King Theodore's Corsica

I was re-reading the part where Theodore finally names his heir. In it, it is stated that there was theory he wanted to name his niece Elisabeth, given she was his favorite, and that is why he went with her husband. Is there a reason, since they were married, that he couldn't have named them both in their own right similar to William III and Mary II of England? Also, there was mention of not naming Elisabeth because her non-bastard half-brother may have tried to take the throne. That makes no sense to me because Theodore was literally able to name anyone he wanted. Sure, naming his niece over his nephew may have been weird, but because it wasn't following traditional inheritance principals, he was literally naming his successor, would Charles not have much of a leg to stand on if he wanted to challenge it?
I was re-reading the part where Theodore finally names his heir. In it, it is stated that there was theory he wanted to name his niece Elisabeth, given she was his favorite, and that is why he went with her husband. Is there a reason, since they were married, that he couldn't have named them both in their own right similar to William III and Mary II of England?

The constitution does not provide for such a co-rulership; it says that Theodore can pick a "man or woman." Given Theodore's reputation and influence I think it's quite plausible that he could have attempted to establish such a co-monarchy anyway, but in this case I just don't think it would have occurred to him to do so. The co-rule of William and Mary was, as far as I am aware, a rather uncommon occurrence, and England already had a history of having queens regnant which Corsica obviously does not. I don't know a lot about the English succession, but as William and Mary did not have children, I wonder whether this was not a factor in declaring co-rule as one would not be displaced from power if the other died (the widow[er] would continue to rule uninterrupted). That isn't an issue for Elisabeth, who at the time of the Testament already had two sons; even if Frederick dies early she'll still be the Queen Mother and continue to enjoy the position and luxury Theodore clearly would have wished her to have. Elisabeth has also never expressed any particular desire to rule, so Theodore - even if he considered co-monarchy - doesn't really have strong reasons to pursue it.

And as you say, the theory that Theodore really wanted to have Elisabeth as his successor is just that - a theory. It was speculation premised entirely on the fact that Theodore obviously adored her and treated her like his own daughter. Loving someone, however, does not necessarily mean you intend to make them the heir to your throne.

Also, there was mention of not naming Elisabeth because her non-bastard half-brother may have tried to take the throne. That makes no sense to me because Theodore was literally able to name anyone he wanted. Sure, naming his niece over his nephew may have been weird, but because it wasn't following traditional inheritance principals, he was literally naming his successor, would Charles not have much of a leg to stand on if he wanted to challenge it?

No leg to stand on in Corsican constitutional law, perhaps, but "Corsican constitutional law" is not necessarily a thing that everyone else in Europe accepts. "Traditional inheritance principles" still matter to people even if the constitution says otherwise, and few Europeans (or Corsicans, for that matter) would argue with the general principle that a legitimate elder son trumps a bastard younger daughter. A "weird" succession, even if technically legal, may cause problems. Again, however, all of this is just speculation by the in-universe author, who has no special knowledge of Theodore's inner thoughts and could be entirely wrong about Theodore's motivations for designing the succession in the way he did.
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Naming Elizabeth the heir would as I understand it automatically place said brother in the line of succession after her and her children. Theodore would have to specifically stipulated that not to be the case and plenty of others might still see du Trevou's claim strengthened considerably by his sister being the queen. It would give the French a nice excuse to invade that they can sit on until a good opportunity for a new invasion presents itself.
I was re-reading the part where Theodore finally names his heir. In it, it is stated that there was theory he wanted to name his niece Elisabeth, given she was his favorite, and that is why he went with her husband. Is there a reason, since they were married, that he couldn't have named them both in their own right similar to William III and Mary II of England? Also, there was mention of not naming Elisabeth because her non-bastard half-brother may have tried to take the throne. That makes no sense to me because Theodore was literally able to name anyone he wanted. Sure, naming his niece over his nephew may have been weird, but because it wasn't following traditional inheritance principals, he was literally naming his successor, would Charles not have much of a leg to stand on if he wanted to challenge it?
@Carp William III and Mary II case was a rather exceptional one as Mary was the direct heiress and had a younger sister (who was in the line of succession between Mary and William, followed by any children she would have) and while William was their cousin and the next-in-line after them he was unlikely to have children by Mary (and so the place of Anne and her children ahead of any heirs of William from an eventual second wife needed to be preserved). William wanted the crown for himself, Mary wanted the Crown for William and not herself, the English lords wanted Mary as Queen and William as nothing more than King Consort) with Anne firmly as heiress presumptive so the compromise was: Mary and William as joint rulers and Anne and her kids in line of succession BEFORE any child from a subsequent wedding of William
Also, as least as much as Carp has said, the role of women in public life in 18th century Corsica seems to have been relatively restricted. Theodore could probably name Elisabeth as his heir regardless, but I can imagine it causing some trouble - especially among more conservative factions - in a way that wouldn't be the case for a male heir.
Re Liberatore
Re Liberatore


