Great Settlement (Themiclesia)

The Great Settlement is a compromise between liberals and conservatives at the Themiclesian court in 1802 regarding fundamental policies in the future and, with it, the nature and principles of legitimate government. Some have regarded it as a constitutional law of Themiclesia. The parties came to two primary agreements: all government actions are based on the accord of the electorate and not the will of individuals, and that "existing institutions" are not to be changed.

After the Raid on Rad and Second Maverican War, Themiclesia had suffered consecutive defeats that almost completely destroyed the Navy and the largest portion of the Colonial Army, the country's most well-trained and well-equipped land force. The advance of Mavericans in alliance with the Camians had threatened the survival of the metropole itself, and only through the mobilization of 27 prefectures' militias, exceeding 180,000 men in number, was the invasion stopped. The prolonged war culminated in loss of large tracts of economically-valuable lands in the south and rendered her unable to make war elsewhere in the world. What was perhaps of greater concern to the court was the economic impact of mobilization, which led to a 50% drop in export revenues, economic depression in widespread areas for both industrial and agricultural product, high food prices, and problems with vagrancy, leading to social unrest.

The conduct of the war itself was far from ideal. The emperor and empress disallowed the Royal Guards to fight at the front, even though this could have saved weeks in delays, a difference that has been accepted as consequential in the war. The government, on the other hand, also saw unfit to order the Capital Defence Force to march to the front, preferring to have them as rear-line troops in case of deeper enemy advance. Both were ready formations that could have been put to battle and were instead detained in favour of economically more disruptive militias. They showed little inclination to fight an enemy known to be fierce and alien. Having been accustomed to annual musters lasting no more than three to five days a year, every militia unit experienced desertion to an unprecedented level when sent to fight abroad for months and, later, years. Many militiamen escaped to tend to their harvests, fearing that they would return to famine if the land was left unreaped. However, the state imposed penal servitude for desertion, and thus many were unable to reach their farms at all. Militiamen that were tenants thus abscond from their home counties in search of work at cities, many to no avail yet still fearing arrest for returning. While front-line surrenders were not many, the poor performance of militias led the government to rely on numbers, yet the more summoned, the more direr the economic problem was.

The 1797 elections for the Council of Protonotaries produced radicals demanding a "satisfactory account", whose voices were supported by rural gentry who saw their estates go to waste, their workers having been called to fight and never return, migrating in massive flocks to the cities. This was possibly the most devastating depression Themiclesia had seen in decades. The Protonotaries in league blocked government business until the Prime Minister would agree to their "satisfactory account", which he avoided by resigning. The following Prime Minister, for his policy to rebuild the Colonial Army and retake Njik-nem, attempted to sidestep the representative chamber, requesting the Chamber of Attendants present draft legislation to the Emperor, something that had not been done for centuries. The tactic led to the Protonotaries' own bill that the head of government be dismissed. While the ministers hoped that they would be able to remove recalcitrant Protonotaries by appointing them to ministerial positions, they would risk unity of the government itself and the compliance of the top echelons of the civil service. The government then resorted to waiting until the 1800 elections, at which most of the house were returned and continued to block government business. The Protonotaries courted the Emperor's favours by passing bills for his spendings. The government then attempted to cut bureaucracy to fund remilitarization, which infuriated the rest of the gentry that had no strong opinions up to this point and forced at least 100 threatened departments to align with the Protonotaries.

The Emperor was unable to make a decision and ordered the ministers and Protonotaries to come to an agreement. A committee of the Protonotaries and the government met frequently between 1797 and 1802. The government, mostly supported by the urban faction that later became the Liberal Party, which was woefully under-represented in the Chamber, argued that a strong military was necessary to continue Themiclesia's economic fortunes, including those of the rural gentry, whose product were processed and sold in cities, since they grew rich due to their exports to foreign states. The Protonotaries, which was dominated by rural conservatives, argued that no government policy was acceptable if it did not take into account the views of the voting gentry, as "the distinguished" populace. The discussions fluctuated between metaphysical discourse about the nature and justification of government and state, to specific tax policies and their regional implementation. The government asserted that the restoration of the Navy was absolutely essential that Camians and Mavericans, in the government's words, "have cause to reconsider imposing excessive taxes." The Protonotaries believed that Mavericans and Themiclesians did not have overlapping industries, so if Mavericans imposed tariffs on Themiclesian goods, they would be the first to suffer from impoverishment, for which they would "have cause to reconsider imposing excessive taxes." The urban faction did not, like some have described, support a full rebuilding of the Themiclesian military in the mid-1700s, which requires the re-imposition of the Naval Duty, taxed on all commercial activity in the coast.

See also