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Oh Mareyland, My Mareyland [Closed]

Where nations come together and discuss matters of varying degrees of importance. [In character]
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Oh Mareyland, My Mareyland [Closed]

Postby Mareyland » Sun May 08, 2022 11:24 am

General maintenance/lore thread, for historical infodumps too minor to warrant a full Factbook entry and short stories/vignettes that don't need a whole thread of their own. No posting by other nations. If you see something that catches your interest, or have an idea to contribute, reach out via Telegram

Mareyland, My Mareyland - National Anthem of the Republic of Mareyland

My mother State! to thee I kneel,
Mareyland!
For life and death, for woe and weal,
Thy peerless chivalry reveal,
And gird thy beauteous limbs with steel,
Mareyland! My Mareyland!

Thou wilt not cower in the dust,
Mareyland!
Thy beaming sword shall never rust,
Mareyland!

Come! for thy shield is bright and strong,
Mareyland!
Come to thine own anointed throng,
Stalking with Liberty along,
And chaunt thy dauntless slogan song,
Mareyland! My Mareyland!

Thou wilt not yield the Vandal toll,
Mareyland!
Thou wilt not crook to his control,
Mareyland!

Dear Mother! burst the tyrant's chain,
Mareyland!
"Sic semper!" 'tis the proud refrain
That baffles minions back again,
Arise in majesty again,
Mareyland! My Mareyland!


Image
The National Flag of Mareyland - the red stripe represents the blood shed for independence, the white represents the righteousness of the cause, the green represents the land, the blue represents the heavens to which the nation appeals, and the tree represents the strength of the people

Image
Map of Mareyland
Last edited by Mareyland on Fri May 27, 2022 7:01 am, edited 2 times in total.

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The Regulator Rebellion

Postby Mareyland » Sun May 08, 2022 12:42 pm

The Regulator Rebellion, 1762 - 1767
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Governor Tyrone orders his army to disperse the Regulators at Hawfield, 1767

The Regulator Rebellion, also known as Walker's Rebellion, was a short-lived but important event in the years preceding the War of Independence. It was a rebellion of frontier yeomen, driven by increased taxation and corruption in the colonial government.

After the successful conclusion of the Arcadian War, the northwestern frontier of Mareyland was suddenly much safer for settlement. The threat of Genovian-backed native raiding parties had disappeared, and the crushing of the pan-Indijan (a common blanket term for indigenous peoples in Mareyland) seemed to smother the danger of independent violence on the part of the tribes. White settlers rushed into the territory on the far side of the hills that marked the border between the coastal lowland and the backcountry. Some had been displaced from that territory by the violence of the Arcadian War, while others sought new opportunity and independence through land ownership.

These settlers soon discovered that they would not have the easy route to self-sufficiency and independence that they had imagined. The region they planned to settle in had been carved up on maps in the colonial capital of Annesburg. Land speculators had obtained deeds to vast tracts, and were determined to earn a return on their investment. Settler families found themselves hounded by land agents, forced into exploitative leases, and often tricked into paying unfairly high sums for land they had already begun to clear and develop. The courts were dominated by friends of the landowners, or in some cases the landowners themselves were appointed as judges and sheriffs.

The landowners, merchants, and their courthouse cliques controlled not only the purchasing of land, but also the purchasing of tools, seeds, and other necessities. They then offered low prices for the sale of the farmers' goods. Those who could not make the balance were imprisoned for debts and their farms sold in foreclosure. At the same time, the royal government in Midsomere was passing the first in a series of new taxes and policies that would provoke outrage and resistance across the colony. Higher taxes further squeezed the upcountry farmers, and efforts to centralize and solidify control over Mareyland only put more power in the hands of the corrupt county officials.

In 1762, a group of yeomen in Green County formed an Association, to try and petition for reforms that would ease their burdens. Their leader was the charismatic Nathaniel Walker, a veteran of the Arcadian War. The petitions were ignored by both local officials and Governor John Tyrone in Annesburg. When it became clear that petition and protest would not bring change, Walker and the people of the upcountry began to take more direct action. In Green County, as well as neighboring Harper County and Charlotte County, bands of armed men began to defy and obstruct the government. They intimidated tax officials, blocked evictions, freed farmers from debtors' prisons, and disrupted or sometimes stopped the proceedings of courts. It was Nathaniel Walker who first applied the term "Regulators" to the men he led, harkening to a tradition of rural activism against corruption and abuse of power in medieval Midsomer. The local county militias refused to fight their friends and neighbors and sometimes aided the Regulators.

In Annesburg, news of Nathaniel Walker and the Regulators produced a wedge in elite colonial society. Opposition to the new taxes and regulations imposed by Midsomer was growing, and some saw the Regulators as allies in the struggle against the abuse of colonial rights by royal officials. But others, especially those who had economic interests in the affected region, saw the Regulators as dangerous criminals. Governor Tyrone tried to use the uprising to divide and smear the opposition. He tried to present himself as a mediating force, offering sympathy to the Regulators and blaming their grievances on colonial officials, while at the same time blaming the uprising on the inflammatory rhetoric of the colonial opposition.

Ultimately, Governor Tyrone's effort at playing both sides collapsed when the General Assembly passed measures of opposition to the royal taxes, and sympathy for the Regulators. Tyrone dismissed the Assembly, and tried to win the favor of those opposed to the Regulators by declaring martial law in the affected counties and mobilizing an army of militia to put down the rebellion by force. Tyrone personally led around 1,000 militiamen into the upcountry, while the Regulators gathered their strength. In May of 1767, the provincial army approached the Regulators' mustering camp at Hawfield, where around 2,000 Regulators had gathered. Walker and the other leaders tried to negotiate, but Governor Tyrone was there to show strength. He issued an ultimatum, ordering the Regulators to surrender their leaders, lay down their arms, and disperse.

