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the Catholic church its establish- rejected schism and heresy from ment and its privileges.
the bosom of the church. Sire, the existence and the pri- The Christian Emperors thought vileges of the Catholic church, in it their duty to maintain these this part of your kingdom, are laws, and to secure their execuinconsistent with an article of the tion, as may be easily seen in the plan of the new Constitution, by collection of edicts upon this subwhich equal favour and protec- ject. From Charlemagne down tion are promised to all religions. to the unhappy epoch of 1781,
Since the conversion of the and the following years, all the Belgians to Christianity, such a Sovereigns of this country in dangerous innovation has never every age, exclusively protected been introduced in these provin- the Apostolic Roman Catholic reces, unless by force. The at- ligion, and secured to it the imtempts of Joseph the Second to disturbed enjoyment of all the maintain it were fruitless. The rights and privileges in the pos. tyranny of the last French govern- session of which they found it. ment established it in theory; but The Council of Trent, all no religious troubles ensued, be- whose resolutions were published cause the head of the state pro- in these Provinces, and have tected the Protestant sects as lit- thence the effect of ecclesiastical tle as he did the Catholic church. law, after confirming all the old After this, however, the declared laws of the Church, which fix the enemy of all religion was over- spiritual jurisdictions, the rights thrown. The Belgian Church re- of the Bishops, of the Chapters, covered all her spiritual rights.- of the Universities, and in general In the Ordinance of the 7th March, of the regular and secular clergy, 1814, which the Commissioners of commanded the bishops to see to the allied powers expresslyconfirm- the execution of them, and careed, the general Government of Bel- fully to watch not only over the gium declared, “Henceforward maintenance of the sacred pledge the ecclesiastical power, and the of the faith, but also that of the temporal power, will be inviola- laws, which concern the essential bly maintained in their respective discipline of the Catholic Church, limits, as they are fixed by the and secure the consistency and common law, and by the ancient the inviolability of its governconstitution of the country." ment. These, Sire, are the du
Sire, we do not hesitate to de- ties of the bishops of these proclare to your Majesty, that the vinces, and the laws of the councanonical laws, which are sanc- try have constantly allowed and tioned by the ancient constitu- facilitated the fulfilment of them, tions of the country, are incom- till a higher power prevented patible with the projected consti- them in part from discharging tution which would give in Bel- them. gium equal favour and protection If your Majesty, when you seto all religions.
cure to the Belgie church her exThe canonical laws have always istence and privileges, has the intention, as we conjecture, to the Catholic church in these promaintain the entire execution vinces. of the holy canon law, we are We dare not conceal from you, incapable of duly expressing Sire, that such regulations, if our thanks
to your Majesty they were confirined by your Mafor it.
jesty, could only lead to a renewal But we most respectfully take of the troubles which desolated the liberty to lay before your Ma- these provinces in the sixteenth jesty an article of the new consti- century, and that they must sooner tution, which, in securing the or later alienate the hearts of your same protection to all religions, faithful subjects in this part of would be incompatible with the your kingdom, with whom, atfree and entire exercise of our tachment to the Catholic faith is official duties.
stronger and more lively than in We are bound, Sire, incessantly any other country in Europe. to preserve the people entrusted Already the proclamation of to our care, from the doctrines your Majesty, which announced which are in opposition to the that the new Constitution should doctrines of the Catholic church. insure the liberty of religions, and We could not release ourselves give all equal favour and protecfrom this obligation without vio- tion, filled every heart with conlating our most sacred duties; sternation. It is known that this and if your Majesty, by virtue of dangerous system is one of the a fundamental law, protected in main articles of the modern phithese provinces the public profes- losophy, which has been the sion and spreading of these doc- source of so many misfortunes to trines, the progress of which we us; that evidently aims at exciting are bound to oppose with all the indifference to all religions, at care and energy which the Catho- lessening their influence from day lic church expects from our office, to day, and at destroying them in we should be in formal opposition the end entirely. We are bound, to the laws of the state, to the Sire, to tell you the truth in its measures which your Majesty full extent. The clergy of these might adopt to maintain them provinces have not observed withamong us, and in spite of all our out pain that your Majesty has endeavours to maintain union and been persuaded to exclude them peace, , the public tranquillity from the assemblies in which the might still be disturbed.
