James II: King of America

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by wwbgdiaslt, Jul 9, 2019.

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  1. Threadmarks: Part 1. A King, Deposed (1688 - 1701)

    wwbgdiaslt Well-Known Member

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    Feb 9, 2018
    Just a little something ...

    Having been deposed in 1688, James II and VII landed in Ireland with French support in an attempt to reclaim his crown.

    This failed.

    James fled back to France in 1690. But he wouldn't remain there for long - with further French backing and a conviction that if he couldn't take the English crown, he would certainly deprive them of their American colonies.

    He landed in Virginia in 1691, and made his claim as it's rightful King. Taking up residence in Bacon's Castle, he was joined by his wife and son, James, the following year with his wife falling quickly pregnant and giving birth to a daughter, Elizabeth, in Summer of 1693.

    The King and his family had to make a lot of adjustments to the lifestyle they had become accustomed to. Smaller and plainer meals, palaces and social events, and Bacon's Castle was a fortified manor house rather than the various castles, chateaux and palaces that the family had been used to in Europe.

    For Crown Prince James, and his younger sister, the Princess Royal, this must have seemed like a fantastic adventure and with little frame of reference they must have made the quickest adjustments. Perhaps they heard their mother crying herself to sleep at night - for Mary of Modena, Queen of Virginia as she now was, missed society and in turn became a very attentive mother.

    James in contrast - deemed rather boring to the English and French courts from all reports - found a new lease of life, planning the establishment of a new capital fitting a sovereign nation. This new city he planned would be named New Modena*, as a fortieth birthday gift for the Queen, and would be developed on the site of Middle Plantation.

    James had yet to be officially crowned as King of Virginia by 1698, though the family had used the style of "... of Virginia" since the birth of the Princess Royal at the very least (a surviving copy of her birth certificate lists her as "Louisa Maria Teresa Stuart, Princess Royal of Virginia, and of His Majesty The King of Virginia's Other Colonies ..."). A hastily arranged coronation ceremony took place at a local chapel - an "awful Paupers Coronation" commented John Drummond, (previously the Earl of Melfort until he had forfeited his titles by joining James over the water), in his private journals.

    But a King had been crowned, a capital had been planned and James' daughter, Queen Mary II of England, and her husband, King William III, had yet to stake a claim or try to evict Mary's father, step-mother and half siblings from their 'new colonial lodgings'. This couldn't have been out of fondness as the pair seemed genuinely convinced that the Crown Prince was a changeling and was perhaps more the English monarch and Parliament biding their time because, certainly, the House of Stuart would not be able to survive over the water for long.

    If the latter was the case, they were rather mistaken. With James I, II and VII's death during 1701 of a brain haemorrhage, the thirteen year old Crown Prince was named King of Virginia - and unlike his father, he would rule for a lengthy 65 years.

    * - TTL version of Williamsburg
     
  2. AJNolte Life keeps getting in the way of writing.

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    I love the idea. But: can it work?

    Pros:

    -James was actually pretty well liked by the nonconformists. There's a possibility William Penn, at least, would have outright supported him.

    Cons:

    -James is... still Catholic. For the Puritans of New England, or Protestants of Virginia, that's going to be a tough pill to swallow.

    If James' son embraces Protestantism... well, in that eventuality, he might end up with a good deal more than North America.

    Anyway, I hope this continues. My nonjuror TL is in the same time period, so if you want to bounce some ideas off me I'm happy to help.
     
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  3. FranzAncheNo Citizen of the Republic of Pistoia

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    Stuarts in America?
    Immediately watched!
     
  4. jennysnooper87 Proud Albish Citizen Since 2017

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    I definitely like where this is going. :)
     
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  5. wwbgdiaslt Well-Known Member

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    Feb 9, 2018
    I think James I, II and VII would have been too preoccupied following his arrival on a foreign shore to declare anything similar to the Declaration of Indulgence. He's fully aware of his predicament without all the other distractions that Europe and the Catholic Church offered, both he and Mary have been changed by their newsituation. He passed the Act of Liberty and Conscience in his brief sojourn in Ireland (both OTL and here) so it's likely he will repeat the experiment in Virginia, and this time it could stick.

    In this situation, he probably wouldn't have written his memorandum to his son stating how government should be broken up, and with which positions he should charge a Catholic. Even if he does write something similar, it's likely that James II, III and VIII would reconsider the position - England is currently so far removed from his life, that the desire to reclaim IOTL might not even develop here.

    This is our lot, and we'll make it work. That might not stick when England eventually comes knocking though. Or when France eventually runs headlong into the French Revolution shortly after the War of Absolutism in the colonies (according to the scribbled plans I've got).

    I'll likely run the James II, III and VIII section past you when it's fleshed out a bit more. Cheers for the offer
     
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  6. FranzAncheNo Citizen of the Republic of Pistoia

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    @AJNolte
    I think that New England is probably going to secede initially (Probably with English help.) and that a lot of Catholics from the British isles are going to migrate to Virginia (Perhaps encouraged by James himself.), also, I think, there was already a non-insignificant Catholic community in one of the colonies, but I can't remember which.
    By the way, if James, his successors and his supporters stay as tolerant as possible, the French* help the King to deal with the New Englanders later and people like Penn support him, he really has a chance to set the basis of a new kingdom.

    *This one is tricky. On the one hand losing a war or (worse) allowing without acting a secession may 'cause the King to lose popularity. On the other, inviting a French invaders may be a political suicide.
     
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  7. Jackson Lennock Well-Known Member

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    Dec 18, 2017
    Pennsylvania will probably be okay with James II.

    In exchange for reform, could James II co-opt the Nathaniel Bacon and his discontents?

