§ Colonel Davies
rose to bring forward the Motion of which he had given notice as to the Relations of this country with Portugal. He began by assuring the House, that he had never risen to address it under feelings of such embarrassment as at that moment. The importance of the question he had to submit was so great, as on it would depend whether his Majesty's Government should continue to pursue that course which, in his opinion, happily for the country, it had hitherto pursued with respect to our foreign relations, or whether this country was to return once more into the train of the Holy Alliance. These considerations would be a source of embarrassment to him in bringing forward this subject on any occasion, but he confessed that his difficulties were increased from what had occurred in the other House of Parliament. As a plain straightforward course was the most manly, and at the same time the safest to be pursued, he would at once avow, that his great object on this occasion was to counteract, by a vote of that House, the prejudicial effect of the vote which had been come to a few evenings before in the other House of Parliament. No man could deprecate more than he did the bringing about any collision between the two Houses of Parliament: nothing was therefore further from his wish on this occasion. He admitted, in its fullest extent, the right of the other House to express its opinion on any public question; but he claimed the same 392 right for the House of Commons, as representing the people of the United Kingdom, and he felt that the House was particularly called upon to express its opinion on this occasion; for if the Commons remained silent, the people of this country, as well as foreigners, would think they were so from an acquiescence in what had been done elsewhere. He was also anxious that the House, by its vote, should show to Portugal, to Europe, and to the world, that the people of England, enjoying as they did the blessings of freedom, did not wish to withhold from other nations a participation in similar blessings. It had been made a matter of charge in another place that the Government of this country had not acted with impartiality towards the present government of Portugal, but that it had permitted improper interference by subjects of this country in the contest now going on in Portugal. It might be well for the friends of Don Miguel to state this, and to create an impression that this country had a hostile feeling towards the interests of Portugal. No statement could have less foundation in fact, for it was unfair to identify the interests of the people of Portugal with those of Don Miguel and his adherents. The circumstances which had immediately preceded the usurpation of Don Miguel in Portugal were so well known, that he would not pay the House so bad a compliment as to think it necessary to go into them in detail. It was, however, necessary that he should refer to a few of the leading events connected with that usurpation. The hon. and gallant Member here stated those events; comprising the assumption by Don John, the father of Dons Pedro and Miguel, of the title of Emperor of Brazil along with that of king of Portugal and the Algarves—the transmission of those titles to his eldest son Don Pedro, and their recognition by the several powers of Europe—the resignation of the title of king of Portugal and the Algarves by Don Pedro in favour of his daughter. Donna Maria—the recognition of that act by the powers of Europe—the arrangement which followed it, that Don Miguel should marry his niece, Donna Maria, and thus share with her the throne of Portugal, his sister being regent until Donna Maria was of age—the grant of a Constitution to Portugal by Don Pedro, which was brought over by the British 393 Ambassador to Brazil, and the acceptance of that Constitution, with very few dissentients, by the people of Portugal. It was, he observed, unfortunate, that so much confidence should have been placed in Don Miguel after what was then known of his conduct in his rebellion against his father, for which he was banished from Portugal; and certainly his conduct since that event had fully shown how much that confidence was misplaced; for after he had sworn more than twice to maintain the constitution and to uphold the rights of his niece, and while he was taking a fourth oath in this country to the same effect, he was planning the overthrow of that constitution, and the usurpation of that authority. In this attempt he at last succeeded by the aid of the priests; but it should be recollected that British troops had, however unwillingly on their part, been made instrumental to the success of his usurpation, for when that event took place (Mr. Canning having then ceased to exist, and the Government being in the hands of the Duke of Wellington), orders were sent out by Lord Aberdeen, then Secretary for Foreign Affairs, to the commanders of the British troops in Lisbon, that they were to protect the person of Don Miguel from any violence—orders which had the effect of silencing the opposition of those who would otherwise have asserted the rights of the lawful sovereign Donna Maria. That young lady had been fully recognised by the powers of Europe as Queen de jure, and from the extensive portion of the dependencies of Portugal over which she had actual dominion, and being also recognised in the second city of Portugal, she might be called Queen de facto. Seeing this, he thought that this country would be justified in interfering by force to expel the usurper from Portugal; but, on grounds of expediency, that course was not adopted. A justifiable ground of interference on our part did, however, exist, arising from the outrageous acts of insane violence which had been committed by Don Miguel's authority on the persons of British subjects. One instance of this violence was on the person of a British subject, and for no other offence than having in his possession the insignia of a freemason. The possession of these did not prove a man to be a freemason; but even if he were a freemason, he was not aware of any law 394 which made it criminal in a British subject to belong to that society. But the outrage of Don Miguel on British persons and property did not rest there; he violated the commercial treaties with this country by raising the duties on British goods imported in foreign vessels, and detained several British ships and their crews for an alleged violation of the blockade of Terceira. For all these outrages no redress had been given, though it had been more than once demanded. On the 3rd of August preceding the change of the Duke of Wellington's Administration Lord Aberdeen called on the government of Portugal for redress, by the immediate restoration of the British vessels seized at Terceira; but no attention was paid to that demand. On the 2nd of November following, his Majesty was made, in his speech to both Houses, to say; '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 had so long existed between the two countries.'* Now that was a speech delivered at the time when the Duke of Wellington was at the head of the Government, and when Lord Aberdeen was Foreign Secretary, and yet the instructions there alluded to were not attended with any effect. From that time, too, nothing had been done to restore those relations of friendship which were essential to the prosperity of both countries. Much stress had been laid on the violation of the Foreign Enlistment Bill, and on the inertness of Ministers in not preventing those infractions of the law; but he would beg to ask, how had it happened that none of the acts now complained of had been objected to before They were matters of public notoriety; they were done in the open day, and accounts of them regularly appeared in the newspapers. How happened it then, he asked, that these complaints had not been made before this time? Or why should they be made now, having been so long passed over in silence? He was unwilling to attribute motives to any man; but he could not but regard the notice taken of these things at this particular time, as an* Hansard, vol. i. Third Series, p. 9.395 indication that the Motion on which they were introduced had been made for party purposes, and that these matters had been with held until some opportunity should present itself of using them with the view to drive Ministers from their places. Was it at all improbable that, as it was known that certain popular measures were about to be sent up from this House, it might have been considered a good thing to strangle those measures by ousting Ministers, under a pretence very different from the real motive. The object of the noble person who had brought forward the Motion elsewhere was, no doubt, to turn out the Ministers. That was a fair and legitimate motive when pursued by fair means; but When one of those means was a charge of a violation of good faith, he would ask, had the conduct of those who made the charge been so very pure on every occasion as to constitute them fit and proper persons to bring it forward? Those who charged the present Ministers with a breach of neutrality had themselves acted more strongly. They had sent out an array to Portugal, not, indeed, to take a part in the disputes of that country, but in compliance with the terms of ancient treaties, to prevent its invasion by a Spanish force. Nothing had since been done by his Majesty's Government that went beyond that act. But if the present Government had manifested a strong and decided feeling against the party of Don Miguel, would it have been an extraordinary circumstance? Had not the Miguelites fired on British vessels that were merely occupied in trading transactions? What, too, he would ask, had been the conduct of the Spanish government on that occasion? Had not their armies approached the Portuguese frontiers, and had they not afforded supplies to one of the belligerent parties? Under all the circumstances, he conceived his Majesty's Government had not taken an improper part, and therefore, he was anxious that they should be supported by the vote of that House. He felt convinced that if the decision of the other branch of the Legislature were not quickly met by an opposite vote, emanating from that House, twenty-four hours would not elapse, after the declaration made in another place was known, before a Spanish army would cross the Portuguese frontier. Surely, therefore, they ought to stand forward in order to prevent such a catastrophe—a catastrophe which might be the means of 396 plunging this country and all Europe into war. In 1826 Mr. Canning had said, that if a single Spanish column passed the Portuguese frontier, this country was bound immediately to interfere; and, assuredly, if the principle were a just one at that time, it was no less just and politic now. At the present moment they saw the Russian eagle hovering over Constantinople, after having beaten down unhappy Poland—they saw the Austrians oppressing Italy—and they saw Prussia only seeking for an opportunity to put down all free institutions. Would they, would the people of England, at such a moment, lend their aid to crush the spark of liberty which had been ignited in a little corner, in a little nook, of Europe? He hoped they would not lend themselves to any such object, and that they would have the satisfaction of feeling, that if they had not assisted the struggling Portuguese, at least they had not been guilty of opposing their efforts in the cause of freedom. The gallant Member concluded by moving, "That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, expressing to his Majesty the regret felt by this House at the continuance of hostilities in Portugal, and their grateful acknowledgment of the judicious policy which his Majesty has pursued with reference to the affairs of that country."
