1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 07

1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 07

Mike was charmed by the idea. “Sure, let’s do it. D’you need me to leave one of the printing presses behind?”

Unlike every other general in the known world, Mike Stearns would no more undertake a campaign without his own printing presses than he would without guns and ammunition. In his considered opinion as a former labor organizer, one printing press was as valuable as two or three artillery batteries.

Bartley pursed his lips. “Probably a good idea, sir. I can afford to buy one easily enough. The problem is that I don’t know what’s available in the area, and we’re familiar with the ones the division brought along.”

“Done. Anything else you need?”

David and Jeff looked at each other. Then Jeff said: “Well, we need a name for the currency. We don’t want to call it script, of course.”

Mike scowled. “Company script” was pretty much a profane term among West Virginia coal miners.

“No, we sure as hell don’t,” he said forcefully. He scratched his chin for a few seconds, and then smiled.

“Let’s call it a ‘becky,'” he said. “Third Division beckies.”

Bartley looked dubious. “Gee, sir, I don’t know… Meaning no offense, but isn’t that pushing nepotism a bit far?”

Higgins laughed. “In the year sixteen thirty-five? For Christ’s sake, David, nepotism is the most favored middle name around. Most rulers in the here and now get their position by inheritance, remember?”

“Well, yeah, but…”

Mike’s grin faded a little. “Relax, Captain. The problem with nepotism is that it can lead to incompetence and it’s often tied to corruption. But neither of those issues are involved here. It’s just a name, that’s all.”

Bartley thought about it for a moment, and then seemed relieved. “Okay, I can see that.”

A moment later, he looked downright pleased. “And now that I think about it, naming the division’s unit of currency after your own wife is likely to boost confidence in it. The here and now being the way it is.”


The rest of the division resumed the march to Prague early the next morning. Jeff and his officers spent the rest of the day and most of the next three getting the regiment’s camp established.

That took some time and effort, because Jeff had decided to billet the regiment’s soldiers in or next to the Thun castle on the hill, instead of in the town itself. The castle was vacant since the owner had fled, and Jeff figured he could use the fact of the nobleman’s flight as proof positive that he’d been up to no good.

That wouldn’t stand up to any kind of serious legal scrutiny, of course. But it didn’t have to. All Jeff needed was a fig leaf to cover his sequestering of the castle for the immediate period. Whatever differences there might be between down-time courts and up-time courts, and between down-time legal principles and up-time legal principles, they shared one thing in common. The wheels of justice ground very, very slowly. By the time a court ruled that the Hangman Regiment’s seizure of Thun’s castle had been illegitimate, the war would be over and the regiment would be long gone anyway.

For that matter, Jeff might have died of old age. He knew of at least one lawsuit in Franconia that was still chugging along — using the term “chugging” very loosely — three-quarters of a century after it was first filed.

Setting up the castle as living quarters for more than a thousand soldiers was not a simple process, however. Fortunately, the kitchens were very large. But there wasn’t enough in the way of sleeping quarters and the less said about the castle’s toilet facilities the better.

But it wouldn’t have made a difference even if the castle had had the most up-to-date and modern plumbing. No edifice except one specifically designed for the purpose of housing large numbers of people will have enough toilets to maintain sanitation for an entire regiment. An oversized regiment, at that. So, proper latrines had to be constructed.

About half the men would have to sleep in their tents anyway. Jeff set up a weekly rotation schedule that would allow every soldier to spend some time in the castle’s quarters. Personally, he thought the tents were probably just as comfortable. Or no more uncomfortable, it might be better to say. True, winter was almost upon them. But spending a night in a freezing stone castle was not likely to be any more pleasant than spending it in a tent equipped with a portable stove.

However, he knew the men would be happier if they were all rotated through the castle’s living quarters. That would seem fair, regardless of whether it actually made any difference in practical terms.

