Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by VVD0D95, Mar 4, 2018.
Chapter 222: A Hard Haggler
Charles looked at the Britannic ambassador and found himself wanting to throttle him. Theophilius Hastings was a man who embodied everything Charles hated. He was smug, he was pompous and above all, he seemed to suggest things that made no sense. Charles had much preferred working with Hastings subordinate Robert Daniel, but that man had gone elsewhere recently, and therefore he was left with Hastings. The man had requested an audience recently, and after months of putting it off, Charles had finally acquiesced.
“Thank you for agreeing to meet with me, Your Royal Highness.” Hastings said with emphasised flattery. “I appreciate that you are a busy man.”
Charles decided he did not want to have to wait to get to the point and so said immediately. “You want to know why we have reduced trade with Britannia in terms of cotton exchange.”
Hastings seemed surprised by the abruptness of the topic being raised, but he recovered. “Yes, Your Royal Highness.”
“The answer is simple. Your King has levied too high a tariff on our goods, and therefore we do not think it viable to continue trading.” Charles said. That was only half the reason, his brother the Emperor had advised him to begin looking elsewhere for trade, due to the view that London was getting too close to Versailles.
Hastings looked stumped as to how to answer this. Eventually he asked. “Why?” The question was loaded and so Charles gave the easiest answer he could think of.
“For many years we have traded with your King in good faith, we have even ignored the higher prices and the competing product from Britannia entering the market. However, we have found recently that there are certain things we cannot overlook. For instance, the domination of the Britannic product is in direct violation of the treaty we signed with your King’s mother before her death. We expected that King James would keep to his word. Instead he has not.” Charles said.
“Your Royal Highness raises an understandable concern. However, I think he forgets the other matter which is involved here.” Hastings said.
Charles narrowed his eyes. “And what is that?”
“Your Royal Highness has forgotten the shifts in exchange. Whilst it is true that our wool and cloth have taken over the market, we have also helped promote Flemish business within our colonies and also helped set up the Ostend Company’s offices within the New World and within the East.” Hastings said.
Perhaps Hastings was smarter than he had originally given him credit for. Charles reluctantly nodded. “Very true, and yet, we are still not convinced of good intentions.”
Charles could’ve sworn Hastings had rolled his eyes, but he could not be sure, for Hastings then asked. “And what could be done to reassure Your Royal Highness that King James’ intentions are pure?”
Charles thought for a moment, he did not think he could push the trade point, and he would not be a hypocrite and point out the French relationship when his own daughter was Dauphine. Instead he simply said. “Your King could be serious about the marriage between his daughter and our son. So, far we have had no confirmation as to whether such a marriage will actually go ahead or not.” that was only half true, his sources in Whitehall reported the King had been pressurised into confirmation before his Parliament some time ago.
As if confirming that, Hastings said. “Well, Your Royal Highness, I am pleased to say that His Majesty has written a letter for your viewing to confirm this.” Hastings pulled out a letter from his pocket and handed it to Charles.
Charles read it and then put it aside. “Very well. We agree to the marriage happening next year. We shall formally announce the betrothal at tomorrow’s meeting of the estates, and we wish for you to attend as our special guest.”
Hastings bowed his head. “I would be honoured, Sire.”
Chapter 223: Voltaire’s King
“We must credit Lord Hastings, he was able to produce something from a situation that could have gotten quite difficult for him and for us.” James said as he put down the letter from Brussels and his ambassador to the court of Archduke Charles.
“Indeed, Sire. Lord Hastings has done a magnificent job.” Henry St John, Viscount Bolingbroke and his Southern Secretary said.
“However, we wish for Robert Daniel to return to Brussels as Hastings deputy. We are not sure we wish to experience such a dramatization of interactions again.” James said. He’d listened to St John and put Daniel on the boat to Stockholm to serve as the deputy to the ambassador there, but decided after reading this letter this morning that Daniel’s tact would be better suited for Hastings and his blundering.
“Yes, Sire. I shall write to him at once.” Bolingbroke said, making a note of it.
