Interlude: December 23, 1819

(As accurate as I could make it. I apologize for any errors, but it should give you the general idea.)

The Dead Skunk
December 23, 1819

Five years ago today, Major General John Keane saw something in the Louisiana woods that caused him to make a different decision than he otherwise would have.
Let’s take a look at the general state of the world.​

North America
In the far north, competition between the Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Company has gotten dangerous. There hasn’t yet been an incident like the Battle of Seven Oaks yet, but they’ve come close to it once or twice. Which is why authority to adjudicate disputes between them has been given to the new Prince-Viceroy of the Canadas, Edward Duke of Kent and Strathearn (although his authority over them extends no farther than that).

Speaking of whom — Prince Ed was appointed as a way of letting the Canadians know they haven’t been forgotten and shouldn’t worry too much about their scary, vengeful, increasingly powerful neighbor to the south. He has been given authority over the Legislative and Executive Houses of Upper and Lower Canada and the colonial governments of the Maritime Provinces. His title is basically equivalent to governor general, with a better-looking uniform.

So what’s he going to do with this power? Well, he’s been hearing about this Welshman, Robert Owen, with some interesting ideas about industry and social reform. The conservative elites that run Upper and Lower Canada are pretty resistant to these ideas, but with people so thin on the ground in these parts there is plenty of room for a few experimental communities.

Moving south, for a nation that recently lost a war and a major port along with it, the United States of America isn’t doing too bad. Its population is over nine and a half million and climbing rapidly. Missouri and Maine have brought the number of states up to 22. In anticipation of further growth, Secretary King has organized the Arkansaw, Michigan, Ioway and Wisconsing territories, although some of those haven’t seen much settlement yet.

President Adams’ biggest problem? Too much that needs doing, too many things that need funding and not enough money to go around. The army, the navy, schools, roads, canals, expeditions… the Second Bank is helping out with that, but Adams doesn’t want to go too far into debt. He’s already had to put aside his plans for a network of semaphore stations along the coast.

Some of what he wants is coming from private enterprise. Plank turnpikes are being built in many places up and down the east coast. And then, of course, there’s the canals. In the north, the Erie Canal is about a quarter of the way done. In the south, the Tennessee and Tombigbee Canal is almost one-third finished, and the Alabama and Chattahoochee Canal (a mere ten meters wide and one meter deep) was begun last year. Ground has just been broken this past fall on the Grand Southern Canal, which when completed will be 15 meters wide, 1.5 meters deep (giving it a cross-section over 50% greater than that of the Erie and T&T canals) and run from Republicville, Alabama[1] to Savannah, Georgia. Back up north, plans are being laid for the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, which is intended to be even wider, even deeper and cut through much more difficult terrain from D.C. to Pittsburgh.[2] One publicly funded transportation project is the National Road, which starts in Cumberland, Maryland and has been completed as far as Zanesville, Ohio. It is intended to reach St. Louis.

As far as education goes, Adams would love to build schools across the land. Particularly in the South — even if you only count white males, literacy levels in the southern states are still noticeably lower than in New England. Here again, however, money is a problem. He has managed to get ground broken on the U.S. National University[3] and the Mount Greylock Observatory up in Massachusetts.

All these things are happening under the auspices of the Democratic-Republican Party, also known as the DRP or the “Dead Roses.” This party dominates the American political scene to such an extent that it’s easy to forget there is an opposition party.

But there is one. The Tertium Quids, or the “Quids,” led by John Randolph of Roanoke, represent an American political tradition older than the Constitution (which at this point is only 32) — a tradition of seeing the U.S. as more of an alliance than a nation, and every cession of power to the central government as a step in the wrong direction. Unlike the Dead Roses, the Quids still speak of “these United States” rather than “the United States.” They oppose the military buildup, which they regard as expensive and a potential threat to liberty in the wrong hands. They oppose the Second Bank and the internal improvements, which they see as unconstitutional exercises of federal power. And they oppose the metric system for reasons they cannot clearly articulate.

Unfortunately for the Quids, the voters remember this political tradition, but they also remember why it was abandoned. “Limited government” isn’t going to defend the nation from the actions of the not-so-limited governments overseas. Then there’s the business community, which likes the Second Bank just fine. They have more confidence in federal banknotes than they do in state banknotes. Also, they can’t wait for these roads and canals to come online so they can start using them to ship goods to market. They’ll have to pay tolls, of course, but that’s why they’re buying shares in the turnpike and canal companies — so that when the time comes, they can get some of their own back.

There is, however, one group of Americans taking more and more of an interest in the Quids’ message — the plantation owners of the South. On the major issues of the day: roads and canals help them, tariffs hurt them, they can pay for their own children’s education and with so much of their wealth in the form of land, slaves and cash crops, they have less reason to worry about the value of their banknotes than most wealthy people.

But of course, the big issue is slavery. True abolitionists are a minority within the DRP, but a much larger faction sees slavery as an outmoded institution that can’t be abolished outright without gutting the economy of half the country, but that can and should be hemmed in and gradually diminished in scope until it dies a natural death. They regard the Tallmadge Amendment as a model for this approach.

For the south, on the other hand, the Tallmadge Amendment was a wake-up call. They have no intention of allowing their “peculiar institution,” the source of all their wealth, to fade away quietly. They are, however, divided about how to preserve it. William Crawford and John C. Calhoun are urging them to exert power within the DRP and force the abolitionists out, while Nathaniel Macon and George Troup are recommending that they abandon the Dead Roses and join the Quids. To prevent such an amendment from being put in place when Arkansaw joins the Union, Crawford and Calhoun are urging slaveholders to settle the territory now, so that there will be a strong pro-slave majority that will demand entrance to the Union on its own terms. Macon and Troup don’t trust Congress to heed the wishes of settlers, and urge slaveholders to remain exactly where they are or risk one day losing their slaves. So far, the response in the South has been to turn to the Quids on a state and local level, but to keep voting Dead Rose on a national level. Slaveholders are settling in Arkansaw at a reasonable pace.

In the area of international relations, the U.S. is allied to — or at least on friendly terms with — the nations of France, Italy, Tehuantepec, Gran Colombia, Argentina and, to a certain extent, Russia. Relations with Spain are less friendly, and less friendly still with the British Empire and the little Republic of Louisiana.

Speaking of which, Louisiana is doing great. Oodles of money, Royal Navy protection and the respectability that comes from hosting a major peace conference… let the good times roll indeed. A little ways east, British Florida is still exporting rice and importing pretty much everything else. However, some of the citrus orchards are expected to start producing within a year or so, and some perfumers have moved to Trafalgar to make Florida water from actual Florida flowers. Also, flowers and orchards mean bees, and bees mean honey.[4] One of these days, this colony will start paying for itself — without using a single slave.

