"districts bordering the Meuse", formed by the union of the old enclaves till beyond Maestricht.
During the Belgian revolution in 1830, the Belgians temporarily occupied Ruremonde and Venlo, the Dutch remaining masters at Maestricht. However, the latter at the same time energetically maintained that the ancient Lands beyond the Meuse must be recognized as belonging to Holland as a whole, in accordance with historical development. The Powers recognized these claims by the ratification of the 24 articles in 1833, though the final treaty of 1839 was required to induce the Belgians to acquiesce in the existing status of Dutch Limburg.
It is therefore both unjust and inaccurate to assert, as is now often done by the Belgians, that Holland has "torn" these territories from Belgium. What did the conclusion of the Treaty of 1839 mean?
In the first place the delimitation of Dutch territory appears, not as an arbitrary act on the part of the Netherlands, but as a decision taken by the five great Powers under whose auspices and guarantees the arrangement was made.
Secondly this territorial settlement was recognized by Belgium on her own responsibility. Having on their side obtained concessions, the national assembly accepted the arrangement proposed by the Treaty with a large majority. It is interesting to read in this connection a volume published under the title of "Histoire parlementaire du Traité de paix entre la Belgique et la Hollande" (in 1839 at Brussels by the Librairie Universellé). The reader of these reports will indeed observe that several deputies then expressed their regret at the fact that Ruremonde and Maestricht were granted to the Northern rather than to the Southern Netherlands.
There existed, indeed, in those days a strong proBelgian party in Limburg, which will not be a matter for surprise to those who are conversant with the history of the separation. They will remember that Limburg is almost wholly Roman Catholic and that the separation was caused in the first instance by the dis-