Bust of King Theodore I in Cervioni

Chosen by Cyrne, God the choice approved,
Trusting the mighty conflict to his sword,
Which Europe rose to watch, and watching stands.
By that sword's flash, even fate itself is moved;
Thankless Liguria has its stroke deplored,
While Cyrne takes her sceptre from his hands.

- English poetic translation of a Corsican paean to Theodore, c. 1749

Legally, the succession to the Corsican throne was not in doubt. The 1736 Constitution had given Theodore the power to name his successor in the absence of an heir of his body, and he had done that unequivocally in the Royal Testament of 1761. As a practical matter, however, Corsica had never before experienced a royal succession. The Prince of Capraia - now King Federico I - was keenly aware of the delicacy and importance of this transition. Theodore was not just a king; he was a founder, a liberator, and a revered hero to the Corsican people. Properly honoring the first King of Corsica was a crucial step towards ensuring the people’s acceptance of Federico as his late cousin’s rightful successor.[1]

Theodore had never expressed much of an interest in planning for his own death, but he had at least selected the site of his ultimate repose. His body was to be interred in the crypt of the Cathedral of Saint Erasmus in Cervioni, the king’s first capital, where his wife Eleanora was already interred. Sant'Erasmo was Corsica’s newest and most striking cathedral, designed in a modern baroque style and completed only in the 1750s.[2] As taking the body overland across the Corsican mountains was neither dignified nor very practical, it would be borne instead by the warship Capraia, which at that time was fortuitously stationed in Ajaccio.

Federico was quite prepared to move Theodore's body immediately, but met with the strident opposition of the long-serving luogotenente of Ajaccio province, Marquis Luca d’Ornano. Evidently the marquis was unhappy with the unceremonious exit of the king from Ajaccio, arguing that it was both against Corsican custom and a slight against the people of the Dila who, if they could not host the king’s funeral, at least ought to be able to have his wake. This was also, of course, a golden opportunity for d'Ornano to demonstrate his position and influence and associate himself one last time with the Theodoran legend. Not wanting to alienate one of the most powerful nobles in the Dila as the first act of his reign, Federico relented and permitted Don Luca to supervise a more formal departure.

On the morning after the king’s death, the king’s body was laid in state in the front hall of the Augustinian Palace upon a tola, or funeral table, draped with black cloth and covered in flowers.[3] As soon as the scene was set, the hall was opened to the public. They came in droves, all dressed in black, to see the body of the king. The English consul described the behavior of the Corsican women with incredulity, draped in black veils and crying out with “wild lamentations” while scratching their faces and tearing at their hair. Federico too was rather disturbed by the “theatrics,” particularly at the manner in which the wailing women would loudly implore Theodore’s body to awake from slumber and stand up. On the following day a general feast was provided for the mourners, paid for by d’Ornano himself. Only then did Don Luca allow the king’s body to be taken to the ship, escorted in procession by the black-coated Noble Guard.

