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

I’m wondering how this situation will influence the radical writers on the Continent that are sure to be watching this. British government did not have such a rich radical tradition (or at least not one that lasted very long) and this is sure to rock the world. I wonder how this will impact the writings of radicals and the revolutionary wave in 1848. Maybe this even kicks off a revolutionary wave in other British colonies. Can’t wait to see how this TL plays out. Keep up the awesome work.
Part 2, Chapter I
II , I: Age of Brougham, Part I


Henry Brougham, Leader of the Whigs, 1831-37

There was just a nothingness over London in the morning after the regicide. "Again" was the most used word in the city and in the days that followed, the country. In the streets, people weren't fierce, they weren't breaking windows, busting doors, firing muskets and battling canons. No-one was in charge, and people's response was to carry on as normal. Fierce mourning descended over the Whig movement, however, and in the following days after the death of their leader and Peer, a fierce desire for revenge on the incompetent administration that led to militias, county divisions, and Armed Soldiers, heroic at Waterloo degraded by firing on their fellow-subjects. "We have quietly allowed tyranny," said Henry Brougham at a meeting after Peel's memorial a few days after his death "and now we must act with new and further vigour in the areas of Reform. The conflicts have become greater, more acute and direr and the effect on the harmony of our constitution means that even the solutions of 1831 have now seemingly been swept from the confines of history".

This desire amongst Whigs to finally seize the moment manifested itself in a plan in the power vacuum to manifest a feedback loop of sorts to open the reform without Parliament. It would not be an act of Liberalism, it would not be an act of revolution, but it would place a cohort of Reformists to seal a seven-year period in power that was disputed, considered illegal by some and seditious by others. Henry Brougham would speak first after the uprising and would continue to speak a lot at that this period, with fierce intent on pushing through reform to prevent chaos. He would start the day by breaking convention and calling Privy Councillors to meet without the sitting Monarch or an heir. His argument was simple and effective to the other councillors; there is a crisis, there is no Monarch but she has not renounced the throne, and there is no heir. In the absence of a Regent and a Parliament, a quorum of Privy Councillors operates in a legal vacuum where they only needed themselves to act as Regent as a temporary measure. It was similar to the vacuum occupied by the entrenched Tory administration of Eldon, but Brougham thought that it could be used to resettle Reform before the election and acting in absence of Parliament. Through several organisational changes, they could concentrate power within the Privy Council and control the legislative agenda to bring about a sense of momentary peace, a more robust constitution and much-needed reform for Parliament. Brougham and other Whigs on the Privy Council could declare a quorum with as few as three members, introduce a raft of changes to bring about order. As it happened, when the Privy Council met four days after the memorial on May 23rd, eight Whig Privy Councillors met to co-sign an attempt at reasserting control across the Realm.

They declared the 'Emergency Ordinances' on May 27th, with the support of the 'Committee of Eight' as they were known, which consisted of four notes; the Privy Council will act as Regent under the restoration of the Monarch, the Privy Council will appoint an 'Emergency Committee of the Privy Council' which would issue and sign any legislation, the Privy Council will be enacted to appoint Peers that can be further confirmed upon the restoration of return of the Monarch and finally, that Parliament would be recalled in March next year. This sought to create the rationale for legislation, for the remaking of the Lords to ease the passage for the Commons for reform and to make appointments to a Provisional Government, led by the Whigs. On the 1st June, having been without a functioning government for nearly 15 days, the Privy Council issued the Second Emergency Ordinance, appointing Thomas Denman as Lord Chief Justice, Henry Brougham as Lord Chancellor, John Spencer as Lord High Treasurer and Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice as Lord President of the Council. These four men would act as the Legislative engine for the next few months, but also in the Ordinance was the creation of a six-man Legislative Committee, who would review and recommend legislation in place of Parliament. This committee featured John Ponsonby, Michael-Angelo Taylor and William Plunket, all prominent establishment Whigs. It gave Frederick Adam command over the Royal Army as Field Marshall. While it was under the veil of constitutionalism, this represented a gross overreach by the Whigs in Westminster, but despite having control by June 6th of the levers of Government, Brougham had little in the way of authority over the rebellious counties. He had the legal methods to implement policies but could only play politics in Westminster. He, and the Emergency Committee, would need to stop the strike within the nine months of Provisional rule.

In these fifteen days, the rebellious cities and counties continued to attempt civic Governance in the absence and at the distance from the wrangling in Westminster. The Grand National Holiday dragged on, and in need of a conclusion and many within the Radical elements could not decide on what to do with the nearly 5 million people who were, at least in theory, under their protection. As the news of the second Regicide filtering through, the state authorities collapsed all because of over-reaction: many of the richer elements of the cities feared a French Revolution-style Terror on wealth and privilege. Most fled to the countryside and estates. Brougham, with his electorate in Yorkshire, was more accustomed to the people in the North and felt they did not want to create a Republic or a godless state as some of the less acquainted and constructed members around him asserted. He began to press for a policy of rapprochement towards the Radicals and negotiation to integrate them, the Irish, the Scots, the West Country, the Welsh and the Northerners and Midlanders together back towards the Empire. To do this, he gambled on a few things; the need for Political Unions who were unprepared for power to transfer it back, the willingness of them to work with a Whig administration and successfully testing the willingness of commercial Whigs, who were beginning to show fractures in their support for the Grand National Holiday, now stretching into a fifth week of the complete economic shutdown.

He believed that a coalition of Commercial Whigs, who could be bought with economic reforms including the Corn Laws, Artisans and Urban Middle-Class, who could be bought off with the vote, and the working-class could be brought off with a role in civic government and redistricting - as shown by the Riots in Bristol and much of the rioting in Yorkshire brought further reform in civic improvement and administration simultaneously through the Charters - an expression of 'good government'. Brougham saw the irony in seizing power to prevent a seizure of power but preferred to think more as a seizure of the vacuum on behalf of the constitution. "It's ironic," he said in his memoirs "that through the boldness of character, and little else, we engineered our rise to become the law. What is more important to me was that we used ourselves, as the law, to guarantee that no-one would have the law after us". He met once again with the Privy Council on June 7th and presented to a further subcommittee of the council created, the Grand Security Committee, that included the Emergency Committee, the Judicial Committee and the Field Marshall, and presented his strategy for bringing the strike to an end. While no official records were kept of the meetings, the term Brougham is thought to have concluded that negotiation with the groups separately could mould a settlement - and while no records were kept, he began those negotiations a few days later, arranging meetings, writing letters and building the coalition needed to end the strike and prepare a space for a pathway to stability and harmony.


George Kinloch, leader of the Scottish Radicals and Daniel O'Connell, leader of the Irish Repeal Association

Firstly, Brougham approached the Irish and Scottish. They were aware the Northern English rebellion was well underway, but events in Scotland and Ireland had been slower to progress and the Grand National Holiday was less effective. The campaign for suffrage and repeal was serious in Ireland, however, and attempts to draft a National Charter to give a resemblance of self-government to Ireland and Repeal Aspects of the Act of Union. These areas would be easier to pick off and to negotiate with. Brougham held private conversations with Daniel O'Connell and felt laws restoring the rights of the Constitution of 1782, with no legislative initiative but a commencement veto would potentially suffice. O'Connell did not feel the same way. "A Ministry for Ireland," he said, in a letter "that is all that will suffice my people to stand down". He summarised his argument "my people want liberty, my people want equality and my people want their Parliament". His conversations were echoed by George Kinloch, who represented the Scottish Political Union, most active in Glasgow and Dundee. Kinloch had crossed paths with the authorities before, having made defences of trade unions during the Radical War and found himself exiled to France, but returned amongst the unrest and began agitating against the state due to a combination of his outlaw status and he deep-held sympathy with the industrial working class. Despite this, he was ultimately a conventional insider and believed in reform to prevent what he described as "permanent revolution" - a continuous cycle of demands for rights and violence to achieve them. But his main argument rested in religious toleration, and he held commonplace with the liberal Catholicism, albeit with a non-conformist denomination, beliefs held by O'Connell. He felt that England, a state dominated by the Church of England and a Southwestern Establishment, was unable to deliver "true emancipation", equality of all denominations as a basis of state-building. Kinloch was a controversial character but found common ground with Brougham on the subject of tolerance, himself an atheist.

Further discussions with the Palatinates' Union representative, Richard Potter, revealed a deep desire for an end to the centralised government of monarchy and wished to enshrine religious toleration and basic rights as undeniable. Discussions with Thomas Attwood revealed a desire for political reform to meet a more representative and good government for his city, Birmingham, but also for its region which was facing both the extreme opportunity of a vastly developing age, but an urgent need for state institutions, especially his area of specialism, the Banking institutions, to adapt with the times. Conversations held in parallel between Brougham and Potter, O'Connell and Attwood all brought similar conclusions - the desire for a sharing of knowledge about how to rule the country more effectively. Brougham, by his nature, was a political realist, and he sensed the country was moving in a different direction, and showed adaptation to it, rather than fear and anger.

Brougham's nature as a political realist blossomed his friendship with Mercian Reformer Joseph Parkes, who shared his similar desire for compromise and sobering realism to deliver necessary reforms. Parkes correspondence with Brougham, beginning on June 18th and ending on June 29th, consisted of 18 letters and two essays on the state of Governance in the Kingdom. Parkes had become convinced that the need for reform stemmed from no effective delegation of command, rather than Corporations (who worked to benefit members of both political factions while remaining practically inept), and Parliament (which was unrepresentative and unreformed). His thinking had changed throughout the conflict and he had concluded that Local and Provincial Government could be used to strengthen central control by creating flexible levers of good government across the Isles. All areas could have a local, responsible government that would strengthen efforts across the Union. His political philosophy, of organisation of a country to utilise full Government control in reverse federalism where the state delegates power, rather than enshrines its power from internal States, interested Brougham and influenced his thinking. He began to re-explore his ideas on Colonial self-Government and apply them to the internal politic of the State at that time.

After his conversations with Parkes, he felt a compromise could be reached if it met a series of ends; on the Unions side an end to the strikes and demobilisation of militias and a return to law and order, on the Whigs side to concede a greater degree of reform and the Lords to refrain from slowing this process down, and to the Moderate Tories to concede an end to the cycle of violence in exchange for reform from above that may exceed their tolerance, rather than revolution and the further outpouring of anger from subjects. To counterbalance the Reformists, he conceded and ordered the Legislative Committee to draft legislation admitting full ratepayer suffrage, some 4,000,000 new voters, into the legislative process. It would be countered with a poll tax to meet the larger cost of administration of £1, 2s - half the weekly wage for average workers and prohibitive to the poorest, designed to weed out undesirable voters who were "unwilling" to match their desire for suffrage with a financial contribution.

He went further to this by creating a commission to assign seats before the election. To restore order, he divided the country into units ruled by a Lieutenant Governor; Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Northern England, Central England, London and Southern England. All these reforms, dated until the recall of Parliament in March, were packaged together into the Third Emergency Ordinance on July 2nd. This ordinance was different in that it was subject to approval from the Parliament upon opening. Before the ordinance was proclaimed on June 30th, he circulated legal copies to the Political Union's leaders, O'Connell and Kinloch outlining the practices and offering most of the places on the Commissions and upon its declaration, all National Holidays were called off immediately, and workers slowly, over the next couple of days, returned to work. While they were to be balanced by Whig appointments in an expected renewed confidence in a Brougham ministry in March, he subsequently received letters from several independent Political Unions in support of the measure, although mostly in the South where mail was more reliable.

Most messages sent were sent via private messengers as Royal Mail workers in London, Bristol, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Derby, Liverpool and most of the cities and towns in Yorkshire, Lancashire and the North were on strike. People around there began hand-delivering letters and as the 'Grand National Holiday' proved tragic but successful, their movement had seen the authorities to be rendered powerless by a mass paralysis of subjects; mutinies gave around 40% of the military force, however undisciplined, voluntarily to the 'services of Reform', three important services within many Northern places emerged that would be fulfilled within these rioting areas: Policing, Indignance Reform and Public Health. In the first days of after the events in Lancashire and Yorkshire, the societal collapse wasn't by any means total but took three common forms across the North. In the early days of the strike, looting of businesses, most ironically sympathetic to reform, were widespread. Public buildings and known meeting places of magistrates and judges were ransacked and county jails and debtors prisons were opened and criminals were released. Petty crime increased dramatically over the first weekend, and Political Union leaders were forced to act to prevent lawlessness from breaking out on the street. Therefore, most militias weren't ransacking weapons from Army bases, or engaging in battle throughout most of the strike, but were simply patrolling the streets. What is more, they were quite effective. The streets were cleaned, wives would bake and trade at markets communally in the cities and factory by factory smaller groups of militias, under the command of the central commands of some sort, mostly middling Colonels in the Army who were sympathetic to the cause, but also factory foremen, local well-to-dos and liberal vestry members who felt the opportunity for power. What is remarkable, is the consistency of the adoption of these militias across the cities in the North. By July, these men had still not yet been stood down but had been adopted and reported in Newcastle, Manchester, Stockport, Huddersfield, Leeds, Wakefield, Salford, Liverpool, Birmingham, Derby, Nottingham and Bristol to be the only forces keeping somewhat rudimentary law and order. Without uniforms, their identification was a Yellow Ribbon around their arms, becoming known as the Ribboners.

The bulk of the law and order was set up in response to growing homelessness of workers due to ransacking of outlying villages by County Divisions, especially in their most active regions - Durham, North Yorkshire, Westmorland & North Lancashire and South Cheshire, where large rural gentry leaders raised armies to raid cities, plied with booze, food and cash to restore honour to the Crown and seize the cities from the revolutionaries. This phenomenon was largely contained to the North that saw the worst of violence, but was also supercharged with the presence of the Magistrates fleeing the cities, who formed a Crown-Lord-Church axis of traditional authority in many areas and recruited through midnight raids "For God & For England". Where they found resistance, they burned villages and destroyed property without restraint. Their methods caused hundreds of refugees to flee to the cities which were perceived as safer. It also scattered many across the country, as people fled violence and searched for work, food and shelter. To combat this, the militias had to make themselves distinct from the Divisions, they were required to have a connection to the people they gave their oaths publicly in the town square, and in Huddersfield, Newcastle and Manchester, Commissioners were chosen at public meetings, as were magistrates, and many candidates were middle-class lawyers who were well practiced in the law, and they instituted legal reforms with open trials and juries co-opted from the wider public. Fundamentally though, their strength was in their composition, as most of their men were local born and represented the defence of their homes and livelihoods. While the bulk of the men were working class, all saw a sense of collective will to continue the gains of the strike.

This also extended to a social reformist agenda, feeding workers at factories striking, providing whatever rudimentary shelter was available and providing basic education to striking and refugee children. These efforts were led by Commercial Class women, who took an active role in the relief of the poorest in the cities. This effort had begun before the Grand National Holiday but vastly expanded with relief organisations responding to the crisis. In two areas, Public Health took a more pertinent role, with Cholera outbreaks in the North East and despite the best efforts of the relief organisations, in most refugee settlements in Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds were reported to Political Unions and their response on June 18th to combined resources and declare one, single declaration from all Northern Political Unions asking for volunteers to man a Northumbrian Public Health Administration, which attempted to treat victims and reduce the effects of the pandemic. 1,500 mostly middle-class volunteers were signed up in 8 days, and Doctors who remained in cities were organised into columns, like an impromptu army, to tend to the sick, with the right to seize any rudimentary medical supplies and use buildings for hospitals. Churches aided the cause as well, with Quakers forming a key role in providing additional volunteers. The effect of these responses was to connect Upper and Lower Middle-Class urban subjects into the governmental process. Through their work to concentrate on civic improvement within the freedom the North they gained a real, true thirst for civil rights and basic freedoms to rule responsibly. The commitment was echoed in a letter from Privy Council member, Legislative Committee member and future speaker of the House, James Abercromby to Brougham coining a phrase that would define power relationships for centuries, and have a massive implication on the constitution. "What seems missing from these protests is a defining epithet. However, I would like to propose an epithet for this era if I may to you. I believe these people are in the pursuit of peace, order and good government and that has not been delivered to them. May that be the central epithet of this reform party". This statement would appear again in a few months and define the constitutional reform of Brougham and "this reform party" over the coming seven years.

In the South, mistrust of the gentry in the rural areas made it more radical than the cities, who despite sympathetic protests, saw little violence outside of Bristol. The western city had erupted earlier (as in October 1831) and expelled its magistrates from the city on May 21st after they convicted Thomas Bereton, the Lieutenant-Colonel with suspected reformist sympathies to death for sedition. A militia in the city overwhelmed the Jails, freed him, closed the gates of the city and declared themselves "Free". This 'gate closure' was merely symbolic - as most of the wealthiest in the city fled in the days after the uprising, but a significant stayed and with military fall in discipline manifested itself more peacefully in the south without raids and counter raids by Radicals and Reactionaries respectively, they were able to enact meaningful reform. A renewed coalition of radicals and moderate liberals that had shattered after the events in 1831. William Herapath, the President of the Bristol Political Union, used civic pressure within the city to force a special public meeting to discuss the municipal situation. This meeting held on June 2nd, abolished the Bristol Corporations, elected a provisional committee to enact reform. Herapath travelled to Westminster to meet Brougham, and while he was received in secret, was received warmly. He stressed the desire at the civic level for reform and was asked to occupy a seat on the Reform Commission. On his return, the provisional committee proposed an elected Mayor, an elected council with public meetings and annual elections and a council of aldermen, elected by the council for longer terms. Their city and county charter claimed jurisdiction over the "good and just government of the city and county" and finally, prepared a letters patent for the Charter, to receive Royal Assent at a future date. For now, similarly to the Northern authorities, they concentrated on restoring law and order, enacting basic civil rights and searching for those who were attempting to comply with elements sympathetic to the Regent and demobilising them and disarming them. A militia known as the Civic Guard patrolled the streets, formed of a similar coalition of social forces as in the North, governing with the idea of liberal policing; with greater oversight and accountable to local authorities, gained ground and Policing, a Conservative idea centred around central control, gives way to the division between 'policing by consent', which was the ethos and mantra of Peel's reforms establishing the Police of the Metropolis, and 'policing by control', which was the desired aim of the County Divisions and the Ultras - backed and supported by the atmosphere created by the reigns of Wellington, the Regent, Eldon and the Tories.

Trouble & discontent amongst rural workers spread to mass desertions of enclosures, burning of country houses and torture of landed gentry which peaked around December 1831 but tailed off afterwards throughout 1832, much to the surprise of urban observers. The reason for this was simple - between December and March, over a thousand leaders and suspected ring leaders were either executed or transported for sedition which pacified the militant elements of the rural radicals from overt violent agitation but left a fit of residual anger towards the landed gentry against enclosed rural workers, whose numbers represented around 7% of all workers in the Kingdom as a whole. This hostility resumed as the gruesome, public nature of the Swing executions caused renewed rioting which did however see the burning of country houses and the massacre of Landed Gentry throughout July and August. There were some 2,000 acts of arson, mainly across the Midlands but also in parts of Kent, East Anglia, and Lincolnshire, where sympathy riots occurred despite no violence the previous winter.

In the backdrop of this violence, August saw the beginning of the first Special Commissions to be convened - the Commission on County & Borough Representation which would review the representation of the districts. The Commission was populated with a coalition of Whigs and Radicals and was presided by Thomas Drummond, who had presided over the first boundary commission and was brought in to redesign the boundary changes to reflect the number of ratepayers, rather than the intricate property requirements of £10 householders, as in the previous act. Drummond had secured predated statistical information from the 1831 census and was brought any census data collected by the military during martial law throughout the end of 1831 and beginning of 1832. While this helped track some of the data, Drummond held up the Commission by six weeks, until September, to gather data and insisted on using Militia numbers in the North rather than Army numbers, and asked Brougham and the Emergency Committee to order a headcount in affected regions by militias. He felt that the numbers they would produce would be more accurate of ratepayers in the district and those who could afford the poll taxes for the election in 1833. With this data added to the records, he maintained a couple of side records and according to most modern demographic experts. The data, however, overstated the presence of thousands of people moving to the cities in the strife in the countryside in the cities. This, combined with the skew towards urban delegates, with many Tories outside of the reform movement giving the map very little rural oversight made an electoral map that vastly underestimated populations in many rural areas.


Thomas Drummond, Head of the Boundary Commission

Drummond succumbed to pressure from the more moderate elements of the Commission to retain multi-seat constituencies, and moderate Whigs wished for an extension of the current franchise system - where Tories, Whigs and new electoral groups like the Repealers and the Radicals would be represented by a seat each. This moved the commission to, in this light, consider the matter of representation in its entirety. A unanimous vote moved to reconsider from a blank map to redraw the map in England and Wales into new, manageable units of two and three-seat constituencies across the country. In England, the map was drawn by Drummond, with the threat of Tory or Lords revolt removed, he produced a revolutionary map. He abolished counties and boroughs and divided the country into 167 electorate districts of between one and four members. The two-tiered system was replaced by a one-tier system which concentrated rural constituencies (often large ones) in many ones and two-seat constituencies, under-representing the rural areas quite significantly. Urban seats were divided into three and four-seat constituencies, with the central ethos of attempting to provide representation to the minority groups, as insisted by the few Tories on the panel who wanted to retain some level of representation for themselves and the Radicals in cities who wanted to do the same. Finally, they settled on 24 one-member electorates, 36 two-member electorates, 48 three-member electorates, 57 four-member electorate and two University constituencies of two members. It also set procedures for registering and listing new voters and recommended empowering the new Governors with establishing an Office of Registrars to take payment of the poll taxes and put them under the authority of the Governors and Lieutenant to collect registrations by a certain date. The process was completed on September 8th and the Commission Ordinance was signed in the following day.

Later that week, on the 12th September, reports came in that the missing Queen had been located in Southampton. Brougham had averted a succession by declaring the Monarch missing, so set about a nationwide search, and even co-opted informal searches with Militias and the Royal Irish Constabulary, which had become naturalised and had already been suspended in March by order of Earl Eldon, to see if the Monarch had been smuggled behind enemy lines to continue the open line that there was no need for Succession. Tories had stood back from the Reforms for that very reason,- there was a widespread belief that the fact that the Queen would be declared dead and Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover would reunify the Hanoverian and the British Crowns once again. The Hanoverian faction believed that whatever reforms were enacted, the new King, a staunch Conservative, would veto and reject them, declare all ordinances as illegitimate and probably arrest most of the people who put their name to it. The arrival of the Queen, who had been hidden in an attic in a city centre apartment during the unrest, having been smuggled out of the violence and dressed as a boy by one of the maids in Bushy House. She had, as always, been in the same room as her mother, but she told them early to get her out of the house so to ensure her safety. From there, she was brought to Hampshire, where she stayed in a country home before she was hidden in the city centre. She was discovered and the couple who held her claimed they had no idea she was the Queen, and she requested both be absolved of any wrongdoing to the militia who found her, fearing that it was revolutionary.

Her return to London was celebrated, and she was brought to Kensington Palace to cheering crowds. Her return in a legal sense only settled one question - there would be a Regency Act, rather than a Succession Act in Parliament. As she was under 18 and the prior Regent had been incapacitated, they would first need to agree on a permanent regency option in Parliament before there would be any official channels for law-making. Essentially, once it was passed, the Government and the Parliament would be legitimate, because Parliament (as Monarch, Lords & Commons) would endorse the decision to pass a Regency, making the ordinances passed by the Privy Council subject to Royal Assent - but going through whatever Regency appointed for the Crown. Parliament designed for greater suffrage against the will of the Tories would now be able to create laws in the absence of Parliament, make them law by planting their regent and confirming their perpetual rule. Amongst Tories and the traditional right, this growing into the wider Anti-Reform movement would try and gain some kind of representation in the 1833 elections but would be confined to many rural constituencies which were underrepresented and refused to register their workers. They saw this power-grab as unconstitutional and despotic, leading to them becoming ironically known alongside the Anti-Reform moniker as the 'Constitutionalists' or 'Conservatives'.


Queen Victoria upon her return to Buckingham Palace, 1833

From September until March, ordinances ceased as preparation for the elections began. These preparations were hampered, however, as Militias in the North and Bristol refused to stand down in fear of Corporations, Vestries and Magistrates returning to their cities and counties and conducting harsh reprisals. Political Unions also wanted local control over policing and militias, fearing a national police force would be despotic and cruel. More local representation and Governance resembling the Charters was now a Radical aim. With Commissions due to start, with Parliamentary approval, to report in 1835. Brougham had already hired Joseph Parkes, a prominent leader in the Birmingham Political Union, as it's General Secretary. While this was designed to quell feeling that this was an insider reform rather than outside reform, it irritated the majority of Tories within the reform movement, who now thought reform would be too deep and too wide to retain any resemblance of the Constitution. He appointed seven men to administration positions across the Kingdom, all of good Whig stock and all of them would receive places on the Commission. These Governors and Lieutenant Governors would be in direct control of three important areas: decommission of Militias, for which they were to be personally concerned with, opening and maintenance of Offices of Registrars for their province, and overseeing reforms of municipal governments, to make recommendations to Parliament through the Parkes Commission.

