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

Part 3, Chapter I
III, I: The National Party

Lord Palmerston, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1853-1865, First Leader of the National Party

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 continued 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 your 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, 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 the house to break our Union of States apart. To fall into selfishness, with the commonweal falling into the distance of view. I believe this Bill, Mr Speaker, may bring us the ever perfect union that we could now seek."

He would lose the vote. He would, the next night, after an 18-hour debate, lose a motion of no confidence that would once again split the party he led in two. Then, he would attempt to bend his own rules and seek a double dissolution of a Parliament he created. 1903 was a real rollercoaster for him. It also brought the end of a quite extraordinary period of political domination by a man whom it seemed had a spell on the people of this island. He shape-shifted, he always arrived with a new gang, but he wouldn't be able to beat this one. When he entered the public consciousness in 1869, few would have predicted his impact on the Empire he adored, but it was exit stage left for Chamberlain, who burned one too many bridges in his time in Number 10. Watching amongst the crowds was his son, Premier of Mercia, Austen Chamberlain who would soon come to dominate the landscape of British Politics the way he had done. His allies, Randolph Churchill, Senator Hartington, Arthur Balfour would stand by him but Britain wouldn't. Britain would go to the polls after Chamberlain sought a rare double dissolution of Parliament - something he had only done once before since he first became Prime Minister, some 29 years prior. Many believed now that he had personally profited from a war in South Africa, an accusation he vehemently denied, but the criticism that he had managed to deflect his entire career simply couldn't be ignored any further. Socialists now openly demanded his resignation, Irish Republican Trade Unions threatened a general strike and many were refusing conscription for service to South Africa. Many in the House were simply amazed that he had not understood the mood of the public. A faint cry could even be heard of crowds outside the Chamber, held off by Metropolitan Police baying for the Prime Minister's blood. Chamberlain heard the cries, and in all of this he later told Austen, he could only remember his first Radical meeting in Birmingham, in 1864.

Chamberlain had attended the meeting on the recommendation of his Unitarian Minister, as they were advocating against the National Government's plan for policing. The Second Liberal Era, epitomised by the National Party and its progress had given that word, "Liberal", no meaning at all to be perfectly honest, as the various factions in Parliament melted into the National Party soon after the formation of the Palmerston Government. Irish Nationalists, who advocated the continuation of the Order system, an Irish Tory, presented the only real opposition in Parliament, other than a few token Labour and Independent candidates allowed through the Registrars claws - usually after a lengthy High Court case. When Disraeli accepted the position of Chancellor in the Palmerston Government, the Liberal-Conservatives meshed with the Whigs and the Economic Liberals to form a new Liberal-Tory Party, which sealed off political reform and pursued fierce economic reform, uniting the middle and upper classes together. There hadn't been a national opposition movement or party for some time, since the 1852 election, but the feeling of Palmerston's mortality had awoken a desire for change. In London in 1864, the Progressives, a coalition of Social Reformers and Trade Unions, had won control of the Order and began to propose policies to the Governor like a ten-hour day for Metropolis staff, free education and cheaper transport, they found themselves dissolved. The dissolution and subsequent suspension of the Order had brought Chamberlain out. As a businessman in the city, known as the "Screw King" but more importantly as a Unitarian, the state of the territories streets and alleyways, slums and smog-stained roads concerned him and he wished to do something about it. He also believed that the Orders, the sole victory of the Democrats from the Reformist Ascendency, were the sole body able to implement free education to all - something that was, at this stage, his primary goal. The National Government's failure to intervene on this matter, leaving education to individual churches and charitable organisations and most importantly the Orders, was just one of the many grievances a new generation began to express during the latter years of Palmerston's reign and Chamberlain was just one of several influential people growing unenthused for the one true doctrine of Liberalism. A greater tendency to utilise Parliamentary Supremacy, and a vice-like grip on the Senate and a compliant party regime of Registrars, Executive Council and Cabinet members, Lords, Lords Senators and Lord Senators-to-be (wink, wink), meant that the spoils system was truly rampant from the period of Aberdeen's departure and the formation of Palmerston's first Ministry. This renewed sinecure, this rampant waste and the vicious repercussions of Crimean and the Raj meant there was a renewed appetite for Radicalism in the country. Radicalism had been pushed to the edges of power since Duncombe's disastrous campaign as Prime Minister, and to understand their rise of power and Chamberlain's rise alongside it, you must go back to the day that Robert Peel, Prime Minister, was killed in an accident.

After Peel's death, Lord Senator Aberdeen was approached by the Queen to form a new Executive Council and Cabinet, which he accepted with glee, resigning his seat in the Senate and taking up a seat in the Commons to adhere to conventions. Discussions about his cabinet saw Lord Senator Russell become Foreign Minister as Lord Senator Grey, who was to become Chancellor of the Exchequer wouldn't serve in the cabinet if Palmerston was made Foreign Minister. Palmerston was compensated with a role at the head of the Home Office, however. Palmerston had dominated Foreign Policy, quietly and decisively holding the Foreign Office in his grasp during many of the unstable 1830s and 1840s - dominating the Foreign Policy landscape with Peel taking a more active affair in the domestic scene. Just before Peel's death, Palmerston had been embroiled in an affair in which he had nearly started a war with Greece over a British subject, Don Pacifico - annoying fellow European powers Russia and France, who shared protectorate status, with Britain, for Greece. The Liberal Grandees of the Senate, where Palmerston sat and where the majority of foreign affairs was discussed, presented a motion to the chamber:

That, while the House fully recognizes the right and duty of the Government to secure to Her Majesty's subjects residing in foreign states the full protection of the laws of those states, it regrets to find, by the correspondence recently laid upon the table by Her Majesty's command, that various claims against the Greek government, doubtful in point of justice or exaggerated in amount, have been enforced by coercive measures directed against the commerce and people of Greece, and calculated to endanger the continuance of our friendly relations with other powers.

These grandees, Grey and Russell included, passed the motion, considered a slap on the knuckles for nearly plunging Britain into a conflict. Palmerston, however, was unmoved and John Arthur Roebuck, an opposition member from the Radicals proposed a counter-motion vindicating him. In this all-night debate, Palmerston spoke for five hours, defining the rights of the Roman Citizen to walk around the world unharmed, and the principle applying to all British subjects. He won the debate and won over Gladstone and Peel in the process. He was assured of his ascendency that would see his foreign policy enclave continue unabridged. But then tragedy struck, Peel was dead, and his replacement was heavily influenced by the Liberal Clique in the Senate to shake things up, and move Palmerston to the Home Office after his embarrassment in the Ionian Islands. Moving Palmerston would help usher in a new period in less confrontational, and fundamentally more liberal foreign policy. But this insistence on stability and accountability in the foreign office was not for the time. The Don Pacifico Affair had been the beginning of a new, more confrontational period on foreign policy brought on by a wave of revolutions in 1848. These toppled the regime in France, where the Monarchy was abolished and Prince-President Louis Napoleon ruled the Second French Republic. Prince Metternich's iron grip over European Diplomacy was ended and German Unification was attempted and then aborted at the Frankfurt Parliament - Radicals were disenfranchised and disappointed by the lost dreams of a generation, much as those in 1842 in Britain were disenfranchised by the gains made over the previous decades. While the famine directed much of the attention away, and with the Young Irelander Insurrection being the only minor skirmish on British soil, the factors that led to the revolutions in Europe were not missing from the Islands. Revolutionary pressure had been spent through 1832 and 1842, and the General Strikes aftermath was to see further recrimination for Trade Unionism. Church and state piled weight behind anti-Unionism, and just as with radicalism and reformism in the 1830s, Catholics and Nonconformists were once again bore the brunt for the blame of Trade Unionism, as Unitarians and Catholics provided much of playbook for organising power and formed a significant proportion of its leadership - movements like the Cooperative Movement were similarly frowned upon. As Liberalism meant a divorce of the Church from economic and political matters, the retention of the churches pressure in social matters proved a useful tool for the Palmerstonian Ministers in this time and especially during Gladstone's rule in the latter stages of the dominance. The dual forces of Duncombe's Government and Peel's Government had meant that anti-Radicalism had overtaken traditional City & Country, King & Parliament divides within British Politics. Most adhered to Free Trade, most accepted Universal Suffrage and most understood the need for Britain to be a presence, but not a hindrance, on the European Concert of Power. Economic modernisation and progress was the primary goal for the nation, through the Church of Free Trade. This was guarded by a fiercely non-interventionist Senate, which differed from the House in several ways, but most notably in that its composition was older, and more affected by the Napoleonic conflict and its aftermath - it guided foreign policy (and indeed contained the main military personnel at that time) and with the House dealing with less domestic policy and more foreign affairs, Aberdeen thought that Palmerston's abrasive style would alienate the Upper House, while Russell was a known moderate and would be more in tune with the Senates composition.

But when a crisis developed in Crimea, brought on by the Russians attempted intervention in the Ottoman Empire, Aberdeen and Russell's command of the diplomatic situation that ensued curtailed the legitimacy of his Government and very quickly Palmerston began to intervene in debates in the Senate about the issue advocating for more decisive action, and when he began to be supported by the House, tense talks about the Government's handling of the crisis after the invasion of the Danubian Principalities by Russia, where British and French soldiers could only watch as the Russians rolled over the territory, brought the issue of Aberdeen's competence, and the competence of the Government to run the affairs of the War. That, combined with a series of damning articles in the Press, lead to Disraeli, forming the last of the Tory opposition mustering 130 or so, mostly Ulster Unionists opposed to Butt's administration, put together enough support in the Commons to force a motion of no confidence in 1853, under a year since the Liberals were returned with nearly two-thirds of the seats in the House. The Liberals in the Commons, who wanted greater action and now, had broken with the Senate, non-interventionalist Liberals who wanted the war to be contained and supported Russell. Rather than risk another General Election, Victoria decided to appoint just about every but Palmerston as Prime Minister before relenting and asking him to nominate an Executive Council he made himself, much to the displeasure of Victoria Foreign Minister as well. He was briefed with forming an all-Parliamentary cabinet by Victoria, who distrusted factionalism in the Parliament, so he approached Benjamin Disraeli, leader of the Tories in the Commons, to join as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Gladstone, who didn't trust Disraeli, withdrew his name from consideration and grew increasingly bitter against Disraeli. The Conservatives, as was under Disraeli, then ceased to be. The agricultural elements, mostly in the Senate, and most who didn't agree with the Palmerston Government from the right were considered "True" Tories, but these were few in number and led by Derby, who was purposefully excluded from the Coalition by Palmerston for his opposition to Free Trade, who wanted to confine the Executive Council to just Disraeli not to include these "True" Tories from the Senate. Palmerston referred to the government as an "all-Party Government" rather than the Liberal Government to acknowledge the input of the former Liberal-Conservatives, Conservatives and even Radicals, with William Molesworth, former Foreign Minister, returned to cabinet. Palmerston named a smaller war cabinet made of his Executive Councillors, and attempted to build a consensus amongst the varying factions in Parliament by promoting the former leader of the Conservatives and their Leader in the Senate, Earl Derby and Disraeli, into his Executive Council of 7 men, with John Russell returned as Home Minister and Earl Senator Lincoln, who was Minister for War, but Derby refused. Another lexicon change occurred also, with Palmerston naming his Executive Council ministers as "Secretaries of State" to distinguish them from non-Executive Ministers. Therefore, the Secretary of State, an older fashioned term associated with the pre-Parliament Act lexicon became the by-word for Executive Minister.

7th Executive Council
President of the Council, Prime Minister, Secretary of State for the Foreign Office, Leader of the Senate - Lord Senator Palmerston, Whig
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Leader of the House - Benjamin Disraeli, Liberal-Tory
Vice President of the Council - Lord Senator Hartington, Whig
Secretary of State for War Office - Earl Senator Lincoln, Liberal-Tory
Secretary of State for the Home Office - Lord Senator John Russell, Liberal-Tory
Secretary of State for the Colonies - Sir William Molesworth, Independent Radical
President of the Board of Trade - Lord Senator Granville, Liberal-Tory

The result was a disaster for the Peelite nucleus of the Liberal party in the Commons since Peel's second period as Prime Minister advocating for for a new technocratic and economically liberal future for the country. Peace and reform was no match for a conflict over religion and the technocratic government of Aberdeen was ill-prepared for the war and the faction as a whole took the brunt of the criticism of its poor planning and execution was directed at the "Friends of Peel" at the heart of the Liberal government. Palmerston's decision to include the former protectionist Tories was only made possible by Disraeli's admission to the Commons in 1852 that the Tory policy had now accepted Free Trade - Peelites, especially Gladstone, didn't accept that they had accepted Free Trade and many were still seething from the personal insults thrown during the Free Trade debates. This led to many of the Peelites moving into roles in Provincial Administrations. In March 1854, George Campbell would accept the offer to become Lord Secretary of HM Government in Scotland (HMGIS), fulfilling the role for three years, in a period he described as characterised in his diaries as 'a blissful vacation from all the shouting'. Sidney Herbert accepted a role in the Metropolitan Government as Treasurer and undertook a transformation in the capital's finances, even so much as a hearing, through gritted teeth, Disraeli praising his work in April 1859 when he left.

But the most famous example was, of course, William Gladstone, who in his fume at the appointment of Disraeli accepted the role of Chief Secretary to the Governor of Northumbria, Lord Brougham, leading the Northumbrian Order. He replaced with understated Matthew Talbot Baines and even said upon his appointment that he "considered the role a brief sojourn until he was removed from the Treasury" - no need to describe who 'he' was referring to, but his stay would indeed be longer, keeping him here for the best part of two and a half years, and he would return to the North later in his career, but would always keep his seat of South Lancashire. He also accepted the treasury role, to enable the construction of a sound financial footing for the Province, and in true Gladstonian style, also accepted the Presidencies of the Northumbrian Boards of Trade and Education - it was here that he intended to have the most effect. The Province was in decent shape but had a reputation for 'politicking' down South, a pejorative term for 'soft' practices by Brougham, such as allowing all who wanted to stand to be on the ballot. This had led to the unseemly sight for many in Westminster of workers in the Northumbrian Order, and indeed in the First Order, many of the appointed members refused to attend due to having to share the assembly with the workers. The First Order were mainly drawn from the Local Lords, miffed that the House had been abolished and they could only meddle in the affairs of Education and Poor Reform and not Church and State, held a misery view of the process and despite provision being made for a quorum of both elements of both Orders in the original act, it was quietly abolished due to the low attendance in a series of provincial reforms in early 1850 after a Senate report. As Gladstone's legislation, he admitted a great disappointment at seeing the boards, which were designed to be a fine balance between the aristocracy, the middle-class and the commons, with the First and Second Order, so “miserably empty”. Brougham's strict adherence to universal candidacy and suffrage meant that the United Trades controlled a significant number of seats, and Joshua Hobson, the Speaker of the Order, was generally in opposition to the undemocratic nature of the acts. This brought him in direct competition with the author of the Acts. Gladstone wrote, "the newspapers here in York, especially the Herald and General Advertiser, makes it seem that there if a dual set between myself and the Honourable Speaker of the Order, I was unaware of the bad feeling for which I had perambulated, and was equally unaware of the strong feelings the politicians within the Order, and the wider community had in its dealings and the scrutiny of the Administration in the Province." Newspapers in the Northern cities were amongst the freest in the Kingdom, with Courts hamstrung by personal interventions by the Governor in numerous Provincial hearings, including a series before the 1842 General Strike on Northern Star journalists, gossip and unsubstantiated stories would often plague much of the "gutter press", primarily in poorer cities, due to an almost complete absence of censorship.

It was here that he would set about his reformist zeal. He approached the Speaker, Joshua Hobson, and proposed debates on Education and Health Legislation, with the Elementary Education (Northumbria) Ordinance. He proposed that every County make a register of the schooling provision to monitor shortfalls in the places available. If shortfalls occurred, then a School Board would be created for the County Authority with the ability to grant funds from the public purse, managed by a 'provincial rate' paid by businesses, split between Counties and the Provinces/States, and a block grant to the Provincial Authorities, managed from the Treasury. The plan was due to cost more than the Northumbrian Treasury would receive that year, so Gladstone would have to request additional funds from the Chancellor, Disraeli. He would simply not do this, so envisioned a scheme to encourage industrialists and business owners to fund schooling. He allowed expenditure on private education to be deducted from rates to fund the project. A smaller proportion of the Northumbrian budget would be spent on Education, as private businesses were encouraged to invest in local education. This contribution system worked well into the 1860s, and with the Institutions created by Brougham in the 1840s, meant that Northumbrian school children were educated at an extremely high rate. This was made possible by support from the United Trades block, which Joseph Hobson had managed to position, through the Order, as a position of influence. While the idea of Hobson was to have the Orders gradually transform into a State Legislature of sorts, headed by an Executive Council whose advice the Governor was bound to act upon, including the use of the Police (reserved for the Governor) and the passage of Ordinances. Hobson would continue to advocate throughout his career, but he formally endorsed Gladstone in 1853. Hobson's endorsement of the marked the end of the United Trades movement, which began to support the administration of Gladstone. Brougham, Talbot-Baines and now Gladstone all believed that the Orders were for the process of raising issues, providing non-binding advice and approving a budget, which was considered a convention after the Budget Crisis in the plenary session. Gladstone understood, however, the growing influence of public support, and with United Trades candidates being elected in droves in industrial areas on County Councils, especially in West Yorkshire, and the movement spreading to Wales and Mercia, that co-opting these trade organisations would bring large support amongst Industrial workers, who were a growing part of the electorate. By 1853, economic structural change was occurring in the British Isles, and labour was moving from agriculture to industry, with the combined weight of the gradual transformation of industry in Britain since the late 1790s to an industrialised model and vast improvements in efficiency in agriculture, meant labour was bound to come across. Urban male workers accounted for 15% of the population nationally but hadn't unified under a single political movement since Thomas Duncombe, except in Northumbria, where the number was 23%, with pro-Trade Union workers on the docks in Liverpool, Manufacturing Plants in Manchester, Shipbuilding in Newcastle and Heavy Woollen Mills in West Yorkshire alike beginning to unify under one political faction. Gladstone feared the presence of another class-based party and was well aware of the history of non-compliance in the past. Lord Governor Brougham had shielded the Province from much mire in Westminster, where he was repeatedly called in front of the Senate Select Committee for the attendance of these organisations, described by one MP as "Spencean in Nature", in the governing process. Brougham understood the need to maintain rights that the people in the region had fought for in 1831 and again in 1842, and disrupting the political system, or cracking down on political crimes could light another fuse. Most incurred him to use his seizure of candidature powers, which could strike a candidate off the ballot, but he repeatedly refused.

Gladstone's time in Northumbria from 1853-57 allowed him to develop a differing strategy from Palmerston's worldview. To understand the difference is to see the company kept in this time. Palmerston shifted the political compass and drew in talent from all over. Disraeli considered him the Leader of the Conservative Party, the heir to Peel, finally uniting the Whigs, like Russell and traditional Tories like Derby, who was appointed President of the Board of Control in 1853, but they were united in ending the instability caused by the arrival of the Radicals, who were significantly smaller and only occupied anywhere from 45-50 seats in each Parliament, and were behind the total posted by the Irish Nationalists. From the inside, it was political bliss and the 'truce' became part of the common lexicon of the Parliament. This truce between Traditional Whig and Traditional Tory was held together by an insistence at the control of the Government for a coalition of the wealthy interests of the nation, a lack of desire for further political reform and an understanding that further political reform would be equated with Republicanism, and an adherence to free trade, although Palmerston, for the benefit of his Tory Ministers, put the issue to the backburner after Disraeli had accepted the principle of Free Trade on behalf of the Conservatives in 1852. While this didn't quell protectionist interests, the issue wasn't raised again in Parliament until... we'll get to that. As I said early, after 1852, both the Conservatives and the Whigs viewed Palmerston as their own, at worst half and half, and after Disraeli accepted the position in the cabinet, both the Tories and Whigs considered Palmerston their leader. While I've exclusively referred to the Palmerstonian Party as 'Liberal' as that was the party of Peel, the Liberal party in Parliament was in opposition to the Tory/Conservative party in the Commons and Senate. For this 'Liberal' party, that is not the case. A.J.P Taylor refers to the group of MPs and Senators that surrounded Palmerston in this time to be the 'Liberal-Tories' or 'Whig-Tories' - a mesh of both political belief systems. Palmerston was not a true liberal in the outright sense of the word, although he did have Liberal tendencies, and his cabinet was not liberal outside of the constraints of its adherence to free trade and economic liberalism, although it did have some Liberal ministers, like Molesworth, who would remain in the coalition for now. This coalition between the Commercial Class and Aristocracy protected their interests from the perceived threat of the working classes, especially in the aftermath of the turbulent 1840s. Gladstone however had begun to see the utility of the working man - 'Pam' as Palmerston would come to be known, would learn the ways of the common man himself: he won six general elections - the last not long before his death, and unified factions and working-class support in a similar fashion to Peel, but Palmerston would use Foreign Policy and Patriotism to further his cause, while Gladstone would use domestic policy. Further to this, Palmerston's Premiership was divided into two equally important sections; an initial period focusing on foreign policy (1852-1860), which was successful and a later period of domestic policy (1860-1865) which sowed division after his death.

His first period was characterised by the conflict that brought him to power - the Crimean War. Foreign Policy defined his time as Prime Minister, with the rush to isolate the Russian Bear setting the tone for later strategic decisions. The spectre of Russophobia had whipped Britain into a sense of duty to stop the advance from the East. It was not concerned with its weak naval power, but its strong standing army and the mass of Russian soldiers as a force, whipped up by expanding press, meant support for Palmerston's strong will for the war was solid. The perception of the slow decline of the Ottoman Empire, and the need to stem Russian expansion into the East fuelled British interest in the conflict. It drew them into an alliance with the ascendant Napoleon III in France, whom the British were equally mistrustful as the Russians, especially in regards to their vast military advancements in such a short time under the namesake of the last Frenchmen to arm so readily and play power politics so freely, and the Sardinians, who had empirical aspirations of their own, looking to unify the Italian peninsular. While the war was eventually fought out to a bloody yet satisfying victory for the allies, who stopped the Russian bear from overreaching into the Near East, it was the largest war the continent had faced since the Napoleonic Wars, and perhaps Russia's greatest hurt was caused by the failure of Austria, it's a long-term ally, to come to its rescue - intervening on the side of the Allies. This would not be forgotten. Palmerston's early period in office would be defined by the Crimean War, a war inherited and badly prepared for by the Aberdeen administration, who lacked the know-how that Palmerston would have brought to proceedings. He readily used this to his advantage. With the war still raging, Palmerston even managed to delay the dissolution of Parliament to continue the effort, waiting a full two years, by repealing the clauses of the Parliament Act and allowing a majority vote in favour of extension 'in times of crisis. In March 1856, however, a treaty was signed. The very little territory had been handed over, the Danubian Principalities were nominally returned to the Ottomans, but were in practice independent. The Great Powers secured the integrity of the Ottoman Empire also. The Treaty of Paris would lie the blame at Russia's feet - but in practice, Austria would lose out from the next 15 years of diplomacy. Much was lost, little was gained.

Despite the strategic victory, British opinion on the war was outraged. A cultural anti-war movement grew in Britain against the conflict, fuelling a fierce anti-war movement that centred around the largest press contingent ever sent to a conflict. Stories about the incompetent running of the War, the uncleanliness of the hospitals, which propelled Florence Nightingale to the fore of the public attention through her campaign to be allowed to travel to the British Army camps to improve conditions. Newspapers such as The Times would run pages and pages on battle reports, particularly the bloody Battle of Balaclava in 1854, when catastrophic commanding miscommunications between Lord Senator Raglan and Lord Lucan, in charge of Light Brigade, led to massive losses, with only 190 of the 670 men surviving as they attacked to collect guns that weren't there. The Charge of the Light Brigade became a part of the lore of the Crimean War and its aftermath. William Howard Russell of The Times was scathing in his criticism: "Our Light Brigade was annihilated by their rashness, and by the brutality of a ferocious enemy". The nature of the press meant that news drip-fed to the masses, with nearly a month between the battle and the controversy at home. Palmerston palmed the criticism to Aberdeen, who sent the country into war when unprepared. Not everyone was convinced. Russell would write later: "our only call is for REINFORCEMENTS, no matter how the Executive Council and Cabinet decides on the matters, or considers the problem solved now the Premier has changed. Not a day not an hour, should be lost in compensating for this delay by the most vigourous and energetic action. We must not hope for 16,000, or even 20,000 men that the PREMIER and LORD RAGLAN seemed so arduous that he was not to leave a single combatant behind." Despite this clamour, Palmerston's desire and drive to win the war, combined with a hostile Russophobia in the press, led to fierce support for Palmerston's policy. After the invasion of the Danubian territories, Aberdeen had spent his political capital and the rule of the Liberal Senators would be replaced with a rule led by a Senator (Palmerston would join the Commons in 1854 after a search to find a seat) but represented by Disraeli in the Commons, signalling a key change away from the non-interventionist line of the Liberals in the Senate. Disraeli felt that Empire was the way to secure the prosperity of the country as a whole. Despite this assumption, there was noted a sea-change in the public perception of war, diminishing the glorious nature of the battle and coming to terms with the realism of war and the brutality of the conflict. Nightengale, Russell and co, who covered and brought public attention to the war, brought with it a new distaste for the gorier details of conflict: disease, brutality and death formed the greatest part of this conflict for the first time. While Palmerston and (to a lesser extent) Disraeli were popular with the voters, the mood did change in the Election of 1856.

This election was possibly the first 'khaki election', with the voters polling just a month after the signing of the Treaty of Paris. Palmerston's unifying government and his overwhelming popularity in the Commons led to his grouping, which included such diverse figures as Disraeli, Molesworth, Russell and Granville, spanning the political divide had transformed the nature of Parliamentary politics. While he used the term All-Party before the election, during the election use of the terms "Centre" or "National" began to circulate into the lexicon more aggressively around candidates in support of Pam's ministry. Palmerston represented the Centre of British Politics at the time, and to his right, bitter and beaten Tories and to his left, bitter and beaten Radicals both watched as he swayed masses upon masses to his government. Palmerston also got supremely lucky. With the election scheduled for early November, Palmerston was allowed to show the cleavage between him and his opponents to the voters. In October, the Chinese seized a British ship with a Chinese crew. Harry Peakes, the Cantonese British Consul, was irked by the tearing down of the Union Jack from the ship despite the ship being unregistered. Peakes argued this was an overstepping of boundaries, the tearing down of the flag was disrespectful and deserved retribution - which was delivered with an attack on the Chinese Commissioner, Ye Mingchen's palace and the surrounding area. Ye retaliated, launching a campaign against British ships. This came in the middle of tensions around the Opium Wars, and Palmerston's policy of protecting British interests at all costs, meant to the surprise of nearly all in the chamber, most notably Disraeli, he voiced his support for Peakes but lost a censure motion after a furious backlash from the more non-interventionist Government supporting MPs, especially in the formerly Moderates who were the most non-interventionalist members in the coalition. The small numbers of Tories voted with the Government, with a near-uniform Imperialist resolve. Palmerston realised a rightward shift, expelling the left of his coalition, would be best to secure a more resilient majority. So Palmerston made in his defence of Peakes in a particular tone - he insinuated that "anti-English feelings" contributed to opposition to the actions of Peakes - making nationalism the key divisional point between the two camps.

