'There is nobody but myself in whom either yourselves, or the country, or your Allies would feel any confidence.'
IN PARIS THE DUKE found himself as much in demand as ever: he had a finger, as he put it himself, in every pie. He was asked about French attitudes to the war in America, about the policies to be pursued by the British representatives at the Congress in Vienna, about the Princess of Wales whose extremely dubious behaviour on the Continent was being investigated by her husband's agents. It was 'worth considering', was the Duke's worldly advice, 'whether it [was] not desirable that every facility should be given to the Princess of Wales to enjoy herself' so that she would not be tempted to return to England. 1
The Duke was also much concerned with the French slave trade against which public opinion in England, where the trade had been abolished in 1807, was running strong, and which he had been instructed to persuade the French government to abolish. 2 He studied all the books he could find upon the subject including the History of the Abolition of the African Slave Trade by the British Parliament by the anti-slavery agitator Thomas Clarkson; and, a more pleasurable task, he discussed the problem with the knowledgeable Mme de Staël who translated for him English anti-slave trade pamphlets into French. He came to the conclusion that, of course, the slave trade was wrong; but he sympathized with the French who could not understand why the English were making such a fuss and strongly suspected that they were motivated less by humanitarian reasons than by jealousy of French commerce. Wellington sensibly proposed that French public opinion should be moulded by the same kind of anti-slavery propaganda that had been so effective in England and, in the meantime, he succeeded in persuading King Louis XVIII to press for the abolition of the slave trade within five years.
His relations with the gouty King were friendly enough even though