§ On the Order of the Day for going into Committee of Supply,
§ MR. B. OSBORNE
rose to call the attention of the House to the present state of Portugal, and the situation of the British naval and military forces in that country. He said that in doing so he would promise the House not to delay them by entering at length into the proceedings in Portugal, which formed the subject of the recent debate. But he thought there were many hon. Gentlemen who would agree with him in opinion, that on a subject of such very great importance and magnitude as the late armed intervention in the affairs of Portugal, it was not right to leave the question as it now stood, or that the present Parliament should close without some defence being made by the noble Lord the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs for the course which he thought right to pursue towards that country. In bringing the subject forward, he trusted that the noble Lord the First Minister of the Crown would not attribute to him the unworthy motive of obstructing the Government by preventing the House from going into Committee of Supply. He must premise that he did not think the speeches of the two Ministers of the Crown who took part in the debate on a late occasion, contributed to show any just or sound pretext for an armed intervention in Portugal; nor did he consider that the speech of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth—who was the real divinity that came to the defence of Her Majesty's Government, and not the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate)—had been without an attempt to disguise the real state of that question. For what was the question? Why, that the Queen of Portugal having violated her oath on every occasion, and having trampled on the constitutional privileges of her subjects, forced them to rise in defence of their freedom. And it was not until success promised to attend their efforts that the British Minister thought fit to interfere in support of the Queen's Government. It might be said that the British Minister was induced to interpose from his love of constitutional liberty; but did he not per- 1194 ceive that, by the course which he took, he showed his love of liberty by kicking the popular party down stairs, and by giving his support to a Sovereign who had shown herself incapable of governing in a constitutional manner. He thought the noble Lord the First Minister of the Crown and the right hon. Gentleman the Paymaster General of the Forces had both failed in making out a case for armed intervention. It was quite true that they spoke of the necessity of maintaining the dignity of the Portuguese Crown; but he asked, was it possible to maintain the dignity of that Crown in the absence of all truth on its side, and in a state of things where the liberty of the people was trampled upon, and where there was neither security for private honour nor for public interest? Neither they nor the right hon. Baronet made any attempt to defend the unconstitutional conduct of the Portuguese Government. An endeavour was made to induce this country to believe that, however unwilling the British Government was to interfere in the affairs of Portugal, it was forced to do so in consequence of the remonstrances of Franco and the threats of Spain. He believed, however, that at the present day no British Government could stand up and defend armed intervention on such a dishonourable plea. He was prepared to prove that from the very commencement of the affair, to this day, the conduct of France had been throughout irreproachable. The French Government sedulously endeavoured to persuade the Portuguese Government to come to terms; and though it gave a lukewarm consent to the intervention in the end, it by no means expressed a wish to interfere in the struggle. In the French Chambers, M. Guizot distinctly denied the whole case laid down in that House, and refuted the assertion that he had ever impressed on the noble Lord at the head of Foreign Affairs the necessity of interference in the affairs of Portugal. And was not that assertion on his part carried out by the recent acts of the French authorities and by the French forces in that country? What was the conduct of the French captain commanding before Oporto? When he was asked to sign the threat of menace, he did so with considerable hesitation; and even to the end declared that he did so in no diplomatic character, and that the Consul should be responsible for the act; while the French Consul, on being applied to for his signature, positively refused to put his name to the paper, and to that day he had not 1195 signed it. He thought these facts, combined with the very clear and concise spoech of M. Guizot in the Chamber of Deputies, were conclusive evidence that France was not the first to impress on the noble Lord the necessity of an armed intervention. Besides, the French steamers, on being applied to, actually refused to take the prisoners on board, saying to the Queen's forces, "If you want gaolers, go to the English fleet." It was very evident from all this that the noble Lord had been birdlimed by that great master of diplomacy—the French Monarch—who would in due time, no doubt, reap the harvest of the interference. He next came to the most extraordinary of all the declarations ever made by a Minister of the British Crown, namely, that the Government of this country was forced, in the nineteenth century, into an armed intervention in Portugal, from fear of Spain. He had pledged himself not to enter at length into the entire question, and he would promise not to road a single extract from the papers that had been laid on the Table; but he could not avoid quoting a few sentences from the French blue book on this subject. [The hon. Gentleman road an extract from a despatch of the Count do Jarnac, dated London, May 24, 1847, stating that the Plenipotentiary of Her Britannic Majesty had declared himself ready to offer and prescribe on the spot the co-operation of the naval forces of Great Britain in support of the Royal cause in Portugal; hut that the British Government, considering that a joint intervention of the allies would be infinitely preferable to intervention by any one of them alone, proposed that a protocol should be issued; that this advice was supported by the Portuguese Plenipotentiary; and that the Spanish Plenipotentiary stated that he was without any power from his Court to sign any such arrangement, but that he would write to Madrid that evening, to hasten the intervention of the Spanish forces in Portugal. It thus appeared that the proposal to support the Royal cause in Portugal, came from the noble Lord in the first instance, and that neither the Plenipotentiary of France or of Spain interfered in the arrangement. It also appeared, from this despatch of the Count de Jarnac, that the noble Lord actually proceeded himself to draw up the first draft of the protocol. After these facts, he did not conceive how the noble Lord would be able to explain away what occurred, or to satisfy the 1196 House that unless this Government had consented to interfere, they would incur the danger of a European war. All the evidence before them proved directly the contrary of this assertion. He believed the noble Lord was the only man in that House who was able to explain those facts; and he had no doubt but that the noble Lord felt delighted at being afforded an opportunity of doing so. But what was the present state of Portugal? As to the Junta at Oporto, he believed that even those who were opposed to them would admit that they had conducted themselves in a manner which did honour to their cause. he could not conceive under what pretence of law the attack upon their forces, under the Count das Antas, and the imprisonment of that officer, with 4,000 of his men, at St. Julian, was justified. Or why was it that this country should be put to the expense of 150l. a day for the support of the men who were taken prisoners? he did not think that the noble Lord, great as was his faith in the Queen of Portugal, would attach equal value to the Portuguese debentures issued in her name. On the contrary, the noble Lord was well aware that he was hourly plunging this country into expenses in support of the dynasty of that country, and that it would be very well if the proceedings did not in future run them into the expense of an European war. The attack on the forces of the Junta was certainly the most inglorious essay ever made by the British fleet. But what was the next step taken? The forces of the Junta at St. Ubes were ordered to capitulate; and Sa da Bandeira with 300 men repaired to the British fleet, while the remainder of the force, under Galamba, retreated. It was with feelings of shame at the disgrace which the transaction reflected on the British name, that he perceived a signal was given from the British fleet to General Vinhaes to attack the retreating forces, and that he led on his dragoons to massacre the fugitives. He hoped hon. Gentlemen in that House would not be bamboozled by any attempted excuse that might be made for such a proceeding. They had a people justly in arms in defence of their freedom; and yet there was the British fleet making signals that they might be attacked in their retreat. An amnesty was proclaimed on the 9th of June, and was at once made known to the supporters of the Junta; but no trouble was taken to inform them that a supplement to that proclamation was issued 1197 on the 10th. The first of these was issued from the Palace of the Necessidades—a very good name; for if the Queen had not been in necessity, the noble Lord would never have interfered at all. The House was aware of the nature of the amnesty; but it would not perhaps be wrong to remind it of the nature of the supplement which afterwards appeared. The decree declared—In order to obtain the submission which is due to me, and to re-establish public order, I have resolved to adopt all the measures which humanity and public safety demand; such as to accord an amnesty on an exceedingly wide scale, and the restitution of all the employments which the constitution and the laws have decided cannot he lost except after a formal order, motived by impropriety of conduct on the part of the holders; and the restoration of all honours. I have also resolved to convoke the Cortes, and have the elections proceeded with as soon as public order shall have been restored in all parts of the kingdom; maintaining in all its plenitude the liberty of electors, the free exercise of all rights, and the scrupulous and impartial execution of the constitutional charter in all its provisions.The supplement, however, went on to state, that—Having conceded to all who have been implicated in the revolt which has been carried on since the 6th of October last, a full and general amnesty by my Royal Decree of the 28th of April past, and which was published conjointly with the Proclamation of the 9th instant, which called them to a rightful submission, assuring them after such submission the execution of the provisions of the said Decree; and having taken into consideration that in consequence of a wrong interpretation which has been given to those Acts, there have resulted excesses and disturbances of the public peace: It is hereby declared, that the above-named provisions of the Decree referred to, of the 28th April last, will only take effect after the complete submission of the revolutionary Junta of Oporto, and of the armed bodies who sustain the revolt; the Government being prepared, until such submission is given, not only to adopt all such measures as the security of the public peace may call for, but to adopt all necessary measures to put an end to the said revolt. The Ministers and Secretaries of State of the several Departments will take it as so understood, and see it executed.Now, he would maintain that the Junta was strictly justified in not submitting until all the conditions of the first proclamation were carried into effect. One of these conditions insisted upon was the removal of the Ministry; but though their removal was promised, these very men, who were a disgrace to civilized Europe, were to the present day in the possession of power, and were the advisers of the Sovereign. He would defy any civilized country in the world to produce such a body of men as the Min- 1198 istry to whom the Junta wore expected to lay down their arms. There was no President of the Council, a thing, he believed, unusual in Portugal. The whole body, under the pretence of not being a Cabralist Ministry, was composed of the rankest Cabralists; and even greater partisans, if possible, than their predecessors of that Jonathan Wild of European diplomacy—Costa de Cabral. The first of them was M. Bayard, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, whose connexion with the proceedings of the 6th of October would be remembered. Then they had Tavares Proenca, Minister of the Interior, answering, he believed, to the right hon. Baronet the Member for Devonport in this country. Viscount da Barca was Minister of War; and Count Tojal was the Finance Minister—the Sir Charles Wood of the Portuguese Government, but very unlike that excellent Minister in every one particular. It might be well to inform the House that this Count Tojal was a public defaulter in this country—that it was principally owing to him that the taxes on salt and burials bad been constituted—that it was at his