1634: THE BAVARIAN CRISIS – snippet 37:
Amberg, Upper Palatinate
Duke Ernst had been polite about making the acquaintance of most of the party from Grantville. Not that he wasn’t interested in seeing the up-timers for himself, but he was, after all, a very busy man, with many demands on his time. He suspected that he faced extended conversations with Mary Simpson and Veronica Dreeson. The appointments were on his calendar. He would do his duty. But after their first conversation, he had been utterly enchanted to make the acquaintance of Keith Pilcher. If they were not kindred spirits, they had, at least, a common appreciation of straightforward facts.
“Böcler,” he said. “Get me my notes.”
“Buckler?” Keith asked, looking after the secretary’s retreating form.
“No,” Duke Ernst said absently, following the direction of his guest’s gaze. “Böcler.”
Keith made a note to himself to ask the kid how to spell his name.
Turning back to Keith, Duke Ernst said, “We do, of course, have the materials from before the war. The Palatinate has been very well-governed. We have plenty of inventories and surveys. But they are terribly obsolete, because of the destruction. My first project has been to determine just what the current status is. However, here is what there was before the war.”
Keith nodded. “It’s always good to have a base line for comparison.”
“You do realize,” Duke Ernst asked, “that not all of this area properly belongs to the Upper Palatinate?”
“I didn’t know it,” Keith answered. “But I think that I could have guessed. We’ve seen a lot of that sort of thing since we landed in Thuringia. It really complicates life.”
Duke Ernst, obviously proud of his increasing command of modern English, said “Tell me about it,” and beamed. “The Upper Palatinate proper, the lands of the young Elector Karl Ludwig, is in two main sections, northern and southern. Between them are part of Pfalz-Neuburg, then Amt Vilseck, which belongs to the bishop of Bamberg and is a great nuisance to your administrators there since it is quite detached from the remainder of the diocese, and, of course, Leuchtenberg. Although we are, currently, administering Leuchtenberg, since the landgrave fled from Pfreimd into Bavaria when the Swedish army arrived in the vicinity.”
He cocked his head. “You will have become used to the word Amt, I think, for a local administrative district. Here, though, it is called a Pfleggericht. There is very little difference in the functions. Amberg is in the southern main part of the Upper Palatinate, along with Pfaffenhofen, Haimburg, Rieden, Freudenberg, Hirschau, Nabburg, Neunburg vor dem Wald, Wetterfeld, Bruck, Retz, Waldmünchen, Murach, and Treswitz-Tenesberg. In the northern part, you have the districts of Bernau, Eschenbach, Grafenwöhr, Holnberg, Kirchentumbach, Auerbach, and Hartenstein. Plus, just so things don’t become too neat, the treasury Amt of Kemnat, the Landgericht Waldeck and a little free lordship called Rothenberg. Which is not the imperial city of a similar name, which is in Franconia. Plus, there are little exclaves to the west, intermixed with the jurisdictions subject to Nürnberg.”
As all the place names went rattling past his ears, Keith recognized one familiar word. “Mrs. Dreeson says that she comes from Grafenwöhr. We all caught that. God, that was funny. In our day, it was a huge center for army maneuvers; Americans by the hundreds of thousands trained at Graf. Does this mean that if she wants to go up there, she actually has to go through some spot that doesn’t belong to the Upper Palatinate? That isn’t under your control?”
“There are some Pfleggerichte belonging to Pfalz-Neuburg in between. Pfalz-Neuburg was set up by the Emperor Maximilian in 1505; it belongs to a cadet line of the Palatinate. The mother of the first counts was the daughter and heiress of Duke Georg of Landshut and most of it was taken from his lands, not those of the Palatinate. It’s divided currently into three parts. Like Gaul. The largest belonged to Wolfgang Wilhelm—the one who married Maximilian of Bavaria’s sister and turned Catholic for the sake of an inheritance on the lower Rhine. Then there are two smaller sections belonging to his younger brothers, who remained Lutheran, August and Johann Friedrich. Well, August’s widow, now that he’s dead. On behalf of Gustav Adolf, I have been working quite closely with Johann Friedrich and his widowed sister-in-law. And fairly successfully. The king, ah, emperor, decided that they should co-administer Wolfgang Wilhelm’s former lands, since they are both Lutheran. Gustav Adolf doesn’t wish to seem greedy.”
