Troublesome Princes (4)
Happy New Year!

The one part of the island that Boyer could actually be said to be governing was the rift valley known as the Cul-de-Sac. Everything beyond that was the territory of the guerrillas whose loyalty was more to Haiti than to him. Boyer spent most of his time in the isthmus between the lakes Saumâtre and Enriquillo. Just beyond the west end of the Cul-de-Sac was Port-au-Prince, which had been under Spanish occupation since late last year. He held the city in a virtual state of siege, but he could not retake it without incurring more casualties than he could easily afford And now, just beyond the east end was the son of Boyer’s old enemy.

Under the circumstances, Boyer could not afford to allow a rival government to take root anywhere in Haiti. Sooner or later the Spanish were bound to come to their senses and go home, but Jacques-Victor was home and had already won a victory. If he was not stopped now, the various armed bands roaming Haiti might begin to rally around him. Unfortunately, since the men closest to Jacques-Victor were not Haitian and were personally loyal to him, there was no hope that he could be dispatched like his father by suborning his guards. This would take a real battle.

Boyer dispatched General Charles Rivière-Hérard[1] with a regiment-sized force to Barahona. This was deemed sufficient to rapidly crush the would-be king and what was still a force of less than 200 men. And, indeed, it was… but Jacques-Victor, while young, was not naïve. He had anticipated an attack from the west, and prepared an ambush. Rivière-Hérard, who had planned to strike quickly, overwhelm and destroy the “Royal Army” before they could react, had done only the most cursory job of scouting and hadn’t spotted the artillery hidden behind heavy brush.

It was not enough to turn the tide of battle. There are few coherent accounts of what happened on June 1. What we do know is that Jacques-Victor and his small army were surrounded and killed to the last man, but that during a frontal assault on his compound more than 500 of Boyer’s soldiers were killed or wounded… including Rivière-Hérard himself, who later died of his wounds. Boyer had just lost a valued general at the very moment when the first Filipino regiments were disembarking in Port-au-Prince and Santo Domingo. It might have been some comfort for him to learn that Spanish princes could be nearly as troublesome to their nation as Haitian princes…
Dennis Lincoln, A History of the Caribbean (Vol. 2)

The formal declaration of war against Gran Colombia by the Cortes, on March 3, 1823, came with directives to the Viceroyalties to arm themselves for the war effort. As it happened, Carlos had already gotten word of what had happened at Barahona, and was quietly readying his army in anticipation of the directive.

Carlos, and his supporters among the Tradition Party[2] in the Cortes, were preparing in other ways as well. Given the repeated failures of the Queen Consort to produce a living male heir, Ferdinand would inevitably be succeeded by either his daughter or his brother. This year, bowing to the inevitable, the king had introduce a change in Spanish succession law that would abandon the Salic principle and allow María Isabel to take the throne. The Tradition Party, despite their usual deference to the wishes of the king, opposed this — officially because this would constitute a change to the most fundamental institutions of Spain, unofficially because they wanted Carlos for a king.

For the very first time, King Ferdinand VII and the Constitution Party in the Cortes now found themselves on the same side of an issue. Both of them wanted María to succeed her father as monarch — the king because she was his daughter, the Constitutionists because (although it was a little early to tell) the Infanta, who turned six that year, was not yet showing any signs of the intelligence or determination that might mark a strong queen. However, the Constitutionists’ majority was a slim one, and they were the only party that supported the change. Meanwhile, Carlos was using Tradition Party chairman Calomarde as a spokesman by which to argue against the proposed legislation.

This behavior by the king’s younger brother, who would normally be the first to argue the prerogatives of the rightful monarch, would have been shocking if the youngest of the three brothers had not done something to throw it completely in the shade. Ferdinand, who had a history of choosing the worst possible moments in which to be stubborn, had spent the past few years proposing, then withdrawing his support for, a marriage between Francisco and their niece Luisa Carlotta of Sicily. His fear was that, with no younger brothers and only one very ill younger sibling for María (who would in fact be dead by the end of the year) Francisco would establish a separate dynasty for himself in New Spain, which unlike Carlos’ Peruvian holdings was not known for loyalism. Now Francisco, after years of being toyed with in this manner, was being asked to supply ten regiments’ worth of men to fight Gran Colombia when he had the land-hungry United States on his northern border.

