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Chap. x. ;'...;.
The Germanic Diet.—Holland—Disputes concerning the Naviga* turn of the Rhine—Arrangements regarding the Catholics—Epidemic Disease in North Holland—Finances—Militia Law—Expedition to Java—Bavaria—Austria—Proceedings of the Hungarian Diet— Decree against the Slave Trade—Prussia—Russia—A Commission appointed to investigate the Insurrection of 1825—Reforms in the Administration—Discontents among the Peasants—Death of the Empress — Report of the Commission of Inquiry -r- Sentence and Punishment of the Conspirators—Coronation of the Emperor—War with Persia — Military Operations in Georgia — The Persians defeated.
THE Diet of the Germanic Confederation assembled atFrani-fort in January; but, although several questions of very general importance occupied its attention, as they had done for years, no one of them was brought to a conclusion; so tedious are the forms of proceeding in that body, requiring constant correspondence between the members and their constituents; and so multiplied and contradictory are the interests which it vainly attempts to combine in a harmonious whole. The organization of the. military force of the Diet was still to be finally fixed, the smaller states remonstrating against the numerical amount of their contingents, and resisting with great good sense, the oppression of iniposing upon their insignificant territories the burthen of maintaining cavalry and artillery, which they said, ought to be maintained at the expense of the great powers, to whom alone these muniments of war could ever be of any real service. The questions, too, of the tolls upon the navigation of the Rhine, and the establishment of a free
commercial intercourse among the states, were still to be determined; the former involving the interests of every corner of Germany, and the latter touching the destruction of a jealous prohibitory system, by which even the most petty states attempted to defend their manufactures against their neighbours. On none of these matters did the Diet come to any decision; and the only measure which they carried through was the final occupation of the Belgic fortress of Luxembourg by commissioners and a garrison in the name of the Confederation. The king of the Netherlands resisted this change as far as he; decently could resist a fundamental rule of the Confederation, of which, as sovereign of the Duchy of Luxemburgh, he formed a part— for no monarch can willingly see his fortresses in the hands of domineering powers, of which he has always occasion to be jealous as dangerous rivals, though united with them in name as confederates.
The differences which existed regarding the navigation of the Rhine, formed a dispute between Germany and the king of Holland, rather than among the members of the diet. From the moment that the Rhine entered Holland, it became subject to the government of that country alone, who was sovereign of both its banks. Whatever duties Holland might think proper to impose on the traffic of the river during the remainder of its course to the shores of the North Sea, were strictly matters of internal arrangement, regulating the intercourse of foreigners with her own exclusive dominions, and were imposts with which the diet had no authority to interfere. She was thus enabled by high duties, to render the Rhine useless as a means of transport to the sea; by discriminating duties she could secure the whole trade from Nimeguen to the sea, to her own subjects, and a preference to her own manufactures as articles of export. The states higher up the river could gain little by establishing equitable regulations regarding the duties to be levied by the powers who possessed its opposite banks, so long as they were absolutely excluded from proceeding on it to the ocean by an authority over which they had no control. In the treaty of Paris, in 1814, by which the kingdom of the Netherlands, as it at present exists, was created, and subsequently at the Congress of Vienna, provisions had been agreed on which certainly were intended, and, it was thought, would be sufficient, to limit the power of Holland, and open the navigation of the Rhine to all Germany, to and from the sea. But an ambiguous expression gave Holland a pretext for maintaining her exclusive rights. She said, that ('to the sea" was a very different
expression from "into the sea;" and, moreover, if the upper states were to insist so strictly upon words, then they must be contented with the course of the proper Rhine itself. The mass of water which forms the Rhine, dividing itself a little way above Nimeguen, is carried to the sea through three principal channels, the Waal, the Leek, and the Yssel; the first descending by Gorcum, where it changes its name for that of the Meuse ; the second, farther to the north, approaching the sea at Rotterdam; and the third, taking a northerly course by Zutphen, and Deventer, to disgorge itself into the Zuyderzee. None of these channels, however, is called or reckoned the Rhine; that name is preserved to a small stream which leaves the Leek at Wyck, takes its course by the learned retreats of Utrecht and Leyden, gradually dispersing and losing its waters, till the magnificent river dwindles down into a muddy ditch, and, unable by its expiring strength to force its way into the ocean, disappears among the downs in the neighbourhood of Kulwyck. The Rhine itself, strictly speaking, being thus useless for the purposes of seanavigation, it had been agreed between Holland and her neighbours to consider the Leek as the continuation of the Rhine; and the government of the Netherlands afterwards consented that the Waal, as being deeper and better adapted to navigation, should be substituted for the Leek. Now the Waal, said the government of Holland, terminates at Gorcum, to which the tide ascends; there consequently ends the Rhine; all that remains of that branch from Gorcum to Gravelingen, Helvoetsluys, and the mouth of the Meuse, is an arm of the sea, inclosed within our own territories, and therefore to be subjected to any imposts and regulations which we may think fit to establish. he did accept of it (and this was what the allied courts alleged) on the understanding that certain exclusive rights of the latter were to be limited, the