Wednesday, January 9, 2013
The Break up of the Council of Nobles
The following mini novel posting will I hope be the last long post for some very long time. It brings to a conclusion how and why the Council of Nobles broke up, from this point the posts will be smaller as they will involve smaller issues and skirmishes as England slowly sorts itself into warring factions.
Quite a few of the Lords and Knights that assumed their seats in the Chamber ready for the second day of what had started out yesterday as a business as usual meeting, however overnight it seems to have taken on a life of its own and it was now very much a crisis meeting.
Once again the Duke of Essex Lord Hackett had the chair for this session he tapped the new ornamental hammer on the podium table to bring the room to order.
“My Lords and Sir Knights everyone in this room is acutely aware that overnight our nation has slipped closer to anarchy.”
There were a number of “hear, hears” and the nodding of heads in agreement to the observation.
Lord Hackett continued.
“I am sure in today’s session we can all behave like the gentlemen we are, we must all remember we are here to steer this nation away from a crisis not deeper into one. I am equally sure there are a number of contentious issues that we need to discuss and thus I will remind members that we do have a procedure of standing orders and any member of this council that does not adhere to the discipline and procedures within those standing orders will be expelled from this room.
Now we have business carried over from yesterday that was not finished, that is of course Sir Edward Anders question on the discrepancy of financial incomes from the annual taxes and charges, Sir Edward to you wish to take the floor?”
Sir Edward rose to speak, but before he could open his mouth the Duke of Kent Lord Bedford rose from his chair, Sir Edward noticed he had managed to rearrange his clothing and wigs so that once more he looked the aristocrat he was rather than a mobile fruit stall.
“My Lord Hackett, if I may I wish to put a motion on the floor for the members to consider, that motion is
“Due to the seriousness of these questions and considering the delicate mood of the nation at this time the matter of financial discrepancies be placed in a committee and not be discussed in open forum where passions will once again run rife.”
Sir Steven Ferguson quickly rose with a smile on his face as he glanced at Sir Edward,
“I second the motion.”
Lord Hackett looked to Sir Edward and indicated to him he should take his seat,
“We have a motion by the Duke of Kent and seconded by Sir Ferguson of the Duchy of Romney that the matter of financial discrepancies be placed in committee, how do the members vote?”
The motion was passed by a handsome majority and the matter of finance was buried for another year.
Once the first vote was completed The Duke of Warwick, Lord Stephen Fraser rose to take the floor,
“My Lord Chairman I wish to place a motion on the floor, that is that this council vote to dismiss my Lord Robert Castlemaine from the Council of Nobles for bringing the council into disrepute, for placing the nation in danger of insurrection and by way of his rag commonly known as “The Voice” claiming that a Royal is hidden in the County of Lyndhurst when the member of Lyndhurst only yesterday denied the existence of such a royal in his country”.
The Duke of York a well known ally of the Lord Fraser rose, “I second the motion.”
Lord Hackett drew a deep breath, he thought to himself, well here it is, the Duke of Kent faction will go through the council and try to rid itself of all opposition, this was clearly an orchestrated strategy, however there was little he could do at this stage unless someone could stop the Kent faction in its steps.
Lord Hackett rose,
“The motion is placed on the floor that the Duke of Berkshire my Lord Robert Castlemaine be removed as a member from this council and as a consequence his land be declared vacant, the motion has been seconded by Lord Fraser.
As this is a motion of dismissal the floor is now open to debate the issue.”
The Duke of Warwick rose to start the debate and his accusations took a predictable path; Lord Castlemaine was undeniably the author of the pamphlets that circulated through the city overnight, they were he claimed full of slanderous lies and half truths.
The large unruly crowds in the streets of London were clearly created by his foolish actions and he even went on to accuse Lord Castlemaine of orchestrating the crowds so as to threaten certain Lords while favouring others. In the Duke of Warwick’s mind this was a clear attempt at intimidation and that alone was a reason for dismissal.
He then went on and raised the subject of the royal in Lyndhurst and how Sir Edward had denied a Royal was in that county and despite that denial Lord Castlemaine wrote the article as if it were a fact, a clear attempt to create division in the Council and the nation.
It was at that point Sir Edward rose with a point of order.