§ Viscount Morpeth
rose to second the Motion which had been recommended to the House in a speech of so much ability, by his hon. and gallant friend. The last time that the question of Portuguese affairs had been brought before the House, it had been sustained so triumphantly in argument, as well as carried so overwhelmingly by votes, in favour of the conduct of Government in those affairs, that he was not surprised, putting every thing else out of view, that the next Motion introduced was a motion not to arraign, but to avow and confirm their policy. Indeed, it seemed to him that if any person, either a contemporary witness or a future peruser of these transactions, could question the entire propriety of the Resolution before the House, it would arise from a doubt whether this country had assumed a moral attitude sufficiently elevated—had exhibited a moral countenance sufficiently constant to the Sovereign whose rights she had unequivocally acknowledged—sufficiently constant to the parties alone whose hopes she had inevitably encouraged—sufficiently constant to the principles which she must 397 approve and cherish, because they were alike the principles of truth and of freedom, and were those she herself professed. Convinced, however, of that imperious obligation which compelled the conduct of governments to be regulated, not by the temptations of the particular case, but by the maxims of a general rule, where the tendency of this rule was obviously to preserve the invaluable blessings of peace, he would bow to the stern necessity of the case, and admit the propriety of our Government maintaining a neutrality even during the late glorious struggles of Poland to burst her galley chains, even pending the resistance now made to the usurpation of Don Miguel. Under the circumstances, however, of the present contest in Portugal, he was sure that the House—that the country—would be of opinion that over forbearance and passiveness ought not to extend one inch beyond what was strictly necessary. As matter of charge was brought against the Government, to them, of course, it would be wise and proper to leave the details and minutiæ of their defence. All he should say was, that, from all that had reached him of the generaltenour of their intended vindication, he thought it was perfectly satisfactory, and even more so than he had been induced to expect—he would not say more so than he wished. It appeared to him that as a Government they had committed no act which was decidedly in favour of either contending party. In this, then, they had proceeded in conformity with their own recognized principle; but they had suffered the usual interchanges of trade with respect to military stores to be carried on without respect to either party, and both parties had availed themselves of the benefit. As to the men, they had left it open to those with whom they had no concern to enlist themselves equally on either side, and the proportion had been regulated by the sympathies of mankind. He would admit, that with those on whose services they had a claim, the case was different; the party so enlisting acting under a penalty, which he had no doubt, on mature and complete proof of the fact, would be exacted; and under the same circumstances it was plain, that in common fairness the precedent of Admiral Sartorius must be applied to the case of Captain Napier. He would not conceal from himself that an independent question might arise as to how far a man was justified in 398 the eye of Heaven for taking up arms in any case, save that of his country, which must always be deemed to rest on the ground of national defence: as any act of individual violence could only be justified on the ground of personal defence; and then the question followed as to how far the nation ought to take charge of individual responsibility and conscience by interfering to prevent what was thus assumed to be wrong. He trusted this view of the subject would receive its due consideration, but assured he was, that the question itself rested on higher grounds than any which had been called as yet in question, and did not mix itself up with any dispute upon neutrality, he would admit, that it would be both a superfluous and an easy employment to heap terms of vituperation upon Don Miguel; but it might be asked, on the other hand, whether there were not those in whose eyes he might appear clothed with certain redeeming attributes? They had heard much of Don Miguel being the choice of the people and the delight of the Portuguese. It had been published in 1831, that upon a calculation it was found there were in the prisons and hulks of Portugal, or transported as convicts, 27,000 individuals; of those emigrating to avoid his vengeance there were no less than 13,000; and in hiding-places in Portugal there were between 4,000 and 5,000. Thus it appeared, that out of a population not exceeding 2,600,000, there were not less than 45,000 victims of political resentment, whom, no doubt, these partisans of Don Miguel would, perhaps, include amongst those who, as they alleged, testified universal acquiescence in the dominion of the usurper. Perhaps it would not be improper for him to read the following extract from Mr. Young's work, who visited Portugal about that time, to acquaint the House what was the real state of society there. Mr. Young said, "The streets of Lisbon were crowded with soldiers, day and night, authorizing the mob to insult whoever they pleased, and those who made any resistance to be conveyed to prison. Each police soldier had anginlos (little angels or thumb-screws) in his pocket, and I saw about this time several respectable-looking people escorted to prison with these instruments of torture affixed to them. They often screwed them till the blood started from under the nails; I have heard them crying with agony as they 399 went along." Don Miguel might, indeed, be stained with rebellion, usurpation, tyranny, and murder. He might combine all that we read, and all that we could imagine, of the most detestable models in ancient history—the sullen perfidy of Tiberius, with the sanguinary sportiveness of Commodus; but no matter; somehow or other, despite of this world of charges and accusations, he represented the Conservative interests in Portugal. And further, he reflected, it would seem, those interests in Spain. In him were centered the hopes of absolutists, and the perpetuity of priestcraft.His birth, his titles, crowds and courts confess;Chaste matrons praise him, and grave bishops bless.Grave bishops! He would say one word on that subject. He trusted, indeed he knew, he was by no means wanting in attachment and fidelity to the establishment of which he was a Christian member, and he had not hesitated to profess that attachment, as well as respect and forbearance, towards the heads of that Church, in places and at times when it was not very convenient or easy for him to do so; but when he found that those right rev. persons, who had declared to the other House, that it would not be discreet in them to legislate for the better observance of the Sabbath (be it observed he did not quarrel with them for that opinion so delivered, still less with the very eminent person from whom it proceeded); whilst at the same moment a portion of that right reverend Bench—happy was he to say but a portion, and that not headed by their natural leaders or their brightest ornaments—did not find it beyond their praise or beneath their care, not merely to interpose on a nice, a complicated question of worldly policy, but to inculcate greater forbearance on the part of Britain in favour of a cause built upon the disregard of every obligation, and stained by the Commission of every crime. He might ask, what infatuation induced them to convert the support of those who were most ready to proffer it into coldness and alienation? Into the many collateral topics which might suggest themselves in the present posture of affairs, he did not feel it his duty to enter. As for any apprehension which might arise respecting a permanent change in the system and principle of government, he was persuaded, after an emphatic declaration by that House upon the particular point at issue, 400 and the full, and precise, and satisfactory declaration of his noble friend, the Foreign Secretary of State, the other night, that no person could take it into his head to conceive that any serious consequences could possibly follow from so preposterous and absurd a matter. Weightier and more serious affairs awaited their deliberation and decision; and whilst they proceeded to encounter these with all the care and consideration they demanded, he confidently trusted that no efforts of party tactics, or of ambition could distract those, who, in the moment of need, would form the stoutest rampart against revolution, from that march of steady improvement in which at present reposed the only prospect of our national safety.
§ Sir Henry Hardinge
conceived that his best apology to the House for trespassing on their notice would be furnished by the fact of his long acquaintance with and residence in the country alluded to; his having worn the uniform of Portugal, and having had the command of a brigade of Portuguese, than whom he knew no allies more faithful or soldiers more brave and gallant. They were not called on to decide on the character of Don Miguel or of Don Pedro, and of the cruelties and miseries he inflicted on the Portuguese people. He should not enter into the comparative merits of the two brothers; that was not the question here. The question was, whether the British Government had acted fairly towards the Portuguese government? Had they fulfilled the stipulations of strict neutrality which had been promised by his Majesty in his speech from the Throne? The question for them was, had strict neutrality been observed, or had it not? His hon. and gallant friend did not attempt a direct defence of the present Government. He defended them merely by recrimination; by an attack upon the conduct of the late Government; and he asked, what had the former Government done?—and instanced the conduct of a British army sent out to Portugal. For an answer to these observations he might refer his hon. and gallant friend to the noble Lord opposite (Lord Palmerston), who was in office when Mr. Canning sent troops out to Portugal. He was ready to admit that it was perfectly consistent in his hon. and gallant friend to advocate the propriety and justice of permitting the Portuguese to be assisted from this country, and of 401 allowing troops, arms, and ammunition to be sent out to them from the British ports. This was perfectly consistent in him, because he maintained the same principle before the passing of the Foreign Enlistment Bill. The present Ministers, however, could not justify themselves in the same way, because it was their duty to enforce the Foreign Enlistment Bill. In fact his hon. friend, from the beginning to the end of his speech, had said nothing to vindicate the conduct of Ministers, and he thought he should be able to show that they had acted with partiality towards Don Pedro. This might be a merit in the eyes of his hon. and gallant friend, but it was not in his. If it was right in a case of disputed succession to permit men to be enlisted here for one of the parties, even to sweep the poorhouses, as they lately heard—if it was right to permit arms and ammunition to be sent out—if this was once allowed they would soon see the harbours of this country converted into nests of pirates, to the disgrace of the nation and the annoyance of every civilised state. With regard to Don Miguel, he never did say, and never should say, any thing in his favour. It would be difficult, indeed almost impossible, to vindicate his conduct. But what was Don Pedro himself? Was he without reproach? He believed that he was in reality the competitor of Don Miguel for the throne of Portugal. The noble Lord (Lord Palmerston) might say that Donna Maria was the person entitled to the throne, and he would not be so ungallant as to insinuate that she was not every way worthy of it. He would say nothing derogatory to the claims of Donna Maria, whom from all he had heard, he must believe to be a most amiable young person. He believed, however, there was no person of common sense now in Europe who believed that Donna Maria would become Queen in the event of Don Pedro's success. France was in fact the protectress of Don Pedro, and if this country assisted in forwarding his objects the impolicy of such conduct must eventually recoil upon themselves. Were there, however, any good reasons for placing confidence in Don Pedro? It appeared to him to be quite the contrary. Don Pedro was the constitutional emperor of Brazil. How long after his recognition of the Constitution did he endeavour to break it? The consequence of his conduct was 402 that he was expelled from his dominions. He commenced his political career in South America by an attack upon the principles of American independence in the La Plata. It was commenced in views of ambition and it ended in plunder. How many hundred thousand pounds had British merchants lost in consequence of his conduct? He invited Germans over to the Brazils to settle as colonists there. About 600 went in consequence of this invitation, but they were very soon after pressed into his service in the army. One of these Germans for some alleged offence was punished with 500 lashes. What was his conduct to the Irish regiments which had been crimped into his service? His last act in the La Plata was one of plunder; and his last act towards the people of this country was one of swindling perpetrated against British merchants, whose money he diverted from the objects for which it was advanced to personal purposes. Had he then any personal merits which could induce them to treat him favourably? They certainly had nothing to do with the honour or the personal merits of either of the brothers. Their first consideration ought to be what was the conduct of the British Government, and what was their duty? The King in his Speech had pledged himself not to interfere, but to observe a strict neutrality. Now was this done? He must say, that he could not give credit to the noble Lord (Lord Palmerston) for the observance of a strict neutrality. He felt convinced that interference of a most direct kind had taken place, and was permitted. He might, in the first instance, mention the case of the three vessels which were permitted to leave the shores of this country. The proofs brought before the Commissioners were so strong that the vessels were detained. Government, however, gave directions for their immediate release. He had seen upon this point the opinions of several of the most eminent legal characters, and they all entertained no doubt that if adjudication had taken place these vessels would have been condemned. Where was, then, the neutrality? This surely did not prove it. But this was not all. Not less than 1,600 recruits were recently sent out to Don Pedro from British ports. Captain Napier being the avowed agent in the business. Was this neutrality? Was it neutrality to permit 2,000 or 3,000 French 403 troops to arrive upon the shores of England, and, though they did not land, allow them to sail for Portugal to assist Don Pedro? Could facts of this kind leave any doubt whatever upon the subject? He could name not less than six or seven Members of that House to whom Captain Napier openly and plainly, as was natural to expect from a person of his profession, admitted the object for which the men were raised. This he admitted in the United Service Club. If neutrality meant impartiality, surely this was not neutrality. He did not pretend to be an etymologist; but, according to the best English authorities, he believed neutrality meant giving assistance to neither. It was not derived from ambo, but from neuter, and meant, as he should suppose, not that we were to aid both, but that we were to aid neither. He had the great authority of Sir William Scott for that meaning of the word neutrality. He said neutrality meant the withholding assistance from both parties, and in his speech on the Foreign Enlistment Bill said the object of it was to prevent such acts of assistance to any of two belligerent parties as might involve them in difficulties with other states. The noble Lord (Lord Palmerston), the President of the Board of Control, and the Judge Advocate voted for that Bill, and of course approved of the objects which were contemplated by it. The Judge Advocate upon that occasion, examined the opinions of Bynker shock. He proved Bynkershoek's authority to be wrong or misquoted; and as to Vattel, he quoted him as saying, "Shall I suffer the neutral, under a pretended neutrality, to do me all the mischief in his power? No, the law of nature, the law of nations, obliges me to be just, but does not condemn us to be dupes."