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Posts Tagged ‘Richard Colley Wellesley’

Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency (I include those who were born before 1811 and who died after 1795), today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Lieutenant-Colonel Lord William Charles Augustus Cavendish-Bentinck
3 October 1780 – 28 April 1826

Lieutenant-Colonel Lord William Charles Augustus Cavendish-Bentinck was the third son of British Prime Minister William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portlandand Lady Dorothy, daughter of Prime Minister William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire. William Bentinck, 4th Duke of Portland, and Lord William Bentinck were his elder brothers.

Bentinck was returned to Parliament for Ashburton in 1806, a seat he held until 1812. He served under the Earl of Liverpool as Treasurer of the Household between 1812 and 1826.

Bentinck married, firstly, Georgiana Augusta Frederica Seymour (baptized Elliott), daughter of the courtesan Mrs Grace Elliott on 21 September 1808; she was said to be a daughter of the Prince of Wales or of the 4th Earl of Cholmondeley, both men claiming her paternity. They had one daughter, who was raised after Georgiana’s death by Lord Cholmondeley, according to the entry on Grace Elliott. The marriage enabled Bentinck to become Treasurer of the Household in 1812, a position he held till death, despite his involvement in a notorious divorce suit and his subsequent remarriage.

In 1815 he eloped with his mistress, Lady Abdy, daughter of Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley, and Hyacinthe Gabrielle Roland, and wife of Bentinck’s friend Sir William Abdy, 7th Baronet. Lady Anne was divorced by her husband, and she and Bentinck were married on 16 July 1816. They had four children:

  • Anne Cavendish-Bentinck (d. 7 June 1888)
  • Emily Cavendish-Bentinck (d. 6 June 1850), married Henry Hopwood.
  • Reverend Charles William Frederick Cavendish-Bentinck (1817–1865). He was a great-grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II.
  • Lieutenant-General Arthur Cavendish-Bentinck (10 May 1819 – 11 December 1877). He married first Elizabeth Sophia Hawkins-Whitshed. They were parents of William Cavendish-Bentinck, 6th Duke of Portland. He married secondly Augusta Browne and they had a daughter, Lady Ottoline Morrell.

Anne and Lord Charles became lovers at some point during her first marriage. They eloped on 5 September 1815, following which Abdy brought a suit for criminal conversation (crim.con. in Regency parlance) for 30,000 pounds but won only 7,000 pounds in damages. (These damages were never paid by the impecunious Bentinck). During the discussion of the divorce bill, the customary provision against remarriage was struck out in the House of Lords. Lady Abdy (or rather, her husband Sir William Abdy) was granted a divorce on 25 June 1816. Anne and Lord William were married on 23 July 1816, enabling their first child (which she was expecting) to be born legitimate three weeks later.

Bentinck died on 28 April 1826 at age 45. His wife survived him by almost 50 years and died in March 1875.

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Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Henry Richard Charles Wellesley 1st Earl of Cowley
17 June 1804 – 15 July 1884

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Henry Richard Charles Wellesley

Henry Richard Charles Wellesley 1st Earl of Cowley was born at Hertford Street, Mayfair, London, the eldest son of Henry Wellesley, 1st Baron Cowley, and Lady Charlotte, daughter of Charles Cadogan, 1st Earl Cadogan. He was a nephew of the 1st Duke of Wellington and the 1st Marquess Wellesley. He was educated at Eton and Brasenose College, Oxford.

Wellesley entered the diplomatic service in 1824, receiving his first important appointment in 1848, when he became Minister Plenipotentiary to the Swiss Cantons. In July 1848 he was sent on special mission to the provisional central power of Germany in Frankfurt. This was followed in June 1851 by his appointment as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the reinstated diet of the German Confederation, a position which he only held for a short time, as he was chosen in 1852 to succeed Lord Normanby as the British Ambassador in Paris. Lord Cowley, as Wellesley had become on his father’s death in 1847, held this important post for fifteen years, and the story of his diplomatic life in Paris cannot be separated from the general history of England and France. As Minister during the greater part of the reign of Napoleon III, he conducted the delicate negotiations between the two countries during the time of those eastern complications which preceded and followed the Crimean War, and also during the excitement and unrest produced by the attempt made in 1858 by Felice Orsini to assassinate the Emperor of the French; while his diplomatic skill was no less in evidence during the war between France and Austria and the subsequent course of events in Italy.

In 1857 he was created Viscount Dangan, in the County of Meath, and Earl Cowley. He was further honoured in 1866 when he was made a Knight of the Garter. Having assisted Richard Cobden to conclude the commercial treaty between Great Britain and France in 1860, he retired as ambassador in 1867.

Lord Cowley married on 23 October 1833 the Honourable Olivia Cecilia (d. 1885), daughter of Lord Henry FitzGerald (fourth son of the 1st Duke of Leinster) and the 20th Baroness de Ros, by whom he had three sons and two daughters, and was succeeded in his titles by his eldest son, William Cowley, Viscount Dangan. One of his daughters, Lady Feodorowna Cecilia Wellesley (1838–1920), married Francis Bertie, a British diplomat and a future British ambassador to France. In 1863 Cowley inherited the former Long family estate of Draycot Cerne in Wiltshire from his kinsman the 5th Earl of Mornington, and he lived in retirement until his death on 15 July 1884.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Charles Grant (British East India Company)
16 April 1746 – 31 October 1823

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Charles Grant

Charles Grant (British East India Company) was born at Aldourie, Inverness-shire, Scotland on the same day his father, Alexander Grant, was killed fighting for the Jacobites, against the British Crown, at Culloden. However, Charles Grant himself was one of the growing number of Scots who prospered in the service of the British Empire. In 1767, Grant travelled to India to take up a military position. Over subsequent years, he rose in the ranks of the British East India Company. Initially, he became superintendent over its trade in Bengal. Then, in 1787, having first acquired a personal fortune through silk manufacturing in Malda, Lord Cornwallis the Governor-General appointed Grant as a member of the East India Company’s board of trade. Grant lived a profligate lifestyle as he climbed through the ranks, but after losing two children to smallpox he underwent a religious conversion. Viewing his life, including his efforts in India, from his new evangelical Christian perspective, moulded his career for the rest of his life.

Grant returned to Britain in 1790 and was elected to Parliament in 1802 for Inverness-shire. He served as an MP until failing health forced him to retire in 1818. However, his relationship with the East India Company did not end. In 1804, he joined the Company’s Court of Directors, and in 1805, he became its chairman. He died in Russell Square, London at age 77.

His eldest son, Charles, was born in India and later followed his father into politics, eventually becoming a British peer as Baron Glenelg. His other son, Robert, followed his father into the Indian service and became Governor of Bombay, as well as being a Christian hymn writer.

Grant opposed the Governor-General Richard Wellesley’s combative and expansionist policies in India, and later supported the unsuccessful parliamentary move to impeach Wellesley. Grant saw Indian society as not only heathen, but also as corrupt and uncivilised. He was appalled by such native customs as exposing the sick, burning lepers, and sati. He believed that Britain’s duty was not simply to expand its rule in India and exploit the subcontinent for its commercial interests, but to civilise and Christianise.

In 1792, Grant wrote the tract “Observations on the State of Society among the Asiatic Subjects of Great Britain.” This famous essay pled for education and Christian mission to be tolerated in India alongside the East India Company’s traditional commercial activity. It argued that India could be advanced socially and morally by compelling the Company to permit Christian missionaries into India, a view diametrically opposed to the long-held position of the East India Company that Christian missionary work in India conflicted with its commercial interests and should be prohibited. In 1797, Grant presented his essay to the Company’s directors, and then later in 1813, along with the reformer William Wilberforce, successfully to the House of Commons. The Commons ordered its re-printing during the important debates on the renewal of the company’s charter.

He was largely responsible for the foundation of East India Company College, which was later erected at Haileybury.

As Chairman of the Company, Grant used his position to sponsor many chaplains to India, among them Claudius Buchanan and Henry Martyn.

Grant was part of an evangelical Anglican movement of close friends which included such luminaries as the abolitionist Wilberforce, Zachary Macaulay, John Venn, Henry Thornton, and John Shore, who lived in close proximity round Clapham Common south west of London. For some years from 1796, Grant himself lived in a large villa called Glenelg in proximity to Wilberforce and Thornton. This ‘Clapham sect’ welded evangelical theology with the cause of social reform. Both in India and in Britain’s Parliament, Grant campaigned for the furtherance of causes of education, social reform, and Christian mission. In 1791, he helped established the Sierra Leone Company, which gave refuge to freed slaves. Also in 1791, as an influential supporter of the abolition of slavery in all its forms, he was elected to the London Abolition Committee. He served as a vice-president of the British and Foreign Bible Society from its establishment in 1804, and also supported the Church Missionary Society and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. As a director of one of the largest businesses of the day, Grant was a remarkably effective social reformer.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Charles Cornwallis 1st Marquess Cornwallis
1 May 1769 – 14 September 1852

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Charles Cornwallis

Charles Cornwallis 1st Marquess Cornwallis was born in Grosvenor Square, even though his family’s estates were in Kent. He was the eldest son of Charles Cornwallis, 5th Baron Cornwallis. His mother, Elizabeth, was the daughter of Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend, and niece of Sir Robert Walpole. His uncle, Frederick, was Archbishop of Canterbury. Frederick’s twin brother, Edward, was a military officer, colonial governor, and founder of Halifax, Nova Scotia. His brother William became an Admiral in the Royal Navy. His other brother, James, eventually inherited the earldom from Cornwallis’s son, Charles.

The family was established at Brome Hall, near Eye, Suffolk, in the 14th century, and its members would represent the county in the House of Commons over the next three hundred years. Frederick Cornwallis, created a Baronet in 1627, fought for King Charles I, and followed King Charles II into exile. He was made Baron Cornwallis, of Eye in the County of Suffolk, in 1661, and by judicious marriages his descendants increased the importance of his family.

Cornwallis was educated at Eton College and Clare College, Cambridge. While at Eton, he received an injury to his eye by an accidental blow while playing hockey, from Shute Barrington, later Bishop of Durham. He obtained his first commission as Ensign in the 1st Foot Guards, on 8 December 1757. He then sought and gained permission to engage in military studies abroad. After travelling on the continent with a Prussian officer, Captain de Roguin, he studied at the military academy of Turin. Upon completion of his studies in Turin in 1758, he traveled to Geneva, where he learned that British troops were to be sent to the Continent in the Seven Years’ War. Although he tried to reach his regiment before it sailed from the Isle of Wight, he learnt upon reaching Cologne that it had already sailed. He managed instead to secure an appointment as a staff officer to Lord Granby.

A year later, he participated at the Battle of Minden, a major battle that prevented a French invasion of Hanover. After the battle, he purchased a captaincy in the 85th Regiment of Foot. In 1761, he served with the 12th Foot and was promoted to Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel. He led his regiment in the Battle of Villinghausen on 15–16 July 1761, and was noted for his gallantry. In 1762 his regiment was involved in heavy fighting during the Battle of Wilhelmsthal. A few weeks later they defeated Saxon troops at the Battle of Lutterberg and ended the year by participating in the Siege of Cassel.

In January 1760 Cornwallis became a Member of Parliament, entering the House of Commons for the village of Eye in Suffolk. He succeeded his father as 2nd Earl Cornwallis in 1762, which resulted in his elevation to the House of Lords. He became a protege of the leading Whig magnate, and future Prime Minister, Lord Rockingham.

He was one of five peers who voted against the 1765 Stamp Act out of sympathy with the colonists. In the following years, he maintained a strong degree of support for the colonists during the tensions and crisis that led to the War of Independence.

On July 14, 1768, he married Jemima Tullekin Jones, daughter of a regimental colonel. The union was, by all accounts, happy. They settled in Culford, Suffolk, where their children, Mary (28 June 1769 – 17 July 1840), and Charles were born. Jemima died on 14 April 1779.

During the postwar years, Cornwallis had remained active in military matters. He became colonel of the 33rd Regiment of Foot in 1766. With the outbreak of the war in North America, Cornwallis put his previous misgivings aside and sought active service.

Promoted to lieutenant general in North America, he began his service in 1776 under General Sir Henry Clinton with the failed Siege of Charleston. He and Clinton then sailed for New York City, where they participated in General William Howe’s campaign for New York City. Cornwallis was often given a leading role during this campaign; his division was in the lead at the Battle of Long Island, and he chased the retreating George Washington across New Jersey after the city fell. Howe recognized the successful close of the campaign “much to the honor of his lordship and the officers and soldiers under his command.”

General Howe granted Cornwallis leave in December 1776; however it was cancelled after Washington launched his surprise attack on Trenton on 26 December. Howe ordered Cornwallis to return to New Jersey to deal with Washington. Cornwallis gathered together garrisons scattered across New Jersey and moved them towards Trenton. On 2 January 1777, as he advanced on Trenton, his forces were engaged in extended skirmishing that delayed the army’s arrival at Washington’s position on the Assunpink Creek until late in the day. Cornwallis was unable to dislodge Washington in the battle that followed. Cornwallis prepared his troops to continue the assault of Washington’s position the next day, and critically failed to send out adequate patrols to monitor the Americans. During the night, Washington’s forces slipped around Cornwallis’s and attacked the British outpost at Princeton. Washington’s success was aided by a deception: he had men maintain blazing campfires and keep up sounds of camp activity during his movement. Cornwallis spent the winter in New York and New Jersey, where the forces under his command were engaged in ongoing skirmishes with the Americans.