1856 Election Results
Pro-Administration (Palmerstonian) 376 (+95)
Whigs/Liberals 252
Liberal-Tory 124
Anti-Administration 239 (-95)
Tory 68 (-99)
Radicals 94 (+34)*
Irish Nationalists 59 (-27)
Confederates 11 (-2)
Working Man's 8
Crossbench 36 (+19)
Independents 36 (+19)

In the election itself, and while Pam had called the mood of the electorate, more so than the anti-Peakes camp, the opposition to the so-called "gunboat diplomacy" that characterised Palmerston's foreign policy (throughout his career in the Foreign Office from 1832) coalesced into a revival for Radicalism on both of the traditional camps, Whig and Tory. Members on the left and right began to drift to a measured radical revival. While in 1857 they would fall supremely short of a majority and there was large support for Pam's policies, Radicals gained alongside Pam's grouping, with the Liberal party completely replaced by the National Government's supporters. In Ireland, supporters of Palmerston's government made gains at the expense of both traditional Tories and Irish Nationalist seats, despite Butt's continued popularity as Irish Chief Secretary. While the results are hard to quantify, as with many of the elections after 1846, the majority was clearly in favour of Palmerston's Government. Palmerston's lieutenants, Grenville and Disraeli, disliked each other immensely but were united in their pursuit of forming a more solid infrastructure in the Commons for the overwhelming support for Palmerston's Government. Most importantly, on the advice of Disraeli, Palmerston resigned his seat in the Senate (he was due to be rotated regardless) and take up a seat in the Commons. Disraeli and Grenville organised a meeting three days after the election on 12th November 1856 at the Willis Rooms, St James Street to gather supporters of the Administration. A London Times report spoke of the contents of the meeting;

Whigs, Tories meet to support the candidacy of Palmerston as Premier

A meeting of the Government's supporters was held yesterday afternoon at Willis's Rooms and was attended by 315 gentlemen, representing the various sections of that party. The proceedings were opened by Lord Palmerston, who observed that the issue upon which Her Majesty's Government had dissolved Parliament was not the question of Reform, or any other matter of legislation, but simply and solely whether they possessed the confidence of the country. He believed that the election had given a conclusive answer to that question and that it was the business of the National party to determine whether or not to accept the challenge which had been given them. He believed it more manly, more straightforward course to do so and briefly sketched out the terms of the proposed programme for gaining renewed confidence in the present Government, which he stated that Mr Disraeli and Mr Hanbury were respectfully willing to propose and second, should the meeting deem it advisable for them to do so. His Lordship dwelt on support for the situation on the continent, and the Government had met within their endeavours to continue to hold the confidence of the Councils of Europe upon so momentous that of peace and war, could not be trusted in the hands of Radicals and Ultras with the conduct of our foreign relations. He also insisted strongly on the duty of maintaining strict neutrality and said that the desires of Lord Derby, in his speeches in the Senate; and declared that he could not foresee any circumstance which would render the hostile intervention of England necessary.

Lord John Russell next addressed the meeting and, after strong insisting a Tory-Radical Government would be dangerous and unconstitutional, expressed his desire to support the National Government of Lord Palmerston, in the event that the noble Lord be called upon to form an Administration; or to avail himself of his assistance in the vent of his being required to conduct the affairs of the country himself. His Lordship, the Senator adverted in the course of his speech to the state of the National Government, and expressed his opinion that in the event of a National Government being formed it was essential that the two great sections of the party, the Whigs and Tories, should each be represented in it.

Lord Palmerston explained that, in his opinion, nothing was so conducive to the interests of Europe and the preservation of peace as the maintenance of a strict alliance between England and France.

Mr M Milnes and Mr Lindsay then addressed the meeting, which shortly after separated.

The meeting is now regarded as the transformation of the party in support of Palmerston into the National Party, formed in the centre of British Politics. Each of the Executive Council in the upcoming administration was present, and Palmerston knew he had the support of a further 60 or so members who would sit on the Government benches. The Party was primarily a party of foreign policy, reflecting the lower amount of social policy passing through Parliament since the foundation of the Orders, and supported the aggressive, posturing neutrality of Palmerston ("gunboat diplomacy"), the desire to move past decisions of Reform, and towards using Government to protect British Interests, while accepting reform had taken place. Undercurrents within the National Party desired to pursue a "National Policy" of centralisation and unification of services back under Parliament, most notably Disraeli who felt the Orders and Provincial Reform disturbed the natural balance of the constitution - and wished to centralise among other things policing. The Governors, more Radical on the whole, were a thorn in the side for central Government and had in Northumbria, Mercia, Scotland and Ireland, managed to pursue social agendas that Parliament was unable to match - attracting working-class voters in abundance. While rural workers supported Pam and a large number of urban workers were also on board, Urban workers across the North split their allegiance between Radical administrations in their Orders, now coordinated by former Peelites like Gladstone, and supporting Palmerston as a National Government. Victoria would invite Palmerston to form an Executive Council and Cabinet a few days after the meeting in the Willis Rooms and the contribution of Palmerston to the National cause is unparalleled. Palmerston's ideology of strong British Nationalism and defence of British interests united people across the political divide, Whig and Tory alike. His position between the two parties, his roles within Government's of both colours and the unilateral support for Free Trade across much of England, Scotland Wales and Ireland meant he could stretch across the spectrum and unite warring factions against Ultra Tories on the right, and Ultra Radicals on the left. But the even-handed coalescence with Radical voters, spurred by the collapse of the United Trades into the Radical camp once again, meant that there was a united and powerful body of MPs ready to oppose the Government. In the usual fashion, they lacked a leader - but they would gain a unifying figure to rally behind in the course of Palmerton's second term.
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Part 3, Chapter II
III, II: Sepoy and the Growth of Radicalism

Three years after the election of the National Party, Palmerston surveyed his political empire. With a vast majority and a divided opposition, Palmerston was able to press his agenda on the Empire, but faced an apathetical public mood. The 1859 Election was the least interesting, least contested and most corrupt of any election in the reformed era. Existential threats to the opposition, most notably the Tories, holding their protectionism under Lord Derby, meant they were able to gain generally to counter losses to a seemingly resurgent Radical movement in the North, in Scotland and in the Metropolis. While he would win comfortably, and his record was admired within Britain and abroad and he had a series of major achievements to hand his hat on, Palmerston had inadvertently created an opposition in his attempt to unify factions under the national interest.

A year into Palmerston's second Administration, they were faced with yet another crisis, this time in colonies. India, the largest and most profitable of the British colonial empire, succumbed to British paramountcy or the dominance of Indian politics, economics and society was introduced to the continent from the 1820s, but subsided during the unrest and dislocation of the unstable British political situation during the 1830s and 1840s. Palmerston himself was the forger of the policy of paramountcy, and supported the unbroken rule of the Governor-General of India, Lord Dalhousie, who pursued the domination of India through a series of policies designed to gradually bring all of India under British-rule. The most notably of these policies was 'lapse and annexation', also known as the 'doctrine of lapse'. This entailed that as heirless Kings died, the dynasties would be unable to transfer to a new line and would instead come under the yoke of the British Empire. This, combined with social policies aimed at Westernising Indian states, with policies to emancipate women and removing legal obstacles to women in society. This had the effect of alienating large sections of Indian society, who believed that the British were intent on breaking down the caste system. The introduction of Western education systems continued to challenge the traditional orthodoxy, to both Hindu and Islamic elements of the Indian Society alike. Dalhousie annexed the Punjab after the Anglo-Sikh War, then annexed territory in Burma in the Second Burmese War between 1848-1853, bedding much resentment in the process as Indian preferred native rule.

The Bengal Territory was the only territory on the continent that had organised volunteer Indians within the corps. The introduction of the new Enfield rifle sparked rebellion - as a rumour spread that to load it, sepoys (Indians within the British Army) would have to bite the ends from their cartridges, that were lubricated (it was said) with pigs and cows lard, against both Muslim and Hindu religious belief. This was the catalyst for already existing feelings of undermining traditional Indian society, although the blindness of the British hierarchy to the discontent from the sepoys. In March 1857, just a few months into Palmerston's second term, a sepoy attacked British officers at the military garrison in Barrackpore. After being arrested, further discontent occurred in tandem with the use of the rifle and the punishments served up, including long jail terms, were seen as oppressive to the Sepoys. On May 10th, Sepoys rose up, shot their British officers and marched to the non-occupied city of Dehli. The seizure of Dehli gave the sepoys a base and allowed them to spread throughout northern India. Massacres and the ferocity of ill-feeling were the main takeaways from the rebellion in the UK. The Manchester Guardian declared that “unfaltering confidence in our right to rule over the native population by virtue of inherent superiority” meant that the ferocity needed to be met with ferocity. Common features of the mutineers included shooting British officers, women and children and these reports flooded the papers on the mainland, but British officers' aggressive reprisals were often swift and equally, if not more brutal than that of the Sepoys. They were bayonetted, fired from cannons and subject to an orgy of revenge. Palmerston came down hard and the rebellion was defeated eventually and had been put down by 1860, but Pam promised a reform of India to ensure that loss of control could never happen. They abolished the East India Company and vested power in the Queen as Executive and a newly created Secretary of State for India, which Palmerston added to his Executive Council. It also established the Indian Civil Service, and a council to advise the Secretary of State. This council contained a larger amount of Indian input, with the first such council, appointed in 1861, containing an Indian nominated element, rewarding the princes and rulers of the states, who did not intervene in the rebellion. While infrastructural developments continued to march on, the social policy of Dalhousie, who died shortly before the end of the rebellion, died with Broun-Ramsey.

In Britain, the handling of the affair strengthened Palmerston's connection with the people and his standing amongst Nationalists in Britain. It strengthened the "Centrist" creed of the National Party, committed to British Interest, not ideology or strict adherence to a plan, just British interest. In the Election of 1859, the Nationals campaigning machinery and their support amongst the press was so great that the unifying slogan of "Leave it to Pam" cut through in nearly all the divisions in society. Despite losing a few seats, mainly in Northern areas to the Radicals, they were returned again with a 50 seat majority, mainly at the expense at further losses of Tory seats in the South. Losing 18 seats, they still retained a healthy lead over the leaderless left opposition, who were composed of Radicals, Working Man's candidates in London and Wales and Irish Nationalists, who were all opposed to the Imperialist agenda of Palmerston and Disraeli. Palmerston took the mandate as an evidence of his blend of policies designed to peel away Radical support, such as support for Italian Federation or Unification and a strong nationalistic agenda. This result however was masked by the divinises of the opposition, with 124 of the National candidates running unopposed, in comparison to around 42 Tories, Radicals and Working Man's candidates. Many more featured multiple candidates running against each other. Leaderless still, as with much of their existence, the Radicals searched for someone who could bring the movement together.

1859 Election Results
National 358 (-18)
Radical 158 (+64)
Irish Nationalists 60 (+1)
Tory 35 (-33)
Working Man's 15 (+6)
Confederate 3 (-8)
Independent 21 (-15)

One of the Independent candidates elected, who had refused to join the National party in the Commons, was William Gladstone. After the dismissal of the Peelites, Gladstone and his allies who were banished to the Provincial government slowly returned to Parliament, and formed an Independent grouping within the Chamber, politically homeless, began to drift to the Radical agenda. Personal feuds would drive Gladstone's association with the Radicals, and his popularity in Northumbria from his time as Chief Secretary was grown from his desire to build an opposition to Disraeli's control of the treasury and this had led him, with the need to build bridges with the Radical and United Trades members in the Northumbrian Order, to understand that the division of the opposition, as well as the strength of the Nationals under Palmerston, had led to the stability and durability of Palmerston's popularity. He believed that a party that united anti-National groups would have the ability to break the hegemony of the Government that had ruled for two successive terms. Co-opting Working Men's candidates, Irish Nationalists and Radicals under one banner would cease the unnecessary competition between opposition candidates, and allow a much better chance of smashing the centre. To do this, he would need to unite the individual groups in a similar fashion to his old Governor, Lord Brougham in 1832. The Radicals had no leader, no party organisation, no funding streams and no natural constituency in the British public. They were merely the growing protest vote by disgruntled workers, the Celtic fringe and contained a growing number of socially conscious non-conformists. This idea would stay with him for the next five years, form the basis of the work he would do in Parliament between 1859 and 1874 and would eventually see him return the first Radical administration since Thomas Duncombe, an administration he opposed vehemently.
Part 3, Chapter III
III, III: Radicalism and Provincialism


William Gladstone, Chief Secretary of Northumbria, Prime Minister 1868-1874

William Gladstone’s time in Northumbria had given him the greater scope of understanding of the Common man. For all the foreign policy achievements in Westminster and Imperial conquests abroad, the real motivation for the Working Man of Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle was pride in themselves, he believed.

“I think the ‘Northumbrianism’ of which Lord Governor Brougham speaks is one of pride, innovation and hard work. The working men and the businessmen equally share the same zeal. Their representation is the embodiment of their pride. Their suffrage, won in 1846 is as dear to them as any right, and their control over their lives is the reason they have accelerated the technological advancement of not on the North of this Isle, but the Empire as well.”

Letter from William Gladstone to John Bright, 1859

Gladstone had become aloof from British politics, having enjoyed his work in Manchester, his mind was buzzing with ideas. His election for the seat of South Lancashire in the 1859 election was as an independent, but he had the support of much of the Radical press for his candidacy. The Manchester Guardian said, “his Liberal and Radical intentions are in no doubt.” His time as Chief Secretary brought not only Education Reform, which improved literacy and standards, but also a reduction in license fees and rates while bringing the Administration’s finances in extremely good order through his appointed advisor, Robert Lowe. Lowe had spent part of his career in 1848 working in New South Wales and was acclaimed for his budgetary work. The sound financial ground led to a surplus in 1853 and 1854, which allowed, alongside bonds issued to any business small or large who wanted a share, to finance a remodelling of the Guildhall and County Council houses in each county in Northumbria dubbed “Gladstone’s Palaces”. On Gladstone’s resignation in 1855, Lowe succeeded Gladstone on his recommendation to Lord Governor Brougham. He stood up for the North and protected it from repeated attacks on its press laws during the Crimean War and its aftermath, using Brougham’s influence to override Government pressure. He had said he would only serve one term, however, but he had assumed an unexpected leadership of representatives from the growing middle-class liberal and working-class radical neighbourhoods. They admired his radicalism, his commitment to improving civic pride. He also negotiated between employers and workers in an 1853 lockout in Textile Mills in Yorkshire, establishing a 1 pm finish time for workers on Saturdays, even bringing George Julian Harney, Trade Union activist, into the negotiations. Gladstone took a break from politics for 4 years before his candidacy for South Lancashire, but he was easily elected and said throughout his campaign that he would be a crossbench member of the House, his notoriety was evident in his nickname “the North’s William”. Gladstonianism had replaced Northumbrianism, it seemed, in the North.

Northumbria voted overwhelmingly in 1859 for National endorsed candidates, and the superior organisation of the National Associations led to better funding, more treating and more bribing of registrars. Order elections were less interesting for National Associations, who on the whole disregarded their existence. But in 1855, candidates in support of Robert Lowe’s candidacy for Chief Secretary uniformly called themselves Radicals and in response, Joshua Hobson renamed the National Association for the Protection of the United Trades (Northumbria) to the Northumbrian Radical Council, coordinating candidates and campaigns with representatives of Order members, County administrators, Trade advocates and the Radical Press. They advocated for the protection of leave on weekends and in their opening joint letter, printed in the Manchester Guardian, Huddersfield Chronicle, Leeds Mercury and several other of the major Radical papers said they intend to protect the social gains made in Northumbria and build upon them through constructive dialogue with their Administration and the Lord Governor. They invited Gladstone to become the President of this association, but he refused and wished to remain Independent, wishing to work with the National Government without joining a cabinet with Disraeli. The mantel instead turned to Joshua Hobson, whose acumen from the organisation of the Northern Star and United Trades was unparalleled. He began noisy recruitment of former Tory Radicals, usually affluent middle and upper-class professionals and aristocrats who were attracted by the social reforms of the movement. This uneasy coalition between so-called "Tory Democrats" and working-class politicians wasn't underestimated at the beginning of the endeavour, but the overriding feeling in Northumbria was warm towards continuing their special path. In 1861, a year before the General Election, elections were held to the Northumbrian Order, and while support for Robert Lowe's continued term as Chief Secretary was high, Radical candidates couldn't believe the shift in voters intention to candidates supported by the Radical Association. Now, political scientists will be screaming into the page with the creed of their profession - One State doesn't make the Union - and local and national realms are indeed separate. But this was different, Radical politics now had a syncretic appeal amongst the upper and lower classes alike. This was the first election that both the Nationals and Radicals had stood in, and support for the social agenda of Gladstone, then Lowe, was solidified.

1861 Northumbrian Order Election
Radicals 72
Nationals 28
Independent 25*

*15 Second-Order members appointed

Lowe accepted the nomination as President of the Northumbrian Radical Association on November 7th, 1861, a few weeks after a vote at the Order secured the confidence of the House, and Lowe was elected Leader of the Order. Hobson was re-elected as Speaker, and the Radical Ascendency in Northumbria had begun. Outside of the State, Mercian Radicals looked to ally a similar coalition of support for a greater social agenda, themselves pushed by poor conditions and slum housing, poor water supply and unsanitary streets across the Central Belt of England. Gladstone did, however, scoff at the work of the NRA, and minimised its influence with it lacking a Westminster connection to influence power. Disraeli and the Nationals saw this Radical surge as proof of the Order's ability to weaken central power and Westminster, but Radicals buoyed by their success at the Provincial/State level saw local politics and the growth of the Orders with their social power as the future of politics and that the Administrations, the Orders and the Governors were their friends against the Westminster Government. Soon after the nomination of Lowe to the Leadership of the NRA, he introduced radical legislation to introduce a ten-hour working day with the Factory Ordinance, amend the New Poor Law in Northumbria and expand access to Northumbrian State Schools, known as some of the best in the country at the primary level. Radicals all across the country believed that electing and advocating for the election of Radical administrations in all the Provinces & States would allow for an answer on the Social Question, which had emerged as the dust settled on the Crimean War and highlighted the need to protect and further public health. Since Orders looked after public health, they were seen as the answer and following Isaac Butt's social and economic programs after the famine in Ireland, Radicals began to see the value in the now 15-year-old local governments. The transferal of major political players into the Orders, like Lowe, Hume, Brougham, Gladstone, Herbert and Butt, had given the legitimacy needed to turn the States into valuable political spaces. People were interested and wanted to know what they would achieve from local politics. More petitions were filed to them than Westminster in 1860 for the first time, and the London Times asked the question in November 1861 after Lowe's nomination of his Secretariat - "Are the Orders replacing Westminster as the primary chamber of politics?"1861 was also the zenith of Royal power in Britain. Victoria's relationship with Palmerston was tricky, but his power to influence political decisions took a hit with her disappearance from the public eye after the death of her husband, Prince Albert. This combined with 2 assassination attempts, in 1857 and 1860, withdrew her from much of public life, outside of her interventions in public policy. These interventions would further unite Radical elements across the country as her behaviour got significantly more erratic during the Northumbrian Outrages and its aftermath.

Lowe managed to guide the Provinces economy through the American Civil War, which Britain remained neutral in despite calls from Palmerston and Gladstone alike to intervene on behalf of the Confederacy. Lowe's understanding of Northern sentiment (extremely pro-Union due to its long abolitionist history) was not shared by the liberal establishment and the radical press, who saw the right of the Confederate states to secede as equal to that of Hungary and Italy in Europe. Northumbrian opposition to the Confederacy was remarkable given that the boycott of British Cotton hurt the Northumbrian mill towns far more adversely than anywhere else in the country. But the other consequence of the American Civil War was the disillusionment in Federalism and a dislike of the Provincial Administrations and a desire to move the country towards a more centralised way of Governance amongst the Nationals primary constituency, the wealthy. Common beliefs held by many Nats were that the Union was weakened by the autonomy of its State Governments, and States Rights could easily cause a future conflict in the British Isles, so centralisation was the only way to prevent collapse in the style of the bloody, brutal conflict. This need for centralisation attracted Radicals such as John Bright, who joined the National Party benches in opposition to intervention in the war, but also in support of anti-Provincial manoeuvres in the coming years. This would last until the end of the conflict in 1865, but would see growing support for Federalism in the Celtic Fringe & Northumbria.

Elsewhere, this trend of unification of Radical elements at the local level moved to London next, and it was here that the fault-lines of the debate to be had after 1867 began to show themselves. Her Majesty's Government in the Metropolis had been controlled by a Conservative-leaning faction, known informally as the Municipal Party, for over a decade. While Whigs opposing the administration were absorbed into the coalition when the Municipal Party came out in the support of Lord Palmerston's Government and renamed itself the National Party - Metropolis (NP-M), Radicals in the city sought to peel away disgruntled Whigs and Tories, including Sidney Herbert. The Peelite was known for his astute financial management, but his deep dislike for the National Government who expelled him to the Provinces. Three years after the Northumbrian Election, in 1864, Herbert set about removing the Chief Secretary, John Thwaites. He was considered a Liberal but was supportive of Palmerston and the National Government, so became the informal leader of the NP-M and as Chief Secretary commanded the confidence of 18 members of the Metropolitan Order who supported the Administration. With 12 members, the opposition was split between London Working Man's Association, Independent Radical candidates and Tories. While Herbert's sympathies lay against Trade Unionism, he realised that gaining the support of the LWMA would bring the number of seats likely to be contested in a three-way race (between Radicals, Nationals and Workers) down considerably. With 5 seats nominated, all for National Party members, 15 out of the 25 elected seats would need to go against the NP-M to force a no-confidence vote to force public pressure on the removal of Thwaites (and presumed replacement with Herbert). He, therefore, calculated that bringing in the Labour movement under one banner, against the administration would be the best method of gaining these 15 seats.

Luckily for Herbert, the Labour movement was coalescing in the city with a renewed vigour. Stagnation of purpose of the LWMA over its 20-year existence was starting to cause the association to lose prominence, and in 1862 five key organisers would meet under a new organisation that would have a great effect on local politics - the Universal League for the Material Elevation of the Industrial Class, with its Central Committee known as the Junta. These five men; William Allen, Robert Applegarth, Edwin Coulson, Daniel Guile and George Ogder (Secretary of the London Trades Council) were backed by Independent former Whigs who saw the benefit of cooperation between the Radicals and the growing Labour Movement, mainly Peter Alfred Taylor, Wilfrid Lawson and Samuel Morley, who made Gladstone & Herbert aware of the organisation. They had grown in importance in the aftermath of an 1859 London Builders Strike, one of the first major strikes since the wave of strikes in the mid-1840s. There, the London Builders didn't gain their desired outcome - better wages and conditions - but helped inspire a new generation of trade unionists to form collectives in face of heavy anti-union policing from the Met. New unions were formed, and they coordinated themselves under the London Trade Council, led by Ogder. A further member, George Potter, founded the Trade Unionist paper, The Bee-Hive and although this vigour wasn't enough to prevent a National victory in the 1861 Election, they were confident of overtaking the Nationals in the working-class East End with a promise of an end to Trade Union suppression. Herbert was not a Trade Unionist but started to see the benefit of cooperating with the Labour movement to secure working-class support in Local and National Elections. He, therefore, approached the ULMEIC and LTC about the possibility of a pact between the two organisations and the Radicals in the City hoping to topple the Thwaites administration. While they were wary of an establishment politicians help, a former cabinet member no less, they realised this was the way into power they had been waiting for. With the non-conformist vote split (Thwaites himself was a Baptist), workers who disliked the heavy-handed nature of the Met towards Trade Unionists and their fellow workers were a much stronger constituency than Dissenters. Distinctly campaigning for Herbert to become the next Chief Secretary, the LTC/Radical coalition, named the Progressive Party toppled safe National seat after seat. They needed to win 15 of the 20 seats on offer - they won 18, with just 2 elected members and 5 appointed members composing the opposition in the Order. When the Order sat for its plenary session, the Progressives submitted a vote of no confidence in the Administration of John Thwaites, and it was passed by 18 votes to 7 on party lines. Herbert was invited by the Lord Governor to form an administration, but when he announced his Undersecretaries and included Allen, Guile and Ogder, who was made President of the Metropolitan Board of Trade, he faced stiff criticism from National members in Westminster, who urged the Prime Minister to use his reserve power to recommend the Queen dissolved the Metropolitan Order and appoint a new Administration led by Thwaites directly. On 13th January 1864, he used an Order-in-Council to do just that.

Radicals across the country were incensed at this blatant overreach of the National Government and rallied Radical support of the Orders, a facet of the constitution hitherto unnoticed, Radical revivals aside. The London Trades Council declared a General Strike on January 15th to last 'until the democratic will of the Metropolis is respected'. Builders, dockers, porters and office workers alike walked out of work for one week to protest the move. Their pickets were attacked by police and as 22,000 marched on City Hall, the seat of Government as Thwaites was re-sworn in as Chief Secretary, workers threw potatoes and rotten vegetables at the windows of the building to register their disgust. In response to the rapidly escalating situation, Palmerston and the Home Secretary, Lord Russell, both former Whigs, believed that the Metropolitan Administration had lost control of the City and on the 18th, once again used an Order-In-Council to abolish the Governate and centralise control back to Westminster. County Corporations were unaffected, but the city lost its city-wide government. The LTC declared the General Strike to be ongoing until the restoration of autonomy, but after 18 days, the strike broke and the Order was permanently disbanded in the Government of London Act. Radicals saw this as a direct attack on their growing power, and protests occurred all over the country, but especially in Northumbria, Ireland and Mercia, where a young Joseph Chamberlain was brought onto the street to protest against this egregious attack on local politics. For Gladstone, Herbert, Chamberlain, the Junta and even John Thwaites, who would join the Progressive Party soon after the incident, this was the sign that the gains made by the people against aristocracy and landed interest were beginning to unravel. For Disraeli especially, it motivated him to find a reason to abolish the Orders in their entirety. While the Radical Party was not a party in a modern sense just yet, its journey to becoming the natural rival to the Nationals was well on its way. Just three years from now, they would be united across the British Isles against the Government.

1865 Election Results

National 338 (-20)

Radical 203 (+45)

Irish Nationalists 65 (+4)

Tory 31 (-2)

Independent 11 (-15)

The aftermath of the 1864 London General Strike on Palmerston was part of a wider slowdown in his health. The old man of politics, the unifier of the centre-ground was wailing in his 79th year. He led the Nationals into his fifth general election, and despite the controversy over the abolition of London-wide Government, he retained much of his popularity, with much of the Radical scorn directed at John Russell and Benjamin Disraeli (some of the attacks on the latter holding an unsavoury anti-Semitic tone). Before the election, Progressives and Radicals in London and Northumbria respectively agreed to sit as one Parliamentary group in the coming Parliament, marking the first time since the Duncombe Government that dialogue between Radicals across the country and cooperation were agreed. Radicals gained there, and also in Mercia, but with corruption abound once again, Nationals were able to defend a slightly reduced majority. Also, the victory of the Union in the American Civil War helped reignite Radical enthusiasm in the North for democracy and constitutional reform. Herbert, Ogder, Guile and Applegarth all won seats in the capital, while supporters of Robert Lowe won seats in the North, with Hobson resigning his seat in the Order to fight (and win) the seat of Huddersfield. Radicals were stronger, more united but still lacking a defined leader in the House. Britain was at a tipping point. Still, if Palmerston could've lived forever, then the Nationals may have held on. But a few months after returning to the office, Palmerston died and with him died the hope of a centralised, unitary state. The past might have been Pam's, but the future would belong to Gladstone and Chamberlain.
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Hi Guys,

I have another shorter update nearly ready, but I just wanted to know if you all were finding the TL interesting and worthwhile to read? Any feedback? Let me know
Part 3, Chapter IV
III, IV: The Radical Party

Gladstone wasn't here for party politics. He wasn't interested in all that business. There were no parties, anyway, he thought. Just the mesh of Parliamentarians that used to have divisions but now huddled together to discuss a diplomatic crisis in Bavaria. "A dull place, I have read," he said to a crowd in Preston Town Hall in November 1867 "most men agree with one another and they shake hands and walk away - but I am happy to disturb their peace to bring this matter to Parliament". He would certainly disturb the peace. He was hated by the Nationals, who despised his aloof independent nature and his intellect, hailed by some as the hero of the North, an extremely competent administrator destined for Government. To some, he was a traitor of numerous colours and to all, he came into contact with, a "petulant boy" as Lord Derby once described him after he resigned from the Commons in 1853. Upon his return, he couldn't resist the chance to lead a disparate band of Commons members against a Government led by the one man he couldn't resist opposing.

