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HISTORY]
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BELGIUM

the Academy of Science, and he consistently restrained the undue intervention of the church in secular affairs, and placed restrictions upon the accumulation of property in the hands of religious bodies.

The death of Charles of Lorraine preceded only by a few months that of Maria Theresa, whose son Joseph II. not only appointed his sister, the archduchess Maria Christine, governor-general, but visited Belgium in person and Reforming zeal of Joseph II. showed a great and active interest in its affairs. Here as elsewhere in his dominions his intentions were excellent, but his reforming zeal outran discretion, and his hasty and self-opinionated interferences with treaty rights and traditional privileges ended in provoking opposition and disaster. Finding the United Provinces hampered by a war with England, he seized the opportunity to try to get rid of the impediments placed upon Belgian development by the Barrier and other treaties with Holland. He was able to compel the Dutch to withdraw their garrisons from the Barrier towns, but was wholly unsuccessful in his high-handed attempt to free the navigation of the Scheldt. These efforts to coerce the Dutch, though marred by partial failure, were, however, calculated to win for Joseph II. popularity with his Belgian subjects; but it was far otherwise with his policy of internal reform. He offended the states by seeking to sweep away many of their inherited privileges and to change the time-honoured, if somewhat obsolete, system of civil government. He further excited the religious feelings of the people against him, by his edict of Tolerance (1780), and his later attempts at the reform of clerical abuses, which were pronounced to be an infraction of the Joyous Entry (see Joyeuse Entrée). Fierce opposition was aroused. Numbers of malcontents left the country and organized themselves as a military force in Holland. As the discontent became more general, the The Brabancon revolt. insurgents returned, took several forts, defeated the Austrians at Turnhout, and overran the country. On the 11th of December 1789, the people of Brussels rose against the Austrian garrison, and compelled it to capitulate, and, on the 27th, the states of Brabant declared their independence. The other provinces followed and, on the 11th of January 1790, the whole formed themselves into an independent state, under the name of the “Belgian United States.” A few weeks later, on the 20th of February, Joseph II. died, his end hastened by chagrin at the utter failure of his well-meant efforts, and was succeeded by Leopold II.

The new emperor at once took steps to re-assert, if possible, his authority in Belgium without having recourse to armed force. He offered the states, if the people would return to their allegiance, the restoration of their ancient Leopold II. pacifies the country. constitution and a general amnesty. This, however, did not suit views of the popular party, who, under the leadership of an advocate named Van der Noot, had possession of the reins of power, and were uplifted by their success. The terms offered in an imperial proclamation were rejected, and preparations were made to resist coercion by the levée en masse of a national army. When, however, in November 1790, a powerful Austrian force entered the country, there was practically little opposition to its advance. The popular leaders fled, the form of government, as it existed at the end of the reign of Maria Theresa, and an amnesty for past offences was proclaimed; a superficial pacification of the revolted provinces was effected, and Austrian rule re-established. It was destined to be short-lived. In 1792 the armies of revolutionary France assailed Austria at her weakest point by an invasion of Belgium. The battle of Jemappes (7th of November) made the French Conquest of Belgium by the French. masters of the southern portion of the Austrian Netherlands; the battle of Fleurus (26th of June 1794) put an end to the rule of the Habsburgs over the Belgic provinces. The treaty of Campo Formio (1797) and the subsequent treaty of Lunéville (1801) confirmed the conquerors in the possession of the country, and Belgium became an integral part of France, being governed on the same footing, receiving the Code Napoléon, and sharing in the fortunes of the Republic and the Empire. After the fall of Napoleon and the conclusion of the first peace of Paris (30th of May 1814) Belgium was indeed for some months placed under the administration Union of Holland and Belgium under William I. of an Austrian governor-general, but it was shortly afterwards united with Holland to form the kingdom of the Netherlands. The sovereignty of the newly formed state was given to the prince of Orange, who mounted the throne (23rd of March 1815) under the title of William I. The congress of Vienna (31st of May 1815) determined the relations and fixed the boundaries of the kingdom; and the new constitution was promulgated on the 24th of August following, the king taking the oath at Brussels on the 27th of September.

From this date until the Belgian revolt of 1830, the history of Holland and Belgium is that of two portions of one political entity, but in the relations of those two portions were to be found from the very outset fundamental causes 1814-1830. tending to disagreement and separation. The Dutch and Belgian provinces of the Netherlands had for one hundred and thirty years passed through totally different experiences, and had drifted farther and farther apart from one another in character, in habits, in ideas and above all in religion. In the south the policy of Alva and Philip II. had been wholly successful, and the Belgian people, Flemings and Walloons alike, were perhaps more devoted to the Catholic faith than any other in Europe. On the other hand the incorporation of the country for two decades in the French republic and empire had left deep traces on a considerable section of the population, the French language was commonly spoken and was exclusively used in the law courts and in all public proceedings, and French political theories had made many converts. The Fundamental Law promulgated by William I. aroused strong opposition among both the Catholic and Liberal parties in Belgium. The large powers granted to the king under the new constitution displeased the Liberals, who saw in its provision only a disguised form of personal government. The principle of liberty of worship and of the press, which it laid down, was so offensive to the Catholics that the bishops condemned it publicly, and in the Doctrinal Judgment actually forbade their flocks to take the oath. The “close and complete union,” which was stipulated under the treaty of 1814, began under unfavourable auspices. Nevertheless the difficulties might have been smoothed away in the course of time, had the Belgians felt that the Dutch were treating them in a fair and conciliatory spirit. This, despite the undoubtedly good intentions of the king, was far from being the case. Belgium was regarded too much in the light of an annexed Causes of disagreement between Holland and Belgium. territory, handed over to Holland as compensation for the losses sustained by the Dutch in the revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. The idea that Holland was the predominant partner in the kingdom of the Netherlands was firmly rooted in the north and naturally provoked in the south the feeling that Belgium was being exploited for the benefit of the Dutch. The grievances of the Belgians were indeed very substantial. The seat of government was in Holland, the king was a Dutchman by birth and training, and a Calvinistic protestant by religion. Though the population of Belgium was 3,400,000 and that of Holland only a little more than 2,000,000 the two countries had equal representation in the second chamber of the states-general. Practically in all important legislative measures affecting the interests of the two countries the Dutch government were able to command a small but permanent majority. The use of the term “the Dutch Government” is strictly accurate, for the great majority of the public offices were filled by northerners. In 1830, of the seven members of the ministry only one was a Belgian; in the home department out of 117 officials 11 only were Belgians; in the ministry of war 3 were Belgians out of 102; of the officers of the army 288 out of 1967. All the public Attitude of the king. establishments, the Bank, the military schools, were Dutch. That such was the case must not be entirely charged to partiality, still less to deliberate unfairness on the part of William I. The conduct of the king proves that he had a most sincere regard for the welfare of his