§ The Duke of Wellington
said, he had to apologize to their Lordships for venturing to call their attention at the present moment 239 to a subject connected with the foreign relations of the country. He was well aware how little interesting all observations relative to foreign affairs were at the present time, when all men's minds were occupied with questions of paramount importance relating to the internal concerns of the country, and its commercial and colonial interests. But he was also aware, that if there was any nation for which more than another this country felt, and justly felt, deep interest, it was Portugal; and particularly with respect to the question which he was about to submit to their Lordships' consideration, and which, in his opinion, involved materially the interests and honour of this country. The alliance between this country and Portugal was the most ancient to be found in the history of nations; it was an alliance repeatedly recognized by all Europe—it was one from which this country had derived advantage from a period almost beyond memory, and for the preservation of which this country, in better times, had expanded her best blood and treasure. He had, on more than one occasion, since the formation of his Majesty's present Administration, ventured, in his place in Parliament, to suggest to the noble Lords opposite the necessity of taking measures to prevent the existence of a civil contest in Portugal and the Peninsula between men of extreme political opinions. This advice he had frequently urged upon the Ministers; but he was sorry to say, that from the commencement of the formation of their Government—at any rate from the period when they felt themselves secure in office, they had proceeded in a course most injurious to the government of Portugal; and he would endeavour to prove, before he sat down, that they had done every thing in their power to promote that contest between extreme opinions which now unfortunately existed in Portugal. He would prove to their Lordships, that if the present state of things were allowed to exist, it was absolutely impossible for civil war not to extend from Portugal to Spain, and that, sooner or later, this country must take part in it, if she wished to prevent both those countries falling into the hands of their powerful neighbour. On former occasions he had given the Government full credit for not having been the cause of the invasion of Portugal by the French in the spring of 1831, which led to those unfortunate circumstances 240 in which the country was now placed; but he had then relied on what he had heard stated in that House and elsewhere, and he had not then had an opportunity of seeing the official papers connected with the subject. He had, however, since seen them, and he was now positively convinced, that the measures adopted by his Majesty's Government in April, 1831, aided and assisted the design previously entertained by the French government of invading Portugal. It appeared by the documents now before their Lordships, that on the 2nd of April, his Majesty's consul at Lisbon reported to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, that a French squadron, consisting of the Melpomene, of 60 guns, and other ships, had sailed from France and arrived at Lisbon, for the purpose of making certain demands on the Portuguese government. That report was received in London on the 12th of April. Now, one would suppose, that his Majesty's Ministers would have been impressed with the necessity of protecting Portugal against this attack of the French government—that they would have done that which they were bound to do by treaty—endeavoured by their interference to prevail on the French government to act with reason and moderation in the enforcement of its claims, and would have enforced on the Portuguese government the necessity of giving satisfaction with regard to the claims justly made by France. This they would have done if they had attended to the stipulations of treaties; for by them the Government of this country was bound to treat Portugal as a part of Great Britain itself. They were bound to interfere in favour of Portugal on every occasion as much as if that country was a part of Great Britain. Under these circumstances, there could be no doubt that on the receipt of this intelligence from the British Consul, the Government ought immediately to have interfered; and more particularly as it appeared that, with respect to one of the points on which France demanded satisfaction, the Portuguese government was in the right. He would not enter into the details of the case of Bonhomme, but the noble Earl opposite could not deny, that the Portuguese government was right with respect to that case. The report from the British Consul arrived on the 12th of April, and the Government, instead of taking measures to put an end 241 to the state of hostilities, immediately ordered a squadron of frigates to sail to Lisbon, to enforce similar demands on our part against the government of Portugal. Was this a time at which such demands ought to have been made, and in such a manner? In his opinion, this was the very moment which of all others should not have been seized upon to make any claim against the Portuguese government. However, his Majesty's Ministers persisted in sending out this squadron; and as soon as a similar preparation could be made in France, another squadron of French ships was fitted out to make a demand on Portugal on account of the claims of the king of France. The Portuguese, in the first instance, refused to listen to any proposition proceeding from the French admiral, saying, truly enough, that he had no commission to treat with them: they asked for the interference of this Government, but all mediation was refused; and the consequence of this noninterference on our part—the strongest non-interference he had ever heard of—was the seizure of the whole fleet of Portugal, the only fleet which that country had to defend itself against its enemies. But the principle of non-interference could not fairly be acted upon by the Government of this country towards Portugal. We were, in point of fact, bound to interfere in favour of Portugal by one of those treaties which Ministers were daily in the habit of enforcing against that country, and the infraction of which, on the part of Portugal, was the pretence for our sending out a fleet on the 15th of April. When the French arrived, they met with no resistance. In one letter the British Consul said, they did not fire, whilst other documents asserted they did fire, they did not immediately take possession of the Portuguese fleet. Indeed, before the ships were taken possession of, the French Admiral signed a treaty of peace with the Portuguese government, in which he stated, that "France, always generous, makes no fresh demands." The Portuguese fleet was not at that time included in his claims; though it had since been discovered by some law officers of the Crown in this country, that because there had been a war (where it had existed he was at a loss to imagine), and a subsequent treaty, the surrender of the Portuguese fleet was a matter of course, in consequence of ulterior demands made by France, and 242 acceded to by Portugal because she had no means of resistance. But why had she no means of resistance?—because his Majesty's Government had in a manner tied her hands. This, then, was what his Majesty's Ministers called "aiding an ally." This was what they called executing the treaties by which they were bound, they having themselves exacted from Portugal the performance of every article at the point of the bayonet, and having actually sent ships to enforce it by blockading the Tagus. There was a very curious circumstance attending the capture of the Portuguese fleet to which he begged to call their Lordships' attention, as tending to explain the whole nature of these transactions. During the period of this expedition, Don Pedro, the brother of Don Miguel (whom he would not call the king of Portugal, because he was not recognized by this country, though he was unquestionably king de facto), was in Paris. The day after the arrival of the French squadron in Portugal a steam-vessel arrived with despatches to the French Admiral; and it was not until after the reception of these despatches, that any claim was made on the Portuguese fleet. Was there, then, no connexion between the arrival of that steam-boat and the claim afterwards set up for the surrender of the fleet? After the arrival of Don Pedro in Europe a course of transactions commenced quite opposed to the law of nations, and contrary to the usual practice of Europe; he alluded to the equipment in European ports of vessels destined for the Azores, to be employed against the de facto sovereign of Portugal. He did not deny that these proceedings had taken place while he was in office; but he used every effort to prevent the British ports and arsenals being made the means of fitting out an armament against a country to which England was bound by so many treaties. In a short time afterwards, however, increased activity was shown by the agents of Don Pedro; loans of money were attempted to be raised, and a very large body of men was assembled at the island of Terceira. A squadron was also collected there, and it was commanded by officers who had been in his Majesty's service. He must do the Government the justice to say, that they did remove from his Majesty's service the officer who at that time undertook the command of the naval force of Don Pedro; but he was very 243 much surprised to hear the noble Earl opposite, in reply to a question put by him (the Duke of Wellington) the other night—whether a certain officer who had proceeded to Portugal to assume the command of the forces at Oporto had been removed from his Majesty's service, say, that all he knew of the circumstance was from what he had seen in the public newspapers. It was certainly true, that in 1831 his Majesty's Government did dismiss from the service the gentleman who as-sumed the command of the naval forces of Don Pedro; but how had they acted in the months of November and December of the same year? At that period considerable levies of troops were made, which were embarked in shins on the river; among which were the Asia, the Congress, the Fairy, and the Juno. Information was given to Government of the existence of this armament, and of the intention of tilting out other armaments in his Majesty's ports; but his Majesty's Ministers refused to take any notice of the information. The Gentleman who acted in this country for the Portuguese Government then went and gave information to the Commissioners of Customs, they being the persons specially charged by the Act of Parliament passed for the prevention of enlistments for foreign service with its execution. After taking the opinion of their law officers they gave orders that the vessels should be detained; and if the matter had stopped there, nothing could have been more satisfactory; but instructions afterwards came from a superior authority—whether from the Treasury or the Foreign-office he could not say—directing the vessels to be released. Those vessels were accordingly released, and sailed to Terceira, carrying with them the very men who afterwards landed in Portugal. Was this the performance of treaties—was this neutrality on the part of the British Government? The noble Earl would perhaps tell the House, that the law officers of the Crown advised the release of those vessels, detained by the Commissioners of Customs. If the noble Earl made such a statement, he would be bound to produce the affidavits which induced the law officers to come to that conclusion. He did not ask for the case laid before the law officers, or their opinion on it, but he should wish also to see the other affidavits which had been submitted to the Commissioners 244 of Customs, and by them transmitted to the Treasury, in order to decide whether the authorities had done what their duty required, and especially whether their duty had been done by Ministers, who ought never to sanction any thing which would have the effect of bringing the two countries into hostile collision. Now, he would barely state the facts; and what were they? Why, that instead of measures being taken to stop those vessels, they were allowed to sail; and what were the consequences? That the transmission of men from this country to Portugal, the conveying of them from France here, in order to be sent to Portugal, and the sending of arms, ammunition, and every thing necessary to maintain the war, continued from that hour to this. Of that the noble Lords opposite said, they had no knowledge; but it was as perfectly well known to every noble Lord, and to every man in the country, except his Majesty's Ministers, as any fact of daily occurrence. Indeed, these proceedings formed the subject of inquiry before Courts of Justice and before police Magistrates—nay, if he was well informed, the head of the government of Portugal had sent back 100 Englishmen, who had been taken prisoners in Portugal, and had been forwarded home by the assistance of the British consul. Did his Majesty's Ministers know anything of that? It was, then, their bounden duty, if they really had the intention of rendering justice to Portugal, to prevent the recurrence of such transactions. He knew that his Majesty's Ministers would say, that they were strictly neutral; that if, on the one side, Don Pedro had raised as many men as he chose here, cavalry as well as infantry, and if he had fitted out ships and sent out stores and ammunition, so also might Don Miguel, and he had only to send here and take them out. But he would beg to remind the noble Lords, in the first place, what was the law of the country, and, next, what was the law of nations? Upon this subject, Don Miguel, though not acknowledged by us as a rightful sovereign, yet was not and could not be otherwise treated with by this Government than as a king de facto. We enforced on him the performance of the treaties we had concluded with Portugal. There could be no doubt that Don Miguel was in possession of great advantages as a king de facto, and moreover there 245 was the Portuguese nation, which was also interested, and as little doubt that she ought not to be deprived of what was due to her. Then, what was the law of nations? He would read the opinion of one who was still alive, but it was the opinion of a man whose name was never mentioned without exciting in every bosom sentiments of reverence and admiration. This individual had lived to see his admirable decisions adopted by the civilized world as the rule of their conduct—need he say he meant Sir William Scott, now Lord Stowell; and it was his opinion that he (the Duke of Wellington) was about to read respecting the rights of neutral nations, and the necessity there was on the part of every power to respect the rights of others. "Strict neutrality (said Sir William Scott) is a neutrality consisting of a complete abstinence, not only from interfering in warfare, but from giving any kind of assistance to one side or the other." The judge did not say, that a neutral might give assistance to both, but that he should not give any to either. The very meaning of the word was, to withhold succour from both parties, and that was the doctrine held by all the authorities on the subject. The Judge had then referred to Vattel, who said, "In order to view the subject properly, we must consider what a nation ought to do if neutral if there should occur a war between her ally and another state. While she continues thus neutral she should observe the most exact neutrality, and give no succour in arms or troops, or anything, for the purpose of carrying on war." A neutral state should absolutely give assistance to neither party. Sir William Scott said, "the practice of giving succour to either side by individual acts is unjust to one of the parties, by depriving him while in a state of amity with us of the preponderance of power which he would otherwise enjoy." He would apply this to the case of Don Miguel, who had a preponderating power, and he would then ask was it right that we should give aid, or that our government should give its sanction to the giving aid, against his preponderance, so as to deprive him of it? Sir William Scott added—"No country could be released from the operation of her neutrality unless she gave notice that she would change her line of conduct. While nations remained in this situation they could not in practice act 246 contrary to it, and if they interfered they must do so by giving an open notice, or by a declaration of war. No solecism (added the judge) could be more mischievous than that the subjects of a country should assume the right to act hostilely without the intervention of the state itself. It was the right of states, and they solely could assume a belligerent attitude. They had the right and the power to prevent their subjects from interfering. There could be no doubt, then, this country had the right to prevent its subjects from interfering. He (the Duke of Wellington) did not pretend to argue the question of law—that he would leave to others more competent—but this opinion was founded on common sense, that it must be the rule of men's acts, and he would therefore ask whether it was right or just, that Englishmen should be allowed to carry on a private war against a prince de facto, and, above all, against a country and a Government which we were bound by treaties to protect? What he had hitherto said, and what he had quoted from Sir William Scott, referred to the law of nations; but what was to be said when, on coming to the laws of the country, their Lordships saw, that they too required the Government to act on these principles? The Foreign Enlistment Act made it incumbent on the officers of Government to restrain the subject from interfering? The subordinate officers of the Government did