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When states and kingdoms are Spain and Portugal were subject, united under one sovereign, whe- in a federal union to the same ther by conquest or succession, it is sovereign Philip II; but, notwiththe constant fate of the smaller to be standing that by this union the governed by the greater. The laws, Portugueze had obtained most ad. customs, and manners of great mo- vantageous conditions from Spain, narchies are extended from the the Portugueze no sooner found court to the annexed dominions, a favourable opportunity than which become so many provinces. they revolted from their allegiance, The interests and inclinations of and chose for their king the Duke the new and extreme parts of the of Braganza. Sweden and Denempire are sacrificed to the political mark were placed under the domiviews and personal humours of the nion of one sovereign by the Sedistant monarch ; fallible himself, miramis of the north in the 14th and exposed to the interested coun- century, the famous Margaret, sels of those around him, who, with daughter of Valdemar, King of all the prejudices of education, and Norway, and widow of Huguin the confidence of power, are en. King of Norway. But the Swedes, trusted in the provinces with the justly provoked by the treacherous first offices, civil, military, and ec- and inhuman policy of Christian clesiastic. Hence proceed jealou. II. the last King of Denmark, sies, murmurs, and discontents, who, by virtue of the union of which often break into acts of re- Colmar, was also King of Sweden, volt and rebellion. Independence dissolved that treaty by arms, and of government is in general at- chose for their king Gustavus Vasa. tended with more beneficial con- In the Scottish parliament, in the sequences than any that can well reign of Queen Anne, on the quesaccrue to a small from its annexa. tion concerning the settlement of tion to
a greater kingdom. It the Scottish crown in the family of nourishes national pride; it excites Hanover, it was observed, that ala spirit of exertion and glory in though the Scots in the first conindividuals, who by distinguishing federate war, terminated in 1697 merit, are quickly brought in mo- by the peace of Ryswick, had acderate kingdoms under the eye of quired great reputation, and their the court; it watches over the trade was exposed to various dispublic interests, and studies the advantages, yet in that treaty they objects which the nation are in. were not so much as mentioned; vited to pursue, either by local or and that their soldiers were dispolitical situation. According to banded without any_gratuity or these sentiments, it has happened grant of privilege. The Scottish at different times and in different patriots insisted on this occasion on countries, that when two distinct the corruption of their peers; the and independent kingdoms, each embezzlement of their public treaenjoying its own laws, have been sury; the constant oppression of the united under one sovereign, the commons; of taxes, burthens, and weaker, in order to preserve its contemptuous treatment; the ruin liberty and independence, has se. of their commerce at Darien ; the parated itself from the stronger. prohibition of watering at the English colonies; and other grievances and to a similar also, those of the which they were forced to suffer, as Flemish nation; who were now if they had been aliens and outlaws. accordingly determined to cut up Some of the Scottish noblemen, it the
evil by the root. was urged, and others possessing The spirit of this people quickly great interest with their country- appeared to be equal to the justice men, and easy access to their so- of their cause; and both seemed to vereign, had long been influenced be already triumphant. Even if by hopes of reward to overthrow they had not obtained such import• the authority of the laws, and even ant advantages by an appeal to formally to repeal the old and to arms, if they had only been able enact new ones. These men, the to make head against their enemies, Scottish patriots affirmed, were un. and prevent their excision or capder engagements to assent to the in- ture by retreating, according to circlinations of the English, and to be cumstances, from one place to anosubservient to theirinterests, before ther, and training themselves to they were promoted to public em- war by skirmishes in the field: even ployments. From the accession of in this case there would have been James I. it was said, to the throne of ground, both in internal and exterEngland, a space of 100 years, the nal circumstances, for hope that power of the magistrates, decisions, this Fabian mode of conquest in the courts of justice, parliaments, au- Netherlands, as in America, must thority, jurisdictions, allegiance, have led to the confirmation and the conduct of the war and the laws solid establishment of civil and pothemselves, had all been subjected litical liberty. But the bold and to the direction of the English. The vigorous spirit that animated the historian who relates these circum- descendants of the ancient Belgæ, stances* adds, “All these particulars was not to be confined within that were made subjects of beavy con- line of conduct which a less daring plaints by the Scots; which however and hardy race of men might in (says the historian) it is certain the similar circumstances have adopted. Kings of England had it not in their Regarding the numerous titles power to redress: for Kings must and armorial bearings of Joseph II. of necessity humour the most pow- with contempt, and his armies witherful nation.t" It is to a similar out fear, they did not decline, but cause to that of the Scottish grieve courted a conflict. At Turnhout, at ances, that those of the Hungarians Tirlemont, Ghent, and Brussels, already mentioned, are to be traced; the Flemish peasants rushed un
* Alexander Cunningham, Esq. author of the History of Great Britain, from the Revolution 1688, to the Accession of George I: the only history of British affairs yet published that a reader of taste, judgment, and capable of entering into the profoundest views, can read with pleasure as a continuation of English and British history after the period Mr. Hume leaves off.
