlike stores for the purpose of assisting one of the contending parties, was a direct breach, not only of conventional, but of international, law. In this respect the Portuguese themselves had set this country a better example. In the year 1654, at the period of the Commonwealth, when Prince Maurice and Prince Rupert betook themselves to Portugal to arrange an expedition against the then Government of England, that Government required the Portuguese to consider them as rebels; and in the year 1656, the Portuguese refused to harbour the two princes, as being opponents to a de facto government. There was another instance: at the time of the war with our American colonies, Portugal was prohibited by England from harbouring any of the rebel subjects of the King, or holding any amicable communication with the revolted provinces. With regard to the main question before the House, it was said, they had only heard rumours and whispers, which did not prove anything; but if this Motion was carried—if the papers were produced—he should be able to shew clear cases of the violation of the Foreign Enlistment Act. It was notorious that there were stations in the metropolis for the enlistment of troops for the service of Don Pedro; and it was equally notorious, that a preference was given to British soldiers. It was also well known, that, on application at the Custom House, four vessels, destined for the expedition against Portugal, had been detained in the river. They had been detained at the instance of that department (the Customs) which is empowered by law to enforce the provisions of the Foreign Enlistment Act, and yet these four vessels, having troops and warlike stores for the equipment of Don Pedro, after a detention of three weeks, were released by the intervention of his Majesty's Government. Why were they not brought under the consideration of the ordinary tribunal, the Court of Exchequer? The Executive Go- 169 vernment released these vessels without the intervention of law. That conduct had placed the Government under the just suspicion of having violated neutrality. Was it not the fact, that these four vessels which had been thus released, after three weeks' detention by the Customs, did, subsequently to their release, actually form part of the expedition of Don Pedro? Was it not the fact, that one of these vessels was the very vessel from which the proclamation of Don Pedro was issued. If these were facts, and if these vessels were suffered to go to a French port, and to form part of an expedition against Don Miguel, it was a violation of our neutrality. There could be no doubt that the Government were bound to be careful, and see that foreign vessels were not unjustly detained; but when a detention had taken place, on information on oath, the ships should not have been released without an appeal to the regular tribunals of the country. The noble Lord had said, that public inconvenience might have arisen from the detention of foreigners. Let foreigners obey the law of this country—and thus avoid that inconvenience. They had no right to compromise us by the commission, on neutral ground, of acts of hostility. If the noble Lord objected to the Motion, on the ground of public inconvenience attending the production of the papers moved for, that would be a different question; but he would not acquiesce in the force of the only objection made to their production—namely, that to call for them, was to imply a censure on the Government. It might be easy, by means of a majority, to negative this Motion; but not so easy to establish the fact, that neutrality had not been violated, and that the expedition had not sailed from a French port, under the countenance of England. If Don Miguel were hurled from his throne, and Don Pedro succeeded to it, was it to be believed that the influence of England would remain predominant in Portugal? What reply could be made to Spain, should she say, "I feel my interests compromised by the destruction of Don Miguel's authority, and I will exercise that right of assisting to maintain it, which cannot be denied to me, if other powers may co-operate in the attempt to overthrow it." He must say one word regarding the municipal law of this country. If Ministers thought the Foreign Enlistment Act so atrocious, 170 why did they not at once propose the repeal of it? If they disapproved of the expedition, knowing its nature, it was their duty at least not to interfere, as they had interfered, with the ordinary course of the law. If Ministers were desirous of maintaining tranquillity, they ought, above all, to be desirous of maintaining neutrality, and the Foreign Enlistment Act gave the means of maintaining it. If it had been departed from in this instance, Great Britain had abandoned the high ground she ought to occupy, had pursued a course alike forbidden by prudence and by justice, and had set an example to after times from which the most serious evils might be anticipated.
