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worship, and guarantee the admission of all citizens to public offices and employments, whatev cr be their religious creed.
3. The Belgian Provinces shall be duly represented in the assembly of the States General, whose ordinary sittings in time of peace shall be held alternately in a town in Holland and in a town in Belgium.
4. All the inhabitants of the Netherlands being thus constitutionally assimilated among each other, the several Provinces shall equally enjoy all the commercial and other advantages of which their respective situations are susceptible; nor can any obstacle or restriction be laid upon one to the advantage of another.
»5. Immediately after the union, the provinces and towns of Belgium shall be admitted to the commerce and navigation of the colonies upon the same footing ns the provinces and towns of Holland.
6. As the burdens must be in common as well as the advantages, the debts contracted till the time of the union, by the Dutch provinces on the one hand, and by the Belgic provinces on the other, shall be chargeable to the public treasury of the Netherlands.
7. Conformably to the same principles, the expenses required for the establishment and preservation of the fortresses on the frontier of the new State, shall be borne by the public treasury; as resulting from an object that interests the safety and independence of all the provinces of the whole nation.
S. The expense of forming and keeping up the dykes shall be for the account of the districts more especially interested in this branch of the public service, reserving the obligation of the state in general to furnish aid in case of extraordinary disasters, all exactly as has been hitherto practised in Holland.
The treaty of Vienna having since confirmed, upon these same principles, the formal cession of the Belgic. Provinces, to form in conjunction with the United Provinces of the Netherlands, one kingdom, we have hastened to appoint a special committee to examine what modifications it would be useful or necessary to make in the constitution already established in Holland.
Citizens distinguished by their knowledge, their patriotism, and their probity, have employed themselves on this important work with a zeal worthy of the greatest praises.
The project which they have just laid before us, contains honourable distinctions for the Nobility, insures to all forms of worship equal favour and protection, and guarantees the admission of all citizens to public offices and employments; it fixes the division of power upon the basis of protecting institutions, which have been at all times dear to the people of Belgium. It recognises above all things the independence of the judicial power; it reconciles the integrity and the strength of the body politic, with the individual right of each of its members j and lastly, it contains the elements of every gradual improvement,
provement, which experience and Further study may shew to be nelessiiry.
However, before we proceed to introduce the new fundamental law,' "we desire to convince ourselves of the assent of our subjects to its principal regulations. For this purpose, Deputies (notables) sh;dl be assembled from every arrondissement, in the proportion of one for 2,000 inhabitants. We have ordered thai the choice shall be made with impartiality among the persons most estimable, and most worthy of the confidence of their fellow citizens. But in order to be certain that our intentions in this respect have been fulfilled, and that those who are going to be named Deputies, are really deserving of the honour of being the organs of the general opinion; we farther order that the lists shall be published and deposited for eight days in the chief towns of the respective districts.
At the same time registers shall be opened, in which every inhabitant, who is the head of a family, may come and insert a simple vote of rejection of one or more of the Deputies named.
It is according to the result which these registers shall afford, that the lists vt ill be finally determined on, and the Notables convoked in each arrondissement to vote upon the plan of the fundamental law which will be laid before them. Each of these assemblages shall send its proccs verbal to Brussels, and shall depute three of its mem-beTs to attend in a general meeting at the opening of those proces verbaux
(journals of proceedings), and at the collecting of the votes of the Notables.
Such, Belgians, are the measures which we have judged the most proper for the establishment of a compact which is to fix your destinies, and to hasten the moment when your Sovereign will be surrounded by a representation faithfully constituted.
Happy to reign over a free, brave, and industrious people, we are sure of finding in it that character for openness and sincerity which has always so eminently distinguished it. All our efforts will be directed to cement the foundations of its prosperity and glory, and the citizens of all classes, and all the provinces shall have in us a benevolent and impartial protector of their rights and their welfare. In particular we guarantee to the Catholic Church its establishment and its liberties, and we shall not lose sight of the examples of wisdom and moderation in this respect, which have been left us by our predecessors, your ancient Sovereigns, whose memory is so justly revered among you.
Given at the Hague, July IS, 1815, and the second year of our reign. (Signed)
By the King. William.
For the Secretary of State in his absence, the Cabinet Secretary (Signed)
P. I)e Crombrugge. (A true Copy). The Clerk to tiic Secretary of State,
L. Van Gobbllschkoy.
PROCLAMATION OF THE WINCE REGENT.
Brunswick, August 2.
We George, by the grace of God, Prince Regent of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and of the Kingdom of Hanover, Duke of Brunswick and Luneburg, &c, in guardianship of Duke Charles Frederick Augustus William of Brunswick Luneburg, to all who see these presents, greeting:
As it has pleased Divine Providence to call away to a better state in the kingdom of peace from the midst of his deeply afflicted family and faithful subjects our dearly beloved cousin the reigning Duke of Brunswick Luneburg, Frederick William, by a glorious death on the 16th of June, in the conflict for the tranquillity of Europe and the independence of Germany; and as through this never enough to be lamented event, the succession to the said Duchy devolves on his eldest son, our much loved cousin Charles Frederick Augustus, therefore have we, as well on account of the tics of consanguinity as of the expressed wish of the deceased, been moved to take upon us the guardianship of our said cousin Duke Charles FrederickAugustus William, during his minority}; and we now declare, in the name and as guardians of our said cousin, that we take possession of the ducal territories of Brunswick Luneburg, with all the rights, regalia, and superiorities, as possessed by our deceased cousin Frederick William: we now, therefore, enjoin iUl subjects and inhabitants of the
ducal Brunswick Luneburg territories, in virtue of their oath of allegiance, to be true and obedient to our said Cousin and us, on account of the guardianship devolved on us, and also the general colleges, magistrates, and administrators, to proceed uninterrupted in the business of their several departments, and to continue to watch over the interests of the country and the government, to the best of their ability. In particular, we hereby authorise and request the Home College of Counsellors at Brunswick, as chief administrators of the country, in future as heretofore, to continue in the regular administration of the country, and to report to us the instructions communicated, or still to be communicated to them.
