to Mr. Fish.
The Hague , May 25, 1874. (Received June 15.)
Sir: The national fete commemorative of the coronation of William HI, on the 12th of May, 1849, has had such an absorbing interest throughout the Netherlands during the last two weeks that little has transpired unconnected with some demonstration of loyalty to the House of Orange.
Amsterdam, being the capital and the city where His Majesty was crowned, was naturally designated as the place where the ceremonies incident to the twenty-fifth anniversary of the event should be observed.
At 10 o’clock on the morning of the 12th the King and Queen, the Prince of Orange, Princes Alexander, Henry, and Frederick, the Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar, and the Grand Duchess, (King’s sister,) a large number of courtiers, cabinet ministers, the corps diplomatic, and many others, titled and untitled, assembled at the “new church” for the observance of such ceremonies as had been prepared for the occasion.
After the performance of a grand cantata came a succession of felicitations to His Majesty; first by the two Chambers of States-General; afterward by the mayor and council of Amsterdam, the governors of the different provinces, and other civil and municipal organizations, ail breathing a spirit of loyalty, but of manly independence.
At the conclusion of his address the burgomaster of Amsterdam presented to His Majesty an elegant portfolio, containing a national gift of 100,000 florins, with the names of the contributors, which was graciously acknowledged, and immediately set apart by His Majesty for the benefit of the disabled in the war of Acheen. This popular announcement was greeted with loud huzzas, and cries of “Vive le Roi,” interrupted only by the louder cries of the King, of “Vive la Neederland,” and this was instantly seized as the key-note to a still wilder enthusiasm.
At the conclusion of the services at church the royal family returned to the palace, near by, where they were soon joined by the Czar of Russia, who had come to congratulate in person his royal cousin.
A marked feature in the programme of the day was a lengthy cavalcade, historical and allegorical, gotten up at great expense, in illustration of important periods in Netherland history between the beginning of the sixteenth century and the French revolution.[Page 783]
A banquet at six, followed by a general illumination and pyrotechnic display, concluded the public demonstrations of the day.
On the 15th the royal family returned to the Hague, where their reception was all they could have desired. On the 19th they participated at a banquet given by the city authorities, and at which the king responded at considerable length to a toast offered by the burgomaster, and with marked oratorical ability.
On the 21st the jubilee was observed at Rotterdam. The weather was propitious, the people full of loyal enthusiasm, and the display such as rarely occurs with a people not more demonstrative than the Dutch are reputed to be. There was an evident effort to rival what had been done elsewhere, and it might be unjust to say that it failed of success.
Yesterday the king retired to the Loo, where he was welcomed with extraordinary tokens of respect.
Politically the whole has been interesting. At Amsterdam, at the Hague, at Rotterdam, all seemed in accord. Every house was illuminated, each displayed national and dynastic colors, and everybody appeared anxious to add éclat to the occasion. A few insist that it is not the King, but the dynasty of Orange-Nassau that excites the homage of the people; that no recognized head of this venerable house could receive less; and that out of the line of William the Silent no king would be possible with this people.
That an almost superstitious veneration is cherished by Hollanders for the dynasty under which they live there is no doubt, neither should there be respecting the popularity of their reigning sovereign. His policy is peaceful and the country has prospered under his rule. The people govern themselves, in fact, and the King is willing they should, so long as they do not run after strange gods or trespass on the perogatives of the Crown. And I have little doubt, should he submit his kingship to popular vote, that he would be re-elected to reign over the Netherlands by a majority little short of the whole number of voters in the realm.
In conclusion, judging from what has passed under my observation from time to time, especially of late, I believe it fair to assume that no people come nearer being satisfied with their country, their government, their sovereign, and themselves, than the inhabitants of this busy little kingdom.
I am, &c.,