The Popular Will: Reformism, Radicalism, Republicanism & Unionism in Britain 1815-1960

Both, in a sense. I was either expecting it to cover the Six Counties of OTL' Northern Ireland or just the city of Belfast and surrounding areas. I'm not gonna complain with this half-measure, though. :)
Yeah, so I wanted to include Antrim and Down, but also areas of Derry as well - so the result is a bit of a coast hugging border. The final decision was informed by the desired borders of Northern Ireland by the Free State ahead of the Border Commission, and a little bit by demographics at the time of partition. Also, coastal areas would be simple to emigrate to by Orangists in the wake of the coup, so I thought there would be a bit of a swell in that direction.
Part 5, Chapter XLVI
V, XLVI: Symbolic Restoration


President Regent Edward Stanley, 15th Earl of Derby, 4th President-Regent of the Union of Great Britain

Everyone knew what was coming. President-Regent Stanley had been in serious decline for two years since an illness he suffered in 1891, but by the turn of the year, he looked frail and declined from appearing in public outside of official duties after the agreement with the French. It was an open secret he had been struggling despite his age of just 66.

Aside from his desire to use the role to promote unity wherever possible, Stanley had been a quiet influence on proceedings. Chamberlain believed Stanley was a moderating figure serving the interests of the Unionists, and he had served his purpose. Despite this, over the course of his term, the Unionists had unwittingly rebuilt the aristocracy through the appointed posts under the authority of the President-Regent: Lieutenants, University rectors, and the heads of the various societies and agencies. Most importantly, the Empire, where Stanley had created a web of interconnected aristocratic revivalism. The country elite of England found themselves spread across society once again.

Such restorationism was controversial inside and outside the Unionist Party, but the need for stability and continuity was more important to the party than any dogma about Republicanism. To Republicans, the need to stay out of trouble with the authorities weighed on their minds more than any ideology. Even the SDF, the most radical group in Parliament, forwent any attempt to complain about the President-Regent, owing primarily to Stanley’s popularity with the British public.

In the crisp dawn of April 5th, 1893, the nation awoke to sombre news. The President-Regent, a figure that had been a steady anchor during tumultuous times over the past nine years, had breathed his last. His passing left an unmistakable void, both in the hearts of the British people and in the framework of the Constitution. As the first light of dawn crept over the horizon, the sombre news of President-Regent Stanley's passing began its journey across the nation. In the heart of London, the telegraph office became a hive of activity, operators clattering away at their keys, dispatching messages that carried the weight of a nation in mourning.

In the bustling newsroom of The Union, the air was thick with the scent of ink and paper as journalists scurried about, piecing together the story that would soon be on everyone's lips. The printing presses roared to life, churning out editions that would carry the news from the smog-filled streets of the capital to the furthest corners of the British Isles. The country was reeling from shocking reports of revolution across the channel, and many had looked to Stanley, who had calmed the nation through the March Masscres, for comfort and stability.

In the urban coffeehouses, frequented by the intellectual and the curious, the news arrived with the morning papers. Patrons huddled around shared copies, their voices a low murmur as they read aloud the headlines that spoke of the end of an era. The discussions that followed were a blend of political speculation and personal remembrance, a testament to the late President-Regent's far-reaching influence.


President-Regent Stanley's State Funeral

In the countryside, the news meandered through the rural lanes, delivered by the steady pace of the postman's cart. In the pubs and village squares, locals gathered, their conversations punctuated by solemn nods and the raising of glasses in tribute to a man they had never met yet felt they knew.

Back in the corridors of power, the impact of Stanley's death was no less profound. Chamberlain, upon receiving an urgent telegram, felt the weight of the moment settle upon his shoulders. He summoned his closest advisors, their hurried footsteps echoing through the halls of Whitehall as they convened to discuss the nation's future.

The news also reached Senator Robert Cecil, not through the impersonal words of a telegram but in a carefully penned letter delivered by a trusted courier. As he broke the seal and unfolded the paper, Cecil knew that the contents would not just inform him of Stanley's passing but also of the monumental task that lay ahead. A task that many were already whispering was his destiny to undertake.

Britain found itself at the precipice of a new era, yearning for a leader who could guide them through the murk of uncertainty. The country was anxious, as the newspapers had been filled with stories from France outlining an extremely hostile regime coming to power, refugees spilling into European countries, and financial markets in ruin.

Still, as tradition dictated, the High Chancellor temporarily took over the duties of the Regent, and the Speaker of the House of Commons was quick to action. He called a Grand Committee tasked with selecting the next President-Regent two days after his death. The air in the political chambers was thick with speculation and anticipation.

Whispers and discreet conversations echoed through hallways. Eyes and hopes were turning to a single figure: Senator Robert Cecil. The Senator was not just any statesman. He had recently won the hearts of many an ordinary Briton with his adept handling of international tensions, quelling their fears about an impending war. To many, Cecil seemed like a beacon of hope in a sea of worldwide uncertainty, making him the most likely candidate to fill Stanley’s significant shoes.

Chamberlain and Churchill were less sure of Senator Cecil’s ability to fulfil the role in a conciliatory manner to the Union Government. The Prime Minister wrote to Churchill a few days after President-Regent Stanley’s death, summarizing his apprehension:

“The sombre dawn has cast a shadow upon us all, and our nation is in mourning. The loss of President-Regent Stanley leaves not just a void in our constitutional framework but a deep chasm in the political landscape that we must now navigate.

While his health had been waning, the gravity of his absence truly strikes me now. His moderating hand, even behind the scenes, was felt more than many realise. His actions, often subtle, brought a measure of stability to our tumultuous political realm. I fear we may soon feel the weight of his absence keenly. The annuls of time will remember him as a true father of Unionism.

Eyes and ears are now aflutter with rumours of his replacement, and I must say I am somewhat surprised by the growing consensus around Cecil, though his recent successes cannot be overlooked. I know that you, like me, value the integrity and stability of our nation, so I seek your counsel on this matter. How do you perceive this shift, and what are your thoughts on Cecil potentially taking up the mantle of President-Regent?”


Senator Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, Foreign Secretary, formerly the 3rd Marquess of Salisbury

Randolph Churchill responded the same day, with the letter reaching Chamberlain on the 7th of April, the day before the vote.

“Your letter found me amidst a flurry of whispered conversations. The political corridors are abuzz with speculation, and the mood is electric. I share your sentiments about Stanley’s absence; his quiet yet profound influence was a bedrock on which we stood, often unknowingly.

As for Senator Robert Cecil, I do find the momentum around his name to be rather astonishing. However, it's undeniable that his diplomatic prowess has endeared him to many. But, like you, I do hold reservations. While Cecil has shown himself to be a capable statesman, the office of the President-Regent is not merely about diplomacy. It requires a certain depth, temperance, and wisdom that Stanley so effortlessly exuded. Can Salisbury fill such shoes? I am uncertain.

I propose that we meet, perhaps even with a few trusted colleagues, to discuss the political landscape ahead. This is a crucial juncture for our nation, and I believe that our collective insight can help navigate the challenges that lie before us.”

When Chamberlain and Churchill organised a meeting of the senior leadership to a man, they supported Senator Cecil for the role. Seeing there was no prospect for them to hand-pick the candidate like the previous Grand Committee, they submitted and recommended to the 1884 Committee that Cecil receive the Unionists’ backing.

Republicans were worried about the prospect of Cecil taking the reigns but were unconvinced of the ability of any of their Parliamentarians to gain enough support from Unionists to overturn the will of the 1884 Committee, who issued strict instructions to back Cecil once consensus emerged that he was the most popular candidate. An attempt from Charles Dilke, of all people, to find a challenger failed after just 7 parliamentarians attended his meeting.

As should be expected by now, given the appetite of every President-Regent for the role prior to appointment, Cecil was uninterested in the role. Still, he was convinced to stand when he was told he could continue his diplomatic duties while maintaining the role of Regent. Cecil was nominated first and, with no clear challenger emerging, was appointed without a Grand Committee vote. Britain had a new head of state.

The election of Robert Cecil to the position of President Regent launched a whirlwind, after which Republicans did not know which way they stood. Within a day, Cecil announced that he would not be addressed by the President Regent name, which was his right. Instead, he would restore his previous title, Lord Salisbury, Regent of Great Britain, as his official title. The jettisoning of the Presidential element of his title irked Republicans who had fought hard to prevent his election, and as it turned out, Salisbury was just getting started.


Bust of Salisbury, Originally in Parliament, now in the Museum of the Republic, London

He recognised all peerages, restored titles, and returned land still in the public hands to the church. He also insisted that the prefix of Lord be added to the titles of Lieutenant and Senator, as had previously been the case under Victoria. He used an Order-in-Council to restore the Union Jack, the Monarchist flag, to be flown alongside the Union Flag on all public buildings. Finally, he returned the word ‘Royal’ to hundreds of public institutions and bodies that had been stripped of the title during Unionisation. Most notably, the Royal Navy returned, as did the Royal Society, King’s College, and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Britain returned to a day before the death of Victoria, save the monarch, with one stroke of a pen.

Many wondered why Lord Salisbury didn’t go the whole hog and use his election to recall a monarch to the Crown, but he was significantly craftier than most had assumed. Salisbury wanted to give the Monarchists and Conservatives something they wanted - to return to feeling they were in control through lexicon and nomenclature - without upsetting his party's progressive elements by reversing the Constitutional Laws.

He knew that thanks to the existence of the progressives in the Unionists - former Independent Democrats who supported the Republic until the Constitutional Laws were drafted - there would never be the votes to propose recalling a Monarch, even melded with the current arrangement. Therefore, a policy he called ‘symbolic restoration’ took place. Republicans, buoyed by greater and greater numbers of Parliamentarians, vowed to fight the creeping spectre of Royalism back in Parliament.

This gave the British state the trappings of a constitutional monarchy without the monarch in place. Lord Salisbury’s policies, although entirely superficial, enhanced the idea that the country and aristocratic elite had regained control over Britain for the first time since the death of Victoria. The ‘Regency Era’ is characterised by the chaffing between the emerging and confident Republican movement and the country-based, traditionalist, and Unionist Britain represented by the landed elite, former aristocrats (now civil servants and state officials), and army officers. As Andrew Marr notes in his book, The Making of the Modern Union, Britain 1892-1908:

“In the years that spanned from 1893 to 1903, The Executive in Britain seemed to have taken a firm step back into embracing its counter-revolutionary past. This was not the age of flirtation with radical ideals or the allure of continental enlightenment. Oh no, it was an era where governments sang ballads of 'nationalist Christianity,' where the virtues of heroism, unwavering faith, and cohesive unity were celebrated with fervour.

If there was one event they looked upon with undisguised contempt, it was the Actionist French Revolution, viewing it much like a distasteful wine that one regretted tasting. The totalitarian winds that had blown across Europe in the mid-19th century? Not on these shores.

Instead, Britain's gaze turned to seeing itself as a solid wall standing tall against the tide of modernism. At the helm of this Britain was a closed circle, a club if you will, of aristocrats, dutiful civil servants, and staunch army officers. And reigning supreme amongst them, cloaked in admiration and near reverence, was the figure of Lord Salisbury – the embodiment of the counter-revolution.”

Salisbury’s reforms didn’t end with nomenclature, however. The Regent attempted to simplify the running of the Union of Britain by merging the Regency and Presidency into one apparatus, with a Grand Council that would operate similarly to the Privy Council before the Revolution. While the Union Council would still legally remain, the two bodies would be functionally merged together, and both run from Whitehall, where collaboration would be encouraged.

This had two major effects. Firstly, Salisbury could operate closer to Parliament and force cooperation between the States and Parliament. Secondly, this move would allow Salisbury to have a greater impact on governing, thanks to the influence of the Regency on appointments to the new body. Chief in opposition to this move was Chamberlain, who preferred an independent branch of government for the Union, but he was overruled, as the power in the Executive Authority Act granted to Lord Salisbury permitted him to meet “in the time and place of His Excellency’s choosing.”

To do this, Salisbury appointed just four men to the Union Council: Chamberlain, Churchill, High Chancellor A.V. Dicey, and the newly christened and re-nobled Leader of the Senate, Earl Cadogan. In the first year of his term, Salisbury failed to call a single meeting of the Union Council, preferring the wider cabinet (all members of the Government, each appointed to the Presidency), using the presence of Earl Cadogan and A.V. Dicey as an active quorum to enforce decisions with Union Council assent.

These manoeuvres minimised the influence of Chamberlain on the Government without removing him as Prime Minister, a move which would enrage the party at the local level. They also allowed him to rule more directly, using the full extent of his powers to guide and moderate the decisions of radicals within his own party. He believed such a guiding hand to be pivotal to the fate of Britain to navigate the choppy waters ahead successfully. Smaller cliques of power, a hierarchical system, and the restoration of tradition represented Salisbury’s dream of a government ready for restoration.
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The aftershocks of Stanley’s passing were very well-written. I’m intrigued by how Salisbury is trying to slowly reintroduce monarchism and the backlash that will follow.
Part 5, Chapter XLVII
V, XLVII: Republicanism

George Lansbury, Social Democratic Federation MP for Stockport (1893 - 1940)

The law on unintended consequences is a powerful thing. In this vein, the cosmetic changes from Salisbury were not lost on Republicans, who saw them as restoration by stealth, plain and simple. A broader realisation began to emerge. Without a more significant change to the constitution, every attempt to break the power of the aristocracy would be fruitless. They had the Regency and the Senate, and in many cities and counties, they had Alderman who thwarted attempts at Radical reform. The odds would be stacked against progress, many thought, after symbolic restoration, until levers of power were used to break the monopoly aristocracy had always held on Britain.

After the news of the pronouncements filtered their way through the Union, Republicans were incensed by the blatant power grab. Meanwhile, amidst the grand halls of power, where polished floors reflected the glint of chandeliers, the aristocracy celebrated. After Salisbury's appointment, the rechristened Lord Knutsford spoke of the jubilant atmosphere in the Carlton Club. “The Regent arrived,” he wrote in his diary, “and roused the assembled gentleman in a rendition of God Save the Queen. One figure, I believe it was the Earl of Onslow, ordered a servant to rip the Union flag, that bastardised banner of compromise, from the flag pole and have it brought in, whereupon it was burnt. Joe [Chamberlain] looked gruff and left soon after Salisbury had called for calm among the members.”

