Arrogance and Empire - An Alternate 7 Years' War Novel - Part 10 - 1865

Alt History Buff

This is a continuation of my previous TL based upon an alternate 7 Years' War.

Largely, these "parts" are in novel format rather than the historical chronical format I tend to use with my TL's.

Since the TL is so extensive, I break them up into book-sized novels based upon the year (otherwise, I'd be at chapter 630 and page 1804 by now) Someday, after heavy, heavy proofreading and rewrites, I may try to self-publish so any constructive criticism upon writing style, historical accuracy, flow, dialogue, etc would be appreciated.

Key POD's from the 5 Years' War (Book 1):
1. Great Britain wins "5 Years War" in North America (including Louisiana) but the Prussian/Hanoverian alliance sees the dismemberment of Prussia by her neighbors (and relegation to 3rd tier status) and seizure of Hanover by France.
2. Peter III regains his heritage in Holstein but gets overthrown in Russia. He later assumes the throne of Sweden.
3. Two fictional diseases - the Bleeding Death (akin to Ebola) and African Death (akin to AIDS) - ravage the world, with Africa as the epicenter. The slave trade effectively dies by the mid-1760's. This has a particularly terrible effect on large concentrations of men hailing from different soldiers and sailors who also enjoy the odd prostitute.
4. Great Britain's normal sources for "hired" mercenaries - Hesse, etc - are forbidden by treaty to lease Regiments of experienced sailors. This would cause a major handicap to the British war effort for the first year or two of the American Revolutionary War.
5. Robert Clive's exploitation of Bengal lead to a rebellion which evicts Britain from Bengal. This leads to the Circars and Madras falling to France and their allies.
6. Most of the French residents of Quebec are evicted after the "5 Years War" by a vengeful Britain and America but the Acadian population is largely intact.
7. With Britain's greater success in the 5 Years War in the Americas (seizing Louisiana and Guadeloupe in addition to OTL gains), the French and Spanish are increasingly nervous about the potential for British Hegemony in the west.
8. OTL crisis in the Falklands (OTL Spain backed down) and Corsica (OTL Britain backed down) flare up in violence.
9. Spanish/Portuguese rivalry continues in South America. However, in this TL, Portugal is successful in gaining British assistance due to increased importance of Portugal to maintaining British naval hegemony in the Mediterranean (Minorca is not returned to Britain after 5 Years War and Corsican-British alliance is firmer, thus contributing to the crisis). Great Britain offers modest support in Portugal and the Banda Oriental.

Key POD's from Alternate Revolutionary War (Books 2 to 4)
1. Robert Clive immigrates to Massachusetts in disgrace and eventually joins rebels.
2. "Continental" Congress becomes "Columbian" Congress and United States of America becomes United States of Columbia.
3. Shortage of British troops in the Americas leads to easy rebel seizures from Quebec to Savannah.
4. Through 1776 and 1777, most of the fighting takes place in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania (similar to OTL).
5. French Nova Scotia throws off the British with French and Columbian aid and returns as the colony of Acadia.
6. Gibraltar falls in 1777 after a massive land and sea siege. Great Britain loses only base in the Mediterranean.
7. Portugal's King demands British aid in border conflict in South America. King George agrees and Montevideo taken. However, Portugal, facing invasion from Spain and France, exit the war. In OTL, Great Britain offered little to no help to their longtime ally.
8. French direct financial aid given to Columbia a year earlier than OTL in 1776 and French troops/naval support a year earlier in 1777.
9. The fictional "Bleeding Death" and "African Death" claim thousands of military lives and tens of thousands of civilians, cutting off the slave trade.
10. Robert Clive is captured by the British in November, 1777. Numerous high-ranking British and American generals are killed in combat from 1776 to 1777.
11. By the end of 1777, Great Britain's North American empire has been reduced to e "Royal Islands" of Manhattan, Staten Island, "Nassau" Island (Long Island), Newfoundland, Bermuda and most of the West Indies.
12. Spain and the United States of Columbia, while co-belligerents against Britain and mutually allied with France, have yet to sign an alliance.
13. King Carlos III's heir in Naples, Prince Ferdinand, dies in December 1777 of Bleeding Death, leaving the King to seek to merge Naples/Sicily to Spain once again for his son, Infante Carlos, despite this being against previous European diplomatic convention.
14. King Louis XVI's brother, Louis Stanislas Xavier, who nominally ruled Hanover after the Electorate was seized in 1759, dies of African Death in December of 1777.
15. The childless Maximilian Joseph of Bavaria dies as in OTL in December of 1777 of Smallpox. Numerous potential inheritors take notice.

Book 5
1. A series of disease-wracked expeditions by Britain, France, the Netherlands, Spain and the United States Columbia cross the West Indies. Great Britain seizes Dominica, St. Eustatius and French/Dutch Guyana. Spain seizes Virgin Islands. Dutch seize Anguilla. United States of Columbia seize the Bahama Islands and Bermuda.
2. Henry Clinton commands an invasion of Virginia by 6000 British soldiers and 3000 Loyalists.
3. The British invasion of Virginia inspires a mass slave uprising. General James Wolfe makes for a particularly ruthless and efficient British commander.
4. Initial battles in Virginia lead to massive victories.
5. After Patrick Henry is defeated (and captured) at the Battle of Williamsburg and William Heath is defeated (and killed) at Richmond, Nathanial Greene is tasked to command the shattered Columbian army in Virginia. He wins several close battles near Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg.
6. His command denuded of many of his best soldiers for the Virginia and West Indies campaigns, William Howe lacks the resources to further his campaign in New York.
7. A ferocious civil war between the races emerges in Virginia, leading to a total failed harvest and massive racial violence. Tens of thousands are slaughtered and perish of disease or starvation.
8. Henry Clinton is appointed commander-in-chief of North America to replace William Howe. However, Clinton is killed by a ruptured British cannon.
9. Boston and several New England port towns are destroyed by a vengeful Admiral Augustus Keppel.
10. Mysore, Hyderabad and the French East Indies join forces against the Maratha Empire, the British East India Company and the Nawab of Arcot. With much of Arcot having fallen, a Maratha-EIC army assault Hyderabad on New Years Day.
11. Great Britain, like all affected nations, is rapidly approaching bankruptcy.
12. With the death of the Elector of Bavaria, Maria Theresa of the Habsburg Empire seizes the Electorate. Later, a political settlement is agreed in which French Hanover is ceded to the rightful claimant to Bavaria (Palatine) in return for ceding Bavaria to Austria. Austria then ceded the Southern Netherlands to France. This was a massive diplomatic development in Europe which will lead to many butterflies.

Book 6:
1. British Invasion of Virginia fails after two years of violent racial war. Virginia devastated. Half of slave population killed, died of disease, escaped or sold into slavery into the French West Indies.
2. Last ditch attempt by Washington to seize New York from William Howe occurs on New Year's Eve, 1779, with the Columbian Army marching across the frozen Hudson. The attack fails with heavy casualties.
3. The Treaty of Paris sees Great Britain ceded all of mainland America (including East Florida) to Columbia along with Bermuda and the Bahama/Turk/Caicos Islands. Great Britain retains Newfoundland, the "Royal Islands of New York" (Manhattan, Staten and Nassau (Long) Islands) as havens for Loyalists. Great Britain gains the Banda Oriental, the Guyana Territories, Roatan, St. Eustatius, the Swan Islands and the Bay Islands. Spain gains Gibraltar, the Falklands, the Belize River Colony, the British Virgin Islands and West Florida. The Dutch Republic gained Anguilla. France regained Nova Scotia (Acadia) and later traded Minorca to Spain for the return of Louisiana. Great Britain also recognized French control over Corsica and acquisition of the Austrian Netherlands.
4. Suffering a mental breakdown, King George III falls to his death from the heights of his home, leading a very young George IV to the throne.
5. The social upheaval in Virginia leads to a lower and middle class revolt which results in a law manumitting all slaves in Virginia by 1800. This would effectively guarantee the remainder of the United States of Columbia would likely follow in the ensuing years. As a result, North and South Carolina elect not to join the new nation and accept George IV as their Monarch, bringing the two new nations into Personal Union (but not direct political affiliation) with Great Britain. The western counties of North and South Carolina secede and join the United States as Western Carolina.
6. In 1785, Benjamin Franklin is elected the first President of the United States of Columbia. Only North Carolina, South Carolina and Rhode Island decline to join.
7. In 1791, fearing violence, King Louis XVI successfully flees to a Royalist Garrison at the border of France while his country convulses in Revolution.

Book 7:
1. Many of the events of the French Revolutionary War, Napoleonic War, Quasi-War and British impressment of Columbian sailors continues as in OTL.
2. Austria-Hungary torn apart by Napoleon while a coalition of Danish, Swedish-Prussian and Russian fleets defeats Horatio Nelson at Copenhagen resulting in a renewed League of Armed Neutrality. Portugal is invaded by France and Spain, dividing up the nation into three parts. Great Britain assumed control over Brazil.
3. Empress Catherine lives another decade longer than OTL and Czar Paul more interested in the Holy Lands than war with Napoleon.
4. Napoleon does not invade Egypt but seizes the last Kingdom of the Maghreb, southern Morocco, for the Franco-Spanish alliance and continues shipping the Moors to the West Indies as slaves, denuding North Africa for European settlement.
5. Alexander Hamilton makes public Thomas Jefferson's relationship with his slave and sister-in-law, Sally Hemmings, leading to a duel which ends in Jefferson's death and Hamilton's disgrace.
6. Aaron Burr is elected President in 1800 and 1805. War between Britain and Columbia is declared over the issue of impressment.
7. Taking advantage over a mutiny in the Royal Navy, Napoleon I dispatches armies to invade Britain and Ireland.
8. Aaron Burr, seeing the opportunity to evict Great Britain from North America, dispatches troops to seize the poorly defended, disease-ridden British possessions in the West Indies.

Book 8:
1. Weakened by their poor performance in the 7 Years' War, the Columbian Revolutionary War and the Napoleonic Wars, the Royal Navy loses control over the English Channel for several months, allowing a large French Army to land in southern England. Eventually, this invasion is pushed back but southern England is ravaged.
2. Among the French Army is a Brigade of Columbians under Andrew Jackson.
3. Ireland also is invading by a Franco-Spanish Army inspiring an Irish Catholic rebellion. British forces are totally defeated and Ireland declared a Republic.
4. Portugal's Royal Family is captured by the Franco-Spanish and placed in French custody. Portugal is then broken up into component parts.
5. The government of the Portuguese colony of Brazil collapses and falls under British influence.
6. After years of impressments of their citizens at sea, Aaron Burr invades and conquers most of the Lesser Antilles Islands ruled by Britain or Britain's ally, the House of Bourbon now located in Acadia.
7. The British East India Company, long in bankruptcy, is cut off from Britain for years and its directors repudiate any debts and announce the resolvency of the institution with themselves as owners. The Company conquers Isle de France, Zanzibar, Mombasa, Aden and several of the East Indies Spice Islands.
8. The Maratha Empire conquers the French and Dutch colonies in eastern India.
9. British and Columbian forces cooperate in an attempt to force China to open to trade. The attempt fails to great loss of life.
10. President Aaron Burr orders the establishment of colonies in Eastern New Holland and South Zealand to support Asian trade and the Pacific whaling industry.
11. After an unprecedented two terms of office as President, Aaron Burr announces his intention to run for a third term. In a crowded election, no candidate wins the requisite electoral votes. The vote is then thrown to the House of Representatives where a coalition of Democratic-Republicans and Federalists agree to vote James Monroe as the new President.
12. Accused of planning to illegally cancel the election's results, Aaron Burr's own cabinet threaten to expose the President if he does not resign from office.
13. After several years of wandering, Aaron Burr happens upon Andrew Jackson in New Orleans and inquires of the General is familiar with the vast but largely unsettled Spanish colonies of Tejas and California.
14. Emperor Napoleon is killed suppressing another Portuguese rebellion. His elder brother Joseph assumes the throne.