Down in Mexico City, the 25-year-old Prince-Viceroy of New Spain is out of the shadow of his older brothers for the first time in his life, and he likes it. The past few years haven’t been good to the House of Bourbon — they’ve lost everything but Spain and Sicily and suffered a serious reduction of power in Spain. But now he and his brother Carlos have a couple of fixer-upper realms in the New World. This could be a chance to turn things around.

Of course, he’s had to accept a constitution — that was part of the peace treaty with the rebels. And Prime Minister Iturbide, when he isn’t swearing his heartfelt royalism and loyalty, is doing what he can to secure power for his own office, probably because he’s in it. Still, the alliance between the prince-viceroy and Iturbide works. Each of them brings a different kind of legitimacy to their rule. The key difference between them is that Francisco is where he is because he was appointed by the king of Spain, whereas Iturbide is depending on the voters to keep him there.

What Iturbide would really like to be is a king — or, hell, an emperor if he could get away with it. Failing that, he’ll settle for being permanently tied to one in a way that grants him power and influence. And Francisco isn’t married. Ferdinand has hinted that Francisco should put off marrying until he (Ferdinand) has at least three sons, but so far the king has no sons at all. Anyway (so Iturbide whispers in the Prince-Viceroy’s ear) what Francisco really needs is not some uncomfortably close relation from Parma or Sicily who can barely speak Spanish, but a local girl who can win him the hearts of this fractious land. Iturbide’s oldest daughter, Sabina, is a week away from her ninth birthday, so there are no wedding bells in her immediate future, but perhaps in a few years…

Moving south, the bilingual Republic of Tehuantepec[5] has modeled its government on that of the United States (although, having no elite that they really trust, they’re leaving out the Electoral College) and ambassadors from every nation are learning how to pronounce the name of the capital, Coatzacoalcos.[6] Clay is preparing to negotiate trade treaties with President Guerrero and hopes to establish a military alliance, but, like Haiti, Tehuantepec’s strongest military asset is the promise of utter misery for anyone fool enough to try conquering it. Speaking of Haiti, right at the moment that poor nation is divided between a king in the north with delusions of grandeur and a dictator in the south with… much less colorful delusions of grandeur.

From Chiapas to Costa Rica (apart from British Honduras and the Miskito Kingdom) and in the Caribbean possessions, the rules of the old Spanish Empire prevail… for now.

[1] OTL Jackson, Alabama. (I’m putting the footnotes at the end of each section so you won’t have to scroll up and down the entire length of this post.)
[2] OTL, the C&O only made it as far as Cumberland. We’ll see how well it does here.
[3] About where American University is IOTL.
[4] Charlotte Augusta being a princess, her taste for honey in her tea is turning into a fashion.
[5] The two languages are Spanish and Maya.
[6] Kwaht-sah KWAHL-kos.

South America
South America — four colonies, three colonial powers, two republics, an increasingly scary viceroyalty, a native state and a would-be utopia. Who says nothing ever happens here?

The colonies are Guiana, Suriname, Cayenne and Brazil. The first three are basically slave-powered sugar factories. Guiana and Cayenne are part of the British Empire, while Surinam is Dutch. Sir Neil Campbell, governor of Cayenne, is more or less making ends meet exporting sugar, Cayenne peppers and tropical hardwoods.

And then there’s Brazil, which has been playing host to the Portuguese royal family for nearly twelve years. Those have been twelve very good years — Brazilians could trade with whomever they wanted and establish whatever local institutions they needed. Now the new government in Portugal is demanding that King João VI get his royal butt back across the Atlantic, but this could turn out well. He’ll be able to speak for Brazil in front of the Cortes, let them know things have changed. And his son Pedro is still in Rio acting as regent.[7]

Two nations that are no longer governed by faraway kings and courts are Gran Colombia and Argentina. Both of them are preoccupied by one big question — to centralize or not to centralize? How much power should be entrusted to the national government? This is every bit as serious an issue for them as it was for the early United States — maybe more so. In both nations, threats of regional secession and civil war are a part of the rhetoric. What keeps these threats from being acted upon is the threat of Spain, and Spain’s man in South America — the Infante Carlos, a man who really believes in the glory of the Spanish Empire and the divine right of kings, and who regards the existence of these republics as an unfortunate and temporary concession to circumstances.

Which brings us to the Virreinato Santisímo. (Lord knows I’ve dropped enough dark hints about this place.) Carlos is even more determined than his younger brother to set his stamp on this new realm. Precisely because this isn’t Spain, he feels free to experiment. He has no interest in granting a constitution — his nation-building will all be geared toward tightening Lima’s control, and his personal control, of the state. The existing apparatus of colonial government isn’t strong enough for him, so he’s granting more and more power to the local Catholic Church. His ministries are hiring Jesuits and members of other religious orders, and he’s bringing in agents of the former Spanish Inquisition to serve in his secret police. In short, Carlos is turning his viceroyalty into a theocracy.

Oddly, the only two states to recognize Araucanía as independent are the United States and the Most Holy Viceroyalty (Carlos has not forgotten the Mapuche aid to the royalist cause). U.S. Ambassador Jesse Elliott and his Spanish interpreter are still en route. When they get there, they’ll have the fun task of (a) persuading the locals they aren’t trying to invade, (b) learning to speak Mapudungun and (c) figuring out who’s in charge.[8]

No question who’s in charge in Paraguay. That would be José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia y Velasco. De Francia is trying to transform his country into an ideal republic of freedom and virtue. In order to make sure this is done correctly, he’s arrogated all power to himself and become “Supreme and Perpetual Dictator” (El Supremo for short). To break the power of the criollo elite in Paraguay once and for all, he has forbidden whites in Paraguay to marry other whites.[9]

De Francia has also declared that the Church in Paraguay no longer answers to Rome, or to anyone but God and him, not necessarily in that order. Carlos has a problem with this. He might not be ready to reconquer Bogotá or Buenos Aires, but Paraguay is much smaller and weaker, and offends him.

Too bad. Paraguay is defended not its army (about 5,500 with a reserve of 25,000, if you’re curious) or by the Brazilians or Argentineans who frankly hate dealing with de Francia, but by the Cordillera Oriental and the Gran Chaco. Carlos doesn’t have the roads or the supply train to send an army through those mountains or that wilderness, and he knows it.

