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long and exhausting conference ("Mem.’iv, 52). Two days later, Talleyrand writes, Prussia would not have signed such a protocol. Guizot speaks of 'la neutralité si péniblement obtenue et si combattue par la Prusse ("Memoirs,' ii, 266). No doubt it was imitated from the neutralisation of Switzerland, established in 1814.

M. Dollot,* indeed, thinks that the solution had already appeared, in germ, in 1634. Richelieu in that year proposed to the States-General that the Catholic Low Countries should be erected into a republic under the joint protection of Holland and France. This would have been the precise opposite of neutralisation; for it would have committed Belgium to continuous warfare with the enemies of those two countries. In 1663 de

† Witt mooted to Louis XIV the project of a federal republic-it was to be a Republic of Flanders-on the Swiss model ; but we cannot see any anticipation in this of the idea of permanent neutralisation. In 1715, indeed, the true conception of a neutralised Belgium was put forward by France. The country was to be perpetually withdrawn from the horrors of war, and could neither be attacked nor attack. But Holland preferred material guarantees; and nothing came of the project.

Meanwhile the boundaries sketched out by the protocols of Jan. 9 and 20, 1831, proved unacceptable to the Belgians. Lord Ponsonby was sent to Brussels to urge them, but the Belgian demands now rose higher; the Conference retracted its ‘unalterable' resolution, and decided to give Belgium Luxemburg and Maestricht. Holland's compliance was overtaxed, and the King absolutely declined to accept these new terms. Conceiving himself liberated from the armistice $ which had accompanied the opening of the Conference, he invaded Belgium in August. The Prince of Orange conducted a brilliant campaign, and the work of the

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* Neutralité de la Belgique,' Paris, 1902. Cf. Dumont, Corps Dipl.' VI, i, 80–85.

+ Neutralité de la Belgique,' p. 155. # Ib. p. 415.

§ An attempt was made to prove the Dutch guilty of duplicity in the breaking of the armistice; the truth see as to have been that Palmerston forgot one letter, and put another in his pocket (his easy-going method, which nearly involved him in ruin in the Urquhart affair). The Armistice had, in the first instance, been greatly desired by the Dutch, as a pledge of encouragement. Falck to Wellington, Oct. 22, 1830, ' Despatches,' iii, 317. **Memoirs of Lord Abingur,' 156. Both Grey and Palmerston seem to have developed a personal animus against the 'obstinacy' of King William of Holland in decliving to recognise the arrangements which the Conference had made for him. + Autobiography,' i. 123.

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Conference seemed thrown away. The course which commended itself to the diplomatists was to oppose the Dutch forces by a French army. Within sixteen years of Waterloo, a French Marshal (Gérard) entered the Netherlands as an invader.

Scarlett, a cool and detached observer, was surprised at the influence of the French, and could only account for it on the principle (of “The Tale of a Tub'), that the new Ministry intended to do just the reverse of everything its Tory predecessors had done. That does not suggest a fait accompli. He attributed the armed intervention, on the authority of a great Whig,' to mere petulance; "the Dutchman was not willing to obey orders.' *

Even Brougham,t on Aug. 5, 1831, was writing to Grey, suggesting that Britain should press Prussia to be firm; for, if France once entered Belgium, she would not withdraw. The endless conferences' were 'mere cloaks for chicane.' Grey took very little notice of him; on Jan. 1, 1832, he wrote to Brougham lamenting that these d-d Russians are doing all they can to throw the whole Belgian affair into confusion.' And Holland I (Dec. 31, 1831) tells Brougham that the Cabinet has agreed that pressure should be put on Prussia in the opposite direction! Adroitly invoking the neutralisation of Belgium, Talleyrand had instigated the demolition of the Belgian fortresses, which Britain had insisted on erecting in 1815 at a cost of 7,000,0001. The plenipotentiaries of the other Powers resolved to recommend demolition-on the ground of expense and solemnly communicated their resolution to Talleyrand for his concurrence, which was obligingly accorded.

The Dutch victories had nevertheless done their work. The Conference revoked its irrevocable resolution, and on paper restored Grand Ducal Luxemburg, Limburg and Maestricht to Holland. At the same time (Nov. 26, 1831) they guaranteed the neutrality of Belgium within its restricted limits, This (renewed in 1839) is the

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Ib. 450. $ Ct, Lords Aberdeen and Londonderry, ‘Hansard,' Aug. 9, 1831, col. 979; also · Hansard,' July 26, c. 317; July 28, cc. 462-3.

celebrated 'scrap of paper' signed by Prussia, with other Powers. It was a guarantee not altogether welcome. It has been,' remarked Aberdeen, 'for a long time past, the acknowledged policy of this country to be extremely scrupulous of guaranteeing anything; and we have always been particularly anxious to avoid guaranteeing anything that we are not to do ourselves. When we had bound ourselves to act in conjunction with other powers, we had frequently found that the onerous part of the guarantee was too apt to fall on us alone.' In Aberdeen's opinion the guarantee, made to avoid war, would render war unavoidable.* Wellington | saw that ‘it was absurd to talk of a guarantee of neutrality-there could be no permanent guarantee, save what the means of warlike resistance afforded.'