perform their duty—they arrested the vessels when about to sail illegally, and they acted according to law. Then, however, the Ministers came forward and said "No, this is not a case for interference, and you shall not do your duty." The question, then, was, had there been a breach of the law of nations and of the law of the land. If both had been observed, and his Majesty's Ministers had done their duty, all this mischief would have been prevented, and a country to which we were bound by an ancient alliance would not have been the seat of war for nearly twelve months, and would not have been exposed to the disasters of foreign invasion. All the evil of which he complained, was the consequence of this neglect of duty. But that was not the only ground he had for censuring Ministers. He had lately seen in the newspapers the publication of a correspondence between his Majesty's Government and the Spanish ambassador at this court re- 247 specting the conduct to be expected from Spain in this contest, and it appeared, that his Majesty's Ministers had very properly insisted that Spain should remain neutral in the contest between the princes of the house of Braganza, making an engagement at the same time that this Government should also remain neutral. He would ask, then, was neutrality the line of conduct which had been adopted by this Government? Was it true that this country had been neutral during this war? Was it not, on the contrary, the fact that the war was carried on in Portugal by means derived from this country—by men, ships, arms, and ammunition obtained from his Majesty's subjects? Then he should wish to know whether the Ministers had not broken faith with Portugal, and if they had not broken faith with Spain? Had we, in fact, been neutral? He was sure, that there was no one who heard him could doubt, that the engagement with Spain had been broken, after what occurred in November and December, 1831. In fact, the sending of reinforcements continued up to this very moment. It had never ceased, and except the impediments of the weather, and the hostilities at the mouth of the Douro, the reinforcements had received no obstruction. There never was a detachment of the British army sent from this country which had received more constant aid in every way from England. Lastly came the fact of a few days' old, that of an officer, a distinguished officer of his Majesty's navy, going with steam-boats and transports, and this officer was to invade Portugal by the Tagus, and to capture Lisbon. He had heard of this, and for the honour of the country he had asked the noble Earl (Earl Grey) whether he knew of it, and his answer was, that he had only read it in the newspapers. Of this expedition a great part had been collected at Spit-head. The officer to whom he had alluded was there, and the vessels were anchored amidst the ships of his Majesty, and it appeared his Majesty's Government had no communication of this from those authorities, which were in constant and daily communication with the Ministers. It appeared also, and this fact was extraordinary, that there had been a mutiny on board one of the vessels of this expedition, because some of those which were called Volunteers felt rather inclined not to go, and they did, as sailors often do, lower 248 a boat with the intention of running away. They made a mistake, however, in not cutting the painter. It was not cut altogether, and five or six of these unfortunate people were drowned, and to save them the vessel never hove to. He did not know whether there ought not to be a Coroner's inquest, and judicial inquiries into this matter. He was sure, that measures ought to be taken to prevent practices which had given rise to frequent discussion, between poor persons enlisted and those who were in the habit of kidnapping men, and afterwards ill-treating instead of paying them. What was most strange, however, was, that all this should happen at Spithead, and that no one of his Majesty's Ministers should know a word about the matter? The only way in which he could account for it was this, that the officers of his Majesty's array and navy did not choose to stigmatise transactions which they might suppose agreeable to his Majesty's Government. They knew, that when in November and December 1831, armed vessels proceeding to Portugal had been arrested by the officers of the Customs, an order had been sent by his Majesty's Government to let them go. It was very natural, therefore, that those who desired to remain on good terms with his Majesty's Government, would not report or busy themselves about interrupting an expedition which they must believe it was the wish of his Majesty's Government should proceed. On that ground it was, that he accounted for the fact, that his Majesty's Government had received no information on the subject. But this was not all; a very considerable body of men, including Poles and Frenchmen, were lately assembled at Falmouth, commanded by French officers, and intended to invade Portugal. In his opinion, however, it would have done much more honour to his Majesty's Government, if they desired that Portugal should be invaded by foreign troops, had they come down to Parliament and stated openly that such was their wish and intention. That would have been a manly course of proceeding. But the course which they had adopted was a course unknown to the law and practice of nations. He begged to make a few further observations on the evils which might result from all this. He would suppose for a moment, that by dint of foreign assistance the government of Portugal should 249 be changed. He would then ask, whether their Lordships thought it would be right or proper that such a superiority should be acquired of military adventurers assembled by means such as those had been?—whether they thought it would be right or proper that such persons should be allowed to go and establish what Government they pleased in Portugal, or in any other country towards which we professed neutrality? In his opinion, that was not a proceeding which ought to be supported, or which could at all redound to our national honour. If this system should succeed in, establishing another government in Portugal, what must be the results? A civil war in Portugal would be the smallest evil. For he defied any one who knew the state of the Peninsula to avoid entertaining the most decided opinion, that a civil war in Portugal must be followed by a civil war in Spain. Setting aside the breach of our written engagement with Spain, which country would be justified in relying on our not allowing the invasion of Portugal, if by our conduct we produced civil war in Portugal, that civil war would most assuredly extend itself into Spain. The interest of the country and the honour of his Majesty's name could not be safe under such circumstances. His Majesty had, from the Throne in that House, declared that he would observe neutrality; his Majesty's Ministers had declared, that neutrality was the policy of the country. If all this were so, in the name of God, let his Majesty recall every one of his subjects who had engaged on either side of the contest. Then, indeed, would neutrality be established, and then, indeed, would that good feeling be secured between the countries which it was so desirable to maintain. He would conclude by moving, "That an humble address be presented to his Majesty, to entreat him, that he would be graciously pleased to give such directions as were necessary to enforce the observance by his subjects of his Majesty's declared neutrality in the contest now going on in Portugal."
§ Earl Grey
observed, that in the commencement of the noble Duke's speech he had made some statements on which there could be no difference of opinion. The noble Duke had begun by declaring that, important as were the interests of agriculture, of commerce, and of manufactures, our foreign relations were also highly im- 250 portant; and that he thought sufficient attention had not been paid to them by the public. In that sentiment, he entirely agreed; and he entirely agreed in the opinion with which the noble Duke had followed up his declaration, by dwelling on the importance of Portugal to the interests of this country. The noble Duke could not be more anxious than he was for the well-being of Portugal, and for the maintenance of our connexion with that country. The question was—whether his Majesty's Government had acted with a due consideration of those circumstances; and before he sat down, he trusted, that he should be able to satisfy their Lordships that there was no ground for the noble Duke's Motion; a Motion which the noble Duke himself admitted was one of censure, and intended to fix on the present Administration the stigma of having violated their public duty. The noble Duke asserted, that his Majesty's Government was bound both by the general law of nations and by the particular circumstances of the case in question, to prevent those occurrences which the noble Duke characterised as violations of neutrality. These were serious charges; and if they could be supported by reasoning and fact, their Lordships would do well to pronounce judgment against his Majesty's Ministers. But when they cast a retrospective glance on the events referred to, he thought they would come to a different result. In the first place, he begged to call their Lordships' attention to the situation of the present Administration with respect to Portugal, when they came into office. At that time there existed in Portugal, as the noble Duke had stated, a king, de facto. Their Lordships would allow him to recall to their minds (not for the purpose of renewing past controversies, but to clear the ground for the decision of the present question) the manner in which that sovereign became possessed de facto of the Crown. Don Miguel went to Portugal under the protection of the British flag; bound by a solemn engagement to the emperor of Austria, to the King of England, and to his own family and honour, to defend the constitution, and to administer the Government of Portugal as regent, on behalf of the infant Queen. On this engagement, Don Miguel went to Portugal; having sworn the most solemn oaths to adhere to it. England had acknowledged Donna Maria as the legitimate sovereign 251 of that country, and we had conveyed Don Miguel to Portugal, to secure the interest of this young queen. It was well known how the engagements into which Don Miguel had entered had been violated. It was well known, that he had been enabled to violate it only by the presence and protection of a British army. But for that it would have been impracticable for him to usurp the regal authority. Was the Government of this country, or was Europe at large, slow in pronouncing an opinion on the act? In the first place, the British Minister—so flagrant did the case appear—stopped the payments of the loan to Don Miguel, which had been made in this country. The Government of this country concurred with other governments in withdrawing their Ambassadors from Lisbon; the strongest mark of disapprobation, short of a declaration of war, which could be inflicted; and they put an end to all diplomatic relations with the government of Portugal. In this state our relations with Portugal existed at the time of the accession of the present Administration to office. The diplomatic relations with Portugal had not been renewed. It was true, that something like an approximation to that renewal had been made; but it had been accompanied on our part by a declaration, that the previous step (he would not call it a condition) should be taken by Don Miguel's Government, of ceasing to persecute all the faithful subjects of her majesty the queen of Portugal. Shortly afterwards measures were taken by Don Pedro to enforce the right of his daughter, and it could not be denied, that he, the natural protector and guardian of his daughter, was bound to enforce her rights. Their Lordships would perceive his reasons for entering into these statements. On the one side, they had a de facto king, as Don Miguel was called; on the other, a sovereign who had been acknowledged by England, and by the other nations of Europe. On the one hand, they had an unnatural usurper; on the other, a queen whom we were bound by treaty to support, at least against foreign aggression. He (Earl Grey) would now ask their Lordships (and really he ought to apologize for thus detaining them, for he felt that he should have had much greater difficulty in making out his case if he had acted on the opposite principle), he would now ask whether Government could be called upon 252 from any consideration arising out of the obligations imposed upon it by treaties—out of any obligation arising from International Law—or out of any obligations arising from the duty which one country owed to another—whether Government ought, from feelings of honour and duty, to have felt itself, called upon from any such considerations, to take part directly against a sovereign, whose rights we had acknowledged, to the advantage of a usurper whom we had denounced? That, in his opinion, was the real state of the question. [At this time the Dukes of Wellington and Cumberland appeared to be in conversation, which interrupted the noble Earl.] He had not interrupted the noble Duke, when the noble Duke was addressing their Lordships, and he thought he ought not to be thus disturbed. He wished to ask, he repeated, whether this country could be considered bound by any of those considerations which he had just mentioned, to interfere directly against the queen of Portugal. The noble Earl, he believed, thought we ought to have interfered to prevent the first expedition from Terceira, on the principle that we were bound to protect Portugal, but he asked how that case, being an expedition to restore the rights of her we acknowledged to be lawful queen, could possibly be assimilated to those, in which this country was bound by treaty to take part in behalf of Portugal, and in which it had actually so taken part, but only for the purpose of repelling foreign invasion? Those cases in which Portugal had successfully claimed the execution of the treaties which had so long subsisted between her and this country were of a very different nanature from that to which the noble Duke had alluded. The noble Duke had next referred to a subject to which he had certainly not anticipated that any allusion would have been made: as the noble Duke's notice gave no intimation of it, and he was not, therefore, so well prepared with the necessary documents as he should have been if any such intimation had been given. The noble Duke had asserted that this country was bound by treaty to assist Portugal in repelling the attack of France upon that country two years ago, and the noble Duke charged the Government with a violation of the public faith in neglecting to do so. He would show the House that there was no foundation at all for such an assertion. If there had been any 253 foundation for it—if the conduct of Government in this respect involved a breach of the public faith, why had not the noble Duke taken some previous opportunity of impugning that conduct? It was now two years since the French expedition in question had taken place; and if he had thought it a matter of so much importance, it was very extraordinary that he should not have brought forward the subject at an earlier period. Certainly we were bound by treaty to resist the invasion of Portugal by France; but the circumstances under which the last French expedition to the Tagus was sent, placed that on very different grounds from those former attacks which we had considered it our duty to resist. We were bound by treaty to resist any unjust invasion of the territories of the Crown of Portugal, but certainly not to espouse any quarrels which Portugal might enter into, without considering, on our own parts, whether our Ally was in the right or not. To say the contrary, would certainly be making a bold assertion. The noble Duke was surely not prepared to maintain that we were bound to resist every species of attack which might be made on Portugal, to compel her to do justice when she had committed a wrong? Was it possible that any country should contract such an obligation? Had any country the power of contracting such an obligation? Gould it be supposed, for a moment, that we were bound to resist an attack which was caused by violations of the rights of any particular country by our Ally, or which arose from something wholly unjustifiable on the part of Portugal? Would the noble Duke argue thus, or if he did, would the House agree that, without any consideration of the justice of the case, we were bound to assist Portugal against the attack of a power which only took up arms to obtain satisfaction for injuries, or the acknowledgment of her rights? This expedition complained of consisted only of a few ships which entered the Tagus, to claim what France had a right to demand. He therefore viewed the subject in quite a different light from that in which it had struck the noble Duke. The noble Duke said, the French were quite wrong as to Bonhomme, and though he could not refer to documents for the reason which he had before stated, he confessed that all his impressions were, that France was right, and had a clear case in its favour. Com- 254 plaints were made of the aggressions of Portugal, and for which reparation had never been made. The French government had continued making application upon the subject, but without effect. This country had enforced redress by the same means employed by France; and it was impossible, with any fairness, to say that France had not a right to have recourse to expedients similar to those we employed ourselves. But the real question now was, whether, in the case of Don Pedro's expedition, this country had pursued a system of strict neutrality? He thought that, on some late occasion, the noble Earl (Aberdeen) had stated, that