Cornwallis continued to serve under Howe on his campaign for control of the rebel capital, Philadelphia. Cornwallis was again often in an advance role, leading the flanking manoeuvre at the Battle of Brandywine, and playing key roles at Germantown and Fort Mercer. With the army in winter quarters in Philadelphia, Cornwallis finally returned home for leave. Upon his return in 1778, Howe had been replaced by Clinton as commander in chief, and Cornwallis was now second in command. The entry of France into the war prompted the British leaders to redeploy their armed forces for a more global war, and Philadelphia was abandoned. Cornwallis commanded the rearguard during the overland withdrawal to New York City and played an important role in the Battle of Monmouth on 28 June 1778. After a surprise attack on the British rearguard, Cornwallis launched a counter-attack which checked the enemy advance. Even though Clinton commended Cornwallis for his performance at Monmouth, he eventually came to blame the earl for failing to win the day. In November 1778, Cornwallis once more returned to England to be with his ailing wife Jemima, who died in February 1779.

Cornwallis returned to America in July 1779, where he was to play a central role as the lead commander of the British “Southern strategy” (which was to invade the south on the assumption that a significantly more Loyalist population would rise up and assist in putting the rebellion down). At the end of 1779, Henry Clinton and Cornwallis transported a large force south and initiated the second siege of Charleston during the spring of 1780, which resulted in the surrender of the Continental forces under Benjamin Lincoln. After the siege of Charleston and the destruction of Abraham Buford’s Virginia regiments at Waxhaw, Clinton returned to New York, leaving Cornwallis in command in the south. The relationship between Clinton and Cornwallis had noticeably soured during the Charleston campaign, and they were barely on speaking terms when Clinton left.

The task Clinton left Cornwallis with was to, first and foremost, preserve the gains made by taking Charleston, and only then engage in offensive moves. Clinton’s orders gave Cornwallis wide latitude in how to achieve the goal of pacifying both South and North Carolina, after which Clinton expected Cornwallis to move into Virginia. Clinton wrote, “I should wish you to assist in operations which will certainly be carried on in the Chesapeake as soon as we are relieve from our apprehension of a superior fleet and the season will admit …” However, Clinton provided Cornwallis with a relatively modest force of British, German, and provincial (Loyalist) regiments—about 3,000 men—with which to accomplish all of this. The forces he was given to accomplish this were limited by the necessity of keeping a large British force in New York under Clinton to shadow Washington. Cornwallis was expected to recruit more Loyalists, who were believed to be more numerous in the southern colonies.

Cornwallis established a series of outposts in South Carolina, but keeping communication and supply lines open was an ongoing challenge. Supplies not available locally (like uniforms, camp gear, arms, and ammunition) were delivered all too infrequently, supply ships were frequent targets of local privateers, and bad weather impeded the work. In order to help provide fresh food and forage for his troops, Cornwallis established two commissioners. The first was responsible for administering goods confiscated from Patriots (he avoided confiscating supplies from Loyalists since he depended on them for manpower and intelligence), and the second for administering land that was confiscated. A chronic shortage of hard currency (another supply only infrequently delivered to Charleston) made it difficult to purchase supplies from any source, either Patriot or Loyalist. Cornwallis also attempted to reestablish civil authority under British or Loyalist oversight. Although these attempts met with limited success, they were continually undermined by Patriot activity, both political and military, and the indifferent abuses of British and Loyalist forces. Patriot militia companies constantly harassed Loyalists, small British units, and supply and communication lines.

In August 1780 Cornwallis’ forces met a larger but relatively untried army under the command of Horatio Gates at the Battle of Camden, where they inflicted heavy casualties and routed part of the force. The relatively untried Continentals in Gates’ army were routed, and suffered heavy casualties. This served to keep South Carolina clear of Continental forces, and was a blow to rebel morale. The victory added to his reputation, although the rout of the American rebels had as much to do with the failings of Gates (whose rapid departure from the battlefield was widely noted) as it did the skill of Cornwallis. In London, Cornwallis was perceived as a hero, and was viewed by many there as the right man to lead the British forces to victory over the rebels.

As the opposition seemed to melt away, Cornwallis optimistically began to advance north into North Carolina while militia activity continued to harass the troops he left in South Carolina. Attempts by Cornwallis to rally Loyalist support were dealt significant blows when a large gathering of them was defeated at Kings Mountain, only a day’s march from Cornwallis and his army, and another large detachment of his army was decisively defeated at Cowpens. He then clashed with the rebuilt Continental army under General Nathanael Greene at Guilford Courthouse in North Carolina, winning a Pyrrhic victory with a bayonet charge against a numerically superior enemy. In the battle, he controversially ordered grape shot to be fired into a mass of combat that resulted in friendly casualties but helped break the American line.

Cornwallis then moved his forces to Wilmington on the coast to resupply. Cornwallis himself had generally been successful in his battles, but the constant marching and the losses incurred had shrunk and tired out his army. Greene, whose army was still intact after the loss at Guilford Courthouse, shadowed Cornwallis toward Wilmington, but then crossed into South Carolina, where over the course of several months American forces regained control over most of the state.

Cornwallis received dispatches in Wilmington informing him that another British army under Generals William Phillips and Benedict Arnold had been sent to Virginia. Believing that North Carolina could not be subdued unless its supply lines from Virginia were cut, he decided to join forces with Phillips.

On arrival in Virginia, Cornwallis took command of Phillips’ army. Phillips, a personal friend of Cornwallis, died one week before Cornwallis reached his position at Petersburg. He then sought to fulfill orders Clinton had given to Phillips, and raided the Virginia countryside, destroying American military and economic targets.

In March 1781, in response to the threat posed by Arnold and Phillips, General Washington had dispatched the Marquis de Lafayette to defend Virginia. The young Frenchman had 3,200 men at his command, but British troops under Cornwallis’ command totalled 7,200. Lafayette skirmished with Cornwallis, avoiding a decisive battle while gathering reinforcements. It was during this period that Cornwallis and Clinton exchanged a series of letters in which Clinton issued a number of confusing, contradictory, and not entirely forceful orders. Cornwallis eventually received firm orders from Clinton to choose a position on the Virginia Peninsula—referred to in contemporary letters as the “Williamsburg Neck”—and construct a fortified naval post to shelter ships of the line. In complying with this order, Cornwallis put himself in a position to become trapped. With the arrival of the French fleet under the Comte de Grasse and General Washington’s combined French-American army, Cornwallis found himself cut off. After the Royal Navy fleet under Admiral Thomas Graves was defeated by the French at the Battle of the Chesapeake, and the French siege train arrived from Newport, Rhode Island, his position became untenable. He surrendered after about three weeks’ siege to General Washington and the French commander, the Comte de Rochambeau, on 19 October 1781.

Cornwallis, apparently not wanting to face Washington, claimed to be ill on the day of the surrender, and sent Brigadier General Charles O’Hara in his place to surrender his sword formally. Washington had his second-in-command, Benjamin Lincoln, accept Cornwallis’ sword.

Cornwallis returned to Britain with Benedict Arnold, and they were cheered when they landed in Britain on 21 January 1782. His surrender did not mark the end of the war, though it ended major fighting in the American theatre. Because he was released on parole, Cornwallis refused to serve again until the war came to an end in 1783. An attempt was made to exchange him for Henry Laurens, an American diplomat who was released from the Tower of London in anticipation that Cornwallis would be freed from his parole, but the attempt failed.

His tactics in America, especially during the southern campaign, were a frequent subject of criticism by his political enemies in London, principally General Clinton, who tried to blame him for the failures of the southern campaign. Cornwallis, however, retained the confidence of King George III and the government of the Earl of Shelburne, but he was placed in a financially precarious state by his inability to be on active duty.
In August 1785 he was sent to Prussia as an ambassador to the court of Frederick the Great to sound out a possible alliance. He attended manoeuvres along with the Duke of York where they encountered his old opponent Lafayette.

In 1786 Cornwallis was made a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter. The same year he accepted appointment as Governor-General and commander in chief in India. He had in 1782 been offered the governor-generalship only, but refused the post until he also received military command as well.

Cornwallis engaged in reforms of all types, that had an impact on many areas of civil, military, and corporate administration. According to historian Jerry Dupont, Cornwallis was responsible for “laying the foundation for British rule throughout India and setting standards for the services, courts and revenue collection that remained remarkably unaltered almost to the end of the British era.” He also enacted important reforms in the operations of the British East India Company and, with the notable exception of the Kingdom of Mysore, managed to keep the company out of military conflicts during his tenure.

Prior to Cornwallis’s tenure, company employees were allowed to trade on their own accounts and use company ships to send their own goods back to Europe. This practice was tolerated when the company was profitable, but by the 1780s the company’s finances were not in good shape. Cornwallis eliminated the practice, increasing employee salaries in compensation. He also worked to reduce nepotism and political favouritism, instituting the practice of merit-based advancement.

Criminal and civil justice systems in the company’s territories were a confusing overlay of legal systems, jurisdictions, and methods of administration. Cornwallis had the company take over the few remaining judicial powers of the Nawab of Bengal, the titular local ruler of much of the Bengal Presidency, and gave some judicial powers to company employees. In 1790 he introduced circuit courts with company employees as judges, and set up a court of appeals in Calcutta. He had the legal frameworks of Muslim and Hindu law translated into English, and promulgated administrative regulations and a new civil and criminal code. This work, introduced in 1793, was known as the Cornwallis Code. One consequence of the code was that it instituted a type of racism, placing the British as an elite class on top of the complex status hierarchy of caste and religion that existed in India at the time. Cornwallis held racist views, in a manner common at the time; of mixed European-Indians he wrote, “…as on account of their colour & extraction they are considered in this country as inferior to Europeans, I am of opinion that those of them who possess the best abilities could not command that authority and respect which is necessary in the due discharge of the duty of an officer.”
Cornwallis’s attitude toward the lower classes did, however, include a benevolent and somewhat paternalistic desire to improve their condition. He introduced legislation to protect native weavers who were sometimes forced into working at starvation wages by unscrupulous company employees, outlawed child slavery, and established in 1791 a Sanskrit college for Hindus that is now the Government Sanskrit College in Benares. He also established a mint in Calcutta that, in addition to benefiting the poor by providing a reliable standard currency, was a forerunner of India’s modern currency.

Part of the Cornwallis Code was an important land taxation reform known in India as the Permanent Settlement. This reform permanently altered the way the company collected taxes in its territories, by taxing landowners (known as zamindars) based on the value of their land and not necessarily the value of its produce. In the minds of Cornwallis and its architects, the reforms would also protect land tenants (ryots) from the abusive practices of the zamindars intended to maximize production. Cornwallis, a landed gentleman himself, especially believed that a class of landed gentry would naturally concern themselves with the improvement of the lands, thus also improving the condition of its tenants. Nevertheless, the Permanent Settlement effectively left the peasants at the mercy of the landowners. While the Company fixed the land revenue to be paid by the landowners, the zamindars were left free to extract as much as they could from the peasantry

Cornwallis had been sent to India with instructions to avoid conflict with the company’s neighbors. Early in his tenure he abrogated agreements with the Maratha Empire and the Nizam of Hyderabad that he saw as violating the 1784 Treaty of Mangalore that ended the Second Anglo-Mysore War. This ensured the company’s non-involvement in the Maratha-Mysore War (1785–1787). He was, however, manouevred into the establishment of a new company based at Penang (in present-day Malaysia), where conflict was avoided when he agreed to pay a stipend to the local rajah for use of the base. Fort Cornwallis in Penang is named for Cornwallis.

The King of Nepal appealed to Cornwallis in 1792 for military assistance. Cornwallis declined the king’s request, sending instead Colonel William Kirkpatrick to mediate the dispute. Kirkpatrick was the first Englishman to see Nepal; by the time he reached Kathmandu in 1793, the parties had already resolved their dispute.

The company was unavoidably drawn into war with Mysore in 1790. Tipu Sultan, Mysore’s ruler, had expressed contempt for the British not long after signing the 1784 Treaty of Mangalore, and also expressed a desire to renew conflict with them. In late 1789 he invaded the Kingdom of Travancore, a company ally according to that treaty, because of territorial disputes and Travancore’s harbouring of refugees from other Mysorean actions. Cornwallis ordered company and Crown troops to mobilize in response. The 1790 campaign against Tipu was conducted by General William Medows, and it was a limited success. Medows successfully occupied the Coimbatore district, but Tipu counterattacked and was able to reduce the British position to a small number of strongly held outposts. Tipu then invaded the Carnatic, where he attempted unsuccessfully to draw the French into the conflict. Because of Medows’ weak campaigning, Cornwallis personally took command of the British forces in 1791.

When the war broke out, Cornwallis negotiated alliances with the Marathas and Hyderabad. Cornwallis ascended the Eastern Ghats to reach the Deccan Plateau in February 1791. After successfully besieging Bangalore, Cornwallis then joined forces with Hyderabadi forces that he described as “extremely defective in almost every point of military discipline”, and their presence in the army ultimately presented more difficulties than assistance. These forces then marched toward the Mysorean capital at Seringapatam, compelling Tipu to retreat into the city at the Battle of Arakere on 15 May. Dwindling provisions, exacerbated by Tipu’s slash-and-burn tactics, forced Cornwallis to abandon the idea of besieging Seringapatam that season, so he retreated to Bangalore.

In January 1792 the army, now well provisioned, set out for Seringapatam. Arriving before the city on 5 February, Cornwallis quickly eliminated Tipu’s defensive positions outside the city, and then began siege operations. Tipu requested negotiations on 23 February, and peace was agreed in 18 March. Cornwallis and his allies demanded the cession of half of Mysorean territory, much of which went to the allies. As a guarantee of Tipu’s performance, two of his sons were delivered to Cornwallis as hostages. Cornwallis and other British commanders, in a move appreciated by their soldiers, donated prize money awarded them to be distributed among the rank and file.

For his success in conducting the war, Cornwallis was created Marquess Cornwallis in 1792, although he did not learn of it until the following year. He returned to England the following year, and was succeeded by Sir John Shore.