great interests of the state were And since, by Art. 136 of the discussed ; that the plan of the proposed Constitution, the public new Constitution contains hoexercise of a form of worship may nourable distinctions for the nobe hindered, when it might dis- bility, and that the clergy, once turb the public tranquillity; it the first class in the state, are defollows, that the free exercise of prived of them; that it will not our religion might be hindered even have the right of being reby a possible consequence of the presented in the Provincial As. use of the rights and liberties of semblies, that its influence on the
acceptance of the new Constitu- . sess a high rank in the state. The tion is carefully removed, so that respect they enjoy, extends to the the inost distinguished members religion itself, which teaches it. of the clergy, according to the However great the personal merit expressions of your Majesty's of the servants of the church may proclamation, are not among the be, yet, in our times, if it is not persons most worthy of the con- supported by high rank and legal fidence of their fellow-citizens; privileges, which ennoble the lastly, that they are not allowed functions of the priesthood in the to inscribe their disapproving eyes of the people, the clergy can votes on the lists of the notables. oppose but a weak bulwark to the
All these are measures which disorders which they have continu(we say it with grief to your Ma ally to contend with. The injesty), can appear to us only as ternal peace and welfare of a state an unhappy omen for the future, depends chiefly on the state of since your Majesty's ministers al. morals. ready account the opinions and There are no good morals votes of the whole clergy for no- where there is no religion. As thing, upon subjects which are as things now stand, religion is much within their cognisance as more or less respected in proporthat of other private persons, tion as its servants are more or nay, their peculiar province, as less honoured and respected acfar as the interest of religion is cording to the existing laws. It concerned.
is easy to confine the good in due It is impossible to calculate all bounds, but the wicked dare the ill consequences that mayarise every thing against a clergy which from the continuation of such a does not enjoy a certain respect plan. For if the Catholic clergy in the state. are no more to be consulted upon Your Majesty has doubtless rethe concerns of the church-if it marked that the Catholic religion is decided that they can have no which was established again in share, or at least only an acci- France by the Concordat, did not dental share, in making the laws, produce the expected effect, beespecially those relative to eccle. cause by the system of the Sovesiastical jurisdiction, how can reign the Clergy enjoyed no rank, they hinder any encroachment no consideration, no influence in upon the inalienable rights of the the state. They were to be acepiscopal dignity, which belong counted as nothing. They were to the existence of the Catholic oppressed by all the inferior auchurch, and to the privileges thorities : they soon became, as which your Majesty insures to it? it was intended they should, inMay they not be arbitrarily les capable of doing good, or of presened in national assemblies, venting evil. when the clergy have no influ We have the confidence that ence, or, at the most, a very pre- your Majesty will deign, in the carious one?
submissive and respectful repreExperience has proved how im- sentations which we make to you, portant it is that the clergy pos- in the frank expression of our VOL. LVII.
sentiments, sentiments, to see only the fulfil the same institutions; the partyment of our most important du- walls raised under other circumties, under present circumstances, stances must be removed, and only a new proof of our devotion they must mutually regard each to your sacred person, only the other as inhabitants of one house, sincere wish that your Majesty and children of one family. may reign over these fine provin- Your High Mightinesses know ces in constant peace, by a per. that such are also the views of the fectly paternal government, and united Powers of Europe in esby a powerful and durable union tablishing the new Monarchy.between the Clergy and the Royal Faithful to the principle of every Authority.
where maintaining and preservWe are, with the profoundesting the already established relaveneration, your Majesty's most lations, they have especially rehumble, obedient, and faithful quired that our Constitution shall servants,
be maintained, and only altered (Signed)
in so far as the change of circumPrince MAURICE of Broglio, stances should, upon common deBishop of Ghent.
