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frenzy, and under the influence of the passion for innovation, we may speak of the wisdom of our ancestors, their measures were founded on considerations which will survive the tempest of the present times. As France is the power which had been found by experience to be most formidable to the liberties of Europe, and in an especial manner perilous to the independence of England, our policy for two hundred years has been founded upon the principle, that Holland on the one side, and Portugal on the other, should be supported against it. By a close alliance with these two powers, we extended our arms, as it were, around our powerful neighbour: she could not go far in any direction without encountering either the one or the other. So strongly was the necessity of this felt, that so far back as 1663, in the treaty concluded with Portugal, it was stipulated" that England should resent any insult or aggression offered to Portugal in the same way, and with the same power, as if its own dominions were invaded.'
The result has proved the wisdom of their stipulations. In the two greatest wars which have distracted Europe for the last two centuries, the Netherlands and the Peninsula have been the theatre where the armies of France and England have encountered each other. France has never been effectually checked but when assailed in Spain and Flanders. Five-and-twenty years' peace followed the treaty of Utrecht, and sixteen have already followed the peace of Paris. All other treaties for the last 150 years, can only be considered as truces in comparison. Such is the importance of the Peninsula, that a considerable success there, is almost sufficient to neutralize the greatest advantages in the central parts of Europe; the victory of Almanza had wellnigh neutralized the triumphs of Oudenarde, Ramillies, and Malplaquet, and the cannon of Salamanca startled Napoleon even on the eve of the carnage of Borodino, and when almost within sight of the Kremlin.
The sea," says General Jomini, "which is the worst possible base to every other Power, is the best to England. That which is but a sterile and inhospitable desert to a mi
litary Power, conveys to the menaced point the fleets and the forces of Albion." It is on this principle, that the strict alliance and close connexion with Portugal was formed. Its extensive sea-coast, mountainous ridges, and numerous harbours, afforded the utmost facilities for pouring into its bosom the resources and armies of England, while its own force was not so considerable as to render its people jealous of the protection, or averse to the Generals, of England. The result proved the wisdom of the choice made of Portugal as the fulcrum on which the military power of England, when engaged in continental war, should be rested. It is there alone that an unconquerable stand was made against the forces of Napoleon. That which neither the firmness of Austria, nor the valour of Prussia, nor the power of Russia could accomplish, has been achieved by this little State, backed by the might and the energy of England. Austria has to lament the defeats of Ulm and Wagram; Prussia the overthrow of Jena; Russia the catastrophes of Austerlitz and Friedland; but the career of Portugal, in the same terrible strife, was one of uninterrupted success; before the rocks of Torres Vedras, the waves of Gallic aggression first permanently receded; and from the strongholds of the Tagus, the British standards advanced to a career of glory greater than ever graced the days of her Henrys and her Edwards.
It is a point on which military men are at variance, whether fortresses are of more value on the frontier or in the centre of a menaced State. Perhaps the question may be solved by a distinction :where the State assailed is one of first-rate importance, as France or Austria, fortified towns on its frontier are of incalculable importance, because, if the invading army stops to invest them, it gives time for great armaments in the interior; if it pushes on and neglects them, it necessarily becomes so weakened by the detachments made for the purpose of maintaining their blockade, that it is incapable of achieving any considerable success. Two memorable examples of this occurred in French Flanders in 1793, when
the invading army, 120,000 strong, was so long delayed by besieging the frontier fortresses of Valenciennes, Conde, Maubeuge, and Landrecy, that time was given for the Convention to organize and equip the great armaments in the interior, which finally repelled the invasion; and in Lombardy, in 1796, when the single fortress of Mantua arrested the career of Napoleon for six months, and gave time for Austria to assemble no less than four successive and powerful armies for its relief. On the other hand, the extraordinary advantage attending the great central fortifications of Wellington at Torres Vedras, and the corresponding successes gained by Skrzynecki, from the possession of Warsaw, Zamosc, and Modlin, during the late Polish war, and by Napoleon, from the fortresses of Dresden, Torgau, and Wittemberg, on the Elbe in 1813, demonstrate, that where the state assailed is more inconsiderable when compared to the attacking force, fortifications are of more avail when placed in the centre of the threatened State, and when its armies, retiring upon their central strongholds, find both a point d'appui in case of disaster, and an interior line of communication, which compensates inferiority of forces, and affords an opportunity for accumulating masses on detached bodies of the enemy.
