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

Part 4, Chapter XIV
IV, XIV: The First Boer War

The First Boer War represented the final nail in the coffin for the administration of Stafford Northcote, and it's leadup was the culmination of failures from previous National and Conservative Governments. The War's origins begin with the discovery of diamonds in 1867 near the Vaal River, nearly 900km from Cape Town. This area broached the twin Boer Republics, the Transvaal Republic and Orange Free State, given their independence in a pair of treaties, the 1852 Sand River Convention and Bloemfontein Convention of 1854. These treaties did not stop skirmishes, however, and the fluidity of territory in Africa meant that frequent clashes occurred throughout the next 15 years. The discovery of diamonds meant that the town of Kimberley, the centre of a global diamond rush, grew to 50,000 and piqued the interest of British Imperialists from across the levers of Government.

Chamberlain had pushed for annexations during the Provisional Parliament, but Gladstone had caboshed these attempts because of the frailty of Union control of the internal territories, believing that the British people wouldn't accept a Provisional Government's attempts to annex territory. When Disraeli was elected in 1878, however, he instructed Gathorne Hardy to investigate the possibility of annexing West Griqualand, the site of the discoveries and the British achieved this aim relatively quickly in 1879. An attempt to federate these states, as had happened in Canada, was attempted soon after to bring together the Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal Republic and the Union Protectorate of West Griqualand. The Transvaal Republic accepted the offer and came under British protection a mere months after the annexation of West Griqualand, after financial ruin occurred due to a lax tax collecting and a war with the Pedi and the Zulus.

While the Transvaal was allowed to continue it's own governing structure, Disraeli sent Sir Theophilus Shepstone as High Commissioner to the Transvaal and organised the tax collection more efficiently, saved the Government finances and used British troops to quell the unrest against the Pedi, and defeated the Kingdom of Zululand in late 1879. Transvaal resistance to the British annexation however was fierce, despite the protestations of the leaders of the Volksraad and the former President of the Transvaal Republic, Paul Kruger to Transvaal citizens not to commit acts of violence against the British, for fear of turning the British public against their cause. As British public opinion failed to come on their side, Transvaal citizens knew that passive resistance was futile.

With the Zulus and Pedi defeated, the given reasons for annexation, the Boers in the Transvaal believed that they should rightly become independent as per the Twin Conventions of the early 1850s. Resentment grew further, and one of Northcote's first sole decision as Prime Minister was the appointment of Major-General Sir George Pomeroy Colley as Governor of Natal, Transvaal and overall Military Commander of South East Africa. Colley was slapdash, however, and he was prevented from visiting the Transvaal for a number of months, instead relying on Owen Lanyon, an Administrator, who had no understanding of the Boer culture, capability and the fervour amongst the Boer populous.

A Boer named Piet Bexuidenhout refused to pay an inflated tax, which led to British officials seizing goods and wagons from him and auctioning them off to repay the debts and when the goods were put to auction, a hundred Boers disrupted the proceedings, assaulted the Sheriff and reclaimed the goods and the wagon. When troops were sent to arrest them, the Boers fired back, firing the first shots of the war. Lanyon asked for reinforcements in early December 1880, but by this time, it was too late. On December 16th 1880, the Boers revolted at Bronkhorstspruit, attacking a column of the 94th Foot arriving to reinforce Pretoria, and the Transvaal formally declared independence from the United Kingdom at Bronkhorstspruit. Four days later, the Boers destroyed an Army convoy and as the new year arrived, British Army garrisons were besieged and ambushed in the near totality of the Transvaal.

Boers did not have an armed forces, they did not have commanders, they elected their officers and brought their own horses and rifles. They were fierce, however, skilled hunters and expert marksmen. Most carried in .450 Westley Richards rifle which determined the tactics of the war: the British had Martini-Henry, single shot rifles with a long sword bayonet, perfect for close combat as had occurred in Afghanistan while the Boers had no bayonet but had a 600 yard aim, meaning that close combat was avoided, but sniping from a distance was encouraged and any British soldier on the skyline was a target. They used light cavalry to litter the British with destructive long-range warfare. It didn't help that the British wore red jackets, dark blue trousers and white pith helmets - perfect for standing out like a sore thumb in the African landscape. Boers were mobile, invisible and had incredible aim.

There were four main battles and a number of sieges during the conflict. The aforementioned battle of Bronkhorstpruit and Battles at Laingsnek, Schuinsoogte and Majuba and sieges at Potchefstroom, Pretoria, Marabastad, Lydenburg, Rustenburg, Standerton and Wakkerstroom. Britain underestimated their opponents, assuming the might of the British Army was no match for some farmers in South East Africa. British losses at Laingsnek and Schuinshoogte were heavy and Colley was required to wait for reinforcements. Sir Evelyn Wood was appointed as a deputy to Colley but throughout January, losses mounted. On February 16th 1881, Colley issued a truce offer, agreeing to stop fighting in exchange for the admission that the Boers would not have independence from the British in the Transvaal. Ten days later, the negotiations had failed and Colley decided to march on Majuba with nearly 600 men to the site of a Boer camp.

General Piet Joubert, the head of the Boers commandos, took up a position at Laingnek to check on the British reinforcements, while Colley's men could see the Boer encampment, they were unable to fire on the group as they had no heavy weaponry. Joubert seized the opportunity and shot down the British with a force of 150 Boers. Colley was killed in the gunfight and by the time the Boers reached the summit, the British fled. 200 were dead or wounded on the British side, whereas one Boer was killed. British public opinion, already cold towards Northcote, became poisonous as in August 1881, the Transvaal was granted complete self-government as the South African Republic. Chamberlain and the Fourth Party especially lambasted the incompetent running of the war and demanded an inquiry be called, but most blamed Northcote's strategy and appointments and believed that the Boers had won a freak victory, with Chamberlain especially focusing his attacks on Northcote and vowing retribution for the Boers actions. Northcote's Government lost whatever credibility it had after the defeat in the Transvaal, and British public debate turned towards the oncoming decline of the country; to the Germans, to the Russians, to the Americans. The enquiry called, chaired by Senator George Campbell, poured scorn on Northcote, and condemned the preparation, organisation and firepower given to the British in the Transvaal, with a report condemning the actions of the Union Government published in early November. Conservatives faithful to Northcote brought a motion of support against the findings of the report to the floor of the House, but the Conservative's shaky majority, reliant on Irish Nationalists who were more concerned with Land Reform than supporting a Tory Government, did not hold. Just seven months after the beginning of his second premiership, Northcote resigned as Prime Minister and instigated a Caretaker Union Council until elections could occur, called for late December 1881. This was the sign that Chamberlain had been waiting for - in November, he resigned his seat in the Mercian Legislative Assembly and declared himself a candidate for Birmingham in the Union Election. The Democratic Executive Committee also called a Congress for December 8th, 1881 in Sheffield to discuss their program.

Eighteen years later, Chamberlain would lead the soldiers of the Union Army into battle, as part of the overspill of the Great War, calling out "Remember Majula!" to defeat the Boers once and for all. Majula, it would emerge, would be the reason why Chamberlain was there at all. It would be the end of his Government, too.
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Part 4, Chapter XV
IV, XV: The 1881 Democratic Congress

With the defeat of 1878 still buried deep in the gathered masses mind, and the smell of Tory blood in their nostrils, the Democratic Congress convened on December 8th 1881 in Sheffield’s new Corn Exchange building on Broad Street. The newly available Joseph Chamberlain, fresh from his qualified success as Premier of Mercia attended, as did all the major heavyweights of Democratic politics: Henry Hyndman, Henry Fawcett, Charles Dilke, Jesse Collings, Thomas Farrer, Joseph Arch and George Shipton. Two other men arrived, having travelled from the final session of the Irish Legislature, intent on changing the course of the coming election - Charles Stuart Parnell and Michael Davitt. Both men were not remotely Anglophiles, Davitt more so. Parnell was a socialite, a member of London High Society and a landowner, Davitt was a man who was shaped by his experiences, having seen his family evicted from their farm at age four giving him a laser focus on Land Reform that gave the Union the Land League in 1879. Their methods were controversial but their cause, they felt, was just.

Michael Davitt, Irish Land League agitator

Agricultural and Land Reform had been more acutely needed in Ireland, more so than any other state in the Union, perhaps except Scotland. Absentee Landlordism was a scourge on the Irish Economy, with high rents, no incentive to improve land and frequent evictions making the plight of the Irish land worker a horrendous life of toil for no reward. The 1880s saw the acute effects of technology reach the Irish shore, as the ongoing improvements in refrigeration and storage of food meant that agricultural prices declined sharply from 1873 onwards, with the British Food Market now competing not just against the European Market, but against an American market that had increased productivity massively since the Homestead Act had brought a mass of new, Western farmers to the market and increased the amount available for export, decreasing the price of British grain to compete. In a county like Ireland, heavily reliant on agricultural labour, this had a devastating effect and as the prices declined, rents rose and evictions began. Davitt had been the muscle of the Land League, introducing the Land War, a violent and political campaign against landlords that raised rents and threatened eviction. As evictions skyrocketed in 1880-81, William Shaw's Irish Government attempted to alleviate the problem with a manor of social programs; food for homeless tenants, small-scale education programmes and expansion of Poor Aid, but the problem demanded action and the Land League had called on the Irish Government to legislate the Three F's: fair rent, fixity of tenure and free sale. Fair rent meant rents which poor Irish land workers could afford, fixity of tenure allowed defined periods of ownership, preventing eviction without notice and free sale meant the ability to sell their land to whom they liked. When Shaw met with Davitt and Parnell, the leaders of the Land League, in a meeting of the usual channels group in mid-1880, he had indicated that if he were to legislate on Land Reform, it would certainly be vetoed by the Lieutenant Fortescue under pressure from Granville, who believed any such measure would destroy the social order. Davitt in response said: "if you cannot guarantee Land Reform on the floor of the Parliament, I cannot guarantee peace in the State."

Agitation was peaking as the Land League met for a January 1880 Conference with the leaders, Davitt, Parnell and Devoy, proposing that the Irish Land League join Chamberlain's campaign for Land Reform in the mainland. Parnell especially, a landlord, had resisted violent agitation against the landlords, but Davitt and Devoy had advocated for more Radical and extreme measures to resist the rack-rent landlords, believing that the ownership of land was the final vestige of English rule over Ireland. A renewed campaign of resistance against evictions occurred with the support of Davitt and Devoy across September 1881 after having attempted to negotiate a legislative proposal with Shaw, Home Secretary Richard Cross indicated the Northcote would advise President-Regent Granville to veto the legislation regardless of its passage, as in both Northcote and Cross’s opinion, it was not within the remit of the States Act. When Davitt advocated the non-payment of rent in a “No Rent Manifesto” in a leading nationalist paper, United Ireland, in October 1881, Cross publicly issued a stark warning to the Irish State Councillor for Internal Affairs that if Davitt wasn’t arrested, then he would advocate that the President-Regent use Section 37 to suspend the Irish Legislature. Shaw backed down, and withdrew from the negotiations, killing much of the support the Irish National Party had in the countryside.

Having suffered a similar fate when trying to pass land reform in Mercia, Chamberlain introduced a motion into the Mercian State Legislature condemning the actions of the Home Secretary regarding Land Reform as an attempt to woo Irish Land Leaguers into his coalition. Shaw continued as Premier, but after Davitt reiterated his commitment to the No Rent Manifesto, Cross doubled down on the threat to shut down the Legislature, and Davitt was arrested for a breach of the peace at a Land League meeting in Mayo a few days later. The arrest brought with it the outrage of liberals and Democrats, who believed the arrest contravened the Political Associations Act. Chamberlain led the offensive and defended Davitt and a campaign of newspaper letters and petitions to High Chancellor Cairns and the President-Regent, who was furious with the actions of the Home Secretary, eventually secured his release. By the time he was released from Gaol, he was greeted as a hero in Ireland. Parnell came to support him, as did Devoy and Charles Gavan Duffy, and the four met later to discuss a telegram from Chamberlain asking them to attend the Democratic Congress before the election. Chamberlain argued in the letter that Land Reform in Ireland, or Mercia, or anywhere in the Union, could not be achieved unless a State Legislature was willing to pass it, and a Union Parliament and Council willing to accept it, with neither conditions being met. He, therefore, advocated that Clan na Gael should affiliate with the Democratic Federation under the joint banner of Land Reform. After much discussion, the four men decided that they would indeed join the Democratic Congress and advocate for Union-wide Land Reform. The most well known in the mainland, Davitt and Parnell, were chosen to attend and were indicated to make a speech supporting the opposition against the Tories, to prevent voters from going to the supportive INP. If Land Reform were to become the wedge issue, Clan na Gael would be the primary benefactor. Such a move would also lessen the reliance the Liberals had on any future Government. Chamberlain’s promise came with a dangerous bargain, however: Clan na Gael would have to support legislation to disestablish the Church in England and a fully secularised School system, as proscribed by Union law. Support for secularisation would come with the benefit of no threat of veto or President-Regent’s direct rule in the event of a Land Reform Act being passed by Legislators in Ireland.

Chamberlain’s plan for the Union wasn’t the only plan for the economy circulating the Democratic Congress, however. Two others, including one supported by Michael Davitt, would emerge. Firstly, the Research Clique was formulating its proposal for the future of the country. Henry Hyndman had been working for some time with his followers on a plan that was pointed to three philosophers that would have a huge bearing on the future of the Union, and world, politics: Engels, Marx and O’Brien.

Marx and Engels influence had been small up until 1881 and would be confined to academic and intellectual circles nearly continuously. The publication of Capital in 1867 had not even been translated into English, and would not be until 1887, but the contents of the book had spread through Democratic Federation circles especially around Henry Hyndman and the Research Clique. This influence created a unique mix, however, and the Land Question’s Marxian solution was the primary application of the text. While others had advocated for a redistribution of lands with or without compensation, the focus of Marx was the nationalisation of Capital and Labour. While this focus, of essentially abolishing private property and nationalising into the public hands, would be more prominent at the turn of the century, the concept of public ownership of land and its control for the State was attractive to those who believed that capitalism in its current, liberal form, required destruction and replacement with a new form of economics. Chamberlain believed that Marxian concepts would harm the Democratic Federation’s ability to attract voters and affiliates, and dismissed such concepts in private. Hyndman believed the lure of power to working-class voters would be a lure too tempting for Democrats to resist. Marxian ideas were not well circulated, however, and had been lost in the revolutionary spirit of 1875 in a way that it had not, say, in the Paris Commune of 1871. Hyndman believed that an English flavour of Marxism would concentrate neatly begin on the land, but would focus on local, common ownership of land and heavily invested in the State and County Instruments of Government over the Union Parliament. These thoughts, along with heavy plagiarism from Marx’s Das Kapital without acknowledgement attracting the ire of Marx himself, would form the basis of a series of programme points and motions to the Congress that we're justified in the publication of England for All, Hyndman’s attempt at wrestling the ideological control of the Democratic Federation.

Henry Hyndman, leader of the Research Clique

England for All
is broken down into three parts; Land, Labour & Capital and Political Reform. Land focused on reforming the land ownership law, compulsory registration of title and compensated expropriation of land in large cities. Most noticeably, it proposed that State and Union governments should be able to acquire land for all purposes and break it up to alleviate land concentration and make more land available to farmers, solving the land question. It proposed a Union eight hour day law, “free compulsory education in its widest sense” and compulsory construction of “fitting dwelling for the working classes, including the good and free supply of light, air and water and garden-ground where possible” by County Authorities, and subsidised transports so artisans may commute without heavy expenditure. In Political Reform, the document demanded a list of measures designed to remove the last vestiges of privilege; an end to parallel voting, representation for the Colonies in the Senate and the declaration of a full Republic. It concentrated heavily on divesting power downwards; restricting the Union Parliament to dealing with only certain measures of national importance diverting nearly all power to the local level. Hyndman believed that the nearest possible authority should deal with problems subject to general law and in speeches had proposed entrenching this concept into an amendment to the Constitutional Laws he called the “subsidiarity clauses” which would only allow intervention by a higher authority with the express consent of the lower authority. Finally, it called for the nationalisation of the transport networks, into a single Government department. Hyndman summarised:

"Gas, water, artisans’ dwellings – these, instead of being left to individual companies will be undertaken by the local bodies, as also the providing of parks and recreation-grounds. When full power is vested in such state and county boards to take what land is needed at a valuation for the purpose of either building or permanent leases for agricultural purposes, a far greater amount of interest will attach to the improvement of the management, and men of a superior character will be anxious to take part in the business. All such decentralization, in the sense that these bodies are given great powers without applying to Parliament, will also act in the direction of peaceful development, and give the working classes that impetus towards social improvement by their own energy which is so manifestly necessary."

The elements of nationalisation of land and transport were Marxian in nature but the land appropriation and the emphasis on localism for social issues were influenced by James Bronterre O’Brien.

O’Brien, the “schoolmaster of Chartism”, concentrated on the large scale democratisation and preventing a concentration of land ownership, which creates a “society of tyrants and slaves” and causes the subjugation of the working class. O’Brien believed a truly representative Parliament and constitution would enable the passing of legislation to enact equality, which Democrats around Hyndman believed was now occurring with the constitution and now it was time to enact equality, through land nationalisation. If the land was commonly owned and managed by a Government responsible to a highly Democratic scrutiny process, true equality would occur in society. O’Brien also criticised money lords and middlemen and proposed that currency should be tied to Labour or Land, and not commodities, as this allowed commodity traders to make marginal gains and extract unearned wealth. A number of the Research Clique and their intellectual circle were heavily influenced by O’Brien; Charles Murray edited the Democratic newspaper Justice and organised O’Brien’s funeral, James Murray was a prominent member of the Clique and an Executive Committee member and was chief mourner at the funeral and George Harris MP wrote to Victor Hugo to make a speech. Several others; William Morgan, Richard Butler, Edward Dunn and Robert Banner were known adherents to O’Briens doctrine. This form of early socialism was much more common than Marxian socialism, and socialism in this sense along with Owenite socialism formed the majority tendency of the burgeoning socialist movement. The two groups, Marxists and O’Brienites, had gotten together in both the Democratic Federation and the International Workingman’s Association, or First International, which brought the various working-class organisations together in solidarity and to develop ideas. The First International dictated the foreign policy of England for All programme and all across the Research Clique: radical internationalism, anti-Imperialism and working-class solidarity across the globe. This element of the Research Clique split Chamberlain and his followers, who believed in a sense of Empire and Britain’s right to colonise and improve the world in their image.

A further philosophical guide that influenced this Democratic Congress was a book published in 1879 by Henry George, Progress and Poverty. Georgists argued that taxes on income were ineffective in addressing inequality, and only common ownership of land with payment of economic rent by landowners would encourage the efficient usage of the land, as owners would be incentivised to improve smaller plots of land rather than hoard larger plots. All improvements on the land would be unaffected as only the amount of land would come into consideration. Georgists included Michael Davitt and a number of his followers within Clan na Gael and while its adherence was larger than Marxist and O’Brienite followings in the Democratic Federation, its influence would grow throughout the decade and had not reached its zenith yet and crucially, it remained allied with socialism in Britain. This would change, however. For now, the whole Democratic Federation was united in its attempt to topple the Conservative Government and met to plot a path to accomplish as they gathered in Sheffield. Everyone in the hall was focused on the restoration of Democratic Government for the Union, and the conference was marked with a conciliatory mood. The Congress elected a new Executive Committee, with Chamberlain conscious to support candidates from across the spectrum, accepting the Presidency of the Federation again, but supporting Research Clique member and heavy financial backer of the Federation, John Ruskin, as Secretary-General of the Federation, a role created in the reforms of the previous Congress. The Congress then accepted Clan na Gael as an affiliate member of the Federation, entitling it to Congress delegates, again supported by an overwhelming majority of the Congress. They also approved endorsed the slate of candidates proposed by the various component parties of the Federation.

Democratic Executive Committee Leadership

President: Joseph Chamberlain
Chairman of the Executive Committee: Charles Dilke MP
Treasurer: Jesse Collings
Secretary-General: Senator John Ruskin
Assistant-Secretary: Joseph Arch

When debates on the political programme of the Federation occurred, however, competing motions on the land question were brought to the surface. The first was from Jesse Collings, who essentially proposed the Union Plan and had support from the vast majority of the Congress:

"That in the opinion of the Congress, the task of obtaining great reforms dealing with the Land Laws, Allotments for Labourers, the disestablishment of the Church of England and Free Education will deeply enhance the welfare of the people of the Union"

The second was from George Harris, a Research Clique member, who proposed that Common Ownership and support for the England-for-All plan should be the cornerstone of the plan:

"That in the opinion of the Congress, the task of creating the conditions for the Common Ownership of property should be the primary aim of the Democratic Federation in accordance with the England-for-All plan"

The third came from newly enfranchised Congress member, Michael Davitt, who proposed that a single-tax plan was the best plan for land reform:

"That in the opinion of the Congress, establishing taxation of the value of land should be the primary aim of the Democratic Federation"

Each covered a similar area but represented the differing strands of opinion within the group. Each motion received support from its section of the Congress but was fiercely opposed by the other groups: Collings motion passed with around 800 delegates voting against it, Harris' proposal was roundly defeated by a margin of 1271-318 and Davitt's motion wasn't even put up to a vote, as the Chairman of the session deemed the procedural rules did not allow members who had become part of the Federation that soon (Davitt had only officially become a member earlier that morning) were not entitled to priority on making motions to Congress, much to their ire of prominent Georgists and O'Brienites in the caucus. Both the Marxist and Georgist delegates saw the voting procedure as fixed in Chamberlain's favour, and the two groups united to rescind the motion the following day, having appealed to Secretary-General to amend the motion to commit to a commission on the matter. Further divisions came around Foreign Policy, as the question of the response to the First Boer War was brought forward in a motion. Quickly a resolution was passed that condemned the war and the conduct of the Army in their campaign, but some of the Research Clique members of the Executive Committee wished to also condemn all Imperialist Wars, something that was fiercely opposed by Chamberlain and the mainstream of the party. A fierce debate occurred on the motion, which called on the Union to "condemn Wars of Imperialist aggression and promote peace between the world powers", but Chamberlain's intervention, in which he resolutely defended the right of the Union to intervene to help progress Democracy and Unionism (his first use of the term at the Democratic Congress) swung the majority of the delegates in his favour. Facing a very hostile backlash, however, the Executive Committee came up with a compromise motion, promoting peace in all but "defensive campaigns against hostile foreign powers". Finally, support for State Governments and their powers proved the most popular element of the programme proposed, as well as disestablishment, which united nearly the whole party. This programme in its totality was dubbed "Land, Peace and Unity", and was the basis on which the Democratic Federation put its case to the country. The 3rd Democratic Congress would go down in history as the first attempt of a political organisation to propose a coherent platform on which to run and uncover the future divisions between the continuity Democrats, Unionists and Social Democrats as they would be within six years.

The official report approved by the Executive Committee downplayed these divisions and put on a United Front ahead of the Election, however, and presented the Land, Peace and Unity programme as a protection against Orangeism, a strategy for continued loyalty to the new political system:

The Executive Committee of the Democratic Federation are glad to say that in presenting their report for the past twelve months to the members and affiliated associations of the Federation they can look back upon a year not only of arduous labour but of continuous progress. At the close of the year, the Federation finds itself stronger in every material respect. The number of Associations connected with it has increased and indeed did increase with the welcoming of Clan na Gael as an affiliated organisation of the Democratic Federation, re-establishing links with the State of Ireland after a recess of the duration of Parliament. Its influence has extended and above all, it has seen the great question which now absorbs the attention of politicians of every party brought a stage nearer to its final solution.

The Land Question and the state of the agricultural workers have dominated the last year thanks to the work of the President of the Congress, the former Chief Secretary of the Mercian State Council, Joseph Chamberlain, with his work to bring the issue to the forefront of politics in the sacred Union. The defeat in the War in the Transvaal brought serious and pertinent questions for the Congress, and the strain that it has caused on the Executive has placed the Union in need of stringent direction and leadership. This has brought new impedes to the fight for the triumph of Democratic principles. Democratic will and resolve are now firmly in the direction of a strong hand of reform at home, to secure our Union and its member States and ensure the prosperity of its people and its protection from the tyranny of Orangeism.

It is unquestionably in no small degree owing to the influence which this revelation of the truth, that Land and Peace as a creed must be resolutely followed in the face of Orangeism, has had upon the public mind that the Committee are now to able to congratulate themselves upon the manifest proofs, to be realised in the coming election, that growing acceptance of the need for Land Reform and Peace as a centrepiece of policy for any new Government to be elected in the coming Parliament. The contribution of the former Premier of Mercia to the debate on the need for strong and robust support of the British Dominions and Territories across the seas has welcomed a deep sense of Patriotism for the state born of the Democratic and Radical traditions of the forbearers of the Democratic Federation. This combination of Land, Peace and Empire is the key to remaining United in the face of the threats that are presented to our contemporaries.
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Part 4, Chapter XVI
VI, XVI: The Duty of a Government is to Govern

The Conservatives Party were a curious construction under Disraeli, united in essence by their opposition to the Liberal-Democratic Government and Gladstone, the People's Will, in particular. Disraeli and his Cabinet professed a conversion to social reform before his death, but the rank and file in the Parliamentary Party were diverse and ranged from arguably Radical to harsh Reactionary. Most accepted the Union, although certain voices proposed the restoration of the Crown after Albert Edward's death, passing the mantle to Albert-Victor. All were fiercely supportive of the religious establishment, and most resided in England, especially the Home Counties. Devising a conclusive wraparound policy programme, therefore was hard, especially after the death of Disraeli. A further problem was the lack of national organisation, an overhang from the nature of the formation of the Conservative Party. Having existed before Palmerston's Government as a power broker of sorts, Conservative Associations split on Free Trade during the Peel Government, and then on their support for Palmerston. Those who supported Palmerston often founded a group of political clubs that we will collectively refer to in this text, for simplicity, as 'National Associations'. These Associations often sat centre, or centre-right, on the political spectrum and supported Disraeli fervently, while 'Conservative Associations' represented those who stayed loyal to the ancient party. Churchill himself was the honorary chairman of the Westminster National Association, while fellow Conservative Sir Charles Russell was the chairman of the Westminster Conservative Club, which supported the same party, and each nominated two candidates for each election (Westminster sent four MPs to the Commons).