The Capraia, which had been decorated for the occasion with black cloth, stopped briefly at Calvi and Bastia before proceeding down the eastern coast to Campoloro. There were no “viewings” at these cities as there had been at Ajaccio, but residents crowded to the harbor to view (and, in the case of some of the women, wail at) the black-shrouded ship. Escorted by the two state galiots, the frigate reached Cervioni on the 23rd. The body, now in a wooden coffin, was laid atop of a catafalque in the nave of the Cathedral of Sant’Erasmo. This wooden platform was eight feet tall but without ostentation, entirely covered by black cloth and surrounded by tall candles in silver candlesticks which had been borrowed from the churches of Bastia and local parishes all over the Castagniccia.

As by now word of the king’s death had traveled across the island, the attendance was much greater at Cervioni than at Ajaccio. The Sardinian envoy compared it to a mass pilgrimage, and reported that there was not a nobleman in the kingdom who failed to show himself at Cervioni, together with their wives in voluminous black veils. Although there was certainly weeping, the crowd here was generally more sedate than at the viewing in Ajaccio. Providing for all these visitors proved to be a huge logistical challenge for the government, as the bakers, shopkeepers, and inkeeps of Cervioni - a town of fewer than a thousand people - could hardly accommodate such a host on their own. Even the navy’s warships were pressed into service to bring bread, cheese, fish, oil, and wine from Bastia.

King Federico declared a year of national mourning,[4] but he had no intention of waiting that long to formalize his succession. It was determined that the coronation would be held on the 6th of May, the fourth Sunday of Eastertide (as it happened, Theodore had died the day after Easter Sunday), and would closely follow the example of Theodore’s own coronation. The day began with High Mass, which lasted several hours. This was followed by the coronation feast, with vast amounts of food and wine and innumerable toasts to kings both old and new. There was music, poetry, public speaking, and plenty of celebratory gunfire.

Federico, seated upon Theodore’s throne-armchair of chestnut and velvet atop a stage in front of the Convent of Alesani decorated with flower garlands, was now presented with the Constitution. Its articles were read aloud to the crowd, and the new king swore to uphold them. He then received the pledges of loyalty from the nobility, the lead clergy, the members of the dieta, and the whole assembled crowd. The king then went into the convent chapel for the actual coronation, with the Bishop of Aleria presiding. Like Theodore, he was crowned with a laurel wreath, although Federico added his own element to the ceremony by then crowning his wife with a wreath of her own. They emerged from the chapel to the cheering of the crowd and a peal of musketry and cannon.

Federico had tried very hard to emulate the coronation of 1736, an event which he had not personally witnessed. The differences were largely ones of degree. The attendance was probably much greater; the high estimates exceeded 10,000 participants, a massive number given the island’s population. This time, there were troops of uniformed soldiers and a battery of cannon. The king’s stage was larger and grander, although it was still merely a framework of timber covered by cloth and flowers. Unlike the purely Corsican affair of 1736, in 1770 there were foreign dignitaries present - most notably Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, a younger brother of King George III of Britain.[5] In general, the preparations were more thorough and the resources expended were greater, though by the standards of continental coronations it was still a very inexpensive and remarkably informal affair.


The Convent of Alesani, coronation site of Corsican kings

Though he had only been in the grave a few weeks, the late Theodore was already passing from mortal into myth. The dignitaries toasted “il re liberatore,” the Liberator-King, a title which on Corsica was quickly becoming interchangeable with his name. A few months later, the consulta generale voted to award Theodore with the posthumous title of Pater Patriae, “father of the nation,” which the Roman Senate had once granted to victorious emperors.

