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The more advantageous time to have begun the war was when - France interfered in the affairs of Spaiu ; but our Ministers had no real wish, to take the philosophical side of the question and necessity alone will impelthem to it.
That necessity appears to have approached. On Monday night last the King sent a message to Parliament, intimating the necessity of a war to defend Portugal from certain treacheries and hostile intrigues practising upon her by Spain, under the influence of France. The message, and the Parliamentary answer to the message, has not implicated France by name ; but as well might the King of France have complained of the conduct of Ireland without reference to Britain, as for the King of England to complain of Spain without reference to France. If there be a war, it will be with France. Spain is not an independent nation, and cannot singly carry on a war with England. And if there be a war with France, all the Powers in Europe, which adhere to the principles on which France wars, will support her. What a con trast in the scene between the last and the forthcoming war!. It will not now be Republican France against all Europe: but philosophical or Republican Britain against all Europe! Even this is an improved state of things; and though it has come late, it is not too late. Mankind are ever new; their principles only grow old and die.
Mo. Canning seems quite sensible that the expected war will be a conflict for opinions and principles. . I was angry with him for not beginning it four years ago; but I must confess, that I was much pleased with his general observations in the House of Commons on Tuesday night last, and as much annoyed at the petty and paltry hesitation of Mr. Hume and two or three others. This Spanish Committee Man and Greek Committee Man, Mr. Hume, opposes in the conduct of the present Ministers, the pro. fessed principles of his whole public life. Take care of yourself, Mr. Hume, your best friends are compelled to admit that you have Jately made some holes in your mauners. This was not a time for you to oppose the practical part of your own theory. De having soiled your past principles, do you intend to desert them and make yourself worthy of the praise of William Cobbett ? teh
Ah ! William Cobbett! Here is another of his prophecies damned ! Week after week, for years, he asserted, that this country could not go to war with the debt upon its shonlders. As far as such an individual could do it by his pen, he invoked France to make war apon this congtry, and proclaimed it an indefensible state. I would bequeath the debt to the Church and other. Cor porations ; but I detested the man that could rejoice at his country's weakness, and that could invoke a foreign nation to take advantage of it. The man is detestable who would seek bis ends by such means. I rejoice at this war, and see in it the best means for domestic as well as foreign reforms. Let us be really
at war by February, and the questions of Corn and Catholics will not much longer remain'a" bore.”
Rejoice, Ireland! Rejoice! The day of your deliverance is at hand; but remember, that you can only make yourself independent, by making yourself worthy of independence. You have as much to do for yourself on the last head, as circumstances can do for you on the first.
I am very anxious to see what Cobbett will say upon this sabject. Will he still say that Canning dare not go to war? Or will he desert his long-cherished friends, Ferdinand and the Spanish Priests, and applaud the war! If it be a pleasure to see an opponent, a foul opponent, between the horns of a dilemma, there certainly sticks William Cobbett, for the gratification of his oumerous opponents, his general opponents, his opponents from among men of all principles, fut he has the support of but a few good ar sensible men, and of those only while they are learning. the character of their man, Some are more dull of comprehension than others; but all men of keen perceptions soon scout Willian Cobbett. ,
· Mr. Canning's two speeches, on Tuesday night, were the best, most useful, and most hor.est speeches ever spoken by an English Minister. I care nothing about treaties with Portugal; all political treaties have been hitherto made to be violated. , I look at the present principles of the war, and the probable consequences. Under this view, I omit what Mr. Canning said in relation to treaties, and extract from his first speech, where he begins to speak of broader political principles than such as are founded upon treaties. I also give his reply entire, as I find it in “ The Times" newspaper. To describe the debate, it must be observed, that the subject was the consideration of the King's Message about the aggression, which had been made on Portugal, in other words, whether the Parliament would support the King in a war against all who would countenance that aggression. Mr. Canoing, opened the subject: Sir Robert Wilson supported the measure ; bat complained that it had not been more early called for. Mr. Hume said that it was as yet too early and required more consideration; just as much consideration, I presume, as would render it necessary to fight for a spot of coast whereapon to land some troops, as a more convenient way of beginning? As to the cost of the thing, Mr. Hume knows well, that the Church can pay for it; and then there will be so much the less to contend for at home. I am quite at ease about the taxes: the mass of the people can have nothing added to their burdens. - Mr. Wood of Preston seconded Mr. Hunde's motion for delay, and by so doing played off a trick upon Cobbett; for Cobbett must abuse Ferdinäod and the Spanish Priests, to find a ground of fault with his successful opponent Wood. This was s cunning trick of Wood's to bother his man..
Mr. Baring supported the measure, and so did Mr. Brougham; but old Henry Bankes, and Mr. Bright, of Bristol, were alarmed at this extension of the education project.
The following is the conclusion of Mr. Cal.ing's opening speech :
“ The preservation of our national honour justified, and, indeed, compelled as to
Mollitque animos et temperat iras,
“Quippe ferant rapidi secum verrantque per auras.
This speech is really worthy of an English Minister, It is such as the best-informed and most high-minded man of the day car praise. It circumscribes every generous feeling; and the only drawback in the thing will be the consideration, that four years ago, in the case of Spain, we should have had a much easier task to perform, than we shall now have.