Upon his return to Britain in 1794, he found it militarily engaged in the French Revolutionary Wars. After he was sent on an ultimately fruitless diplomatic mission to stop the fighting, he was appointed master of the ordnance, a post he held until 1798. In this position he was responsible for much of the British Army’s military infrastructure, overseeing its storage depots and supply infrastructure, as well as commanding its artillery and engineering forces. He oversaw improvements to Britain’s coastal defences, and was able to expand Woolwich Academy’s artillery training program to address a significant shortage of qualified artillery officers. His attempts to significantly reform the military were hampered by the ongoing war.

In June 1798 he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and Commander-in-Chief, Ireland. His appointment, which had been discussed as early as 1797, was made in response to the outbreak in late May of the Irish Rebellion of 1798. His appointment was greeted unfavourably by the Irish elite, who preferred his predecessor Lord Camden, and suspected he had liberal sympathies with the predominantly Catholic rebels. However, he struck up a good working relationship with Lord Castlereagh, whom he had appointed as Chief Secretary for Ireland.

In his combined role as both Lord Lieutenant and Commander-in-Chief Cornwallis oversaw the defeat of both the Irish rebels and a French invasion force led by General Jean Humbert that landed in Connacht in August 1798. Panicked by the landing and the subsequent British defeat at the Battle of Castlebar, Pitt despatched thousands of reinforcements to Ireland, swelling British forces there to 60,000. The French invaders were defeated and forced to surrender at the Battle of Ballinamuck, after which Cornwallis ordered the execution by lot of a number of Irish rebels. During the autumn Cornwallis secured government control over most of the island, and organised the suppression of the remaining supporters of the United Irish movement.

Cornwallis was also instrumental in securing passage in 1800 of the Act of Union by the Parliament of Ireland, a necessary step in the creation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The process, which essentially required the buying of Parliamentary votes through patronage and the granting of peerages, was one that Cornwallis found quite distasteful: he wrote “My occupation is now of the most unpleasant nature, negotiating and jobbing with the most corrupt people under heaven. I despise and hate myself every hour for engaging in such dirty work, and am supported only by the reflection that without an Union the British Empire must be dissolved.” Although Cornwallis recognised that the union with Ireland was unlikely to succeed without Catholic emancipation, he and William Pitt were unable to move King George on the subject. Pitt consequently resigned, and Cornwallis also resigned his offices, returning to London in May 1801.

Expecting an opportunity to relax at home, Cornwallis was instead despatched not long after his return to lead the defences of eastern Britain against a threatened French invasion. Cornwallis was then sent to France to finalise peace terms with Bonaparte. The peace negotiations were made possible in Britain by financial pressure brought on by the ongoing wars and by Bonaparte’s desire to consolidate his hold on the Continent. Pitt’s resignation brought Henry Addington to power, and he appointed Cornwallis as plenipotentiary minister to France. The negotiations resulted in the Treaty of Amiens, which Cornwallis signed on behalf the United Kingdom on 25 March 1802. The treaty ended the War of the Second Coalition, but the peace was short-lived. Actions by Bonaparte over the next year alarmed the other European powers, and the United Kingdom refused to withdraw forces from Malta as specified in the treaty. By May 1803 war was again declared. Cornwallis is often seen as being partially responsible for conceding too much in the negotiations, although much had already been granted to France in the preliminary negotiations.

In 1805 Cornwallis was reappointed Governor-General of India by Pitt (who had again become Prime Minister), this time to curb the expansionist activity of Lord Wellesley (older brother of Colonel Arthur Wellesley, later Duke of Wellington). He arrived in India in July 1805, and died on 5 October of a fever at Gauspur in Ghazipur, at that time in the Varanasi kingdom. Cornwallis was buried there, overlooking the Ganges River, where his memorial is a protected monument maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Lieutenant-General Arthur Richard Wellesley 2nd Duke of Wellington
3 February 1807 – 13 August 1884

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Arthur Wellesley

Arthur Wellesley 2nd Duke of Wellington was born at Harley Street, Soho, London, the eldest son of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, and the Honourable Catherine Sarah Dorothea “Kitty” Pakenham, daughter of Edward Pakenham, 2nd Baron Longford. Lord Charles Wellesley was his younger brother and Lord Wellesley, Lord Mornington and Lord Cowley his uncles. He was educated at Temple Grove School, Eton College, Christ Church, Oxford, and Trinity College, Cambridge. He became known by the courtesy title Lord Douro when his father was created Earl of Wellington in 1812 and as Marquess of Douro in 1814 after his father was elevated to a dukedom. He was a Page of Honour from 1818 to 1821.

Lord Douro became an ensign in the 81st Regiment of Foot in 1823 and in the 71st (Highland) Regiment of Foot in 1825, a cornet in the Royal Horse Guards in 1825, a lieutenant in the Royal Horse Guards in 1827, a captain in the Royal Horse Guards in 1828 and in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps the same year, a major in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps in 1830 and in the Rifle Brigade in 1831, a lieutenant-colonel on the unattached list in 1834, a brevet colonel in 1846, a lieutenant-colonel in the Victoria (Middlesex) Rifle Volunteer Corps in 1853 and a major-general in 1854.

Lord Douro was returned to parliament for Aldeburgh in 1829, a seat he held until 1832. He was out of parliament until 1837, when he was returned for Norwich. In 1852 he succeeded his father in the dukedom and entered the House of Lords. In early 1853 he was sworn of the Privy Council and appointed Master of the Horse in Lord Aberdeen’s coalition government, a post he retained when Lord Palmerston became prime minister in 1855. He resigned along with the rest of the Palmerston government in 1858. The latter year he was made a Knight of the Garter.

In 1863 Wellington inherited the earldom of Mornington on the death of his cousin William Pole-Tylney-Long-Wellesley, 5th Earl of Mornington. From 1868 to 1884 he was Lord-Lieutenant of Middlesex.

Wellington married Lady Elizabeth Hay, daughter of Field Marshal George Hay, 8th Marquess of Tweeddale, in 1839. They had no children. The marriage was not a happy one although Lady Elizabeth was a great favourite with her father-in-law. On succeeding his illustrious father he was said to have remarked: “Imagine what it will be when the Duke of Wellington is announced, and only I walk in the room.” The relationship between father and son is often described as the classic case of the son of a famous father who is never able to live up to his legacy. Wellington died at Brighton Railway Station, Brighton, Sussex, in August 1884, aged 77, and was buried at the family seat Stratfield Saye House, Hampshire. He was succeeded by his nephew, Henry. The Duchess of Wellington died at Bearhill Park, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, in August 1903, aged 83, and was buried at Stratfield Saye House.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Arthur Wellesley 1st Duke of Wellington
1 May 1769 – 14 September 1852

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Arthur Wellesley

A British soldier and statesman, a native of Ireland, from the Anglo-Irish Ascendancy, and one of the leading military and political figures of the 19th century. He is often referred to as “the Duke of Wellington”, even after his death, when there have been subsequent Dukes of Wellington.

Wellesley was commissioned as an ensign in the British Army in 1787. Serving in Ireland as aide-de-camp to two successive Lords Lieutenant of Ireland he was also elected as a Member of Parliament in the Irish House of Commons.

A colonel by 1796, Wellesley saw action in the Netherlands and later in India, where he fought in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War at the Battle of Seringapatam. He was appointed governor of Seringapatam and Mysore in 1799, and as a newly appointed major-general won a decisive victory over the Maratha Confederacy at the Battle of Assaye in 1803.

Wellesley rose to prominence as a general during the Peninsular campaign of the Napoleonic Wars, and was promoted to the rank of field marshal after leading the allied forces to victory against the French at the Battle of Vitoria in 1813. Following Napoleon’s exile in 1814, he served as the ambassador to France and was granted a dukedom. During the Hundred Days in 1815, he commanded the allied army which, together with a Prussian army under Blücher, defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo. Wellesley’s battle record is exemplary, ultimately participating in some 60 battles throughout his military career.

He was twice prime minister under the Tory party and oversaw the passage of the Catholic Relief Act 1829. He was prime minister from 1828–30 and served briefly in 1834. He was unable to prevent the passage of the Reform Act 1832 and continued as one of the leading figures in the House of Lords until his retirement. He remained Commander-in-Chief of the British Army until his death.

Wellington is thus famous for two careers. His command of British forces in the Peninsula and defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo as well as his service as Prime Minister, twice. The second time though was as a caretaker and lasted less than a month. His career as Prime Minister truly ended when he did not read the winds of change and did not go to the funeral of Huskisson. When Wellington attended the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, knowing that this signified the change of the world, he did not follow up with what was the political change. Here, since to do justice to Welling would take talking about all of his career, we will focus on his role as a politician and Prime Minister.

Military Career
Arthur Wellesley 1st Duke of Wellington (Military Career) was born into a wealthy Anglo-Irish aristocratic family in the Kingdom of Ireland as Hon. Arthur Wesley, the third of five surviving sons (fourth otherwise) to The 1st Earl of Mornington and his wife Anne, the eldest daughter of The 1st Viscount Dungannon. He was most likely born at their townhouse, 24 Upper Merrion Street, Dublin, now The Merrion Hotel. His biographers mostly follow the contemporary newspaper evidence in saying he was born 1 May 1769, the day he was baptised. His mother, Anne, Countess of Mornington, recalled in 1815 that he had been born at 6 Merrion Street, Dublin. Other places which have been put forward as the location of his birth include Mornington House (the house which used to be next door) – as his father had asserted, the Dublin packet boat and the mansion in the family estate of Athy (consumed in the fires of 1916) – as the Duke apparently put on his 1851 census return.

He spent most of his childhood at his family’s two homes, the first a large house in Dublin and the second, Dangan Castle, 3 miles (5 km) north of Summerhill on the Trim Road in County Meath. In 1781, Arthur’s father died and his eldest brother Richard inherited his father’s earldom.

He went to the diocesan school in Trim when at Dangan, Mr. Whyte’s Academy when in Dublin, and Brown’s School in Chelsea when in London. He then enrolled at Eton, where he studied from 1781 to 1784. His loneliness there caused him to hate it, and makes it highly unlikely that he actually said, “The Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton”. Moreover, Eton had no playing fields at the time. In 1785, a lack of success at Eton, combined with a shortage of family funds due to his father’s death, forced the young Wellesley and his mother to move to Brussels. Until his early twenties, Arthur continued to show little sign of distinction and his mother grew increasingly concerned at his idleness, stating, “I don’t know what I shall do with my awkward son Arthur”.

A year later, Arthur enrolled in the French Royal Academy of Equitation in Angers, where he progressed significantly, becoming a good horseman and learning French, which was later to prove very useful. Upon returning to England in late 1786, he astonished his mother with his improvement.

Military Career
Despite his new promise he had yet to find a job and his family was still short of money, so upon the advice of his mother, his brother Richard asked his friend The 4th Duke of Rutland (then Lord Lieutenant of Ireland) to consider Arthur for a commission in the army. Soon after, on 7 March 1787 he was gazetted ensign in the 73rd Regiment of Foot. In October, with the assistance of his brother, he was assigned as aide-de-camp, on ten shillings a day (twice his pay as an ensign), to the new Lord Lieutenant of Ireland Lord Buckingham. He was also transferred to the new 76th Regiment forming in Ireland and on Christmas Day, 1787, was promoted to lieutenant. During his time in Dublin his duties were mainly social; attending balls, entertaining guests and providing advice to Buckingham. While in Ireland, he overextended himself in borrowing due to his occasional gambling, but in his defence stated that “I have often known what it was to be in want of money, but I have never got helplessly into debt”.

On 23 January 1788, he transferred into the 41st Regiment of Foot, then again on 25 June 1789, still a lieutenant, he transferred to the 12th (Prince of Wales’s) Regiment of (Light) Dragoons and, before the general election of 1789, he went to the “rotten borough” of Trim to speak against the granting of the title “Freeman” of Dublin to the parliamentary leader of the Irish Patriot Party, Henry Grattan. Succeeding, he was later nominated and duly elected as a Member of Parliament for Trim in the Irish House of Commons. Because of the limited suffrage at the time, he sat in a parliament where at least two-thirds of the members owed their election to the landowners of fewer than a hundred boroughs. Wellesley continued to serve at Dublin Castle, voting with the government in the Irish parliament over the next two years. On 30 January 1791 he became a captain and was transferred to the 58th Regiment of Foot.

On 31 October, he transferred to the 18th Light Dragoons and it was during this period that he grew increasingly attracted to Kitty Pakenham, the daughter of Edward Pakenham, 2nd Baron Longford. She was described as being full of ‘gaiety and charm’. In 1793, he sought her hand, but was turned down by her brother Thomas, Earl of Longford, who considered Wellesley to be a young man, in debt, with very poor prospects. An aspiring amateur musician, Wellesley, devastated by the rejection, burnt his violins in anger, and resolved to pursue a military career in earnest. Gaining further promotion (largely by purchasing his rank, which was common in the British Army at the time), he became a major in the 33rd Regiment in 1793. A few months later, in September, his brother lent him more money and with it he purchased a lieutenant-colonelcy in the 33rd.

Netherlands
In 1793, the Duke of York was sent to Flanders in command of the British contingent of an allied force destined for the invasion of France. In 1794, the 33rd regiment was sent to join the force and Wellesley, having just purchased his majority on 30 April 1793, set sail from Cork for Flanders in June, destined for his first real battle experience. Three months later on 30 September 1793 he purchased the lieutenant colonelcy of his regiment. During the campaign he rose to command a brigade and in September Wellesley’s unit came under fire just east of Breda, just before the Battle of Boxtel. For the latter part of the campaign, during the winter, his unit defended the line of the Waal River, during which time he became ill for a while, owing to the damp environment. Though the campaign was to prove unsuccessful, with the Duke of York’s force returning in 1795, Wellesley was to learn several valuable lessons, including the use of steady fire lines against advancing columns and of the merits of supporting sea-power. He concluded that many of the campaign’s blunders were due to the faults of the leaders and the poor organisation at headquarters. He remarked later of his time in the Netherlands that “At least I learned what not to do, and that is always a valuable lesson”.

