Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

--for he stated, that, in consequence of of all parts of the peninsula. He begged the French decrees and our consequent in this place particularly to refer to the orders in council, the produce of the feelings which had been excited in this French customs had experienced a very country by the first burst of Spanish paserious diminution indeed, and the minister triotism ; and bere he did not mean that consoled the nation for this, from the general and ardent spirit of enthusiasm consideration of the vast diminution which which glowed in every British bosom on they supposed must have taken place in receipt of the intelligence of the congeour exports.

nial efforts of the Spanish people, but that After some further conversation, the more deliberate judgment which was conmotion was put and carried.

tained in the recorded opinion of Parlia[DEFENCE OF PORTUGAL.] The Chan-ment. In the Address of that House, at cellor of the Exchequer moved the order the commencement of last session, he of the day for the House going into a fouud the following paragraph : “We committee of supply. The House then congratulate your Majesty on your reresolved into the committee.

ceiving from the Spanish government, The Chancellor of the Erchequer, io sub the strongest assurances of their determitting to the committee a proposition ined perseverance in the cause of the for granting to his Majesty a sum not ex- legitimate monarchy, and of the national ceeding 980,0001. to be applied in pro. independence of Spain; and that, so long viding for the defence of Portugal, should as the people of Spain shall remain true have thought that vote so consistent with to themselves, your Majesty will continue the feelings professed by the House on to them your most strenuous assistance former occasions (had it not been for the and support.”. These were the sentiobservations thrown out on his notice), ments which that House entertained last that he should not have expected any op- year upon the subject. In the Address, position to the motion. If the House was at the commencement of the present sese still influenced by that noble sympathy, sion, they had said, "We cannot sufficiwhich had hitherto so strongly interested ently express our satisfaction, that the them in the cause of the Spaniards suffer- Spanish government, in the name and by ing under the perfidy, atrocity, and the authority of Ferdinand VII, has deterusurpation of France, he was persuaded mined to assemble the general and extrathat there could exist no disposition in ordinary cortes of the nation. We confithe committee to resist his motion. He dently trust, this measure will give fresh was well aware at the same time, that it animation and vigour to the councils and might be said, that the measure he had the arms of Spain, and successfully direct to propose related not to Spain, but to the energies and spirit of the Spanish peoPortugal. He must contend, that the in- ple to the maintenance of their legitimate terests of both could not be separated ; monarchy, and to the ultimate deliverance that whatever should be done to give of the Spanish nation.”-When the House strength to Portugal, would add to the therefore had expressed such sentiments means of Spain; and that to provide for in their recorded votes, it was not too the defence and security of the fornier much to expect, that the committee, with couotry, would be to promote the general a view to confirm the principles upon interests of the peninsula, and the parti- which those sentiments were founded, cular success of the Spanish cause. It would not oppose the measure he had to was incumbent upon him, however, to propose-a measure taken in direct conadmit, that, if France should ever succeed formity with the wishes of the nation, and in establishing a secure and tranquil go- the votes of Parliament. vernment in Spain, it would be impossible suaded even, that, if the House were now, for Portugal, with even the assistance for the first time, called upon for an opi. which this country could afford, effectu. nion upon the subject, so far from really to resist the attempts of France. But gretting their former opinion, they would if this country should still continue to be actuated by the same sentiments and hold Portugal, pending the struggle in feelings, which were not more congenial Spain, and thereby menace the French to the character and honour, than con. forces in that country, he was sure it ducive to the best interests of the nation. would be admitted, that we should by If they were to look at the question in that means effectually promote the cause this point of view, then, they would find of Spain, and consequently the interests the measure proposed not alone due to

He was per

the honour and character of the British important instrument of hostility against riame, but upon considerations of sordid this country. Was that a question which interest, find it equally consistent with gentlemen were prepared to accede to? sound policy as with national honour and Would the Committee deem it prudent or reputation : no less dictated by maxims of politic to leave the British army in that prudence and interest, than consonant to country, and not avail itself of the supevery principle of public faith, national port and additional strength which was to policy, and liberal conduct. It would be derived from the Portuguese army innot be doubted, he was convinced, that tended, by the measure he had to propose, the cause of Spain was now the cause of 10 be taken into British pay? If they this country; and that the longer we should be of opinion that the English could make or enable that country to re- army could answer any useful purpose by sist the strength, and exhaust the military remaining in Portugal

