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taken in connection with what I told you in a former letter that Sir Robert Adair had said to me on the subject, led me almost to entertain a suspicion that this government did not mean to ratify it without some modification,--favorable as the terms of neutrality are to so weak a maritime power as Belgium. But the mystery has been since explained. The minister of foreign affairs called on me the other day and asked me if I had a copy of the treaty, begging me, if I had one, to let him have it, as that sent by M. Behr had not come to hand. I, of course, complied with the request, and, a day or two after, at Court, the king said to me en passant, with a smile,“We have made a fine treaty, as its conditions are quite agreeable to the neutrality which is a principle of our existence.” In this connection I ought to mention that the admitting of linen, etc., into the United States, duty free, by the new tariff, has given immense satisfaction here, fully one-third of the manufacturing industry of the country (I am informed) being employed about those particular products, and the separation from Holland having deprived it, hitherto, of all its markets, and produced the greatest possible distress. I have the honor to be, etc., [Signed
II. S. LEGARÉ.
Legation of the United States,
.} To the lion. Louis McLANE,
Secretary of State of the United States,Sir,--Permit me to begin my official correspondence with you, by congratulating you and the country upon the choice which the President has made in you of one in every respect worthy to be the successor of Mr. Livingston, and pre-eminently qualified for the first department of the administration. I had the honor, in my last despatch, of stating to the government that a preliminary treaty had been signed between France and England on the one part, and Holland on the other. Since that time nothing decisive has occurred, but there is every reason to expect as speedy a termination of the controversy as is consistent with the dilatory habits and litigious character of the King of Holland. The English minister, Sir Robert Adair, tells me there is very little doubt but that an Austrian ambassador will soon arrive at Brussels. You will at once perceive all the importance of such an event. The E.cequatur of Mr. Marck has been obtained and transmitted to him. I have the honor to be, etc., etc., [Signed]
II. S. LEGARÉ. VOL. 1.-22
Legalion of the United States,
. To the Ilon. Louis M LANE,
Secretary of State of the United States, Sir,- Since I had the honor of writing to you, I have received your letter of notification announcing your having entered upon the duties of the Department of State, a fact of which I had not been officially advertised when I ventured to offer you my congratulations upon it.
The negotiations of the conference have not made the progress which was expected, but neither do the difficulties ihat embarrass them arise from the quarter where they were principally apprehended. The conference is come to a stand, because the Belgian ministry will not consent to allow Holland to levy any duty on the Scheldt that shall exceed one per cent. per ton of merchandise,--at least, without adequate compensation for any concession beyond that amount. In this pretension they found themselves upon Lord Palmerston's theme, as one of the abortive projects of reconciliation offered to the parties litigant, last summer, was called. The compensation ihey claim is a reduction of the debt, or part of the debt, for the payment of which Belgium was made responsible by the treaty of Nov., '31, commonly known as the Twenty-Four Articles. It is difficult to imagine that the five powers, after having done so much to preserve the peace of Europe and made concessions to the spirit of revolution, of which I am quite sure they all repent now, with the exception, perhaps, of France, will suffer themselves to be thwarted by the forwardness of the very party to whom they have already sacrificed so much, and that so reluctantly, (I speak here their language). The Belgian ministry think they play a sure game, as the preliminary treaty is beiter than any definitive arrangement they can expect,--and their wish would no doubt be to prolong indefinitely so advantageous a status quo. But, after the siege of Antwerp and the blockade, it is hardly to be expected that the officious powers will shrink from coercive measures in regard to the other party to the controversy, which, beyond all doubt, owes its present existence as a party to what they have done, if not to what they are now doing.
The interference of France, after the disastrous affair at Louvain, in 1931, saved the throne of Leopold ; and I do not know any thing but the throne of Leopold, identified as he is by marriage with the destinies of the reigning family of the Bourbons, that presents a very serious obstacle to the partition of this country, which, I believe, has been all along in M. de Talleyrand's eye, though I do not assert that it has. The recent birth of a prince bas certainly done much to consolidate the new State.
Absolutely the only appearance of popular enthusiasm, I have observed since my residence here, took place at the ceremony of the baptism, which was performed on the Sib inst., in the cathedral of this city, with great solemnity, by the Archbishop of Mechlin hiinself. This child, thus laid by a Protestant father, as a peace-offering, upon the altar of the church, seems to have won the heart of a country more exclusively under the influence of religious feelings than any other in Christendom. Undebauched by the atheistical contamination of France during so many years of temptation, the Belgians are as good Catholics now as they were before Luther preached, and nothing but an inexplicable apathy in political matters, which prevents more than half the whole number of electors from now approaching the polls, prevents their spiritual leaders from doing just as they please there. The consequence, however, of this apathy is, that the liberals, as the opposition call themselves, send to the chamber of representatives a bold, noisy and persevering minority, which, without being able to carry any measure of its own, embarrasses and alarms an inexperienced ministry, by incessant fault-finding, to such a degree, that it may be almost said indirectly to govern the country. This party has been all along urging the government to slip its leading-strings and to right itself by itself
, even at the risk of having to tilt against all Europe. It seems to me easy enough to foresee the immediate result of this Quixotic policy, should it be adopted, if not all its consequences. The question would soon be whether France should have this barrier of the Rhine ; but I am very sure no Belgian plenipotentiary would assist at the future congress by which the question would be settled, whether affirmatively or otherwise.
