Thursday, May 26, 2016

Fealty or expropriation

From now on, I'll be always including a small map like this, on top of each scene where any of our characters appears. Its purpose is to emphasize graphically where the scene is located, and thus to help our campaign gamers determine if the scene contents can be of his own interest. As this one is showing, current scene is located in the Principality of Catalonia --while the previous scene was located in Sardinia Kingdom.

Barcelona, 17th March 1714

Around noon as agreed the day before, Princess Elisenda enters the General Deputation Palace and heads to the boardroom, preceded by a solicitous usher. All six Deputies(*) are already awaiting there for Her, expectant. The Princess responds to their shows of respect showing a warm smile:

--I'm most honored Sirs, please sit down. --and She sits at the same time.

After a few polite preliminaries, then Princess Elisenda asks: --So Mr. Solanell, have you taken a decision about your current appointment?

--I'm afraid I have no margin for deciding myself, Your Highness --the alluded responds--. It's General Deputation's own Bylaw that prescribes charges term to a maximum of three years. We were elected by the Parliament on July 1710 and only the exceptional war status has allowed us to extend the appointment for some months; but now we should resign in the shortest possible time. As a matter of fact --he concludes--, the Parliament has already sheduled the poll date. Next April 23rd, if not wrong. --the other Deputies nod.

--Oh I understand. If such is prescribed, it must be followed- --She quickly nods too--. Have you had time for thinking around the decree I told you about, then?

The man remains silent for a few seconds, then turns gaze around his fellow Deputies and nods: --Yes Your Highness, we have. The extensive fiefs belonging to pro-Bourbon nobiliary lineages were seized by your predecessor King Charles III (God Saves Him) some years ago, and have thenceforth been administered by the General Deputation, as you know. We believe it makes sense to formally require those Lords to pledge their fealty to Your Highness as well as their allegiance to the Parliament, under penalty of being definitely expropriated from their fiefs...

Princess Elisenda is about to sigh of relief, but something makes her to hold breath: --...but...

--...we have been doing consultations among Parliament members, and they all think it fair your offer, in exchange for their support, of converting into free municipalities the main towns so far belonging to these feuds such as Sort, Cardona, Solsona, Cambrils and Palamós, but those deputies belonging to the Busca party also request a general emancipation of serfs, whatever the ultimate fate of those fiefs...

Princess Elisenda keeps silent for a while, thoughtful. Then she suddenly nods: --I do commit to this, Sirs. But it wouldn't be wise from myself to use this decree for extending the measure to all fiefs, inclusive to pro-Habsburg noblemen altogether with those who sided with the enemy. If Parliament consents, it will be done in a separate piece of Law establishing an orderly emancipation program, similar to that already running in my own Estates. You can start writing the draft at will, Sirs. We shall present both projects at once, just before your formal resignation.

(*) The General Deputation of Catalonia was composed by 3 Deputies elected by the Parliament amongst its members, one for each Arm (ecclesiastical, military or aristocratic, and royal or popular). This triad was complemented by another 3 members as "oïdors" or accountants. Traditionally, the ecclesiastical deputy was also the General Deputation speaker, or President. If curious, this is the list of Catalonia Generality Presidents between 1359-1714, and again 1931-2016.

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