Discussion in 'Imperium OffTopicum' started by Nuka-sama, Aug 26, 2019.
We are confirmed for no wars for turn one. Please be sure to get in orders by Friday, 8 PM CST
Less than 24 hours remaining until the deadline
Extract from a newspaper of favourable reputation:
Treaty of Liepāja Cements Baltic Friendships
Liepāja is a port city in the Baltic sea under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth and not generally assumed to be a place of great importance. However this week it has been catapulted into the global consciousness as the meeting place of two European monarchs. The small city has seen only bad years since the Great Northern War and plague brought the community to the brink of destruction but despite that hundreds of Swedish and Commonwealth men and women are gathered today arrayed in a thousand different colours on the side of Lake Liepāja. A tennis court has been set up and a group of musicians are playing in the gardens that have been crafted specifically for this occasion. Foods have been brought here from across the world and an army of servants can be seen scurrying through the bushes.
It is a show of friendship and power between two great royal houses along with the nobility that support their rule but why here in this small coastal city?
Well to explain that you have to look not to the lake but west towards the sea where a squadron of the Royal Swedish Navy is waiting. Many of its officers can be seen at the festivities in their dress uniforms. Behind the flaps of the royal tents large maps of the Baltic sea are spread out to be perused by the kings and their advisers. The given purpose of this great gathering of the Baltic nobility and royalty has been for a treaty that has been in the works for a few years now which was finally signed this morning by King Louis II and King Gustav III.
The treaty is long and covers lots of small things to do with overseas trade, ports authorities and maritime security but the true meat of the treaty is captured by a section which details cooperation between the Commonwealth and the Royal Swedish Navy. Ships of the Swedish fleet are to be allowed free reign to dock in and otherwise use the Baltic ports of the Commonwealth and in exchange should the Commonwealth face the aggression of any other Baltic power the Swedish navy would intercede on their behalf.
But what does this actually mean? Since the partition the Commonwealth's ports have been limited to those few in Courland such as Liepāja and nearby Ventspils both of which have been ravaged by war and disease. Meanwhile Sweden's Navy still has the use of many better ports throughout the Baltic. The truth lies in that this was never really about the securing docking rights for Swedish ships. Once again for the true answer we can look to the squadron docked at sea a short distance west. At the end of these celebrations they will be taking on a number of Commonwealth officers to observe naval exercises in the Gulf of Finland. What this treaty really represents is an effort by the monarchs of Sweden and the Commonwealth to affirm their friendship in the face of Russian aggression and to remind the nobility that Russia is a real and present threat that it remains a top priority.
But for today, now that all negotiations are concluded and treaties signed, it is an opportunity for royals and nobles of two great Baltic nations to enjoy the sun of a Couronian summer. The air is abuzz with chatter, all the glasses are full, and the gardens are awash with the colours of the finest fashions and flowers. Yesterday was about details, today is about friendship.
A toast of fine Krakow wine for our hosts.
Orders are locked, the update has begun. I now have an opening for Naples
Another extract from the same newspaper but several weeks later
Riksdag Flees Stockholm
For the past few months King Gustav III has been trying to ameliorate the deteriorating political situation in his country by turning the thoughts of the nobles and burghers alike against Russia in a series of sabre rattling moves targeting the eastern neighbour. His efforts were not enough though and the situation has continued to worsen and it had become clear that the Riksdag was going to make in an attempt to reign in his power and return to the ascendancy they had enjoined deign the Age of Liberty. It seems that on learning of this the King began his own plans to further reduce the power of the assembly and strengthen the position of himself and his new men within the country.
Two weeks ago King Gustav announced that he was calling a meeting at Riddarhuset nominally to address the concerns of the nobility. However last Tuesday prominent members of the Riksdag learned from an informant within the royal guard that the King intended to use this opportunity to force the assembly to accept further reforms towards absolutism and to arrest any dissenting voices that might oppose this measure as perpetrators of treason. Upon hearing these rumours many who feared they might be targets of arrests fled from the city to the nearby mining town of Sala. After a large number of the most powerful members had arrived there the Riksdag decided to convene without the King's permission.
Militias aligned with the Riksdag have been seen assembling in the outskirts of the town and it currently seems like it would be unfeasible for the Royal Guard to attempt to round up the members of the Riksdag assembled there. Two arrests were made in Stockholm related to treason last week but since the Riksdag formally assembled in Sala no further moves have been made by the King. An uneasy tension lingers in the nation with neither party really able to assert itself over the other without the possibility of bloodshed.
It feels like any tiny spark could ignite an all out conflict between the estates and their King - a conflict nobody really wants. Meanwhile many in the navy and at the Russian border are looking east too, worried that this moment of weakness could leave them helpless if old foes come knocking.
I will claim Naples -- if it is still open
Link to video.
The Coup of the Riksdag
The Swedish Civil War
King Gustav’s feud with the Riksdag had been simmering for some time, and by 1790, tensions were boiling over. The King’s advisors urged him to act against the Riksdag, but his first inclination was to sidestep the matter. In a desperate bid to shore up his domestic support, the King tried to mobilize the country against the Russians. Having survived one coup, the King has decided he preferred war to surviving a second. This proved a false hope as the rebellious Riksdag refused to take the bait. Left with no other choice the King decided to disband the Riksdag with force.
The King’s coup began with disaster. The Riksdag had gotten word of the plot the night before the King was to move. Using the night to good effect, the Riksdag rallied their own forces, including many of the regiments in the capital, to resist the King. The King soon found that he had badly miscalculated his support in the army. His personal bodyguard could be relied upon, but many of the army regiments in Stockholm, commanded by noble officers, sided with the Riksdag.
With armed men on the street and worried for his safety, King Gustav was forced to flee. The roads were closed to him, the Riksdag having placed troops at the gates. But the fleet was still loyal and King Gustav evacuated the capital with his supporters. The Riksdag let the King flee, imaging, incorrectly, he would head into exile. This might have been what happened had the King’s supporters not included some Finnish nobles who promised the King support from their countrymen for a price: autonomy for Finland and a guarantee of their own parliament. The King reassured that at least some of his subjects were still loyal landed in Finland.
Upon landing, the King found to his delight that Scania had declared for him. It seems that the Scanians had made much the same calculations as the Finns and believed that if they sided with the King they might benefit. Their decision making was also helped by the fact that the garrisons in Scania had, by and large, sided with the King. With Scania under his belt, the fleet having gone over to him wholesale and Finland looking promising, the King’s position now looks far from hopeless. He also has high hopes that his allies in Commonwealth might come to his aid, or that others might rally to his aid to keep Russia and Denmark from dividing up his kingdom.
In Stockholm, the Riksdag in an emergency session passed restored the old constitution and voted for new taxes and credits to raise a fleet and an army. The decisiveness of these actions however concealed considerable division over what to do next with the throne. Planning for war was one thing but fighting it was another. In something that wasn’t lost on observers, the Swedes split along similar lines to the reformers in the Commonwealth.
The most conservative among them believed that a reconciliation with the King was the best outcome. They feared that if there was a war, it would tear the kingdom apart and make it easy prey for the Danes and Russians. They argued that that the King could return provided he promised to uphold the restored constitution. Others argued that the King would have to abdicate to his young son.
A moderate faction favors deposing the current king and finding a new one. These gentlemen see much to admire in the ‘Good King’ Louis of Poland. While Louis could not be considered on account of his Catholic faith, they have begun looking for a suitable new monarch among the Prussians, Danes and Saxons. The Prussians are the preferred candidates. Prussia could be an effective check on the Danes and is aligned with Poland against Russia. The Danes are not as popular, but hope accepting a Dane on the throne could reconcile that country to the loss of Scania. The Saxons are dark horses because they bring little to the table, but to some, that’s a strength.
There is little difference between the conservatives and moderates positions. Both support a constitutional monarchy and differ only on who should be King. But another option exists: a republic. The radicals are few in number in the Riksdag, but are an extremely vocal minority whose words are amplified through their numerous newspapers and newsletters. Enthusiastic students of the Polish reformer, Hugo Kollataj, they have begun to agitate in earnest for the creation of a new democratic order.
This message has proven popular with the middling sorts for whom the restored constitution extends no political rights. Democracy clubs have proliferated in urban centers of the country led by professionals, doctors, lawyers, and priests but with the rank and file drawn from a much wider social strata. The new army the Riksdag is building has become a hotbed for radical sentiment. The aristocratic officer corps has remained immune. But the lower ranks are full of radical volunteers who answered the call to the considerable alarm of conservatives and moderates.
Meanwhile, in Saint Petersburg, Finnish exiles have been monitoring events in their homeland with some interest. Some have already departed for Finland seeing in the King’s weakness a chance for their homeland to regain her autonomy. Most others have waited to see what the King’s next move might be. A few who are particularly embittered towards the Swedes have begun agitating for a Russian intervention to liberate their homeland, but this enjoys little support even among the exiles who view the Russians with some suspicion. Under any other circumstances, Saint Petersburg would be keen to interfere with Finland, but the disaster in the Commonwealth has given rise to a cautious attitude. The fact that Finland is small and poor does not help the interventionists' case.
Copenhagen has been seized with excitement, seeing this as a perfect opportunity to make gains at Swedish expense. However, the Danes remain divided on the proper course of action. The majority favor adopting a wait and see approach noting that the Swedes could still peacefully resolve the matter and that even a divided Sweden is still stronger than Denmark. Some, however, favor a war to seize Skane counting on Swedish disarray to make up for their inferior resources. Others have argued that Denmark’s best course would be to put a Danish candidate on the Swedish throne and support intervention in support of the Riksdag to bring that about.
