From the Ashes of the Old: The British Republic

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by President Conor, Feb 25, 2014.

  1. diestormlie <wit>

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    However, it's also far enough away from from the OTL Sepoy Rebellion that it can be butterflied away. I don't know how deep the structural causes of the Sepoy Rebellion and how much of it was the spread of the rumour about the Pork Fat bullet cases.
     
  2. MagicalPhantom345 Well-Known Member

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    Just wondering but did the Anglo Sikh Wars happened this time around as well?
     
  3. Indicus Raianus Indicorum

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    The Pork Fat Bullet case has been drastically overestimated in cause. Much larger causes include the rising racist attitudes of the British, which cannot be easily butterflied away as it was building up for well over half a century.

    What would be interesting is if the puppet Mughal Emperor was retained after the Indian Mutiny, and was further retained into independence.
     
  4. President Conor Active Member

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    Chapter 13: Ghost Colonies - Part 2

    The final days of the Revolution brought about the swift decapitation of the regime. It was fast, it was effective, and it had, in reality, been coming for some time.

    Richard Cobden, Memoirs, 1854
    [​IMG]
    Meeting of Revolutionaries after the London Rising, 1848

    As dawn rose on the 18th August 1848, five men crossed over the border under fierce protection under orders from William Beresford. This was the first time since the beginning of the Revolutionary War that Beresford had commanded a force of ordinary Popular Front men - for this challenge, experience was not essential, the ability to cross into the United Kingdom unrecognised, however, was, limiting the effectiveness of some of his elite squad of men.

    They reached London on the 21st August and were shocked at what they saw. Immediately, as they entered the city, the sight of ten men, hung from trees with a sign saying ‘Revolutionary’ nailed to their chest. Perhaps they wondered what they had let themselves in for. They reached the agreed location and met with a further five men in an abandoned tavern. They provided explosives, Checker uniforms and a cart with which to complete their task. They shook hands, and wished the five from the Republic the best of luck, and said they would meet them on the outskirts of the City afterwards.

    The plan was as follows. Place the cart on the route of Charles Gordon-Lennox’s carriage to work, obtained by informants in his offices, place the explosives in the cart and detonate, killing the High Protector. Afterwards, the men would flee, and be arrested by the false Checker agents, who would sneak them out of the city through an agreed point on the Suffolk border.

    The ‘Republican Five’ as they were known, performed superbly, and at 8:48pm on the 21st August, detonated the dynamite and killed Charles Gordon-Lennox. All five were ‘arrested on the scene’ according to the National Press in London. They never reached their jail cell and a city wide man hunt was launched by 10:00pm. It was, however, too late. They were well on their way to the border.

    The Regime was in a frenzy after the High Protector was assassinated. Although he had not been in effective control since March, he had excellent connections in the National Front and provided a healthy morale boost to the Volunteers during successive defeats. In the Republic, news of Gordon-Lennox’s death was celebrated as the beginning of the end of the conflict. In the ensuing chaos, between the 24th and 31st August, the Republic led successive military strikes on Cornwall (24th), Devon (25th), Hereford (24th), Worcester (26th), Cambridge (28th), Gloucester (29th), Oxford (30th) and finally, on the 31st, after four days of fighting, captured Dorchester. National Front men fled and returned South of the border, wounded and mentally broken.

    “Victory is in our hands” said Fergus O’Connor to a cheering crowd in Glasgow. The Republican Press called it “the Week of Destiny”. Republics were declared along the boundaries of the Bureau’s that ruled the areas liberated, and former Wardens returned to work to administer new territory of the British Republic. In Leicester, the Republic of Avonshire, bringing together the corridor of the River Avon, was declared, followed by the Republic of Nene in Cambridge, and the Republics of Cornwall and Devon in Truro and Plymouth respectively. On the 1st of September, the four new republics accepted the covenant and they were inducted into the British Republic. Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Hereford opted to join the Severn Republic, and were inducted on the 2nd September.