The two sides were at daggers with each other right up until the formation of the Provisional Government, when they united first to follow the line of Abstentionism, then to follow the line of Opposition to the Government after the Orangist Coup when mainstream Royalism became dead and support for it became politically dangerous. While several organisations merged in the period 1875-1879, this number only amounted to 32 Vice-County or County Associations by the 1881 Election. This problem was made further acute as Scotland, Ireland and Wales had next to no Conservative Associations at all, with the small number of Conservatives elected in these areas representing 'Independent Conservatism' which supported the Government against confidence votes, but voted on an issue by issue basis in line with their Conservatism on all other issues. Many Irish Conservative Associations joined the Loyal & Patriotic Union in 1878 along with many Conservative Associations in England at the 1878 Election, but by 1881 most of these on the mainland had returned to the Conservative fold. This split was ever-present in the Conservative Party as they reunited, but the Union was unofficial, not official. By-elections candidacies were normally decided between any Conservative supporting associations in the Constituency, with occasion bitter disputes between them leading to multiple candidates being nominated by conflicting associations. While the mass of these had been in seats where the Conservatives were the weakest party by a considerable margin, many modernisers within the Party saw a single structure, single membership base and single support network as key to the long-term political support. Three cohorts of support can be identified to help understand the factions within the Conservatives; the traditional Tory cohort of landowners and aristocrats, the subsequent supporters of Palmerston and Disraeli or 'Liberal-Tories' and the growing emergence of 'Villa Toryism' of pockets of urban, patriotic Conservative support with a Radical bent. The latter two groups dominated the Disraeli and Northcote Governments, while the former reluctantly gave the Disraeli government their approval, and answered the aristocratic elements within the Government, namely Senator Robert Cecil. With the death of Disraeli, a unifying figure amongst them, the succession to Northcote, again, the party's apparatus began to descend into more and more quarrelling between the factions.

As previously mentioned, Disraeli's desire throughout his political career had been the creation of a 'Centre Party', a vision shared by Queen Victoria and Lord Palmerston at the time, and that had been achieved with the National Party, which cast aside the reactionary right of the Conservatives and the radical left of the Liberals into a moderate force. With the passing of the Constitutional Laws in 1875, however, new dividing lines between those willing to accept and those wishing to subvert the new constitutional arrangement began to emerge, breaking apart this alliance and seeing the Whigs, nominally under Gladstone until 1878 and then again loosely controlled by Senator George Campbell with support from (an admittedly quiet) Gladstone in the Commons, move to come to terms with the arrangement and support a moderate President-Regent, first Gladstone and then Granville. The Disraeli concept of a Party of the absolute Centre, therefore, was tied into acceptance of the Constitutional Laws, which was something that Senator Cecil and the Right of the Party were only interested in paying lip service to as long as it was politically advantageous. As Disraeli had admitted to Henry Hyndman, vested interests within the Party had hamstrung many in Conservative Politics from adopting a necessary radical stance and a party representing the Liberal-Tories and Villa Tories would be somewhat more radical than one representing old, High Toryism but interest, especially financial interest, maintained the influence of members such as Senator Cecil within the ranks and allowed the right of the Party to expand their influence on candidate selection. Before 1881, as candidates were selected for the constituencies, aristocratic influence meant that popular candidates, usually associated with the National Associations, were bumped off the ticket to be replaced with reactionary candidates, infuriating Churchill and the Fourth Party. While aristocratic sentiment needed to be respected, they thought, a modern party machine harnessing the power of mass membership was key to attaining long-term success and the affections of the middle and Conservative working-class. Throughout 1881, the underlying splits between the factions, and the added stress of Northcote's flailing leadership, had nearly come to a head. In several constituencies, especially single-member constituencies, National Associations had put up additional candidates that were not backed by the national party, running as "Independent Nationals", "Independent Conservatives", "Independent Patriotic" or in a few cases "Unionist". Twenty candidates, all from single-member constituencies, stood at the election and criticised the selection policies of the local Conservative Association. Churchill campaigned for a number of these candidates throughout the campaign and urged the need for a unified electoral alliance and national organisation. Churchill doubled down on his attacks on the leadership of the Party during a National Review article, which criticised the running of the Boer War and the running of the electoral campaign.

"The duty of a Government is to Govern. This Government has failed to do so and now seeks to remedy this lack of authoritative direction by placing those with even less direction in the leading constituencies of Conservatism, subverting those with the philosophy of victory in a modern age and subverting those seeking to protect our Empire." - Lord Randolph Churchill, speech in support of Lionel Louis Cohen, Independent Conservative candidate for Lewisham, December 1881.

Churchill's power had not yet reached his zenith, but his support for the Independents tossed aside by the Conservatives had brought him to national attention in excess of the fame (or infamy) he had achieved as a member of the Fourth Party. The internal struggles of the Conservatives completely overshadowed Northcote's narrative of continuing the work of the still popular Disraeli, and many within Liberal and Villa Toryism now regarded Churchill as the successor to Disraeli within the Conservative Movement. He was a product of the political time and had many key advantages over other Conservatives for leadership of the party; he had a strained relationship with Prince Albert-Edward and had publicly criticised him during the Dowry Affair and for his alleged relationship with Gladstone so was moderately supportive of the Union, he had risen to prominence with jingoistic rhetoric against Russia which played well with voters and while Disraeli was no fan of his methods, the two had a shared desire for reform as a primary goal of government, rather than administration. Churchillism, to give the creed a philosophical title, was centred around Social Reform, Patriotic Nationalism at home and Imperial Unity above all abroad. This mix, however, terrified the likes of Senator Cecil and the aristocratic class who feared a loss in their internal power within the Conservative Party and external power in Parliament. Churchill was exacerbated with the defeat in South Africa and convinced the Government would be heavily defeated in the election, but wanted to bring the wings of the Conservative Party allied to him ideologically under his control, and the expense of the reactionary Tories. Churchill would be proven right on the former but would be unable to do the latter within the Tories themselves.
Part 4, Chapter XVII
VI, XVII: The Moderating Force

Liberalism in the Union concept is another strange concoction, and acted more as a Moderate pressure group in the 1st Union Parliament rather than a competing party for Government. Democrats, especially Chamberlain, revelled in calling themselves the Loyal Opposition, and Liberalism seemed caught between the two competing visions for the Union. This is strange, as the President-Regent was a Liberal, many senior posts were occupied by Liberals and on the back of ruling coalitions in Scotland and Wales (who were nearly entirely Liberal States), they had the benefit of a large Senatorial Grouping, wielding much power. They were defined by two factors; their affiliation to Gladstone (and to Granville) and their closeness, but independence from, the Democratic Federation. The Lustration Crisis that cost Gladstone his role as President-Regent had allowed him to retire into the background of politics and allowed Granville to assert himself as Head of State, but Gladstone was stripped back to pockets of support across the country, rather than national appeal. Areas loyal to Gladstone, like Greater Manchester, Scotland, Wales and the Borderlands in Ireland, were fiercely loyal, but his reputation in the country at large, and his association to Radicalism, with the two seemingly interchangeable, was evident, and across the Union, especially in England, the damage was done. His party was arguably only in Government because of the feeling of weakness amongst Democrats, their fear of being overthrown and their reforms being reversed and their lack of mainstream governmental experience. The Provisional Government's experience and the experience of the Democratic Federation and the Trade Unions in resisting the coup, and the respect for the Constitutional Laws shown by the Conservatives during their Government, Democrats fears were calmed and their ability to strike for a majority and a Government without the Liberals put Gladstone and the Liberal Parliamentary Committee's Chairman, Senator George Campbell, in a tight spot.


Leader of the Liberal Parliamentary Committee, Senator George Campbell

As the Boer War crisis worsened, however, Gladstone found his opportunity to reassert himself at the top of the Liberal Party, and prominently featured in several emergency debates on the Boer War's conduct. Gladstone believed that using his areas of personal support, he could resurrect the hopes of the Liberals with a crusade of peace. Painting the Conservatives as despotic and ineffective, he criticised the jingoism within the Cabinet (while avoiding criticising Northcote, whom he had great respect for, personally) and decried the blunder which cost many British lives in Southern Africa. He, and other prominent Liberal sympathisers such as Lieutenant Fortescue and Gladstone's Private Secretary, William Harcourt were fiercely opposed to the conduct of the war and believed a public campaign advocating peaceful diplomacy, in line with the party's strong nonconformist base, would secure support from a wider group of the electorate. But they would only be united again, really, if Gladstone was leader. Campbell had been unconvincing, and the conviction in Gladstone's speeches against the Conservative Government made some feel like Gladstone could return and rejuvenate the people once again. Wealthy industrialists, urban middle-class and better paid, highly skilled workers in nonconformist communities donated thanks to a renewed fundraising campaign and on the back of the new found wealth, the Liberal Parliamentary Committee established a Central Office and Conference a few days after the Democratic Congress was convened, and founded a new platform, completely untangled with the Democratic Federation and pursuing a moderate moralistic ideology, supporting peace, moderate land reform, equality of religious belief and disestablishment, temperance and moderate political reform;

The Liberal Parliamentary Committee re-affirms it's repeated declarations in favour of-
(a) Diplomacy for the promotion of peace amongst the peoples of the Empire
(b) such a reform of the Land Laws as will abolish all restrictions upon the free sale of land, and facilitate it's transfer; make compensation for improvement the legal right of every tenant; confer upon State Authorities powers of compulsory purchase, so as to facilitate the acquisition of allotments by labourers and artisans and to promote the create of a peasant propriety
(c) The recognition of the principle of equality in the relations between the State and all forms of religious belief
(d) Such reforms in procedure as will entrench the Constitutional Laws and support State Independence to govern on Local Matters without Parliamentary interference
(e) Reforms to end the establishment and endowment of the Church of England
(f) Complete popular control over the granting and transfer of licenses and the denial therein as to respect popular will
(g) Ending of parallel voting and the establishment of 'one man, one vote' in all State and Union Elections

This Conference in Manchester brought together Liberal State Governments, Senators, Parliamentarians and delegates from affiliated associations, they also passed a motion affirming Gladstone, not Campbell, as the Leader of the Liberal Party. Campbell would remain Chairman of the Liberal Parliamentary Committee, but Gladstone was given the confidence of the Congress in satisfying Land Reform, Disestablishment and Reform:

"This conference expresses its unabated confidence in Mr Gladstone as leader of the Liberal party and trusts his efforts to grant such a measure of reform to the Land Laws will satisfy the Peace, the true separation of Church and State and the aspirations of the Agricultural Labourer and will be speedily crowned with success"

Gladstone distanced himself from the Provisional Government, and irked some on the Democratic benches by pinning most of the blame on the weak Democratic elements within the Government, but also painted the Conservatives as failed, having lost in the First Boer War and seemingly having run out of steam. He presented the work of the Union as not being completed, as the reforms required in the political sphere being incomplete and stressing the need to solve internal problems before once again trying to reassert Britain on the world's stage. He also presented the Liberals as sitting between "Revolution or Inertia", favouring a zealous reforming programme without resorting to extreme reforms such as confiscation without compensation. Consolidating the unity of the empire without securing the loyalty of the subjects of the Union wold be folly, he argued and spreading the ideas of peace, order and good government would secure loyalty to the British sphere of influence well into the future. Gladstone argued that the question of Empire was a distraction away from real problems that faced the Union. He did, however, present the unity between the two opposition parties on the matter of Land Reform and presented the competing plans as complimentary, not mutually competitive. Gladstone made it clear (as he had many times) that he would desire to work with the Democrats as with the Provisional Government to enact Land Reform.

He presented the debate as one between a camp who desired to use coercion to defeat calls for Land Redistribution, and those who would accept the need for it, but drew the line within the latter coalition as between those who would trample on the rights of the Established Church (one Gladstone supported) and use disestablishment as a tool to solve Land Reform, and those who would defend the concept of free practice of religion, even the established church. The Liberal leader made his land reform proposal clear and attempted to win over Irish voters with a commitment to the Three F's proposed by the Land League, clearly worried about the strength of the Clan na Gael and Democratic Alliance that was emerging, and consoled landowners and property owners by placing the Liberals as a vanguard of private property, free enterprise and protection from confiscation. Campbell was firmly against adopting the measure, and clashed with Gladstone over the promise but Gladstone exerted an iron fist and carried on regardless. "We do not risk. We govern" was a key statement used prominently in many of Gladstone's speeches around this time. Overall, Gladstone proposed a moderate programme that stayed true to Liberal beliefs, and made it distinct from the Radical Democratic plans, in doing so, he sought to reassure many that the choice wasn't between no change or all change, and that experienced men within Liberalism could act either as the leaders of a moderate government, or the moderator of a Radical Government, bringing much needed experience to any Union Council ranks.
Supplemental: Gladstone's Election Address
Supplemental: Gladstone's election address to the Greater Lothian Vice County

Gentlemen, in consequence of the dissolution of Parliament, I have decided to seek an election to the 2nd Union Parliament, with a view to solicit your confidence for a second successive time in the constituency of Greater Lothian.

At the last election, I endeavoured in my address and speeches to impress upon you that a great crisis had arrived in the affairs of the Union. An overzealous Government, muddied and sullied by failure on the battlefield, feebly crawls to the feet of our subjects, asking for forgiveness and seeking confidence in their running of the affairs of the Union.

Weak as the Provisional Government proved to be, it had the greatest of advantages in drawing upon a wide selection of opinions from across the political spectrum. The regrettable instances of the Insurrection suffered by the Metropolis in 1878 left it divided and internalising it's blame and guilt for the disaster. Had it been unstrung from the crisis, it would have completed the work of reform that all those, myself included, who drafted the Constitutional Statutes believed needed to be undertaken in order to fully emancipate the people from privilege and sinecure. Instead, the electorate pointed to a more stoic and aristocratic government on the promise of social reform, which has been watered down or not achieved at all.

In this moment, following defeat in the Transvaal, we must seek to remedy our internal pains before we seek to step back on the world's stage. Our people need land reform, but do not wish to trample on the rights of property or the property of the church to seal it, leaving them sat between the extremes of inertia or revolution.

Our primary concern, in an ever more perilous world, is to secure our homeland, secure our empire and secure the necessary reforms through peace and economy, not plunder and conflict. We can maintain the honour and consolidate the unity of the Empire without the need to intervene and rapidly expand our territories in the Cape and it's surrounding areas.

You will now, gentlemen, clearly understand how and why it is the affairs of Empire have, not for the first time, thrown aside each other subject and adjourned our hopes of useful and progressive legislation. Empire has necessitated use to act as the boot and the tyrant in the name of our Union lands and dominions. We desire peace, order and good government as we have governed much of the world. This Government is united in the desire to fatally wound our reputation and our prestige. They ignore the great social question, and the many solutions to it, in order to restore this prestige by repeating the same course of action that lost us 400 good men at Majula! Thus, gentleman, it is that this great and simple issue has come upon you and demands your decision - Will you govern the Empire by coercion and poor decision making, or will you demand an end and a government committed to the Union, it's people and it's needs?

To debate in this address this or that detail of lately scorned proposals would be only to disguise the issue and would be as futile as to discuss the halting, stumbling, ever shifting, ever vanishing projects of the intermediate class which have proceeded from the 'new' Tories.

The two opposition parties remain united by a desire to enact a great Land Reform on this country, leaving the electorate with two, clear, positive, intelligible plans before them. There is the plan of the Government, of inertia, continued defeat and humiliation, and the plan of the Opposition, united in it's belief for Land Reform to be enacted under well-considered conditions, allowing the agricultural workers to transact her own affairs. The plan of the Tories is to continue to ask Parliament for repressive laws, to suspend State Governments and enforce their will against the will of the people resolutely for 20 years, when the farmhand will be fitted to accept any gift in the way of watered down conditions or the repeal of coercive action that may be presented in front of them.

I leave this daring project to speak for itself in its unadorned simplicity and I turn to the proposed policy of the Government. Our project delivers a simple fixture to the ailments that addresses the concerns of the Irish Agricultural Labourer: fixity of tenure, fair rents and free sale and secured from repeal by both the House of Parliament and the Presidential-Regency, with the support of the Union Council. It does not ask for the disestablishment of the Church of England, sure to enrage Tory and Moderate Democratic, nor the Nationalisation of Land that will surely cause the breakdown of society in the Union. We do not risk, we govern.

Our opponents, gentleman, whether Tories or Democrats, assume that Liberal England will stay quiet while the two competing sides; some aristocracy and some labour, fight in the name of the Union. The Union which they refused to modify is in its present shape only a union on paper, obtained but not respected by it's Government. A true union is to be tested by the sentiments of the human beings united. Tried by criterion, we do not possess a Union while workers and landowner battle in the Commons and in the streets. We are less of a Union that in 1874.

Our proposal is that of an innovating, restorative proposal. We seek to gain:

The consolidation of the unity of the Empire and a great addition to its strength; the stoppage of a heavy, constant and demoralising waste of public treasure; the abatement and greater extinction of ignoble feuds in Ireland, and that development of her resources which experience shows to be the natural consequence of free and orderly government; the redemption of the honour of Great Britain from a stigma fastened upon her from time immemorial in respect to the land worker by the judgement of the whole civilised world and lastly, the restoration to Parliament of its dignity and efficiency and the regular progress of the business of the country.

Well, gentlemen, the first question now put to you is this, How shall the Land be governed? We have answered this question with our fateful committee within the Union Parliament, consisting of our Members in the Commons, and our 40 or so Senators, representing the State Governments that are controlled by our Party, including here in Scotland. Our plan for Land Reform will divide us the least, produce the most and bring our Union together. But, gentlemen, we have done our part. The rest remains with you, the electors of the country. May you be enabled to see through and to cast away all delusions, refuse the evil and to choose the good.

I have the honour to be, gentlemen, your most faithful and grateful servant,

W.E Gladstone, 6th December, 1881.
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Supplemental: Irish Political Overview, 1881
Supplemental: Irish Politics in 1881 Overview

From "The Irish National Party and its Forerunners" by R. F Foster (1995)

"The Irish picture had been complicated significantly by the defection of the land reformers from the Irish National Party, and the Premier of Ireland, William Shaw, had suffered a loss of morale after the defections that led parties iron-clad hold on the Irish Legislature to be significantly weakened. Now with the movement split over the response and desire for Land Reform, Irish Legislators and Politicians, once united in their desire for an Irish Legislature and serving the people they represented with said Legislature, now disagreed and split on what to do with their newfound power. The Irish National Party were also weakened by their decision to support the Tory government, and despite support from the Catholic Church to that end (the decision was made to protect denominational education provision), Irish people had drifted from Shaw's party ever since the death of his predecessor, Isaac Butt. The split that was emerging wasn't between the INP and Clan na Gael, but between the General League, the Loyal & Patriotic Union and Clan na Gael and it is this division that will form the divisions in Irish Politics soon enough.

The Irish National Party had served its purpose and without a charismatic leader like Parnell, nor an ideological unifier like Butt, the Party was doomed to drift and would continue to do so. Land and religion became the new dividing lines for Irish society, the importance of each to the individual voter would determine their core beliefs. The heavy American influence on Clan na Gael, represented by Devoy and its intertwining with the Irish Patriot Movement, rather than the Catholic Liberal Movement, gave it an ideological bent that was more Whiggish, and less religious, than that of the General League, which was formed exclusively by Catholic Legislators and associated organisations. This division, essentially between the Irish Radicalism or Robert Emmett and that of Daniel O'Connell, was the basis for the new division between Irish politicians. Clan na Gael, through their alliance with the Democratic Federation and their plan to secularise education, had shunned the Catholic Liberalism promoted by O'Connell and furthered a programme that prioritised Land Reform to alleviate the struggles of the agricultural labourers, promoting a secular State that would also help bring moderate Ulster Loyalists into the fold. It was no coincidence that this party was led by Parnell, himself a Protestant landowner who wanted a secular, progressive state. While the INP stood in the election and would win the most candidates, the main jostling would occur underneath the INP between those who campaigned for and against secular education and those who believed it either was or wasn’t, worth land reform. Most INP candidates have split themselves between the secularist and confessional camps.

Those who believed it wasn’t included Thomas Croke, the Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, who along with most of the clergy in the West of the Country supported the General League group, who followed the aforementioned creed of Catholic Liberalism espoused by Daniel O'Connell. The unease about the use of direct action and physical force in Ireland was evident, especially amongst Land Reformers like James Daly, who was not a member of the General League (he still sat with the INP) but sympathised with its actions. They did not believe it was wrong for physical force to be used, but that it was unproductive, and would end with the absolute destruction of the Land Reform movement in Ireland. Croke and Daly were in constant contact, and Daly was well supported by the Tuam clergy, and many looking from the outside believed that Daly would be the next defector soon after the election. As the election loomed, many questions were being asked, the main one: who will be running the State after the election and what would become of the consociational approach of Isaac Butt through "the usual channels".

Fundamentally, the political groups in Ireland broke down into seven main groups; Revolutionary Nationalists such as Matt Harris and Thomas Brennan who stood for election in both the 1881 State and Union Election as 'Independent Fenians' advocating a Revolutionary Irish Republic separate from the Union; Conservative nationalists such as James Daly who, for now, were remaining loyal to the Irish National Party; Orangeists, concentrated mainly in Belfast and the surrounding areas; Moderate Loyalists who were beginning to chart their course towards accepting the Union; the Influential Catholic clergy such as Croke; Constitutionalists and Land Reformers such as Parnell and Biggar and the Pragmatic 'Unionist Fenians' such as Davitt. The Independent Fenians went their course, would soon be subsumed by separatism, radicalism and eventually, anarcho-syndicalism. The Moderate Loyalists and some Conservative nationalists who adhered to the Constitutional Laws would eventually form the Irish Unionist Alliance, the Constitutionalists and Land Reformers, as well as the minority Liberals in the borderlands, would eventually form the bulk of the National Democratic Party, while the Catholic Clergy would converge into the General League. Only the Irish Labour movement had not yet come to the fore, and that would have to wait until 1902 when a young James Connolly would be the first Independent Labour candidate elected in Ireland."
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Part 4, Chapter XVIII
IV, XVIII: The 1881 Election

As news of the results across the Union poured in, Stafford Northcote sat with a dejected look on his face. "Damn and blast," said Senator Cecil as the margin of defeat, losing half their seats, came in. He had run out of time and had been the victim of perceived weakness in the Conservative camp. Weakness because of the internal debates between the Nationalist and Conservative wings, weakness over Foreign Policy, and weakness of leadership after Disraeli's death. While the Democratic Federation had won just under a qualified majority of the seats, they were reliant on a number of Clan na Gael members for their razor-thin confidence in the House of Commons.

Election Results.png

Extract from Blexhill, Journal of Union Studies (2015)

“The 1881 Election delivered the expected victory for the Democrats with Clan na Gael, but saw them once again fall short of an overall majority and reliant on the continued abstentionism of the Loyal & Patriotic Union, the Irish Protestant Loyalist party, to maintain the confidence of the house. Often it was told to the Loyal & Patriotic members when Conservatives attempted to bring together unity conferences that it was them, not the Democrats, who guaranteed the continued existence of the Union through their inability to reconcile with attending Parliament.

Chamberlain’s gamble had arguably worked. He had regained his position as the head of the largest political group in Parliament and had the right to form a Government, but his reliance on the Clan and the continued abstention of the LPU meant this was a precarious right at best and therefore, especially with the context of the Senate, where the Democrats and Liberals were the joint largest grouping but well short of a majority, it was felt that political machinations would need to play out if Chamberlain was to deliver on his promises of land reform and spreading his plan for educational secularisation.”

“The extent to which Chamberlain ‘won’ the 1881 Election has been disputed and the extent to which any historian comes to any magnitude of victory tends to say more about the political leanings of the historian in question (and their ability to continue their practice and publish during ‘The Emergency’) than the actual accuracy of their claims. Chamberlain, and the Democrats as a whole, returned to the campaign trail after the Democratic Congress and immediately vacillated from candidate to candidate. The origins of deep schisms, primarily over Land Reform, had begun to emerge between the characters within the Federation, and the content of the platform agreed heavily differed from constituency to constituency in the process of electoral addresses. Also, while most of the National Press followed Chamberlain on his campaign, his stridency differed greatly, mostly according to the ebbs and flows of his turbulent relationships with other leaders Democrats and Liberals. Hyndman, Gladstone and Davitt, however, the other prominent members of the Land Reformer camp that made specific policies surrounding the issue, hardly diverted once over the course of the campaign. Scholarly observers noted that while Chamberlain was the leading man, he was not the ideological furnace that the other three had become over the course of the Land Reform debate. Democratic members elected in 1881 were drawn to Davitt and Hyndman in greater and greater numbers.”

Transcript from Peter Marsh's Lecture 'Joseph Chamberlain and Unionism' (1994)

“Chamberlain found a great enthusiasm in rural areas for the Union Plan, but he could not with any stretch of the imagination claim that his Union plan had carried the country. It had not carried his party, let alone his country. The Democratic Federation’s Research Clique around Hyndman had become more widely followed within the Parliamentary caucus, and Davitt and Parnell’s followers had found common cause with the Liberals against confiscation but in favour of reform. George was coming close to being on the tip of the tongue of all Liberals and Democrats. While each faction and affiliated organisation were willing to profess the three principles; Land, Peace and Unity, the principles were vague enough that each constituent element could be interpreted in their own way. Everyone wanted them, but few knew how to achieve them and looked to their own ideological guide to see the path. This would manifest itself later during the Petition Crisis, the formation of the Union Council and eventually, the Sudanese Crisis which would tear the Democratic Federation itself. Chamberlain swayed in tone and stringency from speech to speech, therefore, mostly to the ebbs and flows of the turbulent relationships with other leading Democrats and Liberals.”

“Chamberlain’s Union plan brought adoration from the rural workers and made him a hero for ‘Hodge’, or the landless agricultural labourer. The Democratic Federation swept the countryside, defeating Tory Aristocrats at nearly every turn. Members whose families had been in Parliament since the Glorious Revolution were defeated and replaced by a new generation of even more Radical members than had been elected in 1875. The Reaction of 1878 was completely dispelled, and nearly ubiquitously, it was replaced by a new sense of purpose in the countryside in the Union. During the campaign, speeches of candidates from the gentry were disturbed with shouts of “free our land” and “no hoarders”, a landowner in Kent who stood (and was defeated) was pelted with tomatoes giving an election address. Where candidates were returned, coercion, bribery, treating and malpractice were not uncommon. In Sussex, one landowner told his labourers that they were to work on Election Day, and if they failed to show up, they would lose a week's pay. Another organised a party for the townspeople the day before the election and gave all his labourers the day off. After being plied with drink all day, most of the workers didn’t turn up to vote. In both cases, low turnout heralded Conservative victory. Democrats were furious at the behaviour, and during voting, Chamberlain opened a political unit in his Birmingham offices to handle the election petitions to dispute the contests in questionable races.”

Extract from Union Electoral Analysis (1960)

“The Results were a surprising victory for the Liberals, who held strong and regained their ground and managed to take a number of seats from the Conservatives and the Democratic Federation, despite the latter’s victories across the Union. The heartlands of Liberalism; Scotland, Wales, the Irish borderlands, the Westcountry, Cornwall and nonconformist Lancashire were paired with notable victories in major cities like Newcastle, Leeds and Sheffield.

Conservative defeats were nearly everywhere on the map: they performed poorly in the North East and Yorkshire, in the Palatinates outside of Liverpool (where they were dominant). They performed admirably in the Home Counties, retained overall control of the Greater Anglian and Southern English Legislatures, and returned a stronger than previous presence in London, but much of this was dominated by the Independent Conservative group, nominally led by Randolph Churchill. The National Associations dominated the Metropolis, and 6 of the 8 Independent Conservatives came from seats in the Capital. These Independents Conservatives also became a presence in the Metropolitan Legislature, although Thomas Farrer’s Progressive party still retained control through their coalition of workers, nonconformists, Liberals and Trade Unionists.

