Wednesday, January 12, 2011

At Almudaina Palace

Majorca City, 24th August 1713

After a few days of quiet and uneventful trip, the Barcelona convoy carrying Lady Elisenda and General Prado perceived the imposing, unusual silhouette of Bellver Castle and, a handful of hours later, the ships anchored in the calm Bay of Palma. That night, the imperial viceroy of Majorca, Marquis de Rubí, organized for the travelers a lavish reception at Almudaina Palace, where they were invited to stay while in the island.

-Glad you decided to call at our port, my friends -Marquis de Rubí told to his guests-, because I've been summoned to Vienna too, and was hesitant on how to do the journey. Here in Mallorca, we only have a single armed vessel, the Sant Josepet felucca, so that I'd regret taking it for my single protection, therefore leaving the island waters unprotected.

Josep Boixadors, Marquis de Rubí, was an exuberant and extrovert man from many points of view; but his loquacious, Epicurean appearance concealed a restless spirit, permanently unsatisfied with the contemporary world's limitations and weaknesses. Lady Elisenda was quite aware of such circumstance for, as a founding member of the Acadèmia dels Desconfiats, the Marquis de Rubi had been one of her most attentive mentors inside the Illustrated Institution -along with Marquis de Vilana, of course. After the official reception, newcomers were invited to a private hearty dinner, which lasted until the wee hours of the morning amidst a number of philosophical brooding and musings, duly accompanied by generous doses of North Majorcan sweet wines and the not less sweet scents of Antillian pipe tobaccoes.

General Prado would intensely remember for a long time one of the good Marquis latest thoughts: -I'd wish you to hardly deliberate later to yourselves what I'm going to tell you, my friends; for I suspect that in hands of those my guests of today lies the future of our young Nation: what will the so desired liberty serve for, if such liberty is to definitely close for us the Americas' gates from now on? ...we had raised in arms to fight for free trade with America for all the Nations of Spain, in favour of a new King who would abolish the Castilian monopoly on the Americas, ans so we eagerly got allied to England and the free nations of Europe against the puppy of King Louis... But where to go, now our only chance of survival lies in secession from Spain... and by this to ourselves closing forever the doors of America, for sure.

Such quiet reflections had raised a chorus of protests among his guests, but the Marquis soon calmed them in a smile: -No my friends, do not get me wrong. I support without a question the cause of our Nation, as you can imagine through my current office of Imperial viceroy. However, I insist that you, younger ones -and saying this, the old Marquis looked intensely at Lady Elisenda- must rethink this Nation's future, for it needs to be built on a quite different bases from those we had imagined not so long ago.

That said, guests retired to their respective rooms, not without first agreeing the convoy's departure date and conditions. As their mission had been accomplished, most of the transport ships would return to Barcelona, conveniently loaded with supplies and ammunition for the Principality and escorted by St. Francesc de Paula xebec. Colonel Corradó and two companies of his aborted Seven Sorrows Regiment would stay at Bellver Castle, where they'd begin the task of forming two new regiments -one of Marines and a second one of Line Infantry, as agreed with the Tradesmen Guild and the Marquis himself. Meanwhile, the Maltese frigate would continue her route to Sardinia carrying aboard Lady Elisenda and her assistant Fiona McGregor, along with Marquis de Rubí and General Prado. The vessel would be duly accompanied by Santa Eulàlia xebec and the Majorcan Sant Josepet felucca, on whose boards the remaining company of Colonel Corradó's regiment would be installed.

Some days later, the convoy left the Majorca City, leaving behind Colonel Corradó along with his burdensome task of building two new regiments and organizing the island's citizen militiae.


Jordi said...

Dear Marquis, perhaps we should search for allies in the Americas. Surely in the Americas must be people interested in a different relationship with European nations. I'm not a politician, I'm just a soldier and that are not my businesses but you know that Galatan Navy will be an important Navy in few time and it will be a key to win the war and could be useful for some American nations.

Jeroen72 said...

Dear sir,

Perhaps you are thinking about conveying several hundreds of those savage redskins to Spain and ravage the enemies countryside?? Otherwise i could not see what the Americas could do for us.



Jordi said...

To Hieronymus:

Dear Sir,

We are just thinking in trade relationship with the inhabitants of the Spanish domains, and if they need help, we will help to they freedom, of course.
But we have nothing to say about British or French domains.

abdul666 said...

