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Mission lo Belgium,

Brussels, 26ru Sep'r., 1832. To the Hon. EDWARD LIVINGSTON,

Secretary of State of the United StatesSir,--I arrived here only on the 21st inst., but have been so seriously indisposed ever since, as to be almost wholly incapacitated for any sort of occupation. I made an effort, however, to go out yesterday and present my credentials to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, and had, subsequently, an audience of the king. My unwillingness to suffer another Havre packet to sail without giving the Department some account of what has occurred during the first stage of my mission, will, I trust, excuse any appearance of haste or brevity in that account.

"I arrived in Paris on the 19th of August, and remained there about four weeks. My stay was longer than I originally intended that it should be, but many considerations weighed with me to protract it. The two most prominent were the fact, known to all Europe, that the politics of France and the politics of Belgium are, as things stand at this moment, precisely the same, and their interests (in respect of their continental relations, of course) completely identified; and my own entire want of experience in the new and delicate function committed to me by the government. It was of great importance to me, as a diplomatic agent accredited to this Court, (itself a new one,) to have the advantage of being presented to one, with which it is, by every sort of tie, so closely connected ; and I avail myself of the occasion to express my gratitude to Mr. Rives for the pains he took to promote the objects I had in view. After the necessary delays, which need not be mentioned, I was presented to the King of France at Neuilly, and had the honor, ten days afterwards, to dine with the Court at the same place. The interest (as strictly affectionate and domestic as any that occurs in private life) which the reigning family of France feels in every thing connected with the welfare of Belgium, ensured to me a kind reception from them, and, in my conversations with them, I endeavored to pave the way to a similar reception here. The day after I dined at Neuilly, I set out with Gen. Wool on my journey hither. He begged me to act as his interpreter at the

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important post of Douai, which had been particularly recommended to his attention, and a stay there of about two days, for the purpose of inspection, was the only delay in our journey. As soon as I conveniently could, after my arrival here, I sent a note (of which a copy is herewith transmitted to the Department of Foreign Affairs, notifying my arrival to the acting minister, (Gen. Goblet,) and requesting him to appoint a time at which I might present my credentials. We had an interview yesterday, at noon. He expressed himself, on behalf of his government, most favorably disposed towards the United States, and observed that he thought we had a deep and peculiar interest in the prosperity of Belgium. I replied to him in general terms, that, as a growing, prosperous and enterprising nation, the United States have, indeed, a deep interest in the welfare of all other nations, and especially in whatever has a bearing upon the freedom of navigation and commercial intercourse. After a few moments of such conversation, I took the liberty (which I prefaced by as many apologies and palliations as I could express in French) to request that he would procure me as early an interview with the king as was consistent with the perfect convenience of his majesty, assigning as a reason for my solicitude upon the subject, that Gen. Wool, who had been sent abroad by the government for purposes which I mentioned, was at Brussels, and would remain in Belgium but a short time. I therefore wished to have an early opportunity of presenting him to the king, since I could not doubt but that here, as in France, every facility would readily be afforded him by the government, and the juncture (on the very eve, apparently, of hostilities) was a most interesting one. The minister told me he would make my wishes known to his majesty, and that he thought it quite likely I should be received in the course of the day. Accordingly, a few hours afterwards, both Gen. Wool and myself were invited to dine with the king. I was presented to him by the Grand Marshal some time before dinner. The reception I met with was such as I had been led to think it would be, and I expressed to his majesty, in a very few words, the gratisication which the people of the United States felt at the happy consummation of the Belgian revolution, in the establishment of the present order of things. The king conversed with me in a very statesman-like manner, about the points of commercial contact (if I may so express it) between the two nations. Amongst other things, he dwelt upon the prospect of resuscitating completely the fortunes of Antwerp by making it almost a free port, and securing to it the undisturbed navigation of the Scheldt. In fact, I have understood from our consul in that city, that, in in spite of all its present difficulties, (which are very great,) its commerce is very much increased, and that it bids fair soon to divert a very considerable part of the trade of the Rhine, from Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

"Gen. Wool was afterwards presented to the king, who did him the honor of inviting him to breakfast at the palace this morning, and to go immediately afterwards, in the royal carriage, to see a great review which is to take place to-day in this neighborhood.

"I have subscribed, for the information of the department, to three of the leading newspapers of this city : two of the ministerial, and the third on the opposition side of political questions, Even from the very few numbers which I send by this opportunity, the government will perceive that the King of Holland has finally and flatly rejected all overtures to a compromise of the disputed points, and that the controversy will, apparently, now have to be decided by force of arms.

