King Theodore's Corsica

In any case, the resulting “deal” was not well-received by the king. Paoli’s counsel, in this case, was flawed, for he had allowed the prince to make the mistake of negotiating in secret. When Theo presented the proposal to his father, including a ministerial reshuffle and the allocation of more authority to Matra, Federico perceived it not as a friendly proposal but a hostile ultimatum. He had never authorized his son to negotiate with Matra, whom the king still suspected was conspiring against him, and was furious that Matra would presume any role in deciding who ought to be a minister in the king’s government. Matra, in turn, seems to have been under the mistaken impression that Theo had the full confidence of the king and that royal approval was a mere formality. With this assumption, he had already ordered Count Innocenzo di Mari, the Minister of War, to mobilize the Foot Regiment. Don Alerio may have thought he was merely being proactive and holding up his end of the bargain, but the king interpreted this as a further threat and a usurpation of his own power.

The traditional account maintains that a real breach was only averted by Queen Elisabetta, who hated to see her husband and son at odds and convinced Federico to accept his son’s proposal. Some (perhaps most) credit may also be due to the king’s bodyguard and trusted confidant, Sir David Murray, who opined that any concessions made to Matra now could always be “revisited” once Fabiani and the Niolesi had been put in their places. Either way, the king reluctantly accepted Theo’s terms, but he never forgave his son for “betraying” him. As Federico saw it, Theo had gone behind his back, sided with Matra against the interests of the crown, and then handed him an unfavorable agreement as a fait accompli while Matra seized control of the army without royal consent. It was a soft coup, but a coup nonetheless, and one which had been supported by his own son and heir.

With the political crisis momentarily resolved, the government could now bring its full attention to the Balagna. Marquis Matra proposed to lead an expedition himself, perhaps hoping to repeat his success in crushing the filogenovesi of Fiumorbo during the Revolution. The king, however, was not having it. It was bad enough that he had been forced to make concessions to Matra; he was not putting him in personal command of an army as well. The prince put it more diplomatically, explaining to the marquis that, as prime minister, military command was no longer in his job description. Instead, four companies of the Regiment of Foot were assembled and entrusted to Major-General Count Giovan Quilico Casabianca - perhaps not coincidentally, a friend of Paoli - who was ordered to take control of all government forces in the province.
It's interesting to see the at first absent-minded and outdoorsy prince Theo learning to be a capable if still somewhat naive statesman, while king Federico, who as a rebel general and prince showed little greatness but was quietly competent and uncontroversial, becomes paranoid and distrustful of even those closest to him.
 
It's interesting to see the at first absent-minded and outdoorsy prince Theo learning to be a capable if still somewhat naive statesman, while king Federico, who as a rebel general and prince showed little greatness but was quietly competent and uncontroversial, becomes paranoid and distrustful of even those closest to him.

Federico, in my mind, has always been a rather mediocre figure. Although styling himself as a consummate soldier, his only significant military victory was the conquest of Capraia, an “armed picnic” in which he faced only the feeblest of resistance. His rise to kingship was thanks mainly to the fact that he married the right person, managed to have children, and was a less divisive figure than Rauschenburg.

Because his ideal of governance is basically Federician hyper-competent personal autocracy, Federico convinced himself that he could (and indeed ought to) run the country by himself. He filled the cabinet with people that satisfied the high nobility without really considering their own ambitions and capabilities, resulting in the appointment of both mediocre ministers who treat their positions like sinecures and disgruntled ministers like Matra who chafe at being mere bureaucrats. This is, at least in part, a product of his own cultural chauvinism: Federico is a continental who, like most continentals, sees Corsica as a semi-barbarous country. He perceives his own kingship as something of a civilizing mission. Obviously he, a cultured Prussian aristocrat, knows how to lead an army and run a state better than these rough islanders; how could it be any other way?

That’s not to say Federico never has good ideas or makes good decisions. Resisting pressure to disband the Jesuits took some amount of courage and was probably a good move, although the ultimate effects of this remain to be seen. His reconciliation with the Pope without actually giving anything up is probably his most notable achievement, though the success of this had a great deal to do with changing Roman politics (and a change in Papal leadership). He has introduced administrative and fiscal reforms which have been a marked general improvement over Theodore’s rather hands-off administration, although his implementation of these reforms has often been graceless.

It’s true that Federico has become more paranoid, but he’s always been a bit suspicious of others. As already stated, his leadership style from Day One was to delegate as little as possible, which may suggest that he doesn’t really trust others. He basically bribed Rauschenburg into exile because he feared that his better-known, more militarily successful cousin would threaten his authority. The combination of an armed uprising against his government (by people chanting “long live Don Giovan [Rauschenburg],” something he’s been afraid of for years) and the near-simultaneous refusal of Fabiani, First Minister Matra, and the Diet to follow his orders deeply alarmed him, at a time when he is already rather emotionally precarious after the death of his son.

