June 1, 1890.My mission to Portugal has come to an end, and I sail today in the steamer Lanfranc for Liverpool and thence for Boston, where I can land in the neighborhood of my own home. To bid farewell to Portugal seems to be a very simple matter, but when I recall the events of my diplomatic career, and the scenes and associations I have enjoyed, I realize that I have had an experience in which my official services have had by no means the most important part. It is not easy for a traveller to forget the beauties of Portugal, the charming river, the scenery of Cintra, the antiquity of Lisbon, the lonely and mysterious silence of Mafra, the grandeur and beauty of Alcobaça, the luxuriance of the north and the sandy wastes of the south, the languid industry of the people, and the gardens and quintas which adorn the mountain sides and lie along the sunny slopesit is not easy for a traveller to forget all this even after the most rapid flight. But a year’s life in this dreamy land leaves an impression which is not easily broken, and which lingers like the flavor of the violet. Portugal keeps her peculiar place in art and literature ; and no one can forget the uniformity and repose into which she has settled after centuries of storm and conflict.
When I reached Lisbon it became my duty to call the attention of the government to a demand for redress for the course pursued towards a railway in Africa which had been seized for non-fulfilment of a contract made with an American citizen. It is unnecessary to set forth the details of the controversy over the Lorenzo Marques railway, and it is difficult as well as imprudent to settle the question here. The Portuguese government assumed that they had acted in accordance with the spirit of the concession they had made, and that they were not called upon to adjust the difficulty with any government but with the claimants. The instructions from the State Department made it necessary for me to demand an arbitration in which the United States might appear in behalf of the citizens whose property had been confiscated. It was a question evidently for peaceful negotiation, and it furnished an opportunity for the two nations to manifest their characteristics in conducting and settling a controversy. The correspondence between myself and the Foreign Office at Lisbon continued throughout the entire year of my residence at the Portuguese Court, and resulted in the selection of Switzerland as the power to indicate an arbitrator. The question was not one in which the peace of nations is involved, but it was one in which the temper and disposition of the parties engaged might be conspicuous. The correspondence was intricate and voluminous ; and it gave me an opportunity to study the character of the contestants. Of my own government it may not become me to speakit carried its point promptly and firmly. Of the Portuguese government in all this long and intricate negotiation, in which England also was involved, I may express my gratification with the skill and courtesy with which the correspondence was conducted. In my weekly visit at the Foreign Office I was received with great civility and consideration by the ministers who during the year conducted the diplomatic dealings of the kingdom. I have already spoken of the graceful and impressive manner in which Senhor Barros Gomes presented his policy on the African question to the Cortes, and I shall always recall with great pleasure the agreeable and kindly controversies I had with him on the matter in which I had an interest. And so of his successor, Senhor Hintz Robeiro, with whom’ the negotiations were finally concluded ; I learned to admire his diplomatic skill and the grace with which he accepted the conclusion.
From the Political Director, Senhor Agostino de Ornellas, and from the Secretary of the Minister, Baron San Pedro, I received such courtesies as have placed them among my most valuable acquaintances and friends.
It was from the Foreign Office that I received a full set of the acts and decrees of the government of Portugal, numbering nearly two hundred volumes, for deposit in the State Library of Massachusetts, virtually an inter-change with the U. S. Department of Agriculture and the Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture for the valuable volumes of these two organizations, which I presented to the government of Portugal.
The business which a foreign minister has with the Foreign Office is performed with great promptness and simplicity. On each Wednesday the ministers meet in the salon of the stately building in which the office is located, formerly an ample and beautiful palace, and each official is admitted to the Secretary in his turn.
On this occasion all nationalities are equal, the exception being made only in the case of the Papal Nuncio, Monsignor Vannutelli, who takes precedence of all, of whose unassuming and impressive kindness I have already spoken, and who since my leaving Portugal has been elevated to the rank of Cardinal in the Church of Rome, an honor to which he was eminently entitled by his virtues and accomplishments.
