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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

stnylan

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I do not think that our good Cardinal properly appreciates the blessings of boredom.
 

El Pip

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All we know is he's popular with the people, and the cardinals who meet him. Eminently practical, economically sound and has a long term plan for the future of the papal states.

Almost certainly not going to be elected pope, sadly. However, should certainly be the one running the show day to day.
I wouldn't be so sure. I am getting a "Bishop's Gambit" vibe from the Papal States these days. I imagine there are many "modernists" (atheists) and "theologians" (agnostics) around the Vatican, certainly it is clear that power over Italy is an inseparable part of the catechism while God is an optional extra at best. Once everyone accepts that you are looking for a national leader not a religious figure, even if there is a need to pretend otherwise at times, Libero starts looking more plausible.

I'd agree with @DensleyBlair that the Pope wouldn't get involved in the dirty details of the work that needs doing, but he has to set the direction and provide support against the doubtless considerable opposition to change. A Secretary of State is only as powerful as the support they have from the Pope and I'm sure Libero and his supporters know that well, if they want anything to really change they need the top job.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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I do not think that our good Cardinal properly appreciates the blessings of boredom.

Catholicism when the good times were on and boring wasn't a pretty thing. Much better for everyone else that they have to struggle, at least a bit.

I wouldn't be so sure. I am getting a "Bishop's Gambit" vibe from the Papal States these days. I imagine there are many "modernists" (atheists) and "theologians" (agnostics) around the Vatican, certainly it is clear that power over Italy is an inseparable part of the catechism while God is an optional extra at best. Once everyone accepts that you are looking for a national leader not a religious figure, even if there is a need to pretend otherwise at times, Libero starts looking more plausible.

I'd agree with @DensleyBlair that the Pope wouldn't get involved in the dirty details of the work that needs doing, but he has to set the direction and provide support against the doubtless considerable opposition to change. A Secretary of State is only as powerful as the support they have from the Pope and I'm sure Libero and his supporters know that well, if they want anything to really change they need the top job.

Hmm. Perhaps we can turn to a power greater than ourselves...constitutional law.

As you all know, the power of the papacy is split between to absolute authorities. The King of the Vatican, and the Pope of the Catholic Church. They have always been the same person, bound by the Holy See...but...what if we were to make it so one was head of state (absolute power over religion and final final say over everything else) and one was head of goverment (a slightly lesser king or Prince Bishop that ran day to day affairs).

It would require close cooperation, and invite lots of trouble, but it would mean you can elect an absolute monarch whos great and religion and wider appeal to the church as a whole, plus another one for actually getting Italy and keeping it.

Just an idle thought but...interesting?
 

BigBadBob

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That I haven't commented to praise this work before now is a sin; as my first act of penitence, I can inform you that you have won WritAAR of the Week!
 

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Cangiano is quite the piece of work. Opposes war only so long as it doesn't have any material benefit for him, then hopes to incite some liberal insurrection to give himself something to do. Brother cardinal indeed. What might Innocent possibly have in store for him back in Rome?
I cannot begin to imagine how much smugness is being generated by the world's protestants at this point, but it must be truly immense. It's not quite every allegation ever made about the Catholic Church being proved true, but it is close.


He's amoral, will abandon his principles if his boss asks and doesn't give a stuff about God, his flock or anyone not Italian. So I imagine Innocent wants to give him a medal of some kind and a promotion. Those are the core qualities the pope is looking for in his senior churchmen.
My money is on Secretary of State.

Cangiano's misfortune is that he didn't come to the scarlet a few years before. He is fully the exponent of the old Italian nobility who just needs somewhere to park their non-inheriting sons. As for advancement...you'll have to wait for his next assignment.

With the Papacy returning to the political stage, the protestants are sure to bring back all the old material about nailing stuff to churches and canceling Christmas. They'll have their turn, I hear there's an ecumenical council coming up this century...

And yet, the mysterious and enticing libero emerges yet again. Is this our next pope? A problem for the establishment? Merely a very useful and popular lackey?