* The right hon. Gentleman then added on that occasion—'A strict fulfilment of our engagements is due to Spain; otherwise Spain may turn round and say, "you call me base, and abject, and degraded; but if, after having plighted to me your neutrality, and while professing to keep that promise you keep it only to the ear; if, safe in your pretended neutrality, you take advantage of my weakness to overwhelm me; and all this while you are affecting a more than ordinary feeling for the rights, the interests, and the* Hansard, xl. P. 1246.404 honour of nations, then, however base, and abject, and degraded I may be, I shall have the consolation of knowing that there is one European government which has sunk itself to a point so low as to incur the just reproaches even of the degenerate kingdom of Spain.'* Now when his Majesty said in his speech that he had not and should not interfere, what inference were they to draw from such facts as those he stated? Was it neutrality to allow Don Pedro to draw from this country men, arms, and ammunition? He might be told that it was done not by Government, but by British merchants, in the pursuit of commercial objects. Suppose Spain were to permit the merchants of Cadiz to fit out vessels to convey men and arms to the assistance of Don Miguel, would it be considered as neutrality? Why was Lord William Russell sent out to the frontiers of Spain but for the purpose of seeing whether any troops were collecting there to send to the assistance of Don Miguel? Though they had no official papers upon the subject laid upon the Table, it was highly probable, from the document published by M. Zea Bermudez, that a strict neutrality, as regarded both the contending parties in Portugal, had been agreed upon between Spain and this country. Spain fulfilled her part of the engagement, but he believed it would be very difficult to prove that England had done the same. Don Pedro had been now in Oporto with his troops for nearly twelve months. If the Portuguese nation were favourable to the cause his daughter must by this time have been on the throne of Portugal. On the contrary, however, there yet appeared not the least reason to doubt the fidelity of Don Miguel's troops. Had Don Pedro been the favourite of the people they would ere this have risen en masse and placed him or his daughter on the throne. It was quite a matter of indifference to him whether Don Pedro or Don Miguel were successful; but he entertained friendly feelings towards the Portuguese people, and he did not like to see so many wrongs and miseries inflicted on them. It would be difficult for the Ministers to defend their conduct. To call it neutrality was paltry and pettifogging. He could assure his noble friend (Lord Palmerston) that he used these words with precaution and* Hansard, xl. p. 1253.405 deliberation. They were not his words; they were the words used by Mr. Canning in a speech delivered by him on April 16, 1823, when Lord Althorp moved the repeal of the Foreign Enlistment Bill. 'If I wished,' said Mr. Canning, 'for a guide in a system of neutrality, I should take that laid down by America in the days of the Presidency of Washington and the Secretary ship of Jefferson. In 1793 complaints were made to the American Government, that French ships were allowed to fit out and arm in American ports, for the purpose of attacking British vessels, in direct opposition to the laws of neutrality. Immediately upon this representation the American government held that such a fitting out was contrary to the laws of neutrality, and orders were issued prohibiting the arming of any French vessel in American ports. I do not now pre tend to argue in favour of a system of neutrality; but, it being declared that we intend to remain neutral, I call upon the House to abide by that declaration so long as it shall remain unaltered. No matter what ulterior course we may be inclined to adopt—no matter whether at some ulterior period the honour and interests of the country may force us into a war—still, while we declare our selves neutral, let us avoid passing the strict line of demarcation. When war comes, if come it must, let us enter into it with all the spirit and energy which becomes us as a great and independent nation. That period, however, I do not wish to anticipate, and much less desire to hasten. If a war must come, let it come in the shape of satisfaction to be demanded for injuries, of rights to be asserted, of interests to be protected, of treaties to be fulfilled; but, in God's name, let it not come on in the paltry pettifogging way of fitting out ships in our harbours to cruize for gain. At all events let the country disdain to be sneaked into a war. Let us abide strictly by our neutrality, as long as we mean to adhere to it; and by so doing we shall, in the event of any necessity for abandoning that system, be the better able to enter with effect upon any other course which the policy of the country may require.'* He would also say with Mr. Canning, if the necessity for war* Hansard (new series) viii. p. 1057.406 should arrive, let us act straightforward; let not the honour of the country and the good faith of the King be compromised by allowing acts which were an open breach of neutrality. It did not appear to him that they had acted with good faith towards Spain, if, as M. Zea Bermudez asserted, Spain had acted with good faith in preventing any succours from reaching Don Miguel through that country. His hon. and gallant friend (Colonel Davies) contended, that men, arms, and ammunition might, without any breach of neutrality, be despatched from the shores of England to assist Don Pedro; but, in answer to his argument, he would refer him to the opinions maintained by Ministers themselves upon this point. His hon. and gallant friend said, that what occurred in another place originated in party motives. He knew nothing of what occurred there, or what was intended, until it took place; but he believed that the noble individual who brought forward the subject was utterly incapable of any left-handed course for the purpose of attaining either a personal or a political object. There was not living a person more direct and straightforward. It had been said in another place, that a gallant friend of his (Sir John Campbell) had used language towards the British Government and the Sovereign unbecoming a British soldier. He commanded a regiment of cavalry during the Peninsular war; he subsequently married in Portugal, and fixed his residence there, for he was attached to the people, as every person must be who knew them. As to his speaking disrespectfully of Ministers, Sir John Campbell was not the only person who did so. If Ministers frequented the places he did, they would have frequent opportunities of hearing themselves spoken of in the same way by as honourable a set of men as any living, and men, he believed, as unbiassed in their politics, as any in the country. If they had any bias, it was to the free and open expression of their opinions. His friend Sir John Campbell was a loyal man and a brave officer, whom he believed utterly incapable of saying anything disrespectful of a high and sacred person, and without further authority he could not believe that he used such language. He would again repeat, that it did not become the British Government to keep the people of Portugal so long in a state of high political excite- 407 ment. Let not mockery and insult be added to their other sufferings by saying that neutrality was observed. Let Ministers rather come forward boldly at once, and say: "We are determined to give you a Queen, and you shall have no Sovereign but of our appointment."—He should oppose the motion.
§ Mr. Robinson
said, that the other House of Parliament had a right to express its opinion on this subject; and having exercised its undoubted and constitutional privilege, it was neither necessary nor expedient to bring forward a motion like the present, the direct tendency of which was to place the Commons in collision with the Lords. Unless great temper and moderation were observed in both Houses, such a crisis would be unavoidable, and the effect must be, to embarrass any government that could be formed. His gallant colleague did not deny the right of the Lords to form and express an opinion on the subject of Portugal—why, then, call upon the Commons, in the midst of public business, to agree to a vote which was meant to cast a slur upon the other House? Besides, he objected to the Motion on the ground that it expressed approbation of the judicious course pursued by Ministers in the affairs of Portugal in the absence of any information on the subject. He regretted, therefore, that he could not agree in his gallant colleague's proposition. He deprecated such a vote, on the ground that it went not only to bring the Commons into collision with the Lords, but because its effect must be to create a feeling in the minds of Peers that there existed in that House of Parliament a disposition to interfere unnecessarily with the privileges of the other. It had been stated, that there was a short road by which to settle the question. Undoubtedly there was a short road from the top of a precipice to the bottom, but it might not be wise to take it. Was it a wise thing to accelerate a collision between two branches of the Legislature? In the contest now carrying on in Portugal, one party had been favoured to the exclusion of the other. He feared the result would be, that we should not acquire the respect or goodwill of either party. Don Miguel was naturally dissatisfied at our conduct, and the friends of Don Pedro did riot think we had gone far enough in their favour. He could interpret that significant look and cheer 408 of the right hon. Secretary—they implied that the dissatisfaction of the party of Don Pedro was a proof of the neutrality of Government. But all he (Mr. Robinson) contended for was, that our conduct had been such as to alienate from us the Portuguese of both parties. He did not know that Miguel was a usurper, but he was undoubtedly a perjurer, and disentitled to respect or support. Therefore he (Mr. Robinson) did not pursue his present course from any wish to side with Don Miguel. The Government, however, had offered to recognize Miguel if he would declare an amnesty. He did not know whether the present Government made that offer, but undoubtedly the former Government did. He thought that when Miguel assumed the supreme power, the British Government of the day might have displaced him, and that it would have saved considerable embarrassment, which subsequently occurred, if this course had been adopted. However, he did not know that Don Miguel might not be as fit to govern Portugal as Louis Philippe was to govern France. It appeared that there was great difference of opinion, not only on domestic questions, but on questions of foreign policy, between the two great branches of the Legislature. When they saw such differences existing, and there was no denying that they did exist, the greatest possible evil might be occasioned by bringing the two Houses of Parliament into collision. He repeated, that the existence of such differences of opinion was not to be denied. The noble Lord, the member for Devonshire, the other night stated that they were not only called upon to express their opinions on this subject, but that they were called upon to express an opinion diametrically opposite to that of the House of Lords upon it. Now, he would ask hon. Gentlemen, what would be gained by their coming to such a vote that night? He looked to the votes of that House, as they affected the country, and he would again ask what would be gained for the country by their coming to such a vote? He might be mistaken in his opinions, but they were opinions honestly and sincerely entertained. He would now consider such a vote as it affected the future policy of the country and his Majesty's Ministers. The vote to which the other House of Parliament had come called upon that House, it was said—so, indeed, his gallant 409 colleague had contended—to come to a vote of a directly opposite description. Now, where would be the use of placing this House in direct collision with the other House of Parliament on this occasion? But it was said, that if they did not do so, it would be thought by the world that the Commons of England were opposed to his Majesty's Ministers. Now it was well known to the world that the great majority of that House supported the views and measures of his Majesty's Government; and the vote to which his gallant colleague required the House to come was not necessary to establish that fact. What, he would repeat, would be gained by their coming to such a vote? Would it not have a tendency to create an indisposition amongst many noble Peers towards that branch of the Legislature? Would it not be said, that the result of such a vote was to call in question the rights and privileges of the other House of Parliament? For his part he could not conceive a proceeding more unworthy of the Legislature. Could any man conceive anything more mischievous to the country than the thus gratuitously bringing the two branches of the Legislature into collision? Was it consistent with the dignity of that House to act in such a manner? Would it be wise on its part to do so? Were they to set such a dangerous and undignified example? It had been stated out of doors, that last year this House had come to a resolution, under analogous circumstances, opposed to the determination of the House of Lords. He (Mr. Robinson) was one of those who voted in the majority on that occasion, but he would deny, that there was any analogy between the two cases. The case which then occurred was one of strong and pressing necessity. His Majesty's Ministers had tendered their resignations, and it was understood that his Majesty intended to accept them. Upon that occasion, thinking that it was necessary for the country that they should be retained in office, he had voted in the majority. But was there, he would ask, the least likelihood of a change of Ministers now? Was it not, in fact, notorious, that the Government would continue as it was at present constituted? Where, then, would be the use of coming to such a vote as this? This Motion called upon the House, without having the proper parliamentary evidence before it, to declare it as its 410 opinion, that the conduct of his Majesty's Government towards Portugal had been wise and judicious. Now, he (Mr. Robinson) was not prepared to concur in a vote of that kind; and if, before the close of the debate, no other hon. Member should do so, he would move, as an amendment on the original Motion, the previous question.