said, it was not his intention at that late hour, to enter largely into all those questions which had been so irregularly introduced on a motion for papers with which these subjects were so little connected; and further, he was induced to confine himself to the particular topic under discussion, because the right hon. Baronet who had just sat down had fairly restricted himself to the question before the House, and had not gone into those other topics which some hon. Members had so amply discussed. There was some temptation, indeed, for hon. Members to diverge from the question, since of the hour and a half which the right hon. Member had consumed in opening the debate, not ten minutes was occupied by observations which had any reference to the Motion with which he had concluded his speech. Upon some points the right hon. Baronet had given his Majesty's Government a full justification; and he should, therefore, not enter into a comparison between the plan pursued by his noble friend and his predecessors. But the right hon. Baronet had adopted an extraordinary course when he complained of Ministers shewing a desire to flinch from the discussion, and to evade the question before the House, and then he taunted them with alluding, on a former occasion, to the question of Reform. His noble friend (Lord Palmerston), as had been observed, had in a single sentence noticed the question of Reform; but, if not intimately connected with the question before the House, it was intimately connected with the continuance ofthe present Government in power, as the leading purpose of its administration. The right hon. Baronet had declared, that he had little hope from a Reforming Cabinet 171 when he saw it rushing into war; but, where was the proof that it was disposed to incur the danger of hostilities? From month to month, and from week to week, the charge had been reiterated, but invariably disproved by the event; although of the last year it might justly be said, that, during that whole period, it required the deepest attention, and the most consummate prudence, to preserve the tranquillity of Europe. The hon. member for Thetford had asserted, when first the present servants of the Crown came into power, that if they could preserve the peace of Europe for but six months, they must possess the highest talents for diplomacy. Three times six months had elapsed, and the peace of Europe had not only remained undisturbed, but at this moment it rested upon a more solid foundation than when the hon. member for Thetford spoke. When the French troops entered Belgium, the other side triumphantly exclaimed, "There they are, but when would they retire?" They had retired: his noble friend had expressed the confidence of the Government that such would be the result, and that confidence had been completely justified. Again, when the French fleet entered the Tagus, it was asked, "When will they quit it, and what will they not do, now they are there?" He would ask, in return, had they not quitted it—had they sought territorial acquisitions—had they violated the law of nations, and had they made reprisals beyond what they had the strictest right to demand. With respect to the sentences on the individuals deferred to, did the right hon. Baronet suppose that the French sent a fleet to Lisbon for the sake of Bonhomme alone, and not in consequence of a series of insults? He admitted there were strong objections to interfering with the established legal institutions of a foreign country; but supposing it were right to flog Bonhomme through the town of Coimbra, and to banish him to the pestilential climate of Angola, was it just that he should have been flogged again in prison, when it was not ordered by the sentence of the Judges.
said, if the right hon. Baronet was aware of the fact, he was surprised he did not state it. The treatment of Souvinet, Gambi, and Dupont had been equally cruel and unjust. The Judges were not individuals clothed with a cha- 172 racter that commanded respect for their decisions; they were notoriously and palpably the mere tools and instruments of a despotic government, and, where that was the case, a foreign power was not to be interdicted from interference on the mere pretext that it was the sentence of judges. He (Mr. Stanley) would not quote from Mr. Hoppner, whose evidence seemed to be suspected, but he would quote a despatch from Mr. Matthews, who, in 1828, stated that the fate of the prisoners would be decided according to the impression which the government took of their case, for that no judge would venture to act in opposition to the desires to the government. Then what became of the argument about inviolability and security, when it was notorious that the judges were thus dependent on the government? But the right hon. Baronet said, the question was, how far the Government was justified in the course it had taken. The right hon. Baronet said, "I have seen newspapers, I have heard rumours, I could prove a great deal, but I have nothing to go upon except these vague rumours, which have reached me as they have reached every one else." He agreed with the right hon. Baronet with respect to the relative situation of Great Britain, and as to the expediency of maintaining our relations with Portugal. The right hon. Baronet had stated truly, that it was not the character of the prince on the throne we were to consider; but the right hon. Baronet must also admit that there was a time in the history of England, not far remote from the present, when a Government, composed of persons with whom the right hon. Baronet acted, justified the continuance of a war with France, on the ground that there was no security for the peace of Europe from the personal character of Napoleon Buonaparte. Was not that an instance in which the personal character of the individual was considered? Then how might not our relations with Portugal be affected by the conduct and character of the prince? Let any one say, whether the personal character of the weak despot of Portugal had not endangered the peace of Europe. He agreed, too, with the right hon. Baronet that we were bound to preserve a strict neutrality; but, when it was asserted that we had shown a partiality for one side, those who made that assertion were bound to show that their declarations were correct. They were bound to prove it, 173 by stating some fact, and not by begging the whole question. The right hon. Baronet said, that Government had been culpable for suffering recruiting, and purchasing of stores and provisions, for Don Pedro; but he called upon him to show by what Act of Parliament, unless the purchases and enlistments were open and notorious, the Government would have been authorised to prevent them. He believed that it was notorious that in various parts of the kingdom there had been enlisting of men for Don Pedro; he believed the fact to be so; but if we were bound to enforce the enlistment law, we were bound not to overlook the technical difficulties, and overstep the law—not to proceed on mere belief, but on facts capable of being established by legal evidence. The right hon. Baronet said correctly, that the four ships were detained at the Custom-house, he believed, in a supposition that they were intended for Don Pedro; but on a full investigation of the grounds of the charge, it was given as the legal opinion of those who were consulted on it, that the evidence was not such as would substantiate the charge, or as afforded a chance of conviction; and Ministers would not have been justified in proceeding in a case where their law advisers told them they had no chance of attaining their object. Not one of the ships were armed, and they were all said to be the property of a French subject, who claimed them, and substantiated his claim. He must also deny the position of the right hon. Baronet, that there had been any enlistment of British soldiers. There was no legal proof that any persons were enlisted in the service of Don Pedro; and he would ask the right hon. Baronet, on what ground he would interfere—on notoriety and public report, to prevent a ship from going from this to a foreign country. On these grounds, Ministers rested their defence, and let not the right hon. Baronet say that this was only a motion for papers. The right hon. Baronet had been too long in Parliament to urge such a plea, and the Ministers had been long enough on the opposite side of the House to know that they never made a motion for papers which the Government was unwilling to grant, which was not a direct attack upon the Government, and meant to be a censure on it. If this was not a part of the words of the Motion, it was a part of the intent of the Motion; and if he (Mr. Stanley) had had a doubt upon 174 the subject, that doubt would have been resolved by the speech of the right hon. Member who introduced the Motion, which was a censure on the conduct of Government in regard to Portugal. He hoped that he would not, as on other occasions, withdraw this Motion. He knew the hon. Member did not expect it would be granted; his object was only to to make an angry attack on the Government, and to shrink from the consequences by withdrawing his Motion.