At this point, Francisco had had enough. He would indeed cooperate with the Spanish war effort, exactly as requested. He would also marry Sabina, daughter of Prime Minister Iturbide…[3]
Pilar Gutierrez, A History of the Bourbon Dynasty

[1] Boyer’s successor (if that is the word) IOTL.
[2] A quick primer on Spanish politics in the early 1820s ITTL: The majority party in the Cortes is the Constitution Party. This is sort of the center-left party, although it isn’t pushing social change so much as defending the changes that have already been made. The second biggest party is the Tradition Party, which (says it) doesn’t want to abolish the Cortes or restore absolutism, but does want to expand the power of the monarch’s office and restore the fueros. There are also a handful of absolutist and republican parties, but they’re too small to make much difference.
[3] Who is thirteen. Creepy, I know, but remember we’re talking about the Spanish Bourbons here. As I’ve mentioned before, both of the ‘Cisco Kid’s brothers married their nieces, and IOTL so would he.
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Lyacon, I thought you might enjoy this article in The New Yorker. You might even email the author.

Counterfactual history is cheap, but it’s hard not to wonder what might have happened if things had turned out differently on that balmy January morning for Old Hickory and his ragtag troops. Had Jackson not stumbled into military victory at a time when the nation was desperate for a showcase of martial prowess, he might have festered in the backcountry, pursuing a career out of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, clearing the landscape of Native Americans.

There is, indeed, good reason to think that, without Jackson’s injection of nascent populism into American political culture, the natural aristocracy of John Quincy Adams would have held sway, continuing to permeate political life, keeping the viral impulses of “we the people” at bay. But the Jacksonian myth, fashioned as it was from the cloth of battle, worked so well because it told a new story about American life, one that Americans, perhaps without even knowing it, needed to hear. If Jackson hadn’t channelled the seductive impulse to give the people the narrative they wanted, the narrative that explained them to themselves, somebody else would surely have told the tale.
Troublesome Princes (5)
Lyacon, I thought you might enjoy this article in The New Yorker. You might even email the author.

Thank you. I did, and he liked it.

On a less happy note, Pope Pius VII passed on in 1823…

The Conclave of 1823 began with the withdrawal of two early contenders. Cardinal Ercole Consalvi, widely believed to be the successor to Pius VII, refused the papacy, citing his age and poor health. The next papabile, Francesco Saverio Castiglioni, likewise refused on the grounds that he was not healthy enough to serve. The reactionary Annibale della Genga[1], who had called for the reclaiming of former Papal States territory and restrictions against Jews, was deemed too confrontational a choice.

When the name of Cardinal Antonio Gabriele Severoli was put forward, Cardinal Giuseppe Albani informed the assembled cardinals that Francis I wished to exercise the “Austrian veto” over him. At this point, many of the cardinals openly laughed. Camerlengo Pacca, who could see which way the wind was blowing, chose to ignore the veto.[2] And so, Severoli became Pope Pius VIII.

Before the College could even disassemble, Cardinal della Genga approached the new pope with a question that had been tying the Spanish government in knots. Was Prince-Viceroy Francesco’s marriage to the commoner Sabina de Iturbide y Huarte permitted? The Tradition Party of the Spanish Cortes (along with della Genga) wanted it ruled null and void, while the Constitution Party (which never missed an opportunity to weaken the royal family) wished to declare it valid, but to bar from the succession any issue of the marriage. Pius VIII declined to issue a ruling.
Arrigo Gillio, Fumus Albus: A History of the Papacy

[1] IOTL he became Pope Leo XII.
[2] One of the side effects of the Other Peninsular War/War of Italian Unification is that the Austrian veto is no longer a thing.


I have two questions to put to you, at the moment:

  1. Does Brougham still invent the brougham ITTL?
  2. I've been reading this very interesting Wikipedia article about the OTL Russian interregnum of 1825, and I've had a thought: Since Constantine most likely declines the crown as he did IOTL, is it possible for the Decembrist revolt to go a different way -- with Nicholas being steadfast in his initial refusal of the crown and, following a massacre of Nicholas and his family by the rebelling soldiers, it going to his younger brother Michael? Sorry if this sounds overly bloodthirsty, but... it's only an idea. :eek:
An abstention in favor of Francisco it would seem. What does Prince Carlos think of this tiff between his brothers?

He is very disappointed in Francisco. He sees this as undermining the monarchy, which of course it is. Remember how the British reacted to Prinny and Maria Fitzherbert. There is no way Francisco would ever be getting away with this if he were back in Madrid.

