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but they dazzled the eyes of the subject, and concealed the encroach ment, or legitimated it by the brilliancy of illustrious achievements. A small territory, scooped from the ocean, rose to rank and estimation in the scale of nations, by its valour, its riches, and its arts, and was enabled to resist the mighty power of England and France, by the genius and energy of succession of five princes of the House of Orange, for upwards of a century.

The stadtholderate remained vacant from the death of William the Third, who by his talents preserved the republic from impending danger, till fresh difficulties, the wishes of the nation, and the powerful interposition of George the Second, in 1747, induced them to confer the dignity of stadtholder on William the Fourth, father of the last stadtholder, and to make it hereditary in his family. This prince (I mean the father) possessed considerable talents, from which the country did not derive much advantage, for he died soon after his elevation to the dignity. By this act the offices of captain-general and admiral-general were united in the person of the stadtholder, who also became president of every province; and his power and influence was such as to enable him to change every deputy, magistrate, and officer, in every province and city, at pleasure, by which he had the almost complete for mation of the States General, although he had no voice in it.




THE authority described in the last chapter, so princely and powerful, in all human probability would have continued in the family of the prince upon whom it was conferred to this hour, and descended to their posterity, had the last stadtholder possessed the virtue, spirit, and wisdom of his ancestors: but the imbecility of his character, more than those wonderful events which were agitating other portions of Europe, was the principal cause of the overthrow of his house. Without any portion of ability, William the Fifth was alive only to his own aggrandizement and depraved pleasures. The attachment which he had been taught to cherish for the politics of England, had long marked him out as an object of hatred with the Dutch: under his auspices they saw their own trade deteriorated, and the ocean covered with the commercial vessels of the British empire, wafting wealth into her ports from every quarter of the globe, the resources and energies of the republic consuming without any attempt to resuscitate them, until at length his weak and culpable conduct closed in the conquest of the country, and the precipitate retreat of himself and family. The conduct of the Princess of Orange also contributed not a little to augment the displeasure of the people. She had that influence over him which strong minds always have over weak ones, but in

no instance were her counsels advantageous to the state, and she had no one quality to conciliate the lower classes of the people.

During the troubles of 1787, she created uncommon disgust by answering in her own name an address of the States General to the prince her husband, when she had no recognised character in the republic, and consequently no right whatever to interfere in its affairs. Amongst other acts of presumption in the same year, so memorable in the Dutch annals, when the Orange party, supported by Prussia and Great-Britain, acquired the ascendency, she managed the negotiations between the Duke of Brunswick, who commanded the Prussian army, and the city of Amsterdam, in the course of which she declared in a tone of angry insolence, that the generosity of her disposition induced her to spare the lives of the guilty, but that they should be held incapable of discharging the duties of any public trust in future. Among the persons whom she caused to be dismissed were several distinguished and popular citizens, the survivors of whom were, upon the overthrow of the house of Orange, called to participate in the government of the country with the most flattering marks of congratulation.

This princess I know has had her admirers, she has been extolled for her spirit, and capaciousness of mind; but upon almost every occasion her talents were misapplied, and only served to augment the storm that burst over and laid the glory of her house prostrate. What was to close a reign (if such it may be called), so characterized by weakness and disaster, required not the spirit of a prophet to foretel. The French revolution found an unembarrassed introduction into Holland, and the feeble resistance which the Dutch troops opposed to the French armies, pretty clearly demonstrates the estimation in which the country held its unworthy ruler, and the desire they had of delivering themselves from him and the influence of England upon their councils. It is well known, that in the last war, the Dutch refused the sick and wounded of their allies, the British army, admission into Delft, and a body of burghers was formed at Amsterdam, to prevent the entrance of foreign troops; in other words, the English, into that city. In his Last struggles the Stadtholder obtained a plenary power, resembling

that of a dictator, a short time before the French army crossed the Waal, an event that decided the fate of Holland. Aukwardly clothed with this vast authority, he issued a proclamation, invoking the people to rise en masse to oppose their invaders in obedience to the invocation, the Dutch army was strengthened by the accession of about fifty recruits. An order then followed, that throughout the United Provinces three houses should furnish one man for the defence of the state, the order experienced a worse fate than the proclamation.

The public antipathy to the Stadtholder and his government was now raised to its highest elevation: the French entered the country in triumph, and the flight of the Prince of Orange was received with enthusiastic expressions of exultation. On the 16th of February, 1795, a solemn assembly of the deputies from all the provinces was held at the Hague, at which meeting the stadtholderate was formally declared to be abolished for ever, and in the evening of that day a grand republican festival was celebrated, at which the Dutch legislators, the French representatives, and the chiefs of the army assisted. When the British troops afterwards landed at the Helder, they found the sense of the people still the same. It was not the dread of the revenge of the French army, that induced them to observe such marked and unequivocal disinclination to co-operate with a force which professed to have in view the achievement of salutary objects for their benefit, but the unextinguishable abhorrence in which they held the house of Orange, in whose name the English army endeavoured to wrest the country from the arms of France; and, I believe, since the death of the son of the Stadtholder, a young prince of great promise, that throughout the kingdom scarcely one partizan for the house of Orange is to be found.

The fate of Holland is a memorable lesson to other nations. We wonder that the power of France rolls on with overwhelming fury: the military observer traces her resistless march to her brilliant improvements in modern warfare; the politician to the magnitude, energy, and endless reinforcements of her troops; the superstitious to her good fortune, and the moralist to the divine

interposition to rebuke the vices of her enemies. They forget, or will not see, that the victories of France have hitherto been the triumph of genius, promptitude, and energy, over ignorance, procrastination, and supineness: of vigorous over weak councils; of able, experienced, and faithful, over hereditary, senseless, and perfidious commanders. These are the causes that made Austria bow her neck to the chief of the French empire, and in ten days offered up Prussia to the manes of Poland, in memorable expiation of the horrors perpetrated in that devoted country in 1771. In the glorious triumphs of the British flag upon the ocean, we saw great yielding to greater skill: in Egypt and Media we beheld indisputable heroism yielding to superior intrepidity, directed by great military skill, and united to high national honour.

The moderation and mildness which characterized the conduct of the French, rendered them popular by a comparison with the rigorous folly of the Stadtholder in the last convulsions of his expiring power. The French checked and kept in complete awe .some of the most illiterate and most depraved of the Dutch republicans who were preparing to avenge the long and galling triumph of their adversaries, with sharp and sanguinary resentment; not a drop of blood was judicially shed upon the overthrow of the ancient government of the United Provinces, although it had endured for two centuries; and the pensioners of the house of Orange, whose stipends were the rewards of meritorious services, received, and continue to receive, their salaries with generous punctuality, without being obliged to take an oath of hatred to the Stadtholder, as other persons who lived by the bounty of the republic were obliged to do. After Bonaparte had assumed the imperial purple of France, and determined upon creating a dynasty of sovereigns in his own family, he prepared the Dutch for the conversion of their republic into a kingdom, and the reception of a king.

On the 9th of June, 1806, Messrs. Verhuel and Van Styrum returned from Paris. His Excellency M. Verhuel, after paying a visit to the acting pensionary, held conferences with the secretaries of state, and opened the special mission entrusted to him by his Imperial Highness Prince Louis Napoleon, as King of Hol

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