The apotheosis of Theodore was guaranteed by Corsica’s own national insecurity. Despite the preceding decade of relative peace, many wondered whether Corsica, as an independent state, would survive its founder. In European eyes, Theodore was Corsica; he was certainly better known and considerably more interesting than his island, a weak and backwards country born from a peasant rebellion whose population could fit within a suburb of London. Many Corsicans believed, not without reason, that the king’s personal gifts had been essential to the realization of their liberty. Would his less distinguished relations and the new generation of Corsican leaders be able to keep what he had won, or would the powers of Europe now awaken from their Theodoran reverie and enchain Corsica once more?

It was thus in the interests of nearly all Corsicans to hold on to and magnify the Theodoran myth. For his Neuhoff successors, Theodore’s popular election and heroic deeds justified their own rule and obscured the fact that they themselves never deigned to submit to an electorate. The nobility, who owed their titles to Theodore’s grace, had every reason to praise the king and boast of their own historical association with the Pater Patriae, even if the support they had offered him in life had been less than exemplary. Corsican intellectuals and statesmen polished his reputation to a sterling shine to erase the stain of Theodore’s rather sordid past and make the case for Corsica’s rightful place among the European family of crowns and nations. To the peasantry, Theodore was both the kindly father and the avenger of oppression, whose name might be invoked as a rallying cry against rapacious landlords just as easily as it had been deployed against callous Genoese officials.

For obvious reasons, European Jews were the first and most loyal foreign admirers of the “German Cyrus.” The occasion of his death is sometimes used to mark the beginning of the nascent Haskalah, or “Jewish Enlightenment,” as several Jewish intellectuals and writers used the opportunity of eulogizing Theodore to explore the notion of a more secular and worldly Jewish culture, anchored in reason rather than superstition, which could leave its segregated existence and engage with Christian societies. The apparent success of the Jews of Ajaccio was a powerful argument in favor of those reformists who argued that the adoption of local dress and language, coupled with an earnest loyalty to the state, would lead to prosperity without compromising Jewish identity - as well as an argument that could be made to kings and ministers considering whether to ease age-old restrictions on Jewish communities. Wherever the cause of Jewish emancipation advanced, there were those who credited the wise and righteous King Theodore with leading the way.

Theodore’s reputation as a political symbol was slower to develop. There were a few early enthusiasts like Filippo Mazzei who saw Theodoran monarchy as a praiseworthy political development, but at the time “Enlightened Despotism” was still the darling of continental philosophes. Corsica’s peculiar system of popular elections and raucous consulte seemed more like a quaint leftover of rude antiquity rather than a harbinger of things to come. The hour of constitutional liberalism would come, however, and its exponents - particularly in Italy - would rediscover Theodore and deploy his legend to their own rhetorical ends. He was reinvented in the 19th century as a king with the soul of a republican, whose state demonstrated the potential for the harmonious coexistence of monarchy, constitutionalism, and popular representation. Italian nationalists, in contrast, would be less interested in the German Theodore than in his Corsican-born grand-nephew Theodore II, the very image of a "people's monarch" in his own time.

Time, distance, and archival sources have permitted modern historians to piece together a more nuanced view of Theodore the man, rather than the symbol. Certainly he was a person of unusual resourcefulness and persistence who was seemingly always able to recover from a setback. His personal charisma must have been tremendous; there is no other way to explain his extraordinary ability to charm almost everyone he met, from Amsterdam aldermen and English aristocrats to the unlettered farmer-militiamen of Corsica. That Corsica not only won its freedom but did not immediately devolve into civil war upon gaining it is, in no small part, a testament to his ability to win Corsica’s biggest and most contumacious personalities to his side. Nevertheless, it must be conceded that Theodore's victory was not his alone; without support from the British, Dutch, Sardinians, and other interested powers it is easy to imagine his improbable rise becoming a quixotic failure.

