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Dutch government. I have seen the communication in the hands of one of the diplomatic corps here.
In consequence of the king's absence, (at Lille with the French Court,) who is expected to return to day, nothing, I suppose, has yet been done by this government.
The peace of Europe seems about to be settled upon a surer basis than hitherto. I am sorry to have to add that the lamentable proceedings at the South will have signally contributed to that result, by precluding the possibility of any movement in favor of further reform, and, of course, reconciling absolute monarchs, in some degree, to those already made. Let me add, sir, that the message and the proclamation of the President have made a profound impression in Europe, which is unanimous in extolling the wisdom, patriotism and moderation that characterize those papers. It is the universal sentiment that, if our institutions are not predestined to end in early ruin and dishonor, they will be saved by the administration of Gen. Jackson.
I have heard nothing directly from the South, so that I do not know as yet what to think of our prospects. The proceedings of the "Convention" are characterized by a precipitation and recklessness only equalled by that of the Governor who summoned them so hastily to the work of ruin. They have proscribed, trampled upon and outlawed the whole Union party. I am looking with the greatest anxiety for intelligence from my friends. If they think I can be of any use in the scene of action itself, I shall ask leave to return to them. If our cause is hopeless there for the present, I may as well remain here until ulterior events shall enable the government to determine at what post I can render the best service to the country. I have been profoundly afflicted at the posture of affairs at home, but I do not know how it is that my hopes are greatly revived within a few days, and I begin to think that these threatening events have only been permitted as a lesson to us all, one which I have long expected we should receive, and which may end in infinite good.
I have the honor to be, etc.,
H. S. LEGARÉ.
Legation of the United States,
To the Hon. EDWARD LIVINGSTON, etc.,—
Sir, Since I had the honor of writing to the department, the affairs of this country have made no progress whatever towards a final settlement, but rather, I should say, the reverse, M. Dedel has been substituted by the King of Holland to M. Van
Zuylen Van Nyvelt, but it is, I fear, simply a change of men. The negotiations between the new Envoy and Lord Palmerston and M. de Talleyrand have not yet begun,—at least, Sir Robert Adair, though anxiously expecting intelligence upon the subject, got none by his courier yesterday. There seems to be good reason, in the meantime, for believing, that the King of Holland is determined not to agree to any terms that the English and French negotiators would entertain, for a moment; and, indeed, I have been informed, by a person that has correspondents at the Hague, that he still dreams of a restoration. Indeed, his capital and, as he thinks it, conclusive argument against the terms offered him by the mediating parties, is that his throne would not be worth the trouble of occupying it on such conditions.* And there may be some truth in that view of the consequences likely to result to Holland, from the emancipation of Belgium and the complete establishment and administration of its government on large and enlightened principles.
But the question for a practical statesman is what remedy is there for the evil: will keeping up an immense military force merely to wait, year after year, for some fortunate turn in the chapter of accidents, while the country is loading itself with debts and taxes, and even hazarding its whole existence as a commercial nation, answer that purpose? The King of Holland seems to have satisfied himself that it will, and as he is said to have his supplies for the year, he is independent of public opinion, if it be not favorable to his policy, for that period, at least. Meanwhile, the situation of Belgium seems to me to be full of difficulty. A debate took place, the other day, relative to the war budget. An amendment was proposed, of which the object was to limit the supplies to be granted for the keeping up the present establishment to six months, with a view to coerce the ministry into the adoption of some decided course, and, at the same time, to enable them to say to the Courts of Paris and London, you must either settle this question within that time, or consent to our righting ourselves by open hostilities, or, in short, guaranty us against any possible invasion of Holland, after we shall have reduced our army. It does, indeed, seem to be a very hard case for a country which is, for the first time, assuming its station as an independent commonwealth, to be compelled to keep up, at an expense most disproportionate to its resources, a military establishment as great as it could possibly maintain if hostilities were actually broken out, when the period of such hostilities is indefinitely postponed by those who control its destinies. This is the more galling, as there is some reason to suspect that the Belgian government is now secretly dissatisfied with the Twenty-Four Articles, and has a mind to form (if the
* Remarkably verified in his recent abdication.
thing were possible) a triple alliance with France and England, with a view to secure itself the left bank of the Scheldt and North Brabant, instead of acquiescing in a state of passive neutrality and taking only what the mediating powers are pleased to allot it.
If the reports we hear of Ibrahim Pasha's progress and purposes are to be relied on, the affairs of Turkey, as to which France, and perhaps England, regard with jealousy the sinister interest that Russia is said to manifest towards the Porte, will tend still farther to embroil the politics of the great powers who have made the boasted balance of Europe subservient to their own domination and encroachments, and suffer nothing to be done by any of the minor States that does not promise to promote their interests.
