Unformatted text preview: Look to the West
A Timeline by Thomas W. Anderson, MSci, MA, BA (Cantab) VOLUME ONE:
DIVERGE AND CONQUER Here lies Fred,
Who was alive and is dead.
If it had been his father,
I would much rather;
If it had been his brother,
Still better than another;
If it had been his sister,
No one would have missed her;
If it had been the whole generation,
So much the better for the nation.
But as it's only Fred,
Who was alive and is dead,
Why there's no more to be said! – Epigram of Prince Frederick Lewis of Wales (1707-1751), OTL Prologue: Across the Multiverse
18/04/2019. Temporary headquarters of TimeLine L Preliminary Exploration
Team, location classified. Cpt. Christopher G. Nuttall, seconded from
British SAS, commanding officer.
Addressed to Director Stephen Rogers of the Thande Institute, Cambridge,
The team has completed the preliminary one-month survey of the world that
the Institute has designated 'TimeLine L'. We are, of course, aware that
this report will be the primary basis for the International Oversight
Committee's decision on whether TimeLine L is worth further exploration.
As of now, sir, I must confess that my own opinions are still divided on
Perhaps, as I and my team set down what we have learned, we will make our
own decisions, just as you will. The information we have obtained from
TimeLine L is primarily in the form of local history books, and we have
tried to gain these from several different sources to avoid making
mistakes based on national bias. We have also used those basic
information gathering techniques from the contemporary populace as
recommended by the Institute, without provoking undue suspicion.
As you will know, sir, identifying the point at which another history
diverged from our own - the so-called Point of Divergence - is often not
so easy as the films would have us believe. Even chaos theory cannot be
relied upon: individuals may be born after the PoD with different genes
due to effects of random chance, but their names, temperaments and even
destinies may still be identical to that of our history.
A note on terminology. Our own world's history, also sometimes called
"TimeLine A", shall in this report be contracted to 'Our TimeLine' or OTL
for short, as is the Institute policy. Comparisons to OTL are inevitable
as we study TimeLine L (henceforth abbreviated to TLL, or This TimeLine,
TTL) but it is my opinion that they should not be taken too far.
Let me use an example from the history of my own country. A Scot from a
timeline where Scotland remained independent might well look upon the
United Kingdom of OTL as being an English Empire in Scotland. But an
Englishman from that history might be similarly appalled at the UK,
because change always goes both ways. This is a paradigm which is all
over TTL, as you will soon see.
Enough beating about the bush. The jury is still out on the PoD, but Dr
Lombardi has the strongest theory so far.
It all begins in the year 1727, at an event that Dr Pylos insists on
referring to as the Coronation of the Hun, when the axis of history began
to spin the world towards a different fate altogether... Part #1: The Coronation of the Hun
From "Nasty, Brutish, and Short - the Reign of King George II of the Kingdom of
Great Britain". (1985, Northfire Press, Durham).
On the eleventh of June, 1727, a man of sixty-seven years suffered a stroke and
died. And, ninety-nine times out of a hundred, the world would not have marked
such an event. But when the man was the King of Great Britain, the King of
Ireland and the Elector of Hanover (though he himself had claimed its
unrecognised Kingship), things were different indeed.
Three days after the death of King George I, the Privy Council convened to
proclaim George's only son, also named George, as King George II. Many had
looked forward to this event with some degree of dread. As it would later become
well known among the English, the Hanoverians had a tradition of violent
disagreements between father and son. While he had been Prince of Wales,
George had done everything he could to undermine the rule and policies of his
father. It was no secret that he wished to replace the popular and skilful Robert
Walpole, first among the King's Ministers, with Sir Spencer Compton, a nonentity.
This would be George's revenge for Walpole, a former supporter of his as Prince
of Wales, having eventually joined one of his father's governments.
In the event, and probably better for the sake of England, George was persuaded
by his wife, Queen Caroline, that Walpole must stay. This guaranteed the rise of
the Whig Party, to the extent that they would dominate Parliament for the
forseeable future. It was no secret that George disliked England, with its meddling
politicans interfering with the divine right of Kings, and always considered
himself a Hanoverian and a European first. This was an advantage in some ways
for Walpole, as it let him draw more of the King's powers to himself and
Parliament - thus becoming the first true Prime Minister - but also alarmed him,
for Walpole intended to keep the Kingdom out of damaging European wars, and
George felt quite the opposite.