He appointed positions in Ireland first, bringing in Henry Paget as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and William Plunket as Chief Secretary for Ireland - a position, it was felt, that would allow municipal reform and reform of several more repressive and irresponsible elements of the Dublin Castle Administration and equally to conduct their boundary commissions to implement the abolition of the separation of constituencies and dual electorates. Plunket's work with O'Connell in the Catholic Emancipation Acts was seen to be working in his favour to bring Ireland under control. In a more low-key appointment, Andrew Skene was appointed Lieutenant of Scotland, with Henry Cockburn appointed the re-established pre-Union role of Lord Secretary of Scotland in Edinburgh, establishing an office in Melville Drive. The five other Governors, who were equally low key, saw a series of reformers given control over their Regions, with Sir James Graham given Governorship over Wales, Lord Durham over Northern England, Edward Littleton over Central England, John Spencer over Southern England and John Hobhouse over the Metropolis - although he was similarly to be given a unique title of 'Lord Mayor of the Metropolis' - designed not to override the Liberties of the City of London & City of Westminster, who would remain under separate control.

In Particular, the works of Lord Durham and Littleton set the legislative tone for the municipal and provincial reforms in the North through the recruitment of an advisory committee, appointed by the Governor, to help in the administration of the Governors area of control. These committees essentially allowed the co-option of the leadership of the Political Unions into the decision making in the North and the Midlands. Durham had a reputation and was nicknamed "Radical Jack" in his time around politics. He wasn't particularly involved in politics in the North, but had a fine reputation for his radicalism and was sent by Brougham to investigate the political situation in the North and any solutions that could be implemented in the North to bring lasting control over the region. Durham was popular as Governor - he was seen out in public in the North a great deal, visited Mechanics Institutes and City Halls and spoke to rural and coastal communities a great deal as well, living by the motto to stay "across my jurisdiction without bias to location, creed and means". Littleton's appointments were more moderate in their composition to reflect the more moderate nature of the Mercian Political Union: Thomas Attwood was appointed alongside more Moderate Tory Reformers who were to form the 'Waverers' group in the next Parliament.

These committees directed registration drives and heralded a softer implementation of the poll taxes, meaning a larger electorate benefiting managerial working-classes and artisans. bulging the electorate in the North and Midlands, especially in big cities like Manchester and Liverpool where there were next to no oversight on registrations meant pretty large numbers of factory workers gained the vote, with militias (now outlawed) playing an important role in registrations. In the final tallies, just over 1,000,000 voters were on the electoral roll for the 1833 election, and ballots were organised from January. This period saw a series of pressures come to light on those running for office, and the presumed liberalisation of the press (censors had been inactive since May and the libel courts hadn't yet been called into session) meant that public interest in the elections, especially to the new electorate was fierce.

In the lead up to the election in the North, the ranks of the army were growing again after the mutinies with the more popular Frederick Adam as Field Marshall requesting a loan from the Bank of England to finance a bonus of £1 (the amount needed for the poll tax) for all soldiers who returned, giving soldiers who returned a vote in the election. This proposition was undercut by an £80,000 loan from the Bank of England to the British Army directly but funded initially by Order of Privy Council. Most stayed in an informal capacity in downtime and when in reserve protecting the streets in the meantime, however, despite the order that militias should demobilise. This dual system saw strikers returning to work, but retaining the institutions that formed during the strike to continue doing work in the aftermath of the strike. Brougham himself visited the North and stood for the electorate of York, and it was here that a campaign to return candidates to rid slavery from the British Empire emerged as the first key tenet of campaigning in the Kingdom. Abolition was a large interest point for many of the new electors who gained the franchise in 1833 - a keen interest of middle-class reformers, especially in the North. Even before this, in 1823, the Anti-Slavery Society was formed with Brougham as a member and he was keen to take an Act to outlaw the slave trade across the Empire, which his two previous acts had failed to do. Brougham was elected, and as the North of England and Central England started balloting in January, it was clear that the influx of new voters affected, as Radical candidates, and Radical professing Whigs were elected in droves in the new electorates.

When the rest of the country voted in the weeks that followed, it produced a result that decimated Tory candidates in favour of Reformists. With the Parliament divided on the issue - Reform against Anti-Reform, papers in the North when the final electorates were called in total the number of Reformers at 482, Repealers at 57, and Anti-Reformers at 122. The composition of the Reform movement was interesting though. While it was made up in the majority by traditional Whigs, candidates who were radical Reformists, campaigning for more democracy, more reform and the four main tenets of the Reform movement: universal suffrage, annual elections, vote by ballot and professional members won a high number of urban seats and seemed to convert both middle-class, shopkeeper liberals, artisans and the greater numbers of working men towards the prospects of Radical reform. These candidates, Potter in Manchester among them, wanted the new Parliament in any reform to stick to the Charters, stick to the so-called aforementioned tenet of the "Four Reforms" and in growing numbers, in solidarity with Irish Repeal and the prospect of more local responsible government. They wanted deeper and more radical reform and a constitution and recognised the authority of the Charters over their Provinces. They were more brazen in their demands and wanted a Parliament that would prevent the abuses shown by the last few years to re-emerge again. There were around 185 members who were considered "Radical", "Radical Whig" or "Radical Reform". Despite supporting the Government, they would form a core of members who would continue to press for greater and greater reform.
Part 2, Chapter II
II , II: Age of Brougham, Part II


House of Commons meeting, 1833

The Parliament was recalled for 3rd March with a state opening, and while the Lords would properly come into session a few weeks later, the Commons returned an immediately elected a new Speaker, James Abercromby, to guide the legislative session of seven years. This confirmed the 'Reforming Ascendancy' of the legislative branch which saw now the Privy Council, the Speakership of the Commons and the main positions of power in the hands of Reformers. The Privy Council appointed 50 new peers to give the Reformists power of the Lords as well, and although these came from traditional Whig constituents, they reflected a more reformist zeal across Parliament. On the 19th March, work finally began as the "Council Speech", with the Throne left vacant, outlined the legislative agenda, and was supported with a heavy margin and placing confidence in a Brougham Ministry, with Brougham essentially holding the role of Prime Minister, although retaining his Lord Chancellor title along with all the appointments of the Emergency Committee. He indicated that once reform was completed in full, then he would dissolve the Emergency Committee (however this would continue for the full duration of the Parliament). Then, the Three Orders in Council were subject to Parliamentary approval and were passed through the Commons in the Emergency Act 1833, which affirmed the emergency measures that were taken after the death of the Regent.

Within two weeks, this had passed both houses of Parliament, with a 557-30 majority in the Commons and a 127-11 vote in the Lords. This larger majority was due to a constitutional strike of Ultras in the Lords who delayed and abstained on all legislation and disrupt the progress, who were numbered about 80 or so under the leadership of Wellington, who was appalled by the 'constitutional vandalism' that had occurred, although by his attendance, Brougham had set a constitutional trap for them to fall into - by attending, they consented, and by voting, they merely became the opposition to a Bill. It received assumed Royal Assent on April 1st 1833 and sealed the new reforms into statute, achieving electoral reform (for England) in 1833. In 1831, this might have been the main legislative event of the session, however, it was to be overshadowed by the coming weeks by the biggest issue dominating Parliament. This matter was of course Regency. With the Emergency Committees provisional term in legal limbo, deciding the Regency Act would be the only way to permanently settle the legal framework for legislation in Parliament. Brougham brought legislation that dissolved the Privy Council and replaced it with a temporary seven-man Council of State, with a list of ten candidates proposed by the Commons, whittled down to seven in the Lords. The jurisdiction for the Council would end upon the Queen turning 18 on May 24th, 1837, by which time all acts would revert to a Privy Council appointed by the Queen and the Council of State would be abolished. That was it. It was a compromise designed to bring stability until the Queen would reach the legal age to rule.

Brougham waited until April 1834 to bring the Parliament to the session and chose to bring it through the House of Lords, rather than the Commons, to be approved there before passing through the House, expecting to win over the Lords and see that the rest follows - normal service resumed, in a way. It was defeated 140-139, with gleeful Ultra lords whipping the House into a frenzy in the discussions. Discussions were halted as the Parliament buildings were destroyed in a fire in October 1834 and response, the Privy Council allocated Buckingham Palace, specifically the Ball Room for the Lords and converted Service Area for the Commons, into the Chambers in time for the next session of Parliament. This delay continued to raise the anxiety of Brougham's Ministry. Without his Regency, it was felt, the Government would have no credibility at all and would be forced to wait four years before making any changes to the law. Earl Eldon, a despised man for his role in the events in the North, threatened to cane Lord Durham for his support for the Act. The legislation was thrown out in the Lords in ten days, and work in the Commons to undermine Brougham's bill began in earnest among Radicals.

A joint select committee was formed, but it's composition was heavily Radical, with George Grote, John Arthur Roebuck, Charles Buller and Joseph Parkes making up the Commons delegation and Lord Durham from the Lords - while the Commons delegation was more numerous, Durham's instance that the Regency Act be extended to cover all the reforms recommended by the Commission established by Brougham in his time in the Emergency Committee. This, and the reports inquest into the troublesome areas in the North, Midlands, West and the oldest colony, Ireland meant that it heard from a great many Repealers, Radicals and Reformers about the state of Government in the country. The Commission was given a review by letters patent under the Privy Seal to make recommendations in three areas; further reform of the Commons, review of municipal corporations, and review of the Irish Question promised to O'Connell in his negotiations to bring the Irish National Strike to an end. O'Connell was promised a vote on Repeal in the Parliament as well, but that vote would come later. For now, in the vacuum of the political world they lived in, they understood two things: the need to act faster than the Regency lapsing and Victoria turning 18 and the need to act legislatively to prevent Repeal and counter-reform. A budget and an office were established in the name of the Commission on December 4th, 1835 and it divided itself along the lines of the remit of the act (Constitutional, Municipal and on Repeal).


John Arthur Roebuck, member of the Joint Select Committee on the Constitution

It was decided that in the Constitutional Question, MPs would take more direct action to influence decision making, and the legal Radical minds, especially those in the Philosophical movement of the Radicals, would have the greatest impact on the elements discussing the Commons-Lords-Crown relationship. The Irish Question would bring together a committee of 5 Repealers, 5 Loyalist and 5 Independent liberals non-aligned to discuss the most effective reforms, and regional commissions, organised on the Governor districts appointed by Brougham before the Parliament's calling, but with some minor changes: Midlands, South Western, South Eastern, Metropolis, Northern, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. These would report back in late 1835, and it was agreed would consult on three bills to present to the Commons: the Constitution Bill, the Local Government Bill and Government in Ireland Bill. The contents of these bills had not been finalised, but their remit was secured. The MPs working on the Parliament Act first were required to define what their stated goals were. After due consideration, they agreed on a series of legislative inadequacies that they would attempt to fix; the case of permanent regency contingency (and settling the current Regency issue), powers and responsibility of the ministry to Parliament and the crown and finally to permanently settle political and civil rights. "We must conclude these talks with haste and make good decisions," said Abercromby, the Speaker of the House in an open letter to the Times "but we must correct and make better to pursue the simple ideals of peace, order and good government". Those five words were used a significant amount in the debates and seemed to frame the ethos of the committee's hearings. There was a feeling that obviously, the Government wasn't working: there had been over 200 revolts in cities in the years 1831 and 1832, not to mention the small matter of the two regicides.

In terms of the practicalities, the need to assert Parliamentary Supremacy was the first agreed-upon motion, unanimously agreed by all members of the committee. They quickly sought to sow up the Regency issue with essentially the Brougham proposal of an advisory Council of State (abolishing the Privy Council) outside of regency but Sovereign in the regency, with three members instead of four; the Head of the Executive would be joined by the Speakers of Both Houses, who would be Vice Presidents of the Council of State equally and hold equal power in Regency, but would be held dormant while out of Regency. They also sought to end the gridlock with the House of Lords by retaining aristocracy but rotating a smaller number of 80 nobles, appointed by the the Queen at the start of the Parliament in the unnamed "Upper House", with Lords unable to sit for consecutive terms and serving for two full Parliaments, with half being re-appointed after the first Parliament. While reaction in the Lords was fierce, Lord Durham defended the investigations, and Brougham indicated in a speech to the Commons that the existing Privy Council as the implied regent could appoint new Lords to pass the legislation whenever it was brought to the Commons, and appoint the new members subsequently to the first Upper House should the recommendations be taken up, hinting at essentially blocking Tory opposition in the Upper Chamber for 14 years. This threat made them quickly back down, although as the committee was only a consultative in nature at best, Brougham believed that Commons adaptations would remove some of the aspects of the bill that would be unappealing to the Lords without resorting to packing the House. They further defined the relationship between the Executive and the Parliament, outlining an Executive Council of between 6-13 members headed by a President of the Council nominated by the Executive (the Monarch can never enter the Commons), the nomination was subject to a confidence motion in the Commons in the Executive's appointment brought forward by the Lord President, once this was done, he would nominate the other members for approval by the Commons in a block confidence motion. These "Executive Ministers of State" were named to distinguish them from more junior, non-executive ministers. The Commons would also have the right to dissolve the Council and nominate a new President should it lose a no-confidence vote and the Executive Council would need to submit all laws to the Commons first before seeking Upper House approval.


Lord Durham, Leader of the Radicals in the Lords

Finally, they deliberated the ideas of suffrage. Many within the Committee, especially George Grote, believed that only vote by ballot and universal, uninhibited suffrage was the answer to all problems. While many argued that rural constituencies would struggle to enforce vote by ballot, it heard evidence from the Private Secretary of the Governor of HM Administration in the North of England, Richard Potter, who argued that "the issue violence in the North was the escalation of denial of suffrage, but most well-meaning subjects in the North understand that those who pay their way deserve representation, while those who cannot, do not". This essentially pitched the moderate line of the Radicals in the mid-1830s, as the Political Realism of Parkes and the co-option of the Reformist Movement; away from the Utopian ideals of Government and towards conciliation and gradual reform. The Committee agreed on what would have been a staggering proposal in 1830, universal male ratepayer suffrage without penalty, income qualification or property qualification but empowering each Governor to maintain a roll of ratepayers in the Governorate to enfranchise them. This change would essentially remove the poll taxes, which had been universally regarded as cumbersome and only really pursued in the South and London, and were hated in the North, but disenfranchised many of the urban poor, and restricted voting to the richer of the working class. Subject to the payment of rates, which were only held on more expensive rental properties did create some cases allow plural voting in a number of seats, which tended to benefit rural constituents and commercial "new" money alike. Its reach however would be across the Union, and wouldn't be constrained by the limits of the first reform. This would give the vote to around 15% of the population, and would also be coupled by provisions in the act for "permanent, independent reapportionment of seats of equal sizes of total electorates", meaning constituencies would be required by law to remain equal.

In doing this, they created an electorate of over 3,500,000 men but also disenfranchised women, poorer workers, and large numbers of rural workers, especially in Ireland, who did not pay direct taxes but tithes and rents, so were unable to vote it did, however, enfranchise urban Catholics who had emerged into major Cities in recent years. The new voters were richer workers with rented property who paid rates in abundance in the North, leading to millions of more voters in cities and Industrialising towns. It reaffirmed the decision to abolish counties and boroughs and replace them with electorates and advised the extending of the electorate system to the whole country. The draft legislation was turned into a Green Paper in January 1835 and passed to a White Paper one month later before coming to the Commons from Grote himself two months later in March. To Brougham's surprise, the Radicals and elements of the Repealers had been combined with many Whig members to pass the bill's First Reading. Abercromby delayed the Second Reading vote for a month while ordering the Committee met again, and importantly, increase Lord's participation in the drafting. This was designed to put the legislative brakes on the more radical elements of the bills while retaining significant amounts of the substance.

This, however, forced a debate on the Tory members that they were not prepared for. Despite it being the most modern political issue of the time and Parliament had not passed anything else, several bills were in waiting until 1837 when the Queen ruled without the need for the Regency because of the House of Lords' opposition to the calling of Parliament, leading to public opinion turning against the Chamber. With Tories strongest in the Chamber, and some ridiculing the existence of the Parliament at all, Tory opposition to the Reformist proposals was scattergun and unorganised, as it had been in the election, and divided into three rough camps. One camp compromised after the scale of the electoral defeat and worked with the new administration in reform planning, known as the Waverers, angered by the Lords in their times when they did vote. These were led by Robert Peel. Peel himself was aggrieved at the Lords refused to pass legislation, with a bill that he co-drafted on Policing Reform being blocked, and he emphasised the concurrent path towards regaining power and slowing the pace of reforms. Peel wrote a letter to Gladstone in April 1835 his thoughts over the matter and Gladstone recommended he should publish it in an open letter to his constituents, in Tamworth. The letter was considered Radical by some in High Tory quarters, but to Peel, would be the foundation of Toryism surviving the new political landscape. He started by indicating he would abstain from voting on the Parliament Acts - citing that he "understood the popular will to punish the Blue and believed that the Blue influence on the Reforming procedure should be to protect not the minutiae of reform, but the Union, Crown and Church". This doctrine would be the counter-weight of the Reformist mantra of "peace, order and good government" and would begin to define the relationship between the two distinct factions that were emerging in Parliament, although Peel would not lead the former post-reform. The Tories in the Lords quickly became a matter of grave public anger, and protests emerged around the country to abolish the Lords. Peel's rationalisation was not to stand in the way of the Parliament Act but prepare for the aftermath.


Robert Peel, leader of the Liberal Wing of the Conservative Party

He and the 'Peelers' faction that developed around him believed that with the Parliamentary war lost, the subsequent wars; for the Union, for ecclesiastic reforms, municipal reforms, and reforms of all nature, they would need to provide a case for the Conservation of traditional forces. He accepted that the Parliament Act, with minor reforms, was the "final and irrevocable settlement of the great constitutional question and the period of conflict in this union". On the Committees, especially the Local Government and Municipal Reform Committees, he reaffirmed the need for a "careful review of civil institutions for the service of Her Majesty" and to "correct proved abuses and redress grievances". Finally, he spoke in a sombre tone, speaking of the "vortex of unnecessary agitation that has plagued this country for 15 years". This piece, the Tamworth Manifesto, was copied around the country among Tory circles and printed in the Westminster and Edinburgh Review. It had taken 2 years, but afterwards, Peel assumed the role of unofficial Leader of the Opposition and raised several oppositions that were successful as amendments (but not by his faction of around 40 or so members who abstained as per the Tamworth manifesto). These included a provision to allow the Lords Spiritual to attend the Upper House in matters of religion and electing a speaker, and allowing the Law Lords to attend in perpetuity and the right to introduce legislation from the Upper House, as well as increasing the size of the chamber from 80 to 100. He also proposed in testimony to the committee a three-year term on Parliament. These poked Radicals into making important and vital reforms into the Act and helped win over more Whigs to the Bill. Peel detested the Act, and so did most of his followers, but he understood these reforms would need a This was especially pressing as a permanent protest had begun to emerge around Parliament.

Brougham indicated that if the Commons would pass the act and no parties would vote against, then Emergency Committee would flood the Lords, however shaky legally, to pass the Act and dissolve Parliament to force a new election in concordance with the act before Victoria ascended the throne. This remained the 'nuclear' button should, so to speak, that Brougham could push. This rationale of the Peelers brought the Parliament Act further through the Commons and it was passed 321-61, and a subdued Lords attempted to quell the legislation to bring about their demise but did retain the element of delay. They rejected the bill on their first reading of it and attempted to delay the action for enough time for the Queen to assume full power. Brougham, now tired, as were many of the Reformers elected, and addressed the Lords, now in April 1836, to appeal to them to speed up the process of their destruction. Booed, jeered and hissed by many, he presided over the most hated aspect of it all to most of the deeply reactionary, anti-reform traditional Tories of the Lords, but also a majority which it could whip, and the prospect of forcing the legislation into law anyway through the Legislative Committee, which was still meeting without any legal basis to deem legislation "conditionally assented" - a legal murk that had prevented any other legislation from being passed. Brougham had spent much of 1836 calling off the dogs, with Joseph Parkes taking an increasingly aggressive tone to use the conditional assent and "banishing the Lords so the work of Parliament can begin". There was a feeling the bill would need to be passed, and "Brougham's Parliament" was, along with the three-year Emergency regime, dissolved. Brougham said if the Act was not passed through the Lords by New Years Day, 1837, he would force through the act and dissolve the Lords.

Radicals who had stayed away from Parliament and instead chose to take provincial work, like Richard Potter, became more and more important to the work of the Country. The Governorates, including Ireland, had developed distinct independence in their commons dealing with the Cholera Pandemic in the region, raising rates to help victims and organising "Governor's Appeals", which raised money for better sanitation and municipal improvement, which were carried out by an Administration, led by an Administrator, who in the case of Northumbria, was the aforementioned Potter. From here, he was able to recommend municipal reforms (including establishing a responsible government in Manchester) and institute the "Durham Doctrine" which allowed free political speech and freedom of worship in the whole of the North of England, and also recruiting heavily from local middle-class families into the Administration, which also had ad hoc control of the Militias (which remained in an informal, dormant sense but reserve for a posse comitatus). He also centralised vestry policing in the region and established the North of England Police, with County & Metropolitan Subdivisions, using much of in the internal personnel of the Militias in 1831-32, who still retained most of the respect. A distinctive "Northern" identity emerged amongst the peoples of the North and through Durham an ability to participate more freely in the political process, with Durham hosting an "open-door" policy in his York Castle building, which despite leading to one assassination attempt, continue through to his recall. Durham was felt warmly by the North and used one of his final speeches in the Lords to call for responsible government for his Governorate, citing a story from his time in Wakefield, Yorkshire during the aftermath of the Grand National Holiday.

"I had the pleasure of visiting the town before, once, I believe. My family home was Durham, of course, and I was travelling to London. I walked the streets and no-one would look upon you as a man, but they would all cower, hunch and hide, almost ashamed. Now I travel, and I see their Administration building, attempting to distribute aid, medicine and relief, and the disaster that has unfolded as the retched disease consumes its subjects. As a man, I would pass through and disregard their strife, but as a Governor, I am compelled to seek solutions, so I stopped my carriage and visited the Administration. Their sickness, their poverty and the wretched line the streets, consumed by hopelessness. But they do not hunch. In the North, since the Holiday, they stand tall. I believe, as I have seen this part of the Realm in the detail I have, and through the work of my Head Administrator, Mr Potter, do see a distinct part of this Empire that perhaps, requires a subordinate chamber to scrutinise and hold the confidence of a magnificent people with its administration".

Durham and Potter both gave public testimony to the Municipal and Provincial Reform Commission and began espousing the need for Regionalism and Federalism to join the concepts of Parliamentary Sovereignty. He found a common goal with an important figure emerging out of the Irish Nationalist Movement - Thomas Davis. Davis, a protestant, believes that an inferior Irish Legislature, within a federal structure, could solve a significant amount of the political issues of the Kingdom. Davis met with an Ulster Liberal, William Sharman Crawford, to discuss a proposal of a Nations & Provinces Act to make up the outcome of the Commissions on Ireland, Provinces and Municipalities. Brougham, seeking to consolidate the Whig gains in the new, ratepayer suffrage era, brought major factions of his perceived 'Liberalism' together into a compact for the approaching election. He brought key members of the Liberal, Radical and Irish Repeal movements together at Lichfield House to form a united front against the "Conservative" forces surrounding Peel to protect the Liberal zeal of the Government into the 1840s. Brougham sought to protect against regression against the Constitutional order. While O'Connell agreed in principle to join the compact, he wished to seek permanent assurances of Irish Constitutionalism as part of the statement. Brougham refused to outright offer Repeal, O'Connell's main aim, but wished to support the Provinces & Nations Act should it come to the new Parliament. Radicals in the South of England were placated by the Parliament Act, but the Chartist movement were not, and they now demanded a Provincial Legislatures and a Federal Solution for Irish Repeal, winning support in Ulster for the settlement which would see a responsible government in the Territory alongside one in the South, which would protect Protestants in the North of the Country. O'Connell personally disagreed with the settlement and felt the indivisibility of Ireland was central to his cause of Repeal. Davis and O'Connell split on the issue of secularism; Davis wished a Legislature that would be responsible for the whole of Ireland, but independent from Religion and O'Connell felt that Catholic Emancipation into Representation and Rule was a central point of Repealism. Radicals like Potter and Durham too were unsure, feeling that the necessary reforms on a municipal level were of significance and should be the centre of the expected 1837 election under the Parliament Act.