It was on these occasions that I met Sir George Glynn Petre, the Envoy of Great Britain, who cared for the hospitality and social enjoyment of the Diplomatic Corps ; and Baron de Waecker Gotter, who represented so well the German Empire, and in his presence resembled the manner and bearing of the old Emperor William ; and the prudent Goedel-Lannoy, who carried most carefully the honor of Austria in his heart ; and his Excellency de Grelle Rogier, the Envoy of Belgium, the hospitable and prudent ; and Baron d’Aguiar d’Andrada, who was depressed by the misfortunes of his old friend and master, the ex-Emperor of Brazil ; and the Envoy and Minister Plenipotentiary of Spain, Senhor Mendez Vigo, the courtly and loyal Spaniard ; and Monsieur A. Billot, who carried with him as Envoy the spirit and energy of the French Republic ; and the Count Collobiano, who represented Italy, the father-land of the Dowager-Queen Maria Pia, for which she has an undying affection ; and the typical Russian, de Ponton ; and Steenbock, the social Swede ; and the musical Rosty, Secretary of the Austrian Legation ; and Polo de Barnabe, the Spanish Secretary ; and now and then Chevalier Cotta, Secretary of the Italian Legation. In the absence of Sir George Petre, Sir George Bonham, the stately and prudent and, diplomatic, represented the government of Great Britain. And these were the official associates of the United States Minister to Portugal.
In a year passed in any town or country one always gathers about him a group upon whom he depends for the friendly intercourse which makes life tolerable. I recall them allmy official companions : Wilbor, the Vice-Consul and Chargé, who had preserved his fidelity and his mother tongue during nearly twenty years’ residence in Lisbon ; and Ramos, the faithful old messenger of the Legation, who had never spoiled his Portuguese by an infusion of English ; and De Mattos, the interpreter, the American citizen who lived with and loved Abraham Lincoln,and the aid they rendered me in the intricate duties of my office. And among the outside companions of my daily walks I can never forget the venerable banker, George Torlades O’Neill, one of the many generations who have occupied the old banking house, the representative of Tor-lades, whose dingy and well-worn quarters remind one of the Cheeryble Brothers, and whose appreciation of Spanish ballads, which he repeated with great spirit, gave a peculiar lustre to his fine accomplishments and his strong moral qualities. The rare O’Neill, with his loose-fitting garments, and his quaint office, and his glass of Copenhagen, and his six miles of a morning on his favorite little mare, and his fine varieties of port wine which he gathered up for his purchasers in Boston, and his integrity and his beaming eye and noble head and warm heart,he alone would make Lisbon a spot to be remembered by all whom he loved. With him let me count also the son of New Hampshire, the Union soldier, the genial and warm-hearted Alexander, whose hospitality rounded out many a leisure day, and recalled the scenes which every New-Englander loves, and made the place American.
And now as I leave Portugal I look back on her civil institutions with a deepened interest, as I do upon her hills and dales and mountains and rivers. The future of Portugal is a most interesting problem. Small in territory, without large manufactures, with the simplest agriculture, she maintains her individuality by every measure that constitutes nationality. Lying along the Atlantic Ocean on the western shore of Europe, where the seas are the most peaceful, and the gales are the mildest, and the air the softest, she has preserved her independent character against a long succession of wars and tumults, and has kept her tongue pure in spite of the influence of the powerful nationality which bounds her on the east. Her present repose is impressive. While civil commotions disturb so many of her sister nationalities, and the great questions of popular welfare and labor and civil right and the distribution of power are discussed throughout the world, she preserves her autonomy apparently undisturbed by any of the great social problems which are discussed by other peoples on both hemispheres. Her government, which is a constitutional monarchy, and possesses all power to protect her property, to consolidate her institutions, to secure the holders of her great debt, has laid the responsibility of her civil organization on a ministry selected from the people. The freedom of the Portuguese subject can be compared favorably with that of the American citizen. The bonds which bind the people to the throne are felt in every walk in life. And when the doctrines of popular government are announced it is found that all the privileges contained in those doctrines are already in operation. When a brilliant scholar in Oporto presents his republican views, and a brilliant journal in Lisbon makes a cordial response, it appears on examination that these views have already occupied the political soil of the kingdom. Nowhere is the pressure of royalty felt ; but one of the glories of the kingdom in the eyes of the people is the preservation of that ancient ceremony which gives grace and beauty to her government, and is free from indications of tyranny and oppression. I doubt if any throne stands so near the people as does that once occupied by Dom Fernando and Dom Luis, and now graced by Dom Carlos and Princess Amélie. This intimate and peaceful relation was increased when Portugal emerged from her stormy period, and the reign of Dom Fernando commenced with its industrial improvements. Then her territory became intersected by good roads and well-organized railways. Attention was turned to popular education. A government which had found refuge in another hemisphere returned to its legitimate work ; and the people went with it. A dangerous or an uncomfortable habitation is generally abandoned. A sinking ship is always deserted. The discontented usually flee from the cause of their discontent. The Portuguese seldom emigrate. The attachment they feel for their own land keeps them at home ; and that home furnishes them the means of subsistence and comfort.