After Palmerston's death, a power vacuum emerged at the heart of the National Party. Russell, representing the old Whig class, and Disraeli representing the Liberal-Tory wing both competed for power and were thus, at Victoria's request, both given senior roles - Russell was Vice President of the Executive Council, Leader of the Senate and Secretary of State for the Home Office, while Disraeli was Chancellor of the Exchequer and Leader of the Commons. Disraeli attempted to get Gladstone onside on the advice of Russell, he offered Gladstone the position of Secretary for India in the Executive Council. He declined. Russell intervened and asked separately. He declined again. Despite this, his position was ironclad and Russell maintained relatively iron grips of the Senate because the Nationals had used the previous rotations to ensure a large majority on a rolling basis in the Senate. Disraeli's aim in the Commons was to pass constitutional legislation early to ensure stability and moderation in the House. After the 1830s and 40s, Disraeli believed that less Government and elections were more popular with the public, and the unnecessary elements of the Parliament Act should be reversed. This lead to some bitter debates when Disraeli attempted to pick apart the Parliament Act and restore the old constitutional order. Radicals were firstly incensed when Disraeli proposed a change in 1866 to the Upper House abolishing reappointment and rotation, the guaranteed places for Lord Governors and increasing the size of the chamber to 150, with new peers given hereditary seats in the chamber. John Arthur Roebuck, a Northumbrian Radical MP in Sheffield, led the opposition to the bill, and 'waverers' including John Bright, a trade minister in the Government from the National side began to peel away from the party line - Bright defected and re-joined the Radicals and leading 55 rebels from the Government benches voted against the proposal. While Gladstone was lukewarm on the proposal (he was after all an Etonian, Oxford and Parliament) and didn't speak in the debate, he wrote that he understood that with Palmerston gone, Radicals had seen their chance to rule again. He said that Roebuck spoke "like a former Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster" when he opposed the changes. Ruling in the Provinces had got him close to Radicalism, working with Radicalism but part of it was futile - "it would take 9 years in the Senate to achieve 1 year of work in the Commons" he said in 1866. Gladstone sat on the opposition benches but not with the Radicals, yet. Russell attempted to alleviate the constitutional problems by proposing a compromise where the whole Senate was nominated on the dissolution of the Commons, but with unlimited re-nomination and a flexible number of members on the advice of the Monarch. Originating in the Senate, the bill was blocked by 12 votes in a bitterly debated legislative process. The feeling the gains of the past, however small, were being undone had a rousing effect and unifying effect for the first time with the Radicals.

Disraeli quickly put aside the matter, but events would dictate 1867, rather than plans, events that would flare up in May that would allow him to pursue his agenda more quickly. Reports had surfaced in a November 1866 article about Trade Union practices and the complicity of the Northumbrian Police. A heavily Tory paper, the Sheffield Daily Telegraph, argued that there was cooperation between Trade Unions in the Sheffield Trade Council (declared illegal by the Combination Act) and the Northumbrian Police to murder five non-union employees in factories. William Christopher Leng wrote an expose on the practices and made a series of accusations against leading Trade Unionists, something they denied. The Northumbrian Administration and their Home Undersecretary and Lawyer George Hadfield refuted the claims, but Sawgrinders Union Secretary William Broadhead produced testimony to Leng that he had paid £5 for someone to murder a factory owner for acquiring cheap labour. The ongoing storm became known as the Northumbrian Outrages. Disraeli lambasted the Provincial Administration, suspended it and took the police into the jurisdiction of the Home Secretary, Russell. He launched an attack on the incompetent, reckless and feeble provincial administrations knowing full well it was Gladstone's and used the ongoing crisis to bring forward legislation to abolish the remaining Orders, Administrations and roles of Lord Governor and vest sole authority in Parliament. The outrages from Radicals all over the country, as well as from Irish Nationalists and the growing number of Welsh and Scottish Nationalists, who supported self-government, was greatly underestimated. Despite that, it had a large amount of support and even John Bright returned to the Nationals in support of it - "Home Rule means Rome Rule" was his particular slogan. In Parliament, they felt the Orders and Administrations had weakened their power and their influence in domestic politics. Because it had. Most of the work was being done by the Provincial Administrations, including Boards of Health, Education, Trade, Infrastructure and the Poor Law. Disraeli wished to use a powerful Parliament to remake the whole of Britain and bring them round to Nationalism.

Both the London and Sheffield Trade Council's met and requested a meeting with the Home Secretary, Russell to oppose the changes but Disraeli requested that he decline their request and when he protested, Victoria intervened to prevent them from the meeting. This was leaked to the Beehive and syndicated and reprinted across the country and provoked fury amongst the workers. When it was revealed that all Ordinances passed by the Orders would be revoked, there was renewed fury in Ireland and Northumbria. Scottish Order Members, who had passed temperance Ordinances amongst other reforms, was also incensed. Suddenly, in a wave of protest, workers from all ends of the country began downing tools; Welsh workers against Trade Union suppression, Northumbrian workers against the loss of the ten-hour day, Irish workers and workers in London demanding the reinstatement of their Government and workers in Catholic areas in Ulster demanding the end to their suppression. They rallied against the Queen, against the Government and demanded that the government resign. This stretch of protest lasted about 12 days and culminated in a mass protest at Hyde Park, where 200,000 Londoners protested and demanded their Government be reinstated. The Police, under the authority of the Home Secretary, lost control of the situation and rioting broke out after false rumours of violent suppression spread. Twelve were killed and 134 injured and in the following controversy, Russell resigned from the Executive Council, leaving Disraeli in sole control of the Government's direction. Workers eventually returned, but budding resentment brewed with the Nationals and Disraeli in particular. Disraeli had weathered the storm, however, and the Acts passed through both the House and the Senate with ease. He would add yet more amendments to the Parliament Act, introducing extra votes for those with £50 or more in savings and graduates (both National voting), dubbed "fancy franchise" by the Radicals. Once again, the majorities in both houses rubber-stamped the bill, and it became law in September 1867. These measures did nothing else but dissuade compassionate, Whig inclined National voters to believe that Disraeli was nothing but a Tory, and incense Radical Britain. "What would Peel have said?" remarked a lone voice of dissent against the measures in the Senate, Lord Brougham. Brougham, stripped of his title of Governor of Northumbria, would die soon after in May 1868, bringing to an end a remarkable career and legacy in British politics. The numerous "Brougham Squares" and "Brougham Avenues" and "Brougham Halls" littered across the North of England are a testament to his legacy. His death and funeral brought a million people from across the North onto the streets of York and they were united by a desire to reclaim power and prevent its seizure again.

Focus turned to the election, to be held in December 1868. In the final sessions of Parliament, Gladstone began to assume the position of Leader of the Opposition, opposing the changes that Disraeli was attempting to make. He met with the leader of the Irish Nationalists in January 1868 to discuss a pamphlet released under the guises of the Irish National Federation, the political organisation for the Irish Nationalists, headed by the 22 year Chief Secretary of HM Government in Ireland, Isaac Butt. This was called "Home Government: Federalism, It's Meaning, It's Objects and It's Hopes", and had a significant impression on the Radicals incensed by the removal of local government. He argued to Englishmen as well as his native Irishmen that the Orders were nothing but a temporary measure, and for the full provision of stability to be restored to Ireland, Federalism including all the Provinces that had power bestowed upon them in the 1846 Provincial Legislation would bring about benefits for all subjects of the Union, which would be free of the squabbles which had disposed of the Irish Order and Westminster's rule over Ireland. Butt was convinced in the dissolving of the Orders across the Country, for the first time the Radicals within England, Scotland, Wales & Ireland were united for their restoration. Butt proposed that restoration was not enough and that enshrining their right to exist into law and breaking the theoretical stranglehold of Parliamentary Supremacy was desirable to bring about a lasting peace. Provincial Administrations should be responsible for poor relief, infrastructure, railways, health and sanitation - and they should be able to operate within these boundaries without interference from Central Government. An Imperial Parliament should be Imperial and represent the matters concerning the whole empire. Therefore, he proposed, a new act should be written which establishes full Parliaments for Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and any arrangement that is preferable to the English. Butt was the first to tie together the differing coherent streams of regionalism into one proposal and movement. He resisted any attempt to divide countries with which he had little experience, and proposed within the text that England & Wales could have one Parliament but could also exist in the current four subdivisions, saying "I should not impose a settlement on England as England should not impose a settlement on Ireland".

I do so under a deep conviction that the time has come when it is essential to the interest of not only Irishmen, but subjects residing in the Metropolis, in England's Northern counties, in the West, in Cornwall and Scotland and Wales to bring about a substantial re-adjustment of the modification of the Union arrangements. I believe a very large proportion of the Union's peoples are willing to accept such a Federal Union, giving Irishmen as well as their fellow-subjects in the mainland control over the domestic affairs of Ireland her fellow administrations, while an Imperial Parliament still preserved the unity and integrity of the United Kingdom as a great power among the nations of the world. The Present State of feeling in the United Kingdom offers to Irish Patriots and Englishmen alike the hope of united all classes and creeds of Irishmen and men on the mainland to pursue and win self-government for their locality. We must have Home Governments for All.

Home Governments: Federalism, It's Meaning, It's Objectives and It's Hopes by Isaac Butt

Joshua Hobson was one of the first to read the proposal and sent a copy to Gladstone in December 1867, just after the first edition was published. Gladstone noted and admired the critique of the Order system he proposed, Butt's separate proposal for Ireland and his analysis of the benefits of Order and Devolved control in the period between the passage of the Government of Ireland Act and the Administration's abolition. Gladstone and his growing entourage including John Arthur Roebuck, known Radical, saw the Irish Nationalists as the way to secure Radical control of the House of Commons, mirroring the Lichfield House Compact that brought Whigs, Radicals and Irish Repealers together in the 1840s, which saw the formation of the Liberal Government of Peel. Their 60 seat block, sure to grow with anti-Tory feeling in the South, West and East of the Country, would leave the Ultra Tories as the crossbench party within the Parliament, and there was a feeling in Radical circles an alliance between Nationals and Tories to prop up a Disraeli minority would break apart the National coalition of former Whigs and Tories, as the former wouldn't accept their perceived annexation by the Tory traditional hierarchy. A fragile peace between Northern Radicals, Scottish Radicals and Irish Radicals with a common opposition (the abolition of self-government) was in many ways the first time these groups had been allied since 1846. The disappointment of the Duncombe Government, especially in Ireland, caused a serious rift between Radicals either side of the channel, who blamed one another for the failure of Radical parliamentary politics in the late 1840s and 1850s and their natural divisions, mainly over religion and it's effects and control of everyday life, was a significant part of the reason that Irish Nationalists drifted from the Radicals in Great Britain. Butt's writings were Irish and intended for an Irish audience, but the ramifications of the publication and its distribution within the Radical circle, much like the Constitutional Code in the 1830s, heavily impacted upon the formation of the Radical solution to the Provincial problem.

Isaac Butt hasn't featured that much since the famine, but his long Administration in Ireland was the benefit of a cordial relationship with Palmerston. Both former Irish Tories now drifted from the party, both held a nonchalant attitude towards their party apparatus - Butt was a reluctant President of the Irish National Federation, the main organ of the Irish Nationalists, while Palmerston had never really been bothered with the workings of the Nationals in Parliaments. There was a distance with which Palmerston allowed Butt to work upon a controversial understanding between the two that while domestic affairs wouldn't be tampered with, Palmerston would be allowed to pursue criminal activities and would retain control of the Royal Irish Constabulary, the so-called "criminal clause". This stemmed from amendments to the legislation in 1846 that specifically gave domestic control of affairs to the Lord Lieutenant and Chief Secretary, but gave control of policing to the Home Secretary in London, as a temporary guard against any seditious activity. He would assent to economic reforms (with some exceptions, and we'll get to that), Education distributed among a more equitable arrangement for Catholics (he was after all a Catholic Emancipationist), and the continuation of the more compassionate poor-law schemes from the famine era. Butt remained popular domestically by continuing the relationship between HM Government in Ireland and the Baring Brothers, with the financiers funding domestic and commercial railways, like the Dublin-Galway line, Dublin-Belfast line, Cork-Galway line and Belfast-Larne line and major sanitation works. Upon Baron Carlingford's appointment to the Senate in 1856, he appointed himself the Treasurer of HMIG but appointed T. E Cliffe Leslie, a Protestant Unionist as an economic advisor. He followed the work of a fellow political economist, J.S Mill, and Butt invited Mill in 1865 to work with HMIG on developing policy, and he produced Considerations on the Irish Economy (1867) after a period of twelve months working in Dublin Castle. Mill stressed the need for economic and social reforms to alleviate policy, including a national income tax, taxes on tobacco and an inheritance tax, he wanted to use the funds to establish more public schools and social programs such as slum clearance and further sanitation and infrastructure improvements. Mill's work in Ireland finished by essentially concluding that under the current arrangement, improvement was only marginally possible - as HMIG was unable to levy the taxes required and unable to tax products and goods, but Westminster was equally unable to tax these goods on behalf of Ireland.

"Their part is only to indicate wants, to be an organ for popular demands, and a place of adverse discussion for all opinions relating to public matters, but it is matters both great and small; and, along with this, pertaining to real ability to reform in Ireland that matters cannot be decided, ludicrously, in Ireland when responsibility for the poor, education and infrastructure is landed on these Administrations. The Public and Administration officials have no way of withdrawing their support for those high public officers who really conduct the public business, or who appoint those by whom it is conducted. I have been honoured by the experience the Chief Secretary has afforded me, but I can offer him no advice but pursue the domestic control of the affairs you are nominally granted."

Mill's point spoke to a wider issue surrounding the 1846 settlement. Ireland had made modest strides under self-government, but it was hamstrung by a Parliament in London who had felt it had solved the Irish Problem by moving the voices shouting about it to a different room. That Parliament still controlled the levers of power in Ireland, and proved so, passing several Crime Acts (in 1856, 1861, 1863 and 1866) that allowed the arbitrary arrest in the event of seditious activities. Those who were still wedded openly to the Irish Republic, the Confederates, formed the Irish Republican Brotherhood in 1858 after the failure of the Young Irelander Rebellion, and quickly became known as the Fenians. While they were relatively peaceful in the aftermath of the Battle of the Cabbage Patch, their agitation towards England resurfaced again over these Crime Acts, often perpetuating blame for hypothetical rebellions in planning to the Confederates and Fenians in an excuse for mass arrests. The Fenians called for the abolition of the RIC, and its replacement with an Irish National Police Force, as enjoyed by the rest of the United Kingdom, and used this cleavage to put pressure on Butt to tear up consent for the criminal clause and also to conduct Land Reform to be more equitable to Catholic smallholders, another policy which Palmerston had refused to give assent to. While supporters insisted that the RIC was independent of HMIG, not run by the Home Office, the use of Parliamentary Legislation in Westminster to criminalise Irish Nationalists stoked resentment amongst many Irish Catholics, who believed that the RIC was a Protestant organisation of oppression against Catholic Ireland. Butt's justification of the continuation of the policy was a belief that Federalism's time will come and full control over domestic affairs would be eventually achieved. "We have already begun the march to our aspirations," he said to the Irish Order in his Plenary Address in 1866, just months before the chamber's abolition. The abolition could have side-lined Butt's career, having put so much faith in the system, but he utilised his anger, was public with his anger and crucially he hurried the release of his manifesto on Federalism. There had been a few foreign policy changes that had led to Butt believing this was the time for Federalism; one was the Confederation of Canada, which was ironically agreed just weeks before the abolition of self-government in Britain, another was the compromise with Hungary, which saw the Empire divide control over domestic affairs with a common ministry for Foreign Affairs and matters of national importance. He understood this and changed his tone in 1867 and forced the weight of public opinion towards full domestic control now by tying it to the concerns of those in Northern England and the Capital, the two Radical centres of politics in the country. Butt realised that like in 1842, Radical control of the Commons would need to be built on the foundations of Irish Nationalism once again. This time, however, he realised that they would need to come away with Ironclad control of their affairs and build security by guaranteeing the rest of the Nations and Regions the same. Butt's first visit outside of Ireland was to Liverpool's Vauxhall area, home to many Catholic's who supported Butt and the Irish Nationalists, but he was stunned to find many members of the Northumbrian Radicals attending a speech he made on 1st January 1868 alongside the Irish workers of the Port City. In his speech, dubbed the "New Year's Address" he said, "It is time, across these Islands, to demand Home Government for All".

The concept of 'Home Governments for All' was not universally admired - John Bright wrote a series of letters defending Parliamentary Sovereignty to the Manchester Guardian in late 1867, and Robert Lowe, Chief Secretary of Northumbria distrusted Butt and despised the idea of a separate Catholic state within the Union. His criticism led to his surprise support for the measures taken by Disraeli in a letter supporting Bright to the Guardian in November 1867, advocating that the Chief Secretaries should be drawn from Parliament, and the Orders represented an inefficiency and a blockage to real Democracy. He argued that the loss of social agendas, policing, railways and many other serious national issues from the Parliamentary remit led to "stealing the great issues of the day from the brain of the great men of the day" and rallied hard against Catholicism's input into Government. Lowe was a fierce supporter of county government and devolved responsibility to them during his time as Chief Secretary. He had predicted that long-standing Radical divisions would hold, and Radical leadership, men like Roebuck and Gladstone, wouldn't be drawn by such a scheme as Butt's. Bright and Lowe's belief that Radicalism could succeed with an English constituency alone, however, was misguided and incompatible with much of the working-class and the growing numbers of middle-class voters who were morally concerned and believed the Provincial Governments had been a force for good. As 1868 approached, Disraeli looked to the country to support him in the decision he had made to take matters, especially policing matters, into central control. In January however, Lowe resigned as President of the Northumbrian Radicals and was replaced by William Gladstone, who sought Radical support for his seat in South Lancashire, and in doing so became the undisputed Leader of the Opposition. In his constituency address, he identified the need to address concerns on both sides of the labour divide about trade unionism, a need to restore some form of self-government and eliminate corruption and malpractice in elections, including seizure of candidature, and concentrate on "peace, economy and reform" through the Westminster system to alleviate longstanding grievances about the established Churches in Ireland and Wales, pass Parliamentary legislation to establish minimum standards in Education along with the Northumbrian model and to push through social legislation, beginning with a Factory Act.

His address galvanised Radical support behind him, and for the first time, Radicals felt they had a competent leader who could control the Commons and provide an effective administration Nationally for the first time since Duncombe. He had not, crucially, supported Butt's scheme, but Isaac Butt wrote a letter to the Irish Times, the leading Protestant Nationalist paper at the time, urging supporters of the Protestant Nationalism to support his programme. He did this despite resisting standing for Parliament until Gladstone himself wrote a letter to Butt in April 1868 urging him to stand. He realised that his support within Parliament would be the key to delivering Irish Nationalist votes for a Radical Government, and after a week of thought, he accepted and stood for Limerick in 1868. Public anger at the actions of Disraeli's Government, coupled with this alliance between Gladstone, the Radicals across the country and the Irish Nationalists, proved to be a critical mass for popular support to turn against the Nationals as Butt declared his endorsement for a Radical Government under Gladstone in a speech to the INF Congress in May 1868. While the upper-middle-class, commercial classes and landowners (on the whole) supported the Nationals, the emerging lower-middle-class and workers, alongside enlightened members of the Intelligentsia such as Cliffe Leslie, had started to weigh towards a Gladstonian Government after the general election. The North's William would indeed soon become the People's William. As the votes were cast between November 7th and December 13th 1868 and the seats were declared, a tighter result than had been imagined began to emerge. Radicals had rested their hopes on winning multiple seats in urban constituencies to rack up their majority, but the ongoing effects of Villa Nationalism, which saw aspirational working-class and middle-class populations in cities continue to vote National and support Disraeli, in part for his strong line against Home Rule. Radicalism, it seemed, was incompatible for a subsection of the population with Patriotism. The Radicals won the popular vote, with over 5,000,000 votes cast in favour of Radical candidates, but the guaranteed seats the Nationals had occupied, especially in the South of England, meant they would hold on to minority status if they could secure the support of the Independent members and Ultra Tories. The Radicals had forced the issue but been denied their majority. Roebuck called for the resignation of the Executive Council and Cabinet immediately, at the State Opening of Parliament, but Disraeli insisted he would continue with the job and had the support of Queen Victoria. Victoria also refused to recall Disraeli, as she was well within her right to do because he served at her pleasure and he had not yet lost the confidence of the house. She was also mistrustful of the nature of the Radical Party and their ability to control the Senate.

1868 Election Results
Great Britain & IrelandLeaderVotes%TotalUnopposedElected
National/UnionistBenjamin Disreali3,477,29736292102190-46
Radical/NationalistWilliam Gladstone5,375,1115530972237+41

Disraeli, however, was a persona-non-grata for the Tory members in the Commons and made it clear to the Earl of Lincoln that they would not support an Executive Council organised by Disraeli. When the Humble Address was voted on, five days after the State Opening, Disraeli's Government was defeated and he was forced to resign. Victoria was urged to appoint Gladstone, but chose instead to attempt to call together yet another all-Party cabinet, but appointed Stafford Northcote as First Lord of the Treasury, Lord President of the Council and Prime Minister, someone who would be able to unite the National factions and Tory faction in the Commons together and get a double majority of confidence in Commons and Senate. The public was furious at the rebuttal of Gladstone and grew increasingly antagonistic to Royalty and Aristocracy as seen in the Senate. 281 of the 309 Radical elected MPs, and 6 Lord Senators, met in an ancillary room in Westminster Palace on February 4th, 1869 to declare their united opposition to the ministry and agreed to collapse it at the earliest possible opportunity. The members agreed that Gladstone was their Leader, and the Radical Party as a unified front was born between Northern & Metropolitan Radicals, Democrats, Social Reformers and Irish Nationalists. The hegemony of the Nationals was well and truly over. Two men in the room were slightly more significant than the rest and would have a slightly bigger impact on our story than the rest - Joseph Chamberlain and Charles Dilke. While their time was not quite here, it would be arriving very soon.
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Part 3, Chapter V
III, V: Radical Tide, National Whim

A year into Stafford Northcote's Premiership, two junior members of Parliament met with Gladstone to discuss an idea they'd had to ensure that the current minority that the Radicals faced in the Commons would be the last and they would force Victoria to appoint a Radical ministry in three years, or sooner should the opportunity require. Birmingham was a Radical city of industry and workers, supremely loyal to the Provincial cause. It was a surprise, therefore, that the Birmingham constituency, which had three MPs, had elected a National candidate ahead of the third candidate for the Radical party. Similar results were repeated in major cities across the Kingdom - there were National MPs in Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle and Nottingham, all Radical strongholds. One of these men who cornered Gladstone was Joseph Chamberlain, Secretary of the Birmingham Radical Association and budding organiser in the Radical cause. He had risen to prominence in Birmingham through his work in the County Administration, where he made improvements to sanitation, Education and infrastructure within the City. He became popular as the "Screw King" and was a manufacturing giant in the city. Chamberlain was a British Nationalist and Imperialist and was invested in the strength of the Union, but was practical on the subject of Provincialism. He believed a strong local government would, in turn, strengthen imperial unity, and that the Provincial Administrations, including that in Ireland, had kept the peace during the instability of the 1830s and 1840s. He was part of a growing movement of Social Reformers within Radicalism, making a clean break from the doctrine of Benthamite Radicalism of the 1830s, representing the movement for universal education, better working conditions, better conditions for children, slum clearance and agricultural reforms. His proposal was bedded in the meetings to discuss the results in 1868, They conceded the need for better organisation in 'Villa' neighbourhoods to adequately utilise the large Radical vote in the city. In by-elections to the Birmingham City & County Council in 1869, the Radicals met to nominate candidates and organise their efforts towards a total wipe-out of the Nationals in the Council, they succeeded and unseated 9 National Councillors and Chamberlain resigned from Parliament to become Lord Mayor of Birmingham. From here, he engaged in an agenda to canvas and utilise the opinion of the Radical electorate through regular meetings dubbed 'the Caucus'. The caucus canvassed opinion from all the different sects of the Radical coalition; Labour was represented, as were middle-class commercialists, as were the formerly Tory Radicals, as were the Radical Whigs. The dictated policy selected candidates and quickly replicated their model across Mercia, forming the Mercian Federation of Radical Associations (MFRA or Mercian Radicals) to support the work of the Radical Administrations. Chamberlain also created a council of Mercian Radical Mayors which formed the Council of Mercian Local Administrations, leading to Chamberlain to be dubbed the 'King of Mercia' by the Manchester Guardian in 1869 after a letter co-signed by the Executive of the CMLA, advocating a national rate collection strike until Provincial Administrations were restored.

Chamberlain stressed to Gladstone the need to organise and systematise Radical opinion and ensure that votes were evenly distributed amongst candidates, to guarantee total wipe-out of opposition candidates. They would raise funds, hosting dinners and banquets, and they would fund the legal challenges of those denied candidature, they would also make decisive moves towards placing candidates in more seats to challenge the Nationals for the unopposed 102 members they had, 16 of which were in Mercia. Chamberlain would cause controversy locally in 1867 in the aftermath of the Northumbrian Outrages, saying that he believed that the Radicals should co-sponsor candidates with Labour candidates, supporting the New Model Unions which had stressed their cooperation and non-violence and a reluctance to strike action. George Ogder was nominated by Radical Association as a Radical-Labour candidate for the by-election for the seat of West Ham, the first official Radical-Labour candidate selected. He would win the seat by 4,000 votes, reducing the Tory-National majority even further. Northcote, nominally a Tory, had attempted to secure his Government from the inside, appointing a cabinet of Tory and National grandees, with Lord Derby finally entering cabinet and joining the Government and Earl Russell returned as Leader of the Senate and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, a role that had fallen out of use throughout the Reformist Ascendency but revived to bring the former Prime Minister in as a minister without portfolio. The unity between Russell and Derby was typical of the nature of the National Party, a coalition of ideologically opposed equals of the grandiose of British Politics against the 1846 reforms. Northcote attempted to address the Provincial grievances through centralisation, creating national Boards of Public Health, Education and Trade and raising the Presidencies of the Board to Cabinet. He reappointed junior ministers to the Chief Secretary roles of Ireland, Wales and Lord Secretary for Scotland, reorganising the Administrations into offices of the Central Government. This mass appointment drew a distant outlook for provincial administration, as decisions returned to Westminster and local partnerships that had formed through the provincial administrations were alienated - especially in Ireland when English administrators reappeared in Dublin Castle after 23 years away. Northcote dismissed Butt almost immediately and replaced him with the good-humoured Sir Robert Peel, who was endeared to the Irish when in an interview, he described his situation as “perilous” but he would “do his utmost, but I shall be in need of my famous wit, I think.”