    In anticipation of the victory, and out of fear of the make-up of the proposed Secretariat of the British Republic, the new civil service for the post-war period, the General Council met on 3rd September, with new representatives from the Republic to discuss the ‘Loyalist Question’ - what to do about the former Government employees in the new Republic. Fergus O’Connor proposed a “cleansing” of the civil service, and a restriction in the first 5 years of the Republic on the movement of former National Front politicians and men. Attwood however, proposed a different solution;

    “We must build a Republic not of victors, but of Britons. If we are to build this nation we must prove we are not the same as the Regime dying in London. We must include, we must assimilate: we must Republicanise”.

    His motion - that all non-militia and medial and low ranking members of the civil service, as well as Members of Parliament not affiliated with regime must be given a full pardon post-unification. In a closely contested debate, once again O’Connor was defeated. The ‘Reconciliation Proclamation’ was to form one of the founding tenets of the British Republic - a Republic for all. First to step forward was the former Liberal Conservative MP Robert Peel, himself an advocate in Parliament for the emancipation of rights and property, who stepped forward to aid the Republic. He was invited to speak at the General Council and spoke of his desire to help Britain move forward. “My affinity, Gentleman, is not to this Republic but to the people of Britain - I will be happy to service their demands and I am willing to help this administration help the people of this Island”.

    Meanwhile in London, the succession of Gordon-Lennox was entrusted to one of the Oligarchs of the Regime, the Duke of Wellington. Fearing the worst for the regime, he drafted the ‘Wellington Plan’, an emergency plan designed to evacuate key members of the Government and establish a Government in Exile. The plan detailed an evacuation of the Royal Family, and 50-100 members of the Government to the Gold Coast - with key ports in Canada occupied and the United States a key Republican ally, the African Nation would be the only place with striking distance of another British invasion. From there, they would form a Government in Exile and begin exerting control over the colonies and assembling an invasion fleet, drawn from the Cape, Sierra Leone, Australia and India to retake Britain through the Solent. They would create the ‘United Kingdom of the British Empire’ and take direct administrative control over the remaining colonies.

    These efforts took a significant blow during August 1848. Van Diemen’s Land, under the governorship of William Denison during the late 1840s had experienced liberal reforms and a commitment to ‘Responsible Government’ - leading to the warrant for arrest for Denison and his removal from office in August 1848. Denison’s supporters, including many of the Garrison on the Island, rebelled against the order and declared their affinity to the British Republic, rather than the Crown. Many had been transported during the Salem days and many Liberals and Revolutionaries were stationed there and in the Colony of Victoria. As New South Wales, under the Governorship of Charles FitzRoy, crossed onto the Island, the Militia loyal to Denison fought back, and pushed them off the Island.

    In turn, the growing reactionary stewardship of FitzRoy was ended on the 30th August, when across New South Wales and uprising occurred against his handling of the invasion and his governorship. He was forced to flee to the West of Australia, where he, Frederick Robe and Frederick Irwin reaffirmed their affinity to the crown and declared the ‘Royal Realm of Australia’. In the East of the Country, Denison unified New South Wales, Victoria and Van Diemen’s Land, and declared the ‘Republic of Polynesia’ on the same day. They seized ship and weapons, and recognized the British Republic and Thomas Attwood as the legitimate government of the Motherland. Later in September, Denison would unify New Zealand with the state to form a bloc with greater weaponry and naval power than its rival to the West. He said to crowds in Melbourne “If FitzRoy returns, we shall blow him and his men off the face of the earth”.

    In the Cape Colony, a diplomatic argument had ensued. Owing its expansionary strength to the arms and the men provided by the motherland, the Colony held a fierce internal debate about its future. A collective known as the ‘Responsibles’, led by the young, charismatic John Molteno, argued that the Cape could become a progressive republic, liberalise, appease it’s non-British populous and guarantee military support from Britain if it declared its independence. The ‘Loyalists’ did not argue for the continuation of the crown and passionately for supporting the Empire, but instead that the uncertainty could lead to an invasion by surrounding foreign powers. Molteno wrote to Attwood, asking whether the Colony would receive support under the Treaty of Manchester if it were to become a Republic. Attwood said that the Republic and France would ensure the protection of the Republic from the Empire. This was proof enough, in a vote on the 23rd September 1848, the Cape Colony became the Cape Republic - a vital blow to Britain as it cut its empire in two, removed the promise of troops from the Cape, and one of its prized assets. The Cape Republic was one of the few revolutions of 1848 that was entirely peaceful.