† Mr. Cunningham relates, and it seems to have been his own opinion, that all the evils of which the Scottish patriots complained, were boldly and openly ascribed by some of them to an omission in the Scottish parliament 1603 ; who should have declared the Scottish throne vacant when that prince chose to leave Scotland for England.
daunted into the very throat of war, of cultivated minds, lovers of the sprung on the cannon that was arts and sciences, formed the most pointed against them, turned them pleasing expectations from their reagainst their enemies, and boldly vival in their former seat; from the converted the engines of slavery connexion in small states between and oppression into instruments of each individual state and the public; freedom.
from that spirit of emulation which Foreign nations were convinced would subsist among the different that the Flemings were able (though states of the confederation, each regọt altogether without assistance)
to taining its own peculiar form of make a successful stand; and their government; and that unity of dehopes now corresponded with their sign and action which would be wishes. The march of the Prussians, given in any popular and common after so great and decided victories enterprize or cause to the exertions on the side of the Flemings in so, of the whole United Belgic states. great force to the confines of the Though_divided from the Seven Netherlands, menaced nothing hos- United Provinces by government, tile to the avowed opponents of the they would be united more and House of Austria. The interposi- more by congeniality of manners, tion of a new and powerful barrier, and the sympathies arising from by the erection of the Netherlands commercial intercourse, and a cominto an independent state against mon devotion to liberty, and hatred the ambitious encroachments of of despotism. Liege, and other Austria and of France, was an event small states adjacent, would naturgreatly to be desired by the King of ally apply for admission into so Prussia and the United Provinces, prosperous a confederation. And, and consequently in some measure on the whole, the spirit of the analso by England, with whom these cient Grecian republics, though powers were in close alliance. Pa modified by a difference of climate, cific and commercial states and in- would unite and exalt the Belgic dividuals calculated the immense and other states in their neighbourharvest to be expected from the hood, to a height of prosperity full growth of industry, directed by and improvement unexampled perthe inspiring breath of liberty, into haps in what we know of the hisa thousand channels; while men tory of the world.
CHA P. III. Miserable Effects of Democratical Principles. Patriotic Assembly in,
stituted at Brussels. Their Reasonings and Claims. Political Constitution of the Provinces of the Netherlands. The Principles and Pretensions of the Patriotic Assembly offensive to the Nobility and Clergy. Means employed by these Orders
for quashing the Doctrines of the Democrats. Effects of these. State of Parties. Preponderating Influence of the Clergy. Measures taken by the Nobility for the Recovery of their Popularity. Without any considerable Effect. Popular discontents rise to a pitch of Restlessness and Commotion. Troops employed for the Preservation of the Peace. Jealousies between the ruling Powers and the Leaders of the Army. General Vandermersch arrests Deputies sent with Orders to the Army from the Congress. Declared Generalissimo by the Officers of the Army.
