King Theodore's Corsica

Also, unless you have a POD three generations before Napoleon or at least one generation before but you know involving something his parents were involved, there is a good chance he'd probably be born anyways.

No. If circumstances change at all even a short time before the conception of any person, the odds are overwhelming that that person will not be conceived or born. Bear in mind that every conception is a one-in-millions outcome. Conception may not happen at the same time. The circumstances of people meeting and marrying (or mating without marriage) is also very sensitive to circumstances. (Though sometimes overdetermined.) Go back a generation, and billions of trivial events will be changed, any of which could affect the life patterns of historically important people.

Broad trends remain, but anything dependent on any individual will change.
 
International Man of Mystery
International Man of Mystery

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"Tall, well-built, with plenty of wit, very likable, speaking every language perfectly. A man to whom nothing seemed difficult."

- Ferdinand Charles Gobert, Comte d'Aspremont-Lynden, describing Theodore as a young man

As with many young men of the lesser nobility, Theodore's next step after service as a page was to enter the military. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the French cavalry regiment of Courcillon and saw action in the closing years of the War of Spanish Succession. After the war ended, Theodore dabbled in diplomacy and espionage, possibly selling information (or pretending to) about the Duke of Orleans for money. This was the first hint of a problem with finances which Theodore would struggle with all his life. As a nobleman whose whole inheritance had been stripped from him, he had little means of his own, and in his attempt to live a lifestyle befitting of his station he tended to rack up large personal debts. He was subsequently given a recommendation to the Bavarian army, where he served as captain in the infantry until 1716, when he absconded from both the regiment and the country to escape his creditors. Returning to France, he got in a heated argument with his brother-in-law over his own debts, which resulted in Theodore striking and injuring the count. It was serious enough that he was in danger of criminal charges.

His rescue came from an unlikely source. The Swedish minister Baron Heinrich von Goertz was in Paris at the time on a diplomatic mission, but on the side he was engaging in some skulduggery with Jacobite sympathizers in France. He needed a discreet go-between, and soon found Theodore. Goertz sent Theodore as an undercover agent to England as part of a conspiracy to ship grain to Sweden purchased with Jacobite money in exchange for the promise of later Swedish support for the cause of the House of Stuart. When the conspiracy was broken up in 1717 Theodore escaped to the continent, but his creditors proved more able to sniff him out than the English, and he was imprisoned for debt. Goertz, however, secured his release and appears to have cleared his debts or at least secured him a reprieve. Theodore next went to Spain, which was now involving itself in Jacobite conspiracies as well.

Theodore soon gained favor in Spain thanks to a friendship with the powerful Cardinal Giulio Alberoni and was made colonel of an infantry regiment. There he romanced and married one of the queen's maids, Catalina Sarsfield, who was the daughter of an exiled Irish Jacobite nobleman. Their only child, a daughter whose name is not known, died in infancy. He participated in the War of the Quadruple Alliance and appears to have been part of the failed attempt by the Spanish to invade Britain and restore the Stuarts in 1719. Alberoni fell from grace later that year, and was exiled. This was a bad omen for Neuhoff's own career in Spain, but fortunately he was able to return to France in 1720; his brother-in-law whom he had assaulted had been killed in the recent war, and Theodore was able to obtain a writ of protection from the French regent which protected him from action by his creditors.

Unfortunately Theodore's financial difficulties only grew worse. Although payment on his debts was deferred due to royal action, they were not forgiven, and to make his fortune he sunk his money (and even his wife's jewels) into the Mississippi Company of John Law. Alas, he had gotten into an economic bubble shortly before it popped, and when it did so in late 1720 the collapse of the company left Theodore with nothing. He fled Paris again, and we find him in Holland, then back in Spain, then in prison, and shortly freed from prison with a new patron. This was the Dutch-born Spanish minister Johan Willem Ripperda, an adviser to the powerful Queen of Spain, Elisabeth Farnese. Ripperda dispatched Theodore once more on Jacobite intrigues, and for five years he was Ripperda's spy and undercover agent in Portugal, France, England, and Rome. He seems to have been a rather good spy: in Rome, traveling under the pseudonym of "Baron Romberg," he befriended Philipp von Stosch, who was in fact the British government's premier informant on the Jacobite court in Rome. Stosch only found out about the true identity of "Romberg" and his Jacobite allegiance years later. For the rest of his life, it was rumored - but never proved - that Theodore had been given some knighthood or title by the Old Pretender himself as a reward for his long service, and this may have been the basis for Theodore's occasional claims that he was an "English lord."

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Duke Johan Willem Ripperda, diplomat and minister of Spain,
and later Theodore's co-conspirator in his Corsican scheme

Good spy or not, in 1726 his career in espionage came to an end with the fall of Ripperda, who was disgraced and imprisoned on allegations of embezzlement and abuse of office. Serious Spanish interest in the Jacobite cause vanished with Ripperda's career, and Theodore himself came under suspicion for his checkered past and association with such men as Ripperda, Law, and Alberoni. The government pulled Theodore's funding—he was at the time under cover in England—and in 1727 he left England for Vienna. Drawing on some of his contacts, he managed to get an audience with Eugene of Savoy in order to gain his recommendation for a high official post, possibly military, but days before this was to go through Eugene received a letter from Spain which made some scandalous accusation about Neuhoff's past, and the recommendation was never made.

Thus rebuffed, Theodore seems to have gotten into some rather disreputable activities in Austria, including running off with a 23 year old nun named Maria Rhein who for some years traveled with him as his apparent mistress under the pseudonym of "Fraulein von Friesbach." As a result, Theodore was arrested under suspicion of "intimacy with a nun" (a very serious crime), but he managed to escape from captivity. He changed his own name repeatedly, going by "Baron von Geyersburg" and "Baron Heinrich Sigismund von Welckacker" in Vienna, and after his prison break traveling in Prussia as "Baron Johann Hendrik von Syberg."[A] Maria traveled with him as his assistant, mistress, and possibly even his wife. Although some later claimed Theodore to be a bigamist, it was probably not true even if he did marry Maria, for poor Catalina seems to have died around 1724.[B] Theodore was later accused of abandoning his wife when he fled from Paris in the aftermath of the Mississippi Company disaster, but leaving her there may have been an act of mercy; in Paris, at least, she would be free of the creditors who were after him, and in any case he could not very well have brought his Irish-Jacobite wife along with him during his clandestine career.

In Prussia, Theodore reinvented himself into a traveling physician, astrologer, and alchemist, claiming to be able to make love potions and panaceas.[1] He seems to have been quite learned in "modern" alchemical scholarship, was well read on the art, and corresponded with chemists, mystics, and Rosicrucians. He was rumored to be a Freemason, and may well have been considering the popularity of Freemasonry among the exiled Jacobites, many of whom he knew well. He briefly went to Sweden in 1731 along with Maria, and then to Bavaria, but after his return to the continent we hear nothing more of her. In Bavaria, Theodore became a quite well-known astrologer (under the name of "von Syberg") and claimed to be able to predict lottery numbers. His "sorcery," however, caught the unwelcome attention of the Inquisition, and he left for Holland, where he was put up in comfortable lodgings at the expense of the state by successfully impersonating a foreign diplomat.

In late 1732, he traveled to Genoa, possibly on some imperial diplomatic commission, and it was here under the alias of "Baron Schmitberg" where his destiny and that of Corsica became intertwined. The alchemist Theodore would now attempt the greatest transmutation of them all, as great as any feat which the legendary Philosopher's Stone was said to be capable of: that of turning a penniless mountebank into a king.

Footnotes
[1] A particular "favorite cure" of his seems to have been Hungarian wine mixed with gold dust.