Berlin has been sounded out about putting the King’s uncle on the throne. While the offer had no formal standing, there is considerable support for trying to make the offer stick. Sweden would be a valuable ally to have against the Danes and Russians. Some have suggested that Prussian aid could be provided if the Swedes would reduce the Toll Sounds which cripple Prussian commerce. However, going against the Swedish King, an ally of the Commonwealth, would almost certainly annoy Krakow.
The Commonwealth meanwhile has found themselves in something of a bind. King Gustav is an ally and friend to the Commonwealth, but his attempt to overthrow the Riksdag has proven unpopular with the radical Kollatajites and some moderate Potockites. These two have become firm backers of the Riksdag against the King. For now, however, they have declined to do much about this but should war come they will surely press for aid to be provided to the Riksdag against the King. Malachowski’s bloc is known to support reconciliation between King and Riskdag. They opposed the coup, but remain firm friends of King Gustav nonetheless.
Crown Princess Maria Leopoldine has realigned Burgundy to Austria.
The status of the Scheldt estuary has long been a source of international tension. The Dutch view opening the Scheldt as tantamount to national suicide. A major Dutch naval base, Vlissingen, sits at its mouth and is the first line of defense for the Netherland from a French attack.
But this is not the only reason. Simple geography is another. The French ports of Calais and Dunkirk are not large, but collectively can accommodate most of the French fleet and are only a short sail from Amsterdam. In the past, the Dutch have managed to sally out of Vlissingen and to their great advantage attack the French fleet while it was still forming up. This is the chief defense of the Netherlands against a French naval descent by sea.
Opening up Antwerp complicates matters because it would be sure to turn Antwerp, once again, in a large port in which the Dutch fear could be used against them. In the Dutch view, the French could take Antwerp by land and mask Vlissingen with guns. If that were to happen, the French fleet could then sail into Antwerp and at its leisure sally out to attack Amsterdam with a scant warning to the Dutch and little hope of them being able to stop it.
The Dutch regardless of political affiliation were well aware of this. After all, it had been established policy for well over a hundred years. A sudden change, no matter how well intentioned, was consequently impossible. The Burgundian assurance that they could defeat the French were insufficient and their claims that the Austrians would protect them should it come to blows did little to reassure the Dutch (who had no great love for the Austrians and doubted, given their other commitments, that such help would be forthcoming in any case). Efforts by the Burgunians to throw money around proved wasted effort. Instead, it seems to have hardened the Dutch even further against the idea.
The Dutch in an effort to maintain the goodwill of the Burgundians opted to table the matter rather than dismiss it out of hand. This refusal, while polite, has exasperated the Burgundians who have threatened (not altogether believably) war against the Dutch should the matter not be resolved in their favor. The Dutch of all political persuasions seem rather willing to entertain the idea of war over the Scheldt.
The Burgundians made no particular effort to prepare for war, but the King was pleasantly surprised to find that the burghers were not opposed to it and were prepared to consent to higher taxes for the hiring of Germans to fill out the armies ranks. The militias too have taken to drilling, and public opinion is being swayed to the idea that if negotiations cannot open the Scheldt, force must be used.
The British, the party with the most to lose from any deal and which nobody seemingly thought to consult with, have long supported the blockade because an Antwerp open to the sea would pose as much danger to London as it would to Amsterdam. The Burgundian sabre rattling has not gone down well in London, with opinion in Westminster solidly behind the Dutch. Some have even gone so far as to suggest that the Prince of Wales be married to Princess Louise of Orange-Nassau, daughter of the Stadtholder, to help keep the Dutch firm in their views.
Vienna meanwhile found itself in something of a bind. There was little support for helping the Burgundians. Vienna had no shortage of other vastly more pressing problems to deal with. Yet, Vienna’s other policies, especially the marriage of a Habsburg princess to the Burgundian Crown Prince, complicated matters. The popular princess had managed on her own account to create a new pro-Austrian faction in Burgundy. In Austria, these Burgundians, saw someone who could, through threat of war, bring the Dutch to heel. Courtiers in the Princess’ entourage did nothing to disabuse them of this view, which has further strengthened her power at court. If Vienna were to succeed in opening the Scheldt, there is no doubt that the Burgundian realignment would be complete.
The celebration of the new constitution
The Polish Reform
The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth has risen from the ashes! The Cardinal Laws, that most hated instrument of Russian domination, are gone. The old privileges of the nobility have been demolished. The triumvirs despite their very different politics have delivered a miracle: a new constitution. Much of the credit must go to the moderate Ignancy Potock who managed to convince the radicals of Hugo Kollataj and the conservatives of Stanislaw Malachowski to put aside their differences, pass a new constitution and save the nation.
The new constitution is a masterpiece that somehow accommodated radical, moderate, conservative and monarchical imperatives all in a single document. The conservatives gained an aristocratic upper house while the radicals gained a lower house with a modest wealth and property requirement that in practice made it the most representative parliament in Europe. The moderates meanwhile secured more restrictions on the King, who accepted them provided his brother, Charles, was made crown prince and the crown became hereditary. External observers were confused about how this was all supposed to work. But the Commonwealth’s political arrangements had always been odd and the locals accepted confusion as a small price to pay for independence.
Passage of the constitution was not however an entirely peaceful affair. The Sejm might certainly have met in peace. But in the countryside, considerable blood was shed as the great magnates, the Karmazyni, with limited Russian support, tried to raise their own forces to overthrow the Long Sejm. The Msciciele, soon revealed to be almost one and the same with the Commonwealth’s army, set out to stop them. When assassination and intimidation proved ineffective, the Msciciele operating in regiment sized formations began attacking estates and massacring entire families. This caused many to flee in Poland proper bound towards Russia.
But the Ukraine, where the Karmazyni estates were largest and their concentration greatest, required sterner measures. The Karmazyni there managed to assemble a large host of ten thousand men, peppered with Russian volunteers and, it seems, funded by the Russians. General Jozef Poniatowski, the local commander on the ground, had three thousand men of his own and had been ordered by Krakow to the arrival of reinforcements and Malachowski who believed he could negotiate with the rebels. Poniatowski at the urging of his officers, many of whom were Msciciele, elected to ignore Krakow’s wishes and launched an attack. His French trained regulars descended on the still sleeping rebels at dawn and broke them with a bayonet charge. In an hour, Poniatowski’s forces had killed a thousand rebels and took eight thousand prisoners for the loss of forty men wounded and six dead (half to accidents).
Poniatowski parolled most of his prisoners immediately, enrolled still others into his forces but kept the enemy officers as hostages to ensure further good behavior. In a bid to head off further trouble, Poniatowski dispersed columns to arrest potential troublemakers. Poniatowski worried about having exceeded his orders and mindful that he might be punished set off for Krakow with haste to explain himself. This proved a fateful mistake. His dispersed forces were left in the hands of junior officers, who were Msciciele, while the General in his haste to explain himself had neglected to name a single senior officer to take command. The results were predictable: the columns did little arresting and rather a lot of executing while headquarters left headless could do little to stop events. So it was that the Ukraine became covered in the smoke of burning estates and the few trees became thick with hanging bodies.
The massacres were put to a halt by the end of the week. But the extent of the killings has worried conservatives in the Sejm who fear that the Russians will exploit the disorder to their own advantage. The army for its part has praised the work of its officers in breaking the rebels. Most in the Sejm have publicly deplored the violence, but privately are of the view that the killings have removed Russia’s ability to interfere in the Commonwealth short of a full-scale invasion using their own forces.
The destruction of the Karmazyni in the Ukraine and their flight from Poland was a disaster of biblical proportions for Russia. At a stroke, Russia has lost its best tool to influence the Commonwealth’s domestic situation. As in the past, Russian aid was offered to the Karmazyni but it was mealy mouthed and inadequate to the task at hand. The Russians offered bodyguards, when the Karmazyni needed gold and arms. It was this failure of Russia to help that saw the Polish magnates flee rather than fight. The Ukrainians, so close to the border, had hoped their rising would force the Russians hand. That proved a good bet as the Russians belatedly began to provide aid, but neither party had anticipated the strength of the Commonwealth’s new army. The Russian backed force, a decade before would have been sufficient to march on Krakow and win, but now proved inadequate to handle even a third of its strength in regulars.
The passage of the new constitution soon thereafter was if anything an anti-climax. Russian influence was already dead and buried with the new constitution its epitaph. The recriminations within Russia came swiftly with blame placed at Zubov’s feet. His detractors charged Zubov with wasting money on projects in distant Asia and the America’s while in Russian power and influence in Europe was collapsing. News of a Zubov sponsored treaty with the hated Turk proved the last straw and he was soon dead. Evidently, he had beaten himself with a cane, stabbed himself six times, strangled himself, and then flung himself off the Lipkin bridge in what must have been one of the most extravagant suicides in history. A desperate Catherine, whose own legacy will not surely be tarnished, returned Potemkin to favor and he has set about trying to repair matters.
Left with no real choice, Potemkin has returned begun military preparations against the Commonwealth. Pytor Bagration, one of Russia’s best generals, has been given command of forces lining up to attack Lithuania. He finds himself confronted by Polish forces under the dashing Tadeusz Kosciuszko who until six months ago had been in French service and is an acknowledged master of defensive warfare. The main Russian army, aimed at Poland proper, is commanded by the best general Russia has to offer Alexander Suvorov. Against him stands an army under the command of Poniatowski the hero of the Ukraine. Poniatowski lacks Suvorov’s deep experience, but he’s no slouch. The final Russian army is still forming up, but is positioned for a thrust into the Ukraine and led by the able Mikhail Kutuzov. His Polish opposite, Jan Dabrowski, has never fought in a battle but he has served with the Commonwealth and Saxons in peacetime with some distinction.
