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may be fairly denominated 'une comédie larmoyante,' - a crying comedy.
The Prince asked of the assembly what were their wishes. They replied, by acclamation, the separation of Belgium and Holland. But,' said the Prince, do you promise then to remain faithful to the dynasty ? — We swear it!' they exclaimed with enthusiasm.. -If the French entered Bel. gium,' he continued,' would you join them?' No! no !' they replied. • Will you say with me, Vive le Roi !
Not until our wishes are heard,' they returned ; 'but Vive le Prince! - Vive la liberté ! Vive la Belgique!' -- And the Prince burst into tears, and those present embraced each other mutually amid universal enthusiasm ; and the old gen. erals, who were mixed in the press, could not contain their emotion. The Prince conceived how pure aud generous was the Belgian Revolution : from this moment, the separation was a thing resolved, and the sep tion is equivalent, of it. self alone, to a redress of all grievances.'
What more? The Prince was now a party to the proposed separation. He engaged to hasten to the Hague and exert all his credit with the King to bring about an event, which the Belgia n so ardently desired, and which the Dutch, it would seem, were not unwilling to concede; for if an integral union of the two countries was odious to the Belgians, it was no favorite with the Dutch, who were sick of the perpetual annoyance they underwent from their uneasy fellow subjects. Seemingly, therefore, matters were now in a train satisfactory on all hands. It only remained for the King to ratify the conditions made between the Belgians and the Prince, combining the seyerance of Belgium and Holland and the existing rights of the House of Orange, and to arrange the modifications of constitution demanded by the new state of things: - in which event, the Belgians would have accomplished their object by the mere display of force, and without incurring or
* Précis des Evénemens arrivés à Bruxelles, p. 52.
inflicting any serious loss of life. But the sequel disappointed all expectation, and tended strikingly to show how impossible it is to calculate with certainty upon the successive events of a revolution.
Position of Troops.--King's Proclamation.--The Belgian Dep
uties.-Committee of Safety.-The States General.-The King's Speech.-Its Effect.--Excitement in Brussels.Rising of the People.-Frederic attacks Brussels.—The Four Days.-Frederic retreats.-The Prince of Orange.Bombardment of Antwerp.-National Congress. De Potter's Resignation. Declaration of Independence.Adoption of Monarchy.-Exclusion of House of Orange.Russia.-The Constitution.-Election of the Duc de Nemours.-Regency.- Conferences of London. ---Luxembourg.-Election of Leopold.--Hostilities.---Treaty of November.—Leopold's Marriage.-Siege of Antwerp.Remarks.
IF William had frankly adopted the Revolution as it stood, — if he had expressed his decided concurrence in the conduct of the Prince of Or- . ange, and acted accordingly, - the Belgic provinces would assuredly have continued subject to the House of Nassau. Separation, - separation from the Dutch, and from Dutch officers whether of civil or military administration, - was almost the universal cry of the Belgians; but they still adhered to the dynasty, and apparently in all sincerity of purpose. And William may therefore thank himself for the ultimate loss of one half of his Kingdom. For it was the temporizing and
doubtful policy of his cabinet, followed by the rash hostilities of his army, which rendered Belgium wholly independent of him, and occasioned its transfer to a new dynasty.
When the Prince of Orange departed for the Hague, the troops remained at Tervueren, Vilvorde, and Cortenberg, near the city, and in such an attitude, as to create well grounded alarm in Brussels. MM. Joseph d'Hooghvorst and Gendebien were deputed to remonstrate with Prince Frederic on the subject; and he gave the strongest assurances that no troops should enter Louvain or Brussels, and that the camp of Vilvorde should be broken up and the soldiers distributed in cantonments, and that the troops should immediately quit Cortenberg and Tervueren. — This was on the 6th of September. The next day a royal Proclamation, under date of the 5th, was received at Brussels, and produced great excitement among the citizens. This Proclamation was reserved, diplomatic, ambiguous. It seemed carefully so conceived as to give no clear indication of the future intentions of the King. Instead of manfully adopting the movement, and placing himself at his head, he spoke of the grand object of the Belgians only in these oracular phrases:
• We invite them (the States General) to examine whether the evils, which afflict the country, depend upon any vices in the national institutions, and whether there be occasion to modify the latter, and especially whether the relations, established by treaties and by the Fundamental Law between the two great divisions of the Kingdom, ought, for the common interest, to be changed in form or in nature.'