Sir Robert Peel
begged to be allowed to explain one point: the right hon. Gentleman had granted that the sentence on Bonhomme was just, and yet contended that it was right to dismiss the judges on account of the concealed flogging. If that punishment was in addition to their sentence, it would have been the grossest injustice to make these persons responsible for it.
§ Sir Charles Wetherell
said, that a case calling so strongly as this on the Government to enforce the Foreign Enlistment Bill had never occurred. The right hon. Secretary for Ireland had said—"You must first prove your case; for unless you do, we will not grant you the papers." Upon such an argument there never could be an inquiry; because the querist who asked for information must produce that information before the inquiry was conceded. That sort of logic would soon put an end to the inquisitorial power of the House of Commons, were it not so farfetched as to be unsustainable even by the exuberant abilities of the right hon. Secretary. The right hon. Secretary had observed, that the statement upon which the Motion had been made, did not embrace the whole of the question. He concurred in that opinion; and also thought his right hon. friend, who opened the discussion, had not stated the whole case. But there was no motion at present before the House for an investigation of the facts. He would first advert to the provisions of the Foreign Enlistment Act, relying on the noble Lord, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to correct him if he was wrong. They were these:—that where a case was authenticated by affidavit, before the Board of Customs, that a vessel was about to sail from a British port, equipped for warlike purposes, the Board was bound, upon such an ex parte statement, to issue its warrant for the detention of the vessel. In the case before the House, the Board 175 complied with the provisions of the Act; for, upon the requisite affidavit being laid before it, instead of complaining that there was not sufficient evidence, and that it was a fictitious case, the Board recognized the propriety of investigating it, and detained the vessel till the period to which the right hon. Gentleman had alluded; so that the Board of Customs shewed by its conduct, that it considered the case for detention made out. The Government did not, in the first instance, raise the quibble which had been urged to-night from the opposite side of the House—that this was an ex parte statement, made upon the affidavit of an individual. Why, Gentlemen who had read the Act must know that it was expressly provided that the statement was to be made by one or several individuals; upon which statement, Government, through the medium of the Commissioners of Customs, was bound to act. Such, however, having been the case originally, Government had since said; "Well, but these vessels were not to sail directly from Great Britain to Portugal, but were destined for a port of France. But when he saw his right hon. friend (Sir James Mackintosh) who was always very diffuse on the law of nations, rise to speak on this subject, he expected to hear from him that it was no questionable matter, although the vessel got circuitously, by way of a port in France, to a port in Portugal, if the expedition was known to have been originally intended to sustain Don Pedro, that it made no difference in fact, as to the breach of the law, whether the vessels sailed directly or indirectly to the point at which Portugal was to be assailed. Several Gentlemen had stated, that these vessels were not fitted out for the Tagus; very likely not, but if they were fitted out for a port of France, as a blind and a colour to the enterprise, the case was equally a violation of the law. The right hon. Gentleman had said, that some of the men had enlisted generally; but it was notorious that they enlisted to serve Don Pedro in Portugal, and were paid for it, and so it was stated to his Majesty's Government. The right hon. Secretary complained that Gentlemen on that side of the House had not confined themselves to the facts of the case as affected by the Act of Parliament; but the noble Lord, the Secretary of State for foreign Affairs, did not touch upon that Act at all; the noble Lord made the case rest upon the policy of this country 176 with regard to Portugal. He had only one further observation to make upon the detention of these vessels. If Gentlemen would look to the Act, they would find that, in the second or third clause, that subject was particularly noticed; and under the provisions of that Act, a breach of the law had been committed. The Government pretended to assert that the Board of Customs acted, for three weeks, upon a case surreptitiously made out, and not founded upon the actual circumstances; and yet the right hon. Secretary refused to allow the House of Commons those papers which would enable it to ascertain whether such was the fact or not. One hon. Gentleman had said, that we ought not only to have this inquiry, but that a much larger inquiry should be allowed. He had not the least objection to that course, if the Government would grant a Committee, instead of producing the papers. But the right hon. Secretary said, "Yes, but the whole thing was fictitious." There was, however, one part of the case to which the right hon. Secretary had not adverted; he meant that which applied to the judicial proceedings; and he trusted the noble Lord would not treat with scepticism the statements of one who happened to be somewhat acquainted with the circumstances, "All this, however," said the right hon. Secretary, "may be a fiction." It might be: but then the production of these papers would so shew it, and thereby exculpate his Majesty's Government. "But," responded the noble Lord, the Secretary of State, for Foreign Affairs, "we have taken certain opinions upon the subject." Whose opinions? were they those of the Law Officers of the Crown? He did not ask for the production of these opinions, but it would be as well for those hon. and learned Gentlemen to state whether they did or did not give those opinions. Undoubtedly, a case was made out for inquiry. This was an opinion which he had heretofore given, and he should never give an opinion in one place, and not act upon it in another. He had, upon full consideration, given it as his opinion that this case was decidedly made out. The Government acted upon the statement which constituted the narrative laid before him; but these Law Officers had come to a different