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to him has had the same effect upon the King. Both evidently considered these advances as a grant, and complain that the matter was not (if otherwise considered) brought forward before, and of the very awkward situation in which the Government is now placed, after having professed to state in their late Budget (with such difficulty passed through the StatesGeneral) every article of arrear, and brought prominently forward tho i?2,000,000 due from Great Britain as a relief to the nation in their charges for fortifications. In having so large a sum still in arrear as i?687,700 to produce for provision at a future period, they state the fears they entertain that the good faith of the King in his late communications with his StatesGeneral will be compromised, and that these will naturally suspect that so large an arrear has been intentionally kept back from their notice.
Under the apprehension of this, M. de Nagell has requested me to solicit that, till some arrangement can be thought of, whereby this evil may be obviated, you will endeavour to prevent this matter from being noticed in our debates in Parliament, lest it should transpire here, and raise an outcry in the States-General and in the country.
M. de Nagell pressed much that every inclination should be formed on the part of the British Government to afford to this every possible degree of acccommodation in such arrangements as they may hereafter be enabled to propose upon this subject. For a long time he argued the matter as bearing upon the provisions required for the charges of this country for the present year, 1818, stating the utter impossibility of making any arrangement whereby the sum of £1,000,000, proposed to be advanced by Great Britain for these fortifications, could be otherwise diminished than by the sums due for the frigates and Hanoverian subsidy; and, upon my assuring him that it did not enter into your intention further to diminish this sum than under their own proposal, he then applied the same arguments to the subject of the charges for fortification, and advance of a million by Great Britain, as referable to the expenditure of 1819.
In the course of the argument, he stated that it was not now the time particularly to examiue the precise amount of the items, but that these he believed [not!] to go beyond the quantum of arms and clothing actually furnished for the immediate service of the King. He also mentioned that, under the second secret Article of the Convention of August 13,1814, his Majesty would have some—he did not pretend to say a very large—demand to make upon Great Britain in the settlement of this account for the revenues of Bernagore [?]. The amount of these I should conceive to be very trifling; however, it may be possible (though I very carefully avoided even hinting the subject to M. de Nagell) that some accommodation to this Government, though certainly to no very considerable extent, might be found in the absolute purchase of these revenues in fee simple by Great Britain. You will know best what value to place on this suggestion.
On the matter of the Slave Trade, M. de Nagell stated to
me that he did not entertain a doubt of the King's willingness
to enter into the Convention you require; and he strongly recommended, by way of saving time, that I should write for the immediate expedition of the full powers to me requisite for the commencement and prosecution of this negociation. I give you the recommendation as I received it. I cannot, however, (though from nothing which transpired in my conversations with M. de Nagell) avoid suspecting the possibility that, in my audience with the King, his Majesty, perceiving the sums paid to both in the Conventions with Spain and Portugal, may endeavour, though without possessing the same foundation, to attach some conditions connected with the money demands upon his compliance with your object relative to the trade in slaves. If he should do so, as the best mode, in my judgment, of managing both questions, I shall put a direct negative to any such pretension; and, if you shall disapprove of the effect resulting from this step, it will be very easy for you to disavow me, and I shall not complain of your doing so.
I am sorry to state that the Prince of Orange, though not to the same public extent, has again taken up the cause of the Belgic half-pay officers ordered to Batavia. It appears that, to excuse themselves from this service, several of them, among whom is Colonel de Wastine, a Frenchman, and, till a late period, in that service, pleaded the want of sufficient health. Medical officers were accordingly sent by the King to establish the fact, and M. de Wastine particularly refused to submit to the required inspection, and actually directed the medical officers to be turned out of his lodgings. On this being reported to the King, his Majesty struck his name out of his army.