"The young Duke of Orleans is here on a visit to his sister, and Marshal Gerard has gone to the northern frontier of France to put himself at the head of a corps d'armée, ready thence, at a moment's warning, to come to the succor, or even to dispense with the services of the Belgian troops, should the French and British governments think fit to enforce the decision of the conference. It is possible, perhaps probable, that the King of Holland will yield to the first demonstration, by an unequivocal overt act, of such a purpose on the part of those governments. The prospect of a general war, growing out of the Belgian controversy, seems diminished by the interest which Prussia has in the free navigation of the Scheldt, as well as by the reception given at the Courts both of Austria and the power just mentioned, to the ambassadors of Belgium. What effect the very important and rather difficult question of the Spanish succession may have, upon the peace of Europe and the destinies of its governments, is another affair. The name, at least, is of evil omen.

"Before closing this communication, I have to state that a rumor, not groundless, it is said, prevails here, that the ambassador of his Prussian majesty, at Paris, has protested against the French army of the North's crossing the Belgian frontier in case of an open rupture with Holland. This looks more threatening than any thing I have as yet heard. And, even while I write these lines Gen. Goblet, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs ad interim, speaking with me about the prospects of his country, (which he did a good deal, at the conference, to improve,) betrays, without expressing, a deep anxiety on the subject. I have the honor to be, with high consideration,

Your ob'dt. servant, [Signed]


Brussels, 17th Oct., 1832. To the Hon. Edward Livingston,

Secretary of State of the United States,Sir,- Nothing definitive, nothing from which safe conclusions may be drawn, has yet transpired on the subject in controversy between Belgium and Holland. The King of Holland adheres pertinaciously to his views of the question, and is thoroughly supported in his determination by his whole people. On the other hand, it is quite impossible that this government should consent to the terms which he exacts: there seems, so far as I can judge, to be the greatest unanimity among the Belgians on that point, however they may differ on others. But ihen the difficulty seems to be the unwillingness of the three Northern Courts to suffer any coercive measures to be adopted by France and England. Lord Durham, who passed through Brussels some days ago, on his return from a special mission to St. Petersburg and Berlin, was satisfied with the results of his negotiation. This I have on very good authority. Shortly after his arrival at London, a cabinet council was called and another meeting of the conference was held. The English newspapers, within a day or two, announce formally that a combined English ond French fleet is about to blockade the ports of Holland, with the consent of the northern powers.

Meanwhile, military preparations are going on here with great activity, as well as on the northern frontier of France. You will soon have heard that the King of the French has formed a cabinet, at last, at the head of which is Maréchal Soult, and which is already pledged to the public to pursue the system of Casimir Perier. In all events, I have no doubt that Louis Philippe will do whatever he can to defend the throne of his son-inlaw, from personal no less than political reasons, both of which are very strong in favor of that course. The family tie, which unites these monarchs, is very different from that cold political relation which royal marriages generally produce. It is, unless I am egregiously deceived, a hearty and affectionate union, and will produce, as far as it may lie in the parties principally concerned, all the effects of a similar connection in private life.

I dined at Court a few days ago, and had a very long conversation with the king, which turned principally upon the commerce which is likely to subsist between this country and the United States. He dwelt much upon the consumption of tobacco, rice and cotton, but observed to me repeatedly, at intervals, that our tariff, especially in respect of woollens, bore very hard upon our customers here. I told him a recent reduction had taken place, and I did not think it at all impossible that some further modification of the law would be made, as soon as experience should show, as it would, that the revenue arising from the customs under the present act, would be a great deal more than we should know how to dispose of advantageously to the country.

It appears to me very desirable that the Dutch system of restraint, so far as Antwerp and the Scheldt are concerned, should be got rid of, and a free communication with the States of the Rhine be opened, as I trust it will be, under the auspices of this government. I am persuaded the system of policy which King Leopold will adopt, so soon as he shall be freed from the difficulties of his present position, will be, in all respects, consonant with the principles of enlightened reason and good government. I am so much struck with the admirable sense and temper which are displayed in his whole conduct and conversation, that I am tempted to repeat what I have already had occasion to remark, that it is impossible the Belgians should have made a happier or a wiser choice.

I did not receive, until yesterday, the trunks containing the archives of the legation. I immediately disposed of them in the office of the Chancellerie and verified the inventory. Having heard from Mr. Rives on the subject of an allowance, under the head of contingent expenses, for office hire, I have provided myself with a suitable apartment for that purpose, for which I shall send in a quarterly account of three hundred francs. If clerk hire be allowed me, my claim for it will amount to the same sum, which is what I give to the person occupied in the Chancellerie. I would take the liberty of remarking here, that without an allowance of the kind, the situation of a Chargé d'Affaires, by no means, as I know from experience, desirable in itself, becomes in the last degree irksome and disagreeable. I think the Executive ought to press it upon the consideration of Congress, that it is far from being an advantage, in any point of view, to the American people, to send its representatives abroad with inadequate compensations. It is to expose them to perpetual mortification, and to make their whole life a painful struggle to reconcile inevitable expenses with necessary, however sordid parsimony. I have the honor to be, etc., [Signed]


Mission to Belgium,

Brussels, 27th Oc’r., 1832. To the Honorable the Secretary of State

of the United States, Washington, Sir,-On the subject of the Consular department, I think it my duty to inform the government, that our system of leaving these

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