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trate his equally just and pregnant observation here, but assuming it for the present, I proceed to observe that the consequence of the fact above stated is, if I may be allowed the expression, a total distrust of every body in every thing. I was led, at first, to think the Orange party a very small and contemptible faction. I am satisfied now that I greatly underrated its importance in every point of view, and especially as to the influence of capital and that sort of connection between lord and vassal, or rather patron and client, which has been less dissolved in these provinces than in any part of Europe that was much exposed to the operation of the revolutionary régime of France after '93. This party, like the King of Holland himself, make up in inplacable vindictiveness and dogged obstinacy what they want in strength, or wanted in activity, courage and skill in 1830,-and they are encouraged to do and to say the most extraordinary things, by the apathy of the rest of the people and the consequent weakness of the ministry. These latter, to be sure, are of the liberal party, as it is called, and so have not the confidence of the Catholic leaders, whose support is, nevertheless, absolutely essential to them. And thus it is that, openly opposed by the bulk of landed proprietors, the merchants, manufacturers and other capitalists,-but feebly supported by the great body of the clergy and its adherents,--and, with a question involving even the existence of the government still unsettled, and depending for a settlement absolutely upon the kind offices, or rather the powerful intervention of England and France, no administration ever found itself in so precarious and embarrassing a situation, and, with the best intentions (as I really believe in the world, it is compelled to do things for which nothing but a want of free agency can furnish a sufficient excuse.
The admirable good sense and firm character of the king, together with such connections in Europe as made him the only possible choice of the Belgians, will probably triumph at last over all the difficulties of his position; but the conduct of his government, meanwhile, will often call
for indulgence. I frankly own I should be pleased to see the President extend it to the very extraordinary case under consideration,—without, of course, making any sacrifice of the clear rights or even the just pride of our country. But, of course, the government is the only proper judge how far it is proper, or even possible, to make such a concession. I have the honor to be, etc., Signed]
H. S. LEGARÉ.
Legation of the United States,
BRUSSELS, 11TH FEB., 1831. To the Hon. Louis McLANE, etc., -
Sir, —Before I proceed to inform you of what I have done towards the fulfilling of your instructions in regard to the treaty, I beg to be permitted to remark that Baron Behr seems to imagine, from the tenor of Gen. Goblet's correspondence with me or with him, that he had been charged with negligence by the government, through me, for not transmitting their copy of the treaty with more expedition. Whatever I may have thought at the time or expressed in my dispatches to the government, you are aware, from the copies of my letters sent you, that I did nothing more, in my correspondence with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, than express the surprise very naturally excited by their long silence about the existence of the treaty, and call for such an explanation of it as we had an undoubted right to demand. I shall be very much obliged to you, therefore, if you will do me the favor to assure M. Behr that his inference as to any censure, expressed or implied, upon his conduct in that correspondence, is wholly without foundation in any thing that I had written. An equivocal expression in Gen. Goblet's reply to one of my notes, which struck me at the time as wholly gratuitous, was owing, no doubt, to a misinterpretation of my meaning, expressed, as it was, in a language foreign to him.
I lost no time, after receiving your letter, in inviting the goyernment here to the negotiations authorised by your instructions. This I did in a note, of which the following is a copy :
Mr. Legaré to Count Felix de Mérode.
Brussels, 13th Jan., 1834. The undersigned, Chargé d'Affaires of the United States, has the honor to inform Count Mérode that, by a despatch which he has just received from the Secretary of State of the United States, he has been instructed to declare to H. M's. government that, in consequence of the explanations given both by the late Minister of Foreign Affairs and by H. M's. Minister resident at Washington, the President has been pleased to accede to the proposal made by H. M's. government, to extend the term for the ratification on the part of that government of the treaty lately concluded between the two governments, until the 1st July next.
But, as this common purpose of the high contracting parties can now be accomplished only by a separate and independent convention, and Baron Behr has given the American government to understand that he is not furnished with the new powers necessary to the negotiating of such a convention, the undersigned feels the liveliest satisfaction in being able to inform Count Felix de Mérode that he has received from the President a full power to treat upon the subject with any person who shall be duly authorised by H. M's. government to enter into such a stipulation, and that he is ready, on bis part, to execute the single and scparate article in
question, at what time or place soever H. M's. government may choose to appoint.
The undersigned cannot but flatter himself that the sincere desire, thus manifested by the President to cultivate and strengthen the amicable relations so happily established between the two countries, will be appreciated by H. M's, government, and that the accidental delay, which has occurred in the settlement of this important business, will only have made the conclusion of it the more satisfactory to both parties. The undersigned, etc., [Signed]
H. S. LEGARE. A M. le Comte Felix de Mérode, etc.
Having every reason to believe that the Belgian ministry are disposed to avail themselves of every pretext to defer as long as possible, if not altogether to refuse, the ratification in question, I did not choose, in a note of which the object was merely to invite negotiation, to say any thing of the additional prolongation of the term necessary for the exchange of ratifications. In limiting the delay until the 1st July for their action upon the subject, we had given them all they had ventured to ask, and quite as much as they had a right to expect. Some time after 1 had sent in this note, I had a casual conversation on the subject with M. de Mérode, who told me they had it under consideration, and would probably propose some modifications. Thinking it as well to let them state all their objections formally, I did not press him to let me know what they were on that occasion ; but, having since received from him no official communication on the subject, and wishing to be able to give you some information of a definite character in this despatch, I thought I might venture to send in the subjoined note, to which I may perhaps have a reply before I send this letter:
Mr. Legaré to Count Felix de Mérode.
