Go Back   Alternate History Discussion Board > Discussion > Finished Timelines and Scenarios

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old February 19th, 2013, 04:30 AM
Lycaon pictus Lycaon pictus is offline
Author of "Locksmith's Closet"
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 900
The Dead Skunk

Comments go here, in the development thread. It has more art.

“There is on the globe one single spot, the possessor of which is our natural and habitual enemy. It is New Orleans, through which the produce of three-eighths of our territory must pass to market, and from its fertility it will ere long yield more than half of our whole produce and contain more than half our inhabitants.”
-Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to U.S. Minister to France Robert R. Livingston, April 18, 1802


December 23, 1814
About 3:45 a.m.
Bayou Mazant

The moon was just about full, and after what seemed like days of dismal weather the sky was at last clear. But the trees, heavy with vines and Spanish moss, blocked out most of the heavens. The bayou, and the path that led from it, were a winding thread of dim gray light that ran through absolute darkness.

Major General John Keane watched as his men disembarked. They moved in single file, walking carefully from one barge to the next until they set foot on the shore, then going down the path far enough to make room for their comrades. It would have been so much easier if only they could have risked a light, but everything depended on secrecy and surprise.

He shivered. Even in winter, southern Louisiana had no business being this cold.

And then the queue stopped moving. General Keane made his way forward, trying to keep his feet on firm ground. As he neared the front, he became aware of a horrible smell, like burning rotten eggs. He wasn’t the only one — all the soldiers up here were making faces and muttering their revulsion.

The man at the head of the queue couldn’t have been more than eighteen. He was doubled over, holding his nose.

“Lt. Gleig, 85th Regiment of Foot,” he said, barely getting the words out. His eyes were watering. He pointed to something in front of him. “Watch out, sir. There’s a skunk just up ahead.”

Keane had heard of the animals, but never seen one. The white stripes down its back shone in the darkness. It stood its ground in front of the whole army, obviously with no fear of man. (And though it couldn’t know why, it was right — shooting it right now would give everything away.)

Nonetheless, if this was the worst it could do, his men could endure it. Keane was about to order the army to defy the beast and keep walking, when something happened that made the matter moot. Something he couldn’t hear and almost couldn’t see swooped out of the sky, landed on the skunk and struck it in the back of the neck. The skunk squealed and struggled. Its enemy fought to stay on top, the pale underside of its wings flashing in the moonlight. Those wings were easily four feet wide. After about ten seconds, the beast fell insensible to the ground and the bird began to eat. Keane ordered the march to resume.

The killer proved less trouble than its prey. When the soldiers walked close by, it hooted angrily at them and flew off into the night.

* * *
About 11:00 a.m.
Near Villeré’s plantation

Over seven sleepless hours later, General Keane now found himself looking at another dead animal in the woods. This one was a dog which had once belonged to Major Villeré of the Louisiana militia. They had captured him — on his own front porch, no less — and when he made a run for it, his dog had run innocently after him, barking the whole way. Then, somewhere behind a big live oak, it had stopped barking. Villeré had silenced it permanently.

“In a couple of hours, the Yankees will know we’re here,” said Colonel William Thornton. “I recommend we strike now, sir. We’re not far from New Orleans — we can march there today.”

“To face what exactly?” said Keane. “This Andrew Jackson has a fearsome reputation, and we don’t know how many men he has with him.”

“Surely you can’t believe what the deserters are saying.” The few Americans Keane had caught were claiming Jackson had anywhere from fifteen to twenty thousand men.

“Cousin Jonathan can’t possibly have organized that many men and brought them out here so quickly,” Thornton continued. “And think about it — if Jackson was that certain of victory, why would anyone desert him in the first place?”

“At present, we only have 1,800 men here ourselves.”

“And so? The dirty-shirts can shoot as well as anyone, but they have no staying power — we saw that at Bladensburg. If we attack them before they’re ready, they’ll scatter like field mice.”

Keane was about to point out that events went otherwise at Baltimore, but then he remembered that Baltimore was a well-defended city near the heart of American power, such as it was. New Orleans, to the Yankees, was more along the lines of a distant but valuable outpost.

He found himself thinking of what he’d seen last night. The skunk, fearless with what seemed to be a perfect natural defense against other animals (poor Gleig still hadn’t had a chance to get himself cleaned up properly) had been surprised and killed by a sudden and unexpected attack from some sort of large owl.

Keane was a cautious man by nature, and he certainly didn’t think of himself as the sort of man to see omens in the flights of birds… but it occurred to him that under certain circumstance, moving quickly and decisively was the best possible precaution. This might be a case where valor was the better part of discretion. In any event, if Jackson did have as big an army as the deserters were claiming, he could squash Keane’s little strike force flat, and he could do it as easily here as in New Orleans.

And if not… the British force might just capture the city in one fell swoop.

“Very well, Thornton,” said the general. “You’ve convinced me.” He turned to go, brushing a curtain of moss out of his way. “We march.”


At least part of General Jackson’s dismal reputation stems from the fact that the people who remember him most vividly — the Creeks of Florida and the Creoles of Louisiana — suffered most from his actions. To them, he was a vicious yeoman and a treacherous butcher who treated his allies worse than his enemies. Yet his friends and Army rivals invariably describe him in their memoirs as a man of determination, great bravery, and, above all, intense personal honor…
Charles Cerniglia, The War of 1812

About 2:30 p.m.
New Orleans

Keane crouched behind the wall of the house. It wasn’t one of the fine houses of New Orleans — it was in fact little more than the average frontier shack — but it kept him well hidden from enemy fire. Those Yankee riflemen were too bloody good, and there were a dozen red-coated dead bodies around him to prove it.

It was hard for him to believe that as savage as this battle was, he was winning. But Jackson couldn’t have had more than an hour’s worth of warning. Only an hour in which to get his field guns and soldiers into position in a city where the streets were clogged with civilians trying to flee.

And luckily, the city was a nice, neat grid. If one street was blocked by a field-piece and sharpshooters firing from windows, another would do just as well. A good-sized chunk of Cousin Jonathan’s force was holed up in Fort Charles, at the southeastern tip of the city, and now effectively under siege.

From somewhere around the corner came Colonel Thornton’s voice. “You can come out now, General!”

Keane did. Thornton was standing fearlessly in the middle of the street amid drifting clouds of gunsmoke. The soldiers around him were triumphantly cleaning the blood off their bayonets.

“The thing about rifles,” said the colonel smugly, “is that in a fight, they take rather a long time to reload.”

“Well done, Colonel,” said Keane. “How goes the rest of the battle?”

“We hold the eastern half of the city. Didn’t I say this would happen, sir?”

“You did indeed, Colonel,” said Keane. “You may have also said some things concerning field mice, but I choose to forget…” He paused. “Do you smell smoke?”

As soon as he said it, he realized it was a foolish thing to say. Gunsmoke hung over the city like fog. But woodsmoke had a different scent, and Keane was very sure he had just smelled it. Either a lot of people had chosen to cook an early supper in the middle of a battle, or… Now that Keane looked again, the smoke drifting in from the west seemed a lot thicker.

Then, from the middle of the smoke, came new noises. Gunfire. Angry shouts in French. Cries of “Treason!” in American accents. Keane had no idea what was happening over there, but it sounded promising. He ordered the men to get back into formation and be ready to advance.

After about a minute, a man emerged from the smoke. Keane saw the white flag he was holding before he saw the man’s face.

“Dussau de la Croix, of the New Orleans Committee of Public Safety,” said the man with the white flag. Keane repressed a shudder at the Jacobinesque title. The city was a notorious hive of Bonapartism and revolutionary sentiment.

“Have you come to surrender?”

“To hell with that — we’ve come to join you. I speak for the Louisiana militia and the local volunteers.” He spat. “That cochon Jackson is trying to burn down our city.”

Of course. It would be like Jackson to torch this place rather than let it fall into British hands. What he’d forgotten, or more likely not cared about, was that New Orleans wasn’t Boston or Philadelphia. It was still relatively new to the United States, and the loyalty of its people was… conditional. They were not prepared to see their lives or fortunes sacrificed on the altar of other men’s freedom.
* * *
About 2:45 p.m.
A half-dozen Louisiana militiamen huddled around the doorway of a burning house, pointing their muskets through it. They all fired at once.

Then they backed away from the door. A pale, skinny figure in a smoke-stained uniform emerged, bleeding from a dozen places. He fell to his knees.

One of the militiamen, cutlass in hand, approached cautiously — but not cautiously enough. He didn’t see the tension in the pale man’s arms, or the rage in his eyes, until the man’s bayonet stabbed upward and slashed through the femoral artery of the militiaman. The militiaman was already dying as he brought his cutlass down on the pale man’s neck.

The rest of them kept out of slashing distance until they were quite sure that General Andrew Jackson was dead.
* * *
About 8:00 p.m.
“This I had to see for myself,” said Sir Edward Michael Pakenham as he looked around him.

“I said I’d spend Christmas in New Orleans,” said Admiral Cochrane, “and I damned well will. How goes the fight?”

“The city is secure, and the fires are out,” said Keane. “The American General Coffee got here just in time to lead what was left of the defenders out of the city. All that remains is to secure Fort St. Philip and the rest.”

“Do we have any prisoners?” said Pakenham.

“We do. We’re keeping them with General Carroll in Fort St. Charles. It makes as good a prison as any, and it keeps them safe from the locals.”

“One more thing remains to be done, then,” said Cochrane. “We must write forthwith to His Majesty’s government, tell them what we’ve done and urge them to formalize it with their blessing. The whole territory, including this city, belonged to Spain until Napoleon seized it and sold it to Cousin Jonathan to sustain his war on us. In my letter I shall propose to the Earl of Liverpool that he purchase New Orleans from the legitimate government of Spain. And to buy Florida while he’s about it, for I intend to take it next.” The Yankees had killed Alexander Cochrane’s brother at Yorktown. To him, this whole war was one long opportunity to take the maximum amount of revenge.
* * *
The next day, on the other side of the Atlantic, British and American representatives signed the Treaty of Ghent.


On January 2, the British Army, some eleven thousand strong, marched forth from New Orleans under the command of Major General Pakenham to secure the territory of Louisiana. Only the 44th Regiment remained to hold the city, along with the newly loyal city militia.

The very next day Pakenham encountered what was left of General Coffee’s command at LaPlace. That day, 86 Americans and 51 British soldiers were killed, and Coffee was forced to retreat.

After LaPlace, Pakenham divided his force. Major General Gibbs went northeast with the 4th, the 21st Fusiliers and the 1st and 5th West Indian regiments, and routed what was left of the pro-American Louisiana militia at Manchac Crossing. Pakenham, with the rest of the force, drove Coffee back from Istrouma Hill, then from St. Francisville, then from Wilkinburg, seizing Fort Adams. By this time, the American general was desperate enough to try just about anything.

(It must be understood that by the standards of the Second Thirty Years’ War, all four of these “battles,” in which only two or three dozen men on either side were killed or wounded, barely qualified as skirmishes. Even the four-day stalemate at the Pearl River which halted Gibbs’s advance ended with fewer than five hundred casualties total. It is to these engagements that Natchez should properly be compared, rather than to later battles such as Merrymeeting Bay or Roxbury.)

Charles Cerniglia, The War of 1812


January 16, 1815
About 10:15 a.m.
Natchez, Mississippi Territory

The hill just southwest of Natchez was a little over a mile wide at its base. It was covered with pine trees and a dusting of snow, with a taste in the air of more snow to some. It was, Brigadier General John Coffee reflected, a good enough hill to die on… if it came to that.

The ground was too frozen to dig a proper trench, and Fort Rosalie wasn’t much of a fort anymore, so he’d set up a barricade along the crest of the hill. It started at the river and zigzagged northwest to southeast for about six thousand feet.

His men weren’t trained military engineers and they’d had barely a week to build it, and it showed. It was nowhere more than six feet high, and made of saplings and branches as much as big trees. It was more a barrier to the eye than to anything else.

The British knew he was there, of course. What they didn’t know — or so Coffee hoped — was that the 39th Infantry had arrived two days ago under Colonel John Williams, along with a fresh regiment of Tennessee militiamen under Colonel Benton. Coffee had ordered both regiments to stay low and out of sight below the crest of the hill.

By all accounts, Pakenham was moving quickly, with little time to scout ahead. There were not many people around (even the Choctaws were thin on the ground in these parts) to spy on Coffee’s army. There was a decent chance the Americans could take the enemy by surprise… especially if Pakenham was kind enough to be overconfident.

God knows he’s got reason to be, thought Coffee. The war hadn’t gone well for the United States at all, even before New Orleans. And since then… Coffee wouldn’t blame the British for being overconfident, but he would be very happy to make them pay for it.

He looked up to the gray wall of cloud that blocked the sky. Please, God, let him be overconfident. Let him do something foolish. We need a victory here. The American army had practically been driven from the upper Mississippi valley. They couldn’t lose this place. They were starting to wonder if they could give the redcoats a meaningful defeat anywhere. Privately, Coffee was getting worried himself.

About this time, a scout galloped up from the south.

“Sir,” he said, sketching off a quick salute. “They’re coming.”

“How far behind you are they?”

“On foot?… Not more than an hour. Maybe less.” Coffee tried not to think about the fact that this was about as much warning as Jackson had had.

“How many?”

“Maybe eight thousand. Maybe ten.” All told, Coffee had about four thousand men under his command. Well, no help for it.

“Artillery?”

The scout shook his head. “Just those rockets, sir.”

Of course. They were moving too fast to bring along anything heavier. They’d probably left the big guns behind at Fort Adams.

Just as well — Coffee didn’t have so many field-guns himself. He’d put what he did have on his right flank, where he judged the British would be most likely to make their initial thrust. What was left of Coffee’s command was guarding them. As for the Congreves, they would be all but useless against the men at the barricade, under the trees.
* * *
About 11 a.m.
The snow had begun to fall — tiny, dry, gentle flakes that meandered down through the air, making an interesting contrast to the four-pound iron round shot heading for the British front ranks at over six hundred yards per second, or the rockets fired at the Americans in reply.

The round shot hit the ground before they hit the soldiers. Some of them buried themselves in the stumps of cut trees, but others vanished into the forest of British legs, knees and ankles, shattering every bone in their path. Every once in a while, a perfect shot would hit the ground right in front of the army, pelting the front ranks with shrapnel of granite-hard frozen dirt.

The rockets were round-headed cylinders weighing 6 to 24 pounds, loaded with case shot. When they exploded in the right place, they could kill an entire gun crew. More often, however, they veered off in an entirely different direction — sometimes straight up in the air.

Keane gritted his teeth and looked ahead. The 85th, at the front, was still some five hundred yards from the American line. Already, the Yankee gunners were starting to use grapeshot, which had less range but more killing power against infantrymen.

We can win this battle doing what we’re doing, thought Keane, but it will be a bloody affair — bloodier, I think, than it need be. The worst casualties so far were among the Congreve handlers. (You had to launch the rockets from as far forward as possible — they had a regrettable tendency to go off too soon.)

He was just about to suggest a better way to Pakenham, when a soldier came from the front, his red coat spattered with redder blood and bits that didn’t bear close examination. It was Lieutenant Gleig.

“Colonel Thornton is dead, sir,” said Gleig, addressing Pakenham.

“Are you sure?”

“I saw it happen myself, sir. Grape through the chest — almost the full load. Lieutenant Colonel Gubbins is in charge of the regiment now. He’s awaiting your next order.” The unspoken message here was are you sure you want us to keep trying this? Any moment now they’re going to switch to canister.

Keane decided the time had come to direct Pakenham’s attention elsewhere. “Sir,” he said, “the American line on the crest of the hill looks rather thin. And there…” He pointed to their immediate right, to a heavily wooded depression that cut through the side of the hill. “That way, sir, we could come quite close to the barricade without being seen.”

Pakenham’s eyes lit up. He smiled like a wolf catching the smell of an injured deer.

“I like the way you think, Keane,” he said. “Hold the reserves together. I’ll lead this next attack myself.”
* * *
From the hillside overlooking the artillery, Coffee watched as the redcoats pulled back from their attack.

If they’d pressed on, he’d planned to move his reserves to the right to fire down on them from more or less where he was standing. If they’d swung entirely around the hill, he’d intended to order his reserves to go left and try to block them.

But instead, they were going straight up the hill, moving through that one little hollow where he couldn’t quite see them. The thing about having a blind spot was that if you knew exactly where it was and could plan accordingly, it wasn’t really a blind spot any more. Coffee and a few of his aides started walking, determined to get close enough to know when to give the signal.

The hill was still heavily forested — not too many of its trees had gone into the building of the barricade. That gave the attacking British many chances to take cover, but it also broke up their neat formations and made it that much harder to coordinate a volley.

In two places, at the highest points of the hill, the wall was particularly high, and crowned with extra pine branches. They seemed to be weak points in the defensive line — only a handful of Americans, the tips of their muskets sticking out from between piles of brush, were positioned there.

No one ordered the British to converge on these two places. They simply did, as naturally as water flowing downhill. Pakenham was one of the first.

Which made it something of a miracle that he survived what happened next. At the sound of a trumpet, on Coffee’s command, the brush was pushed or pulled aside to reveal over two hundred of Williams’ regulars at each “weak point.”

“FIRE!” shouted Williams, standing equidistant between the two points and somehow making his voice carry over the whole battlefield.

A perfect volley sounded like a single mighty explosion, rather than hundreds of individual muskets were going off. This one was such a volley, but since it was happening in two places about two thousand feet apart, it sounded like either one explosion or two, depending on where you stood.

Raw recruits were often stunned or terrified by the sound of a volley, especially one that they weren’t expecting. The men Pakenham led were barely slowed down. In fact, it made the soldiers closest to the barricade — most of whom had survived the volley — run faster. They knew by experience that if they could close with the Yankees in the next fifteen to twenty seconds, the enemy wouldn’t have time to reload and it would come down to bayonet against bayonet.

The second volley came ten seconds later. It was a looser, sloppier volley, more like a three-second roll of thunder than a loud bang, but it killed and maimed more people than the first one had. (The men at the barricade were less than half of Williams’ regiment, but they were holding all the muskets and had loaded and primed them half an hour ago.)

Even now, the British kept on coming. Soon the first redcoats were climbing the wall… where they encountered the next surprise.

Last night, the Americans had carefully poured river water onto the wood of the barricade. Now it was covered with a glaze of ice. Under sunlight, even the weak sunlight of winter, the ice would have glistened and given itself away — but between the overcast sky, the piney-wood canopy overhead and all the snow and gunsmoke in the air, there was little danger of that. So they were using all four limbs to try to get some purchase on this slippery woodpile, while the Americans had at them with bayonets and swords and cutlasses and knives and those edged wooden war clubs they’d taken from the Creeks, the name of which escaped Coffee at the moment.

“LADDERS!” someone shouted. They hadn’t thought they’d even need ladders to climb this paltry thing.

At this point, the redcoats broke off their attack and retreated behind the trees, pausing only to collect their wounded. There was no sense throwing their lives away now when the means to make a more effective attack would be here in a matter of minutes. And the Americans couldn’t counterattack — the barricade would be just as treacherous under their feet.

Coffee strode to the left end of his line, and there he waited. As soon as he heard them coming, he turned to Colonel Benton and simply nodded. Benton’s volunteers didn’t get started as quickly or smoothly as U.S. regulars, let alone British soldiers, but soon enough they were swinging around the left end of the barricade to attack the nearest ladder-bearers. The snow was getting heavier.

That was it. Coffee had no more stratagems, no more surprises, and no more reserves — everyone on the American side who could fight was doing it right now. He hoped the enemy didn’t know that.
* * *
If Benton had made his attack half an hour earlier, the British would not only have driven him off, but would probably have followed him around the southeast end of the barricade. But now, they’d been running around uphill and downhill drawing in great lungfuls of cold, dry air that scraped their throats raw, and had taken several nasty shocks and many casualties.

It showed in their fighting. Those who survived the first few moments of the volunteers’ attack took shelter behind trees and fired from there. Both sides struggled to reload with fingers half-numb from the cold.

All this was on the left, from Coffee’s standpoint. In the center and on the right, the redcoats were faring no better. They had ladders, but not enough of them to bring their greater numbers to bear. And, again, they had lost more energy than the defenders over the course of the battle. This made all the difference in the almost hand-to-hand fighting on the barricade.

A few redcoats made it over the wall, but they were quickly overwhelmed and either killed or taken prisoner. One of them — an officer who had just been shot through the chest at point-blank range — drew Coffee’s eye.

As he looked closer, he saw that the officer’s scarf had fallen off, revealing scars on either side of his neck that almost matched. Coffee had only heard of one man with scars like that.

This was Sir Edward Michael Pakenham. Like Jackson, he had been a fighter. Like Jackson, he had survived things that no man should be able to live through. And like Jackson, he had finally run out of miracles. Coffee doffed his hat in respect.

And sure enough, the cry was going up among the British — “THE GENERAL’S DOWN! THE GENERAL’S FALLEN!”
* * *
Keane felt sick with guilt. It had been on his suggestion that Pakenham had tried to take the hill.

Could they still win? Possibly… but not likely. God only knew how many men they’d lost today. When in doubt, he thought, do what you know you can do.

“Call for a cease-fire,” he said. “We’ll collect our wounded — those who can move — and the bodies of Thornton and Pakenham, and retreat to Fort Adams.” There, he knew, he could hold off anything the dirty-shirts cared to send against him.
* * *
We’ve won. Coffee hardly dared to say it out loud. It seemed so fragile. Any moment, surely the British would turn around and attack again, or a fresh army would appear on the southern horizon…

“What are the casualties?” he asked Williams.

“On the British side, about two hundred fifty killed, over a thousand wounded. Maybe half that on our side, sir.”

Coffee nodded.

About that time, the militia commander returned.

“The day is ours and fairly won, sir,” he said. “Shall we pursue?”

“Don’t make me push you downstairs again, Benton.” What was happening to the south was a long way from a rout. The redcoats were retreating in good order, and even after their casualties they still outnumbered the Americans. Attack or pursuit would be foolhardy. “We shall tend to our wounded, bury our dead, and await further orders.”


Along with the fear that swept the land in the wake of the loss of New Orleans came anger. Inaccurate early reports led to the widespread misimpression that the city had fallen due to treachery on the part of its inhabitants. In fact, virtually all historians agree that such “treachery” as occurred was provoked by Jackson’s desperate act of attempting to torch the city in order to deny it to the British — an act he never would have considered if he had not already despaired of winning the battle. But even for those who knew the truth, it was easier to blame a cabal of semi-American, French-speaking traitors than a fallen patriot and war hero.

The subject of what should be done with these “traitors,” should the fortunes of either war or peace deliver them into American hands, was a favorite one of the “War Hawks” of Congress, led by the South Carolinian representatives Calhoun, Cheves and Lowndes. Calhoun in particular waxed famously eloquent on the topic, vowing in one speech that upon retaking New Orleans, the United States would “hang enough traitors to fill the ninth circle of Hell.” For their part, the U.S. Army and militia officers who allowed themselves to be quoted invariably swore that, by whatever means, Jackson would be avenged.

These sentiments were echoed in Republican newspapers throughout the land. From the safety of their offices, the scribblers called for the city to be “chastised,” “purged of corruption” or “cleansed with fire and the sword.” In mid-February, when word of the Treaty of Ghent reached American shores, the Worcester National Aegis gloated that “the mongrel miscreants must be trembling with fear at the thought of the justice that approaches them in the shadow of the Stars and Stripes.”

With so many speaking freely out of ignorance, the one man whose words might have rectified the situation held his tongue. President Madison knew the truth about the fall of the city, and, having no intention of running for a third term, had nothing more to fear from public opinion. He had already written a bill of amnesty covering the Louisiana militia, the New Orleans Committee of Public Safety and all members of the city and state government who continued serving in their positions under the British. If this failed, his biographers are unanimous in the opinion that he intended to pardon any New Orleanian who happened to be convicted of treason.

His closest advisors, however, encouraged him not to introduce the bill or reveal anything of his intentions until the British were gone from the city — or, better still, until the Americans had reclaimed it. “An act of mercy,” said Crawford, “will not be known for what it is unless it is offered from a position of strength.”

Monroe, for his part reminded the president that Jackson had had many friends in the army, who would not look kindly on forgiveness for his killers. He cautioned that the army might have to retake the city by force, and that if they knew the “traitors” they were hunting had a pardon waiting for them, they might not take those “traitors” alive.

And so, the people of New Orleans knew nothing of his good intentions. They knew only what they read in the American newspapers that the British sailors under Admiral Cochrane’s command were only too happy to supply them with. As they, too, received word of Ghent, they feared they might be left to fend for themselves.

Terrible rumors swept the city during that Mardi Gras. They began with the rumor that Madison planned to hang the Committee of Public Safety and the leaders of the Louisiana militia, and soon became a good deal more far-fetched. Two weeks later, Lieutenant George Robert Gleig of the 85th wrote, “The whole city is convinced that the Yankees intend to butcher them to the last child as Joshua did the Canaanites.”

The city government and militia, more sober-minded, had no intention of fleeing the city they had risked so much to defend. Nor did they wish to throw themselves on the mercy of a nation that had first betrayed them and now had the arrogance to accuse them of treason.

And so, they found a third option…
Charles Cerniglia, The War of 1812



As a professor of American History, the question my students most often ask me concerning the Federalists (actually, the question my students most often ask in almost all contexts) is “What were they thinking?”

In the case of the Federalists of New England, what they were thinking in late 1814 and early 1815 was this:
• Of the four Presidents of the United States, three had been from one state — Virginia. The one New Englander, John Adams, was also the only one who had suffered the indignity of being defeated for re-election. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court in 1815 consisted of seven judges, three of whom (including Chief Justice John Marshall, himself a Federalist) were from Virginia or Kentucky, and only one of whom was from New England.
• In 1790, the then-five New England states held 28.0% of the population of the United States. Twenty years later, they held only 20.3%. They had grown by over a third, but the rest of the country had grown by much more.
• Since the Jefferson administration, it seemed, the favorite foreign-policy tool of the DRs was the economic embargo, a weapon that hurt the trade-based economies of the New England states at least as badly as it hurt the British or any other enemy.
• Although they had been assured that the war was being fought for self-defense, they had already witnessed more than one attempted invasion of Canada. As for defense, the defense of the New England states had been severely underfunded — partly by their own state governments, but also by the federal government.

In short, the New England Federalists saw themselves and their region as having a rapidly diminishing stake in a nation which had engaged itself in a war they opposed, and which had given no thought for their well-being…


The news of New Orleans did not arrive in Hartford until the convention was almost over. A few hotheads like Bigelow tried to use this to call for more radical action, but they were kept in check by their peers. The final draft of the Convention’s report called for (among other things) limits on Congress’s power to declare war, admit new states or interfere with trade, a diminishing of the South’s electoral clout by ending the 3/5 compromise, and an end to the “Virginia dynasty,” but it revealed no interest in secession.

Meanwhile, as we have seen, Rep. Timothy Pickering, of Massachusetts’ 2nd District, who had served as Secretary of State under John Adams, had already stated that the British capture of New Orleans would be the signal for the secession of New England. When sailors brought word to the capital (Congress was at this juncture meeting in the Patent Office, the only government building the British had left unharmed) that New Orleans had indeed fallen, Pickering knew that his time had come. He rose to inform the astounded representatives that New England would forthwith secede from the Union and seek a separate peace with Great Britain. (As soon as he had left, the remaining New England representatives hurriedly reassured the Virginians that they had no thought of secession. One of them, a Connecticut congressman with the magnificent name of Epaphroditus Champion, approvingly quoted the Richmond Enquirer from November 1 of the year just past, which stated that “no state nor set of States has a right to withdraw itself from this Union, of its own accord.”)

Having thus distinguished himself, the 69-year-old Pickering then fled the city and rode hell-for-leather to Hartford in the middle of winter — only to find that the convention was long since over, and another one was not planned until June at the earliest. Not to be discouraged, he, along with John Lowell Jr. and a handful of other like-minded individuals, began work on a “Declaration of Independence” for the New England states.

He announced his intentions by way of an advertisement in the Boston Centinel, in which he assured all interested parties that once New England had cast aside all ties to the regime in Washington, the British would leave it in peace. (To give the reader some idea of the mindset at work here, Pickering referred to his group as the “blue-lighters,” taking as a badge of honor Decatur’s spurious allegations of treason.)

Unfortunately for Rep. Pickering, on the very day his advertisement ran, the Centinel also carried the news of the Treaty of Ghent, and with it the understandable expectation that there would soon be peace. The self-professed “blue-lighters” were now irrelevant, humiliated, and with no way of knowing that the worst was yet to come.

Nor did they realize that Massachusetts Gov. Strong had been quietly making plans of his own…

Andrea Fessler, The Federalists: America’s First Second Party



In 1815, when steam engines were new and unreliable, it took about six or seven weeks to sail from the British Isles to North America. Thanks to the Gulf Stream and the North Atlantic Drift, however, the return journey took four to five weeks. So it was that Lord Liverpool learned about Keane’s capture of New Orleans near the end of January — some two weeks before Americans learned of the Treaty of Ghent.

Left to himself, perhaps, the Prime Minister might have proceeded as though nothing had happened. The long war against Napoleon had dominated the business of his ministry, as it had that of the ill-fated Spencer Perceval and the five other Prime Ministers before him. Liverpool had been hoping for peace.

But the reactionary wing of the Tory party, who hated the United States and all it stood for, demanded that the treaty be scrapped forthwith. They were joined in this by the editorialists of the Times, the Globe, the Sun and the Morning Chronicle. Some commentators called this an opportunity to take back the colonies entirely, heedless of the effort that would be required to subdue a republic of eight million recalcitrant souls scattered over an area twice the size of Spain and Portugal combined.

Even those who were not inclined to hostility towards the United States pointed out that although war was expensive, the sudden onset of peace would surely disrupt the economy, with tens of thousands of soldiers and sailors all unemployed at once, and industries which had come to depend on the Crown’s purchases now in desperate need of new buyers. It was George Canning who suggested that a smaller conflict with the United States might ease the transition from the economy of war to that of peace.

The Whigs were (for once) united in their opposition to any further pursuit of the war in the New World, but they found little support among the majority. When U.S. Ambassador John Quincy Adams addressed Parliament later in the year, demanding that the British adhere to the terms of the treaty, Lord Castlereagh replied, “How many treaties with the Indians has your young nation already signed and broken?” The British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs further pointed out that by all accounts available thus far, the city of New Orleans had freely given its loyalty to the Crown.

“Where now is your vaunted love of the high principle of self-determination?” said Castlereagh.

What ultimately caused Lord Liverpool and the Duke of York to agree on the course of action they ultimately took was their frustrating lack of immediate knowledge. They knew New Orleans had been taken, but nothing beyond that. For all they knew, the British Empire might reign supreme over the Mississippi Valley, or Keane and Pakenham might have been driven back into the Gulf of Mexico.

Many in both parties suggested that the Crown send a trusted emissary, a man who had proven his worth in both war and peace. But, again, in this pre-telegraph era news traveled no faster than it could be carried. By the time the emissary returned to London, his report would be a month out of date, and any response to it would take the better part of two months to reach the shores of the New World. Events in Louisiana were proving how much could happen in that time. Whoever was sent needed the capacity to respond to whatever situation presented itself in America.

So it was that the Prime Minister and Commander-in-Chief were compelled by circumstances to give one of the strangest commands in the history of the Empire…

H. Michael Wolcott, The Great Breach in the Anglo-Saxon World: Its Causes And Consequences



“There they were, all in one place — the best and the brightest, and all the sons and daughters of privilege, indulging in music and dancing and lovemaking and conversation as they dreamed of a better world and squabbled over its details, believing in their hearts that they had the power to take the Western world and reshape it into a form that would bring about peace forever.
“It was not to be… but was it not a beautiful dream while it lasted?”
Arthur Christopher Swinburne, An Essay on the Congress of Vienna

February 13, 1815
8:50 a.m.
Vienna

Sir Arthur Wellesley, recently created Duke of Wellington, had been in Vienna less than a month when the messenger came. The message found him at the gate of the Hofburg.

When he read it, he had to restrain himself from cursing. Never in his life had he received such absurd orders. Never had he been sent on a less honorable mission. And the worst part was that Lord Castlereagh had left Vienna five days ago. From here on, Britain would have to be represented by his subordinates.

Well, that needn’t be a disaster. Lord Clancarty was no Castlereagh, but he was competent enough. As for the other two, Lord Cathcart was an expert on Russian affairs, and that was about what he had going for him. Sir Charles Stewart was an excellent soldier, and as a diplomat, was… an excellent soldier. They were perhaps not the ideal triumvirate to preserve Europe from Russian domination, but they would have to do.

He found Richard Trench, the second Earl of Clancarty, in the Minoritenplatz not two blocks away.

“I’m afraid I must leave the business of the Crown in your hands,” he said. “I have been called away. With the exception of the King’s German Legion, all British forces currently in the Low Countries are being transferred to our holdings on the North American mainland, and I am to take command of them.”

Clancarty blinked for a moment.

“Are we at war with the colonials again?” he finally said.

“We don’t… know.” It took a great effort for Wellington to keep from raising his voice. He hated giving long explanations, even under sane circumstances.

“Remember Toulouse?” he said. “You weren’t there, of course, but you might have heard of it. Bloody business it was… but the worst part was finding out that Boney had abdicated four days earlier. The whole battle need never have been fought. And this looks to be an even worse mess.” He explained to them how the city of New Orleans had been seized even as the Treaty of Ghent was being signed — or slightly before.

“We hold a few other locations,” he continued, “A town on the coast, a few islands… but New Orleans is the only thing His Majesty’s government truly cares about.

“By now they should be learning of the treaty, but Ned — that is, Sir Edward Pakenham — and the other officers are very clear that they are not leaving New Orleans without specific orders to that effect. So the Prime Minister and our illustrious Commander in Chief His Grace Frederick Duke of York have decreed in their infinite wisdom that I and my army are to cross the whole ocean without having the least idea whether or not we have a war to fight. A sort of… reconnaissance in overwhelming force, you might say.

“If the treaty has been put into full effect — that is to say, if our army has already withdrawn from New Orleans, or been forced from it — there’ll be nothing for it but for myself and the whole army to turn around and come back across the pond.”

“And if we still hold New Orleans?”

“Then I am to determine the attitude of the New Orleansians, or whatever they are called, towards our occupation. If they wish to be restored to the United States, off we go.”

“And if they wish us to remain?”

“In that event,” Wellington said, gritting his teeth, “according to their Lordships, the treaty can go hang.”

Clancarty blinked.

“The official line is something to do with the illegitimacy of the Louisiana Purchase,” he said, “but the truth is… they want New Orleans. The city commands the mouth of the Mississippi. You recall Malta and the Treaty of Amiens? ‘The forces of His Britannic Majesty shall evacuate the island, and its dependencies, within three months of the exchange of the ratifications, or sooner if possible…’ etc., etc. Of course, the forces of His Britannic Majesty did nothing of the sort — partly because Old Boney wasn’t keeping up his end of the bargain, but never mind that.

“The good news is that I have been granted ‘full plenipotentiary power’ in this matter. I will be acting in the name of the King — or rather, the Prince Regent — and my decisions will be binding. I will be the one to decide if there is to be peace or war. And I will not throw a perfectly good treaty on the bonfire unless the people of New Orleans are clear and united in their desire for us to remain.

“Give me regrets to everyone here. Explain the situation as best you can. While you’re at it, tell that fool of a Spaniard we have an interest in making a purchase of Florida.”

“We already agreed to pay the Spanish 400,000 pounds to end their part in the slave trade.”

“Buy them off again. Pay whatever you need to pay — but for God’s sake, don’t tell Don Pedro I said so.”

“What about Louisiana? Should we make a… legitimate… purchase of it ourselves?”

“Not until we know more.”

And so, Wellington started to pack his bags. He found he was half sorry and half relieved. He’d been here for a few weeks, and it seemed like about four parts partying to one part work. Dances and banquets and concerts and all sorts of social events every night. Wellington enjoyed a party now and then, but this was a surfeit and then some.

A surfeit and then some — if Vienna had a civic motto, that would be it. Beautiful women, rich desserts, fine brandy, the best music… here was a place where a man could actually begin to tire of these things. Also, concerts (especially the violins) always made him feel wistful, and he didn’t like feeling wistful.

He met Klemens von Metternich at the door.

“Lord Clancarty told me what you’re about,” said the prince. “I wish you luck — perhaps you will get Britain’s own back, and clean up that nasty little puddle of democracy once and for all.”

Whatever his other qualities, the duke reflected, Metternich was not a military man.

“Give me nothing but the twelve thousand Britons in the Low Countries now, and I can thrash any army the Yankees care to send my way,” he said. “But conquest? That is something else entirely. Anyone who served in Spain could tell you that conquering a nation means more than just defeating its armies.”


February 22, 1815
Just after noon
St. Francisville, Louisiana

There was no need to call for silence in the ranks as the British army marched south along the river. No one was in the mood to talk.

Natchez had been a vicious fight, and one that had ended with the army retreating from an enemy they outnumbered… an enemy they had thrashed more than once. At the time it had seemed like the right thing to do — they were in enemy territory, they’d taken heavy losses, and who knew if reinforcements were coming — but now they were all starting to second-guess themselves.

They had dug in at Fort Adams and waited, practically hoping General Coffee would come and try to force him out. Instead, what had come was two messengers, within days of each other, with news of Ghent. Pakenham might have been willing to stay in the face of that, but Keane was not.

And now, Keane, riding at the head of his army, felt worse than any of his men. The guilt over the death of his commanding officer felt like a 12-pound iron round shot sitting in his chest. The city of New Orleans, intact and under the Union Jack, was the only thing he had to show for his efforts… and now, it seemed, he was to give it back.

As his horse went around the bend in the road, he met a small party of men riding up from the south. Two of them, in front, were carrying flags. The one on the left was the Union Jack. The one on the right Keane had never seen before.

“Nous représentons la République de la Louisiane, une nation indépendante sous la protection de la Couronne,” said the man holding the strange flag.

“It is all right here in black and white,” said the man holding the British flag. With his other hand he pulled out a rolled parchment and handed it to one of Keane’s officers, who gave it to the general.

As Keane read it, he saw that it was more than just a declaration of independence. According to this, the Louisiana Purchase had never been legitimate, and therefore the people of the French colony had never been truly citizens of the United States. Their wishes had never been consulted, and now for the first time they had expressed them. If this were presented as an argument in a court of law, the judge would fall on the floor laughing.

Keane said nothing. These people could proclaim themselves citizens of a republic, subjects of the Crown or warlords of the moon, but in his opinion, they would be better served by spending less time proclaiming and more time packing. The United States was coming back to this land, and its leaders were already unreasonably angry with the city and state government. This would only make them angrier.

Nonetheless, he managed to avoid giving the emissaries of the “republic” a straight answer.


March 1, 1815
About 10 a.m.
Antwerp

The last few British soldiers in the Low Countries were boarding the transports. Wellington wasn’t watching. Nor was he listening to Lord Paget. He was staring at a letter from Lord Castlereagh. It told him that his brother-in-law Ned had been killed in battle, scaling a barricade against the Yankees in a far corner of the Americas, on a hill at a place called Natchez.

It was not like hearing of the unexpected loss of a loved one in an accident — there was no shock, no bewildered denial before the grief set in. Nor was it like the long-expected last breath of an ailing grandfather. He had always known this day could come, but not that it would. There had always been hope that the two of them would survive this long age of war, grow old rehashing the stories of the Peninsula and France, and wherever else they fought together… until this morning.

Well, Ned had certainly died as he lived — Wellington had never known a braver man. And it sounded as though Paget was trying to tell him something important.

“I beg your pardon, Henry,” he said. “What were you saying?”

“I was saying, sir, that the 33rd and 73rd of Foot have embarked for to New Orleans — if the ships aren’t permitted to land, they’ll sail to Jamaica — and the 52nd is on its way to St. Augustine. Everything else is headed for Halifax or the Maine-New Brunswick border.”

“Good.” Louisiana was too far from the American population centers to hit them where it hurt, and Florida was a howling wilderness that could not support more than one regiment for any length of time. Any serious attack on Yankee territory — if such were necessary — would have to be launched from the north. Wellington would rather have had the 52nd by his side, but if any one regiment could hold its own in a distant place far from any friend, it would be the Light Bobs.

“Ultimately, between the units there and the units being sent over from the British Isles, you shall have some 24,000 men under your command. I only hope they have good cavalry horses in Halifax.” Transporting this many men across the Atlantic on such short notice would have been complicated enough without trying to bring their horses along.

Before boarding, Wellington looked at the letter in his hands again. God willing, there will be no need to fight at all, he thought. But if there is, Ned, I’ll make it a fight worthy of you.

Then he walked up the gangplank, not looking back. At that very moment, nearly six hundred miles to the south, Napoleon Bonaparte was entering the town of Golfe-Juan.


Word of the treaty spread through the continent with a painful slowness that we can scarcely imagine today. Nonetheless, by the end of February almost all British forces had evacuated U.S. territory.

There were two major exceptions. One was the coastal town of Castine, in what would become Maine. There Sherbrooke held out, hoping against hope that the government would change its mind and add the so-called “Province of New Ireland” to its Canadian possessions, or that Strong would remember his proposal of the previous year.

The other, of course, was New Orleans…

Charles Cerniglia, The War of 1812


March 8, 1815
About 10 a.m.
New Orleans

“Damned if I like this,” said Cochrane. “None of these people are going to leave, you know. They turned against that bloody-minded maniac precisely because they were loyal to their city, and you expect them to abandon it?”

“I don’t see that they have much choice,” said Keane, watching the sailors load supplies onto the fleet at the lakeside dock. “You might have encouraged them to come with us, rather than leading them on with false hope.”

“I didn’t think they were false promises. Now that this place is a republic…” They had been over this ground a good many times over the last couple of days. “If nothing else, I wish we could offer Lafitte and You privateer commissions.”

“Me?”

“Forgive me — Dominique You. That is his name.”

“Ah.”

“Sir!”

Keane turned to look. It was a messenger from one of Gibbs’ regiments.

“Sir, General Gibbs requests your presence at the west end of the city.”

“What’s this in aid of?”

“Some Yankees on horseback have shown up with arrest warrants.”

“Already?” Keane got moving.

A fair number of the buildings in New Orleans — especially the poorer homes, made of logs instead of brick — were still burned-out shells. If Keane hadn’t put his men to work putting out the fires the minute the Yankees had fled, and if there hadn’t been a river and lake handy to draw water from, the city might have been lost.

As he walked through the streets, he saw that more and more of the townspeople were walking in the same direction as himself. Most of them were armed. This couldn’t be a good sign. He quickened his pace.

At the edge of town, Keane saw the intruders. They were cavalry — a militia unit. He estimated their numbers at between three and four hundred, with plenty of remounts. General Gibbs and a couple of companies of British soldiers were blocking their path into the city.

“Colonel Thomas Benton,” he said. “For the purposes of this mission, my men and I have been sworn in as deputy U.S. Marshals. We’re here to serve this arrest warrant.” He pulled out a roll of parchment.

Keane looked at it. They had everybody here — Jacques Villeré who seemed to be in charge of the Republic’s provisional government, his son Gabriel who had killed his dog to escape the British, Destrehan, Plauche, Latour, Nolte, Ducartel, Seignouret, Dussau de la Croix and the rest of the Committee… He looked down. There were over a hundred names on this list.

“You might have come two weeks later,” said Keane. “By then we would have been out of your hair, and we would have persuaded your so-called ‘traitors’ to come with us.”

“Why do you think we were in such a hurry?” said Benton. “We don’t want them ‘out of our hair,’ we want them in our hands. We want to make them pay for what they’ve done. And there’s at least one other who is not on this list.”

“Who might that be?”

“The man or men who murdered General Jackson, of course.” Benton tried to keep his face and voice neutral as he said this, but didn’t quite succeed.

“General Jackson fell in battle,” said Keane. “He killed one of his enemies in the process. You can hardly call that murder.” He would have reminded Benton that the British had lost a leader as well, but he did not want to risk showing the guilt he still felt over that.

“Whoever it is — along with every man on this list — will have their day in court, I promise you. They can make their case then.”

Keane suddenly became acutely aware of all the muttering behind him. He turned. Something like the entire Louisiana militia was gathering in the streets, armed and looking ready to fight.

Keane was no prophet, but suddenly he could see the future very clearly. Even if he stood aside and did nothing, the militia could easily drive off Benton and his men today. But the dirty-shirts would come back, with General Coffee and ten, or twenty, or thirty thousand men. Even if every New Orleanian who could lift, point and fire a musket fought, they would be outnumbered… and after that would come something very much like the massacre they all feared.

Then Keane noticed that one of them was a woman in widow’s weeds. She couldn’t have been more than twenty-five.

“Héléne Judith Toutant-Beauregarde,” she said when he asked for her name. “My Jacques… was at Pearl River.” Her black dress was loose about the waist. She wasn’t starting to show, but something in her complexion said to Keane this woman is pregnant.

At this point his treacherous memory whispered the phrase beauty and booty into his ear. His army had come with the intention not to save the city, but to loot it… among other things. The general was sickened by the thought of the fate that this brave young woman might have suffered at the hands of Englishman under his command. Thank You, God, for sparing her that, he thought. And thank You even more for sparing me that. Could the Lord possibly have spared her then, only to desert her now? Did he not have a duty to these people, as well as to the Crown?

“I remind you that you no longer have any right to stop us,” said Benton. “Tell your men to stand aside.”

Keane realized at this point that there were two people whose actions had brought things to this pass. He was one, and the other was dead. This might not be his fault, but it was surely his responsibility.

And it only got worse as he looked at the crowd behind the Beauregarde widow. The sight of all these women and gray-headed men and beardless boys assembled in the street behind the militia, clutching old muskets and cutlasses, cane-knives or whatever other weapons they could find… even a coward might have been moved to defend these people. And there was not a grain of cowardice anywhere in Keane’s army. His men were looking at him expectantly — even Gibbs. (Even black freedmen were in the crowd, armed like everyone else. In New Orleans, this was well-nigh a sign of the coming Apocalypse.)

“General Keane?” said Benton. The seconds were ticking past one by one, each one whispering four little words as it went by — Make up your mind. Make up your mind. Make up your mind.

So he did.

“No,” he said.

“I beg your pardon?”

“No. You may not arrest anyone here.”

As the crowd cheered, Benton stared blankly. Finally he said, “On whose authority?”

Well, one might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb. “On the authority of the Republic of Louisiana, which rests under the protection of the Crown.” There. He’d said it.

Benton was silent. He was almost the only one there who was. The crowd cheered and catcalled. Even the British soldiers were cheering. Finally, the Americans said something that was probably an ominous warning, even though it was completely drowned out. Then he and his men turned and left.

* * *

“I promise you, you won’t regret this,” said Jacques Villeré. Keane was already regretting it a little, but he knew he would have regretted the alternative even more.

“Is Mr. Claiborne still being held in Fort Charles?”

“So he is.”

“I should like to have him released to the Americans,” said Keane, “and I should like to speak to him first.”

“That seems reasonable,” said Villeré, with the air of a man granting a favor rather than obeying an order.

While Keane was sitting in Villeré’s office, waiting for the release of the former state’s former governor, Admiral Cochrane entered.

“I must say, I didn’t think you had it in you,” he said.

“Nor did I, until the moment came.”

“Well, rest assured — if you need a man to plead the rightness of our cause, I will not be found wanting.”

* * *

William C. C. Claiborne had been kept in decent health during his two months or more as a prisoner of war, but his militiaman’s uniform was worn and mended to unrecognizability.

“Well, am I being given my parole?” said the ex-governor.

“In a manner of speaking.”

“And you truly intend to recognize this farce of a republic.”

“We remain loyal to our Louisianan allies, and respect their decision,” said Keane. “But in the interest of peace, I have a request to make of you.

“Go to Washington. Take your wife and children with you — I won’t have it said that I’m holding any hostages.

“Find President Madison and tell him this from me. I am willing to serve as mediator in this dispute between the United States and the Republic of Louisiana. Simply put, if your government can persuade these people to rejoin your union of their own free will, Admiral Cochrane and I will be more than happy to leave in full accord with the treaty already signed.” More than happy was not strictly true, but for this purpose it didn’t matter.

“You truly expect me to believe you,” said Claiborne.

“Think of me as you please. My chief purpose is to prevent needless bloodshed.”

Claiborne shook his head. “I think you mean what you say,” he said, “but I wonder what you would have done differently if it had been your chief purpose to start a war.”

To this, Keane had no answer.



March 25, 1815
7:30 p.m.
Vienna

Lord Clancarty sat at the desk in his suite, desperately trying to think of the best way to write his letter to Lord Castlereagh. That Bonaparte had escaped was already old news. They’d learned it in London not long after they learned it in Vienna.

At first, it hadn’t been cause for panic. Surely, they thought, surely the French would seize the man who had led them into so many disasters and hang him from the nearest tree.

They hadn’t.

This was not an emergency. Surely Marshal Michel Ney would bring the would-be Emperor to Paris in an iron cage as he had promised.

He'd followed Bonaparte to Paris in triumph instead.

Surely the French people would not suffer the overthrow of their good king Louis XVIII. Surely they would not allow themselves to be rallied for yet another war.

Guess what was happening now.

Clancarty tried to remember that the man was only mortal. He could be beaten — had been beaten, early on, in Egypt. His expedition to Haiti had been a failure, and it was only a pity he hadn’t led it personally.

But other memories rose up into his mind as well. Austerlitz. Jena. Auerstädt. Halle. Freidland. Wagram. Even thinking any one of those names felt like sticking a finger into an open wound. For years, it had seemed like the certain fate of all Europe to be part of a French Empire under that man’s rule.

Finally — finally, after the great beast had wasted the bulk of his army on a military adventure so grandiose than not even he could make it work — through the combined efforts of basically every other nation in Europe, he was defeated. It cost more, in lives and material, than anyone would reasonably expect. But last year, they did it. They beat him and they sent him off to the island of Elba. Let that be his empire.

And since then, everyone had been trying to pick up the pieces… and Clancarty thought they’d been doing rather well. The past quarter of a century had already started to seem like a bad dream, a nightmare in which royal families of ancient lineage could be overthrown by angry mobs and beheaded like chickens in the marketplace, and a clan of Corsican banditti could put crowns on their heads, proclaim themselves lords of creation, sweep all before them and destroy the order of centuries and no one could stop them. Now, at last, Christendom was awake, the fever had broken, the nightmare was over, and the world could rest safe at peace in the hands of legitimate kings from real dynasties…

Until now. He’s back. I thought we were shot of him. He’s back. We’ll have to do it all over again. He’s back. God, I know we’re sinners, but have we really sinned this much?

All this, Their Lordships already knew. What they didn’t know about was the suspicion with which the Powers were starting to regard each other. Who, exactly, had financed Bonaparte’s escape? Who had paid his bills until he gained control of the state? Whose bright idea was it to send him into exile so close to home? The Prussians suspected the Austrians, the Austrians the tsar… and everybody was looking askance at the British. It was their ships and men that had been given the task of watching over Bonaparte, and they had failed. According to Talleyrand, they “were guilty of a negligence which they will find it difficult to excuse.”

Sir Charles Stewart had made things worse, blithely saying that they had never actually committed themselves in writing to the man’s imprisonment. The looks on the faces of the Austrians and Russians and Prussians — and even the Spaniards — had spoken volumes. Hundreds of thousands of brave men died to put that beast in a cage where he belongs, and YOU left the door unlocked. Whatever happened to “England expects that every man will do his duty?”

Today, at least, Clancarty had done his duty. Together with the representatives of Austria, Prussia and Russia, he had worked out a treaty whereby each of the four Powers would raise an army of 150,000 for the express purpose of defeating Bonaparte.

Well, sort of. The British army was very professional, had possibly the best logistical support in the world… and it was very small. Clancarty wasn’t sure the United Kingdom could field 150,000 men. He was quite sure he didn’t dare commit them to it. So he had arranged an additional article to the treaty whereby His Britannic Majesty might contribute fewer men and more money — twenty pounds a year per infantryman and thirty pounds a year per cavalryman. The other signatories had nodded, with only a hint of contempt, as if they had expected nothing better.

Clancarty wasn’t worried that this new coalition (which one was it now? The seventh?) would break up over these differences — not while Bonaparte was on the loose. But not since the American Revolution had Britain’s standing in the world been in greater jeopardy.

We need Wellington, he thought. Whatever else we give the war effort, he must be part of it. Whatever he’s doing in America can’t be as important as this. Their Lordships won’t want to call him back so soon after sending him there, but they must. We must be seen by the world to be giving our best.


March 30, 1815
Washington, D.C.
President James Madison looked around his office and sighed once again. The Octagon House was a very nice place, but when the President of the United States was living on someone else’s property because he’d been burned out of his mansion by an enemy, something had gone terribly wrong somewhere.

James Monroe and William Crawford winced a little at the expression on his face.

“You must be ruing the day you listened to our advice,” said Monroe.

“Don’t blame yourself — either of you,” said the president. “I don’t think any of us could have anticipated that things could come to such a pass. And if I had offered the amnesty bill or guaranteed pardons, who’s to say things wouldn’t have turned out even worse?”

“What do you think of this message from Claiborne?” said Monroe.

“If Claiborne thinks that this Keane is sincere, then so do I,” said Madison. “I also think that I am a head of state and I am not going to negotiate with Keane or Sherbrooke or any other underling of the Crown. Do these people follow orders, or do they not?”

“One wonders,” said Crawford. “Do you think war is likely?”

“I hope not,” said Madison. “All the same, we’d better reinforce the defenses along the border. Especially Detroit — I am not losing that place again. Send Lieutenant Colonel Armistead to take charge of the defenses there. He did more than well enough at Fort McHenry.”

“Have you heard that Governor Strong has decided to call out the Massachusetts militia?” said Monroe.

“Has he?” said Madison. “Better late than never, I suppose.”

“What about Speaker Clay?” said Crawford. “Is it true he offered to negotiate with the New Orleanians?”

“He did,” said the president. “He would have done better to silence the hotheaded War Hawks in our party.”

“Perhaps,” said Monroe, “but at least no one will accuse him of plotting our capitulation.”

“Certainly not,” said Madison. “At this point, I’m tempted, but… think of the precedent it would set. If a part of the nation secedes and harbors foreign troops on its soil, must we negotiate to win them back? Given the sort of regional divisions we’ve already seen, I don’t care to see future administrations held hostage to every disaffected state and city.”


April 5, 1815
Boston

What was it Dr. Johnson had said? Ah, yes. "Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully."

At the moment, the mind of Governor Caleb Strong was feeling painfully concentrated. They were going to find out. Sooner or later they were going to find out.

Last year, when things had looked particularly bleak, he had written to Sir John Sherbrooke, proposing to take his state out of the war entirely, allowing the British to keep the parts of Maine they’d taken. He hadn’t gotten a response, and not long after that the peace treaty had been signed… but now it looked like they were in danger of war again, and the enemy had proof of his attempted betrayal.

“Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” Those last five words seemed to be echoing inside his head. Bringing his state to a separate peace with the British Empire, allowing them to concentrate their forces elsewhere… what else could you call it?

“No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.” Unfortunately, all they would need would be Sherbrooke and his secretary.

There was never a good time to be caught betraying your country, but this was a worse time than usual. Thanks to those Creole maniacs in New Orleans, the people were up in arms against traitors of any sort.

And the biggest irony of all was that his constituents had hated this war. If the treaty had never been signed, the people of Massachusetts might have applauded him for getting him out of the war cheaply. If New Orleans hadn’t fallen, he at least could have hoped no one would have found out about what he’d done until he was already dead. Now, he could see his future and there was a noose at the end of it.

He couldn’t very well write to Sherbrooke and ask nicely for his letter back. The only thing he could do was prove, by his deeds, that he was loyal to the United States.

He looked at himself in the mirror. Perhaps he didn’t cut the most martial of figures even in his uniform, but the militia wouldn’t care. He had given the order a month ago. By now there should be a force assembled in Portland and ready to move.

His bags were packed. He was ready for war. If Sherbrooke wouldn’t leave Castine of his own free will, Strong would drive him out.


April 7, 1815
Liverpool

A packet ship left Liverpool harbor carrying messages from all over the British Isles — but not as many as usual. The captain had been given one message in particular, from the Prince Regent to the Duke of Wellington, and been ordered to sail as soon as the tide allowed.

By the standards of the time, packet ships were very fast indeed. This one could make the voyage from Liverpool to New York City in a mere forty days. Of course, finding Wellington, unlike finding New York, would take up at least a few days. Nonetheless, the captain was confident he would have the message in the general’s hands before the end of May.


April 17, 1815
Halifax, Nova Scotia

The Duke of Wellington looked up from his desk.

“What is it?”

“Cochrane and Murray are here, sir,” said Morriset in that odd whistling voice that no one else could imitate, although a good many sailors had been flogged for trying over the course of their journey. (Personally, Wellington thought the man was doing well to be able to talk at all out of that skewed and slightly off-center mouth.)

Major James Morisset, recently of the 80th Foot, was his aide-de-camp for this expedition. The major always wore his dress uniform, with well-polished buttons and as much gold braid as he could get away with. He looked more like a dandy than a soldier, until you caught sight of his face, and then you wished you had kept your eyes shut.

“Bring them in,” said Wellington.

Morisset was an old Spanish hand who’d had the misfortune of fighting at Albuera under Beresford. In his case, the great misfortune — the bones of his face had been shattered by an explosion, and had healed… wrong. Fortunately, his brain was undamaged, and he was a harsher disciplinarian than Wellington, which was a useful quality in a subordinate.

He also had a gift for intimidation. As Cochrane entered, Morriset turned his head to show the admiral the most damaged part of his face. (The major had the habit of doing this — partly as a way of daring other men to look at him, and partly because, although he could still see out of the eye on that side, he couldn’t move it.)

“Good morning, Your Grace,” said Cochrane.

“’Sir’ will suffice,” said Wellington. “I have been given plenipotentiary power here, which makes me your commanding officer. Something I hope Keane, Sherbrooke and yourself will bear in mind, as you have all exceeded your authority to a degree that I have never before seen in British officers.” Cochrane had the grace to look a little ashamed.

“Now then… what is the situation in Louisiana?”

“When I left, it was a cease-fire. General Keane was still offering to mediate the matter, but the dirty-shirts were determined to retake the place by force and the New Orleanians were refusing to allow it.”

“Well, that does make things more complicated.” The duke spared a moment to think a few more disgusted thoughts about the mess Cousin Jonathan had made. Trying to burn down your own city… Lisbon wasn't even a British city, but if Masséna had somehow pierced the Lines of Torres Vedras, Wellington would not have destroyed it on the way out any more than Moore had torched Corunna.

“If it is not out of line for me to say so, sir,” said Cochrane, “although the decision lies in your hands, I can’t believe that the Crown would send such a large body of men with you on the expectation that you wouldn’t use it.”

“You are most likely right,” said Wellington, “but if I can resolve this matter peacefully, I will do so. To that end…” He turned to Sir George Murray, lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada.

“You have delivered my message?” Wellington had sent a message to the president, offering to negotiate over the disposition and boundaries of Louisiana.

“I have,” said Murray, “but… permission to speak freely?”

“By all means.”

“President Madison has issued an ultimatum. He’s given us until the end of April to quit all U.S. territory, or he will give the order to resume the war. From the tone of his remarks, I don’t imagine he will accept another negotiated peace — not even from yourself. What he wants, I think, is for the world to respect his nation.”

Cochrane made a noise that was half laugh, half gasp of disbelief. “A little bandits’ lair on the far side of the pond, shouting out death threats to every crowned head on Earth… what about that are we supposed to respect? What have they done in this war to command respect? Do they think themselves conquistadors because His Majesty decided they weren’t worth”—

“Be silent,” said Wellington. “Now, Lieutenant-Governor, how do the colonial forces stand?”

“Ready to resume the war, if necessary,” said Murray.

“What about Prévost? Is he gone?”

“Yes, sir. He left Quebec not two weeks ago. Sir Gordon Drummond is in command of Canadian forces.”

“Excellent.”

“He’s concentrating his army north of Lake Champlain. He’s expecting you to join him.”

“Is he? Well, Sir Gordon may do as he pleases, but not with my army. We have attacked the United States twice by way of that corridor, and failed both times. If we come at them the same old way, they’ll beat us the same old way.”

“If you wish, sir,” said Cochrane, much more humbly than before, “I could undertake the transfer of your army to Louisiana or Florida.”

“That would take too long,” said Wellington. “I have already sent reinforcements to both places. If it comes to war, they’ll have to stand on the defensive.” Most of his army was positioned on the Maine-New Brunswick border. (The old border, not the Penobscot. Wellington still held out some hope of peace, and he certainly wasn’t going to go to war for the sake of Sherbrooke’s “New Ireland.”)

Wellington took out a map of New England.

“This afternoon I will take ship for St. George, New Brunswick,” he said. “That will be my command post.

“If it comes to war, this is my plan of attack. We will start here and proceed south along the coast, supplying the army by sea — you will be in charge of that aspect, Admiral Cochrane. Our aim will be not to conquer and hold territory, but to force the United States to the negotiating table.”

“The terrain will be difficult, sir,” said Murray.

“The terrain is difficult? Heavens,” said Wellington dryly, thinking of the rocky hillsides of Maharashtra and Spain, where he had done quite well.

“And there are several rivers you would have to cross — the Penobscot, the Merrimack…”

Wellington restrained himself from rolling his eyes. For as long as he’d been in the army, it seemed, he’d had to put up with people who treated rivers as though they were impassable barriers — too deep, too swift, the bridges were out, the water was full of crocodiles, etc. His first victory had been at Assaye — two villages within five hundred yards of one another on either side of a river, and the natives had had the cheek to tell him there was no ford between them.

“I crossed an ocean to get here,” he said. “I think I can manage a few rivers. Of course, if the president agrees to talk, all this will become moot.”

“What about Sherbrooke, sir?” said Murray. “Will you be commanding him to leave Castine?”

“As I said in my letter to Madison, my first act on receiving his reply will be to give that order. We have no real claim on it, and so long as we control the sea it adds nothing to our strategic advantage. Nonetheless, it does not pay to make concessions until the other side at least shows some willingness to negotiate.”


The Battle of Castine
4/24

“Benedict Arnold proved that a hero can die a traitor. Caleb Strong proved that a traitor can die a hero.” — historian Charles Cerniglia

“Bloody May” — the sudden resumption in hostilities after three months of cease-fire — actually began in the last week of April, when Governor Strong led a force of 10,000 Massachusetts militiamen towards the British-occupied town of Castine to demand Sherbrooke’s immediate withdrawal. There he found the 29th encamped across the not-quite-half-mile-wide isthmus between Wadsworth Cove and Hatch Cove.

Which side is to blame for starting the battle is a matter of historical contention. The general agreement is that the British refused to get out of the Americans’ way, and opened fire when the Americans refused to stop.
After taking heavy casualties, the militiamen drove the British back from the isthmus. Sherbrooke re-formed his lines behind the canal. It was while forcing a crossing of this canal that Governor Strong was killed. When they found themselves charging uphill towards Fort George, occupied by two more regiments, the militia had had enough. They retreated to Bucksport, and from there began marching to reinforce the border.

David Harvey Copp, Military Engagements of the War of 1812



The Battle of the Great Chazy River
5/6

“They are not monsters. They are not devils. They are men, they are no stronger or more enduring of body than we are, and THEY CAN BE DEFEATED. I have seen it done. I have done it before.” — General Jacob Jennings Brown

Shortly after Wellington crossed the border, the Glengarry Light Infantry and a substantial force of Canadian militia, including the Voltigeurs, invaded the United States between Mooers and Champlain, headed for Plattsburgh.

As they were fording the Great Chazy River (“Great compared to what?” said one Voltigeur) they were met by 5,000 U.S. army regulars from the Army of the Niagara, under the personal command of General Brown. The heavily wooded terrain did not allow either side to enter formation, but the Americans were able to make use of trees and improvised cover. Over 100 British and Canadians were killed, compared with 14 Americans, before the retreat. Brown did not pursue — Madison had ordered him not to attempt to hold Canadian territory, but instead to prepare to engage Wellington.

David Harvey Copp, Military Engagements of the War of 1812


The Battle of Madambontis Lake
5/6

“The trouble with being the fastest dog in the hunt is you might catch up to the bear before the others do.” — anonymous Massachusetts militia volunteer

General Wellington and his army began their march through U.S. territory on May 5, slipping their army between two American forces guarding the border. The Americans immediately began pursuit. In their haste, the Massachusetts militiamen allowed some of their faster regiments to get too far ahead of the main body.

As a result, when one regiment encountered Wellington’s rear guard the next day north of Madambontis Lake, it found itself severely outnumbered by soldiers who were already individually more competent. In the ensuing skirmish, seventeen Americans and nine Britons were killed or wounded before the Americans retreated.

