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with his : act. of abdication, by the hands of the British minister sir Charles Stuart.
The constitution, received with unbounded joy by the Portuguese liberals, with open execration by the faction of the queen and don Miguel, and with strong antipathy by the French and other ministers of the holy alliance at Lisbon, was brought into operation on the 31st of July. It was abused, even in England, by persons who, under pretence of criticising its structure and details, only vented their hatred of the great principle of popular right and liberty upon which it was founded. Don Pedro, with a view to prevent a disputed succession in Portugal, directed, in his act of abdication, that his daughter should espouse, and share the throne with, don Miguel. This compromise failed: the faction of Miguel and the queen-dowager, aided by the intrigues and gold of the French cabinet and its ministers at Lisbon, conspired against the regency and the constitution, and persuaded some Portuguese regiments to desert into Spain, where they proclaimed and swore allegiance to don Miguel as king of Portugal. The rebellion would have been easily put down by the constitutionalists, if the rebels were not sheltered beyond the frontier, and equipped by the Spanish government for invasion. The Spanish government, in answer to the remonstrances of the Portuguese regency and the British government, disavowed and condemned the acts of its officers on the frontier, promised a faithful observance of its duties as a friendly power, and continued to aid the rebels with arms, equipments, and even men, more flagrantly than
ever. The organisation, equipment, and reinforcement of an invading force was equivalent to an invasion : M. de Palmella, the Portuguese minister in London, applied to the British government for military aid, on the faith of ancient alliance and express treaty; and, on the 11th of December, lord Bathurst in the house of lords, Mr. Canning in the house of commons, brought down a message from the king, reciting the faithless and hostile proceedings of the Spanish government, and calling upon parliament to support him in maintaining the faith of treaties towards Portugal, his oldest ally.
Mr. Canning, in moving the usual address on the king's message next day, developed and proved the obligation upon England to come to the aid of Portugal. “ There are,” said he, “ two, and but two causes, which can neither be compromised, nor passed over, nor adjourned: these causes are, ads herence to the national faith, and regard for the national honour."
After going over the provisions of the subsisting treaties in detail, he called attention to “ the war, not of contending nations, but of conflicting principles, - the war, not of armies but of opinions” which then divided Europe; and concluded his speech as follows: 6 If into that war this country shall be compelled to enter, we shall enter into it with a sincere and anxious desire to mitigate rather than exasperate ; and to mingle only in the conflict of arms, not in the more fatal conflict of opinion. But I much fear that this country (however earnestly she may endeavour to avoid it) could not, in such case, avoid seeing ranked under
her banners all the restless and dissatisfied of any nation with which she might come in conflict. It is the contemplation of this new power in any future war, which excites my most anxious apprehension. It is one thing to have a giant's strength, but it would be another to use it like a giant. The consciousness of such strength is undoubtedly a source of confidence and security ; but, in the situation in which this country stands, our business is not to seek opportunities of displaying it, but to content ourselves with letting the professors of violent and exaggerated doctrines on both sides feel that it is not their interest to convert an umpire into an adversary. The situation of England amidst the struggle of political opinions which agitates more or less sensibly different countries of the world, may be compared to that of the ruler of the winds as described by the poet :
Celsà sedet Æolus arce,
The consequence of letting loose the passions, at present chained and confined, would be to produce a scene of desolation which no man can contemplate without horror; and I should not sleep easy on my couch, if I were conscious that I had contributed to precipitate it by a single moment.
“ This, then, is the reason a reason very different from fear, the reverse of a consciousness of disability — why I dread the occurrence of hostilities in any part of Europe, — why I would bear
much, and forbear long, — why I would (as I have said) put up with almost any thing that did not touch national faith and national honour; - rather than let slip the furies of war, the leash of which we hold in our hands, — not knowing whom they may reach, or how far their ravages may be carried. Such is the love of peace which the British government acknowledges ; and such the necessity for peace which the circumstances of the world inculcate! But I will push these topics no further.
“ I return, in conclusion, to the object of the address. Let us fly to the aid of Portugal, by whomsoever attacked, because it is our duty to do so; and let us cease our interference where that duty ends. We go to Portugal, not to rule, not to dictate, not to prescribe constitutions, - but to defend and preserve the independence of an ally. We go to plant the standard of England on the well known heights of Lisbon. Where that standard is planted, foreign dominion shall not come.”
The house was with him. He felt this, and surpassed the eloquence of his opening speech in the frankness and fervour of his reply. Sir Robert Wilson and Mr. Baring supported the address, but condemned the government for having allowed the French to usurp and retain the occupation of Spain. “ It would be disingenuous," said Mr. Canning,“ not to admit that the entry of the French army into Spain was, in a certain sense, a disparagement, an affront to the pride, a blow to the feelings, of England; and it can hardly be supposed that the government did not sympathise on that occasion with the feelings of the people. But I
deny that, questionable or censurable as the act might be, it was one which necessarily called for our direct and hostile opposition. Was nothing then to be done? Was there no other mode of resistance than by a direct attack upon France or by a war to be undertaken on the soil of Spain ? What, if the possession of Spain might be rendered harmless in rival hands — harmless as regards us — and valueless to the possessors ? Might not reparation for disparagement be obtained, and the policy of our ancestors vindicated, by means better adapted to the present time? If France occupied Spain, was it necessary, in order to avoid the consequences of that occupation, that we should blockade Cadiz ? No. I looked another way: I sought materials of compensation in another hemisphere. Contemplating Spain such as our ancestors had known her, I resolved, that if France had Spain, it should not be Spain with the Indies.' I called the New World into existence to redress the balance of the Old.”
Never, perhaps, did political eloquence obtain a brighter ascendant on a great occasion over a great deliberative assembly. Only two persons of known names, Mr. Hume and Mr. Bankes, remained untouched. Mr. Hume, a useful and efficient member of parliament within the limited range of his ideas and faculties, so far from reaching the views, did not always understand the language, of the minister; and, in one instance, burlesqued the expression of Mr. Canning into his own vocabulary, with an unsuspecting illiterate homeliness which afforded