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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning
I. Honest John

Jape

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I.
Honest John



william4.png

HM William IV of Great Britain, Ireland & Hanover


After the collapse of Sir Robert Peel’s short-lived Conservative government in April 1835, Lord Melbourne reluctantly returned to 10 Downing Street once more. The Tory interregnum had been triggered by the elderly King William’s distaste for the Whigs, and their restoration did nothing to change his attitudes. Such views were stoked in part by fear of the party’s Radical wing, though Melbourne was nothing of the sort. He was a relic of the 18th century, deeply conservative in all aspects save free trade and laissez-faire. Even then his vague economic views were based more on faith in the tenets of Old Whiggery than anything learned. He had opposed the abolition of the slave trade in 1807 and the abolition of slavery in the colonies twenty-five years later. He had also been one of the most critical voices in cabinet when the Grey Ministry passed the Great Reform Act in 1832.

To Melbourne politics was not a matter of ideologies or programmes but a “matter of men”, revolving around the collective interests of the landed elite. He was hardly alone in having better relations with the lords sat opposite him than with the backbench MPs of his own party. Despite Peel’s failure to win a majority, many increasingly saw his brand of technocratic-minded reformism as the future of British politics, not the ossified regime personified in Lord Melbourne.

The Prime Minister was tired. Faced with a belligerent monarch and with no clear idea of what he hoped to achieve in government, his thoughts drifted increasingly to his Hertfordshire estate. He stayed on only out of fear of his successor. Much of the Cabinet were non-entities, some too old or too young to be serious contenders. The most prominent candidate was the Home Secretary, Lord Russell. He was a headstrong reformer who, despite his thoroughly Whiggish background, was in the habit of dressing himself in Radical clothes when it suited him. He commanded respect in the Commons for his part in Reform but was seen by more conservative elements as a demagogue. Russell also had a reputation for impetuousness, repeatedly breaking with government policy without thought or warning. This was a quality he shared with his rival at the Foreign Office, Lord Palmerston, whose own candidacy was hindered by his abrasive personality and poor relationship with the Royal Family.

Searching for a milder candidate of good standing, Melbourne turned to Lord Althorp on suggestion from the respected Marquess of Lansdowne. The Leader of the House of Commons and Chancellor of the Exchequer, Althorp was well regarded across Westminster. Known as 'Honest John' for his diligence and plain manner, Althorp had been integral to the passing of the Great Reform Act. While Russell had been the passionate orator and advocate for electoral reform, it was Althorp who marshalled their supporters in the House. He proved himself a skilled parliamentarian, building a reputation as a man above partisanship who could unite radicals and moderates. Althorp thought his part in passing Reform the crowning achievement of his political career and had considered stepping down at the next election, before Melbourne approached him[1]. Surprised and initially reluctant, Althorp soon found himself supported by much of the Cabinet and a great many Whig MPs. The Duke of Wellington applauded the prospect, while the monarch was receptive; “At least”, William wrote in his diary, “he is not Russell!”.



Lord Spencer.png

John Charles Spencer, Viscount Althorp


After several days of contemplation Lord Althorp accepted, travelling to Clarence House on 11 February 1836 to kiss hands with the King. Despite the fanfare around his installation, Althorp’s early performances as prime minister garnered a lukewarm response. Long praised for his language and intelligence, he lacked the fire of Russell or the easy charm of Melbourne. In many ways he resembled his opposite Peel in disposition, with both focusing on pragmatic solutions to the nation’s problems over polemic. Their lengthy, sober exchanges in the Commons led to eye-rolling in certain circles. Palmerston joked at dinner one evening that the soaring rhetoric of Pitt and Fox had been replaced by “the dry exactitude of a shareholders’ meeting”. Nevertheless, Althorp intended to lead a driven, reforming ministry after two years of political torpor.

The 1834 Poor Law Act was the most controversial piece of legislation produced by the decade’s Whig governments. Replacing an ad-hoc Elizabethan system of almshouses for relieving the unemployed, the New Poor Law intended to rationalise social welfare and make the feckless work for their relief. Critics’ comparisons between prison and the workhouse were not unfounded. The architect Sampson Kempthorne, charged with creating a standard layout for the new workhouses, based his designs on Bentham’s panopticon. On entry paupers were stripped of their personal possessions, divided by age and gender, and provided with uniforms all but indistinguishable from those of convicts. In some instances this went even further. Bristol’s local Poor Law Union began providing uniforms whose colour corresponded to the moral failings of recipients, such as yellow for prostitutes and red for unwed mothers, a practice that spread. Casual Wards, temporary accommodation for vagrants, were especially spartan, with most consisting of a large room with straw bedding and a single bucket “for sanitation”.

Strict discipline, routine and meagre rations were the norm in workhouses but conditions could vary greatly. In some rural areas, particularly in western Ireland and Yorkshire, the cost and impracticality of the ‘indoor’ workhouse system meant authorities unofficially continued traditional outdoor relief, such as alms, while paying lip service to the New Poor Law. These exceptions were uncommon and most made to conform by the 1840s. The Poor Law Commissioners who encouraged the construction of hundreds of Kempthorne’s designs praised them as “a terror to the able-bodied population” and something “the pauper will feel impossible to contend against”.

