Striving for a world transformed by justice and peace - a TL from 1827

In his room at Eton College in the Autumn term of 1827, the 17 year-old and very handsome William Ewart Gladstone agonised and struggled over his love of and sinful desires for the dazzling beautiful Arthur Hallam, who was two years younger. He loved Hallam so much. He hoped with a pure spiritual love which by the grace of God had not been sullied by the loss of his (Gladstone's) chastity). But thoughts came unbidden to his mind yet again - sinful desires which deeply repulsed and horrified him, but powerfully attracted him, of - he could scarely bear to think them - of having a physical relationship with Hallam.

He knew that for the sake of his eternal salvation and his immortal soul that he must end his friendship with Hallam. So Gladstone wrote Hallam a letter informing him that for spiritual reasons he must break off their friendship.

In his reply Hallam said that he wished they could remain friends, but nothing could do away with their love for each other. The stamp of each of their minds was upon the other.

The starting point for this TL is taken from the book Gladstone by Roy Jenkins, MacMillan, 1995. In his account of the friendship between the "very handsome" Gladstone and the "dazzling beautiful" Hallam, Jenkins wrote:
There is no evidence of homosexual behaviour, but it is impossible to believe that there was not the electricity of infatuation and jealously between them.

Hallam's letter is partly taken from that in Gladstone.

In this TL Gladstone had the same parents and upbringing as in OTL.
In his last year at Eton, Gladstone agonised over his attraction to young men. He tried to sublimate it by intense prayer and fervent religious devotion, but with only temporary and intermittent success.
In the summer of 1828 he made the decision to study for the priesthood in the Church of England. In October 1828 he entered Oriel College, Oxford as an undergraduate, where he studied Classics and Hebrew. With Arthur Hallam having gone to Trinity College, Cambridge, the object of Gladstone's guilt-ridden love was James Milne Gaskell, who was a friend at Eton.

Gladstone studied hard and often went to sermons and church services. In December 1831 he graduated with a double first degree. In April 1832 he was elected a fellow of Oriel College, where he was a lecturer. He also studied theology in the School of Divinity. In June 1834 he was ordained as a deacon in the Church of England at Christ Church cathedral, Oxford, and in May 1835, in the same cathedral, ordained a priest. He was appointed the curate at St. Ebbe's church in Oxford. It was there that he would meet the woman who would change his live.

Meanwhile Arthur Hallam and Alfred Tennyson who were undergraduates at Trinity College, Cambridge, had formed a close friendship. In December 1829 Hallam met Tennyson's sister, Emily and fell in love with her (he was bisexual). A year later he became engaged. In February 1832 Hallam and Emily Tennyson were married. In OTL they were not married. Also in this TL Hallam lives to old age.

Political events unfolded as in OTL, except that a second Tory was elected for the two-member constituency of Newark in the general election of December 1832, instead of Gladstone. That man was a mediocrity, who will not appear again in this TL.
I am now going to introduce a fictional character into this timeline.

In 1836 Alice Haverly (1) was a teacher at the school attached to St. Ebbe's church where Gladstone was the curate. At twenty-six years old she was a few months younger than him, and unmarried. She was a woman of strong ideals - a socialist and a feminist. In contemporary parlance she was an Owenite. (2) Although she considered herself a Christian she placed far more emphasis on Christian ethics, above all that of love, rather than doctrine. Of course she kept her political and religious opinions from the church and school authorities.

She was ambivalent towards close relationships. She both wanted and rejected them. A few years previously she had an intense and loving relationship with a man to whom she had eagerly lost her virginity. But he had left her for another woman. She has also had intimate relationships with women. I suppose she could be characterized as bisexual, but her primary sexual orientation was towards men. In her personality and character she was somewhat of a combination of Sue Bridehead in Jude the Obscure and Dorothea Brooke in Middlemarch in those books in OTL. Although not beautiful, she was an attractive looking women with shortish dark brown hair, slim and of medium height.

Alice and William Gladstone were acquaintances but not friends. One Saturday afternoon in July 1836 as Alice was walking down St. Aldates, a few yards from the High Street (3), it started to rain. Alice was not carrying an umbrella. William, who was also walking down St. Aldates some yards behind Alice had his umbrella with him. He caught up with her and the following conversation ensued (4):
Miss Haverly.

Mr. Gladstone.

Would you allow me, madam, to do you the honour of allowing me to provide you protection from the elements under my umbrella?

It would be an honour, sir.

