The Talleyrand Plan
This TL deals with the aftermath of the Belgian Revolution of 1830.
As the violence in the Netherlands continued, Talleyrand submitted a partition plan to the Great Powers. This would split the south between France, the Netherlands, Prussia and a Free State of Antwerp under British protection. This was considered but rejected.
Talleyrand was determined to find a way for France to take western Wallonia and Brussels, even if it involved a territory exchange. Without Louis-Philippe's knowledge, he began new negotiations and hammered out an agreement with the Prussians and the British, playing to their desires to not let France expand too much and playing down France's ambitions.
The New Talleyrand Plan was eventually agreed upon. Louis-Phillipe and his Prime Minister Jacques Lafitte seemed enthusiastic, and Prussia and Britain were satisfied. The Dutch didn't really have grounds to complain as they knew by now that they were going to lose out.
The plan was thus:
-The Netherlands would keep the entirety of Limburg, and much of Luxembourg.
-Prussia would annex Liege and assosciated territories up to the River Meuse, but would be administered as a new Duchy of Liege.
-France would acquire Brussels (but not its northern and eastern hinterlands, nor Leuven).
-Everything else would make up the new Free State of Antwerp, under British protection.
In return, France had to make the following territorial cessions to smaller powers:
-Dunkirk and district, ethnically Flemish, to Antwerp, partly to shore up the new country's economy.
-Mulhouse and Belfort to Switzerland as the new canton of Jura.
-Thionville to Luxembourg.
The Mediterranean littoral as far as Grasse to the Kingdom of Sardinia.
It was a hard bargain, but for France, gaining the coal mines of Hainault outweighed the loss of various territories for whom the Paris political elite had little use. It was Talleyrand's last diplomatic success in continental Europe.
The partition was finally settled on the 16th January 1831 in the Treaty of Namur.
In France, the acquisition of new territory on such a scale largely outweighed the cession of various relatively unproductive areas (with the exception of Thionville, whose citizenry did not take too kindly to it). Jacques Lafitte, the Prime Minister, was riding a crest of popularity. He decided that now was the time to call legislative elections. After all, Louis Philippe was as yet in no position to challenge him fully, especially with such public support amongst the (granted, fairly limited) franchise. And the newly attached regions were relatively liberal and more likely to vote for him. And so it was. In early February, the elections took place, delivering a safe working majority to Lafitte and his allies. As a nod to the new departments (Dyle, Meuse, Hainaut), a Walloon, Alexandre Gendebien, was appointed as minister of Education and Religion.
The new cabinet included:
Interior- Camille de Montalivet
Foreign- Marshal Soult
War- Marshal Gerard
Justice- Adolphe Thiers
Finances- Dupont de l'Eure
Education: Alexandre Gendebien
Across the Alps, Italian carbonari were enthused. Austria knew not to move against them yet.Louis-Philippe had earlier promised Ciro Menotti that he would intervene if Austria moved against the Carbonari, and Lafitte's liberal government was well on side. Despite Dupont de l'Eure's usual Republican convictions, he was prepared to put this aside if the Citizen King was going to stay true to his promises.
Lafitte very quickly moved to implement measures of the Charter of 1830, such as religious equality, leading to an influx of Spanish Protestants into the south-west regions. Carbonari groups from Italy were equally tolerated, notably Giuseppe Mazzani down in Marseille. He benefited from Louis-Philippe's preoccupation with sorting out the marriage of his daughter to Leopold I Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the new (and first) Prince of Antwerp.
Up in northern Italy, Francis IV was wondering how best to increase his power. Harnessing the liberal mood seemed a good idea. Maybe he really could make it all work to his advantage. To this end, he started paying lip service to the Carbonari, above all to Ciro Menotti. Francis IV was a mere duke, but his dreams of being King of a north Italian kingdom were strong.
Francis IV met Louis-Philippe and Lafitte at Marseille in March 1831. His professions of agreement with Menotti had endeared him to Liberals, despite his dubious reputation. From over the border in the Kingdom of Sardinia, news came that King Charles Felix was ailing, and that Charles Albert, more sympathetic to the cause, would soon be on the throne.
