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I wished to have said something relative to the deficiency of revenue, which a diminution of home consumption, by an alteration in the circumstances of agriculturists, and all those connected with them, might produce; to notice the great rise which would necessarily take place in foreign produce, on opening our markets to it; and to advert to the bad policy of being obliged to trust to a foreign power, perhaps unfriendly to us, and at all events disposed, as was Prussia, to take advantage of our necessities, for the support of any considerable part of our population. But this would be to get still further into topics which I did not originally contemplate, and I must have done; for my object, in the present letter, has been principally to show,-1st, That the alteration of law contended for, if its operation has been correctly apprehended by you, is not of the high importance which it is represented to be; and that if it has not been correctly apprehended, the difference affects your whole train of reasoning, and makes the agricultural a new and more difficult question, as far as you are concerned. 2dly, That in carrying any alteration into effect, the interests of an important class in the community (for which you do not appear to me to have sufficiently provided) should not be endangered; and, Sdly, That if such alteration should be made, a protecting duty ought to be established, larger than that you contemplate, and of a sufficient amount to remove or quiet every reasonable alarm of the agriculturists; which duty should be so arranged, as to be lowered if found too high.
I have the honor to be, Sir,
Feb. 9. 1827.
Your obedient servant,
END OF NO. LV.
TO THE MOST NOBLE
THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWN,
ON THE AFFAIRS OF
PORTUGAL AND SPAIN;
MORE PARTICULARLY AS REGARDS THE CRISIS LIKELY TO
THE INFANTE DON MIGUEL,
ARMED WITH POWER,
TO THE PORTUGUESE TERRITORY.
BY WILLIAM WALTON.
"Never, from the accession of the House of Braganza to the Throne of Portugal, has the independent Monarchy of Portugal ceased to be nurtured by the friendship of Great Britain."-Mr. Canning's Speech in the House of Commons, Dec. 12, 1826.
It would be an endless task to attempt to answer, or discuss, the various writings on the subject of Portugal with which the London press has recently teemed; nor would it be possible to form any standard by which truth could be distinguished from that which is diametrically opposed to reason and fact. Political matters, and the acts of statesmen connected with them, when described from afar, are so often blended with fiction and extravagance, as to border on romance; or so distorted by the national prejudices of the writer, or partake so much of the influence and party-spirit under which he writes, that the reader is confused, and frequently left more perplexed than he was before. Erroneous statements, when made with any thing like sarcasm, contempt, or a sceptical and splenetic feeling, do a double injury; since, when carried back to the countries from which they are transmitted, they impair the confidence of those whose portraits they profess to be, damp their ardor, and give rise to impressions of a hostile kind.
This has particularly been the case in Portugal, where,
under the present freedom of the press, every thing is read with the greatest avidity, and leaves lasting traces behind. To dwell on the bad and seldom touch on the good, is besides unfair. According to the complicated politics of so highlycivilised a country as our own, we are not to judge of the state of either Portugal or Spain. Both have been debased and enslaved for a long period of years; and the ingratitude of the governments by which they were respectively ruled, too often embittered the oppression endured by the individual. Their modern history is a calendar that records the most atrocious enormities. Their happiness was confided to ministers who persecuted, after having injured. This has given rise to an apparent apathy, which ceases the moment their welfare is secured, or the people are stimulated into action by any great and national object held out to their view.
I have, myself, always found the Peninsulars alive to their wrongs, and anxious to redress them. They are indeed distrustful, because they have been frequently deceived and egregiously disappointed. I am ready to acknowlege that there is a want of public opinion among them, and a degree of weakness and superstition not unfrequently mixed up with their national character; yet these are the defects of education, and counterbalanced by many valuable traits. The people of the Peninsula, when only properly managed, are tractable and docile they are, besides, quick and persevering. Their rulers have usually been rotten, yet the people were sound. They have long been sensible that a change in their political institutions was necessary to their future happiness and prosperity; nay, that they were entitled to ameliorations in their lot, as a recompense for their late privations and sacrifices. The glorious periods of their own history, even in darker ages, were remembered; and in looking round they observed that other nations had prospered and become great, by the adoption of institutions similar to those of which they had been unjustly stripped by their despotic rulers.
