'The Duke's conduct to the Parisians was kind and considerate.'
THERE WAS, as Wellington hoped, to be no more fighting for him. For the moment he was to be a diplomat in Paris where Baron von Müffling had been installed as Military Governor.
Both the Prussians and the British troops had a mind to take advantage of their victory. So, indeed, had the British Government, which, like the army, were somewhat impatient of what they considered to be the Duke's leniency towards their former enemies. 'It is quite right to prevent plunder of every description,' wrote Lord Liverpool, 'but France must bear a part of the expenses of war . . . We do not exactly know what course in this respect the Duke of Wellington has been following . . . I trust however that [he can be persuaded] that the French nation ought to bear a part of the expense.' 1 The French, in fact, were being asked to pay a fine of 100 million francs; and, as for the Duke of Wellington, it was quite clear that he strongly disapproved of any excessively harsh penalties which would antagonize the French people. He recognized that the Bourbons were far from universally popular in France; yet he insisted that 'the establishment of any other government than the King's in France [would] inevitably lead to new and endless wars?'. 2 He also insisted that if King Louis XVIII were to be returned to his throne with the help of the nations who had so recently fought against his people, the Allies must do nothing to offend those people: the humiliation of France, or its dismemberment as some recommended, might lead eventually to another war and, as the Duke had once said, 'Take my word for it, if you had seen but one day of war, you would pray to Almighty God that you might never see such a thing again.' When it was proposed to demolish one of Paris's bridges, the Pont d'Iéna, named after Napoleon's great victory on the Saale, a request to spare it was made to Blücher on behalf of the French Foreign Minister. 'I have resolved upon blowing up the bridge,' Blücher replied