Obrázky stránek



Portugal.-Emigrants.-Negociation.-Distress of the Coun try.-Operations at Terceira.-Conduct of England.-Don Pedro.-Effect of the French Revolution.—Collision with England. And with France.-Regency at Terceira.-Spain.Attempts of the Exiles.-Mina.-Disputes.-Attack from Bayonne. From Perpignan.-Torrijos.

We omitted, the last year, to give an account of events in Portugal, in the hope that, ere now, we should have been called upon to record the overthrow of that flagitious tyranny, which is destroying the resources of the country, and extinguishing what remains of virtue among the people. But although the doom, so richly merited by the usurper, seems now impending over his head, it has not yet fallen upon him; and we are unwilling to suspend our narrative for another annual period. We had related the incidents of his usurpation, and of its being brought, apparently, to a successful close, and legalized, so to speak, by the Cortes of Lamego. The history of Portugal, since that time, is the history of detestable and shocking oppression at home; and abroad it consists of the enterprises of the exiled constitutionalists to deliver their country from its thraldom. The domestic history of the country we shall dispose of in a few words.

It was estimated that, in the year 1830, one in a hundred of the whole population of Portugal was either confined in prison within the kingdom or transported to the presidios in Africa and its islands, for alleged political offences. Little short of the same number of persons had fled from the Peninsula into foreign exile, to escape the vengeance of the tyrant; or were concealed in Portugal itself, driven from their homes by political persecution. Most of these individuals were, of course, adult males; and it is impossible for any minuteness of detail to exhibit the misery and distraction of the nation in a clearer light, than it appears from the single fact, that one twenty-fifth part of the entire male population of the kingdom were in prison or exile for crimes of opinion.

Miguel's usurpation had been such a flagrant breach of every obligation, human or divine, that all the powers of Europe had, as matter of necessity, withdrawn their ministers. Even Spain

could not but participate, at first, in the general expression of disapprobation, which Miguel's conduct elicited, although she subsequently determined to recognise the usurper. But one sentiment of outraged public feeling pervaded the rest of Europe. His whole proceeding seemed to shock the moral sense even of those governments, which entertained no sympathy for constitutions, and both in theory and practice were the friends of despotism. Of course, the condemnation of Miguel was proportionably more decided in countries, which, like France and England, enjoyed a free press and were strongly attached to liberty. England had been so instrumental in bringing Portugal into its present condition; its afflictions were so immediately owing to the shifting policy of the court of St. James, which, under the counsels of Mr. Canning, called the constitutional party into existence and supported them with an auxiliary army, and which again left that party to its fate when the Duke of Wellington came into power;-England became so conscious of her fault in this respect, that she was anxious to restore the victims of her vacillation to their homes, although at the price of acknowledging the authority of Miguel. The Portuguese government having anticipated, from the tenor of the Duke of Wellington's policy, that England would recognise the claims of Don Miguel unconditionally, were greatly incensed when they came to understand it was otherwise.

But meanwhile the French

revolution of July, and the sudden change of the English ministry, deprived Miguel of all hopes from the Duke of Wellington; and put an end to the secret countenance, which he received from Charles Tenth and his family. Of course, these events aggravated, instead of softening, the tyrannical wickedness of Miguel, and the consequent suffering of the Portuguese. A long succession of public and private misfortunes, the interruption of their commerce, and the suspension of their ordinary foreign relations, conspired to derange the public finances, and to add the evils of a debased currency, excessive taxes, and forced contributions to the previous calamities of the people. To fill the measure of their distress, there wanted but one thing, the necessity of drawing from the exhausted means of the nation wherewithal to carry on war abroad; and this was afforded by the establishment of a Regency at Terceira, in the name of Donna Maria.

When Portugal and the Portuguese people sustained Don Miguel in his assumption of the Crown, the several parties of constitutionalists, within the kingdom having been reduced by force, the island of Terceira alone continued faithful to the young Queen. It was at first governed in her name by General Carbarra, who held it against a blockading Portuguese squadron. At length Count Villa Flor, a Portuguese nobleman distinguished in the recent wars in Portugal, succeeded in landing at Terceira with a considerable number of his countrymen, who,

like himself, were fugitives from the tyranny of Miguel. Their arrival infused new vigor and resolution into the counsels of the garrison; and prepared it for repelling any expedition, which might be sent against the island. Such an expedition arrived off Terceira, in the summer of 1829. A landing was effected on the 11th of August, under cover of the blockading squadron. The ships approached the bay of Villa Praya concealed by a fog, and were enabled to enter it, so as to protect the launches in which the invading troops were to be landed. But meanwhile Villa Flor, with his volunteers, had taken the requisite measures of defence; and although the troops made good their landing, they were immediately attacked and routed; and those who were not killed in the engagement or driven into the sea, were made prisoners, as the launches had retired, to receive and land another column of troops. By this time Villa Flor had brought down some artillery to bear upon the squadron, and thus beat off the launches, when they attempted to come up a second time, and at length compelled the Miguelites to abandon the undertaking.

[ocr errors]

other towns at the entrance of the British Channel. Their professed and ostensible purpose was to provide means for sailing to Brazil; but there was good reason to suppose that they actually designed to convey an armament to the Azores. Their preparation went on, although not without objection and remonstrance from the government; but as the Duke of Wellington had no proof that their true object was different from the assigned one, and as the latter was lawful, he could not prevent the armament from being completed and setting sail. The expedition accordingly departed from Plymouth in January 1829, consisting of four vessels, having on board 642 officers and men, under the command of Count Saldanha, who had been Portuguese Minister of War, under the constitution. They in fact sailed directly for Terceira, their true place of destination; but in anticipation of this, a British squadron, under Captain Walpole, had been despatched from England to the Azores, which compelled the Portuguese to turn back: whereupon they proceeded to Brest.