conclusion. The right hon. Gentleman had said, that the object of this Motion was not to apply the results to the particular case or object stated; 177 but to serve as a peg on which to hang a general view of the foreign policy of his Majesty's Government. Suppose the fact were so, was it any argument against the Motion. True, the debate might be irregular; but that was no reason why the Motion should not be entertained. There was only one more observation of the right hon. Secretary which he wished to advert to; and that was the case of the dismissal of the judges. He should be very glad to know what the Gentlemen on the other side of the House would say, if France should require the dismissal of the Lord Chief Justice Tenterden, or of the Judge of the Court of Admiralty; and if France were to say, "Why, your judges have improperly condemned a vessel, and we therefore require their dismissal." He appealed to the right hon. Gentleman, the member for Knaresborough, whether, with all his great knowledge, and all his fulness of learning in the science of jurisprudence, he ever read of such atrocious conduct towards any nation as that of France towards Portugal? For the sake of argument, the right hon. Gentleman, the Secretary for Ireland, had endeavoured to show that these judges were the creatures of the government of Portugal. If so, it was not the fault of the judges—it was the fault of the government. But then, surely, that argument was futile. If these judges were independent, the error and the crime were their own: if they were dependent, then to call upon a government to dismiss its own creatures would be an unprofitable result. He would not, at that time of the night, enter any further into the subject. He had stated very shortly the substance of his opinion, which was, that the case had been made out which the Act required, namely, that the facts had been stated upon affidavit, which was all that was necessary for calling upon Government to enforce the provisions of the law. If the Government required more evidence than had been produced in this case, it, in effect, rendered null and abortive the whole Act, which required no other demonstration than a probable and provable case, founded upon affidavit. Under these circumstances he concurred in the Motion of his right hon. friend. If there were any who thought this Act ought not to exist, let them come forward, and move to repeal it; and let them say, that it was wise that our foreign relations should be left to the general construction of the law 178 of nations, and not be governed by this specific Act. But, as long as that Act remained, it ought to be adhered to; whereas the Government had, in this case, in a most gross manner, dispensed with its clearest and most undoubted provisions.
The Attorney General
said, there never had been a motion brought before the House with less parliamentary grounds of support than the one now under discussion. It was admitted by his hon. and learned friend who had just sat down, that the right hon. Gentleman who introduced the Motion did not state the grounds on which it was to be sustained. But the debate having commenced at five o'clock they were at twelve o'clock for the first time, favoured by his hon. and learned friend with a statement of the true grounds upon which the Motion rested. He, however, contended that no grounds had been adduced up to this moment which made out the smallest primâ facie case against the Government. His hon. and learned friend had indeed, obliged them with one species of charge against Ministers; this he had brought forward, with much delicacy of manner, particularly when his situation was considered. It appeared that he had had some facts laid before him upon which he had given his opinion. And so, because a learned counsel, upon a statement which must necessarily be ex parte and made by interested persons, and which had not been shown to those who were called upon to act officially, had given an opinion, the House of Commons was to presume, that the Government, which acted in accordance with other legal opinions given upon a full and perfect knowledge of all the facts, had pursued an erroneous course; and because the Government allowed the vessels which had been detained upon imperfect statements during three weeks to be afterwards released, it was assumed to have done wrong. His hon. and learned friend had stated what his own opinion was;—namely, that the facts made out such a case as "called upon the Government to interfere." He begged to know what sort of legal opinion that was, which put such a construction upon an Act of Parliament, that certainly invested a "discretionary" power in Government to interfere or not, as its judgment, under all the circumstances, might dictate? He must own that if a Gentleman who was formerly Attorney General, but who was now in opposition, was first to form his opinion upon one ex parte 179 statement, and was then to lay down a rule upon which Government was to act, (in a question of the utmost delicacy, and fraught with the most momentous consequences to the whole world), it would become, after this, a very easy matter to refer all the various and difficult duties of Government to a Committee of the House of Commons, where all sorts of information might be called for by persons interested in thwarting the measures and destroying the existence of Government. But he must take the liberty to deny that there was anything in the Foreign Enlistment Act which called upon Government to proceed upon any given case whatsoever. It was a remarkable feature of that Act, that whatever power the common law might previously have given, was taken out of the hands of Government by its enactments, when it was made a misdemeanour to enlist in foreign service; and when it was enacted, that the men, and the ship in which they were embarked, should be detained (though what the ship was to be done with, after its detention, was not stated) by the Custom-house officers, just in the same manner as any contraband commodities would be dealt with. This was a peculiarity in the case which ought not to be overlooked; but if Government had received information from any subordinate branches, such, for instance, as the Board of Customs, upon which they acted in the first instance, was it not proper afterwards for them to make further inquiries as to whether the case was really made out, and whether there was any grounds upon which they could with propriety proceed? It seemed to him that this Act, of