The most infamous institution was to become the Penshaw Workhouse. Built near Tyneside in the popular style in 1835, its governor, George Halcrow, had instilled especially draconian standards, intent on making a profit. An objective of the New Poor Law was that workhouse relief should become financially self-sustaining but this proved unfeasible in most cases. The varying ages and abilities of inmates, combined with the restrictions of the environment, meant work was often limited to pointless tasks such as breaking rocks and clearing weeds. One of the few jobs found to be gainful was bone-breaking, the grinding down of animal bones for use in fertilisers. Bone-breaking had become the norm at Penshaw by 1837 and owing to the sparse meals provided, starving inmates would often fight over the bones’ marrow for sustenance[2]. In March of that year, a scuffle regarding the remains of a ewe took place. When the hated workhouse guards began beating the men involved they were attacked themselves, triggering a riot. Inmates raided the kitchens and staff quarters for food and valuables before several buildings were set alight. Hundreds were arrested, dozens injured and three killed.



Sampson_Kempthorne_workhouse_design_for_300_paupers.png

Kempthorne's Cruciform


News of the Bone-Break Riot and the details surrounding it shocked polite society. Halcrow became a by-word for parsimonious cruelty; Charles Dickens satirised him, The Times shamed him and Althorp denounced him in the Commons. The Prime Minister had supported the New Poor Law as Chancellor. He believed in the austere workhouse programme but it was now clear that it was open to abuse. An inquiry into the standards enforced by Poor Law Unions led to the Duncannon Report in 1838. Despite grumblings on the government benches Althorp increased Treasury grants to the local Unions, as well as establishing minimum living conditions and encouraging less unforgiving regimes. The Report also led to government rebuke of the “inglorious dressing of unchaste women” and -seemingly as a preventative measure- a ban on workhouse bone-breaking itself. By 1840 panopticon designs had fallen out of favour. New workhouse complexes were more open, often with plots for growing vegetables and basic amenities. Regardless it remained a harsh system, intended more to discourage than to aid.

Penal transportation had been a heated topic for decades. Intended to provide labour to underpopulated colonies and relieve the home country of ‘degenerate’ elements, transportation had become common under the draconian Bloody Code. Established in the early 1700s, the Code mandated death for countless crimes, from murder to pickpocketing[3]. Under such a system, transportation was often a judge’s only recourse to hanging. Tens of thousands of convicts had arrived in Australia in the fifty years since Cook’s landing at Botany Bay. Most lived in brutal conditions with corporal punishment, malnutrition and disease leading to high mortality rates. The legal reforms overseen by Peel in the 1820s had repealed the death penalty for all but the worst crimes, leaving transportation often the most serious punishment for many felonies.

By the 1830s, the practice had fallen out of popular favour in Britain. Records found transportation had little effect on overall criminal activity, either as a deterrent or by exiling offenders. In Australia meanwhile, the large numbers of convicts and ex-convicts had a noticeable impact on public order. A massive disparity in the male to female population, frontier conditions and thousands of seasoned criminals, led to numerous murders, rapes, robberies and riots[4]. One witness claimed, “the system provides no obstacles for the clever criminal and no benefits for the simple”. The economic value of transportation was increasingly outweighed by the disorder it produced, particularly due to increasing voluntary colonisation; at least in the larger colonies. The governor of New South Wales, Sir Richard Bourke, legislated increased restrictions to convict labour, angering landowners reliant on the system, and made efforts to provide newly free men with land and employment. Due to the opposition of prominent figures in the colony, Bourke petitioned the Althorp Ministry multiple times to directly intervene.



aus map.png


The practice was unpopular in cabinet, with Russell leading calls to abolish. The government intervened in several cases regarding political prisoners. In December 1836, one hundred and seventeen Irishmen, involved in the civil disobediences of the Tithe War had their sentence of transportation commuted to prison, though in many cases for life. Later in January 1838 nineteen ringleaders of the abortive Canadian Rebellion of the previous year were similarly ‘freed’ from transportation, with most imprisoned in Montreal and some later pardoned. Requests by the entrepreneurial Henty brothers of Victoria to open a new penal colony at Portland Bay were rebuffed in March 1837. These actions coincided with an increasing decline in sentences of transportation in criminal courts, with none that year.

The Prime Minister seemed happy to let the matter wither on the vine. Russell went one step further and raised the issue in the Commons after the denial of the Henty project, proclaiming transportation evil and barbaric. Despite boorish heckling from the opposition benches to a rather sanctimonious speech, few MPs outright opposed Russell’s stance or defended transportation. The response soon triggered intrigue as to final abolition, with the liberal Manchester Guardian leading a public campaign in its wake.

Lord Glenelg and the Colonial Office cautioned against such action, with the leaders of Victoria and Tasmania still eager for settlers of any kind[5]. The most hungry for convict workers had until recently been the Swan River Colony of Western Australia. However in November 1836, prospector Paddy Flanagan (a former convict himself) stumbled across the Kalgoorlie goldfields over two hundred miles east of Perth. Despite the tremendous logistics needed to support a permanent mining operation in such an arid climate so far from the coast, thousands of Australians, Britons and Irish rushed to the remote region. Contingents of Poles, Ukrainians, French Canadians, Malayans and former West Indian slaves joined them. The pull of the goldfields was such that the Perth government was forced to advertise in Britain and New South Wales for “constables of good character”, after their entire police force had absconded for Kalgoorlie[6].

Western Australia’s sparse colonial population of four thousand in 1836 rose to more than fifteen thousand by 1840. Not only the goldfield bush towns but Perth too began to boom. The modest settlement quickly grew into a bustling port, home to banks, mining companies and dozens of ancillary businesses. Perth would open the first railway on the continent in 1839, beating out Sydney by only a week. Such conditions made convict labour irrelevant, while the territory’s growing population and wealth granted it’s governor, Captain James Stirling, increased clout in colonial affairs.