Democrats in addition to sweeping much of the countryside, swept many of the West Yorkshire industrial towns, were dominant within the Progressive faction in much of working-class London, and completely swept Mercia and Lancashire, Merseyside apart. Their results in certain industrial cities, however, unveiled a weakness in the Union Plan - the lack of an ‘urban cow’ to attract wavering Industrial Working-Class Democrats, many of whom voted for the Conservatives or Liberals believing that the Democratic Federations primary concern was Hodge and not them. Defeats to sitting MPs in Leeds, Newcastle and East Ham unveiled anxiety amongst the Industrial working class that Agricultural land reform would come at their expense.”
Part 4, Chapter XIX
IV, XIX: The All-Democratic Ministry

After the last of the counts had been confirmed, President-Regent Granville sent a telegram to Birmingham to call for Joseph Chamberlain to come at once to Buckingham Palace. The day previous, Northcote had submitted his resignation and asked for Granville to dissolve his Union Council. Granville took little delight in appointing Chamberlain back to the Union Council; he had a severe distaste for the way that Chamberlain had condemned his friend Gladstone during the Lustration Affair. He did so on a promise of fairness - "it is not my job to interfere with the Popular Will, but to interpret and implement" he said to his High Chancellor, Hugh McCalmont Cairns, a Tory after he confirmed to him that he would continue as High Chancellor despite the change in Government. When Chamberlain arrived, he was asked whom he would want to form such a Union Council and whether he would include a range of parties or just the Democratic Federation. His reply was telling of the situation: "The Democratic Federation is itself a range of parties, Your Excellency."

Chamberlain attempted to balance these interests within the Democratic Federation with the utmost delicacy. His faction was represented well, with Jesse Collings and John Morley receiving positions, Henry Fawcett from the Liberal wing represented and a number from the emerging left of the party, with George Shipton representing the Trade Union wing, Dilke and Senator John Ruskin representing the Radical Republican wing, Senator Edmond FitzMaurice representing the more conservative wing of the Federation and Michael Davitt representing Clan na Gael. When he was asked in the lead-up to the election on his opinion on who should form a Democratic Ministry, Dilke appealed to Chamberlain to appoint Henry Hyndman from the Research Clique as a Minister-without-Portfolio, and reluctantly Chamberlain agreed to his demand. When he was asked about the portfolios for the other members of the Union Council by Granville, Chamberlain refused to say. As encouraged by Dilke and Senator Ruskin, Chamberlain insisted that the men should be appointed without portfolio to the Union Council. The Union Councillors would be appointed to their respective Ministries upon the passing of an Act of Parliament that reorganised all Government Departments. This Act would reorganise the workings of the Government along rational lines and remove sinecure positions. This had been a longstanding policy of the vast majority of the Democrats that was considered the final Act of the Revolution they had begun six years earlier. The individual tasks for some of the Ministers were apparent: Shipton would be responsible for Labour, Davitt for Land Reform, Senator Dilke was to lead the Senate and the Foreign Office and FitzMaurice responsible for the War Office but the whole composition of the Union Council wouldn't be known until the passage of the Ministers and Secretaries Act.

Chamberlain would have to wait for several hurdles to be overcome to convene Parliament and pass the Ministers & Secretaries Act. Several State Legislatures were deadlocked in their nominations of the seven Senators each (and one for Cornwall) they were due to nominate to the Senate to bring the chamber to quorum. Chamberlain was left frustrated for six weeks while a deadlock in the Greater Yorkshire Legislature was resolved, but was not left idle during this time, completing several symbolic Orders in Council to resolve further elements of the Democratic programme: on Dilke's request, he asked the President-Regent, much to his distaste, to abolish all chivalric orders and replace them with a new Order of the Union, which consolidated the Orders of Merit into one Presidential-Regency award. He also established the Union Society to replace the Royal Society and encouraged Lieutenants to complete similar rebranding of offices that had erstwhile remained connected to the Crown: King's College became the Metropolitan University, the Royal Academy of the Arts became the Union Academy of the Arts, and so on. The final Order-in-Council concerned the vacuum left by the Council of State and Privy Council. Granville and Chamberlain had agreed that the lack of a consultative body from which to draw expertise and share information had left the Union in a worsening state, but neither believed that resurrecting the Privy Council by its former name would be wise or popular. Instead, Granville declared the formation of a new body that would represent a new body of advisors for the Union: The Grand Council.

The Grand Council would essentially replace the Privy Council as a body of advisors to the Sovereign and would comprise of an unlimited number of appointees, appointed for life, by the sitting President-Regent, with members receiving the title Grand Councillor. They would be completely independent of the Union Council but would be able to contain members from its State Legislatures, House of Commons and Senate. The Grand Council was the work of the Prime Minister and President-Regent working in tandem, had vague responsibilities and had a composition with no quorum, no rules of procedure and no requirement for publication of the minutes of the meeting. Both the Speaker of the House and Speaker of the Senate, all-Union Council members, the Leader of the Opposition, all members of State Councils, the Heads of the Armed Forces and Chancelleries and all Lieutenants, Mayors and the Warden of Cornwall, as well as the Colonial Administrators, Premiers and Agents-General were immediately made Grand Councillors. The President-Regent also invited prominent Scholars, Economists, Historians and Academics to the council as well as living former Ministers of the Crown and Union and living former Military Commanders. Granville also saw the Council as acting in essentially the same vein as the Privy Council, and to that end appointed, on High Chancellor Cairns recommendations, all Senior Counsels and Judges to form a Judicial Committee, who would be able to provide legal advice to the Sovereign in the President-Regent's capacity as provider of clemency. With the deadlock beginning to unravel in late January, the Grand Council met for the first time, took an oath to the Union and has remained a part of the Constitution ever since, being added into the Constitutional Laws by the Unionist Government in 1888. Finally, Granville commissioned A.V Dicey to update and produce a book of Parliamentary Procedure to replace Erskine May, the 'bible' of Parliamentary procedure produced in 1844. Dicey would complete this analysis a year later, and to this day, Dicey's Union Parliamentary Procedure remains the basis of the workings of the House of Commons and Senate.

With the quorum finally established in the Senate, Chamberlain brought forward his act for the reorganisation of the Government of the Union. As promised, he abolished all roles of sinecure and established rational Departments that corresponded to the remit of the Government work. Gone were the Council on Education, Board of Trade and State Government Board, and in their place Departments of Education, Trade and State Affairs were established. The Lords of the Treasury were abolished and all power of the purse was vested in the Chancellor. Every member of the Union Council would become a Secretary of State and would receive a standardised salary, with the President-Regent only empowered the establish or dissolve departments, acting on the advice of the Union Council. The Presidential-Regency was also to be reformed, and the President-Regent would only be able to appoint a limited number of staff in clear functions. The Clerk of the Grand Council formed an administration under the oversight of a Committee in Parliament to prevent abuses of power and audit the work of the Head of State. Finally, it created an oversight office under the watch of the Keeper of the Great Seal, which Chamberlain empowered to act as a State Comptroller, inspecting all Government Departments and ensuring that Government Offices did not act in an inefficient matter. The Act was included in a Plenary Speech to Parliament that included Acts to officially end the Peerage and Chivalric Orders, to nationalise the Crown Estate (currently held by a collection of former Royals residing in the country), to expand State Governments powers to compulsory purchase land, to disestablish the Church and to force State Governments to provide compulsory education to 11. It was the most ambitious programme for the opening session of Parliament in the history of the British Isles since Brougham.

The Ministers and Secretaries Act was the first to be brought forward, and with Liberal support, was passed within a few days. The collective Union Councillors announced their remits in the London Gazette a few days later after the final horse-trading between the different groups had been completed. To many within the political sphere's surprise, Chamberlain nominated Henry Hyndman to become the Keeper of the Great Seal, with a senior place in the Cabinet. Henry Fawcett was named as Chancellor, Michael Davitt was put in charge of the Land Reform as a reward for his work within Ireland and Charles Dilke was given the role of Foreign Secretary and the Leadership of the Senate. Jesse Collings was given a role in the Department of Education and John Morley was given the task of Colonial Affairs. The Government featured strange bedfellows but truly represented the Democratic Federation.

President-Regent of the Union - Lord Granville
High Chancellor of the Union - Hugh McCalmont Cairns

3rd Union Council
Prime Minister, President of the Union Council, Leader of the House of Commons - Joseph Chamberlain, Democratic Federation
Vice President of the Union Council - Senator John Ruskin, Democratic Federation
Chancellor of the Exchequer - Henry Fawcett, Democratic Federation
Secretary of State for the Foreign Office, Leader of the Senate - Senator Charles Dilke, Democratic Federation
Secretary of State for the Home Office - Senator Leonard Courtney, Democratic Federation
Secretary of State for War - Senator Edmond FitzMaurice, Independent
Secretary of State for Education - Jesse Collings, Democratic Federation
Secretary of State for Colonial Affairs - John Morley, Democratic Federation
Secretary of State for State Affairs - Sir James Stansfield, Democratic Federation
Secretary of State for Trade - George Shipton, Democratic Federation
Secretary of State for Agriculture - Michael Davitt, Clan na Gael
Keeper of the Great Seal of the Union - Henry Hyndman, Democratic Federation
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Just finished reading, this is a brilliant TL! I'm really impressed by your clear depth of research, and how you've managed to weave so many political ideas and political thinkers from OTL into your tale, and how everything subtly changes in the context of a new political system. It's all very plausible too, with reform in fits and starts, and with reverses that galvanize new waves of reformist energy. For example, I like the way you've made the federal model evolve, from unofficial to devolutionary, and then with the constitutional reform after the failed coup, the federal structure is enshrined. Honestly there's just so much that you've clearly thought carefully about, I'd be unable to enumerate it all.

I'd like to ask though - do you do primarily academic writing for an expert audience? I admit the density of your writing, and some elements of grammar, give me some difficulty in following along. Perhaps it's something you've improved at over the course of this TL, or I'm more accustomed to your style - I think the latest updates have been much more easy to follow in all the intricate details, while for early chapters I needed to reread.

I'm looking forward to the legislative battle over land reform - the potential for georgism, cooperative ownership (I see how you've given cooperative enterprises a long lead-time to develop in the background), etc is really interesting.
Just finished reading, this is a brilliant TL! I'm really impressed by your clear depth of research, and how you've managed to weave so many political ideas and political thinkers from OTL into your tale, and how everything subtly changes in the context of a new political system. It's all very plausible too, with reform in fits and starts, and with reverses that galvanize new waves of reformist energy. For example, I like the way you've made the federal model evolve, from unofficial to devolutionary, and then with the constitutional reform after the failed coup, the federal structure is enshrined. Honestly there's just so much that you've clearly thought carefully about, I'd be unable to enumerate it all.

I'd like to ask though - do you do primarily academic writing for an expert audience? I admit the density of your writing, and some elements of grammar, give me some difficulty in following along. Perhaps it's something you've improved at over the course of this TL, or I'm more accustomed to your style - I think the latest updates have been much more easy to follow in all the intricate details, while for early chapters I needed to reread.

I'm looking forward to the legislative battle over land reform - the potential for georgism, cooperative ownership (I see how you've given cooperative enterprises a long lead-time to develop in the background), etc is really interesting.
Hi Moopli, thank you for the positive feedback!

The density of the writing is something I've been concerned about throughout the updates. I've tried to be as detailed as possible to prevent holes in the TL, but sometimes admittedly this can come across as quite dense and opaque. What I'm trying to do throughout this project (there's still 80 odd years of history that I've planned) is to get everything on paper for me to then run a really large process of editing to get the TL to be completely consistent and coherent and make the full book make sense and iron out some of the wordy sentences with a little bit of space (Time and fresh eyes are an editor's best friend I always think).

This is because it's a live document that I'm still doing a bit of revising as I go along so I've tried to include as much as possible to make sure every element is covered... this can be quite challenging for the reader (and for myself!) but I felt it best to go overboard rather than under develop certain themes and leave myself and the reader underprepared for developments later down the line. I feel like as I've gone along, my ability to balance this out with being clear and direct and focusing on thematic points rather than broad themes have made it easier to follow and I hope to continue this on. The amount I'm having to go back and research my own text to inform future updates is growing by the update, and my main reference is vastly becoming Books 1 & 2 of this project alongside other academic texts!

Onto the coming issues...

The period covered by Book 3 is a period in which ideas that form the basis of our current political system were developing and taking shape. I remember EdT talking about Fight and Be Right, saying that multiple trends and factions form an undercurrent in each major party, and any of the 'strains' of political thought can become dominant in an instant. Developing these 'strains' of political thought in the various parties (with the prospect of another upcoming realignment) is the reason I've been dropping all these ideological hints, as the real wildcard here is the prospect of Irish politicians, which were united against the Union, being incorporated into the Union political system through federalism. Whereas John Redmond and Michael Davitt would be on the same side of the Home Rule debate, on just about everything else, they will be on opposite sides now the Home Rule issue is solved. Land Reform was the main cleavage point at this time as well, and once that has been solved (with as many ideas on how to solve it from across the spectrum as any in a Parliamentary system), further issues will come to the fore, in the ideological vortex that is late 19th century Europe, and will dictate how the political cleavage will change in the next realignment, which I foresee at this stage to be a relatively permanent arrangement.

Finally, it's good to know that my gradualist approach to regionalism and federalism has been noticed. I wanted to put an earlier rationale for Federalism in the Constitution, but I felt that no Government would have committed to Home Rule that early, therefore an approach which highlighted the practical need to Constituent Units (for protection) with lasting effects was the best way to embed a coalition in favour of the Federalist reforms outside of Ireland.
Part 4, Chapter XX
IV, XX: The Gambetta Affair & The Anglo-Egyptian War


Leon Gambetta, Prime Minister of France 1882

France undertook a similar course as Britain after the end of the Franco-Prussian War and solidified as Republican over 1876 and 1877. Republicans continued success saw Leon Gambetta, become Prime Minister of France, the man who proclaimed the Republic. While it was true France had its Conservative turn at the beginning of the Republic, the Union and the French Third Republic had been born as compromises and the compromise turned out to be popular for both countries. As Chamberlain was summoned to Buckingham Palace to recommend a list of names to the President-Regent, Gambetta was just about to do the same. It was natural, therefore; as Republicans, as Democrats and as populist leaders, Gambetta and Chamberlain would get on like a house on fire. Senator Charles Dilke was particularly excited, having informally negotiated agreements on Panama, Northern Borneo and certain rights for an investigation into Albert-Edward’s accounts and access to the Paris Police Prefecture records on all cases with Gambetta in the lead-up to the elections. They had become good friends. Something Gambetta did days before Joseph Chamberlain and the Foreign Secretary, Senator Dilke were to arrive in Paris would sour relations between the emerging new regimes in their respective countries. Gambetta had been spotted with two diplomats discussing Foreign Policy and an Anglo-French Alliance with Albert-Edward, newly freed after the investigations surrounding him in France had been quashed. The Conservative Government had been happy to keep him in France, as an embarrassment to the party after the Orangeist Coup and as a tempting force to bring old-school Tories into promoting monarchism again. The Democratic Government, however, in particular the Home Secretary, Leonard Courtney and the Assistant to the High Chancellor, A. V Dicey, took a harder line against the Orangeists and had been demanding that France extradite the heir to Britain to be placed in a Lustration Hearing. Senator Cross, the former Home Secretary and High Chancellor Cairns had resisted supporting the move, but with Democrats in office, political pressure was mounting for Chamberlain to bring him home for questioning. When he was seen speaking with the French Prime Minister, it caused a national scandal in Britain. The French Embassy in London was hit with rocks and bottles, rotten fruit and even dead rats. French flags were burned in Peterloo Square, Manchester at an anti-French rally. Within days, on the streets of Britain, the Union had two enemies: France and the Russian Bear.

Dilke summoned the French Ambassador to Whitehall to discuss the matter further and threatened to cancel the trip if an apology was not had from the French Prime Minister and Albert-Edward returned. Dicey advised Cairns to issue summons to Albert-Edward, and after Chamberlain urged the President-Regent to call for the move, he summoned him to the Lustration Committee. When France refused, Britain’s Prime Minister cancelled his visit. Gambetta would be gone after just sixty days of his premiership, but the lasting effects of the snub would be felt by a Union that had suffered collective trauma just three years ago. Chamberlain returned to Birmingham to Green, Red and White on nearly every shopfront, window and bonnet. “Down with the French” one banner read, “Up with the Empire,” said another. In the following days, with a communiqué passing between Paris and London, the tension would be raised as the French refused the extradition, claiming he was still under investigation. He had secretly paid a large sum donated from a British bank account to the Paris Prefecture to in effect, keep him permanently locked in France. He was held under house arrest but allowed visits accompanied by guards and had been essentially getting a private, armed guided tour of Paris for three years. This New Democratic Government, seeking an early Foreign Policy win, wanted it to stop. Dilke sought and was given, a blank cheque to deal with the French, so he went to Berlin.

Three weeks later, Charles Dilke, Joseph Chamberlain and John Morley travelled to Berlin where they were greeted in intellectual circles as giants. The Chancellor of the German Empire and Foreign Minister, Albert Hänel, received the delegation with Friedrich III and a collection of Reichstag members from the Progressive Party and they discussed a proposal made by Foreign Office diplomats. They described an invasion of Egypt. In January 1882, three diplomats were killed by an Army officer who had mutinied in Egypt: one German, one French and one British. The mutiny was against the disparity in pay between Europeans and Egyptians in the military, mostly British. Britain wanted to maintain access to the Suez Canal, which had become a vital trading link for the Empire, so had occupied areas and began to colonise the Khedive’s Government with debt from the construction. The interests of the Union were tied up with the stability provided by the Khedive. Before the Gambetta Affair, the British had been travelling to seek a common response. Now they had been snubbed, they sought to strike back by going to the French’s rivals. Dilke and Chamberlain had both been coming round to the idea of an understanding with Germany, who had helped during the Lustration Process and had good relations with the Union, as the best ally to keep the Union stable. Rivalries had been flaring up with France in the Colonies for some time, and with reports of incursions becoming a regular appearance in the press, a suspicious mood fell over the Union.


Albert Hänel, Chancellor and Foreign Minister of the German Empire

Despite their auspicious beginnings, the German Empire was developing after the death of Wilhelm I into a more liberal democracy under the trifecta of Kaiser Friedrich III, Princess Victoria and Albert Hänel. Friedrich believed a liberal constitutional monarchy would provide the best route to stability, and appointed Hänel and his deputy, Eugen Richter, to make tweaks to the German Constitution to make it more in the mould of the British Parliamentary system. In the reforms of 1881 dubbed the "February Constitution", many changes to the constitutional make-up were made to bring the Empire into line with a Parliamentary system; the power to declare war and peace was given to the Reichstag, the Chancellery was regarded as a collective political leadership of the Empire rather than a 'one-man cabinet' as before, members of the Government could now be simultaneously members of the Reichstag and the Chancellery and required the Reichstag's confidence and were required to submit themselves to audit to the Reichstag and Bundesrat. The Chancellery was now responsible for all political actions of the Emperor and the Emperor was required to get a co-signature from a member of the Reich Chancellery to appoint any military or civilian staff. It did not, however, replace the Prussian three-class Suffrage system, meaning universal and equal suffrage remained beyond the acceptable pale of German politics.

The effect had been an explosion of liberal politics in the Empire. The highly conformist society had welcomed liberalism and the new constitution and upon its signing, the Unter den Linden was packed with onlookers flying the Imperial flag. Hänel's attempts to unite the various wings of Liberalism bore fruit in 1880, a year away from Federal Elections to the Reichstag, as the German Progress Party, the left of the National Liberals, and various Independent Liberals met to agree on unconditional support for the February Constitution and the Liberal Reforms, forming the German Free-minded Party (Deutsche Freisinnige Partei, DFP), which supported the Chancellery. In October as Germans went to the polls, the DFP returned enough members to represent just under a majority. The Catholic Zentrum Party, favouring the religious tolerance espoused by the DFP, agreed to support the Ministry and Hänel was returned as Chancellor. On the right, Conservatives and Free Conservatives, as well as the right-National Liberals coalesced into the German Conservative Party to represent the Protestant North, Prussian Junkers and aristocratic elements loyal to the former Chancellor, Bismarck and the Conservative elements of the Wilhelmine Empire. This was facilitated by the adoption of measured support for Free Trade by the Conservatives as they believed the new Kaiser would dismiss any attempt to introduce tariffs, which laid the moral ground for the Free Conservatives, Conservatives and Right National Liberals to merge. Elsewhere, the Socialist Workers Party, which had been formed in 1875 from the merger of the General German Workers' Association, founded in 1863, and the Social Democratic Workers' Party, won 13 seats, gaining four.

German Reichstag Elections, 1881
Free-Minded Party 146
Conservatives 98
Centre Party 95
Polish Party 18
Alsace-Lorraine Parties 15
Socialist Workers Party 13
German-Hanoverian Party 10
Danish Party 2

This gave the Trifecta the power, with the Catholic Centre Party, to build support for an informal alliance with Britain. The British delegation's arrival in January had come as a welcome chance for the Imperial Foreign Ministry to work alongside the British. Hänel and Freidrich III heard the plan for the British to intervene and establish full control over Egypt. The Democrats wanted a military victory, and saw the Khedivate as the best method for achieving such a victory, Germany wanted both an influence in Africa and a chance to ally the two burgeoning Federal States. France meanwhile was stunned by the Union’s indifference to their honour, and Gambetta privately admitted that he wished to forge relations with Britain as he believed a mission to Egypt would allow Britain and France to finally settle their African holdings and prevent a scramble of conflict for the continent. Chamberlain had acted on Granville’s instruction by talking to the French and after the affair with the Deposed King, was able to seize the initiative and head for his preferred option. As anti-Christian rioting was reported in both countries from Egypt, Britain felt it had the pretext to intervene on behalf of the Khedive to restore order and protect British bondholders. There is also a suspicion from some historians about Chamberlain’s motives and temperament for the occasion of power politics. Regardless, the Hänel-Dilke Pact, the secret result of the negotiations, would represent a changing of the tide for European politics. Dilke and Chamberlain understood the need for Britain to continue to be seen to be neutral, with Dilke noting “the delicacy of the negotiations and the need for both parties to understand the red lines for the proximity of our relations” and that the talks “should not be called an alliance, but an amicable agreement amongst allies.”

Chamberlain and Dilke came in with one goal: a coalition of support for British intervention in Egypt. He achieved three foreign policy objectives that would set Europe on a course to war:

Firstly, the Union was to bombard Alexandria, invade and restore order and occupy the country, they were then going to attempt to occupy the interior, towards Sudan. They would simultaneously attempt to gain full control of Senegal and the Imamate of Futa Jallon, in an attempt to stop incursions by the French military there and stop French incursions in Sierra Leone and the Gambia. They also planned an incursion to finally defeat the Ashanti Empire and to gain suzerainty over the states of Oyo and Dahomey, two Kingdoms within the reach of British-controlled Lagos. The Egyptian campaign would weaken both the Ottomans and the French, while the rest of the campaigns in Africa would be squarely focused on sealing British prominence on Africa's West Coast. Germany would receive, in exchange, Senegal under an Anglo-German Protectorate, access to influence in the Pacific, which the British would not stand in the way of, and British advocacy over France to allow German use of the Suez Canal.

Secondly, the two confirmed a long-standing agreement in the need for a neutral Bulgaria, and it was here in 1882 that Chamberlain first suggested a Union with the crowns of Bulgaria and Romania, which would be a concept that would grip Europe during the later years of his premiership. Having left the Bulgarian conflict in a frozen state, owing to the political instability of elections in three of the major powers; the Union, Germany and France, discussions about the future of Bulgaria did not command much attention for politicians or the public in the three countries. Squabbles about domestic issues and colonial conflicts interfered with the urgency of the conflict that was left unresolved and with Russian troops occupying Bulgaria, Dobruja, and a large part of the Ottoman European territory. Bulgaria had done its best to begin the process of state-building, but its progress had been stalled by repeated Russian ‘emergencies’ that reimposed martial law. Every session of the Bulgarian National Assembly, that was meeting to discuss the new constitution, was interrupted by an ‘emergency’. While British warships had been protecting long-time ally Greece in the region, no foreign vessels were around and the area under Russian occupation had been relatively peaceful but Russian warships remained provocatively in reach of Constantinople. When the constitution was finally drafted, it provided for an enlightened liberal democracy with an elected Parliament, separation of powers and independent institutions. The adoption of the Constitution piqued the North-Western Powers' interest and renewed support. The election of liberal governments eager to satisfy a war-hungry electorate meant Bulgarian independence, a provocative act for the Russians, would be on the agenda.

Thirdly, they made a proposal that would dictate the course of the Ottoman Empire forever. Seeing the increased influence of European powers in North Africa, they decided to use Egypt to springboard their plans for greater control in Africa, and they were prepared to give Germany a foothold in the region in exchange for their assistance and their guarantee of support. They agreed to allow the Germans to have a holding on at Port Soudan, providing they sent enough Prussian Troops to help the Brits get it. If they did, then all German ships could use the Suez Canal. Germany would also receive assurances in return that they would receive Britain’s approval to future Imperial Overseas endeavours, providing they do not interfere with the British Empire’s. While Germany’s overseas empire had not been a priority before this, Hänel felt the prestige of colonial holdings would allow itself to join Britain in a civilising mission in Africa. A case of more keeping up with the Jones’s than imperial desire. The Armed Forces weren’t particularly interested, but German business and private individuals yearned for more colonial holdings. Liberal sentiment melded this with a ‘white man’s burden’ doctrine, and soon the Imperial movement in Germany spanned humanitarians to industrialists. Bismarck asked to meet with Hänel upon hearing of the plans to expand Germany's colonial influence and offered a sharp retort to the plans:

"Your map of Africa there is very nice I have to admit. But you know, my map of Africa is here, in Europe. You see here is Russia, over there is France. And us, we are here – right in the middle between those two. That's my map of Africa."

Hänel was unmoved: he encouraged Friedrich to make the call and accept the deal. While he was reluctant, they agreed. No treaty was signed, no letters produced. When asked, Chamberlain said they had “warm hospitality” from the German authorities. Nothing else. That arrangement would be the cornerstone of British foreign policy for the next decade: isolate France diplomatically, fight back against their incursions (direct and indirect) in Africa and develop, with Germany, a large African sphere of influence.

Chamberlain and Dilke briefed the President-Regent on the informal agreement made, and despite the hesitation he had, he was influenced by the two most pressing concerns - the Gambetta Affair and the situation in Egypt, to lend his support to further discussions with the Germans, but he refused to consent to send troops without a majority vote from Parliament. The two had not even, at this stage, told the Union Council. Further conversations were had, this time with Thorold Rogers, the veteran outspoken backbench radical who, on a minor side note, hasn’t been featured enough in this study so far. Rogers was involved heavily in the Radical scene and Gladstone was even warned by Victoria never to propose him as a Minister because of his radical streak. He went hard for the new Constitutional Laws, was a Radical Republican and is kind of everywhere, so sorry for not bringing him up until now. Side note complete. Rogers was also concerned about the plan but was the chief rabble-rouser in the Commons and, more importantly, the press. Dilke persuaded Rogers that the intervention and subsequent enactment of the plan would greatly benefit the Union. Granville and Dilke had enjoyed a good relationship, having worked closely during the President-Regent's time in the Senate, but Granville was not finally convinced that a Parliamentary majority in favour could be achieved in favour of intervention and communicated this to Rogers in a meeting of a selection of Grand Councillors, including Rogers, Dilke, Field Marshall Napier, Morley and First Sea Lord, Alexander Milne a few days after Dilke and Rogers had met.