The Prince of Orange has represented to the King that he is compromised by this act, and has again tendered his resignation; but, though this happened, I believe, on Thursday last, I have not yet heard that the resignation has been accepted. The matter is still a secret here, though his Royal Highness, with sufficient imprudence, confided the fact to M. le Comte de Vilain XIV., one of the Belgic Deputies to the Second Chamber, who has been in uniform opposition to Government, one of the four Chamberlains excluded from the Queen's ball, (as I acquainted you in a former letter) and who waited on the Prince on Friday to take leave, prior to his return to the southern provinces.
Yours, my dear lord, &c,
PS. A despatch has just been received by this Government from their Admiral in the Mediterranean, stating that four Tunisian vessels, of twenty guns each, (one of them probably that spoken of in the letter formerly noticed, from the Consul at Alicante) were then at Port Mahon, one bound to Rotterdam, the three others for the Thames, under the alleged pretence of seeking reimbursement for the loss sustained by the recapture of the Hamburgh, &c, vessels taken from them by us. This appears great stuff. I have thought it right, however, to furnish you with the fact as it has reached me by a verbal communication from M. de Nagell.
Lord Clancarty to Lord Castlereagh.
The Hague, March 6, 1818.
My dear Lord—I have nothing of an official nature worthy of conveyance by the present occasion. The Reports of the Procureur-General at Bruxelles to the Minister of Justice here I no longer send in gross; with the exception, perhaps, of the enclosed extracts from those of the 1st of March, they cease to be of interest. These present two facts; 1st, the cautious delicacy which induced M. le Comte de Merci d'Argenteau,
Civil Governor of Bruxelles, to warn Lord K against
making the very limited discovery conveyed in his letter to Sir George Murray, of the existence of a premeditated plan to murder the Duke of Wellington; and secondly, that my Lord
K is in the habit of advancing moneys in support of
sedition, other than those sums which, by his intervention, we already know to have been paid to the came de sxistentation at Antwerp, on account of the Duke of Orleans.
I am in great hopes, however, that the slight information hitherto afforded by his lordship will prove sufficient, if not for the Puccess of further discovery, at least to set him at variance with his worthy coadjutors among the proscribed French at Bruxelles, and that he may consequently be thus induced altogether to withdraw his residence from this kingdom. Already the Jacobin journals have commenced somewhat covered hostilities against him, which, I trust, will soon grow into undisguised war and direct attack. An open house, tolerable manners, a command of money, and abundant good-will to a bad cause, have enabled his lordship to do considerable mischief: happily, however, these have been somewhat counterbalanced by very restricted powers of judgment and a temper not always at command.
The Sessions of the States-General here are drawing towards a close: it is thought they will terminate on Thursday next. The King has found these gentry more difficult of late than he had expected. The law respecting libel on foreign Sovereigns, &c, I have already acquainted you, was lost by a majority of three. I did not, however, then state, because I was then ignorant of the fact, that the ill-success of this projet is attributed to the exertions of his Royal Highness the Prince of Orange, who is supposed not only to have encouraged opposition to it, but to have had sufficient influence to turn the scale against it in the Second Chamber. A projet of law respecting le Droit de Chasse has subsequently been ousted by a considerable majority, and against the success of this also the Prince of Orange is stated to have exerted himself.
It being hoped that the States-General will be adjourned on Thursday next, the Court intends, immediately after Passion week, to repair for some time (probably a week or ten days) to Amsterdam. Thither, if invited, I shall conceive it my duty to accompany them, unless I shall receive directions from you to the contrary.
The despatch from Lamb, which you will receive by this conveyance, reached me yesterday evening under flying seal. I must own that, to reconcile the instructions from Prince Metternich of the 11th December to his Minister at Munich, with those to the Comte de Buol of the 21st January, is beyond my limited capacity—that they should, however, though in direct opposition, flow from the head that devised them appears to me quite natural. His Highness would have done well to have recollected that there is no secrecy among the Plenipotentiaries at Frankfort; and, consequently, that the chances were strong in favour of both instructions becoming public But his greatness of soul and perfect master