BRUSSELS, 8th FEB., 1831. The undersigned, Chargé d'Affaires of the United States of America, being about to send off despatches to his government, and extremely desirous to inform it, as far as possible, what is likely to be the result of the overture which, in compliance with his instructions, he had the honor of making, in his note of the 13th ult., to the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, begs to be permitted again to call the attention of Count Felix de Mérode to the subject, for the purpose of requesting that, if it can be done without putting H. M's, government to any unnecessary inconvenience, the undersigned may be informed of the order that has been taken or is likely to be taken by it upon that overture. The undersigned is, at the same time, far from wishing to be understood as either exacting with impatience a precipitate determination on the part of this government, or doubting in the least that its course will ultimately be ach as the President has been led to expect, but as the proposal made by liim through the undersigned was merely a compliance with the wishes of H. M's. government, commuuicated in the most explicit manner, both by the late Minister of Foreign Atlairs at Brussels and by the Minister Resident of the king at Washing
ton, he will naturally look for a ready acceptance of it here. The undersigned would, therefore, be most unwilling, if it can be avoided, to announce, without explanation, to the President, that his note of the 13th ult. has not been answered, and thereby, perhaps, give rise to doubts for which, he flatters himself there is no reasonable foundation, and which a word from the official organ of H. M's. government might at once dispel. The undersigned avails himself, etc.
H. S. LEGARE. To Count F. de Mérode, etc.
In a newspaper, to which I called your attention some time ago in an unoflicial letter, you will have read the speech of an opposition member of the House of Representatives, who expressly charges the ministry with being prevented by England from ratifying the treaty. I could not imagine at the time whence he had got the information, however ill dissembled and even openly avowed to me the fact had been by some of the ministers themselves, but I have since learned that he had it from the best anthority, which I do not feel at liberty to mention. I will only add that, if Gen. Goblet's absence from his office was a sufficient excuse for delaying to ratify last summer, his resignation and the impossibility of definitively supplying his place ought to be as good a one now.
Such is the state of public affairs here, that no man of sufficient weight and character has been found willing to succeed to the post which his appointment to the mission at Berlin leaves vacant. Anticipating the very thing that seems likely to occur, viz: that the government here would not ratify without some modifications, and those touching principles of the greatest possible importance, and as little settled and as much in danger now as when our war was declared in 1812, (with the single exception of impressment, a pretension probably abandoned forever in practice,) I begged to be instructed how to act in that event. Your despatch, however, not contemplating that possibility, confines my power to the execution of a single article, and that, (judging from the form of the treaty with Mexico, sent me as a model,) in effect, an adoption of the whole treaty as it stands, and an agreement to ratify it on or before the 1st July. Under these circumstances, I do not feel myself at liberty to deviate, in the least, from this interpretation of your instructions.
I have received a copy of the President's communication to Congress, on the subject of our Consular establishment. I take the liberty of a citizen, zealous for the honor of the country, in expressing the strongest desire to see that projet pass into a law. Two things are clear,-1st, that a Consul who is engaged in commerce cannot discharge his duties with the requisite independence and firmness; and, 2d, that Consuls not engaged in commerce (except a few favored ports) cannot live on fees, as the
commercial agents of such a country as ours ought. This subject ought to be again and again pressed upon Congress, until the whole system be changed. I have the honor to be, etc., [Signed]
H. S. LEGARÉ.
Legation of the United States,
BRUSSELS, 230 March, 1931. To the Hon. Louis McLANE,
Secretary of State of the United States,Sir,- In my last despatch I sent you copies of two official notes which I had addressed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, in relation to the power and the instructions I had received from the President to negotiate a separate article for prolonging the term allowed for the ratification of the treaty on the part of this government, up to the 1st of July. No answer had been given me up to the 1st of March, when a casual allusion to the subject, in conversation with Count Felix de Mérode, led to my calling on him immediately for the purpose of having a day appointed for a full and unreserved conference between him and his Secretary General (the M. Nothomb of whom I say so much in my despatch No. 21) and myself. Agreeably to the appointment then made, I went to the Foreign Office the next day about noon, and, after waiting a few moments for the appearance of the minister and his diplomatic adviser, found myself engaged with them both, but especially the latter, (who, I soon found out, was, in truth, the head of the department quoad hoc,) in a very animated discussion about the rights of neutrals and belligerents.
Prepared as I was, from my former conversation with M. Nothomb, for any thing but a satisfactory result, it was still impossible that I should not be astonished at the inconceivable extravagancies which he now ventured to advance as settled doctrines of public law. He went far beyond any thing that was ever heard in a British Prize Court, and, instead of justifying the paper blockades of England by the alleged necessity of the case, as Sir Wm. Scott, though half ashamed of the plea, confessed himself reduced to the necessity of doing, this young publicist rested them on what he called the European law of nations, and repeatedly contradistinguished from the supposed projects of innovation which he affected to characterise as the American system. You will hardly wonder to be informed that I almost lost my patience at such a display of profound ignorance, coupled with so much confidence and positiveness; and that I told him, until he could produce a single dictum, however loose and casual,