Book 9:
1. Napoleon II of France plans a second invasion of Great Britain.
2. United States of Columbia purchases Alyeska from Russia.
3. Anglo immigration to Tejas results in rebellion amongst greater rebellion among the Spanish Empire.
4. France invests heavily in Navy.
5. Columbian influence expands in Australasia.
6. Mexico City (renamed Ciudad de Ferdando) is destroyed in rebellions by flooding.
7. Republic of Rio Grande destroyed in rebellion.
8. France's modern steamship navy gains control over Channel. French army invades.
9. Russian control over Levant leads to heavy forced migration of Russian (and later Polish) Jews, Old Believers and Copts. Arabs in southern Levant pushed out.
10. Khedive of Egypt declares Holy War on infidel. Russian forces seize lower Nile and eventually withdraw with most of Coptic (and Shi'a, Sufi, Jewish, Armenian, Greek) population of Egypt.
11.China rapidly modernizes (no Opium Wars, unequal treaties, etc).
12. France conquers England and eventually assumes control over Wales and Cornwall. Scotland becomes independent.
13. Irish mercenaries hired to help occupy England.
14. King George IV dies fleeing to Royal Islands of New York. Queen Charlotte coronated in New York. Several key members of Royal Family die defending England (Queen Caroline, Prince-consort Leopold, Prince Alfred and Prince Octavius).
15. British control over Portuguese Brazil (Portuguese royal family remains largely under house arrest in France) continues with heavy immigration. Eventually, Brazil's slaves were liberated upon fall of Great Britain by British Viceroy in hopes of maintaining control.
16. US buys rights to Tejas, Nuevo Mexico, California, Sonora and Tierra del Fuego from Ferdinand VII. US also later claims Patagonia (disputed by Spain). US also claims entire Amazon Basin (disputed by Britain).
17. Ferdinand VII dies in 1833, leaving Kingdoms of Spain, Naples and America to his three-year-old daughter. HIs brother Carlos was assassinated years before in the Spanish rebellions. He and his third wife raised his three nephews. He prepares a plan to make his nephews and cousins "Kings" in various American colonies with greater leeway to reform and govern than previous Viceroys.
18. Napoleon II expresses no desire to attack remaining British Empire: New York, Carolina and Newfoundland (like Bourbon Acadia) is too proximate to Columbia. British Jamaica, Barbados and Anglo-Bourbon St. Domingue no longer profitable amid slave manumission. Brazil believed likely to fall into rebellion. Banda Oriental too far and not particularly valuable. Napoleon II sees no reason to antagonize US and Spain. He only invaded Britain to ensure hegemony in Western and Central Europe and North Africa.
19. Napoleon II dies a few years into the occupation of Britain. Noble estates in the country are broken up among the tenants and a new English Republican Army is slowly developed to police the nation on behalf of those who benefited from the occupation. Britain allowed a free hand to trade and their people to travel. Large-scale emigration begins to British Empire (including Brazil) and Columbia. This particularly affects the urban population and upper classes.
20. US claims Sakhalin, Ezochi (Hokkaido), Kolyrma, and Kamchatka.
21. Rinderpest is introduced in early 1800's and, by 1830's, Sleeping sickness (both human and animal) spread throughout Africa.
22. The East India Company agrees to assume control over Subsaharan African colonies of the US, France, Portugal (held by France) and Britain (also held by France). Key "investors" would have a seat on the board which allows trade rights throughout the region. Also, the East India Company seizes parts of Arabia and is an investor with France and Russia in the Sinai Canal. East India Company rights are being reduced in Bombay and Gao by the Chhatrapati in Pune.

Please see links to previous books below:

Arrogance and Empire: An Alternative 7 Years War Timeline

All, I've wrapped up my Fenians TL and am getting back to an old project. For several years, I've been writing a series of novels commencing with a POD at the 7 Years War, a conflict that could have gone very differently and had huge ramifications to the world. Throughout the next few months...

Arrogance and Empire: An Alternate 7 Years War Novel - Part 2 - 1765-1775

Thanks to the readers of my previous TL, Arrogance and Empire: An Alternate 7 Years War ( This is part of a series of novels I've been writing off and on over the past 15 years or so...

Arrogance and Empire - An alternate 7 Years War Timeline - Part 3 - 1776

All, If you took the time to read my two previous novels (links below), much appreciated.

Arrogance and Empire - An Alternative 7 Years War Novel - Part 4 - 1777

I appreciate any readers of my previous chapters (see links below of the 7 Years War novel and the first two books of the following American Revolutionary War). This will be the 4th chapter of 5. Unlike previous timeline's, these are intended to read as more of a novel in the Turtledove mode...

Arrogance and Empire - An Alternate 7 Years War Novel - Part 5 - 1778

All, This is a continuation of my previous TL based upon an alternate 7 Years War. Largely, these "chapters" are in novel format rather than the historical chronical format I tend to use with my TL's. Since the TL is so extensive, I break them up into book-sized novels based upon the year...

Arrogance and Empire - An Alternate 7 Years War Novel - Part 6 - 1779-1785

All, This is a continuation of my previous TL based upon an alternate 7 Years War. Largely, these "chapters" are in novel format rather than the historical chronical format I tend to use with my TL's. Since the TL is so extensive, I break them up into book-sized novels based upon the year...

Arrogance and Empire - An Alternate 7 Years' War Novel - Part 7 - 1800-1808

All, This is a continuation of my previous TL based upon an alternate 7 Years War. Largely, these "chapters" are in novel format rather than the historical chronical format I tend to use with my TL's. Since the TL is so extensive, I break them up into book-sized novels based upon the year...

Arrogance and Empire - An Alternate 7 Years' War Novel - Part 8 - 1809-1810

All, This is a continuation of my previous TL based upon an alternate 7 Years War. Largely, these "chapters" are in novel format rather than the historical chronical format I tend to use with my TL's. Since the TL is so extensive, I break them up into book-sized novels based upon the year...

For those of you who've been reading my books over the past few years, thank you for returning again.

This is book 10 of my "Arrogance and Empire" Series which was started in the 7 Years War which had a very different result from OTL. I've since passed a hundred years and will be seeing the consequences of these events in the 1860's in book 10.

Key plotlines of this book:
1. US expansion East across the Pacific is met by an ascending power in China.
2. The three decade French occupation of England and Wales is coming to an end as the "Queen across the water" seeks to regain her throne from her base in the remaining British colonies (the Royal Islands of New York, Newfoundland, Jamaica, Barbados, the Banda Oriental) and the Commonwealth of North and South Carolina (held in personal union).
3. The expansion of the East India Company, controlled by various "shareholder" nations, into Africa and Arabia.

Key characters:
Michael Ochterlony - EIC General in Africa
Maria Mitchell - US astronomer in Africa
Abraham Galloway - EIC administrator in Kongo, former Carolinian slave
Nain Singh - EIC explorer of east Africa (Maratha)

Queen Charlotte
James Longstreet - Carolinian General in Royalist Army
Patrick Cleburne - Irish-Carolinian General

Henry Gladstone - Prime Minister of England and Wales (English Republican Army)
Louis Nolan - ERA General
Charles Gordon - ERA Officer

Philip Kearny - Columbian General
John Sedgwick - General
George Pickett - Major
George Custer - Captain
Libbie Custer
Florence Nightingale - Nurse
Ignazio Zaragoza y Seguin - Captain

James Farragut - Admiral
David Dixon Porter - Commodore
Rafael Semmes - Captain
Samuel France du Pont - Captain
Charles Wilkes - Captain.

US Government
Stephan Douglas - President
Abraham Lincoln - Secretary of Colonies and Territories
Jefferson Davis - Secretary of War
William Seward - Secretary of State
Gideon Welles - Secretary of the Navy

Tokugawa Yoshinobu - Shogun of Nihon
Emperor Komei

Zeng Guofan - Chinese General
Feng Yunshan - leader of "God Worshippers" religion in southern China (outlawed in north)
Map of World 1860
Arrogance and Empire - World - 1860.png
For those of you who've been reading my books over the past few years, thank you for returning again.

This is book 10 of my "Arrogance and Empire" Series which was started in the 7 Years War which had a very different result from OTL. I've since passed a hundred years and will be seeing the consequences of these events in the 1860's in book 10.

Key plotlines of this book:
1. US expansion East across the Pacific is met by an ascending power in China.
2. The three decade French occupation of England and Wales is coming to an end as the "Queen across the water" seeks to regain her throne from her base in the remaining British colonies (the Royal Islands of New York, Newfoundland, Jamaica, Barbados, the Banda Oriental) and the Commonwealth of North and South Carolina (held in personal union).
3. The expansion of the East India Company, controlled by various "shareholder" nations, into Africa and Arabia.

Key characters:
Michael Ochterlony - EIC General in Africa
Maria Mitchell - US astronomer in Africa
Abraham Galloway - EIC administrator in Kongo, former Carolinian slave
Nain Singh - EIC explorer of east Africa (Maratha)

Queen Charlotte
James Longstreet - Carolinian General in Royalist Army
Patrick Cleburne - Irish-Carolinian General

Henry Gladstone - Prime Minister of England and Wales (English Republican Army)
Louis Nolan - ERA General
Charles Gordon - ERA Officer

Philip Kearny - Columbian General
John Sedgwick - General
George Pickett - Major
George Custer - Captain
Libbie Custer
Florence Nightingale - Nurse
Ignazio Zaragoza y Seguin - Captain

James Farragut - Admiral
David Dixon Porter - Commodore
Rafael Semmes - Captain
Samuel France du Pont - Captain
Charles Wilkes - Captain.

US Government
Stephan Douglas - President
Abraham Lincoln - Secretary of Colonies and Territories
Jefferson Davis - Secretary of War
William Seward - Secretary of State
Gideon Welles - Secretary of the Navy

Tokugawa Yoshinobu - Shogun of Nihon
Emperor Komei

Zeng Guofan - Chinese General
Feng Yunshan - leader of "God Worshippers" religion in southern China (outlawed in north)
For those of you who've been reading my books over the past few years, thank you for returning again.

This is book 10 of my "Arrogance and Empire" Series which was started in the 7 Years War which had a very different result from OTL. I've since passed a hundred years and will be seeing the consequences of these events in the 1860's in book 10.

Key plotlines of this book:
1. US expansion East across the Pacific is met by an ascending power in China.
2. The three decade French occupation of England and Wales is coming to an end as the "Queen across the water" seeks to regain her throne from her base in the remaining British colonies (the Royal Islands of New York, Newfoundland, Jamaica, Barbados, the Banda Oriental) and the Commonwealth of North and South Carolina (held in personal union).
3. The expansion of the East India Company, controlled by various "shareholder" nations, into Africa and Arabia.