Theodore’s reputation as a military commander is more ambiguous. The king led surprisingly few actual engagements, often delegating offensives to his generals; when he was present he frequently acted in a supervisory role, soliciting plans from his war councils and approving the consensus opinion. His leadership at San Pellegrino and Ponte Nuovo, his two famous victories against the French, was creditable. Yet it is worth considering that in each case, Theodore’s main contribution does not seem to have been devising a tactical plan or even directing battlefield maneuvers, but deciding where to fight and convincing the fractious Corsican captains and colonels to follow him there. Theodore did produce the occasional clever stratagem, but he demonstrated more affinity for strategy than tactics, and - as at the Siege of Calvi, where he visited his troops under the shadow of the Genoese batteries - understood that he contributed more by his presence and the example of his personal courage than any attempt at tactical insight.

The part of Theodore’s legacy that has been subjected to the most criticism in modern times is not his career as a revolutionary leader, but as a king. Theodore’s political instincts were generally good, but they seem to have gradually failed him in his old age. His dispute with Rome was a self-inflicted wound; the Church posed no great threat to Theodore’s rule, and the king’s heavy-handed response to mild provocations caused the collapse of Gaffori’s government and exacerbated political and cultural tensions. His later reign, particularly after the death of his wife and his split with Rome, was characterized by a sort of political paralysis. The king’s own grandiose plans for projects and works seldom left the page, and the Frediani ministry was undermined by the king’s flagging interest in public affairs and hobbled by a lack of resources.

The poverty of the government was indicative of one of Theodore’s more glaring deficiencies: his neglect and mismanagement of the public coffers. The king failed (or feared) to use his political clout to implement necessary taxes. The provincial luogotenenti he had created as vessels of royal power were too often self-interested and corrupt, failing to collect taxes effectively and siphoning from what revenues they did collect to build their own private fiefdoms. The deficit was covered by his personal wealth - which, by the time of his death, was all but exhausted - or by borrowing, to the extent that Federico was shocked to find the state he had inherited was already a considerable debtor with few assets or improvements to show for it. The Theodore who lost all his savings (and his wife’s jewelry) to John Law’s Mississippi fiasco and spent years fleeing from country to country with creditors barking at his heels was the same Theodore who ruled Corsica, and it showed.

Historians still debate whether Theodore’s later reign, particularly the last decade, is better characterized as a golden age of tranquility or a period of stagnation and political aimlessness. Certainly Federico was inclined towards the latter opinion, and by the time of his coronation at Alesani he was already brimming with plans to reform and “rationalize” the Corsican state. Before he was a prince, Federico had been a Prussian officer, and he expected discipline and hard work from his ministers and subjects alike. He aspired to lift Corsica from its backwardness through Cameralist theories of government and political economy implemented by a hands-on monarch and a competent, professional administration. Whether the Corsicans would take to his Teutonic methods, of course, was another matter entirely.