Their laughter echoed off the walls, starkly contrasting the sober discussions of the Republicans in shadowed corners of bustling coffee houses. The former, draped in finery reminiscent of a bygone era, spoke of restoring glory and order. At the same time, the latter, a diverse group of determined faces, argued passionately for progress and equality.

Chamberlain was incensed by the manoeuvres. “It is a fool's errand,” he wrote in a letter to his son, Austen, “to claw back the gains made by the Republicans in the last decade. The aggrandising, the pageantry, and the restoration of chivalric honours will do nothing but inflame the Republican side and undo the good work done by Unionists since the creation of the movement. It will aggravate the party at the local level and further the divisions we have sought to avoid. It could bring us to ruin. Have they forgotten the events of last March? Would they wish the horror repeated?”

The Prime Minister was, at this moment, more isolated than ever during his premiership. While he could not publicly disavow the decisions made by the Regent, he was privately gravely concerned by them. He even admitted privately to Randolph Churchill, who refused to reacquaint himself with the ‘Lord’ at the beginning of his title, that the moves to restore the appearance of Monarchy in Britain had convinced him of the need to declare a Republic.

While Churchill disagreed - he remained a staunch advocate of Unionist doctrine - he acknowledged in his diary, “Joe has lost hope for the great Unionist project. While I do not share his pessimism - I believe that passions will calm - if I were formerly a Republican, then a Unionist, I admit I would feel betrayed by the Tories in the party. The election of Cecil was nothing more than a Trojan horse.”

The disenchantment of the Prime Minister against the President-Regent did have some upsides. While around half the party could have been counted as active supporters of the policy of symbolic restoration, the other half, comprising Chamberlain’s core support and the Progressives, unofficially led by Jesse Collings, began to coalesce. Two weeks after the Grand Committee, Collings, Primrose and Chamberlain met face to face. It was said, although no concrete proof has ever been provided, that an invitation was extended to Dilke to join the meeting, although he declined. In secret, the three men began to meet, dine, and discuss the machinations of allowing themselves to allow the Tories back in by the back door. These meetings would foster the beginning of the split that would engulf the Unionist Party in just under two years over the Jameson Affair.

In the industrial heartlands, amidst the soot and clatter of machinery, the working class viewed the aristocratic resurgence with deepening distrust. Calloused from labour, their hands held newspapers that spoke of a world seemingly slipping backwards. In contrast, the emerging middle class engaged in heated debates in their modest parlours adorned with the first fruits of their hard-earned prosperity. Some saw an opportunity for stability in the return to traditional values, while others feared the loss of the hard-won freedoms of a more egalitarian society.

Protests, a nervous pursuit given the violence a year ago, occurred up and down the country, mainly peacefully. Several senior state figures, including Premier of Ireland Michael Davitt, Premier of Scotland Edward McHugh, and most concerningly for the Unionist Party, former Premier of Mercia Jesse Collings, participated in peaceful demonstrations - with the tacit support of Joseph Chamberlain.

The demonstrations drew support from across the political spectrum, including many Progressive Unionists, Liberal Democrats, and members of the (amazingly) still outlawed Social Democratic Federation. Many flew the Red, White, and Green Republican flag, and a minority burned Union Jacks. In the landmark 2008 study of the Republican movement in Great Britain, Peter Wilson described the aftermath of Lord Salisbury’s appointment as “the seminal moment in the creation of a unified, multi-party, multi-ideological Republican movement.”

For instance, the air during a demonstration on April 13th was charged with palpable tension on the streets of Manchester. The clatter of horse-drawn carriages blended with the murmur of agitated conversations. At a meeting in St Peter’s Square, the site of Peterloo, the fervour was almost tangible, with voices rising and falling like a tumultuous sea, each wave of rhetoric colliding with the next. The Chancellor of the Free City of Manchester, Herbert Gladstone, rallied a crowd of nearly 25,000, meandering through the surrounding streets, against Salisbury's actions. “It is not by turning to the past that we will progress this nation but condemn her to slow disintegration,” he exclaimed to the masses.


Herbert Gladstone, Republican and Chancellor of Manchester

Despite the criticism of Salisbury and the decisions of the Unionist Party, it should be noted these demonstrations were policed with remarkable restraint across the country. No arrests were made, and no attempt at coercion was employed. While counter-demonstrations by former Teal Guards and militant Monarchists, now coalescing in the National Unionist movement, were conducted, these too were held in check by a robust police presence, seeking to prevent a repeat of the horrors of March 1892. Holding the superficial united front together, Chamberlain gave a speech in Birmingham, during which he was heckled and booed by the crowd, in which he emphasised the “practical gains of the revolution” and stated the need to “continue to stride confidently into the future.” He was, however, now waiting for an opportunity for the Regent to slip up.

A unique opportunity was afforded to Republicans in the form of a by-election on May 4th in Stockport, triggered by the death of Louis John Jennings, a Unionist Party MP. Local Liberal Democratic Party members, rather than organising a party meeting to select a candidate, issued an appeal to “those of Republican persuasion, of all political creeds, to select a unity candidate to demonstrate this constituency’s distaste at the actions of the Tory attempts to subvert the hard-won freedoms of the Union.” They selected a socialist, George Lansbury, as a ‘United Republican’ candidate for the election and were supported by the LDP, Independent Labour Party, Trade Unions, and a number of local dissenting Unionists.

Despite much ridicule from the Unionists and major press, Lansbury, campaigning for the disestablishment of the Regency and popular election of the Senate, among other pro-Republican policies, won the election. The Sunday Republic ran the victory on its front page with the headline, “Lansbury shocks the Union in a stunning victory for the Republican cause.” The victory demonstrated the popular appeal of Republicanism and secured its revival. While a unified party advocating Republicanism was not on the agenda, the campaign fermented goodwill between differing strands of the movement and concentrated minds in pursuit of the common goal.

Still, some Liberals were unhappy with the cooperation with the outlawed SDF, with Farrer Herschell, a senior anti-Socialist Liberal, writing in The Times before the election, “It is regrettable to see the electors of Stockport given no opportunity between a godless Socialist and a Tory. I truly pity their electoral dilemma.”

Despite the isolated opposition, the Republican movement developed at pace after Salisbury’s symbolic restoration. This desire for cooperation also fostered, perhaps for the first time, a coherent Republicanism policy. One broader realisation by Republicans was that the best way to prevent a takeover of the state by one man would be to not entrust one man to the executive power of the state.

The publication of the second edition of The Constitutional Documents of the First Revolution, 1628–1660, by Samuel Rawson Gardiner in 1893 did much to inform this debate. His preface, written a month after the death of President-Regent Stanley, informed Liberal debate on the issue. Gardiner presented two hypotheses in the book. The first - that Charles wanted to conserve and protect the past and caused friction between Parliament and the Crown - rang true and spoke to Republicans who believed Lord Salisbury was a reactionary blockade to the natural progress towards the Republic. The second - that the revolutionaries benefitted from collective leadership, and the Commonwealth only collapsed once power was centralised under Cromwell (a claim historians now dispute) - left a great impression on the movement.


Samuel Rawson Gardiner, Author of The Constitutional Documents of the First Revolution, 1628–1660

Especially among the SDF, Salisbury’s rejection of the apparatus of Republican rule fostered a feeling that we wouldn’t always find the right man to act as custodian of the order, like Charles and Salisbury, but a small group could wield the same influence with less room for centralisation. As SDF organiser George Bernard Shaw noted in a letter to Annie Besant’s The Sunday Republic on May 11th, “The weakness of delivering temporary royalty is that sometimes, the head is not large enough to carry the crown. We, in our organisation, believe that the weight should be carried collectively.”

Following the revival of Republicanism the previous year, Republicans began to discuss openly the drawbacks of the 1875 Constitutional Laws and proposed improvements in publications like The Sunday Republic. One stood out in its clarity and conviction among the voices of dissent. Published in 'The Sunday Republic,' a letter penned by the revered MP from Wales, David Lloyd-George, in support of Lansbury, captured the nation's attention.

“We stand today at a most pivotal juncture in the chronicles of our great nation, a nation that has withstood the tempests of time and emerged resplendent. Yet, we find ourselves amidst a swirling maelstrom of political machinations that threaten to steer us away from the glorious path of progress and enlightenment back into the shadows of an archaic and feudal past.

It has become distressingly apparent that the recent reforms proposed by Lord Salisbury are not but a thinly veiled attempt to drag this proud nation back to the dark days of aristocratic dominance and elitism. These reforms, I fear, are a siren song, alluring in their melody of tradition and heritage yet perilous in their intent.

Under the guise of preserving our cherished traditions, what we witness is a subversion of the very essence of our 1875 Constitutional Laws. This, I must assert, is an affront to the spirit of republicanism – a spirit that breathes life into the ethos of our constitution. We are, I submit, duty-bound to raise our voices against such regression.

I urge us to ponder deeply on the proposition of concentrating vast executive powers in the hands of a single Regent. This is a dangerous vestige of an age best left behind. The unchecked authority wielded by Lord Salisbury, under the cloak of regal prerogative, stands testament to the inherent vulnerabilities of such a system. The gravitation back towards hierarchical governance and the consolidation of power within select aristocratic circles is a stark reminder of a feudalistic past we have striven to transcend.

Might we embrace the dream of a true republic? If so, we must question the necessity of entrusting such immense power to one individual. Would it not be more prudent, more reflective of our democratic ideals, to have a council – diverse in thought, representing the myriad voices of our great nation? Such a council would serve as a bulwark against the whims of any one person, ensuring that the path we tread is one of balance, fairness, and representative of the collective will.

Moreover, our current Constitutional Laws, while groundbreaking at their inception, lack the robust fortifications necessary to safeguard against the erosion of our democratic values. It is incumbent upon us to establish clearer demarcations of executive powers, institute mechanisms for greater accountability, and perhaps even consider term limits to prevent the ossification of power within a select few hands.

The recent manipulation of the Union Council by Lord Salisbury and the subsequent curtailment of its intended role is indicative of loopholes that must be addressed posthaste. It is a grotesque perversion of democratic principles for a Regent to diminish the influence of duly elected representatives.

Furthermore, the composition of our Senate and its susceptibility to the machinations of influential cliques pose a significant impediment to the enactment of meaningful reform. This situation demands our immediate attention and warrants a thorough reassessment and possible reconstitution.

In conclusion, let all Republican-minded Patriots heed this clarion call to action. We must evolve our constitution, fortify it against the ambitions of the few, and ensure it remains a bastion of the people’s will. Let us not allow the hard-fought progress towards republicanism to be relegated to mere footnotes in our history. For if we fail to act, we risk being ensnared once again in the fetters of a bygone era.”


David Lloyd George MP, Prominent Republican

Symbolic restoration, while nostalgic for some, served as a unifying moment for many others, hitherto contented with the Constitutional Laws. The spectre of one man's overarching influence raised grave concerns among Republicans and reformists alike. The very essence of their democratic ideals seemed under threat. With the aristocracy subtly reasserting their influence and traditional structures being revived, there was a palpable unease among the public about the trajectory of their nation.

It was in this atmosphere that voices of dissent and reform grew louder. Publications like The Sunday Republic served as platforms for debates on the very fabric of the nation's governance. Among them, David Lloyd-George's compelling argument for a collective council resonated deeply. His vision of decentralising executive power, ensuring shared responsibility, and mitigating the risk of unilateral decisions underscored a shift in the public discourse. Finally, in June, Republicans across the country formed The Spence Society, named after early Republican Thomas Spence. This organisation, still functioning today, is one of the key foundations of the Republican movement.

The Regency Era thus marked a pivotal era in British political history, teetering between traditions of the past and visions for the future. The tension between monarchic nostalgia and the clamour for a more democratised governance would continue to shape the political landscape, with the legacy of Lord Salisbury's 'Regency Era' casting a long shadow on the years to come. Tellingly, Salisbury’s Regency wouldn’t end with the abolition of the institution itself but would set the wheels in motion for the ultimate victory of the Republicans in 1908.
Any changes in India from Otl?
Was'nt a responsible government given in 1880 itl?
What would happen to Princely states after 1908?
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Any changes in India from Otl?
Was'nt a responsible government given in 1880 itl?
What would happen to Princely states after 1908?
India (containing OTL Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Burma) is run as a mixture of Category 2 & 3 territories - so it is run with an appointed British Administration with a mixed Civil Service. Currently it doesn’t have responsible government, but the development of the political system, including the rise to prominence of the SDF and LDP will have an impact on Indian policy, including the Princely States. I’m sorry I haven’t gone into it further just yet, but the political stars haven’t aligned yet for it to be a prominent issue in British politics just yet. That will change very soon, and India will be covered again in an update soon. Unionisation is returning to the forefront 👍🏻
Part 5, Chapter XLVIII
V, XLVIII: National Democracy in Action

Pro-National Democracy Cartoon, featuring crowds with the Shamrock Banner, a common NDP flag, and the Green-White-Green Tricolour, another common NDP flag

Amongst the furour of symbolic restoration, Ireland was one area striving confidently into the new area, free from interference. The nation from 1892 under the Premiership of Michael Davitt stands as a pivotal era marked by transformative economic and social policies alongside a growing wave of united Irish nationalism. Appointed as Premier of Ireland and leading the National Democratic Party (NDP), Davitt's administration was driven by a strong ideological commitment to Georgism, which shaped its approach to land reform, taxation, and the broader economic landscape of Ireland. Upon the return of the NDP to Government in 1892, Davitt and his Ministers works incredibly fast, with significant reforms passed in the first 18 months of the term.

Davitt's economic policies furthered the defining goal of National Democracy: addressing the disparities created by the unequal ownership of land. Central to this was the continued implementation of the Land Value Tax as part of the Plunkett-Sexton Plan. This plan introduced a tax on the unimproved value of land, shifting the economic burden from labour and capital to landowners. The tax ranged from 2d in the pound for smaller estates to 6d in the pound for larger estates, with the wealthiest landlords paying up to 8d in the pound. Such a progressive taxation system aimed to alleviate the burden on tenant farmers and the working class, who had long been subject to the whims of absentee landlords. It also wished to diversify and spread land ownership, by pressuring large landed estates through taxation into selling small plots to put economic power in collective Irish hands.