A very superficial glance at the present temper and situation of Europe will, I think, be enough to satisfy an impartial spectator that its policy is peace, and peace not sought in the spirit of peace, but (paradoxical as it may be) of a deep and settled hostility. Undoubtedly, there is no example of a dynasty more thoronghly detested by men who differ in every thing else, than that of Louis Philippe. The republican party in France, which might have prevented his being a king, but chose rather to give him the name, as they fondly thought, without the power, have been disappointed in what a little reflection might have taught them were most extravagant and even contradictory expectations. To hope to govern France and Frenchmen without a strong executive,-call the government what you will and organize it as you may,-is the greatest of all practical absurdities, and I own I am ai a loss to see wherein consists that glaring breach of promise and departure from principle of which the present administration in that country is accused. Be that as it
may, however, the democratic or revolutionary party there and all over Europe looks upon the king as an apostate from all his professions, while the despotic courts and their dependents, on the other hand, would declare a war of extermination against him, if they durst, for an apostacy of a different sort. The revolt of Poland no doubt prevented a general conflagration, which, at that time, would have been terrific, because it would have sprung out of a struggle for life and death between the principles of legitimacy and revolution. Since that period there has been a reaction in favor of order, and even many of the stoutest champions of constitutional government seem to think it more in danger from the despotism of anarchy than from that of thrones. The course of the French government, too, on which every thing in European politics now, more than ever, depends, has been such as to reconcile the conference to its existence, at least so far as to acquiesce in it for the present and wait events, rather than run the risk of exciting the fearful spirit of the revolution again by an ill-timed attack upon the most remarkable of its works. The fear of the liberal party, first, at Paris, and, by its influence there, throughout the rest of Europe, seems to me to be, just now, the great preservative of peace, which is thus, as you perceive, merely an armed neutrality, but for that very reason, perhaps, less likely to be disturbed than if it was only protected by the usual safeguards. It is obvious, however, that such a state of things throws every thing into the hands of the great powers, and makes the independence of the others little more than nominal. It does not suit the five arbiters of Europe to go to war; if a minor power, therefore, insists upon settling a controversy of its own by force of arms, they have only to adopt, in their discretion, measures to make it harmless to themselves, and, perchance, as in the case of Poland, useful. A number of States, in the neighborhood of each other, form a society whether they will it or not. On our continent, the community has hitherto been directed by the peaceful expression of the opinions and will of a majority of the States that compose it : in Europe, where sovereignty is more refractory and submits only to the sword, the compulsory confederation is absolutely controlled by a very few of its most powerful members.
I send you copies of the letter of the minister of foreign affairs ad interim, notifying to me the birth of a prince, and of my answer. It is the first occasion I have had to express, in a formal manner, what I believe to be the sentiment of our people and the principle of its government, and on that account, however brief and casual the communication, I think it proper to submit it to you.
I have the honor to be, etc., [Signed]
H. S. LEGARÉ.
Legation of the United States,
} To the Hon. Loris McLANE,
Secretary of State of the United StatesSir,-- With respect to the treaty you will have received my dispatch No. 17, in which I mention what the king said to me upon that subject incidentally at Court. As many weeks have clapsed, however, I thought it well to lose no time in calling upon the minister of foreign affairs for a definitive answer, the more especially as their not having received their copy of the treaty seemed to me to imply a degree of carelessness, on the part of their envoy, which was hardly excusable. I accordingly addressed to Count F. de Mérode, who, in Gen. Goblet's absence, is charged ad interim with the portfolio of foreign affairs, the subjoined note:
Mr. Legaré to Count Felix de Mérode, Minister of Foreign Affairs of II. M. the
King of the Belgians, ad interim.
Legation of the U. S. of America,
BRUSSELS, 26Th Al'G., 1833. The undersigned, Chargé d'Affaires of the United States, has the honor, in compliance with express instructions from his government to that effect, of calling the attention of Count F. de Mérode to the subject of a treaty of amity and navigation, concluded at Washington, on the 23 January last, between Mr. Livingston, Secretary of State of the United States, and Baron Behr, Minister resident of H. M. the King of the Belgians.
The undersigned, by reference to the treaty in question, transmitted to him by the Secretary of State, perceives that the ratification of it by the respective parties are to be exchanged within the present year, and he is, therefore, not surprised that some solicitude is felt by his government to know what steps have been taken here towards the fulfilment of that stipulation. The undersigned is entirely persuaded that the silence of H. M's. minister hitherto upon the subject of this treaty, is owing to any thing but indifference to its objects or a disapprobation of its provisions; and it will give him sincere pleasure to be able to convey that assurance to his government, on the authority of an official communication of H. M’s. Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The undersigned avails himself of this opportunity to repeat to Count F. de Mérode the assurances of his distinguished consideration. [Signed]
H. S. LEGARE. This note having been submitted to the king in council, I received, some days after, the following answer :
Answer of Count F. de Mérode.
BRUXELLES, 5TH SEPT., 1833. Monsieur le Chargé d'Affaires, - J'ai en l'honneur de recevoir la communication oflicielle que vous avez bien voulu m'addresser sous la date du 26 du mois dernier, relativement au traité d'amitié et de navigation