So they both walked along sheltering under William's umbrella and engaging in awkward conversation.

Over the next weeks and months they became friends. By April 1837 Alice had become sexually attracted to William, but even though a sexually liberated woman by contemporary standards, she could not possibly reveal her true feeings for him. William was not sexually attracted to her. He was still guilt-ridden by his sexuality. He had kept in touch with Arthur Hallam, but accepted that their intimate friendship would never return. He had male friends, but his gaydar was practically non-existent. Besides it would have been completely contrary to his Christian beliefs to have any kind of sexual relationship. Of course Alice did not even suspect that William was gay, to use a modern term.

(1) Haverly is the surname of a woman with whom I am acquainted. She was born in Oxfordshire. I chose Alice for her first name, because I like it.

(2) See .

(3) Here is a map of Oxford: .

(4) I want to convey a flavour of the contemporary style of conversation between a middle class man and a middle class women who were acquainted with each other, but no more. It is based on my memories of contemporary novels.
Originally posted by Blackadder mk 2
So this won't mention politics without Gladstone?

There will be a lot about British politics. Considering that in OTL Gladstone was four times Prime Minister, his absence from British politics at government level would have major changes, though in this TL he may not neccesarily be absent from politics using a wide definition of the term.

Also a bit of a spoiler - there will be changes in American politics with a different result for the presidential election of 1848.

To continue with the TL.

Towards the end of April 1837 Gladstone was offered the position of Vicar of the church of St. Michael at the North Gate, Oxford. (1) This was a prestigious city centre church.

However on the afternoon of Saturday 29 April, while he still had not made up his mind to accept the position offered, he and Alice Haverly were walking in Christ Church meadow. They sat down and had the following conversation - Alice was the first speaker:
Dearest William you seem cold and distant towards me. Is it because I am not beautiful, or that I am not a passive simpering milksop like too many other women?

My dear Miss Haverly....

Please call me Alice, we have been friends now for nine months.

Alice, I hold you in the deepest esteem and our friendship is of great significance for me, but...

My love, you seem troubled and anxious.

Oh Alice, I could never love you, or any women like a man loves a woman. I love and desire men as men love and desire women. I have prayed and struggled and fought against this evil tendency in me, but to no avail. Oh how I long to be like other men. Please, I beg you do not reject me.

[she looked at him tenderly and lovingly]

I will never reject you. Love between men or love between women is as pure and noble as love between men and women. A God of love would never condemn true and sincere love. I am not talking only of spiritual love, but also of its physical expression. I myself have tasted the delights of sapphic love. You look horrified. I have experienced the ecstasy of phyical love with both sexes.

I thought you were a pure virgin who had not lost that most precious possession of a woman - her maidenhood.

Oh William, do you really believe that nonsense about a woman's virginity. I treasure the poems of William Blake, they express so truly my deepest beliefs. He proclaims in his poem London
In every cry of Man,
In every Infant's cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forg'd manacles I hear.

[She continued]

Blake has written:
For every thing that lives is Holy.

Wiiliam, my love, behind your priggishness and coldness, suffocated by false morality, the fires of desire burn within you. I know you will not reject me.

Alice, I will never reject you as a dear, dear friend. I must think upon what you have said. Your ideas are new and troubling to me.

William I have told you before about my fervent belief in Socialism, in the free equality of all human persons - of the brotherhood and sisterhood of all men and women. I and some friends and acquaintances plan to go to America - to the state of Ohio - to join a community there. We will live simply in freedom and sisterhood and brotherhood. Please will you come with me. We can live as friends.

But would could I do it in the wilderness?

You have intelligence and a man's strength. You could farm, fell trees, or teach the children. There would be no shortage of work. You could help cook and prepare the meals for the communal dining room.

Alice's Restaurant. [I couldn't resist that]

I don't think so.

But America is not the land of liberty, but of Negro slavery.

It is true that the evil of slavery disfigures much of America, but our community will give food and shelter to runaway slaves. Negroes will be free to join the community in true equality with white persons. But America is the land where freedom can flourish, the land of hope of a better life.

Alice, I have been offered the position of Vicar of the church of St. Michael at the North Gate. I have not decided whether or not to accept it. I am so torn in my desires.

My dearest, please do what you really want in the depth of your soul. But I would ask that you tell me within a month whether you want to come with me to America.

I will tell you.

They got up and Alice took William's hand and for the first time they walked hand in hand - back to the city centre.

What will William decide?