§ Lord John Russell
said, that the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had expressed opinions upon this subject, which he had no doubt were sincere and conscientious. In opposing the Motion, that hon. Member had laid the principal stress of his argument upon the danger of that House coming into collision with the other House of Parliament. Before he replied to that part of the hon. Gentleman's speech, he would just advert to some other points that had arisen in the course of the present debate. He would not say, that it was not necessary to discuss the character of Don Miguel, but that character had been so often discussed before, that it required but little illustration or remark to set it in its true light before the world. Indeed, he did not think that it was at all necessary to add a word to the condemnation which had been pronounced in the other House of Parliament not very long since by a noble Lord, then Secretary for Foreign Affairs, upon the conduct of that Prince, whom the noble Lord called false, cruel, and cowardly. There could not possibly be imagined any three qualities more disgraceful—qualities which could more degrade a man or a Prince than those which had been then enumerated by the noble Lord in question as distinguishing the character of Don Miguel. He would not say, whether or not the noble Lord had expressed himself in unusually strong terms in that instance, more especially considering the office which the noble Lord held at the time; but this he would say, that events which had happened since that period had most completely convinced him of the great discrimination which the noble Lord then evinced upon the subject. He would not say anything further regarding the character of that Prince beyond this, that it was not fair to assume that it should be matter of indifference to us. He was ready to admit that, generally speaking, such was the principle which should guide this country in such cases, and had we no more connexion with Portugal or with 411 Don Miguel than the United States of America had, it would have been perfectly consistent for us to have adopted the same course that they did without at all inquiring into the character of Don Miguel; but when it was recollected that Don Miguel had bound himself by a solemn treaty to this country and its allies, that he came over here, and in the presence of the Sovereign of this country made the most solemn promises to act as Regent and not as King, it was obvious that this country was called upon, in justice to itself and to its own honour, to keep a strict eye upon his character and conduct. This gross violation of all those solemn promises, thus made in the presence of the Sovereign of this country, was the reason that the conduct of Don Miguel did not, as it ought not, satisfy this country—was the reason that he had not entitled himself to the good opinion of this country, and that his recognition had been delayed up to the time when the present Ministers came into office. They then found, indeed, that the recognition had been proposed to him by their predecessors on the condition that he would grant an amnesty. A more unfortunate proposition there surely could not have been made. It was a condition, the fulfilment of which required at least the possession of good faith and humanity on the part of the person upon whom it was imposed, and it was a mere mockery to demand such a condition from a Prince who was notoriously deficient in both those requisite qualifications. The question then was, as the gallant member for Worcester had stated it, whether since that period, as we had not acknowledged Don Miguel, we had not preserved that neutrality which we were called upon to maintain? Now, upon the subject of neutrality and the course which had been pursued, the question was, whether or not this country had, as a State, furnished assistance to either of the contending parties? The question, he repeated, was, whether the State had furnished men, arms, or equipments, to both parties, or to either of them? Now, no one would dispute the necessity of the State, when determined to maintain a neutrality, abstaining from furnishing such assistance to either of the contending parties; but in arguments upon this question he had to observe that the State was not unfrequentiy confounded with the subjects of the State. Indeed, he had often heard quotations which meant no- 412 thing more than that the State should not assist either party, applied where such an application was most erroneous—namely, to the case of the subjects of the State assisting either party. With respect to the furnishing the munitions and equipments of war to belligerent parties by the subjects of the State, he believed that a neutrality of that kind had never been the policy of this country: he believed that we had never attempted to prevent our subjects from furnishing arms and ammunition to either party engaged in a contest with regard to which this country as a State preserved a neutrality; and he was convinced, that if we ever attempted to do so, such an attempt would not only produce great embarrassment in trade, but would lead us into actual collision with either one or other of the belligerent parties. If we were to say, that no arms or ammunition should go to Buenos Ayres because that State was at war with Peru, or to the Pacha of Egypt because he was at war with the Sultan, such a determination would lead to an impossibility of avoiding war. It had always been the practice of this country, therefore, to allow stores of all kinds to be exported, and, in this instance, certainly, they had been most impartially obtained by both parties. If we allowed stores and ammunition of war to go out to Don Pedro, they had also been allowed to go out to Don Miguel: a large quantity was sent to him by the Thetis. He received by that conveyance 600 shells and a gun, which had been recently purchased at Birmingham for 1,100l., and within the last three weeks shells had been discharged from that gun upon Oporto. It could not be said, that the Government was bound, because it was neutral, to interfere and prevent the sending out of such supplies. The interference would be sure to be interpreted by one party or the other as an act of partiality and as an infringement of neutrality. Although the Foreign Enlistment Bill had been passed to effect, amongst other objects, that of preventing individuals from supplying belligerent states with warlike stores, it had been found impossible, under its provisions to carry that object into effect. The right hon. Gentleman opposite had quoted the authority of Mr. Canning. Mr. Canning was certainly amongst the most forward in procuring the passing of the Foreign Enlistment Bill, but what had subsequently happened in Mr. Canning's 413 time, during the contest between Greece and the Porte? Was it not a notorious fact that steam-boats went out of this country with supplies of arms and ammunition for the Greeks against the Porte? When that fact was mentioned in the House of Commons, what was the defence made by Mr. Canning? He would quote the statement of Mr. Canning from a pamphlet which professed to give his very words on that occasion. He said: "Steamboats may go, but they must go without arms; and so, also, may arms as a matter of merchandise; and however strong a moral credence of their real destination we may have, by law we cannot stop them." Mr. Canning said, further," that unless the arms, the ammunition, and the vessel went out together, or could be shown to be connected together, they could not be stopped." In fact, Mr. Canning distinctly stated, "That if the parties so managed as to send out the vessels, and the ammunition and arms apart, and without a fixed destination, and then arranged to assemble and to combine them in some foreign port it was impossible for the Government to prevent their doing so." It was clear, then, that it was not possible, under the Foreign Enlistment Bill, to prevent the subjects of this State from sending out to either party, for the sake of the cause, or for the sake of profit, such munitions and equipments of war. He next came to the case of the subjects of this country engaging in the service of a foreign power. That, he believed, was the case as regarded the vessels detained by the Commissioners of Customs and to which reference had been made by the right hon. Gentleman. Those vessels were detained under an order from the Secretary of State for the Home Department, who, having been informed that a question had arisen regarding them, the issue of which was doubtful, ordered them to be detained until it was determined. They were accordingly detained by the Commissioners of Customs, and his Majesty's Ministers referred the case to the law officers of the Crown for their opinion upon it. The King's Advocate and the other law officers of the Crown to whom the case was referred gave it as their opinion that the information in this instance was too vague to authorise the detention of those vessels. The right hon. Gentleman told them that other lawyers had given a different opinion. He (Lord John Russell) would ask whether the Govern- 414 ment, instead of asking the opinion of the King's Advocate, and of the Attorney and the Solicitor General, should have gone to that learned person Sir C. Wetherell, and to other such learned persons for their opinion upon it? Were they to say to those learned persons: "We care not for the opinion of our own law officers, we want your opinion, and by it we will be guided in our conduct in this instance." The Government certainly could not be accused of adopting such an absurd course of proceeding. The law officers of the Crown having, then, given the opinion he had mentioned, nothing was left to his Majesty's Ministers but to tell the Commissioners of Customs to lot the vessels depart. They were all well aware that in the more ancient periods of our history it had not been the policy of this country to prevent its subjects from engaging in the service of foreign states. They—all of them who had heard or read the able and eloquent speech of Sir James Mackintosh on the Foreign Enlistment Bill—were aware that in the times of Elizabeth and of James 1st, such a principle as that of preventing the subjects of this country from engaging in the service of a foreign power had not only not been acted upon, but refused to be acted upon, even at the solicitation of Spain and France—that in the reign of James 1st, despite the remonstrances of Gondomar, the Spanish Ambassador, troops levied here were allowed to serve in Flanders against the Spaniards, and that, in fine, to use the words of his lamented and eloquent friend, "What we had refused to the greatest of modern military tyrants and despotic Sovereigns—what we had denied to Louis 14th, and to, Philip 2nd—we were required to give to such a man as Ferdinand 7th."* There was no doubt that it was at the instance of the Ambassador of Ferdinand 7th that the Foreign Enlistment Bill had been passed; but before that time it had not been the policy of this country to prevent its subjects from engaging in the service of a foreign power. He might mention that in the time of Charles 2nd the Duke of Marlborough entered a foreign service, and made his first campaign, in which he learned the art of war, under the celebrated Turenne. The first time that the new principle—that principle on which the Foreign Enlistment Bill was founded—was introduced was inHansard, xl. p. 1098.415 the time of George 2nd, and then it was introduced because the subjects of this country while they engaged nominally to serve under Louis 15th, really engaged to serve under the Pretender. It was to prevent that, the 29th of George 2nd was passed; and while the first part of that Act went to prevent the subjects of this country from entering the service of the French king, which it declared to be disgraceful and dishonourable, the second part of it went to allow the subjects of this country to enter the Scotch brigade which had been raised for the service of the United Provinces; thus, instead of taking away, acknowledging, the right of the people of this country to enter a brigade of troops raised for the service of a foreign power. Suppose that the United Provinces had at that period gone to war with Prussia, or with Russia, and that it was then argued that this country had violated its neutrality because the Scotch brigade in the service of the first-named power had been recruited from amongst its subjects, there was little doubt that the Ministers of George 2nd would have at once repudiated and scouted such a doctrine. Since the passing of the Foreign Enlistment Bill, assistance had been given by subjects of this realm to Greece and South America. Had the persons who had thus entered the service of foreign states been punished for a misdemeanour under that Bill? Had not his gallant friend Sir Robert Wilson, who with his own hands had pointed the guns at the defence of Corunna against the French, been subsequently restored to his rank of Lieutenant-general in the British army, notwithstanding the offence which he had committed in violating the provisions of the Foreign Enlistment Bill? He quoted that instance because it had occurred during the existence of the late Administration. Under the present Government a noble Lord had been restored to his rank in the Navy, though he also had violated the Foreign Enlistment Act. When, therefore, persons of such high rank—Generals and Admirals—were not punished for doing so, it would be impossible to punish soldiers, mere privates, for having entered a foreign service. The right hon. Gentleman opposite had praised Sir John Campbell. Now he (Lord John Russell) did not think, with the exception of Sir John Campbell's having the good fortune of having a Portuguese wife, that his case and that of Admiral Sartorius 416 differed in the slightest degree. It appeared, indeed, to him, that both those officers might very well pair off together; and those two instances proved that his Majesty's Ministers, instead of having been guilty of partiality, had been most completely and decidedly neutral in reference to this contest. When he said they were impartial in reference to this contest, he was ready to say, at the same time, that he fully participated in the sentiment expressed by Mr. Canning on the occasion of the French invasion of Spain, when he prayed for the success of the Spaniards against their invaders. In the same spirit he did not feel it to be improper or unbecoming to express a wish in a British Parliament, though it was our policy to remain neutral in a contest between cruelty and bigotry on the one hand, and liberal opinions and liberal institutions on the other, that the one side, the side of liberty and toleration, should prevail over the other. He was willing to grant to the right hon. Gentleman the cases which he had quoted against Don Pedro; but the statement as to Don Pedro's flogging a young soldier, bad as it was, would not bear comparison with the well-authenticated stories which they had heard of Don Miguel. Having now disposed of the question of neutrality, which he trusted he had shown his Majesty's Government had strictly preserved in this case, he came to the point to which he had referred in the first instance—he meant that which had been raised by the hon. member for Worcester (Mr. Robinson). That hon. Gentleman intimated that great danger would result from coming to such a vote as the proposed one to-night—namely, a collision with the House of Lords. If such a collision should occur, it was not to that hon. Member's colleague (Colonel Davies) that the blame was to attach. In that case, he thought that the House of Lords, having declared an opinion, which it appeared to him that they had done, in the way of a censure upon the late conduct of his Majesty's Government in reference to Portugal, it devolved on the House of Commons, under such circumstances, disagreeing as it did from that opinion, to address his Majesty, as it had an undoubted right to do, also upon the subject. Instead, therefore, of that House placing itself, as the hon. Member recommended, exactly in the same neutral position that the country stood in between 417 Don Pedro and Don Miguel, he thought, after what had occurred, that there could be no objection to their carrying up to the Throne their sentiments upon this question, whether they were in accordance with those of the hon. member for Worcester, who brought forward the Motion, or whether they were in accordance, which was rather improbable, with the sentiments expressed by his hon. colleague. But whether the sentiments of the majority of the House coincided with those of one hon. Member or of the other, it was not fair to say, that that House, in carrying up its sentiments to the Throne, could be considered as at all interfering with the other House of Parliament. He denied, that in doing so they would be seeking to provoke a collision with the House of Lords. The great object of his conduct—and the same had been the object of all his colleagues, but he had been placed prominently forward in regard to the measures to which he was about to refer—the great object in all his former conduct had been to prevent the chance of such a collision; and if in certain measures he had confined himself within certain restrictions—if he had abstained from pressing forward opinions which were deep-seated in his breast—if he had abstained in any instance from carrying into effect views and opinions which, the more he considered them, the more he was convinced of their being most essential to the happiness, prosperity, and welfare, of this country, let the House, let hon. Gentlemen be assured that he did not decline then urging those views in consequence of any change that had taken place in his opinions, or in consequence of any wish to preserve office or place, but because he saw there was no chance of then carrying them into effect without bringing into collision the two branches of the Legislature—a result which no men should wantonly or carelessly bring on, and which, in the present condition of this country, would be a very great misfortune, throwing on those who governed the country as heavy a responsibility as ever fell on any men. These were the reasons which had guided his conduct and that of his Majesty's Ministers. He did not think that, upon this occasion, they, at least, could be reproached with having done anything that was likely to bring into collision the two branches of the Legislature. They had pursued that course of policy with regard to Portugal 418 which they thought conducive to the best interests of the empire—they had acted so as to preserve, unstained, the honour of the country, and they now cheerfully and fearlessly appealed to the vote of that House to prove that they had been right.