When the ultimatum expired, Tyrone ordered his militia to attack. The Regulators fought back, firing from behind the cover of fences and nearby woods and inflicting casualties. But Tyrone had brought artillery, to which the Regulators had no reply, and their ammunition eventually ran low. When the fire from the Regulators slackened, Governor Tyrone ordered his militia forward and captured the Regulator camp. 30 militiamen and 9 Regulators were killed during the battle. Most of the Regulators fled once they had used up their ammunition - 15 were captured by the Governor's troops. Tyrone ordered one prisoner, Samuel Plenty, hanged from a tree on the battlefield. The rest were taken to Harrisville, the seat of Green County, for trial. Seven more men would be executed by hanging.

The Battle of Hawfield broke the back of the Regulator movement. Most of its participants either fled further into the frontier, crossed the border in Pavonia, or simply tried to pretend they hadn't been involved. Governor Tyrone offered a pardon to any Regulator, on the condition that they surrendered their weapons and swore an oath of loyalty to the Crown and the colony. This offer was not extended to Nathaniel Walker, who evaded capture and eventually settled in the newly-conquered Benning Grants north of Arcadia. He fell ill and died just before the outbreak of the War of Independence in 1771.

Governor Tyrone returned to Annesburg expecting acclaim for his firm handling of the situation. Instead, he found himself unpopular on all sides. Those who had sympathized with the Regulators called him a tyrant, while those who had opposed them found his policy of pardon too lenient. When a controversy arose regarding possible corruption by the Governor and his council, it was the last straw. John Tyrone was recalled to Midsomer and Lord Howard Fitzroy was appointed as the new Governor of Mareyland. Lord Fitzroy arrived with a mandate to govern with a firm hand, which would only fan the flames of opposition as the rupture between Midsomer and its colony widened.

The suppression of the Regulators offered a clear lesson to those who opposed the royal government - political protest had to be accompanied by preparations for defense against royal crackdowns. As the War of Independence drew near, the colonial opposition engaged in a significant stockpiling of arms and war material, which would prove of great use when open fighting broke out.
Last edited by Mareyland on Mon May 30, 2022 2:00 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Benjamin Martin

Postby Mareyland » Mon May 09, 2022 6:48 pm

Benjamin Martin
Image

A post-War of Independence portrait of Benjamin Martin, in the uniform of the Mareyland Army

Benjamin Martin was a hero of the Arcadian War and the War of Independence. In both conflicts, he provided significant contributions to the ultimate victory.

Benjamin Martin was born in 1730, at the Martin family estate on the Carter River northwest of Annesburg. The Martin family had settled in Mareyland in the late 1600s, at around the same time as the Lee family. William Lee, the future commander of the Mareyland Army, was born the same year as Benjamin Martin. The two families were close, and the two young boys became friends. Unfortunately, Benjamin Martin’s father suffered financial hardship, and the family was forced to give up its estate on the Carter River. Benjamin Martin’s inheritance was reduced to the smaller Fresh Water plantation on the Mason River. In his will, Martin’s father emancipated the enslaved black people that he owned, the culmination of a late-life moral awakening about the evils of slavery. Young Benjamin Martin absorbed his father’s opposition to slavery, and Fresh Water’s black workers and servants were free people who worked for a combination of wages and lodging.

Benjamin Martin and William Lee met again as adults in the crucible of war. In 1752, following the destruction of the trading post at Pekowia, the colony of Mareyland and the royal government in Midsomere began preparing for conflict with Genovie. At the urging of Governor William Benning, the colony’s General Assembly voted to raise a regiment of provincial troops and several companies of rangers, to accompany royal troops under General Thomas Hammond on an expedition to drive the Genovians out of the disputed Kaskay region between the upper Lannachee and Henbane Rivers. Benjamin Martin was appointed as a captain, commanding a company of rangers. He re-encountered William Lee, who was serving as a lieutenant colonel and second-in-command of the provincial regulars. At the Battle of Falling Banks, when Hammond was killed and his regulars routed by the Genovians and their allied native warriors, Captain Martin and his rangers served with distinction as part of the rearguard, which was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Lee.

Martin was promoted to Major, and spent the next few years serving under the newly-promoted Colonel Lee, who was placed in charge of the colony’s defense. The disaster at Falling Banks left the frontier virtually defenseless against the war parties of Ura, Tepachi, and even Cononjahara that the Genovians armed and incited to raid all across the upcountry. Martin and his rangers tried to intercept and pursue these war parties with limited success. The natives were masters of moving through the wilderness, and frequently ambushed the pursuing rangers with deadly effectiveness. Indijan warfare against the white settlers was calculated for fear, and stories of their atrocities fueled fear and anger. In 1756, Martin and his rangers attacked and destroyed the Tepachi village of River Town. Martin’s rangers showed no quarter, and supposedly sent butchered bodies floating down the Henbane River as a message to other Tepachi. The strike against River Town convinced the Tepachi to make peace with Mareyland, which helped turn the tide against Genovia in the Kaskay. While Major Martin was lauded and acclaimed as a hero for leading the River Town raid, he expressed private regrets over the merciless nature of the assault.

After General Sir John Waverly’s army of Midsomer regulars and Mareyland provincials captured Fort Ambercon in 1757, the war in the Kaskay was effectively over. The rest of Arcadia fell in 1758, and Midsomer's victory was confirmed in the Treaty of Pyrus in 1759. By the time the treaty was announced in the New World, Martin had already returned home. In 1758 he married Elizabeth Selton, daughter of a prosperous planter family outside Palmetto. The marriage helped improve Martin's financial situation, which had always been teetering on the edge of collapse. But more important to the veteran and war hero was the effect of "Dear Liz" on her husband's soul. Elizabeth Selton helped Benjamin Martin recover emotionally and mentally from the stresses and horrors of the Arcadian War. The couple had four children: Gabriel, Thomas, Susan, and Samuel. Elizabeth’s death in 1769, only a few years before the outbreak of the War of Independence, deeply affected Benjamin Martin’s worldview.