10th Executive Council
Prime Minister, President of the Executive Council, Chancellor of the Exchequer - Stafford Northcote, National
Secretary of State for the Home Office - Earl Granville, National
Secretary of State for the Foreign Office - Earl of Clarendon, National
Leader of the Senate, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster - Earl Russell, National
Secretary of State for India, Lord Privy Seal - Earl of Kimberley, Tory
Secretary of State for the Colonies - Lord Hartington, National
President of the Board of Trade - John Bright, National

On the whole, the provincial appointments were wholly unpopular locally, and this was most harshly felt in the Pennines, who wholly resented new appointments in the North. The dismissal of the Northumbrian Police meant their replacement from outside the province and those who returned were carefully managed by several thousand recruits, mainly from the Army, to bolster ranks against perceived threats. But when new arrivals came to cities like Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds from the Home Counties and London, locals knew and it was common for arrivals to be spat at, have rotten vegetables and dead cats thrown at them. Not only did this restructuring of the police cause political controversy within the political community, but it saw a thousand policemen fired across Northumbria, many of whom were relatively popular and rooted in their communities. The recruits were often erratic and the Army recruits especially gained a reputation for dealing with the hostile reception with brutal force. Northcote was forced to intervene when Gladstone was making a speech in Preston before a group of Royal Northumbrian Police interrupted to ask if the Leader of the Opposition had the correct licenses and permits and issued an apology to the Commons. Northcote’s centralisation plans were essentially doomed from the start, as the majority of the electorate were already against them. An unintended consequence of the centralisation was the loss of support from many merchants, especially small and medium-sized merchants from the consultative process, and moved away from their support of the National Government, and towards the organisers pushing for the institution they had most contact with. While attempts to push the 159 City & County and County Administrations were boosted by greater control over spending and taking some of the powers of the Provincial Administrations, but were altogether more traditional affairs, and were skewed heavily towards rural constituents, which meant they were dominated by distant, independent Landowners who usually used the County Administrations to control and moderate reforms handed down to them by the Provincial Administrations, and even had delaying power on local ordinances. There were some powerful Counties, also, especially in Northumbria, which contained Lancashire and Yorkshire, containing cities and towns such as Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Blackburn, Bolton, Huddersfield, Wakefield, Hull and Stockport. This gave these County Councils a heavy Radical bent, and the Counties contained the leaders of nearly all the Radical leadership. These towns and cities registered their non-compliance by adhering to Chamberlain's call for the non-payment of rates to the central government, and this strike lasted for well over a year into Northcote's Executive.

These cities, the hearts of the 1832 and 1842 upheavals, found themselves stirred again and the release of the batches of working-class Order members out of their work within some form of Government, set them full-time on opposing the Government as a whole. They bound the Commons, the Senate, the Gentry and the Crown together into one, larger conspiracy of sinecure and began openly advocating for a Republic. These were men like Thomas Burt, who had sought a Northumbrian Order seat in Morpeth after becoming secretary of the Northumbrian Miners Association in 1863, and became known for more striking demands for reform than anyone within the Radical movement. The standard Parliamentary doctrine within Radicalism said that while their demands for Reform were great and against the interest of the National members and Lord Senators, they would have to pass reforms if they were given a major mandate in the Commons. Burt differed from Union men of the New Model Unions, in that he believed the power was entrenched and they would not let go, even with a mandate. To create real change, they would have to remove aristocracy from the political process altogether. "It is farcical," he said in 1867, "for a Lord to pretend he knows more than a miner about the running of the economy and the running of this Province." In an attempt to curtail this potentially sedition activity in 1870, Northcote's Home Secretary, Lord Granville, prepared a Coercion Act for Northumbria, the Metropolis, Mercia and Ireland. This gave Granville the right to suspend habeas corpus in the affected regions, extend policing powers and place censorship controls over the press, which was especially felt in the North and in Birmingham, which was known for its free and vibrant press. Several radical publications were closed, including the Manchester Guardian, which had its office raided in October 1869, a few weeks after the Acts received Royal Assent. Burt, among other Trade Unionists, were also arrested in connection with the ongoing investigation of the Outrages. This outraged Radical Britain and especially Gladstone, who decried the "Taxes on Knowledge" and it was this campaign against the Radicals, coinciding with an intense campaign against Nationalists in Ireland against the protestations of Peel in Cabinet - including the disputed arrest of a small radical element within Irish Nationalism associated within the Fenians, known as the Irish Republican Brotherhood, who had declared a Republic after the suspension of autonomy and attempted (without much success) assassinations and prison breaks for Radical Irish Nationalists. One such plot involved four men from Manchester, who were found guilty in 1867 but were finally sentenced to death after a protracted legal challenge from, among others, Isaac Butt and Charles Stuart Parnell, future Clan na Gael leader. Parnell's particular campaign for justice, and his tying of this to the Republican cause, would propel him to the front of national politics very soon indeed.

Gladstone responded by touring the country by train, meeting packed meeting halls, culminating in a mass, 6,000 strong crowd at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester in his home constituency. "At last my friends, I come amongst you and I come unmuzzled," he said as he addressed the crowd, and finally came out in public support of provincial reform and the permanent removal of Westminster from local affairs. The crowd was electric. His adoration, it was said, brought concerns that the "People's William" had become a demagogue, or that his campaign was mere populism. The actions of the central government on the affected areas had convinced many in these areas that they were being punished for their democratic spirit and felt that Gladstone was the vote that would deliver peace, democracy and the restoration of their hard-earned rights. He called for the release of all coerced prisoners, the restoration of freedom of the press, and an end to the seizure of candidature. He also promised an end to patronage and even rallied for the disestablishment of the Church in Wales & Ireland. Finally, he said, "I have supported in my time in this city, and will continue to support the Tradesmen and their organisations". Fusing, as he had many times, the "ordinary man" and their concerns to his own proved the backbone of his exploding support. The countrywide tour also spread to Ireland, a dangerous feat for an English politician in the 1860s, and spoke in Dublin and Cork about the need to pacify and unify the Isles together. He presented himself as the People's Man uniting his People once again, after the misappropriation of rule by the current Executive Council. Seizing the momentum of the tour, Chamberlain and fellow Birmingham Radical, Charles Bradlaugh, organised a National Radical Congress in June 1869, two years out from the expiry of the Parliamentary term. This would be a meeting of all Radical political groups in the whole country, both sides of the Irish Sea. Isaac Butt attended, as did Joshua Hobson, George Odger and J.S Mill and controversial Radical Charles Dilke, each voting on several motions to support. While outwardly democratic, Chamberlain attempted to curry favour with Gladstone by only bringing forward 'harmonious proposals', to achieve the view of Party harmony which was less than apparent, especially between the Irish and English Radicals. They concentrated on motions supporting provincial reform, ends to patronage and the cornerstones of Gladstone's platform. But Gladstone declined the invitation, citing a lack of time in his schedule. While this was shrugged off effectively by leading speakers at the meeting, such as the aforementioned Hobson, who took a leading role, it propelled Chamberlain to national attention. He had already been flung into the national light with his actions as head of the CMLA, but he used the Congress, attended by well over 6,000 people and covered by many of the papers, to pour scorn on the National Government, calling it a cabinet "paralysed by paranoia". He called for Home Governments for All and spoke passionately of the positive effects of Education Reform on the Provinces. At the end of the Congress, he was elected Chairman of the National Radical Executive, with Gladstone being offered the honorary Presidency of the Association.

Stafford Northcote, who was Chancellor of the Exchequer as well as Prime Minister, presented a budget in March 1870 and drove a dividing wedge between the factions within the National Party. He proposed the revival of the national newspaper duty which was tremendously unpopular with traditional Whigs, as well as Radicals within the Nationals such as John Bright. They rallied against its conclusion, and after five days of debate in which Northcote refused to concede his position, it was voted down by 303-347. Northcote resigned, but when Granville was approached to replace him but as a member of the cabinet who was unhappy with the provision, he refused. Other leading members from the Whig elements of the National Party refused as well, citing their inability to work with the Liberal-Conservative and Tory wings of the Party. Eventually, Victoria was forced to recall Northcote, a mere 8 days after his resignation, and his Government limped on, albeit without Russell and Granville. This weakened the grip on power that the National Party had for the first time in its existence. After a further Government defeat a few weeks later, Northcote decided to call a General Election throughout May and June. Northcote recalled that the tides had been coming towards him for some time, but now he truly realised their size and strength. All over Britain, a backlash to the Nationals began and for the first time, Radicals challenged every National candidate in each of the States of the Union. The result was a sweeping away of 28 years of Liberal and National rule, to usher in a new Radical Administration. The nearly 100-seat majority the Radicals had guaranteed them to be the only party to be capable of forming a Government, and Gladstone the only man capable of leading it. The People's William had triumphed, and the National Party's hopes of perpetual rule were in tatters.

1870 Election Results
National, Tory & UnionistsStafford Northcote3,301,131342700270-58
Radical PartyWilliam Gladstone6,205,3226537427347+60

Gladstone was finally invited to form an Executive Council & Cabinet in July and formed his cabinet with Radical Reform in mind. He did however managed to bring Nationals from the Government back onside, with Earl Granville accepting the post of Foreign Secretary and crossing the floor in the Senate to become the Leader of the Government in the Upper House. Henry Bruce, of good Radical stock, was appointed Home Secretary while Chichester Fortescue, another Radical, was appointed President of the Board of Trade. Chamberlain was appointed to the Committee of the Council of Education, previously a minor role not invited into the Executive Council but included with the larger remit that was a consequence of the centralisation of Education. Hugh Childers was brought in as Secretary for India, James Stansfield was hired as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster but was given a vague portfolio as a second in command to support Gladstone in the Treasury, and most controversially, cross-bench MP Edward Cardwell, an independent and by no means a Radical, was appointed War Secretary. William Edward Foster was appointed Colonial Secretary to complete the inner circle of the Gladstone Cabinet. It was a relatively controversial cabinet, with Granville splitting from the Nationals and joining the cabinet, albeit continuing to insist his Independence - "I am in service of Her Majesty and my fellow ministers" he replied whenever he was asked if he agreed with the doctrine of Radicalism, and Granville and Cardwell insisted they would retain their conscience in votes on the Constitution. These appointments, especially Granville's with his connection to the Coercion Acts, attracted criticism from the more radical wings of the party, especially Chamberlain and Fortescue, who sought to extinguish such actions from the Government.

11th Executive Council
Prime Minister, President of the Executive Council, Chancellor of the Exchequer - William Gladstone, Radical
Secretary of State for the Home Office - Henry Bruce, Radical
Secretary of State for the Foreign Office, Vice President of the Executive Council, Leader of the Senate - Lord Granville, Independent
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Lord Privy Seal - James Stansfield, Radical
Secretary of State for India - Hugh Childers, Radical
Secretary of State for War - Edward Cardwell, Independent
Secretary of State for the Colonies - William Edward Foster, Radical
Vice President of the Committee of the Council of Education - Joseph Chamberlain, Radical
President of the Board of Trade - Chichester Fortescue, Radical
Part 3, Chapter VI
III, VI: The Senate Crisis

Gladstone was, in theory, able to nominate 46 members to the Senate, which he intended to break the Senate hold by the Nationals by appointing 46 Radical Lords (some of whom would need to be given peerages by Victoria) and using Granville's influence to swing traditional Whigs away from the National Party. He submitted his list of 46 Lords to Victoria, but some 24 of them, including academics, industrialists and scientists - dubbed the Lords Metropolitan in the press, desired by Gladstone to balance the influence of landowners and large commercial interests in the Senate, would need to be brought to the peerage to become Lord Senators. Victoria found the concept preposterous, and refused to raise the 24 nominated to the peerage to become eligible, describing the nominees as 'purely political'. Radicals were, once again, incensed at Victoria's interjection to strengthen enemies of radicalism. Gladstone avoided the controversy, quickly agreeing with the Monarch, but amongst Radicals, they'd got the feeling they might have been played yet again. They had failed to break the National Senate Majority and would be in with a fight to push through any of their reforms. Within the Radicals, backing down against the monarch so early did much to harm his Radical credentials in Parliament, while Irish supporters had much to feel apprehensive about, with the Government leader in the Senate refusing to support the whole programme. From the start, it seemed that the reforms were doomed, and during the State Opening of Parliament, there was a sense of futility about the contents of the speech which included Civil Service Reform, a Review into Provincial Reform, a Review into the State Church in Wales & Ireland and Education Reform. In its debate, Benjamin Disraeli delivered a cutting speech against Gladstone's Government that it "could have any number of consequences, most likely none" and that it would "a matter of minutes before the Other Place would return its contents to this chamber... a farce". For Gladstone, the Senate debacle was a humiliation, but for Chamberlain and Radical Democrats like Charles Dilke, Charles Bradlaugh, Fortescue, Stansfield and J.S Mill, it fostered Republicanism as the only method of cracking the cronyism within Parliament working to the top. Dilke delivered a speech advocating the removal of the Queen from the Senate appointment process, and received a public rebuke from the Nationalist press, but won much acclaim in Radical circles.

The opening session of Parliament, much to this dismay of Gladstone and the delight of Disraeli, was a farce and a disaster for the new Government however, because of the reason time and time again the Radicals had been rebuked - the Senate. Victoria reserved her right to nominate her own Lord Senators after rejecting Gladstone's proposal, and used the spare places to re-establish blue-blooded lines into the Upper House. Marquess of Salisbury, Earl of Derby and Duke of Devonshire was reappointed, with two of her sons, Prince Edward and Prince Arthur along with a range of dignitaries from the royal household. The nominations horrified the Radical press, who decried "Her Majesties Party" as influencing key decisions. These 24 appointments were incredibly conservative, and would require two elections to rotate out of the chamber - they were also designed by Victoria as a hand brake on reform. When Gladstone introduced the Provincial Government Act, which temporary restored Provincial Control over services but stopped short of ordering the re-election of Orders, it was passed easily through three stages of Commons voting and voted down by the Senate. When the Education Act was sent, the same, the Church of Ireland Disestablishment Act, the same, and for much of the agenda, Earl Granville spent his time as Leader of the Senate picking up the carcass of legislation to return to Gladstone. His fury in the Commons at the obstructionist Senate reached a fever pitch during the September 1870 Budget, his first as a Radical Premier, when several amendments from the Senate brought the process to a grinding halt. "Is it now, that you tell me I stand on this dispatch box and I have no power because the shadow power has decided that I am not worthy Mr Speaker?" he said after a question about his control over the budget process. Senate convention was not to strike down the budget, but such was the virality of the obstructionism against the Government in 1870, nothing could pass - HM Party and the Lords Spiritual, who tended to vote with the Queen's Nominees, made up the majority of the chamber and refused to vote for any of the measures proposed by Gladstone. This infuriated working-class communities, fostered by the strong organised Radical presence in Industrial areas, who felt their will, "The Popular Will", was being ignored by a cabal of aristocrats. Anti-aristocratic feeling boiled over for the first time in many years in cities across the North and Midlands of the country, and once again in Bristol.

With domestic problems mounting, Gladstone found no more comfort in his handling of Foreign Policy. He was launched headfirst into the diplomatic crisis surrounding the Franco-Prussian War, which began not 30 days after the opening of Parliament. British press attitudes to the war, and the surrounding crisis around the succession to the Spanish Throne, was notably anti-French, with one reporter from the Leeds Times noting “I could hardly conceive that the French Government could apprehend that after all that had occurred Prince Leopold would again offer himself as a candidate, or be accepted by the Spanish Government if he did.” The outbreak of war, while not welcomed in Britain, hurt Britain's natural enemy the French. Palmerston, Disraeli and Northcote's policy towards the Prussians, who were seeking to unify Germany, was warm - as Palmerston especially had been suspicious of the ambitions of the Second French Empire, led by Napoleon III. His attempts to build a naval wall against the French on the south coast, lambasted as paranoia from his Parliamentary colleagues, were very typical of anxieties about another Napoleon on Britain's doorstep. Prussia, meanwhile, had been disarming her natural rivals in Central Europe and under Bismarck had been unifying the German states under Prussian direction. First with the Schleswig-Holstein War, then the Austro-Prussian War which had seen Austria's prestige take its biggest hit since Crimean all lead to the defeat of Prussia's main threat to unifying the states - France. British Foreign Policy had been relatively constant since the 1830s, and Palmerston's influence on Foreign Policy was still felt, but Gladstone did not have the same zeal, nor the same dogma around protecting British interests as Pam - much to the delight of a National Parliamentary Party who wished to find wedges to divide the Radical coalition. The stunning defeat, leading to the collapse of the Empire, signified the national humbling of the vulgar Napoleon III and revealed the glamour of the Empire to be a sham. Domestically, British voters blamed French imperialism for the outbreak of the war.

Gladstone's opposition to aspects of the Prussian militarism in Europe was the minority opinion, therefore, if not a solitary one. Gladstone was opposed to the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine, against the wishes of its inhabitants. Earl Granville said that Gladstone was "much oppressed with the idea that this transfer of human beings like chattels should go forward without any voice from collective Europe" and Granville, a grandee of the house, agreed with him. But intervention or opposition by neutral states against the annexation failed to convince many of his cabinet, including the upstart Chamberlain, Bruce and Fortescue. Gladstone retaliated by writing an anonymous article for the Edinburgh Review, claiming there could be no friendly relationship with the new German Empire, proclaimed in Versailles after the victory of the Prussians in the war, without the release of the Alsatians from their occupation. The National-leaning Daily News however revealed that the anonymous letter came from the Prime Minister's office, leading to a wholly negative appraisal of his actions during the crisis - leaving an anonymous review. “Europe is to be devastated on account of the publication of an anonymous paragraph in a newspaper," said Disraeli in the Commons. Gladstone came out on the offensive, decrying "Bismarckism, militarism and retrograde political morality" - but he was unable to find a coalition of international powers to support his collective protest. Disraeli, looking for the aforementioned cleavage to attack the Radicals, came out swinging in the Commons to criticise the Government response and the policy of his former boss, Lord Palmerston. Disraeli broke with National, non-interventionalist foreign policy, and advocated in the house for the mediation of the powers. He advocated for "armed neutrality", a concept where the British Empire wouldn't take the role of instigator in a conflict, but would rather take a position of neutrality until Britain's interests were threatened.

"Let me impress upon the attention of the House the character of this war between France and Germany. It is no common war, as the war between Prussia and Austria, or like the Italian war in which France was engaged some years ago; nor is it like the Crimean War. This war represents the German revolution, a greater political event than the French revolution of the last century.

I don't say a greater, or as great a social event. What its social consequences may be are in the future. Not a single principle in the management of our foreign affairs, accepted by all statesmen for guidance up to six months ago, any longer exists. There is not a diplomatic tradition which has not been swept away. You have a new world, new influences at work, new and unknown objects and dangers with which to cope, at present involved in that obscurity incident to novelty in such affairs.

We used to have discussions in this House about the balance of power. Lord Palmerston, eminently a practical man, trimmed the ship of State and shaped its policy with a view to preserve an equilibrium in Europe. But what has really come to pass? The balance of power has been entirely destroyed, and the country which suffers most, and feels the effects of this great change, are the countries of these isles."

The end of 1870, a rollercoaster year featuring the collapse of the Government, its replacement by a Radical one for the first time in a generation and the changing balance of world power, fostered a new feeling of anxiety, anger and despondence in Britain. Radicals had failed in every attempt to pass legislation and began to reach fever pitch in the Commons due to the obstructive tactics of the traditional majority within the Senate. Members of the left-wing of the Radical Party, like Joseph Chamberlain, searched for a victory to take to their constituents and Radical Britain as a whole. Queen Victoria continued to have a withdrawn role in public life, appearing at the Opening of Parliament but nothing much more after the death of Prince Albert. Attention turned to her successor, the much-discussed Prince Albert Edward, who had a reputation as a playboy, touring around several women in high society with a greater frequency than his trips to his position as a Lord Senator. Victoria attempted to whip him into shape through his political work, but he was still often seen schmoozing more than legislating. Discussions began to emerge at his fitness for the Crown, and the fitness of public life for the Heir Apparent. Despite this, he proved a more than a valuable ally for Gladstone, and the two conversed letters frequently. Such is the difference in his public policy and the optics through which the public saw him, that he regularly voted with the Radical Government in the Senate when called upon, he met Garibaldi, he intervened diplomatically (much to Victoria's ire) in several foreign quarrels with a more liberal outlook than his mother, but he was seen as a reactionary playboy aristocrat by the Radical Press. A press and an ascendant coalition in the Commons were looking for a tactic to press the Senate and the Monarch to relieve the parliamentary blockage. It would be a man called Charles Dilke who would find it.

Dilke would find a weapon to fight back against opposition forces, but would wait a year before his opportunity to bring the issue to Parliament would arise. It would all begin with a Charles Bradlaugh article in National Review in July 1870, not long after the election, which was circulated all over the country. His scathing attack on the monarchy, ranging from the level of sinecure to the disappearance of Queen Victoria from public life to her interference in politics, attracted scorn and praise in equal measure from different sections of Britain. But his attacks at the expense of the monarchy hit home the most. He compared the "technological advance of our time" to the "scathing anchor of royalty" and said, "the experience of the last nine of ten years proved that the people can do quite well without a monarch, and may therefore save the extra expense of monarchy". Bradlaugh had tried multiple times to win a Commons seat, and at a by-election not long after Britain was entering different economic times in 1870, and declines in output and the twin rivalries with the United States and Germany as competition began to stoke fear amongst the highest in society and criticism of the waste and pomp of royalty. Dilke began to write articles under pseudonyms like 'Hampden' and 'Lucius' for Lucius Atilius Luscus, one of the first consuls in the Roman Republic, with analysis of the cost of the Monarchy and its inefficiency and corruption to the country - "at a time when our allies are steaming ahead by educating themselves and striving, we finance a lavish Household and the Grand Tours of her family", he wrote in August 1870. A month after, the proclamation of the French Third Republic and the collapse of the Second French Empire gripped Britain, and those in cities, from industrial backgrounds to crafts, to more academic Radicals like J.S Mill led some within Parliament to begin to believe the same might happen on these Islands soon enough. Dilke realised this momentum and spoke to his friend and colleague Joseph Chamberlain, the Secretary of State for Colonies, to discuss a proposition to discuss a method of holding their feet to the fire in order, initially, to win a chance at cracking the Senate - the Civil List.

Each year, the Monarch would present Parliament with a Household budget, which would finance the expenses of the Monarch's lifestyle. In January 1871, the Civil List was presented and the Queen had requested a £15,000 dowry for her daughter Princess Louise and payment of £30,000 for the Senatorial Services of the two Princes in the Senate. As the Civil List was presented as a separate Bill, Dilke urged all Radicals to vote against the Civil List and in effect launch a strike against the Monarch, despite the heckling and booing from the National benches. "If the Lords block us, we shall block the Lords," he said and he went on to eloquently describe his case for removing the influence of anyone but the most important element of the country, the people, from the political process.

"The People want Administrations, our Lord Senators do not, the People want Education Reform, our Lord Senators do not, the People want Trade Union reform, the Lord Senators do not. Perhaps it is apt to question whether the People want the Lord Senators, or do they want their value diminished so the monarchy can lavish themselves with yet more. The People are incensed and so am I, and I say, well if you can show me that a fair chance that a republic here will be free from the political corruption that hangs about the monarchy, I say for my part - and I believe the middle class, in general, will say - let it come. But if you do not agree with me, I implore you, do not let this sinecure pass. Radicalism centres on the belief in meritocracy, not aristocracy, this Party founded to protect that interest should not be enumerating the Monarch with such waste."

During the debates, a group of MPs including Dilke, Henry Fawcett, P.A Taylor, Christopher Charles Cattell, Auberon Herbert, Sir Wilfred Lawson, George Anderson, George Odger, J.S Mill, Thomas Burt (recently released from gaol), Joseph Cowen, William J Linton and around 12 others sympathetic to the republican nature of the speech met in the same room for the first time. They agreed to meet again and called themselves the Commonwealth League, supported by a growing number of Republican Clubs in Britain at large across the country formed after Dilke's speech. These numbered 50 by March 1871, and the Commonwealth League adopted a resolution to support the candidacy of confessed Republicans into the House of Commons. While remaining in the Radicals, Republicanism would begin to foster within its ranks, and removal of aristocracy from the political process and the reform of the political system to accommodate Home Government for All. Mirroring Burt's analysis, these factions within the Radicals and the Commonwealth League believed the system was rigged against them, as proved by the ongoing political crisis surrounding the Gladstone Government, and the only way would be to change the whole system. A tired, outdated system was beginning to produce tired and outdated results - that is why the Nationals had lost power in the Commons - and there was a feeling that a cold strike to corruption, the influence of entrenched power and the so-called 'crown state' within Government and construct Government for the people. They were all convinced that existing institutions of power would be the main vehicle for change, but they believed that they could use it with perpetual Radical majorities, they could force the hand of Monarchy to dissolve themselves - none advocated the use of violence and there was a 'gradualist' doctrine, mainly to keep the peace with the internal majority within the Radical Party who were anti-Republican and moderate on the issue. Chamberlain was one of these, a fierce Imperialist and Monarchist, but agreed in the desire for political reform and saw the Civil List as a method for putting pressure on the Queen's power within politics. Radical Republicanism was still plagued by a physical force reputation and certain groups advocated for the violent overthrow of society. The minority ultra-radical left-wing loosely organised into a group dubbed 'Spenceans' were behind two attempted assassinations in the Summer of 1873 around London, with the Queen's servant, knifed in the chest by an agent of a revolutionary cell called the 'Democratic Brotherhood', occurring in Hyde Park in August 1871. He was caught and claimed there were 160 associates of the Brotherhood in London, and 500 in the Union altogether. He also claimed that similar organisations were numbering in the thousands in Ireland, and much of the techniques and leadership had come from the secret society associated with Fenianism, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and they were concentrated in London in St Giles district, an Irish colony in the city. Butt was questioned by Gladstone on the issue who resented the assumption that he would oversee an organisation, the Irish National Federation, that sponsored murder or terrorism, Gladstone grumbled and eventually apologised after a personal scandal and there was a breakdown in trust between the two.