which, as it was a law, he did not wish to speak in disdainful terms, nor to enter into any consideration of its nature; but it seemed to him that this Act (even upon a seizure made under it, in a case where a forfeiture had been notoriously incurred, if any person chose to claim such forfeiture by bringing the facts before a Jury) had left it to Government to act upon its provisions or not, at its discretion. He must own, that he thought the question ought to be put upon higher grounds than those which had yet been taken. He remembered well the days when the Bill was first introduced, and the arduous efforts made by his hon. friends on that occasion to prevent its becoming a law. He stood upon the ground on which they then stood, when he had the satisfaction and the happiness of 180 hearing that triumphant, splendid, and matchless strain of eloquence from his right hon. and learned friend, the member for Knaresborough, in which he warned the Government of that clay of the dangerous situation in which they were placing themselves, when they were consenting to impose a stem restraint upon all the ardent friends of freedom, in order to please the court of Spain. He looked back to those times with feelings of exultation; and if he then thought that it was an unwise and impolitic measure to be enacted, the same reasons which occasioned that opinion, would now make him very much doubt whether it was one that ought to be carried into effect. Their argument was this—"You talk of neutrality and impartiality, when, in point of fact, you depart from both. The very object of this Bill is to restrict, rather than foster the courage and military ardour of your own nation: you are preventing that martial and adventurous spirit which prompts Englishmen to aid the righteous cause of freedom throughout the world, by an over-strained interpretation of this law; and all this you are doing under the pretence of impartiality, because you well know that Englishmen will always espouse the righteous cause." The allegation that the people were then enlisting in the service of Spain, was unfounded; there were no recruits for the service of Spain; but there were numerous recruits for the service of the colonies which were on the side of freedom. Therefore, while the Government pretended to prevent men from espousing the cause of Spain, it was really abetting that cause by interposing an edict against the enlistment of Englishmen in the armies of the colonists. As in the present instance, he said, strict impartiality was observed only when they interfered in neither case. He had fully expected, when the hon. and gallant Officer opposite (Sir George Murray) commenced his eloquent description of the enthusiasm with which he regarded the Portuguese, while evincing their courage and patriotism in defending their country from the invasion of the Peninsula by that despot who had already overrun Europe with his armies; and after the warm and glowing description he gave of the scenes which occurred occasionally between the armies of Portugal and of Britain, he had fully expected, he said, that the hon. and gallant Officer would have concluded by giving a different vote from 181 that which he had expressed his intention of recording. Did the hon. and gallant Officer believe that such a resistance would have then been opposed to the masses of the enemy by those brave troops, or that they would have fought so heroically against the formidable powers of Napoleon, or have entrenched themselves with the gallant Officer himself, within the lines of Lisbon, if they had thought the present state of things was to be the result of that struggle—if they had thought that an untitled tyrant was to be seated on the throne which was first vacated by his own treacheries towards her of whom, and of whose rights, he had solemnly sworn to be the protector and guardian? Could the right hon. and gallant Officer believe that those armies would have entered heartily into the cause of that species of Government which England sent him out to defeat and to overthrow? When the present ruler of Portugal arrived there, professing to come with a purpose to establish better things, and the Portuguese received him as the protector of the rights of the Queen of Portugal, did the right hon. and gallant Officer believe that if they had known that such a profession was but a pretence, in order to usurp the throne, they would have aided in establishing his despotism, and of defending the rights he had usurped? Considerations of that kind ought to be sufficient to prevent the interference of the British House of Commons with the course which our people might choose to take in the approaching conflict, although the House might know on which side the common feelings, and the popular love of freedom, that happily prevailed among Englishmen, might incline them to enlist. When it was said, that an appeal to Reform and the general policy of this country was made by way of meeting a motion which related only to Portugal, he should like to know, what had the right hon. Gentleman, who brought it forward done to direct the attention of the House to the subject? Did he not begin by tracing up the whole public conduct of the noble Lord, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in this House, from 1828 to the present hour? Had he not charged that noble Lord with importing, with "mischievous consistency," into the Cabinet those doctrines which he maintained while in Opposition? He heartily congratulated all those who were open to the charge of such "mischievous 182 consistency," which, much to his honour, the noble Lord had so unquestionably displayed. But had not the right hon. Gentleman gone on to charge his noble friend further with having sacrificed office for the sake of those principles? Although it was not for them to advert to these things in their own praise, yet, when they were introduced into a discussion by their adversaries, they were not to run away from them. He was sure they were charges, especially the last, of the sacrifice of office to the consistency of political principles, which might be met without a blush; but were they not, at the same time, the means of introducing questions very wide of the professed object of the present Motion? He had no doubt that, when the right hon. Gentleman came to reply, he would readily admit that his Motion had for its object nothing less than to bring into question the whole line of foreign policy which had been pursued by his Majesty's present Government.