David Harvey Copp, Military Engagements of the War of 1812


The Second Siege of Detroit
5/9-31
“I am not William Hull.” — Lieutenant Colonel (later General) George Armistead

The 41st regiment, which had captured Detroit once before, was sent to do so again, backed up by the Michigan Fencibles and over 500 Native Americans of various tribes. When it crossed the river, it encountered over 600 regular U.S. troops under Armistead’s command.

Following a brief battle, the Americans abandoned the waterfront and retreated to Fort Shelby. After the first two attacks failed on the fort failed, the British settled in for a siege. More Native Americans, primarily Shawnee and Wyandot, joined in the effort. However, the fort proved adequately equipped with food, powder and shot, and the new allies of the British overwhelmed the planned logistical support. The Native Americans dispersed when the food ran short. Seeing their allies leaving, the British abandoned the siege at the end of the month.

Contrary to popular misimpression, Armistead was not killed in the battle, or even wounded. The prolonged effort took its toll on his health, however, and he died of heart failure shortly afterward.

David Harvey Copp, Military Engagements of the War of 1812


The Battle of Merrymeeting Bay
5/11

“Leave your weapons here. Go home. Pray you never cross my path again.” — Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, to the surviving militia

Two days before the battle, Wellington’s already substantial army had been reinforced by the addition of the three regiments under the command of Sherbrooke. (History does not record what Wellington said to Sherbrooke when they met, but witnesses describe the lieutenant-governor as appearing “chastened” as he emerged from the tent.) The combined army was more than a match for the 15,000-strong force of Massachusetts militia encamped between Lily’s Cove and Cork Cove, under the command of Major General Joseph Whiton.

Wellington chose to attack at first light, so that the sun would shine increasingly in the Americans’ eyes over the course of the battle. This, however, proved irrelevant. The militia were taken completely by surprise, and by the time the sun had cleared the treeline, they had been thoroughly routed. Whiton was killed in the opening volleys of the attack.

In fifteen minutes, the militia had been driven into the bay. Literally — the senior surviving officer was standing in water up to the knees when he offered his surrender. The Americans suffered a loss of 1,128 killed and wounded to the British-Canadian loss of 42.

David Harvey Copp, Military Engagements of the War of 1812

The Second Battle of LaPlace
5/13-17
“People of Louisiana! Here I am and here I shall remain, until the King of England or the Angel of Death command my departure.” — Major General John Keane, the day before the battle

Keane’s army had built a fortified line upriver from New Orleans, stretching from the Mississippi to Lake Ponchartrain. There were several gunboats on the lake, and a number of the local “algerines” had been persuaded to patrol the river. On the American side, General Coffee’s losses at Natchez had been more than made up by Choctaws under the command of Pushmataha and additional regiments of Kentucky and Tennessee militia.

On the first day, Coffee tried a series of probing attacks while keeping the bulk of his army in reserve, searching for a possible weak spot. On the second day, he ordered an all-out attack on the northern end of the line, near the lake, where there were only a few dozen New Orleans volunteers and no artillery. The lake gunboats arrived in time to strike his army with enfilading fire, and the attack was a disaster.

The third day was quiet, except for a confused battle after dusk when Pushamataha’s Choctaws canoed past the pirates and attacked the city. Pirates, Choctaws and volunteers fought on the docks without being able to clearly see one another. Nonetheless, many of the Choctaws were killed or captured, and the attack yielded no tactical advantage.

On the fourth day, Coffee had to turn upriver to deal with the fact that the Chickasaw had begun raiding his supply lines. (After the war, the Chickasaw would be permitted to settle in Louisiana.)

David Harvey Copp, Military Engagements of the War of 1812

The Sack of the Ports
5/14, 5/17

“Remember the ‘beauty and booty’ you were promised in New Orleans? Here it is, men! Make the most of it!” — Admiral Alexander Cochrane, at Portland

Wellington’s overall strategy was to march down the coast, supplied by sea, torching the major American ports — Boston, Providence, the Connecticut ports, New York City if necessary — until the U.S. government agreed to come to the bargaining table. Due to the necessity for speed, there was a limit to how much damage his army could stop to commit, and stopping to loot was out of the question.

No such restrictions applied to Cochrane. While the Portland militia and volunteers were arrayed in a line northeast of the city to meet Welllington, Cochrane sailed in virtually unopposed, and the Royal and Colonial Marines under his command sacked and burned much of the town center, then fought a defensive battle amid the flaming rubble as they retreated to the ships.

Three days later, at Portsmouth, Cochrane found the city militia waiting at the docks for him. He was unable to loot the city, but did manage to set much of the port on fire, including the shipyard.

David Harvey Copp, Military Engagements of the War of 1812

The Battle of Levy’s Field
5/16

“How do you Yankee Doodles like the King’s law now?” — Colonel John Colborne, 1st Baron Seaton, commanding the 52nd Light Infantry

Three units of Georgia militia, acting under orders from Governor Peter Early, crossed the border and invaded Florida on May 15, with the intention of fighting and defeating the British regiment at St. Augustine.
They never reached St. Augustine or fought the regiment in question. They were ambushed by Seminoles under the command of the chief Kinache in a stretch of virgin forest near the present-day location of Sepharad.[1]

They retreated to a field owned by Moses Elias Levy (father of David Levy Yulee, future governor of Florida) but were quickly surrounded.

The First Regiment of Cavalry, under the command of Captain John M. Berrien[2], was able to fight its way out of the trap and return to U.S. territory, but it could not come to the aid of the Second Regiment or the Liberty Independent Troop. Only the intervention of the “Light Bobs,” the regiment the Georgians had come to fight, saved the militiamen from massacre at the hands of the Seminoles.
David Harvey Copp, Military Engagements of the War of 1812

[1] OTL Jacksonville.
[2] Remember this name.


The Battle of Newburyport
5/20

“Sic semper piratis.” — Rear Admiral Sir Pultney Malcolm, K.C.B., aboard HMS Royal Oak

Although Cochrane benefited at Portland from Wellington’s drawing the militia away from the city, this battle marked the first intentional coordination of land and naval power in the campaign. As Wellington prepared to bring his army across the river, Cochrane’s fleet sailed up the Merrimack and bombarded the town of Newburyport, Massachusetts, a key privateering port, taking aim at artillery positions and troop concentrations. The bombardment did not stop until some of Wellington’s boats were already past the fleet.

Despite the cannonade, Wellington’s men took heavy casualties crossing the river. They returned the favor when they reached the southern bank, forming lines under fire with remarkable speed and driving the militia south from their positions. There was just enough of the town left for the British and Canadians to bivouac in for the night.

Near the end of the battle, the Vermont and New Hampshire militia arrived at the north bank of the Merrimack too late to prevent the British from crossing. They exchanged fire with Wellington’s retreating rear guard while Cochrane’s fleet employed their starboard guns against the latecomers.

David Harvey Copp, Military Engagements of the War of 1812

The Third Battle of Sackett’s Harbor
5/22

“I can still shoot, but someone else will have to help me reload.” — New York Governor Daniel D. Tompkins

After the Great Chazy River, when General Brown turned southeast to pursue Wellington, Sir Gordon Drummond picked up reinforcements and turned west to make another attack on Sackett’s Harbor.

Although Tompkins was outnumbered, he made the most of the resources at hand, hastily improvising a fortified line south of Mill Creek, then launching an attack on the enemy’s flank, rolling them up and driving them toward Black River Bay, where the newly-commissioned USS Natchez opened fire on them and forced them to surrender. Ironically, it is now believed to be a glancing blow from a stray piece of grapeshot from the Natchez that shattered the bones in the governor's left wrist, forcing its amputation.
David Harvey Copp, Military Engagements of the War of 1812


The Battle of Charlestown-beyond-the-Neck
5/23-24

“Last week would have been a good time to evacuate.” — Ebenezer Oliver, of the Boston Board of Selectmen

General Brown actually arrived in the Boston area the day before Wellington did — only to find that the Royal Navy was in complete control of the harbor and in the process of seizing control of the neck that linked the city to the mainland. Admiral Perry was at that moment attacking a squadron of Cochrane's fleet, but he would fail, with two of his ships sunk and the rest driven off.

Moreover, Brown had fewer than 10,000 U.S. regulars with which to oppose Wellington’s army, with no prospect of more for several days. The portion of the Massachusetts militia still willing to fight the duke was mostly holed up in Boston itself under the command of acting Governor William Phillips, Jr.

With this in mind, and having just learned what happened at Newburyport, Brown chose heavy use of delaying tactics rather than open confrontation when the British army crossed the Mystic River. Riflemen in secure positions picked off individual soldiers. Field-pieces were concealed in houses, where they fired at the British through the wooden walls. When Wellington moved closer to the harbor and the protection of the fleet, mines hidden in barrels went off. It took the British most of 24 hours to force their way through the town and across the Charles River.

David Harvey Copp, Military Engagements of the War of 1812



May 26, 1815
12:15 a.m.
Roxbury, Massachusetts

From his position at the top of the hill, Wellington listened to the sound of the gunfire from the west. It was getting fiercer and fiercer… but not louder. The battle was coming no closer. His men were not falling back.

Good, he thought. This General Brown was learning the Americans weren’t the only ones who knew how to fight from cover. The fight in the apple orchard to the east this morning had been as close as he had come to dislodging the British from the high ground, and it hadn’t been nearly close enough.

To the north, the situation was well in hand. Enough buildings had been knocked down on the narrow strand connecting Boston to the mainland that the ships of the line had a clear field of fire.

Right now, he was trying to concentrate on the problem to the south. Scouts had reported the enemy was massing its cavalry for a charge. This was not exactly ideal cavalry country, which gave him an idea how desperate they must be. They were planning to charge up Warren and Eustis street and meet behind his lines.

“Are all the Congreves ready?”

“Just getting the last of ‘em in position, general,” called one of the engineers.

Wellington took his spyglass.

“Be quick about it!” he shouted. “The attack will begin at any” — before he could even say the word “moment” the distant thunder of ten thousand horses began.

He waited. The noise was getting louder — not just because the Yankees on horseback were getting closer, but because they were riding harder and picking up speed. Horses didn’t go straight to a gallop all at once. The perfect moment to strike was coming.

Any second now. Out of the corner of his eye, Wellington saw with some indignation that some idiot of a Navy messenger was here and trying to get his attention. Fortunately, Morriset had the fool in hand, and was putting his formidable powers of intimidation to work.

And… now. Wellington turned, locked eyes with a specific aide and nodded.

The aide blew a bugle.

Five thousand rockets streaked toward the enemy in the next three seconds.

Congreves were tools of limited use. They couldn’t be aimed at anything smaller than an army and didn’t pack enough punch to use against fortifications, but they were perfect for terrifying horses. After lugging the damned things all the way here, Wellington was happy to have an excuse to make them the enemy’s problem instead of his.

The attack had just been shattered. Horses were crashing into one another, turned aside or fled in panic, their riders no longer in control. That said nothing about the men and beasts that had been killed or wounded in those few seconds.

As soon as those American cavalrymen who could retreat had done so, Wellington turned his attention to the west. The gunfire was dying down. The attack there was failing as well. Now he could turn his attention to whatever missive Cochrane had seen fit to interrupt him with.

He read it. It wasn’t from Cochrane after all.

He could feel his face starting to burn. He gritted his teeth and willed his hands not to shake from rage. He turned to the messenger, who was still trying not to look at Morriset.

“Thank you,” he said in a voice almost completely devoid of inflection. “You did well to bring this to me. That will be all.”

Wellington retreated to the building he’d commandeered as headquarters, Morriset following close behind. Once he was out of everyone’s earshot, he exploded.

“GOD DAMN IT!” he shouted. “Peace! War! Take New Orleans! Give it back! Take it away again! Sail to America! Sail back to England! And everything seven weeks late! IS THIS ANY WAY TO RUN AN EMPIRE? IS THIS ANY WAY TO FIGHT A WAR?” Wellington rarely lost his temper completely, but this was a special occasion. When he could keep his voice level, he told Morriset to send a messenger to Brown under a flag of truce, requesting a cease-fire. This done, he explained the situation.

Old Boney was back. The French, incredibly, were rallying to him. The allies had pledged men and material to put paid to him. To this end, you are required to do whatever may be needful to settle affairs in North America as expeditiously as possible, then to proceed with all surviving forces of the March expedition and as many units of the British Army as our New World colonies can spare…

It was signed by the Prince Regent. Below that was the signature of Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany, second son of the king, Commander-in-Chief of the Forces and no friend of Wellington’s. Below that was the distinctively illegible scrawl of Lord Liverpool, the Prime Minister.

“It’s too much to hope for that this Madison fellow won’t have news of Boney’s return,” he said, “or that he won’t have realized the implications.”

He sighed. He couldn’t just pull his army out, the Americans would wait until he was well away from their shores, and then raise new armies and attack Louisiana, Florida and the Canadas. He needed a peace treaty, and so far there had been no sign of one.

Time to make one, then. He pulled out a map of North America that had no strategically valuable information on it and drew a couple of lines. This was going to require some very quick and dirty negotiation.

* * *

Wellington had to give Brown credit — the man looked Morriset in the eye and didn’t even flinch. The pleasantries, such as they were, were quickly gotten out of the way.

“You did your level best to dislodge us today,” said Wellington. “You failed. Your army is still intact, but not in position to defend anything beyond itself.”

“You’ll find we have not yet begun to fight,” replied Brown. Wellington knew he was quoting some American ship captain or other, but didn’t care.

“You haven’t? Well, why the devil not? My army is at the gates of Boston! Whatever Homeric feats of arms you have in store for us, you’d better perform them now!”

There was a long, drawn-out moment of silence.

“That’s what I thought,” said Wellington. “Enough of this posturing. How long does it take to get a message to your capital from here?”

“About ten days.”

“And who exactly is responsible for ratifying peace treaties in your mare’s nest of a government?”

“The President, with the advice and consent of the Senate.”

“Is your Senate in session?” Please tell me yes, he thought. I’m going to be delayed enough as it is.

“Indeed it is. Congress reconvened in special session last month specifically as a response to your invasion.”

“I bask in the glow of their attention. Tell them this from me.” He handed Brown the map. “If you want peace, this is what it looks like.”

Brown looked at the map. “You’re claiming Louisiana south of the 31st parallel and Florida east of the Chattahoochee?”

“Yes. I am willing to hold a cease-fire for one month, but if I do not have in my hands a treaty acceding to all said demands on or before the twenty-sixth of June, Cochrane and I will resume the attack and we will not stop until we have taken Boston by force.” He took a breath. This was the part he wasn’t going to boast of later. “Tell them we will then raze the city, leaving not one stone upon another… and that neither he nor I can make any promises at all regarding the conduct of the soldiers and marines under our command toward the civilian population.” If he had burst into a recitation of the second Harfleur speech from Henry V, the point would have been clearer, but not much.

“Cochrane well nigh did that to Portland and Portsmouth already,” said Brown. “I thought your soldiers were more civilized than that.”

“Well, you were wrong. My soldiers are the scum of the earth. Unfortunately for you, they’re better at their trade than yours.” (Personally, he detested rape and pillage. He hated anything that infected his army with disorder, making it less like an army and more like a well-armed mob. But it was better to let the Yankees believe the worst of him than let them try to pry apart him and Cochrane.)

“Cochrane and I will maintain the blockade,” Wellington continued. “We will allow food into the city, but no weapons or ammunition. Whatever else happens, no one will starve.”

“So you are holding thirty-five thousand people hostage.”

“Is that how many there are?”

Brown nodded. “I’ll send the message on its way.”

“One more thing,” said Wellington. Days like this were the reason he had no plans to ever write his memoirs.

“I’m well aware that this is your country, and that given time you can assemble an army large enough to overwhelm me by force of numbers if nothing else. Therefore, if I even suspect that you’re using this delay to reinforce yourself, I will resume the battle at once.”

“Now, that is unreasonable.”

“Why, so it is. Do you know what else is unreasonable? War. Yet here we are.”

“More American regiments are already on their way here.”

“Then you’d better deploy them where I never find out about them,” said Wellington. “If you think you can outfox me in this, you’re welcome to try — but remember how many lives hang on your judgment.” He hated making these threats. He still had nightmares sometimes about Badajoz and Ciudad Rodrigo. But he saw no other way to end this war without letting the British position on this continent collapse.

God, he thought, please let these people see reason.

It is an interesting question how the Senate would have voted if they had known just how badly Wellington's superiors wanted him back on the "important" side of the pond — or, for that matter, how Sen. William Branch Giles of Virginia would have voted if he hadn't retired earlier in the year. As it was, the treaty (if it could be called such) passed the Senate 18-17, with all ten New England senators voting yes. As Madison said when he added his reluctant signature, "We have not been asked to pay indemnity, nor has any hindrance been placed on our westward expansion. I do not know whether we can win this war, but I am certain we can win the peace."
Andrea Fessler, Rise of the Dead Rose



By the beginning of summer virtually all Europe, or so it seemed, had pledged to march on Paris and depose the Corsican tyrant again — but, as yet, far more soldiers had been pledged than had arrived. Despite this, and despite the lack of any one overall commander, the Coalition armies had developed — or perhaps stumbled into — a workable strategy for the beginning of the 1815 campaign.

In the north, the Dutch princes had chosen to stand on the defensive, with their army concentrated behind its own border. The port of Antwerp, whose defense was of paramount importance to Great Britain, was guarded by the King’s German Legion and several local divisions.

The unwillingness of the northern forces to go on the attack against l’Armée du Nord sprung from two sources. The first was that, from a tactical standpoint, they had no general that was even close to the match of Napoleon himself. The second was that the true sword arm of the Coalition was in the east. There, the Prussian army was already on the march. Meanwhile, Austria and Russia had summoned even larger armies of hundreds of thousands of men. Even if France were entirely united behind its emperor (which it was not) Napoleon would be as hopelessly outnumbered as he was at Leipzig.

There remained the task of securing a place (or more than one) where these armies could cross the Rhine unhindered by French gunfire. It was for this reason that Field Marshal von Blücher commanded General von Bülow to take the Prussian IV Corps east until they reached the river, and then south along the west bank until they had a chance to rendezvous with a larger force.

The main body of the Prussian army, however, went with Blücher in the direction of Charleroi. “Marshal Forward” planned to delay Napoleon long enough for the armies of Wrede, Württemberg and Barclay de Tolly to enter France — or better still, to capture or kill Napoleon and bring an end to the war himself.

P. G. Sherman, 1815 And All That



“France was one nation — only one. She was smaller than Russia in size and population, poorer than Britain, less militaristic than Prussia. Yet for many years she had the strength to fight all these nations in concert, and dealt out defeats as often as she suffered them.

“Our wise men find it easier to speak of this as a miracle and a wonder, brought about by the genius of the Emperor, than to learn from it; for in their hearts they know the lesson, and they fear its implications. They do not wish to discover the power of a nation cleansed of parasites, where skill and diligence are rewarded, wealth circulates instead of accumulating, and aristocrats must either provide service commensurate to their status, or else perish.

“They do not wish to draw the conclusion that the sword of Napoleon was forged from the guillotine of Robespierre.”

Guillame Georges Elmar, I Call The World To Arms


June 17, 1815
5:30 a.m.
About a mile southeast of Sombreffe, The Low Countries

Dawn was about fifteen minutes away. The sky was clear, and the terrain was level cropland and pasture with only occasional patches of trees — a perfect open battlefield. Field Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher and his lieutenant-generals took a moment to look south, where the light was already showing signs of the presence of l’Armée du Nord, before they stepped inside the tent.

“What do we know of their order of battle?” Blücher asked his chief of staff.

“Ney commands on the right, Grouchy on the left,” said Gneisenau. “Our scouts place Bonaparte himself in the center, here, at the village of Velaine-sur-Sambre — a tiny little place, just a few farmhouses — surrounded by his Imperial Guard and most of the French artillery. Grouchy’s heavy cavalry is between Velaine and our own army.

“At present, we have this army slightly outnumbered. But two of their corps are expected to arrive today, and when they do they will outnumber us by some four thousand men.”

“I intend to defeat the tyrant before that happens,” said Blücher. “Undoubtedly he plans to make the first move, but I will beat him to the punch and force him on the defensive. Zieten, Pirch, Thielmann, how quickly can your men deploy?”

“At once,” said Zieten.

“At once,” said Pirch.

“Within the hour,” said Thielmann, showing only a little embarrassment.

“Very well. Zieten, you will take I Corps and lead the attack on the left. Your principal aim will be to defeat Grouchy’s cavalry. This done, you will aim your next attack here” — he pointed to a spot on the map about half a mile southwest of Velaine — “forcing a wedge between the Imperial Guard and the French infantry on the left.

“Once we have a clear line of attack, Pirch, you and II Corps will strike at Velaine, bringing your attack in from the right so as not to become entangled with II Corps. You will have our artillery under your command.

“Thielmann…” The field marshal paused. Lieutenant-General Johann von Thielmann was an able officer, but his corps was a mess of half-trained, grumbling, unreliable Saxons and Rhinelanders, and he himself had fought bravely for the French during the bad years. Blücher, who hated Bonaparte with a holy passion and had never served the tyrant in any capacity — indeed, had never stopped looking for ways to oppose him — couldn’t quite bring himself to trust the man.

“Thielmann, you and III Corps will act as a reserve. Position yourselves on the right, and be prepared to engage the enemy if Ney tries to stick a knife in our backs.

“Our aim today is to cut off the tyrant from the bulk of his army, and to hammer him and his loyalists until they break. God willing, by the end of the day Bonaparte himself will be dead or in our hands, and the glory of Prussian arms will be restored.”

“It will be a bloody affair, sir,” said Gneisenau.

“So be it,” said Blücher. “I will lead the first charge on Velaine. And the second. And as many others as are needed. This whole war has been a bloody affair. Today we have a chance to put an end to it at last.”
* * *
About 9 a.m.
Velaine

It was like being inside a thunderstorm. The gunsmoke was so heavy that beyond forty feet or so, nothing could be seen but muzzle-flashes of various sizes and the flickering light of a burning barn in the gray-white haze. All around him was an inconceivable din of cannon-fire, volleys and the screams of wounded men and horses.

Blücher stood and breathed in the smoke. Both armies were shooting blind in the general direction of the enemy. A musket-ball came within an inch of his right temple. Another one clipped his left epaulet. He had just had his fourth horse of the morning shot out from under him. He lived for moments like this.

And he was pleased with how the day had gone thus far. At the first hint of Zieten’s charge, Grouchy’s cavalry had fled east. His corps was now enmeshed with the French infantry somewhere on the left. Here, Pirch had just brought a halt to an infantry attack by Vandamme out of Wanfercée-Baulet.

And somewhere in the blind swirling melee of the center was the outlaw himself. Blücher could hardly wait to lead another cavalry charge into that chaos and seek him out. But for that, he would need another horse. He turned and headed back to the field headquarters, ignoring the three-pound cannonball that shot between his ankles, bounced on the ground and continued on its way.

While at the headquarters, he got a report from his chief of staff. “So far, sir, the fighting on the front lines is inconclusive,” said Gneisenau. “But I’m concerned about what’s happening on our flanks.

“Grouchy’s cavalry has rallied along the Mazy. It hasn’t engaged us directly, but it’s working its way north around our left flank.

“But the real action is on the right. Ney has been aggressively trying to outflank us. His cavalry is already south of Ligny and moving fast.”

“Order Thielmann to put a stop to that.”

“I did, sir. He reports that Ney is fighting like a madman, and III Corps is having trouble reacting quickly enough.”

Blücher laughed. “What Ney is fighting like is a man who has betrayed his true king and knows his only hope is for Bonaparte to win. So long as Thielmann keeps him busy, we are still on course to victory.”

“Sir,” said Gneisenau, “if he fails, we will be in danger of being surrounded.” The chief of staff gestured at the map. At the moment, the French line was shaped like the letter W — or, perhaps, like a lower-case Greek omega (ω) with the left side longer than the right. Bonaparte and his artillery were in the center, and the two sides of the formation, from what Gneisenau had said, were extending themselves around and would ultimately meet behind the lines. The French aim, clearly, was to surround the Prussian army while at the same time preventing any one corps of it from coming to the aid of the others.

“I see,” said Blücher. “And if I planned to run away, this would worry me. But I do not. I plan to win the day and make him do the running. Now, where’s that horse?”
* * *
1 p.m.
Just north of Velaine
In the pit of his stomach, Blücher could feel things starting to go wrong. It was like the cold sensation he got some nights when he could no longer deny that the dice had turned against him and his lucky streak was over.

He had just led what he had intended to be another charge on the French center. The horses had barely brought themselves up to a canter when they had to start dodging Prussian infantrymen running the other way. Some of his officers turned as they ran past, to shout “Reinforcements!” and “Drouet d’Erlon!”

So the French I Corps was here. It had taken them long enough.

He looked around him. He was in the middle of the Prussian artillery positions. Even the horse artillery couldn’t be quickly withdrawn — most of the horses were dead.

“RALLY!” he shouted. “Hold! Hold! For God and Prussia, hold! They will not have the guns!” Then the French came out of the gunsmoke, bayonets at the ready.

The next few minutes were full of nothing but fighting — struggling, instant by instant, to stay alive, to keep their bayonets away from his horse’s legs and get clear slices at their heads and necks with his saber. This, too, Blücher lived for.

And damned if it wasn’t working. The French weren’t going back, but they weren’t going any further forward, either.

Then, to his astonishment, Blücher turned and saw none other than August von Gneisenau charging up on a horse.

“The field headquarters has fallen, sir!” shouted his chief of staff. “I only just escaped!”

“What of III Corps?”

“It just… collapsed! Just like that! Sir, we are completely surrounded!”

“Damn you, Thielmann!” Blücher gritted his teeth. There was no escaping it — this battle was lost.

“If we can’t find a way out,” he said at last, “we shall have to make one.” He turned and pointed at a stretch of woods. “There, in the Bois de Floreffe. If I am not mistaken, that is where their line is. Order every man there who can still fight.” Grouchy, who commanded that wing of the French army, had been the most half-hearted of the usurper’s commanders today. How would he respond to this attack?

Blücher was riding southeast towards the Bois when it happened. His horse wasn’t shot out from under him — it disappeared, the barrel of its torso exploding into a cloud of red mist and tiny fragments of flesh.

His right leg below the calf disappeared along with it.

For a moment he just lay on the ground, stunned. When he realized what had happened — he had been hit by a cannonball — he wasted another moment wondering what caliber it was. Then the pain in his right foot (no, in the place where his right foot used to be) woke him up. He took off his belt and tied it around the wound — field tourniquets were a harder thing to get right than most people realized. Then he took a rifle lying on the ground and used it to prop himself up while he stood.

When he stood up, he almost lost consciousness again. His head swam, and the world went dark. It took the better part of ten seconds for him to start seeing again. He felt very tired, and very cold.

Blücher knew what this meant. He had lost too much blood already, and it was still trickling out. He had lived his whole life knowing that he could die at any moment, and it looked like the moment was here. The pain was growing, turning into something terrible, but he only needed to be brave for a little bit longer. Then he would have done all that God or his king could ask of him.

With one foot and the rifle, Blücher made his way toward a menhir, a great squarish block of sandstone the color of gunsmoke. He leaned against it and tried to collect what wits and strength he had. He noted in an almost disinterested way that the Imperial Guard was headed this way in force. If only III Corps had held out, his army would at least have had a better escape route.

“Damn you, Thielmann,” he said again. He didn’t think anyone could hear him, but someone must have.

“That is in the hands of a higher power than yours or mine,” came a voice from somewhere to his right, speaking accented French.

Blücher turned — only to see, riding up on a well-groomed white horse, the one man who at this point could have aroused real anger in him.

“Thielmann is dead,” said Bonaparte matter-of-factly. “That wing of your army held out until he was killed, then gave way.” He dismounted slowly, as if in discomfort. Two of the Guard seized hold of Blücher’s arms, ironically making it easier for him to stay on his feet. Foot.

Blücher took in a deep breath. He would not show weakness in front of this Godless upstart — not even now.

“What are you doing here, peasant?” he said, sneering a little. What was the escapee going to do at this point — kill him?

Bonaparte smiled. “Peasant,” he said. “Usurper, parvenu, thief, jumped-up Corsican clenching his little fists in rage, tin-pot dictator with delusions of godhood… I’ve heard them all. You oligarchs will go to any length to deny my true importance.” He leaned in closer. “Would you like to know just how important I really am?”

Blücher smiled. This was going to be good. There was nothing like the certainty of imminent death to give you perspective on mortal grandeur.

“I am as important as I can make myself. No more, no less. Just like everyone else. I think that’s what frightens you.”

Blücher was trying to think of an answer to this when everything went black.
* * *
Twenty minutes after the field marshal’s death, the French VI Corps under Mouton-Lobau arrived and joined the fight in the Bois de Floreffe. Gneisenau, seeing no alternative, ordered what was left of the Prussian army to surrender. Later estimates would show about 10,000 dead or wounded Frenchmen, and about 25,000 dead or wounded Prussians.

That same day, on another continent, Wellington received his copy of a peace treaty between Britain and the United States that conformed to his requirements in every particular.


Word of the French victory at Velaine spread outward in an ever-widening circle. Within three days, Brussels and Luxembourg knew about it; within a week, they were mourning it in London; and by the middle of July, the news had spread among the Saxons, Poles and Italians.

Over the course of the rest of the month, the news for the Coalition only got worse. On June 20, the royalist uprising in the Vendée (one of the few signs that any part of France would willingly accept the planned Bourbon restoration) was defeated. On June 22, Marshal Ney’s cavalry caught up to von Bülow’s army and routed it in a surprise attack, mortally wounding von Bülow in the process. What was left of this army (all that was left of Prussian arms in France, apart from the North German Federal Army) surrendered to Napoleon the next day. On June 28, the Austrian III Corps was defeated outside Strasbourg by an army half its size.

Then, on July 1, l’Armée du Nord reached Mainz and, in a stroke of luck, caught the Russian III Army Corps under General Dokhtorov in the middle of crossing the Rhine. The resulting battle was as one-sided as any in the course of the war. When they tried to advance, the Russians found themselves engaged in bitter house-to-house, street-to-street fighting. When they tried to disengage and retreat, they were trapped against the river. In the end, only 15,000 Russians escaped death or capture.

But if it was the emperor’s intention to keep the Coalition on the other side of the Rhine, it was already too late for that. Even as Napoleon was destroying Dokhtorov’s army, Baron Sacken was crossing the river unopposed with an army of equal size barely twelve miles away. Langeron had crossed five days ago and had already reached the rendezvous point of Kaiserslautern.

Not to be outdone, the Austrians had moved every part of their army into French territory. The Bavarian Army and the North German Federal Army were holding Metz. III Corps was still north of Strasbourg, and I and II Corps were moving north to invest it from the other side. (Count Colloredo-Mansfeld already had a victory under his belt, having defeated the French at Chavannes.)

The Juillet Lorrain was about to begin.

P. G. Sherman, 1815 And All That


Trying to break down the campaign known as the Juillet Lorrain into individual battles is largely a waste of time. The various armies were rarely out of contact with one another for more than a few days at a time, and often pursued one another over miles of ground.

Case in point: the aftermath of Mainz. Flush with his recent string of victories, Napoleon decided to march south attack von Osten-Sacken’s army that very night night rather than allow it to escape and join the others. In the process, he neglected to allow his own army to rest. As a result, the attack was considerably less forceful than it might have been. This was compounded by the inevitable confusion surrounding any night battle.

The next day’s pursuit has often been described as “desultory,” “half-hearted” or even “deliberately slow” by those who invest the two generals with even more tactical acumen than they already possessed. The truth is simply that neither army had slept within the past 24 hours. Nonetheless, Sacken’s comparatively fresher army maintained an effective fighting retreat, and was able to escape by the end of the day.

Meanwhile, Wrede was emerging from Metz, and Langeron and VI Army Corps were venturing north from Kaiserslautern. Their aim was to do something like what the Sixth Coalition had done the previous year — force Napoleon to battle, cut him off from reinforcement and defeat him with overwhelming numbers.

They, however, were not the only ones who had learned from last year. In the Pfalzerwald, Napoleon’s army slipped between Langeron and Sacken and re-entered France.

P.G. Sherman, 1815 And All That


Moving quickly, the Anglo-Sicilian army under Sir Hudson Lowe arrived in Marseille on July 3. Neither the Marseillais nor the army had yet heard the news of Velaine, and in a city that had once been a center of revolutionary sentiment there was now considerable hatred for the emperor, particularly among the women who had seen their men dragged off to fight in his wars again and again. (And often never to return. By now, French bodies had been left to rot from Haiti to Egypt and the gates of Moscow.)

In any case, what there was of the Grande Armée in Marseille was not enough to resist even this relatively small army. General Masséna, who was stationed there at the time, was nowhere to be found when the army came calling. Lowe and his subordinates enjoyed a good laugh at the feared Masséna fleeing, armyless, with his tail between his legs. A month later, when Masséna arrived in Lorraine at the head of 50,000 new recruits, his escape would seem less amusing.

But by then, that would not be Lowe’s problem. His problem would be the desertion of over 200 Italian soldiers to join the rebels in Italy — soldiers who somehow managed to take several pieces of artillery and escape with them…

P. G. Sherman, 1815 And All That


The uprisings in Italy, Poland and Saxony that began in July were widely considered “Bonapartist” by the Seventh Coalition — a claim too many historians have taken at face value. They were nothing of the sort. The writings of the rebel leaders themselves reveal that they did not trust Napoleon, and remembered too well his habit of redrawing the map of Europe to suit his fancy. Still less, however, did they wish to be conscripted into the ranks of his enemies.

Nonetheless, they posed a serious distraction for the Coalition. Austria was forced to send the armies of Frimont and Bianchi into Italy. Russia diverted the corps commanded by General Wurttemberg (not to be confused with the Prince Württemberg who served Austria) and the Reserve Cavalry to deal with the Polish rebellion.

And Prussia was on the brink of destruction. The rebellion in Posen began July 9 — the very day the city received word of Velaine — and spread through the countryside and into Upper Silesia, with smaller uprisings in Stargard and Allenstein and ethnic violence in Danzig, Königsberg and Breslau. Meanwhile, Frederick Augustus I took this opportunity to attempt to shake off Prussian control of Saxony.

Frederick William III called for conscripts from Westphalia and the other relatively peaceful western parts of Prussia, and the westerners responded. In Münster, Cologne and the towns of the Ruhr, over a dozen new volunteer regiments were formed. They organized themselves, trained as quickly as they could, were armed… and then they waited. They did not actually mutiny, but they kept finding reasons not to go east where they were urgently needed. In this, they were assisted by the city and provincial governments, who used every trick at their disposal (in one case, “arresting” the officers of a regiment and holding over a hundred soldiers as witnesses) to keep them nearby. The real reason, of course, was that with France still a threat just across the Rhine, they had no intention of abandoning their homes in order to assist the Junkers in suppressing Poles, or of helping to beat down the presumptuous Saxon king. Last year, most of these men hadn’t even been Prussians.

Under normal circumstances, this in itself would have constituted a rebellion, and one to be put down by force. But the king knew that if he tried, he would face a real rebellion in the west — which, at this point, would most likely end Prussia once and for all…

P.G. Sherman, 1815 And All That



The next ten days showed why the Juillet Lorrain is often called “the bear-baiting” or “the boar hunt” — the various Coalition armies harried l’Armée du Nord (now well out of the north) constantly, chasing it here and there through western Alsace and eastern Lorraine, engaging it wherever possible but never allowing themselves into a position where they could be surrounded or routed.

Meanwhile, fresh regiments from Austria, Russia and the smaller German states kept coming across the Rhine, swelling the Coalition’s ranks. French reinforcements were collecting in the city of Nancy, which, with the aid of officers who had served under Davout at Hamburg, was being readied to stand a long siege, if necessary.

Of course, Napoleon wasn’t the only one who needed new recruits. The armies guarding the border with Spain desperately needed reinforcement as well. In the Vendée, General Lamarque was building up his forces for a move north to Antwerp. The French, who had to fight everywhere, were outnumbered everywhere.

Then, on July 15, Napoleon turned east, hoping to break the siege of Strasbourg…
P.G. Sherman, 1815 And All That



If anything ever proved that “time and chance happeneth to all,” it was the engagement of July 17 along the banks of the Zorn. Prince William of Württemberg, who had just endured a shameful defeat at La Suffel, won a battle against Napoleon himself.

Three things made this possible. First, Napoleon was unaware of the size of the army the prince commanded. The Third and Reserve Corps — at this point, a force of over 90,000 men, easily the equal of Napoleon’s own — surrounded the city of Strasbourg and the army of General Rapp. (Ordinarily, devoting two army corps to trap twenty thousand men would have been foolish — but if there was one thing the Coalition had to spare, it was manpower.) Second, Württemberg's men were relatively fresh, having remained in place for the last few weeks while Napoleon's army had been run ragged.

Third, Württemberg abandoned the siege, mobilized his army and attacked first. In a letter to his father, the giant King Frederick, he explained this decision thus: “Behind me was the Corsican, who had yet to be defeated this year. Before me was Rapp, who had already bested me once. I confess that in that hour I saw no hope of victory. Determined to meet my fate directly, I turned and set forth to engage the stronger enemy. The Lord in His mercy forgave my despair and granted me the triumph I had not looked for.”

Judging by his deployments, Napoleon had not looked for this attack to take place. In the sudden attack, the emperor’s heavy cavalry was routed and Marshal Grouchy was killed, along with some 5,000 Frenchmen. It was all Napoleon could do to keep the fighting retreat from turning into a general rout. (In this, he was aided by Prince William himself. Rather than pursuing the defeated French into the Vosges, he turned around to deal with the force at Strasbourg, only to find that Rapp and his army had slipped out to the southwest.)

Meanwhile, the other armies — Russian, Austrian and German — were closing in. Their aim was to prevent Napoleon from reaching Nancy at all costs. To this end, one of them would have to get in his way.

But as luck would have it, the first fighting force that interposed itself between the emperor and his shelter was the worst possible one for the job. After the fact, none of the Coalition generals would admit to having dispatched the Royal Danish Auxiliary Corps on this particular mission — and, indeed, they may have been there entirely by chance. But the Danes, already bitter over the ill-treatment their nation had received at the hands of the Royal Navy and the delegates to Vienna, were most reluctant allies to begin with. Now they were being asked, in effect, to stand and die in place so that some other power should have the glory of triumphing over Napoleon.

The result? The entire army “surrendered” almost without firing a shot. In fact, an unknown but significant number of them joined the French army, while others allowed themselves to be employed guarding the numerous Russian and Prussian prisoners of war…

P.G. Sherman, 1815 And All That



Napoleon reached Nancy on July 20 and immediately began transferring his tired and wounded soldiers behind the defensive lines. But it was clear he was preparing for something far more complicated than a simple siege.

Vandamme was placed in charge of 100,000 men and sent to the heights north of the city on either side of the Meurthe. Meanwhile, Ney was given command of all the light cavalry that could be found, and was sent east. His task was to execute guerrilla raids against the supply lines of the giant Coalition army. When pursued, he would retreat into the hill country of the Vosges.

Napoleon himself remained in the center of the city, behind the defensive lines and the 150-meter moat of the Meurthe. At Vienna, the nations of Europe had essentially declared war on one man. If they wanted him, they could come and take him.

They obliged. The Battle of Nancy was nearly as large in scope as that of Leipzig, lasted considerably longer and was much bloodier. Every part of it — “the Sugarloaf,” “Bloody Saint-Genevieve,” “the Dreadful Crossing” — has taken on a mythic quality among enthusiasts of military history. Many historians have suggested that the Coalition made a mistake in not bypassing the city and heading for Paris.

But this was not an option. Davout had not been idle over the last month. Paris, by now, had its own ring of defenses. Davout was quoted as saying that “if they liked Hamburg, they are going to love Paris.” The Austrian and Russian generals had no desire to be trapped at the end of a long supply line between Davout’s lines and Napoleon’s men.

So they attacked directly — and over the course of the next three weeks, Nancy became a byword for manhood and valour throughout the Western world.
P.G. Sherman, 1815 And All That



Even a genius is limited by the tools he is given to work with. Napoleon had turned the city of Nancy and environs into a trap to hold half a million men, but the trap would not close unless he himself were in the middle of it. More importantly, the emperor’s attention was devoted firstly to the day-to-day shifts in the tactical situation of the battle, as the Austrian and Russian princes and their hirelings pushed deeper into the city, driving the French defenders back block by block. Even before then, of course (arguably, since he left Paris) his thoughts had been preoccupied with the problem of safeguarding his people rather than the problem of ruling them.

What this meant for France as a whole during this fateful summer was that the governing of the realm was chiefly in the hands of Parliament. The irony in this, of course, is that Napoleon had never wanted to put the constitutional reforms of 1815, under which the Parliament was constituted, into effect until the campaign was over. Moreover, he disliked and distrusted the parliament that had been elected in the plebiscite of June 1; in fact, his first desire had been to dismiss it, although he had allowed himself on this occasion to be convinced that a whim of his was not practicable.

Nor did Parliament hold any great trust in him. Perhaps a hundred of the Parliamentarians were of the Parti de Bonaparte, whose only platform was personal fidelity towards him. There was also a smaller group from the Jacobin Party. Militantly anticlerical, fiercely egalitarian and strongest in the cities, these forerunners of the modern Elmarists regretted not one drop of blood shed in the Terror. They, too, were loyal to Napoleon, although he hardly knew what to do with their loyalty.

But five out of six Parliamentarians were of the Liberal Party, and followed La Fayette and Lanjuinais in regarding Napoleon as a threat to the liberties of the French people. As Jean-Baptiste Say put it, “The Legislative Body, an amalgamation of parties and representatives of every epoch of the Revolution, while attached to the institutions of the Revolution and despising the prejudices and ineptitude of the Bourbons, is yet filled with mistrust, fear and horror of the tyranny of Napoleon.” (Ironically, the situation would have been a good deal worse had the royalists not chosen to absent themselves from the plebiscite, waiting instead for their king to return in the baggage train of another conquering army.)

Even his ministers, however loyal they remained in public, had begun to despair of him. Caulaincourt, his foreign minister and a long-standing friend and loyalist, privately believed him mad and suspected that his promises of French liberty would hold good only “until he is on his feet and returns to his old ways.” Fouché, whom Napoleon distrusted but on whom he was forced to rely as one of the pillars of his rule, was of course quite indifferent to liberty; yet he believed that the Emperor was doomed to be overthrown in four months at best, and it is rumored that he was plotting with the royalists until word of Velaine reached Paris.

But all this was no insurmountable obstacle. None of the Liberals had ever denounced Napoleon so feverishly as Benjamin Constant, who had called the French emperor “this madman dyed with our blood” and fled to Nantes to avoid having to serve him. But once Constant had been captured and returned to Paris, Napoleon had won him over almost instantly and set him to work on the new constitution. If he could win over Constant, he could surely win over the Deputies and Peers.

The magic of his persuasion was even beginning to work on the war-weary people of France itself. In this he was aided unwittingly by the Prussians — or rather, their newspapers. The Allgemeine Zeitung proclaimed, “We were wrong to show the French any consideration whatsoever. We should have wiped them all out… the whole French nation must be outlawed.” Not to be outdone, the Mercure du Rhin opined that “We must exterminate them; kill them like mad dogs.” Napoleon had only to order these editorials reprinted in the Moniteur to convince much of the public that such sentiments represented the general mood of the Seventh Coalition, and that the French Emperor was the nation’s last hope. (One American historian, Charles Cerniglia, has proposed that Napoleon may have learned this from studying British actions at New Orleans in the wake of General Keane’s capture of that city. In the absence of evidence, this remains mere conjecture.)[1]

In any event, there was no help for it. If the emperor won, he would return and rule, and they would be lucky if he allowed the new parliament to remain in session at all. (And after the glorious triumphs of Velaine and Mayence, who would say he did not have the right?) Whereas if he failed, then, as Fouché put it after the setback at the Zorn, “the crowned heads of Europe would spill every last drop of Christian blood to return Louis the Pig’s bloated arse to his throne and Marie Antoinette’s empty head to her neck.” Thus, the Liberals of Parliament judged their fate to be closely tied to that of Napoleon, whether they wished it so or not.

In the meantime, there was a nation to be governed, which Napoleon could not do from the battlefield. Taxes had to be gathered, conscripts brought to the training fields, supplies procured. Davout’s efforts at fortifying Paris and building camps south and west of the city needed to be supported.

And so a strange political partnership developed. Lanjuinais and his vice-president, Jacques-Charles Dupont de l’Eure, were the public face of the new regime, reading Napoleon’s dispatches aloud in the Champs-Élysées. Meanwhile, Carnot was turning his engineer’s brain to the task of building the Liberal Party into a system for finding reliable men, securing their loyalty and installing them in office. The Moniteur became the Liberal Party's official house organ.

The Party undertook other tasks as well. Wherever opposition (royalist or simply antiwar) threatened to interfere with the purposes of the government, the Liberals unleashed the fédérés, groups of radical workingmen whom Napoleon had despised but whom Carnot was only too pleased to arm and train for the suppression of dissent. (Most of the fédérés were Jacobin rather than Liberal, but few proved unwilling to compromise their principles in exchange for the chance to serve their nation and their emperor.)

If the fédérés were the Party’s naked fist, Fouché and his secret police were its hidden dagger. A born conspirator, Fouché proved a genius at finding royalist plots and bringing them to light — or, when he judged it more suitable, disposing of them in the darkness.

At this point, the Liberal Party’s writ hardly ran in the south or the smaller towns, where royalist sentiment was still a force to be reckoned with. Nonetheless, by the end of July, the two chambers of Parliament and the Liberal Party had become as effective a machine of governance as any in Europe…
Jean-Michel Noailles, The Liberal Party and the Making of Modern France (Eng. trans)

***
[1] Actually, Napoleon did this IOTL.


Day by day, house by house and block by block, the French were driven back. Their worst day was on August 13, in the so-called “Garden of Horrors,” in which, due to a run of bad luck and some aggressive moves by Barclay de Tolly, over twelve thousand Frenchmen and some nine thousand Russians were killed or wounded. After this day, there was no longer any doubt which side would take possession of the city.

And, indeed, the next day the French were in full retreat from the streets of the city. Barclay de Tolly ordered the pursuit… right into the teeth of hell. Napoleon had spent the previous night arranging his artillery and sharpshooters along the ridge of hills west of the city. The Russians were at the foot of these hills by the time the last French stragglers had passed the line of the emperor’s guns, but they were not close enough to grapple with the enemy and were driven back with heavy losses.

Two days later, Wrede and 100,000 men tried to circle around to the south and launch a flank attack against Napoleon’s line. This flank attack was itself outflanked by Masséna, who had arrived on the battlefield the previous day. With his raw troops reinforced by Rapp’s smaller but more seasoned army, Masséna nearly rolled up the whole Austrian army before they anchored one flank against the Meurthe. After that, both sides returned to skirmishing, avoiding major engagements that might stretch already fragile morale to the breaking point.

Then, on August 22, a new army arrived that would change everything. This was an army of 60,000 Britons — and one Briton in particular…

P.G. Sherman, 1815 And All That


August 22, 1815
1:50 p.m.
Jardin Dominique Alexandre Godron, Nancy

Once, this had been one of the most famous botanical gardens in Europe. Now, the various herbs and flowers were largely trampled to death, scorched or grazed upon by cavalry horses. The place smelled of nothing but gunpowder, woodsmoke and blood.

Colonel Neil Campbell (Sir Neil Campbell, knighted to two different orders by the tsar, who now probably wished he hadn’t) stroked his beard and sighed as he reviewed the latest list of casualties. He was becoming quite fond of his little force of soldiers from the free cities of northern Germany. He doubted one man in ten of them actually cared who ruled Europe, but they had acquitted themselves well in battle and did not blame or resent him, which was a refreshing change from everyone else in this army.

Campbell was beginning to wish someone would have the discourtesy to tell him to his face that this was all his doing. Then at least he could defend himself. He could say, “What should I have done — leapt upon him and wrestled him to the ground? The guards at Elba were under his command, not mine!” Or he could say, “It was not I who chose to put the most dangerous man alive in a ‘prison’ with no bars, no locks and no guards but one Scotsman with no official sanction and a bad war wound!”

All of which was true. Lord Liverpool had said as much himself before Parliament back in April. So had Lord Castlereagh, along with a great deal else concerning the unwisdom of the Treaty of Fontainebleau and its signatories. (Castlereagh had been very clear to Campbell about the extent of his mandate: “I am to desire that you will continue to consider yourself a British resident in Elba, without assuming any further official character than that in which you are already received.”)

But if he said these things with no prompting from anyone, it would seem like an outward response to the inner scourge of a guilty conscience… which is exactly what they were. To the extent that he had had any power at all to carry out his duty, he had failed. The captain of the sloop HMS Partridge had failed equally badly in the matter, but at least he’d been there to do it. Whereas Campbell had been on the mainland, fornicating with his mistress, while Bonaparte made his escape.

“There you are,” came a voice that spoke crisp English without a foreign accent. “I’ve been looking for you.”

Campbell looked up. He scrambled to his feet and saluted, wincing at the sudden pain in his back (curse that blundering Cossack who’d nearly killed him by mistake!)

“Sir! Your Grace!” he blurted out. “Thank God you’re here!”

“Sir Charles Napier sends his warm regards,” said Wellington. “He is with my army. He looks forward to seeing you again.”

“And I look forward to seeing Sir Charles.”

Over tea (which Wellington had brought with him, eliciting a fresh wave of gratitude from the under-supplied Campbell) they discussed the tactical situation.

“Before your arrival, sir, the Coalition army numbered some 450,000,” said Campbell. “We’re not quite sure how many men Napoleon has, but it can’t be more than 200,000. Probably a little less.”

“Good. Who commands?”

“Officially — and only officially — King Louis.”

Wellington nearly sprayed out a mouthful of tea in astonishment.

“He’s in Kaiserslautern right now, and we are here to restore him to his kingdom, after all,” said Campbell. “In practice, Württemberg, Wrede and Barclay de Tolly are in command of various parts of the battlefield. They meet once a morning to discuss strategy.”

“That’s not so good. How are the armies performing?”

“The Russians, even after their casualties, have the largest army. They’re having their usual trouble with actually bringing all those men to the front where they’re needed rather than leaving them guarding the baggage train or attending on some nobleman, but I would say they’re better at it than they were two years ago. As for the Austrians, at the moment they’re performing better than the Russians, but I’m told morale in their ranks is getting low.”

“I gather there is no hope of help from Prussia?”

“Not this year. Worse, Bernadotte and his men have had to abide in Kaiserslautern to free enough Prussians to combat the Polish rebels. A great pity, sir; they were the finest soldiers I have ever seen… apart from our own, of course.”

Campbell took a map out of his pocket and unfolded it. Wellington scowled as he studied the dispositions.

“One might have thought,” he growled, “that since we outnumber the enemy better than two to one, we would surround them rather than the other way around.”

“It’s not quite as bad as that, sir. We did take d’Amance last week, and we’ve managed to push Masséna and Rapp back across the Moselle… but as you say, sir, it’s not as it should be.

“We have them outgunned as well, but not by so much — perhaps three to two rather than two to one — and theirs are better positioned.”

“That at least makes sense. They don’t have to haul cannon, powder and shot across all Europe, and they must have captured a deal of our ordnance at Velaine and Mainz. And they know the lay of the land better than we. How are we provisioned?”

“Not very well, I’m afraid. Keeping this many people fed and armed would be enough of a problem without Ney and his irregulars.”

“Someone should do something about that damned traitor.”

“It’s been discussed. The Vosges don’t look like much on a map, but they’re a labyrinth. He could be hiding anywhere. Barclay de Tolly says we should call for a couple of voiskos of Cossacks to hunt him down, but King Louis disagrees.”

“I can well imagine.” The Cossacks were among the best light cavalry in the world (even Bonaparte admitted as much, it was said) but you didn’t turn them loose in any country you cared about.

“Even if the king relents, it would take some time to bring them here and still more time to capture Ney.”

“And in the meantime, they’d be more mouths to feed,” said Wellington. “Damnation, Campbell, the more I hear the more I think we could actually lose this battle! It’s clear that Boney has chosen, for reasons of his own, to make this his final stand, but why are we obliging him in this? Why are we not forcing him to withdraw and fight us on open ground? And why has the fighting grown so desultory over the last week? Tell me this.”

Campbell hesitated.

“You must understand, sir,” he said, “that I have no friends in this army — indeed, the longer the war goes on and the more blood the tyrant sheds, the more whisperings and sidelong looks I am treated to by the others. Most of my information comes from Sir Richard Croft, who is back in Kaiserslautern with King Louis.”

Wellington blinked in surprise. “The Royal Family’s own physician is attending the king of France?”

“His health is of paramount importance, and…” Campbell flushed red and looked at his desk. “Given the circumstances of Bonaparte’s escape, the Crown deemed it wise to make a special effort to show our allegiance to the Bourbon cause. In any event, you might do better to consult Sir Richard than myself. He often converses with the king, and the king corresponds with the generals more often than I can speak to them.”

“That’s as may be. But he, as you say, is in Kaiserslautern, and you are here, and I am consulting you. Others may think what they please, Sir Neil. I value your judgment.”

“God bless you, sir.” Campbell took a deep breath. “There are two answers to your questions, sir. The first is that given the precarious state of our supply train, we daren’t let the Corsican get behind us.”

“Insufficient. Boney has a large army and supply train of his own to think about. What is the second answer?”

“The second answer is… politics.”

“Oh dear.”

“Perhaps ‘politics’ is not the right word. ‘Statecraft’ might be better. Sir Richard tells me that the one thing the king of France doesn’t want is huge Coalition armies roaming the length and breadth of his kingdom, living half off the land.”

“Understandable, but are the generals truly willing to accede so completely to His Majesty’s wishes?”

“Württemberg and Wrede are, sir. As far as they are concerned, the Treaty of Alliance against Bonaparte is exactly what it says — a war to be waged against one man who happens to have a very large bodyguard — and therefore the best strategy is to aim all our efforts to his capture or death. De Tolly disagrees. His opinions, so far as I know them, are very much like yours. At the heart of it is that the emperor of Austria desires that at the end of this war, France be strong and unravaged, so as to maintain the balance of power in Europe — something to which the tsar is indifferent if not hostile.”

Wellington nodded. “This is of a piece with what Lord Castlereagh and I saw in Vienna, but I hate to see it here with a war to be fought.”

“Hitherto, Barclay de Tolly has been willing to accede to the wishes of the Austrian princes, as they have achieved more success on the battlefield than he has. But now, I think, he is beginning to believe that they expect him to pay the lion’s share of the butcher’s bill… if you’ll pardon a mixed metaphor.”

“I may as well tell you that I, too, have been instructed to give thought to statesmanship as well as strategy,” said Wellington. “The Crown, like our Austrian allies, desires a swift end to Bonaparte’s depredations and a strong France under King Louis. In short, they desire as much as possible a return to what was the status quo before the Corsican took the throne again.”

Campbell sank in his chair and put his head in his hands. None of this need ever have happened. If only he’d been given more to work with… if only he’d been there… and how many thousands of good men were dead now?

Wellington sighed and leaned in closer.

“Soldier, I will speak in your defense before the King of France, the King of England or the King of Heaven if necessary,” he said quietly. “In return, I expect that you will do your duty, put aside this futile self-recrimination and devote your mind entirely to the question of how to defeat the enemy before us today.”

Campbell had to turn away. Entirely against his will, his eyes had filled with tears.

“I… shall… do all in my power to do as you say sir,” he choked out. He took several deep breaths and blinked away the tears.

“Whatever we’re going to do, sir, we’d better do it quickly,” Campbell said. “Bonaparte is reinforcing Masséna and Rapp in the south, and I am told he is trying to put guns on riverboats somewhere south of here. He may be trying to replicate his success against Blücher on a larger scale.”

“Not while I draw breath, he won’t.”

“There is one more thing, sir,” said Campbell. “Talleyrand is in Kaiserslautern with the king, and in regular correspondence with our commanders in the field.”

After a long pause, Wellington said, “I see. What might he be up to?”

“The devil’s work, I’m sure, sir. More than that… Sir Richard doesn’t know, and so I cannot know.”

“So be it. All the more reason to take down Bonaparte quickly. Will the commanders listen to me?”

“To you? Yes, sir. I believe they still hold you in high regard.”

“Good. Tomorrow morning, then, I shall put forward my plan at their meeting.”

“You have a plan already, sir?”

“No,” said Wellington looking at the map, “but I shall.”


August 25, 1815
7 a.m.
Nancy, just east of the Meurthe

Even in the light of dawn, Wellington could see how the surface of the hilltop had been marked by the tread of thousands of shod horses and the wheels of dozens of artillery pieces, scarring the rabbit-cropped turf like smallpox. Around the end of July, the Butte Sainte-Genevieve had been as heavily fought over as any place on Earth.

“They say,” said Count Colloredo-Mansfeld in passable French, “that wherever you put your foot on this hill you step on a place where a man has died.”

Wellington looked around, did some quick math in his head, and concluded that this was unlikely to be true. But as he had not been here for that part of the war, he decided that it would be unseemly to contradict his subordinate in this matter.

“Is this where Prince Hohenzollern-Hechingen fell?”

“Not quite, Your Grace. He died on the hillside facing east. I saw it happen myself. God grant we avenge him today.”

“Indeed.” Wellington looked up. Preparations for today had taken all of yesterday and most of the day before.

Prince Wrede would go northeast, seeking to outflank the French defenses on the hillsides rather than confronting them directly. His principal aim would be to secure the road to Custines.

Using the same boats and barges that brought the army across the Rhine and the Meurthe, Prince Württemberg would cross the Moselle. Their aim would be to force Masséna and Rapp to retreat and free up a path west to Chaligny.

Barclay de Tolly would remain exactly where he was. If Bonaparte tried to take the center and split the army in two, the Russians would resist him. If the tyrant tried to reinforce either the north or the south, the Russians would move to interfere. Aside from that, they would act as a reserve.

And when Wellington had gotten word that either Wrede or Württemberg had opened up a path to north or south, he would lead 100,000 men (his own, the count’s and a few more) down that path and into the rear of the French army. They would seek out the Corsican and cut him off from the bulk of his army. Let him devise whatever cunning strategems he liked — his marshals would be left to their own devices. The French would be overwhelmed and defeated. God willing, the tyrant would be forced to surrender again. In any event, this damned wrestling bout over one little patch of blood-soaked earth would be at an end.

Wellington was not exactly proud of this plan. It had no hallmarks of genius about it. It would have been impractical against an army of equal size. But the plan was simple, it respected the realities of the situation as far as command structure and troop morale went, and it could only fail if everything went wrong.

He looked north. He could just see the Austro-Bavarian force under Wrede getting underway. But this battle would be much too vast for him to see all at once from any vantage point. Somehow, he would have to hold it all within his mind.

“Count Colloredo,” he said, “see to the readiness of our force. We must be prepared to move at a moment’s notice.”

“Yes, sir.”

Ten minutes later, a messenger rode from the south.

“Prince Württemberg sends his compliments, sir,” said the messenger, “and begs to report that he has begun the crossing of the Moselle. There's a touch of mist about the river, so his losses are not as bad as he had feared.”

“Excellent,” said Wellington. “Thank you.”

Now there was nothing to do but wait.

Although David’s 25e Août (1819) is considered by many art historians to be the fifth in his celebrated series Les Garçons de Nancy, it differs from them markedly in its subject matter. Whereas the other paintings show ordinary soldiers in moments of repose or poised to attack, this painting captures the frenetic movement of combat as the emperor commands the artillery to fire on the dark figures of oncoming cavalrymen as they emerge from the swirling gunsmoke. Certainly, what the painting lacks in historical verisimilitude it more than makes up for in drama.
Spitzer & Chauncey, A History of Western Art of the 19th Century


August 25, 1815
11:15 a.m.
Nancy
Well, this was something I didn’t plan for, thought Wellington. The messengers from north and south had come within two minutes of each other. It seemed the French were pulling back on both fronts. The messenger from the north had come first, but he had had a shorter distance to ride.

Just to make things more complicated, instead of retreating west across the river, the French on that wing were falling back onto Custines. In other words, they were falling back onto the exact spot Wellington had planned to go through.

He wondered if Bonaparte was abandoning Nancy entirely. It would make sense — most of the defenses here had been taken already. In any case, he needed to come to a quick decision about which way his force should march.

“Count Colleredo?”

“Yes, Your Grace?”

“There is a change of plan. We will go northwest, taking advantage of the gap in the French line, and cross the Meurthe at Bouxiéres-aux-Dames. Send a messenger to Barclay de Tolly. Tell him — request, I should say” (damn, it was hard not being in command) “that he be prepared to take the offensive against any forces Napoleon might send to intercept us. And order Bull and Drummond north to support Wrede.” Without the artillery, the river could be forded quickly. Right now, the duke needed speed more than firepower.

* * *

This was one of the shallowest parts of the river. The spray kicked up by his horse’s hooves didn’t even touch the soles of Wellington’s boots. To his right, thousands of men were marching through it fifty abreast, stirring the silt into the water, turning the river a richer brown and giving it an earthy smell.

To his left, in the village of Champignuelles about a mile to the southeast, the Russians had formed a line of infantry that ran halfway up the hillside. The line was being attacked savagely by cavalry and field artillery, but showed no sign of retreating just yet. They only had to hold on a little longer — on the spit of land north of the village, where the river veered east and then west again, their compatriots were hastily digging ditches and raising breastworks.

Wellington couldn’t see what was happening around Custines, but the cannon-fire around there had a satisfyingly distant sound. As much as he had started to hate the leaders of this army for their timidity and infighting, he felt profoundly grateful to him at this moment. They were keeping the tyrant’s blade off his neck. Once he got his army over this river and up that hill, it would be time to repay them properly.

And now he was across the Meurthe. Before him lay two thousand feet of farmland — or rather, picked-over and trampled-down fields that afforded no cover for anything bigger than a mouse. The hillside beyond, on the other hand, was still fairly heavily wooded in spite of having been raided for firewood every night for about three weeks. Anything could be hiding in there.

He turned to his immediate left. Major General Kempt had just finished bringing the 8th Brigade across the river. His unit was the first — he was in a hurry to redeem his failure at Sackett’s Harbor. Wellington approached him.

“Sir James,” he said, “take your men up that hill ahead of the rest. If any Frenchmen are lurking in there planning to attack, I want their plans to go awry.”

While the 8th was going up the hill, like hunters beating the bushes for an unusually lethal variety of partridge, Wellington concentrated on organizing his army on this side. He noted that Campbell’s Hanseatic contingent was bringing up the rear, and had a message sent to him.

“Tell Campbell that I have no intention of imitating Blücher’s fate here today,” he said. “Tell him that whatever happens, he must keep an escape route open to the east — or, if necessary, make one himself.”

* * *

As it turned out, there hadn’t been any Frenchmen lurking in the woods. The trek up the hillside was slow, but quiet. Wellington used the time to consider where Boney was likeliest to be lurking. The sheer number of soldiers on both sides had made scouting missions difficult, but the most obvious answer was that the tyrant was at the barracks some four miles west of the city. Wellington had already dispatched the Prince Consort’s Own to hunt down any French scouts and messengers they saw going to and from the barracks.

The trouble was going to be getting to him. The reason Wellington had planned to move so far to the north or south was to take his army out of sight of Bonaparte’s scouts, so that when he attacked, it would be less obvious where. That part of the plan was already a casualty of war. However… He summoned Lord Uxbridge.

In about fifteen minutes, the Second Earl of Uxbridge arrived and stepped off his horse, giving Wellington a salute as polite and respectful as if he hadn’t cuckolded the duke’s brother Henry six years ago.

Without pausing for pleasantries, Wellington told him: “You will take every cavalryman in this army, proceed southwest about three miles, then turn southeast and attack the barracks west of Laxou and everything nearby.” He then turned to Colloredo.

“I want a general attack on this end of the French lines,” he said. “If we can roll up the army, so much the better, but at least we will draw them away from the center.”

* * *

It was… Wellington had no idea how long it was later. Days, surely… but judging by the position of the sun, probably not more than an hour. Less than that, likely. He was on his own feet. Three horses had been shot out from under him.

There was blood on his bayonet. He’d never seen the face of the man whose blood it was, but the man had been in a French uniform, so that was all right. There was a dull ache in his arms and shoulders. It would be a burning agony later. It had been a long time since he had been that close to the fighting. A squad of French grenadiers had blasted a path right through the line of Triple X’s that had been all that was between him and the enemy, and he had been forced to fight for his life before the army could re-form around him.

Tired as he was, distracted as he was, he still knew exactly where his army was and what it was doing. It was digging in on the hillside above Frouard. He had tried to make notes of regiments that had performed particular feats of valor — the Royal Welch Fusiliers driving two French regiments back a hundred yards, the Light Bobs charging through canister to capture a field-piece, the Orange Lillies rescuing a captured scout of the Prince Consort’s Own — but before long he had realized that everybody in his army was fighting like wild boars at bay.