He was tempted to billet some of the soldiers in the town itself. But that would just be asking for trouble. Civilians hated having soldiers billeted into their own homes. That was a given. The American colonists had hated it when the British did it. Really hated it — to the point of sharply limiting the practice in the Bill of Rights. It was the third amendment: No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Czech civilians wouldn’t be any happier in the here and now having mostly German soldiers foisted upon them. The animosities produced would undermine whatever chance there might be to get the new beckies accepted by the local populace. As it was, by keeping the soldiers out of the town’s homes, Jeff was generating quite a bit of good will. Billeting troops upon civilians was standard practice in the seventeenth century, and Tetschen’s inhabitants had been glumly expecting it.

Very glumly. Even on their best behavior, soldiers crammed into homes that were usually none-too-large to begin with caused difficulties for their “hosts.” And billeted troops usually weren’t on their best behavior, especially if the home contained anything valuable or had young women present.

When Tetschen’s populace learned they would avoid the fate this time, they were immensely relieved. Some of them even went so far as to buy a round of drinks for soldiers in one of the town’s taverns. Not often, of course.

All in all, in fact, Tetschen’s inhabitants were coming to the conclusion that this might turn out for the best. The taverns were doing a land office business, as was the town’s one small brothel — which soon began expanding its work force. And with a regiment apparently stationed permanently in the town, most of the other merchants were looking to increase their business also. Soldiers have needs as well as desires. Uniforms needed to be mended, food needed to be bought and cooked, equipment needed to be repaired — the list went on and on.

Tetschen was becoming quite a cheerful town, in fact.

Then the becky made its appearance.

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54 Responses to 1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 07

  1. JollyJose says:

    I can see it now…..

    “I’ll have these three apples, as well as that nice hat there”

    “Very well, your total comes to 4 Beckies and 57 Sophies”

  2. Ed says:

    Decimal system, right? 10 Becky’s make a Stearns, 10 Stearns make a Richter. In the smaller direction, you get Spinozas and Sephies. Got your economics, politics, philosophy, and revolutionary doctrine right there in the monetary system. Brilliant!

  3. robert says:

    Need some denominations named for departed heroes. And since this is a Czech town, there ought to be a Wallenstein and a Roth. Or an Al and a Morrie?

  4. Beckies are not too far a term from bucks either, a little psychological ploy to getting people to accept something because it’s familiar (if USE bucks are being used in town – or at least familiar).

  5. Terranovan says:

    @3: If it’s departed heroes we’re naming them after, then shouldn’t there be a “wild”, a “larry”, or maybe a “hans”?

  6. pouncer says:

    Shudda called ’em “Stearn-Bucks” and claimed they were backed by deposits of coffee beans in Grantville, where — truly –the commodity is highly prized and traded

  7. Blackmoore says:

    Dun Dun Dah….

    ah cripes.. now we really get to see what happens when a economy based on the gold standard meets a virtual currency. I really had not missed this detail, it was a suspension of reality accepting that the USE dollar would be accepted through Europe; and i was fine with that.

  8. Stephen says:


    It’s long been asserted by the Authors That Be that a major rationale for the acceptance of the USE dollar was the theological principle that Grantville was stamped “Special Delivery from God.”

  9. Todd Bloss says:

    I’ll say it again, the 3rd Division has no land no gold and no economy. Confidence and belief in something can only take monetary instruments so far, until everything falls apart. Beckie Bucks are a ponsi scheme of the worst sort.

  10. Todd Bloss says:

    @7 -the gold standard is precarious, at best, in a timeline where the exact location of every major gold mine discovered in the next 400 years can be looked up in a library.

  11. dave o says:

    ANNOUNCEMENT: The independent contractors at Madame Cunegonde’s Massage Parlor will not accept paper for their services. Real money only!

    #9 The 3rd Division will get their pay. Not necessarily soon, but eventually. That will take care of some of the Beckys.I don’t know about supplies. They may be expected to forage. But the USE is probably against foraging without at least the promise of payment. Even the Swedish conservatives realize that foraging wrecks discipline. If so, that takes care of the rest.