Of course, just because I, the author see him in a certain way does not necessarily mean I’ve succeeded in getting that across to my audience. Such is the challenge of fiction, I suppose.
 
While it may seem a bit pedantic and scornful, could I ask for a TLDR of this TL ? As it appears to be very interesting but school is taking a lot of time out of me hands
The salient point is that Theodore von Neuhoff remains in Corsica longer, and retains the loyalty of Corsican rebels. He returns to Corsica during the War of the Austrian Succession, almost entirely driving out the Genoese, and a French-mediated treaty establishes formal Corsican independence in 1749.
 
Giacinto Paoli, the father of Pasquale Paoli, is mortally wounded during the siege of San Pellegrino in early 1736 (the POD) when a stray cannonball blows off his leg. In my opinion, his issues with other rebel leaders and general incompetence (e.g. abandoning the siege of Bastia when it was about to succeed) were major reasons for Theodore's failure. With him out of the way, Bastia falls to the rebels, and the corresponding boost to Theodore's reputation - as well as the material value of capturing Bastia, the colonial capital, with its port and supplies - has ripple effects through the rest of the TL. Theodore still ends up leaving about a year later to raise money and supplies, but when he returns in 1738 with a Dutch fleet (as OTL) he actually manages to land, deliver a large amount of munitions and artillery, and resume his reign. Eventually Theodore is forced to flee again by a joint Franco-Austrian occupation, which ultimately overwhelms Theodore's army despite some sensational Corsican victories. Yet his cousin Johann continues the resistance in the mountains, and the French and Austrian occupiers abandon the island once the War of the Austrian Succession breaks out. Theodore, who by this point has enjoyed a much longer and more successful reign than OTL, is able to return once more, and eventually receives aid from the British and Sardinians (who are now at war with Genoa) which allows him to drive the Genoese off the island entirely (except for Bonifacio). In 1749 the French broker a treaty between Theodore and the Genoese which recognizes Corsican independence, but as a French satellite. This continues until the outbreak of the alt-SYW, when the French pre-emptively occupy the island but are nevertheless driven out by the British Navy. Corsica emerges from this war as a weak but effectively independent state. Theodore's religious policies, including the complete emancipation of Jews (who begin immigrating to Ajaccio), runs afoul of the Pope and eventually gets him excommunicated. Theodore dies in 1770 without an heir of his body and is succeeded by his cousin Friedrich (who marries Theodore's illegitimate niece), a Prussian soldier who finds running a country to be rather more difficult than expected. Currently, the TL is in the mid-1770s as Federico struggles to balance the budget and maintain royal authority in a rather poor and backwards country, while also feuding with his likeable but rather indulgent son Theodore ("Theo," the future Theodore II).

Does that help?
 
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Giacinto Paoli, the father of Pasquale Paoli, is mortally wounded during the siege of San Pellegrino in early 1736 (the POD) when a stray cannonball blows off his leg. In my opinion, his issues with other rebel leaders and general incompetence (e.g. abandoning the siege of Bastia when it was about to succeed) were major reasons for Theodore's failure. With him out of the way, Bastia falls to the rebels, and the corresponding boost to Theodore's reputation - as well as the material value of capturing Bastia, the colonial capital, with its port and supplies - has ripple effects through the rest of the TL. Theodore still ends up leaving about a year later to raise money and supplies, but when he returns in 1738 with a Dutch fleet (as OTL) he actually manages to land, deliver a large amount of munitions and artillery, and resume his reign. Eventually Theodore is forced to flee again by a joint Franco-Austrian occupation, which ultimately overwhelms Theodore's army despite some sensational Corsican victories. Yet his cousin Johann continues the resistance in the mountains, and the French and Austrian occupiers abandon the island once the War of the Austrian Succession breaks out. Theodore, who by this point has enjoyed a much longer and more successful reign than OTL, is able to return once more, and eventually receives aid from the British and Sardinians (who are now at war with Genoa) which allows him to drive the Genoese off the island entirely (except for Bonifacio). In 1749 the French broker a treaty between Theodore and the Genoese which recognizes Corsican independence, but as a French satellite. This continues until the outbreak of the alt-SYW, when the French pre-emptively occupy the island but are nevertheless driven out by the British Navy. Corsica emerges from this war as a weak but effectively independent state. Theodore's religious policies, including the complete emancipation of Jews (who begin immigrating to Ajaccio), runs afoul of the Pope and eventually gets him excommunicated. Theodore dies in 1770 without an heir of his body and is succeeded by his cousin Friedrich (who marries Theodore's illegitimate niece), a Prussian soldier who finds running a country to be rather more difficult than expected. Currently, the TL is in the mid-1770s as Federico struggles to balance the budget and maintain royal authority in a rather poor and backwards country, while also feuding with his likeable but rather indulgent son Theodore ("Theo," the future Theodore II).