suggestion the large creation of new Portuguese bonds had been sent to this country—and that he was, in fact, an individual too well known on the Stock Exchange. The fifth was M. Leitao, the Minister of Justice, who was said to be a very amiable man, but who had very little power in the Ministry. He wanted to know why it was, that at such a peculiar crisis as the present, the British Ambassador at Lisbon (Lord Howard de Walden) and Mr. Southern, two men who understood the condition of the country so intimately, and who had exhibited so much skill and judgment in the transaction of public business, had been recalled, and replaced by two Gentlemen, who, however amiable and excellent, had no more knowledge of Portugal than had been shown by the noble Lord himself. One of them, Sir Hamilton Seymour, had come from the Court of a Monarch to whom he (Mr. Osborne) was disposed to attribute some blame for what had taken place—he meant the King of the Belgians. Sir Hamilton Seymour knew nothing of Portugal, and had necessarily to go to the English Consul at Lisbon for advice and information. Now, the latter was married to the sister of the Count Tojal; and it was therefore very natural that all the information which reached Sir Hamilton Seymour and our Government came through Count Tojal and Mr. Smith. Lord Howard de 1199 Walden had displayed great knowledge of the country, and had conducted himself admirably; and why he was recalled would, it was to be hoped, be explained by the noble Lord. Our Government should have insisted upon an entire change in the Portuguese Administration. There would then have been no difficulty in bringing the Junta of Oporto to terms, and the whole question would then have been settled without any necessity for the noble Lord's protocol. One cause of the present state of things was the influence at the Court of Portugal of a certain Padre Marcos, chaplain to the Queen, a creature of Cabral. This chaplain was at the head of a political club of servants in the Palace; and his character might be estimated by the fact, that although he was a priest and confessor to the Queen, he was the father of a very numerous family of sons and daughters. The conduct of this person, in fact, had disgusted every party in the State; and he would ask the noble Lord what confidence could the people of Portugal feel in a Government which made such appointments. The conduct of the Junta of Oporto presented a perfect contrast to the proceedings of the Court. Greatly to their honour and credit, there had been no disturbances at Oporto; British life and British property were secure in that city; but we had been obliged to retain Das Antas for fear of assassination. It must be remembered, also, when the House was called upon to trust the Queen of Portugal and the armistice, that Marshal Saldanha had taken advantage of the suspension of the armistice to advance; and that, although the British Consul remonstrated, he refused to fall back. Then, there was the treatment of the Count Bomfim and the prisoners taken at Torres Vedras in the settlement of Angola. The noble Lord must confess, that the treatment of these persons had been in the highest degree exceptionable. They surrendered upon an honourable capitulation—their lives were to be spared, and their property saved; but what was the first step of Government? Why, positively to rob them of their property, and then to consign them to a convict ship to be transported to a penal settlement. These gallant men arrived at Angola in rags. So great was their destitution that a subscription was made for their relief, and they were clothed at the expense of the inhabitants. The Portuguese Government had treated them like the worst class of felons, They ordered 1200 the sons to be separated from the fathers, and dispersed amongst the most unhealthy parts of the settlement, with the exception of Count Bomfin, who was kept a prisoner on board a hulk. Now, he contended, that if the noble Lord could insist with firmness upon the retirement of M. Dietz from the Court of Portugal, it was much more incumbent upon him to have insisted, with all the vigour belonging to his character, upon the recall of these unhappy men. He regretted, however, to say, that throughout the whole of these transactions he saw nothing on the part of England but sympathy with the Court, and that the interest of the people had throughout been treated as a matter of secondary consideration. What was the next step taken on the part of this country? Why, to threaten the bombardment of Oporto by the fleet. This threat he regarded as nothing more than a brutum fulmen; but there was every reason to believe that a Spanish army, at this moment, was in possession of Oporto. Perhaps the noble Lord at the head of the Government and the noble Lord the Foreign Secretary were then reading the despatch informing them of this event. Did the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs forget, when he threatened to bombard Oporto, and when he actually allowed a Spanish army to march into it, that more than three-fourths of its commerce was carried on by British merchants? In 1842, the declared value of British manufactures exported thither was no loss than 1,102,746l.; and 161 British ships of 122,922 tons arrived there. In short, the whole trade of Oporto might he said to be in the hands of British merchants, yet the noble Lord was risking it, and for what? To set up a constitutional Government? No; but to maintain a despotic and ungovernable woman upon the throne of Portugal. He would tell the House there was a strong feeling growing up both in Spain and Portugal, that as they had lost their colonies, it would be for their mutual interest to be united; and at the same time it was a significant fact that the people of Oporto, sooner than surrender to their own countrymen under Saldanha, gave themselves up to a party of Spaniards under General Concha. No wonder, indeed, at the surrender of Oporto, when it was threatened by a Spanish army on one side, and by a British fleet on the other; but what security could the noble Lord give that as soon as the Spanish garrison had withdrawn, the insurrection as it was called, would not break out again? He 1201 was by no means certain, whatever might be said by that House, that the next House of Commons would be willing to place the same confidence in the assurances of the noble Lord that all would go on right; but in the meantime how long was this country to act the part of a police in Portugal? How long were we to pay for the support of an army of prisoners in Portugal? With reference to what had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Macaulay) daring the last debate on this subject, he would ask him to consider that we were now dealing with events in the nineteenth century, and that the public sympathies were with the people rather than with the Court. A struggle was in fact going on throughout Europe between popular and despotic principles; and he was certain that much of it was owing to the Quadruple Treaty. England ought to be extremely guarded how she entered upon the principle of intervention. The last remains of the independence of Poland had been swallowed up in Cracow. Austria was already pressing upon Italy, and encouraging France to press upon Switzerland. The King of Prussia was oscillating between the fear of offending the Emperor of Russia, and the wish to give a constitution to his subjects. And at this time the noble Lord, under the plea of guaranteeing the throne of the Queen, attacked the popular principle in Portugal. He founded a foreign throne upon a British fleet and Spanish bayonets. The noble Lord knew this was the last experiment he could ever make upon this subject. If there was a public in Spain (which he much doubted), they would not submit to this tampering with constitutional rights—this erection of thrones on foreign bayonets. One word, however, must be said for the English people. When they came to understand this question, an end would be put to protocolizing and intervention. They would not consent to be taxed for the support of despotic principles. They would recollect that under the two first Georges the wealth and blood of this country had been spent, not for their benefit, but for the aggrandizement of Hanover; and recollecting that, he much misjudged them if, for the selfish advantage of the House of Braganza or the House of Coburg, they would interfere in any war which had for its object the oppression of the Junta of Oporto, and the maintenance of the Queen of Portugal upon the throne. In conclusion, the hon. and gallant Gentleman begged to propose the following resolution, 1202 and he called upon the noble Lord to second it:—In the opinion of this House, it is incumbent on the British Government, as it has made itself a party to an armed intervention in Portugal, with the avowed view of adjusting internal differences in that country, to insure to the Portuguese Nation the full and complete enjoyment of their constitutional rights and privileges, and also to insist on the immediate recall of the Count Bomfin and his companions in exile from the penal settlement of Angola, and, if necessary, to facilitate their conveyance to Europe.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
I certainly do not rise, Sir, for the purpose of seconding the Amendment which my hon. Friend has now proposed; not that I object, in any degree, to the spirit, and meaning, and substance of it, but because we are anxious to go into Committee of Supply. My noble Friend the First Lord of the Treasury on a former occasion stated the entire concurrence of Her Majesty's Government in the substance of the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Finsbury; and therefore I can have no difficulty in assuring the House that Her Majesty's Government will feel it their duty to exert the influence which properly belongs to Britain, for the purpose of obtaining from the Government of Portugal a full and perfect execution of the Articles that are recorded in the Protocol. My hon. Friend who has just sat down was perfectly right in his surmise that my noble Friend and myself wore engaged in reading the communication which announced the conclusion of the drama which has been going on in Portugal—that drama of which my hon. Friend the Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) gave us the prologue, and of which my hon. Friend (Mr. B. Osborne) has this day pronounced the epilogue—a drama in which, if we had not taken upon ourselves in some degree the duty of stage-managers, would, instead of being what it may in some degree be considered, as rather partaking of a comic character, have been a tragedy of a serious description, marked cither by wide-spread, destructive, and desolating anarchy, or by the establishment of a cruel and revengeful tyranny. Sir, the principles upon which we acted were those of avoiding either of these two extremes. My hon. Friend, however, has this evening appeared not merely in the character of the deliverer of a very able epilogue, but in a new function—one partaking somewhat of an obstetric character; for he has come forward to assist me in the deliverance of a certain speech. I am 1203 afraid, however, my hon. Friend will not be successful in delivering mo of the speech which it might have been my duty to make upon a former occasion, because the full-grown offspring which proceeded from the head of the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel), to whom he alluded, and who made, as he himself has stated, an able defence of our policy—[Mr. B. OSBORNE: I said special pleading.] The speech of the right hon. Baronet supersedes, however, the necessity of any delivery on my part of the infant effort which on a former occasion I might have produced to this House. I say, therefore, to go now, at this time of day, into the details of this question—to expound, step by stop, the course of policy Her Majesty's Government thought it their duty to follow—would be only to weary the House by matters which, however they may be viewed by my hon. Friend, and by some who agree with him, are, I believe, settled in public opinion to the satisfaction of this country at large. I am convinced, however some hon. Gentlemen in this House may still view with dissatisfaction the course pursued, the country at large is satisfied our course was a wise one, and that our object was that which we avowed, namely, not the establishment of tyranny, but the maintenance of the liberties of the Portuguese people. I do not stand hero to defend the Government of Portugal from the charges which my hon. Friend has made against them. I do not stand here to vindicate the character of chaplains and confessors. I would rather be excused from stating my opinion upon the details of late transactions; but I have no hesitation in saying, that, in my humble opinion, the Government of Portugal was wrong in the course they pursued in October last; and I have no difficulty in avowing, when the Crown of Portugal, by its advisers, said to the people, "You shall have no Parliament in which to state your grievances," the people were justified in saying, "If you give us no Parliament in which to state our grievances, we will state them ourselves by arms and force." Sir, the object of our interference was a recall of the Parliament. It was to relieve the people of Portugal from the necessity of that irregular political proceeding—to