Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

all, the facility with which their other great towns, by day and by powers might be collected into one night; insomuch that the new centre and system of action. commonwealth began to wear the

As the power and authority of appearance of a military governthe clergy depended chiefly on the ment. In the mean time, the priascendancy they possessed over the sons were crowded with criminals, minds of the people, particularly of or suspected persons, whose wants the country people (and it was evi- and sufferings rendered them ripe dent that all contests in an unset- for the most desperate attempts: tled state of affairs must ultimate- nor could the sympathy of those ly be decided in favour of that party without, as was apprehended, be which could command the great- restrained from effecting their liest numbers and physical force); beration, and joining in such atas the power of the clergy still tempts, otherwise than by an armed gained ground on the one hand, force. It was on the army, acand the discontents of the people cordingly, in this distracted and unstill increased on the other,-the settled state of affairs, that the denobility thought it necessary to cision of all internal dissentions and make an attempt for the recovery contests wholly depended. But a of their popularity. In the month jealousy arose between the ruling of February it was proposed, and powers and the leaders of the army, by the sovereign congress of the already, as has been observed, very united Belgic states, that there generally disaffected, which proved should be an addition of iwo mem- more fatal than any other jealousyor bers for each of the principal towns discontent that had yet appeared, to the representation of the third to the new government. Amongst estate. This measure restored, in all the officers who had distinguishsome degree, the confidence of the ed themselves on the side of the most moderate men among the patriots, general Vandermersch,

But the general dis- abovementioned, was the most discontent and restlessness of what we tinguished by the brilliancy and have called the democratical class, successes of his military enterprizes: or order, instead of being quieted, nor was the respect and admiration, continued to increase, and rose at in which he was justly held, con. last to such a pitch, in consequence fined to his own country, but ex. of unfounded rumours concerning tended to every part of Europe.* despotic designs on the part of a The general was one of that great few of the strongest states, that umber of military men who had large parties of horse and foot, by become very much dissatisfied with order of the states, patrolled the the conduct of the congress: nor principal streets in Brussels, and was he at any pains to conceal his

sentiments

commons.

Vandermersch, by his early and abrupt desertion from the imperial service (in which he had held the rank of colonel) to that of his country, on the first dawnings of the revolution, excited the resentment and indignation of Joseph to such a degree, that, by an immediate order in the emperor's own hand to general d'Alton, he was banged in effigy in the front of the army, which was drawn out for that purpose. His imperial majesty, in the same letter to d'Alton, expressed his earnest wishes, and his sanguine hopes, that this mock execution would soon be realized.

