« ZurückWeiter »
But Lord Stuart de Rothsay not only bears a Brazilian Constitution to Portugal, without the sanction of his government; but, as I have been credibly — though I should be happy to learn, erroneously — informed, when recommended by Lord Heytesbury, our Ambassador at Lisbon, not to deliver the precious deposit personally to the Princess-Regent, but to suffer it to be forwarded to her Royal Highness, through his Excellency's medium, as a sealed communication, of the purport of which they might be inferred to be ignorant, Lord Stuart de Rothsay, acting in direct contradiction to this discreet suggestion, himself delivered the fatal packet to the Regent, as the envoy of her brother. If it be maintained that his Lordship, although he had entered into an unwise engagement, was, in deference to his personal honour, bound to fulfil it, how shall we account for the subsequent conduct of the Anglo-Brazilian Ambassador, when the Regent, in wise alarm, desiring to postpone, and, perhaps, ultimately suppress this anti-national and really unconstitutional charter, his Lordship, in his unintelligible zeal, further thought fit to communicate the fact of its existence to “ the liberal party;" a party whose creed seems to be the mal-application of good principles ? We now feel the results which Mr. Canning, and, I
believe I may say, all his colleagues, foresaw. How many more insults and invasions of our ancient and truest ally we are to tamely witness, in order to force down their unwilling maw, institutions, the only practical object of which is to create a French interest in the Peninsula, I pretend not to predict; but if the foreign policy of the present administration be pursued another year, I see no reason why the tricolor flag should not wave on the Castle of Dublin, as well as on the towers of Belem or the steeples of Brussels.
What we should desire, in all forms of government, is, that the national character should be studied and respected. I have as little faith in the efficacy of a charter conceded by a King, as in a constitution hawked about by a Propagandist. There is in all countries a healthy fund of legitimate spirit, springing out of the national character; that national character is formed by the influence of particular modes of religious belief, ancient institutions, peculiar manners, venerable customs, and intelligible interests. The government that does not respect these the hallowed offspring of reverend Antiquity and sage Experience, can never stand, although it may offer us the specious alternatives of System instead of Chance, Philosophy instead of Prejudice, Reason
instead of Expediency, and a Code instead of Custom.
If England be free — if we have been eminently prosperous, and, on the whole, generally happy we may be well content, without presuming to interfere with the established society of other lands. Our Constitution, unrivalled, with all its imperfections, was not scribbled in a morning, on the envelope of a royal letter, or drawn up by the sub-editor of a newspaper. There is but one philosopher, and that is Time; and but one patriot, and that is Nature.
SPIRIT OF THE FRENCH OPPOSITION.
I shall commence this chapter by doing what it is curious no one in France has ever yet had the candour to do: I shall publish that famous article of the Charter, in virtue of which the King conceived he was empowered to issue the Ordon
Le Roi est le chef suprême de l'Etat, commande les forces de terre et de mer, déclare la guerre, fait les traités de paix, d'alliance, et de commerce; nomme à tous les emplois d'administration publique, et fait les règlemens et ordonnances nécessaires pour l'exécution des lois et la sureté de l'état.
If there were a time when impartial men, and especially impartial foreigners, were induced, through the influence of the French press, to condemn unconditionally the Ordonnances of July, 1830, issued on the report of the Minister of Justice, M. de Chantelauze, - a faithful copy of which report I shall here, for the first time, in this country, print, -assuredly these individuals, from what they have observed since this revolution, must now be convinced, that long before the appearance of these. Ordonnances legitimacy was at stake in France *, and that there remained no other resource for Charles the Tenth, to save the crown and the country, but in the interpretation which he gave to this article of the charter. What is at present going on in France, and especially what occurred immediately after the popular success, is the best justification of the motives of the government.
Revolutions and revolts are not occasioned merely by ordonnances, or a philosophic dread of the Jesuits. The Emperor of Russia can best inform us, whether it was any forced interpretation of an article of a charter which occasioned the glorious revolution of Poland; and I doubt whether the King of Holland, the Protestant monarch of a free people, can account for the loss of his Belgian provinces by the mortifying recollection of his despotism, or the consolatory reminiscence of his bigotry. For the infinite insurrections that broke out in
As M. de Polignac justly observed, it was une question d'horloge, a mere question of time, which party should strike the first blow,