The Plunkett-Sexton Plan also involved the transfer of former Crown Lands to tenant farmers and the establishment of a 'Congested Land Board' to regulate fair rents and manage absentee lands. This initiative significantly redistributed land ownership and aligned with Davitt's vision of "Free Land, Free Trade, Free People." The plan notably included exemptions for land used for religious purposes, government buildings, common land, and, crucially, for land pooled into cooperatives. These cooperatives were integral to Davitt's vision of empowering Irish farmers. They provided a framework for collective ownership and management of agricultural land, promoting self-sufficiency and resilience among the rural populace. This was a radical departure from the traditional landlord-tenant system and was seen as a step towards a more equitable and sustainable agricultural sector.

The Davitt government introduced the Cooperative Farming Act of 1892 on July 22, 1892. This act passed with a strong majority of 75 votes in favour and 41 against in the Legislative Assembly and passed with a majority of six in the Legislative Council three weeks later. The legislation was crucial in promoting the cooperative movement in Irish agriculture. It provided legal and financial frameworks for establishing farming cooperatives, thus empowering tenant farmers to own and manage agricultural land collectively. The implementation of these reforms had profound economic effects. The redistribution of land ownership through the Land Value Tax and cooperative movement led to a more equitable distribution of wealth. Absentee landlords, burdened by the new tax regime, sold their lands, which were then redistributed to Irish tenant farmers.

Managed by Horace Plunkett, a key NDP loyalist who was made Minister of Agriculture in Davitt’s Government, the implementation of the cooperative elements of the Plunkett-Sexton Plan meant that by 1892, 54% of the land in Ireland was managed in cooperatives: mostly as planned agricultural communities with small plots, voluntarily collectively bargaining with importers on the mainland and for export abroad. Ireland produced surpluses that allowed the cooperatives to invest in new machinery, and amazingly, by 1892, Ireland produced more goods for export than any other state in the Union.

Moreover, Davitt's government took significant steps to revitalize the Irish language, recognizing its role as a unifying cultural and nationalistic force. A report in 1891, the catalyst for the legislation, had drawn stark warnings for the Irish nation. In 1881, analysis showed that of those born in the first decade of the century, 45% of the population had been raised with Irish, and in 1891, just 10% were raised in the national language. The findings summoned a sense of deep questioning of the nature of Irish statehood, particularly among National Democrats. While O’Connell’s Catholic Liberalism of the Repeal Movement was lukewarm to the status of the language, believing it was an inhibitor to progress, to the new generation of politicians emerging through the NDP, the Irish language was a key element of state-building. The Unionists also preempted the crisis with the Union State Language Act of 1892, introduced within two weeks of the beginning of the new Parliamentary term, which indicated that English should be the sole language for administration. This was a direct attack on linguistic minorities: the Welsh, Irish, and Scots Gaelic, and (however limited) Cornish.

The Gaelic League, founded in 1893, played a crucial role in this effort, organizing classes, immersion experiences in Gaeltacht areas, and publishing materials in Irish. The revival of the language was intertwined with the broader political project of unifying Ireland under the banner of a shared heritage and identity. Davitt announced at the NDP Congress in 1893 that the party’s name would change from the National Democratic Party to its Irish language translation, An Páirti Daonlathaithe Náisiúnta na hÉireann. Davitt himself would sign letters from this date as Mícheál Dáibhéad, the translation of his name in Irish.

The Irish government took a decisive step towards cultural resurgence with the landmark Irish Language Act, or Acht na Gaeilge, of 1893. Passed on June 5, 1893, the Act was a bold affirmation of the Irish language as the national language of Ireland. One of the Act's key provisions was the significant increase in funding allocated to the Gaeltacht areas - regions where Irish remained the predominant language. This infusion of resources was aimed at bolstering educational facilities, supporting local economies, and promoting cultural activities that fostered the use and preservation of the Irish language. The Act recognized the Gaeltacht regions as vital bastions of Irish culture and language, deserving of special attention and support to ensure their vitality and growth.

Perhaps the most transformative aspect of the Act was the introduction of language requirements for civil service, education, and other government positions. Under this new mandate, proficiency in the Irish language became a prerequisite for employment in various government roles. This policy was not merely about filling positions with Irish-speaking individuals; it was a strategic move to ensure that the language regained its stature and became a living, breathing part of the nation's administrative and educational systems.

The Act also paved the way for the Irish language to be taught as a compulsory subject in schools across Ireland, not just in the Gaeltacht regions. This educational policy aimed to foster a new generation of Irish speakers, ensuring that the language was not relegated to the past but was a dynamic and integral part of Ireland's future. In the realm of public service, the Act mandated that all official government communications and documentation be available in both Irish and English. This bilingual approach was a significant step towards normalizing the use of Irish in everyday governance and public life. Davitt also encouraged the use of Irish on the mainland, also, encouraging Irish workers in the Northern States, like Yorkshire and Scotland, to keep up the language. One of his initiatives was becoming a club patron of Celtic Football Club in 1891. The club invited Davitt to the ground-breaking ceremony of Celtic Park, a football club for the Irish Community in Glasgow.

In Yorkshire, he is remembered as one of the founding fathers of the movement that eventually gave the State the Tykegaelg creole of Irish - a unique mix of the Irish Language and Yorkshire dialect, spoken by 150,000 residents in Yorkshire and Lancashire. Télefis Foer, the Tykegalg-language television station based in Leeds, is based at Teak na tDabhet in his honor.


Davitt breaks ground at Celtic Park, 1892.

Elsewhere, the movement to revive Gaelic encouraged further movements across the Celtic states. Cornwall created a commission for revitalising Kernow the next year, the new Welsh Government enacted similar legislation in 1895, and the Scottish Government, under fellow National Democrat Edward McHugh, unveiled reforms designed to promote the use of native languages in the Highlands. McHugh also established Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Council of the Western Isles), which was predominantly Gaelic speaking, to safeguard the language on the Islands and protect its unique interests. With 20 years of the "Celtic Revival," as it became known in the Union, the number of monolingual speakers would increase by 15% in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, and the number of bilingual speakers would increase by 40%.

In Cornwall, Henry Jenner founded the Pentreath Society, a group named after the presumed last native speaker of the language, and led a successful campaign to research and map out the language with the help of the Charter Fragment from the British Museum - a fragment of Middle Cornish text. With funds from the Gaelic League, comprehensive classes were taught as early as 1896. The Cornish Language Act of 1906, passed during the Republican Revolution along with the reforms to rename the Cornish Legislature as the Stannary Parliament, increased its usage in national bodies, furthered literature and culture, and was regarded as the beginning of the long revival, which culminated in Cornwall declaring itself officially bilingual in 1999. Similar efforts, while not as wide-reaching given the multi-national composition of the island, were conducted in Ellan Vannin, which changed its name from the English translation, Isle of Man, upon gaining statehood in 1903. Today, the revival of the Manx Language is considered complete, and around 17% of the population, or around 800,000 people, claim to speak some of the language mostly; Manx speakers are confined to those who attend the sixteen Bunscoillí Ghaelgagh, and any of the eight Manx-medium secondary schools.

On the economic side, the establishment of the Irish National Bank (INB) during Davitt's Premiership was a landmark event in the economic history of Ireland. It was a visionary move aimed at transforming the financial landscape of rural Ireland, which was predominantly agrarian and heavily dependent on agriculture. On October 9, 1892, the Irish National Bank Establishment Act was passed by a vote of 78 to 38 in the Legislative Assembly. This act laid the foundation for the Irish National Bank, providing an initial endowment and outlining its role in offering accessible credit to the agricultural sector. This act faced significant opposition from banking interests but ultimately succeeded due to its promise of economic independence and growth.

The primary objective of the Bank was to offer accessible and affordable credit to farmers, thereby promoting agriculture, commerce, and industry within Ireland. The initial endowment of £300,000 to set the bank up. This money was raised by a bond issue and an endowment from the sale of lands managed by the Congested Districts Board. This funding was intended to be used to provide low-interest loans to farmers for crop cultivation, livestock breeding, and the purchase of farm equipment.

The Irish economy was primarily based on farming, with a significant portion of the population engaged in agriculture, especially in the cultivation of potatoes and grains. The farmers of Ireland faced numerous challenges, including fluctuating market prices, exploitation by intermediaries, and exorbitant interest rates charged by urban-based banks. Davitt, understanding the plight of the Irish farmers and their vulnerability to the volatile market and predatory lending practices, proposed the establishment of the INB. This institution was designed as a credit union-style entity aimed to liberate Irish farmers from the grip of high-interest loans from banks located in major cities on the mainland.

The proposal, however, faced significant opposition from various quarters. The banking trusts, which had a stronghold over the country's financial affairs, saw the Bank as a direct threat to their interests. They feared that the establishment of a state-backed financial institution offering low-interest loans would diminish their market share and influence. Similarly, the grain and railroad trusts, which had long profited from the struggles of the rural populace, opposed the Bank, fearing it would empower farmers and reduce their dependence on these trusts.

In response to Davitt's proposal, these entities undertook a series of actions to thwart the establishment of the Bank. They funded political opposition, engaged in legal battles to challenge the Credit Union's formation, and boycotted the sale of its bonds. The Catholic Church, through the General League, also ramped up its opposition to the plan.

Despite these obstacles, the determination of Davitt and the NDP, along with widespread public support, eventually led to the successful establishment of the Irish National Bank. The Bank quickly became a lifeline for Irish farmers, offering them a viable alternative to the exploitative lending practices they had endured for years. It provided much-needed financial support, enabling farmers to invest in their land and livestock, thereby improving their yields and livelihoods.

Recognizing the importance of robust infrastructure in industrial development, Davitt's government continued to invest heavily in improving transportation networks, including railways, roads, and ports. A public work scheme, paid for by a mix of national and municipal bonds, known as “Patriot Bonds,” help foster a sense of economic pride in the country, and many of the projects, like the Dublin to Dundalk Canal, the Cork to Galway Railway, and the Drogheda Shipping Port, are still in use today. This facilitated easier movement of goods and resources, reducing costs and improving efficiency for industrial operations.


Drogheda Shipping Port, 1892

Davitt's government established research and development grants for industries, particularly in sectors like textiles, shipbuilding, and food processing. Partnerships with universities and technical institutes were encouraged to facilitate knowledge transfer and to develop a skilled workforce tailored to the needs of the evolving industrial landscape.

The economic policies of the Davitt government, particularly its implementation of Georgist principles, faced criticism and resistance from various quarters. The LVT, while redistributing wealth and breaking up large estates, also sparked concerns among the landowning class and those wary of too drastic an economic transformation. However, the popularity of these policies among the tenant farmers and the working class provided a solid base of support for the NDP.

In addition to these economic reforms, the Davitt government also focused on social welfare. The Irish Public Health and Welfare Act, passed on January 12, 1893, with an overwhelming majority of 89 to 27, was a landmark piece of legislation. It mandated improvements in sanitation and clean water supply and introduced rudimentary healthcare services, particularly in rural areas. It also laid the groundwork for the construction of hospitals and the development of a district nursing system.

The period also saw the expansion of public services, including developing a rudimentary district nursing system and constructing hospitals for working-class mothers, signaling a commitment to public health and the well-being of the most vulnerable. Improvements to the Department of Public Health were notable, focusing on sanitation, clean water, and sewage disposal.

In education, Davitt's government expanded technical education and built new schools, reducing class sizes and making education more accessible. The introduction of free textbooks and assistance with transport costs further democratized education, reflecting the government's belief in the transformative power of learning. The Irish Education Reform Act of 1893, passed on February 18, 1893 brought sweeping changes. It expanded technical education, reduced class sizes, and introduced free textbooks, marking a significant step in making education accessible to all Irish children.

Despite these successes, the Davitt government faced formidable challenges. The opposition, comprising various factions including traditionalist elements and those aligned with the Orange Movement, continually challenged the NDP's policies. The issue of reunification with the Orange State remained contentious, with debates often centered around questions of identity, sovereignty, and economic interests. Much of this debate concerned the status of Catholics in the Orange State. While the Irish economy was improving, much of the midlands of the country were still overwhelmingly poor, and with agricultural production becoming more efficient, more young men and women were attempting to make it in cities. For much of the North of the Island, Belfast retained significant pull as a metropolis with jobs and better standards of living.

Thousands poured in to both sides of the city, but Catholics were routinely forced into a position of so-called “ghetto labour.” This practice saw workers from outside the O.S. employed by Belfast factories, but forced to live in West Belfast, which remained in the State of Ireland after the declaration of Orange Statehood. The population of Belfast’s Western Suburbs swelled, and poor wages and conditions exacerbated poor living conditions. The Orange State Government, under the Unionist Party of the Orange State (UPOS), aided by groups like the Orange Order, Legitimist Church, and National Unionists, wished to protect the status of its citizens, fight attempts to force down wages for Loyalist and Protestant workers, and discourage Catholics from settling in the City, so used influence over housing to keep the unsatisfactory arrangement going and Catholic workers locked “over the wall,” as West Belfast was known,

The presence of Orange groups in suburbs around West Belfast further complicated the situation. Living in the State of Ireland but working in the Orange State, these communities were fiercely pro-Unionist, and regarded the Catholics of West Belfast to have stolen their citadel for themselves. The Orange Order lodge in West Belfast was heavily linked to pro-terror groups, and some of the worst fighting in the March Massacres in Ireland took place in the city. Similarly, in West Derry, militant Legitimists purposefully moved to the area to attempt to seize it for the Orange State. While Sir Thomas Russell, Premier of the Orange State, and Davitt had cordial relations, junior government members on both sides were engaged in a campaign to arm and protect their communities from the other side. A catalyst, it was thought, would explode the situation.

The Irish Language Act proved just the catalyst. Upon its passing, the City of West Belfast Council decided to honorarily change its name to the Irish Comhairle Cathrach Bhéal Feirste Thiar on July 1, 1893. Legitimists reacted strongly against the move, targeting the ramshackle council chambers with bricks and attempting to storm the building. More from Belfast City came “over the wall,” and a riot ensued. When Irish Minister for Internal Affairs, Thomas Brennan, attempted to contact his opposite number in the Orange State, Edward James Saunderson, about the affair, he was stonewalled. It was later revealed this was because Saunderson had attended one of the protests. Irish State Police were left to protect the building alone, 3 were killed, and 1 injured in the fighting.

Davitt went to the Irish Legislature and provided a stunning rebuke of the Orange State:

"The recent events in West Belfast are not just a stain upon the fabric of our society; they are a glaring testament to the abject failure of the State in Belfast to uphold the principles of justice, equality, and human dignity. The heinous actions of these groups, the insidious practices of some within the community, and the deliberate segregation and mistreatment of our Catholic brethren in West Belfast are a flagrant violation of every tenet of civil society.