    #10 19th century gold strikes: California, Yukon, Australia. I don’t think that the gold standard has much to worry about just yet. Besides, I think the chief monetary metal in the 17th century is silver.

  12. Robert Krawitz says:

    Remember that “Becky” is otherwise “Rebecca Abrabanel”, and that’s a pretty trusted name in finance. They will be mighty upset with Mike if this currency isn’t managed well, with their name (not necessarily voluntarily) involved.

    Being backed by the CoC (in the name of Col. Higgins’s spouse) is probably also a plus. And I doubt very, very much that even Mike would like Spartacus and Gunther Achterhof unhappy with him.

  13. robert says:

    @10 Todd, by 1632 Spain was shipping gold by the shiploads from South and Central America to Spain. And it still had not lost its value as coinage. So, not precarious.
    @9 If the currency is traded on an Exchange it will be accepted. And it is backed by the full faith etc. of the 3rd Division, after all. (Kidding). Seriously, I see it as being akin to petrodollars where acceptance is the key. In fact, if there is a local currency, which I doubt, the beckies will be hoarded and the local currency will remain in circulation because the becky will have an exchange rate set, not necessarily by law, but by an exchange rate set by money traders, which is more realistic than if set by law. Gresham and all that.

  14. dave o says:

    There was also a gold strike in Brazil in the late 17th, early 18th century.

    #13 Most of what was shipped from the new world to Spain was silver, not gold. And listing on the exchange helps for large merchants, not retailers or peasants. Or independent contractors.

    In Germany, the common coinage was the (silver) thaler. In Sweden, the dalar, In Spain, the dollar.

  15. Doug Lampert says:

    @13, the California gold strikes depressed gold prices, world wide, by something like 50%. That’s AFTER there was an integrated world economy and ALL the gold Spain had taken from the new world was still in circulation. Then the Colorodo and other silver strikes around 1880 hit and silver fell by over a factor of 4 or more in a single generation. Colorodo’s probably out of reach right now, but… It’s coming.

    For that matter Spain experienced better than 1% inflation for over a hundred years due to the new world gold, that doesn’t sound like much till you compound it and realize that it drops the value of gold by a factor of 3 or more. You can find plenty of economists who’ll maintain that that inflation more or less destroyed the Spanish economy.

    Also, why would an exchange trader take Beckies? Seriously? What’s their value, they’re NOT backed by the government, AT BEST they’re backed by third division’s promise that if the government ever gets around to paying their FULL expenses and pay then third division will redeam them. Historically the government of Sweeden was bankrupt by this point in the 30 years war, and the USE hasn’t had any significant period of peace to build up reserves.

    There is a chance that the government will redeam the Beckies, but no matter what you call them they are military scrip, and the locals are FAMILIAR with the concept of worthless peices of paper given out by a military in exchange for goods. I wouldn’t take them without a very steep discount if I were a curency trader. Taking them is basically a bet that 20 years from now some government somewhere will get arround to buying your peice of paper. That’s a 20 year bet on a government which has changed names and organizations three times in the last three years! And if the USE government WANTED to budget fully for this or to put it’s full faith and credit behind these notes then the USE government would have sent 3rd division the actual USE paper currency to use.

    And why should the locals CARE if someone claims that curency traders 100 miles away consider these peices of paper worth something? “Yeah, right, so with 200 of these I can send to Magdelburg and get 50 of a DIFFERENT peice of paper backed by someone else’s promise that it’s actually worth something?”

  16. laclongquan says:

    I dont know why you guys think lots of bullion-backed money wont inflate the feck out of your economy. Spain? With their annual treasure fleet from New World their money was broken 3 time prior to 1633. Read 1632 and 1633 for details of that, I disctincly remember there’s such a page dealing with them.