Major Martin was called back into service in 1760, to help lead the punitive campaigns against the Ura and other rebellious natives. When the uprising ended in 1761, Martin resigned his commission in the provincial forces. He retained the rank of Colonel in the militia of Wake County, where he lived. Like William Lee, he considered himself content to spend the rest of his life managing Fresh Water plantation. But in 1762, partly at the urging of William Lee, he ran for Wake County’s seat in the General Assembly and won the election handily, thanks to the fame of his exploits in the war. Martin was soon traveling regularly to Annesburg for meetings of the legislature, where he became involved in the ongoing debates about the new taxes and regulations levied on the colony by the royal government. Martin was torn between agreement with the opposition, and a desire to avoid a civil war between colony and motherland.

In 1766, Benjamin Martin had a falling out with Governor John Tyrone. Tyrone had called up the militia in response to the ongoing Regulator Rebellion in the upcountry. As colonel of the Wake County militia, Martin was obligated to respond to the governor’s muster. But he refused to participate in a crackdown on his fellow colonists. The governor responded by stripping Martin of his militia rank. Wake County’s militia refused to muster under another officer, and ultimately played no role in the Battle of Hawfield in 1767. The incident placed Martin on Tyrone’s bad side permanently, and the outgoing governor made sure to inform his replacement, Lord Howard Fitzroy, that Benjamin Martin was not to be trusted. This undermined Martin’s efforts to play mediator between the new governor and the opposition, and he gradually came to agree that the colony must have some degree of independence. But he refused to help bring on another war.

The loss of his militia rank meant that Martin played no role in Lord Fitzroy's War against the Tepachi in 1770, for which Benjamin Martin expressed a private relief. After the first shots of the War of Independence were fired in 1771, the General Assembly held a vote to consider raising troops to support the rebels outside New Penzance. While many held out hope that he would be a leader of the provincial troops, Martin voted in opposition. The vote passed regardless, and Governor Fitzroy dissolved the Assembly. Martin did not take part in the formation of the extralegal Provincial Congress, but his two oldest sons, Thomas and Gabriel, both enlisted in the Mareyland Army - which was led by Martin’s friend and fellow veteran, William Lee. Martin remained at his Fresh Water, hoping to avoid this new conflict. But eventually he found that neutrality was impossible. A royal army captured Annesburg in 1774, and Thomas Martin was executed as a spy. At the urging of both William Lee and Harry Burwell, another comrade from the Arcadian War, Benjamin Martin accepted a commission as a colonel in the Mareyland Army.

Martin became the chief leader of a partisan war, striking at the royal army’s supply lines. His two great nemeses during this campaign were Colonel William Tavington, commander of the Green Dragoons, and Colonel Ian Frazer, commander of the Royal Foresters light infantry. Frazer, a fellow Arcadian War veteran, was the more capable adversary but it was Colonel Tavington and his brutal efforts to suppress the rebels that earned infamy. Tavington executed prisoners and burned the homes of partisans and their supporters - including Fresh Water itself. But this only fanned the flames of resistance, and drove more people into the pro-independence camp. Martin’s campaign succeeded in halting the momentum of Midsomer’s army, especially after Tavington was killed at the Battle of Crockett's Farm in 1775. Martin, along with a force of Mareyland regulars led by General Burwell, defeated a portion of the main royal army at Pembroke later that year. Colonel Benjamin Martin was present the next year, when General Sir Frederick Marwood, commander-in-chief of the royal army, surrendered to the combined Mareyland-Genovian army that had trapped the royal troops in Palmetto.

After the war ended and Mareyland’s independence was secured, Benjamin Martin set to the task of rebuilding his home. He once again became a politician, winning election to the Senate as the representative for Wake County. He was one of the lone voices from the lowcountry to speak out in opposition to slavery, and while he could not end the institution he was able to champion the passage of a law that ensured that there were no restrictions on how and when slaveowners could emancipate their enslaved people. His son Gabriel, who had fought alongside his father in the War of Independence, went on to lead men in the short border war with Frankenlisch in 1785-1787. Benjamin Martin died in 1790, at age 60, having not only witnessed a transformation of the land around him, but having played a key role in bringing it about.
Last edited by Mareyland on Mon May 30, 2022 2:01 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Mareyland and the Natives

Postby Mareyland » Thu May 12, 2022 4:11 pm

Mareyland and the Natives
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A sketch of an Ura warrior, drawn by a white missionary in the 1780s

This entry will summarize the history of the native inhabitants of Mareyland, commonly known collectively as "Indijans" (a shortening of the word indigenous, itself derived from the ancient Cornellian word indigena, meaning "sprung from the land"). Though the Indijans have no written language, they have an oral tradition of history that stretches back generations. However, this summary will concern itself only with their history since the arrival of the first colonists from the Old World.

The first settlers entered a strange world, filled with alien plants, animals, and people. The early years of the Mareyland colony, with its settlements at New Penzance and then Annesburg, were filled with hardships. Colonists struggled to adapt to their new homes. While many crops and animals from Midsomere flourished in the New World, without knowledge of how to tame native animals and cultivate native crops the colony would not survive. The initial encounters with the Indijans who lived on the coast near the colonial settlements, the Mejis people, were fraught with tension, suspicion, and misunderstanding. Old World diseases also ripped through native communities who had no built-up immunities. But eventually, the colonists developed a working relationship with the Mejis, one that helped them understand how to survive in their new shared land. Tragically, the continued expansion of the colony - and the need for more land to accommodate the growing population - led to a series of bloody wars between the Mejis and the Mareylanders. By the dawn of the 1700s, the Mejis had been almost entirely wiped out - they were either dead, enslaved by the Mareylanders, or had been assimilated into other tribes.