sentiments, but expressed them powers and the army, the officers with the manly openness of a sol- had nominated Vandermersch to dier; which seemed still further to be commander-in-chief of the Belspread and heighten them in the 'gic forces, and applied for the conarmy, by whom he was not more firmation of their choice to con. generally respected and admired gress, but without effect, as was than trusted and beloved. Towards indeed to be expected; having the close of March, 1790, depu- gone so far in violation of the auties were sent by the congress to thority of congress, and being conNamur, where the acting part of scious that mutual confidence bethe army employed against the tween that council and the army Austrians was stationed, under ge- could not henceforth exist. On neral Vandermersch's orders. Their the day after that on which the object evidently was, to remove general issued his declaration, the him from his command, or, at officers unanimously passed and least, from his office. In this new published the following resolutions: and dangerous situation Vander- That general Vandermersch shall mersch determined on abold stroke; continue generalissimo of the Belgic but which was his only hope of army: That the duke of Ursel liberty or life. He ordered the should instantlybe placedatthehead deputies from the congress to be of the war departments : That the immediately arrested, and com- prince of Aremberg, count of La mitted to prison. Immediately Marck (son of the duke, and whose after this step, he issued a procla- military talents are generally known mation, May 30, 1790, in which as well as the proofs he gave of his without taking any notice of the patriotism at the commencement of congress by name, he says, that the revolution in offering his serevil designing persons, strongly sus- vices to the committee of Breda) pected of having incited the pil- shall be appointed second in comlage and proscriptions which had mand of the army, next to general taken place in Brussels, were ar- Vandermersch; and that addresses rived there for the purpose of sow- of supplication shall be sent to all ing sedition, caluminia ing the loyal the provinces, inviting them to intentions of the general and the co-operate with the army for the army; and that it had therefore reformation of abuses, and the rebeen thought necessary to remove establishment of order. every cause of alarm, by declaring Intelligence being received of that he was himself placed at the these proceedings, the sovereign head of the army, for the purpose .congress, without delay or hesitaof defending the Roman Catholic tion, issued orders for the troops faith, with the civil and religious at Brussels, and in various other rights of the people; which he was stations, to march towards Namur; determined to protect from all in- near which a place of rendezvous vasion. It appears, that during was appointed, where they were certain disputes and bickerings that to form a junction and advance, in had taken place between the civil order to bring the opposite army to reason ; 80 that every thing now, even before the declaration of the bore the aspect of a civil war. By army, had become an object of jeawhat means this was prevented, or lousy and aversion to the congress ; by what motives of hope or of fear, who suspected that this chielwith or sudden impulse of passion of any a few others of the nobility of the kind, the officers and army could be greatest estates and largest share of induced unanimously, and most popularity and influence, aimed unshamefully to abandon their gene- der the pretence of a regard tofrecral, whom they themselves had so dom, of drawing to themselves and recently exalted to too dangerous a perhaps a few others, the chief point of pre-eminence, to the rage share in the administration of go. of his enemies, we are entirely ig- vernment. The duke of Ursel, it is norant. But who can bear to relate said, was particularly suspected and or to read, without the most pain- obnoxious to the higher orders of ful emotions of sympathetic grief the clergy; and therefore, at the and indignation, that the brave pressing solicitations not only of his general Vandermersch obtained own friends, but even those of cer.' no other reward for his eminent tain deputies of the states, he re. services than to be confined and tired for protection from poison or drag out a miserable existence in assassination, into the province of a dungeon of the citadel of Ant- Flanders. In this retreat the suswerp !

reason;

* Similar measures in similar circumstances were, in 1792 and 1793, adopted hy the French generals, La Fayette and Dumourier,

picions and the vengeance of the The charges laid by the congress supreme rulers did not suffer him against Vandermersch, andforwhich to remain long without molestation. they at first determined to bring by their authority, and chiefly the him to trial for life or death, were influence and instigations of Van 1:That, forgetting that he derived all Eupen, an ecclesiasticand a leading his authority from them, he had per member of congress, the states of mitted himself to be chosen gene. Flanders were induced to arrest and ralissimo by the officers of his army, confine the duke of Ursel; without endeavoured to retain that situa- any form of justice. Five weeks tion by force; that, with equal vio- were spent in fruitless attempts to lence, he had presumed to violate discover some plausible ground of the sovereignty of the states, by crimination against the duke. His arresting their deputies to the army judges declared, and authorized under his command ; and that by himself to publish and proclaim his these and other violent proceed- innocence. The states of Flanders ings, he had nearly involved the attempted to prolong his confinecountry in a civil war."

