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RELATIONS WITH THE NETHERLANDS.
Holland fell in '94-Changes in government-Great trade with this country-King Louis well disposed-Compelled to abdicate-Confiscation of American property-Since 1815 negotiations of slight importance-Attempt to renew treaty of 1782-Not successfulCountervailing duties-Trade of Netherlands confined to export of foreign articles-Principle of reciprocity established by corresponding laws-Everett, chargé-Netherlands give 10 per cent. bounty to their ships-U. States remonstrate-Difficulty removed-Netherlands colonial principle very severe-Hughes, chargé-Huygens minister--Quabeck and Heeckeren, chargés-Commercial treaty with Hamburgh, Bremen and Lubeck.
THE treaty, made in 1782, having no limitation, continued in force, till the creation of the kingdom of the Netherlands and the consolidation of the Dutch and Belgic provinces in 1814 and '15.* Separate from the great and lucra
* In 1792, William Short of Virginia was appointed minister resident to the Hague. This appointment was notified to him in January of that year by Mr. Jefferson in the following terms:
"I have the pleasure to inform you that the President of the United States has appointed you minister resident for the United States at the Hague, which was approved by the Senate on the 16th instant. This new mark of the President's confidence will be more pleasing to you, as it imports an approbation of your former conduct, whereon be pleased to accept my congratulations."
In May 1794, John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts was appointed minister, who was succeeded in March 1797 by William Vans Murray of Maryland the last minister to the Netherlands, till the renewal of intercourse by the appointment of William Eustis of Massachusetts, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, in December 1814. The executive, in June 1801, suspended the legations at the
tive trade carried on with the Dutch East and West Indies, and colonies on the American continent, this country has had from 1794 (with the exception of '99, when Holland was invaded by an English and Russian army, and during nearly the whole year her ports declared to be in vigorous blockade) a vast direct commerce till 1808 and 9. But the diplomatic relations, subject to uncommon vicissitudes, have been interrupted the greater part of the time. Holland fell the same year with Austrian Flanders, and the country on the left bank of the Rhine. This was the important result of the brilliant campaign of '94. From that period we trace the original Dutch confederacy through the successive changes of a national assembly, a Batavian republic, an aristocratic legislature, an elective monarchy, an hereditary monarchy, a department in 1810 of the imperial government, and lastly, to its union in 1814 and 15, with Belgium. The United States have not followed step by step these revolutions in its government; but a friendly intercourse has always been maintained, and till the abdication of Louis in July 1810, many openings were found for trade, notwithstanding the severity, with which the continental system was attempted to be enforced. The special application of that system to Holland, however in 1809 and the following years, subsequently gave rise to the same controversy on the subject of illegal seizures, the government has had with Spain and Naples. American property to a great amount was unjustly seized; and ultimately confiscated. That, which was not liable to the operation of the Berlin and Milan decrees, was sequestrated under the 10th article of the treaty of Paris of March 1810.* It is in these words, and is as unprincipled an act as can be conceived. "Every description of merchandise that has arrived in the ports of Holland in American vessels since the 1st January
Hague and at Lisbon. M. Van Polaner succeeded M. Van Berckel as minister resident, after the appointment of Mr. Adams. M. Polaner was accredited in 1796 from Holland, which, at that time, went under the name of the "Batavian Republic."
* Martens, vol. xii. p. 307.
1809, or which shall hereafter so arrive, shall be put under sequestration, and shall belong to France, to be disposed of according to circumstances and the political relations of that country with the United States." This treaty, the Dutch admiral Verhuel was obliged to sign with M. de Champagny. It was the preliminary step to the abdication of Louis, an event, indeed, that followed a few months after, but the king of Holland, in consenting to the sacrifices required by this instrument, doubtless hoped to preserve the independence of a people to whom he was evidently attached, and over whom, much against his inclination, he had been appointed to reign. Louis in his own hand made observations on the different provisions of this treaty. They have been preserved, and have since been published in a manner, that leaves no doubt of their authenticity. In regard to the 10th article just quoted, he remarks, "I expect from the justice of the Emperor that he will express his intentions in a different way, as it respects this property. I think it should be treated as property under similar circumstances has been in Spain and Naples, and that the same date should be assigned for the application of the article."* This arrangement would have placed the property in depôt subject to future examination and decision. It has, at least, the semblance of fairness. The proposition was free from the licentious, unsparing injustice of the original article. The independence and upright intentions of Louis in this affair deserve to be mentioned with applause, a compliment equally due to his undeviating good treatment of American commerce. But, in reality, we believe this would have been but a milder and less expeditious mode of transferring this American property to the imperial treasury. It amounts to little more than changing the phrase. The history of the claims of this country on the Dutch government does not differ in principle from that on Spain or Naples.