    As for the new money, if the Abranels stand behind Stearn and Rebecca (the American faction) they could back these scripts. If Mike can reach an agreement with the clan about a favourable exchange rate it’s golden, for the new money. The weakest factor of its existence is that it doesnt have an existing economy to stand behind. With the fiscal power of Abranel that weakness vaporate about half.

  17. Steve W says:

    It’s money that’s issued by a unit of the army under the command of Mike Stearns “The Prince of Germany”, commanded by the husband of the symbol of the CoCs, and printed by the guy that’s one of the most successful businessmen in Grantville David Bartley. You’d need Jesus to materialize and promise the money to be good to get much more trust in it.

  18. Blackmoore says:

    History had already proved that Gold =/= wealth by 1632.

    The handwavium used to explain the acceptance of the USE/Grantville Dollar is fine. it’s a fiction, and part of that is showing that the downtimers are willing to accept new ideas about money and wealth. I’m fine with that – Eric even explains that certain nations don’t accept is officially (usually nations who believe that they should control the area). It is neither overplayed or used as a “solution of the week” for some other problem.

    in fact from my research anchoring your currency to some commodity always works out poorly for the nation involved — in the long run. It took us a long time to get to a virtual currency, there are a lot of people who have argued that the great depression lasted longer because we didnt shift away from the idea sooner. it took NIXON to get America off of the silver standard; and that allowed the central bank to have a greater flexibility with dealing with the economy.

    My groaning is that I would rather read about economic stories as part of the Gazzette, not in the middle of the novel.

  19. dave o says:

    #15 Europe was shipping gold and silver to the far east, especially India and what became Indonesia during the entire period, in return for spices tea and other products. There was an unfavorable balance of trade. Yes, Spanish gold and SILVER was still in circulation. But not all of it in Europe.

    AND, the first paper money was introduced in the 17th century, It was a success.

    As for Colorado silver, just how long do you think it will take to get miners out that far. And get the mine started. And transport the silver back. No transcontinental railroad. Comanches, Utes, Navahoes, Apaches might want to interfere. Hint: not this decade. Probably not next decade either. Knowing where it is only helps so much.

  20. Peter says:

    Raises an interesting question, though. What are the Spanish doing in California and Peru and Bolivia right now? They’ve had the opportunity to greatly increase their production simply by learning where the future gold strikes are located. Are they doing so? Is perhaps a round of vicious inflation of gold-backed currencies about to start, because the Spanish will unleash huge amounts of gold onto the European economy?

  21. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Peter, the Spanish apparently have all the gold/silver mines they ‘want/need’ without looking for more.

    However, while (IIRC) not published yet, California will be settled by exiled Japanese Christians not the Spanish. [Smile]

  22. Ed Schoenfeld says:

    The key backers of the Becky will be:

    1) Wallenstein, who will make it a semi-official paper currency for Bohemia

    2) David Bartley, who will open up a branch of OPM in Tetschen and accept Becky’s for investment at the Grantville exchange rate.

    3) Gretchen and the CoCs will adopt the Becky in lieu of the official USE cuurrency during the coming revolution.

    Yes, it will look like David is throwing his fortune away. But all will be redeemed when the good guys win.

  23. Matthew says:

    @18 The first paper money that entirely replaced coinage was issued in the 13th century. The Yuan dynasty in China kept it going for almost 100 years. It didn’t end terribly well, but that was more due to their own economic inexperience rather than any inherent problems with the idea. Even if the Becky was to be as poorly managed, that still means it would have a good run of over 30 years which is way more time than Mike Stearns needs. Seriously, everyone here should just type in paper money to wikipedia and give it a quick read.