Lord Hackett acknowledged the point of order, “Sir Edward what is your point of order?”
Sir Edward drew in a deep breath,
“My lord Warwick is partly wrong in what he claims I said yesterday. I was asked yesterday whether I knew of a royal person or if I knew of a person claiming to be a Royal was in my county of Lyndhurst and I answered that I did not.
However that is not to say that a royal is not in Lyndhurst or that there is not a person living in Lyndhurst who claims to be a royal, the point of fact is I was asked if I knew of either of those two conditions and I said no. I did not know of a royal person and I did not know of anyone actually claiming to be a royal.
What my Lord Castlemaine wrote in his paper could be perfectly correct; there could be a royal in Lyndhurst there could even be a person claiming to be a Royal in Lyndhurst, the matter of fact is I do not know of such a person.
I do know my lord, that a young boy is in Lyndhurst that has come from Hesse, that young boy is a nephew to King Frederick II of Prussia, I have heard he has authentic papers that link him to Charles I the murdered king of England, I have not seen those papers myself so cannot vouch personally for them and as such cannot vouch whether he is a royal or not. However my Lords neither that boy nor any of his entourage have claimed he is a royal of England, so obviously I cannot know for sure if he is even a royal so my answers of yesterday are perfectly correct. It also infers that my Lord Castlemaines claims could be correct in that he has information I have not seen or that he is merely repeating rumours I have not heard.”
For a moment the room was silent as each member tried to work through what was being said. Lord Bedford rose,
“So Sir Edward are you now saying there could be a royal living in Lyndhurst?”
“My lord I am saying there could be but I have not meet a person in Lyndhurst that I know for certain is a member of English royalty so the answer to your question is yes there could be, but by the same token there could be a royal in any of your counties and you do not know of his presence.”
Lord Bedford replied, “You can be damn sure if I had a royal whelp in any of my counties I would know immediately.”
“Really my lord and how would you know if said royal was on your land or passed through your lands if they or no one else claimed them to be royal?’
“Don’t play games with me Sir Edward, I am not the one being accused of harboring a royal?”
“Am would I being accused of harboring one my Lord Bedford, you be wise to choose your words carefully if you so do accuse me.”
The room went deathly quiet, never had a knight thrown a clear challenge to a Lord of the council, but then Sir Edward continued.
“However clearly the motion placed by My Lord Warwick that my Lord Castlemaine falsely claims that a royal is living in Lyndhurst is not necessarily wrong unless of course Lord Warwick has evidence to the contrary.
Secondly My Lord the motion that Lord Castlemaine pamphlets are full of lies and half truth would seem to be a matter for a court of law to settle, what I read in the pamphlets that he reported yesterday’s proceedings of this council, he reported the accusation that there is an element in this house that is guilty of corruption. All the points he listed in his pamphlet actually happened and were so claimed yesterday, so where are the lies and half truths my Lord.”
Sir Robert Castlemaine rose to speak,
“I thank Sir Edward for his gallant words, but I can assure everyone in this house I am quite able to defend myself, however as Sir Edward has so ably and clearly refuted the claims against me I am asking My lord Warwick to produce clear evidence against me or withdraw the motion.”
The arguments continued back and forth during the morning session, the motion to have Lord Castlemaine removed from the council was finally defeated albeit closely.
The council closed for the midday break but it was clear that over the break both sides would be drawing new plans and new strategies.
Edward had decided to retire his office in the chambers for a quiet lunch rather than go to the dining room. He was very surprised when he walked into his office to find his servant Tom there along with his eldest son Colonel James Anders, Sophia Schiller young James’s adopted mother and father Paul, there was another person Edward did not know.
“Good God how on earth did you all get in here?”
“Well father you are not the only Anders you know.”
“Hmm well alright but what are you doing here, this is a very dangerous time and place, especially for you Sophia and Paul.”
He turned to the other gentleman in the room,
“I am sorry sir, I don’t believe we are acquainted.”
James said,” I am sorry father this is the Prussian Ambassador to England Count Karl Wilhelm Finck von Finckenstein”
The count bowed “It is a great honour Sir Edward, I have heard much about you, even before this episode regarding his highness Prince James.”