[1] Theodore’s status as the “first King of Corsica'' is debatable. Pope Boniface VIII had first created the title of Rex Sardiniae et Corsicae for Jaime II of Aragon in 1297, but although Sardinia became an Aragonese possession neither Jaime nor his successors managed to realize their claim over Corsica. Alfonso V was the only Aragonese king to actually set foot upon the island: He landed in 1420, unsuccessfully besieged Bonifacio, and departed in the following year. Thereafter the Aragonese claim was purely notional, although the Spanish monarchs continued to include “King of Corsica” in their long list of real and honorary titles. The Doges of Genoa revived the title of Rex Corsicae in 1637 as a means to elevate themselves to royal rank, and continued to use it until they were compelled to renounce the title in the 1749 Treaty of Monaco. It was Theodore’s opinion that the Papal grant to Aragon had been legitimate, but that the kings of Aragon had never “consummated” their investiture by actual possession; while the Genoese had never held a legitimate right to the crown, as the doge had assumed the title for himself without receiving it from either the Pope or the Corsican people. Officially, then, the Corsican position was that while the “Kingdom of Corsica” had indeed existed from 1297, the throne had remained vacant for the next 439 years until the coronation of Theodore I.
[2] The Cathedral of Saint Erasmus had been completely rebuilt starting in 1714, but at the time of Thedore’s arrival in 1736 it was still incomplete. Construction proceeded only intermittently during the Revolution, and it was not finished until 1753.
[3] Virtually all of the “black superfine cloth” used throughout the funeral proceedings was donated by the Jewish community of Ajaccio, who included a number of tailors and cloth merchants among their members. This was only the largest of a number of monetary and in-kind donations made by the community for the purpose of Theodore’s burial. This was probably inspired at least in part by the hope that such a display might make a favorable impression upon King Federico, whose position on religious tolerance was as yet untested, but the Jews of Corsica also shared an undeniable feeling of respect for the late king and a desire to honor and commemorate him.
[4] The English consul sardonically observed that a year of mourning would be “of no great inconvenience” to the Corsicans, as they habitually wore black already.
[5] Prince Henry had been traveling in Tuscany when news of Theodore’s death arrived, and he decided of his own initiative to travel to Corsica to see the coronation of the new “Laurel King.” This was not an official state visit; the prince merely attended as a private citizen, albeit a very distinguished one.
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I really like the detail that Theodore was as bad with money after he became king as he was before. Its a small thing but makes him so much more believable as a real flawed person. Small details like this really help elevate this timeline.
Good stuff. Nice to hear that the Neuhoff line will keep reigning in Corsica after King Federico for a while at least (I assume Teodoro II is a son of his?).
And yes, I doubt that Federico's Prussian ideas about discipline would go down particularly well.
A fitting finale for Theodore, may he rest in peace. I'm curious to see where this timeline goes now that the titular character is dead and buried, but from the looks of it, it would seem that his successor Federico is in for a difficult reign in the next few years.
I wonder how this new attempt at royal bureaucracy will mesh with all the Jesuits that have established themselves. On one hand, the Society of Jesus has to be as painfully aware as the Jewish philosophers that Corsica is in many ways their only shot at proving all the great powers that exiled them wrong and showing the world that the Jesuits are perfectly capable of working within a monarchy without threatening it. On the other hand, many of them have to be feeling that this would be the first step towards changing Corsica into a copy of mainland European states and preparing to crush the native Corsican structures they have embedded themselves within and dissolve and exile their order yet again. On the third mutant hand, a lot of them are probably still just as horrified at the state of Corsican Catholicism and "civilization" as the Pope's fact-finding mission back in the 1760s and would genuinely welcome further royal authority to help end the ubiquitous superstition and the rampant attitude of various monks and priests as hard-drinking concubine-taking extensions of their clans. Yet on the final magical hand, the Jesuits have operated for a while now under the structures and patronage of the Corsican clan notables and being seen to betray them and help the king undermine them would be very much Not Great. A tricky problem all around.
I wonder how this new attempt at royal bureaucracy will mesh with all the Jesuits that have established themselves.

In this timeline, the Society of Jesus is abolished shortly before Theodore's death, and one of the king's last acts is to withhold the regium exequatur and refuse to promulgate the papal brief of abolition within Corsica. As we will see, Federico opts to continue this non-recognition, believing that terminating their educational mission will retard national development. While the actual treatment and status of the Jesuits across Europe will vary, Corsica will soon become the only Catholic country in which the Society is permitted to exist and function. The Society will also continue to operate in Russia and Prussia (as it did historically), but many Jesuits (particularly the Spaniards) are not eager to exile themselves to the far reaches of northern/eastern Europe and submit to the rule of a non-Catholic autocrat. Thus, while some of the tensions you mention certainly do exist, Federico holds the trump card - if the Jesuits obstruct his reforms he can, at the stroke of a pen, grant the exequatur and destroy the only Jesuit safe haven in the Catholic world. This is a fairly powerful incentive for the Jesuits to cooperate with him.
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What have the Jesuits been up to since they arrived? There were many Jesuit refugees; that's a lot of very capable men. The hostility to the Order is near its peak; ITTL it's been suppressed by the Pope with Theodore exempting Corsica.