Dilke, however, was unconvinced as was his friend in the Liberal camp, Senator Dalmeny. Dalmeny had received correspondence with former German Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, and confirmed that he had considered Granville a lightweight who "did not see the Foreign Policy picture as widely as the newly re-emerging Radical movement in the country". Dilke and Chamberlain’s outlook - that of the “Grand Tour” generation - was different to the older Radicals and Liberals before them. This difference, the availability of travel and the Grand Tourism of the landed elite, mixed their radicalism with a lust for an empire to spread their Democratic ideology through the British lens and create a Unionised order of the world. Older elements, those who had ruled under the Monarchy as Liberals, Nationals and Radicals had a more cautious and internally centric view. Gladstone, while President-Regent, commented on the obsession with a mountain with an indescribable name (Kilimanjaro) of some of the younger members of his Provisional Union Council, Chamberlain included. Liberals and a faction within the Democrats were of the more conservative view of empire and more specifically the interference in society that such an upheaval as the imposition of British-style democracy would bring. This clash would come to a head during the period Prime Minister and his Foreign Secretary carved up the world.

Most in the Foreign Office were unaware of the plan, and most would have been unwilling to offer their support should it have been proposed. Foreign and Colonial Office diplomats were in Egypt and had gained a good understanding of the situation in Egypt over the previous years. Perceived British weakness, purported by French disinformation campaigns in the region, had insisted that British influence was waning after the Constitutional Laws. Egyptians, disaffected by the two-tier system of foreign and native diplomats, army officers and workers, had grown unhappy with lower pay and conditions compared to the Europeans, Turks and various other groups in the region. Colonel Arabi Pasha, one such native Colonel within the Egyptian Army, had begun to rebel and had forced the toppling of the pro-British Prime Minister in the Khedivate. Pasha had become Minister of War and was, at this time, the most well-known Egyptian Nationalist in Britain. Violence had accompanied the uprising since 1879, but the violence inflicted on European populations within the Khedivate, home to the pivotal Anglo-French Suez Canal, had brought the crisis into the hands of newspaper readers in Britain throughout the conflict. Taking a more deliberate, cautious route, the British had reaffirmed their faith in the Khedive in 1880, but informally, many within the Foreign and Colonial Office had already established cordial relations within the new nationalist Government to continue to protect British interests in the Region. Under Gambetta's predecessor, Jules Ferry, France had sought to unify itself through an aggressive policy of colonial expansion, adopting a more bellicose Colonial policy, which was seen within some in the Conservative ranks as chaffing considerably on British interests. Foreign Office diplomats believed supporting the Nationalists' claims for more equality in the colony was the best way to avoid a slaughter. Granville believed cooperation with France was the best method for restoring order and Edward Malet, Consul-General in Cairo, was called by Granville to support "progress and well-being of the people with the educational, tax and judicial reforms" adding that "We do not have any self-aggrandizing design towards Egypt" in November 1881, weeks before the Democratic Union Council was returned to office.

Until the election of the Democrats, Dilke had shown next to no interest in the region, and the Foreign Office had, as it had for many a year, operated autonomously from the rest of the workings of Government. As mentioned earlier, his real intent for his initial trip to Paris with Chamberlain had been to attain a 'most favoured nation' status in a Commercial Treaty with France, but the combination of the Gambetta Affair and the trip to Berlin had put Egypt firmly in his mind. In the meantime, the Foreign Office continued on its current path of pacification, attempting to retain cordial relations with the current Government and protect British interests. Pasha’s rise, and a subsequent trip to London, made him a person of note for Dilke and made him aware of the issue. Between the trips to Paris and Berlin, Dilke, Chamberlain and a further member of the cabinet, John Morley who was contacted via telegram, the tone with which the Government were conducting their affairs became all the more bellicose. With support from the Germans and a few weeks later the Greeks agreed to use of Ports for the invasion, Hänel and Dilke sent their Ambassadors to Bulgaria to lend their support to full Independence, fatally weakening the Ottoman Empire and allowing the Egyptian attack to go ahead in the chaos that proceeded. Both thought the Ottomans would seek to attack neighbouring Bulgaria, but the Russians would be unable to stop a fellow Slavic country from gaining Independence, but would also have to give back control of policing, security and border crossings. Hänel and Chamberlain sent a telegram to their Ambassadors on February 8th 1882, with instructions to secretly arm the Bulgarians to expel the Russians, to create a friendly nation in the Balkans. Britain and Germany were bystanders really, and the powers in the Region; the Ottomans, the Russians and Austrians, considered themselves the negotiators for the Region, not the British and Germans. The French had cordial relations with Serbia and Romania but had only passing interest in the Quagmire besides keeping the peace. The secret nature of the negotiations mostly conducted in British-aligned Greece meant that Britain and Germany would sell arms to Bulgaria in exchange for a secret pact between four countries: Greece, Bulgaria, Britain and Germany, this alliance, plus Italy, would form the bulk of the coalition Chamberlain built in his foreign policy circle. It was designed to contain a counterweight to the biggest aggressors in the coming years who were both threatening Britain in the immediacy. Nothing done by any party was a formal alliance: this would break British No Alliance in Europe policies (as insisted by Granville), Germany’s Dreikaiserbund, and Bulgaria’s need to retain delicacy around a foreign occupying force. But even by mid-1882, the countries were shifting further away from their initial alliances and towards new ones, however, everything, at least internally, felt adventurous.

In June, further anti-Christian pogroms brought the attention further centre, and the public mood changed quickly as well - Democrats and Conservatives alike were said by Dilke to have been “full of Jingo, and wanting someone’s blood... but they don’t know who!” Dilke presented a motion to Parliament to endorse the use of “Maritime Police Action” to the region, led by the First Sea Lord, Alexander Milne GC. At the same time, Pasha left London and went to Paris to discuss the matter with the new French Prime Minister, Freycinet, to see if an amicable solution between Britain, Egypt and France could be reached. While this meeting ensued, the Foreign Office informed the Ambassadors of the Country that a “Police Action” in Alexandria had been conducted. In reality, it was a bombardment on the 11th July, 7 am, and wouldn’t finish until 5 pm the next day. 700 were killed. British forces then invaded, and hearing the news, the French recognised a new Government in Egypt, headed by Pasha and claimed that the Khedive had lost his authority. The stage was set for conflict between the major powers, stemming from a diplomatic misunderstanding. After the bombardment of Alexandria, Britain demanded Arabi’s resignation and the submission of authority to the Khedive, and when a response was not received, began to move their operations to overtake the Nile basin. British senior officers took control of Khedive Tewfik Pasha’s forces and sent forces from India and the Union Army to complete the mission, summing 40,000. Dilke, Chamberlain and the War Secretary, Senator Fitzmaurice, were briefed by Milne and Joint Commander-in-Chief of the Union Army, Robert Napier. They deemed the full extent of the plan, including the expulsion of French soldiers from Senegal and the Gold Coast would be difficult, but even working directly against the French Army (which they believed they would not be engaged with, with the belief in Whitehall that the French would arm the 10,000 or so rebels rather than send troops themselves) they could launch an attack to pacify the entire Nile basin.

Khedive Tewfik Pasha declared Arabi a rebel, and in response, Arabi obtained a fatwa against the Khedive and declared him a rebel. He introduced conscription in the lower Nile basin and in Cairo, and the stage was set. The French instructed the British not to invade past the coastal regions, where the majority of Europeans were based and threatened to occupy the Suez Canal Zone should the mission be taken any further. Britain’s fleet, stationed in the Mediterranean and using Greece and Cyprus for refuelling and station, were able to send 40,000 troops ready for invasion on July 11th. The bombardment of Alexandria had not damaged a single ship, and it was the Union marines who occupied Alexandria. They began the ferry service from the neighbouring ports, and preparations for an offensive began. It was led by Lieutenant-General Garnet Wolseley GC, Chief of Staff Lieutenant General John Adye GC and Major General Gerald Graham with an Indian contingent was lead by Major General Drury-Drury Lowe.

First Sea Lord Milne was the key, however, as his marines, having taken Alexandria, would move into the Suez Canal Zone to swamp any attempt at French interference in their plans. Using a much larger force, the British established their dominance and occupied most of the stretch, and after Wolseley had attempted reconnaissance missions to see the viability of an invasion of Cairo, the British decided that the city of Ismailia would be the best bet of a base of operations, and conducted their campaign having secured the Canal Zone to the complete ire of the French. When the French threatened to send battleships, the British responded by closing off the Straits of Gibraltar and Suez Canal to French ships and sailing 6 Cruisers to the Island of Corsica and threatening it with bombardment. With a few days, the two emerging States were threatening war. After an economic blockade was threatened by the remaining British fleet to the channel coast, the French-backed down on the seas but used routes in French West Africa and into Fezzan, the ‘Arabi Trail’. They smuggled heavy artillery, guns and supplies to the Rebels, in exchange for the restoration of the Suez Canal to sole French ownership. Wolseley’s intelligence on the matter was generally good, and he was aware from late July that heavier weapons were coming. There was a lack of preparation for the heat, but the Lieutenant-General would hold onto Alexandria and the Suez Zone without much irritation, but he waited for the arrival of the most important asset - the logistical department. After the lustration process, the Army expanded itself rapidly in the post-Orange Coup Union, as Nationalism towards the mishmash half-Monarchy, half-Republic rapidly grew in the estimation of the populous of the British Isles. Much of that intake was engineers, logistical planners and modern “theorists of warfare” who, without aristocratic sludge blocking the way, were now in senior positions. Field Marshall Robert Napier was particularly enamoured with the new upstarts and had privately said “our wars shall be fought at the butt of a steam train, not a rifle”. The Engineers moved in, fortified and repaired the Suez railway, and began working their way to the Sweet Water Canal and the City of Kassassin, where they first encountered the enemy. Still underprepared as the French weaponry had not yet made it so far east of the country, the forces loyal to Arabi were pushed back. But it was not without concern: many of the regulars sent over were in supremely poor condition, and Wolseley wondered to Adye about reforms should he be in Field Marshall Napier’s position ever. On the 9th, having been pushed back five miles, but with the benefit of French armoury, Arabi delivered another attempted attack to retake the City, but the British forces won out, albeit with 32 casualties. Arabi Pasha was repelled, and the British force collected French guns, artillery pieces and supplies on the victorious route to their next destination.


Alexandria after the Bombardment, 14th July 1882

Arabi retreated to Tell El Kebir and dug in for a defensive battle. Wolseley decided to use the element of surprise and attacked late at night, despite this, the surprise was not achieved. The inadequate training of the Arabi’s conscripts to the French weaponry slowed them down, but the Artillery pieces led to 503 deaths of the British force. The Union Army tool Tell El Kebir after two days of fighting, with the heavy weaponry slowing them the most. The 503 were heavy losses, and Dilke and Chamberlain were left with a bitter feeling against the French who had armed them. “A rouge state designed to kill our soldiers in the field of duty protecting civilisation from barbarism,” Dilke said in the Commons after the end of the battle. A heavy British artillery counterattack had damaged the morale of Arabi's forces, their numerical strength (already weak) and discipline, and the force was quickly routed. Two thousand Egyptians died in the battle. Once it was cleared, the route to Cairo was left free and the forces dispersed. The Khedive of Egypt and the President-Regent of the Union were made the co-operators of the Suez Canal Zone, expelling France for its ‘destabilising force in the region’.

With order restored, the British were recognised as the sole protector of Egypt, but in return for their support in the plan, Germany was granted Port Soudan, soon to be renamed Freiderichheim in early 1883. Britain would allow an expansion of German interests in the region as the years would go on. The British also permanently occupied Gibraltar and after the end of French protests, left Corsica and returned home. France's influence was severely weakened and their influence specifically in Arabia was eroded. The war was significant for many reasons, but primarily two; the use of technology in the conflict and the policy reversal shown by Chamberlain and Dilke from the previous Liberal-infused Government. The conflict saw showed off the far superior logistical and technological advantages that the British Army had in comparison to both their vanquished enemy and the other European powers, sans possibly Germany. Their use of Telegraphs, Railways and Postal Services made conflict more efficient and hospitable for the British Soldiers and they were able to move at a significant pace around the afflicted areas. Their policy of occupation (the British would not be leaving Egypt for some time) made a stark break from Gladstonian and Granvillian doctrine of measured military responses to vital interests. In the Senate, many of the Liberal members were the most vocal opposition to the war, not for the lack of a casus belli, but because of the continued occupation.

"If there were a threat from the Colonel to occupy the Suez Canal, or the French to overturn our interests there, what would be the result? At worst, communication with India would be delayed by three weeks by the necessity of using a route that included the Cape of Good Hope. The loss would be tax only, not a disaster and certainly would not justify the military occupation of a subdivision of a major power." - William Gladstone to the Foreign Affairs Committee, September 18th, 1882.

Dilke and Chamberlain still held the loyalty of their Parliamentary Committee, being just a year into office and facing both external and internal pressures - as we will discuss in the next Chapter - but unease spread amongst a key facet of the Democratic Federation: anti-Imperialists. Senator Leonard Courtney, Senator John Ruskin, Henry Fawcett, Henry Hyndman and George Shipton all registered protest at the continued occupation and urged the 'Foreign Affairs Trifecta' of Chamberlain, Dilke and Morley to return troops to a pre-War level in Egypt. Dilke and Chamberlain wanted more, however, and continued their occupation well into Sudan, now working with the Germans who were themselves able to borrow techniques from the British to rapidly prepare Freiderichheim for the colonial enterprise. Freiderichheim would eventually become the Capital of the Imperial Territory of Rotesmeer, or Red Sea, and the German Red Sea Colony would be the centre of its operations in the Arabian peninsular and a historical peculiarity in the Colonial Possessions of the Great European Powers. As the British and Germans set their sights on dividing the rest of Sudan, the next diplomatic crisis would have its origin.


Tsar Alexander I of Bulgaria

Continuing their arrangement, Germany and Britain recognized Bulgarian Independence on November 1st 1882, and the new Principality of Bulgaria, nominally under Ottoman Protectorate, by threatening Abdul Hamid II, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, with further invasion if they did not appoint a Bulgarian nominee to the Governorship of all Bulgarian lands, allowing a Bulgarian state to emerge under Prince Alexander of Battenberg, who was externally referred to as Prince, but internally referred to as Tsar. The state would instruct all Russian troops to leave the country, causing a nationwide schism between Russophiles, Russophobes and Minority Nationalists. A vassal Provisional Government under Alexander was formed and initially, the Conservative leanings of the Prince clashed considerably with his Ministers, led by Stefan Stambolov, a notable Liberal in the country. Order quickly broke down and the Bulgarian state was in peril, as the two sides, along with Macedonian, Serbian and Greek Nationalists began to come to loggerheads. While Alexander initially considered supporting the Russians' right to remain, he quickly realised that the Russian presence was destabilising, and appealed to his cousin, Tsar Alexander III to return his troops and allow Bulgaria to exert his independence on November 9th via letter. The reply stated it was not in either's interest to do so and so a standoff would ensue. Only after Austria, seeking some stability in the region and looking to exert its influence, sided with the British and Germans and recognised the Bulgarian Independence claim, did the Russians withdraw. They were bitter from defeat, and hostility between the two countries continued for some time, along with hostility with the Ottomans. This "your enemy's enemy is your friend" approach saw the Russians and Ottomans conclude a secret treaty to isolate Bulgaria in January 1883 that saw warships from Russia finally leave the surrounding waters of Anatolia. Despite Austria siding with the Anglo-German sphere, Austrian leaders were furious at the actions of the Germans and British in their dealings with Russia and France. In response, Austria tore up the Dual Alliance agreement with Germany and hostilities between two countries within Europe grew. On one side, the Alliance that wasn't an Alliance between Britain, Germany, Bulgaria, Greece and (soon) Italy. Not being an alliance meant it didn't get an exciting name like the Dreikaiserbund or Dual Alliance, but instead found an altogether more subtle moniker - the Anordnung, or Agreement. On the other, Russia, the Ottomans and Austria-Hungary, along with France and Serbia, were being pushed together into an alliance aiming to curb the Liberal tide of Europe.
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Part 4, Chapter XXI
IV, XXI: The Promos & Enda

A meeting on January 16th, 1882, between 16 men in the office of a merchant in Liverpool signalled the beginning of a looming internal threat to the Union. Eight hailed from Belfast; one was a Reverend, one was a Police Chief Constable, two were prominent landowners, the rest? Prominent local businessmen. The problem was, in all but the Reverend’s case, they weren't any of those things anymore. They were all removed from their positions for their roles in the Orangeist Coup. Many regular people either believed in the cause, fell in with the wrong crowd, or just felt they wanted something to belong to. They smuggled some guns, some even travelled to London that day, but none fired a shot or killed a man and most simply provided cash or dealt with arms deals. The men who make the things happen, but didn’t get their hands dirty. The G-Division had most of their enforcers locked up, so all that was left was a civil service, a boatload of cash and expertise on getting the job done. The other eight men hailed from Liverpool and contained something akin to a mafia state. The city was a bustling port but also home to tremendous poverty, and many families had little or no support. Slum housing in the city had seen a turf war along sectarian lines, as the city's inhabitants because drawn between Protestant Anglican, Protestant Legitimist and Catholic Communities in the City - exerting a violent pillarization on the city. This meant the Legitimist Church wasn’t significantly beaten down after the Orangeist Coup: there were so many followers in one city, and the city was so violent, that any attempt to intervene would escalate the brewing social fabric of the city. The conflict took the form of small scale bombings, arson and assassinations, all in the name of restoring the Crown. The militias behind the violent attacks were well-armed, remained anonymous and struck in the dark. The sixteen men agreed to cooperate and dubbed their Organisation the Provisional Orange Military Organisation. Belfast would provide the leadership, Liverpool would provide the shock troops. Further consolidation took the form of recruitment throughout February 1882 in areas of high poverty, unemployment, sickness and disease. Glasgow and the North East, as well as areas of high population from Ulster, like in Central Scotland, provided fertile ground for Orangeism.

They also gathered middle-class society, of sorts - poorer nobles, businessmen of declining fortune or those who were facing confiscation of land in the new reforms “The Individual’s freedom is nothing but a charade if it is not built-in God and Country” said one recruiter to a crowd of unemployed men, journalist W.T Stead wrote, “it is not served by Constitutions and Laws and Charters but ones love for one's land and his devotion to the God, King and Family.” To do this, they formed a political division, unofficially, as the Orange Party. They identified each other with small amounts of Orange on their clothes, usually a button, a handkerchief or a broach in the colour to identify believers. This soon, remarkably, became a common occurrence in Orange strongholds and collections for the “Society for the Respect of God” and “Patriotic Religious Association”, two cover organisations of the Organisation, became commonplace. Orange Party agents didn’t build support for the election, but recruited foot soldiers and did so subtly and without drawing attention to the fact they were recruiting for a terrorist organisation in the eyes of the Union Government. In Orange-leaning Cities, they organised Orange Work Orders as an alternative to Trade Unions which were usually pro-Constitution and Republican and these groups provided yet more foot soldiers.

Captain William Poer, an Irishman from the South of the State, joined as the coordinator of these political forces, had been in the same group as Augustus Stewart in the anti-Home Rule alliance but became a pivotal part of the Orange cause. The group raised funds right under the noses of the Lustration Commission and soon were strong enough to purchase weapons, and most importantly, bombs. It would be a 37 year old from Liverpool who would carry out their first real attack, placing bombs in both a Catholic Church and outside the City & County Council Building, killing 8 people. At first, police were left wondering who committed the crime, until a note to W.T Stead’s office a day later claimed the bombings. The 16-man committee had referred to their organisation as the “POMO”, but the Politicians sometimes do have good times - Poer had suggested another signature - the Promos, or PRovisional Orange Military Organisation. The name stuck and struck terror into a series of cities and communities over the course of the early months.


Senator Leonard Courtney, Home Secretary 1881-1885

In February, the group bombed a Factory owned by a Democratic politician and known for hiring Catholic workers in Salford, killing 22. A bomb was put outside the Mansion House two weeks later, and questions began to be asked about the security and policing provided by the States. Senator Courtney asked President-Regent Granville to convene a special convocation of the Grand Council, with each of the States Internal Affairs Minister and Police Commissioner, each of whom would already be Grand Councillors, which would come to be known as the Internal Affairs Committee of the Grand Council, or IAC. When a further bomb was placed in a Naval Yard in Dublin but found and defused thanks to G Division intelligence, the IAC took a lead from the Irish Internal Affairs Secretary, Charles Gavan Duffy, who had built up a formidable intelligence-gathering operation in the Irish State Police. Duffy recommended that all State Police implement committed Undercover Investigation Divisions. David Waterlow, the Metropolitan Vice-Chancellor, steadfastly agreed, having seen the Mansion House bombing but more importantly, having organised the defence of London during the Orange Coup itself. The Met Police introduced its Special Branch, and after further attacks occurred on Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester in majority Catholic areas between March and July 1882, most States followed. The IAC continued to meet regularly and intelligence became significantly more organised, and a counter-attack, with the arrest of more than 400 Promos clipped the groups' ambitions. This attracted most of the foot soldiers, but the organisation remained meticulously hidden from public sight. Senator Courtney reopened the Lustration Committees' investigations and used the financial records obtained to investigate potential donors, but progress remained slow and precious few were convicted. Most Promos were interned abroad, with 250 of them sent to The Gambia to be interned at a Union Army Prison for forced labour. The treatment of the Promos brought rage in Orange cities, Liverpool saw four days of rioting, there were sectarian killings in Belfast for seven nights, which then spread to areas of Antrim and Down against the State Police and ‘Catholic’ Government. The rioting became so serious, the Lieutenant requested outside help in the IAC, and it took Police from six states to quell the unrest. Gavan Duffy and the Irish State Police Commissioner were concerned that the individual County Police Departments were unprepared for such a threat brought on by a nationally coordinated group.


The Murder of Phoenix Park of Edmund Dwyer Gray would bring about the rapprochement of Moderate Loyalism
The bombing campaign had a large effect on the remaining Moderate Loyalists who were involved in the body politic. Augustus Stewart was horrified at the Promo Bombing Campaign, and wrote to Duffy after the attempted Naval Yard Attack, asking how he could help. When Edmund Dwyer Grey, newspaper owner and member of the Irish State Legislature, was killed in Pheonix Park in May 1882, Stewart condemned the killings and finally urged his Loyal & Patriotic Union to join the State Legislature and take up their seats in the Union Parliament. This momentous decision had a series of effects on the political system. In Ulster, the moderate Loyalist forces chose order over chaos and approached the State Institutions over Abstentionism and in many ways, followed the Conservative pathway back into State Institutions after the Orange Coup. In Ireland, it brought in new allies and a new potential political arithmetic for the State Legislature and Clan na Gael’s land plans. In Britain, the expansion of the House of Commons to include the LPU members who returned had seen them go into Opposition, which gave the Democratic Federation-Clan na Gael Government a slim majority of 6 seats, making the Democratic Federation nervous about the oncoming shadow of the Liberals and William Gladstone and the need for their support to maintain their Parliamentary majority.

It was a similar situation in Irish State Legislature, William Shaw had managed to hold onto his Premiership due to a divided opposition: the Irish National Party had continued in their majority with the support of the General League, which had maintained a staunch policy of refusing to aid Land Reform if the cost was the secularisation of schooling. Chamberlain had indicated that he would only provide additional funds for Land Reform if this was the case, and Clan na Gael had support from the Irish Liberals in supporting this endeavour. While the entrance of the LPU had done little to change the political calculations on either side, their moderate Loyalism came with support for two religious doctrines: freedom of worship and denominational education. This turned the tide in the INP's favour, and Shaw sought to capitalise on the newfound popularity by opening up a place in the Irish State Council for the leader of the LPU, Augustus Stewart. Stewart had refused but had stated to Shaw and the leader of the General League, Thomas Croke, that he would be willing to reopen the "usual channels" to feed Loyalist sentiment back to the State Council to keep them onside and was in favour of creating a united Christian Party to protect the rights of denominational communities in exchange for a strict separation from Rome and Dublin, and guarantees for Protestant Unionists to retain fundamental rights. John Devoy, leader of the Clan na Gael Legislators, refused to cooperate with any groups that either refused to grant Land Reform on the Union Plan or who supported Denominational Education and especially the foundation of an independent, Catholic University in Ireland as a more important policy than Land Reform.

2nd Irish State Legislature 1881-1882
Irish Legislative Assembly
Clan na Gael 142 (+142)
Irish National Party 114 (-102)
Loyal & Patriotic Union 110 (-11)*
General League 64 (+64)
Liberals 26 (-13)
Independents 19 (+14)

*75 Sitting

Irish Legislative Council
Irish National Party 17 (-2)
Clan na Gael 11 (+11)
Loyal & Patriotic Union 9* (-1)
Liberal 2 (-2)
General League 3 (+3)
Independent 3 (+1)

6 Sitting

Shaw was able after the Loyalists took their seats to integrate them thoroughly into the political system, built on the doctrine of Isaac Butt, through the unofficial “usual channels” - secret meetings between Liberals, Irish National Party, LPU and General League members, some of which existed outside the Legislature, like Thomas Croke. Clan na Gael had walked out of the meetings in 1881 but Michael Davitt, the Agriculture Secretary and Clan na Gael leader, had participated as a representative of the Union Council, however, aloof he was to the rest of the Democratic-dominated inner circle. Devoy and Parnell used the situation to paint an “inner Shadow state” in the Irish Government to cooperate to block land reform, a policy popular with most Liberals, some Irish National Party members (especially the hyper-rural counties in the south-west and west), all Clan na Gael members and the policy held great sway within even the Catholic Church, which helped form opinion in much of the country. Outside of Dublin and Belfast, where the intellectual debate was prominent and a political sphere had opened up in conversation, but the further from the cities, the Church was the primary opinion former. This left the General League and Croke caught between two minds: their opposition to the Union Plan, especially with the secularisation of schooling, was put up against the desire of parishioners for land reform.