With Venice seemingly tamed, despite the apparently horrendous cost she to get it from the Papal States, things seem to be going well. Of course, having a great power with claims to Italian is nothing new...but having one that is Italian is a bit problematic. Austria and France's can be handled with clever diplomacy and simple real politik (as long as liberal nationalism is a thing, neither of them are holding any Italian population centres for very long). Sardinia on the other hand is a massive threat, and one that has natural allies with anyone who hates or has disdain for chatolicsm, the papacy, or even this current regime (bascially...everyone).
Going back I do wonder if Libero may prove to be a sort of intensely worldly Leo XIII, who recognises that there is a lot of dirty work to be done to drag the mechanisms of the Church into the modern world. But that doesn't entirely seem like the sort of thing a Pope necessarily need deal with, as opposed to an exceptional functionary. Maybe he's our secretary of state.
All we know is he's popular with the people, and the cardinals who meet him. Eminently practical, economically sound and has a long term plan for the future of the papal states.

Almost certainly not going to be elected pope, sadly. However, should certainly be the one running the show day to day.

Our darling Cardinal Cappellini will be around in a couple of weeks to tell his side of the story. He is quite prominent at the moment and has been doing A LOT of work in the meantime but he hasn't had much of a chance to shine in past years. Only time will tell who will grace the throne of Saint Peter.

In the meantime, Sardinia and the Papal States will have their hands full jockeying for French support while Napoleon plays kingmaker or possibly stalematemaker. In any case, Sardinia as a great power has an excellent opportunity to absorb those in its sphere.

I do not think that our good Cardinal properly appreciates the blessings of boredom.

A grave sin of his indeed. In fact, there are a couple of cardinals in the next chapters that would much rather switch places with them. But alas, happiness is elusive to those who seek it.

I wouldn't be so sure. I am getting a "Bishop's Gambit" vibe from the Papal States these days. I imagine there are many "modernists" (atheists) and "theologians" (agnostics) around the Vatican, certainly it is clear that power over Italy is an inseparable part of the catechism while God is an optional extra at best. Once everyone accepts that you are looking for a national leader not a religious figure, even if there is a need to pretend otherwise at times, Libero starts looking more plausible.

I'd agree with @DensleyBlair that the Pope wouldn't get involved in the dirty details of the work that needs doing, but he has to set the direction and provide support against the doubtless considerable opposition to change. A Secretary of State is only as powerful as the support they have from the Pope and I'm sure Libero and his supporters know that well, if they want anything to really change they need the top job.
Catholicism when the good times were on and boring wasn't a pretty thing. Much better for everyone else that they have to struggle, at least a bit.



Hmm. Perhaps we can turn to a power greater than ourselves...constitutional law.

As you all know, the power of the papacy is split between to absolute authorities. The King of the Vatican, and the Pope of the Catholic Church. They have always been the same person, bound by the Holy See...but...what if we were to make it so one was head of state (absolute power over religion and final final say over everything else) and one was head of goverment (a slightly lesser king or Prince Bishop that ran day to day affairs).

It would require close cooperation, and invite lots of trouble, but it would mean you can elect an absolute monarch whos great and religion and wider appeal to the church as a whole, plus another one for actually getting Italy and keeping it.

Just an idle thought but...interesting?

You've both hit the nail on the head. Though it isn't really obvious now, there is going to be an increasing push to delineate the roles of Pope and King especially if other Italian states are to be compelled into joining some sort of union (whatever form that might take).
The main problem there is making sure that the two heads agree with each other and don't devolve into a spiral of mutual denouncement.
But the century is long and there is plenty of time to solve the issues. And twenty years is basically forever away, right? Right?

That I haven't commented to praise this work before now is a sin; as my first act of penitence, I can inform you that you have won WritAAR of the Week!

Thank you so much!! I really appreciate the nomination, especially from someone as august as yourself! I hereby decree this a sufficient indulgence, enjoy your get-out-of-purgatory-free card
 

generalis Julius Caesar

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This is amazing so far. As both a vicky 2 fan and a staunch atheist I think this is hilarious.
 

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This is amazing so far. As both a vicky 2 fan and a staunch atheist I think this is hilarious.
Thank you very much! I hope you shall enjoy the next parts just as much!

Also, thank you everyone for the recent nominations and for being patient this week. Alas work is a thing and I needed to postpone the new chapter but it's out now!
 
Chapter XVI: The Ulcer Bleeds

slothinator

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From the personal diaries of Cardinal Amato Aloisi

GxxdMBEl.jpg

Saturday 25th of October 1851

I am glad to finally have the chance to view Corinth as a city and not so much as a fortress to capture. The wounds from my last visit have healed almost entirely and an air of normality has returned to the area. I was not too aggravated by my trip here, but it is nice to finally settle down somewhere after the recent years of near-constant travel. The governor's mansion is not as extravagant as certain villas back in Rome, but I am sure that it will begin to feel like home soon enough.

