Duke of Wellington

(1769–1852)

Duke of Wellington

Anecdote 1...

During the Peninsular War a detachment of energetic but inexperienced young officers arrived to strengthen Wellington’s forces. Wellington observed, “I don’t know what effect they will have upon the enemy, but by God, they frighten me.”

Anecdote 2...

At Vienna Wellington was compelled to sit through a performance of Beethoven’s “Battle of Victoria” (or, “Wellington’s Victory”). Afterward, a Russian envoy asked him if the music had been anything like the real thing. “By God, no,” said the duke. “If it had been like that I’d have run away myself.”

Biographical Note: 

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington was a British general and statesman, nicknamed “the iron Duke.” After service in India, Wellesley led the British campaign against Napoleon in Spain and Portugal — the Peninsular War (1808–14). For his achievement he was made a duke. He and the Prussian general Blücher finally defeated Napoleon at Waterloo (1815). In 1828 he became Tory prime minister. Although a supporter of the Roman Catholic emancipation bill (1829), he opposed parliamentary reform and was eventually forced to resign (1830).