    The Popular Front and British Republican Army men now pierced through the country and began to encircle London, aside from a small, heavily fortified corridor between London, stretching south to the Solent. Attempts to evacuate the Government through the Thames, the preferred option, were blocked because of Coastal Confederation, Dutch and French ships along the mouth of the river. On the 21st September, hearing that Popular Front had reached the edge of the city, the local units in London of the Republican Brotherhood launched an uprising, and began to be armed by Popular Front soldiers breaking through and providing arms. They began to seize Government Buildings, Checker and Police stations and began to fight their way to Buckingham Palace and Whitehall.

    Reluctantly, Wellington informed Queen Victoria he was enacting the Wellington Plan, before travelling back to his residence in the city, and swallowing a cyanide pill. Many more in Whitehall followed, and Popular Front fighters who reached Whitehall described “a corpse in every room”. The Queen was evacuated, disguised, through a off-track fortified route. She was delivered to a ship waiting at Southampton, destined for the Gold Coast. Popular Front men were met with little resistance and, on the steps of Whitehall, declared the ‘Free City of London’ and raised the British Republican Flag on the 25th September 1848 - Liberation Day. Southampton and much of the South-Coast surrendered quickly after and the Solent Republic was declared in the Port City that day, encompassing much of the South-East Coast. The British Republic was finally unified.

    On the 1st October 1848, the Wellington Plan ships reached the Gold Coast, similar ships set sails for British Guiana, the West Indies and Sierra Leone. They sought to solidify support in so-called ‘colonies of domination’ - colonies where a small British-led administration ruled over a majority of natives. As they arrived, within the first six weeks they launched a wide-scale purge of accused liberals and revolutionaries, killed 13,000 administrations during this time. On the same day, Thomas Attwood arrived in London to declare an end to the conflict, saying “our strife is over, we are united and the slaughter of the British People has ended. Peace and the Republic shall reign”.

    A final shipment of Wellington Plan officials set sails for India, where they were to inform the British East India Company that their Raj rule was to be temporarily halted while an ‘ongoing emergency’ was handled on the mainland. With access to the continent restricted after the declaration of Independence of the Cape Republic, the officials sailed through the Cape, lowering their flag to avoid suspicious, and when pressed, said they were a merchant ship. They passed, however when they reached India, some 6 months later, they were stopped at the gates. They were arrested by East India Company men, who took them inland informed them that they were the sole sovereign power on the Continent, Ceylon and the Straits was now the company, who were supported by the British Republic. They presented the men with a signed copy from Henry Hardinge, Governor of the British East India Company, of the Treaty of Newcastle, co-signed by the Republic, the Coastal Confederation and the Company.

    “You, sirs, are invaders of Company territory, do you know what we do to people like you?” said the Companymen to the Officials. As he pointed to the window, the men saw four men in Royal Navy uniforms, hanging from a gallows. The Company had taken control.
     
  5. diestormlie <wit>

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    Company India will be interesting. I wonder how much of it's structure was set in stone, and how much of it can be reformed.

    But then again, The Republic has the Cape, and it has India. It has a Navy. It can project power. But would it?

    What would the Republic's attitudes be towards the Indians/colonised people in general?
     
  6. TimTurner Puxatani Phil Admirer

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    HERESY!!!
    (ok, ok, i find this interesting. Watched.)
     
  7. Archangel Battery-powered Bureaucrat

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    There's a possibility that the British Crown will end up solely in Western Australia.
     
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  8. MagicalPhantom345 Well-Known Member

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    Well the Cape and East Oceanic colonies did have building up resentment to the British. So it's not much of a surprise.
     
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  9. TimTurner Puxatani Phil Admirer

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    Long Live the House of Windsor, rules of Australia!
     
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