said, there never was an occasion when the hon. and learned Gentleman (Sir Charles Wetherell) was so little likely to make the House exert its inquisitorial powers as the present. The case was one in every way proper to be left to the discretion of the Ministers; and the Statute itself had given them a large discretionary power under similar circumstances. If, upon a view of the whole subject, the Government were of opinion that it was not a case to prosecute, the Act of Parliament fully warranted them to refrain from prosecuting. But his more immediate object was, to take notice of the sort of defence of the prosecution of M. Bonhomme, for the profanation of the Cathedral at Coimbra, which had been set up by the hon. member for the University of Oxford. He admitted that the hon. Gentleman had displayed considerable zeal on the occasion; but he had not shown much discretion. The monks, it was evident, did not prosecute on the ground of its being an offence to the Church; for the sentence was pronounced on the 11th of December, 1830, no arrest having been made until September in the same year, although the offence was committed so early as the beginning of April, 1828. It was an accusation brought against M. Bonhomme, in common with a number of Portuguese men and women, for going behind the curtain of the great altar of the Church of Coimbra in the afternoon 183 of Holy Thursday, during divine service. Every Gentleman, who was at all acquainted with Catholic countries, knew that the service was continuous during the whole of that week, both by day and by night. But this Gentleman was not prosecuted till eight months afterwards. It was not the least remarkable circumstance connected with this transaction, that the monks of Coimbra commenced the prosecution in the month of June, 1828, but no arrest was made till September 1830; nor even then, until it had been discovered that the offender was a member of a Freemason's Lodge; that was the great gravamen of the charge against him. It was curious to observe how extremes meet. If there were Protestant monks at Oxford, as well as Catholic monks at Coimbra, he had no doubt they would have all been prepared to put down freedom, and punish the scoffer, not on account of his scoffing, but for his adherence to the cause of liberal opinions. He must now advert to a remark which fell from the right hon. Gentleman, the member for Tamworth (Sir Robert Peel). He spoke of Don Miguel as being the free choice of the Portuguese people. That certainly was not the case; for he was imposed upon them by the presence of an English army. Having solemnly taken an oath to be faithful to his niece, the young Queen of Portugal, he came to England, where he was received as Regent, acting in her name; and here he repeated the pledge of his fidelity and allegiance. No sooner did he leave this country, on his return to Portugal with that oath yet upon his lips, than he violated this most solemn pledge, by putting out of place all the firm friends of the Constitution which he had sworn to uphold, and by making his arrangements with deliberation and forethought, and adding cruelty to perjury to usurp the throne, which he had so recently bound himself to preserve for his lawful sovereign. He then completed his crimes by seating himself on the throne of his niece. There was no one who had the hardihood in that House to call himself the defender of such a wretch, but he (Mr. O'Connell) would ask the House and the nation, whether, if this Motion should be carried, every friend of Don Miguel out of that House would not triumph at its success? Yes, it would be a source of triumph and of congratulation to the friends and adherents of that "perjured monster," as he had been called 184 in the French Chamber, who had robbed his niece of her just rights, had trampled on the liberties of his country, and had steeped the streets of Lisbon in blood. Was it to place such a wretch, a second Nero, on the throne of Portugal, that the people of that country had made that brave struggle against the arms of Napoleon which the right hon. Gentleman (Sir George Murray) had dwelt upon in such eloquent terms of admiration and of praise? Surely the brave men that then fought against the French invader little expected that a few years would see their country under the sway of such a creature as Don Miguel. No one, he repeated, had had the hardihood in that House to stand forward and avow himself the defender of such a bloody despot, and yet such was the virulence of party spirit, that although no man ventured to raise a voice in his defence, they were willing to give a vote for the maintenance of the power of one of the vilest wretches in existence.
was anxious to state the different grounds from those taken by the last two speakers, upon which he should vote against the Motion. He must say, that whatever feelings Gentlemen might entertain, he did not think it becoming the character of that House that such language as had been heard should be applied to foreign sovereigns. Neither could he follow his hon. and learned friend, the Attorney General, in his warlike propensities. He did not think that the subjects of any State should be authorized to take up arms against their fellow-creatures, without any other cause or motive than their martial spirit, unless sanctioned by the supreme authority of the country. He did not wish the warlike spirit of the inhabitants of this country to be encouraged by what had not inaptly been called a free trade in war. He was sure Gentlemen on the side of the House on which he was (the Ministerial) would agree upon this point with the late Mr. Fox, whose expression was, that he preferred the worst of all peace to the best of all war. He did not, therefore, agree with the Attorney General, that it was proper to allow the subjects of this country to make war upon others whenever they might find occasion. He could not approve of the extremities to which the French government had gone in seizing the Portuguese fleet. But, at the same time, the present Government of England had many difficulties to deal 185 with, which rendered it hard for them to know where to draw a line. He, therefore, could not agree to the present Motion for papers, knowing, as he did, the full meaning of such motions on a question like this. He had been ten years a Member of that House, and was too old a bird to be caught by such chaff. The effect of carrying the Motion would be the expression of a general dissent on the part of that House from the foreign policy of the Government. In this he was not prepared to join; for, although he saw here and there faults, yet, considering the difficulties they had had to encounter, he could not come to such a vote.