Returning to England in March 1795, he was returned as a Member of Parliament for Trim for a second time. He hoped to be given the position of secretary of war in the new Irish government but the new lord-lieutenant, Lord Camden, was only able to offer him the post of Surveyor-General of the Ordnance. Declining the post, he returned to his regiment, now at Southampton preparing to set sail for the West Indies. After seven weeks at sea, a storm forced the fleet back to Poole, England. The 33rd was given time to convalesce and a few months later, Whitehall decided to send the regiment to India. Wellesley was promoted full colonel by seniority on 3 May 1796 and a few weeks later set sail for Calcutta with his regiment.

India
Arriving in Calcutta in February 1797 he spent several months there, before being sent on a brief expedition to the Philippines, where he established a list of new hygiene precautions for his men to deal with the unfamiliar climate. Returning in November to India, he learnt that his elder brother Richard, now known as Lord Mornington, had been appointed as the new Governor-General of India.

In 1798, he changed the spelling of his surname to “Wellesley”; up to this time he was still known as Wesley, which his eldest brother considered the ancient and proper spelling.

Fourth Anglo-Mysore War
As part of the campaign to extend the rule of the British East India Company, the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War broke out in 1798 against the Sultan of Mysore, Tipu Sultan. Arthur’s brother Richard ordered that an armed force be sent to capture Seringapatam and defeat Tipu. Under the command of General Harris, some 24,000 troops were dispatched to Madras (to join an equal force being sent from Bombay in the west). Arthur and the 33rd sailed to join them in August.

After extensive and careful logistic preparation (which would become one of Wellesley’s main attributes) the 33rd left with the main force in December and travelled across 250 miles (402 km) of jungle from Madras to Mysore. On account of his brother, during the journey, Wellesley was given an additional command, that of chief advisor to the Nizam of Hyderabad’s army (sent to accompany the British force). This position was to cause friction among many of the senior officers (some of whom were senior to Wellesley). Much of this friction was put to rest after the Battle of Mallavelly, some 20 miles (32 km) from Seringapatam, in which Harris’s army attacked a large part of the sultan’s army. During the battle, Wellesley led his men, in a line of battle of two ranks, against the enemy to a gentle ridge and gave the order to fire. After an extensive repetition of volleys, followed by a bayonet charge, the 33rd, in conjunction with the rest of Harris’s force, forced Tipu’s infantry to retreat.

Seringapatam
Immediately after their arrival at Seringapatam on 5 April 1799, the Battle of Seringapatam began and Wellesley was ordered to lead a night attack on the village of Sultanpettah, adjacent to the fortress to clear the way for the artillery. Because of the enemy’s strong defensive preparations, and the darkness, with the resulting confusion, the attack failed with 25 casualties. Wellesley suffered a minor injury to his knee from a spent musket-ball. Although they would re-attack successfully the next day, after time to scout ahead the enemy’s positions, the affair had an impact on Wellesley. He resolved “never to attack an enemy who is preparing and strongly posted, and whose posts have not been reconnoitered by daylight”.

A few weeks later, after extensive artillery bombardment, a breach was opened in the main walls of the fortress of Seringapatam. An attack led byMajor-General Baird secured the fortress. Wellesley secured the rear of the advance, posting guards at the breach and then stationed his regiment at the main palace. After hearing news of the death of the Tipu Sultan, Wellesley was the first at the scene to confirm his death, checking his pulse. Over the coming day, Wellesley grew increasingly concerned over the lack of discipline among his men, who drank and pillaged the fortress and city. To restore order, several soldiers were flogged and four hanged.

After battle and the resulting end of the war, the main force under General Harris left Seringapatam and Wellesley, aged 30, stayed behind to command the area as the new Governor of Seringapatam and Mysore. He was promoted to brigadier-general on 17 July 1801. He took residence within the Sultan’s summer palace and reformed the tax and justice systems in his province to maintain order and prevent bribery. He also hunted down the mercenary ‘King’ Dhoondiah Waugh, who had escaped from prison in Seringapatam during the battle. Wellesley, with command of four regiments, defeated Dhoondiah’s larger rebel force, along with Dhoondiah himself who was killed in the battle. He paid for the future upkeep of Dhoondiah’s orphaned son.

While in India, Wellesley was ill for a considerable time, first with severe diarrhoea from the water and then with fever, followed by a serious skin infection caused by trichophyton. He received good news when in September 1802 he learnt that he had been promoted to the rank of major-general. Wellesley had been gazetted on 29 April 1802, but the news took several months to reach him by sea. He remained at Mysore until November when he was sent to command an army in the Second Anglo-Maratha War.

Second Anglo-Maratha War
When he determined that a long defensive war would ruin his army, Wellesley decided to act boldly to defeat the numerically larger force of the Maratha Empire. With the logistic assembly of his army complete (24,000 men in total) he gave the order to break camp and attack the nearest Maratha fort on 8 August 1803. The fort surrendered on 12 August after an infantry attack had exploited an artillery-made breach in the wall. With the fort now in British control Wellesley was able to extend control southwards to the river Godavari.

Assaye
Splitting his army into two forces, to pursue and locate the main Marathas army, (the second force, commanded by Colonel Stevenson was far smaller) Wellesley was preparing to rejoin his forces on 24 September. His intelligence, however, reported the location of the Marathas’ main army, between two rivers near Assaye. If he waited for the arrival of his second force, the Marathas would be able to mount a retreat, so Wellesley decided to launch an attack immediately.

On 23 September, Wellesley led his forces over a ford in the river Kaitna and the Battle of Assaye commenced. After crossing the ford the infantry was reorganised into several lines and advanced against the Maratha infantry. Wellesley ordered his cavalry to exploit the flank of the Maratha army just near the village. During the battle Wellesley himself came under fire; two of his horses were shot from under him and he had to mount a third. At a crucial moment, Wellesley regrouped his forces and ordered Colonel Maxwell (later killed in the attack) to attack the eastern end of the Maratha position while Wellesley himself directed a renewed infantry attack against the centre.

An officer in the attack wrote of the importance of Wellesley’s personal leadership: “The General was in the thick of the action the whole time … I never saw a man so cool and collected as he was … though I can assure you, ’til our troops got the order to advance the fate of the day seemed doubtful …” With some 6,000 Marathas killed or wounded, the enemy was routed, though Wellesley’s force was in no condition to pursue. British casualties were heavy: the British losses were counted as 409 soldiers being killed out of which 164 were Europeans and the remaining 245 were Indian; a further 1,622 British soldiers were wounded and 26 soldiers were reported missing (the British casualty figures were taken from Wellesley’s own despatch). Wellesley was troubled by the loss of men and remarked that he hoped “I should not like to see again such loss as I sustained on 23 September, even if attended by such gain”. Years later, however, he remarked that Assaye was the best battle he ever fought.

Argaum and Gawilghur
Despite the damage done to the Maratha army, the battle did not end the war. A few months later in November, Wellesley attacked a larger force near Argaum, leading his army to victory again, with an astonishing 5,000 enemy dead at the cost of only 361 British casualties. A further successful attack at the fortress at Gawilghur, combined with the victory of General Lake at Delhi forced the Maratha to sign a peace settlement at Anjangaon (not concluded until a year later) called as the Treaty of Surji-Anjangaon.

Leaving India
Wellesley had grown tired of his time in India, remarking “I have served as long in India as any man ought who can serve anywhere else”. In June 1804 he applied for permission to return home and as a reward for his service in India he was made a Knight of the Bath in September. While in India, Wellesley had amassed a fortune of £42,000 (considerable at the time), consisting mainly of prize money from his campaign. When his brother’s term as Governor-General of India ended in March 1805, the brothers returned together to England on HMS Howe. Arthur, coincidentally, stopped on his voyage at the little island of Saint Helena and stayed in the same building to which Napoleon I would later be exiled.

Back in Britain
Wellesley then served in the abortive Anglo-Russian expedition to north Germany in 1805, taking a brigade to Elbe. Upon this return from the campaign, Wellesley received good news; owing to his new title and status, Kitty Pakenham’s family had consented to his marrying her. Wellesley and Kitty were married in Dublin on 10 April 1806. The marriage would later prove to be unsatisfactory and the two would spend years apart while Wellesley was campaigning. Kitty grew depressed, while Wellesley found solace elsewhere. and He then took a period of extended leave from the army and was elected as a Tory member of the British parliament for Rye in January 1806. A year later, he was elected MP for Newport on the Isle of Wight and was then appointed to serve as Chief Secretary for Ireland, under the Duke of Richmond. At the same time, he was made a privy counsellor. While in Ireland, he gave a verbal promise that the remaining Penal Laws would be enforced with great moderation, perhaps an indication of his later willingness to support Catholic Emancipation.

War on Denmark
Wellesley was in Ireland in May 1807 when he heard of the British expedition to Denmark. He decided to go, stepping down from his political appointments and was appointed to command an infantry brigade in the Second Battle of Copenhagen which took place in August. He fought at the Køge, during which the men under his command took 1,500 prisoners, with Wellesley later present during the surrender.

By 30 September, he had returned to England and was raised to the rank of lieutenant general on 25 April 1808. In June 1808 he accepted the command of an expedition of 9,000 men. Preparing to sail for an attack on the Spanish colonies in South America (to assist the Latin American patriot Francisco de Miranda) his force was instead ordered to sail for Portugal, to take part in the Peninsular Campaign and rendezvous with 5,000 troops from Gibraltar.

To the Peninsula
Ready for battle, he left Cork on 12 July 1808 to participate in the war against French forces in the Iberian Peninsula, with his skills as a commander tested and developed. According to the historian Robin Neillands, “Wellesley had by now acquired the experience on which his later successes were founded. He knew about command from the ground up, about the importance of logistics, about campaigning in a hostile environment. He enjoyed political influence and realised the need to maintain support at home. Above all, he had gained a clear idea of how, by setting attainable objectives and relying on his own force and abilities, a campaign could be fought and won.”

The Peninsular War
1808
Wellesley defeated the French at the Battle of Roliça and the Battle of Vimeiro in 1808 but was superseded in command immediately after the latter battle. General Dalrymple then signed the controversial Convention of Sintra, which stipulated that the British Royal Navy transport the French army out of Lisbon with all their loot, and insisted on the association of the only available government minister, Wellesley. Dalrymple and Wellesley were recalled to Britain to face a Court of Enquiry. Wellesley had agreed to sign the preliminary armistice, but had not signed the convention, and was cleared.

Meanwhile, Napoleon himself entered Spain with his veteran troops to put down the revolt; the new commander of the British forces in the Peninsula, Sir John Moore, died during the Battle of Corunna in January 1809.

Although overall the land war with France was not going well from a British perspective, the Peninsula was the one theatre where they, with the Portuguese, had provided strong resistance against France and her allies. This contrasted with the disastrous Walcheren expedition, which was typical of the mismanaged British operations of the time. Wellesley submitted a memorandum to Lord Castlereagh on the defence of Portugal. He stressed its mountainous frontiers and advocated Lisbon as the main base because the Royal Navy could help to defend it. Castlereagh and the cabinet approved the memo, appointed him head of all British forces in Portugal.

1809
Wellesley arrived in Lisbon on 22 April 1809 onboard HMS Surveillante, after narrowly escaping shipwreck. Reinforced, he took to the offensive. In the Second Battle of Porto he crossed the Douro river in a daylight coup de main, and routed Marshal Soult’s French troops in Porto.

With Portugal secured, Wellesley advanced into Spain to unite with General Cuesta’s forces. The combined allied force prepared for an assault on Victor’s I Corps at Talavera, 23 July. Cuesta, however, was reluctant to agree, and was only persuaded to advance on the following day. The delay allowed the French to withdraw, but Cuesta sent his army headlong after Victor, and found himself faced by almost the entire French army in New Castile—Victor had been reinforced by the Toledo and Madrid garrisons. The Spanish retreated precipitously, necessitating the advance of two British divisions to cover their retreat.

The next day, 27 July, at the Battle of Talavera the French advanced in three columns and were repulsed several times throughout the day by Wellesley, but at a heavy cost to the British force. In the aftermath Marshal Soult’s army was discovered to be advancing south, threatening to cut Wellesley off from Portugal. Wellesley moved east on 3 August to block it, leaving 1,500 wounded in the care of the Spanish, intending to confront Soult before finding out that the French were in fact 30,000 strong. The British commander sent the Light Brigade on a dash to hold the bridge over the Tagus River at Almaraz. With communications and supply from Lisbon secured for now, Wellesley considered joining with Cuesta again but found out that his Spanish ally had abandoned the British wounded to the French and was thoroughly uncooperative, promising and then refusing to supply the British forces, aggravating Wellesley and causing considerable friction between the British and their Spanish allies. The lack of supplies, coupled with the threat of French reinforcement (including the possible inclusion of Napoleon himself) in the spring, led to the British deciding to retreat into Portugal.

1810
In 1810, a newly enlarged French army under Marshal André Masséna invaded Portugal. British opinion both at home and in the army was negative and there were suggestions that they must evacuate Portugal. Instead, Wellington first slowed the French down at Buçaco; he then prevented them from taking the Lisbon Peninsula by the construction of his massive earthworks, the Lines of Torres Vedras, which had been assembled in complete secrecy and had flanks guarded by the Royal Navy. The baffled and starving French invasion forces retreated after six months. Wellington’s pursuit was frustrated by a series of reverses inflicted by Marshal Ney in a much-lauded rear guard campaign.