Thomas Davis, Leader of the Federalist wing of the Repeal Movement

Davis made a further calculation; that he could find a basis for a "popular will" within the mantras of merging 'Improvement Commissions' with newly created Public Health Boards, which had been established in the North and Central England to manage the Cholera Pandemic that was raging in most of the northern cities and County Boards to create Provincial Legislatures; formed of Governor, Executive Council (replacing the Administrations) and Legislative Council, would be elected by ratepayers. These would have the right to appoint officials, issue various licenses (including importantly Railway licenses), Public Health, Public Works and retain the rights of conducting censuses and registering voters, but would gain the right of issuing letters patent for new boroughs and districts. These would also include London sans the Liberties and the City, who would retain independent control and also Ireland and Scotland, who would receive a legislature. Supporters of this policy, including Richard Potter but also Joseph Parkes and Thomas Davis, span across the Islands and became known as the Chartists, due to their support for the Charters of the Grand National Holiday. These Chartists coalesced around the Radical Party in Parliament, like John Bright. Radicals called for economic regulations (including support for the Factory Acts), repeal of the Corn Laws and reform of the Poor Law and devolving the power to Provinces. Leading into 1837, they began to operate in the later period of Brougham's Parliament as an Independent faction in opposition to both the Whigs and the Tories, and in a more important respect, the Catholic Liberals of O'Connell. Davis represented a blend of both Political Realism and Secular Liberalism with American and French undertones, meaning when Crawford, a prominent Ulster Liberal who had a growing influence in the Ulster Whig circles with his role in the Irish Commission, presented him with an attempt to build a moderate place between Repeal and Union with potential lucrative allies in the Northern Radical movement. The position that Davis saw was if "Ireland could have freedom, so could our Scottish, Welsh, Cornish, Northern and Western peoples free themselves from London rule" and it was this rally against London rule that underpinned a lot of the fuel for populist sentiment leading up to the next election. The rally from many outside the Capital against Westminster as a whole, and towards more local rule timed well for Davis as he found a unique coalition around the idea of federalism in Britain for the first time in history, and the victories of the past five years, however premature, already seen a boom at the ground level in thousands of Chartist Associations springing up across the country, which sought to field candidates in the coming elections to challenge both the aristocratic Whigs (primarily in Yorkshire where the anti-aristocratic feeling was brewing for many years) and unopposed Tory candidates in urban areas, seeking to increase the number of Radicals, representing middle and working-class voters in the cities, where they were strongest, but also in West Mercia and South Wales, Bristol and in London, where the workers were already turning to more Socialist tones with Henry Hetherington's London Working Man's Association.

Finally, on February 15th, 1837, the Legislative Committee of the Privy Council met for the final time to give conditional assent to the Parliament Act and Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, Lord President of the Privy Council, declared Parliament dissolved. Governors in the North, in Central England, in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and London had all been maintaining lists for ratepayers for some time, and the Office of Registrars conducted a full electoral roll in just under 4 weeks, granting coupons to vote to 3,300,000 people. Most were open ballots, but Manchester and some Yorkshire towns offered secret ballots to be counted alongside the total count. Parliament was designated to be opened by HM Queen Victoria on her ascension on May 24th, 1837. The Commissions run by the select committees would resume in the new Parliament, and in the Commons, George Grote added the Committee to the list of Permanent Committees to be appointed on Commons opening. This would ensure the work of Provincial Reform, a key tenet of Chartism would continue past the election. All over the country, but primarily in the North, Scotland, Wales and Midlands, Chartist Candidates, sponsored by the local Chartist Organisation, began rallying support for the Parliament Act, and support for the Charters that were abandoned by the Whigs in the aftermath of the Grand National Holiday. There was a feeling amongst the middle-class that while Brougham had liberated them from the repressive rule of the Regent, there was much to do and the tired Brougham, who continued to represent the Whigs at the National level, began to indicate that he would step down following the election.

The successors speculated to succeed him, such as the anti-Reform Whig Viscount Melbourne (who would need to sit in the Commons, which he was unwilling to do, preferring to select a 'proxy-President', summing his disinterest in the role nicely) and Abercromby, who was similarly withered by 1837, further emphasised the tired look of the Whigs as an electoral force. Voters had moved on, and the new battle lines, of Federalism, of Democracy and protecting the Constitution, the Chartists offered new voters looking for simple solutions a way to protect their interest - the vote. In Yorkshire, 'benevolent aristocratic' Whig rule seemed under threat from both sides; moderate voters who thought the Reforms too much became attracted to the Peelite Tory candidates, who continued their ascendancy in a process known as the 'Great Sigh', where aristocratic, ultra-Tory members resigned themselves to defeat after the 1833 Election, to be replaced by a new, more liberal, more urban candidacy. Gladstone & Peel prioritised economic issues, primarily the Corn Laws, to give them more "bread and cheese" issues to consider in the new election. Peel faced quite significant opposition from within the Blue camp for this and many traditional High Tories who wanted to prioritise rural landowners who would be hurt by the lack of protectionism. The Queen, it was said, liked Peel as well, and he was considered a more moderate, modern legislator.
Part 2, Chapter III
II , III: Age of Russell

The New Parliament, still sitting at Buckingham Palace, reflected this ever-shifting electorate. With fewer seats unopposed, Tories were hurt but continued the trend in the Commons of electing members from the 'Peelite' branch, cannibalising the Blue camp in the Commons, with just 10 of the 124 members surrounding Robert Peel considered Ultra and professing dissent for free-trade. Repealers of the purest sense, distinct from Davis and Crawford's Federalist candidates, had a small regression, losing 9 seats but despite being returned in good numbers, had seen several Waverers, who had warmed to the Federalist cause over the campaign. Repealers were strongest in the South and East where Catholicism was strongest and Nationalist feeling was at its height, while Unionists were decimated, restricted to a corner in the North-East of the Country. In Urban Belfast, Dublin and the Borderlands and Ulster, Federalist politicians were elected in unanimity, gaining nearly 43 seats and becoming the second-largest party in the Country. This marked a distinct turn in the Irish Political System - the turn from Unionism vs Nationalism to Secularism (Federalism) vs Ultra-Unionism (Centralism) vs Catholicism (Repeal). These Federalists in Ireland, sitting with the Chartists in the Government, precipitated the turn in the Commons away from the Whigs in most Radical areas and towards Chartist Candidates. The Whigs lost 143 seats, primarily to Chartists in urban areas who gained 99 to win 283. The further complication was the existence of 40 true Independents in the Chamber, mostly representing rural constituencies and generally from more Conservative districts. They would hold the balance of power, but most Whigs conceded in a letter to the Times that "the electorate as determined by the bill we have placed into assent requires now that a Ministry is formed to enforce the Charters, and also to enforce some kind of legislative independence for the Irish and the Provinces".

1837 Election Results
Great Britain & IrelandLeaderVotes%SeatsUnopposedElectedChange
ToryRobert Peel534,98321.112460642
WhigJohn Russell709,92028.115573111-143
ChartistsJohn Bright (unofficial)849,14133.62831424099
RepealDaniel O'Connell278,17611.0481236-9


While the ultimate decision would be made by the Queen, the Council of State, which was formed as the Regency in Commission in the time between Parliaments, established through the Acts, meant that as the results came in, the Council could appoint a President Pro Tempore of the Executive Council to begin to work on the Legislative Agenda for presentation to be appointed by the Queen upon her ascension. While she was free to choose another member, the appointment of this position held weight. In reality, the Council consulted the young Queen privately and considered the lack of a true leader of the Chartists; meaning the organisation did not have an obvious candidate for Council President, she considered Peel a good candidate but Brougham, as Lord Chancellor, recommended that he would not have the confidence of the emerging Commons. A consensus emerged as Brougham consulted Parkes, a prominent leader in the new Radical caucus in the Parliament, who considered John Russell, leader of the Reformist wing of the Whig Party, was the best candidate to lead the ministry, but that the Queen's Speech would need to include further reforms. Russell agreed to lead the Executive Council and became President Pro Tempore of the Council in April 1837. Similarly, Brougham's final impact would be the convention with Victoria around the appointment of the Upper House - with Peels reforms to the Bill reasserting the need for Lords Spiritual, and Lords Judicial (those Lords who were on the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, led by the Lord Chancellor) to sit in the Chamber, he advised the creation of a Chamber that contained the Lord Governors of the Provinces, Lord Presidents of the Privy Council of Ireland and Scotland and the Lords-General (the Master-General of the Ordnance, Paymaster General, President of the Board of Control and President of the Civil Service Commission), also nominating the Lord President of the Admiralty, Militia and the Forces. The remaining 54 members were to be selected by the Queen personally from a shortlist prepared by the Privy Council of 100 candidates. Her selections were to be moderate but failed to endorse candidacy for Radical candidates, which to her credit, were down to the lack of Radical Lords to choose from. Lord Durham was retained, who represented the Radical wing in the Upper House of around 5 members, but the 'liberal' or 'yellow' camp in the Chamber was heavily Whig influenced. Victoria, against the wishes of Brougham, nominated the soon to be former High Chancellor to the Upper House and he was forced to continue his Parliamentary career.


Queen Victoria on her ascension to the throne, 1837

On the State Opening of Parliament on May 24th, 1837, Victoria's 18th Birthday, she went to Buckingham Palace to address the Parliament with a legislative address prepared by Russell which contained further democratising reforms including a vast array of Bills prepared and influenced by the Chartists and Radicals, who underpinned the Whig administration. This Speech from the Throne, conducted in the Ball Room, the Upper House of the Parliament with Commons members standing on the outside (the Service Area was deemed too dingy for the Monarch), outlined to the Chamber the Legislative Programme for the Her Majesty's Executive Council, as headed by the President Pro Tempore of the Council, John Russell. This address was agreed by the Radicals & Chartists in the Commons in a meeting when the picture was emerging in Manchester, at a building on Cross Street that would later become the home of the Manchester Guardian newspaper and voted to form an association to protect the Parliament Act and propose further political reform, particularly Provincial Reform, before Economic Reform, and formed the Radical League, unifying all Radical associations across the country. With the Radicals having formed their unifying moment on their support for the Russell Executive, the Speech contained Metropolis Act, which would create HM Government in the Metropolis, a separate Legislature for the Capital, the Government in Ireland Act, Government in Scotland Act, Government in Northern England Act, Government in Central England Act, Government in Southern England Act, Government in Wales Act and the Municipal Corporations Act, which created City Corporations which solidified legislative independence for the cities but did not contain guarantees to Free Trade. The Monarch said, "this Executive will act to bring peace, order and good government to the whole of the Kingdom, and create lasting institutions for the betterment and improvement of the Empire". This would cause much outrage in his Whig base, as well as the Peelite Party, but would satisfy the "Popular Will" as espoused by the Radicals in Parliament - the major influence of the first Commons.

In giving the speech, the new Queen at 18 stuttered, and at first, a slip of words led to a lasting effect on the British Constitution. In beginning her speech, she stumbled on what to call the members of the Upper House and had stumbled a few times in rehearsal with Brougham and Abercromby, who guided her through the process. She once said "Assembled Members of this House" and "Assembled Lords of this Place" and "Lords Assembled" but said "My Lord Senators" and allegedly paused for a few seconds before continuing her speech. Or that's how it goes. But it stuck, the Upper House died, and the Senate of the United Kingdom was born, while the legislation doesn't refer to it specifically, Lords used the phrase to each other, and it became a mark of respect to refer to the Senators as Lord Senators, even outranking military status in the early Parliament. The Senate had no official say on the contents of the speech, but indicated it's approval with its first motion praising the Queen and her maiden speech, before electing Lord Charles Christopher Pepys as Lord High Chancellor and Speaker of the House. The Commons met the next day, and as described by the Parliament Act was required to give confidence to the Executive Council. Russell named his seven-man Council, which contained a Reformist Whig & Conservative Whig Coalition; John Russell was announced as President Pro Tempore of the Council; Thomas Spring-Rice, a Whig, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, the future Lord Palmerston, a Whig. as Minister of State for the Foreign Office and Lord Privy Seal , Constantine Henry Phipps as Commissioner of the Public Works, a Whig, John Parker as Commissioner of the Civil Service, a Radical), Austen Henry Layard, a Whig, as Minister of State for War, Henry Labouchere as Commissioner of the Board of Trade, a Whig and Joseph Parkes, a Radical, as Minister of State for the Provinces & Municipalities. After electing a new Speaker, Charles Shaw-Lefevre (another Whig), the Speaker of the House called a vote on the motion supporting the Speech from the Throne and Support of the Executive Council, with a full chamber, the Ayes in favour of the Motion received 411 votes, Noes against 164 (Most Independent & Tory) and 75 (Mostly Radical Whigs and Repealers) abstained.


Lord John Russell, President of the Executive Council, Prime Minister of Great Britain and Ireland

John Russell was, therefore, made the first President of the Executive Council, and the London Gazette, the legislative paper of the Commons, referred to him colloquially as Prime Minister, formalising the link between the two roles for the first time. Russell addressed the Commons on the first true day of the session, a few days later and in a speech, he found a warm reception in the chamber, with many in the Radicals Benches, who sat with the Government in the cramped room in Buckingham Palace receiving his entrance with a chorus of cheers. He said, "Her Majesty's Council will act in the will of the subjects of this Kingdom within the true parameters of peace, order and good government as espoused by the Act passed by the former Parliament". Peel began the likely line of attack in his response for the Motion, stating "it has been half a decade since the terrible events, including the deaths of Her Majesty the Regent and the Right Honorable Lord Grey. This ill-ease which manifested itself as the revolt was caused by the economic hardship of Her Majesty's Subjects and the failure to reform Relief in this country. On these two issues, no resolution has been taken in this house, but a manner of dangerous reforms, including those which threaten this Union as the Government in Ireland Act proposes to do. This people of this country have been subjugated to a manner of instabilities, violence against the Constitution and the natural order of the country. I, Mr Speaker, oppose the motion of support for the Executive Council and it's Right Honourable President and its legislative programme".

Despite any consideration otherwise, the municipal and provincial reform debate would become front and centre, and be combined with the Empire debate as Canada fell into Rebellion in December 1837. A republic was declared and put down quickly, but serious questions about the legislative administration in the Colony was put front and centre, and Russell and Henry John Temple agreed to allow Lord Durham to investigate the situation. He pressed his concern that the Provincial Commission would require him, but was assured that he could continue his role on his return. When he arrived, he meshed his principles for Britain with the situation in Canada and recommended the uniting of the two descending colonies into a single colony - the Province of Canada, with two equal, federal units of Upper and Lower Canada. They would have a single Parliament that was supreme, but the two legislatures would have the ability to pass laws matters but 'reserved power' for a series of Province-wide issues. During this time, Durham developed the model for which he would be later famous.

In Parliament, important conventions were established in this Legislature, considered a new being: it was called the 1st Constitutional Parliament in all matters in the London Gazette and was considered a firm break with the past. These conventions quickly developed and impossible to break, put the breaks on municipal reform even in the reformed Chamber. The Senate, which contained the Lords Judicial, asserted its right to judicial review on a number of the early bills passed. The First Chartist Bill brought to the Commons by George Grote, the Government of the Metropolis Act was to provide a Legislature for the City of London with scope to handle most of the roles of Improvement Commissions, the Met Police, Education Boards, Poor Law Unions and (unofficially) Militia Districts and appoint an Executive Council to oversee the affairs of the City was brought to the Senate. Lord Senator Denman, former Lord Chief Justice spoke in a debate about a 'literal' interpretation of the Parliament Act surrounding Judicial matters. Since the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, led by the Lord High Chancellor was the Supreme Court of the Kingdom, the Senate, which contained all of its members, could veto bills that forbade the Parliament Act in their view. Denman's case was that the creation of a Legislature, even to handle minor matters covered by the existing agencies, would be considered breaking the "Parliamentary Supremacy" clause in the Parliament Act - therefore any legislature created other than the Parliament in the United Kingdom would be unconstitutional. Russell withdrew the bill from the Commons before even seeking Senate assent. Although it would take a simple Act of Parliament to amend the Parliament Act, Conservative Whigs began to shy away from Constitutional Reform, being wooed by the economic agenda of Peel & Gladstone's new cartel. While the Radicals & Repeal factions (both lower-middle and working-class organisations) were well organised, a significant crossbench occurred in this Parliament between the Whig and Tory factions, as outside of the Radical groupings in Parliament, discussions were beginning to move towards the Corn Laws and Free Trade. This worried Russell, who was beginning to lose patience with the Radicals in Parliament.

The Senate & Judicial Committee ruling put the breaks on reform until later in the Parliament, and in this time the Russell ministry partnered reformist Whigs with the Radicals to produce a series of important pieces of legislation. They reopened the provincial reform programme once more; merging the aforementioned agencies and services, as well as vestries, into a new system of Province-County. The Provincial & County Boards Act 1838 expanded the Improvement Commissions and provided a temporary fix to the local government vacuum that had developed in the previous years in the dormancy of the Corporations. The Provinces consisted of Four English & Welsh Provincial Boards overseen by a Governor (Lord-Lieutenants in Scotland and Ireland) that would oversee Boards of Health, Licences, Poor Law Unions and a Police Service created for each Province, while Counties took the place of most of the Improvement Commissions, although Provinces controlled the budgets and appointees of these Counties, each of which was headed by a Mayor. It also created new "City and County" in areas such as Birmingham, Manchester & Stockport, Liverpool, Nottingham, Bristol, Southampton, although London was considered a Province. This consolidated administrative reforms conducted during the crisis period and allowed for better containment of the ongoing Cholera Pandemic in much of the North and allocated local control of Education in Ireland, to allow the Administration in Ireland, still led by William Plunkett, to allow the opening of new non-Church of Ireland schools, a significant concession to the Irish. The Factory Acts 1837 would end some practices of child-labour, and the Slavery Abolition Act 1838 would finally outlaw the slave trade in all Dominions across the Empire, a key victory for the Abolitionist cause marked by candle-lit vigils in the North of England.

The carrot of the Provincial Legislatures, while faded in the Midlands and South completely from a view towards the end of the decade, remained in deep focus by Chartists in the North, who wished to see a return to Lord Durham, accompanied by his promise of the Legislature for the North - a voice and administration for Northern, mostly working people - and also in Ireland, where the dreams of Repeal were being replaced with a dream of a "Nation within the Kingdom", setting its course in religion, education and culture in the form of a Legislature within a Union of Provinces & Nations. Some, dubbed the "Young Irelanders" began to depart from Davis and set their path, defined by Republicanism, but many looked towards the concept of a Federal Union, like America, with hope. O'Connell conceded to Davis, with whom he had a deeply complicated and suspicious relationship in late 1838, that rather than the great independence of Grattan's Parliament - O'Connell's assumed destiny for the Nation, independence for Ireland would mean recreating the Union and believed that a "Nation within a Kingdom is better than no nation at all". Sending representatives to Parliament and a Provincial Legislature, would "separate our differences within ourselves and allow us to pursue constructive improvements in the aims of peace, order and good government" said Davis. O'Connell agreed and saw the benefit of support from the North and Midlands, which contained many numbers of Catholics alongside the dissenters. O'Connell formed a new association, the Irish Popular Association of Ireland in December 1838 and it was different in its composition and aims. It was open to all creeds and contained a large number of Protestants in the South of Ireland alongside Catholics, who wished to extend the reformist zeal to Ireland, and among its aims, called for Federalism and the furthering of the Irish Nation and all Celtic peoples across the Isles.

This new association was opposed fiercely by Unionists, who began to turn their attention to creating an autonomous Protestant & Scots Province on the Island of Ireland, and especially in the North-East, where Protestantism was most rampant and the populous was Ultra-Tory and Reactionary towards the "Decade of Reform". Prominent Middle-Class Unionists in Belfast, fearing a "Green Terror" inspired by the French Revolution formed the "Patriotic Union", consisting of a Militia wing to protect Protestant Churches and Orange Order buildings and to oppose Union at the Commons level. This Union quickly found help in the Senate, with donations of money sent by the Duke of Wellington, a prominent Anglo-Irish supporter of Union. This resilience of the North-East, even as Protestants were finding common cause in the rest of Ireland in favour of secular, federal reform as espoused by Radicals across the water, would prove problematic to say the least.

Durham's return in 1839 would see the formation of a Constitutional Consensus amongst Radicals and Federalists around the "Provincial Question", which dominated Constitutional circles since the Senate's proclamation on the Metropolis Act breaking the Parliament Act. Durham sought to propose amendments to the Parliament Act to create the reserved powers clause, which would safeguard several areas of competence that only Parliament could legislate on. This would include Amendments to the Parliament Act which would allow for the passing of all laws in any subsidiary body, to legislate in any area that didn't override Parliamentary Statute. It would also provide an override for Parliament to veto a statute passed by a subsidiary legislature within 30 days. While these amendments did address the Provincial Question, Durham presented his Report, the Second Report on the Constitution to Parliament about the Lower and Upper Canadian Rebellion. While he would recommend the unification of the Lower and Upper Canada into a single Province, the Province of Canada but would need to instigate a Parliament in the Province to govern affairs there, consisting of a Governor-General, Council & Assembly, Durham initially wanted an Executive responsible to the Assembly, but Russell urged him to drop this recommendation. This Parliament would therefore be unconstitutional, so to end the problems in Canada, they would need to make amendments to the Acts, creating a gap for the Provincial Legislatures to be created domestically in Ireland to satisfy the unrest in the country. Durham began to find, however, that outside of the Canadian elements of the act, there was less and less will from Classical Whigs, led by Henry Temple in Parliament for Provincial Rule, having standardised the ruling of the country and conducted important administrative reform with the Provincial and Municipal Boards. Henry Temple believed the foreign policy & economic concerns, rather than political ones, were the key driving force behind the electorate and for Whigs, the matter was closed.

Durham did, however, find an ally in young William Gladstone, who believed in the "Durham Amendment" being the answer to solve the issue of representation in Ireland. While Durham was not a man of the minutiae of legislation constructing Legislatures, Gladstone began to work with him and W.S Crawford to codify these thoughts into a body of works, "Thoughts on the Provincial Question", published anonymously under the pen name 'Lord Lilburne', a coded reference to the Levellers, an important group historically for many Radicals. It proposed a unicameral legislature in each Governorate, made up of the Governor, an "Order" of elected members, and an "Order" of representative peers that would scrutinise "Ordinances" of the Legislature. Once a measure was passed, if it was not vetoed by any element of the Parliament (Queen in Council, Senate or Commons) within 30 days of receiving conditional consent from the Governor, the Measure would become an Act of the British Parliament as assented by the Queen. This model would deny the term Parliament to these new Legislative Assemblies, and would not be responsible - in Gladstone's eyes, making them more palatable to more Conservative elements within his party.

Russell, representing moderate reformism, was increasingly stuck between the two camps and boxed in by his Whig factions division over further reform. Palmerston now sided with Peel that tariff reform and Free Trade was the defining era of the generation and that the ongoing effects of the Industrial Revolution, which was sucking more workers into the cities and languishing rural prosperity, should be the focus of the next Parliament. Russell was becoming a rapidly spent force and struggled to contain the reforming will of the Radicals in Parliament, who were stronger than the Whigs, and the Tories who were growing as an economic reformist movement more coherent on Free Trade, despite containing several anti-Free Traders in the Senate. Peel was undoubtedly the Leader of the Opposition now, and began using Gladstone to peel away elements of the Radicals in the middle-class to more stringent economic reform and peeled away (Pardon the Pun) support for the Whigs and Radicals in Scotland by countering the Irish elements within it with demand for more focus on the Scots, by advocating greater independence for the Scottish Privy Council and the Lord Advocate to take a higher role in legal affairs in Scotland. Peel's strategy of pitting nationalists groups against one another was an attempt to muddy the collective will of Northern and National elements within Parliament to push for a unified Provincial Settlement but found opposition from Gladstone, now one of the key voices within the Conservative elements within Parliament for a lasting settlement for the Provincial Question.