give them a Parliament in which to state their grievances, and to restore the battles of political party to the legitimate arena of the Senate. That was our object—that was the mainspring which directed the policy which we have pursued. I think, if any man will 1204 take the trouble of reading patiently the pages of the blue book, he will see that was the course which, day after day, and week after week, we followed. Sir, what did we do when we were long ago appealed to by the Governments of Portugal and Spain? We were early in the day told by the Government of France—not, as my hon. Friend erroneously imputes, of an intention to interfere directly by arms; for the French Government did not call for actual interference—but I say, we wore told, early in the day, by the French Government, that the case which existed was a casus fœderis under the Quadruple Treaty. If a Government like that of France states that a case has arisen under the provisions of a treaty, according to which it is liable to be called upon for military and naval aid, it is establishing a distinction without a difference to tell us that that Government did not invite us to interfere. Sir, my hon. Friend denied that a case might happen, if the parties went on in the line in which they were then going, in which Spain also, under the provisions of the Quadruple Treaty, would be compelled to interfere by force of arms. Latterly, towards the conclusion of these negotiations—however my hon. Friend may repeat the notion that our interference was begun that we might not give displeasure to Spain; for it was not the fear of displeasure to Spain that was the motive for our conduct—he will see that Spain from time to time kept announcing its intended interference, with us or without us; and that at last, in April of this year, M. Pacheco told us that, anxious as he was to make the conduct of Spain conformable to the wishes of the other Powers, and would endeavour to do nothing without the accordance of England, yet, as he said, being deeply interested in the question, if the tranquillity of Spain and the security of the Throne of the Queen of Portugal should by circumstances be placed in danger, with or without England Spain must act, because the Government of Queen Isabella could not permit the Throne of Queen Maria to be overthrown by popular commotion. Well, then, we had two objects in view: we wished, first, to persuade the Portuguese Government to do that which we thought they ought to do, namely, to use conciliation toward the discontented people; to pacify the country by making proper concessions to those who thought they had grievances which required redress; to negotiate with the Junta, and in that 1205 way to put an end to the civil war. On the other hand, we were using our utmost endeavours to prevent the forcible interference of Spain. In the one object we unfortunately failed; in the other, up to the last moment, we have succeeded. Then it is said, why did we suddenly alter our course, and, having up to a certain time declined interfering, and preached negotiation and concession, all at once change our course, and agree to that interference which, up to that moment, we had declined? Why, I think, Sir, the blue book itself fully explains the reason for that change. We exhausted every method of persuasion to prevail upon the Portuguese Government to pursue the course which we thought right. The Queen of Portugal was willing to pursue that course; but her Government resisted it. Her Government at last partially gave way; but the head of that Government, who, being not only the President of the Council but also the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, was a person of considerable weight and consequence, without whoso concurrence nothing could be effected (the Marquess of Saldanha), at last declared that he would not be a party to any concession or to any measure of conciliation—that he would resign his offices and his command if conciliation were adopted, and if Spanish interference were not to be resorted to. Then it was that a decision became necessary: it became necessary that we should make a speedy and immediate decision; because events were then advancing much more rapidly than had hitherto been the case. We might have said, we will do nothing—we will leave things to take their course. Now, which of the two courses would my hon. Friend have had us take? Which of the two modifications of the course would my hon. Friend have wished us to adopt? we are told we should have adhered rigidly to the system of non-interference. Why, non-interference in a case like that of a Portuguese civil war could be nothing but a total and entire non-interference, leaving things solely and entirely to themselves. That statement means, then, that we should not have endeavoured to interfere to prevent the Spaniards doing what they wished; because if the Queen of Portugal—an independent Sovereign—asked a friendly ally (Spain) to render her assistance, then non-interference, to be consistent, says that we should abstain from meddling at all—that we had no business to check Spain—that it was for Spain 1206 alone to determine whether she should interfere or no—that we should upon no account put pen to paper, but should allow Spain to do whatever she chose. Now that would have been entire and equal noninterference; but I should like to know how that would agree with constitutional and popular principles. There was a Spanish army collected on the frontier—we were told that Count Thomar was pulling the strings at Madrid; that his agents and creatures were at Lisbon—why, Sir, the inevitable consequence of non-interference on the part of England would have been that a Spanish army would have entered into Portugal, and we should have had the very thing which my hon. Friend thinks so disastrous and so calamitous in its character, viz., Spanish interference in the affairs of Portugal—not such an interference as that which has now taken place, controlled, and regulated, and determined by a co-operation and conjunction with other Powers—not an interference directed to the legitimate object of re-establishing a constitutional Government in Portugal; but a Spanish interference directed by that Count Thomar, who is the object of dread to my hon. Friend, in conjunction with the Padre Marcos at Lisbon, a Spanish army being sent into the country by Count Thomar to carry out the views of Padre Marcos and the arbitrary party in Lisbon. That would either have produced a national revolt and struggle between the Spanish and the Portuguese people, or have led to the establishment of that system of arbitrary and tyrannical government against which the Portuguese people rose in May of last year, and again in October following. Nobody has yet said that that is the course which we ought to have pursued. Then it is said again, that we should have interfered not by force of arms and by an armed mediation, as we have done, but that we should have interfered to the extent of preventing Spanish troops entering Portugal, and not in any other way; that we should have said, "We will not interfere, and nobody else shall interfere." But, Sir, I contend that that would itself have been an interference. The Queen of Portugal sends for succour, and assistance. We say, "We won't help you, we won't mediate, we won't arbitrate, but we will prevent anybody else from helping you: we leave you, therefore, to fight single-handed against your discontented subjects." I say that would have been exercising a dominion over the Crown 1207 of Portugal which England is not entitled to exercise; hut it would also have been inconsistent with those ancient treaties and engagements which hind the Crowns of the two countries. It is evident, then, that either of those courses would have left Portugal to he the prey of great and serious calamities; hut if Portugal had been a country with which we had no political connexion by treaties, and no commercial connexion by trade—if the scene had been laid in some distant country, far away from us, and with which we had no concern or common interest, undoubtedly we should have left Portugal to shift for itself, and the Portuguese to take care as they best could of their own affairs. But looking, on the one hand, to the ancient treaties which hind this country to Portugal, and, on the other hand, to those interests of commerce which my hon. Friend described in regard to the single port of Oporto, it would have been of great injury and detriment to the interests of this country if Portugal had, by our neglect, been reduced to that state of anarchy which one event would have occasioned; and it would have been a matter of great regret to this country if we had been the cause of establishing an arbitrary despotic Government in Portugal. Then, Sir, the only course left was that which we pursued. We saw, on the one hand, that Spain would interfere. She told us so. We saw that unless we resorted to that extremity which has been suggested, of threatening Spain with war if she did interfere, no other course was open to us. But that was a proceeding which I think no man in this House would recommend; but I am sure if we had come down to this House, and had proposed a war with Spain, and perhaps, in consequence, a war with France, because we did not choose that a Spanish army should cross the frontier, that that proposition would not have been well received by this House or by the country. I say, then, that that was not the course which we ought to have pursued. Gentlemen talked of a war with Spain preventing interference with Portugal. Why, if the interference which Spain threatened had been an interference by way of sea, and we could have stopped it by a fleet, it might have been easy of execution; but would this House have sanctioned an expedition against Spain, in order to prevent the interference of Spanish troops. [Mr. OSBORNE: Mr. Canning did it.] Yes, Mr. Canning did it; but 1208 allow me to tell my hon. Friend that that was a very different case from the present. Mr. Canning did it in the exercise and the fulfilment of treaties and engagements. My hon. Friend the Member for Montrose did not tell mo that Mr. Canning did it. He even objected to that measure, although it was proved to the demonstration and to the complete satisfaction of the House and the country that England was bound by engagements to take that step. But in this case there is no such treaty. We should have been borne out by no engagements and by no treaties. It would have been a purely Quixotic enterprise on our part to prevent what we considered an abuse of power; and I cannot myself imagine that the House or the country would have sanctioned such a proceeding. But, Sir, we therefore determined to regulate those events which we could not altogether prevent. We had urged the Queen of Portugal to negotiate with her subjects, and to redress the grievances of which they justly complained. She said she could not, because her Prime Minister and Commander-in-Chief refused to be a party to that proceeding. We then said—"Then we will do what they refuse; we will enable you to make those concessions to your subjects which we think you ought to make, and which nothing but a want of power prevents you making immediately. There has been a rising in the country; grant those concerned in it a full and complete amnesty: there are decrees which you have been advised to issue which are arbitrary and unconstitutional, and opposed to the rights and liberties of the people; revoke them, and place things upon their former footing; you have postponed the meeting of Parliament indefinitely—let the elections immediately take place, and call Parliament together; objections have been taken to the Government you had in October, on the ground that it is a renewal of the Government of May, in consequence of which the insurrection took place—remove that Government, and until Parliament appoints another, place in it men who shall not be objected to as members of the Cabral party on the one hand, or of the Junta on the other." For what else hut those conditions was it that the people went originally into arms? The granting of those conditions would have been giving to the people of Portugal everything they asked, and even more than they had specifically required. [Mr. B. OSBORNE: Nothing has been done.] The hon. Gentleman says 1209 "nothing has been done;" why, it is only this very day that I have received an account that the Junta has agreed to terms. The Junta, no doubt very wisely, waited to see what the British Parliament would say. They have heard what the Parliament has done. It appears that they are satisfied with what England has done. Peace is restored; and now that that event has happened, contingent upon which those other arrangements were to take place, it is understood that they will be carried into execution. An amnesty has been published applicable to all those who have been in arms against the Government. A revocation of the decrees will no doubt take place now that the civil war is, I hope, over. The elections—you would not have them going on whilst a civil war was raging; no man in his senses could expect them to take place in such a state of things—will commence the moment the country is tranquil, and as soon as they are concluded the Cortes will no doubt be summoned. [Mr. B. OSBORNE: The Ministry.] It is stated that the present Ministry is the same as that against which the revolt in