Timeline Notes
[A] Nobody has better pseudonyms than Theodore.
[B] We don't really know exactly when Catalina died. This is my best guess based on the fact that she's never mentioned again; it could well have been earlier or later. Certainly Theodore never mentioned a wife during his Corsican career, and despite extensive "research" done into his life by Genoese propagandists and European writers in 1736 and afterwards, nobody to my knowledge managed to find a living wife.
 
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This is an awesome biography! Echoes of Candide and Barry Lyndon! Truly the xviii century holds some very very remarkable characters...

Corsica is not that completely devoid of natural resources and there are several goods that can be exported. I think there is insufficient cereal productivity for a bigger population though, maybe someone as shrewd as Theodore could incentive the cultivation of potatoes in marginal areas? For cash crops I would focus on cork and wines (are porto/marsala like wines possible in that climate?). Today Corsica produces a significant quantity of clementines: maybe lemons for anti scurvy? (although I think conservation methods are not yet useful).

Mining is also possible, with some lead, silver, iron and asbestos.
 
This is an awesome biography! Echoes of Candide and Barry Lyndon! Truly the xviii century holds some very very remarkable characters...

Theodore is one of my favorite historical characters, just because his life story is so unbelievable. As for Candide - were you aware that Theodore appears in it?

It was now the sixth monarch's turn to speak: “Gentlemen,” said he, “I am not so great a prince as any of you; however, I am a king. I am Theodore, elected King of Corsica; I had the title of Majesty, and now I am scarcely treated as a gentleman. I have coined money, and now am not worth a farthing; I have had two secretaries of state, and now I have scarce a valet; I have seen myself on a throne, and I have seen myself upon straw in a common jail in London. I am afraid that I shall meet with the same treatment here though, like your majesties, I am come to see the Carnival at Venice.”

- Voltaire, Candide, Chapter XXVI

As Theodore's luck won't be nearly as bad ITTL, one certain effect is that Candide will be written a bit differently, presumably with five kings at the Venetian Carnival instead of six. :)

Corsica is not that completely devoid of natural resources and there are several goods that can be exported. I think there is insufficient cereal productivity for a bigger population though, maybe someone as shrewd as Theodore could incentive the cultivation of potatoes in marginal areas?

Funny you should mention potatoes - in fact Paoli introduced them to Corsica during his regime, and certainly Theodore and company could try as well, perhaps with more substantive results (as Paoli didn't exactly have a lot of time to develop Corsican agriculture).

As far as natural resources go, most are agricultural in nature, the biggest ones being wine and olive oil. In 1810 Corsica was exporting 2.5 million pounds of olive oil annually (much of which was probably used for cloth manufacture rather than human consumption). As for wines, they were varied; as one Englishman put it, they produced "some like port, strong, rough and full-bodied; some rich and sweet, so much resembling Frontignac that they are frequently sold as such; others like Chablis; and another similar to the best Herefordshire perry." Citrus is grown there, as well as figs, almonds, walnuts, and of course chestnuts, but probably not in sufficient quantity to be all that important to the export economy.

One interesting possibility is silk production; the White Mulberry apparently grows well in Corsica, and there was some small-scale silk production in the late 18th century, but there doesn't seem to have been any concerted effort or capital put into making it an industry of consequence. At least one source claims Corsican silk was better than that of Piedmont, which was a significant European producer. For a variety of reasons, silk is probably going to be of significantly greater importance on the island ITTL.

The other big potential sector of the economy is forestry. A French report on Corsica's forests in 1790 suggested that if Corsican lumber was used to smelt the abundant iron of Elba, it would yield a sustainable income of six million livres annually. The report also discussed shipbuilding, but concluded that this was not a viable near-term use of the timber as the island lacked the infrastructure and facilities to manage it.

There is some mining in Corsica, but it's pretty poor. There's really just one iron mine and one galena (silver-lead) mine, neither of which are anything special. There's a very small amount of coal and a few mediocre copper deposits in the interior. Cap Corse has antimony and asbestos, but neither of those were of much importance until the late 19th century.

I'll leave it at that for now - we'll get into the economy in much more detail at a later point in the TL.
 
San Fiorenzo has a decent water supply, a great harbor, and is in the heart of prime agricultural area. Its only real drawback is the same curse that hangs over much of coastal Corsica, and is a big part of what holds the island back: Malaria. Some of Corsica's best farmland, mainly on the east coast, is completely unlivable on account of its "bad air," and SF had some nearby pools that caused the same problem. Historically that issue wasn't solved until the Americans drenched the island with DDT in the 1940s. Drainage might have been possible earlier, but as a provincial backwater Corsica was not really a priority for French public works. An independent Corsica is more likely to make it a priority, and indeed Theodore wanted to do something about it, but whether he has the resources to do so is another question.

Thus SF is possible, but only with work, or else we're going to burn through our available Neuhoffs pretty quickly.

Honestly drainage can be done rather cheap, it just demand policies which favour small estate over large ones and if you mix it with monetary rewards for how much lands being drained annual, you could get a rather massive area drained over a single life time, Denmark drained a area the size of Corsica over 60 year, and this was mostly done without machines and by individual farmers. The state mostly supported it with know how and education. The new king could invite some Flemish and Dutch Catholic settlers into the area, and simply give them some swampland. This have the benefit of introducing some people with the necessary know how, which can be spread to the local Corsicans.
 
Transmutation
Transmutation

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A Genoese pinque or "pink," a small, shallow-keeled cargo ship used in the Mediterranean.
The
Richard, the ship which bore Theodore to Corsica, was the same type of vessel.

"The Wizard by whom this adventurous Knight-Errant is protected, does not let him want for Money, and takes special Care of the Affairs of this new Monarch. All Europe is really as much perplexed to know who this notable Magician can be, as it was at first to know the true Origin of the Lord Theodore."

- The Jewish Letters, Jean-Baptiste de Boyer

Theodore arrived on the scene just as the Corsican rebellion appeared to be ending. After an initial and unexpected series of defeats at the hands of the rebels, the imperial troops which had occupied the country by Genoa's request (and on Genoa's tab) had brought reinforcements and compelled the "malcontents" to agree to a truce and enter negotiations. The rebels ultimately agreed to lay down their arms, submit to the Republic, and hand over several of their leaders to the imperial commanders as hostages in exchange for a general amnesty and consideration of Corsican demands.

The hostages Luigi Giafferi, Andrea Ciaccaldi, Giovanni Aitelli, and Padre Carlo Raffaelli were initially held by the Austrians,[A] but the senior imperial commander Friedrich Ludwig von Württemberg-Winnental, having received orders recalling him from Corsica, decided on his own initiative to hand them over to the Genoese. Heedless of their promise of amnesty, the Senate imprisoned them at Savona and sentenced them to death. Outraged, the rebels back on Corsica threatened a new rebellion if their leaders were not freed. The emperor's representative, Wirich Philipp von Daun (then governor of Milan), castigated Württemberg for his actions, communicating to him the distinct displeasure of His Imperial Majesty Charles VI. Von Daun and Lieutenant-General Baron Karl Franz von Wachtendonck (who had preceded Württemberg as senior commander before his arrival, and regained that position after his recall) pressured the Genoese to release the prisoners. Hoping to go over their heads, the Genoese Senate sent "gifts" to Vienna in an attempt to bribe the imperial ministers into favoring their position. All waited on word from Vienna, and when it arrived in April of 1733 the emperor's order was clear: all the prisoners were to be freed at once. The Genoese reluctantly complied.