All of these issues would eventually return throughout George's short reign, but
none of them would ever eclipse that which plagued him all his life, for his best
efforts. The curse of the Hanoverians reared its head once more: just as George
had detested his father, so his son, Prince Frederick, detested him.
For all the accusations that have been levelled at him in latter ages, and as he has
been darkened by the shadows of his more illustrious descendants, George II was
not stupid. Reckless, yes, and careless of privilege, but not stupid. He did not
want to repeat the mistakes of history. He would not let his son gather support
against him as he had to his father. And George II had an idea. Prince Frederick
would go, not back to Hanover (which in George's mind, if not Frederick's, would
be a blessing) but to the godforsaken ends of the Earth. To England's Colonies...
His wife, Queen Caroline, dissuaded him of this reckless course also , and in
the end George went to be coronated in Westminster Abbey, on October 4th 1727,
with his son Frederick by his side.
The coronation would, perhaps, have been remembered in any case, for the noted
Hanoverian composer Handel had been brought in to write numerous new pieces
of music. Perhaps the best known is 'Zadok the Priest', which remains performed
at many coronations throughout the English-speaking world today. But the music
of Handel, and indeed all else, would be overshadowed by the events that meant
this date would live in infamy.
A confusion over arrangements meant that Handel's superb pieces were
nonetheless played in the wrong order, which led to considerable flusterment on
the part of many churchmen. It was, in fact, a particularly loud and unexpected
note in Handel's "Grand Instrumental Procession", coupled with perhaps a rumple
in the blue carpet, which led to the King, on the way to his throne beside the
Queen, to stumble and fall before the great dignitaries there to pay homage to
A deathly silence descended, and indeed it might have ended there, for the
assembled Lords Spiritual and Temporal knew better than to incur any royal wrath
at this injuncture. The incident, they thought, as the king picked himself up with
as much dignity as possible, would never be mentioned again.
The young Prince Frederick, twenty years old and retaining much of his teenage
precociousness to go with the Hanoverian hatred, did not so such restraint. He let
out a single 'Ha!' of delighted laughter, and with it, changed the world forever.
George was furious. Immediately after the coronation was complete, he told the
Queen that he had elected to return to his original plan. Caroline agreed, almost
equally upset at the Prince's behaviour.
The paperwork caused by the incident was, as is recorded in Robert Walpole's
memoirs, immense. Nonetheless: Prince Frederick was, as the eldest son of the
King of England, rightfully the Duke of Cornwall, a title that could not be
attainted. George did everything else he could, though. Frederick was banished to
the American Colonies, to Virginia, indeed to the new town that had been named
for him: Fredericksburg. A title was invented for him as a sinecure, that of Lord
Deputy of the Colonies. What was at the time the work of a few strokes of a
clerk's pen would eventually become very important indeed...
George, meanwhile, calmly foisted the title of Prince of Wales on his younger son
William Augustus, already the Duke of Cumberland at the age of six. No secret
was made of the fact that William was now George's heir, and upon George's death would be coronated William IV.
And Frederick looked to the west, and to the future.  In OTL, it ended there. Part #2: A Town Fit For A King
From - "Yankee Fred: The Story of the first Prince of North America", by
Professor Ranulph Thorpe, Oxford University Press, 1979:
The Royal Colony of Virginia had a rich and long history by colonial standards,
and despite the long and often treacherous sea voyage from England, had
remained surprisingly closely affected by home affairs since its inception (as a
Company) in 1607. When Prince Frederick finally arrived there in 1728, having
been delayed by just one of those voyages as well as a series of futile attempts to
change his father's mind before being forced to depart; he found the colony a
mass of contradictions. On the one hand, the Virginians were proud of their land's
status as the "Old Dominion", the land where the faithful Royalist supporters of
the Stuarts had fled during Cromwell's tyranny, and this had been recognised by
Charles II upon the Restoration. On the other, Virginia's equally proud tradition of
limited self-rule, through the House of Burgesses, owed a lot to Cromwell's
dispatching of more independent-minded governors during his brief rule.