October last took place. Allow mo to say that the men now in office are not the same men; and if they are—if any of them be liable to objections for not being in character conformable with the Fourth Article of the conditions—then I can assure my hon. Friend that all the influence of the British Government will be exercised to obtain from the Crown of Portugal a full and faithful exercise of that condition, as well as of all the other conditions. Well, Sir, my hon. Friend, however, says that the whole course of the British Government has been marked by a partiality towards the Crown of Portugal. Sir, that certainly is not the opinion of the party against whom the insurrection of the 6th of October was directed; on the contrary, complaints have been made of the partiality of Her Majesty's Government to the Junta. We have been accused of protecting them as much as we are now accused of protecting the other party. It was indeed said that they trusted to support from us, and that it was their confidence in the certainty and amount of that support which prevented them listening to the proposals that were made to them, or from themselves making proposals to the Government. Sir, my hon. Friend asks why was Lord Howard do Waldon removed from Lisbon? Sir, Lord Howard de Walden deserves all the praise which my hon. Friend has given 1210 him; and if he knew as well as I know the manner in which Lord Howard de Walden performed his duties during the long course of time which he represented the British Crown at Lisbon, he would even add to the commendation which he has so deservedly bestowed. But Lord Howard de Walden had private reasons which made it necessary for him to leave Lisbon—he was obliged to go to the West Indies to look after his interests there, which were suffering from his absence; and it would not have been fair to have called upon him to make such a sacrifice, if his duties at Lisbon could be transferred to anybody else. Sir Hamilton Seymour was then sent out, and has performed his duties in a manner perfectly satisfactory—he has done nothing that has not been fully approved by Her Majesty's Government. Placed, in my opinion, in very difficult circumstances, in very complicated difficulties, with regard to which he could have no previous instructions, and in circumstances in which he was compelled to act at the moment, and upon his own discretion, he has acted with judgment, with courage, with firmness, with honesty, and in a manner worthy, in my opinion, of the representative of the British Crown and of the British nation. Sir Hamilton Seymour has been impartial between the contending parties, and for that impartiality he has been blamed by both; and that, Sir, is the lot of those who endeavour to steer an even course between conflicting and contending parties; it is their lot to be blamed by everybody, but whilst they are acquitted by their own consciences they will be indifferent to the censures which may be heaped upon them. My hon. Friend asked why Mr. Southern had been removed? I am not aware that he has been removed. He had obtained leave of absence for private reasons connected with the health of his family; but he thought it his duty to live at Lisbon, and there he has been, much, I say, to the advantage and the interests of the public service. The conduct pursued by Sir Hamilton Seymour has been that of an honest, an upright, and an able man; and, instead of attempting, as my hon. Friend has done, to draw invidious distinctions between the different organs of the policy of the Government, I can only say that they have all followed their instructions to the best of their ability, and with a judgment and a zeal which render them deserving of approbation of the Government and the public. I think I 1211 have now explained the points to which my hon. Friend has adverted. I have stated that it was the policy of our Government to induce the Crown of Portugal of its own accord to make concessions to the just grievances of the Portuguese nation; that we pursued the course until we at last arrived at a point at which we found it was impossible to obtain our object in that way; that we found the Crown would not follow the advice which we had tendered; and that we then felt that rather than leave Portugal to those great and serious calamities which, without any further interference, seemed to threaten that country, it was hotter to pursue the only course which lay open to us, and to unite with the Governments of Spain and France, for the purpose, not of crushing the liberties of the people, not of setting up an arbitrary and tyrannical despotism, but for the purpose of re-establishing the constitutional Government of Portugal, and of giving to the people the means of redressing their grievances in a legal and legitimate manner. My hon. Friend said that there was a blue book in France as well as in England, and that the account given in that book of the mode in which the protocol was framed, differed materially from the statements made in this House. Sir, there is no difference that I can perceive between these statements. My hon. Friend says, "How happens it, you say that one of the great motives for the course you pursued was the apprehension of Spanish interference; and yet it appears, by Count Jarnae's despatch, that when you assembled at the Foreign Office to make the protocol for joint interference—mark that, 'joint' interference—the Spanish Minister said he had no instructions for joint interference, and hesitated to agree to such a proposition?" Where is the inconsistency between the statements? We said, Spain announced that if we would not go with her, she would go by herself. The blue book is full of proofs that there was a party, particularly the military party, in Spain, which had a great desire for separate and independent action; and we are told by Count Jarnae that the Spanish Minister hesitated to tie up his Government as to the amount and duration of interference to be allowed, by accepting the engagement which we proposed to regulate the actions of his Government. So far from there being any inconsistency, I maintain that the account which Count Jarnae very faithfully gives 1212 of what passed, confirms and corroborates the very statements on which we found, in part, our justification for the course we have pursued. Sir, the Spanish Minister did undoubtedly at first say that he had no instructions for a protocol which was to determine the extent, and the range, and the duration of the movements of the Spanish army, but that he was quite ready to write to engage his Government to send a Spanish army into Portugal. After a very slight conversation, however, and a simple statement of motives and objects to him, he did agree, and did take upon himself the responsibility of binding his Government as to the manner, the objects, and the duration of the interference which the Spanish troops were to effect in Portugal. Would my hon. Friend have preferred that the Spanish army should have marched into Portugal on its own account, without any restrictions as to the time during which it was to remain there, and the period of its return? Those simple articles which we thought it necessary, with a view to a conciliation, for the Queen of Portugal to offer to her subjects, were recorded by the Portuguese Minister in the protocol; and they became from that moment an engagement, not only from the Crown of Portugal to its own subjects, but an engagement from the Crown of Portugal towards its Three Allies. Therefore I contend that the protocol did give to the people of Portugal a security for their constitutional institutions, which they would not have had if Spanish influence were allowed to be exercised without the consent and co-operation of the Three Powers. We have been charged with a desire to crush popular liberty in Portugal, and to encourage despotic authority in that country; but that is not the course we took at any time—it is not the course which England in these days has taken—nor is it, I will say, the course which she ever will pursue. It was very well for that great and powerful people of ancient times to assume it as their peculiar right and appropriate duty to impose fetters upon every man whose bosom glowed with free sentiments, or who entertained a love of native independence, and only to spare from the ruthless edge of the destroying sword those nations that were subdued or had submitted. Far different, however, has been the allotted task and the duty of England. Our duty—our vocation—is not to enslave, but to set free; and I may say, without any vain-glorious boast, or without 1213 great offence to any one, that we stand at the head of moral, social, and political civilization. Our task is to lead the way and direct the march of other nations. I do not think we ought to goad on the unwilling, or force forward the reluctant; hut when we see a people battling against difficulties and struggling against obstacles in the pursuit of their rights, we may be permitted to encourage them with our sympathy and to cheer them with our approbation; and even, if occasion require, to lend them a helping hand, and bear them up against the difficulties that have beset them. we have done this—England has often and successfully exerted herself for the accomplishment of this object. If Greece has thrown off the yoke which bound her to the earth for so many centuries, and if she now enjoys a state of political independence, it is to England, in common with her other allies, that the thanks of the Greek nation are due. If Spain has escaped the double calamity of foreign domination and a domestic tyranny, it is to England that Spain owes her best thanks for having escaped from that double misfortune. If Belgium has ceased to be transferred from master to master as the tide of conquest ebbed and flowed over Europe, is it not to the influence of England—exerted under two opposite and conflicting Administrations, the Administration of the Duke of Wellington and that of Earl Grey—was it not England which had the greatest share in bringing about that happy event for the Belgian people? Then Portugal. If the House of Braganza has not ceased to reign, and if the people of Portugal now enjoy their civil and political rights, it is the strong arm of England that has enabled the people of Portugal at the present day to boast that they have a national dynasty, and that they enjoy political freedom. And though our neighbours on the other side the Channel are not disposed to acknowledge their obligations to this country, whom they very erroneously look upon as jealous rivals instead of single-hearted friends as we are—if the French people are able to enjoy the advantages of the revolution of July, without paying for it the penalty of a foreign war, it was the influence of England—also exerted under two Administrations, and exerted at least honestly, sincerely, and not without some effect, which hastened to secure for the French nation the enjoyment of those advantages. What, I would ask, is there in the conduct of the party 1214 now in power that justifies the hon. Gentleman in asserting that we are swayed by such base, dishonourable, unconstitutional, and un-English feelings as he has imputed to us? Sir, I repel that charge with as much indignation as is consistent with Parliamentary decorum. The reverse of these are the sentiments which have guided Her Majesty's Government. When we are supposed to have swerved from the proper path of duty, I can only say that the men who have suspected us to be guilty of conduct so unbecoming our station must very much alter their own feelings before they will be fit to hold similar situations in this country. Sir, our course has been straightforward and consistent. Our object has been neither to servo the Portuguese Crown nor to oppress the Portuguese people. We found Portugal a prey to civil war which threatened to lay waste the country, to deluge it with blood, to ruin its finances, to put an end to its prosperity, and to bring in famine as the only stop to military operations. Looking, then, at Portugal as our natural ally, as a country which it was important for British interests to maintain as a material element in the balance of European power—viewing it as very important to British interests that this country should remain a wealthy and prosperous friend, we thought we should best consult our duty in obtaining for the Portuguese nation those constitutional securities which, by the bad advice of the councillors of the Crown in that country had been suspended. Our object was to put an end to bloodshed, and in that we have succeeded. And in bringing the war to a peaceful termination—in transferring the struggle from the field of battle to the arena of Parliamentary debate, we have, I think, earned the thanks of political parties in this country, and given the Portuguese nation the means which the constitution and popular institutions of the country have secured to them of stating their grievances, of obtaining—and, if necessary, I will say of extorting—redress from the Crown. That has been our object, that has been the limit of our interference; and whatever some hon. Gentlemen may think, I leave our conduct with confidence to the country, and not only to our contemporaries, but to the impartial judgment of future times, to say whether we have swerved one hair's breadth from that constitutional course which it was the duty of this country to pursue.
