Carl William Ferdinand, his country and his government
The duchy of Brunswick in its valid borders until 1918, as a Free State until 1941 was founded, apart from insignificant later acquisitions, in the 17. Century by August the younger from the line of the Guelphs when the territories were split in 1635, (Principality of Wolfenbuettel) and the acquisition of Blankenburg (late Principality) in 1651. Up to the westphalian rule from 1807/13 under Jérôme the administrations of the Fuerstentuemer Wolfenbuettel and Blankenburg were separate; both parts were loosely governed by the duke with the help of the secret advice room, a Collegium usually made up of three Ministers. . Under the numerous states, in which the Holy Roman Empire was split up, Brunswick was a typical example of the medium sized state. The Dukes in turn could have been governed the country easily, if an efficient administration would have been in place, the country was not too small - contrary to the many tiny and therefore hardly viable territories -, small enough in order to develop an independent and comparatively productive economy and to retain its cultural independent existence. A typical small German state created by succession and military conquest and because of that the territory was split into different parts not connected with each other. It created mayor problems for the administration and for the economic development. The Fuerstentum Wolfenbuettel was divided into four districts.

The two northern districts Wolfenbuettel with the cities of Brunswick and Wolfenbuettel, and Schoeningen with the city of Helmstedt formed the connected part, if we don't look and include the exclave Calvoerde. The two districts had roughly the size of today's Braunschweig and Wolfenbuettel district including the old Brunswick territory of Salzgitter and Helmstedt. The southern districts of the Harz and Weser district (today's Gandersheim and Holzminden) were separated by a strip of land belonging to Hildesheim. Far to the north near the city of Bremen lay the Exclave of Theddinghausen. The principality of Blankenburg was separated from Wolfenbuettel by land belonging to Prussia, Hanover and Saxony. Despite these geographical circumstances the country was in a sufficient condition for a favorable economic development.

The soil was very good in most areas; especially in the districts of Wolfenbuettel and the southern district of Schoeningen. The forests and mines of the Harz, the associated metal working plants, the stone -, slate and marble queries in the Elm, Harz and Weserbergland, the products of the glassworks and the Porcelain factory (Fuerstenberg) in the Weser district as well as the salt works in Salzdahlum and Schoeningen supplied an abundance of raw materials and finished products. Finally the in 1671 conquered city of Brunswick, was still the most important commercial city in Lower Saxony. In 1681 Duke Rudolf August renewed two large annual trade-fairs. In the 18. Century the fairs in Leipzig and Frankfurt the most important in Germany.

Nevertheless after the end of the Seven-Years-War the country was in debts, which had reached the sum of 12 million Reichsthaler by December 21, 1768. Basically the country was bankrupt. The Emperors and Reichstag threatened to appoint a debt-commission if the financial situation did not improve.

The reason for this economic disaster was the splendor of the court and construction projects of the baroque Dukes, Anton Ulrich (1704-1714), August Wilhelm (1714-1731), and Ludwig Rudolf (1731-1735). Carl I. (1735-1780), one of the most enlightened monarch like his brother-in-law Friedrich d. Gr., was inspired and it was his will to improve the standard of living and the education of his subjects by an abundance of innovations and reforms partially modeled after Prussia, but without respecting however the expense resulting from it. Over which his all-powerful Minister and councilor Bernhard Schrader von Schliestedt left him largely in the dark.

The court was moved with all the splendor to Brunswick in 1753, together with an army too large for the country, an administration of medieval awkwardness and opacity whose officials did what ever they wanted behind the back of the good-natured Carl, as well as the establishment and the development of some constantly money loosing state enterprises contributed to the further increase of the burden of debts, which would have been not too much for the country to handle if not the Seven-Years-War, in which the French occupied and plundered the country several times and in doing so ruined the resources of the duchy. In 1768 Schrader was forced to reveal to the Duke who was un-experienced in financial matters, the true condition of the finances of the state and the disorder in the public budget. For the first time since 1682 the landstands were called on to increase the taxes. The landstands going back to medieval times questioned the government of Duke Carl very harshly and only agreed to take over some of the debts if the Duke and court would begin to reduce its own spending. The hereditary Prince agreed with the land stands and he was of the opinion that financial restrained had to be exercised. Carl was not convinced but on October 10, 1770 he agreed to transfer some of his powers to the hereditary prince. This arrangement only was implemented after Minister Schrader von Schlierstedt passed away on July 19, 1773 and the hereditary prince appointed in his place Jean Baptiste Feronce von Rotkreutz.

Carl Wilhelm Ferdinand was born on October 9, 1735 as the oldest son of Carl I in the palace at Wolfenbuettel. His teacher was Friedrich Wilhelm Jerusalem, abbot of Riddaghausen known as the initiator of the Collegium Carolinium, today's Technical University in Brunswick. He educated the boy in the spirit of the enlightment and a rational Christianity. Due to his knowledge and his philanthropisticaly inclinations he was well admired all over Europe by his military achievements in the battles of the Seven-Years-War. He became the favorite nephew of Frederick the Great, which influenced him strongly in his lifetime. Friedrichs believe that the regent is the first servant of the state and not, like most of the rulers that they are the state, was understood by Carl Wilhelm Ferdinand as request to work untiring for his subjects. Between the end of the war and the beginning of his co-governing lay some years of personal happiness for the hereditary prince. In this time he discovered his love for architecture and art. On February 16, 1764 he married in London the princess Auguste of Wales, sister of king George III., whose rich dowry made it possible for the hereditary prince to have his own court without taking any money from the duchy. With this marriage he found his way into the circle of the European aristocracy. The marriage was strictly a marriage for political reasons. In 1766 he undertook a trip to England, France and Italy to study culture and art, but also to visit different courts in these countries.