Stirling, renowned as commander of the HMS Brazen in the War of 1812, had initially led the settling of Swan River as an effort to dissuade French interests in the region. The Captain had proven a capable administrator and quickly adapted to the demands of a gold rush. To the practical navy man who had once welcomed transportation, convicts now only acted as a deterrent to respectable immigrants heading for Perth and competition for the miner population of the interior. Stirling joined Bourke in making his opposition known to Westminster.

Though annoyed by Russell’s intervention, Althorp was convinced by the governors’ testimony to abolish the punishment. Opposition in cabinet was brushed aside with the sudden removal of Glenelg owing to his Canadian policy and erratic nature. He was briefly replaced by Lord Normanby, an ineffectual but accommodating placeholder. While the smaller Australian colonies protested, the 1838 Transportation Act found few ardent foes in Parliament and was soon passed. The legislation did not free previously sentenced convicts however, with the last being released in Tasmania via a gradual emancipation in 1851.



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Prospecting near Kalgoorlie



__________


[1] Despite his good standing, Althorp wavered in his commitment to politics. When his father the Earl Spencer died in 1834, the Great Reform Act behind him, he took the opportunity to retire. ITTL his father lives a few more years, keeping him in the Commons and front-line politics.
[2] This was witnessed in several workhouses in the 1840s IOTL, leading to a ban on bone-breaking.
[3] By the 1800s the Bloody Code mandated hanging for over 220 felonies.
[4] At one point the male to female ratio in Australia was 6 to 1
[5] The capital of Victoria will be christened Althorp, as opposed to Melbourne IOTL
[6] This happened to Melbourne during the gold rushes of the 1850s IOTL
 
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stnylan

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A new @Jape AAR is definitely worth following.
 

El Pip

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Oh you know I am on board for this.

(At least, on board for the three updates we’ll get before @Jape disappears again… :p)
Three whole updates?! I admire your ludicrous optimism about the length of @Jape 's attention span.


Social reform racing ahead (relatively speaking), I wonder how Althorp will cope with the consequences of ending transportation though. Either he spends a lot of money on prisons or at some point a criminal who would have been deported will be released and go on to commit a serious crime that gets noticed by the public. At best that's an awkward moment in the House, possibly worse.

Still, maybe Australia will be a tad more civilised so it's not all bad. ;)
 

Le Jones

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y
Social reform racing ahead (relatively speaking), I wonder how Althorp will cope with the consequences of ending transportation though. Either he spends a lot of money on prisons or at some point a criminal who would have been deported will be released and go on to commit a serious crime that gets noticed by the public. At best that's an awkward moment in the House, possibly worse.

Still, maybe Australia will be a tad more civilised so it's not all bad. ;)
Yes I wondered how an affordable alternative to transportation could be speedily fashioned. Prison hulks? That just seems ripe for unrest and disease...
 

DensleyBlair

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Yes I wondered how an affordable alternative to transportation could be speedily fashioned. Prison hulks? That just seems ripe for unrest and disease...
Perhaps Althorp could set up some.. alternative means of communication and ask Jack Straw for some advice on how to bring hulks into the modern era? :p

On a side note, @Jape, I did enjoy the decision to cast off Creepy Uncle Melbourne and put Honest Jack in. Something I’d previously considered when writing around the reform crisis, but never actually committed to. Will be eager to see whether it has any effect on the shape of things further down the line!
 
II. Xhosa, Zulu & Boer

Jape

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II.
Xhosa, Zulu & Boer



800px-Frederick_Timpson_I'Ons08 xhosa.JPG

Column of Xhosa gunmen crossing a ravine along the Cape frontier


After the Napoleonic Wars, Britain held onto the Cape Colony as a port of call between the home islands and India, and to deny a strategic location to the French. Little effort was made to establish a settler colony in the following decades, with annual immigration usually totalling in the hundreds rather than thousands[1]. The Dutch-descended Boers made up the majority of the white population. Many were semi-nomadic farmers, distrusting of outside authority in general and British imperial authority in particular. The abolition of slavery in 1833 had been received poorly by the Boers. Most owned no slaves but felt it a blow against the racial hierarchy and another sign of Westminster’s interference. The new governor of the Cape, Sir Benjamin D’Urban, oversaw mandatory compensation for slaveholders and established a decidedly undemocratic constitution that same year. At a time when self-representation was a growing issue in Canada and Australia, the document showed Britain’s low opinion of the province, while the muted response of the Boers revealed their disinterest in integrating into the colonial system.

The main area of tension between the Colonial Office and white inhabitants was the increasingly unstable eastern frontier. Shaka Zulu’s bloody military campaigns, pressure from Portuguese slavers to the north, a population boom due to the introduction of maize and a series of catastrophic droughts had combined by the 1820s into an unprecedented crisis for southern Africa. Known as the Mfecane, the period was one of chaos as indigenous peoples were forced to flee their homelands in the face of expansionist neighbours and in search of new arable land[2]. The initial migrations triggered further wars and displacement, with hundreds of thousands scattered in every direction and many more dead. By the 1830s the effects of the Mfecane were all too apparent on the lands of the Xhosa that bordered the Cape. Zulu belligerence had seen groups like the Khoikhoi and Fengu forced south into Xhosa territory in large numbers, leading to conflict and competition for land. These factors led many to push on further into British territory.

