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What is this?
Oh you know.......another Timeline?
Don't you have like 2 ongoing timelines and multiple others?
......yes?
*Sigh* what is it about?
Basically a different history of Britain after the Crimean War to make a 'better' Britain. Better does not mean bigger though. The only land Britain will retain will be Ireland really. I mean better in other things; economy, society, politics etc.
......Interesting.......How will you update it?
2 long updates per month. Smaller updates will be inconsistent.

 
Ooh, this sounds like a non-Imperial Britwank, something I’d always thought would make a good basis for a TL but have neither the time nor the talent to write:)
 
Chapter 1: The 1859 Election and Aftermath
Providence and the United Kingdom: A TL on Victorian Britain

Chapter 1: The 1859 Election and Aftermath
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“In the year of 1858, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Henry John Temple, the 3rd Viscount of Palmerston was forced to resign from his post as Prime Minister. This was the culmination of the dislike that Queen Victoria had for the Whig politician and Orsini Affair. Supported by English radicals, Felice Orsini, an Italian revolutionary had tried to assassinate the French Emperor, Napoleon III. The result was the dispatching of several diplomats throughout Europe as Anglo-French relations dropped to a new low after the end of the Crimean War. Count Alexandre Joseph Colonna-Walewski ordered a dispatch to the 4th Earl of Clarendon to stop the British government from giving the right of asylum to anyone involved in the affair, which sparked a diplomatic row with the French government, with the British demanding that the right to give asylum in Britain was a British decision alone. In order to stop the brewing crisis, Palmerston introduced a new bill in the House of Commons, making it illegal to plot the murder of anyone abroad whilst within the borders of Britain. His opposition, the Conservative Party voted in favor of the bill during the first reading, however on the initiation of rising star Benjamin Disraeli in the Conservative Party, the Conservatives voted against the bill during its second reading. Aided by cross-party allies, Thomas Milner Gibson, on the goading of Disraeli, introduced a motion of censure on the government, and managed to win the motion with a majority of 19 votes, thus forcing Palmerston to resign from his post as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

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The Orsini Affair

The Conservatives returned to power under the command of the Earl of Derby, one of their iconic leaders, and Palmerston returned to the opposition. However, this was a godsend in a way for Palmerston. On March 18, 1859, John Russell, the 1st Earl Russel introduced a bill and a resolution that would widen the franchise by 4%. This was opposed by the conservatives in the commons, but due to their lack of majority, the bill was carried through. This allowed the opposition to call for a general election, which culminated in the form of the British General Elections of 1859.

The General Election of 1859 saw Palmerston gather the Whigs and pro-Whig independents in the Commons to form what is today called the first true Liberal Party government in the United Kingdom (though the party itself would not be established properly for a decade). Peelites also rejoined the conservatives in the tallies, and the Conservatives allied with one another on a varying but pro-free trade platform. The election was largely a quite affair, with wholesale county elections not going contested at all, and the election also saw the lowest number of candidates for six decades. Nonetheless, despite the lackluster showing of the election, that did not stop Palmerston from making promises to his party and the Commons. Palmerston continued his 1858 rhetoric and stated plainly that he planned to oppose the purchase of commissions in the British Army and see them abolished alongside other military reforms after the dismal showing of the British Army during the Crimean War. More importantly, he also rode high on promises of expanding the franchise, and allowing for greater liberal economic ideas to float around. These promises which seemed empty at the time proved to be decisive, as these were the basic tenets of Chartism and the failure of the Chartists to gain any representation in the Commons during the Election finally destroyed the Chartists as a political force with a whining whimper within the United Kingdom, though their influence and legacy carries on towards even today. [1]


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The 3rd Viscount of Palmerston, the new Prime Minister in October 1859

Most reluctantly, Queen Victoria accepted the Liberal/Whig majority in the Commons and invited Palmerston to form another (his last) government. Palmerston accepted the invitation and formed a new governmental cabinet. As was usual, he took up the role as First Lord of Treasury and Leader of the House of Commons alongside his role as Prime Minister. Old and experienced barrister and lawyer, John Campbell, the 1st Baron Campbell was appointed as the Lord Chancellor of the United Kingdom. Slightly controversial was his appointment of Lord Granville as the Lord President of the Council and as the Leader of the House of Commons. The appointment was controversial due to the fact that the House of Lords was dominated by the Conservatives, and the Tories had hoped that a Tory appointment would take place, allowing them to influence the policy of the new ministry. This failed, and as a result, several Tory leaning pro-Whig/Liberal independents defected over to the Conservatives in the Commons. This did not diminish the majority that the Liberals had in the Commons, but it was a hit nonetheless. The Duke of Argyll was appointed as the Lord Privy Seal, and Sir George Cornewall Lewis was appointed as the Secretary of State for the Home Department. Lord Russel returned to the Foreign Ministry, whilst the Duke of Newcastle was anointed as the Secretary of State for the Colonies.

There was however some controversy over the position of Secretary of State for India. Palmerston had wanted to appoint Charles Wood, the 1st Viscount Halifax as the Secretary, however many Irish members of the Commons had refused to allow his ascension to the post. This was largely because of Halifax’s own role in the Irish Famine, wherein he successfully persuaded the post-Peelite Whig government against intervention in the Irish Famine, which arguably set the tone of the massive scale of deaths in the Famine. He had preferred to leave the Irish to starve rather than to undermine the government by allowing cheaply imported grain to filter into the Emerald Isle. Pro-Indian members of the Commons also opposed his appointment fearing a similar approach to India. As a result, Palmerston was forced to withdraw his candidacy and his stead, George Robinson, the 1st Marquess of Ripon was made the Secretary of State of India. [2]

Edward Cardwell was appointed as the Secretary of State for War, whilst Sidney Herbert became the Chief Secretary for Ireland. Rising figure in the Liberal Party, William Ewart Gladstone was anointed as the Chancellor of the Exchequer and most intriguingly, Thomas Milner Gibson, the man who had led the censure of the government in 1858 was appointed the President of the Board of Trade and the Poor Law Board. This was a surprising appointment and not at all what anyone had expected. Nonetheless, it is assumed today that during 1858 and early 1859 a rapprochement between the two politicians took place, as letters affirm that Gibson had known that in the event of Palmerston regaining office, he would be given a cabinet position. Sir George Grey became the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and finally Lord Elgin became the Postmaster-General, thus ending the cabinet appointments of Palmerston.