The General League’s wavering on the issue put the balance of the issue on a knife-edge. Loyalist votes and support for the Shaw Government could be pivotal. Shaw sent a negotiating committee to Augustus Stewart’s home to gauge his support for more moderate land reform, based on the extension of the Ulster land system (similar to the Liberal proposal but more favourable to landowners than confiscation) to the whole country, introducing Land Courts to fix unfair rents and enacting small scale compulsory purchase. In exchange, they would form a United Front to resist secularisation of Education, something they believed would rally Protestant as well as Catholic populations in the deeply religious country, and pull the General League and LPU into the sphere of influence. Shaw even mulled the creation of a new “National Conservative Party” to resist the moves towards a secularised state and protect elites through the rallying cry of religion. Throughout September and October a series of votes in the Legislature, based on the proposals, seemed to indicate that the plan would pass with LPU support, but Catholic Congregations soon soured to the weak proposal, after the victory of the Land Reform movement at Union and State level, led to less than they had hoped for - either the mass sale of land or the de-enclosing of the land for common use. Clan na Gael legislators decried the “unholy alliance”, but Liberals and prominent Catholic campaigners soon joined the opposition to the Acts. The Catholic Church however joined the side of the Government, souring the relationship between the poor farmers in rural Ireland and the church... and pushing them into the arms of the more secular Clan. Clan na Gael members preached respect and honour for religion, but that the complete separation of the Church and State, and the Landlord and the Land, who enable Ireland to achieve a prosperous future. Davitt began to preach his Georgist theories at home as well as in Westminster, and there was a growing movement within the farming community that an economic rent or “the common rent” would incentivise the improvement of the country. Davitt was hated by the Irish Nationalist establishment and the Loyalists, and this pushed the two unlikely bedfellows into the impromptu alliance.

Despite this, many within the Irish National Party did not approve of an official alliance, including the “advanced” nationalist wing who favoured gradual independence within the confines of the Union of Britain, and would consider the inclusion of a Loyalist minister, something now becoming a likelihood with the new political mathematics post Loyalist rapprochement. Davitt urged staunch opposition to Parnell, who believed that the Acts would pass with Loyalist and Independent support and this would lessen the acuteness of the political crisis surrounding the rural peasantry. Chamberlain maintained support, at least publicly, for the sympathies of his coalition partners, and urged a full land reform in Ireland but would not budge on the secularisation half of his Union Plan and stated that “land redistribution without secularisation would plunge the land of Hodge into the hands of the church”. The two must be completed together, he insisted and urged Parnell and Davitt to hold the line. Protests mounted in the West and South about the weak reforms, and these protests alerted the attention of Conservatives on the mainland, who used their conduits: the Irish National Party and Loyal & Patriotic Union, to protect landowners from confiscation or the common rent policy. Parnell too was concerned by the Georgists within Clan na Gael and believed that the social order might be threatened by the social movement being unleashed by the rhetoric of Davitt and his common renters within the Clan.

Finally, after the Land Act passed its first reading in the Assembly, Davitt acted unilaterally, resigning from the Union Council to contest a by-election for the Irish Legislature, winning in Cork as the Clan na Gael candidate, winning a seat previously held by the Irish National Party. Davitt was promoted to the senior inner circle of Clan na Gael in the Assembly and immediately led the charge against the Acts featuring a three-pronged attack: drafting a piece of legislation to enact the land reform provisions of the Union Plan, to threaten veto power from his Union Council partners and to test the powers of the act by evoking a “No-Rent Manifesto”, published in the newspaper of the Land League, United Ireland on November 8th, 1882. This Manifesto called on rural workers to withhold rent if they felt the rents were unfair and had been issued previously, a year before, on the threat of arrest for Davitt. Davitt and Parnell felt emboldened to issue the threat to the Irish State Council because of the support from rural workers and the Union Council. The two, however, miscalculated Chamberlain’s will for internal conflict over Land Reform. Chamberlain did not back the calls for the non-payment of rent and threatened to withdraw his support for Davitt and Parnell in private unless they backed down. The verbal stripping down did nothing to stop Davitt’s passion for the cause, but Parnell was concerned. Senator Courtney had taken an interest after Davitt’s campaign, and Senator Spencer Cavendish had demanded an enquiry as early as October 1881 for Davitt to be investigated. Davitt, a rural worker in his youth, was deemed uncouth for the role in the Union Council and had attracted ire from many, so he felt much more comfortable in his home habitat in Ireland. That is until Premier Shaw ordered Davitt to be arrested for a breach of the peace three days after his call for a No-Rent Manifesto. A Land League event had turned into a gunfight after a sit-in occurred in an estate in Sligo, and Shaw blamed Davitt. State Police attempted to arrest him, but he was housed by a sympathetic Member of Parliament, T.P O’Connor. From there, he wrote open letters asking for the “Mayo Spirit” in resisting the attempt to arrest a Grand Councillor, a former Union Councillor and a Member of the Irish Legislature. Shaw was widely condemned from all sides, and backed down after three weeks, especially considering his previous time in prison during the aftermath of the Outrages. Upon his return, The United Ireland printed “Hurrah for the One-Armed Gael!”


The "One Armed Gael", Michael Davitt, soon to be leader of the National Democrats and Premier of Ireland.

Davitt was at his highest point of popularity and began to eclipse Parnell in the spotlight. Parnell had looked to carve out the left-wing of Clan na Gael to make it a more Conservative organisation to win long-term appeal with Catholic Ireland, and Davitt represented the firebrand Radical within the group. Parnell sought a compromise brokered between Joseph Chamberlain, Courtney, Parnell and the State Affairs Secretary, Sir James Stansfield concluded that the secularisation end of the Union Plan would likely be controversial and cause further social unrest, while a more gradual, moderate reform of payoffs for landlords (Parnell included) in exchange for breaking up their estates. When Parnell presented the terms to Davitt, he outright refused them, only wanting complete expulsion of landlords in Ireland. “This is what our fight is for,” said Davitt to Parnell in a letter in early December 1882. When the majority of Parnell’s party cheered and applauded his re-entry into the Irish Legislature, Parnell knew it was an inopportune time to dispense with him and continued to back Davitt’s proposals. Davitt now coordinated all his available resources into a common goal. Davitt wrote an extended letter to The United Ireland outlining his response: a continued non-payment of rent until all remaining landlords leave Ireland and give up their ownership titles, a boycott of all members of the Irish Legislature that do not support Irish Ownership of Irish Land until the dissolution of the Irish Legislature or a vote of no confidence is passed in William Shaw. Parnell did not sign the Letter, just Michael Davitt, but the boycotts and non-payment began, and on Christmas Eve 1882, Michael Davitt addressed a crowd of 18,000 in Mayo and urged the people of Ireland to continue the struggle until “the fruits of our labour shall be our own!”

Irish National Party members in the Legislature began to waver under the boycott, with many forced to live within Nationalist strongholds and avoid their constituents because they were unable to use shops, attend church and were given the literal silent treatment. This psychological pressure brought moderate land reformers onto the side of Clan na Gael and swayed votes against the Act. As the Second Reading began on January 2nd, 1883, Parnell brought forward an amendment to provide for purchasing of land, a la the Compromise, and shocked Clan na Gael members, he explained to the chamber that he wished to see an end to the division in the country and wanted to move forward with a workable solution. His weight had pulled some to the side of compromise, but a majority of Clan na Gael members, led by Davitt and a sizeable minority of Irish National Party members, as well as the Liberals and around a third of the General League members voted against the amendment and the Bill.

177 Ayes

40 Clan na Gael Parnellites
64 Irish National Party
75 Loyal & Patriotic Union
35 General League
6 Independents

183 Noes

82 Clan na Gael Davittites
50 Irish National Party (Opposition)
20 General League
13 Independents

William Shaw immediately resigned and asked for Lieutenant Fortescue to dissolve the lower house, and Parnell was expelled by the Clan na Gael leadership. Chamberlain was furious at the rejection of Davitt, but he had combined the land reform elements in the Legislature into one movement. The Catholic Church held strong opposition to the dissenting General Leaguers, and Archbishop Croke expelled them from the organisation, as did the Irish National Party to the members who voted against the Bill. Davitt encouraged them all to join Clan na Gael, and with the financial resources of John Devoy, a smooth campaign would be fought throughout early 1883. Mass “monster meetings” were held throughout the country throughout February 1883 and attracted 100,000 attendees in major settlements in the South and West. The men marched in columns, with matching green uniforms to give the group a militaristic feel, and featured speakers from Davitt, Irish National Party defector James Daly and other prominent maximalist land reformers. Davitt’s actions had consequences in the mainland, as Clan na Gael moved into opposition, and left the Democratic Government without a majority, resulting in Clan na Gael being expelled from the Democratic Federation. Chamberlain pushed for Parnell to lead the Irish National Party and bring it back into the Democratic fold, but the quick turnaround from dissolution to election, just six weeks until voting would begin, meant he ran a largely local campaign without a National profile. He was also deeply in debt, ironically from the low rents he had to charge on his estate. Davitt had pushed the Conservative and opportunist elements from within Clan na Gael and had brought together a coalition for land reform, using peaceful, non-violent and legislative pressure to do so. Davitt also attracted many of the Liberals with the continuance of his secular views, which by this time had, after Chamberlain’s admission, became a practical rather than anti-clerical endeavour. In Ireland, his policies had been negatively received by the Church and he was frequently criticised during the campaign, but he was exceptionally popular and admired, especially in the South and West. Liberals in the North and East and farmers in the South and West would prove to be a formidable electoral coalition.

2nd Irish State Legislature 1882-1885
Irish Legislative Assembly
Pro Land Act 215
Loyal & Patriotic Union 77 (-33)
Irish National Party 70 (-44)
Parnellite 43 (+43)
General League 25 (-39)
Land Act Liberals 2 (+2)
Anti Land Act 231
Clan na Gael 168 (+26)
Irish National Party - Opposition 22 (+22)
General League - Opposition 14 (+14)
Liberals 27 (+3)
Independents & Abstentionists 27
Orangemen 24 (+24)*
Independents 3 (-16)

*Did not take their seats

Irish Legislative Council
Pro Land Act 22
Irish National Party 9 (-8)
Parnellite 4 (+4)
Loyal & Patriotic Union 9 (NC)
Land Act Liberal 1 (+1)
General League 1 (-2)
Anti Land Act 25
Clan na Gael 14 (+3)
Irish National Party - Opposition 5 (+5)
Liberals 3 (+2)
General League - Opposition 1 (+1)
Independents 3
Independent 3 (NC)

With the parties in a state of chaos, Davitt managed to pull together, just, a majority coalition of disparate forces held together with the promise of land reform. Davitt met with Lieutenant Fortescue and stated his intent to prove he had the confidence of the Irish Legislature. This would require the disparate groups of the Assembly and Council working in harmony with one another and would require discipline to prevent the splits that had occurred in the INP and between the Parnellites and Anti-Parnellites in Clan na Gael. Unity of thought, unity of projection of political will and unity of mission (land reform) would be key. Davitt, the master organiser, felt a new political organisation superseding Clan na Gael might be necessary to achieve these goals, as many of the Liberals and General Leaguers seemed reluctant to be merely absorbed by the Clan. Davitt was able to nominate a State Council first, however, and brought a variety of these elements into his cabinet to balance the array of political groups contained in his coalition. A nine-man cabinet featuring several members from previous Governments; John O’Connor Power as Agent-General, Charles Gavan Duffy as Councillor for Internal Affairs and James Daly as Councillor for Relief & Public Health as well as a series of new members; Davitt himself, James Richardson (leader of the Anti-Land Act Liberals), Tim Healy representing the Tuam General Leaguers and Horace Plunkett, the Unity minded Land Reformer. The State Council was sworn in three days after the election and Davitt was made Keeper of the Great Seal, Treasurer and Premier of the new Government.

2nd Irish State Council, 1882-1885
Premier, Treasurer, Keeper of the Great Seal of Ireland - Michael Davitt - Clan na Gael
President of the State Council, Leader of the Legislative Council, State Councillor for Internal Affairs - Charles Gavan Duffy - Clan na Gael
State Councillor for Relief & Public Health, President of the Poor Law Board - James Daly - Clan na Gael
State Councillor for Education - James Richardson - Irish Liberal
State Councillor for Public Works & Lands - Tim Healy - General League (Opposition)
Agent-General of the Irish State Council - Senator John O’Connor Power - Independent
Attorney General - John Dillon - Clan na Gael
Paymaster General - Horace Plunkett - Junior Minister
Timothy Harrington - Chief Whip, Assembly

With the new Government sworn in, on the first Legislative Session of the new Diet, Davitt gathered the 256 Councillors and Assemblymen supportive of the drafting of a new, more Radical Land Reform Bill. It was here that the leaders of the three key factions of this alliance; James Daly representing the General Leaguers, James Richardson representing the Irish Land Reform Liberals and Davitt representing mainstream Clan na Gael, urged the formation of a party supporting a policy of “National Democracy: delivering land for the people and Government for Irishmen by Irishmen.” With the benefit and knowledge of the organisational campaigns of the past, Davitt made his Legislators take an oath to uphold the party’s programme and support the Government of those in the pursuit of National Democracy. This oath would be enforced by a party apparatus headed by Frank O’Donnell, who had fallen out with Davitt until the election campaign and joined the caucus very late as an INP Anti-Parnellite. O’Donnell came to be known as the “whip”, marking the first use of the term in British politics. It would soon be a common occurrence. There and then, on March 8th 1883, Davitt, Richardson and Daly became the first Executive Council of the National Democratic Parliamentary Committee. This is regarded by most as the formation of the National Democratic Party of Ireland, what would commonly become known as the Enda. They sought the help of the United Ireland newspaper, which became Enda's official newspaper, founded a fee-paying association to raise funds and organise local chapters. There would soon be 580 branches of the National Democratic League, the supporting organisation with nearly 89,000 members. Davitt at its head, Protestant Liberals, Catholics and Secular Radicals in its body and thousands of committed tenant-farmers, shopkeepers, religious figures and publicans as its means for projecting its power. Out of the confusion and fluidity of the Second Home Rule Crisis, Michael Davitt had emerged the leader of Ireland and the leader of the largest party in the country.

2nd Irish State Legislature 1882-1885, after the National Democrats' founding
Irish Legislative Assembly
National Democratic Party 231
Loyal & Patriotic Union 77
Irish National Party 72
Parnellite 43
General League 25
Orangemen 24*
Independents 3

*Did not take their seats

Irish Legislative Council
National Democratic Party 25
Irish National Party 10
Loyal & Patriotic Union 9
Parnellite 4
Independent 3
General League 1
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Part 4, Chapter XXII
IV, XXII: Liberals or Radicals? The Democratic Dilemma


Randolph Churchill, Leader of the Independent Conservatives

As a group of Parliamentarians gathered in the Carlton Club in November 1882, intrigue was in the air and the room was split in two. The room was handily split into two huddled masses of men - on one side, a group surrounding Stafford Northcote, on the other, a group surrounding the insurgent leader of the 'Independent Conservatives', Randolph Churchill. The split, between the 'Indies' and the 'Goats' respectively, had been brewing for a significant time, and the meeting was encouraged by a proposal from J.J.R Manners, a member of the aristocratic and deeply High Tory wing of the Conservative Party, that Randolph Churchill should be expelled from the Carlton Club for campaigning against the Conservative candidate in his constituency. This incident, known as the Carlton Affair deeply troubled Northcote, who intended to hold together the Conservative wing and prevent another split as had happened during Peel's Premiership. This need for unity weakened Northcote, who did not sit enough within the High Tory camp nor the Progressive Tory camp, which manifested themselves as the 'Indies' and 'Goats' respectively, despite the latter's moniker being gained from the derisory term used by Churchill and his 'Fourth Party' towards Northcote. So far, the opposition had been extremely difficult in the new Union Parliament. Despite the electoral faltering of the Democratic Federation, their refusal to appoint Liberal members to the Union Council and their reliance on the famously turbulent Irish political scene, Northcote had struggled to assert an effective opposition to the Government and had floundered significantly. Over the course of 1882, criticism of the feeble opposition to the Government in the aftermath of the defeat dominated Conservative discourse.

A split between the Old Tories of the aristocratic classes, harmed repeatedly by the expansion of the franchise and New Villa Tories deepened throughout the opening session of the Parliamentary term, and Tories were left helpless by their lack of allies in various States, most notably in the Celtic States. The “Democratic” issue had dominated Tory thinking in these months and the camps bickered amongst themselves as to how to approach the Union now its future had been secured. Monarchists echoed the calls of their French counterparts with a policy of “revision and restoration” - turning the clock back to 1874, restoring the Monarchy under Albert-Edward’s son, Albert-Victor, once he had become of age 18, but as this deadline came and went and the Regency was still in place, this became confined to a circle of hardcore supporters, including Manners. More mainstream Conservatives looked to the topic of Empire and saw the fruit bore by Disraeli on his vigorous campaigning on the issue and subsequent success as proof that Empire had become the rallying point to which Conservatives could gather. The most prominent member of this group was Randolph Churchill, who believed that a “new reality” had emerged since the Orange Coup and Monarchy had become an unrealistic and unpopular policy for Conservatives. An ideological faction surrounding Churchill began to emerge across both the wider Conservative Party in the Commons and Churchill’s own Independents, which drew as mentioned before from the National ranks more ideologically aligned to Disraeli and Palmerston. Certain members of the Conservative Party proper had begun to moot the creation of a new more “Democratic” movement that would move the Party away from the narrow landed interest and towards a mass movement supporting Empire, Religion and the Union. In August, Conservative Parliamentarian, John Gorst, wrote to Churchill to urge him to form such a party with him at its head:

“The time seems ripe for a Democratic Tory party, which was always Senator Disraeli's dream, at the head of which you might easily place yourself. I want to write an article on the feebleness of the Conservative party as a political organisation, pointing out that is led by and in the interest of a narrow, oligarchic and land-owning class, and that the people in whom the real Conservativism of the nation resides have no voice in the matter.”

John Gorst to Lord Randolph Churchill, 1882

The split between the two groups was widened as two National Review articles were published, entitled “The Two Conservatives” and “the State of the Opposition”. These articles argued that the Conservative Party should “renew the spirit of Robert Peel, Palmerston and Disraeli” by providing “constructive opposition and a real influence in the policy-making of the Union when not in the majority.” It went further, indicating that the Conservative movement “could not choose between obstructionism and inaction” and should “chart a course between the polity of reality and the polity of hope.” High Tories immediately squared the blame for the damaging article at Churchill, before John Gorst admitted he was behind the piece of writing. Regardless, Churchill’s involvement in the piece is still hotly debated by historians. Gorst and Churchill agreed that the aristocratic oligarchy that ruled the party was holding the cause back but disagreed on where new blood was needed to continue the Conservative cause: Churchill believed the answer lay in Religious voters in Ireland, while Gorst looked to the ever-expanding middle-class in urban boroughs as the place to attract new blood. As the winter approached and the debate for land reform reached Ireland once again, Churchill attempted to put himself at the centre of the debate, writing a series of articles in support of the moderate land reform that was proposed by Shaw, and spoke out in favour of a “fair settlement that will break the back of injustice in Ireland” and “restore order to the State after nearly 20 years of violence.” Churchill’s comments were only well received by Loyalist factions, who welcomed the attention of politicians other than the Republicans on the issue of Ireland. Churchill and Gorst also attempted to woo the Urban Borough Electorate, making speeches taking up the mantra of Disraeli in advocating for greater spending to improve Public Health and wellbeing, declaring in Salisbury “Sanitas sanitatum, Omnia Sanitas” and supporting the Conservative-leaning State Government’s attempts to improve public health in the major settlements. Most of all, Churchill and Gorst lamented the oligarchic interests within their party, and against what he called the “small and narrow interest of land” saying in a letter in October 1882 to a fellow Independent Conservative Parliamentarian “The Tory Party today is no longer identified with that small and narrow class which is connected to the ownership of land... its great strength can be found and must be developed, in our large towns as well as in the rural counties and vice-counties.”

John Gorst, Founder of the Primrose League

Churchill believed that it was his duty to unite the Conservative Party into a Radical, Patriotic and Imperialist endeavour, and was touted as the favourite to replace Northcote should his floundering leadership be once again ended. He believed, however, that if he were successful in expelling the oligarchic interests within his party, he would be able to form a movement that would span the ideological wings of Democratic and Tory politics in a “movement against the twin demagogic elements of Individualist Liberalism and the oncoming tide of Socialism” and would include Radicals within the group, finally bringing the Tory Radicals back into the Party with their Democratic colleagues. Senator Cecil, after speaking with Churchill, echoed these sentiments but expressed doubt over his ability to lead the Tories, instead of admitting his future may take him to revive the Radical Party:

R. Churchill is improving and very clever: but I cannot imagine that he will reunify the Conservative party and I do not believe the bulk of the Conservative party will accept him. He seems to me to be keeping open a door between himself and the Radical section to which, if he has any real opinions, he ought to belong.

Churchill continued to profess loyalty to the concept of Toryism, however and began to openly advocate in November for the professionalism of the party apparatus. Primarily his energies in this time were put towards his campaign for the end of Dual Leadership. While in opposition, the Tories had two leaders; Senator Cecil in the Senate and Stafford Northcote in the Commons. Chamberlain believed this left the leadership of the Party disarmed, and advocated that the Party should allow its Political Associations and affiliated organisations to have some say in the policy and leadership, akin to the Caucus system in the Democratic Federation. Churchill had advocated that Northcote be the leader of this unified organisation and had done for some time, saying when challenged by the University of Edinburgh Conservative Association in 1881 that “Northcote possesses great and peculiar qualifications to remain the leader of the Conservative Party in the Commons.”

Manners represented a peculiar group who supported Disraeli but in the confines of an enlightened aristocracy and a paternalistic society, called Young England, which had existed in the 1840s around the Conservative leader. Manners had proclaimed the Churchillian vision for the Conservatives as “a dangerous ideology hell-bent on the conversion of the working class to socialism by stealth and the cementing of Republicanism way beyond its support within the Patriotic and Godfearing British Subjects of the Crown.” Manners began to formulate a case for Churchill to be shunned from the Conservative establishment and seal his career as a backbencher. He used a vehement defence of dual leadership. “However undignified, the Senate represents the finer elements of our constitution, and it is pivotal to the success of the party that we retain our leadership in all elements of the governing institutions.” Northcote and his cabinet were drawn in the middle of a backbench battle with elements within Conservatism that were already drifting apart. Churchill provided a retort - “I shall leave it to those under the spell of the past to dwell in it. We must move forward” he said in a letter to the National Review. Manners and Churchill had been sparing for months now, but this dragged it into the eye of the wider Conservative movement. The issue of Dual Leadership drew the lines between Churchill and Gorst, representing the movement for a modern Conservatism within the Union, and universal suffrage’s confines and those who held a desire to return to the old ways. The meeting in the Carlton Club brought this meeting to the fore. Despite the sable-rattling from the Traditionalists, the Carlton Club did not decide to expel Churchill. The meeting found many sympathised with Churchill’s view, way outside his Independent faction. Knowing he had greater support in the party put him in a position for leadership, Churchill felt confident and sought the creation of two organisations that would have a large impact on politics: one was the Primrose League, and one was the Union of Conservatives & Nationalists.

Churchill wanted to unify all the Conservative and National Associations into one, centrally controlled organisation that would discuss and formulate policy, in the mould of the Democratic Federation. An Executive would make decisions on strategy and coordination and would advocate for an agreed set of values and policies. Churchill used his wealth to loan an editor, Edwin Arnold, enough money to found a new newspaper, The Union, which would support the movement and encouraged John Gorst to found the Primrose League, a mass movement designed to bring the leadership to the working classes. This manoeuvring was the manifestation of Churchill and Gorst's thoughts: that the working classes would be the key to the future successes of any political party seeking power in the Union and that finally realising Disreali’s dream: reunifying the Palmerstonian National Party in all but name. While the Primrose League attracted a large number of members and had a large interest in middle-class and well off working-classes in boroughs, the Union failed to take off and its first meeting was sparsely attended. Interest from The Union and the Primrose League had done what the Caucus had done for Radical and Liberal politics. They engaged new, Patriotic and Nationalistic Middle-Class “borough voters”, to borrow an old term for towns and cities, into Churchill’s orbit. Churchill used the first General Meeting of the League to outline his intentions:

“The Conservative Party should be led by a statesman who knows how to sway immense masses of the working classes, and who, either by genius or his eloquence or by all the varied influences of an ancient name can move the hearts of the electors.”

The Crowd were thrilled. His politics were vague, his message convoluted, but his popular appeal was growing. He urged Northcote to call a meeting of all the Conservative Parliamentarians in the Carlton Club to recognise the Union of Conservatives & Nationals as the main party, and elect a Chairman who would act as the primary leader of the party, which would be called for January 8th 1883. He recommended that Northcote be made Chairman and Senator Cecil be made Vice-Chairman, with himself acting as Secretary and Gorst acting as the President of the Primrose League. This group would coordinate funding, strategy and harness and influence public opinion. They would use the Union as a popular vehicle for the mass adoption of their ideas and to present the viewpoint of a New Conservative England. Northcote was initially receptive, but the negative reaction of senior Senators in the Conservative Party saw the motion quashed. It did however gain the support of 34 of the Conservative MPs, who felt the oligarchy within the Party had become too powerful. Churchill was devastated by the quashing of his proposals and as a circular of a potential Conservative Cabinet listed him as a Minister of State for the Treasury was distributed around soon after, Churchill felt personally slandered by his colleagues and felt sidelined.

He retreated into the shadows for most of February but emerged once again after the Democratic Government was put into the minority. The land issue had always been a point at which Churchill and the Goats had differed, with Churchill believing the perspective on the matter that paternal gestures to promote fairness should be encouraged to promote harmony between the classes and differing interests of the country. He became a prominent proponent of Shaw’s reforms and supported the moderate Land Act, and encouraged a National version to finally “put the question of Land Reform to its logical conclusion.” This intervention in favour of rural workers and tenant-farmers and against landed interest shocked the Conservative leadership, and a motion to establish a Joint Committee for Land Reform was brought to the House of Commons - something Churchill & his supporters, as well as the INP, General League and LPU, were in favour of, as well as Liberal and Democratic members. While opinions on what a land reform would look like differed, this new cohort of Conservatives recognised the need for the issue to be settled and for the political debate to end with a resolution that would benefit agricultural workers. Fifty-one opposition members voted with the Democratic-Liberal Bloc, and become Indies in the process, now part of the fluid arrangements developing continuously over the Parliament. Churchill now stood on the front bench in the far corner of the Commons chamber, taking shots from the sidelines as Northcote attempted to oppose policy but not even carrying a large section of his party. Quietly, Senator Cecil assumed the sole leadership of the Senate Tories and was able to muster a rebellion putting the competing wings of the Irish parties, as well as richer Liberals in the Senate, to delay the creation of the Committee. Churchill turned hard on Cecil, lamenting the “family business” in letters throughout the next few weeks. His polemics on corruption within the party continued as the Democratic Federation was forced to rely on Liberal votes to continue their Government in both Commons and Senate, much to the chagrin of Chamberlain.