§ Mr. Courtenay
was too sensible of the indulgence he had experienced in a former part of the evening and too well contented with the state in which the debate had been left, especially by his right hon. friend (Sir Robert Peel) to feel himself at liberty to allude to any topics that had arisen out of this debate, except those which fairly called upon him for an answer. The object of his Motion had been misrepresented throughout the debate. More exaggeration, in any statements delivered in this House, never occurred than was employed by the noble Lord opposite (Lord Palmerston), when he said that this Motion had had for its object the consideration of the whole system of foreign policy pursued by his Majesty's Ministers. He would venture to say, that not one word of his speech bore upon any part of that policy, except so far as regarded Portugal; and even with respect to our policy towards Portugal, the Motion affirmed nothing, except a disposition to preserve a strict neutrality. After the speeches from hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House that evening, the necessity of coming to some vote upon the subject of neutrality appeared to him more pressing than ever. He thought the words of the King's Speech, of which he had already complained, justified his suspicions that neutrality was not the line of policy contemplated by his Majesty's Ministers. And although the Secretary for Ireland had made a declaration in favour of neutrality, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs had carefully abstained from it. In answer to the observation of the right hon. Secretary for Ireland, he begged to observe, that the right hon. Secretary was mistaken in supposing that he was aware that this Motion would not 186 be granted. He did not think so; and most assuredly he would not withdraw it. But he wished it to be taken for what it was meant; that was to say, a motion for further information, and nothing more. When the noble Viscount (Palmerston), made a similar motion on a former occasion, he did not require Parliament to pronounce an opinion, but only called for papers.* In the same spirit he now proposed his Motion; and he hoped that not a very small minority would be found to agree in sentiment with him upon a subject so essential to the peace, prosperity, and security of the country.
§ The House divided: Ayes 139; Noes 274—Majority 135.
|List of the AYES.|
|ENGLAND.||Denison, W. J.|
|A1thorp, Viscount||Denman, Sir T.|
|Anson, Sir G.||Dundas, Sir R. L.|
|Atherley, Arthur||Dundas, Hon. J. C.|
|Baillie, James E.||Dundas, Hon. T.|
|Baring, Sir T.||Easthope, J.|
|Baring, Francis T.||Ebrington, Viscount|
|Bayntun, S. A.||Ellice, E.|
|Beaumont, T. W.||Ellis, W.|
|Benett, John||Etwall, Ralph,|
|Bentinck, Lord G.||Evans, Col. de L.|
|Berkeley, Captain||Evans, W.|
|Bernal, Ralph||Evans, W. B.|
|Blake, Sir F.||Ewart, W.|
|Blamire, W.||Fazakerley, J. N.|
|Blount, E.||Foley, Hon. T. H.|
|Blunt, Sir C.||Folkes, Sir W. Bart.|
|Bouverie, Hon. D. P.||Fordwich, Lord|
|Bouverie, Hon. P. P.||Fox, Lieut-Colonel|
|Briscoe, John I.||Gordon, Robert|
|Brougham, James||Graham, Rt. Hn. Sir J.|
|Brougham, William||Grant, Rt. Hon. Robt.|
|Bulkeley, Sir R. W.||Guise, Sir B. W.,|
|Buller, J. W.||Handley, W. F.|
|Bulwer, Edward E, L.||Harcourt, G. G.|
|Burton, Henry||Harvey, D. W.|
|Buxton, T. F.||Hawkins, J. H.|
|Byng, Sir J.||Heneage, G. F.|
|Byng, George||Heron, Sir R.|
|Byng, G. S.||Heywood, B.|
|Calvert, N.||Hodges, T. L.|
|Campbell, J.||Hodgson, J.|
|Carter, John B.||Horne, Sir Wm.|
|Cavendish, Lord||Hoskins, Kedgwin|
|Cavendish, Hon. C.||Howard, H.|
|Chichester, J. P. B.||Howard, P. H.|
