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The Creevey Papers
Thomas Creevey, Memoir, 28 July 1822

Vol. I. Contents
Ch. I: 1793-1804
Ch. II: 1805
Ch. III: 1805
Ch. IV: 1806-08
Ch. V: 1809
Ch. VI: 1810
Ch. VII: 1811
Ch. VIII: 1812
Ch. IX: 1813-14
Ch X: 1814-15
Ch XI: 1815-16
Ch XII: 1817-18
Ch XIII: 1819-20
Vol. II. Contents
Ch I: 1821
Ch. II: 1822
Ch. III: 1823-24
Ch. IV: 1825-26
Ch. V: 1827
Ch. VI: 1827-28
Ch. VII: 1828
Ch. VIII: 1829
Ch. IX: 1830-31
Ch. X: 1832-33
Ch. XI: 1833
Ch. XII: 1834
Ch XIII: 1835-36
Ch XIV: 1837-38
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Cantley, July 28, 1822.—I became a member of the House of Commons in 1802, and the moment a man became such then, if he attached himself to one of the great parties in the House—Whigs or Tories—he became at once a publick man, and had a position in society which nothing else could give him. I advert particularly to such persons as myself, who came from the ranks, without either opulence or connections to procure for them admission into the company of their betters.

“The account of Buonaparte’s conversation with O’Meara at St. Helena, which is just published, is so infinitely curious and interesting that they present a very favorable occasion to me for committing to paper general facts within my own knowledge, more or less connected with some of the events to which he refers. Most of these facts I have already recorded, either in letters to my friends at the time, or by occasional journals; but they are all as distinctly in my recollection at present as if they had happened yesterday.

“In the autumn of 1814, Mrs. Creevey, her two eldest daughters (the Miss Ords) and her second and younger son, Mr. Charles Ord, and myself went to Brussells, where we took a house for a term. . . . We found Brussells full of our London Guards; our cavalry and other troops were quartered up and down the country. Having spent our winter very merrily with our English officers, and others who had arrived there in great abundance, about the 8th of March, 1815, I think it was, we first heard of Buonaparte’s escape from Elba. At the time the young Prince of Orange was Commander-in-chief of our forces in Brussells; General Sir Edward Barnes was Adjutant General of the army, and Sir Hudson Lowe Quarter-
master General. We remained nearly a fortnight in great suspense as to what was to be the result of this enterprise of Buonaparte. Since our arrival in Brussells I had formed a sufficiently intimate acquaintance with General Barnes to be quite sure of learning from him the earliest intimation of any movement of our army. One of the aides-de-camp, too, the late
Col. Hamilton, had already formed an attachment to Miss Ord, which in 1815 ended in their marriage. . . . It was on the 24th March, I think, in the morning, that he came to tell us that in all probability Buonaparte had passed the preceding night at Lille, and might be reasonably expected at Brussells in two days’ time, and that we ought to lose no time in leaving the place. Mrs. Creevey at this time was a great invalid, quite lame, and only to be removed with very great pain and difficulty to herself. Upon consulting with some people of the place, therefore, as to the supposed conduct of the French if they arrived, and knowing from Barnes that our troops were to retire without fighting, we resolved to stay.

“During the whole of this day—the 24th—the English were flying off in all directions, whilst others were arriving from Paris; and in the night the Guards all marched off to Ath, Enghien, &c., &c. On one of these days, I forget which, I saw arrive on the same day from Paris the old Prince de Condé and all his suite, who went to the Hotel Bellevue—Marmont, who went to the Hotel d’Angleterre—Victor to the Hotel Wellington, and Berthier to the Duc d’Aremberg’s. On Easter Monday, I think it was, I was sitting at Charlotte Greville’s, when the Duc de Berri came to call upon her, and expressed his great astonishment that any English should remain there, as Buonaparte was certainly at Lille and would no doubt be here on the Wednesday following, and that he himself, in consequence, was going to Antwerp. . . . We soon found there was no foundation for the report of an early invasion of Belgium by Buonaparte, and a good many of our people returned to Brussells, and other new ones came there. In April the Duke of Wellington arrived (I forget what day*)

* It was the 5th.

at Brussells from Vienna; and it was the 22nd, I think, I met him at Lady Charlotte Greville’s in the evening; she having a party of all the principal persons then in Brussells of all countries every evening.