Two years after his return from his trip in 1768/69 he build for his wife a little summer palace just outside of Brunswick, Schloss Richmond. His wife paid for the construction. At the time the Erbprinzliche court was a center of the spirit of enlightenment in Germany. He had contact to Moses Mendelsohn, Gleim and Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi. Schrader von Schliestedt had hardly died, as Carl William Ferdinand, supported by Féronce made good his promise to bring sensibility back to the treasury of Brunswick and to reverse what the previous dukes had miss-managed Work on this had already begun in 1770. Féronce established a finance committee after the Prussian model. It supervised the income and expenditures of the court and was alone justified to issue orders for payments. Each instruction, including the smallest sum, had to be signed by the duke or at his absence "ad one date serenissimum" by a Minister. The new economic measures, opposed by Carl I., taken in 1770 were intensified. The hereditary prince, supported by his wife's fortune, did not receive any money from the duchy. An exact financial budget was set-up. All these measurements helped to improve the financial situation of the duchy and it received a line of credit again. On the best way of recovery the duchy was hit in 1774 by a mayor setback.

England-Hanover wanted the repayment of an old loan given to the duchy in 1756 to pay for the Seven-Years-War. Schrader von Schlierstedt had pawned without the knowledge of the Duke the principality of Blankenburg to Hanover to cover the loan. When Hanover insisted of repayment, the two regents called onto the Landstaende to see if taxes could be raised. Not enough taxes could be raised and another way had to be found to get the money. England's offer to supply troops for North America was to solve the financial problem. The burden of debt could be reduced with the help of that money much faster. The reorganization of the national budget regarded Carl William Ferdinand as one of his most important obligation. With its death in 1806 the country was practically free from debt His economic policy changed after the financial disaster of his father and the government only interfered with private industry very lightly. Only preventive measures were taken to harm disadvantaged groups. Many of the heavily subsidized state enterprises formed by duke Carl were sold or leased out. The taxes granted by the landstands, as previously mentioned, were cancelled; in 1790 the excise tax on food and luxury items was reduced. His edict of July 31 1790 reduced the tax load for the farmers, and taxes in the future were reduced even more.

Sources: Claus Rauterberg, Bauwe4sen und Bauten im Herzogtum Braunschweig zur Zeit Carl Wilhelm Ferdinands, 1780-1806". Stern, S: Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand zu Braunschweig und Lueneburg". Pockels, K.F.: Carl Wilhelm Ferdinand Tuebingen 1806.) The population of the duchy was not opposed that the army served in North-America. (Stern Page 72-79, Zimmermann, P: Jahrbuch des Geschichtsvereins fuer das Herzogtum Braunschweig, 13. Jahrgang, 1914.) Only one unit the Light Batl was newly formed. The other units making up the Brunswick corps were already part of the Brunswick army. Kapp in his book talks about soldiers were too young or too old. According to the original musterrolls he is wrong in his assumption. The same has to be said about his complain that the duke could not supply his men with good uniforms. Again his assumption is based on his liberal ideas. He should know that the uniform was only to last one year than new uniforms would be issued. Sure enough the uniform was not designed for the winter in North America but that had nothing to do with the quality of the uniform but in the pattern of the time. He writes that the equipment was so bad that new shoes had to be bought in England when the first division arrived. He continues and writes that when the shoes were un-packed at sea the English merchants cheated the Brunswick troops and instead of shoes for the soldiers they had bought ladies shoes. That story is repeated in many books without any reference to the source. If that would have been so the Brunswick soldiers would have had no shoes for combat in Canada. It is very likely that the money issued in Portsmouth to the first and also the second division was money to get quarters and supplies in Canada. Kapp and also the writer Seume write that the recruits were guarded very closely and could not move on their own.

Seume and Kapp's assumption was that these people were forced into the army, an assumption not very correct. Any person joining the Brunswick army at the time received a signing bonus of 30 Thaler. That was a lot of money at the time. For example a bricklayer would earn in 36 hours of work a sum of 1 Thaler. People made a living by joining different armies. They would take the signing bonus and than disappear. This was made very easy because no identification papers were around and most soldiers could not write. To make sure the recruits would not disappear the safety dealing with recruits was very strict. The desertion rate in the entire war was low. Most desertions happened in 1783 when it was already known that the war was over. Most regimental commanders closed an eye at let the soldiers go. They know that many of them had lady friends in the new world. They just listed them as deserters without trying to find them and get them back to their units.
Around 158 companies were located in the duchy manufacturing different products. Duke Carl I founded many of the larger ones.

In 1808 the writer and theologian August Wilhelm Crome 1753-1833 writes the following about the Duchy: "The Brunswick Wolfenbuettel state is without question one of the happiest states in the whole of Germany, is it the industry or the good standard of living of the lower working class....". The Swedish writer Jonas Apelblat 1717 - 1786 writes after he visited Brunswick that he could find no hardship in the duchy, prosperity touches all classes.