Abbildungen der Seite



line of the Tagus, to guard the Spanish territory from violation by either party, and prevent the importation of the constitutional contagion—measures, the honest adoption of which, two months sooner, would have saved Spain from all the contumely to which she was now exposed. The captains-general of the provinces, and the inspector of the royalist volunteers, were now informed by the minister of war, that "his Majesty has the most lively desire to maintain the relations of amity which unite him with his august allies, and insure their inviolability by means calculated to secure reciprocal confidence; that of all these means, none is more indispensable than that of observing neutrality, by abstaining from interfering by any hostile acts or co-operation against Portugal, so as not to compromise himself either with that country or with its ally, England; that to suffer any hostile force to remain assembled in arms, on the Spanish territory, would be acting in a manner contrary to these principles, and, consequently, hazarding the dignity, and the con

-01 gxiisd nodaiJC in lateiniia qwo -oaul oilfimolqrfi zlA id aril Ens ,^ni I !*.-!..••-•!

onV .oanfi'ilf fviteii' • t• ** •

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

•F EUROPE. [309>lfl J A :JKVIA [808stant and proverbial good faith of the noble and elevated Spanish character." Not a word of all this was liable to any doubt; and every syllable of it had been pressed upon the Spanish government for months, with exemplary forbearance; but it was extremely doubtful how far these sentiments proceeded from sincere conviction, or would be acted on longer than therne-cessity continued. The ministers who had so misguided Spain still retained their places, and their influence; except that M. Calomarde suffered a temporary disgrace, for having, by some piece of bad management, allowed a great number of the original orders, which had been sent to the captains- general of the provinces on,vtfee frontiers of Portugal, and memoranda of the rest of them, to;fall into the hands of Mr. Lamb, the British ambassador, furnishing documentary evidence upon which, if need were, to pronounce a verdict of guilty against Spain, as having brought upon herself much humiliation by want of sense, want of prudence, and want of principle. '-• ••'.' 10

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

re vil

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

JOHN VI. king of Portugal, and titular emperor of Brazil, died at Lisbon on the 10th of March, 1826, at the age of fifty- nine, after a reign of thirty-four years. During twenty-five of these years, .from 1792, he had exercised the sovereign power as regent for his mother, who laboured under mental alienation. He succeeded her upon her death in 1817, and was crowned at Rio Janeiro, to which he had retired with the court on the invasion of Portugal by Napoleon. His character was marked neither by eminent virtues, nor debasing vices; and, though he had passed, during his reign, through many vicissitudes of fortune, he did not display in them any sagacity of design, or much steadiness of purpose. To leave Portugal when Napoleon

had declared that the House of Braganza had ceased to reign, and to prefer ruling over an independent empire in America, to wearing the crown of a vassal in Europe, was a singular step, and, perhaps, a wise one; but it was the result of foreign policy and urgency, not of his own voluntary deliberation. While he held his court at Rio Janeiro, and, in Portugal, after his return to Europe, he still was guided in his course by the circumstances which sprung up around him, seldom attempting, and still more seldom attempting successfully, to foresee, to direct, or to control them. The revolution of 1822 carried him before it, until it sunk beneath the weight of its own vices and absurdities, and left him, for the remainder of his reign, the old,


baeivuniihis part, u violation of the constitution of Brazil. In the event of Don Pedro resolving to sacrifice the crown of Portugal, and transferring it to* one of his children, it was doubtful how far Don Miguel and his adherents would patiently submit to such an arrangement. They were declared enemies to the separation of the two countries; there was reason to apprehend, that, when Pedro relinquished the throne himself, they would dispute his right to fill it with another; and, at all events, Miguel's elevation to the vacant seat, would be the triumph of their own principles. On his father's death, however, Don Miguel appeared to be most submissive and respectful. When that event happened, he was still resident at Vienna, whither he had been sent as into a kind of honourable relegation, after his attempt against the authority of his father; jind;'however little the Austrian cabinet might be inclined to give countenance to political changes, -by ^encouraging princes who acknowledged the independence of revolted colonies, they had nothing ^o'gain for her by exciting internal discontent in Portugal, or raising up a competitor to its lawAd i monarch. Accordingly the answer which Don Miguel returned to his sister, on receiving officially the notification of his brother's accession, while it plainly showed what apprehensions were entertained of his own inclinations, ior of. the purposes for which a party might employ his name, was , frankand satisfactory. "Though the fidelity," said he, "which the Portuguese nation has always ob<Beorved towards its sovereigns■■ be • unalterable, it-is, however> possible that evilfinmded- persons, ac

tuated by sinister and reprehensible viewSjimay seek to excite in the kingdom criminal commotions, perhaps making use of my name to cover their perfidious views.