Louis-Philippe agreed that Menotti , on behalf of Francis IV, could stir up and annex Parma without French intervention- he had little love for Marie-Louise, its duchess. However, he was warned off trying to annex Lucca, and against fomenting trouble in Tuscany for now.
Francis IV returned to Mantua, where he was based. He allowed Menotti to head off to Parma, and raised his army. On the 6th May, without warning, he entered Parma's territory before dawn. On this signal, Carbonari rose up and seized key buildings in the major towns. Marie-Louise herself was swiftly deposed. Within 3 weeks, the Grand Duchy of Modena and Parma had been declared, recognised by France. Austria was perplexed. Two of its ostensible clients had gone to war- it didn't seem to matter in general. Francis I of Austria couldn't work out how to intervene.
But Francis IV had not yet had enough. Still professing his newly-found enthusiasm for Italian liberation, he declared himself its greatest hope, which irritated the Sardinians. He had no intention of taking Lucca. Nor Tuscany. He intended to use his French backing to follow his dream...
He ordered his generals to draw up plans for an invasion of Lombardy.
Meanwhile, in Britain, the liberal mood was leading to the imminent abolition of slavery and the passage of the famous 1831 Reform Act began to be passed through Parliament with much less hostility than expected. Prussia was having some difficulty swallowing its new Francophone territories however- there was a distinct lack of co-operation in many areas, and rioting at Verviers had to be brutally suppressed between the 15th and 24th of February 1831.
Francis's plans soon changed very quickly.
Rioting broke out in Bologna in mid-July, and soon spread across Romagna and into the other Papal Legations, particularly Ravenna. Francis IV, having used the Carbonari, was in a paradoxical position. On one hand, he was somewhat dependent on the liberals, but on the other, he was seen now as an ally of liberal politics by the less aware revolutionaries elsewhere.
The French government began covertly running arms and capital to the insurgents, as soon did Modena. In Tuscany, dissent was simmering but for now there would be no intervention. Franz of Austria was not impressed however, nor was Pope Gregory XVI. Franz ordered Field Marshal Radetzky to lead an army into Romagna to restore order. But this was not going to be easy at all.
On the 4th August, Carbonari seized control of the ducal palace in Lucca. Duke Charles Louis was away in Germany at the time.
Meanwhile, in the former polities of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, an economic boom was in swing. Due to its British protection, the Scheldt had been reopened for the first time in centuries, beginning a boom in Antwerp. The docks were extended partly with the help of prisoners sent by Britain after the Swing Riots in Kent some 8 months earlier (the kernel of today's "Little England" in Berchem).
In the Netherlands itself, the swift resolution to the conflict, plus an influx of skilled Netherlandophone Protestants from Brussels and western Vlaams-Brabant was leading to a surge in economic activity, focused particularly on Hasselt.
Over the border in Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm IV was under increasing pressure to grant a constitution. This was partly due to the strong liberal mood of the era, but also as a result of the absorption of nearly 1 million Liegeois and other Walloons, who were strongly liberal and added to the liberal corps.
As it became clear that Radetzky's troops were moving into Romagna, there was fury in patriotic circles in Italy. From all over the land came volunteers determined to fight in whatever way they could. Louis-Philippe meanwhile sent a warning to Vienna that France was not amused, and that a failure to withdraw would mean large-scale French intervention. Franz ignored this note.
On the 12th August, two major events shaped the course of the disturbances. Firstly, a French naval detachment under Admiral de Missiessey landed French troops onto the coast of Lucca. In its state of anarchy, and the help of collabaorators, it fell within just a week. It was now clear that war loomed between Austria and France- Lucca had been an Austrian client until extremely recently. The other powers in Europe began to watch very closely.
The second event was in Romagna. Near Ferrara, an Austrian battalion was slaughtered by guerillas jsut after dusk as they set up camp. It was clear that Austria would not be having it its own way.