Canadian administration was eventually solved, with the passage of the North America Act, but all references to an elected Parliament were replaced with a representative board, appointed by the Monarch, to oversee Canadian Affairs, much in the same fashion as the Provincial Boards. The act was hotly debated, and opposed by Radicals, but Russell, seeing the term of Parliament ending, decided to ally with the Blue camp to get the act passed, using their opposition to an amendment to the Parliament Act to bypass the need for further democratisation in the colonies It passed its first reading in April 1839, Second in June, Third in July and was passed by the Senate and received Royal Assent in November. This proved the final straw for many Radicals in the Government frustrated at the wrangling and the allowance of Palmerston to dictate Executive Council policy. Radicals withdraw their support for the Government, and Joseph Parkes and John Parker, the two Radicals in the Executive Council, resigned their positions on November 15th, 1839 and Parkes submitted a motion of no confidence in the Executive Council on November 18th. After 18 hours of debate, the House divided and Radicals combined with the Ultra-Tory Independents in Parliament and Repealers to withdraw confidence in the Executive Council by 418-148. Tories abstained from the motion, believing that the electorate would punish those who made Parliament non-functional yet again. Public opinion was turning against the Radicals, however, it had grown stronger in the working-class elements who lacked representation, who believed a return to power for the Tories would see the repeal of the Parliament Act. On the advice of Russell and the Privy Council, the Queen dissolved Parliament, rather than nominate a further ministry, as Russell had advised her that no Whig member could control Parliament, nor Tory and as in 1837, there was not a Radical leader who could control the whole movement. She issued the writs for election and would reconvene the new Parliament on the 18th January 1840. Russell returned to the status of President Pro Tempore of the Council and headed a caretaker Ministry until the election of the new Parliament. This election would once again divide the nation into those in favour of further political reform, and those who stood against it.
Part 2, Chapter IV
II , IV: First Age of Peel


Robert Peel, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

The divisions of the new Parliament represented the new politics of the ratepayer age; both major parties were advocating reform, but the division now became between middle-classes and upper-classes, who believed the political reforms were at an end and began to divert attention to the oncoming political arguments surrounding the Poor Law Amendment and Free Trade, and those in the working-class, who wanted to implement reforms to the fullest sense to give them the fullest extent of Democracy. The Radicals became an organised society with much more than just a political party, but the manifestation of an entire body of differing movements. It represented the coalescence of some different causes, each with its leader who made the grouping while politically homogeneous in Parliament (from 1838 the grouping had begun to vote together to increase their influence within the Government), it wasn't a political party in the modern sense as it relied on third-party associations for its support and funding. Popular Clubs did spring up between 1837 and 1840 and numbered around 100 by the election, but most parliamentary selection processes were hampered by the property qualifications. Finding Radical Candidates became more laborious than finding Radical voters, with strong support for the movement amongst the urban working-class electorate.

There were four main groupings within the movement; the Trade Union and Combination Advocates, who wished to secure a Parliamentary Majority for the repeal of the Combination Acts and establish a 'Grand National' Union including William Lovett, Thomas Duncombe and Robert Owen, both seeking election in 1840, the Provincial & National Movement containing three distinct strands, a Scottish, mainly traditional Tory movement, an Irish movement led by the Federalists Thomas Davis and William Crawford, and the Northumbrians, led by Potter and Durham who wanted further reform and responsible government in the North, the People's Charter Movement based on the Second Great Charter proposed in late 1839 and the Economic and Social Reform Movement, who were more anti-Whig than any other part of the grouping and most anti-Provincial Reform, and contained members like Richard Oastler, a traditional Tory and Joseph Hobson, emerging Radical leader. Leadership in the Commons was provided by Duncombe, but Russell in his time as President of the Council would regularly approach the groupings individually in the coalition phase of his Government, 1837-1839. As members of the Executive Council, Joseph Parkes and John Parker held a significant sway but were rarely seen as a natural leader of the whole Movement. This lack of effective leadership continued to hamstring the Radicals, who were consolidating their support but were still widely seen as a pressure group within Parliament in the vein of the Political Unions, and in the minds of most of the electorate, would support a Tory or Whig Government rather than form their administration. The unfortunate truth for the Radicals was, while in the constituencies and to their constituents they were incredibly popular, no single Radical had enough support from both the electorate and the other Radicals to assume control of the grouping.

The Free Trade Tories, meanwhile, were evolving at an incredibly fast pace rate. Under Peel, with most of their elements of High Toryism or Ultraism extinguished (at least in the Commons), had begun to promote a different pathway of reform. He detested the Parliament Act but felt it was the only reform that would quell Radical and potentially Revolutionary action by the country's working class. He and Peel both believed in increasing the power of the Senate in Judicial matters and passed amendments to the Parliament Act to return the Upper House's permanent veto to balance the more populist legislation passed by Parliament in the "Commons-heavy" Parliaments of the recent years and supported the Provincial and Municipal Boards, which aided administration and helped reduced the Cholera Pandemic, which was still ravaging through the North (killing 18,000 in the North of the Country between 1837 and 1840) but without instigating what he called "popular, unstable Governance" in the regions and nations. Peel led and was concerned with aforementioned economic matters, and began to make the case for Free Trade, something he had believed in since the mid-1820s, as the defining issue of the age. Lord Senators in the Tory camp, who most resembled the old High Tories, resented Peel and caused a split in the Blue Camp, with 'Independents', a group of High Tory rural MPs, generally elected unopposed, forming an opposition within the Opposition benches to his leadership. Members in this Independent group wished to repeal the Parliament Act, something Peel insisted several times would cause Civil War in the country and wished to protect Protectionist policies, and they formed a group known as 'Protectionist Tories' alongside Peel's 'Free Trade Tories', who supported the elimination of tariffs. Peel and Gladstone were popular in the South and Midlands of England and pulled electors away from the Radicals and Whigs in the South of the Country. Neither were convinced of Democracy and the swaying of significant numbers of these voters by local Conservative Associations, which were also subdivided into Protectionist and Free Trade camps on the urban-rural divide, became absolute masters at the process of treating, essentially bribing members. In rural areas, what little rural workers that had the franchise were subjected to intimidation and abuse, and in the general tone of violence, with working-class electors agitated at the prospects of a rural Tories forcing Peel to repeal the Parliament Act, led to the deaths of two candidates in the elections in the North. In Ireland, the Tories were revived through the support of Protestant Unionists, who wished to end all political reform that would lead to an independent Irish Legislature, despite Gladstone's anonymous support for Irish Home Rule.

1840 Election Results

Great Britain & IrelandTotalUnopposedElected
Free Trade/UnionistRobert Peel820,06233.026566199141
WhigLord Palmerston282,61511.4884147-67
Ind. Repeal108,1764.444-44
ProtectionistEdward Smith-Stanley155,5356.326224-14


The Whigs, it was felt, was a spent force in this election, and were considered more for their presumed role of holding the balance of power on the Crossbench then in a capacity of forming the next Government. Led now by Henry John Temple and Lord Aberdeen, they struggled to attract voters in their traditionally strong Reform Coalition areas of Ireland (where they were a minority party in the dominant two-party system of O'Connell's Popular Associaiton & Repealers and Unionists, who sat with Peel's Free Trade Tories normally weren't as aligned Tories in Scotland & Wales), the North (where aristocratic candidates were growing incredibly unpopular) and in Scotland (where again, the division was between Unionists and Radicals, on the whole, a division that shut out the Whigs). This was manifested in the election results, which saw the Whigs soundly defeated, while Peels candidates were returned indicating the policy of economy over politics in the election campaign. Middle-class voters moved their support from the Radicals, who were seen as extreme in their pursuit of "pure" reform and embraced Peel's competent economic policy. Peel gained over 140 followers in the Commons but was the second-largest party after the Radicals, who lost some members but were considered as strong as before, but still lacked a leadership figure. Russell advised that Palmerston become President Pro Tempore, to continue the Whig-Radical alliance. Palmerston, the Whig, was expected to continue the alliance between the Radicals and the Whigs, but instead gathered the Whig elements to discuss their options. Many gravitated towards an alliance with the Free Trade Tories/Peelites to deliver a more stable government, and Palmerston himself, the designated-candidate himself did not wish to continue the alliance with the evermore Radical sections, who wanted to push for Reforms over the will of the Senate, which retained half its Lords Senators from the last legislative session and was perceived to be moving away from consent for Political Reform, especially the hot-button topic of Irish Legislative Devolution.

Palmerston met with Russell, who had resigned as an MP after the confidence vote and did not seek re-election in the Commons, and was informed the in unanimity, the Whig faction had indicated it wishes to support Robert Peel for the President of the Council, and Victoria appointed Robert Peel as President Pro Tempore of the Executive Council after this meeting, on January 10th, 1840. This allowed him to nominate his members of the Senate, including the eight Lords Judicial and six of the Lord Governors (with Durham and Littleton remaining as Governors of the North and Central England respectively, due to their popularity and the expectancy of unrest should they be removed), and five of the six Lord Generals, with Frederick Adam retaining the post of the Lord President of the Forces due to much the same reason. This gave him a comfortable working group within the Senate to consent legislation with 14 Free Trade Whigs and 44 Free Trade Tories within the house, but the Senate did contain some Protectionist forces who could be a thorn in his side, coming from Tory groups themselves. The Lord Senators were appointed the following week and were confirmed as members of the Senate by the Queen on the State Opening of Parliament on the 18th January. As was the custom, the Queen addressed the Lord Senators on the opening of the chamber by informing them of the intent to nominate Peel as President of the Council subject to the "confidence of the appointment in the Other House". The Senate then made an interesting posture, electing the Duke of Wellington as it's Leader, a separate but pivotal role to the Lord Chancellor who had the power alongside the Lord Chancellor to summon Executive Council members to the Chamber and Committees for Questioning, and also nominating Chairmen of the Committees. Peel endorsed the move to attempt to bring Protectionist Tories in the Senate into the Government benches, but it failed to stop anger amongst the Crossbench, Protectionist Tory group in the Senate to the desire to end the Corn Laws and adopt Free Trade.

In the Commons, which met the following day, he first supported Henry Goulburn, a Protectionist Tory and Anti-Reformer, for the position of Speaker of the House, and after Radicals failed to unify behind a single candidate, Whigs supported the candidacy and the motion of confidence of him as the Speaker. With this confirmed, he moved to the second motion for the House: confidence in his Executive Council, which he announced to the Chamber from the Crossbench, as had Russell three-years prior. The motion was passed 353-273, with all the Protectionist Tories in the Commons abstaining from the vote, confirming his position and allowing him to form a Government. This sealed the fate of the Protectionists, who became to consider themselves the "Conservative Party" in the Commons, with Peel having sided with the Whigs. This would formalise the break between the two that would be unreconciled. This group, led by Lord Stanley and Benjamin Disraeli, sat with the Government, but rarely supported the legislation.

2nd Executive Council of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland
President of the Executive Council - Robert Peel, Free Trade Tory
Chancellor of the Exchequer - Lord Aberdeen, Free Trade Tory
Minister of State of the Foreign Office, Lord Privy Seal - Lord Palmerston, Whig
Minister of State of the Home Office- Sir James Graham, Free Trade Tory
Commissioner of the Civil Service - Earl of Lincoln, Free Trade Tory
Minister of State for War - William Gladstone, Free Trade Tory
Minister of State for Trade, President of the Board of Trade - Earl of Ripon, Free Trade Tory
Minister of State for Provincial & Municipal Affairs - Sir Henry Hardinge, Free Trade Tory
Commissioner of the Public Works, Commissioner of the Board of Works - Lord FitzGerald, Free Trade Tory

Speaker of the House - Henry Goulburn, Protectionist Tory
Lord Chancellor - Lord Lyndhurst, Free Trade Tory
Leader of the Senate - Duke of Wellington, Crossbench

Peel found very quickly the reason the Whigs had been so hesitant to form a Government - the country was broke. He had inherited a budget deficit of nearly £8 million, and leading into his first budget, was faced with dual Social pressures of the need to reform the Poor Law and the Corn Law, and patch up the deficit (which would in orthodoxy require a Tariff). He therefore with his Chancellor, Lord Aberdeen, proposed a new Income Tax to relieve the debt of the nation and allow the financial footing to be improved to implement Free Trade, the key tenet of the Government. In his 1840 Budget, he proposed an 1840 Income Tax Act that would levy a 3% rate on incomes above £150. While this was fiercely fought by Senate Tories, who rejected it twice before approving it finally after much amendment by the Commons and the personal amendment in the Senate from Wellington, this repaired confidence in the finances of the nation, which had suffered terribly due to the lack of Poor Law Reform in the 1830s and the political and civil unrest. But Peel had made powerful enemies within the Blue Camp, led by Edward Stanley, the Protectionist Tory who believed that Peel was destroying Toryism and it's Anti-Reform Mantra. Peel further irritated Conservative Protectionists with the qualifying mantra for the Income Tax, to relieve the public finances to be able to repeal tariffs. As Peel attempted to bring forward debates on the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1840, Stanley leveraged pressure on the Speaker, Henry Goulburn, to delay the addition of the bill to the legislative agenda for the Commons. He further used his influence in the Senate to pass motions supportive of Tariffs and against Tariff Reform, and the Income Tax. Passing with the consent of 48-43 and 51-34 respectively. Many of Peel's members in the Senate rebelled. Rather than fight the battle now, Peel persevered with Income Tax but shelved plans for the abolition of Tariffs, much to the chagrin of the Whig members who had supported him for that very reason. Peel did, however, have a greater impact on certain Socio-Economic reforms, passing the Mines and Collieries Act which restricted Child Labour, utilising a coalition of Radicals and his Free Trade Tories against the Commercial Whigs who were against the plans in the whole.

Peel navigated his way through his first Parliament expertly, but towards the end of it, began to separate from the 'Tory' factions and towards an independent grouping, which now contained both Whigs and Tories. Despite the division over the Mines Act, Whigs trusted Peel and were impressed with fellow Peelites William Gladstone and Sir James Graham. They represented the Economic Liberalism that was beginning to attract key Radicals, like Richard Cobden, to the movement. James Graham wrote to Cobden in 1842, who by this time was part of the Anti-Corn Law element of the Radicals, and said that "the next step in the reform of the Corn Laws must be towards a system of Open Trade, and it is only Robert Peel and his Council that can achieve that". Peel himself began to refrain from using the term "Tory" after the defeat of the Senate Motions on Free Trade, referring to his Party of Whigs and Tories as the "Liberal Conservatives" or "Liberal party" (small p, as it had no organisation). Free Trade was just about the only thing that most in the Commons could agree on, with many Radical members from the Opposition benches supporting Free Trade also. This paralysis from the lack of will for Peel to bring this fight to the Commons frustrated many on the opposition benches in addition to his lack of will for political reform. "If it is not the will of the Executive Council and the Rt Honourable President of the Council to enact economic reform, then why had this House suspended its activities on the desperate need for political reform in our country?" said Thomas Duncombe in 1841.

Peel's economic reform, the Income Tax, did, however, prove much more successful than expected, raising significant funds for the Treasury. Radicals began to demand that the new-found wealth of the treasury should be utilised to eliminate certain rates, such as the Stamp Duty on Newspapers, which had made the cost of printing detrimental to growth. They demanded an end to the 'tax on knowledge' and brought the Private Members Bill, Stamp (Abolition) Act 1841, to Parliament. This debate was quickly wrapped up in the debate over civil rights, as Radicals began to use the platform to demand an official end to the Six Acts and the enacting of protections for political rights and the right of assembly in law. While this was de facto assured as the Six Acts had not been implemented for some time (since 1832 in fact), the Radicals calculated that if it was appended onto the Parliament Act, it would guarantee political expression and declare the Stamp Duty unconstitutional.


Chartist Leader, Feargus O'Connor, Editor of the Northern Star

This argument was rooted in the application of the Stamp Duty to harass Radical newspapers by the Lord Chancellor, Lord Lyndhurst, for breaches of the act, surrounding the main newspaper of the Radical Movement, the Northern Star. The Star was a revolutionary publication managed by Joshua Hobson and Feargus O'Connor, leading Radicals from the People's Charter Movement. Lyndhurst, believing the paper to be libellous, issued arrest warrants to magistrates for the detainment O'Connor and Hobson no more than seven times between his appointment in 1840 and 1842, and attempted four times to arrest Hobson separately for failing to purchase Stamps. Lyndhurst pursued the matter with such vigour, the campaign for a free press, without the need to purchase stamps, was revived in the 1840s after the first attempt at removing the Stamp Duty in 1834 due to rejection by the Lords. Brougham did not see the need to force through the legislation, so it remained. On May 18th, 1841, Lyndhurst succeeded in his attempts to arrest O'Connor and he was imprisoned for eighteen months, to the absolute fury of Radicals in Parliament. William Hill, sub-editor and Hobson continued to run the paper in the absence of O'Connor, and in this time they developed many of the modern techniques of news, removing advertisements from the first pages, offering giveaways and printing letters from readers, while also covering Radical meetings and campaigns, spreading the word of Populism. In response to his arrest, the Radicals proposed a motion of no confidence in Lyndhurst (unbinding due to his mandate coming from the Senate), which was nevertheless defeated by Whig & Peelite members in the House, but Peel relented in December 1841, accepting the abolition of the duties on Newspapers and generating the finally free press. This skyrocketed the circulation of the Star, which was by January 1842 printing 65,000 copies in each of the Governorates, except for Ireland, where The Nation, the Newspaper of the Irish Popular Association, was prevalent but did syndicate reports of Radical Meetings in the mainland.

The explosion of the free press saw the Radicals embark on their second great campaign: a petition open to both electors and the disenfranchised to fulfil the final acts of reform. The Third People's Charter rumbled into Parliament (well not quite, the petition itself was too big to fit through the doors of the Chamber in Buckingham Palace) through the final year of the Parliament and was dismissed by Peel and the Whigs as yet more agitation from the Radicals, with the rift between them growing larger throughout the year. This was set to the backdrop of an economic depression which plunged the country into economic crisis and wage cuts throughout the year, and as Commercial Whigs, representing the Industrialised Class began to depart heavily from their previous coalescence with the Radical doctrine. The Charter proposed Universal Suffrage, Professional Members, No Property Threshold and Secret Ballot, alongside supplementary petitions submitted by Provincial Radical Associations calling for the end of the Provincial Boards (which were felt to be unresponsive and unrepresentative and over-centralising) and contained the first mention of the term 'Home Government for Ireland' in the Irish People's Charter, which was the product of the work of O'Connell, Davis and Crawford uniting their campaigns after the failure of many Independent Repeal candidates in the 1840 Election. The main charter was signed by over 3.3 million, 1.4 million of which were registered voters and outwardly showed the strength of the Radical feeling in the country leading into the 1843 Election, and also were joined by the supplemental petitions, signed by 900,000 voters, primarily from South Wales, Yorkshire, the Collieries and Ireland calling from Provincial Home Government.

Radicals exploded in their anger towards the authorities and the Government of Peel due to the dire economic conditions, the stagnation of Industrial wages and the failure to create a new national Poor Law, nor allow Provincial Boards to amend the poor law caused schemes to help the destitute being criminally underfunded and fuelling a rise in homelessness in Cities across 1842. In December 1842, a special Governor's Commission was called in Manchester to establish a force to remove frozen bodies from the streets. Radical Associations responded to cuts in wages across the Industrial cities and the failure to impose reforms to finish the political reconstruction of the country after the Crisis by calling in greater numbers for a second General Strike and Passive Resistance until reform was achieved. For the first time, however, Tory elements in Scotland & Ireland joined the calls for the granting of Provincial & National Rule, with Isaac Butt, member of the Dublin Metropolitan Conservative Society, calling for an Irish Legislature to prevent the "ruin of Revolution". Peel was not convinced, believing in Parliamentary Supremacy and Unionism, and the indivisibility of the Union for stability. "Different factions, provinces and states will fall foul to the devil of populism", Peel was said to have said to his Executive Council in May 1842 at the presentation of the Charter and Whigs and Peelites rejected the call to hear the petition by a margin of 335 to 265, with every member of the Whig and Peelite grouping rejecting the motion.


Thomas Cooper, Prominent Radical Leader in the Potteries

The industrial trouble rumbled on as further cuts to wages were made due to the slump in trade throughout May & June, and at the rejection of the Charter, Staffordshire Radicals and the unofficial Trade Union movement, gathering thousands of workers in the Potteries to walk out on August 15th 1842, and this industrial action then spread to other areas in the Region. Two days prior, prominent Radical Thomas Cooper arrived in the Potteries and decreed on the 15th to the crowd of workers that "all labour shall cease until the passing of the People's Charter". With the election a year away, it was hoped that the General Strike would cause the Government to fall and the Radicals to be returned in the new Parliament to form the "People's Executive", that would enact the reforms. John Ward described the seen next in his contemporary account, published during the election campaign;

On Monday the 15th, after some inflammatory sermons by Cooper (a talented Radical orator from Leicester), on the day before at Longton and Hanley, the fraternity of Radicals and the surly advocates for a fair day's wages (which was all the Colliers in general sought for, and no more than they had a right to expect), assembled in formidable array at the Crown Bank in Hanley, where the Radical Meetings had been usually held, proceeded thence to stop the engines at Earl Granville's works, broke open the Police Office at Hanley, also a print-works, also a principle pawnbroker's shop there, and the house of the tax collector; proceeded to Stoke, demolished the windows of that Post Office, and afterwards those of Fenton and Longton.

The rectory-house at the latter place was the especial object of their fury; it was gutted and set fire to, though the fire was extinguished before it destroyed the premises. The house of Mr Mason at Heron Cross, that of Mr Allen of Great Fenton, and that of Mr Rose, the police magistrate at Penkhull, were in like manner visited and treated by parties of marauders, who, returning to Hanley in the evening, were again lectured, and commended by Cooper for what they had done, though he reproved them for their drunkenness, as being likely to expose them to detection. Terror and consternation spread around, and many families left home for security. The scenes of the night were expected to surpass the atrocities of the day, and so they did.

Religion and justice must be exhibited as public victims on the altar of Radical divinity. Accordingly, the parsonage of the Rev. R. E. Aitkens in Hanley, and Albion House in Shelton, the residences of William Parker, Esq., one of the county magistrates, were, with all their valuable furniture, burnt and destroyed. The offices of Earl Granville in Shelton shared the same fate. The morning of the 16th discovered their smoking ruins.


Strike meeting at Kensington Common, 1842

At the breaking of the news, the Northern Star, now at its zenith and it's peak circulation of 72,000 (although it was claimed 300,000 people would read the paper daily without purchasing), printed a declaration of "Grand National Action" called for by the Radicals of the Potteries. A further wave of strikes was initiated in North-East Cheshire and West Yorkshire and South Wales, where wage cuts had been imposed in similarly harsh settlements. The Strikes descended into violence, as Frederick Adam ordered the use of the Army, the first time since 1832, to quell unrest. In Ireland, O'Connell, Crawford and Davis jumped on popular sentiment by calling for 'Passive Resistance' until the Charter was implemented and in response, the Earl de Grey, the Peelite Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, imposed Martial Law and the Irish Coercive Acts through Parliament, suspending the Provincial Board. Further impositions of Martial Law occurred in the affected Governorates of Northern England, Central England, Scotland and Wales: the same areas that were under Political Union and Militia control in the Crisis. Peel even threatened to suspend the Parliament Act, and extend the term of Parliament by three-years. Violence was endemic, and over 2,000 arrests were made in the first ten days of the strike, but the resolve, having won concessions politically in 1831 & 32, remained in the Strikers.

The action lasted over three weeks before an end to the strike was called on 6th September, when Peel agreed to pardon the majority of the Strikers and transport the leaders, including Thomas Cooper rather than execute them. However, after the work of Radicals within Parliament led by Thomas Duncombe, this sentence (and the sentences of most of the strikers) were quashed. Duncombe increasingly began to speak for the entire Radical movement in the Commons, and through his defence of the strikers in Parliament, even as Government benches declared the strikers as seditious traitors. Much to the chagrin of Feargus O'Connor (still imprisoned), Duncombe emerged from the fog of Populism as its leader in this time, much as Grey had assumed from the fog of Whiggery in the 1830s. He had only entered Parliament in 1826, but had grown enemies in the opposition benches and was treated as a hero in the Radical Press. He wrote his "Finsbury Manifesto", a direct response to the Tamworth Manifesto that Peel issued in response to the Parliament Act. He called for a "natural completion of the reform process", including the vote for all over the age of 21, democratisation at all levels of government including the nations of Ireland and Scotland, secret ballot, elimination of all thresholds for candidacy, an annual public salary for MPs, Poor Law Reform to alleviate property, stronger Factory regulation, full freedom of speech and removal of all censorship and the granting of guaranteed freedoms in legislation, the right for workers to combine to secure better wages and provincial education boards to allow for mass education. His letter was reprinted in the Northern Star and as Peel had sealed his role as the Leader of the Opposition on the strength of his manifesto, Duncombe sealed his role with his. This symmetry of Duncombe becoming the leader-presumptive of the Radicals, as Peel had his faction within Parliament was not lost on the President of the Council, who commented privately "the Dandy has learned the ways of the Parliamentarian" to Gladstone in a meeting of the Executive Council in 1842.