The new ministry would see itself in a problem merely a week after its appointment at the helm of Queen Victoria. The Great Storm of 1859 was perhaps the greatest and most severe storm to have hit the Irish Sea throughout the 19th century. The storm was preceded by several weeks of rough weather in the Irish Sea, however the storm manifested itself at around 3 pm on the afternoon of the 25th of October, 1859 in the English Channel before it drifted northward into the Irish Sea all the way up towards Scotland as well. Historical records note that the winds of the storm reached Force 12 on the Beaufort Scale, whilst the winds themselves were well over 160 kilometers per hour. The storm left behind a trail destruction, creating structural damage in Devon, Cornwall, Wales, the Isle of Mann and the Western Coast of England and Scotland. But perhaps more than the structural damage, nearly 900 people died in the storm, becoming one of the deadliest storms in British history. The largest loss of life in the storm happened to be the wrecking of the Royal Charter, which was a steam clipper carrying nearly 500 people from Melbourne (from the then Colony of Australia) to Liverpool. The ship was thrown off course by the storm and the ship was driven ashore near the eastern coast of Anglesey, resulting in the deaths of 454 people.


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The Royal Charter in the Great Storm of 1859.

Commercially, the storm was an economic disaster as well, resulting in the sinking of 133 ships, and badly damaging 190 other ships as well. The result was that several trading goods were lost to the sea and a total of ~75,000 pounds was estimated to be the total economic cost of the disaster. Gibson, the President of the Board of Trade took command of the situation under the authority of the Cabinet, and is credited with raising the status and importance of the Meteorological Office which was a small department within the Board of Trade which had been established in 1854 by Vice Admiral Robert FitzRoy. Using loans from the Bank of England, Gibson authorized FitzRoy with the construction of around 15 coastal stations in Britain and 4 coastal stations in Ireland which would provide gale warnings in the future to the British government. More importantly, the cabinet connected these coastal stations with the newly invented telegraph, which would transmit weather reports to the main building in London at all times. This was the beginning of the Meteorological Office’s rise to power, and both Gibson and FitzRoy are credited (rightfully so, though narratives sometimes forget that Palmerston had been the one to fund the program). [3]

The construction and expansion of the Meteorological Office proved to be a success, and the passage of the Reconstruction Act 1859 which gave funds to the people affected by the storm would prove that the Palmerston Ministry had a bright future of itself.” – Pg 87 – 91 of British Liberal Prime Ministers: 1855 – present by Cambridge Publishing Press

***

“Perhaps the largest growing political issue at home for the new incoming ministry was the Irish Question within the United Kingdom. In March 1858, on St. Patrick’s Day, the Fenian Brotherhood was formed by 1848 veteran James Stephens. This organization was not limited only to the United Kingdom, but all the way across the Atlantic with the Americans as well, where John O’Mahony established the Irish Republican Brotherhood, which was in league with the Fenians. The Fenians took strength from the strong Irish flavor that was present in America, and as one New York article put out ‘The Irish men and women of America who pray, hope and labour for the disenthralment of their race and the redemption of their land is this brotherhood’s main driving force’. Fenianism involved a commitment to popular politicization, but also to secrecy and to the establishment of a democratic and independent Irish Republic.


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A Fenian propaganda poster.

Irish emigration was also rising throughout the United Kingdom. Most went to the United States, but many also went to New Zealand, Canada, and Liverpool. Despite the folklore of the ‘Returned Yank’ in Irish Nationalist Historiography, very few Irishmen came back from America to live in Ireland. Palmerston was of the opinion that the economy would be able to control the pattern of emigration that could be beneficial to Britain as a whole. Therefore, he argued that the creation of new commercial services in Ireland would see them tied to their headquarters in Britain itself, which would make emigration to the main British Isle more covetous than America, from where the Irish Republican Brotherhood was based (and unlike what many in the brotherhood believed, the British government was well aware of their movements). This was opposed by more anti-Catholic members of the cabinet, and some pragmatists as well, who feared communal violence between protestant English and Welshmen against catholic Irishmen. The concept of ‘Irish community’ was also important in their argument against this policy put forward by Palmerston. The concept of Irish Community, taking in second generation Irish folk at least reflected the tightly bound community ethos of travelling Irish labourers, which made sure that Irish communities were dominated by no one else by Irishmen themselves, wherever they may be in the British Isles.

Palmerston however pointed out that local studies showed that this was not actually the case, [4] and that Irishmen were not special compared to other internal English, Welsh or Scottish immigrants within the country itself. While there was some historical substance to the belief that the Irish invariably took to the poorest areas of cities, monopolized unskilled jobs and contributed to the ethos of squalor, rowdiness and general drunkenness and vagrant violence, which was recorded by even fellow Irishmen in Britain at the time [5], but unlike what the press, which seemed to exaggerate by a great deal, these events were much fewer than what was reported to the British public.

Thus the Irish Commercial Act of 1859 was introduced to the Commons on the 27th of November. This act was designed to provide tax incentives and tax breaks to a few industrial commercial firms in Great Britain which had shown interest in Ireland’s economic potential. This was an innovative, yet historically tried and tested way of garnering commercial support within foreign lands, and the act, which conformed with several Toryite faction’s pro-free trade policies, allowed the bill to pass both readings into official law. The commercial act was supported by the Manor Courts Abolition (Ireland) Act 1859 which transferred disputes that were previously dealt in manor courts to petty session courts, which ensured that there was increased legitimacy and freedom of legality within such cases. Palmerston was trying hard to regain the legitimacy that Britain had over Ireland, and in order to fulfill this, Sir Sidney Herbert, the Chief Secretary of Ireland created the policy of ‘To Kill Nationalism with Kindness’ policy that would define British policy to Ireland thereafter. [6]. The policy can be aptly summarized as trying to reduce nationalism and separatism in Ireland by committing to reforms and developing Ireland as an equal within the Union of Kingdoms.


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Sir Sidney Herbert, the Chief Secretary of Ireland

The first act in favor of this policy would be the economic taxes and investigations that were levied against the absentee landlords in Ireland. The terrible clearances of Irish monetary resources from the late 1840s to the early 1850s, which included nearly 50,000 evictions gave Palmerston and Herbert to politically assert their position that land reform was needed in Ireland lest all the landlords lost their property in Ireland. This rhetorical threat was enough to see the acts pass through even the Tory dominated House of Lords.