Three days after the surprise attack on Austrian forces, which despite its small scale resulted in Radetzky pausing to take stock, revolutionaries in Bologna proclaimed the Call of Bologna, appealing for the intervention of Francis IV of Modena to enter the country and help them from the Austrians. Francis, who in the meantime had been making loud noises about setting up a constitutional convention when the dust had settled in Parma, was being held up as the great hope of Italian patriotism.
Meanwhile, in Lucca, there was a build-up of French troops under Marshal Gerard, who was replaced in the cabinet by Thiers (allowing Guizot to return to the top table as well). Louis-Philippe, Lafitte, Thiers and Gerard had decided that Austria would not be making any capital out of the situation in any way.
In London, the cry went up for volunteers for Italy. Focused on the Birmingham Political Union, nearly 3,000 men, mostly unemployed factory workers from the Midlands and North West of England, headed to the capital to sign up for what became known as the International Brigade, which ended up under the leadership of John Frost, a Welsh radical. The new French ambassador, the aging hero and carbonaro Marquis de La Fayette, arranged with Paris for these men to be given passage.
There was a similar phenomenon elsewhere. As well as English volunteers, Irishmen, Dutchmen, Liegeois, Prussian liberals, Swiss and Frenchmen flooded south. There was a simmering sense of revolt across Italy.
Finally, on the 18th September, French troops landed at Ancona, and other French troops crossed from Lucca into Modena, given free passage by Francis IV. They were heading east. The next day, the Austrian ambassador delivered an ultimatum to Louis-Philippe. It went unanswered. With Russia, Britain and Prussia declaring their neutrality and watching (all three more concerned elsewhere, especially Russia), Austria felt safe in taking on the French at a distance from the French mainland. Thus, Austria declared war on France on the 1st October, 1831. It was all a formality: France and Modena had already begun offensive action.
Radetzky was now wheeling through Romagna, and already held Ferrara. Turning to Ancona to meet the French landing, he was forced to halt when news came through that a Franco-Modenese force had crossed the border near Finale Emilia. If he didn't deal with them, they would cut off his supply lines. He pulled back to Forli and began to head back north.
Worse news for the Austrians was on its way. Emboldened by French action and promises of support, Sardinian troops crossed tentatively into Lombardy-Venetia. Then, on the 2nd October, rioting broke out in Padua and Treviso in Lombardy-Venetia. It was a national emergency for Austria now.
Mazzini was in raptures. The dream was coming true. Or was it?
As the volunteers began to arrive in Modena and Lucca, the Franco-Modenese forces were doing relatively well under General Savary. Although they had not broken the Austrian supply lines, their intervention had forced Radetzky to pull back. Another detachment, the troops under Gerard, reached Bologna on the 12th October with ease, the Austrian garrison having fled. Two days later, Francis IV (who had been travelling at a distance behind Gerard's men) proclaimed himself Duke of Romagna. Further north, the Sardinians were making little headway against the Austrians, but nonetheless the Austrians had received a slap on the face. Radetzky reported back to Vienna that the campaign was facing serious difficulties, and that Austria was fighting essentially a two-front war, three fronts if he counted internal revolts.
Emperor Franz therefore on the 21st October ordered all Austrian troops to fall back from Romagna and to crush the revolts in Venetia. This was done, most notoriously in the Week of Padua, in which nearly 600 people were murdered. Word was sent to Louis-Philippe, Carlo Alberto and Francis of Modena that Austria was willing to talk. The Pope was not informed.
Meanwhile, Francis had drawn up a list of liberal and Carbonari leaders, to be arrested once peace had been agreed. He was not going to let a group of charcoal-burners interrupt his plans to become master of northern Italy with their "democracy" and their strange ideas. He was already having Ciro Menotti trailed.
And so it was. In November 1831, at the Treaty of Bellanzona in Switzerland, the following were agreed upon:
- Francis IV of Modena was recognised as ruler of Parma and Romagna, as the provocatively-titled King Francis I of Padania, with his capital at Modena.