we were in military possession of Portugal, because his Majesty's Government had found it necessary in consequence of repeated complaints on the part of British merchants at Lisbon, that a considerable force should be kept in the Tagus for their protection. He would now proceed to detail our transactions in that country. In consequence of repeated applications from the British merchants, resident in Lisbon, of the representations respecting the insecurity of their property and the danger to which they might be exposed, if there were not a sufficient British force in the Tagus to protect them, Admiral Parker was sent to the Tagus, and remained there until the expedition was known to be advancing for the invasion of Portugal. An application was then made, desiring that the ships that had been sent into the Tagus, and which had remained there with no other view but to protect the British merchants resident in Lisbon, might be withdrawn, that request was immediately complied with. The men of war took their station outside the roadstead, and only one vessel (and that not armed) was left, for the purpose of keeping up a communication between the fleet and the British Consul at Lisbon. He would next allude to the mission of Lord William Russell, who was sent to Portugal to watch the proceedings, and particularly to watch over the observance of neutrality by other Powers. The spirit by which the Government had been actuated was one, he contended, of perfect fairness and neutrality. The noble Earl proceeded to read a variety of documents, consisting of communications between different officers and the members of the Government, in confirmation of these assertions. The first communication 255 which he read was dated 9th September, 1831. It was directed to Admiral Parker and stated that his first object of the British naval officers was to protect the British merchants and their property, and to abstain from all interference with political matters. He was directed not to afford protection to such merchants as interfered with the internal affairs of the country. The next communication dated the 21st May, 1832, upon the application for the withdrawal of the British ships from the Tagus—a letter which the noble Earl read—was sent, was also addressed to Admiral Parker. It stated, that it was his Majesty's command that the requisition of the Portuguese Government should be immediately complied with—that Admiral Parker should leave the Tagus with his ships, and should transmit his orders to the commanding officer in the Douro, to withdraw his ships also from that river. On the arrival of Don Pedro, the strictest neutrality was directed to be maintained; they were to abstain from rendering assistance to either party, and to pursue the same line of conduct lo both sides. On the 1st of June, 1832, Admiral Parker was instructed, that, under all the circumstances, he was to maintain a perfect neutrality, and carefully to avoid any cause of complaint. On the 19th of June, Mr. Barrow wrote to Admiral Parker, that as the expedition of Don Pedro was expected lo make its appearance, the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty cautioned the British Admiral not to enter into any communion with the expeditionary force, which might cherish any hope of assistance from the British naval force off the rock of Lisbon, but to observe the strictest neutrality between both parties. Again, on the 11th of July, a similar communication had been made, particularly cautioning Admiral Parker to give no advice to Admiral Sartorius, lest even communication with him might be misconstrued. He had alluded to those communications in order to show what had been the spirit which had predominated in all the communications of the British Government on the subject of the late events in Portugal, and that the strictest neutrality had been enjoined by the Government as far as the British force was concerned. He need not state that those instructions which were given to Admiral Parker were acted upon with all that discretion, with all that independence, with all that firmness, which 256 had uniformly characterised the conduct of that gallant officer during the whole course of his professional career. As further proof that these instructions had been acted upon, he would state, that on the arrival of the fleet attached to the expedition of the Tagus, Admiral Parker had written to one of the Secretaries of the Admiralty, to inform him that Admiral Sartorius had arrived in the Tagus, and having taken up a position which placed the British ships in the line of the fire of a Portugese battery directed against the expeditionary fleet, he. Admiral Parker had received a requisition to move out of the line of fire; upon which he proceeded to a station about three miles distant, which he had since continued to occupy, keeping his ships under sail. An English steam-vessel had been sent by Admiral Sartorius with some intimations relative to the blockade. Admiral Parker immediately objected to the British flag being hoisted on any vessel which had any connexion with either of the belligerents. The complaint was immediately attended to. One of the expeditionary vessels approached so near the flag-ship of Admiral Parker, with letters explanatory of the affair of the English steamer, that the Portuguese batteries having directed their fire against the former vessel, one of the shot struck the British ship, and was immediately apologised for by the commander of the fort from which it had been discharged. The noble Earl next read a short communication, directed to Admiral Parker, stating that the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty approved of his proceedings with regard to the fleet under the command of Admiral Sartorius. After this a circumstance occurred, which led to the re-entry of his Majesty's ships into the harbour of the Tagus. This circumstance was nothing else than the murder of one of the servants of Lord William Russell, in a way which did not permit it to be supposed that it was in consequence of any mere ebullition of popular feeling, since it was perpetrated by a person actually serving under the orders of the Government of the country, and since no public proceeding had been taken to inquire into the circumstances of the case, and to bring the offender to justice. Upon the repeated representations of the British merchants resident at Lisbon, it was thought necessary that our fleet should reenter that port, but it went with the same 257 orders to observe the strictest neutrality, and it was conducted always with the same strict obedience to the letter of his instructions on the part of Admiral Parker. There were many other circumstances, both with respect to the ships in the Douro, and with respect to those in the Tagus, which would go to confirm what he had stated as to the anxiety of the British Government and its officers to adhere strictly to such a line of conduct as should be perfectly fair and equal to both parties. He trusted, under all these circumstances, that their Lordships would see, that in the employment of the naval force in the Tagus there was no reason to suppose Government to have been inattentive to its duty in the observance of a strict neutrality, or that the officers whose duty it was to carry the orders of Government into effect, had been wanting in the discretion and firmness required for the due execution of these orders. Though he had thought it necessary to bring the subject thus in detail before their Lordships, he did not mean to shrink from the responsibility which he knew he incurred as a Minister of the Crown, if it were shown that he had acted in any respect inconsistently with what was due to the honour of the country. He knew, although he had had the unanimous support of his colleagues, that he stood responsible for his measures to their Lordships, to the Parliament, and to the country. He did not mean to shrink from any part of the responsibility which devolved upon him; but he trusted that their Lordships would at least give him a fair hearing, and that they would come to such a conclusion as the honour and the interest of the country demanded. Notwithstanding all the facts he had stated, it was argued that there had been force employed from this country in favour of Don Pedro. The Government, it was said, had permitted things to be done which were not consistent with the neutrality which they professed. That neutrality could not be considered a real neutrality, when it was well known that one of the Belligerents was supplied, or permitted to be supplied, from this country with ships, with provisions, with stores, with ammunition, with arms, nay, with men, from this country. Let their Lordships examine a little how far this charge could be supported either on the general principles of public law, or on the facts of the case. With respect to the general princi- 258 ples of law, he apprehended that merchants in a neutral country were perfectly at liberty to furnish to any belligerent power, ships, provisions, stores, ammunition, or arms, without any breach of the neutral character of the country. This principle, he believed to be incontrovertible and indisputable. To answer this argument, the noble Duke had quoted the authority of Lord Stowell. Now, the noble Duke did not defer with more respect to the opinion of that noble and learned Lord than he did. No person more admired his talents or respected his integrity. He did not think that a better Judge ever sat in the Court of Admiralty than Lord Stowell; but before he would agree to the application of his opinion, in the way that the noble Duke sought to apply it, he should like to know on what occasion and for what object that opinion was made? Without knowing these points, it was impossible to say how far the opinions of the noble and learned Lord would apply to the present case. The decision was, that it was inconsistent with the law of nations to give succour to one belligerent power against another, and that such succour could not be given without compromising the neutrality of the country. With that opinion, he (Earl Grey), perfectly agreed; but the question here was, whether permitting British merchants to supply both the belligerents with British stores and ammunition compromised the neutrality of this country? He maintained that individuals might be permitted to supply either of the belligerents with any of those articles which constitute the material of war, provided they were permitted equally to supply both belligerents. In the way in which he had now stated this principle, he thought it was incontrovertible, and he did not believe, that Lord Stowell would impugn it. He next came to the question of the supply of men from this country, which might be somewhat more difficult, he admitted. He did not mean to enter into any of the distinctions and hard words of the civilians, with which he professed to be but slightly acquainted, but he would refer to several points in the practices of civilized nations, to show, that the fact of the subjects of one country serving against another did not amount to a violation of the neutrality between the two countries. Did they not know for how many centuries the Swiss Confederacy had existed in the very centre of Europe, and having its neu- 259 trality acknowledged and respected by every power in Europe, yet permitting any state to levy forces in its dominions, and that to such an extent, that it had not unfrequently happened that different bodies of Swiss soldiers had been found fighting on different sides on the same field of battle? It was well known, that in the different wars between France and Germany a great portion of the French armies were Swiss; yet no attempt was ever made on the part of the German States to impugn the neutrality of Switzerland on that account. Even this country had hired the troops of some of the petty German States to fight its battles—as in our contest with our North American Colonies; and it was never argued, that the sovereigns of those states which furnished us with these troops had forfeited their claim to neutrality. In the case of the South American States, before the Foreign Enlistment Act was passed, expeditions had been fitted out, under British officers, against the Spanish power in that part of the world; but Spain never thought of considering that fact as amounting to a breach of the neutrality of our position with respect to the contest between her and her colonies. Did their Lordships not know, that a similar course had been pursued with regard to Greece? They knew, that there was a strong national feeling in that cause—a feeling which was natural to every member of the civilized world, and from which he believed that hardly anybody was exempt? Aid was given to the struggling Greeks, without that circumstance being ever considered an infraction of our neutality. The mere circumstance of permitting individuals thus to interfere in the affairs of foreign countries on their own risk, could not, he again contended, be considered an act of hostility to the other party, provided the same advantages were left open to that other party. He would not repeat here the distinction which had been taken some time ago between a war of one foreign power against another, and a war arising in the interior of a state among its own subjects. He would rest the point simply upon the fact, that Don Miguel had it in his power to obtain supplies from this country just as easily as Don Pedro. There was not, in point of fact, in his army a single musket which was not of British manufacture. The mortar, or piece of ordnance, which, he understood, had recently proved the source of the greatest annoyance to 260 the garrison of Oporto, had been sent at no very distant period from this country. British stores and ammunition had been sent from British ports, in vessels chartered by British merchants, for the army of Don Miguel, no less than for that of Don Pedro. Supplies of men, perhaps, there had not been; for the cause was so revolting to every British heart, that he did not believe it would be possible to find a single man to carry a musket in his cause; but he had had the assistance of a British officer, with respect to whom complaints might with equal propriety have been made by the party of Don Pedro. The officer in question, had not only been active on the side of Don Miguel by his counsel, but had even used language with a view to prevent Don Pedro from securing the services of that officer's countrymen, which he could not but characterise as highly improper. The next point to which the noble Duke had adverted was the Foreign Enlistment Act, by which he maintained, that the Government, having the power conferred upon them of preventing British subjects from serving in the armies of foreign princes, had also, by the same Act, the duty imposed upon them of keeping the subjects of these realms from entering into foreign service. Now, the history of this Act was shortly this: It was founded on two Acts passed in the reign of George 2nd, and afterwards repealed, because they had been enacted only for a temporary and for a special purpose. They were intended, in fact, to prevent British subjects from entering into the service of the Pretender to serve against the legitimate Sovereign of Great Britain and Ireland (he called him the legitimate Sovereign, because no one would deny that the family which now holds the Throne of the United Kingdom holds it by the most legitimate of all rights—the consent of the people). In 1819, the Foreign Enlistment Bill was passed for a similar temporary and particular purpose, namely, to fulfil the terms of the engagements which had been entered into in the Treaties of 1814, to take the most effectual means to prevent any assistance from being afforded to the South American States, either by supplies of ships, stores, or men. The Act was, therefore, made for a particular and not for a general purpose. He, therefore, denied the noble Duke's construction that that bill imposed upon us the duty and 261 obligation of prohibiting the levying of troops for Donna Maria. He had yet to learn, that we were bound by any consideration to enforce any of our municipal laws, other than our own sense of what was due to our own honour and interest. The bill of 1819, he repeated, was framed for a specific, and not for a general, purpose. [Here Lord Holland whispered to the noble Earl.] His noble friend had just reminded him of a fact which put this interpretation of the Bill beyond the reach of controversy. His noble friend opposed, and actually entered a protest on their journals, to the effect that though the bill was avowedly brought forward to meet a particular contingency, yet it might be appealed to by foreign powers in a manner prejudicial to British interests. "No," said the noble and learned Earl, who then sat on the woolsack, "that is impossible; no foreign power can make so flagrant a mistake as to suppose that the measure admits of general application." It was impossible, then, to put any such construction upon the internal legislature of any country, although, in the particular case for which the law had then been made, namely, that of the South American States—there might have been a positive engagement, which rendered both the law itself and its enforcement equally necessary. The next point of the noble Duke's speech to which he had to allude was the transaction respecting the vessels of Don Pedro, which had been seized by the Custom-house officers, but on the information of the Portuguese consul (M. Sampayo), had afterwards been given up, as it was said, on the interference of Government. Now, how did the case stand? In the first place, after the seizure, the Secretary of State for the Home Department had received a letter from the Commissioners of Customs, desiring to know how they were to act? He would ask the noble Duke whether he meant to say, that it was the duty of