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Louis Killington

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    Lord Basildon

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  1. "Excellent," he exclaimed to the good news of her good health. It was critical for her to deliver a healthy child, and that it be a boy. It was important for the Queen to do likewise. "A walk in the garden with you would be lovely. Though a path less frequented by others would be good for it is family business that we discuss today," he previewed. He offered his arm a took a measured pace not to overtax her. They exited the palace together while he made small talk until they were alone and could speak quietly as the walked. "I am excited to have a nephew or a niece be added to the family dear sister, just as I have been with my son and, hopefully, many more children." It was a good ploy to build up the importance of family to her before he revealed the news that he had come to deliver. "In my days before father died, family was the furthest thing from my mind. Once I became Earl my mind started to change. I was even civil to mother," he laughed. "And she was civil to me. How that must have pained her. Once I married Lisa and watched court with a new eye I became impressed with what the Seymours and Somersets had accomplished. They have built a well-deserved reputation for ambition and unity. Our own family has little history and unity and it befell me as the leader of our family to build the Killingtons into a stronger House by marrying into the Seymours and working hard to make you the Duchess of Somerset and fending off the other contenders. It has worked exceedingly well so far and I have tried to lead not only the Killingtons but to become a leader in our allied in-law family affairs." "Now that you are becoming a mother and a trusted aide to the Queen, you should start forming your own opinions of court. I have lived here many years, both as a nobody and then as an earl. I have seen and been privy to many things. I have come to learn that you can trust no one, and that everyone will serve their selfish interests. The only exception to that is family. Without family you have no legacy for your success. In short time I have joined the Privy Counsel, gained two important royal offices, and have allied our family with powerful forces at court. None of this has meaning if I have no children or nephews to pass the mantle to. Likewise you and your husband; without children or our close family, cannot pass along your glory and wisdom." He had adopted a serious tone as they walked, pausing occasionally to allow Lucy to rest. "I have my son and you will have yours. We will have many more between us in the years ahead. So, with our legacy assured, we must work together as a family to built something lasting to leave them. Though I said you can trust no one, there is an exception for family. Through good or ill there is a bond of blood that cannot be ignored. If you do something to hurt me, I shall forgive you because you are my sister. You would do likewise. Everyone at court is our rivals, and our team or faction is our family. The game of court is a game we win or lose as a family. If we work together, our chances at success are all but assured." He paused to allow some servants to pass. "You may be wondering why I have come to speak with you today." He was certain that was on her mind. "Lucy you are coming into your own now as a courtier. I hear good things about you from others. It makes me proud. Other ladies are jealous of you, which should make you proud," he chuckled. "Your husband is doing well and it will be my goal to elevate him any chance I get, just as I fan the flames of good gossip about you. When you succeed, I succeed sister. Likewise is true as well. I intend to treat you with greater respect as our family plans unfold. I want you to support these plans and these plans will take into account the Somerset goals as well as the Seymour goals." Through flattery he hoped to engage her. "If you prefer to not know what moves our family is making on the game board, then I will not tell you. Perhaps it is best if you do not know so the Queen cannot demand that you tell her. I worry about that but wanted to hear from your lips how often the Queen inquires of our family and its loyalties."
  2. "Lady Somerset," Louis returned her formal greeting with a smile. "I should like to think that you sensed my desire to speak with you." "Do you have time to take a walk with me?" he asked softly. "Perhaps outside. How are you feeling? The babe is well too? And the Queen?" he expected nothing but good news. "We have not spoken in some time and I thought we should share news." He thought to direct Lucy to an outside balcony where they might be able to speak privately.
  3. Louis Killington

    Back at the Woolsack Later April 5th

    The conversation did not reveal any new revelations. As much as Basildon was trying to determine which lord would next be in ascension with the King. Though none but Buckingham were on the rise, Louis viewed the court through a traditional prism. The King might want no Chief Minister for a time; but, to this young politician, times would change soon enough. The king would need someone to shepherd the day to dat affairs of government. As shrewd as the King might be, he was easily distracted. Perhaps the privy council would become more important. Perhaps not. "We live in interesting times gentlemen. I shall be interested to see the political landscape once the fog has lifted from the battlefield." With that the conversation turned more to pleasantries. "We shall be glad to attend," he replied to Worcester. "Thank you for thinking of us." OOC~ I'm done. The writer knows about the absence of First Ministers but Louis is still investigating the thought. Hence why he has been dwelling on the topic.
  4. After spending the late morning looking at account books in the palace, Louis was ready to speak with his sister Lucy. He had been selected to break the news to her about Nicolette. She was often found waiting on the Queen. Being married and with child, it was likely that Queen Karoline might seek her company. So it was that Louis sought out his sister in the Queen's quarters. Making inquiries of the guards, he hoped that she might come out and speak with him for a time
  5. Louis Killington