The State to the North has not only turned a blind eye to these atrocities but has, in fact, been complicit in perpetuating this cycle of violence and discrimination. Their actions are a deliberate attempt to marginalize and disenfranchise a significant section of our populace. The brazen attack on the City of West Belfast Council is a blatant assault on the democratic rights of our citizens.

Let it be known that we, the people of Ireland, will not stand idly by as our fellow citizens are subjected to such barbarism and injustice. We demand that the State to the North take immediate and decisive action to quell the violence, to disband these militant groups, and to ensure the safety and rights of all its residents and those within its employment. Let us raise our voices against tyranny and oppression. Let us strive for a future where tolerance, understanding, and mutual respect are the cornerstones of our society."

In summary, Michael Davitt's tenure as Premier of Ireland marked a significant period of economic, social, and cultural transformation. His administration, underpinned by Georgist principles, successfully implemented sweeping land reforms and introduced innovative financial mechanisms like the Irish National Bank, profoundly impacting Ireland's agrarian economy. The Cooperative Farming Act and the Land Value Tax reshaped Ireland's agricultural landscape, empowering tenant farmers and challenging the traditional landlord system.

Additionally, Davitt's commitment to cultural revival, particularly through the Irish Language Act, not only preserved the Irish language but also instilled a strong sense of national identity and unity. His efforts in improving public health, education, and infrastructure further demonstrated a comprehensive approach to nation-building. However, Davitt's reforms and policies were not without challenges, facing opposition from various quarters and stirring tensions in the North, notably in West Belfast. These challenges underscore the complex interplay of politics, economics, and culture in Ireland's journey towards self-determination and national identity during this pivotal era.
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Love to see Ireland doing better! Davitt’s Georgist reforms seem to have been a major success and will hopefully form a new consensus across the Irish political spectrum as they are cemented.
Part 5, Chapter XLIX
V, XLIX: Not A Fit of Absence of Mind


Sir Robert Herbert, Colonial Secretary
While colonial matters had been central to the ideological glue that held the Unionist Party together, in reality, the first full term of its government had neglected it somewhat. While Australasia had gained Union status in 1891, other colonies were left largely untouched. This chapter examines two cases of significant imperial weight for Britain - India and Greater Southern Africa.

Part 1 - Killing Nationalism with Kindness​

A key part of the early Unionist reforms, changes to India’s governance, including the creation of the High Commission, which acted as a coordinating government across the newly created Union of India, was regarded as a success in Britain, with the railways, in particular, providing a feather in the cap for the Unionist Government’s ‘civilising mission’ on the subcontinent.

Others, including prominent figures in British politics, disagreed. Dadabhai Naoroji, often referred to as the Grand Old Man of India was such a figure. Naoroji’s work and dedication to the economic plight of India under British rule established him as an intellectual force in this period that could not be easily dismissed. Naoroji's meticulous approach in delineating the economic drain from India laid a substantial foundation for the argument for Indian self-governance.


Dadabhai Naoroji MP, Liberal Democratic Party (1893-1908)

Naoroji's early work in economics was marked by an unyielding commitment to unveil the true extent of Britain's exploitation of India's wealth. His Drain Theory, which detailed the systematic transfer of wealth from India to Britain, was groundbreaking when he first presented it to the Oxford Union in 1891. By demonstrating how India's wealth funded British infrastructure both within and outside of India, Naoroji presented a compelling case for the economic emancipation of his homeland. He astutely highlighted the imbalance in trade relations and the suppression of Indian industry in favour of British economic interests.

This shared struggle against imperial economic practices formed a bridge between Naoroji and Michael Davitt of Ireland. Davitt, a staunch advocate of land reform in Ireland and a member of the National Democratic Party (NDP) saw in Naoroji's advocacy a parallel to the successful Irish quest for self-determination and control over their resources. The National Democracy movement, which Davitt championed, was inspired by Georgist principles and sought to end economic exploitation by absentee landlords, much like Naoroji’s battle against imperial extraction.

The synergy between the Indian home rule movement and the Irish National Democracy was not coincidental. Both movements sought to reclaim control over local resources and governance. Naoroji and Davitt shared a mutual admiration for each other's work; both saw the importance of a self-sustaining economy as the backbone of national freedom. Their correspondence and shared platforms at various international gatherings helped to foster a spirit of solidarity between Indian and Irish nationalists.

Naoroji's election to the British Parliament in August 1893 as a Liberal Democrat Party (LDP) MP for Finsbury was a watershed moment for the Indian home rule movement. It was a victory not only for Naoroji himself but also for the broader struggle against colonialism. His narrow win by a margin of eight votes was emblematic of the fierce contest between imperial hegemony and the rising tide of nationalist sentiment - the Unionist candidate, Frederick Thomas Penton, had been stationed in India and spoke prominently about the desire for Imperial unity that Naoroji’s election would threaten. In Parliament, Naoroji's voice became an instrument for the Indian cause, and his first speech solidified his stance that India's relationship with Britain needed to be redefined – from that of a subject people to equal partners within the Empire.

Naoroji's advocacy for Indian home rule was buttressed by his position as an MP, which allowed him to bring the struggles of India into the political mainstream of Britain. His insistence on equal opportunities for Indian professionals and his calls for Britain to invest in Indian industries mirrored the NDP's aspirations for Ireland. The shared ideologies and strategies between Naoroji and the Irish National Democracy movement highlighted the interconnectedness of the global struggle against colonial exploitation and for national self-determination.

In the months leading up to his election, Naoroji worked tirelessly, not only to raise awareness about the plight of India but also to build alliances with other colonized nations, including Ireland. His engagement with the NDP and figures like Davitt marked a growing awareness of the global nature of the fight against imperialism. This period of Naoroji's life, culminating in his election as an MP, was marked by the convergence of his economic theories with political action, setting a precedent for future generations of Indian nationalists and creating a blueprint for collaborative resistance that transcended national boundaries.


Joseph Chamberlain in 1893

Chamberlain had some sympathy with the Indian home-rule movement and the INC, as he had with Davitt’s National Democracy, but believed that India could and should be controlled and managed in a different way to the white colonies. While Unionism had an international flavour, it was highly centred on the idea of Britain expanding its influence and highly connected to the Imperial concept.

Chamberlain had noted in the Highbury Hall conference his desire to further the process of Unionisation, whereby colonies would be slowly prepared to be integrated into a union of entities with similar governance structures - mainly parliamentary democracy and federalism. India was considered a mix of so-called category two and three statuses, which considered territories “incapable” of running themselves. According to Chamberlain’s schedule, India would expect to receive self-government way down the line.

Naoroji's election, along with important work by senior SDF figures, like The Sunday Republic’s editor-in-chief Annie Besant, brought Indian home rule to the forefront and demanded a rethink of Unionist colonial policy. To Chamberlain, his ongoing political alienation from the core of the Unionist Party, now increasingly guided by Lord Salisbury, India, and the colonies, presented a method of regaining some control.


Annie Besant, Editor of The Sunday Republic

Salisbury was little interested in the minutiae of colonial management but rather in grandiose objectives of prestige and power. His disinterest would allow Chamberlain to further his ideological plans, informed by Seeley and the Imperial Federation League. India and the other colonies not involved in Unionisation efforts could present a first step to regaining an ideological steer for the party.

In the wake of heightened calls for Indian home rule, Prime Minister Joseph Chamberlain and Colonial Secretary Sir Robert Herbert unveiled a legislative program aimed at pacifying the Indian nationalist aspirations by addressing the systemic issues plaguing India under British rule. This program, while not granting full autonomy, sought to alleviate the critical points of contention by instituting a set of reforms to redress certain issues.

The central piece of legislation was the Indian Council Act of 1894. This act aimed at redressing the imbalance of power and intiating the process of transitioning India closer to self-governance within the Union framework. The Act established an appointed Central Legislative Council, including a number of native members, introducing a higher degree of representation and a move towards more inclusive governance. The council was to consist of twelve ex-officio members, including the Governor-General and High Commissioner and other members of the High Commission. It also included eighteen additional members, with a balanced mix of official and non-official Indian members, ensuring a platform for Indian voices.

The timeline for the passage of these bills was swift and decisive, demonstrating the Unionist Party's commitment to stemming the tide of nationalism through proactive reforms. The Indian Council Act of 1894 was introduced in Parliament in early December and, after vigorous debates and some resistance, was passed by April 1894.

Subsequent legislation aimed to address the lack of internal investment and the absence of immigrants bringing capital and labour for economic growth. Passed in January 1894, this act authorized the allocation of funds for the construction of railways, canals, and roads and established incentives for industries that employed a predominantly Indian workforce. To counter the drain of wealth from India, the Indian Financial Reforms Act of 1894 was introduced, requiring that a portion of the minimum amount of revenue generated from India's resources and industries be reinvested within the country. This act, passed in May 1894, aimed to curtail the outflow of capital and ensure that the principal income earners in India reinvested their wealth domestically.

Chamberlain, speaking in the Commons, boldly stated, "We seek not to rule over India, but to empower her people to rule alongside us. The legislation we have passed is a testament to our belief in India's potential and our commitment to the Empire's overall prosperity." Colonial Secretary Sir Robert Herbert described the actions collectively as “Killing Nationalism with Kindness.”

However, opposition to these policies was significant. Critics argued that the reforms were superficial and failed to address the core issue of Indian autonomy. Nationalist leaders, including Davitt, Besant, and Naoroji, while acknowledging the reforms as a step in the right direction, continued to advocate for complete self-governance. The opposition of senior state leaders, like Thomas Farrer and Edward McHugh, and young parliamentarians like Herbert Asquith, who spoke with increasing confidence about the Empire, helped develop a sense of pro-imperial reform within the Liberal Democratic Party.

The Unionist Party's legislative program, while extensive and impactful, was thus the beginning, not the end, of India's journey towards self-rule. It represented a shift in British policy, from overt control to a more subtle and calculated approach, aiming to quell the rising tide of nationalism not with brute force but with the promise of progressive reform and the gradual inclusion of Indian participation in the governance of their own land.

Part 2 - Greater Southern Africa​

Elsewhere, the late 19th century was a period of profound transformation in Southern Africa, marked by political manoeuvres and aspirations for greater unification under British influence. The region, consisting of the Cape Colony, Natal, the Orange Free State, and the Transvaal, while politically disparate, was bound by intricate socio-economic ties. The discovery of diamonds and gold had particularly altered the region's economic landscape, with the Transvaal, bolstered by the Witwatersrand Gold Rush, emerging as a potential powerhouse. The influx of Uitlanders, primarily British, into the gold-rich territory, introduced new complexities into the already intricate political dynamic, setting the stage for conflict and the eventual push for consolidation under British dominion.

At the forefront of this push for unification was Cecil Rhodes, Prime Minister of the Cape Colony and Governor under the auspices of the British South Africa Company. Rhodes, a man of expansive ambitions, envisaged a Southern Africa unified under British control—a vision that extended beyond mere economic dominance to encompass a political federation that would consolidate British influence from the Cape to Cairo.


Cecil Rhodes, Prime Minister of the Cape Colony

Rhodes's strategy was underpinned by the principles of Unionism, an ideology that sought to amalgamate disparate territories into a federated structure, mirroring the successes of the Union of Australasia. His proposal, presented to Lord Salisbury and Joseph Chamberlain in September 1893, delineated the territories of the Cape and Natal as Category 1 colonies, akin to self-governing dominions within the British Empire. The Transvaal and the Orange Free State, despite their established republics, were to be reclassified similarly, incorporating them into the envisioned federation. The remaining British holdings, largely under the control of the British South Africa Company, were to be governed as Category 3 territories, effectively placing them under the new state's jurisdiction. The new federation, Rhodes proposed, would be called the “Union of Greater Southern Africa.”

This grand scheme, however, was not without its challenges and detractors. The conflation of commercial interests, particularly the control over the burgeoning gold mining industry by Rhodes and his business partner Alfred Beit, with political governance further complicated the ethical considerations of such unification. Similar wrangles, like the extent of suffrage and the role of non-Europeans in the political process, continued to be a sticking point between the colonies.

Rhodes favoured a hardline strategy and the leadership of the new federation to be placed firmly in British hands, undermining the Boers and non-Europeans alike: the Cape was to host the Parliament of the proposed state, more seats would initially be given to the Cape Colony, and more profits from the British South Africa Company diverted to its projects. Once they learned of the plans, in November 1893, Paul Kruger, President of the South African Republic (ZAR), said, “it is a plan made by fools for the purposes of making fools of all of us.”

Alfred Milner, former editor of The Union, disgraced by the March Massacres, played a crucial role in the negotiations. His diplomatic skill and understanding of Unionist politics were instrumental in navigating the complex interplay of interests that characterized the discussions. The plan for unification under Unionism was a bold one, reflective of the era's imperialist ethos and the belief in the civilizing mission of the British Empire. It was a plan that sought not only to secure economic resources but also to assert political control to bring order to what was perceived as a fragmented and untamed landscape.

Yet, the path to such unification was fraught with obstacles. The Boer Republics valued their independence and were wary of British intentions, particularly in light of the Uitlander issue and the imposition of taxes on the gold industry. The political machinations required to bring these republics into the fold would necessitate a delicate balance of diplomacy and, perhaps, a measure of coercion. Chamberlain was unconvinced that such a peaceful unification could take place and was reluctant, with the precarious nature of European peace, to undertake a war with the Boer Republics to gain the territories. Equally, the Germans, a key ally, were fiercely against military action on the Boers. Salisbury, however, was more malleable to the idea.


Alfred Milner and British Officers in Cape Town, 1893

In the shadowed halls of power, where the fate of nations was often decided far from the public eye, a covert military strategy was taking shape that would dramatically alter the geopolitical landscape of Southern Africa. This plan, conceived with the tacit approval of Lord Salisbury, the Regent, aimed to forcibly advance the Unionisation of Southern Africa—a project of political amalgamation to extend British hegemony over the region.

Prime Minister Joseph Chamberlain, a man whose political acumen was matched by his imperial ambitions, was curiously left out of the loop regarding these clandestine maneuvers. Whether by design or oversight, the true extent of the military machinations was concealed from him, a testament to the complex interplay of personal rivalries and political stratagems within the upper echelons of British governance.