So as the debates went on, more and more Radicals began to support the suspension of the Civil List. Gladstone spoke out against the plans, especially regarding his close relationship with the Crown Prince (which was unbeknownst to the public at the time), he regarded the manoeuvre to be crass and obstructionist. One by one, the group; Cattell, Fawcett, Taylor, Odger and Lawson each came out in support of Dilke's opposition to the bill. Radicals realised their grip on the purse was just as tight as the Senate's and used their power effectively. They won broad public support, a remarkable feat given Dilke's Republican views attracted criticism in his earlier admission of them, but especially in the countries who had seen their autonomy suspended, where the Radicals were strongest, the support reached fever pitch. The rebellion grew through in the Commons, Finally, as the Senate voted down the amendments to the Education Bill drafted by Chamberlain, he joined the call as well - calling for a suspension of the "public complicity of the monarchical costs and dues until the Popular Will is respected and the people's government with the confidence of this house is respected". Victoria indicated privately that if the Civil List was voted down, she would dissolve Parliament and dismiss the Executive Council, which the Crown Prince communicated to Gladstone. Once again, a full political crisis had emerged. Gladstone met with his Parliamentary majority to discuss the crisis and pleaded with them to resist voting down the Civil List, but public opinion and the support of the Radical MPs had swung in the act of defiance. The gridlock would continue indefinitely, so Radical MPs and the Government majority in the Commons would continue to be frustrated - Constitutional Reform in a year had become the key aim of the administration. While Gladstone, Granville and several Moderate Radicals voted against the denial of the Civil List, 338 Radical MPs, including many who would be considered Moderate and Imperialist, voted to deny the Crown its expenses for the year, blocking its passage to the Commons. Queen Victoria responded by making the unilateral decision to dissolve Parliament. Gladstone protested and called for calm, saying a reduced dowry and the removal of payment for Prince Edward and Arthur would be acceptable to the majority of the Parliamentary party - and crucially, that Republicanism still was in the vast minority of Radical MPs, which was Victoria's primary concern. Despite this, she was not moved by the decision, and dismissed Gladstone on January 13th 1871, appointing Benjamin Disraeli, presumptive leader of the Nationals, to form a Minority Government for just two days before he sought dissolution of Parliament, lacking a clear majority in the House. Feeling betrayed and swindled, Radicals in the Commons had achieved none of their legislative aims, despite passing each of them through the Commons, and voters would face another election, just a year after they had delivered a Radical Parliament.

The election would be yet another landslide for the Radicals, this time with the Nationals being nearly wiped out of the North, Scotland and the Midlands. The vote share, with Radical candidates gaining across the country, was a staggering 69% of all votes cast. This was to be expected, what was surprising was the nature of the Radical candidates who had gained seats. Many of them were supported by the Commonwealth group, and many advocated in their election addresses for either a new constitution or outright for a Republic. These included candidates from metropolitan, working-class districts and from Ireland, where 14 independent Irish Republicans were elected against Irish Nationalists (who sat with the Radicals in Parliament) as patience from more Radical Irish Nationalists became more exacerbated. There were also wins, however, from across every country and region of the country and the rejection of the Nationals after two elections represented a near-complete totality. Enthusiasm for Gladstone had not diminished, but the constituency he brought onside had become more radical in their aims and now demanded a new constitution for the Union and Empire as a whole. Of the 419 Radical members elected, some 200 were explicitly in favour of a new constitution, and some 90 supported the concept of a Republic. A full 75 of them joined the Commonwealth League. These included new members, such as William Morris and George Reynolds, who had been long term advocates, and members from the growing Radical-Labour representation, such as Alexander MacDonald, the 31-year-old Henry Broadhurst (who was a late convert having been advocated reform over a Republic before 1870), William Abraham, agricultural labourer Joseph Arch and William Crawford. Over the course of the campaign, questions were asked about the ability of Gladstone to control the Moderate and Radical wings within the Radical Party, and traditional supporters of the monarchy, with support from across the classes but mainly concentrated in rural areas, began to ask whether Gladstone himself had sights on a coup to remove the Queen and replace her with the People's William himself. Gladstone found himself caught in a pincer movement between Disraeli, who began rallying 'traditional Britain' of the Church, Monarchy and Empire in defence of the constitution, and the Radicals within his party who were advocates for the destruction of it and its replacement with... something else. What that was, hadn't been decided yet.

1871 Election Results
National & UnionistBenjamin Disraeli2,901,43229218218-52
Radical & Irish NationalistWilliam Gladstone6,705,10968419419+45
Irish Republican232,99221414+12

Gladstone met with Victoria and hammered out a compromise that would deliver a more harmonious relationship between the three elements of Parliament; he would urge his MPs to vote for a reduced Civil List in exchange for nominating a full slate of 46 Senators, giving the Radicals a majority in the Upper House but crucially leaving the Crown Prince in the chamber, although Gladstone would be unable to nominate any new members for the peerage and would have to select his candidates from the more moderate, centrist Peers of the Radicals. He was invited to nominate an Executive Council & Cabinet with only one change at Victoria's request: Joseph Chamberlain was removed from the Executive Council but remained as a minister in the wider Cabinet. Disraeli resigned not long after the results were known, and a confidence motion in the Executive Council was won when Parliament was opened on March 3rd 1871, a week after the final results had been counted. He nominated 46 Radical Lords, however, the Radical Commons members were less than impressed at the Radical credentials of the Lords nominated. Few of them, unsurprisingly, were Republicans and many were defectors from the Nationals, primarily from the Whigs but also co-opting some formerly National, but Liberal members of the Senate, including Lord Senator Robert Lowe, who returned to the fold from his distancing from Provincialism with the Provincial cause seemingly on the backfoot. Granville led the group, who after the 46 nominations held a slim majority of 4 in the house. This allowed them to make some progress in non-constitutional legislation, the first of which being a non-controversial reform of the Civil Service, formulated on proposals by the former Prime Minister Stafford Northcote and Charles Trevelyan, ending patronage and establishing a strict meritocracy for Civil Service roles. He further implemented reforms to the Army that had been proposed by former National, now Independent MP Edward Cardwell. These reforms were designed to create independent and neutral organs of state, with the ending of a sinecure in both organisations but also to promote a more conciliatory approach to legislation than his first Parliament by accepting proposals from former National ministers. It also brought a 'Liberal' outlook to the early days of the 1871 session - focusing on domestic and procedural reforms, rather than political reforms. This truce also brought one subtle, but important reform to the Senate: the end of proxy voting. This truce between competing sections of the elites though infuriated the Commonwealth League, who became open to non-Parliamentary membership soon after the election of the Republican 90 and began the opening of Republican Clubs across the country in major cities and industrial towns, mainly comprising of lower-middle-class business owners and industrial sections of the working-class. Gladstone succeeded in his attempts to broaden the Radical base and provide a broader church for the Radical Party with a much more workable majority, but did so with the dilution of the Radical agenda: provincial reforms were unworkable, a new constitution was unworkable and dissenter reform was unworkable in the context of the Parliament. This "constructive government" policy was controversial within the left of the Radicals, led by Chamberlain and Dilke and the Commonwealth League. This coalition stretched from Moderate Reformists, such as Gladstone himself, to Constitutionalists like Chamberlain, to outright Republicans like Dilke, to members of a new and growing movement of socialism, like George Odger. These socialist movements were taking much of their doctrine from the mishmash of ideologies emerging from the Paris Commune, the brutality of the conflict and the dissolution of the commune had two effects, however, both horrifying workers and creating widespread solidarity and gave many of the working class realisations of class consciousness, and asserting to those slightly better off than a Republic would protect property and the rule of law. Both would strengthen Republican support.

12th Executive Council
Prime Minister, President of the Executive Council, Chancellor of the Exchequer - William Gladstone, Radical
Secretary of State for the Home Office - Henry Bruce, Radical
Secretary of State for the Foreign Office, Vice President of the Executive Council, Leader of the Senate - Lord Granville, Independent
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Lord Privy Seal - James Stansfield, Radical
Secretary of State for India - Hugh Childers, Radical
Secretary of State for War - Edward Cardwell, Independent
Secretary of State for the Colonies - William Edward Foster, Radical
President of the Board of Trade - Chichester Fortescue, Radical
Part 3, Chapter VII
III, VII: Another Disaster

Divisions began to re-emerge between the Commons and Senate in the aftermath of the passing of these procedural reforms, however. Further reforms promoted by the Radicals found their passage blocked or amended on passage to the Senate, as had occurred during the 1870-71 Parliament. At the end of 1871, Gladstone's Education Act, extending his Northumbrian scheme to the whole of the country was blocked by an obstructionist Senate majority led by the Lords Spiritual, his act to disestablish the Church of Wales, similarly blocked by the 26 Lords Spiritual, as was his legislation on Ireland. A private bill proposed by Irish Nationalist leader Isaac Butt instigating land reform was similarly quashed. Frustrations occurred further into the Winter of 1871 as Gladstone sought constructive consensus on the constitution. To respond to the question, he had established a select committee and a Royal Commission on the Constitution, to look at reforms that could ease the efficiency and running of the state, partly to delay the Parliamentary battles that would naturally occur once Provincial Legislation was brought before Parliament. Gladstone ensured that Butt was included and aimed to represent all factions within Radicalism: John Stuart Mill representing Republicanism, Walter Bagehot representing Constitutional Monarchy and appointing Lord Senator Russell, the former Prime Minister, to represent Moderate Reformism and Nationalism. The Committee was due to spend the length of Parliament debating various proposals but found itself locked in debate about the scope of the Commission. The left wanted to reform the system in its entirety, with either an abolished Senate or an elected upper house, which was unthinkable to men like Russell. Bagehot, an MP who studied the constitution and produced the book The English Constitution in 1867 criticising the Senate as "neither Lords nor Commons", took a principled view that the chamber must be reformed to reduce the influence of the Lords Spiritual and also to better reflect the will of the people and sought a nominated, permanent chamber of a larger number of Life Peers, similar to Disraeli's proposals in the last National Government, to dilute the influence of the Church in State Affairs. Russell insisted that the Senate could not be reformed procedurally, not fundamentally and that the Peers would need to be the pool from which Senators were chosen. Proposals to place a suspensive veto, rather than an absolute veto for certain matters was also kyboshed by the Senate delegation. During the deliberations of the committee, many within the Radical Left moved towards complete abolition, rather than reform of the Upper House.

The Commission nearly collapsed in December 1871, and the Prince of Wales was called to join the Commission to prevent the publication of no fewer than six minority reports alongside the official document. Some could consider this a lucky break for Bertie, as his call to the Senate chambers brought him away from a trip to North Yorkshire, where an outbreak of typhoid spread to numerous guests that were staying in the lodge he was due to decamp in. One of his associates, Lord Chesterfield, died as a result and the disease, that killed his father, would have almost certainly killed him. But Albert Edward intervened decisively in the Commission, but to the dismay of Victoria, the Nationals and 'traditional Britain', he advocated for further discussion of some form of fundamental reform to the Senate, advocating the status quo was causing Britain to be left behind in the world order. Victoria was incensed and insisted Gladstone remove him from the Commission - but Gladstone refused, insisting that he was unable to dismiss the Crown Prince from a Commission on the constitution he would rule over. So Victoria used her reserved power to remove him from the Senate, and Prince Albert Edward retreated from public affairs. Their relationship would never be repaired, and he even requested that he be removed from the line of succession by Act of Parliament in a private letter to Gladstone, but he responded this was something he could not do. He was never liked by the Radicals, who found him the central human monument to 'old corruption' and now he was equally despised by the Right. All this occurred in an atmosphere of renewed mutual distrust between the Radical Left and the Ultra-Tory Nationals, and the newly freed Joseph Chamberlain decided to act unilaterally. Borrowing a quote from Gladstone, he addressed a crowd in March 1871 in his citadel of Birmingham with the phrase "At last my friends, I come amongst you and I come unmuzzled" to thunderous applause. 10,000 people gathered in the streets around Birmingham Town Hall to greet the King of Mercia. "I arrived in the House to deliver our Government back to us," he said, "and I have failed, but where I fail, I say all will fail. We must address the issue of the Lords, the Barons and the Marquis in the function of our Government". The central point of his address was this - the British Isles needed its first constitution. "Our country is in great distress, and Parliament cannot alleviate its concern, my friends. It's squabbles and thwarts our progress, like immovable objects littering the railway lines of history, but the train is approaching and it is powered by an almighty engine - the Constitution" he concluded. Chamberlain believed he could make the political weather, even at the young age of 35, and he believed the solution to bring harmony and deliver Home Government for All within a new Union Constitution. The crowd went into rapturous cheering and applause. It must he said "remove waste, corruption and aristocratic influence within our Government" and "deliver meaningful process to help the troubles of the common man". He was vague, he didn't say how he was going to do it and his populist tones genuinely terrified some in Parliament, but "Constitution" was the only word on anyone's lips in 1872. What can you say? He makes the political weather - Disraeli came out against it, Gladstone dithered and couldn't grasp the public debate, for perhaps the first time in his career. He was, for once, lost for words. In a widely reported story in the Press, Victoria instructed Gladstone to fire Chamberlain as a Minister, and when he did, he had made his point - and he asked the voters a simple question: "Who is the Prime Minister - Her Majesty or Mr Gladstone?"

Gladstone's capitulation to Victoria finally cut Chamberlain loose, and he was not the kind of man to hold back once cut loose. It convinced him, and swathes of the Radical Party that not only Gladstone, but the entire Parliamentary system as it stood, was incapable of reforming itself. The time allowed him to work more on the National Radical Congress, which Gladstone continued to be aloof from, he was appointed as Chairman of the Executive Council in July 1872 and began coordinating the so-called 'caucus' of Radical MPs and Regional Leaders to direct policy within the Party. The younger core of the Radical Party around the NRC, including Dilke & Chamberlain, began to exert control over the popular apparatus of the Party, incorporating Republican Clubs into the NRC in the December Congress, viciously opposed by Gladstone, which also passed a resolution in favour of a newly written constitution tabled by Chamberlain. Gladstone suffered a loss of control of the Party, but in Parliament, he retained control due to his wooing of the more moderate Senators and the bulk of the Parliamentary Party, which still professed rather more modest hopes for Reform, but the more Gladstone compromised and side-lined the constitutional agenda in favour of necessary, but practical reforms by working with Nationals, he was governing smart but politicking wrong and allowing Chamberlain to prove his point. His quick wit, trademark monocle and radical agenda and dynamism made him popular with the working classes and middle-classes alike and his campaign for a written constitution drew together many of the aims of the party. Chamberlain was crucially avoiding calling for a Republic by attempting to frame the question as not Republicanism against Monarchism, but Constitutionalism against anti-Constitutionalism - bringing more of the Radical Party onboard than outright Republicanism. He was not a Republican, he was not a member of the Commonwealth League, despite his association with those who did. Victoria was said to have despised Chamberlain and was said to have written "I despise that man, I thought that that was dealt with." He received more and more attention and he almost toured full time, doing speeches and attending fundraisers in support of the Radical Party, all the while presenting beginning the process of drafting a new constitution should be the aim of the Radicals for nearly the next 18 months, until around 1873. Governance had begun to move again, but reform had been put to the backburner, which turned more supporters to Chamberlain's ideas. During this time, he honed his idea down to a wider series of points; A New Constitution, A Federal Union establishing the Provinces and Celtic Regions as equal States (Home Government for All), Land Reform, More Direct Taxation, Free Public Education guaranteed by the State, disestablishment of the Church of England, Universal Male Right to Candidacy and importantly for the working-classes, legalising trade unions. Chamberlain gained support from this emerging Left of the Radical Party, and the Manchester Guardian said that the plan 'surmounted to Jacobinism, but in this City, but the streets of Manchester, the tremors of Jacobinism is what is gently felt and the people seem ready to listen.

It was his ardent support for skilled trade unions that set him out from the rest, and his support for trade union legalisation earned his vast support in Gladstone's heartlands in Northumbria, with strong support in cities with heavy industry and his native Mercia, where skilled labour was still strong. He supported skilled trade unions but was adamantly against the unskilled workers being able to unionise. The Skilled Unions had unofficially built up a rapport that while still illegal, meant they could operate in secret but with relative impunity, even after the Outrages - they were illegal, but they were able to operate under decoy organisations and the complicity between Unions and Employers was done in secret. Pursuit of the law had peaked by the Northcote Government and their 'reasonable' and 'trustworthy' manner, along with the existence of Radical-Labour MP's by 1868, meant that acceptable Trade Unions were already well bedded in as lobbying groups, but they lacked power; they couldn't strike, they weren't allowed to deposit funds into banks and they had no legal status. Workers were desperate for reform to the law, especially in areas where reforms were enacted but repealed, and Chamberlain was the first senior Government man advocating for it. Public apathy towards the monarchy, especially in the context of a growing depression in agriculture, with vastly lowering prices forcing more workers into the cities brought more to the Republican creed. A wider unsettling series of trends overseas, combined with decreased trade between Britain and France after the Franco-Prussian War, protectionism amongst the wider economic powerhouses (US, Germany and France, who adopted protectionism at the proclamation of the French Third Republic) forced a smaller market for British Goods around the world, with factory owners passing on the depression in prices to wages. Ultra-radical elements in the Republican movement began recruiting unemployed single men, giving food and shelter to bring followers into the Republican movement. August 1872 saw a massive rise in assassinations both the mainland and Ireland, with the Duke of Argyll shot and wounded in Glasgow on the 18th and Henry Cadogan, 4th Earl Cadogan was killed in an explosion on the 25th while visiting Dublin. Granville appealed to Gladstone to bring new Emergency Acts to pursue cells and arrest suspects, but Gladstone feared that the Republican nature of the cells would see any legislation into the threat from the Commons. Many would demand a constitution for new powers to arrest and pursue violent elements - something Victoria had made it known that she would not create the Radical majority in the Senate to pass. Again, gridlock had ensued and brought chaos to the legislative process. Granville pressed ahead and passed the Emergency Act through the Senate and passed it to the Commons in September of that year, but some Republican MPs led by George Odger and many Irish Nationalists began using the Parliamentary process to delay the passing of the Act by debating indefinitely, with a lack of a cloture process leaving the Speaker powerless. Eventually, after several delays to the debates on the Act, it was thrown out by a combination of the Irish Nationalists, Chamberlainite Radicals and Republicans in the Parliament, who formed the opposition. Granville could not even gather enough votes in the House from his MPs to back the act and relied mainly on National votes. His credibility was shot and confidence in him had evaporated and tendered his resignation soon after. Henry Bruce was appointed to the role and the Earl of Clarendon, another National convert, became Foreign Secretary.

The Winter of 1872 brought yet more frustration politically and more hardship economically, particularly concentrated in heavy industry and the agricultural sector, gave rise to more resilient support for radical politics, and this occurred on both sides of the political spectrum: while Republicans and Anti-Aristocrats grew cosier to violent Radical groups (while maintaining a legal distance), nostalgic monarchism grew itself more violent especially in its vows to protect organised and established religion and gave rise to Loyalism in militaristic forms. Seeing the 'seeping Republican venom dissipating throughout the Country', protests emerged in London from a group called the 'Patriotic & Loyalist Alliance' (PLA), who came out with banners in support of Empire, the Queen, Church and the State on November 6th 1872. They numbered 15,000 however, and an element held a nativist outlook that held sympathise with much of the group. They targeted Irish, Jewish & Dissenter neighbourhoods and in rioting and 14 were killed. The aftermath of the rioting saw the Met Police blamed for much of the incident. PC Goodchild, a constable representative, insisted that the conditions they worked under meant they were unable to police the city effectively, demanded higher pay and when this was refused, 179 officers walked out from D, E and T divisions in the City. After a preliminary report was released a week later on November 13th written by of the circumstance of the killings after the PLA march seemed to pin the blame on both elements within the neighbourhoods themselves and the officers, but not the demonstrators, a further 800 Met Policemen walked out, and Irish, Jewish and Dissenter Groups went on wildcat strikes in London in support of the police. When the striking policemen were suspended, Dilke, while advocating a quick solution to the conflict between striking police and management, supported the striking policemen and condemned the management of the Met Police. He ironically had support from the Met Commissioner, Edmund Henderson, who had sought to improve conditions and advocated for compromise with the strikers but was received with extreme hostility from the Home Office who believed that the strike represented a mutiny. Lawlessness didn't immediately follow, but a wave of petty crimes caused concern amongst the populous of the Metropolis. As December arrived, and the strike dragged on, the remaining Met Police grew resentful of their striking colleagues and developed a sympathy with both the PLA and the Loyalist cause in general. Pressure grew on Henry Bruce to get control of the situation and was urged to reintroduce the Emergency Act into the Commons, with larger support expected amongst Radical MPs. The measure passed, but with a majority of just 18, and effectively split the Radical Party into its Gladstonian and its Republican & Chamberlainite factions. Hundreds of arrests were made in London, the strikes were forcibly ended, but the act failed to be enforced in the North for much of the winter. The Gladstonian wing had succeeded in rehabilitating itself amongst enlightened Whiggism and attracted many who had joined Palmerston's National Government into a more Moderate Radical coalition, closer to Peel's Government than Duncombe's. Bruce, Stansfield and Fortescue all left the Executive Council and cabinet and were replaced with Robert Lowe, John Bright & the Earl of Kimberley and Gladstone attempted to operate in the Centre Ground to quell the unrest from Republican agitation within the Parliament. Chamberlain retained control of the grassroots of the party but Gladstone controlled Parliamentary levers more effectively and drew praise from Victoria at his ability to compromise with the Senate. This compromise, however, fatally damaged his reputation amongst true Radicals and lost him much of his credence amongst the working-class, who saw him as the answer to cosy establishmentism, not an agent of it.

As 1873 approached, discussion within Radicalism and Republicanism had moved to the methods for the disestablishment of the Monarchy or the curbing of the political power of the Head of State. This cleavage within Radicalism, between Constitutional Monarchy and Republic, did not foster division as expected, instead, the two worked side by side to reduce Monarchical power for now. The blockades to reform were known to be Victoria and the Senate, but the legal apparatus, Dilke argued, remained within the Act of Settlement to determine the form of Government of the Union. A Tory who had become an Independent at the founding of the National Government, Henry Hyndman, joined the ranks of the Commonwealth League in December 1872 and advocated for the dismissal of Victoria and the Senate by declaring the House of Commons the unicameral legislative power and writing a new constitution. Others, such as Fortescue, advocated that a Grand Committee of Commons and Senate would be the most proficient way of achieving a consensus on the Legislature, with an informal understanding that whatever passed the Grand Committee would be passed by the Commons and Senate separately and given royal assent. The contents of this constitution would be decided by the Grand Committee. Moderate Republicans like P.A Taylor, John Stuart Mill, Auberon Herbert and W.J Linton advocated this, gradualist method that would take place within the confines of Parliamentary Supremacy. They believed that the opportunity would arise that would allow for the gradual change to a Republic, but an Act passed through the Senate and Commons would be impossible for the Monarch to overturn. The left of Republicanism advocated anything from a motion passed by the Commons that proclaimed a Republic, to a plebiscite on the issue, to sympathy with the more violent cells of the Revolutionary movement, this particular tendency led by George Odger. The procedural debate did help divide the Republican movement and its wider 'Constitutionalist' coalition within the wider context of their commitment to the cause. Many would accept a restricted Monarchy, a slimmed royal patronage, removal of aristocratic input in the legislative process and restoration of home governments for the Provinces and Nations, but an increasing number saw the Monarchy as a corrupt influence in the political system and the patronage as a cumbersome blockade to progress and a true social agenda. Henry Hyndman argued that only an enlightened, experience statesmen would be better placed to make political decisions within the confines of Head of State, however ceremonial the role would be, a civilian and non-aristocratic leader would provide the moral guide for the Nation. These debates manifested themselves in newspapers, in debating houses, workingmen's clubs and liberal societies all over the country by the Winter.

Gladstone's distance from the Constitution Question and the growing influence of the Whig elements of the National Party within Government meant that Radicals within the Government benches felt more distant from their Government, with fewer bona fide Radicals in the Executive Council and less in Government in general. It did, however, change his support base from working-class to the middle-class, moderately loyalist, constitutional monarchists - embodying Reformism in earnest. Moderate figures within the governing coalition, such as Earl of Kimberley, Marquess Hartington and Robert Lowe began to discuss the growing chasm in the Radical Party between its Reformist, Constitutionalist and Republican wings. With the latter two coalescing into a coherent Radical Left of the Party led by Chamberlain and Dilke, the Right-Wing of the Party, representing the Centre of British Politics in opposition to the constitution but advocacy for Reform would be frozen out of the grassroots of the organisation. In his letter to the National Review, Robert Lowe outlined his opposition to 'this constitutional nonsense' and advocated for moderate reform of local government, education reforms on the Gladstonian principle of compulsory primary education and the continuation of the technocratic style of government, promotion of academia and social reforms designed to bring more harmony to disaffected regions of the Union. The ongoing debates engulfed the Nationals as much as the Radicals, with Disraeli split between his old Tory colleagues and Whig opponents and struggled to prevent united opposition to the Gladstonian Government, with his Whig colleagues in the coalition wavering in their resolute opposition to the Radical Government, supporting the passage of the Northcote, Cardwell and Trevelyan Reforms. Disraeli struggled through diminished numbers in the Commons to impose the line of his brand of Nationalism on the populous and was secondary to the debates (or lack of) between Chamberlain, Dilke and Gladstone. The party he helped create had struggled to recover from the election defeat in 1870 and still struggled for support or effectiveness in the Commons. Anti-constitutionalism narrowed their base to a more traditional Tory base of landed elites, Disraeli began to stress internally that the key was patriotic workers who would come to the support of traditional institutions when threatened and would require social reform to move to the National Party. These would be decisions that would be dictated more by events in the coming weeks.

Early 1873 was cold, snowy and miserable and while the political scene was dominated by self-reflection at the continued political stalemate, one group was beginning to feel a greater sense of grievance at the handling of affairs - unskilled workmen. Having been granted the right to vote in the Duncombe reforms, they leaned heavily radical, and while subdued by the Palmerston Government, swung heavily radical after 1867. The industrial decline had brought about gradually increasing unemployment since 1870, and in the early parts of 1873, 23% in Shipbuilding, 18% in Textiles, 15% in Dockyards and 12% in Heavy Industries workers were without a job. A wider deflation in commodities prices, the scandals and public feuds between the Royals, the Senate and the Government and the lack of progress on social reforms left them frustrated, but unemployment represented a dangerous burden to bear for their incompetence. These men's Trade Unions weren't recognised by the wider Radical movement, and they represented the far left on the spectrum of British Politics. Unskilled workers provided up to 25% of the electorate in constituencies but had been muzzled out of debates by moderately skilled unions. They had been fractured, with the Cooperative Movement, non-political, stealing much of the momentum with tactic support for the Radical Party and its agenda being further through the traditional Owenite wing of the budding Socialist movement to come, centring around William King and the journal, The Co-operator. This movement drew workers away from trade unionism and towards self-sufficiency and advocated against direct action (strikes, protests) but advocated for the gradual accumulation of wealth through cooperation for the benefit of working-class communities. These prospered in the North and Wales but faltered in the South where active movements were made against it by Provincial and Central Government in the form of property seizures and the freezing of accounts against budding Cooperatives. Landowners sought to prevent property to be rented and licensing, in the hands of Provincial Administrations, was noncompliant and Central Administration not much better -this stunted the growth of Cooperatives until the 1900s in the South.