The Jesuits in Corsica are as noted wholly dependent on the Crown. Could the Jesuits become the de facto state church of Corsica?

ISTM that even without that, the Order could provide a very valuable service. The Jesuits could do a lot for Corsican notables in terms of improving agriculture and other technical assistance, making them wealthier. That should gain them a lot of popularity. At the same time, they would be dependent on th Crown, and IMO would support reforms to end vendettas, modernize the state, and abolish archaic practices. If they are valuable to the notables, they could be the intermediaries that keep the notables with the program.
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The hostility to the Order is near its peak (OTL it was suppressed by the Pope in 1773). I could see the entire Order taking refuge in Corsica, which could be immensely valuable to the Crown.

TTL's somewhat earlier abolition of the Society of Jesus is the product of butterflies in Papal politics leading to the election of Cardinal Cavalchini as Benedict XV instead of OTL's election of Cardinal Rezzonico as Clement XIV. Cavalchini's candidacy in the previous papal election was vetoed because (in part) of his supposed favor towards the Jesuits, but he had clearly seen the writing on the wall and turned against them by 1770. IOTL, Cavalchini declared himself in favor of the secularization of the Society in 1767, and wrote in 1768 that "It is no longer possible to hide the faults of the Jesuits. I have loved them, I have favored them... but in the end I love more the harmony of the Faithful, the glory of the Roman Church, and the truth." It seems probable to me that Cavalchini, if elected pope, would have been less hesitant to dissolve the order than Rezzonico was.

I am not sure that Corsica can actually contain the entire Jesuit order. Spain alone deported more than 5,000 Jesuits, which is a lot of foreigners to absorb in a population of ~130,000; that would make them nearly 4% of the population. But it's unlikely they will have to - many of the Jesuit exiles will probably bow to Rome's dictate and "retire" from the Society, as many did historically (most of them settling in the Papal States, as far as I can tell). Other countries merely suppressed the Society rather than expelling the Jesuits themselves, allowing ex-Jesuits to continue their religious and educational work as secular priests (albeit no longer under the auspices of the Society). Corsica may become the seat of the "Society in Exile" and serve as a beacon for ex-Jesuits elsewhere, as the Jesuits in Russia did IOTL, but I assume only a fraction of the order will be interested in actually moving there - perhaps only the Spanish and (to a lesser extent) Portuguese exiles, plus a few particularly dedicated members from elsewhere.
Being such a legendary founder, I wonder if Theodore will at some point have a king-under-a-mountain type legend attached to him.

Hopefully at least a few of Federico's reforms will work out OK. Though I doubt he will have an easy time financing them even if he is good with money.
And so a legend passes into history and lionization. Let's see how Fritz handles his mantle!

Regarding the talk about Corsica's status as a Jesuit haven, I wonder how much the island kingdom will become a subject of outside conspiracy theories. In addition to the Jesuit Order, Corsica is decidedly a haven for practicing Jews, and the raising of Theodore's status in national myth will surely make some suspicious-minded people take note of his eccentricities (alchemy, ties to Freemasonry, etc). I also suspect that Corsica might come to be a tax haven in the coming centuries, if the examples of other small, neutral European states can be followed.

Putting all of these factors together, the country feels like a very ripe target for conspiracy by ultraconservatives and anti-Semites should its comparative oddities maintain themselves into the future. Probably not something that would become synonymous with Corsica on the main stage of international renown, but something I can see happening on some scale at least well into the 1800s.
Anarch King of Dipsodes said::

The hostility to the Order is near its peak (OTL it was suppressed by the Pope in 1773). I could see the entire Order taking refuge in Corsica, which could be immensely valuable to the Crown.
(That's now a ghost quote. The original was quoted while I was fixing it --- AKoD)

Corsica may become the seat of the "Society in Exile" and serve as a beacon for ex-Jesuits elsewhere, as the Jesuits in Russia did IOTL...
There's a big difference. Russia is a non-Catholic country, thousands of km to the northeast. Corsica is near the very heart of Catholic Europe - lying between France, Spain, and Italy.