In order to find room for land reforms within Ireland, the United Kingdom’s new Prime Minister commissioned the Chancellor of the Exchequer William Ewart Gladstone and Herbert, the Chief Secretary of Ireland in what became known as the Gladstone-Herbert Commission to file a detailed report into the land situation in Ireland, and for ideas for further land reforms in Ireland. The report was to be handed over to Parliament and Cabinet by October 31, 1860. The Gladstone-Herbert Commission would lay down the foundation for the Irish Land Acts of 1861 – 1885.” Pg 227 – 230 of British Ireland by Oxford University Publishing.

***

“In what was a British dominated war for the most part, the news of the Second Battle of Taku Fort in the Second Opium War filtering back to Britain brought with it outrage. For 32 Chinese soldiers dead, the British had lost 81 men and had seen more than 350 men injured and wounded. Britain’s erstwhile allies in China, France and the USA meanwhile lost a mere 12 and 1 men respectively. Coupled with the early poor showing of British forces in the Crimean War and the Indian Mutiny, the need for severe army reform was there for all to see within the British government. The British army had since 1849 called for reforms, however governmental delays, and monetary conservatism made army reforms a non-starter.

However, the appointment of Cardwell and Gladstone to the position of Secretary of War and Chancellor of the Exchequer respectively saw this situation change, as both men were willing to change the status quo. Gladstone and Palmerston paid little attention to military affairs, but both men were keen on military and economic efficiency. The question of course remained on how reforms would happen. A letter from Palmerston to Cardwell after his appointment to the cabinet illustrates this point in its entirety.


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Viscount Cardwell, the leader of the Cardwell Military Reforms

In light of the growing dissatisfaction with the army at the current period, it is highly likely that we [the government] will have to engage in martial reforms within the British Army. The disasters of Crimea and India cannot be allowed to have a repeat performance. But of course, the fiscally conservative faction in the House of Lords will remain wary of any such reform. The aristocracy has controlled the army ever since the tradition of the [commission purchase] officers emerged. What we need is slow and gradual reforms, ones that have been brewing for years already that were not acted upon by our previous governments.

Cardwell and Gladstone would assuage Palmerston’s fears, when gradual reforms, were taken into account. One of the first acts taken by Cardwell was the abolition of the flogging in peacetime. This action was opposed by virtually every senior officer in the army, though it was supported by junior officers. Opposition tried to use the late Duke of Wellington’s remarks, which supported flogging to make sure that the practice stayed, however in a particularly acidic attack by Cardwell in the Commons, Cardwell ‘politely’ reminded the Commons that warfare of 1815 and warfare of 1859 were two extremely different beasts. Flogging however was a practice that was on its natural way out. Ever since the Crimean War, troops had been complaining by flogging in the droves [7] and its abolition was a matter that would have come into the British Army one way or another.

Gladstone on the other hand, fought with the Conservatives in the Commons to reverse another Wellingtonian policy. Gladstone intended to have self-governing colonies to raise their own colonial troops and withdraw scattered army regiments into Britain. The scattering of troops through the British Colonial Empire had been a Wellingtonian policy which was an abject economic failure, something which even the Tories recognized. However, the Conservatives pointed out that whilst the economic failure of the policy was there for all to see, it was essential in defending the borders of British colonial interests, in particular against the encroaching Americans in the New World and the Russians in the Old World. Thus, they stated that reform within the policy was something they could accept, but abolishing the policy entirely was something that they couldn’t. It was a good counterpoint and Gladstone reluctantly accepted this view of affairs from the official opposition. The invocation of the growing enmity between Russia and Britain certainly aided in convincing Gladstone otherwise as well.

Other than these two structural defects in the army, Cardwell turned his attention to tactics and strategy within the army for the remainder of 1859. In the Indian Mutiny British troops had been facing line against line formations, which allowed the British to exploit the Indian people’s differing antipathy, religion, resentment etc to come out victorious even when outnumbered. In pitched battles in open fields of India, the British army could overcome superior Sepoy infantry in part due to the military inexperience of local Indian officers, but more so due to the superiority of British soldier’s Enfield Rifle, which had ironically triggered the munity in the first place and enabled effective fire to greater ranges than the ordinary musket. However, the Crimean War had shown that the line against line formation was quickly becoming outdated and the line formation of battalions struggled in the street fighting elements of the Siege of Sevastopol and its surrounding battles.

Cardwell thus issued the Field Exercises and Evolution of Infantry issue 1833 (which had been put off for more than two decades) to the army on December 18, 1859. This covered not only the handling of a battalion in the field as was customary of British infantry books, but also of higher formations. Though the battalion eight company organization was unchanged by Cardwell, the flank companies which were allowed to remain in 1858 were abolished in 1859 and the 1859 manual stipulated for the first time in British army history the practice that all infantry battalion be proficient in light infantry duties, which included definitions such as protective, reconnaissance, covering and observation activities in the army. This greater emphasis on light infantry tactics, also called as skirmishing, was more appropriate for the 400 to 900-yard range of the Enfield and increased the rate of fire (10 rounds per minute from 2 rounds per minute) of the snider which was the first breech loader in the British army. Maneuvers to form lines, column and squares were continued in practice, but they were granted a lower rank of importance and allowed light infantry tactics to come to the forefront.

Similarly, a new commission to look into the matter of siege warfare and its growth and the effect of modern artillery into it was commissioned by Cardwell late in the year under the command of Charles Sackville-West, the 6th Earl of De La Warr. All of these tentative reforms and policies that were announced in 1859 would be the tentative step forward for Britain and the British Army towards the Cardwell Reforms of 1859 – 1864 which ensured the modernization of the British Army in its full.” Pg 321 – 325 of Queen Victoria’s Army by Samuel Johnson [8]

***

“In October, 1859 after the new Liberal ministry had taken power, Albert, the Prince of Wales, arrived at Oxford. Albert browbeat the poor and reluctant Dean Liddel of Christ Church that the Prince would remain in isolation, as was ordered of him by Queen Victoria. However, Albert hated his isolation, later claiming that it damaged his education, which it certainly did. His rigid system of studying at Oxford without socialization with the other students was considered unhealthy by Prince Consort Albert. Nevertheless, unlike what would expected of a prince called a playboy today, he was diligent in his studies, and an oral examination and written examination conducted in early December of 1859 showed that the Prince was certainly adept at studying.