“I had seen a good deal of the Duke of Wellington in 1806, and in a very amicable way. He was then just returned from India, and [was] brought into the House of Commons to defend his brother Ld. Wellesley’s Indian government. I was Secretary of the Board of Controul at the time, so that all Indian papers moved for on either side came thro’ me; and this brought me very much in contact with Sir Arthur Wellesley personally, as well as with Paull, who was attacking his brother.* Afterwards in 1807-8 and -9 I took a very decided part in Parliament against Lord Wellesley, which produced such angry words between Sir Arthur and myself that I was quite prepared for there being no further intercourse between us. To do him justice, however, he not only did not seem to resent or recollect these former bickerings, but from the first moment he saw me at Lady Charlotte’s (where he put out his hand to me) till he quitted France finally in the end of 1818, he behaved with the most marked civility and cordiality to myself and to all who were connected with me.

“The first occasion when I met him at Lady Charlotte’s was so curious a one that I took a note of it when I returned home, and this I now have by me. We had much conversation about Buonaparte, and the Duke would have it that a Republick was the thing which he was sure was to be got up at Paris—that it would never come to fighting with the Allies—that the Republick would be all settled by Carnot, Lucien Buonaparte, &c., &c.—that he was confident it would never come to blows. So he and I had a good deal of

* Among Creevey’s papers are many letters from this Paull, who was the son of a Perth tailor, was educated in an Edinburgh writer’s office, and was a trader for some years in India. Expelled by the Nawab from the Dominion of Oude, he was reinstated by Lord Wellesley’s influence, made a large fortune, and was returned to Parliament, where he exerted himself to obtain his benefactor’s impeachment. Having taken to gambling and lost heavily, he cut his throat in April, 1808.

1814-15.]THE IRON DUKE.227
joking, and I asked him what he thought the old manager Buonaparte would say to this new piece, and whether it was with his consent it was got up, and whether it would in truth turn out a tragedy, comedy or farce. He said he had no doubt it would be a tragedy to Buonaparte, and that they would beat him by stilleto or otherwise in a very few weeks.

“I retired with the impression of his (the Duke) having made a very sorry figure, in giving no indication of superior talents. However, as I said before, he was very natural and good-humoured.

“I continued to meet him both at Lady Charlotte’s and other places repeatedly, and he was always equally communicative—still retaining his original opinion. I remember his coming in one day to Lady Charlotte’s in great glee, because Baron Lories, the Finance Minister, had fled from Paris to join the French King at Ghent.—‘The old fox,’ he said, ‘would never have run for it, if he had not felt that the house was tumbling about his ears.’

“Then he was always expressing his belief that the then approaching fête at Paris in the Champ de M[ars] would be fatal to Buonaparte—that the explosion would take place on that occasion, and that Buonaparte and his reign would both be put an end to on that day. So when we knew that the day had passed off in the most favorable manner to the Emperor, being that night at a ball at the Duke’s house, I asked him what he thought of things now at Paris; upon which he laughed and seemed not in the least degree affected by the event. But when on the same evening I made a remark about the Duke’s indifference to Sir Charles Stuart,* our ambassador, the latter said in his curious, blunt manner:—‘Then he is damned different with you from what he is with me, for I never saw a fellow so cut down in my life than he was this morning when he first heard the news.’

“The Duke during this period was for ever giving balls, to which he was always kind enough to ask my daughters and myself; and very agreeable they were.

* Nephew of the 1st Marquess of Bute, created Lord Stuart de Rothesay in 1828.

On one occasion, having been at a ball in his house on a Saturday night, old
Blucher and his staff came over to the town on the next day—Sunday, and the Duke sent out instantly to all who had been there on the preceding evening to come again that night to meet Blucher, and he kept making everybody dance to the last. Amongst others, I remember his bringing up General [illegible], who has since been so conspicuous in France, to dance with Miss Ord, which he did.

