The massacre at Antwerp and the eloquence of the Prince produced a most quickening effect upon the Congress at Ghent. Their deliberations had proceeded with decorum and earnestness, in the midst of the cannonading against the citadel, and the fortress fell on the same day which saw the conclusion of the treaty.
M. le Comte d'Artois had rushed precipitately from Brussels up to Ghent to warn His Majesty the King of France that all hope of saving his throne was now at an end, and that the wisest course to pursue was to return to England and resign himself once more to obscurity and exile.
The utmost tension still existed, in spite of the peace, especially as in the United States the view prevailed that our rights by the old treaty had outlived the war, notwithstanding the silence of the Ghent document. At length, in 1818, a new treaty was entered into upon the question, signed October 20th, ratified by England November 2d, and by the United States January 28, 1819.
The other was Hannibal Melas, who before Granvelle's fall had been transferred there as one of the higher officials of the government. She also entered into relations with other heads of the Spanish party, and thus found in Ghent what she sought. The pension allowed her enabled her to hire a pretty house, and to furnish it with a certain degree of splendour.
During the Middle Ages, when navigation began to embrace the great open sea as well as the Mediterranean, a double centre sprang up: the Italian Republics, Venice, Florence, Genoa, Pisa, were still the chief carriers; but the towns of Flanders, Bruges, Ghent, and Antwerp began to compete with them, and the Atlantic states, France, England, the Low Countries, rose into importance.
But in doing so she had become a personage who could scarcely be overlooked, and she rarely failed to be present on the very occasions which brought together the most aristocratic Spanish society in Brussels. So, after a fresh dispute with Alba, in which the victor on many a battlefield was forced to yield, she had obtained his consent to retire to Ghent instead of Mons.
The deputies replied, that to the due execution of the Ghent treaty it was necessary that he should disband the German troops, assemble the states-general, and carry out their resolutions. Until these things, now undone, had been accomplished, he had no right to plead his faithful fulfilment of the Pacification.
Nor was his courtier-like calculation one of these rash speculations which promise splendid results on paper, and are ruinous in effect. He was to quote the wittiest and most successful of our diplomates one of the faithful five hundred who shared the exile of the Court at Ghent, and one of the fifty thousand who returned with it.
It was decreed that the four hundred thousand florins, which had caused the revolt, should forthwith be paid, together with an additional fine by Ghent of one hundred and fifty thousand, besides six thousand a year, forever after.
An agreement was finally arrived at whereby the Germans consented to march around Ghent if certain requirements were complied with.