And that's part of the problem. New Spain has its own constitution, its own Cortes, and is beginning to escape Spain's economic control. (For example, the rule that wine can only be grown there for Communion has been quietly tossed out the window.) There isn't much left binding New Spain to Old Spain beyond monetary union and House Bourbon… and now Francisco has gone and married the daughter of a local political leader. Carlos plans on ruling the empire one day, and when he does, he wants to be sure New Spain will be a part of it. The way Francisco has set things up, there's almost certain to be a rebellion as soon as he dies or somebody tries to replace him. And right now, there's even less that they can do about it because they need his help for the war with Gran Colombia.

I have two questions to put to you, at the moment:

  1. Does Brougham still invent the brougham ITTL?

I don't see why not.

2. I've been reading this very interesting Wikipedia article about the OTL Russian interregnum of 1825, and I've had a thought: Since Constantine most likely declines the crown as he did IOTL, is it possible for the Decembrist revolt to go a different way -- with Nicholas being steadfast in his initial refusal of the crown and, following a massacre of Nicholas and his family by the rebelling soldiers, it going to his younger brother Michael? Sorry if this sounds overly bloodthirsty, but... it's only an idea. :eek:

Not to give anything away, but… that's all assuming Alexander dies at the same time as he did IOTL.
Patience. All in good time. (Added to.)

The next post will be set in Vienna, where we'll see… more conservatives reluctantly adapting to a rapidly changing world.

Glad they are adapting. I am an admitted fan of Habsburg survival. With the disaster in Italy one can hope they will approach their other domains with a mind to avoid a repeat fiasco.


Patience. All in good time. (Added to.)

The next post will be set in Vienna, where we'll see… more conservatives reluctantly adapting to a rapidly changing world.
However, even if Alexander doesn't die as on OTL-time, I think the issues fueling the Decembrists will still be around enough -- or even heightened, ITTL -- for them to still be there...
Greek Fire (1)
“God made the Balkans to keep cartographers in business.”
--Lord Palmerston

October 20, 1823
Klemens von Metternich looked at the reports in front of him. It was clear that the hour had come to make some sort of decision. It was less clear what that decision should be.

Since the spring, the Turks had concentrated most of their offensive operations on the mountain passes of the Pindus, leaving only garrison forces to prevent breakouts at Corinth and Athens.

It was a sound strategy… until that damned “Sword of Nemesis” had pulled off yet another trick that should never have worked. He’d led a force of Cretans and Peloponnesians in a night attack on Salamis that took the island away from the Turks. While everyone was staring in bewilderment, he’d attacked the Turkish army on the isthmus, dislodging them from the coast and allowing Kolokotronis to roll up the whole garrison. After Euboea, the Greeks were not inclined to take prisoners.

Rather than suffer the same fate, the garrison north of Athens had retreated. The Greeks had caught up with them outside Thiva (Thebes, if you wanted to be classical). The Turks had been badly outnumbered, but that at least had been the sort of open-field warfare they were better at, so they had fought the Greeks to a draw… a draw that left half of central Greece in their hands.

And now the latest news — the governments of France and Italy were preparing to offer formal diplomatic recognition to the “Sultanate of Albania” and its sultan, “Ali I.”

This was already a potential disaster. Even without Greece, if Albania allied itself to Italy they could close off the mouth of the Adriatic to Austrian shipping. That wouldn’t do at all. Add to that a possible Greek republic… no. Just no.

But what was to be done? Putting aside the fact that the Ottoman Empire was Austria’s hereditary foe — which Metternich was perfectly willing to do — it was falling apart while the whole world watched. Their “vassal” the Pasha of Egypt was managing the war against Persia more or less on his own. Serbia wasn’t even pretending to be a vassal any more. Moldavia and Wallachia were still raging out of control. And there were plenty of Serbs and Romanians in the Hungarian lands of the Austrian Empire. That was a powderkeg waiting to explode.

It reminded him so much of the events of thirty years ago. There had been no avoiding war with France — the emperor had tried and failed. But then the Duke of Bruswick had issued that damned manifesto. It had seemed like such a good idea at the time. If Austria and Prussia together stood with the King of France in defense of the established order of Europe, who would dare stand against them?

Well, now they knew. What could have been a successful defense of Austria’s rights in the Low Countries had turned into a prolonged catastrophe. Decades of war, hideous defeats at Austerlitz and Wagram, occupation, bankruptcy, oceans of blood and treasure spilled at Leipzig and Nancy… and for what? Apparently, so that Antwerp would be lost forever and France would be governed by a constitutional monarchy under House Bonaparte.

