Wellington: A Personal History

By Christopher Hibbert | Go to book overview

40 The Foreign Secretary 1834-6

'His Highness the Dictator is concentrating in himself all the power of the State.'

IN THE YEAR of Harriet Arbuthnot's death, the Duke had celebrated his sixty-fifth birthday. His hair was quite white now, his face lined, his body thin; but his eyes had lost little of their bright sparkle. He kept himself as busy as ever with his public duties, attending the House of Lords within three days of Mrs Arbuthnot's death, having what Charles Greville called 'the good taste and sense' to appear there with a 'chearful aspect', though he was looking 'very ill'. He also kept himself as busy as ever with his interminable correspondence which was more voluminous than ever now since his increasing deafness was making human intercourse a strain. Often he heard little of what was said to him in crowded rooms and replied to what he did hear in an alarmingly loud voice. He heard scarcely a word of sermons in church, so, although he had always thought it a gentleman's duty to go to church and was a regular subscriber to the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, he gave up attending services in London -- apart from occasional visits to the Chapel Royal, St James's -- advancing as an additional excuse the coldness of London churches where he was obliged to remove his hat, particularly the chilliness of St James's, Piccadilly, the Wren church where he had once attended early service regularly. He did, however, always occupy his pew on Sundays when he was staying at Stratfield Saye or Walmer Castle, since he felt the sight of his presence there would 'operate as an example'.* He also

____________________
*
According to Captain Gronow he also, on at least one occasion, walked from Walmer to the parish church at Deal where he 'ensconced himself in a roomy-looking pew in front of the pulpit. After a short time a lady of portly and pompous appearance, the owner of the pew, entered.' She cast a scowl at the intruder whom she did not recognize, then, since this did not have the desired effect, she told him 'bluntly that she must request he immediately leave her pew'. He obediently did so; but unused to not being recognized, and evidently disliking the experience, he said to the sexton upon leaving the church, 'Tell that lady she has turned the Duke of Wellington out of her pew' ( The Reminiscences and Recollections of Captain Gronow, i, 266).

-319-

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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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