But how about a Portuguese Republic ? To a close observer the organization of a republic in Portugal would appear to be quite difficult. In fact, many Portuguese themselves declare that but for the existence of Spain on their borders the question of a republic would not be raised ; and that the republican agitation in Spain is a warning and a lesson to Portugal. While there are those, moreover, who would apply the principles of popular government to this compact and well-organized monarchy, a monarchy which has been called a ” Monarchical Republic,” the great mass of the inhabitants of city and country rejoice in the existence of peace, and have been taught to believe that domestic controversy means cruel and bloody war. The strife in Portugal has been thus far a strife for the succession ; and in this strife the people have ” waded through seas of blood ” until they desire only peace with their rights. And this they think they have. The spirit of the main body of the army is loyal, even where it is uneasy. Of the thirty-three thousand infantry, cavalry, and artillery, any feeling of dissatisfaction has never yet developed into an open revolt. And whenever a proposition has gone from an ambitious advocate of republican doctrines to the soldiers, the result has been a slight and unimportant discussion rather than any organized action. In Lisbon and Oporto there are a few advocates of republican theories of government who are inclined to believe all causes of complaint can be removed by the delivery of the machinery into the hands of the people more emphatically than is now done. But the people are thus far content. They have all the power they desire. And an uprising is more likely to be a disturbance than a revolution.
In this ancient kingdom ample provision is made for the administration of law. The judges are appointed for life. The judiciary consists of tribunals with elected judges, justices of the peace, and intermediary tribunals. There are two Courts of Appeal and a Supreme Court, one hundred and forty-two tribunals of the first instance, two hundred and eighty-six intermediary, eight hundred justices, and three thousand nine hundred elected judges. The juries have judicial powers. The courts are open to all. The press is free, without limitation ; domicile is inviolable ; no person can be imprisoned except by due form of law. The Roman Catholic religion is recognized by the charter as the religion of the state, while religious freedom is universal.
Law, literature, and religion in Portugal are sufficient for the wants of the community, and are recognized as the firm foundation of an intelligent society. While all around are the monuments of the past which remind the people of the old glory of the kingdom, I cherish its memories as I do that of the pictures of the old masters.
The territorial possessions of Portugal are great. Along the shore of Eastern Africa and the streams that run into the Indian Ocean she still holds most valuable territory. Western Africa is a tract of great extent, offering her products to every market, and destined to become one of the most industrious and influential portions of the globe, as commerce advances and the dark continent is occupied by civilized races. In the islands of the sea Portugal has rights which cannot be easily invaded. She is like the owner of large possessions of wild lands, waiting for the inevitable advance of civilization. To this may be attributed the extraordinary fact of the value of her bonds in the great money markets. The premium they usually bear indicates confidence in the accumulation of wealth behind them ; and the former owner of Brazil, with her enormous wealth, and of the riches of the East Indies, may rest in patience while a busy world presses upon her unoccupied territory in Africa.