The Prime Minister met with Churchill first in April 1883 and asked him to be on the Joint Committee, and the two developed a practical relationship: Chamberlain was searching for allies and Churchill wanted to project his power onto the political establishment Independently of the Conservative Party. The two, in private, shared many of the same ideas and suspicions about the political class of the Union. Chamberlain was growing weary of the Liberals, and of overly socialistic elements within the Federation. Chamberlain began to even drift away from him erstwhile partner, Charles Dilke and moved ideologically towards Churchill. The two also shared a sense of their ideology in one another: Imperialism utilising the Technological Might of the Union. Both had been huge supporters of the war in Egypt and shared beliefs about the need for a strong British presence to project power and secure British trading interests. The Union softened its stance on Chamberlain throughout this period and presented the “subversive elements” within the Democratic Federation as their real enemies. This change in tone was noted with worry by many Democrats. Those who favoured the alliance with the Liberals baulked at the idea of including this Radical Nationalist Tory group into their ranks. The fear was that Chamberlain was more Opportunist than Republican, and as the dust settled, he would become more Conservative in his outlook. The backdown over Land Reform - he had promised it in most of his campaigning - was masked with an information campaign spread by those close to him, like Jesse Collings and Joseph Arch, that the process could not be accelerated, and Chamberlain had a patriotic duty to ensure the plan was enacted peacefully. With Davitt now in the majority control of the Irish Legislature, he wanted to strengthen the peaceful majority in the Commons and provide a stable Government. Churchill and Chamberlain’s Foreign Policy outlook differed, and Churchill was adamantly pro-Arabi in the Commons much to the distaste of Chamberlain, Chamberlain was increasingly aligned with the rest of the Independent Conservatives, were aligned with Northcote and Senator Cecil’s weak opposition to the conflict, Chamberlain’s foreign policy clout with Conservatives was shifting positively by early 1883. Some within Independent Conservative circles even began to compare Chamberlain to Palmerston as a unifier in the Centre of British Politics. A cautious rapprochement between the Indies and the emerging Right Circle around Chamberlain (as opposed to the Centre allied with the Liberals and the slowly emerging Socialist tendency within the movement) was occurring, with cooperation being sought on several projects which were moderated significantly. The first was the Education Bill, which was watered down significantly to include the option of religious funding in every state, the Disestablishment Bill, which was only passed after the religious parties not associated with the Independent Conservatives voted for it and substantial concessions were given to the Anglican Church and the Second Ballot Act, which attempted to ban Parallel Voting and redistribute the constituencies to single-member, both of which were defeated, although Senator Thomas Hare was finally able to secure the amendment for his system to be used in all Union Elections, after a nearly twenty years of campaigning, in the amendment passed from the Senate won a majority in the Commons. Chamberlain could suddenly feel his power slipping away once again.

House of Commons Composition, 1883
Democratic Federation 155
Liberals 67
Conservatives 56
Independent Conservatives 31
Irish National Party 14
Irish National Democratic Party 9
General League 6
Parnellites 3
Independents 9

He convened a meeting of the Democratic Federation’s Executive to discuss the matter of the minority status in the Commons, and how best to proceed. Dilke and Ruskin, Secretary-General and Chairman respectively, favoured cooperation with the Liberals, then the calling of an early election in 1884 to secure an absolute majority. Chamberlain, Collings and Arch urged Ruskin to come round to the idea of exploring the creation of a “Unity Government” to complete the term. In secret, Chamberlain proposed making Hyndman Speaker of the House to remove him from the cabinet, replace leftist members in the Union Council with Independent Conservatives and retain Collings, Arch, Morley and Sir James Stansfield only to 'purify' the Chamberlainite composition of the Union Council. This plan was presented to Morley and he was told by Chamberlain that pushing the Democratic Federation away from the Liberals and towards Radicals in the Tories would be uniting the Radical elements against oligarchy and liberalism, a Radical endeavour. Morley was cautious and urged Chamberlain to wait until the next election to introduce any new members to the Government. The reality was that remaining with the Liberals would ensure a more stable majority in the House, albeit at the expense of more moderate land reform and clerical policies. Chamberlain now had a more visionary goal in mind, rejecting the individualistic creed of classical liberalism and embracing the transformative power of the State to create a generation loyal to the Union. Churchill wanted to imprint Patriotism and Nationalism onto the Union structure while adopting a Radical outlook in what was pejoratively called by both sides “Tory Democracy”. Chamberlainite doctrine was also moving in a more nationalistic direction, but Dilke’s reservations about working with the Indies won out, and for now, the two would be only informal allies.
Part 4, Chapter XXIII
IV, XXIII: The Sudan Crisis & The Coalition Government

Charles Dilke loved the Union. He believed in the moral crusade that was the creation of a new, secular, meritocratic republic. His extreme support for secularization and social revolution to create a new Union Society was, unfortunately, growing out of touch with the Parliamentary arithmetic, and an increasingly hostile House of Commons was growing tired of the bluster of the Radicals. Dilke’s passionate speeches and tireless devotion to the Union began to alienate him from the Chamberlainite members in the Union Council. These members, who had grown to coalesce around an ideology of Realism towards the symbolic acceptance of both the Monarchist and Democratic traditions of the Union formed an opposition from the Cabinet to the increasingly isolated Dilke. Dilke was enraged, for example, when Morley had suggested in the Union Council that due to its long history and association with Britain, the Colonies should adopt both the Union Jack and the Union Flag on their flags, to retain some familiarity. Dilke stormed out of the meeting and threatened to resign. The left of the Party was increasingly anti-War and had caused a few headaches during the Anglo-Egyptian War, but despite his support for the conflict, still regarded Dilke as an ideological leader. Dilke's support included Senator Ruskin, who held pacifist sympathies but regarded Dilke as a giant for his achievements. Henry Hyndman, who was designated under the Ministers and Secretaries Act to sit as an independent ombudsman was isolated also, and this trio; Dilke, Hyndman and Ruskin, would form the nucleus of opposition to Chamberlain’s clique and the pro-Tory clique within the Union Council.


In public, a United Front remained across the Democratic Federation, but this divide, which would significantly worsen over the coming eighteen months, was beginning to show. The Mahdist Revolt in Sudan, as well as the well-publicized scandal which engulfed Charles Dilke's career, would provide the final wedge issue between which the Democratic Federation would divide. The former would initially bring the two ideologues of Democratic politics together, the latter would see Chamberlain betray Dilke and remove him from the equation of power.

The Mahdist Revolt had begun before the Anglo-Egyptian War but came to prominence in Union Politics in early 1884, as the scale of the disorganization of the Egyptian Army became clear. Arabi Pasha's advances were in large part due to the shambolic state of the Egyptian defense and other lands administered by Egypt, like Sudan, were beginning to be engulfed in conflict. Sudan existed as an Egyptian protectorate of sorts, but consistent attacks from the Mahdi, Muhammad Ahmad, who was the self-proclaimed protector of Islam in the region, had undermined the authority of the Egyptians in the region. A series of defeats; on Aba Island in August 1881, in Nubia in November 1881 and in Fashoda in December 1881. The forces of the Egyptian Armies were completely wiped out by the Mahdist forces, and while the Mahdi and his men took a strategic retreat out of Khartoum, Egyptian control over the country was at this point kaput. Of the forces who made the trips to Aba Island, Nubia and Fashoda in 1881, it is unknown if any of the 1,200 troops survived.

After the Anglo-Egyptian War, the Union of Britain found itself increasingly involved in the inner workings of the Government in Cairo, and it found that the large-scale debt that had brought the British to the Ottoman possession initially, was ballooning with the costs of maintaining the Sudanese territories. Britain saw Sudan as a purely Egyptian affair, and the cost of the occupation, pushing over E£120,000 a year, was seen as wholly unsustainable by most of the Colonial Office. Not all agreed. A group of officers, including Garnet Wolseley and the Governor-General of Sudan, the newly appointed Major Charles “Chinese” Gordon, urged the Colonial Office to reconsider and commit troops to quell the rebellion. Gordon and his military strategy clashed with the financial officers in Egypt, including Sir Auckland Colvin and Sir Edgar Vincent, who wanted purely to enforce parsimony in the financial affairs of Khedivate. Initially, the Colonial Office's financiers won out - British comptrollers, including the chief financial officer, the 'Financial Advisor', a British official who had a complete veto over financial policy, instructed that Egyptian garrisons stationed in Sennar, Tokar and Sinkat were to withdraw under the command of Major Gordon. Gordon's appointment was urged by none other than John Morley, the Colonial Secretary, who had Wolseley in his ear the vast majority of the time and had himself the ear of Chamberlain.


John Morley, Colonial Secretary

Chamberlain did however hear both sides of the story, with Sir Evalyn Baring, the Consul-General in Egypt and ally of Chamberlain, urging the Prime Minister to reconsider his position, which was leaning towards intervention. President-Regent Granville was firmly against the proposal, and informed Chamberlain of his intentions, to support the withdrawal. Baring also wrote the President-Regent and had his ear on the matter. While he held a strict orientalist outlook, meaning a feeling that the western world was inherently superior to the eastern, and any western army would conquer and quell any revolt, he felt any war costly for no gain, and any army useless in that terrain against a force as ferocious as the Mahdi. Granville agreed and wrote to Chamberlain that he “would use the full extent of his authority to quell any movements towards invasion” In a meeting with Baring, Chamberlain was told that an invasion would be a costly failure, and any military expenditure would send British finances the way of the Egyptians and force the Union to ruin.

The Prime Minister presented the current list of options to the Union Council on January 18th, 1884, consisting of two plans; one plan to withdraw the garrison and make a deal with the Mahdi, most likely to make him a ruler under British direction like the Khedive in Egypt, but figures within Sudan believed that this would not be able to be achieved as the Mahdi was only interested in widespread, independent rule in an Islamic state. Gordon indicated that he did not believe that the Mahdi would be in any mood to negotiate. It would be better, therefore if Egyptian and British soldiers could relieve the garrisons stationed and reinforce them, rather than aid in their withdrawal. As the Union Council discussed the matter, a clear division began to emerge between those who favoured intervention and those who did not. Senator Shipton, Hyndman, Fawcett, and Senator Courtney favoured an immediate withdrawal and found Parliamentary support in debates from the Research Clique, the Liberals and around half of the Democratic Federation. Chamberlain, Dilke, Senator Ruskin, Collings, Morley, and Stansfield were in favour of intervention. In the end, the decision was reluctantly made to ask for a withdrawal but allow Gordon to act as Governor-General of Sudan. He was therefore instructed to move to Khartoum, the regional capital, to assist the evacuation and protect British, Coptic, and international interests in the region. Dilke was caught in a demanding situation. He wanted an intervention and had said so, but his basis of support was in the noninterventional camp.


Major Charles Gordon, Governor-General of Sudan

Gordon arrived to fanfare in Khartoum on February 18th, 1884. As a compromise between the pro and anti-Gordon elements in the Union Council, Consul-General Baring was able to nominate the reliable Colonel John Stewart, who while acting as Gordon's subordinate, was thought of by the Colonial Office and the Union Council as a brake to ensure the operation was concluded at pace, quickly and peacefully. As he arrived, the Mahdist rebels had begun to regroup and had targeted Khartoum as the site of the final victory of the Mahdists over the Europeans. As Walkley notes:

"Gordon received an enthusiastic welcome from the inhabitants. Within three weeks, the Mahdist forces had surrounded Khartoum, and the Siege, which was to last for nearly 320 days, began. May 20th, 1884, saw the fall of Berber, which allowed Mahdist rebels to cut the telegraph lines and end all telegraphic communication northwards towards British-controlled Egypt. This was the beginning of a veil coming down on Gordon and Khartoum."

Walkley's Union of Egypt & Sudan Notes and Records, 1936 - C.E.J Walkley

Between the day he arrived and the day the lines were cut off, British politics would fall apart and be put together again.

The news of the siege afflicting the Khartoum expedition worried Chamberlain, Dilke and Morley, who conducted a private meeting with the President-Regent to urge him to back greater intervention in Sudan. Granville was unrelenting. Gordon surveyed the population of the city and found 34,000 inhabitants in his care, and in March 1884, and telegraphed a list of three options to be sent to the Colonial Office. These were presented to the Union Council on March 14th and included: an expedition along the Blue Nile, southwards towards Abyssinia, enabling the collection of garrisons and resupply, followed by an assault back up the Blue Nile towards Khartoum, the request of Mohammedan regiments from India or the request of Ottoman troops. Granville was under the influence of several key Liberals, including William Gladstone, who argued not to repeat the mistakes of Egypt which had by now become a continuing occupation and expense on the treasury. These figures played a large, but hidden role in the ongoing crisis especially on President-Regent Granville's decision to refuse to grant any greater numbers than those already deployed to Sudan on March 17th, effectively binding Chamberlain, and the pro-war camp within the Union Council to rejecting all of Gordon's demands. Chamberlain personally spoke to Granville in a one-to-one meeting a day later, but his mind could not be turned. "The damned old fool is going to let the Soudan slip and see our prestige irreconcilably damaged," said Chamberlain in an increasingly infrequent letter to Charles Dilke a day after. Chamberlain, Dilke and Morley met on the 20th to discuss it further and were joined in the meeting by Senator Archibald Primrose. Primrose had been elected to the Senate in a by-election by the Metropolitan Legislature. Primrose was a firm Imperialist and managed to convince them that the Senate could be won over to a vote endorsing intervention, as several Conservative Senators, Liberal Senators (such as Primrose) and Democratic Senators (such as Dilke) could be persuaded to move against the President-Regent by the Upper House, which is what a motion passed by the Senate represented. Chamberlain agreed that with outside help, they would be able to pass a motion of the same wording in the Commons, forcing the President-Regent to budge and deploy more troops.

The next few days saw the story begin to seep into the press, and public opinion was firmly with Gordon, and irritatingly for Chamberlain, against the Union Council's position. "Save Chinese Gordon" a reference to his earlier commands in the Taiping Rebellion, adorned the front of The Union, as the Indies continued their vocal support for intervention. Old Tory 'Goats' were more conservative and urged restraint and measured strategic thinking. The Khedivate was not officially British territory, but that of the Ottoman Empire. Conservatives, while firmly Imperialist, were not eager to fray the balance of power. Chamberlain knew that any vote would be the end of the Conservative Party as a legitimate force, and Churchill's Independents would be firmly in his grasp. The coup plotting was kept completely secret, and after Chamberlain approached Churchill on March 28th to discuss the matter. During this time, no debate on the Sudanese Crisis, or the Siege in Khartoum was scheduled in the Commons or the Senate. This was partly because the occupants of both chairs, Commons Speaker Henry Brand and President of the Senate John Spencer, were both Liberals close to Gladstone and Granville. This Liberal Axis in the key positions of power allowed Granville to present his decision as final. The President-Regent holds the final decision, his decision on Foreign Policy does not need to be commented on again. Democrats within the Union Council were happy to tow this line, but the combination of collective responsibility and the collegiate nature of the Cabinet system left Chamberlain and his allies boxed in. Chamberlain, therefore, tried to use his networks to rally public opinion to a deafening point for Granville. The Union advertised a "Rally for the Union" in Hyde Park on April 5th, "to support our boys in the Soudan, Major Gordon and to express our discontent at the decision of our Parliament to refuse to debate the matter!" Chamberlain used his private wealth to secretly organize fairground rides, ship in animals from London Zoo and even hire footballers to play an exhibition match, all paid for through a dummy company registered by Chamberlain called "The Union Company Ltd". The event attracted 35,000 spectators who watched a series of speeches from prominent Imperialists. Several Chamberlainite speakers, like Joseph Arch, also attended, and Vice President of the Council, Senator John Ruskin, was also seen among the throngs.

Chamberlain's strategy was to force the U-turn and call an emergency debate on the issue, win the motion and the backing of Parliament to demand Granville release troops, and knew the political consequences would mean breaking apart two parties: the Conservatives into their Independents and the 'Goat' faction under Salisbury and the Democratic Federation between its pro and anti-Liberal wings. The Rally was covered by every national and regional newspaper, and pre-written copies of the speeches were circulated to offices of newspapers that could not attend. On the 7th and 8th, spontaneous pro-Gordon rallies were also held, with Blue, Red, White, and Green, the combined colours of the Union Jack and the new Union Flag, worn by all the attendees. Gordon received word of his support in the mainland and believed that this would give him the free hand to do as he desired in the region. President-Regent Granville once again reaffirmed his decision not to permit troops to jeers of "traitor" and "enemy of the Union" from the Commons benches, once Morley was forced to read the Statement from Granville finally on April 12th. Canvassing opinion, Jesse Collings reported to Chamberlain that he would have the support of the majority of the Commons but may struggle in the Senate. Chamberlain was now convinced that he did not need to remove Granville, he would have to remove the Speaker of the Commons to get his agenda forward. Chamberlain had, on March 18th, March 26th, and April 6th, submitted to the Speaker that an urgent debate be brought forward in the Commons, but each time the debate had not made it onto the Order Paper.

As Parliament convened on April 17th, Meeting Room 7 was the host for the next in our line of great meeting room political earthquakes. Here, pro-intervention Parliamentarians from both houses met, but for the first time, they were joined by Primrose, Churchill, Dilke and the Prime Minister. This meeting had no minutes or official notes, but the plan was hatched to propose an emergency debate, and when it was denied, Chamberlainite submitted a motion of no confidence in the Speaker, which would have to be debated. Sure enough, on the morning session on April 18th, a request was made and denied and Chamberlain shocked many on his benches by proposing a motion of no confidence in the Speaker. With support from his allies who had attended the Meeting Room 7 conference of pro-interventionist minds, the motion was passed by just 1 vote. In the melee, Edmond Wodehouse was elected the new Speaker after eighteen rounds, a record in British politics. A day was wasted, but Chamberlain would get his shot at an emergency debate about the issue. On April 21st, the debate was finally called as the Speaker added it to the Order Paper, and a motion was passed by the house supporting Gordon and supporting reinforcements being sent. Granville was said to be furious at the skullduggery of Chamberlain and called to Buckingham Palace for a dressing down. Chamberlain indicated that public and parliamentary support was with him, and the majority in Parliament (Chamberlain and the rest of the Union Council abstained) was with him. He survived, for now. It was at this time, that having fled Ceylon, Arabi Pasha was arriving in Paris with the intention of re-establishing support for his rule through a French Protectorate in Egypt, which would regain access for France to the Suez Canal. The boycott had harmed its trading with France's Indochinese holdings and had invoked a desire for revenge from the French public. They wanted to produce retribution for the theft of what they saw as their canal. Arabi Pasha planned to negotiate with the Mahdi, establish a Mahdist State, and use the rebels to establish a less constrained French protectorate in Egypt led by him either within the Ottoman Empire, as Bulgaria had achieved, or as an Independent Kingdom led by himself.

Angered by the Union-German Alliance developing, and the seizing of the Suez after they intervened in the Egyptian conflict, the French had been backed into a corner by their fellow European powers and sought to expand their influence into Egypt and Sudan. They also protested fiercely at the creation of German territories in the Red Sea and sought an alliance with local rebels to undermine the British. The Mahdists presented themselves as the ultimate weapon to re-establish credibility and give the British a bloody nose. Whilst all this was unbeknownst to Chamberlain, it made the situation significantly tenser than even the Union Foreign Office understood. Secret weapons trading through Algeria, through the Sahara would begin to the Mahdi after Arabi Pasha led a regiment of about 250 deserters from the Egyptian Army and French advisors on an expedition to Sudan that would arrive at the Mahdist camp in mid-May 1884, but the Mahdi accepted the weapons and declined the deserters and French advisors, stating his intention to "negotiate from Khartoum" before sending them home. Despite this, French weapons shipments, and some light training from French advisors, meant any attempt to break the siege would face significantly more advanced weapons than Gordon was prepared for. Gordon had asked for about a thousand expert Indian recruits to be sent to relieve the siege, but on May 20th the Mahdist forces cut all telegraphy out of Khartoum. Gordon was alone. As news reached Britain that the communication lines had been cut, Granville's refusal to grant extra forces seemed incredibly tone-deaf. Chamberlain asked once more on May 24th for Granville to grant extra troops, when he refused, Chamberlain called on him to dissolve Parliament early and call for new elections and reminded him that a new Parliament would also call a Grand Committee, as Granville's term expired at the end of the Parliament. At some point this year, he would have to face a new Parliament, and State Elections in 11 States, potentially producing 85 new Senators from an angry electorate. Granville finally backed down. He indicated that he would allow an intervention should a majority be in favour in both Houses.

Chamberlain brought forward a motion to the Commons on May 28th, and the debate spilt the ongoing splits in the Government and Opposition onto the public stage. Democratic and Liberal members defended the Union Council position, but a growing number of Democrats, Conservatives and Chamberlain's supporters passionately defended the right of the Union to intervene and urged the President-Regent to commit more troops to the region. Finally, Chamberlain made his first public statement in favour of an intervention. "It is in my opinion that an intervention force must be raised to head on an expedition to the Nile to rescue and relieve the Siege in the City of Khartoum", said Chamberlain in the debate. After two days, the motion was carried out. A Union Council meeting at the end of the week, on the 30th, produced a clear majority in favour of intervention, but those who were still unconvinced; Senator Shipton, Hyndman, Fawcett, and Senator Courtney, were livid at the actions of Chamberlain and the pro-interventionists. They believed that the actions towards Granville were unjustified and had been horrified at the treatment of the Speaker. In the meeting, Fawcett threatened to resign from the Union Council rather than sit with this blatant attack on the Union's Constitutional Laws. The four anti-interventionists in the Union Council finally provided a stern ultimatum; submit a Senate motion in favour of intervention and lose the services of half of the Union Council. Chamberlain called their bluff and submitted the motion regardless. With the help of Conservatives and Independent Conservatives Senators, the motion passed and Shipton, Hyndman, Fawcett and Courtney resigned from the Union Council. The four also called an extraordinary meeting of the Democratic Executive Committee, which voted to expel Joseph Chamberlain from the Democratic Federation on June 5th. Having won his Senate motion, Chamberlain got his wish, but having seen an expedition, headed by Wolseley, approved to the Nile, Chamberlain’s hand was forced, and Granville tried to use the resignations to dismiss the Prime Minister and form a new Union Council until the elections, headed by Fawcett. In their weekly meeting, however, the Prime Minister brought with him a list of names that he believed could form a new Union Council with support from each of the Conservatives, Democratic and Liberal defectors working in a Coalition together. Chamberlain had met the previous night with Churchill and Senator Primrose to draw up a list, and the Prime Minister presented it to Granville and informed him that after the majority votes, he believed he had the confidence of both houses to continue to Govern.

4th Union Council
Prime Minister, President of the Union Council, Leader of the House of Commons - Joseph Chamberlain, Independent Democratic
Vice President of the Union Council, Leader of the Senate - Senator John Ruskin, Independent Democratic
Chancellor of the Exchequer - Randolph Churchill, Independent Conservative
Secretary of State for the Foreign Office - Senator Archibald Primrose, Independent Liberal
Secretary of State for the Home Office - Senator Spencer Cavendish, Independent Liberal
Secretary of State for War - Senator Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, Independent Liberal
Secretary of State for Education - John Gorst, Independent Conservative
Secretary of State for Colonial Affairs - Sir Robert Herbert, Independent
Secretary of State for State Affairs - Henry Drummond-Wolff, Independent Conservative
Secretary of State for Trade - John Morley, Independent Democratic
Secretary of State for Agriculture - Jesse Collings, Independent Democratic
Keeper of the Great Seal of the Union - Senator Charles Dilke, Independent Democratic

Senator Primrose, Churchill, and Chamberlain had sought to balance the interests of their respective factions in the cabinet. They achieved this by bringing the major ideological guides of each into the Union Council; Gorst and Churchill representing the 'Fourth Party' of old, Chamberlain, Ruskin and Dilke representing the Democratic Federation and Senator Petty-Fitzmaurice, Senator Cavendish and Senator Primrose representing the Liberals. The three Liberals who defected to the Coalition side, occupied three senior positions: Home Office, Foreign Office, and the War Office. Granville had no choice but to approve the Union Council, and once it had been approved, the men met a day later to hammer out a programme for Government and agreed quickly that the best course of action would be to take it to the people right away. They prioritized the conflict in Sudan as the primary occupation of Government, but agreement on other policy areas, such as Land Reform and Social Reform, there was greater variation between the Independent Liberals, such as Primrose, and the Conservatives and Democrats, such as Churchill and Chamberlain. Fawcett described the Government as "a coalition of new men in a hurry", featuring "the new spirit of the age: one of ill-reason, ill-judgement and ill-desire for peace." Chamberlain and Churchill wished to adopt a programme of religious equality (including equality for all religious schools), free schooling as a requirement for all children, reforming and separating local government from state administrations, slum clearance, encouraging compulsory purchase by local authorities to create smallholdings for tenant-farmers and powers to direct landlords to make improvements, widescale reform of the army, widescale reform of the Imperial Authorities and a limited graduated income tax. These aims were not too dissimilar to the 1881 Radical Programme, but the desire of the two leading ideologues, Churchill, and Chamberlain, to enact this programme, meant this was a different proposition for the Union entirely.
Part 4, Chapter XXIV
IV, XXIV: The Sudan Campaign & The 1884 Election

The Coalition Government knew it wouldn’t have long to establish itself before the election but it demonstrated its electability knowing the Parliamentary term was running short. President-Regent Granville was therefore instructed immediately by a unanimous Union Council decision to deploy a larger number of troops to the Sudan Campaign. Field Marshall Napier and First Sea Lord Milne with Colonial Secretary Sir Robert Herbert were called together to discuss a strategy and agreed to commit 900 more troops from India and a contingent of 800 troops from the Union to relieve the siege. Major General Wolseley was sent to command the Army, and Admiral of the Fleet Charles Elliot was sent with a division from the Union Navy. 15 ships patrolled the Suez and into the Red Sea with a further battleship sent from the German Baltic Fleet to patrol the Red Sea Region. British Officers also recruited around 900 Egyptian Troops under direct command, which angered the Sublime Porte, the Ottoman Administration, but they were powerless to do anything about the situation - the Ottomans were attempting to keep de facto control of the region, and any attempt to resist, Chamberlain warned, would be followed by a recognition of the Independence of the Khedivate from the Ottoman Empire, and the declaration of the British Protectorate. Sir Robert Herbert informed the Commons of the negotiations with the Ottomans and the cooperation of the Germans, deepening the alliance between the nations. The initial attempt to cross the territory saw a battle at Shendi where the Force of about 450 of the total force attempted to take the town but faced an ambush by Mahdist forces as they arrived to move into Khartoum on August 31st 1884. After a skirmish, they were forced to retreat to Atbara.

Egyptian Armies, under the command of Herbert Kitchener, had launched an invasion from the north to control the border with Egypt proper and had secured much of the north of the country, up to Marawi and Dongola, providing a base for British, Indian & Egyptian forces. German forces were also permitted to take Sawakin and landed an occupation force in Northern Eritrea. Italian troops also requested to join the expedition in September, using a small force that would be sent down the Suez Canal and would occupy Southern Eritrea. This was deemed an odd request, but when Greece showed support, Foreign Secretary Senator Primrose was willing to go along with it. Italy sought to align with Germany and Britain as a North-South alliance that would allow them to join the Pact with the two, Greece and Bulgaria. Nevertheless, the British had sought an alliance with the Germans and with relations cooling with Austria, Italy seemed a perfect accompaniment to the alliance of nations to contain France and support Bulgaria. With this alliance in place, led by the British, they controlled the Bayuda Desert, most of Nubia and the Red Sea Coast. A September 15th assault by the Egyptian and British troops on the town of Berber saw the strategic retreat of the Mahdist forces in the area, which was seen as a major victory for the British Army, and was followed by successive the forcing of further retreats from Metemmeh and Sagadi, a matter of miles from Khartoum. The British advances, however, were not through the defeat of the Mahdist forces in the region, but by their strategic retreat. No European army had scored a victory against the Mahdists, and the forces loyal to the Mahdi had established a stronghold in the South of the country.

