Thande

Donor
Two for the price of one!


Part #224: The Tortolian Heart

“No, don’t worry, I know what I’m doing. I know you can alienate some of the Old Tory preference flows if you go too heavy on trying to get the Racists. I know how to keep my balance. Leave Smith to focus on trying to get the Stewards, like they would ever vote for anyone whose father was on the board of directors at WWDW…”

—From the Correspondence of Bes. David Batten-Hale (New Doradist Party--Croydon Urban)​

*

From “Great Lives” by Patricia Daniels (1979)—

Freedom Dashwood was born in July 1818, the son of the controversial Hellfire Club member and Susan-Mary penal colony prophetic leader or rabble-rouser (depending on whom one asked) Joseph Dashwood and his Arenda wife Skanadario.[1] In some ways it seems his prominent position within what became the Superior Republic was predestined from the start. He was born into conflict and turmoil, his people retreating westwards through bitter winters and starvation conditions under the leadership of his father. His own background exemplified the melting pot of the alliance which became the Republic, half white and half native Indian, and he would play a key role in that pot expanding further to take in the Métis and many other groups. Yet the reader should not be fooled into thinking that Dashwood’s parentage and name necessarily counted for anything in the ramshackle, mobile confederacy into which he was born. The two primary influences on Superian[2] governance and culture came from the natives, who often used matrilineal succession which prioritised the achievements of the mother not the father if any recognition came from hereditary at all, and in any case generally used a council-based form of government; and from the escaped convicts from Susan-Mary, whose own ideas about governance were similar to those of the pirate utopias of the previous century, again avoiding the notion of a single hereditary ruler. Since the elder Dashwood had died, there had not been a single Consul of the former convicts, the title he had once held. Just because Joseph Dashwood was respected for his leadership and sacrifice, then, did not mean that his son would be born into an entitled position of power. Freedom Dashwood would have to earn that for himself.

Like many Superians then and now, Dashwood had many names. His father had whimsically anglicised the name Skanadario had given him, Johati, which more prosaically translates as road or path rather than Freedom. Joseph had also given him the additional English name Francis, perhaps a reference to his own father and the founder of the Hellfire Club. Over his lifetime the younger Dashwood would acquire many more names in many languages, many of them cognomens based on his exploits. These exploits would begin at an early age. Despite what has been noted about Superian culture at the time not being very favourable towards hereditary entitlement, Freedom was nonetheless considered an important symbol by some because of his origins, almost like a talisman. Some of the Indians (and indeed some of the white former convicts) revered Joseph Dashwood’s departed spirit, which was often mistaken for pagan worship by visiting traders from the ENA. Holding Dashwood’s son could be a useful bargaining tool in negotiations at the Council Fires.

In 1835, at the age of seventeen and two years after his father’s execution in Fredericksburg, Freedom was kidnapped by Enapé, a minor chief of the Lakota who sought to gain an advantage over the Arenda for their close partnership with the white convicts and their deeper knowledge of the white man’s ways as a whole. Enapé’s goal was to refine his strategy for his own raids against American settlers with this knowledge win fame for himself and his people within the Confederacy. Freedom, however, successfully escaped from captivity in part through an elaborate deception aimed at fooling his guards into thinking he was a dull-headed nonentity: he played on the guards’ own prejudices about white men which were influenced by exaggerated tales of hereditary kingship and aristocracy. Somewhat to Enapé’s surprise, after returning home to his mother Skanadario, Freedom sent an envoy suggesting that the two could work together voluntarily instead. Freedom had a number of ideas about the best ways to raid American settlers at a suitable level that would not ‘wake the giant’ of Fredericksburg into military intervention – avoiding outrages that would affect prominent men or lead to accusations of women being violated, for example. Enapé profited greatly from this partnership and went on to marry the widow Skanadario, boosting his own status far more than he had ever hoped.

