Page images
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

The state of our relations with Por- classes of the various professions, tugal has become so anxious, so much the disbanded officers, and a few perplexed by contending factions, and nobles speculating on the prizes likely to involve this nation in such of revolution. Both parties were embarrassing consequences, that we powerful; but the party of the believe we shall gratify our readers ancient institutions was distinguishby a general and fair outline of the ed chiefly for its passive strength. question. In this matter we take no The party of change rested its hope side. The competitors for the Por- of success on its restless appeal to tuguese throne are equally indiffer- popular passion, its activity in taking ent to us, the errors or crimes of the advantage of public reverses, and, parties are not within our estimate. above all, in the living and inexhaustWe have no intention of involving ible Jacobinism of France. But, for our readers in the mazes of Portu- the purpose of accuracy, we must go guese law; and as little of entangling a little higher. ourselves in the web of Portuguese In 1807, the King and royal family partisanship. Dom Miguel and Dom of Portugal sailed for the Brazils. Pedro are to us the same. Yet we Portugal had been for the last half may deeply regret the circumstances, century an object of French and whether arising from chance,caprice. Spanish intrigue, and the project of or necessity, which have placed Eng- abandoning the uneasy sceptre of land in all but a direct position of war the House of Braganza in Europe, with so old, so faithful, and so im. for the noble, secure, and flourishing portant an ally as Portugal. empire of Portuguese America, was

The state of the Peninsula, since more than once conceived. There the close of the French war, has was a strong temptation in thus rebeen marked by perpetual disturb- establishing the Portuguese name in ance. Hating the French as masters, one of the most extensive dominions a large portion of the Spanish and in the world, a territory equal to the Portuguese population eagerlyadopt- entire of Europe, and still more ed them as teachers. The strength powerful by its extraordinary capaof public loyalty was in the proprie- bilities, its forests of rich woods, its tors of land, the nobles, gentry, and inexhaustible fertility, its singular peasantry: The strength of disaffec. salubrity, its fortunate position for tion was in the petty traders of the commerce in the centre of the New towns, the minor and unemployed World with the Trade Winds blow



ing the commerce of the Old into its treated her as she has always treated harbour mouths; and its peculiar the submissive. But deep as the possession of the largest gold and veil of Napoleon's hypocrisy was, it diamond mines in the globe. was not deep enough to conceal his

In the Spanish invasion of 1761, perfect knowledge and perfect methe emigration was strongly propo- mory of the projected alliance. sed, and under the advice of Pam- Godoy, conscious that when the vibel, the ablest minister that Portugal sitation came, it must chiefly fall ever possessed, and one of the most upon hisown head, now endeavoured intelligent public men of Europe, it personally to conciliate Napoleon, by was on the point of being carried a project of seizing on Portugal, alinto effect. But the invasion passed ways obnoxious as this little country away. The natural indolence of was to France, from its close conthe Portuguese, the reluctance of nexion with England. Napoleon had the nation to see their government already conceived bolder views; but, transferred to the mountains and for the purpose of blinding the Spaforests three thousand miles off, and nish minister to the ruin that he was the equally strong reluctance of the hourly gathering round Spain, he Allied Powers to see Portugal left adopted his profligate and treacheopen to seizure by Spain, broke up rous design in its full extent, and the project, and abandoned the Bra- ordered an army to march for the zils to iheir original solitude. In the seizure of Portugal. In the partition commencement of Napoleon's power, of the conquest, Godoy was to be Portugal became again the object of put in possession of the Alentejo, one a French and Spanish intrigue of the of the most valuable of the Portu. most extraordinary kind. About the

guese provinces, with the title of period of the Egyptian expedition, Sovereign Prince; and he was thus when French affairs were declining to be secured from the possible reevery where, and Suwarrow threat- sults of his growing unpopularity in ened a march to Paris, there appears Spain. to have been some intention on the It was now that Napoleon began part of the Spanish government, cen- to make himself felt. His army for tred in the person of Godoy, to make the Portuguese invasion was stipucommon cause with the victorious lated at 20,000 men; it amounted to allies. The old monarchy hated the 40,000. Its line of march through young Republic; the Spanish Bour- the Spanish territory was marked bons equally hated the French Jaco- out by the secret treaty. It moved bins; and there was a lure for the where it pleased, in scorn of the nation's vanity, in the recovery of the Spanish remonstrances; and when at national honours, which had been a length the Spanish cabinet began to little tarnished by the French victo- tremble for the consequences of its ries among the Pyrenees in the com- own folly, Napoleon suddenly inmencement of the war.