On all fronts the Poles are outnumbered, but the army is confident that they enjoy an edge in training and morale is better and the quality of their officers and cannon higher. The presence of a substantial number of French officers in the staff, but also serving as commanders of individual units is another strength. Supplementing the regulars are a large number of volunteers who have formed militias that attack enemy foragers and scouts. Jakub Jasinski has been given overall command of these units and is busily whipping them into shape. Jasinski’s formal resume is sparse, but he’s widely believed to be the main organizer behind the Msciciele operations against the Karmazyni in Poland. This is not viewed favorably in the Sejm, but Kosciuszko, Poniatowski and Dabrowski all spoke up for him assuming the role, with all three threatening to resign if he was not appointed.
The biggest concern the Commonwealth has is what the Prussians and Austrians will do. Almost all of Poland’s strength is deployed against the Russians and if either Prussia or Austria intervene the Commonwealth’s will likely collapse. Fortunately, the Prussians seem interested in maintaining their alliance. Some within Berlin even favor sending aid to the Commonwealth. But another faction thinks the Commonwealth is doomed and that Prussia should make the best of things and grab what it can before the Russians do. The Austrian position meanwhile is a complete mess. Vienna’s friendship with Prussia, tied it indirectly to Poland, to the considerable disgust of Russia. The domestic troubles in Austria also weigh against the Emperor doing anything. There simply are not the troops available to intervene either way.
Russia therefore finds itself left out in the cold. It’s two most likely allies have either spurned it or are of no use. This has concerned Potemkin who would much rather prefer a short and sharp war to bring Poland to heel. Further complicating the Russian position is that most of the Karmazyni exiles have spurned Potemkin’s efforts to recruit them to the cause. In their eyes, it is one thing to accept Russian aid but quite another thing to invade their own country at the head of a Russian army. A number have even returned to the Commonwealth throwing themselves on the mercy of Malachowski who has welcomed them back and promised to restore their estates. If Malachowski could deliver on this promise, which is a hard sell in the Sejm, the rate of defections will only increase. The one group that is willing to fight with the Russians are Ukranian based magnates who have lost friends and family to the rebels.
Concurrently within the Commonwealth, a social revolution was also brewing. Some of this was driven by the new constitution. The new constitution allowed the free cities to elect members to the Sejm which included a few Jews and many German Protestants. The Protestants were bad enough, but the Jews caused a scandal. The free cities refused to budge on their choices and so, in what must have been a first in Europe, Jews sat in a legislative body with Gentiles. The new constitution also allowed for raising men to the nobility for extraordinary services to the state. The cash-strapped Sejm, naturally, set about monetizing this provision with considerable success. The upper house, which was free to set the rules for admitting new members, soon thereafter slammed the door shut on admitting so-called constitutional nobles. But few of the new nobles minded. The stuffy upper house held little attraction for them.
However, the two biggest changes were the end of noble privileges and the collapse of serfdom. Neither was intended. The constitution maintained many noble privileges and much of the burden of serfdom. The problem was that these carve outs were out of step with the broader promises of the constitution. The constitution promised equality under the law, but maintained that nobles could only be tried by members of their class. That and a hundred other contradictions came to a head in the months following passage of the constitution.
The free cities, newly empowered, began arresting and trying nobles in their courts. The nobles complained, of course, but stripped of their rights to use force to defend their privileges, they had no recourse but to accept the punishment while their appeals to the independent higher courts were resolved. In a hundred little clashes the remaining privileges of the nobility were curbed. The process was piecemeal, but the nobles are on the backfoot and most have accepted that the loss of what remains of their privileges is inevitable.
In the countryside, serfdom came unstuck by a similar process. The constitution had stripped the right of the nobility to punish their serfs and instead forced them to go to the courts. The serfs quickly realized that the courts could not hope to punish all of them. So all across the Commonwealth the serfs walked off the land. Some were caught, but as the peasants had guessed the courts proved incapable of policing the matter. Many others returned of their own free will having negotiated a better deal with their titular masters. Still, others left for the towns and cities which are now full to bursting point.
The most extreme changes however found in the Ukraine. The destruction or flight of the magnates created a power vacuum which the Ukranian peasants exploited to the fullest. What few estates the army failed to destroy, the peasants burned themselves. Satisfied, the peasants set about dividing the estates between themselves with each family receiving a parcel suitable for their needs. The army could have stopped matters but demurred because the Ukranian peasants began volunteering in large numbers to serve in Jasinski’s militia. Patriotism might have little meaning to the peasants, but they are keen to defend their newfound freedoms and land against the surviving magnates who are sure to return with the Russians.
The impeachment of Warren Hastings
Britain’s efforts were focused on Ireland. With disturbances in Armagh ongoing, the Thurlow Ministry called on leading members of Anglo-Irish Protestant Lords, ‘the Ascendancy’, to help restore order. To a man, the lords recommended the use of force to return peace and prosperity to Armagh, and to Ireland writ large. The regulars in Armagh soon ended the violence with sixteen dead, including women and children, and thirty wounded. This action was praised by the Protestant dominated Irish press as “a necessary and moral act” but soon turned into a cause celebre among Foxites in London, and reformers in Dublin, who turned the Armagh Massacre into a potent rhetorical cudgel with which to beat Thurlow. Nevertheless, the disturbances between the militia and the Catholics has been, for now, solved. The chief rabble rousers have however escaped capture and, it seems, dispersed throughout the island.
Thurlow’s success bought him plaudits from many. However, ever mindful of the vulnerability of his administration and worried about the potential for further violence, Thurlow made concessions to Irish Catholic sentiment by repealing the Penal Laws, initiating a government works program to build roads and civic buildings and passing a relief bill that ended the most arbitrary punishments against the Irish Catholics. However, Thurlow stopped well short of an emancipation bill for Ireland, which remains a deeply divisive issue in Westminster and is strenuously opposed by his chief patron, the King.
Parliament’s largesse in Ireland was considerable. Trinity College in Dublin saw a slew of new buildings constructed, named for the Prime Minister and the King. Unsurprisingly in security obsessed Ireland most effort was placed on the construction and improvement of courthouses, prisons, arsenals, barracks and walls. Workhouses were also rolled out to the delight of the Lords who used them as prisons for dissidents and the poor and benefited from the cheap labor. The most useful initiative in the eyes of the Lords was the improvement of the road network which helped them sell more goods and sped up the response of the army to any further disturbances.
In London, though Ireland did merit discussion in Parliament and the press, the trial of Warren Hastings elicited yet more interest. The case on paper was a simple one had Hastings, the Governor of Bengal, made himself wealthy through improper means. Hasting’s defenders held that his wealth was simply the result of his many successes and just reward for a man who had done so much to advance the EIC’s interests in India. But to his detractors Hastings was a murderous thug who had made great private profit for himself through corruption and theft. These detractors moreover maintained that the problem was not Hastings alone, but rather the entire institutional structure of the EIC. For them, what was needed, was not a conviction of Hastings but to bring the EIC under Parliament’s control.
The ablest voice for reform, and the driving force behind the prosecution, was none other than Fox. Understandably, given their political history, Thurlow soon became a strong supporter of Hastings. Hastings’ trial was therefore also a trial of the EIC and of Fox’s eloquence and Thurlow’s political pull. The guilty verdict for Hastings in late 1792 therefore had dramatic ramifications. Fox’s star rose while Thurlow’s weakened. The EIC found itself pushed to reform itself so damning were the revelations of the trial and the verdict. Hastings for his part was given a decade in prison and was stripped of much of his wealth, but with the backing of Thurlow’s friends appealed and was released on bail.
The Hastings trial proved to be too much for Thurlow. When it became clear that even intervention from the King would not save him, he decided to resign, rather than face an embarrassing vote of no confidence. A temporary caretaker government under the sickly Lord North has been formed. The mood in Parliament is that Fox is the man of the hour. The King, an implacable enemy of Fox and a great friend of Thurlow is said to be in a deep state of shock and fury, and there are concerns about his health. It is now widely rumored that the only reason North is Prime Minister, is that the King would not accept Fox. Fox meanwhile is rumored to be waiting for the King’s death and seems content for now to have North in power. Fortunately, for all, North, while old and ill, is well respected and the government remains in good hands at least until better ones can be found.
Across the Atlantic, the American colonies had their own trial to obsess over. John Hancock’s violation of the Sugar Act. Hancock’s entire legal defense, led by the lawyer John Adams, has attempted to avoid the question of smuggling entirely (an act which he most certainly committed), and has instead focused on the legality of the Sugar Act. Adam’s line is that Parliament cannot impose a tax on the American colonies because they enjoy representation in Parliament. Hancock’s detractors have countered by noting that the tax pays for the defense of the colonies against the French and that Parliament does listen to the colonies having already lowered the rate once since its implementation. Still, amongst the colonial elite, Hancock’s arguments have found favor with many seeing the Sugar Act as a gift to the West India Lobby.
As the trial nears a close, it seems that the court is sure to hand down a guilty verdict. Massachusetts’ Governor, Arthur Greene, has considered issuing a pardon for Hancock. He is said to be worried about potential rioting in Boston. This would however only encourage more smuggling and further undermine the Sugar Act, the revenue from which covers half the costs of maintaining the regulars in North America. Hardliners in Massachusetts, including Greene’s own Lieutenant Governor, have argued that this important revenue stream must be protected and have encouraged Greene to let Hancock to rot in jail and read the mob the Riot Act should they turn out in force.