This was only the start of Freedom’s exploits. Possibly his biggest impact on the Confederacy in his earlier years was not any of his raids against Americans, Hudson’s Bay Company traders or fellow Indians, but instead his marriage to Marie-Anne Boucher in 1843 at the age of 25. Marie-Anne was the daughter of the important Métis trader Jean-Baptiste Boucher and the marriage cemented the alliance of the Métis peoples with the old Thirteen Fires and white Susan-Mary convicts. The groups could easily have fought over land and resources, but instead they decided to view the Empire of North America which had wronged them all as a common foe. The Métis’ fur-trapping station at Les Grandes Fourches[3] would go on to become the unofficial and then official capital of the Republic, despite its tendency to flood thanks to its strategic position on the river forks of the Red River and the Red Lake River which gave it its name.[4] Other permanent settlements sprung up as the Confederacy, increasingly called the Superior Republic, settled down into the area of the Red River Valley at long last. The name stuck despite the fact that the peoples had migrated so far north and west to escape the Americans that their new state only brushed Lake Superior at its westernmost point. One of the new permanent settlements was the border trading post and fort of Onigamiinssing, also called Port Dashwood by Americans, which faced the American trading port of Champlain.[5] Customs laws were creatively interpreted using these two posts in close proximity with the initially unofficial border in between, and both had access to the maritime trade of the Great Lakes – which, with the canal system completed, ultimately linked the so-called Tortolian Heart of North America to the increasingly interlinked worldwide economy of the nineteenth century.

The new Republic was allowed to finally settle down due to a number of factors. Firstly its people had finally migrated sufficiently northwards to be out of the primary westward axis of expansion by the Empire of North America. In the short term, even expansion directly westward from Lake Michigan was somewhat hampered by the fact that the old Susan-Mary penal colony had been arbitrarily carved up and the status of the Menominee Territory was still argued about, whether it should be administered by New England or by the Imperial government (and in practice often by neither). Imperial interference with the Hudson’s Bay Company at the time also distracted the latter from organising against the Republic. Later, after the Supremacist Reforms, the provinces were reorganised so that (aside from the HBC and largely unsettled Imperial interior territories) the Republic only bordered the new Confederation of Michigan. Freed from the influence of rule by the east coast aristocracy in Philadelphia and New York City, Michigan had a much more relaxed approach to dealing with the Superians providing they stuck to treaties ensuring trade and mutual rendition for punishing those who broke the peace. The Treaty of Milwark [OTL Milwaukee] in 1870 was the first time an American confederate government formally recognised the Superior Republic as an independent state rather than squatters on rightful Imperial land—something which naturally provoked controversy in the east.

For the first time the Superians could therefore afford to think about their western frontier. If conflict with the Americans died down at the peace of Milwark, the same could not be said for the Superians’ relations with other Indians. Small wars raged throughout the middle to late nineteenth century, with the Superians’ enemies often being ultimately defeated more due to the actions of encroaching American settlers and Russian traders than the Superians’ own actions, though Dashwood did win new fame in a combat role in these wars. The Nijtisapi or Blackfoot confederation in the west was increasingly pushed eastwards as the Russo-Lithuanian Pacific Company responded with military force to Nijtisapi raids on its own fur trading posts in New Muscovy [OTL British Columbia]. The Cheyenne, Arapahoe and Omaha peoples[6] were forced northwards and into conflict with Superia (as it was increasingly spelled thanks to a back-formation). All of them were eventually assimilated, the Cheyennes most readily as they were returning to some of their ancestral homelands from which they had been forced by the Cree-Hohe Iron Confederacy in the eighteenth century.[7] Ideology played a part in the assimilation of these tribes. After the annexation of the Howden/Iroquois lands in New York, although American practices were relaxed some years later, many Iroquois went west and joined the Superians. Furthermore the de facto loss of independence by the Cherokee Empire in Carolina meant that they were not alone. The NFL brought their Tortolian Idea to the Superians and spread the idea that all Indians had a duty not to fight one another but to preserve their language, culture and way of life in the face of depredations and pressure from the white man—be he American or Russian. Freedom Dashwood played a part in this movement, but he would go on to take it further.

The Iron Confederacy themselves would be destroyed in the 1880s by the Americans and Russians along with the Crow and Shoshone: many of these tribes would also join the Superians, resulting in an ever more confusingly diverse patchwork of cultural influences. Not unlike the Europeans who had founded the old American colonies whose descendants threatened them, the Superians found themselves a mix of dispossessed peoples who only a few years before had viewed one another as bitter enemies. They needed a unifying theme. It would be Freedom Dashwood who would provide one.