, surely it must be resources of France, the more we should desirable to take advantage of any acces. promote the interest of this country in the sion of force which the means of the counexisting war. As long, therefore, as there try afforded, and which'would consequently should remain a hope of success in Spain, enhance the ultimate prospect of the cause. it was obviously the best policy of this But if they should now think to withdraw country to keep up the spirit of resistance their army-if they should, in this into French usurpation in the Spanish na- stance, not feel those sentiments, which tion. The power of France could never made them express to his Majesty their be completely confirmed, or really secure approbation of his having entered into a in Europe, until that power should be es- treaty with Spain after her reverses-if tablished on the ruins of the independence in the contemplation of the present diffi. of Spain: because, so long as the Spanish culties, and without a just regard to the nation should continue to resist the usurpa- prospective interests of the cause of the tions of France, it would be necessary for peninsula, they should determine to abanthat power to direct a great proportion of don Portugal altogether, sure he was, that its strength and disposeable force against it would be in effect to abandon the cause Spain. It was, consequently, the duty as of this country, as well as to tarnish the well as the policy of this country, to fo- character and honour of the nation. When ment and keep alive in the peninsula he looked back to that feeling, which inthat spirit, which alone could hold oul duced parliament to approve of a perseany hope of success to the cause, which verance in support of the Spanish cause, might thus perhaps eventually become the after the difficulties and reverses which germ of the liberty and independence of had been sustained in Spain, he could not the world. It was not then a question to bring himself to suppose that any indisconsider, what where the best points of position would be shewn on this occasion the peninsula, to which

to maintain still the cause of the penin. should be directed, or whether Spain was sula. At a period, when the hopes of under any circumstances to be supported. Spain were so reduced; when the cause of The fact was, that we were at present not that country was to be sustained almost only in possession of Portugal, but that we within the walls of Cales, was it, he would were in great strengih. in that country. ask, either for the inierest of the surviving The real question to be considered there- energies of the Spanish cause, or for the fore was, whether, in possession of Portu- immediate advantage of the cause of tbis gal, under such circunstances, the House country, that we should withdraw, or proshould adopt the proposition, either to fess to withdraw, the British army from support those, who were disposed to con- Portugal ?' What consequence could retinue the struggle in that country, or by sult from such a course, but the inevitable withdrawing the Bri'ish army to leave subjection of Spain and Purti gal, and the them to their fate, and abandon their necessary augmentation of the enemy's cause altogether. The question he should means of bostility against this count y ? repeat, really was, whether that House But it might be said, that by still retaining should determine to sustain the cause possession of Portugai, we should only be of the peninsula in Portugal, or bv able to occupy 30, 40, or 50,000 French deserting it, leave that country to be tromps in that country. Even if that over-run by the enemy; in doing which, were the true state of the case, he would they would surrender to France the ask, whether that would not be a material most convenient station, and the most object, at a time, when the French army

8

our

succours

Was

[ocr errors]

was likely to be fully occupied in Spain? | isted a nation capable of subduing a poWas it nothing, that, if the French should pulation possessing the mind, and heart, think of invading Portugal, they should, in and soul of the Spaniards. They might order to give them any hope of success, sustain reverses; but the very vicbring an army of at least 100,000 men to tories, and the triumphs of their enemies, act against that country ? Or, should Porwould teach thein discipline, and infuse tugal be left, by withdrawing the British into them a spirit which would ultimately army, in such a state, that 10,000 men be the ruin of their oppressors. Under would be amply sufficient to over-run and these circumstances he should put it to subjugate that nation? Such a sentiment the House, whether it would be prudent he did not expect to hear expressed in or wise to abandon Portugal. The last that House. Indeed, so convinced was he Austrian war had arisen, in a great meaof the wisdom and policy of the measure sure, out of the contest in the peninsula. he meant to propose, that he should not During the progress of that war, however have felt it necessary to make any obser- calamitous its result had proved, it would vations to recommend it to the adoption of be in the recollection of the House, that the Committee, if it had not been for the one other day's successful resistance of manner in which his notice had been re- the French arany by the Austrians, might ceived by the gentleman opposite, and have overthrown the accumulated power which led him to think it would possibly of the enemy: That such events might meet with opposition. But it might be again take place, it was not impossiasked, whether any person could be san- ble. No man could anticipate what might guine enough now to hope, that the Spa- arise of this description in the course of a nish cause could succeed? If he were short period, and under all the circumnot sanguine enough to entertain such an stances of the world; but as long as the expectation, still, it was his opinion, that contest was, or could be, maintained in the the cause ought not to be abandoned. peninsula, he considered it the best policy But what were they to think of the senti. of this country to support aud promote ments of those gentlemen, who were al- it. Under this impression, therefore, he ways of opinion that it was impossible for should move “ That the sum of 980,0001. Spain to hold out so long--they, who be granted to his Majesty, to enable his told the House so often, that the cause was Majesty to make advances to the Portuhopeless—that it was vain to send out guese government in support of its exer. British troops to sustain it-that if Spain tions in that kingdom, by taking. 30,000 was to succeed at all, she must succeed Portuguese troops into the British pay.” at once-and that she could never main. He had only to add, that it was proposed tain a protracted contest against the disci- to make these advances pursuant to an arplined armies and enormous resources of rangement made with the Portuguese goFrance ? Spain had continued the strug. vernment, and not by a treaty which gle hitherto, however; and whatever would be binding on the country, or take might be the gloomy aspect of her affairs the expenditure out of the controul of at present, the cause of the peninsula, ac- parliament. cording to his opinion, ought not to be Sir John Newport observed that the latabandoned. He was sanguine enough ter part of the right hon. gent.'s state. thus far to think that it would beextremely ment had relieved him from much diffidifficult for France to establish a tranquil culty, as the advance was not to be made dominion in Spain, unless Great Britain in pursuance of any arrangement that should separate herself from the cause of could fetter the judgment of that House. that country. But a secure or tranquil go- He was surprized that the right hon. gent. vernment France could not erect in Spain could have supposed that such a motion without much difficulty, nor easily make would be agreed to without opposition. any effectual application of the nieans of If any question could provoke opposition, the peninsula in her hostility against this it must be that which would make them country whilst we continued to assist its continue efforts in a cause, which every efforts. She might occupy Spain with an one but the right hon. gent. considered army, but her power would be confined hopeless. The hon. baronet then referred within the limits of her military posts;

