Wellington: A Personal History

By Christopher Hibbert | Go to book overview

12 Portugal
1808

'Sir Harry, now is your time to advance.'

'I HAVE GOT PRETTY high upon the tree since I came home,' Sir Arthur Wellesley wrote contentedly from the Lodge in Phoenix Park soon after his return to Dublin. 'I don't think it probable that I shall be called upon [to return to India] . . . Men in power in England think very little of that country, and those who do think of it feel very little inclination that I should go there . . . They think I cannot well be spared from objects nearer home.'1

There was, indeed, much to concern them in Europe. Following the French victories over the Prussians at Jena and Auerstädt and over the Russians at Friedland, France and Russia had become allies by agreements reached at Tilsit and had resolved to divide Europe between them, reducing Austria and Prussia to impotence. Britain thus stood alone against Napoleon. Denmark joined France in October; and Spain undertook to assist in a French attack upon Portugal which had refused to join Napoleon's Continental System, a form of economic warfare designed to ruin British trade by excluding British ships from Continental ports.

French troops invaded Portugal on 19 November under General Andoche Junot, a wealthy farmer's truculent son who had become Governor of Paris; and ten days later the Portuguese royal family fled to Brazil. While Ministers anxiously discussed the measures that might be taken to break the Continental blockade, General Wellesley took every opportunity to remind them of his presence in Dublin and to offer his services in 'any part of the world at a moment's notice?'. 2

Meanwhile he had to turn his attention to the perennial and insoluble problems of Ireland, to Irish education, to the maintenance of civil order, to the creation of a Dublin police force, to a law requiring absentee clergymen to return to their parishes, to protests against excessive rents and tithes, to the dangers of a French invasion, sometimes voicing the views of a high and impatient Tory -- 'we want

-66-

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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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