(1) See
Gladstone agonised for several days over what was the most important decision of his life so far. His consistently tumultuous nature was often (but not always) held in check by rigid discipline. (1) There were competing pressures on him.

He loved Alice Haverly as a friend and was very fond of her, but without sexual desire. He was still wracked with guilt over his homosexuality, in spite of Alice's acceptance of that side of his nature. He hoped that if he married Alice his homosexual desires would be channelled to a legitimate outlet. But she did not believe in the tyranny of marriage. He was both attracted and repulsed by her feminist, socialist and sexually permissive beliefs.

He considered where his duty lay. Was it to be a priest in the Church of England or to travel across the Atlantic with Alice and her friends to live in a community in Ohio. He was very attracted by the thought that this would give him the opportunity to help feed and shelter runaway Negro slaves.

If he stayed in England he would miss Alice terribly, but could he put his love for her above his religious duty?

After several days agonising he fell into an exhausted sleep, during which he dreamed that he made love to Alice. The dream upset and disgusted him, but also made him strangely content. He made his decision. He would go to America with Alice.

(1) The description of Gladstone in this sentence is taken from Gladstone by Roy Jenkins, MacMillan, 1995.
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FletcherofSaltoun thank you for your appreciation.

When William Gladstone met Alice Haverly in Christchurch meadow, Oxford on 6 May 1837, he told her that he had decided to go to America with her and her friends. She was of course delighted. He also confessed his love for her, which made her even more delighted. Of course he didn't tell her about his erotic dream about her. They kissed each other for the first time.

William and Alice resigned from their posts as curate and teacher. On 1 June they and five friends of Alice (three male and two female) embarked on a voyage by sailing ship across the Atlantic. They arrived at New York two months later. In late August they reached the community of Eudaimonia (Greek for happiness) in south central Ohio close to the border with Kentucky. It was 12 miles west of the town of Portsmouth. (1)

Eudaimonia had been founded in 1833. By 1837 it had a population of 152. Four of the members were British and in Alice's circle. Its economic organization was communal ownership and its economic base was mainly farming and crafts.

On their voyage across the Atlantic William had asked Alice to marry him. She refused on the grounds that because they loved each other they did not need a conventional religious or legal cermony to bind them together. However she said that when they reached Eudaimonia they would pledge their love and commitment to each other in a simple ceremony.

So on 1 September 1837 they made the following promises before the whole community:
I, William Gladstone, take you Alice Haverly for my helpmeet in loving union for the rest of my life.

1, Alice Haverly, take you William Gladstone for my helpmeet in loving union for the rest of my live.

They each kept their own surnames.

That night they made love to each other for the first time. Alice wanted to several weeks before, but William was somewhat conservative in his sexual beliefs. Although he was still attracted to men, including several in the community, he hoped that his relationship with Alice would channel his sexual desire in a legitimate channel.

On 16 August 1838 a daughter was born to Alice and William. They gave her the name Frances in honour of Frances Wright ( ).

Frances Gladstone Haverly was to become a prominent figure in the feminist, progressive and socialist movements in the United States.

OOC. I have found the following two books informative:

Seven American Utopias: The Architecture of Communitarian Socialism, 1790-1975 by Dolores Hayden, The MIT Press, 1976.

Eve and the New Jerusalem: socialism and feminism in the nineteenth century, by Barbara Taylor, Virago Press, 1983. It is an excellent account of early socialist feminism. I read it sometime in the early 1990s. Much of it is available here: .

(1) Here is a map of Ohio: .
A well thought out & researched story. Regretably Gladstone can never be President, but perhaps he could become a Senator. I envision a titanic Gladstone vs. Calhoun debate over slavery on the senate floor.
Originally posted by Lord Grattan
A well thought out & researched story. Regretably Gladstone can never be President, but perhaps he could become a Senator.

Thank you for the appreciative comment. Gladstone could become a US Senator, but after working his way up through Ohio state politics.

On 3 December 1839 a second child was born to Alice and William - a daughter whom they named Angelina, after Angelina Grimke.

Their third child, a son, was born on 27 April 1841. They named him Robert, after Robert Owen.

Alice refused to have any more children. She said she was not a brood mare. She and William had been using birth control throughout their "marriage".

I will leave the Gladstone family in the Eudaimonia community in southern Ohio and return to political events in the United Kingdom.

In the Whig government's budget of April 1841 the fixed duty on wheat was reduced to 8 shillings a quarter and lesser amounts on other cereals. We are now in the whole complicated business of the Corn Laws. Wikipedia gives a reasonably good account of them: .

