Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Overwhelmed with work

Barcelona, 9th April 1714

Once arrived to his mansion in Montcada street, Marquis of Vilana drops himself onto a comfortable couch, sighing heavily. After having spent the whole week in a series of painstaking negotiations with high representatives of the main cities of Catalonia, he's dead tired but happy.

After an entirely new set of Ordinances for the new Nation's army had been issued, replacing those issued by King Charles III (*) in 1706, it was now the turn for the discussion and eventual approval of a bill regulating (and eventually limiting) the creation and activities of civic militias like rural Sometents and urban Coroneles. At first, cities were quite reluctant to see limited their ancestral right to raise such militias on their own, so negotiations turned harsh at times. However, Vilana's diplomatic expertise managed to pave the way step by step, so that a general agreement was finally met among all attendants --even those from the radical Busca party. Ultimate approval by the Parliament of the militias draft bill was now ensured.

According to the plan devised by Princess Elisenda's High Staff, only towns equal or larger than 4,800 inhabitants would be capable to raise militia units large enough to perform side by side with regular regiments; this meant only seven towns of Catalonia entitled for adequately maintaining a Coronela Regiment (see map at right). Three out of these towns had to be temporarily dispensed due to be already contributing to the maintenance of a regular Army unit (Tortosa, Manresa and Girona), and another two had already raised one such militia (Barcelona and Mataró). In the end, two new cities were now due to organize a Coronela of its own, in exchange for some tax reduction: Tarragona and Vic.

Not so easy was to persuade the involved towns to keep a core of those militias permanently raised, so as to perform as local garrison and police. After some discussion, a consensus was met on a permanent minimum of 1 company for each battalion. Even more difficult was later to get their acquiescence to issues thorny to them, where a public regulation was considered invasive. In the end, it was agreed that all new Coronela units would follow a common uniformity (based on grey rather than blue) and flags usage, while those units already existing would be temporarily spared such duties --and corresponding expenses!

So our good Marquis feels reasonably happy now... until he recalls the mountain of documents overcrowding his desk! "Oh dear...!" --he says, sighing heavily again. "Elisenda, Elisenda... you're going to bury me under your projects pile!", he thinks. Then he laughs loud, even happier than before.

(*) That is, Charles VI of the Holy Empire.
[As usual, our National Library has been conveniently updated with the informations related to this thread. So you can check the Army organization and regiments detail in those pages respectively devoted to the Catalan Army and Navy.]

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