volved it in the disputes of the royal But Bonaparte came back from family, plunged it into such an abyss Egypt, the tide turned, the triumph of perplexity, fear, treachery, and was all on the side of the obnoxious folly, that it instantly abandoned the Republic; and the Spanish cabinet, government, and surrendered Spain rejoicing that it had not yet plunged entire into his unhallowed hands. into open hostility with its formi. The history of that most memodable and vindictive neighbour, in- rable of modern wars, has been alstantly laid aside all its preparations ready written in the brightest page for war, and laboured, by the most of our national glory. Napoleon humiliating subserviency, to win the there received the retribution of his favouritism of France,

This was

long career of treachery and blood. suffered for a while. Napoleon, now The invasion of the Peninsula is the First Consul, was satisfied to appear true date of his downfall. But while a dupe, and Spain paid the price of his main battle was turned on Spain, this fancied triumph of subtlety, by Portugal was not forgotten. being robbed, beaten, and degraded seizure had now become only a part in every quarter of the globe. She of his grand scheme of ambition, had given herself, hand and foot, into but it was instantly and indefatigably the grasp of France, and France pursued. The troops which had ori


ginally been directed towards that The Envoy had, from ill health, or quarter, but called off for the moment some other reason, returned to Enge by the pressing necessity of over- land, leaving Lord Strangford, the whelming Spain at once, were now Secretary of the Embassy, to transact poured back upon its frontier, and affairs in bis absence. No crisis could put under the command of Soult, have been more disastrous for the the most sagacious and successful one, or more lucky for the other. officer of the army.

In mentioning Lord Strangford, it is But tyranny has its fears like but just to the honour of literameaner guilt, and some expressions ture, and the memory of a good King, of Soult awoke the jealousy of Na- to say, that to his literary efforts he poleon, now Emperor. It was ru- was indebted for the commencement moured in Paris, that. Soult might of a career, which lie has since fole avail himself of his power, to resist lowed with distinction. At an early the Imperial plans of subjugation, or age he had written poetry, and among even make bimself independent. the rest, some sonnets purporting to The rumour was probably untrue, be translations of Camoens, but and only one of the thousand in- which were in fact but pretty parastances of that perpetual suspicion phrases of the Portuguese poet. But which haunts the usurper. But the they were poetry,—were on graceful command of the force destined to subjects,gracefully expressed-were seize Lisbon was suddenly assigned pleasing and popular, and in the to Junot, a bold soldier, but too in- course of their popularity they dolent for suspicion, and too amply reached Windsor Castle. Diplomacy, satisfied with dependence on his or the army, are the usual roads of master, to think of crowns and scep. the nobility who pursue public em. tres five hundred miles from the ployment, and the coincidence of Parisian theatres. Junot now march- those Portuguese poems with a vaed direct on the capital. This move- cancy for a Secretary of Legation ment had been long foreseen by the at Lisbon, induced the good natured British cabinet, and the Portuguese King, George the Third, to fix upon monarch had been sedulously sup- the young poet for the appointment. plied with proofs of the determina. Such at least was the story of the tion of Napoleon to seize and sub- day. vert his dynasty. But nothing could The absence of the envoy naturally overcome the habitual apathy of the made his secretary the instrument of Portuguese court; the King was not all the communications between the to be persuaded by any thing short British government, now anxiously of the sight of the French army, that labouring to awake the Portuguese a hostile force would ever have the to its danger; aud the Portuguese, alaudacity to march in at the undeternately frightened and rash, doubtfended avenues of his city, or seize ing every thing, and daring, every his ungarrisoned castles. Lord Ro- thing. The impossibility of defendbert Fitzgerald was the British envoying the country by its native force at Lisbon at the time. This minister was strongly urged by the British has derived an unfortunate celebri- agent, and the project of carrying off ty from his being the brother of the whole government to America the late Lord Edward Fitzgerald, was proposed again, as the only hope the miserable rebel, who, in viola- of preserving the King from a French tion of his duty as a subject, and of prison, and the country from remehis oath as a soldier, attempted to diless slavery. The tardiness of the revolutionize Ireland à la Française Portuguese government, on this oc--the most impotent attempt of the casion, was one of the most extraordimost impotent mind; a Jacobin baga. nary instances of the inaptitude of telle, which even its chance of mas- understanding that results from long sacre could not render an object of neglect of its exercise. At length consideration in the eyes of any man Napoleon, in a burst of that arrogance of common thought; but which which so often overthrows the subbrought to a speedy and disgraceful tlest contrivances of the proud, profate, this contemptible compound of claimed that “ The dynasty of the fashionable absurdity and giddy house of Braganza had ceased to treason,

reign.” The secretary, armed with

« PreviousContinue »