As the colony of Mareyland pushed northwest along the Fenwick and Carter Rivers, they encountered the powerful Troaten people. The Troaten had actually been allies of the Mareylanders during their wars with the Mejis. The two peoples developed a relationship based on trade and diplomacy. The colony of Mareyland also lacked the power to overawe the Troaten - while the Mejis had been scattered in small villages, the Troaten lived in larger towns, which were sometimes fortified. They had suffered many deaths from disease, but were slightly protected by being inland and further from the source of the plagues. The colonial government of Mareyland actually believed that the Troaten had agreed to become vassals of Midsomer, due to their misunderstanding of a diplomatic ceremony. The Troaten, meanwhile, believed that the Mareylanders had recognized their sovereignty over much of the lands between the upper Fenwick and Carter Rivers. These misunderstandings led to the outbreak of the Troaten War (1705-1709), where the Troaten were eventually forced to concede much of their ancestral homelands. The Troaten would be pushed by further white settlement into the northwest of Mareyland, where they were granted reservation lands. Over time, the Troaten began to adopt white practices of farming and land ownership, becoming known as "the Civilized Tribe."

The next serious threat to the colony of Mareyland was the Tepachi War (1711-1713). The Tepachi had resided along the Mason River, on the southern edge of the original Mareyland colony. Ironically, the Tepachi had been allies of the colony in the Troaten War. It was during that war that the Tepachi understood more fully the weaknesses of the white colony, and the danger that their continued expansion posed to the native way of life. So they, along with some parts of the Troaten, launched a preemptive war against Mareyland. Their aim was not to halt white settlement, but to push the colonists back into the sea. Unfortunately for the Tepachi, they had under-estimated the colony's military power and their war ended in failure. Key to Mareyland's victory was their alliance with the Cononjahara people, who provided warriors for the fight against their ancient Tepachi enemies. Throughout the history of Mareyland, the colony survived by playing on the long-standing enmities between different Indijan nations. The Tepachi were forced to migrate northwest, into the region that the Genovians in the neighboring colony of Arcadia called the Kaskay, between the upper Lannachee and Henbane Rivers.

The Cononjahara would soon join their former enemies in the Kaskay. After the victory in the Tepachi War, Mareyland's population boomed. The last of the hostile Indijans had been pushed far to the frontiers, and huge tracts of land were open for settlement. The Cononjahara people were committed to peace, and were eager to maintain a cordial relationship with Mareyland. They understood the benefits of alliance with the Mareylanders - their traders brought textiles, metal tools, gunpowder weapons, beautiful trinkets of glass and silver, and all sorts of other material goods. They could not only obtain these goods for themselves, but also become powerful by serving as middle-man traders to other Indijans. Thus the Cononjahara sought to avoid the fates of the Troaten and Tepachi, and find a way to preserve their core homelands while keeping good relations with the white colonists. Unfortunately, they could not maintain this delicate balancing act forever. A company of land speculators used fraud and bribery to trick the Cononjahara into signing away a huge portion of their lands, and the colonial authorities refused to intervene. Rather than embark on a futile war, the Cononjahara migrated northwest, to the headwaters of the Mason River and the eastern Kaskay around the upper Lannachee.

The Kaskay was now home to two refugee nations: the Cononjahara, who lived in its eastern portions around the upper Lannachee River, and the Tepachi, who lived along the Henbane River to the west. The region became a point of contention between Mareyland and its neighbor, the francophone Genovian colony of Arcadia. Midsomer and Genovie both sought to control the region, and the primary mode of competition between the two Old World empires and their colonies was competing for the favor of the Indijan inhabitants. In 1752, a force of Genovian soldiers and Ura warriors attacked the Tepachi village of Pekowia, killing its pro-Mareyland chief and destroying a Mareylander trading post. This was the spark for the Arcadian War. Initially, Genovia had more Indijan support - the Ura and Tepachi eagerly volunteered to fight with the Genovians, and even some Cononjahara sided with the Genovians. But as the war progressed, the situation changed. The Cononjahara reaffirmed their alliance with Mareyland, and the Tepachi made peace after the brutal destruction of River Town by Mareyland rangers. The Ura fought on, but in 1758 Midsomer took control of the whole Arcadia colony, and the Kaskay along with it.

The Treaty of Pyrus redrew the map without consideration for the native peoples. Midsomer's assertion of dominion over the land, and the native peoples living on it, was met with resistance. The Ura, possibly the most powerful of all the native tribes in the region, had been firm allies of the Genovians since the early 1700s. Midsomer tried to discipline their enemies-turned-subjects by restricting trade, but this only provoked outrage. A chief named White Crow urged his people to rise up and fight, promising that the Genovians would return if they could drive the Mareylanders out. White Crow's War, as the Mareylanders called it, was less of a planned campaign and more a series of related but not really coordinated attacks on colonial forts and settlements across upper Arcadia and the Kaskay. It was mostly Ura doing the fighting, but some of the Tepachi joined in as well. Midsomer responded with a harsh campaign of suppression, sending troops to burn Ura and Tepachi villages and seize hostages. White Crow failed to drive out the new overlords, but the royal government of Midsomer did respond to the uprising by re-opening trade and trying to restrict further white settlement in the new territories. These measures helped fuel the resentment in the colony that would ultimately lead to the War of Independence.

The last Indijan war of the colonial era was a short conflict in 1770 known as Lord Fitzroy's War, after the Governor of Mareyland at the time. The Tepachi had begun to attack frontier settlers, who were in fact in violation of royal proclamations limiting settlement in the Kaskay. But Lord Howard Fitzroy saw a chance to gain favor among the colonists, who at that time were verging on the outbreak of open rebellion. So he mobilized the colonial militia and marched an army into the Kaskay. After a single battle, Lord Fitzroy forced the Tepachi to sign a treaty ceding more land to white settlement. Lord Fitzroy's War failed to swing colonial sentiments in favor of Midsomer, and the War of Independence began the next year. The war divided Indijan nations. The Ura and Tepachi, seeing royal authority as the best chance to preserve some autonomy and land, sided with the Crown. The Troaten allied themselves with the rebellious colonists. The Cononjahara split: most sided with Midsomer but a fraction chose to align with the Mareylanders. A vicious frontier war raged throughout the War of Independence, but most prominently in 1775 when General William Lee dispatched a large army under William Easton on a campaign of devastation against the Cononjahara, in retaliation for the massacre of settlers at Apple Ridge the preceding year.