The first thing I will have to attend to is the reason I was primarily sent here. Innocent is worried about some Greek resistance against our occupation and wants me to ensure that there is as little friction as possible between the locals and our new immigrants. I have been told that a certain professor of history in Kalamata, I believe his name is Grigorios Kanelotis, has called on his students and fellow citizens to resist our rule and refuse to work. Clearly, this cannot continue to be, but I don't want to make an example of this man. Martyrs are always dangerous, and I would prefer my hands to be free of blood. I have decided to pass an ordinance that will force all native teachers to have a Papal observer be present at each lesson with the authority to interrupt it in case of seditious behaviors. This is definitely not a permanent solution, but it will work to patch up relations until I can foster enough goodwill with the locals.

I think this was enough work, to begin with. I want to take advantage of the good weather before winter sets in. Annibale and I will go for a walk and I am excited to find out more about the countryside here.

Thursday 23rd of December 1852

I was hoping to be able to celebrate the Nativity without troubles, but I am afraid that my wish will not be granted. That same Kanelotis who caused a ruckus last year has now returned to his dissident ways. He claims that it is an insult to the Greek people that Italians are placed in front of any Greeks for admission to higher learning. What he does not consider is that the Italian immigrants consistently achieve better results in these admission tests. Kanelotis has responded that this is only because the tests are executed in Italian or French, which the locals do not speak. But this is the common way in all of Europe, education is done in the government's language or in French for any foreigners. It is not our fault if they do not learn the proper idioms.

Despite this, my assignment is to facilitate the transition into Roman administration, and I think that a refusal to listen to these requests would aggravate our new subjects beyond what is necessary. I suppose that we could expand the number of available places in the colleges so that the Greeks might have a possibility to enter the administration. One hopes that, once they are properly educated, they will come to accept that they are in a much better situation than under their Bavarian king.

I begin to tire of the Peloponnese, these people never seem to be content with what they are given. Innocent did not give me a clear end for my task, but I trust that these new measures will make the natives more compliant in the future.

Monday 7th of July 1855

An interesting book has been published today. It displays a great knowledge of the subject matter and is impeccably written. Unfortunately, it treats the history of Greece, starting at the outbreak of the Trojan War. The work seemed interesting to me and I had the censors send me a copy so I could make up my opinion on it. The material relative to antiquity is truly astounding but the voice becomes problematic once the Ottoman dominion is considered. Here the author goes into a tirade against the foreign tyranny imposed upon the Greeks and continues with praise for the war of independence as the logical culmination of Greek culture. The narration then cuts off in 1836 and makes no mention of the war with the Papal States and the current incorporation of the Peloponnese. Despite all of these flaws, I was ready to approve this publication, with the obvious mitigation of rebellious undertones, but I had the foresight to look into the author and who should it be if not Professor Grigorios Kanelotis. I am irritated that the censorship board did not report this in the first place but that will be a conversation for another time. The revelation pushed me into an unpleasant corner since I cannot stop the publication of the book outright lest I sabotage the integration process but, if I just release it, every dissident will want to see what this figurehead is saying and add fuel to the fire that I am trying to stamp out. Thankfully, some of the elder censors recommended that we release the abridged version but make it so expensive that the middle class, who so rocked Europe a few years ago, will not be able to get their hands on it.

Today was the first day of publication and it seems that our plan worked and very few sales were registered. I dearly hope that Kanelotis will take this as a sign that it is finally time for him to accept reality and stop clinging to long-dead fantasies.

Wednesday 5th of October 1859

I have decided to resign from my position and live out my retirement in Rome. I have sinned too much in my tenure and I only wish to return home and ask for forgiveness in my waning days. That damned Kanelotis drove me to this and I suppose this means that he has won. I thought I had been conciliatory enough and given the locals the space they needed to accept rule from Rome, but I have been proven wrong again and again. Kanelotis' attacks became more and more inflammatory and he had set himself at the head of a large movement of people whose sole aim is independence. I held out hope when Pope Innocent agreed to grant citizenship to children born in Greece where at least one parent is already a citizen, but this only served as a temporary respite.

This last Sunday, the professor held his largest and most seditious rally yet. He claimed that I was purposefully oppressing the Greek people and it was time for the Great Powers of Europe to return the Peloponnese to Greece thereby erasing all of my efforts. This speech went too far, and I was forced to order his arrest and conviction of rebellion against the state. The sentence was carried out this morning in the main square of the city where the executioner had to be protected by a large force of gendarmes before the blade fell.

