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inhabitants should be disarmed as were not entitled to form part of the national guard. The Duke of Angouleme returned to Nismes, but such a spirit was prevalent there, that it was not thought prudent to open the Protestant churches. The national guard, which had been ordered to d is band, refused to lay down their arms; and no prospect then appeared of the restoration of tranquillity. Before the termination of the year, however, the interference of Government seems to have been effectual; and on December the 25th, the Protestant churches in Nismes were re-opened, and their congregations assembled with all the usual publicity. Yet, it is to be apprehended, that the past scenes of violence and animosity will have left an impression on the minds of the two parties, which will long foster the rancour of religious discord in that part of France.
The foreign troops having, for the most part, been withdrawn from the interior of Fiance, she was left to her own management of domestic affairs ; but the terms on which she was to be re-admitted into the European community were still under determination by the congress of Vienna, and it was not till after a long and anxious state of suspense, that she was apprised of its final award. The London Gazette, of November the 23d, informed the public of the signature at Paris, on the 20th, of the several treaties and conventions for the restoration and maintenance of peace between the allied powers on the one part, and his most Christian Majesty on the other, but without any mention
of the articles. These, however, were soon after communicated to both Chambers by the Duke of Richelieu, and it may easily be conceived that the scene would be equally trying to the feelings of the Speaker and the audience. The basis laid down by the allied powers was, that the indemnity due to the powers for their exertions, occasioned by the late enterprise of Buonaparte, cannot consist wholly either in cessions of territory, or in pecuniary payments, without greatly injuring the essential interests of France; and therefore that it is better to unite them; and also, that it i* necessary for a certain time to keep the frontier provinces of France occupied by a certain number of the allied troops. Ofthearticles which follow, the first declares, that the frontiers of France remain as they were in 1790, with the exception of the modifications subsequently described. These cannot be understood without a particular map ; but the principal cessions of territory are on the borders of Belgium and the Upper Rhine, and in the vicinity of Geneva, the whole not considerable in extent, but important in point of situation. The indemnity in money to the allied powers was fixed at seven hundred millions of francs, the mode and periods of payment being regulated by a separate convention. The frontier towns to be occupied by the allies, for a term not exceeding five years, and which circumstances might reduce to three, were seventeen in number, along the frontiers of French Flanders, Champagne, Lorrain, and Alsace: the establishment of troops not to b* greater greater than 150,000 men, to be maintained by France, and under a commander in chief nominated by the allied powei3. Particular conventions were made for liquidating the claims of different powers on the French GoTernment. Such was the bitter cup of humiliation which France was doomed to drain, after so many triumphs over her neighbours, enjoyed with so little moderation. As she had risen higher under her late Ruler than at any former period, so she was called upon to submit to a greater abasement. The terms imposed were however a proof of the dread still entertained of her power.
With respect to her internal condition, the past experience of the'rapid changes it has undergone, the known restlessness and impetuosity of the national character, and the present superintendence exercised. by foreign armies, render wholly vague all conjectures on this head for the future; and even throw much uncertainty on the actual state of things. The press is no medium
of information t6 be depended upon, since journals and periodical works are under a supervision, not less strict on account of its being privately exercised. In the published debates of the twochambers, we see an intemperate and almost incontrolable ardour for speaking, and much violence of language and manner, together with an apparent ardour of loyalty, breaking out in inobbish shouts of Vive le Roi; and what seems more important, a preponderance of what is termed ultraroyalism, which opposes the moderation of the court and ministers respecting political criminals, and inclines to carry retrospective punishment to the greatest practicable severity. This spirit has been particularly displayed in the debates on the proposed law of amnesty, with which the year concluded, and seems to forbode a stormy season to come, unless Government shall have acquired the strength and the wisdom to hold the helm with a steady hand.
CHAPTER IN the new political system of Europe, few circumstances are more worthy of attention, or apparently pregnant with more important consequences, than the union of the seventeen provinces of the Low Countries under one government. The last year closed with manifest preparations for such a design. The Prince of Orange had been placed by the allied powers at the head of the government of the ten catholic provinces; and the numerous strong places of that country had been occupied by garrisons composed for the most part of British and Hanoverian troops, with a mixture of Dutch and Belgic, obviously intended as a protection against French arms and French influence. The final developemeut of the plan was, however, professedly reserved to the terminalion of the congress of Vienna. Long before this period, that assembly came to a decision on this momentous subject; and a letter from the Prince-Sovereign of Holland to the secretary of state at Brussels, dated February 23d, announced that by the unanimous consent of Austria, Russia, England, France, and Prussia, all those parts of Belgium which for
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.
merly belonged to the first of those powers had been placed under his sovereignty, with the exception of some portions of the territory of Limburg and Luxemburg. With such an assignment of territory, the Prince of Orange acquired the regal title j and in a speech delivered to the Dutch states-general on March 16th, he declared his resolution of taking possession of the supreme authority over all the United Netherlands, and at the same time of investing himself with royalty. An address was returned by the States expressive of their entire satisfaction as well with the Belgic union, as with the new title assumed by the sovereign.