ment, and to suppress the decision The hostility of the congress was which the judges had given in his at the same time pointed against the favour. They applied to certain duke of Ursel : a prince of large companies of volunteers to carry paternal estates as well as honours, their arbitrary mandates into exebeing hereditary chief of the ordercution. On the refusal of the voof nobility in Brabant; and who lunteers to comply with so unjust a had rendered himself extremely po- requisition, the states endeavoured pular by his patriotisin, munificence, to have him carried off by night, in and other virtues. The duke order to put him into the hands of sentiments, but expressed them powers and the army, the officers with the manly openness of a sol- had nominated Vandermersch to dier; which seemed still further to be commander-in-chief of the Belspread and heighten them in the 'gic forces, and applied for the conarmy, by whom he was not more firmation of their choice to con. generally respected and admired gress, but without effect, as was than trusted and beloved. Towards indeed to be expected; having the close of March, 1790, depu- gone so far in violation of the auties were sent by the congress to thority of congress, and being conNamur, where the acting part of scious that mutual confidence bethe army employed against the tween that council and the army Austrians was stationed, under ge- could not henceforth exist. On neral Vandermersch's orders. Their the day after that on which the object evidently was, to renove general issued his declaration, the him from his command, or, at officers unanimously passed and least, from his office. In this new published the following resolutions: and dangerous situation Vander- That general Vandermersch shall mersch determined on abold stroke; continue generalissimo of the Belgic but which was his only hope of army: That the duke of Ursel liberty or life. He ordered the should instantlybe placed at thehead deputies from the congress to be of the war departments : That the immediately arrested, and com. prince of Aremberg, count of La mitted to prison. Immediately Marck (son of the duke, and whose . after this step, he issued a procla- military talents are generally known mation, May 30, 1790, in which as well as the proofs he gave of his without taking any notice of the patriotism at the commencement of congress by name, he says, that the revolution in offering his serevił designing persons, strongly sus- vices to the committee of Breda) pected of having incited the pil. shall be appointed second in comlage and proscriptions which had mand of the army, next to general taken place in Brussels, were ar- Vandermersch ; and that addresses rived there for the purpose of of supplication shall be sent to all ing sedition, calumnia.ing the loyal the provinces, inviting them to intentions of the general and the co-operate with the army for the army; and that it liad therefore reformation of abuses, and the rebeen thought necessary to remove establishment of order. every cause of alarm, by declaring Intelligence being received of that he was himself placed at the these proceedings, the sovereign head of the army, for the purpose congress, without delay or hesitaof defending the Roman Catholic tion, issued orders for the troops faith, with the civil and religious at Brussels, and in various other rights of the people; which he was stations, to march towards Namur; determined to protect from all in- near which a place of rendezvous vasion. It appears, that during was appointed, where they were certain disputes and bickerings that to form a junction and advance, in had taken place between the civil order to bring the opposite army to

reason; * Similar measures in similar circumstances were, in 1792 and 1793, adopted by the French generals, La Fayette and Dumourier.

SOW

reason ; 60 that every thing now, even before the declaration of the bore the aspect of a civil war. By army, had become an object of jeawhat means this was prevented, or lousy and aversion to the congress ; by what motives of hope or of fear, who suspected that this chief' with or sudden impulse of passion of any a few others of the nobility of the kind, the officers and army could be greatest estates and largest share of induced unanimously, and most popularity and influence, aimed unshamefully to abandon their gene- der the pretence of a regard tofrecral, whom they themselves had so dom, of drawing to themselves and recently exalted to too dangerous a perhaps a few others, the chief point of pre-eminence, to the rage share in the administration of go. of his enemies, we are entirely ig- vernment. The duke of Ursel, it is norant. But who can bear to relate said, was particularly suspected and or to read, without the most pain- obnoxious to the higher orders of ful emotions of sympathetic grief the clergy; and therefore, at the and indignation, that the brave pressing solicitations not only of his general Vandermersch obtained own friends, but even those of cer. no other reward for his eminent tain deputies of the states, he re. services than to be confined and tired for protection from poison or drag out a miserable existence in assassination, into the province of a dungeon of the citadel of Ant- Flanders. In this retreat the suswerp !

picions and the vengeance of the The charges laid by the congress supreme rulers did not suffer him against Vandermersch, andforwhich to remain long without molestation. they at first determined to bring by their authority, and chiefly the him to trial for life or death, were influence and instigations of Van “That, forgetting that he derived all Eupen, an ecclesiastic and a leading his authority from them, he had per member of congress, the states of mitted himself to be chosen gene. Flanders were induced to arrest and ralissimo by the officers of his army, confine the duke of Ursel; without endeavoured to retain that situa- any form of justice. Five weeks tion by force; that, with equal vio- were spent in fruitless attempts to lence, he had presumed to violate discover some plausible ground of the sovereignty of the states, by crimination against the duke. His arresting their deputies to the army judges declared, and authorized under his command; and that by himself to publish and proclaim his these and other violent proceed- innocence. The states of Flanders ings, he had nearly involved the attempted to prolong his confinecountry in a civil war."

ment, and to suppress the decision The hostility of the congress was which the judges had given in his at the same time pointed against the favour. They applied to certain duke of Ursel : a prince of large companies of volunteers to carry paternal estates as well as honours, their arbitrary mandates into exebeing hereditary chief of the ordercution. On the refusal of the voof nobility in Brabant; and who lunteers to comply with so unjust a had rendered himself extremely po. requisition, the states endeavoured pular by his patriotisin, munificence, to have him carried off by night, in and other virtues. The duke order to put him into the hands of

« AnteriorContinuar »