At the heart of this shadow campaign was Major-General Charles George Gordon, a figure of near-mythic reputation who had, in another reality, met his end in Sudan. Yet here, Gordon remained a pivotal figure, the Governor-General of the British colonies in Southern Africa, whose military prowess and imperial vision found resonance with Lord Salisbury's broader objectives. Gordon, alongside Salisbury, Alfred Milner, and Cecil Rhodes, formed a clandestine quartet, each driven by their own motivations but united in their commitment to the Unionisation plan. Salisbury, wary of Chamberlain's potential reservations and cognizant of the need for discretion, sought to leverage Gordon's military expertise to execute a plan reminiscent of the historical Jameson Raid.

The plan was audacious in its scope and simplicity: a rapid, decisive military action that would topple the existing structures of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State, replacing them with a British-controlled federation. This swift strike would be justified as a necessary measure to protect British citizens and interests, particularly in light of the increasing tensions surrounding the Uitlander predicament and the economic allure of the gold mines.

Gordon, ever the soldier, understood the risks but was invigorated by the prospect of a united Southern Africa under the Union Jack. His support for the plan, however, was not merely about military conquest; it was about securing a lasting peace and order in a land he believed was destined for greater unity. Milner, the astute diplomat, played a vital role in shaping the political narrative that would accompany the military endeavour. His influence ensured that the operation, while aggressive in nature, would be cloaked in the language of liberation and progress, aligning it with the civilizing rhetoric that underpinned so much of British imperial ideology. He began to use his contacts at The Union to launch political attacks on Kruger and the Boer Republics. Rhodes, the final piece of this conspiratorial puzzle, brought to the table not only his considerable economic clout but also a charismatic zeal for imperial expansion. His involvement was crucial, providing both the financial resources and the strategic connections necessary to stage such an operation from within the Cape Colony.

As the plan took shape, it became a spectre hanging over the future of Southern Africa—a gambit that, if successful, would dramatically shift the balance of power in favour of the British Empire. Yet, such schemes are fraught with unpredictability, and the spectre of failure loomed large. The impending action, though hidden from Chamberlain and the wider world, would soon reveal itself on the stage of history, its consequences reverberating through the annals of imperial legacy.

Part 3 - Conclusion​

Joseph Chamberlain's strategy toward India and Greater Southern Africa was characterized by its nuanced approach to colonial administration and its intention to foster stability through reform. Chamberlain's support for incrementally integrating the colonies into a federal union highlighted his belief in a structured yet flexible approach to empire-building. His understanding of the complexities of colonial governance was underscored by his willingness to implement changes that addressed the specific needs and aspirations of the colonial subjects, albeit within the limits of British imperial interests.

However, Chamberlain's strategies were not without their problems. In India, while the establishment of the passage of the Indian Council Act of 1894 was seen as a progressive step, it was criticized for falling short of granting genuine autonomy. The measures, though extensive, were perceived as superficial by Indian nationalists who continued to clamour for complete self-governance. The Unionist reforms, despite their intent to 'kill nationalism with kindness,' were met with skepticism by figures like Dadabhai Naoroji, whose advocacy for Indian home rule persisted unabated, highlighting the limitations of Chamberlain's reformist agenda.

In Greater Southern Africa, Chamberlain's reluctance to embrace Cecil Rhodes's push for unification under a British-controlled federation stemmed from a cautious approach to colonial expansion. The divergence of views between Chamberlain and Salisbury on the use of military intervention to achieve political objectives in the region further complicated the situation. The secret military plans, resembling the historical Jameson Raid and orchestrated without Chamberlain's explicit knowledge, underscored the contentious nature of colonial policy and the potential for discord within the highest ranks of British political leadership.

The strategy for Southern Africa, while ambitious, was fraught with challenges, including the need to navigate the political aspirations of the Boer Republics and manage the tensions wrought by economic exploitation and racial politics. The envisioned unification under British rule was not just a quest for economic dominance but also a pursuit of political control over a region marked by its diversity and its potential for conflict.

The clandestine military plans, initiated with Salisbury's support and Gordon's advocacy, were emblematic of the era's imperialist ethos and reflected a willingness to employ force to achieve political ends. The involvement of figures like Milner and Rhodes in these plans indicated a convergence of commercial interests with political ambitions, raising ethical considerations about the justifications for such intervention.

In conclusion, Chamberlain's strategy towards the colonies was a delicate balancing act between the desire for political control and the recognition of the growing nationalist sentiments within the colonies. The problems that emerged from this strategy were indicative of the inherent tensions in British imperial policy—a policy that sought to reconcile the ideals of progress and civilizing mission with the realities of economic exploitation and the quest for political hegemony. Chamberlain's legacy in colonial affairs, thus, remained a complex tapestry of reformist aspirations, political pragmatism, and the unyielding realities of imperial ambition.
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Supplemental: 1893 German Election
From Blood and Iron: Germany between the February Constitution and the Revolution by Katya Hoyer;
“The election of 1893 was set against a backdrop of shifting political landscapes, both domestically and internationally. This period was characterized by a conservative turn in German politics, a reassertion of imperial authority, and heightened tensions with neighbouring powers, particularly France.

The 1893 election came on the heels of the termination of the conservative government of Rudolf von Bennigsen in 1890 and the subsequent appointment of Leo von Caprivi as Chancellor by Kaiser Wilhelm II. Caprivi's government, though initially promising, struggled to maintain a majority in the Reichstag, leading to an increasing intervention by Kaiser Wilhelm II. Wilhelm pressed ahead with a budget that funnelled more money to the Army in 1892 without the Reichstag’s approval, a sign of the loosening grip on power Caprivi had. The failure to counteract the revolution in France, embarrassing climbdowns for the Imperial Army on the French border, and a perceived lack of respect from European states in comparison to Britain were blamed on Caprivi.

In addition, a relentless campaign of the right involving newspapers, organisations, and Parliamentarians undermined confidence in the Chancellor. Criticism came particularly from two upstart German nationalists, Carl Peters and Alfred Hugenberg, who formed the General German League, affiliated with senior Conservative and chairman of the DKP Reichstag Group, Otto von Manteuffel, primarily to smear Caprivi. The League received extensive press coverage, criticising the Chancellor over Germany’s support for Iberia, which it described as a “godless, dangerous, and mutant form of society.” Peters, in particular, was scathing towards Caprivi for avoiding confrontation with Britain to secure more colonial holdings, describing “the policy of turning the fatherland into a patient lapdog of the English.”

Wilhelm resonated with the belief that Caprivi was not forceful enough in expanding German territory abroad, and the smears caused reputational damage with influential echelons of society. As his unpopularity grew, members of the Reichstag flaked away from the DFP and withdrew their support for his government. Caprivi, struggling to assert his authority on the Diet, was dismissed after a failure to pass yet another budget in May 1893 and replaced with Botho zu Eugenburg, who was supported by the Conservative Party (DKP).

Botho zu Eulenburg, born into the influential Eulenburg family, carried a legacy that was deeply intertwined with the Prussian aristocracy and the German imperial court. His family connections placed him in a unique position within the upper echelons of German society. His elder brother, August zu Eulenburg, served as the Marshal of the Prussian royal court, a role that underscored the family's close ties to the monarchy. This position granted the Eulenburgs significant influence and access to the highest levels of power in Germany.

Additionally, Botho was a second cousin to Prince Philip of Eulenburg, a figure of considerable importance in the late 19th-century German political landscape. Prince Philip was not only a close personal friend of Kaiser Wilhelm II but also a pivotal behind-the-scenes player in German politics. His intimate relationship with the Kaiser allowed him to exert significant influence over key decisions and policies, often acting as an informal advisor to Wilhelm II.

Botho zu Eulenburg's proximity to these powerful figures undeniably shaped his political career. His aristocratic background, combined with his family's close connections to the royal court and the Kaiser, played a crucial role in his ascent to the position of Chancellor. These relationships provided him with insights into the inner workings of the German Empire and access to the Kaiser's inner circle, positioning him as a trusted and influential figure. At the time of the election, Eugenburg was a Prussian delegate in the Reichsrat, not the Reichstag, as the convention proposed, marking the stark departure from the more liberal approach of Friedrich III and his successor, Wilhelm II, who sought to centralize power and reassert Germany's position on the world stage.

The central issue in the 1893 election was the future direction of Germany—whether it would continue along the path of liberal democracy as envisaged in the February Constitution of 1881 or revert to a more authoritarian model preferred by Kaiser Wilhelm II. The election campaign was dominated by these two visions for Germany's future. The DKP, supporting Eulenburg, campaigned on a platform of strong nationalistic and authoritarian governance, advocating for increased military spending and a tougher stance against the SPD, Jewish, and Actionist movements (nearly nonexistent in Germany and opposed to other two) and a firm hand against the aggrandising of France.

Meanwhile, the German Free-minded Party (DFP), Zentrum, and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) sought to uphold the liberal democratic values enshrined in the February Constitution, emphasizing the need for social reforms and protection of civil liberties. They also advocated for a more measured approach to foreign policy, against the will of Wilhelm.

The Kaiser's growing influence was evident in the election, with his support for Eulenburg and the Conservatives. This support was rooted in Wilhelm II's personal desire for a more assertive, expansionist foreign policy and a domestic agenda that curtailed the powers of the Reichstag, favouring rule by decree. This approach, however, was fraught with risks, as it alienated the liberals and social democrats who had been gaining strength in the Reichstag.

As the election results came in, it was clear that no single party had gained a majority. The Reichstag's composition reflected the deep divisions within German society. The SPD emerged as a significant force, capturing the most votes for the first time, winning 45 seats, an increase of 10. This result reflected the growing discontent among the working class and the impact of industrialization. The Zentrum Party, representing political Catholicism, was punished for its role in the government and won only 68 seats. The DKP controlled 126 seats, well short of a majority, but good enough for a plurality of seats. The DFP was reduced to 77 seats, and a slew of regionalist parties, ideological fringes, and single-interest groups returned a record of 81 seats collectively.

The fragmented nature of the Reichstag made forming a government a complex task. Kaiser Wilhelm II, exerting his influence, refused the resignation of Botho zu Eulenburg as Chancellor. Eulenburg, a reactionary figure, was more aligned with the Kaiser's vision of a strong, assertive Germany. The Kaiser's assertion that Eulenburg continue signalled the end of Caprivi's more moderate policies and a return to a more authoritarian style of governance.

Seventy seats short of a majority, Eulenburg searched through disaffected DFP members, Zentrum members, and a large number of minor parties to construct a working majority, but it was a difficult task. One of the groups he courted was Peters and Hugenberg’s General German League, which folded into the Conservative Party soon after the election.

Under Eulenburg, the government took a hardline stance against the SPD and other socialist and Actionist groups. Repressive measures were instituted, forcing a conciliation between these groups, which had previously been at odds. Eulenburg still lacked a majority in the Reichstag but circumnavigated this with the so-called "Prussian Coup" in 1894, where the government began to rule largely by decree. These actions were justified by the heightened diplomatic tensions, particularly with France, but they incensed liberals and further polarized German politics.

Internationally, Germany's foreign policy under Eulenburg saw a retreat from the Accord Powers and a reassertion on the world stage. The Kaiser's ambition to transform Germany into a world power led to a more hostile stance towards France and a distancing from Russia, with a pivot towards maintaining relations with Britain and the United States, isolating France, and refraining from the wider Accord Powers’ diplomatic ties, especially Japan. This shift was part of Wilhelm II's broader strategy of expanding German influence globally, and both Eulenburg and Wilhelm would seek increased colonial expansion and increased involvement in international affairs. Eulenburg would also seek a great expansion in the German Army, which returned to a prominent role in political affairs.

The 1893 German election and the programme of the Eulenburg government marked a pivotal moment in German history. It represented a conservative turn in German politics, a challenge to the liberal democratic principles established in the February Constitution, and a reassertion of imperial authority. The impact of these developments was profound, setting the stage for the complex interplay of domestic and foreign policies that would define the last years of the 19th century and the early 20th century in Germany.”
Part 5, Chapter LX

This is a bit of a doooozy, but this should fill us in on pretty much everything we need to know about France until the end of 1894, and this allows us to get back to Britain by just writing everything about France in one go. It's split into sections, so hopefully that helps!

V, LX: The Dream State - France under Auguste Keufer


Keufer on the front page of a pro-CGT Newspaper
Few in Europe knew, in 1893, where power actually lay in France. The emergence of the Federative Popular Union of the Francophones (Federative Union, or France) brought with it many institutions, groups, and factions vying for power. Still, until the new constitution had bedded in, it was unclear how the new constitution would work.

There was an executive, the Dictator Généralissme Georges Boulanger, a legislature, the Federative Congress, and a series of courts established. Despite this, the Dictator was enumerated with extensive powers, and the question arose of how the dictator, who overruled every other branch, would work with others, given his aloofness during his last period of power. A devolution of power was expected.

The expected devolution of power to the legislative and executive branches planned in the constitution put one man in the pathway of power - Auguste Keufer. The leader of the CGT faction of the Boulangists had done most to align himself with the legislative and executive branches, had been a key organiser of the labour unions during the revolution, and was genuinely popular among most of the working class.

Part 1 - From Typographer to Premier​

Keufer was born into poverty in Alsace and was orphaned early in life before moving to Paris. His journey from a typographer to a leader was marked by his deep involvement in the labor movement. His leadership within the trade union movement, particularly in the French Federation of Book Workers (FFTL), positioned him as a prominent figure in the workers' struggle. His advocacy for mutual aid and solidarity, underpinned by his positivist beliefs, resonated with the workers he represented in the Third Republic as he took his first steps into political life.

Keufer's rise to prominence was catalyzed by the political upheavals following the annexation of Alsace and Lorraine, which instilled in him a strong sense of national and class identity. His involvement in forming the Federative Popular Union of the Francophones (FPUF) further solidified his stature.

On May 1st, International Workers Day, Boulanger finally put the debate over governmental structure to bed when he issued the “Decree on Governmental Organization.”. This proclaimed that while ultimately all power would rest with Boulanger, the Federative Congress would be elected and an Executive Committee appointed, responsible to the Congress and the Dictator. Boulanger reserved some matters to his own administration, most notably internal and security, and foreign affairs, but in general, civilian government and economic affairs, otherwise known as bits of government Boulanger had found himself bored by during his last spell in charge, were given back to the new institutions of government.