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Prince Albert, Prince of Wales and future Edward VII as a student in Oxford

Victoria made a practice of sending ‘Bertie’ a report on his behavior at the end of each holiday and in the letter that she addressed him with in the Christmas of 1859, she was particularly stinging towards her eldest son. The Queen stated that he had dawdled and wasted his time, and the Queen had noticed a ‘growing listlessness and inattention acquired with self-indulgence’ that was extremely dangerous for a prospective monarch. “Let me never hear of you lying down on a sofa or an armchair except when you are ill or returned from a long and fatiguing day.” [9]

Victoria was growing dismayed with the dalliance that the Prince of Wales had formed with another fellow Oxford student Sir Frederick Johnstone. Johnstone was exactly the kind of person that could lead a proper man astray. Johnstone was a heavy drinker, known for trying to find the ‘fairer sex’s charms’ rather than studying and a man with an all-round unpleasant attitude to anyone who knew nothing of him. His influence on the Prince of Wales could be seen when Victoria got a horrifying report telling her that her son’s garment’s measurements stood at 33 ¾ inches for Chest and 35 ¼ inches for waist. The man was on the tipping point of growing overweight, and if action wasn’t taken soon enough Victoria correctly assumed that the physical health and mental maturity of her son would come into question. Victoria tried to send more letters to persuade her son into giving up the relationship, however Albert wrote back meek and submissive letters that strayed from the overall point. The Queen irritation when she writes “It is very discouraging when I write to you dear child, full of anxiety for your welfare and receive nothing by an indifferent answer…….Try in future dear and enter a little into what Mama in the fullness of her heart writes to you.” [10] Is apparent.

It was finally on the initiation and pushing of Robert Bruce, the British officer who served as the Governor to the Prince of Wales that Albert finally decided to end his relationship with Johnstone and a small exercising routine was created by the British Army officer for the young prince to regain his physical stature. [11] With Albert turning over to a new leaf on the initiation of his old friend and mentor, Queen Victoria and Prince Consort Albert began to look for potential brides for the young Prince of Wales. Prince Consort Albert had his eyes trained on Alexandra of Denmark whilst Victoria had her eyes turned to Princess Marie of the Netherlands. Alexandra of Denmark and Marie of the Netherlands were both good matches in their own rights. Alexandra’s father was the heir to the Danish Throne and her mother, Princess Louise had a reputation for being an intelligent woman. Princess Marie on the other hand was the daughter of Prince Frederick of the Netherlands, the Prince of Orange-Nassau and through him, the granddaughter of William I of the Netherlands. Unlike Alexandra who was known to be a quiet woman (not that that was a bad quality, but Victoria was certainly biased in favor of intelligent women) Marie was known to be vivaciously intelligent and whilst she was called ‘average in her beauty’, her intelligence, and the vast amount of money that would come with her name certainly made Marie an enticing choice as well.


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Marie of the Netherlands and Alexandra of Denmark, the prospective brides for the Prince of Wales

As the year 1859 passed, the two leaders of the British Royal Family sat down and began debating who would be the future Queen of the United Kingdom, Marie or Alexandra?” Pg 243 – 246 of Edward VII: the Last Victorian by John O’Connell.

***

----

Footnotes:-

[1] – as OTL

[2] – A change from OTL.

[3] – Added investment into the meteorological office other than the offices was demanded otl to innovate the economy but did not happen otl, it does ittl.

[4] – Very true, Patrick MacGill’s book in 1924 disproves this entirely.

[5] – In 1855, the British government received ~9000 complaints from other Irish immigrants in Britain about other Irish immigrants generally creating violence here and there.

[6] – This was attempted otl, by Herbert but due to his difference in appointment otl it did not happen. It was a direct precursor to the Kill Home Rule With Kindness Policy.

[7] – very true.

[8] – Information taken from The British Army on Campaign (3) 1856 – 1881 by Osprey Publishing.

[9] – True Quote.

[10] – True Quote as well.

[11] – a divergence from otl, means a much better Edward VII too.
 
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Pretty interesting I always enjoy your TLs and I am sure this one will be pretty good too!
Thank you! I hope the to does not dissapoint.
Ooh, this sounds like a non-Imperial Britwank, something I’d always thought would make a good basis for a TL but have neither the time nor the talent to write:)
Well considering it is the 19th century colonialism will take place, however the main feature of the timeline is yes a non-imperial British wank that slow burns through the era.
Why is the coat of arms showing two Scottish ones rather than two English ones?
Because the Jacobites won obviously 😂😛
It is one of the Victorian coat of arms actually.
 
Excellent start to a timeline, even though this period is one of my greatest interests, there is a lot here I didn't know.

The only query I have (and if I'm jumping the gun and it will become obvious later please just ignore me) is about why you think Marie would be preferable to Alexandra? You seem to imply it's for her intelligence, but I thought the main point of choosing Alexandra was that her beauty would hold Edward's attention (obviously this was anything but a success, however Marie would be.... how shall I say, even less able on that front ).
 
Excellent start to a timeline, even though this period is one of my greatest interests, there is a lot here I didn't know.

The only query I have (and if I'm jumping the gun and it will become obvious later please just ignore me) is about why you think Marie would be preferable to Alexandra? You seem to imply it's for her intelligence, but I thought the main point of choosing Alexandra was that her beauty would hold Edward's attention (obviously this was anything but a success, however Marie would be.... how shall I say, even less able on that front ).
Bertie, whilst still having a reputation for being flirtatious ittl, isn't really going to be a playboy ittl, considering through the dual influence of Bruce and his mother, he stopped his relationship with Johnstone, who arguably set him on the path of being the manwhore he was in his youth. And since that hasn't started, Marie's beauty not holding for Bertie isn't really a concern for both parents at the time.
 
any predictions?
I expect Bertie will marry Marie- if only because it’s the road not taken in OTL and so potentially more interesting.

Beyond this, the narrative so far seems to be one of more focused and successful reform efforts. We seem to be ending up with greater military efficiency. And if “killing nationalism with kindness” is seen to be successful in Ireland, could it be rolled out in other territories?

Beyond that, it’s early days!
 
Doesn’t look like the Cobden–Chevalier Treaty is derailed, so Napoléon III is still going to screw himself on free trade. Pity.

Very interesting start, though it helps that I know a little about the politics of the era—nothing about brides though so that was neat.
 