Government to decide immediately that the vessels were properly seized? It was a question of law, whether, under the provisions of the Act, these vessels were legally seized; and he did not see how it could be argued that the Government did not act properly by referring the question to the law officers of the Crown. The vessels were released on the opinion of the law officers. According to the construction put upon the Act, by the law officers, the vessels could not 262 be legally detained by the Custom House officers on the mere application of an agent, whether authorised or not, of any foreign state. In this transaction, therefore, so far from acting in a way which could be construed into an infringement of the neutrality of the country, they had showed an earnest desire to see the law duly enforced, and had only agreed to the release of the vessels after the opinion of the law officers of the Crown had been given to that effect. So much for the effect of the noble Duke's statement, that the case of these vessels exhibited an instance of gratuitous interference on behalf of Don Pedro. He was afraid he was tiring their Lordships by insisting so long upon a case which appeared to him so clear. He must, however, observe, that in order to enable the King's Advocate to come to a correct and satisfactory conclusion upon the question, there had been laid before him the complete correspondence and affidavits. His opinion was taken on the facts stated by the Portuguese consul himself; and his opinion was required—not merely whether the case came within the provisions of the Foreign Enlistment Bill—but whether, also, it came within the provisions of any other law? He would ask their Lordships whether, in the upright and anxious execution of his duty, it was possible for him to do anything more than to lay before the King's Advocate—not, as had been insinuated, a partial or a garbled statement—but the fullest and most authentic particulars, and ask him for such an opinion? He was sure he might appeal to the justice of their Lordships to exonerate him from any charge of wilful or improper negligence. The noble Earl quoted at some length the opinions of the King's Advocate. He stated, that the information contained in the letters of M. Sampayo was much too loose and indefinite to justify the adoption of any measures against either persons or shipping; that if he could bring further and more satisfactory proof, then his proper course was, to apply to the officers of the Customs, who were empowered by a section in the Ad to seize any vessels which should be employed for the purpose stated by him; but that the present was not a case for his Majesty's Government to interfere, for the Statute pointed out the way in which it ought to be done. After the vessels had been seized by the officers of the 263 Customs, reference was made to the Attorney and Solicitor General, who declared (and the noble Earl quoted their opinions) that, whatever reasons there might be for suspecting a body of men were fitting out in London for the service of Don Pedro, there was not sufficient evidence to afford just grounds for proceeding against them under the provisions of the Act. A further application was subsequently made, and the opinions of the legal advisers of the Crown were again taken, more particularly in reference to the obligations of existing treaties; to which they replied, that whatever might be the obligations of existing treaties for the defence of the throne of Portugal from attacks, these obligations would not apply to a case of civil war, nor to the case of a disputed claim to the Crown of Portugal. He quoted this opinion in opposition to that unfair and untenable construction which the noble Duke appeared to have placed on these treaties, that they bound us to resist every attack on the kingdom of Portugal, whoever might be its Governor—whether the quarrel in which it was engaged were just or unjust—whether the succession were admitted or disputed. This was the claim made by the noble Duke; and he put in answer to this claim, the declaration made by the King's Advocate, that when the right of the party making this claim was not acknowledged by this country, the appeal made by him could not be maintained. This, he thought, would be sufficient to satisfy their Lordships that his Majesty's Government had neither interfered improperly on behalf of one party, nor improperly refused to interfere on behalf of another. He was somewhat surprised, indeed, that the noble Duke should bring forward this charge, since, if he remembered rightly, a case had occurred during the noble Duke's administration of affairs, in which the noble Duke himself had found the difficulty of enforcing-the provisions of the Foreign Enlistment Bill. Representations were made by the Ambassador of Spain then, he believed, M. Zea Bermudez, that a certain ship called the Mary, was fitting out in this country, and persons were engaged here to go out in that vessel for the purpose of making a descent on Spain, and creating a civil war. The ship was detained, and many proceedings took place; but at last it was found necessary to release the ship, and 264 all that was done was, to detain certain arms which were on board; and in regard to the shipping of which, the Custom-house regulations had not been complied with. Returning to M. Sampayo, that gentleman afterwards requested his Majesty's Government to declare their disapprobation of English subjects giving any assistance in the shape of men, provisions, stores, &c., and that the officers at all the ports should be directed to prevent all supplies of this kind from proceeding to Portugal. This application also was referred to the King's Advocate, who gave it as his opinion, that although as a general rule no neutral State could interfere with belligerent powers, yet that rule was never considered as applicable to the prevention of the trade of the subject with either of the belligerent nations; that it was no subject of complaint against a neutral government that its subjects supplied either of the contending parties with those articles which were deemed contraband in war, or that they let their vessels be employed as transports, or for the conveyance of stores, but that the law of nations had provided a remedy for this without bringing the belligerent and neutral powers into contact, by giving to the belligerent the right of blockade and search, and of confiscating any property and vessels engaged in such contraband commerce; that it remained, therefore, with the belligerent to intercept them on their passage, and all that was required of the neutral Government was, that it should not interfere for the protection of its subjects against the penalties which the belligerent Government might think proper to impose. The noble Duke, too, spoke of this as if all the assistance given by British subjects was given to one side in preference to the other. Now the fact was, that the advantages resulting from this assistance were enjoyed by both parties. There was not the slightest doubt that this was the case. Fortified, therefore, as he was, with the consciousness of having acted with the most upright intentions, and fortified as he was, in every stage of the proceeding, with the best legal advice that could be obtained—and that, too, from a quarter certainly not disposed improperly to favour the present Administration—fortified, as he would say, by the opinions of a gentleman so distinguished for his knowledge of the law of nations as the eminent individual 265 who held the office of Advocate-General, he submitted to their Lordships, that the noble Duke had failed in making out his case. He submitted, that the charge brought against him by the noble Duke, of infringing the neutrality of this country had failed. Probably had the alleged breach of neutrality been a breach more congenial to the views of the noble Duke—had the Government interfered in favour of Don Miguel—probably their Lordships would never have heard any such complaint. He certainly took a very different view of the state of affairs in Portugal to that taken by the noble Duke. Under all the circumstances, he had considered it his duty to himself and others, not to interfere in the struggle now going on in Portugal, though he certainly thought that he should have been justified in so doing, had he considered it expedient. With regard to the present expedition under the command of a very distinguished officer, he must say the noble Duke appeared to be much better informed upon the subject than he was as to the nature and extent of the force, and where it was to proceed. He had certainly heard from public rumour of the intended expedition. The noble Duke might be correct; but he certainly did not know, till he was informed by the noble Duke that night, of the particulars which he stated. He had heard nothing of the assemblage of those vessels, or of the amount of their force, their munition or troops; of all these he was in perfect ignorance till he was informed of them by the noble Duke. All that he knew was by public rumour, that such an expedition had sailed from Falmouth, The noble Duke had hinted, that it was far from improbable, that the officers on the spot had refrained from giving information to the Government which they believed would prove disagreeable. It certainly was any thing but a compliment to the officers of the array or navy, who, he believed, were men far too honourable to refrain from giving that information to Government which it was their duty to send, from any such unworthy motives. But it appeared at least, that the persons so supposed by the noble Duke to withhold information from the Government lest it should be displeasing to them, seemed at least very desirous to obtain favour by communicating it to another quarter, where they knew it would prove agreeable. The noble Duke had 266 complained, that Captain Napier had not been yet dismissed, though he gave the Government credit for dismissing Captain Sartorius. But the noble Duke had not taken into consideration that Captain Napier could not be dismissed till the complaint came before the Admiralty in a specific shape. The last act of Captain Napier, of which he had any formal knowledge was, an application made by him to the Admiralty on the 19th of May, requesting to know whether an out-pension which he received from Greenwich Hospital, in consequence of some severe wounds which he had received, would be continued to him, notwithstanding his engaging in active service? The reply made by the Admiralty was, that the pension would not be stopped on the assurance that he was to be engaged only in the active service of his Majesty. With regard to the other officer, Captain Sartorius, he was not dismissed until he had actually been known to tread the quarterdeck of one of Don Pedro's vessels, as a Commander in his service. Now, if it appeared that Captain Napier had gone out to command an expedition on behalf of a Foreign Power, without permission from his Majesty, he had, by so doing, infringed the Orders in Council, and had been guilty of disobedience and breach of discipline, and would be dismissed from his Majesty's service. When the case came before the Admiralty in an authentic manner, he had no doubt they would perform their duty in a manner consistent with the interests of the service. Until the case was so brought before them, the recommendation of the noble Duke, was premature. He did not know, that anything more was necessary from him in answer to what had fallen from the noble Duke, in order to refute the charge, for charge it was—or to prevent the censure, for censure it was, and as censure it was intended by the noble Duke. He trusted that he had sufficiently defended himself, and shown that the Government had done nothing inconsistent with its own character, or the obligations and honour of the country. He had preserved a strict neutrality, without partiality. The noble Duke had adverted to Spain; and, in the first place, he stated there was no doubt that we had broken our engagements with Spain. Now he really thought, it would more have become the high station which the noble Duke held in this country, if 267 he had evinced something more of hesitation on a question which involved, not only the character of his Majesty's Government, but the character of the country itself. In opposition to this charge, he stated most distinctly, that this country had broken no engagement with Spain. He would not retort by saying in what manner Spain had acted; but he did maintain, that he had done all that was necessary to support the honour and integrity of his Majesty's Government. He asserted positively, that this country had given Spain no cause of complaint. He had pursued the line dictated by policy, justice, and duty; and he trusted it would never be said, that during the time he held the high situation which his Majesty had confided to him, that he or any of his colleagues had repaid that confidence by reflecting a stain upon the honour of the country. The noble Duke had said, that the present policy of this country would lead to a civil war in Spain; but which, he asked, was more likely to lead to a civil war in that country, the establishment of Don Miguel or of Donna Maria on the throne of Portugal? He contended that there was more danger of that kind to be anticipated from the success of Don Miguel than from that of Donna Maria. Was not the noble Duke aware that in Spain also there was an appearance of a disputed succession on the death of the present king? Did he not know, that Don Carlos had formally protested his determination to claim the succession in opposition to the king's infant daughter, and that a very large and influential party in Spain favoured his designs. For that, at least, the noble Duke could not say, that the policy of this country was responsible. The noble Duke had said, that if the cause of Donna Maria should be finally successful, it would owe its triumph to foreign troops and mercenaries. This was impossible; for unless Donna Maria were supported by a large majority of the Portuguese people, it was utterly impossible that foreign mercenaries should succeed in placing or in maintaining her on the Throne of Portugal. There had been great exaggeration on this subject. He did not believe the whole of the foreign troops in Don Pedro's service exceeded three thousand, which could not be a third part of those now employed in defence of Oporto; and the noble Duke must know, that the most important points 268 of defence were confided by Don Pedro to native troops. He trusted that he had fully satisfied the House, that the noble Duke had not made out a case for casting blame on his Majesty's Ministers, and he therefore called on their Lordships to give a decided negative to the noble Duke's Motion.
§ The Earl of Aberdeen
said, their Lordships had just heard the answer of the noble Earl to the charges which his noble friend had brought against his Majesty's Ministers for having systematically violated treaties and the laws of neutrality; and also for a manifest violation of the laws of nations and of the established laws of this country. Those charges had been brought forward clearly and distinctly, and were founded upon facts which were notorious and irrefragable. So clearly had the case been made out, that he felt called upon to apologize to their Lordships for recurring to propositions the truth of which had been fully established; but, having had occasion frequently to bring the state of Portugal under the notice of their Lordships, he might, perhaps, be allowed to make a few remarks upon a subject which involved so much of British interests. Before he proceeded further, he wished to correct a misapprehension into which the noble Earl had fallen with regard to one point in the noble Duke's speech. His noble friend never attempted to maintain, that this country was bound on all occasions, whether just or unjust, to interfere on behalf of Portugal; but this country was bound by solemn treaties to mediate on behalf of Portugal with any enemy she might have to contend with. This mediation, England was bound to afford whenever the country was called upon by Portugal; and yet what had his Majesty's Ministers done last year to fulfil the obligations of these treaties, when a French fleet had entered the Tagus for the purpose of enforcing certain demands upon Portugal? His Majesty's Government were frequently applied to, and their mediation with the French Government sought for in vain. Notwithstanding the repeated applications made by the Portuguese Government, and made too under the obligations of the Treaty of 1661, and subsequent treaties, there was no answer returned by his Majesty's Ministers until the French fleet had actually left the Tagus; and this neglect was on the part of the Government 269 of this country, which was bound in the words of the Treaty to protect the interests of Portugal by sea and by land, just as we would protect our own interests. It should also be remembered that Portugal did not refuse to give redress to France, but she proposed to go into a settlement of the claim; and yet it was under these circumstances his Majesty's Ministers refused to accede to the just and reasonable request of the Portuguese Government. So much for that part of the subject. Their Lordships would probably recollect that so long ago as December, 1831, when a reinforcement for Donna Maria had sailed from this country, he took the liberty of asking in that House whether it was the intention of his Majesty's Ministers to dispense with the Foreign Enlistment Bill, and was answered by the noble Earl, who said, that he felt it his duty, without reference to the policy of that Act, to enforce its provisions fairly whilst it remained in the Statute Book, and he (the Earl of Aberdeen), having received that assurance, fully relied upon seeing the Act put fairly and impartially into execution.