Key characters:
Michael Ochterlony - EIC General in Africa
Maria Mitchell - US astronomer in Africa
Abraham Galloway - EIC administrator in Kongo, former Carolinian slave
Nain Singh - EIC explorer of east Africa (Maratha)

Queen Charlotte
James Longstreet - Carolinian General in Royalist Army
Patrick Cleburne - Irish-Carolinian General

Henry Gladstone - Prime Minister of England and Wales (English Republican Army)
Louis Nolan - ERA General
Charles Gordon - ERA Officer

Philip Kearny - Columbian General
John Sedgwick - General
George Pickett - Major
George Custer - Captain
Libbie Custer
Florence Nightingale - Nurse
Ignazio Zaragoza y Seguin - Captain

James Farragut - Admiral
David Dixon Porter - Commodore
Rafael Semmes - Captain
Samuel France du Pont - Captain
Charles Wilkes - Captain.

US Government
Stephan Douglas - President
Abraham Lincoln - Secretary of Colonies and Territories
Jefferson Davis - Secretary of War
William Seward - Secretary of State
Gideon Welles - Secretary of the Navy

Tokugawa Yoshinobu - Shogun of Nihon
Emperor Komei

Zeng Guofan - Chinese General
Feng Yunshan - leader of "God Worshippers" religion in southern China (outlawed in north)
Love your updates and curious how are the native Americans treated in these series timeline?
Chapter 1
May, 1853


“What the hell do you mean, you won’t let us re-coal?” Commodore Matthew Perry’s growl seemed to lose something in the translation as the little slant-eyed bastard eyed the Columbian sailor with open disdain. Dozens of sailors milling about the USS Michigan’s sparklingly clean steel deck pretended not to eavesdrop.

“I believe, sir,” Lieutenant Bates, serving as translator, stuttered, “that the gentlemen…”

“I HEARD what he said!” The Columbian turned towards the Chinaman and shouted, “The Emperor has granted Columbia visitation rights for decades! Don’t think that I will…”

Unimpressed, the Chinese Imperial agent shrugged in what was apparently a universal gesture of indifference, jabbered to Bates in his incomprehensible language and ostentatiously turned his back upon the Commodore before heading for the his “junk” moored alongside.

“Sir, he repeated…that Columbian warships are no longer welcome in China,” Bates clarified, the man’s weak chin somehow exaggerating the words. “If we do not depart…”

“I heard that the first time, Bates,” Perry snarled. “I’d like to see those damned yellow devils try to force us away from Shanghai…”

Ever since the conception of this “goodwill tour” intended to remind the world of Columbian martial prowess, the “Great Fleet” comprising of four powerful steamships had sailed through European, African and now Asian waters. According to long-established civilities, the Columbians were routinely feted by local officials upon entering port for water, supplies and coal.

But the true focus of the expedition was China, where the Mandarin’s government had not only been purchasing huge quantities of naval vessels from France and Columbia…but were now apparently constructing their own. Perry rather doubted some asiatics were likely to match Columbian steel…but the surprisingly expansive fleet greeting the Columbians in Shanghai shook even Perry’s confidence. Two of the vessels were of the same class as the USS Michigan, no doubt built upon the same dockyards. Others were unfamiliar.

Gazing out upon the harbor of Shanghai, the sailor recognized the power of the enemy fleet before him.

“No wonder the Emperor believes he can dictate terms to Columbia,” Bates whispered, apparently in awe of the Chinese Navy. Unfortunately, the comment only renewed Perry’s rage.

“Bates,” he managed to state evenly, “signal the fleet…and the damned Chinese…that we will NOT be withdraw without a proper coaling and provisioning. If the Emperor actually believes he can bully us…”

Realizing he was justifying his orders to a subordinate, Perry allowed his statement to hang in the air. He wasn’t particularly concerned with the Chinese regardless of being outnumbered and probably outgunned by the vessels arrayed against the “Great Fleet”.

In the end, Perry didn’t have to endure the humiliation of being proven wrong for long. As the first shells burst above the USS Michigan, slaying dozens of sailors, the Commodore was decapitated within a minute of hostilities being initiated.

The “Great Fleet”, though on alert, proved slow to retaliate as few sailors expected actual hostilities to erupt despite admonishments to be at the ready. Eventually, the Columbian vessels returned fire with increasing efficiency but each sustained damage. Finally, the senior surviving captain signaled the rest of the fleet to follow out of Shanghai harbor.

As the tensions of previous years led to what historians would term “a pointless exorcise in poor diplomacy”, the relations between China and Columbia collapsed as trade came to an effective end, Columbian civilians were relieved only to be evicted from Chinese ports and both parties prepared for a war neither was capable of effectively fighting across an ocean.

Lost in the ensuing uproar was that fact that Perry’s “Great Fleet” was forced to cancel the next task on their world tour: sailing into Nagasaki Harbor to force another hermitic Asian nation to open their markets.

Indeed, the Columbian public, like its government, would almost forget the existence of Japan over the coming months.
Chapter 2
December, 1855


President James Buchanan sighed as his aides read through the election results of the previous. Nothing looked good. It appeared the polls were correct. He’d lost the Presidency to that jackass from Illinois, Stephen Douglas.

What did Columbia really thing I’d do back in ’53? The Pennsylvanian thought bitterly. Declare war upon China and…then what? Dispatch an army across the Pacific and conquer two hundred million Chinamen?

In disgust, Buchanan dismissed his aides so he might have some time alone. Gazing through the windows of the Presidential Office, the longtime Democratic-Republican insider shook his head that half a lifetime of dedicated service to his nation would be tossed aside over nationalistic pride.

Has this country become so conceited and complacent that they actually believed we could…or even SHOULD…lay low China over some diplomatic blunders?

What good would a war have done for this country?

With every newspaper decrying the “weakness” of his negotiated settlement with China that, at least temporarily, ended hostilities and renewed trade, the election was a forgone conclusion.

Good luck to you Douglas, Buchanan considered snidely, opening conceding his case of “sour grapes”. I would say Columbia deserves you!



Emperor Komei remained seated upon his throne, utterly silent as the bowing and scraping Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu…gloatingly informed His Imperial Majesty of his demands.

The uprising by young Samurai to overthrow the Bakufu, the long-standing political domination of the Tokugawa Shoguns in order to return practical power to the Emperor…had failed.

In addition to the obvious demands that the Emperor execute several hundred of his supporters, Komei barely noticed the Shogun’s emphasis upon further isolation from the rest of the world.
Chapter 3
July, 1860

Southeastern Siberia

Emerging by the thousand from the new expansion of the Manchu Railroad, Chinese soldiers swarmed northwards towards the Amur River where Russian soldiers and sailors were soon to be taken by enormous surprise. Having been dispatched over the past decade across the vast expanses of Siberia to gain a foothold in the Pacific, the poorly supplied Russian soldiers (largely on punishment detail) shattered and fled within hours of the invasion. Soon, the Czar’s dreams of a warm-weather port would die a painful death…along with thousands of Russian soldiers and civilians forced westwards towards central Siberia.

The Emperor would not abide foreigners threatening China’s borders any further.

Mere days after his servants informed him of the great victory to the north, a series of dictates would be dispatched to the petty islands to the east towards the rising sun. The Emperor of Japan…well, his Shogun puppeteer, anyway…would have to give up this pretense of Nihon suzerainty over the Ryukyu Islands. For decades, the Ryukyuans had attempted to pledge nominal fealty to both Nihon and China.

But there was only one TRUE Emperor.

And he most certainly DIDN’T live in Edo.

December, 1860


Accepting the adulation of the crowd, President Stephen Douglas waved his hat in the air for several minute before his constituents settled properly to allow the President to continue.

“…and the work of the past five years, though heroic, remains undone! The allocation of vacant western lands to settlement must follow the railroads snaking west across the nation…!”

Again, the citizens of Philadelphia interrupted Douglas’ acceptance speech upon being returned. For only the third time in Columbian history, a President sought and received a second five-year term of office (Burr and Clay being the other notables). Unfortunately, the Democratic-Republican Party strained under the weight of a one-party system. The rival “Columbian” Party, largely based upon anti-Catholic sentiment, won a few states this time around, threatening the one-party system which dominated the nation’s political life for half a century. Worse, tensions over tariff policy, industrialization, unionization, and even foreign affairs threatened to tear the “big tent” apart.

Ove the past five years, Douglas spent as much time attempting to keep the party from flying apart as actually governing. On more than one occasion, the President wondered why he bothered. In his more honest, introspective moments, the Illinoisan admitted to himself he could not live without politics.

“Columbia shall continued to expand into the hinterlands, from East Florida to Lower California, from Australasia to the Bering Sea, from Alyeska to Patagonia…”

Again, the crowd erupted in approval. Through his constant complaints and protestations for retirement, Columbia remained under good economic times. No threat to the peace seemed imminent.

Why not serve another five years and cement his legacy?

And really, Douglas conceded as the crowd roared in approval once more, who could give up this?
Chapter 4
March, 1861


Though granted a few amenities – a translator, what passed as adequate housing, etc – the Columbian mercenaries Frederic Ward and Chatham Wheat rapidly discovered upon arriving in Nihon that their presence was received almost as a necessary evil. Expecting to be feted as heroes, the Columbians proved to be social pariahs. Even the very government officials who hired them refused any extended discourse.

Both soldiers shrugged. It was plain these Nihonjin (apparently the natives DIDN’T call themselves Japanese or their nation “Japan”) loathed all foreigners and only tolerated the presence of the foreign “barbarians”. Even the Shogun refused a private audience. However, the gold was delivered on time. After that, the Columbians couldn’t care less.

Over the course of the coming months, the foreign “Generals” (both somewhat exaggerated their credentials) rapidly trained the “Nihonjin” Army in the use of modern muskets. Unfortunately, many of the Samurai-class, making up an astonishingly large proportion of the island nation, refused either the instruction or the weapons themselves. Neither Columbian missed them, preferring to train the peasants in the use of arms. While admiring the skill of the Samurai with the sword, the truth remained that a lifetime of martial drill in a dozen disciplines could be undone in an instant by a single bullet fired from a peasant who’d pick up a weapon for the first time that very day.

Even if the Samurai declined to accept reality, the age of the noble warrior was coming to an end.

August, 1861


Though bearing the awesome title of Shogun, in truth, Tokugawa Yoshinobu’s power derived from his extended family. He’d been chosen for the role, not inherited. Thus, the twenty-three-year-old Shogun was forced to defer to his “advisors” no less than the Emperor bowed to his own council. Yoshinobu remained silent as his relatives bickered.

“The Ryukyuans are OUR people!” Argued one of the leading Tokugawa’s, Yoshinobu’s uncle. “Surely we cannot abide the Han donkey infesting the throne…”

“Don’t be a fool!” A cousin objected. “You know as well as I that the Chinese navy…”

“Damn the navy!” Another shouted. “Let them land. Our Samurai will slaughter the…”

Through it all, the young Shogun’s hand clutched a dispatch relating the ultimatum received by the nominal governor in Okinawa by a Chinese envoy dispatched by the Mandarin.