Chapter 2: The Butterflies flap
Providence and the United Kingdom: A TL on Victorian Britain

Chapter 2: The Butterflies flap
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“Ireland remained the first and foremost issue in domestic British politics even as the new decade dawned as 1859 turned into 1860. Irish nationalism had always been a troublesome bother for mainland British politics ever since the end of the Irish 9 Years War in the reign of Queen Elizabeth in the 1600s, and it had reared its head time and again during the English Civil War (and the subsequent War of Three Kingdoms) as well as in the 1798 Uprising, however those uprisings had always been detached and arguably not supported by the vast majority of the Irish populace. However, the Irish Famine in the 1840s had touched every single Irish family, and dissention against the British government began to grow, as many believed (which was true to an extent) that the British government had abandoned the Irish to their fate. O’Connell had been correct when he stated that if Ireland was to remain in the Union, then they had to be treated as equals in practicality and in practice, rather than just on paper.

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The Celtic Cross of Irish Catholics

All of this of course beckoned towards identity politics. It would have been futile to even state that the Irish did not have their own culture, traditions and identity (even though that didn’t stop some ultra-radical Tories), and many successive British governments had tried unsuccessfully to integrate them into a wider British culture and identity. That had failed of course. Partly due to one reason. Even after Catholic Emancipation was passed by the First Duke of Wellington, the country remained extremely discriminatory against Catholics, and Catholics were viewed with suspicion, whoever they were, regardless of the fact that said Catholics were Irish or not. Finding Catholics in England and Scotland (barring the Highlands) had become a rarity after the 1650s, and as such, most Catholics were undoubtedly Irish. This discrimination forced Irishmen to band together and to fiercely protect their Catholic Heritage. The new Liberal government was acutely aware that such banding could lead to severe communal violence in the future which would only inflame Irish nationalism and validate the words of the Fenians and Irish Republican Brotherhood abroad.

The newly appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, George Howard, the 7th Earl of Carlisle was well liked by the Irish people, but his inaction was seen as treasonous by nationalists as well. Due to all of these factors, the Land Reform Commission that was formed under Chancellor of the Exchequer, William Ewart Gladstone was silently asked to move up the commission’s research time period. Palmerston knew that delaying a publically made promise of land reform within the Emerald Isle would have disastrous consequences for the British authority in Ireland. In this endeavor the British were aided by the Member of Parliament for Youghal, Isaac Butt. While Butt and the Liberal Government disagreed on some fundamental issues such as Butt’s proposal of a true federal United Kingdom divided into four Federal ‘Countries’ (England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland), the government got along well with Butt due to the necessity of having an Irish economist who knew the situation well intimately. To understand the commission’s end results, we must understand the economic situation of Ireland in 1860.

Other than Ulster, industrial output outside of Lagan Valley in Ireland was negligible, and export produce from the Emerald Island was primarily agriculturally produced foodstuffs such as biscuits, distilled alcohols, etc. The Irish economy was largely characterized by a farming society, which was dependent on the British market and their demand for Irish agricultural foodstuffs. Contrary to many generalizations made by nationalistic historiography, there was a presence of an Irish Urban Middle Class, but it was largely comprised of people in service of distribution industries in provincial towns, whose occupations were rurally derived or professional. It should thus not be particularly surprising that the dominating political issue had to with land, most notably the idea of ‘Tenant Rights’, which began to appear on political platforms as early as 1832 before coming to the general attention after the Great Famine. When this happened, it tended to reflect a fluctuation in the stability of agricultural output and profit, but tenure considerations are by no means connected to the recurrent crises of the nineteenth century Ireland. Security of Tenure, as time would show, would not automatically mean that Irish farmers would become efficient investors.

Lord Palmerston, Gladstone, Herbert and Carlisle worked in close coordination with one another with the Land Commission for Ireland and they determined that the Tenure Right would have to be defined by the famous ‘3 F’s’ which simply put meant Free Sale, Free Rent and Fixity of Tenure. Though of course, depending on the place, this definition varied as well, for example, the economic worth of free sale was worth less than a minute of interest in Connemara, but was worth its weight in gold in places like Meath. This definition meant that the policy that Palmerston was trying to implement would have two implications. One moral and one economic. The moral implication was tht the tenant had a certain right in the property owned by the landlord, above and beyond the right conveyed by paying rent, since it outlasted the period for which rent was paid. This meant in an outward way that the land belonged the people and not the landlords. The economic implication was equally significant. If payments were made by incoming tenants, often at a surprisingly high level, in order to occupy a holding for which they would then pay rent, it must have been worth their while to do so. In other words, the formal rent must have been pegged at a lower level than the land could have borne, with the incoming payment making up the difference.


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Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, George Howard, 7th Earl of Carlisle

Post-Repeal Irish politics had reverted to polarization between Irish Liberals (a shadowy and cautious reflection of English Whigs, electorally organized by sympathetic administrations in Dublin Castle) and Tories - a livelier and more 'native' growth. Irish Liberalism would become increasingly marginalized with the rise of Irish Nationalism; Irish Toryism, ideologically flinty and hotly Protestant, would in many ways anticipate Unionism. In the 1850s the Tories created a central organization (1853), and built up a strong urban base among the sectarian artisan populace, the Trinity College professional bourgeoisie and - inevitably - the people of Ulster. The Disraelian Conservative Party had an eye to Irish talent, especially lawyers; Tory Viceroys like Eglintonlv and Marlborough" were more adept at playing the Irish popularity game than the Whigs. Both Irish Liberal and Tory MPs were overwhelmingly from the landed classes. The challenge facing the Tenant Rights movement was how to break into the enclosed subculture of Irish politics. This was apparently facilitated by the fact that the MP William Sharman Crawford had already embarked upon a campaign to legalize customary Ulster tenant rights; publicists like Gavan Duffy and Frederick Lucasvil were equally predisposed to work through Parliament, the result being an all-Ireland Tenant League that emerged as the first Irish political organization with a social, rather than a political, platform. It was, however, far from being a 'League of North and South', as Duffy grandiosely christened it. Whether it represented the interest of 'tenants' as normally conceived is also questionable; John George Adair, the evicting landlord of Derryveagh, offered himself as a Tenant Right candidate in 1857.


In voting terms, tradesmen and the declining artisanate saw it as irrelevant; some shopkeepers, merchants and strong farmers supported it, but the towns more or less ignored it. (The authentic tone of the out-of-touch radical schoolmaster may be heard in Tenant League addresses like the one that dealt with the morality of leasehold tenure by references to Cicero and Epictetus, delivered from the balcony of Cronin's Hotel, Limerick.) The Tenant Right movement however more importantly spawned an Independent Irish Party in the early 1850s, but never really threatened the old mounds of Irish political representation. Besides leadership difficulties, and the incompatibility of interests between Ulster and the south, there was a characteristic religious difficulty. The Independent Irish Party was based on an alliance between Tenant Righters and the so-called 'Irish Brigade' - Irish MPs who had come together against the anti-popery campaign that dominated English politics in 1850-51. The alliance suffered demoralization when two prominent members accepted government posts from the Peelites, and ran into further trouble when Archbishop Cullen demonstrated reluctance about allowing priests to canvass openly for the Independents in elections. [1] The Reform Bill of 1859 split the party, but as a rump party it still remained a visible force in Irish politics.