Thomas Slingsby Duncombe, First Leader of the Radicals

Duncombe's popularity soared after the Manifesto, but the issuing of it had been the culmination of individual campaigns of Radicals for several years; the Chartists and their work on the full democratisation led by William Lovett and Feargus O'Connor, the Trade Union movement pioneered by Robert Owen, who also contributed heavily with former Tories on the campaigns for stronger Social Legislation, and the infusion of federalist doctrine from the First Chartist Movement and further solidified with the joining of the Irish Federalists to the movement. It stretched Jews, Non-Conformists, Catholics, Trade-Unionists and Urban Workers, many of whom were Protestant, together with middle-class social reformers. Duncombe's leadership was thin and weak - he had little full control over the Radicals grouping in Parliament, and even less over the Provincial Radicals, many of whom doubled down on the need for Provincial Governments to address Social Issues, such as Richard Oastler, who believed that the work of the Northumbrian Aid Appeal, which was established by Lord Durham during the (still-continuing) Cholera Epidemic in the North of the country which was credited with the most effective Cholera relief programme in Europe at the time, pointed to a better method of maintaining administration in the Kingdom. The differing factions were held together in patronage by Duncombe, and as no other leader or programme for Government emerged from the camp that was serious enough to challenge Duncombe, he became heir-presumptive of the Leader of the Opposition chair (it had previously been rotated amongst different Radicals during the last Parliament) throughout the beginning of October 1842. When Peel attempted to motions condemning the strikers, who had been on walk-out for a month, on October 17th 1842, Duncombe led the charge passionately against the motion, and the Speaker was forced to eject ten members from the Radicals, who stood up to applaud him after the oratory.

When the strike finally ended on 8th November, the strikers had achieved very little but were not pursued by the authorities and magistrates on Peel's suggestion, and Lord Chancellor Lyndhurst was forced to admit to the Senate on 3rd December that "it is the will of the Executive Council, my fellow Lord Senators, that the claims not be pursued against the seditious individuals, as to not disturb the harmony of the Kingdom". But this minor victory brought about confidence in combination, and this would be longer-lasting: more permanent Trade Unions were formed and survived the era without their leaders' transportation or execution, a surviving generation these would include Joseph Hobson, who would take a leading role in the strike and . In Buckingham Palace, the scathing rebuttal of Government policy in the Senate was incredibly damaging to the Peel Administration, and as he attempted to fulfil his last reform in Parliament, he found that his authority had been damaged permanently. He attempted to repeal the Corn Laws, which he felt severely harmed free trade, pushing up the price of food which he thought would improve urban workers plight and reduce the seditious activities. His budget contained clauses to repeal aspects of the laws to open up trade were fiercely opposed by Protectionists, led by Lord Stanley, who conspired with disaffected Whigs and Radicals to vote down the Budget, suddenly the lack of the . Despite the desire from many within the Radicals to pursue Free Trade, the course of the fierce debate within the Government benches turned it into a motion of confidence in the administration. After this, Peel met with the Lord Chancellor and was advised that the Senate had prepared a motion of no confidence in his Government, meaning the Queen would receive the advice of both Chambers to dissolve his Executive Council. Waking up and smelling the coffee, he advised the Queen dissolve Parliament on December 31st 1842.

The election took place within an atmosphere of heightened excitement amongst many, and hustings taking place across many cities. January was said to be an "excitable month" with what the Northern Star described as the "fizz of debate in every corner of the kingdom". Taking place over January and February, the results delivered from March 1st saw Radical candidates elected in droves, powered by a mass turnout of working voters in striking areas wiping away Whig and most Peelite representation in the North, with a weaker Unionist presence in the North-East of Ireland, confined to Belfast and the surrounding region, with the rest of the country dominated by Radicals & Nationalists. Peel's support was strong, however, and with Protectionists gaining from mainly unopposed rural seats, it seemed the Duncombe would be just short of a majority, and that Peel could retain his position with the support of the Conservatives, who were still cold to his Government for the Free Trade affair.

Disraeli made an outstanding calculation, meeting with Joseph Parkes after the election, and told him in no uncertain terms that "he would personally support the candidacy of Mr Duncombe for Prime Minister and stand in the house and say as such", but "my opinion and those of my , and that they would be given nomination rights for the Governorate of Southern England. Parkes and Duncombe requested a meeting, as the Northern Star reported, of "all those who support a Radical Executive Council and requested a room in the Palace to begin the discussions about the meeting of that resolution of support". They were given the Guard Room, and Duncombe told Parkes that he had "only expected a few in number" but was overwhelmed when the room was full and spilt out into the corridors. They cleared a path for him to speak, and he said "today we finally achieve the full freedom that is our birthright, and we fulfil the dreams of all who have waited for us to arrive, in this majestic palace. Let us use this Parliament to achieve those Freedoms, together as a Radical Party of Parliamentarians". Upon hearing of the meeting and it's the attendance of over 300 members of the lower house, Peel tendered his resignation. Reluctantly, the Queen invited Thomas Duncombe to form an Executive Council and appointed him President Pro Tempore - Britain would have a Radical Government.
Part 2, Chapter V
II , V: Age of Duncombe


T. S Duncombe, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, first Radical Prime Minister

Duncombe would be the Prime Minister, that much was true. But the remaining forces in Parliament organised themselves again around Peel, still unified by Free Trade and their aversion to reform. While Conservative, coming under the influence of Disraeli, pursued a Peelite strategy of active passivity on further universal civil and political rights in exchange for protectionism, Peelites were resolute on a policy of Free Trade and did have the Parliamentary maths to bring it together, with a significant element of the new Radical Government of Duncombe favouring Tariff Reform, such as John Bright and Richard Cobden, who were also lukewarm on Reform in near unanimity. Gladstone remarked to Lord Aberdeen in a private letter "it shall be a short Government once they remember why they mistrusted one another". Peel, however, was unwilling to lead another Government and sought to step back for the Parliament. Not wanting to see the coalition of Free Traders dissipate, the main organisers of the Peel Government, like Aberdeen, Gladstone, Sidney Herbert and John Young, mulled the creation of an organised political party to lobby Parliamentary candidates for Free Trade and captured the attention of a mass of "Democrats" who drifted from fierce political reform and moved to economic reform. Peel agreed to continue as Leader of the Opposition and they began to be referred to almost exclusively from 1844 onwards as "the Liberal Party": espousing Free Trade, Measured Effective Reform and Economic Modernisation, a "scientific" approach to Government. While these were far from organised political machinery, between 1842 and 1844, three major political parties would be born out of the mobilisation towards universal suffrage and free trade.

While it is tempting to read backwards at this time and to project contemporary political parties onto these organisations, but in essence they represented the amalgam of the advances in political campaigning over the last 15 years, beginning with the mass associations created by O'Connell's Catholic Association and moving through the organisations of Chartists from 1839 and into the second General Strike in 1842, which itself was only possible because of the organisations formed during the Crisis, like the Political Unions and Governor's Administration that gave people a sense of what Government was for, with the Parliamentary forces unified by the growing influence of Jeremy Bentham on Governmental affairs. What this was not, was an organised machine for securing candidates, nor campaigning for them. At this stage, it had merely changed the lexicon of Parliamentary Politics and how members thought of themselves. Newspapers covering the deliberations during the formation of the Executive Council showed the effect of this, in the London Times newspaper's listing of the new members of the Commons and speculated Lords to be nominated to the Senate, they listed them in three columns; "Conservative, Friends of Disraeli", "Radical, Friends of Duncombe" and "Liberal, Friends of Peel" and in the Manchester Guardian, they were listed in the "Red, Blue and Yellow" Camps.

1843 Election Results
Great BritainTotalUnopposedElected
LiberalRobert Peel934,06644.9284136148
RadicalThomas Duncombe991,47047.632089182
ConservativesLord Stanley/Benjamin Disraeli156,8307.5483711

Provinces now needed their Governors, as the term of the current appointment expired with Parliament. The Executive Council, consisting of Lord Buller & Duncombe as the majority of the Council who were Radicals produced a list that ascended Radical social and economic reformers, who it was felt would have the zeal to administrate and moderate the chambers that were being created, and considered several appointments that were incredibly Radical for the time. The Queen, believing these positions inferior to the Commons and not nearly as important, granted all but two appointments - that of Daniel O'Connell for Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and William Coffin for Lord Governor of Wales, preferring the Lord Heytesbury and Lord Fitzroy Somerset, suggested by Goulburn, the Speaker of the House. O'Connell was, however, appointed Lord Mayor of the City and County of Dublin and Coffin Lord Mayor of the City and County of Cardiff, a position which he held until his death and heralding the end of O'Connell as the centre of Irish politics.

Upon his appointment, he would remark about a debate he had on Repeal in the Dublin Debating Society in April 1840. He came up against a prominent scholar, Isaac Butt, a man of the ascendency, who argued against repeal in a fiery debate at the beginning of the Second Wind of Political Reform. He remarked after the debate, that "I hope one day, he is the leader of Ireland. When he realises that he can be, he will come around to our cause". The day after the proclamation of the Acts, Butt wrote to O'Connell and said "I believe that this might be a turning point in our harmony and prosperity, but I must concede that I worry for the peace in this land." Butt believed that the remnants of the Repeal Coalition would break up on sectarian lines now legislative freedom, however, limited had been achieved. He also foresaw the development of the next fault-lines throughout the Irish Order, saying "first it will be the schools, then it will be the language, then the Nation". The appointments also recognised the role of Lord Brougham, persona non-grata in Parliamentary circles since his controversial period in charge of the Privy Council, with a commission as Lord Governor of Northern England, his last role. Brougham arrived in York and was greeted by thousands of Radical, Abolitionist and Non-Conformist supporters, which he would later describe as "his finest hour".

Provincial Governors, 1844 Appointments
Minister of State for Provincial & Municipal Affairs - Joseph Parkes, Radical (part of Executive Council)
Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland - Lord Heytesbury, Conservative
Lord-Lieutenant of Scotland - Lord Hume, Radical
Lord Governor of Northern England - Lord Brougham, Independent
Lord Governor of Central England - Lord Attwood, Liberal
Lord Governor of Southern England - Lord Baring, Liberal
Lord Governor of Wales - Lord Fitzroy Somerset, Conservative
Lord Mayor of the Metropolis - Lord Russell, Liberal


Lord Heytesbury, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland

Governors had the provision to appoint Administrators right away, and it was seen as essential that Lord Heytesbury appointed the new Chief Secretary and he was urged by the Queen to appoint an effective Administration in Ireland as quickly as possible. "It is of the utmost importance that this matter is conducted with speed. Parliament has demanded these reforms be conducted, and it is of the utmost importance that at this time of all time, there is no lack of hast". Duncombe suggested Lord Wodehouse, but Nationalists and the Catholic grouping in Parliament, massing 47 members by 1844, demanded immediately that a native be appointed. Heytesbury, himself a Lord Senator, agreed with this statement on deliberations in the Senate on the appointments, which ravaged on throughout 1844, and as it was the cornerstone of the agenda, Lord Senators used the appointments to table debates to discuss direction and convention in the new Orders and passed a number of motions, which while non-binding, were largely supported by Lord Governors in the Chamber, seeking to establish the codes for the completely new element of the constitution. The procedure for the creation of the codes was the creation by Lord Buller of the Senate Provincial Government Committee, Co-Chaired by each of the Lord Governors. They deliberated the "Codes & Points of Order", a document produced in October 1844 that clarified inner workings of the new Provincial Governments. This gave the Lord Governor's room to appoint someone from outside the Order as Head Administrator, and therefore use Commons members, or indeed non-Parliamentarians for the role, and therefore avoid "responsible government", which was feared by the more Conservative Governors, Lord Heytesbury and Lord Fitzroy Somerset. Lord Hume, the Radical Lord Governor of Scotland, professed that he would "form a Government comprised entirely of the members of the Order, and ensure that it retains its confidence as the Executive Council has to the Other House", while Brougham himself "would encourage his administration to seek membership of the Order and maintain the confidence of its members to Govern". Even Lord Russell, the Governor with the least enthusiasm for the role, admitted: "it would ensure the smooth running of the Order and its areas of competence that it's Administration remain in the total confidence of the Chamber".

Heytesbury desired that a "neutral" third-party would be the best to govern effectively, and resisted pressure from the Executive Council and other Radical Lord Governors to admit that responsible government was the right path for Ireland. He wanted to appoint, as many had before him, a mid-level politician from England or the Anglo-Irish establishment to maintain a "calming influence" on the Catholic population and to alleviate Northern Protestant fears of Rome Rule. Disraeli summed up the issues a new Administration would have to contend with, saying Ireland had "a starving population, an absentee aristocracy, an alien established Protestant church, and in addition the weakest executive in the world". Heytesbury didn't believe in the Order system and was tremendously under enthusiastic about the prospect of constructing an executive either with or without the help of the Order strong enough to contend with the massive problems the first administration would need to fix. That's why he appointed Charles Edward Trevelyan. An administrator who had excelled at administrative reform in the East India Company, and he had a few minor issues to overcome when being the personal representative of the HM Government in Ireland - he showed a deep, unrelenting and progressively worsening Hibernophobia that nearly destroyed the Irish Order system within it's first few months. Charles Edward Trevelyan would not be a neutral party, as Leinster desired, but a deeply divisive figure. The Orders and Administrations would have less time than believed to prepare, as two acts would tear the Radical minority government apart.

First was, inevitably, the budget, which would bring up the debate over Tariffs once more. Richard Cobden, the Trade Minister, gave an impassioned speech in favour of the transformative nature of Free Trade, and brought many of the "Manchester School" of Radicals, who were most aligned with the Liberals economically, voted in favour of a motion put forward by Robert Peel that "legislation should be brought to the House that enables the end of all Tariffs and repeal the Corn Laws". With Duncombe and the Chancellor, Richard Cobden split on the issue: Duncombe wishing to respect the pact made with the Conservatives and Cobden understanding that the Parliament was in favour of Free Trade. Eventually, Cobden relented, agreeing a "Compromise Tariff" which lowered tariffs on nearly all goods and retained the Tariff on Corn to protect the Rural Conservatives who were the balance of power. Cobden and Duncombe both suffered a significant loss of credibility to the Radical Government, as Cobden presented his 1844 Autumn Budget, stated he was doing so "under duress". After the presentation, Duncombe fired him as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Cobden joined the back-benches in the growing revolt against the Duncombe. His Government would manage to survive the year, and would noticeably, having retained the tariffs on grain, would be able to unite to pass a limited Combination (Repeal) Act, that would allow for a Combinations of workers to group together under incredibly limited circumstances, but went further, allowing unlimited freedom of association and assembly. Despite this opening the door for "Professional Unions" of Artisans, it failed to protect millions of factory workers, and support for Duncombe waned amongst the working-classes throughout 1844. It was at this time that the final nail in the coffin would be making its way to these shores on Clipper Ships from North-East America.

Daniel O'Connell, now in his waning political years, made a speech in December 1844 that would go down in history. In the face of the victory of legislative independence, however, limited, that the next battle would be a continuation of a war that had been going on for many years: Land. "It is in my view that the land questions now remain the unsettled issue of the day and its manifestation will be either indicative of the destruction of our new Order or the success of it". He would be indeed right in that. It would begin around this time with reports in the Irish papers about the failure of the potato crop in the North East Seaboard of America for the last two years would emerge.

The Land debate would go on, but in January 1845, the conversation turned to an interview by the Lord Lieutenant to the Dublin Chronicle, a Conservative paper, in the style of an address to the Irish People which aroused the suspicions of the duplicity of the newfound era of Radical Ascendency in Ireland. He said he would "govern with consent" of the Order, but stopped well short of responsibility and stated that Charles Edward Trevelyan would remain Chief Secretary after the election of the Order. Trevelyan confirmed also that he would not seek election to the Order, but would provide it with "the necessary information to audit and scrutinise the workings inside Dublin Castle and suggestion and convey its opinions onto it" but "he served at Her Majesty's pleasure, not the People of Ireland". This was about as charming as Trevelyan got, and he refused to meet with O'Connell, despite his appointment of Lord Mayor of Dublin, and he vehemently stuck to a policy of "No Popery" within the Dublin Castle Administration, appointing prominent Irish Conservatives, mainly land-owners in key positions within the Administration, as well as junior-level cast-offs from the mainland.

O'Connell urged continued enthusiasm for the new administration, despite quickly realising they had not been given what they were promised. Thomas Davis, who was a fierce critic of the amendments made to the Irish Act after the Committee stage which weakened the independence and removed responsibility for the Administration to the Order, satirised the Heytesbury administration saying "they've replaced the Pale with à Pale", citing the Lord Lieutenant's name, William à Court, but it was this quip that would be his last major contribution to the political sphere, dying of scarlet fever in September 1845. Prominent Anglo-Irish Peers, Barristers and Parliamentarians were not immune from joining the criticism. While many agreed with the creed of "No Popery in the Administration", they resented the fact that unlike other Provinces, there was a distinct lack of local aristocracy represented in the Administration - with Trevelyan preferring Commission of Junior Civil Servants from England, who he deemed worked harder and better than the Irish candidates. In nearly every direction you consider it, it's unbelievable that he was ever able to become the most important civilian politician in Ireland.

In August 1845, the first potato crop failures were registered in the West Coast of Ireland, and the blight spread to much of Ireland throughout the rest of the year. A mixture of the diminishing portions of land allotted to Catholics and punishing rents made the Potato the dream crop for the Irish. It was able to be grown in relatively small plots and was incredibly nutritious, and had been adopted as the primary source of food for nearly 3,000,000 people in Ireland. While famine was something that was considered cyclical, with blights occurring throughout the 1830s in the North of the country and famine being a nearly generational event, the combination of a further number of years of diminishing returns of the land, and the overreliance on the potato made the blight a humanitarian disaster waiting to happen. In mid-October, Peel finally raised the issue in the Commons, describing the situation as "very concerning", but Duncombe relayed the statement prepared by Trevelyan, which understated the issue and blamed the growing clamour for a solution for the winter shortages of food as a result of exaggerating by a work-shy, relief hungry Irish rural workers who wanted a days pay or bread for no labour. Duncombe lost a significant amount of respect from the Nationalists, and it was with the loss of these 70 or so MPs that returned Democrats in Ireland that would deliver the final blows. In November 1845, the Duke of Leinster, Daniel O'Connell and Lord Cloncurry cosponsored a motion in both the Senate and the House asked for relief for the starving farmers in the West of the country, and understanding that relief was now purely a Provincial matter, implored the Administration to intervene in the crisis.

William à Court delivered a defence of his Administration, stating that the problem was overstated and maintained that exports were continuing to be held at previous levels. Peel argued in the debate over the motion that Free Trade, throughout the Union, was the only way to relieve the crisis, as grain could be imported into the country at a cheaper rate. He demanded that the inaction of the Duncombe Government be addressed full on - bringing forward a Corn Laws (Repeal) Bill to Parliament to eliminate the Corn Laws once and for all. Duncombe knew he had lost control, and believing he could rally Parliament to his support by threatening the dissolution of the Executive Council if the act was passed, he issued the ultimatum to the Commons on December 18th, 1845, just before the Commons would break up for Christmas. With a minority administration already, however, and wavering support, it was felt that there was still support for a working-class government in Parliament, but just not led by Duncombe. In just under two years, he'd served his purpose. Democrats now routinely voted with Peel, Nationalists wouldn't come to his aid after the dismissal of the concerns of the Leinster-O'Connell-Concurry motion, and natural suspicion of Duncombe from both the Northern and London Radicals, led by O'Connor and Lovett respectively, meant that at the first sign of personal crisis, the coalition fell apart. Peel united the House to pass the Repeal of the Corn Laws after the House voted 198-419 to pass the Repeal, and Duncombe tendered his resignation as President of the Council, to be replaced by Peel, although he was never confirmed as President so remained President Pro Tempore, assuming the role just weeks before an election.
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Excellent and fascinating timeline, I'm excited to see more. A radically different Victorian Era is a really underexplored topic on this site, and I'm interested in seeing how all of this radical change in Britain begins to effect events in the rest of the world.
Part 2, Chapter VI
II, VI: The Age of Famine


Isaac Butt, Chief Secretary of Ireland

The Order elections took a significantly longer time to certify, as the nomination process for the Second Order was complex and in Ireland's case, were now moot by the dismissal of Lord Heytesbury. Leinster wished to find a suitable local leader who could command the support of both Protestants and Catholics in the country and found Isaac Butt, who had grown in his support of the Order's election campaign since the famine began. He stood for the Second Order, and received a seat as an Independent Conservative candidate, with no organised Conservative presence on the Island outside of the Unionists, who boycotted the Order. The Duke of Leinster perceived the best administration of the Order to be a more centralised hybrid version of the Brougham System of Responsible Government, pledging greater cooperation with the Order by agreeing in a newspaper interview after his appointment that while he was the Executive, he would place "confidence in his ministry and the Order", a striking departure from his predecessor. While O'Connell's Catholic Party would win the most seats, Butt, a nominally independent, selected Nationalists, opposed to the violence of the Land War, with skirmishes between Catholic peasants and the RIC ravaging throughout 1846 as the blight deepened. The Democrats were more secular and less religiously inclined to man an Administration, forming out of the middle-classes in Dublin and the midlands where religious mixing was more common and the liberal elements of the Liberal Catholicism philosophy of O'Connell were prevalent and the coastal trade with Northern English ports employed many of the working-classes, meaning many more understood the role in the Empire that Ireland played. But the boycott in Ulster, especially in Belfast and Down, where violence was being used to suppress votes from Catholic communities, meant that no contests took place to fill 12 of the Second Order seats. Butt recommended to Leinster that either the Order be called regardless of the Order could co-opt members for the unrepresented districts.

Elections were conducted by the "Shadow Corporations" of Boards appointed to manage the administration between unorganised pre-reform municipalities and the new arrangements, procuring offices, finding meeting places and preparing the takeover of the administrative purposes of the Counties and Provinces before the Orders and Councils, which would be elected, could take place and allow for a ministry to begin work before scrutiny. The City and County of Belfast, County of Antrim and County of Down were entirely controlled by Unionists and began actively suppressing the vote from December, claiming they didn't have "the provision to conduct elections using the secret ballot" and using the aforementioned tactics of jailing candidates during an election to allow the 38 unopposed members, from these three counties, to return Unionist members. Leinster took the convention of Parliament, that filled but unattended seats are filled none the less, and convened the Order but with Council elections returning the Unionist administration, with all candidates returned unopposed, the root causes of the problem continued and worsened. With their control of Improvement Commissions with Independent rights to investigate and raise rates for improving infrastructure, they also brought together richer, upper-middle-class Protestants, supported by Protestant workers, controlled large influence. An informal militia of workers in Belfast committed 18 murders in 1846, all Catholic, all in majority Catholic areas. The Influence of the Councils on local RIC units allowed sympathy for these crimes and many went unpunished. Meetings of Catholic Associations and meetings of Catholic Party candidates were harassed and broken up, and Peel was sent a report by W. S. Crawford that the situation in Ulster had "descended into anarchy".

