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fall under the conditions of the Quadruple Treaty, nor be liable to British hostility according to the established policy of this country as laid down by Lord Castlereagh and succeeding Ministers to the present time. Under the second aspect, if it could be separated from the first, the Junta of Oporto may be the object of displeasure, and even of coercion by England and Spain.
But, in order to effect a separation of those who wish to defend the liberties of their country (as they view them) from those who wish to depose the Queen, it must be made clear that the Queen of Portugal has adopted every means to assure her subjects in arms against her that their fears are groundless. The offer of a complete amnesty; a promise to abide by the constitution, and to convoke the Cortes within (six) months, together with the nomination of moderate men as Ministers, might effect this object. And, if all fair offers were obstinately refused, a case might be made out for introducing Spanish troops in the North of Portugal, and defending Lisbon by British marines.
But at present the course taken is the reverse of that which is here indicated. No terms with rebels ; no Cortes to be assembled ; violent partisans to be placed in the Ministry ;-such it is understood are the conditions imposed on the Queen in the most imperious language by the Marshal Saldanha.
But the despotism of Marshal Saldanha is not an object so dear to Great Britain that the English navy should be employed to support it.
Whatever may be hereafter the case, therefore, and however much Her Majesty's Ministers may lament the disorder and impending ruin of Portugal, there is at present no case for interference either by the letter or the spirit of the Quadruple Treaty.1
i During the discussion on the affairs of Portugal an incident occurred which ought perhaps to be mentioned. Lord Palmerston, upon the advice of the Queen's Advocate, directed Sir H. Seymour to claim an indemnity of £100 from the Portuguese Government for a Mr. Croft illegally imprisoned at Lisbon Sir H. Seymour, in a despatch of April 3, 1847, demurred to this policy, stating his reasons against it, and these reasons Lord Palmerston thought bad and insufficient. He accordingly drafted a despatch directing Sir H. Seyinour to carry out his orders. This despatch was sent to the Queen, who in the meanwhile had read Sir H. Seymour's letter, and had stated, in a pencil memorandum, that his conduct should be approved. Lord Palmerston, writing to Lord John on April 19, 1847, asked him to ascertain whether the Queen had read his draft despatch before she had written her memorandum, as in that case, since he could not take upon himself the responsibility of approving Sir H. Seymour's conduct, there was nothing left for him but humbly to request Her Majesty to accept his resignation.
The Cabinet met at the end of March and considered this excellent memorandum. Guided by the advice which it contained, it decided on advising the Queen of Portugal to grant a full and general amnesty, to revoke all the decrees issued since the coup d'état, to convene the Cortes at the earliest possible opportunity, and to compose a Ministry of moderate men; and, thus creating the conditions which Lord John had enumerated as essential, call on the northern rebels to return to their allegiance. If the Junta should yield on these conditions, the Cabinet declared that Great Britain would see that they were fulfilled with good faith. If, on the contrary, they were refused by the Junta, 'the British Government would concert with the Governments of France and of Spain the best means of affording effectual assistance to the Queen of Portugal.' 1
The advisers of Donna Maria with some reluctance and after some hesitation assented to these terms. The insurgents at Oporto refused to comply with them; and the Government accordingly proceeded, in concert with France and Spain, to draw up an agreement 2 for forcibly terminating the insurrection. The decision very nearly brought Lord John's Government to an abrupt conclusion. Conservatives and Radicals, opposed to one another on most matters, were agreed in condemning the Portuguese policy of the Administration. Lord Stanley in one House, Mr. Hume in the other, proposed motions censuring its conduct; and Lord John made up his mind, if he were defeated, to retire from office.
But the debates were destined to have a very different result. Mr. Hume overstated his case by declaring that the Whig Government of Lord Grey had been formed on the principle of non-intervention. Whatever merit or demerit may attach to Whig foreign policy, there can be no doubt that no Foreign Minister has ever displayed more desire to interfere
1 Parliamentary Papers relating to Portugal, p. 239. The student would do well to compare the despatch and Lord John's memorandum with Lord Palmerston's memorandum in his Life by Mr. Ashley, ii. 20.