Edward looked or rather gaped at the ambassador and then to Sophia,
“The Royal Prince, good god don’t tell me you have announced that he is a prince already?’
Sophia quickly replied, “No Edward but King Frederick has announced that despite his illegitimate birth he has recognised James as a Prince of Prussia, but he will not be placed in the hereditary line of the Prussian Monarchy because he has a prior lineage to the British crown.”
At this point the Prussian ambassador stepped forth with several documents in his hand,
“I have here Sir Edward several testimonials including that of Princess Wilhelmina as to his birth as well as evidence of his ancestral lineage. Despite the Father Paul’s very clever attempts to divert the path of anyone following young James true lineage he overlooked the fact of Prussian and German efficiency, in that we have duplicate records so once it became clear someone had altered the true records we decided to check our own records as to why. It was in doing this we discovered independently of English efforts that James was in fact a great-great grandson of Charles I, interestingly we even have a letter written by Charles II asking our ambassador to England if we had heard of a illegitimate son his father may have had, so clearly someone back then did know of the possibility of a hidden child.
I must add that our ambassador at the time only paid little or no attention to the request and it went unanswered before the King and his family was so foully murdered, the letter was filed and buried in our records until just recently. I have duplicate copies here if you wish to read them”
Paul then stepped forward smiling at the Prussian ambassador, “Sir Edward I have the originals here if you wish to finally see them and no doubt compare them.”
Edward looked around the room, taking the records offered by Paul and the ambassador he sat at his desk,
“You all realise that if I read these documents I can no longer deny James existence and his heritage, are you already for that, especially you Sophia my dear.”
Sophia nodded, “Yes Edward, it is not something I wish, but I am now convinced whether we do this or not my sons life will always be threatened, so it is better that he reclaims his true heritage and he makes the attempt to make things better in England both for him as King and for his people. Both Leopold and I have talked this over with James and he understands everything and even though he is young he is prepared to face the consequences.”
“Yes well that may be Sophia, but we all will face the consequences, and we are in fact guilty of treason by knowing there is an English royal in Lyndhurst.”
Edwards son Colonel James replied, “Well actually father he isn’t in Lyndhurst, he is here in London.”
Edwards face reddened, “Here in London, good god have you people taken leave of your senses, this city is a cess pit of lies, double dealings and murder and yet you bring him here.”
Col James said “Calm yourself father he is perfectly safe, he is in the Prussian Embassy and they are guarding him very closely, but we will need him here in London father.”
At that moment there was a knock on the door of the outer office, Edward quickly shuffled the documents into a drawer in his desk and then nodded to Tom to see who was there.
Tom came back in to Edwards office and said “Tis My Lords Hackett and Castlemaine Sir Edward”.
Edward looked around the room and then nodded to Tom, “Very well Tom you best let them in and if you will, please remain outside in the outer office we do not want to be disturbed”.
Tom nodded and then left only to return with Lord Hackett and Castlemaine, he quietly closed the door behind the nobles.
Lord Hackett looked around the room, he instantly recognised Count Karl Wilhelm Finck von Finckenstein.
“Good Lord Sir Edward here we were wandering why we missed you in the dining room, I see we intrude.”
Sir Edward rose from his chair, “No my Lord, in fact this may be a timely meeting”.
Edward then introduced everyone in the room; both Lord Hackett and Castlemaine recognised the Prussian Ambassador and both knew Colonel James.
Lord Robert shook the hand of father Paul with great glee,
“Ahh father we are well met I think, I have heard so much about you, both truth and rumour I suspect”.
Lord Hackett looked at Sophia, then to the count,
“My dear von Finckenstein how is it you are here if I may ask?”
It was then that Sir Edward suggested that he go through the whole story so the two Lords were as familiar with the truth as he was himself, the only part he left out was that James was in London.
As Edward related the story he offered the documents to both Lords and they perused them while he continued describing the events around James birth, his lineage and why he was in England. Both Lord Hackett and Castlemaine asked questions and finally when Edward finished they all sat for a few moments contemplating where to go from here.
Sir Hackett sighed deeply, “So it comes to this, England does have a young monarch, quite a situation you have landed us in ehhh Sir Edward.” He then turned to Lord Robert
“And how does this sit with you Robert, I mean you being a republican and all that.”
