An Unexpected Prince

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by VVD0D95, Sep 2, 2019.

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  1. Threadmarks: Chapter 16: Godolphin

    VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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    Chapter 16: Godolphin



    July, 1689


    Sidney took a moment, gathered his thoughts and then spoke. “I bring good news, Your Highness.” The Princess looked at him as did the rest of the council. “The Calamities Bill has passed through the House of Commons.” The Princess smiled and there was a great cheer in the cabinet room. The bill had been drafted to sort out who would have possession of the King should the Princess die in childbed, given that she had recently delivered a son named James as well, it seemed sensible. “The Commons has consented to the Bishop of London being granted possession of the King and for him to ascend to a place on this council.”

    “Excellent work, Sidney.” The Princess said. Sidney smiled. “And what of the amendment that Devonshire had added on?”

    “The Devonshire amendment to try and get religious freedom for dissenters was widely voted against. Indeed, Sir Stephen Fox gave a long speech stating that it was nothing more than a power grab.” Sidney responded. Fox had said it was something else as well, but that was the general gist of things.

    “Excellent, indeed. I shall let the Bishop of London know as soon as can be.” The Princess said.

    “Now that the Calamities Bill is done, perhaps we can turn our attention to the matter at hand?” Sunderland asked.

    Sidney knew the man did not like him, in truth Sunderland did not like Sidney or John Churchill, seeing them as new men, despite the fact he himself was a new man, having been given his peerage by the King’s uncle some years ago. Sidney did not have his respect, not in the same way Sir John the previous First Lord had had, but he did not care, he had the respect of the Princess. “Yes, let us.” The Princess said.

    Sunderland took the lead from there. “The current situation in the Holy Roman Empire is thus, Philipsburg belongs to the French, but they were repelled at the Siege of Cologne by the Imperial army commanded by the Duke of Lorraine. Indeed, word from the Imperial ambassador suggests that they are going to try an assault on Philipsburg itself.”

    “So, this war will be over by the end of the year then?” Sidney asked, they had provided some funding to the Imperial army in the form of loans, but with the plans being laid for the Bank of Albion he was not sure if they could continue long term.

    “That is the optimistic view, yes.” Sunderland replied. “The more pessimistic view is that King Louis will wait until King Carlos of Spain finally dies, then put forward his own claims to the Spanish Empire in Italy and the Spanish Netherlands.”

    “And where will the Spanish go in your view?” The Princess asked.

    “They will not want a partition; they will want everything to go to Maria Antonia.” Sunderland said.

    “And that is the position we should take also. We cannot afford a war that would inevitably drag us into it, Your Highness.” Sidney said. “The Bank of Albion will be ready by the end of the month, however, it won’t be able to fully sustain such a grand war effort, if King Carlos dies before then.” That was the truth, he’d spoken with the advisors from the city, and they’d all said the same. A long war that would inevitably bring England into it would be bad for the bank and the economy in the short term, whilst the bank found its footing.

    “Then what do you suggest?” The Princess asked. “We cannot simply allow France to continue going on as it is now.”

    Sidney had thought about this quite a bit over the past few days, and presented the solution as he saw it. “Your Highness must offer to mediate the situation between France, Spain and the Austrians. Propose a conference here in London, and ensure that they are suitably enticed to come.”

    “Enticing them how?” The Princess asked.

    “Trade agreements, lowering of tariffs, and a possible corridor of certainty through the New World oceans.” Sidney said. He had mapped this idea out over the past few months and was convinced this would be enough.

    “That might just work.” Sunderland said.

    The Princess did not say anything for a moment, and for a time, Sidney worried she would reject his proposal. Eventually, she spoke. “Very well, send word to the ambassadors. Let us see if we can end this war, and prevent another one.”
     
  2. Threadmarks: Chapter 17: Peace Proposals

    VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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    Chapter 17: Peace Proposals



    October, 1689



    “The performance of our troops on the Rhine is of grave concern.” Louis said reading through the reports that his son and then Vaughban had sent through. “Their defeat at Cologne and then the withdrawal to Philipsburg appear to be most unusual.”

    “Sire, the armies under the command of the Duke of Lorraine have been using new techniques, furthermore, they’ve been getting funding from both England and the Dutch Republic. It does appear as though this new Bank of Albion that the English have set up has gotten a lot of investment.” Lovouis said.

    Louis looked at his chief minister and asked with barely disguised contempt. “Are you telling us, Lovouis, that we are being outdone by a financier?”

    Lovouis did not say anything immediately, but then he said. “I believe we might need to consider reforms.”

    Louis looked at Marshal Bellefonds his minister for war and asked him. “Do you agree?”