In London, Parliament stands against Hancock and is worried that if he is allowed to go free the cost of protecting North America will again be borne wholly by the home islands. The West Indies Lobby adds an extra twist to this arguing that allowing Hancock to go free would undermine British sugar to the advantage of the French. Yet, a small but vocal opposition has formed around Charles James Fox, who has declared himself opposed to the Sugar Tax, He has found considerable support from the emancipationists outside of Parlaiemnt who see this as a chance to deal slavery a stinging blow, but, as yet, he enjoys little support for his views within Parliament. Many of his supporters see his support for Hancock as an embarrassment and an impediment to Fox becoming Prime Minister. None, so far, have convinced him to change his tune.
Long simmering tensions between the Siamese and their vassal the Sultan of Kedah almost came to blows. The Siamese incensed at the Sultan’s refusal to offer tribute threatened to mount an expedition to compel obedience. The British East India Company, encouraged by the profitability of its factory in George Town, sent a small fleet with a thousand men from Bengal to dissuade the Siamese. Sir Arthur Wellington, the general in command, was given orders to try and bait the Siamese into battle. His superiors, in a flight of extreme fantasy, thought this might pave the way for the conquest of the entirety of Siam.
Wellington soon disregarded his orders as grossly impractical. There was simply no means by which he could supply his forces. He also soon realized that his forces were inadequate to the task of checking the Siamese. Rather than fight, Wellington with the connivance of Hamilton instead paid the Siamese tribute on behalf of the Sultan. The Siamese accepted the tribute and went home. For his part, the Sultan counted himself lucky having restored his good relations with the Siamese King using someone else’s money.
In the aftermath, Wellington wrote a report that argued that military conflict with the Siamese was to be avoided at all costs. Even the small number of ships and troops he bought proved too much for Kedah to service. At great expense supplies had to be shipped in from Bengal to feed his men. Any military action of any size, in his view, could not hope to achieve much given the logistical constraints. Further efforts in the region should only proceed if adequate preparations had been made. None of this mattered, of course, because the Hasting’s trial and the political aftermath consumed all the EIC’s efforts.
With France’s financial situation precarious, Jacques Necker, the Genoean born Controller-General of Finances, ardent reformer and constitutional monarchist, convinced Louis XVI to convene the Estates General. Necker, a keen admirer of the English system of constitutional monarchy viewed the Estates General as a means by which the powerful could, when faced with the reality of France’s finances, vote to their taxes and abolish their privileges to save the nation. In his wilder imaginings, Necker saw such a process as a backdoor to a constitutional monarchy, although, of course, he told the King nothing of this.
The Estates when constituted proved amenable to reform. The problem for Necker was that his particular reforms proved unpopular. This was no surprise to him, the King had dictated what reforms Necker was to propose and these, in his view, were the only thing the Estates should discuss. The problem, of course, was that the King had not told the Estates they were so bound and even had he done so, it is not clear the Estates would have cared. So when the Estates began proposing their own reforms, Necker ever the pragmatist took the matter in his stride and with managed to hammer together a set of proposals which were agreeable to most and went some way towards fixing the country's finances.
The King’s proposals to increase the land tax, the taille, was dismissed out of hand. All agreed that such a move would have angered the peasants potentially with disastrous consequences. Instead, it was proposed that the rate should be lowered and applied equally across all land with no regard to location or owner. On this the clergy sided with the third estate. The nobility, which included reformers such as Louis Duke D’Orleans, saw how the wind was blowing and keen to demonstrate their patriotism, cut a deal. The deal required that the session be kept open and so the Second Estate appealed to the King not to dissolve the Estates. Louis XVI concerned at the pace of reform and worried that he was no longer in control had considered dismissing the estates but found himself swayed by the nobility and the time threat of resignation by Necker.
The King’s second proposed reform to direct church tithes to the crown proved more troublesome. The clergy were split. Reformers argued in support of surrendering their tithes, seeing it as a patriotic duty. Others, especially those from poorer parishes, argued against such a move noting that they relied upon the tithe to maintain their churches and help to the poor. A small, but vocal group, outright opposed attempts by the state to interfere with the church at all. The intervention by the Bishop of Autum, Talleyrand, on the side of the Reformers proved no help as opponents of the proposal quoted a book he had written some years before opposing just such a measure. Left at an impasse, Necker, who had never been comfortable with the idea to begin with, let the matter rest.
More reforms quickly followed as the Estates General grew more confident. The gabelle, the hated tax on salt, had its rate slash and now applied uniformly across the nation. The capitation, a head tax where the rate varied by rank, was reformed. The rate was reduced and loopholes in the tax were abolished. These last two proved popular but were opposed by Necker who felt that the fall off in revenue due to the lower rates, even with the expanded base and eliminated loopholes, would see revenue collapse. Other reforms followed but these had much less immediate effect: custom barriers were reduced and tax farming was to be abolished gradually. Most other matters, especially those touching on privileges, were referred to the provincial level where local assemblies had spontaneously formed themselves.
Necker was correct about a future revenue shortfall, but perception is what matters and the crown’s finances were seen by its creditors to have stabilized. The creditors seemed to have bet that any revenue shortfall could now be made up via new taxes voted for by the Estates. Assuming, of course, that is that the King consented to let it sit. The King abolished the customs barriers who divided the nation, against the wishes of the Estates General who worried that it would cause immiseration in some parts of the countryside and upset traditional industries in others, and appropriated for himself the tithes to the considerable annoyance of much of the Church. In the scheme of things neither action mattered, but it concerned the Estates General that the King would discount their deliberations.
The mood in France is hopeful, especially among the lower orders who have benefited most from the reforms. But the King is concerned that the Estates has become too independent and many at court agree. A push to dismiss the Estates has become popular at court, but the King has demurred for now fearful of the potential consequences. Necker, for his part, seems to have sided with the Estates and has indicated that if it were to be dismissed, he would resign. Some at court have suggested that Necker is the problem and that a stronger figure could bring the Estates to heel. However, Necker’s popularity with the Estates and France’s financiers have made him, for the moment, untouchable. The Estates, frustrated that the King would ignore their counsel, have not been idle either and have been developing behind closed doors plans of its own.
Abroad, French India found itself the recipient of considerable royal largesse. Pondicherry, the main settlement, saw the construction of new warehouses, civic buildings and a modern shipyard that was soon building vessels of its own. The footprint of the city itself was also expanded by the construction of a new wall while new outworks were constructed to protect the approaches to the town and the villages of the hinterland. The added availability of space within the walls and promises from the Governor of good treatment and low taxes lured a number of important merchants from other ports outside of French control. The interior also saw growth as people relocated to the relative safety of French territory lured by promises of free land and the provision of tools and animals to new settlers. Similar efforts were undertaken in other settlements under French control to less effect.
Efforts to bring Indians into the administration went nowhere as officials on the ground refused to do it. There was simply no way by which they could conceive of Indians being allowed any power within the territories of the company.
The crown also began a campaign to recruit more missionaries. This proved slow going with few willing to risk their lives in India and fewer still willing to learn the Indian languages that they need to be able to preach. While the matter is not hopeless and candidates were found, the fact is it takes three to five years of intense instruction and perhaps as long again to learn how to move among the Indians and win souls to Jesus Christ. It is estimated it will take a decade for there to be a real difference felt on the ground. Fortunately, the crown has provided funding that should see the effort through the remainder of the decade.
Perhaps the most exciting news from the Orient came from Versailles. Nguyen Anh, the rightful ruler of Vietnam, had finally accepted French aid to restore him to his throne in exchange for Vietnam becoming a protectorate. Paris had promised huge amounts of aid, a veritable fleet of ships, a sizeable army and considerable silver. In practice, this proved wildly ambitious with the most overstretched French India could provide was a handful of ships, a thousand soldiers, some cannon and silver.
Anh had also used his time in exile well. To the French troops, he added Chinese pirates, Nguyen loyalists, Siamese soldiers and mercenaries, including a number of Portuguese, English and Spanish soldiers, he hired using French silver. The full extent of his allies only became apparent when Anh landed in Cochinchina. The French soon found themselves a small, but important, component of the army that seized Cochinchina and re-established the Nyugen dynasty in its traditional southern homeland.
The Tay Son King, Cảnh Thịnh, found himself completely caught off guard but has begun to marshall his forces in Hue in a desperate bid to save his throne. The French on the ground realize that compelling Nguyen to become a protectorate are likely now dead in the water, and have contemplated what to do from here. They are of two minds: some favor continuing to help Anh despite the apparent deception, while others favor cutting their losses and abandoning Anh to his fate.
Under pressure from the Hague, the Dutch East Indies Company has been pushed to reform. The first and most important was an increase in pay was given to officials throughout the company in an effort to reduce corruption. This seems to have had some success with the extra costs likely to be offset by reduced graft.
An effort to reduce the dividend has stalled. Tens of thousands depend on the dividend for their livelihoods. Investment in it is the favored means of well to do orphans, widows and the aged to keep themselves fed and sheltered. These are the human face of the dividend. But the real obstacle was that the wealthiest including many in power held shares in the VOC and had no desire to fleece their own pocket. Besides, the VOC was still in good financial health. It certainly wasn’t what it had been, but few saw any reason to change.
The success of some of the other reforms carried out by the VOC helped to undermine the case further. Efforts to grow opium in Java proved successful and the Dutch found a good market in China to the considerable annoyance of the East India Company who did not appreciate the competition and who have taken to menacing Dutch ships found near China. So far the two have not come to blows. But there is a long and bitter history of violence between the two companies with only luck having stopped the two coming to blows already. One thing that was overlooked in the scheme was the size of the regional opium market. Chinese throughout the Malay Archipelago account for almost half of total sales. The domestic opium monopoly meanwhile has proven to be hugely lucrative.