“Some short time before the battle of Waterloo—a fortnight, perhaps, or three weeks—the two Miss Ords and myself were walking in the Park at Brussells. When opposite the Ambassador’s house (now the Prince of Orange’s) the Duke of Wellington and Sir Charles Stuart, having been engaged in conversation, parted, and the Duke joined us. It was the day the papers had arrived from England, bringing the debates in Parliament where the question is the war. So he began to me by observing:—‘What a good thing it is for Ministers that Grattan has made a speech in favor of the war.’—To which I replied that all Ministers were always lucky in finding some unexpected support: and then I added the question was a nice one.—‘A question of expediency,’ said the Duke.— ‘Granted,’ I replied, ‘quite; and now then, will you let me ask you, Duke, what you think you will make of it?’ He stopt, and said in the most natural manner:—‘By God! I think Blucher and myself can do the thing.’—‘Do you calculate,’ I asked, ‘upon any desertion in Buonaparte’s army?’—‘Not upon a man,’ he said, ‘from the colonel to the private in a regiment—both inclusive. We may pick up a marshal or two, perhaps; but not worth a damn.’—‘Do you reckon,’ I asked, ‘upon any support from the French King’s troops at Alost?’—‘Oh!’ said he, ‘don’t mention such fellows! No: I think Blucher and I can do the business.’—Then, seeing a private soldier of one of our infantry regiments enter the park, gaping about at the statues and images:—‘There,’ he said, pointing at the soldier, ‘it all depends upon that article whether we do the business or not. Give me enough of it, and I am sure.’

“About a week before the battle, he reviewed
three regiments of our infantry, and three Hanoverian ones, in the Allée Verte, and I stood in conversation with him as they passed. They were some of our best regiments, and so he pronounced them to be. As the Hanoverians passed he said:—‘Those are very good troops too, or will be so when I get good officers into them.’

“On Wednesday evening the 14th June, having had daily rumours of the approach of the French, I was at Lady Conyngham’s, where there was a party, and it was confidently stated that the French had reached or crossed the frontier. The Duke presently came in and said it was so.*

“On the 15th there was a ball at the Duke of Richmond’s, to which my daughters, the Miss Ords, and their brother went; but I stayed at home with Mrs. Creevey. About half-past eleven at night, I heard a great knocking at houses in my street—la Rue du Musée—just out of the Place Royale, and I presently found out the troops were in motion, and by 12 o’clock they all marched off the Place Royale up the Rue Namur. . . . I sat up, of course, till my daughters and their brother returned from the Duke of Richmond’s, which they did about two o’clock or half after. I then found that the Prussians had been driven out of Charleroi and other places by the French, and that all our army had been just then set in motion to meet them. The Duke had been at the ball—had received his intelligence there, and had sent off his different orders. There had been plenty of officers at the ball, and some tender scenes had taken place upon the ladies parting with them.

“I saw poor Hamilton† that night; he came home in the carriage with the Miss Ords and their brother.

“On Friday the 16th the Duke and his staff rode out of the Namur gate about nine,‡ and we were

* Napoleon left Paris at daybreak on 12th June. On the 14th his headquarters were at Beaumont, about 16 miles south of Charleroi, but he did not cross the frontier till the morning of the 15th.

† His step-son-in-law.

‡ Other witnesses say 8 a.m.

without any news the best part of the day. I dined at
Mr. Greathead’s in the Park. . . . In walking there between 4 and 5, poor Charles Ord and I thought we heard the sound of cannon; and when we got to Greathead’s we found everybody on the rampart listening to it. In the course of the evening the rampart was crowded with people listening, and the sound became perfectly distinct and regular.*

“Just before we sat down to dinner, Greathead saw Col. Canning, one of the Duke’s Aides-de-camps, walking by the window, and he called him up to dine. He had been sent by the Duke on a mission to the French King at Alost, and was then on his return. He was killed two days afterwards at Waterloo.