Previous wars between the Xhosa and Cape authorities had led to a neutral zone being established along the Keiskamma River in 1819. The division had proven effective, with the area sparsely populated and treaties established to resolve disputes. The influx of natives and unrest quickly changed the situation, with food shortages leading to an explosion in cross-border cattle theft. Retaliatory raids escalated things further, with the tentative peace on the Keiskamma collapsing. Hoping to act as a buffer, thousands of Khoikhoi and Fengu, now hostile to the Xhosa, were granted the right to settle in the neutral zone, under Cape protection. This de facto annexation outraged the Xhosa who, by the terms of the 1819 peace, had been expelled from the rich lands of the “Ceded Territories”. The new population only increased tensions, with efforts by the commissioner-general of the eastern provinces, Sir Andries Stockenström, to mediate a peace ultimately failing[3]. The architect of the border treaties, Stockenström’s liberal approach to the Xhosa had fallen out of favour, with a growing white population in the eastern Cape eyeing the group’s lands; “it will make fine sheep country”, noted one English settler.



andries_stockenstroom_01.jpg

Sir Andries Stockenström


The Swede’s efforts were not only hindered by land-hungry colonists and the ongoing regional crisis but by D’Urban. Having been appointed to run the territory in the crown’s interests, namely by avoiding native conflicts and keeping the port at Cape Town in working order, the governor had increasingly sided with the expansionists. Ignorant of the complexities of relations with the various tribes, he took a dim view of any native aggression and hoped to win over the Boers by supporting their interests. This tack was influenced by South Africa’s first press baron, Robert “Moral Bob” Godlonton, who had spent years attacking the commissioner-general and promoting war in his newspapers [4]. The media campaign against him and a lack of support from the governor’s office led Stockenström to resign in late 1834, only weeks before the outbreak of the Sixth Xhosa War.

In December, a cattle raid into British territory had seen D’Urban consent to a government commando party crossing the border in retaliation. In the process of ‘reclaiming’ cattle, the party had burned down several villages and killed a high chief named Ngqika. Maqoma, a young Xhosa commander and brother of the chief, mustered ten thousand warriors and crossed the Keiskamma in January 1835. For months the Xhosa raided and massacred across the Conceded Territories and beyond, defeating ad-hoc commandos sent to repel them. The new Khoikhoi settlements bordering the frontier suffered worst of all, leading to thousands volunteering their services to the Cape. Though a bloody year, 1835 had seen few pitched battles as the British slowly regained control over the neutral zone. The military commander of the Cape, Colonel Zachary Seymour, had been gathering his regular and volunteer forces for a strike against Maqoma. Though earning the respect of black and white settlers alike for his energetic defence of their homesteads, Seymour was a vain man, overconfident in his abilities as a general and lacking any respect for his enemy.

The colonel caught wind in February 1836 of a large Xhosa host heading for the town of Graaff Reinet. Dissuaded by the increasingly fortified Keiskamma, Maqoma had chosen to go north and seize the undefended settlement. Seymour, eager to crush the Xhosa in a decisive battle, rode hard for Graaff Reinet with a mounted commando, leaving his infantry behind. Scouts alerted Maqoma of the relief column and he set a trap. On 1 March, Seymour was ambushed on the banks of the Sondags River, thirty miles south of the town. Musket fire rained down from the hills and cliffs overlooking the river, as thousands of spearmen, hidden in the brush, charged forward. Caught off-guard, surrounded and with little cover, the commando’s morale was shattered when Seymour was shot and killed only minutes into the battle. Some held their ground, while many attempted to flee, either towards Graaf Reinet or across the river. The strong currents of the Sondags claimed hundreds of desperate men, while most of those able to break through the mass of Xhosa spears were picked off by sharpshooters[5]. Despite efforts to paint the Battle of Graaff Reinet as a noble last stand by the Godlonton press, the disparity in casualties revealed a massacre.



battle of graaff 36.png

Battle of Graaff Reinet, 1 March 1836


Already struggling to downplay the war as a border skirmish to Westminster, the destruction of Seymour’s column led to barbed missives between D’Urban and Lord Glenelg at the Colonial Office. In July, Brigadier Sir Colbert Grenfell arrived at Port Elizabeth with six thousand men from Ceylon to take command. A talented but cold officer, Grenfell made little effort to ingratiate himself to the Boers, who had made up the majority of casualties at Graaff Rienet. Instead he supplemented his regular forces with Khoikhoi outriders and crossed the Keiskamma, intent on taking the Xhosa capital at Umtata. Leading two columns, Grenfell carefully advanced into enemy territory, securing his supply lines and attempting to provoke an open battle. In September the British were able to entice nine thousand Xhosa warriors to attack near Bisho. Heavily outgunned and quickly outflanked by the Khoikhoi horse, they were all but annihilated. The Battle of Bisho shattered Maqoma’s ability to wage a serious campaign. The final months of the war saw a return to the small-scale engagements and raids of 1835. Finally in October, with Umtata surrounded, the Xhosa chiefs agreed to discuss peace terms.

The treaty signed at Umtata demanded massive reparations in livestock and ceded the lands around Bisho to the Cape, which were rechristened Queen Adelaide’s Province and opened for settlement. D’Urban’s ignorance of the tribal structure led him to place responsibility for restitution solely on the paramount-chief Hintsa. Struggling to provide the heads of cattle demanded, he was taken hostage by the authorities in King William’s Town, the province’s new capital. A small group of Xhosa attempted to free Hintsa in January 1837 but in the ensuing firefight he was killed. Conflicting accounts spoke of the chief being shot as he attempted to escape with his warriors, while others claimed he had been executed in his cell to prevent rescue. Regardless, the death of Hintsa horrified the Xhosa[6]. Unable to mount a new campaign in retaliation, this bitter coda to the war ensured it would not be the last.