§ MR. BORTHWICK
complimented his 1215 hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Wycombe on his success; for not only had he proved that our interference with the affairs of Portugal were uncalled for, hut he had proved by the answer of the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, that the most honourable intentions and the most consummate abilities when brought to hear upon the subject were futile, and inadequate to put his arguments before the country in a satisfactory manner. He felt bound to disclaim, as far as he was concerned, all participation in the feeling which the noble Lord attributed to some one—to the effect that the Government sympathized with the progress of despotism, and felt not unwilling to advance it. He believed no hon. Gentleman in that House attributed any such feeling to the Government; but there were those who contended with success that the champions of the French revolution were men of high reputation and distinguished for the possession of many excellent qualities; but who considered that in aiding in the revolution they were defending the constitutional rights and liberties of the people. He did not mean to draw a comparison between the Members of Her Majesty's Government and the champions of the French revolution; but he submitted there would be no use in discussion if they were to be precluded from canvassing the actions of public men, because it was generally admitted they were amiable and commendable in their private capacity. He was willing to award the noble Lord his just meed of praise for the highest ability and the purest intentions throughout these proceedings; but he could not award similar praise to those who held office immediately before him. The difficulties in which Portugal and the Peninsula were involved, Were the creatures of the inefficient policy which the Government that preceded him had adopted. He alluded to the period when the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth occupied the position now better occupied by the noble Lord at the head of the Government, and when the Earl of Aberdeen was at the head of the Foreign Office. With respect to the more immediate subject for consideration, it appeared to him that the whole of the able address of the noble Lord placed the question upon the same footing as that argued by the noble Lord at the head of the Government, the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh. 1216 It was not insisted that the principle of international law did not sanction interference. neither was it asserted that the treaties from the earliest down to the latest date justified such interference. It was true, a special case might have arisen; but he failed to detect any arguments which went to show that a special case was made out. There might have been a special case to justify interference in which national independence was threatened, or in which rebellious subjects might have attempted to overthrow the Throne; but in the present case the aggressor was the Crown. The noble Lord at the head of the Government argued that the constitutional Monarch had always a right to dismiss his Ministers. [Lord J. RUSSELL: I was dismissed myself.] He knew that the noble Lord had been dismissed in 1834; and he remembered there was a noble Lord who said at the time that an illustrious Personage had done it all. The circumstance of the dismissal of the noble Lord now at the head of the Government, could not, however, apply to the dismissal of the Queen of Portugal's Ministers; for on the occasion of his dismissal he was not locked up in a room, neither was the Commander-in-Chief sent for and compelled to sign a decree issuing orders to the army, and told that if he did not comply he would be shut up. The noble Lord surely did not sanction such an exercise of the prerogative of the Crown. The Ministers of the Queen of Spain were dismissed immediately after her Majesty had solemnly promised that the people should he fairly represented in the Cortes. The Queen of Portugal invaded the constitution—she violated the charter of the people, and postponed calling the Cortes, and made it impossible that the Cortes, when called, should represent fairly the feelings of her subjects. Upon this what happened? No solitary faction—no discontented political section of the people, but the entire nation expressed in a loyal and respectful voice its determination that the Queen and the country should be saved from the unhallowed domination of a foreign faction. No violence was offered to the Queen; for the safety of her person was guaranteed by the Junta. The true character of the affair could best be gathered from the letter which Mr. Southern wrote to the noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Office, on the 22nd of October, 1846, In which he said—I feel persuaded that the late sudden change 1217 of Administration in Portugal was partly brought about by advice from Madrid, and that Marshal Saldanha has unconsciously been serving as an instrument to forward the plans of the Count de Thomar and M. Gonzales Bravo, in which I believe Spanish intervention, and an intimate union for the future between the Governments of Lisbon and Madrid, figure as principal features. I have observed to the Marshal Saldanha, that in case of the interference of a Spanish force in the affairs of the country, whether morally or physically, the natural Minister of the Queen under such circumstances would undoubtedly be the Count de Thomar, who would very shortly be his successor, and who alone could attempt to carry out the measures of violent reaction and arbitrary government which would become necessary to keep down the opposition which would be made everywhere to the presence of Spanish troops in Portugal.The entire Portuguese revolution, which was, in point of fact, the Queen's revolution against the Crown, was nothing less than a union between the faction that was overriding the liberties of Spain, and the faction that was over-riding the liberties of Portugal, to distract the peace of Europe. But did the noble Lord succeed in establishing peace in Portugal—had he succeeded in establishing peace in the Peninsula? He did not believe the noble Lord had, for an attempt was being made to defeat the protest which the noble Lord had issued against the Spanish marriages; and at this very moment steps were taking for an arrangement which, when carried out, would make the Duchess of Montpensier de jure and de facto Queen of Spain. If he was right in that assumption, and, he believed he was, he asked in what respect had the noble Lord secured the prospect of peace? The noble Lord had referred to France and to Spain, and had claimed for England a share of the glory which had secured for them free institutions; but if it was indeed true that the people of Spain enjoyed liberty and the rights of free men, where was Espartero, the man to whom the Queen owed her throne? Where was he? Was he not in exile, and in disgrace? Was he any longer Duke de Victoria and a general officer? No, he was a private gentleman living in exile and retirement. Such was liberty in Spain. Not long ago a worthy burgher of Madrid was waited upon by an agent of police, and told to prepare himself for instant departure, as he had instructions to convey him to exile to the Canaries. No crime was even alleged, and no explanation was permitted, and the old man was carried away to die in exile. Was that, he asked, liberty—would the noble Lord say that the Cortes of 1218 Spain legally represented the feelings of the Spanish people? The noble Lord re-minded them of Carlos: why, if Carlos had been on the Throne, would he have come within ton degrees of the present Queen in oppression and cruelty? The noble Lord would not answer that question, for he know that the violation of liberty perpetrated by the Queen of Spain never was approached in the worst days of the Inquisition. The history of Isabella II. was written in the blood of her subjects. This was not an exaggerated statement—it was no dream of a heated imagination—but it was a fact which disgraced the nineteenth century and demoralised Europe, that for thirteen years the people of Spain groaned under tortures compared to which the horrors of the Inquisition were absolute liberty. Colonel Wylde, who had acted in direct opposition to the instructions he had received, and was throughout a partisan, had declared himself perfectly satisfied with Saldanha. Colonel Wylde knew at the moment he wrote that despatch that the Ministers had coerced the Royal will—had stood between the Royal will and the fulfilment of the obligations upon her; and yet he said these men would carry out, loyally, the conditions to which they had agreed. The noble Viscount, in his despatch of the 17th February to Sir H. Seymour, showed very clearly the injustice of sending the prisoners of war taken at Torres Vedras to the coast of Africa. Mr. Southern's despatch of the 9th February gave some reason to hope that the destination of the prisoners was altered; but on the 16th March following, the noble Lord reiterated his arguments. But all the while that the Spanish Government were making representations that the destination of the prisoners was altered, the prisoners were on their way to the coast of Africa, and were at present confined there in the condition described by the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite. Every one of those prisoners had risked his life in the service of the Queen of Portugal, and were now loyal subjects of the Queen. Did the noble Lord expect that people so enlightened as the Portuguese would believe a Government that would not keep faith even with so powerful a country as that of England? He was endeavouring to show, that even if a pledge could have been obtained from the Queen of Portugal, it would have been useless, because Her Ministers never meant that it should be carried out. He thought he might claim some credit for 1219 rectitude of views at least, for twelve years ago he had predicted in that House that if Don Carlos and all his generals were banished from Spain, tyranny would still exist there. The noble Lord himself would not deny that for the last nine years at least the cause of liberty had been retrograding in Spain. He had shown, that the insurrection was not by the people against the Queen, but by the Queen against the Crown, and against the charter by which she possessed the Crown. Was there in the Queen's party one man in whom any section of the country had the slightest shade of confidence? Was there in that party one man who had the prestige of a respectable reputation? M. Dietz was not the only person obnoxious to the feelings of the people of Portugal. In the Cortes of Lamego, summoned in 1143 by Alonzo I., when he had delivered Portugal from the Moors, it was decreed that a female might succeed to the Crown of Portugal, provided she did not marry a foreigner. This happened just after that tie had been formed, which up to this hour united England and Portugal in such a bond of amity. he referred to the aid which Alonzo I. received from the English crusaders at the taking of Lisbon, of which it was written—Our intimacy with Portugal commenced during the earliest days of that monarchy. An army of adventurers, stated to have amounted to 14,000 men, embarked in 200 ships, and composed of English, Normans, and Flemings, bound to the Holy Land, owing to stress of weather put into the Douro, where they waited eleven days for their leader, Count Arnold de Ardescot, whose vessel had been separated from the rest. In the interval a negotiation commenced, through the medium of the Bishop of Oporto, and it was eventually arranged that the fleet should proceed to the Tagus, where it arrived on the vigil of St. Peter and St. Paul, 1147. Alonzo I., lately proclaimed King, was at that time preparing his second attack upon Lisbon, a formidable position, garrisoned by a large army of Moors. The crusaders accepted the overtures made to them, and, having landed, materially contributed to the success of the enterprise. For this assistance they received a large portion of the plunder, together with valuable grants, of which many availed themselves by remaining in the kingdom. Almada and Sacavem were settled by Englishmen belonging to this expedition. On the taking of Lisbon an Englishman, of the name of Gilbert, also embarked in the fleet, was appointed bishop; and it is a curious fact that he ordered the breviary and missal of the Anglican church of Salisbury to be used in his diocese, which practice continued till the year 1536, when the Roman Liturgy was introduced.The noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Office argued that we had a right to in- 1220 terfere in the affairs of Portugal, because France and Spain interfered—not that he feared France and Spain united, but he was afraid lest the Minister of the Queen of Spain might resign. In the Cortes of Lamego it was decided that the Queen of Portugal should not marry a foreigner. In 1383, Beatrice, the only daughter of the Queen of Castile, was married to John I., but was afterwards divorced; and in 1641 the Cortes confirmed those laws. They were also confirmed by the 90th Article of the Charter of 1826, and also by the Charter of Don Pedro, which forbids the Queen to marry a foreigner except under particular circumstances. Down to 1846 the Spanish nation were opposed to foreign marriages. He had gone into these details because he thought it right to justify from history the views which he took of this question. Vattel said that we make treaties, not with Sovereigns, but with States. When, in the reign of Joseph I., Portugal refused to sanction a family compact entered into between France and Spain, they said, "If you do not, we will annex you to Spain." What was the answer of Joseph I.?