James then fixed his eyes on Sir Watkins, President of the Board of Trade and said. “We also wish for our traders in the East India Company to know that they are to stop helping the Ostend Company in purchases and suggestions. And to remind the Emperor of India of whose rifles helped him gain the throne.”
“Yes, Sire.” Sir Watkins said without issue.
Robert however said. “Sire, would that not be infringing on the rights of the company to operate independently of the Crown?”
James looked at his chancellor and said. “They are there by our grace. They shall listen to us or not. but they shall suffer the consequences.” He said simply.
Walpole remained silent at that, Sir Watkins however, spoke. “Sire, there are some concerns relating to trade that have been voiced by our merchants.”
“Relating to?” James asked. Merchants like bankers always had concerns, and they always wanted the government to sort them out, despite their so called intolerance of government.
“The movements in Italy of King Louis of France and King Felipe of Naples.” Sir William said. “They are concerned that the two will go to war over Tuscany once the Grand Duke dies and as such this will affect trading routes.”
James said nothing for a moment. Felipe and Louis of Bourbon were completely different to one another. Louis was like his grandfather in that he was always scheming and plotting, Felipe was like his grandfather in that he was constantly ruled by some zealous desire no one else possessed. “And they want for us to intervene?” James guessed. He was not loathe to do it, but still.
“Sire, I think if there is to be an intervention it must on the side of France.” Robert Walpole said.
“Why?” James asked. “We thought you were against our alliance with France?”
Walpole shifted slightly in his chair and then said. “I am, Sire, but I also believe that if we send troops into aid France in Italy, it will show the Prince of Modena that we too can be relied upon. Eventually France and Naples are going to go to war, and then they are going to reconcile. It would break the Bourbon family if they did not. Therefore, Modena will be left alone. That is where we can come in. Trade, naval protection, all things we can offer that the French will promise and withdraw. Furthermore, Modena is the rightful claimant.”
James was impressed with the argument, he’d heard it from Caroline as well, as to why she now supported Modena succeeding in Tuscany over Lorraine. And he himself had long thought Tuscany could become Britain’s foot into Italy, still, he was curious. “George, what do you think?” He asked of his son.
The lad stopped fiddling with his pen and looked at him. “I think Sir Robert is right, Your Majesty. I think that there will be a war, and it will be across the continent. I think we would however be better served sending a naval detachment to the Mediterranean, than to engage in a long term ground war strategy. Naples fleet is poor, and if we dominate there, we control trade with Africa.”
James looked at his son and saw something he’d not seen before. He saw a man ready for the challenges that were to be thrust upon him when James eventually died. Privately he thought to himself perhaps that Voltaire fellow has been good for the lad after all. Externally, he said. “Very well. We shall instruct the admiralty to keep things on preparation and send word to Sir William Rowley to begin preparations for departure from Gibraltar.”
The Duke of Grafton who was on his last legs nodded and said. “I shall be most honoured, if Your Majesty would grant me the honour of leading the squadron from Plymouth.”
James looked at the old man, he had wanted to give that post to George, but decided against it and said. “It would be our pleasure.”
The man smiled. “Thank you, Sire.”
And yes, that is a reference to that Voltaire both within the chapter and the title
Say what?! When did James get Voltaire to tutor his son? And for how long has he been doing so? If George takes on a lot of Voltaire ideas then that'll massively effect how he governs.
.....Could you be building up to a King George who has Voltaire and Franklin as his advisers?!
Oh Georgie boy's been friends with Volatire since his exile from France two years ago. Being as George is 25 right now, he's already got a few views of his own. But Voltaire will be a crucial influence on him as his life progresses.
So, since it's 1729, Grafton and his brother Cleveland are the only remaining living male children of Charles II?
They are indeed, Grafton's going to be getting his own chapter quite soon
Chapter 224: Franklin
Benjamin bowed low before the Governor and then waited as the man put down his papers. Sir Richard Hartington was there as well, which Ben had known he would be, being the man who had brought the case against Ben and his paper The Court Grace. Still he felt slightly uneasy. Sir Richard was a knight of the realm, and a wealthy landowner, and Ben was only a mere newspaper owner and reporter. He did not know whether he would survive this.