§ Earl Grey
was understood, in explanation, to deny that he had ever pledged himself to enforce the provisions of the Enlistment Bill, particularly in respect to Portugal, or that he had taken upon himself the responsibility of putting it into operation. What he said was, that as long as it remained on the Statute-book it ought to be obeyed by all his Majesty's subjects.
§ The Earl of Aberdeen
had a perfect recollection of the words used by the noble Earl, which he took down at the time, and from these expressions he actually inferred that the duty of enforcing the Foreign Enlistment Bill would be undertaken by his Majesty's Ministers. However that was, he now knew that that duty had not been performed. That Act was violated every day, as appeared by statements from all parts of the country. The noble Earl, he believed, had odd notions with regard to newspapers, and he (the Earl of Aberbeen) was quite aware that their statements could not be received as official or authentic; but the noble Earl would probably wish to have it inferred that statements appearing in newspapers were from that circumstance necessarily untrue. This was not the case; and when he found circumstantial details given daily of hostile 270 armaments fitted out in several of the ports of England he could not avoid saying, that he believed those statements unless they were formally contradicted. He, however, would refer to the latest intelligence which he had seen of the last expedition which went to the assistance of Don Pedro. Last week only in a letter, dated the 28th of May, from Falmouth, this information was communicated to the public:—'This afternoon the reinforcements for the constitutional cause in Portugal left this port to join the forces in Oporto. The Birmingham steamer sailed with 350 English troops, under the command of Colonel Dodgin; the Britannia steamer, with 256 volunteers, comprising Poles, Germans and French, under the command of General Moura and the Polish Colonel Suer; and the City of Water-ford steamer, with 200 seamen for the fleet. The personages accompanying this additional force are the Marquess Palmella who proceeds again to Oporto, to enter upon the functions of office; Captain Napier, C. B. for the purpose of succeeding Admiral Sartorius in the command of the squadron, and J. Y. Mendizabel, Esq. one of the agents of Don Pedro. The presence of the troops in our town has occasioned an unusual degree of bustle, their appearance was generally good, and in point of discipline, they appeared to understand the requisites of a soldier by strictly observing it. The vessels are well stocked with stores and provisions—in fact with all the essentials of an entire expedition rather than a reinforcement. To supply the future wants of the army, there are a number of vessels about to leave Cork with pro-visions, so as to prevent their entire dependence on success or speculators. A considerable quantity of gold has been shipped on board these steamers, which is to be solely applicable to the objects of the expedition; therefore it may be expected that shortly some very decisive and efficient blow will be struck'. As the noble Earl was so unacquainted with these matters, he would give him some more information. He would inform the noble Earl of the force which had left this country during the last three months to join Don Pedro. The noble Earl read something like the following list:—On the last day of February the Lord of the Isles steamer sailed from Falmouth for Oporto, with 350 English; on March 2nd, 271 the Britannia steamer sailed from Deal with 300 English to the same destination; on March 13th, the St. George left Gravesend with 400 Frenchmen and other foreigners, who had been brought to this country from Boulogne in the Wellington steamer, and were re-shipped at Gravesend; on March 22nd, the Mercury left Gravesend with 500 English; on May 4th, the Lord Cochrane sailed from Deal with 520 French; on May 4th also, the William the Fourth steamer sailed from Rochfort with 600 French; on May 25th, the Britannia sailed from Falmouth with 270 foreigners collected from all nations. Then there was the Birmingham steamer which took oat 350 men, and the City of Waterford, to which he had already referred, with 200 English. Other vessels had left the smaller ports of France with 500 men more. There were two battalions now ready to sail from France, which would make the whole expedition of Captain Napier amount to 1,000 men. On the whole there had left the ports of England and France during the last three months no less than 1,750 English, and at least 3,000 foreigners, to join Don Pedro. He included in that statement the last expedition which had sailed under Captain Napier. These things could not be secret. If they were, was the conduct of the Marquess Palmella a secret? Were his interviews at the Foreign Office unknown to the noble Earl? Was Captain Napier's sailing in conjunction with the Marquess a secret? He understood that no secret whatever was made of the expedition—that it was talked of with as much openness and publicity as if it had been an expedition fitted out by our own Government. But there was another case more striking still, it was an ingenious contrivance for adding to the forces of Don Pedro, an account of which he found in The Globe of May 14th. It was this:—'Saturday, and several days last week, detachments of recruits have been sent by the agents of Don Pedro to Gravesend to embark on board of the Lord of the Isles steamer, lying there, bound for Oporto. The men, as soon as received on board, are provided with clothing and accoutrements. A number of men from St. Margaret's and St. Martin's parishes have volunteered to enter the service. The agents of Don Pedro have engaged a brig, lying about fifteen miles below Gravesend, to receive troops; and this 272 vessel, as well as the Lord of the Isles, is expected to leave the river for Oporto the latter end of the week'. He should like to know if the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in whose department this was, knew anything of this paragraph in the newspaper; had it the least foundation? He had inquired into it, and found certainly that it was at least partly true. It appeared, also, that there was a number of able-bodied paupers from the parishes of St. Margaret and St. Martin who were accompanied on board Don Pedro's vessels by the parish officers, who gave them 10s. a piece to get rid of them. There was no affectation even of secrecy here. The noble Lord might refuse to enforce the Foreign Enlistment Act against those persons, but he would ask whether it was right that the parish officers should become crimps to Don Pedro. It was carrying the matter a little too far to make them levy troops for his service. No person could doubt that the Government must have known of this. It had been brought under its notice by the Spanish Ambassador, who had remonstrated against it, but his remonstrance was not attended to. Was this neutrality? The conduct of Ministers was most unfair towards Spain. That country had suffered great injustice, for she had abandoned the right of interference with Portugal in consequence of the solemn pledge given by this Government that it would observe a strict neutrality. Would any man attempt to say, that these expeditions were tolerated, and yet that this country had preserved her neutrality? It was impossible, as was said, that our Constitution should not provide means to prevent such outrages as these. If it did not, it would be a curse to ourselves, and the rest of mankind. If the Jews and jobbers of London could carry on war against a foreign nation—if they could levy troops and send them abroad unchecked to commit robbery and murder—if it were said, that the Constitution of the country did not allow the Government to prevent that, either that Constitution was a curse, or the assertion was a libel on it, for it would make us unable to keep up any peaceable relations with civilized states. But the assertion was not true. That was neither law nor common sense. He believed he should not be contradicted when he stated, that the treaties entered into by this country formed part of the law of the land; and he had the opinion of Lord 273 Stowell for asserting that it was a violation] of treaties and of the laws of nations for a neutral power to allow men and arms to be shipped in her ports for the purpose of aiding either of the belligerents,
§ Earl Grey
inquired, if the noble Earl quoted a judgment of Lord Stowell's, or merely referred to a speech delivered in that House, which could not have been reported by the noble and learned Lord himself. The Duke said, that the opinion of Lord Stowell which was quoted, had been delivered in that House, and was not a judgment.
§ The Earl of Aberdeen
Would the noble Earl say, then, that Sir William Scott would give a different opinion in Parliament from that which he would deliver from the Bench? The noble Earl had already eulogised Sir William Scott, not only on account of his talents, but on account of his great and unsullied integrity. To him it was quite immaterial where Lord Stowell had delivered his opinion. That opinion would have the same weight with him whether delivered on the bench or in Parliament. By him, and he was sure by their Lordships, such an opinion would be held in the same high estimation whether delivered in one place or the other. In coming down to the House he was not prepared to hear, that such expeditions as he had referred to could be tolerated without a violation of the laws of nations, or that the Government were not bound in duty to prevent them. He would go further and say, that it was not only the duty of Government to prevent them, but it was the duty of the Government, on this occasion, to give the Spanish government a proof of their sincerity by issuing a Proclamation recalling from Oporto all the British subjects in the service of Don Pedro. This course would have satisfied the Spanish government even though it were ineffectual, but he did not believe it would be ineffectual. But the noble Earl would not issue such a Proclamation, because his wishes were all in favour of interference. His Majesty's Ministers ought to have pursued the course towards Portugal which had been observed towards Turkey at the time of the war in Greece. The Government of that day had done its duty, and published a Proclamation recalling all its subjects from Greece as well as from Turkey. The noble Earl said, such a Proclamation would be of no use because the people were warmly attached to the cause 274 of Don Pedro, but whether a Proclamation were to operate or not, it ought, he contended, to have been issued. It was due to Spain, and if issued would remove all suspicion of insincerity on the part of this Cabinet. The noble Earl had referred to the instructions which had been sent to the British Admiral commanding at Lisbon, in order to show the desire of the Government to preserve neutrality. He did not deny the authenticity of the instructions, nor did he doubt the honour or impartiality of Admiral Parker. He also admitted that upon the receipt of these instructions the British squadron left the Tagus according to the wish of the Portuguese government; but the squadron soon afterwards returned, and was now in military possession of the port of Lisbon. The pretext for that was the murder of the servant of Lord William Russell; but he was not a British subject, and was not exclusively the servant of that noble Lord. The man was a Spaniard, and was a porter at the house where Lord William Russell lodged. If anybody had a right to complain, it was the king of Spain (for the man was his subject) and not the Government of England, That, however, was made the pretext for our fleet resuming military possession of the port of Lisbon. The British forces had no right to be there. He could understand what the sending of an armament meant, if the safety of British subjects was in danger, but he certainly could not admit, that sending out a squadron to intimidate a struggling government was either a just or a warrantable interference, when no injury whatever could be apprehended to the subjects of this realm. In his opinion it would have been much wiser and better policy if, instead of sending a fleet to Portugal, line-of-battle ships had been stationed in the Levant or the Mediterranean to protect our interests in the East. Not a single ship of war belonging to this country was to be found in those seas; and, instead of attending to our own interests, the affairs of the East were left to be settled by the French and Russians. This was not as it should be, nor was it maintaining the honour and character of the English nation as they ought to have been upheld by the Government. But I the policy adopted with regard to Portugal was most improper, to say the least of it; and had not our Consul at Lisbon, though invested with no diplomatic character, and possessing no peculiar privileges, but sub- 275 ject, like all other ordinary persons to the laws of the country, assumed to himself the use of language that was unknown to and would hardly be tolerated in any British Ambassador at the court of a friendly State? In fact, he had assumed the language of a Roman Proconsul rather than that of a servant of the English Government. But did his Majesty's Ministers suppose, that this indefinite state of things could much longer continue? So far from finding fault with the recognition of Don Miguel, a noble Lord in another place, (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) had, when a protocol on the subject was under discussion in 1830 declared that his recognition had been too long delayed. The circumstances then and now were, however, different; but it was possible that the same result might have been arrived at sooner. At the period to which he (the Earl of Aberdeen) alluded, there was a difficulty in the way of renewing the relations between the two countries. The cause of the delay he had already explained, and he had now merely to add, that it arose out of the dependence that was placed upon a declaration made by the Brazilian government, that it wished to bring about a satisfactory adjustment of the existing disputes by conciliatory means. It was only when the government was convinced of the duplicity, of the bad faith, of the falsehood, of the Brazilian government in its negotiations on this subject, that the Government could think of avoiding delay. Till that conviction was obtained, they could not recognise Don Miguel. The instant it was found that no dependence was to be placed upon the Brazilian government, his Majesty's Ministers felt convinced, that they could not in justice and in honour allow matters to remain in the situation in which they then were. But now it was understood, that the present government of Portugal was to be driven from Lisbon, and that a new government was to be established there. If he were rightly informed, it was intended to establish a regency on behalf of Queen Donna Maria, with the Marquess of Palmella and a council at its head; and if this was the fact, all he could say was, that such a project clearly evinced an entire ignorance of the state of parties and of public feeling in Portugal. It was idle to suppose, that such an alliance could ever exist; and if the piratical war flow carrying on from Oporto were to be 276 successful, it was clear that power would be transferred into the hands of a set of men who had always been the bitterest enemies of this country. They were the same persons who had directed the Revolution, and who had evinced such hostility and insolence as to lead Lord Castlereagh and Mr. Canning to decline holding any communication with them. Nothing was more hopeless, than that such a government, if established in Portugal, should be favourable to the interests of this country; and the only effect it could have, would be to increase the influence of France at the expense of England. As a Portuguese question, the contest would long since have been settled; if not interfered with by others, Don Pedro would have had no chance of success. Don Miguel, as king of Portugal, had no more to fear from domestic hostility than any sovereign of Europe. There had not been an individual of any consequence throughout the kingdom who had joined Don Pedro since he took possession of Oporto. There had not been any disturbance, nor any symptom of dissatisfaction throughout Portugal to show that the government of Don Miguel was not liked. It was indisputably proved, that nine-tenths of the people of Portugal were favourable to Don Miguel. He repeated, therefore, that Don Pedro had no hold of Portugal, and that his cause was only supported by the foreigners, whose services were purchased by gold. There could be no doubt of what the combined arms of England and France could accomplish; but that those men, those patriots, as they were called, could be considered as forming a party in Portugal, he most positively denied. The fact was not so; they constituted no party in that country, and he would defy any man to maintain the proposition. But they were to look at the effects of this contest, not as it regarded Portugal alone, but as it might affect the Continent of Europe generally. The policy of this country ought to have been to unite this kingdom and that of Portugal in the closest bonds of friendship, and that was the object for which the glorious achievements of his noble friend had been accomplished; but had this policy been pursued? The valour of his noble friend had obtained that incalculable advantage, he abolition of the family compact in Spain; but had not the French government lately, in despite or in ignorance of 277 the treaty of 1814, made demands on Spain founded upon the assumed existence of the family compact, which furnished a tolerably accurate specimen of what might be expected from our new ally? But was this the way to treat the Spanish government, or was it commonly politic to inspire that country with distrust, apprehension, and dread, at a period most favourable to the establishment of advantageous relations with Great Britain? It had not only ever been the policy to cultivate the friendly relations with Spain; but he would venture to say, that the period to which these proceedings referred, was an opportunity for establishing the most favourable relations with that country that had ever presented itself to the British Government. Notwithstanding every disposition shown by the enlightened ministry at the head of the Spanish government of late years, and which manifested that there was nothing that was not incompatible with the dignity of that country which might not have been obtained by the English nation, all hopes for such a happy result were now destroyed, and that, too, by a policy in support of a conflict which, even if successful, would prove most hostile to this nation. He would not enter into the case of Holland—it was enough to know that this country, by her policy with reference to that nation, had alienated the affections of the illustrious family presiding over her destinies, and had made the British name a subject of loathing and execration; and he thought that perseverance in the same line would produce a similar effect as regarded Portugal. It was impossible for any man to view the present situation of the relations between this country and Portugal and Holland without feelings of sympathy, and he could not help figuring to himself what must be the feelings of his noble friend near him (the Duke of Wellington), when his noble friend now regarded the condition of those two countries, which he had so long and so anxiously endeavoured to protect from foreign interference, and in which endeavour he was so preeminently successful. It was true, that the great achievements of his noble friend would ever remain, and secure to him the permanent gratitude of his country, and the admiration of Europe, and of all mankind; and he could not suppose, that his Majesty's Government could be actuated in their policy by any such abominable 278 feelings as to endeavour to tarnish the glories of his noble friend, or to desecrate the soil upon which those glories had been achieved. If, however, his Majesty's Government had really such an object in view, they could not have adopted a better course to ensure such a result. Whatever the result night be, his noble friend had now endeavoured to protect those nations from the revolutionary feelings supported and encouraged by the Government of this country.