    I think the big issue here is going to be downtimers who are not mindful of inflation and accept, promote and counterfeit the currency too readily. During the WW2, the Chinese government printed massive amounts of paper money because it was easy and they needed the cash. H.H. Kung, the Yale educated chief of finance was under the mistaken impression that China’s economy was so large and agricultural that hyperinflation wasn’t a risk. He was incredibly wrong. I think a lot downtimer “capitalists” (i.e. the petty noble/village merchant types) are going to have the same sort of views.

  24. Todd Bloss says:

    @20 Drak- Japanese Christians? Are you sure you’re not confusing RoF with System of the World?

  25. Todd Bloss says:

    I wasn’t even thinking of the new world when I made my post about gold mines of the future. South Africa is where you want to mine. -it even comes with a population of workers you can pay with pookha shells…

    Come to think of it, Russia could be as gold rich as Spain in a few years…

  26. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Nope, at this “time” in Japan there are Christians in Japan (products of Catholic missionaries).

    In the Original Time Line, the Shogun destroyes them (some were apparently in rebellion).

    Sometime after the ROF, the Japanese (who are in the process of shutting out ‘foreigners’) learns of their future history and have decided to prevent what happens to them.

    One of the actions being taken is that the Shogun exiles the Japanese Christians to the west coast of North America.

    It is a two level solution. First he gets rid of potential troublemakers that might be an excuse for countries like Spain getting involved in Japan’s affairs. Second, this colony could enrich the home islands.

  27. Robert H. Woodman says:

    @24 – Drak

    Is this going to be published in a book or in the Grantville Gazette?

    I’ve long thought it ironic that the atomic bombing of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, by a so-called “Christian nation”, killed most of the largest and most concentrated population of Christians in Japan at that time.

  28. Drak Bibliophile says:

    The last I heard there will be a collection of stories dealing with North America which will include the story (or stories) of the exile of the Japanese Christians.

  29. Summertime says:

    It is more and more likely that the history of the Americas will be vastly different in this time line. If Japan is to have a colony, there is nothing to prevent China, India, Korea, etc., from entering the West Coast, or Russia from taking and keeping Alaska. Spain will take, and keep, the Southwest. France seems to be in line to take over Eastern North America, unless the English straighten out their problems and contest France in the area. Likely the Native Americans will do more to organize a nation and get modern weapons to defend it. The United States, as we know it, will likely never exist in the original form. Even the intervention of Grantville and the USE would be hard put to turn back the historical forces being unleashed by those who read the history and geography texts brought back from the future, and head to the Americas in search of land and riches. Will we see Swedish New England {or make it New Sweden}, Ottoman Florida, African Gulf States, Irish Cuba, Danish Canada? Whoever gets to it, settles it, and holds it, rules it!

  30. Todd Bloss says:

    I can’t imagine a rual town like grantville not having any Native Americans. If there were any, they could head out to the new world, armed with smallpox vaccine and Chairman Mao’s little red book! -Now your talking about a MUCH different America than ours..

  31. Matthew says:


    I think that Eric Flint kind of wrote himself into a corner with the Americas. Any European reading a history book is going to see the relative fortunes of Latin America and the United States and try to replicate the latter. One of the first things that they’re going to do is copy the de facto settlement policy of US, the effective elimination of the entire native population. From a utilitarian perspective, the genocide of the Native Americans was critical part of opening up America to white exploitation. In Mexico, the Spanish policy of conversion has borne some fruit, but anyone can see that it didn’t lead to the formation of a powerful polity. Grantville itself, by its power and ethnic makeup, is a profound argument to provide a “clean slate” for European civilization. The Natives in this timeline are also going to be far more outclassed than historically. Their only source of modern weapons is going to be the European colonists themselves, and in this world, maxim guns are going to appear in 1640 something. The introduction of European diseases could become intentional instead of accidental.

    The goal of preventing pogroms of European Jews was laudable, but a few thousand Jews is nothing compared to the millions of Native Americans that are going to be evicted and massacred 200 years ahead of schedule. The “natural right” of Christians and “productive” peoples to take advantage and kill those who are not is the driving national idea of every nation in Europe and Grantsville with it’s 3,000 Americans has to stop it.

