A Britain of Panthers and Lions: House of Oldenburg Britain

Chapter 278: A Newspaper's Source
Chapter 278: A Newspaper’s Source

July, 1744


“I must congratulate you on your son’s marriage, my lord, I am sure that he will be very happy with his wife.” Benjamin said.

Henry Hyde, Earl of Rochester smiled. “Thank you, Benjamin, I shall pass on your congratulations when they return from their journey abroad.”

Benjamin nodded, the Earl of Rochester’s son had married the daughter of the Marquess of Powis fairly recently, a marriage which had drawn some very interesting whispers given the Marquess’ Catholicism. But that was not for Benjamin to comment on. He was here on business, not gossip. To that end he said. “I also wanted to personally thank you for renewing your subscription with The Guardian, my lord. I know times are getting interesting and your patronage is most beneficial.”

The Earl waved a hand. “Do not mention it, it is the least I could do for such a sterling newspaper.” Benjamin smiled at that, latest sale figures had come in and they had seen a thirty percent increase on last year, soon enough he’d be able to afford that house on the Mall that he’d been looking at.

“Do you still wish to keep the offices in Manchester?” Rochester asked. “Surely with the children growing up, you’d want to spend more time here?”

Benjamin didn’t respond immediately, this was something that he’d been considering for some time, and as such he was still not entirely sure where he stood on the matter. On the one hand London was the capital and all the good news came from here anyway, on the other hand, their duty was to guard the old way, and they couldn’t do that if they were sat right in the heart of the storm. He sighed. “I think, my lord, that for the time being Manchester is where we must remain. It keeps us informed of events in the rest of the Kingdom whilst also ensuring that we can maintain offices in London also.”

Rochester nodded. “Who is it who is managing the office here?”

“Savile Finch.” Benjamin said. “A terrible writer but a man with a good head for accounting, which is what is needed in London.”

Rochester snorted. “Indeed, perhaps with time we can both convince His Majesty to reduce the cost of living within the capital. It is disgraceful that the cost of rent has gone up more than the wages.”

Benjamin was slightly surprised that Rochester knew that, he had always believed the aristocracy only feigned concern for their social inferiors, but the more time he spent here the more he came to realise how unfair that assumption was. “Perhaps with what His Majesty has implemented in the Highlands things may change?” That had been a hot topic in the coffee houses Benjamin attended, a discussion on the rights and wrongs of using financial means to bully the Highland Clans into adopting modernity over using force.

Rochester snorted. “Perhaps, though depending on whether the King ignores his Uncle, there could be all sorts of reasons for why that money remains in Scotland.”

Benjamin raised an eyebrow. “You do not think His Royal Highness the Duke of York is being sincere in his measures?”

Rochester sighed. “I am not so sure whether sincerity is the right word for it. But I do think Scotland needs to see some change. It remains behind England in the manners that count. That cannot be right.”

“So, you think it would be better to keep that money in Scotland and to use it to improve the place?” Benjamin asked. He’d not yet been to Scotland, though he fully intended to take his wife and their children there when he had the time.

“Yes.” Rochester said. “Smartest thing to do, and the easiest way to head off any lingering discontent.”

“Perhaps you would like to write an article to that effect within The Guardian, my lord?” Benjamin asked. “You are cousin to the King after all, surely His Majesty would want to hear your thoughts?”

Rochester shifted slightly in his chair looking slightly uncomfortable. “Perhaps, I will need to think about it.”

Benjamin nodded. “I will keep you to that.”
 
Nice piece there- I like that Scotland is being modernised.

Hopefully given the changed circumstances the Clearances do not happen, or are reduced, which will have its own consequences for immigration in Canada, US, etc. The higher population in Scotland will also impact early industrialisation as a lot of the engineering brains (or their parents) have not left.

A change in the 'London drag' that the higher rents made, might make the Capital's population explode even more - however careful management for limiting the slums might be needed- or a second Great Fire...
 
Nice piece there- I like that Scotland is being modernised.

Hopefully given the changed circumstances the Clearances do not happen, or are reduced, which will have its own consequences for immigration in Canada, US, etc. The higher population in Scotland will also impact early industrialisation as a lot of the engineering brains (or their parents) have not left.

A change in the 'London drag' that the higher rents made, might make the Capital's population explode even more - however careful management for limiting the slums might be needed- or a second Great Fire...
I think the clearances are somewhat out of the way now, given no rebellion etc. though there may well be some immigration down the line.

And the London issue will definitely be coming back up soon.
 
Oh, why Spain?
We've decided on the youngest Hesse-Rothenburg princess (OTL Princess Carignano) for Princess of Asturias IIRC, and it seems that by now Christine is a Princess for quite a while. Spain was also IIRC the only major player with no glimpse of "next generation" (even Russia got one with Alexis II/Peter snippet).
 
We've decided on the youngest Hesse-Rothenburg princess (OTL Princess Carignano) for Princess of Asturias IIRC, and it seems that by now Christine is a Princess for quite a while. Spain was also IIRC the only major player with no glimpse of "next generation" (even Russia got one with Alexis II/Peter snippet).
This is very true, hmm I'll need to dig into my notes, but Spain seems like a good shout :)
 
Chapter 279: A Spanish Lesson
Chapter 279: A Spanish Lesson

October, 1744


“The land tax will be placed before the Cortes in a week’s time.” Leopold’s father, the King of Spain and his namesake said. “therefore, we wished to get your views on the way it could be presented.”