“This pretense of Nihon control over the Ryukyus is over,” the pompous Chinese official sniffed. “No only will all Nihonjin abandon these shores within forty days…but the Emperor of Nihon shall publicly announce his repudiation of any claims to these islands…and further express his apology to the Mandarin for his presumption!” At that, the Chinese departed without another word.

Predictably, the Shogun’s Court was outraged by this high-handed and officious treatment.

“I will not accept such contempt on the part of a barbarian, even an Emperor!” The Shogun’s uncle vowed. “I will dispatch a directive to our governor in Okinawa to execute that Chinese bastard the moment he returns!”

Objections by more cautious Tokugawas emerged and the argument continued for hours. Eventually, though, the Shogun’s family agreed to forebear executing the Chinese official upon his return…but utterly refusing the outrageous demands.

What the Nihonjin failed to realize was that the Mandarin’s emissary would return with a small army of five hundred Chinese soldiers which forcibly ejected the small Nihon population of the Ryukyu Islands…resulting in several deaths on either side.

By fall, the war had effectively begun.
Chapter 5

Guangdong, Southern China

Feng Yunshan, Leader of “God Worshipers” upon the death of his cousin Hong Xiuquan some ten years past, exuded calm upon entering the offices of Imperial Governor of Guangdong according to the summons. For the past decade, Feng threw himself into organizing Hong’s religious movement, founded upon the late “prophet’s” visions of Jesus Christ (after the Hakka failed the Imperial Service examination for the fourth or fifth time), with an efficacy unknown in Hong’s lifetime.

Casting aside many of the Prophet’s…well…dumber pronouncements including the segregation of the sexes (not a great recruiting ploy to the new faith), Feng assembled the pseudo-political, social and religious movement into a religion spanning tens of millions across southern China. While “western” religions like Christianity and Islam were to be repressed, Feng managed to convince enough Imperial officials, largely concerned with other matters, that the new syncretic faith bearing aspects of Buddhism, Christianity and most other major religions to be a native revival movement, thus avoiding repression at least in the southern Provinces of China. Indeed, so quickly has the God Worshipers grown in number that the northern Provinces banned proselytization north of the Yangtze.

The literal translation was “Emperor” Worshipers, which probably led to some level of tolerance from the Mandarin. However, the “Emperor” worshiped was the divine, not the Manchu occupying the Forbidden City. Still, Feng wisely played upon this misconception and the movement expanded among the Cantonese-speaking Han and minority groups of the south without significant repression while those daring to oppose bans by northern Governors frequently were massacred in the streets.

Feng, dressed simply as the Movement preferred, bowed graciously before the Governor of Guangdong. “Your excellency, how may your humble servant assist you today?”

The aged civil servant grimaced. Donning elegant robes, the Governor knelt behind a low desk, parchments spread across its length.

“Do you feel you can properly answer the endless paperwork of my office, Feng?”

Recognizing the sarcasm, Feng bowed again, “I fear my skills would not match yours in serving the Emperor, Your Excellency.”

Rolling his eyes, the Governor made no motion for his visitor to sit. Indeed, the old bureaucrat was eager for the audience to end. Thus, he inquired directly, “Are you aware of the coming war, Feng, with the Nihon?”

“I am…aware of the troubles, though my order prefers pacificism…”

“How delightful. My question for your involves this…pacifism,” the Governor stated bluntly. “Your…followers…have been causing problems…”

“I know of no such resistance to the Emperor’s rule…or his servants…”

“Enough, Feng, I tire of this already. This province…and others of the south…will be called upon to supply war material…and soldiers. Will your…God Worshipers…accede to the authority of the Emperor?”

“Again, though we deplore violence…we accept such the temporal authority of the Emperor and his servants. Should His Imperial Majesty desire the service of my order, he shall have it without hindrance…assuming he treats us as subjects and not enemies…”

“And, how would the Emperor prove his affection for his people?”

Feng bowed respectfully again and replied with a smile, “By assuring us of his love by allowing us to worship without hindrance.”

“And that is all?”

“That…is all, Governor.”

The public servant, already groaning over the heavy duties imposed by the Emperor to oversee local naval yards, munitions factories, steel foundries and the like, flatly didn’t have the time or resources to crush this upstart cult. If the damned “God-Worshipers” only wanted to pray and preach…this was a reasonable compromise.

“See to it that I don’t have to hear your name, Feng, over the next year else the Emperor may choose to withdraw his…affection.”

“Yes, Governor, I understand completely.” With a final bow, Feng wisely accepted the Governor’s words as a dismissal and retreated. In truth, the Chinese was uncertain if he’d ever leave the office alive.

A gaggle of God-Worshipers huddled outside the Governor’s residence, exhaling a collective sigh of relief upon seeing their leader unharmed.

“What did the Governor want?” One demanded.

Feng thought for a moment and answered, “Our permission for the Emperor and his minions to govern the southern Provinces without hindrance.”

“This I have granted,” he added, “…for now.”
Chapter 6
January, 1862


Abraham Galloway, having arrived in Kongoville but a fortnight before to take up his new position for the East India Company, shook his head as the Englishman’s expedition gathered along the shores of the mighty river.

“Mr. Burton,” Galloway began in his Carolina accent, his deep mahogany skin reflecting his mixed heritage. “Surely, waiting a few more days, even a week, to await the return of the diplomatic missions up the river…”

“Is too much!” Richard Burton retorted. “Who knows if these men are alive or dead…or even will return in the foreseeable future. No, my men and I will seek them out along the river. If we miss them somehow…then we miss them. That is all.”

Like so many of his countrymen, Burton’s family fled England sometime after the conquest of France. His accent was muddled (at least to the Carolinian’s ears), indicating the man might have spent much of his life in Columbia…or some other abode. Burton eventually made his way to Africa…again like so many of his countrymen desiring adventure after years of exile but impotent to affect the occupation of his homeland. Over the past weeks, the man assembled a team of scientists, translators, porters and even a doctor, one of his own countrymen, David Livingstone, to explore the furthest reaches of the Kongo River.

Like Burton, Galloway was born into a nation claiming fealty to Queen Charlotte…but the similarities ended there. Galloway, like his kin, mired under the yoke of slavery. Despite the Commonwealth of North and South Carolina’s vows to gradually manumit their slaves over the past thirty years, in truth the Carolinians tended to emancipate first the aged, the infirm and the generally useless. As the government desired no “free blacks” within their borders or even migrating to neighboring Columbia, the Carolinians forced worn-out old men and women upon ships intended for the Columbian colonies in Africa…and later the East India Company colonies after most of the European colonial powers handed over their rights to the Company in exchange for “even access” of the entire Continent.

Only in 1856 would the final Carolinian slaves be granted their freedom…provided they departed for Africa. With large numbers of English, Welsh and even Mestizo migrants arriving to work the fields, the Black Man was simply no longer required. Unfortunately, Galloway had no idea to which colony his parents and younger sister had been transported over a decade prior, the healthy teenaged “Prime Fieldhand” being considered vastly more valuable to his master.

Barely twenty, Galloway arrived in Monrovia, one of the many cities designated for former slaves returning to Africa. Fortunately, the youth had been moderately well educated by his master, as he desired Galloway to handle the books in his mill. Learning of this, the local officials of Monrovia enrolled the native Carolinian (oddly now exiled to the land of his ancestors) in an apprenticeship program for educated blacks to serve as administrators for the East India Company. Lacking options…and having never discovered the whereabouts of his family, Galloway accepted a job as a clerk in 1860…and then a promotion to factor, a higher position, in 1863 provided he take up a post in Kongoville, a desolate town near the mouth of the Kongo where the map of Africa ended and the words “here there be dragons” could easily be imagined further inland.

The Company, eager to find new markets and new resources, actively encouraged expeditions by adventurous Europeans and Asiatics. There was very little to lose: half to two-thirds never returned to demand payment.

Now Richard Burton, no doubt frustrated at a lifetime of exile and oppression of his homeland (Galloway knew a bit of this), sought to make his name in the best way he could. Watching the party of thirty men board their canoes to row against the river, Galloway bore witness to their courage…and doubted he’d ever see them again in this world.

“Good luck, fools.”
Chapter 7
June, 1862

Northern Honshu, Nihon

Shouting to his adjutants over the almost continuous howl and shrieks of bursting Chinese shells, General Frederick Ward of the Nihon Imperial Army yelled, “Where is Wheat, damn you all?!” The Columbian national need to find his friend…and get the hell out of his country. However, the scrambling waves of fleeing Nihonjin soldiers effectively overran his headquarters. In frustration, the Columbian realized his English-speaking subordinates were nowhere to be found.

“Damn you cowards!” Ward moaned as he witnessed the shattered remnant of his painfully trained modern army, one virulently opposed by the native Samurai-class of Nihon, fled in all directions after the Chinese invaders caught the nation’s defenders in a deceptively simply pincer movement, one utilized to great effect by the Chinese Imperial Army against the Russians in the previous war.

Presently, Ward’s command tent caught fire. The officer ignored it, seeking to find someone…anyone…who spoke English. The thirty-one-year-old Massachusetts man only wished to find his friend from Louisiana, Chatham Wheat, and find the quickly transport off this island. Plainly, the Chinese Army was superior. If the Samurai thought THEY could do better against modern muskets, rifles and artillery…more power to them.

But Ward doubted decades of study in swordsmanship would matter much in the face of the mass volleys and bayonet charges which broke his own army.

As dusk turned to night and the Chinese shells continued to land within his forward command base, Ward ignored the chaos to search out his friend. Wheat commanded the cavalry in a desperate charge some hours before…not to be seen since. As their Columbian and European subordinates were among the first to flee the battlefield, the frustrated General could not find a single soul capable or willing to converse in his own tongue until spying a young Japanese staff officer carrying what Ward assumed to be some sort of loot, probably pilfered from the army stores.

“Hideki!” Ward shouted, the youth stiffening in guilt. The boy had studied English over the past years and was granted a Ensigncy for no other reason than to act as translator to the foreign officers.

“Where is General Wheat?” Ward demanded, advancing threateningly. Approaching the youth, the soldier noted a number of sabers, pistols and other contraband gathered in Hideki’s arms. For his own part, the Columbian officer didn’t care. “Have you seen the cavalry?!”

In frustration, Ward grasped the frightened youth by the shoulders and gave a hearty shake. “Where is the cavalry, damn yo…”

A sharp pain emerging from his chest, Ward gazed down to find a saber blade embedded adjacent his sternum, no doubt quite close to the heart. As shocked as the Columbian, the Nihonjin youth dropped the rest of his pilferage and fled, leaving the stumbling Frederick Ward to sink to his knees, staring in shock at his chest. Collapsing backwards, Ward lived for several more minutes, witnessing more and more Nihonjin fleeing the battlefield.

Fortunately, the soldier of fortune’s sight dimmed to black before he discovered Wheat and most of the Louisianan’s prized Nihonjin Hussars had been massacred hours before.