1st Order of Ireland Election Results, 1846
Conservatives32,1081.51414Lord Lieutenant
Nationalists613,02228.55757Duke of Leinster
Catholic1,011,21447.09292Incoming Chief Secretary
Liberals344,68016.02323Isaac Butt
Total2,153,543100.023530205*All Belfast/Down/Antrim Members, 193 seats filled

With unemployment and starvation high, local Poor Law Unions in Belfast, Down and Antrim pursued the strategy of "famine roads", forcing Catholics to work on roads to nowhere to receive relief. This "outdoor" relief was way out of date with the more liberal Provinces, like in the North of England where it had been replaced with a more complex system of relief through Public Works (ones with actual infrastructure usage) and Outdoor Relief to manage the more complex, cyclical unemployment, and Central England, which operated with a similar mix after an attempt at a single "poorhouse" version of the poor law similarly failed, as cyclical unemployment created periods of cyclical starvation in the cities and increased unrest. The South of England, Wales and London operated solely with the workhouse law, which was considered significantly more brutal on the poor. Other Ulster counties were significantly more liberal and cooperated with the Order (many, with mixes of Catholics and Protestants and more of a collaborative atmosphere, like in the midland counties, they voted Repeal or Liberal usually), as did 2 of the Unionist MP's from the South of the Country who attended. Butt was appointed Chief Secretary by Queen Victoria but there was no provision for a cabinet or Executive Council, so he advised the Duke of Leinster that he should put the Undersecretary role into Commission and appoint a small inner cabinet of members from the Order approved by the Governor, to support HM Government in Ireland. Therefore Undersecretaries were created for Woods & Forest & Public Works to overtake Improvement Commission powers not allocated to County Councils, Public Health to assume Board of Health Roles, as well as a separate role of Treasurer of the Irish Exchequer (fulfilled by Butt himself), an Attorney General assuming the role of the formerly cabinet role, Paymaster General who managed the Audit and Payment of Government officials, and the Leader of the Order, who brought Ordinances proposed by the Lieutenant to the Order and vice-versa. The Lieutenant had the power to issue Executive Ordinances that didn't require Order approval, however, but when the Order met for the first time, the Duke of Leinster addressed the Order and assured the members that his Administration would "appreciate and respect this Order of Honourable Members". O'Connell was elected symbolically as the Honorary Leader of the Order, and he addressed the assembled Order on its opening session. His health was failing, and he delivered his last speech on that day to the chamber, in the converted library in Dublin Castle, a symbolic symbol of oppression, which was finally open to elected delegates and receiving the voice of the Irish people within its walls. He first spoke in Irish, saying it was an honour and a grace of God to be here. But nobody could hear him. The acoustics in the room were poor and a commotion occurred when they believed he had not started speaking. Butt intervened, and called for quiet, and stood at the ear of the O'Connell, called for the clerk to join him and had him speak to him, pause and Butt deliver the address, while the clerk transcribed. From the public gallery, the reporter editor of the conservative Standard paper wrote that "it seems a sign from God at this time when our people starve, he spoke through Our Chief Secretary, the Honourable Mr Isaac Butt".

But the contents of the speech were not in joy or celebration. He said, "She is in your hands—finally in this Order's power. If you do not save her, she cannot save herself. One-fourth of her population will perish unless this Order comes to their relief". Butt led the chorus of applause for the Liberator, who would never visit the Order of Ireland again and would go on pilgrimage to Rome a month later, from which he would never return. His ability to sit in the Irish Order, and make its maiden speech, asserted his reputation amongst many of the new establishment of Ireland was asserted as an ideological leader. This would also mark the end of the Catholic Party for now as a unified force, as there was no clear leader, much as the Radicals in the mainland. Charles Gavin Duffy, editor of the Nation, would say that there was no one of "acknowledged weight of character, or solidity of judgement" without O'Connell and began to criticise the legacy of his administration of the Irish movement, saying it was the "inevitable penalty of the statesman or leader who prefers courtiers and lackeys to counsellors and peers". Butt was more focused on the construction of an Irish State, but was laser-focused on the famine and knew that early confidence in the Administration would depend on it's the response to it. Butt brought a series of Ordinances to attempt to relieve the situation, and he advised the Duke of Leinster that only the measures proposed would alleviate the crisis. Butt requested that the Relief Undersecretary, James Patrick Mahon, be empowered to procure £250,000 for the purchase of grain, that Ports be closed for food exports for one year, and that a national programme of Outdoor and Indoor Relief would be instigated, providing soup kitchens and workhouse relief. He would request HM Treasury for a further £100,000 for Public Works projects. The Duke of Leinster was apprehensive about the "May Programme", which was designed to lessen the oncoming crisis. Peel had sympathy for Butt's attempts to deal with the crisis but was told by Cobden and other Whigs in the cabinet, like Palmerston, that the amount was too much. Peel compromised and offered £100,000, and brokered a deal on behalf of the Irish Order to loan £200,000 to finance the new infrastructure and purchase more grain. While free trade and the cheaper price of grain offered little relief in the Winter of 1845, the efforts of the administration aided the plight; food exports ceased for a year by order of the Governor and the relief package, despite being smaller than desired, aided some of the hunger that progressed through the Winter of 1846. There were initial struggles, such as the problems emerging when the wrong type of grain was imported and it's delicate preparation process needed it to be cooked twice, producing a yellow mush described as Peels Brimstone. Despite that, food prices in Ireland stabilised and with the November announcement of a new series of Public Works, the main feature being the Dublin to Cork Railway and the Dublin to Galway line, jobs were provided to millions across the country, especially in the poorer west of the country. With Butt also fulfilling the role of Chancellor of the Irish Exchequer, he financed these reforms from loans brokered by the Baring Brothers, and also from the British Relief Association, formed in August 1846 after an intervention by the Queen in a letter to raise funds. £280,000 was raised from prominent industrialists, and delivered Soup Kitchens and Relief, but was shunned in many areas of the South where the overriding concern was rejecting English charity.


Like all things in Ireland, the British influenced was mixed with a local flavour - the Royal Exchange Building, hosting the Irish Order, only had seats for the First Order, so members stood on the floor to debate

Catholic support for Butt remained relatively high throughout this period, and on the whole, accepted and welcomed the new administration, but at the highest level, antipathy at the lightweight settlement of the Order, "handed from Westminster", began to ask whether the settlement was the golden ticket that O'Connell had promised. This idea, that the Order was just yet another Grattan's Parliament, a cohort of Protestants who were seeking to maintain order, was given increased heat with the continuation of the Land War, which forced RIC units to collect tithes to the Church of Ireland, at a time when food was scarce. Beaten and depressed farmworkers fought against the authorities throughout the 1840s, and there was a widespread belief that this would end with the election of the Order, but the RIC was still placed under the control of the Home Minister in Westminster, having had temporary provision for the Provincial Police Force being withheld from the new administration for five years, as per the amendments of Gladstone. Tithe remained in much of the country as the County Police force, who did not collect Tithes and were comprised more of locals, were regardless secondary to the RIC, who would deal with measures under the Irish Coercion Bill which was designed to collect the tithes. Catholic members of the Order passed motions condemning the collection of titles and Butt himself supported a motion recommending the temporary suspension of tithe collection until the end of the crisis, which caused a scandal in England and ensured much controversy in Westminster, but the matter was dead in the water without an Act of Parliament. The Duke of Leinster proposed a 'Leniency Bill' to Parliament which would suspend collections for a year in the Senate, but the motion was quickly defeated by Conservatives and Liberal Conservatives, with Peel himself leading the charge against the motion. It found support from the Catholics, Radicals and notably Gladstone, who was sympathetic to the cause and Disraeli, who understood the social pressures the disestablished church had caused and saw the Church of Ireland as a blockade to peace in the lands. The weakness of the Irish Order led to calls for further independence, and fight to fill the leadership vacuum left by O'Connell would see the Confederate Party, which advocated the Irish Republic, begin to gain strength. They represented the Young Ireland Movement, which began to rise to prominence with the increased popularity of the Nation newspaper, which became further militant after the death of Thomas Davis, removing the budding movement of the moderating forces.

Despite the attempts of Butt, the Winter of 1846 was harsh for Ireland, with three-quarters of the potato crop failing and starvation growing at an alarming rate, with relief efforts strained to their absolute limit. Nine-tenths of the population in the western half of the country benefitted from the relief efforts but relied solely on the potato for nutrition. Emigration to England, America, Canada and Australia saw the country lose 250,000 in the Winter, and a further 240,000 died of starvation or starvation related diseases. Despite this, public perception of the relief effort was positive, and Butt's standing amongst the Irish people grew. A million would have died, it was said if he wouldn't have acted or closed the ports. Opposition to the closing of the ports was most fierce, unsurprisingly, in the Northern Industrial shipyards in Belfast, and Working-Class Unionists raised cash in the area by smuggling food out of the country for jacked up prices. But sympathy for the crisis was waning after the winter, and discussions began to move to reduce the expenditure on the crisis. Cobden and Russellite Whigs favoured a non-interventionist policy in Ireland, and while they were accepting in the crisis in 1845 and 1846, they wished for the sources of Irish wealth to contribute more to the effort. With this in mind, they granted the Irish Order greater power to collect rates using the coercive power of the RIC and HM Treasury in the Mainland, and Leinster and Butt brought forward a Land Tax that would pay for Public Works and Relief in 1847. This tax would raise £400,000 to complete the work on the railways and other infrastructure projects, and pursue the "work and relief" plan to repair roads and carriageways in exchange for soup kitchens and indoor relief., which was more acceptable to Southern Catholic Farmers. Sir James Graham, the Home Minister and Joseph Parkes, the Provincial Affairs Minister, co-sponsored legislation to allow similar reforms, to raise cash for each of other Provinces, starting with Scotland who faced a similar famine in 1846-47. This was to pass the financial burden of Poor Relief to Provinces, but it set a few conventions of the Provinces that made them significantly more powerful - Butt's Relief Bill set the precedent in the significant power of the purse that the consent to the Relief Ordinance, it also indirectly consented the power of the Provincial Governments to secure Private funds and loans to conduct their affairs.

Butt governed with the confidence of the Duke as well, and the relationship they build was highly productive; he attracted the investment from the Baring Brothers with Peel and was well connected, supplying the information to the Government that kept the sympathy and also the attention of the Senate and the Government. The increased number of Irish members in the Commons, affected by the boundary changes in the Reform Act allocating on the new electorates, meant that millions of more voters could vote in Ireland and Scotland, and on the strict electorate to population ratios, there was a radical redistribution of seats in the act meaning power was proportionally allocated across the Union for pretty much the first time, and much of that redistributed power went to the 7,000,000 subjects, of which around 2,500,000 could vote, in Ireland. Catholic and Nationalists contained 99 seats, 22% of the total number of members. This, with the consensus between Irish members (except for the Unionists) to support Relief, it meant that there was constant pressure for debate, motions and legislation. There was opposition in the Senate, however, despite the Duke of Leinster's protestations and the support of the William Shaw Crawford, Lord Senator and Provincial Affairs Minister in the Executive Council. He was allowed to sit in the Executive Council due to an amendment to the Parliament Act worked up by William Gladstone, which allocated the Provincial Affairs Minister from the Commons to the Senate, where the Lord Governors were - he used the argument to remove all restrictions on Lord Senators sitting in the Executive Council altogether. Crawford's role allowed him to be a bridge in both directions; from Provincial Governments on the ground, and to the Executive Council, and the best place to do that was in the Senate. But this meant that Lord Senators acted as a check and a "constitutional court" so to speak in terms of Provincial matters and while debates on Provincial cases were controlled by the Provincial Affairs Committee, which was chaired by Leinster. Lord Fitzroy-Somerset, still in place in Wales, raised concerns over the financial matters in the Irish Order. It had "gone further and expropriated more from the populous that it ever was meant to under the terms of the Act" and "the Lord Governor has loaned and spent its way without scrutiny from Parliament, in the name of Her Majesty", he said, in a debate on the response tabled by Lord Crawford. Crawford had wanted to build a motion to build Parliamentary support for more financial support going into the winter of 1847, which was believed to be destined to be the harshest of the famine. Unionist opposition began to build around reopening food exports, as the imposition of the food export blockade had begun to severely hamper the economy of the North-East, which was mainly based around shipping. When the measures to protect the country from starvation were about to expire, and when the Lord Governor renewed them for a third successive time in January 1847, a group of Ulster Businessmen took HM Government in Ireland to court for unfair restriction of trade. They also argued that the Government of Ireland Act did not legislate for complete restriction of trade that the blockade represented.

This was an interesting case and was taken up by the Provincial Affairs Committee in the Senate, and Fitzroy-Somerset again recommended the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, commonly known as the Judicial Council, examine the case. The Council was made up of the Deputy High Chancellor and Vice Speaker, Lord Pollock of Hatton (Lord Baring the High Chancellor, recused himself from the case), the Lord Chief Justice John Campbell, and five other QCs who are appointed by the Monarch. HM Government in Ireland was represented by the Attorney General for Ireland, James Henry Monahan, the first Irish Catholic Attorney-General of Ireland, appointed by Leinster & Butt in the Second Administration. He argued that under the clause stating that the Irish Administration and its Governor would have the right to intervene in matters that affected the "peace, order and good government" of the region, and the export of food would have starved the population, which would have disturbed the peace of the land. "It is with the measures that the Her Majesty's Government in Ireland imposed that prevented the breakdown of social order caused by the deaths of at least one million people, who rely solely or partially on the nutrition of the potato. Our relief saved catastrophe, and we have killed many in many villages where our relief was not enough. Our efforts are appreciated and supported by the populous and we maintain the confidence of the majority of the Order, which has passed several motions in support of the Government efforts. Without our efforts, we believe the damage to the Union, and the damage to peace and confidence in good government would be severely damaged." The legal argument was essentially in the competence of the Government and the Governor's decision to understand and interpret the definitions of the act, as the legal text of the statute gave the competency of the Orders to maintain the peace. The Duke of Leinster, who prepared a statement, said simply that he acted in the best interest of the subjects of the Union in Ireland, whom he was entrusted by Her Majesty to protect. In the end, Lord Pollock determined that HM Government in Ireland could close the ports, embittering Ulster Unionists in the shipping cities, mainly Belfast.

The Protestant Working Class, having been left behind by the Union and ignored in the process of devolving power, began to radicalise in their anti-Catholic sentiment and the members of the Belfast Orange Order formed the Belfast Orange Combat Association, or BOCA, in 1847 and they began arming themselves to smuggle food shipments to buyers in Norway and the North-West Coast of Northern England. Where they found resistance, in the form of the Royal Irish Shipping Police, controlled by the HM Government in Ireland (HMGI), they would fire cannons, shotguns and throw crude bombs to shrug it off. BOCA began also pursuing the policy of "forced passive resistance", where they would use coercion in the city to force the non-payment of rates to Dublin Castle. They also launched a boycott of Catholic goods and goods from the area of the country controlled by the Order and forced the emigration of some 40% of Belfast's Catholic population between 1845-1847. While these social pressures existed before the passing of the Government in Ireland Act, they sharply increased with the passing and the subsequent enforcement of the act. Second, to note, is that many Protestants and the majority in other areas of the country was to compromise with the Order - Butt himself was a Protestant, and many others, including many others in Ulster, were convinced by the competent running of Administration and the performance of Butt established him as a trusted politician in the country. The Country as a whole was moving away from anti-Unionism and towards "peace, order and good government", to quote the act.

While the Winter of 1847 was, as predicted, terribly harsh for Ireland, Relief efforts managed to step up yet again with the Duke of Leinster's appeal to Victoria to issue a Second Letter of Appeal. The Relief Commission was headed by Undersecretary James Patrick Mahon, a reluctant choice by Butt, but made to maintain the support of the Order. He was given the ability to lobby internationally to raise private funds for relief. This relatively new administration struggled with what was a horrific death toll, of 460,000 people, with typhoid, cholera and hunger breaking out on mass, mostly from the South and West of Ireland. Relief struggled to make its way to these areas due to strong corruption (or desperation) and poor infrastructure, and the East Coast centric administering of governance. All relief grain was processed and delivered through Dublin, and grain was unaccounted for once it was divvied up and distributed. Often it was sold to the locals by English agents who delivered it for all their possessions, and the price could be all the higher for women. "Cornhuskers" or men who delivered corn in Horse and Carts from English Relief Charities, usually hired from the unemployed in major English cities, would often extort locals and abduct young women on their travels. "Black 47", saw the loss of nearly another 550,000 people from the country, many of whom attempt to flee died on "famine ships" going to America, England, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The effect of the emergency legislation plunged the fragile, developing economy into a deep recession as wages and confidence crashed. The low price of food, brought on by the export ban, along with the large of amounts of imported and black market grain (stolen from relief associations) meant more prosperous grain farmers, located in the north, were ruined by the deflation in price, which impacted on budding industrialisation. Where the famine was at its worst, despite the efforts of HMGI, hatred of all things English reigned down. Despite having a number of Catholics in the administration, a gesture from Butt who wished to assemble a "ministry of all talents" of sorts, those who were left in the South of the Country (outside of the relatively liberal Cork) and West of the Country (outside of the relatively liberal Galway) were demoralised, but angry about the corruption and sinecure of HM Government, and had been shown by the last few years, that Parliamentary representation and organisation was the key to achieving their goals. This benefitted the Irish Confederation, which absorbed the discontent masses in the Irish South and South West that were convinced that only a peasant Republic and massive land reform, based on the Ulster model of tenant-right, the expulsion of absentee landlords and agents and even nationalisation of the land into co-operatives would solve the ancient causes for toil for the Catholic peasant. There were several layers to this organisation; a section of armed combat and rebellion planners who sought to overthrow English rule, called "The Brotherhood", and the Order and Parliamentary wing, which attracted more candidates in the lead-up to the 1849 Order Elections.

Butt and the Order's first term was defined by the famine, but his appetite for Government was still ripe. He was a keen believer that an Irish Government run by Irishmen would be a force for good in fostering relations between Britain and Ireland. O'Connell's death in May 1847 added further woe to a budding nation and he was remembered in the Order with the permanent dissolution of the Leadership of the Order as the Deputy Leader had fulfilled the role while O'Connell was on sabbatical to Rome, and his seat was not filled as a mark of respect and this remains to this day - the Leadership has never been filled. But it left an open end to the question mark of the Irish Question. Was Repeal achieved? Figures disagreed, but there were lasting effects on the Island. Firstly, there was a feeling of collective loss which marked the birth of a national psyche, and the development and the response was a distinctly Irish one. Irish MPs dictated debate, Irish Lord Governors raised issues at the Senate level, and an Irish Administration dictated terms for Ireland in the response. Despite the loss and the even more devastating loss of populous, which spread Typhoid around the world on diseased famine ships and saw the loss of even more, the post-O'Connell period began after the final vestiges of the grip of the famine on the country, going into 1848. With the famine sucking less and less oxygen from the debate towards the end of 1848, Butt became more and more confident in his calls for control over all Domestic Affairs in Ireland. He began to lead a middle-way between strict Unionism and Irish Republicanism, and outright rejected violence against the state - which divided the Republicans who were divided towards their attitudes towards the Orders. He also bridged the affluent Protestants in areas other than the far North-East and was popular in dual communities in Donegal and the Midlands. He represented the absolute Centre of Irish Politics at this time and was the only truly National party, and as the various Nationalist associations across the country began to federate into the Nationalist Federation, which would sponsor Order and Parliamentary candidates, they offered Butt the Presidency of the Federation in November 1847. The Federation had a membership of around 1,500 members in separate local associations which Independently nominated by lower-middle-class shopkeepers, moderate Catholic liberals and the strong middle-class in areas like Dublin with high numbers of Order and Parliamentary seats.

The creation of this political machinery, which centralised political decision-making in a way which was unseen in British Politics, promoted the work of the Government and promoted the administration of Isaac Butt, split the Young Irelander core into two distinct camps; some thought the point of conciliation had been reached, and equality would soon be restored through the means of the Order, and those who believed the only path to salvation for the Irish was the foundation of aforementioned independent Irish State. They were inspired by the revolutions of 1848 and believed that a similar revolution was brewing amongst the Irish Peasantry. The College Historical Society, a key organising chamber amongst the movement, was split in its support for Butt's pursuit of further domestic control of affairs (which in practicality meant control over Police, which was still controlled by the British Home Department) and pursuit of its determination and destiny with a Republic, and most importantly the pursuit of land reform would continue to define Irish Nationalism. For now, the Nationalist Federation cannibalised the liberal, more secular elements of the country, while Confederates, began to drift towards more uncompromising methods of enforcing their will, with their support for the Land War against the RIC high in the South and West and advocating the expulsion of all Irish and Anglo-Irish from Ireland. Led by the fiery Father John Kenyon, the ultra-Catholic element of Irish Nationalism led priests in the South and West of the Country breaking with the official line of the Catholic Church of Ireland, to cooperate with the Order and HMGI, and advocating for the overthrow of British-rule in Ireland. This phenomenon which intensified in the larger effort for Land Reform in the next few decades was not lost on Butt, but he simply did not have the Parliamentary support, nor the power in the Administration, to address land reform, but believed that achieving full "cooperative independence" with Britain, within the Federal Union which seemed the ultimate aim of the reforms of the Duncombe Ministry.

Butt believed that through the advocation of good government within Ireland, more powers would be granted. This was consistent with the gradualist approach within the Repeal Movement but now represented the firm Centre. Most people, tired and disturbed by the famine, wanted help and welcomed the new administrations' desire to protect and serve them. He found support within from the Church of Ireland, Catholic Church and maintained an incredible association with the Quakers, who were instrumental in the relief efforts organisation. Both main parties in the Order held a "nationalist" outlook - they believed that the Irish were the best people to determine their future, but they differed in means essentially. But with the abstentionist Unionists refusing to stand candidates again and the Order ruled the seats be distributed elsewhere, this division essentially created a two-party system in Irish politics. Remaining Liberal members begrudgingly supported the administration, rather than see chaos with the Confederates and the mad priest taking charge. Confederates credibility, however poor it was already, was crushed with the "Confederate Rebellion" in May 1848, where several of their leaders attempted to storm a town in Tipperary. Order members Thomas Francis Meagher, John Mitchell and Patrick O'Donoghue were indicted in the investigation, and Butt condemned their actions in the Irish Order and moved to expel them from the Order to the protestations of the Confederate members. The Reactions was incredibly negative towards the rebels in the East, Midlands and North West of the Country, and support was high for punishment. While the Judicial Council ruled that they had committed sedition and should be hanged, Butt and the Irish Attorney General, Sir George Bowyer pleaded for the commuting of the sentence to transportation, successfully appealing the Monarch to grant a reduced sentence. In Ireland, this restored some of the credibility of the Monarch, but further embittered the Catholic heartlands. Butt was overall the most successful politician in the country. This was reflected in the 1849 Election, which would allow him to pursue further reform, which we will return to after we've covered the limited, but significant developments in the mainland.
Part 2, Chapter VII
II, VII: Second Age of Peel


Robert Peel helped unite the "Liberal" factions in Parliament, but it was an unstable coalition

Lets roll back. The date is 13th January 1846, and Queen Victoria had submitted the writs for elections to the Commons, the Provincial Orders and Municipal Councils, meaning that overall 3068 writs were issued to return various representatives at different levels. This election was contested between different elements of the Liberal faction, with the Radicals lacking a proven, unifying leader once again, and lacking the zeal of three years ago but was undoubtedly the Robert Peel election. Peel remained popular, and many of the Liberal candidates for elections, who mainly came from the middle and industrial class leaders and the commercial, found much appetite for the reduction of food prices amongst working-class in the South, who were considered considerably less radical. Their newfound urban outlook was popular with middle-class business owners and professionals, who believed that Peel offered the most stable of all the recent governments, and there was a general belief that he managed the Commons better than anyone else. His popularity extended to Gladstone, who was quickly gaining a reputation for someone who was "at-ease" with the new arrangement, perhaps more than Peel himself, and became known as a "man of the people". This peeled (again, pardon the pun) votes away from the Radicals and more importantly, influence amongst Moderate, who began to speak of the trust they had in the dynamic duo of Liberalism. Few had asked Peel what he thought of the situation, and his desire for forming a Government again was waning. He privately told a group of his most personal circle, including Sir James Graham, William Gladstone, Earl Aberdeen and Sidney Herbert, that if he were to be appointed President Pro Tempore after the election, he would only seek a single term as President. Peel was re-energised, however, and once again, benefitted from the reforms admitted from the last election by the opposition. He was still remarkably popular and carried an unlikely coalition in the Election of 1846 that was as diverse as it was unified under the Liberal banner. Peel himself never referred to himself as the leader of a "Liberal Party", but like with Duncombe, Peelite and Whig candidates stood down for one another and often, all Liberal unopposed seats were divided 2 Peelites and 2 Liberals.

Duncombe did, however, manage to position himself as the representative of the Trade Union movement in Parliament through his work to establish the National Association of United Trades for the Protection of Labour, commonly know as United Trades, enabled by the Combination (Repeal) Act, which would sponsor trade union candidates from the Radical faction and used the funds from its subscriptions from members to purchase a large stake in the Northern Star newspaper. Duncombe devoted many of his final speeches in debates in the Commons to the Combination Repeal, and it's passage meant that Duncombe was convinced of the need for a comprehensive Trade Union Act to regulate the relationships and protections these organisations would have. The United Trades were an example of the needs for such protection. It's first annual Congress was broken up by a privately hired militia by an aid of the Duke of Wellington, who fought both the men of the congress, who attempted to fight with broken bits of chairs and 25 men of the Metropolitan Police, who attempted to bring peace to the situation. The Congress pleaded it was within their right in the law to meet, and Duncombe, the Organisation's President, insisted that he be allowed to speak. Radical politicians remained the dominant force in several areas; the North of England had 112 Radical Clubs, which were set up after the appointment of Duncombe to raise funds for candidates and support and man offices for Parliamentarians associated with the Radical movement. They "supported" members and candidates by hosting receptions for them, organising speeches and dinners and produced literature and most importantly, gathering consensus amongst the working-classes and influencing opinion amongst them.