But His Majesty's Whig Ministers have solved the question in a totally different manner. They have relinquished both the frontier and the central fortresses which bridled France; both those which checked its irruption into the centre of Europe, and those which afforded a secure and central position on which the armies of England could combat when matters became more serious. We have lost both the frontier barrier of Marlborough in Flanders, and the interior barrier of Wellington in Portugal; with one hand we have abandoned the safeguard of Northern, with the other the citadel of Southern Europe.
Deviating for the first time from the policy of two hundred years, we have not only loaded Portugal with injuries and indignities ourselves, but we have permitted her to be the victim of revolutionary violence and rapine on the part of France. The Portuguese wines, long the favoured
object of British protection, have been abandoned; the duties of French and Oporto wines have been equalized, and our ancient and irreconcilable enemy placed on the footing of the most favoured nation!
The consequence of this must in time be the destruction or serious injury of the immense capital invested in the raising of Port wine on the banks of the Douro. The cultivation of wine there has been nursed up by a century's protection, and brought to its present flourishing state by the fostering influence of the British market. But how is that excessive and exotic state of cultivation to continue, when the duties on Portuguese and French wines are equalized, and the merchants of Bordeaux can, from a shorter distance, send wines adapted to the English taste from the mouth of the Garonne ?Two shillings a gallon has been taken off French, and as much laid on Portuguese wines; the Portuguese grower, therefore, in competition with the French, finds himself saddled with a difference of duty amounting to four shillings a gallon. It requires no argument to shew, that such a difference of taxation deprives the Portuguese of all their former advantages, and must in the end extinguish the extraordinary growth of vines in the province of Entre Douro Minho.
What are the advantages which Ministers propose to themselves from this abandonment of their ancient ally? Is it that the English commerce with France is so much more considerable than that of Portugal, that it is worth while to lose the one in order to gain the other? The reverse is the fact-the British exports to France are only L.700,000 a-year, while those to Portugal amount to L.2,000,000. Is it that France has done so much more for British commerce than Portugal? The reverse is the fact-France has, by the most rigid system of prohibitions, excluded all British manufactures from its shores; while Portugal has, by a series of the most favourable treaties, given them the greatest possible encouragement. Is it because a more extended commerce with France may in future be anticipated from the friendly intercourse between the two countries, and a spirit of rising libe rality has manifested itself on t
part of its manufacturers and merchants? The reverse is the fact. France, so nearly in its northern parts in the same latitude with England, has the same coal, the same steam-engines, the same manufactures, whereas Portugal, exposed to the influence of a vertical sun, with out coal or manufacturing capital, is unable to compete with any of the productions of British industry. The consequence is, that the utmost possible jealousy has always, and especially of late years, existed on the part of the French against the British manufactures; and that all our measures for their encouragement have been met by increased duties, and more rigid prohibitions of the produce of our industry. Is it because France has been so much more friendly, of late years, to Britain than Portugal? The reverse is the fact. France has, for three centuries, done every thing she possibly could to destroy our industry and our independence, while Portugal has done every thing in her power to support the one and the other.