The Chinese were free to march south along the spine of Honshu.
Chapter 8
March, 1863


The sour Irishman scowled in abject disgust at the chaotic scene enfolding about him. Hundreds of milling bodies congregated throughout the open greens of Hyde Park, the overhead sky blessedly (if momentarily) devoid of the bleak thunderclouds which pelted London on a daily basis for the past two weeks. The brief respite in the seasonal rains allowed the dozens of novice officers, gunners and loaders to continue their training unmolested by the fear that the precious barrels of powder might be spoilt under the deluge. Experienced Irish drill sergeants bellowed in a bizarre mixture of English, Gaelic and internationally recognized profanity while more stately officers exhorted their amateurish charges to greater competence. The trainees, bearing a treasure-trove of recently distributed white uniforms befitting their new official status as soldiers, struggled to comprehend the professional Irish officers’ commands as they awkwardly attempted to operate the dozen cannon provided for exercises.

Granted, Colonel Thomas William Sweeny of the Irish Artillery had witnessed worse material in his forty-plus years, half of which he’d dedicated to the service of his people. Neophytes seldom exhibited any form of proficiency with the sturdy nine-pound Napoleon cannon until living and caring for the powerful weapons for several months. And that was with the guidance of competent officers. The semi-literate fools failed to comprehend mathematical concepts such as calculating trajectory and elevation on the 1857 Howitzers.

No, the Irishman’s ire revolved not around the quality of the recruits but their nationality. To a man, these trainees were Englishmen being trained to operate artillery by their soon-to-be-former Irish overlords. Sweeney spat out a curse at the craven cowards in Paris and Dublin who allowed the state of affairs to reach this stage.

“Ah, charming as always, Will,” drifted in a mocking jest.

Sweeny recognized the Erse brogue. Not bothering to turn, he muttered acidly “And what does the fine Colonel of the 3rd Cavalry seek today, Tom?”

Though the artillery officer’s dismal mood clung stubbornly to his soul, just hearing his mother tongue eased at least a minute portion of his indignation. If nothing else, the humiliating retreat would allow him to put the grotesque English language behind him. For fifty years, Erse had been steadily regaining ground on the Emerald Isle as the language of government, law, and business. Schools, now blessedly mandatory throughout the nation through age twelve, taught the official language exclusively. Upon independence, the majority of the people of Ireland spoke English as their first language. Half a century on, barely one in ten babbled in the abhorrent tongue in their own homes, predominately the Presbyterian Scots whom had begged to remain in Ulster under the liberated Irish Republic (now the Kingdom of Ireland under a Stuart Queen).

“I just thought I’d bear witness to the formation of an elite artillery battalion,” Thomas Meagher inserted breezily. The slight cavalryman bore his stylish thick mustache beneath his receding hairline.

His old friend from the Irish Military College smiled disarmingly but Sweeney was not in the mood for mirth on this day. Training his nation’s inveterate enemy in the art of war lent the impression that the French Emperor and Irish President had lost their wits.

Sweeney gestured towards the Englishmen energetically learning to wage war at the hands of their overlords, “Over three decades since the conquest of this dismal isle, France and Ireland sought to ground these Anglo-Saxon upstarts under our heel to ensure the bastards never again threaten our homes. Now five minutes after France pulls out, we’re actually teaching them how to kill us?!”

Meagher sighed as he pulled out a pair of cigars, fine Havanas he’d taken a liking to over the past few years, handing one to his old friend. “Will, do you even comprehend what the President has been telling us lo this many a year? Ireland can hardly sustain the expense of keeping fifty thousand men in arms in England and Wales anymore, not to mention replacing forty thousand French and German continentals that Charles X withdrew last year to deal with the rebellions springing up through Europe. Hell, the government is so broke it couldn’t even afford those harbor improvements Dublin and Cork have been screaming for…”

“Bah,” Sweeney interrupted snidely, “the occupation has paid for itself. We tax the cursed Englishmen to pay for their own occupation, just as the hell-bound British Kings did in Eire for century.”

Shaking his head sadly, the cavalry officer inserted, “Not any longer, Will. You know as well as I do that was compromise necessary to keep the peace with the English Republican Army and no land taxes for the freeholders in the countryside meant that revenues would permanently dissipate. The excise taxes on the city dwellers and the northern weavers would hardly pay for a hundred thousand foreign soldiers and our ERA friends.”

“And to be blunt,” Meagher added with a wink that Sweeney purposefully attempted to ignore, “the first few years of the occupation was subsidized by the…acquisition…of private English property. Sadly, we’ve rifled through every landowner’s cellar for hidden gold, sold off every piece of art, auctioned every aristocratic manor in the countryside and fine townhome in London and the port cities, not that there were actual buyers anywhere.”

Sighing, the horseman concluded, “No, we’ve done our best to avenge centuries of exploitation as best we could. We ground Perfidious Albion down as roughly as possible and ensured it would take a damnable long time before this nation would be a threat to the world again. Surely, that must be good enough for Ireland, God bless her, cannot afford to continue in this vein, not without the French.”

Sweeney grumbled into his ample beard, knowing Meagher’s sentiments rang true but could not summon the civility to part with the words. No, only a massive land tax could possibly raise the revenue and that option was clearly impossible. During the waning years of the occupation, Emperor Charles X of France, cunning bastard that he was, played the old game of divide and conquer to the hilt by setting the British against one another. Since the early days of the invasion, it became apparent that even a permanent force of one hundred thousand Irish and continental Europeans could not maintain lasting control over all of Britannia should the natives prove intransigent. With partisans attacking every patrol, the countryside was abuzz with insurgents.

First, the Scots, their own long-festering feuds with the English always foremost in their minds, were granted independence on the condition that all government ties to the former Great Britain were cut. This concordance afforded the beleaguered victors a respite. Wales was offered the same but declined, evidently believing the conquest would be short induration and mild in scope. That forlorn hope proved disastrous for the Welsh, not that Sweeney cared. If Ireland’s Celtic cousins preferred English slavery, then they could join their former masters in occupation.

Unexpectedly, the Emperor’s solution in stemming the violence in England proved subtle and devastating for the locals dreaming of liberating their homeland. Seeing the bitterness endemic among the English tenant farmers long toiling in penury for absentee landlords whom too frequently might cast their downtrodden families off his lands without provocation or a moment’s notice, Napoleon II and later Charles X made an astonishing offer. Any country farmer who’d labored upon his lord’s land for one year would be entitled to an equal parcel with his fellows without any obligation but to tend to it for five years. No purchase, even taxation was exempt. To an impoverished planter, the prospect of acquiring property under his own name defied description. Under English law, less than one adult male in five maintained the proper wealth to receive a voice in the political process, usually tied to land ownership.

Unsurprisingly, the English countryside soon became a bastion of collaboration for the occupying armies, allowing the bulk of the invaders to concentrate on the burgeoning cities, stamping out riots and rebellions among the unemployed weavers, sailors, merchants and tradesmen who found that the Emperor possessed no inclination whatsoever to allow the great trading nation to continue as an economic power. The insurrections were put down without prejudice on the part of the soldiers billeted in the towns. Finding no outlet for employment, the port cities steadily depopulated throughout the 1840’s and 50’s as the desperate population of England (and the Anglicans of Ulster) fled for the new world, thus making the occupation considerably easier to manage. It was estimated that a quarter of Britain’s population, excluding the Loyalist Ulstermen who’d emigrated in even larger numbers to avoid massacre by the House of Stuart, sailed for the pathetic remnant of the British colonies or to the United States of Columbia. In short order, a loyal country police force of trusted (at least trusted to see to their own best interests) English farmers was established, slowly to evolve into the English Republican Army.

Sadly, certain subsidies were still required from France and Ireland to maintain this army, subsidies apparently dried up as the peoples of France herself rose up in protest at expense.

Sweeney brushed the thoughts aside before finally returning to his central complaint, “But why actually train the damned English army? You know they’ll only use these guns on us! Why arm the people sure to seek revenge upon us in the future.”

Meagher offered his friend the sly grim which drove Sweeney so grit his teeth in irritation, “Will, perhaps they might, perhaps they might at that. But whom will they use these guns upon first?”

“Us, you idiot!”

Meagher laughed, “Not so certain, Will, not so certain! Tell me, what is going to happen the minute this Gladstone fellow, the one who runs the political wing of the ERA, concludes the election, which he will win, and tells us to be on our merry way?”

“I know what I’d like to do…”

“After Gladstone wins,” the cavalryman ignored Sweeney’s ire, “and after the Irish Army peacefully departs this cursed country, I daresay Her Majesty will return.”

“Yes, so?” Sweeney was baffled how this was a relevant point. All these filthy Englishmen ever did was pine for “Good Queen Charlotte”, the martyr whom fled the country three decades ago, most of the native aristocracy prudently sailing for the colonies in her wake. “Even the ERA sings songs around the campfires proclaiming their love of the old bat in New York City, with her false court of exiled, inbred nobles.”

“Precisely!” Meagher cried, as if this fact were significant in some way, and the artilleryman was remarkably obtuse for failing to discern this. “And what will these lords and ladies do upon their return? Hmm?”

“Invade Ireland?” Sweeney retorted caustically.

“That might be the…second…thing the English do. Will, don’t you think that all those exiled aristocrats might, oh, I don’t know, try to regain their property?”

Sweeney took a long moment to think about this. The titled nobility and landowners tended to be one and the same. When the British Parliament fled like curs for the transports back in glorious ’29, the land was thankfully denuded of gentry, allowing Napoleon II greater leeway in distributing their vacant property. Should they return from New York and Newfoundland and Jamaica (or wherever the hell the English upper classes fled towards in hopes of avoiding an occupation), and find armed ERA soldiers with the temerity to claim their ancestral lands…

Sweeney smiled grimly. Perhaps Eire’s revenge had not reached full satisfaction after all. Sweeney’s concentration was momentarily broken by a high-pitched scream arising from nearby. Two English loaders evidently loitered too near the muzzle of the cannon when it went off. Though no live shot had been issued, the powder burns could be a bitch. Not that the Irish Artillery officer cared a whit about the pair of writhing forms along Hyde Park’s verdant fields. Tom’s remarks proved too alluring to be distracted for long.

Noting the belated comprehension light his friend’s pugnacious features, Meagre nodded, “Yes, now you see. And our English friends in New York continue to aid our cause. Why, just this morning, I received a newspaper from Newark, that’s a city in Columbia, which quoted Lord Palmerston, Her Majesty’s Prime Minister in exile, claiming that Gladstone is a traitor, as is every Englishman who collaborated during the occupation. He vowed to hang Gladstone, John Stuart Mill, John Leno, the whole lot organizing the election.”

“Our friend went on to claim that this “French democracy” Gladstone is creating, namely one where all men are entitled to vote and not just the upper classes, will be annulled upon the return of Her Majesty and her loyal exiles. Naturally, all former privileges and properties, for all purposes the majority of the farmland in England, will be returned to their proper owners. Such august persons as Lord Palmerston, the Duke of Cambridge, and the whole host of locusts will sail for England certain that the ERA will lay down their arms in gratitude of being relieved of the lands they’ve farmed for thirty years in their own right and uncounted generations before in order to return to the squalid life of the tenant farmer in service to their betters, not to mention joyously waiving their right to vote in Gladstone’s new unicameral Parliament. Surely, the euphoria of being condescended to by their aristocratic masters…”

“Yes, Tom, I do believe I see your point,” Sweeney interrupted, “Thank you. By gods, you are longwinded enough, aren’t you? Yes, I do believe someday you shall make a fine politician and, no, I don’t intend that as a compliment.”