argument drawn from the history of his family, was hoth had faith, and had logic. All that argument and remonstrance could as yet gain from the Netherlands was, that the Leek should he considered as the Rhine; that the vessels of the German states should be allowed to navigate it unmolested, under no higher duties than might he imposed on other parts of the river; and that the prohibitions against the transit of goods in other vessels than those of Holland, should be abolished. This still left in uncertainty the great question — through what channel is the navigation of the Rhine as far as the sea to he carried on ? — for the Leek terminates where it joins the Meuse, a river purely Belgic and Dutch, before reaching Rotterdam. The abolition of the prohibition against transit was, it was further said, a point gained, in so far as it removed the exclusive provisions in favour of the Dutch trade, and permitted the free trade of German shippers with each other on the Rhine of Holland; but that stfil, so soon as they approached the sea, there they were stopped until they should pay the export duties fixed by Holland, which, in favour of its own trade, might be so high as to amount to a prohibition. This was one of the many instances in which disputes and errors have arisen from the arbitrariness with which the original name of a ramifying river is bestowed on one of its branches. One would think that the larger arm ought always, like a first born, to bear the family title: more nice investigations
In this interpretation, Holland was supported by France and Baden, but strenuously resisted by all the other powers of Germany, who inveighed against it as a quibbling attempt to evade the plain meaning of the treaty of Paris. Prussia, whose Rhenish provinces form the wealthiest and most manufacturing portion of her monarchy, addressed a memorial to the great powers who had been parties to the treaty of Paris, and the congress of Vienna, calling upon them to state what had been the real meaning of that treaty in regard to the navigation of the Rhine; and, in the mean time, on the ground of the delays of Holland, she retained in her hands a sum of fourteen millions of florins, raised by duties levied on the river where it passes through her territories, which ought, of right, to have been shared with Nassau, Baden, Darmstadt, and other small states. The allied powers put upon the treaty the same interpretation as the German states; but the government of the Netherlands having returned an unfavourable answer to their joint remonstrance, the Austrian envoy at Brussels presented a note to that court, in February of the present year, in which he not only enforced what Austria held to be the true mean-> ing of the diplomatic provisions of 1814 arid 1815, but spoke in a style which much resembled reproach, of the ingratitude of the king of the Netherlands towards his political creators. "By the treaty of Paris," he argued, "the allied powers, in conjunction with
France, ag of the House of Orange should receive an accession of territory, and that the navigation of the Rhine, from the point where it is navigable to the sea (jusqu'ct la mer), and vice versa, should be free. This last point was further confirmed in the separate article, which provides 'that the freedom of navigation in the Scheldt shall be established on the same principles as those on which the navigation of the Rhine is regulated by Article 5 of the present treaty." The allied powers farther reserved to themselves to determine, at the next Congress, the countries which should be united with Holland, and declared 'that then the principles should be discussed, upon which the tolls to be levied by the States on the banks might be regulated in the most uniform manner and most advantageously to the commerce of all nations." It appeared, from the simultaneous issuing of these two resolutions, that, among other conditions which the allies annexed to the incorporation of Belgium, this increase of territory was combined on their side, even before the establishment of the kingdom of the Netherlands, with the above obligation to restore the freedom of the navigation. There could certainly be no more express and positive obligation than that which is united with the foundation of a state, and which, in the present case, had been fully sanctioned by the accession of the king of the Netherlands to the treaty of Paris, and the act of Congress at Vienna. It was inconceivable how the government of the Netherlands could flatter itself with the hope of making a right obscure and doubtful, by prolix observations on the main
may be allowed to the inquisitive geographer; but in the serious business of real life, it does appear strange, that the name of the mighty Rhine should he continued to a petty brook, while two thirds of its mass of waters are gliding on through the windings of the Waal, and receiving in their course the Meuse as a tributary.
During the year most of the differences, which had been so long existing between the Netherlands and the Papal see, regarding the powers of the Catholic bishops, and the rights and maintenance of the Catholic religion, were finally adjusted; and the former power sent an envoy to Rome to open a new negotiation in regard to the remainder. By a decree of 1822, no private chapel, or oratory, could be erected or consecrated without the permission of the king, granted upon an application by the bishop of the diocese. This regulation was now relaxed; and the power was given to the bishops of authorizing the erection of chapels and oratories exclusively for the use of the individuals, corporations, or congregations, who might build them, on condition that such authority should never be granted except to persons who from age or infirmity were unable to attend church, that the chapels themselves should be erected with all possible economy, and that only aged and infirm priests, having no other duty to perform, should be appointed to officiate in them. The Catholics were likewise relieved of part of the burthen of supporting their own hierarchy, a sum of five hundred thousand florins being voted by the Statesgeneral towards the expenses of the Catholic Worship in the northern . provinces. But a proper jealousy was still manifested of the encroach