The Governor the Earl of Clarendon spoke then. “Gentlemen, thank you both for coming. I understand that it is a day of rest from the strains of the week, and that normally this case would be heard during the week. However, today is the only day I have available. So, the charges as I understand them are that you, Mr Franklin have written an article within your paper that Sir Richard here believes violates the laws of the land and bring his reputation into disrepute. But you, Mr Franklin argue that you are merely exercising your rights. Is that correct?”
“Yes Your Excellency.” Ben said.
“Yes.” Sir Richard replied.
The Earl frowned at Sir Richard and said. “Let us hear from you first, then Sir Richard.”
“Thank you, Your Excellency.” Sir Richard said in his most sycophantic voice. “I understand that newspapers must have the right to report on the news and things they consider the paying public needs to know. However, the article that Mr Franklin here wrote, is one that does not do this. Instead it casts aspersions on my character that of my associates. It casts us as being in league with the French and Spanish to the detriment of the Crown. Something that I would never allow. Furthermore, the evidence that Mr Franklin offers is one that does not add up. He refuses to state who his sources are.”
“Thank you, Sir Richard.” The Earl said. He then looked at Ben and Ben prepared his arguments. “Your counter, Mr Franklin.”
“Thank you, Your Excellency.” Ben said. “Whilst I can see why Sir Richard might be aggrieved, after all, it is not every day you are accused of treason and the running of slaves counter to the law of this colony, I do resent his implication that I am breaking the law. At The Court Grace we pride ourselves on doing our due diligence and ensuring that we are correct in our assertions. Every person we have spoken to, and every record we have examined supports the statements made in our paper. And I resent this implication that the rich and powerful cannot be held to account simply because of their money. We are a colony in the tradition of Britannia, that means we have the right to free speech and that includes speech that might offend.”
Sir Richard harrumphed, but judging by the expression on the Governor’s face, Ben thought he might have emerged the better of the two parties from this. There was a long silence as the governor considered their statements, then he said. “It is understandable that there would be some outrage, the statements made are bold, and this source protection is problematic, but as you say Mr Franklin, you have the right to say what you say, and Sir Richard you’ve had the chance to respond under the law and you have not done that.”
“Your Excellency!” Sir Richard began to protest, before the governor held up a hand.
“I did my own search into this and found several irregularities, Sir Richard. Irregularities that add up to what Mr Franklin has said here. Therefore, I must ask you to remove yourself from this case, and prepare for a day in court.” The Governor said. Before Sir Richard could respond the governor added. “You are dismissed, but do not think you can flee here, if you do, there will be a warrant to kill you.”
Stiffly, Sir Richard nodded. “Sir.” He bowed and then left.
“Your Excellency has come on the right side of history.” Ben said after a suitable time had passed, he could not believe that he had emerged victorious against Sir Richard.
The Governor waved a hand dismissively. “The law was on your side. Though I would advise that you consider moving somewhere for a time, Mr Franklin. Sir Richard has powerful friends. And his family will cause difficulties.”
“Where can I go, Sir. I am a mere newspaper editor. And I have a young family.” Ben said thinking of Annabelle and their son.
The governor smiled. “You need not worry on that front, Mr Franklin. I have a friend who is more than willing to help you.”
“Truly?” Ben asked.
“Yes, how do you feel about moving to London? I would pay for your travel there, and my friend would help you find accommodation.” The Governor said.
London, it was far away, but it was the heart of the coffee house movement, the place where the Spectator was, and where the Guardian was also. The thought of being able to write for both papers excited him. “I would be most delighted and grateful, Sir.” He said.
“Excellent.” The governor replied. “I shall make the arrangements.”
Chapter 225: Milan
“So, if we’re facing war with France what are our capabilities?” Joseph asked. His father had named him governor to Milan a few months after his marriage to Polyxena and told him to keep things running there. Thankfully the former Imperial governor was still on hand to help out.