1811
In 1811, Masséna returned toward Portugal to relieve Almeida; Wellington narrowly checked the French at the Battle of Fuentes de Onoro. Simultaneously, his subordinate, Viscount Beresford, fought Soult’s ‘Army of the South’ to a mutual bloody standstill at the Battle of Albuera in May. Wellington was promoted to full General on 31 July for his services. The French abandoned Almeida, slipping away from British pursuit, but retained the twin Spanish fortresses of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz, the ‘Keys’ guarding the roads through the mountain passes into Portugal. For his actions for the Portuguese cause, Wellesley was conferred the title of Count of Vimeiro, in the Peerage of Portugal.

1812
In 1812, Wellington finally captured Ciudad Rodrigo by a rapid movement as the French went into winter quarters, storming it before they could react. He then moved south quickly, besieged the fortress of Badajoz for a month and captured it during one bloody night. On viewing the aftermath of the Storming of Badajoz, Wellington lost his composure and cried at the sight of the bloody carnage in the breaches.

His army now was a veteran British force reinforced by units of the retrained Portuguese army. Campaigning in Spain, he routed the French at the Battle of Salamanca, taking advantage of a minor French mispositioning. The victory liberated the Spanish capital of Madrid. As reward, he was created “Earl” and then “Marquess of Wellington” and given command of all Allied armies in Spain. Wellington attempted to take the vital fortress of Burgos, which linked Madrid to France. But failure, due in part to a lack of siege guns, forced him into a headlong retreat with the loss of over 2,000 casualties.

The French abandoned Andalusia, and combined the troops of Soult and Marmont. Thus combined, the French outnumbered the British, putting the British forces in a precarious position. Wellington withdrew his army and, joined with the smaller corps commanded by Rowland Hill, began to retreat to Portugal. Marshal Soult declined to attack.

In 1812, Wellesley was granted the titles of Marquis of Torres Vedras and Duke of Vitória, both in Portuguese nobility, by decree of Queen Maria I of Portugal, for his actions in the name of the Portuguese nation.

1813
In 1813, Wellington led a new offensive, this time against the French line of communications. He struck through the hills north of Burgos, the Tras os Montes, and switched his supply line from Portugal to Santander on Spain’s north coast; this led to the French abandoning Madrid and Burgos. Continuing to outflank the French lines, Wellington caught up with and smashed the army of King Joseph Bonaparte in the Battle of Vitoria, for which he was promoted to field marshal on 21 June. He personally led a column against the French centre, while other columns commanded by Sir Thomas Graham, Rowland Hill and the Earl of Dalhousie looped around the French right and left (this battle became the subject of Beethoven’s opus 91, Wellington’s Victory). The British troops broke ranks to loot the abandoned French wagons instead of pursuing the beaten foe. This gross abandonment of discipline caused an enraged Wellington to write in a famous dispatch to Earl Bathurst, “We have in the service the scum of the earth as common soldiers”.

Although later, when his temper had cooled, he extended his comment to praise the men under his command saying that though many of the men were, “the scum of the earth; it is really wonderful that we should have made them to the fine fellows they are”.

After taking the small fortresses of Pamplona, Wellington invested San Sebastián but was frustrated by the obstinate French garrison, losing 693 dead and 316 captured in a failed assault and suspending the siege at the end of July. Soult’s relief attempt was blocked by the Spanish Army of Galicia at San Marcial, allowing the Allies to consolidate their position and tighten the ring around the city, which fell in September after a second spirited defence. Wellington then forced Soult’s demoralised and battered army into a fighting retreat into France, punctuated by battles at the Pyrenees, Bidassoa and Nivelle. Wellington invaded southern France, winning at the Nive and Orthez. Wellington’s final battle against his rival Soult occurred at Toulouse, where the Allied divisions were badly mauled storming the French redoubts, losing some 4,600 men. Despite this momentary victory, news arrived of Napoleon’s defeat and abdication and Soult, seeing no reason to continue the fighting, agreed on a ceasefire with Wellington, allowing Soult to evacuate the city.

Aftermath
Hailed as the conquering hero by the British, Wellington was created “Duke of Wellington”, a title still held by his descendants (as he did not return to England until the Peninsular War was over, he was awarded all his patents of nobility in a unique ceremony lasting a full day). He received some recognition during his lifetime (the title of “Duque de Ciudad Rodrigo”) and the Spanish King Ferdinand VII allowed him to keep part of the works of art from the Royal Collection which he had recovered from the French. His equestrian portrait features prominently in the Monument to the Battle of Vitoria, in present-day Vitoria-Gasteiz.

His popularity in Britain was due to his image and his appearance as well as to his military triumphs. His victory fit well with the passion and intensity of the Romantic movement, with its emphasis on individuality. His personal style had an impact on the fashions on Britain at the time: his tall, lean figure and his plumed black hat and grand yet classic uniform and white trousers became very popular.

In late 1814, the Prime Minister wanted him to take command in Canada and with the assignment of winning the War of 1812 against the United States. Wellington replied that he would go to America, but he believed that he was needed more in Europe. He stated:

I think you have no right, from the state of war, to demand any concession of territory from America… You have not been able to carry it into the enemy’s territory, notwithstanding your military success, and now undoubted military superiority, and have not even cleared your own territory on the point of attack. You cannot on any principle of equality in negotiation claim a cession of territory except in exchange for other advantages which you have in your power… Then if this reasoning be true, why stipulate for the uti possidetis? You can get no territory: indeed, the state of your military operations, however creditable, does not entitle you to demand any.

The Prime Minister agreed with Wellington and speeded up the negotiations that ended the war with no boundary changes through the Treaty of Ghent.

He was appointed ambassador to France, then took Lord Castlereagh’s place as first plenipotentiary to the Congress of Vienna, where he strongly advocated allowing France to keep its place in the European balance of power. On 2 January 1815 the title of his Knighthood of the Bath was converted to Knight Grand Cross upon the expansion of that order.

Waterloo
On 26 February 1815, Napoleon escaped from Elba and returned to France. He regained control of the country by May and faced a renewed alliance against him. Wellington left Vienna for what became known as the Waterloo Campaign. He arrived in Belgium to take command of the British-German army and their allied Dutch-Belgians, all stationed alongside the Prussian forces of Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher.

Napoleon’s strategy was to isolate the Allied and Prussian armies, and annihilate each one separately before the Austrians and Russians arrived. In doing so the vast superiority in numbers of the Coalition would be greatly diminished. He would then seek the possibility of a peace with Austria and Russia.

The French invaded Belgium, with Napoleon mauling the Prussians at Ligny, and Marshal Ney engaging indecisively with Wellington, at the Battle of Quatre Bras. The Prussians retreated 18 miles north to Wavre whilst Wellington’s Anglo-Allied army withdrew 15 miles north to a site he had noted the previous year as favourable for a battle: the north ridge of a shallow valley on the Brussels road, just south of the small town of Waterloo. On 17 June there was torrential rain, which severely hampered movement and had a considerable affect the next day, 18 June, when the Battle of Waterloo was fought. This was the first time Wellington had encountered Napoleon, and he commanded an Anglo-Dutch-German army that consisted of approximately 73,000 troops, 26,000 (36 percent) of whom were British.

The Battle

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Wellington at Waterloo by Hillingford

The Battle of Waterloo commenced with a diversionary attack on Hougoumont by a division of French soldiers. After a barrage of 80 cannons the first French infantry attack was launched by Comte D’Erlon’s I Corps. D’Erlon’s troops advanced through the Allied centre, resulting in Allied troops in front of the ridge retreating in disorder through the main position. D’Erlon’s corps stormed the most fortified Allied position, La Haye Sainte, but failed to take it. An Allied division under Thomas Picton met the remainder of D’Erlon’s corps head to head, engaging them in an infantry duel in which Picton fell. During this struggle Lord Uxbridge launched two of his cavalry brigades at the enemy, catching the French infantry off guard, driving them to the bottom of the slope, and capturing two French Imperial Eagles. The charge, however, over-reached itself, and the British cavalry, crushed by fresh French horsemen hurled at them by Napoleon, were driven back, suffering tremendous losses.

A little before 16:00, Marshal Ney noted an apparent exodus from Wellington’s centre. He mistook the movement of casualties to the rear for the beginnings of a retreat, and sought to exploit it. Ney at this time had few infantry reserves left, as most of the infantry had been committed either to the futile Hougoumont attack or to the defence of the French right. Ney therefore tried to break Wellington’s centre with a cavalry charge alone.

At about 16:30, the first Prussian corps arrived. Commanded by Freiherr von Bülow, IV Corps arrived as the French cavalry attack was in full spate. Bülow sent the 15th Brigade to link up with Wellington’s left flank in the Frichermont-La Haie area while the brigade’s horse artillery battery and additional brigade artillery deployed to its left in support. Napoleon sent Lobau’s corps to intercept the rest of Bülow’s IV Corps proceeding to Plancenoit. The 15th Brigade sent Lobau’s corps into retreat to the Plancenoit area. Von Hiller’s 16th Brigade also pushed forward with six battalions against Plancenoit. Napoleon had dispatched all eight battalions of the Young Guard to reinforce Lobau, who was now seriously pressed by the enemy. Napoleon’s Young Guard counter-attacked and, after very hard fighting, secured Plancenoit, but were themselves counter-attacked and driven out. Napoleon then resorted to sending two battalions of the Middle/Old Guard into Plancenoit and after ferocious fighting they recaptured the village.

The French cavalry attacked the British infantry squares many times, each at heavy cost to the French but with few British casualties. Ney himself was displaced from his horse four times. Eventually it became obvious, even to Ney, that cavalry alone were achieving little. Belatedly, he organised a combined-arms attack, using Bachelu’s division and Tissot’s regiment of Foy’s division from Reille’s II Corps plus those French cavalry that remained in a fit state to fight. This assault was directed along much the same route as the previous heavy cavalry attacks.

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The Storming of La Haye Sainte by Knotel

Meanwhile at approximately the same time as Ney’s combined-arms assault on the centre-right of Wellington’s line, Napoleon ordered Ney to capture La Haye Sainte at whatever the cost. Ney accomplished this with what was left of D’Erlon’s corps soon after 18:00. Ney then moved horse artillery up towards Wellington’s centre and began to destroy the infantry squares at short-range with canister. This all but destroyed the 27th (Inniskilling) Regiment, and the 30th and 73rd Regiments suffered such heavy losses that they had to combine to form a viable square. Wellington’s centre was now on the verge of collapse and wide open to an attack from the French. Luckily for Wellington, Pirch I’s and Zieten’s corps of the Prussian Army were now at hand. Zieten’s corps permitted the two fresh cavalry brigades of Vivian and Vandeleur on Wellington’s extreme left to be moved and posted behind the depleted centre. Pirch I Corps then proceeded to support Bülow and together they regained possession of Plancenoit, and once more the Charleroi road was swept by Prussian round shot. The value of this reinforcement at this particular moment can hardly be overestimated.

The French army now fiercely attacked the Coalition all along the line with the culminating point being reached when Napoleon sent forward the Imperial Guard at 19:30. The attack of the Imperial Guards was mounted by five battalions of the Middle Guard, and not by the Grenadiers or Chasseurs of the Old Guard. Marching through a hail of canister and skirmisher fire and severely outnumbered, the 3,000 or so Middle Guardsmen advanced to the west of La Haye Sainte and proceeded to separate into three distinct attack forces. One, consisting of two battalions of Grenadiers, defeated the Coalition’s first line and marched on. Chassé’s relatively fresh Dutch division was sent against them and Allied artillery fired into the victorious Grenadiers’ flank. This still could not stop the Guard’s advance, so Chassé ordered his first brigade to charge the outnumbered French, who faltered and broke.

Further to the west, 1,500 British Foot Guards under General Peregrine Maitland were lying down to protect themselves from the French artillery. As two battalions of Chasseurs approached, the second prong of the Imperial Guard’s attack, Maitland’s guardsmen rose and devastated them with point-blank volleys. The Chasseurs deployed to counter-attack, but began to waver. A bayonet charge by the Foot Guards then broke them. The third prong, a fresh Chasseur battalion, now came up in support. The British guardsmen retreated with these Chasseurs in pursuit, but the latter were halted as the 52nd Light Infantry wheeled in line onto their flank and poured a devastating fire into them and then charged. Under this onslaught they too broke.

The last of the Guard retreated headlong. A ripple of panic passed through the French lines as the astounding news spread: “La Garde recule. Sauve qui peut!” (“The Guard retreats. Save yourself if you can!”). Wellington then stood up in Copenhagen’s stirrups, and waved his hat in the air to signal an advance of the Allied line just as the Prussians were overrunning the French positions to the east. What remained of the French army then abandoned the field in disorder. Wellington and Blücher met at the inn of La Belle Alliance, on the north-south road which bisected the battlefield, and it was agreed that the Prussians should pursue the retreating French army back to France. The Treaty of Paris was signed on 20 November 1815.

Political career
Wellington entered politics again, when he was appointed Master-General of the Ordnance in the Tory government of Lord Liverpool on 26 December 1818. He also became Governor of Plymouth on 9 October 1819. He was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the British Army on 22 January 1827 and Constable of the Tower of London on 5 February 1827.

Along with Robert Peel, Wellington became an increasingly influential member of the Tory party, and in 1828 he resigned as Commander-in-Chief and became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Wellington was the first Irish-born person to be Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Wellington is erroneously reputed to have responded to comments regarding his Irish birth by stating that “being born in a stable does not make one a horse”. This was in fact a quote made about him by Irish Nationalist politician Daniel O’Connell.

During his first seven months as prime minister he chose not to live in the official residence at 10 Downing Street, finding it too small. He moved in only because his own home, Apsley House, required extensive renovations. During this time he was largely instrumental in the foundation of King’s College London. On 20 January 1829 Wellington was appointed Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports.