§ Captain Yorke
denied, that the instances to which the noble Lord had referred, of assistance being afforded to Greece in the time of Mr. Canning, were at all applicable to the present case. The fact was, that the masters of the two ships alluded to which sailed from this country in 1825, were afterwards fined by Government for a breach of the. Act of Parliament. He was himself stationed at that time in the Mediterranean, and on coming up with a convoy which had been fitted out in this country, and which was destined for the assistance of the Turks; finding that they sailed under British colours, though he was not in sufficient force to take them, he made them haul down the British and hoist the Turkish colours. For that act he had been commended by the Admiralty, and he understood that Mr. Canning had praised his conduct on that occasion. The Speech from the Throne had led all the world to believe that a perfect neutrality was to be preserved, yet, it could not be denied that the results had shown that a war had been carried on against Don Miguel. Vessels had been continually leaving the ports of this realm, and it was impossible that they could have quitted those ports without the Government being cognizant, for as Customs dues were to be paid, every information as to their cargoes and destination could be afforded to the Government by its own officers in the various ports of the kingdom. But he (Captain Yorke) wished much to know what the ships in his Majesty's service had been doing so long in the Douro? Of the duty those ships were performing, the Government could not be uninformed, for the right hon. Baronet (the First Lord of the Admiralty) must have been regularly in receipt of returns from the officers in command. Every vessel leaving the ports of this country must be provided with a clearance and manifest of her cargo, as the House could not but know; and it was equally well known that any variation between the contents of the vessel and those documents rendered her the lawful prize of any of his Majesty's ships. If his Majesty's fleets in the Douro had 419 been made use of for the purposes of landing the munitions of war, he believed it was contrary to every regulation under which a British officer ought, under such circumstances, to act. He must contend, notwithstanding the speech of the noble Lord, the Paymaster of the Forces, that neutrality had never been the object of his Majesty's Government. How, then, he would ask the House, could any officer in the service of Don Pedro be, with any shadow of justice, visited in the manner that Admiral Sartorius had been treated by the Government of this country? Would it be just, in the same way to meet an officer of undoubted courage and experience who had taken the command of a recent expedition in the same cause, and who had made a declaration that he would be dead, or in three weeks he would take Lisbon? He should wish to know from the noble Lord, the Secretary for foreign Affairs, what would be the effect of the French troops taking possession of Lisbon? Enough had already been seen of the effects of the possession by the French of Algiers, Ancona, and Belgium? but if Lisbon should get into the hands of the French, he was satisfied the noble Lord would not feel very easy with such a state of affairs. He believed, that the vast majority of the people of this country had no disposition to surrender the rights and privileges which they enjoyed in commerce and their great influence over the seas, into the hands and dominion of their ancient foes. With regard to the expedition under Captain Napier, he deemed it right to state, that two steam-vessels had sailed from Falmouth—the Birmingham, with 200 English volunteers, and the Britannia, with 256 volunteers, possessing a very soldier-like appearance, and who seemed, as was stated, to understand the duties of a soldier. Now, he would maintain, that the number of volunteers was not to decide the question of a maintenance of neutrality, and he would boldly ask the House, whether, even if that number, provided with ammunition, so left this country, a strict neutrality was maintained? He could not help deeply regretting that this question was, to his surprise, brought forward upon the present occasion, more to try the comparative strength of the two Houses of Parliament, than, to try the merits of the question itself. He regretted this the more, because he was sure, that if the matter was placed 420 on abstract principles, and was not biassed by party feeling, it would, at least, meet with a calm and deliberate consideration. The neutrality which had been spoken and boasted of by the noble Lord opposite had, he must again insist, not been maintained; and he could not doubt the object of the noble Lord, the member for Devonshire, when he improvidently rose the other night to play the same part which he had done last year. The noble Lord had again introduced his conception of a collision to be anticipated between the two Houses of Parliament. He could not remain quiet after hearing the noble Lord opposite, without thus giving expression to his sentiments on this interesting subject.
would vote for the Motion; and in supporting it, as it implied confidence in his Majesty's Ministers, nobody would suspect him of any interested motives. The House was bound to come to that conclusion if they meant to support neutrality. What was the present situation as to neutrality? Had they not a vote of one House operating in favour of Don Miguel? He said yes! the other House had given the privilege of their countenance, as far as it went, to Don Miguel. He was just the sort of person for the Conservatives to take in hand. The hon. Member talked of a collision with the other House, but who began it? Why the other House. They had characteristically taken Don Miguel's part, and had placed themselves in a false position. They had begun the battle by throwing their shield over Don Miguel and his policy. It was admitted even by all the speakers who were in his favour, that he was a usurper, and not only a usurper, but a perjured man, a murderer, and a traitor to his father and his country. That was the man over whom the other House had thrown their shield—that was the man whose cause the other House had sanctified, and to restore neutrality, they ought to give a vote on the other side. The Resolution of that House ought to go abroad to neutralize the vote of the other, and he believed it would have quite as much moral effect as the vote of the other House. The country, it was plain, was divided into two parties—the party which wished to reap the benefits of Reform, and the party which wished to withhold them. The Ministers said, that they were 421 willing to give the people those benefits, but they could not go so far as they wished, because they wore stopped by the party opposed to all Reform, and there must, at one time or the other, be a collision between these parties. If there was not good sense enough and good temper enough in the party opposed to the Government and to Reform to give way—if they could not read the signs of the times—if they would expose themselves and the country to great risks, by not giving up their old prejudices, why a collision must come. "They (said Mr. O'Connell) have begun it, and we will not shrink from it. The country requires from us that we should take a determined part." The Members who wished to defend the country from disaster and avert anarchy, should support the Resolution. That was due to the principle of improvement in our institutions, to which the majority were bound. What was it the Ministers were charged with? They were not charged with having supported one of the brothers; they were not charged with being partizans of either; but they were charged that they did not support Don Miguel. They did not interfere, however, to prevent Don Miguel coming here for soldiers. He had money, why did he get none? Why, not one man would enlist under his banners as a soldier. He could not get a single soldier here, though he might get great Captains. There was not an English, Scotch, or Irish fighting man who would serve under such a man. He might get assistance from another quarter. There he might get churchmen as supporters. He thought he saw them marching forth, with their lawn sleeves, the true church militant, going to aid Don Miguel. What, he again asked, was the amount of the charge? Why, simply this—that Don Miguel was so bad that he could find no support. There was not one person who had spoken, who did not admit this character. The right hon. and gallant Officer (Sir Henry Hardinge), whom everybody, of all parties, respected, had taken care, with the true chivalrous spirit of a British soldier, not to tarnish his high character by saying that he approved of Don Miguel's character. Would anything have been said had the troops which had gone to support Don Pedro been engaged in pulling down constitutional doctrines? Would any complaint have been made had the troops gone to assist Don Miguel? He recol- 422 lected a time under the late Government, when Don Pedro was engaged against the constitutionalists, when that Government allowed him to levy troops in Ireland. Colonel Cotter and Colonel Baldwin raised a regiment intended for the service of Don Pedro. They did it openly—they appointed officers and gave away commissions, and he himself had two of these commissions. The whole thing was public—it was known and not hindered. The men, when they embarked, indeed, assumed the character of husbandmen, and took a few husbandry tools with them, but they took a great number more muskets—six or seven hundred. It was said the Foreign Enlistment Act was not enforced; but how was legal proof of its violation to be obtained? He declared that there could scarcely be legal proof, unless some person who was a particeps criminis should make an affidavit of the destination and employment of the vessels. Some man, then, must betray the cause he had sworn to support, before an affidavit affording legal proof could be obtained. In what way, too, had the Act of Parliament been violated? Why it was said, that some poor-houses had been cleared. He wished more of them had been emptied. He was glad that this class of men expatriated themselves. It was a good thing that they risked their necks abroad instead of staying to risk them at home in a less glorious way. They were a class of people whom every Government might be glad to get rid of, and glad if they were engaged abroad. They carried no capital with them, they were not monied men, and were not likely to increase by their capital and labour the resources of any other country. If more of that sort of people were to go, he should not regret it, and he should regret it the less, if, in going, they could do service to the cause of freedom. There was in this case the constitutional principle involved, and he acknowledged, whether it were prejudice or not, that he had an attachment to constitutional principles. He approved, too, of the character of the constitutionalists of Portugal, and the more, as their proceedings contrasted favourably with those of the constitutionalists of Spain and the liberals of France. The constitutionalists of Spain had destroyed all the old constitution of the country—they had rooted up the foundations, on the notion of giving a sort of union and 423 completeness to the government they had adopted—the principle of the Jacobins—and gone forward on the principle of destroying the whole system. They had made it better for the wealthy man, but not for the poor; they had, by cutting off entails, unfettered the nobility, and promoted the happiness of the rich, but they had taken away the resources of the poor, inasmuch as they had abolished convents, and gave the poor no other means of support. That was what the constitutionalists of Spain bad done; the constitutionalists of Portugal had pursued a different course. They had only sought to reform and amend the institutions of their country in a gradual and constitutional way. Don Miguel had interfered and put a stop to all reform, notwithstanding his oath. The noble Lord had called him a monster of indiscretion; and was it with such a monster that we were to enter into terms of amity? The Ministers ought not to support him. Instead of complaining of Ministers for not preventing the people from assisting Don Pedro, he thought, under the circumstances of the country, if there was no risk of a general war, the Ministers would rather deserve to be impeached, if they did not make war on Don Miguel. They should, perhaps, act a bolder part, and send a few regiments of brave British soldiers to Portugal, who would put an end to the contest in half an hour. But it was said, that Miguel, the man who was called a miscreant, was popular in Portugal. If the people did like him, that was a proof that they were worthy of him. But it was a calumny. What proportion of the people supported him? Where was the rising in arms in his favour? He had heard of none. A small detachment kept possession of a corner of his kingdom, and none of his people came to his aid. One-sixteenth of his subjects had passed through his dungeons, or been obliged to flee from the tyranny the monster had established. It was time that it should have a limit. It was time that a declaration should be made by that House to support Don Pedro, and put an end to the dominion of Don Miguel. In coming to a vote of that kind, he had no doubt that the national feelings would be on their side, and to such a vote he would give his most hearty concurrence.