On the initiation of Gladstone, the Liberal Government reached out to the Independent Irish Party, which had 13 MPs in Parliament and Gladstone arranged a meeting with the prominent members of the party to discuss an alliance with the government to make sure that the ‘Land Question’ could be solved. The Independent Irish Party was represented in the Cork Meeting by writer John Maguire, who met up with Chief Secretary of Ireland, Samuel Herbert on the 13th of March, 1860. Herbert was interesting in enlisting the aid of the party to create a better land situation in Ireland. Maguire was interested in the proposition in front of him and later with support from the rest of the MPs of the party in parliament, agreed to provide ‘alliance’ to the ruling government in the House of Commons. This would be a direct precursor to the notion of ‘Confidence and Supply’ in modern parliamentary politics. After said alliance was finally agreed upon the 31st of April, 1860, the Independent Irish Party recovered as a force with the aid of the Liberal Party’s aid, and due to their increasing political campaigns throughout Ireland in favor of trying to find a solution to the Land problem. It was with the aid of the Independent Irish Party that Herbert and Carlisle submitted the Irish Land Commission Report to Cabinet on the 14th of July, 1860 which detailed the problems and possible solutions to the Irish land problem. The result of the commission was the Land Act of Ireland 1860.

The Land Act of Ireland 1860 gave the tenants real security from exploitation and provided tenant securities. The act established the principle of dual ownership by landlord and tenant and gave legal status to the Customs of Ireland throughout the island, and provided compensation sustained for land provided for by the Irish Land Commission and a Land Court. In effect it made Exploitive Landlordism ineffective and impossible [2]. It was an important victory for Palmerston’s government and the Independent Irish Party. In particular, it allowed John Maguire, aided by a close friend of his, D’Arcy McGee, who had returned from Canada to Britain [3]. D’Arcy McGee had originally been an Irish nationalist and had migrated to America, however once in America he had become disgusted at Anti-Catholicism and American Republicanism and had subsequently left the country for Canada, before finally returning back to Britain as an Irish Autonomist and pro-British Irishman. The two would go on to reform the Independent Irish Party to become the Irish Emerald Party. Rather than being a loose alliance, the party was an authentic party for the first time in a decade, and stated its goals clearly as being the safeguarding of Irish interests, whilst remaining a part of the United Kingdom.


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A satire on the Poor Landlords after the Land Acts of Ireland passed.


Coupled with the Land Act of 1860, the Banking Regulation Act (Bank of Ireland) 1860 was passed by Gladstone providing more taxation incentives and regulation opportunities to the Bank of Ireland, intended to increase investment into Ireland as well. Communal violence decreased a great deal when the Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act 1860 was passed by the government as well, which made it unlawful for any ecclesiastical court in the United Kingdom to entertain or adjudicate a case of brawling or defamation against any person not in Holy Orders. These three main acts that were passed by the new Liberal Government would only be the beginning of ‘Killing Nationalism With Kindness’ policy that would permeate throughout Ireland for decades to come.”; Pg 288 – 293 of British Ireland by Oxford University Publishing.

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“In 1860, the Unification of Italy was the first matter of importance to which the new Liberal government had to apply itself on the foreign stage. Lord John Russell was the Foreign Secretary, but history shows us that Palmerston himself was involved in foreign matters. Austria still held Venetia after the 1859 Italian War, but had been forced to abandon the rich province of Lombardy led by Marshal MacMahon at the Battle of Magenta. Palmerston was of the opinion that Austria should depart from Venetia, peacefully if possible to make sure that the process was as bloodless as possible. France had been victorious as well, and the French Emperor claimed Savoy and Nice as his rewards, with Britain unable to do anything but to look at the actions with narrowed eyes. That blot on poor Cavour’s name would remain a stain forever.

Of course foreign policy was also defined by Palmerston’s well known dislike of Austria, which was hatred when he was at his worst. In a memorandum prepared for the Cabinet, Lord Palmerston defended Napoleon as against Austria. “Austria took our subsidies, bound herself by treaty not to make peace without our concurrence, sustained signal defeat in battle, and precipitately made peace without our concurrence. But on what occasion has the Emperor Napoleon so acted?—on none.” [4] But despite this enmity, Russell and Palmerston were in agreement. Italy was to be united, Waterloo was not to be avenged and Austria was to withdraw itself from the Italian Peninsula. Unfortunately for Palmerston events that year would shake the core of the Britain’s pro-Sardinian Policy.” – Pg 84 of Lord Palmerston by James O’Connell.

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“Garibaldi’s infamous Expedition of the 1000 was perhaps doomed from the beginning. He himself had not been in favor of landing in Sicily, and thought that an invasion of the Papal State with a rapid attack on Rome was the best course of action, however supporters of landing in Sicily pointed out that any attack on Rome would mean that French goodwill to Italian unification would dry up and quickly. Napoleon III, whilst friendly to all other aspects of a unified Italy, was extremely against the proposal that the Papal States should be abolished. In October, 1859, Garibaldi, finally receiving Cavour’s approval for an expedition pleaded for 1 million rifles, and supported by nationalist municipalities began to organize his force. Almost 8 million Lire was raised as a fundraiser for his expedition and on the night between 5 to 6 May, 1860, the expedition, under the command of Garibaldi, seized two ships, and the set sail for Sicily.


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A painting of the Expedition of the 1000

The Volunteers which at the time of departure, numbered some 1,162 men were armed with old smooth bore muskets, and without ammunition or gunpowder at all. In fact two Sardinian steamers were supposed to meet up with the expedition’s boats to supply them with proper ammunition and gunpowder, however the steamers were too slow to catch up and they failed to resupply. Despite this inauspicious start to the expedition, the Ships sailed all the way to Marsala, where the acting commander of the Two Sicilian fleet, William Errico Maria Acton was based at. On the 11th of May, the ships arrived at Marsala Harbor. The Sardinians believed that they were in luck, as two ships of the British Royal Navy under command of Rear Admiral George Rodney Mundy were present at harbor. Mundy had been dispatched to make sure that British commercial ships in the area would not be affected by the expedition. He had already told Acton that the British would remain neutral in the coming fight and that they would not interfere [5]. However, this fact was unknown to the Sardinians. Acton had been unwilling to allow the Two Sicilian Fleet to come out and fight the landing with the British there, however with British neutrality affirmed to him, he commanded that the Partenope, Stromboli, and Capri to come out into the harbor and start attacking what seemed to be an aggressive enemy.

