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Affairs of the Netherlands.—Union of the Seventeen Provinces under the
Prince of Orange as King, completed.--New Constitution.—Protest of the Belgian Prelates.- Inauguration of the King.–Proceedings of the States-General.—Marriage of the hereditary Prince of Orange to a Sister of the Emperor of Russia.
Intrepre, e weiteumstances are
N the new political system of merly belonged to the first of
those powers had been placed unmore worthy of attention, or ap- der his sovereignty, with the exparently pregnant with more im- ception of some portions of the portant consequences, than the territory of Limburg and Luxunion of the seventeen provinces emburg. With such an assignof the Low Countries under one ment of territory, the Prince of government. The last year closed Orange acquired the regal title ; with manifest preparations for and in a speech delivered to the such a design. The Prince of Dutch states-general on March Orange had been placed by the 16th, he declared his resolution allied powers at the head of the of taking possession of the sugovernment of the ten catholic preme authority over all the provinces ; and the numerous United Netherlands, and at the strong places of that country had same time of investing himself been occupied by garrisons com- with royalty. An address was reposed for the most part of British turned by the States expressive of and Hanoverian troops, with a their entire satisfaction as well mixture of Dutch and Belgic, ob- with the Belgic union, as with the viously intended as a protection new title assumed by the suveagainst French arms and French reign. intiuence. The final develope- The recovery of the supreme ment of the plan was, however, power in France by Buonaparte professedly reserved to the termi- was an event peculiarly menacing nation of the congress of Vienna. to the stability of the Belgic Long before this period, that as- throne, since it could not be sembly came to a decision on this doubted, that if he should estabmomentous subject; and a letter lish his authority, the first emfrom the Prince-Sovereign of Ilol- ployment of the French arms land to the secretary of state at would be to regain the influence Brussels, dated February 23d, of that nation in the Low-counannounced that by the unanimous tries. The most active efforts consent of Austria, Russia, Eng- were therefore immediately made land, France, and Prussia, all to place the frontier on the French those parts of Belgium which for- border in a state of defence.
Troops, under the command of nicated, by means of his son, the the Duke of Wellington, were satisfaction which he felt with the called from different quarters, and conduct of his Belgian subjects in a powerful Prussian army under the preceding actions, and assured Marshal Blucher prepared for co- them that “the blood they had operation. That strong suspici- shed had irrevocably effaced the ons at this time prevailed respect- last doubt that might have subing the affections of the Flemish sisted respecting the solidity of people was rendered manifest by the new kingdom, and the union a proclamation issued at Brussels of its inhabitants"-words which on April 20th, appointing a spe- will be seen to imply more than cial court to take cognizance of, they express. and punish, all such persons as On July 13th a report was preeither by discourse or actions sented to the King of the Nethershowed themselves partizans of lands from the committee appoint“a certain foreign power,” or ate ed to draw up the constitution tempted to excite discontent and for the kingdom. Its particulars sedition among the inhabitants. are too numerous to admit of The battle of Waterloo, su im- abridgment; but some of the portant to all Europe, was parti- provisions may be mentioned by cularly decisive of the fate of Bel- which the points most essential to gium, since it was the result of a free representative government the direct attempt of Buonaparte are secured. The legislative power to take possession of Brussels. is assigned jointly to the King, On that and the preceding days and the States-general elected by all the fuctuations of hope and the provincial States, who are fear were observable in this capi- themselves elected by all the inhatal, according to the different in- bitants of the kingdom interested telligence transmitted from the in its prosperity. All