It is not known exactly what inspired this imperial decision, but Theodore would later be widely credited with a leading part. He claimed he had written a letter to Vienna which had "clarified matters," and indeed several of the hostages, once they were freed, publicly gave Theodore credit for their release. Theodore did have friends in Vienna, and was in fact a relation of General Wachtendonck (albeit a somewhat distant one). Between his arrival in Genoa and the freeing of the prisoners, he had met secretively with rebel sympathizers in Genoa, traveled to Tuscany to meet exiled rebels there, and is rumored to have even traveled briefly to Corsica in the guise of an imperial hussar; certainly his former career as a spy was serving him well. He wrote letters to imperial officials, playing off their fear that other powers, particularly Spain, might use the rebellion as an excuse to take control of the island and further increase their power in Italy.[1]

Regardless of exactly how great Theodore's role really was, it was this incident which first made his name known among the Corsicans. Taking advantage of his new notoriety, Theodore arranged meetings with Corsican leaders in Livorno. These included some of the recently freed "prisoners of Savona" as well as other Corsicans who would become key players in his reign, in particular the Genoese-educated lawyer Sebastiano Costa (the author of the 1735 Constitution), who would become Theodore's "Grand Chancellor," and the Balagnese nobleman Simone Fabiani, who would be among his finest generals.

To these rebel leaders Theodore made a case for his usefulness to their cause. The Corsicans, he argued, did not have what was necessary to win. Firstly, they needed money and arms; the 150 muskets which Costa had spent all his money on before fleeing from Genoa was not going to cut it. Theodore told them he could raise vast amounts of capital and arrange arms shipments that would allow them to fight the Genoese on an even footing. But guns alone would not give them the victory; they also needed diplomacy, and here again Theodore recommended himself. He was an exceedingly well-traveled nobleman with friends (or at least acquaintances) and contacts in nearly every court on the continent, and he regaled them with (essentially true, if embellished) stories of being a favorite of the Duchess of Orleans, of meeting Eugene of Savoy and the King and Queen of Spain, and of all the various diplomats and ministers and high nobility who knew him. At the moment he was not yet offering himself as a king, but certainly as a benefactor, a man who could make everything possible for them. Having been turned away or ignored by every foreign power whom they had asked for help, the Corsican leaders were quite receptive to his offers. It probably helped that they knew absolutely nothing about his past save what they heard from his own mouth.

Theodore has sometimes been called a trickster or con-man, but while he didn't always tell the truth and often left debts unpaid his Corsican scheme was certainly not a con. For the next three years, Theodore did exactly what he had told the Corsican leaders he would, and did it with extreme diligence and at substantial risk to his own life. One of his first and most important backers was the old and childless Gian Gastone de Medici, the last of the Medici Grand Dukes of Tuscany, who granted Theodore an audience and seems to have taken a liking to him immediately. The duke was allegedly a sympathizer with the Corsicans and had no love for Genoa, and was happy to divert some funds to the baron's venture. Theodore's old Jacobite friends in Rome were good for some money, too.

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Gian Gastone de Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, looking younger
and more vital than he probably did when Theodore met him.

Theodore was a man of unusual religious tolerance for his time. As such, it was perhaps no surprise that he would look for financial support in unorthodox places. He received funding from the Jews of Livorno, whom he promised the opportunity to settle in Corsica—specifically at Aleria, which Neuhoff many not have realized was uninhabited because it was rendered largely uninhabitable by malaria. He then sailed to Tunis to solicit funds from the "Jews of Barbary." It was there that he was reunited with his old friend and patron, Duke Johan Willem Ripperda.

Ripperda, a man whose life was nearly as incredible as Theodore's, had escaped from prison in Spain in 1727 and traveled to Britain, where he made himself modestly useful by giving information on the Spanish court to the British government. After the formal end of the Anglo-Spanish War in late 1729 he became surplus to requirements, and in 1731 he returned to his native Holland. He did not stay there long—perhaps even more than Theodore, he had a thirst for adventure. Later that year he traveled to Morocco to enter the service of Sultan Moulay Abdallah, who welcomed him warmly and made him a minister and a general. Some sources claim he converted to Islam, a charge which he personally denied. Unfortunately the number of fanciful tales told about him after his death makes it difficult to distinguish fact from fiction.

Ripperda prospered in Morocco for a while, but was forced to leave the country after Abdallah was overthrown by his half-brother Ali in 1734.[2] He lived for a time in Tetouan and then came to Tunisia, where he fell ill and put himself into the care of Dr. Buongiorno, a Tuscan physician living in Tunis. As it happened, Theodore was already there, having received a letter of introduction to Buongiorno from the Grand Duke. It seems rather unlikely that this was a coincidence; Theodore and Ripperda were probably exchanging letters for some time before this "chance" meeting.

That Corsica might accept not just a benefactor but a king appears to have been Ripperda's idea, and the original plan was for Ripperda to be that king. After all, he was a duke and Theodore was a baron; Ripperda also still had a considerable fortune, while Theodore was penniless save for the funds he had recently raised for the rebels. Theodore was to be his chief general and right-hand man. After hashing out the plan, they convinced the Bey of Tunis that an independent Corsica would be good for Tunisian trade and promised commercial concessions in exchange for monetary support. Ripperda then returned to Morocco, where he still maintained a relationship with he powerful Dowager Sultana, and contacted his friends in Holland to arrange purchases of supplies and munitions. Theodore, meanwhile, traveled to Constantinople, where he solicited recognition and aid from the Ottoman Sultan Mahmud and invited him to send Turkish and Albanian settlers. His time spent there is not well documented and the settlers never materialized, but he may have procured funding or some other aid there. On a return voyage to Tunis he was apparently captured and enslaved by Algerian pirates, but managed to gain his freedom by paying a ransom.[3]

In the summer of 1735, Theodore returned to Tuscany and had more meetings with the Grand Duke and his ministers, and then visited bankers and foreign consuls in Livorno. There, however, he was briefly imprisoned when one such banker who had loaned him money discovered some rumor of his past and accused him of borrowing money under false pretenses. Certainly Theodore had done quite a bit under false pretenses—around that time he was going by the name of Syberg (again) and recruiting men whilst pretending to be raising soldiers for the Portuguese army—but as it happened, the specific accusation was that he had pretended to be a German nobleman, something he actually was. The matter was soon resolved and Theodore was released, but not before he caught typhoid in prison and nearly died. Despite securing significant funding for his venture with Ripperda, Theodore's own pockets were essentially empty, and he had to recover in a pauper's hospital. It was not until December of 1735 that he was able to resume his work.

Ripperda had in the meantime amassed muskets, cannon, and money, but he was about to lose a crown. In a letter to one of his Dutch partners, he claimed that the Dowager Sultana of Morocco, who had granted him a large sum for the enterprise, had threatened to withdraw her support if Ripperda went in person to Corsica as "she suspected that I might be disloyal to her interests." That, at least, was Ripperda's face-saving way of explaining the switch, but it is possible that the Corsicans themselves demanded it. The Baron Neuhoff was much better known to the rebel leaders than Ripperda, who had never been near Corsica and does not seem to have met any of the rebel leaders in person. For his role in freeing the "Prisoners of Savona," Neuhoff already had a positive reputation among the Corsicans. It is also possible that Ripperda's failing health made him realize that he was not up to the task; he was, among other things, plagued by gout. In his letter, written after Theodore's departure for Corsica, he writes:

So I had to rethink my plans. I realised that my old friend Theodore had all the qualities necessary for a King. So we drew up our Statutes, and he put them to the Corsicans. They agreed, and offered Theodore the crown, for which Heaven had evidently destined him... I am aware of the risks I am taking, and I am taking appropriate precautions. If I should fail, I will drop my African schemes, and retire to die in peace wherever I may.


Theodore gathered his cadre of followers, which included two freed Turkish slaves given to him by the Grand Duke, several Corsicans which Theodore had freed from slavery in Tunis, and other men from various nations who served as his bodyguards, advisors, confessors, and valets. All were drawn to Theodore by the sheer power of his charisma and his grand promises of his own royal future. He had even attracted the service of the younger brother of Dr. Buongiorno, in whose house Theodore had first reunited with Ripperda. In February of 1736, Ripperda's consignments from Holland arrived, and Theodore's transportation was arranged as well—the merchant ship Richard, flying under a British flag since it was captained by the Englishman Richard "Dick" Ortega. Now the would-be king at last made sail for his kingdom.