The War of Independence, like the Arcadian War, ended in a treaty that paid no heed to the desires of the Indijans. Midsomer granted Mareyland its independence and ceded the whole of the colonial territory to the new nation. White settlers pushed more energetically into frontier lands, now hardened by years of warfare with a general anti-Indijan racism. The new Republic of Mareyland made some efforts to deal with the Indijans diplomatically, but its words and treaties were often eclipsed by the reality on the ground. The Troaten, despite their "civilized" status, lost land to fraud and violence by whites. The Cononjahara, their power broken by the Easton Campaign, were pushed onto reservation territories. The settlers reserved the most hatred and fear for the Tepachi and Ura. In 1791, the Ura rose in rebellion once again, this time in response to an influx of settlers brought on by a gold rush. The Franklin County War (1791-1793) ended with the Ura defeated, and forced to accept the dominion of Mareyland over their lands. The government in Hillsborough still hopes to find some sort of reasonable accommodation with the Indijans that preserves their cultures and avoids violence, but does not sacrifice the needs of its citizens.
Last edited by Mareyland on Mon May 30, 2022 2:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Mareyland and the Orient

Postby Mareyland » Mon May 30, 2022 8:59 am

Mareyland and the Orient
Image

A Mareylander merchantman approaching the coast of Siando, painted by the Midsomere artist Henry Hogson

The distant lands of the Orient have been a source of profit and occasionally peril for Mareyland, especially in the years following the War of Independence.

During the colonial period, Mareylanders did little direct trading with the nations of the Orient. The trade was instead conducted by agents of the Midsomere Royal Oriental Company (ROC), a trading company which operated with a royally-sanctioned monopoly on the Oriental trade. The Company did business in three principal locations: the vast and ancient Kumando Empire, the princely states of Pagon, and the island of Siando. Each of these places had different governments, cultures, and trade goods to offer. Some of the most valuable were spices, silks, porcelain, saltpeter, sandalwood, and tea. The tea trade in particular became a massively profitable industry, since the drink rapidly spread throughout Midsomere and its colonies and it was consumed by people of all classes. Wealthier families in Midsomere or Mareyland might have a set of Kumanese porcelain or a jewelry box made from Siandonese sandalwood, as status symbols.

Kumando was the only large unified state in the Orient. It was a large and powerful empire, with an imperial dynasty that had ruled since before the formation of the Kingdom of Midsomere. Below the Emperor was a caste of scholar-bureaucrats who handled the administration of the empire. The imperial government was suspicious of the ROC's traders, and had little need for the goods they offered. However, Kumando was the only source of silk or porcelain - the techniques for making these goods were closely-guarded state secrets. The Company was able to obtain the right to do business in the port city of Kegon. To the southwest, on the other side of an imposing mountain range and swampy coastal jungle, was the land of Pagon. This had once been ruled by a single empire, but by the 1600s it had collapsed into fractured and warring kingdoms. Royal Oriental Company found it easier to trade here, and obtained tea as well as cotton and dyes. The final destination for traders was the island of Siando. Like Pagon, Siando was divided into petty kingdoms and city-states, which were typically at odds or war with each other. The rulers of these small domains were known as “mahars,” and they fought their battles with soldiers from a warrior-nobility class known as “sagoths.” The island was the main source of exotic spices like pepper, nutmeg, and cinnamon as well as tea and sandalwood.

Midsomere was not the only nation trading in the Orient. Its imperial rival, the Kingdom of Genovie, also sought the riches of the region. It had its own trading company, the Compagnie Orientales. In Kumando, the two companies were limited to commercial competition. But in Pagon and Siando, the ROC and Compagnie had greater freedom to directly influence the political situation. They forged alliances with rival kingdoms in both areas, offering financial and military support in exchange for access to trade goods. The ROC was granted license by the Crown to form its own private navy and army, both to protect its trade and advance Midsomere's interests without needing to commit regular forces. Whenever Midsomere and Genovie went to war, their trading companies and their client states went to war in the Orient. The most decisive of these wars was the Arcadian War. While it started on the frontier of the New World, it soon expanded to the Orient.

In Siando, the Royal Oriental Company's ally, the Kingdom of Infi, was able to defeat the Compagnie Orientales and its allies. Patrick Owen, the chief ROC administrator in Siando, rose to national prominence by leading an army of Siandonese warriors and Company mercenaries to victory. At the war's end, Infi was in a position of supremacy over the entire island. The other kingdoms and city-states either submitted to Infi or made deals directly with the Company. In Pagon, the situation was the same - the Royal Oriental Company forged an alliance with the state of Lemuria, and helped it to defeat the states which had allied with Genovie. The royal government of Midsomere, seeing an opportunity to benefit from the Company's dominant position, raised taxes on a number of goods being sold in the colonies, such as tea - which helped to bring on the Revolution in Mareyland. During the War of Independence, trade ships traveling from the Orient to Midsomere were favorite targets of Mareyland privateers.

Beginning during the Arcadian War, the Royal Oriental Company exercised de facto control over the entire island of Siando, working through a mixture of willing allies and subjugated client states. The Kingdom of Infi gave the Company the responsibility for tax collection, administration, and other government functions. The Company's private army helped keep the peace and its private navy chased down pirates. The Company was paid regularly, in both hard currency and trade goods, for these duties by Infi and other Siandonese states. To afford the hefty sums demanded by the Company, local rulers ordered the growing of cash crops like sugarcane, tobacco, coffee, and tea. Company agents also began to encourage the planting of opium. The narcotic played a valuable role in trade with Kumando.

