Wellington: A Personal History

By Christopher Hibbert | Go to book overview

7 The Sultan's Palace 1800-1

'If we are taken prisoner, I shall be hanged as brother to the Governor-General, and you will be hanged for being found in bad company.'

RECOVERED FROM the Malabar Itch, Colonel Wellesley returned to Seringapatam in more cheerful mood than his companions might have expected in so disappointed a man. But he was still not very well, one of them thought; and, although he was no more than thirty-two years old, his closely cropped, wavy, light brown hair, parted in the middle, was already touched with grey. 1

He never wore powder [one of his staff recorded], though it was at that time the regulation to do so. I have heard him say he was convinced the wearing of hair powder was very prejudicial to health as impeding the perspiration . . . His dress at this time consisted of a long coat, the uniform of the 33rd Regiment, a cocked hat, white pantaloons, Hessian boots and spurs, and a large sabre, the handle solid silver. 2

Having taken ship south from Bombay he rode towards Mysore ahead of his escort, nonchalantly observing to Captain Elers who accompanied him, 'If we are taken prisoner, I shall be hanged as brother to the Governor-General, and you will be hanged for being found in bad company.'3

One night the two men were sitting drinking wine after dinner and, as Elers recalled, 'congratulating ourselves that we had arrived safely . . . in the country of the Coorga Rajah . . . when, looking through the tent doors, we saw the forest suddenly illuminated with torches and many men carrying all sorts of game on Bamboos', including cheetahs, jackals, tigers, foxes, a boa constrictor sixteen feet long, eleven elephants' tails and three carp.

The next day the Rajah's green and red striped tents were pitched nearby and from these were sent over to the British officers presents of 'backgammon boards of the handsomest sort, inlaid with ebony and

-36-

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Wellington: A Personal History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Author's Note and Acknowledgements xi
  • I - 1769-1815 1
  • 1 - Eton, Dublin and Angers 1769-87 3
  • 2 - An Officer in the 33rd 1787-93 9
  • 3 - The First Campaign 1794-5 13
  • 4 - A Voyage to India 1796-8 17
  • 5 - The Tiger of Mysore 1799 23
  • 6 - The Governor of Mysore 1799 30
  • 7 - The Sultan's Palace 1800-1 36
  • 8 - Assaye 1802-5 41
  • 9 - Return to London 1805-6 47
  • 10 - Kitty Pakenham 1790-1806 54
  • 11 - Ireland and Denmark 1806-7 58
  • 12 - Portugal 1808 66
  • 13 - Board of Enquiry 1808 77
  • 14 - Across the Douro 1809 82
  • 15 - 'A Whole Host of Marshals' 1809 - 10 92
  • 16 - From Bussaco to El Bodon 1810-11 101
  • 17 - Life at Headquarters 1810-12 108
  • 18 - Badajoz, Salamanca and Madrid 1812 117
  • 19 - Retreat to Portugal 1812 126
  • 20 - From Vitoria to the Frontier 1812-13 133
  • 21 - St Jean De Luz 1813 144
  • 22 - In London Again 1814 151
  • 23 - Paris and Vienna 1814-15 160
  • 24 - Brussels 1815 167
  • 25 - Waterloo 1815 174
  • II - 1815-52 187
  • 26 - The Ambassador 1815 189
  • 27 - Cambrai and Vitry 1815-18 202
  • 28 - Stratfield Saye 1818-20 213
  • 29 - King George IV and Queen Caroline 1820-1 220
  • 30 - Husband and Wife 1821 226
  • 31 - Vienna and Verona 1822-4 241
  • 32 - St Petersburg and the Northern Counties 1825 - 7 251
  • 33 - The Prime Minister 1828-9 264
  • 34 - Battersea Fields and Scotland Yard 273
  • 35 - The Death of the King 1829-30 278
  • 36 - Riots and Repression 1830-2 287
  • 37 - A Bogy to the Mob 1832 296
  • 38 - Oxford University and Apsley House 1832-4 306
  • 39 - Lady Friends 1834 313
  • 40 - The Foreign Secretary 1834-6 319
  • 41 - Portraits and Painters 1830-50 326
  • 42 - Life at Walmer Castle 1830-50 338
  • 43 - The Young Queen 1837-9 348
  • 44 - Grand Old Man 1839-50 357
  • 45 - The Horse Guards and the House of Lords 1842-50 367
  • 46 - Hyde Park Corner 1845-6 373
  • 47 - Disturbers of the Peace 1846-51 378
  • 48 - Growing Old 1850-1 385
  • 49 - Last Days 1851-2 394
  • 50 - The Way to St Paul's 1852 399
  • References 405
  • Sources 426
  • Index 439
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