Duke Ernst grinned. It made him look like a leprechaun. “Also, it is really more convenient in a way, since there is a nice Pfalz-Neuburg enclave on the south side of the Danube which Maximilian would most certainly gobble up if the king, ah, emperor, claimed it, since General Banér is currently besieging Ingolstadt. It makes a rather nice base of operations for some things. From our perspective, that is. From Maximilian’s viewpoint, I’m sure that Neuburg and its hinterland are as great an irritant to him as Ingolstadt is to us. Except that they are not half as well-fortified. Few places are as well-fortified as Ingolstadt.”
Duke Ernst looked up, an idea seeming to strike him. “I don’t suppose that your administration in Franconia would be interested in trading Vilseck to the Upper Palatinate in exchange for something that we may have that is closer to their administrative center? I would certainly be happy to explore the possibility.”
Keith was a bit taken aback. This was out of his league. But they had come through Bamberg on the way down, so he had a name handy. “You could always drop a note to Vince Marcantonio. He’s the administrator there. He’ll have to buck it up, through Steve Salatto to Ed Piazza. But I expect that they would be willing to talk about it.” That, he thought, should be safe enough. “Don’t expect an answer right away, though. Steve and Vince sort of have their hands full at the moment, what with…”
“Oh, yes,” Duke Ernst answered serenely. “The peasants and their ram. Peasant revolts are always time consuming while they are happening, but things eventually settle down. Böcler, draft a letter please, for my signature, to Herr Marcantonio. I’ll expect to have it in the morning.”
He returned his attention to the statistical survey of the Upper Palatinate. “According to the survey done in 1609, the Montanbereich had four hundred twenty-eight employers in industries connected with mining and related industries. The mining was mainly iron, but also tin, lead, and calamine, the ore that you call zinc. The related industries were ore processing, and the manufacture of metal goods, mostly wrought iron up to and including something the size of ship anchors.”
He paused. “And, of course, transporting these. It takes certain specialized wagons, heavy horses, and skilled drivers to get something the size of a ship’s anchor from here to Venice.”
“I can see that,” Keith agreed.
Duke Ernst continued. “These businesses directly employed 10,550 miners and other metal workers. With dependent family members, this meant that 36,400 people out of a population of 180,000 in the region were directly supported by mining and metalworking.”
Keith did some rapid calculations in his head. Dividing 428 employers into 10,550 employees did not come out to a bunch of little one-master shops with a journeyman and a couple of apprentices. Assuming that there had been some little shops, and there were bound to have been, the rest had been big businesses by down-time standards.
Duke Ernst was marching through the statistics. “That does not include those who worked in transport, with a network that ran into Hungary, northern Italy, and all through Germany. The Upper Palatinate’s teamsters were widely known. The exemptions from toll and tariffs that the emperors granted to them go back to the 14th century in many cases. Back to the time when the Goldene Strasse received its privileges.”
Keith wished that he could have brought the guy a battery-operated laptop. With a spreadsheet program. He’d love one. “Must have given them a bit of an advantage, trade wise, getting their stuff to market without all those add-ons.”
“Oh.” Duke Ernst smiled a little smile. “Yes, of course. It was much resented by the robber barons. And not always enforced during times of turmoil. But the principle was well established.”
He leaned over, turning a few more pages in the ledger. “A lot of the ‘agricultural’ workers were also doing things other than growing food, such as working in the charcoal industry that supported the metal processing industry. Again, according to the 1609 survey, 310,000 measured meters of wood were cut in the Montanbereich that year; there were 1,460 charcoal burners who were counted as industrial workers, but also the 1,100 woodcutters and 1,950 people working in ‘side jobs’ associated with charcoal manufacture who were counted as agricultural. The regulations for managing the forests to maintain the supply of charcoal go back to the late 1300s: replanting, banning of goat-keeping, and the like.”
He stood up. “Then the war came.”
Keith nodded. It always seemed to come back to the war.