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Wire dispatches from the Free Citizen

"An independent paper for independent citizens."
— Motto of the Free Citizen

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"Extra! Extra!"[]

With head offices on Fort Street, the Free Citizen is the oldest and most successful newspaper in Victoria.  The Citizen also operates a wire service and has bureaus all along the Pacific Coast from Novo Arkhangelsk in the north to Xīn Guǎngzhōu in the south, as well as at Spokane in the Plateau Confederacy, at Timpanogas in the Great Basin Confederacy and at Honolulu in the Hawai'i Protectorate.

The Free Citizen is an ardent supporter of Victorian independence and as such is understood to be close to the City Government and to the Chamber of Commerce.  Critics claim it is little more than an unofficial mouthpiece for government and the business community but a more nuanced read of its editorial perspective suggests its claims to independence are not without merit.  The Free Citizen is widely read among the business community, artisans and craftspeople and common labourers but less so among farmers (who are more likely to read the Island Almanac).

Wire Service Dispatches

➺ Victoria / Free Victoria (48° 25' 42" N, 123° 21' 53" W) Date: January 11, 1900

Image - Liu Shiduan

Envoy Liu[]

   ¶ Qīng Jiāzhōu's Special Envoy, Liu Shiduan, opening a face-to-face campaign to convince Victoria to relax trade barriers, said the Qīng territory's ties to the Free City are "both wide and deep."
   ¶ Speaking to members of the Chamber of Commerce, Liu said the end of the war with Japan would enhance Qīng interest in the region.
   ¶ "The end of confrontation with Japan and the opportunities for peace in the western Pacific will allow us to begin to turn a page in history and focus on the new challenges of interdependence as we shape a new era," Liu said.
   ¶ "Qīng commerce in North America is critical to the success of a trans-Pacific trading system."
   ¶ Speaking at a Chamber reception following the envoy's remarks, Chamber Vice President Esmerelda Crespí said, "Any recommendation to the Mayor and Council in favour of tariff reductions for Qīng goods arriving in Victoria would depend upon corresponding relief for Victorian merchants trading at Xīn Guǎngzhōu." ❀

➺ Salem / Oregon Republic (44° 56' 21" N, 123° 21' 22" W) Date: January 13, 1900

Image - Ambassador Paulina Warner

Ambassador Warner[]

   ¶ The Oregon Republic announced an agreement today with the Great Basin Confederacy over a recently-discovered source of ætheron in disputed territory on the southeastern border of the Republic.  The site northwest of the settlement of Lakeview will be co-developed by the Republic and the Confederacy.
   ¶ In a statement released to the Oregon Spectator, the head of the Department of Public Lands thanked Paulina Warner, an intermediary from the Plateau Confederacy, for her assistance in helping the two parties reach an agreement. "Ambassador Warner's facilitation was essential to us reaching an agreement with the Confederacy which serves the interest of all Oregonians," said Director Emil Keady.
   ¶ Ambassador Warner left her position as the Plateau ambassador to the Free City of Victoria to facilitate the negotiations which were held in the Plateau Confederacy capital.  During the negotiations, Warner led negotiators from both sides on a tour of Plateau's ætheron mining facility northwest of Spokane.
   ¶ Plateau has offered to provide technical assistance to Oregon and Great Basin in the development of the new site.  Several ætheron exploration and development companies from Plateau are rumoured to be in negotiations with potential business partners in both Oregon and Great Basin.
   ¶ The Lakeview mine will be the Oregon Republic's first domestic source of ætheron.  The Republic currently imports most of its ætheron from the Qīng Empire. ❀

➺ Novo Arkhangelsk / Russkaya Alyáska (57° 03' 12" N, 135° 20' 05" W) Date: January 16, 1900

Image - Baba Mariya Varfolomeeva

Baba Varfolomeeva[]

   ¶ Baba Mariya Varfolomeeva was appointed Pomoshchnik today by Archbishop Evsey.  In this role she will be responsible for thaumaturgical activities throughout Russkaya Alyáska.
   ¶ The new Pomoshchnik will serve as head of the Novo Arkhangelsk Thaumaturgical Academy and serve as the principal thaumaturgical advisor to Governor Koskul.  Baba Verfolomeeva replaces Fyodor Voyevodsky who died last month after a long illness.
   ¶ Varfolomeeva is expected to accelerate Voyevodsky's efforts to bring all thaumaturgical activities in Russkaya Alyáska under government control.  Voyevodsky had been working to bring the Russian colony into alignment with the edict of the Patriarch of Moscow who has banned the unsanctioned practice of thaumaturgy in Russia.
   ¶ Varfolomeeva, who unlike Voyevodsky was born in Russkaya Alyáska, has been especially keen to eliminate unsanctioned thaumaturgy.  Her efforts as Voyevodsky's deputy are seen to be responsible for the recent exodus of thaumaturgists from Alyáska.
   ¶ Speaking during a reception for new graduates of Camosack Collegium, Proctor Daniil Tlein, who was born in Russkaya Alyáska himself, welcomed anyone fleeing his former homeland to Victoria.  "The Free City has a long tradition of welcoming outcasts from other polities along the northeastern Pacific Coast and throughout northwestern North America," he said. ❀

➺ New Westminster / New Caledonia (49° 12' 25" N, 122° 54' 40" W) Date: January 20, 1900

Image - Ronald Munro Ferguson

Commissioner Munro Ferguson[]