[7] All this is basically as OTL, only about a year ahead of schedule.
[8] This website, which is otherwise very sympathetic to the Mapuche and their struggles, says that at this point they “lacked a formal government structure.”
[9] All OTL. (I include details like this to make my own ideas seem plausible by comparison.)

Many historians will term the period just past, from the French Revolutionary Wars to the end of the wars in Italy and South America, the “Second Thirty Years War” although it has nothing in common with the first one apart from being about thirty years long and (sometimes) fought in Germany. Some British historians will prefer to call it “the Napoleonic Wars,” but most will say this name makes even less sense, since the wars began before he rose to prominence and continued after his death. Whatever you want to call it, the war is over, and a new era of peace has begun (everyone hopes).

In Britain, speaking of the end of an era, George III finally seems to be dying. He has been king for nearly sixty years and now lies oblivious and bedridden in Windsor Castle. No one expects any great change when he passes — his son has functioned as king in all but name for a long time now, and most of the real power is in the hands of his Prime Minister, the Earl of Liverpool, a resolute conservative who has been in office for seven years. Princess Charlotte Augusta has wholeheartedly embraced pretty much every cause on the reform agenda, from Catholic emancipation to abolition of slavery — but if Prinny lives as long as his father, she’ll still be waiting to take the throne in 1843.

A lot of people aren’t prepared to wait that long. Especially in the cities, where the people are hungry for representation and even hungrier for food. As London suffers through another winter with poverty and unemployment still rising, every penny taken up by the high price of bread is one that can’t be spent on coal or firewood. People are becoming desperate. The only reason they haven’t yet taken to the streets is that right at the moment, the streets are clogged with snow. (Talleyrand and Caulaincourt are watching this with some bemusement. They’ve seen what happens when the people cry out for bread and you don’t give them any. If Lord Liverpool were their ally, they’d be giving him some very earnest advice right now — but as “St. Napoleon the Great” himself said, “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”)

And now, a new issue has come up — suffrage. The example of universal male suffrage in other nations has increased the pressure for it in Britain. As our friend Henry Brougham said recently in a speech to Parliament, “The mechanics who built our guns, the shipwrights who built our navy, the soldiers and sailors without whose valor and industry Nelson and Wellington could no more have turned back the French than Canute could have turned back the tides — for too long these men have been bid keep silence and obey their ‘betters’. Today this Government makes of the small English farmer and the shepherd of Scotland a lesser breed of man than the Spaniard, the Portuguee and even the Italian[10]; for they may vote and he may not.”

The response of Lord Liverpool’s government to this discontent has been to pretend it’s all a French plot, like the one that almost overthrew the government of the Netherlands last year. For the past two years, habeas corpus has been suspended. This year, after a series of marches by out-of-work weavers, Parliament passed a law which:
• Forbids public meetings of more than 50 without five days’ notice in the paper or at the Clerk of the Peace’s office.
• Mandates deadly force to be used against the members of any public gathering who refuse to disperse after an hour’s warning.
• Forbids speeches or debates before paying audiences in any location, even a private home, not licensed to hold such events by Justices of the Peace. (Exceptions were made for universities and so on.)
• Forbids any public gathering within a mile of Parliament while it’s in session.
• Outlaws any society calling itself “Spencean.”[11] (The late Thomas Spence advocated, among other things, abolition of private ownership of land. The radical movement in the U.K. is not that radical. Mostly.)

The only thing keeping British freedom alive is that the Tories have denied themselves the tools to effectively crack down on dissent. Law enforcement agencies in Britain at this point are few, undermanned and localized — and of the parish watchmen, the less said the better. The army can still be called out against large demonstrations, and the government employs legions of spies and provocateurs (perhaps too many — Home Secretary Lord Sidmouth is getting more “information” than he can possibly act on, with no way of knowing which parts of it are true) but for the most part Liverpool’s Britain is a police state without the police.

Lanjuinais’s France, on the other hand, is a police state with police… run by a man the government needs but doesn’t quite trust. Provision 61 of the Act Additional[12] states, “No one can be prosecuted, arrested, detained or exiled except in the cases provided for by law and according to the prescribed forms.” This year, the Chambers and the Regency Council have prescribed those forms a little more, requiring the police to document the charges and submit the case to the court system to schedule a trial within 48 hours of arrest — no more disappearances. “As freedom wanes in London, it waxes in Paris,” writes U.S. Ambassador Albert Gallatin.

The government is doing this more to keep a leash on Police Minister Joseph Fouché than anything else. Fouché has been making increasing use of provocateurs, not only going after bona fide royalists but trying to trap Conservative Party leaders into saying something Legitimist or Orleanist. His agents have also been going after the more extreme Jacobins, the ones who wouldn’t join the fédérés and are no more fond of House Bonaparte than they were of House Bourbon, and trying to entangle them in plots to overthrow the government by force.

At this point, the Chambers and the Council don’t really need him to do this. At the moment, the 123 members of the Chamber of Deputies (23 of them from the chambers of commerce) consist of 62 Liberals, 43 Conservatives, 18 Jacobins and one very stubborn member of the Parti de Bonaparte. The Liberal majority in the Peers is even greater — remember, the Regency Council decides who is and is not a Peer. Things may have looked scary back in ’15 and ’16, but these days the government is pretty secure.

There is, of course, the same pressure for universal suffrage that Britain is experiencing (mostly from the Jacobins) but it isn’t as strong as you might think. After a generation of more or less continuous political turmoil, the current stability is something of a relief. So the Conservatives and Jacobins must wait — the Conservatives for the Liberals to screw up badly enough that the voters will want some serious change, the Jacobins for the coming of a new generation that they hope will see things their way.

Meanwhile, industry is picking up in France, especially in the northern cities. This is drawing immigrants from elsewhere in Europe, changing the ethnic makeup of places like Anvers, Bruxelles and Mayence to include Jews, Poles, Hungarians and Italians.

Moving on to Spain… King Ferdinand is starting to consider the idea that he might never have a son. In which case, he’ll have to either accept his younger brother as a successor or set aside Salic law on behalf of his little daughter. He’s leaning toward the latter idea.

This is more important than it sounds. Since 1816, the government of Spain has been upending quite a few institutions. The Inquisition been abolished again, and this time they mean it. A national system of secular education is being built to compete with the Church’s schools. Fueros[13] and regional privileges are being replaced by a uniform code of law across the nation. And a growing faction in the Cortes is advocating a new approach to the colonies, treating them more as parts of Spain and less as cash cows. In other words, the new, elected government is stepping on a lot of toes.