The Kumando Empire had little interest in many of the trade goods that the ROC could offer. To obtain tea and other valuable goods from the Kumanese, Company merchants had to pay in hard currency. One of the few goods that could be sold in Kumando at sufficient profit to obtain the gold and silver needed to purchase tea and porcelain was opium. The drug was not unknown to the Kumanese, but beginning in the 1760s the Royal Oriental Company began to flood Kumando with opium, with devastating social effects. The imperial government tried to crack down on the opium trade, but Company merchants found willing partners in corrupt port officials and customs inspectors, who could be bribed to permit opium through their checks. Where the ROC could not suborn customs enforcement, it simply avoided it through smuggling. During the leadup to the War of Independence, opponents of the royal government called out the hypocrisy of complaining about colonial smuggling while the Royal Oriental Company engaged in the same practices in Kumando.

In the years following independence, the shape of the Oriental trade changed. The new Republic of Mareyland still had a great desire for Oriental goods, but Midsomere prohibited the Royal Oriental Company from selling its wares directly in Mareyland after the war. Other merchants in Midsomere filled the demand by reselling Company goods to Mareyland, at enormous markup. To try and bypass these middlemen, Mareylander merchants began to organize expeditions to the Orient themselves. Many of the early expeditions were failures: the newcomers had difficulty in breaking into markets in Kumando, and were barred from many ports in Midsomere-dominated Pagon and Siando. Eventually, the merchant partnership of Robert Jenson and Josiah Briggs found success by offering goods that Midsomere could not, especially ginseng and fur pelts. They also began to match the ROC by smuggling opium into Kumando.

In the 1780s, the dominance of the Royal Oriental Company over Siando began to show signs of strain. The island’s agriculture was more and more dominated by plantation cash crops and opium, which led to frequent periods of famine. There was also widespread resentment over the Company's tactic of using legal subterfuges to usurp total control over many of the smaller kingdoms around Infi. Peasant farmers who had previously worked small farms to feed themselves were then forced to become plantation laborers. Finally, in 1787, the Company went too far. It refused to recognize the daughter of the King of Infi as a legitimate heir, and tried to claim direct control of the kingdom. This led to a large-scale rebellion that soon spread across the island. The Company’s sepoy armies either defected to the rebels or fled, and its mercenaries were overwhelmed and destroyed. The royal government in Midsomere refused to commit regular forces to restore the Company's position, and in 1788 Siando became a fully independent nation.

The expulsion of the Royal Oriental Company from Siando created an opportunity for merchants from Mareyland. They raced to fill the gap left by the removal of the ROC, buying up former Company holdings like plantations and forging trade relationships with the new unified government of the island. Mareylanders were able to leverage their shared history of opposing Midsomere to get past the Siandonese reluctance to welcome new foreign traders into their lands. Many in Mareyland saw a chance to bring "civilization" to the Siandonese, who were stereotyped as primitive. Meanwhile, the ROC held onto its dominant position in Pagon, thanks to shrewder leadership. To recover from the financial setback of losing Siando, the Company increased its production of opium in Pagon, where it could be smuggled overland into Kumando. Smuggling grew to such a high that the imperial government took the unprecedented step of sending an emissary to Midsomere, to demand the end of the opium trade, but to no avail.
Last edited by Mareyland on Thu Jun 16, 2022 10:18 am, edited 6 times in total.

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The New Saints Church

Postby Mareyland » Thu Jun 09, 2022 11:52 am

The New Saints Church
Image

"The Lord Names His Prophet" depicts the moment where Robert Matthews first encounters a divine messenger

The New Saints Church is a Christian sect which was founded in Mareyland, and notable for its eclectic doctrine and the controversial practices among its members.

The origins of the New Saints Church lie in the aftermath of the War of Independence. The colony of Mareyland had always been something of a haven for religious dissenters and minorities, but the Episcopal Church of Midsomere (CoM), the state religion of the colonial motherland, was still the dominant spiritual power. However, the outbreak of war in 1771 disrupted this position of supremacy. The great majority of Church of Midsomere clergy, who owed their ultimate political loyalty to the King, obviously sided with the Royalists. A handful of dissenters within the CoM sided with the Mareylanders, and after the war these remnants were left to try and build a new Mareyland Episcopal Church (MEC), without the state support that the CoM recieved in Midsomere. The successful revolution, with its millennialist ideals of building a new nation free from the corruption of the past, led to a religious revival and awakening across Mareyland. A host of small independent churches, utopian communities, and cults sprang up in the 1780s and 1790s.

Robert Matthews, the founder of the New Saints Church, was immersed in this world of religiosity. He was the son of a Presbyterian minister, and a veteran of the War of Independence, who had earned a living before and after the war as a carpenter in Beaverwick, a small farming village in Garland County, near Elizabethtown. He was respected in his community and known for his fiery passion and deep piety. Like many across Mareyland, Robert Matthews was hit hard by the post-war economic downturn. Independence permitted Mareyland to openly trade with all nations, but it lost the preferential treatment which it had received as a part of the empire. Robert Matthews, who had a wife and children to support, found himself facing destitution. When one of his children fell ill, Matthews was unable to afford to hire a doctor or buy medicine.

Robert Matthews claimed to receive his first vision from God while he was foraging for medicinal herbs in the woods outside Beaverwick. According to Matthews, an angel of the Lord appeared to him and informed him that he had been chosen by God to act as a prophet, like in times of old. The angel said that as a sign of God's commitment, Matthews's son would be healed. Robert Matthews returned to his home to find his son recovering from the illness. He began to regularly travel into the woods to commune with God, and recorded these revelations in a journal. In 1783, he warned that God had threatened to send a great flood that would destroy Elizabethtown. This prediction appeared to come true later in the year, when heavy storms did cause severe flooding on the Fenwick River. Robert Matthews began to attract followers, who were drawn in by his fiery sermons and promise of spiritual and temporal blessings.