Footnotes
[1] An eminently reasonable fear, given that in the following year the Infante Charles of Parma invaded the Kingdom of Naples and snatched it from the Austrians.
[2] It was Abdallah's first overthrow, but not his last; he would be deposed four more times and return to power each time thereafter. Part of the problem was that his father, Sultan Moulay Ismail, was and remains a top contender for the title of "the man with the most children in the history of the world," allegedly siring 867 children by nine wives and numerous concubines. The number of half-brothers who could conspire to seize Abdallah's throne was considerable.
[3] It was speculated by some contemporaries that Theodore's royal coat of arms, featuring a broken chain and a Moor's head, was based on the incident of his capture and "escape" (actually ransom) from the Barbary corsairs. This is quite false; the broken chain was the traditional arms of the Neuhoff house, and the Moor's head was an old Aragonese symbol for Corsica which Theodore revived.

Timeline Notes
[A] As long as I'm rattling off some names of Corsicans, this seems like as good a moment as any to mention my policy on Corsican names. Corsican, of course, is a language (or perhaps a dialect of Italian depending on your viewpoint and the definition of "dialect"), and most Corsicans in the 18th century spoke Corsican. Because of the long history of Genoese rule, however, as well as the island's proximity to Italy, most educated, urban-dwelling, and upper-class Corsicans spoke Italian. Italian was the language of culture and class among the Corsicans, while Corsican was a peasant's language. Pasquale Paoli himself intended Italian, not Corsican, to be the island's official language, and seems to have considered Corsican a mere Italian dialect. As I consider the same preference for Italian in a governmental/courtly/cultured setting to be likely ITTL, I have chosen to render the names of most Corsicans in their Italian forms. Thus, when I speak of minister Gaffori, for instance (a character who has not yet appeared), I will call him Gianpietro rather than Ghjuvan Petru (and certainly not Jean-Pierre). I will usually do the same for place names, many of which are known by their French names today; thus we will speak of San Fiorenzo rather than either San Fiurenzu or Saint-Florent.
 
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Richard Ortega is made up right?

Nope. "Captain Dick" is real, and his ship was really called the "Richard." In fact, all characters mentioned so far are real.

The only sense in which I've made anything up so far is in a few instances where we don't really know what happened or several alternatives are possible, and I've added some detail or certainty where we don't actually have any. There are a lot of mysteries about Theodore's life, and I've filled in a few blanks based on what seems likely. I have not, however, wholly fabricated any person or event yet.
 
Nope. "Captain Dick" is real, and his ship was really called the "Richard." In fact, all characters mentioned so far are real.

The only sense in which I've made anything up so far is in a few instances where we don't really know what happened or several alternatives are possible, and I've added some detail or certainty where we don't actually have any. There are a lot of mysteries about Theodore's life, and I've filled in a few blanks based on what seems likely. I have not, however, wholly fabricated any person or event yet.

People really tend to miss how neat the 18th century was.
 
As long as I'm rattling off some names of Corsicans, this seems like as good a moment as any to mention my policy on Corsican names. Corsican, of course, is a language (or perhaps a dialect of Italian depending on your viewpoint and the definition of "dialect"), and most Corsicans in the 18th century spoke Corsican. Because of the long history of Genoese rule, however, as well as the island's proximity to Italy, most educated, urban-dwelling, and upper-class Corsicans spoke Italian. Italian was the language of culture and class among the Corsicans, while Corsican was a peasant's language. Pasquale Paoli himself intended Italian, not Corsican, to be the island's official language, and seems to have considered Corsican a mere Italian dialect. As I consider the same preference for Italian in a governmental/courtly/cultured setting to be likely ITTL, I have chosen to render the names of most Corsicans in their Italian forms. Thus, when I speak of minister Gaffori, for instance (a character who has not yet appeared), I will call him. Gianpietro rather than Ghjuvan Petru (and certainly not Jean-Pierre). I will usually do the same for place names, many of which are known by their French names today; thus we will speak of San Fiorenzo rather than either San Fiurenzu or Saint-Florent.
Ok, I'm not entirely sure how much of what I'm going to say you already know, but the whole "dialect-language" dilema has a lot to do with the shady practice by the modern French and Italian goverments of calling minority languages within their territories "dialects" so that they don't have to give them special status and protection. While I'm entirely aware of the political aspect of defining something as one or the other, in this particular case we are faced the fact that by every linguistic factor one can possibly analize it, Corsican is no more different from Florentine (Standard) Italian than, say, the Pisan subdialect of Tuscan (100% interinteligible). For this reason, it would seem to me quite obvious that, absent the political nuances that blur the line IOTL's present day, Corsican would not EVEN be considered a dialect of Standard Italian, but merely a local accent, with sociolectical variance in vocabulary. Were we to consider it a different language, then how would we classify the inteligiable but clearly distinct Central Italian dialects (Romanesco, Romagnolo)? Or even worse, the non-inteligeable dialects of the south (Neapolitan, Sicilian)? This is in stark contrast with Genoa's language, Ligurian, which is not even in the same branch of Romance Languages as Tuscan Italian (it is actually more related to Provencal, as a Gallo-Romance language). This has the peculiar effect that if you took a 19th century Standard Italian speaker to 18th century Corsica, he would communicate much better with the local Corsican speakers (Tuscan co-speakers), than with any Genoese living in the coastal cities (as speakers of an essentialy foreing langage). Now, I'm not at all familiar with the culture of 18th century Corsica, but if what you mean when you say that the urbanite coastal elites spoke "Italian" is that they had adopted the language of Genoa, then the previous example would definitely apply. If, instead, you mean that they spoke what we today call "Italian" (which was, of course, already a sort of lingua franca in Italy at the time), then we would be looking at a situation in which these "assimilated" coastal corsicans are, if not closer to the locals (linguistic nationalism not being a thing yet), then at least as foreing to the Genoese as them.​
 
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Now, I'm not at all familiar with the culture of 18th century Corsica, but if what you mean when you say that the urbanite coastal elites spoke "Italian" is that they had adopted the language of Genoa, then the previous example would definitely apply. If, instead, you mean that they spoke what we today call "Italian" (which was, of course, already a sort of lingua franca in Italy at the time), then we would be looking at a situation in which these "assimilated" coastal corsicans are, if not closer to the locals (linguistic nationalism not being a thing yet), then at least as foreing to the Genoese as them.

I did know most of what you said, but I think I probably underestimated how dissimilar Ligurian is from Florentine-Italian, which is why I used my terms rather artlessly in my original description. So let me attempt some clarification:

My understanding is that certain Corsican rebels, particularly Paoli, promoted "Italian," that is to say Florentine-Italian, as the national language of Corsica. I suspect the reasons for this were 1) Corsican is closer to Tuscan than it is to Ligurian anyway, 2) Florentine-Italian was, as you say, already sort of a lingua franca in Italy at the time, and 3) a conscious desire to be as little like the hated Genoese as possible.

What I've had more difficulty figuring out is exactly what proportion of the population was already Ligurian-speaking. Clearly in the interior it was uncommon, even rare. In the port cities and certain Genoese-dominated areas (like Calvi and Bonifacio, where a more Ligurian-like dialect is spoken today) one assumes that Ligurian would be common. Yet the few rebel leaders who wrote - like Costa, for instance - seem to have written in Florentine-Italian. Costa was, I believe, a native of the Dila (south Corsica) and not from a port town, but he had received his education as a lawyer in Genoa, and one expects to accomplish this he would have needed to know the language there. Did he know Ligurian well but choose to write in Florentine-Italian because Florentine was better-known, or because it was more "literary," or because it was closer to the language of the interior rebels, or as a political statement against the Genoese? I'm not sure, and I'm even less sure of the linguistic affinities of the various other rebel leaders. Most were from the interior, particularly the eastern Diqua where Genoese influence was fairly thin, but there were others who turned rebel like Domenico Rivarola (a native of Bastia and a member of a family well-entrenched in Genoese society) who we might reasonably suspect to have had more exposure to Ligurian.