    Previously Bellefonds might have been expected to visibly protest this and instead suggest an all out assault, this time however, it seemed his mood was different. “I do, Sire. We must change the way we approach the war effort. If we keep pushing even when all seems to have gone beyond the pale, not only will we be facing soldier riots, but also the potential for England and the Dutch Republic to get involved. Something which would leave us alone.”

    “So, then what is the solution?” Louis asked. He didn’t like where this was going, but he was not foolish.

    “We could consider the proposal that has come from England, Sire.” Lovouis suggested tentatively.

    Louis looked at the man and said aloud. “The proposal where they state that if we come to London they will mediate between us and our cousin Leopold. That they will aim to resolve the dispute on the Rhine and other such concerns.”

    “Yes, Sire.” Lovouis said. “I think that it is a reasonable proposal. They do not want anything within the Empire or in Spain. And indeed, they even propose trade agreements that are beneficial to all sides.”

    “Yes, the ease of access trading within the new world, and the potential for French goods to interact within the English market. Certainly, something worth considering.” Louis said, musing aloud. He knew that such a thing would never have been considered during his cousin James or Charles’ reigns. But perhaps things had changed.

    “I do not know whether such a proposal is worthy of consideration, Sire.” Bellefonds said. “They also propose keeping the Spanish Netherlands outside of any control but Madrid’s, but Madrid has no King of proper note, given that King Charles has been incapacitated for months now.”

    “The brat has been incapacitated for years.” Louis said dismissively. “We have a solution for that issue.”

    “Sire?” Lovouis asked, though the man already knew what Louis had planned.

    “We shall have our emissary propose that the Spanish Netherlands become a neutral zone, with different parts of it ruled by the English, the Dutch, the Austrians and ourselves. Each shall have a free trading agreement with the other. The Spanish have shown they cannot properly govern the place, nor can they hold onto it. This would ease the burden.” Louis said simply.

    “That is a plan that would need the agreement of the Regent of Spain, surely?” Bellefonds asked.

    “Not necessarily.” Pellier, his finance minister said. “This is the only way to guarantee there is no war when King Charles dies. England will agree to it.”

    “And if England agrees to it, the Dutch will likely also agree to it.” Louis said. “Which means that Spain and Austria have no other choice but to agree as well.”

    Louis then looked at Lovouis. “That is what you shall argue in London, Lovouis. Present the arguments as clearly and concisely as possible.”

    Lovouis nodded. “Yes, Sire.”
     
  3. Shiva Dreaming... always dreaming...

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    In essence, the Spanish Netherlands will be portioned off to four nations. I assume England will get a costal region off of Flanders, the Dutch would take the rest of Flanders, and France and Austria will be splitting Wallonia between them.
     
  4. VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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    That's the proposal yes, whether the Dutch or the Austrians agree, and whether Spain agrees is a completely other can of worms.
     
  5. Derek Pullem Butterfly Killer

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    Interesting. Charles II had Dunkirk and Mardyke gifted to him by France but ended up selling them back to France. Might England consider this only to sell their share back to William and the Netherlands. presumably William would at least get the line of the Scheldt in this scenario if not Brussels as well. Luxembourg to the Empire as well and Geulderland to the Netherlands.

    It's rewarding Louis but it actually isn't a bad idea - just a very very complicated one. Don't think Spain really gets a vote though.
     
  6. VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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    Hmm do you think englsnd would consider it a burden as they did Dunkirk?

    And this is very true
     
  7. Derek Pullem Butterfly Killer

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    Well it depends. A lot of people thought selling Dunkirk was a very bad idea but Charles II was very short of cash. If Anne is much more of a mercantile nature (as seems to be the case from her proposals re colonial trade) then actually owning and defending a strip of land in the low countries probably isn't worth the cost. Couple the sale with favoured trading rights through Antwerp and I think the deal could be made to stick.

    It also keeps England on relatively good terms with Louis and William - at least until Louis starts the next provocation (in Italy?)
     
  8. VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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    Interesting and yeah that does make sense, also keeps them out of any possible le scraps
     
  9. Threadmarks: Chapter 18: Berwick

    VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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    Chapter 18: Berwick



    November, 1689


    James stretched, he didn’t like being kept cooped up, but he supposed it made sense. He was the Catholic soldier son of the previous King who’d won plaudits and acclaim for fighting against the Turk, and now here he was, with his father dead, and all sorts of other things going slightly sideways. His half-brother was an infant King, and his half-sister mistrusted him. It was only because of his uncle’s grace that he had not yet been thrown into prison, and allowed to stay in Churchill Manor in London, down the road from Whitehall Palace.

    “How much longer must I stay here, uncle?” James asked. “It’s not that I don’t appreciate the roof over my head and the work you’ve done for me, but I am not made for sitting still.”