Despite the new territory and hobbling of the Xhosa threat, D’Urban would soon be dismissed from his post. As information trickled into the Colonial Office, the governor’s unilateral actions were received poorly. The annexation of land, massive disruption to the economy and destabilisation of the Xhosa tribes, all in collusion with unsavoury figures like Godlonton, saw an inquiry launched. Ironically, his fall was facilitated by his former lieutenant. Having returned to his ancestral home in Sweden, Stockenström travelled to London on request from Glenelg in 1837. The former commissioner-general gave a brutal critique of D’Urban’s actions and policies, providing correspondence and other evidence pointing towards warmongering. The governorship was handed to Sir George Napier in 1838, a stern army man charged most of all with maintaining the peace.



blood river.png

Blood River changed the map of South Africa and resurrected the issue of Boer self-determination.


The Boers were also left disgruntled by the war. The terrible losses suffered at Graaff Reinet and elsewhere had ruined D’Urban’s efforts to ingratiate himself, with many settlers believing themselves expendable in the eyes of the governor. They were angered further when Brigadier Grenfell gave preference to British and allied African settlers to colonise the new lands. For Boers like Piet Retief, it was the final straw. Having published a manifesto promoting a Boer polity beyond the reach of the British, Retief led hundreds of families into the hinterlands in 1837, soon to be followed by many more; the Great Trek had begun. The trekkers would seemingly achieve their goal of a free state in April 1838, but their leader would not live to see it.

Attempting to negotiate with the Zulu king Dingane for the purchase of land, Retief was brutally murdered along with his entire party that February. Dingane proclaimed that all Boers entering Zulu territory were to be killed. Isolated groups of settlers were massacred as others attempted to band together for defence. The most famous encounter was to be at the Battle of Blood River, where several hundred Boers led by Andries Pretorius, fortified behind a laager, were able to fight off thousands of warriors at great cost to the attackers. The battle helped secure Boer control over the southern lands of the Zulus, with Pretorius declaring the independent Republic of Natalia.

The sudden declaration alarmed Cape Town and Whitehall. Britain had always maintained that the Boers were subjects of the crown, regardless of where they settled. In this context the new republic could be read as an act of rebellion (and was by some in the Colonial Office) but the realities on the ground made subjugation impractical. Things were complicated further by the status of Port Natal. Established in the 17th century by the Dutch, Port Natal was predominantly British by the 1830s, used as a trading station with the Zulus. The unrest surrounding the recent war had seen most civilians evacuated by sea, leaving it all but deserted[7].

Now surrounded by the Boer republic and the only serviceable harbour for hundreds of miles, the British feared the town would fall into Pretorius’ hands, granting access to the outside world and strengthening Natalia’s legitimacy. The newly installed Napier ordered a battalion of Highlanders and the frigate HMS Java sent with all speed to Port Natal in May. Despite initial tensions, the Boers did not resist the reoccupation, instead focusing themselves on new settlements in the interior like Pietermaritzburg. Napier encouraged trade and granted commercial access to the port but recognition of Natalia was not forthcoming, leaving the republic’s status uncertain. In effect the two sides had ‘agreed to disagree’ on Boer self-determination, providing a workable, if temporary, truce[8].



Saf Map 38 Final.png



__________


[1] Save a government effort in 1820 to settle 4,000 Britons in the eastern Cape. It was pretty unsuccessful in establishing farms but many of this group later became prominent figures. Including, oddly enough, Emperor Norton.
[2] The Mfecane (lit. scattering or crushing) lasted roughly between 1815 and 1840 IOTL. Its details are debated but most historians agree to a death toll of around 1 million, greatly depopulating south-east Africa.
[3] Stockenström was a frontiersman who fought and traded with the Xhosa. He had a rare understanding of their culture and was able to establish a successful cohabitation for a time. Later he was labelled an apologist and plenty worse.
[4] “Moral Bob”, an 1820 English settler, was a true yellow journalist, who used faith & flag to promote his own interests. He made a point of becoming Stockenström’s nemesis, leading to several legal battles.
[5] Having more extensive contact with white settlers than most groups, the Xhosa were well acquainted with firearms.
[6] This is OTL. Hintsa’s imprisonment and death remain a sore point for the Xhosa to this day.
[7] At one point only a half dozen civilians were living in the deserted port!
[8] In game terms this means Natalia is a rather disgruntled satellite of Great Britain.
 
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Jape

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A new @Jape AAR is definitely worth following.
Thank you very much @stnylan I appreciate it

Oh you know I am on board for this.

(At least, on board for the three updates we’ll get before @Jape disappears again… :p)
Ho ho ho, well it's good to be back in AARland @DensleyBlair , hopefull I won't disappoint... for a while.

I shall be following this :)
Great stuff, thanks @vyshan

Three whole updates?! I admire your ludicrous optimism about the length of @Jape 's attention span.


Social reform racing ahead (relatively speaking), I wonder how Althorp will cope with the consequences of ending transportation though. Either he spends a lot of money on prisons or at some point a criminal who would have been deported will be released and go on to commit a serious crime that gets noticed by the public. At best that's an awkward moment in the House, possibly worse.