    Back at the Woolsack Later April 5th

    Basildon found himself agreeing with the other lords. The King did not have many old friends. There was Buckingham to be sure, and Louis had that flank covered. There was his brother James, who was friendly with Basildon. Another flank covered. Was he falling back on the old CABAL? Was that why Arlington was relevant at all? "Despite the ... uncertainty shrouding the court, I predict better days ahead. The Country Party shall fail. The new funds for the Crown will undermine their plot to keep the Crown poor and weak. The new heir to England will render the Exclusion Act irrelevant. They can continue to attack the French and Catholics, which will gain them some support of the masses, but they have little else to offer. It is not enough to sustain them. The Court Party and royalists can offer a better vision for the future I should think." These were safe enough words inside the Woolsack, "Speaking of changes around His Majesty, who do you gentlemen think will be the next Chief Minister, if there is one?" He would have volunteered Buckingham aloud, but saw no need, especially since he had thrown his lot in with Buckingham, which was likely known to the other two lords. Others have speculated that the King shall have no other Chief Minister, but I wonder." Louis still struggled with the notion that there would be no head of the Court Party. Of course, if true, it would be temporary for, some day, Basildon was convinced that he would be the Chief Minister to an older King Charles or his heir; of that he was certain. He just needed to be patient and collect more allies.
  6. Louis Killington

    Back at the Woolsack Later April 5th

    OOC~ I missed this completely. Apologies. Clarendon's flight did not end well. There was little reason to doubt that Danby would fare any better. It was notable that neither gentleman rose to the defense of Sunderland. It did not surprise Basildon. Perhaps he was a bit jealous that a man so young and, in his own mind, unaccomplished, would rise so high. With Continental affairs in crisis, perhaps the man would fall from favor. It was one of the enjoyable aspects of the game to Louis, predicting the fall of those in the King's inner circle. "His Majesty must be desperate if he is seeking Arlington's advice," he jested, "or perhaps the Earl sees an opportunity to present himself again as the man of greater experience." It would fit the scenario of Sunderland's downfall. There was a general reluctance to discuss much about which factions might have been a party to assassination attempts. That was no surprise. "The only thing that you can trust in life is that people will act in their own self-interest," the Earl mused aloud as he stared into his now empty brandy glass. "It is easy enough to divine what is in the Dutch interest and what is in the French interest. Their monarchs can be trusted to move secretly towards those interests no matter their overt actions." It still made little sense to Basildon that William of Orange would have an interest in killing his uncle Charles in favor of his uncle James. The former was a friend of France but the latter was a pawn of France. The only thing that made sense was killing both brothers so that Mary could be Queen. The birth of a child to Charles and Karoline would change everything. So, that would explain an attempt prior to any pregnancy. Yet Norfolk seemed to suggest that the death of Charles would lead to a revolution against James. Louis supposed that such was possible, but if any Dutch complicity was discovered, the plot would backfire horribly on the Dutch. To expect a civil war against James was a low odds gamble, at least in the Earl's mind. Unless there was a level of deniability. It was what the French had done. Would the Dutch have attempted the same? Would both monarchs want to see Charles dead, but for different reasons? It was an interesting mental exercise. "I suppose anything is possible," Basildon added. "French Protestants and the Dutch." He shook his head in disappointment or disbelief. "Neither should play the game of thrones in England. T'would be bad enough to play the game of disgraced Chief Ministers." Basildon's disappointment was not solely in the folly of these factions, but in the awkward position he found himself. He had barely managed to clean the Danby shite off his reputation and now there was talk of a Huguenot-Dutch conspiracy. His wife walked in Dutch circles with Princess Mary and his cousin Nicolette was a Huguenot. Combine that with his own French blood and the Earl of Basildon found himself in an exposed position. Still, he had a few powerful pieces on the game board that could save the day for him. He needed to consider his next moves carefully, despite his confidence in the outcome.
  7. Louis Killington

    Back at the Woolsack Later April 5th

    Louis laughed along, almost complaining that Lisa hit hard. Yet, such a jest might be taken the wrong way, so he resisted. "Perhaps His Majesty is less worried what Danby might say as compared to the Dutch or French," the Earl speculated. It seemed counter-intuitive because one would think the Chief Minister would know more about the inner workings of the Three Kingdoms than the diplomatic machinations abroad. That would be the jurisdiction of the Northern Secretary. "I should hope His Majesty knows where Osborne is. Williamson has a good network, though he is in the Tower. I have yet to see how Sunderland has handled foreign intelligence. What do you gentlemen think of the new Northern Secretary?" "I say the Crown sells the location of Danby to both the Dutch and French, giving one side or the other a head start and then using the money to increase our foreign intelligence service," he offered with a smile. Then came the disclosure that there was word of a Dutch faction and a French Protestant faction that may have been involved in the assassination attempt. "I have not heard those whispers," Basildon admitted. "It makes no sense for Protestants to want to kill our King and put York on the throne. I could see them being complicit in the murder of Queen Catherine, but not King Charles. What more have you heard in that regard?" He looked at both men.
  8. Louis Killington