—It is true that my country is exhausted—it is true I have not resources; but I am bound to England by friendship and treaty; and I would rather that the last tile of my palace should fall on my uncrowned head than that I should prove faithless to my treaty with England.That was the language of Joseph I. By the Treaty of 1703 the noble Lord was bound to protect Portugal from any invasion that might be made by France or Spain. The second paragraph had these words:—If ever it shall happen that the Kings of Spain and France, either the present or future; that both of them together, or either of them separately, shall make war, or give occasion to suspect that they intend to make war, upon the kingdom of Portugal, either on the Continent of Europe or in its dominion beyond seas; Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain, and the Lords the States-General, shall use their friendly offices with the said kings, or either of them, in order to persuade them to observe the terms of peace towards Portugal, and not to make war upon it.The fourth, fifth, and sixth paragraphs were to the same effect. [Viscount PAL-MERSTON: Read the fifth paragraph.]But if the foresaid Kings of Spain and France, or either of them, shall make war, or give occaion to suspect that they intend to make war, upon the provinces or dominions of Portugal beyond seas, the above-mentioned Powers of Great Britain and Holland shall furnish to his Portuguese Majesty such a number of men-of-war as shall be equal, or even superior, to the ships of the enemy; so that 1221 he may be able not only to oppose them, but even to prevent such attack or invasion, as long as the war shall last, or occasion require. And if the enemy shall take any town or seize any place, which they may fortify, in the foresaid provinces and dominions beyond seas, these succours shall continue until such town or place be fully recovered, or more towns and places, if more should be taken.The Crown was a part of the State; and Vattel allowed that if the subjects of a State rebelled against the Crown upon unjust grounds, the Crown had a right to call upon its allies for assistance and interference. That was the only conceivable ground on which the noble Lord could justify his interference in the affairs of Spain. The clause to which the noble Lord referred bound the Crown of Great Britain to defend the Crown of Portugal against the insurrection of her subjects; but he (Mr. Borthwick) had demonstrated that in this instance there had been no insurrection on the part of the people—that it was the Queen herself who rose in rebellion against her own Crown. The whole of his argument was to show, that in the present instance there had been no ground for interference, either from the circumstances of the case, the expediency of general policy, or the principles of international law. He should support the Motion of his hon. Friend, because by this interference he contended that the Government had entailed upon themselves the responsibility of governing Portugal. The noble Lord was responsible to the House and to Europe for the acts of the Portuguese Government, which he had established against the constitutional and declared will of the people of that country. The noble Lord was also responsible for the confinement of the prisoners in Africa and at Lisbon. If the noble Lord had not interfered, the matter might have been properly settled, notwithstanding the threats of France and Spain, which should have been regarded as the idle threats on the tongue of cowardice. The whole affair, so far as France was concerned, was neither more nor less than a carrying out of the design so long harboured in the mind of Louis Philippe. From the time of his infamous succession to the Throne of France, in 1830, down to the present moment, be had but one view—that of establishing a tyranny over Europe. It had been said of him, that he was the Napoleon of peace; but his design was to effect by peace that which a nobler Napoleon attempted by means of war. At this moment life was held throughout the 1222 Peninsula only through the permission of Louis Philippe. He believed that before two years had elapsed it would be admitted by all, that the establishment of the Throne of Isabella in Spain had not contributed to promote the peace, tranquillity, and prosperity of that country. The noble Lord had taken on himself a great responsibility in establishing at Madrid a Throne which held up to Europe an example of mingled licentiousness, tyranny, and oppression, unequalled in the annals of preceding times.
§ MR. HUME
denied the right of the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) to take credit to himself for having established the true continental basis of moral, political, and social liberty. The noble Lord had set forward the acts of his Government in a manner which would lead our neighbours to infer that we arrogated to ourselves full freedom to interpose in the internal affairs of every part of the world. Against these doctrines he protested. He was sorry that the noble Lord should proclaim such principles. They were unconstitutional in the last degree; and if we took on all occasions the course which the noble Lord defended himself for having taken in Portugal, on what ground could we oppose the intervention of Foreign Powers, if, unhappily, in future years, we should happen to be placed in a similar situation to that in which the people of Portugal had been now placed? He objected to the policy pursued during the last eight months; and he objected still more to the maintenance of that policy at this moment. If the noble Lord had interfered when the civil war might have been prevented, there would have been some justification; but he had never interfered until it was too late, and the result of the mediation had been to prolong the contest. The noble Lord had admitted the right of the insurgents to take up arms, and, with arms in their hands, to extort a full admission of their rights; but, if he was honest in that opinion, why, seeing that the people of Portugal were oppressed and deprived of their rights, had he permitted the intervention, the effect of which had been to withhold and deprive them of their rights? It did not at all follow that France would have interfered if we had refused. Even had it been so, there was no good reason for carrying the interference so far as we had carried it. The noble Lord had virtually undertaken the Government of Portugal. That being so, he (Mr. Hume) had a right to ask in that House, as the noble Mar- 1223 quess the President of the Council had been asked in another place, had the Queen, Donna Maria, been advised to act justly? Had she been counselled to recall those unfortunate men who had been sent prisoners to Angola, contrary to the faith of all treaties? [Viscount PALMERSTON: Yes.] He was glad to hear it. But, supposing that done, the noble Lord would nevertheless find himself in a kind of fool's trap, for, though Spanish troops were in possession of Oporto, and British influence prevailed, it did not at all follow that everything was settled. Nothing could be settled, tranquillity would never be restored, until those Ministers were dismissed from the Council of the Queen, to whom the noble Lord himself attributed all the mischief and all the evil. Why were those men retained in their position? Why. when it was found they refused to pursue the conciliatory policy suggested by the Queen, were they not at once dismissed? The first act enforced by the British Government should have been to call back the unfortunate exiles, to have advised Her Majesty to dismiss her Ministers, and then to allow the elections to come on throughout the country. Did the noble Lord think the people had any chance at the elections when such Ministers were in power? The noble Lord had represented this as the epilogue to the play of which he had pronounced the prologue. Nothing, he confessed, had occurred to alter the opinions which he had before expressed; and he feared that the real evil was only now beginning. Why did the noble Lord not advise, nay, compel the Queen to concede the political rights of her subjects? Until he did that, he would not act honestly to the Portuguese nation. Upon these grounds he (Mr. Hume) would maintain his former opinion; that opinion would go forth to the world; and if there was any common sense, or any respect for that constitution which England had hitherto enjoyed, remaining, the public would protest against the principles enunciated that day by the noble Lord. His hon. Friend (Mr. B. Osborne) had placed a proposition before the House. On reading it over, it seemed to him that such a proposition would pledge them still further to the principles of intervention; and, as he was an enemy of all such interference, he could not approve of a resolution which, if adopted, would compel us to continue the course we had commenced.
§ LORD J. MANNERS
did not wish to enter on the general question, because it 1224 had been very fully discussed on a former occasion; and he would not have risen but for the declaration of the noble Lord, that the result of the Spanish and French interference in Portugal would be believed by the public to be satisfactory. He protested strongly against this opinion going forth to the world. He considered, on the contrary, that the people of England were not one whit more satisfied now than they had been some short time ago; and as for that occupation of Oporto inducing satisfaction with the course the Government had taken, he thought that if one thing made that course of policy more unpopular in this country than another, it was the fact that the second city of the kingdom of Portugal was at this moment in the possession of Spanish troops. What a subject for congratulation was it with an English Ministry that the second city of our ancient ally was now at the mercy of a hostile army of Spaniards! If the noble Lord had been able to come down and say—"Look at the triumphant result of our policy; we are already able to point out to you the return of Count Bomfin and his fellow exiles; they are already restored to their country, reinstated in the confidence of their Sovereign, recompensed for the injuries which had been done them, and repossessed of the honours of which they had been deprived;"—then, indeed, the noble Lord might have had some justification for the assertion that the people of England were satisfied with the policy of Her Majesty's Government. He would say one word in reply to the argument of the noble Lord in reference to the probable policy of France and Spain. They had heard ad nauseam in the former debate, and again that evening, that Spain would have alone interfered had England refused to do so conjointly; and the despatch of Mr. Bulwer, quoted on the previous occasion by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth had been referred to that night, to show that M. Pacheco had informed the English Minister, that whatever the English Government might determine, Spain, under certain circumstances, was resolved to interfere. That despatch was dated the 5th of April; and that was the last relied on by the noble Lord in support and proof of his case. That despatch undoubtedly contained the words stated by the noble Lord; but on the 6th of April, the very day after, Mr. Bulwer wrote to his Government, relating an interview which he had had that morning 1225 with M. Pacheco, and detailing, as the result of the conversation, that, in reply to an intimation of Mr. Bulwer, that "the interference of Spain without our concurrence would be a serious affair," M. Pacheco said—"Of this rest assured, we shall do nothing without your concurrence." Why, after this distinct declaration on the 6th of April, what justification for his policy could the noble Lord discover in a despatch dated the 5th of April? And, it might also be asked, what did Mr. Bulwer mean when he told the Minister of Spain that an interference in Portugal without our concurrence was a "serious affair," unless, in fact, he was aware that his Government was prepared to take that course which the noble Lord now told them it was impossible for the Government, under any circumstances, to take? The noble Lord informed the House that we could not, on the principle of non-intervention, have justly objected to a Spanish interference in Portugal. The noble Lord had lived in the times of Mr. Canning, and he knew perfectly well that no such argument was heard in 1826. The principle of non-intervention was then laid down as distinctly as it had been now proclaimed by the hon. Member for Montrose; but it was then never said that we violated that principle in saying to Spain, "If you do interfere in Portugal, we shall go to war with you." That was then thought a very fair and very English way of vindicating the principle of non-intervention; and the reason simply was, that treaties, dated hundreds of years back, had been laid before the House, and had enabled us to come to the conclusion that we were bound by those compacts to take that course, and to tell the Governments of France and Spain that they should not interfere in the internal affairs of Portugal. The appointment and conduct of Colonel Wylde had been attempted to be justified in that discussion. He was one of those, though perhaps he was prejudiced on the subject, who did not think that the antecedents of Colonel Wylde rendered him the most fit and proper person to be sent on such a mission. But, if that appointment was justified by Colonel Wylde's intimate knowledge of the Peninsula, could the same reason be given for the appointment of the present Minister at the Court of Lisbon? What could be said of the appointment of a Minister who was utterly ignorant of the circumstances existing in Portugal, and who, of necessity, was obliged to de- 1226 rive all his information from the most prepossessed and partial of all the