-Lucca was to remain an independent duchy. As the French were unwilling to accept a Habsburg nor the Habsburg to accept a Frenchman, it was agreed that Prussia and Britain would arbitrate to choose a monarch. Their eventual choice was Prince Frederick of the Netherlands, who had been an original choice to be king of Greece. Duke Frederico I would arrive the next year.
- Austria was to make almost no territorial concessions to Sardinia, to Carlo Alberto's great chagrin.
-France was to have full, tariff-free trading rights in Padania and Lucca.
-Austria's control of Lombardy-Venetia was not in doubt.
It wasn't as bad as Austria had imagined it would be, but still it had been a slap in the face for Franz and for Gregory XVI.
The clamour for a constitution began in early December of that year in Bologna with protests in the streets. The new King Francis replied not with an acceptance of the demands, but with a bloody repression on the 4th December. Ciro Menotti was publicly executed days later. Francis ordered his troops to hunt down liberals and gaol them. He was going to assert his God-given divine rights.
But the Padanian army was not monlithic. Only a month earlier it had been forced together from disparate elements in disparate duchies. The troops in Parma outright refused to join in the repression. Carbonari, feeling betrayed by their former great hope, began to organise. The other thing Francis had forgotten was the presence of many volunteers from overseas, who were anticipating a further campaign of liberation elsewhere, but also he had assumed that the French troops would be withdrawing soon.
He was wrong.
On Christmas Day, a detachment of Polish and Prussian volunteers under the exile general Jozef Chlopicki took control in Ferrara after three days of bloody fighting against a loyal garrison. Parma itself declared against Francis.
Louis-Philippe and Lafitte watched with concern. French troops were ordered north to make sure Austria did not try to take advantage.
In his first act to rein in the volunteers, New Year's Day of 1832 saw Francis disarm and execute fifty foreign volunteers. His mistake was the chosen nationality: half were British volunteers. Earl Grey was not going to be impressed when he found out, even if they WERE generally radical types. Plus, Britain could do well out of throwing her weight around in this mess...
As revolt fermented in Padania, an event in the north of the Continent momentarily diverted attention away from the Italian peninsula. On the 8th January 1832, whilst out riding, the one-eyed Duke George of Cumberland fell and died. His father, the Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale, Ernest Augustus, was the presumptive heir to the crown of Hanover once William IV died, Salic Law preventing William's British heir, Victoria, from becoming Hanover's queen.
William and Ernest had to resolve the issue. The next heir would have to be their younger brother, Augustus, Duke of Sussex. However, he didn't want the throne (although records seen since suggest that he was leaned on not to want it, being somewhat dubious of character). Thus, Ernest Augustus's new heir would be the next brother, Adolphus, who was already Viceroy of Hanover.
In Sardinia, Carlo Alberto was afraid of what was happening in Padania, and set about rounding up liberals and in particular supporters of Mazzini. This he did with a great deal of success.
On the 8th February, a British gunboat appeared off Ancona. It was Francis's worst nightmare: Earl Grey had clearly decided that the lives of the radicals were worth something. Grey had spotted an ideal opportunity: throwing Britain's weight around would distract from some of the rows at home and give him more moral support to push through his plans, and showing some sympathy might also mollify the radicals back at home. Louis-Philippe was satisfied enough- after all, Britain had been wronged, and it would be useful to have the British onside.
On the 9th,a message was brought ashore, demanding compensation for the British deaths. No reply was received. Thus, the next morning at dawn, the bombardment began. In addition, British marines from Corfu were roughly a day away.
In Modena itself, there was havoc. Volunteers were roaming the streets, looting, robbing, and attacking the state apparatus. It was mayhem. Francis had left the city and was attempting to regroup near Bologna. The Parmesan troops were heading east and marching on Modena.
On the 12th February, fleeing Anconans were on the roads west. The news was disturbing- British marines had landed at Ancona. This was the ultimate signal to Padanian troops. For miles around, nearly two-thirds of the garrisons deserted. Francis's tenure as King Francis I of Padania was nearly over, after a matter of months.