This was an example of the amalgam of the political organising strategies of the last 15 years and was very much a "Constitution Era" invention; they had universally low fees (Catholic Association), they had mass leaders and central figures (O'Connell/Duncombe) and were incredibly focused on the Radical institutions (Parliament/Order/County). Opposition to the agenda of O'Connell was provided by the merging of several Conservative Protestant Associations in the north, having been seemingly abandoned by the Conservatives on the mainland, formed the Irish Unionist Society nationwide, to oppose the Ireland Act and pursue its Repeal. While they were fluid at this stage and leaderless, they were supported by Protestant Working Class in Belfast, Protestants in Ulster (who provided the majority) and Conservative Protestants in the mainland who agreed to boycott the Order elections, and in areas in the North, violently suppress the elections. Using sympathetic forces within the Dublin Castle Administration, they pressured the Office of Registrars to discount candidates in Northern areas, and used sympathetic Royal Irish Constabulary forces in the North to harass and arrest Catholic candidates, much to the outcry of Protestants and Catholics alike. Provisional administrations appointed by Trevelyan and Lord Heytesbury were sympathetic, and during the election, they openly harassed Catholic candidates and incited riots in Catholic areas.

To say there was a clear defining philosophy passed the central tenets (support for the Commons and the Parliament Act) differing sub-divisions underneath the central tenets that would cause the slow break-up of the coalition in the following years would be the most accurate. While the "true" Radicals would remain solely allied to Duncombe and a group of supporters in the Commons, but by this time, revelations about his personal life left the true movement severely damaged and his links to most Radical Clubs were formal at most. More had begun to coalesce around a faction surrounding Richard Cobden and John Bright, who felt that Duncombe's solely Radical Government had damaged the cause. Cobden and Bright believed that now Provinces were freer to pursue their social agendas, that the Radicals should focus on Free Trade, and support for Peel's Tariff Reform agenda, and shake off the aversion to the Liberals - this culminated with Richard Cobden and John Bright crossing the floor and declaring themselves as Liberals supporting the Peel Government, with the support of 70 Radical Clubs who re-joined their Liberal counterparts. These kinds of Radicals appealed to the sections of Federalists in Ireland, ironically with Bright's opposition to the Ireland Bill, although the Nationalists drifted from the main party after Duncombe failed to intervene and now they believed that Free Trade was the way to relieve the disaster unfolding in Ireland.

A third strand, of Northern Social Reformers, drenched in a mesh of Owenite Socialism and the reforms of Richard Oastler, and developed themselves into opposition from the "Manchester School" and supported by the growing Northern Trade Union movement and the Co-Operative movement, which was developing out of East Lancashire and West Yorkshire, led informally by Radical firebrand and Newspaper Editor, Joshua Hobson, who was Chair of the Central Committee of the United Trades. The United Trades group in Yorkshire, Hobson's home county, held its Congress and decided to sponsor 20 candidates for seats in urban areas, with 2 further candidates stepping forward. All 22 were elected. So while they were listed as a homogenous grouping in the Commons, even in this analysis up to now, they were anything but by 1846. Further to the splits in the movement was Daniel O'Connell, who was leading his fight for Land Reform in Ireland under the Catholic banner once again, believing that if like in the 1820s, he could unite Catholics he could force a change using Parliament and the Order. But he was getting ill and had lost his wife by this point in his life - there were no "monster meetings", no great oratory, just a series of letters delivered to local Journals in support of their candidacy. The political weight of the Liberator had diminished through a series of scandals throughout the mid-1840s, and while he remained Lord Mayor of the City & County of Dublin, the lack of his oratory weight, which failed him in later life, crushed his will for political campaigning. He was determined to sit in the first Irish Order, however, and his son campaigned extensively on his behalf in the elections instead of the Liberator himself.

1846 Election, Great Britain & Ireland
Great BritainLeaderVotes%Total
LiberalRobert Peel239052843.1313
ConservativesBenjamin Disraeli145319226.2124
CatholicDaniel O'Connell91121416.460
RadicalsWilliam Lovett (unofficial)79292714.380
United Trades455,7338.222

Peel was the obvious candidate to nominate the Executive Council, and he was made President Pro Tempore when the final election results were returned in late February. He attempted to secure a Commons majority with an early attempt at the "spoils system" - he offered William S Crawford a place in the Senate to give a permanent, six-year presence for Provincial Matters in the Senate (he would later be elected Provincial and the Senate State Affairs Committee), and offered Richard Cobden the position of Minister of State for Trade and President of the Board of Trade, further Tariff Reform and influence on Executive Fiscal Policy, with John Bright appointed Chief Minister to the Treasury. Peel also respected the Senate's right to choose the Peel indicated he would prefer that all Lords Judicial were nominated by the High Chancellor, rather than the President of the Executive Council. He also put more emphasis on the wider Cabinet, which included the Lord Governors and Lieutenants and all the Ministers of the Crown, and preferred the term Prime Minister to President of the Council, preferring it's traditional feel, and sought support from the Nationalists and tactic support from O'Connell's Catholic Party, O'Connell asked that all good Catholic members abstain, so to usher more aid to Ireland to relieve the famine that was growing more and more serious by the day. Peel then assembled a committee of Lord Senators who were to retain their seats to assist in the nomination of Senators and recommended that Lord Baring be recalled from his position as Governor of Southern England to become Lord High Chancellor Pro Tempore and nominate the eight Judicial Seats in the Senate. He nominated his Lord Generals and retained the Lord Governors, and using the 50 names nominated by the group, dubbed the Nomination Committee, he attempted to use his nominations to chip at the Conservative stranglehold of the Senate, initiated by Duncombe.

4th Executive Council of United Kingdom & Ireland
Prime Minister - Robert Peel, Liberal
High Chancellor - Lord Senator Baring, Liberal
Chancellor of the Exchequer - William Gladstone, Liberal
Minister of State for the Home Office - Sir James Graham, Liberal
Minister of State for the Foreign Office - Lord Senator Palmerston, Liberal
Commissioner for the Civil Service - Joseph Parkes, Liberal
Minister of State for Provincial Affairs - Lord Senator Crawford, Nationalist
Trade Minister - Richard Cobden, Liberal
Public Works Minister - Sidney Herbert, Liberal

With the Parliament nominated and confirmed, it met for the first time at the new Palace of Westminster in the new Senate chamber, which occupied the old House of Lords chamber before. Victoria nominated Robert Peel to form the Government and used the term "Executive Council, Cabinet and Government" to reflect the growing shift towards Cabinet Governance. The address also outlined several Bills, including an Irish Relief Bill which would ship subsidised grain to Ireland to help the relief effort and give the Administration the right to raise funds for relief for the famine, a Railway Regulation Act which would put parameters on provincial Railway licenses and a Factories Act, which would regulate working conditions. The Senate passed three motions on its opening, a day before the Commons, one consenting to Lord Baring being made Lord High Chancellor, one consenting the ascension of the seven new Lords Judicial to the house, and one supporting the Queen's address, passed with margins of 35-32, 36-31 and 83-0 respectively. As the Commons met, the new Executive Council and Cabinet were read in full, divided between the Lord Senators and Members from the Commons. Peel, seeing an upcoming fight, recalled Charles Trevelyan from his position as Chief Secretary for Ireland and made his Commissioner to the Board of Control, a prominent position with the East India Company, and began making enquiries to remove both Lord Fitzroy Somerset and Lord Heytesbury, and advised Victoria to appoint a new slate of Liberal Governors to replace the current members. Lord Heytesbury was his first target, using an inquiry committee in March, a few weeks after the opening of Parliament, to highlight mismanagement of the Ongoing Famine Crisis to create a national scandal, weeks before the new Irish Order was due to meet. He appointed in his place the Duke of Leinster, who was a compassionate, moderate Conservative who had gained trust in Ireland through his support of an intervention in the Famine in the previous Parliament, who indicated that he would work more with the coming Order.

While Parliamentary time was devoted to the response to the Famine, which had ripple effects across the whole economy and brought severe typhoid outbreaks in Liverpool and Cardiff, caused by Irish immigrants arriving, but the Commons adopted a hands-off, laissez-faire program of non-interference in Provincial matters, preferring to let the existing infrastructure deal with local problems of Health and Relief. In the Commons focus switched to major economic reforms and the Peel Cabinet, especially Gladstone, wanted to impose regulations on certain industries, especially Railways and Free Trade. These were the innovation of the First Industrial Age, and the Peel Cabinet universally agreed on the need for the elimination of all domestic tariffs, funded by a continuation of the 1842 Income Tax, which Duncombe had left untouched in his term, this was agreed in the 1846 Finance Bill. The Railways, however, prompted more debate. Beginning as essentially monopolies by private enterprises that owned (or leased) the land, the track and the carriage, and to build a railway, all you had to do was secure an act of Parliament for lines that passed over Provincial Borders, or an Ordinance for the lines within a Provincial Boundary. The pace of the number of bills and ordinances proposing lines was dizzying, and monopolies had occurred on the most profitable lines. This monopoly had been of great concern to many throughout the end of the 1830s, with traders irked by the high rates for use on both freight and the lack of regulation of the building of the lines, which was inefficient. Beliefs in the late 1830s, early 1840s was that initial monopolies would give way to eventual free line use, as had happened with canals. This assumption was visited by a Select Committee in 1840, 1841, 1843, 1844 and 1845, but no compromise was reached as Democrats considered the matter squabbles between landowners over playthings. The sentiment by those in the Red Camp was the matter was a distraction away from the business of democratising, and Gladstone revelled why "one collective body of members in this Parliament not have a single iota of Economic direction between them". So as Peel was returned, and Gladstone was returned to Chancellor, he began to spar with Moderate Democrat Richard Cobden, President of the Board of Trade, on the matter of Railways.

Cobden believed that non-intervention was the only policy that would ensure the efficient allocation of resources. James Morrison, Commissioner to the Board of Trade and MP, who's Executive Minister was Cobden, proposed yet another Select Committee in 1847 and was dismissed by Cobden for doing so, although the motion passed the floor and the Select Committee was opened in April 1847. There were two main differences this time with other Committees that had attempted to come up with a solution, as Gladstone managed to convince Peel to push through Parliamentary Regulation on the findings of the Committee and also the issue had become a working-class one, with railway rates, unregulated and purely controlled by a monopoly of monied men who used it to jack up prices for exporting goods. Two major scandals caught the attention of the United Trades especially, when a cooperative in East Lancashire, consisting of a Society and a General Store, who attempted to transport goods from the coast to their store and were refused service and the Northern English Relief Administration (NERA) attempting to send supplies to Liverpool during a Typhoid outbreak. A massive crash of railway stocks throughout 1844-47 also primed public attention, as the public, mostly middle-classes, lost thousands while private investors and railway owners pocketed the cash. In Yorkshire, a public outcry occurred when George Hudson, a Rail Baron who was responsible for the NERA blockade, was nominated by a local Liberal Club for a by-election to the Order for Liverpool.


George Hudson was a hated figure amongst the Radicals

With Licences, including Railways licences, were still under Provincial control and therefore for a significant proportion of the debate around this issue was had in Orders, not Parliament. The United Trades - Northern England candidates sent 31 members to the First Order, mostly, as discussed, by Yorkshire and East Lancashire Industrial Towns who organised workers candidates, much to the opposition of factory owners who were in opposition to Combinations of Workers, and would usually terminate workers associated with any movements. Their size, however, was impressive and the aforementioned local organiser Joshua Hobson, who was on the Central Committee of the National Association of United Trades, shunned national leadership who rejected calls to sponsor candidates for the order. By 1847, there were United Trades Associations in Sheffield, Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Huddersfield, Stockport, Rochdale, Oldham, Hull and Halifax, and the concept was spread by Hobson, the Yorkshireman who got his fame from the Northern Star newspaper. He spoke to voters on a travelling tour, signing up members and helping to set up committees to select working-class and trade-unionist candidates to be represented in the Order. As with the Parliamentary candidates, they didn't expect to have many elected but struck a chord with the new electorate of working-class voters. They focused on maintaining the hybrid poor-law system, passing Ordinances allowing Trade Unions and establishing new licences to regulate factories. They also supported wider investment in Railways and Telegraphs, and a fixed set of rates with more regulation to prevent "Rail Barons" from bringing high barriers of entry to goods from artisans and workers cooperatives, which littered and were growing in influence in this region after the Rochdale Principles established a viable production model. While the United Trades acted to intervene in politics, the United Cooperatives did not, and sought to increase influence outside of elections through establishing a greater number of cooperatives and forming a non-interventionist approach to gain credibility as a legitimate form of business. The Cooperatives did support the United Trades on their pursuit of Railway reform, seeking legitimate access. Lord Governor Brougham desired also to address the Railways issue, with several stock companies competing for lines, resource and finances and clogging up the Order with applications for new lines. Orders began to be inundated with amalgamations, rather than applications for licenses, and Gladstone noticed this pattern also in Parliamentary Licenses. The Select Committee, which began investigating at a similar time as the Northern English Order Committee on Railways, made up of mostly United Trades members, began to deliberate on a new argument - whether the private ownership of lines was a restriction to trade. Gladstone came to a similar conclusion, noticing rate rises for passengers and freight alike, wondered whether the amalgamation of lines could descend into collusion, especially as public sentiment was growing hostile to high returners for shareholders. The United Trades delegation in the Committee proposed that a neutral Provincial Board or Company, run non-for-profit, could maintain and expand lines and allow full free competition on the lines for passenger and freight lines.


William Gladstone, chief instigator of the Railways Regulation Act

Gladstone attempted to bring a private bill to the Commons, the Railway Regulation Act, which would do a similar such thing. It would establish a Railway Committee which would manage the placement of lines, purchase all lines into the States hands and mandate free use of the lines. This abhorred the Traditional Liberal class within his party, but won support from Radical and Trades members, who wished to break the monopoly to allow workers to organise themselves, and believed bringing the railroads into State hands would allow created access to the market for all enterprises, especially the worker-owned cooperatives. Nationalists MPs brought forward several amendments to the bill, that would put the Railways into Provincial, not State hands. These would legislate for a Provincial Board of Transport that would manage the lines, prices and rates for using the lines and mandated that all Government's in the Provinces establish a Department dedicated to not only Railways but Canals and Turnpikes as well. Where lines, roads and canals crossed Provincial lines, a Board of Transport for the Kingdom, made up of representatives from each Board and Department, would settle disputes and in specific circumstances, be co-managed by each Province, with an even split of seats on the Board for each Province - any legal disputes beyond conciliation would be ruled on by the Senate. The reception was lukewarm still within his party, and Peel himself did not support the bill. Cobden, the President of the Board of Trade, led the fight against it. Gladstone's began to find a following amongst the remaining Radicals and in the Radical elements drawn from Bright and Cobden to the Liberal party supported his regulatory agenda. This would help him with the Radicals who began to emerge more in the late 1860s like Joseph Chamberlain. They favoured Provincial Governments, which were largely made up of middle-class professionals and lawyers, and especially in the South of England and Scotland (home of his constituency), amongst the working-classes. Gladstone found great personal support and managed to cobble together the votes with this coalition. With 56 members of his Liberal support, and supported by the Radicals & Trades, Catholic Members, Nationalists and a few of the crossbench members, he managed to get the bill passed through the Commons with the amendments to put them in Provincial hands, but found dismay within the Right of his Party, Peel included. To even greater surprise, it passed through the Senate too, by just 4 votes.

The Railway Regulation Act, 1847, which gave Provinces more power had two political effects; it created the "Federalist" coalition of Northern Trades, Scottish Radicals and Liberals and Irish Nationalists that would bring together the left again in the coming decades that saw the natural development of the Provincial System towards a Federal State and it also began the split between the Liberal Conservatives and the Liberals. Traditional Old Whigs now found themselves as the heart of the Conservative faction within the Liberal Camp, supporting Peel who had formerly been a died in the wool Tory as Leader of the Government and the Liberal Movement. This was much more about the post-peel direction of the Government, more than the currents in the Commons at the time, however. Gladstone was positioning himself to take over the Liberal movement once Peel retired, which was expected before the 1849 election. Liberal Conservatives wished that Earl Aberdeen form a Government, with the Senator given a Parliamentary seat from the 'pocket electorates' in the 1849 election, and they were supported by many in the Liberal establishment, believing Gladstone was too interventionist and reform-minded. The two also disagreed on the organisation of the Liberal Movement, with Gladstone developing the notion by the 1849 campaign that a National Liberal Federation would be the best way to coordinate elections, with older members of the Whig and Liberal establishment, including Aberdeen, Palmerston and Russell, the grandees of the party, resisting these trends, inspired by the American movements of the time, he found no appetite for the organisation of an electoral machine. Gladstone understood the power of movements like Butt's Nationalists and Hobson's United Trades and saw that concerted action and public opinion would be the power of the Parliamentary politics. While they would fight the coming election together, they would be secretly, and more publicly towards the end of the next Parliament, be drifting apart.

Peel decided not to retire in 1849 and decided to do something no-one had done since the passing of the Parliament Act - complete his term. He had broad support from the Ministerial Benches and would do so having continued with his approach to Reform - leaving it to the Radicals, if you dare elect them. He did not roll back the Provincial Reforms, but rather worked within it to further support for the Economic Liberal agenda, and passed big spending, big rate government (although not big government by our definition of the term) to the Provinces. This took the laissez-faire approach to its natural conclusion - leaving much of the body of work of government to someone other than the government. But it created political entities which took on their own lives and futures, however. The North and Midlands of England, in particular, took on a differing turn with the Governorship of Lord Brougham and Attwood, two 32'ers who rose to Governorship at the passing of the Provincial Acts in 1846, who turned their respective territories into Provincial Empires. Brougham appointed Liberal Matthew Talbot Baines to be his Chief Administrator, but the relationship with the Order, Brougham remarked, was "distant". "They retain their proposals, we ours, they debate, we debate. We, however, rule. They cannot argue." Talbot-Baines was not an Isaac Butt, an administrator and politician who could steer both Order opinion, Public opinion and Executive opinion towards him. But Joshua Hobson, elected Speaker of the Order, was. The former "People's Minister" was nearly a Saint in his home region, no thanks to the favourable press he received from Working Class and Liberal Paper alike. He was overlooked by Brougham, thanks to his association with Trade Unionist Politics, believing Peel or the Queen would veto the appointment, causing him much embarrassment. The Order members wanted an established, recognisable name in their Speakers chair, and believed, rightly, that Hobson would defend the Public's Interest. Hobson crusaded against the Northumbrian Bill and the structure of the Government, demanding a responsible government for the Province. "We asked for a Parliament and were given a pigs slop," said Hobson. He was reverent to Lord Brougham, however, as were all politicians in the province. Like Lord Durham before him, the North once again had "its" Lord Governor. Durham had planted the idea in the people of the North that they could attain their voice in Governance. It might have taken a while, but it was achieved after all. Hobson claimed that in drafting the acts, Parliament got bowed down in the quagmire of Ireland's legislative independence, that it failed to create a working Legislative function for the Province. The People here were not only capable of running their Province, they felt, but they also deserved it for their stand against Monarchy in 1831.

Brougham agreed - having negotiated with them, he knew that the people in the North of England especially were politically engaged and aware of their rights, as much as anywhere in the Kingdom perhaps and they deserved legislative independence, but with Peel in charge, could do nothing. He couldn't change the legislation, as it was passed by Parliament. They would have to amend the acts through Parliament, and with the Liberal agenda focusing on economic reform and side-lining political reform, it was sure to be defeated. Brougham consoled Radicals within the Provinces with his attitude to the well-running administration of the new HM Government in Northern England. He sought "scientific government" and founded a series of institutions in the Province. Brougham also disliked the term "Northern England" or the more derisory term from Westminster, "Northern Division". He sought to create an identity for the Province and called upon the lore of the Political Unions by calling his Province "Northumbria", in honour of the Chartists. He appealed to Queen Victoria herself and was granted the change to the Letter Patent to rename Northern England to Northumbria soon after the founding of the Province. He simplified and centralised Government in the Province, establishing an effective bureaucracy in HM Government in Northumbria. He also used his influence to establish the Northumbrian Scientific & Mechanical Society, Royal Northumbrian College, Northumbrian Social Science Institute and Royal Northumbrian Society, four prominent organisations that saw the North of England become the prominent scientific and innovation hub. The combination of this personalised attention to the north and the fact that for the first time in history the North was the ascendant power in the Country, fostered "Northumbrianism" - a phenomenon that saw a patriotism within the North itself. As the Northumbrian Order met at the impressive Guildhall within the Northumbrian Order, this manifested itself in the desire, egged on by Hobson in the Chamber, to establish Responsible Government and Ministry. After 30 days in the job, Mathew Talbot Baines was subject to a motion of no confidence, organised by Hobson. It was passed with a majority of two. Hobson arranged the vote to make a point, as, after three days, Talbot Baines had not resigned and shown no intention of doing so. He was however required to face the House, and when a member asked if he would submit his resignation, he said he "had the full confidence of the Lord Governor". Hobson stood and addressed the Chamber. "See my colleagues," he said, "our motion was meaningless".


Pro Responsible Government rally in Leeds, May 1847

Hobson did however see what the Order could do. While the Governor controlled the legislative initiative to introduce Draft Ordinances into the Orders, he did not have control over the timing or scheduling of debates, which meant that, in theory, they could utilise a filibuster, forcing Brougham to force the measures through using his executive power. Hobson cooperated with the Governor, met with him regularly and Brougham considered him a friend. That, in essence, is what makes their political game in the First Northumbrian Order so intriguing. Hobson first organised in May 1847 for a petition be delivered to the Guildhall signed by 450,000 people demanding Responsible Government and the power to remove Administration Officials. The petition was delivered to the Lord Governor, and he raised the issue in the Senate and even prepared a Bill, the Provincial Government Act, which would allow Provincial Orders to amend their procedures, composition and electoral laws with a simple majority vote, also establishing an Executive Council and a Judicial Council for each Province, but the Bill was defeated by Conservatives and Liberal-Conservative members in the Ministerial Coalition, including Peel, who asserted that the current provincial legislation is but a few months old and we don't need to change it. Peel wasn't going to risk his coalition falling apart of Provincial Reform, with John Bright and Richard Cobden insisting that political reform being brought to the table again, after the passage of universal suffrage and new municipal, provincial and parliamentary systems would only cause trouble and the Cabinet, drawn from the more traditional Whigs and Peelites, who were more focused on the continued implementation of Free Trade reform. Conservatives considered the Order's meaningless and that the Government should be more centralised, not less. This lock between the two parties against reform essentially would hold for some time. Yet Hobson persisted, demanding a responsible government for the region and submitting questions, motions, and refusing to submit Ordinances for debate, or allowing United Trades members to speak for hours on end to stall debate. He whipped the Order into a commotion on nearly every issue, and no Ordinances were passed through the Order in the first 18 months of its convening.

This peaked with the Order's failure to pass a budget, which led to Brougham having to use his Executive Order to pass the budget through after 160 days of discussion between Talbot-Baines and Hobson. Finally, Brougham, seeking to solve the political crisis that threatened to gridlock the Order, met with Hobson and devised a solution. If Hobson agreed to pass legislation he would appoint a Chief Secretary of Northumbria, who would be HM Government's representative in the Order who Brougham guaranteed would be able to introduce Ordinances (something that Isaac Butt, Chief Secretary of Ireland was able to do by Section 18, a specially inserted section added by Crawford in the passing of the Government in Ireland Act and Lord Hume's amendment of the Government in Scotland act to appoint a Lord Secretary for the Government, whose undersecretaries had formed a similar cabinet structure) co-sponsored by the Governor. He would also place the Undersecretary role in Commission, with each Undersecretary appointed to oversee a specific department of Her Majesty's Government in Northumbria; Public Works, Public Health, Trade, Relief and the Home Department, which managed the Royal Northumbrian Police. This would form an informal cabinet, with the Treasurer, Keeper of the Great Seal, Paymaster General and Attorney General, and these Undersecretaries, as well as the Chief Secretary, would informally have to maintain the confidence of the Order. Hobson proposed an Executive Committee of the Order which would have total access to the Secretaries and Undersecretaries, all government records, research and all Green and White Papers would have to first pass through these committees to be submitted onto the Business Paper for the Chamber to scrutinise the Governments working. Brougham agreed and formed this informal responsible government in September 1847, with Talbot-Baines appointed Chief Secretary and elected the new Leader of the Order on 16th September 1847. His first motion to the Order was in support of the appointments of the Undersecretaries and Talbot-Baines himself as Treasurer and Keeper of the Northumbrian Seal, allowing him to present and amend the budget with the help of the Order and approve Ordinances with the Great Seal of the Province. This taped over the cracks but failed to put these conventions in any kind of legislation, remember. This would come to hurt the "Brougham system" further down the line, as would his nature of their power, derived from Parliament. The United Trades members of the Order, along with the Liberals, maintained their support for the Government of Northumbria for the rest of the term of the Order, and the Brougham system was subsequently copied by Central England, which Attwood would rename Mercia in April 1848.