All speculations about the chances of war are necessarily very unsatisfactory. Appearances for the last four months have certainly been very much against the probability of such an event; but, in spite of the reluctance evidently felt by the Northern crowns to support the pretensions of the King of Holland openly, I should not be surprised if his obstinacy were yet so far successful as to bring on serious difficulties, if not an open rupture, between the despotic Courts and England and France. I think the peace of the continent, as I had the honor of intimating on a former occasion, is in much less danger now than it was some months ago, not only because the new administration in France, and the Whigs of England, have proved themselves, since the opening of their respective assemblies, much more powerful at home than was generally supposed last summer, but also because of the policy adopted by those governments, which has been any thing but revolutionary. Recent events, too, have thrown discredit upon the pretensions of the elder branch of the house of Bourbon, and tended to reconcile many, who have been hitherto well disposed to it, to the new regime.
In the Moniteur of to-day, (2d April,) which is herewith transmitted, you will see a very clear, precise and condensed exposé of the state of the military service here, made by Baron Evain, Minister Director of the War Department. You will there see the absolute necessity the administration are under of keeping up their present establishment, until the mediating powers shall think proper to take upon themselves the responsibility of coercing Holland into compliance by more efficacious measures, or shall at least guaranty to Belgium the undisturbed possession of her independence and neutrality, at their own risk and expense. On this part of the subject, it is sufficient to observe that a serious difficulty has already arisen between the French government and this, touching the expenses of the two expeditions of the French army in '31 and '32. In settling the
new public law of Europe, by which the monopoly of war seems likely to be secured to the Great Powers in their quality of Armed Judges, it becomes necessary to regulate the important matter of costs. The notion was accordingly broached in the French Chamber of Deputies that Holland had justly incurred the pæna temerè litigantium, and that an indemnity against the expenses of those expeditions ought to be reserved out of the debt or part of the debt to which Belgium is made liable by the Twenty-Four Articles. This is a novel and curious question in this new jus belli et pacis. Under the old law of force, it was a very simple plan to make the weaker party add this to its other sacrifices; but how will that apply to a case like the siege of Antwerp, which is not an act of war?
Some time ago, in conversation with Sir R. Adair, he mentioned to me that you had negotiated a treaty with Baron Behr, which had alarmed the government here, as I could plainly perceive it had given umbrage to him. He began by asking me if I knew him, and then proceeded to say that "the Yankees had been too many for him in a recent negotiation." I replied that there was always a great deal of ability in the public service of the United States. "No doubt of that," said he, "and our government ought to be careful whom they send to Washington." But what have they been persuading the young diplomatist to do? said I. "Oh!" he replied, "to consent that free bottoms should make free goods, and I don't know what all besides the ministers here are all alarmed and disavow the having granted any such powers," etc. I could see that the inveterate commercial jealousy of England was awakened, and that my estimable and respected friend (for I owe him many kind offices) had been protesting against some supposed encroachment on the sacred province of the English law of prize. However, I have since heard that no such treaty has been negotiated. You know best. I thought the conversation characteristic enough to be worth repeating.
I have the honor to be, etc.,
H. S. LEGARÉ.
From Mr. Livingston to Mr. Legaré.
Department of State,
HUGH S. LEGARE, Esq., Chargé d'Affaires U. S.,
Sir,-A variety of urgent business, during the session of Congress, has prevented my acknowledging your several very interesting despatches up to No. 11, and what must appear more extraordinary to you, has not given me leisure to transmit to
you a treaty of navigation concluded here with the Belgian minister, and ratified by the Senate. As it contains no articles on which any difficulty was likely to arise, no particular instructions seemed necessary to urge its ratification at Brussels, the notice of it was deferred from time to time to make way for more pressing business. A copy, which I expected from the Senate, not being yet prepared, will be enclosed to you by the next Havre packet. I now write in some haste, and have only to add the expression of entire approbation, both of the President and this department, of the punctuality and ability with which you have discharged the duties of your mission.
The situation of our diplomatic agents abroad has not been unattended to, as you will see by the enclosed report. I am, sir, with great respect, etc., [Signed]
P. S. Since writing the above despatch, a copy of the recent treaty with Belgium has been made and is forwarded herewith.
Legation of the United States,
To the Hon. EDWARD LIVINGSTON, etc.,—
Sir, Since I had the honor of writing to you, a preliminary treaty has been signed at London between the King of Holland and the two great powers. Its principal provisions, as you will perceive, (for it is published in all the journals,) are an indefinite armistice, the provisional liberty of the Scheldt until a definite settlement of the controversy, and the application to the Meuse of the tariff established by the treaty of Mentz. On the other hand, Holland gains immediately the following advantages: the raising of the embargo, the liberation of the prisoners made at the taking of the citadel of Antwerp, and the restoring of the relations between the parties to the footing on which they stood before the expedition of the French last November. This result was, no doubt, brought about by a note of the three northern powers which was sent in a few days after I wrote you my last, and the adjustment of the Turkish controversy, which at one time seemed to wear a threatening aspect. Still, the negotiation remains open, and it is hardly to be expected that the King of Holland will so far depart from all the analogy of his conduct and character, (for he is essentially litigious,) as to bring it with any unnecessary speed to a close.
mentioned, in my last, that I had said nothing officially, and that nothing had been said to me, about the treaty negotiated by the Belgian envoy at Washington. This unaccountable silence,