Riots have followed and Annibale now clings to me like a scared puppy even though I am just as old and frail as he. So, I decided. I cannot live like this and I must retire, no longer a cardinal but simply an old man.

I wish my successor well.




Author’s note:

Cardinal Aloisi publicly retired in January of 1860 and died peacefully two years later without much being made of the news by his contemporaries.

He gained the scarlet at the very late age of seventy and is seen by most as an attempt by Urban IX to have a convenient short-lived scapegoat for the Greek War. Until now, rumors of his chances in the conclave of 1851 had been discounted as false but can be understood as the desire of more reactionary cardinals to have a transitional pope to fill the curia with a true conservative papabile.

As can be imagined, his name is mostly known and reviled in the Peloponnese where he is both seen as a symbol of colonial oppression and stands on equal footing with Urban as the divider of Greece. This perception is often judged to be too harsh by scholars as, despite his crimes, all evidence points to Aloisi being a man thrust into a position he did not desire and was not qualified for rather than Urban’s secret double.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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The governor's mansion is not as extravagant as certain villas back in Rome,

What a repulsive twat.

I have been told that a certain professor of history in Kalamata, I believe his name is Grigorios Kanelotis, has called on his students and fellow citizens to resist our rule and refuse to work.

Huh. Now this hits home for me. Reminds me of a dear friend and my first AAR character. Hope nothing horrible happens to him.

Martyrs are always dangerous, and I would prefer my hands to be free of blood.

You call yourself a Catholic? Go medieval or go home!

I have decided to pass an ordinance that will force all native teachers to have a Papal observer be present at each lesson with the authority to interrupt it in case of seditious behaviors.

A strange blend of nazi and stalinist solutions there. Much better.

Despite all of these flaws, I was ready to approve this publication, with the obvious mitigation of rebellious undertones, but I had the foresight to look into the author and who should it be if not Professor Grigorios Kanelotis. I

Ah, a cheeky old scamp!

He claimed that I was purposefully oppressing the Greek people

Which we are. And then you cut his head off, which rather proves the point. So...Well done?

Excellent update, as ever.
 
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stnylan

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He lasted for what, 8 years - that's not bad going actually for effectively a provincial governor.

And he had the sense to retire.
 

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Martyrs are always dangerous
You call yourself a Catholic? Go medieval or go home!

I was going to pick up on this also. Bit rich coming from a Catholic…

Good riddance to Cardinal Aloisi. As much as one may write it off as 'provincial governor carrying out orders from home', he certainly seems to have enjoyed putting the boot in. May the Greeks avenge the memory of dear old Professor Kanelotis!
 

TheButterflyComposer

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I was going to pick up on this also. Bit rich coming from a Catholic…

Good riddance to Cardinal Aloisi. As much as one may write it off as 'provincial governor carrying out orders from home', he certainly seems to have enjoyed putting the boot in. May the Greeks avenge the memory of dear old Professor Kanelotis!

Considering Catholic history, whilst they would indeed be wary of martyrs (since their own faith has a ton, and they did propaganda the shit out of them afterwards), they also know how to deal with the BAD KIND of potential martyr easily enough. Kill em, just don't be dramatic about it so they have a chance to give a speech or perform a miracle or some shit.
 

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There is nothing I can add to the above, Cardinal Aloisi was indeed "a repulsive twat" and it is a tragedy he died peacefully at home and not in prison. I was going to say he wasn't even a 'good' Catholic, but at this point if you are a Cardinal it is kind of implied you are at least slightly evil if only by neglect and supporting the regime.

they also know how to deal with the BAD KIND of potential martyr easily enough. Kill em, just don't be dramatic about it so they have a chance to give a speech or perform a miracle or some shit.
Of course the Catholic Church also knows that a miracle doesn't have to actually physically happen in order for a 'miraculous event' to occur. Look at St Denis for a comparable head-removal-martydrom.
 
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generalis Julius Caesar

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Very good. The unrest is ... concerning to say the lest.
 

The Number 9

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So the Greeks want independance. It could become a real problem for Rome and I'm not sure Aloisi was the perfect man to deal with it.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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There is nothing I can add to the above, Cardinal Aloisi was indeed "a repulsive twat"

Terrible person, terrible at his job, and uninteresting to history. All round unpleasant.