Workers in Paris, 1893

When the election arrived for the Federative Congress in May 1893, around 800 members of the 1500-man body (both chambers had 750 members) aligned with the trade union movement: nominated by syndicates, workers cooperatives, or other associated movements.

Keufer's leadership within the Federative Congress was challenged by a multifaceted opposition characterized by diverse ideologies and strategic objectives. On one hand, the veterans, military commanders, and rightists within the Congress, though less ideologically cohesive, shared a common skepticism towards Keufer's labor-centric approach. Their apprehensions were rooted in a desire to maintain traditional power structures and a fear of radical social transformation. This group, often influenced by nationalist sentiments, sought to preserve France's historical identity and resist what they perceived as excessive democratization of the economy and society.

The nationalist faction, in particular, emerged as a formidable force under the leadership of figures like Charles Maurras and George Sorel. Their advocacy for an exclusive Actionist vision of France was in stark contrast to Keufer's inclusive and progressive policies. Maurras and his followers aimed to reshape the FPUF into a state that prioritized traditional values, strong centralized authority, and a clear French identity, often at the expense of minority groups and progressive ideals. This internal ideological battle within Congress and the government at large significantly shaped the political landscape Keufer navigated, creating a constant tension between revolutionary progressivism and conservative nationalism. Boulanger flittered between both sides, advocating patriotism but learning from his mistakes, keeping the working class on his side.

After the election, it was a nearly ubiquitous opinion among the candidates that Keufer would lead the Executive Committee of the Congress and, therefore, the executive government. Individual parties weren’t organised, or recognised, in the first election to the Congress. Still, a large number were members of the CGT, labour unions, or worker’s militias and held their loyalty to Keufer. The 42-year-old, the modern face of French politics, was nominated by the Congress on May 2nd, 1893, as Chairman of the Executive Committee and held considerable power within his hands upon appointment.

Part 2 - Reconstructing the Economy​

Keufer’s tenure marked a period of significant domestic policy initiatives and reconstruction efforts aimed at healing a fractured nation and rebuilding its economic foundations. Keufer's leadership was characterized by a dual focus on national reconciliation and economic revitalization, underpinned by innovative strategies that sought to balance the diverse interests of a newly unified France under the Federative Popular Union of the Francophones (FPUF).

One of Keufer's first major policy initiatives was the nationalisation of emigré holdings. This bold move aimed to redistribute wealth more evenly across the nation and fund the massive reconstruction efforts required. The nationalization was not merely an economic measure but a symbolic act of reclaiming French assets for the benefit of all its citizens, particularly those who had suffered the most during the preceding conflicts. By redirecting these resources towards rebuilding the nation, Keufer sought to foster a sense of collective ownership and responsibility among the populace, laying the groundwork for a more equitable society.

The formation of the Fédération Interalliée Des Anciens Combattants (FIDAC) marked another cornerstone of Keufer's reconstruction strategy. Initially envisioned as a means to prevent the mass unemployment associated typically with the demobilization of soldiers and utilize their skills in the reconstruction process, FIDAC evolved into a more complex entity.

While it played a critical role in clearing rubble, repairing infrastructure, and revitalizing communities, over the course of its time, FIDAC transformed into a conservative and nationalist body under the influence of Charles Maurras' brand of Actionism. FIDAC’s ideology metamorphosis revealed the underlying tensions within the French polity. This shift underscored the challenges Keufer faced in balancing the demands and aspirations of various factions within the nation. The emergence of divisions between urban workers and rural veterans, particularly around the August reconstruction campaign, highlighted the difficulties in reconciling the diverse interests and visions for France's future.

Keufer's economic strategies were perhaps the most ambitious aspect of his leadership. The introduction of the FPUF “New Model” represented a radical departure from traditional economic practices. By creating worker-run cooperatives for each industry, managed through collective decision-making and represented by a body in the Council of Syndicates, Keufer aimed to democratize economic production and ensure that the benefits of labor were equitably shared. This model sought to empower workers and foster a sense of collective enterprise, challenging the hierarchical structures that had previously dominated French industry.

The Commission économique (Coméc) was established as the main planning and management body for the French economy, tasked with overseeing the transition to the new cooperative model. Coméc's role was crucial in coordinating the economic reconstruction of France, from the revitalization of industrial material production to the transformation of the agricultural sector. Under Keufer's guidance, Coméc implemented policies that returned the country to approximately 60% of its pre-war economic levels within 18 months—a remarkable achievement given the devastation wrought by the civil war.

The agricultural sector, in particular, underwent significant transformation. With 62% of French land cooperatively owned by December 1893, the shift towards collectivization was marked by both voluntary participation and coercion, as lands were seized from emigrés and deserting landowners. This period saw a fierce struggle for control between religious communes, aligning with conservative nationalist Comités and secular communes over the apportionment of land. These challenges would grow in the coming years as Gallocatholicism grew in France. Despite the challenges, the move towards collectivization represented a significant step towards realizing Keufer's vision of a society based on mutual aid and solidarity.

However, Keufer's strategies were not without their drawbacks. The emphasis on collectivization and nationalization alienated certain segments of the population, particularly among the rural peasantry, who found themselves caught between the ideological battles of religious and secular communes. Moreover, the rapid implementation of the FPUF “New Model” and the extensive powers granted to Coméc raised concerns about centralizing economic authority and the potential for bureaucratic overreach.

The economic and social impact of Keufer's ambitious FPUF “New Model” and nationalization efforts was profound and far-reaching. The nationalization of emigré holdings, while symbolizing a break from the past, faced criticism for potentially stifling individual enterprise and discouraging foreign investment. The redistribution of wealth, though beneficial for societal equity, raised questions about the long-term sustainability of the economy and the government's ability to efficiently manage these vast resources. Patronage played a part in this - Boulanger rewarded loyalty with appointments to some key positions across major industries and often used his role as dictator to shield some of the effects of the reforms on allies. Allowances for some private enterprises, combined with Keufer’s soft line on the press, meant individuals exerted significant influence on the media and funnelled their funds into groups like FIDAC, influencing them to take a more nationalist line.

The implementation of worker-run cooperatives marked a radical shift in the industrial landscape. While it empowered workers and promoted a sense of collective responsibility, it also encountered practical challenges. The transition to cooperative management required significant reorganization, training, and a cultural shift in work practices. Some industries adapted more successfully than others, leading to disparities in productivity and efficiency. Furthermore, the extensive powers granted to Coméc, though instrumental in coordinating economic activities, were critiqued for centralizing economic control, potentially leading to bureaucratic inefficiencies and a lack of responsiveness to local needs.

Agriculturally, the collectivization efforts saw mixed results. The initial increase in cooperative ownership of land was a significant achievement, but it was not without its difficulties. The struggle between religious communities, which formed communes around churches, and larger, secular communes in the orbit of towns and cities over land control reflected deeper societal divisions. In some regions, the transition to cooperative farming was met with resistance from traditional landowners and farmers accustomed to individual ownership. These divisions brought many sectors of agricultural society together into the Comités, as they felt through them, they had the best chance of survival. The balance between voluntary and coercive collectivization through the Comités and Keuferists remained a contentious issue, illustrating the complexity of implementing revolutionary ideals in a diverse and historically rooted agricultural sector.

Part 3 - Challenges to Keufer's Leadership​

Auguste Keufer's tenure as the leader of the Federative Popular Union of the Francophones (FPUF) was marked by significant achievements in reconstructing and reorganizing France post-revolution. However, his leadership also faced formidable challenges that tested the resilience and unity of the new government. These challenges stemmed not only from the inherent difficulties of post-war reconstruction but also from deep internal divisions, the rising influence of nationalist ideologies, and diplomatic crises that threatened to undermine France's standing on the international stage.

One of the first major tests of Keufer's leadership came from within the movement itself, particularly concerning the policy on colonial holdings, known as the "territories" policy, implemented in June 1893. This policy was designed as an interim step towards the full integration of colonial territories into the FPUF, granting them a degree of local decision-making while retaining control of foreign policy at the Union level. The intention was to eventually extend citizenship rights to colonial citizens, a progressive move aimed at solidifying Francophone unity across the empire.


Algeria, 1893

However, this policy quickly became a point of contention within the Federative Congress. Many members, even within Keufer's own supporters, fiercely opposed the idea of extending citizenship and autonomy to colonial territories. The opposition was not merely ideological but also reflected deeper anxieties about preserving French identity and the potential dilution of the metropolitan political and cultural dominance. Despite Keufer's efforts to rally support, the law faced a deadlock in Congress, leading Boulanger to issue a decree to pass the law unilaterally, highlighting a significant rift within the movement and casting doubt on the consensus-building capabilities of Keufer's leadership.

The internal divisions were further exacerbated by the rising influence of nationalist ideologies within the government. A pivotal moment came on July 31, 1893, when Charles Maurras, a fervent nationalist and advocate of an exclusive brand of Actionism, was appointed as Boulanger's personal secretary. This appointment signified a shift in the power dynamics within the FPUF, as Maurras wielded his position to push for policies that aligned with his nationalist and conservative agenda, often at odds with Keufer's more inclusive and progressive vision.

Maurras's influence rapidly extended beyond the confines of his official role as he became a key figure in rallying nationalist sentiments across the country. His appointment marked a clear departure from the initial principles of the revolution, steering the government towards a more authoritarian and exclusionary stance. This ideological shift not only undermined Keufer's authority but also signaled the growing chasm between the revolutionary ideals and the pragmatic realities of governing a nation in turmoil.

Part 4 - The Siege of Rouen​

The most glaring manifestation of the challenges to Keufer's leadership, however, was the diplomatic disaster known as the Rouen Hostage Crisis. The lead-up to the crisis began with the strategic importance of Rouen, which had become a pivotal battleground in the ongoing conflict between the FPUF forces and the remaining Royalist strongholds. Royalists had established a corridor between Rouen and the coast, enabling the influx of supplies and reinforcements from sympathetic foreign powers, particularly Germany and Britain.

On May 18th, 1893, Boulanger ordered a siege to cut off Rouen from external support, which was executed with such efficiency that it inadvertently trapped foreign diplomats, including Americans, British, and German senior officials within the city, all of whom had fled when the city was overrun with rebels to safety. The Popular Army's decision not to release those diplomats led to widespread international condemnation and placed France in a precarious diplomatic position.


Joan of Arc Statue, Rouen. The Statue was destroyed during the Siege

As has been alluded to in previous chapters, The Popular Army was a skilled organisation, but not a well-disciplined one. Many were still hastily convened; structures were not yet totally formalised, and routinely, the different regional commands, which despite notionally having been abolished still operated on an ad-hoc basis. The Western Command drew heavily from Catholic areas, and armies in this command were more nationalistic, less inclined to syndicalism, and more religious. Scores of priests were among the cadre that travelled with the troops. For the men in this command, Actionism meant service to God and country. At Rouen, the final resting place of Joan of Arc, the presence of, to them, a foreign King was nothing short of the devil’s work.

A heroic “final push” was orchestrated through a mastery of the press. “Evidence” of the complicity in plots by the remaining bureaucrats and clerks left in Rouen whipped up hysteria, and thanks to a near worldwide blockade, outside information was scarce. It was easy to believe this was the case - it is exactly why the diplomats were there in the first place - but the remaining staff, although senior, were not decision-makers nor plotters. What remained of the battered Royal Army in Rouen, around 5,000 men gathered on leave in the town, of which 1,500 were gathered from a hospital, injured before the battle began. Despite this, the city was well stocked and had ammunition, so they were gathered and dug in on the banks of the Seine in the South and throughout a forest to the North of the City.

Most defended a perimeter of the city itself, with guard points, a hastily constructed wall, and, in one of the sadder ironies of the conflict, barricades in pathways led by enthusiastic civilians keen to defend a king. Another of the sad ironies was that the King was one of the last to escape through the grasp of the Popular Army, heading down the Seine to sail to Africa. France’s last King fled on a barge before hitching a ride with a merchant from the region, who made arrangements for the monarch to seek refuge in Equatoria - the small but rapidly growing settlement of ex-monarchs and their followers, led by Isabel, Countess of Girgenti, uncrowned Queen of Spain (in Equatoria, but that is a story for another time).

The Royalist Army fared well and defended the city resolutely, making it much harder than expected for the Actionists. Expected to last around two days, the siege went on for weeks. The Popular Army resorted to artillery, cannon fire, and attempting to start fires in Rouen to smoke the Royalists out. To their credit, they wouldn’t budge. The two sides ravaged it out for weeks on end, with the situation in the city getting worse and worse.


General Ferdinand Foch, senior official in the Popular Army

General Foch, in charge of the operation, routinely disregarded the opinions of the Executive Committee, especially Keufer, to reduce the damage to the city and to prevent unnecessary loss of life. Foch agreed with the notions of Keufer, but the passion of their troops towards the city, and the fragile and fluid times they lived in made Foch believe he had to continue with the assault for fear of mutiny among these hyper-motivated Popular Army. They threw everything at the Royalists, who defended with absolute steel. A recipe for large-scale loss of human life. Adding to the energy of the troops, Boulanger visited Rouen four times in the first month of the operation, each without Keufer’s knowledge. Each time, he encouraged the fight and said, “Spare no effort to liberate the last vestiges of monarchy!”

Keufer, who had been sidelined in the decision-making process leading to the siege, found himself powerless to the decisions of the Army and felt emasculated not only abroad but at home. The public, whipped in revolutionary fever, cheered on the Popular Army. Chants of “Kill the traitors and their allies” and “Death to the Germans” became commonplace as patriotism swelled through the country once again. The euphoria of victory, combined with nationalism and the fragility and hyper state of the Popular Army at the height of its powers, made France a dangerous place to be insufficiently French during the crisis.

While guillotines weren’t erected, the Popular Army’s military police and auxiliary units continued covert operations. While the situation in cities was calmer, as the National Guard generally patrolled the streets, in the countryside, and in newly acquired territory, the Popular Army cracked down on dissent. Much of the country, almost all of it under the control of the Popular Army, had exceedingly low turnout rates due to the fear of reprisal and repression. In these areas, the Comité, a group allowing individuals to show their loyalty to the regime, and FIDAC, the organisation responsible for representing veterans with strong links to the Popular Army, were the only way out from repression.

