Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Escalation




It has been two weeks since the unprovoked attack by the Duchy of Romney on the County of Lyndhurst, in that time much has happened.
As soon as Sir Edward heard of the attack he returned to Lyndhurst, first to bury his son and then to help organise an army in the south to prepare for what seemed logical a Parliamentarian advance on Lyndhurst.
Before leaving London Sir Edward had sat down with the new King James III and all the Royalist nobles to establish a provisional Government until such time that the situation in England allowed free elections and a completely free Parliament.
The discussions they had in those few hectic days before he left London centred on forming a strategy for the struggle ahead. Prior to the attack the focus had been on legalising James ascension to the throne, public notices and papers throughout England reported that James III had assumed the throne of England and that a provisional Government was being created to help govern the nation and in particular to eventually recreate a new and free Parliament.
In general the population accepted the fact that James had assumed the throne of England, there were some centers of disquiet and the worse were in London itself, which was becoming a concern to the Royalists.
There was a strong Jacobin element in the Capital city and it was clear that already the Parliamentarian agitators were taking advantage of this.

Lord Hackett had been appointed first Minister by the King, Sir Edward Anders was Minister of War, Lord Castlemaine had taken the office of Foreign Affairs. Amschel Rothschild was appointed to head the treasury.
On hearing of the attack on Lyndhurst the focus of the new provisional government changed from rather academic and legalistic discussions to military preparations. Perhaps the first reaction by many of the nobles on hearing of the attack on Lyndhurst was that the same could occur to any of them, they all realised how vulnerable their lands were and demanded extra troops to protect their domains.
It was left to Sir Edward to argue reason and prevent perceived fears from creating a flawed strategy. He pointed out that the only troops available at the moment were those in the provinces of the nobles, there were no extra troops to be shared out, and even if there were such a defensive strategy was a quick way to lose the coming war.
Perhaps because his lands had already suffered attack they were more prepared to listen to him. He suggested rather than weakening their army by splitting up the few units they had they concentrated their units into 3 or 4 commands or armies and that these armies be placed in Southern England, the Midlands and in the North.
Edward admitted that it would mean many provinces would be unprotected but all would have an army nearby that could respond to attacks.
He had to convince them that the parliamentarians were just as likely to be just as weak and divided, so it was not likely a case that of a hoard of parliamentarian armies would be swarming over their lands, more a case of similar attacks that had occurred in his own country of Lyndhurst where a small number of units raided enemy territory.

However Sir Edward developed his strategy further by advising the nobles to create commanders for these armies and then use them quickly to attack Parliamentarian lands, to strike before the enemy had time to create their own offensive plans. This had a double objective in that by taking the initiative early they were saving the Royalist counties from becoming the battlefields of the coming war. Secondly because of the unprovoked and murderous raid they now had every reason to gather national sympathy for their cause.

So by the time Sir Edward had departed for Lyndhurst the new Provisional Government was already drawing up plans for the creation of three armies as well as making plans for a future Parliament and Government, a remarkably effort after only being in control for a few weeks.
In his travel pouch Edward had from the King a Royal appointment for General Sir Leopold Anders when he returns to full health he is to assume command of the Southern Army, which will include all regular and Militia units previously controlled the rulers of Lyndhurst, Fordingbridge and the Cornwall.
(For a full list of Royalist Military units and positions see Military Page)
Military Forces in England

The Parliament Confederation
The Parliamentarian faction that had opposed the Royalists were already claiming that in James assuming the throne he was acting only as a “pretender”, his claims to the throne were illegal and a plot by the Prussian King to place his bastard nephew on the English throne. They urged all “right thinking Englishmen” to oppose the Prussian Tyrant.
Those opposing the Royalist faction had named themselves as the Parliamentarian confederation, their focus was on an England ruled by a Parliament without a King, however despite the public protestations about democracy and freedoms no one in the Confederation envisaged a Parliament consisting of less than landed Gentry and in the main Nobles.

Following their rapid departure from London after the collapse of the Council of Nobles, the anti Royalists (because they were not an organised opposition until a few days later) gathered in Lord Bedford’s Dover castle for a quick planning conference before each of them departed for their own lands.

The only anti Royalist noble not to attend was Sir Ferguson of The Duchy of  Romney and it was assumed because of his chaotic and murderous departure he had no choice other than to flee for his own lands.
He was however represented by the rather portly Cardinal Cartwright who just happened to be in Kent at the time of the Council breakup.
Cardinal Cartwright had just returned from Rome where he had been the English Ambassador to the Pope.

The Nobles had in the first day of their discussions quickly come to the conclusion that they would need
Foreign assistance to win the coming war, the problem was first from where and secondly how to convince the English people that theirs was a just and right cause.

It was Cardinal Cartwright who suggested he might talk with Cardinal de Fleury the first Minister of France, Cardinal Cartwright was on familiar terms with de Fleury and felt he may convince him to help, but any help would come at a cost to England and he asked the Nobles what price they were prepared to pay.

Picture is of cardinal de Fleury
It was as Lord Bedford described as a very “ticklish issue” to involve a foreign power in a struggle for power in England, in particular to seek help from what had become for many years England’s main enemy; however he did conclude there was no other power that was capable of helping.
Since England had abandoned the Alliance with Prussia and Austria against France, both Austria and in particular Prussia had become very anti – English.
In fact he suspected the Royalists may even approach the Prussians for help, something that would ease their case with the French Government and indeed their own people; however it was too soon for them to expect that to have happened.
In the end it was decided they had to make initial contact with the French, it was decided that the price to pay would have to be some of the colonies, but as Lord Ashley pointed out that once they had regained the power in England they could then reclaim the Colonies they were forced to abandon.
He added that the approach they should take in convincing the English people that their cause was just was that the Prussians were usurping the throne by placing a “pretender” on it, then to reinforce their popularity the Anti Royalist faction should promise to deliver real democracy with a free Parliament.
Most of the Nobles were horrified at the prospect of the “great unwashed” having a vote, however as Lord Ashley added, once they had resumed full power again they could employ the old tactic of discovering new plots that would delay and eventually prevent the free elections; it had worked for them before and would do so again.