Unfortunately, the French had fought like boarhounds. Finally, he had had to organize a fighting retreat. Otherwise, the retreat would have happened whether he ordered it or not, and might have turned into a rout. As it was, he’d only withdrawn half a mile before the Russians came to keep the French from pressing their advantage too hard. (Campbell was in Frouard right now. Poor sod, he’d been grazed by a Russian bullet. That was now the second time he’d been wounded by a Russian on French soil. War had a bad sense of humor.)

He had no idea how the rest of the battle was going. Apparently the fighting in the north had ended in stalemate. How things were going for Lord Uxbridge, let alone Württemberg… he just didn’t know.

* * *

It had taken Lord Uxbridge over an hour to get into position to attack. The woods were heavy in this part of Lorraine, and a horse galloping through deep forest — assuming you could persuade it to do such a foolish thing — was more likely to trip than a man was, and far more likely to injure itself in so doing. So they had moved at a walk.

The good news was that his men (more often leading their horses than riding them) had moved as quietly as men could, and, with a little help from the Prince Consort’s Own, had taken care of the few scouts. If Boney was ahead, he didn’t know they were coming.

The clearing around the barracks was well over a hundred yards wide, and full of tents. There seemed, from what Lord Uxbridge could tell, to be fewer guards than officers about — most of the fighting men were busy with one army or another. Whatever happened, he was about to do a lot of damage to the French officer corps.

There was sudden movement among the officers. Some of them were glancing toward the woods. One of them must have heard or seen something. Now or never.

He turned and nodded to the bugler.

The horn sounded.

As his horse charged out of the dark forest into the sunlit clearing, Uxbridge fought the urge to shut his eyes. The sudden light was blinding and agonizing, but his eyes would adjust to it soon enough.

In the meantime, there were running figures in dark blue coats all around, screaming and shouting in French. He slashed at them with his saber, wishing he had something longer, like a lance. He would save his firearms for when his vision returned.

A sword slashed at his horse’s side. He spurred it to keep moving. Speed was the only line of defense.

He hadn’t really had time to see what the rest of his force was doing. From what he could tell, they were doing the same thing — charging into the clearing, knocking down tents and killing anything that looked or sounded French.

Now they were at the barracks themselves. Some men who had grenades threw them through the windows. Uxbridge, whose sight had begun to come back, shot at the men who fled. He was pretty sure he’d killed one of them.

He looked around him. All was chaos and confusion and gunsmoke. He let out a yell that wasn’t part of any regiment’s official battle cry.

Then, from the south, came a fresh wave of cavalry. They were on his side, but they had the look of men fleeing rather than attacking.

“Sir!” one of them shouted. “Masséna is coming!”

Uxbridge took a moment to reflect on what he knew of the enemy’s tactical dispositions, then thought Oh, hell. The whole southern wing of the French army had to be folding up like a bear trap, with him in the middle.

It was time to get the hell out of here.

* * *

When Wellington heard the horses coming, he nearly ordered his men to open fire. Then he heard the sound of gunfire coming from somewhere behind them. Those had to be British, returning to him after achieving whatever it was they had done, and the enemy was hot on their heels.

Wellington shouted out a series of orders, creating a gap in his own lines that Uxbridge could charge through while ordering the rest of his men to be ready to throw back the French with volleys. He wished he hadn’t sent the artillery north — now would be a good time for canister.

And there, in the distance, he saw Lord Uxbridge’s head in profile. Just as the British cavalry were starting to make use of the gap, Uxbridge jerked violently… and fell off his horse, in that boneless, rag-doll way that could only mean he was already dead.

In that moment, Wellington couldn’t remember ever having borne a grudge against the man. Two ranks of riflemen were already poised to fire.

And in another moment, the cavalry (or what was left of it — they seemed to have taken some terrible losses along the way) was out of the way.

“FIRE!” shouted the duke.

There was a deafening thunderclap. The enemy disappeared behind a cloud of gunsmoke. The musketeers were already preparing another volley — their weapons were less accurate, but with everyone firing blind that wouldn’t really matter.

And then, a unit of French cavalry came out of the smoke.

It happened very quickly. Wellington dodged a horse as it came past, stuck his sword into the barrel of it, and the horse’s momentum ripped the sword out of his hands. And then… something happened. For the rest of his life Wellington would wonder what it was.

* * *

Wellington rose to his feet. He felt very sick, and his head was in terrible pain that only got worse as he tried to stand, but he was determined to at least see what was going on.

He looked around. He was surrounded by dead men — British and French — and horses. He looked down. His rifle was gone, his sword (wait — he remembered how that had happened) and some utter bastard had stolen his boots.

He touched the side of his head. It was wet and sticky. What had happened to him there? A kick from a horse? No. Men kicked in the head by horses generally didn’t get up again. Probably a blow from the butt of a rifle.

Two Imperial Guardsmen walked up to him. Even if he’d been armed, he was in no shape to resist. He let them take him into custody.

The next few minutes were a blur. He was walking with other prisoners, behind one of those little horse-drawn field ambulances that was carrying someone more badly hurt than he was. The creaking of the wheels was making his head hurt worse. There didn’t seem to be too many prisoners — not more than a thousand — and there hadn't been too many bodies on the ground in British uniforms. Thank you, Campbell, he thought.

In the distance, the French were chanting something. It sounded like bon Jon only not quite. Vengeant? Vengeons? It sounded… bad.

One thing Wellington had learned in a lifetime of war was that, no matter how bad things seemed, they could always get worse. He looked around at the prisoners around him, in case any of them had a notion what was going on.

He made eye contact with one, an officer in the 11th Light Dragoons — the “Cherry Pickers,” a reliable old unit from the Peninsula. The dragoon leaned in close and whispered three words, so quietly Wellington had to read his lips…

“Bonaparte is dead.”


The popular image of the Midnight Charge has largely been shaped by the incomparable prose of Victor Hugo. Chapters 49 through 52 of his epic novel Calvaire, in which a segment of the hero’s backstory is related, describe the Charge as a spontaneous outburst of inchoate wrath on the part of the French army, seeing the jubilation of the Germans and Russians at the news of the emperor’s death:

“Through the darkness they ran, heedless of obstacles, all thought of line, column or formation forgotten. The earth trembled beneath four hundred thousand boots. It was as though the forces that drive the wind and tide, that bring down the rain and give speed to the avalanche, had possessed and animated the bodies of all these men, transforming them into something vast and inexorable, a tidal wave with a crest of bayonets that shone in the light of the gibbous moon…”

Calvaire was published in 1868. Since then, many novels of varying quality and at least seven major K-graphs have depicted the Charge, all of them more or less following in Hugo’s footsteps.

Hugo was a novelist, not a historian. To pick the most obvious point, the French didn't have 200,000 troops in shape to fight (and not all of the ones they did have had a full set of boots). Moreover, the fact that separate French corps at varying distances struck the allied troops at virtually the same moment on a battlefield ten miles wide reveals that someone must have given fairly specific orders concerning timing.

The someone was Masséna, who by this point had taken overall command. As he later wrote, "I saw that the sudden rage of our men needed to be used this very night, before fear and despair could set in." And over the course of September and October, as the facts of that night came to light, the French Parliament and Regency Council cited over 400 French officers and sergeants for their efforts in coordinating and channeling the attack.

On the other side, the news of Napoleon’s death, which had indeed roused the French to vengeful fury, had been the cause not only of celebration, but — fatally — relaxation. The Coalition had technically won the engagement of the 25th. The French had virtually been driven from the environs of Nancy. Moreover, if the Seventh Coalition was indeed the “Coalition to Stop Bonaparte,” then the war was already won — the man had been stopped in the most thorough and literal sense.

Thus, the Coalition armies at the highest level viewed the results of the day with complacency and went to bed happy. As for the men who were soon to receive the brunt of the attack, they were physically exhausted to a degree that civilians cannot easily imagine, they had no great personal loyalty to the established order of Europe, let alone the House of Bourbon, and they had now been given the impression, not only that the battle was won, but that the war would soon be over. Many of them must already have been thinking of what they would do when they came home.

More importantly, they were hungry. The Coalition had been able to gather a mighty army in a matter of a few months, but preparing an adequate logistical train for that army was something else again. Poor planning, corruption in the ranks and Ney’s depredations combined to reduce the soldiers’ diet to a fraction of what it needed to be. Cibohistorian Michael Sidhu, reading the diaries of 76 Coalition front-line soldiers, has concluded that their daily caloric intake over the course of the battle varied from 1700 on a good day to as little as 800. On this, they were expected not only to live, but to fight.

And, in fact, many of them did fight. Contra Hugo and his followers, the Coalition armies were not simply “swept away.” Only Wrede’s Bavarian army crumbled completely, deserting en masse and finding their way home one by one. Although a number of Russian and Austrian regiments were taken by surprise so completely that they were routed from the battlefield, Barclay de Tolly, Colloredo-Mansfeld and Württemberg were able to organize a defensive line along the west bank of the Meurthe, behind which they could rally.

The next morning, Masséna and the Coalition generals arranged a cease-fire. Both sides had taken terrible casualties during the night, and the death of Napoleon had changed everything. It was time to await orders from, respectively, Paris and Kaiserslautern.

P.G. Sherman, “The Nancy Boys Revisited,” from Everything You Thought You Knew About History (Vol. 2)



On August 24, the day before Napoleon’s death in battle, Lamarque entered Antwerp in triumph at the head of an army of Frenchmen and Walloon volunteers. The King’s German Legion had fought valiantly against him, but had been defeated.

This news was greeted in London with horror, and with questions from the opposition. For the second time this year, it seemed, Wellington and his army had been in exactly the wrong place at the right time. Was the fate of Antwerp not of greater importance to the Crown than whether France was ruled by House Bourbon or House Bonaparte? Castlereagh’s answer was simple — “We sent His Grace to Lorraine because Bonaparte was there. It was our intention to strike at the head of the snake, not its tail. Let the true king of France be restored, and all else can be set right.” Soon enough, they got word that the snake’s head had indeed been struck off. It remained to be seen whether the snake was a cobra or a Lernean Hydra…


The armies that fought in Lorraine at least had the honor of contending with the man Wellington himself called the greatest general “in this age, in past ages, in any age.” The Spaniards, at least at first, found the French to be less trouble then their own king.

After a force of hastily assembled conscripts under Decaen fought the Spanish to a draw at La Rhune (August 10) and a similar force under Clauzel outright defeated them at Font-Romeu (August 13) the capricious King Ferdinand grew suspicious of his army. Despite the later successes of the Spaniards in taking Bayonne and Perpignan, Ferdinand began sending political officers — Inquisitors in all but name — to hunt through the ranks of the officer corps for signs of liberalism and constitutionalism. Generals and colonels under suspicion were cashiered, imprisoned, or had their command stripped of vital units, which were sent to other officers deemed (for the moment) trustworthy.

There may well have been cadres of dissatisified liberal officers before Ferdinand began his purge of the officer corps. As the events of the next year would prove, there certainly were plenty afterward…


With the king of Saxony sending diplomatic missives to Austria, with the rebellions in Poland and Italy still underway, with the news that Murat himself had returned from Corsica to join the Italian rebels, all eyes were on Kaiserslautern, where King Louis was once more heeding the advice of Talleyrand — and Paris, where no one seemed to know who was in charge.

P.G. Sherman, 1815 And All That


“Heaven has gained a citizen, and Earth has lost an emperor. Never shall we see his like again.”

With these words, in a letter to the heads of the Coalition nations dated September 4 (but, pointedly, not to Louis XVIII) the French Regency Council acknowledged the passing of Napoleon I. Said Council consisted of Napoleon’s surviving brothers (Joseph more or less first among equals, but not so much that he dared reach for the throne himself), the marshals of the French army and the leaders of the new Parliament.

In this missive, the Council also affirmed its desire for peace with the members of the Coalition, and called on those nations to respect the sovereignty of the French government within the “natural boundaries” of the French people — which included everything south and west of the Rhine and the Waal. (As Prince Joseph would later say, “When negotiations are about to begin, only a fool asks for less than he wants.”)

There was, however, some dispute as to whether negotiations were in fact to begin. Also on September 4, Louis XVIII devised a plan for the Coalition army. His plan was… to do nothing, and to wait for the illegitimate, ramshackle government in Paris to collapse into anarchy. “Soon enough, the thieves will fall out,” he said. The Coalition army withdrew to Karlsruhe in September.

To the British and the Dutch, the French occupation of Antwerp remained an insurmountable problem. The Spanish had a grudge against Prince Joseph, whom they had come to call “José de las Joyas” for his pilfering of the crown jewels before his flight from Madrid. The Austrians were at this moment fighting a rebellion in Italy to which the French were offering some small support… small support being all they could afford to offer at this point. They had no intention of making peace with France — in fact, they were solidifying their ties to the states of Baden and Württemberg.

The Prussians were another matter. Although the government of Frederick William III had lovingly stoked the fires of anti-French sentiment among its people, the fact remained that the kingdom was in a very bad way, and could not afford to have its soldiers languish through the winter in hastily made French prisoner-of-war camps while the estates of Prussian nobles burned. But to negotiate with France, even for mutual recognition of parole, it would first be necessary to recognize the French government, which would mean repudiating the Bourbon king.

Russia was in the opposite position from Prussia. As Tsar Alexander stated coolly, “The French could not conquer us when they had defeated all others. Should we fear them now?” His ministers had learned at Vienna how the rest of Europe feared the expansion of Russian power. Clearly there was no further reason for Russian blood to be spilled on behalf of the houses of Hapsburg or Bourbon. So it was that both Wilhelm von Humboldt and Count Nesselrode found themselves in Paris that October, negotiating with Caulaincourt.

The Treaty of 20 October was a simple one. France withdrew all claims to Prussian and Russian territory and paroled and released all prisoners from those nations, and Prussia and Russia both recognized the French government. Russia declared peace and withdrew from the Coalition entirely, while Prussia merely remained in a state of cease-fire. The important thing, from the Prussian king’s perspective, was that the Prussian POWs could now offer their parole to Paris, return home and save the kingdom. (Of course, their first act on returning to Prussia was to go to Berlin and crush the anti-French rioters who had taken to the streets on learning of this peace.)

P.G. Sherman, 1815 And All That



James Madison was of a generation of men who’d had the extraordinary audacity to carve a new nation from the flanks of the mightiest empire on earth, and the intellect to devise an effective government for it. He himself had done as much to shape the Constitution as any other one man — perhaps more. To him, and to Congress, public opinion was something to lead, not to follow.

And they couldn’t have followed it very closely even if they’d wanted to. It’s easy, looking back from the modern age, to lose sight of the fact that in the early 19th century — before AEs, telephones or even the first differgins and telegraphs — nothing like modern opinion polling was remotely possible.

But when a sea change took place in national sentiment, there was no mistaking it…
Andrea Fessler, Rise of the Dead Rose


September 6, 1815
Washington, D.C.

House Speaker Henry Clay sat back in the chair facing the president.

“Help me to understand this, James,” he said. “Why are you so resistant to enlarging the navy?”

“Because the British have the unfortunate habit of incorporating captured ships into their own fleets,” said Madison. “God help us, if there is another war, I would rather not find that we had made our shipwrights work double shifts to build up the Royal Navy. If we can’t contend as equals with them on the open seas — which I see no prospect of at this time — we’ll be worse off than if we had never tried.”

“A point,” said Clay. “What about Mr. Fulton? They say he’s recovered from his bout of illness, and I’ve heard good things about his latest project — some sort of warship or floating battery, apparently.”

“I imagine you’re speaking of the Demologos,” said Madison. “And you’re quite right — it is a warship… or a floating battery. Apparently it depends on how well the engine is working on a given day. We’ll build a few more of them, but I wouldn’t care to base our whole defense around them. Although if it came to the worst, the British would have a very hard time sailing it back to London.” He sighed. “Henry, what we need is a new way of thinking, and… I haven’t thought of one yet.”

“We must be seen to be doing something,” said Clay. He looked at the heap of letters from constituents that half-covered president’s desk. “You can see the voters are still in a festive mood.”

“You should have seen it two months ago,” said Madison. “At least now I can see the desk. What I’m seeing more of is things like this.” He held up a copy of the New-York Evening Post, turned to an inside page. He pointed to an advertisement for a political meeting, rife with language like “restore the Honor and Glory of the Republic” and “avenge the Blood of Portland and the Shame of Rocksbury.”

“And notice which newspaper it is in,” Madison continued. “I must say, it’s been entertaining, in a grim sort of way, reading the Federalist newspapers this year.” The Boston Gazette, the Connecticut Mirror and the New-York Evening Post had all been against the war, the president and the Republicans right up until Keane chose to stay in New Orleans, at which point they had all abruptly changed course. The Boston Centinel, on the other hand, had remained staunchly anti-war until the day it was burned to the ground by an angry mob and its editor lynched, which had happened while Wellington’s army was outside the city.

“At times like this, Mr. President,” said the Speaker, “the only way to lead is to figure out where the people are going and get in ahead of them. We…” He repeated himself. “We must be seen to be doing something.”

“This proposal for a canal, linking the Tennessee and Tombigbee — do you call that nothing?” If it were completed, it would turn Mobile into an alternative outlet for the upper Mississippi trade.

“I call it a beginning, nothing more,” said Clay, but Madison was already pulling a large envelope out from under the pile.

“This looks promising,” said the president. “It’s from young Quincy Adams in London. I haven’t heard from him in months.”

Clay sat up a little. John Quincy Adams wasn’t exactly one of his favorite people, but news from the American embassy to the Court of St. James was bound to be important. He resisted the urge to get up and start reading over the president’s shoulder.

“He seems to have had something of an adventure,” said Madison. “He was in Paris when the emperor returned, and he had some trouble getting back to London. When he got there, he found that there had been an… unfortunate incident at Dartmoor, where American seamen were being held prisoner. A guard, probably drunk, had opened fire on American prisoners — killed five and wounded several more.”

Clay nodded. “I heard of this. Terrible business.”

“As you can well imagine, young Adams demanded justice. The British held an inquiry of sorts, but they concluded that the whole thing was simply the unfortunate outcome of a riot by those obstreperous dirty-shirt Yankees. No one was punished.”

“I wish I could say I was surprised,” said Clay.

“The long and short of it is that young Adams believes he can do us no more good where he is. He begs my permission to come home and to leave our affairs in London in the care of the consul, a Mr. Reuben G. Beasley… My inclination is to leave him there until my successor can appoint a replacement. I don’t want less than our best in London right now.”

“I disagree,” said Clay. “I am not by any means blaming him for what happened, but I don’t see what the British government could do in his absence worse than what Their Lordships did in his presence. It is, of course, your decision.”

“I think you’re right,” said Madison.


Winter descended on Europe that year like the vengeance of an angry god. Sleet fell on London in the last week of November, followed by heavy snow in the first week of December, followed in turn by subzero temperatures under deadly clear skies. It was a warning of things to come.

Early in December, Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg arrived in London. Contrary to what certain feverish biographers and romantic K-graphs have claimed, Princess Charlotte Augusta did not in fact leave Weymouth at once, ride like a bat out of hell to London through the blizzard on the back of a white horse, and leap into her beloved’s arms in the middle of (the yet-to-be-built) Piccadilly Circus while the onlookers cheered. However, she lost no time in writing entreaties to her father the Prince Regent, who was beginning to understand that there was no point in trying to stop his daughter from doing whatever she set her mind to. This, too, was a sign of things to come.

In France — in what was now northern France — General Lamarque maintained his watch along the Waal while the bureaucracy set about organizing Mont-Tonnerre and the other new departments. In Paris, the government considered the foul weather, the blockade and the loss of St.-Pierre and Miquelon, which had cut them off from the Grand Banks fisheries, and what they might mean for the immediate future as far as keeping the nation fed went. “Unlike Louis the Last, I will not be caught flat-footed while the people riot for bread,” said Lanjuinais. “Plan for the worst.” Little did he realize how bad “the worst” would be.

In Karlsruhe, Talleyrand was spending half his time assuring King Louis of his loyalty, and the other half sniping against the king’s British allies in letters to various statesmen and crowned heads. “A week after Castlreagh left Vienna, General Wellington went off on a mission to America. And two weeks after that, Bonaparte returned to France,” he wrote to Metternich. “Of course, it may all be coincidence — but remember which nation was in charge of Elba and the waters around it.” To Tsar Alexander, he wrote: “It has long been British policy never to allow any one nation to dominate Europe. If there is a danger of that now, it does not come from France.”

In Spain, King Ferdinand seldom left the palace in Madrid. His attempted purge of liberals and constitutionalists had begun to spiral, as these things do. Now he was seeing Bonapartist — or perhaps post-Bonapartist would be a better word — agents and sympathizers under every bed. No one (certainly no one in the army) was calling him “the Desired One” any longer. And it was increasingly obvious to ministers and generals alike that Spain’s biggest problem was not the threat of a resurgent France, but the potential loss of New World colonies they had held for centuries. Something would have to be done.

In Italy, the late Emperor’s brother-in-law Joachim Murat — or, as he had now taken to calling himself, Gioacchino Murato — spent Christmas shivering in the midst of a rebel camp in the hills north of Genoa, a hunted man. He hadn’t been able to defeat the Austrians when he had real armies at his command, let alone this ragtag that barely followed his orders and called him “Your Majesty” half in jest. It seemed unlikely that the rebellion would even survive the next year.

In Vienna, on the other hand, Christmas was celebrated with peace and joy. More peace than usual — a new treaty had been signed between Emperor Francis I and the ambassadors from Baden, Württemberg, Saxony and Hesse. The rulers of the smaller states did not declare themselves the Emperor’s vassals, but they did abandon the week reed of the German Confederation and enter into permanent alliance with Austria. (Representatives of Bavaria were conspicuous by their absence.)

In Prussia and Poland, there was little joy, and the only peace was that which was enforced by Marshal Winter. The terrible blizzards of early December had bogged down both sides right where they were, leaving the Poles in control of the Posen area, Upper Silesia south and east of Oppeln and the free city of Krakow, whose government had tried to stay neutral. The revolt in Russian Poland had already been crushed, and in St. Petersburg, the tsar was writing to Metternich, suggesting that if Prussia failed to reconquer these lands by the end of next spring, Russia and Austria should do it instead. In the Sublime Porte, Mahmud II mourned the glory of Ottoman arms that had once been the terror of East and West alike, but were now proving inadequate to keep the Serbs in line.

The nations of Europe had begun the year united in purpose, and ended it mired in the opportunism and mutual suspicion that characterize most of human history. And yet, one imagines that throughout all Europe, the passing of the year must have been felt with a deep sense of relief. The crisis of 1815 was over. The crisis of 1816 was about to begin.

P. G. Sherman, 1815 And All That



Below: a map of the Battle of Nancy on August 24, 1815. French forces are blue, British forces bright red, other Coalition forces dark red.
Attached Images
 
__________________
The Dead Skunk: For want of a skunk, Louisiana is a republic and Charlotte Princess of Wales lives.
2013 Turtledove Winner The Day the Icecap Died

Last edited by Lycaon pictus; March 6th, 2013 at 04:29 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old February 27th, 2013, 05:25 PM
Lycaon pictus Lycaon pictus is offline
Author of "Locksmith's Closet"
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 900
1816

When the War of 1812 ended, the Madison administration had a little less than two years left and no political capital to speak of.

In spite of that, it was not entirely idle. In September of 1816 the President ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin surveying northeastern Mississippi Territory and western Alabama, charting the future course of the T&T canal. In January of 1816 the President signed the bill that outlined the Second Bank of the United States, to stabilize the currency and help pay off various debts. (As early as April of 1814, Madison had acknowledged the need for a national bank, but the urgency of the need had not become clear until Bloody May and its aftermath.) On some issues, such as the Northern Louisiana Question (see Chapter 4) or the persistent land disputes with the Cherokee and Choctaw, Madison chose not to take a position, considering these matters best resolved by Congress and the states. But for the most part, he continued carrying on his duties just as he had before the war and its disastrous end…


Meanwhile, in every city and town, the talk was all of what the next president should do. Should the militias be placed under federal authority? Should the army and navy be built up? How would all this be paid for? Everyone seemed to have an idea, and as Congress spent most of the latter half of ’15 out of session, they got an earful of the ideas of their constituents. John Sergeant, then a freshman representative from Pennsylvania and a former Federalist, described the election that put him in office as “like running in front of a stampede shouting ‘Follow me!’”…


When the high officials of Congress and the Madison administration arrived in Alexandria that March, they faced a very different party than the one that had caucused four years ago — and some of them were better prepared than others to turn the situation to their advantage.

Andrea Fessler, Rise of the Dead Rose

March 14, 1816
Alexandria, D.C.
4:15 p.m.

The punch bowl was hot, and filled the air with the smell of lemon, cinnamon and rum. James Monroe pressed his chilled hands against the side of the bowl, letting its warmth soak through his palms and fingers, and looked around the room. This year, it seemed, everyone who was anyone in politics had come to the Democratic-Republican caucus in Alexandria, in spite of the appalling weather, and regardless of whether or not they were actually congressmen.

For that matter, not all of them were Republicans. Monroe had seen a lot of Federalists in town, talking to the delegates. (The Federalists had spoken against the war — in fact, if one took the Hartford Convention at all seriously they had honestly considered secession. One might expect them to feel vindicated that the war had turned out so badly. Yet from what Monroe had heard, their party had effectively disbanded.)

And if you had to be in Alexandria in what was alleged to be March but felt like January, just about the best place to be was the taproom of Gadsby’s Tavern, in front of a steaming bowl of hot rum-punch with a couple of fellow Virginians, Senator James Barbour and Representative John Randolph of Roanoke. Better still, neither of them was wearing one of those strange cockades Monroe had been seeing around town (mostly on the hats and coats of the younger men), so he wouldn’t have to show his ignorance by asking what they signified.

Men couldn’t share a bowl of rum-punch without sharing at least a little conversation, but the three had confined themselves to pleasantries and a little talk of their families. Monroe struggled to think of something to say that wouldn’t sound like "so who’s going to be the next president?" (To which the only possible answer was "if you have to ask, it probably won’t be you.")

Monroe would have been the natural successor to Madison. Unfortunately, over the past two years he had served as both Secretary of War and now Secretary of State. No one exactly blamed him for the disasters that had befallen the republic in precisely those areas, but under the circumstances it was understandable that he was under a cloud. But Will Crawford, the likeliest alternative to him, was telling everyone he did not wish to be nominated this year. Now, the caucus was like a five-act play whose plot he’d long since lost the thread of but which he still had to keep watching. At this point, anything could happen.

“It frightens me, how angry the people have become,” said Barbour at last. “From what I hear, my own constituents are less riled than most. That seems hard to believe.”

Monroe could only nod. If he’d had a Spanish real for every time someone had stopped him on the street and asked him what he was going to do about Those Dreadful British, he could have bought New Orleans back.

“It’s not as thought we were ever in any danger of subjugation,” said Randolph.

Monroe nodded again. Wellington didn’t try to conquer us outright, he thought. He knew if he did, every man who could carry a gun would rise up to fight him. Never mind our army and navy — that was our true national defense. We thought it would be enough. We were wrong. We were wrong and now we don’t know what to do.

Randolph turned. “I say, John,” he said to a man in his early thirties, younger than Randolph himself.

“Yes?” Monroe had seen this man before. He was Representative Calhoun of South Carolina.

“What are those… curious decorations?” He pointed to the cockade on the hat tucked under Calhoun’s arm. It was, to Monroe’s eye, a dismal shade of faded purple even in natural sunlight, and looked worse by the light of lamps or candles. At last, thought Monroe, who had been waiting for someone else to ask this question.

For his part, Calhoun looked as though he’d been waiting for someone to ask him.

“This color is called ‘Republican Purple,’” he said proudly. “It is a symbol of national unity — Mr. Stabler, the apothecary who invented it, says it’s made up of the colors of the flag blended together in their proper proportions. We wear them to show our solidarity in this time of national crisis.”

“To me it looks rather like a wilted rose, but each to his own,” said Randolph.

Calhoun’s nostrils flared. His already fanatical face looked… more fanatical. Monroe stood up and lifted a hand in a calm-down gesture, trying not to display any sign of agreement with Randolph’s sentiment.

“No need for a quarrel over this,” he said. “It’s almost time for the speech anyway.” John Quincy Adams, son of the former president and lately returned from London, was scheduled to deliver some sort of address upstairs. Word had gotten around that he would have something important to say. (The ballroom in the hotel next door would have held more people, but it wasn’t quite somber enough for the occasion.)

Calhoun turned his back without another word and headed for the door. This bit of unconscious rudeness, directed at Monroe as much as Randolph, was yet another clue that whatever way the vote went, it wouldn’t be his way.

By this time, everyone else in the taproom was rising to their feet. In the hall, Monroe saw so many people coming in through the front door that it never had a chance to close, letting in a steady stream of cold air. Everyone seemed to want to hear what Quincy Adams had to say. (And why not? Did anyone else have any answers?)

The stairwell was narrow, and it took a little while for everyone to get up there. Monroe found himself standing in the hall next to William Henry Harrison, who was all too recognizable — the backblast from a Congreve at Roxbury had cost him his left eye and scarred that side of his face with powder burns. The ex-general was listening to Rep. Hardin of Kentucky, who was saying something about not conceding “one millimeter more” to British demands. (Along with Republican Purple, the younger DRP members seemed to have recently developed a peculiar fondness for the new system of measurement that had come out of France. It was “modern,” it was “advanced” and “scientific”… to Monroe it seemed wholly unnatural and ahistoric, but the French liked it and the British had no use for it, and apparently that was enough.)

The assembly room on the second floor of Gadsby’s Tavern could hold as many as three hundred people if they stood crowded together tightly enough, as they were doing now. Monroe saw the former presidents Jefferson and Adams standing side by side, both quite elderly but still sharp. The former Federalist, Senator Rufus King of New York, was at Adams’ right hand, his bald head framed by tufts of gingery hair. He was wearing a purple cockade on his wrist. In fact, at least a third of the people in this room, not all of them young men, had one of those things on or about their person somewhere.

A podium had been set up in the corner near the door. Already at the podium was Dan Tompkins, the governor of New York State. He was wearing a suit he must have borrowed from somebody, as it didn’t fit properly and everyone knew he’d bankrupted himself paying bills for the state militia out of his own pocket. The left sleeve hung empty — he had lost an arm below the elbow at Third Sackett’s Harbor.

Tompkins showed no inclination to speak, but stood there waiting, a box of cockades at his feet. It occurred to Monroe, at this point, to wonder how long the former president’s son had been planning this occasion, and how many others had joined him.

After a few more minutes, two men marched up the stairs and entered the room. The first was John Quincy Adams himself, bald and grim-looking. The cockade on the collar of his black coat looked oddly festive. Apart from nodding a little in his father’s direction, he walked up to the podium without acknowledging anyone else. There was probably a Bible on his person somewhere.

The second man, to Monroe’s utter astonishment, was Henry Clay, Speaker of the House of Representatives, also with a cockade on his collar. He and Quincy Adams had famously rubbed each other the wrong way at Ghent. Yet here he was, blond hair gleaming in the light of the chandelier, catching everyone’s eye, smiling and nodding, seemingly the opposite of the stern and unsociable Adams.

Quincy Adams stood at the podium, Clay and Tompkins behind him, straight-backed and stern-faced in postures of rectitude that, in Clay’s case, suited him not at all. The political implications of all these goings-on were easy to see. Tompkins represented New York State, while Clay represented the west and some of the south. What Quincy Adams was trying to show was that support for whatever it was he was proposing extended beyond New England.

Then Adams began to speak.

“My fellow Americans,” he said. “My friends and countrymen. Before we turn to the solemn business at hand, let us in our hearts acknowledge the Universal Giver of All Good, by whose beneficence our beloved nation has passed through darker times than this.” There was a long moment of silence.

“We know that without the blessing of Divine Providence our best efforts on behalf of our people will not be adequate; yet in all cases our best efforts are required of us. This is of particular import here, in Alexandria now, where we are assembled not merely to choose a candidate for the presidency, but to chart a course for the future — a course that we pray will lead our beloved republic out of the difficult straits in which we presently find ourselves.

“We have long known that the crowned heads of the earth — in particular those who pride themselves on their lineage rather than on their accomplishments — despise our government and its democratic and republican ideals.” Monroe had to admire the way Adams exempted the late Napoleon and France’s current crew of regents from this criticism without actually mentioning them by name.

“We have seen how the Crown impressed our seamen, seizing them like enslaved Africans from their life and work and dragging them into a fight not their own. We have seen how the British chose to make war on us, sacking and burning our coastal towns like so many Barbary pirates — even destroying our very capital merely for the sake of the doing. Henry and I witnessed at Ghent how the King’s ministers of state sent their lowest underlings to treat with us, and we heard the extravagant and importunate demands they made.” Behind him, Clay nodded.

“Now we have all tasted the full measure of their contempt. Having at last signed a peace treaty negotiated in good faith, His Majesty George III and his ministers tore it into pieces the very instant they thought they could gain an advantage by doing so. Then they sent the best of their cutthroats across the seas to wring a different agreement out of us by force.”

And there it was. Quincy Adams had just put his finger on the very reason the Federalists were in town, flaunting those hideous cockades and trying to pretend they couldn’t so much as find Hartford on a map. It wasn’t the defeat that stung — it was the insult. New Englanders, Southerners and westerners alike felt it.

The British had signed the Treaty of Ghent, and then broken it right away… because they could. Wellington’s “treaty” had been less cruel than it might have been, but if the Prince Regent and Lord Liverpool decided to wipe their fundaments with that one as well and to annex a few more square miles of American soil, who was going to stop them? If they decided to return to impressing sailors, or to just steal whole ships as they had stolen the Danish fleet at Copenhagen not ten years ago, who would stand up for the people and their property?

“And why should they not?” Adams continued, twisting the knife a little. “When they can take from us what they will without fear, what check have they on their appetites, save their own dubious consciences?” He stopped and drew a breath.

“Since then, until last autumn, I served as ambassador to the Court of St. James. I shall tell you what they think of us in three words — they do not. Our French allies hold the bulk of their attention. As to us, they have not the least notion of why we ever went to war against them in the first place, nor any curiosity to learn. If they consider the matter at all, it is only to congratulate themselves on having ‘put us in our place’.

“Which in some cases is apparently the grave. In April of last year, as many of you have heard, American prisoners of war — merchant seamen, for the most part — were massacred out of hand at Dartmoor Prison. His Majesty’s government disavowed responsibility.” What is he trying to do — start a riot? Monroe thought.

“What, then, is to be done? The easiest thing to do would be to do nothing, to answer the wrath of our people by counseling them to patience, to accept the indignity as weak nations must and move on with the business of state.

“If we do this, the passage of time will ease our current sense of outrage. If we do this, we may comfort ourselves with the thought that if our government lacks the power to protect us, it also lacks the power to tyrannize over us.” This was an argument that a good many people in this room, and especially John Randolph, would have agreed with.

“But if we do this, before long we shall know a tyranny of a different sort. We shall have a government that responds to the will of its people only when it dares, one that out of sheer necessity obeys the commands of the King of England as surely as if its members had been appointed by him and drew salaries from his treasury. We shall not, in any meaningful sense, have a republic any longer.

“I say this in bitterness — no weak and helpless nation can call itself a republic. Not while it has a strong neighbor with a mind to dictate terms.” The room was silent. No one cried out in protest. No one even muttered. But Monroe was sure he could feel the rage and hate radiating off the listeners like heat from one of the late Mr. Franklin’s stoves.

“There is hope,” said Adams. “There is a way forward. By the grace of Divine Providence there is a path to true freedom, but it requires great courage. Not the courage of the battlefield, of which Americans (many in this very room) have already shown a sufficiency, but courage of another kind. We must have the courage to trust one another, to overcome our ingrained fear of the very institutions we have built to enable us to rule ourselves…”

Monroe could already see where this was headed. A bigger army and navy, with wartime conscription “if necessary.” State militias fully subordinated to the federal army. Schools to train officers for the army and navy. Canals dug across the south, to replace the lost outlet on the Mississippi. More and better roads. Tariffs and taxes to pay for all this.

Sure enough, this was the plan Quincy Adams proposed. As he spoke, Monroe admired the way he wove the Federalist advocacy of internal improvements into the Democratic-Republican agenda. And truth to tell, there were a good many of Adams’ ideas, such as support for domestic manufacture that he favored. It would mean a rise in the power of Washington at the expense of the states, but at this point there seemed to be no way to avoid that. He had some questions about the constitutionality of internal improvements at the federal level, but a carefully worded amendment should safely resolve that issue. And from the expressions and sounds of approval that the crowd in the room made, few people had even as many reservations as Monroe.

Few, but not none. Out of the corner of his eye, Monroe saw John Randolph stalk out of the room and down the stairs. What would you have us do, if not what he proposes? Monroe wished he could ask the man. How do you answer his reasoning? Adams simply went on with his speech.

“It may seem impossible, now,” Adams continued, “that our republic should ever have the strength to resent such insults as have been given to it. But let us remember that a journey of a thousand mi— kilometers begins with a single step.

“In the past generation, our territory has expanded and our population has more than doubled. With war and hunger in Europe, many more immigrants will come to our shores in search of peace and freedom. As we grow in numbers, so shall we also grow in industry and finance, which are the bone and blood that sustain any modern military force. One day — perhaps not in my lifetime, but one day — we will have the strength to defend our own against the British Empire, or any other power that cares to try us. It remains for us to make our government fit to employ such strength.

“Yes, this work must be undertaken with care and forethought. The greater the power wielded by the people’s representatives in this district, the surer must be their accountability. The rights of the people must be kept safe and secure, and they shall.

“Indeed, if we do our work correctly they shall be all the safer. We do not fear the strength of the horse that pulls our plow, nor the ferocity of the dog that guards our gate at night. Rather, we cherish these qualities, so long as these creatures are governed by our will. So shall the newfound might of our government be at the service of our will.

“What I propose, then, is not a revolutionary change by any means. It is simply the next step in the long process that began forty years ago this coming summer — the process by which we, the people of the United States, take charge of our common destiny.”

There was a long moment of silence.

Then, as one, the men in the room began to applaud.

“ADAMS FOR PRESIDENT!” someone shouted.

QUINCY ADAMS FOR PRESIDENT!” shouted someone else, more precisely. Out of the corner of his eye Monroe saw that it was Congressman Webster of New Hampshire, a young ex-Federalist who not two years before had made a name for himself with his eloquent speech denouncing the very concept of conscription. Up at the podium, Clay was lighting a cigar.

Monroe was a moderate man by nature. The emotions in the room — in the nation as a whole — frightened him a little. He knew that it was at just such a moment as this that the Israelites had forsaken the godly rule of the judges and appealed to Samuel for a king. It was in such a dark hour that the Romans had cast aside their republic and embraced the false glories of empire. What he had never understood until now was that there was a reason men made such foolish choices. If a Saul, or a Caesar, or a Napoleon came before the people right now, they would follow him and never look back, he thought. And one may yet come, if we cling too hard to the status quo. Thank God, for now, we have this man instead. He is no tyrant in the making.

The listeners were already gathering in front of the podium. Everyone who didn’t have a cockade, it seemed, was getting one now. Monroe worked his way through the crowd, summoning the will to say what he had to say. Finally, he stood in front of Adams.

“I shall withdraw my name from consideration directly, and endorse you for the presidency in my place,” he said. There. It was that easy.

“Thank you,” said Adams. “That is most gracious of you, but you needn’t withdraw entirely. It occurs to me that even now, sectional loyalties remain strong enough that it might be wise for me to have a Virginian on the ticket.”

Tompkins extended the box of cockades. Adams reached down and pinned one onto Monroe’s lapel.


The decision that would lead to the birth of a new and ghastly tyranny seemed at the time like a perfect compromise, and a relief to the April Crisis.

Some historians have claimed that Ferdinand VII’s decision in January of 1816 to send ten battalions of his armies to reinforce his loyalists in the New World was motivated by national interest, not by self-interest. This ignores most of what we know about the man and the state of mind he was in at this point. “Ferdinand the Desired” desperately desired to give his most competent (and therefore threatening) officers duties that carried them as far away from him as possible.

Yet it was also very much in the interest of the nation that he do so. Spain’s overseas possessions had not been so valuable since the days of the treasure ships. The grain and salted meat they provided was already a national asset, and would soon be keeping Spain alive and providing it with hard currency.

So the battalions assembled in the south of Spain, and on April 1 they made their move… against their own king. Within three weeks, this army was marching on Madrid. Only once, at Andújar, did it even face opposition, and Col. Rafael del Riego organized an attack that won that battle in less than 90 minutes. Ferdinand retreated to the Escorial, hoping that his own loyalists would put down the mutiny. He did not realize that for all intents and purposes, he had no loyalists left.

So it was that the Escorial Agreement was reluctantly hammered out. The Constitution would be reinstated. The Cortes General would convene. The ten battalions would remain in Madrid, making sure these things happened on schedule. Ten more battalions would be raised for the original purpose of subjugating the American rebels.

The new armies were accompanied (and, on paper, led) by Ferdinand’s brothers Charles and Francisco. Even at this stage, his writings reveal that Ferdinand was planning on the political settlement that (he hoped) would tie his American possessions more closely to the Spanish crown while at the same time keeping his brothers safe from any France-like outbreak of revolutionary violence. Before leaving, Charles famously said “I will return.”

Diego Marquez Rodriguez, A People’s History of the Virreinato



What historians have come to call the “Other Peninsular War” was really several separate conflicts. The first took place from March to May of 1815, when the Kingdom of Naples, under the leadership of Napoleon’s brother-in-law, declared war on Austria. That phase of the war ended in Austrian victory and the restoration of a Bourbon king to the Neapolitan throne, although the city of Gaeta was never taken by the Austrians. (To this day, Gaeta is called “the unconquered town.”)

The second conflict ran from August of that year to August of 1816, when the people of northern Italy rose up against Austrian rule. The uprisings spread throughout Italy (relieving the siege of Gaeta). In the chaos, Gioacchino Murato returned to northern Italy at the head of a band of followers. Over the course of the next six or seven months, he succeeded mainly in forcing the Austrians to send an ever-increasing number of soldiers into the peninsula, taking them away from the fight against House Bonaparte in France. What he did not succeed in doing was driving them out.

And then the weather changed.

Historians call 1816 “the year without a summer.” We now know that the bad weather of that year was caused by a series of volcanic eruptions over the previous four years, culminating in the Mount Tambora blast of 1815. These eruptions created a tremendous accumulation of volcanic ash and aerosolized sulfides in the upper atmosphere, which drifted poleward and built up in the skies over the Northern Hemisphere, reflecting sunlight back into space and lowering temperatures from China to New England. As a result, subnormal temperatures plagued Europe and northern North America throughout the year, destroying crops, causing widespread hunger — even famine — and severely limiting the ability of the affected nations to support armies in the field.

France was particularly hard-hit, with average summer temperatures lowered by over three degrees centigrade over most of the nation’s territory. Despite the best efforts of the new government (mindful of what the bread shortage had done to the last Bourbon king) to purchase and distribute food as broadly as possible, the nation teetered on the edge of famine all that year. Two things only saved the nation from collapse — a temporary interruption in the British blockade of the French ports (so that food could be shipped to British POWs in French prison camps) and the importation of (very expensive) grain and dried meat from Spain via the New World.

The result of all this was that for most of the year, France’s logistical capacity was not even half what it had been in 1815 — and what capacity it did have was tied down around Bruxelles and Anvers, fighting the Anglo-Dutch invasion, or running around the south fighting royalist rebels. When Murato asked the Regency Council for military aid to keep the Italian rebellion alive, they could afford to send him only a few companies of artillerymen. (As Prince Joseph put it, “A cannon does not need bread.”)

To the Austrians, this looked like an opportunity to crush the rebellion once and for all. Unfortunately, they had the same problem France did — they could deploy an army, but not feed it. The sensible solution would have been to disband the army in Baden, on the east bank of the Rhine — but Baden had only recently entered into permanent alliance with the Hapsburg, and Francis I had hopes of winning their vassalage. Abandoning them would not do.

Instead, on August 20, 1816 (coincidentally the first anniversary of the death of Napoleon) Francis gave a simple order to his armies in Italy:

“Live off the land.”

It was hardly unprecedented. The armies of the various Coalitions had done it often enough before, and the late Napoleon (and his brother-in-law) had done it on almost every campaign. Perhaps someone in the Emperor’s court tried to tell him that this was no normal year, and that such an order would plunge Italy into the depths of famine and earn him the everlasing hatred of its people.

If so, it only made things worse. In what he seems to have thought was a gesture of mercy, Francis I called upon all Italian rulers (other than the pope, whom even he didn’t dare strong-arm) to contribute towards feeding the Austrian army. This was perhaps intended to spread the burden as far as possible, so that no one part of Italy would suffer too much. But as a young Guillaume Georges Elmar would say some twenty years later, “The level of corruption in any transactional relationship increases according to the cube of the number of intermediaries.” At a time when well nigh everyone was desperate for food, every petty monarch and local lord from the King of the Two Sicilies on down had just been given permission — indeed, virtually commanded — to steal all the food they could and blame it on the Austrians.

Count Nugent would later say that “no one could have predicted” what happened next…
Robert W. Derek, Great Blunders of World History



In L'Abattage des Chevaux (1818), Géricault shows the implementation of a decision by the Regency Council in May of 1816 to slaughter many of the horses in the Versailles stables for meat to feed the hungry Parisians. The foreground is dominated by the white mare rearing against a dark and hideously discolored sky, straining at the rope held by a weeping stablehand. The pyramidal lines of the composition draw the eye to the mare's head, captured in the moment when another stablehand brains her with a mallet and arcs of blood burst forth. The background, with the despairing but determined stablehands and the terrified horses straining against the ropes, shows the attention to detail that would serve Géricault well in his depictions of the slave trade and the dungeons of the Spanish Inquisition.
Spitzer & Chauncey, A History of Western Art of the 19th Century

June 30, 1816
9:45 a.m.
Bois de la Vente, central France

Today was shaping up to be a good day for Arthur Wellesley, First Duke of Wellington. He was hungry and chilly, but he had a hard time remembering what it was like not to be. Considering that this was a prisoner-of-war camp in a country where food was desperately short, he was doing surprisingly well. It gave him a feeling of pride that the French didn’t quite dare allow British prisoners to starve to death.

More importantly, he actually had something to do right now — a rare treat in this place of soul-killing boredom. He had obtained a rag too worn and threadbare to use as clothing. He had coated it with mud. Now he was going to hunt down that damned draft in the side of his cabin, and when he found it, by God he would plug it. (Not even a year ago he had been leading armies in battle. Now his definition of excitement was… this. Being a prisoner of war greatly altered one’s perspective on life.)

The duke stooped over and rolled up his left sleeve, exposing the sensitive skin of his wrist to the air. There was a good breeze blowing outside, in almost the right direction… he moved his arm a little closer to the wall… aha! An inch above the floor, where he could barely see it from above, one of the boards had shrunk! Wellington lay down on the floor and with great care wedged the muddy cloth into the crack. One more enemy vanquished.

To celebrate, Wellington decided to read a couple of letters. To a literate man in this camp, anything with writing on it was a treasure on a par with warm, dry stockings. The guards had allowed six letters through — three of them from his wife, one from Lord Castlereagh, and one each from Sir Neil Campbell and a former aide. He went outside and wiped his fingers on the dead grass, removing every last trace of the mud, before handling any of the precious correspondence.

Campbell’s letter revealed, among other things, that he had been appointed governor of what had once been French Guiana and was now British Cayenne — or would be, as soon as the Portuguese had left. (By now they almost certainly had. The letter was a few months old.) Cayenne was something of a backwater, but it was a sign that the Crown still trusted the man.

“Whenever I have been tempted to bewail the Mistakes and Misfortunes of my life, I have reflected upon you and the Example you set in your daily life, and have cast aside self-pity,” wrote Campbell. “I pray that you may soon return to receive the Encomia of the Nation you have served so bravely.” Which was heartening, even if the first sentence was the sort of thing one said to a man if one never expected to see him again this side of Heaven.

The other letter was from James Morriset, his aide-de-camp from the American campaign and a man who Wellington thought could have taught Campbell the true meaning of misfortune. He wrote to say that he had been promoted to lieutenant colonel and reunited with the 80th Foot, which had been posted to Sicily to help the local authorities keep order. (Wellington knew little of what had passed in the outside world, but apparently the situation in Italy hadn't gotten any better.) Morriset was trying to learn enough Italian to communicate with the locals, or at least enough to learn what “orco-viso” meant.

Wellington was imagining Morriset, with his impeccable clothing and his distorted nightmare of a face, terrorizing his soldiers in the midst of a sunny Mediterranean climate, when two people approached him — a guard and someone he didn’t know, carrying a large valise.

“M’sieur Wellesley,” said the guard, too much the republican to acknowledge anyone’s dukehood, let alone a British prisoner’s.

“Your Grace,” said the man with him in what was unquestionably an English voice. “Sir Richard Croft, at your service.” He had short, rumpled hair and looked well-dressed and, if not corpulent, certainly without the gauntness that Wellington saw on guards and prisoners alike. The duke’s hand went to the eleven months’ growth of beard on his face. He wished someone had warned him he would have visitors.

“You will come with us, please,” said the guard. Wellington wondered what he had done to earn a visit from the royal physician.

As they approached the guardhouse, Wellington noted the air of ingrained, well-nigh permanent sorrow that Croft had about him. The last man Wellington had seen in this state was Campbell, when they had met at Nancy. It was the look of a man who felt that he had, in some deep and profound way, failed.

“How goes the war?” said Wellington.

“It could be worse,” said Croft. “The weather held Beresford in place for most of the spring. Last month, he tried to force a crossing near the coast with the help of the Royal Navy. It was a disaster — two first-rates and five frigates lost to French fireships in the Waal. But he tried again further east, and the last I heard, he had taken Nijmegen. How far he'll go from there, given the weather… that I cannot say.”

The guardhouse had an iron stove that had recently been filled. It was warm, and growing warmer. Which was just as well, since Croft was asking Wellington to strip naked. The duke took off his shirt and trousers and then unwrapped, one by one, the strips of rags that were wrapped around his limbs like bandages — not tightly, as some poor fools had done and cut off their circulation, but with great care so as to stay in place and offer an extra layer of protection against the cold.

“You’ve gotten rather thin, of course, but there are no obvious signs of ill health,” said the doctor. “You have an excellent constitution, Your Grace.” When he got to Wellington’s left foot, and noticed that the outermost toe was gone, he turned to the guard and said “How did this happen?” as though the guard might have personally lopped it off.

“Frostbite,” said Wellington, “brought on by my own carelessness and nothing else. I was on a wood-chopping detail around… January or February, I believe it was… and the rag I was using for a shoe was threadbare in that place. I was quite engrossed in my work, and by the time I noticed, the damage was done.”

“I see,” said the doctor. “Well, given that all France is on short commons, I can report that you have not been ill-treated. I hope to find the rest of our men in similar fettle. I dare say you will be glad of this, however.” He opened his valise.

A new, clean greatcoat of good English wool.

A new, clean shirt. Linen.

New, clean trousers. Linen.

New, clean stockings and underdrawers. Linen.

And a pair of boots. Not just any boots, but the kind he had specially made by Hoby of St. James’.

Wellington could not remember the last time his eyes had filled with tears. With each article of clothing he put on, he felt a little of his old dignity return. The only thing that troubled him was the thought of how much better off he was than everyone else in camp.

And then he saw what was on the desk before him.

It was a parole. If he signed it, he would be bound by honor, not to mention self-preservation, not to bear arms against France or her Italian allies for the duration of the war.

“You heard what happened to Louis?” said Croft glumly.

“I heard rumors of it,” said Wellington. “I dismissed them as lies cooked up by Lanjuinais and his crew.”

“If only they were,” said Croft. “Your Grace, the King of France is dead.” Wellington remembered that Croft had been assigned to take care of the man. No wonder he was so downcast.

“It happened in Marseilles,” the doctor continued before Wellington could ask. “Lowe still holds the city… for now, at least. It’s become something of a royalist stronghold. The King was to make a speech… a great crowd of them had assembled… a cold, foggy day with heaven only knows what foul miasmas in the air… And after he spoke, he came to greet his people.”

“Was there an assassin among them?”

“No. Or at least, not a deliberate one. But so many of them were ill…” Croft shook his head.

“The King took ill,” said Wellington.

“I did everything in my power. I bled him again and again, but the humours would not come out and he became weaker and weaker…” Wellington had seen enough sick and wounded men to suspect that the attentions of doctors were more likely to kill than cure, but he had no plans to say so.

“The line has not ended — there is a brother, Charles — but…” Croft’s voice trailed off.

“But the Crown has decided to abandon the Bourbon cause and recognize this Regency Council as the legitimate government of France, so that we may give them our parole and be of use to their Lordships somewhere, if not the Low Countries.”

“Yes,” said Croft. “The war continues — for now, at least — but recognizing the French government will make peace easier, come the day.”

“And so here you are to assess our condition and arrange our freedom,” said Wellington. “I trust this means the royal family is in good health?”

“Yes. They have not dismissed me — the Prince Regent and his brothers still have some trust in me. Princess Charlotte is another story. She already favors the Prince Consort’s German doctor, Baron Stockmar. I pray no harm will come to her as a consequence.”

Wellington nodded, then signed the paper. So that was that. His sojourn here was at an end, as was his part in the war on France. Perhaps there would be work for him in India.


In May of 1816, James Brown and Thomas B. Robertson were two men with a problem. They were senator and representative of a state which was now half gone from the Union. (The other Louisiana senator, Eligius Fromentin, had the previous spring made his apologies to his colleagues and departed with his family for the new Republic of Louisiana. He had yet to be replaced.)

To make matters worse, the rump of Louisiana that was left held considerably less than half of the state’s population and not even a trace of any government above the county level. Was it even a state any longer? This was the Northern Louisiana Question, in its simplest form.

As far as can be determined, no one — not one newspaper editorial, not one congressman — actually proposed formally reducing northern Louisiana to territory status, even if such a thing were permitted under the Constitution. Most people seemed to favor the simplest solution, which was to leave it as a state and let it form a new government in its own time. Given the way the nation’s population was expanding, before too long it would be at least as well populated as, say, Delaware or Rhode Island. No one found this solution very satisfying, however — it raised the question of just how small and lightly populated a state could be and still qualify, a question the Constitution had never addressed.

And then, in May, a minor land dispute between the state and a landowner (Louisiana v. Gibson) made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which regretfully ruled that the State had seceded and was de facto no longer a state in the Union, that what was left was “unorganized territory,” and that the state’s attorney represented no one but himself. This carried the disturbing implication that states could secede, which at other points in U.S. history might have been welcome news, but not in this time of national unity.

Meanwhile, across the river, David Holmes had a bigger problem. John Quincy Adams was talking about giving the Cherokees and Choctaws guarantees of land in, respectively, West Florida and Mississippi Territory — near the borders with British territory, where they could serve as a buffer. Holmes, the governor of Mississippi Territory, was fiercely opposed to this, but could not prevent it from happening unless Mississippi were a full-fledged state. (Also opposed to this, as it happened, was Choctaw chief Pushmataha, who had long since learned that white men’s promises were worth their weight in gold and intended to retain every inch of what his people already claimed.)

And so, Holmes, Claiborne, Brown, Robertson and a dozen Louisiana legislators who had chosen the U.S. over the Republic got together in Natchez and pulled off a sort of coup. They applied for Mississippi to become a state, with its territory comprising both Mississippi Territory and northern Louisiana and its capital in Natchez (where it would remain until 1822, when it would be moved to Coffeesburg[1]). Although this could not be acted upon until Congress reconvened in December, it was welcomed at the time as a welcome solution to a thorny problem. (It says something about the spirit of the time that it would not occur to Calhoun and the other representatives of the slave states until later that they had just reduced their potential vote in the Senate by two.)

Andrea Fessler, Rise of the Dead Rose


[1] OTL Vicksburg



August 30, 1816
6:45 a.m.
Tampa Bay area

The government of British Florida was a triumvirate of sorts. Admiral Cochrane was in charge of the fleet protecting it, while Major General Gibbs was in charge of the regiments stationed there. Then there was the newly-arrived colonial governor, Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles. All three men were standing on the tip of the lip of land between Tampa Bay and Hillsborough Bay, observing the construction of what Cochrane had humbly named “Fort Cochrane” while Raffles sketched out a plan for the streets of the port that would hopefully arise here, a city they had already named “Trafalgar.”

“How did you come by this posting?” said Cochrane.

“I was serving as lieutenant-governor of Java before we returned it to the Dutch,” said Raffles. “I returned to London and was told directly that I was wanted here. The Crown desires a colony here that can at least support a few squadrons of the navy.”

“But who would move here of their own free will?” said Cochrane. “Malaria, yellow jack, monstrous reptiles…”

"A few are coming," said Gibbs. "There is already a small community of Jews in the northeast, near St. Augustine. Whether it will amount to anything no one can say just yet.”

“Perhaps we could send transported prisoners here,” said Cochrane. “Easier than sailing them clear to Australia.”

“And have them run away to America the first chance they got?” said Gibbs.

“Plantations, I suppose,” said Cochrane. “God knows it feels hot enough to grow sugarcane.” There was a reason they were out and about this early — later in the day it would become truly miserable.

Raffles shook his head. “There’ll be no slavery in Florida under my jurisdiction,” he said.

“You are an abolitionist, I take it?” said Cochrane.

“Do you remember what Fouché said of the murder of the Duc d’Enghien?” said Raffles. “That it was ‘worse than a crime, it was a blunder’?”

“I thought it was Talleyrand who said that,” said Cochrane.

Raffles shook his head. “Talleyrand said many clever things, but I’m sure it was Fouché who said this. In any event, slavery is worse than an evil — it is a liability, at least in a colony under any sort of military threat. It amounts to little more than importing a fifth column of spies and saboteurs for the enemy to make use of.”

“Then who is to build the port?”

“We will recruit labourers from India and the Far East,” he said. “I imagine there’ll be Hindu untouchables only too happy to settle a land where no one cares about caste. And poor Bengalis, Javanese and Balinese… I assure you, these swamps will hold no terrors for them, and rice should grow well here. Possibly Chinese as well. A period of indentured servitude to pay off the cost of transportation, followed by land grants… If more workers are wanting, I dare say there are Haitians and Jamaican freedmen looking for employment.”

“Land grants?” said Gibbs. “I think the Seminoles and Creeks may have something to say about that.”

“How many of them are there?” said Raffles.

“I haven’t done a precise census,” said Gibbs. “I would estimate there are about 20,000 Creeks and 5,000 Seminoles. But they are our allies — in fact, I plan to organize their warriors into regiments.”

“I dare say we can work something out,” said Raffles.

“If you hold to your plans, this will become a very… strange colony,” said Cochrane.

“I do not imagine that Florida is destined to become a land of Saxon blood and Anglican creed,” said Raffles. “But I will see it become a loyal and valued part of the British Empire.”


…given his history, it was, perhaps, inevitable that Randolph’s followers would come to be called the “Tertium Quids,” even though the Federalists had merged with the Democratic-Republicans, and therefore the name no longer made any sense whatsoever.

A question I am more often asked is “why didn’t he ever run for president?” To understand this, you must understand the man. Behind all his eccentricities, this rambling and disjointed speaker was intelligent, observant, a believer in the value of planning ahead and one of the most deeply principled men ever to serve in American public life. As he would say in 1819 in a speech to Congress opposing federal involvement in the planning of the Great Southern Canal, “The moment a man leaves the path of religion or virtue to ascertain how far he may go on the border line of villainy without overstepping it, that man is lost.”[1]

Compromise was anathema to Randolph — but as a man who had served in Congress for some years, he had seen the necessity of it in any government that was not an absolute tyranny. This was part of the reason for his desire to keep the reach of said government as small as possible. And yet — here is a paradox that has bedeviled conservative politicians since Edmund Burke — in order to achieve his goal of limiting the government’s power, he himself had to seek power within that government.

And in 1816 he became a man on a mission — to oppose the “Dead Roses” (a term he had coined in derision, but which the Democratic-Republicans themselves self-applied without shame) and the incoming Adams-Monroe administration with every fiber of his being. “It is my duty to leave nothing undone that I may lawfully do, to pull down this administration,” he said. “Our situation is awful beyond conception. We are going the road that has ruined nations before us. I must be dead before I could refrain at a call like this.”

But to run for president against this ticket seemed an exercise in futility. (This is, of course, exactly what it was. In November the TQ ticket of John Taylor of Caroline and Nathaniel Macon swept every state and received the vote of only one faithless Delaware elector.) More to the point, Randolph could not run for president and representative at the same time. To pursue the presidency would have been to abandon his own seat. At least in Congress, he would continue to have the opportunity to put forward his thoughts, offer his opinion pieces to the newspapers, and generally combat what he called “the meddling, obtrusive, intrusive, restless, self-dissatisfied spirit” of the DRs.

So it was that the man of courage found himself, not once but several times, holding back while others carried the banner of his ideas onto the primary battlefield of American politics — the Presidential election. In doing so, however, Randolph proved that the Tertium Quid party was more than just his personal hobbyhorse. He showed that others shared his ideals. At the same time, while one TQ electoral standard-bearer after another rose and fell, Randolph, the nation’s “unofficial Leader of the Opposition,” was able to hold sway over the nation’s second party for a dozen years — years which saw it rise from utter irrelevance to at least a regional power base.

Andrea Fessler, A Voice in the Wilderness: The Life of John Randolph of Roanoke


[1] The quotes are all things J.R. of R. said IOTL, taken slightly out of context.



The Assembly of the Republic of Louisiana was noteworthy for the simplicity of its structure. Unlike the U.S. Congress, it was not a compromise between popular and provincial representation. Nor was it a compromise between democracy and aristocracy, unlike the British Parliament. It was designed by men who were not afraid of a government that could (at least in theory) engage in quick and decisive action when necessary. That, after all, was how they had come to secede in the first place.

The Assembly was comprised of one chamber. Elections were held every three years on the first Saturday in August. Each parish sent at least one representative to the Assembly. If it had between 1,000 and 2,000 residents, it had two representatives. Between 2,000 and 3,000 residents meant three representatives. And so on. Although this might seem to weight the Assembly in favor of the more heavily populated Orleans Parish, it also gave greater influence to the votes of large slaveholders, whose slaves could not vote but were nonetheless counted in the census.

The first order of business of each new Assembly was to choose a president and vice-president. In the case of the 1815-1818 session, these were Jacques Villeré and Jean Noel Destréhan. No one could serve two consecutive terms in either office — indeed, a president or vice-president who had completed one term was obliged to wait two election cycles before having his name put forward again. This was intended to reduce the danger of a single individual dominating the government.

It had, however, a (possibly) unintended effect. Presidents were, with the consent of the Assembly, allowed to appoint ministers who could serve until they died or were replaced. The intention was to allow the Assembly to benefit at all times from the greatest expertise available in a given field. However, it was soon noted that there was no requirement for a minister to be an Assemblyman — or even a citizen of the Republic. The result was the slow growth of a permanent cabinet of “expert advisors” sent from London…

Aaron Penright, The Autoëmendence[1] of Republican Institutions in the Nineteenth Century


[1] A word that will be coined ITTL to describe biological evolution, and will later be used as a metaphor for technological and institutional change.



THE (JOHN QUINCY) ADAMS ADMINISTRATION
PRESIDENT: John Quincy Adams
VICE PRESIDENT: James Monroe

ATTORNEY GENERAL: Smith Thompson (1817-1823), William Wirt (1823-1825)
SECRETARY OF DOMESTIC AFFAIRS: Rufus King
SECRETARY OF THE NAVY: Benjamin William Crowninshield
SECRETARY OF STATE: Henry Clay
SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY: William H. Crawford
SECRETARY OF WAR: Daniel D. Tompkins


The sun is shining brightly in the Alabama sky
With my hand upon the tiller, none are happier than I
For my wife lives up in Cairo, down in Mobile I’ve a pal
And there’s many a friend and neighbor on the T&T Canal

- “On the T&T Canal,” Classic American Folk Songs for Young People


The sun is shining brightly in the Alabama sky
With my money in my pocket, none are happier than I
For my wife is back in Cairo, down in Mobile I’ve a gal
And there’s many a lovely lady on the T&T Canal

- “On the T&T Canal” (the original lyrics)



All things considered, the preliminary work on the Tennessee and Tombigbee Canal was completed with surprising speed — or perhaps not so surprising, considering how important it was for the republic to have an outlet on the Gulf that it controlled. The fact that there were relatively few (white) property owners along the intended route also helped — both because there was little need to buy anyone out and because the project was not delayed by major landowners seeking to alter the route for their own advantage, as happened often during the planning of the Erie Canal.