It was the latter, based in the new capital of Williamsburg that was the greatest
surprise to Frederick. His father, as is well known, cared little for England and
less for her colonies, and had left their governance to his ministers. What would
his reaction have been, the Prince must have thought, had he known that
England's "perfidious parliament" had spawned another, across thousands of miles
of ocean? Perhaps the thought of his father's expression cheered the Prince.
Certainly, he seemed to recover fairly quickly from his initial gloom at being
Williamsburg was the first city in Britain's North American colonies, having
received a royal charter in 1722. A far more pleasant place than the older,
mosquito-infested Jamestown, the House of Burgesses had decamped there with
some relief several years before. The House was subordinated to the Governor's
Council, an upper house loosely analogous to the British House of Lords, and
ultimately the Governor himself. The powers of the Governor over the House had
been increased by James I and Charles I, but then decreased again by Cromwell's
envoys. As was then common in the North American colonies, the appointed
Governor (then George Hamilton, the First Earl of Orkney) never visited his constituents, any more than the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster was
actually expected to be a Lancastrian anymore. The British political establishment
saw no contradiction in this. Therefore, the real power lay in the hands of the
Royal Lieutenant Governor, then known simply as William Gooch.
Gooch had taken over from his predecessor, Robert "King" Carter, only a year
before, but was already making a name for himself with his energetic policies of
promoting trade and encouraging westward settlement. Like his absentee superior
Orkney, Gooch was a veteran of the First War of Supremacy , but he would
eventually go on to fight in the Second . People were already beginning to call
him a worthy successor to the now retired Alexander Spotswood, unlike those that
had gone between them.
Williamsburg would have been the obvious place for the exiled Prince to hold his
court. After all, it was the home of the House of Burgesses and the capital of the
Colony, and it was over these people - together with all the others in the Colonies
- that Frederick was supposed to exercise his highly theoretical powers as the first
Lord Deputy of the Colonies. It is surprising, therefore, that he instead elected to
purchase an estate in the much newer town of Fredericksburg with the pension
funds that his father had grudgingly allowed him.
To say Fredericksburg was new is an understatement. It had, in fact, only just
been founded when the Prince groggily stepped off the deck of HMS Dartmouth
at Williamsburg harbour (to be met by a puzzled crowd of local dignitaries). As
noted above, travel between Britain and the Colonies was fraught with difficulties
at the best of times and could take months, with the result that the stories of
Frederick's disgrace had reached Virginia only in confused an incomplete forms.
This was not helped by the fact that even the best-informed travellers from
England had set off at a time when it still seemed as though King George might
change his mind. Reports of the exile were dismissed as wild exaggerations. A
possible future King of Great Britain and King of Ireland, here in Virginia? Surely
So it was that the new town on the Rappahannock River, though founded months
after George's coronation and Frederick's disgrace, was still named for him as its
fathers confidently believed he was still the Prince of Wales. It has borne that
name ever since, for better or for worse. Frederick built himself a modest house
with his pension on the new land. Of course, his choice of such accommodations
may well have been influenced by his father's stinginess and the fact that
Frederick needed permanent lodgings as soon as possible, and it is true that the
house was much extended and grandified in later years. Nonetheless it endeared
him, perhaps by accident, to the locals. The Virginians had grumbled for years
about the overly extragavant Governor's House in Williamsburg, and Spotswood's
own home in Germanna was nicknamed the 'Enchanted Castle'. They took great
delight in discovering that a potential heir to the throne was living in humbler
circumstances, making the self-righteous Governors seem stuffy by comparison. Frederick's house would eventually be nicknamed 'Little St. James', an epithet
given by his supporters, who believed that he would one day reside in the real St.
James' Palace in London as King of Great Britain and King of Ireland.