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Garibaldi lands in Marsala

The Partenople, already in harbor attacked the incoming forces, however the position of the British ships made it impossible for the Two Sicilian fleet to try and destroy the landing party. Acton decided to change strategy and he ordered the marines and the troops to withdraw from Marsala in good order before they retreated to the strategic stronghold of Calatafimi in Sicily. This landing would be the only real victory for Garibaldi in the expedition. Acton had grouped up with General Francesco Landi with 700 marines swelling Landi’s forces up to 3,800 hundred, whilst Garibaldi’s forces were joined by ~1,500 Sicilian volunteers. Recovering his troops, Garibaldi began to move inland. However contrary to expectations, other than the initial volunteers, no such great Sicilian uprising against the Bourbons of Naples took place. This was largely due to the fact that the panicked King Francesco II of the Two Sicilies had finally agreed to reform back in Naples, and through telegraph this information was spreading throughout the Sicilian populace. Initiated by Prime Minister Carlo Filangieri, the Constitutional Statue of 1848 which had been abolished in 1849 was restored, and elections were drawn up for the first time in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Francesco II had also acquiesced to Filangieri’s suggestion that a nationwide address through the telegraph and press was needed. Francesco II had addressed the nation, calling upon the distinct culture and identity of the southern end of the Italian peninsula, and also played towards the Catholicism of the people, calling them to unite against the country that would destroy the beloved Papacy. Filangieri’s government, led by Interior Minister Achille Rosica frantically started to publish propaganda reels that depicted Sardinia as the anti-christ trying to depose the Pope of all peoples, and tried to reach for cultural nationalism of the south. Francesco II’s address had a mixed result, but him reinstituting the Constitution had bought him considerable goodwill from many, at least in Sicily. [6]

Finally, on the eve of 14 May, Garibaldi left Salemi and headed towards Calatafimi. Landi, who was now commander of the forces in the region, had three possibilities up his sleeve. He could either withdraw, move towards the enemy and disperse him or settle in Calatafimi and offer battle. The final option was chosen. Due to Acton’s presence, Landi knew that the actual professional core of the Expedition was outnumbered and outgunned and that the volunteers were ill-trained. He started to create entrenchments near the old castle of Aranci. Due to Acton, Landi also knew that the Sardinian troops were all more or less wearing civilian clothing, and the Sicilian army was informed of this development. Garibaldi when he arrived at Calatafimi was caught in a rock and hard place, as the Sicilian army fully entrenched was not going to be dislodged without a fight. He had little ammunition, and little gunpowder to back him up, and as such the two armies just stared at each other for a great bit of time. Finally after the Neapolitan Hunters, some crack troops of the Two Sicilies gathered up, they were thrown at the Expedition’s lines to soften them up. The 300 or so Neapolitans attacked the line of General Nino Bixio and forced him to give up his position, and this directly threatened Garibaldi’s lines, as the only thing between his center and the Sicilian forces was the ill equipped and ill trained Sicilian volunteers.


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The Battle of Calatafimi


The Hunters took advantage of this. With his confidence now firm, Landi ordered the Hunters to attacked, whilst the entirety of the Sicilian army was ordered forward in a probing and wearing down attack. The element of surprise for Garibaldi was lost, and with it, the battle was lost as well. The Hunters managed to tear through the volunteer’s line, as ill-equipped as they were, and the commander of the Hunters was eager for ‘glory’ and ordered aggressive assaults despite Landi’s orders against such maneuvers. In this case however, rivalry between officers paid off for the Sicilians and the volunteer’s lines collapsing also exposed Garibaldi’s main force to a flanking attack. Garibaldi tried to make a stand but his officers and friends convinced him otherwise. But this led to precious time being lost, and allowed Landi to viciously attack the Sardinian forces. This final attack broke the Expeditionary Force, and Garibaldi was forced to retreat back to Marsala, from where they would board the ships and go to Cagliari, where they would be safe. On the 19th of May, the Expedition was confined to Marsala, and the Sicilian forces surrounded the city. A column of Garibaldi’s forces held the line with barricades and makeshift defenses, before escaping the city as well. By May 20, 1860, the Expedition of the 1000 had failed, and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies still stood, though not as firm as it would have liked.” – Pg 178 – 183 of The Bourbons in Italy by Francesco Sforza

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“The diplomatic consequences of the failure of the Expedition of the 1000 was far reaching. Cavour was implicated in the failure, and the government of Sardinia-Piedmont quickly went into crisis as Cavour tried to stem the diplomatic fallout. Austrian Minister-President Bernhard von Rechberg, who had been faltering on the venetian issue, suddenly found the legs to stand upon as news of the failure reached the eats of Vienna. Napoleon III, having heard of plans to invade the Papal States also took an anti-Piedmont stance for the time being, trying to take advantage of the failure. This dual threat meant that Cavour was without options and when a censure vote arose, he was forced out of office. He was replaced by Giuseppe Natoli as Prime Minister of Sardinia-Piedmont. Garibaldi’s own reputation had taken a beating and he was scorned in many places due to his failure. For Palmerston, and Lord Russell who were united in their belief that Austria needed to be thrown out of Italy, this was a disaster of epic proportions. Despite their neutrality, Britain had adopted a pro-Sardinian position and now their plan was tatters. Sardinia-Piedmont remained the power of Northern Italy, but the Papal States and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies had reasserted their independence using the failure of the expedition.

Francesco II reluctantly adhered to the constitution that he had agreed to reinstate and trying to gain the moral fervor behind him he sped up the election process and the 1860 Two Sicilian Elections saw the government of Filangieri return to power with an increased mandate on the 18th of July, 1860, which only served to make the diplomatic process hard. Filangieri sent ambassadors to Sardinia-Piedmont, asking for a truce and that a guarantee of sovereignty of one another. Natoli, who was trying to stem the tides of rampant nationalism in Sardinia-Piedmont at the time agreed to a truce, on the condition that a declaration from the Sardinians would not be disputed by the Sicilians. Francesco II objected, but Filangieri accepted, and he outmaneuvered the devout King into accepting the offer. Palmerston and Russell received a missive from Turin asking for their opinion on the creation of a Kingdom of North Italy. Certainly, the Tuscans, Parmans and Romagnans were not enthused by calling themselves Sardinian or Piedmontese. Palmerston grabbed the opportunity and agreed to the offer, and with British backing and Two Sicilian neutrality, on the 29th of August, 1860, the Kingdom of North Italy was declared by Natoli with the backing of Victor Emmanuel II, who took up the title of King of North Italy. It was a last desperate move on part of the Sardinians to try and stem the nationalistic tide, and it worked for the time being.