As prime minister, Wellington was conservative, fearing the anarchy of the French Revolution would spread to England. The highlight of his term was Catholic Emancipation; the granting of almost full civil rights to Catholics in the United Kingdom. The change was forced by the landslide by-election win of Daniel O’Connell, an Irish Catholic proponent of emancipation, who was elected despite not being legally allowed to sit in Parliament. The Earl of Winchilsea accused the Duke of, “an insidious design for the infringement of our liberties and the introduction of Popery into every department of the State”. Wellington responded by immediately challenging Winchilsea to a duel. On 21 March 1829, Wellington and Winchilsea met on Battersea fields. When it came time to fire, the Duke took aim and Winchilsea kept his arm down. The Duke fired wide to the right. Accounts differ as to whether he missed on purpose; Wellington, noted for his poor aim, claimed he did, other reports more sympathetic to Winchilsea claimed he had aimed to kill. Winchilsea did not fire, a plan he and his second almost certainly decided upon before the duel. Honour was saved and Winchilsea wrote Wellington an apology.

Catholic Emancipation
In the House of Lords, facing stiff opposition, Wellington spoke for Catholic Emancipation, giving one of the best speeches of his career. He was Irish, and later governed the country, so had some understanding of the grievances of the Catholic communities there. The Catholic Relief Act 1829 was passed with a majority of 105. Many Tories voted against the Act, and it passed only with the help of the Whigs. Wellington had threatened to resign as Prime Minister if the King (George IV) did not give his Royal Assent.

The nickname “Iron Duke” originates from this period, when he experienced a high degree of personal and political unpopularity. Its repeated use in Freeman’s Journal throughout June 1830 appears to bear reference to his resolute political will, with taints of disapproval from its Irish editors. His residence at Apsley House was targeted by a mob of demonstrators on 27 April 1831 and again on 12 October, leaving his windows smashed. Iron shutters were installed in June 1832 to prevent further damage by crowds angry over rejection of the Reform Bill, which he strongly opposed.

Wellington’s government fell in 1830. In the summer and autumn of that year, a wave of riots swept the country. The Whigs had been out of power for most years since the 1770s, and saw political reform in response to the unrest as the key to their return. Wellington stuck to the Tory policy of no reform and no expansion of suffrage, and as a result lost a vote of no confidence on 15 November 1830.

The Reform Act
The Whigs introduced the first Reform Bill whilst Wellington and the Tories worked to prevent its passage. The bill passed in the British House of Commons, but was defeated in the House of Lords. An election followed in direct response, and the Whigs were returned with an even larger majority. A second Reform Act was introduced, and defeated in the same way, and another wave of near insurrection swept the country.

During this time, Wellington was greeted by a hostile reaction from the crowds at the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. The Whig Government fell in 1832 and Wellington was unable to form a Tory Government partly because of a run on the Bank of England. This left King William IV no choice but to restore Earl Grey to the premiership. Eventually the bill passed the House of Lords after the King threatened to fill that House with newly created Whig peers if it were not. Wellington was never reconciled to the change; when Parliament first met after the first election under the widened franchise, Wellington is reported to have said “I never saw so many shocking bad hats in my life”.

Jewish Emancipation
During debate on the Jewish Civil Disabilities Repeal Bill, Wellington, who opposed the Bill, stated in Parliament on 1 August 1833: “… this is a Christian country and a Christian legislature, and that the effect of this measure would be to remove that peculiar character.” And “I see no ground whatever for passing the Bill; and shall, therefore, vote against it.” The Bill was defeated, 104 votes against, and 54 for.

Conservative Government
Wellington was gradually superseded as leader of the Tories by Robert Peel, whilst the party evolved into the Conservatives. When the Tories were returned to power in 1834, Wellington declined to become Prime Minister and Peel was selected instead. However, Peel was in Italy at that time and for three weeks in November and December 1834, Wellington acted as interim leader, taking the responsibilities of Prime Minister and most of the other ministries. In Peel’s first cabinet (1834–1835), Wellington became Foreign Secretary, while in the second (1841–1846) he was a Minister without Portfolio and Leader of the House of Lords. Wellington was also re-appointed Commander-in-Chief of the British Army on 15 August 1842 following the resignation of Lord Hill.

Retirement
Wellington retired from political life in 1846, although he remained Commander-in-Chief, and returned briefly to the spotlight in 1848 when he helped organise a military force to protect London during that year of European revolution.

The Conservative Party had split over the Repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846, with Wellington and most of the former Cabinet still supporting Robert Peel, but most of the MPs led by Lord Derby supporting a protectionist stance. Early in 1852 Wellington, by then very deaf, gave Derby’s first government its nickname by shouting “Who? Who?” as the list of inexperienced Cabinet Ministers was read out in the House of Lords.

He became Chief Ranger and Keeper of Hyde Park and St. James’s Park on 31 August 1850. He was also colonel of the 33rd Regiment of Foot from 1 February 1806 and colonel of the Grenadier Guards from 22 January 1827.

Death and funeral
Wellington died on 14 September 1852, aged 83, of the after effects of a stroke culminating in a series of epileptic seizures.

Although in life he hated travelling by rail (after witnessing the death of William Huskisson, one of the first railway accident casualties), his body was then taken by train to London, where he was given a state funeral—one of only a handful of British subjects to be honoured in that way (other examples are Lord Nelson and Winston Churchill)—and the last heraldic state funeral to be held in Britain. The funeral took place on 18 November 1852.

At his funeral there was hardly any space to stand because of the number of people attending, and the effusive praise given him in Tennyson’s “Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington” attests to his stature at the time of his death. He was buried in a sarcophagus of luxulyanite in St Paul’s Cathedral next to Lord Nelson.

Wellington’s casket was decorated with banners which were made for his funeral procession. Originally, there was one for Prussia, which was removed during World War I and never reinstated.

Most of the book ‘A Biographical Sketch of the Military and Political Career of the Late Duke of Wellington’ by Weymouth newspaper proprietor Joseph Drew is a detailed contemporary account of his death, lying in state and funeral.

After his death Irish and English newspapers disputed whether Wellington had been born an Irishman or Englishman. During his life he had openly disliked being referred to as an “Irishman”.

Owing to its links with Wellington, as the former commanding officer and colonel of the regiment, the title “33rd (The Duke of Wellington’s) Regiment” was granted to the 33rd Regiment of Foot, on 18 June 1853 (the 38th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo) by Queen Victoria.

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Catherine Sarah Dorothea “Kitty” Pakenham, the sister of one of his generals, Edward Pakenham. who died leading such famous units as the 95th Rifles (Sharp!) and 93rd Highlanders at the Battle of New Orleans in the American war of 1812 which was over by the time the battle had been fought in 1815, but because of communications then, they had not gotten the word.

Wellesley and Kitty might have been hot and heavy at first, but he was turned away when he did not have any prospects and she found another to love. Who, when he found that Wellesley was still interested bowed out. When Kitty and Wellesley did marry, their marriage was not one of love on his side. Though, Kitty did love the Duke. She died in 1831

First Ministry

01/22/1828 11/16/1830

Office                                                                    Name                                                        Term

First Lord of the Treasury

Leader of the House of Lords         The Duke of Wellington        January 1828 – November 1830

Lord Chancellor        The Lord Lyndhust         January 1828 – November 1830

Lord President of the Council        The Earl Bathurst         January 1828 – November 1830

Lord Privy Seal        The Lord Ellenborough         January 1828 – June 1829

        The Earl of Rosslyn          June1829 – November 1830

Chancellor of the Exchequer         Henry Goulburn         January 1828 – November 1830

Home Secretary

Leader of the House of Commons        Robert Peel                            January 1828 – November 1830

Foreign Secretary        The Earl of Dudley                           January 1828 – June 1828

        The Earl of Aberdeen                     June 1828 – November 1830

Secretary of State for War and the Colonies        William Huskisson                             January 1828 – May 1828

        Sir George Murray                          May 1828 – November 18

First Lord of the Admiralty        The Viscount Melville                   September 1828 – November 1830

Master-General of the Ordnance        Marquess of Anglesey                        January 1828 – April 1828

        The Viscount Beresford                 April 1828 – November 1830

President of the Board of Trade         Charles Grant January                     1828 – June 1828

        William Vesey-Fitzgerald                    June 1828 – February 1830

        John Charles Herries           February 1830 – November 1830

President of the Board of Control        Charles Watkin Williams-Wynn           January 1828 – July 1828

        The Viscount Melville               July 1828 – September 1828

        The Lord Ellenborough         September 1828 – November 1830

Master of the Mint         John Charles Herries                 January 1828 – November 1830

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster         The Earl of Aberdeen                    January 1828 – June 1828

        Charles Arbuthnot                      June 1828 – November 1830

First Commissioner of Woods and Forests        Charles Arbuthnot                     February 1828 – June 1828

        Viscount Lowther                         June 1828 – November 1830

Paymaster of the Forces        William Vesey-Fitzgerald               January 1828 – July 1828

        John Calcraft                           July 1828 – November 1830

Secretary at War         Viscount Palmerston                      January 1828 – May 1828

        Sir Henry Hardinge                    May 1828 – July 1830

        Lord Francis Leveson-Gower           July 1830 – November 1830

Second Ministry

11/14/1834 12/10/1834

Office                                                            Name                                                 Date
Prime Minister
Secretary of State for the Home Department
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies
Leader of the House of Lords            The Duke of Wellington         17 November 1834 – 9 December 1834
Chancellor of the Exchequer                    The Lord Denman         15 November 1834-9 December
Lord Chancellor                      The Lord Lyndhurst          21 November 1834-9 December
Lords Commissioners of the Treasury                The Duke of Wellington
                                           The Earl of Rosslyn
                                                        The Lord Ellenborough         21 November 1834-9 December
                                                 Lord Maryborough
                                                       Sir John Beckett
                                                    Joseph Planta

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Arthur Wellesley 1st Duke of Wellington (Military Career)
1 May 1769 – 14 September 1852

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Arthur Wellesley

Arthur Wellesley 1st Duke of Wellington (Military Career) was born into a wealthy Anglo-Irish aristocratic family in the Kingdom of Ireland as Hon. Arthur Wesley, the third of five surviving sons (fourth otherwise) to The 1st Earl of Mornington and his wife Anne, the eldest daughter of The 1st Viscount Dungannon. He was most likely born at their townhouse, 24 Upper Merrion Street, Dublin, now The Merrion Hotel. His biographers mostly follow the contemporary newspaper evidence in saying he was born 1 May 1769, the day he was baptised. His mother, Anne, Countess of Mornington, recalled in 1815 that he had been born at 6 Merrion Street, Dublin. Other places which have been put forward as the location of his birth include Mornington House (the house which used to be next door) – as his father had asserted, the Dublin packet boat and the mansion in the family estate of Athy (consumed in the fires of 1916) – as the Duke apparently put on his 1851 census return.

He spent most of his childhood at his family’s two homes, the first a large house in Dublin and the second, Dangan Castle, 3 miles (5 km) north of Summerhill on the Trim Road in County Meath. In 1781, Arthur’s father died and his eldest brother Richard inherited his father’s earldom.

He went to the diocesan school in Trim when at Dangan, Mr. Whyte’s Academy when in Dublin, and Brown’s School in Chelsea when in London. He then enrolled at Eton, where he studied from 1781 to 1784. His loneliness there caused him to hate it, and makes it highly unlikely that he actually said, “The Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton”. Moreover, Eton had no playing fields at the time. In 1785, a lack of success at Eton, combined with a shortage of family funds due to his father’s death, forced the young Wellesley and his mother to move to Brussels. Until his early twenties, Arthur continued to show little sign of distinction and his mother grew increasingly concerned at his idleness, stating, “I don’t know what I shall do with my awkward son Arthur”.

A year later, Arthur enrolled in the French Royal Academy of Equitation in Angers, where he progressed significantly, becoming a good horseman and learning French, which was later to prove very useful. Upon returning to England in late 1786, he astonished his mother with his improvement.

Military Career
Despite his new promise he had yet to find a job and his family was still short of money, so upon the advice of his mother, his brother Richard asked his friend The 4th Duke of Rutland (then Lord Lieutenant of Ireland) to consider Arthur for a commission in the army. Soon after, on 7 March 1787 he was gazetted ensign in the 73rd Regiment of Foot. In October, with the assistance of his brother, he was assigned as aide-de-camp, on ten shillings a day (twice his pay as an ensign), to the new Lord Lieutenant of Ireland Lord Buckingham. He was also transferred to the new 76th Regiment forming in Ireland and on Christmas Day, 1787, was promoted to lieutenant. During his time in Dublin his duties were mainly social; attending balls, entertaining guests and providing advice to Buckingham. While in Ireland, he overextended himself in borrowing due to his occasional gambling, but in his defence stated that “I have often known what it was to be in want of money, but I have never got helplessly into debt”.

On 23 January 1788, he transferred into the 41st Regiment of Foot, then again on 25 June 1789, still a lieutenant, he transferred to the 12th (Prince of Wales’s) Regiment of (Light) Dragoons and, before the general election of 1789, he went to the “rotten borough” of Trim to speak against the granting of the title “Freeman” of Dublin to the parliamentary leader of the Irish Patriot Party, Henry Grattan. Succeeding, he was later nominated and duly elected as a Member of Parliament for Trim in the Irish House of Commons. Because of the limited suffrage at the time, he sat in a parliament where at least two-thirds of the members owed their election to the landowners of fewer than a hundred boroughs. Wellesley continued to serve at Dublin Castle, voting with the government in the Irish parliament over the next two years. On 30 January 1791 he became a captain and was transferred to the 58th Regiment of Foot.

On 31 October, he transferred to the 18th Light Dragoons and it was during this period that he grew increasingly attracted to Kitty Pakenham, the daughter of Edward Pakenham, 2nd Baron Longford. She was described as being full of ‘gaiety and charm’. In 1793, he sought her hand, but was turned down by her brother Thomas, Earl of Longford, who considered Wellesley to be a young man, in debt, with very poor prospects. An aspiring amateur musician, Wellesley, devastated by the rejection, burnt his violins in anger, and resolved to pursue a military career in earnest. Gaining further promotion (largely by purchasing his rank, which was common in the British Army at the time), he became a major in the 33rd Regiment in 1793. A few months later, in September, his brother lent him more money and with it he purchased a lieutenant-colonelcy in the 33rd.