people of Portugal? To his astonishment, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth quoted one of the earliest of the despatches of this, from his position, ignorant Minister, to show how amiable, how virtuous, how beneficent, was the conduct of that maligned lady, the Queen of Portugal. That Minister referred in terms of eulogy to the humane conduct of the Queen towards the people who were to be found in the hospitals of Lisbon. He had heard the right hon. Gentleman (Sir R. Peel) before then expressing himself captivated by what might be called transparent and tawdry tricks; but anything so absurd as that eulogy by our Minister at Lisbon on the conduct of the Queen of Portugal, he had never listened to. The noble Lord, in vindication of himself, had told them that night that affairs in Portugal had arrived at such a pitch, that when we asked the Duke de Saldanha to accept our mediation, he positively refused, and that, therefore, we were driven to an armed intervention. But let that very fact be taken, and let it be made the test whereby to judge of the impartiality of our interference. The Duke de Saldanha, practically the King of Portugal, refused to accept our terms. What did we then do? Did we go and bombard Lisbon; did we attack Saldanha; did we capture that one frigate remaining of the naval forces of Portugal? No; we simply stated, through Colonel Wylde, that we should continue to be his humble friend and devoted follower, and that we could not interfere to prevent him being defeated by his opponents. Did we pursue the same conduct to the Junta, to Sa da Bandeira, or Das Antas? No; the only terms we submitted to them were—"Accept our proposals, or encounter us in the field." And yet they were now told that the interference had been impartial, and that we had acted the part of an equal mediator. Could anything be more grossly inconsistent than the conduct we had pursued with regard to the two different parties? It was now said that the end justified the means; that, as a consequence of our efforts, Portugal was tranquillized, that the balance of power was preserved, and that the peace of Europe had been, secured. He doubted and denied every one of those propositions. He thought, on the contrary, that the whole of our triumph, up to this moment, might be summed up in these lines of Dryden, 1227 which were so peculiarly applicable to the occasion:—The Duke shall wield his conquering sword,The Premier make a speech,The Queen shall pass her honest word,The pawned revenue sums afford;And then—;but it was impossible he could finish the quotation. Such at this moment was the only description that could be given of the results of our interference. To the future he looked forward with dread and alarm. He saw a principle admitted, which might, and, as he thought, would, be pushed to an extent that at present they were not prepared for. He believed that in Spain and Italy they would sec that principle of interference eagerly pushed by those by whom they would least desire to sec it adopted; and he could derive no consolation in thinking, that now a Spanish army and an English fleet had triumphed over the unanimous voice of the oppressed and unhappy people of Portugal.
§ MR. BICKHAM ESCOTT
hoped that his hon. Friend would not press this Motion to a division. He thought that his hon. Friend had not treated the House fairly; for the notice which he had inserted in the Papers of the House of his intention of calling the attention of the House to the subject of Portugal, was different from the resolution which he had moved that evening. For all practical purposes the Motion was useless. He considered every object had been gained by the declarations of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, and the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs. On this occasion, he believed that Her Majesty's Ministers had not acted an unworthy part in the late interference in Portuguese affairs; and he could not, therefore, vote for a resolution condemnatory of their conduct. Indeed, his hon. Friend admitted that he did not mean to pass a vote of censure on the conduct of the Government. Why, then, did he bring forward his Motion? His opinion was, that the Government ought to have interfered in Portugal as long ago as the month of January last, and that they should not have hold themselves until matters had reached a crisis in April. He believed that in the course which they had taken, they had been actuated by a sincere desire to promote the interests of the people of Portugal; and his sincere belief was that the objects at which they had aimed had been finally and eventually promoted.
§ SIR DE LACY EVANS
could not con- 1228 cur in the doctrines which had been laid down by the hon. Member for Montrose with regard to non-intervention, because those doctrines were entirely at variance with that international policy which had been acted upon for centuries. In a variety of the remarks that had fallen from the hon. Gentleman who had brought forward this Motion, he could not concur, although in the general object of it he entirely concurred. As it stood, he did not think that it expressed the slightest censure upon the Government. He should have been better pleased had it been drawn up in exactly the same terms as the Amendment of the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. Duncombe). He was glad that these Motions had been brought forward, because they had been the means of eliciting from the two noble Lords (Lord J. Russell and Viscount Palmerston) their avowal that it was the determination of the Government to carry out the course which had been taken to secure to the people of Portugal the enjoyment of their constitutional rights and privileges. And he had not observed any shrinking from that avowal on the part of the other Members of the Government. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Eve-sham (Mr. Borthwick) had alluded to the various prophecies which he had made concerning Spain twelve years ago; and he proceeded to say that the history of Queen Isabella was written in blood. Why, he believed that the history of every Sovereign whose subjects had had the misfortune of having passed through civil war, might be said to be written in blood. He believed that the history of Henry the Fourth of France, one of the best Sovereigns that ever ruled that country, might also be said to be written in blood. The history of the revolution in the North American States, as indeed that of every revolution in which the people had struggled for constitutional liberties, might be denounced as having been written in blood. That was the case of the great revolution in France. Undoubtedly great horrors were committed during that great contest for constitutional freedom; but the blessings which had been achieved by that means were now beginning to be felt throughout the whole world, He was surprised to hear the absurd declamations and tirades which had been made that evening with regard to Spain, He thought that it was going a little too far to talk of the Queen of Spain being a tyrant. There was not the slightest foundation for such a charge. On the con- 1229 trary, it was a matter of notoriety throughout Europe that during the short period in which she had reigned, her people had been enfranchised from the domination which had existed previous to her accession, and that her sympathies had been on the popular side. He wished, then, that the hon. Gentleman would study facts a little more attentively before he ventured to make such broad assertions. He confessed he felt a strong interest in the liberties of Portugal. He must admit that the inconvenient position in which the Government was placed, rendered them in a manner responsible for the conduct of the Portuguese Administration. He was of opinion that Her Majesty's Ministers had been vindicated most completely, not only by the speeches of the noble Lord the Member for the city of London, of the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign. Affairs, but by the speeches of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, and other men of eminence in another place, whose testimony must be received at least as impartial. He, as an independent Member of that House, must say that he thought the Government had taken the wisest and best course. With respect to the Angola prisoners, he thought the British Government had imposed upon itself a duty to see that these poor men were restored to their home and to their friends; and he also hoped very speedily to see the prisoners in the Castle of St. Julian liberated. He hoped, too, the Government of this country would use its influence to bring about the recall of the Duke of Palmella, who was still in London.
§ MR. HORSMAN
did not see the utility of the present Motion. It seemed to him that the last debate had settled the whole question. They were asked to agree to a Motion calling upon Ministers to interfere with Portugal, and enforce the constitutional rights of that country. This he thought wholly unnecessary, for, when a similar Motion was made by the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. Duncombe), Her Majesty's Ministers stated, that they accepted at once all the propositions in that Motion; that they acknowledged the obligations imposed on them by their interference, and were resolved to secure to the people of Portugal all the rights they were entitled to. Having this statement from the Ministers of the Crown, he could not, by acceding to the terms of this Motion, imply a distrust of those Ministers which he did not feel. He felt bound to state, 1230 that had this question come to a division when formerly before the House, he should have voted against interference with the affairs of Portugal; but, having stated that he would have so voted against such interference, it could not be expected that he would concur in a Motion calling upon the Government to continue that interference for the future. As far as his opinion went, he thought the doctrine of interference indefensible; and he held in his hand a copy of a despatch written by Lord Aberdeen in 1829, in a case precisely similar, when application was made by the Portuguese Government for the interference of this country in the affairs of Portugal. Lord Aberdeen said—It is either for the purpose of resisting successful rebellion, or of deciding by force a doubtful succession, that Great Britain is now called upon to act. But it is impossible to imagine that any independent State could ever intend thus to commit the control and direction of its internal affairs into the hands of another Power; for, doubtless, if His Britannic Majesty be under the necessity of furnishing effectual succour in the event of any internal revolt or dissension in Portugal, it would become a duty, and indeed it would be essential, to take care that no such case should exist if it could be prevented. Hence a constant and minute interference in the affairs of Portugal would be indispensable; for His Majesty could never consent to hold his fleets and armies at the disposal of a King of Portugal without exercising those due precautions and that superintendence which would assure him that his forces would not be employed in averting the effects of misgovernment, folly, or caprice.This passage embodied the opinion which he entertained. Although he did not condemn the conduct of the present Government, he could not sanction the principle of interference, and he could not, therefore, vote for the Motion of the hon. Member for Wycombe. He thought it better to trust to the discretion of the Government, and he did not desire to share their responsibility.
§ MR. EWART
regarded the proceedings of Government, with reference to Portugal, as a violation of the great principle of noninterference. The hon. Gentleman who brought forward this Motion proposed a further interference, in the affairs of Portugal, by the Parliament. A violation of principle, whether in public or in private life, led inevitably to eventual evil; he looked, therefore, with apprehension to the final results which were likely to flow from these proceedings. But this was more than a mere Government interference. It was an interference by Parliament, for the Government interfered; and the Parlia- 1231 ment pledged itself to watch the Government. This was a new and, he believed, unexampled system of interference. Many might be inclined to ask, in the words of the old proverb, Quis custodiet ipses custodes? He thought it best now to look at the question (to use a French phrase), as an "accomplished fact." Taking it as such, much more vigilance than was generally supposed would be required on our parts. Parliament would have to watch over Government; and our Government to watch the Government of Portugal. But could they trust the Government of Portugal? These foreign Governments did not understand constitutional obligations. When they had power, they would use it. Nothing could more strongly exemplify this tendency than the treatment of the prisoners taken to Angola, and the treatment of those who had dared to intercede for them. The captain who described their miserable state was cashiered for daring to speak the truth. The surgeon of the vessel who deposed to their insufficient food and space, was dismissed. As the first act of interference, therefore, he was anxious that the noble Lord at the head of the Government should answer the question which had been put to him by several hon. Members, as to the treatment of the unfortunate captives who had been sent to Angola. He trusted that the noble Lord would—if not now, at least upon an early occasion—give that assurance which would be most gratifying to the House and to the British public, namely, that those brave men who had been so disgracefully expatriated would be speedily restored to their homes and to their families.