Meagher grinned, his aspirations of election to Oireactas, Ireland’s Parliament, were a matter of public record. His late father had been a wealthy merchant and Mayor of Waterford City. At best, Sweeney could hope for some pitiful garrison command in the ass end of Connacht.

“So,” Sweeney concluded, “you are saying the damned British aristocrats and their dried-up Queen will alienate Gladstone and every Englishman tied to the new order. It is destined to come to blows.”

“Quite explicitly if the papers speak the truth. Volunteer regiments are being summoned from Newfoundland, the West Indies, even as far as the Banda Oriental. The Carolinians are sending soldiers to New York, and I daresay the millions of British emigrants to Columbia over the past three decades might prove a fertile field of recruits as well. I have no idea how well armed they’ll be…”

A long pause. “Can they win?”

Meagher assumed his friend was inquiring about the chances of the exiles against the fledgling government of Henry Gladstone. Only French and Irish forbearance allowed the election, astonishingly free and fair by all observers, but Charles X hadn’t permitted any of the exiles to return until after the new government took office. That was a condition of self-determination. Now the French were gone, the Irish Army is departing within the month, and the ERA was being trained to defend the Isles.

“It isn’t as if Her Majesty has maintained a massive army in New York, awaiting the day of our departure. Really, she’s hidden behind the skirt of the United States of Columbia which loathed to allow the French access to North America, else the colonies would have fallen within a year of England.

“The remnants of the wooden vessels of the Royal Navy, those which carried her and her ilk to North America, have long since rotted away and the one or two million souls of her minor domains in the west could hardly afford to maintain a modern fleet like those of France or Columbia. Queen Charlotte will have to hire private vessels for her invasion, all funded by donations, of course. But Gladstone hardly has a fleet either.”

Sweeney thought intently, recalling his father’s nightly diatribes about the deep-held sense of entitlement and superiority endemic in the English character. Such vitriol invariably rubbed off on the young Thomas William Sweeney, eager to avenge centuries of pillage and oppression in Ireland by laying waste to the newly-conquered England. Well, the time for direct reprisal had passed. Only one avenue lay open to a soldier eager to wreck bloody restribution upon the enemy.

Without another word or a backward glance at this friend, Colonel Sweeney strode forward to berate the hapless English crew attempting to clean one of the 9-Pound Napoleons. If killing Englishmen directly was no longer viable, then the Irishman was damn certain he’d train them to kill each other.
Chapter 9
August, 1863

New York City, Dominion of the Royal Islands of New York

“Well, Jeff,” the tall, awkward Columbian politician murmured towards his companion, waiting for the elegantly dressed Negro handing them a crystal goblet of port to sidle off before concluding his whisper, “have you figgered on why we’re here yet?”

The sprawling drawing room of the New York Palace, Her Majesty Queen Charlotte’s residence during her soon-to-be concluded exile in the new world, was considerably less crowded than the previous occasion Columbia’s Secretary of the Territories and Colonies had visited New York. Typically, Her Majesty’s drawing room tended to be filled to the rafters with sycophants and jobseekers, but Queen Charlotte demanded a more limited guest list this evening. It gave a certain measure of privacy as the two visiting dignitaries were able to maintain a semblance of seclusion beneath the background babble of conversation echoing off the opulent chamber’s walls.

The southerner laughed lightly, glancing sharply around to ensure no prying ears would overhear their conversation, “Not that I can gather, Abe. Apparently, our esteemed colleague insisted every civil servant in Philadelphia ride northward without delay to ensure adequate participation during the celebration. After all, a sundered nation is to be unified.”

“An odd concept,” Abraham Lincoln replied with a smirk to his friend, the Secretary of War for the United States of Columbia, “Let us feel fortunate such an occasion never touched our lives.”

Jefferson Davis raised his goblet in toast, “Why, I nearly dived out the window when William Steward entered my office. I could tell by that grim countenance that I was about to be called upon for some hideous service for my country. Never in my deepest nightmares could I imagine a full day’s journey in the same coach with the man followed by a week of rubbing elbows with the exiled British gentry.”

Davis gestured slightly towards the frail figure of William Seward, the Secretary of State, whom not only ensnared Davis in his clutches but Lincoln, unfortunately billeted across the river in Columbian territory at an inopportune time while unwittingly making arrangements with Bronx bankers for loans to support the latest settlement in Western Australasia. Spying the dour diplomat with Lord Palmerston, the British Prime Minister-in-exile, and the commander-in-chief of Her Majesty’s forces in America, Queen Charlotte’s cousin, the Duke of Cambridge, Lincoln visibly shivered.

“Now there are three persons who truly deserve each other. I met the gentlemen on my last visit to British New York, one which I’d heartily prayed to be my last. Cambridge alternated between pompous condescension and blustery rants. Palmerston offered little more of wheedling cries of destitution for the dispossessed British gentry and “Columbia’s obligation” to forgive the loans taken against the artwork the nobles smuggled out of Britain. If for any other reason, I pray the whole lot returns to power just to get rid of them.”

Davis guffawed heartily, “How did you get out of that one, Abe?”

“Believe it or not, Queen Charlotte personally rescued me from that corner. Really, the woman could not have been more gracious.”

“Yes, she does seem to behave better than the rest of her aristocratic ilk. Most of them ran through their cash and pawned possessions within a year of landing in New York. Did you know that the Carolinas practically tossed out those British nobles seeking refuge there?”

Lincoln nodded. “Didn’t some group of Earls or Barons walk into the Carolina Parliament and demand to be seated by virtue of their noble birth?”

Davis laughed, his gentle features relaxing with the accustomed banter with his friend, “Evidently, more than a few demands for duels were extended. The Royal Governor had to order the troublemakers out of his country else they’d be strung up. Amazingly, the Brits continue to think of Carolina as a British colony rather than a personal union under Queen Charlotte. Of course, one might say that about our nation as well given the supercilious treatment heaped upon our people when their lordships take the grand tour of Columbia.”

“It probably doesn’t help that so many Columbians blindly fawn over anyone claiming a title and a hereditary claim to a patch of dirt in Pigsnout Hollow, Sussexshopshire, or wherever the hell his lordship congealed from…”

Davis cut off his friend with a wave of the hand, as a herald announced the presence of Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain, Ireland, France, the Dominions of the Banda Oriental, Jamaica, Barbados, the Royal Islands of British New York, Newfoundland, the Commonwealth of North and South Carolina, etc. Entering her late sixties, the instinctively regal bearing of Queen Charlotte still managed to maintain a facade of gentle disposition over the ingrained dignity of her station. The standard bow was offered by all present and, as was custom, the echoing conversations lowered to whispers as the Queen glided in a semi-circle around the room. A few words were always uttered by Her Majesty to each guest, regardless of rank. Conspicuous by his absence was Prince Leopold, the Royal Consort, who’d fallen defending Britain so many years ago. Rumor had it Charlotte never ceased to grieve for Leopold’s loss. For the life of him, Lincoln could not recall which petty principality Leopold hailed from. He imagined it hardly mattered now.

At fate would have it, the Columbians found themselves at the wrong end of the semi-circle. It would take at least an hour before Her Majesty would reach their position. Naturally, the Columbians wouldn’t dare attempting to jump the line. Fights had broken out over the centuries for less. Lincoln wondered absently if court etiquette allowed him excuse himself for void his bowels. His constipation worsened during the drawn-out journey to New York and the tall, gangly man feared an inopportune eruption. Across the room, Seward frowned at Lincoln and Davis’ aloof positioning and turned to join his countrymen, a stern lecture regarding international diplomacy obviously forming on his thin lips.

Oh, God in heavens, save us from that pompous…

“Mr. Lincoln?”

So intent was Lincoln on his grating comrade that he’d failed to notice a small woman approach. By the stylish and simple elegance of her dress, she was obviously a member of court. Perhaps forty years, the round face looked familiar, somewhat reminiscent of his wife Mary, currently safely ensconced in Philadelphia, away from this grotesque assemblage of personages. A short guffaw from Davis verified that his pause had drifted on far too long for courtesy. A random memory emerged; he’d seen the face before…

“Yes, it is a pleasure,” epiphany at last as the mortified politician concluded, “Princess Victoria, to finally make your acquaintance.”

Of course. Her Royal Highness, Princess Victoria. Cousin to the Queen and the Heiress Presumptive of the British Empire, soon to include Britannia again if certain ambitions are achieved.

A flicker of amusement crossed the woman’s bland features, which swiftly returned to their stately manner. Lincoln was certain he’d committed a breathtaking gaff in etiquette in speaking out of turn.

“You are most welcome to New York City, sir. I recall that you visited once before but I failed to introduce myself prior to your departure. Might I inquire as your journey? I understand the southerly rain was quite unpleasant this past week.”

“Not at all, Your Royal Highness, fortune offered a brief respite for my own voyage north,” Lincoln gestured to his comrade, Davis’ face an admirable mask of composure. “Might I introduce Mr. Jefferson Davis, Columbian Secretary of War, also generously invited to partake in the festivities.”

At this, the middle-aged woman fixed her gaze upon the genteel Louisianan, her features furrowing. “Mr. Davis, I daresay my people owe you a great debt of gratitude for your support in these trying times. My cousin, the Duke of Cambridge, has often stated that, had the United States not sold so many weapons to army over the preceding years, the expedition to reclaim Britain from Irish and French might not proceed as swiftly as it does.”

Davis bowed in acknowledged, offering only the hint of embarrassment. President Douglas gave only the most tepid of responses to Queen Charlotte’s official request for assistance in reclaiming her throne. Being not inclined to alienate the dominating power in Europe, France, Lincoln’s fellow Illinoian opted to turn a blind eye to recruiting and fundraising in the United States by the Duke of Cambridge. Beyond proclaiming any naval vessels hired to transport this army to Britain outside the protection of the United States Navy, it seemed Stephen Douglas intended to simply stand back and let the British fight it out between themselves, not that Columbia necessarily felt any obligation to support her former colonial master. Two wars over the past century cooled the nation’s ardor for a prosperous Great Britain, no matter the baying cries of the large English immigrant population within Columbia and general Anglo-Saxon solidarity.

“The French and Irish are well expected to have departed upon your expedition’s arrival, Your Royal Highness,” broke in William Seward rudely, an unfamiliar and false smile etched across his harsh features at catching Princess Victoria off-guard. “Only Mr. Gladstone’s republican government remains. Tell me, does the Duke of Cambridge truly believe that Gladstone will simply hand the country back to Her Majesty on a silver platter?”

The Princess visibly flustered, uncertain what to say in response to the pointed question. Davis stared daggers at the man. It is said diplomacy was naught but war by other means but publicly grilling a woman, and the Heiress Presumptive at that, left a bad taste in the genteel southerner’s mouth.

“Naturally, you should direct a question of that nature to the Prime Minister, Mr. Seward, where it belongs,” inserted a rough, Germanic cadence in a particularly cold tone.

The Princess relaxed and muttered “Albert” toward a balding man developing a substantial paunch. Lincoln did not recognize the face, though it probably adorned the gossip pages dozens of times. Albert, a cousin of Victoria, had departed some minor German principality (really, was there any actual English blood in the British Royal line?) to marry the heiress presumptive in exile.