It seems to be the part of diplomatic wisdom for England to pacify Portugal, and bring her into a close alliance once more. In the hands of England rests all the commerce of Portugal, whose market for her manufactures she can hardly afford to lose. A peaceful adjustment of the African land question ; an agreement with regard to the navigation of Portuguese rivers in Africa ; a satisfactory tariff on goods crossing Portuguese territory ; the construction of railways and telegraphs on all the territoriesonce secured by the two nations will undoubtedly promote lasting peace. An alliance like this expands the power of one and gives vital force to the other. And as England in all her national intercourse recognizes the value of her trade, and always treats and fights for her prosperity, it is probable that the present disturbance may result in a combination advantageous to British commerce, the British holder of Portuguese securities, and to the confirmation of the power of the Braganzas in Portugal.
In the dispute which arose between Portugal and England over the East Africa territory, Senhor Barros Gomes expressed the strong sentiment of Portugal with regard to her ancient possessions. Lord Salis-bury had instructed the British Minister, Mr. Petre, to ” inform his Excellency that her Majesty’s Govern-ment recognize on the Upper Zambezi the existence of Portuguese occupation of Tete and Zumbo, but that they have no knowledge of the occupation of any other place or district.” To this the Portuguese Minister for Foreign Affairs replied at considerable length, and in his communication said :
” Portugal, who conquered India and created Brazil, has a past exceeded by no other nation. That past gives her the right to insure her hopes of a brilliant period for her nationality. Africa alone can guarantee it to her. When she defends her right on that continent, she defends her future.”
To this proud and touching appeal Lord Salisbury replied :
” Researches have been made in this country, but hitherto without success, for the purpose of recovering the text of the treaty with the Emperor of Monomotapa, on which such large consequences are based. In the absence of this documentary confirmation we have at present no ground for believing that the Emperor himself possessed or affected to convey the extensive territories which he is assumed to have surrendered on that occasion. Still less importance can be attached to the forts whose ° well-preserved ruins’ have been discovered by recent explorers. They are believed by. archæologists to belong rather to the beginning of the sixteenth than to the seventeenth century ; but what-ever their origin, or the date of their construction, their existence in a condition of well-preserved ruin will hardly contribute much to the establishment of the sovereignty of Portugal. Forts maintained in a condition of efficiency are undoubtedly a conclusive testimony that the territory on which they stand is in the military occupation and under the effective dominion of the power to which they belong. But forts which are in ruins and which have neither been reconstructed nor replaced, can only prove, if they prove anything, that so far as that territory is concerned, the domination of which they were the instrument and the guarantee is in ruins also.
” I do not propose to enter further into the archæological argument for the claims of Portugal, which are advanced in the despatch of Senhor Barros Gomes, because in the judgment of Her Majesty’s Government they are not relevant to the contention for the establishment of which they have been adduced. The controversy must be decided on other grounds. The fact of essential importance is that the territory in question is not the effective government or occupation of Portugal, and that if it ever was so, which is very doubtful, that occupation has ceased during an interval of more than two centuries. During the whole of that period the Government of Portugal has made no attempt either to govern or civilize or colonize the vast regions to which a claim is now advanced ; and it may be said, with respect to a very large portion of them, that no Portuguese authority has ever attempted their exploration. The practical attention of that Government has only been drawn to them at last by the successful efforts of British travellers and British settlers. The Portuguese authorities during that long interval have made no offer to establish in them even the semblance of an effective government or to commence the restoration of their alleged dominion, even by military expeditions, until they were stimulated to do so by the probability that the work of colonizing and civilizing them would fall to the advancing stream of British emigration. It is not, indeed, required by international law that the whole extent of a country occupied by a civilized power should be reclaimed from barbarism at once ; time is necessary for the full completion of a process which depends upon the gradual increase of wealth and population ; but on the other hand no paper annexation of territory can pretend to any validity as a bar to the enterprise of other nations, if it has never through vast periods of time been accompanied by any indication of an intention to make the occupation a reality, and has been suffered to be ineffective and unused for centuries. Her Majesty’s Government are unable to admit that the historical considerations advanced by Senhor Banos Gomes can invalidate the rights which British traders and missionaries have acquired by settlement in the valleys of Nyassa and the Shirà, nor can they affect the lawfulness of the protection which has been long extended by Great Britain to Lobengula, and more recently to the Mahololos.
” Her Majesty’s Government, therefore, cannot but look upon any attempt to exercise Portuguese dominion over the British settlements in the district of Shirà and Lake Nyassa, or over any tribes which are under British protection, as an invasion of her Majesty’s rights.”