Affairs dragged on for another year. The King of Holland, supported by his people, would not give in. During those years of European upheaval, one spot at any rate existed where monarchy was secure. Greville notes 'a curious state of things in Holland—nothing but loyalty and enthusiasm; adoration of the Orange family; everybody satisfied with the government, and no desire for Reform !' At last came the startling coup of a new French invasion, and the capture of Antwerp stoutly defended by Chassé (Dec. 1832). Lord Durham's faithful biographer gives him the credit of this impetuous proposal. But the true source is patent, and not very creditable. The ministry of Soult was desperately unpopular. It needed éclat. It secured it. Thiers wrote (Oct. 11, 1832) to Talleyrand that this parliamentary exigency has become quite irresistible, and it is absolutely necessary to satisfy it. . . . Everyone wants Antwerp. obtain it, we shall have an assured majority. . We only want it for three days. The Duke de Broglie wrote in the same strain on Oct. 12. Thiers, Guizot and Broglie were saved, at the cost of two thousand Dutch and French corpses. The Duchess of Berry would have saved them anyhow.s

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* • Hansard,' Jan. 26, 1832, c. 890. Cf. Feb. 7, 1832, cc, 11, 14. + Hansard,' July 26, 1831, col. 319.

I M. Bourgeois (' Camb. Mod. Hist.' x. 488) attempts to justify it by 'n new attempt on the part of the King of Holland to reconquer Belgium.'

§ Talleyrand, ‘Memoirs,' v, 26, 36.

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It is not the case that this clearance of the Dutch from Belgium (that country meanwhile remaining in occupation of territories assigned by the Powers themselves to Holland) was deputed' to Britain and France by the Powers.* On the contrary, the Russians formally withdrew from the Conference of London,t reporting to their Court 'the grave circumstances which by changing the character of the pacific mediation to which they were summoned no longer admit of their associating themselves with the work of their colleagues. Austria and Prussia, although, like Russia, willing to put pecuniary pressure on Holland, were totally averse from warlike action. Durham was indeed sent out to Petrograd to induce Russia to join the Western powers in taking forcible measures ; # but Russia would hear of nothing beyond releasing Belgium from her financial obligations to the Dutch. And even this complaisance was probably due, not to Durham's eloquence, but to the continued assumption by Britain of liability for the Russo-Dutch loan.

Holland had not been fairly treated. As Aberdeen pointed out, the alleged principle of non-interference, and of allowing Belgium to manage its own affairs,' was extended precisely so far as the concerted Powers thought fit, and limited exactly as they chose. || Impartial people like Greville recorded that The King of Holland has all along very justly complained of the proceedings of the Allies towards him, which they justify by necessity (the tyrant's plea). Less disinterested authorities thought the same.

It cannot be denied,' admits Talleyrand, T 'that the King of Holland had some just grounds for complaint, when it is remembered that the Belgian

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**Camb. Mod. Hist. x, 543.

+ Talleyrand, ‘Memoirs,' iv, 30. Cf. Dalling's Palmerston,' p. 137, and Metternich, ‘Memoirs,' vol. v, passim.

1 Correspondence : Grey and Lieven,' ii, 357.

§ •Memoirs of Herries,' i, 145. “For a valuable consideration, Nicholas alienated his eventual right of independent action in an European question of the first magnitude, putting himself under the control of Henry John, Viscount Palmerston, and his Lordship's lawful successors in Downing Street.'

|| Hansard, June 24, 1831, col. 298. Wellington had warmly encouraged the Dutch at first : W. to Falck, Sept. 14, 1830, 'Despatches,' vii, 261.

•Mem.' iii, 299.

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provinces were ceded to him in 1814 in exchange for the Dutch colonies of which England had taken possession. But,' he adds with Christian resignation, it was for England to get round that awkward corner. Lord Grey, in a very ill-tempered note, nearly quarrelled with Princess Lieven (Dec. 14, 1831) on the subject. His cold conceit and spite, his perpetual talk of his patience having limits, wrung from her at last the rebuke—'Why is it the Whigs alone who are to have innate intelligence ? I think that Holland has every title to respect, and from all of us.'t "How much better it would be,' she resumes, 'if you were the Grand Turk? Admit that the Whigs in general have a great predisposition for turning autocrats !’I Talleyrand himself was inclined to agree with Dalberg that a strong Holland, with a good navy, was a more important asset to France than Belgium!

In a lengthy document the Conference, taking more credit than it deserved for the purity of its intentions and the excellence of its morals, declared that if Holland had rights, so had Europe, and that of these the Powers themselves were the interpreters. These assertions may usefully be compared with the declaration of the Dutch Government (July 12, 1831) that: • la paix générale ne doive être achetée au prix de l'honneur et du bien-être de la Hollande seule, principe opposé à l'intérêt même de la paix générale, qui ne pourrait que se trouver gravement compromise par le sacrifice d'un peuple soumis aux loix et fidèle à ses institutions à une population qui a rompu les liens sociaux et qui ne respecte pas les droits d'autruii'

• Too often,' the Conference pompously remarked, *the Cabinet of the Hague surrounds itself with illusions.' 'Yes,' the Dutch negotiator replied, 'if to be persuaded that a legitimate king, who is forced to abandon to rebels the greater part of his territories, is neither obliged nor entitled to sacrifice to them the safety and independence of his own people, be an illusion; then, certainly, it is one which the Netherlands

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* The Duke of Dalberg emphatically agreed with him. Ib. iv, 230. See also Aberdeen, Wellington's 'Despatches,' vii, 461 : ‘Holland has been cruelly treated in the whole of this Belgian affair.' + Correspondence,' Sept. 6, 1832.

# Ib. Sept. 15. § Talleyrand, ‘Memoirs,' iv, 217.

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