arbitrary armies ; and it cannot be doubted arrests are forbidden, and every that party feelings were displayed individual arrested by order of in the several changes; but the government is to be brought final success left only one expres- within three days before his legal sion of the public voice, that of judge. Judicial sen ences are to joy and congratulation for a great be pronounced in public, and their deliverance. Belgian troops had causes assigned. Houses to be fought along with the allies in the inviolable, and property not subconflict, and the hereditary Prince ject to confiscation. The right of of Orange had received an ho- petitioning is recognized. No nourable wound in the cause.- privilege exempts from taxes. The city of Brussels distinguish- Every subject is eligible to all ed itself by humane attentions to employments without distinction the wounded strangers, especially of birth or religion. No other the British, and obtained the restraint to the liberty of the press acknowledgments of the great but the responsibility of writers, Commander on the occasion. The printers, and distributers. Liberty King of the Netherlands, who of conscience is guaranteed. The remained at the Hague, commu- provincial States are charged with
every thing relating to the inter- of his subjects, for which purnal economy of the province; their pose he has convoked deputies, president to be a commissioner or notables, from each district, appointed by the king. The na- to be the organs of the general tional representatives to be divid- opinion. ed into two chambers ; the higher The constitutional plan was laid to consist of members nominated before a special assembly of the by the king, and for life. The States-general of the United Neplans of laws deliberated on in therlands, on August 8th, and its the council of state, are sent by unanimous acceptance was anthe king to the chamber of elect- nounced on the 19th by a deputaed deputies, and if there adopted, tion which waited on the king. are sent to the other chamber for Onegreat difficulty which might examination. The latter also re- be foreseen in effecting a coalesceives and discusses all proposi- cence of the whole Netherlands, tions made by the elected chamber under one form of law and goto the king, and transmits them vernment, arose from the very if approved. The sittings of the different feelings concerning reStates-general are made public. ligion which prevailed in the two The independence of judges is portions of the country. The seguaranteed. The right of mak- ren Dutch provinces were in a ing peace and war is committed great measure indebted for their to the sovereign. The crown is prosperity to that principle of gedeclared hereditary in the house neral toleration in which they of Nassau.
long stood distinguished among On July 18th a proclamation the nations of Europe, and which was issued by the king, notifying was fundamental in their political the union of the United Provinces system. The ten Flemish prowith Belgium, as agreed upon by vinces, on the contrary, from the the allied powers, and accepted time of their separation from the by himself, with the leading arti- others, adopted in its extreme the cles of that union. The first of exclusive maxim of the Roman these is, that the two countries catholic church, and acquired the shall form one state, governed by character of some of the most bithe constitution already establish- goted and intolerant members of ed in Holland, modified by con- that community. The attempts sent according to the new state of of the Emperor Joseph to enforce things. It declares that the Bel- a toleration of different religions gian provinces shall be duly re- were reckoned among his most presented in the States-general, heinous violations of the Belgic which are to be held alternately rights, and were finally defeated in a town of Holland, and in one with the rest of his projects. It of Belgium. It mentions the ap- might be supposed that the great pointment of the committee and political changes since his time, the presenting of the report above and particularly the long subjeccited; but says, that before the tion of those provinces to France, introduction of the fundamental would have produced a change in law, his Majesty has resolved to men's opinions on this subject, convince himself of the assent and this was probably the case Vol. LVII.