In Britain, the Italian policy was seen as an abject failure, as Italian unification was now seen as a goal that would not be possible for the foreseeable future. Austria was not backing down in regard to Venice and the North Italian anti-Papacy policy had alienated the French and both Napoleon III and Franz Joseph I were now sending aid to the Sicilians and Neapolitans. For the time being, Italian Unification was over as an issue.” Pg 86-88 of Lord Palmerston by James O’Connell

***

“On the 9th of September, 1860, Emperor Xianfeng of the Qing Dynasty fled from Beijing as the Anglo-Allied Army neared the city. He took with him 500 carts filled with courtiers, women, riches and other rich items. The Xianfeng Emperor had wanted to flee to the north into Manchuria, however considering the han-dominated realm of the Qing Dynasty his courtiers convinced the man that retreating into han dominated territory would show solidarity with the majority Han population of the country and so the Xianfeng Emperor went to Rehe to seek refuge. The Xianfeng Emperor left Beijing to be defended by Prince Yixin, the Hereditary Hui Prince Mian Yu, Tun Prince Yicong, Prince Yi Zaiyuan, Prince Zheng Ruihua, who began to arrange for the defense of the Forbidden City.


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The Xianfeng Emperor's entourage leaving Beijing


Before the attack took place on the city however, under orders from London, Lord Elgin, the commander of the British forces in the Anglo-Allied Army tried one last attempt at diplomacy before the battle started. Accompanied by a mountain escort, one of the army’s best diplomats, Thomas Wade was sent to the city with a Mongol interpreter. Wade asked the Chinese officials to deliver Queen Victoria’s letter to the Xianfeng Emperor as soon as was possible to end the war once and for all. However, the Chinese officials refused to do this. After the fall of Tongxian, Elgin wanted to negotiate further, not liking the fact that a British endeavor was profiting the Russians, French and the Americans. Lord Elgin sent an emissary to Prince Gong, the brother of the Xianfeng Emperor asking him to release the Prisoners of War as a good faith and that Elgin would do the same. Gong responded, probably at the initiation of his short sighted courtiers, that he would do as such if the Anglo-Allied army moved back to the coast. If the Anglo-Allied army assaulted Beijing, Gong warned, then the prisoners would be executed. This reply angered by the French who demanded that an assault be made. Knowing the futility of conducting the war without French aid, Elgin was forced to agree, and the siege guns opened fire at the walls of Beijing on the 5th of October, 1860. On the 6th the French reached the infamous Summer Palace of the Qing Emperors. There were no guards to defend the palace, however the Imperial Army had left behind huge caches of weapons and ammunitions, and 500 eunuchs took up arms against the invaders. [7]

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The Qing Summer Palace.


The Summer Palace was of course an understatement of a name. It was huge, and the 500 eunuchs conducted several hit and run attacks that picked off French troops one by one as they wandered through the unfamiliar palace. In the chaos several countless priceless antiques were lost in the fighting in the palace. The next day on the 7th the British arrived under the command of Elgin who restored order by rounding up the eunuchs. He had to personally rein in the angry French and British troops were itchy to loot the priceless riches that were in the Summer Palace, and though the palace was in chaos due to the fighting it still contained riches that could be saved. The capture of the Summer Palace meant that the prestige of the Qing monarchy was at an all time low, and the city of Beijing was the only city now resisting the Anglo-Allied Army. Elgin asked that the Chinese surrender, and by this point Prince Gong had no other choice, as the citizens of the Chinese Imperial Capital were starting to starve. Furthermore, Elgin had threatened to burn the Summer Palace to the ground and the threat was not an idle one, Gong knew. Gong released the Prisoners of War on the 9th, and on the 18th of October, the Convention of Peking took place.

The Convention of Peking did not allow the Chinese to negotiate anything. Prince Gong was simply handed a paper written in English, French and Chinese and asked to sign it. Gong having no other choice, signed the document. In it he ceded 10 million pounds as monetary reparations to Britain and France, allowed Kowloon to be annexed to British Hong Kong, the ports of the empire were opened to foreign trade and freedom of religion was imposed on the Qing Dynasty as well. More importantly Elgin had wanted a formal letter of apology from Xianfeng to the British government and Victoria, however Baron Gros, leading the French detachment in the Second Opium War reined his British comrade in, telling him that such a move would have been a diplomatic blunder of epic proportions. Later Prince Gong received a photograph of Emperor Napoleon III and his family from Baron Gros, and Gong trying to reconcile the foreign powers, extended an invitation of a banquet to the powers. The American and Russian delegation politely refused, but the British and French took up the offer, and to the surprise of Lord Elgin, no one was poisoned. The Anglo-Allied Army withdrew from Beijing and into Shanghai after the battle. The Xianfeng Emperor was so humiliated by the capture of the Summer Palace, and the fact that the Eunuchs of all people had to defend the city that he abdicated the Imperial Throne and stayed in Rehe, where he could hide his shame. The five year old Zai Chun rose to the throne as the Tongzhi Emperor. The Empress Dowager Xiaozhenxian and Empress Dowager Cixi became the regents of the Qing Dynasty and would launch the Self-Strengthening Movement a year later after the Second Opium War.


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Lord Elgin


Unbeknownst to all of the western powers who had fought in the Second Opium War, while the Dragon of China was hurting, and sick, it was slowly being nursed back to health.” Pg 198 – 203 of Qing China: 1636 – present by Zhu Chenguang.

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Footnotes:-

[1] – Information from Modern Ireland 1600 – 1972

[2] – information derived from the 1881 Land Act of Ireland, though slightly modified ittl.

[3] – He almost did so otl

[4] – Otl Quote.

[5] – Unlike otl where they just sat there ambiguous to both sides.

[6] – Funnily enough, Francesco II’s constitution was more appreciated in Sicily than Naples.

[7] – Otl Prince Gong wanted to do this but was denied. Due to the rather faster movement ittl, the request is not denied.
 
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