Maximillian Wilhelm, the illegitimate cousin to the Elector of Hanover spoke then. “Your Royal Highness, we have seven regiments of foot, and two regiments of horse prepared and trained. They are fully aware of the possible tactics that the French could use in an offensive war and are thus prepared for it.”
Joseph nodded though he had the feeling it wouldn’t be them leading the charge out against the French. “And if the French attempt to attack us in Milan?”
“Then they know to garrison key forts along the border. Furthermore, we shall have supplies provided to us by Venice in case something should happen to block supply routes with Vienna.” Maximillian said.
Joseph looked at the map before him. “Savoy will be the landing ground for any attack from France. Do we know what their strengths are?”
“The Duke of Savoy has struggled in recent times to raise suitable funds for training his army in the new styles, Your Royal Highness. Therefore, if we were to engage with them first, under the understanding that we were at war with France, then we would win.” Maximillian said.
“Good.” Joseph said. He did not know where the web of alliances would go during this war. If his father allied with France they’d be fighting against Naples, and most likely Spain as well, but if they were allied with Naples then France would be the main source of contention.
As if sensing his concerns, Maximillian spoke once more. “We’ve also got plans outlined for war with Naples, if Your Royal Highness would like to hear them?”
“Yes.” Joseph said.
“Naples will not be given leave to march their army through the Papal States, we know this much, therefore, they will likely use their navy to move through northwards and then attempt a landing into Tuscany, where they will then attempt to place Lorraine on the throne. From there they will hold their ground.” Maximillian said. “Therefore, we’ve got the regiments prepared for quick marching through the grounds and the land. Prepared for an offensive war on the Tuscan fortresses should they hold out.”
“And what of Parma?” Joseph asked. “They are linked to Naples, will they be supporting Lorraine?”
Maximilian shook his head. “Not that I am aware of. It seems the King of France has been able to buy off the Duke.”
Joseph nodded. He was about to speak, when the door opened and a messenger, red faced and sweating hurried in, he bowed, and handed a document to Joseph. Joseph took it and swore. He looked at Maximillian and the others in the room. “Gentlemen, it seems Gian Gastone is dead.”
Chapter 226: Wales and War
The messenger had come early, earlier than he had thought. He had been in bed with his wife Anne, when the messenger had nervously entered the chamber and announced that the King wished to see him. George had grumbled but he’d gotten up all the same, kissed his wife on the cheek and then gotten dressed and left for his father’s apartments. He’d been surprised to find his mother there, and he wondered what might be the cause of this.
“Your Majesties.” He said bowing low.
“Sit down, George.” Father said in his Kingly voice. A chair was behind him, so he sat down in it.
“Have I done something wrong?” George asked, hating how at the age of twenty-five he still felt like a child whenever these occasions happened.
“No.” The King said. “We have summoned you here today to tell you something important.” There was a brief pause and then the King continued. “Word has come that Gian Gastone has died. The King of Naples has moved into Tuscany declaring that the Duke of Lorraine is the rightful claimant. France is mobilising troops to fight them, but the Spanish are preparing an attack on French military garrisons.”
George raised an eyebrow. “So, we are marching to war?”
“Yes.” The King said. “However, you shall not be serving as regent whilst we are away. Your mother will.”
“Why?” George asked, then he looked at his mother and said. “No disrespect, Mother.”
His mother laughed. “None taken.”
“You will be coming with us as we set sail for Antwerp, and from there onto the border with the Empire.” The King said.
At once George felt excitement, this would be his first proper war, on the other hand he was nervous. “I see….” He trailed off and then asked. “Why Antwerp? Isn’t the Emperor on our side?”
“The Emperor has not declared either way yet, but some of the Princes in the Empire have declared they are on the Spanish side. We shall help sort that mess out before moving to Italy.” The King responded.
George nodded, as if she could sense his nervousness, mother reached out and took his hand. “You need not worry about Anne, George, we shall look after her, and make sure she’s okay.”