By the 23rd, the game was up. Parmesan troops were in Modena, Bolognese troops had rebelled, and Francis was on the run. Carlo Felice of Sardinia finally died not long after, after a lingering death, and Carlo Alberto was finally in power in title as well as deed. Padania (or as Austria and Sardinia insisted, Cispadania or Modena-Romagna) was not in anarchy however- Marshal Gerard declared martial law and was for the most part obeyed.
The powers that be knew that a remedy had to be found, and Leopold of Antwerp was the host of a meeting to start thrashing out some ideas. The major battle was between Prussian Prime Minister Count Lottum on one hand and Lafitte and British foreign minister Palmerston on the other, but the latter two triumphed. An agreement was reached, and machinations began, but were not revelaed until later.
But what of Francis? He couldn't go to Austria, the Papal States, Britain, Sardinia...eventually, on the 11th March, he was seen boarding a ship at Viareggio in Tuscany. Thus went Francis unto his exile, in Spain. It wasn't perfect, but it was better than being strung up by rebels.
On behalf on Louis-Philippe, Marshal Gerard took full control of the major cities and proclaimed that the country was now the Kingdom of Cispadania, and that it had a new king, agreed upon by the Great Powers, Prince Ferdinand of Oldenburg, who would take power as King Ferdinand I of Cispadania. Even better, Ferdinand and his wife Caroline were meeting with Italian liberals in France to draw up a constitution (accepting a consitution had been part of the deal to become king, even if he hadn't wanted one). He would be on his way in coming weeks. Symbolically, the new capital would not be Modena- it would be Bologna.
Much as with Otto of Greece, Ferdinand was under no obligation to become Catholic. However, there were different reasons for this. Cispadania's pioneering constitution decreed that, amongst other things, there was total freedom of religion.
In Britain, the return of so many volunteers from the International Brigade gave renewed vigour to the movement for the Reform Act. Earl Grey pleaded for the passage of the Reform Act on its 2nd attempt, but it was defeated in the Lords. William IV was deeply unimpressed with the Tories, and was concerned that the presence of so many agitated men could do no good unless they were calmed down-after all, that many arm-strained men on the streets, leading mobs, was a scary thought. He warned Wellington, considered Tory leader in Parliament, that he would either dissolve Parliament or pack the Lords with Whig peers. Wellington refused to back down. Meanwhile, in the famous "Days of April", there was violence across the country as working men and bourgeoisie alike attacked symbols of power, notably at Derby and Nottingham.
On the 14th April, William selected a new group of peers, partly on Grey's advice. Some of them were deliberately antagonistic choices (especially the fiery Henry Hunt, MP for Preston, and famously Wellington's enemy at Peterloo). Now Grey could go ahead and try the act again. And he did so. It passed the Commons, then the Lords. And once it was done, Grey announced a General Election for mid-June. Wellington had been finally broken. And Britain had a new franchise.
The news spread like wildfire. This, and the new constitution in Cispadania, became an inspiration to liberals across Europe. All eyes were on the Cispadanian elections in late April.
These elections were intriguing and went off successfully. The new Prime Minister was the liberal activist Enrico Misley a native of Romagna. His Cabinet included several people not originally from the region, who had come to fight and had been handed immediate citizenship. Prime amongst these was the Pole Josef Chlopicki, who became Interior Minister, displaying an impressive command of Italian after nearly a year of being there.
Grey was triumphant. Wellington had been broken forever, and the Tories looked to Lord Lyndhurst to lead them. He didn't want the position that much, so he agreed to take it up until the election, and then hand over to Sir Robert Peel, the rising star, and one-time favourite of Wellington.
The June elections were a disaster for the Tories. The Whigs won 426 seats, the Tories 176, the Popular Party 14, and Daniel O'Connell's Irish Repeal won 42. In this, the first Parliament elected under the new Reform Act, there was an influx of new faces and bourgeoisie. In Preston, Lord Hunt's old seat was taken by the returning volunteer leader John Frost, standing under the banner of the Popular Party, a party centred mainly around the abolition of the Corn Laws. Indeed, the Corn Laws would soon come under pressure. Grey was invited once again to kiss hands, and to form a government. Peel took control of the Tories, and began to rebuild them, under their new name of the Conservatives.