I was going to say he wasn't even a 'good' Catholic, but at this point if you are a Cardinal it is kind of implied you are at least slightly evil if only by neglect and supporting the reg

Roman Catholic always ran a strange line between being 'good' religiously and being good at obeying the current pope.

Either way, he wasn't that great...

Of course the Catholic Church also knows that a miracle doesn't have to actually physically happen in order for a 'miraculous event' to occur. Look at St Denis for a comparable head-removal-martydrom.

Or the many, many, many attempts of Amsterdam to get a Saint to do something miraculous in their city.
 

slothinator

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What a repulsive twat.



Huh. Now this hits home for me. Reminds me of a dear friend and my first AAR character. Hope nothing horrible happens to him.



You call yourself a Catholic? Go medieval or go home!



A strange blend of nazi and stalinist solutions there. Much better.



Ah, a cheeky old scamp!



Which we are. And then you cut his head off, which rather proves the point. So...Well done?

Excellent update, as ever.

The whole mission was mostly a lesson in doing your best to keep up the form while all substance collapses within.

He lasted for what, 8 years - that's not bad going actually for effectively a provincial governor.

And he had the sense to retire.

Everyone else was busy in other places with other duties so who best to oversee a troublesome region? Most other people probably but we had to make do with what was left.

I was going to pick up on this also. Bit rich coming from a Catholic…

Good riddance to Cardinal Aloisi. As much as one may write it off as 'provincial governor carrying out orders from home', he certainly seems to have enjoyed putting the boot in. May the Greeks avenge the memory of dear old Professor Kanelotis!

Following orders is always more fun when other people play along but the Peloponnese has absolutely no intention of going down quietly.
Professor Kanelotis will come back(?) in some way in the future but that's one pope from now so there is much to look forward to.

Considering Catholic history, whilst they would indeed be wary of martyrs (since their own faith has a ton, and they did propaganda the shit out of them afterwards), they also know how to deal with the BAD KIND of potential martyr easily enough. Kill em, just don't be dramatic about it so they have a chance to give a speech or perform a miracle or some shit.
There is nothing I can add to the above, Cardinal Aloisi was indeed "a repulsive twat" and it is a tragedy he died peacefully at home and not in prison. I was going to say he wasn't even a 'good' Catholic, but at this point if you are a Cardinal it is kind of implied you are at least slightly evil if only by neglect and supporting the regime.

Of course the Catholic Church also knows that a miracle doesn't have to actually physically happen in order for a 'miraculous event' to occur. Look at St Denis for a comparable head-removal-martydrom.

There are still some good Catholics around but that often conflicts with being a power-hungry petit noble as most of the characters here are. The matter of what counts as a good Catholic will also come up soon...
St. Denis' miracle is a thing of particular beauty, it's a shame the French didn't keep the power or the French Revolution would have been a lot more fun.

Very good. The unrest is ... concerning to say the lest.
So the Greeks want independance. It could become a real problem for Rome and I'm not sure Aloisi was the perfect man to deal with it.

The problem should have been dealt with effectively the first time but this precedent will allow the situation to get worse and worse and so much worse.

Terrible person, terrible at his job, and uninteresting to history. All round unpleasant.



Roman Catholic always ran a strange line between being 'good' religiously and being good at obeying the current pope.

Either way, he wasn't that great...



Or the many, many, many attempts of Amsterdam to get a Saint to do something miraculous in their city.

Yes, Aloisi is a prime example against the great man model of history and more in favor of the bumbling nincompoop model which explains so many more things.
 
Chapter XVII: Forgive Us Our Debts as We Forgive Our Debtors

slothinator

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From the personal diaries of Cardinal Libero Cappellini

OU7KrI7l.jpg

Saturday 3rd December 1853

Today was the worst day yet. The State had been hovering above debt for a few weeks but this morning the accounts turned red. To avoid complete bankruptcy, I have made a request to the French National Bank for a loan of over 600.000 scudi. This is barely enough money to keep us afloat for a few weeks so I will need to cut down on all non-essential government spending even if it means that the educational and military supplies be halved. In the last months, I was forced to increase tariffs to exorbitant levels, and even now I receive reports of artisans having to sell their shops and taking to begging in the streets for want of raw materials. The churches give out alms but every mouth fed brings us ten more that cry out for bread. We have no industries to employ these people so we are forced to watch them suffer. The small arms factory I built last year in Rome has done hardly anything to curb this wave and requires state support to keep employing the couple thousand souls that make a living there. I don't see any way out of this but I have to find one or at the very least find someone who can do the job better than I.