I suspect that Theodore and his government are going to gravitate towards Florentine-Italian for the same reasons that I theorized Paoli might have. Even if there are a lot of Ligurian-speakers in the cities, many are tied to Genoa and may not wish to remain; in fact the 1736 Constitution, as we will see, banned indefinitely all Genoese from living in the kingdom. How exactly they determined who was Genoese given the dual heritage of many upper-class urban families is not clear to me; plenty of rebel leaders had roots in Genoese or other mainland Italian families. If the rebels had won, perhaps it would have involved giving everyone a "choice," as it were ("Stay with us and renounce your Genoese citizenship, or we'll take all your belongings and deport you").
 
I did know most of what you said, but I think I probably underestimated how dissimilar Ligurian is from Florentine-Italian, which is why I used my terms rather artlessly in my original description. So let me attempt some clarification:

My understanding is that certain Corsican rebels, particularly Paoli, promoted "Italian," that is to say Florentine-Italian, as the national language of Corsica. I suspect the reasons for this were 1) Corsican is closer to Tuscan than it is to Ligurian anyway, 2) Florentine-Italian was, as you say, already sort of a lingua franca in Italy at the time, and 3) a conscious desire to be as little like the hated Genoese as possible.

What I've had more difficulty figuring out is exactly what proportion of the population was already Ligurian-speaking. Clearly in the interior it was uncommon, even rare. In the port cities and certain Genoese-dominated areas (like Calvi and Bonifacio, where a more Ligurian-like dialect is spoken today) one assumes that Ligurian would be common. Yet the few rebel leaders who wrote - like Costa, for instance - seem to have written in Florentine-Italian. Costa was, I believe, a native of the Dila (south Corsica) and not from a port town, but he had received his education as a lawyer in Genoa, and one expects to accomplish this he would have needed to know the language there. Did he know Ligurian well but choose to write in Florentine-Italian because Florentine was better-known, or because it was more "literary," or because it was closer to the language of the interior rebels, or as a political statement against the Genoese? I'm not sure, and I'm even less sure of the linguistic affinities of the various other rebel leaders. Most were from the interior, particularly the eastern Diqua where Genoese influence was fairly thin, but there were others who turned rebel like Domenico Rivarola (a native of Bastia and a member of a family well-entrenched in Genoese society) who we might reasonably suspect to have had more exposure to Ligurian.
The thing is that Corsican is as different from Standard Italian as American English is from British English. When you have a 100% match in grammar, and with vocabulary and phonology quite up there, one usually assumes they are dealing with the same language. If you had asked a 15th century Corsican about his language, he would probably had said that he spoke "the tongue of Pisa". Not trying to be repetitive here, this has a very important practical consequence: Quite simply, the writing of an educated Corsican-speaking man is completely undistinguishable from Florentine. This is because diferences in vocabulary between two otherwise identical (in writen form) dialects, where one is the prestigious and widely used tongue of a (once) very rich and powerful state and the other is that of a poor backwater, would be considered sociolectal, instead of dialectal. That is to say, Costa and his fellow educated Corsicans wouldn't be thinking of making the island "abandon their language and pick up Italian", but rather of teaching the uneducated masses to "speak Italian correctly". And while that line has been used nefariously to enact many a liguistic genocide (Galician, Aragonese, Mozarabic), I find it hard to argue that he would be incorrect in this particular case*.

*That is, of course, with the understandment that forms of speech are not standard because they are correct, rather, they are correct because they are standard.
 
The thing is that Corsican is as different from Standard Italian as American English is from British English. When you have a 100% match in grammar, and with vocabulary and phonology quite up there, one usually assumes they are dealing with the same language. If you had asked a 15th century Corsican about his language, he would probably had said that he spoke "the tongue of Pisa". Not trying to be repetitive here, this has a very important practical consequence: Quite simply, the writing of an educated Corsican-speaking man is completely undistinguishable from Florentine. This is because diferences in vocabulary between two otherwise identical (in writen form) dialects, where one is the prestigious and widely used tongue of a (once) very rich and powerful state and the other is that of a poor backwater, would be considered sociolectal, instead of dialectal. That is to say, Costa and his fellow educated Corsicans wouldn't be thinking of making the island "abandon their language and pick up Italian", but rather of teaching the uneducated masses to "speak Italian correctly". And while that line has been used nefariously to enact many a liguistic genocide (Galician, Aragonese, Mozarabic), I find it hard to argue that he would be incorrect in this particular case*.

Well, that seems quite sensible. Thanks for the explanation!
 
The New King
The New King

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Theodore disembarked upon Corsica, with the pinque Richard and ruins, possibly of Aleria, in the background.

"He was dressed in a fantastical Manner, his Habit being a Medley of the various Modes of all Nations. His Robe was Turkish, the Sword by his Side was Spanish, his Peruke was English, his great Hat German, and his Cane was of the Halbert Fashion, like those used by the French Beaus... he assumes the Titles of a Grandee of Spain, a Lord of England, a Peer of France, Baron of the Holy Empire, and a Prince of the Roman Throne."

- The Jewish Letters, Jean-Baptiste de Boyer

Finally, on March 15th, 1736, Theodore reached on Corsican shores, borne by the ship Richard under the British flag of Richard "Dick" Ortega. His ship, along with a second vessel bearing cargo under a certain Captain Boyle, anchored off the coast north of Aleria. Theodore was too good a showman to make his entrance while nobody was watching, and so remained aboard his ship while messengers were sent ashore with a proclamation:

Most Illustrious Lords,

At last I have reached the shores of Corsica, summoned here by your repeated prayers. Your steadfast devotion during the last two years has urged me to overcome my dislike of the sea and my dread of the storms which are wont to rage at this season, but Heaven has blessed us, and granted us a prosperous voyage. I am here to fulfill my promise that I would bring aid to your oppressed country, to consecrate myself to her and liberate her, God willing, from slavery to Genoa. Fear not that I shall neglect my promise in any way if you are faithful to me.

If you choose me for your king, I ask only that you give me power to grant liberty of conscience to those of other countries and other creeds who may come here to render the nation more populous. As for the other conditions, I leave them to you to determine. Come one and all of you to Aleria without delay, that we may confer together and resolve how to proceed.

Your devoted,
Theodore

The messengers reached the rebel leaders then gathered at the village of Matra, including Luigi Giafferi, Sebastiano Costa, and Anton-Francesco Giappiconi (a friend of Costa and former Venetian officer). They, of course, were already well informed of the plan as they had all met Theodore in Livorno, and made preparations to receive him. Rumors spread through the region of a "famous person" from the continent who had arrived at Aleria to assist the Corsicans, and by the 18th a great crowd had gathered at Aleria. The moment was now right for his disembarkation, and the baron made an entrance fully equal to the crowd's expectations. Flanked by foreign officers and Saracen servants, he appeared before his "subjects" wearing a fur-trimmed brocaded crimson robe, a powdered wig, and a plumed tricorne, with a gold-handled cane in his hand, a sword on his hip, and a brace of engraved Turkish pistols in his belt. In the holds of his ships were ten cannon, 700 muskets,[1] barrels of gunpowder and shot, thousands of pairs of shoes, bolts of cloth, and strongboxes of gold and silver coin. The crowd cheered and fired muskets into the air.