    New Netherland was first ceded in 1667 (despite a brief recapturing by the Dutch in 1673-1674). What's their fate here? Perhaps the Dutch and the "Virginians" (what else might we call this country?) ally together?
     
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  8. Jackson Lennock Well-Known Member

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    You're likely thinking of Maryland, which was a colony founded for Catholic exiles.
     
  9. Kaze Well-Known Member

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    The new world is going to be fun... Catholics were not going to be liked in places like New York or Boston for many, many years. So James is going to have some problems of support.
     
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  10. FranzAncheNo Citizen of the Republic of Pistoia

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    Thanks!
     
  11. raharris1973 Gone Fishin'

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    I look forward to seeing where this goes. I also commend the OP for noting how the royal family and court will be shocked and appalled by the conditions of rusticating in primitive Virginia compared to England or Europe.

    Overall, I see this as an improbable scenario, but not an impossible one.

    If I were placing odds I would suspect James would not select a Virginia refuge in the first place. And if he does, I do not expect it to last long. I believe the white population of Commonwealth-leaning New England was much greater than that of Virginia and Maryland in the 1680s. I could see Virginia as Cavalier and Stuart loyal, along with points south for a start. I guess Pennsylvania could be accepting or neutral (I did not know about nonconformists favorability to James II), but at the same time, the colony is only seven years old and not interested in conflict. I suspect New England would be overwhelmingly pro-William, and, with its Dutch roots reinforced by a New England Yankee veneer, New York, New Jersey and Delaware would be more favorable to William than to James. In Maryland, I am not sure if the Catholics still held dominant power, or if they had been overthrown by Protestants largely hailing from New England.

    All that said, this should be interesting. A Stuart Virginia could survive if given enough French and Spanish support. If it loses, perhaps many of its Stuart loyalists end up migrating to and assimilating into French Canada or Louisiana, or Spanish Florida or Cuba.
     
  12. wwbgdiaslt Well-Known Member

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    Cheers for the words of encouragement.

    I've got a rough plan for the next couple of generations of this monarchy, but that is always subject to change.

    I've already reached out to a couple of people to get some thoughts and help on what will happen going forward, so hopefully it won't be too long before you see what happens to James II, III and VIII during his reign!

    As a side note, the "country" at the moment only officially inludes the crown colonies, not the proprietary ones, ergo as of 1701, only ...

    New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Providence, Connecticut, New York and Virginia.

    Massachusetts might be part. But whether Maryland would join up would be dependent on the views of the Calverts and whether they've been put back in control again.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
  13. raharris1973 Gone Fishin'

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    How big a retinue does James take initially? That can determine his ability to exert control over any given stretch of territory. For awhile, orangist England may try reinvasions and a blockade of anti regime migration and trade.
     
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  14. wwbgdiaslt Well-Known Member

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    His retinue initially isn't absolutely huge, Mary/William/Anne are just expecting their father and half siblings to expire in the relative wilderness and just aren't looking towards any outward naval assault.

    James and his son are going to have to use charm (something James the Elder was short on) to win any non aligned colonies over to their team.
     
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  15. Icedaemon Well-Known Member

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    Mary was hardly very happy with having to oust her own father and, it is said, felt guilty about it her entire life. Perhaps she would push for an accord with her father rather than a war, with his kingdom of Virginia recognized (perhaps with Maryland up to the Antietam river or Cumberland or so added onto it), and him officially relinquishing his claims to England, Scotland and Ireland? Concievably, with further map changes Virginia might include the entire Potomac drainage area - with Pennsylvania being as new as it is, the border between the Potomac and Susquehanna river basins is the optimal natural border.
     
  16. Dante Well-Known Member

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    I could see it being argued that giving James a small realm in the nascent and underdeveloped colonies would be preferable to having him out there as some boogeyman for any dissenters to rally around.

    Eiether way, great timeline idea, I'll be watching this.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
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  17. Odinson Amateur stand-up comedian

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    An interesting premise. Watched!
     
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  18. The Merovingian To whom the Capets aspire.

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    Oh my goodness, is this a monarchist America TL i see?! Feel free to ask me for for Ideas, suggestions or help as i live for these rare gems. I've read "Star spangled Crown" by Charles Colombe, and have a plethora of ideas you might like. Watched.
     
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  19. wwbgdiaslt Well-Known Member

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    I'll be taking you up on the offer, I expect - thank you!

    My present task is to figure out both an Ambassador to England, and one to France. At the moment, the current version of the next part uses John Drummond as both, but I fear I'm using him far too much.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  20. AJNolte Life keeps getting in the way of writing.

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    \

    You're thinking of Maryland, which did have a very substantial Catholic population, as it was settled explicitly as a Catholic refuge.

    So, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the colonies for the Stuarts: yep, I could see that. Also, Rhode Island will like the declaration of liberty and conscience, so could see them declaring likewise.

    New England declaring for the Hanoverians: again, makes some sense.

    New York's the tricky one: Protestant majority, Dutch heritage [which makes me think William and Mary], but OTOH the local leadership are probably Stuart appointees.

    Assuming James retains the Anglican Church in Virginia--without trying to catholicize them--the nonjurors might pack up for the colonies wholesale, if there's a church under James' authority in which they can serve. Given how generally high church they were, and how fractious James' relationship with many of them was before he went into exile, that's going to make things... interesting.

    And, definitely neither side will/should consider allying with France. That'd be an instant non-starter to the colonial subjects. James is going to need a treaty with Spain though, to figure out where the boundary between the unincorporated territory of Georgia and Florida needs to go.

    Oh, and we're all forgetting the most lucrative, hence controversial, colonies: the Caribbean. Don't know enough about their political culture to speculate on which way they'd jump here.
     
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