Saturday 1st of September 1855

My first ever trip to Paris seems to have been a success! We have finally managed to form a Latin Monetary Union where coins from Belgium, France, Sardinia-Piedmont, and the Papal States will be able to be freely exchanged for one another. Emperor Napoleon himself attended the preliminary meetings to discuss the details of such a system with myself and the other foreign ambassadors. It seems that this ill-timed war has brought our nations together as allies and our common goals require a strong interconnection to ensure our respective economies stay strong. This is a blessed relief for us as it will certainly increase the tax revenue while ensuring that we can keep the Austrians at bay and stop them from devastating the home provinces. I wrote as much Pope Innocent back in Rome and he assured me that this conflict will be the salvation of Italy by giving her back to the Italians. I still remain skeptical that the Papal States will be able to hold their own against the better-developed regions of Europe but that is certainly no reason to stop trying.

This fear is what prompted me to modernize the state's monetary policy by getting rid of all the scudi,testoni,papetti, and quattrini and introducing the new dramme which, under the current accord, should be equivalent to francs and lire and be divided into one hundred grani. It took me a while to come up with a name I thought appropriate since so many of the good ones are already taken but, in the end, I landed on units of measurement. I doubted this naming at first but I've grown to appreciate how the word shows how much silver is in the coin and gives a gentle nod to our forcible fellows in Greece.

The conference here in Paris started from solid bases since I had exchanged envoys and letters with the other finance ministers leaving only the exact value of the sister currencies had to be determined and, with some rather untactful prodding by Emperor Napoleon, was set to the franc's value of four and a half grams of silver.

Despite the best intentions being professed, I did often feel that this friendly conference could be seen as an opportunity for France to choose its favorite Italian state. Upon multiple occasions, the conversation shifted to the economic capabilities and political ambitions of Sardinia-Piedmont and the Papal States where I mostly answered truthfully only omitting certain details to hide some of the more problematic situations. I first thought of exaggerating our capabilities but then I am unsure if France is looking for a strong ally to dominate the region or a malleable buffer to keep their hold on it. If Austria will be pushed out of the picture, then Italy is going to be divided between France's allies and the apathetic Two Sicilies. I must hope that Napoleon's ego will lead him to support Pope Innocent over the potentially dangerous Victor Emmanuel if the future of our Church is to be solid.

All in all, it has been a fruitful period but I am exhausted and glad it's over. Now the sun has set and I fear that my fatigued mind won't be able to continue with words worth the candle so enough writing for today. I return to Rome soon and, God willing, my travels will be speedy.

Sunday 10th of August 1856

I'm quite happy that this Greek trip has not been in vain. I feared that the locals might not take well to their occupiers trying to change their way of life but I was pleasantly surprised. I thought it would be best to start off in Nafplion where there is a sizeable Italian community of a few thousand and I repeated my approach from my winter in Rome. I organized a large public banquet in the main square and invited anyone to attend on the condition that they refrain from public rowdiness. I told those present, most of which were peasants (in contrast to the bankrupt Roman artisans), that a new world is coming. One where their earnings don't have to depend on the fickle whims of a good or bad crop but where the salary is provided regularly and without delay. I went on to describe the technical marvels that have been achieved and how each of them could contribute to making their community, and society as a whole, a richer and more prosperous place. I ended the speech by pointing out the local factory owners sitting next to me and promising that the production of glass would surely tie the Greek and Italian peoples into a tighter bond of friendship.

I quickly regretted talking about tightness of bond but it seems that the quality of the refreshments provided and the length of the speech might have smoothed over any rough edges and thoughts about colonization.

In the last days, I set to work in widely publicizing the new free schools that would teach any wannabe worker the basics of producing glass. The attendance started off as slightly disappointing with only a few Italian immigrants present, most with relatives in the factories of Rome. However, this trickle soon swelled to a stream when word got out that those trained immediately received jobs in the small factory and had it grow from a minor thirty-worker venture into an enterprise with several hundred employees. The fraction of Greeks present is still smaller than one fifth but the fact that any were there is still remarkable.

For the first time in a long while, I have hope that this crisis might soon be over and our beloved country will be back to normal. It's either that or the excellent weather I've found so far. I just might decide to take the scenic route back home.