His timing was perfect, for the "second" Corsican rebellion—the uprising which had broken out after the imperial withdrawal—was near collapse. A rebel attack against San Pellegrino had been bloodily repulsed, and the island was threatened by famine, caused or at least exacerbated by a Genoese blockade and the destruction of fields and orchards by Genoese troops. Theodore had come prepared, for aside from arms and raiment his ships bore nearly a thousand sacks of flour. It had all the appearance of a heaven-sent miracle, and Theodore's landing and bestowal of his beneficence at Aleria would remain for generations to come a powerful image of both the liberty of the Corsicans and the right of the House of Neuhoff to rule them.

Just as important for the Corsican cause at that moment, however, was Theodore himself. A Corsican state had been proclaimed in 1735, but Costa's pseudo-republican constitution, which involved four "generals," a general assembly, a six-member supreme ghjunta,[2] and various other ministers and officials, was too complex and does not ever seem to have been fully implemented. The insurgency continued to be in the hands of the generals or chief men of various regions, who pursued their own aims more or less independently and often bickered with one another. To make matters worse, one of these chief generals, Giancinto Paoli, had been killed that January in an ill-fated assault on the fortress of San Pellegrino when a Genoese galley had opened fire on the attackers. A cannonball had struck Paoli, dashing his leg to pieces; he died very quickly thereafter.[A] A German baron seemed to the rest of the world a decidedly bizarre choice to become king of the Corsicans, but a foreign monarch with no connection to the island's clan-based society seemed to the best possible antidote to the fractious rebel chieftains and the dysfunctional ghjunta.

After a day of celebration and distribution of stores, the rebel leaders proceeded with Theodore to the home of Saviero Matra, one of the most prominent Corsican nobles (what the Corsicans called a caporale) in the east. Matra hosted the would-be sovereign for dinner, but the French wine and the silver plate was provided by Theodore. Toasts were made to Corsica and the destruction of the Genoese, and at last Theodore requested that his best bottle of Rhenish wine be opened. After his glass was poured, he made his own toast:

"May Heaven be propitious to this kingdom; let it be that this day, for my people and for the Corsicans, be solemn and commemorated; and that our descendants equal or surpass us in joy. May the stars be favorable to you, and grant me to fulfill all that I have promised, to you, gentlemen, to realize all your desires, and to all happy success."

Theodore then passed out chocolates and cordials. There was a desire by some of those present to acclaim Theodore as king immediately, but he asked them to wait; he wanted, he said, to await the arrival of other important men, particularly Simone Fabiani and Ignazio Arrighi. He was also hoping for the swift arrival of Captain Dick, who had returned to Livorno to take on more armaments. In the meantime, Theodore spent the following day "stretching his legs" after his sea voyage and remarking on the divine beauty of his new country and its marvelous climate. Costa remarks in his memoirs that they were quite surprised when Theodore lay down upon a grassy hill for a while, content to stare up at the sky in wonder and appreciation.

Things were going less well for Captain Dick. Richard "Dick" Ortega was a British citizen, and more than that he was the natural son of Richard Lawrence, the British consul in Tunis, allegedly by a Greek slave woman. Not yet aware of the identity of the "stranger" who had disembarked at Aleria but quite aware of his shipment of arms to the rebels, the Genoese government lodged a protest with Viscount Charles Fane, the British consul in Tuscany, demanding action against Ortega and his crew. Since 1731, the British government had prohibited its citizens from having any doings with the "malcontents" of Corsica. Fane, in his reply to the Genoese, agreed that Ortega may have been in the wrong if he had indeed transported supplies to the rebels as alleged, but mindful of British sovereignty he maintained that this was an internal matter between His Brittanic Majesty and a subject thereof; he would write to the Admiralty and await their response. In any case, he added, perhaps the captain had merely been forced ashore on Corsica by a storm, common in that season.

Dissatisfied with this, the Genoese went directly to the Tuscan officials at Livorno, who upon the orders of the Genoese consul Marquis Girolamo Gavi came aboard Ortega's ship and prevented it from leaving. Gavi, however, could only delay the inevitable; Fane objected to the impounding of a British ship, and the Grand Duke Gian Gastone de Medici, being a supporter of Theodore and an investor in his enterprise, ordered Ortega and the Richard to be released at once. Nevertheless, his arrival at Corsica would be a full two weeks later than anticipated.

As Theodore toured around Aleria, other leaders had arrived at Cervioni, including Father Giovanni Aitelli (one of the prisoners of Savona), Gio Giacomo Ambrosi di Castinetta, and Angelo Luccioni. Unlike the group led by Giafferi and Costa, most of these men had been unaware of the plan to crown Theodore, and there was concern among many of the leaders and militiamen regarding Theodore's missive in which he demanded "liberty of conscience." To the Corsicans, who scarcely knew anyone of another faith, it seemed dangerous and potentially heretical. Father Aitelli was particularly critical, and warned that they might be attempting to "crown a heretic." It was decided to request the opinion of the learned canon Giuseppe Albertini. Albertini offered a stirring defense, claiming that religious freedom had been granted "to foreigners by the foremost cities of Italy, without any dishonor to them; English, Dutch, Greeks, Jews, and other schismatics live in the observance of their false rites without offense to the True Faith of the nationals." Going somewhat beyond the reason for his summons, he furthermore opined that:

"...For in such a desperate situation as ours today, no one but Heaven could bring Corsica such a liberator. In short, I consider the arrival of Theodore in the present circumstances as a miracle from Heaven."

This was quite enough to energize the Corsicans into enthusiastic agreement; it was not every day, after all, that a man could witness a real Heaven-sent miracle. They resolved to go to Aleria at once, and hailed Theodore with shouts of "Evviva Corsica, Evviva u Rè!" They lingered for a few days longer at Aleria that mules might be brought to the shore to move the cargo. There was a disreputable episode in which certain rebels quarreled over the new guns Theodore had brought and nearly came to blows, but the baron interposed himself between the parties and managed to calm their tempers. On the 28th they departed for Cervioni. After another jubilant reception there by the locals, Theodore declared that Cervioni would be his provisional capital and established his residence at the episcopal mansion there, which had been abandoned by the bishop.[3] He celebrated Easter there (April 1st), with the local Franciscans, all supporters of the rebellion, offering prayers and leading a procession through the town in his honor.

All that remained was to effect his election as king, but Neuhoff contrived to seem regally aloof from such proceedings, leaving the planning to Costa and Giafferi while he returned to Matra for a few days of rest. A consulta was planned to take place at the village of Alesani, and all the pieves were requested to send representatives. Theodore returned to Cervoni by the 10th, at which point many Corsicans from all over the island were already gathering. Arrighi and Fabiani had also arrived, the latter accompanied by 100 Balagnese soldiers on caparisoned horses. A private meeting of only the chiefs and generals without the larger assembly was held on the 13th, and preliminary assent was given to the terms which Theodore had already accepted from his co-conspirators among the rebels. The consulta itself was held on the 15th, and the representatives were presented with a document which would create the Kingdom of Corsica as a constitutional monarchy.

The Constitution of the Kingdom of Corsica (1736)

In the name and glory of the Most Holy Trinity, of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, of the Immaculate Virgin, protector of this Kingdom and of Saint Devota[4] its advocate. Today, Sunday, April Fifteenth, of the year 1736. The Kingdom of Corsica having met in a general assembly, legitimately ordered by His Excellency Don Luigi Giafferi in the locality of Alesani.

After a long and careful discussion with the principal patricians of the Kingdom, all the populations deliberately decided, just as they deliberately decided to choose a King and live under his authority, to proclaim and accept the Sir Theodore Free-Baron of Neuhoff to the following powers and conditions, which shall be accepted by the said Sir Baron, who shall neither be nor can claim to be King until he has accepted the said agreements and conditions and sworn to respect them by signing with his own hand and authenticating with his own seal the present writing which stipulates them in the form of a contract, so that it has full and timely stability and execution.

