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THE EARL OF DUDLEY TO THE MARQUIS DE
Foreign Office, 22nd April, 1828. The undersigned, &c., has received His Majesty's commands to acknowledge the receipt of the note of his Excellency the Marquis de Palmella, &c. dated the 8th instant, in which his Excellency has enclosed the extract of a letter from the Vicomte de Santarem, and to inform his Excellency that his Majesty receives the assurances of the sincerity of the intentions of his Royal Highness the Infant Regent, which his Excellency the Vicomte de Santarem has conveyed to the Marquis de Palmella, for the information of his Majesty's Government, as a proof of the desire of his Royal Highness the Infant Don Miguel to cultivate the friendship and acquire the confi-, dence of his Majesty.
The undersigned, however, would be wanting, both to his duty, and to that frankness and sincerity which ought to prevail in the intercourse betwixt two countries so long and so closely connected as England and Portugal, if he were to conceal from his Excellency, that many events which have marked the outset of his Royal Highness's Regency, had excited in the mind of his Majesty sentiments of uneasiness and disappointment.
By the letter of those engagements, under which his Royal Highness took upon himself the government of Portugal, he was obliged to observe the Constitutional Charter ; by the whole spirit and tenour of them, he was no less bound to abstain from all such measures as might afford just cause of public apprehension and alarm. It is with the utmost regret that the undersigned feels himself compelled to remark, that in neither view do these engagements appear to have been fulfilled.
It may not be improper to recall to his Excellency the promises by which his Royal Highness bound himself, before his arrival in
Portugal, and at the same time those circumstances in his subsequent conduct which do not correspond with them.
In the year 1826, his Royal Highness took the oath of fidelity to the Constitution, enjoined by the Portuguese Charter. In the month of October, 1827, his Royal Highness, having been appointed by his brother the Emperor and King, Don Pedro, to be his Lieutenant and Regent of Portugal —“ aux termes des Lois existantes dans cet Etat, et conformément aux Institutions données par l'Empereur Son Auguste Frère à la Monarchie Porlugaise,"-declared by his Plenipotentiaries, the Baron de Villa-Secca and the Count de Villa-Real, upon the Protocol of a Conference at Vienna, which was held upon that occasion, that he had ordered a letter to be prepared for his signature, addressed to his sister, the then Regent, Donna Maria Isabel, “ de manière à ce qu'elle (cette lettre) puisse être rendue publique, et à ce qu'elle ne puisse en même tems laisser aucun doute sur la ferme volonté de ce Prince, en acceptant la Lieutenance du Royaume, que l'Empereur son Frère vient de lui conférer, d'en maintenir religieusement les Institutions,* de vouer le passé à un entier oubli, mais de contenir en même tems avec force et fermeté l'esprit de parti el de faction qui a trop long tems agité le Portugal."
His Royal Highness likewise addressed his Majesty, in a letter, dated Vienna, the 19th October, in which his Royal Highness stated : “ convaincu de la part qu'elle y prendra par suite de l'Ancienne Alliance entre le Portugal et la Grande Bretagne, et que je desire sincèrement cultiver, j'osé me flatter qu'elle voudra bien m'accorder sa bienveillance et son appui le but que je me propose étant de maintenit invariablement la tranquillité et le bon ordre en Portugal, au moyen des Institutions octroyées, par l'Empereur et Roi mon Frère, -r Institutions que je suis fermement résolu de faire respecter." .....
It was impossible for his Majesty, without harbouring suspicions most injurious to the character and dignity of a young Prince, then acting under the guidance of a wise and virtuous Sovereign, to doubt the intention of his Royal Highness to carry into execution promises thus solethnly and publicly announced. His Majesty, therefore, received his Royal Highness upon his arrival in England, with that honour and distinction due to his exalted station.
*It is evident that Don Miguel meant, at this time, the Institutions of the Cortes, and by no means the Constitution of Don Pedro.-Ed.
During his Royal Highness's stay in this country, it was agreed upon, by a protocol, dated 12th January, 1828, and drawn up under his Majesty's authority, to facilitate the raising a loan of money for the use of his Royal Highness, and to allow the British troops, which had been ordered to return immediately from Portugal, to remain there during a reasonable period, according to his Royal Highness's wishes ; and at his departure, a squadron of his Majesty's fleet was detached, for the purpose of escorting his Royal Highness, and in order to mark to the world the satisfaction which his Majesty felt, upon seeing the Government of Portugal confided by the Emperor Don Pedro to his brother the Infant Don Miguel, as his lieutenant.