The canal route was surveyed over the course of late 1815 and early 1816. The Southern Inland Navigation Company was incorporated in April of ’16, before surveying was even completed. The actual digging began on July 4 of that year — precisely one year before work began on the Erie Canal, which had suffered many delays from political infighting in New York State. Like the Erie, the T&T Canal was 12m wide at the surface, 8.4m wide at the bottom and 1.2m deep. Yet although it was nearly two hundred kilometers shorter than the Erie, it was finished in the same month.

What slowed it down? Two things:
• Construction was shut down for much of 1817 by the war against the Choctaws and Chickasaws. Although Pushmataha and his followers lacked the numbers and firepower to meet the U.S. regular army in the open field, they were experts at irregular attacks against civilians and militiamen. Eventually, however, the Choctaws and Chickasaws were driven into Louisiana.
• Malaria and yellow fever were far more prevalent in the south than in the north. Although the milder winters made it easier to work late in the year, the outbreaks of pestilence made work in the summer nearly impossible. To make matters worse, the coolest part of the day — the time otherwise best suited for work — was the time when mosquitoes were most active, although the connection between mosquitoes and these diseases had not yet been made.

The SINC dealt with this second problem by buying slaves — particularly those deemed too recalcitrant to be of much value elsewhere. Normally, so many willful slaves in the same place at the same time would have been a perfect recipe for disaster. However, on the firm advice of President Adams and Secretary King, the company gave its slaves salaries equal to those of its free workers, which it placed in manumission funds. Slaves who had survived and earned money equal to $10 (later raised to $20) more than their purchase price were freed and rehired as regular salaried workers.

For most of the year, however, the work was shared with large numbers of Italian immigrants fleeing famine and chaos in their homeland. Although many of these men would return to Italy in the 1820s, when they were richer and Italy was at peace, some of them would remain with their families in America, often with anglicized names. Many Venetian gondoliers found ways to apply their skills to the growing network of canals in the American South.

Relations between the Negro and Italian workers were often tense — blacks resented the better working conditions of Italians, while Italians soon realized the quickest route to being accepted as equals by the local English-speaking, Protestant white majority was not to accept the Negro as an equal. In addition, the managers of SINC soon found that an easy way to get a stretch of canal dug quickly was to set a team of Negroes and a team of Italians in competition with one another.

There were, however, some surprising moments of cultural interchange. For example, composer J. F. F. Green[1] would later cite Negro spirituals and work songs as being among his earliest influences. More to the point, Italian-Americans who had been Carbonari in Italy found themselves in sympathy with the plight of the slave — and were only too happy to make common cause with abolitionists, whether they were based in the north or in Florida…

Charles Cerniglia, The Road to The Troubles: The American South, 1800-1840

[1] Joseph Fortune Francis Green, the greatest American composer of the 19th century. His "Ode to Freedom" (similar to but not exactly like the "Anvil Chorus") will become the national anthem. (Just to clear up one possible point of confusion, he definitely did not write “On the T&T Canal.”)



The last act of the old provisional government — in large part the former state government — had been to order that a census be conducted. On October 2, 1815, when the first Assembly of the Republic met for the first time, the census had not yet been compiled, so the seats in the Assembly were apportioned according to the state census of 1810. Nonetheless, as the population of Louisiana was growing steadily, it became the policy of the Republic to hold a census once every five years, and to reapportion seats in the next Assembly accordingly.

Once Villeré and Destréhan had been named as President and Vice-President, the next major item on the Assembly’s agenda was to decide Louisiana’s immigration policy. This was vital to the future of the Republic — without immigrants the tiny nation would never prosper, and there were many Creoles still living north of the U.S. border, but the second-worst nightmare of every Assemblyman was a hundred thousand anglophone Americans moving into Louisiana, then voting to rejoin the United States. (The worst nightmare involved free blacks from Haiti moving in en masse.)

Ultimately the Assembly voted to limit immigration to 5,000 per year for the next ten years, and to place a five-year residency requirement on individuals applying to become citizens, with citizenship expedited to six months for those who were at least three-fourths white and showed proficiency in French… or (on the advice of British ambassador William Huskisson) who came from Great Britain.

Next, the Assembly set about planning and building a new home for itself. L'Hôtel de Gouvernement, where they were meeting, was aging, cramped and unworthy of a hopeful young republic. For the new seat of government, the Assembly chose the block across R. de Toulouse, between R. de Chartres and R. de la Levée[1], facing the Place d’Armes.[2]

The next question was who should design and build it. The competition came down to two choices — the architect and town planner Barthelemy Lafon, or the team of Arsène Latour and Hyacinthe Laclotte. Months of debate passed before the Assembly chose Latour and Laclotte. (According to some accounts, the defeated Lafon considered going into piracy before moving to Florida to assist Governor Raffles in planning and building the city of Trafalgar.)

While they were discussing plans for the new capitol building, the Assembly also discussed how to pay for it — which led, inevitably, to the issue of tariffs. How best to exploit the fortuitous geographic position of the Republic? In 1815, the Assembly voted to place a duty of 20 percent on all goods entering the republic from the United States or parts of the Spanish Empire, but none on goods entering from the British Empire. This decision would be revisited before the next election…


…J. Q. Adams’s famous speech in Alexandria, and his subsequent campaign, were studied with great interest by President Villeré. His rhetoric was chiefly aimed at Britain rather than Louisiana, and he made it clear that he had no intention of declaring war until the United States was ready to fight and win. Nonetheless, it was clear that there would be trouble from the north one day, although not necessarily next year or even next decade.

Along with news of the rising power of the “Dead Roses” came word of the groundbreaking of the Tennessee and Tombigbee Canal. Obviously, a 12-meter-wide canal could not possibly steal more than a fraction of the volume of traffic that the Father of Waters carried, and it would have to charge its users in order to pay off its own investors. Nonetheless, news of the canal was in its way even more disquieting than any speech by Adams or Monroe.

The government’s response? At the end of 1816, they voted to increase the tariff to 25 percent. The canal would not be finished until some time in the 1820s. Best, then, to make the most of the current situation…


…At first glance, the negotiations over the border had an element of farce to them. Whatever the governments might have claimed, the border country was in fact a lawless no-man’s-land inhabited by pirates, smugglers and the so-called “Redbones” — a tribe of refugees with white, black and Native American blood. These people held themselves accountable to neither New Orleans nor Mexico City, and certainly not to Madrid. In fact, since 1806 an area of unspecified boundaries mostly east of the Sabine had been declared “neutral ground” by the local commanders of the U.S. and New Spain, and this had worked well enough for ten years.

For two years, neither New Spain nor Old could be bothered to return to the question. The authorities in Mexico City were preoccupied with rebellion, and King Ferdinand VII was more worried about the French over the border and the liberals and constitutionalists within his own country. So, as a steady stream of Royalists fleeing Lanjuinais and the French Regency entered the Port of New Orleans, the Republic began, as quietly as possible, gradually extending its authority in the direction of the Sabine.

But early in 1817, a new government was installed in Mexico City. Calleja del Rey was recalled, and the king’s 23-year-old brother Francisco de Paula was named Prince-Viceroy of the land. The Prince-Viceroy, seeing the need to create the appearance of strength and mindful of Spain’s long and proud tradition of symbolically claiming dominion over millions of square miles of land where its writ did not run, reasserted Spanish authority over all lands west of the Calcasieu, which the Spanish called the Arroyo Hondo.

Villeré’s foreign minister, the recent immigrant Hyde de Neuville, called upon the Republic’s British protectors to mediate the dispute. This put Huskisson in something of an awkward position, as Spain was an ally and its new government was loosening trade restrictions in those New World ports it controlled. Moreover, his government did indeed have a stake in the dispute — the Crown would not tolerate a pirate haven so close to a friendly port, and the government of Spain had proven itself incapable of policing the area. (On the other hand, many of the pirates were themselves Frenchmen with connections to Louisiana.)

So Huskisson wrote back to London with a proposal. The Bank of England would loan the Republic 100,000 pounds sterling to simply buy the entire stretch of coastline. The new border would run northwest along the line of the Brazos to the 30th parallel, and from there along a straight line to the intersection of the 31st parallel and the Sabine River. Spain, which was still rebuilding after the Peninsular War while struggling to reconquer its New World empire, would lose a little ungoverned land and gain some useful cash. The tiny Republic of Louisiana would double in size at a stroke. Interest payments would make Louisiana a source of income for the Bank of England for many years to come. Everyone would win. Castlereagh, de Neuville, the Spanish foreign minister José García de Leon y Pizarro and Francisco de Paula’s right-hand men, Apodaca and Iturbide, all agreed to this.

Then it was simply a matter of conquering this new land for the Republic. The “Western Expedition,” as it was called, was commanded by the irreplaceable Major General Keane, accompanied by General de la Ronde of the “Grand Army of the Republic,” the Lafitte brothers (pirates themselves, but ones who could see which way the wind was blowing), warriors of the Chacta and Chicacha[3] tribes who had been displaced from the U.S. and were desperate for a new home, and Ambassador Huskisson, whose job (according to some historians) was as much to keep an eye on Keane as it was to keep an eye on the Assembly.

The only organized resistance to the expedition came at Galvezville on September 8, 1817, where Keane defeated and killed the pirate Commodore Aury. His fleet moved into the bay beyond, on which the Republic bestowed the official named of “Baie des Guérisseurs” in honor of Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, the Spanish explorer who had visited the area nearly three hundred years previously. (Cabeza de Vaca and the other survivors of his expedition had been believed by many of the natives to possess healing powers.)…


…By late 1817 and early 1818, it had become clear that the tariff was reaping rich rewards. Even with the loan from London to pay back, l’Hôtel de la République to build and the lost revenue from providing free use of the port to the Royal Navy, there was plenty of money left over. What to do with it? Ironically enough, it was this seemingly happy question that finally brought the serpent of party and faction into the Eden of Louisiana politics.

Bernard de Marigny, one of the Orleans representatives, argued that the money should be spent on public amenities — better roads, expanded port facilities, state-run lycées and a grande école, and so on. “New Orleans could become the jewel of the hemisphere, if we have the will and imagination to make it so,” said de Marigny in a speech to the Assembly which drew a standing ovation from many of his colleagues.

Jean Noel Destréhan, who spoke for St. Charles Parish, had a simpler answer, and one nearly as popular — cut taxes. He and many of his followers were of the landed, slaveholding gentry. The burden of the Republic’s property taxes fell disproportionately on them, and they were eager for an excuse to ease it.

After years of relative harmony, the dispute proved far more acrimonious than anyone could have expected. The breaking point came when Destréhan insinuated that the younger, high-living Marigny had ambitions to spend the tariff money personally on “gambling and loose women.” It took the intervention of several Assemblymen of both factions to prevent a duel.

President Villeré, his term nearly at an end, decided that this would be a good time to increase his prestige by putting forward a solution that neither side had thought of, but that both could agree to. His first thought was to use the extra money to pay back the debt to London a little faster, but Huskisson urged him not to do this. (The ambassador well knew that from the point of view of the Bank of England, debt paid off too soon meant lost interest.)

Villeré’s second idea was to place the money in a rainy-day fund in the Bank of Louisiana. Marigny and Destréhan agreed, however, that this would merely delay and compound the question.

Finally, the President proposed to split the money three ways — one part to go into the rainy-day fund, another part towards road improvement and establishing an experimental lycée in New Orleans, and one part to be returned to the taxpayers in the form of remittances. (This last was a stroke of genius — a tax cut would have been hard to reverse, whereas a remittance might or might not be granted in any given year.) Both sides, reluctantly, agreed to this on May 30, 1818, the last day of the session.

But the damage had been done. When the Assemblymen ran for re-election, they did so as members of the Radical and Conservative parties…
Michel Beauregard, A History of the Republic of Louisiana


[1] OTL Decatur Street.
[2] OTL, but certainly not TTL, Jackson Square. (For those of you looking on Google Maps, Wilkinson Street doesn’t exist yet and ITTL never will.)
[3] Choctaw and Chickasaw


The scars left on the Italian soul by the so-called “Other Peninsular War” can be seen in many places. For example, nearly every home built in Italy in the 19th century has not only a basement, but a hidden sub-basement, excavated extra room, or sometimes just a largish hole chipped out of the bedrock. Although seldom used for anything but junk, these were originally intended for storing extra food.

In culture, the two dominant styles in Italian opera, poetry, painting and sculpture between 1820 and 1850 — the Neo-Pastoral style with its deliberate innocence and sense of reassurance, and the infamous trucescuro (literally “grim-dark”) style — both arose as a response to the horrors of the war. One fulfilled the need to forget, the other the need to remember.

Most of all, the war left a deep and bitter hatred in Italy toward all things Austrian…
Iliescu et al., A History of Ethnic Relations in Europe

December 20, 1816
5:30 p.m.
Cernobbio, Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia

Lake Como was frozen over. A heavy snow was falling on the Villa d’Este. At least it was in season, and white rather than rust-red, as it had been for much of the year.

Princess Caroline of Brunswick, the extremely estranged wife of the Prince Regent of the United Kingdom, looked out her window and wondered what the hell she had been thinking, returning to Italy. Not just returning to Italy, but returning to her estate. She could have stayed in Rome. Even now, she might be taking a carriage ride through the city, or at the Teatro Argentina delighting in Rossini’s latest work. The Papal States were said to be getting crowded with refugees, but… where she was now was one of the places the refugees were running away from. And with good reason.

Coming here hadn’t seemed like such a terrible idea at the time. It had been August, with hardly any snow on the ground. The Austrians had been winning the war. (Come to think of it, they still weren’t exactly losing.) Rome had been as safe as any place on earth. If nothing else, if the place seemed at all dissatisfactory she could leave again. For heaven’s sake, she had visited Tunis without being sold into slavery, and sailed the Greek isles unmolested by pirates. Bad things simply weren’t allowed to happen to visiting royals, no matter what their husbands thought of them. So she decided to return to her villa.

Hardly had she crossed the border between the Papal States and Tuscany when the Austrian army started trying to feed itself entirely off the land, and the land (or rather, pretty much all the people on it) rose up against them, and against anybody trying to help them. In Tuscany, Modena, Parma and here in Lombardy, the tax collectors sent to squeeze food out of their own people had been driven out by angry mobs if they were lucky, hanged from the nearest tree if they weren’t. The Austrians had tried to use force to re-establish local authority, but their armies were harried wherever they went.

Not that she didn’t understand. To steal stores of food in a year like this, when no one had anything to spare… if you and your family were doomed to starve, why not use whatever strength you had left to hunt down the nearest soldier and shoot him in the back? What were they going to do — kill you?

Caroline was privately sure the rebels were as quick to steal food as the Austrians — they had to eat too, and they did nothing to grow crops or earn money. But when the Austrians did it, the rebels made sure everyone heard about it. This was especially true of Murat, who had learned the art of demagogy from Bonaparte and the Jacobins. She had met him before, in Naples. In her judgment, he was not a good man, but certainly one to be reckoned with. The Austrians, on the other hand… it didn’t seem to have occurred to them yet that this was a war for the hearts of the people, not simply control of the land. Public opinion was something they weren’t used to worrying about. They were even worse than the British court in this regard.

None of which did her any good. The Grand Duke of Tuscany and the Duke of Modena hadn’t even been able to spare any soldiers to protect her. Passing through their lands, she had been guarded by some very unofficial-looking local men from “citizens’ committees.” Her majordomo, Bartolomeo Pergami, had talked the committees into this somehow or other. This hadn’t been the first time she had come perilously close to a war zone, but it had been the worst.

Finally, in Parma (which was being governed from Milan since Marie Louise had gone to France) Archduke Anton Victor had finally arrived with a detachment of Austrian and Lombard troops to guard her as she returned to the villa. (The “citizens’ committee” men had fled at word of his approach.) The archduke had made it very clear that this was a distraction from important duties, and that he was only doing it as a courtesy to the royal family of Austria’s ally, Britain. Just to compound the irony of this, no sooner was she at the villa than Pergami had discovered that that little rat Ompteda was a spy for her husband. She had dismissed him and every servant he had suborned.

She had considered moving on to Vienna, or to Switzerland. (Correction — she should have gone to Vienna, or to Switzerland, or to anywhere other than here.) But since dear Pergami had gone to all the trouble of rooting out the spies, she had decided to stay a little longer. Wherever else she went, it wouldn’t be long before Prinny had every secret agent manqué he could hire sneaking into her apartments, filching and copying the keys and sniffing her underclothes for signs of adultery. She had had her fill and more of this since… really, since about a year after baby Charlotte was born. (How was her daughter? Was she happy? Caroline had heard she’d gotten married. Was there a grandchild on the way?)

So — Caroline had used the last of their money to buy food from Switzerland, which was as hungry as Italy but still orderly. She and her household had settled down here, in this nice out-of-the-way spot safely close to the Swiss and Austrian borders and almost completely under the Hapsburg emperor’s control, to wait. She had written a few letters to friends back in England, to assure them that she was all right. Surely things would get better.

They had gotten worse. As of November, the cities of Milan, Turin and Novara were in the hands of the “Provisional Government” of either the “Republic of Lombardy,” the “Republic of Italy” or the “Kingdom of Italy,” depending on which of the various factions you asked. Caroline suspected that the only thing holding them all together was their mutual hatred of the Hapsburgs and any ruler who accepted Hapsburg support.

Still, she had enough food to last for a while, and next year the weather would return to normal and her allowance would come again — Prinny couldn’t possibly be so petty as to block it. (Well, actually he could, but Parliament was another matter.) All she and her household had to do was fort up here and survive until then. And if worst came to worst, the Swiss border and the well-garrisoned town of Chiasso were a mere two miles to the west. Even with blizzards every week and bandits in the mountains, she liked the odds of surviving that journey.

And then it had happened. Yesterday, Count Colloredo-Mansfeld had come to call. He had brought ten thousand unexpected guests with him.

He had been very polite, but firm. He was headed to Milan to help the archduke retake the city. He was planning a surprise attack. Under the circumstances, he could allow no one to leave the village or the estate.

Oh, and he needed their food. All of it. Down to the very last loaf of bread.

There was nothing to be done. The Austrian army had gotten very good at finding hidden stores of food. The only things Bartolomeo had been able to conceal were Angelica and every other female in the household.

Though they hadn’t said as much, everyone had been afraid of worse than rape. Her attendants had many contacts among the Italians. From what they said, the armies of the Austrian Empire had moved beyond what (God help this world) everyone had come to think of as “normal” wartime atrocities against any who resisted them or tried to hide food or valuables. Men’s bodies and parts of bodies were being found impaled on tree branches. The stories of what was being done to women and children…

They must have grown in the telling, Caroline thought. It’s not as though I’m hearing both sides of the story. Only a year ago the Austrians were a nation like any other — they can’t possibly have all turned to devils, no matter what Bartolomeo and Angelica may think. But at times like this, ordinary men could do just such terrible things. She had heard stories of the Peninsular War.

And this Peninsular War looked to be even worse. Whenever the bodies of the Austrians’ victims were found (when they were found at all) pieces were missing — arms, legs, hearts, livers, slabs of flesh cut from the side. It was said that the Austrians were no longer content with starving and murdering the people — they had turned cannibal. Caroline’s own suspicion was that some of the more desperate peasants were taking advantage of the ready availability of corpses, but everyone was ready to believe the worst of anyone who followed the Emperor Francis.

So… it was almost Christmas, and she and all her servants (and their children, to make things worse) were trapped here with not so much as a raw onion to eat. The question of whether they should stay or go had been well and truly settled — they would go to Switzerland and live on credit until Parliament sent their allowance. But there was no prospect of leaving until Colloredo had won or lost his battle.

On top of everything else, it was dark outside and her majordomo Pergami was missing, along with the Neapolitan Theodore Majocchi. Italy right now wasn’t a good place to go missing in. If somebody wasn’t in line of sight, a part of you couldn’t help wondering if you’d ever see him again.

A thread of cold air brushed her skin, a little draft from the window’s edge. The wind had picked up again. It howled in the distance, sounding like screams and volley-fire…

No. That wasn’t the wind. It was battle… somewhere to the south, but much closer than Milan. She had heard such noises before, on her journey to London to meet her husband.

For the next half hour, she simply sat there, listening. Trying to decide if the noise was getting closer or farther away. If it was dying down or getting worse. If musket-balls were about to start crashing through the windows. She said several prayers.

Finally, the noise of battle faded.

She kept sitting there anyway. There was nothing much else to do right now. Nothing to eat. No one to talk to. Books to read, but not enough light to read by. Nothing to do but sit, and wait, and worry.

Then there was noise near the side door. It sounded like… not more than a few men. Whatever else might be happening, the villa wasn’t being invaded. Caroline went to see what it was.

In the hall, she saw Pergami leaning on her secretary’s shoulder. Hownam was a strong man, but Pergami was very tall and it was all he could do to get the majordomo into a chair. There was still unmelted snow sticking to his muttonchop whiskers.

“Majocchi… is dead,” Pergami gasped, rubbing his hands and blowing on his fingers to warm them. “Shot through the heart. A patrol. I only just got away myself.”

“Are you wounded?”

Pergami gave a bitter little chuckle. “Nothing so honorable,” he said. “I slipped on a patch of ice… twisted my ankle.”

“Please tell me you are not a part of this… this…” She waved her hand. She couldn’t think of a word that did justice to all the horrors Italy was going through.

“I am sorry,” he said. “I once served the Hapsburgs myself, as you know, but… enough is enough. Those bastards don’t care if we live or die anymore. If they ever did. I couldn’t let Milan suffer for the sake of Austria’s power. I had to warn them.”

“If Colloredo finds out what you’ve done, he’ll kill you,” said Caroline. “He might kill us all.” It would be so easy. He could blame it on the rebels. Castlereagh would issue formal diplomatic denunciations. Prinny would probably throw a party to celebrate. Why did I leave England? she thought. Why did I leave my daughter?

“He has very little time to find out,” said Pergami. “Our king is coming.”

* * *

It was with some dread that Caroline heard the knock on the front door.

“I’ll answer it,” said Hownam. (The dear man had actually challenged Ompteda to a duel. Ompteda had responded by fleeing very far away.)

At first, Caroline didn’t recognize the man who entered. He was tall, lean and weathered, with a scrubby beard. He was dressed in a civilian greatcoat over the patched-up remains of a French uniform.

“We meet again, Your Majesty,” he said in French. “As one unfortunate and slandered monarch to another, I greet you. You’re looking well.”

And then she recognized him.

“Murat,” she said. “No — forgive me — King Joachim.” Caroline had no problem acknowledging this murderous bandit chief as the rightful King of Italy. She’d met other kings.

“I don’t look much like myself, do I?” he chuckled.

“I am afraid my house is in no state to entertain visiting royalty,” she said. “Colloredo took all our food.”

“I am afraid my entire kingdom is in no state to entertain visiting royalty, suffering as it is from a foreign invasion and pretenders to local rule,” said Joachim.

“So I have seen,” said Caroline. “It was my intention to go to Chiasso as soon as the battle was over and the roads were open again. I gather, from Your Majesty’s appearance, that this is the case?”

“It is indeed. The sons of Italy — properly warned by a certain patriot — have won a great victory over the oppressor. Colloredo is dead, and what is left of his army is fleeing north along the lakefront. I will arrange at once for Your Majesty to have an escort to Chiasso. More than that — I will write to my in-laws in France and request that they take you in as a guest.” At this point, a messenger came in.

“Your Majesty,” he said, “forgive the interruption — we’ve burned our own dead just as you said, but the Austrian dead — the peasants are demanding…” His mouth worked silently, as though he could not find the words.

“I can guess,” said Joachim. “Chop them up as small as you can. That way, everyone for miles around will get a share.”


…Another traditional Italian holiday favorite is “austriaco” — pork shoulder marinated in wine overnight, boiled and then baked. To make it, you’ll need a large pot and a roasting pan.

Ingredients:
1½-2 kilos boneless pork shoulder, cut into inch-thick slices with minimal fat
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp fennel seed
salt
A ¾-kilo jar of your favorite pasta sauce

Marinating the meat is traditional, but not really necessary. If you want to make the extra effort, put it in a sealable plastic bag with 2 cups of cooking sherry.
In the pot, place the pork and 2 tsp salt. Add water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2 hours, longer if necessary. The meat should pull apart easily when this step is completed.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove the pork from the liquid and place it in the roasting pan in an even layer, mixed with the garlic and fennel seed. (Remember — fresh garlic really does make a difference!) Bake for 30 minutes, or until the pork is well caramelized.
Pour sauce over pork. Serve over noodles or rice, or just as it is!
Velaine Richardson, 250 Simple Recipes for a Magnificent Christmas Dinner

The Class of 1816: People Born This Year Who Will Show Up Later

March, born a slave on a cotton and tobacco plantation in southern South Carolina. His exact birthdate will never be known, but he was named after the month he was born in, as slave children sometimes were. He will be known as a quiet child. When he is three, a five-year-old white girl will teach him the alphabet, partly as a way of showing off her own mastery of it. Having learned this much, March will quickly work out the basics of reading for himself.

William Burch, born Aug. 4 on a farm in eastern Georgia. He will establish himself as popular with other children, but a notorious and incurable prankster.

Adolf Rasmussen, born Dec. 18, son of a fisherman on the southwest coast of Denmark. In the wake of the Baltic Straits War, his family will move to the United States — specifically, to Gloucester, Massachusetts. As a child, he will have very little interest in fishing, but will show a fondness for taking things apart and putting them back together again.


Below: A sample of Republican Purple (R=180 G=119 B=138).
Attached Images
 
__________________
The Dead Skunk: For want of a skunk, Louisiana is a republic and Charlotte Princess of Wales lives.
2013 Turtledove Winner The Day the Icecap Died

Last edited by Lycaon pictus; March 6th, 2013 at 05:37 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old February 27th, 2013, 06:16 PM
Lycaon pictus Lycaon pictus is offline
Author of "Locksmith's Closet"
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 900
1817

…it was in that moment, when the 3,600 patriots had the 1,500 royalists surrounded in the dry and dusty valley of Chacabuco, that six Spanish battalions appeared from the west, from the road to Valparaiso. The Infante Carlos ordered his men to fan out to north and south in a great pincer movement.

Bernardo O’Higgins and José de San Martín had no chance of escape. Many observers have said that they died fighting back to back, picking up the weapons of their fallen comrades, having no time to reload. Of those who had accompanied San Martín on his brave journey through the Andes, a few survivors returned to Buenos Aires before winter to warn the people that a new war had begun.

For the patriots of Chile, February 12 was the end of a dream and the beginning of a nightmare. Over the course of his ocean voyage, the Prince-Viceroy had had little to do but give thought to how men ought to be governed. Now he was ready to turn Chile, and Peru, and whatever else he could conquer into a proving ground for his ideals — the “Most Holy Viceroyalty of South America.”
Diego Marquez Rodriguez, A People’s History of the Virreinato



On March 4, John Quincy Adams took the oath of office and became the fifth President of the United States. His very first act was to sign Rep. John C. Calhoun’s Bonus Bill, which called for the building of federal highways using bonuses from the Second Bank. Congress had delayed passage of the bill until the night before Madison left office as a courtesy to the outgoing president, who genuinely held to the old view that such internal improvements were beyond the constitutional authority of Congress, but (having already presided over a disastrous war) did not wish to end his term in office as an object of scorn among the “Dead Roses” for having vetoed it.

Calhoun saw this political triumph as something to build upon. Over the course of 1817, he corresponded with other members of the DRP (John Sergeant and Daniel Webster among them) pointing out that Louisiana v. Gibson, and the precedent for secession that it established, left the nation effectively hostage to “fits of regional grievance and disaffection.” He cited the “precipitous withdrawal of Louisiana from the Union” and the “words and deeds of certain residents of New England during the late war” as examples. Calhoun also sketched out a scenario whereby Britain might invade “some border state” (he didn’t name names), compel an assembly of notables to declare secession at gunpoint, and present the nation with a fait accompli.

Calhoun would not have raised this problem if he did not have a solution in mind. When Congress was next in session on December 1, the young South Carolinian introduced a proposed constitutional amendment:

Amendment XIII
Article 1. The United States, and the union of each of the several States with the same, shall be indissoluble and perpetual.

Article 2: No territory shall be admitted to the United States as a State which is home to fewer than fifty thousand inhabitants, or is less than two thousand, five hundred square kilometers in area.

This would answer the question of secession once and for all. Though the entire population of a state might pack their goods and leave the United States, they could not take the state itself with them. (It also settled the issue of how large and populous a state had to be in order to be admitted, something that had been weighing on a lot of minds since the Northern Louisiana Question.)

Several older representatives, such as Ebenezer Huntington of Connecticut and Josiah Hasbrouck of New York, pointed out that this would be a “precipitous step” and that it would “alter the nature of the Union forever.” John Taylor of Caroline, the defeated Quid presidential candidate, wrote a letter to the Daily National Intelligencer in which he said, “In his famous speech at Gadsby’s Tavern, Quincy Adams called upon the people to ‘have the courage to trust one another.’ Would it not be better for the states to do the same?” To this, Calhoun replied: “If trust were sufficient among men or states, no law would ever need be passed.”

When the amendment passed the House with 171 votes, the representatives stood up to cheer. As the applause subsided, one man, John Randolph of Roanoke, arose to warn them: “The time will come when many of you congratulating one another now shall look back upon this day’s work in bitterness and regret.”

Despite his warning, the amendment was ratified by the middle of next year.

Andrea Fessler, Rise of the Dead Rose



If ever a man was cursed to live in interesting times, it was the man who was born Barnaba Chiaramonti, and is known to history as Pope Pius VII.

Since the days of the Cisalpine Republic, when he was bishop of Imola, he had done his best to turn the other cheek to the Bonapartists and their followers and allies. “That democratic liberty which now is introduced among us… is not against the gospel,” he said to his followers in the Christmas homily of 1797. “It demands on the contrary the lofty virtues that are only to be attained in the school of Jesus Christ… Do not think that the Catholic religion and the democratic form of government are irreconcilable. When you are wholly Christians you will be excellent democrats.”

When Chiaramonte was elevated to the papacy in Venice and escorted to Rome, Napoleon, flush with victory from Marengo, went to great lengths to present himself as the Church’s stoutest ally. “If I should be able to talk with the new pope,” he said to the priests of Milan, “I hope to succeed in removing all the obstacles that may still hinder the complete reconciliation of France with the head of the Church.”

But if Napoleon had hoped that Pius would prove a coward or a collaborator, he was disappointed. He refused most of the gifts that Napoleon offered him on the occasion of the emperor’s self-coronation in 1804, and regularly opposed him on issues of civil law and government control of church functions in France. When the French emperor and the puppet Kingdom of Italy annexed the Papal States, Pius responded by excommunicating Napoleon. As a resule, he was taken prisoner and held for years. By the time of Napoleon’s escape from Elba, Pius had a reputation as a man who would do what he thought was right, and one whom it would be more trouble than it was worth to try to bribe or bully into doing otherwise.

This was to prove important during the annus horribilis of the Italian war, from the summer of 1816 to the summer of 1817. Although Pius was at this point completely out of sympathy with liberal causes, he never condemned the rebellion outright, despite the urges of Cardinal Pacca and other zelanti. He simply denounced the crimes of the war, whichever side happened to be committing them. As a result, for a long time neither side dared to attack or make demands of the Papal States, for fear of his considerable moral authority landing on the other side.

So Pius’s dominion became a shelter for thousands of refugees from the north and south. He put the numerous monks of Rome to work ministering to the needs of the refugees, and dug deep into the Church’s already-strained coffers to pay for their food and clothing.

But his effort to remain above the fray was doomed by the fact that the Papal States themselves were on the brink of anarchy. They had been rather loosely governed at the beginning, and over the course of the wars had been divided, conquered and reunited again, with changes in the laws at every step. By retaining some of the French-imposed reforms, the pope and Cardinal Consalvi, who had represented the States at Vienna, hoped to turn the Pope’s dominion into something that more or less resembled a modern, centralized state (a task made no easier by the fact that Cardinals Pacca and Rivaroli had undone almost all the French reforms in Rome and the western States while Consalvi was away).

In the process, they had not only created a great deal of confusion, but had stepped on a lot of toes. The privileges of the old nobility and the municipal governments had been lost, and prelates were placed in charge of each of the “delegations” into which his realm was divided. Opposition to his reforms — and, by extension, to his government — was already rife on the local level.

Then came the flood of refugees, bringing little beyond the clothes on their backs. They were governed and policed, if at all, by the sort of ad-hoc, self-organizing citizens’ groups that often emerge in the immediate wake of disasters. Meanwhile, the regular population of bandits in the Apennines had been swelled by uncountable desperate men, more and more of whom were joining or assisting the carbonari or other partisans. In the words of the Austrian field marshal Frederick Bianchi, “We cannot end this war with a victory while our enemies can run and hide under the Pope’s robes. He must either join the war or stand aside.”

Under the circumstances, what happened on June 27, 1817 was probably inevitable. On that day, a regiment of Austrian dragoons operating in Tuscany entered Imola on the the rumor that one of the major partisan leaders, Santorre di Santa Rosa, was there. (In fact, he had already moved on to Rimini by this time.) Precisely what happened next is not known — the Austrians claim they were attacked by rebels within the town, the Italians that the occupiers were in a fit of rage at being thwarted. What is known is that somewhere between 500 and 3,000 civilians were killed, and the dragoons burned most of the city to the ground.

It is generally agreed by historians that the Imola Massacre was not the first reprisal against civilians committed on Pontifical soil. By the end of May, there had been several incidents in which refugee camps on the south bank of the Po had been burned out on suspicion of harboring rebels. But it was the first incident that came to the attention of the Pope.

This attack against a flock that he had once served as bishop shook him to his core. According to Consalvi, he spent the rest of the day, and all that night, secluded in prayer. The next morning, he began making plans.

On July 8, he addressed the people of Rome in St. Peter’s Square. The pope began by making it clear that on this occasion he was not speaking ex cathedra, but in his capacity as their temporal leader. He recalled words he had spoken before, about rendering unto Caesar and obeying magistrates.

Then he took a different tack. “There comes at last a moment,” he said, “when a magistrate is no longer a magistrate, when Caesar casts down his laurel crown. When that day comes, he who hath eyes, let him see. For the tree is known by its fruit, and the tree that bears bad fruit is cut down and thrown in the fire… The House of Hapsburg has forfeited the right to rule any part of Italy. It is no part of Christian duty to obey them, but rather to protect our women and children, our aged and invalids, from their mad depredations.”

Now the war took a new direction. Within weeks, even the sanfedisti had joined the fight against Austria…

Arrigo Gillio, The War of Italian Unification



The Battle of Middelbeers, on June 8, 1817, marked the end of British and Dutch attempts to recover the former Southern Netherlands. Other historians have recounted how a British ambassador traveled across the Channel to arrange a cease-fire that would hold until a final peace could be established at the Congress of Stockholm. Of greater concern to us is one particular casualty of that battle — Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, who was struck by a cannon-ball when Ney closed in on the rear of the British position.

Adolphus was not only a soldier, but viceroy of the Kingdom of Hannover. The Prince Regent George had many younger brothers and sisters, but Adolphus was one of the few who had shown any interest in the kingdom whence the dynasty had come. A new viceroy needed to be appointed at once.

George’s first thought was to send the Duke of Wellington, a great general now bound by parole not to fight France, to rule Hannover in his stead. The duke begged to be excused this duty, pointing out that he knew little of the affairs of Hannover, and that moreover “to be given a general in place of a son of the royal family would surely be taken as an insult by the people.” Prince Ernest Augustus, the Duke of Cumberland, was at this time needed to assist the Prince Regent with political matters in the House of Lords. It was Prince William, Duke of Clarence and Lord High Admiral, who accepted the duty.

All the sons and daughters of George III were fated to be, in one way or another, unlucky in love. William was swept away by the charms of Dorothea Jordan, a common woman of Irish blood who worked as an actress. Wiser than his elder brother, he did not seek to defy his father with a formal marriage to her, but lived with her as man and wife without the ceremonies, and had many children. But this wife in all but name had passed to her reward the previous year.

So — to Hannover he went, accompanied by his eldest son George FitzClarence. He expected to govern as viceroy for a brief time, and then to return to other duties and hand the kingdom over to one of his brothers. He did not expect to remain there for the rest of his life, barring occasional visits — still less to become king himself.

Above all, he never expected to fall in love again…

Maria Gertrude Schneider, The Poet King



In 1817, shortly after the disaster at Middelbeers, Sir Thomas Henry Browne arrived in Paris as secretary to the ambassador Sir Charles Stuart (not to be confused with Viscount Castlereagh’s younger half-brother Sir Charles Stewart, Marquess of Londonderry, whose secretary Browne had been at Vienna). Sir Charles Stuart was in Paris to begin negotiating a truce between Britain and France, which would hold until the Congress of Stockholm began next year. Browne, it soon became clear, was here on a different mission.

Given the details of Browne’s life prior to his arrival in Paris, it is difficult to believe that he could have been the blundering incompetent he would later be depicted as. Born in 1787, he had been a soldier for most of his adult life, and had served against Denmark as a colour-bearer in the Gunboat War, and against the French in the West Indies and the Peninsula, earning steady promotions until he reached the rank of lieutenant colonel. At Vittoria he had been captured, but he later escaped. in 1814 he was created Knight Commander of the Royal Guelphic Order, and in 1815 he was made aide-de-camp to Lord Stewart, thus entering him in the world of international diplomacy.

Many, however, considered him ill-suited to the role of a secret agent. “He is said to be a person of no ability, of great imprudence and indiscretion, and likely to get into scrapes,” wrote one diarist. (It should be noted that Stewart had a similar reputation.) His mission was not helped by the fact that the Moniteur’s editorial page was regularly enjoining its readers, especially those in position to know important secrets, to beware of British spies — and giving them advice on how those spies might be recognized. Browne, with his constant attempts to befriend the servants in the Bonaparte household, could hardly have been more obvious. Minister of Foreign Affairs Armand de Caulaincourt mused to Talleyrand (now serving the ministry in an advisory role) that this Englishman might have been sent as a distraction, “to draw our attention away from more professional espionage attempts.”

Browne’s actions might have placed him in physical danger, if Fouché and Carnot had not given strict orders to the gendarmerie and the fédérés that no member of the British embassy was to be arrested, harmed or interfered with in any way — not even “M. Browne, l’espion anglais.” Carnot made sure to give these orders to each troop of fédérés in the capital, and to give the message to Jacobin Party leaders as well. This was necessary, as the fédérés were (as one observer put it) “half sheepdog and half wolf” and required a good deal of supervision.

So great did Browne’s notoriety in Paris become that at one point in the spring of 1818 a group of students from the Sorbonne (one of them a young Honoré de Balzac) decided to play a practical joke on him. They disguised themselves as sailors, arranged a “chance” meeting with him, claimed to serve aboard the French first-rate warship Lion de la Mer and invited him for a drink. Over their wine, they gossiped loudly about the imminent French invasion of the British Isles, relating fanciful details probably invented by Balzac himself.

Skeptical but nonetheless concerned, Browne wrote to Edward Pellew, recently created Viscount Exmouth and appointed Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth, inquiring as to whether there might be any truth to this. The great naval officer assured him in reply that the Royal Navy continued to hold absolute control of the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay: that the French had nothing like the naval capacity required to effect an invasion at the present time; that if such an invasion were to be attempted, it would require immense movement of manpower and resources that could not be possibly hidden from British espionage; that no such preparations had been observed; that there was no record of any first-rate named the “Lion de la Mer”; and that someone was probably having a jape at his expense.

At this point, some spies would have considered this assignment to be hopelessly compromised. But to Browne, the suspicion he was under represented a sort of success — if everyone thought he was spying on behalf of the Foreign Office, then no one knew his true mission…


…Their true identities are lost to history. We know them only by the names with which Prince Lucien, the radical of the Regency, introduced them to Caroline of Brunswick — “Gaetan Jeannot” and “Aloïse St.-Leger.” Jeannot is described as being a “smallish, dark-haired man with a thin mustache, as undistinguished from his fellows as a cobblestone in the street” and St. Leger as “a stout, handsome woman with graying hair.”

They entered into Caroline’s service shortly after Lucien moved her household into the Chateau d’Issy, and quickly won her trust and favour. St. Leger was her constant companion for days at a time, accompanying her on her many visits to the orphanages of France. However, she was able to be excused from time to time by claiming to have a natural-born daughter whose family required occasional assistance. Jeannot, who seemed to have the connections in Paris to purchase foodstuffs and luxury goods at bargain prices, served as a factor. He met the princess only occasionally, but came and went as he pleased, virtually invisible.

In short, these two were well-positioned to gather information within Caroline’s household while escaping the watchful eye of Pergami. Late that year, they made their first surreptitious contact with Browne, who was delighted to find that they were only too happy to sell the secrets of their mistress for a price…
Bertrand Martineau and P.G. Sherman, The Great Scheme



A Quick Guide to the French Government
The Regency Council
This group will fulfill all the duties of the Emperor until March 20, 1832, the day Napoleon II turns 21. These duties include appointing judges and members of the Chamber of Peers, one of the houses of the French legislature. (They are also members of the Chamber, of course.)

In order to exercise their power, they have to form a quorum and vote. This will be easier with peace at hand — the generals on the Council will be available. (Although Masséna is dying and won’t last the year.)

The Chamber of Peers
Appointed for life. There’s no limit to how many of them there can be, but there aren’t that many yet. Most of them are marshals who did well in the war, or cronies of one of the Council members that the other members were willing to support.

The Chamber of Deputies
These are the elected representatives. The Act Additional of 1815 sets the number, but this would have to be rewritten to reflect the fact that France has gotten bigger since then. They are elected to five-year terms, and one-fifth of them stand for re-election every year. (So there are no off years. This legislative body will have to figure out how to work and campaign at the same time.)

Some of the deputies don’t come from a department, but from “Industry and manufacturing and commercial property.” Think of it like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce having its own congressional delegation (I know — “how could you tell?”) I think for some time to come, France will be laissez-faire rather than dirigiste.

The Political Parties
France at the moment has more political freedom than most of Europe, but not as much as the United Kingdom or the United States.

The three political parties are the Liberals, the Conservatives and the Jacobins. Liberals are about half the Chamber of Deputies, Conservatives are a little more than a third and Jacobins are a little less than a sixth. (The numbers fluctuate from one election to the next.)

The Conservatives are… not royalists, they swear. Title VI, the part of the Act Additional that guarantees the rights of Frenchmen, is explicit that this does not include the right to advocate for the return of the old kings. The Liberals and Jacobins were able to force them to concede this. (Also, if you want to start a really nasty fight among the Conservatives, bring up the Bourbon/Orleanist split. They get downright intense about it… when no one else is listening.)

At first glance, the Liberal Party, with its fédérés and the secret police, seems to be well on its way towards turning France into a one-party authoritarian state. But Joseph Fouché, the Minister of Police, answers to the Regency Council, not to any political party. (Actually, Fouché mostly answers to Fouché.) As for the fédérés, although their organization is part of the Liberal Party apparatus and Carnot is officially in charge, most of them are actually Jacobins. (Never outsource your brownshirts, people.) So the Conservatives are numerous enough that the Liberals can’t suppress them without restarting the civil war, and they can’t suppress the Jacobins without breaking their own teeth, so to speak.

On the other hand, they might not need to. As long as the Liberals can hold on to a plurality of the vote, they can find a few Conservatives or Jacobins willing to join a coalition. The only thing that could dislodge them from power would be a coalition of Conservatives and Jacobins. This would be a good place to insert a picture of a flight of winged pigs silhouetted by a blue moon over the snowy fields of Hell.

Also, I mentioned that a fifth of the Chamber of Deputies runs for election every year. This basically means that landslide elections, the kind that knock a majority government completely out of power, are almost impossible. With annual elections, the government always has a good idea of the mood of the voters, and if the ruling party finds itself losing ground, it can change course. (Not saying it will, but it can.) This is good news if you’re a voter who just wants responsive government, not so good if you’re a Conservative or Jacobin politician hoping for power.



The Class of 1817: People Born This Year Who Will Show Up Later

(Actually, some of these babies will start changing the world right away, just by existing and being who they are.)


Alexander Humphreys, born Feb. 10 at Bramall Hall near Manchester, in England, son of Salusbury Pryce Humphreys and Maria Davenport. His earliest ambition will be to join the Royal Navy.

Quincy Grissom, born Mar. 22 on a farm in northern Ohio. An intelligent child and big for his age, he will be noted for an early tendency towards patience and caution.

Eleanor Roxana Beecher, born Apr. 17 in Litchfield, Connecticut, daughter of Lyman Beecher and Roxana Foote Beecher, who died giving birth to her.[1] She will learn to read and write quickly, and will show a surprising fascination with birds.

Joshua Henley Ross, born June 8 in Alabama Territory, son of John Ross and Quatie Brown Henley. Although his father wants him to become a lawyer, he won’t show much interest in or aptitude for this. As a child, he will make friends among whites, Cherokees and blacks. (Later on, these friendships may get a bit strained.)

Infanta María Isabel Luisa of Spain, born Aug. 20, daughter of Ferdinand VII and his niece/wife Maria Isabel of Portugal.[2] Her survival will cause the king to reconsider his plans to marry his younger brother Francisco to Princess Luisa Carlotta of the Two Sicilies (also a niece) until he himself has more than one son. He hopes, in the future, to establish the position of prince-regent as a traditional one for the king’s younger brothers. If Francisco is able to establish a separate dynasty in New Spain, after all, independence will be a very short step away. (In the case of Carlos, it’s too late — the man is already married, to yet another niece. I think the Spanish Bourbons are the only family in history to consist entirely of creepy uncles.)
Getting back to the Infanta, her tutors will describe her as “gentle and obedient, but of average wit.” Her first love will be riding and caring for horses, which she will do as often as her health allows.

Prince Leopold William Frederick of the United Kingdom, born Nov. 10, son of Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales[3] and Prince Consort Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. His birth will be the occasion of celebration and rejoicing throughout the British Empire. (Wiser heads will comment that, given that the Princess is the only legitimate heir in her generation, the royal family left a great deal to chance.)
The fact that the princess named her son “Leopold” rather than “George” will be seen by many observers as a welcome gesture of independence from her unpopular father. (As it turns out, she’s just warming up.)
Young Leo’s tutors will describe him as cheerful, outgoing, and a clever student “when he can be persuaded to sit still” with a deep love of the visual arts.

Guillaume Georges Elmar, born Dec. 1 in Bruxelles, son of a moderately successful businessman. At age two, Guillaume will teach himself to read and write in both French and Dutch. Seeing this, his family will attempt to raise him in the same manner as John Stuart Mill, hiring tutors for him in as many subjects as they can afford. At age ten, he will read a French translation of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. By the time he is old enough to enter the lycée, his teachers will complain that in certain areas (chiefly history) he knows nearly as much as they do.
Only later will he turn his attention to economics.



[1] OTL, Roxana died of consumption the previous year. Butterflies are free.

[2] This girl's allohistorical twin was born about this time IOTL but died five months later.

[3] IOTL, the princess and the baby both died, and George III's younger sons went on a mad rush to Germany to find some Protestant noblewomen who weren't doing anything, marry the hell out of them and get with the procreating. That's how we got Queen Victoria.
Their survival here isn't just butterflies — IOTL, Charlotte Augusta wanted to be looked after by her husband's physician, Baron Stockmar, who from what I've read was pretty restrained about bloodletting. But the royal family persuaded her (with some difficulty — she was a stubborn woman) to submit herself to the care of Sir Richard Croft… who starved her half to death and drained her blood like a vampire on a bender. On top of that, it was a breech birth. As weak as she was from months of hunger and anemia, she never had a chance.
ITTL, as you may remember, Croft returned to London having already had a king die on his hands. That gave the Princess and Prince Consort the impetus to insist on Stockmar instead. And also, little Leo came out headfirst like a sensible baby.



Below: the flags of the Republic of Louisiana and the British colony of Florida. The Louisiana flag is a cross between the Bonnie Blue flag and the French tricolor. The star on the Florida flag is also inspired by the Bonnie Blue, with the saffron center of an orange blossom.
Attached Images
 
__________________
The Dead Skunk: For want of a skunk, Louisiana is a republic and Charlotte Princess of Wales lives.
2013 Turtledove Winner The Day the Icecap Died
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old February 27th, 2013, 07:25 PM
Lycaon pictus Lycaon pictus is offline
Author of "Locksmith's Closet"
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 900
1818

Around late 1817 or early 1818, when it was clear that the post-Bonaparte government in France would survive, one of the more noteworthy migrations of Jewish history began. It is difficult to say precisely how many fled the spate of persecution in the Hapsburg and Romanov dominions, but the census of 1825 reveals over 100,000 people living in France who self-identified as “Jewish.”[1]

(The founding of Sepharad, stirring as it may be to the imagination, was a very minor event by comparison. A census of British Florida taken at the same time as the one in France shows only 8,356 Jews living in the colony, of whom 1,909 lived in Trafalgar rather than Sepharad or the surrounding communities.)…


…The various political factions of France responded to this influx in varying ways. The Regency Council did not share Napoleon’s grand ambition to assimilate the Jews entirely, but they were committed to integrating them into the fabric of national life. The Council also claimed the right to convene another Great Sanhedrin if so requested, but had no plans to do so at the present time.

The three major parties in the Chamber of Deputies were the Liberals, the Conservatives and the Jacobins. The Liberals were already secure in their power. They would not refuse the votes of these new citizens, but would make no special effort to gain them. Still, benign indifference was better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, which in Russia was not always a figure of speech.

On the other hand, the Jacobins, in keeping with their anticlerical stance, actively sought to recruit Jews, Protestants, Deists and freethinkers of all sorts. They handed out literature outside synagogues, encouraged the young men to enlist in the fédérés and put up posters in the Rue des Rosiers that said “Come join us!”

This achieved only partial success. Many of the Eastern European Ashkenazim were just as traditionalistic as their gentile neighbors. The Jacobins scared them, with their gruesome rhetoric concerning the necks of nobles and the entrails of priests. As for the fédérés, they represented the sort of extralegal violence that Jews were only too familiar with, even if it was not being aimed at them at the present time. (Although a number of young Jewish men did in fact join the fédérés, in the hope that this would help them to defend themselves if the pogromists came… as they always seemed to, sooner or later.)

The Conservative Party might perhaps have won votes among the Jewish community… if it had wanted them. It did not. It regarded their presence in such numbers on the holy soil of France as a sign and symbol of the “moral decay” that the Liberals had supposedly brought upon the nation. Some of its more extreme members, in fact, sought to bar them from the electoral colleges, along with Protestants — or at least to demand that the higher offices in the land be reserved for Catholics. Clearly it was necessary to become involved in the political process, by one vehicle or another. (One prominent rabbi, Nahum Trebitsch, was of this opinion: “The difference between the Conservative and Jacobin Parties is that both of them think we drink the blood of Christian babies… but the Jacobins would like us to share it with them.”)

David Azimov, A History of the Diaspora


[1] According to this website, the number IOTL was 50,000.
By the way, the population of France ITTL is about 35 million and climbing, as of 1816.



When Watie learns I am the son of “Wild Joe,” his manner changes from truculent to welcoming with dizzying speed. He invites me inside at once.

“I lost five slaves to that son of a b---h during the thirties,” he says cheerfully. “Swore I’d kill him myself. Then I ended up fighting alongside him during the Troubles.” He shakes his head and laughs. “What a world.”

Watie says very little, working quietly as he prepares a noon meal for us. Lunch is a Florida-style light meal of gora noodles[1] with nimbooghee[2], squash and bits of salt pork. It is simple, but excellent. We mostly speak of our families over the meal…

… “I was just a boy when it all began,” he says. “Didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about politics. But it was a little hard to miss the arguments going on. They were bitter. The Tsalagi [that is, the Cherokee] were never so divided.

“This you must understand,” he continues. “Ross, Hicks, Casey Holmes, Nancy Ward… what they really wanted was for us to be left on our land to trade with the United States without being a part of it. But it was more and more obvious that it was never going to be that simple. We had already given up more than we wanted to… I think it was in 1816 that we signed away our lands in South Carolina. But the settlers just kept wanting more, and more, and more.

“In Georgia they told us we should go west, across the Mississippi… no one would ever bother us there. But we were hearing from our brothers and sisters who’d gone with Duwali that white men had followed them even there. A lot of us wanted to fight, but we’d seen how those fights ended, even for the other so-called ‘Civilized Tribes’ — that is, the tribes that were best at mimicking white men’s ways.

“But we learned from their example in more ways than that. All along the northern border of Florida there were forts with regiments of Muskogees (Creeks, you would say) and Seminoles. The Choctaws and Chickasaws went west to help Louisiana fight the Comanches… no, first it was the pirates, and then it was to protect Galvezville from Comanche attacks. John Ross liked to compare them to the Roman auxilia. Most of us just saw them as cat’s-paws. In any war, they would be the first ones to die, and that suited their white masters just fine. But at least they had an accomodation, of sorts, and they could keep their land.

“The land. That was the key. This French radical I keep hearing about, this Elmar — he may be wrong about many things, but one thing he is right about. If you own land, you own it because the government agrees that you own it. Cattle you can slaughter, gold you can bury, but land…” He gestures out the window. “It’s out there. You can’t hide it. You can’t withhold it. You can either spend all day walking the borders of your farm with a rifle in your hand, or you can trust in the law to protect it for you.

“It was not always so, of course. Before the white men came, our land was ours because we fought for it. In every generation, we fought for it. Our neighbors tested us, and we tested them in return. But we couldn’t fight the United States. We were starting to wonder if we could even fight Georgia.

“Adams was a fair-minded man, and Tompkins needed men to guard the southern border and the coast. They were more than open to the idea that those of our men who served in the U.S. army should be counted as U.S. citizens. Crawford liked the idea too, once someone told him that as U.S. citizens, we would pay U.S. taxes.

“To the chiefs, this looked like the best chance they could get. Pathkiller thought it was a bad idea, but nobody was listening to him at this point. All we needed was some assurance that as citizens, our rights would be respected. So Adams went to the state governments and asked them to pass laws guaranteeing simply that no U.S. citizen would be treated as unequal by their laws or courts on grounds of national or tribal origin.

“Georgia, Tennesee, North Carolina… they all thumbed their noses at him. They could do that back then. The states still had a lot of leeway in these things.

“But the state of Alabama could not do that, because it was still a territory at the time. Still a territory, and trying to become a state. Adams made it very clear to them that if they wanted statehood to pass Congress, they would have to enshrine equal treatment for all U.S. citizens in their state constitution.”

“Wouldn’t that have affected free Negroes as well?”

“No. They weren’t citizens. Not then… although I think Adams would have liked them to be. He could do as much as he did because he still had most of the country behind him, and it was a matter in which he could claim military necessity. 'We need these people to fight alongside us in case of war, therefore we must grant them certain considerations.' He could afford to make a few enemies… and he did.” Watie shakes his head.

“At first, it hardly affected us,” he says. “Most of us still lived in northwest Georgia. We thought of Alabama as a backwater. Apart from the northeast, most of the state was Muscogee land — Creek land, you would say. Or at least it had been, before Jackson took it away from them.” Seeing my look of confusion, he clarifies: “General Andrew Jackson.”

“And as for the coast, that was the back of beyond. Amequohee[3] and Oonolequa[4] started out as forts with regiments of Tsalagi stationed in them. Godawful hot, muggy places they were, too, to men used to the mountains and the piney-woods… but the important thing was that our men were becoming citizens by their service, and once we were citizens everyone would treat us as equals and our troubles would be over.” Watie manages to keep a straight face for several seconds after saying this, before bursting into loud and cynical laughter…

Edward J. Baldy, “An Interview with Isaac ‘Stander’ Watie,” published in the February 1871 issue of Greeley’s Monthly.


[1] Noodles made of nixtamalized corn and rice flour.
[2] A clarified butter sauce with (among other things) lemon, garlic and rum. These are both common items in Florida cooking, although chicken or fish would be more usual than pork.
[3] OTL Fort Walton Beach, Fla. (From Gaduhvi Amekwohi — “Ocean City.”)
[4] OTL Panama City, Fla. (From Unole Ekwah — “Great Wind.” It was struck by a hurricane in September 1818, while it was still under construction.)



May 8, 1818
Hannover

The nave of the Marktkirche looked like something that had been desgined for a mythical race of giants. Red brick pillars held the vaulted ceiling more than a hundred feet over the heads of the assembled dignitaries. Sunlight streamed in through the tall, narrow Gothic windows. It was a solemn place, built to overawe.

William Duke of Clarence looked up at the ceiling and laughed with sheer joy. Then he looked back down at his new bride, Marie Louise Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, Princess of Leiningen. She was a widow of 31, with two children. He was 52 and father of ten, nine still living. At the moment, they felt like they were both sixteen.

He kissed her. He had already done it once, after being pronounced man and wife, but once more couldn’t hurt…

* * *

After enduring the well-wishes of every local dignitary in the city, William finally got to the people he really wanted to see. He hadn’t given his family much notice, and his brothers were busy in the Lords, but two of them had managed to come — Edward Duke of Kent, Augustus Frederick[1] Duke of Sussex and… huh?

“Sophia?”

“Surprised to see me?” His sister smiled.

“I certainly am. What on Earth brings you out of Kensington?”

“Among other things,” she said, “I was bored. I wanted a little adventure.” (Mother and Father, for reasons best known to themselves, had raised his younger sisters to be virtual recluses. By Sophia’s standards, this trip to a peaceful part of the Continent in the company of two of her brothers and a number of servants did indeed constitute an adventure.)

“Mother didn’t try to stop you?”

Sophia shook her head, but not with any sign of satisfaction.

“Mother’s health is getting worse,” said Edward. “Dr. Croft is… not optimistic.”

“If you want to visit, you should return to London soon,” put in Augustus Frederick. “Hannover can get by without you for a little while.”

“I was just thinking that London would be a good place for a honeymoon,” said the bride.

“How is Father?” said William.

“Father… continues,” said Sophia. “When he heard the new baby, he knew him for a baby, at least, but thought it was Alfred or Octavius.”[2] There was a long, mournful silence. This conversation was getting awfully grim for a wedding.

“On a happier note,” Sophia continued, “our niece is doing very well. She sends her love, and her congratulations.” Sophia looked around, as if searching for someone.

Out of the corner of his eye, William spotted a tall man with bushy black muttonchops. Right next to him was a short, stout woman with hair dyed black, holding a hat crested with egret feathers. Now, how to handle this with a minimum of awkwardness?

“Sophia, I believe I see an old friend of yours over there,” said William. “Why don’t you go talk to her?” The other two princes turned, saw who William was indicating, and then discreetly pretended they hadn’t seen anyone in particular.

What Prinny doesn’t know won’t hurt him, thought William. And it’s not as though he has any right to complain. He could still hear his eldest brother’s voice, on the morning of his own wedding day — “William, tell Mrs. Fitzherbert she is the only woman I shall ever love…”

* * *

“Sophia!” said Caroline. “It’s been too long! Barty, darling, would you go fetch us a bottle of wine?”

Barty, darling. Sophia gritted her teeth. Caroline’s utter lack of anything that resembled discretion had been amusing when she was a young princess fresh out of Germany. Now it was just tiresome.

“Has Charlotte’s latest letter reached you yet?” said Sophia when Pergami was out of earshot.

“Yes, it has,” said Caroline. “I’ve been giving it some thought. Do you think she’s truly forgiven me?”

“I think she has. At the very least, she understands why you left, and why it would be… difficult… for you to take up residence in England again. But she hopes that you will at least be able to pay her a brief visit some time this year. She’ll be spending the summer at Claremont House. She looks forward to introducing you to The Leo[3]… and the cub.”

As Sophia had known they would, Caroline’s eyes lit up at the mention of the grandchild. Then she looked a bit warier.

“Why do I have the feeling this has something to do with politics?”

“Well, there is that as well,” admitted Sophia. “The Whigs need all the allies they can get… and our young lady is eager to prove her commitment to them.”

“You mean, to prove she won’t betray them as my husband did?”

“Quite so. And, after all, the good Baron Pergami can keep Chateau d’Issy in order while you’re in England.”

“Why would I want to leave him behind?”

“Surely you wouldn’t bring him to Claremont House? The poor man would feel quite left out. Standing around while everyone else reminisces about events he was never part of, listening to gossip about people he’s never met… no man wants to do that.”

“How could you possibly know so much about what men want?”

Sophia sighed. Tact was never one of Caroline’s strong points. Neither was being able to take a hint when it was presented to her with a formal letter of introduction.

“Caroline,” she said quietly. “I do not know, or care to know, what manner of relationship may or may not exist between yourself and yonder tall dark handsome Italian. You know Prinny is obsessed with divorcing you, but I don’t think Parliament will allow it… as long as you can refrain from doing anything foolish, such as traveling the English countryside accompanied in public by the man many suspect of being your lover. Do you understand me now?”

“Finally, some plain speaking!” said Caroline. “Very well. I’ll take your advice. But on the subject of Barty, I will tell you what I tell everyone else — the only man I have ever committed adultery with is Mrs. Fitzherbert’s husband.”


[1] Not to be confused with Frederick Duke of York, or Ernest Augustus. This family had so many children they didn’t have enough names to go around.
[2] The two sons of George III who didn’t live past childhood.
[3] Charlotte Augusta’s pet name for her husband.



The Congress of Stockholm began in May of 1818. There were many matters to resolve:

• The United Kingdom and France had a cease-fire, but not yet a peace treaty.
• The borders between the United States of America and the New World possessions of Britain and Spain had not been settled to anyone’s satisfaction. In some cases, the territory they ran through had not even been properly explored.
• Prussia had at last defeated the rebellion in Upper Silesia, but Russia had had to intervene in Posen. Now the Tsar was demanding formal possession of the province.
• Austria had solidified its economic and military ties with Saxony, Baden, Württemberg and Hesse, the last of which was still smarting from the loss of its trans-Rhenish lands. But Bavaria, in the center of this little circle, was still holding out.

And of course all this ignored the great open wound that was the Other Peninsular War. At the beginning of the year, Austria, Piedmont-Sardinia and the Two Sicilies were swearing that there was no need to negotiate and that they would reassert control over Italy, but the rest of Europe was having doubts — and now France was preparing to intervene. Since the Sicilies were a British ally, this would essentially restart the war between them on another front.

It was hoped by all that these matters could be dealt with before the Baltic began to ice over…


…Henry Clay’s decision (seconded, of course, by Caulaincourt) to attend the Congress can only be understood in the context of the defeat the United States had suffered in 1815. Negotiating one-to-one with the British, or their Spanish allies, the young republic would be at a terrible disadvantage. Castlereagh, realizing this, had chosen to make an issue of the border now, rather than waiting for the rapidly growing United States to become stronger. But Clay was no colonial bumpkin. He knew it was best to take care of such things in the company of allies — and of neutral powers that didn’t want to see Britain grow too strong.

For example, it was not hard for Clay to persuade the Tsar’s representative, Ioannis Kapodistrias, that it was in Russia’s interest for the United States to have as broad as possible an outlet on the Pacific for the Russians to trade with directly, rather than having to go through the British. Kapodistrias made it very clear to Castlereagh that Russia would not look kindly on any attempt by Britain to claim the whole of the Oregon country…


…On June 26, the Clay-Castlereagh treaty was signed. It placed the U.S.-British North American border at (running east to west from the Lake of the Woods to the Pacific Ocean) the 95th meridian south to the 46th parallel, then the 46th parallel, the Jack River[1], the 47th parallel, the Missouri River, the 46th parallel, the Snake River and the Columbia River. This left the United States with plenty of room to grow while giving the Red River colony and the bulk of the Oregon country to Britain.

With Spain’s ambassador to the Congress, Clay could afford to be a little more aggressive. Once again, the King of Spain had sent his ally the Marquis of Labrador to an international conference. (Spain’s ambassador to the United States, Luis de Oníz y González-Vara, would later lament that he had not been entrusted with this task.) As Clay pointed out to Labrador, large parts of New Spain were still in revolt, and the United States would find it very easy to smuggle weapons and ammunition to the rebels…


…On July 10, Labrador agreed to the following border (running east to west from the Louisiana border to the Pacific): the Sabine River, the 94th meridian, the Red River, the 100th meridian, the 37th parallel, the Continental Divide and the 41st parallel.

H. Michael Wolcott, A History of Western International Diplomacy, 1648-1858

[1] OTL the James River of the Dakotas.



Although today regarded as a footnote in the history of the war, the February Uprising in the city of Naples shook the kingdom of Ferdinand I to its foundations. It took two weeks to suppress, and forced a virtual withdrawal of the Two Sicilies’ forces from several areas in the west where they had been making progress.

More importantly, it convinced Ferdinand that if he wished to rule the kingdom he was trying so hard to hold on to, brute force would be necessary… but not sufficient. In the case of Naples, he chose to take a wolf-and-shepherd approach[1] to the city. He would enact martial law and appoint a military governor to root out all traces of rebellion and dissent. Then, after a period of time, he would dismiss this governor and take charge himself, showing (relative) clemency. For his “wolf” he chose a man destined to become one of the most memorable monsters in Italian history — the gold-braided whistling nightmare, Lieutenant Colonel James Thomas Morriset.