“In the evening—or rather at night—Colonel Hamilton rode in to Brussells, to do some things for General Barnes, and to see us. We found from him that the firing had been the battle of Quatre-Bras. He was full of praises of our troops, who had fought under every disadvantage of having marched 16 miles from Brussells, and having neither cavalry nor artillery up in time to protect them.† He was full, too, of admiration of the talent of Buonaparte in this daring attempt to get between the English and Prussian armies. . . . Hamilton had seen the Duke of Brunswick killed at the head of his Brunswickers,† and represented the grief of these soldiers as quite affecting. Two of our young Brussells officers and friends had been killed, too, in the action—Lord Hay, aide-de-camp to General Maitland, and a brother of Jack Smyth’s. Upon one occasion during the day, Hamilton stated, Wellington and his whole staff had been very nearly taken prisoners by some French

* The action at Quatre-Bras began about 3 p.m. and lasted till 9 o’clock.

† The Allies began the action with 7000 infantry and 16 guns. Van Merlen’s horse, 1200 strong, joined them before 5 o’clock, but Lord Uxbridge’s division of cavalry halted on the Mons-Brussels road, through a mistake in their orders.

‡ Their black uniform, with silver death’s-head and crossbones, commemorated the death of the Duke’s father at the head of his Brunswicker Hussars at Jena.

1814-15.]THE EVE OF WATERLOO.231
cavalry.* . . . Hamilton returned to headquarters about 12 at night.

“On Saturday the 17th I remember feeling free from much alarm. I reasoned with myself that as our troops had kept their ground under all the unequal circumstances of the day before, surely when all the Guards and other troops had arrived from Ath and Enghien, with all the cavalry, artillery, &c., they would be too strong for the French even venturing to attack again. So we went on flattering ourselves during the day, especially as we heard no firing. About four o’clock, however, the Marquis Juarenais[?], who I always found knew more than anybody else, met me in the street and said:—‘Your army is in retreat upon Brussells, and the French in pursuit.’ He quite satisfied me that he knew the fact; and not long after, the baggage of the army was coming down the Rue de Namur, filling up my street, and horses were bivouacked [picketed?] all round the park.

“At night Hamilton came in to us again, and we learnt from him that Buonaparte had beaten Blucher so completely the night before that all communication between the latter and Wellington had been cut off, and that, under such circumstances, Wellington had been obliged to fall back and take up another position.

“It was now clear there was going to be a desperate battle. Hamilton said so, and we who knew the overflowing ardent mind, as well as the daring nature, of his General (Barnes), well knew the danger his life would be exposed to next day. He returned to headquarters, according to custom, at midnight.

“Sunday, June the 18th, was of course a most anxious day with us. I persuaded poor Charles Ord to go that day to England. Between 11 and 12 I

* This happened just after the Duke of Brunswick fell. The Brunswick infantry giving way before a charge of French cavalry, Wellington rode up with the Brunswick Hussars to cover them; but these also fell into disorder under a heavy fire of musketry, and were then driven off by Pirn’s Red Lancers. Wellington galloped off, closely pursued. Arriving at a ditch lined by the Gordon Highlanders, he called out to them to lie still, set his horse at the fence, and cleared it, bayonets and all.

perceived the horses, men, carts and carriages of all description, laden with baggage, which had filled every street all night, had received orders to march, and I never felt more anxiety than to see the route they took; for had they taken the Antwerp or Ostend road, I should have concluded we were not to keep our ground. They all went up the Rue de Namur towards the army.

“About three o’clock I walked about two miles out of the town towards the army, and a more curious, busy scene it was, with every kind of thing upon the road, the Sunday population of Brussells being all out in the suburbs out of the Porte Namur, sitting about tables drinking beer and smoking and making merry, as if races or other sports were going on, instead of the great pitched battle which was then fighting.