Thursday 28th of January 1858

Meetings, meetings, and more meetings. I had barely stepped off the boat to Venice when I was assaulted by all manner of dignitaries and prominent businessmen welcoming me, making requests, and inviting me to formal or informal events. I must admit that, in my first few days, I got lost in the whirlwind of parties and salons where conversation spaced from the possibilities of a united Italy to Sir Richard Owen's terrible lizards to the merits of the gardenesque style of planting. It is a blessed change from the rural nobility of the Peloponnese and the tight-laced Roman aristocracy where discussion was limited to practical matters or those of unbearable sophistry. I have also made the acquaintance of Cardinal Cangiano who has been sent by Innocent to organize the new provinces. He is still a member of the old school and has a rather limited mindset but I have noticed that he has become more amenable to my views with each passing occasion we have to meet. I hope that these occasions shall increase so that I might be able to make a friend of him and set him on the path of the modern developments of the Church.

Despite the abundance of social events, I brought myself to the work that I am so well accustomed to. Unlike the early days, I no longer need to explain the benefits of machinery and industry. Most questions I receive hinge on the benefits for capitalist investment and if it's true that the government covers all potential losses of new industries. I don't need to think about the answers anymore, each question has its own response tucked away in my memory.

Veneto has provided more satisfaction than any other province so far. The Peloponnese almost made me give up after my months of work turned up only ten eager investors but I chose to start again elsewhere. Rome restored some of my enthusiasm when a couple hundred aristocrats decided to do something productive with their wealth. But now, in Venice, I have been told that I have received over a thousand applications for investment aid. These people might be the ones who can take us out of this crisis and finally give me peace. However, until such a time, I am sure I will greatly enjoy the next social engagement they'll offer.

Saturday 31st of July 1858

I've done it! It's finally over! I've just informed the Pope that I've paid off the nine million dramme we owed the French government and the Papal States are now debt-free. I practically skipped back home and took a good long moment to appreciate the palazzo finally free of supplicants for the first time since I set foot in the place.

I will sleep well tonight.

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Tuesday 26th June 1860

The last few months have truly been amazing. I've managed to retire back to my beloved country home and have spent most of my time tending to the garden and going on long walks in-between visits to family and friends. When I received a letter from the Pope, I feared that all this would disappear in the gaping maw of a new assignment but today managed to dissipate my fears. The letter had come with the instruction to await a driver that would take me to the meeting point and so I waited in front of the villa pacing back and forth for several hours. When the carriage arrived, I asked the driver if he could give me any information on my destination but he told me that he could not say. I sat in the back, all the while stewing in my anxiety, and did my best to distract myself with the scenery as we got closer to Rome. All of this mystery was finally revealed just as we arrived at the brand new rail station at the Baths of Diocletian.

Upon exiting the carriage I was greeted by Innocent himself who explained that he had invited me to the grand inauguration of the first fully functional railroad in the Papal States which would connect Rome to Ostia like the little experimental one I had made more than ten years ago. My surprise mounted as he told me that I was the guest of honor since I had started this whole process. In spite of my protests, he presented me to the crowd of notables and praised my work in revitalizing the Papal economy and introducing the Papal States to the industrial age. I blushed furiously all the while and must have appeared camouflaged with my cardinal's scarlet but everyone was gracious enough not to point it out.

The ceremony then slowly wound down into a private reception with the Pope and several other cardinals and dignitaries. Innocent and I conversed well into the evening and reminisced about years past and all that we had achieved. It had been quite a while since I'd managed to see him in person and, while his mind is as sharp as ever, I noticed that his movements had become slower and there was a certain aura of weakness about him. I fear for his health and I told him as much but he tried to reassure me that nothing was wrong. I am still skeptical.

In any case, I have returned to my home after an excellent day and I can only hope that life continues this way. A few more years of wrapping up my past assignments and I will be able to retire to a life of peaceful leisure.
 

slothinator

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With today's chapter, I would also like to remind everyone that the Q3 2020 ACAs are still open for a few more days and anyone can vote for their favorite AARs.
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DensleyBlair

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Hmm. The Church is taking in the horrors of 19th century industrialisation a little too cosily. No encyclicals on the evils of the factories? Or on the savagery of filthy lucre? Capellini seems rather more concerned by money than the faith – which is of course entirely to be expected here.

At least the Holy See has avoided bankruptcy. I doubt it will take this as a lesson in why not to go conquering other Mediterranean states, but we shall see.