§ Sir Robert Peel
said, he could understand the motives which induced the hon. 424 and learned Gentleman to support the Resolution of the hon. and gallant officer. The hon. and learned Gentleman had become that evening an open and eloquent advocate of the principle, that we should directly interfere with the domestic government of another and an independent country. He would annihilate in another nation the right of judgment, and would give it a different government, because he disapproved of the Ruler it had chosen for itself. The hon. and learned Gentleman would have us not limit ourselves to the barren expression of disapprobation—he would go so far as to send regiments to a foreign country, to dictate who should be its sovereign. The hon. and learned Gentleman's advice went' that length. The hon. and learned Gentleman did not justify neutrality; but because he disapproved of Don Miguel, he would resort to war to dispossess that prince of his throne, and supply that throne with a successor. And this was the doctrine of a Gentleman who was an eloquent teacher in that school which laid it down as a fundamental rule, that we should not interfere in the domestic concerns of other nations. That school recognized as their leading principle, that every people should be left to choose their own government. He thought that the hon. and learned Gentleman was one of the most ardent and eloquent defenders of those principles, but that night the hon. and learned Gentleman had contended for the abominable tyranny, that we might interfere for what he called freedom, and that tyranny, if covered with the veil of liberalism might be forced upon people at the point of the bayonet. If tyranny were only employed to support liberalism, it appeared that there was no tyranny the hon. and learned Gentleman was not ready to support. There was no war in which he was not ready to involve the country for the sake of his principles, nor any lengths to which he would not go to put down an individual to whom he was opposed. "Recognize Don Miguel!" said the hon. Gentleman, "Was there ever such a monstrous proposition? What! recognize a perjurer and a murderer? Impossible!" But the merits of Don Miguel had nothing whatever to do with the proposition before the House. Admitting that he had been guilty of all sorts of crimes, that he was a monster, and guilty of perjury, what had that to do with the question whether we had ob- 425 served the neutrality we professed? When the hon. member for Worcester spoke of him as a person unworthy to reign, and as a person whom it would be improper to recognize, the noble Lord (Lord Palmerston) held up his hand as giving that sentiment his full approbation; but before the noble Lord did that, he should recollect the opinions of his colleagues, and particularly of the noble Lord, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the debate on the King's Speech, before the noble Lord came into office, which said that it hoped the time would soon come when Don Miguel might be recognized by this country—the noble Lord said in the debate on that Speech, "that this part of the Speech he heartily approved of, and in his opinion there had been too long a delay in recognizing Don Miguel." [Lord Althorp said, he did not say that the delay had been too long, but that the time had come]. He begged the noble Lord's pardon; but he saw very little difference between what he had attributed to the noble Lord and what the noble Lord admitted he had said. The noble Lord did not say that the delay had been too long, but that the time had come when Don Miguel ought to be recognized. That was a distinct opinion, given some years ago; and since then a considerable time had elapsed, calculated to prove the stability and security of Don Miguel's government, making the non-recognition of it less excusable on the part of the Government, for with his character that recognition had nothing whatever to do. He would not enter into the character of Don Pedro, nor advert to his supplanting his father. The history of that, though curious, might be very unprofitable. But he would ask the House to put aside all feelings of this description—he would ask them to look at the permanent policy of England, and determine if it was a safe principle to refuse to acknowledge a Sovereign on account of his personal misconduct? He would ask them to be guided—not by their feelings—but by those principles which must regulate our public policy. The principle, that the character of an individual sovereign should not interfere with public policy, had long been advocated by the Whigs themselves. Discussions on this subject had taken place during the revolutionary war, and Mr. Fox had then expressly declared, that the 426 private character of a ruler should not prevent the Government from recognizing him. Let the House look at the debate in 1800, on the overture made by the French Republic to the Government of this country, to enter into negotiations. In that debate Mr. Fox said:—'I am not justifying the French—I am not striving to absolve them from blame, either in their internal or external policy. I think, on the contrary, that their successive rulers have been as bad and as execrable, in various instances, as any of the most despotic and unprincipled governments that the world ever saw. No man regrets. Sir, more than I do, the enormities that France has committed; but how do they bear upon the question as it now stands? Are we for ever to deprive ourselves of the benefits of peace, because France has perpetrated acts of injustice? Sir, we cannot acquit ourselves upon such ground. Sir, we have heard to-night a great many most acrimonious invectives against Buonaparte—against the whole course of his conduct, and against the unprincipled manner in which he seized upon the reins of government. I will not make his defence—I think all this sort of invective, which is used only to inflame the passions of this House and of the country, exceedingly ill-timed, and very impolitic' He thought the language of Mr. Fox then was exactly applicable to Don Miguel now; and the language which he applied to the character of Buonaparte might, with equal justice, be applied to Don Miguel. The simple question to be decided in such case was only who was,de facto, sovereign, who had a sufficient testimony in the continued obedience of his subjects, and the sanction of the authorities of the country, that he could maintain and preserve the usual relations with other states? What endless disputes would be caused if the recognition of sovereigns were made to depend on their private characters? They must not make a public inquiry into the character of the Government, but into that of the individual; and if the character of the sovereign were bad, the government was to be considered as deserving of no faith or confidence. If they were to look at the private character of sovereigns, they could keep up no relations with the Porte. What, also, could be done with respect to Morocco or Algiers? He repeated 427 that principles of public policy, and not of individual character, were the only proper guides on such questions. In the debate already alluded to, Mr. Fox had defended the principle, that the character of Buonaparte should not weigh with the Government of England; and the same arguments might be applied to Don Miguel. Mr. Fox observed, 'It was said Cromwell was a usurper, but would it not have been insanity in France and Spain to refuse to treat with him, because he was a usurper? No, Sir, these are not the maxims by which governments are actuated. They do not inquire so much into the means by which power may have been acquired, as into the fact of where the power resides. The people did acquiesce in the government of Cromwell; but it may be said, that the splendour of his talents, the vigour of his Administration, the high tone with which he spoke to foreign nations, the success of his arms, and the character which he gave to the English name, induced the nation to acquiesce in his usurpation; and that we must not try Buonaparte by this example.' Mr. Fox scouted the idea, that if the government were not fit for the people they would readily obey it. Mr. Fox said, it was enough for us that the people did obey the government of France, of whatever materials it might be composed. That principle was now applicable to Portugal. However strange might be the choice made by the Portuguese, the character of their sovereign was of no consequence to other nations. His Majesty's Government had, in fact, already decided every question which could arise as to character, by professing neutrality. We had determined on neutrality, and the question was—had neutrality been observed? The noble Lord said, that his wishes were in favour of Don Pedro, but if the noble Lord had suffered those wishes to influence his conduct after advising his Majesty to preserve neutrality, he had done wrong. After giving such advice, it was his business to see that the measures of neutrality, as laid down in the laws of nations, should be enforced. How had the Government maintained this neutrality? The Speech from the Throne declared that non-interference in the contest which existed should guide this country, and that we should adhere to the strictest neutrality; and how had 428 that declaration been followed? Why, large parties of his Majesty's subjects had engaged in direct hostility against one of the parties? The question was, whether in suffering these expeditions of disciplined troops to go from our shores we had preserved neutrality? The noble Lord had referred to the cases of individuals, and mentioned Sir Robert Wilson and others who had entered into foreign service; but there was a great difference between individuals entering into a foreign service during a contest between nations, and whole fleets going from our shores, to assist one of two contending parties. It was not prudent in the noble Lord to point attention to the conduct of individuals in such cases, because the Government had found it necessary sometimes to punish such individuals as were guilty of that very breach of neutrality which the noble Lord quoted their example to prove had not been broken. The noble Lord had said he would refer the House to the speech of Sir James Mackintosh—but how did that apply to the present case; The argument of Sir James Mackintosh went merely to this—not that the Government should not enforce the existing law—not that they should not issue a Proclamation founded on Statute-law, but that they should not, at the remonstrance of Spain, alter the law and adopt a new course of Legislation. Sir James Mackintosh said, there would be no end to the demands of foreign Powers if the principle were once admitted that our system of jurisprudence were to be altered at their pleasure.* But he as distinctly asserted that the law, whatever it was, ought to be enforced. When the noble Lord dwelt with so much satisfaction on the argument of Sir James Mackintosh, he entirely refuted the arguments of one of his own colleagues, the Judge Advocate, who replied to Sir James Mackintosh on that occasion, and destroyed every principle he maintained; sustaining one of the ablest arguments he had ever heard brought forward in Parliament in favour of this principle—that it was a violation of neutrality for individual members of the State to carry on war after the State itself had declared its neutrality. These opinions on the principles of law were not subject to change. He asked how those who contended that* Hansard, xl. p. 1094.429 the hostile expedition sent from this country was not at variance with neutrality could reconcile that doctrine with the deliberate opinion of the great writers on the law of nations. But, knowing the distaste of the House for such references, he would merely read the summary of the opinion of the Judge Advocate—a lawyer—a man deeply versed in these matters, who had made them his study, and whose deliberate opinion, thus strongly pronounced, could not be disputed. He said:—'On the whole, not only was the weight of authority in favour of the principle of the Bill, but not a single authority, or the shade of it, could be found in opposition to this plain, clear and irrefutable position, that when a neutral nation knowingly permitted the levying of troops in its territory by one of two contending parties, and had gone so far as very materially to sway the fortunes of the war, then such nation was virtually departing from its neutral character, and assuming that of an enemy—at the same time in the worst manner, because not directly.'* This position was deliberately taken by a man of great learning, who had looked into the authorities—by a man chosen for one of the now highest law-officers, who laid down the principle, "that if your subject so interfere as materially to sway the fortunes of the war, in that case it is a departure from neutrality on your part, and it is worse than war, because you are exempting yourselves from responsibility." He did not contend that individuals entering into the service of this State or that, would necessarily call upon the Government for interference; but if the Government took no means whatever to prevent hostile expeditions sailing from our arsenals, which vary the fortunes of the war, then he affirmed that, according to the principles of the present Judge Advocate, that was a departure from the established principles of neutrality. The noble Lord referred to the principles of Mr. Canning: he said, Mr. Canning never interfered, and that he allowed steam-boats to sail without men. The noble Lord said, he believed that with respect to some particular vessel, the powers of the law were appealed to, but that Mr. Canning stated that, on reference to the law-officers, they were of* Hansard, xl. p. 1247.430 opinion that the affidavits presented did not bring that vessel within the strict letter of the law. Without knowing the nature of the case submitted to the law-officers, he knew not what weight to attach to their opinion; and, consequently, he did not know whether the noble Lord's remarks were well founded. But there was a public proclamation issued in Council when Mr. Canning was Secretary of State, at a period when this very question arose;—"is it consistent with the avowed neutrality of this country for English subjects to demean themselves, in respect to hostilities, in a manner different from that pursued by the Sovereign of their State?" He did not care about the case of a single vessel, but when a complaint was made to Mr. Canning, in his capacity of Secretary of Stale, that British subjects were contravening the authority of the British Government—what course did Mr. Canning pursue, and what principles did he lay down. Now there was a proclamation of the King in Council, bearing date October 4th, 1825, which was most important. It said, 'Whereas his Majesty, being at peace with all the Powers and States of Europe and America, has repeatedly declared his royal determination to maintain a strict and impartial neutrality in the different contests in which certain of those powers and subjects are engaged; and whereas the commission of acts of hostility by individual subjects of his Majesty against any power or state, or against the persons and properties of the subjects of any power or state which, being at peace with his Majesty, is at the same time engaged in a contest, with respect to which his Majesty has declared his determination to be neutral, is calculated to bring into question the sincerity of his Majesty's subjects. And whereas, if his Majesty's subjects cannot be effectually restrained from such unwarranted commission of acts of hostility, it may be justly apprehended that the Government of England might be thereby liable'—and so on. His Majesty does hereby enjoin all his Majesty's subjects strictly to observe as well towards the Greeks as all other belligerents with whom his Majesty is at peace, neutrality and respect for the exercise of those rights which his Majesty has always continued to exercise when his Majesty has himself been unhappily engaged in war.' That was the doctrine 431 which Mr. Canning held, and on which his Majesty's Ministers ought now to act. At a period when all the sympathies of the nation were in favour of Greece, did Mr. Canning come down to the House and excite its feeling, as he might have done, by painting in glowing colours the atrocities committed by the Sublime Porte? Did he try to raise their passions by detailing the slaughter of 1,500 Janissaries, in one night, at Constantinople? No: he said, "we have maintained certain relations with this power. If its subjects have a right of complaint, let them obtain redress for their own wrongs by force; but the policy of England, and the principles of the law of nations, dictate to us not to meddle with the internal affairs of other nations—not to inquire into the details of the seraglio of the Grand Sultan not to investigate the atrocities he may have committed against this man or against that woman. He is recognized by his own subjects—he is recognized by the constituted authorities—and it would be absurd in us to constitute ourselves the judges of his conduct." The noble Lord who referred to the authority of Mr. Canning, had it in that proclamation in aid of that of his Judge-Advocate, and the principles of the Judge-Advocate, and the practice of Mr. Canning, were consistent with each other. The noble Lord maintained the alarming proposition—that the subjects of this country had a right to judge for themselves into what hostilities they would enter. The noble Lord said the dominion of all law was at an end: the King's Government maintained its neutrality—it gave orders to its own ships of war to abstain from interference; but it was a matter of entire indifference what the subjects of his Majesty did. He lamented to hear such a doctrine, because if it were practically acted upon with respect to powerful states, there could be no security for the continuance of peace for a single year. It might serve to neglect the observance of such a principle in the case of Portugal; it might be well to neglect it in the case of those who had not the power to avenge their wrongs; but neglect it either in the case of the United States, or in the case of France, and what would be the consequence. Why, the noble Lord were to maintain, in case a powerful insurrection had arisen in La Vendee, directed against the government of Louis Philippe in France, that it would 432 have been a matter of entire indifference whether Charles 10th, residing at Holy-rood, had employed 200,000l. or 300,000l. in the purchase of steam boats—had employed British officers, concurring with him in political principles, in the command of hostile expeditions—and had directed that force against the lawful authority of Louis Philippe on the eastern coast of France, could he have expected that France would not have remonstrated, and would it have been sufficient for the noble Lord to have said, in answer to those remonstrances, "these are the unauthorized acts of the King's subjects?" Would the Government, after complaint made of the unauthorized nature of the acts, have ordered the release of the vessels, and refused to hear additional evidence of the illegality of the transaction when it was offered? In the event of an insurrection in the United States on the part of the black population, if individuals, concurring, in the opinion of that population, as to their rights, should employ themselves as they pleased in advancing and promoting that insurrection—would it be a sufficient answer on our part to say to the United States, "this is done without the authority of the Government