    His uncle, John Churchill, Lord Churchill laughed. “I know lad, I know. There is a lot going on outside. With the Calamities Act, having passed and Devonshire having retired to the countryside, I think things are going to get a bit more interesting shortly.”

    “What do you mean?” James asked. He tried to keep abreast of such news, but he couldn’t understand quite what was happening. His half-sister was acting as if she were Queen, barking out orders here and there, all in the name of their half-brother King James III.

    “What I mean, lad, is that Devonshire has retired to the country and therefore the Country Party or as they’ve taken to calling themselves, the Whigs, are now led by the Earl of Shrewsbury who is by far a more dangerous man.” His uncle said. “He will smile openly, but plot behind closed doors. There are already rumours of Catholics in Shrewsbury’s lands disappearing, or being imprisoned without due cause. The Princess is looking into it, but she needs Shrewsbury onside for the peace conference.”

    “So, am I being kept inside, prevented from even exercising properly, because of this?” James asked, annoyance beginning to colour his tone.

    “Yes.” His uncle responded. “You are dangerous in the eyes of the Whigs and their followers.”

    James snorted. “Me? Why?”

    “Because you have won acclaim as a soldier. The Emperor himself wrote to your father King James talking of how good a soldier you were, and the King openly spoke of making you regent for his heir should he die before the boy came of age. Therefore, many people are now wondering if you intend to seize on that.” His uncle replied.

    “What?!” James exclaimed. He had not known of any of this. “I don’t want to be regent. I hate politics. I’m a soldier. Not a politician. You must know that!”

    “I do.” Lord Churchill said holding out a hand to pacify his nephew. “But they do not. You were educated in France; you have spent most of your life abroad. These people do not know you. They only know you are a Catholic.”

    “That is hardly my fault!” James protested. “I did not ask to be raised Catholic, the King insisted on it and Mother complied.”

    “I know, lad!” His uncle replied. “But can you see their fears. You have returned at the exact moment when this Kingdom is torn within itself. So, there is only one thing that can be done.”

    “And what is that?” James asked though he suspected he knew what the answer would be.

    “You must publicly convert to Anglicanism. That is the only way to get people off of your back.” Lord Churchill said.

    “I…” James began and then he stopped. He thought on it, he was a Catholic and had been since birth, but he was not devout. He held to God, but was it really that different to believe in the Catholic version of God to the Anglican God, weren’t they one and the same? “If I converted would I retain the Colonelcy of the Blues?” He asked, he had known his uncle had wanted that position before his father had given it to him.

    “You would, the Princess has agreed to it.” Churchill said.

    James was surprised by this, but he suspected that there was something else that he would have to do as well, and so he asked. “And is there something else?”

    “Yes, you would need to marry Margaret Cavendish, daughter of the Duke of Newcastle. The Princess has said and the regency council has confirmed that you would be created Duke of Newcastle in right of your wife, when the time comes.” His uncle said.

    He thought on that. The Cavendish girl would come with a large fortune, but she had two older sisters. From the way, his uncle was looking at him, he got the feeling that those two girls would be sorted out in due course. Eventually he nodded and said. “Very well, I shall do it.”

    His uncle smiled. “Excellent, I shall speak with His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury and begin organising the ceremony.”
     
  10. Derek Pullem Butterfly Killer

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    He doesn't need the Dukedom really although it's nice. Berwick was an English title, was it not?
     
  11. VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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    Scottish title, but it also gives him a nice bit of money to add onto his estates as well
     
  12. Brita A wanderer in the Lands of Uchronia

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    Are the Spanish Netherlands going to be something like post-war Berlin then? Sounds downright interesting!
     
  13. VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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    Very possible, if all sides agree :)
     
  14. Derek Pullem Butterfly Killer

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  15. VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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  16. Threadmarks: Chapter 19: Ambassador Galore

    VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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    Chapter 19: Ambassador Galore



    March, 1690


    It had taken a lot to get the ambassadors from Versailles and Hofburg to come to Whitehall. It seemed that both sides were still content to stare at one another from across the walls of Philipsburg, Anne had had to get the Royal Navy preparing for a bombardment somewhere-where she had not specified- but the threat of it had been enough for the two men to stop their contest and send their ambassadors here. Anne was pleased with that. She found the French ambassador Lovouis to be pompous and quite terribly French, whilst the Imperial ambassador Furstenberg was cold and uncaring as far as she could tell.

    She took a sip of wine and then spoke in slightly rusty German. “Gentlemen, thank you both for coming. I hope that the services here have been to your liking. We are here to discuss a peace between the Empire and France. As you are both aware, England’s position is that this war is most unusual and unnecessary. There are claims that both sides are pushing that can be resolved fairly without the need of bloodshed.” She did not mention the fact that William had sent her curt letter saying that if she did not sort this issue out, he would. “Therefore, let us discuss the concerns both of you have and see if we cannot resolve them here and now.”

