Thursday, March 15, 2012

Negotiations: second round

Versailles, 2nd November 1713

The French dignitaries confered briefly in a low voice. After a while, their spokesman outlined a smile and concluded: --More precise details of the treaty should be left in hands of a committee of experts. As for us anyway, we would feel most pleased with the general outline of your proposal, provided you agreed in turn to deal with a few additional issues.

--It would be convenient for you to undertake a limitation of your army, which currently is disproportionately oversized. Totally inappropriate for a small nation which are supposedly peaceful and friendly toward their neighbours --a marshal added.

Marquis of Vilana shrugged and tilted his head: --We would love doing so, but please understand that while Spain continues at war with us, we must defend...

The Princess quickly added: --As soon as they accede to a durable peace with us, we shall immediately reduce our Army size to 7,500 men.

--Such a drastical reduction wouldn't be that necessary, provided some of your exceeding Mountain Fusiliers regiments were loaned in King Louis' service --the French marshal suggested.

--This makes sense --Elisenda admitted.

The French legate bowed slightly his head, as a sign of assent: --Such would please us the most. We'll see what we can do about Spanish attitude. Anyway --he pointed--, as a precaution toward Spain, France would keep garrisoning the fortress of Roses.

--Hum. --Vilana and Princess Elisenda gazed at each other, but none of them replied. The Catalan legate simply shrugged, staring directly at his interlocutor's eyes.

--Only temporarily, for a period of 25 years --the man quickly explained--. As an additional guarantee of the French commitment to the safety of your Nation.

"Sure. And as a guarantee that we shall respect the treaty too", Elisenda ironically thought. She shut up though.

Marquis of Vilana also remained silent, apparently absorbed in some origami experimentation. After a while trying to model a dove, he left the paper aside, cleared his throat and said:

--French troops are still occupying a considerable portion of the Principality. May I suppose you have already planned an evacuation schedule?

--Of course, mon ami --one of the French dignataries responded--. All the towns currently occupied by us will be given back to you.

--All of them?

So fast and peculiarly voiced was Vilana's response, that the French spokesman stared at him with an air of incomprehension.

--Si'l vous plait...! --another French legate exclaimed, smiling and outstretching hands as indicating he had no hidden cards.

However, the French spokesman did not smile, but got pretty serious instead. He had fully understood Vilana's hint and his rigidly serious expression on face revealed a sincere disappointment. He stared at Vilana for a long while, before shortly answering: --No.

Elisenda had understood Vilana's aim too, so she showed her most charming smile when smoothly answered: --We have no other chance, my dear Monsieur. You are dealing with so young a Nation! So young in fact, that borders with our neighbours are to be defined yet. It's unavoidable.


Salvador said...

Good news for the Principality!

And one can guess diplomatic pressure will build up on the Spanish side to cease aggression... So will Spanish aggression build up in face of a coming forced peace on them?

These are difficult if interesting times we are living on.

Jeroen72 said...

I think they're going to grab what they can and...victories in the field won't weaken them at the peace table even if it's a forced peace ;)

abdul666 said...

Seems to process as smoothly as could be reasonably hoped for, so far.
The Galatan legacy acts shrewdly.

The loan of Mountain Fusiliers makes sense: since Antiquity, to export high-quality mercenaries was a major resource for harsh mountainous lands.
A technicality not part of the main negotiations, but it would be interesting for the future to 'loan' Galatan troops following the model of the Capitulations between France and the Swiss Cantons. While part of the French army and fighting under French flags, Swiss regiments were theoretically 'allies' (rather like the Germans troops were to GB during the AWI), part of their equipment remained property of the Cantons (e.g. the battalion guns of the Swiss Guard), they had their own justice and provostry, and there were restrictions to their use, e.g. -importantly- they could NOT be used against other Swiss.
The French Crown is satisfied with such Capitulations the model of which was established by King Francis the 1st after Marignan almost two centuries ago, so it would probably not impossible to obtain similar conditions.

France is almost bankrupted by then; certainly not in position to *annex* a Limousin speaking country South of the Pyrenees, as Napoleon was to do. On the other hand Philip V's ambitions over the French throne are becoming a real concern, and an *ally* comes cheaper than an expeditionary force.

Salvador said...

We speak Catalan, which is related to Occitan, but it is not "Llemosí", as we'd say. In the middle ages, "llemosí" was a term used as a synonim of a cult, "high" form of Catalan. One guess that such form was used by the higher classes, specially in a trobador ambient (trobador is catalan for troubadour). Although from a French point of view, it may be said that we are kind of lemosin speakers...

Other than that, interesting that thing of the Swiss-French Capitulations.

Soldadets said...