The VOC also pushed reforms in agriculture. The long standing ban against Chinese being allowed to operate in the countryside was lifted. The VOC’s ban was based on sound reasons. The Javanese peasants could not help going into debt with the Chinese merchants who offered easy credit and ruinous interest. The VOC’s opposition to this had nothing to do with the welfare of the peasants, and everything to do with the fact that the peasants, if pressed too hard, were apt to rebel. Nevertheless, the VOC was prepared to swallow this because the Chinese know how to get the peasants to produce and get the goods to market for transshipment. The reform has proven a huge success with revenues increasing hand over first.
The Burgundians have spent a decade hunting for a suitable bride for their heir. To their considerable fortune, the Emperor’s younger brother, Archduke Ferdinand, had a daughter of the right age and a desire to marry into a royal family; Maria Leopoldine. No time was to be wasted, and the Princess was brought to Brussels for a lavish ceremony. In Burgundy the marriage was seen as a coup. The daughter of a German duke would have been seen as a victory, but an imperial princess was beyond their wildest expectations.
The Princess had been raised in Milan and was considerably more Italian than German in her temperament and attitude, to the approval of the burghers who detested the German courtiers. Her faultless French, intelligence, culture and gaiety making her a good fit for the court. Her genuine affection for her husband was also viewed with considerable approval, and the people of Burgundy were quite pleased with the match. With wit and charm, Maria had subdued a people who her uncle failed to with cannon and horse. Her first child, a prince named Louis (or Ludwig, as he is known to the Germans at court), caused celebrations that lasted for nearly a week.
Burgundian efforts to influence princes surrounding it have yielded little. The Holy Roman Empire guarantees their independence and safety and they see little benefit in drawing closer to Burgundy. Orders to survey facilities at Bruges similarly failed, with engineers seeing no possibility of returning sea access to the city. They used what money they were given to improve Burgundy’s already excellent roads, a project completed in 1792.
While the world burns, Austria makes music.
Holy Roman Empire
At a stroke of a pen, it seemed the Emperor ended his confrontation with Rome. The Pope was willing to sell his spiritual power to better maintain his temporal power in Italy by acquiring a great power as a patron. The Emperor proved happy to oblige and asked only that the Papacy use its influence to calm tensions in the Empire, especially in Bavaria.
Instead, what unfolded was a stunning piece of diplomatic duplicity as the Pope signed an alliance with France and then used his influence to attack Naples and the sister of the Emperor, Queen Maria Carolina. This has caused dismay in Vienna which given its current troubles can no longer afford to be at loggerheads with the Church.
With the failure to secure the Pope as an ally for both his foreign and domestic agenda, the Emperor decided that boldness, if not audacity, would be needed to ensure the security of the empire’s position. Through sheer force of will upon his detractors at court, the Emperor and his diplomats secured two significant, if controversial, agreements.
The Burgundian marriage already discussed above was one of these events. The fact of marrying an imperial princess to a bastard proved contentious. But that soon passed as it became clear that the Emperor had secured Burgundy as a potential ally against France. However, this effort could fall over if the Austrians don’t support Burgundy’s efforts to open the Scheldt to traffic.
The other agreement was with the Habsburgs long standing enemy, Prussia. The Emperor had long wished to push his enlightened policies upon the princes of the Empire, but had refrained from doing so, fearing that Prussia might exploit tensions and entice conservative princes into communion with Berlin. But he would have little to fear if Prussia was on the side of reform. An agreement seemed to be struck; the King in Prussia would change his title to King of Prussia and, in turn, Prussia would rebuff any efforts to make it lead an anti-Habsburg coalition in the Reichstag.
With Burgundy and Prussia onside, the Emperor entered the Imperial Diet at Regensburg confident the princes would acquiesce to his push for reform. The goal was to pass religious emancipation laws mimicking those implemented within the Habsburg empire. He found limited support from a handful of reformers and from those who were particularly eager for Austrian favor, especially the Duke of Württemberg, Charles Eugene.
Already known for his enlightened tendencies, the Duke became the leader of the Austrian party, lobbying for the support of the reform. His support caused a few southern princes to vote towards reform; in opposition was the Margrave of Baden and the Archbishop of Trier. Partially because of his disinclination to both the reform and to imperial overreach, and partially out of fear of the growing influence of Württemberg (rumors indicated Württemberg was to be made an electorate), the Margrave counseled the princes to reject the Emperor’s proposal. Joseph had hoped Prussian support would have forced the princes to acquiesce, but while the Prussians did agree to vote for the reform, they did not lobby for it, which relieved some of the pressure from the opposition.
Because the Reichstag required unanimous consent, and it was clear there was none forthcoming, it was left to the individual princes to take stock of the situation and decide what to do. Most decided, on the whole, they did not like the reform, nor the idea of being dictated to on internal matters by the Emperor. Joseph had to be satisfied with the few that chose to adopt the proposed reforms. As he left Regensburg, Joseph and his advisors were already plotting their next move, as were the princes in the opposition.
In Bavaria, the Emperor pursued a policy of appeasement, prioritizing reconciliation with his German-speaking territories. He intended to integrate Bavaria as a core territory to the Habsburg Empire, and used incentives in the form of positions and patronage to win over the Bavarian nobility. Liberals, though quite few in number, were naturally attracted to the Emperor’s policies while some of the poorer nobles entered the imperial service. But most refused to cooperate. The real issue, of course, has nothing to do with Joseph’s reforms, which are widely reviled, but rather more to do with the fact that Bavaria has always been independent and detests being told what to do by Vienna. The view is so pervasive among the Bavarians that the secret police are of the view that they cannot be trusted in imperial service and have placed those few who serve under close watch.
In Hungary, relations between the Emperor and the nobility, never having been truly amicable, are close to breaking. Frustrated at the attempts by the Hungarian nobility to stymie his reforms, Emperor Joseph ordered the army into Hungary. The largest contingent of the Imperial Army has occupied Budapest, while the rest of the army is stationed throughout rebuilt and reinforced strong points throughout Hungary. The Hungarians for their part have responded with outrage. Secret societies eager to reassert Hungarian independence have grown in number and size, many Hungarians in imperial service have resigned, and there is now open talk of armed insurrection. There is considerable concern in the army that should matters come to a head the Hungarian regiments will defect to the rebels and that Vienna’s forces will lack the strength to deal with an uprising.
The only thing that kept the situation from violence is that many of the powerful magnates have refused to get involved. Loyalist sentiments (to the imperial throne at least, if not this emperor in particular), Germanophilia, and fear of the chaos a revolt would bring have the magnates preferring a political settlement. A few have sent representatives to Vienna, encouraging the Emperor to roll back his reforms within Hungary, issue pardons to those involved in the conspiracies, withdraw Austrian troops, return the crown of Saint Stephen, and call the Hungarian parliament back into session.
The court at Vienna has taken a sympathetic view to the magnate's position, and there is considerable pressure on the Emperor to accede to their demands, lest Hungary rise up in revolt. This reconciliation position has gained strength as the Bavarian situation continues to be tenuous; after all, they say, why reward disloyal Bavaria and punish loyal Hungary? The Emperor’s reformist advisors though believe reconciliation would be a disastrous capitulation and could put the Emperor’s entire legacy in jeopardy.
Despite all the tension in the empire, Vienna presses on. The Emperor, determined to reform the shambles of the Austrian administration, tapped Karl von Zinzendorf fresh from reforming the imperial finances to lead the effort. Zinzendorf was tasked with centralizing and improving the efficiency of the bureaucracy, which proved to be rather difficult under the circumstances. The Hungarians blatantly were ignoring orders from Vienna at this point, the Bohemians and Croats proved resistant, and the Bavarians ungrateful. But von Zinzendorf pressed on; regulations were updated, promotions were to be based on merit, departments were created, disbanded, or reorganized. Naturally the reforms have so far been quite unpopular with the rank and file and the bureaucracy itself is now stretched thin almost to a breaking point. But von Zinzendorf has promised the Emperor that by the end of the decade, the entirely of the Habsburg domains would see the most effective administration the world will ever know.
Thankfully to distract the Viennese nobility from the chaos in the empire has been perhaps the greatest few years of music the city has ever seen. Huge sums have been spent both by the Emperor and private individuals, acting as a siren call for Europe’s greatest. Haydn returned from London, and three of his symphonies debuted in Vienna. Mozart and Salieri (one of the empire’s most important non-German composers) debuted two operas each; Mozart leaned into the Germanophilia of the Emperor by ordering his around two great moments of German story, the relief of the Siege of Vienna and the Legend of Siegfried.
Though the Emperor was the most important patron, many Viennese nobles also saw fit to sponsor operas and symphonies to further their personal prestige. Of particular note was Gottfried van Swieten, whose patronage of Ludwig-Wilhelm Tepper de Ferguson and Antonín Vranický led to some incredible compositions. The music scene of Vienna has become so important to court life that nobles are spending sums not only on established composers, but also on students showing great promise, in hopes that they might identify the next Mozart or Hadyn, and bask in the glory and acclaim the music would earn.
Since its defeat in the Five Years War, Prussia has found itself mostly sidelined in imperial politics due to the Emperor’s hostility. However, with his desire to expand his Enlightenment ideals throughout the vassal princes of the Empire, Vienna saw Berlin as a natural ally. After all, Prussia’s Frederick was an enlightened absolutist, and if both Prussia and the Emperor were pushing Enlightenment policies, who would the petty princes be to argue? Frederick William was further enticed by the granting of the title King of Prussia, rather than the King in Prussia, which was so meager a reward it hurt Berlin’s prestige.