How far these preliminary remarks are applicable to the people of Portugal, that section of the Peninsula to which we are more closely bound and more intimately connected, and a country in which, I think, no one is hardy enough to say that a change was unnecessary, at the commencement of the present century; it is for your Lordship and my readers to judge, from such premises as I feel called on to establish. In order to do this, it is necessary to retrace the principal events which have marked the recent efforts of the Portuguese to promote the regeneration of their unhappy country, and it shall be my particular study to present a faithful outline.
At the commencement of the present century, the political situation of Portugal was really deplorable. That country, once so interesting for her enterprise and martial spirit, had sunk under the sullen torpor of unresisted oppression and unrefuted obloquy. Her people had acquired habits of inertness, whilst contempt and oblivion seemed to hang on her destinies. Scarcely did she hold a place in the rank of nations. The vestiges of her former opulence were fled; her national resources exhausted; her navy dismantled; her arsenals stripped, and the proud spirit of her sons humbled and dejected. Corruption pervaded every class; and the nobles no longer retained those manly virtues and austere principles which laid the foundation of their country's glory. Treason was no longer a crime; and, in 1807, Portugal lost her sovereign, and tamely submitted to a French army: nay, even beheld the flower of her youth marched away to fight the battles of the usurper in the North of Europe, and the remainder of the national troops disbanded, evidently with a view to render the country an easier prey to his ambitious designs. Lisbon, like Madrid, was then in the power of the enemy; and the whole of the Peninsula lay, as it were, at the feet of the usurper, whose cause had been joined by many of the leading natives.
The people alone beheld their chains with horror; they alone seemed sensible of the degradation into which they were plunged. They saw themselves betrayed by their leaders, and for a time silently bewailed their countries' wrongs. Soon, however, a public spirit burst forth, responsive to their insulted and outraged feelings; and at Oporto, it will be remembered, in June 1808, they rose, with the Bishop at their head, firmly resolved to repel the lawless invaders of their soil. As the dawning prospect opened on Portugal; as link after link was knocked off her chains, she was roused from apathy; her faculties strengthened, her powers revived, and gradually she again rose on the political horizon of Europe. Her sons were staunch to their new cause, and manfully sustained it through a long and arduous struggle. They fought for their nation's freedom; yet they were impelled by a confident hope that their political grievances would be redressed, and that their country would never again be plunged into that same state of degradation in which it was so lately sunk. The momentous contest ended successfully; their army returned home, and all their views were turned to internal improvement. They anxiously looked for some decisive measure from the government; still, year after year, their sanguine expectations were foiled. At length, the people of Oporto raised the standard of reform,
in like manner as they once before did that of freedom; but, alas! their efforts were not equally successful.
However unfortunate the result, no revolution was ever more necessary and just in its principles, as well as more moderate in its outset, although perhaps subsequently alarming to some of the Continental powers, from the peculiar situation in which they themselves are placed, than the one which broke out in Oporto on the 24th of August, 1820. It did not originate in any wild or vision-love of change-no undue impatience of restraint; nor was it accompanied by any wish to alter the essential form and basis of the monarchy. It seemed to be a spontaneous and serene effort on the part of the people to reform the government under which they lived; or rather, to restore it to what it was in the early and proudest periods of their history. The military and people embraced each other, and mutually pledged to support a cause in which all were equally interested. The advance towards the capital of the Oporto Junta, and of the troops by which it was preceded and accompanied, was a national festivity, in which every one, from the highest to the lowest, took a part. The corporations of every town hastened to present their congratulations; the youths, from the most distant quarters, flocked to witness the invigorating scene, whilst every tongue was employed in calling down the benedictions of Heaven, on an enterprise which they fondly expected would raise them from the degradation in which they had so long been sunk.
The arrival at Lisbon and the subsequent events which occurred there on the ensuing 15th and 17th of September, as well as on the 1st of October, distinctly prove that the measure of reform was popular, and that the capital was animated by the same sentiments as Oporto. Not a dissentient voice was heard; and if any disappointed or envious individual, whether noble or clergyman, in his heart, repined at the national triumph, he hid his head in confusion, or poured forth his rancorous feelings in secret. All classes in the community cordially joined; and an important revolution was, in short, effected, without a popular excess-without a single drop of blood, and in Great Britain at the moment hailed as the harbinger of better times to a country, to whose welfare we were bound by innumerable ties.
The demonstrations above noticed are unquestionable-they are on public record. They were at the time considered as evincing the real sentiments and wishes of the large mass of the Portuguese people, dictated by the unerring impulse of selfconviction, and expressed without restraint. The Portuguese