The reason of this difference in the conduct of the two states, is founded in the difference of the physical situation of the two countries, and of their climate and produce. Portugal, the country of the vine and the olive, without coal, wood, or fabrics of any sort, destitute of canals or carriage-roads, intersected by immense mountain ridges, is as incapable of competing with the fabrics or manufactures of England, as England is of emulating their oil, fruit, and wines. The case might have been the same with France, if it had been possessed merely by its southern provinces ; but the northern lying nearly in the same latitude as England, with their coal mines, cotton and iron manufactories, are in exactly the same line of industry as the British counties, and their jealousy in consequence of our manufactures is excessive. The manufacturers of Rouen and Lyons being a much more opulent and united body than the peasant vinegrowers of the south, have got the entire control of government, and hence the extraordinary rigour with which they exclude our manufactures, and the inconsiderable amount of the trade which we carry on with
that populous kingdom. This jealousy, being founded on similarity of industry, and the rivalry of the same kind of manufactures, will continue to the end of time. By encouraging the wines of France, therefore, we are favouring the industry of a country which has not only always been our enemy, but never will make any return in facilitating the consumption of our manufactures! By encouraging the wines of Portugal, we are fostering the industry of a country which has always been our friend; and, from the absence of all manufacturing jealousy, may be relied upon as likely to continue permanently to take off the greatest possible amount of our manufactures. But this is not all. Not content with inflicting this severe blow upon the industry of an allied state, which takes off L.2,000,000 a year of our produce, and is so likely to continue to do so, we have insulted and injured Portugal in the tenderest point, and allowed our new ally, revolutionary France, to destroy her national independence, and extinguish all recollection of the protection and the guardianship of England.
Don Miguel, as every body knows, is de facto, if not de jure, King of Portugal. He is not a legitimate monarch; he stands upon the people's choice. We do not pretend to vindicate either his character or his system of government. They are both said to be bad, though, from the falsehood on this subject which evidently pervades the English press, and the firm support which the Portuguese have given him when under the ban of all Europe, there is every reason to believe that the accounts we receive are grossly exaggerated; but of that we have no authentic accounts. Suffice it to say, the Portuguese have chosen him for their sovereign, and, after the experience of both, prefer an absolute monarchy to the democratic constitution with which they were visited from this country. Now, our government is avowedly founded on the system of non-intervention; and when the French and Belgians made choice of a revolutionary monarch, we were not slow in snapping asunder all treaties with the expelled dynasty, and recognising the new monarch whom they placed on the throne.
Don Miguel has now held for four years the Portuguese sceptre; his throne is more firmly established than that of either Louis Philippe or Leopold. He has received neither countenance nor aid from any foreign power; and if he had not been agreeable to the great bulk of the Portuguese, he must, long ere this, have ceased to reign. On what ground, then, is the recognition of Don Miguel so long delayed? Why is he driven into a course of irregular and desperate conduct, from the refusal of the European powers to admit his title? If they acted on the principle of never recognising any one but the legitimate monarch, we could understand the consistency of their conduct; but after having made such haste to recognise the revolutionary monarchs, it is utterly impossible to discover any ground on which we can withhold the same homage to the absolute one, or refuse the same liberty of election to the Portuguese which we have given to the French and Belgian people.
But this is not all-France has committed an act of the most lawless and violent kind to the Portuguese government; and we have not only done nothing to check, but every thing to encourage it.
Two Frenchmen were arrested, it is said, for political offences in Portugal, and sentenced to pay a heavy fine by the courts there. What they had done we know not. The Portuguese say they were endeavouring to effect a revolution in that country -the French deny the fact, and assert that they were unjustly condemned. However that may be, the French fleet sailed to the Tagus, forced the passage of the forts, and took possession of the fleet without any declaration of war. They required the reversal of the sentence against their condemned countrymen, the payment of a large sum in name of damages to them, and a public apology; and having gained all these objects, they carried off the Portuguese fleet along with them to France, while their ambassador still remained on a pacific footing at the Court of Lisbon! Now, this was plainly an act of rapine and piracy. Without entering into the justice or injustice of the proceedings against the accused in the Portuguese courts,
supposing that they were as unjustifiable as possible, is that any ground for seizing the whole navy of Portugal, after the sentence complained of had been reversed, ample satisfaction made to the injured party, and a public apology placarded on the streets of Lisbon by the Portuguese government?
Against this flagrant kind of revolutionary violence, England has neither protested nor remonstrated :— we have witnessed in silence the spoliation of the Portuguese fleet, as the partition of the Dutch territory, and France can boast of greater naval trophies obtained from the allies of England in peace, than she ever obtained during the twenty years of the revolutionary war. Injuries are often complained of by the subjects of one country against the government of another; satisfaction is often demanded and obtained, and damages awarded to the aggrieved party. But was it ever heard of before, that after such satisfaction had been obtained, the whole fleet of the power from whom it was demanded should be seized hold of, and carried off as in open war? If this is a specimen of revolutionary justice, and of the new eras of liberty and equality, certainly Astræa in leaving the world has not left her last footsteps among them.