Opposition to this government is not limited to ultramontanists and royal absolutists. It includes Basques, Andalusian shepherds, farmers whose commons are being enclosed and others inconvenienced by reform. Instead of a tyrant who usually ignores them, they now have a responsible, accountable, legally restrained government that won’t leave them alone. They actually felt freer under the tyrant.

So the conservative faction wants Spain to have a strong monarch — some of them want a return to absolute monarchy, others just want a counterbalance to the Cortes. Ferdinand has turned out to be a loser, but they’re stuck with him until he dies. When that happens, they’re sure his brother Carlos will be strong. The Infanta María, on the other hand, is an unknown quantity — she’s only two. They’re hoping she’ll turn out to be another Queen Isabella, or at least (to pick a more modern example) a conservative, Catholic version of Britain’s dynamic young princess. But if she doesn’t seem up to this, they will begin planning to force her aside in favor of her uncle/great-uncle Carlos. As the little Infanta grows up, she will be watched and judged at every step.

Portugal is on the mend, and looking forward to the return of the king so they can start telling him what to do. The Cortes is looking at what Britain and Spain are doing with “prince-regencies” and thinking “been there, done that, didn’t waste money on the T-shirt.” While Spain may be rethinking its relationship to its colonies, as far as the powers than be in Portugal are concerned there’s no point having colonies if you can’t exploit them economically and sneer at them culturally. They can’t wait to shove those upstarts back into their place.[14]

Italy is at an earlier stage of rebuilding. A census is planned for next year in preparation for organizing the departments. The biggest economic headache (of many) is the lack of a common currency — all the old monies like the Piedmontese lira and the Neapolitan piastra are still in circulation. To resolve this, King Gioacchino I and Prime Minister Buonarroti are founding a central bank which will issue a new currency — the ternesca. Sardinia and Sicily are still independent kingdoms, but a lot of their people are hoping for unification with Italy.

Italy’s other problem is that it has one close ally — France. Foreign Minister Ugo Foscolo is working on making a few more. I’ll get to exactly what he’s doing in a little bit.

To the north, in the eye-watering hodgepodge of statelets, enclaves and exclaves called “the Germanies,” many among the young and idealistic are looking at the unification of Italy and thinking “why not us?” Of course, those who actually run things are looking at Italy and thinking “how do we stop that from happening here?”

Under Metternich and the Emperor Francis, Austria’s answer is repression. The Südzollverein is turning into more than just a customs union — it is a forum for the member states to agree on economic policy and the approach to political dissent. The aim of this group is to make Austria and its affiliated states good places to start a business, but bad places to start a political party. William I, the young king of Württemberg and one of the heroes of the Juillet Lorrain, has used its backing to help him resist calls for a constitution.[15]

Prussia’s King Frederick William III is trying to do the same thing with the Nordzollverein, but there are a couple of big, hairy flies in the ointment. Their names are Hanover and Oldenburg, the only two German states left that haven’t joined either of the customs unions. Hanover in particular has become a refuge for political radicals of various sorts. William, viceroy of Hanover, is showing no interest in repression. The Prussians have tried complaining to his older brother, who is technically Prince Regent of Hanover as well as the United Kingdom. Unfortunately for them, Prinny couldn’t care less about Hanover.

The Netherlands is a nation with a strong tradition of liberalism and political freedom. Which is why it’s very embarrassing for them to be under the control of a near-absolute monarch while Spain, of all places, is holding free elections. Still, better to be a British ally than a French satellite state… right?

Denmark could, technically, be called a British ally… in the sense that a small shopkeeper paying protection money could be called a Mafia supporter. King Frederick VI is wondering if there’s any way to get out of his alliance without his kingdom ending up as northern Prussia or southern Sweden. It doesn’t look like there is one.

Then there’s the United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway. Sweden’s deal with Norway is strictly a personal union — they don’t even have the same currency — but Sweden has now annexed Iceland and Greenland, which looks very impressive on the map. The United Kingdoms are under the same pressure for greater suffrage as Britain is, and neither the Norwegian Storting nor the Swedish Riksdag are prepared to grant it. For once, they’re glad they have Jean Bernadotte (now King Charles XIV & III John — top that, Murat!) on their side.

(I almost forgot Switzerland. The Swiss cantons have more or less put themselves back the way they were before Napoleon came in and messed everything up. Now, however, the canton of Vaud is instituting universal male suffrage. Also, after the battle of Marcaria Metternich approached the Tagsatzung[16] and offered them the Valtelline back in exchange for an alliance against Italy. They told him they liked neutrality better than they liked the Valtelline.)

[10] During the Caroline affair IOTL, Brougham was completely shameless in his appeals to early-19th-century British chauvinism.
[11] IOTL, this was the Seditious Meetings Act of 1817. Not to be confused with the Seditious Meetings Prevention Act of 1819, one of the infamous Six Acts. (Are you listening, Wikipedia?)
[12] France’s new constitution. I suppose it’s called this to distinguish it from all the constitutions France went through in the revolutionary and Napoleonic years.
[13] To explain what fueros are would take another post about as long as this one. Suffice it to say they’re local and regional legal arrangements of various sorts, some of them date back to the Middle Ages, and abolishing them means taking away what a lot of people think of as their rights.
[14] I actually kind of wanted a cool Transatlantic Lusophone Empire comprising Portugal, Brazil and some chunks of Africa, but I looked at the decision-making in the Cortes and decided that wasn’t going to happen. IOTL, they knew about the American Revolutionary War and didn’t learn anything from it, and they saw the collapse of the Spanish Empire in the Americas and didn’t learn anything from that. What happened ITTL, with the partial success of the prince-viceroys, can only make them more overconfident.
[15] IOTL, Württemberg granted a constitution about this time.
[16] The government of Switzerland at this point.

Russia and the Ottoman Empire
These get their own section because they’re big and they fill serious space on more than one continent.

Tsar Alexander I has ruled for eighteen years. His rule has been marked by big dreams and big disappointments. Early on, he dreamed of a Russian constitutional monarchy — only to discover that if he wanted to get any sort of reform at all past the nobles (or even, unlike his father, survive their disgruntlement) he had to become exactly the sort of arbitrary autocrat who was supposed to be obsolete in this day and age. He at first saw Napoleon as a model of the enlightened monarch he wanted to become, only to realize that this was just another tyrant and murderer. He went into the Congress of Vienna with great hopes, only to find that the other powers were interested in “maintaining the balance of power” which mostly seemed to mean “containing Russia.”

