The Royal Navy joins in the Coronation celebrations
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Having the inaugural meeting of the Parliamentarian Confederation over, the various Nobles departed for their own lands. All were aware that in some cases it was inevitable their lands would be over run, but the view was this was for the short term. There were no doubts in any of their minds that with victory would come even larger lands and greater prosperity for those who were committed to the anti royalist cause.
Lord Bedford had pondered his own situation with some nervousness, it did not take a great military mind to realise that his own lands in Kent were isolated from the main Parliamentarian armies and that as a consequence he could take a defensive stance and hope that by tying up royalist forces in defending his territory the Parliamentarian army would gain vital advantages elsewhere, especially in the Midlands where it was known the Royalists were weak.
Being defensive was not in Milord Bedford’s nature so he would seek to apply pressure on the Royalists at every opportunity.
The only ally he had close who may be of some assistance was Sir Ferguson and Lord Bedford was still in the process of deciding whether Ferguson was a benefit or a liability, certainly Fergusons army was negligible and would not even be capable of holding his own territory of Romney on its own let alone help in an offensive. Sir Ferguson was clearly a ambitious and ruthless radical, but in Lord Bedford’s mind such a man could come into his element in a civil war, so for now he decided he would hang on to Sir Ferguson.
The next step was deciding where to attack, London was the obvious choice, but it was too heavily defended and it was likely a losing prospect to attack the city at this early stage, especially with the small numbers he had available for the moment. Later it would become a likely prospect especially when he was reinforced with French troops, if they agreed to become involved. So the next logical opportunity was to the west into Lyndhurst, but to move most of his army to the western borders he had to be sure the Duke of Norfolk Lord Allen Ashley would pin the London Royalist army down.
The first real bad news for the Parliamentarians came a month after the James III was made King, somehow the new Royalist treasurer Amschel Moses Rothschild had raised a loan within Europe very quickly, a fact that was as remarkable in its possibilities given Europe was war weary and near bankrupt as it was for one man and his family to have gained such financial and political coup.
Of course the financial coup was made much simpler by the fact that the Bank of England and all its infrastructure was based in London, so assuming the financial controls of England had been much easier for the Royalists for whom London was a strong base.
It was a blow to the Parliamentarians for several reasons, first it meant there were now those in Europe who viewed the English royal whelp as a viable ruler thus giving the royalists considerable prestige, but secondly it gave vital energy to the Royalist cause in England.
The first clear and obvious consequence of the new funds came when the Minister of War Sir Edward Anders announced that they were paying the back wages of the officers and men of the Royal Navy; as a consequence all most to a man the Royal Navy went over to the Royalist cause. This meant in one blow the Parliamentarians were going to be restricted in their movements and manpower, it meant their own coasts would now be threatened thus opening a new dimension in the war.
To add insult to injury the Royal Navy sent several ships with royal banners flying up the Thames to London, just to “Show the flag” for the new King. The people of London came out in their droves to join in the celebration of both the coronation and the naval display.
For Cardinal Cartwright who was in France negotiating on behalf of the Parliamentary Government with the French First Minister Cardinal de Fleury the Royalist financial coup came as an obvious body blow. His main line of argument had always centred on the fact that the Royal whelp was a Prussian puppet and if he was permitted to gain the English throne unopposed France could expect to see all the resources England could muster being thrown behind the Prussian King. This would mean a continuation of the colonial wars, blockades but even worse financial assistance to the Prussians and other enemies of France. Now that European financiers felt confident enough to support the Prussian pretender it meant he was a long way towards being seen as a legitimate claimant to the English throne in the eyes of other monarchs.
Also with the recent news he received from Lord Bedford that the Royal Navy had joined the Royalist side, it was likely the blockades of French Ports may very well resume shortly.
France was almost at the point of fighting itself to a standstill. Prussia and Austria had signed a Peace treaty though no one expected it to last; however the treaty left the Austrians, Saxons, Bavarians and the Dutch now free to concentrate against the French. The Bavarians had deserted the French and for the moment were once more Imperial Allies; the Russians were involved against Sweden so this left Prussia free to rebuild and prepare for the next round of war. If the Royalists were to win in England France would be forced to face a refreshed Prussia possibly with English arms as well as English finance.
Cardinal Cartwright emphasised the need for France to make peace with the Imperialists so as to ease their own burden and to send at least a minimum of a Brigade of troops urgently, preferably more, as well as financial assistance, though realistically he realised the later was most unlikely.
In discussions with King Louis Cardinal Fleury advocated supporting the Parliamentarians, it would be far easier to squash the English King now and ensure a friendly parliamentarian English Government than it would be once he gained sole power of England.
Finally King Louis agreed that France would support the parliamentarians on the basis they sign a treaty that a Parliamentarian Government will support France in the European War, further more a secret clause was included in which England would support Frances claims on Hanover. Cardinal Fleury was already negotiating a peace settlement with the Imperialists but there were several significant issues preventing a settlement at this stage, so the war continued.
For the French the only real positive news had been that the Ottomans had once more returned to the offensive in the Balkans so this would add to the Austrian woes. Also Spain was for now firmly in the French camp.
Charles I, formerly Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel had been made Elector of Hanover following the deaths of the original Royal family. Charles I was very pro German and adamant that he nor Hanover would ever make any claims on the English throne, further more his hold on Hanover was supported by Prussia. (The “Treaty of Cumberland” negotiated by Charles I and England regards the succession of any Hanoverian Royal being forbidden to ever make a claim on the English Crown.)
Great Britain had as part of the agreement of Cumberland maintained a British garrison in Hanover and at the time of James assuming the English Crown there were 12 Battalions (66th – 77th, 112th,113th) and 2 cavalry regiments the 11th and 12th Dragoons.
Charles I now Elector of Hanover on hearing that James had assumed the English throne sent him his congratulations and once again affirmed that he had no claim to the English throne, what is more he was asking that James confirm that the English Garrison would remain in Hanover to assist in its defence. There were great concerns that one side or the other involved in the civil war would pull the British Garrisons out of the civil war, so Charles I reminded both sides that if the British garrison was removed or weakened the Treaty of Cumberland would apply and he was free of any restrictions regarding the English crown.
The Dutch were bearing perhaps the greatest proportion of the war against the French, for many months it had gone badly for the Dutch Army but with the Bavarian desertion from the French alliance many of the French troops used in attacking the border fortresses had to be quickly moved to the East, thus for the moment the war in Flanders was almost at a stalemate stage. The Dutch had used the stalemate period to start recruiting German mercenary units to assist in rebuilding their forces.
Scotland’s Parliament had never ratified the treaty of Union with England thus instead of a treaty of Union the two nations negotiated several commercial treaties in which Scotland would enjoy advantages of a expanding English Market on the basis they did not support any royal claim on England.
With James assuming the English Crown Scotland adhered to the agreement and its Parliament declared it had no interests on either side in any English civil war. Both the parliamentarians and the Royalists had sent commissioners to Scotland to persuade them to join their respective sides but to date Scotland has refused to do so. It merely warned both sides not to attempt to involve Scotland in the war nor to make any military moves over the border.
For England as well as France, North America was becoming a distant and isolated issue, particularly since both did not have the troops to reinforce their armies on that continent.
The situation for the Thirteen English colonies in North America was becoming desperate, the French being virtually unmolested had encircled the colonies and was pinning them to the Atlantic coast. However as much as it was desperate for the English colonists it was equally becoming troublesome to the French who have found by expanding so quickly they were having issues with the Indians who realised there was only a limited French military presence were taking advantage of this weakness.