Before starting current sequence of scenes, my gaming mate Jordi and I discussed which likely motions should be expected from the French point of view and how these could be conciled with Catalan own arguments. Those are the basic guidelines I'm sustaining my tale on.

As Jean-Louis suggested, negotiations have run quite smoothly so far. Far better than initially expected, I admit.

My idea behind the military treaty discussion lies on the side of the "Capitualtions" alluded by Jean-Louis. Plain and simple, proposing oneself as a client state of France seemed to me the best option to be granted French acquiescence to my particular "History violation".

As a result, it seems to me at present that Catalonia/Galatea is getting heavily bond to French/Gallian political interest at the short & medium term. In a quite heavier way than intended when outlined my Imagi-Nation, one year or so ago.

However, I guess this is likely what "real" such negotiations look like. I mean, it's a deal where you get some of your previously expected targets, besides of obtaining initially unexpected favours in exchange for not less unexpected duties. I'm pretty satisfied with results so far, honestly.

abdul666 said...

'Client state' is perhaps a little extreme, though the size and location of Galatea are not those of traditional French allies such as Bavaria. Mentalities were different at the time, but a status of respected small ally (as Belgium / France during WWI) could be aimed at with time.

Since the time of Richelieu, France aims at 'natural frontiers', so is unlikely to wish manning a 'protective glacis' beyond, having renounced it in 1659, even before Vauban fortified the border. A fortress commanding the Southern exit of a pass, at most? Otherwise a reliable ally comes cheaper, and Galatea is reliable as long as Austrian (unlikely here) troops or English (France's real 'hereditary foe' since the Crusades) ones are involved.

The stakes are high for the Galatan legation, but if both sides are wishing to reach an agreement (seemingly the case, otherwise France would not have bothered to accept the negotiations), while looking like poker the exchanges are rather similar to bargaining at a Marrakesh market stall :)
And the Galatan team plays well.

Soldadets said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Soldadets said...

Borders debate is always a tricky issue, but it certainly wasn't that much three centuries ago, for several reasons that are to be explained yet, affecting both involved sides --allow me a bit of suspense at this! ;)

On the other side, some kind of debate on the matter is unavoidable everytime a new Nation is born. The authorities of the just arosen Nation must agree borders with their neighbours, whatever these are based on.

There is a supplementary issue on the Galatan-Gallic borders matter. True that these had been set by the 1659 Treaty between the kings of France and Spain, but the Catalan Parliament was never formally requested opinion, or even formally acknowledged of it until 1702. This way, Catalan Parliament and Generality never accepted that treaty, so that their laws, decrees, statistics and finance provisions kept having Northern Catalonia into account until their abolition after defeat in 1714.

Such fact makes it unavoidable for an eventual Galatan legacy to "put the issue on table", as commonly said here.

Quite a different thing is the final result of such a debate, of course...

abdul666 said...

A successful 'What-if?' or 'Imagi-Native' campaign gets a life of its own, sometimes turning to a rebellious Frankenstein's monster!

An official Austro-French 'co-protection' of Galatea, along the Andorran model, is probably too much to expect. Yet, since Princess Elisenda *on a personal basis*, as Imperial Viceroy in Majorca, is a representative and subject of the Emperor, something tacitly equivalent could be officiously concluded.

Beyond the scope of the 'Defiant principality' campaign, a mutually satisfying agreement between France and Galatea could have interesting consequences. France was totally paranoid about the Habsburg since it has be surrounded by lands belonging to Charles Quint: which led François 1er to that monstrosity for a Christian ruler of the time, an alliance with the Ottomans. Another French worry since Peter the Great was the rising of Russia, hence the alliance with Sweden, Poland and again the Porte. But by 1750 France was still totally blind to the new threat of aggressive Prussia.
With a Bourbon in Madrid and indirectly a satisfying agreement over Galatea, Austro-French relationships would relax. [Specially if completed with the creation of an independent but 'co-protected' principality of French speaking Wallonie for the Princesse des Ursins]. In any case, such détente could deter France -its eyes opened by the 1st Silesian War- at least from entering the WAS proper 'on the wrong side': Louis XV was not proud of breaking the French promise to abide to the Pragmatic Sanction.
Maybe Maurice de Saxe, France not being involved, could enter Russian (again) or even Austrian service and challenge Frederick? Skilled commanders were no more restricted by 'nationality' then than football star coaches to-day.

abdul666 said...

Yes Salvador, Limousin (obviously not Llemosi) was the name given then (and well in the 19th C.) by French linguists (themselves of Northern Langue d'Oïl!) to the family of Langues d'Oc, from Lemosi(n) to Català.