The Siege of Rouen would eventually last three months. Around 15,000 were killed in the city; it was reduced to ashes by constant artillery and only fell when the last battalion standing, a group of bankers and their clerks given rifles by the remaining Generals of the sinking Royalist Army, were wiped out when a Popular Army unit burned out their last stronghold, a local bank. The town’s remaining 12,000 or so were herded into train cars. Under pressure from international actors, including Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph, and facing pressure from Keufer and the Congress, Boulanger finally ordered the release of the diplomats. However, the damage to France’s image was enormous. The handling of the Rouen Hostage Crisis exposed the fragility of the new government's international standing and, for Keufer, highlighted the limitations of his control over the military and foreign policy decisions.

After the battle was declared won, Keufer regained the upper hand. The Federative Congress’ Defense Committee, at Keufer’s covert request, conducted a full investigation into the failures of Rouen, which had cost thousands of lives and millions of Francs and resulted in nothing more than a few trains full of prisoners the state was sure to release.

Foch was earnest about the failings in a private debrief and was willing to file a full report. Still, before the hearings could begin, a group of nationalists in the Congress persuaded Boulanger to intervene. No hearings would be held. Keufer, learning the game of power in the new France, arranged a fake robbery with one of his staff, leading to the files being “released” to the Paris press. Among the more respectable classes and the working class in the city alike, public pressure forced Boulanger to act, and two other senior officers from the Western Command were dismissed. Foch, thanks to Keufer’s intervention, was saved. In the West, the move was taken as a punishment for doing their duty to France - Keufer attracted severe criticism from the Comités. Abroad, Keufer’s reputation as a statesman was enhanced.

Part 5 - The Belgian Crisis​

Keufer's approach to foreign policy was characterized by a nuanced understanding of the geopolitical dynamics that had isolated France. Recognizing the importance of re-establishing France as a responsible member of the international community, Keufer embarked on a series of diplomatic overtures aimed at softening the image of the FPUF and dispelling fears of revolutionary exportation. His strategy was two-pronged: internally, it involved tempering the radical elements within the government that pushed for aggressive expansionism; externally, it focused on engaging in dialogue and building bridges with European powers, many of which were wary of the revolutionary government in Paris.

The Belgian Crisis of August 1893, coming fresh from the Siege of Rouen, which had finished a week prior, presented a critical test of this diplomatic strategy. The crisis erupted when French-speaking trade unions in Wallonia, inspired by the revolutionary fervor emanating from France, initiated protests demanding the unification of French-speaking Belgian areas with the FPUF. The situation quickly escalated into a general strike, posing a direct challenge to the stability of the region and threatening to draw France into a direct confrontation with Belgium.

A careful balancing act marked Keufer's response to the crisis. While nationalist factions within the government saw an opportunity to expand France's territorial reach, Keufer understood the broader implications of such aggression. He sought to distance the FPUF from the unrest, publicly denying any plans to annex Belgian territory and emphasizing France's desire for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. This stance, however, was complicated by covert actions taken by elements within the military, who, without Keufer's knowledge, funneled weapons and support to the rebels.

Despite these challenges, Keufer managed to maintain a facade of diplomatic restraint, engaging in unofficial contacts with representatives from Britain and the Netherlands. These efforts underscored his commitment to a diplomatic solution and highlighted the complexities of navigating internal divisions within the government while managing external perceptions of the FPUF.


Un soir de grève (1893) by Eugène Laermans

Still, forces within the country demanded action on the matter, and some began to hark for a return to a larger, stronger France, akin to French Revolutionary times. On the left and the right, the issue of France’s ‘natural borders’ once again began to creep into conversation. Ultraradical Syndico-Actionists on the left wanted to spread the worker's revolution; on the right, the march of the Francophone, as promised by Boulanger, would begin in Brussels. Holding the centre wasn’t easy, but Keufer, for the most part, managed to keep the Federative Union out of the war. That didn’t mean that these groups were fuelling the conflict, but it did mean that the upper echelons of the Executive Committee weren’t directly complicit. Beginning to understand the situation, one British diplomat who met Keufer said, “he is the only nanny in a room full of infants.”

Throughout the early Belgian Crisis, Keufer reemerged from the diplomatic wilderness and found the potential for a seat at the Great Power table once again available for France. A growing cadre around Boulanger wanted to undercut that effort and plunge France into yet more conflict. By October 1893, Belgium looked to have calmed, but large-scale protests continued, and it wouldn’t be the last time countries discussed Belgium in the coming years. Keufer had emerged on the foreign policy stage with credit, and the civilian government in France was looking serious.

Part 6 - Lobbying the Brighton Conference​

Perhaps the most significant of Keufer's foreign policy initiatives was his lobbying of the Brighton Conference in September. This international gathering of European powers, including the Accord Powers and new additions, Russia and Austria, represented an opportunity for France to argue for its recognition and the normalization of international relations. Keufer understood the importance of presenting the FPUF as a legitimate and stable government capable of constructive engagement in the international system.

In preparation for the conference, Keufer orchestrated a comprehensive campaign to lobby for France's inclusion in future diplomatic discussions. He leveraged the presence of Russia and Austria at the conference, nations with which France had shared complex relationships, to advocate for a broader understanding of the FPUF's goals and the mutual benefits of cooperation. Keufer's efforts culminated in a speech, cabled to the conference, in which he called for peace among European powers and cooperation to revive the global economy.

The lobbying campaign was a testament to Keufer's diplomatic acumen. While Germany remained fiercely opposed to any concessions to France, Keufer's overtures found a more receptive audience in Britain and Spain. The British, under Prime Minister Salisbury, were open to the idea of meetings to explore the scope of future relations, indicating a softening of their stance towards the FPUF. Spain, impressed by Keufer's diplomatic efforts, began to warm to the idea of improved bilateral relations.

The foreign policy initiatives and diplomatic maneuvers of Auguste Keufer during his leadership of France were instrumental in beginning the process of reintegrating the country into the European community. Through a combination of strategic restraint, careful diplomacy, and proactive engagement, Keufer managed to mitigate some of the international fallout from the revolutionary period. Through these efforts, Keufer's tenure is remembered as a crucial, if ultimately fruitless, period of reorientation in French foreign policy, highlighting the complex interplay between domestic politics and international diplomacy in the aftermath of the revolution.

Part 7 - The World Figure​

During this tumultuous period, Auguste Keufer's leadership of the Federative Popular Union of the Francophones in these early years after the revolution stands as a compelling study of the complexities inherent in reconciling revolutionary ideals with the pragmatic demands of governance and international diplomacy. Keufer's tenure was a period of significant transition, marked by efforts to reconstruct a nation ravaged by conflict and to redefine its place within the international order. By analyzing Keufer's policies, challenges, and foreign policy initiatives, we can illuminate the intricate dynamics of leading a revolutionary state through a period of profound transformation to try and understand what comes next.

A visionary approach to economic reconstruction and societal reorganization characterized Keufer's leadership. His efforts to redistribute wealth through the nationalization of emigré holdings, the establishment of the Fédération Interalliée Des Anciens Combattants (FIDAC), and the implementation of the FPUF “New Model” were ambitious attempts to lay the foundations for a more equitable and cooperative society. These initiatives, while groundbreaking, were not without their challenges. The transformation of FIDAC into a conservative and nationalist entity, the internal divisions sparked by the "territories" policy, and the ascent of nationalist ideologies under the influence of figures like Charles Maurras underscored the tension between revolutionary aspirations and the realities of power.

The Rouen Hostage Crisis epitomized the limitations of Keufer's control over military and foreign affairs, revealing the constraints on his leadership and the fragility of France's international standing. Yet, in the realm of foreign policy, Keufer demonstrated a remarkable capacity for strategic diplomacy. His efforts to mend relations with neighboring countries, navigate the complexities of the Belgian Crisis, and lobby the Brighton Conference for recognition highlighted his commitment to restoring France's dignity on the world stage. The softening of relations with Britain and Spain, in particular, underscored the potential for constructive engagement and the reintegration of France into the European community.

However, the challenges Keufer faced—from internal divisions and ideological rifts to diplomatic crises—underscore the inherent difficulties of steering a revolutionary government toward stability and legitimacy. The ideological battles within the FPUF, the pushback against progressive policies, and the tensions between revolutionary zeal and diplomatic pragmatism presented obstacles that Keufer navigated with varying degrees of success. The seeds of Keufer’s downfall and its implications on the politics of the world are sown in these initial weeks and months. Keufer presented the ‘positive’ side of Actionism to the world and was able, therefore, to excuse himself of the horrors that were to follow and establish himself and his ideology as a counter-culture to the prevailing moods in France.

Over the course of 1893, the global press warmed to Keufer. The reasonable face of the regime, his policies, and his governmental program had a large-scale influence on global socialist thought. Progressives around the world looked with intrigue at the Federative Union, seeing a different economic model in practice was a fascinating experiment. The Worker’s International even allowed Keufer’s ministers and advisors to speak at events, and research and studies on the New Model exploded in the winter of 1893. The managerial aspect, especially the establishment of Coméc, furthered Keufer’s reputation among the left worldwide.

This link between the French and various socialist groups would also bring about a red scare of sorts - arrests in Germany, Italy, and the Balkan Realm shot up as paranoid nations rounded up trade union leaders and leftists. In Britain, the freshness of the March Massacres served to calm nerves over a fifth column, but the middle classes feared the philosophy after the horrors of the Siege of Rouen. The influx of refugees soured the feelings of towards Boulanger and Keufer in some areas, notably England, which took the vast majority. In northern cities, concepts and ideas were circling among workers, and economic debates fascinated academia. The SDF conference and SPD conference both adopted some form of the New Model to their programme in 1894. It seemed for a time that Actionism could have united the worker's movement.

Finally, Engels issued his opinion on the matter in January 1894 with his Comparisons of the Zorrilla & Keufer Program, which said: “The programme of economic reform and structuring in the New Model, while not definitive, represent development in the stages of economic development towards the classless society and Communism.”


Meeting in Paris of pro-Keufer Worker's International members, who would later form the Communist Party of Italy

Keufer's leadership during this critical period in French history represents a nuanced case study in the art of political leadership in times of upheaval. His tenure illuminates the challenges of reconciling the ideals of revolution with the exigencies of statecraft, balancing internal demands with external pressures, and forging a new identity for a nation reborn through revolution. While Keufer's efforts to reconstruct France and reposition it within the international order were met with mixed outcomes, his tenure remains a testament to the complexities of post-revolutionary governance and the enduring struggle to realize the ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity in the face of profound political and social transformation. Keufer emerged from the period as an ideological figure, the eventual father of the Communist Party of France.
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Supplemental: 1893 World Parliament of Religions

Supplemental: World Parliament of Religions​

From The New York Times, September 11, 2023 - World Parliament of Religions: 130 Years On
“In September 1893, amidst the architectural splendor and cultural showcase of the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, an unprecedented gathering took place that would mark the dawn of the modern interfaith movement: the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Over seventeen days, from September 11th to the 27th, the Parliament convened, bringing together voices from ten distinct religious traditions in a spirited dialogue that aimed to bridge the vast divides of belief and practice.

Organized by Charles C. Bonney, a visionary Chicago judge with a passion for unity and understanding, the Parliament stood as a bold experiment in religious pluralism. At a time when the world was largely segmented along religious lines, the event's mere conception was a radical departure from the norm. Reverend John Henry Barrows, a Chicago-based Presbyterian minister, chaired the Parliament, compiling its proceedings into a seminal two-volume account that remains a critical resource for scholars and enthusiasts of religious studies.

The Parliament's roster featured a diverse array of speakers and representatives, including such luminaries as Swami Vivekananda, Anagarika Dharmapala, Virchand Gandhi, and Soyen Shaku, among others. Vivekananda’s opening address, calling for an end to "sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism," resonated deeply, setting a tone of tolerance and mutual respect that permeated the event. Among the attendees was Michael Davitt, Premier of Ireland and one of the forbears of the world Georgist and National Democratic movements.

Despite its groundbreaking inclusivity, the Parliament was not without its shortcomings. It predominantly reflected a white Christian perspective, with the Lord’s Prayer recited daily, underscoring the event's Eurocentric underpinnings. Moreover, while it made strides in bringing non-Western traditions to the fore, there were notable gaps in representation. African American Christian leaders were underrepresented, Native American and Indigenous perspectives were entirely absent, and certain groups, like the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, were purposefully excluded.

Yet, the Parliament's legacy is not diminished by these imperfections. Rather, it is seen as a pivotal moment in the journey towards a more inclusive understanding of faith and spirituality. The gathering served as a catalyst for the interfaith movement, inspiring subsequent generations to pursue dialogue and cooperation among the world’s diverse religious traditions. Today, looking back on the Parliament of the World’s Religions of 1893, we appreciate it not only for its historical significance but also for its enduring message of peace and unity. It reminds us of the power of coming together in conversation, of the beauty inherent in our diversity, and of the common aspirations that bind us across cultural and religious lines.

In the 130 years since the Parliament, the interfaith movement has evolved and expanded, reflecting the changing dynamics of global religion and spirituality. Modern iterations of the Parliament, held in the United States in 2023, Union of Great Britain in 2013, Iberia in 2003, and the Union of Democratic States in 1993, continue to draw inspiration from the 1893 gathering, striving to address the complexities of contemporary religious life while upholding the original spirit of inclusivity and mutual respect. As we navigate the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century, the Parliament of the World’s Religions stands as a beacon of hope, a testament to the possibility of harmony in a pluralistic world.”
Part 5, Chapter LXI
V, LXI: New Britannia

New Jerusalem in Winter - S.C. Smith drawing, 1894
In the wake of the Monarchy's fall, the Anglican Church was thrown into disarray, resulting in the emergence of the Legitimist Church. Centred on the belief that the monarch was divinely ordained, this church held a deep conviction, drawing on the zeal of revivalist movements of the time. The death of Queen Victoria was regarded as a calamity in Legitimist circles, remembered annually as a day of disaster – a stark reminder of the loss of the divine mandate that had once protected the English Crown.

Thomas Strange, a Unionist, English Nationalist, State Legislator, ex-Army officer, and staunch Legitimist, claimed that God had revealed a new promise to him in a vivid dream. In his vision, he saw a new land, a new Britannia, where the godly could live in harmony under the sovereign rule of the legitimate English monarch. Using the increased recognition he had gained through the English Nationalist movement, he published a pamphlet with his thoughts called “New Jerusalem,” advocating for the creation of a new nation somewhere for Legitimists.