“Upon my return home about four, I had scarcely got into my own room to dress for dinner, when Miss Elizabeth Ord came running into the room saying:—‘For God’s sake, Mr. Creevey, come into the drawing-room to my mother immediately. The French are in the town.’—I could not bring myself to believe that to be true, and I said so, with my reasons; but I said—‘Let all the outside blinds be put to, and I will come in an instant.’—So having remained five or ten minutes in the drawing-room, and hearing nothing, I went out; and then I found the alarm had been occasioned by the flight of a German regiment of cavalry, the Cumberland Hussars, who had quitted the field of battle, galloping through the forest of Soignes, entering the Porte Namur, and going full speed down the Rue de Namur and thro’ the Place Royale, crying out the French were at their heels. The confusion and mischief occasioned by these fellows on the road were incredible, but in the town all was quiet again in an instant.

“I then sat down to dinner, in the middle of which I heard a very considerable shouting near me. Jumping up to the window which commanded the lower part of the Rue de Namur, I saw a detachment of our Horse Guards escorting a considerable body of French prisoners, and could distinctly recognise one or two eagles. I went into the Place Royale
immediately to see them pass, and then returned to my dinner. Their number was said to be 1500. In half an hour more I heard fresh shouting, and this proved to be another arrival of French prisoners, greater in amount—it was said 5000 in all had arrived.

“About this time, in looking out of my window I saw Mr. Legh, of Lyme, M.P. for Newton,* arrive on horseback at his lodgings, which were next to my house; and finding that he had been looking at the battle, or very near it, I rejoiced with him upon things looking so well, which I conceived to be the case from the recent arrivals of prisoners. My surprise, therefore, was by no means small when he replied that he did not agree with me: that from his own observation he thought everything looked as bad as possible; in short, that he thought so badly of it that he should not send his horses to the stable, but keep them at his door in case of accidents.

“After this I went out to call on the Marquis Juarenais in the Park, to collect from him what news I could; and in passing the corner of the Hotel Bellevue I came in contact with one of our Life Guards—a soldier who had just come in. I asked him how he thought the battle was going when he left the field; upon which, after turning round apparently to see if anybody could hear him, he said:—‘Why, sir, I don’t like the appearance of things at all. The French are getting on in such a manner that I don’t see what’s to stop them.’

“I then got to Juarenais’s, and was shown into a drawing-room, in the middle of which I saw a wounded officer of our Foot Guards (Griffiths, his name was, I knew afterwards) sitting in apparently great pain—a corporal on one side picking his epaulet out of the wound, and Madame de Juarenais holding a smelling-bottle under his nose. I just heard the officer apologise to Madame de Juarenais for the trouble he was giving her, observing at the time that he would not be long with them, as the French would be in that night, and then he fainted away.

“In going out of the drawing-room into the balcony commanding the Park, the first thing I saw

* Grandfather of the present Lord Newton.

General Barnes’s chaise and four going as fast as it could from his own house in the Park towards the Porte Namur and, of course, the field of battle; upon which I went immediately to Barnes’s to see what intelligence I could pick up there; when I found a foreign officer of his staff—I forget his name—who had just arrived, and had sent off the General’s carriage. His information was that General Barnes was very badly wounded—that Captain [illegible] Erskine of his staff had lost an arm—that Major Hamilton* was wounded but not severely, and that he thought everything was going as badly as possible.

“With this intelligence I returned to Mrs. Creevey and my daughters between 8 and 9, but I did not mention a word of what I had heard, there being no use in my so doing. About ten o’clock, however, or between that and 11, Hamilton entered the room, and then the ladies and myself heard from him that Genl. Barnes had been shot through the body by a musquet ball about 5 o’clock—that his horse having just previously been killed under him, the general was on foot at the time—that Hamilton and the orderly sergeant had put him immediately upon Hamilton’s horse, and that in this manner, one on each side, they had walked these 12 miles to Bruxelles, tho’ Hamilton had been wounded both in the head and in one foot. Observe—the road had been so choaked by carts and carriages being overturned when the German regiment† ran away, that no carriage could pass that way for some time.