The reply to the opposition made, an opposition that betrayed an evident want of good principle, will be found complete. Not a single good reason was opposed to it, and Mr. Canning may
esteem himself, at this moment, the most popular Minister that ever held power in this country, We want no change of Minis, ters at present. A few of those in may advantageously die off, as they will soon die off, but upon the whole, under the present form and system of government, no Ministers can do more good than the present Ministers are doing. I associate the system with their conduct. Under a better system : a Ministry that shall Inave full powers may find an extensive field for reform. The following is Mr. Canning's reply :
Mr. CANNING said, that there were two or three objections which had been made to the course he had taken, which he would be sorry to leave unanswered. He perfectly agreed with those who had asserted that he understated the case of Spain. He had done so purposely, designedly, after warning the house that he would do so, and wishing to take in more of the circumstances than were sufficient to make out clearly the casus faderis, and not so much as to make it impossible to avoid war, the evils of which he duly felt and appreciated. The hon. gentleman who spoke Jast would have ihem do one of two things. He would have them say to Spain, “You have not done enough; we think it nothing that you have provided arms, aminunition, and equipments, for refugees, who are to carry war and destruction into the dwellings of their kindred; we think all this nothing: but we call on you to make a declaration of war, and by that meap's preserve the peace of Europe.” The more flimsy contrivance of Government had been to warn the Spanish authorities that they were known to meditate disturbances in Portugal. His Majesty's Ministers said to them" Beware of your proceedings, for we are sure to avenge your deeds : it is with you to determine if the present misunderstanding shall end in open hostilities. In the meantime the question was open to any leans of reconcilement; and whether Ministers or the hon. gentleman were right, whether they ought to have endeavoured to obtain the grand object of his chivalrous imagination, a trial of that question upon a tented field, and in a listed battle--if it was really their duty, as they themselves apprehended, to nip the disorder in the bud-or if, according to the hon. gentleman, they ought to let it grow up to maturity, ip order tò mow it down with the more magnificent scythe of war-he left the house to deter: mive ( Laughter and cheers). Appeals had been made to the contents of the
papers, and objections had been made to the paucity of facts. Should Spain be driven to the adoption of open hostilities, papers would be pro duced which would, if produced now, preclude the adoption of peace His design was, that Spain should not be driven into a corner, nor be de prived of an opportunity of rescuing herself, by any act of the British Government. It was difficult for him to know if he had meted out the information of his office, the exact proportion to succeed in ore purpose with out risking the other. At the proper time, if it should come, the bouse would be satisfied as to the fulness of the evidence. An amendment had been moved and justified by a reference to opinions of his expressed beföre. That which made his conduct consistent both now and then was, that he had always declared that the war was to be avoided. But where there was an obligation entered into with good faith, it could not be avoided. In the former instance, he had admitted that there' might be motives of pride and bonour to enter into the war; but bis argument was, that there was no existing engagement, and that being free, we were bound
to make the most discreet election. But in the present instance, there was no choice; our faith had been engaged, our honour was pledged, and there was no refuge but in the discharge of oor obligations (Hear, Fear, There were iwo courses said to be open to this country with reference to the present question. One of them was, (if we caught the right bon. gentleman correctly) to let General Mina and bis associates as it were, rush into the contest. Now if that mode of proceeding were aloxost neces sarily calculated to aggravate the nature of the was, should it arise, it would be in his judgment a heavy calamity. The second course pointed out, was to repeal the foreign enlistment bill.", True it was that Spain could not object to such a step, though her conduct was siogalarly inconsistent; for, in the first place, that foreign enlistment bill was passed af the instigation of the Spanish Government, and bad undoubtedly a greatoperation in her favour, while, in the next, the whole recent conduct of Spain had been to do directly, those things against Portugal which she wished not to liave done towards herself when she implored the aid of England in passing that bill. This point as against Spain lay in fact in an epigram. It was merely to say to ber Government - Since the year 1819, we have given you the benefit of a particularly efficieu, measure, and you have thought proper, since last year, to turn that very measure, come ferred solely for your own protection, against the pacic interests of our ally. Are we not fairly entitled, then, to place you where you would have been had that act never passed? This would, undoubtedly, hare justified the revocation of the bill from Spain that he most clearly ade mitted; but he did not equally well see how it would apply to the other great objects involved in such a question as this, and which he had rather adumbrated than stated in his opering speech. The great desire of this country ought undoubtedly to be to effect her porpose by the most lenient means. Il circumstances should lead to hostilities, and that war must rage in Spain, the course now taken by Great Britain would rather take from war that most tremendous of all characters which could attach to such an event, were it once driven to assume the name of a war of opi Aion (llear, hear). Sorry, indeed, should he be, were soch an event to follow in the train of hostilities. There was another part of the speech of the hon. and gallant gentleman opposite (Sir Robert Wilson, we believe), a speech which he viewed with no other feelings than those of satisfaction, for the handsome and ably reasoped support which he had been pleased to conser upon him, in which it was urged—“ Why do you not call upoo France to withdraw her arinies from the Spanish territory?" Enough it were for himn (Mr. Canning) to say în reply to that demaud, that he did not see how such a recall, however in other respects desirable, would actually effect the present purpose they had jo view. Indeed, he conscientiously believed that the present effect of the residence of that foreige army in Spain, was rather protective than otherwise of that party in the country which had the sympathy of freemen; for were it (the French army) removed, the first and most immediate effect would be to let loose the unbridled rage of a fanatic people, of wbich, in the sweep of intestine strife, the party least in numbers, woold undoubtedly become the earliest victims (Hear). But when, with reference to the military occupation of Spaiv as a larger question, it was said, that the presence of the French army in that part of the Peninsula had raised the station of France as a pation, while it had lowered that of England in ihe eyes of Europe, be must say, that he totally differed from that opinion. It was, he hoped, unnecessary for him to remind the house, that he entrance of the French army into Spain was an act which he had avowed hijnsell rearly to resist