The Marquess of Lansdown
had but a few words to offer upon the grounds upon which the Government had proceeded in this transaction; but he must, in the first place, observe, that the noble Lord (the Earl of Roden) who had first addressed their Lordships this evening, previous to entering upon the present debate, could not have been admitted into the secret of the intentions of those noble Lords with whom he acted in concert, when he addressed a speech to their Lordships for the purpose of showing how little reliance was to be placed on the statements contained in newspapers, when, on the same evening, a proposition was about to be brought forward by the noble Duke opposite affecting the conduct and character of the administration, founded upon no other authority than newspaper reports. The noble Duke had adopted those reports, for though he talked of papers, he had moved for none, nor had he referred to any official document which would have enabled their Lordships and himself to judge whether the allegations contained in the diurnal reports were justified or not. On such authority the conduct of an hon. officer was assailed, and relying on the solitary dictum of a noble Lord (Lord Stowell), as given, not from the decree of that noble Lend delivered from the seat of justice, but from an unauthenticated newspaper report of a speech delivered in the other House of Parliament. On that authority it was sought to pass a vote of censure upon the present Government. He (Lord Lansdown) had no hesitation whatever in saying, that in every step his Majesty's Government had taken with regard to Portugal they had scrupulously followed the principles of the law of nations, and had in no way interfered in the contest going on in that country that was not conformable to national law and in strict accordance with their duty as Ministers of the Crown. He would not im- 279 pute to the noble Earl opposite (Lord Aberdeen) anything like favouritism; but if he were to do so, he would say, that the noble Earl had manifested a strong inclination to favour the cause of Don Miguel. Whatever might be his own wish relative to the fate of the conflict, he should neither contend for nor desire anything that was undue or likely to disparage the principles of even-handed justice between the belligerent parties. Beyond justice and what the law of nations required, he would ask for nothing; but he must at the same time be allowed to remark, that, looking at the conduct of Don Miguel not only towards this country but his own subjects, he must say, that he had no right to expect from the English Government anything more than a literal performance of any obligation that might exist between them. But what was the gravamen of the noble Duke's accusation? Was not his speech a sort of omnium gatherum of all that had happened during the last two years? His principal charge against the Government was, that a British officer, Captain Napier, had sailed for Portugal at the head of an expedition connected in some way or other with this country. He repeated, that it had been alleged, that this expectation was in some way or other connected with England and France. It had been said, that Admiral Sartorius had been dismissed for similar conduct; and it was asked by the noble Duke, why Captain Napier's name was not also struck from out of the books of the Admiralty? But surely the noble Duke ought to have known, that the dismissal of Admiral Sartorius did not take place until it was known he was engaged in foreign service. No intelligence had as yet been received at the Admiralty, that Captain Napier was so employed, and would it not, therefore, be gross injustice on the part of the Government if they were to dismiss him without having proper grounds for doing so? It had been said, that the Government had interfered improperly in the contest, but all that had been done was, to allow to Don Pedro advantages of which Don Miguel might also have availed himself, namely, to procure in this country such means and assistance as were desirable for him in carrying on the conflict. Both the belligerent parties might have participated in this permission if they had thought fit; and he would defy the noble Lords opposite to point out a single in- 280 stance in which Don Miguel was deprived of any advantage that was obtained by his opponents. From the statement of the noble Earl opposite it would appear that not only were his Majesty's Government accused of having favoured the cause of Donna Maria, but the overseers of St. Margaret's were likewise implicated in the same conspiracy. If, however, the parish officers of that or any other parish had violated the Foreign Enlistment Act, they were liable to be punished; and would it not have been more consistent to bring them to justice for their offence, if indeed they had committed any, than to have brought forward a motion of this description for censuring the Government by wholesale. The noble Earl had shown a great disposition to view bygone topics. He had alluded to the sailing of the French fleet for Lisbon to enforce reparation for admitted injuries, and talked of mediation; but could the noble Earl really be serious in supposing that the French Government ought to have acceded to mediation, if even it had been attempted? The application for mediation was not, however, made for a week after the French squadron had reached the Tagus; but under such circumstances what advice could one honest Government give to another? What advice could one honest man give to another but that which had been given, namely, that if a party inflicted a gratuitous injury he was bound by every principle of justice to repair it? The invasion of the French on that occasion was limited to the particular object of enforcing reparation for injuries done to French subjects; and would it not be not only absurd but unjust to say, that, because there existed between this country and Portugal certain treaties, therefore England was bound to defend Portugal from the consequences of outrages committed against other countries, or that the injured nation should not have a right to vindicate and protect its own honour and the interests of its subjects? The noble Earl had taken a peep into futurity with respect to Portugal, but he believed the Government which he had formed had no other existence but that which the noble Earl's own apprehensions had created. This regency of his, which was to produce such calamitous effects not only in Portugal and Spain, but throughout the whole world, might answer the views of noble Lords on the other side of the House, but the mis- 281 fortune of the matter was, that it was a prophecy without the least foundation in truth. The noble Earl was, however, a bold prophet; but if there was any reliance on his predictions, the French army would now have full possession of Belgium.
§ The Earl of Aberdeen
begged to say, that he had never entertained any expectation that the French army would have remained in Belgium. On the contrary, he was satisfied that they would not, and had declared as much in his place in that House; so that the noble Marquess was in error.
The Marquess of Lansdown
said, that such a statement had certainly been made by some noble Lord who usually acted in concert with the noble Earl and other noble Lords sitting on his side of the House. That was now disclaimed, but if his recollection served him correctly, such a prophecy had been made. He could not but express his opinion that the contest between the princes of Portugal was much to be regretted, both with a view to the interests of Portugal, and to the interests of this country. He had also hoped that the state of affairs would have justified this country in recognizing the authority of one party or the other, but the recognition was not to be obtained by undue, unjust, or illegal interference. It was on these grounds that he had hoped that the noble Duke who had brought forward the Motion would have called for specific papers. The noble Duke had not done that, but had come forward with that which amounted to a vote of censure upon his Majesty's Government. It was impossible that the Government could have done otherwise than await the result of the contest (however important that contest might be), and not to interfere between either party, but be prepared to mediate between both. To be able to do so was "a consummation devoutly to be wished;" but he must contend that it would have been unjustifiable in the Government to have deprived Donna Maria of the advantages of her claims to rights admitted by Don Miguel himself. More upon her behalf he did not now ask, and he thought it would be most heartless, unjust, and impolitic in any English Government to stand in the way of them. He must again deny that the Government to which he was attached merited the censure which it had been sought by the noble Duke to pass upon it. Let the 282 noble Duke come forward and call for specific papers to support his charge, and he and his noble friends would be ready to abide by the decision of the House, and the decision of the country.
§ The Earl of Eldon
contended, that a gross insult had been offered to the Sovereign; and he should have deemed himself guilty of an unpardonable dereliction of duty to his King if he had not come down to that House to protest against the violation of a neutrality which his Majesty had ordered to be observed, and which was contrary to the express law of the land. It was, he asserted, unlawful to allow subjects of this realm to be enlisted here to serve in a foreign army without the express consent of the Crown; and if he had not declared his opinion he should not have discharged the duty which he owed to his Sovereign and his country. The fact that such a proceeding was going forward was known to every man; and it was the bounden duty of the Government as soon as it became cognizant of the matter to have put a stop to it. It was a breach of the Common-law for subjects of his Majesty to enlist in foreign service when the King's Proclamation declared the neutrality of the State, and he would defy any Attorney General or other competent Law Officer to controvert that maxim. But what became of the Common-law if the overseers of St. Margaret's or any other parish were to be allowed, in the teeth of a Royal Proclamation, to send their paupers into the service of a foreign country? The sale of military stores, it was true, was equally in contravention of the Common-law, but it had been thought necessary for the interests of commerce that the parties supplying a belligerent with stores from this neutral country should not be liable to punishment; but whether the policy which sanctioned such a departure from the Common-law was wise or not, he would not then discuss. The simple question they had to decide was, whether Ministers had a right to come down to that House, not to protect the prerogative of the Crown, but to defend the violation of the actual command of the Sovereign. The fact that men were enlisted in this country for foreign service was notorious—was in short, known to every man in the kingdom; and he must say, that it astonished him to find that Ministers were ignorant of that which every one else was acquainted with. He 283 should not have risen but to vindicate the honour and character of his Sovereign, whose commands had been disregarded by those whose duty it was to see them obeyed; and he could not resume his seat without again declaring that the Common-law had been grossly violated.