Still, maybe Australia will be a tad more civilised so it's not all bad. ;)
y

Yes I wondered how an affordable alternative to transportation could be speedily fashioned. Prison hulks? That just seems ripe for unrest and disease...
Perhaps Althorp could set up some.. alternative means of communication and ask Jack Straw for some advice on how to bring hulks into the modern era? :p

@Le Jones , @El Pip , @DensleyBlair The alternative, frankly, is long-term imprisonment or hanging. The end of the Bloody Code removed the incentive for mass transportation; combined with colonies getting 'respectable' and there's fewer transportees and fewer places to put them. IOTL the practice wasn't banned in the 1830s but it wasn't long after that it became a near legal fiction, with entire years going by without a single sentence of transportation. In sheer numbers there's not much difference, though I'm sure those crafty Tasmanians will have agents in Britain prowling the probation offices, offering a new life in the off-world colonies.

On a side note, @Jape, I did enjoy the decision to cast off Creepy Uncle Melbourne and put Honest Jack in. Something I’d previously considered when writing around the reform crisis, but never actually committed to. Will be eager to see whether it has any effect on the shape of things further down the line!
He's an interesting guy from what I could find on him. Really I just did it because Melbourne was so inanimate in office I wanted someone who might take action. Reading about his rise to power is ridiculous - he only agreed to become PM after his secretary goaded him and basically said "Christ, just do it for a day - you'll be leader of the most powerful nation in the world!". I'm pretty confident if young Vicky wasn't around to be his student he would have walked out of the job long before he got kicked out.
 

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I appreciate this relatively detailed look at the Cape, and learnt a good deal I have to say. Having decided on 'May the Sun Never Set' as your title, I wonder whether you will be continuing to take a reasonably in depth look at the Empire, as opposed to just treating the mainland? Would certainly make a change from most British AARs (not least my own previous attempt, may its memory live long :p)

And I agree fully about Melbourne. Back in the day I quite liked him for some reason, but honestly looking back I have no idea why. Unendingly dull figure and demonstrative of everything wrong with the Whig leadership at the time. I once wrote something like 6/10ths of a Sealion Press–style 20th century timeline where 19th-century premiers were slotted into a pretty faithful version of OTL Britain. Melbourne I seem to recall became a sort of moderate Tory whose time in office ended up being dominated by familial scandals and allegations of sexual impropriety. So that's that on that I suppose. :D
 

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Looks likes the 6th and 7th Xhosa wars mashed up together somewhat and a very compressed Great Trek. That said, baring a very substantial change in colonial and imperial policy, Natalia is probably still doomed.

[2] The Mfecane (lit. scattering or crushing) lasted roughly between 1815 and 1840 IOTL. Its causes and effects are debated but most historians agree to a death toll of around 1 million, greatly depopulating south-east Africa.
If by "debated" you mean "people desperately trying to find a way not to blame the Zulu and instead make it all the fault of Europeans, for political and ideological reasons" then yes there is some debate, but not otherwise. It in no way diminishes all the many terrible things Europeans did in and around Africa to acknowledge that the locals occasionally did bad things to each other without any foreign involvement.
 

stnylan

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The Cape looks to remain a tinderbox for brushfires a while yet.
 

Jape

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Thank you guys for the warm return. You may have noticed the maps, their quality and style is probably going to fluctuate as I attempt to get a handle on editing so apologies.

I appreciate this relatively detailed look at the Cape, and learnt a good deal I have to say. Having decided on 'May the Sun Never Set' as your title, I wonder whether you will be continuing to take a reasonably in depth look at the Empire, as opposed to just treating the mainland? Would certainly make a change from most British AARs (not least my own previous attempt, may its memory live long :p)

And I agree fully about Melbourne. Back in the day I quite liked him for some reason, but honestly looking back I have no idea why. Unendingly dull figure and demonstrative of everything wrong with the Whig leadership at the time. I once wrote something like 6/10ths of a Sealion Press–style 20th century timeline where 19th-century premiers were slotted into a pretty faithful version of OTL Britain. Melbourne I seem to recall became a sort of moderate Tory whose time in office ended up being dominated by familial scandals and allegations of sexual impropriety. So that's that on that I suppose. :D
Hahaha I really like the idea of Lord Melbourne as John Major!

These initial chapters are partly to lay the groundwork for various topics and areas that will continue to be important, so the next chapter will focus on pre-famine Ireland, a later chapter on the next general election will allow me to dig into the Great Reform Act and electoral politics; wars in India mean coverage of the Company Raj, etc.

I do hope to go into detail about the various corners of the Empire and beyond, there's so many fascinating events and characters but its often reduced in the popular imagination to borders on a map. At the same time home island matters will probably be the biggest chunk, I doubt I'll be able to match your own work on that front though.

EDIT: Oh, and the name, that was actually an accident. I hadn't decided on a name as I was preparing the first post, typed in a couple umming and arring and then I accidentally hit enter and thought "yeah that's not awful".

Looks likes the 6th and 7th Xhosa wars mashed up together somewhat and a very compressed Great Trek. That said, baring a very substantial change in colonial and imperial policy, Natalia is probably still doomed.

If by "debated" you mean "people desperately trying to find a way not to blame the Zulu and instead make it all the fault of Europeans, for political and ideological reasons" then yes there is some debate, but not otherwise. It in no way diminishes all the many terrible things Europeans did in and around Africa to acknowledge that the locals occasionally did bad things to each other without any foreign involvement.
I haven't had access to a mass of info on the Xhosa wars so I have fudged the OTL facts for narrative iceing to in-game events. There are plenty of trekkers who keep on trekking but yes Natalia isn't in an enviable place.