Frederick had other advantages. Though he had left Hanover at the age of seven,
and did not identify with the German homeland as his father and grandfather did,
German was nonetheless his birth tongue and he remained fluent in it. This was
remarked upon by the colonists in general, who jokingly referred to him as the
'Third Wave of Germanna' - a reference to the fact that, not far from
Fredericksburg, two groups of German religious refugees from the Rhineland and
Palatinate had been allowed to settle in 1714 and 1717. The Germans were
tolerated by the Virginians providing that they did not leave the boundaries of
Spotsylvania County, named after Spotswood who had masterminded their
settlement. But most English-speaking Virginians had little to do with their
neighbours to the north, often seeing them merely as a useful barrier between
them and the still-persistent Indian raids. Everyone remembered the massacre at
the frontier town of Henricus many years before.
Frederick changed all that. He was one of the few notables in Virginia who spoke
both English and German fluently, and though the Germanna settlers were mostly
poor peasants (even by Virginian standards), he had quietly resolved to do
anything he had to, to gain a shot at regaining his rightful place. So it was that it
was Frederick, and a growing circle of admirers that included many of Virginia's
notables, that began to break down the barriers between the Germanna and the
And he had no shortage of admirers. Many towns are named for royals, but few
can boast that said royals actually live there. Little St. James was always busy
with visitors, and Frederick's servants (mostly hired Germanna, eager to escape
their often wretched agrarian Spotsylvanian existence) were called upon to
produce many parties and banquets of state. For that was what they truly were.
Frederick was holding court, more like a king of old, and it is in this only,
perhaps, that Hanoverian taints of absolutist thinking crept in. Nonetheless, the
Prince was perfectly aware that his position was tenuous and he could not afford
to assume too many of his royal prerogatives. More by luck than judgement, he
had begun to win the hearts of the people of Virginia, both common and noble. It
opened a tiny window of hope that he could build a power base strong enough
that he would one day to return to England in his rightful position as Prince of
Wales, and then King.
Frederick's supporters thought that there was a better than even chance of him
achieving this aim - if Prince William died without issue, then the succession
would automatically revert to Frederick, for George II had no other male heirs and
was not expected to produce any. So it was that ingratiating oneself with a man
who was currently living humbly and wanting of favours, but might one day be
one of the most powerful and wealthy men in the world, seemed like a very attractive proposition.
Before Frederick's exile, a number of North American colonials had been
knighted and given titles by the Kings, but most of them immediately decamped
to England in order to exercise their new influence in the Court of St. James. The
Colonies lacked a native aristocracy, save perhaps Virginia with its old Company
holdovers and its Planters. Just as Orkney never visited Virginia, most Governors
treated their occupation as merely another title to go alongside their knighthoods
and marquessates and earldoms. Once more, Frederick changed that.
London was still the place where a North American title-holder could exert the
most influence and gather the most wealth, but many realised that they could gain
favour with Frederick for future rewards with far less effort than they could gain
favour with George for present ones. It was almost like a financial investment,
literally in some cases. Frederick was soon involved with Gooch, and with the
members of the House of Burgesses - including the by now venerable James Blair,
the clergyman who had founded Williamsburg's William and Mary College, the
second oldest university in the Americas. Frederick pledged, perhaps glibly at the
time, to patronise the College if he ever became King. It was considered a wonder
that the Prince could get on both with Blair and with the retired Spotswood
(through his work with the Germanna), as in the prime of their careers they had
been bitter political enemies.
Of course, Frederick did not lead a charmed life. He came close to losing
everything he had built up more than once. Perhaps his greatest problem was also
his greatest advantage: the fact that all but the titled Virginians were
unaccustomed to meeting royalty. After he had made a few moves that were
popular with the commoners, they began to see him as a paragon of kingly virtue,
an image that came very close to being shattered in 1732, when he had at last
began to feel that he was making a strong position for himself.
As well as mutual paternal dislike, Frederick inherited another of the
Hanoverians' infamous habits - womanising. He was not such a terrible offender
as his father, but nonetheless enjoyed a mistress or two. The problem was that the
Virginian commoners, unlike their English contemporaries, had never experienced
such royal depredations and, to put it mildly, did not recognise his Droit De
Things came to a head with a scandal in 1732 when Frederick was alle...
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