Netherlands
In 1793, the Duke of York was sent to Flanders in command of the British contingent of an allied force destined for the invasion of France. In 1794, the 33rd regiment was sent to join the force and Wellesley, having just purchased his majority on 30 April 1793, set sail from Cork for Flanders in June, destined for his first real battle experience. Three months later on 30 September 1793 he purchased the lieutenant colonelcy of his regiment. During the campaign he rose to command a brigade and in September Wellesley’s unit came under fire just east of Breda, just before the Battle of Boxtel. For the latter part of the campaign, during the winter, his unit defended the line of the Waal River, during which time he became ill for a while, owing to the damp environment. Though the campaign was to prove unsuccessful, with the Duke of York’s force returning in 1795, Wellesley was to learn several valuable lessons, including the use of steady fire lines against advancing columns and of the merits of supporting sea-power. He concluded that many of the campaign’s blunders were due to the faults of the leaders and the poor organisation at headquarters. He remarked later of his time in the Netherlands that “At least I learned what not to do, and that is always a valuable lesson”.

Returning to England in March 1795, he was returned as a Member of Parliament for Trim for a second time. He hoped to be given the position of secretary of war in the new Irish government but the new lord-lieutenant, Lord Camden, was only able to offer him the post of Surveyor-General of the Ordnance. Declining the post, he returned to his regiment, now at Southampton preparing to set sail for the West Indies. After seven weeks at sea, a storm forced the fleet back to Poole, England. The 33rd was given time to convalesce and a few months later, Whitehall decided to send the regiment to India. Wellesley was promoted full colonel by seniority on 3 May 1796 and a few weeks later set sail for Calcutta with his regiment.

India
Arriving in Calcutta in February 1797 he spent several months there, before being sent on a brief expedition to the Philippines, where he established a list of new hygiene precautions for his men to deal with the unfamiliar climate. Returning in November to India, he learnt that his elder brother Richard, now known as Lord Mornington, had been appointed as the new Governor-General of India.

In 1798, he changed the spelling of his surname to “Wellesley”; up to this time he was still known as Wesley, which his eldest brother considered the ancient and proper spelling.

Fourth Anglo-Mysore War
As part of the campaign to extend the rule of the British East India Company, the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War broke out in 1798 against the Sultan of Mysore, Tipu Sultan. Arthur’s brother Richard ordered that an armed force be sent to capture Seringapatam and defeat Tipu. Under the command of General Harris, some 24,000 troops were dispatched to Madras (to join an equal force being sent from Bombay in the west). Arthur and the 33rd sailed to join them in August.

After extensive and careful logistic preparation (which would become one of Wellesley’s main attributes) the 33rd left with the main force in December and travelled across 250 miles (402 km) of jungle from Madras to Mysore. On account of his brother, during the journey, Wellesley was given an additional command, that of chief advisor to the Nizam of Hyderabad’s army (sent to accompany the British force). This position was to cause friction among many of the senior officers (some of whom were senior to Wellesley). Much of this friction was put to rest after the Battle of Mallavelly, some 20 miles (32 km) from Seringapatam, in which Harris’s army attacked a large part of the sultan’s army. During the battle, Wellesley led his men, in a line of battle of two ranks, against the enemy to a gentle ridge and gave the order to fire. After an extensive repetition of volleys, followed by a bayonet charge, the 33rd, in conjunction with the rest of Harris’s force, forced Tipu’s infantry to retreat.

Seringapatam
Immediately after their arrival at Seringapatam on 5 April 1799, the Battle of Seringapatam began and Wellesley was ordered to lead a night attack on the village of Sultanpettah, adjacent to the fortress to clear the way for the artillery. Because of the enemy’s strong defensive preparations, and the darkness, with the resulting confusion, the attack failed with 25 casualties. Wellesley suffered a minor injury to his knee from a spent musket-ball. Although they would re-attack successfully the next day, after time to scout ahead the enemy’s positions, the affair had an impact on Wellesley. He resolved “never to attack an enemy who is preparing and strongly posted, and whose posts have not been reconnoitered by daylight”.

A few weeks later, after extensive artillery bombardment, a breach was opened in the main walls of the fortress of Seringapatam. An attack led byMajor-General Baird secured the fortress. Wellesley secured the rear of the advance, posting guards at the breach and then stationed his regiment at the main palace. After hearing news of the death of the Tipu Sultan, Wellesley was the first at the scene to confirm his death, checking his pulse. Over the coming day, Wellesley grew increasingly concerned over the lack of discipline among his men, who drank and pillaged the fortress and city. To restore order, several soldiers were flogged and four hanged.

After battle and the resulting end of the war, the main force under General Harris left Seringapatam and Wellesley, aged 30, stayed behind to command the area as the new Governor of Seringapatam and Mysore. He was promoted to brigadier-general on 17 July 1801. He took residence within the Sultan’s summer palace and reformed the tax and justice systems in his province to maintain order and prevent bribery. He also hunted down the mercenary ‘King’ Dhoondiah Waugh, who had escaped from prison in Seringapatam during the battle. Wellesley, with command of four regiments, defeated Dhoondiah’s larger rebel force, along with Dhoondiah himself who was killed in the battle. He paid for the future upkeep of Dhoondiah’s orphaned son.

While in India, Wellesley was ill for a considerable time, first with severe diarrhoea from the water and then with fever, followed by a serious skin infection caused by trichophyton. He received good news when in September 1802 he learnt that he had been promoted to the rank of major-general. Wellesley had been gazetted on 29 April 1802, but the news took several months to reach him by sea. He remained at Mysore until November when he was sent to command an army in the Second Anglo-Maratha War.

Second Anglo-Maratha War
When he determined that a long defensive war would ruin his army, Wellesley decided to act boldly to defeat the numerically larger force of the Maratha Empire. With the logistic assembly of his army complete (24,000 men in total) he gave the order to break camp and attack the nearest Maratha fort on 8 August 1803. The fort surrendered on 12 August after an infantry attack had exploited an artillery-made breach in the wall. With the fort now in British control Wellesley was able to extend control southwards to the river Godavari.

Assaye
Splitting his army into two forces, to pursue and locate the main Marathas army, (the second force, commanded by Colonel Stevenson was far smaller) Wellesley was preparing to rejoin his forces on 24 September. His intelligence, however, reported the location of the Marathas’ main army, between two rivers near Assaye. If he waited for the arrival of his second force, the Marathas would be able to mount a retreat, so Wellesley decided to launch an attack immediately.

On 23 September, Wellesley led his forces over a ford in the river Kaitna and the Battle of Assaye commenced. After crossing the ford the infantry was reorganised into several lines and advanced against the Maratha infantry. Wellesley ordered his cavalry to exploit the flank of the Maratha army just near the village. During the battle Wellesley himself came under fire; two of his horses were shot from under him and he had to mount a third. At a crucial moment, Wellesley regrouped his forces and ordered Colonel Maxwell (later killed in the attack) to attack the eastern end of the Maratha position while Wellesley himself directed a renewed infantry attack against the centre.

An officer in the attack wrote of the importance of Wellesley’s personal leadership: “The General was in the thick of the action the whole time … I never saw a man so cool and collected as he was … though I can assure you, ’til our troops got the order to advance the fate of the day seemed doubtful …” With some 6,000 Marathas killed or wounded, the enemy was routed, though Wellesley’s force was in no condition to pursue. British casualties were heavy: the British losses were counted as 409 soldiers being killed out of which 164 were Europeans and the remaining 245 were Indian; a further 1,622 British soldiers were wounded and 26 soldiers were reported missing (the British casualty figures were taken from Wellesley’s own despatch). Wellesley was troubled by the loss of men and remarked that he hoped “I should not like to see again such loss as I sustained on 23 September, even if attended by such gain”. Years later, however, he remarked that Assaye was the best battle he ever fought.

Argaum and Gawilghur
Despite the damage done to the Maratha army, the battle did not end the war. A few months later in November, Wellesley attacked a larger force near Argaum, leading his army to victory again, with an astonishing 5,000 enemy dead at the cost of only 361 British casualties. A further successful attack at the fortress at Gawilghur, combined with the victory of General Lake at Delhi forced the Maratha to sign a peace settlement at Anjangaon (not concluded until a year later) called as the Treaty of Surji-Anjangaon.

Leaving India
Wellesley had grown tired of his time in India, remarking “I have served as long in India as any man ought who can serve anywhere else”. In June 1804 he applied for permission to return home and as a reward for his service in India he was made a Knight of the Bath in September. While in India, Wellesley had amassed a fortune of £42,000 (considerable at the time), consisting mainly of prize money from his campaign. When his brother’s term as Governor-General of India ended in March 1805, the brothers returned together to England on HMS Howe. Arthur, coincidentally, stopped on his voyage at the little island of Saint Helena and stayed in the same building to which Napoleon I would later be exiled.

Back in Britain
Wellesley then served in the abortive Anglo-Russian expedition to north Germany in 1805, taking a brigade to Elbe. Upon this return from the campaign, Wellesley received good news; owing to his new title and status, Kitty Pakenham’s family had consented to his marrying her. Wellesley and Kitty were married in Dublin on 10 April 1806. The marriage would later prove to be unsatisfactory and the two would spend years apart while Wellesley was campaigning. Kitty grew depressed, while Wellesley found solace elsewhere. and He then took a period of extended leave from the army and was elected as a Tory member of the British parliament for Rye in January 1806. A year later, he was elected MP for Newport on the Isle of Wight and was then appointed to serve as Chief Secretary for Ireland, under the Duke of Richmond. At the same time, he was made a privy counsellor. While in Ireland, he gave a verbal promise that the remaining Penal Laws would be enforced with great moderation, perhaps an indication of his later willingness to support Catholic Emancipation.

War on Denmark
Wellesley was in Ireland in May 1807 when he heard of the British expedition to Denmark. He decided to go, stepping down from his political appointments and was appointed to command an infantry brigade in the Second Battle of Copenhagen which took place in August. He fought at the Køge, during which the men under his command took 1,500 prisoners, with Wellesley later present during the surrender.

By 30 September, he had returned to England and was raised to the rank of lieutenant general on 25 April 1808. In June 1808 he accepted the command of an expedition of 9,000 men. Preparing to sail for an attack on the Spanish colonies in South America (to assist the Latin American patriot Francisco de Miranda) his force was instead ordered to sail for Portugal, to take part in the Peninsular Campaign and rendezvous with 5,000 troops from Gibraltar.

To the Peninsula
Ready for battle, he left Cork on 12 July 1808 to participate in the war against French forces in the Iberian Peninsula, with his skills as a commander tested and developed. According to the historian Robin Neillands, “Wellesley had by now acquired the experience on which his later successes were founded. He knew about command from the ground up, about the importance of logistics, about campaigning in a hostile environment. He enjoyed political influence and realised the need to maintain support at home. Above all, he had gained a clear idea of how, by setting attainable objectives and relying on his own force and abilities, a campaign could be fought and won.”

The Peninsular War
1808
Wellesley defeated the French at the Battle of Roliça and the Battle of Vimeiro in 1808 but was superseded in command immediately after the latter battle. General Dalrymple then signed the controversial Convention of Sintra, which stipulated that the British Royal Navy transport the French army out of Lisbon with all their loot, and insisted on the association of the only available government minister, Wellesley. Dalrymple and Wellesley were recalled to Britain to face a Court of Enquiry. Wellesley had agreed to sign the preliminary armistice, but had not signed the convention, and was cleared.

Meanwhile, Napoleon himself entered Spain with his veteran troops to put down the revolt; the new commander of the British forces in the Peninsula, Sir John Moore, died during the Battle of Corunna in January 1809.

Although overall the land war with France was not going well from a British perspective, the Peninsula was the one theatre where they, with the Portuguese, had provided strong resistance against France and her allies. This contrasted with the disastrous Walcheren expedition, which was typical of the mismanaged British operations of the time. Wellesley submitted a memorandum to Lord Castlereagh on the defence of Portugal. He stressed its mountainous frontiers and advocated Lisbon as the main base because the Royal Navy could help to defend it. Castlereagh and the cabinet approved the memo, appointed him head of all British forces in Portugal.

1809
Wellesley arrived in Lisbon on 22 April 1809 onboard HMS Surveillante, after narrowly escaping shipwreck. Reinforced, he took to the offensive. In the Second Battle of Porto he crossed the Douro river in a daylight coup de main, and routed Marshal Soult’s French troops in Porto.

With Portugal secured, Wellesley advanced into Spain to unite with General Cuesta’s forces. The combined allied force prepared for an assault on Victor’s I Corps at Talavera, 23 July. Cuesta, however, was reluctant to agree, and was only persuaded to advance on the following day. The delay allowed the French to withdraw, but Cuesta sent his army headlong after Victor, and found himself faced by almost the entire French army in New Castile—Victor had been reinforced by the Toledo and Madrid garrisons. The Spanish retreated precipitously, necessitating the advance of two British divisions to cover their retreat.

The next day, 27 July, at the Battle of Talavera the French advanced in three columns and were repulsed several times throughout the day by Wellesley, but at a heavy cost to the British force. In the aftermath Marshal Soult’s army was discovered to be advancing south, threatening to cut Wellesley off from Portugal. Wellesley moved east on 3 August to block it, leaving 1,500 wounded in the care of the Spanish, intending to confront Soult before finding out that the French were in fact 30,000 strong. The British commander sent the Light Brigade on a dash to hold the bridge over the Tagus River at Almaraz. With communications and supply from Lisbon secured for now, Wellesley considered joining with Cuesta again but found out that his Spanish ally had abandoned the British wounded to the French and was thoroughly uncooperative, promising and then refusing to supply the British forces, aggravating Wellesley and causing considerable friction between the British and their Spanish allies. The lack of supplies, coupled with the threat of French reinforcement (including the possible inclusion of Napoleon himself) in the spring, led to the British deciding to retreat into Portugal.