The demand that Serpa Pinto, who had command of the Portuguese forces in that region should be withdrawn, having been enforced by England, and the demand of Portugal that she would place herself under the shelter of the provisions laid down in Article 12 of the General Act of Berlin, providing for mediation or arbitration in cases of dispute, having been denied by the British Foreign Office, his Majesty’s government ” reserving in every way the rights of the Crown of Portugal to the African regions in question,” sent the orders required by Great Britain to the Governor-General of Mozambique. And so the contest ended.
In this connection the views of the Portuguese people with regard to British diplomacy in Eastern Africa are valuableand if not valuable, are entitled to consideration as an illustration of the popular inclination on questions of civilization and reform. The document I now quote was addressed on November 20, 1890, to the government by the Geographical Society, a most respectable body, who are interested in the welfare and prosperity of the kingdom. The address undoubtedly represents the popular feeling on African civilization.
” Monsieur e Ministre :
The Lisbon Geographical Society could not remain indifferent to the events taking place in Eastern Africa. They have watched them with close attention and the particular interest which they owe to their social mission and likewise to the encouragement they have received from the government of this country. They therefore come forward to-day, to place in your hand the expression of their deep regret and of their indignation regarding a fact which they consider offensive and injurious to the principles 0f mankind, 0f civilization and law, which ought to govern the influence, the action, and the relations of civilized nations in Africa between themselves or with the native tribes. The fact they allude to is particularly serious, as it implies the violation of an international agreement to which Portugal has loyally adhered.
” As you are aware, Monsieur le Ministre, the discovery of important gold mines north of the Limpopo, the advantages and profits to be derived on certain markets from the mining concessions so easily extorted by cunning adventurers from the savage chiefs of African tribes, have attracted a number of travellers and explorers to the country known as Metabeleland.
” Several 0f these travellers succeeded in 1887 in obtaining from the principal chief of that tribe (Lobengula) a contract granting them the sole right of working the gold mines situated not only in his own country or territories, and in country or territories lying under his sway, but also in neighboring territories. What Lobengula was to get in exchange for this singular concession no one suspected for a long time. It was merely stated that the lessees were to pay him a certain royalty payable yearly, but that the validity of the concession was dependent upon the reception by the chief of a certain quantity of arms and ammunition with which the lessees were to supply him. The existence of the latter clause was removed in the Transvaal and the British Cape Colony, but it is only recently and from what transpired in a debate at the Cape Parliament that it has become an ascertained facta fact which all reasonable and well-minded authorities on African questions had hitherto declined to believe.
” Mr. Merriman, Member 0f the Cape Parliament, questioning the Cape Government, pointed out that the lessees of the Metabeleland gold mines had for-warded to Lobengula 1,000 Martini-Henry rifles, with their bayonets, and 300,000 cartridges, and that the weapons had been conveyed in transit through Cape Colony in spite of the special laws governing the importation of firearms and war ammunition.
” The first reply made by the Prime Minister, Sir Gordon Sprigg, clearly shows that the minister did not believe such a report. He promised, however, to make immediate inquiries, and on the following day declared to the Chamber that the assertion was well founded.
” He related the circumstances in detail, and added that he had thought fit to blame the conduct of one of the highest officials of the Colony, who, knowing that the weapons had been introduced in the country, had not informed the Colonial Government of the fact. The truth is that from January to March of that year, 1,000 Martini-Henry rifles had passed in transit with 300,000 cartridges through Cape Colony. They had been taken from the Custom-House and forwarded by the agents of the Metabeleland mine lessees. The Colonial:-,authorities after some hesitation had at last assented to the arms leaving Kimberly and being conveyed across the frontier on the strength of an order signed by Sir Sidney Shippart, High Commissioner in British Bechuanaland, the representative of the actual Government of Great Britain, toward which he was solely responsible for all measures taken by him.