George nodded. He didn’t say why he was nervous though, Anne had told him she had missed her time of the month this month, and after being married for a month, that perhaps could’ve meant anything, but he hoped it meant she was with child. He had strangely become very attached to his wife already. Perhaps it was because he’d never really had any relationships with anyone before. He was not James, Marquess of Blandford, nor was he even his own brother, the Duke of Cambridge who he knew kept both male and female mistresses. This was completely new to him. He simply nodded. “Very well, when will we leave?”
“In two days’ time, the army regiments are prepared. All that needs be done is a speech to prorogue Parliament, which shall be delivered later today, and then from there we march.” The King said.
George nodded, he bowed and left after being given the dismissal by his father. he walked down the hallway, ignoring the courtiers who bowed and spoke to him. he was tempted to go and visit James, but his friend was likely still sleeping. Instead he made his way to the chapel, kneeled down before the cross and aloud said. “Please, All Mighty God, make sure I come home.” He knelt in prayer for some time after that, and when he opened his eyes, the sun was blazing out before him.
Unless this is an ATL creature, there is only one guy with this name in the family tree - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximilian_William_of_Brunswick-Lüneburg and he is legitimate (though disinherited) Catholic brother/uncle (depending if we talk about Georg Ludwig (Georg I) or Georg Augustus (Georg II) of the Elector.
An atl creature indeed
A bastard of the abovementioned Fieldmarshal Max, I assume?
Chapter 227: Raise High The Fleur De Lis
Louis looked at the paper before him and sighed. “You mean to tell us that the Spanish have not learned anything from the past two wars we have fought against them? That they insist on going into Navarre to try and cause trouble.”
“Yes, Sire.” Chauvelin his foreign minister said. “It appears that someone in Madrid has had the bright idea of telling King Leopold that Spain has the ability to wage a long term war.”
“They had only recently managed to sort out their finances had they not?” Louis asked. “What has given them this sudden reasoning to invade a territory?”
“I believe they are getting loans from the banks in Italy, Sire. That or King Leopold has more accurately channelled what little wealth he can get from Spain’s colonies into this effort.” Chauvelin said.
Louis considered this and then asked. “What are the chances we can raise a revolt in Aragon?” He knew that had been a favourite strategy of his grandfather when war with Spain had been prominent, but he was not sure it would work now. And he had always found the method distasteful.
“Unlikely, Sire.” Chauvelin said. “Aragon remains loyal to King Leopold due to the speeches and balancing act he has implemented since becoming King. I believe they will remain loyal regardless of this war.”
“Bezons is the one commanding our forces in Navarre is he not?” Louis asked then a thought coming to his mind.
“He is, Sire.” Chauvelin said.
Louis though quickly and then said. “Very well give him the action to activate Plan twenty-four.”
Chauvelin looked surprised. “Are you sure, Sire?”
Plan twenty-four the strategy Louis had devised with Chauvelin and Condé some years ago that would allow for a lightning fast fight with the Spanish, but might cost land and resources within Navarre. “Yes.” Louis said. “We must ensure that we are not bogged down in Navarre for too long.”
Chauvelin nodded. “Very well, I shall send him the correspondence.”
Louis then looked at Condé and asked. “What word from the British?”
“They have set sail from Portsmouth, Sire. I expect them to be in Antwerp before the month ends. King James and Prince George shall be with the army.” Condé said.
“We see.” Louis said though that got the wheels in his head turning. His son had married King James’ daughter two months ago, and seemed to be settling in well in Versailles, indeed he believed she was with child, according to what his son Louis had told him. He looked at the Dauphin then, the lad had three children a son and two daughters, but had showed no skill with arms. His other son Anjou had though.
He thought on it and then said. “Write to Antwerp, tell Charles that we shall meet him and King James on the way to the Rhine.”
“Sire.” Condé said. Louis saw the Dauphin look at him, an eyebrow raised in question. Louis shook his head. Something like relief flitted across his son’s face before it was a mask again. There was a moment of disappointment for Louis at that before he changed back to other matters.
“And Tuscany? Is our brother still convinced that Lorraine is the way to go?” Louis asked.
