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to fall by their peculiar social state. In the country and in the smaller towns, they elected deputies from the noblesse, clergy, and great landed proprietors; while in the large cities, their representatives were more generally manufacturers, capitalists, and professional men of distinction. All the F ans and trusted servants of se of Orange were sedulously excluded from the Congress. And on the other hand, M. de Potter and M. Ducpetiaux, members of the provisional government, were rejected by the electors of Brussels, who thus pronounced their disapprobation of the ultra-republican or infidel opinions of those two prominent
When the Congress met, it was found that one hundred and fifty out of two hundred members elect, were present to attend the first sitting. M. de Potter openI the business of the meeting by speech of considerable length, as the organ of the provisional government. He gave an exposition of the wrongs of the Belgians which had led to the expulsion of the House of Orange, and explained the acts of the provisional government. At the same time he announced the fact of the interposition of the allies, who, by the conferences of London, as we shall presently state, had undertaken to adjust the differences between Belgium and Holland.
Before the Congress had taken any definitive measures on the subject of this address, all the members of the provisional government, except M. de Potter,
sent in their resignations, conceiving that their functions ceased with the meeting of the representatives of the people. M. de Potter declined to participate in the act of resignation, on the ground that the provisional government and the Congress were equally the temporary creation of circumstances, independent of each other, and accountable to the people alone, from whom they respectively derived their authority. His idea was that, when the Congress had deliberated upon and prepared a constitution for Belgium, and the Belgic people had organized a constitutional government accordingly, that then the functions of the Congress and of the provisional government expired together. He stood alone, however, in this view of the subject. The Congress passed a vote of thanks to the provisional government for their services, and requested the members to continue to act until a new government could be definitively organized. Hereupon, M. de Potter resigned, because he could not consent to hold his authority from the Congress, or to act with colleagues who differed so entirely from him in regard to the tenure of their power. And from this period, his influence and popularity in Belgium began to decline, giving place to the authority of men of less republican views of government.
After completing their preliminary arrangements, the Congress entered, at their sitting of November 16th, on the serious objects of their appointment, to wit,
the organization of the political of the Congress of Vienna, Luxinstitutions of the country.-The embourg was made a member of
subject was introduced by the Count de Celles, who proposed two resolutions, one, that the Congress should issue a formal declaration of the independence of Belgium, the other, that Congress should not separate until the constitution of the new state was definitively settled. On these propositions a debate arose, on a motion of M. Rodenbach, to couple with the declaration of independence a declaration of the perpetual exclusion of the House of Orange from all exercise of power in Belgium. It was final ly decided that this last motion was premature, inasmuch as the action of Congress upon the questions of independence and form of government might preclude the necessity of taking any notice of the deposed dynasty.
The consideration of the question was further embarrassed by the situation of Luxembourg, which the House of Orange claimed to hold as a family appanage, and by a tenure different from that, by virtue of which they reigned in Belgium. It was this topic, which interposed the greatest difficulties in the way of the negociations of the Allies, as we shall have occasion to show hereafter; and we defer entering into it, until we come to that branch of our subject. It is sufficient to say, in regard to the discussion of the matter in the Belgic Congress, that this body resolved to consider Luxembourg as an integral portion of the new state, notwithstanding that, by the acts
the Germanic confederation.
Finally, there was an active party in the Congress, who favored the incorporation of Belgium with France, and who desired, in proclaiming the independence. of Belgium, to have it understood that the question of the future union of the countries should not be thereby prejudged. After a full consideration, however, of the various arguments for and against a separate national existence, the Congress unanimously joined in a declaration of unqualified independence, and ordered a manifesto be drawn up, to justify in the eyes of Europe both the fact and the claim of independent sovereignty.
Having disposed of all these questions, the Congress proceeded, on the 19th of November, to consider of the form of government to be adopted. An attempt was made to procure the establishment of a republic, but failed, owing to the preponderance of the nobility and clergy, not only in the Congress, but throughout Belgium among the people themselves. It was decided by a vote of 174 to 13, that the government should be a limited monarchy, in the most economical and liberal form of which such a system was susceptible.
Next followed the discussion of the proposition, renewed by M. Rodenbach, for the formal dethronement of King William, and the perpetual disfranchisement of the family of Orange-Nassau. Whatever disposition there might
have been among a portion of the
In fact, while the Belgic deputies proceeded to discuss the subject of a constitution for their kingdom, as preliminary to the election of a king, movements were taking place around them, which, but for the happening of events wholly unforeseen, would have involved all Europe in war. It is well ascertained, at the present time, that Russia and Prussia contemplated a forcible intervention in behalf of the House of Orange, and that Russia, especially, had resolved to attempt the restoration of the reign of legitimacy in France as well as Belgium. The Muscovite legions were about' to be collected in Poland for this purpose, and extensive preparations had been made for the speedy commencement of hostilities. France, on the other hand, although her rulers were anxious to avoid war, even to the degree of excessive timidity and overwrought cautiousness of spirit, and therefore would gladly have steered clear of being involved with Belgium, yet saw herself compelled, by the necessities of her position, to make common cause with her neighbor. And from the obscure intimations of the English ministry, then controled by the Duke of Wellington, there was reason to fear that the Belgians would have little succor from England, should Russia and Prussia cross the Rhine. But the evident tendency of events towards war was suddenly arrested by the breaking out of the Polish revolution, which gave Nicholas ample employment at home, and by the equally sud
den overthrow of the tory cabinet in England, and the introduction of the whig party to power. These events left the Belgians to organize their domestic government undisturbed by foreign enemies.
