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LETTER

1.- ID:74 in
TO THE MOST NOBLE
THE MÀRQUESS OF LANSDOWN,

***" PORTUGAL AND SPAIN;
MORE PARTICULARLY AS REGARDS THE CRISIS LIKELY TO

ENSUE BY THE RETURN OF
THE INFANTE DON MIGUEL,

ARMED WITH POWER,
TO THE PORTUGUESE TERRITORY.
BY WILLIAM WALTON.

SECOND EDITION.
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.

LONDON:- 1827.
MY LORD,
It would be an endless task to attempt to answer, or discuss,
Purple the various writings on the subject of Portugal with which

the London press has recently teemed; nor would it be posEssible to form any standard by which truth could be distinis guished from that which is diametrically opposed to reason

and fact. Political matters, and the acts of statesmen conmais nected with them, when described from afar, are so often We blended with fiction and extravagance, as to border on ro

mance ; or so distorted by the national prejudices of the writer,

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, Cred when carried back to the countries from which they are trans

mitted, they impair the confidence of those whose portraits Ff they profess to be, damp their ardor, and give rise to impresa i Berlin sions of a hostile kind.

This has particularly been the case in Portugal, where,
VOL. XXVIII.

Pam.

NO. LVI. R

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 baving 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 distrostful, 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 ralers 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 wbich, 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 sallen 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 dismantļed; 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 planged. 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 tbe 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 degradaition in which it was so lately sunk. The momentous contest ended successfully; their army returned home, and all their wtiews were turned to internal improvement. They anxiJously 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,

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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 onerring impulse of selfconviction, and expressed without restraint. The Portuguese

had been promised relief as a reward for their faithful energies against the French-as an atonement for the losses and sacrifices to which they had been exposed. They were unfortunately disappointed in their hopes, and their situation rendered infinitely more wretched and appalling than before, by the absence of a paternal monarch, whose power and beneficence were often wont to moderate the despotic and extortionate acts of the rapacious minions to whom he was obliged to delegate part of his authority.

Writhing under aggravated wrongs and grievances ; deluded in their most confident hopes, and besides eager to repair, the ravages of a desolating war, from which they had just emerged, the Portuguese people, with few exceptions, heartily joined the standard of reform; and, I may venture to say, the wbole nation adopted, nay even applauded, the means of regeneration held out to them. That they were, in the sequel, a second time, disappointed in the expectations which they late so fondly cherished, is not a proof of their apathy, or an indication of any indifference to the possession of those civil rights and political benefits which they then endeavored to secure. At the time alluded to, they indeed lost the golden opportunity; but that loss is not attributable to them, as may be shown by a closer recurrence to the leading events of the day.

Unfortunately, the men who first entered the path of reform, were either not competent to the task they had undertaken, or not sofficiently united to carry it into effect. They seemed to be appalled by surrounding difficulties. They indeed enacted many wise and judicious measures to correct prevailing abuses, and the people were grateful to them for their efforts. Highly respectable, as individuals, and many of them patriotic, in the extreme sense of the word; nay, some of them worthy of the proudest days of Rome; as a body, they rushed into wild and visionary theoriex in the formation of a Constitution, opposed to the habits and wants of the people, which afterwards they were unable to reduce to practice. They hastily demolished the whole edifice, perhaps unaware of the difficulty of rebuilding it. Sound as were the principles of local reform on which they acted; zealous, and even successful, as were their efforts in the correction of abuses, eager and interested ' in the reformation of their country, and fully sensible that the influence of public opinion is the mainspring that moves the political machine, they nevertheless erred in their general plan, as well as in many of the details, for the formation of the new Constitution. In this respect, every measure they enacted savored of inexperience, or was founded on principles dis

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