Given this mixture of influences, some would argue that Gnativism was inevitable, but this is absurd: one could certainly claim some form of syncretism would have come about regardless, but Gnativism has many unique elements that it owes solely to Dashwood and those who influenced him. Precisely where those influences came from remains a matter of scholarly debate to this day. The connexions of the Moronite faith to Gnativism seem inarguable and many scholars have traced the record of Moronite convicts in the Susan-Mary penal colony—though hard evidence of actual interaction between them and Freedom Dashwood or his father remains tantalisingly absent. There is of course the possibility of merely hearing about Moronite ideas second-hand, perhaps even in a distorted form. In 1846 a Moronite rebel had killed the leader of a Meridian mission sent by President Vinay to Tierra del Fuego to suppress the Moronite colony’s wayward path, which naturally led to (often partly invented) accounts of lurid Moronite practices circulating throughout the press in the ENA and beyond. While the paperboys of New York City did not exactly deliver directly to Les Grandes Fourches, the Republic would have heard about these accounts eventually. (The actual ‘deviant’ Moronite practice, that of each man taking two wives and each woman taking two husbands to establish a collectivist ‘unbroken chain’ throughout the people, was almost lost in all the invented claims about Moronites only drinking alcohol when standing on their heads or conducting wedding ceremonies for their pets).

The Métis had already syncretised many Catholic and native beliefs and their influence doubtless also played a role. However, we should dismiss the ridiculous claims of Eckhardt and Hambleworth that an ancestral practice of secret Catharism had been retained by some Frenchmen up to the seventeenth century and then they had brought it to Canada when they had arrived as fur traders. While the connection of Gnavitism to Gnosticism is obvious (the very name was coined as an abbreviation of ‘Native Gnosticism’) there are far more plausible ways for those ideas to have arrived. Most obviously, of course, there is the Hellfire Club. Francis Dashwood and his son Joseph had delighted not merely in Satanism or black masses but in every heretical, mystical or occult belief they could get their hands on a book about. Joseph might well have passed those ideas down to his son Freedom, who then adapted them (perhaps in a garbled and half-remembered form) and combined them with his other influences. Most significantly this consisted of what he learned from the religious and spiritual leaders of the multitudinous Indian peoples who made up most of the Superians.

Many of the Indians, in particular the Sioux who had formed the heart of the founding confederacies of the Republic, shared a generalised belief in a Great Spirit as a pantheistic force throughout nature and possibly, though not necessarily, the creator of the universe. This was married to the notion of lesser spirits representing forces such as thunder and particular geographic locations such as a mountain or a river. In this respect the belief system (very broadly summarising) bore some resemblance to the shamanism practiced in parts of the Asian steppes, and given anthropological theories about the origins of the American Indian peoples it has been argued that this supports the idea of an ancestral connection. Also like shamanism, the Indian religions emphasised the use of becoming closer to the spirit world by meditation, dances and the use of various herbal drugs.

Dashwood took these ideas and combined them with Gnosticism, which (again broadly summarising) emphasised the idea of secret hidden knowledge (often putting mysticism in vaguely mathematical terms) and crucially did not believe God was the creator of the world—or else that the creator of the world was not God. Gnostics had traditionally sought to solve the ‘problem’ of an imperfect world created by a perfect God (rather than by the more conventional explanation of the Fall of Man) by arguing that the world was an imperfect creation by an imperfect ‘false’ creator, the Demiurge. Gnostics further believed that this situation would be remedied by the gnosis of salvation by some means, though they disagreed on exactly what form it would take. Many Gnostics also invoked a feminine nature for either the Demiurge or the ‘real’ creative impulse in contrast to the generally masculine terminology used by most mainstream interpretations.

Dashwood’s Native Gnosticism, expressed in writings both in English and the complicated Superian lingua franca which developed from a pidgin used between different tribes, caused controversy across the ENA and beyond when copies filtered eastwards—which, naturally, led to countless unauthorised print runs in New York and Philadelphia just so everyone could see what all the fuss was about. Dashwood’s syncretic fusion was aimed at unifying the Superian peoples. He claimed that the Demiurge was Satan as the ‘Prince of the World’, but, crucially, he had only made the Old World, and it was only the Old World that was imperfect. The New World was perfect and had been made by the True Creator, who he identified with both the Indians’ Great Spirit and the God of the Old Testament: Dashwood claimed that the true ‘Promised Land’ was not Israel but the New World, and that Israel had only been a temporary stopping point for the Chosen People after they had been brought out of Egypt. He further argued that the native Indians had been living in harmony with nature, like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, before the arrival of Europeans in 1492, and therefore were Unfallen people only corrupted by contact with Europeans (something viewed with scepticism by frontier settlers in Michigan to say the least). However, people from the Old World though fallen could be saved. Dashwood stated that the Great Spirit had sent Jesus to call people from the Old World to the New to join with the unfallen Indians and be saved, but this message had been misunderstood.