” The above-mentioned debate and the discussion which followed in the newspapers cleared all doubts as to the fact of 1,000 rifles and 300,000 cartridges having been sent to Matabeleland and supplied to Lobengula. Now the Matabeles are considered by the best-informed travellers as the most ‘quarrelsome, barbarous, and sanguinary tribe throughout Southeast Africa. This tribe is not composed of natives of the district it occupies. It conquered it by exterminating the original population in 1837, when the notorious Muzilikatse, routed by the Boers, crossed the Limpopo and went to settle in Matabeleland with his Zulus. Succeeding Muzilikatse, Lobengula followed in his footsteps by remaining faithful to the. bloody and tyrannical traditions of his race, invading and laying waste the territories of neighboring tribes, stripping the latter of all their valuables, reducing them to slavery, spreading on all sides terror and death.
” The principal victims of such a violent policy have been the natives of Mashonaland who reside northward. This peaceful and industrious population, which have long maintained the relation of friendly vassals to the Portuguese authorities and settlers of the Zambezi, are cruelly persecuted and constantly assaulted by the Matabeles, who seek to conquer and annihilate them, although they have not yet completely succeeded in their attempt.
The cruelty of the Matabeles has been recently brought into strong relief by the Bishop of Bloemfontain, an authority whom no one will gainsay. Returning in 1888 from an excursion in that country, the noble prelate, still smarting under the impression of the barbarous acts he had witnessed, delivered in a public meeting at Vriburg in British Bechuanaland the following words which Mr. Merriman quotes in one of his Parliamentary speeches :
“One thing I would not do for the life of me would be to hand a gun to Lobengula even if he were to ask me. I would rather sacrifice the lives of the whole of my expedition than to supply firearms to a Matabele, for every one should know that in the hands of such a tribe rifles would only be used for the purpose of murdering innocent and powerless people. The man who handed a rifle to the Matabeles would have cause to repent it bitterly in this world and the next. The mere act of providing the Matabeles with weapons is so abominable that no fiendish cruelty could surpass it.”
“Although widely known, the opinion thus expressed by a venerable and truthful churchman has not been able to prevail against mercantile self-interest and greediness, nor to prevent an English company from providing a barbarous and bloodthirsty people with improved firearms, which will make it easy for them to crush and destroy in complete safety the peaceful tribes living in the neighborhood.
” But this is not all. Such an outrage on civilization has left many people unmoved, and has even found many to excuse it in a country of which certain institutions and several newspapers persisted, and still persist with all their might, against all truth and justice, in denouncing Portugal as a country which reduces the natives into bondage and ill-treats them.
” Of what use could these arms and ammunition be to Lobengula ? Surely he was not going to keep them within the boxes in which they had been conveyed through two British colonies, nor to hang up and admire as harmless works of art.
” Several English papers acknowledge that this dangerous and formidable equipment will be used by the Matabeles to achieve the conquest of the Mashona territories and their wealthy mines, and to hurry into slavery the unfortunate native tribes, who, although mentioned on English maps by the extraordinary title of Slaves of the Matabeles,’ have not been entirely reduced into bondage or wiped off the face of Africa by means of the simple arrow or the assegai.
” Presumably the proud and savage chief will endeavor to justify by means of iron and fire his claims already acknowledged and approved by British diplomacy, but which are wholly unfounded and denied by more than one competent authority, and which amounts to saying that the territory of the Mashonas belongs to the country governed by Lobengula.
” Now Mashonaland is a traditional portion not of the territory occupied by the Matabeles, but of those which have always been considered as within the sphere and sovereignty of the Portuguese, a circumstance which the Portuguese Government has just taken care to proclaim by the final organization of the Zumbo district.
” Part of the weapons handed to Lobengula might have been put to another use worthy of special attention at the present time, and in the face of the international agreement in operation. They could be sold and exported by Lobengula in the Northern countries where the Arab slave hunters would have purchased at high prices rifles and ammunition which the blockade of the eastern coast prevented them from obtaining from the latter quarter. This view of the matter is perfectly rational. Persons of experience in African ways and customs well know how easily the natives travel through enormous distances t0 exchange their goods against other goods they have a fancy for or feel in want of.