The spark that Thomas Strange’s vision ignited was not easily extinguished. Each week, in parish churches where the Legitimist cause ran strong, his sermon was read aloud. The words resonated in the hearts of those who heard them, sparking lively discussions in homes and on the streets. Initially, he proposed a place within the British Isles and suggested the Isle of Man may well be the best place for this new colony of Legitimists.

“My brothers and sisters," Strange preached one Sunday morning, "the Lord has revealed our path to salvation. A new Britannia, where our traditions and our faith can live, untouched by the taint of godless republicanism and papal rule. We shall embark on a holy journey guided by God's hand."

The churches became not only places of worship but also hubs of organised support for this divine mission. Reverends and congregants alike gathered after services, their conversations filled with passionate talk of prophecy and destiny. Together, they envisioned a new life in a promised land, free from the turmoil that plagued their current existence. But the homeland they were so desperate to preserve was unravelling fast. The March Massacres were a brutal turning point. As clashes between groups grew more and more violent, the Teal Guards, acting under the tacit approval of the Unionist Party, were mobilised.

In a grim parade, the Teal Guards and fervent Legitimists swept through the cities, executing those who stood against the monarchy in the name of protecting the country from radicals. A glut of reasons for the violence existed. The London General Strike of 1889, the growing influence of mass media on the electorate, and the frustration on both sides after the monarchy’s disestablishment created an atmosphere ripe for a mob mentality. Socialists and Republicans, who had once been considered fellow countrymen, were now enemies in the eyes of this frenzied mob. The streets ran red, a stark contrast to the grey March sky. The Massacres, initially celebrated in some Legitimist circles as a divine reckoning, soon became a poisoned chalice. The violent actions of that fateful March brought a wave of horror and condemnation that crashed back upon them tenfold.


Thomas Strange, Leader of the Exodus to Nova Scotia/New Britannia

The backlash was swift and severe. Legitimist Churches, once tolerated institutions despite their connections to the Orange Coup and the subsequent violence, were now seen by the public as breeding grounds for sedition. The clergy were arrested, and their congregants were shunned in the markets and public squares. Legitimist outlets within Parliament, like Conservative Unionists and the Teal Movement, which supported the Unionist agenda, were weakened or disassociated themselves from the religion. After the March Massacres, most conservative members of the Unionist Party began to advocate for a reunion of the sects of Anglicanism to prevent the radicalisation of minority groups in the Union.

In the political arena, the storm was no less forgiving. The Orange State, a stronghold of monarchist sentiment, formally expelled all Legitimists in the wake of the Massacres, a move followed by England and six other states. Their lands were seized, and businesses were boycotted. It was in this climate of persecution and social alienation that Strange’s revelation transformed from a spiritual vision into a tangible lifeline. For the Legitimists, leaving for new lands was no longer a matter of divine calling alone; it was a desperate bid for survival. Strange, recognising the gravity of the moment, became a beacon of hope for his beleaguered followers.

A considerable proportion of the Anglican churches across the Union, under the leadership of the official Archbishop of Canterbury, George Wilkinson, absorbed into what was being called Continuity Anglicanism. The more ritualistic communion eventually found solace in the Catholic Church, particularly in Northern England. The Legitimist Church, however, remained staunch and unyielding. In many congregations, the lamentation for the Union, seen as now filled with godless and secular threats to the social fabric, was a common sentiment.

“They abandon their faith and their king,” wrote an elderly woman, Margaret, to her friend after a Legitimist service one cold morning. “But we remain steadfast. The Lord will guide us.”

In this period of uncertainty, Lord Salisbury's election as Regent injected new life into the cause of unifying the Anglican Churches. He called a conference in August 1893 between dissenters and Continuity Anglicans weeks after his election, hoping to create a United Church of England from the remaining sects of Anglicanism. Lord Salisbury personally chaired this conference, believing it would be the only way to reunify the various Anglican populations under the Union.

Success was had with independent and moderate branches of Legitimist Churches, which agreed to cede authority to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s demands. This new, consolidated church body, dubbed the United Anglican Church, would be governed by a General Synod tasked with approving directives, managing the remaining church lands, mainly concentrated in England, and appointing bishops.

The United Church would be considered the State Church of the English states, and much of the populous of the largely Anglican Southern States, the Unionist stronghold, welcomed its creation. In the Northern States, where Anglicanism was more diluted, the welcome was less warm for a new state church. To Unionists, the synthesis was Unity, Patriotism, and Centrism in action. Individual Legitimist congregations would be permitted to continue service in a style of their own choosing and would be able to continue to recognise the Monarchy as legitimate. They would not, however, endorse terrorism or sedition as a method of attaining that goal. Much like the SDF, tolerance in exchange for moderation was agreed upon between the authorities and the organisation.

However, this union marginalised the remaining Legitimist sects, whose members were fiercely loyal to the crown and opposed to the union with the Continuity Anglicans. Many Legitimists believed that all hope was lost. Strange believed this was not so. He gathered the leading figures of the Legitimist Church in September 1893, including the Legitimist Bishop of London, Mandell Creighton, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Edward White Benson. “We are the remnants of a noble cause,” he declared. “Our enemies wish to see us broken and scattered, but we have been granted a divine path. We must gather the faithful and set sail for the New Britannia that awaits us, where we will live under the grace of God and the rightful monarch.” After significant discussion, the two patriarchs of the church agreed to endorse his message.


Mandell Creighton (left) and Edward White Benson (right), Legitimist Archbishops of New Jerusalem and Victoria

The call was heeded. Throughout October, in small groups, families planned to flee in secret what little they could carry and, under the cover of night, made their way to the ports. There, ships acquired through the connections of sympathetic nobles awaited to carry them across the ocean. As they looked back at the receding shoreline, many were filled with a blend of sorrow for what they were leaving behind and hope for the divine promise that lay ahead. They were not merely fleeing; they were embarking on a sacred exodus to fulfil what they saw as their God-ordained destiny in a land where they could once again stand tall as guardians of their faith and the monarchy they held so dear.

The Legitimists’ political and theological convictions made them suspicious of government figures and their supposed compromises. The more radical among them began to view themselves as defenders of a sacred lineage under threat. This sentiment was exacerbated by a growing association with underground political movements, the most significant being the Orangists. The tension became so fraught that a moratorium on new Legitimist Churches was imposed in some regions, leading to a movement of Legitimists, numbering around 750,000 in the British Isles, searching for a new place to call home where they could practice Monarchical Government and their religion freely. They had funds from sympathetic aristocrats, but no clear destination until Strange’s revelation offered a divine solution. The group anointed Benson and Creighton as Archbishop of New Jerusalem and Victoria, respectively.

After initially exploring emigration to the Isle of Man and finding an extremely hostile local populous, the first immigrant ship, organised by Strange, left from the Port of Peel in November of 1893, carrying 3,000 Legitimists to Ireland before a journey across the island to board a further ship to Nova Scotia, Canada. They arrived in mid-December and chose Nova Scotia, recognising its history as a loyalist stronghold following the American Revolution. Their arrival was fraught with hardship. The freezing winter claimed many lives. Still, they were fueled by the funds provided by the newly rechristened Marquess of Londonderry, which enabled them to purchase land and establish a settlement.

“God tests our resolve,” Strange assured his struggling followers as they huddled for warmth in makeshift shelters as they arrived in December 1894. “Our suffering today is the crucible that will forge the holy society of tomorrow.” Within the local population, reactions to this influx of fervent settlers were mixed. Many Canadians, including indigenous groups, viewed the newcomers with suspicion and concern, their rapid acquisition of land and resources sparking tension.

The settlers' first winter was catastrophic, leading to a loss of life that tested their resolve. Diseases like tuberculosis took hold, exacerbated by poor nutrition and inadequate shelter. Conflicts with local Canadians and Mi'kmaq peoples over land and resources led to tense standoffs, sometimes erupting into violence. Furthermore, internal disputes arose as the harsh reality of their situation set in, with some questioning Strange's leadership and the viability of their endeavour.

The British government's response to the Legitimist exodus was a complex interplay of diplomatic concern and clandestine relief. Officially, the Foreign Office maintained a stance of dispassionate oversight, citing the autonomy of its citizens to emigrate. Yet, in the shadowed corridors of Westminster, there was an unspoken gratitude that a potentially seditious element had self-exiled, reducing domestic tensions. Internationally, the reaction was mixed. Monarchist sympathisers in France and the exiled royal families of Europe expressed vocal support for the Legitimists, seeing in them a reflection of their struggles against republicanism. Meanwhile, the United States viewed the settlement cautiously, wary of any monarchist resurgence on the continent that could unsettle the balance of power.

By early March, the Legitimists, now largely situated around what they declared as New Jerusalem, had established a provisional government with Strange at its head. The Legitimists’ economic survival hinged on swift adaptation to the harsh Nova Scotian environment. With funds from aristocratic donors drying up, they turned to agriculture, fishing, and small-scale manufacturing to sustain themselves. Trade with the local Canadians was tentative but grew steadily as the Legitimists proved themselves hardworking and reliable. However, the lack of a structured economic plan meant that the community often faced shortages.

In April 1894, Prince George, who resided in the constructed settlement of Victoria, Nova Scotia, made a grand visit to the fledgling community. He had begun to court the exile community, the 75ers, to Strange’s sect, and the synthesis between the 75ers and Legitimists was quickly achieved. Alongside New Jerusalem, Legitimist Churches sprang up across the Victoria. In his speech to the adoring Legitimists at the town’s church, he infused them with a renewed sense of mission.

“The eyes of God are upon us,” Prince George proclaimed, “as we forge a realm of righteousness in this New Britannia. We shall preserve the true spirit of our homeland here, across the ocean, until England herself is ready to return to her rightful state under God and Crown.”

As their community grew, they created a distinct societal structure reminiscent of tight-knit religious communities, but as the Legitimist presence became more entrenched, Canadian authorities grew wary. Land disputes were frequent, and local Canadians and Catholics were uneasy about the Legitimists’ growing presence and their seeming disregard for existing borders and laws. Trouble brewed, especially as the Legitimists were partnered with a fearsome militia to protect them.

In New Jerusalem, the Legitimists sought to recreate a society that mirrored the structured hierarchy of the homeland they had left behind. Gender roles were traditional, with men taking the lead in governance and women in charge of education and healthcare. The community established a school system centred around religious and monarchical teachings, instilling in the young a fervent loyalty to their cause. A rudimentary legal system was put into place, blending British common law with biblical precepts.

As winter gave way to spring, the air in New Jerusalem was tinged not just with the scent of blossoming apple orchards but with a palpable tension that weighed heavy on the community. Word had reached the Legitimists that the Canadian government was preparing to dispatch a delegation of officials to investigate the matters of land ownership and assess the new settlements.

Thomas Strange felt it deeply; a storm was indeed gathering. The night was cold and clear when he sat down in his modest, candlelit study to pen the letter to Prince George on May 3rd, 1894. His hand, steady but filled with a fervour that mirrored his words, moved diligently across the paper. "We are not merely settlers in a new land," Strange wrote in his urgent, sprawling script. "We are guardians of a divine legacy, and we must stand ready to defend it. Every inch of this soil, every stone, and every tree bears the mark of our sacred duty.”


Prince George, future King George I of New Britannia

Outside his window, the settlers were finishing their day’s work — children were helping their parents in the fields, the sound of hymns rose from the evening church service, and the clang of the blacksmith’s hammer echoed in the air. It was a budding society filled with devout men and women whose lives were deeply intertwined with their faith and their commitment to the cause. Strange continued, "They will brand us as intruders, rebels, or worse. But we must hold steadfast. Our claim is righteous, and our resolve must be unbreakable. I beseech you, Your Highness, to use your influence and resources to ready our people for what lies ahead. We may be called upon to fight, not just with words but with brimstone and fire, for the Kingdom of New Britannia.”

Finishing the letter with a heavy heart, Strange sealed it with wax, the royal emblem pressed firmly, symbolising the union of faith and crown that was at the core of their movement. He knew that what he was suggesting was grave — that it could ignite a conflict that would ripple through the entirety of Canada and beyond. As Strange handed the letter to a trusted messenger the next morning, the sun was just beginning to cast a golden light on New Jerusalem. He looked out over the thriving settlement, where the devoted were breaking their fast in preparation for a day of labour and worship. “Godspeed,” he whispered to the messenger, clasping his shoulder firmly. “And may God protect us all.”

The messenger nodded, a determined look in his eyes, and mounted his horse. As he rode off towards the coastal road that led to Prince George’s residence in Victoria, Strange couldn't help but feel the weight of the path they were on. It was a path that, he sensed, would define the very essence of their community and challenge the depths of their faith and loyalty.

With the departing figure of the messenger growing smaller on the horizon, Strange turned to face New Jerusalem, his home and the beacon of their holy endeavour. The once-foreign land had become the soil of their future, a future that was now uncertain and fraught with peril. He clasped his hands together as if in prayer and made a solemn vow. “For King and Faith,” he whispered, his voice steady and resolute. “We shall stand as one.”
Will vivekananda live longer or any changes in case of activities of Ramakrisha Mission?
I don’t think there will be a longer life for Vivekananda - he seems destined to fulfil his own prophecy I think.

As for the Ramakrisha Mission, not entirely sure at this stage. I don’t know whether there will be much in the way of changes.
V, XLVI: Symbolic Restoration

Republicans were worried about the prospect of Cecil taking the reigns but were unconvinced of the ability of any of their Parliamentarians to gain enough support from Unionists to overturn the will of the 1884 Committee, who issued strict instructions to back Cecil once consensus emerged that he was the most popular candidate. An attempt from

I was re-reading this chapter and I noticed this truncated paragraph. Who did the attempt to challenge Cecil's bid to the (Presidential) Regency belong to?
I was re-reading this chapter and I noticed this truncated paragraph. Who did the attempt to challenge Cecil's bid to the (Presidential) Regency belong to?
Ah many thanks for noticing this!

Full paragraph is as follows:

"Republicans were worried about the prospect of Cecil taking the reigns but were unconvinced of the ability of any of their Parliamentarians to gain enough support from Unionists to overturn the will of the 1884 Committee, who issued strict instructions to back Cecil once consensus emerged that he was the most popular candidate. An attempt from Charles Dilke, of all people, to find a challenger, failed after just 7 parliamentarians attended his meeting."