Wellington: A Personal History

By Christopher Hibbert | Go to book overview

13 Board of Enquiry 1808

'This is Sir Arthur (whose valour and skill, began so well but ended so ill).'

TO ADD TO Sir Arthur's other worries, there was talk of an enquiry into the Convention of Cintra being set up by a Board of General Officers who were to examine General Wellesley's part in formulating it. So long as the verdict of the Board was unknown, Lord Castlereagh doubted the wisdom of Sir Arthur's attending the levee at St James's Palace; and when the General asked the Secretary for War if he would drive him there, Castlereagh 'hemmed & hawed, and said that there was so much ill-humour in the public mind that it might produce inconvenience, and, in short, he advised me not to go.' 1

But Sir Arthur was determined to go. He had intended to do so as 'a matter of respect and duty to the King' and he was not the kind of man to shrink from showing his face on account of 'ill-humour in the public mind'. He now looked upon his attendance as a 'matter of self-respect and duty' to his own character. 'I therefore insist on knowing whether this advice proceeds in any degree from His Majesty,' he replied to Castlereagh's letter, 'and I wish you distinctly to understand that I will go to the levee tomorrow, or I never will go to [another] levee in my life.'2

He did go and the King was perfectly amicable. His Majesty was not in favour of a public enquiry into the Convention of Cintra and when such a tribunal was first suggested he rejected the proposal out of hand. He was eventually obliged to tolerate one, however; and in November a Board of General Officers was convened in the Great Hall of Chelsea Hospital under the presidency of an intimate friend of the Duke of York, the tall, austere, Scottish General Sir David Dundas, Governor of the Hospital, who had been a captain in the Dragoons long before Sir Arthur Wellesley was born. Sir Hew Dalrymple was recalled from the Peninsula to answer the Board's questions; Sir Arthur Wellesley returned from Ireland where he had briefly gone to see his

-77-

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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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