” Neither were the governments which had agreed to the blockade of the Eastern coast unaware of this themselves. This is proved by the fact that on November 16, 1888, the British Minister at Lisbon when notifying to our government the intention of blockading the Zanzibar coast, declared that the British and German governments did not believe in the efficaciousness of such a measure without the co-operation of Portugal’ and the simultaneous closing of the Mozambique coast to the exportation of slaves and the importation of arms and ammunition with which the Arab dealers provide themselves for the expeditions into the interior. The Portuguese government acceded to this. According to a decree dated December 6th, they ordered the blockade of the Portuguese coast as far down as the District of Lorenco-Marquez, and prohibited the introduction of all ammunition of war in the districts of Cape Delgado, Mozambique, Angochè, Quilimane, Sofala, and Inhambane.
What a singular coincidence. At the very moment when a great number of chiefs, our friends and vassals, complained of being without arms and ammunition for their own protection and the requirements of every-day life ; at the very moment when English adventurers and intriguers were inducing them to believe that we refused supplying them with such arms in order to render them defenceless against ourselves (a fact of which we have written proofs in the records of our Society) ; at that very moment Lobengula, situated at the north of Inhambane, was receiving a formidable amount of weapons which he could offer to the slave dealers and which at all events were to be partly used in reducing to slavery the peaceful and industrious Mashonas.
If this consignment of improved firearms in the hands of a greedy and barbarous chiefain accustomed to practise the horrible slave-trade had been made with-out the approval and knowledge of a highly situated British official, one could at the most but deplore the neglect and shortsightedness of the British authorities and the blindness and selfishness of a mercantile speculation carried on in violation of the law. But as it has been shown and proved that the highest authority of a country which prides itself upon working in the cause of mankind and African civilization has been consenting party to such a sale of weapons, the circumstance assumes the gravest aspect possible and can but cause feelings of sorrowful surprise and excite the most melancholy apprehensions.
” Such is the sentiment of respectful but firm and sincere protest which the Geographical Society of Lisbon, a humble and loyal cooperator in the holy cause of African civilization, has the honor to submit to the exalted and patriotic attention of the Portuguese Government, as represented by your Excellency.
” To his Excellency the Minister}
of the Marine and the Colonies.”
It must be evident to the reader of this document that the Portuguese are interested in the elevation of their country. That they resent any insult offered it directly or indirectly we have already abundant evidence. As in the case of the occupation of Portuguese territory in Africa, so in the introduction of institutions repugnant to the best sentiments of the country, the protest is strong and determined. This is apparently the character of the people who hold in their hands the destinies 0f Portugal. It is not easy to tell when this determination will change. But I think not yet. The introduction of French Republicanism during the Napoleonic wars has undoubtedly had some effect on the popular mind ; and this effect is demonstrated by the liberal spirit into the constitution and the organization of the government. There are those who think this spirit will go no farther. But there are those also who can see in their minds’ eye the King flying across the frontier, and the sudden organization of a republic, with a bloodless revolution. The effect of the French Republic on the governments of Europe is destined to be great. From confusion and turmoil a strong and powerful and peaceful and prosperous nationality has arisen which attracts the attention of all Europe, and will one day exert a vast influence on the popular mind. Whether the existing governments can resist this influence time alone can tell. But whatever may be the result, the day is far distant when the old monarchies will be transformed, and the old habits will be laid aside, and the institutions of the fathers will be remodelled, and the civil atmosphere will be changed. When the floods come and the winds blow, the fate of the nations can possibly be foretold. Meanwhile Portugal as a political institution maintains her position.