   ¶ Ronald Munro Ferguson was installed as Commissioner today in a ceremony at Government House.  As the federally-appointed chief administrator of New Caledonia, Munro Ferguson will head the territorial government at a particularly challenging time.
   ¶ First order of business will be elections for the newly-established Legislative Assembly.  The Legislative Assembly is the first step in the federal government's plan for responsible government in New Caledonia.  Munro Ferguson is expected to be the territory's last unelected chief executive once the Legislative Assembly chooses a Premier to serve in that role.
   ¶ The Legislative Assembly is also expected to return attention to building a transcontinental railway to eastern Canada.  Some observers have suggested that the elected Assembly will look more favourably upon investment in the railway effort by commercial interests in Oregon and California.  Munro Ferguson's predecessor, Thomas McInnes, was consistently opposed to any foreign investment in a transcontinental railway.
   ¶ Munro Ferguson will also continue to grapple with the territorial dispute with the Plateau Confederacy.  Plateau makes claims to all of New Caledonia while New Caledonia claims all territory to the eastern borders with Athabasca and Alberta.  Plateau also opposes any railway route across its territory to eastern Canada.
   ¶ Munro Ferguson, who was a Chief Trader with the Hudson's Bay Company, is the great-grandson of Hector Munro, who led the former East India Company forces to defeat in the 1764 Battle of Buxar. ❀

➺ Spokane / Plateau Confederacy (47° 39' 32" N, 117° 25' 30" W) Date: January 23, 1900

➺ Sacramento / California Republic (38° 34' 54" N, 121° 29' 40" W) Date: January 24, 1900

➺ Timpanogas / Great Basin Confederacy (40° 14' 40" N, 111° 39' 39" W) Date: January 26, 1900

➺ Tségháhoodzání / Great Range Confederacy (35° 40' 22" N, 109° 03' 44" W) Date: January 30, 1900

➺ Xīn Guǎngzhōu / Qīng Jiāzhōu (32° 42' 54" N, 117° 09' 45" W) Date: January 31, 1900

Image - Liu Shiduan

A clockwork dragon[]

   ¶ Revellers have welcomed the Year of the Metal Rat with celebrations throughout Qīng Jiāzhō.  The traditional start of the Qīng New Year also begins another twelve-year zodiacal calendar cycle, making this year's celebration especially auspicious.
   ¶ The New Year parade through the heart of the Xīn Chéngshi district featured a variety of automatons, including a spectacular clockwork dragon dance.  The parade was followed by a fireworks display at Shātān bayfront.
   ¶ Just after midnight, Alcalde Miguel María Marrón addressed a large crowd from the grand balcony of the Palacio del Alcalde.  "We look forward to a New Year bright with prosperity and good fortune for all Californios," the mayor said.
   ¶ Jiǎnchá Yuán Ling Sing, the Qīng Censor, was on the balcony when Marrón made his remarks but did not address the crowd.  Qīng officials in Qīng Jiāzhōu are careful not to be seen to be trampling upon the colony's internal autonomy.
   ¶ In comments made exclusively to the Free Citizen, Victoria's Consul Sarah Kang said, "On behalf of the Mayor and the Chamber, we send our fond best wishes to Alcalde Marrón and all of the people of Qīng Jiāzhōu for a prosperous New Year." ❀

➺ Victoria / Free Victoria (48° 25' 42" N, 123° 21' 53" W) Date: February 2, 1900

Image - Liu Shiduan

Canoe Hōkūle‘a[十一]

   ¶ The Hawai'ian sea-voyaging canoe Hōkūle‘a arrived in Victoria's Inner Harbour today, having travelled down the coast from Novo Arkhangelsk in Russkaya Alyáska.  The traditional sailing vessel is crewed by representatives of Queen Lili‘uokalani.
   ¶ The Hōkūle‘a left Hawai'i last fall and plans to sail along the Pacific coast at least as far south as Mexico.  The ship was on "a voyage of friendship and discovery," said Ka‘iulani Cleghorn, leader of the delegation and Hōkūle‘a's captain.  Captain Cleghorn declined to comment when asked if her delegation formally represented the Hawai'i Protectorate.
   ¶ Hawai'i has been controlled by the Empire of Japan since it was captured from the Qīng Empire in the Second Qīng-Nihon War.  The Japanese allow Queen Lili‘uokalani's government substantial internal autonomy in contrast to previous circumstances under the Qīng.
   ¶ Captain Cleghorn and other members of the Hōkūle‘a crew were to be hosted by the Mayor at a dinner tomorrow evening.  Several members of the Chamber of Commerce are rumoured to also be on the guest list, though neither the Mayor's office nor the Chamber would confirm attendees at the dinner, which was described as a private function.
   ¶ Nagano Manzo, the Japanese Consul in Victoria, admitted to being surprised by the arrival of the Hōkūle‘a but welcomed the visit by the Hawai'ians.  "It is always good to encounter fellow subjects of the Empire, especially when we are all so far from home."  Consul Nagano said he'd not been invited to dinner with the Mayor tomorrow evening.  ❀

Image credits:
[一] Uncredited illustration served by Public Domain Files.  No endorsement of Silkpunk Victoria has been made or is implied.
[二] Illustration by James Ng.  No endorsement of Silkpunk Victoria has been made or is implied.
[三] Illustration by Konquistador.  No endorsement of Silkpunk Victoria has been made or is implied.
[五] Illustration by Magdalena Partyka.  No endorsement of Silkpunk Victoria has been made or is implied.
[四] Illustration served by Wikipedia.
[十] Illustration by James Ng.  No endorsement of Silkpunk Victoria has been made or is implied.
[十一] Illustration by Herb Kawainui Kane served by the Polynesian Voyage Society.  No endorsement of Silkpunk Victoria has been made or is implied.

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