“Yes, Mr. Seward,” Davis growled, “perhaps that might be appropriate.”

The New Yorker glared back at his longtime comrade in the Senate, now considered a rival for the presidency should Douglas decline to run for a third term in 1865. Their relationship had become glacial with familiarity. Still, Seward at least respected Jefferson Davis. The prickly and overbearing Secretary of State considered Lincoln a country bumpkin from the start and openly wondered as to why on earth Stephen Douglas would appoint such a rustic as Territorial and Colonial Secretary.

“That I shall, Mr. Davis, that I shall,” turning back to the ill-treated Princess, Seward offered a “good-day, ma’am” before floating back to the British politicians.

“And that, Ma’am” Lincoln gestured towards the retreating figure of Seward, “is what we deal with every day.”

At this, the lady broke into a loud chuckle, swiftly covering her mouth in chagrin as the sound echoed off the halls. Queen Charlotte gazed up momentarily in confusion before returning her attention to the pair of visitors gesticulating wildly at their sovereign. It appeared likely that it would take quite some time before Her Majesty reached the Columbians.

“Mr. Lincoln, Mr. Davis,” the Princess pressed on despite her embarrassment, a touch of warmth in her low voice, “thank you again for your attendance. Thankfully for all concerned, the endless balls and parties should soon subside, and we can all return to the business of state.” Albert nodded graciously over her shoulder.

Davis returned, “May the Royal Family’s return to England bring peace and prosperity to your people, long overdue for some good fortune.”

“To freedom and justice to our ancestral homeland,” Lincoln quickly echoed.

Victoria and Albert nodded in polite acknowledgement and proceeded to the next group of visitors along the drawing room, granting the Columbians a momentary reprieve.

“My god, Jeff, that man could start an argument in an empty room.”

Davis chuckled, “I fear for our nation’s future, Abe. Any further exhibitions of diplomacy such as that and we’ll be at war with half the world by supper.”

The southerner’s face clouded, eyed trailing the Princess and her ever-faithful consort as they circulated the room, “I fear that dear lady might be due for many nights of distress. Her two eldest sons have been brevetted officers in the New York Regiments, you know.”

“Yes, Berti, was it? The next in line for the throne after Princess Victoria? Well, at least the British aristocracy must be credited with leading their soldiers into battle, not that it is necessarily prudent, as in the Duke’s case.”

Davis nodded in agreement. The good Duke of Cambridge’s qualifications for ultimate command of the British Monarchist expedition might prove disastrous. Even a novice at the art of war like the Colonial Secretary could detect the subtle tension whenever the haughty Englishman addressed one of his “inferiors”. For such a man to lay claim to command…

Seeing his friend’s face darken in concern, Lincoln furrowed his brow for a long moment before raising his hand towards his face in embarrassment. “Oh, forgive me, Jeff. I forgot it was your eldest son also sailing for the colonies as well.”

“Not at all, Abe. We are both fathers, so you know that fear for the safety of your children can overpower a parent. But Jefferson is a man now, in many ways as headstrong as I in my youth. I certainly would not have resisted the siren call of adventure in the South Pacific, nor should Jefferson Jr.”

“I pray the our recent troubles with China shall not come to blows, though in my heart, I hold little hope. The Mandarin has evicted the Russian Czar from Siberia, invaded the northern islands of Nippon. Certainly, the Emperor would not hesitate to acquire title to our friends in south-east Asia as well.”

For centuries, the fabled land of China evoked images of inhuman wealth and exotic charms. But the introverted Kingdom seldom evidenced any interest in communication or trade with the outside world. Half a century ago, a joint effort by British and Columbian fleets (due to the immense communication lag during the now-bygone age of sail, neither commander knew their respective nations were at war with one another) unsuccessfully attempted to force the massive Asiatic country to open its borders to trade. Perversely, this rather crass attempt at imperialism brought the nation out of its self-imposed slumber. Trade was belatedly invited but only on China’s terms. Western technology was demanded in return for fine pewter and tea. In short order, the rapidly industrializing nation was manufacturing its own fleet of steam-powered warships and organizing a national railroad snaking into the farthest reaches of the east.

Sadly, this new wave of technological and scientific advances did nothing to stifle the absolutist tendencies of the Mandarin Emperor. The sparsely populated land of Siberia was unceremoniously confiscated from the Czar, for no other obvious reason than to eliminate any white influence in northern Asia. The equally sheltered land of Nihon, or Nippon as some called the small island archipelago east of China, was in the process of being invaded, undoubtedly regretting her rejection of Columbian protection the preceding decade.

However, the southern Asian states, steadily falling into Columbian influence, desperately wished to avoid Chinese rule and, in varying degrees of regret, opted for status as Columbian protectorates. The hereditary rulers of Siam, Burma and the Viet States conceded certain rights to Columbia, several raising local legislatures. Should the United States assist in the transformation of these feudal kingdoms into fully functioning democracies whilst simultaneously preventing their capture by an increasingly tyrannical and despotic Mandarin Emperor…well, Abraham Lincoln might just consider that the crowning achievement of his life, exceeding even his recently enacted legislation protecting the rights and property of the pacific islanders.

As protectorates, the Asian states fell into a gray area between Seward’s State Department and Lincoln’s Colonial Office. Given the tense situation developing in Asia, Davis’ War Department also weighed in rather heavily. A massive naval base was under construction on the island of Singapora and dozens of Regiments (including the one in which Jefferson Davis Jr. served) were preparing for transport to Nihon, whose own Emperor was apparently now willing to accept Columbian friendship. Fortunately, President Douglas kept the cabinet egos in check and working towards the common good.

For now.

At length, the Columbian politicians broke off their conversation as Queen Charlotte graciously made the rounds and courteously welcomed the visitors. Naturally, the prickly Seward reappeared long enough to stiffly return the Queen’s goodwill. And then it was over. The diplomat peremptorily dismissed his colleagues and rushed over towards a babbling band of British functionaries to impose his will.

Lincoln and Davis quietly retreated out the door to return to Columbia. With the rapidly deteriorating situation in Asia, neither could be spared from their duties for too long.
Chapter 10
December, 1863


General Michael Ochterlony of the East India Company Army trotted through the southern summer evening upon Grazer, the quarter horse he’d purchased upon reassignment to Natal. Entrusted by the Company Board of Directors with the new capital of the EIC, the Levant-born soldier silently conceded the plains of Southern Africa were quite beautiful, the evening silence ouf the countryside something of a godsend against the backdrop of the daily chaos of a boomtown.

Over the course of the previous fifteen hours, Ochterlony had been called upon to mediate a land dispute between outraged Chinese miners complaining of being evicted from their claim by an equally livid Maratha farmer. That the Maratha spoke a language or dialect none of Ochterlony’s diverse staff could parse (it would later be determined to be a Dravidian dialect from southern “India”, as many of the non-ethnic Maratha citizens of the Confederacy tended to call the subcontinent) for hours until a translator could be found among the frenzied boomtown of Natal.

In the end, the farmer’s claim was proven and the Chinese stake determined to be over ten miles to the north. Exhausted by this and a hundred other headaches stemming from attempting to glean order from chaos, Ochterlony left the office early and took to the countryside’s muddy lands in search of escape.

Patting Grazer’s neck, Ochterlony murmured, “Well, boy, it seems to be getting dark. Shall we head for home?”

Receiving no response from the horse, the soldier gripped the reins to turn back towards the dim glow of Natal upon the horizon when a glint of light caught his eye to the east. Squinting his eyes against the gathering blackness, Ochterlony detected the rectangular outline of a homestead as well as dozens of cattle shuffling about a field. Fortunately, the tsetse fly’s range didn’t reach so far south, no doubt due to the relative cold of southern Africa. Horses like Grazer and the herd beast wallowing throughout the field remained largely safe from the Sleeping Sickness and the Company responded actively against any hint of Rinderpest.

However, it was neither the home nor the cattle which drew the General’s attention but an odd, lonely silhouette occasionally reflecting light captured by some ediface His curiosity whetted, Ochterlony took the liberty of entering the farmstead without invitation, nudging Grazer forward. As he approached the odd structure, his initial guesses of either a windmill or uncommonly large well were proven incorrect.

Instead, the construction proved to be a fifteen-foot wooden shell surrounding a large, tubelike structure placed atop a modest rise in the open field.

What on earth?

Brow furrowed in thought, wondering as to the utility of the structure, Ochterlony was startled as a dark figure emerged from behind. Even in the dim light, the swishing of an expansive western dress was apparent.

An irritated female voice demanded in English, “Who are you and what are you doing on Mr. Samson’s plantation?”

Taking a moment to gage the odd accent, Ochterlony guessed the lady hailed from Columbia.

Abruptly recognizing he hadn’t answered, the soldier tipped his hat and replied in a gentlemanly fashion, “Governor-General Michael Ochterlony, ma’am. I happened to be passing by and wondered as to the identity of this…what is this?”

Though the soldier could not make out details of the lady’s face, he rather suspected it screwed in irritation. After a much put upon sigh, the woman gestured towards the construction and stated, “This, sir, is the McPherson telescope, property of Radcliff College in Cambridge Massachusetts.”

“Ah…so that is that tube…” Ochterlony nodded, though he doubted the lady could see in the gathering gloom. “And explains why you are out at night, Mrs…”

“Mitchell, if you must know. Maria Mitchell.” Yes, there was definitely an irritation.

“And your husband brought this contraption all the way from Massachusetts?”

The women snapped her head about and hissed through clenched teeth, “I have no husband, sir, and I brought this “contraption” all the way from Massachusetts upon my authority as Professor of Astronomy at Radcliff College to study the southern night sky!”

Recognizing his gaff, Ochterlony removed his cap fully and bowed low in the saddle, “Please excuse me, ma’am, I meant no offense. Upon reflection, I believe I have the pleasure of meeting THE Maria Mitchell who discovered that comet a few years back?”

Merely a shadow against the gathering gloom, the woman crossed her arms. “You have heard of me?”

“I believe I read an article of…was it the King of Denmark not granting you a medal of achievement?” The soldier replied. “Though I follow the sciences, I fear I am not well read in astronomy itself. However, I believe I should have guessed upon your mention of Radcliff College, situated near my father’s place of birth in Boston.”

For once, the icy tone moderated, “You are a Bostoner?”

“My father, ma’am, departed Boston in his youth to serve in the East India Company in Bombay. Eventually, he sailed for the Levant for service of the Czar,” he explained. “I found the Levant…insalubrious…and sought employment with the Company in Africa.”

“Of course, GOVERNOR Ochterlony. Though I follow politics, I am not well read upon local notables.”

Sensing the teasing, Ochterlony laughed, “Hardly a notable, ma’am. May I inquire of what you are searching for in these southern skies?”

For a long moment, the woman remained silent, perhaps wondering if the soldier’s condescension continued. Belatedly, she replied, “I am…searching for a theorized eighth planet beyond the orbit of Uranus. In this time of year, it would be easier to discern from the southern hemisphere…”

“Fascinating,” the soldier noted sincerely. “And you have calculated the probably orbital path of this eighth planet to the point that you know it would be easier to find from the southern hemisphere?”

