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Mammon--this religion, the purest of all religions, and this rite, the most holy rite of that religion was, by this statute, degraded and polluted, by being made the passport to the place of a common game-keeper. Is not this enough —is not this sufficient—to make us all say, that it ought to exist no longer ? Does not this fact cast upon those who maintain the necessity of continuing this act in force, the onus of showing---not by talking to us about the wisdom of our ancestors, of the law, of the State, of tythes, of the clergy, but by sound argument—the necessity, the absolute necessity, for the safety of the Church, as part and parcel of the safety of the State, that this precise form should be upheld.
EXTRACT FROM A SPEECH
HOUSE OF COMMONS,
THE AFFAIRS OF PORTUGAL,
JUNE 1st, 1829.
With respect to the character and conduct of the man who now rules the destinies of Portugal, I am unwilling to detain the House by any observations of mine on his enormities: I leave his conduct exposed to the fearful reflections of my Right Honourable Friend.* We are not, I agree, to be governed in our conduct by the character of this individual, odious as it is. Though I believe the whole conduct of the man to be detestable, though he deserves not to be mentioned in comparison with any modern petty despots, but rather to be classed with the prodigious monsters of antiquity, Dom Miguel is still the de facto Monarch of Portugal :-the more is the pity. As long as he confines himself to Portugal, however, we may sincerely
* Sir James Macintosh.
wish that there may be a speedy term to his degrading tyranny,--however, we may offer up our prayers that the days of his frightful cruelty may be numbered, and a speedy end be put to his reign of terror and bloodshed,-still we have no right to interfere; it is more than ever incumbent on us to keep England free from any danger of being involved in foreign hostilities-a duty second only to that of preserving peace at home. Therefore, so long as Dom Miguel remains in his own country,-except that we should hold him a usurper, and refuse to acknowledge him as the legitimate governor of that country,-beyond that I care not; but let him beware of going beyond the limits of Portugal; for if he exceeds them, he makes it imperative upon me to inquire into his title I am bound to examine it_I am bound to investigate the right he claims of governing Portugal. He has done so; he has exceeded his limits; he has blockaded Terceira, and there he is no more a King, de facto; there Donna Maria is not only the Sovereign de jure, but de facto also; there Dom Miguel, that foul pretender and usurper, is not only not a King, but he is not a usurper de facto; his usurpation is confined within certain limits in Portugal it wore a tangible shape, in Terceira he is a traitor and a conspirator. In Donna Maria the fact and the right coincide ;
she is the rightful and the actual Sovereign of Terceira. Why, then, should I not be suffered to go to Terceira ? Because Dom Miguel does not like me to go there. Thus, Dom Miguel establishes a paper blockade, for it is nothing more ; therefore we acknowledge the blockade, and not only so, but we co-operate with him. Is this, or is it not neutrality? Is this acting up to that sacred law which we profess to follow, and which is the corner-stone of that peace which it gave me pleasure to hear so praised, not by my Right Honourable Friend merely, but by the Right Honourable Gentleman opposite*—which is not only consistent with the real interests of the country, but which it is our first, and paramount, and sacred duty to preserve inviolate ? Peace, at all times, is the dearest object of my heart, but it is doubly and trebly dear at the present moment, when we are suffering under the effects of a war of a quarter of a century ;—when we are smarting and bleeding at every pore (I may say so without a figure), it becomes the first and bounden duty of the Government, and ought to be an object nearest its heart, that nothing should be done, or said, or whispered in the ear, or even dreamed of, that might put that peace to risk. Happy am I to hear that we have become more
Sir Robert Peel.
sensible of the blessings of peace; that the ardour of military glory, and the thirst of fame, that curse of nations, especially amongst our neighbours who have been greater admirers of it, and greater sufferers from its effects than even ourselves, no longer govern our policy: most heartily do I rejoice at hearing this mania stigmatized as it has been this night.
Though many may think that the crimes of Dom Miguel, and the sufferings of his unhappy subjects, give us a right to interfere with his government, and to tear him down from that height which by his crimes he has ascended, yet, however anxious might be my wish to see that tyranny put an end to, I should be the last man to counsel stirring one step for the purpose of obtaining an object, which, though greatly to be desired, can only justly, can only safely, can only lawfully be accomplished by those who live under his government. I would counsel, strictly and rigorously, non-interference, with reference even to Dom Miguel, not that I hate x his tyranny less, but that I love peace and its principles more.