  32. laclongquan says:

    One point of the Spanish is that their power is severely limited at the moment:

    The Netherland suck in the armies under command of the Cardinal-Infante.

    A large portion of Spanish navy got heavily damaged during the battle of Dunkirk, and the surviving navy got under command of Cardinal-Infante.

    The major political quagmire in Papal States (1635 Cannon Law) and possibly the revolts in Italian states.

    They got no more breath to think of expand their New World’s holdings.

    The French, though currently being embroiled in civil war, is expanding like mad. Their companies are making full use of the treaties Richelieu signed with the English and Spanish.

  33. dave o says:

    I have no idea where the new world stories are going. But at least in eastern North America, the situation is wide open. I agree with #29, the Spanish are crippled by naval loses and continental problem. I disagree that the French have momentum. They may control Virginia and Canada, but it’s hard to see New England colonies going along. And the Dutch are in the Hudson Valley. The Netherlands is a much stronger power than up-time, and has the capacity to build a dominating navy, just as they did in the 17th century. They would be more attractive to New England (both have strong Calvinist connections, tolerated in the Netherlands, and not in France.) Up-time the Swedes are about to establish a colony on the Delaware. After the Saxon rebellion is over, Admiral Simpson is the man most capable of designing, building, and commanding a “modern” navy. The Swedish empire is on good terms with the Netherlands, and both see France as their most probable enemy. It’s important to remember that there are only a handful of Europeans anywhere in North America in the 1630s. The country or countries most interested in being dominate could easily swamp the everyone else.

  34. Willem Meijer says:

    One of the ways you can pump scrip (paper money) into an economy is by creating a way out for the stuff. Rhe US gouvernment dit this during the civli war: they printed greenbacks, and insisted that they were legal tender, but they also made it possible that most taxes could be paid in this paper money. Adding money (inflation) was counterbalanced by taking money out (deflation).

    In 17th and 18th century warfare it was common to place a territory (not your own) you were campaigning in under ‘contribution’. At least, that is how it was called in Dutch and French. It meant that local authorities (villages or towns) made formal agreements with the enemy army. By paying so much they had a guarantee that there would be no rape, pillage and foraging. The money needed was raised by using the existing system on say land or property tax. After the campaign the local authorities would use te ruinous cot of the occupation toe try to wrangle tax rebaits or exemptions from the offical authorities (that’s why you needed receipts and proper accounts of the whole system).

    By issuing scrip for local payments, placing the territory outside the direct boundaries of the town under contribution, and accepting your own scrip back would give some local value to he stuff.

  35. laclongquan says:

    The French navy take medium to little damage during the Baltic war. They just dont stand and take it like Dutch/Spanish or the Danes. The army is defeated but we are talking about the troops that was transported to New World prior to League of Ostend take shape. Read 1633.

    European politics is one thing, Colonial politic and power play is totally another.

  36. Todd Bloss says:

    @31-Well said Matthew.

  37. Joe Cozart says:

    Why is everyone going ape over whether or not the 3rd division should issue its own currency? This is FICTION. It’s for ENTERTAINMENT. Why suspend belief for the Ring of Fire itself, but then go all anal over a few of the details? These are fun books. Enjoy them.

  38. WCG says:

    Re. #18, I’d have to disagree with your last line. The economic stories are a main part of the reason I read this stuff. Another war? Ho, hum. It’s the economic, political, and social implications of modern Americans in the 1600s that makes this series fascinating. The warfare is necessary – certainly, conflict of some kind is necessary – but it would be boring by itself.

  39. Dreadnaught says:

    Unfortunately New England won’t have much to say about the French takeover. A total populaton of slightly over 10,000 in several colonies, with Massachussets already behaving in an insulting or openly threatening manner to Connecticut, New Hampshire, Plymouth and especially Rhode Island is not going to put up much of a fight.
    The Dutch in Nieu Amsterdam(later renamed) went down OTL without a fight a generation later and are much weaker in the 1630s.