Lord Castlemaine smiled, “Well I am a pragmatist, after all I have to be don’t I, here I am the only true Republican in a heathen land of Royalists, Parliamentarian Revolutionaries, Jacobites, Popery fanatics and Presbyterian zealots not to mentioned the land of what my Lord Bedford calls the great disenchanted. If the truth be known I would happily support the monarchy over the council of nobles, but I would only support a constitutional monarchy supported by a democratic Parliament not one solely of the landed gentry.”
Lord Hackett nodded his head, “Yes I agree it would have to be a constitutional monarchy, the makeup of Parliament would need negotiating but yes I do agree.”
Sir Edward looked around the room to the others,
“Well my Lords we have not gone so far as to discuss much about the Kings role and certainly not so far as parliament simply because it has been up till now only the smallest and remotest possibility that James could be King. For us it was more about how to keep him safe.”
Lord Hackett continued, “Yes Sir Edward I can understand that but I think you need to decide before we leave this room whether you are serious about this or whether we look at other more limited options”
It was Sophia, who butted in,
“My Lords my son becoming King of England is one of the most horrific possibilities I could think off, I know his chances of surviving long enough are remote and that frightens me beyond all belief. There is something that frightens me more though and that is if we don’t try to make changes one day someone will kill James anyway just because of who he and what he represents. So as his mother all I can do is beg you to keep him safe, but I do believe he has to try and become King and as King help him make England a better and safer place for him and all Englishmen.”
Lord Robert spoke,
“Well said madam and like you I think the best path for James is as King, rather than as a young man that will forever be looking over his shoulders. There are no guarantees once we take the path of announcing the existence of a royal prince, all our lives will be at risk so like James I would rather risk my life fighting for a better England than just being murdered in my bed one night and not making any effort.”
Lord Hackett placed the documents back on the desk; he then looked around the room.
“Well enough about who is to die, we have a massive task ahead and if anyone is going to die let it be those who stand in our path, right now we have some decisions to make for this afternoons session.”
He paused for a moment, seeing the documents sitting on the desk he looked at Sir Edward,
“You know Sir Edward you actually could have placed me in a awkward situation, you are on oath as having declared you have never seen the documents.”
“No my Lord I am on oath as saying I have never read any such documents and I am still in that wonderful stage of innocence”.
Lord Hackett was puzzled, as he pointed to the documents on the desk, Sir Edward continued
“I still haven’t read them, all I have been told is that these documents support his claim, I was about to read them before you came in, in fact my lords you are in more danger of treason than me, considering you have read them and I have not.”
Lord Hackett smiled “Good God, we have been duped,” and then he burst out laughing as did Lord Robert.
They then all sat down to make plans for the afternoon session.
The afternoon session was resumed at 2pm, it started in immediate confrontation when Lord Hackett announced to the assembly that Sir Edward Anders had a statement to make to the council, it wasn’t so much the fact that Sir Edward was asking leave to make the statement but that he was joined by a woman and the Prussian Ambassador.
Lord Bedford raised several objections based on points of order but all were declared irrelevant and in the end the assembly voted to hear the statement.
Sir Edward read out a prepared statement where he disclosed the existence of an English King James III. His declaration was met by howls of “Liar, traitor, and treason”, he then produced the copies of the documents and they were laid on the chambers central table, so the nobles could come and read if they so wished, most did not.
Meanwhile Sophia introduced herself and explained her role in bringing James to England and also explaining that at the time of him coming here no one knew of the royal link including her.
It was then the turn of Father Paul to explain his role in tracing the missing links to Charles I, and the finally the Prussian Ambassador explained that his own government under instructions from King Frederick II had conducted a similar investigation but using different records and that confirmed Father Paul’s findings, that James was a German Prince but first and foremost he was the sole remaining royal link to the English throne.
There were more cries that all this was a charade, that the Anders were in league with Prussia to take over England and again the calls of traitor, treason and also cries from Sir Steven Ferguson that any one declaring himself King would be killed like the other traitorous Royals.
At the point the Prussian Ambassador rose and stepped into the centre of the floor, he pulled a document out from inside his jacket and declared that this was a formal letter from the King Frederick II to the Noble Council of England.