Those opposed to the Cooperative Movement were dispersed between those who favoured a general unskilled workers union and those who favoured individual unions for different trades. This debate had been settled in earnest in 1869, when the various Trades Councils, representing Cities and Provinces, unified formally into the General Federation of Trade Unions (GTFU), which brought all the unions into a confederation, who selected leading Republican and Trade Unionist George Odger, representing the 'New Unionism' of the 1860s, as President and espousing individual unions. This Congress was dominated by skilled unions and alienated unskilled labour from the movement. Textiles unions, Dockers Unions, Miners Unions and Shipbuilding Unions were all side-lined, with Skilled Union representatives receiving Parliamentary approval. Those who did, like Thomas Burt, claimed that middle-class voters voted a known Tory National candidate rather than him in his constituency of Morpeth and middle-class party operatives were next to useless. While politicking was going on in Westminster, National Associated Stevedores and Dockers General Secretary, John Caulfield noted that the mood was dire in the Docks and combined with the unseasonably cold weather, the situation was near feverous. Burt highlighted the pleas of the workers and the mass unemployment in the Commons but found no avail. Unskilled workmen founded the Trade Union Congress (TUC), led by unskilled unions, in 1871 to discuss and find assistance for the Trade Union movement and to collectively fight problems. The TUC Central Committee met on February 16th 1873 in response to the news that a further 3% of their members had been laid off, and wages were decreasing by 18% in response to the decrease in trade and prices. The economic situation threatened to turn into a social crisis as a fire engulfed the docks, closing it for 4 days, further created an acute situation. The TUC men, who were also bolstered by the support of Miners in the North of the Country, still had stunted membership, however, and usually represented only 5-10% of workers in Industry. Traditional striking, a tool for over 40 years in British Politics, was often a spontaneous decision, and workers would haphazardly organise amongst themselves, for workers in Dockyards like John Caulfield's men, the final straw was coming into view and we’re determined that this spontaneous decision would be the last they would make alone. When the Docks announced a further day of repairs, groups of workers attempted to open the docks by force. The NASD committee in the dockyard, with members numbering about 2,500 of the 30,000 workers, voted to call a strike and occupy the dock until conditions had been met, with a reversal of wage and hour cuts and compensation when docks are closed. East & West India Docks Company, which operated the dock, refused and the enforced lockout continued on February 21st. As the snow continued to fall, public sympathy grew with the dockers as Newspaper articles outlining the mass unemployment and poverty filled the newspapers. By February 23rd, the London Committee of the TUC called a city-wide strike of all unskilled workers until wage decreases were reversed, the next day, the call went out to the whole country. Furiously, workers joined Unions to join the strike, and in the Docks, 2,500 grew to 29,000 in three days. The GFTU refused to engage and did not condone direct action, but many individual unions affiliated with the Moderates joined the call as well, albeit in limited cases. With unrest in the capital, Victoria was whisked from Hyde Park on February 25th and put on the Royal Train up to Balmoral where heavy snow forced a diversion to Peterborough. It was in the Soke that residents heard a large explosion, and a signalman was the first to confirm it was the Royal Train. A series of rocks on the line, covered by the snow had derailed the train, with fires burning through the carriages. Victoria had been killed in the crash, along with 14 others.

Undoubtedly, many angles, hot takes, critiques and changes to the historiography on the crisis of 1873. While the death of Victoria and the subsequent constitutional crises represented its focal point, it was a political, social and economic crisis: politically as her death occurred right in the middle of a serious Republican movement in Britain for the first time since Cromwell, social as it represented a societal split between Loyalists and Republicans, and economic as it took place in the backdrop of strikes and wider economic slowdown. An existing General Strike meant that the Gladstone Government needed to coerce employers to give in to worker demands or use brutal force to break the strike, an existing body of Parliamentarians in the Commons meant that the legislation for that would be nearly impossible to pass without the support of the Opposition. The King to be, Prince Albert Edward, was away in India with his family and wasn't informed until February 27th that he had become King. The Commission Affair, as it had become known, had damaged his reputation with Loyalists at home in addition to opposition to him from Radicals, and he was an extremely reluctant Monarch. He was embroiled in several personal scandals, and the Radical Press had conducted a smear campaign against him since the Civil List affair and this attack was amplified by the National Press' aversion to him after the breakdown in his relationship with Victoria. Neither was happy with King Edward, and he was unhappy with the state he had inherited and disassociated with it. Having withdrawn from public life, he had expected that he would be able to decline the throne but was unable to in law. He wrote to Gladstone to propose a method for distancing himself from the throne - to pass it to his son, Albert Victor, who would require a regency Council of State until he reached the age of 18, allowing space for a new political compromise to be sort. He knew he would have to be the King that would eliminate aristocratic power, such was the Republican feeling within the populous, and he was unwilling to do such a thing so believed that a political, civilian Council of State should deliver a Constitutional Reset as had been the case when his mother assumed the throne. Albert Edwards looked over the state of his Empire and saw a frail domestic situation from a working-class that had killed the last two people to sit in the chair he was due to sit, an apathetic middle-class and a hostile upper-class who believed that he was a revolutionary. He was all things to all people, and everyone found a reason to dislike him. The sustained press negativity on his promiscuous lifestyle, his actions within the Senate and his perceived conservatism, or liberalism, depending on the person you were talking to, meant that he failed to have a constituency of patriots enjoyed by former monarchs. The Patriotic working-class now supported the Nation and the People's Will, rather than the Crown. "He's a philanderer and a bastard," one man said the day after the death of Victoria in London "and he'll never be King here."
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Part 3, Chapter VIII
III, VIII: The End?

Three days after the death of Victoria, Parliament assembled for an emergency debate on the provisions needed to 'continue the legislative work of the House in the absence of the Monarch'. Parliament was, under the terms of the Parliament Act, dissolved at the death of the Monarch, but due to the four-month return trip for the new King Edward, a bill was presented to extend the Parliament's term until the return of the King. The death of the Monarch caused the Council of State, headed by the Speaker of the House, President of the Executive Council and Lord High Chancellor but also including current and previous Executive Councillors and Legal Officers of State, to meet for the first time since Brougham dissolved the Privy Council after the Council-rule. This meeting would require unanimity for the succession of the Monarch from Victoria to Edward, but the presence of Constitutionalists like Henry Bruce and Joseph Chamberlain caused concern amongst the Monarchists, as the days prior since the news had broken had been dominated in Republican circles as to whether this was the time to declare a Republic and deny Albert Edward the throne. As it happened, the Council was unable to meet due to the ongoing Rail strike, meaning the Councillors, who needed to attend in total to declare a quorum, to prevent a seizure of power not unlike the Whig seizure in the 1830s. This gave the PR impedes to the Radicals and Republicans, as it allowed the debate of the future of Monarchical institutions to become a large scale debate framed by those who wished to abolish, or Radically reform Monarchical power. Chamberlain spoke to the Manchester Guardian and reported that the "decision would take into account the present crisis we find ourselves in" and "would take into account the extended delay in the return of the Monarch. Dilke, representing the more radical wing of the movement, hastily convened a Congress of the Republican Movement for March 15th 1873, to discuss the Council of State meeting and its responses to it. He found division between the gradualist and fundamentalist factions of his movement, with the former associated with the middle-class ends and the latter heavily associated with the Trade Union movement, as to the correct course of action. Chamberlain moved decisively on behalf of the Republican movement on March 1st, by claiming that he would require concessions before he would give consent to the ascension of Edward to the throne. The mere act of discussing the Council of State in public was controversial, but Chamberlain insisted the "transparency of the process must be paramount if Edward is to become King of the Britons and her Empire". March 3rd brought a startling headache for Gladstone - the revelation that Edward had been corresponding with him, and the contents of his private letter to Gladstone that he intended to remove himself from consideration for succession. This further ignominy damaged his reputation further and embarrassed Gladstone. Republicans organised a mass demonstration against Edward's ascension for March 6th, which attracted some 25,000 to London's Hyde Park. With the strike still ongoing, many of the protesters came from the ranks of the striking classes.

Chamberlain's intervention was caused by a quirk in the legislation, that entitled the Council of State to be formed of all Executive Councillors, past or present. This gave Chamberlain, the former Education Minister in the Executive Council, into the Council of State's wider membership and putting him in a position to veto. When the Council of State was called, a Report was passed to the Attorney-General, Sir Henry James, himself a National MP who crossed the floor, which examined the text of the legislation and uncovered that provisions for Executive Council members of the Council of State in two places; the co-Presidents and the extended council, which could be assembled to advise the council to help it come to a decision - used within the Committee System, the Judicial, Legislative and Executive Committees included Great Law Officers, the Deputy Speakers and the wider members of the cabinet. The legislation, however, used the phrase "in perpetuity" and the decision would need to be made "with one heart, mind and voice", which was to imply that anyone appointed would retain these rights during their lifetime, and the Report advocated for the wider inclusion of all living former Executive Council members, all former Great Law Officers of State and all former Speakers and Deputy Speakers to attend the meetings. Gladstone thought the idea was nonsense that would further complicate a delicate process, but the High Chancellor, Lord Selborne, supported the claim. Therefore, the numbers attending the ascension grew enormously but provided that the Council of State members as individuals had an absolute veto on the process. This was to the benefit of the Constitutionalists, as they had a direct veto on the appointment and had conditions for the ascension. Edward Albert wrote once again to Gladstone to express his concern at even accepting the Crown. The government remained in paralysis, Gladstone's wrangling on the constitution delaying measures to stop the strike meant nothing to in practice was done to help either employer or worker. Exacerbation was the overriding feeling. In private, Dilke pleaded with Chamberlain to refuse and declare a Republic. Chamberlain believed that meaningful progress could be achieved with the threat of the veto, but by declaring a Republic, the Council of State would annul the decision, expel Chamberlain and probably try him for treason. Chamberlain in letters to the Republican Charles Bradlaugh expressed his desire to veto to form the ultimate expression of obstructionism seeking concessions. Bradlaugh advised him that such a move would link Chamberlain to the Republican movement, and could bring down the Monarchy, and establish him as the Leader of the Republicans. Chamberlain would be able to ask the Constitutional Question and demand an answer, but he dismissed the claim of Bradlaugh - "I am not a Republican, I have made that clear, but I am also the leader of a movement to support a Constitution and nothing more". Gladstone's delay, a few days in all, while organising the basic principles of the Parliament Act showed the flaw of Regency, and made the desire for a strong Executive to take the reins of the situation that was developing. Middle-classes, his natural constituency, grew tired of growing unskilled working-class unrest, held sympathy with them and their Republican demands, but fundamentally blamed the Aristocracy for the delays to the legislative process, further feeding the sympathetic loop towards Moderate Republicanism or to borrow the French term, Opportunist Republican.

When the Council of State finally convened, Chamberlain pulled his pocket Ace and refused to give consent to the ascension. According to accounts from inside the meeting (no notes were taken), Chamberlain explained himself as needing to seek greater concessions from the new King to support his candidacy, adding allegedly "to seek compromise to end the obstruction that engulfs our political system". Members were expecting a show from Joe, but they did not believe that he would object to the Heir. News reached Edward in a stop through Ottoman Arabia, and he reacted furiously. He claimed if the British didn't want him, and weren't unanimous in their acceptance, he would decline the throne. Advisors begged him to reconsider, but he offered an ultimatum to the Council of State - affirm his position in unanimity or he would decline the throne and pass it onto his son. Gladstone, speaking via Telegram, urged him as a Constitutionalist himself to indicate some leniency to reform, and the issue would be held. Edward responded by asking that Chamberlain be removed from the Council of State and for the ascension to be completed again without any proclamation. "Procedure and tradition must come first," he wrote. Once again, in a hugely embarrassing incident for the Government, these letters were found unlocked in Gladstone's office and stolen and released to the Press. "The King is not fit for the throne" read one newspaper, the Manchester Guardian wrote "Edward is revealing the tendencies that his mother was least admired for" in a less than dignified takedown of the deceased Monarch. Mainstream opinion now saw the Monarchy as a squabbling institution doing nothing but wasting time in a crisis, and they increasingly saw the young Joe as the answer to the inertia. "Trust in Joe" became a saying amongst working classes and middle classes alike, but his actions in the Council of State made him a marked man for those representing 'Traditional Britain'. Devout Anglicans, former Soldiers and the landed gentry found him to be the antithesis of British Patriotism and considered him a traitor. The workers who worked the fields, long hit by the depression, started however to question the unwavering line of support for the Crown, Church and Family as the situation became direr and direr, while the Gentry, the symbol of Queen and Country retained their wealth. Most were more concerned with the worsening economic condition than the Constitutional Question, but the debate made the Republic be the answer to all the questions that they were asking. "Down with the Lords" declared one poster stapled to a County Hall door in Derbyshire "and down with their friends in the Senate" showing how far the cut-through had reached. In Ireland, anti-Aristocracy was once again mixed with Anglophobia, and anti-English feelings rose and tension with it against Minorities on both sides of the Nationalist-Unionist divide, with the growing presence of an Irish Republican movement advocating for Independence and no association with the British whatsoever. "If the British get their Republic, we should have ours" declared John O'Leary, leader of the Republicans, in early March 1873. Butt supported Chamberlain, however, in his pursuit of Constitutional change. "It is only through Joe that we will achieve our freedom".

Dilke used the 1st Republican Congress in Sheffield on March 15th, attended by 90 members of the House and some 1,000 delegates, as an attempt to show Republican strength throughout the country. A march accompanying the Congress gathered over 85,000 attendees in support of the Republic, with this being the first emergence of the old Chartist flag, or purple, white and green. "A democratic republic," he said to the Congress, "is within our reach." He didn't, however, mention the strikers or the growing economic hardship as a result of the stoppage. George Odger, of the GFTU, who attended the Congress, reached out to the leadership of the TUC to resolve the crisis, claiming that "the country was in peril" should the economic direct action be stopped and "we risk alienating the support we have gained; people who support you, when faced with critical decisions, can be persuaded otherwise" he wrote in correspondence with the Executive Committee of the TUC. Dilke's distance from the Strikers meant he would be able to assert that a Republic could maintain law and order and would not address the social question beyond Radicalism's modest ambitions. The fear of alienating Skilled Workers and Small Businessmen and keeping the movement united meant that Dilke's leadership of the Republican movement meant he would dodge the Social Question. Dilke would later, when pressed, reveal that he hoped for an amicable resolution to the strikes. In the aftermath of the Congress, some in the elites of British Politics feared a Terror, or a situation close to the Paris Commune would arise in London and other cities, and when presented with the motion to remove Chamberlain as a member, this weighed heavy on their mind. The day before the meeting of the Council of State that would remove Chamberlain, a string of Manor House arson attacks hit Derbyshire and Yorkshire, seemingly in support of Chamberlain. Councillors feared that dismissing Chamberlain would spark a Revolution in the country, so rejected the motion and he retained his place. Edwards response was final - he refused the crown and declined the ascension. Gladstone once again pleaded with the Crown Prince, but he was not to be deterred - he wrote his name in blood with a London Times letter to the people, in which he said he was "unable to fulfil the desires of the people, so I have decided to abdicate the throne or decline the offer unless the conditions of the loyalty of my subjects are not in question". In the eyes of Monarchists, this was weakness, and in the eyes of Constitutionalists, it was a pathetic power grab.

Chamberlain looked to Dilke, Butt and the Attorney General, Sir Henry James, for the advice of the best course of action. Gladstone looked to the Executive Organs of the Radical Party to expel Chamberlain, but the National Executive Committee refused to accept the motion, and Chamberlain was given a stay of execution and allowed to stay within the Party. This unveiled an inherent weakness with Gladstone's relationship with the Party. It had newspapers, an organisation, Congresses within Congresses, Unions and ideas beyond Gladstone's associated with the movement. Gladstone felt slightly distant from the party machinery and was not entirely in control of them. He had left that to the younger ones. The agility Chamberlain had in his decisions meant he was always one step ahead, and his control of the party machinery and the practical, popular elements of the Radical movement meant that he indeed made the weather. The Republican Congress moved to end the peak of the General Strike, as workers steadily returned to work in droves over the next week, but rolling wildcat strikes, including the one of the London Docks, would continue for the next few weeks. In Ireland, the unrest brought a series of rent strikes and manor burnings against Land Reform - a key grievance that they were informed the Home Government would solve. This land war would continue in perpetuity until the conclusion of the crisis. Gladstone convened Parliament on March 18th to discuss the situation and brought forward a motion that "this House supports the ascension of the rightful heir to the throne, Albert Victor", a deliberate ploy to bring in the Constitutional Monarchists over to the Monarchical side. Numbers become important here, and the Electoral factions in the face of such a hefty debate are all the more relevant to the proceedings unfolding and their motivations.

Chamberlain, penned in by the motion, was forced to pick a side - he could conform to the Gladstonian model, which was sure to see his political power within the Commons evaporate as the whole thing would be seen to be a boneless stunt. This trepidation also probably entered Dilke's thoughts, as his Republican leanings hadn't been the most solid and were ill-defined before the crisis and he was more a waverer than he admitted, but his political reputation was now staked on the Republic, whatever that might happen to be. The Commonwealth League members grew to 112 and Dilke's men were sincere Republicans, and had all the intent to vote against the motion because they wanted to replace the Monarch with an elected Head of State. Seventy-five Irish Nationalist members met on the 19th to discuss the motion, and while some feared the retribution should they fail, they believed that a Constitution, and possibly a Republic, might be the best option. Support or opposition fell to the 155 strong 'Constitutionalist Bloc', including the Constitutional Monarchists, Opportunists and personal supporters of Chamberlain. This bloc would bring the victory, or herald the defeat, and Chamberlain would be the one who would guide the vote one way or the other - just as he liked. Gladstone's core support circled seventy-nine members, who can be described as a mix of Reformists and hardcore, anti-Chamberlain Constitutional Monarchists who were both explicitly in opposition to the Republic. These were joined by eighty-six 'National Whigs', who were part of the traditional Whig party but had worked in the National Government, and had been beginning to move towards the political Centre with Gladstone. To the right and the most stringently supported the Monarchy and thought the whole thing bizarre and embarrassing for the British State. "A squabble between some Liberals" Disraeli called it "and a sham for our State." These Nationals now sat completely separately in their complete opposition to the handling of the succession and found common cause with Irish Unionists who opposed Home Rule in their opposition to a Catholic State within the Union. These hardliners, with Gladstone's faction, would form the basis of the support for the motion. Chamberlain was truly conflicted and received visitors in support and opposition to the motion in the days before his speech on the vote. He implied in the morning of the debate to Dilke that he had made his decision.

"I am compelled by the actions of the Crown in the last few days, Mr Speaker, to be firm in my opposition to the continued attacks on my character by the Monarch of the state. It is this self-preservation, this desire to crystallise the institutions of our state in Amber against the will of the People, and for the peace, order and good government of this Union. If the actions and the influence of this institution continue at its present rate, its present cost and its present record of continual decline. Perhaps, Mr Speaker, it is time that we accept that how it is to-day might not be what it is tomorrow. It is for these reasons, that I have decided to vote against the motion, Mr Speaker."

His intervention was greeted with rapturous applause but also heckles of 'traitor' and 'who killed the King?' from the benches. Chamberlain and 155 Constitutionalists and Opportunists voted against the motion, along with 75 Irish Nationalists and all 112 members of the Commonwealth League, some of which shouted 'Long Live the Republic' as the tallies were announced of 345-275, and for the first time since Cromwell, there was a majority in the House demanding the end of the Monarchy. Gladstone was stunned, unable to control events and some considered his confidence gone from that moment, but men such as Disraeli were afraid to take power, so refrained from pushing him before he fell. Friends urged Chamberlain to take power and declare the Republic, but he resisted. He did not want to raise the Republican flag, and he knew the chances of a quiet revolution were slim. "This crisis hasn't ended tonight, my friend," he told Charles Dilke after the vote, "they have just begun." Britain entered a new era - without a Monarch, but only living by the concept of Parliamentary Supremacy. Since the Parliament Act provided for a contingency in Regency and placed temporarily the Council of State, specifically its Presidium, in Executive Power. This however accelerated more power in the hands of Gladstone, something that irked the Republicans who began to mull a palace coup against him as early as three days after the motion was defeated. While the abdication and subsequent uncertainty around the future of the Monarchy brought Loyalists out into the streets over the next few days. Gladstone believed that the pageantry of Victoria's funeral would provide the unifying display of Royalism that the people needed, but found himself pushed out by senior members of the Military, like John Forster FitzGerald, the highest-ranking officer in the British Army, who responded for Victoria's request to be buried as a 'soldier's daughter' as a sign to militarise the event and move political and judicial figures from the frontline. As the lines of soldiers swarmed the streets in the military procession, locals wondered whether there was a coup underway. Cannons fired, guns were shot and the whole thing had a strict, controlled feel with hundreds of policemen at major buildings. The procession passed, deliberately, through the Docklands and the working-class areas. Gladstone advised against the route being diverted through the districts, but was rebuffed by FitzGerald, who believed that the sight of the royal procession would "strike the strikers into their love of the crown". He was wrong. Republicans and Trade Unionists protested the militaristic overtures of the funeral, shouted "you will not control us" and "down with the Monarch, free the soldiers" as they passed through the Docks. One Docker even through a pig head into the road. The embarrassment hit National Papers, and this chaos further incensed Monarchist sentiment. Disraeli condemned the "thuggish elements" that disrupted the funeral and condemned the policing of the event. Many of the amassed Met Policemen were on holiday, it seemed.

Dilke quietened his campaigning in the aftermath of the vote and Victoria's funeral in an attempt to show deference and respect to National affairs, others, such as Bradlaugh and the emerging figure of Hyndman however, moved to fill the gap. Hyndman's article to the Edinburgh Review on March 31st, 1873 advocated for a Great National Convention, proceeded by convening a Provisional Government to take hold of power until the end of the Parliamentary term in 1874. The idea of a Provisional Government, one representing the Republicans who had wrestled the initiative by defeating the Gladstone motion, was growing in popularity. A caretaker regime would be able to hold power effectively until the election in a year and make preparations for a new Constitution. Debate amongst the intellectual circles centred around the new form of Government the British should adopt should the Monarchy not be restored. Some favoured a strong presidential model, some favoured the Parliamentary Republic and some believed that the Council of State should assume full Executive Power. Bradlaugh advocated this model, proposing the Parliament should meet yearly to elect a new Councillor on a three-year term, meaning the full council would be renewed every Parliament and Councillors would be subject to the terms of MPs. This Directory-style advocacy was further enriched by the presence of those such as the Constitutional Monarchist Walter Bagehot, who argued that the appointment by Parliament of the old Great Officers of State; Lord High Steward, Lord High Chancellor and Lord High Treasurer, would provide the legitimacy for the roles and provide clear direction for the appointees to have pre-determined spheres of influence: High Steward would handle Parliament, High Chancellor would handle the judiciary and High Treasurer would handle supply. It is strange that before the death of Victoria, little had been discussed about the form of Government Britain would take, but the dividing lines emerged as the Republic took a step closer to realisation.

Monarchists also attempted to rally behind a new pretender to the throne to provide the continuation of the institution in legislative life. Gladstone retained the hope that Albert Edward would be convinced to return, and this unified him with many of the Constitutional Monarchists, who believed a new dynasty would only damage and weaken Radicalism further. Disraeli believed the King would never return, so began advocating for the search for a successor in the Hanoverian House, with the recently dismissed King of Hanover, George V, mentioned as the likely successor to continue the line. Disraeli combined this desire with proposals to return the House of Lords and to restore pre-1830 institutions of power like the Privy Council. Without any authority, he wrote to George V in early April to advocate for his assumption of power, combined with an Order-in-Council making the constitutional changes required. He did this on the assumption that the Gladstone government would fall in 1874, and his coalition of Tory Nationals and Irish, Scottish and Welsh Unionists would take over. In a revelation that surprised no one, his letters were leaked to the Bee-Hive in early April, attracting scorn from Republicans and Gladstone alike. An attempt was made on Disraeli's life a few days later, and he escaped a man who attempted to climb into his carriage and stab him by knocking the man on with his cane. Three more assassinations, of two minor National figures and the Earl of Clarendon, further indicated the vicious nature of the public mood. Responding to the "Bloody Week", Gladstone believed that Parliamentary business was unravelling the country and with the support of the other members of the Council of State prorogued Parliament after the death of Clarendon and made a personal appeal to the Republican organisations, mostly small cells in the capital, to "end their campaign or face the fullest extent of the law". Republicans were incensed and believed that a coup was underway to invite George V and expel the Republicans from the Commons (no such plans had taken place) and it is in this moment that you saw the emergence of the conspiracy theory of "the Crown State" infiltrating the popular will being expressed through the democratic institutions. In Committee Room 15 in the Palace of Westminster, 15 men representing the different factions of the Republican and Constitutional Movement met to discuss their actions in response to the prorogation. Chamberlain, Dilke, Bradlaugh, Fawcett, P.A Taylor, Anderson, Odger, Burt, Cowen and Linton were the intellectual heavyweights, and this Junta directed proceedings towards a solution of meeting, with the 348 Republicans or Republican sympathisers agreeing to pass and end declaring the end of the Monarchy, and instituting sole Executive Power, pending the new election of Parliament, not in the Council of State, but the Executive Council. This plan was nicknamed the "Fairfax Plan", and it would have the benefit of remaining within the confines of the Parliamentary system. The 15-men unanimously agreed on the plan and returned to their cliques and factions to build support for the plan.

Not at the meeting and now gravely ill, Mill expressed his satisfaction with the events and hoped that "he would see the benefits of truly representative government in this State". He also sent a copy of his 1861 piece, Considerations on Representative Government, to each of the Committees members. Chamberlain went further and sent a letter to the Birmingham Chronicle tabling the conditions for his support of a constitution. This included; the right to Home Government and its protection in law, a democratically elected Commons, the end of Aristocratic elements within the Constitution, total freedom of religion, assembly, the press and the right of association. His plan consisted of a bicameral system with a lower House elected on universal suffrage, and an upper house with half its members nominated by State Governors, the other half nominated by Home Parliaments, and a constitutionally limited executive official of the Union to be elected by a joint-sitting of the two Houses. Butt expressed support for this proposal, but in his last letter to Dilke, Mill suggested that the "existence of the elected King would do nothing for the moral rehabilitation of the State or its executive interference" and predicted that a Royalist elected to that position would simply resign in favour of the return of the Monarchy. While anti-monarchical sentiment within the general populous was growing, the mood of many of the Opportunists, including Chamberlain himself, was to emphasise the Parliamentary reform which underplaying the role of any new Chief Executive. Gladstone was urged by many within his faction, especially Lord Granville, to suppress the Republican movement as had been done in Ireland to its Republican movement, with low-level arrests and exile for the leaders. With Parliament prorogued, he would be able to use a Council of State Ordinance to pass a Coercion Act against the Republicans to arrest its leaders, including Chamberlain, and affirm Albert Edward as the King, but the fears of public unrest prevented him from doing so. He did, however, issue a warrant for the re-arrest of Thomas Burt, whose popularity sky-rocketed during his imprisonment.

The defining moment of the Republicans ascent to power began with the funeral of their philosophical guide, J.S Mill, and his burial in Highgate Cemetery. The event became a rallying point for all Republicans across the country to converge on the capital, and some 200,000 people lined the streets to pay their respects. At his graveside, one by one a series of Republican leaders gave rousing speeches, reread back to the masses by a giant game of Chinese Whispers, in support of Mill, his honour and integrity and advocacy of the Republic. Chamberlain said "this country has been deprived of its Republic's first Head of State", Dilke said, "the candle of Republicanism may be extinguished from his heart, but it burns brightly in ours". The aftermath of the event hurried the pace of the Republicans, who did not want to squander their newfound political momentum. The next day, 348 Republican MPs attempted to enter the Commons chamber to summon a debate to declare the Republic, not led by Dilke or Chamberlain, but by John Bright. He had left the Moderate Centre and joined the Radical Left in the Constitutional Question. They found their passage blocked and the doors locked, so assembled on the Green and passed a motion of no-confidence in the Gladstone, a censure motion condemning the Council of State's prorogation of Parliament, a motion to dissolve the Council of State and a motion to form a provisional government. Each was passed with unanimity. Hearing this news, Gladstone and the Council of State passed an Ordinance that the 348 men had committed treason, and suspending the members involved and suspending Parliamentary privilege for those who had supported the move. Disraeli organised a meeting of pro-Monarchical elements and declared their outright opposition to the motions, their commitment to the institution of Monarchy and the State as-was in the form of a Covenant, which several of 20 men assembled signed in blood. This covenant then travelled the country, gaining signatures from the landed gentry, pro-Monarchist working-classes and a large contingent from the officer corps in the Army, including the Commander-in-Chief of the Forces, Prince George. A diktat from the self-declared Provisional Government appointed a list of Ministers that "held the confidence of the Commons", according to the wording of the notice. John Bright, veteran Radical and Republican, despite his National leanings, became the High Steward of the Provisional Government, alluding to his ascension to the highest of the Great Office of State, but power lay with the Chamberlain-Dilke-Fawcett triumvirate, with Sir Henry James taking the role of the highest law-officer, the Lord Chancellor. The Republican Committee also elected a New Speaker of the Commons, P.A Taylor.