It wasn't my intention to imply that or give credence to fringe theories. I meant more in the details, how human events like Shaka's expansionism combined with environmental and demographic factors, and the exact statistics. I totally agree the Mfecane cannot be laid at the feet of Europeans, though some like those dastardly Portuguese didn't help matters.

The Cape looks to remain a tinderbox for brushfires a while yet.
It certainly will. The Xhosa are defeated but furious, the Boers and Brits are stuck in a stand off, and Blood River not only established Natalia but destabilised the Zulu kingdom in the process - something that I will cover when we return to southern Africa.

I agree with Densely Blair in that your AAR seems to focus on Britain's colonial world as much as the islands itself which is very interesting and eye-catching. Love the updates. I wonder what will happen to Natalia next!
Thank you very much. As I said to DB above I do intend to go beyond the home islands, mainly because its fun and the Empire was so important to... well, the Empire! I'm particularly excited to dive into Indian matters, though the vast scope is a bit intimidating!
 
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Qwerty7

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Excellent work as always Jape! I'll be following. I'm very interested to see your take on Repeal-era Ireland. :)
 
III. Ireland & the Tithe

Jape

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III.
Ireland & the Tithe



DOConnell.png

"The Liberator" Daniel O'Connell


Following the passage of Catholic Emancipation by the Tories in 1829, the Whigs’ Irish policy had been in tatters, with weak compromises and bitter divisions on areas like coercion, rents, local government and church tithes. The matter reached a head with the defeat of a government reform bill in late 1834. Daniel O’Connell, MP and leader of the nationalist Repeal Association, had fobbed it off as a “wet blanket” but it had caused mayhem in cabinet. The War & Colonial Secretary Edward Stanley had seen the legislation as an attack on the established Church of Ireland and resigned with several supporters, beginning his migration to the Conservative benches. Althorp had considered resignation for entirely different reasons, criticising the bill’s draconian elements. It’s failure ultimately caused Grey to step down as prime minister. During his brief ministries Melbourne had studiously avoided the subject, even as massive demonstrations and episodes of violence took place across Ireland, known as the Tithe War.

Lord Althorp was a liberal on matters of the ‘Irish Question’ and enjoyed a cordial relationship with O’Connell. The man hailed across Ireland as the “Liberator” for his leading role in Emancipation, O’Connell divided opinion in Westminster. He was deeply opposed to armed rebellion yet in the habit of using violent language in his public speeches to rile up predominantly Catholic crowds. His lyrical tone and poetic words were often punctuated by crass insults, enraging many members of the House. Althorp was often amused by this bluntness and accepted O’Connell’s sincerity on peaceful reform. Both had been strong proponents of the electoral alliance signed between the Whigs, Radicals and Repealers in February 1835, known as the Lichfield House Compact. Though accepted by a majority in the Whig party, the deal provoked dissension, even in cabinet.

Althorp’s former deputy and now successor as Chancellor, Thomas Spring Rice, was a unionist of patrician Anglo-Irish stock who had clashed with O’Connell in the past[1]. He supported reform in Ireland, having campaigned extensively for Catholic Emancipation, but was repulsed by the Repealers and their populist chief. Some Irish nationalists too criticised the Compact as compromising the social movement growing around the Repeal Association, their “monster meetings” attracting crowds in the hundreds of thousands[2]. For O’Connell, Althorp’s Whigs were his best hope for parliamentary reform and his ultimate goal of repealing the Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland. The latter was a distant hope, with Repeal being as unthinkable to the government benches as it was to the Conservative opposition. In truth few Irishmen actively campaigned for Repeal in the 1830s. Most instead were being drawn to the Association as an expression of national identity and a force for practical change in favour of the disenfranchised majority.



Tithe Collector.png

The Tithe Collectors


The most prominent change called for was an end to the religious tithe. All Irishmen were expected to pay rates to the state-sanctioned Anglican church, despite 80% of the population being Catholic and another 10% Presbyterian. Efforts at even minimal changes to the system had consistently met with failure, most recently in Grey’s bill. This was due to conservative fears that any reforms would ultimately lead to disestablishment, something the prominent Anglo-Irish presence in the Lords could scarce fathom.

Ironically one of the loudest voices in favour of cutting the Gordian knot was the Anglican Archbishop of Dublin, Richard Whately. An ardent reformer, Whately believed the effective taxation of non-believers immoral and that the whole country would be better served by abolishing the tithe, and with it the Church of Ireland’s primacy. This was not a popular view amongst church leaders on either side of the Irish Sea. Whately’s superior, the Archbishop of Armagh, had publicly rebuked him and argued against his views for years. William Howley, the reactionary Archbishop of Canterbury, rose in the House of Lords in May 1836 to scold Whately and the very idea of disestablishment, calling it a “heinous attack” on the Anglican Communion, the British state and the fabric of Irish society[3].

Despite being whispered by politicians of various stripes as the most logical solution to the tithe question, disestablishment stood practically no chance of passing through Parliament. Howley and the Lords Spiritual were only the most outspoken enemies of reform. Hearing of a private discussion between Althorp and O’Connell on the matter in August 1836, William IV “inferred his concerns” during his next meeting with the Prime Minister. In Ireland opposition to the tithes was widespread, with soldiers and yeomanry often needed to enforce collection.