October saw food becoming scarce in Khartoum, and the situation was rapidly spiralling out of control. In Walkley's Story of Khartoum, he noted that the price of a cow had increased to £E20 and that the residents of the city were beginning to suffer from hunger. A steamship, the Bordein, was deployed to ferry troops from the loyal regions in the North down the White Nile, and inched closer to Khartoum, experiencing a retreat from the enemy wherever they went. "We are marching closer each day to rescue Major Gordon," said Chamberlain in a statement to the House of Commons in mid-September. Senator Primrose said in the Senate that the "first stage of the Campaign, including the neutralisation of the Nubian desert and the recapture of Khartoum, was largely completed". Little did they know that a large advance on Khartoum was being planned by the Mahdists to take the capital. At Barah, south of Khartoum, the Mahdist forces under the command of Osman Digna, a legendary Mahdist General, slaughtered all of the Coptics, Greeks, British and German residents, summing 850 residents. When news reached Khartoum, Gordon attempted to break the siege once again, unaware of the reinforcements that were massing in the North of the country under Kitchener, to relieve and expel the Mahdi from Barah. The Bordein was sent down the White Nile to bring news of the expedition to relieve Gordon, and while it finally reached Khartoum on October 5th 1884, Gordon had already sent an expedition to Barah to attempt to retake the town. Hearing that Gordon remained alive, but that the city was suffering and of the massacre in Barah, made the desire in Campaign Headquarters even greater to reclaim the city and the region for the British. Fears of mass slaughter in Khartoum put the recapture of the capital at the forefront of the Army's mind.

Preparations to assault Khartoum were made throughout October, and culminated in a 3000 strong force of Bashi-Bazouk, British and Indian troops marched on the city to relieve the city under the command of William Hicks Pasha. The force was later described by Randolph Churchill's son, Winston, as "one of the worst armies ever to march under any banner of the Union". The first attempt to break the siege and roll into Khartoum failed miserably on October 21st - Gordon described the Egyptian troops as "pathetic, and with more in common with the other side than the Union." 350 were massacred and a further 500 disappeared in attempting to enter the outskirts of the City, and only the efforts of some of the regiments trapped in the city managed to pull the forces away for long enough to allow a retreat. Still, after months of attempting, no European Army had secured a single battlefield victory against the Dervish Army.

Granville was informed of the failure to take Khartoum on October 23rd, and in turn, Chamberlain informed the Union Council a day later, and Parliament after that. Still, Chamberlain agreed to more troops being deployed, and a further 1,000 British troops were sent to the region, onboard the US Belleisle to reinforce and resupply the Campaign. The ship was relatively new, and was bought by Disraeli during the Russian War Scare, and was sent as a demonstration of superior technology. On the ground, another strategic retreat after some heavy casualties for the Mahdi saw the British land just 40 miles from Khartoum at Wad Hamid, before earlier reinforcements under Kitchener from the Northern Campaigns saw a greater number of Gatling Guns units being deployed, resulting in the first military victory for the British, at the First Battle of Omdurman on November 1st. This finally paved the way for the siege to finally break as the British drove the Mahdists out of Khartoum by November 9th. The victories were costly for the Dervish Armies and one-sided. “Wave after wave of man, destroyed by a torrent of bullets, cut down and followed by more,” One soldier said of the effect of the Gatling Gun in the Early Sudan Campaign. A dawn raid on the outskirts of the town, as the Mahdists attempted to defend the last concentration of warriors North of the city, finally brought victory for the British and brought forward a crucial morale boost for the Campaign's troops. Kitchener led his Northern Campaign Army first over the Kerreri hills, then into Khartoum and drove the last of the Dervish troops out of the city after the British landed from the Nile with two steam battleships and survived a counterattack in the evening. The Mahdists, unable to cope with the concentration of troops and the machine-gun fire, lost upwards of 2,000 men. Among the dead was Muhammad Ahmad, the Mahdi himself, who was purported to have been found by British troops who strung him up in Khartoum for a week after its liberation.

On November 10th, Chamberlain declared the first stage of the Khartoum campaign completed and the mission to save Major Gordon complete. While the battle had been won, the war would still rage on - but the first major victory for the British put both major settlements in British hands. The victory was the jackpot that the cabinet needed. Chamberlain and Churchill were hailed in the press, and suddenly those who stood in the way of further intervention were publicly suspicious. This developed in lower-middle-class and working-class households into a hatred of “Whigs” - new monied, pacifist, anti-patriotic and only interested in money. In the South East and East of England, Whigs also began to include Catholics and the “Celts”: Scottish, Welsh, Cornish and Irish economic migrants that settled throughout the period studied in this analysis. The public mood was with Chamberlain and with this in mind, not 4 days later, he dissolved Parliament. Whig came to mean everything bad and became the lightning rod for all that was ill in the world. In Cities, soldiers on leave would trash prominent upper-middle-class Liberals who were against the war, and in an act that shocked many, Granville’s private residence was defaced with pro-War slogans. It was in this backdrop that an election was called, with 11 State Elections, an election for the whole of the House of Commons, and subsequently, half the Senate, with Parliament set to reconvene on December 19th.

While parties had been preparing for a General Election for some time, both parties had nominated candidates in the confines of their party structure, but the election itself was moving well beyond that. Candidates identified themselves as essentially pro and anti-Chamberlain, with Liberals, Democrats and the Goats concentrating their attacks on Chamberlain himself, while Independent Conservatives and pro-Chamberlain Democrats, who were usually called Independent Democrats, concentrated their attacks on the "Whig Power" in Parliament. The pro-Chamberlain campaign was patriotic and modern and leaned heavily on a slick media campaign to harness public opinion led by The Union newspaper, which achieved near National syndication. Privately financed mostly by Chamberlain and a group of donors that included Primrose, Senator Cavendish and Sir Robert Herbert, the pro-Chamberlain side piggybacked on the "Rally for the Union" slogan, and Chamberlain's campaign in Birmingham was on the face of it still working with the Democratic Union of Mercia, but ostensibly transforming into something else. Elsewhere, Randolph Churchill continued his support and radicalised young, urban Conservatives with the help of a hastily constructed Central Office featuring Gorst and a volunteer from The Union newspaper, Alfred Milner, who became Private Secretary to Gorst in the Campaign Office on the recommendation of John Morley. Milner was able to astutely manage the print media, and cultivated an image for the Coalition amongst the readership of The Union; middle to working-class, patriotic and Imperialist, that the Liberal elite in the Union was, to quote a letter submitted to the paper during the campaign from a D Wentwhistle "up-with-the-foreigner, down-with-the-army Whiggish thugs".

Joseph Chamberlain contributed to this narrative, unleashing a Radical zeal over the course of the campaign that castigated the old and the Aristocracy. The Union, he insisted, was the natural end of protected abuse or sheltered privilege. He said in a speech in Warrington during the campaign:

"During the last 100 years, the Aristocracy has never contributed one iota to popular liberties or popular freedom, or done anything to advance the commonweal; but during that time it has protected every abuse and sheltered every privilege. It is time that all of them; the Whigs, the Goats and the Monarchists, who like to exist in the past, either moved forward with history or consigned themselves to history."

"Down with the Whigs" and "Rally for the Union" posters and paintings formed a wallpaper amongst the strongholds of Chamberlain and Churchill in the South and West of England and Mercia, and the patriotic sense of the populous was truly reflectional of the opinions of the time. "We must save Gordon, save the country from the Whigs and Rally for the Union," Chamberlain said in a speech in Birmingham to a rapturous reception. On June 8th, Chamberlain appeared on a platform with Randolph Churchill, Senator Primrose, Jesse Collings and John Gorst at the largest Rally for the Union, in the port city of Southampton, Wessex. This would be the first time that the five founding members of the Unionist Party would be campaigning together. "We stand for the Union, the Whigs stand for themselves," Chamberlain said at the meeting attended by 15,000 spectators. Chamberlain proposed a new programme, the follow up to his Radical Programme, to attract voters to his coalition. Chamberlain made a speech on the need for a “robust presence in the Soudan”, Collings on the need for “an absolute focus of Government for the education of the youth”, and Primrose on the need for an Imperial policy which is “robust and sees the interests of civilisation and economy above all”. Chamberlain's speeches in front of passionate, working-class crowds in Birmingham, Greater Anglia and Lancashire had a populist feel to them, almost a socialist line.

"The Union as a whole, co-operating for the benefit of all, may do something . . . to make the life of all its citizens, and above all, the poorest of them, somewhat better, somewhat nobler, somewhat happier. Democrats and our colleagues across the isle were no longer satisfied merely to remove shackles to individual effort but, as Escott wrote in the introduction to the book, The Union Programme proposed the intervention of the state on behalf of the weak against the strong, in the interests of labour against capital, of want and suffering against luxury and ease. It prioritises the Union above all"

Chamberlain and the socialistic nature of his policies became more of a gossip point in political circles and the press throughout the campaign, and as he was directly challenged in hustings in his Birmingham constituency during the final weeks of the campaign, he responded with confidence:

“Is the school in which your child will be educated regardless of her ability to pay a school fee a socialist institution? Well, are the Public Health Departments a socialist institution as they help to provide aid to those with an ailment? Of course they are! And is it not a fine thing? If that is the case, and it is socialist, then maybe all who enjoy the fruits of these reforms in our march towards the construction of a better Union are socialist too and that is a fine thing.”

Conservatives were publicly critical of the Parliamentary coup, and Northcote and Senator Robert Cecil spearheaded attack after attack in the campaign. After an interview in the National Review and the support he received from many within the aristocratic establishment, Chamberlain rebuffed and provided the impedes for Churchill's Conservative faction to paint the Goats as a force that was rooted in the past. Chamberlain attempted to paint the Conservatives as a force of the old.

"Senator Cecil constitutes himself the spokesman of a class—of the class to which he belongs—who toil not, neither do they spin—whose fortunes, as in his case, have originated in grants made long ago, for such services as courtiers render to kings—and have since grown and increased while they have slept, by the levy of an unearned share on all that other men have done by toil and labour to add to the general wealth and prosperity of the country of which they form a part."

Despite joining the Union Council, Stafford Northcote and Senator Cecil still believed that “loyal England” would deliver gains in the upcoming elections. The belief within the Conservative Parliamentary Committee was that Conservatives and Independent Conservatives, unified, would have a majority and the two wings could be brought back together. Most thought of Churchill and Gorst as Mavericks, but the defections continued: Senator Richard Cross, once a critic of Churchill and vice versa, declared his support for the Union Council and most importantly, Arthur Balfour, Senator Cecil’s nephew, defected during the campaign as did the Liverpool Conservative Candidate, Arthur Forwood. Radical Conservatives and social reformers flocked behind Churchill, usually from urban middle-class electorates and left the Conservatives with a slimmed-down voter base of rural landowners and Anglican communities in South-Eastern England. Still, as Coalition candidates appeared to popular acclaim through proposing a programme of free education through a graduated tax rate, Senator Cecil showed how out of touch he had become, saying in a letter to Northcote "I see Randolph Churchill is doing his best to set the owners of property against him. He will hardly carry Birmingham on those terms." Northcote’s reply only thought in terms of the return of Churchill back to the Conservative party: "It is necessary to bring our young friend to his bearings, otherwise the party's differences will be unresolvable and the Conservative movement disorganised."

The political discourse during the 1884 campaign, therefore, took a multi-polar direction: Goats on the right criticised the flamboyance and extravagance of the Coalition plan for Britain, Liberals criticised the lack of respect for institutions such as the Speaker and the Presidential Regency and Democrats criticised the Coalition with the Tories. Randolph Churchill, however, attempted to chart a course for voters which was extremely Radical in tone and justified the Radical reform and the methods for achieving it as the only way to return control over the Government and Institutions to the people. Churchill was often called a 'Tory Democrat' in the lead-up to the creation of the Coalition Government, and when he was pressed to bring forth a definition of Tory Democracy, his response was notable for his use of a word that would come to dominate British discourse until 1903 - Unionism.

"Some say you desire to give the power in the State to the people and as such call, you either a disguised Radical or renegade Conservative. I reject both titles in reference to the Coalition Government. It is a government primarily motivated by the progression of the people and the creation of a National Union of only those who contribute. I have volunteered the suggestion that the so-called 'Tory Democrat' represents a new ideological force in the politics of the State... that of Unionism. A Unionist is a man who will preserve all that is old and good and who is ready to give control of it to the people."

It has been debated many, many, many times - who is the father of Unionism? Some say, Churchill, some say Chamberlain. Some people (who are wrong), say Senator Primrose. Churchill, however, was the first to talk of Unionism as an entity, a political policy, saying "This unionist government is no longer identified with that small and narrow class which is connected to the ownership of land. It's great strength found in the binding union of the businessman, the worker and the farmer, its development must come from the large towns as well as the counties." This policy line found favour with an important cog in the Unionist machine that was soon to develop - Senator Edward Stanley, the former Earl of Derby. Derby had contacts in both the Conservative and Liberal camps, and wrote to Harcourt as the campaign continued, warning the Liberals that the division of each of the major three parties may not be a temporary arrangement:

"Churchill improves every day and is very clever. I cannot imagine the bulk of the old Tories will accept him, but the door that he keeps open between himself, the Radicals and his faction of Conservatives, under what he called 'Unionism', is growing in stature. Perhaps he will not return to the Conservative fold, perhaps neither will Chamberlain return to the Democrats. Do will live in a time of newness?"

Senator Stanley defected with a week to go in the campaign, declaring that he would support the continuation of the Coalition Government. He would be joined soon by Senator Bernard FitzPatrick, the Anglo-Irishman, who said during the campaign that "If the Conservative forces are to be superseded, or are to exist at all, they will exist in the frame of the policy of Churchill and Chamberlain. The old Toryism of the landed gentry and the Carlton Club is, in my opinion, a thing of the past." Senator FitzPatrick, and others like him, would form the basis of 'Conservative' Unionism, which would overtake the ideological current of 'Progressive' Unionism after the events of the 1887 Ulster Crisis & 1889 London Lockout - seizing the impedes of the Radical sections within the Coalition and handing the power, with Chamberlain's blessing, to the most reactionary of Parliamentarians in the Union. Their support was shallow, and some (although certainly not all) of the Conservative defections represented a trojan horse for the left, who were starting to convert to Unionism themselves. Members of the Fabian Society, a group which had formed as a moderate left-leaning group, were split on the Coalition Government. Progressives across the spectrum were divided by the Imperialist nature of the Government, but some were drawn by Chamberlain's attacks on Private Ownership, such as his speech to his Birmingham Democratic Union delegates:

"Private ownership has taken the place of these communal rights and this system has become so sanctioned by law and custom, that it might be very difficult and perhaps impossible to reverse. But then I ask, what ransom will the property pay for the security that it enjoys. What substitute will it find for the natural rights it has ceased to recognise?"

In truth, the Independent elements did not act as a coherent political unit, but both Churchill and Primrose endorsed Chamberlain’s programme for Government as long as it was a Government that would relieve General Gordon during the election; Churchill called him “a fine leader and the man to unify the country” and “the true heir to Palmerston and Disraeli”. Conservative elements within the Coalition’s Parliamentary support focused most of their justification for their support for the Coalition on these two figures, Palmerston and Disraeli. Conservatives touted Palmerston’s foreign policy strength and Disraeli’s support for Social Reform as a mirror to the Coalition’s desire to focus on these two policy areas. The Coalition was guilty of being a lot of things to a lot of different groups, however. Progressives and Conservatives alike had attached themselves to the cause: the Fabian Society formed earlier in the year, had written a glowing review of Chamberlain’s Government and the campaign for its continuation, while the National Review, the leading Conservative journal, wrote “It is evident that with the widespread belief that Conservative candidates will be defeated and the Churchill faction will gain numbers of seats. Perhaps it will represent a positive step to combine a mass party of Nationally aligned forces”. In a way, Progressives saw the Radical Party of the 1870s and Conservatives saw the National Party. As the voting began (it would last for three weeks), most people assumed that Churchill and Chamberlain would be returned, and they were gaining more and more support from would-be Parliamentarians every day. Despite all that was said, the crowds kept appearing, across the country, and the opposition couldn’t get a look in. Sales of the Union went up to 190,000 per day, and eclipsed the established competitors; the Times, the Manchester Guardian and the Daily Telegraph, who averaged around 90,000-100,000, and the only state that it wasn’t sold in was the Celtic Fringe and London, where the Metropolitan Standard was dominant.

In the coming Unionist period, geographic press differences began to play a vital role in the politics of an entire society. Unionists' inability to make ground in certain areas, but near-total control of other states, often comes from this distinction: where was The Union paper popular, and where was local press more prevalent. Major nationals of both Progressive and Conservative persuasion also spoke enthusiastically about the Coalition, calling it the “Council of All Talents”, but there was a wide-scale difference between the expectations of both camps: “a war in Sudan is an exciting conquest that it of the utmost importance” exclaimed the Telegraph “and this Coalition Government is at best to conduct it! From then - the presence of the Gentlemen and Nobler elements of society who have flocked to its aid in recent weeks will present a measure of calm to the excited talk of further reform to, what is now essentially an obscene show of demagoguery between Mr Chamberlain and Mr Churchill”, while the Guardian “found little fault in the Government’s Radical pedigree, and noted a sense of Action In the spirit of the Union Council and faction forming behind them” - both were supportive of the Government, but presented it in different contexts: The Telegraph because there were older heads who would moderate, the Guardian because of Radical pedigree. Something about the 1884 Election just seemed a foregone conclusion, but a difficult victory if ever there was one. The interesting thing about the Unionist Coalition that was building was it came from very different social and political camps. At rallies, Chamberlain’s supporters would wave the Union Flag, whereas the Union Jack would make many an appearance at Churchill’s events. Churchill called Granville “The Regent” exclusively at meetings, Chamberlain used the moderate President-Regent, which was popular with moderate Democrats - Dilke used President. Some harked for the return of the King, some for the end of all the last vestiges of the Monarchy, but all believed that Gordon must be saved and that the Union must be defended and preserved. Ironically, after that, at least amongst the root and branch supporters, the wire-pullers and green shoots of organisations up to the Parliamentarians, there was little Union between them at all.

How many would be returned, whether they were permanently united, or would be returning to their political homes and how long was the Government going to last remained questions on all their minds. Beatrice Webb, Fabian and friend of Joseph Chamberlain, said that despite the support and the crowds and the expectation that his gamble had worked “the day before the election was called no-one believed him, no-one trusted what he would do and no-one liked him.” Chamberlain was complicated, and had enemies politically, but also seemed the natural person to lead such a Government. The quick turnaround between Governments left an electorate disorientated, and the opposition was unable to react, organise and protest quick enough.

There was opposition, but with the Democratic Federation's resources stretched to cover candidates it didn't support, and Liberal resources concentrated on certain geographical areas meant a national campaign was beyond the reach of the anti-Chamberlain candidates. As one wire puller said in Leeds: "Chamberlain is the Democratic Federation, and without him we are nothing, but his betrayal cannot be allowed to stand”. The Celtic Fringe, Lancashire, Northumbria, London and Greater Yorkshire remained the stalwarts of traditional Radicalism but even there, future cracks had begun to emerge. Thomas Burt, the Radical Labour MP, broke with the Democratic Federation entirely and stood as "Independent Labour" in Bradford for the first time, and 9 other such candidates were on the ballot in Yorkshire, South Wales and London. While tripolar politics would come later, a two-party system in all but name between Independent Conservatives and Democrats on one side, and Liberals and continuity Democrats on the other, was starting to develop with several Irish Parties and Independents in the middle. In the end, the superior campaigning and the cannibalising of the Conservative vote in the South East and South West of England by the Independent Conservatives allowed them to be returned as the largest party, with Independent Democrats coming in second, the continuity Democrats in third and the Liberals in fourth. The Conservatives were decimated, with the Goats falling to just 25 seats. Churchill's faction, however, received the most votes and seats with Chamberlain second, but short of the majority required to form a Government between the pro-Chamberlain faction.

1884 Election

House of Commons


Coalition Government 165 (Turquoise)

95 Independent Conservatives
70 Independent Democrats

Fawcett-led Opposition 118
62 Democratic Federation (Red)
56 Liberals (Light Orange)

25 Conservatives (Blue)
22 National Democrats (Yellow)
12 National Conservatives (Dark Blue)
2 Independent Labour (Dark Red)
4 General League (Green)
3 Orangemen (Orange) Abstentionists
2 Independent (Grey)


Senate (1).png

Coalition Government 40 (Turquoise)

Independent Conservatives 20
Independent Democrats 17
Independent Liberals 3

Fawcett Led Opposition 61
Liberals 32 (Light Orange)
Democrats 29 (Red)

Independents/Crossbench 34 (Grey)
Conservatives 26 (Blue)
National Democrats 5 (Yellow)
National Conservatives 3 (Dark Blue)
General League 1 (Green)

After the election, William Shaw resigned and in search of a unifying figure who could become leader, Charles Stuart Parnell became the leader of a new Party that combined the two Irish Nationalist factions in the Land Compromise Debate, the Parnellites and the Irish National Party. They approached the General League’s leader, Archbishop Thomas Croke, about the General League merging into the operation, but Croke refused, hoping to keep a door open for the Radicals who defected to the NDP to return. Alas, the two parties merged, and proclaimed the “National Conservative Legislative and Parliamentary Committee”, more commonly known as the National Conservative Party, and elected Charles Stuart Parnell its Legislative Chair. William Shaw was moved to Westminster and would become its Parliamentary Chair and Party President. This combined force captured 12 seats in the Commons and would provide a more unified Conservative opposition to Michael Davitt’s rule. As with the General League, the body of the church split as to which one to back, with southern and western dioceses backing Davitt and his radical land reform, and the northern and eastern administrations who favoured either the General League or the National Conservatives. The National Conservatives also signed a pact with Augustus Stewart, who led the Ulster Independent Conservatives. most were still standing under the Loyal & Patriotic Union banners but had been taking central direction in Westminster from Churchill for some time now and campaigned for Churchill in the lead up to the election in Ulster, drumming up support for the Coalition Government. In the coming years, this faction would become the Ulster Unionist Party and would run with the National Conservatives and the wider Coalition Government.

In Ireland, however, there was one undisputed King: Michael Davitt. The quiet man had returned 22 MPs, making them a key kingmaker in the results which gave the Coalition the momentum, but not a concrete, Governable majority. Churchill and Chamberlain met with Premier Davitt four days after the election in Dublin Castle. He greeted them with typical aplomb: “you know, a few years ago I was starved for three days in a cell next to this office. How tides turn.” Chamberlain and Churchill wanted the National Democrats to join the alliance to sure up the arithmetic in their favour and bring more Radicals into the coalition. Davitt was less sure, having been stung by the previous alliance between the Democratic Federation and Clan na Gael. Davitt, and the financier of the National Democrats, John Devoy, were both keen to build up Irish Institutions within the Union. Davitt made an offer: he would not interfere in the runnings of the coalition government and would provide confidence in the event of a no-confidence vote, providing nor the Union Council or President-Regent interfere in any Irish Legislative decisions, especially regarding land reform for tenant-farmers. Chamberlain and Churchill agreed, but Churchill made his opposition to the plans proposed by Davitt clear. “It is worth noting that we both have a faction in the Irish State Legislature that lend our support, Premier Davitt,” Churchill said at the end of the meeting. Despite the jibes, the Coalition Government was over the line, and when William Harcourt called a motion of no confidence in the Union Council after the State Opening of Parliament on December 19th, the motion was defeated with both the National Conservatives and National Democrats voting against the motion. Chamberlain spoke afterwards of the “common chance for all patriotic men in the Union, to realise Liberty.” For now, the Coalition Government was formed, but this Government, and those who supported it, would soon become known as the Unionist Party.
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Supplemental: Chamberlain's Electoral Address
Supplemental: Joseph Chamberlain's 1884 Electoral Address

"What is the Union Programme? I believe that the Independent elements of the Democratic Federation which has been meeting here today has just published and put into circulation a work with that title, which I commend to your consideration. It consists of essays and articles from the Union, collected and revised. I wish that some of those who on anti-Coalition platforms go about abusing their opponents without much knowledge, would make themselves acquainted with the contents of that book. I do not suppose that they would agree with what it contains they would not be opponents of our Government if they did but at least they would see that there is nothing dangerous, and nothing unconstitutional, and nothing unjust, in the great majority of the proposals made on behalf of the Coalition Government.

The most important proposal ascertains to the desire from each of the fine Parliamentarians who support the Coalition Government to maintain our presence and our Empire abroad. Let it be our endeavour, let it be our task, to keep alight the torch of imperial patriotism, to hold fast the affection and the confidence of our kinsmen across the seas; so that in every vicissitude of fortune the British Empire may present an unbroken front to all her foes, and may carry on even to distant ages the glorious traditions of the British flag. Our Government wishes to maintain that imperial patriotism by using our fleet and our men to drive the barbarous regimes out of the Soudan, and restore orderly Government to the region.
Another important proposal refers to the question of land. I believe that the people of this country have seen clearly and instinctively that the greatest and most urgent reforms centre upon this subject. If we can do anything to multiply the number of those who have a direct interest in the soil they till, if we can increase the production of the land, if we can find work for a large proportion of the population in connection with the greatest, the most important of our industries; and if we can make the lot of the labourers more hopeful and more prosperous, we shall have done much to bless both town and the country, and to add to the contentment and the prosperity of the whole population.

Well what is our contribution to the solution of this problem? We propose nothing extreme, I was going to say nothing new. We propose to extend the functions and powers of the States authorities. We purpose also that the State authorities in every district, under proper conditions, shall have power to let land for labourers allotments, for artisans dwellings, and for small holdings. We do not suggest that they should part entirely with the property in, or the control of, the land. That should be reserved for the community alone. We propose that the tenants should have entire security so long as they fulfil the conditions of their holdings. I believe that by such a proposal we should do something to fix the labourers in the country, to tie them to the land, and to satisfy that earth-hunger which God has implanted in all who are connected directly to that industry.

There is another and a very important question on which I should like to say a few words, and that is the freedom of the schools. Now I think there exists some misconception as to the scope and nature of the proposal we make on this point. I see sometimes a statement that it would destroy the denominational schools and put an end to religious education - this is not the case. We have agreed with our Coalition partners that denominational schools should remain part of a national schooling system that guarantees the right of every child to receive an education. These are questions of grave importance, which some day or other perhaps at no distant day will be discussed on their own merits. You might free the schools tomorrow without in the slightest degree affecting the position of the denominational system, and I think those who are interested in this system are extremely unwise in attempting to connect its existence with arrangements which are already condemned by public opinion, and which really have nothing whatever to do with it.