LORD J. RUSSELL
said: The Motion of the hon. Member for Wycombe is totally different from that of his hon. Friend the Member for Finsbury. The Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Finsbury was to express the opinion of the House that it would be the duty of the British Government, on the restoration of tranquillity in Portugal, to use its best influence to secure to the people of Portugal the full enjoyment of their constitutional rights and privileges. But the Motion now before the House calls upon the Government to interfere, contemplating interference by force, with the Government of Portugal. This is totally different from the Motion of the hon. Member for Finsbury. The hon. Member who has just sat down has put a question respecting the recall of Count Bomfin and his companies from Angola. In 1232 answer to that question, I have to state that one of the four articles stipulated that all prisoners should be restored to liberty. So that one of the articles which has been adopted by the Government of Portugal, secures the return of these captives; and there shall not be wanting any recommendation to induce the Queen of Portugal to carry that article into effect; and there is no reason to think that the Queen will not be ready to act in conformity with the treaty, and with that recommendation, and that she does not mean to recall the prisoners. I will add one word more. I trust that, after the news we have lately received, importing the conclusion of the civil war in Portugal, that country will be restored to tranquillity. I trust that the Government of Portugal will see that the only hope of prosperity and peace in that country is in a strict observance of, and compliance with, constitutional rights and principles. The violent factions which have prevailed in that country—factions which are disposed to indulge in the excesses of passion and revenge—may, I think, be allayed in a constitutional manner; yet I cannot but feel that the only hope of the continuance of peace in that country is in the Government of Portugal observing the constitution with the utmost strictness; and if there be a party in that country which has a majority, whatever that party may be, or whoever may be at the head of that party, I trust it will exercise the power it may possess in a constitutional manner, without any attempt to restrict or embarrass the Crown. It is from this course of proceedings alone that I can hope for any security for peace and prosperity in that country. However necessary may have been the recent interference in the affairs of Portugal, I agree with the doctrine that a perpetual interference with a Foreign Government can secure neither the rights of the Crown nor those of the subjects; and I do hope that in future years we may see the accomplishment of our hopes without the necessity of any interference whatever.
§ LORD G. BENTINCK
I think the noble Lord did not give a very satisfactory answer respecting that subject, of which we were all most anxious to be informed, namely, the recall of Count Bornfin and the other prisoners from the penal settlements. Considering the enormous force of ships of war and steam-ships which we had in the Tagus and in the Douro; and the cost, inconveniences, and expenses to which we 1233 were subjected in order to keep the Queen of Portugal upon her Throne, I think the noble Lord might have exercised his influence to have despatched one of the five ships—the Gladiator, the Phœnix, the Polyphemus, the Thetis, and the Terrible—which were now lying there in order to convey Count Bomfin and his companions from exile. But it is quite evident that the Government in this country viewed in a much more severe light the conduct of the insurgents than that of the Royal party, and was more energetic to assist the latter, than to promote the just demands of the former. The hon. and gallant Officer who spoke in support of the Government (Sir De Lacy Evans) said the Government of this country was bound by treaty to interfere. I do not know how or by what rules the hon. and gallant Member for Westminster interprets this treaty; but this much I do know, that there is no treaty between this country and Portugal, ancient or modern, by which the Government of England is bound to interfere between the Queen of Portugal and her own subjects. I know of no treaty, Sir, which provides that England must interfere in the affairs of Portugal, in order to uphold despotism, and to keep down the liberties of her people. The noble Lord seems now to look with a lenient eye on the proceedings of the Queen of Portugal, as he did on a former occasion, when treating of the breach of her coronation oath, and the violation of the articles of the Charter. When treating of this subject on a previous debate, the noble Lord spoke of the Queen of Portugal, who had not acted according to the advice of her constitutional advisers, but contrary to it—who had not reigned as the monarch of a free people, hut who had set up a military despotism—the noble Lord spoke of the breach of the coronation oath by the Queen of Portugal, and the infraction of every article of the charter in detail, as a mere imprudence. ["No!"] Oh, yes! the noble Lord spoke of the breach of the coronation oath and of the setting up of a military despotism in Portugal as a mere imprudence on the part of the Queen.
LORD J. RUSSELL
The noble Lord is very incorrect in referring to former debates. I did not say on a former occasion that the violation of the coronation oath by the Queen of Portugal, or any other part of her conduct, was merely imprudent. The noble Lord's reference to my speech shows the wisdom of that rule of the 1234 House by which we are prevented from referring to former debates.
§ LORD G. BENTINCK
Sir, the noble Lord may shelter himself, if he pleases, behind the forms of this House; but the records out of this House will show who is right; and I think the noble Lord will have no occasion to be gratified at the appearance he will make when the proceedings of to-night are before the British public. Does the noble Lord mean to say that this Queen did not break her coronation oath? What answer does the noble Lord give to that? I say again, Sir, that there is no treaty in existence, and never was, by which we are bound to interpose between the Queen of Portugal and her people. The only obligation we are under to Portugal is to prevent the invasion of her territory by the troops of a foreign country: that, Sir, is the only treaty by which we are bound to Portugal. But we are bound to act, not for the Queen of Portugal, but for the Government of Portugal. We are not bound to assist the Queen when she exorcises an unconstitutional power. It was laid down distinctly by Mr. Canning in 1827, when our aid was demanded by Portugal, that the Government of this country should not presume to interfere until both Chambers of the Cortes had confirmed by acclamation the proposal of the Portuguese Government that this country should he appealed to for assistance. By the 9th section of the 1st chapter of the Charter of Portugal, which relates to legislative power, it is distinctly stated that among the attributes of the Cortes should be to allow or to refuse the interference of Foreign Powers in the affairs of Portugal. Now, Sir, the Queen of Portugal had abolished the Cortes. She dismissed her Ministers and established a despotism, and therefore the Cortes had no voice whatever, nor had she a voice constitutionally to call upon this country to interfere. There is, in short, no pretence whatever, on the part of any Member of this House, to say that the Queen of England was called upon at the request of the Queen of Portugal to interpose in this civil war. As regards the question of foreign interference, I think my noble Friend behind me (Lord J. Manners) has disposed of it. He showed distinctly that it was not in the contemplation of Spain to interfere. No sooner had Mr. Bulwer intimated to the Spanish Government that Spain would be herself in a perilous position if she presumed to inter- 1235 fere without the consent of England, than M. Pacheco instantly declared in a most unequivocal form that he had not the slightest desire of interfering without the full consent of England. And as regards the French Government, the despatches published in the French newspapers distinctly prove that M. Guizot had no thought of interfering so long as England and Spain remained quiet. It was only when the noble Lord opposite had meddled in the affairs of Portugal that M. Guizot made up his mind that if England interfered, France should interfere too. [After alluding to the despatches, the noble Lord continued.] In truth, Sir, there was no need of our interference. So long as the Queen was triumphant, so long as she maintained a despotic rule over her own subjects by the aid of military force, we were quiescent; it was only when she was in danger, that we became energetic—in other words, it was only when her subjects were on the point of obtaining from Her Majesty their just rights and privileges, that we suddenly interposed, and took prisoners the whole army of the insurgents. Upon the Motion before the House, I feel great difficulty in deciding. I am against interference; but I say, truly, Sir, I feel that England is placed in a most disgraceful position by the conduct of the Government. I cannot see the end of our intermeddling in the concerns of Portugal. If we hold our hands now, what is to become of those unfortunate insurgents now in custody? How are those spirited men who were enlisted on the side of freedom, and in order to reestablish the independence of their country, to obtain their rights and privileges? It is mockery to suppose that, with a British force on the side of the Court, any national spirit can be evinced. There may be right upon one side, but there is overpowering might upon the other. I feel that I could not be a party to any resolution to the effect that this country is permanently to interfere in the affairs of Portugal. I would be prepared to interfere to the extent of requiring that the 5,000 or 6,000 men taken in arms should have a just share in the promotion of the army. I would be prepared to interfere so as to say that none of the men who have fought in the cause of liberty should suffer on account of the spirit they displayed on that occasion. But beyond this I cannot agree with the hon. and gallant Gentleman in the resolution he has proposed to-night. But at the same time I feel that the insurgent 1236 Portuguese, who, it is admitted, constitute five-sixths of the entire nation, ought to be put in a fair and equal position by our interference. It is not an easy thing for a country, whatever may be their feelings against the oppressions of their Government, to rise against it when that Government is in possession of the moral power arising from its position, as well as of the army. But when the people had braved these risks, we have stepped in—we have taken their entire army—we have taken their ships—though I doubt whether we have done it altogether legally—without any proclamation of war—without any decision taken with the advice of the Council—and, therefore, I apprehend that is not altogether a legal war; and I think it may be a great question if the parties were to seek redress in our courts if they would not be entitled to redress for the ships that were taken from Das Antas and Sa da Bandeira; and more than that, it may be a question whether they are not legally entitled to redress from the officer in command of the squadron, for having illegally detained them. But while I feel all these difficulties—while I condemn the interference, and, more than all, while I condemn the interference as it was exercised in behalf of a Queen who had forfeited all title to our interposition by her previous government, still I cannot but ask the hon. and gallant Gentleman to withdraw the resolution, and not to put the House in the false position of appearing to sanction that which I doubt much if a majority of this House, however sensibly they may be disposed to support the Government, could conscientiously approve.
§ MR. OSBORNE
said, on the understanding that the noble Lord would insist upon the recall of Count Bomfin, he would not trouble the House to divide upon the question.
§ Motion withdrawn.