“Sire, he remains in Florence with his army. He continues to face opposition though. Some of the former Grand Duke’s courtiers have sworn fealty to Lorraine whilst others have retired to their lands and remain in wait.” Chauvelin said. “It has also emerged that King Philippe has agreed to a marriage between his daughter and Emperor Joseph’s grandson.”
“So, the Emperor shall emerge into the fighting. No doubt he shall use his son in Milan to cause trouble for Savoy.” Louis said. “Send word to Bourg and to Gramont. Instruct them to march to Savoy and to cooperate with Savoy in whatever way needed.”
“Yes, Sire.” Chauvelin said.
“Condé,” Louis said. The man looked at him then. “Send word to our man in Vienna, let us see if the Emperor is willing to seek a peace now.”
“Sire.” Condé replied. “And Naples?”
Louis shook his head. “The only answer for our brother’s foolishness is to defeat him.”
Chapter 228: Grafton
Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Grafton and Lord High Admiral was sat at his desk inside the Great Britannia, the biggest ship that the Royal Navy had, reading through documents and papers that had arrived over the past few months. He knew he was dying, he had a terrible cough, and sometimes blood would come out when he wiped his mouth. He did not want to die at his estates or at Hampton Court. He was a sailor and he wanted to die at sea, doing what he loved. That was why he was happy the King had given him leave to command the fleet heading to attack Spain.
A knock at his door took his thoughts from his death. “Come in.” he said.
The door opened and Vice Admiral Haddock entered. “Sir.” The man said.
“What news?” He asked.
“We’ve broken through the Spanish lines, Sir. They’re going to be going full ahead with the bombardment.” Haddock said.
Henry immediately stood up. “Excellent.” They had been fighting the Spanish for some two weeks now, going back and forth trying to breach through their lines. Now that they had he knew they could advance on Cadiz and take the town.
He walked passed Haddock and walked out up the stairs and onto the deck. His sailors greeted him. “Wind gage?” He called out.
“Seven points north, Sir.” Came the call back.
“Spanish positions?” He asked.
“Straight and west.” The call came.
Henry took the telescope from Haddock and pressed it to his eye. He tightened the direction and saw that there were twenty ships to their north, he turned it to the west. Another thirty. He handed the telescope back to Haddock. “They’ve summoned their Atlantic fleet for this.”
“They must be desperate, Sir. The Atlantic fleet hasn’t won anything in centuries.” Haddock said.
“Indeed.” Henry said. “We wait until they closer then we move into position and fire the guns.” With that he stepped back. Allowing the guns to be loaded and for the sailors to get into position. The orders were relayed to the other ships in the fleet. He could feel the thrill of battle approaching. This would be something magnificent he was sure.
As they moved closer and the Spanish came closer, the ships were all prepared for battle. The Spanish unleashed first. Firing a shot that went right over Henry’s head. It crash landed into the water. “Fire.” Henry roared. The chorus of guns was unleashed. Moving backwards and forwards, the ship rocked under the weight of the damage being done. Henry coughed, he kept steady though, knowing that sooner or later they would have to engage.
The Great Britannia crushed any smaller ship and as such, Henry looked at the drowning Spanish sailors with contempt. They had chosen to go through with madness, they would not get any sympathy from him. As his own sailors began being hit by bolts and balls, he started coughing more. “Move to the aft.” He roared. The move was made and the ships started thinning, until he saw what was before them.
“Bloody hell.” Haddock muttered.
“Fire!” Henry roared. The ship and the fleet all fired at once, destroying the ship one bit by bit. But as it progressed, the ship fired as well. Henry did not know what happened next. One moment the ship was destroying the enemy, the next he was in the water being pulled down by the weight of his clothes and his finery. He coughed, accepting his fate.
And so a titan of the Britannic Royal Navy and Britannic society dies.
RIP Henry Fitzroy 1st Duke of Grafton, Lord High Admiral of the Fleet.
The second death of Royal Family member in sea combat since Prince Maurice of Palatinate?
It would seem so yes. James is going to be grief stricken when he hears, as is George, Duke of Gloucester who Henry had taken under his wing
Separate names with a comma.