At the present time the total of fees receivable in all the schools of the English states amount to a little over a million and a half, and I believe an addition to the income tax of three farthings in the pound, as one method of providing money, would be sufficient to throw open tomorrow every schoolhouse in the land, leaving all other and collateral questions entirely unprejudiced and untouched. I claim the freedom of the schools as a great aid to the spread of education, and as a just concession to the necessities of the poor. The fee is a great bar to regularity of attendance. It accounts for the greater part of the waste in our education system. It accounts for the great majority of the empty seats in our schools.

A few days ago I received a letter from a schoolmaster in a great school in a Mercian town, in which he thanked me for the advocacy of free education, and in eloquent terms alluded to the pain and the anxiety and the labour cast upon him and upon his class by the necessity of collecting fees from the poor, who cannot provide them except at the cost of the barest necessities of existence, and who yet are too proud to apply for parish relief. This gentleman said he thought it would be interesting for me to see some of the letters he was constantly receiving from the parents to whom he had to apply in these circumstances. I should like to read to you one or two of these letters. It will bring home to you the nature of the hardships, the unnecessary hardships, which this system inflicts upon the industrious poor.

The first letter reads, If you please I cannot send you the money this week. Their father has not done more than three days work a week for ever so long. Please sir, be kind not to send them home or we will be summoned for the money. He has never troubled the parish, and he says, he will sooner drown himself. I will try, if I can, to send some of it. The second letter reads, Please sir, my father cannot get work anywhere. For seven years he has kept his children at school, and he has been walking miles and miles in search of work, and when he returns we have had to wash his feet in salt and water. We have not got bread to eat, and we have no money to send. The third letter states, I have done what I could this morning. I have not sent you all the money, but I send you a shilling, but there is no more need to put it in the children's bellies. The last letter I will read is to this effect You cannot form an idea, I am sure, how some people have to live; our poor children and ourselves have not had a bit of breakfast this morning, yet you send them to me for more money. My eldest boy has gone to work this morning without anything. I can assure you it is heart-breaking for me. They have been at the school ever since the opening, but we cannot send money when we have not bread to eat.

Gentlemen, I say that these letters are pathetic – ay, they are tragic. They are disclosures of the endurance and of the misery which some people have to suffer because of the folly and the pedantry of others who hesitate to assist them lest it should prejudice their independence. I hold that in the new Parliament we shall do what every democracy has done before us, and open our schoolhouses for the benefit of our children, and for the advantage of the whole community. Education is necessary to the material advancement of every child, and it is necessary also to the mental and moral elevation. If I were a working man in a city, county or vice-county, or an agricultural labourer in a rural county, I would cut off my right hand before I would vote for any candidate who refused to support such a necessary and beneficial reform.

Well, there are many other points in the Union programme to which I dare not refer to at length tonight. I will only briefly mention two of them. There is the question of the revision of taxation. I think that taxation ought to involve equality of sacrifice, and I do not see how this result is to be obtained except by some form of graduated taxation that is, taxation which is proportionate to the superfluities of the taxpayer. When I am told that this is a new-fangled and a revolutionary doctrine, I wonder if my critics have read any elementary book on the subject; because if they had they must have seen that a graduated income tax is not a novelty in this country. It existed in the Middle Ages, when those who exercised authority and power did so with harshness to their equals, but they knew, nevertheless, how to show consideration for the necessities of those beneath them. Then there is the question of the taxation of unoccupied land, of sporting land, of ground rent and of mineral royalties. For my own part, I advocate all these methods of taxation, much less for the amount they would bring into the Exchequer than because I think they would discourage certain arrangements which have been productive of much inconvenience and suffering to the community."
Part 4, Chapter XXV
IV, XXV: The Levers of Power

Well, here we are. The main pieces are in place for the beginning of the Unionist era. A coalition made up of the Radical elements of the Democrats and Tories met in Downing Street to discuss a new direction for the Union and in doing so would draw up the doctrine of Unionism that would dictate the body politic of the Union of Britain into the 20th Century. Opposition lay in ruins: divided, rudderless and tarred with the same brush, the brush of Whiggism. This political situation will mostly be frozen in Amber from the election of the Coalition Government, through the formation of the Unionist Party, right through to its defeat in 1903, with a brief sojourn to the first Liberal Democratic Government in 1896. This would only last little more than 18 months and would only give us a single lasting legacy: the beginning of the “Progressive” Campaigns ending in Chamberlain’s defeat. The Unionist Party throughout this period is by no means a monolith, however and most historians of the period divide its workings and ideology into two or three parts. Firstly came the Coalition Government, as the ideology of Unionist and the Party structures crystallised and formed at State and Union level. Then, came the first true Unionist campaign in 1887, the zenith of Chamberlain and Churchill’s ideology zeal - known collectively as Progressive Unionism. This period is characterised by a revolution in Society along Unionist lines, with public welfare and unity domestically, along with Imperial might internationally, upending centuries of British Society and remaking it along technocratic and progressive lines. This survived the Charles Dilke Scandal, tensions and war with other European powers and broadly held support with the majority of society.

Depending on your ideological outlook, this era lasted either until 1889 and the wave of strikes that brought Socialism into the public conscious and subsequently allowed Socialism to replace Whiggism as the unifying hate figure among enthusiastic supporters, or until the loss of majority in 1892 and the coalition with the Conservative Party after the 1892 election. Henceforth from the 1892 Election, Unionism transitioned, having completed what it believed was the social revolution required to build a Unionist State, into what is known as Conservative Unionism, which was characterised by paranoia from the surrounding threats of resurgent Nationalism in the Celtic Fringe, Socialism in the Cities and the French Revanchists abroad. This paranoia, combined with a greater control of the levers of power after the victories of the early 1890s at State level, produced a vicious attack on all those who deviated from the doctrine of the Unionist Party. As in previous times, holding the Centre often gave way through time to clinging to the right. Conservative Unionism would give rise to the next Great Leap Forward, an unquenchable thirst for expansion and Imperial Might that would lead to the Long War that ravaged the continent of Europe and the world for 25 years.

But that’s the abridged version. The concise journey that we are about to take begins right now. It begins here, in Whitehall shortly after the 1884 Election. With the complicity of the Irish Parties, the disarray of the Opposition who had lost their most talented power brokers in one swoop, and the loss of the talent of Randolph Churchill and his followers to the Conservative movement, the budding Unionist movement held the political future in their hands.

It is important to take stock of the power base the two key men had built for themselves. With the aforementioned support from the Irish Parties, Churchill and Chamberlain had a functioning majority in the House of Commons, and their support in the Senate was the largest of any group, and they could also rely on the ad hoc votes of the Crossbench to retain their confidence. While Churchill had burnt bridges in the Tory Party, Chamberlain and Dilke still held sway with Senate Democrats, and their ability to cobble together a majority in the upper house, which tended to have looser party discipline was considered safe enough. While State Politics didn’t follow strictly Coalition/Non-Coalition lines, those who could be regarded as completely following the Union Programme set out by the Coalition in terms of domestic policy did coalesce over the course of the State Campaigns (of which there were eleven in 1884), and were able in some cases to organise quicker than the national party. Six Governments out of the Eleven were formed by such groups, one for which, Greater Yorkshire, featured a coalition between Democrats and Tories who had been on opposite sides of the isle, much like Britain. Four were won by candidates who supported Free Education and Land Reform, and usually featured positions on respect for education and were nationalist and patriotic in tone, but usually came from Conservative or Democratic stock wholly. One, Chamberlain’s home state of Mercia, was represented by the Democratic Union, who while losing some followers, remained the strongest and best organised political force in the State. With continued electoral success and the growing organisation of the movement, the pro-Government majority would, if it held it's State Governments, be able to grow it's number of Senators by 35 at the next election - providing that loyalty could be assured, should they be able to hold together their coalition for three years.

It also allowed them to implement the Unionist programme at a domestic and international level in these states, and meant, in the long run, control of the Senate. Chamberlain eluded to this strategy in a letter to Jesse Collings, the former Premier of Mercia - “it is through the Domestic and Social Reform programme of the States that we will achieve our total faith of the people, and we’ll allow ourselves a greater number of Senators who will come to our aid. Organisation will be the key lever of power.”

It is the retention of power that commanded Chamberlain’s attention in the opening months of his first Unionist Government. He wanted to achieve this through control over the levers of power, having used the playbook of removing the Speaker as his guide. With President-Regent Granville's term ending, he wanted to replace him with a friendlier candidate to give him and his Council the ability to rule effectively, without cohabitation. The State Opening of Parliament would represent the last day of Granville's term, and a Grand Committee was set to be called immediately after the pageantry. Few had expected Granville to be replaced, and most expected that it would be up to him to decide when he retired, but Chamberlain did not want to share power with the President-Regent any longer. He arranged for Senator Edward Stanley to put himself up as a candidate to test the Parliamentary weight of his cross-chamber coalition, and challenge Granville for the Presidential-Regency. Liberals & Democrats supported Granville and sought to prove the control of the establishment through the Senators in the Grand Committee backing the non-retiring President-Regent. Coalition Parliamentarians met before the convening of the Grand Committee and decided to form a joint Parliamentary Committee to conduct their business and build a more permanent structure to their proceedings, forming the Governmental Committee, composed of all those in favour of the government in the Commons and the Senate. This would become more commonly known later as the 1884 Committee, which is still the Parliamentary Unionist committee today. The committee unanimously nominated Stanley for the role, voted accordingly, with all 205 in the rooms going to Stanley. Granville had 203 in the first round of voting, but a number of other candidates amassed a number between them. In the Second Round, some Conservatives and the Irish National Conservatives were won over to Stanley to stretch the lead, but on the fifth round, Stanley triumphed with a majority of just 8 over Granville, as the candidates whittled down. Britain had a new Head of State. Chamberlain had shown his hand.

Now the Presidential-Regency was in the hands of a Chamberlain ally, Senator Primrose and Dilke sought to secure the loyalty of the Senate by electing a new President of the Senate, selecting Senator FitzPatrick as the President of the Senate in exchange for his rallying to the Coalition Government aid during the election campaign. With the Speaker of the House, the President of the Senate, the President-Regent and Six of the Thirteen State Governments now under the control of Chamberlain and Churchill's supporters, the levers of power were now firmly in their control.
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What is Chamberlain's stance on non white colonies and missionary activities?

Obviously Chamberlain is in favour of Imperial Federation, but this plan will be tempered and will be dealt with in the first official Unionist Government, after the party is founded in 1887. The role of the empire and the creation of structures to manage it will play a large part in the discussions, and will be forced to the forefront after an International Conference on Colonies, which will come at the end of the Sudan conflict.
Part 4, Chapter XXVI
IV, XXVI: The Unity Programme

Their power absolute, Chamberlain and Churchill had a stronger hold over the Parliamentary levers of power than any Government since the enacting of the Constitutional Laws, and sought to enact legislation quickly to prove they had the impedes to make improvements to Britain; the Allotment Act implored State Authorities to sell Crown Lands in small allotments to smallholders, the Constitutional Act made several changes to the 1875 Constitutional Laws, the most notable lengthening the Commons term to five years, and a Senatorial term to ten, and the Education Act which made public, free education until the age of twelve compulsory for all States to provide. This, combined with the appointment of Hardinge Giffard as High Chancellor after the death of Hugh Cairns, represented a synthesis of Radical Conservative and Advanced Radical ideology: the Allotment Act for making Land Reform a matter of transferring ownership from large estates to smaller estates without confiscation, the Constitutional Act for brushing aside the Chartist demand for triennial Parliaments, instead favouring a longer, more stable parliament after years of political instability and the Education Act for being deliberately vague on the issue of denominational schooling while providing a Social Reforming Agenda in the field of education. All three were passed, and the most significant challenge presented to the Constitutional Act, which was opposed by a significant number within the Democratic wing of the Coalition, with Conservative votes being required to get a majority in the Commons. In Public, the reaction to the Allotment Act was one of underwhelming support at best. Many believed that the chasm in promises to tenant farmers, especially in Ireland and Scotland, and the reality of the reforms left much to be desired. Many looked to other theories and solutions to remedy the situation - most prominently the theories of Henry George.

The New Government were, however, buoyed by a series of military victories throughout the earlier months of 1885, which destroyed the Mahdi with a heavy weaponry assault on their strongholds in the far South of Sudan, while an insurgency would remain for the rest of the decade, essentially the Sudanese campaign had secured Sudan under British & Egyptian influence. Egyptian Armies, under the command of Kitchener, managed to defeat also fight well into the Sahara and chased an Army raised by Arabi Pasha, well out of Egypt. Kitchener's Army managed to kill and capture the body of Arabi Pasha in February 1885, and in the melee, some French colonialists attempting to smuggle weapons were killed. Mahdist forces would flee to the coastlines and into Italian-held territory in the Horn of Africa largely, and establish themselves on the very edge of the British control. Chamberlain reaffirmed his faith in Evalyn Baring, Consul-General, to reform the Egyptian finances and this had begun to bear fruit in mid-1885, as the deficit was controlled and budget surpluses were restored. Chamberlain was able to report to the Commons and the country in March 1885 that “the main elements of the Sudan Campaign appear to be at an end and our temporary occupation of Egypt is nearing its conclusion”. Britain would not leave for some years, however.

Drunk on Nationalism after claiming military victory, the Coalition Government sought to take the initiative by organising pageantry to unite the country. First of all, an Order-in-Council was issued to bring an end to the 'Flag Crisis' - which was only a crisis if the lack of a national flag is something that would greatly concern you. Since the 1801 Order in Council, the official flag of the United Kingdom had been the Union Jack, which was a combination of the St George's Cross, St Andrew's Cross and St Patrick's Cross. This remained unchanged, despite the change in Government and the use of an additional flag, the British Republican Flag, which had grown since the Orange Coup. The Conservative Elements of the Coalition wished to symbolically revive the Union Jack as the Union Flag, especially as since the Constitutional Laws, Naval ensigns had remained unchanged and the Colonies themselves had informally adopted defaced flags with the Union Jack integrated. This had, like so many things in the Constitutional Laws, left the country between symbols that it could not compromise - any use of the Union Jack was seen as Monarchist, and any use of the Republican flag was seen as, well, Republican. Senator Dilke was fiercely opposed to any motion, but as Keeper of the Great Seal, was instructed to maintain neutrality with Government affairs. He was previously irked by the plan to place both flags, the Republican and Union Jack, on Colonial flags, and resisted this attempt to revive a compromise with loyalism but Churchill had raised this to Chamberlain during the discussions about forming a coalition: Conservative sentiment had always wanted to change the flag back to its old design, but it was felt this would have caused consternation with Radical Republicans such as Dilke.

The Rally for the Union Movement had, however, presented a new proposal that was designed to bring about the commonality between the two movements. They had begun to use the colours of the Royalist faction (Royal Blue) and the Republicans (Green) and had begun to identify themselves with the Turquoise colour as the defining colour of their grouping. This was also to distinguish it from the yellow commonly associated with the Liberal Party, and the pink and red of the Radical Republicans. The final design was put to a Grand Council Committee controlled by Senator John Ruskin, and they selected a design by a Naval Officer, John Bythesea, which featured a blue and green block with a thin white strip between them. Bythesea also proposed an Imperial Symbol, the Blue Lion, to represent the Fearsome Maritime nature of the British Imperial Sphere. Per the Order-in-Council on February 8th 1885, the Union Flag was declared to be the Blue, White and Green and the Blue Lion were added in place of the Union Jack to the flags of the Colonies, the Naval Ensign and the flags of the Armed Forces. Despite this new design, Chamberlain feared that the removal of the Red, White and Green entirely would provoke a reaction from traditional Republicans, so decided to introduce combinations of the colours to several of the States, each of which was given an official flag by parallel Lieutenancy Orders-in-Council on the same day. New flagpoles were erected on Westminster Palace, the seat of the Parliament and Buckingham Palace, the seat of the Executive, for each of the States, with the new Union flag placed highest. It would remain the Union flag until 1908.

Chamberlain used this ceremony to launch the doctrine of Unionism - “a perfect blend of our present, our past and our future stood in unity within ourselves and to all our citizens.” Enthusiastic supporters, mostly Anglican and Legitimist Anglican working-class, partook in what has been known as the “Turquoise Revolution” between 1885 and 1886, forming “Rallying Brigades” of citizens that tore down references to the old Republican flag in major cities and attacked symbols and buildings they deemed as “factionalist”, including opposition parties headquarters (deemed to be causing division in the country between political groups, unlike the Coalition), Independent Trade Unions (which were deemed to be causing division between the classes, as opposed to Skilled Unions which cooperated with the Government) and centres for Immigrants, especially Jews and Catholic immigrants, who were seen to be split in their loyalty between their faith and their country. Anything that was a threat to unity, in theory, was destroyed. This was localised in the South East of England and saw the mass influx of Jewish and Irish Populations away from Greater Anglia, Mercia and Southern England and towards London and the North of the Country - between 1884 and 1887, 300,000 would make the trip to friendlier territories. Small pockets of this also occurred in traditionally Orange areas, like Anglican and Presbyterian Liverpool, Glasgow and the Greater Belfast areas. In these three areas, ‘protection’ for these targeted groups took the form of locally organised crime groups, which had developed over the previous decade and were often led by ex-pat associations in the Irish Community, and soon, they provided protection for synagogues and other groups who bore the brunt of the desire for unity.

The Victories in Sudan, after the protracted and humiliating victories in Afghanistan, and the relative defeat in the Boer War boosted the morale of the British State, and made Government supporters bullish in Westminster and the levers of Government; the Army, the Navy and the Houses of Parliament. The Governmental Parliamentary Committee was buzzing with chatter, exchange of ideas and visions for the country, now popularity was ensured. It also enhanced the careers of the Generals involved; Gordon, Wolseley and Kitchener massively. A state parade in each of the State Capitals occurred in the aftermath of the return of the First Sudan Campaign in April 1885 to much fanfare, and the Manchester Guardian wrote in its report on the parade and reception in Lancaster, that “the Turquoise, Blue, White and Green appears to have taken the hold of those celebrating the victorious campaign to the Soudan, and the reception in particular towards Gordon and Kitchener were especially energetic... when Chamberlain, the man who encouraged the intervention appeared, he was heralded with roses and banners bearing his name.” 1885 saw a series of landmark speeches from Chamberlain, Churchill and Primrose that will continue on this doctrine of unity; Churchill spoke to the conference of the General Federation of Trade Unions, becoming the first Tory to do so, and stressed the desire for “unity in all aspects of life; between city dweller and farmer, worker and boss and government and the ordinary citizen... unity shall be our ultimate aim as the unity that has been shown in accomplishing our Imperial endeavours, that accomplishment will bring about the prosperity for every Briton”.

Chamberlain also spread his political wings during this period and began attending the meetings of a growing political movement that had spanned the Radical and Conservative wings and brought them together: the Imperial Federation. The Movement was inspired in earnest by a book authored in 1883 by John Seeley, The Expansion of the Union. Seeley had summarised that the British Empire was an accidental phenomenon without a guide or focus. The book in essence stated that the British Empire could only go two ways: either the eventual distance between the settler colonies and the Imperial heart in London grows to full Independence and separation or an organisation of the colonies must be made to bring those colonies closer together. Expansion of the Union was a hit, and altered the debate on the colonies, allowing a differing prism with which to debate the Egyptian and Sudanese Campaigns, as Chamberlain was able to align the philosophy of good governance and integration with the British system of Government with the economic benefits of empire, and justified the war as part of a long-term plan to liberate and civilise the colonies with a gradual expansion of Britain overseas, to create a “Greater Britain” of all the settler colonies as equal partners, and the territories in a development system to build them economically to attract more settlers to administer the government. When the bellicose jingoism was combined with the superiority complex of Imperial White Man’s Burden, it lead to a situation like the Sudan, where Britain could claim victory purely with the technological advantage in warfare and use that to reaffirm their belief in their superiority. It also attracted foreign attention - Victoria of Prussia said in a letter to her friend William Gladstone: "How I wish, my dear friend, you would read that admirable little book, The Expansion of Union, by Prof. Seeley!! It is wonderful and so statesmanlike, so farsighted, clear, and fair" sending a copy of the book to him. He replied: "Although I think the Professor scribe gets upon rather slippery ground when he undertakes to deal with politics more practical than historical or scientific, yet it is certainly most desirable that English folk should consider their position, present and prospective, in the world". Chamberlain spoke about the desire to federate the Empire as early as 1884, saying “I hope we will be able, as soon as practically possible, bring together the independencies of the British Empire into federal units, that one should feel what the others feel, that all should be equally responsible, that all should have a share in the welfare and sympathize with the welfare of every part. That is what I hope, but there is little hope for it if you weaken the ties which now bind the central portion of the Empire together.”

Chamberlain didn’t believe he could get this through Parliament, but he maintained his support for it throughout 1885, attending meetings as a speaker, attending parliamentary clubs and campaigning together. Despite being the Prime Minister, Chamberlain had been continuously campaigning since the election to rebuild his popular brand after the split in the Democrats. This swing in the way of unity had brought the idea of the Imperial Federation back into the light of the political sphere, and Chamberlain began to particularly enjoy the Imperial Federation League, or IFL, consisting of many high society figures in both Radical and Aristocratic circles. The idea spread like wildfire through the fashionable classes of old and new, and IFL meetings at Parliament were attended by Royal Establishment and Radical Republicans alike. All were attracted to the concept of Imperial Federation and it proved a pivotal laboratory for Progressive Unionism. It focused on the desire to spread Britishness everywhere and proposed starting by annexing the Anglosphere settler colonies into the Union of Britain directly. Senator Cavendish was prominent in the group, as was George Shipton, as was Joseph Arch, as was Jesse Collings. In 1885, this had led Chamberlain to be bolder: “We should be enacting, as much as practically possible, legislation to bring the Union colonies closer together and promote the trade between the individual units”. This speech gave him the attention of this influential group.

Senator Primrose was a big fan of the idea as well, and it seemed a current within the Coalition wanted to move this way. Churchill was more focused on domestic matters, and wanted to enact Disraeli-style social reforms, usually in Public Health: he advocated heavily for an expansion of healthcare for the homeless early in January 1885, better dwellings for artisans and provided new powers for States to enact a certain level of slum clearance. Churchill also began pressing for the creation of a Labour arbitration board, which would circumvent the need for independent Trade Unions and believed that these Unions could be the basis of a basic accident and unemployment insurance completely self-funded. Unity would be extended to all classes, respecting all classes. Chamberlain and Churchill’s political ideology for the Government was finally distilled into writing in a series of columns in The Union by ‘The Unifier’ - designed at creating a coherent programme for Government. This is an extremely consequential series of essays and opinions that created the political space for the Coalition's existence. The unity of Radicals and Tories had to mean something, after all. Eighteen Essays were produced but three main areas of analysis explored in the Essays form the main tenants of Unionism; Patriotism, Centrism and Unity, and one element that was not included: so-called 'Fair Trade'.

Patriotism, it was said, “fuels the unique path that England has taken on its quest to civilise mankind” and “allows the shared Brotherhood of race and creed that brought us to the ultimate sovereignty - our Parliament”. It attempted to draw a historical analysis that placed Parliamentary representation at the heart of British life. Having been a constant through crisis, its absence was unimaginable. Therefore to preserve Parliamentary sovereignty, the British people must be an unbreakable Union wherever they were and must spread Union and Parliamentary Sovereignty around the world. Any threat to Unity was a threat to Democracy and Parliamentary sovereignty, so those who were Patriotic believed that a State intervening and spreading that mission, protecting it abroad and fostering it outside its lands was a key part of a mission to make the world British. They must protect their interests and protect their colonies, and encourage trade between them and Britain, by development. Churchill and Chamberlain had written another Essay, on what they described as “Fair Trade”: preferential treatment for Colonies and a tariff for foreign goods.

The argument delivered in this "Fair Trade" Essay was primarily constructed by Churchill, and painted the ills of British Industry as primarily the fault of Free Trade, saying: "Your iron industry is dead; dead as mutton. Your coal industries, which depend greatly upon the iron industries, are languishing. Your silk industry is dead, assassinated by the foreigner. Your woollen industry is in articulo mortis, gasping, struggling. Your cotton industry is seriously sick. The shipbuilding industry, which held out longest of all, is come to a standstill. Turn your eyes where you like, survey any branch of British industry you like, and you will find signs of a mortal disease. The self-satisfied Radical philosophers will tell you it is nothing; they point to the great volume of British trade. Yes, the volume of British trade is still large, but it is a volume which is no longer profitable; it is working and struggling. So do the muscles and nerves of the body of a man who has been hanged twitch and work violently for a short time after the operation. But death is there, all the same, life has utterly departed, and suddenly comes the rigot mortis...But what has produced this state of things? Free imports? I am not sure; I should like an inquiry; but I suspect free imports of the murder of our industries much in the same way as if I found a man standing over a corpse and plunging his knife into it I should suspect that man of homicide, and I should recommend a coroner's inquest and a trial by jury." Chamberlain had been introduced to the Fair Trade Movement by C.T Richie, a Conservative Senator.

Centrism was an underhanded attack on Liberal-Democratic and Georgist movements spouting up. Centrism was explained that the Government should follow the People’s Will and not succumb to “faddism” of bowing to intellectual elite ideas at the expense of harmony between classes. Centrism dictated that the era of strife had ended, and the era of classes governing equally through one movement was at hand. “Faddism will define our opposition, governing will define our ministry,” said Essay Number 6, “On Centrism”. Centrism also meant being reflective of people’s needs and listening to all opinions. The same essay talks about a Government that “brings together all interests in the country for the benefit of the Union that provides our benefit and our Empire”. Number 7, “On the History of Centrism” provided a historical analysis that governments that provided a link across party lines had allowed great advancements, such as Peel’s or Palmerston’s, but faddism and disunity provided instability. Centrism dictated, essentially, that things were okay the way they were, and a party of the Centre could make the changes requested when things didn’t work. Governments plagued by Faddism do not succeed in effective Governance. “There is no philosopher ahead of the one main objective of the Government: to protect the State and the People.”

Finally, Unity would be the main element of the ideology of the Government. 'The Unifier' argued that if a Party was truly Patriotic and encapsulated all Patriotic Persons in the Union, and they were conscious and able to remain in the Centre of debate, then factionalism, or faddism, wouldn't be required and disunity would be only pursued for nefarious ends. Orange, Red and Yellow threats to the Social Order would surely be targeted for the endeavour of returning Britain to the turmoil it suffered from 1867 to 1875. "Disunity will always be a threat to our existence and should be avoided at all costs. All classes, peoples and creeds of the Union and its territories are brought together in the philosophy of the guiding principle - the principle of the Englishman." These three defining pillars: Patriotism, Centrism and Unity, would become the defining pillars of Unionism, and after their publication, held great sway in intellectual England. 80,000 copies of the essays published as a whole entitled "The Unity Programme". The Unity Programme had a profound effect on the body politic of the Union. It is interesting to note that one member of the Union Council, albeit a separate and independent member, was excluded from this ideological smorgasbord: Senator Charles Dilke. His distance from the governing trifecta was growing by the day, and his opposition to the new Union flag had confirmed him as a marked man: his days were numbered in the eyes of the Prime Minister, and he would get his opportunity soon enough to side-line him forever.
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