This affair gave rise to much discussion in England, being represented by the opposition as Villa Flor's good fortune in unjustifiable interference on the this instance, and the determina- part of the Ministers, in favor of tion of the garrison, pointed out Don Miguel. Much negotiation, the island of Terceira as a con- also, took place between the venient point d'appui for future Marquess of Barbacena, the operations of the constitutionalists. Brazilian Envoy, and the Duke Indeed, previous to this time, a of Wellington's cabinet, as to great number of Portuguese emi- the duty of the British gogrants, chiefly military men, had vernment in relation to the taken refuge in England, and rights of Donna Maria. The were collected in Plymouth and Marquess of Barbacena contended

that Great Britain was bound by formerly minister of justice in

treaty to lend aid to Donna Maria in recovering the throne of Portugal. But lord Aberdeen replied that Great Britain was required by no treaty, to interfere in the domestic discussion of the Portuguese nation. She was only bound to protect Portugal against foreign aggression; not to settle a controversy between adverse claimants of the Crown, each supported by Portuguese alone, but on the contrary to observe a strict neutrality between the contending parties. And such was the ostensible policy of England at this period, in regard to the Portuguese emigrants and the blockade of Terceira.

However solicitous the Emperor of Brazil may have been, at this time, to espouse the cause of his daughter, his engagements with his Brazilian subjects did not permit him to do it effectually. His assistance was chiefly limited to occasional supplies of money, and to the efforts he made to interest other governments in her behalf. He even gave offence to some of the Portuguese, by exercising his authority as father and natural guardian to recall his daughter from England. But adequate reasons for this appear to have existed. Indeed, a change for the better ensued, in the mode of conducting her affairs. Hitherto London had been the centre of government for Donna Maria. But in February 1830, the Regency embarked at Plymouth for Terceira, and was installed there on the 15th of March, consisting of the Marquess of Palmella, the Count of Villa Flor, and J. H. Guerreiro

Portugal. This step, by placing the Regency within the dominions of Portugal, seemed to give more consistency and formality to the pretentions of Donna Maria.

Matters remained in this situation until the events of the three days in France. All accounts of them was carefully excluded from the Lisbon Gazette, until at last the arrival of a French vessel, with the tri-color at her mast head, compelled the trembling government to disclose the secret of the expulsion of the Bourbons from France. However, no political movement ensued. Miguel was admonished by what had happened to pay off the arrears due his troops, and to cultivate their good will; but he had no occasion to make proof of their fidelity, in any contest with his subjects. Nothing else of importance transpired during the year, in regard to the affairs of Portugal, except the mission of the Marquess of San Amaro, who was sent from Brazil with full power to settle the Portuguese question by the mediation of the governments of England, Austria, and France. Nothing was effected by the mission.

Thus the year 1830 passed off without producing any crisis in the affairs of Portugal. But the year 1831 has had more sensible effects upon its condition. The English government had long been remonstrating with Don Miguel for his continual violations of the various treaties, which regulated the intercourse between subjects of the two Crowns. Reclamations had also been made for damages occasioned by the

condition of peace may have been esteemed by Don Miguel's ministers, they saw themselves forced to comply; and everything was done to the letter, precisely as the British government demanded. Thecircumstances were such as to teach Miguel a severe lesson of justice; and occasioned much animosity of feeling towards England among the Portuguese, who accused the former of never regarding anything but its own interest, as indeed they might have judged from most of their prior intercourse with Great Britain.

illegal detention of British vessels off Terceira. Weary of negociating with Don Miguel on the subject, the British government finally despatched a large armament to the Tagus, for the purpose of exacting justice of the usurper by force, if he failed to accede immediately to the demands of Great Britain. The squadron consisted of a line of battle ship, a large frigate, and six smaller vessels of war, which appeared off the bar on the 25th of April. A diplomatic note was forthwith addressed to the Portuguese government through the This affair was hardly adjusted, medium of the British Consul, when a similar collision occurred containing a peremptory demand between France and Portugal, on for an immediate and full redress account of certain arbitrary proof all the grievances complained ceedings of the Portuguese courts of, and dictating the terms on against two French subjects, which England would abstain named Sauvenet and Bonhomme. from hostilities. These terms A French corvette and brig were were the dismissal and punish- first despatched to demand satisment of various civil and military faction in a peaceable manner. functionaries, guilty of insult and Accordingly the French consul outrage upon the persons or required of the Portuguese a reproperty of British subjects; the vocation of the sentence against indemnification of the parties in- Sauvenet and Bonhomme, the jured; the refunding of certain dismissal of the judges who conduties illegally exacted; and the demned them, the payment of a payment within one month of large sum of money in damages, claims for the British vessels de- and the publication of an apology tained off Terceira. These hu- in the Lisbon Gazette,-demandmiliating conditions were commu- ing a categorical answer within nicated to the Viscount de San- twenty-five days. If no satisfactarem, the Portuguese minister tory reply was given within that of foreign affairs, accompanied period, the functions of the conwith an assurance that reprisals sul were to cease, and all the would immediately be ordered, if French residents were to quit the prescribed terms were not acceded to without delay. Nothing could exceed the consternation and embarrassment, which the arrival of this fleet occasioned in Lisbon. However degrading the

Lisbon. The Portuguese government, however, rejected the terms; and on the 16th of May a French squadron, of eleven vessels of war, appeared off the Tagus, repeating the demand of

« PředchozíPokračovat »