But the time arrived when I could admire and speculate on Portugal no longer. It was when the sun was declining across the wide waters of the river that I stepped on board a steam tug and was whirled over the wavy stream to the steamer Lanfranc, in which we were to be borne to Liverpool. The day was bright and breezy, the little tug danced, the spray washed and wet us, and we clambered up the side of the great ship, where we lay for an hour signalling our farewells to a few kind friends. And then as the sun went down we passed the picturesque and dignified and hoary Belem, and ran along the heights of Cintra, and watched the lights as they came out in the evening darkness, and wondered which was Montserrate and which the ” Lawrence ” and which the Guedes, and saw the ray which shot from the height and knew that this was the last to us of Pena, the charming old home of Dom Fernando and his Countess. As we skirted along the coast the mysteries of the scenery increased in the darkness; we began to calculate how many hours it would be before we reached the mouth of the Douro and the Cape Finisterre, and we were soon on our way on the trackless sea with the stars above us and nothing around us but the splashing waters. The morning came, and with it the consciousness that we were traversing the Bay of Biscay and were well on our voyage. The wild and stormy Bay was in its gentlest mood. The surface of the sea was sparkling with the most cheery and brilliant light, as the west wind drove over it and warmed and lulled us into security in that home of wild storms and tempestuous waves. I looked for the ” vivid lightning ” and listened for the ” dreadful thunder ” and waited for the rain which “a deluge poured,” and called to my mind the spirited voice of the great Braham as he sang that inspiring song which won from the Italians of his day the tribute, ” Non c’ è tenore in Italia come Braham,” and roused the ancient audiences to a stormy wildness. We crossed the Bay while it was in gentle mood and steamed on day and night companionless and alone, until far away we discerned the Scilly Isles enveloped in fog and assuring us that we were in a known region of the earth and bound up the Channel for Liverpool. Day was far spent when we sailed up the Mersey and found ourselves welcomed by the officers of the port, who had been notified of our coming, and who took good care for the storage of our luggage, and directed us to the hotel which was to shelter us until the next day, when we were to sail for Boston on the good steamer Scythia.
The final voyage was bright and sparkling. We sauntered over a smooth sea into the harbor of Queenstown to take the mails and pick up a passenger or two, and trade with the agile girls who sat in the bight of a rope as they were hoisted up the side to sell their pipes and lace and linen, and to admire their agility and. courage. And when the mails were all on board and the traffic all over we steamed out into the wide ocean and were soon lost to all the world. Day after day the tireless flocks of gulls followed in our wake, resting at intervals on the bosom of the waters, and rising in sweeping flight to settle in a hurrying crowd upon a morsel of food thrown from the ship. The sea was wintryso said the captain. The bright little Irish girl, who was bound to Salem, tried in vain to cheer usthe sea was at times too much for us. My mercantile friend from Boston laughed evening after evening at my vain attempts to beat him at euchre. The solemn form of Mr. Leslie Stephen paced up and down, or fore and aft, the deck, giving assent now and then to some wise remark upon the weather or on some well known hero in history. The second-cabin passengers cast longing glances over the ropes upon the scattered crowd who ruled in somewhat melancholy mood the privileged and aristocratic planks of the ship, until the divided community was thrown into one by that most tragic of all events at sea, the plunge of a passenger into the seething waters. A poor bewildered waif, crazed by the sorrows of life, or heartbroken by the thought of those he had left behind, or maddened by drink, suddenly tore himself from his companions and threw himself into the sea. The horror-stricken men and passengers gathered at the sides of the ship and strained their eyes to catch sight of that desperate mortal whom the ship was fast leaving in the raging waters. Not a sound was heard, except the hurried loosing and manning of the boats for the rescue, in which every moment seemed an hour. Somewhere in those crested waves which danced and ran in a hurrying tumult was a human being, struggling or drowning in desperate resignation. Far off, the boat, tossed upon the waters, took her course for the ship. All hope was abandoned, and we were left to realize in silence that a fellow-creature had gone to his last account. We were called to contemplate the despair of man and the mystery of the sea.
The remaining incidents of the voyage were tame and usual. The moaning of the ship’s horn in the ” gloomy doubts ” of the fog, the startling appearance. of the iceberg which lay at the windward of us and solemnly made its way to that destruction from which we sped, the ship at sea which we signalled and whose tidings were unimportantthese things made up the ordinary sea-voyage. But there is an hour when the familiar headland appears in the far-off horizon, and the charm of that scene where ” his islands lift ” their welcome hills and groves and warm your heart, and the familiar fisherman steers his swift schooner close to the stern of your ship, and the spires of the city loom and glisten in the sun, and the gilded dome shines in the morning light, and you realize that at last you have reached the desired haven, Boston. In an hour I was in Salem, and my diplomatic career had come to an end.