Article 1. It is therefore agreed and established that the new Sovereign and King of this Kingdom is the named Most Excellent Sir Theodore Free-Baron of Neuhoff, and after him his male descendants, by the firstborn and, in default of males, his female descendants, provided that those who shall be admitted to the Crown and to the Authority thereof be Roman Catholics and shall always reside in the kingdom as shall be the residence of the aforesaid Baron.
Article 2. That, in the absence of personal succession, the aforementioned Baron may, in his lifetime, designate a successor of his relation, man or woman, provided he is a Roman Catholic and resides in the kingdom.
Article 3. That, in the event of an interruption of the male or female lineage of the said Sir Baron or his successor, named as above, the Kingdom remains free and the people have the possibility of choosing their sovereign of their own free will or to live freely as they please.
Article 4. That the King, the Sir Baron, as well as his successors, should have and enjoy all royal authority and all sovereign rights, with the restriction and exclusion of what is provided for in the following articles.
Article 5. That there shall be established and elected a Diet in the kingdom, composed of twenty-four persons of the most distinguished merit, sixteen for the di qua dei monti and eight for the di la dei monti,[5] and that three subjects of the same Assembly, two for the di qua dei monti and one for the di la dei monti, must always reside in the Court of the Sovereign, who shall not make any decision without the consent of the said Diet on the imposition of taxes or decisions of war.
Article 6. That the power of the said Diet be to make with the King all the arrangements concerning war or the imposition of taxes, and, moreover, that it has the power of designating the places which it considers most suitable for the embarkation of goods and merchandise, and that it has the liberty of meeting in all circumstances in the places or places which appear to it the most suitable.
Article 7. That all the dignities, offices, and honors to be attributed in the kingdom be reserved for Corsicans alone, to the perpetual exclusion of any foreigner.
Article 8. That when the government is established, the Genoese are driven out, and the kingdom is at peace, all troops will have to be Corsican militia, except for the guard of the King who can engage Corsicans or foreigners according to his will.
Article 9. That for the moment, and as long as the war with the Genoese lasts, the King may engage and use foreign troops and militia provided that they do not exceed the number of 1,200, which may nevertheless be increased by the King with the consent of the Diet of the Kingdom.
Article 10. That in the Kingdom cannot dwell nor inhabit any Genoese of any rank or condition, and that the king cannot allow any Genoese to reside in the Kingdom.
Article 11. That the products and goods of the nationals, to be exported or transported from one place to another or from one port to another of the Kingdom, shall not be subject to any tax or imposition.
Article 12. That all the property of the Genoese and the rebels to the country of the Kingdom, including the Greeks,[6] be and remain confiscated and sequestered, except for reasons that would otherwise claim by proving the contrary by documents. It is understood that the property of a Corsican shall not be confiscated, provided that he does not pay any royalties or taxes to the Republic of Genoa or to the Genoese.
Article 13. That the annual contribution or taxation paid by the Corsicans [the taglia] should not exceed three pounds per head of the family and that the half-taglia usually paid by widows and orphans up to 14 years of age should be abolished; above this age, they will have to be taxed like the others.
Article 14. That the salt to be supplied by the King to the people may not exceed the price of 2 seini, or 13 solidi and 4 denari a bushel, which will be 22 pounds in weight in circulation in the kingdom.
Article 15. That there be set up in the Kingdom, in a place to be chosen by the King and the Diet, a Public University of Sciences and Liberal Arts, and that the King, in concert with the Diet, shall maintain this University by the ways and means which they deem most appropriate, and that it is an obligation for the King to ensure that this university enjoys all the privileges enjoyed by other Universities of Europe.
Article 16. That the King shall promptly institute an order of true nobility for the fame of the kingdom and honorable nationals, which shall promote the love of virtue and a proper spirit of emulation.
Article 17. That Liberty of Conscience be granted to all nations whatever.[B]
Article 18. These are the articles which were drafted and presented by the Kingdom to the King on April 15, 1736, who approved them under oath and signed, and was proclaimed and elected to the Crown of the Kingdom to which he solemnly swore fidelity and obedience.

Although most were quite happy to proceed, there were some who remained dissatisfied. Aitelli was still grumbling about Theodore's religious views, while Ceccaldi professed his happiness at the arrival of Theodore but wondered whether they were not foreclosing other possibilities too hastily. Ceccaldi personally preferred another overture to the King of Spain, and said as much, but was immediately shut down by his own brother Sebastiano Ceccaldi, who responded that "the King of Spain thinks of Corsica as much as the Emperor of China. If he wanted us, we would not be in the miserable state in which we find ourselves." In the end, the representatives gave their unanimous approval to the constitution, and Theodore swore, signed, and affixed his seal as required.

It was now time for the coronation. A throne was provided by a local cabinetmaker, who had crafted a velvet-cushioned and ornately carved armchair; it had been intended for the cathedral at Cervioni, but the bishop had never paid for it. It was decided that, in the absence of an actual crown, the king would be crowned with laurel branches in the "ancient manner." Speeches were made, and the text of the constitution was read aloud to the people, after which Theodore swore aloud to obey its provisions. He then proceeded with the crowd to the Franciscan monastery of Alesani, where he was crowned. The generals and caporali knelt before him, kissed his hand, and swore fealty and homage, and then the crowd sung the Te Deum and a coronation mass was held. The throng exploded with cheers and gunfire, and there was a grand feast. Costa claimed the crowd was 25,000 strong, which was probably an exaggeration as that would have amounted to around one out of every five persons on the island, but all sources claim the valley of Alesani was swarming with people and that the crowd was certainly one of thousands.

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Inside the Monastery of Alesani, where Theodore was crowned

King Theodore returned from Alesani to his provisional capital at Cervioni and at once began to organize a government. First to gain a post was Costa, who was created "Grand Chancellor and Keeper of the Seals," and composed the royal writs by which his other officers and ministers were installed. Titles of nobility were handed out to those who pledged allegiance, and a new host of knights, counts, and marquesses popped up literally overnight. Men were made captains, colonels, and generals, and a council of war was constituted.

Further legislation followed. Hunting and fishing, long forbidden to the natives by the Genoese, was legalized. Amnesty was offered to all Corsicans in Genoese service so long as they left the employ of Genoa within one week. Pronouncements were made on judicial matters, and the king arbitrated in a handful of family feuds. Some time later, troubled by the violence between families which at times imperiled his own administration, Theodore would officially ban the practice of vendetta, albeit with little immediate effect. Within a few days, however, it was necessary to turn to military matters, for there was still a war to win.

Only two days after the coronation, the rebel commanders Luca d'Ornano and Michele Durazzo arrived at Cervioni with an escort. Unlike most of the notable rebels, they were men of the Dila, and had been leading the resistance to the Genoese in the south in a largely autonomous fashion. Ornano, an influential caporale and a member of the island's old nobility, seems to have been skeptical of the new king and may have been miffed that the election and coronation were held without him, but a personal conversation with Theodore seems to have smoothed his ruffled feathers. Ornano was made a marquis, his comrade Durazzo a count, and both of them lieutenant-generals.

In the meantime Captain Dick and the Richard had returned to Aleria, where he unloaded more crates of muskets, barrels of powder, and sacks of musket-balls, as well as certain personal effects of Theodore's. The ammunition and weapons were a fairly modest addition to Theodore's arsenal; the more important cargo was Theodore's correspondence with foreign courts, which was at the moment conveyed solely by the Richard.