In the mean time, his Majesty's influence at the Court of Rio de Janeiro had been uniformly exerted to persuade the Emperor Don Pedro, to complete his intended abdication of the Crown of Portugal, and to send to Europe the young Queen, Donna Maria da Gloria. 1. All these acts, so friendly, and at the same time so serviceable to his Royal Highness, were founded on his Majesty's conviction, that his Royal Highness the Infant was determined to uphold the charter granted to the people of Portugal by the Emperor and King Don Pedro, which his Royal Highness had himself promised to observe, both in his letter to his august sister, and in that to his Majesty, and to which he had solemnly sworn, before he left Vienna.
His Majesty naturally regards with preference and favour a form of Government, resembling in principle that under which his own dominions have enjoyed so many years of happiness, and risen to so high a pitch of prosperity and glory; and he would have wished that the people of Portugal, in whose fate his Majesty takes so deep an interest, should possess the advantage of similar institutions, conferred upon them by their Sovereign in the legitimate exercise of his authority, and confirmed by their own acceptance and consent.
His Majesty, therefore, the more deeply laments that circumstances had occurred, since the arrival of his Royal Highness in Por
tugal, which had led to the belief, in which his Majesty could not but participate, that his Royal Highness entertained the fixed intention of setting aside the Charter.
By an article in that charter, the King or Regent of Portugal is obliged, upon dissolving the Cortes, immediately to convoke them again. Upon the strict observance of this important condition, it is quite evident the existence of the charter itself depends. If, having exercised his prerogative in dissolving the chambers, the Sovereign can, either directly or by any expedient, avoid convoking them again for an indefinite period, it is obvious that the character of the Government would be totally altered, and that from a mixed, it would become an absolute monarchy.
In the present instance, his Royal Highness's Ministers have advised him, instead of immediately summoning another Cortes, to publish a decree, declaring that their immediate convocation is impracticablz. The reason alleged is, that there exists no law to regulate the elections, and that the provisional dispositions, made for the purpose by the Decree of the 7th August, 1826, are evidently faulty. His Royal Highness therefore abolishes them altogether, and appoints a commission, consisting of 10 persons, to prepare a new regulation, and to submit it to his approbation. No time is specified within which the commission is required to complete its task, nor any, within which the regulation itself, after having received the sanction of his Royal Highness, is to be carried into effect. The convocation of the Chambers may be delayed indefinitely, in direct contradiction to the express meaning of the Charter in one of its fundamental clauses.
No justification for this striking irregularity is to be found in the necessity of the case. There are two different modes by which his Royal Highness might have avoided an infringement of the Charter.
1. He might have postponed the dissolution of the late Chambers, and allowed them to frame a law for the regulation of future elec
2. He might have dissolved the Chambers, and allowed the elections to proceed under the regulations of 1826.
Either of these modes would have been preferable to that, which
has been actually adopted by his Royal Highness :— by either of them he would have avoided that alarm, and distrust of his intentions to which it has so generally given birth
It is not merely in his Royal Highness's departure in this instance, from what his Majesty considers the positive engagement made to the Portuguese nation and to the Emperor Don Pedro, and witnessed by his Majesty, and the Emperor of Austria, that his Majesty saw reason to complain of the course taken by his Royal Highness, since he assumed the Regency. The manner in which his Royal Highness exercised the power lawfully belonging to hin, unfortunately confirmed those apprehensions, to which he had already given birth by acts that can be reconciled, neither to the institutions of his country, nor to his own promises. · The object of his Royal Highness's Government, as described in his own words,--was, de maintenir invariablement la tranquillité en Portugal, au moyen des institutions octroyées par l'Empereur et Roi, &c. His Majesty has, therefore, seen with surprise and regret, that his Royal Highness's first step towards the accomplishment of this purpose by these means, has heen to call to his councils, men, who,--however distinguished in character, and respectable in station, - were in general known to entertain opinions hostile to those institutions.
His Royal Highness, --having dismissed from their commands and from his military service, many of those who had led the Portuguese troops to victory, in the recent contest against insurgents, who had opposed in arms the will of their Sovereign the Emperor Don Pedro, and the execution of the Charter,—replaced those officers by others notoriously espousing doetrines, and animated by a spirit incompatible with the constitution which his Royal Highness is hiimself bound to: maintain. 13 de des...
But a Goverment must be judged of, not only by its overt acts, but also by its pervading tone and spirit, and by the general impression which it creates. In Portugal these are decidedly at variance with the Constitution = which, already a dead letter, seeins rapidly approaching to the term of even its nominal existence. The exclusive and hostile ascendancy of one party is indicated by the dismay and VOL. III.- NO. 19.