Gnativism was widely mocked in Europe (as one would expect) but eventually was regarded less judgementally in the ENA and UPSA, whose peoples often privately rather liked the idea of a religious ideology which emphasised how much better the New World was than the Old. An extremely watered-down version of Dashwood’s justifications about Indians living in harmony with nature sometimes influenced mainstream Christianity in the Novamund to emphasise that escaping the Fall was possible, although obviously the broad strokes of his ideas were condemned. The Jansenist Church in the UPSA, which included Aymara, Tahuantinsuya and Mapuche adherents, was particularly keen to promote the idea of Novamundine superiority after their century of struggle with Rome, and the legacy of Ferdinand VII in Mexico and the other New Spanish states also lent a little support to it.

Gnativism also made its way to New Muscovy and California, where it mutated still further when combined with Orthodox Christianity and Siberian, Chinese or Yapontsi beliefs. This came at a time when the Russians were pushing their trading operations eastwards and expanding their settlements, to the growing alarm of the ENA, and in a final historical irony the American government began actively supporting the Superior Republic in order to push the Russians back. The Superians continued happily trading with the Russians from the Métis trading post at Fort St Denis on Lake Athabasca,[8] but took the American money and pushed their own control and settlement further west to claim authority over tribes and their land before the Russians could. The Russians were blocked from coming ‘east of the Great Slave Lake’ as the treaties originally vaguely put it, with the border being fixed in 1894 (amid considerable diplomatic tensions) as the 115th meridian west. The year later, just before the outbreak of the Pandoric War, the Russians would reorganise their American territory in a three-way split between Alyeska in the north, New Muscovy along the coast and New Siberia in the interior—the latter name perhaps reflecting how little St Petersburg thought of the country at the time. This was, of course, before the Alyeskan Goldrush. It was arguably at this moment that the conception of Vostochnaya Rossiya and Zapadnaya Rossiya was first discussed in the press, though it would not be a meaningful distinction for many years yet.

As for Freedom Dashwood, he died in that same year of 1894 at the age of seventy-six, having served on the ruling Council of Councils in Les Grandes Fourches for many years and building a political career complementing his religious writings. He left many descendants to continue his line (at least as far as those Superians who accepted patrilineal succession would say) and ultimately, he lived to see his Republic finally achieve peace on all its frontiers, successfully playing Russian and American interests off one another.

Whether the culture and people whom Dashwood had fought to preserve would survive another century, as the nineteenth became the twentieth, would be a challenge that would fall to his successors.






[1] See Part #140.

[2] The writer is getting sloppy and using this term in a misleadingly anachronistic way.

[3] OTL Grand Forks, North Dakota.

[4] Note that names like Red River go back to the eighteenth century, used (albeit in French form) by fur trappers long before major settlement arrived in the area.

[5] Onigamiising/Port Dashwood is on the site of OTL Duluth, Minnesota and Champlain is on the site of OTL Superior, Wisconsin.

[6] As in OTL, Indian terminology is rendered confusing by historical European and American misunderstanding – in TTL in particular the term Omaha is applied to a broader group than we would in OTL.

[7] As with Superia itself, the makeup of the Iron Confederacy (founded in the seventeenth century) was more complex than this description implies.

[8] OTL Fort Chipewyan, Alberta.
 
IT'S FINALLY BACK! AND THERE'S FINALLY WORD OF THE MORONITES!

The Moronites' marriage practices sound kinda strange. Does that mean everyone is everyone's brother/sister-in-law? :D

Is there any specific reason why Jutish Danes are refered to as Jutes rather than Danes?

All in all two great updates.
 