The recovery of the supreme power in France by Buonaparte was an event peculiarly menacing to the stability of the Belgic throne, since it could not be doubted, that if he should establish his authority, the first employment of the French arms would be to regain the influence of that nation in the Low-countries. The most active efforts were therefore immediately made to place the frontier on the French border in a state of defence.— Troops, Troops, under the command of the Duke of Wellington, were called from different quarters, and a powerful Prussian army under Marshal Blucher prepared for cooperation. That strong suspicions at this time prevailed respecting the affections of the Flemish people was rendered manifest.by a proclamation issued at Brussels on April 20th, appointing a special court to take cognizance of, and punish, all such persons as either by discourse or actions showed themselves partizans of "a certain foreign power," or attempted to excite discontent and sedition among the inhabitants. The battle of Waterloo, so important to all Europe, was particularly decisive of the fate of Belgium, since it was the result of the direct attempt of Buonaparte to take possession of Brussels. On that and the preceding days all the fluctuations of hope and fear were observable in this capital, according to the different intelligence transmitted from the armies; and it cannot be doubted that party feelings were displayed in the several changes; but the final success left only one expression of the public voice, that of joy and congratulation for a great deliverance. Belgian troops had fought along with the allies in the conflict, and the hereditary Prince of Orange had received an honourable wound in the cause.— The city of Brussels distinguished itself by humane attentions to the wounded strangers, especially the British, and obtained the acknowledgments of the great Commander on the occasion. The King of the Netherlands, who remained at the Hague., commu
nicated, by means of his son, the satisfaction which he felt with the conduct of his Belgian subjects in the preceding actions, and assured them that "the blood they had shed had irrevocably effaced the last doubt that might have subsisted respecting the solidity of the new kingdom, and the union of its inhabitants"—words which will be seen to imply more than they express.
On July 13th a report was presented to the King of the Nether-, lands from the committee appointed to draw up the constitution for the kingdom. Its particulars are too numerous to admit of abridgment; but some of the provisions may be mentioned by which the points most essential to a free representative government are secured. The legislative power is assigned jointly to the King, and the States-general elected by the provincial States, who are themselves elected by all the inhabitants of the kingdom interested in its prosperity. All arbitrary arrests are forbidden, and every individual arrested by order of government is to be brought within three days before his legal judge. Judicial sen oners are to be pronounced in public, and their causes assigned. Houses to be inviolable, and property not subject to confiscation. The right of petitioning is recognized. No privilege exempts from taxes. Every subject is eligible to all employments without distinction of birth or religion. No other restraint to the liberty of the press but the responsibility of writers, printers, and distributers. Liberty of conscience is guaranteed. The provincial States are charged with
every thing relating to the internal economy of the province; their president to be a commissioner appointed by the king. The national representatives to be divided into two chambers ; the higher to consist of members nominated by the king, and for life. The plans of laws deliberated on in the council of state, are sent by the king to the chamber of elected deputies, and if there adopted, are sent to the other chamber for examination. The latter also receives and discusses all propositions made by the elected chamber to the king, and transmits them if approved. The sittings of the States-general are made public. The independence of judges is guaranteed. The right of making peace and war is committed to the sovereign. The crown is declared hereditary in the house of Nassau.
On July 18th a proclamation was issued by the king, notifying the union of the United Provinces with Belgium, as agreed upon by the allied powers, and accepted by himself, with the leading articles of that union. The first of these is, that the two countries shall form one state, governed by the constitution already established in Holland, modified by consent according to the new state of things. It declares that the Belgian provinces shall be duly represented in the States-general, which are to be held alternately in a town of Holland, and in one of Belgium. It mentions the appointment of the committee and the presenting of the report above cited; but says, that before the introduction of the fundamental law, his Majesty has resolved to convince himself of the assent
of his subjects, for which purpose he has convoked deputies, or notables, from each district, to be the organs of the general opinion.
The constitutional plan was laid before a special assembly of the States-general of the United Netherlands, on August 8th, and its unanimous acceptance was announced on the 19th by a deputation which waited on the king.
One great difficulty which might be foreseen in effecting a coalescence of the whole Netherlands under one form of law and government, arose from the very different feelings concerning religion which prevailed in the two portions of the country. The seven Dutch provinces were in a great measure indebted for their prosperity to that principle of general toleration in which they long stood distinguished anions the nations of Europe, and which was fundamental in their political system. The ten Flemish provinces, on the contrary, from the time of their separation from the others, adopted in its extreme the exclusive maxim of the Roman catholic church, and acquired the character of some of the most bigoted and intolerant members of that community. The attempts of the Emperor Joseph to enforce a toleration of different religions were reckoned among his most heinous violations of the Belgic rights, and were finally defeated with the rest of his projects. It might be supposed that the great political changes since his time, and particularly the long subjection of those provinces to France, would have produced a change in men's opinions on this subject, and this was probably the case