to the documents, to shew that the Portuand it would require nearly as large an guese levies had not been expedited as army to keep possession, as to make a they should have been. He did not think conquest of Spain. There never had ex- the embodying of 50,000 Portuguese

VOL. XVI.

B * * *

troops, at the expence of nearly one mil- , ing the efforts of this country, its cause lion, could prop the hopeless cause of would have triumphed, and there would Spain, now confined almost within the not now be a Frenchman on the Spanish walls of Cadiz. The right hon. gent. had territory. He could not conceive why relied much upon the recorded opinion of any gentleman could think, that the Briparliament. Whilst the Spaniards were tish army should remain in Portugal, true to themselves, parliament was pledg- without taking to its aid the important ed to support them. But he denied that accession of the Portuguese army, or renthey had been true to themselves. If | dering the spirit with which it was acthey should be obliged to embark the tuated available to the common cause. British army, as he supposed they would, The Portuguese army had been greatly what was to be done with these 30,000 improved ; and that was owing princi. Portuguese troops ? Were they to be pally to the spirit. industry, exertions, and brought to this country, and added to the activity of marshal Beresford, whose inde. already enormous foreign army in ils ser- / fatigable efforts and attention, under the vice, or were they to be sent to the Bra- direction of his very superior talents, bad zils, or to be left fully equipped and ready raised up a most respectable military to add to the military force of Buona force in Portugal. parté ? He trusted, whatever the right Mr. Curwen should not have taken any hon. gent. might say of the difficulty of part in this discussion, if not convinced of establishing a tranquil French govern- ihe very serious importance of the ques. ment in Spain, that the means and re- tion. He had listened throughout with sources of this country would not be the greatest attention to the hon. gent. wasted in encouraging an intestine desul- , who liad just sat down, because he extory warfare in that kingdom. As the pected to have heard something from him, contest was now hopeless, he would not which might induce him to continue of trust any more men to the disposal of mi- the same opinion as heretofore respecting nisters, all whose measures, down to the the Spanish cause. No man would be present hour, had been characterized by a ready to go farther for Spain; but when wanton waste of blood and treasure. ministers themselves said, that there was

