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/part of Europe; why I would bear much, and forbear long; why I would 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. 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 to 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."
Mr. Canning sat down much exhausted, amid loud cheers from all sides of the House.
The Speaker read the Address, which was received with great applause, and put the question that it be adopted.
Sir Robert Wilson supported the address; at the same time adding, that, in his opinion, Great Britain was bound to require of France, that she should march her troops out of Spain, as a first step to the defence of Portugal. She had entered Spain merely to release the king, and to restore peace, and that object had long ago been accomplished.
Mr. Hume rose amid loud murmurs, and opposed the Address, principally on the ground that this country was not in a situation
to enter upon, and long maintain, a war on a great scale. It was highly inconsistent in Mr. Canning, who was the advocate of peace in 1823, to precipitate the country into a war now, without either affording sufficient time for deliberation, or establishing a case of unavoidable necessity to enter into it. The hon. member moved an amendment, "that the House be called over this day week."
Mr. Wood, member for Preston, seconded the amendment.
Mr. Baring did not see how the ministers could have adopted any other course than that for which they now asked the sanction of the House. He could not help regretting that government had looked so passively on the invasion of Spain in 1823. If, at that time, the same resolution had been shewn in the case of Spain, as was at this time in the case of Portugal, Europe would have been saved from that calamity into which, at some time or other, he firmly believed that an invasion would draw it. He could not view the possession of Spain by France, continued year after year, without feeling that it was extremely dangerous to this country. To what degree the war, once commenced, might spread, in point of expense and extent, there was no saying beforehand. But, keeping in mind the taxes which had been repealed since the conclusion of the war, he denied that the pressure at this time could be such as to render us incapable of bearing the burthens war might bring upon us.
Mr. Bankes, senior, was of opinion that the House should be assured that the war was quite indispensable, before they rushed into it. He was not satisfied that such was the case. The disturbances in Portugal were of a political character, and connected with its internal arrangements. He did not shrink from war because he despaired of the resources of the country, and, therefore, he would not support the amendment, but neither could he vote for the original motion.
Mr. Brougham supported the Address. Adverting to the ground on which the amendment was principally supported, he said, "The hon.members(Messrs.Hume and Wood) must recollect, and the House and the country must bear in mind, that the question is not at present, whether, even at the expense of your character for good faith, you will consent to bear hereafter among mankind a stained reputation, and a forfeited honour. The question is not whether you will do so, and by so doing avert a war. I should say no, even if this choice were within your reach; but the question is whether, for a little season of miserable, insecure, precarious, dishonourable, unbearable truce.—I cannot call it peace, for it has nothing of the honour and the comfort which make the name of peace proverbially sweet— >I:say, the question is, whether for this wretched, precarious, disgusting, and intolerable postponement of hostilities, you will be content hereafter to have recourse to war, when war can no longer be avoided, and when its horrors will fall upon you—degraded and ruined in character in the eyes of all the nations of Europe, and, what is ten thousand times worse, degraded and ruined in your own. I say, Sir, degraded and ruined in reputation, and what may appear worse to those to whose minds such topics do not find so easy an access, the war will fall with tenfold weight
upon our resources; for a small sum spent now in due time, may be the means of saving us an expenditure often times that amount, with interest—aye, and compound interest accumulated upon it. In the principles, now adopted and avowed by the organs of our government, we have a strong and impregnable bulwark, which will enable us not only to support our burthens, and, should the day of trial come upon us, to meet the combined world in arms, but which will afford the strongest practical security against future danger; and render it eminently improbable that we shall ever have that combined world to contend with, so long as those principles are maintained. Our burthens may remain, but our government know that when the voice of the people is in their favour, they have a lever, if not within their hands, within their grasp."
Mr. Bright contended, that no act of aggression against Portugal had been avowed by Spain, and that consequently no casus foederis existed. The occupation of Portugal by five thousand men would amount to nothing more than an armed neutrality. Now, by the terms of the treaty, we were bound to assist Portugal only in the event of actual hostilities having been commenced, and then we were bound to attack Spain with all our might. ;.
Mr. Canning's reply was even more eloquent than his opening speech.