“If I am correct, yes.”

“A remarkable achievement.” Gazing up at the sky, Ochterlony inquired. “May I see the region you are searching?”

Again, the woman hesitated but saw no reason to offend a prominent official without due cause. “If you like. The night, as you can see, is quite clear. At the worse, I can give you a good glimpse at Mars tonight.”

“Thank you, Ms. Mitchell,” he added quickly, dropping from the saddle and tying Grazer to a nearby stump. Considerately, the woman stepped forward with a bucket of water for the tired beast. She must have received several visitors today.

As Maria Mitchell briefly explained the technical aspects of the telescope, the aging soldier wondered what the woman looked like in the light of day.
Chapter 11


“Are you certain of your decision, Mr. Singh?”

The thirtyish, mocha-skinned Indian glanced askance upon the EIC factor and merely nodded, no doubt questioning Abraham Galloway’s character to even ask such a question. Though most of the explorers passing through Monrovia and Kongoville over the past years had been European (thus reflecting the still Euro-centric nature of the Company governance), there remained no shortfall of Asiatics plunging into the African interior in search of glory and riches. Through their connection to the subcontinent, Nain Singh received an offer of employment to explore the vast expanses of Africa and, like so many before, could not resist the allure. Galloway could not comprehend the recklessness inherent in a man’s character to so casually seek death.

“You are aware, of course, that Mr. Burton and Dr. Livingstone’s expedition up the Kongo…and most of those proceeding it…have yet to return,” Galloway tried again. “The chances of survival remain…low…due to the ongoing Bleeding Death, Malaria and Sleeping Sickness epidemics…”

In heavily accented English, the Indian held up his hand, “Sir…I have explored deep into Tibet…to the mountains of Madagascar…I’ve even visited the island cemetery of Java…and I have never refused to march further. This is my path and the gods demand that I follow it.”

Galloway sighed and leaned back in his chair. While the town of Kongoville grew apace, the fact remained that the interior of Africa remained obscure. Perhaps, a few days’ journey up the Congo lay the greatest gold mine in the world…but the plague-filled land of Galloway’s ancestors simply exacted too great a toll. Promises to import vast numbers of Chinese or Indian or Brazilian laborers to work hypothetical gold mines or sugar plantations abounded…

But the vast lands must first be mapped and cooperation coerced from any tribal chief who’s nation remained discernably intact. Unfortunately, the waves of disease over the past century so devastated the social order that few kingdoms remained integral. Lawlessness, petty warlords, and chaos abounded throughout much of Africa’s dark interior.

“Very well, Mr. Singh,” Galloway conceded. “I can assure you that the requested supplies will be assembled within two days…however I can do nothing about hiring porters.”

“I have been granted a budget, sir,” Singh assured the native Carolinian. “And labor remains cheap here in Kongoville. However, I prefer to hire porters upriver, from what is left of the African population. They know the land better and are more acclimated to the climate than some Chinese or Siamese just off the boat…”

“Of course,” the factor replied though Galloway’s thoughts returned to the abhorrent death toll inflicted upon the African population. If the African is MORE acclimated to the hinterlands of the Kongo than anyone else, no wonder so few explorers return alive!
Chapter 12
March, 1864


“…and as England and Wales take their rightful place amongst the new order of Europe…”

William Ewart Gladstone managed to stifle a groan as he brushed his hand across his receding hairline. Didn’t the cursed French inflict enough suffering upon the people of England without droning on in that sickeningly sweet French cadence the Englishman had grown to loathe over the past thirty-four years? The irony of a French officer wishing their victims such goodwill grated on the middle-aged Parliamentarian. Well, if the constitutional convention the Gallic thug was babbling on about was ever allowed to begin, Gladstone would almost certainly be elected in some Parliamentary district.

Prior to the occupation that raped his homeland and forced the Queen into American exile in 1830, Gladstone had been elected twice to the Commons as a Tory, the first time while still a teenager. Unlike most of his fellow Parliamentarians of “the old order”, Gladstone had not been interned in the camps of Jersey or Guernsey, nor did he have the inclination to flee. Evidently deeming the young man irrelevant, the French and Irish ignored the second-tier politician in their zeal to properly pillage every article of value throughout England whilst simultaneously ravaging every “seditious” industry that might lend to proper resistance among the subjugated people of Britain.

Humiliated by the indifference heaped upon a former elected member of the Commons, Gladstone returned to one of his father’s properties in Liverpool (his father and most of Gladstone’s siblings marked the conquest by retreating to the newfound nation of Scotland) and the young man watched as the mighty manufacturing and trading city collapsed around him. Every available ship had been commandeered to carry the wealthy and influential away to safe havens in the new world. Though he could likely have booked passage as well, the unseemly flight of the nobility grated on Gladstone’s nerves. As the ubiquitous riots by idle weavers, sailors and merchants were promptly crushed in the most brutal manner possible, Gladstone took stock on how best to serve his people. Inevitably, the constant British uprisings stemming from the rapidly expanding unemployment crisis and the hideous Potato Famine of the mid-1840’s demanded a modicum of leniency by the occupying French army.

And Gladstone took the opportunity to demand reform. Precisely how close the agitator came to arrest over the years, he could not imagine and, in fact, labored mightily not to think about. But when the French Governors deigned to offer a return to the rule of law in Great Britain, Gladstone was there to speak on behalf of the outraged populace. Certain industries, coal mining and linen-weaving, remained open if only to put a halt to the genocidal riots. Though this hardly stemmed the flow of emigrants draining England and Wales’ respective populations, at least a minimal level of employment slowly resuscitated after England’s surrender. Gladstone worked within the framework the French set (any other alternative would likely result in execution) to demand a reinstitution of a limited form of trial by jury, then a modest recognition of the Church of England beyond allowing churches to remain open provided the ministers kept their mouths shut about the occupation. And last, but hardly the least, William Gladstone joined the political wing of the English Republican Army.

That the organization’s establishment was nothing more than a craven, and particularly cunning, exercise in political gamesmanship precluded any debate. The French bastards knew full well they could hardly afford to maintain an occupying army in Great Britain large enough to control the nation indefinitely as Napoleon I had in so many of the petty German and Italian principalities during the French Revolutionary Wars. Though lucrative, the Bonapartist policy of exploiting and extorting tribute from every corner of Europe reached its breaking point then and succeeding Emperors learned the vital lesson to allow a bit of steam to boil off lest the entire population explode.

Two initiatives were offered to reduce this burden on the French Exchequer: First, Scotland was offered independence early in the occupation. This proved more successful than anticipated. The prospect of avoiding their southern neighbor’s fate meshed nicely with the long-standing resentments steadily accumulated over two centuries of domination by English kings.

Second, a pro-French faction must be discovered in England willing to support the occupation. Given the brutal nature of the conquest, the hundreds of thousands of Britons murdered, the systematic looting and devastation of the nation, the idea seemed ludicrous at the time. However, a sly French bureaucrat fell upon an ancient and time-tested method: divide and conquer. For centuries, the great estates of England had been lorded over by wealthy aristocrats and tended by penniless tenants. When the plurality of the landed gentry fled the island for their lives, the French discovered a remarkable opportunity to build a measure of local affection. The vast farmsteads were handed, title and all, over to the millions of impoverished landsmen who’d worked the fertile fields for generations in exchange for starvation wages. The fat sheep, cattle and chickens were largely confiscated by the French army, but the fields and meadows soon returned to a modicum of prosperity.

And naturally, the newly liberated farmers remembered precisely to whom they’d owed their newfound wealth. When the insurrections and unemployment riots struck the cities, the French and Irish occupying forces faced no comparable confrontations in the countryside. When the jarring Potato Famine gripped England in the 1840’s (as it did throughout northern Europe), the country folk still produced enough meat, grain, leaks and turnips to see their families through. It was the city dwellers starving by the hundreds of thousands, being forced to flee their homeland on any rickety vessel bound for the Americas or even Africa. Naturally, the resultant blood feud between Britons brought a warm gleam to Napoleon II’s…and later Charles X’s eye.

Eventually, the new propertied class was allowed to police itself by means of the English Republican Army, the only organization deemed acceptable by the Emperor. Lacking any other outlet for change, Gladstone petitioned for membership as a barrister (he’d studied law but never practiced in his youth). As one of the few “intellectuals” within the ERA, Gladstone soon found his time monopolized by the pseudo-political party’s demands for formal opinions on legal enfranchisement, the reestablishment of trade outside of France’s sphere and religious reform of the Church of England.

Joined by such subtle philosophical minds as John Stuart Mill and political agitators as John Bedford Leno, the ERA soon branched beyond its humble country origins to speak on behalf of the entire nation. France, psychologically exhausted after the travails of three decades of domination, bowed to the inevitable and sought to relinquish control of Great Britain under the most optimal circumstances possible: namely, grant a constitutional charter based on the French model, withdraw across the Channel and let the English spend the next few decades fighting it out.

As yet another sonorous Frenchman rose to wax eloquently on the impending British independence, which the Emperors systematically crushed over the past quarter century plus, Gladstone recognized that the war of Britain’s soul would soon begin. Every right-minded Britain, city laborer and country rustic, wept nostalgically for good Queen Charlotte in exile across the sea, a woman whom, by her mere presence, would heal the rifts of acrimony and reunite her long-sundered Empire. Gladstone himself had raised thousands of toasts to the Queen’s name, legitimately desiring the noble lady to return to her rightful seat in St. James and Windsor.

But with the return of the Queen, the aristocratic locusts would follow, demanding an immediate return of their property and fitting justice to be served against the “collaborators” as the New York periodicals so often refered to the ERA membership. Prior to the occupation, barely one man in six held the vote. Emperor Charles X’s proposed constitution, shortly to be “approved” by a British constitutional convention, would grant universal suffrage.

Despite the deeply ingrained hatred so embittering the hearts of every victim of the occupation, Gladstone simply could not believe so many of the nation’s citizens would gleefully return to the age of aristocratic domination and economic servitude, no matter their love for the Queen. The French and Irish were already arming the ERA with cannon and cavalry, forbidden in the past, as well as granting the English commander’s newfound powers to patrol the nation. Now, the cities fell under the English Republican Army’s sway, regardless of the sentiments of the inhabitants.

Absentmindedly applauding the final French speaker, William Gladstone rose to give his own address, accepting the nomination as President of the Convention. He doubted the ratification process would take long given the constitution had already been written by Charles X’s ministers. Gladstone’s primary task would be organizing the coming general election. No vote had been taken within England for a quarter-century and never with such a massive constituency.

Despite his great misgivings at playing into France’s hands, William Gladstone could find no other avenue to enact change beyond the framework the Emperor offered. Though he’d opposed universal suffrage in his youth, the stark realities of the new age precluded such anachronistic positions. Britain could never go back to those heady times of Empire, and perhaps she should not. If presiding over a sham of a constitutional convention and overseeing an election absent the Queen was necessary to amputate the cancerous French and Irish presence on these shores…well, Gladstone considered this the lesser of two evils. Once the bastards were gone, the constitution could be revised in any manner the English people preferred.

Resignedly, Gladstone rose to address a crowd in the House of Commons for the first time in twenty-five years only to continue the trite declarations with, “Gentlemen, today is a most auspicious occasion…”
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