The irony is that nothing in Morriset’s background suggests a particularly terrible man. He had served in the British army since he was eighteen, fighting in India, Egypt, Portugal and Spain, and had risen through the ranks entirely on his own skill — his family was poor, and could not have afforded a commission. Even after his face was mutilated by an explosion, he had been simply a conscientious and reliable officer in His Majesty’s service — perhaps a more stern disciplinarian than average, but not inhuman. But he was a man to whom rebellion was a strange and evil thing, and who drew the same conclusion from every defeat and setback he experienced — that he had not been harsh enough, that he needed to use more force and inspire greater fear.

His regiment, the 80th Foot, was stationed in Sicily after Nancy. It was tasked with hunting down small bands of rebels before they became large ones, and with breaking up demonstrations before they turned into riots. Officially, King Ferdinand held overall command of all military units on the island, including the 80th — but he treated the British as though they were independent allies, seldom exercising any control over them.

Morriset, thus freed from the normal constraints of service to the Crown, took his duties a step further. He learned to speak Italian, if not like a native, then as well as his misshapen lips and jaw allowed him to. He then began questioning suspected rebels himself — often having them beaten or flogged — and using spies and informers to put the Sicilian reputation for loyal silence to the test. It was here that he first began showing signs of the obsessive suspicion and the appetite for cruelty that would define him in the eyes of a nation…


…Morriset’s reign of terror began on March 10, 1818, with the simultaneous hanging of 427 captured insurrectionists in various plazas of Naples. Of particular note was the manner in which four men judged to be ringleaders were executed. The only limit the king placed on Morriset was that he was not authorized to inflict any punishment worse than hanging. (Ferdinand had previously dealt with rebels by having them beheaded. Hanging was a more British punishment, and the king wished to make it very clear who was doing this.)

But Morriset was not so easily restrained. He remembered a punishment which his old master, General Wellington, had inflicted upon a looter near Coimbra during the war in Portugal. The thief had stolen a full-length, gilt-edged mirror, presumably in the hopes of selling it to one of the gang of fences, whores and other camp followers who were never far from the armies (it being far too cumbersome to carry on march). Wellington had disposed of this pilferer in a way that must have seemed distinctly apropos — he had hanged the man, and hanged the mirror in front of him. Whether or not Morriset was there to see this event, he had certainly heard of it.

So it was that the Neapolitans were introduced to “death in the mirror.” The unfortunates subjected to this were hanged by being hoisted up from the ground rather than dropped from a gallows, to ensure that their necks would not break. And, of course, a mirror was placed in front of their faces. If they could not turn their heads (Morriset would sometimes order the guards to physically prevent the condemned from looking away), or shut their eyes for the blood pressure behind them (this is a point of controversy among medical historians) the victims would be forced to spend their last moments watching themselves die…
Arrigo Gillio, The War of Italian Unification

[1] We would say “good cop/bad cop.”


Caulaincourt had come to Stockholm with four goals in mind:
• Secure guarantees from all Powers to respect the Regency Council and the Chambers as the legitimate government of France and disavow all support for royalist pretenders, Bourbon or otherwise.
• Secure guarantees from all Powers to respect the new borders of France, from Savoy to the Waal. Lanjuinais and the Council were willing to cede (at a minimum) the majority-Dutch-speaking regions of north Brabant and Limbourg to the Netherlands in exchange for that kingdom forming an alliance with France and replacing William I with Louis Bonaparte.
• Rebuild alliances with Denmark and Bavaria.
• Persuade Britain and Austria to recognize the Kingdom of Italy under Gioacchino I and withdraw from the peninsula, gaining France yet another ally.

The first of these goals had already nearly been achieved. Prussia and Britain had, most reluctantly, agreed to recognize the French government two years ago. The tsar had not even been reluctant to do so — with Napoleon safely gone, far better to concentrate on domestic reform than to spill more Russian blood into the Rhine and Moselle in the service of “allies” who would merely seek to hobble his empire at the peace table. The king of Spain had refused to recognize any government in which the House of Bonaparte had a role. In doing so, of course, he had more or less assured that his own Cortes would recognize the Regency Council in order to further undercut his power, despite residual hostility in Spain towards “José de las Joyas.” Only in Austria and the Two Sicilies was the dream of Royalist France alive at this point.

The second of these goals was, at least from Castlereagh’s point of view, more of a problem. He didn't care about Savoy, but allowing the current borders to stand in the north would mean reducing the Netherlands to the status of a rump state — to say nothing of leaving the major port and shipyard of Anvers (Antwerp) in French hands and compounding the difficulty of invading France again, should it become necessary. For the Netherlands (at whatever size) to accept France as an ally would be downright catastrophic to British commerce. But last year’s campaign to drive them out of that land had been a complete failure.

The third and fourth goals were still preventable. If post-Bourbon France could no longer be defeated, it could still be isolated — and Metternich and von Hardenburg agreed with Castlereagh that this was worth pursuing. The hostility towards the Revolution that had defined the policies of Europe since 1789 had not yet dissipated, particularly since Lanjuinais and the Regency Council derived much of their support from the sort of unrepentant Jacobins that were every crowned head’s worst nightmare.

Moreover, Denmark straddled the entrance to the Baltic, and Bavaria sat squarely in the middle of Austria’s new sphere of influence. With them, the Netherlands and a united Italy as allies, France would dominate western Europe. As Castlereagh put it, “Let us not give the French in Stockholm what we denied them at Leipzig and Nancy.”

In any case, Austria and the Neapolitan Bourbons were never going to be dislodged from Italy by anything short of force. “Brigands and republicans are not to be bargained with,” said Metternich on June 3. “They are in a permanent state of war with the civilized world.”

Caulaincourt disagreed. “The brave descendants of the Romans have had enough of feudal division and foreign rule,” he said. “The time has come for their right of self-determination to be acknowledged by all Europe.” He added that if Austria sent another army into Italy, “France will come to the aid of the Italian freedom fighters.” This threat left Metternich unmoved…
H. Michael Wolcott, A History of Western International Diplomacy, 1648-1858



Around the end of May, two seemingly unrelated things happened in Stockholm; word got out that Caulaincourt was quietly meeting with Niels Rosenkrantz of Denmark, and Kapodistrias pressed Russian claims toward the Posen/Poznan area. The Russian ambassador hinted that the tsar might be willing to consider an alliance between France and Russia if he were denied this.

Historians continue to debate the exact role played by either Castlereagh or Metternich in what happened next. What is known is that on June 10, Karl August von Hardenburg and Leopold von Plessen, who represented both Mecklenburg grand duchies, made an announcement — that Prussia would cede Posen to Russia, and in return, the Grand Dukes of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz would accept Prussian sovereignty. In return for this, the grand dukes would be permitted to divide the Duchy of Holstein between them.

There was only one problem — Holstein, although not a part of Denmark per se, was in personal union with that kingdom. This gave King Frederick VI a choice — to renounce his claim to the duchy, or to fight for it. If he chose to fight, and if France helped him by invading Prussia, it would greatly reduce the capacity of France to assist the Italian rebels.

As a counterfactual, in this author’s opinion both Denmark and France would have been better off if Frederick had chosen to cede Holstein peacefully. He could then have pursued an open alliance with France while retaining all overseas possessions. Unfortunately, at this point the king was cracking down on dissidents and constitutionalists at home. He could ill afford to show weakness in the foreign relations of the kingdom. By the end of the month, he had declared war.

France was also mobilizing — but not on Denmark’s behalf. The situation in Italy demanded most of the kingdom’s attention at the moment. According to Rosenkrantz’s letters, Caulaincourt had assured him that if Denmark could hold out until next spring, France would be able to spare an army for the northern campaign.

Caulaincourt never had a chance to make good on his promise. The Baltic Straits War was brief, brutal and humiliating. Prussia’s armies had by now completed their reforms and gained experience fighting Polish rebels, and were reinforced by the Mecklenburgs and Brunswick. To make matters worse for Denmark, Sweden had entered into the war. The fighting lasted six weeks.

When it ended, Denmark had lost not only Holstein, but Schleswig (of which Gneisenau was created duke). The dependency of Iceland was transferred to Sweden (which also acquired Greenland, for whatever that was worth). What was left of Denmark declared itself a British ally, in exchange for which it was allowed to keep the remainder of its overseas possessions.

For Prussia, it was proof that their nation had recovered its martial reputation after the catastrophe at Velaine. (Von Hardenburg pressed his luck by trying to persuade Castlereagh to ask Parliament to reconsider the Corn Law, but he did not succeed.)
H. Michael Wolcott, A History of Western International Diplomacy, 1648-1858



Wrede and Montgelas, the Bavarian representatives, were adamant that their king would not enter into military alliance with either France or Austria, despite the post-Nancy loss of Bavarian territory west of the Rhine. Nor would their kingdom provide any further assistance to the Austrian war effort in Italy. (The previous fall, Maximilian von Montgelas had used Pope Pius VII’s ringing denunciation of Austrian war crimes as a pretext for Bavaria to withdraw all military support. Even veteran diplomats had been impressed that the anticlerical Montgelas could make such an argument with a straight face.)

However, they said, Bavaria would be willing to enter into a Zollverein (customs union) with Austria, Saxony, Baden, Württemberg and the Grand Duchy of Hesse. Partly in response to this, Prussia began forming a similar union with Brunswick, Waldeck, Nassau and the Electorate of Hesse. (Hanover, perhaps still hoping for closer ties to Britain, declined to join either.) The other minor states began choosing between them…


Caulaincourt might have hoped that the Dutch representative at Stockholm, Jan Willem Janssens, would remember his earlier service to Louis Bonaparte and accede to the plan to replace the king. If so, he was doomed to disappointment; Janssens was too busy trying to prove his loyalty to the current government. (His loyalty would be rewarded in 1821, when the king appointed him first governor of Temmasek.)[1]

But while the French foreign minister had been acting in the open, his dark knight Talleyrand had been working in secret. On Sunday, August 16, the streets of Amsterdam, the Hague, Rotterdam and Dordrecht were filled with demonstrators — many of them armed — calling for greater power for the States-General, the return of King Louis (and, incidentally, the return of territory south of the Waal). As William fled to Utrecht, his loyalists struggled first to restore order, then to reconquer the territory lost to the sudden uprising.

The unrest lasted about three weeks before William was able to restore something like order, but its effects would last for years in Dutch politics. The king and his loyalists would persist in regarding those who called for a constitution or an end to the prerogative of rule by “royal order” as agents of a foreign power. Those who had supported the uprising would never forget that the loyalists would have rather seen the Netherlands a rump state under King William than a (perhaps) restored nation under King Louis. And the rebellion would only exacerbate the fears of governments from London to Vienna that Talleyrand would seek to exploit domestic turmoil for his own purposes…


To summarize: by the fall of 1818, the peacemakers of the Congress of Stockholm had escalated one war, caused another and triggered an uprising in the Netherlands. On the other hand, the Congress had settled the borders of the United States and established the two Customs Unions. The assembled representatives might have abandoned their efforts then, but most of them chose to remain through the winter in the hopes that the warring sides in Italy would come to their senses.

H. Michael Wolcott, A History of Western International Diplomacy, 1648-1858

[1] OTL Singapore



In July of 1818, George Washington Parke Custis sold a substantial portion of the grounds of his District of Columbia estate to the federal government, although he retained the house itself. He used the money to clear his debts and establish a new and much larger experimental farm in Kentucky. Construction of the new War Department headquarters began that very fall, on a spot about 1500 feet south of Arlington House.[1]
-- United States Department of War history brochure (1950 ed.)


A history student reading the speeches of the early Democratic-Republicans might conclude that Adams, Clay, Tompkins and the rest expected the next war against Great Britain to begin any day. In fact, all were in general agreement that such a war would not happen for at least a generation — and, in fact, that the longer it could be delayed, the better a position the United States would be in to wage it.

In the meantime, a larger standing army would be required. The question was how large — a too-large army sustained through decades of peacetime would bankrupt the nation. The initial 1817 budget called for an army of 30,000[2], a number that would be expanded under every census to reflect the growth of the population.

More important was a substantial officer corps, which would allow the army to expand quickly in time of war. As Tompkins put it, “West Point is a fine institution. Now we need at least two more just like it.” To that end, the states of Virginia and Pennsylvania cooperated with the federal government to establish two new military academies — Ferry Farm in 1818, near Fredericksburg, and Fort LeBoeuf in Waterford in 1819…

There were three proposed sites for the U.S. Naval Academy, all in Maryland — the state capital of Annapolis, the city of Baltimore (which had already proven itself in repelling a British attack) and Commodore Stephen Decatur’s home town of Sinepuxent. The deciding factor, oddly enough, was that the town of Sinepuxent had just been badly damaged by a hurricane, so land could be had there cheaply — Adams had many things to spend money on, and the Treasury was not infinite. The largest expense was dredging Sinepuxent Inlet, which had been made nearly unusable by the storm, and fortifying it against attack.[3]
Stephen Hackworth, The Minuteman’s Musket: A History of American Military Readiness


[1] Right about where the Tomb of the Unknowns is IOTL.
[2] This sounds pathetic, I know, but it’s five times the size of the army Calhoun proposed IOTL.
[3] A little south of Ocean City, MD. IOTL the hurricane completely destroyed it and closed the inlet, so the town was abandoned. Thank you, butterflies.


On August 8, John Leach wrote to two attorneys of Lincoln’s Inn, William Cooke and John Allen Powell. “By command of His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, and with the approbation of the Lord High Chancellor and the Earl of Liverpool, you are hereby authorized to proceed forthwith to Paris… for the purpose of making enquiries into the conduct of Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales since she quitted England in the month of August 1814.” Leach moreover specifically instructed them to “engage all such assistance either legal or otherwise as in your judgment shall be expedient” (emphasis added) and to make regular progress reports. They would have the assistance of Sir Thomas Henry Browne of the British Embassy, and the banking firm of Thomas Coutts & Co. extended its financial support.

At this stage, the Prince Regent’s allies were still keeping their options open. As the Prime Minister said, “whatever might be the nature of the evidence obtained… the question of the expediency of any proceeding must always be considered as an open question, and as in no way decided by the establishment of the commission.”[1] Nonetheless, the Prince himself was determined — even, at this point, a little obsessed — with getting his own way…
Bertrand Martineau and P.G. Sherman, The Great Scheme
September 7, 1818
Embassy of the United Kingdom, Paris

This was the sort of trick that could only be pulled off under cover of daylight.

Everyone in Paris knew that the D’Issy Commission had been sent from London to investigate the allegations that Princess Caroline had been unfaithful to her nominal husband, Prince George, whom she hadn’t seen in years. It was only natural that the Commission’s first step would be to come to the British embassy and question the ambassador, Sir Charles Stuart, for whatever he might know. And it was also natural that Stuart would attend this meeting accompanied by his faithful secretary and right-hand man, Sir Thomas Henry Browne.

Everyone in Paris also knew that Browne was a spy. What they didn’t know was that he wasn’t working for the Foreign Office, and wasn’t looking for French state or military secrets. (Although he had made one or two halfhearted efforts to obtain such secrets, just to keep up appearances.) Browne reported to the Prince Regent himself, and was spying on Princess Caroline. If they ever learned this, of course, the game would be up. So it was a very good thing that the Commission had a pretext for having Browne in the same room with them right there in the embassy, and didn’t have to sneak off somewhere in the dead of night to debrief him.

“Most of the allegations, as you know,” said Powell, “concern her relationship with her majordomo, Bartolomeo Pergami. The gossip about those two has reached as far as London. No doubt you’ve made a good many personal observations of them over the course of the past year.”

“They do appear together in public quite often,” said Browne. “I can’t be too obvious, of course, but I have managed to find an occasion or two to put myself in their path.”

“And?” said Cooke. “What have you seen?”

“They show all the signs of romantic attachment — more so than a good many married couples. I think anyone who saw them would say they were lovers.”

“We might have heard so much from anyone in Paris,” said Cooke, “and I dare say we shall. Let me put it this way — if she were to claim that he was nothing more than a good friend and a loyal servant, could you prove her a liar?”

“Not personally, no,” said Browne. “But there are those who could. One of them, at least, I could arrange for you to meet. His name is Gaetan Jeannot, and he serves as the Princess’s factor.

“Jeannot contacted me not long after I arrived. He’s quite the anglophile — that’s why he went to work for the Princess in the first place. When he heard a genuine English spy was in town, he could hardly wait to meet me. He’s fascinated by everything happening in the embassy and the Foreign Office. More to the point, he has witnessed her and Pergami in moments when they were… more than friendly with one another.

“Better still, he has spoken with others who have — in particular, one of her attendants, Aloïse St.-Leger. I have, on occasion, spoken with Mademoiselle St.-Leger myself. She can testify to the… physical… nature of their relationship.”

“She can,” said Powell. “Will she?”

“I regret to say that both Jeannot and St.-Leger require some… compensation… to take the risk of disclosing information to me. They would require more if they were to testify openly. Not without reason — publicly betraying an employer would make it rather hard for them to find another situation.

“There is more. On Jeannot’s advice, I also initiated correspondence with a Swiss woman, Louise Demont, who was dismissed from Her Highness’ employ late last year — she was apparently involved in a spot of embezzlement that Pergami ferreted out. She lives in Lausanne, and she is positively champing at the bit to testify against Caroline and Pergami.”

“Prior to her… dismissal, what position did she hold?” asked Cooke.

“She was Caroline’s secretary, and had intimate knowledge of all her… affairs.”

“Then if I understand you correctly, the two most likely witnesses for His Highness in any divorce proceeding against his wife would be two mercenaries and a vengeful sneakthief,” said Powell. “The problem is this: the Prince Regent’s enemies regard Caroline as a woman deeply wronged. Whether they believe in her innocence or not, they will forcefully assert it and will dismiss anything short of physical proof of her transgressions. Have we any hope of such proof?”

Stuart spoke up. “Given her… circumstances,” he said carefully, “it defies everything we know about human nature to suppose that she would remain celibate for the rest of her life with a man like Pergami available. But… physical proof? We have none.”

Cooke and Powell looked at each other. This was not what they had hoped for. In a year of espionage, Browne should have found something more substantial than a few dubious witnesses and a load of street gossip.

On the other hand, his Royal Highness’ previous secret agents had been fugitives from a farce. There was a Mr. Quentin, for example, who hadn’t been able to come up with any better cover story than that the Prince Regent had sent him all the way to Naples “to buy some horses.” As for Baron Ompteda, nobody seemed to know what had gone wrong there, but Pergami had found him out literally within hours of returning to the Villa d’Este. The story went that Caroline had made a formal ceremony out of Ompteda’s dismissal “in recognition of his services to the House of Hanover.”[2] By those standards, Browne had proven himself a master of the craft. And in any case, Prinny would probably take testimony from Baron Munchhausen if it gave him the answers he wanted.

“I do have a piece of news which may be of interest,” said Browne. “The Princess is planning to return to British shores this October.”

Everyone in the room sat there for a moment, blinking.

“Not permanently, of course — only for a couple of weeks. And Pergami, for once, will not be by her side.”


[1] Believe it or not, all of this is OTL, except for the part about Browne working for the embassy. Don’t take my word for it — look here.
[2] IOTL, she did something very much like this.




TO MR. MOORE.


Gaeta, September 19, 1818

If the hiatus in my letters to yourself and my other friends and correspondents has stirred in your bosom any fears as to my well-being, I beg your forgiveness and assure you: though an ague troubled me the past week, yet it has passed and this morning I find myself much better in health.

Yet since last I took pen in hand to address you from this sun-drenched, blood-soaked earth, a great change has come over my very being, such that even I must struggle to find the words; and my former life I reckon but a long childhood in comparison to my current state. For too long I have remained in Rome,—the safest, or rather least perilous, place in all Italy,—and spoke and wrote cheerfully of freedom whilst braver men than I fought for it.

No more. Now at last I stand in the ranks of the fighters, putting aside (for the moment, dear Thomas, only for the moment) the poet’s pen to take up the musket of the soldier. You may have been expecting something of this nature since my last letter, in which I recounted my decision to join my friends in volunteering for the First Roman Regiment, to show that there is at least one Briton who knows where Honor and Justice dwell. I had expected to recount the manner of our training in the use of arms, and instruction in the other arts of the soldier.

But we were needed too urgently, and so off to the front we were sent with our training scarce half complete. From the ancient town of Antium,—now called Anzio—, we set forth through the malarial Pontine marshes (from whence, as I believe, came the ague I have already mentioned). In the face of this dismal jouney, I confess the inspiring words of the warrior-pope Pius seemed hard to bear in mind. Yet I dare say our arrival at dusk out of the marsh came as a great surprise to the louts and hirelings laying siege to Gaeta at the behest of the soi-dissant King of the Two Sicilies! That we were successful, and the siege was broken, you may already know. I can add little to what has appeared in the papers, beyond my own part in it; and it is this that I now struggle to write of.

When we emerged from marsh onto open ground, the first thing I saw was a burly, bearded villain in a threadbare Neapolitan uniform. We saw one another at the same moment, for he stood not fifty feet away. He fired at me in haste, and missed (I heard the musket-ball as it passed a foot or so over my head). Seeing that I would be upon him before he could reload his weapon, he cast it aside and drew his sword— but now my own musket was at the ready. For the first time in my life, I fired it with deadly purpose, aiming for the very center of his chest—yet the recoil of it spoiled my aim, sending the ball above and to the left of his heart.

The wound was mortal, but not instantly so. He fell to the ground in great agony. His eyes beseeched me to put an end to his suffering, which for a long and dreadful moment I hesitated to do; yet at last my bayonet completed the work my bullet had begun. Of the rest of the battle I remember but little; my brothers in arms had advanced far ahead of me by then, and soon the foe was in full flight. (I remember only a fearsome old sergeant shouting at me to clean the blood from my bayonet, lest it rust,—which I hastened to do.)

It was this day that aroused such a multitude of strange and terrible feelings in my bosom, sentiments for which there are no words of which I know in English or Italian. A man like any other, whose face I did not clearly see, whose name I shall never know;— a man who might have come here only for pay, or for the chance to plunder and outrage the peasants, or perhaps even out of some strange loyalty to Mr. Ferdinand Bourbon:— that man who one hour ago had been among the living was now dead at my hands. For aught I know, he may have had a living mother, or perhaps a wife; but I confess I did not look to his fingers to see if they were graced by any rings.

I am a poet—I know what words can do, and what they cannot—and I do not think they can convey what I felt, in the wake of that awful moment, to the bosom of one who has not shed blood in war. But know, dear Thomas, that it was not only the ague that set me a-tremble in the nights that followed.

Do not mistake this for regret. For there was never yet a war fought in which no men lost their lives—and have I not said many times that the war against these foul kings was a war worthy to be fought? Whatever else may come of this, now all shall know that I am neither coward nor hypocrite; that I mean what I say, that I reckon my principles more precious than my life and that I can do such deeds as I have exhorted other men to do.

And I shall do them again, and again, and again. Wherever tyrants hold sway and men dare to defy them, I shall rank myself among the defiant. So long as a soul on this Earth bides in slavery and oppression, I shall not be at rest. I mean to make of myself a sword in the hand of Nemesis.

I know now why I was born.

I remain very much yours, etc.,
B.



Friday, October 2, 1818
10:15 a.m.
Worthing

The cloud cover this morning had a frayed and ragged look to it, like an old coat. The bars of sunlight that shone through looked almost solid as the steamboat reached the dock and chugged to a stop. The crowd waiting to greet it was small and subdued — and if anyone had asked them why they were there, they would probably have said they wished to pay their respects to the Prince Consort, whose carriage stood near the dock.

This was only natural. Worthing was a fairly small, upper-class community. There were people here who (poor souls) still needed Prince George’s favour, and would not gain it by being seen in public greeting Princess Caroline’s return with loud huzzahs.

Caroline understood all this, but she was still a little disappointed by the reaction. Nonetheless, she waved cheerfully at them as she stepped off the dock.

Caroline looked the Prince Consort up and down. Her daughter had made a fine catch. Leopold was tall, handsome, and from what Caroline had heard, brave, clever and kind. He had everything a woman could want except money, and since Charlotte Augusta was heir to the throne of the United Kingdom, any fortune he brought into the marriage would be superfluous.

“Have you met my young ward, William Austin?” she said, indicating the sixteen-year-old boy at her right elbow.[1] William bowed.

“A pleasure,” said Leopold, nodding to the young man. Behind her, Gaetan and Aloïse handled the luggage.

As soon as their carriage took them over the Teville Stream and out of the Worthing town limits, it slowed down. The crowd out here was huge — in the tens of thousands, if Caroline was any judge — wildly enthusiastic, and not quite restrained from getting in the way of the horses. They gave loud and lusty huzzahs to Caroline, Prince Leopold, and little Prince Leo and Princess Charlotte, who weren’t here to appreciate them. Noticeably absent from their cheers were any mention of the king, the prince regent or the prime minister.

* * *

It was the better part of a day’s journey from Worthing to Claremont House by carriage. Caroline spent part of it relating her adventures overseas. Then she pressed Leopold for any and all gossip relating to the Prince Regent and his cronies, the Douglases or any of her other old enemies — the nastier the better. “The Leo” looked none too comfortable describing what he knew of his father-in-law’s affairs to his mother-in-law, but he managed.

“Oh, and Mr. Canning sends warm regards,” said Leopold as they pulled into the driveway. “His duties with the Company and the situation in India have him rather preoccupied at the moment,[2] but he hopes to visit you personally during your stay here.”

The meeting in the front hall was something of a shock. Caroline had not seen her daughter in four years — and, thanks to Prinny, had seen too little of her even before then. It took her a moment to match up her memories of a headstrong, mercurial, vulnerable girl with the tall, determined-looking and (well, of course) regal young woman standing in front of her.

Caroline was not much inclined to regret, but right now it occurred to her to wonder what her daughter had gone through in her absence. Charlotte had lost all trace of childhood in her bearing and features. (She had put on a little weight as well, but that was probably an effect of the pregnancy.) Does she truly understand? thought Caroline. Does she forgive me?

“Mother,” Charlotte said. Her expression softened, just a little. The servants exchanged glances, then quietly left the room. Leopold was showing William where the horses were kept.

Charlotte strode forward and embraced her. Caroline’s face pressed against the side of her daughter’s neck. She cried a little.

“I’m sorry I stayed away so—” Her daughter hushed her.

“You’re back now. We have all the time in the world.”

“Only two weeks,” she said. “One day, darling, I swear I’ll come back to England for good.”

“Well, in the meantime… I believe there’s someone else here you would like to see.” She escorted Caroline to an upstairs room.

“I’ve just got him changed, Your Highnesses,” said the nanny, as little Leopold William Frederick used her apron to pull himself up onto his feet. As soon as he saw his mother, he beamed and started toddling unsteadily but quickly in her direction.

“Mother,” said Charlotte, “say hello to The Cub.” Cheerfully throwing aside all upper-class British etiquette, Caroline kicked off her shoes, knelt down on the carpet, lowered her head until her face was more or less on a level with the infant’s and let out a stream of her finest baby-talk.


Saturday, October 3
shortly after 2 p.m.
Claremont House, Surrey

The weather had taken a turn for the worse. It was a good day to stay indoors, enjoying tea and conversation. In addition to her daughter, her son-in-law, William Austin and her sister-in-law Sophia whom she had so unexpectedly met at Prince William’s wedding, there were many guests — Lady Charlotte Lindsay, who had been a member of Caroline’s entourage on part of her journeys, and one of Charlotte Augusta’s dearest friends, Margaret Mercer Elphinstone. There were also two MPs — Samuel Whitbread[3] with his wife and sons, and Henry Brougham, to whose house Charlotte Augusta had once fled when her father had tried to make her marry that Dutch prince.

“Cream or honey?” said a servant as she poured Caroline some tea.

Caroline almost said “sugar” before she realized the girl hadn’t said anything about sugar. Well, if there wasn’t any, it probably wasn’t the servant’s fault.

“Both, please.” Only after the servant had supplied everyone and left the room did Caroline turn to her daughter and say, “So there’s no sugar at Claremont House?”

Charlotte Augusta opened her mouth to speak, but Leopold gently motioned for her to be quiet and let him answer.

“We believe that the persistence of chattel slavery is one of the great evils of the present day,” said her son-in-law. “In fact, we wish to sever — as much as we possibly can — all ties of commerce between our household and those industries which practice the greatest exploitation of slave labour.”

“Hear, hear!” said Brougham. Whitbread also nodded approvingly.

“Thank you. Unfortunately, it’s very hard to find sugar grown by free labourers — I have tried. So we substitute honey.”

“For all that he says ‘we believe’,” Caroline said to her daughter, “I suspect this was much more your idea than The Leo’s.”

“It was,” said Charlotte Augusta.[4]

“Oh, she’s become quite fanatical,” said Charlotte Lindsay.

“Well, I don’t like slavery any more than you do, and honey in my tea is a nice change of pace — in fact” (Caroline took a sip) “I think I like it better than sugar — but I find politics in my food and drink to be rather less sweet. Next you’ll be worrying about who grew the cotton in your linens.”

“I have already given that some thought.”

“Oh… well, it certainly does you credit, but I don’t think I could live like that. Worrying about my every pleasure and purchase, and whether it was contributing in some distant way to suffering and injustice elsewhere in the world… I should think it would take a deal of joy out of life.”

“I assure you, there’s plenty of joy left over,” said Leopold, turning to gaze into his wife’s eyes.

“And in any event,” said Whitbread, “since the Tories passed the Corn Law, there’s no escaping politics in our food — or drink, if one is a brewer like myself. That is, if one is fortunate enough to be able to purchase food and drink at all.”

“I wonder if they even know,” said Brougham. “Parliament, I mean. I wonder if they realize how large our cities have grown, or how many people in them are without work and short of bread.”

“Given the state of the boroughs, why would they?” said Caroline. “The seats in Parliament should be apportioned to represent men, not sheep or grouse.” (For preference, she would not have spent more time than absolutely necessary talking politics. But if it was true what everyone was saying, that her husband was more determined than ever to divorce her, she would need all the political allies she could get. Best to lay the groundwork for that now by making it clear whose side she was on.)

“Let us take a respite from politics for the moment,” said Charlotte Augusta. “Some of us have very important news. Margaret, Henry… will you tell her, or shall I?”

“Henry and I are going to be married next May!” blurted out Margaret.[5]

“Again I see your hand in this, darling,” said Caroline as soon as the congratulations were done.

Charlotte Augusta smiled. “Two of my best friends meeting and falling in love? What could I possibly have had to do with that?”


Monday, October 5
Carlton House, London

Prince Regent George Augustus Frederick, “the first gentleman of England,” effective monarch of the United Kingdom and Ireland since his father’s incapacity, sat gazing out the window of his home. In spite of his physical bulk (the Radical press were calling him “Prince of Whales”) he sat with a certain poise, and his clothes were sumptuous and impeccably neat. You could, if you were hopelessly ignorant, imagine that his mind was occupied with great affairs of state — the situation in Italy, the establishment of order in India, the danger of domestic unrest and whether it was advisable to reinstate habeas corpus…[6]

“What is that blasted woman doing in my kingdom?” (Which was getting a little ahead of developments, as his father was still technically alive, but never mind.)

“It is only a brief visit, Your Highness,” said Lord Liverpool. “Soon enough she’ll be gone again. There is no danger of her crossing your path — none.”

“I should hope not! Castlereagh would never have allowed this to happen!”

“Of course not, Your Highness. But Castlereagh is in Stockholm, where he is most urgently needed.”

“I urgently need someone to make her go away!

Somehow, the Prime Minister kept his exasperation from showing on his face. Of course, everyone knew “Prinny” hated his wife. Lord Liverpool had first realized just how strongly he felt about her three years ago, when he had told the Prince Regent of the death of Bonaparte. His exact words had been “Your Highness, your greatest enemy is dead.” The prince’s face had lit up and he had said “Is she, by God!” It was as though he had poured all the frustrations of his life into his hatred of that one obnoxious woman — and there had been many frustrations, mostly revolving around the unwillingness of king and Parliament to allow him to spend the entire treasury of the empire on riotous living. (That, and the matter of Mrs. Fitzherbert.)

“All in good time, Your Highness.” Technically, this 56-year-old child had the authority to dismiss Parliament. Of course, that would mean new elections, which with the realm in its current state would surely mean a government far less to the prince’s liking than this one. He couldn’t possibly do something so self-destructive in a fit of petulance, could he? What am I thinking? Of course he could.

“Consider,” Lord Liverpool continued. “Even as we speak, our agents in Paris are working tirelessly to collect the evidence of her misdeeds. Once their work is done, your position will be unassailable. If she ever dares show her face on these shores again, we will begin divorce proceedings at once and expose her to the world as an adulteress.”

“Did I ever tell you about the stains I found on her drawers on our wedding night?” said George apropos of nothing. “Stains both fore and aft — and the smell of her! I was quite put off.”[7]

“Most distasteful, Your Highness.” Please, God, let this conversation come to an end, thought Lord Liverpool.

“I have done my duty as a husband and a prince — no one can say otherwise. I have done what was required of me, though it was almost more than I could bear. Now… I will have that wretched woman out of this country and out of my life.”


[1] Caroline took in orphans and abandoned children like they were stray cats. William Austin is the oldest of her collection.
[2] As in OTL, George Canning (a friend of Caroline’s, which is why Leopold brought him up) is president of the Board of Control of the British East India Company. The Third Anglo-Maratha war ended at the beginning of this year with an overwhelming British victory (courtesy of General Wellington) but some of the leaders of the revolt are still at large. Wellington is capturing Peshwa Baji Rao II about the same time this is happening — it took longer ITTL because Wellington refused to meet the Peshwa’s demands of an honorable and luxurious retirement. (That was pretty much what they gave Napoleon at Elba, and look how that worked out.)
[3] In addition to being a political radical, Samuel Whitbread was a big fan of Napoleon — to the point where, IOTL, he slit his own throat a few weeks after Waterloo. ITTL, he seriously contemplated suicide after Napoleon’s death at Nancy, but since the French government didn’t collapse right away, he ultimately decided to stick around and see what happened next.
[4] From what I know of Charlotte’s politics, her personal history and her circle of friends, I can easily imagine her becoming an abolitionist. And I think she would have been a pretty radical one — she didn’t seem to have a lukewarm setting.
[5] If you’re curious — OTL, MME married an officer of Napoleon’s who fled to Britain after the Bourbon Restoration, and Brougham didn’t marry until 1821.
[6] OTL, habeus corpus was suspended in the U.K. in 1817. The sudden end of the war left a lot of people unemployed, broke (and, thanks to the Corn Law, hungry) and angry. Lord Liverpool’s government was afraid this would lead to a French-style revolution.
ITTL, the British economy is on the decline (made slightly worse by French tariffs in Anvers and the Dead Roses’ tariffs in the United States) but it hasn’t yet dropped to the level it did at this point IOTL, since the wars have sort of trailed off rather than coming to a sudden stop. On the other hand, ITTL there’s Talleyrand, the Bonaparte family and the Jacobins lurking across the Channel, just itching to foment unrest. Anyway, habeas corpus has definitely been suspended by now.
[7] Things You Won’t Believe Are OTL (Cont’d): Caroline was raised in the court of Brunswick, where standards of personal hygiene were somewhat lower than in the British royal family. Her pre-marital advisor, unfortunately, was Lady Jersey, the prince’s mistress (now there’s a conflict of interest) who somehow forgot to clue her in on the important of washing thoroughly before having sex with your notoriously fastidious husband. George, who was probably too drunk to do anything with her anyway, claimed to find “marks of filth both in the fore and hind part of her” in a letter to a friend.
You’ll be relieved to know her hygiene has greatly improved since then.



For the campaign in the fall of 1818, the Emperor of Austria had provided Field Marshal Bianchi with the largest army that could possibly be assembled in the time available. Nonetheless, the campaign was a desperate gamble. To succeed, Bianchi would have to defeat first the French army under Ney, then Gioacchino’s Italian army. If they were able to join forces, they could bottle up the Austrians in the mountain passes of the Alps indefinitely.

And no sooner was Bianchi’s army in northern Italy than Italian partisans and skirmishers set about distracting and delaying him. The attacks were small-scale, involving no more than a few squads shooting from cover, and then fleeing. But they came once or twice a day and two or three times a night, from any direction, and were sometimes unexpectedly large and aggressive. One attack in particular overran an exposed company of horse artillery and spiked or otherwise sabotaged a dozen guns before being forced to withdraw.

As Bianchi pushed further into Italy, the attacks came less often on his army and more often on his logistics train. By the time he had reached the Po, he had found it necessary to split his army (once roughly twice the size of Ney’s) in two and use half of it to guard his supply lines. As for the attacks on the army itself, he had long since learned to use his cavalry to fight them off without his infantry breaking stride.

It was this that proved his ruin. On the morning of October 13, about an hour before dawn on the fields east of Marcaria, he knew that the French army was not far away, but did not know exactly where they were — and searching for them would be a hopeless task, with the ground swathed in heavy fog that cut visibility down to less than twenty meters. When he heard reports of a company of partisans shouting in Italian as they shot at the soldiers in the vanguard of his army, he casually ordered his hussars to deal with the matter and went back to plotting the day’s maneuvers.

Through the mist the hussars charged, sabers at the ready, preparing to plunge them into the backs of fleeing partisans. Perhaps, for a moment, they caught a glimpse of the indistinct but ominous shapes emerging from the gray darkness ahead as they advanced.

Then the fog filled with the yellow light of twenty thousand muzzle flares and a terrible thunder. Musket-balls and canister plunged into the hussars and their horses at a range of fifteen meters.

They had just found the French army. The partisans — whether they were real Italian partisans, or French scouts speaking Italian — had led them right onto the tips of their enemies’ bayonets. Those who survived the first volley realized at once that they were hopelessly outgunned, and turned to retreat.

A few miles away, Bianchi heard the volley, and knew at once what it meant. He immediately began giving the orders to ready his army for battle.

But this was not the army that had fought in the Juillet Lorrain or at Nancy. Its ranks had been hastily swelled by underequipped conscripts from all over the empire, not all of whom spoke German or had more than a vague sense of what was going on. Their training had consisted of one or two weeks of marching and weapons drill, and six to eight weeks of listening to their more experienced comrades tell them terrifying stories about the Italian front. These recruits reacted badly to surprise.

This was shown when the hussars returned and crossed the path of several particularly inexperienced units on Bianchi’s right wing. Seeing a horde of cavalrymen charging out of the fog, screaming in Hungarian and in many cases still holding their sabers, some of them thought they were under attack by Ney’s famous cavalry and opened fire. Others simply fled. Seeing their comrades fleeing caused others in turn to flee, and the effect snowballed. Only a quick series of orders by Bianchi kept his army from disintegrating entirely. Even so, three regiments of his infantry had just been routed from the battlefield by his own retreating cavalry… and Ney hadn’t even attacked yet.

When the fog lifted and Ney did attack, he was relentless. Seeing that Bianchi no longer had the strength to take the offensive, he ordered his center to hold while his left and right flanks tried again and again to roll up the Austrian line.

If he had chosen to retreat at this point, Bianchi might have been able to return to Trent. As it was, by the time he acknowledged that the battle was lost, Ney’s own cavalry had cut off his avenue of escape. By noon, he had already surrendered…


The end of October saw General Beresford engaged in a desperate war of maneuver. At Ceccano he had narrowly escaped a trap, with artillery units and riflemen loyal to the Pope holding the heights across the Sacco and the king attacking from the northeast, attempting to drive his Anglo-Sicilian force into the river. But now events in Naples would render his best efforts irrelevant.

Ferdinand of the Two Sicilies arrived in Naples on October 30. Most historians believe that it was Ferdinand’s intention to dismiss Morriset as city governor, take charge of Naples himself and thereby incur the gratitude of the populace. The city already appeared to have been pacified, or at least terrified into submission. And well it might have been — out of a population of nearly 315,000 (as of an 1814 census), Morriset hanged 4,154 over the course of 1818. (This compares with 99 who were executed in the aftermath of the fall of the Parthenopean Republic. It does not include those killed in street battles with the occupying army.) It is quite likely that everyone in Naples knew someone who had been killed by the “Monster.”

But before Ferdinand could make any announcements or set any of his plans in motion, someone else would seize the initiative. As Ferdinand stepped onto the dock, he was shot. The bullet grazed the top of his right ear. The would-be assassin fled, Ferdinand’s guards in hot pursuit. The assassin made it into the San Lorenzo area and disappeared into a tavern.

(Several taverns in the area now claim to be the one where the assassin took cover, but none of their claims have been substantiated. It is quite possible that the guards ran into the wrong one. For that matter, at least fifteen different men, including the British adventurer Lord Byron, have claimed to be the one who attempted to kill the Bourbon king.)

Unable to find the assassin, the guards pulled fifteen men whom they believed to be witnesses out of the tavern and detained them for questioning. At this point, two important facts come into play.

First, under Morriset’s regime arrest (or even “detention for questioning”) had come to be thought of as a prelude to execution. Second, a number of his underlings (whether Morriset himself even knew of this is a point of debate) had developed the ugly habit of extorting regular sexual favors from Neapolitan women who caught their eye by threatening to have their fathers, brothers or husbands taken and hanged as rebels. Several of the men that Ferdinand’s officers were now attempting to arrest were men whose lives had been used to threaten women in this way. The officers performing the arrests, who had only just been transferred from Palermo, first learned of this problem when two or three young women charged out of the assembled crowd and attacked them with kitchen knives.

Then, the crowd joined in the attack. The unrest spread from street to street, from plaza to plaza. By midnight Ferdinand’s men, and Morriset’s, found themselves fighting for their lives on the docks and in the Vicaria, the only parts of the city they had any control over.

On Saturday, two leaders emerged — the carbonari Michele Morelli and Giuseppe Silvati, who had been in hiding throughout Morriset’s reign. They stepped into the vacuum of leadership and took command of the uprising. When Ferdinand set up his cannons in the streets, they led flanking attacks through buildings, finding the owners or tenants and consulting them for the quickest routes, smashing through interior walls when necessary. Nails and broken glass scattered over the streets thwarted cavalry charges. By Monday morning, the Bourbon king had been driven back to his ships, and his ships back to sea.

As for Morriset, some have claimed that he tried to flee with Ferdinand, while others have claimed that he fought like a cornered rat until his capture. The truth is quite unromantic. The rebels found him in his quarters on the night of October 31, lying in bed with a migraine (an affliction he had suffered from, off and on, since his injury). He was dragged out of bed, shown before the screaming mob and hanged in front of a full-length mirror to general applause — the last victim of “death in the mirror.” (Visitors to Naples today, who visit the Duomo di Napoli and see the screaming, half-swollen, wildly asymmetric gargoyles on the western façade, are astounded to learn that the sculptures are modeled after a real human face.)

Arrigo Gillio, The War of Italian Unification



“To the Staffordshire Volunteers, I regret to inform you of the passing of Lieutenant Colonel James Thomas Morriset, lately of your regiment. Whatever else may be said of him, he was one of the bravest officers I ever had serving under me, and a man who suffered as few others have in the service of king and country.

“And now for an announcement that concerns us all — Naples has fallen. The city is in the hands of insurrectionists. Our supply line has been cut off.

“Furthermore, I have received an offer of cease-fire from Monsieur Murat — or, as I suppose we must now learn to call him, His Most Italian Majesty Gioacchino the First of the Murato Dynasty. Moreover, he has offered to permit the British army on Italian soil to retreat in arms to Terracina on the coast, there to await further orders from London. He seems quite confident that we will be withdrawn from this country rather than ordered to continue fighting him.

“Given recent events in the north, and now in Naples, he may well be right. Any road, I have accepted the cease-fire, and we march for Terracina today. God willing, we'll all be back on British shores before too long.

“To the soldiers of Naples and Sicily, it has been an honor serving with you. Your king may have failed you, but you did not fail him. Goodbye and good luck.”

-General William Carr Beresford, November 3, 1818


The Class of 1818: People Born This Year Who Will Show Up Later

Hooper Bragg, born Jan. 9 in Warrenton, North Carolina, son of Thomas and Margaret Crosland Bragg, who is rumored to have committed murder. An intelligent child, his father (a carpenter) will be able to afford to send him to the Warrenton Male Academy. His working-class origins and the rumors about his mother will be a severe social handicap there.

Princess Julia Louisa and Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck, twins, born April 6 at Gottorp Castle, a few months before it fell to the Prussians. There will be a certain amount of cognitive dissonance in their upbringing — Julia Louisa will be taught English while she’s still learning Danish, and will in other ways be groomed as a possible spouse to young Leopold of the United Kingdom, while Christian will be groomed as a military leader in the vague hope of one day avenging Denmark’s serial national humiliations, many of which were at the hands of the United Kingdom.[1]

William Archibald Douglas, born April 21 in Kinmount House, Cummertrees, son of John and Sarah Douglas and nephew of Charles Douglas, 6th Marquess of Queensberry. As a boy, his principal interests will be hunting and cricket.

Richard St.-Napoléon Colin, born Aug. 13, son of a wine-growing family in Indre-et-Loire. He will prove an apt scholar, but will be equally fascinated by viticulture, farming and animal husbandry.

Chui Yongxiang, born Oct. 2 in Gongjing (modern Zigong), Sichuan Province, son of a brine-well manager.[2] Growing up, he will be a cheerful and gregarious child with many friends, but one who makes no great effort (despite his own intelligence and his parents’ pleas) to pass the civil service examinations.

[1] At this point they don't actually know he's going to be the heir to the throne.
[2] This is a better job than it sounds. The salt business in China was profitable and prestigious.


Below: a map of parts of North America as of early next year, much improved by Stolengood.
Attached Images
 
__________________
The Dead Skunk: For want of a skunk, Louisiana is a republic and Charlotte Princess of Wales lives.
2013 Turtledove Winner The Day the Icecap Died
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old February 27th, 2013, 08:06 PM
Lycaon pictus Lycaon pictus is offline
Author of "Locksmith's Closet"
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 900
1819

January 4, 1819
Winchelsea, Sussex

Henry Brougham’s desk was a mountain of correspondence as great as the snowdrifts outside his window. Letters from city aldermen documenting the hunger and misery caused by the price of bread this winter, kept artificially high by the Corn Law. Letters from teachers whose experience was helping to shape Brougham’s ideas for nationwide education reform. A letter from a traveler in Lisbon informing him of preparations for a constitutional convention early this year. And, most importantly, letters relating to the planning of what Margaret fully intended to be the most sumptuous and spectacular wedding their means made possible.

And here, for some reason, was a letter from Viscount Sidmouth, the Home Secretary. As one of the most reactionary members of a conservative cabinet, Sidmouth was neither a political nor a personal friend. So what was he writing about?

On closer examination, he was writing to advise Brougham not to invite Caroline of Brunswick to his wedding. It seemed that after her visit in October, the Cabinet had decided that the next time the Prince Regent’s wife set foot in this country, Prinny would begin divorce proceedings against her forthwith. Of course, Sidmouth wrote, you will not wish to expose her to humiliation and scorn…

Brougham chuckled to himself. Did this over-promoted tax collector really think he could pull off a bluff like that? According to British law, there could be no divorce without either confession or proof of adultery, and if Prinny or his lackeys had such proof, they would already have announced it with great fanfare. (Proving Prinny himself had committed adultery — many, many times — would of course be very easy to do, but that wasn’t quite what they had in mind, was it?)

In any event, he could hardly neglect to invite Charlotte Augusta’s mother. Brougham had seen the young princess angry once before, and once was plenty. Margaret wouldn’t be happy about it either.

And yet… it might be a better idea, from a political standpoint, to keep Caroline out of the country a little longer. As of now, Prinny was an embarrassment to the Tories and an object of contempt to everyone else. The longer his wife remained abroad, the longer the public could continue to imagine her as an ideal figure of virtuous, persecuted womanhood. As a person, she was likelier to be a liability than anything else, but as a symbol…

This was assuming, of course, that the D’Issy Commission would be as big a failure as the “Delicate Investigation.” (Had that really been twelve — no, thirteen years ago? Prinny’s war on his wife had gone on for so long…) Even if Caroline slipped up and let the Commission find proof of her guilt, the public might forgive her, given how shabbily she had been treated by her husband. It would, of course, be the end of any hope for a Queen Caroline in a position of power and influence, but her daughter would still be unscathed. More importantly, none of this would reflect badly on one Henry Brougham, who would gain credit for having been loyal to her for as long as reasonably possible.

And if (which was more likely) the Commission brought forward a farrago of rumours and circumstantial evidence and tried to call it proof, that would be splendid. They would disgrace themselves and discredit the whole Tory establishment. The people of this nation had a positive horror of libel and slander, particularly directed against a woman.

All this went through Brougham’s mind in the time it took him to set down Sidmouth’s letter and pick up a fresh piece of paper to write the invitation.


That the Bernard de Marigny administration was such a success was due less to its political support (the Radicals’ victory in ’18 was extremely narrow) than the fact that he took office at the beginning of a time of unexampled prosperity in Louisiana.

Wheat, corn, tobacco and cotton from the United States flowed down the river into the city to be sold abroad. In addition to this, it was in ’19 that Louisiana also saw the first exports of Yadkin and Shenandoah wines, which even after tariffs were cheaper than wine shipped across the Atlantic.[1] (Although Marigny never drank American wines himself, saying of them that “you get what you pay for — if that.”) Equally important were coffee, sugar and other products of South America and the islands, which came from across the Gulf to be sold in the United States. All this commerce left the Republic’s government flush with cash.

Another source of wealth was the casinos of New Orleans, legal, tax-paying establishments where the same Americans who had grumbled over paying tariffs were delighted to gamble their money away. With his own legendary love of dice, parties and general high living, Marigny himself seemed to exemplify the joyous spirit of the age.

And yet Marigny, like everyone else, knew that these good times would not last forever. With the growth of the U.S. road and canal networks, the day would come when they would not depend on any one port — even New Orleans. The thing to do, then, was convert the present wealth into a form that would provide permanent benefits. If roads and schools were built now, while the money was available, then in leaner years it would only be necessary to pay for their upkeep.

Villeré had begun the work the previous year, setting aside money for a lycée in New Orleans. Under Marigny’s guidance, the Assembly ordered the building of three more lycées (two of which were in Bâton-Rouge and St-Martinville, thus countering criticism that his administration favored the city of New Orleans at the expense of the rest of the republic) and a grande école at Fauborg St-Jean[2], on the former property of James Pitot, an ex-mayor who left Louisiana for the United States during the secession. Conservative resistance to all this public spending was less than one might expect — many of them had immigrant families in their parishes who saw education for their children as a path to social advancement.

The road from Bâton-Rouge to Fort Keane[3], being a military necessity (and partly a military expenditure), also encountered little resistance from Destréhan and the other Conservatives. The chief objections to it came from the local métis population (the “Redbones,” as they were known to anglophones) whose territory the road would go through. They mainly wanted to be left alone by the republic, and especially by its tax collectors. More seriously, some of them were escaped slaves or the descendents thereof. A road through their land greatly increased the danger that their old masters would come looking for them.

To this problem, Marigny had an elegant solution. Those inhabitants of the land who were employed building the road would have their five-year wait time for citizenship reduced by three months for every month of work they did. Once they became citizens, they could not legally be made slaves. If it were proven afterwards in a court of law that one of them had been a slave of another citizen of Louisiana, the government would compensate their former owner…


From April to June of 1819, the city of New Orleans played host to a great peace conference. Princes, rebels, governors and ambassadors from Spain came from all over Central and South America to negotiate the future of the Spanish possessions. There the republics of Tehuantepec, Gran Colombia and Argentina were recognized. (Paraguay sent observers, but did not take part in the negotiations. Araucanía did not send anyone at all, and would not be officially recognized by Spain for many years.) The viceroyalties of New Spain and South America, under the infantes Francisco and Carlos, respectively, were established. Central America from Chiapas to Costa Rica, along with the island possessions, remained under the direct control of Spain itself.

A less formal international affair was the arrival of another prince and viceroy, Edward Duke of Kent and Strathearn, recently created Viceroy of Canada, who came to New Orleans to celebrate his honeymoon with his new wife and old mistress, Thérèse-Bernardine Montgenet, better known as Madame de St. Laurent…[4]

Michel Beauregard, A History of the Republic of Louisiana


[1] Not all the Italian immigrants in the South took up canal-digging.
[2] About where the Bayou St. John neighborhood is today.
[3] OTL Houston
[4] Charlotte Augusta securing the line of succession has given her uncles a lot more freedom.



Underneath its veneer of perfect unity, the Adams administration was something of a coalition government. There was the old-line Republican from Virginia, James Monroe, now virtually on the sidelines; Henry Clay, the rising man of the West, doing all he could from his current office to put forward his American System; the former Federalist and eager nation-builder Rufus King, of New England and New York; and William H. Crawford, who represented the southern planters.

In the beginning, all this had hardly been necessary. In the immediate aftermath of the War of 1812, the nation had been united as never before. But by ‘18, regional interests had begun to stir again, specifically on the matter of slavery. Although a number of members of Adams’ cabinet were slaveholders, Crawford was the closest thing the institution had to an advocate within the administration. This brought him into frequent conflict with the abolitionist King.

Of the two, Crawford was the better politician, but this hardly mattered. John Quincy Adams was still the final authority in the executive branch, and he was developing an increasing hostility to the institution of slavery.

He was also developing an increasing hostility to Crawford, regarding his presence in the government as a necessary evil at best. At worst, Crawford was “a worm preying upon the vitals of the Administration in its own body,” “sacrificing every principle to his ambition,” and, in an interesting psychological observation, “perhaps… not himself conscious of his real motives.” Adams, being Adams, had long since had to get used to working alongside people he didn’t like very much (not least, his irreplaceable secretary of state and chosen successor) but Crawford was clearly a special case.

This is the part where my students raise their hands and ask, “If Adams hated Crawford so much, why didn’t he just fire him? Why keep him around as treasury secretary?”

Adams considered it more than once. Each time, however, Clay was able to persuade him not to. “Dismiss him, and you create an enemy with a strong following,” said Clay. “Leave him where he is, and his own ambition will keep him from opposing you directly.” (There is a saying about camels and tents that comes to mind at this juncture.)

Crawford’s plans for the future were well known. Adams would run for re-election in ’20, and was almost certain to win, but he had already vowed to follow the example of his predecessors and not run for a third term. So the office of the president would be open in 1824. Then Crawford would challenge Clay for the nomination as the slaveholders’ champion.

But in February of 1819, something happened that made a lot of slaveholders wonder if they could afford to wait that long. Congress was debating the admission of Missouri into the union, and inevitably the question arose — free or slave state?

Since there were already a number of slaveholders there, it seemed at first that the question could only go one way. In fact, Congress had already moved the western border of the proposed state east to the 94th meridian at the request of a delegation from the mostly-Flemish community at Rouwen’s Landing[1], which did not wish to be part of a slave state.

But many in Congress — even those who were not outright abolitionists — felt that slavery should as far as possible be curtailed and kept from expanding. New York Rep. James Tallmadge Jr. insisted that he “would neither advise nor attempt coercive manumission” but called Missouri “a new territory acquired by our common fund” which “ought justly to be subject to our common legislation.” The legislation he had in mind would do two things:
• It would forbid the further importation of slaves into Missouri after admission as a state.
• It would grant freedom to all slave children born in Missouri after admission, once they reached the age of 25.

Despite considerable opposition (including some threats of civil unrest) from Calhoun and other southern congressmen, the Tallmadge Amendment passed the House. The vote in the Senate was carried out on entirely regional grounds. The senators from Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont all voted for it, while the senators from Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia all voted against it.[2] (Sen. Horsey of Delaware, one of the few Tertium Quid senators, made it clear that his vote was based on opposition to federal overreach, not support for slavery.) President Adams, of course, was only too happy to sign it.

The slave states had suffered a defeat, and it was clear that things would only get worse for them. Alabama would become a state before the end of the year — but so would Maine, which had been agitating for statehood since the end of the war. And now, when Missouri drafted a constitution, formed a state and started sending senators and representatives to Congress, who could say which side they would be on?

Andrea Fessler, Rise of the Dead Rose


[1] OTL Chouteau’s Landing, which would become Kansas City. This is a few years earlier than the place was settled IOTL. Blame the French conquest of Belgium.
[2] IOTL, the Tallmadge Amendment passed in the House, but died in the Senate, free and slave states being more or less equally matched. (The filibuster wasn’t really in use in the Senate at this point.)



On February 26, 1819, Metternich, Consalvi and the representatives of the kings of Sardinia and Sicily (no longer Piedmont-Sardinia and the Two Sicilies) signed the Treaty of Stockholm. Italy was, and would remain, an independent kingdom.

Now it needed a government. In Perugia, over the course of the spring, delegates from all over the country met to agree upon a constitution for the nation. Their task would have been a good deal harder had they not already had a working model — the Spanish constitution, which had been drawn up in Cádiz in 1812 and fully implemented in 1816. This constitution offered universal male suffrage (something France, the United Kingdom or the United States[1] did not yet have) and curtailed the power of the king. (Although the carbonari had fought alongside Gioacchino for the purpose of liberating their country, many of them neither liked nor trusted him.)

This charter worked well, with certain modifications. Italy, unlike Spain, had no vast overseas possessions to vex them with questions of representation, so the distinction between “active” and “passive” citizens, which would prove so troublesome to Spain in future years, simply did not arise. Catholicism became the official religion, but not the only permitted one.

In addition to a government, Italy needed a capital to put it in. Although nearly every city on the peninsula was put forward for consideration, the four most popular choices were Rome, Naples, Milan and Florence. Both for historical reasons, and for its central location, Rome was very much the preferred option.

However, as far as Pope Pius VII and Cardinal Consalvi were concerned, that city was already taken. “Rome has already found her true destiny,” said Pius. “She has become the capital of a spiritual empire greater than Caesar’s. Italy for the Italians, yes, but Rome belongs to Christ, and to Catholics throughout the world.” The pope was not prepared to yield all his temporal power, still less to risk allowing his office, and the Church itself, to become subordinate to the Italian state. So it was that the city of Rome itself became the Diocese of Rome, a city-state governed by the pope. (There was already precedent for a state within the state, in the form of San Marino.)

Milan was too far north for the southerners, and too vulnerable to attack from Austria. Naples was too far south for the northerners and too vulnerable to attack by sea. (The delegates were not only thinking of Britain here, but of the Barbary pirates, which at this point were still a threat.) The delegates from Florence themselves objected that their city would practically need to be gutted in order to accommodate a royal palace, a parliament and the other institutions of government.

There were those who proposed doing what the Americans had done, and building an entirely new city to serve as the capital. “A new capital for a new era,” was the slogan they used. In the end, the delegates did the next best thing — they raised the small city of Terni from relative obscurity to its present glory, naming it the capital…


Not everyone in Italy was happy with the new settlement. The diehard republicans among the carbonari, or those who had bad memories of Gioacchino’s rule in Naples, felt betrayed. Those who found the status quo unbearable, too few to revolt, went to the United States, where they found both freedom to enjoy and tyranny to oppose. As Byron said, “When a man hath no freedom to fight for at home/Let him combat for that of his neighbors.”

Still less happy were the zelanti and sanfedisti, but they lacked the force to effectively resist the state. Many of them went to the Virreinato, where the Infante Carlos was delighted to welcome them. The realm he was establishing would prove to be something beyond their wildest dreams…

Arrigo Gillio, The War of Italian Unification



On June 1, the poets Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Keats met Byron in the city of Florence. It was there, after some discussion, that three of the foremost poets of the age began one of the greatest collaborative works in the history of English literature — the 12-book epic Italy Reborn. In this poem, the three created a mythologized account of the history of Italy over the past ten years.

Indeed, the history was literally mythologized. Although the Roman gods did not appear as characters in the poem, they were described as speaking and acting through their mortal agents — Jupiter manifesting himself in the love of power, Apollo in the passion for justice, Mars in the wrath and violence of war, and so forth. And thus it was that Gioacchino’s defeat at Tolentino in Book VI and his subsequent triumph were explained as Jupiter deserting him for the Austrians, and his turning to the justice of Apollo and the wisdom of Minerva. Literary scholars have invested many thousands of pages in trying to determine which passages in the opus were crafted by whom under whose advice and influence; yet it seems clear that it was Shelley and Keats who wanted to include the classical deities in the poem, and Byron who insisted that their presence be spiritual rather than physical…

Over the course of 1820, snippets and brief passages from Italy Reborn (some of which were changed before the final publication of the poem) found their way into the British press, by way of Thomas Moore and other friends of the three poets, who although far away in Florence could not miss the opportunity to influence the momentous events taking place at home by the power of their words.[2]

Arthur Christopher Swinburne, Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know: The Life, Loves and Adventures of Lord Byron



June 4, 1819
Issy-les-Moulineux, just outside Paris

The streets were busy, full of noise and distractions. The wheels of the coach and the hooves of the horses rattled on the cobblestones. In short, unless Princess Caroline’s man Gaetan had better hearing than the average dog, he could not possibly have eavesdropped on a conversation held inside the coach while sitting in the driver’s seat.

All the same, Henry Brougham made a point of speaking circumspectly with his brother. Although the Prince Regent and the Cabinet had indeed been resolute in keeping Caroline away from British shores, no one had proposed the slightest impediment to the Broughams going on honeymoon in Paris. For the next two weeks, Henry and Margaret would be guests of the Princess at Château D’Issy. It wouldn’t do to be overheard gossiping about her.

“I received your letter of last March,” said Henry. “Tell me, can you prove what you wrote?” (What he had written was that in his opinion, Caroline and her majordomo were quite obviously lovers. Since he had been living in Paris and keeping an eye on the princess, Henry took his opinion seriously.) When his brother hesitated to speak, Henry added, “You can speak freely in front of Margaret — she is in on this secret.”

“This secret?” said Margaret playfully, leaning against Henry. “What secrets am I not in on?”

“Can I prove it?” said James, more seriously. “What manner of proof would you have?”

“For our purposes, it does not suffice to say ‘everyone knows’ or ‘nothing could be more obvious’,” said Henry. “Could you prove it in a court of law?”

“No,” said James, “only in the court of common sense.”

“Then let us be grateful that that court has no jurisdiction. And if you can’t prove it, I doubt any spy of the Prince Regent’s can prove it either.”

“Then why did she not call the Prime Minister’s bluff?” said James.

“She would have,” said Henry, “but I convinced her the time was not right — as indeed, I believe it is not.”

“Then why invite her at all?”

“And here we go,” said Margaret. James had just given his brother permission to expound upon his own cleverness.

“Because the point was never to get Caroline back into the country,” said Henry. “The point was to force the Prime Minister and his Cabinet to say in public what Sidmouth communicated to me in private. The point was to make them all stake out a position against her in the sight of the world… which they have now done. They’ve as good as told the whole nation that they’re terrified of this woman — or perhaps they’re nothing but Prinny’s personal manservants. Either way, these men who value the appearance of strength above all else now look weak in the sight of friend and foe alike.”

“And Caroline doesn’t?” said James.

“What if she does? That was also part of my plan. When the people see weakness in a man, they despise him for it. When they see weakness in a woman, they wish to defend her. Prinny and his pet Tories made a grave mistake the day they declared war on her.

“And the best part? They think they’ve won this round. Liverpool, Castlereagh, Sidmouth, Eldon — they all think Caroline is afraid, or else has a guilty conscience. I can’t wait to see what they do next.”

Margaret turned to her brother-in-law. “James,” she said, “tell the truth and shame the devil. This man I’ve gone and married — does he really plan all these things in advance? Or does he just sit and wait for his enemies to trip over their own feet, then leap up and shout ‘Exactly as planned!’”

“I’ve seen him do both,” said James, “but if you’re wondering which one he’s doing now, I can’t help you there. He’s always been too clever by half.”

“By half?” said Henry. “You wound me, brother. I aim to be too clever by at least 120%.”

“Well, are you clever enough to see that she’s using you?” said James. “Corn Laws, slavery, suffrage, rotten boroughs, habeas corpus, the truck system… do you really think any of these things keep her up at night? She only wants her throne.”

“That may or may not be true,” said Henry, “but any road, she will need our help to get it. And… like it or not, we are radicals. Having more than one member of the royal family on our side will reassure the timid that we are not Jacobins. It is therefore in our interest to see that she stays in the royal family.”

“Not to mention that Charlotte would never forgive you if you abandoned her mother,” said Margaret. Just at that moment, the coach stopped outside the chateau.

“You might very well think that, my dear,” said Henry, “but” — he said just as Gaetan opened the door — “I couldn’t possibly comment.”



October 5, 1819
7:15 a.m.
Trafalgar, British Florida

It was nearly dawn. William Davidson had already breakfasted with his family (cornmeal, rice and yams) and was off to work. There was never a shortage of work in this town.

Well, hardly ever. Yesterday, thanks to some delays in the arrival of timber and brick, there had been barely nine hours’ worth of work to do building the port. That had given him more time to fix up the cabin. (Turning the place into a house fit for a family of eight was an ongoing project.)