Leopold had been waiting for a chance to give his views on this topic since he’d heard about it. He’d studied the bill carefully, examining it for any possible gap that might be exploited by the country party. But as it had been written by his father himself, there were very few flaws within it. “I think, Your Most Catholic Majesty, that introducing the law in stages would be the most sensible choice.”

“And why do you say so?” the King asked.

“I think that introducing a tax of this magnitude in one big push would startle and confuse the nobility. It would also give them a chance to rally together to oppose it. They wouldn’t actually look through the contents of the tax proposal; they would simply oppose it on principle. Introducing it in stages, starting with say the 3% tax on those with more than 30 hearths in their main residence would ensure that it is easier to explain and thus harder for them to oppose.” Leopold said.

The King nodded, seemingly accepting of this, though he did ask. “And what would you do if they tried to rally opposition toward that proposal itself? After all, there are perhaps twelve nobles in the Cortes who own a residence with more than 30 hearths in it. They are all powerful, and if they felt the need they could rally opposition to it fairly quickly.”

Leopold shook his head. “I disagree, Sire. Those nobles despise one another or covet the other’s land. They will never willingly support one another. Indeed, one strategy would be to promise them a position at court for voting in favour of that proposal.” He knew how much the nobles desperately wanted to be at court, despite the court’s slight sterility.

“And what position would you offer them?” His father asked.

“I would say that there are three positions currently available that would give them commanding positions at court. Chamberlain, Master of the Hounds and Master of Horse.” Leopold said. “There are also several junior positions available, which would appeal to the younger nobles.”

The King smiled. “A sensible proposal. We would appreciate it if you attended the first session of debate around this proposal.”

“Of course, Sire.” Leopold said.

“And perhaps you can speak with some of your friends from Aragon, to ensure that they do not oppose it when it comes before them.” The King said.

“Of course, I will speak with them on the morrow.” Leopold said.

“Your visit to Aragon went well then?” His father asked.

Leopold nodded, he’d visited Aragon for roughly two months, visiting various places within the Kingdom to get a feel for what was happening there and to get the mood of the people. “I would say so, yes, Sire. I certainly feel that they understand our point of view more.”

“Good.” His father said. “That will be needed in the months to come.”

Sensing that there was more to that, Leopold asked. “Sire?”

“We have received word from Sicily, it seems that the King of Naples is desperately ill, as is his eldest son and heir. If both of them were to die, or the heir was to die, that would leave the Duke of Parma as the next in line. Given the habits of that family, we do not think they would accept a separating of the Kingdom and the Duchy. Something that would undoubtedly provoke a future war. Therefore, we wish for you to either go to Sicily or to court those nobles in Aragon who still have ties in Naples. Let us see what their thoughts are on the situation.” The King said.

Leopold thought on that, he could see where his father was coming from. He thought it might be a bit risky though, it had been close to sixty years since the last Spanish troops in Naples had been evacuated from the Kingdom. Whether there was still any loyalty to Madrid there, he did not know. But, perhaps if there wasn’t they could foster some. “I will speak with those I know, Sire.” Leopold eventually said.

“Good.” His father said. The King waved a hand dismissing Leopold, he bowed, straightened and then walked out of the room.
 
Chapter 280: New France
Chapter 280: New France

March, 1745


Charles de la Boische, Governor General of New France looked at the papers and sighed. “The Britons are moving further into the Ohio Country.”

William Granvile, his main financer gasped with disapproval. “But that is in violation of the agreements that were signed with the King of Britannia at the end of the last war. Surely they know that?”

“I am sure they do. But no doubt this demand is being made by their colonial members. They have no choice but to move into the territory to meet the increased demand for space.” La Boische said.

“How are we to deal with them then?” Granvile asked.

“We do not have the strength to handle their constant movements within the territory.” Charles answered, that was a simple truth, they were running low on men, and to get more men they needed more money, money which they were lacking in right now. “Therefore, we need to use our alliance with the Wabanaki Confederacy.”

“They will not do anything unless they see an increase in their profits, which means we would need to increase sales. Something that has turned out to be quite difficult as of late.” Granvile replied.

“Then we are at an impasse.” Charles said. “We will need to rely on them to aid us in dealing with the Britons, but we cannot also suddenly increase sales when things with the Britons and within our own community are tense.”

“Perhaps an easing of the central tax could help push sales up?” Granvile asked.

Charles sighed. “That would need approval from Versailles and I am not sure that His Most Christian Majesty would be agreeable to that.”

Granvile looked at Charles, and for some reason Charles could almost predict what the other man was going to say before he said it. “There is no reason that His Most Christian Majesty would need to know.”

Charles laughed. “What? Are you suggesting that we implement the easing or reduction of the central tax and only after we’ve done it write to Versailles for approval?”

“Yes.” Granvile said.

“That is madness.” Charles replied.

“Why?” Granvile asked. “It takes roughly a month maybe more for letters to be sent from here to Versailles, and any letters sent from elsewhere have to come through here. We could ensure that the lessening of the central tax is implemented and then send the letter asking for permission. Nobody would know that we had not asked for permission beforehand.”

Charles thought on that, it might be the best thing to do if they wanted to raise enough demand for the supplies the Confederacy provided them with. “How much more demand could be raised if we did this?”

“Between 10 and 20% which would no doubt satisfy the Confederacy’s demands.” Granvile said.

Charles sighed, he couldn’t see any other choice. Not really. Therefore, with great reluctance he said. “Very well, but do it quietly.”
 
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