Wellington: A Personal History

By Christopher Hibbert | Go to book overview

32 St Petersburg and the Northern
Counties
1825 - 7

'We have some great diplomatic characters here, but I believe they are all as much in the dark as I am.'

HAD HE BEEN in better health, the Duke might well have been thankful to be able to escape from England for a time when he was asked in 1825 to undertake a diplomatic mission to Russia where the Tsar Alexander had died and been succeeded by Nicholas I. But, as it was, he had not yet fully recovered from the incompetent ministrations of Dr Stevenson. He had almost collapsed from dizziness while shooting one day, and, most unusually for him, he had been suffering from sleeplessness, which another course of the Cheltenham waters had failed to alleviate. He had also had a bout of cholera. Not long before Mrs Arbuthnot had recorded in her journal, 'He is so terribly thin & gets so little sleep I cannot but feel very anxious & uneasy about him.' 1

With his health so poor he dreaded the prospect of a winter's journey to St Petersburg. He almost doubted that he would survive it. But he could not see how he, who had 'always been preaching the doctrine of going wherever' a man in public life 'was desired to go', 'could decline to accept the offer of this mission'. So he did accept it, going so far as to assure Canning that he had never felt better in his life and was ready to leave at a moment's notice. 2 He said goodbye to his family and friends with such unaccustomed emotion that General Alava, exiled now in England, had never seen him so moved; nor had Lady Burghersh from whom he parted in tears. Charles Greville was surprised to hear that he was also 'deeply affected when he parted from his Mother'. 3

Everybody was sorry to see him go, he told Mrs Arbuthnot, who was

-251-

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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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