"'Under5 these' circumstances, and considering the distance which separates me>;fr«n Portugal, I have thought that it was not only suitable, but absolutely necessary, to express, by the only means in my power, that, far from authorizing, directly or indirectly, any seditious machinations, tending to disturb the tranquillity of our country, I positively declare that nobody respects more than I do the last will of our august father and master; and that I shall always disapprove every thing that shall not be conformable to the dispositions of the decree of the 6th March of the present year, by which his majesty the emperor and king so wisely provided for'the public administration, by creating a junta of government for these kingdoms, till his legitimate heir and successor, who is our dear brother and master, the emperor of Brazil, shall have provided for it, as he, in his wisdom, shall see fit."I beg you, therefore, my tender sister, in the improbable case that any one should-dare rashly to abuse my name, to serve as a cover to projects subversive of good order, and of the legal existence of the government established by him who had the incontestible right to do so, to take care to cause to be published and declared, when, how, and where you shall please, by virtue of the present letter* the just sentiments which it contains, which -spontaneously emanate from my heart, and are inspired by the fidelity and respect due to the memory of the last will of our dear father and sovereign."

Such was the language of Dan Miguel on the 6th of April In the course of a few months a widespread rebellion was raging in the kingdom, to overturn the succession appointed by his "dear brother and master," and place himself upon the throne, without its drawing from him any speedy, or decisive, or public disavowal of the traitors who were levying war in his name against a government to which he had sworn allegiance.

The intelligence of the death of king John reached Rio Janeiro on the 24th of April, the anniversary of the day on which he had embarked from it to return -to Portugal; Don Pedro had now before him a choice which on every side was surrounded by difficulties. At first sight it would appear natural that he should prefer the ancient and settled throne of his European monarchy, to a new and unsteady dominion, whose population were not attached to him by habit, while their national and political prejudices were strongly directed against his native country, and whose territory came, on every side, into contact with states the very form of whose government made them his enemies, and were incessantly presenting seductive examples to the discontents and antipathies of his own heterogeneous provinces. In Europe there was prepared for him a crown venerated for its antiquity and respectable for its strength; a people accustomed to obedience and attached to his family; a state of society which had nothing in it to produce uneasiness, excepting the remaining traces of a momentary convulsion which half the liberality he squandered upon the constitution of Brazil, if joined with prudence, would speedily have re

moved ; establishments military,naval, and commercial, which had existed for centuries; and allies both able and willing to support his authority, if he should be so inclined, against any popular encroachments. In Brazil, he was to give steadiness to a throne tottering amid the storms of surrounding revolutions; laws and institutions, a fleet, an army, and a treasury, were to be created; a war already begun, but neither popular nor successful, was to be prosecuted; his subjects were to be jealous colonists, and savage, or half-civilized aborigines; and he was to have for neighbours, not powerful allies, and monarchs who had the same interest with himself, but vigilant, and inimical republics. But it was natural for him to desire that, although he could not rule over both countries himself, they should both remain subject to the House of Braganza. The successor whom he might appoint to the throne of Portugal, was not likely to be attacked by any dangerous and extraneous competitor: the habits of legitimate succession were too deeply rooted in Europe, and it was too much the interest of all its monarchies to preserve them, to allow the tranquillity of the legal successor of a sovereign who had abdicated to be seriously disturbed. Brazil, however, was in a very different situation, and to relinquish it to reign in Portugal brought the imminent danger of losing it entirely. Of all the colonies which Spain and Portugal had planted in South America, Brazil alone had retained a monarchical government; and her continued adherence to monarchical forms had been the result, in no small degree, of the presence of the king and the court during the

« ZurückWeiter »