Oh very interesting- essentially the Canadian prairies as an independent state (assuming the Hudson Bay takes the far Arctic west of the 115th?), though with the Red River basin as well...
 
Hoo damn. Religious syncretism in North America. I thought that stuff only happens in India.

So essentially, Dashwood is claiming that the Old World, created by Satan, is imperfect, and the New World, created by God, is perfect?
 

Thande

Donor
Hoo damn. Religious syncretism in North America. I thought that stuff only happens in India.
Happened in OTL as well of course with a lot of the syncretism between Christianity (especially Catholicism) and native beliefs, but the Gnostic elements make this one stand out a bit more.
So essentially, Dashwood is claiming that the Old World, created by Satan, is imperfect, and the New World, created by God, is perfect?
Broadly speaking yes. Of course if you live in say Antipodea or even Africa and are angry about Europeans colonising your front lawn, it's possible to redefine "New World" accordingly...
 
Well, that finally resolves one of the longest-hanging loose threads--the unorthodox sexual practices of the Moronites, first hinted at... more than 5 years ago, in Thread II!
 
Two very nice updates Thande. Are we back to a weekly schedule?
So what are steerables generally? Hot air balloons with a steam engineer onboard, a helium-filled blimp, or something even stranger, like Tony Jones's steam-filled balloons? If there's an update that explains all this, feel free to refer me to that.
Is the tech development of LTTW just an excuse to have realistic steampunk by the way? If so, don't let me stop you :)
Gnativism sounds interesting. I feel that TTL is putting the east-west political axis through the atlantic ocean, rather than Europe. Makes post-1492 world history into something more poetic, a new world turning against its old world masters (if I am reading the hints to the timeline's future correctly).
I can't wait for the Pandoric War, even though societism scares me so. It's what I'd call friendly fascism: let us all come together, so that we may rule over you!
Oh, and how is precolumbian historiography doing? With this world seemingly more native-friendly, are people slowly moving away from the 'empty America' idea that still rules OTL? Gnativism seems quite backwards in this regard, but maybe the UPSA is doing better.
 
And I see the House of Members seems to use some kind of AV - I can't help but wonder if this was a reaction to some of the comments....
 
Hoo damn. Religious syncretism in North America. I thought that stuff only happens in India.

So essentially, Dashwood is claiming that the Old World, created by Satan, is imperfect, and the New World, created by God, is perfect?
With lots of gnats involved.
 

Thande

Donor
Thanks for the further comments.

Two very nice updates Thande. Are we back to a weekly schedule?
So what are steerables generally? Hot air balloons with a steam engineer onboard, a helium-filled blimp, or something even stranger, like Tony Jones's steam-filled balloons? If there's an update that explains all this, feel free to refer me to that.
It's just a general term for any steerable balloon or airship, equivalent to 'dirigible' from the French in OTL. The exact technology will vary over time, but by the 1850s we're talking something more like what was being built in the 1890s in OTL (but more mass produced) as opposed to the state of affairs in the 1850s in OTL.

As for a schedule, I've never had one for this TL before and I doubt I'm going to have one anytime soon :p
Is the tech development of LTTW just an excuse to have realistic steampunk by the way? If so, don't let me stop you :)
Sort of but I wasn't even really aware of steampunk except in the vaguest way when I started writing this.
Oh, and how is precolumbian historiography doing? With this world seemingly more native-friendly, are people slowly moving away from the 'empty America' idea that still rules OTL?
Well, that was itself a product of "there aren't any native American Indians right where I can see them anymore, so therefore they're not important" in historiography, especially in Europe (it is interesting to reflect on how European pop culture tends to treat American Indians as though they are either fictitious or historical and you can stereotype them just as you can, say, Vikings with horny helmets because one would never guess they'd actually turn up and complain - I remember this trope was used in Auf Wiedersehen Pet). So the situation is a wee bit different now. I did see something in a 1950s history book the other day, which otherwise in character was very 'blah blah nationalism is outdated let's all come together and celebrate all cultures' making a shockingly dismissive comment like 'the primitive native civilisations of the Americas contributed practically nothing to modern American culture, whereas...' Sums up what I'm guessing you're talking about.
 
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Thanks for the further comments.