with respect to the body of the hearts of his faithful subjects itt laity; but among the high clergy, this part of his kingdom, "with whose prejudices and interests whom, attachment to the catholic combined in the support of the faith is stronger and more lively ancient system, there existed all than in any other country in the former repugnance to admit Europe.” From these purely rea principle equally hostile to both. ligious complaints, they turn to The operation of these combined another of a civil nature. " The motives was remarkably mani- clergy of these provinces have obfested by the publication of an ad- served, not without pain, that dress from certain of the Belgian your Majesty has been persuaded prelates to the King of the Ne- to exclude them from the assemtherlands, dated July 28th. Be- blies in which the great interests ginning with the king's assurance of the state were discussed ; that in his proclamation of confirming the plan of the new constitution to the catholic church its estab- contains honourable distinctions lishment and privileges, they af- for the nobility; and that the firm that these are inconsistent clergy, one of the first class in with an article in the plan of the the state, are deprived of them ; new constitution, by which equal that they will not even have the favour and protection are promise right of being represented in the ed to all religions. They next provincial assemblies; that their endeavour, historically, to prove influence on the acceptance of the the incompatibility of such a to- new constitution is carefully releration with the canonical laws and moved, so that the most distinfundamental principles of the ca- guished members of the clergy tholic church. They say, are not, according to the expresare bound, Sire, incessantly to sions of your Majesty's proclapreserve the people entrusted to mation, among the persons most our care from the doctrines which worthy of the confidence of their are in opposition to those of the fellow-citizens ; lastly, that they catholic church. We could not are not allowed to inscribe their release ourselves from this obli- dissentient votes on the lists of gation without violating our most the notables." This address, sacred duties; and if your Ma- which contains many other rejesty, by virtue of a fundamental marks of a similar nature, was law, should protect in these pro- signed by the bishops of Ghent, vinces the public profession and Namur, and Tournay, and the spreading of these doctrines, we vicars-general of Liege and of should be in formal opposition Malines. An ecclesiastical proto the laws of the state.” In a kind test of this kind was capable at a of menace, they proceed to inform former period of lighting up a the king, that such regulations, if dangerous flame. At the present, confirmed, could only lead to a it was more likely to throw disrenewal of the troubles which de- credit upon the religion of which solated these provinces in the it was the advocate, as being rasixteenth century, and that they dically intolerant, and admitting must, sooner or later, alienate the no union with other forms of
Christianity. It does not appear faction. His Majesty in his speech to have produced any alteration in took notice of the union, under the resolutions formed by the the same Sovereign and laws, of ruling powers relative to the sys- the seventeen provinces in the tem of religious affairs for the reign of the Emperor Charles V.; Netherlands. The King, on Sep- and congratulated the assembly tember the 10th, issued an ordi- on the prospect of its renewal after nance, with the following pre- a separation of nearly three cenamble : “ Considering that it is turies. He was replied to in an just and expedient to recur to the appropriate speech by the Preadvice of functionaries professing sident of the First Chamber; after the Catholic religion, for every which, the constitution was read, measure of administration relative and the King pronounced the oath to the public exercise of this reli- with peculiar energy. The progion, and especially for what re- cession then repaired to the church gards the relations between the of St. Gudule, at the door of clergy of our kingdom and the which the King was received by holy see, and desiring to confirm, the very Reverend M. Mille, en. by a special and permanent insti- titled chief priest and pleban, who tution, our resolution to remove addressed to him a discourse enevery thing which might tend to tirely free from any of the senweaken the real guaranty which timents of the prelatic address the constitution secures to the li- above mentioned, and claiming berty of all forms of worship, or only the protection for the Cawhich might in any degree affect tholic religion guaranteed by the the dogmas and the discipline of constitution. The first sitting of the Roman-catholic religion, or the States-general, at Brussels, hinder those who profess it from opened on the 25th, and one of freely exercising their faith as the earliest of its acts was a doheretofore, we have decreed, &c.” tation to the Duke of Wellington, From this formula, it will appear, as Prince of Waterloo, of an estate that only protection, and not mas- on the very theatre of his triumph. tery, and still less an exclusive The Sessions, in which every thing power, is given to the Roman passed with unanimity, was soon church in Belgium. The sub- after closed. sequent articles contain the ap- In October, was officially pubpointment of a committee of the lished the boundary treaty between Council of State, consisting of the King of the Netherlands and three or four Catholic members, the Emperor of Austria, concluded to which is to be referred every at Vienna, on May the 31st. It thing relating to Catholic wor- marks out topographically all the ship.
limits between the seventeen BelOn September the 21st, the gic provinces and their neighceremonial of the inauguration of bours, comprising also a part of the King of the Netherlands was the ancient Duchy of Luxemperformed at Brussels with all burg, to be possessed in perdue solemnity, and with every petuity by the Sovereign of the external mark of general satis. Netherlands, as a compensation