Mr. Villiers said, that in promoting the scarcely a hope remaining, what thinking transactions which had been pressed upon man would wish to continue the struggle? his attention by the government, he had When they heard the hon. gent. say, that used all the energy, warmth, and activity Spain had not done its duty, that was no which his frame was capable of. He had time to think of hazarding a gallant army laboured with all the zeal and industry in in the peninsula. He could have wished, his power; and had the satisfaction to that in enumerating the vigour of the go. add, that he had laboured with effect. As vernment and of the departments, the to the question under consideration, it was, hon. gent. had made some mention of the in his opinion, not a question whether one energy of the people. As the Portuguese million was to be expended upon this ser- people had suffered a French army to vice, but whether they were to leave the over-run their country, without any reBritish army in that country without avail. sistance, he was not for placing much reing themselves of all the assistance which liance upon the Portuguese troops; and Portugal could afford in support of it? he really should think our gallant army in He could not think that any gentleman an alarming predicament, if exposed in would be of that opinion. With respect that country, under such circumstances. to Portugal itself, he could assure gentle- He could not imagine that there was any men, that the government of that country rational hope of success. Since we had was administered with great energy and first undertaken to support the cause of vigour. Large supplies of money had the peninsula, a great alteration of cirbeen raised to meet the public exigencies cumstances had taken place and consi. -the old military constitution of the derable additions had been made to our country had been restored the finances burthens. If the enemy could point out of the country were ably administered and what he would prefer that we should unwell collected—and the war department dertake, he was convinced that his first conducted with much energy and ability. wish would be, that we should undertake As to Spain, he must say, and it was his to defend Portugal.-It had been argued deliberate opinion, that if Spain had done in the beginning of the session, by an its duty equally with Portugal in support- hon. gent. (Mr. Huskisson,) that retrenchments in our financial expenditure were should pause before they carried their necessary, and he (Mr. Curwen) was confidence

any

further. If ever there was perfectly convinced of the truth of that a moment that called on every reflecting position, but he was sorry that the hon. and independent man to make that pause, gent. had not entertained the same opi- 1 and to consider seriously what they were nion when that subject was brought for doing, this was the moment; and if now ward last session by the hon. member for noglected to be made use of, he feared the Oakhampton (Mr. Wardle). If the hon. consequences would be most dreadful and gent. had then stood forward with those ever to be regretted. Bounaparté could plans of retrenchment wbich he had so not receive more cheering hopes of his ulably recommended since, he verily be timate success in the struggle in which he lieved we should not have had to lament was engaged, that he would derive from the disgraceful Expedition to Walcheren, learning that the present ministers were to and the profuse and lavish expenditure of continue in office, and that the House of blood and treasure that accompanied it. Commans still persisted in placing a blind He assured the House that in uttering confidence in them, and thereby enabling these sentiments, he spoke from no party them to enter upon measures which in feelings whatever. He spoke the plain their inevitable result could not fail to ani genuine sentiments of a man most anxious swer all his purposes. Buonaparté knew for the welfare of the country, which, if this country'; was acquainted with our great care was not taken by that House to resources; and he was afraid he depended check the profusion and extravagance more on the prodigality which now presbich had so long prevailed in all the de- vailed, as more certain to work our downpartments of the government must be soon fal, than upon all the efforts he could reduced to such a situation that he trem- make against us. The right hon. gent. bled for the consequences. He begged opposite had talked of not forsaking our the House to recollect that the constitu- allies the Spaniards, and of driving the tion had undergone a very great and ex- French out of Spain. No man could more traordinary change, and that the situation sincerely wish success to the Spaniards of that House had become very different than he did ; no man could be more anxfrom what it formerly was. When the ious to assist them, whilst there was a propresent family came to the throne, that bability of doing it with any effect. But House was universally looked upon with as to our driving the French out of Spain, the highest and most unqualified respect he was afraid the notion was absurd ; and wits members were then considered as the he thought the vote of the House this

real representatives of the people, and no night, against the measure brought forminister would have dared to think of ward by the right hon. gent. if the House keeping his place one moment after he should decide against it, would be more had lost their confidence; but now mi. important than if we were to take half the misters, in defiance of repeated and con- French army prisoners. Under these cirsiderable majorities, kept their places, and cumstances, convinced as he was of the seemed to look for an acquiescence in absolute necessity of retrenchment, he their measures, notwithstanding they had should certainly vote against the motion. been so repeatedly told that the House Mr. Leslie Foster rose and said: My was afraid to trust them any farther.-He right hon friend has, I think justly, concould see no reason why the House should nected the present proposition of bis Mabe called on to vote so large a sum of jesty, with his past conduct towards the money as was asked for by the present cause of the peninsula. It is but a conresolution for the purpose of taking into tinuance and extension of the same spirit of our pay an army of Portuguese soldiers, British assistance. It is now, however, open when the country was already so heavily to the reprehension of two classes of poliburdened. But he was by no means one

ticians, of those who think we never ought of those who despaired either of the exer- to have comunitted ourselves for the sal tions, or the finances of the country, pro. vation of Portugal and Spain, and of those vided they were administered with pru- who, although they approved of that comdence and frugality. Neither of these mittal, whilst the event appeared at least qualities, however, were possessed by his to be ambiguous, think that the overMajesty's present ministers. They had whelming power of France, has at length long been too much confided in by the brought this tragedy so nearly to a close, Honse; and it was now high time they that nothing is now left for us, but to es

« AnteriorContinuar »