Does that help?
Thank you very much, this is indeed a very interesting TL, i'll await the next developpements
 
Yes, sorry about the delay. Apart from personal stuff, I've had a severe case of writer's block pertaining to the international situation. As I've said before in the thread, I certainly do not consider myself an expert on 18th century European politics, and we are at a point where I need to make some decisions about where things are headed on the continent that will shape Corsica's future.

Rest assured that progress is still ongoing (actually I have quite a lot written already, just not finalized), and once I finally determine a course of action we will be back in business.
 
You might want to try out the author's other TL as well then, it's quite good and covers a broader swathe of time, although I do like the Corsican one better because of the strength of the personalities.
Sons of the Harlot Empress? Oh yeah, I've read that one as well.
Yes, sorry about the delay. Apart from personal stuff, I've had a severe case of writer's block pertaining to the international situation. As I've said before in the thread, I certainly do not consider myself an expert on 18th century European politics, and we are at a point where I need to make some decisions about where things are headed on the continent that will shape Corsica's future.

Rest assured that progress is still ongoing (actually I have quite a lot written already, just not finalized), and once I finally determine a course of action we will be back in business.
I am certainly excited to hear that! Take your time, but don't be too hard on yourself -- for someone who doesn't consider themselves an expert on 18th Century European politics, you manage to bring the period to life, capturing nuance and conveying complexity, for both in the long and close up view, in a way I see few other writers accomplish (and I mean, on this site or published elsewhere).

Looking forward to the continuation!
 
So @Carp, I was wondering if we might see something like the Greek Plan pulled off and an early partition of European Turkey, and/or the Austrian exchange of the Netherlands for Bavaria. Austria TTL has fended off the Prussians, and absent the French Revolution (or at least one altered due to butterflies) Russia+Austria could potentially have a greater focus on the Balkans. Venice might emerge with some of her former territories, here, which together with her presumed survival has obvious implications for Italy.
 
So @Carp, I was wondering if we might see something like the Greek Plan pulled off and an early partition of European Turkey, and/or the Austrian exchange of the Netherlands for Bavaria. Austria TTL has fended off the Prussians, and absent the French Revolution (or at least one altered due to butterflies) Russia+Austria could potentially have a greater focus on the Balkans. Venice might emerge with some of her former territories, here, which together with her presumed survival has obvious implications for Italy.

I have my doubts as to whether Pyotr would actually pursue a "Greek Plan" as his wife did - he seems to me to have been more Baltic-focused, and because he was actually a Romanov dynast (and not a Romanov-by-marriage who seized power in a coup) he had no need to burnish his legitimacy by appealing to Orthodox solidarity. I also don't think that the events of this timeline necessarily bode ill for the Ottomans; certainly Austria is stronger, but with Prussia diminished Vienna is even more likely to see Russia as its greatest strategic opponent. ITTL, Russia is ruled by a Prussophile who has allied with Brandenburg and backed a Hohenzollern prince for the Polish throne. Historically, Russian penetration into the Balkans made the Austrians very nervous and I'm not sure they would see a mutual carving up of the Ottoman Balkans as being in their own strategic interest.

We will see some developments in this area (as an aside, Russian-Polish-Austrian-Ottoman politics is the main thing I'm struggling with right now), but I don't think an Ottoman-screw is really in the cards here, at least not in the last decades which will be covered by this TL.

As for Bavaria, the question is whether, having won the "SYW," the Austrians would actually pursue this plan. Joseph's motivation in the WotBS, as far as I can determine, was to recover Austrian power by expanding its possessions in Germany. But ITTL Austria has already reasserted itself as the strongest German power, and has reclaimed Silesia. Do they really need to go searching for more territories to annex which might upset the princes and cause instability in the empire?
 
Austria was to my knowledge not particularly enthusiastic about keeping Belgium given the difficulties of defending the place, so that trade could still end up happening.
 
Austria was to my knowledge not particularly enthusiastic about keeping Belgium given the difficulties of defending the place, so that trade could still end up happening.

It was always more complicated than that (and let's remember that the deal was for parts of the Austrian Netherlands). The places were expensive, but they also included some of Austria's wealthiest possessions.
 
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