Even at this early hour, the streets of Trafalgar were busy. And no wonder — most of the houses were in no better shape than Davidson’s. The streets were laid out in a sensible grid (except around the edges of town, so as not to provide a channel for hurricane winds) but were still mostly dirt, with only a few stretches of brick pavement to indicate the ambitions of Raffles and Lafon. Here and there, a big old live oak or hickory had been left standing for the sake of its shade — which was good, as this town did get dreadfully hot during the summer. Jamaica, where Davidson had been born, had been worse, but not much.

Looking across the street, Davidson saw that the city’s first Anglican church was nearly complete. Meanwhile, Trafalgar already had two Hindu temples, a mosque and something that was supposed to be a Catholic church — but from what he’d heard, a very strange one. (Skeptical about religion in general, Davidson had always thought of Catholics as more than usually superstitious, but he was fair-minded enough to acknowledge that he’d never heard of chickens or goats being sacrificed at St. Mary’s in Hampstead, back in London.)

But that was Trafalgar. In this town, the Seminole Indians from up north were already outnumbered by the Indian Indians from India. Then there were freedmen and escaped slaves from the North, Cubans, Haitians, Balinese and Jews… and even a few regular Britons.

And in another generation, not even those categories would fit everybody. Davidson knew of Provençal women, royalists from Marseilles, who had fled the restoration of Napoleon but hadn’t been able to get into Louisiana — the little republic had put limits on how many immigrants it could take in in any one year — and had ended up marrying Bengali or Keralan men. For that matter, he himself was a mulatto who had married a white widow with four children and had two children of his own by her. This was one of the very few places on this earth where a family like his wouldn’t be looked askance at… very often.

Davidson crossed the central boulevard, where the virgin forest between the two lanes had been left untouched (if you wanted a tree-lined avenue, that was about the easiest way in the world to get it) and found himself in a market where little trees were being sold. Tenant farmers, still trying to earn their way out of debt, were preparing orchards to grow oranges and lemons and limes and something called “lychees” — orchards that would stat bearing fruit some time in the next decade. This was a hopeful place.

The piers were always crowded, with everything from little boats from Angola[1], Bombay and Nyepore[2], to Royal Navy gunboats getting ready to hunt for slave ships. And, of course, the freighters bringing in the supplies the colony needed and taking out the bags of rice that were all it had to offer by way of export… at the moment.

Finally, he arrived at the unfinished East Pier Four. Only a few of his crew had made it here before him. The piles had been coated with tar and driven into place, and half the crosspieces were in place as well. The rest of the lumber had arrived last night. Now it was just a matter of carpentry. Lots and lots of carpentry.
* * *
1:30 p.m.
When the job was simple enough that everyone knew what needed doing, there was no excuse for the foreman not to get in there and swing a hammer with the rest. Davidson was so busy driving the last nail into place that he didn’t realize it was the last nail until he heard the cheering of his men behind him.

It was too early in the day for rum, so he treated his crew to a round of choo[3] at a Bengali tavern. On the way home to give his wife the rest of his pay, he stopped at the market and picked up a celebratory bottle of white Yadkin.

“How’d you get this wine so cheap?” said Davidson. Tariffs on American products were rather high.

“Ask me no questions, I tells you no lies,” said the wine-seller cheerfully.

Which was why Davidson was walking down the street with a bottle of contraband wine when the governor’s messenger caught up with him. Fortunately, life had taught him the art of appearing innocent.
* * *
2:30 p.m.
Davidson had never met Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles. The governor was a clever-faced man in his late thirties. He looked over his steepled fingers, examining Davidson with no apparent sign of prejudice (although as Davidson well knew, there weren’t always apparent signs).

“I received your application,” said Raffles. “The son of a colonial attorney general, educated in law and mathematics… your credentials are excellent. How it is you come to work as a common labourer?”

“I took the work I found, governor,” said Davidson. “This city needs workers more than it needs clerks or lawyers.” He hoped Raffles hadn’t inquired into his past too closely.

“I do have a clerical position in mind for you,” said Raffles, “but it may include more… adventurous duties as well. Mr. Davidson, how would you like to make this colony more secure, while at the same time working towards the freedom of your brothers and sisters?”[4]

[1] A community of Seminoles and escaped slaves in the Tampa Bay area (or the Hillsborough Bay area ITTL). IOTL, it was destroyed by a Coweta Creek war party in April of 1821 on the orders of Gen. Andrew Jackson. It was destroyed so thoroughly, in fact, that to this day archaeologists can’t pin down exactly where it was beyond “somewhere on the Manatee River.”
[2] OTL St. Petersburg and Riviera Bay.
[3] An alcoholic beverage brewed from rice.
[4] IOTL, William Davidson stayed in Great Britain, fell in with the wrong crowd and came to a bad end.



The roads and canals under construction would, when completed, allow the United States to transport a large army deep into the interior of the continent and keep it supplied. Never again would the British Empire be able to contest the Upper Mississippi as they had in the War of 1812.

But when considering the problem of the Royal Navy, even the most bellicose of the American war hawks had to face certain grim realities. Army Secretary Tompkins was working with the governors of the states to build coastal batteries, equipped with furnaces for heated shot and (in some cases) columbiads that could knock a hole in a ship’s hull below the waterline, dooming it. But even the best fort in the world could only persuade the enemy to attack somewhere else — and to fortify the entire length of the East and Gulf Coasts was impossible.

The prospect of defeating the British at sea was not much better. “We have not yet the resources to build or to crew a navy the equivalent of Britannia’s,” said President Adams. “To build a navy of the same sort as theirs, yet smaller and weaker, would be a recipe for disaster — not least because American ships overpowered and captured by the Royal Navy would soon be made part of it.”

Admiral Decatur disagreed, pointing out that just such a navy had served the nation well in years past. He cited his own part in America's triumph over the Barbary pirates as an example. He also pointed out the light, swift sailing vessels called “Baltimore clippers,” built by private traders, which could be enlisted in the Navy in wartime as commerce raiders.

To Naval Secretary Crowninshield, this was not enough. He believed the answer lay in maintaining and expanding the conventional fleet, but also in creating new squadrons of ships built specifically for defense.

He began by looking at Fulton’s war machine, the steam-powered Demologos, currently guarding New York Harbor. (A second such ship was under construction there, and similar vessels were being built in Washington, Boston, Norfolk and Philadelphia.) When its engines were working, it had the advantage over a sailing vessel in calm weather, in the unlikely event that the British attempted to attack in such weather. Unfortunately, it was not seaworthy, and was only suitable for harbor defense — closer to a floating battery than a true warship. (A floating battery, as Decatur sardonically but accurately said, combined “the indestructibility of a warship with the swiftness of a fort.”)

But the greatest weakness of the demologoi[1] was fire. Although they were capable of launching enough heated shot to destroy many ships-of-the-line, their 1.5-meter-thick wooden sides made them extremely vulnerable to a response in kind. According to U.S. intelligence, the British knew this and were planning accordingly, with smaller vessels built especially to handle heated shot. The problem Crowninshield faced was not unlike the one that confronted the Navy a century later, with the building of the first aerie ships[2] — that of how to defend a ship that could protect other vessels more easily than it could protect itself. The only answer was to replace some of the timber on the vessels’ sides with an equivalent weight of iron plate. This added considerably to the time and expense of construction — so much, in fact, that Crowninshield decided that after the five demologoi currently under construction were finished, no more would be built. And it still did not answer the question of what to do if the British invaded fifty kilometers down the coast from where a demologos was positioned…

Joseph Welcome, A History of the U.S. Navy

[1] The name for this class of vessel.
[2] Aircraft carriers



The Class of 1819: People Born This Year Who Will Show Up Later

Infante Carlos Francisco, son of the Infante Carlos of Spain and Maria Francisca of Portugal, born Jan. 2 in Lima, capital of the Viceroyalty of South America (or, as his father insists we call it, the Most Holy Viceroyalty of South America). His birth will put a little more pressure on Ferdinand VII to produce a son. Sadly, the queen had a miscarriage this year.

Frederick James Kempt, born Jan. 30 in Palermo, illegitimate son of General Sir James Kempt.[1] To his dying day Kempt does not reveal the name of the Sicilian woman who died giving birth to his son, but he does acknowledge the child and make provision for his upbringing shortly before his transfer to Halifax.

William Meriwether Shannon, born May 12 in Lexington, Ky., son of George and Ruth Shannon. His father will try to persuade him to take an interest in the study of law, but William will prefer the outdoors.

Prince Victor Alexander of Hanover, born June 30 in Hanover, son of Prince William Duke of Clarence and viceroy of Hanover, and Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. He will learn to read and write in both English and German at the age of three.

Michael Todd, born July 3 in Frankfort, Ky., son of Charles Stewart and Letitia Todd. Although the son of the Kentucky Secretary of State, Michael’s primary interest will be the raising of horses. He and Will Shannon will meet at school, and, finding themselves similarly matched in age and interests, will become best frenemies and compete with each other at every opportunity.

Xien Delun, born September 22 in Beijing, son of a prominent merchant banker. He will prove an excellent student, and in 1835 he will accompany more senior scholars on a journey to Canton to assist a delegation of European scholars in translating the great works of Chinese history.

Jeanne-Louise Bertin, born December 1 in Paris, second of the four daughters of Édouard and Sarah Bertin. The Bertin marriage is the culmination of one of the most remarkable romances in French history — a woman kidnapped from Africa and exhibited in Paris as a scientific curiosity on account of the size of her rump, and the art student who was assigned the task of drawing her accurately and astounded the world by falling in love with her. All the Bertin girls will grow up surrounded by the community of artists and scientists and will try their hands at various cultural pursuits, but Jeanne-Louise will distinguish herself as a singer.


[1] According to one source I’ve found, this guy had a “passion for road-making and pretty women.” In Sicily, they didn’t put him in charge of a road crew, so…



The Dead Skunk
December 23, 1819


Five years ago today, Major General John Keane saw something in the Louisiana woods that caused him to make a different decision than he otherwise would have.
Let’s take a look at the general state of the world.


North America

In the far north, competition between the Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Company has gotten dangerous. There hasn’t yet been an incident like the Battle of Seven Oaks yet, but they’ve come close to it once or twice. Which is why authority to adjudicate disputes between them has been given to the new Prince-Viceroy of the Canadas, Edward Duke of Kent and Strathearn (although his authority over them extends no farther than that).

Speaking of whom — Prince Ed was appointed as a way of letting the Canadians know they haven’t been forgotten and shouldn’t worry too much about their scary, vengeful, increasingly powerful neighbor to the south. He has been given authority over the Legislative and Executive Houses of Upper and Lower Canada and the colonial governments of the Maritime Provinces. His title is basically equivalent to governor general, with a better-looking uniform.

So what’s he going to do with this power? Well, he’s been hearing about this Welshman, Robert Owen, with some interesting ideas about industry and social reform. The conservative elites that run Upper and Lower Canada are pretty resistant to these ideas, but with people so thin on the ground in these parts there is plenty of room for a few experimental communities.

Moving south, for a nation that recently lost a war and a major port along with it, the United States of America isn’t doing too bad. Its population is over nine and a half million and climbing rapidly. Missouri and Maine have brought the number of states up to 22. In anticipation of further growth, Secretary King has organized the Arkansaw, Michigan, Ioway and Wisconsing territories, although some of those haven’t seen much settlement yet.

President Adams’ biggest problem? Too much that needs doing, too many things that need funding and not enough money to go around. The army, the navy, schools, roads, canals, expeditions… the Second Bank is helping out with that, but Adams doesn’t want to go too far into debt. He’s already had to put aside his plans for a network of semaphore stations along the coast.

Some of what he wants is coming from private enterprise. Plank turnpikes are being built in many places up and down the east coast. And then, of course, there’s the canals. In the north, the Erie Canal is about a quarter of the way done. In the south, the Tennessee and Tombigbee Canal is almost one-third finished, and the Alabama and Chattahoochee Canal (a mere ten meters wide and one meter deep) was begun last year. Ground has just been broken this past fall on the Grand Southern Canal, which when completed will be 15 meters wide, 1.5 meters deep (giving it a cross-section over 50% greater than that of the Erie and T&T canals) and run from Republicville, Alabama[1] to Savannah, Georgia. Back up north, plans are being laid for the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, which is intended to be even wider, even deeper and cut through much more difficult terrain from D.C. to Pittsburgh.[2] One publicly funded transportation project is the National Road, which starts in Cumberland, Maryland and has been completed as far as Zanesville, Ohio. It is intended to reach St. Louis.

As far as education goes, Adams would love to build schools across the land. Particularly in the South — even if you only count white males, literacy levels in the southern states are still noticeably lower than in New England. Here again, however, money is a problem. He has managed to get ground broken on the U.S. National University[3] and the Mount Greylock Observatory up in Massachusetts.

All these things are happening under the auspices of the Democratic-Republican Party, also known as the DRP or the “Dead Roses.” This party dominates the American political scene to such an extent that it’s easy to forget there is an opposition party.

But there is one. The Tertium Quids, or the “Quids,” led by John Randolph of Roanoke, represent an American political tradition older than the Constitution (which at this point is only 32) — a tradition of seeing the U.S. as more of an alliance than a nation, and every cession of power to the central government as a step in the wrong direction. Unlike the Dead Roses, the Quids still speak of “these United States” rather than “the United States.” They oppose the military buildup, which they regard as expensive and a potential threat to liberty in the wrong hands. They oppose the Second Bank and the internal improvements, which they see as unconstitutional exercises of federal power. And they oppose the metric system for reasons they cannot clearly articulate.

Unfortunately for the Quids, the voters remember this political tradition, but they also remember why it was abandoned. “Limited government” isn’t going to defend the nation from the actions of the not-so-limited governments overseas. Then there’s the business community, which likes the Second Bank just fine. They have more confidence in federal banknotes than they do in state banknotes. Also, they can’t wait for these roads and canals to come online so they can start using them to ship goods to market. They’ll have to pay tolls, of course, but that’s why they’re buying shares in the turnpike and canal companies — so that when the time comes, they can get some of their own back.

There is, however, one group of Americans taking more and more of an interest in the Quids’ message — the plantation owners of the South. On the major issues of the day: roads and canals help them, tariffs hurt them, they can pay for their own children’s education and with so much of their wealth in the form of land, slaves and cash crops, they have less reason to worry about the value of their banknotes than most wealthy people.

But of course, the big issue is slavery. True abolitionists are a minority within the DRP, but a much larger faction sees slavery as an outmoded institution that can’t be abolished outright without gutting the economy of half the country, but that can and should be hemmed in and gradually diminished in scope until it dies a natural death. They regard the Tallmadge Amendment as a model for this approach.

For the south, on the other hand, the Tallmadge Amendment was a wake-up call. They have no intention of allowing their “peculiar institution,” the source of all their wealth, to fade away quietly. They are, however, divided about how to preserve it. William Crawford and John C. Calhoun are urging them to exert power within the DRP and force the abolitionists out, while Nathaniel Macon and George Troup are recommending that they abandon the Dead Roses and join the Quids. To prevent such an amendment from being put in place when Arkansaw joins the Union, Crawford and Calhoun are urging slaveholders to settle the territory now, so that there will be a strong pro-slave majority that will demand entrance to the Union on its own terms. Macon and Troup don’t trust Congress to heed the wishes of settlers, and urge slaveholders to remain exactly where they are or risk one day losing their slaves. So far, the response in the South has been to turn to the Quids on a state and local level, but to keep voting Dead Rose on a national level. Slaveholders are settling in Arkansaw at a reasonable pace.

In the area of international relations, the U.S. is allied to — or at least on friendly terms with — the nations of France, Italy, Tehuantepec, Gran Colombia, Argentina and, to a certain extent, Russia. Relations with Spain are less friendly, and less friendly still with the British Empire and the little Republic of Louisiana.

Speaking of which, Louisiana is doing great. Oodles of money, Royal Navy protection and the respectability that comes from hosting a major peace conference… let the good times roll indeed. A little ways east, British Florida is still exporting rice and importing pretty much everything else. However, some of the citrus orchards are expected to start producing within a year or so, and some perfumers have moved to Trafalgar to make Florida water from actual Florida flowers. Also, flowers and orchards mean bees, and bees mean honey.[4] One of these days, this colony will start paying for itself — without using a single slave.

Down in Mexico City, the 25-year-old Prince-Viceroy of New Spain is out of the shadow of his older brothers for the first time in his life, and he likes it. The past few years haven’t been good to the House of Bourbon — they’ve lost everything but Spain and Sicily and suffered a serious reduction of power in Spain. But now he and his brother Carlos have a couple of fixer-upper realms in the New World. This could be a chance to turn things around.

Of course, he’s had to accept a constitution — that was part of the peace treaty with the rebels. And Prime Minister Iturbide, when he isn’t swearing his heartfelt royalism and loyalty, is doing what he can to secure power for his own office, probably because he’s in it. Still, the alliance between the prince-viceroy and Iturbide works. Each of them brings a different kind of legitimacy to their rule. The key difference between them is that Francisco is where he is because he was appointed by the king of Spain, whereas Iturbide is depending on the voters to keep him there.

What Iturbide would really like to be is a king — or, hell, an emperor if he could get away with it. Failing that, he’ll settle for being permanently tied to one in a way that grants him power and influence. And Francisco isn’t married. Ferdinand has hinted that Francisco should put off marrying until he (Ferdinand) has at least three sons, but so far the king has no sons at all. Anyway (so Iturbide whispers in the Prince-Viceroy’s ear) what Francisco really needs is not some uncomfortably close relation from Parma or Sicily who can barely speak Spanish, but a local girl who can win him the hearts of this fractious land. Iturbide’s oldest daughter, Sabina, is ten, so there are no wedding bells in her immediate future, but perhaps in a few years…

Moving south, the bilingual Republic of Tehuantepec[5] has modeled its government on that of the United States (although, having no elite that they really trust, they’re leaving out the Electoral College) and ambassadors from every nation are learning how to pronounce the name of the capital, Coatzacoalcos.[6] Clay is preparing to negotiate trade treaties with President Guerrero and hopes to establish a military alliance, but, like Haiti, Tehuantepec’s strongest military asset is the promise of utter misery for anyone fool enough to try conquering it. Speaking of Haiti, right at the moment that poor nation is divided between a king in the north with delusions of grandeur and a dictator in the south with… much less colorful delusions of grandeur.

From Chiapas to Costa Rica (apart from British Honduras and the Miskito Kingdom) and in the Caribbean possessions, the rules of the old Spanish Empire prevail… for now.

[1] OTL Jackson, Alabama. (I’m putting the footnotes at the end of each section so you won’t have to scroll up and down the entire length of this post.)
[2] OTL, the C&O only made it as far as Cumberland. We’ll see how well it does here.
[3] About where American University is IOTL.
[4] Charlotte Augusta being a princess, her taste for honey in her tea is turning into a fashion.
[5] The two languages are Spanish and Maya.
[6] Kwaht-sah KWAHL-kos.



South America

South America — four colonies, three colonial powers, two republics, an increasingly scary viceroyalty, a native state and a would-be utopia. Who says nothing ever happens here?

The colonies are Guiana, Suriname, Cayenne and Brazil. The first three are basically slave-powered sugar factories. Guiana and Cayenne are part of the British Empire, while Surinam is Dutch. Sir Neil Campbell, governor of Cayenne, is more or less making ends meet exporting sugar, Cayenne peppers and tropical hardwoods.

And then there’s Brazil, which has been playing host to the Portuguese royal family for nearly twelve years. Those have been twelve very good years — Brazilians could trade with whomever they wanted and establish whatever local institutions they needed. Now the new government in Portugal is demanding that King João VI get his royal butt back across the Atlantic, but this could turn out well. He’ll be able to speak for Brazil in front of the Cortes, let them know things have changed. And his son Pedro is still in Rio acting as regent.[7]

Two nations that are no longer governed by faraway kings and courts are Gran Colombia and Argentina. Both of them are preoccupied by one big question — to centralize or not to centralize? How much power should be entrusted to the national government? This is every bit as serious an issue for them as it was for the early United States — maybe more so. In both nations, threats of regional secession and civil war are a part of the rhetoric. What keeps these threats from being acted upon is the threat of Spain, and Spain’s man in South America — the Infante Carlos, a man who really believes in the glory of the Spanish Empire and the divine right of kings, and who regards the existence of these republics as an unfortunate and temporary concession to circumstances.

Which brings us to the Virreinato Santisímo. (Lord knows I’ve dropped enough dark hints about this place.) Carlos is even more determined than his younger brother to set his stamp on this new realm. Precisely because this isn’t Spain, he feels free to experiment. He has no interest in granting a constitution — his nation-building will all be geared toward tightening Lima’s control, and his personal control, of the state. The existing apparatus of colonial government isn’t strong enough for him, so he’s granting more and more power to the local Catholic Church. His ministries are hiring Jesuits and members of other religious orders, and he’s bringing in agents of the former Spanish Inquisition to serve in his secret police. In short, Carlos is turning his viceroyalty into a theocracy.

Oddly, the only two states to recognize Araucanía as independent are the United States and the Most Holy Viceroyalty (Carlos has not forgotten the Mapuche aid to the royalist cause). U.S. Ambassador Jesse Elliott and his Spanish interpreter are still en route. When they get there, they’ll have the fun task of (a) persuading the locals they aren’t trying to invade, (b) learning to speak Mapudungun and (c) figuring out who’s in charge.[8]

No question who’s in charge in Paraguay. That would be José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia y Velasco. De Francia is trying to transform his country into an ideal republic of freedom and virtue. In order to make sure this is done correctly, he’s arrogated all power to himself and become “Supreme and Perpetual Dictator” (El Supremo for short). To break the power of the criollo elite in Paraguay once and for all, he has forbidden whites in Paraguay to marry other whites.[9]

De Francia has also declared that the Church in Paraguay no longer answers to Rome, or to anyone but God and him, not necessarily in that order. Carlos has a problem with this. He might not be ready to reconquer Bogotá or Buenos Aires, but Paraguay is much smaller and weaker, and offends him.

Too bad. Paraguay is defended not its army (about 5,500 with a reserve of 25,000, if you’re curious) or by the Brazilians or Argentineans who frankly hate dealing with de Francia, but by the Cordillera Oriental and the Gran Chaco. Carlos doesn’t have the roads or the supply train to send an army through those mountains or that wilderness, and he knows it.

[7] All this is basically as OTL, only about a year ahead of schedule.
[8] This website, which is otherwise very sympathetic to the Mapuche and their struggles, says that at this point they “lacked a formal government structure.”
[9] All OTL. (I include details like this to make my own ideas seem plausible by comparison.)



Europe

Many historians will term the period just past, from the French Revolutionary Wars to the end of the wars in Italy and South America, the “Second Thirty Years War” although it has nothing in common with the first one apart from being about thirty years long and (sometimes) fought in Germany. Some British historians will prefer to call it “the Napoleonic Wars,” but most will say this name makes even less sense, since the wars began before he rose to prominence and continued after his death. Whatever you want to call it, the war is over, and a new era of peace has begun (everyone hopes).

In Britain, speaking of the end of an era, George III finally seems to be dying. He has been king for nearly sixty years and now lies oblivious and bedridden in Windsor Castle. No one expects any great change when he passes — his son has functioned as king in all but name for a long time now, and most of the real power is in the hands of his Prime Minister, the Earl of Liverpool, a resolute conservative who has been in office for seven years. Princess Charlotte Augusta has wholeheartedly embraced pretty much every cause on the reform agenda, from Catholic emancipation to abolition of slavery — but if Prinny lives as long as his father, she’ll still be waiting to take the throne in 1843.

A lot of people aren’t prepared to wait that long. Especially in the cities, where the people are hungry for representation and even hungrier for food. As London suffers through another winter with poverty and unemployment still rising, every penny taken up by the high price of bread is one that can’t be spent on coal or firewood. People are becoming desperate. The only reason they haven’t yet taken to the streets is that right at the moment, the streets are clogged with snow. (Talleyrand and Caulaincourt are watching this with some bemusement. They’ve seen what happens when the people cry out for bread and you don’t give them any. If Lord Liverpool were their ally, they’d be giving him some very earnest advice right now — but as “St. Napoleon the Great” himself said, “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”)

And now, a new issue has come up — suffrage. The example of universal male suffrage in other nations has increased the pressure for it in Britain. As our friend Henry Brougham said recently in a speech to Parliament, “The mechanics who built our guns, the shipwrights who built our navy, the soldiers and sailors without whose valor and industry Nelson and Wellington could no more have turned back the French than Canute could have turned back the tides — for too long these men have been bid keep silence and obey their ‘betters’. Today this Government makes of the small English farmer and the shepherd of Scotland a lesser breed of man than the Spaniard, the Portuguee and even the Italian[10]; for they may vote and he may not.”

The response of Lord Liverpool’s government to this discontent has been to pretend it’s all a French plot, like the one that almost overthrew the government of the Netherlands last year. For the past two years, habeas corpus has been suspended. This year, after a series of marches by out-of-work weavers, Parliament passed a law which:
• Forbids public meetings of more than 50 without five days’ notice in the paper or at the Clerk of the Peace’s office.
• Mandates deadly force to be used against the members of any public gathering who refuse to disperse after an hour’s warning.
• Forbids speeches or debates before paying audiences in any location, even a private home, not licensed to hold such events by Justices of the Peace. (Exceptions were made for universities and so on.)
• Forbids any public gathering within a mile of Parliament while it’s in session.
• Outlaws any society calling itself “Spencean.”[11] (The late Thomas Spence advocated, among other things, abolition of private ownership of land. The radical movement in the U.K. is not that radical. Mostly.)

The only thing keeping British freedom alive is that the Tories have denied themselves the tools to effectively crack down on dissent. Law enforcement agencies in Britain at this point are few, undermanned and localized — and of the parish watchmen, the less said the better. The army can still be called out against large demonstrations, and the government employs legions of spies and provocateurs (perhaps too many — Home Secretary Lord Sidmouth is getting more “information” than he can possibly act on, with no way of knowing which parts of it are true) but for the most part Liverpool’s Britain is a police state without the police.

Lanjuinais’s France, on the other hand, is a police state with police… run by a man the government needs but doesn’t quite trust. Provision 61 of the Act Additional[12] states, “No one can be prosecuted, arrested, detained or exiled except in the cases provided for by law and according to the prescribed forms.” This year, the Chambers and the Regency Council have prescribed those forms a little more, requiring the police to document the charges and submit the case to the court system to schedule a trial within 48 hours of arrest — no more disappearances. “As freedom wanes in London, it waxes in Paris,” writes U.S. Ambassador Albert Gallatin.

The government is doing this more to keep a leash on Police Minister Joseph Fouché than anything else. Fouché has been making increasing use of provocateurs, not only going after bona fide royalists but trying to trap Conservative Party leaders into saying something Legitimist or Orleanist. His agents have also been going after the more extreme Jacobins, the ones who wouldn’t join the fédérés and are no more fond of House Bonaparte than they were of House Bourbon, and trying to entangle them in plots to overthrow the government by force.

At this point, the Chambers and the Council don’t really need him to do this. At the moment, the 123 members of the Chamber of Deputies (23 of them from the chambers of commerce) consist of 62 Liberals, 43 Conservatives, 18 Jacobins and one very stubborn member of the Parti de Bonaparte. The Liberal majority in the Peers is even greater — remember, the Regency Council decides who is and is not a Peer. Things may have looked scary back in ’15 and ’16, but these days the government is pretty secure.

There is, of course, the same pressure for universal suffrage that Britain is experiencing (mostly from the Jacobins) but it isn’t as strong as you might think. After a generation of more or less continuous political turmoil, the current stability is something of a relief. So the Conservatives and Jacobins must wait — the Conservatives for the Liberals to screw up badly enough that the voters will want some serious change, the Jacobins for the coming of a new generation that they hope will see things their way.

Meanwhile, industry is picking up in France, especially in the northern cities. This is drawing immigrants from elsewhere in Europe, changing the ethnic makeup of places like Anvers, Bruxelles and Mayence to include Jews, Poles, Hungarians and Italians.

Moving on to Spain… King Ferdinand is starting to consider the idea that he might never have a son. In which case, he’ll have to either accept his younger brother as a successor or set aside Salic law on behalf of his little daughter. He’s leaning toward the latter idea.

This is more important than it sounds. Since 1816, the government of Spain has been upending quite a few institutions. The Inquisition has been abolished again, and this time they mean it. A national system of secular education is being built to compete with the Church’s schools. Fueros[13] and regional privileges are being replaced by a uniform code of law across the nation. And a growing faction in the Cortes is advocating a new approach to the colonies, treating them more as parts of Spain and less as cash cows. In other words, the new, elected government is stepping on a lot of toes.

Opposition to this government is not limited to ultramontanists and royal absolutists. It includes Basques, Andalusian shepherds, farmers whose commons are being enclosed and others inconvenienced by reform. Instead of a tyrant who usually ignores them, they now have a responsible, accountable, legally restrained government that won’t leave them alone. They actually felt freer under the tyrant.

So the conservative faction wants Spain to have a strong monarch — some of them want a return to absolute monarchy, others just want a counterbalance to the Cortes. Ferdinand has turned out to be a loser, but they’re stuck with him until he dies. When that happens, they’re sure his brother Carlos will be strong. The Infanta María, on the other hand, is an unknown quantity — she’s only two. They’re hoping she’ll turn out to be another Queen Isabella, or at least (to pick a more modern example) a conservative, Catholic version of Britain’s dynamic young princess. But if she doesn’t seem up to this, they will begin planning to force her aside in favor of her uncle/great-uncle Carlos. As the little Infanta grows up, she will be watched and judged at every step.

Portugal is on the mend, and looking forward to the return of the king so they can start telling him what to do. The Cortes is looking at what Britain and Spain are doing with “prince-regencies” and thinking “been there, done that, didn’t waste money on the T-shirt.” While Spain may be rethinking its relationship to its colonies, as far as the powers than be in Portugal are concerned there’s no point having colonies if you can’t exploit them economically and sneer at them culturally. They can’t wait to shove those upstarts back into their place.[14]

Italy is at an earlier stage of rebuilding. A census is planned for next year in preparation for organizing the departments. The biggest economic headache (of many) is the lack of a common currency — all the old monies like the Piedmontese lira and the Neapolitan piastra are still in circulation. To resolve this, King Gioacchino I and Prime Minister Buonarroti are founding a central bank which will issue a new currency — the ternesca. Sardinia and Sicily are still independent kingdoms, but a lot of their people are hoping for unification with Italy.

Italy’s other problem is that it has one close ally — France. Foreign Minister Ugo Foscolo is working on making a few more. I’ll get to exactly what he’s doing in a little bit.

To the north, in the eye-watering hodgepodge of statelets, enclaves and exclaves called “the Germanies,” many among the young and idealistic are looking at the unification of Italy and thinking “why not us?” Of course, those who actually run things are looking at Italy and thinking “how do we stop that from happening here?”

Under Metternich and the Emperor Francis, Austria’s answer is repression. The Südzollverein is turning into more than just a customs union — it is a forum for the member states to agree on economic policy and the approach to political dissent. The aim of this group is to make Austria and its affiliated states good places to start a business, but bad places to start a political party. William I, the young king of Württemberg and one of the heroes of the Juillet Lorrain, has used its backing to help him resist calls for a constitution.[15]

Prussia’s King Frederick William III is trying to do the same thing with the Nordzollverein, but there are a couple of big, hairy flies in the ointment. Their names are Hanover and Oldenburg, the only two German states left that haven’t joined either of the customs unions. Hanover in particular has become a refuge for political radicals of various sorts. William, viceroy of Hanover, is showing no interest in repression. The Prussians have tried complaining to his older brother, who is technically Prince Regent of Hanover as well as the United Kingdom. Unfortunately for them, Prinny couldn’t care less about Hanover.

The Netherlands is a nation with a strong tradition of liberalism and political freedom. Which is why it’s very embarrassing for them to be under the control of a near-absolute monarch while Spain, of all places, is holding free elections. Still, better to be a British ally than a French satellite state… right?

Denmark could, technically, be called a British ally… in the sense that a small shopkeeper paying protection money could be called a Mafia supporter. King Frederick VI is wondering if there’s any way to get out of his alliance without his kingdom ending up as northern Prussia or southern Sweden. It doesn’t look like there is one.

Then there’s the United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway. Sweden’s deal with Norway is strictly a personal union — they don’t even have the same currency — but Sweden has now annexed Iceland and Greenland, which looks very impressive on the map. The United Kingdoms are under the same pressure for greater suffrage as Britain is, and neither the Norwegian Storting nor the Swedish Riksdag are prepared to grant it. For once, they’re glad they have Jean Bernadotte (now King Charles XIV & III John — top that, Murat!) on their side.

(I almost forgot Switzerland. The Swiss cantons have more or less put themselves back the way they were before Napoleon came in and messed everything up. Now, however, the canton of Vaud is instituting universal male suffrage. Also, after the battle of Marcaria Metternich approached the Tagsatzung[16] and offered them the Valtelline back in exchange for an alliance against Italy. They told him they liked neutrality better than they liked the Valtelline.)

[10] During the Caroline affair IOTL, Brougham was completely shameless in his appeals to early-19th-century British chauvinism.
[11] IOTL, this was the Seditious Meetings Act of 1817. Not to be confused with the Seditious Meetings Prevention Act of 1819, one of the infamous Six Acts.
[12] France’s new constitution. I suppose it’s called this to distinguish it from all the constitutions France went through in the revolutionary and Napoleonic years.
[13] To explain what fueros are would take another post about as long as this one. Suffice it to say they’re local and regional legal arrangements of various sorts, some of them date back to the Middle Ages, and abolishing them means taking away what a lot of people think of as their rights.
[14] I actually kind of wanted a cool Transatlantic Lusophone Empire comprising Portugal, Brazil and some chunks of Africa, but I looked at the decision-making in the Cortes and decided that wasn’t going to happen. IOTL, they knew about the American Revolutionary War and didn’t learn anything from it, and they saw the collapse of the Spanish Empire in the Americas and didn’t learn anything from that. What happened ITTL, with the partial success of the prince-viceroys, can only make them more overconfident.
[15] IOTL, Württemberg granted a constitution about this time.
[16] The government of Switzerland at this point.



Russia and the Ottoman Empire

These get their own section because they’re big and they fill serious space on more than one continent.

Tsar Alexander I has ruled for eighteen years. His rule has been marked by big dreams and big disappointments. Early on, he dreamed of a Russian constitutional monarchy — only to discover that if he wanted to get any sort of reform at all past the nobles (or even, unlike his father, survive their disgruntlement) he had to become exactly the sort of arbitrary autocrat who was supposed to be obsolete in this day and age. He at first saw Napoleon as a model of the enlightened monarch he wanted to become, only to realize that this was just another tyrant and murderer. He went into the Congress of Vienna with great hopes, only to find that the other powers were interested in “maintaining the balance of power” which mostly seemed to mean “containing Russia.”

His next big dream was of a Holy Alliance of Russia, Prussia and Austria against revolutionary chaos. That’s kind of fallen by the wayside too — the War of the Seventh Coalition looked to him like rivers of Russian blood being spilled and the Austrians snatching defeat from the jaws of victory… and, again, everyone other than himself worrying more about “maintaining the balance of power” than about winning. And the Pope’s denunciation of Austrian atrocities in Italy touched a nerve with him — he might not be a Catholic, but he has become a deeply religious man.

Which is at the core of his latest big project — the moral and spiritual reform of the Russian people. First came the radical step of fusing the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ministry of Education to form the Ministry of Spiritual Affairs and Popular Enlightenment, which promulgates an ecumenical, nondenominational form of Christianity.[17] Next he’s going to have the Bible Society finish translating the Bible into modern Russian, which is going to be a controversial step. Then more schools, philanthropic societies…

Alexander hasn’t given up on abolishing serfdom or giving Russia a constitution, but those things can wait. He already has two testing grounds for constitutional government — the Grand Principality of Finland and the Kingdom of Poland. His younger brother Constantine is serving as viceroy of Poland, and has just married Augusta of Hesse-Kassel.

One thing Alexander isn’t worried about is military threats. His nation is still the one that turned back Napoleon when no one else could, and recently they also won a war with Persia and took Shirvan.[18]

The Ottoman Empire, by way of comparison, is at the nadir of its existence (they hope). Serbia is still technically an “autonomous principality.” If you look at the facts on the ground, it’s independent — but then, by that standard a lot of the empire is independent.

Consider Ali Pasha of Tepelenë, an Albanian brigand who the Sultan hired back in the nineties to fight other brigands and rebels — one in particular who wasn’t dealt with until 1807.[19] Now he’s a governor, controls much of Greece and Albania from his base in Ioannina, and is increasingly unresponsive to dictates from Istanbul. If the Sublime Porte doesn’t do something about him soon, he might… die of old age, actually. (He’s 79.) Anyway, clearly it’s time to bring him to heel.

Ali Pasha, who did not last this long by being oblivious, is reaching out to some unconventional sources for help. He is quietly corresponding with the Italian foreign minister. Foscolo, part Greek himself, is also corresponding with some other interesting people, like Theodoros Kolokotronis. And Athanasios Tsalakov. And Alexander Ypsilantis. And Tudor Vladimirescu, a Romanian who doesn’t even like Greeks but who likes Turkish rule even less.

A much more successful Albanian-born Ottoman governor is Muhammad Ali of Egypt, who recently conquered the Hejaz, sent the Saudi emir to be beheaded in Istanbul and reclaimed Mecca and Medina for the empire. He’s even more independent than the Ioannina Ali, but the empire isn’t going to declare war on him for a very good reason — they might lose.

The biggest threat to Sultan Mahmud II, however, is the Janissary Corps. If they knew what he intended to do to them, they’d kill him like they killed Selim III.

[17] If you said “OTL” you're getting the hang of this.
[18] Modern Azerbaijan.
[19] Osman Pazvantoglu, a governor turned rebel.



Africa

I don’t mean to give Africa short shrift, but the changes in the world over the last five years have so far had little impact here.

Which is not to say that the whole continent is boring. Parts of it are a little too exciting — Ethiopia, for instance, has just been through a long and terrible civil war. Even now, parts of it are under the control of warlords, and the nominal emperor, Iyoas II, is the puppet of a local lord named Gugsa.

Then there are the Barbary States. Earlier this century, Tripoli received a spanking at the hands of a minor and distant western power, the United States. Now, to the north, they see Spain getting stronger, France getting stronger, Italy beginning to get stronger and Britain already quite strong… and getting stronger. Wiser heads are thinking it’s time to get out of the piracy business altogether. The question is whether they can suppress their own pirates.

(The Barbary States don’t get a lot of respect. The Dey of Algiers, after much wheedling, finally, got the French government to agree to a payment schedule for the debt owed a couple of Arab wheat merchants who supplied Napoleon’s army back in the 1790s. They didn’t offer interest.)[20]

In the interior of West Africa, the Bambara Empire has just lost a war, and their entire eastern half, to the Massina Empire. Further south, on the coast, the transatlantic slave trade (currently dominated by the Portuguese) is like a black hole — easy to get sucked into, very hard to escape and it deforms everything near it. All the kingdoms along the coast are using it to get rich.

On the map, that odd little striped area along the coast is a point of contention between three European powers (Britain, the Netherlands and Denmark) and Asanteman, the Ashanti Empire. Officially, it’s Ashanti territory — they won it recently in a war — but European merchants are allowed to buy and sell there. Some in Britain are not satisfied with this arrangement.

Earlier this year, some American philanthropists tentatively put forward to Henry Clay the idea of setting up a place on the West African coast where freed slaves could be sent. Castlereagh, suspecting an American plot to establish a naval base on the east side of the Atlantic, intervened to nix this idea, but pointed out that American freedmen would be welcome in Sierra Leone.[21]

Way down south, Cape Colony is about to expand. The British are planning to secure their new possession by sending several thousand settlers. What could go wrong?

To the east, two kings are growing in power. The Zulu king Shaka has just defeated the Ndwandwe in an epic battle at the Mhlathuze River[22], while Radama I is allying with Britain and trying to establish control over the whole of Madagascar.[23]

[20] IOTL, the Restoration government, not seeing itself as bound by Napoleon’s debts, blew the dey off completely.
[21] IOTL, relocating the entire black population of America to Africa was never more than a pipe dream, but it was a useful one for people who didn’t like slavery but weren’t quite comfortable with the idea of living alongside blacks. ITTL it isn’t even a pipe dream.
[22] IOTL, there seems to be some confusion as to whether this battle happened in 1819 or 1820. For our purposes, we’ll say that ITTL it happened in 1819.
[23] Not technically part of Africa, but close enough.



Asia

Without question, the power in Asia is China, where the Jiaqing Emperor sits securely on his throne. He is in his late fifties and has ruled since 1796. His empire is not a reclusive hermit state like Japan — it is actively engaged in the world… but only on its own terms.

Nor is the Emperor oblivious to the threats that face him. He has dealt with two rebellions in the past twenty years — the White Lotus rebellion and the much smaller Three Trigrams rebellion. And now the khanate of Kokand[24] is getting increasingly uppity, demanding lower taxes and a consulate at Kashgar. Kokand is a small state, but it has powerful cavalry and is in the far west where China’s ability to project power is limited. Peasant revolts, wild horsemen out of Central Asia — these are threats the Emperor understands and can take seriously. Foreign drug-dealing scum down in Canton, not so much.

Said scum are from the East India Company, which now controls most of India. The Marathas have been defeated. Mysore is nominally independent, but surrounded. The Gurkhas of Nepal were also defeated, but impressed the British with their martial prowess… which is the next best thing to winning the war.

In Southeast Asia, it is the calm before the monsoon. Consider the situation from the point of view of Rana II, king of Siam. To the east, there’s Vietnam, which has already taken a substantial chunk of what used to be Cambodia and would like some more. To the west, there’s Burma, with whom Siam has fought many, many wars in the past and will almost certainly fight more wars in the future. The current king of Burma is an aggressive expansionist. So far, he’s mostly expanded to the west — he has made a vassal out of Arakan, annexed Manipur and just finished conquering Assam this year — but now that his western border marches with that of British India, it’s safe to say he won’t be going any further in that direction.

Speaking of the British, to the south Kedah has given them an island and a toehold on the mainland. It’s a small presence, but the British presence in India started out small too. Further south, the Dutch (in exchange for intervening in a civil war in Johor) have been given an island just south of the Malay Peninsula, where they are drawing up plans for a port city. They’re calling it “Temmasek.”[25] To the north is Siam’s vassal state Vientiane, which lost some of its northern territory to Vietnam back in 1802. And now the Regency Council of France is making diplomatic overtures to the Vietnamese emperor Gia Long.

This gets Rana thinking. France is the enemy of Britain and the Netherlands. Burma has just acquired some excellent tea-growing land that the East India Company will be wanting. Perhaps the time has come to pursue friendly relations with the British Empire. It’s a dangerous thing to do, but the only thing less safe than marching by the side of an elephant is standing in its path.

[24] That squiggly thing west of China on the map.
[25] Yes, the British are capable of elbowing the Dutch aside as they did IOTL. But with the political situation in the Netherlands being what it is, the British need the Dutch as an ally in Europe more than they need to dominate the straits of Malacca. And the British still have Penang and Bencoolen.


Australia & Oceania

The settlement of New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land is expanding steadily under Governor Lachlan Macquarie. In spite of the increasing number of convicts being transported to his domain, Macquarie is determined to govern this place as a real working colony, not as a collection of prison camps. (He’s also determined to name as many things as possible after himself.) British settlements in New Zealand are still pretty thin on the ground.

On the island of Sumatra, the long war between traditionalists and Islamic radicals in the land of the Minangkabau continues to drag on with no end in sight. In Polynesia, sailors out of Hobart and Sydney are engaging in the sandalwood trade, which is highly profitable as it is mostly stolen. In Hawai’i, Kamehameha II has just become king, defeated his cousin in a civil war and made it legal for women to eat pork, bananas, taro and coconuts.


In short, right about now the world is about as peaceful as it ever gets. Enjoy it while it lasts…
Attached Images
 
__________________
The Dead Skunk: For want of a skunk, Louisiana is a republic and Charlotte Princess of Wales lives.
2013 Turtledove Winner The Day the Icecap Died
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old September 13th, 2013, 07:54 AM
Lycaon pictus Lycaon pictus is offline
Author of "Locksmith's Closet"
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 900
1820

January 25, 1820
Windsor Castle
1 p.m.

Charlotte Augusta, now strong enough to walk, stepped up to her grandfather’s bed and leaned over as if to whisper in his ear.

“Her name is Amelia,” she said, loudly and clearly. Before, her grandfather had been losing his hearing. Now there was no way to tell if he was hearing anything or not. He was still breathing, and if soft food was put in his mouth he would chew and swallow it, but that was all.

The old man mouthed a word that might have been “Amelia” or might have been more of the same nonsense he had been babbling for most of last month. The death of the original Princess Amelia, the king’s youngest child, had been a terrible blow to the whole family. Grandfather had never gotten over it. Did some part of him remember now? It seemed wrong that a man who had seen and done so much should have it all taken away from him like this. When a man’s body was alive but his mind was gone, where did his soul reside?

Amelia Augusta Charlotte, the new princess born only three days ago, woke up in the nurse’s arms and began to cry. The nurse bared her breast to see if Amelia was hungry. She wasn’t.

Very slowly, the old man’s arms were shifting, forming a cradle with his chest. It might have been only a random movement.… but Charlotte preferred to think that, when his ears picked up faint echoes of the sound of a baby, his arms still remembered what to do. This was, after all, a man who had had fifteen children.

Charlotte took the baby, carefully supporting her head and bottom, and placed her on her great-grandfather’s chest, resting against his arms. Amelia calmed down. For a long moment they simply lay there, Charlotte ready to pick her up again in a moment if the old man showed signs of becoming agitated… but instead, his breathing slowed and he dropped off to sleep. Then the smell of soiled linen filled the air, and it was time to separate them and see which one of them needed cleaning and changing.

The king died later that evening.


A part of the liturgy of the Church of England, incorporated in the morning prayer, is the prayer for the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom: “O Lord, our heavenly Father, high and mighty, King of kings, Lord of lords, the only Ruler of princes, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers upon earth: Most heartily we beseech thee with thy favour to behold our most gracious Sovereign—” Lord or Lady, as the case may be. The congregants pray that their monarch be replenished with the grace of the Holy Spirit and granted “heavenly gifts,” such as health, wealth, long life, the strength to “vanquish and overcome” his or her enemies, and finally “everlasting joy and felicity through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The next prayer asks God to bless the monarch’s spouse, heir “and all the royal family.”

Whenever a monarch dies, of course, the liturgy is updated to reflect the change in names. This is normally a routine and uncontroversial step. In the case of George IV, it was anything but.[1]

On the Sunday immediately following his accession to the throne, January 30, the prayer for the royal family was given as follows — “Almighty God, the fountain of all goodness, we humbly beseech thee to bless Caroline of Brunswick, Charlotte Augusta Princess of Wales, and all the royal family: endue them with thy Holy Spirit; enrich them with thy heavenly grace; prosper them with all happiness; and bring them to thine everlasting kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” Two weeks later, freshly printed copies of the Book of Common Prayer were being distributed which read “we humbly beseech thee to bless Charlotte Augusta Princess of Wales and all the royal family.”

The change had been ordered by the King himself. It was intolerable to George that every Sunday millions of his subjects would be praying for him, and then praying for that woman with the very next breath. The thought obsessed him — several observers claimed that it even put him off his feed. It was clear to him that he needed to obtain a divorce as quickly as possible. In the meantime, her name had to be struck from the liturgy at once.

His ministers at first disagreed. Canning, an old friend of the Queen, protested vehemently. Castlereagh and Sidmouth had no sympathy for Caroline, but were not yet convinced that divorce proceedings against her would be to the government’s advantage. Castlereagh in particular believed that a £50,000 annuity, coupled with the threat of divorce if she were ever to return, would suffice to keep Caroline out of the country indefinitely.

At this point, George threatened to dismiss the government. In response, Lord Liverpool pointed out that (a) Parliament was to be dissolved at the end on the month in any case, and (b) if the king chose to dissolve it now in a fit of pique over his wife, it would weaken the Tories to the point where they might well lose the election. He asked George whether he was prepared to deal with a government led by Earl Grey[2], and even raised the spectre of “Home Secretary Henry Brougham.” At the mention of Brougham’s name, it is reported that the King shouted “Get out! Leave!” and the prime minister fled the room. He agreed, however, to table the matter of divorce until after the election.

It was John Wilson Croker, Secretary to the Admiralty and noted Conservative man of letters, who brought the Cabinet round to the King’s position on the matter of the liturgy. Croker, whose wit and eloquence had served the royal family well in times past, reasoned that the removal of the Queen’s name from the liturgy would be a necessary first step to any proceedings or threat of proceedings against her. “If she is fit to be introduced to the Almighty, she is fit to be received by men,” he said. “If we are to pray for her in church, we may surely bow to her at court. The praying for her will throw a sanctity round her which the good and pious people of this country will never afterwards bear to have withdrawn.”

Given that they were ultimately committed to a war against the Queen, the King’s ministers could not deny the logic of Croker’s argument. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Charles Manners-Sutton, reluctantly consented to the elision, consoling himself with the thought that — for the present — the phrase “all the royal family” included Her Majesty by definition.

The story that the Princess of Wales first learned about the change in the liturgy by listening to the morning prayer is unlikely to be true — although she was still recovering from the birth of Amelia, one or another of her friends almost certainly informed her before the morning of Feb. 13. What is known is that on that very afternoon, she arrived at the front door of Carlton House and demanded an explanation. There was a time when she had been intimidated by her father, but this was no longer the case.

The conversation that ensued between father and daughter is not recorded. Servants, who were never entirely out of earshot (and who would have had to have been well outside the walls not to overhear this) gave somewhat conflicting accounts of the details, but all seem to agree the argument began with the words “What you have done is unworthy of a king!”; that it quickly escalated into a shouting match, with both parties screaming at the top of their lungs; and that the phrases “vicious, petty, contemptible act,” “ungrateful child,” “placing your wretched grudges on display for the whole world” and “choosing that horrible woman over your own father” were used. George III would not be buried for another three days, and already his family was losing what little cohesion it had. (As an interesting etymological note, the first recorded appearance in print of the word “toady” is Augusta’s description of Croker as “that obsequious toady” in a Feb. 14 letter to Charlotte Lindsay.)

The Princess was more restrained in her public remarks. Asked for a comment by William Hazlitt of the Examiner, she wrote: “The Church of England is not to blame. My father is the king, and the Church must needs grant him his prerogatives as it shall to all future monarchs. However, should any of my people choose to pray for the physical and spiritual well-being of my mother, there is no power on earth that can hinder them from doing so… and no power in heaven that would wish to hinder them.”

Even before Caroline returned to British shores, the battle lines were drawn. Some vicars, especially in the cities and the poorer parishes, openly held to the January 30 liturgy, defying King George. Many others left pauses in the liturgy, or emphasized the word “all” in “all the royal family.”

And in the streets of London, “God save the Queen” had just become a cry of radicalism and defiance aimed at the establishment. This was shaping up to be a very strange year.
Bertrand Martineau and P.G. Sherman, The Great Scheme

[1] What follows is mostly OTL, or pretty close to it, except of course for the parts involving Charlotte Augusta.
[2] In case you’re wondering, yes, this is the Earl Grey that Captain Picard’s favorite tea is named after.


The events of Bloody May, including the sinking of the John Adams and the Macedonian at the Brewster Islands[1], had put off the U.S. planned chastisement of Algiers until the following year. Then, early the next year, Lord Exmouth arrived in Algiers harbor with a large fleet and pressured the dey into releasing his captives.[2] However, in 1818 and 1819 Omar Agha returned to his habit of preying on the shipping of weak nations.

On March 3, 1820, Congress authorized the use of naval force against Algiers. Over the course of the next two months, a fleet was assembled under Commodores William Bainbridge and Jacob Nicholas Jones. Meanwhile, Clay and Crowninshield sent messages to the navies of France and Italy, inviting them to join the operation and assert their rights against the corsairs. On May 6, the fleet embarked on its mission of punishment.

Although it was not ready to take on the Royal Navy, the fleet was a formidable force by the standards of minor powers. In addition to the 44-gun frigates United States, Guerriere, Constitution and Constellation, and the smaller vessels Eperyie, Ontario, Hornet, Eagle, Ticonderoga, Chasseur, Skirmisher and Wolfhound, this fleet featured a true ship-of-the-line — the 130-gun fortissimus[3] Chippewa. (Originally the Chippewa was to have been built at Sackett's Harbor, but Crowninshield decided such a powerful ship would be wasted on Lake Ontario, where the Natchez[4] and the Superior already sailed.) He was also accompanied by the new steamships Savannah and Portsmouth Phoenix[5], which were to serve as transports for the Americans held captive in Algiers.

The first engagement between the U.S. and Algerine fleets happened on June 17, about halfway between Cartagena and Mostaganem. In a bold move, Raïs Hamidou, commanding a fleet of three frigates and six smaller vessels, tried to capture the vanguard ship United States before the rest of the American fleet could arrive, but failed. As Captain Shaw put it, “As soon as the Chippewa came close enough to count the gunports, every pirate ship in sight turned as one to flee for home.”

The corsairs’ instinct to retreat in the face of superior firepower betrayed them. Like wolves separating a deer from the herd, the American fleet maneuvered to the southeast, cutting Hamidou off from home, and began the chase. Although Hamidou said on for some 500 kilometers, he found that he could not turn southeast, or even due east, without sailing into the broadside of at least one American vessel. Bainbridge and Jones were driving the Algerines straight to the planned rendezvous point with the French and Italians.

Moreover, in their haste to escape the corsair fleet grew dangerously far apart from one another, as the corvettes outpaced the frigates. So it was that the 20-gun brig Estedio found itself alone when it encountered the experimental French frigate Turenne[6] on its maiden voyage, sails furled and steaming insouciantly against the wind. By the time the rest of the Algerine fleet caught up, the Estedio had been sunk and the rest of the Franco-Italian fleet was tacking into position. It consisted of the 118-gun ship of the line Wagram, the 80-gun Foudroyant, the 40-gun frigates Junon, Méduse[7], Médée and Gloire and two Italian frigates, the Andrea Doria and the Gennaro Serra, which at the moment were the only ships in the Italian navy with more than 16 guns.[8]

Seeing no alternative, Hamidou struck his colors. The combined fleet proceeded to Algiers, where they encountered a screen of gunboats and mortar boats. The sloops and brigs of the American fleet destroyed most of these, although the Eperyie was so badly damaged it had to be abandoned. The Chippewa and the Wagram anchored themselves off the south end of the main harbor battery and destroyed it with enfilade fire, while the Foudroyant and the frigates dealt with the other batteries. It was during this phase of the operation that most of the casualties were incurred.

On July 11, the Dey of Algiers signed a treaty guaranteeing no further attacks on American, French or Italian shipping or demands for tribute. The U.S. navy claimed one of the captured brigs as compensation for the Eperyie. The rest of what had been Hamidou’s fleet was used to transport European prisoners home once the original crews had been set on shore. The ships were then incorporated into the French and Italian navies.

The Second Barbary War was the bloodiest engagement since the War of 1812, with 516 Americans killed or injured. (It is not known if this figure includes the eight American and seven Italian sailors who were injured in a tavern brawl the night after the surrender. The fight began when one American sailor asked an Italian sailor, possibly in earnest, if “Andrea Doria” were the name of King Joachim’s mistress.)

Joseph Welcome, A History of the U.S. Navy


[1] At about the same time that Wellington was advancing on Boston from the north, Perry attacked a squadron of Cochrane’s fleet and got driven off. He lost two ships and didn’t accomplish anything, but at least none of his ships were taken as prizes. Against the RN, that counts as a victory.
[2] IOTL he arrived with a smaller fleet, and ended up having to come back and bombard the city, and Omar Agha was quietly dispatched shortly thereafter.
[3] IOTL, the Chippewa was commissioned but never built. Here it was completed, as much to prove that the U.S. Navy was a real navy as anything else. Also, “fortissimus” ITTL = “dreadnought” IOTL.
[4] OTL’s (unfinished) USS New Orleans.
[5] So named because it’s the first ship completed by the rebuilt shipyards of Portsmouth, NH, which were torched in Bloody May.
[6] To help you picture it, this is a two-masted vessel 44 meters long, with a beam of 11 meters and twin 9-meter paddlewheels amidships, on either side of the keel. The wheels and the steam engine are protected by iron plate. It’s armed with 16 18-pounders on the gun deck, 12 36-pounder carronades and 8 8-pounder long guns as bow and stern chasers.
[7] Obviously, the wreck of the Méduse hasn’t happened ITTL.
[8] These ships weren’t built by the Kingdom of Italy — the rebels seized them from the governments of Austria and Naples and kept them out of British hands. With so much else in Italy that needs building or rebuilding right now, Buonarroti has decided to make a virtue of necessity and see how the Turenne proof of concept goes before laying the keels on a new navy.


March 13, 1820
9:45 a.m.
Hastings

The historic village of Hastings had grown in the past few years, but it was still a fairly small town. Its economy was based on fishing, smuggling and catering to wealthy vacationers. This being March, that last was not a factor.

It also had no harbor. Luckily, this wasn’t one of the Channel’s mad March days — at most, it was a grumpy March day. The steamship carrying the Queen of England docked at the little pier with no trouble, and the cold, raw wind did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the people already gathering on the beach… or the enthusiasm of Henry Brougham, striding up the pier.

Brougham looked behind him. Word had gotten out quickly that the queen would be here this morning. He had made sure of that. In another minute, so many people would be on the beach that the gathering would become illegal. Brougham also thought he recognized William Cobbett in the crowd. He’d heard that old troublemaker was back in the kingdom. Excellent.

Queen Caroline stepped onto the pier, clad in a heavy red pelisse and matching hat. She had only a few retainers with her, and (Brougham breathed a sigh of relief to see this) Bartolomeo Pergami wasn’t one of them. Perhaps she was developing a little common sense.

Someone supplied a crate for her to stand on at the head of the pier. The crowd assembled around her. Brougham stood at her right hand.

“People of Great Britain!” she said. “It gives me great joy to return to English soil, and to be received so graciously on such short notice.

“Once before, in a moment of womanly weakness, I permitted myself to be driven from these fair shores by the unrelenting calumnies of my enemies. Foolishly, I believed that once I was away they would cease their attacks upon my reputation. They have done nothing of the sort — indeed, they have drawn courage from my absence and redoubled their vituperations.

“But that is not what brings me here,” she lied. “No, it is what they have done against you that calls me home to oppose them. They have taken no thought for the public weal, and what is worse they have tried to silence” — Brougham gently tugged at the sleeve of her pelisse, and gestured to where the local magistrate was approaching, backed by a couple of parish watchmen.

“Oh, dear,” she said. “Well, let’s hear what this gentleman has to say.”

The crowd murmured angrily as the magistrate pushed his way to the front. He turned and addressed them.

“Our Sovereign Lord the King” — he had to raise his voice a little over the hisses and catcalls that suddenly arose — “chargeth and commandeth all persons here assembled immediately to disperse themselves and peaceably to depart to their habitations or to their lawful business upon pain of death! God save the King!”

“GOD SAVE THE QUEEN!” the crowd replied, except for a few who shouted “God help the king!”

“Does he mean it?” whispered Caroline.

Brougham nodded. “Officially, this gathering has one hour to complete its dispersal. The nearest regiment is the Royal Sussex — it will take about that long to summon them here from where they’re currently stationed.”

“More time than I need,” she said. Then, louder: “As you’ve heard, we must be on our way. Before we go, I make you this promise — that all classes will ever find in me a sincere friend to their liberties, and a zealous advocate of their rights.”


The battle of Metsovo on April 8, 1820, is rightly considered one of the turning points in the history of the Ottoman Empire. Several historians, such as Yavuz Bardakçi and Cemil Uzun, have expressed the belief that if Mahmud II’s undermanned[1] forces had triumphed over Tepedelenli Ali’s (or even held them to a draw) the revolts later in the year might have been forestalled. According to Bardakçi, “Before Metsovo, the most that the Greeks and other Christians might have hoped for was autonomy of the sort that had already been granted to Serbia — and this would have been balanced against the fear of wholesale destruction and enslavement. But when the Sultan’s soldiers were brought low by a pasha’s retainers and hirelings, and when Caulaincourt and Foscolo sent men bearing arms and ammunition, all things seemed possible.” (Greek and Romanian historians, needless to say, tend to disagree.)

Others have expressed the opinion that the very circumstances of the battle strongly imply that the Empire was already unsalvageable. G.G. Elmar devoted an entire chapter of Les Élites Dirigeantes to the later years of the Sublime Porte, culminating in this judgment: “When a state finds it more practicable to recognize brigands as military leaders and provincial powers than to train loyal men to serve as competent generals and governors, it is too late to speak of ‘reform.’”

The one certainty is that in the aftermath of the battle, as both the Sublime Porte and Tepedelenli Ali spent the holy month of Rajab regrouping, rebellions broke out in Moldavia and Wallachia. In Greece, klephts and armatoloi[2] rallied to Ali’s banner — whatever they may have thought of Albanians in general, they saw the pasha as at the very least an ally of convenience. Prince Milos of Serbia chose this moment to demand greater autonomy.

In St. Petersburg and Vienna, the advisors of Francis II and Alexander I debated what was to be done. Some suggested that Austria and Russia should now invade, and put paid to their ancient foe once and for all. Metternich opposed this idea, pointing out that an Ottoman collapse might lead to chaos in the Balkans and the Near East. Castlereagh warned the Russian ambassador that Britain would intervene to prevent Istanbul from falling into Russian hands. In the end, all three Powers chose to wait and do nothing — for the moment.

Kemal Demirci, The Cardboard Lion: The Last Years of the Ottoman Empire


[1] A lot of Janissaries existed only on paper. Their pay was going into somebody’s pocket.
[2] Bandits and soldiers (who were probably also bandits).


April 14, 1820
8:15 p.m.
Winchelsea

In one week, the new Parliament would meet. Liverpool’s majority had been reduced, but was still there.

Henry Brougham had not been expecting visitors today. He and his wife had nearly finished packing for the trip to London when Samuel Whitbread had shown up at their doorstep, quite unannounced. Nonetheless, they had been able to treat him to a respectable dinner.

Now, Brougham and Whitbread were in the drawing-room.

“Again I apologize for presuming upon your hospitality in this fashion,” said Whitbread, “but there is a matter in which I desperately need your wisdom. I would have written you a letter, but I thought it would be best if neither of us were the source of any… potentially incriminating correspondence.”

Brougham leaned forward in his chair. “You have my full attention,” he said. “Pray continue.”

“Recently I received a letter from a well-informed source in France,” said Whitbread. “It contains most disturbing allegations against men in the highest levels of government, and against the royal family itself.”

“Who is this source?”

“Talleyrand-Périgord.”

Brougham was silent for a moment. The number of living men whose intellects he considered equal to his own could be counted on the fingers of one hand. Talleyrand happened to be one of them.

Whitbread reached into his pocket and pulled out a letter. “I have it here,” he said. “Would you care to read it?”

“By all means,” said Brougham. He took the letter and held it up to the lamp.

The handwriting was not elegant, but workmanlike and legible. It had been some time since Brougham had read anything in French, but after a few sentences the old lessons came back to him.

“Disturbing” was a very mild word for what Talleyrand alleged. He charged that the King, his brothers the Dukes of York, Clarence and Cumberland, the Prime Minister, Castlereagh, Sidmouth and other prominent Conservatives were plotting to remove Charlotte Augusta from the line of succession in favor of her infant cousin Victor Alexander. More than that, the letter claimed that they had previously tried to assassinate her in the guise of medical care, and that Sir Richard Croft had been their agent in this matter. Talleyrand offered no proof for any of this, but claimed to have sources deep within the ranks of the government.

“What do you make of it?” said Whitbread at last.

“First, to state the obvious — without proof, these are actionable libels that we daren’t repeat to anyone… at least, not in such a way that they could be traced back to us.

“Now having said so much, three questions come to mind. Imprimis, why did he write this letter and address it to you? Secundus, is any of this true? Tertius, what ought we to do about it?”

“I should say your second question is the most important of the three,” said Whitbread.

“Very well; whatever else may be true or false, I do not believe there was ever a plot to murder Her Highness. Given how many men and women die under the care of doctors with the best of intentions, it seems to me that if Croft had truly aimed at her death, she would not today be among the living.”

“But as Talleyrand says, her Highness did have two miscarriages under Croft’s care and two healthy births under Stockmar’s. Do you think this a coincidence?”

“I think I know who I want caring for my Margaret in her confinement,” said Brougham. “Croft may be a bungler, but I do not believe him a murderer. And consider — at the time the miscarriages you speak of occurred, she was the sole legitimate heir in her generation. No conspiracy involving the royal family would dare jeopardize the dynasty by doing her in or by tampering with her powers of parturition.