2 Parliamentary Papers relating to Portugal, p. 362..
than the Whig Foreign Minister Lord Palmerston; and Lord John, who spoke early in the debate, had no difficulty in showing that intervention in the affairs of other countries had been practised not only by Lord Castlereagh and the Duke of Wellington, but by Mr. Canning and Lord Grey. As the debate proceeded, the critics of the Government on both sides of the House saw to their dismay that their chances of victory were decreasing; and on the third night, when most of the Ministers had temporarily repaired to the House of Lords to listen to Lord Stanley, Lord George Bentinck managed to get the House of Commons counted out. This ridiculous termination of the onslaught in one House led indirectly to its abrupt ending in the other. Lord John let it be understood that, though he would have submitted to defeat in the Lords if he had been backed by a majority in the Commons, he could not tolerate a reverse in one House untempered by the approval of the other. This hint sett ed the question. The Peers, willing enough to give Lord Stanley a triumph, were not willing to provoke a Ministerial crisis. Lord Stanley's motion was brought to a sudden conclusion, and the Govern-, ment found itself in a majority of nineteen.
One good result indirectly ensued from the controversy respecting Portugal. France and England, bitterly estranged in 1846 on the subject of the Spanish marriages, were again drawn together, or at any rate found it possible to act with one another for a common object. But this concurrence of opinion did not at once terminate their jealousy of each other. Many people in France thought that England could not be trusted to pursue an honourable course on any subject which affected French interests; many sober-minded English citizens believed that the French were meditating the invasion and conquest of England.
The acrimonious feelings which unfortunately thus prevailed had been originally fanned into heat by Lord Palmerston's policy in 1840; and, though Lord Aberdeen's career at the Foreign Office from 1841 to 1846 had done much to cool the flame, on at least two occasions during this period questions
had been raised which under other guidance might have led to war. The first of these was on the affair of Tahiti ; the second grew out of the appointment of the Prince de Joinville, one of Louis Philippe's sons, and the author of a very warlike pamphlet, to the command of a French fleet on the coast of Morocco. It is not generally known, but there is the highest authority for saying, that there was a difference of opinion in Sir Robert Peel's Cabinet on our relations with France in the autumn of 1845; that Lord Aberdeen, perceiving that the Prime Minister's opinion of France had undergone an entire change, proposed that he should retire ; and that, though Sir Robert Peel refused his proffered resignation, he declared that the French King and the French Ministers were so beset by ihe clamour of the French press that he could place no confidence in the ability of either of them to act on their own pacific and friendly inclinations.
It would have been hardly possible for a Prime Minister who expressed such an opinion to have avoided considering what means were available for the defence of England in the case of war. During the first four years of Sir Robert Peel's Government, the Duke of Wellington had constantly drawn attention to the necessity for fresh defences; but Sir Robert, engrossed in questions of commercial policy, had paid little or no attention to the Duke's wishes. On September 10, 1845, the Duke reverted to the matter in a more formidable memorandum. Prefacing his argument by a reference to the critical condition of our relations with the United States—and by avowing his belief that a difference with France would bring the States, and a difference with the States, France, into the field against us-he carefully enumerated the various places on the south coast of England on which an enemy might land, and suggested the arrangements which should be made to make such landing difficult. Sir Robert Peel was at last alarmed by the Duke's opinions, and contemplated introducing some measures of defence; and so earnest was he in the opinion, that on his resignation in 1845 he undertook to support Lord John not merely on any measure of Free Trade, but also on
any measure which might be adopted for the defence of the country.
On resuming office at the close of 1845, Sir Robert Peel did not find it possible to carry out the policy which he had offered Lord John Russell to support. Parliament, occupied with protracted debates on corn and coercion, had no leisure for considering questions of defence, and during the session of 1846 nothing was heard of the probabilities of invasion. At the close of the session the Duke of Wellington went over the whole southern coast of England, personally examining its capabilities both for invasion and defence; and, annotating his memorandum of 1845 with the results of his inspection, he forwarded a copy of it, thus enlarged, to Lord John Russell. On August 12 he supplemented the memorandum with another, in which he urged, in addition to other precautions, the formation of a militia force.
It is a remarkable circumstance, which Mr. Greville has mentioned, that the Duke of Wellington was on much better, terms with Lord John than with Sir Robert Peel. Lord John, wrote to the Duke constantly; he consulted him on various subjects ; and he perhaps never lost the impression which he had contracted when he had ridden as a mere boy with the Duke, in the hour of his trial, along the lines of Torres Vedras, or dined with him as a young man, in the hour of his triumph, on the slopes of La Rune. He was therefore almost instinctively disposed to attend to the Duke's recommendations. And another of his colleagues was prepared to go even farther. In opposition Lord Palmerston had blamed Sir Robert Peel for neglecting the defences, and had used the epigrammatic phrase that steam had bridged the Channel. In office he could not help perceiving that his own despatches had embittered the relations between France and England, and had added to the reasons for defensive measures. On November 6, 1846, he wrote a letter to Lord John on the subject of the Duke's memorandum. Defences both by sea and land were, he argued, excellent things in their way. But behind the
i Part ii, vol. ii. p. 433.