The idea the King pursued was that Prussia was to be a second center of gravity within imperial politics, though specifically they were not to be anti-Austrian. In practice, this essentially meant pro-Austrian or neutral, and Prussian influence was barely felt. Most of the smaller anti-Austrian princes allied around Trier and Baden, the pro-Austrian princes rallied to the Emperor, and the neutral princes allowed themselves to be wooed, content to trade favors and support. The princes felt that Prussia was in that last category, standing for nothing but the advancement of Prussia’s narrow interests. At the end of the Regensburg Diet of 1792, Prussian diplomats reported the policy had been a complete disaster, with Prussian influence within the empire at a nadir.
The court at Berlin has regarded the entire agreement with Austria as a confusing debacle. Perhaps it would make sense if the two were allied to partition Poland, but it made little sense considering that Prussia renewed its alliance with the Commonwealth in 1791. Prussia’s ministers recognize that if it is unable to expand, it will never be able to stand toe to toe with Europe’s great powers as it did during the War of the Austrian Succession, and the King’s diplomacy has closed two of its three realistic possibilities for expansion. Whispers at court believe that it is only a matter of time before one of these rapprochements gives way to renewed hostility.
The news of Prussia’s new detente with the Emperor has caused concern in Dresden as well. The Saxon Elector aligned with Prussia in fear of the Emperor’s power; if Prussia was to be working with the Emperor, what was the purpose of their defection, they asked? Prussian diplomats worked to assauge their concerns as best they could, but lost ground when the extent of the Emperor’s overreach in Regensburg became clear. The Saxons have settled into sullen resentment, bitter at how Berlin has handled VIenna.
While its diplomats attempted to consolidate Prussia’s position abroad, its ministers attempted to put Prussian finances on a solid footing. Friedrich Ernst von Bülow was given the task. His first order of business was to create a new finance ministry that would control all fiscal matters, from taxation policy to spending, within the kingdom, answerable only to the King himself. Once in control of the budget, Bülow made a move to tackle Prussia’s debt, focusing on paying off some of the highest interest loans first and controlling government spending. By the end of 1792, while the debt is still significant there is a growing confidence in Prussian finances. Bülow was able to negotiate Dutch banks to offer new bonds at half a percent lower in interest than they did in 1790: an incredible triumph. There has been some discussions of improving the Prussian tax farming scheme, with some proposals finding their way to Bülow’s desk. If things continue as they are now, Prussia should enter the new century in excellent fiscal shape.
Denmark-Norway focused on expanding its presence on the Gold Coast. This proved a thankless task with the new factories constructed at great expense in gold and men. Efforts to leverage these into a larger share of the slave trade foundered. The Danes are simply too weak to make gains at the expense of the other European powers.
The disappointment abroad was soon lost in an all consuming interest in promoting Crown Prince Frederick’s case for the Swedish throne. To improve his odds, the Crown Prince has been pushing his ministers to find him a bride with Prussia, Russia or Sweden the preferred candidates. A good choice would be sure to improve his chances of acceptance if the Swedes opt for choosing a new King.
The Swedish Civil War has consumed all the attention in the kingdom.
The Spanish nobility find themselves once more ascendant
After a full year of exercising the power of the throne, Queen Maria Luisa was growing bolder and more confident to champion Godoy and the conservative nobles. While Floridablanca detested the idea, he realized that for his reforms to continue he would need to appease the Queen and those who had her ear. It was a humiliation to be sure for the minister who steered the Spanish kingdom for years, but he wisely decided to seek Godoy’s counsel. With honeyed words he got Godoy to agree to affect a reconciliation between himself and the Queen. Godoy’s conditions were onerous, Floridablanca would be required to consult him in all things. The veteran politician knew that were he to refuse his career would be over and with no choice was forced to agree. In closed meetings, Floridablanca threw himself on the Queen’s mercy and was saved.
This inaugurated the so-called ‘Queen’s cabinet’ period. Initially, an informal meeting of ministers, led by Floridablanca and other favorites of the Queen, it soon became the government as the King content that the government was now in good hands devoted himself exclusively to hunting. This new cabinet took on a conservative caste as Godoy stacked its membership. Floridablanca remained in the cabinet as did most of his allies but with little effective power.
The cabinet’s first order of business was patching relations with the aristocracy who Charles III had alienated. The ban on bullfighting and the chambergos were lifted. The effect was instant with the King and Queen greeted with thunderous applause as they opened the first legally sanctioned bullfight in Madrid. It is a testament to Floridablanca’s political skill that he only gave ground on symbols, but on the more weighty matter of economic reform, he held firm.
In a bid to make these reforms more palatable to the conservatives, he ‘rediscovered’ the economic reformers of the School of Salamanca. Nobody was particularly fooled, but Flordiablanced’s establishment of new chairs at several Spanish universities focused on ‘practical matters’ was not seen as a threat. Efforts to attract aristocratic students to the new course foundered on indifference, especially when it became clear that those most interested in the new science were merchants. New schools for civil servants in major cities proved more successful at attracting nobleman eager to take up sinecures in the civil service. Some, it must be said, paid attention and learned some new things, but those were few and far between. Wine and women being rather more popular pursuits.
The greater progress was to be found among existing civil servants. Some middling administrators have taken to articulating a vision of ‘conservative reform’ which embraces some liberal ideas, but requires that they be embraced in a slow, cautious manner. It is a far cry from the breakneck pace that Charles III had implemented, but at the very least, reforms are still proceeding and this time, with a broader base of support.
Overseas, the Spanish Philippines saw activity on the island of Mindanao, with the local governor overseeing the construction of a number of new walled towns to better protect the natives under Spanish protection. In a missive to Madrid, the governor noted the good progress being made, and indicated that with the allocation of funds for troops and ships, he would be able to launch punitive campaigns against the Moros.
As Prince João began assume more powers, he laid out an ambitious program to revitalize the kingdom. First stop was to improve the road network whose poor quality was known across Europe. At huge cost, laborers went to work metalling roads, expanding narrow roads running through mountains and hills, raising new bridges and improving drainage. The project has delighted nobles and commoners alike. It will take a decade before the project is completed with current levels of funding, but when complete, Portugal will have the finest roads in Europe to the considerable benefit of her domestic economy.
Aside from the construction of the roads themselves, Prince João also began a minor reform of the Portuguese bureaucracy. He tapped a long time servant to the crown, João Carlos de Bragança, Duke de Lafões to reform the roads bureau. Lafões was an old government hand and knew that even honest men end up dishonest. To address this he cleaned house, raised wages, and selected men who were free of vices and married to modest women. The reforms seem to have worked with the road project under budget and on schedule. Lafões’s slow, measured and focused approach has become a case study for reformers in Portugal.
Across the Atlantic, attention was lavished on Portugal’s most important possession, Brazil. Perhaps seeing in the tension between the Peninsulars and the Creoles in Spanish America a portent of their own future, the Portuguese court began improving on the ties of Her Majesty’s subjects in Brazil. The first step was the appointment to viceroy of the Marquis de Leiria, a former partisan of Pombal who was out of favor at court due to his liberal ideas. Leiria proved an able reformer. He appointed educated Brazilians to the government and militias. New urban assemblies open to men of property were created. A viceregal council comprised of appointed delegates began advising the governor. At the stroke of a pen, the Viceroy built for the crown (and himself) a sizeable number of dependents.
The men raised up by these reforms became known as Janeirostos, for the city most of them hailed from, mixed a firm commitment to enlightenment thought with a self-consciously Portuguese identity and loyalty to the crown mediated through Leiria. Some of the bolder Janeriostos encouraged the idea that Brazil should soon be elevated from a colony to a part of the metropole, with all the benefits and liberties that would entail.
Leira’s work has caused horror in conservative circles in Lisbon. They fear that the Brazilians might if disappointed turn against the crown and rebel. The old system for all its flaws kept the reins of power firmly in Portuguese hands. The new system meant that a large part of the militia, the towns and much of the government was under Brazilian hands. So long as the Brazilians were loyal, these conservatives contended things were fine; but over time they would make ever greater demands until exasperated and would then rebel. And then the difference in strength between Portugal and Brazil would make it impossible for the former to reclaim the latter.
Unsurprisingly, efforts to recall Leira, reverse his reforms and sideline Prince João have been gathering strength. The main avenue for this has been Leira’s push for a royal review of conditions in Brazil. Conservatives have supported this and attempted to stack the emissaries and manipulate the terms of reference. Reformers have meanwhile tried to block these. Nevertheless, as one well placed foreign observer has noted “forces such as these, once unleashed, make it impossible to put things back to how they once were”.
Though Prince João’s regency has started well, there has been one incident that caused him considerable embarrassment. An Italian conman, a certain Count Gregorio di Gregorio, arrived at court with the most fantastic story. The Count it transpired had been sold a map of a land rich in gold and Indians located to the north of Spanish California. This map he said had been given to him by the descendent of one of Pizzaro’s men. This man had at the behest of the great Pizzaro attempted to find El Dorado and had succeeded! But to the man’s considerable misfortune his fellows had dismissed his stories as the ravings of a lunatic. With broken health he had entrusted it to his son to prove him right, who, in turn, entrusted it to his son and so on and so on until the last of this man’s line had given the map to the good Count on condition he name the new land for his great-great-great grandfather.