That a cultural entities trespasses political borders was not a concern at that time: the 'principle of nationalities' emerged in the (post)romantic 19th C. In the 18th C. only treaties between sovereign mattered (populations followed, and sometimes were quite happy: people in Lorraine were to love Stanislas).
Thus Princess Elisenda's legation *has* to mention the problem of Catalunya del Nord / Roussillon, but *cautiously*: the still-to-be-born Principality is the 'asking' side. At the very best a little something can be obtained in the bargain in exchange of the formal adhesion to the Treaty of the Pyrenees. But it would be unwisely rash to press the matter.

In Monte-Cristo something worries us for dear Lisette: such treaties too often included an arranged marriage...
(Sorry, Lluis, I'm biased but yet honesty compelled me to mention this delicate point).

Soldadets said...

quoting: such treaties too often included an arranged marriage

Oh Jean-Louis, I hoped you wouldn't explain this!!!

You're fully right however. And I was aware of it too, but expected not to be reminded of it. An admittedly selfish attitude to be honest, I wished her unmarried for some time --plain and simple jealousy towards her eventual husband :(

Hum, it seems now that French legacy should "put it on table" too... Eventual candidates?

abdul666 said...

The matter may not be so pressing.
Generally such marriage did not involve the current ruler, but a sibling or child (even in the case of Louis XIV, the TdP was signed during his minority).
Then, we are not dealing with a negotiation between two great, # equal powers. The stakes are not that high.
Hence, if Elisenda happens to have a younger sister / brother or first cousin...

Then we have the very unusual (at this level) situation of the (± forced) future groom / bride leading personally the negotiations. Very embarrassing, specially toward a woman.

Thus the French legacy is likely to approach the subject, but tactfully with Marquis de Vilana outside the official meetings, and the Lady can wage a 'desultory warfare' about it without seriously endangering the negotiations.

abdul666 said...

Marquis de Vilana can insist that the Princess' husband will in any case be a consort, not a co-ruler, without possibility to claim for the throne for himself or his relatives.
Then, the Principality being (relatively) small, the French legation could be content with the promise that Elisenda will not marry without French assent; failure to keep this promise legitimating a French claim of annexation.
Such private matters would be covered by a secret clause of the eventual agreement, in the same way as the marriage of Louis XIV and the Infante was a secret clause of the TdP.

abdul666 said...

According to Monte-Cristan ethos we hope Her Highness will enjoy a total freedom of choice. Elisabeth I of England was a 'virgin queen': would Elisenda choose to be an officially virgin princess, we wish her better success as a princess than as a virgin [anyway, those here who remember Lisette as a merry student harbor no doubt about... well, never mind :) ].

And, would France try to impose a very unpleasant candidate (highly unlikely, the Principality is not important enough), untimely deaths do happen.

Salvador said...


I, for one, wouldn't mind Louis d'Orleans (Philippe's son)being married to Elisenda...,_Duke_of_Orl%C3%A9ans
And it would suit Philippe, being a good training for his son and hope for the future...
Maybe pointing too high? Come on, who wouldn't want Elisenda as wife?

Soldadets said...

Jean-Louis, I deserve no doubts about the high feel of French diplomacy. I assume they perfectly know what to say at a moment, and how to say it. As for me, no concern about this.

As you suggested, the Principality is far from being a Power so far (even a Minor one), so that I keep some doubts about what political marriage would be considered appropriate by Versailles.

If the Galatan legation derived the marriage to one of Elisenda's relatives, wouldn't the French one appoint a lower rank nobleman for this?

Although tempted by Salvador's suggestion on Philippe d'Orléans' son Louis, I'm doubtful whether there wouldn't be any precedence considerations preventing the French legation to adopt the suggestion as own.

However, it must be admitted Louis d'Orléans would be a most convenient candidate --quite a nice guy for an aristocrat! :D

...except for the excessive age difference between them: Elisenda is about 28 years old, while Louis is no older than 14!

Soldadets said...

Oh no, even worse. Louis is 10 years old right now.

abdul666 said...

Hate to write this, but the age difference could be seen balancing the difference of 'rank': a Bourbon and a Countess of old but not royal lineage?

Soldadets said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Soldadets said...

True, I believe this would be quite a bigger hindrance than age, too.

As said in a previous comment, I suspect that such precedence issue would have prevented the French legation from even considering the possibility.

Anyway, I found it funny speculating a bit about the matter ;)

abdul666 said...

For us in Monte-Cristo, an arranged marriage is just legitimate rape.

Given the difficulty to find a suitor of acceptable rank and yet close enough to the Bourbon line to be reliable, I hope the French legation will simply dismiss the matter entirely. Galatea is not large / powerful enough to required a 'controlling' marriage.