In Prussia, all had not gone unnoticed. Discontent had been simmering. Now, it was going to boil over. Disturbances began in the Rhineland and spread. On the 14th July, anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, a mob in Cologne attacked the Prussian garrison. Over the next few days, Prussian soldiers were lynched at Cologne, Aachen, Liege, Verviers, Huy, Eupen, Welkenraedt and Dusseldorf. Count Lottum ordered the other garrisons in the Rhine Provinces to suppress the revolt, but then something more threatening occured: another uprising in Poland.
The revolts in the Rhine garnered a lot of covert support. As had happened in Cispadania, volunteers began to head there, but in relatively small numbers. In addition, both France and the Netherlands began to covertly arm the insurgents.
The Prussians came down hard, and brutally. In Poland, where the rebels were weakened by the ending of a revolt not so long ago, there were mass hangings. In Cologne, 27 rebels were chained and drowned in the Rhine. In Liege, at the Place des Franchises (symbol of Liege's democratic past), French-speaking rebels were guillotined. By the end of September, most of the revolt had been crushed, but guerilla activities continued for a long time yet.
Still, it had been trying for Friedrich Wilhelm III. He knew now that his reactionary policies couldn't go on forever: Europe was changing, France and Britain were showing a worrying liberalism, reactionary Austria had just been humiliated, liberal Cispadania had become a byword for liberalism. To this end, on the 4th October 1832, he dismissed the discredited Count Lottum as Prime Minister and replaced him with a liberal, Friedrich Ancillon. Ancillon immediately set about trying to work out how to pacify Prussia, this time with a carrot rather than a stick.
Cispadania was doing extremely well. It had mostly settled down, the new limited-franchise democracy and the general good-will of King Ferdinand. The economy was in great shape as well. A naval base near Ancona had been let out to Britain at favourable rates as a reward for British help in forming the new country, and a free-trade agreement with France was seeing a mini-boom. From Modena to Rimini, Cispadania was getting onto her feet, the new liberal economic climate helping to unite the disparate regions: Romagna, Modena, Reggio, northern Marche.
Ferdinand was fascinated by the new air of modernism. Although he had few powers, his influence was still strong, and he was well-respected. On his advice, in November 1832, surveying began for a railway line from Bologna to Forli, which would be the first Continental railway system if built (in the end, Leopold of Antwerp's line from Antwerp to Mechelen was the first). Danish settlers followed him as well, notably setting up in the dairy industry. To the Pope's powerless distaste, he was also followed by Danish Lutheran missionaries, who saw a chance to make some converts under the Pope's nose.
Cispadania's foreign policy was slowly taking shape. Parochial in nature, it was helped by the goodwill of both Britain and France. An alliance and free trade agreement were struck up with Duke Frederick of Lucca. Relations with the Pope and Austria were strained, but for now that didn't matter.
As Europe settled for now, attention moved east, to the turbulence of Egypt and the Ottoman Empire...
Over in the Ottoman Empire there was chaos. Mehmet Ali, Viceroy of Egypt, was overrunning the empire and heading into Anatolia. Emperor Mahmud II wasn't out for the count though. On the 4th December 1832, south of Konya, the forces of the Grand Vizier Resid Pasha broke the Egyptian supply lines, sending Ibrahim Pasha, the Egyptian general, reeling back. For now, Constantinople was secure, but it surely could not last. In this slightly stronger position, Mahmud decided to sue for peace, whilst quietly discussing with Russia for help.
Muhammed Ali was unsure. Should he go for it? After all, he had just suffered quite a setback, and the loss of momentum was not a good thing. His mind was made up though when Britain and Cispadania offered him a cotton deal. For now he would take the money, build himself up, and in a few years deliver a hammer blow, and become the Sultan. He hoped.
Last edited by Max Sinister; September 2nd, 2008 at 10:00 PM.. Reason: linky