In 1784, Robert Matthews founded the New Saints Church. He chose the name to reflect his message: those who accepted the truth of their words would become the new saints on Earth, the true successors of the ancient Christian church. His closest collaborator was Malcom Dove, a charismatic preacher who had been cast out of the Presbyterian Church of Mareyland. Together, these two men attracted hundreds and eventually thousands of followers. The New Saints Church offered a unitarian theology, which rejected the trinity as pagan idolatry. Instead, it presented a singular God (referred to in masculine terms such as "the Lord" and "the Father"), who enlightened prophets throughout time with the Spirit of Truth. According to Matthews, the War of Independence and the expulsion of the Church of Midsomere was part of God's plan to make Mareyland the center of a Heavenly Kingdom on Earth.

In 1785, the New Saints established a religious community in Garland County, which they named New Antioch. The settlement struggled initially, but as the number of converts grew the town soon began to prosper. New Antioch was an opportunity for Robert Matthews to try and implement his vision for godly society. Under his communalist vision, many converts deeded or donated their property to the Church, which then owned land and other resources. Wealth from these assets was distributed among Church members. Those who could support themselves received wages in return for laboring on Church-owned land. This communalism did not end the hardship brought on by the wider economic crisis, but it did alleviate its worst effects. This, in turn, attracted more converts to the Church. One of the chief administrators of New Antioch was Nathaniel Scudder, who demonstrated a keen mind for numbers and management.

New Antioch was not without its issues. Hostility towards the New Saints rose in neighboring communities, inflamed by the Church's heretical unitarian beliefs and rumors of social deviance within the community. The most common accusations leveled at the New Saints were that their communalist practices extended to marriage, and they practiced polygamy and/or free love. Robert Matthews was depicted in satirical cartoons as lording over a harem of married women, whose husbands had willingly given them away. In reality, Robert Matthews had begun to private introduce members of his inner circle to revelations that did sanction polygamy, but only through plural marriage. Robert Matthews's hold over his followers was also deemed as dangerous, and local officials feared he might try to usurp political power in the county. The end result was a series of violent incidents between New Saints and non-believers from nearby towns.

In 1787, Robert Matthews declared to his followers that God had called on the New Saints to relocate, to a place further away from the corruption and hostility of the non-believers. This decision was partially motivated by threats of legal action by the Garland County government. He sent out trusted agents to search for a suitable place for the New Saints to resettle. They found it in the recently established New Edom County, which was located on the frontier in the upper Kaskay, west of the upper Lannachee River. The exodus from New Antioch and the establishment of a new settlement was made possible by the death of Sarah Pierson, a wealthy widow and a fervent New Saint who left her large fortune to Robert Matthews, which provided the necessary funds. During the exodus, Nathaniel Scudder rose to become the third central pillar of the New Saints Church, alongside Robert Matthews and Malcom Dove. By the end of 1788, New Antioch had been abandoned and the New Saints had completed their journey.

The New Saints established a new settlement, on the shores of Lake Soroni, and they named it New Gilead. From this central settlement the New Saints spread out across the county, establishing farms and small villages. Robert Matthews ordered the construction of a massive stone temple on the bluff overlooking New Gilead, which became the spiritual center of the Church. Within a few years of their arrival in New Edom County, the New Saints' numbers and cohesion as a voting bloc allowed them to dictate the results of any county election. The entire New Edom County government - the three county commissioners, the sheriff, the judge of the county court, and almost every other official - was a member of the New Saints Church. This development was largely dismissed by the federal government in Hillsborough, since it was little different from the courthouse cliques that dominated other counties across Mareyland. The New Saints' domination extended to the county militia, which they took over and renamed the Hutaree (supposedly an ancient Biblical word for "warriors"). Its commander, Major General John Farson, became the fourth member of the Tetragrammaton Council (alongside Robert Matthews, Malcom Dove, and Nathaniel Scudder) which governed the church and the broader New Saints community.

Robert Matthews used the relative isolation of the New Gilead settlement to further develop the theology and social vision of the New Saints Church. Adding to the Church's primitivist, unitarian, and communalist foundations, Matthews added a heavy emphasis on patriarchal authority. The institution of polygamy was openly practiced. Men, with Church approval, could be married to multiple women. Some women willingly entered into these plural marriages, while others were essentially used as bargaining chips to expand kinship networks. Even with this open embrace of such a controversial practice, the New Saints remain a a largely ignored oddity. Complaints by non-Saints residents of New Edom County that the Saints' control of the county administration has left them legally disadvantaged, and by New Edom County's neighbors in Cressia County that the New Saints are infringing on their territory, are dismissed in the capital. Nathaniel Scudder, who became the Senator for New Edom County, has proven to be an shrewd political operator, and the New Saints are seen as a voting bloc worth courting.
Last edited by Mareyland on Fri Jun 10, 2022 5:50 am, edited 2 times in total.

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The Caroline Mardi Gras

Postby Mareyland » Sun Jun 26, 2022 1:05 pm

The whole city of Caroline was buzzing with anticipation - today was Mardi Gras, the final day of revelry and celebration before the coming of the fasting season. The city was swollen with travelers who had come for the holiday, filling up every room in every public house in and around Caroline. Many ships had delayed their departures by a day or more, in order to give their crews the chance to take part in the celebrations. Caroline was la belle ville, the cultural heart of the Arcadia region, and it had a reputation to uphold. The city had been preparing for days ahead, and now it was time for everyone to see the fruits of their labors.

Mardi Gras was a time for feasting and indulgence, and the city’s storerooms had received an unending tide of meat, vegetables, and other ingredients from the surrounding countryside. Kitchens would be working throughout the night to turn this great surplus into delicious meals for tables that might seat dozens of hungry festival-goers. Cellars across the city were stocked to bursting with barrels and kegs full of alcohol - the city was never more thirsty than on Mardi Gras, and woe betide the innkeeper who could not keep the drinks coming. Such stockpiling was expensive, and there was always the urge to pinch pennies. But serving bad refreshments could bring down a greater wrath than having nothing at all to serve. Frugal businessmen looked at their expense accounts and consoled themselves with the thoughts of all the revenue they would earn to balance out the books.