Has the "Black Pope" of the Order (Father Ricci, OTL) been imprisoned, as in OTL? He died in prison in 1775, leaving the office vacant. The Jesuits in Russia elected a "vicar general" (and de facto head of the Order) in 1782. If the Jesuits in Corsica do that (or even elect a formal Superior General), the cat will definitely be among the pigeons. Or Ricci or his ATL counterpart might get out of Rome before the hammer comes down - and go to Corsica. (That would have already happened...)

A big question is (as noted before): what is the status of the Jesuits with Corsica's notables? Are they seen as troublemakers, or golden sheep?
I don't want to get too far into the specifics because this will probably be part of a future update, but you make a good point about Russia and Corsica being quite different as Jesuit strongholds. Corsica, however, has to proceed much more cautiously than Russia can. Sheltering the Jesuits comes at a cost: it will not be appreciated by Spain and other anti-Jesuit powers. Maintaining good relations with Spain is not very important to Russia, but it is hugely important to Corsica. Federico's challenge is keeping the Jesuits around while keeping the diplomatic consequences of their presence to a minimum. To this end, from 1770 the Jesuits exist in a sort of legal grey zone - the Corsican state does not recognize the Papal brief of dissolution, but it also doesn't officially recognize or support the Society. Individual members may be employed by the king and the notabili, but the state will not permit any Jesuit-run colleges or other corporate enterprises of the Society. The Jesuits will organize themselves and probably have their own leadership, but their leaders will not receive any formal acknowledgement from the state.

Essentially, the position of the Court of Bastia is to say "I guess all these exiles live here now, oh well, I suppose it's only fair that we make use of them" and then make vague gestures towards the constitutional guarantee of "liberty of conscience" or outstanding issues with the Papacy (of which they have several) as excuses for why they haven't gotten around to granting the exequatur. This also means that, aside from the Spanish exiles, Corsica is unlikely to offer asylum to any other Jesuits. It's one thing to shrug and accept the status quo regarding Jesuits who are already on the island, and quite another to throw open the gates to all the Jesuits of Europe. Official recognition will come, but not just yet - tensions are too high and Corsica's position is too tenuous. In later years, as the temperature gets a little lower, the crown can revisit the status of the Jesuits and start taking steps towards recognizing their existence, regularizing their leadership, allowing the recruitment of novices, and so on, although that will depend on how they've been getting along in Corsican society during that time.

In general, the notabili will probably appreciate the presence of the Jesuits as tutors and agricultural specialists. The big conflict is likely to be with the Franciscans, who are the dominant order in Corsica. The Franciscans largely sided with the naziunali (unlike the Benedictines, who were generally pro-Genoese and suffered for it), and they have filled many educational and government posts since then. Particularly in the field of education, the Jesuits are a direct threat to them, and the Franciscans have a lot of prestige and influence in Corsican society.

Joseph Pignatelli would be an obvious choice for an informal "shadow vicar" during this period, but he was born in 1737 so that might require fudging my butterfly policy a bit.
Reading between the lines , Corsica can expect a large and lasting Jesuit contingent on the island. That will do wonders for the agriculture as mentioned , but I wonder if later on they will get the chance to found universities. Corsica as a center of scholarship is a cool thought.
Federico's challenge is keeping the Jesuits around while keeping the diplomatic consequences of their presence to a minimum.
What could those consequences be? Spain is not going to invade or blockade Corsica. What would any of the "anti-Jesuit" states actually do? Other than pressure the Pope to excommunicate Theodore II or lay the interdict on Corsica. Theodore I survived excommunication without much difficulty, IIRC; and the interdict would be going too far.