The Castillans are dependent on gold and riches from their oversea empire, specially in the Americas.
If well-presented trades advantages with the revived Aragonese Kingdom can gain deep sympathies there, the effects can be very favorable to the Galatan cause. From 'pressures' on the Court and Government of Hispania to -extreme but not impossible- threats of, or even real, declarations of independence and wars of Liberation (historical 19th C. fashion): these would greatly distract Felipe V -and his means- from the Galatan front / problem, in any case; maybe would largely disinterest him from the Galatan question;

Hope the "Reina Savoyana", María Luisa Gabriela de Saboya is still alive and well: as long as Felipe is not married with Isabel de Farnesio, the Camera Mayor Princesa de los Ursinos can powerfully influence the King, and generally demonstrated a remarkable good sense. Even her 'Anti-French Spanish patriotism' which at times vitiated her relations with Louis XIV can favor the Galatan cause: she could not be very happy to see French troops on Hispanic soil and, ever more, she certainly does not wish to have Felipe in debt to Versailles because of the French contribution to a 'Two Crowns' shared victory in Galatea.
And she certainly would favor any compromise / composition that would preserve peace, loyalty to Madrid and thus integrity of the oversea Empire.
Not to speak of the Habsburg offer of an independent Principality in Wallony in exchange for her successful contribution to a peace in the Iberic peninsula favoraable to Galatea...

Soldadets said...

Hi all,

The viceroy of Majorca attentively paid attention to the judicious words of his guests, while finishing off the sweet wine in his delicate crystal glass.

Afterwards he replied: -It's by no means a matter of seeking exotic allies, for Europe itself is plentiful enough of potential allies. It's not even a matter of conquest and expansion along ill-known shores, albeit I understand your excitement face to such possibility, my dear General.

-This said with a smile in face, suddenly erased when he continued:

-It's a matter of promoting our own manufactures and opening markets for them, instead of relying on the products of any preferent client -name it England, France or Austria. Such dynamics would unavoidably lead our Nation to a heavy dependence status and chronic underdevelopment...

Soldadets said...

Marquis of Rubi continued in a calmed albeit firm voice: -The American colonies had been traditionally a Spanish monopoly, strictly closed to foreign Nations. Such strict was the monopoly, that even the non-Castilian States of the Spanish Empire were allowed to directly trade with America.

-Only the Kingdom of Castile was entitled to trade with America. But the Catalans' patience reached to a minimum when, after Philip V was crowned, He explicitly ordered the American markets to be open wide to French traders: this way, foreign manufactures were freely traded all through Spanish America, unlike Catalan products, which were still subject to taxes and intermediaries, just as if foreigners...

-This is to my opinion, my friends, the heavy paradox of our liberty, if achieved. The gates of America will remain close to us. -he incisively concluded.

Soldadets said...

Please read "...even the non-Castilian States of the Spanish Empire had prohibited..." in place of "...even the non-Castilian States of the Spanish Empire were allowed..."


Soldadets said...

Jean-Louis, don't worry about the health of the Spanish Queen consort: we've tested it a few days ago, and she's still plentiful of vitality (BTW, she did give to King Philip up to 3 or 4 sons and daughters before her premature death; during their youth, they highly suffered during their youth the disdain from the new Queen.)

There lies, behind Marquis of Rubí thoughful speech, a deep concern about the actual chances of trading with America (even with the non-Spanish America) without chronically clashing with Spanish posts and fleets. True that the Atlantic gates might be kept open to Catalan ships thanks to the English key possession of Gibraltar; but afterwards, those ships would have to follow the natural oceanic flow, which runs south-eastwards. So that they should almost compulsory pass through Canary Islands (in Spanish hands), to finally put themselves into the Caribbean Spanish Main... Any eventual increase of frictions between both Nations would unavoidably lead to a cutting off of Catalan trading routes by the Spanish Armada.

This is the dilemma the marquis is setting forth. Should the endeavour be renounced in advance, or would it be assumed a perpetual hazardous status?

There is perhaps a likely alternative westwards (Egypt and beyond), but this one probably would mean fighting hard for prevailing in the Mediterranean. The clouds of war would probably come back over the skies of Italy. A more than likely opponent, Genoa. This would mean trouble with France and Spain once again. Not to speak about the Ottoman Empire...

Hard choice for our close imagi-nated future!!

Soldadets said...

Ohhhhhh great, now I've mistaken "East" and "West"! ...I shouldn't get writing in such a hurry, furthermore when doing it in a non-native language... :(