And then there was Italy… oh god, was there ever Italy. That had been less a war than a preview of Hell for the edification of sinners. Milan and Venice lost, the pope made an enemy (and that rift seemed to be permanent — the Emperor’s last message to the Conclave had been openly laughed at), the defeat on the Marcarian fields… At least the cannibalism had stopped before it became a habit. You had to take your blessings where you found them.

So, given how well Austria’s efforts to maintain the legitimate dynasties of France and the Italian states had ended, should she embark on another adventure in defense of the sultan’s rights? Or perhaps she should do nothing and hope for the best?

No and no. If the old order of things could no longer hold in the Balkans, a new order would have to be established. The tsar had apparently already figured that much out. Metternich began drafting letters to the foreign ministers of Russia and Great Britain.


VERY interesting...

Speaking of "Nemesis", by the way, how are Percy and Mary Shelley doing, at the moment? Not to mention a certain American teenager by the name of Edgar Allan Poe? ;)

Also... and this may be of some interest to you, IOTL the only grandson of Bonnie Prince Charlie was living in England at this time, having returned from America in 1814 and headed for Scotland in 1816 following the Wars' OTL conclusion. What would happen to him ITTL, I wonder?
Metternich has no idea the situation he's going to step in , doesn't he ;) ?

This 19th century may be more "interesting" than the one of OTL . A time where the (supposed ) Pax Britannica is increasingly challenged . With Talleyrand and the Italians against the "Old Order " , Great Britain and Austria are going to be lucky if they arrive in the 21th century without suffering major territorial losses . Not ten years after the last war , and everybody is already ready to begin the next round of hostilities...
Greek Fire (2)
I've been busy again. I'll get around to Poe and the Shelleys when I can, but I can definitely tell you that Mr. Stuart isn't going to be making any serious effort to put himself forward as a possible monarch. The people most freaked out about the prospect of Charlotte Augusta's coming reign are precisely the people who would freak out even harder at the thought of a Catholic king. (He might, however, marry an Italian noblewoman, or someone pretending to be one. There

I hope it isn't giving too much away to say that what Metternich is planning will be the first of several attempts to arrange the Balkans into something peaceable.

But first — some more war…

The first of the Venezuela Landings was quite similar to the British invasion of Louisiana, which had occurred nine years earlier to the day. 5,000 soldiers, mostly from New Spain but under the command of the Spaniard Miguel de la Torre, landed on an unguarded stretch of beach near Caracas and were inside the city before the Colombians could mount an effective response. But unlike New Orleans, there was no uprising in favor of the Spaniards. The city militia fought the Spaniards as long as they could before retreating to join Páez’ army between Valencia and Maracay. Páez[1] called desperately for reinforcements, but with Carlos’ forces besieging Machala and Cuenca in the south and skirmishing along the border in the Talamanca[2], Bogotá had little to send.

Bolívar called for an emergency session of Congress. More soldiers, more weapons and more money would be needed if the republic was going to survive this war…
-Alpirez et al., History of the South American Nations

[1] José Antonio Páez Herrera.
[2] The border between OTL Costa Rica and Panama. Not a major front in this war.

And if you're enjoying this story, don't forget to vote.

A fast, cheap map of the battle fronts as of the end of 1823.

DS GC map 1823.png
Greek Fire (3)
The Class of 1823: People Born This Year Who Will Show Up Later

Augustus William (August Wilhelm), Prince Victor’s younger brother, born Jan. 1 in Hannover. People will tend to overlook him on account of his better-looking and more outgoing younger brother. He will… notice this.

Prince Christian Adolphus Alfred of the United Kingdom, born Feb. 9, son of Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales and Prince Consort Leopold. He will learn to read and write much earlier than any of his brothers or sisters, and will be noted for his intelligence and imagination. His social skills, however, will be much slower to develop. Historians will suspect him of having Type 1 suisequentia.[1] His closest friend will be Henry James Brougham, born March 15 of this year, who will be as bright as a son of Henry Brougham might be expected to be, but a good deal more neurotypical than the future Duke of York.

Satinder Singh, born September 9 in Karnal, north of Delhi. He will be regarded as a particularly gentle and well-behaved child, to the great bewilderment of future biographers.

Johann Feuerbach, son of Joseph Anselm Feuerbach, born July 9 in Speyer. His father will encourage him in the study of the classics. Later, he will turn his attention to modern philosophy.

Jane Arundel Acland, born October 14 in Devon, daughter of the noted MP Sir Thomas Dyke Acland. She will be bright, but otherwise unremarkable, until she announces that God has called her to serve.

[1] autism
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