    Matthew, one possibility might be a reformist government in Spain recognizing the need to have the Native Americans on their side. This might save the Seminoles in Florida, the Navajo and other nations in the Mexican Northwest;) and so forth.

  40. dave o says:

    #32 and #38 This snippit isn’t really the place to discuss future downtime navy strategy. But. The Dutch, meaning the United Provinces are now part of a much larger and more powerful state. They also have the world’s largest and most efficient ship-building capacity in the world, and did until the end of the century. G2A has the most modern and effective ships in the world. They are not designed for the open sea, but if they were risked in the North Sea, they could easily destroy any ships in French Atlantic ports, together with the ports themselves. Admiral Simpson has more knowledge and experience in constructing a navy than anyone else. Most of it’s the sort of knowledge which can’t be got from encyclopedias. If he can get permission, he can construct light cruisers, which will turn every 17th century warship in existance into a pile of splinters. If either the Netherlands or Sweden/league of Kalmar/USE wants to contest the French in America, the French lose.

    The New Englanders don’t have to fight off the French themselves. All they need to do is ally with the Netherlanders. Or the Swedes. Faced with being ruled by Catholic France, it’s not hard to guess which way they’ll

  41. ET1swaw says:

    @34 Don’t forget, 3rd Army is in the friendly territory of an ally (Bohemia/Wallenstein)-not enemy territory (PLC)-not even recently disputed territory (Saxony/Brandenburg). Rape/plunder or even the threat would be worse than if they did it in a USE province like SOTF. Under contribution requires implicit threat. IMO that can’t be allowed and the politician in Mike will prevent it at all costs. He’s leaving his ‘enforcer of values’ regiment as garrison and keeping the rest directly under his thumb. He wants no repeat or even echo of what happened in PLC while in allied territory.

  42. robert says:

    @28 etc. If what you all are saying is that, in Stearn’s effort to change the course of European history, he (unintentionally?) allows one of the great evils of European society, colonialism, to flourish in the Americas (where it already has Spanish and English roots), destroying whole populations and creating excuses for more conflict, then we have a hero with feet of clay.

    Sorry about that sentence…

  43. robert says:

    @39 Simpson doesn’t even have to build ironclads. The warships of the late 18th and early 19th centuries could easily outsail, outgun and defeat any early 17th century wartubs.

  44. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Robert, you were getting into Modern Politics (IMO) with that colonialism comment *but* how do you expect Stearn (or any of the uptimers) from stopping colonialism?

    None of the uptime characters are Superman. There is no way that they could stop Europeans (or non-Europeans like the Japanese) from colonizing North America or Africa.

    Stearns is going to have enough problems with stopping the slave trade without saying “you can’t colonize North America”.

    One of the biggest problems I’ve seen on the 1632Tech conference on Baen’s Bar is the idea that the uptimers are “supermen” who’s opinions and ideas will be accepted Just because they are uptime ideas.

    Mike Stearns can’t just “wave a magic wand” and make people do as he wants them to do.

    Now things are going to be attempted in North America that *might* change what happened to the American Indians but I’m getting into “Snerk Territory” (which I know I’ve somewhat done earlier).

    Thing to remember, the American Indians were not culturally or socially able to resist Europeans or other cultures that are more socially/culturally advanced.

    This is not a matter of technology or disease.

    Unless the North American Indians change, they are doomed no matter what the uptimers would want.

  45. Matthew says:

    @42 I’ve been wracking my brain for a non moral argument for keeping the native Americans around and I haven’t found one. The natives aren’t as productive as African slaves, they don’t produce anything that the Europeans want, and there is no way they’re ever going to catch up with the European tech advantage. In every foreseeable conflict, they will lose, and the Europeans know it. It’s like a ratchet, (can go in one direction but not the other) the natives will coexist with the Europeans until they come into conflict, at which point they get exterminated or evicted. In our timeline, the ratchet was slow and the natives were capable of halting it from time to time. In this timeline, the European land grab is starting early and kicking into high gear within the 17th century. The natives are going to be kicked out of every bit of good land in America as settlers follow the uptime maps.