The Lord Chancellor
could not consent to put the question without requesting their Lordships to allow him to call their attention to a few things which had been suggested to his mind by the eloquent address of his noble and learned friend who had just sat down. First, however, he would refer to the venerable and justly venerated legal authority which had been quoted by the noble Duke and the noble Earl. It seemed that what had at first been supposed to be a judgment of Lord Stowell's from the Bench, was in fact only a speech delivered, or supposed to be delivered by him in Parliament. Now, he was as anxious as any one to express his sense of the great talent, of the profound learning, of the unblemished integrity, as a Judge, of Lord Stowell; but, when he descended from the judgment-seat into the arena of political discussion, he would say of Lord Stowell—as he would say of Lord Stowell's nearest relation—that the same weight could not attach to his opinions when delivered in Parliament as when they were delivered from the Bench; and that he could not be so free from the common frailty of men, but that those opinions would derive some colour of bias from his political attachments. But, after all, the question was, whether Lord Stowell had given an opinion materially dissonant from that of his noble friend and himself. He understood that opinion to be, that a neutral state should not afford any succour either to one belligerent or the other. He came to the same conclusion. It was his opinion—it was the opinion of his noble friend. Lord Stowell was speaking of the State, not of the individual. Undoubtedly the State must remain neutral. If it were meant to go further—if it were meant to say, that Lord Stowell asserted it to be a violation of neutrality in a State if any of its individual inhabitants should supply money, arms or ammunition to either of two belligerent powers, then, with the greatest respect for that eminent and venerable person, he begged to make two observations: in the first place, to protect Lord Stowell from the imputation thus attempt- 284 ed to be thrown upon him; and, in the second place, if driven from that position by Lord Stowell's nearest relation, he would take leave to say, that the doctrine alleged was not the doctrine of the law of nations; and be would appeal, from what Lord Stowell had been represented to say in Parliament, to what Lord Stowell would have said from the Bench, if a case for deliberate judgment had been brought before him. His defence of Lord Stowell was, that he doubted, nay, that he disbelieved the accuracy of the report of Lord Stowell's speech. If driven from that, he would then say, that the doctrine of Lord Stowell was not the doctrine of the law of nations. It was a matter of trite law, that it was no violation of the law of nations for a State to permit, with its eyes open (for he would go as far as that), its subjects to trade with belligerents; to sell them arms, ammunition, and accoutrements of war. Individuals, according to the strictest letter of the law of nations, did not involve the State to which they belonged, if they enlisted force, apart from and unconnected with their government or state, on the one or the other side, in the case of belligerents. His noble friend had referred to Vattel, who was not very clear on some points, and whose reputation was certainly greater than he deserved. But let their Lordships consider the instances to which Vattel resorted. He referred to the Switzers, who were allowed, without any breach of neutrality, to hire out their regiments to other powers engaged in war. Vattel laid that down as perfectly justifiable. Bynkershoeck did not go so far. That great publicist, however, stated, that trading in arms, ammunition, and provisions, was no violation of neutrality, if it were carried on with both the contending parties, and if the scale were held equally between them; and he followed up that declaration by saying, that it was the same with respect to the furnishing of men. The noble and learned Lord here read a passage from the works of Bynkershoeck, in confirmation of his statement. He sincerely believed, that if Lord Stowell could happily be there, he would be the last man to throw any doubt on the doctrine with respect to the law of nations, which he (the Lord Chancellor) had maintained, during the American war the country had employed German troops (he was sorry to say), not only against the liberties of the Americans, but against 285 their French allies, and that circumstance was never considered by the French as a breach of neutrality on the part of the prince of Hesse Darmstadt, or any other of the German states. Whether on the part of Don Miguel, the usurper, as he had been termed by the noble Duke himself, or on the part of her majesty Donna Maria, the queen of Portugal and Algarve—a noble Lord seemed to doubt the accuracy of that title, but he (the Lord Chancellor) held in his hand a letter, signed "George R.," addressed to "My dear cousin and sister, her majesty Donna Maria, queen of Portugal and Algarve"—a letter, than which one more fitting, more courteous, or more honourable, either to the writer or to the adviser of it, never existed. Whether, therefore, he repeated, on the part of Don Miguel, who had been called a usurper, or on the part of her majesty Donna Maria, queen of Portugal and Algarve, if his Majesty's Government had interfered, though only with a corporal's guard, or a cock-boat, such interference would undoubtedly have been a violation of neutrality; but his Majesty's Government had cautiously, scrupulously, and perseveringly, abstained from any such interference. If Don Miguel had shown himself utterly devoid of the nature of man, still that should not have induced any statesman to act on a different or partial principle. Some censure had been attempted to be thrown out upon his Majesty's Government; they had been twitted with the imputation of being-disposed to suit their conduct to the taste of the day, of being never disposed to act except with a view of courting popularity. Now what was the fact? That they had held on steadily and pertinaciously, and without the deviation of a hair from the course of non-interference; although they knew that hardly a single individual out of Lisbon, out of Don Miguel's camp, but would have rejoiced with a boundless joy had they adopted a different resolution. He begged pardon—he ought to have added—out of that House; for it was but too evident that there were in that House individuals who were far from agreeing with the strong and irrepressible opinions of the country at large. As a further illustration of the difference to which he had already alluded, in the conduct of the same persons acting in a political and in a judicial character, he would refer to the proposition submitted to their 286 Lordships by the noble Duke. If it were imputed to their Lordships, sitting in their judicial capacity, that they were influenced in their decision by any consideration but that connected with the strictest integrity, they would visit the newspaper or any other luckless quarter from which such an imputation might proceed, with the greatest indignation. Yet now the noble Duke called upon them to pass a vote of censure on his Majesty's Government, without grounds, without evidence; an act, which in their judicial capacity they would consider it a libel to suppose it possible they could commit. A noble Earl had said we ought to have mediated between the parties. He had seen enough of mediation to reject it, except in some pressing case, knowing its tendency to put an end to neutrality. The noble Earl (The Earl of Aberdeen) blamed the Government for not having issued a proclamation, commanding his Majesty's subjects not to join Don Pedro. Now, all past experience had satisfied him, that proclamations of that description were seldom or never effectual, and that they only brought disrepute on the Government which put them forward. If it was intended really to make such proclamations effective, they must be followed up by the prosecution and punishment of those who acted in contravention of the proclamation. Now, though the noble and learned Earl (Eldon) had great experience, when a Crown lawyer, in public prosecutions—some of which were successful, and some otherwise—even with the aid of that noble and learned Earl's experience, he (the Lord Chancellor) defied the noble Earl (Aberdeen) to frame an indictment with reasonable chance of success against a person who had declined abandoning the standard of Don Pedro after the proclamation was issued. No Government which had any desire to maintain respect, could have resorted to such a prosecution. The noble Earl also said, that the Spanish government had a right to complain of the Government of England, for not having taken certain steps to prevent deviations from neutrality on the part of the subjects of this country, because we had called upon Spain, by virtue of a treaty into which she had entered with us, to abstain from any interference in the quarrel herself. Therefore, said the noble Earl, Spain had a right to call upon us to do likewise, and to complain of us for having done other- 287 wise. England called upon Spain—to do what? Not to prevent her subjects from sending arms or ammunition in the way of traffic to any belligerent parties in Portugal—not to prevent her subjects from individually enlisting in the service of those belligerents—but we called upon her to withhold her assistance and countenance from either party—England called upon her not to march troops, the troops of the State, to the aid of either party. But it did not follow that because we exhorted Spain to act thus, therefore Spain had a right to call upon us to put in force our Foreign Enlistment Act. That Act was passed in consequence of the treaty of 1814 between Spain and this country; and it was elaborately discussed in both Houses of Parliament. He had proposed it in the House of Commons, where it was contended that we owed it to the faith of the treaty to pass such a measure, and upon that ground it was carried. Admitting that Spain, by virtue of the treaty of 1814, had a right to call upon us to make such a law, he contended that she had no right to demand, that we should put it in force in such an instance as that under consideration. No country had a right; such a thing could not exist; to dictate to another country what municipal laws it should make, and in what manner it should enforce them. The Government was also charged with not detaining vessels, the destination of which was known to them by public rumour. It so happened, that the Government had shown no lack of diligence on this point. Government sent information to the Custom-house, and the Custom-house officers, acting on that information, detained certain vessels intended for Don Pedro. The facts, and the grounds of seizure, were laid before, not only the King's Advocate, but also his Majesty's Attorney and Solicitor General, and their opinion was, that there was no legal case could be made out as against the owners and freighters of the vessels in question—that no successful prosecution could be carried forward, and that the Customhouse officers were liable to actions for the illegal seizure and detention of the vessels. Such being the opinion of the law officers of the Crown, the Government could hardly have done otherwise than it had done; it could not avoid ordering the liberation of those vessels. No one could say, that they should have kept the opinion 288 of the law officers in their pocket, and allowed the Custom-house Commissioners to have rendered themselves liable to civil actions. The only other specific charge against the Government was founded on the non-dismissal of Captain Napier. He ought perhaps to apologise to their Lordships for touching at all on this topic, as it had been already most fully and satisfactorily answered. He would only just put it to their Lordships, therefore, whether the Government would have been justified in dismissing Captain Napier from the service—upon mere gossip—upon rumours picked up in the corners of the streets—or even upon that which noble Lords at the Opposition side of the House, now appeared to consider as the most valuable record—the highest, best, and most irrefragable of all authorities—a paragraph in a newspaper? The case of Captain, now Admiral Sartorius, had been alluded to; and it was asked why had not Captain Napier been dismissed as well as Admiral Sartorius There was a marked difference, however, in the two cases. There was a correspondence, carried on by Admiral Sartorius, which proved beyond all doubt that he had enlisted in a foreign service; and when the fact was brought home to Captain Napier as it had been to Admiral Sartorius, he the (Lord Chancellor) pledged himself that the Government would act in the same manner in the one instance as in the other, and that Captain Napier's dismissal would follow as a matter of course. It would have been wholly unjustifiable, however, in his Majesty's Government to have dismissed an officer, without any evidence that he had enlisted in a foreign service. When such circumstances as the non-detention of the vessels in the river, and the non-dismissal of Captain Napier, were insisted on in argument, it showed how little substance there was in the charges made against Government, as the two circumstances to which he had just alluded appeared to constitute "the head and front of their offending." One word more on the nature of the address moved by the noble Duke. No one could view that address otherwise than as a vote of censure on his Majesty's Government. If it were adopted with a view of effecting a change in his Majesty's Councils, he admitted that object to be perfectly justifiable. Noble Lords who were prepared to say "content," no doubt felt themselves, actuated by a strong sense 289 of public duty; and nothing could prove more strongly how imperatively they felt themselves actuated by that sense of duty, than the laying hold of this opportunity to effect what was, no doubt, conscientiously considered by many noble Lords a desirable object. It was not in reference to the subject of Portugal, however, he ventured to presume, that many noble Lords would give their votes. They might consider it extremely desirable and beneficial to get rid of a Government which, at this moment, was agitating five or six different questions of great magnitude and importance. Whilst questions relating to the East-India Charter—the Bank Charter—Colonial Slavery—the Commutation of Tithes—Church Reform—Municipal Reform—and all the other Reforms which the Government had pledged themselves to effect—were pending; it might certainly be very important, and no less desirable, in the minds of many noble Lords, to get rid of a Ministry by which such questions were agitated and brought forward. If such a course exposed their Lordships to the imputation of being opposed to all Reform, and to everything like liberal policy, it only showed how strong and imperative must be the sense of duty which impelled them to adopt such a course. Nothing less than the most overwhelming sense of duty, he was convinced, would induce noble Lords, differing upon many subjects, to meet upon one common ground, which afforded them a favourable opportunity of assailing his Majesty's Government. It only remained to be seen whether their Lordships would consent to pass a vote of censure not founded on any facts, and on which they had not before them one tittle of evidence, and had called for none.