Essentially the letter said that King Frederick declared himself and that of his government independent of what England does in regard to forming Governments or Kings, however he reminded the council that James was also a German Prince and should any harm come to him, Prussia would hold the perpetrators and England responsible. He went on to say that if England unanimously decided it did not want a King then James should be sent to Prussia unharmed, but if there was support for him in England then that was an English issue not a Prussian one.
Lord Bedford rose and gathered all his aristocratic dignity that he could reasonably assume given the events of the day so far, he walked to the table where the documents lay, and the letter just placed by the Prussian Ambassador. Taking the letter he waved it to the council,
“Prussia, dares tell us what to do with German pretenders, who does King Frederick think he is to threaten us, England who has in the past spilled blood in the defence of his realm. What will this German King do, build a fleet and challenge the might of the English navy, I very much doubt it. Again waving the document in the air he declared that this letter like the fact that someone claimed there was a German Prince assuming the English throne was all just hot air, England has nothing to fear from a little Prussia.
Count von Finckenstein stepped up to Lord Bedford starring him eye to eye and simply said
“Hanover, it is one days march from my Kings army as we speak, Hanover that Prussia has held and defended for England these last 5 years. You say you do not fear Prussia, then think of England without Hanover.
North America where German troops are defending the English colonies from French aggression, think what will become of England without its North American Colonies. My friends England would simply be a little island without its colonies, yes my friends you have every reason to fear what will become of England if one hair of Prince James is harmed. Remember the words of my king my lords, whether you want James as an English King which he is legally entitled to be or not is an English decision. If you reject him send him back to Germany unharmed and all be well. Harm the Prince and England will pay dearly.”
At this point Sir Edward noticed his son Colonel James had walked back into the council chambers, he nodded to his father.
Sir Edward rose and asked the chair permission to speak, Lord Hackett said yes.
“My Lords, as you all know I have become disillusioned with this council, both for its corruption as well as the inefficiency in the way it has governed the nation. We have people who are starving, and while they starve the nobles and their families live and eat extremely well. We have become a nation of poor people and while the people struggle with a failing economy the Nobles are making huge personal investments with the money that should have been used to create industry and encourage agriculture, our soldiers and sailors rarely get paid with any regularity, the country is almost bankrupt because so much wealth has been stolen, and yes I do say stolen by some of the nobles here.
Because of this I am declaring I am withdrawing from the Council of Lyndhurst and supporting James III and a new Parliament of England”.
There were cries of traitor, Sir Steven stood with a smiling face,
“And therefore Lyndhurst is vacant and I declare the rightful ownership.”
Before he sat down Sir Edward turned and replied, “Come and try to take it if you have the stomach for a fight Sir Steven, which I doubt you have”.
Then Lord Castlemaine rose, “I Lord Castlemaine announce that I am withdrawing from the council of Nobles and supporting our rightful King James III and a new Parliament”.
The hall went quiet, as it became clear that something terrible was happening, and then Lord Hackett rose.
“It pains me greatly to realise that late in my life that I have lived a very selfish life, like many of you here I have looked at the council as means to further my personal wealth and power, regretfully I realise I was so wrong so very wrong. I now vow to one and all that all I own and all that I am will be used in supporting James III and a new Parliament”.
After that announcement the hall broke out into chaos, it was then that a group of men ran into the chambers looking for Lord Bedford, moments later the news spread that soldiers claiming loyalty to the new King James III had seized the London arsenal, the arsenal that by far had the greatest store of military equipment in England and was normally under the joint control of the Council.
The three nobles who had withdrawn from the council drew together at the end of the hall, they were joined by the Duke of Cumberland, the Duke of Cornwall, Sir Reginald Skippon of Fordingbridge county and Sir John Brent the County of Salisbury. Together these men turned and left the chamber they walked out onto the steps of the Chambers each declared before a very vocal and excited crowd that England had a new king and once peace and calm were restored it will have a new parliament which will have members based on skill and intelligence not just landed gentry.
In the next few days these men who would simply become known as Royalists would be joined a several more Knights and nobles, the remainder made a quick and quiet escape from London, they would congregate again in Norwich in a few days to plan their response these rebellious desertions from the council.