of England—individuals are making use of our force, but we cannot help it—they are making use of the advantages of our geographical position, in order to carry sword and flame into the territories of a country towards which we are professing friendship, but we cannot interfere?" It would be utterly impossible—and God forbid that it should be possible to act on any such doctrine! Imagine the case of a dispute in France—the right of succession—and conceive the immense advantages which our position would give to one of the hostile powers if we allowed him to avail himself of it. Was it possible to say, that a Government, responsible for the maintenance of public peace, had no power to control its subjects in the prosecution of their warlike designs? And, above all, could it be said that commissioned officers of the King—men who have obtained naval and military experience by service in the armies and fleets of England—that they should have the power of rendering their skill, experience, and bravery subservient to the purposes of another state? Over them, at least, the King had a direct control; his Majesty might issue a Proclamation directing them to return to this country, and he had the 433 power of enforcing his orders. It had been asked, why should invidious comparisons be drawn between Sir John Campbell and Admiral Sartorius? He had heard no such invidious comparisons. He did not ask the Government to withdraw its subjects from the service of one of these conflicting powers, but from both, if their assistance to either be contrary to the interests of this country, and in opposition to the principles upon which this Government ought to have proceeded. That was the course which the Government ought to have pursued, in conformity with its own declared principles. It was monstrous that the subjects of the King should have the power of making war against a power towards which the country was pledged to remain neutral. He did not speak of a few individuals going to the opposite side, as occurred in the case of the American war. His objection was not so much against individual instances, as against the system of sending out expeditions such as had been known to leave Falmouth and Spit-head. To treat such expeditions as the acts of individuals merely, was laying down a dangerous principle—a principle which would lead to war, and a war in which he thought we could not fail to be involved. He now came to consider the propositions submitted to the House by the gallant Member. To the first of those propositions he could have no possible objection, because it merely stated the regret of the House at the continuance of hostilities in Portugal. The hon Gentleman called on the House, by his Resolution, to express their regret at the continuance of the contest in Portugal; to that he had no objection, but to the extraordinary non sequitur which followed, he certainly could not assent. The hon. Gentleman called upon the House to express their grateful acknowledgments for the judicious policy which his Majesty's Ministers had pursued in relation to that country. That policy was, in his opinion, much to be deprecated, for the present hostilities in Portugal were, in his opinion, mainly the result of the course pursued by his Majesty's Government. What would be the consequence of Don Pedro's success? He had seen a portion of the correspondence between his Majesty's Government and Spain, published in the Augsburg Gazette, in which they interdicted Spain from interfering with the contest in Portugal, and 434 they laid down this undeniable basis of neutrality—that the independence of Portugal would be but a phrase without a meaning, if the sovereign of that country were to be placed upon the throne, not by the rights of birth, or by the support of the nation, but by the bayonets of foreigners. He would ask, then, if Don Pedro succeeded, to what would he owe his success but to foreign bayonets? There never was, perhaps, a sovereign put to a severer task than Don Miguel. What was the result? Why, notwithstanding his breach of fidelity, there was still proof that he held his power by the will of the people. This, indeed, was the only question to consider—did the people of Portugal, or did they not, approve of Don Miguel as their sovereign? What were the facts? The second city in the country had been for several months in the possession of Don Pedro; yet not one single village—no constituted authorities—no class of the people had declared in his favour. The Portuguese had declared their preference of the rule of Don Miguel to that of Don Pedro. If ever there was a temptation for men dissatisfied with the rule of the existing government to declare their dissatisfaction, it was in the case of Portugal. There was both temptation and opportunity, for the Governments of England and France had thrown their whole weight into the scale of Don Pedro. What, then, would be the consequence of Don Pedro's success? He would answer them in their own words, that the independence of Portugal would become a phrase without a meaning if that sovereign were elevated to the throne, not by the support of the nation, but by the bayonets of foreigners. Let the aid he derived from our forts and arsenals be withdrawn from him, and he would be immediately compelled to leave the country. The best feelings, the pride, the honour of the Portuguese, revolted at the attempt to impose his rule over them by foreign aid; and, if the attempt proved successful, indignation would, for ages to come, be universally felt throughout the nation. If his Majesty's Ministers, in their anxiety to secure the peace of Europe, had thought fit to interfere in the internal affairs of Greece and of Holland and Belgium, what right had they to interdict Spain from interfering in those of Portugal, especially since they had not themselves maintained a like neutrality? How much more right 435 had not Spain so to interfere upon the principles of intervention avowed by his Majesty's Ministers? How much more dangerous to Spain was the continuance of hostilities in Portugal! Why, he would ask in conclusion, was not Don Miguel recognized two years ago, when the whole people of Portugal were satisfied with his sway? What the vote of the House might be on the present question he did not know. For himself, having uniformly disapproved of the policy pursued by Government with respect to Portugal, deeming it both unjust to the Portuguese people and dangerous to this country; and thinking, besides, that the success of the favoured party would be fraught with still more danger and injustice, he should refuse to give his assent to the propositions brought forward that night.
§ Lord John Russell
, in explanation, said that he never denied the right of the Crown to interfere to prevent the levying of men for foreign service, but only expressed a doubt of that right being practicable of enforcement in many instances.
§ Viscount Palmerston
said, it was singular that some of the hon. Members who opposed the proposition, should object to the discussion, on the ground of a want of information, since no such tenderness or compunction had been shown in another place when the self-same question was discussed. To come to the subject more immediately before the House, the right hon. Baronet said, that the personal character of Don Miguel had nothing to do with it, but he believed that it was the personal character of that prince which induced the late Government to order our Ambassador, in the first instance, to leave Lisbon, and afterwards to abstain, so long as they remained in office, from renewing friendly relations with Portugal. It was therefore perfectly consistent, that his noble friend should have considered, at that time, that the effect of the acquiescence of the Cortes in the sovereignty of Don Miguel afforded sufficient grounds, according to the principles which ought to govern the proceedings of this country, for acknowledging him as the sovereign of Portugal; and it was perfectly consistent, that he might now think, since a great degree of resistance had arisen to his claim, and since a civil war existed in Portugal, that there were not the same grounds for the acquiescence of this country in the claim of Don Miguel as for- 436 merly. We had no business to judge for other nations as to who ought, and who ought not to be their sovereign; and whenever it happened that any nation elected a sovereign, he agreed with the right hon. Baronet, that it was not consistent with the principles by which the policy of England ought to be directed, that we should assume, that we could form a more correct judgment on the question, than the nation over which the sovereign was to preside; and we ought, therefore, to recognize the sovereign whom it might choose. In the first place, he denied that the election of Don Miguel could in any degree be compared with that of the present king of the French. Don Miguel called an assembly of the Cortes, for the purpose of deciding whether he, then the lieutenant of his sovereign, to whom he had sworn allegiance, should be considered as sovereign in her room. He had no hesitation in saying, that, by the laws of Portugal, that assembly was illegal. According to every principle of honour and good faith, it was not competent for Don Miguel, in the situation in which he stood, to convene the assembly, for the purpose of putting forward the claim on which he founded his title to the throne. These matters did not apply, in any great degree, to the subject under discussion. The question was not, whether we judged rightly in abstaining from taking part with Donna Maria at the period when her claims were first put forth; but whether, having decided to remain neutral between the contending parties, we had, or had not, acted with honour and good faith upon that decision. It was open to the Government of this country to have espoused—had they thought proper to do so—the cause of Donna Maria, when first the expedition landed in Portugal; because it was admitted by all the writers upon the law of nations, that, when a civil war took place in a country—more especially when that war was carried on between two parties contending for the crown—any foreign nation might take up the cause of either party, as it might feel disposed, and might make them auxiliaries in the war. We had, therefore, a right, upon general principles, as we had every right arising out of the circumstances of this particular case, to determine, at that period, to give Donna Maria the assistance of our arms, for the purpose of placing her on that throne to 437 which we had acknowledged her to be justly entitled. But very early in the affair, his Majesty's Government took a different decision; that decision was taken, not as had been represented, after the expedition landed, for the purpose of purchasing the neutrality of Spain; but before the expedition actually sailed from the Brazils, and it was taken on full deliberation, on general principles, and not for the particular object stated. At the same time, he was perfectly ready to admit, that when the expedition did land in Portugal, and when the Spanish Government collected a considerable army on the frontiers, for the purpose of taking part in the contest, this Government did say to the Government of Spain: 'We have determined to remain neutral; and by that determination we will abide; but if you act upon a contrary principle, and interfere, by force of arms, in the contest about to be waged in Portugal, we pledge ourselves, that, when you take part with Don Miguel, we shall deem it necessary for our interest to take part with Donna Maria'. It was for the purpose of watching the armament of Spain, that Lord William Russell was sent to Portugal. It was in pursuance of that determination, that orders were given to the fleet, which, for the protection of our own subjects, also, was stationed off the coast of Portugal. But it was said, that we had not adhered rigidly, and in good faith, to the neutrality to which we were pledged. No accusation was more unfounded. It was not even contended—at least no man had ventured to assert—that any act had been done by the Government of this country in any stage of the proceeding, at all inconsistent with its neutrality between the two parties. It had not been even alleged, that the Government had sent out ships, or men, or arms, to the aid of Donna Maria, or to the prejudice of the other side. But it was contended, that Government had taken no steps to prevent the individual subjects of the State from embarking in a cause which happened to be congenial to the feelings of the people of this country. But the principle of embarking in the contests of other countries had prevailed, and been acted upon, in the brightest periods of our history. It was unnecessary to remind the House of the active part which was taken in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, by English subjects, in the contest then carried on in the Low 438 Countries. It was equally unnecessary to remind the House of the enlistment of a large body of men, in the reign of James 1st, to serve upon the Continent; and of the still larger body which went out in the reign of Charles 1st; and in both eases the levies were by the express permission of the Government of this country—to servo in the army of Gustavus Adolphus. In short, in several of the wars which had taken place in Europe, British subjects had, to a greater or less extent, served on that side which was most congenial to their feelings. But it had been said, that where there was a law to prevent it, it was the duty of the Government to enforce that law, and to punish the offenders against its provisions. He presumed no one would deny that the two Acts of the reign of George 2nd, were in force at the period when the French Revolution broke out. At that period, there was an Irish brigade serving under the king of France. What was the conduct of that brigade, and what was the conduct of the British Government? When the republic was declared in France, that brigade quitted the service of the French king, and came over to this country; when, instead of inflicting upon these men the severe penalties authorized by law, his Majesty's Government formed out of them the regiments of Fitzjames, Conway, and O'Connell: by the strict letter of the law, be it remembered, they were liable to the punishment of death. But then it was said, that the Foreign Enlistment Act altered the case; and that, at all events, we had the power of issuing a proclamation to prevent individual subjects of his Majesty from entering into foreign service, or of recalling them if they had gone abroad; and the right hon. Baronet read a Proclamation which was issued in 1825, when Mr. Canning was in office, for the purpose of calling back subjects of his Majesty, engaged in foreign service. But did not the right hon. Baronet know, that it was perfectly futile and ineffectual, and that many British subjects continued to serve in the Greek army, after the issuing of that Proclamation. In point of fact, it was a mere dead letter, though there were not many persons engaged in that contest. He would also remind the right hon. Baronet of the previous proclamation of 1817, prohibiting any British subjects from serving in the Spanish American colonies. What was the effect of that 439 proclamation? That was an important question, as connected with the enforcement of the law, because it was conceived, that the issuing of such a proclamation in the present case might have prevented an invasion of Portugal, by the fleet that had been so often referred to. The effect of the former proclamation might be known by what was said by Lord Castlereagh. When the Foreign Enlistment Act was proposed to that House, the noble Lord stated, as the ground on which he introduced it, the total inefficacy of the Proclamation issued in 1817. He said, 'Not only individuals, whom perhaps it would not have been impossible to restrain—not only officers in small numbers went out to join the insurgent corps—but there was a regular organization of troops—regiments regularly formed, left this country; and ships of war were prepared in our out-ports, and transports were chartered to carry out troops and ammunition.'* Lord Bathurst made a similar statement, and added, that it had been intimated to all officers on half-pay, that they were not to embark on foreign service, but that they had persisted in doing so. So the proclamation to our subjects in general, and to our officers on half-pay had been equally and entirely ineffectual. He therefore said, that it would have been nugatory and useless for his Majesty's Government to have issued similar Proclamations on this occasion, for they would have produced no beneficial effects whatever. The greatest difficulty, in fact, was experienced in enforcing the provisions of the Foreign Enlistment Act, because it required proof which it was almost impossible to obtain, except from the parties themselves against whom the Act would operate. He submitted to the House, confident of its decision, that the Ministers had not done anything or omitted to do anything inconsistent with the character of neutrality which they had assumed. They had rigidly adhered to the line of policy which they had professed their intention to maintain, and nothing was stated in the Speech from the Throne, which the right hon. Baronet alluded to, which had not been faithfully acted upon by the Government. There seemed to be a disposition to look at only one side of the question in this case. The House* Hansard, xl. p. 369.440 should bear in mind that Don Miguel's army was commanded by Sir John Campbell, and that he received all his military stores from this country. It was true that he had not applied to England for soldiers or sailors, because he had all the resources of Portugal at his command, and because he was well aware that an appeal to this country was not likely to procure him any reinforcements. The right hon. Baronet said, that Don Miguel was the choice of the Portuguese. Had the right hon. Baronet then forgotten the number of his subjects who were immured in dungeons, or had been transported to Africa. His whole conduct had proved, that he did not regard himself as the object of the people's choice, for he had continually used force to keep himself on the throne, and had not hesitated to imprison or murder every man whom he suspected. The principle of the present Government was non-interference in the affairs of other countries, and all that they required was, that other nations should themselves pursue the same system of abstinence. Much had been said deprecating the adoption of a course which was likely to bring about a collision between the two branches of the Legislature. He admitted that it would be a great misfortune if such an event should occur; but, at the same time, he must say, that the affair had not originated in that House. It could not fail to be known to the promoters of the decision which had taken place elsewhere, that it was in opposition to the general feeling, not only of the House of Commons but of the country. Whatever inconvenience, therefore, might arise from a marked and pronounced separation in opinion between the quarter in which the decision in question took place and the rest of the country, it would not be attributable to the House of Commons, who would only perform their duty by expressing their sentiments upon this important question; but to those who, he must say, without cause or reason, or, as he thought, any obvious utility to be derived from it to themselves, thought fit to exhibit a marked difference of opinion between themselves and the other branch of the Legislature.