Provisional Executive Committee of Parliament, 1873-1874
High Steward of the Provisional Committee - John Bright, Opportunist
High Treasurer of the Provisional Committee - Chichester Fortescue, Independent
High Chancellor of the Provisional Committee - Sir Henry James, Independent
Prime Minister, Secretary of State for the Foreign Office, President of the Council - Joseph Chamberlain, Opportunist
Secretary of State for the Home Office - Henry Bruce, Opportunist
Keeper of the Seal of the Provisional Committee - Charles Dilke, Commonwealth
Vice President of the Provisional Council on Education - William J Linton, Commonwealth
Secretary of State for the Colonies - Henry Fawcett, Commonwealth
President of the Board of Trade - George Odger, Commonwealth
Part 3, Chapter IX
III, IX: The Provisional Government

As the new year broke, the Provisional Government began to prepare for elections and reached out to those who had yet to come to the table to discuss the new Constitutional Laws. The Speaker of the Provisional Parliament, P.A Taylor, proposed that the Grand Committee, which Chamberlain had proposed to draft the new laws, would be postponed until the convening of the elections, to allow more time for Monarchists to join the Convention, in a spirit of conciliation. It was also at this time that agreements over pay had been achieved, brokered by Odger, President of the Board of Trade, to see workers grievances quelled in the early part of 1874, which contributed to a mood that functioning Government had been restored. The last holdout of the Council of State, albeit no longer a member, Gladstone joined the Provisional Parliament and took up his seat in the Chamber, to a delirious crowd of Radicals, but to no-one's surprise, his maiden speech sought to advocate for the return of Edward to the throne. He did, however, back the concept of a new Constitution, as the "only method for realising national healing and preventing this Union's demise" but sought "a permanent structure to the Government, one that retains the newfound stability enjoyed since the Provisional Ministry has been convened" - this was his first admission of the authority of the Provisional Government, and his admission of the fact many had known for some time still gave the Republicans, former allies of the People's Will, much delight. "Huzzah and hallelujah, the People's Will has joined the People," said Hyndman in the chamber. Finally, the last guard against the legitimacy of the Provisional Parliament, the physical guard of soldiers and men blocking the Palace of Westminster, was called to stand down by Lord Granville and Gladstone personally on January 8th, 1874, and did so without a fuss and the Provisional Parliament moved into the Palace of Westminster the following day. This was not so much a defeat, but an acceptance of reality - the Republicans, in whatever guise, were in command of the British State. There was little bloodshed, little fuss and little conflict, as in all things in British Politics, in the end, Parliament decides. The absolute final hold out of the Council of State, and therefore Monarchical rule in Britain, the RIC, was declared dissolved by the Provisional Provincial Office for Ireland a week later, and the RIC men from the mainland were sent home the following day.

Not everyone was confident, delirious or ecstatic about the end of hostilities. Conservative elements, whom the Provisional Parliament was attempting to court, grew hostile to the manoeuvres of the Republicans and their disregard for the existing constitution of the Union. They still believed that treason had been committed by the so-called Provisional Government, but was split on the necessary action to protest and block its constitutional wrangling to come. Some, such as Lord Robert Cecil, outright opposed the movements of the Republicans and refused to work with them, insisting their traitorous spirit could be broken and their stability would be short-lived, supported by Minto and Hartington, the latter leading the Whig opposition to the measure. They advocated a policy of abstentionism with the new Parliament - they would stand (should they even be allowed to stand) for the Convention Parliament, but would not campaign, would not interact and would not take their seats. This was designed to discredit the institution until its inevitable collapse, at which point a Conservative force would retake power and reconstitute the traditional ruling mechanisms of the British state, and most importantly, dissolve any Provincial Administrations. This policy found immense support from Conservative Protestants and gave birth to a new concoction of the Orange Order, a Loyalist and Protestant Organisation with its roots in Ulster who vehemently opposed the foundation of a Republic and even the existence of secular or non-Protestant states within the Union. While initially concentrated in Ulster, they grew exponentially between the winter of 1873 and the spring of 1874, with many former Tories, such as Cecil himself, becoming members. Some elements of the Conservative movement however began to advocate a rapprochement with the Provisional Parliament, most notably Disraeli. These members searched for the why rather than the how and began a period of introspection once the Provisional Government had been declared as to why the Union had lost the support of so many subjects. Disraeli, for one, concluded that the self-interest of certain members of his coalition had hampered attempts to advance the lives of the working-class, and Conservatism, and therefore support for the Monarchy, could be cultivated with the working-class within the populous hand in hand with enlightened social reforms. He founded a new party to fight the elections, to the dismay of many of his Tory colleagues, the Union of Conservative Forces, to fight the election, and intended to stand in the Convention Parliament for King, Empire & Country. He worked relentlessly to peel away support for the Abstentionist line with one notable success, Lord Hartington, joining the coalition in February. Finally, Disraeli and a small band, around 21 or so members, including 8 Lord Senators, joined the Provisional Parliament.

With elements from all the major political forces in the Provisional Parliament, Chamberlain moved a motion to set the election date for the Convention Parliament in early February from April 18th, 1874 until April 27th, 1874. He also set out the conditions for the election, with unchanged constituencies (as a boundary review could not be completed in time), universal suffrage and with the unlimited ability for anyone to stand, should they register with their Provisional Provincial Office up to one month before the election date. He also set the date for the first meeting of the Convention Parliament, on May 1st, 1874. With the opposition now nearly universally quelled, this was agreed by all the members of the chamber. The only opposition arose when the Parliament debated whether the Provisional Government should continue to have a mandate until May 1st, with some members convinced that a Committee of the Whole Chamber, including Conservatives and the Constitutional Monarchists, should take over the running of the state until the elections were declared and new Government was appointed, and how the mandate of this new Government should work legally. Sir Henry James advocated that with the Revolutionary Breach of Legal Order, the Provisional Government should fulfil the duties of the State until it was dissolved, and the Convention Parliament should appoint a Transitional Council upon its inauguration until the Constitutional Laws, should they produce a radically different structure of Government, this Transitional Council should retain the legal authority of the Provisional Government, which itself derived the legal limitations of powers from the Council of State as defined by Parliament Act, i.e that any laws are Provisional pending the selection of a new Head of State, at which point they would be put to Parliament to approve or lapse. This legal advice was presented to the Provisional Parliament in a statement, which was approved by the house after opposition from both Left and Right, with those on the Right accusing the upstart Ministers of overreach, and those of the Left of reducing the Provisional Government to a quasi-Committee of Public Safety. Despite these objections, support came for the first time from Gladstone and his Constitutional Monarchists, who felt that this method respected the traditional, as much as an insurgent Republican Government could, a spirit of the Parliamentary process and would provide stability, which Gladstone urged other members to consider. The Opportunists and Constitutional Monarchists, therefore, united, with members of the Republican Left such as Dilke towing the Provisional Government's line. The most high profile dissenter was Henry Hyndman, who said he could not support the "ad infinitum extension of the Provisional rule until the end of the Constitutional process" and "thought the first role of the Convention Parliament should be the selection of a President-Regent". Such unilateralism, when the form of Government was clearly to be decided by the Convention, irked the Constitutional Monarchists and the Conservatives, who believed such a course of action would be presumptuous at best, treasonous at worst. This led the Constitutionalists, and some Conservatives, to side with James' appraisal of the situation. The final work of the Provisional Parliament was to approve a budget to continue spending on the Army, Police, Civil Service and Navy for the time being, although much of the Navy had yet to agree to the authority of the Provisional Government. The Provisional Parliament, a haphazard meeting of Moderate Tories, Whigs and Republicans, then voted itself out of existence and dissolved itself for the upcoming elections.

The elections themselves were, surprisingly, quite an uncontested affair. Gladstone did not campaign publicly, nor did Disraeli. Monarchists who were abstentionists sat out the campaign entirely and didn't attend hustings, debates or even, as the elections drew to their conclusions, the count. A sum of 1800 candidates submitted their names for consideration, but campaigning was done mostly in Industrial towns by Republicans, who sought to mobilise and energise support for a Republic and secure a majority in the Convention. This had the side-effect of allowing these Republicans to control the national debate, concentrating on the elimination of sinecure and corruption, easing the legislative process and allowing much-needed reforms to pass. The Provisional Parliament, by its nature, was unable to tackle these reforms, but individual members held strong views about the need for the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland and the established Church in Wales, of land reform and or Education Act, but their desires from the Republican Left for the complete separation of Church and State led some of the Anglican faith to be wary of the far-left of the group. While a good number of Anglicans were nominally in support of the Republic, some feared persecution and revenge from non-Conformists for restrictions to their liberties and domination, and even working-class voters became suspicious of their intentions. Chamberlain, to his credit, used his Opportunist faction to quell these fears, promoting the Republican right of Freedom of Religion, and a greater sense of Freedoms generally. Orange Orders whipped up hysteria about a "Republican Terror" incoming led by the Dissenters, Republicans and Irishmen, as in the French Revolution, amongst the god-fearing populous and in rural towns, the mood turned hostile to many Republicans in these areas. These measures though were not coordinated with the candidature of Monarchists, as many were resolutely committed to Abstentionism - thus failed to match the passion for the Republic felt in the Cities. The hysteria around the development of Trade Unions and their links to the Republican movement brought landowners into the coalition against the Republic, as did harrowing, usually false, stories about chaos in Republican France and Spain, who spent 1873 messing with their attempt at the Federal Republic, only to succumb to a unitary dictatorship, followed by the restoration of the Monarchy. Lord Halifax, a Constitutional Monarchist, said of the feeling in the villages “As far as I can make out people are frightened, the masters are afraid of their workmen, manufacturers afraid of strikes, churchmen afraid of the non-conformists, many afraid of what is going on in France and Spain and very unreasoning fear have all taken refuge in abstentionism to send a message to the Convention that they are unwanted.”

Republicans, however, whatever their faction, worked together and pursued the Republic with a laser focus. The mastery of Chamberlain and Dilke's campaigning meant that in most cities, Opportunists and the Republican Left adhered to the doctrine of the Democratic Federation, and the fundraising led by Fortescue meant that the campaign war chests were well funded to support the Democratic cause, and candidates did not compete against each other but concentrated their campaigns against those who wouldn't support a Republic. This majorly affected Liberal members, who supported a Constitutional Monarchy led by Gladstone, whose lack of a campaign further damaged his candidates' ability to win seats in urban areas. He would repeat these mistakes but was somewhat tuckered out by the events of 1871-1874, having felt he had succumbed to the same kind of factionalism (or faddism as it was known in Liberal circles) that had hampered the Radicals before his tenure as leader. The Radicals have split hopelessly again - this time into those who sided with the unilateral action of Chamberlain and those who favoured more gradual reform. These splits, however, weren’t as great in ideology as in timescale and urgency - Gladstone wanted Senate reform, he wanted to disestablish the Church in Wales and Ireland and improve conditions on land-tenure, as well as supporting Home Governments and major constitutional reform. The unilateral declaration of the Provisional Government was a procedural dispute, as even Gladstone felt the Commons would have a role to play in determining the future of the Crown. Unlike the last split in the Radicals, however, this split provided a much stronger faction - Chamberlain and Dilke’s, and a much weaker one - Gladstone’s. The two were not irreconcilable, it was felt and Radicalism would come together to continue their dominance of elections as they had done in 1870 and 1871. It was also at this time that those who would shape the course of the coming Grand Committee would come to the fore: Frederic Harrison, the arch-Provincialist in England, would produce a series of articles about the power of decentralisation to do good on social matters. Chamberlain utilised this dominance of the Radical cause to blend Republicanism, which he was still not advocating, with Social Reform and advocated that the Democratic Federation's smashing of the established parties would allow for a Government not beset by gridlock and crisis. "We alone can lift the country from its inertia," Chamberlain said.

Albert Venn Dicey, a Constitutional Monarchist, provided much in the way of an academic grounding of the constitutional legality of the Provisional Government, arguing that the breach of legal continuity did not undermine the underlying principle of the constitution: Parliamentary Sovereignty and Supremacy, and provides the legal theory about the separation of Union power from the States - that a direct representation in the Parliament, which held supreme power, from the states would act as a safeguard away from the centralising motives and tendencies of Parliament. If they were required to provide consent through their chamber - which would need to be the Senate, the traditional home of Governors and Provincial Debate, they would be able to only amend the powers between the centre and periphery with majority popular and state approval. Venn Dicey also rallied against several illogical legal constructs, such as plural voting, arguing in a multi-State Union, all votes must constitutionally be the same for the Commons - which would be incompatible with more than one man, one vote. These legal construct of the lower house to represent the People and the upper house to represent the States was modelled on the most successful federal constitution in history, that of the United States, but the British would not be won over by the Americanisation of Politics and sought to develop their doctrine and constitutional rationalisation - “we must seek to maintain and strengthen the stability of the Parliament and its functions in the House of Commons and Senate” said Venn Dicey “and we must not allow ourselves to become embroiled in the bitter disputes of the American Federal System and impart our wisdom of rule”. Venn Dicey was supported by the analysis of Walter Bagehot, who was ailing from a serious illness but had a revival in his mood and fortune at the convocation of the Convention Parliament. He produced a series of letters and articles for the consideration of the Convention, advocating for one of two solutions: either a Constitutional Monarchy with extremely limited executive reserve power or a Presidential model with similar powers (a Presidential Monarchy, as he described it). A "Republic in all but name and a Monarchy in all but name" would steer a unifying tone between the Constitutional Monarchists and Republicans, and would allow for the compromise between the two. Republicanism, at its heart, was melded with Parliamentarianism, and this ensured the supremacy of Parliament - a key aim. Bagehot proposed that a joint sitting, or Grand Committee, could select a "President-Regent", which would be elected at a meeting before the Official State Opening of Parliament and would propose at the State Opening the appointment of an Executive Council wielding Executive Power and while nominally responsible solely to the President-Regent, would have a membership required to be members of either House of Parliament. The mesh of the two proposals, known as the "Bagehot-Dicey Model", became the basis of the coming Grand Committee's deliberations. This, Constitutional Monarchists felt, would be easily transitioned into Monarchy should public opinion or political numbers change in their favour.

The results, however, were not in their favour as they were confirmed by April. The Democratic Federation held a strong number of seats in the Convention Parliament and was able to hold a majority even when factoring in the influence of the Lords Spiritual and Lord Senators, of which 45 were expected to attend. Democratic Federation candidates swept 393 of the available seats, with 167 professing Constitutional Monarchy under Gladstone, and 115 seats won by Abstentionists. Lacklustre campaigning and a feeling of the need for representation hamstrung the Abstentionist Conservatives as people, even in rural areas which formed the majority of their constituency, feared the lack of representation would lurch the incoming Government to the left. The remaining 30 were a mishmash of Cooperative Candidates, Fenian candidates (who also favoured abstention, but adopted a policy of integration with the Convention) and Independents, who usually represented minority interests. This gave Chamberlain and Dilke a hefty majority in the Convention Parliament and confirmed the popularity of the Provisional Government. P.A Taylor, as Acting Speaker of the Convention House of Commons, proclaimed to convene the House, and Provisional High Chancellor, Sir Henry James convened the Convention Senate on April 15th, 1874. A motion in support of the Provisional Government was passed through the Commons and Senate and the Provisional Government took a more concrete de-facto executive control from that date under the ceremonial leadership of John Bright, but with real power invested in the President of the Council Chamberlain and the Keeper of the Seal, Charles Dilke. A further motion invested "temporary Executive authority" in John Bright as "Chairman-Regent of the Houses of Parliament" subject to the "continued support of the Houses of Parliament" - allowing the laws passed by the Parliament as full laws, rather than Ordinances that would require confirmation from the next, full Parliament.
Part 3, Chapter X
III, X: The Grand Committee

Taylor and James then cooperated with Chamberlain and Dilke to create the procedure for the drafting of new Constitutional Laws. Taylor established a new Joint Committee, the Grand Committee, to encapsulate all Senators and Commons members under one organisation. This would, in effect, rubber-stamp the decisions of sub-committees formed to write the Bills for passage through Parliament, under the convention that both would agree with the decisions of the Grand Committee. The reason for this was largely practical - Senators, who leaned to Constitutional Monarchy, did not wish for the Commons to dictate proceedings, but equally feared that their small numbers would undercut their legitimacy and any opposition could be rolled over. Similarly to the melting of support for the Council of State, Senators believed that Dilke and Chamberlain would guide the country away from Monarchy, regardless of their opposition, so influence on the composition of any new institutions of state would be paramount to securing the ability of the Constitutional Monarchists to recall a Monarch to the throne at a later date when hysteria had subsided. This Grand Committee symbolically met in rooms of Buckingham Palace, which saw the drafting of the Parliament Act throughout the last regency crisis in the 1830s and this offered both a metaphorical and physical separation between the two bodies: the Convention Parliament and the Grand Committee. The Convention Parliament would continue to rule through the power of the Executive-Regent in matters of Governmental Significance, whereas Constitutional Matters and Deliberations would be held by the separate body with a separate Chairman, that of the Provincialist Frederic Harrison, who would appoint the Chairman of the each of the Sub-Committees, which would look at elements of the power structures and propose solutions. The final decision on the laws would be made by a Drafting Committee, who would prepare the bill for final approval by the Grand Committee and for Parliament.

First on the agenda was the scope of the proposed laws, and this revealed the differences between the Opportunists and the Radical Republicans. Radical Republicans, led by Dilke, advocated for a full organic law - one that would require some kind of supermajority, or a majority of both Houses to amend, while Opportunists wished for Constitutional Laws which continued the constitutional precedence of the theory of Parliamentary Supremacy. This debate would extend to the nature of autonomy of the components of the State, with Radicals and Irish Nationalists wishing for the States to retain their Sovereignty, while Opportunists and Constitutional Monarchists combined to advocate for an inseparable union. Irish Nationalists were resolute in their opposition to this, fearing the impact on their popularity at the expense of the Fenians who advocated a single, united, Irish Republic independent of the mainland. These divisions led to the Chairman of the Grand Committee, Harrison, to attempt to proportionally divide seats into the individual Committees between the two groups, and achieved this by bringing William Gladstone somewhat reluctantly onto the Drafting Committee with Gladstone, Sir Wilfred Lawson, Thomas Hughes, Joseph Chamberlain & Charles Dilke forming the core of the membership. This gave the Parliamentarians (Gladstone, Lawson, Chamberlain) three seats, while the more Radical Republicans (Dilke & Hughes) a minority - forming an early win for the continuity approach to governance. The Grand Committee voted to draft and propose a series of laws, rather than one single 'Constitution Bill' that would entrench provisions hampering Parliament from making amendments through their established procedure, breaking the concept of Parliamentary Supremacy and replacing it with Constitutional Supremacy. Gladstone advocated for this, believing as many Constitutional Monarchists did that the laws should not prevent Britain from recalling a Monarch, possibly Albert Edwards son, Albert Victor, to the throne when he reached adulthood and was given time to mature. This essentially organised the coming State as a Constitutional Monarchy without a Monarch, in the Bagehotist doctrine. Albert Venn Dicey, a member of the Grand Committee, used a speech in a meeting of the whole to advocate the legal doctrine in opposition to Sir Henry James assertion that the Provisional Government's declaration of the Provisional Parliament represented a Revolutionary Breach of Legal Continuity, and that Parliament, now represented by the Convention Parliament, represented a continuity body of the Parliament before, reforming itself rather than establishing a new State. This would mean Foreign Treaties would carry, the status of the Colonies would be retained and legal authority would be retained - and this doctrine won out. The state was continuing, rather than being re-established. This would prevent the arduous task of writing a whole constitution, however, and would speed up the process of returning to a normal state of Order.

The Drafting Committee essentially worked with Harrison to nominate members and devise the composition of the Committees. The Parliamentary Committee would be co-chaired by Dilke and Dicey, retaining a coalition of the two emerging forces. Isaac Butt, Gladstone and Joseph Chamberlain would make up the steering faction of the Provincial Committee, Lawson would chair the Advisory Committee of Rights, Harrison would command the Boundary Committee, which would propose the boundaries of Provinces and Parliamentary districts, Dicey would chair the Steering Committee, which would handle the direction and organisation of the process of the drafting, while Chamberlain would chair both the Rules of Procedure Committee and the Order of Business Committee, essentially maintaining the Provisional Government's control and supremacy over the Grand Committee and prevent it from being derailed by nefarious elements. This kept the body 'pure' and focused on the drafting, rather than breaking apart into rival factions. These appointments were confirmed by the committee on April 21st, 1874, with a motion also being passed ensuring the principle of collegiality, meaning that the decision taken by the Grand Committee would be universally supported, and not undermined by a plethora of Minority Reports and dissent. This decision ensured that future squabbles would be avoided but hardened the Constitutional Monarchists, who were finding more in common with the Opportunists than they might have realised at first, in their resolve to ensure that a Monarchy could be proclaimed within the limits of the Constitutional Laws at a future period of their choosing. This compromise leading towards 'Presidential Monarchy' defined the closeness of the relationship between the Opportunists and the Constitutional Monarchists which was ongoing. While the rank-and-file were constructively working together, Gladstone & Chamberlain still held deep-seated distrust of each other following the Council of State incident, which pushed Chamberlain towards the Radical Republicans in the Committee and towards more hardened adherence to Republican ideology.

The Grand Committee began work in earnest a few weeks after the appointments to the various sub-committees were confirmed by the whole committee. Firstly, Dicey and the Constitution Committee were tasked with proposing the composition of the Parliament and the executive power of the British State. Dicey, Chamberlain, Dilke, Gladstone and Sir Wilfred Lawson worked into the night on the 4th May 1874 to produce a draft of the basic structure of Government to the satisfaction of the group. Supreme power would be vested in the Parliament, made up of the House of Commons, Senate and a new element called the President-Regent, who would be elected by both houses sat in a Grand Committee who would hold a similar reserve power to the Monarch, and would serve a six-year term, although this, in turn, could be amended by Parliament. He would appoint a Council which would advise him and would hold similar powers to the Executive Council, and the President-Regent would be required in most functions to consult the Executive Council. This design was to allow the flexibility to assure that should the country wish to return to monarchy, it would be able to make the changes without vesting large amounts of power in any future Monarch's hands, and the roles could be easily interchanged. This is also why the role was referred to as the 'President-Regent', rather than a simple President, and to ensure that the office-holder would be recognised as a ceremonial power, rather than an executive one. The Commons was to be elected as it had been, but with fewer members, 350, while the Senate was slated to have 176 members, as each constituent unit in the country was due to have the same number of Senators with three caveats: it could not have more Senators than Members of Parliament, the number had to be even as half would be renewed every three-years, and no constituent unit could have more than 14 members. Members of the Executive Council could come from either house and in effect would have to secure the confidence of the Commons. This basic system, amended a few times, is essentially the heart of our Constitutional Laws today. Finally, once the group had agreed to this model as the leading proposal for the future Constitutional Laws, Chamberlain intervened to provide the Style of the new state. He proposed, rather than the British Republic, the state be called the Union of Great Britain and Ireland, a minimal change, the President-Regent be called the President-Regent of the Union, the Executive Council styled the Union Council, Parliament the Union Parliament and so on. This was once again to create a minimalist change to the stylings of the state and allowing the country to continue as usual after the passing of the laws. Chamberlain also privately conceded that the style was to alleviate Monarchist fears, rather than indulge Republican dreams. This 'Union Compact' was agreed upon between the parties in the Drafting Committee and was presented to the Grand Committee on May 9th, 1874 in a speech by Dicey.

The workings of the Union Power Committee, as it came to be known, were similarly well oiled by 1874. Designed to divide up authority between the Constituent Units (rapidly becoming known as the States) and the Centre and define Union-State relations, this Committee contained many Irish Nationalists who wished to ensure that the new Irish state would have full access to the powers that were enjoyed by the Provinces on the Mainland during the era of the Provincial Administrations. Isaac Butt, Frederic Harrison, Joseph Chamberlain and Gladstone comprised the co-chairmanship of the Committee and all represented good Provincialist stock. The traditional provincial powers; Education, Public Health, Policing, Public Works, Railways and Licences, were all agreed to be the basis of the main powers allocated to the constituent units. Butt and Harrison insisted that the States should each be granted their Charter of Government, which could be solely amended by the Legislatures of the State unless they interfered with the reserved powers for the Union Parliament, which was conferred by many of the members of the board. State boundaries, however, proved a more difficult matter. The assumed provision would be the granting of Statehood within the Union to the former Provinces, but question marks both in England, North and South, would complicate matters. In the ten years since the Outrages and the suspension of Provincial Administrations, in the North of the Country, the embrace of 'Northumbrianism' had given way to traditional forms of divisions amongst the Northern populous. Pride in one's county superseded the pride in the Provinces, and the Northern Spirit dwindled in the South of the Province. The wedge between the West and East of the Province, between Lancashire and Yorkshire, each desired their State for their people. Northumbrianism continued in the Far North and the Border regions however, the traditional counties of Northumberland, Cumbria and Westmorland clung to the power that was once associated with Northumbria. In the South, Irish Nationalism and culturalism stimulated the ancient divisions of Cornwall & Wessex in their desire to break apart the unresponsive, Conservative and monolithic Southern English province. It was felt that with the prospect of subnational constituent units approaching, the units should be smaller and less bulging than had existed in the weak-handed Provinces.

Elsewhere, the prospect of a restoration of Irish Autonomy brought with it violence in the North of the country, where the majority Presbyterian counties began to rebel for twin reasons of the disestablishment of the Monarchy and the establishment of a strong autonomous Irish State within a Federal Union. Violence flared throughout 1874, and some, most notably John Bright, advocated for an Independent Protestant State within the Union in the North of the country, centred on Ulster. Butt, a Protestant himself, disagreed and felt that Ireland should be unmutilated, and Irish Nationalists were appalled at the concept of the disembowelment of the country and wished to stress the rule for all Irishmen, regardless of religion. A religious schism, it was felt, would hasten any conflict between the new states, create disputes over the extent of territory and strengthen the cause of separatism, however violent it may be. The Sunday Times agreed, stating in 1874 that the "division of Ireland would hasten the conflict and bring the prospect of violent divisions between Belfast and Dublin, the two centres of power". Significant pressures were placed on the Boundary Committee to resist the urges of Ulster Loyalists, who were abstentionists regardless, and the pleas of Bright to apply a partition of the country into parts or Provinces. Chamberlain finally intervened in the disagreement on the side of the Irish Nationalist, whom he felt were a key ally in the passing of the Union Constitutional Laws as a whole, and who could torpedo the process and return the Grand Committee to square one, was too important to alienate, especially to the whims of Abstentionist Loyalists. Harrison produced his draft boundary map with the help of Henry James, Director-General of Ordnance Survey, organising the country into 13 States. The State of Greater Yorkshire was created from the Ridings of Yorkshire and areas in the North of Lincolnshire, and a merging of the Palatinates of Lancashire and Cheshire were separated from Northumbria, while the Northern Northumbrian Counties remained in the Province. In the South, five new states were created; Cornwall in its traditional boundaries, West England, created from Devon, Gloucestershire and the surrounding areas, Wessex created from Hampshire and a number of adjoining counties, Southern England created from the counties of Kent, Sussex, Surrey and the non-Metropolitan areas of Middlesex and Greater Anglia, stretching from Oxford to the Coast. The Metropolis, as before, regained its boundaries as a separate entity from each of the new states, while it did not confer authority over the twin Liberties; the City of London & Westminster, which were administered by a dual system of Corporations and direct rule from the Union Parliament. Ireland, Wales, Mercia (left unchanged at Chamberlain's request) and Scotland would each receive Statehood as unitary entities. The James-Harrison Report, as it was known, was endorsed by the Committees, subject to a review period in border areas on the passing of the Constitutional Laws as a whole.