“More importantly, remember one who did die on Croft’s hands — Louis of France, the one man whom all these alleged conspirators would have wished a long and happy life. With his death, all Castlereagh’s plans came crashing down in ruin.”

“Then you believe Talleyrand a liar.” Whitbread sounded strangely disappointed.

“I believe him clever, ruthless and motivated by his own interest and that of France, in that precise order,” said Brougham. “We have already seen in the Netherlands his willingness to meddle in the affairs of other nations. Too often the Tories have accused us of being naïve in our understanding of the French — let us not prove them right.”

“But what if he is telling us the truth?”

“The charge that the king and his ministers plan to disinherit Her Highness — that much at least may be true, although it would be a very bold move on their part and I cannot imagine how they would go about it,” said Brougham. “Talleyrand may have included it to lend credibility to his other claim… in which case we may expect to see this plan put into motion before very long.”

“We cannot possibly let them do that!” said Whitbread. “It would be a disaster. We must warn the people.”

“An anonymous leaflet, perhaps,” said Brougham. “Published under a pseudonym — ‘Junius Secundus,’ perhaps, or ‘Junius Junior.’” He chuckled at his own little joke. “If the charge is false, no real harm will be done, as no one will believe it who was not already disposed to think the worst of the Tories. If the conspiracy exists, then publicizing it anywhere is likely to scupper it… and to set the king and his ministers wondering which of them let the secret out.”

“Easily done,” said Whitbread.

“Yes, but this may be a trap,” said Brougham. “If you were to write such a broadside, the next missive from Talleyrand might read: ‘Howsoever you try to disguise yourself, Junius Secundus, the fact remains that the allegations in that leaflet could have come from no one but myself, and I dispatched them to no one but you. Therefore, unless you wish to be exposed as a libellist and the agent of a foreign power, you are my man in London henceforth and for ever.’” By the look on Whitbread’s face, he hadn’t thought of this at all.

“Then… what do you suggest?”

“This letter came to you. The decision rests with you.”

Whitbread sat in thought for a long moment. Finally he said, “I will sooner risk my own ruin than the ruin of the people. I will publish it anonymously and see what comes of it. Whatever happens, dear Henry, I promise you will be held blameless.”

Damned right I will, thought Brougham. “Thank you, Samuel,” he said.

So, Brougham thought to himself later, Talleyrand is putting in his oar… and on our side of the boat. What mischief is he up to? Well, whatever it is, I’m certainly not going to abandon the cause of reform for fear of serving his purpose. But if he thinks he can make me a pawn in his game, he is very much mistaken.

Suddenly, Brougham was looking forward to the next session of Parliament. At last he had a worthy adversary.


Queen Caroline returned to her kingdom on March 13. Among the first to hail her arrival was Thomas Barnes of the Times, who in the next day’s editorial not only compared her to William the Conqueror, Henry VII and William III, but added that “this woman comes arrayed only in native courage and (may we not add?) conscious innocence; and presents her bosom, aye, offers her neck to those who threatened to sever her head from it, if ever she dared to come within their reach.”

This was almost entirely hyperbole — almost. Even as these words were going to print, the king was giving the order for Powell and Leach to gather all the evidence against her — and not merely the work of the D’Issy Commission, but the 1813 investigation and the so-called “Delicate Investigation” of 1806. This last had been based on the allegations of Lady Douglas that (among much else) Caroline's adopted child, William Austin, was in fact her biological child by another man — which would, at the time, have constituted high treason…


To Viscount Castlereagh, the claims made in the pamphlet The Plot Against Our Princess were already proof that the Radicals regarded libel and slander as fit weapons with which to attack the royal family. If he had known of Talleyrand’s missive to Whitbread, it would have confirmed all his worst suspicions — that in their eagerness to destroy the existing structure of power in the United Kingdom, the Radicals had become either the dupes or the willing collaborators of its ancient enemy, France.

Of course, Henry Brougham could have pointed out in return, had he known, that Castlereagh had no scruples about sharing British domestic concerns with a tyrannous foreign prince. “Your Highness will observe, that although we have made an immense progress against Radicalism, the monster still lives, and shows himself in new shapes; but we do not despair of crushing him by time and perseverance,” he had written to Metternich at the beginning of the year.[1]

In that same letter, the foreign minister had noted prophetically that “our session is likely to be a troublesome one” and spelled out his gravest concern: “Much will depend on the course her majesty shall think fit to pursue. If she is wise enough to accept the pont d’or[2] which we have tendered her, the calamities and scandal of a public investigation will be avoided. If she is mad enough or so ill-advised as to put her foot upon English ground, I shall, from that moment, regard Pandora’s box as opened.” He went on to thank Metternich profusely for his correspondence with the king, which, he said, “had its due weight in reconciling our royal master to the advice which his ministers felt it their bounden duty to give to his majesty.”

This letter also reveals the true motivations of Lords Liverpool and Castlereagh, which had very little to do with the sanctity of the royal marriage. To King George IV, the fight against Caroline was a war he had been waging since shortly after the birth of their daughter. To Their Lordships, the fight against Caroline’s Radical allies was a political extension of the wars against Revolutionary France and Napoleon — a defense of Christian civilization against the forces of Jacobinism, the guillotine, Chaos and ancient Night. Small wonder that Metternich was willing to offer his input, or that Castlereagh was so eager to accept it.

And if the Radicals were prepared to smear the reputations of the king and his brothers, the Tories had little cause for complaint under the circumstances. Not content with the d’Issy Commission’s allegations, leading Conservatives were quietly putting forth enough salacious rumours to transform this fifty-year-old grandmother into the Semiramis of the Regency era. The drawing-rooms of the upper classes echoed with claims that during Caroline’s travels abroad she had enjoyed sexual encounters with such disparate figures as King Joachim of Italy, Lucien Bonaparte and the Dey of Algiers (which led to the inevitable jokes about her having been “as happy as the Dey was long.”) Of course, all this mud hurled from on high only served to cement the Queen’s popularity among the Radicals — but this, too, was part of Castlereagh’s plan.

Bertrand Martineau and P.G. Sherman, The Great Scheme


[1] IOTL Castlereagh wrote this letter to Metternich in May.
[2] I.e., their proposed settlement of 50,000 a year in exchange for staying out of the country.


The new session of Parliament began on April 21. Lords Liverpool and Castlereagh, and the rest of the king’s supporters, were ready for political battle. “We have at length come to a final and ultimate issue with this outrageous woman,” said John Hely-Hutchinson. “She has set the King’s authority at defiance, and it is now time for her to feel his vengeance and his power.”

Caroline had not been idle during the preceding month. After a week at Claremont House coping with a bout of stomach trouble, she had begun holding a series of mass demonstrations throughout the London area — demonstrations that in their scale and duration openly flouted the Six Acts. In a later age, this would have been called “peaceful defiance,”[1] but in 1820 it was dangerously close to rebellion. Even Lord Chancellor John Scott, First Earl of Eldon and one of the king’s allies, said that “she is the most courageous lady I ever heard of.” (By contrast, King George hardly set foot in the London area for most of this time, leaving most of his duties to be handled by his comparatively competent brother Frederick Duke of York.)

She was not alone. Although Caroline’s support was strongest among the lower classes, many leading citizens attended these events as well, including a number of Radical MPs — in fact, most of these rallies and marches were organized by Alderman Matthew Wood, former Lord Mayor of London.[2] More importantly, Charlotte Augusta herself attended and addressed the crowd at many of them…


By the time Parliament was back in session, the King’s faction already felt that the “Queenites” had them under siege. “We have been entirely out-generaled,” lamented Lord Hutchinson.

Their counterattack began on the very first day of the session. Lords Liverpool and Castlereagh presented each House with a huge lawyer’s brief-bag stuffed full of copies of all the evidence the King’s supporters had been able to compile — the two “Green Bags” which were soon to become infamous throughout the empire — along with a message from the King recommending this evidence “to the immediate and serious attention of these Houses.”

But the bags were not simply thrown open to the public. Liverpool’s first step was to announce that on Monday he would propose the formation of a “Secret Committee on the Papers Relating to the Conduct of the Queen.” This committee would parse the evidence in the bags and issue its recommendation.

Monday began in the Commons with a speech of immense length by Lord Castlereagh in which (among much else) he repeatedly asserted that the purpose of the proposed inquiry was simply to discover the truth, and professed astonishment that anyone should imagine that it was intended to harm the reputation of the Queen. “No such intention was ever for a moment, or ever could be, harboured by his majesty's government,” he said, “the object of the message before the House being merely to obtain that advice which it professed to require.”

When Castlereagh was done, Henry Brougham took to the floor. He began by reading aloud a letter from Caroline and her solicitor, Thomas Denman, denouncing the idea of “a secret tribunal to examine documents privately prepared by my adversaries,” and demanding to have the case against her made in public at every step. He then reminded his audience of the social horrors that had ensued from such public airings of previous royal scandals, in which “the opening of a newspaper was regarded with disgust by every modest and well-conducted family.” In effect, Brougham was demanding that King and Parliament drop the matter now.

Then George Canning entered the fray. He neither supported nor opposed the formation of the committee, but expressed profound regret that matters had reached such a pass. (And well he might — he had been a friend of Caroline’s since her wedding in 1795, but he now oversaw the East India Company for King George.) “The wish nearest my heart,” he said, “was that this extremity could have been avoided. My next wish is that which must be the wish alike of all the country — that Her Majesty might come out of the inquiry with honour to herself, and satisfaction to her friends.”

Then William Wilberforce asked the House to delay the appointment of the committee until Wednesday. The House agreed to this — the first of many attempts Wilberforce would make to postpone the inevitable.

Bertrand Martineau and P.G. Sherman, The Great Scheme


[1] Civil disobedience
[2] IOTL, Caroline moved into Wood’s Mayfair residence for a while after her arrival.



The poet William Hone’s claim that George IV “spurn’d from his presence the Friends of his youth/And now has not one who will tell him the truth” was not entirely accurate. Although the King did his best to enclose himself in a cocoon of flattery and reassurance, there were still a few brave souls willing to undertake the painful task of bringing him bad news and persuading him to heed it (a process that often took the better part of two hours).

One of these was Lord Sidmouth, who sat at the heart of a spiderweb of paid informants that stretched from Kent to Connaught and the Orkneys. What these informants were telling him was not only that the King was almost universally loathed, but that virtually the entire country was preparing to rise in revolt. (As Brougham would put it: “No spy ever earned his bread by saying ‘I have infiltrated the ranks of your ill-wishers and found them to be harmless.’”) This goes a long way toward explaining why Sidmouth missed the early warning signs from Manchester and Glasgow — they were drowned out by a nationwide cacophony of false alarms.

The one piece of information that came through was that the Queenites were far more numerous than the King’s loyalists — particularly among the lower and middle classes. Even those who had no personal attachment to Caroline, or who were opposed to the concept of monarchy in general, saw her as a weapon with which to attack the status quo. Mary Shelley spoke for many when she said, “It is too great a stretch of the imagination to make a heroine of Queen Caroline, but I wish with all my heart downfall to her enemies.”

And as to the question which was supposed to be at the heart of the affair — had this woman been faithful to her husband, or had she not? — Sidmouth had to report that a surprisingly number of people seemed to believe that (a) Caroline had been indeed been faithful, and (b) if she hadn’t, it was his own fault for treating her so badly. (This was borne out in a farcical way by the crowd at one rally, who had shouted “Three cheers for Mr. Austin, the Queen’s son!”[1]) And of course there was no question in anyone’s mind who had been unfaithful first.

To George, all this meant only one thing — it was time to expose the sins of his wife before Parliament and the nation. The King’s secret weapons, the witnesses the d’Issy Commission had found, would be called forth. Once the honest, virtuous people of the British Isles learned of Caroline’s full iniquity, they would turn away from her in disgust. Thin as this hope might seem, it was shared by Castlereagh and Liverpool, whose ultimate intent was to tar Brougham, Burdett[2], Wood and the rest of the Radicals with the same brush used on the Queen they had shackled their reputations to.

The King’s other unofficially licensed truth-speaker was the Duke of Wellington, who had ordered soldiers to patrol the poorer neighborhoods every night in squads of six to nine after the first riots. The news Wellington brought was even worse. The soldiers in the army had sworn oaths to George III, but had not yet sworn oaths to his son — and were not likely to, the way things were going…


The May 1 mutiny in the Mews illustrates not only the popularity of Queen Caroline, but also the way in which dissatisfaction arising from a variety of different sources manifested as support for her.

About the time the new session began, the King and the Duke of York had begun moving troops into the capital to suppress the Queenite “riots” — many of which seem to have been actual riots, although the King’s faction was not good at drawing the distinction between riots and demonstrations. The King’s Mews at Charing Cross was overcrowded with armed men who were already unhappy at being ordered to suppress their fellow Britons, and whose pay was in arrears. It didn’t help that in the hurry to bring in the army, the chain of command had never been properly established, leaving the troops subject to frequently conflicting orders from their own officers, the Duke of Wellington and the Duke of York.

On May 1, Wellington and York were at Claremont House, putting aside their differences in an attempt to persuade the Queen to leave the country — or at least get her followers under control — when word reached them of a mass demonstration in Charing Cross. Both men were too well known to safely approach the demonstration, so they parked their coaches several blocks away. Even there, the shouts of “God save the Queen!” and “No Queen? No King!” could be clearly heard.

When they sent a servant to investigate, he returned with the horrifying news that the soldiers in the Mews had laid down their arms and joined the crowd. Sir Robert Thomas Wilson, hero of the Peninsular War and MP for Southwark, was speaking to the soldiers, praising their valor and urging them not to allow themselves to be used against their queen or their countrymen.

As quickly as possible, the 2nd Life Guards were summoned, and the crowd dispersed peaceably. The mutinying force turned out to be three battalions of the 3rd Foot Guards (commanded by the King’s own brother-in-law, the Duke of Gloucester). This regiment was promptly transferred to Portsmouth and replaced with troops whose loyalty the Crown was certain of (or rather, whose disloyalty it was uncertain of).

Sir Robert Peel, investigating on Wellington’s behalf, discovered that tavern-keepers in the area had given free ale to the Guards for the express purpose of drinking the Queen’s health. Apparently they had done this on their own initiative — which proved that not everything the Queenites did could be traced to the machinations of Brougham, Wood and Wilson…


George Tierney and the rest of the mainstream Whig leadership were no happier about being entangled in the Caroline affair than Wellington was. “For the life of me I can feel no interest and little curiosity about these royal squabbles,” lamented Lord Holland. (Part of the problem may have been that Caroline’s principal champion, Henry Brougham, was so cunning and ambitious that he frightened people on his own side.)

Even more caught in the middle was George Canning. On May 8, he resigned his office. Interestingly, the King, who now suspected Canning not only of personal disloyalty but also of having been one of Caroline’s lovers, refused his resignation. Three weeks later, with the Pains and Penalties Bill before Parliament, Canning and his family fled the country for Europe — an act that even at the time was embarrassing to the government.

And, of course, there was William Wilberforce, who saw in the affair immense potential for disaster. “I fear lest it should please God to scourge this nation through the medium of this rupture between the King and Queen,” he said. In spite of poor health and failing eyesight, he did everything in his power to delay the investigation, and it was not enough.

On Saturday, May 13, accompanied by Tories Sir Thomas Acland and James Stuart-Wortley and the independent-minded Henry Bankes, he visited Claremont House in a last-ditch effort to reach a peaceful settlement. The crowd outside the house was hostile (Wilberforce was sure that if he had met them later at night, they would have thrown cobblestones at him) but the Princess persuaded them to let her guests through. She greeted them warmly, chiefly in recognition of Wilberforce’s work against slavery and the slave trade.

But her mother would hear nothing of Wilberforce’s proposals, either that she acquiesce in the omission of her name from the liturgy or that she agree to live in France and make only occasional visits to England’s shores. “If they wished me to stay abroad, why not leave me there in peace?” said Caroline. “No women of character could submit to the insults they have offered.”

Wilberforce returned in failure. The following Monday, the Secret Committee would meet for the first time. They would spend a week examining the evidence and would make their report on Friday, and he had no doubt what they would recommend. “Whatever ensues,” he wrote that evening in a letter to his wife, “it will always be a consolation to me to reflect that I have done my best to prevent all the evils that may happen.”

Bertrand Martineau and P.G. Sherman, The Great Scheme


[1] This is reported to have happened IOTL. (If you’ve lost track, Mr. Austin is that guy the Queen adopted as a child and was accused of being the mother of.)
[2] Sir Francis Burdett, a Radical so hardcore that in 1810 he was arrested and temporary locked up in the Tower of London on charges of libelling the House of Commons.


On Monday, May 22, Lord Liverpool brought before Parliament “An Act to deprive her Majesty Queen Caroline Amelia Elizabeth, of the Title, Prerogatives, Rights, Privileges and Exemptions, of Queen-Consort of this Realm, and to dissolve the Marriage between his Majesty and the said Caroline Amelia Elizabeth.” This was universally known as the “Bill of Pains and Penalties” which, as Lady Cowper noted, made it sound “as if she was going to be fried or tortured in some way.”

The Act’s course through Parliament amounted to a divorce trial — but (as Brougham never tired of pointing out) a very strange trial, in which the plaintiff never appeared and the usual standards for evidence did not apply. This was meant to be the opening volley of the King’s war on his wife.

The second volley, however, could not be fired for another six weeks. By the time the bill had its second reading, the witnesses needed to be in London and ready to be brought before the Lords.

Finding witnesses had been no easy task. The people who knew the most of Caroline’s doings over the years were, of course, her servants — and she had always treated her servants well. Few were inclined to betray her, especially to the infamous lout of a husband whose cruelty had driven her abroad in the first place. Those who had suffered alongside her in ‘16 were particularly loyal. However, there were a few who had parted with her on bad terms. And over the course of her journeys Caroline and Pergami had been seen in public by a good many people, some of whom were willing to testify.

Two witnesses in particular were easy to find — Caroline’s former maid, Louise Demont, and her lover Giuseppe Sacchi, a former equerry of the household. They had moved to England last year and were now in London, living as man and wife and calling themselves “the exiled Count and Countess of Milan.”[1] Another witness, Captain Thomas Briggs of HMS Leviathan, was equally at hand. The chambermaid Barbara Kress was living in Karlsruhe. After a strong hint from Metternich, the authorities in the Grand Duchy of Baden released her to testify.

Most of the potential witnesses, however, were in France and Italy. The French government was publicly opposed to the D’Issy Commission, but cooperated with it in private. (Castlereagh took this as a sign that the French were at last learning their place.) However, the two most valuable witnesses drove the hardest bargain. Among other things, they insisted on being transported back to French shores immediately after their testimony.

And then there was Italy. The King’s original spy, the Baron Friedrich Ompteda, was long dead, a casualty of the Other Peninsular War.[2] However, there were others in Italy who might be willing to testify if offered enough money. There were, however, two problems with this.

The first was getting the Italian government to cooperate. In the negotiations, the government took a wolf-and-shepherd approach with John Fane, Lord Burgersh (later Earl of Westmorland), the British ambassador and son of the Lord Privy Seal.

Prime Minister Buonarroti tried to drive the hardest bargain he possibly could. Since Italy was still short of money at this point, and its chief allies, France and the United States, had expenses of their own to meet, most of his proposals were of a financial nature — massive low-interest loans from the Bank of England, or tying the value of the ternesca to the British pound for a period of years. When Westmorland offered the counterproposal that the Royal Navy return certain warships which had been commandeered from the previous Italian states, Buonarroti responded, “Keep them. We’ll build better ones.”

And he was the shepherd. The wolf was King Joachim I, who vowed that Italy would never cooperate with King George’s wicked scheme at all. Queen Caroline, he said, was a personal friend of himself and a friend of the Italian people, and Pergami was a national hero, and it would be the height of dishonor to cooperate in the sullying of their reputations.

Castlereagh, reasoning that bribing a half-dozen Italians could not possibly be as expensive as bribing the entire kingdom, paid the witnesses even more (£20,000 each)[3] and had them smuggled out of the country, along with their immediate families. This was necessary because of the second problem — the prosecution of Queen Caroline was even less popular on the streets of Milan than it was in Terni. The people of Italy saw her as a good Englishwoman (if an unusually German one), unlike the villains who had unleashed the monster Morriset on them. Any Italian who testified on King George’s behalf would probably find it healthiest to move to America afterwards.[4]

Of course, the French and other witnesses soon found out what the Italians were being paid, and insisted on equal payments for themselves (except, of course, for Capt. Briggs, who was taking no money at all for this). Having collected the witnesses, it was then simply a matter of getting them over the seas, onto British shores, past the angry mobs of Queenites and into safe locations until their day in “court.”

Bertrand Martineau and P.G. Sherman, The Great Scheme


[1] IOTL, they weren’t together at this point, but were both calling themselves “count” or “countess.”
[2] IOTL, the star witness against Caroline was Teodoro Majocchi. ITTL, the authors of The Great Scheme don’t know about Majocchi because he died at Lake Como. I’m a little sorry I killed him. IOTL, he was a hilariously inept witness, saying “Non mi ricordo” (“I don’t remember”) in response to so many of Brougham’s questions that it became a national joke.
[3] This is 40% of what he was willing to pay Caroline to stay abroad for one year.
[4] IOTL, of course, the various governments of Italy were more than happy to cooperate with Castlereagh. However, there was still a good deal of popular resistance.

Weep, daughter of a royal line,
A Sire’s disgrace, a realm’s decay;
Ah! happy if each tear of thine
Could wash a Father’s fault away!

Weep–for thy tears are Virtue’s tears–
Auspicious to these suffering Isles;
And be each drop in future years
Repaid thee by thy People’s smiles!
Byron, “Lines to a Lady Weeping,” first published in the Morning Chronicle, March 7, 1812.[1]
Saturday, June 10
about 4 p.m.
Claremont House

Queen Caroline was in her daughter’s parlor with the two senior members of her legal team, Henry Brougham and Thomas Denman, along with Charlotte Augusta and Leopold.

“Consider this a rehearsal,” said Brougham. “When the time comes, you must have ready answers to whatever questions they ask.”

“I suppose I must,” said Caroline.

“Very well. Why was Pergami’s bedchamber always so near at hand to yours?”

“Apart from the fact that he was my majordomo, Will was getting old enough to sleep in his own room[2] and I needed protection.”

“You were expecting to be murdered in your bed?” said Denman.

“I wasn’t thinking so much of murder,” she said. “Allow me to explain. Did you know that before the late King Frederick of Württemberg married the Princess Royal, he was married to my older sister?”[3] Brougham nodded in reply, although he didn’t quite see the relevance.

“And he was a dreadful ogre, I might add. She was scarcely more than a girl, and he would berate her viciously at any excuse or none, strike her if he was the least bit angry, which from a brute that size[4] — well, it’s a wonder she survived. But that’s not the worst of it.

“When he finally tired of her and wanted to divorce her, he sent his… aide-de-camp” — at this point, her eyebrows and tone of voice were doing everything they possibly could to indicate that this aide-de-camp might have served the king in some other capacity as well — “into her chambers at night under orders to rape her, so that he might charge her with adulter— are you all right, Thomas?” (Denman was choking on his tea. He had not expected the conversation to take this particular turn.)

“Quite… well, Your Majesty.” He took a deep breath. “Pray continue.”

“Well, fortunately she had taken the precaution of having her maid sleep in the room with her, and for the blackguard to have done the deed in front of an audience would rather have defeated the purpose — so he retreated as soon as he saw her. But I feared Prinny[5] might send someone to try some similar mischief against me.”

“You… believe Father might do such a thing,” said Charlotte Augusta. She sounded surprised, but only a little.

“I don’t know that he would,” said Caroline, “but I’ve been surprised more than once by the depths to which he will stoop. Some surprises I would sooner avoid, thank you.”

“Would it not have served to have a maid in the room, as your sister did?” said Brougham.

“My sister was in St. Petersburg at the time,” she said. “Frederick was governing Old Finland for Catherine, although after this she dismissed him. Under my own circumstances, I felt safer with a man close by. Particularly a capable warrior like Barty, who could fight and best any two villains in Europe.”

“No doubt he could,” said Brougham. “Nonetheless, it would be better to refer to him as ‘Pergami.’ You don’t want to seem too familiar with him.”

“Of course,” said Caroline. “Apart from that, is your question answered?”

“It is,” said Brougham. He wondered for a moment if the story were true. If it were, than George III (whom both Caroline and Charlotte Augusta both still held in some affection) had handed his own oldest daughter over to one of the worst monsters in Europe.

“So long as you add that last caveat — that you are speaking of your own fears, not of any known plot of His Majesty’s — you should be on safe legal grounds,” said Denman. “The only reputation damaged would be that of King Frederick, who, being dead, cannot sue.”

“Which reminds me,” said Brougham. He turned to the princess.

“You realize,” he said, “that in order to properly defend the Queen, it will be necessary to speak publicly of the King’s own… reputation. I hope you will be prepared for that.”

Charlotte snorted. “His reputation,” she said sarcastically. “‘O, he has lost his reputation!’ Who is his mistress this week, do you know? Is it Lady Hertford, or Lady Conyngham? I’ve quite lost track.” Caroline laughed out loud. No one else in the room ventured more than a slight chuckle. Leopold placed a hand on the princess’s arm.

“All my life I’ve seen my father disgracing himself in the sight of the whole kingdom, and all my life I’ve had to listen to the people around me trying not to speak of it where they think I can hear. Even the Tories have been kind to me. They… pity me.” She spoke this last through clenched teeth, then turned to look at Brougham squarely.

“I have had my fill and more of pity, Henry,” she said. “Do your worst. Spare nothing and no one, myself least of all. I insist.”


[1] When Prince George first became regent in 1811, everyone expected him to dismiss the current government and appoint his then-allies, the Whigs. By 1812, however, it was clear his loyalties had changed and this wasn’t going to happen. In fact, according to some accounts, on Charlotte Augusta's 16th birthday he delivered a toast in which he denounced the Whig leadership — whereupon Charlotte, already politically aware, burst into tears, inspiring Byron to write this little poem.
[2] Caroline had William Austin sleeping in her room until he was 13.
[3] Augusta of Brunswick, mother of William of Württemberg, whom you may remember as a hero of the Juillet Lorrain and Nancy. She died in 1788. (Her body was never returned to Brunswick, so Caroline believes — or claims to believe — she’s still alive somewhere, but that’s another story.)
[4] King Frederick of Württemberg was one or two inches shy of seven feet tall and weighed 440 pounds.
[5] “Prinny” has been king for six months, but old habits die hard — especially when talking about somebody no one really respects.

The second reading of the Pains and Penalties Bill took place on July 6, despite the warnings of the Earl of Caernarvon (a Whig) that “this is a question the agitation of which can produce no public good” and that it would “excite and alarm the public feeling, without any sufficient public motive.”

At this point, Queenite demonstrations, though larger than ever, had become more cheerful, with less threat of violence. Leading Tories were booed and hissed like stage villains, but rarely was anything thrown at them. This was because, on the streets of London at least, the Queenites had already won. In the drawing-rooms of the upper classes, men (and a very few women) might still snigger at Queen Caroline and Pergami, her “Night Companion and Commander of the Bath” (a reference to Dumont's allegation that the two had bathed together). Among the middle and lower classes, however, anyone who still considered His Majesty the wronged party was keeping very quiet about it. Increasingly, younger Conservatives like Robert Peel were wondering if it was time to intervene on behalf of the party…

Bertrand Martineau and P.G. Sherman, The Great Scheme
Saturday, July 15
About 4 p.m.
The House of Lords, Westminster

Brougham sat and listened to the witness, and considered how best to proceed.

He glanced back at his principal. Caroline sat, a little bit slumped and cradling her stomach as though it hurt. To her right sat her daughter, poised, reserved and already looking every inch a queen — looking, in fact, as if she were about to order someone beheaded. On the left was Lady Anne Hamilton, the Queen’s friend and lady-in-waiting, who had spent the whole day leaning on her brother Archibald’s shoulder in a pose of exaggerated femininity (which must have put some slight strain on Lord Hamilton, as she was six feet tall).

Brougham thought things had gone rather well, so far. Louise Demont and her not-exactly-husband Sacchi had testified for the first two days. Rather than pick apart Louise’s many claims about the relationship between Caroline and Pergami, Brougham and the other attorneys had attacked her credibility directly, pointing out the circumstances of her dismissal, the fact that she was now calling herself “the Countess of Milan” on no basis whatsoever, and the fact that not long after her dismissal she had written to her half-sister (still a valued employee of the Queen, and at this point a most useful ally) expressing her admiration for Her Majesty and rather obviously hoping to get her job back.

Sacchi, “the Count of Milan,” had described in loving detail the sight of Caroline and Pergami asleep in one another’s arms in the back of a carriage, with her hand in the vicinity of his crotch. He had, in fact, described it in such detail that the defense attorneys had been able to point out that two people in that particular pose would have fallen onto the floor of the carriage the first time it ran over a bump.

The testimony of the maid Barbara Kress had taken longer than it should have, because it had turned out, several hours in, that the interpreter had come from the wrong part of the Germanies and hadn’t been entirely clear in his own mind what she was saying. Even after they had found another one, they had tended to get lost in details like the definition of the word “wüste” when used to describe bedsheets. (Ironically, the person in the room who had best understood Frau Kress had probably been the Brunswicker Caroline.) On the whole, Brougham didn’t think they’d taken too much damage.

As for the other witnesses… where to begin? Gaetano Paturzo, the ship’s mate who said he’d seen Caroline sitting on Pergami’s lap — in a time and place when everyone else on the ship would have seen them as well? The innkeeper Pietro Cuchi, who thought he had seen Pergami, lightly clad, leaving Caroline’s bedchamber late at night — but wasn’t sure, because it had been hard to see through the keyhole? Luigi Galdini, who claimed to have wandered into the Villa d’Este by mistake and caught Caroline and Pergami in an indecent position without ever being intercepted by a servant?

But this was Captain Briggs of the Leviathan, the only witness who hadn’t been bribed or (in the case of Kress) threatened into being here. There would be no impeaching his honour. And he had just described seeing Pergami and Caroline holding hands. This could be a problem…

“I should like to ask,” said the young Tory Lord Ellenborough, “whether the witness saw any improper familiarity between the Princess and Pergami.”

“No, I did not,” said Briggs.

“And had you any reason to suspect any improper freedom or familiarity between them?”

“No.”

Or not.

On that note, the House adjourned for the day. Some of Ellenborough’s colleagues were looking at him as though they were no longer sure which side he was on.

Is this all they have? thought Brougham. I wasn’t expecting much from the King’s faction, but this? I’m a little disappointed.

Earl Grey approached them in the Peers’ Lobby. “Your Majesty, Your Highness, Mr. Brougham? Might I have a word with you?”

“Of course, Charles,” said the Princess.

Grey lowered his voice. “I have some news which may concern you,” he said. (Brougham immediately maneuvered himself into position between Her Majesty and the rest of the lobby so that none of the Tories could see her reaction, if any.)

“Next week, I’ve heard, the prosecution” — even if this wasn’t really a trial, everyone was using the language of one — “will bring forward two more witnesses. Apparently they’ve been brought over from France, and will return there as soon as they’ve given evidence.”

“Are we not to be allowed to cross-examine them?” asked Brougham.

“In front of the Lords, yes,” said Grey, “but they will not be speaking before the Commons.”

“Who are these witnesses?”

“Two of Her Majesty’s servants from d’Issy. Gaetan Jeannot and Aloïse St-Leger.”

Brougham had met both of them in Paris, but couldn’t remember much about either one of them. Judging by the look on Caroline’s face, however (and Lady Hamilton’s face, which Brougham couldn’t block from public view) this was a dreadful surprise.


Monday, July 17
About 1 p.m.
The House of Lords, Westminster

M. Jeannot, an nondescript little man whose hair was just starting to turn gray, had served as the Queen's factor almost since her arrival in Paris. Unlike many of the witnesses, he spoke English just well enough not to need a translator. According to his testimony, he had on several occasions purchased perfume for her.

"And when you presented these purchases to her," asked Robert Gifford, the Solicitor General[1], "who was with her?"

"Baron Pergami."

"And how did they respond?"

"She… put a drop of the perfume on her skin. He come forward, like this" — Jeannot leaned forward in his seat — "and smell the perfume."

"Where on her skin did she place the perfume?"

"Twice I see her… put it on her arm, here." He tapped his wrist. "Once I see her put it on her… chest. Above her dress." He tapped himself on the chest about where a woman's cleavage would begin.

"On her bosom, you mean?"

"Oui, merci. Her… bosom."

"And again, the Baron leaned forward, closely, to smell it?"

"Objection," said Brougham. "Leading question."

"I shall rephrase. How did the Baron respond when the Queen anointed her bosom with perfume?"

"He put his nose very near her bosom and he smell it."

Jeannot then went on to describe purchasing undergarments for the Queen, which she allegedly examined in the company of Pergami. His English was not quite good enough to say how lacy or frilly they were, but he said they were "small."

And then the day took a turn for the strange. Jeannot went on to describe being commissioned to procure the services of a dancer who called himself "The Sheik of Araby." Somehow or other he had apparently contrived to remain in the room while the dancer did his dance, wearing a loose-fitting pair of linen pantaloons.

"Describe this dance," said Gifford.

"He… use his pantaloons."

"What do you mean, he used his pantaloons?"

"He move them forward and back… like so." Jeannot stood up, grabbed the sides of his trousers and pushed them forward and backward.

"And what else did he do?"

"He did… this." A look of studious concentration came over his face. Then, still standing, he waved his arms, snapped his fingers and moved his hips and torso in what was probably supposed to be a sinuous fashion, but wasn't.[2]

* * *

About 6 p.m.
Henry Brougham's house in London

"And what did you do then?" said Margaret, once she had stopped laughing and gotten her breath back.

Brougham waited until he had chewed and swallowed a mouthful of dinner to proceed with the story.

"I asked a few questions which established that the Commission had not brought any of the perfumers or haberdashers who could corroborate Jeannot's tale."

"Or the Sheik of Araby?"

"Or him, sadly. And of course there were never any receipts."

"So do you think it was a victory?"

"To be honest, I'm not quite sure," he said, "but one thing I am sure of. After that performance, anything M. St-Leger has to say will surely be an anticlimax."

For the rest of his life, whenever Henry Brougham showed signs of smugness or intellectual arrogance in front of his wife, she would remind him he had said that.


[1] IOTL, the Solicitor General at this point was John Singleton Copley, son of the American painter.
[2] IOTL it was Majocchi who performed an erotic dance in front of the assembled Lords. My conscience as a writer would not allow me to leave out a scene like this.


Tuesday, July 18, 1820
11 a.m.
St. Petersburg

Tsar Alexander eyed his foreign minister carefully. "So, the Italians are behind all this trouble in the Balkans, you say?"

"Certainly, Your Majesty, they have taken full advantage of an unstable situation," said Ioannis Kapodistrias. "We do not yet know whether they are doing this of their own initiative or as part of some plot of Talleyrand's, but we can see the results. In the past three months, the Sultan's forces have made only modest gains in Wallachia and been completely stymied in the west, and they were unable to protect their Algerine allies from a sound thrashing by the French and their allies."

"You sound like a man proposing something," said the tsar. "Let us hear it."

"Your Majesty, at the very hour in which the Ottoman Empire trembles on the edge of ruin, Castlereagh finds himself distracted as he never was before and most likely never will be again. It seems to me that God is granting Mother Russia a rare opportunity to strengthen herself among the nations." These days, Kapodistrias knew, speaking of God's will and God's plan was a good way to get the tsar's attention.

"If you mean Constantinople," said Alexander, "I suspect that however distracted Castlereagh may be, if we make a move in that direction he will quickly focus his attention where it belongs."

"Nothing so extravagant, Your Majesty. But Serbia may become a Russian ally, instead of a Turkish vassal. Moldavia, Wallachia, and perhaps even Bulgaria and Armenia may become new principalities within our empire. And if Greece wins its independence as much through our aid as through Italy's, perhaps it will be favorably disposed to an alliance with us. I would certainly do all that is within my power to bring about such an end."

"Earlier, your advice was to wait and see how the rebels fared before taking any action," said Alexander. "Do you believe we have now seen enough?"

"Your Majesty, I would not care to say yet how the rebellions would end, left to themselves," said Kapodistrias carefully, "but my purpose in that advice was to avoid open war. We needn't engage the Turks openly — rather, we can quietly arm and train rebels just as Italy is doing. If Mustafa wins anyway, we have lost very little. If his empire continues to disintegrate, Metternich and Castlereagh will beg you to intervene openly so as to preserve some sort of order.

"And the best part? If we know Italy is intervening, then by now so does Metternich — and so will Castlereagh, as soon as he can tear himself away from this risible business of the British queen. It will be some time before they begin to suspect us as well."

The tsar smiled. "Very well," he said. "You have convinced me."


At Carême's of Trafalgar, I spent more money than I would care to admit on a meal of conch soup, grilled marlin with jamburghee[1] and morel salad dressed with nimbooghee and rice vinegar, with a dessert of fresh-picked lychees and lime custard. As I ate, I remembered my mother's much simpler cooking — the breakfasts of sweet callakeer[2] sprinkled with cinnamon, dinners of hot mickasookee stew[3] served on gora noodles, and on special occasions, jerked mutton baked in the old tandoor and served with whashenghee[4]. Like all great cuisines, Florida cooking had its origin not in the kitchens of master chefs, but in those of peasant women doing the best they could with the ingredients and skills they possessed.

And it would be hard to think of a better selection of ingredients. Though the climate was unsuitable for the cereals that had sustained the Western world for all its history, many useful vegetables would grow here, including onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes and several varieties of potato. The Muscogees and Seminoles brought with them the classic trinity of beans, squash and maize, and knew how to treat the maize with lime to bring out its full nutritive value. The Hindus, Balinese and Malays, who began coming in 1817, brought rice, yams, taro and many spices. In 1820, the first Cantonese came, bringing the seeds of Chinese vegetables.

As for meat, cattle were mostly owned by Hindus, who of course used them only for milk. However, there was chicken, turkey, goat, fish from the ocean and the occasional bit of waterfowl or venison. (If you weren't Jewish or Muslim, there was also pork.) In 1820 Stamford Raffles had a herd of meat sheep imported from Barbados.[5]

Soon afterward, the orchards and apiaries that were the colony's true raison d'etre[6] began to bear fruit. As honey, perfume and preserved oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, persimmons and red bananas were exported back to the British Isles, the honey and fruit also began showing up on the tables of Floridians.

In the hot, muggy climate of Florida, once milk had been obtained it was quickly turned into clarified butter and milk solids. Since few possessed the proper tools to bottle ghee without moisture and keep it airtight, the precious stuff had to be preserved in other ways — with honey, rum and salt. Soon, cooks of many nationalities began combining this with spices and various fruits, or with caramelized onion and garlic, to create the sauces which became such a distinctive part of Florida cooking.

Michael Sidhu, A Culinary History of North America


[1] Spicy grapefruit sauce.
[2] A sort of pudding or porridge made from rice, bananas and toasted milk solids.
[3] A stew made chiefly from beans, squash and tomatoes, thickened with corn flour.
[4] Spicy peanut sauce.
[5] The Barbados Blackbelly, a slow-growing but hardy breed.
[6] Well, okay, they weren't the reason the colony was founded, but they are the reason it will start offering a return on investment.


Wednesday, July 19
10:30 a.m.
The House of Lords, Westminster

Queen Caroline had stayed at the Hamiltons' Portman Square residence today. She had said she couldn't stand the thought of being in the same room with Aloïse St.-Leger while the woman betrayed her. Brougham hoped this wouldn't be taken as a sign of a guilty conscience.

Unlike M. Jeannot, St.-Leger spoke very little English, and needed an interpreter. From Brougham's point of view, this mostly served to prolong the agony. St.-Leger was saying that Caroline had openly told her that she and Pergami were lovers, and had, in fact, described their lovemaking.

And that wasn't all. She said she had seen Pergami entering Caroline's bedroom after hours nearly every night. She had sat outside the bedroom to keep others from approaching, and had heard the sounds of their intercourse. Those sounds had been loud and passionate. She had seen both of them in a state of dishabille, with the smell of sweat hanging in the air.

(What added an extra dash of pain to this whole experience was that Lady Anne Hamilton had come. From where he was sitting Brougham could clearly hear the aging maiden repeating every salacious word spoken by the interpreter, out loud, to her nearly-deaf brother Archibald.)

This, Brougham reminded himself, was not the end of the world. After all, St.-Leger was another one of their paid witnesses. She could still be discredited on those grounds. Of course, he would have only the one chance to cross-examine her, since she and Jeannot were to be escorted back to France after today… but that was pretty suspicious in itself, wasn't it?

And now St.-Leger was telling everyone more things Caroline had allegedly told her. "Her Majesty said Pergami was the best lover she had ever known," she said.

"The best," said Gifford. "Of how many?"

"Many. A dozen or more. She has known many men. Before her wedding, and after it as well. She said…" Here the interpreter stopped, because St.-Leger had stopped. The witness shut her eyes and took several deep breaths. She seemed to be working up the nerve for something.

Then she turned to where the Princess was sitting and said:

"Pardonnez-moi, Princess, mais votre père est George Canning!"

The translator stood there blinking, his mouth hanging open. But that didn't matter — virtually everyone in the room had enough French to understand what she had just said.
* * *
Shortly after 3 p.m.
The Hamilton residence, London

When the servant escorted Charlotte Augusta into the drawing-room, little Leo took one look at his mother's face and immediately hid himself against his grandmother's skirts.

The princess had a hard time blaming him. Feelings of rage, horror and humiliation had been hammering at her since midmorning. Sometimes they had come one at a time, sometimes in quick succession, and sometimes they had mixed inside her like ugly shades of paint to form entirely new emotions. The worst part was not knowing how she should feel — about her mother, about what she had heard, about anything.

Well, at least she knew how to feel about the Cub. She managed to contort her face into something resembling a pleasant smile, then picked him up, cuddled him and reassured him that he had nothing to fear. Then the Leo and a few of the servants took the Cub upstairs.

Charlotte turned to her mother. "Forgive me," she said, rather calmly under the circumstances, "but I simply must ask. My father is George of Hanover, correct? Not George Canning?"

Caroline stood there blinking, her mouth hanging open. There was a lot of that going around.

"Good heavens!" she finally said. "Is that what that woman told you?"

"That is what that woman told everybody."

"Well, it's a lie! I knew she was a liar, but I wasn't expecting that! Canning was never more than a friend!"

Charlotte said nothing. Her mother sounded sincere, but it would have helped if she hadn't said exactly the same thing about Pergami.

Caroline seemed to sense that she was being doubted. "Think, girl!" she said. "I was married to the King of England! Maybe he wasn't much in bed for a man who'd had more women than King Solomon, but do you think I would have jeopardized such a position on that account — to say nothing of my life?" She turned to Brougham. "I hope you made mincemeat of that lying wench in cross-examination."

"I did not," said Brougham, looking unusually displeased with himself. "I did what I could, but she stuck to her story and I could find no contradictions in it. Lord Ellenborough asked whether the Queen had ever consummated your marriage at all, and if so, how she could possibly know who the father was. The witness said 'A woman knows these things'."

Charlotte shook her head. "We are as much beings of flesh and blood as men are," she said. "We have no such magical powers. Any road, it is not enough to say I might be the king's daughter. There must be no doubt."

"I would very much like to question her again," said Brougham. "The plan is for her to be taken back to France tonight, but I can't quite believe Sidmouth would go through with it after such an extraordinary allegation."


George might have forgiven Charlotte her political radicalism — he had held such sentiments once himself. But in an emotional sense, he had disowned his daughter as soon as she took up her mother's cause. In his mind, the fight between them had taken on a Manichean quality. Everyone in the kingdom was either on his side, or on hers — especially the family.

There was, perhaps (this is largely speculative) more to it than that. If Caroline had drowned in a shipwreck or been killed in Italy, it is difficult to imagine that Charlotte would not at some point have made an effort to reconcile with her father — if for no other reason than the fact that it was unseemly for the king and his heir to be so publicly at odds. But even in this hypothetical case there would have been one problem remaining between them. In Othello, Iago said of Cassio that "He hath a daily beauty in his life/That makes me ugly" — one of many brief lines in which the Bard encapsulated a great deal of psychological insight. If the king had possessed the self-awareness of a Shakespearean stage villain, he might have said something similar about his own daughter. Without even saying a word to him, she would have reproached him simply by existing and being who she was.

Not that she was an ideal woman by Georgian standards. She was willful, opinionated and in her own way as rebellious as he had been. But unlike him, she had made a good thing for herself out of rebellion. After refusing to wed the prince of the Netherlands or the Duke of Gloucester, she had acted on her own initiative and captured a magnificent and highly suitable spouse — something that neither George nor many of his siblings had managed to do. And now she had a little family of her own, with a separate allowance, and no longer needed her father for anything.

Pointless as it may seem to attempt to reconstruct what was going on in the king's mind and soul, it is the only way to even attempt to understand his actions…
Bertrand Martineau and P.G. Sherman, The Great Scheme



Wednesday, July 19
Shortly after 5 p.m.
Lord Sidmouth's office, London

"He told you to do what?" said Wellington.

"To put Jeannot and St.-Leger on a carriage to Deptford, where the ship that brought them here was still waiting," said Sidmouth. "So I did. By now they should be well down the Thames and heading for open sea. Such was the agreement."

"Such was the agreement before she called into question the legitimacy of the heir to the throne! Rather an important point, don't you think?"

"I quite agree. However, she has already given her testimony on the matter, and she had nothing to gain by lying. The next step — His Majesty is in firm agreement on this — is to recall Mr. Canning from the Continent, and of course to ask questions of Caroline herself."

"What of those who were servants in Carlton House during the first few months of the royal marriage?" said Robert Peel.

"Of course, them as well," said Sidmouth. "The point is that there is nothing more to be gained by questioning Jeannot or St.-Leger further, and some danger that the Radicals may pressure them into a recantation. Or simply murder them — I needn't remind you how many threats our witnesses have been subjected to."

"Nonetheless," said Wellington, "it would be basic prudence to have her available for later questions."

"I was following His Majesty's orders." Sidmouth was sounding more and more agitated.

"He's the King of England, not the Tsar of All the Russias," said Wellington. "You could have spoken to Liverpool or Castlereagh, or simply acted on your—"

"Damn it all, do you want that Jacobin girl on the throne?"

Wellington was stunned into a momentary silence.

"Forgive me, Your Grace," said Sidmouth, visibly struggling to regain his composure. "But it seems to me that ever since the princess reached her majority and the old king died, England has hung by the thread of one man's life — and him not the youngest of men. Here we have a chance to avert catastrophe… and the Duke of Clarence does have a legitimate son now."

Although Wellington would have laid down his life in defense of the rights of the House of Hanover, there were very few in that House whom he liked or respected. In fact, he thought the current king and his brothers were a load of damned millstones around the government's neck. As for Charlotte Augusta, Wellington had long suspected that she would prove to be at least as bad as her mother. He anticipated her eventual ascent to the throne in much the same way that he anticipated his own eventual demise — as an unfortunate fact of life which it didn't do to dwell on too much.

"If we don't recall her, it would be as good as saying we take today's testimony at face value," said Peel. "Or that we'll take any ready excuse to disinherit the Princess in favor of her infant cousin. Brougham will say so at once — he's arrogant, conniving and power-hungry, but I've never yet heard him called blind or stupid. He's a dangerously clever man."

Wellington, who'd had a certain amount of experience being at cross-purposes with a dangerously clever man, nodded his head. "'Dangerously clever'… that describes the entire opposition rather well," he said, and turned to Sidmouth.

"Do you know why I am a Conservative?" he said. "Why I hate the Radicals? They want to upend every tradition, tear down and rebuild every institution, because they think they're so brilliant they can do a better job of it than all the generations of our ancestors put together… and they're wrong. I thought you understood that, sir. But to push aside the heir to the throne because we don't like her politics, and replace her with an infant who for all we know might grow up to be worse… I can think of a good many words for that, but 'conservative' isn't any of them."

Sidmouth looked a little abashed at this. "Well," he said at last, "the deed is done."


To everyone in the British Isles — indeed, to everyone in the world who was following the case — St.-Leger's allegation was a bolt from the blue. No one had seen this coming.

The great question, of course, was whether or not to believe it. To George IV himself, here was a sign that the wife he hated had deserved his hatred from the beginning; that Canning had betrayed him long before his resignation; and that the daughter who had turned against him had never been his in the first place. Everyone (even his allies, though they tried to hide the fact) thought him a hateful, worthless man who had driven away his wife, his daughter and everyone else who was not an inveterate flatterer, but now he had evidence that he had been right all along, that his cause was just, that he was as wronged and misused as he felt himself to be.

As for the king's political allies, even they did not truly respect him. The idea that the great philanderer was a cuckold had, perhaps, a certain charm. And certainly the claim was in character with everything they had been saying about Caroline… although they had certainly not expected Canning's name to come up. Nonetheless, it had to be looked into.

This was the official position of Lord Liverpool's government. "We cannot allow such a terrible charge against our Royal family and a valued servant of the Crown to go unanswered," said Castlereagh, demanding the recall of George Canning (a man with whom, as many now recalled, he had once fought a duel).

Caroline denied the allegation at once — as did Mr. Canning, as soon as he learned about it. (The Cannings had at this point arrived in Vienna. Upon hearing the news from London, Metternich immediately had them escorted to Rijeka and hired a ship to take them home.)

As for the Queenites, they not only considered the claim a lie, they believed they knew whence it had come. According to the pamphlet The Plot Against Our Princess (still in circulation at this point) the Tories had a scheme afoot to disinherit Charlotte Augusta in favor of little Victor Alexander — and had the government not brought Aloïse St.-Leger to London at great expense, paid her to utter these dreadful lies and returned her safely as soon as her work was done? What more proof could anyone ask for? And there was only one reason why the Tories would want to cast the princess aside — they intended to do away once and for all with the last traces of freedom in the British Isles, and knew that she would never stand for it…


In a dozen cities, not just Manchester and Glasgow, the Radicals were preparing for civil unrest. Although neither Burdett nor Wilson nor, certainly, Brougham had any intention of initiating violence, none of them had any doubt as to the will of Lords Liverpool and Castlereagh. Unemployed workingmen met in the fields outside the cities to drill like soldiers — which many of them had been not long ago — training themselves in the art of organized protest.

And then the other shoe dropped…

Bertrand Martineau and P.G. Sherman, The Great Scheme



Saturday, July 22
About 2 p.m.
The Tower of London

One good thing about having an office in the Tower of London, Wellington thought, was that there were several layers of walls between yourself and the angry mobs.[1] Good solid stone walls, too, and a wide stretch of ground. You could hardly hear them at all.

Not that Wellington was ignoring the public unrest. Just this morning Thomas Erskine, Earl of Kellie, had handed him a very long anonymous letter he had received, which included some alarming passages: “Castlereagh may calculate upon the support of the army to degrade the Queen, against the wishes and will of the people, but I will tell him, not one hair of her head falls to the ground by the consent of the brave soldiers who owe her their allegiance as their rightful queen… if he will contrive to bring all the troops around the metropolis together, he may ascertain their feelings towards the conspirators against her Majesty.”[2] Wellington wished he could have laughed it off, but from what he was hearing from his own subordinates, he wasn't so sure.

There was a knock on the door.

"Come in."

"Message from Lord Castlereagh, Your Grace," said the boy, handing him a sealed envelope. "He says it requires your immediate attention… begging your pardon."

"Thank you." Wellington was not in the habit of allowing unread correspondence to pile up on his desk. The last time he had put off reading a message was five years ago at Roxbury, and he had been preoccupied with winning a battle at the time. He took the note. It couldn't possibly be as bad as the news he'd gotten at Roxbury.

"By your leave, sir," said the messenger, and ducked out. Probably he had been ordered to leave immediately, and not to attempt to find out what this was.

Wellington read the note.

It was worse than the news he had gotten at Roxbury.

[1] Here, as IOTL, Wellington is currently serving as Master-General of the Ordnance.
[2] Erskine got this letter in September IOTL.


Saturday, July 22
About 4:30 p.m.
The Brougham residence

"Well, this is interesting," said Henry Brougham.

"What?" said his wife.

"His Grace the Duke of Wellington requests the pleasure of our company at Apsley House tonight."

"I think I can survive a short carriage ride," said Margaret, who was (as best they could tell) about seven months pregnant. "But I should say it's a little late in the day to be sending out dinner invitations."

"I dare say he's been quite busy today — as indeed have I," said Brougham. "No doubt this has something to do with the rather dramatic news from Calais."

"What dramatic news from Calais?" said Mrs. Brougham.

"You haven't heard?"

"For some reason," said Mrs. Brougham, cradling her belly, "I have not been out and about much of late. Pray tell me before I run mad with anticipation."

"Or walk mad, rather," said Brougham. She threw a cushion at him.

"Very well," he said. "After Madame St.-Leger's rather dramatic testimony, Lord Sidmouth had her and M'sieur Jeannot escorted onto a steamboat bound for Calais. No sooner had these two worthies stepped off the boat onto French soil than they repudiated every single word of their testimony before the Lords. More than that — they claimed that Lord Liverpool and his cabinet had coached them in what to say."

Mrs. Brougham was stunned into momentary silence.

"So," he continued, "shall we to the lion's den for supper?"

"I wouldn't miss it."

About 6 p.m.
Apsley House

Given the urgency of the situation, Wellington was finding it hard to keep the dinner conversation on a light note. He didn't like Henry Brougham, and he had invited the man here for a reason.

Finally he broke the ice. "First, Mr. Brougham," he said, "whatever you may think of their Lordships, they did not conspire with St.-Leger, nor with any other witness, to defame the parentage of Charlotte Augusta." Wellington almost said as far as I know or to the best of my knowledge, but he stopped himself. He did not want to give Brougham an opening to drive a wedge between him and the Government. Inviting the man to dinner was chancy enough.

"Quite so," said Brougham. "Even Sidmouth, I think, would not be such a fool as to coerce lies out of witnesses when he would have no power to hold them to their stories once they were out of his grasp."

"Forgive me, gentlemen," said Catherine. "but this has become rather confusing. Did that Frenchwoman lie when they questioned her, or when she arrived home?"

"She lied on both occasions," said Wellington. "The only thing she said that we know to be true is that she perjured herself before the Lords."

"What about that pamphlet?" said Catherine. "The one telling those horrible stories about their Lordships? Where did that come from?"

"I suspect our guest," said Wellington, glancing toward Brougham, "could tell you more about the origins of those calumnies than I could."

Brougham nodded. "If you're speaking of the allegations in The Plot Against Our Princess," he said, "I can't prove anything, but I have a suspicion that those stories came from someone in France… possibly Talleyrand himself."

"And scarcely three months later, along comes Aloïse St.-Leger to provide the mob with something that looks like proof," said Wellington. "And now the Regency Council is sheltering her and Jeannot."

Brougham nodded. "Fouché has taken them into 'protective custody,'" he said. "No doubt he is already returning them, considerably wealthier, to the obscurity from which he plucked them in the first place.[1]"

"Do you think Fouché is behind this scheme, or Talleyrand?"

“More likely, the two of them together,” said Brougham. "They're both born conspirators. If the two of them were to join forces and plot our ruin… well, circumspice.”[2]

"In case anyone was worried that he'd forgotten his Latin," said Mrs. Brougham, smiling.

"The key to the whole thing," Brougham continued, "is that this fellow Browne, the King's agent in Paris — I believe it was our two French witnesses who first approached him, and not the reverse. Am I correct in that?"

"You are," said Wellington.

"Well then — three years ago, when our queen first moved to Paris, Fouché planted them in her household as a matter of course. I doubt he expected anything to come of it at the time — he keeps track of everyone of any importance in France.

"Then along came Browne. I don't know how quickly he made a name for himself, but last year, when my wife and I went on our honeymoon in Paris, he had already become something of a local legend… the Non-Secret Agent. Is it such a great leap to suppose that, with all France already knowing Browne for a spy, Talleyrand would discover who he truly reported to?"

"Not at all," said Wellington.

"So — our witnesses attached themselves to Browne and served as double agents. They told him what his paymasters wanted to hear, which was nothing of any value to Lanjuinais or the Regency Council… and who knows what secrets they extracted from him in return?"

Wellington suddenly remembered something he had read in some bit of correspondence — that according to Browne, Jeannot was a great anglophile and very curious about all things British. A professional spy would have been on his guard against such manipulative flattery, but Browne was no professional.

"The whole world has known for many years how matters stand between George and Caroline," Brougham continued. "As soon as it became clear that the King's government would aggressively pursue divorce proceedings, and that this would meet some opposition, Fouché and Talleyrand realized the true potential for mischief in the situation and devised the great scheme which we now see bearing fruit."

"And you deduced all these things by yourself?" said Catherine. "You really are a genius!"

"Oh, don't go swelling his head," said Mrs. Brougham lightly. "We might have to widen the doorframe to get him out of the room." She caressed her husband's arm. Why do loving couples always have to flaunt their happiness? thought Wellington.
* * *
The remains of dinner had been cleaned up. Wellington and Brougham sat in the drawing-room, enjoying a respectable old single malt. Catherine was giving Mrs. Brougham a tour of the house.

"Between the two of us," said Wellington, "do you really believe the queen has not committed adultery?"

“In my opinion, Caroline is pure in-no-cence,” said Brougham, drawing out the last word so it wasn’t quite clear whether he was saying innocence or in no sense, and smiling as he did so.

This man is entirely too much in love with his own wit, thought Wellington. Well, two can play at that game. “Then may your wife be like her.”

“If I were such a fool as to treat my Margaret as shabbily as our king treated our queen, I would deserve far less than that,” said Brougham, not missing a beat.

Wellington sighed. "Very well, then. His Majesty is a great baby in his temperament, a drunken, gluttonous, lecherous wastrel in his appetites, and a lout and a blackguard in his… everything. I concede these truths readily, Mr. Brougham. Did you suppose I ever believed otherwise? Do you think we Tories bow down to him five times a day? We are not on his side, but on the side of peace and order.

"Which brings me to why I invited you here. Peace and order, which are in greater danger than at any time since the Jacobite risings. I won't allow that. If Her Majesty loves her adopted kingdom, she won't allow it either."

"You sound as though you wish her to surrender the baby rather than split it," said Brougham. "And though I have no doubt of your sincerity, I note that you are making this appeal not to the King and your fellow ministers, but to me, and through me to her Majesty. Perhaps we seem more… susceptible to reason?"

"Take it as a compliment, if you like."

"I most certainly shall. But I must tell you that Her Majesty has suffered too greatly to surrender now, or to allow slanderers and paid liars to prevail over her good name. Nor will Her Highness be denied her rightful place."

"At what price?" said Wellington. "I have heard the story — by all means correct me if I have heard it wrong — of how you yourself remonstrated with the princess the night she ran away from home. 'The multitude will fill the streets and the park, the soldiers will be called out, blood will flow, and in a hundred years it will never be forgotten that you were the cause of the mischief. The English people so hate blood that you will never get over it.'[3]

"Is that not true now? Is the name of Queen Consort — a title which holds no real power — worth seeing her supporters cut down and shot in the streets? Is her reputation worth the hatred and bitterness that would ensue?"

"I detect a veiled threat beneath your tone of concern," said Brougham. "A rabble of mechanics and artisans being killed or driven off by cavalry, or perhaps a 'whiff of grapeshot' — is that how you believe it would happen? Does it seem tolerable to you that such things should come to pass in our cities? If so, I must warn you the time has already come and gone when we could have been crushed so easily. There are soldiers on both sides, Your Grace — soldiers and officers, as I think you know.

"In fact," Brougham continued in musing tones, "I believe those loyal to the queen now outnumber those who favor the king, particularly if one includes the many discharged veterans who are searching these isles for gainful employment. Now, if you were on the king’s side, that by itself would ensure the two sides were more evenly matched. If you were to choose the queen’s side, of course, the war would be over almost as soon as—”

“Why, you overgrown schoolboy!” Wellington suppressed the urge to grab the man by the shoulders and shake him. “Listen to yourself! Sitting there, blithely speaking of civil war on Britain’s shores — have you ever seen war? Have you the least notion of its horrors?”

“I have not,” said Brougham matter-of-factly, “but you have.”

The duke’s blood ran cold. Brougham might be a pampered civilian, but he was also a fearsomely intelligent man. His calculation of the respective strength of the king’s faction and the queen’s had been very close to Wellington’s. For Caroline’s supporters to overwhelm the established order and march triumphant into Whitehall would be bad enough, but a protracted conflict between rival factions of near-equal force…

Wellington’s mind, educated by decades of warfare, had no trouble conjuring up images of the conflict. Briton killing Briton on land and sea, England’s countryside ravaged like that of Spain or Italy… her overseas possessions snapped up by France or the United States or whichever power was close at hand and feeling opportunistic… India, Ireland, perhaps even Scotland rising in rebellion… in the end, it would hardly matter who won the civil war. The British Empire would have fallen, never to rise again.

And Brougham knew it. That was the real meaning behind his bland and airy words. Join us, betray your king, help us crush your allies and friends… or watch your country burn and by your own actions pour more oil on the fire. Your choice.

"Damn you," he said.

"It was not I who conjured up the spectre of bloodshed here," said Brougham.

No, but there is bloodshed and there is BLOODSHED, thought Wellington. Britain can survive the use of force against an angry mob or two, and would probably be the healthier for it. It can't survive civil war. But since Brougham's supporters would be in those mobs, only a fool would expect him to see things that way.

Wellington drew a breath. Bullying Brougham into submission had been a stratagem he hadn't wanted to use. Now it was time for the stratagem he really didn't want to use.

"I have a proposition," he said, "that ends the matter without dishonor to Caroline. When next Parliament meets, I should like you to put it forward as though it were your own. Take credit for it, if you wish. I shall merely work to rally the Government and the Tories behind it." What he was about to suggest was, he thought, the sort of ploy Brougham himself might plausibly come up with.[4] Certainly it was nothing he wanted his own name attached to.

"Do you not recall," Wellington continued, "that at the time George and Caroline were joined in holy matrimony — or some sort of matrimony, at least — he was already married?"

Brougham looked a little surprised by this, but nodded. "If you are speaking of Maria Fitzherbert," he said, "that marriage was and is null and void, according to the Act of '72."

"'What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder'," quoted Wellington. "Parliament overstepped its bounds with that act. Anglican, Catholic, Methodist, Jewish… a marriage is a marriage.

"Then do you see that there is no need for these proceedings at all? As a victim of bigamy, Caroline's marriage would be annulled at once, with no blame nor opprobrium attached to her. She would be free to marry again, if she chose. As Duchess of Brunswick, a goodly sum would be settled on her, and she would be free to come or go from the kingdom as she pleased." Wellington took a breath. As much as he had come to despise the King, this felt hideously wrong. "As for George of Hanover… as husband to a Catholic he would be required to vacate the throne."

"But not in favor of his daughter," said Brougham. "Very clever, Your Grace — but if you rule the king’s marriage to Caroline null and void, you declare Charlotte Augusta illegitimate and bar her from the throne as surely as if Canning were in truth her father. And from the perspective of the Whigs, King Frederick would be no great improvement over King George." Wellington had had his own disagreements with the Duke of York, but had to admit Frederick was a far better man than his brother… and, of course, even more of a Tory.

"I do have a counterproposal, however," said Brougham. "I propose that Her Majesty bring her own divorce proceedings against the king. You must admit that for her to prove adultery and cruelty on his part would be simplicity itself.

"Of course, we could hardly keep him on as king under the circumstances. We shall have to pension him off as Prince-Viceroy of Bengal or something, name Caroline the Queen Mother, and give the crown and all its attendant powers to the one legitimate heir."

“That girl?”

“That ‘girl’ is a woman now. A lady of twenty-four, with a husband and two children. Elizabeth was only one year older when she took the throne — and that was in a far more perilous age than this. And you have made it abundantly clear that His Majesty is a liability you and the other Conservatives would be willing to part with."

“Not to replace him with a monarch under your control!”

Brougham laughed. “With all due respect, Your Grace,” he said, “if you had spent any great length of time in Her Highness' company, you would not suspect her of being under anyone’s control. She is as stubborn as her father, as forthright and outspoken as her mother, and a good deal cleverer than either.”

"God help us all," said Wellington. "And for all your talk of 'suspicion' that Talleyrand was the source of the lies put forward in that pamphlet, I think you know more than you are telling. Does it trouble you at all that you are in effect conspiring with the French?"

“You might as easily say the King was conspiring with the French,” said Brougham. “It was he who set all this in motion, you know. He had a plan to divorce his wife and live out the days of his reign in the style of one of the more notorious Roman emperors. Seeing this, Caroline devised a plan to retain her crown by placing herself squarely on the side of myself and the other Whigs and enlisting our support.