The Count, who was it transpired an adventurer in the mold of Pizzaro, had at once embarked passage for the Americas and after a dangerous journey had arrived in California. There he purchased a small boat crewed by Indians and sailed north. After a year of sailing, the Count reached this land, which he named Terre de Gregeorio in his own honor, and found that it was a land so rich in gold that entire houses were covered in it, with Indians so numerous he thought he had landed in China! To the Count’s good fortune his gracious bearing, fine dress and courtly manners saw the native Emperor take him as a confidant and he was soon offered the daughter of the Emperor for a wife who came with sizeable dowry.
This dowry, however, was the Count’s downfall for the Emperor soon died and the new Emperor, the brother to the previous emperor, was jealous that the Count had been given a quarter of the Empire to rule as his personal fief! In a jealous fit, the new Emperor illegally deprived the Count of his land and tried to kill him. The Count, aware of the plot, fled to the coast and escaped with only a small amount of gold (which he, of course, showed to all and sundry) and a map showing the extent of his lawful domain (which he also showed to anyone who cared to look). After many misadventures, the Count had arrived in Lisbon enroute to Madrid where he intended to ask his sovereign, the King of Spain, for help recovering his property in exchange for considerable riches.
Prince João found the count perfectly charming and suggested that perhaps the count need look no further than the court in Lisbon for aid. The Count agreed with the idea and immediately set to selling parcels of land and Indian laborers to the eager court. With this money, the Count hired ships, soldiers, settlers and purchased ample supplies. The fleet was close to sailing when the Count vanished. It took the court a week to figure out that they had been cheated. That was just as well because the ships had they sailed would have been at sea for eighteen months only to arrive in a land that the Portuguese, a people of baking summers and warm winters, would have had no idea how to farm. This was quite apart from the fact that farming was beneath most everyone. Emigrants to Brazil gave up any notion of farming the moment they arrived. Why would you farm, when you could be an overseer and get paid to watch slaves doing the work instead?
The not-Count’s escape was aided by the fact that all the affected parties were embarrassed and keen to put the matter behind them. All that effort wasn’t wasted, the ships were soon transporting indigent emigrants to Brazil while the supplies helped ensure that those arriving in their new home had something to their name. The scheme proved popular and helped clean up the cities and countryside of the floating class who all agree exist only to beg and steal to the detriment of everyone. The Brazilians for their part were less than impressed with the quality of the emigrants being dumped on them but soon had them working in productive tasks.
In an effort to expand the city’s merchant marine, the Doge began constructing new vessels to be leased out. The expansion made little difference to the city’s coffers. Shipping is not the most profitable of industries and it will take time for the state to so much as break even. The effort to use the program to gain favor amongst the city’s elites also generally failed, with few interested in the program. But it is something that at the very least shows the Venetians are willing to try to reverse the city’s decline.
Ships were not the Doges only focus. In a bold bid to revitalize the city’s declining political scene, he tried to expand suffrage to those citizens who owned property, if not pedigree. The old families who constituted Venice’s narrow political class naturally opposed the move and the reform proposal died in the Council of Ten.
The problem was that the idea was popular beyond all expectations with the commoners. Two factors explain the rapid radicalization of the lower order. The first was the popularity of Genoese pamphlets which attacked the Sardinian monarchy in graphic terms and, increasingly, Venice’s own deeply unrepresentative government. The second was the translation of the works of the radical Pole, Hugo Kollataj, in Genoa. Kollataj proved to be especially popular because many saw in the sufferings of the Commonwealth the sufferings of their own city.
The citizens took to protesting, demanding a voice in the government. When their protests made no progress, they began organizing. Democracy clubs, modeled on those in Poland, have begun to spring up, new neighborhood councils have been created, and petitions demanding reforms have begun to be circulated. The reforms demanded vary considerably. The moderate end of the demands simply wants all those who own property to be admitted to the Great Council; at the extreme end, there are those who demand that all citizens should be able to vote to fill the offices.
The political class has begun to panic, unsure of what to do. Some have argued for meeting the moderate demands to head off further unrest while others have suggested that the Venetian army might be bought in to restore calm. There exists no firm view either way in the Great Council, the Doge is said to favor passing moderate reforms while the Council of Ten is inclined, although not unanimously, towards taking a hard-line. For its part, the citizenry is becoming more inclined towards the radical views with each passing minute. Many are already indicating that they will continue to agitate, even if a property qualification is introduced. The situation is delicate, but so far violence has been avoided.
Gatherings in salons have become quite popular in Genoa
While Venice attempted to revitalize its city commercially, Genoa’s leaders saw a cultural renaissance as the key to reversing their fortunes. Considerable sums, both public and private, were spent on theaters, art commissions, and operas. Though the art scene of Genoa was not nearly as prestigious within Italy as that of Rome or Naples, all but the most successful artists in Italy made their way to do some work in Genoa. Of considerable note is the Teatro Lomellini, done in the Rococo style, which finished in late 1792. The first concert to be held there is the premier of a new piece by Felice Giardini who after suffering financial difficulties in Naples has found a new home in Genoa.
It was not only artists that saw patrons though. A few philosophers and political free-thinkers also found themselves attracted to the salons of Genoa, where they were free to speak and write without fear of censorship or worse. It particularly attracted free-thinkers from Sardinia, whose king’s anti-enlightenment ideology drove them from city and court; and from Genoa, they wrote both serious pamphlets and amusing ditties mocking and attacking the Sardinian king, to the outrage of Savoy. It led to a minor political crisis, initially eliciting mild amusement of Genoa’s elite that turned to concern that the Sardinian ambassador seemingly intended to use the incident to push Sardinia into war with Genoa; something that was further mocked by the Genoan press.
Aside from attacks on the Sardinian king, the discussion of enlightenment ideas has led to Genoa’s political class to push through reforms to the legal code and administration along modern lines. This has made the state more responsive and effective which has proven popular with the people. Efforts to democratise the Republic have gone nowhere despite the best efforts of the intelligentsia. Absent external threat, as in Poland, or internal pressure, like in Venice, the elite see no need to relinquish their power. Some among the intelligentsia have begun to reach out to the lower classes to try and create some momentum for reform. But, as yet, their efforts have borne little fruit.
While the coffee houses and the presses have never been busier, the city itself has not fully recovered its fortunes by any stretch. Still, there are now some new signs of life, as if the city is beginning to shake off some of its dust, and Genoa may see some of its former glory return, so long as yet another foreign army does not occupy the city once more.
Sardinia found itself consumed by a witch hunt directed against opponents of the King. The King stung by insults in the Genosese press has launched a vicious campaign an imagined conspiracy to overthrow his rule and institute a republic. The evidence for this conspiracy is sparse and based on confessions elicited through torture. Few in Sardinia believe the charges, but that has not dissuaded the King who now has almost two hundred plotters locked up, with half of those sentenced to death, and with perhaps two times that fled to Genoa ahead of their arrests. In an even more worrying sign for Genoa, the King has increased the size of the Sardinian army by half while the Sardinian ambassador has tried repeatedly to provoke the Genoese into war. It seems that Northern Italy may soon see a war.
The Pope for all his spiritual importance is also a temporal ruler and the politics of the Italian Peninsula can never be far from his mind. With the Papacy’s traditional alliance with the Emperor strained, Pius VI began to see what Paris could offer him. Before Pius could make a decision, the Austrians came to him with a deal. The Austrians it seemed wished to patch up relations to try and head off at least one of their domestic issues. Pius was receptive, but the Curia which hated Joseph opposed reconciliation. Instead, the Curia championed a deal with France which offered much the same rewards with the added bonus that Paris had held no territory in Italy and, moreover, had remained faithful to the Church, unlike Vienna. Pius faced with the backlash, and with the better French deal in hand, sided with Paris.
With a French alliance secured and promises of French aid, Pius set about attempting to get his wayward vassal, Naples, to pay its debts to Rome. The Pope’s preferred method was to support the Spanish party in the hopes of propelling them into power whereupon they would, out of gratitude, settle Naples debts. The Spanish party welcomed the aid, but the Pope had neglected to ask if the Spanish party had any intention of doing what he wanted. The Curia for its part thought the chance an outside one at best. The French for their part did nothing to help the Pope and the alliance with France proved useless unless the Pope resolved on war. The Pope’s campaign, therefore, proved something of a damp squib.
The Neapolitan side saw things with slightly different eyes than the Curia. The Papacy had long been aligned with Austria, much as Naples had been. Switching horses to France put the cat amongst the pigeons and the startled Neopolitans found themselves willing to negotiate. The problem was that Papacy had no desire to negotiate, preferring instead to threaten. This outraged the King to such a degree that the Queen, who was angry over the Pope’s betrayal of her brother, managed to convince her husband to outright refuse to consider terms.
With the crown’s refusal to consider his proposal the Pope took matters into his own hands. The Spanish party, long suffering under the Queen’s centralization drive, saw the arrival of Papal diplomats (and accompanying funding) as a welcome boost to their cause. They paid some lip service to Rome, but it was clear their actual goal was to end the British and Austrian hold over the country via Acton and the Queen, and to return once more to Spain’s embrace.
In response to the Spanish party’s growing boldness, Maria Carolina founded a police apparatus. Naples was subdivided into twelve police wards each headed by a commissioner answerable to the Queen. The police were bolstered by the Queen’s expansion of her own network of informers and spies. It is rumored the Queen has a list of enemies who she believes are plotting against the throne.
The problem is the Queen has bad relations with rather a lot of people. Acton, for one, is concerned that some of his allies are on the list and has been arguing rather forcefully to the King that the Queen has overstepped her bounds and that her policies while satisfying will bring disaster on the country. The King has tended to agree with Acton and while usually indulgent of his wife is worried that it is she and not he who rules. Acton has suggested that while the pro-Austrian and British course does not need to be reversed, nor should the modernizing efforts, it is clear that Rome needs to be mollified. His proposal is that while tribute would not be paid, Church properties will be restored to it and it will be allowed to run schools in Naples once more.