His next big dream was of a Holy Alliance of Russia, Prussia and Austria against revolutionary chaos. That’s kind of fallen by the wayside too — the War of the Seventh Coalition looked to him like rivers of Russian blood being spilled and the Austrians snatching defeat from the jaws of victory… and, again, everyone other than himself worrying more about “maintaining the balance of power” than about winning. And the Pope’s denunciation of Austrian atrocities in Italy touched a nerve with him — he might not be a Catholic, but he has become a deeply religious man.

Which is at the core of his latest big project — the moral and spiritual reform of the Russian people. First came the radical step of fusing the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ministry of Education to form the Ministry of Spiritual Affairs and Popular Enlightenment, which promulgates an ecumenical, nondenominational form of Christianity.[17] Next he’s going to have the Bible Society finish translating the Bible into modern Russian, which is going to be a controversial step. Then more schools, philanthropic societies…

Alexander hasn’t given up on abolishing serfdom or giving Russia a constitution, but those things can wait. He already has two testing grounds for constitutional government — the Grand Principality of Finland and the Kingdom of Poland. His younger brother Constantine is serving as viceroy of Poland, and has just married Augusta of Hesse-Kassel.

One thing Alexander isn’t worried about is military threats. His nation is still the one that turned back Napoleon when no one else could, and recently they also won a war with Persia and took Shirvan.[18]

The Ottoman Empire, by way of comparison, is at the nadir of its existence (they hope). Serbia is still technically an “autonomous principality.” If you look at the facts on the ground, it’s independent — but then, by that standard a lot of the empire is independent.

Consider Ali Pasha of Tepelenë, an Albanian brigand who the Sultan hired back in the nineties to fight other brigands and rebels — one in particular who wasn’t dealt with until 1807.[19] Now he’s a governor, controls much of Greece and Albania from his base in Ioannina, and is increasingly unresponsive to dictates from Istanbul. If the Sublime Porte doesn’t do something about him soon, he might… die of old age, actually. (He’s 79.) Anyway, clearly it’s time to bring him to heel.

Ali Pasha, who did not last this long by being oblivious, is reaching out to some unconventional sources for help. He is quietly corresponding with the Italian foreign minister. Foscolo, part Greek himself, is also corresponding with some other interesting people, like Theodoros Kolokotronis. And Athanasios Tsalakov. And Alexander Ypsilantis. And Tudor Vladimirescu, a Romanian who doesn’t even like Greeks but who likes Turkish rule even less.

A much more successful Albanian-born Ottoman governor is Muhammad Ali of Egypt, who recently conquered the Hejaz, sent the Saudi emir to be beheaded in Istanbul and reclaimed Mecca and Medina for the empire. He’s even more independent than the Ioannina Ali, but the empire isn’t going to declare war on him for a very good reason — they might lose.

The biggest threat to Sultan Mahmud II, however, is the Janissary Corps. If they knew what he intended to do to them, they’d kill him like they killed Selim III.

[17] If you said “OTL” give yourself a prize.
[18] Modern Azerbaijan.
[19] Osman Pazvantoglu, a governor turned rebel.

I don’t mean to give Africa short shrift, but the changes in the world over the last five years have so far had little impact here.

Which is not to say that the whole continent is boring. Parts of it are a little too exciting — Ethiopia, for instance, has just been through a long and terrible civil war. Even now, parts of it are under the control of warlords, and the nominal emperor, Iyoas II, is the puppet of a local lord named Gugsa.

Then there are the Barbary States. Earlier this century, Tripoli received a spanking at the hands of a minor and distant western power, the United States. Now, to the north, they see Spain getting stronger, France getting stronger, Italy beginning to get stronger and Britain already quite strong… and getting stronger. Wiser heads are thinking it’s time to get out of the piracy business altogether. The question is whether they can suppress their own pirates.

(The Barbary States don’t get a lot of respect. The Dey of Algiers, after much wheedling, finally, got the French government to agree to a payment schedule for the debt owed a couple of Arab wheat merchants who supplied Napoleon’s army back in the 1790s. They didn’t offer interest.)[20]

In the interior of West Africa, the Bambara Empire has just lost a war, and their entire eastern half, to the Massina Empire. Further south, on the coast, the transatlantic slave trade (currently dominated by the Portuguese) is like a black hole — easy to get sucked into, very hard to escape and it deforms everything near it. All the kingdoms along the coast are using it to get rich.

On the map, that odd little striped area along the coast is a point of contention between three European powers (Britain, the Netherlands and Denmark) and Asanteman, the Ashanti Empire. Officially, it’s Ashanti territory — they won it recently in a war — but European merchants are allowed to buy and sell there. Some in Britain are not satisfied with this arrangement.

Earlier this year, some American philanthropists tentatively put forward to Henry Clay the idea of setting up a place on the West African coast where freed slaves could be sent. Castlereagh, suspecting an American plot to establish a naval base on the east side of the Atlantic, intervened to nix this idea, but pointed out that American freedmen would be welcome in Sierra Leone.[21]

Way down south, Cape Colony is about to expand. The British are planning to secure their new possession by sending several thousand settlers. What could go wrong?

To the east, two kings are growing in power. The Zulu king Shaka has just defeated the Ndwandwe in an epic battle at the Mhlathuze River[22], while Radama I is allying with Britain and trying to establish control over the whole of Madagascar.[23]

[20] IOTL, the Restoration government, not seeing itself as bound by Napoleon’s debts, blew the dey off completely.
[21] IOTL, relocating the entire black population of America to Africa was never more than a pipe dream, but it was a useful one for people who didn’t like slavery but weren’t quite comfortable with the idea of living alongside blacks. ITTL it isn’t even a pipe dream.
[22] IOTL, there seems to be some confusion as to whether this battle happened in 1819 or 1820. For our purposes, we’ll say that ITTL it happened in 1819.
[23] Not technically part of Africa, but close enough.

Without question, the power in Asia is China, where the Jiaqing Emperor sits securely on his throne. He is in his late fifties and has ruled since 1796. His empire is not a reclusive hermit state like Japan — it is actively engaged in the world… but only on its own terms.

Nor is the Emperor oblivious to the threats that face him. He has dealt with two rebellions in the past twenty years — the White Lotus rebellion and the much smaller Three Trigrams rebellion. And now the khanate of Kokand[24] is getting increasingly uppity, demanding lower taxes and a consulate at Kashgar. Kokand is a small state, but it has powerful cavalry and is in the far west where China’s ability to project power is limited. Peasant revolts, wild horsemen out of Central Asia — these are threats the Emperor understands and can take seriously. Foreign drug-dealing scum down in Canton, not so much.