1810
In 1810, a newly enlarged French army under Marshal André Masséna invaded Portugal. British opinion both at home and in the army was negative and there were suggestions that they must evacuate Portugal. Instead, Wellington first slowed the French down at Buçaco; he then prevented them from taking the Lisbon Peninsula by the construction of his massive earthworks, the Lines of Torres Vedras, which had been assembled in complete secrecy and had flanks guarded by the Royal Navy. The baffled and starving French invasion forces retreated after six months. Wellington’s pursuit was frustrated by a series of reverses inflicted by Marshal Ney in a much-lauded rear guard campaign.

1811
In 1811, Masséna returned toward Portugal to relieve Almeida; Wellington narrowly checked the French at the Battle of Fuentes de Onoro. Simultaneously, his subordinate, Viscount Beresford, fought Soult’s ‘Army of the South’ to a mutual bloody standstill at the Battle of Albuera in May. Wellington was promoted to full General on 31 July for his services. The French abandoned Almeida, slipping away from British pursuit, but retained the twin Spanish fortresses of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz, the ‘Keys’ guarding the roads through the mountain passes into Portugal. For his actions for the Portuguese cause, Wellesley was conferred the title of Count of Vimeiro, in the Peerage of Portugal.

1812
In 1812, Wellington finally captured Ciudad Rodrigo by a rapid movement as the French went into winter quarters, storming it before they could react. He then moved south quickly, besieged the fortress of Badajoz for a month and captured it during one bloody night. On viewing the aftermath of the Storming of Badajoz, Wellington lost his composure and cried at the sight of the bloody carnage in the breaches.

His army now was a veteran British force reinforced by units of the retrained Portuguese army. Campaigning in Spain, he routed the French at the Battle of Salamanca, taking advantage of a minor French mispositioning. The victory liberated the Spanish capital of Madrid. As reward, he was created “Earl” and then “Marquess of Wellington” and given command of all Allied armies in Spain. Wellington attempted to take the vital fortress of Burgos, which linked Madrid to France. But failure, due in part to a lack of siege guns, forced him into a headlong retreat with the loss of over 2,000 casualties.

The French abandoned Andalusia, and combined the troops of Soult and Marmont. Thus combined, the French outnumbered the British, putting the British forces in a precarious position. Wellington withdrew his army and, joined with the smaller corps commanded by Rowland Hill, began to retreat to Portugal. Marshal Soult declined to attack.

In 1812, Wellesley was granted the titles of Marquis of Torres Vedras and Duke of Vitória, both in Portuguese nobility, by decree of Queen Maria I of Portugal, for his actions in the name of the Portuguese nation.

1813
In 1813, Wellington led a new offensive, this time against the French line of communications. He struck through the hills north of Burgos, the Tras os Montes, and switched his supply line from Portugal to Santander on Spain’s north coast; this led to the French abandoning Madrid and Burgos. Continuing to outflank the French lines, Wellington caught up with and smashed the army of King Joseph Bonaparte in the Battle of Vitoria, for which he was promoted to field marshal on 21 June. He personally led a column against the French centre, while other columns commanded by Sir Thomas Graham, Rowland Hill and the Earl of Dalhousie looped around the French right and left (this battle became the subject of Beethoven’s opus 91, Wellington’s Victory). The British troops broke ranks to loot the abandoned French wagons instead of pursuing the beaten foe. This gross abandonment of discipline caused an enraged Wellington to write in a famous dispatch to Earl Bathurst, “We have in the service the scum of the earth as common soldiers”.

Although later, when his temper had cooled, he extended his comment to praise the men under his command saying that though many of the men were, “the scum of the earth; it is really wonderful that we should have made them to the fine fellows they are”.

After taking the small fortresses of Pamplona, Wellington invested San Sebastián but was frustrated by the obstinate French garrison, losing 693 dead and 316 captured in a failed assault and suspending the siege at the end of July. Soult’s relief attempt was blocked by the Spanish Army of Galicia at San Marcial, allowing the Allies to consolidate their position and tighten the ring around the city, which fell in September after a second spirited defence. Wellington then forced Soult’s demoralised and battered army into a fighting retreat into France, punctuated by battles at the Pyrenees, Bidassoa and Nivelle. Wellington invaded southern France, winning at the Nive and Orthez. Wellington’s final battle against his rival Soult occurred at Toulouse, where the Allied divisions were badly mauled storming the French redoubts, losing some 4,600 men. Despite this momentary victory, news arrived of Napoleon’s defeat and abdication and Soult, seeing no reason to continue the fighting, agreed on a ceasefire with Wellington, allowing Soult to evacuate the city.

Aftermath
Hailed as the conquering hero by the British, Wellington was created “Duke of Wellington”, a title still held by his descendants (as he did not return to England until the Peninsular War was over, he was awarded all his patents of nobility in a unique ceremony lasting a full day). He received some recognition during his lifetime (the title of “Duque de Ciudad Rodrigo”) and the Spanish King Ferdinand VII allowed him to keep part of the works of art from the Royal Collection which he had recovered from the French. His equestrian portrait features prominently in the Monument to the Battle of Vitoria, in present-day Vitoria-Gasteiz.

His popularity in Britain was due to his image and his appearance as well as to his military triumphs. His victory fit well with the passion and intensity of the Romantic movement, with its emphasis on individuality. His personal style had an impact on the fashions on Britain at the time: his tall, lean figure and his plumed black hat and grand yet classic uniform and white trousers became very popular.

In late 1814, the Prime Minister wanted him to take command in Canada and with the assignment of winning the War of 1812 against the United States. Wellington replied that he would go to America, but he believed that he was needed more in Europe. He stated:

I think you have no right, from the state of war, to demand any concession of territory from America… You have not been able to carry it into the enemy’s territory, notwithstanding your military success, and now undoubted military superiority, and have not even cleared your own territory on the point of attack. You cannot on any principle of equality in negotiation claim a cession of territory except in exchange for other advantages which you have in your power… Then if this reasoning be true, why stipulate for the uti possidetis? You can get no territory: indeed, the state of your military operations, however creditable, does not entitle you to demand any.

The Prime Minister agreed with Wellington and speeded up the negotiations that ended the war with no boundary changes through the Treaty of Ghent.

He was appointed ambassador to France, then took Lord Castlereagh’s place as first plenipotentiary to the Congress of Vienna, where he strongly advocated allowing France to keep its place in the European balance of power. On 2 January 1815 the title of his Knighthood of the Bath was converted to Knight Grand Cross upon the expansion of that order.

Waterloo
On 26 February 1815, Napoleon escaped from Elba and returned to France. He regained control of the country by May and faced a renewed alliance against him. Wellington left Vienna for what became known as the Waterloo Campaign. He arrived in Belgium to take command of the British-German army and their allied Dutch-Belgians, all stationed alongside the Prussian forces of Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher.

Napoleon’s strategy was to isolate the Allied and Prussian armies, and annihilate each one separately before the Austrians and Russians arrived. In doing so the vast superiority in numbers of the Coalition would be greatly diminished. He would then seek the possibility of a peace with Austria and Russia.

The French invaded Belgium, with Napoleon mauling the Prussians at Ligny, and Marshal Ney engaging indecisively with Wellington, at the Battle of Quatre Bras. The Prussians retreated 18 miles north to Wavre whilst Wellington’s Anglo-Allied army withdrew 15 miles north to a site he had noted the previous year as favourable for a battle: the north ridge of a shallow valley on the Brussels road, just south of the small town of Waterloo. On 17 June there was torrential rain, which severely hampered movement and had a considerable affect the next day, 18 June, when the Battle of Waterloo was fought. This was the first time Wellington had encountered Napoleon, and he commanded an Anglo-Dutch-German army that consisted of approximately 73,000 troops, 26,000 (36 percent) of whom were British.

The Battle

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Wellington at Waterloo by Hillingford

The Battle of Waterloo commenced with a diversionary attack on Hougoumont by a division of French soldiers. After a barrage of 80 cannons the first French infantry attack was launched by Comte D’Erlon’s I Corps. D’Erlon’s troops advanced through the Allied centre, resulting in Allied troops in front of the ridge retreating in disorder through the main position. D’Erlon’s corps stormed the most fortified Allied position, La Haye Sainte, but failed to take it. An Allied division under Thomas Picton met the remainder of D’Erlon’s corps head to head, engaging them in an infantry duel in which Picton fell. During this struggle Lord Uxbridge launched two of his cavalry brigades at the enemy, catching the French infantry off guard, driving them to the bottom of the slope, and capturing two French Imperial Eagles. The charge, however, over-reached itself, and the British cavalry, crushed by fresh French horsemen hurled at them by Napoleon, were driven back, suffering tremendous losses.

A little before 16:00, Marshal Ney noted an apparent exodus from Wellington’s centre. He mistook the movement of casualties to the rear for the beginnings of a retreat, and sought to exploit it. Ney at this time had few infantry reserves left, as most of the infantry had been committed either to the futile Hougoumont attack or to the defence of the French right. Ney therefore tried to break Wellington’s centre with a cavalry charge alone.

At about 16:30, the first Prussian corps arrived. Commanded by Freiherr von Bülow, IV Corps arrived as the French cavalry attack was in full spate. Bülow sent the 15th Brigade to link up with Wellington’s left flank in the Frichermont-La Haie area while the brigade’s horse artillery battery and additional brigade artillery deployed to its left in support. Napoleon sent Lobau’s corps to intercept the rest of Bülow’s IV Corps proceeding to Plancenoit. The 15th Brigade sent Lobau’s corps into retreat to the Plancenoit area. Von Hiller’s 16th Brigade also pushed forward with six battalions against Plancenoit. Napoleon had dispatched all eight battalions of the Young Guard to reinforce Lobau, who was now seriously pressed by the enemy. Napoleon’s Young Guard counter-attacked and, after very hard fighting, secured Plancenoit, but were themselves counter-attacked and driven out. Napoleon then resorted to sending two battalions of the Middle/Old Guard into Plancenoit and after ferocious fighting they recaptured the village.

The French cavalry attacked the British infantry squares many times, each at heavy cost to the French but with few British casualties. Ney himself was displaced from his horse four times. Eventually it became obvious, even to Ney, that cavalry alone were achieving little. Belatedly, he organised a combined-arms attack, using Bachelu’s division and Tissot’s regiment of Foy’s division from Reille’s II Corps plus those French cavalry that remained in a fit state to fight. This assault was directed along much the same route as the previous heavy cavalry attacks.

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The Storming of La Haye Sainte by Knotel

Meanwhile at approximately the same time as Ney’s combined-arms assault on the centre-right of Wellington’s line, Napoleon ordered Ney to capture La Haye Sainte at whatever the cost. Ney accomplished this with what was left of D’Erlon’s corps soon after 18:00. Ney then moved horse artillery up towards Wellington’s centre and began to destroy the infantry squares at short-range with canister. This all but destroyed the 27th (Inniskilling) Regiment, and the 30th and 73rd Regiments suffered such heavy losses that they had to combine to form a viable square. Wellington’s centre was now on the verge of collapse and wide open to an attack from the French. Luckily for Wellington, Pirch I’s and Zieten’s corps of the Prussian Army were now at hand. Zieten’s corps permitted the two fresh cavalry brigades of Vivian and Vandeleur on Wellington’s extreme left to be moved and posted behind the depleted centre. Pirch I Corps then proceeded to support Bülow and together they regained possession of Plancenoit, and once more the Charleroi road was swept by Prussian round shot. The value of this reinforcement at this particular moment can hardly be overestimated.

The French army now fiercely attacked the Coalition all along the line with the culminating point being reached when Napoleon sent forward the Imperial Guard at 19:30. The attack of the Imperial Guards was mounted by five battalions of the Middle Guard, and not by the Grenadiers or Chasseurs of the Old Guard. Marching through a hail of canister and skirmisher fire and severely outnumbered, the 3,000 or so Middle Guardsmen advanced to the west of La Haye Sainte and proceeded to separate into three distinct attack forces. One, consisting of two battalions of Grenadiers, defeated the Coalition’s first line and marched on. Chassé’s relatively fresh Dutch division was sent against them and Allied artillery fired into the victorious Grenadiers’ flank. This still could not stop the Guard’s advance, so Chassé ordered his first brigade to charge the outnumbered French, who faltered and broke.

Further to the west, 1,500 British Foot Guards under General Peregrine Maitland were lying down to protect themselves from the French artillery. As two battalions of Chasseurs approached, the second prong of the Imperial Guard’s attack, Maitland’s guardsmen rose and devastated them with point-blank volleys. The Chasseurs deployed to counter-attack, but began to waver. A bayonet charge by the Foot Guards then broke them. The third prong, a fresh Chasseur battalion, now came up in support. The British guardsmen retreated with these Chasseurs in pursuit, but the latter were halted as the 52nd Light Infantry wheeled in line onto their flank and poured a devastating fire into them and then charged. Under this onslaught they too broke.

The last of the Guard retreated headlong. A ripple of panic passed through the French lines as the astounding news spread: “La Garde recule. Sauve qui peut!” (“The Guard retreats. Save yourself if you can!”). Wellington then stood up in Copenhagen’s stirrups, and waved his hat in the air to signal an advance of the Allied line just as the Prussians were overrunning the French positions to the east. What remained of the French army then abandoned the field in disorder. Wellington and Blücher met at the inn of La Belle Alliance, on the north-south road which bisected the battlefield, and it was agreed that the Prussians should pursue the retreating French army back to France. The Treaty of Paris was signed on 20 November 1815.

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