§ Lord Wynford
was pleased to hear from his noble and learned friend, that Judges might maintain opinions in Parliament which they would not sanction by their authority in Courts. He was glad to hear that; for though he thought he could easily refute the arguments of his noble friend, he knew that it would be extremely difficult for him to overcome the prestige of the high station occupied by his noble and learned friend. The opinion of the Lord Chancellor, delivered, according to his noble friend's expression, in the arena of political debate, was entitled to no more respect than that of any other Peer. That admission might perhaps account 290 for the mistakes that his noble friend had fallen into with respect to the detention of the two ships, and his misconstruction of the Foreign Enlistment Act. His noble friend had warned their Lordships, that this motion of censure was an indirect attempt to remove his Majesty's Ministers from office, and that their Lordships were asked to pronounce judgment without any evidence. The Motion was not one of censure, unless every motion by which it was proposed that this House should state to his Majesty that it did not approve of any particular measure adopted by his Ministers, could be considered as a vote of censure. Such observations had a tendency to prevent free discussion. If they were to be continually repeated, if they were not to express their opinions on every Act of Government, considering only what was for the interest of the country, without regarding the effect on his Majesty's Ministers, it would be better that they should at once close their doors. Attempts were made to prevent noble Lords from deciding impartially on particular questions, by Ministers telling them, that upon the determination of this or that question, however trifling, would depend their continuance in office. He did not wish to remove the Ministers from office, not that he thought the world would stand still if they were to retire; but as to rashly taking a step which was to prevent the renewal of the Bank Charter, ruin the East and West-Indian interests, and prevent the Established Church from being rendered secure from spoliation—without evidence—he asserted that there was evidence which many Statesmen would have thought justified an impeachment; and quite sufficient to determine their Lordships to offer their advice to his Majesty on the measure taken by his Ministers. The facts on which the Motion was founded were known to every man in the kingdom. His noble friend, who said there was no evidence, had not ventured to contradict a single fact which had been stated either by the noble Duke or the noble Baron. There were two questions for their consideration: first, were we bound to observe neutrality? second, had we observed it? The noble Earl (Earl Grey) had admitted that we were bound to observe the strictest neutrality; and only the second question, then remained for discussion. The noble Earl assumed, that the charge against Government was, that their officers had in- 291 terfered between the hostile parties; and he produced a bundle of instructions to our Admirals, to prove that they were directed to prevent the forces under their command from interfering, in any manner, in the quarrel in Portugal; but it had never been hinted that our army or navy bad done anything which amounted to a violation of neutrality. The noble Duke (Wellington) insisted that the Government had permitted individuals to enlist men, and to fit out ships, in this country for the service of Don Pedro, and so openly, and to such an extent, that the Government must have known it; that our municipal laws armed the Government with authority to prevent these things; and that not having enforced the law, it had permitted the neutrality to be broken; and that the permitting acts to be done by British subjects, which amount to a breach of neutrality, rendered the Government responsible to the hostile Slate that was injured by such acts. His noble friend on the Woolsack said, that Government, although acquainted with the acts done by subjects, although it took no means to prevent them, was not according to the law of nations guilty of a breach of neutrality. He had always thought that, according to the practice of civilized nations. Governments were responsible for acts of their subjects, and for wrongs done by them. The law of nations was to be learned from the conduct of States, and from the correspondence of ministers. During the American war, our Minister complained to the Dutch government of its permitting America to be supplied with contraband stores of war—of permitting Dutch subjects to fit out privateers—and of selling a ship to Paul Jones, and suffering that pirate to refit his vessels in the ports of Holland. These things were not done by the Dutch government, but by its subjects; yet we complained that the permitting such acts, was a breach of neutrality; and we assigned it as one of the causes which justified our making war on Holland. But our municipal law would furnish an answer to his learned friend. His noble and learned friend (the Earl of Eldon), had truly told their Lordships that the enlistment of men for the service of any foreign power engaged in war, was an indictable offence at common law; from the time of James 1st, until the 5th of George 3rd, it was a felony. But why was the enlisting 292 to serve a foreign power engaged in war a misdemeanour at the common law? The reason was given in almost every decided case that was to be found relating to this subject—namely, because such acts were likely to involve this country in war, being breaches of neutrality. Such acts, if known to the Government, and permitted, were breaches of neutrality. The noble Earl had admitted, that the Ministers knew of the fitting out and the stopping of the two ships that were about to sail for Oporto. But, said his learned friend on the Woolsack, it was no breach of neutrality to supply a belligerent State with stores, or with troops, and he quoted Bynkershoeck and Vattel. But admitting, that it was no breach of neutrality to supply stores, he denied that in either of those learned writers there was any authority for supplying men. On the contrary, Vattel, in the very passage to which his learned friend had referred, said, that only particular States could allow men to be sent to a belligerent without violating neutrality. States were not required to sacrifice the interests of their own subjects. If neutrals were prevented from trading with a belligerent State, their commerce would suffer. Some States traffic in men. Great Britain, lowered from the high station to which she was raised by the victories of the noble Duke, was not so degraded as to endure that the Government should permit a few Jews to hire crimps to kidnap its subjects, or parish officers to relieve their parishes from the burthen of maintaining their poor, by sending them to be murdered in a foreign country, and in a cause with which they had no concern. Those who assisted in such practices were accessories to the murder of such of the poor wretches as, having been decoyed by them, night fall in battle, or die of the diseases incident to a campaign. A noble Baron frequently expressed great horror at hearing it stated, that man might have a property in his fellow man. What would that noble Lord say to the wretches who sold their countrymen to be butchered? He never heard of transactions more disgraceful to the British character. If their Lordships permitted these things, let them not cant about the poor negroes; the world would not believe that they felt for those of whom they knew nothing, when they took me pains to prevent the destruction of their fellow subjects and neighbours. The 293 passage which his learned friend quoted from Vattel, only affirmed, that. States which usually let out men for hire in foreign wars, and of whose regular traffic such dealings form a part, were permitted to furnish men to a belligerent, with out violating neutrality. The learned writer added, that States, not accustomed to let out their troops, could not be suffered to supply men to a belligerent. He must also remind his learned friend of two qualifications of this permission to furnish troops to belligerents by mercenary States, added by Vattel. The troops must not be lent for the invasion; of the country of one of the belligerents; secondly, the number must not be so I great, that the mercenaries shall constitute the principal part of the force of the State. The mercenaries sent to Portugal were intended for the invasion of Don Miguel's country; and they constituted the greatest part of the force of Don Pedro, the invader. Long ago would the quarrel between these brothers have been settled, Portugal have been at peace, and our commerce with her restored, had not English and French Jews, for their individual advantage, been permitted to send into Portugal all the vagabonds which the distresses and discontents which, unhappily, had lately prevailed in other parts of Europe as well as in England, had enabled them to collect. More than 3,000 (1,700 of them, being English), were, in three months only, sent from this country. The sending of them whether sent by the Government, or by individuals, the Government taking no pains to prevent them being sent—made England equally principal in the war prevailing in the Peninsula. He next came to the case of the two ships detained in the Thames; the release of which was a direct interference of the Government on behalf of Don Pedro, and a violation of the Foreign Enlistment Act. The release was an admission that the detention was illegal, and the parties who ordered it were liable to an action for such illegal act. The conduct of the Government was therefore more likely to provoke an action against the Custom-House officers than shield them from one. The Government interfered in a case, in which such interference was interdicted by the Foreign Enlistment Act. His learned friend was mistaken in the circumstances of these cases, as well as in his 294 construction of the Foreign Enlistment Act. And the officers of the Customs were right and the Government was wrong. His learned friend said, that the Government called the attention of the Commissioners of the Customs to these cases; but his learned friend would find, that it, was not the English, but the Portuguese Government that called the attention of the Board of Customs to these ships. The agent of Portugal consulted one of the most eminent men at the English Bur, who perused the affidavits, and said they were sufficient to make out a case for the detention of the ships. Much as he respected the King's Advocate, he must say, that he should rely more on the opinion of the learned Counsel consulted by the Portuguese government than on that of the King's Advocate. The King's Advocate was eminently skilled in the civil and ecclesiastical law, and in the law of nations, but these cases were governed by an Act of Parliament, administered by one of the Courts at Westminster, and with which the Courts of Doctors' Commons, in which the King's Advocate practises, had nothing to do. The Government went to the wrong man to get advice. It was impossible that the learned Gentleman who advised the detention could be mistaken, for he said, that the affidavits were sufficient not only for the detention, but for the condemnation of the ships. All that was required to be proved was, that the ships were equipped as ships of war, or for the purpose of carrying troops, and that they were destined for Don Pedro at Oporto, and that Don Pedro was engaged in a war with Don Miguel, the king of Portugal, the king in his opinion de jure as well as de facto. The Commissioners of Customs also were satisfied with the affidavits, and on them detained the ships. The Foreign Enlistment Act directed that the cases of ships detained under it should be submitted to the Court of Exchequer, by which Court such cases were to be finally decided and nothing could be more illegal, or arbitrary, than this interference on the part of Government. They prevented the persons who gave information to the Customs from obtaining the share of the proceeds to which they would have been entitled on these ships being confiscated. Was there any precedent for Government interfering to stop a proceeding in rem and to prevent those who had instituted 295 such a proceeding from obtaining the fruits of it? The power of stopping the course of justice was a branch of that dispensing power which no Minister of the Crown had since the Revolution, dared to exercise. Why was it exercised on this occasion? To serve Don Pedro, and allow his ships to proceed, without interruption to Oporto? That interference amounted to a breach of neutrality on the part of the Government. The law of nations would be absurd, if it made any distinction between the sending of an armed force by a neutral Government to one of two belligerents, and the suspending the law of the neutral state to prevent a force from being detained, which the Government knew would, as soon as it was released, be sent to the assistance of such belligerent. He would only reply to one other point of his noble and learned friend's speech—namely, his allusion to George 4th's letter to Donna Maria. That letter was begun and ended in the usual style of letters from one Sovereign to another. Donna Maria was, at that time, the destined queen of Portugal. It would be happy for the peace of nations if the fortune of Princes were less changeable than they had lately been. Such changes had since occurred in Portugal as, for the present, had destroyed all this Princess's pretensions to the Crown of Portugal; and England, with regard to her and to Portugal, must be governed by these changes. It was but a few years since, that we acknowledged Charles 10th, as King of France, and William of Nassau as king of the whole kingdom of the Netherlands. We had since recognised Louis Philippe as king of the French, and Leopold as king of Belgium, the larger part of the Netherlands. Why? because the former had been acknowledged by the Legislative Chambers of France, and the latter by those of Belgium. Don Miguel had been declared to be the legitimate sovereign of Portugal by the Cortes—the legislative body of that country—and the whole country had submitted to his authority. Were the question to be decided by the Portuguese, he would not have an enemy, within his dominions. The Prince who opposed him was supported principally, by mercenary foreigners—adventurers collected from every country in Europe. Miguel's claim to the throne of Portugal was supported, not only by the constituted authorities of the Portuguese 296 nation, but by the willing submission, to his rule, of the whole nation. If Don Miguel "ere not a king de jure, as well as de facto, there was no king in Europe that was entitled to be considered as a king de jure. If he were a usurper, what, he would ask, was Leopold of Belgium? If Don Miguel were a usurper, what, he would ask, was Louis Philippe? He would not refer to other titles, which it might be treasonable in their Lordships to question, though he might say, that the reigning family in this country held their power through the recognition of Parliament, and Don Miguel held his by the same authority—that of the States of Portugal. He should conclude by giving his support to the Motion of his noble friend.
§ The Duke of Wellington
wished to make a few observations in reply. The noble Earl had stated, that Don Miguel's usurpation could not have been effected but for the presence of the English troops. Now, the fact was, that the troops were previously withdrawn. They were delayed some time by a right hon. Gentleman, then Ambassador in Lisbon, much to the dissatisfaction of the Government, but the usurpation did not commence till a considerable time after the troops were withdrawn. He considered the course of policy which the noble Earl ought to have adopted was, to discourage the contest of these two princes in Portugal, which could only lead to a contest between extreme opinions throughout the Peninsula; and, certainly, the noble Earl ought not to have suffered the contest to have proceeded to the present extremity. He did not mean to contend, that Don Pedro should have been prevented from invading Portugal in any case, or, if he had done so, by other means than what he called revolutionary means—by armies levied in the streets of London and Paris. If he could have invaded it from Brazil, or from any other country in which he had a footing, or even if he had conducted the invasion by inhabitants of Portugal, then certainly he should not wish for interference. He had complained, further, that when France invaded Portugal with a fleet, whether the demands she put forward were legal or illegal, this country ought, in the first instance, to have endeavoured to prevent a collision. With respect to the opinion of Sir W. Scott, to which he had referred, that was, he maintained, good law. The question of neutrality, he contended, was this, was 297 it right when his Majesty had declared his neutrality that his subjects should nut be enforced to adopt the same by his Majesty's Government? This was declared by the highest authorities to be the common law of the country. Nor was this all, for there was further means of preventing interference provided by the Foreign Enlistment Bill. But how had the Administration enforced this law? Not at all: and not only had they not. enforced that law, but they had taken measures to prevent its being enforced. The Government actually interfered with the Officers of the Customs, and forced them to give up the vessels, which, they, in execution of their duty, had seized. The noble Earl had referred to the case of a ship which was seized during his administration; but there was a great difference between these two cases, for, in that instance, the English Government did all they possibly could do, to satisfy Spain of their perfect neutrality; whilst, in the present instance, the conduct of the Government had a precisely opposite tendency. The noble Earl said, Spain had no right to complain. Now, he must differ from the noble Earl. The neutrality of Spain was exacted by this country upon the condition of our observing neutrality, and the compact had been broken. How stood the fact with regard to the manner in which Spain had fulfilled her engagements? Not one Spanish soldier had passed the frontier to the assistance of Don Miguel, while from this country from ten to twelve thousand men had from first to last been sent to swell the ranks of Don Pedro, and greatly to endanger the tranquillity of Spain herself. He thought it impossible to say, under the circumstances, that Spain had not a just ground of complaint. He considered that he had distinctly proved his case. The noble Earl said, the Motion was equivalent to a vote of censure; he was sorry the noble Earl regarded it in that light. It was no further a censure than this, that it declared the policy which the noble Earl had pursued in regard to Portugal to be wrong in their Lordships' opinion. If he thought the noble Earl had deserved censure, he should have been ready to declare that, and to ask their Lordships to agree with him in a direct manner. If the noble Earl considered his motion as one of censure, he was sorry for it. The whole tenor of his argument and of the proposed Address 298 was most respectful to the noble Earl—there was not an uncivil word in it. He would not have had the slightest hesitation ill moving for a vote of censure, instead of an Address to the Crown, if he had thought the present case one which called for such a course of proceeding.
§ Earl Grey
rose to explain. The noble Duke had again repeated the charge of the Government interference with the Com-missioners of the Customs, to prevent the execution of the law. He had already answered that by reading the opinions of the law officers of the Crown, and the Government only interfered for the protection of the Custom House Officers because those law officers declared the seizure to be illegal. The noble Duke wished to disclaim anything like an attempt to impute censure. Why, the whole tone of the argument and of the Address was censure—indeed in the Address the noble Duke had used the very word. All the explanation of the noble Duke had not, in his opinion, changed the character of the Motion. The noble Duke said, it was censure no further than as a declaration that the course of foreign policy pursued by him and his colleagues was injurious to our interests, and degrading to the honour of the country. Surely, after such an explanation, he could only consider the affirmation of the Motion as a censure, and as casting no slight stigma on the present Administration.
§ Their Lordships divided on the Duke of Wellington's Motion Contents 79; Not Contents 69:—Majority 10.299
|List of the CONTENTS.|
|DUKES.||Norwich (Duke of Gordon)|
|Willoughby de Broke||Forrester|
|Hay, (Kinnoul)||Penshurst (Strangford)|
|Gage||Stuart de Rothsay|
|Carbery||Bath and Wells|
|Clanbrassil, (Roden)||PAIRED OFF.|
|Delamere||Duke of Rutland|
|List of the NOT CONTENTS.|
|Chichester||Chaworth (Earl of Meath)|
|Howard of Effingham||Earl Durham|