    Back at the Woolsack Later April 5th

    "Well, it has been 18 years since the Restoration and Cecil is barely older than that, so change seems more distant. The coming and going of the CABAL seems so far away for we younger men. Back then we cared mostly about ladies," he laughed, "as opposed to now when we think about our ladies, and politics." It was meant as a jest. Fortunately the subject changed smoothly to Danby. It was one of his favorite topics to pursue these days. "Odds are he is with the Dutch or he was intercepted by the French. The French would use him as a game piece to trade I would think," Basildon ventured. "I have reason to believe that Danby intended to go to the United Provinces. They are his natural allies anyway. If the Dutch diplomats are acting odd, the boys' grandfather has yet to return, and he has disappeared without a spotting, it would need to be Dutch doings. My wife just returned from there and heard no word, but that is not surprising. I would not be surprised if Orange is hiding Danby from his own English wife. Maybe they are just giving Osborne a nice cottage in exile to keep him from his French and English enemies." Louis was starting to wonder if Danby had kidnapped the boys to force the grandfather to tell the Dutch something. If he thought his grandsons were held captive, perhaps the old man could be made to betray England in some way, which would be Danby's price of admission into hidden exile. The scheme had seemed so bizarre that the Earl kept pondering different scenarios until one might make sense.
  9. Louis Killington

    Back at the Woolsack Later April 5th

    Basildon sat comfortably with the two lords, both of whom outranked him. "It was a highlight of the session," he began as he adjusted his seat. "Perhaps he is a tool of the blond villain and Shaftesbury pretends to distance himself from it. Perhaps Cecil comes by the view naturally by breathing those treasonous vapors in Commons for so long." The last hypothesis was done with a smile suggesting it to be a jest. "It could be that he thought he was being helpful, suggesting a bipartisan solution. That is the weakness of my generation I fear. We are more idealistic about change than more experienced courtiers who have seen the political grist mill grind aspirations into nothingness." It was a remark that marked the 26 year old Earl as a man already growing jaded. "Frankly, I think one of the three of us should approach the gentleman and offer to take him under wing." It was clear that the Duke and Marquess had the better background to do so. Louis imagined that Buckingham would be the best mentor for Exeter, but it was important for Basildon to show a willingness to work with others like Norfolk and Worcester at times. If he was seen as nothing more than a mouthpiece for Buckingham,he would be treated accordingly. "I do not know gentlemen but Lords seems more listless of late. Perhaps it is because we have been consumed by funding shortfalls and not other business. Frankly, I think this whole tawdry Danby affair has made us look weaker as well."
  10. Likewise it was no surprise that Basildon voted in favor of each tax. He had thought two of the ideas were brilliant … and the other to be thoughtful. In truth, he regretted that the lottery had not been his idea. There was a desire to address the subject of piracy on his part. One of the company ships had been seized and the Earl wanted warships to be dispatched at once. Sadly, there was a war with France that complicated things. Of course, an English squadron could be sent to the Caribbean to attack French colonies and ships, destroying some pirates along the way. Louis paused because there was no real need for legislation. Cumberland could order the squadron to sail without the need for Parliamentary approval. As such, he bided his time.
  11. Louis Killington