Irish 38 fINAL.png


Political violence had mostly died down by the start of Althorp’s ministry but mass civil disobedience remained. Efforts to confiscate livestock for non-payment of tithes would often lead to church bells being rung to announce the officers’ approach, followed by the mass flight of men and animals into the hills. The Catholic clergy were widely reported as abetting such activity, with priests buying up parishioners' livestock for nominal sums to deny collection. When cattle were seized, anti-tithe farmers would organise boycotts of local auctions, leaving the authorities without revenue. Extensive operations to collect trifling sums, overflowing prisons and a rise in general crime had all made the Tithe War a draining endeavour for the government. As one Dublin civil servant wrote despondently, “it costs a shilling to raise a sixpence”.

It was clear that reforms were needed to curb the unrest. Leading these efforts was the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Lord Morpeth. An ally of the Prime Minister, Morpeth worked tirelessly alongside his deputy Thomas Drummond to improve conditions on the island. He rapidly made reforms to the civil service and the judiciary, overseeing the expansion of the Royal Irish Constabulary by freely recruiting from the Catholic majority[4]. The latter was to help contain the ongoing disobediences but also to clamp down on the explosion in illegal activity.

Since the first bloody confrontations of 1831, felons had exploited the disorder caused by the Tithe War. Theft, arson and smuggling had all increased markedly. The most feared criminals of the period were the rapparees, gangs of brigands who operated as highwaymen and cattle rustlers. Along the southern coastal roads from Wexford to Cork, the infamous Bernagh’s Bhoys robbed, beat and often murdered travellers, as well as ransacking farms that refused to pay tribute. They terrorised the region for much of the decade. Finally in January 1838, increased RIC patrols having already arrested or killed most of his gang, Tómas Bernagh was apprehended. Found hiding in a barn near Dungarvan, he was later hanged at Arbour Hill in Dublin. Achieving a small place in folklore as the “last of the rapparees”, Bernagh’s death signalled an end to widespread banditry in rural Ireland.



tomas burnagh.png

Tómas Bernagh: Last of the Rapparees


Morpeth worked to establish democracy in Irish municipal government. Town corporations in places like Galway and Londonderry had developed terrible reputations even for the time as corrupt fiefs of the Anglican clergy, landowners and guildsmen. The Chief Secretary presented the Municipal Corporations (Ireland) Act to the Commons in early 1837, calling it a spiritual amendment to the Great Reform Act. “We have seen off the rotten boroughs”, he proclaimed, “now let’s to the rotten corporations!”. The legislation introduced wholly elected councils, with an increase in Whig and Repealer representation across the board. Deterrents to dissent like the public ballot remained however, allowing landlords to retain pre-eminence outside the larger towns and cities. These and other efforts, such as simplifying the penal code and expanding the courts of assizes, were praised by the Repeal Association and reformers but the matter of the tithes remained[5].

Having sounded out various Lords and MPs, Morpeth and the Prime Minister found a majority were in favour of some change to the system. While Archbishop Howley led an unflinching opposition many of his fellow peers, such as Wellington and Lansdowne, knew the Tithe War could not go on. Yet most felt they could not endorse the government, as it would mean going directly against the King. As such the issue continued to boil over until 28 June 1838, when news arrived from Windsor that William IV had died at the age of seventy-two.

The succession not only brought his young niece Victoria to the throne but saw the departure of his brother, the Duke of Cumberland, from British shores. Described by one historian as a “stupid, vicious Tory”, the authoritarian duke was despised by the public, with rumours of murder, incest and palace intrigue surrounding him. Due to Salic law he was to succeed William as King of Hanover, removing the bishops’ fiercest ally from the upper house[6]. Large crowds gathered to heckle his carriage as it left London, while mock commemorative coins were sold bearing his likeness and the inscription: “To Hanover, Go!”.

Now with two implacable royal foes out of the way, the Whigs were confident they could end the Tithe War and gain a freer hand over policy under Queen Victoria. Althorp quickly requested the dissolution of parliament required following the “demise of the crown” and prepared for a general election[7]. Tensions lingered between the factions of the Compact, with the particulars of resolving the tithe question unresolved. Others issues like the rise of Chartism and the Anti-Corn Law League loomed on the horizon. Nonetheless the Prime Minister was confident and eager to secure a mandate of his own.



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HM Victoria of Great Britain & Ireland


__________


[1] Thomas Spring Rice had an eight-hour debate in the Commons with O’Connell over Repeal in 1834. He became so frustrated that he sarcastically suggested Ireland be renamed West Britain.
[2] The Repeal Association and Daniel O’Connell organised truly massive public gatherings in the 1830s and 40s, despite limitations in transport and communication. Their model would be copied by reform movements across Europe in the following decades.
[3] Howley was very outspoken on political issues of the day. He became so hated for his opposition to the Great Reform Act that he was pelted with rotten fruit on his way into Canterbury Cathedral.
[4] The Royal Irish Constabulary’s demographics were in line with the general population for most its history, although Protestants dominated the upper ranks.
[5] Morpeth and Drummond were widely respected across Ireland for their reforms IOTL.
[6] If nothing else Cumberland attended the House of Lords almost daily, often being the first one in and the last one out.
[7] Until the 1867 Reform Act the death of a monarch necessitated a general election within six months.
 
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stnylan

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Arguing over a paltry tax ... now where and when have we heard that tune before.
 

DensleyBlair

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Ah, Ireland. Always the bane of any UK player in Vicky 2 – and indeed of any UK government up to… well, the present day. Lovely little details about the parliamentary goings on, Jape! Seeing names like O’Connell and Spring Rice (which I always thought sounded a bit like a Chinese dish) takes me right back to ABoGM! Really great stuff. :)

I do wonder which way Ireland will take things in this playthrough.
 
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