With the securing of the Commonwealth’s throne for House Bourbon, there is now the understanding that the King’s nephews, Louis Antoine and Charles Ferdinand, must make advantageous matches to further the Commonwealth’s security. Princess Augusta of Prussia, has become a frontrunner. The King himself is partial to a marriage to a fellow Bourbon either from the Spanish or Neapolitan branches. This has found little favour with the Sejm who see no value in that. The Sejm however would be willing to trade such a match if the King could induce France to sign an alliance in concert with Prussia. The Sejm sees the Austro-Prussian rapprochement as a joke and that view holds some water with the Prussians.
In the Balkans, Russia built links with their co-religionists, to the utter hatred of the Ottoman authorities. The results proved mixed. Efforts to promote commercial ties foundered. Much trade was in Muslim or Jewish hands and those merchants who were Orthodox, such as the Greek Phanariotes, knew that their livelihoods dependend on Ottoman goodwill and refused to deal with the Russians. Those few who did take an interest in the Russians stopped were intimidated by the Ottomans as soon as the Russians left.
In the 1760s, the Russians had induced the Greeks in Morea to rise. This rising had failed but the idea had stuck around and some among the Russians set about replicating the experiment. This was contrary to their orders but who was going to stop them? Thus was it that Russian gold and arms found itself being funneled to the Greek klephts. The Klephts, little better than bandits, were locked in a constant low level struggle with the Ottoman authorities and in exchange for arms and gold were quite prepared to promise to rise in support of a Russian invasion. Lacking evidence of direct Russian involved the Ottomans can only fume and move in troops to deal with the issue.
Zubov’s eastern policy stands discredited with his death, but the man’s legacy fin the east deserves some consideration. Zubov was nothing if not ambitious. He hoped to make Russia a power in the Pacific. With Russian power so established, he hoped to force open China’s ports to Russian shipping, to open up Russian trade Americas and open up huge new territories for settlement in North America. None of this eventuated, of course, but Zubov did try his best to bring it about before his extraordinary suicide.
To build the ships needed for all this Zubov expanded Okhotsk. But rather than be content with Okhotsk, whose harbor was poor, he dispatched an expedition to find an alternative. The expedition identified a bay some three hundred miles to the south as a promising candidate. The new settlement, Zubovburg, was soon populated with prisoners who set about building the town.
The Russian navy was told to dispatch some of its Baltic Sea vessels to the Pacific (the Russian Pacific Flotilla being limited to some small schooners) but demurred citing the distance. Not to be dissuaded, Zubov resolved to build ships in the East and demanded that the shipyards at Okhotsk and Zubovburg be expanded to build larger vessels. Zubov died before work could start and just as well because nobody was quite sure where the people needed to construct the new facilities and ships would have come from. The navy for its part was thankful. They had no desire to waste money in the Pacific and few wanted to serve there in any case. Being sent to the Russian Pacific Flotilla was viewed as a serious punishment.
The real beneficiaries of all this effort were the fur traders who were forced to amalgamate under imperial command into the Russian American Company. With the injection of fresh capital and the availability of new shipyards, Russian tonnage expanded significantly. In exchange for this aid, Zubov demand that the company should promote settlement in North America to claim territory for Russia. This went nowhere. The Russian Pacific was chronically short of people and nobody was much interested in eking out a desperate existence as a farmer in a land full of hostile natives, especially when the alternative was much more lucrative employ in the fur trade. There a man with no skills could in a few short years make a fortune and set himself up in relative comfort in European Russia with a pretty bride and enough land to hire his help. Those few settlements that were settled functioned as winter quarters for the fur traders allowing them to range further south.
Zubov in another flight of fancy saw the Durrani Empire as a natural first step into India. A Russian ambassador, laden with gifts and cash, arrived at the Durrani court in Kabul, where he was warmly welcomed by the Emperor. However, the splendor of the Durrani court soon hid a rotten core. The empire is in terminal decline, with the Emperor’s health failing, the Sikhs rebelling and his forty-five sons (!) openly preparing for civil war. The Russians proved popular with the Emperor’s sons who perceived in them a potential ally. The Russian ambassador for his part spoke with many princes and identified a few that might be worth sponsoring, as well as powerful chieftains whose friendship Russia should cultivate. However, he had no hope that the Empire would control any territory in India before long. Still, influence in Afghanistan is an end in itself, and with a continued investment of time and money (as well as being sure to back the right horse, so to speak), the Russians may end up a privileged friend.
Russia’s ambassadors had exchanged gifts and pleasantries with representatives of the Shogun but it had been made clear to them that the Japanese had no intention to allow their ships to trade with Japan. The Japanese offered their own gifts of silk and porcelain but rebuffed efforts by the Russians to establish a permanent presence and went on to note that they saw no particular point in continuing further discussions with the Russians. The Russians chastised returned home. Besides, good news from China more than made up for the disappointment felt in Japan. The Russian American Company has proven for a variety of reasons able to deliver a consistently higher quality product to China. The Chinese, for their part, have responded favorably and the prices and volumes of Russian furs have increased spurring a modest growth in trade.
After the disasters of the Russo-Turkish Wars, the Sublime Porte had good reason to embark on new reform. Of particular concern was the army, which had suffered disastrous defeats at the hands of the Russians. The Sultan’s answer to the declining Ottoman Army was Nizam-i Djedit, a European-trained force of Anatollian youths. The Sultan spent great effort in building up this force, raising it from three thousand men in 1790 to a total of ten thousand in 1792. Drilled by French officers and equipped with imported weapons, observers noted them to be the most competent portion of the Ottoman Army, and a likely nucleus from which the entire army might be reformed around.
Naturally, such a force was deeply distrusted by the Janissary regiments, who jealously guarded their privileges. The Sultan, careful not to meet an end like many of his predecessors who angered the Janissaries, took pains to appease them, with massive bribes of treasure and government posts. The tension between the Sultan and his slaves was undeniable, but for the moment, the bribes had their intended effect, and the Janissaries were willing to allow the Sultan’s project to continue, though one must wonder if they will stay silent if the Sultan continues down this dangerous path of reform.
Of course, it is hoped by all that there is little cause to fight while the empire still recovers. Thankfully, Egypt and Iraq, guided by capable local rulers, remain calm. Ismail Bey has done well to keep the Sultan’s enemies out of Lower Egypt, and he has consolidated his position in the region, building up forces and officials loyal to him. This has caused some concerns in the Porte which is worried that the Bey might become too comfortable in his position. But for now, he has proved loyal.
In the Balkans, Russian influence is making itself felt with Russian agents suspected to be running arms to the Greeks. With the Orlov revolt is still fresh in the memory of the Porte; there are concerns the Russians may very well strike once more in a moment of Ottoman weakness. News of a likely war between Poland and the Russians was therefore well received with some within the Porte suggesting that perhaps now with the newly expanded army and Austrians distracted to attack the Russians in concert with Poland. For the most part this has been dismissed, but the idea remains popular with reformers and those in the Nizam-i Djedit who are now confident they can defeat the Russians in battle.
@ZeletDude You are approved as Naples
Everyone else, feel free to post
Stats have been updated
The Republic of Genoa wishes to unilaterally condemn the imprisonment and execution of free thinkers in the Kingdom of Sardinia and wishes to offer those intellectuals fleeing the regime asylum.
The persecution of those finest thinkers of our age runs contrary to the spirit of our Enlightened Age and should be condemned by right thinking men of all nations.
Orders are formally due on Thursday, October 17th. War declarations will be due this Saturday, October 12th. Crisis updates will be pushed out, and responses will be allowed therein.
Further, I will be keeping Riksdag Sweden as NPC this turn. Please direct relevant inquiries to me.
Genoa has been acting utterly in opposition to the proper actions of civilized nations. They seek to upset the natural order of the world. They write libel against our king. They shelter Republicans and Atheists. All that is offensive to the eyes of God can be found in Genoa. While this situation may have been begrudgingly tolerated in the past, the Genoese support for and harboring of insurgents, firebrands, and would-be revolutionaries is clearly a hostile attempt to engineer the overthrow of the Sardinian kingdom. This blatantly hostile act will not be ignored. The Kingdom of Sardinia declares war against the Republic of Genoa, and we entreat all right-thinking nations of Christendom to join us in eliminating this threat to the Divine Order.
12 hour warning for initial war declarations
"Let us accept this as a sign from the Gods, and follow where they beckon,
in vengeance on our double-dealing enemies. The die is cast."
– Julius Caesar
Russia declares war on the Polish Lithuanian commonwealth.
I shall allow a 48 hour grace period, expiring this Monday evening CST, for war declarations on belligerents
Extra note: This is the deadline to intervene in the Swedish Civil War as well, thank you. Once it has passed, I will be issuing crisis updates, and delving into the fighting of the wars. Intervention is still possible in the wars but would not occur at the outset. (ie; if United States declared war on Canada in 2019, Mexico could still intervene, but not until 2020)
Non-belligerents should send regular three year orders
Prussia honors its defensive pact with Poland and declares war on Russia.
Denmark-Norway declares war on former King Gustav III. His foolishness in assaulting the Riksdag has caused Sweden to fall into chaos and anarchy. We shall support the attempts of the Riksdag in restoring order to the country of Sweden in order to stop the chaos caused by the former king from spilling into Norway.
Separate names with a comma.