In this iniquitous and violent proceeding towards our old and faithful ally, let it always be recollected, the English government has tamely acquiesced. Well might the Duke of Wellington declare in the House of Lords, that nothing in life had ever given him so much pain, and that his cheeks were filled with blushes, when he thought of the conduct of our government towards its ancient ally. Would the government of Louis Philippe, we ask, have ventured upon such a step, if the Duke of Wellington had been at the head of our administration? Would they have ventured on it, if they had not been aware that no violence of theirs towards the Portuguese government was likely to be resented by our reforming government? In what light are we likely to be viewed by posterity, when, after having made such heroic efforts to save the Portuguese from the yoke of France, for eight years during the reign of Napoleon, we suffer them to become the victims of
such revolutionary violence, the moment that a new administration is called to the helm of affairs?
How can we expect that our allies are to stand by us in periods of peril, when we desert them in so extraordinary a manner the moment that a new administration succeeds to our guidance? Have we arrived at that state of vacillation and instability, so well known as the symptom of weak and democratic societies, that there is nothing stable or fixed either in foreign or domestic policy, but government is tossed about by every wind of doctrine, and at the mercy of every agitation raised from the lowest classes of the people? Have the reformers brought this country, whose firmness and stability in time past had rivalled that of the Roman Senate, to such a state of weakness in so short a time, that the British alliance forms no security against external violence, and every state that wishes to avoid plunder and devastation, must range itself under the banners of our enemies? What the motive for such conduct may have been, it is difficult to divine; but the fact is certain, that we have done so, and every Englishman must bear the humiliation which it has brought upon his country.
The meanest Englishman," said Mr Canning, "shall not walk the streets of Paris without being considered as the compatriot of Welling ton; as a member of that community which has humbled France and rescued Europe." The noblest Englishman shall not now walk the streets of any European capital, without be ing considered as the compatriot of Grey; the member of that community which has partitioned Holland and deserted Portugal. With truth it may now be said, that the indignities and contempt which now await a traveller among all our former allies, are equalled only by the respect which he formerly experienced. Ask any traveller who has lately returned from Vienna, Berlin, the Hague, or Lisbon, in what light he is now regarded; whether he has experienced the same kindness or respect which so lately attended the English character? He will answer that they consider the English as absolutely insane, and that the ancient respect for our people is not quite extin
It is impossible it can be otherwise. To see a people suddenly relinquish all their former allies, and connect themselves with their ancient enemies-abandon at one blow the objects of two hundred years' contest, and forget in one year the gratitude and the obligations of centuries-is so extraordinary, that to those at a distance from the innovating passions with which we have been assailed, it must appear like the proceedings of men who had lost their reason. Such a proceeding might be intelligible, if experience had proved that this former policy had been ruinous; that these ancient allies had proved unfaithful; that these hereditary obligations had been a source of humiliation. But what is to be said when the reverse of all this is the fact? when this policy had been attended with unprecedented triumphs, these allies having stood by us in the extremity of disaster, and these obligations having brought with them a weight of national gratitude? when the Dutch remind England that it was not till Pichegru had conquered Amsterdam that they with drew unwillingly from their alliance; and the Portuguese recount that they remained faithful to their engage ments, when the spoiler was ravaging their land; when the army of England had fled from Corunna; when Oporto was in the hands of Soult; when a devouring flame ravaged their central provinces, and the leopards of England were driven to their last defences on the rocks of Mafra?
The French accuse their government of yielding too much to British ascendency; and it may be judged from the preceding statements whether we are not too obsequious to their revolutionary rulers. The truth is, that both charges are well-founded. The governments of both countries appear to play into each other's hands, to an extent inconsistent with the honour or the welfare of either. When the revolutionary dynasty of France deem an advance into Belgium, or an assault on Portugal, requisite to give an impulse to their declining popularity, the reforming