Said scum are from the East India Company, which now controls most of India. The Marathas have been defeated. Mysore is nominally independent, but surrounded. The Gurkhas of Nepal were also defeated, but impressed the British with their martial prowess… which is the next best thing to winning the war.

In Southeast Asia, it is the calm before the monsoon. Consider the situation from the point of view of Rana II, king of Siam. To the east, there’s Vietnam, which has already taken a substantial chunk of what used to be Cambodia and would like some more. To the west, there’s Burma, with whom Siam has fought many, many wars in the past and will almost certainly fight more wars in the future. The current king of Burma is an aggressive expansionist. So far, he’s mostly expanded to the west — he has made a vassal out of Arakan, annexed Manipur and just finished conquering Assam this year — but now that his western border marches with that of British India, it’s safe to say he won’t be going any further in that direction.

Speaking of the British, to the south Kedah has given them an island and a toehold on the mainland. It’s a small presence, but the British presence in India started out small too. Further south, the Dutch (in exchange for intervening in a civil war in Johor) have been given an island just south of the Malay Peninsula, where they are drawing up plans for a port city. They’re calling it “Temmasek.”[25] To the north is Siam’s vassal state Vientiane, which lost some of its northern territory to Vietnam back in 1802. And now the Regency Council of France is making diplomatic overtures to the Vietnamese emperor Gia Long.

This gets Rana thinking. France is the enemy of Britain and the Netherlands. Burma has just acquired some excellent tea-growing land that the East India Company will be wanting. Perhaps the time has come to pursue friendly relations with the British Empire. It’s a dangerous thing to do, but the only thing less safe than marching by the side of an elephant is standing in its path.

[24] That squiggly thing west of China on the map.
[25] Yes, the British are capable of elbowing the Dutch aside as they did IOTL. But with the political situation in the Netherlands being what it is, the British need the Dutch as an ally in Europe more than they need to dominate the straits of Malacca. And the British still have Penang and Bencoolen.

Australia & Oceania
The settlement of New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land is expanding steadily under Governor Lachlan Macquarie. In spite of the increasing number of convicts being transported to his domain, Macquarie is determined to govern this place as a real working colony, not as a collection of prison camps. (He’s also determined to name as many things as possible after himself.) British settlements in New Zealand are still pretty thin on the ground.

On the island of Sumatra, the long war between traditionalists and Islamic radicals in the land of the Minangkabau continues to drag on with no end in sight. In Polynesia, sailors out of Hobart and Sydney are engaging in the sandalwood trade, which is highly profitable as it is mostly stolen. In Hawai’i, Kamehameha II has just become king, defeated his cousin in a civil war and made it legal for women to eat pork, bananas, taro and coconuts.

In short, right about now the world is about as peaceful as it ever gets. Enjoy it while it lasts…
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Hmm... slowly liberalising France, slowly radicalising Britain- I have a lovely vision of some extremely pompous "whig" historians sitting around Paris later this century explaining why their revolution eventually led to stability and progressive government but les rosbifs, ah, well....
So, there's a relatively liberal Papacy ensconced in an extremely liberal Italy, and an ultra-conservative ultra-Catholic state in South America that's essentially using the institutions of the Catholic church in place of a native bureaucracy. And one is the natural friend and close ally of a Great Power. Despite the fact that both lack any remotely credible means of getting at each other, I feel like there's going to be some drama coming from that.

Anyway, awesome update!
Thank you all… and yes, there will definitely be a certain amount of institutional tug-of-war going on in the church in South America… and at the next Conclave. (And don't forget that the doctrine of papal infallibility hasn't actually been set in stone yet.)
A Very Strange Year (1)
The last update was pretty long. This one will be short, but to the point.

January 25, 1820
Windsor Castle
1 p.m.

Charlotte Augusta, now strong enough to walk, stepped up to her grandfather’s bed and leaned over as if to whisper in his ear.

“Her name is Amelia,” she said, loudly and clearly. Before, her grandfather had been losing his hearing. Now there was no way to tell if he was hearing anything or not. He was still breathing, and if soft food was put in his mouth he would chew and swallow it, but that was all.

The old man mouthed a word that might have been “Amelia” or might have been more of the same nonsense he had been babbling for most of last month. The death of the originial Princess Amelia, the king’s youngest child, had been a terrible blow to the whole family. Grandfather had never gotten over it. Did some part of him remember now? It seemed wrong that a man who had seen and done so much should have it all taken away from him like this. When a man’s body was alive but his mind was gone, where did his soul reside?

Amelia Augusta Charlotte, the new princess born only three days ago, woke up in the nurse’s arms and began to cry. The nurse bared her breast to see if Amelia was hungry. She wasn’t.

Very slowly, the old man’s arms were shifting, forming a cradle with his chest. It might have been only a random movement.… but Charlotte preferred to think that, when his ears picked up faint echoes of the sound of a baby, his arms still remembered what to do. This was, after all, a man who had had fifteen children.

Charlotte took the baby, carefully supporting her head and bottom, and placed her on her great-grandfather’s chest, resting against his arms. Amelia calmed down. For a long moment they simply lay there, Charlotte ready to pick her up again in a moment if the old man showed signs of becoming agitated… but instead, his breathing slowed and he dropped off to sleep. Then the smell of soiled linen filled the air, and it was time to separate them and see which one of them needed cleaning and changing.

The king died later that evening.
A Very Strange Year (2)
Touching. I like it.

Thank you. I'm afraid the family scenes that follow will be a little less heartwarming…

A part of the liturgy of the Church of England, incorporated in the morning prayer, is the prayer for the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom: “O Lord, our heavenly Father, high and mighty, King of kings, Lord of lords, the only Ruler of princes, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers upon earth: Most heartily we beseech thee with thy favour to behold our most gracious Sovereign—” Lord or Lady, as the case may be. The congregants pray that their monarch be replenished with the grace of the Holy Spirit and granted “heavenly gifts,” such as health, wealth, long life, the strength to “vanquish and overcome” his or her enemies, and finally “everlasting joy and felicity through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The next prayer asks God to bless the monarch’s spouse, heir “and all the royal family.”