In a letter of December 1809, Napoleon says to Louis, "You have received in the ports of Holland every American vessel, rejected from my harbours, that presented itself to you." Documents sur la Hollande, vol. iii.
The negotiations with the Kingdom of the Netherlands,* since the peace of 1815, present little variety, or novelty. They relate solely to claims for spoliations, vindicated on the principle, already examined and discussed ;—and to the concluding of a commercial convention, containing the doctrine of reciprocal importation and tonnage charges and duties. On the first topic we refer the reader to the chapter on France, and as to the last, we shall now detain him no longer than is necessary to give a full account of the progress and termination of that business.
We have already said on a preceding page, that Mr. Eustis was appointed, in 1814, envoy to the Netherlands, the first minister since 1801, when the intercourse was suspended. In 1818 an attempt was made by the United States to renew the ancient treaty of 1782 with modifications, adapted to the actual condition of both countries. This failed in consequence of the law of March 3d, 1815, requiring the repeal of all discriminating duties on the part of foreign nations, as it regarded the United States, while it provided only a partial repeal on the part of the U. States, as it regarded foreign countries. The statute did not rescind the charge on tonnage, and the import only on merchandise, the produce or manufacture of the nation, to which the vessel, in which imported, belonged. On the other hand, the Netherlands law repealed the countervailing duty both on tonnage and merchandise, whatever might be its origin. This inequality of municipal regulations proved fatal to a renewal of the treaty of 1782, one of the most ancient in the collection, and the only one, concluded with the Dutch Government. The course of trade of the Netherlands, also, presented great difficulties. Few articles, either of the produce or manufacture of that kingdom, were objects
* This title, being at present established for that recent creation, it will be applied in this chapter. The German appellation, slightly corrupted, is now universally adopted in our language. The seat of this government is, alternately, at the Hague and at Brussels.
†M. Chauguion was a minister from the Netherlands to the United States in 1815, the first accredited since the peace.
of exportation, that branch of trade consisting principally of foreign productions.
In the supposition, that the law of March 1815 was abrogated in regard to the Netherlands, it would have been necessary to have gone through an entire revision of all the modern commercial treaties. The proposition of the United States, demanding to be admitted into the Dutch colonies on the footing of the most favoured nation, constituted another serious obstacle. This was rejected from the consideration, that the United States possessed no colonies, and could offer no terms of reciprocity in that particular;-a refusal, partaking somewhat of an invidious air, for as most other nations held colonies, whether small or large, the prohibition appeared to apply exclusively to this country. In another part of this work, we have treated in detail the question of colonial trade, but it will be no repetition to remark in this place, that the position of the Netherlands government exhibits a developement, to an extreme degree, of the principle, asserted by the European States in regard to their colonial systems. That power, at the close of the great political reforms, regenerations, remodellings and recastings of 1814, 1815, owned but the small and decayed islands of St. Eustatia and Curaçoa, (and two others so obscure as hardly to merit being mentioned) whose whole produce was confined to a few articles and in limited quantities. On the other hand, a country, affording the greatest variety of native staple products, able at this moment to supply all Europe with flour, tobacco, lumber and cotton wool, with a most extensive coast, and whose markets must every day become more valuable from the rapid increase of wealth and population, was denied admittance to these islands, because she possessed no colonies, whose trade could be offered in return. The application of the principle in this particular case, certainly, appears altogether abstract. There are, also, occasions, when a trade with the United States is of indispensable necessity to save the islands from starvation, caused by drought or hurricanes. No foreign country, it is true, is under an obligation (except, indeed, urged by those