It was then that news arrived at Dover castle of Sir Fergusons raid on Lyndhurst County, when it was announced by Cardinal Cartwright who read out the message as if it was the greatest victory on English soil he was somewhat dumbfounded by the stunned silence.
It was ironic that one of the arguments they had been discussing in the last day or so was who would strike first and they had decided it was best if the Royalist struck the first blow and thus become the aggressors against the English people, but now Sir Ferguson had robbed them of that propaganda advantage.
The Cardinal explained that the invading force consisted of Barkdale Marines and some Light Infantry. Lord Ashley asked rather afraid of the answer,
“Pray tell me that the Barkdale marines were not the Barkdale pirates that haunt the Romney lands. “
The Cardinal nodded rather sheepishly that they were and in fact were commanded by Captain Barkdale himself, all the nobles realised what they were listening too was beginning to sound like a propaganda disaster.
As he was announcing what he claimed was the “first blow” for the Nobles Cardinal Cartwright had a sinking feeling, this announcement was not going down as well as he hoped.

Before he had finished reading Sir Fergusons announcement Lord Bedford slammed his fist down on the desk.
“My God Cartwright, surely you are not going to tell us this great blow for the Noble cause was anything short of a bloody disaster.  That damned idiot Ferguson has robbed of us of all the moral high ground, now in the eyes of the people we will be seen as a bunch of greedy barons leading hordes of murderous pirates all over the countryside.
If I had that bloody idiot here now I would wring his bloody neck, good god what an stupid fool I have been to think Ferguson might be a worthwhile ally, that man is becoming a bloody liability already and the damned war hasn’t started yet.”

Lord Bedford’s face was reddening, his vein clearly pulsating and he was beginning to sweat but with a huge effort of self control he managed to regain some of his composure, calming down he looked at Cartwright.
“Very well, what has he achieved and what were his losses?”

Cardinal Cartwright swallowed hard as he glanced at the message in his shaking hands.

“It appears my Lord that they attacked North Park Estate in the hope of taking the boy King, but he was not there. Instead they have seriously injured Sir Leopold and killed the youngest Anders boy.
The Lyndhurst losses are assumed to be around 50 dead and wounded, all Barkdale Marines were killed or have been captured and have since butchered on Lady Anders command.
Captain Barkdale is a prisoner. The Romney regulars which I believe were Light infantry had small losses and on the way out of Lyndhurst they raided a town destroying a new armaments factory that had just been built.”
Again there was a long deep silence until Lord Bedford drew a deep breath,
“So my dear Cardinal do tell me if I am incorrect in my assumptions, this great blow for our cause has achieved the death of a young man, the wounding of an elderly man and the destruction of a small undefended factory, the price for this has been the death of the marauders and no doubt the to come disclosures from Barkdale that this was done on Sir Ferguson's orders, thus implying orders from us.”

“Well my Lord I am sure Captain Barkdale would not implicate Sir Ferguson, he is a loyal man my Lord.”

“Barkdale is loyal only unto himself and he will as he has done in the past, make agreements with the devil to save his own skin, you can assume his “confessions” will have Sir Ferguson up to his neck, and since there has been no declaration of war these deaths could very well be classified as murders.
The irony is my dear Cardinal, if bloody Ferguson had not butchered everyone in his path as he fled out of London with so much haste, I could have told him the young boy king was in London at the time, he was staying at the Prussian Embassy.”

The Nobles were appalled at the news; it was now no longer a case of provoking the Royalists into making the first aggressive moves, that issue had just been decided by Sir Ferguson. Somehow they had to limit the damage, so the first thing to do was insure that Sir Ferguson denies any knowledge of the raid, blame Barkdale as an outlaw and possibly have anyone who knew Sir Ferguson ordered the raid to be removed, preferably permanently.
Then the “New Parliamentarian” faction would start printing pamphlets and placing articles in news papers denouncing the murderous raid of a bunch of unemployed and desperate pirates looking for booty, that these actions are the result of the breakdown of law and order. Actions deliberately brought on by the Prussian element trying to install fear and uncertainty in the minds of the unsuspecting English people.
They were to then to start announcing their plans for a “free Parliament” while at the same time concentrating their forces in preparation for the coming war.
Cardinal Cartwright purely because he was known to de Fleury was sent on a secret diplomatic mission to France to discover the price for French assistance.
 Meanwhile they had to prepare their forces for the expected Royalist backlash for the Lyndhurst raid, it was time to organise their forces.
(For a full list of Parliamentarian Military see Military Page)
Military Forces in England

3 comments:

  1. a good read. that bloody little raid may yet come back to haunt the parliamentarians! so as preperations for war are made and the proporganda is spread what will become of Sir Ferguson's "Rouge" will he accuse his employer or perhaps try to gloss over the matter of who he works for?

    the story has only just begun and I am already intently insterested in what is happening and could happen next!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for your positive feedback, it is very much appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's always unfortunate to see prelates of the church involved in these unsavoury affairs. If I were Cartwright's chaplain I would tell him to stay in France.
    This was a great post and a reminder that "spin" is not a modern invention!

    ReplyDelete