    Back at the Woolsack Later April 5th

    Norfolk and Worcester were good enough starting points. "My lords," he greeted as he approached. "Do you mind if I join you? I am curious of what you make of the political theater we just witnessed." He signaled a servant for a glass of brandy.
  12. He had not attended the Gentleman's club often enough of late, and he regretted it. The current session of Lords had been a perfect excuse to follow up with like-minded Court Party gentlemen to hear and spread gossip. Had there been any sighting of Danby, Louis wondered? The King, Buckingham or the Northern Secretary would be the best to know. Perhaps one was here. If not, he would make conversation with those present. One never had too many contacts or too much information. Strolling into the library area, Basildon signaled the attendant to bring him a brandy. His gaze swept the room.
  13. The speeches that followed were pretty. They followed on his theme of self-sacrifice, so Louis was smug in setting a new trend. Yet, self-sacrifice had it own limitations. When Audley suggested a tax on land, Basildon almost winced at the man. There was a notion of sacrifice but he had always found the landed gentry to be irrationally opposed to any taxation. He had not been the one who wanted to suggest it. He had considered a tax upon Catholics to please the Church, but knew the King would not appreciate the intolerance of such an act. Likewise a tax upon the church would cause a different uproar. A wise politician avoided uproar in favor of incremental advance. He planned to be Chief Minister one day, so it was important for him to appear loyal but reasonable. Let others be firebrands. Exeter displayed bravery in the face of a hostile element. Basildon had considered rising to speak of Treasury reform and renewed confidence, but he would let Ernle do that. Rupert's speech was short but effective, in his mind, but was blind to the Country Party's desire to keep Charles II as a pauper king. Their duty was to themselves and a notion of a republican utopia with a figurehead monarch. In his mind, the only way to prevail in Commons was to bribe them as Danby did or turn their own weapon against them -- public opinion. If the coffee houses agreed with the royalists, the Country Party was doomed. There was no need to say anything. Instead, he watched the debate as he might a play unfolding. If there came a time to make himself look grander, he would rise. Instead, he planned to rise about the need to take measures against piracy either in this session or the next. The funding of the Navy was a related topic, so he favored the current session; but, he decided to play it by ear.
  14. "Lord Chancellor and my lords," Louis called out as he took to his feet. It was hard enough to bide his time before seeking the spotlight. "I can hardly believe my eyes and ears," the Earl proclaimed as he looked about the peerage. "Since when have the lords of England ever been so silent?" he offered with a smile. "Perhaps it is because there are so many ideas that it is hard to give voice to but one." "The fact of the matter is that we are at war with France, with a list of grievances and offenses well known to this august body. To prosecute a war we need gold more than gunpowder. With all due respect, the Parliament has been niggardly in its appropriations. As the Deputy Treasurer of England and the Treasurer of the Royal Household, I can appreciate a desire to save money in the interest of King and country. In fact, I would applaud it, but for the circumstances we face. One may buy cheap tin but one is a fool to purchase cheap steel." "Gentlemen, England is great because of its people. England is content because it has a benevolent and wise King. England Is rich because of our mastery of trade. We are respected because we are blessed with gentlemen of honor and duty who surround me in this moment. We are envied because of the charm of our ladies, so well represented in the gallery today. We are feared for our army; but, England is safe because of its navy. It is both our armor and sword. " "Some of the gentlemen present today have the greatest halls and keeps, the ladies the grandest jewels, but what are they without protection? A crime waiting to happen gentlemen. And here too we have a crime waiting to happen. Parliament would send the flower of its manhood to war with an underfunded navy deep in debt. Were this any other nation on Earth, I would say that a war with a niggardly served navy would likely end poorly for the miserly nation. Yet, Englishmen are a cut above the rest. Small bands of Englishmen bested France for a hundred years. The longbow served us well then." The words of Shakespeare's Henry V came to his mind. "Today it is the Royal Navy and the Duke of Cumberland's cannon that give our lads the additional advantage to best the French once again." "To toy with the Navy is to toy with the safety of England. History would judge us harshly for such foolishness. What does it say about Parliament that it requires private contributions of men like us to sustain a public necessity? It will be a shame that all of us might bear were I not convinced that the lords of the realm will do their part and the envy of Commons will compel their action." Basildon was hoping to maintain eye contact with as many as he could, especially those in the Country Party. It was a tool he thought useful for persuasion. After a pause, he moved onward. "Certain that we are all in agreement today to act, one might ask where these funds may grow and I am prepared to offer some small suggestions. We must be prepared to sacrifice self-interest to the public good. We need new taxes to support the Navy and the war effort. How about a penny tax on every barrel or crate of cargo that arrives on our shores? It will cost my trading company a pretty penny to be sure. How about a tariff on any merchant selling any French commodities in the Three Kingdoms? How about our colonies that depend on the Navy to protect them from piracy and the French fleet? Perhaps a pound per plantation? I own one in Jamaica and would be proud to pay such a tax if it went to our Navy." Looking about the chamber he added "what about a tailor tax upon finery? Never have I witnessed so fine attire in these hallowed halls." He was smiling now. "If we paid an extra penny for garments of silk -- the Navy's penny -- I doubt I would see more linen here. I am not brave enough to suggest a similar tax upon dressmakers," he laughed aloud, "but I am willing to wager that our patriotic ladies in the gallery would be the first to volunteer it." He smiled in the direction of his wife. "These are but crumbs to build upon gentlemen. I do not profess to have all of the answers," he stated with false modesty. "It is but a start so that I might yield the floor to men more inspired than myself." With that he sat with a satisfied look upon his face.
  15. Louis Joins the Buckingham Bunch It was a grand group that surrounded him as he joined Somerset. With nods and smiles for Buckingham, Worcester, and Fosbury, as well as Kingston, he was pleased to let the court know that he was in the middle of a group on the rise. After all, one was measured by the company he kept. He noted Langdon take a seat with Cumberland, Brooke and the other military types. Those in uniform were so easy to predict. Lifting his eyes to the gallery, he gave his wife a satisfied smile. This was going to be a grand season.