    Lovouis spoke without even waiting. “His Most Catholic Majesty King Louis demands that the Emperor recognise his rule over Luxembourg. Treaties were signed which granted the territory to him. Furthermore, he wishes for the Emperor to recognise Philipsburg as now belonging to France, given that the denizens of Philipsburg have themselves voted in favour of this.”

    Furstenberg snorted. “They are only doing that because there are guns pointed at them. French guns. Furthermore, Luxembourg belongs to Spain and has done since Emperor Karl ascended the Spanish throne. Whatever treaty was signed beforehand is irrelevant given France’s actions.”

    Anne could tell this meeting was going to get heated, she signalled for the servants to bring wine and ale. When those were put before the two men she watched what drinks they chose. Lovouis went for wine, and Furstenberg for the ale. Interesting choices. “Gentlemen, I recognise the concerns that you both have. But there remains a room for compromise.” Both men looked at her. She said nothing for a moment, giving herself time to think through what it was Sarah and Godolphin had told her to say, then she said. “Luxembourg belongs to France per the treaty of 1679. Furthermore, Philipsburg though it might have voted to belong to France, did so at the point of a barrel, as I am sure King Louis realises, this does not hold ground with the acceptable practices of good conduct. Therefore, England proposes that in exchange for recognising French sovereignty of Luxembourg, France return Philipsburg to the empire and also returns Lorraine to its Duke.”

    There was a brief moment of silence where Anne worried someone would either curse her or laugh at her, instead what happened was that Lovouis said. “His Most Catholic Majesty would be willing to consider this proposal, but the desire to return Philipsburg would need to come from the people there.”

    “And will there be a free and fair vote to allow this to happen?” Furstenberg retorted.

    “Yes.” Lovouis said. “His Most Catholic Majesty is prepared to grant this, he will withdraw troops to Luxembourg and move from there.”

    Anne looked at Lovouis, it seemed almost too good to be true. Before she could ask for confirmation, Lovouis said. “You can be assured Your Highness, His Most Catholic Majesty does not want a war, he simply wished for the borders of France to be respected.”

    Anne looked at Furstenberg who shrugged. Anne then turned back to Lovouis and said. “If King Louis shall withdraw his troops to Luxembourg and allow a free vote on this matter, I see nothing wrong with that.”

    Anne looked at Furstenberg again, she suspected that he might voice objections given the nature of this, but he did not instead he simply replied. “We see nothing wrong with this. We shall be a keen observer to this matter.”

    “Very good.” Anne said clapping her hands together delighted that this matter was soon to be put to rest. “Now on the missive inviting you both here, there was a mention that we would discuss the issue of the Spanish Netherlands, let us now proceed to that.”

    Furstenberg immediately spoke. “The Emperor would ideally like for his daughter and her son to inherit the entirety of the Spanish inheritance, however, he understands that given the logistical nightmare of managing the Spanish Netherlands that a division of the territory is necessary.”

    “His Most Catholic Majesty also agrees.” Lovouis said.

    Anne nodded. “Excellent.” She was about to continue when the door opened behind her, and a messenger slipped in. “What?!” She demanded angry. She had left strict orders that she was not to be interrupted during this meeting.

    “Message from the Earl of Sunderland, Your Highness.” The messenger said, handing her a piece of paper.

    Anne read it:

    Your Highness,

    Apologies for disturbing you. Word has come from the ambassador in Madrid. King Charles is dead. Queen Dowager Marianna is soon to issue a proclamation stating the entire empire goes to her granddaughter.

    RS

    Anne wanted to swear, instead she nodded dismissed the messenger and looked at the two men before her. “My apologies, gentlemen. But we have just received word that King Karl of Spain has died.”
     
  17. HBsennah94 He Who Likes History - But Wonders What If

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    The king of France is properly styled Most Christian King/Majesty; the style of Most Catholic Majesty belongs to the king of Spain, Most Faithful Majesty to Portugal, and Apostolic Majesty to Hungary (the austrian Habsburgs). These are all styles granted by various popes, and misusing them would be tantamount to implying certain claims, which could lead to war.

    On the last sentence... I feel sh*t's about to go down.
     
  18. VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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    True though one would think that saying most Christian majesty in England probably wouldn’t go down well
     
  19. HBsennah94 He Who Likes History - But Wonders What If

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    AFAIK they use(d) them intensively in treaties and other formal communications. Nowadays they use Britannic Majesty for the UK, but I don't know what they used before the union.
     
  20. VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

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    Very true
     
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