Wellington: A Personal History

By Christopher Hibbert | Go to book overview

22 In London Again 1814

'It's a fine thing to be a great man, is it not?'

'I BELIEVE I forgot to tell you,' Wellington ended a letter to his brother Henry, 'I was made a Duke.'1

He was also appointed Ambassador in Paris, a post which Henry thought he would find 'very pretty amusement'. Wellington considered it a situation for which he would 'never have thought [himself] qualified'; but he knew that he 'must serve the public in some manner or other', and he had, after all, by now a good deal of experience of diplomacy in dealing with the allies in the war. Nor did he particularly want to go home: although he had 'been so long from England', he felt 'no objection to another absence in the public service'. 2

He arrived in Paris at the beginning of May, entering the city, in strong contrast to the many other generals there, in civilian clothes of a blue frock-coat, white neck-cloth and top hat. It seemed to be a city en fête rather than the capital of a defeated country. There were military parades, balls, receptions, picnics, parties. English officers prided themselves on 'imitating the Duke of Wellington in nonchalance and coolness of manner', observed Sir Walter Scott whose admiration of the Duke was unbounded.

So they wander about everywhere with their hands in the pockets of their long waistcoats or cantering upon cossack ponies staring, whistling and strolling to and fro as if all Paris was theirs. The French hate them sufficiently for the hauteur of their manner and pretensions but these grounds of dislike against us are drowned in the detestation afforded by the other powers. 3

King Louis XVIII, complacently accepting the throne which had been restored to his family, was host to three other European sovereigns, the King of Prussia, the Emperor of Austria and the Czar of All the Russias. Numerous statesmen were gathered there, too, as well as generals. Lord and Lady Castlereagh had come over from England. With them

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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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