All this was evidently, and of set purpose, wholly indefinite; and a subsequent clause of the Proclamation, in which the King spoke of his own personal views, seemed to indicate that nothing direct or straightforward was to be expected from him individually. He says:
THE KING'S PROCLAMATION.
Disposed to contribute frankly and loyally, and by large and decisive measures, to the welfare of the country, we are not the less resolved to maintain with constancy tke legiti. mate rights of all parts of the Kingdom without distinction, and to proceed only in ways regular and conformable to the oaths we have taken and received.'
If these words meant any thing, they could be understood only as pointing to a slow procrastinating discussion of the Charter, in the view of a formal amendment of it by formal means: - which was a course of proceeding the reverse of what the circumstances of the crisis demanded. At this time, MM. Le Hon, De Brouckere, De Sécus, De Celles, Cornet de Grez, and some others of the Belgian Deputies, were already in Brussels, and they had, the day before, invited all their colleagues to repair thither without delay, to consult and act in concert for the common good. On the appearance of the King's Proclamation, several of them proceeded to the head quarters of Prince Frederic to remonstrate with him on the subject; but all that he could or would do was to promise to transmit any written communication of theirs to the Hague.
The tenor of the Proclamation, so vague and illusory, seems to have induced the Deputies, contrary to their original intent, to attend the session of the States General. The gazettes of the 8th state the reasons for this change of purpose, and show the relative position of things at that moment.
Our Deputies are about to proceed to the Hague.-Weighty considerations, in the begioning, seemed to oppose this journey, and it had been half decided not to undertake it; but since frantic menaces have been launched against them, there would be cowardice in abstaining from it. The Dutch might have thought that fear retained our Deputies, and this was already reason enough for departing.
Moreover, the separation being fixed in principle, should
this be accomplished by force alone, or was it better to varž quish by force and legality combined ? After having conquered by arms, is it not the surest and wisest course to regularize and to confirm, in accordance with royalty and with Holland, the new order of things, wherein we are all in common interested? Are there not arrangements to be made in favor of commerce and industry, and may not such arrangements be best concluded amicably?
• These reasons appear to us preponderant, and cause us to applaud heartily the departure of our Deputies for the Hague. Let them speak forcibly; let them conduct firmly ; let them treat promptly.
• If we see their departure with satisfaction, we expect their journey to be decisive, and that in a very few days all will be consummated.
• There is, then, to be a pause in the movement, a pause brief, short, but which the resolution of the Deputies renders inevitable. Meanwhile, rest we on our arms, and aug. ment our numbers ; for if affairs do not now take a satisfactory turn, we shall have to adopt a determination, which may preserve our country from anarchy.
• The Belgians and their government are now en présence. They must act by their own proper forces and count only on themselves. If we fall under the yoke of Holland once more, it will be our fault; it will be, that we shall have been want. ing in courage, in union, and above all in perseverance. The government wishes to enfeeble us by delays, to destroy us by means of intestine disorders. Let us demonstrate that its hope is vain, and that we are able to conquer independence at whatever price. Firmness, union, perseverance, these are our means of salvation.'
In conformity with the ulterior views made public in these articles, the Bruxellois were busily engaged in the preparation of cartridges, while they received aid in arms and men from other cities, and from Liége, especially, a considerable body of armed volunteers with two field pieces. And on the 13th a Proclamation appeared on the part of the Regency of Brussels, announcing the appointment of a Committee of Public Safety, consisting of eight persons selected by the Regency from a list of sixteen supplied by the Sections. They were MM. the Prince de Ligne,