At the Carillon estate, which sat on the outskirts of the city, Nathalie de Florise stood like a general inspiring his men from the ramparts. Madame de Florise took up her post at the top of the grand staircase which overlooked the foyer of her home, and from this vantage point rained down commands and judgment upon the heads of her servants. It did not matter whether it was a hired white man or an enslaved black women beneath her gaze: she applied her scorn with equal vigor.

Absolument pas! I said the purple drapes, you imbecilic woman! Put those green rags back in the closet or I shall have monsieur Bratt whip the skin off your back!”

“How is this possible? I specifically ordered six crates of Madeira! How can you tell me there are only five? Well find out how, or I shall extract the cost of the missing crate from your pay!”

The tornado of activity which had descended on Carillon was in service to the great duty of hosting the annual Mischianza ball and banquet. It was simply the social event of the night, and one of the highlights of the year’s social calendar. Any peasant could wander into Caroline for the day and watch the great procession, but only the select could pass between the gates of Carillon. Hosting the event was a rotating duty, and Nathalie de Florise had eagerly campaigned for the honor. A successful Mischianza, which meant one that was spoken of fondly in parlors in the days to follow, would cement her social position even with the recent passing of her husband.

The festivities were not scheduled to begin until later in the day, so the city went about its business as best it could until the appointed hour. The bells of the city’s grand cathedral, the largest in Mareyland, tolled the hour and the various shops and offices hurried to close, so that their employees could prepare for the parade. The main boulevards of Caroline began to fill with people, crowded along the sides and jostling for room to see the procession. The sun began to set, and a great cheer went up as the first of the marchers began their route.

The parade was comprised of people on foot, horseback, and in carriages. Interspersed throughout the line of march were men wearing gaudy masks and carrying torches, which illuminated the proceedings as the sun went down behind the buildings. The mayor and other city officials marched at the head of the column, dressed in their fineries and accented with garlands of colored flowers around their necks. The city’s militia companies were out in their cleaned and polished uniforms, with brass buttons and fixed bayonets on musket balls reflecting the fire light. A troop of volunteer cavalry rode with ceremonial cuirass breastplates and drawn swords. Representatives from various guilds and associations had contributed carriages, often festooned with banners, which traveled in the parade.

The wealthier citizens of Caroline watched the parade from the balconies of their town homes, sipping drinks brought to them by their enslaved household servants. Many of these homes were playing host to visitors. Stephen Chatenay, a wealthy plantation owner, was playing host to a friend and fellow veteran of the War of Independence. Edward Arlington and his family watched the parade with curiosity.

“We have nothing like this up north,” Edward remarked.

“Arcadia is like nowhere else in the world,” Stephen boasted.

The parade wound its way through the city, ending in a grand review in the largest open space, the city common. The militia cannon boomed in salute, followed by a display of fireworks overhead. This was the signal for the more general carousing to begin, and hordes of excited people scattered across the city in search of drink and merriment. The carriages of the elites began to make their way through the crowded streets, towards the Mischianza at Carillon.

A great tent had been erected for the evening’s festivities, adjacent to the mansion. Enslaved black men dressed in livery were waiting on the carriage circle, to show each new group of visitors to the tent. Within the canvas, candles lined the perimeter, set in front of mirrors which reflected their light back into the space and helped to replace the fading light of the sun. A great many tables had been laid out along the edge, leaving the center of the tent open for dancing. The venue had something of an Oriental theme: the enslaved black servants who brought out the trays laden with food were shirtless, adorned with golden bracelets on their wrists and turbans on their heads. Many of the women arrived in dresses which had been given something of an exotic flourish with tassels, sashes, and turban-style headpieces, in imitation of the styles of far-off Edumaea.

The dancing was split into two sections. First, prior to the supper meal, there were minuets for pairs to dance. This was a moment fraught with tension and possibility, for eligible men and women would be seeking to make connections with potential suitors or partners. Who danced with who would be closely watched by the gossips. Those who were already married laborered under less scrutiny than their unwed fellows, and could select dance partners more freely without as much concern for the reactions of others. Edward Arlington danced with his wife, but also with several other prominent ladies of the town. Likewise, his wife Mary took to the floor with many of the leading men in attendance.

The pleasant atmosphere was briefly interrupted near its end, when a scuffle broke out between two young men. Of course, it was the affections of a lady at the heart of the matter. Louis Colline and another young gentleman, who Edward Arlington did not recognize, had both wished to have the last dance of the charming miss Leila de Nance. When the young lady hesitated in her choice, the two men had come close to blows. Wiser, more senior heads prevailed and separated the two before anything was done which could not be taken back, but there was whispers that a duel challenge might be issued.

“Ah, the hot blood of the young men,” Stephen Chatenay mused to Edward. “You may bring Arcadia into Mareyland, but it will always be Genovien. Quick to passion, in affairs of the heart.”

“Quite,” Edward replied. “I recall you had a similar temper during the war. Always chomping at the bit to attack.”

“But of course,” Stephen replied with a smile. “How else can one win glory if not in the charge? Ah, but the General always set me straight.”

“Indeed,” Edward said. “That he did.”

The dancing paused to make way for the lavish supper meal. The enslaved men in their turbans and sashes brought out meats, vegetables, bread, and other delicious food. The guests washed down the food with copious amounts of drink: dozens of bottles of madeira, claret, porter, beer, and cider. Conversation flowed around the tables, filling the room with a constant buzz punctuated with laughter. Between courses, the servants removed tablecloths, revealing clean ones layered underneath. The final course was desserts, including cake, fruit, and candied nuts with a sweet wine to drink.

The night ended with more dancing, this time larger ensemble country dances where men and women could mingle with less social weight. The band struck up jaunty tunes and everyone hurried to form two long lines for the dance. This was a less formal affair, and participants could drop in and out as the mood struck them. The festivities continued on well into the night. It was past midnight when Edward Arlington and his family finally returned to their host’s home in the city. As the well-to-do returned in their carriages, the lower classes stumbled home from the taverns. It had been, by general agreement, a wonderful Mardi Gras.


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