"The hon. gentleman" (Mr. Bright) he said, "who spoke last, in his extreme love for peace, proposes expedients, which would render war inevitable. He would avoid interference at this moment, when Spain may be yet hesitating as to the course which she shall adopt; and the language which he would hold to Spain is, in effect this— 'You have not yet done enough to implicate British faith, and to provoke British honour. You have not done enough, in merely enabling Portuguese rebels to invade Portugal, and to carry destruction into her cities; you have not done enough in combining knots of traitors, whom —after the most solemn engagements to disarm and to disperse them—you carefully re-assembled, and equipped and sent back with Spanish arms, to be plunged into kindred Portuguese bosoms. I will not stir for all these things. Pledged though I am by the most solemn obligations of treaty to resent attack upon Portugal as injurious to England, I love too dearly the peace of Europe, to be goaded into activity by such trifles as these.—No.—But give us a good declaration of war, and then I'll come and fight you with all my heart.'—This is the hon. gentleman's contrivance for keeping peace. The more clumsy contrivance of his majesty's government is this :—' We have seen enough, to show to the world that Spain authorised, if she did not instigate, the invasion of Portugal; and we say to Spain, Beware, we will avenge the cause of our ally, if you break out into declared war; but, in the mean time, we will take effectual care to frustrate your concealed hostilities.' Who would not prefer this course of his majesty's government, the object of which is to nip growing hostilities in the ear, to that of the chivalrous member for Bristol, who would let aggressions ripen into full maturity, in order that they may then be mowed down with the scythe of a magnificent'Wari1
"An amendment has been proposed, purporting a delay of a week, but, in effect, intended to produce a total abandonment of the object of the address; and that amendment has been justified by a reference to the conduct of the government and to the language used by me in this House between three and four years ago. It is stated, and truly, that I did not then deny that cause for war had been given by France in the invasion of Spain, if we had then thought fit to enter into war on that account. But it seems to be forgotten that there is one main difference between that case and the present,—which difference, however, is essential and all-sufficient. We were then to go to war, if we pleased, on grounds of political expediency. But we were not then bound to interfere, on behalf of Spain, as we now are bound to interfere on behalf of Portugal, by the obligations of treaty. War might then have been our free choice, if we had deemed it politic: interference on behalf of Portugal is now our duty, unless we are prepared to abandon the principles of national faith and national honour. It is a singular confusion of intellect which confounds two cases so precisely dissimilar. Far from objecting to the reference to 1823, I refer to that same occasion to show the consistency of the conduct of myself and my colleagues. We were then accused of truckling to France, from a pusillanimous dread of war. We pleaded guilty to the charge of wishing to avoid war. We described its inexpediency, its inconveniencies, and its dangers,—(dangers, especially of the same sort with those which I have hinted at to-day) but we declared that, aU though we could not overlook those dangers, those inconveniencies, and that inexpediency, in a case in which remote interest and doubtful policy were alone assigned as motives for war, we would cheerfully affront them all, in a case—if it should arrive — where national faith or national honour were concerned. Well, then—a case has now arisen, of which the essence is faith, of which the character is honour; and, when we call upon parliament, not for offensive war, —which was proposed to us in 1823—but for defensive armament; we are referred to our abstinence in 1823, as disqualifying us for exertion at. the present moment, and are told, that, because we did not attack France on that occasion, we must not defend Portugal on this. I, Sir, like the proposers of the amendment, place the two cases of 1823 and 1826, side by side, and deduce from them, when taken together, the exposition and justification of our general policy. I appeal from the warlike preparations of to-day, to the forbearance of 1823, in proof of the pacific character of our counsels;— I appeal from the imputed tameness of 1828, to the message of tonight, in illustration of the nature of those motives, by which a government, generally pacific, may nevertheless be justly roused into action.
"It has been suggested, Sir, that we should at once ship off the Spanish refugees, now in this country, for Spain; and that we should, by the repeal of the Foreign Enlistment act, let loose into the contest all the ardent and irregular spirits of this country. Such expedients 1 disclaim. I dread and deprecate the employment of them. So far, indeed, as Spain herself is
concerned, the employment of such means would be strictly, I might say epigrammatically, just. The Foreign Enlistment act was passed in the year 1819, if not at the direct request, for the especial benefit, of Spain. What right, then, would Spain have to complain if we should repeal it now, for the especial benefit of Portugal? —The Spanish Refugees have been harboured in this country, it is true; but, on condition of abstaining from hostile expeditions against Spain: and more than once, when such expeditions have been planned, the British government has interfered to suppress them. How is this tenderness for Spain rewarded?—Spain not only harbours, and fosters, and sustains, but arms, equips, and marshals the traitorous refugees of Portugal, and pours them by thousands into the bosom of great Britain's nearest ally. So far, then, as Spain is concerned, the advice of those who would send forth against Spain such dreadful elements of strife and destruction, is, as I have admitted, not unjust. But I repeat, again and again, that I disclaim all such expedients;—and that I dread especially a war with Spain, because it is the war of all others in which, by the example and practice of Spain herself, such expedients are most likely to be adopted. Let us avoid that war if we can,—that is, if Spain will permit us to do so. But in any case, let us endeavour to strip any war—if war we must have—of that most formidable and disastrous character the hon. and learned gentleman (Mr. Brougham) has so eloquently described, and which I was happy to hear him concur with me in deprecating, as the most fatal evil by which the world could be afflicted.
"Two honourable members insist that the French army in Spain has been, if not the cause, the encouragement, of the late attack by Spain against Portugal; that his majesty's government were highly culpable in allowing that army to enter into Spain, that its stay there is highly injurious to British interests and honour, and that we ought instantly to call upon France to withdraw it.
"Ido not see how the withdrawing the French troops from Spain could effect our present purpose. The French army in Spain is now a protection to that very party which it was originally called in to put down. Were the French army suddenly removed at this precise moment, I verily believe that the immediate effect of that removal would be, to give full scope to the unbridled rage of a fanatical faction, before which, in the whirlwind of intestine strife, the party least in numbers would be swept away.
"So much for the immediate effect of the demand which it is proposed to us to make, if that demand were instantly successful. But, when with reference to the larger question of a military occupation of Spain by France, it is averred, that, by that occupation, the relative situation of Great Britain and France is altered; that France is thereby exalted and Great Britain lowered, in the eyes of Europe :— I dissent from that averment.
"I do not blame those exaggerations; because I am aware that they are to be attributed to the recollections of some of the best times of our history; that they are the echoes of sentiments, which, in the days of William and of Anne, animated the debates and dictated the votes of the British
parliament. No peace was in those days thought safe for this country while the crown of Spain continued on the head of a Bourbon. But were not the apprehensions of those days greatly over-stated? And is the Spain of the present day the Spain of which the statesmen of the times of William and Anne were so much afraid? Is it indeed, the nation]whose puissance was expected to shake England from her sphere? No, Sir, it was quite another Spain—it was the Spain, within the limits of whose empire the sun never set—it was Spain "with the Indies" that excited the jealousies and alarmed the imaginations of our ancestors.
"It would be disingenuous, indeed, 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 sympathize, 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 regarded us—and valueless to the possessors? Might not compensation 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