liberation, appear to demand. My J. A. BARRETT, Vicar-Gene- own wishes coincide with this de
ral Capitulary of Liege. termination. I have chosen for J. FORGEUR, Vicar-General the revision of the Constitution
of the Archbishoprick of those measures which appeared to Malines.
me most adapted to the end proCHARLES FRANCIS Joseph posed. Men assembled from all
Pisani, Bishop of Namur. the provinces of the kingdom, Francis Joseph, Bishop of without any other end in view Tournay.
than the welfare and glory of July, 28, 1815.
their countrymen, have fulfilled the important task, and, in their
dispassionate, concordant, and Speech of the King of the Nether- confidential deliberations, I have
lands on opening the Assembly of seen, with joy, a new and flatterthe States General of the United ing presage of the fraternal union Netherlands.
of all my subjects. Hague, August 8.
nese deliberations still conti
nued, when the tumult of war, High and Mighty Lords,-A unexpected, and with unusual few months ago 1 announced to rage (but, God be thanked, for a the States General the union of short time only) surprised our all the Netherlands under the territory. The danger, though Royal Sceptre; but that this short, was urgent; but the couunion may be permanent and be- rage of our warriors was superior neficial, it is not enough that all to the danger. No consideration, the inhabitants be united under no examples of a neighbouring one Sovereign ; they must, be- country even, could make one sides, be most intimately bound doubt a moment of the security together by the same laws and of engagements voluntarily taken
by the Netherlanders ; and now, of services useful to the State, to that in a period of danger, united the public institutions, to the deunder the banner; of independ- fence of the country; and, in geence, and by the side of our ge- neral, the royal power is great nerous allies, they have confirmed enough to secure the welfare of their vows by deed; I flatter my- the community, but insufficient self that the nation and all Europe to oppress or injure a single subpartake my conviction and niyject. confidence. History shall one If these observations are just, day shew in the battles of Quatre we may, under the direction of Bras and Waterloo two illustrious the new Constitution, with inpillars of the new State of the creased ability, and with confiNetherlands, and happy the fa- dence in the future, continue and thers are on whose sons the lot complete what, under the Divine has fallen to raise these pillars blessing, is already begun, dewith their arms, and to dye them signed, or prepared for the howith their blood.
nour and the welfare of the Ne. The plan which is to be consi- therlands. To your High Miyhdered in this Assembly should not tinesses is confided the solution of be offered you by me, since, in this question. Each of you knows the review of the fundamental law, the high importance of his mission, scarcely one article was laid aside and each of you willstrive to acquit by which the dearest rights of our himself of it with that zeal which nation was secured. But every we at all times, but especially in care has been taken to extend times like these, owe to our dear these rights as much as possible, nc intry. and to define them more clearly, that the new political union may have the stamp of an enlightened Convention between the British and eye, and of the national character.
Dutch Governments. The inviolability of the judicial In the name of the most Holy authority remains irrevocable, and and Undivided Trinity. liberty of conscience is guaranteed His Majesty the King of the to the fullest extent. No property Netherlands, and his Majesty the can be declared confiscated, no King of the United Kingdom of opinion or thought checked in its Great Britain and Ireland, being course. The meanest citizen is both highly desirous of promoting at liberty to make his voice heard and confirming the harmony and even at the Throne.
good understanding which so hapThe people retain their repre- pilly subsist between their states, sentation; the Provincial Assem- by bringing into actual operation blies a suitable degree of power. that part of the stipulations of the The burdens of the State are freely first of the additional articles of voted, and equally borne. The the Convention of Aug. 13, 1814, revenues to be accounted for, ac- which imports, “ that the subcording to fixed rules, can be em "jects of his Majesty the King of ployed in the hands of the King to "the Netherlands, being landed no other ends than to the payment “ proprietors in the colonies of
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