Given at Carlton-house, this ISthJuly, 1815.
George P. R.
Address of the Belgian Prelates to the King of the Netherlands.
Sire,—We believe it our duty no longer to delay expressing to your Majesty, the surprise and the grief which your proclamation of the 18th of this month, (July) has caused us.
In the conviction that it is the first duty of the Bishops, to speak the truth to the Throne when the grand interests of Religion are In question, we now fulfil this duty with the more confidence and frankness, as your Majesty frequently testified to us your intention to protect rebgion with all your power, and as in that very proclamation, which is the cause of our uneasiness, vou assure to
the Catholic church its establishment and its privileges.
Sire, the existence and the privileges of the Catholic church, in this part of your kingdom, are inconsistent with an article of the plan of the new Constitution, by which equal favour and protection are promised to all religions. Since the conversion of the Belgians to Christianity, such a dangerous innovation has never been introduced in these provinces, unless by force. The attempts of Joseph the Second to maintain it were fruitless. The tyranny of the last French government established it in theory; but no religious troubles ensued, because the head of the state protected the Protestant sects as little as he did the Catholic church. After this, however, the declared enemy of all religion was overthrown. The Belgian Church recovered all her spiritual rights.— In the Ordinance of the7thMarch, 1314, which the Commissioners of the allied powers expressl) confirmed, thegeneral Government of Belgium declared, "Henceforward the ecclesiastical power, and the temporal power, will be inviolably maintained in their respective limits, as tliey are fixed by the common law, and by the ancient constitution of the couatry."
Sire, we do not hesitate to declare to your Majesty, that the canonical laws, which are sanctioned by the ancient constitutions of the country, are incompatible with the projected constitution which would t?ive in Belgium equal favour and protection to all religions. The canonical laws have always
rejected schism and heresy from the bosom of the church.
TheChristian Emperors thought it their duty to maintain these laws, and to secure their execution, as may be easily seen in the collection of edicts upon this subject. From Charlemagne down to the unhappy epoch cf 1781, and the following years, all the Sovereigns of this country in every age, exclusively protected the Apostolic Roman Catholic religion, and secured to it the undisturbed enjoyment of all the rights and privileges in the possession of which they found it.
The Council of Trent, all whose resolutions were published in these Provinces, and have thence the effect of ecclesiastical law, after confirming all the old laws of the Church, which fix the spiritual jurisdictions, the rights of the Bishops, of the Chapters, of the Universities, and in general of the regular and secular clergy, commanded the bishops to see to the execution of them, and carefully to watch not only over the maintenance of the sacred pledge of the faith, but also that of the laws, which concern the essential discipline of the Catholic Church, and secure the consistency and the inviolability of its government. These, Sire, are the duties of the bishops of these provinces, and the laws of the country have constantly allowed and facilitated the fulfilment of them, till a higher power prevented them in part from discharging them.
If your Majesty, when you secure to the Belgie church her existence and privileges, has the intention,
trillion, as we conjecture, to maintain the entire execution of the holy canon law, we are incapable of duly expressing our thanks to your Majesty •for it.
But we most respectfully take the lilierty to lay before your Majesty an article of the new constitution, which, in securing the same protection to all religions, would be incompatible with the free and entire exercise of our official duties.
We are bound, Sire, incessantly to preserve the people entrusted to our care, from the doctrines which are in opposition to the doctrines of the Catholic church. We could not release ourselves from this obligation without violating our most sacred duties; and if your Majesty, by virtue of a fundamental law, protected in these provinces the public profession and spreading of these doctrines, the progress of which we are bound to oppose with all the care and energy which the Catholic church expects from our office, we should be in formal opposition to the laws of the state, to the measures which your Majesty might adopt to maintain them among us, and in spite of all our endeavours to maintain union and peace, the public tranquillity might still be disturbed.
And since, by Art. 130' of the proposed Constitution, the public exercise of a form of worship may be hindered, when it might disturb the public tranquillity; it follows, that the free exercise of our religion might be hindered by a possible consequence of the use of the rights and liberties of
the Catholic church in these provinces.
We dare not conceal from yoa. Sire, that such regulations, if they were continued by your Mar jesty, could only lead to a renewal of the troubles which, desolated these provinces in the sixteenth century, and that they must sooner or later alienate the hearts of your faithfid subjects in this part of your kingdom, with whom, attachment to the Catholic faith ii stronger and more lively than Id any other country in Europe.
Already the proclamation of your Majesty, which announced that the new Constitution should insure the liberty of religions, and give all equal favour and protection, filled every heart with consternation. It is known that this dangerous system is one of the main articles of the modern philosophy, which has been the source of so many misfortunes to us; that evidently aims at exciiin? indifference to all religions, at lessening their influence from day to day, and at destroying them in the end entirely. We are bound, Sire, to tell you the truth in its full extent. The clergy of these provinces have not observed without pain that your Majesty has been persuaded to exclude them from the assemblies in which the great interests of the state were discussed; that the plan of the new Constitution contains honourable distinctions for the nobility, and that the clergy, once the first class in the state, are deprived of them; that it will not even have the right of being represented in the Provincial Assemblies, that its influence on the acceptance