The second landing of the Richard on Corsica made Fane's weak explanation that Ortega might have been accidentally forced to land there by a storm untenable. After a second Genoese protest, Fane asked the Tuscan government to impound the ship until a response from the Admiralty was forthcoming. The Grand Duke, however, seems to have simply ignored him, and his officials in Livorno did nothing. Fane addressed Ortega directly, commanding him to cease his assistance to the rebels, but Captain Dick ignored him too; evidently he had been convinced by Theodore that he possessed letters from His Britannic Majesty supporting his expedition, and in Dick's mind that superseded any complaint made by a mere consul. As correspondence continued to fly between Genoa, Livorno, Florence, and London, the Richard went about its business untroubled, save by the threat of the Genoese navy.[C]

Appendix A: The Royal Government of 1736, a.k.a. the "Revolutionary Cabinet"

Marquis Luigi Giafferi, Prime Minister and Secretary of State. A former captain in the Venetian army. One of the four "Prisoners of Savona." General of the rebellion before Theodore's arrival.
Count Giampietro Gaffori, Secretary of State and President of the Currency. A physician who had studied medicine in Genoa. Saviero Matra's son-in-law.
Count Sebastiano Costa, Grand Chancellor and Keeper of the Seals. A lawyer who had practiced in Genoa until the uprising. Author of the 1735 Constitution.
Father Giulio Natali, Secretary to the Chancellery. A priest who had written publicly in support of the rebellion.
Count Anton-Francesco Giappiconi, Secretary of War and Captain of the Royal Guard. Former lieutenant in the Venetian army. One of the four "Prisoners of Savona."
Father Erasmo Orticoni, Foreign Minister and Almoner of the Realm. Related to Simone Fabiani.
Father Giovanni Aitelli, Minister of Justice and Auditor-General. One of the four "Prisoners of Savona."
Marquis Saviero Matra, Grand Marshal of the Court.[7] An important caporale of eastern Corsica.
Appendix B: Notable Rebel Commanders, Spring of 1736

Marquis Simone Fabiani, Captain-General, Vice President of the War Council, Governor of the Balagna.
Marquis Luca d'Ornano, Lieutenant-General in the Dila.
Count Michele Durazzo, Lieutenant-General in the Dila.
Count Gio-Giacomo Ambrosi di Castinetta, Colonel.
Count Andrea Ceccaldi, Colonel. Brother-in-law of Giafferi.
Paolo-Maria Paoli, Colonel. Former physician. Not related to the late Giacinto Paoli.
Antoine Dufour, Lieutenant-Colonel. Frenchman. Chief Engineer of the Royal Army.[D]
Antonio Colonna
, Captain. Nephew of Costa. Former captain in the Genoese army, defected to the rebels.
Silvestre Colombani, Captain of the Foreign Company.​

Footnotes
[1] A French report on the incident claims "over 1,000" muskets.
[2] "Junta," used in its original sense of an administrative council. The ghjunta was in theory the supreme administrative body of the government created in the 1735 Constitution, but little is known about its operation, and it lasted less than a year before it was rendered void by the adoption of the 1736 monarchist constitution.
[3] Often Genoese-born and always loyal agents of the Republic, the bishops of Corsica were widely despised by the Corsicans. The outbreak of rebellion caused most of them to flee their dioceses. The island's parish priests and monks, in contrast, were frequently rebel sympathizers, and some monks even carried weapons and joined the rebellion themselves.
[4] "Saint Devota" is a likely fictional saint who was nevertheless considered a patroness of Corsica (and Monaco). Her name appears to be a misreading of a text regarding Saint Julia, the other patroness of Corsica, which described her as "Deo devota" ("devoted to God"); this was presumably taken to be a separate proper name instead of a description of Julia.
[5] These are references to the two geographic halves of Corsica, as divided by the central "spine" of the mountains which runs roughly from northwest to southeast. The northern half, being closer to Genoa, was referred to as di qua dei monti - "this side of the mountains" - or Diqua for short. The southern half was accordingly referred to as di la dei monti - "that side of the mountains" - or Dila for short. The population of the Diqua was much higher than that of the Dila, which is why the constitution granted them twice the representatives.
[6] In the late 17th century the Genoese allowed a number of Peloponnesian Greeks fleeing the Ottoman Empire to settle in Corsica, specifically in the village of Paomia and its environs on the western coast. The native Corsicans objected to the Genoese giving away their land to foreigners and occasionally clashed with them. When the rebellion broke out, the Greeks unsurprisingly sided with the Genoese.
[7] A "Marshal of the Court," or in German Hofmarschall, was not a military leader but a high administrative official who oversaw the provisioning of the affairs of court and the royal household.

Timeline Notes
[A] Here, finally, we have our primary POD. This attack really occurred, really was led (in part) by Giancinto ("Hyacinth") Paoli, and was indeed thrown back by the bombardment of a Genoese galley, but IOTL Giancinto Paoli retreated from San Pellegrino quite unharmed. If Giancinto's last name sounds a bit familiar, it's because he's the father of Pasquale Paoli, the "father of the Corsican nation" and leader of the independent Corsican Republic IOTL. Pasquale himself is 11 years old in 1736, so he's not butterflied away; he'll be an important person when he's older. His father, however, was a disaster for Theodore's reign. He was terribly envious of both Theodore and Theodore's favorites, sabotaged the king's campaigns, and was implicated in plots to assassinate not only some of his rival rebel leaders but Theodore himself. He may very well have been part of the conspiracy to assassinate Simone Fabiani. Theodore gave him a high position and suffered his continued treachery and disobedience only because Paoli was so prominent and had a crucial following; years later, when Theodore was in exile and Paoli had fled the country, the baron denounced Paoli as a traitor and included him on a very small list of people who would never under any condition receive royal amnesty. The fact that he enjoys a good reputation today is based largely on the fact that he was Pasquale's father. ITTL, Theodore will not have this thorn in his side, and Giancinto will be revered as a heroic martyr for the cause of liberty.
[B] This is a faithful translation of the Corsican constitution of 1736 with the exception of Article 17 regarding Freedom of Conscience. IOTL, Theodore made it his one condition for election, but while it was in a draft provided by Costa it didn't end up in the final constitution. There is some suggestion that one of the most prominent opponents of it was Giacinto Paoli. Since he's dead ITTL, his "conservative" party at the consulta is weakened, and Corsica gets religious freedom written into the constitution.
[C] Our second, and fairly minor POD. IOTL the Richard was unluckily captured by the Genoese while unloading its cargo on its second trip to Corsica, resulting in the seizure of some supplies and much of Theodore's correspondence. Captain Dick, realizing that Theodore's claim of royal sanction had been false and facing the prospect of prison or worse, shot himself. His crew was imprisoned in Livorno for a while but were eventually released and repatriated back to Britain, as they successfully argued they had only been following their captain's commands.
[D] Antoine Dufour is evidently a real person, although his name probably wasn't Antoine. A French military engineer, known only as "Dufour," was for some reason fighting alongside the rebels in Corsica in 1736. We don't know when he got there, but we know he didn't come with Theodore, as he was present at the failed attack on San Pellegrino in January of 1736. How did he end up in Corsica? Was he an engineer in the French army, or a Frenchman who had been an engineer in some other army? Nobody knows, or at least nobody I've read. Perhaps his life story would be nearly as interesting as Theodore's if it was only recorded. Since I figure he might be mildly more notable ITTL, I have picked a given name for him pretty much at random. That, so far, is the closest I have come to making up a character.
 
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An elegant POD and another very nice update.

Reducing blood feuds will be priority n°1 after actual independence is achieved. The murder rate you cited earlier is shocking: I mean those were more violent time and the tradition of vendetta in Corsica (and in Sardinia, to a degree) notorious, but I wouldn't have thought it was so bad.

Indigenous courts which are at least somewhat fair will be the best way to adress the problem, rather than excessive repression.
 
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