Harrison Plan, Northumbria (Red), Palatinates (Yellow), Greater Yorkshire (Blue), Mercia (Green), Greater Anglia (Pink), Southern England (Light Yellow), Wessex (Purple), Western England (Lime Green) & Cornwall (Black). Wales, Ireland and Scotland were unchanged, and the Ellan Vannin is not yet a state, and London's boundaries were changed later to include a larger area.

With the fineries of the Constitutional Laws settled, the process moved to the drafting of Bills and their passage through Parliament. The Grand Committee adjourned to give way to a more continuous meeting of the Drafting Committee to draw up the language used and decide the number of Bills to present, knowing that a greater number would entice nefarious elements to delay the whole process. It was felt that a single bill would be far too unwieldy to encapsulate the whole package of reforms, and the passage of the laws would need to follow a process to ensure that the rule of law was continued and laws passed by the Parliament did not conflict with each other. Continuing from the theme of Parliamentary Continuity and Sovereignty, this would require the repeal of several bills that conflicted with the legislation being prepared. The Grand Committee was reconvened to vote on a proposal to repeal four acts; the Parliament Act, passed after the Regency, the Act of Settlement 1700, the Act of Union 1801 and the Bill of Rights 1689 - with provisions to continue the Authority of the Convention Parliament through the passing of the Convention Parliament (Authority) Act, which would continue the authority of the Convention Act until the dissolution of the Convention Parliament, which could only be achieved by a majority of both houses agreeing to it. The Committee agreed to this on June 1st, 1874, but refrained from bringing forth these Bills to Parliament until the agreement of the whole package of reforms. For two weeks, a group within the drafting committee, consisting of Harrison, Venn Dicey and Sir Henry James, drew up three Acts to pass through Parliament summarising the changes proposed to the Constitutional System. The States Act established the right of the Executive (as yet unnamed) to declare the existence of Legislatures, consisting of a Governor appointed by the Executive of the Union, a Council appointed by the Governor and an Assembly, in the Union through Charters of Government and established the basic rights of the Legislatures and their integration within the concept of Parliamentary Sovereignty.

The Union Act proclaimed the Union of Great Britain and Ireland and defined the Parliament of the Union, consisting of the President-Regent of the Union, Senate of the Union and Commons House of Parliament of the Union as the ultimate sovereign body of the Union of Great Britain and Ireland, defined the methods of appointment for each House and the Executive Authority Act proclaimed that the President-Regent would be the ultimate Executive Authority and allowed for the election of the President-Regent, to be selected from the members of both Houses, by a majority vote of a Grand Committee of Both Houses, renewed after six years. It also proscribed that the President-Regent could not sit in either House upon election and must resign his seat. The Grand Committee's Radicals went further with amendments, proclaiming suffrage of all adult males over the age of 21 for elections to the Commons, and placed stipulations of Senators that they would have to have served a full term in the Commons, either House of any State Legislature or as a Governor or nominated by one member of all three to be eligible to sit in the Senate - to create a higher bar for the candidacy of the Upper House and replicate the 'experienced' nature of the Senate, with the Senate being elected by State Legislatures. The whole process has taken just under three months, but the new constitutional order of the Union had been set. The Grand Committee voted on the whole package and voted by 418-65 to approve the measures, before the Convention Parliament voted the Authority Act into law, and voted individually on the Seven Acts, with those dissenting, such as Disraeli and fellow Conservatives who worked with the Chamber, abstaining rather than voting against the measures. Unsurprisingly, the passing of the Executive Authority Act was the most controversial, and had the smallest margin - Conservatives voted against the bill along with many in the Constitutional Monarchist faction, and it only passed by 1 vote.

While the passage of the Constitutional Laws was not hailed as a victory by all in Parliament, a subdued return to normalcy moved over the country after the passing of the Seven Acts. The ferocity of the people had subsided a while back, there hadn't been any major industrial action since Spring 1873, and protests had given way to quiet meetings, periodicals and books. The interest in the constitutional process, a stoic affair in contrast to the melodrama of the abdication did little to enthuse ordinary Britons. People followed the letters, reviews and reports on the decisions of the Committee, but if its distance did anything, it would be that its distance took the sting from the streets and the Committee Rooms. The Revolution, if there had been one, was more of a Palace Coup than a Popular Uprising. Personal antagonism towards the individuals associated with Monarchy, not so much the Monarchy as an institution itself, had pushed through the reforms. It was an altogether peaceful affair. Chamberlain had spent his time as Prime Minister purely focused on the Constitutional Laws drafting, Dilke on ensuring that a backslide into Monarchy did not occur, and others in the Radicals that their chosen fad was included in the structure of the state, be it bicameralism, provincialism or equitable districting. The end of the Constitutional Laws did not proscribe that an election was called right away, instead, a Shadow Government would continue until the end of the Convention Parliament, when a mega election would bring about the appointment of State Councils, State Assemblies and Union Parliament, which would elect the first President-Regent would appoint the formalities and complete the set, although the Convention Parliament was allowed to replace the Chairman-Regent for the duration of the Parliament. Then, it was felt, legitimate rule could begin.

Soon after the passing of the Constitutional Laws, the Democratic Federation Congress met in London to celebrate the achievements of the Grand Committee and the Convention Parliament and attempt to carry the Palace Revolution to the People. The meeting was held, peacefully, in at the Free Trade Hall at Manchester. Charles Dilke and Joseph Chamberlain stood on the balcony, looking over the 5,000 delegates in the chamber below. When they were spotted, a spontaneous round of cheering and applause broke. Someone handed Joseph Chamberlain the front page of the week's Vanity Fair, which was adorned with a picture of Chamberlain and Dilke stood together with the caption "Huzzah for the era of the Union". Dilke took it gleefully and turned to Chamberlain. He said to Joe "Look at what we have done, my friend!"

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Vanity Fair, November 1875, Statesmen No. 97 - Dilke & Chamberlain

Chamberlain turned to Dilke and turned to him with dread. "The Britons," he said, "will not adore me forever."

The Seven Acts, Passed 1874
Repeal of the Parliament Act 1832
Repeal of the Act of Settlement 1700
Repeal of the Act of Union 1801
Repeal of the Bill of Rights 1689
Executive Authority Act 1874
States Act 1874
Union Act 1874



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Just an update on where I'm at with the TL.

I tend to write this in big blocks that go from big event to big event (the individual books) but I've actually, through writing this, planned out much of the next section of the text.

I'm just wondering - is everyone enjoying it? Am I going to fast, does anyone have any suggestions?

The next section will be heavily Empire related as it's getting to that time (ATL the Northumbrian Outrages kinda obscured the news that Gold had been found near the Transvaal!) but will also look at State Politics (Temperance in Scotland, Land Reform in Ireland, Workers Rights in London, Church and Language Reform in Wales) and National Politics to develop a National Picture of where we're at, while taking a birds-eye view of the dominant political philosophy of the day. It will introduce a well known Chancellor of the Exchequer and it'll cement Our Joe as a hero/villain/visionary/dumbo that often marks many of our key political Great Men of the era.
Part 4, Chapter I
IV, I: Foreword

Unionism defines the early period of the Union’s history and remains a force to this day. The Unionist Party, established by Joseph Chamberlain on December 2nd 1887 after the result of the 1887 General Election returning a majority for the Ministerial Coalition, continues to be a natural party of Government to this day. When Chamberlain unveiled his soon to be Unionist cabinet, a haphazard caretaker ministry, cobbling together a coalition, many thought it was the desperate last attempt to rule of a rejected administration. A wasted career, to be consigned to the backbench like his friend Charles Dilke, languishing in the fringes of Parliamentarianism. Alas, it was a carefully selected Ministry of All Talents that oversaw the forging of a new ideology to create patriotism to a new state. As the President-Regent, Edward Henry-Stanley signed the appointment list and it was printed in the London Gazette and the newspapers, it was greeted with confusion and bemusement. In attending the statement by the Prime Minister in the Commons, many members sat on the wrong side of the house accidentally, and few knew where to sit. Many chose to stand, and a visible ring of empty benches emerged around the front bench led by Chamberlain and flanked by his Chancellor, the self-styled Lord Randolph Churchill MP. Balfour, Collings and Goschen looked nervous, Gorst calm and collected and Arch, up until two weeks ago the President of the GFTU, had told his colleagues “I have just arrived in Parliament, and I believe this is the end of my influence in Parliament.”

The Period between 1875 and 1886, an eleven-year spell that featured both Conservative, Democratic and Liberal-led Governments, is referred to strangely as the 'pre-Unionist' period in British Politics. This is strange because the country was ruled as a Union, did not have a Monarch and was ruled by Parliament - profoundly Unionist. It was not beset by separatism, at least not mainstream separatism and support for the Constitutional Laws were high. The Constitutional Laws allowed both sides and all sides to adopt their lexicon around the new state and this helped the formation of Unionism as a doctrine. The Monarchists who worked in Parliament referred to the country as the 'Union' whereas Republicans proudly proclaimed the Republic, the Monarchists called the Chairman-Regent, the provisional Head of State to be replaced by the President-Regent after the first General Election, "Regent" as opposed to the Republicans, who referred to him as "President". This split personality of the new Union had the advantage of conciliating the Monarchists who were aggrieved, however. The continued moderation of the Parliamentary system left both Monarchism and Republicanism, at least in its moderate factions, in stasis and a haphazard acceptance. Everything held this feeling; aristocratic titles remained, the Church of England was still, theoretically, answerable to the Regency, although this would soon be a matter for serious contention. Problems would manifest themselves in the form of minor political skirmishes over Oaths, all the way to an attempted armed seizure of the Parliament and its members by a Royalist plot. The aftermath and abilities to overcome these challenges, with Monarchists, cause hampered by Royal Scandal and faux pas in Paris, strengthened the Union and moved patriotic fervour away from Royalism and desperately in need of an outlet. Chamberlain, first through Imperial conquest and then through his strong, anti-Socialist and moralistic campaigns, funnelled that fervour into Unionism. This allowed Chamberlain to use his position of power to go through a second, more forceful revolution in British life to eliminate the vestiges of Royalism and bring the British Empire into line with Unionist ideals.

Successive Governments created the conditions that made Unionism as we know it today a prerequisite of rule. The Provisional Government, led by Gladstone and Chamberlain as Chairman-Regent and Prime Minister respectively, helped establish internal doctrines and set the domestic stage for Unionism as a political force, by exposing the weakness of the Democratic Federation in Foreign Policy and elevating both Chamberlainite and Gladstonian doctrines in Foreign Policy on an axis from Intervention and Imperialism to Peace and Diplomacy respectively. Gladstone's resignation, caused by the aftermath of the Orangeist Coup, would see him retired from public life temporarily, before he returned to the Parliament as a Senator. The Disraeli Government, formed after the surprise 1878 Election defeat of the Liberal and Democratic Coalition, after Gladstone's resignation as President-Regent and his replacement with Lord Granville, concentrated on the Foreign Policy sphere and appended a radical Social Reforming Agenda to the emboldened Imperial will of the Union, which had a profound effect on the 'Fourth Party', a sect of Conservatives that would provide the middle-class base for the Unionist political project. Disraeli's death would create the split between those in the Conservative Party who were representative of the new urban middle-class, the "Villa Tories", who favoured Social Reform and Patriotism and the Agricultural, Gentry element represented by the traditional Tory wing, and ultimately Disraeli's replacement, Northcote, could not hold these two competing forces in the same party.

This Imperial crusade was not without its detractors, and the period saw the development of the Liberal Foreign Policy doctrine of "peace, economy and union" led by Gladstone and the ageing Granville into a coherent political standpoint standing against the movement towards a bulky, hostile Imperialism furthered by Disraeli in the latter end of his premiership. The furtherance of this policy set about two things: the confirmation of the Union as a Parliamentary Republic, rather than a Presidential Republic and the supremacy of the Prime Minister above the President-Regent, a role which Granville set on a course to represent an 'impartial referee and influence' rather than a direct pressure on public and foreign policy and to establish the Union as a popular moderating force between hard-line Monarchism and Republicanism, the political centre-ground. Disraeli's move to the Senate, combined with the minority Conservative Government returned in 1880 meant that Gladstone was able to plot his path back to power using the Senate as his base, and his fierce support of the Treaty of San Stefano, which Disraeli attempted to renegotiate in 1879 after the election, and Gladstone's support of the Bulgarian minority in the Ottoman Empire meant that practical applications of the Liberal foreign policy were evident, and the British Public finally trusted the Liberal Party with the Empire and Britain's place in the world, especially in regards to the Eastern Question. This conversion would be good for Gladstone and his Liberals, but the return to government for the beleaguered Democratic Federation, which was hopelessly split between its left and right after the publication of England for All, proved too much for its fragile coalition. Socialist sympathies within the Democrats would ultimately lead to the party splitting in two after the Mahdist War, as the controversy of Chamberlain's Imperial policy was opposed by both Gladstone and the Socialists within the Democrats and led to his motion of censure in 1885. This, the Dilke Scandal and the return of Major Gordon to London created the womb for Chamberlain to toss party and allies aside and form the Unionist Party. The Democratic Federation, the Conservatives and the Liberals as the three main groupings in Parliament would end this Pre-Unionist era with the destruction of this First Party System and its replacement with the Second Party System, defined by Unionism and the fractured, irreconcilable opposition to it spread between the rump of the Democratic Federation, Hyndman's Social Democratic Federation and Keir Hardie's Independent Labour Party and the Liberal Party, not to mention the further splits at the State Level in Ireland which further complicated coherent coalition building.

In Essence, Unionism existed at the Grand Committee and the Convention Parliament. It defined the political era, even before the term had been attributed to any particular person or creed, it existed in the heart of the body politic of the Empire as a whole. Many, it had been thought, had been inspired by the virtuous, noble spirit of Victoria in the pursuit of purifying the world and spreading liberal Parliamentary democracy, controlled by the British, around the globe. It was a surprise, then, to many on the continent when the greatest period of Imperial domination by the British occurred with Victoria dead and the Motherland ruled by a quasi-Republic. I say quasi-Republic because the Union as described by the Constitutional Laws bore more resemblance to a Parliamentary Monarchy than the Radical Republic and it had a temporary feel that it could not shake off in its early days of rule. Unionism eliminated the temporary feel of the Union in the minds of most and provided the Union with a strong central ethos and authority that guided it into the new century - one of progressivism, empire, technocracy and strong unity between social classes.
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Part 4, Chapter II
IV, II: 2nd Grand Committee & Provisional Union Council

The first question about the new Union Government and the rule of the Democratic Federation was the question of legitimacy. Seeking a wider mandate in the House and more stability for the Government, senior members of the Democratic Federation sought to bring the Constitutional Monarchists, led by Gladstone, into the Governing Coalition as soon as the Constitutional Laws were passed. Their tacit support had been guaranteed during the Grand Committee and the divisions between the Gladstonians and the Chamberlainites had decreased, while the divisions between the Radical Republicans and the Chamberlainites had grown with the moderation of the Provisional Committee. Gladstone saw the alliance between his followers and the Chamberlainites as a modern-day descendent of the Peelite and Free Trader alliance under Robert Peel, and wished to bring up the new Union in the mantra of "peace, economy and reform". In preparations for this, he began to caucus his Parliamentary group in both House, established a strict Parliamentary Committee, and brought several figures of both the National and Radical Party together into what he referred to as 'the Liberal Party', harking back to the Friends of Peel. As part of this Parliamentary Committee, which began meeting in November 1875, were several Government Ministers in the Provisional Executive Committee. Chichester Fortescue, Henry James, A V Dicey and Henry Bruce all joined. It was at this time that John Bright stated his intention to resign as Chairman-Regent, and Parliament, under the terms of Constitutional Laws, had to choose its successor with the 2nd Grand Committee. Bright publicly resigned due to exhaustion, but in secret, he had severe opposition to several pieces of State Legislation, particularly in Ireland around Catholic Legislation, and spoke to Chamberlain to indicate that if he was in the position, he would have to use the Executive Authority Act to veto the laws. Chamberlain and Gladstone, who was outside of the Government, both indicated to Bright that this would cause a Constitutional Crisis, so he resigned as prescribed under the Executive Authority Act. As the Union Act designated the start of the constitutional order as the day after the convocation of Parliament when the Senate and House of Commons were completed and a 'true' Grand Committee could be formed, the next Regent would retain the title Chairman-Regent, and would simply be acting on behalf of the Parliament and enacting its decisions into law.

The Speaker of the Commons, P. A Taylor, was designated by Bright to draw up the procedure for the election of the Chairman-Regent (and President-Regent) to be submitted to the Standing Orders of the House. As the Executive Authority Act deemed that the Grand Committee must be a member of either House and be elected by a majority vote, it did not proscribe the methods of nomination or the procedure of election. Taylor proscribed that the Chairman-Regent summon the Grand Committee, and the High Chancellor should preside over the session. The High Chancellor would then conduct an open vote and would have the power to eliminate the candidate with the fewest votes until a majority was achieved. Bright summoned the 2nd Grand Committee with a notice in The Gazette on November 16th 1875 intending to elect a new Chairman-Regent of the Union to take office from the next day. Bright was uninterested in Governance from the moment of his resignation and delegated much of the work around the work to the High Chancellor, Sir Henry James, who conducted nearly the whole process. The 2nd Grand Committee would consist of 670 members, of which one would become the Chairman-Regent. Taylor organised the vote to take place in the Grand Committee room in Buckingham Palace with haste for the 19th. Bright's resignation had caught many by surprise, and few in Westminster were prepared for a vote - especially the Democratic Federation. The left of the Federation could only muster Charles Bradlaugh, a completely unacceptable candidate as an atheist to be considered for the role. Still, they lobbied Chamberlain hard to whip his faction of the Federation to comply, and he refused. Dilke was uneasy about the nomination of Bradlaugh, but Linton and Odger, on the left of the group with Dilke, pushed for his inclusion and election by the whole caucus, which would be a majority of the Grand Committee. As President of the Federation, Chamberlain proposed a motion to the Parliamentary Committee that the vote should be a free, conscience vote, which was overwhelmingly passed, alienating the Radical wing and terminating Bradlaugh's chances. The Chamberlainite wing circled two main candidates, from differing parties. Some favoured Gladstone as the "Grandfather of Radicalism" in the Chairman-Regency, which Chamberlain himself favoured Lord Granville, a candidate who had been in cabinets of both camps, who might attract more Monarchists back to the process. The Liberal Parliamentary Committee met and overwhelmingly nominated Gladstone on the 18th November... but Gladstone was not there, importantly. Chamberlain communicated his desire to elect Granville to the process, and courted support from several Lord Senators, and secured the support of the Conservatives in a secret meeting between the two, which Chamberlain described as a "meeting with my future hangman" and Disraeli described as "a deal with Satan himself". Disraeli agreed to vote for Granville to ensure that Bradlaugh would not make it to any final vote.

2nd Grand Committee, Political Groupings
Democratic Federation 393
Liberal Party 167
Conservatives 45
Lord Senators 45
Fenians 14
Cooperative Congress 5
Radical 1

Taylor convened the Assembly and the first vote saw a lead, but not a majority for Gladstone to become Chairman-Regent. Gladstone, having been away from Westminster for the weekend, was dumbstruck. He had not wanted, nor agreed to be the Chairman-Regent nor accept the nomination of the Liberal Party. He had wished Lord Granville be elected the Chairman-Regent, wishing to remain active in Parliamentary politics and to challenge Joseph Chamberlain to the Prime Ministership. He privately told Granville that "my time for retiring to the Presidency is not yet at hand, nor is my time to abandon the cutting edge of the political drama in Westminster." Worryingly, Granville was similarly standoffish about the new Executive role, preferring to attempt to renegotiate his return to the Foreign Office. Neither made speeches on their candidacy, but Bradlaugh did, and he was hounded and harassed by members of the Committee who did not believe that an atheist could be the Chairman-Regent. Bradlaugh had been given special dispensation from the High Chancellor to sit in the Grand Committee, having been elected as a member of the House for Northampton, despite refusing to take the Oath of Allegiance to God, only to the Union. An element of the Conservatives, led by Gorst but also followed by Balfour, Salisbury and Lord Randolph Churchill, protested that because he had not taken the standard Oath, he was not a member of the House. "You are not a member of either House in my eyes, as you do not swear your loyalty before god," Gorst said the Committee raising a point of Order that Bradlaugh's candidacy because he had not affirmed the oath, meant he was in breach of the Executive Authority Act and was not eligible to be Chairman-Regent. Despite this, Democrats on the Left rallied to his cause and upon James' declaration that there was no Point of Order and Bradlaugh was considered a Member of the House, 100 members of the Grand Committee voted for Bradlaugh, with two members of the Cooperative Congress joining 98 Democratic Federation members in voting for the single-term Parliamentarian. Between the two main candidates, 328 voted for Gladstone and 228 voted for Granville, meaning Bradlaugh was eliminated.

First Ballot by Party Grouping
Democratic 393
98 - Charles Bradlaugh
155 - William Gladstone
140 - Lord Granville

Liberal 167
157 - William Gladstone
10 - Lord Granville

Conservatives 45
45 - Lord Granville

Lord Senators 45
12 - William Gladstone
33 - Lord Granville

Others 6
4 - William Gladstone
2 - Charles Bradlaugh

First Ballot, Total Votes
William Gladstone 328
Lord Granville 228
Charles Bradlaugh 100

Gladstone, leading the race, was reticent to take up the position as Chairman-Regent but also did not want this important handover of power to break down. Granville was keen to take the position but lacked the support of the left of the Democratic Federation, who were keen to elevate Gladstone over Granville. Gladstone spoke to P. A. Taylor to withdraw his name from consideration, but Taylor, nominally independent but affiliated with the Liberal Party, urged Gladstone to reconsider. Finally, Chamberlain spoke to Gladstone and urged him to accept the nomination should he be elected, and Gladstone reluctantly agreed. Chamberlain urged Democratic Members to support Gladstone, and 30 Democratic members changed their votes in the second ballot, much to the chagrin of Conservative members who had voted for Granville to prevent both Gladstone and Bradlaugh from taking the top job. Gladstone's agreement hinged on the ascension of several of his party to positions within the Provisional Union Council, which was the Governmental Body of the Union. Chamberlain agreed to Gladstone reappointing Henry James as High Chancellor and Henry Bruce as Home Secretary. On the second ballot, Gladstone was elected Chairman-Regent and was dragged to the Chair to complete his speech. He promised to uphold the Constitutional Laws, respect the Parliamentary process and respect the Popular Will of these Houses.

Second Ballot by Party Grouping
Democratic 393
283 - William Gladstone
110 - Lord Granville

Liberal 167
157 - William Gladstone
10 - Lord Granville

Conservatives 45
45 - Lord Granville

Lord Senators 45
12 - William Gladstone
33 - Lord Granville

Others 6
6 - William Gladstone

Second Ballot, Total Vote
William Gladstone 458
Lord Granville 198

Gladstone's election also necessitated the dissolution of the Provisional Executive Committee, and Gladstone used the Executive Authority Act to summon Joseph Chamberlain to Buckingham Palace to form a new temporary body, the Provision Union Council, to shadow the Union Councils workings, set up best practice and oversee Governmental affairs and transition to the Constitutional Laws. As the Executive Authority Act only transferred power from the Monarch to the Chairman/President-Regent, Gladstone retained the 'right to be consulted to encourage and to warn' as Bagehot had referred to the consultancy power of the Monarch, so encouraged the nomination from Chamberlain of Granville as Leader of the Senate and Foreign Secretary, and warned that any Union Council proposed by Chamberlain with less than three Liberals would be outright rejected. Gladstone used his influence in good measure, and his influence far outweighed the number his Liberal Party had in the Commons. Gladstone offered something unquantifiable to the Union Government, however - he offered the legitimacy and moderation that alleviated concerns from the middle-classes, and offered a continuity approach to Government, having straddled both sides of the 1st Grand Committee. Chamberlain presented a list of nine Secretaries of State, the President of the Board of Trade and the Vice President of the Council of Education to make up the Provisional Union Council, featuring four Liberals and representatives from both the Chamberlainite and Radical Republican wings of the Democratic Federation. Liberals, at Gladstone's insistence, held the highest offices except for Prime Minister. Gladstone accepted the nominations and appointed the nine men to the Executive Authority of the Union. James Stansfield became Chancellor of the Exchequer, Dilke retained the Keeper of the Seal portfolio, which in essence pertained to a Minister-without-Portfolio to allow him to attend Union Council meetings. Granville led the Government in the Senate and was granted the Foreign Office portfolio. Chamberlain also secured the ascension of a key ally of his, Jesse Collings, to the Vice President of the Council on Education portfolio, which in essence meant heading the standardisation and provision for Education in the Union.


Provisional Union Council
Chairman-Regent of the Union - William Ewart Gladstone, Liberal
High Chancellor of the Union - Sir Henry James, Liberal
Prime Minister, President of the Union Council, Leader of the House of Commons - Joseph Chamberlain, Democratic Federation
Chancellor of the Exchequer - James Stansfield, Liberal
Secretary of State for the Foreign Office, Vice President of the Union Council, Leader of the Senate - Lord Granville, Liberal
Secretary of State for the Home Office - Henry Bruce, Liberal
Secretary of State for War - Hugh Childers, Independent
Keeper of the Great Seal of the Union - Charles Dilke, Democratic Federation
Vice President of the Council on Education - Jesse Collings, Democratic Federation
Secretary of State for Colonial Affairs - Henry Fawcett, Democratic Federation
President of the Board of Trade - George Odger, Democratic Federation
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What is policy in Colonies and India?
New Colonial Administrators will be a key feature of the opening appointments of the Union Government in order to get a greater element of control over Colonial Affairs. Henry Fawcett has a liberal outlook of the Colonies and Gladstone and him will seek early on to devolve more power (and responsibility) to the Colonies to run their own affairs. Chamberlain's view will be crystalized over the course of the Provisional Parliament's term.
What is their view towards indians? Will see more support to reformers like Vidyasagar and others?

What is their attitude towards missionaries? Will they try to curtail them in india?
What is their view towards indians? Will see more support to reformers like Vidyasagar and others?

What is their attitude towards missionaries? Will they try to curtail them in india?
They're going to go hard on missionaries. Long story short, the whole forging a state thing is gonna go straight to their head.

Vidyasagar will attract the glances of members of the pacifist Liberal Party however,