Whenever a monarch dies, of course, the liturgy is updated to reflect the change in names. This is normally a routine and uncontroversial step. In the case of George IV, it was anything but.[1]

On the Sunday immediately following his accession to the throne, January 30, the prayer for the royal family was given as follows — “Almighty God, the fountain of all goodness, we humbly beseech thee to bless Caroline of Brunswick, Charlotte Augusta Princess of Wales, and all the royal family: endue them with thy Holy Spirit; enrich them with thy heavenly grace; prosper them with all happiness; and bring them to thine everlasting kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” Two weeks later, freshly printed copies of the Book of Common Prayer were being distributed which read “we humbly beseech thee to bless Charlotte Augusta Princess of Wales and all the royal family.”

The change had been ordered by the King himself. It was intolerable to George that every Sunday millions of his subjects would be praying for him, and then praying for that woman with the very next breath. The thought obsessed him — several observers claimed that it even put him off his feed. It was clear to him that he needed to obtain a divorce as quickly as possible. In the meantime, her name had to be struck from the liturgy at once.

His ministers at first disagreed. Canning, an old friend of the Queen, protested vehemently. Castlereagh and Sidmouth had no sympathy for Caroline, but were not yet convinced that divorce proceedings against her would be to the government’s advantage. Castlereagh in particular believed that a £50,000 annuity, coupled with the threat of divorce if she were ever to return, would suffice to keep Caroline out of the country indefinitely.

At this point, George threatened to dismiss the government. In response, Lord Liverpool pointed out that (a) Parliament was to be dissolved at the end on the month in any case, and (b) if the king chose to dissolve it now in a fit of pique over his wife, it would weaken the Tories to the point where they might well lose the election. He asked George whether he was prepared to deal with a government led by Earl Grey[2], and even raised the spectre of “Home Secretary Henry Brougham.” At the mention of Brougham’s name, it is reported that the King shouted “Get out! Leave!” and the prime minister fled the room. He agreed, however, not to table the matter of divorce until after the election.

It was John Wilson Croker, Secretary to the Admiralty and noted Conservative man of letters, who brought the Cabinet round to the King’s position on the matter of the liturgy. Croker, whose wit and eloquence had served the royal family well in times past, reasoned that the removal of the Queen’s name from the liturgy would be a necessary first step to any proceedings or threat of proceedings against her. “If she is fit to be introduced to the Almighty, she is fit to be received by men,” he said. “If we are to pray for her in church, we may surely bow to her at court. The praying for her will throw a sanctity round her which the good and pious people of this country will never afterwards bear to have withdrawn.”

Given that they were ultimately committed to a war against the Queen, the King’s ministers could not deny the logic of Croker’s argument. The Archbishop of Canterbuy, Charles Manners-Sutton, reluctantly consented to the elision, consoling himself with the thought that — for the present — the phrase “all the royal family” included Her Majesty by definition.

The story that the Princess of Wales first learned about the change in the liturgy by listening to the morning prayer is unlikely to be true — although she was still recovering from the birth of Amelia, one or another of her friends almost certainly informed her before the morning of Feb. 13. What is known is that that very afternoon, she arrived at the front door of Carlton House and demanded an explanation. There was a time when she had been intimidated by her father, but this was no longer the case.

The conversation that ensued between father and daughter is not recorded. Servants, who were never entirely out of earshot (and who would have had to have been well outside the walls not to overhear this) gave somewhat conflicting accounts of the details, but all seem to agree that the argument began with the words “What you have done is unworthy of a king!”; that it quickly escalated into a shouting match, with both parties screaming at the top of their lungs; and that the words “vicious, petty, contemptible act,” “ungrateful child,” “placing your wretched grudges on display for the whole world” and “choosing that horrible woman over your own father” were used. George III would not be buried for another three days, and already his family was losing what little cohesion it had. (As an interesting etymological note, the first recorded appearance in print of the word “toady” is Augusta’s description of Croker as “that obsequious toady” in a Feb. 14 letter to Charlotte Lindsay.)

The Princess was more restrained in her public remarks. Asked for a comment by William Hazlitt of the Examiner, she wrote: “The Church of England is not to blame. My father is the king, and the Church must needs grant him his prerogatives as it shall to all future monarchs. However, should any of my people choose to pray for the physical and spiritual well-being of my mother, there is no power on earth that can hinder them from doing so… and no power in heaven that would wish to hinder them.”

Even before Caroline returned to British shores, the battle lines were drawn. Some vicars, especially in the cities and the poorer parishes, openly held to the January 30 liturgy, defying King George. Many others left pauses in the liturgy, or emphasized the word “all” in “all the royal family.”

And in the streets of London, “God save the Queen” had just become a cry of radicalism and defiance aimed at the establishment. This was shaping up to be a very strange year.

Bertrand Martineau and P.G. Sherman, The Great Scheme

[1] What follows is mostly OTL, or pretty close to it, except of course for the parts involving Charlotte Augusta.
[2] In case you’re wondering, yes, this is the Earl Grey that Captain Picard’s favorite tea is named after.
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One of my favourite parts about reading history is the seemingly trivial things that end up igniting the powder kegs. So of course I love this update.

And the one before was actually quite touching ,yes.
One of my favourite parts about reading history is the seemingly trivial things that end up igniting the powder kegs. So of course I love this update.

And the one before was actually quite touching ,yes.

If I could travel between universes, I'd choose yours to live in, right now; so exciting! Keep it up! :D

Glad you're enjoying it. More than once I've read a timeline here (Lands of Red and Gold, say, or Dominion of Southern America) that I wanted to take a vacation in.
Lycaon pictus

Catching up after holidays and you're been very busy. :D Massive summary of the world, which helps remind me what the hell's been going on. Then a couple of short ones. Like the last scene with George III:D while, for perfectly understandable reasons Charlotte follows the Hanoverian dynasty's habit of the heir to the throne clashing vigorously with their father and proving the centre of radical opposition. Hopefully she will get her chance fairly soon and Britain can get back to much needed reform.

In Britain and elsewhere plenty of opportunity for chaos and conflict in the year's ahead.

Anything more ahead? Really hope you can take a break from Icecap-Land soon... ;)

The next post will be coming before too long. It'll feature the new, upgraded U.S. navy and friends. (I should mention that I've edited a couple of previous posts that refer to things that will be mentioned there.)
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A Very Strange Year (3)
The events of Bloody May, including the sinking of the John Adams and the Macedonian at the Brewster Islands[1], had put off the U.S. planned chastisement of Algiers until the following year. Then, early the next year, Lord Exmouth arrived in Algiers harbor with a large fleet and pressured the dey into releasing his captives.[2] However, in 1818 and 1819 Omar Agha returned to his habit of preying on the shipping of weak nations.