said, that it was in the power of any individual to bring the Foreign Enlistment Act into operation if he could make out a case for that purpose. It was not the duty of Ministers more than of other men to carry it into effect. A 441 few months back Don Miguel's agents tried to do so and failed. Therefore there was positive proof that the law was ineffectual, as stated by Ministers, and in that respect the Government stood completely exculpated. The hon. and learned member for Dublin suggested the propriety of sending troops to Portugal to settle the question at once, which excited the indignation of the right hon. Baronet, the member for Tamworth, who denounced the idea as monstrous, and unfit to be listened to in that assembly. He begged to ask the right hon. Baronet what was the difference between the case of Portugal and that of Greece, in which we interfered by force of arms? Was there any principle which prevented us from interfering with respect to Portugal, which would not also have bound us not to interfere in the case of Belgium? It might be said, that our interference with regard to Greece was founded upon the principles of expediency and humanity. Would not those principles justify our interference in the case of Portugal? The right hon. member for Tamworth argued that the submission of the people to the domination of Miguel was paramount to all other considerations, and perfectly conclusive as to his right to reign; but the right hon. Baronet seemed to forget, that the Government of which he was a member in 1815 would not acknowledge the validity of that argument when the French people declared in favour of Napoleon, or, at least, willingly acquiesced in his government. The ground upon which the Ministers of that day refused to recognize and treat with Napoleon was, that no reliance was to be placed upon the fidelity of his engagements, and that he had forfeited all claim to the confidence of the European powers. If that argument were now to be insisted upon, the right hon. Baronet must acknowledge that Don Miguel had forfeited all claim to be recognized as the sovereign of Portugal. Though he could not pretend to argue the question with the same powers which the right hon. Baronet possessed, yet he must say, that the opposition of the right hon. Baronet to the present Motion appeared to rest upon false grounds; but could he prove that the people of Portugal were enlisted in Don Miguel's cause? If in 1688 the Government of this country had succeeded in getting into its power all the officers and non-commissioned officers of the army, and all persons of 442 note who were opposed to it, would the revolution have been accomplished at all? He feared not, and then could it have been fairly said, that the feelings of the people were completely expressed by their submission to James's Government. He would trouble the House with a short quotation from a pamphlet written by Lord Porchester, now the Earl of Carnarvon, he happened to be in Portugal at the tune Don Miguel accomplished his usurpation. The pamphlet was an able one, and as it was written by an eye-witness who was not strongly imbued with radical or republican notions, it might be received with favour by the right hon. Baronet. The passage was as follows:—'The French revolution was, indeed, far more sanguinary than the Portuguese; but in proportion to the extent of population over which its effects were distributed, it perhaps did not inflict a greater amount of human misery. The journals announced the principal changes by which Don Miguel became possessed of absolute dominion, but eye-witnesses alone could justly appreciate the heart-rending scenes that accompanied the progress of a revolution which overwhelmed half the families of Portugal, and shook the fabric of society. No less than 20,000 persons are supposed to have emigrated from that little kingdom, or to be still concealed within its precincts; more than 15,000 confiscations are known to have taken place, and 10,000 individuals are believed to be still immured in its dungeons—dungeons damp and swarming with vermin—dungeons of whose wretchedness a British public can hardly form a conception. Far happier, indeed, were those who died by the hands of the executioner, for their torments were brief; but these unhappy people, torn from their homes, chained, crowded together, deprived of wholesome food, of air, of exercise, and sometimes even of light, are sinking prematurely to their graves, by more protracted sufferings. And will the British nation sanction these atrocities, principally occasioned by her own acts, while she has the means of redress in her power? We have indisputable pecuniary claims on Portugal, which we should not relinquish, so long as its government continues to outrage every feeling of justice and humanity. There are no less than sixteen grandees in emigration, three of whom are related to the royal family. 443 I believe no doubt exists as to the number of confiscations: the number of persons who have emigrated, or are still confined in prison, cannot possibly be ascertained with certainty. Letters from Lisbon say that 20,000 royal orders of confiscation have been issued, but I cannot be guilty of exaggeration in computing them at 16,000.' Now, when they were told of the complete submission of the Portuguese, was there not, he asked, good reason for it? They possessed no leaders, civil or military; they had either shed their blood on the scaffold or been transported to Africa, or were immured in dungeons. It had been asked whether any noble families had joined Don Pedro? He knew that a considerable number of heads of such families was at present in Oporto. It was also said, that the people of Portugal had made no demonstrations against Don Miguel, but that was incorrect, for there had been a rising at Figueiras. Much stress had been laid upon the fact that Don Pedro had remained so long at Oporto; but this told both ways, and for his own part he considered it a strong proof of Miguel's weakness and want of national support, that his opponent had been able to maintain himself with a small foreign force for eleven months in the second town in the kingdom. He ventured to assert, that Don Miguel's great force, which he was sorry to hear boasted of in that House, was rapidly dwindling away. If he were disposed to blame Government at all for their policy upon this question it was for not having assumed a more decided line of conduct, and entered into diplomatic relations with the lawful sovereign of Portugal. The right hon. Baronet, the member for Launceston, had adverted to the old friendship subsisting between him and Sir J. Campbell, and he wished that the right hon. Baronet had been influenced by similar feelings towards Captain Napier, whom he doubtless knew, and if so must respect. He thought it quite irrelevant to allude to what Captain Napier had said in clubs or elsewhere, and trusted that the Government would not be induced to inflict a severe penalty upon that gallant Officer. In the course of the discussion but little had been said of the injury which our merchants were suffering from the existing state of our relations with Portugal; this was a most important part of the subject, which he hoped would attract the attention of Government.
§ The House divided—Ayes 361; Noes 98: Majority 263.
§ Motion agreed to; and an Address ordered to be presented to his Majesty.
|List of the NOES.|
|Apsley, Lord||Inglis, Sir R. H.|
|Arbuthnot, Gen. H.||Irton, S.|
|Archdale, Gen.||Knatchbull, Sir E.|
|Ashley, Lord||Langton, Colonel G.|
|Attwood, M.||Lefroy, A.|
|Baring, A.||Lefroy, T.|
|Baring, H. B.||Lewis, Rt. Hon. T. F.|
|Baring, F. T.||Lincoln, Earl of|
|Bateson, Sir R.||Lowther, Viscount|
|Bernard, Hon. W. S.||Lowther, Hon. H. C.|
|Bethell, R.||Lygon, Hon. Col. H. B.|
|Bolling, W.||Manners, Lord R.|
|Bruce, Lord E.||Maxwell, H.|
|Cartwright, W. R.||Meynell, Captain|
|Clive, Viscount||Miller, W. H.|
|Clive, Hon. R. H.||Neale, Admiral Sir H.|
|Cooper, E. S.||Neeld, J.|
|Corry, Hon. H. L.||Nicholl, J.|
|Chapman, A.||Ossulston, Lord|
|Daly, J.||Peel, Rt. Hon. Sir R.|
|Dare, R. W. H.||Perceval, Col.|
|Darlington, Earl of||Pollock, F.|
|Duffield, T.||Powell, W. E.|
|Dugdale, W. S.||Price, R.|
|Duncombe, Hon. W.||Pigot, R.|
|Eastnor, Viscount||Reid, Sir J. R.|
|Fancourt, Major||Robinson, G. R.|
|Ferguson, Captain G.||Russell, C.|
|Finch, G.||Scarlett, Sir J.|
|Freemantle, Sir T.||Shaw, F.|
|Gillon, W. D.||Stanley, E.|
|Gladstone, T.||Smith, T. A.|
|Gladstone, W. E.||Stewart, J.|
|Gordon, Hon. W.||Stormont, Viscount|
|Goulburn, Rt. Hon. H.||Somerset, Lord G.|
|Grimston, Viscount||Trevor, Hon. G. R.|
|Halcomb, J.||Tyrell, Sir J. T.|
|Halford, H.||Verney, Sir H.|
|Hardinge, Sir H.||Villiers, Viscount|
|Hanmer, Sir J.||Vyvyan, Sir R.|
|Hanmer, Colonel H.||Wall, C. B.|
|Hayes, Sir E.||Walsh, Sir J. B.|
|Hay, Sir J.||Williams, R.|
|Herries, J. C.||Wood, Colonel T.|
|Hill, Sir R.||Wynn, Rt. Hon. C. W.|
|Hope, Hon. Sir A.||Yorke, Captain C. P.|
|Hodson, J.||Young, J.|
|Jermyn, Earl||Jervis, J.|
|Jones, T.||Ross, C.|
|Ashley, Hon. H.||Patten, J. W.|
|Conolly, Col, E. M.||Peel, Colonel J.|
|Dick, Q.||Penruddocke, J. H.|
|Forester, Hon. G. C.||Stuart, W.|
|Grant, Hon. Colonel||Tullamore, Lord|