At 3 a.m. on the morning of 5 June 1841, the House of Commons divided at the end of the debate on the Conservative motion of no-confidence in the government When the result of the vote was announced - for the motion 312, against 315 - the Whigs cheered enthusiastically. (1)

Viscount Melbourne continued in office as Prime Minister. However he resigned in October 1842 after he had a stroke which paralysed the left side of his body. (2) Lord John Russell, the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, and Leader of the House of Commons, became Prime Minister.

(1) In OTL that vote of no confidence was passed by 312 votes to 311. Melbourne dissolved Parliament. The Conservatives won the ensuing general election by a large majority and Sir Robert Peel became Prime Minister.

(2) Melbourne suffered the same stroke in October 1842 in OTL.
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Thank you for your appreciative comment Alikchi.

When Lord Russell became Prime Minister in October 1842 he made only limited changes to his cabinet. The new appointments were as follows:

Secretary of State for War and the Colonies and Leader of the House of Commons: Sir John Cam Hobhouse. These were the posts previously held by Russell.

President of the Board of Control [responsible for overseeing the East India Company and for policy relating to India]: Thomas Babington Macaulay.

Secretary at War: Robert Vernon Smith.

Otherwise the cabinet was as listed here: , except of course that Russell instead of Melbourne was Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury.
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One foreign policy problem for the Russell government was the tense relationship with the United States. In 1831 the American Senate had rejected the arbitration settlement by the King of the Netherlands on the Maine-New Brunswick frontier line. Tensions had flared in the Aroostook War of 1838-1839. To the frontier issue was added the wider question of the right of inspection at sea. The British government had treaty agreements with certain other European powers permitting a limited right of mutual search of ships at sea for slaves. The American government had refused to participate in the treaty. Nevertheless British ships claimed the right to stop suspicious ships flying the American flag to ensure that it was not used by slavers to conceal their identity. Feeling in the United States was increasingly roused and a hostile report by the Committee on Foreign Affairs demanding preparations for national defence was accepted by Congress in the spring of 1841. All this paragraph (except for the reference to the Russell government) were as in OTL.

Lord Palmerston had been Foreign Secretary in the Whig governments of Lord Grey and Viscount Melbourne since 1830. These Prime Ministers had left to Palmerston the running of his own bellicose and nationalistic foreign policy.

The tense relations with the United States had the potential to lead to war. Russell's desire for a negotiated settlement of the areas of dispute between the two countries was opposed by Palmerston. On 12 January 1843 Russell dismissed Palmerston from his cabinet. He appointed Lord Clarendon (the Lord Privy Seal) as Foreign Secretary. This meant a reshuffle of the cabinet as follows:

Foreign Secretary: Lord Clarendon
Lord Privy Seal: Marquis of Normanby (previously Home Secretary)
Home Secretary: Sir George Grey (previously Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster)
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Lord Granville Leveson-Gower (previously Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies).
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On 25 January 1843 Russell appointed William Gore Ouseley as special envoy with plenipotentiary powers to settle all outstanding issues with the United States. Ouseley was British Minister in Rio de Janeiro. From 1825 to 1832 he was attache in Washington. In 1827 he married Maria Van Ness, the 20-year-old daughter of Cornelius P. Van Ness, the Governor of Vermont. So far his career had been the same as in OTL: Through his American wife he had connections to Daniel Webster, the American Secretary of State.

Throughout the period of negotiation between Britain and the United States Russell was eager to reach a settlement. The Webster-Ouseley Treaty was signed on 25 May 1843. This is this TL's analogue of the Webster-Ashburton treaty in OTL. (1)

(1) See
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The successor to Lord Auckland as Governor-General of India when he retired in Februry 1842, after having suffered a stroke, was Thomas Campbell Robertson, the Lieutenant-Governor of the North-Western Provinces. (1)

In April 1842 Viscount Melbourne, the Prime Minister, ordered the recapture of Kabul and the restoration of British hegemony in Afghanistan. Kabul was recaptured in September 1842. See for events up to September 1842.

When Lord John Russell became Prime Minister in October 1842, he needed to consider whether or not to keep British troops in Afghanistan, in particular in Kabul, and the whole question of British policy towards India. Here is a map of India in 1837, it is the same in this TL: .

(1) See
In November 1842 Lord John Russell, the Prime Minister, announced the annexation of Afghanistan and the continuing deployment of British troops there. This was opposed by the Conservatives and the radical wing of the Whig Party.

