Chapter 183: The Empire in Peril
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London, Great Britain
July 27th, 1834

"This is a disaster," The Duke of Wellington, the Prime Minister of Great Britain and Ireland, sighed as he massaged his temples, "The Americans are pushing us everywhere, from Texas all the way to Florida. The French republicans are already closing in on Barcelona, and our fleet is stretched due to our commitments in the Americas and in Europe."

"The French and Spanish front in Florida is collapsing, sir. The Spanish are pulling their troops out as fast as possible to save their homeland, while the French are withdrawing to the west in order to save themselves," Secretary of State for War and the Colonies George Murray mentioned as he shuffled through a pile of papers, "That American general, General Nathaniel Bonapart, has been giving them troubles for the entirety of this invasion and he has finally broken through with those terrifying "Gatling guns" of his."

"Do we have anything to counter these "Gatling" guns?"

Master-General of the Ordnance Henry Paget hesitantly shook his head, "No, Your Excellency. The only way to fight against these Gatling guns is to... halt our advances into American territory. With those guns, the Americans can now hold their positions indefinitely while we lose thousands at a time. Additionally, we will not be able to develop anything akin to the Gatling guns for at least a decade at the very least. All our resources are being used for the war effort and for the construction of the ironclads."

"Have we made any progress on that?"

"We are at least five years away from starting the construction of a prototype." First Lord of Admiralty Robert Dundas answered quietly.

The prime minister clasped the armrest of his chair tightly and tossed the papers in front of him off the table, "So you are telling me that we are years away from combating these new weapons that the Americans have developed and yet, we are to somehow finish this war on our term? The bloody Yankees have a machine that can fire hundreds of rounds per minute, artillery guns that can fire a dozen shells in a span of a minute, and soon, they will have ships entirely made of metal to blow our fleets from the water! This war has been nothing but suicide for our nation."

Prime Minister Wellesley pointedly looked at the 2nd Earl of Rosslyn, who had served as the Lord Chancellor of his Cabinet. The man had sold out the Cabinet to their monarch and now, all of them were paying the price, "I would not be surprised if a vote of no confidence passed Parliament this very instant. The people are getting unruly as well."

At first, the public was fully supportive of the war and as the successes piled on, their enthusiasm shot through the roof. But as the British losses grew and the United States handed Britain and her allies more and more losses, the support for the war waned rapidly. With France's entry into the war, the support for the war collapsed. The people were now protesting, and even rioting, in the streets for a "quick" end to the war. Yet, America (and by default, France) demanded harsh terms against Britain (including reparations, a total Alliance withdrawal from all of America's overseas territories, a transfer of all Alliance colonies in the Caribbean to the United States, an additional cessation of colonies across the Americas, and the trial of all captured Alliance soldiers in the "League of American Nations High Court") and refused to budge on the matter. The prime minister and his Cabinet knew that if they accepted America's demands, then the Tory Party would collapse and disappear completely, along with Britain's remaining prestige and finances. It was an offer that they could not accept, even if a few members of the Cabinet wanted to (especially Prime Minister Wellesley).

And the king that had placed them in this position in the first place was nowhere to be seen. He was hiding in Windsor Castle and rarely replied to any requests and reports made by the British government.

"Call for a general withdrawal from America," The Duke of Wellington commanded firmly, "British troops are to be given the highest priority. By now, Marshal Gough should have received additional Indian troops from the East India Company. He will use those troops as decoys as we save our regulars. Do we have any information on when the Americans will finish their metal warships?"

"We are completely in the dark, Prime Minister. The Americans have snatched up a number of our own agents and have closed off any leaks from "Project Monitor." It looks like they learned their lesson from that Quebecois traitor." Foreign Secretary George Hamilton-Gordon, the Earl of Aberdeen replied.

"Then we must hurry. Or else, we will be at the complete mercy of the Americans. We promised the East India Company that we would pay for the expenses of the Indian troops, so they are disposable to us. The Spanish are already withdrawing, so we will not face any opposition from them. The French monarchists will be crushed regardless of our intervention, so it is better for us to cut ties with them... We will allow the Portuguese to return with us, as we will need to defend Iberia against the French republican rabble..."

"Your Excellency," The 2nd Earl of Rosslyn piped up despite the hostile looks shot at him from certain members of the Wellington Cabinet, "May I speak?"

"Your request to resign is denied, Lord Chancellor."

"I apologize for my previous actions, but I believe there is a way to salvage our situation back at home. The public is not aware of our esteemed monarch's role at the beginning of this war. Therefore, it may be possible to discreetly shift the blame of this war from our government, to His Majesty."

The British Prime Minister's eyes widened, "Go on."

"I have a set of letters that proves my correspondence with His Majesty. Many of them go into detail about his... loathing of the Americans and his willingness to push the government into an armed confrontation with the United States. If some of these letters were revealed to the public..."

"Then we can push forth a Regency Bill to convince the king to retire, and allow his daughter to take the throne. Thus shifting blame away from our ministry, and towards the monarchy itself," The Duke of Wellington finished, "But why should I trust you, Lord Chancellor? After all, you are partially to blame as well."

"I will release the letters to the public myself. And within a week, I will resign."

"Interesting," The Duke of Wellington frowned, "We shall see. For now, let us focus on the matter at hand."

 
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