It's just a general term for any steerable balloon or airship, equivalent to 'dirigible' from the French in OTL. The exact technology will vary over time, but by the 1850s we're talking something more like what was being built in the 1890s in OTL (but more mass produced) as opposed to the state of affairs in the 1850s in OTL.
I went back to the 'spoilers' update, and the first airplane lifts off in 1889. That means that air forces have consisted of just airships for about fifty years. Will this entrenchment be enough to overcome the disadvantages of dirigibles IOTL? I love airships as much as any other AH fan, but I wonder what role they will serve during and after the Pandoric War, when actual airplanes are likely to see first use in air warfare. Put simply, will airships survive the onslaught of the 'more practical' airplanes?

Furthermore, if the 1850s steerables are like OTL 1890s airships, does that by extension mean that 1890s steerables will be like OTL 1930s airships? If so, then that would mean that reasonably light combustion engines are also available, which would push airplane development to an earlier date. What the tech development as described suggests is that steerables will be using steam engines for longer than OTL. All I am trying to say is that even within a discipline such as airship development, no clear parallel can be drawn with OTL when it is all so interconnected.

Lastly, how are commercial airship services doing? If in the LTTW 1890s airships are more advanced relative to airplanes, then commercial airship travel can use this to build up some momentum. If a generation or two get used go airship travel, the switch to airplanes might take longer, if it even manages to supplant the former. It's basically the same that happened to Frencg optel.

Again, if you don't wish to micromanage to this extent, or I have simply missed the relevant updates/comments, do tell me. Timelines like this or those of Tony Jones just make me dream of these radically altered technological landscapes!
 

Thande

Donor
I went back to the 'spoilers' update, and the first airplane lifts off in 1889. That means that air forces have consisted of just airships for about fifty years. Will this entrenchment be enough to overcome the disadvantages of dirigibles IOTL? I love airships as much as any other AH fan, but I wonder what role they will serve during and after the Pandoric War, when actual airplanes are likely to see first use in air warfare. Put simply, will airships survive the onslaught of the 'more practical' airplanes?

Furthermore, if the 1850s steerables are like OTL 1890s airships, does that by extension mean that 1890s steerables will be like OTL 1930s airships? If so, then that would mean that reasonably light combustion engines are also available, which would push airplane development to an earlier date. What the tech development as described suggests is that steerables will be using steam engines for longer than OTL. All I am trying to say is that even within a discipline such as airship development, no clear parallel can be drawn with OTL when it is all so interconnected.

Lastly, how are commercial airship services doing? If in the LTTW 1890s airships are more advanced relative to airplanes, then commercial airship travel can use this to build up some momentum. If a generation or two get used go airship travel, the switch to airplanes might take longer, if it even manages to supplant the former. It's basically the same that happened to Frencg optel.

Again, if you don't wish to micromanage to this extent, or I have simply missed the relevant updates/comments, do tell me. Timelines like this or those of Tony Jones just make me dream of these radically altered technological landscapes!
Yeah, as you say, I simplify by saying 'the state is like year X in OTL' because that depends on other technologies the pace of which is different in LTTW. I always liked The Two Georges' thing about how airships remain more popular for passenger travel just because of a more genteel pace of life and dashing about in an aeroplane is OK for the military but dreadfully ungentlemanly for everyone else. However, that only really works in a TL with a long period of peace. In LTTW, as with Optel and Lectel as you say, airships' entrenched position will indeed cause problems for aeroplanes (or aerodromes as they are called in TTL) at first and it will take time to overcome those prejudices. Of course, one thing that could change people's views about planes (as with the appearance of submarines in the Great American War, or Pearl Harbor for aircraft carriers in OTL) is one big crucial event which the world watches and in which they take a vital role...
 
Having finally (finally) read both updates, I declare my reaction to be thus:

PR elections = :cool::evilsmile:
Disunited Britain in the future of TTL = Makes AE :'(
Syncretism intensifies, also Superia... :cool:
 
Two updates in two days? I'd do a Thandebassador joke, but I already did that in Vol IV...

Superia and the Moronites are two parts of this TL that have always fascinated me (especially since I've been encountering the various hints about them whilst proofreading for SLP), so it's really great to see them both discussed in this update. I was kind of expecting the actual foundation of Superia to be a bit more 'epic', but Bes. DBH doesn't seem to go for particularly in-depth treatments of history...
 
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