In the House of Commons on Tuesday 30 May 1843 Russell moved that a a committee of the whole house be formed to enquire into the Corn Laws, in particular the 1828 Corn Law. He was opposed by Sir Robert Peel, the leader of the Conservative Party, who said that the House had previously rejected such a proposal. It was nothing less than a threadbare attempt to paper over the growing cracks in the Whig Party. After three days debate, the vote on 1 June showed a government defeat by a majority of 25 votes. 16 radical Whigs voted with the Conservatives because of opposition to the right-wing policies of the government, including its annexation of Afghanistan.

The next day the cabinet met and decided to dissolve Parliament and call a general election. Polling would take place from 25 June to 18 July.
The Conservatives won a landslide victory in the general election of June/July 1843, and Sir Robert Peel became Prime Minister. The composition of the newly elected House of Commons was as follows:

Conservatives: 397
Whigs: 232
Irish Repeal Association: 23
Chartists: 6
Total: 658

Fergus O'Connor, the Chartist leader, was elected as an MP for Nottingham.

Sir Robert Peel's cabinet was the same as in 1843 in OTL - - except that Sidney Herbert became President of the Board of Trade instead of Gladstone. The three most important departmental offices were filled as follows:

Chancellor of the Exchequer: Henry Goulburn
Home Secretary: Sir James Graham
Foreign Secretary: The Earl of Aberdeen

On the afternoon of 19 January 1844, at the Charing Cross end of Whitehall, Peel collapsed as he was shot in the back by a pistol at a few yards range by a man called Daniel M'Naghten. The Prime Minister was immediately taken to hospital, but died the following day with his wife Julia, his children, and his friends and political associates by his bedside.

The House of Commons met on 22 January to pay its tribute to the assassinated Prime Minister. Goulburn paid the formal tribute of the House. Graham, incapable of speech, sat there in tears. (1)

Over the next few days there was an outpouring of national mourning, much of which was coloured by the purely fortuitious circumstances of Peel's death. A great public figure had been brutally murdered in the prime of his life. He was just over two weeks short of his 56th birthday. The newspapers compared Great Britain, where two Prime Ministers had been assassinated in 31 years, unfavourably with the supposedly lawless and violent United States of America, none of whose Presidents had been assassinated.

M'Naghten having been immediately arrested by the police, was tried for murder but found not guilty by reason of insanity. He was sentenced to be detained for life in the state criminal lunatic asylum at Bethlem Hospital.

The Conservative Party would now need to choose the man who would be their leader and therefore Prime Minister.

(1) In OTL this happened with Graham when the House of Commons paid tribute to Peel after his death in 1850.
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The three leading office holders in the Conservative government and therefore plausible contenders to succeed Peel as party leader and therefore Prime Minister were the Earl of Aberdeen, Foreign Secretary; Henry Goulburn, Chancellor of the Exchequer; and Sir James Graham, Home Secretary.

Aberdeen didn't really want to become Prime Minister. A shy man, he was not a natural leader. Also as a former ambassador and a current and former foreign secretary (from 1828-1830), he valued compromise and conciliation. But he let it be known that he would serve as Prime Minister if the situation absolutely demanded it.

Graham was on the liberal wing of the Conservative Party, and had been a close associate of Peel. He was a Whig MP from 1818-1821 and 1826-1837, and first lord of the admiralty in Earl Grey's Whig government from 1830-1834. For these reasons he was unacceptable to most Conservative MPs and Peers.

Goulburn had high-level cabinet experience. He had previously been chancellor of the exchequer from 1828-1830, and home secretary from 1834-1835. But as chancellor in Peel's government he resented having to play second fiddle to the Prime Minister, who was more or less his own chancellor. But he was broadly in the centre of the Tory Party. (1)

A possible contender outside the government was Richard Monkton Milnes, the Tory MP for Pontefract since 1837 and a High Church Anglican. In 1842, Macaulay had famously described him in an essay as:
The rising hope of those stern and unbending Tories who follow reluctantly and mutinously a leader [Peel] whose cautious temper and moderation they abhor, but whose judgement and eloquence are indespensible to them.

Milnes let it be known that wanted to become leader, but his lack of ministerial experience meant that he was not a serious contender.

There was a move by liberal Conservatives to persuade Aberdeen to become leader, but he was unpersuadable. In the end Goulburn emerged as Tory leader and Prime Minister. He took office on 30 January 1844.

(1) Here is a biography of Goulburn: .
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