    And why shouldn’t they kill all the natives? It’s a crime against humanity, but what’s the utilitarian argument for keeping them alive? When colonial governor Random dude gets complaints about white settlers squatting on Indian land, why should he kick them out? The natives don’t pay taxes, their trade goods are limited, and they’re heathens, so why should the colonial governor care when a band of white settlers clear the area around their town with machine guns? The European authorities are the only ones who can protect the natives from being colonized to death by European settlers. There are monetary, political and religious incentives for the Europeans to take anything they want, and all they are opposed by is a moral incentive not to.

    Mike Stearns has already showed a willingness to stop future atrocities, but the whole 1632 universe seems strangely silent about what to do to save the natives and stop the tide of colonialism generally. “It’s wrong to kill people!” isn’t a strong argument downtime. How can Mike Stearns convince the Europeans that it’s a bad idea, when they point out that the USA killed most of their natives, stole their land, gave it to Europeans, and became the richest and most powerful nation on the planet?

    I’m really curious to see if anyone can think of a good reason to protect the natives that a French governor would listen to.

  46. robert says:

    @44 Drak, colonialism is not a 19th and 20th century phenomenon. It has its roots in the days of the great Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch and English explorers, which were completed by the time of the RoF. Spain’s conquistadors were not men of the 17th century, but of the 16th century. England began its annexation of India in the 18th, not the 19th century.

    But you are correct in that Stearns cannot hold back the colonial impulses of the nations of this period. It was, as Jeff said about their new house, a matter of keeping up with the Jonses…my colony is bigger than yours, etc.

  47. Stanley Leghorn says:

    Been a while since I was here. Seems the Americas are still on hold at the moment. Something should have come back from the rump of the Dutch fleet that got away by now. Tho, they may not accept the change of government they would have found when they returned. Also possible that the King of the Netherlands might have sent forces to rescue “his” colony on Long Island.

    As to the “beckies”, I think it will be Wallenstien who will decide if they work or not in his country.

  48. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Matthew, it is more complex than just convincing the colonists to not kill the Indians.

    You’re the Governor of a Colony and you thought you had a treaty with the local Indian Chief.

    However, memebers of that tribe are raiding your colony.

    You talk to the Chief you had a treaty with and he tells you that his people aren’t raiding you.

    The problem is that while the raiders are members of the same tribe of the Chief, he isn’t *their* Chief.

    They are ‘followers’ of another Chief of that tribe and “your” Chief can’t tell that other Chief what to do.

    Matthew, none of the various Indian tribes were nations as Europeans of that time would see nations.

    There were no individual or group of individuals in the tribe who could speak for the tribe and enforce any argeements Europeans might make with the tribe.

    So often Europeans saw the “savages” breaking any argeements that they had made with the “savages”.

    No Europeans weren’t always in the right but by European standards neither were the Indians in the right.

    How can European colonialists have peace with groups that can’t keep the peace from being threaten by members of their own groups?

  49. KimS says:

    There are the Five Nations but little else. The Cherokee are not the peoples they’ll become in another 200 years. Any industrial/agricultural society will limit/destroy a hunter/gatherer society just by their proximity. A smallpox epidemic is most likely. Then rubella and rubeola (measles and German measles). Coxpox might be an effective vaccine but getting the native Americans to accept it is another thing. Send Herr Professor Doctor Gribblefloss to rescue them.

  50. Todd Bloss says:

    Maybe the colonists could set aside certain areas, just for Native American use. Like a National Park, only reserved just for Native Americans……oh. Nevemind.

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