On March 3, 1820, Congress authorized the use of naval force against Algiers. Over the course of the next two months, a fleet was assembled under Commodores William Bainbridge and Jacob Nicholas Jones. Meanwhile, Clay and Crowninshield sent messages to the navies of France and Italy, inviting them to join the operation and assert their rights against the corsairs. On May 6, the fleet embarked on its mission of punishment.

Although it was not ready to take on the Royal Navy, the fleet was a formidable force by the standards of minor powers. In addition to the 44-gun frigates United States, Guerriere, Constitution and Constellation, and the smaller vessels Eperyie, Ontario, Hornet, Eagle, Ticonderoga, Chasseur, Skirmisher and Wolfhound, this fleet featured a true ship-of-the-line — the 130-gun fortissimus[3] Chippewa. (Originally the Chippewa was to have been built at Sackett's Harbor, but Crowninshield decided such a powerful ship would be wasted on Lake Ontario, where the Natchez[4] and the Superior already sailed.) He was also accompanied by the new steamships Savannah and Portsmouth Phoenix[5], which were to serve as transports for the Americans held captive in Algiers.

The first engagement between the U.S. and Algerine fleets happened on June 17, about halfway between Cartagena and Mostaganem. In a bold move, Raïs Hamidou, commanding a fleet of three frigates and six smaller vessels, tried to capture the vanguard ship United States before the rest of the American fleet could arrive, but failed. As Captain Shaw put it, “As soon as the Chippewa came close enough to count the gunports, every pirate ship in sight turned as one to flee for home.”

The corsairs’ instinct to retreat in the face of superior firepower betrayed them. Like wolves separating a deer from the herd, the American fleet maneuvered to the southeast, cutting Hamidou off from home, and began the chase. Although Hamidou said on for some 500 kilometers, he found that he could not turn southeast, or even due east, without sailing into the broadside of at least one American vessel. Bainbridge and Jones were driving the Algerines straight to the planned rendezvous point with the French and Italians.

Moreover, in their haste to escape the corsair fleet grew dangerously far apart from one another, as the corvettes outpaced the frigates. So it was that the 20-gun brig Estedio found itself alone when it encountered the experimental French frigate Turenne[6] on its maiden voyage, sailes furled and steaming insouciantly against the wind. By the time the rest of the Algerine fleet caught up, the Estedio had been sunk and the rest of the Franco-Italian fleet was tacking into position. It consisted of the 118-gun ship of the line Wagram, the 80-gun Foudroyant, the 40-gun frigates Junon, Méduse[7], Médée and Gloire and two Italian frigates, the Andrea Doria and the Gennaro Serra, which at the moment were the only ships in the Italian navy with more than 16 guns.[8]

Seeing no alternative, Hamidou struck his colors. The combined fleet proceeded to Algiers, where they encountered a screen of gunboats and mortar boats. The sloops and brigs of the American fleet destroyed most of these, although the Eperyie was so badly damaged it had to be abandoned. The Chippewa and the Wagram anchored themselves off the south end of the main harbor battery and destroyed it with enfilade fire, while the Foudroyant and the frigates dealt with the other batteries. It was during this phase of the operation that most of the casualties were incurred.

On July 11, the Dey of Algiers signed a treaty guaranteeing no further attacks on American, French or Italian shipping or demands for tribute. The U.S. navy claimed one of the captured brigs as compensation for the Eperyie. The rest of what had been Hamidou’s fleet was used to transport European prisoners home once the original crews had been set on shore. The ships were then incorporated into the French and Italian navies.

The Second Barbary War was the bloodiest engagement since the War of 1812, with 516 Americans killed or injured. (It is not known if this figure includes the eight American and seven Italian sailors who were injured in a tavern brawl the night after the surrender. The fight began when one American sailor asked an Italian sailor, possibly in earnest, if “Andrea Doria” were the name of King Joachim’s mistress.)

Joseph Welcome, A History of the U.S. Navy

[1] I only just realized that I was in such a tearing hurry last summer to finish the Bloody May battles that I completely forgot to mention the naval battle outside Boston Harbor, near the Brewster Islands. Anyway, there was one, about the same time as Wellington was approaching Boston from the north. Perry attacked a squadron of Cochrane’s fleet and got driven off. He lost two ships and didn’t accomplish anything, but at least none of his ships were taken as prizes. Against the RN, that counts as a victory.
[2] IOTL he arrived with a smaller fleet, and ended up having to come back and bombard the city, and Omar Agha was quietly dispatched shortly thereafter.
[3] IOTL, the Chippewa was commissioned but never built. Here it was completed, as much to prove that the U.S. navy was a real navy as anything else. Also, “fortissimus” ITTL = “dreadnought” IOTL.
[4] OTL’s (unfinished) USS New Orleans.
[5] So named because it’s the first ship completed by the rebuilt shipyards of Portsmouth, NH, which were torched in Bloody May.
[6] To help you picture it, this is a two-masted vessel 44 meters long, with a beam of 11 meters and twin 9-meter paddlewheels amidships, on either side of the keel. The wheels and the steam engine are protected by iron plate. It’s armed with 16 18-pounders on the gun deck, 12 36-pounder carronades and 8 8-pounder long guns as bow and stern chasers.
[7] Obviously, the wreck of the Méduse hasn’t happened ITTL.
[8] These ships weren’t built by the Kingdom of Italy — the rebels seized them from the governments of Austria and Naples and kept them out of British hands. With so much else in Italy that needs building or rebuilding right now, Buonarroti has decided to make a virtue of necessity and see how the Turenne proof of concept goes before laying the keels on a new navy.
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I am confused. What route did they use? Was the Welland Canal built ahead of schedule (and somehow I managed to miss it)?

Indeed, i was about to ask the same. Otl, every single warship used on the great lakes was built there. And while you could sail from Buffalo to chicago easily, and to duluth if you were careful,those upper lakes were isolated from lake ontario by niagara falls, and that from the ocean by several rapids between kingston and montreal.

Otl, the first canals werent even sized to take full sized warships.
I am confused. What route did they use? Was the Welland Canal built ahead of schedule (and somehow I managed to miss it)?

Good catch. I got Ontario and Erie mixed up.:rolleyes:


More to the point I could see Edward agreeing to them departing but not returning to the Lakes. Especially something the size of Chippewa.


I wondered about this myself. I think you're right. If the decision were being made from London, they would probably rather have as many U.S. ships of the line as possible bottled up in a lake. But if Edward is making the call… in case of war, the Royal Navy could send a dozen ships the size of the Chippewa in two months, but the Chippewa could be shelling Canadian cities in two days.