“Lords Liverpool and Sidmouth in their turn devised a plan to tie Caroline to the Whigs in the public mind, and then to discredit both by painting her as a shameless adulteress. Fouché and Talleyrand had yet another plan — to make use of all these other plans to exacerbate the divisions in Britain until the kingdom was torn apart.

“And now there is my plan — which is to thwart the French plan, preserve the peace and give Britannia a real monarch again… one we can all take pride in, one who is not a disgrace to the kingdom and a walking broadsheet for republicanism.

“Now tell me, Your Grace — what’s your plan?”


[1] This is the part where I admit that Jeannot and St.-Leger (I mentioned earlier that those weren't their real names, which was a hint that they weren't on the level) are the only two characters (apart from the newborns, of course) that I invented. I needed two people that the British Foreign Office would never have heard of and wouldn't suspect until it was too late, so… we'll say that IOTL they existed, but never distinguished themselves enough to come to the attention of history.
[2] “Look around you.”
[3] This isn't an exact quote, but it's fairly close to what Brougham said to Charlotte. (Her father was trying to marry her to the Prince of Orange, and she didn't like it.)
[4] In fact, it was exactly the sort of ploy Brougham himself did come up with IOTL as a solution to the Caroline affair… but of course the circumstances were different.


Sunday, July 23
1 p.m.
Carlton House

"I beg your pardon?" said King George IV in dangerous tones. He had summoned his cabinet again, possibly not trusting them out of his sight. They had met briefly outside his house before going in to speak with him.

"We are all in agreement on this," said Lord Liverpool. "The Pains and Penalties Act must be abandoned tomorrow." Castlereagh, Eldon, Bexley[1], Harrowby[2] and Westmorland[3] all nodded.

So did Wellington. "I have reason to believe that the Radicals are plotting to turn the proceedings against us, to depose you in favor of your daughter and—"

"She is not my daughter!"

"If we drop the matter now, we can still salvage the peace," continued Wellington. Last night he had felt terribly guilty about having plotted to depose George himself. Now that he was in the man's presence again, those feelings were slipping away.

"Do you know that girl and that woman both had Sir Charles Hesse as a lover?"[4] said George. "Why hasn't that been addressed?"

"It is too late for that," said Castlereagh. "I will not have another 'infallible' plan explode in my face."

"No one is asking you to invite the queen back into your home, Your Majesty," said Liverpool. "Your marriage to her will remain a legal fiction, as it has these many years."

"Endure it, Your Majesty!" spat George. "Can't be helped! It's for the best! Again and again and again! Was ever a man subjected to such constraints, such coercions—"

"Do you call this constraint?" said Wellington. "All your life, Your Majesty, you have enjoyed at ratepayers' expense such luxuries as few men even dream of — endless nights of parties, wine, games and music, well-born women lining up to be your next mistress — and all that was ever asked in return was that you endure a bad marriage, a thing many men suffer with far less recompense!" Myself, for one, he thought.

"I would have traded a good many nights of gaming and drinking to marry a woman I loved!" said George. "And to be forced — forced, if I wanted my rightful inheritance — to couple with that… stinking thing…" He gagged a little, but continued. "While everyone assured me it was for the best, and all London celebrated because their prince had found true love at last… and how was I rewarded for my pains? With that… cuckoo's egg!"

"Your Majesty, that allegation was proven to be—"

"If she's not a bastard in the flesh, she certainly is one in spirit! Goneril and Regan were better daughters!" He put his head in his hands.

There was a long pause. Then Lord Liverpool spoke.

"Your Majesty, we all sympathize with your position, but—"

"No," interruped George. He rose to his feet.

"No. No. I have had enough. I have suffered enough. I will not go to church to hear her blessed and prayed for. I will not have her by my side at my coronation. I had no choice but to obey my father, but I need not obey you lot — I am king. I know what a great inconvenience that is to everyone, but it is the truth. If Parliament will not satisfy me in this, then I shall dismiss Parliament as is my right.[5]

"And do not presume to threaten me with a Whig majority, either. Should that happen, the lot of you go back to the back benches and I will still be king. I can dismiss a Whig Parliament just as easily."

There was another long pause.

"So be it, Your Majesty," said Liverpool, "but for the sake of the kingdom I have one request."

"What is it?"

"I request," said Liverpool, gesturing in Wellington's direction, "that His Grace be permitted to continue his services as Master-General of the Ordnance, should you choose to dismiss the rest of us. If things come to the worst… we may have need of him."

"Very well, if he can refrain from offering me unsolicited advice."

As they were leaving Carlton House, Wellington turned to Liverpool. "Should I thank you for that?" he said.

"No, you shouldn't," said Liverpool. "I did it because if the fate of the kingdom were to rest on one man's shoulders, I would choose you to be the man."

* * *

7 p.m.
Apsley House

Wellington looked down the length of the table at his wife. Once, a young violinist had loved and desired that lady more than anything — so much so that he had abandoned his music and gone into the army to win her father's approval. (He had actually burned his violin. Damned silly gesture, he could have sold it and bought something useful… but perhaps at the time it had been necessary for him.)

And it had worked. Now she was his wife. Ironically, the feeling between them had long since vanished. In a greater irony, he had found he was better at war than at music. If that young fool had been given the freedom he desired, had been allowed to marry Catherine and keep his violin, he could not possibly have made a life for himself that was as satisfying — or as useful to king and country — as the one Providence had chosen for him. Which was why he had very little sympathy with those who agitated for greater freedom… and no sympathy at all for the king.

"Of course, if we choose to continue with the trial," he said, "then while Lords are trying the Queen, Brougham will have the Commons try the King. And, again, the King will dismiss Parliament."

"If he tries to govern without Parliament, it will mean chaos," said Catherine. "I know that much. What will you do?"

"That is what I have been asking myself again and again. If I obey him, it will only prolong the ruin of the kingdom."

"Why not resign, then?"

"Because I wish to avert the danger to the kingdom, not merely wash my hands of it. If I resign, the situation will be the same as it is now, but with some empty-headed lackey doing my work in my place.

"The only other option would be to defy His Majesty and His Grace the Duke of York. I could do that, and I think the army would follow me. But if I did, I might as well crown myself King Arthur II… or, more fittingly, Emperor Wellington Bonaparte I."

"I must say, you would certainly make a better king than—"

"Silence," he said in a voice he might have used to reprimand a subordinate.

Catherine was silent.

"I am not the Thane of Glamis and Cawdor," he said. "Do not say such a thing to me again."

"Forgive m—" Wellington motioned for her to be quiet.

"It never happened," he said. Then he set about eating his dinner, which was starting to get cold.

Of course he'd make a better king, and so would nine out of ten random Englishmen. But if the crown was up for grabs, if a general couldn't win three battles in a row without becoming a threat to the Government, Britannia would soon suffer the fate of the Roman Empire. That was why legitimacy mattered, even if it meant the occasional rule of a millstone such as George.

Some other way forward would have to be found.


[1]Chancellor of the Exchequer.
[2]Lord President of the Council.
[3]Lord Privy Seal. His son is the British ambassador to Italy.
[4]Charlotte herself told her father that Caroline tried to play matchmaker between her and Hesse. This was years ago, when things hadn't gone completely toxic between George and Charlotte.
[5]IOTL, when his cabinet abandoned the war on Caroline, George threatened to resign in favor of his brother Frederick, and afterwards tried to have Lord Liverpool removed. Here, what he sees as his daughter's betrayal has pushed him over the edge.


Monday morning, July 24. The moment of truth had arrived.

The Lords' first order of business was an address by Henry Brougham, whose tones of unctuous concern did nothing to disguise the true nature of his speech. "I pray your lordships to pause," he said. "You are standing upon the brink of a precipice." He advised them that if they found against the Queen, "it will be the only judgment you ever will pronounce which will fail in its object, and return upon those who give it." He called the Lords "the ornaments" of the nation, but reminded them that "you could flourish no longer, when severed from the people, than the blossom when cut off from the root and stem of the tree." Brougham went further: "Save the country, that you may continue to adorn it [emphasis added]—save the Crown, which is in jeopardy—the Aristocracy which is shaken—the Altar itself, which never more can stand secure amongst the shocks that shall rend its kindred throne."[1]

One would have to go back centuries to find anyone offering naked threats such as these to a House of Parliament. In case anyone needed reminding where the power behind these threats came from, Brougham said that although Queen Caroline's name had been struck from the liturgy, "[s]he has indeed, instead of that solemnity, the heartfelt prayers of the people." Solicitor General Robert Gifford was ready to defy the Queenites — "My lords, God forbid that the time should ever arrive when such threats should have any weight in this assembly!" — but most of the Lords seemed to want to get this affair behind them and move on with the business of state…


No sooner had the Lords voted to abandon the Pains and Penalties Act than Lord Liverpool had to inform them that the King had chosen to exercise his right to dismiss them. Before they could act on this, however, someone else spoke up.

It was Charlotte Augusta Princess of Wales. "Given the present state of the realm," she said, "I request that Parliament delay its dissolution for a period of one week, so that it may take necessary actions to assuage public fears." She emphasized that she knew she had no right to command them and would never ask them to defy her father, but hoped they would honor her request as an heir to the throne who had reached her majority.

This of course would be an unprecedented move. To the Tories, however, it was not only a chance to salvage something from this debacle, but welcome proof that Charlotte was her own woman and not merely Brougham's puppet. As for the Whigs, they did not wish to risk civil war in order to achieve power. The motion passed both Houses as quickly as anything has ever passed in Parliamentary history. (When asked if she did not fear one day having her power compromised in turn by one of her own children, Charlotte replied, "If ever I forget the good of the nation, I hope they shall act as I have today.")

The very next day, the King rescinded his dissolution of Parliament. His Majesty, who had begun the year as king in all but name, was now king in name only. If the next election produced a Whig majority and he dissolved it at once, his daughter could intervene again, asking for a "delay" of who knew how long. By taking this step, however, he could at least put off the Whigs' day of triumph.

But even as Parliament was quietly burying the King's attempt at divorce, the people in the northern cities were demonstrating — literally — that this was no longer simply a matter of who was their favourite member of the royal family…

Bertrand Martineau and P.G. Sherman, The Great Scheme


[1] This is the same speech Brougham gave IOTL in front of the Commons. I could not possibly improve it.



On July 25, 1820, even as Londoners were rejoicing in Caroline’s triumph over George and his supporters, the people of Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and a half-dozen other cities rose up in protest. They had only just heard of the supposed plot to disinherit the Princess of Wales, and they were understandably outraged.

In the case of Birmingham, the 50,000-strong demonstration turned to celebration shortly after noon when the crowd got word that the Bill of Pains and Penalties had been dropped. Farther north, things took a turn for the alarming. In Liverpool and Leeds, the regiments called upon by local magistrates to dispel smaller crowds refused to take action against them.

And at St. Peter’s Field in Manchester, where the Cheshire Yeomanry and the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry did choose to obey, things did not go according to plan. Henry Hunt and the other organizers, warned by Queenites in the employ of the local magistrates, had prepared for a possible cavalry attack. Inspired by a recently-released passage from Italy Reborn describing how Neapolitan revolutionaries had slowed down Ferdinand’s cavalry, men standing at the edge of the crowd began strewing Windmill Street with caltrops in the path of the approaching Cheshire Yeomanry. (This obviously posed something of a risk to pedestrians, but under the circumstances it was necessary.)

Observing from a distance that the Cheshire Yeomanry seemed to have been halted in its tracks, Deputy-Constable Joseph Nadin[1] ordered the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry to assist them. So began the “Charge of the Yeomanry,” which would be caricatured by Cruikshank and a dozen other artists over the course of the next month.

The Yeomanry caused more casualties on the way to the fight than they did when they arrived. They found a side street to approach by, where, as it happened, no one was ready with a bucket of caltrops. While charging the crowd, the cavalry trampled a child to death and collided with a pregnant woman hard enough to cause a fatal miscarriage.

The crowd retreated, but did not break and run. As they did so, they pelted the soldiers with horse dung, bricks, cobblestones and anything else that was convenient for throwing. At least two soldiers suffered fractured ribs as a result, and one lost the hearing in his right ear from a glancing blow to the head.

And the cavalry slowed to a halt — but not because of their own fear for their safety. The soldiers’ horses had not been trained for use in crowd control, and saw the crowd in their path as a large, potentially dangerous obstacle. Then, as the horses slowed and began rearing in confusion, the cry of “’Ware caltrops!” came up from the Cheshire Yeomanry.

While this was going on, Cartwright, Knight and the other leaders were quickly making up their minds. They were not truly ready for a civil war — not yet — and there were too many people here who were not combatants and never would be. They organized a retreat of the 75,000-strong crowd. “It was a near thing,” wrote Hunt years later in Sydney. “A dozen times or more, I thought the people ready to bolt and run, the strong and swift trampling the fallen. God be praised — they left the field, but they left as men, not as stampeding cattle.”

To Nadin, it appeared that the forces of Law and Order had carried the day — the Yeomanry were, after all, in possession of the ground. Other observers were less sure. The Radical leaders and orators had all escaped arrest. More importantly, as the Duke of Wellington put it: “The ‘mob’ at Manchester came prepared for a fight, maintained discipline and retreated in good order while in the presence of a mortal threat. There is a word for that sort of ‘mob.’ We call it an army.”
[2]
Arthur Roundtree, A Political History of Pre-revolutionary Britain


Today, when you hear the phrase "the exception proves the rule," it's probably coming from somebody who doesn't want to admit that he or she has just been proven wrong. And if you were invited to a "solemn supper," you'd probably think of an excuse to stay home. These phrases make more sense if you know that "prove" once meant "test," with no implied guarantee of confirmation, and "solemn" once merely meant "formal." A wedding celebration, for example, could have been described as "solemn" or as a "solemnity," even if it was an occasion of great cheer.

Other words have also undergone shifts in implication and emotional weight, to the point where their very meaning has been altered. Today, "yeoman" is one of the worst names you can call a soldier. It refers to one who commits atrocities against civilians, or who allows himself to be used as a tool of political repression, and carries the (often false) implication that such a soldier is too cowardly to fight a real enemy. But as late as the early 19th century it was, if anything, a somewhat complimentary term for "independent farmer" — in the same way that "villain" originally meant "serf" and "miscreant" originally meant "heretic" — and certainly not an insult to anyone…


The change in meaning did not happen all at once. As late as 1833 some upper-class Englishmen were using it in correspondence: “He is a yeoman in the classic sense.” However, the influence of the London Times, the Manchester Champion and other papers using it as shorthand for the threat of government repression inevitably chipped away at its older definition in the anglophone mind.

Jackson, D.L., Literally Decimated: The English Language and the Struggle for Meaning


On the 26th, only a day after the events in Manchester, the radicals Andrew Hardie, James Wilson and John Baird led a band of weavers and ex-soldiers northeast from Glasgow and seized the Carron Ironworks, one of the largest ironworks in Europe at the time. Although the scheme had been suggested to them by government agents, the timing of it had been triggered by false reports that the queen and princess had been arrested. Sidmouth’s provocateurs had done their work a little too well.[3]

Hardie proclaimed to the people of Falkirk that he and his men constituted the “Provisional Royal Government of Scotland” which would govern “in the name of Queen Caroline and Princess Charlotte.” Not half an hour later, news reached Falkirk and the ironworks that Queen Caroline and Princess Charlotte were both quite safe in their positions. With this bit of news, the “Provisional Government” lost its fig leaf. By the time the Hussars arrived from Stirling Castle, most of the Radicals had already quietly decamped. Hardie, Wilson and Baird were taken into custody. By the end of the year they would all have danced on air, following trials as unfair and one-sided as could be made possible under British jurisprudence…


The three weeks that followed the incident in St. Peter’s Field were two of the longest, hottest weeks in the history of Manchester. The Yeomanry patrolled the streets and were not confronted with lethal force, but were spat at and subjected to catcalls and shouted insults from every direction. Those who brought up the rear were worst off — boys would pelt them from behind with horse dung or rotten eggs, then disappear into the crowd. As for Hunt, Knight and Cartwright, for whom they were searching, no one seemed to know where they were.

The Yeomanry were only too happy to be relieved on August 8, but the nature of their relief was no relief at all to the Crown. It was three regiments of infantry and one regiment of cavalry — all of them loyal to Queen Caroline… who was accompanying them personally. Riding atop a carriage driven by William Austin, she led them on parade through the streets of Manchester to the cheers of the crowd.

As the queen had to leave early due to an upset stomach, Sir Francis Burdett addressed the crowd. “The battle for the queen’s honour is over, and we have won the day,” he said, “but the war for the honour of all Englishmen — the long struggle for the rights of our nation — that has only begun. We are not alone in this fight. Our queen is with us, and our princess. If no one else will heed us, she will. Time is our friend.”

What sounded like a call to arms in fact served to persuade the labourers of Manchester to leave the streets and get back to work. The dismissal of Nadin as deputy-constable was seen as a promise of better times to come. The knowledge that Charlotte Augusta would one day be queen was practically a guarantee of better times…


The incidents in St. Peter’s Field and the Carron Ironworks were a faint echo of the civil war that might have been. To Henry Brougham, these events were proof that the voice of the people needed to be heard at every level of government, from Parliament down to city hall. To Robert Peel, they were yet more evidence that the Crown could no longer rely on the Home Secretary’s spiderweb of crooks and liars to keep the realm in order. Humiliating as it might be for Britons to borrow ideas from the French, it was necessary…

Arthur Roundtree, A Political History of Pre-revolutionary Britain


[1] Nadin started out as a “thief-taker” — basically, a bounty hunter hired to catch criminals, or people who could be passed off as criminals in front of a judge. Thief-takers tended to be criminals themselves — that’s where the saying “set a thief to catch a thief” came from. He ended up virtually running the city on behalf of the local magistrates, while collecting bribes from the city brothels. “Local government reform” is one of the many, many things the Princess and Henry Brougham would like to see happen, if the Tories weren’t in the way.
[2] Differences between this and the OTL Peterloo Massacre:
• ITTL, the only troops present at the time and deemed trustworthy were the two regiments of yeomanry.
• The crowd was slightly larger. (Possibly.)
• The organizers of the rally had a little more warning.
• William Hulton was in Parliament at the time, and left Nadin (a useful fall guy if things went pear-shaped) in charge.
• Obviously, the Battle of Waterloo never happened, so the word “Peterloo” wouldn’t mean anything to anyone.
[3] Something like this happened IOTL, except that they never got anywhere near the ironworks.


Would it have made any difference if Lord Liverpool’s government had simply been willing to state openly that they had been played for fools by the arch-schemer Talleyrand? Would it have dispelled the fears and suspicions of the Radicals — and ultimately many of the Whigs — that the Tories harbored a secret dream of bringing tyranny to Albion’s shores?

Probably not. The Crown had shown that its willingness to use the army as a weapon against peaceful protest was limited only by the willingness of the regiments themselves to be so used. And although no connection could be found between Brougham and The Plot Against Our Princess, the existence of the pamphlet proved that there were those among the Radicals who were only too happy to repeat slanders against the government even when those slanders came from the French. In such an environment, fear and suspicion were rational responses.

Bertrand Martineau and P.G. Sherman, The Great Scheme


What hindered the Tertium Quids in the Deep South was, once again, their own commitment to principle at the expense of common sense and human necessity. At a time when virtually everyone in Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia was dreaming of the day when the T&T and the Grand Southern would be completed, the Quid presidential candidate was denouncing these projects as a dangerous precedent. “If Congress can make canals,” warned Nathaniel Macon, “they can with more propriety emancipate.” Even Calhoun considered this bit of doomsaying ridiculous…


The election of 1820 carried only one surprise — that the DRP did not carry every state. Both North and South Carolina, along with two Virginia electors, went for the Macon-Horsey ticket.

Henry Clay, a born politician, saw this as a problem. “The Quids are not yet powerful enough to constitute a threat to our plans for the nation,” he wrote, “but they may yet become one. We must address the dissatisfaction shown in these results.” William Crawford went further: “Many of our most prominent and loyal citizens are afraid for their property. Let us take steps to assure them of their security.”

But Adams disagreed. “Three out of five is as good a majority as four out of five,” he said, adding that “the unanimity which prevailed among the American people in the years after the late war was an unnatural and temporary state of affairs, and we should not be surprised to see it go.” The unsociable Adams, who had once described himself as “a man of reserved, cold, austere and forbidding manners,” had never expected to be half as beloved as he found himself, and was more than willing to risk a little loss of popularity.
Andrea Fessler, Rise of the Dead Rose


In Moldavia and Wallachia, the rebellion was as much a war against the landowning class as it was against the Empire — and, like most peasant uprisings, it suffered from a lack of professionalism and heavy weaponry. Only the arms and ammunition flowing in from Russia, and the fact that the Sultan was concentrating on the Adriatic front, kept the rebels in the field.

Meanwhile, in Vienna, Metternich and the rest of the court debated what to do. The Ottoman Empire was one of Austria’s oldest enemies — but, as Metternich pointed out, that was precisely the point. “We have lived beside the Turk for centuries,” he said. “We can live beside him a little longer. What sort of neighbors would these rebels make? Or a Serbia allied to Russia?” He believed that it might become necessary for Austria and the other Südzollverein states to intervene on behalf of the Sultan.

King William of Württemberg and the Bavarian Montgelas had a different suggestion. “If the Sultan cannot tame the rebels on his own, we should not do it for him,” said the king. “Rather, we should salvage what we can from the wreck of his empire. Vladimirescu and the Greeks would be as grateful for our assistance as for that of the tsar or the Terni government.” For the moment, Austria and her allies would continue to watch and wait…


The Phanar and the Greek communities in Anatolia, by and large, did not participate in the rebellion during its first year. They were too small, and too vulnerable to reprisals. Likewise, the people of the smaller islands of the Aegean (not wishing to suffer the ancient fate of Melos) also tried to stay out of the war. Nonetheless, many of their sons found their way to western Greece to join the rebels, either alone or in bands of klephts. One such band was headed by the mysterious adventurer who appeared in Athens in November, calling himself “ξίφος του Νέμεση.”

Kemal Demirci, The Cardboard Lion: The Last Years of the Ottoman Empire



William Huskisson was recalled to London in December of 1820, where greater duties awaited him. His replacement as British ambassador to New Orleans was Edward Law, the thirty-year-old Earl of Ellenborough. The Prime Minister judged that an important but friendly ambassadorial posting would be just the thing to season the young Tory’s ability with experience. The earl was accompanied by a man twenty years his senior and of much wider experience — George Canning. Although Canning was not going to Louisiana in any official capacity, Lord Liverpool wrote a letter to President Marigny commending his “expertise in many fields.”

And well he might. Canning had served twice on the Board of Control for India, once as its president. He had also served as ambassador to Lisbon, Treasurer of the Navy and Foreign Secretary, and had performed well in all these offices. He was generally seen as one of the most brilliant minds of a party that, up against such men as Henry Brougham, needed all the brilliant minds it could get — but, like Brougham, he was not widely trusted by his allies and was often at odds with them.

This would make all the difference in the middle of 1820, when certain elements within the French government attempted to instigate civil war in Great Britain by means of a pseudologue[1] campaign too complex to describe here. One of the more audacious lies put forward in this campaign was the claim that George Canning was the biological father of Charlotte Augusta Princess of Wales. Fortunately for Canning, few believed this calumny. Unfortunately for him, one of those few happened to be his king. (It may be that, as Sherman and others have suggested, the king was using the allegation as an excuse for his own inchoate hostility toward the man. However, the effect was the same.)

Although the circumstances of Canning’s arrival were a source of great amusement to Marigny — and to almost everyone else in New Orleans — Liverpool was not simply banishing Canning or putting him beyond the reach of George IV. He was also establishing a second line of communication with the government of Louisiana, and one with greater secrecy. This was important, because although the tiny state was dependent on the Crown for its security, it was also a republic. No one ever won an election in any republic by promising to heed the wishes of a foreign power. Marigny had to be allowed to maintain the appearance of independence…

Michel Beauregard, A History of the Republic of Louisiana


[1] A catchall term for what IOTL we’d call “disinformation,” “black propaganda” or “ratf***ing.”


The Class of 1820: People Born This Year Who Will Show Up Later


Virginia Elizabeth Clemm, born January 5 in Baltimore, Maryland, daughter of hardware merchant William Clemm Jr. and Maria Poe Clemm. Her childhood will be marked by extreme poverty and the deaths of her younger siblings by illness.

Hugh Patrick Brontë, born February 20 in Thornton, West Yorkshire, son of Patrick Brontë and Maria Branwell. His childhood will be a struggle against his own frequently-poor health and his awareness of his sisters’ greater talents.

Crawford Murrill, born April 28 in Natchez, Mississippi, son of a family who left Louisiana after the secession. He will be a troublemaker early on.

James Suraker, born June 3 in Corydon, Indiana. In a few years, his father will move the family to Armistead[1] as part of his work developing a private turnpike.

Arthur Winston Spencer-Churchill, born July 18 at Garboldisham Hall, Norfolk, son of George Spencer-Churchill (currently Marquess of Blandford) and Lady Jane Stewart. As a child, he will excel at both scholarship and horsemanship.

Elphinstone Brougham, born September 10 in London, daughter of Henry Brougham and Margaret Mercer Brougham (née Elphinstone). She and her younger brother, Henry James Brougham (born 1823) will be close friends with the royal children. With a little help from her father, she will teach herself to read at age two.

Konstantin Konstantinovich, born November 2 in Warsaw, the first of many children of Grand Duke Constantine and Augusta of Hesse-Kassel. Since his uncle Tsar Alexander has no sons, the bare fact of his existence and health will cause many in House Romanov to breathe a sigh of relief. (If only they knew…)
Much of his education will be handled by the Ministry of Spiritual Affairs and Popular Enlightenment.


[1] OTL Indianapolis.



Below: some of the dramatis personae of the Caroline affair.
Top row, left to right: The Big Bad, The Dragon, Lawful Evil, Only Sane Man, Knight Templar.
Middle row, left to right: The Hero, The Lancer, The Big Guy, The Smart Guy, The Chick.
Bottom row, left to right: The Chessmaster, Knowledge Broker, The Nondescript, The Mole, The Woobie.
Attached Images
 
__________________
The Dead Skunk: For want of a skunk, Louisiana is a republic and Charlotte Princess of Wales lives.
2013 Turtledove Winner The Day the Icecap Died

Last edited by Lycaon pictus; September 13th, 2013 at 05:56 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old July 4th, 2014, 04:41 AM
Lycaon pictus Lycaon pictus is offline
Author of "Locksmith's Closet"
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 900
1821

Although it would be two years before the United States National University was ready to accept a single student, President Adams and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Calhoun were already arguing over the curriculum.[1]

Not without reason. First, USNU was only the beginning of the President's plans for education. His vision — which was also the Democratic-Republican vision — was of secondary schools and universities (if not federal-run, then at least held to federal standards) throughout the nation. What Adams had learned during the establishment of Ferry Farm, Fort LeBoeuf and Sinepuxent was that it was a good idea to already have a pool of well-trained teachers to hire from by the time the school was ready to open its doors. Thus, USNU was intended in part as a "normal school" — that is, a school for the instruction of teachers, the first of its kind in the nation[2] and a powerful investment in the future. Adams favored a balanced curriculum of sciences, law, philosophy and the classics, while Calhoun was interested in training the next generation of engineers, scientists and businessmen — not to put too fine a point on it, the men who would finance the next war and build the tools to win it. (In this, it should be noted, he was opposing his own constituents. The postwar nationalist enthusiasm was wearing off, and the planters who dominated South Carolina politics were reluctant to part with their tax dollars for the purpose of educating other peoples' children.)

And the Dead Roses' long-term plans would affect some parts of the nation more than others. The Census Act of March 14, 1820 stated that the census would not only inquire whether the respondents were engaged in agriculture, commerce or manufacturing, but would also survey the state of literacy and school attendance.[3] It further mandated that the data be collected by the new Census Office.[4] But both Adams and Calhoun had a pretty good idea of what it would find — that the southern states lagged well behind the northern states in education. This was a disparity that needed to be corrected, and it would strongly affect the placement of future federal schools.

The problem was that USNU would be under the jurisdiction of Secretary of Domestic Affairs King. The man already chosen to head the university was Benjamin Silliman, a noted scientist — and, like King, an abolitionist. For these men to set the standards for the education of the South's teachers in philosophy and law would be simply unacceptable to Calhoun, and to a good many others. Ultimately, the chairman won this battle, and was able to return to his constituents in this election year and report that he had saved them all from a plague of abolitionist philosophers. The long-term effect that opening educational opportunities for lower- and middle-class whites would have on Southern society would be a subtler matter…

Charles Cerniglia, The Road to The Troubles: The American South, 1800-1840


[1] This all happened in 1820, but I forgot to add it to that year’s update.
[2] IOTL, the first normal school was established in Massachusetts in 1839.
[3] IOTL, this sort of data wasn't collected until 1840.
[4] Another thing that didn't happen until 1840 IOTL.




In February of 1821, the Siamese ambassadors to the Court of St. James arrived. Their primary business, however, was not only with Lord Castlereagh, but with William Huskisson, newly appointed President of the Board of Control.

King Rama’s primary concern was the mortal enemy to the west. King Bagyidaw was still fairly new to the Burmese throne, and an unknown quantity. Would he seek to merely maintain his grandfather’s dominions, or to expand them further? Rama was hoping for a stretch peace, but quietly preparing for yet another war.

To that end, he sent representatives to London offering a military alliance in the case of war with Burma. To sweeten the deal, they brought a secret note from King Chandrakanta of Assam to the effect that he would rather be a vassal of (distant) Britain than (nearby) Burma. The note also pointed out that the Singpho hill people of Assam, near the border with China, brewed tea — something that was guaranteed to get the interest of the HEIC.

After consulting with Castlereagh, Huskisson developed a treaty that not only offered military alliance, but set import and export duties and gave British subjects the right to trade in Siamese ports. It also contained provisions for the future establishment of a British consulate in Bangkok that would have authority over British subjects in Siam.

The most significant clauses of the treaty stated that (a) it would remain secret until it was put into effect, and (b) it would not go into effect until the commencement of hostilities. Siam now had an ally against Burma — but that ally stood to gain far more from war than from peace, and if King Bagyidaw knew he would be fighting both London and Bangkok, he would not dare make the first move.

Harrison et al., A History of Southeast Asia





February 26, 1821
Government Palace, Lima

Somewhere in the distance, rifles cracked. Riva Agüero, last rebel of any note against the Viceroyalty, was being dispatched to whatever reward awaited him.

Carlos nodded, and continued studying the reports. Within the borders of the Viceroyalty, he was monarch of all he surveyed — but then, that was always the easy part. The hard part was governing the places you weren’t watching.

Especially in a place like this. The roads were literally worse than they had been in the days of the Incas. That was going to be a problem if — when — another major rebellion began. Even now, there were out-of-the-way valleys in the Andes all through his dominion ruled by Indians or Criollo bosses, where he could not dispatch a command with any hope it would be carried out… and forget doing anything about the abomination that was de Francia’s regime to the east.

At least there would be money to fix the problem. He had thought the glory days of South American silver were long gone, but the Norte Chico deposits were producing fairly well. Between that and the tribute tax[1], there would be enough money to pay for equipment to restore the silver mines in the highlands, and then the money would really flow in.[2] As for labor, the local institution of the mita[3] would help with that — and with the roads.

It was amazing how different the loyal parts of South America looked when you tried thinking of them as a realm, not as a cash cow. Three hundred years of rule, and we never bothered to fix the roads. What was wrong with us? All that silver and gold, and in the end what did we have to show for it? He was beginning to understand why so many parts of the Spanish Empire had risen in revolt. (Not that this meant they were right to do so. Certainly they had had legitimate grudges, but so had Jeroboam, and so had the sans-culottes. Rebelling against your rightful king was one of those things you weren’t supposed to do even if you had been wronged.)

Ironically enough, now that he had reconquered these lands for Spain, what Carlos really wanted was the same thing the rebels had wanted — not to be interfered with by Madrid. Especially not by the atheists and Jacobins[4] who infested the Cortes. At the same time, he meant to make sure everyone in the Viceroyalty — Criollo, Indian, negro or whoever — knew who was in charge and what was expected of them.

At least the Church was on his side, and the priests who had fled the civil war were beginning to return. Carlos was very glad Cardinal Ruffo had accepted his invitation. A real government needed a bureaucracy with a lot of literate, numerate men. Better to hire priests and monks than ask for appointees from the Cortes.

Carlos picked up another letter. This one was from Pedro Olañeta. He and his nephew Casimiro were the only men Carlos knew who were more monarchist than he was, and they were among the few that he trusted completely.

Olañeta had some concerns about events in Araucanía. Although the Mapuche seemed to have decided on personal union with the throne of Spain — good — and had declared Catholicism their official religion, they were establishing a Cortes of their own for local governance. Henry Clay, it seemed, was relaying them advice through the U.S. ambassador on how to do this. To Olañeta, this was setting a bad precedent, especially since this Cortes would be the real power in the land — Ferdinand was far less likely to take an interest in the affairs of Araucanía than the British king was to take an interest in Hanover.

Carlos wasn’t so sure this was a problem. He truly believed that God had honored the Spanish nation with kings they were duty-bound to obey — but the Mapuche were manifestly not Spaniards. They were allies, and had proven over centuries that they made better allies than subjects. It helped to think of their Cortes as a fuero — Carlos came of a long line of monarchs who respected fueros and the local peculiarities of custom behind them. In his opinion, failing to respect such was one of many things the Spanish Cortes was doing wrong.


[1] A tax placed on the native population. Pretty much what it sounds like.
[2] The silver mines in what is IOTL Bolivia still have ore in them, but they’ve been damaged and flooded by the rebellions. Among other things, steam engines are needed to pump out the water.
[3] A system of labor drafts on the native population, invented by the Inca and continued by the colonial governors of Peru.
[4] In Carlos’s opinion, anyway.




King João had returned to Lisbon in 1820 with a large group of representatives from the Brazilian colonies in tow. What they hoped to accomplish was to gain a fair hearing before the new Cortes of Portugal, followed by official recognition of the colony’s free trade status and delegation of certain powers to the colonial government in Rio. What they discovered instead was that liberal, democratic reformists could be every bit as arrogant and foolish as the most diehard conservative absolutist. Although the Cortes liked the idea of universal suffrage and representative government for themselves, they had no intention of sharing it with a mere colony.

The Cortes had already decided to reinstate the trade restrictions which had been in place for most of Brazil’s history, and whose temporary abeyance while the royal family was in exile had occasioned the greatest period of prosperity in Brazil’s history. They had also decided to place all provinces of Brazil directly subordinate to Lisbon, removing Rio’s authority. One delegate was heard calling Brazil “a land of monkeys, bananas and darkies plucked from the coast of Africa.” Finally, the Cortes demanded that the King’s son, Dom Pedro, follow his father back to the capital.

But Pedro, with input from his wife and several Brazilian factions, had already begun making plans of his own. On March 7, 1821, he made his famous announcement — “I shall stay.”

E. Rosa, A Short History of Brazil





On March 12, 1821, the ambassador from Spain arrived in Buenos Aires, bringing with him the Spanish government’s formal recognition of Argentine independence. A declaration of war would have done far less harm to the country.

In July of 1816, when representatives from the La Plata region had met at Tucumán to declare their independence from Spain, the biggest stumbling block had been the question of to what extent power should be centralized or federalized. Unlike Gran Colombia, Argentina had a central city which was large, relatively wealthy and home to an elite that was culturally distinct from the cabildos of the hinterlands.

It was with some reluctance that many of the representatives agreed to place so much power in the hands of a Supreme Director who would be elected not by the nation as a whole, but by Congress.[1] Many federalists hoped that soon the Spanish would be gone, and that a second convention would reduce the porteños’ share of power.

But less than a year later, the dream of freeing all South America from Spanish rule died with San Martín at Chacabuco, and the threat of reconquest became much more real. Under the circumstances, unitarians[2] like Bernardino Rivadavia and Supreme Director Juan Martín de Pueyrredón were able to argue that they needed to be able to call upon the full strength of the nation at once if it was to survive.

Even so, Estanislao López, Francisco Ramirez and José Artigas had repeatedly tried to persuade Pueyrredón and his successor, José Rondeau, to delegate power to the provinces and cities in areas not related to defense. Neither had listened — indeed, Rondeau had been steadily tightening his grip. And now, his excuse for doing so had vanished.

In May, López, Ramirez and Artigas led the list of men presenting Rondeau with a demand for a new constitutional convention. Rondeau refused…

Estebán Humperdinck, History of the Republic of Entre Rios


[1] The lower house of Congress was like the U.S. House of Representatives — apportioned according to population. This obviously benefits Buenos Aires. The upper house was like the U.S. Senate, except that Senators could only be voted in by other Senators. This benefits… whoever the first senators happened to be.
[2] People who wanted a strong central authority. Not the church.




April 19, 1821
Admiralty House, London

Half the Cabinet was tied in knots. The coronation was in three months and they had to plan the entire event around the fact that the king refused to be in Westminster Abbey at the same time as the queen and didn’t want to spend any more time with his daughter than he could avoid. It was enough to make Robert Saunders-Dundas, First Viscount Melville and also First Lord of the Admiralty, glad he had the comparatively simple job of keeping the Royal Navy afloat.

Or as much of it as he could. The Government kept wanting to reduce it to 66 ships, when Melville was sure the Empire needed at least a hundred to keep all corners of it defended and the sea lanes open between them.[1]

And now Lord Castlereagh was in his office. Since that unfortunate business with the French agents last year, Castlereagh had become far more vigilant against foreign spies and radical subversives. Melville hoped this wasn’t going to be about another inquiry into the loyalties of British tars. I can assure you that our stalwart sailors remain united in their steadfast commitment to rum and buggery… no, he probably couldn’t get away with saying that, but dear God, it was tempting.

But as it turned out, that wasn’t why the foreign minister had come. “Are you familiar with the Turenne?” said Castlereagh.

Ah. This was going to be one of those conversations. Yes, Melville was familiar with the Turenne — it had been in service nearly a year, after all. Now the shipyards of Toulon and Antwerp (it would be a bad day when Melville succumbed to calling it Anvers) were building several new steam-frigates. Also, the French government had apparently shared the blueprints with its Italian allies, who were building similar vessels in Genoa and Naples. The city of Venice was turning its old Arsenal into a modern shipyard — a civilian shipyard, for now.

Which raised the question of how soon and to what extent the Royal Navy should turn to steam. A wrong choice here would be catastrophic. If ever another nation, or alliance of nations, were to build a navy superior to Britain’s, the ocean would cease to serve “the office of a wall, or as a moat defensive to a house”[2] and instead become a road to their doorstep.

Melville had nothing against steam power in a tug, or a dispatch boat if it could be made fast enough — it would certainly be an advantage in the doldrums — or even a transport. But every time he tried to imagine a steamship in battle, the first image that appeared in his mind was that of a half-dozen cannonballs turning the paddle into driftwood. Sails and rigging were not so easily destroyed.

“I have in fact given some thought to the Turenne and her sisters to come,” said Melville. “It seems to me that if you compare her to a pure sailing vessel she has both advantages and disadvantages.

“Advantages: she can sail — or rather, she can go — on a windless day; she can furl her sails and manoeuvre quite independent of the wind, making her a deal less predictable in mêlée; she can turn in place by rotating her wheels in opposite directions.

“Disadvantages: the bulk of her engine and wheels limits the size of her broadside; and all her advantages disappear at once if she runs out of coal, if her engine breaks down as they often do… or if someone puts a cannonball or two through the engine or the wheels. I can’t believe they’re that well-armoured.

“I imagine this is even more true of the steam-shallops the Danes are building. As for this iron-plated monster-machine Fulton is building in New York[3], I tell you frankly I haven’t the least notion of how to destroy it, assuming it doesn’t sink of its own accord. But I understand it will not be seaworthy, therefore not a true threat.” There. That covered all the bases as far as steam warships went.

“There is another facet to them you may not have considered,” said Castlereagh. “Building new warships has allowed the French to sell some of their older ones. They have sold several to Brazil… and several more to Egypt.”

“To the governor of Egypt? Not to the Sultan?”

“Indeed. I trust you see the implications.”

“Turkish control of Egypt is already rather threadbare,” said Melville. “This would undermine it further.”

“It’s Talleyrand,” said Castlereagh, his eyes suddenly blazing. “He’s trying to do peacefully what Old Boney failed to do by force — turn Egypt into a French client state. I will swear it.”

“It sounds like him,” said Melville, not wanting to argue with Castlereagh right at the moment. “Should we do the same?”

“No. We cannot undermine the Sublime Porte any further lest it collapse and let the Russians into Constantinople. At the same time, to sell ships to the Sublime Porte would drive the tsar even further away.”

“To say nothing of how the opposition would react if the Government were to help Mahometans subjugate Christians,” said Melville. “If I were to undertake the sale of some older vessels, have you any buyers in mind?”

“Austria and the Argentines.”

This made a certain amount of sense. The last Melville had heard, the government in Buenos Aires was on the brink of civil war — if it hadn’t already broken out by now — their government was wavering between the United States and the British Empire, and he had heard that the rivers of that country were navigable for some distance upstream.

As for Austria, Melville had no idea what sort of shipyards existed on the portion of the Adriatic coast still in Austrian possession. He was sure, however, that if there were any, once the Arsenal was rebuilt it would put them all out of business as far as commercial contracts went. That being the case, it would be cheaper for Vienna to buy a fleet than to build one.

He couldn’t help feeling concerned as he looked at Castlereagh. The foreign secretary seemed alert and aware, but there was a flutter to his eyelids that Melville had only ever seen in men who had gotten far too little sleep.

Then again, any man who had to match wits with Talleyrand and Henry Brougham on a regular basis would be lucky to get any sleep at all.

[1] IOTL they wanted it reduced even further. ITTL they’re worried enough about France, Italy and the U.S. to want to keep a larger fleet around.
[2] From Richard II.
[3] The USS Speaker, the first of five planned iron-plated demologoi. Close to being finished.



“Why do we love them? For there is no doubt that we do. My very earliest memory is of overhearing my mother and her friends speaking with great excitement of someone named ‘Napoleon’ and someone else named ‘Adelaide-Louise.’ I wondered who these people were, and when we had met them…
“Yes, we love them. We rejoice at their triumphs and weep at their tragedies, and though these emotions are cultivated like grapevines by the authorities, yet there is something authentic at the core that, like a grape-seed, we do not yet know how to create by artifice.
“But why is it so? Because it is in caring for them together that we find something in common with those around us. In sharing these emotions we rise above the small concerns and mutual distrust that characterizes our dealings with those outside our immediate circle of acquaintance. We become a part of something larger than ourselves…
“The examples of the United States and other modern republics prove that a royal family is not absolutely necessary, and the great events of our grandfathers’ time prove that such a family may make itself loathsome and thereby bring about its own destruction…
“One day we will learn to love and care directly for our people and our future. One day we will learn to become a part of something larger, and live that way.”

Guillaume Georges Elmar, On Monarchs And Monarchies
July 19, 1821
9:30 a.m.
Westminster Abbey

“The things which I have here before promised, I will perform and keep,” said Queen Caroline, “so help me God.”

Lady Anne Hamilton, Lady Charlotte Lindsay and Margaret Brougham had done the traditional strewing of flowers in Caroline’s path. Now, Charlotte and Margaret removed her crimson robe so that Anne could drape the anointing robe over her clothes. (Normally, the queen consort would have been anointed and crowned just after the monarch, not four hours earlier. But George IV, who understood pageantry if nothing else, wanted his own crowning to be the climax of the day’s ceremonies.)

Very few people saw the exact moment of coronation — it was blocked by a canopy, the Archbishop of Canterbury and, from where Charlotte Augusta was standing, the tall frame of Lady Anne Hamilton. But when Caroline emerged wearing the crown that had once sat on the head of her mother-in-law, “GOD SAVE THE QUEEN!” echoed through the great space.

Charlotte Augusta wondered if her mother were finding this satisfying. She had gone to so much effort to ensure that she would have some sort of coronation, some official recognition of her status as Queen Consort of the United Kingdom. This ceremony wasn’t much by royal standards — no orchestra, no choral arrangements. Father had deliberately stinted it as much as he could get away with. But it was a coronation. The Princess of Wales wondered if her mother was thinking… that was it?

When Queen stepped out the door of the cathedral and heard the shouts of the multitudes as she approached the carriage, her daughter saw her face again and was sure she had received what she had come for. Yes. This was it.

Many of the Radicals in the galleries had planned to leave at this point, but Charlotte Augusta had said: If you love me, then for this one day honor my mother AND my father. For this one day, we can all do so much. For this one day, God willing, we can put aside what divides us and all be Britons together.

* * *
About 6 p.m.
Westminster Hall

Sitting down to the most spectacular dinner she had ever seen even as a member of the royal family, Charlotte Augusta quietly decided the Book of Proverbs was right: “Better a dinner of herbs with love…” But if you had to settle for the stalled ox and hatred therewith, at least you had something to distract you.

George’s own coronation, unlike Caroline’s, had been of an extravagance previously unimagined in this age. It was said that he had tried to outdo the coronation of Napoleon, and Charlotte could believe it. There was a fine line between grandeur and absurdity, and the king had passed over that line without a glance backwards. When Charlotte had seen the nine-yard train of gold-starred, ermine-trimmed crimson velvet trailing from her father’s shoulders, being held up by eight young noblemen and the Master of the Robes, the only thing she had been able to think was I must not laugh, I must not laugh.

At least the men hoisting the train into the air had been in the shade. His Majesty, wanting to make sure everyone leaning out the second-floor windows got a good look at him as he marched in the procession, had ordered the canopy-bearers to march behind him. He had thus inflicted on himself the blazing heat of a July afternoon in clothing that might have been quite comfortable in January. He had several times been on the verge of heatstroke, and had needed to be revived with smelling salts.

Then there was the coronation crown her father had ordered made — a most spectacular thing, glittering with countless diamonds. It looked especially impressive if you didn’t happen to know the diamonds had been rented from Rundell and Bridge.

Anyway, now it was time for dinner. Carême had set out to outdo himself, and he had succeeded. There were no roast peacocks on the table, no dishes of nightingales’ tongues… nothing more exotic than lobster, crayfish or turtle soup. Carême had taken the meats, fishes, poultry and vegetables that everyone knew, and with them he had worked wonders. Charlotte was glad she had had nothing to eat since yesterday. She liked good food as much as either one of her parents, but was trying not to become as fat as either one of them. Tonight, for once, she could let herself go.

Out of the corner of her eye, she could see the faces of the guests’ families up in the galleries, watching hungrily as their loved ones ate. She was very glad that her closest friends (to say nothing of the Cub and little Amelia) were all gathered at the Hamilton residence, having dinner with the Queen. One of the peers wrapped a chicken leg in a napkin, stood up and threw it to his wife in the gallery. Charlotte raised a glass to him before returning her attention to the cold lamb in aspic and the potatoes with lobster sauce.

She tried, for the seventh or eighth time since dinner had begun, to catch her father’s eye. Just a glance would have been enough. Just a little acknowledgement. She might disagree with every single one of his policies, he might come up with new ways every day to make her ashamed to be his daughter, but… it was unseemly for there to be no peace at all between them.

But he never so much as glanced in her direction. Not once.

The Leo patted her on the wrist. She looked into his brown eyes, and realized that he understood what she had been trying to do.

“No one can say you didn’t try,” he said.

“I was hoping for more than to absolve myself of guilt,” she replied.

* * *

About 8 p.m.
The Hamilton residence

“How was the feast, Charlotte?” said Lady Charlotte Lindsay.

“Splendid, Charlotte,” said Charlotte Augusta, “although I left when… certain distinguished guests began to get unpleasantly drunk.” Starting with Father. “I trust you dined well?”

“Tolerably… but you should know that Caroline had no appetite. Her stomach pained her.” She shook her head. “Today of all days.”

“It’s getting worse.” Charlotte reached down, hoisted the Cub into the air, and wondered how long she would be able to keep doing that. The boy weighed nearly three stone.

In a side room, her mother was speaking urgently with Baron Stockmar in German. The only words Charlotte recognized were “laudanum” and “apoteker,” which was close enough to “apothecary” for her to get the idea. She had been eating a thick, pinkish paste out of a tin.

She turned to notice her daughter and son-in-law standing in the doorway.

“There you are,” she said. “Just having a bit of stomach trouble. Growing old is better than dying young, but it’s no great joy.”

“You seem to be eating this more and more often, mother,” said Charlotte Augusta, glancing at the paste. “What is it?”

“Magnesia and laudanum — and not nearly enough of the latter, I might add.” She put the lid back on and put the tin away, either out of embarrassment or to keep it from tempting young Leo to try and taste it. Then Caroline noticed the expression on her daughter’s face.

“Don’t look so shocked, girl,” she said. “If my dear husband can drink laudanum right out of the bottle, I think I can handle this. In fact…” She stood up. Charlotte noticed for the first time that her mother had lost a good deal of her stoutness over the past few months. “I believe I can manage some soup.”

As soon as Caroline was headed for the kitchen, Leopold caught Stockmar by the sleeve.

“What was that she was saying to you about watching an apothecary?” he whispered.

“Her Majesty believes that her apothecary is giving her short weight where the laudanum is concerned,” said the baron in a low voice. “I suspect otherwise. It is in the nature of all opiates that taken often, their power over the senses begins to wane, and she has been taking this compound for some time.”




Beginning in early 1820, a firm of British “timber importers” made periodic visits to southern Georgia and Alabama, ostensibly to search for good lumber for housing and shipbuilding in the fast-growing city of Trafalgar. Although the businessmen did in fact turn a profit on lumber, their actual purpose was espionage. They reported to Governor Raffles, who shared his findings with the British Foreign Office.

Raffles had two motivations for doing this. The first was, of course, to determine the military readiness of national and state forces in the event of another war with the United States. The second was to create a system of paths and safe houses which slaves in Georgia might use to escape south. The abolitionist Raffles was creating the southern Hidden Trail. His agent in this was the importers’ apparently quiet and unassuming black servant, “Bill” — a.k.a. William Davidson, a Jamaican-born radical from London who had moved to Florida to escape Lord Sidmouth’s repression…


For the runaway slave, there were no risk-free paths across the border. In the east, the 2nd U.S. Infantry Regiment[1], headquartered in St. Marys, patrolled the north bank of the river of that name as far as the Okeefenokee Swamp. Although Secretary of War Tompkins was personally very much opposed to slavery, which he had once called “that reproach of a free people,” this did not translate into the U.S. Army assisting runaway slaves in violation of state law. That said, there was only so much one regiment could do to secure two hundred kilometers of river.

No one on either side of the border patrolled the Okeefenokee. The swamp was an ideal smuggling route for anyone who knew where the game trails were. The poor white “swampers” who lived around the northern edge of the swamp, and the Creeks and Seminoles who lived around the southern edge, knew the land as well as anyone could. But although the swampers could not afford slaves themselves and had no real use for them, they were only too happy to turn in runaways for the reward.

Between the Okeefenokee and the Apalachicola lay the greatest danger, but also the greatest opportunity. This area was patrolled by the Georgia militia, which (at least in the southern part of the state) had come a long way from the humiliation of Levy’s Field.[2] Although the militia was officially under the command of the state governor, several successive governors had entrusted Major General John Macpherson Berrien with command of the regiments along the border. Berrien had done much to increase the level of training and discipline in these regiments.

And there were good reasons why he had. Not ten years ago, much of southern Georgia had been Creek land. The Creeks had lost this land, either in the Treaty of Fort Jackson or in the immediate aftermath of the War of 1812.[3] They had been forced to settle across the border, in the parts of Florida that were now called Apalache and Muscoghea, and were not happy about it. From time to time, gangs of young Creeks would cross the border to raid the small farms that were constantly appearing in the land that had once been their home. Both Raffles and the Creek elders did what they could to police the Creeks, but with little success — particularly since the Creeks themselves were by no means united, and still resented Raffles for forcing them to give up their own slaves. Nor could they easily keep the Georgia militia from retaliating in kind.

The result of all this was that during the 1820s, this part of the border was straddled by a nearly uninhabited strip of land over ten kilometers wide, studded with American forts and Creek encampments. But these could be avoided. Paths through the wilderness could be found, and in 1820 and 1821 Davidson was able to trace a few.

The western bank of the Apalachicola was patrolled by the 1st and 2nd regiments of the Alabama state militia. These were Cherokee regiments, and took military preparedness even more seriously than Berrien did, largely because they were acutely aware of the possibility that the state government — or even the U.S. government — might turn on them at any moment. And the Cherokee, some of whom owned slaves themselves, as a rule had little sympathy for abolition. They did not, however, coordinate their efforts with the Georgia militia — although the Cherokee people had far more legal protections in Alabama, the majority of them still lived in northern Georgia, and had a highly antagonistic relationship with the government of that state.

But the chief obstacle to any runaway slave was simply not knowing which way to go. Many of them had rarely, or never, been more than a few miles from the farm or plantation where they were born — and since so few of them could read, written directions were of no use, and maps not much better. The one reassurance they had was that even if they were caught and returned, they stood a good chance (having proven themselves too willful for their masters' comfort) of being sold to the Southern Inland Navigation Company to help dig the Great Southern. That, too, carried the promise of freedom for those who survived it…


In 1821, the Creeks began to accept a few tenant farmers on their land.[4] Some of these were freedmen themselves. With their help, Anderson was able to set up the first safe houses of the southern Hidden Trail. In years to come, some who had escaped would return to the paths they had walked to guide others…

Leo Freedman, The Hidden Trails: A History


[1] IOTL, this regiment was folded into the 1st Infantry Regiment after the war.
[2] See this post.
[3] IOTL, some of them kept their land until the Treaties of Indian Springs.
[4] The way this works is that the tribe turns itself into a landowning corporation to which the farmer pays rent.


In 1821 the Radicals faced the voters with their work barely half done. The Hôtel de la République, the schools, the Fort Keane Road — all were projects that had been begun but at best only partly completed. Their one great success was bringing gas lighting to the streets of New Orleans, and that was more the work of the city government than the national government. Nonetheless, their majority was increased by nine votes. Armand Beauvais was chosen to be the new president, and was sworn in under the roof of the yet-unfinished Hôtel.

Although the vote might have been taken as a mandate for continuity, Beauvais was prepared to effect change in order to further expedite the Radical agenda. His first proposal was to create the Ministry of Domestic Affairs, modeled after the American office created by J.Q. Adams. (Hitherto, internal improvements had been under the management of the Treasury.) Conservatives opposed this measure — according to Jean Noel Destréhan, “such projects should be under the control of the men who must pay for them” — but were outvoted. Once the Assembly had passed the measure, Beauvais chose the former Louisiana Supreme Court judge Pierre Derbigny as Minister of Domestic Affairs.

Another decision was far more surprising — to appoint George Canning (who was still a British citizen) as treasury minister. Beauvais pointed out correctly that Canning was certainly as talented as anyone that could be found in the small republic. Jacques Villeré, currently leading the opposition, concurred with this assessment but warned that Beauvais was setting a very dangerous precedent…

Michel Beauregard, A History of the Republic of Louisiana




August 24, 1821
7 p.m.
Claremont House

The hand Charlotte Augusta was clinging to was hot — hotter than human flesh should ever be. It had grown thinner over the last month. But the pulse was still there, under the skin, weak but not yet gone. Not yet, but soon.

Caroline turned and looked up at her with rheumy eyes.

“Still… here?”

“I won’t leave you, mother.” Amelia squirmed in her lap. Next to her sat The Leo, one hand on the Cub’s shoulder.

“None of us will,” added Lady Hamilton. She gestured to Stockmar, sitting at her elbow in a quiet rage at his own helplessness. Blockage. Blood poisoning. Nothing to be done.[1]

“Waiting for me to… offer you… words of wisdom?” she said, and smiled. “I think you’re… already as wise as I am.”

“We’re here for your sake, mother,” Charlotte said, tears in her eyes. This was not the first death she’d seen. Her own miscarriages had been terrible, not only for the loss of hope but for the fear that her own body was failing the kingdom. The death of her grandmother. The long, long death of her grandfather, whom she had mourned a little each day with each loss of faculty he showed. Her aunt Amelia, for whom her daughter was named. But this was her mother. How could she lose her now after seeing so little of her as a child?

“If I had to settle… for only one child… I am glad it was you…” Her voice faded. Then she winced again. “Doctor…”

Without another word, Stockmar handed Caroline a small bottle of laudanum. The queen could no longer eat any form of solid food, but she could still manage liquids. She brought the bottle to her lips and emptied it in one draught.

After that, she had little to say — only murmured words in German.

Hours passed. Young Leo curled up in a chair and fell asleep. Amelia fell asleep in Charlotte’s lap. Charlotte never let go of her mother’s hand.

Some time after midnight, she noticed that Caroline had stopped breathing. As one, she and Lady Hamilton looked to Stockmar and nodded. He drew the blanket over the face of the Queen.

* * *

August 25
10:30 a.m.

Charlotte had not slept. Her stomach felt like something in it had spoiled, and the rest of her body seemed to have gone numb as if to prepare itself for the coming grief. All this morning, she had endured condolences from friends, allies, well-wishers… and now that God-bothering vulture Howley was in the parlour.[2]

“Your Highness, allow me to express my deepest sorrow at your loss, and the loss of the kingdom,” he said, managing to sound almost sincere.

“Thank you,” she said woodenly.

“Circumstances did place her and myself at… cross purposes,” he said. “I hope there is no ill will?”

“No, I quite understand. My father is the head of the church, after all.” And one day I will be. And if you have any wisdom, you and yours will show me the same utter cringing servility you have shown him.

“I hope you are not angry. I know God’s will is hard to understand—”

“Not at all,” she interrupted. “We all must die one day. God appointed this day for her. There is no more to be said.” She looked at him squarely.

“And yes, I do wish very much that we had had more time together,” she continued, “but it was not God who kept me from her for all those years. It was not God who drove her out of the country. And it was not God who did everything that could possibly be done to blacken her reputation and make her days on this earth unhappy. So… you needn’t fear that I am angry at God. And now, my dear Bishop, there is a funeral to plan.”

“You know His Majesty will never allow any of the royal peculiars[3] to be used for this.”

“The churchyard of St. George’s in Esher[4] will serve well enough as a resting place for the present,” she said. “However, it seems to me that London should have the opportunity to say goodbye…”

The body of the Queen had been brought to Kensington the previous night. In possibly the most roundabout funeral procession in British history, it would now be taken through Kensington to Hyde Park, then over Vauxhall Bridge and southwest back to Esher. It would be guarded by the 3rd Foot Guards, in which the Queen’s former ward William Austin had recently been granted a commission.

Despite the light rain[5], the people began to gather in Hyde Park and the surrounding streets well before 6 a.m. on the final day of August. Not all of them were here as “Queenites”; many simply wanted a chance to see a rare historical event. But the Queenites were a solid majority of the crowd — and they had gathered not only in sorrow, but in anger.

Once again, King George IV was to blame. Ignoring the heartfelt advice of his brothers and political allies, he had begun preparing for a celebration as soon as he heard his wife’s condition was getting worse. To a good many Londoners, this lent credence to the theory that he had in some way compassed the queen’s death. Their leaders, Brougham, Burdett, Wilson and Wood, gave no public support to this theory, but put little effort into quashing them. On first seeing the size and hearing the voices of the crowd in Hyde Park, Bishop Howley is said to have asked the princess “Do you still think you can control them?” To which she replied, “I think I can lead them.” And indeed, it was probably the presence of her and Leopold that prevented either a riot or an attack on the crowd…


Charlotte’s eulogy for her mother was much shorter than Brougham’s extended speech, and far more to the point. “She taught me by her example to speak plain truths plainly,” she said. “To never ask for more than my due, nor to ever settle for less. To remember those who serve me, and keep faith with them always. To speak for all classes, but especially for those who need friends and advocates in high places…”

Arthur Roundtree, Good Queen Lottie

Where does the lion live?
In the heart of a Brunswicker!
[6]

Epitaph of Queen Caroline (1768-1821)




[1] There’ve been a number of theories about Queen Caroline’s death. For the purposes of this TL, she died of an intestinal blockage caused partly by cancer and partly by that magnesia-and-laudanum paste, which she was having to eat more and more of to keep up with the pain.
[2] William Howley, Bishop of London. Highly conservative. He supported the Pains and Penalties Act, which is why Her Highness is less than pleased to have him grace her doorstep at this particular moment.
[3] Churches under the British monarch’s direct control. Westminster Abbey and St. George’s Chapel in Windsor, where members of the royal family would normally be buried, are two of them.
[4] A church near Claremont House.
[5] IOTL, it rained a lot harder during Caroline’s funeral procession and it still drew a huge crowd. It also turned violent, although nowhere near as bad as Peterloo.
[6] This is a cheeky answer Caroline gave to a teacher as a child back in Brunswick.



Of all the remaining parts of the Spanish colonial empire, none had suffered greater neglect and misgovernment over the past twenty years than the Captaincy General of Santo Domingo. Desperately poor, the colony relied on subsidies that had seldom come during the tumultuous years of the French occupation of Spain and the Peninsular War, and were too small when they did come. Even the cash crops of coffee and cocoa had diminished as the colony reverted to subsistence farming. Although one could survive as such a farmer, as a cattle rancher or as an artisan serving them, anyone in search of real opportunity had to go looking for it in Cuba.

And there was little hope from the new government in Madrid. The Constitution itself granted the right to vote only to “son ciudadanos aquellos españoles que por ambas líneas traen su origen de los dominios españoles de ambos hemisferios y están avecindados en cualquier pueblo de los mismos dominios” — a description which fit very few of the 80,000 or so people left in the colony…


Conspiracies to establish the independence of Santo Domingo, or to transfer the colony to France or Haiti, were very nearly a routine part of life during the “España Boba” period. Manuel del Monte, Don Fermín, the four French sergeants, the so-called “Italian Conspiracy” (one of its members happened to be Italian), the 1812 revolt in the northwest — all had tried and failed to alter the condition of the colony.

So it came as some surprise in September of 1821 when José Núñez de Cáceres led a small army into the Plaza Mayor, raised the Haitian flag over the city and proclaimed the “Independent Republic of Spanish Haiti.” His allies, confusingly, marched into the central squares other Dominican towns vowing that the colony would soon be a province of Gran Colombia. This was news to everyone in Gran Colombia.

The only man in the area who wasn’t caught flat-footed was Jean-Pierre Boyer. Boyer, who had recently reunified Haiti, saw this as an opportunity to secure his eastern border against the threat of reconquest. Even as Núñez de Cáceres was on the march, Boyer was readying his own armies and his supporters within Santo Domingo. The “Independent Republic of Spanish Haiti” lasted precisely one month before the Haitian flag was raised over the city again — this time by a Haitian army.

Meanwhile, word had returned to Madrid. The Cortes Generales, reminded of a sudden that Santo Domingo was technically part of their empire, quickly voted to send a naval expedition to take it back.

Spain and Haiti would soon be at war.
Dennis Lincoln, A History of the Caribbean (Vol. 2)



The Class of 1821: People Born This Year Who Will Show Up Later


Charles Leopold Douglas, born February 7 in Kinmount House, Cummertrees, younger son of John and Sarah Douglas and nephew of Charles Douglas, 6th Marquess of Queensberry. He will be a little more sedate than his older brother William.

Heinrich Kauffmann, born March 8 in Eutin, an exclave of the Duchy of Oldenburg. A child of a poor family, he will be distinguished by his persuasiveness.

Samuel George Birney, born May 21 on a plantation in northern Alabama, third son of James G. and Agatha Birney. What’s more embarrassing than being the son of the only abolitionist in northern Alabama? How about being the son of the only abolitionist anywhere who still owns slaves? (He’s nice to them, if that helps any.)

Augusta Adelaide Fitzclarence, born August 15 in Hannover, oldest child of George Augustus Frederick Fitzclarence and Mary Wyndham, and generally considered the beauty of the family.

Pavel Nikolaevich, born September 20 in St. Petersburg, son of Grand Duke Nicholas and Charlotte of Prussia, who will try to keep a certain distance between their branch of the family and the more exotic aspects of the tsar’s reforms.

William Jonathan Gibbs, born October 12 in Philadelphia, son of Jonathan and Maria Gibbs. He will be one of the Free School’s top students. As he happens to be black, this will be a grave embarrassment to racial theorists.

Clarence Harlan Barton, born November 19 in North Oxford, Massachusetts, youngest son of Capt. Stephen Barton (a survivor of Merrymeeting Bay, although he doesn’t like to talk about it) and Sarah Stone Barton. Also a good student, but painfully shy.



Below: The flags of Federal Argentina (above) and Unitary Argentina, soon to be known as Entre Ríos.
Attached Images
 
__________________
The Dead Skunk: For want of a skunk, Louisiana is a republic and Charlotte Princess of Wales lives.
2013 Turtledove Winner The Day the Icecap Died

Last edited by Lycaon pictus; July 10th, 2014 at 07:37 AM..
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 05:11 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.