They soon agreed to a constitution, having for its basis a limited monarchy of carefully defined powers, and two elective chambers of legislature. It only remained for them to select a prince to wear the new crown, thus added to the number of Furopean dignities.
A little reflection taught the Belgians that they must look abroad for a suitable person to become their king; because, among themselves, no man existed of that transcendant rank united with decided patriotism, which were necessary to fix the popular voice at home. After much angry discussion on this subject, the contest among the Belgian deputies seemed to be narrowed down to two individuals, the Duc de Nemours, a minor son of Louis Philippe, and the Duc de Leuchtenberg, son of Prince Eugene Beauharnois. Owing, however, to the unsettled state of France and the deep seated affection of a part of the people for the name of Napoleon, it speedily became apparent that the French government would not look with complacency on the elevation of any one of the Bonaparte family to the throne of Belgium. Indeed, the cabinet of Louis Philippe were so sensitive on this point, that representations were officially made to the Belgians, to the effect
that the election of the Duc de Leuchtenberg would be considered an affront to France.
At length, on the 3d of February, the Congress made choice of the Duc de Nemours, the vote being for De Nemours 97, for De Leuchtenberg 74, and for the Archduke of Austria 21. The king elect was then proclaimed by the name of Louis Charles Philippe d'Orleans, Duc de Nemours, King of the Belgians, and a deputation of ten appointed to repair to Paris, and communicate the intelligence officially to Louis Philippe and his son. They were disappointed to find that, actuated by considerations of the interests of France, and the necessity of keeping her free from any such intimate alliance with Belgium as the possession of that country by a minor child of France must induce,-Louis Philippe declined the proffered crown in behalf of his son, and the Belgians were thus left to seek elsewhere for their monarch. Unable to arrive immediately at a satisfactory choice, and unwilling to leave the government in its present provisional form, they elected Erasmus Louis Surlet de Chokier, an eminent patriot of long tried ability and integrity, to be Regent of the kingdom. The Regent proceeded to arrange his cabinet, consisting of M. Goblet, as Minister of War; M. Charles de Brouckere, of Finance; M. Tielemans, of the Interior; M. Sylvan Van de Weyer, of Foreign Affairs; M. Alexandre Gendebien, of Justice; and M. Gerlache, as president of the Coun
cil of Ministers. These steps what ambiguous form, partaking being taken, the Belgians had both of recommendation and opportunity to deliberate more command. The Netherlands of freely, and decide more satisfac- each nation have accepted or retorily, upon the all-important sub- jected the proposals of the allies, ject of their future king. They partly according to the dictates of were also better able to prepare their own sense of right and for meeting the difficult questions wrong, and partly according as continually growing out of the the circumstances left them free, conferences of London, to which or not, to exercise their own disit is proper we should now ad- cretion. Altogether, however, the characteristic perseverance and obstinacy of the Dutch and Belgians in the prosecution of their purposes, has rendered the situation of the officious allies at once embarrassing and ridiculous; for protocol follows upon protocol in never ending succession, as the shifting phasis of affairs in Holland or Belgium requires some new modification of advice from the conference of London.
It is to be remembered that the kingdom of the Netherlands was the creation of the great allied powers, which effected the overthrow of Napoleon. As a consequence of this, it followed that, when the work of their hands was destroyed by the spontaneous movement of the populace of Brussels, the principal parties to the Congress of Vienna assumed to themselves the right of interposing in the affairs of Holland and Belgium, so as to prevent the general peace of Europe from being sacrificed by the partial interference of any one state, either for or against the Belgians. Thus it has happened that the ministers of the five great powers, England, France, Austria, Russia and Prussia, assembled at London, have been deliberating on the affairs of Belgium ever since the end of the year 1830, and issuing protocol after protocol for the government of the self-willed Belgians and Hollanders. These protocols contain the decisions of the allies as to the various questions of boundary and the like, growing out of the separation of the two nations, which are offered to them in a some
As preliminary to their future proceedings, the five powers agreed to a protocol on the 4th of November 1830, which required a cessation of hostilities between Belgium and Holland. This measure could not. but be regarded as a practical recognition of the independence of Belgium, because it prohibited any attempts of the Hollanders to restore the lost authority of King William in the southern provinces. The decision of the conference on the terms of separation between Holland and Belgium was contained in a protocol of January 21st 1831. In fixing on these terms, the allies go back to the period anterior to the French revolution, when the Belgic provinces were a dependency of Austria, and assign to Holland and Belgium such