Other Encroachments on the part of Congress. Vandermersch suddenly and shamefully abandoned by the Army. Imprisoned in the Citadel of Antwerp. Charges brought against him. Duke of Ursel persecuted by Congress. The Congress becomes unpopular and odious to the bulk of the People. Imprisonment of Vandermersch resented by his Countrymen the people of Flanders. Declining State of the new Government. Expectations from the Accession of Leopold II. to the Austrian Dominions. Almost though not entirely disappointed. Memorial of Leopold to the inhabitants of the Netherlands. Criticisms on that Piece. Conduct of Leopold vindicated. Character of Sovereign Princes in general. The firmness of Leopold revives a party in his favour. Quick increase of the Loyalists, both in Numbers and Courage. Arguments in favour of a Reunion with the House of Austria, and of Hereditary Monarchy in general. Letter to Congress from the King of Prussia. Blind Ambition, Obstinacy, and Rashness of Congress. Notification to Congress of the Terms of Reconciliation between his Imperial Majesty and the Belgic Nation. Consented to by the three allied and mediating Powers. Strange Obstinacy of Congress. A degree of Reunion among the discordant Parties in the Neiherlands brought about by a common Hatred of the Austrian Government. Hostilities renewed with great Animosity, I'wo of the provinces that remained in Obedience io the Austrians. A great Resource to the Austrians. Rapid Growth of Ambition. Character of the Brabanters. Wild Schemes of Conquest. Repulse of the Brabanters from Limbourg. Various Encounters. A large Austrian Army marches against the Low Countries. Attempts of Congress to rouze the Nation to Perseverance in Arms against the Austrians. Made in vain. Various Proposals for Reconciliation. Rejected by the Austrians. The Austrians, under General Bender, enier Brabant. All the Provinces submit again, on very favourable Conditions, to the House of Austria. Reflections.
THIS splendid prospect was THI
Netherlands, as in other countries ; miserably blasted by the usual and great numbers of deserters effects of prosperity in removing from the French armies, enlisted in the compression of common neces- those of the Belgic states, were at sity and danger, and loosening the the same time not a little instruarch of political society by internal mental in propagating the same dissentions and contests.
ideas that had excited such unbappy The same new and extravagant commotions in their own country. principles in politics, morals, and while the deputies from the differreligion, that had seized, like an ent states were employed in the epidemic disease, on so great manner and for the purposes above a majority of the infatuated peo- related, a number of individuals ple of France, had made their met together at Brussels, and formway into the Low Countries, and ed an association under the name prevailed more and more in pro- of the Patriotic Assembly. They portion to the success of the freely and openly, at regular meetBelgic arms. The Jacobin Club in ings, discussed all questions of poParis had their emissaries in the licy and government. They de
cided on these by vote, passed re- to perpetuity, on the ground of solutions, and proposed several re- aversion to innovation, and a regard forms with respect to the subjects to the preservation of the ancient of their discussion. Among their constitution. The ancient conother acts, soon after the expulsion stitution of the Austrian Netherof the Austrians from Brussels, they lands is no more: it fell by the drew up, printed, and published, a stroke that cut off its head: in that paper, under the title of " An Ad- head, Joseph II. of Austria, repredress to the States of Brabant," in sentative of the Dukes of Burgunthe name of the people at large, dy, the functions of the other but more particularly of the sub-branches of the legislature centered. scribers. In this piece, subscribed They were not original and absoby 2,000 names, among which were lute, but relative and conditional. not a few of respectable character They had a reference to the soveand condition, they pointed out reign, on the one hand, and to the many defects in the new arrange- people, on the other, whose priviment of public affairs, and the con- leges it was their duty and business stitution arising out of it; com- to protect against the encroachplaining, above all things, of the ments of the sovereign. They inedequate share possessed by the were a barrier, an intermediate commons, and even the greater part power between the sovereign and of ihe other two estates, the no- his subjects. The sovereign power bility and the clergy, in the national being annihilated, or, what is worse, representation. The reasoning em- the sovereign power being superployed in this address, or in gene. added to that of the states-general, ral by what we shall call, for the where is there to be found a power sake of precision, the democratical between the people and this new, party, was to the following pur- alarming, and monstrous aristopose:-" The sovereign power, on cracy? ihe dismission of the Emperor, and “The states of Brabant, the freest the declared independence of the of all the provinces, and the model Belgic provinces, was exercised to which the rest wish on all occawith great propriety by the states. sions to conform, is composed of general : even in former interreg- three orders, the clergy, the nobinums the same had been exercised lity, and the third estate; it might, by the states in former times. The therefore, be naturally imagined authority which pro re natâ they that these three orders would inhave assumed, can only be tempo- volve, in one shape or other, a rary and provisional; and for their pretty fair representation of the assumption of this authority, as well Belgic nation; but this is by no as their use of it, they are respon- means the case. There is no resible to the Belgic nation. It is presentation whatever of the great most absurd in the partisans of aris- body of the common people, nor tocratical despotism to maintain the of the clergy, nor even of the noauthority of the states-general, even bility and gentry: the right of
The attributive democratical is not quite synonymous with popular, in common acceptation. The authority of the clergy was popular, but odious to the de