Peel used the final year of Parliament to see off tariffs for good, removing tariffs on all goods in the Tariff (Removal) Act 1848. This was passed by a majority of 123, with only the Conservatives under Disraeli voting against. Disraeli would later change the Conservatives policy and would finally accept Free Trade in 1852, but it would of course resurface. British Politics is, of course, just a cyclical debate about tariffs. 1848 would mark a lull in British Politics that would continue well into the next Parliament. The British Public were tired of political discourse, and apathy set in. The 1849 Election would be a low point in engagement and turnout, with many working-class voters abstaining from the political process. They had no love for either the Leader of the Government or the Opposition, with Public Dissatisfaction with Disraeli picked up on by a few eager Conservative papers, who began to talk of the "irretrievable decline" of Toryism. They believed that the nature of the political system now meant that Liberalism would have a permanent majority within Parliament. Outside of their traditional base of the South-East of England, they had next to no appeal with working-class and middle-class members. Radical candidates also suffered from the relative lull and were damaged by the Duncombe ministry. Fractures began to appear also, with pure-working class movements like the United Trades sprouting up and empowering workers to use their mass with universal suffrage for power - but the British desire to carry on set in, and tensions pretty much magically disappeared by 1849. This was in stark contrast to the continent, where revolutions ravaged Central Europe, ending with the election of another Napoleon - the Prince-President. Britain had maintained a distance from Foreign Affairs carefully managed by one man, lurking in the background of the Government, and the election of the new French President, soon to be Emperor, would of course have implications on Britain. But we'll get to that man, and those implications.

Dissatisfaction at the unequal application of the Provincial Reforms continued in Wales, as Lord Governor Fitzroy-Somerset called the order for a total of 6 days per year between 1846 and 1849, held his Chief Secretary in a commission of three men who couldn't agree with one another and reneged on responsibilities for all other than the Courts and Policing, where he centralised, using executive orders, and pursued rigorously for the extermination of the Trades and Combinations Movement. While the repeal of the Combination Acts meant that Combinations were permitted there were oppressed by employers and were not protected by any legislation to strike or to even talk to their employers. Lockouts began frequent, and violent wildcat strikes increased between 1843 and 1848 at an alarming rate. This violence was often prompted by the Police, who were recruited from outside Wales under a policy of "Anglianisation" which sought to make traditional local customs more "English" in an attempt to drive down the desire for autonomy. Poor law unions were underfunded, public health boards complained at having to collect their funds in Cardiff and dissatisfaction grew. Trades candidates were an obvious protest vote of sorts, and as the Political Unions in the 1830s, began to attract middle-classes and working-classes alike. There were splits in the movement, however. Middle-classes believed in the unions offering a kind of protection the guilds offered, while working-classes pursued the Owenite "general union" concept of all workers under one banner. This essentially came down to whether general strikes, such as the 1832 and 1842 efforts, were more valid that sectoral strikes aimed at specific grievances in moderation. Those on the hard-left favoured the former, and those on the soft-left favoured the latter. As usual with the left, this predisposition to argue with one another rather than those in power did hamper efforts for the unified national labour movement, as the National Association had lost credibility and influence soon after it was founded after the Central Committee failed to endorse the sponsoring of Trade Candidates on a national level, leading to the provincial organisations which superseded it. These organisations, therefore, tended to be loose and confederate, maintaining independence from one another. Joseph Hobson emerged as the leader of the faction in Northumbria and had increased the influence of the Order within the Province.


Fitzroy-Somerset's Royal Welsh Police raged a brutal war on the Trade Unions

But Northumbria did indeed exist as one end on the democratic scale, with the Southern England Order in similar paralysis to Wales due to the abstentionist policy of the Conservative Party, meaning the majority of the seats were unfilled the majority of the time. Attendance was so low that the Speaker of the House only attended nine debates in the term. The Replacement for Lord Baring, Lord Derby, used his position to further enhance the chances of the Conservatives in the South East with their control of the Registrars Office, which allowed him to restrict candidates for Parliamentary and Order Elections. This was allowed, as the Office produced the list of candidacies returned to Returning Officers, usually County Council Lord Mayors, who controlled elections in each electorate or group of electorates across the country and managed the voting. The hegemony of the Conservatives in the region meant that they could just wish away the Government. This annoyed the Liberal West of the Country, who wanted to possess more authority for themselves, like Northumbria and Mercia. First Cornish workers and middle-classes demanded their right to self-government, with 10,000 going on strike in 1848 during the election to grant self-government to Cornwall, which had been ended with the creation of Southern England in 1844. A City Councillor in Bristol, William Herapeth, suggested that "maybe Northumbria and Mercia will be joined by Wessex and Cornwall someday". Derby's influence on the Royal Southern Constabulary also meant harsher penalties on trade unions, and they actively pursued transportation for leaders, a practice which was frowned upon in the Liberal North. The RSC also weighed in heavily on rural working disputes, which were back on the rise between 1846 and 1849 as further wage cuts and falling prices meant a collapse in the agricultural market, which dominated the London-less south. The "Kent Compact" which dominated both the Offices of Elections and the Second Order of Southern England, which delayed all attempts by Liberals to propose motions or conduct a serious debate. This was in exchange for sinecure and corrupt ceremonial positions across HM Government in Southern England, creating a "provincial aristocracy". Also, the constituencies for both Order and Parliamentary elections skewed to the South-East of the Province after an 1847 redistricting reduced Bristol to one MP and removed 18 seats from the West and transferred them to the South East, which caused outrage in Bristol, Southampton and the West. These areas moved Western Liberals towards Provincial Devolution to the West. They supported both Cornish and Western England Devolution but were in a minority within the Liberal Party. They drifted with the Peel Government over the no Political Reform movement but solidly supported Free Trade, with shipping cities and towns littered across the South West in favour of the increased trade coming into the ports.

Parliament was dissolved on the 18th January 1849, and elections were to be organised by the Provinces, so differing dates were scheduled. Northumbria would elect between 16th-20th March, Mercia would elect between 8th-12th April, London would elect 15th-19th April, Ireland 17th-21st April and Scotland. Wales & Southern England on 31st April-1st May. This meant the 1849 Parliament would be convened later, in May.

1849 Election, Great Britain, All Parties
Great BritainLeaderVotes%Total
LiberalRobert Peel175307832.6279
ConservativesBenjamin Disraeli95168917.7179
United Trades/WMJoshua Hobson89478716.637

The Results of the Election reaffirmed the Ministerial Majority of Robert Peel, with Nationalists supporting the Peel Ministry once again, with a reduced majority. The Election would mark the end of Irish dominance in politics - the 160 seats, allocated by the 1841 census, now massively overestimated the Irish electorate, but this would be changed in time for the 1852 Election, which would be based on the 1851 census and redistricting. Still, the Election result of the Nationalists in Ireland showed superb enthusiasm and support for the Irish Government, with Butt once again acting as Kingmaker to support the Peel Government. But some suggested that the Peel Ministry's non-intervention in the political reform sphere should be challenged by Butt, but Butt insisted that gradual reform was the better path, and the time for greater reforms would come when Ireland had a stronger economy and more stable society. He focused on control of the RIC, but Peel and Sir James Graham were resistant and frustrated further legislative independence for Ireland, which became a doctrine within the Order. Further reform was inevitable, but Peel chose to delay the debate. Butt agreed and thought that State building would strengthen the cause of full legislative independence within a federal union, something shared by a growing number of members within the Liberal Party, including the Provincial Acts author, William Gladstone. These "Liberal Federalists" would be one of many different subsects within the Liberal Coalition, with nonconformists, old Whigs, Commercialists and Capitalists, Economic Liberals, Moderate Democrats, Irish Nationalists, Western Provincial Liberals and Free Trade Tories. It was quite the Party. They were united by their support for the "reasonable" Peel Government, but they weren't a party at all in truth - Liberal Clubs were entirely independent and the vast number of multi-seat constituencies meant numerous factions ran against each other. But they supported Peel, and they supported Free Trade and Commerce and Economic renewal, especially after difficult economic times in the previous 10 years. The working-class began to further support the United Trades at the expense of the Democrats, and while the 15 members elected as Democrats would be joined by occasional fusion candidates, especially in London, their influence truly declined. The Crossbench was varied and represented the vast work any opposition would have to do to get Parliament on the side. Disraeli managed to convince the Unionists in Ulster to join his benches, bolstering their numbers to around 108. This was the Age of Liberalism, however, plain and simple. This age would continue, though it would morph somewhat with approaching events.

Robert Peel continued as Prime Minister and never resigned the post of Lord President of the Council, so resumed as such in the meeting of the next Parliament. Victoria introduced the new Executive Council to the Senate, and Peel continued this by naming the rest of his 32-man cabinet in the aftermath of the debate in the Commons, setting another convention, with a simple motion in support of confirming the appointments by the Crown to approve the whole cabinet, not just the Executive Council. This was carried, with 227 votes in favour to 130 votes against, with the majority of the Crossbench abstaining from the vote. He shuffled his pack somewhat, somewhat controversially moving Gladstone to Provincial Affairs (which caused his retreat from frontline politics over the next 8 years), while Lord John Russell, who resigned his post of Lord Mayor of London to fight in the election, was promoted to Home Secretary. But it was a cabinet structured from the Liberal-Conservative wing of the coalition, and Moderate Democrats, who meshed into the Liberals having accepted the Peel Government, were cast out to minor roles. One exception was the appointment of William Molesworth, the Radical, as Colonial Minister. Radicals elsewhere, Democrats, Provincialists and those from the Celtic Fringe began to feel alienated from the movement - but the lack of structured opposition from the left or right prevented either from taking over. Liberals had common desires to keep Conservatives out (to protect free trade) and to keep the Radical Left out, to preserve social order in a rapidly changing world. There was a larger shift in the debate away from political reform and economic reform respectively but to the worsening situation in Europe and Foreign Policy in general. While little attention had been paid to it, Foreign Policy would grow in importance in the next few decades. The Peel Cabinet would represent a new, engrained Liberal establishment, but New Liberals were emerging with differing ideas on democracy, foreign policy and economy. Such a diverse coalition could never hold together, nor would it.

6th Executive Council & Cabinet
Prime MinisterRobert PeelLiberal
Lord President of the Executive Council
Lord Vice President of the Privy Council
Keeper of the Great Seal
Leader of the House of Commons
Lord High ChancellorLord Senator BaringLiberal
Lord Vice President of the Privy Council
Lord President of the Judicial Council
Lord Speaker of the Senate
Lord Deputy Speaker of the SenateLord Senator Pollock
Lord Chief JusticeLord Senator CampbellIndependent
Lord Attorney GeneralLord Senator CockburnIndependent
Lord Solicitor GeneralLord Senator BethellIndependent
Leader of the SenateLord Senator Granville
Speaker of the House of CommonsCharles Shaw-LefevreLiberal/Whig
Lord Vice President of the Privy Council
Vice President of the Executive CouncilLord PalmerstonLiberal
Executive Minister for Foreign Affairs
Minister for Colonial AffairsWilliam MolesworthInd. Radical
Master General of the OrdnanceSir George GreyLiberal
President of the Board of ControlLord HardingeLiberal
Commissioner to the Board of ControlThomas BaringLiberal
Chancellor of the ExchequerSir Charles WoodLiberal
Chief Minister to the TreasurySir William HayterLiberal
Financial Minister to the TreasuryJames WilsonLiberal
Parliamentary Minister to the TreasuryRobert LoweInd. Liberal
President of the Commission for Public AuditRichard CobdenLiberal
Master of the Mint
Executive Minister for Home AffairsLord John RussellLiberal
Minister for Police AffairsWilliam CowperLiberal
Executive Minister for the Civil ServiceSir James GrahamLiberal
Paymaster GeneralGeorge Cornewall LewisLiberal
Postmaster GeneralViscount CanningLiberal
President of the Civil Service CommissionJoseph ParkesLiberal
Minister for the Executive CouncilMarquess of LansdowneLiberal
Executive Minister for WarEdward CardwellLiberal
First Lord of the Admiralty
First Lord of the Militias
First Lord Field MarshallFrederick AdamIndependent
Paymaster of the ForcesSir Robert PeelLiberal
Executive Minister for Provincial AffairsWilliam GladstoneLiberal
Lord President of the Provincial Council
Executive Minister for TradeLord StanleyLiberal
President of the Board of Trade
Commissioner of the Board of TradeJames MorrisonLiberal
Executive Minister for Public WorksSidney HerbertLiberal
Commissioner of the Board of Works

Order elections also took place in each of the Provinces, and they reaffirmed the different political courses that the Provinces were taking in the late 1840s. The farther North on the mainland, the more radical the provinces were, while Southern apathy and control over the process by the Conservative compacts on the South East meant little changed. Liberals did advance in Scotland, with Lord Hume having appointed the Liberal Lord Secretary of Scotland, George Campbell, promising to bring forward some kind of Trade Union reform through the Order. Nationalists were returned with a majority in the Irish Order, leading to Isaac Butt naming his Secretariat, or Undersecretaries and Government Roles that are now recognized as the first real Cabinet of Ireland, with Butt announcing the appointments to the order, and symbolically leading the debate for a motion expressing confidence in the appointments. He appointed Chichester Fortescue as Treasurer and convinced many talented men from across the country to join his cabinet, including the tremendously talented John Reynolds as Paymaster General. Butt maintained this hybrid, scientific and democratic approach to Government, as he felt that the new Government should operate as a meritocracy and promote well-deserving candidates. Butt contested cases of sinecure from the Lord Lieutenant and pursued corruption from within, claiming that it could "not be allowed to fester should Ireland wish to have a free Government". This would manifest itself in the suspension of three Democrats who profited from the allocation of private contracts and advised the removal of dozens of judges who were implicated in a corruption scandal for stealing county board funds that engulfed his previous aide John Elliot Cairnes. Butt recommended the abolition of 100 ceremonial payments and sinecure roles and wished to build a lean, efficient government that would be able to take on the significant challenges Ireland faced. Butt emphasised an expansionary monetary policy, using Public Works to build new railroads. Talbot-Baines remained as Chief Secretary of Northumbria and William Scholefield was appointed Chief Secretary of Mercia, who each set about building similar, informal responsible government around the legislation, rather than with it. Most Provincialists & Federalists accepted by 1849 that the Legislation was flawed and would need to be replaced, but the current political will within the Liberal Party for further reform was limited. These groups, mostly on the left, would have to wait their turn again, it would seem.

1st Secretariat of HM Government in Ireland, 1849
Chief Secretary of HM Government in Ireland, Deputy Leader of the Order, Keeper of the Irish Seal - Isaac Butt, Nationalist
Treasurer of the Irish Exchequer - Chichester Fortescue, Independent
Home Undersecretary - James McCann, Independent
Trade Undersecretary, President of the Irish Board of Trade - Mountifort Longfield, Independent
Relief Undersecretary, President of the Poor Law Board - James Patrick Mahon, Nationalist
Public Works Undersecretary - William Dargan, Independent
Public Health Undersecretary - Benjamin Whitworth, Nationalist
Attorney General - Sir George Bowyer, Nationalist
Paymaster General - John Reynolds, Independent

Peel sailed through the first year of his term with an increased Ministerial Majority. But he was the glue that kept the coalition together and slowly, it would begin to fall apart. Peel was set to introduce legislation to continue with the regulations in Railways, Banking and introduce significant efforts towards balancing the National Budget. The Budget from Sir William Wood was widely acclaimed as excellent, and the support he gained for it cemented the Liberal Government for, what seemed, a second consecutive Term under Peel. Peel was the man who broke from the Tories and joined the Liberals over Free Trade, and his Free Trade would bind the coalition through an expansion of the franchise and the splits in the Conservative camp, who were severely damaged by the electoral reform that was placed upon them in 1837. Peel emerged as the modern man, not vengeful of reform but accepting it as the will of Parliament. It was this difference in his Conservatism that led to his survival where, for instance, the Ultras did not. He founded the Conservative Party with a non-interventionalist policy in existing reforms but refusing to grant further reforms unless there was a dire need. Despite the upsurge in the violence of the Chartists in 1842 or the devastation of Ireland between 1846-1848, he still believed an economic reform programme was the key to securing a better place for the British Empire in the World. On his 1850 speech in the debate on the budget, he commended Wood's work on his second budget, having "brought an era of free enterprise and trade that will see the era of hunger end and prosperity begin". Britain avoided most of the revolutionary waves that were engulfing the continent in 1848, and continued on that path - political violence was down, engagement in the process was up and police arrests and deportations for sedition dramatically fell on the mainland (but not in Ireland, which will be discussed in the next Part). Peel had sealed himself as one of the great Prime Ministers, some would say the first real Prime Minister, having set so much of the convention for today. Also, three major parties that would have a significant bearing on the political future of Britain would point to him as their founder. Some could say a lot of British Politics that we know today originated with Peel. But good things don't always last forever, and all Ages in British Political Life in the early days seem to end with death. Peel would be that tragedy in this Age. On June 29th, 1850, while riding his horse, Peel would be killed, leaving the nation in mourning, the country without a Prime Minister, marking the end of the First Age of Liberalism and hastening the conflict and division of the coming Second Age of Liberalism.

This version is more realistic, with the colonial affair under radical control will we see changes in nonwhite dominion like India? Will it be more radical than what we can see in Northan England?

Did they put Slavery on the back burner? And how is the events of Britain perceived on the continent and America, what effects are they having?
This version is more realistic, with the colonial affair under radical control will we see changes in nonwhite dominion like India? Will it be more radical than what we can see in Northan England?
In all likelihood, it's probably going to be quite similar in India until the Sepoy Rebellion in 57 - this will be in a period where Foreign Affairs and Colonial Affairs are paramount the substance of the update will be more foreign policy focused

Did they put Slavery on the back burner? And how is the events of Britain perceived on the continent and America, what effects are they having?

I thought I had mentioned the Slavery Abolition Act, but it seems I've missed it out - ITL, the Slavery Abolition Act is still passed in 1833.
Just a brief exert from the work I'm doing at the minute... won't be too long now... (this is the introduction to the next part to be posted)


Joseph Chamberlain stood upon the dispatch box on last time. He was aware, he said to Charles Dilke in 1874, his future Leader of the Senate, "the Britons will not adore me forever", just after he was first appointed as Prime Minister. How right he was. He, of course, wouldn't admit it was his last time, but all who gathered in the chamber, and the throngs who packed the viewing gallery, had booked an appointment expecting a funeral. He grasped his monocle, inhaled, and spoke. The Mood in the country had changed, and his last roll of the dice had failed. He lived and died by the people's will, and even though he believed that he continue to serve, even those on his government benches had smelt the decay. His opposite, Henry Campbell-Bannerman, was not in an ecstatic, nor did he gloat in any way. In a sense, everyone but him knew he had misjudged the Commons, the States and his Executive Council.

"You will excuse me, Mr Speaker, if I am a little out of practice. I have returned from South Africa in my service to this nation, but I am bound to say that my disciplines for the service and respect to this chamber are a little rusty. As the Member for Dublin, who issued a Private Members Bill on provisions for Educations for the States, and the Member for Chelsea who introduced the Temperance Options Bill, and the Member for Manchester who introduced the Local Finance Bill, I say this. These things may matter to you and your constituents, as the happiness and wellbeing of the people in these matters in South Africa, Canada and Australia would require the same interrogation and debate. But their concerns matter not to you, and yours concerns matter not to them. I compel this House to turn the debate to the Bill I present to you today, which concerns our Imperial Policy, and I would say Mr Speaker, that everything which affects their interests as well as yours, has for them, as it ought to have for us, a supreme importance. Our Imperial policy is vital to them and vital to us. Upon that Imperial Policy, and upon what could be done today, depends that the tremendous issue whether this great Empire of ours is to stand together, one free nation, if necessary against all the world, or whether it is to fall apart, as some threaten in house to break our Union of States apart. To fall into selfishness, with the common weal falling into the distance of view. I believe this Bill, Mr Speaker, may bring us the ever perfect union that we could now seek."
Just a brief exert from the work I'm doing at the minute... won't be too long now... (this is the introduction to the next part to be posted)


Joseph Chamberlain stood upon the dispatch box on last time. He was aware, he said to Charles Dilke in 1874, his future Leader of the Senate, "the Britons will not adore me forever", just after he was first appointed as Prime Minister. How right he was. He, of course, wouldn't admit it was his last time, but all who gathered in the chamber, and the throngs who packed the viewing gallery, had booked an appointment expecting a funeral. He grasped his monocle, inhaled, and spoke. The Mood in the country had changed, and his last roll of the dice had failed. He lived and died by the people's will, and even though he believed that he continue to serve, even those on his government benches had smelt the decay. His opposite, Henry Campbell-Bannerman, was not in an ecstatic, nor did he gloat in any way. In a sense, everyone but him knew he had misjudged the Commons, the States and his Executive Council.

"You will excuse me, Mr Speaker, if I am a little out of practice. I have returned from South Africa in my service to this nation, but I am bound to say that my disciplines for the service and respect to this chamber are a little rusty. As the Member for Dublin, who issued a Private Members Bill on provisions for Educations for the States, and the Member for Chelsea who introduced the Temperance Options Bill, and the Member for Manchester who introduced the Local Finance Bill, I say this. These things may matter to you and your constituents, as the happiness and wellbeing of the people in these matters in South Africa, Canada and Australia would require the same interrogation and debate. But their concerns matter not to you, and yours concerns matter not to them. I compel this House to turn the debate to the Bill I present to you today, which concerns our Imperial Policy, and I would say Mr Speaker, that everything which affects their interests as well as yours, has for them, as it ought to have for us, a supreme importance. Our Imperial policy is vital to them and vital to us. Upon that Imperial Policy, and upon what could be done today, depends that the tremendous issue whether this great Empire of ours is to stand together, one free nation, if necessary against all the world, or whether it is to fall apart, as some threaten in house to break our Union of States apart. To fall into selfishness, with the common weal falling into the distance of view. I believe this Bill, Mr Speaker, may bring us the ever perfect union that we could now seek."
Any reason why India not mentioned?
Just a brief exert from the work I'm doing at the minute... won't be too long now... (this is the introduction to the next part to be posted)


Joseph Chamberlain stood upon the dispatch box on last time. He was aware, he said to Charles Dilke in 1874, his future Leader of the Senate, "the Britons will not adore me forever", just after he was first appointed as Prime Minister. How right he was. He, of course, wouldn't admit it was his last time, but all who gathered in the chamber, and the throngs who packed the viewing gallery, had booked an appointment expecting a funeral. He grasped his monocle, inhaled, and spoke. The Mood in the country had changed, and his last roll of the dice had failed. He lived and died by the people's will, and even though he believed that he continue to serve, even those on his government benches had smelt the decay. His opposite, Henry Campbell-Bannerman, was not in an ecstatic, nor did he gloat in any way. In a sense, everyone but him knew he had misjudged the Commons, the States and his Executive Council.

"You will excuse me, Mr Speaker, if I am a little out of practice. I have returned from South Africa in my service to this nation, but I am bound to say that my disciplines for the service and respect to this chamber are a little rusty. As the Member for Dublin, who issued a Private Members Bill on provisions for Educations for the States, and the Member for Chelsea who introduced the Temperance Options Bill, and the Member for Manchester who introduced the Local Finance Bill, I say this. These things may matter to you and your constituents, as the happiness and wellbeing of the people in these matters in South Africa, Canada and Australia would require the same interrogation and debate. But their concerns matter not to you, and yours concerns matter not to them. I compel this House to turn the debate to the Bill I present to you today, which concerns our Imperial Policy, and I would say Mr Speaker, that everything which affects their interests as well as yours, has for them, as it ought to have for us, a supreme importance. Our Imperial policy is vital to them and vital to us. Upon that Imperial Policy, and upon what could be done today, depends that the tremendous issue whether this great Empire of ours is to stand together, one free nation, if necessary against all the world, or whether it is to fall apart, as some threaten in house to break our Union of States apart. To fall into selfishness, with the common weal falling into the distance of view. I believe this Bill, Mr Speaker, may bring us the ever perfect union that we could now seek."
Is this an Imperial Federation?