|Clive, Edward B.||Howick, Viscount|
|Cradock, Col.||Hudson, T.|
|Crampton, P. C.||Hughes, Col.|
|Creevey, T.||Hume, J.|
|Cripps, Joseph||Hunt, H.|
|Cunliffe, Offley||Ingilby, Sir W. A.|
|Curteis, Herbert B.||James, W.|
|Davies, Col. T. H.||Jerningham, Hon. H.|
|* Parl. Debates, vol. xxiii. p, 76.|
|Johnstone, Sir J.B.||Russell, Lieut.-Col.|
|Jones, J.||Russell, W.|
|Kemp, Thomas R.||Sandon, Viscount|
|King, E. B.||Sanford, E. A.|
|Knight, H. G.||Schonswar, G.|
|Knight, R.||Scott, Sir E. D.|
|Labouchere, H.||Sebright, Sir J.|
|Langston, J. H.||Skipwith, Sir G.|
|Lawley, Francis||Smith, G. R.|
|Lee, J. L. H.||Smith, J. A.|
|Lefevre, C. S.||Smith, R. V.|
|Leigh, T. C.||Spencer, Hon. Capt.|
|Lemon, Sir C.||Stanhope, Capt. R. H.|
|Lennard, F. B.||Stanley, Lord|
|Lennox, Lord A.||Stanley, Rt. Hn. E.G.|
|Lennox, Lord G.||Stanley, J.|
|Lennox, Lord W.||Staunton, Sir G. Bart.|
|Lister, B. L.||Stephenson, H. F.|
|Littleton, E.J.||Stewart, Patrick M.|
|Lumley, J. S.||Strickland, G.|
|Lushington, Dr. S.||Strutt, E.|
|Maberley, Col. W. L.||Stuart, Lord D.|
|Macaulay, T. B.||Stuart, Lord P. J.|
|Macdonald, Sir J.||Surrey, Earl of,|
|Mackintosh, Sir J.||Talbot, C. R. M.|
|Mangles, J.||Tennyson, C.|
|Marjoribanks, S.||Thicknesse, R.|
|Marryatt, J.||Thomson, Rt. Hon. P.|
|Marshall, W.||Thompson, P. B.|
|Mayhew, W.||Tomes, J.|
|Milbank, M.||Torrens, Colonel R.|
|Mildmay, P. H.||Townley, R, G.|
|Mills, J.||Townshend, Lord C.|
|Milton, Viscount||Tracy, C. H.|
|Moreton, Hon. H.||Troubridge, Sir E.|
|Newark, Viscount||Tynte, C. K. K.|
|Noel, Sir Gerard,||Tyrrell, C.|
|North, F.||Venables, Ald.|
|Norton, C. F.||Vernon, Hon. G. J.|
|Nowell, A.||Vernon, G. H.|
|Nugent, Lord||Villiers, T. H.|
|Ord, W.||Vincent, Sir F.|
|Paget, Sir C.||Waithman, Ald.|
|Paget, T.||Walrond, B.|
|Palmer, C. F.||Warburton, H.|
|Palmerston, Viscount||Warre, J. A.|
|Pelham, Hon. C. A.||Wason, R.|
|Pendarvis, E. W. W.||Waterpark, Lord|
|Penleaze, J. S.||Watson, Hon. R.|
|Pepys, C. C.||Webb, Col. E.|
|Petit, L. H.||Wellesley, Hn. W. L.|
|Petre, Hon. E.||Western, C. C.|
|Phillipps, Sir R. B.||Weyland, Major R.|
|Phillips, C. M.||Whitmore, W. W.|
|Philips, G. R.||Wilbraham, G.|
|Ponsonby, Hon. J.||Wilde, T.|
|Poyntz, W. S.||Williams, Sir J.|
|Price, Sir R.||Williams, J.|
|Ramsbottom, J.||Williams, W. A.|
|Ramsden, J. C.||Williamson, Sir H.|
|Rickford, W.||Willoughby, Sir H.|
|Rider, T.||Wood, C.|
|Robarts, A. W.||Wood, John|
|Robinson, Sir G.||Wood, Ald.|
|Rooper, J. B.||Wrightson, W. B.|
|Russell, Lord John||Wrottesley, Sir J.|
|Russell, Sir R. G.||Warrender, Sir G.|
|Adam, Admiral C.||Grattan, H.|
|Agnew, Sir A., Bart.||Hill, Lord A.|
|Dixon, J.||Hill, Lord G. A.|
|Ferguson, R.||Howard, R.|
|Gillon, W. D.||Jephson, C. D. O.|
|Grant, Rt. Hon. C.||Killeen, Lord|
|Haliburton, Hn. D. G.||King, Hon. R.|
|Jeffrey, Rt. Hon. F.||Knox, Hon. Col. J. J.|
|Johnstone, A.||Lamb, Hon. G.|
|Johnstone, J.||Leader, N. P.|
|Johnstone, J. J. H.||Macnamara, W.|
|Loch, J.||Mullins, F.|
|Mackenzie, S.||O'Connell, D.|
|M'Leod, R.||O'Connell, M.|
|Ross, H.||O'Connor, D.|
|Sinclair, G.||O'Farrell, R. M.|
|Stewart, Sir M. S.||O'Neil, Hon. Gen. J.|
|Stewart, E.||Ossory, Earl of,|
|Trail, G.||Ponsonby, Hon. G.|
|Acheson, Viscount||Rice, Right Hn. T. S.|
|Belfast, Earl of,||Ruthven, E. S.|
|Bodkin, J. J.||Sheil, R. L.|
|Boyle, Hon. J.||Walker, C. A.|
|Brabazon, Viscount||Wallace, T.|
|Browne, J.||Westenra, Hon. H.|
|Brownlow, C.||White, Col. H.|
|Carew, R. S.||White, S.|
|Chapman, M. L.||Wyse, T.|
|Chichester, Sir A.||TELLERS.|
|Clifford, Sir A.||Duncannon, Visct.|
|Copeland, Ald.||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Doyle, Sir J. M.|