“Well—Hamilton had put his general to bed, and was then come to give us the opinion, both of the general and himself, that the battle was lost, and that we had no time to lose in getting away. Hamilton said he would immediately procure horses, carriages or anything else for taking us from Bruxelles. After a very short consultation, however, with Mrs. Creevey, under all the circumstances of her ill health and helplessness, and the confusion of flying from an army in the night, we determined to remain, and Hamilton returned to his general.

“The young ladies lay down upon their beds without undressing. I got into my own, and slept

* Mr. Creevey’s son-in-law. † The Cumberland Hussars.

1814-15.]NEWS OF VICTORY.235
soundly till 4 o’clock, when, upon waking, I went instantly to the front windows to see what was passing in the Rue Namur. I had the satisfaction of seeing baggage, soldiers, &c., still moving up the street, and towards the field of battle, which I could not but consider as very favorable. Having dressed and loitered about till near six, I then went to the Marquis Juarenais’s, in pursuit of news; and, upon the great court gate being opened to me, the first person I saw was Madame de Juarenais, walking about in deshabillé amidst a great bivouack of horses. She told me immediately that the French were defeated and had fled in great confusion. I expressed so much surprise at this, that she said I should learn it from Monr. Juarenais himself; so she took me up to his bed, where he was fast asleep. When he woke and saw me by his bedside in doubt about the truth of the good news, he almost began to doubt himself; but then he recollected, and it was all quite right.
General Sir Charles Alten, who commanded the Hanoverians, had been brought in to Juarenais’s late at night, very badly wounded; but had left particular orders with his staff to bring or send the earliest accounts of the result. Accordingly, one of his officers who had been on the field about 8 o’clock, when the French had given way, and who had gone on with the Duke in the pursuit as far as Nivelles,* had brought all this intelligence to Alten at Juarenais’s about 3 o clock.

“I went in the first place from Juarenais’s to General Barnes’s; where, having entered his bedroom, I found him lying in bed, his wound just dressed, and Hamilton by his side; and when I told him the battle was won (which he did not know before), and how I knew it, he said:—‘There, Hamilton, did not I say it was either so or a drawn battle, as the French ought to have been here before now if they had won. I have just sent old [illegible] (one of his staff) up to headquarters for news.’

“I then returned directly home, and of course we were all not a little delighted at our escape.

“About eleven o’clock, upon going out again, I

* Wellington did not follow as far as Nivelles, but handed over the pursuit to Blücher at La Belle Alliance.

heard a report that the
Duke was in Bruxelles; and I went from curiosity to see whether there was any appearance of him or any of his staff at his residence in the Park. As I approached, I saw people collected in the street about the house; and when I got amongst them, the first thing I saw was the Duke upstairs alone at his window. Upon his recognising me, he immediately beckoned to me with his finger to come up.* “I met Lord Arthur Hill in the ante-room below, who, after shaking hands and congratulation, told me I could not go up to the Duke, as he was then occupied in writing his dispatch; but as I had been invited, I of course proceeded. The first thing I did, of course, was to put out my hand and congratulate him [the Duke] upon his victory. He made a variety of observations in his short, natural, blunt way, but with the greatest gravity all the time, and without the least approach to anything like triumph or joy.—‘It has been a damned serious business,’ he said. ‘Blucher and I have lost 30,000 men. It has been a damned nice thing—the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life. Blucher lost 14,000 on Friday night,† and got so damnably licked I could not find him on Saturday morning; so I was obliged to fall back to keep up [regain?] my communications with him.’‡—Then, as he walked about, he praised greatly

* It may seem improbable that the Duke should have made himself so accessible to a mere civilian on such a momentous morning; but there is ample confirmation of Mr. Creevey’s narrative from the Duke’s own lips. In 1836 he described the circumstance to Lady Salisbury, who noted it in her journal (unpublished) as follows:—

“‘I was called,’ said the Duke, ‘about 3 in the morning by Hume to go and see poor Gordon’ (in the same inn at Waterloo), ‘but he was dead before I got there. Then I came back, had a cup of tea and some toast, wrote my dispatch, and then rode into Brussels. At the door of my own hotel I met Creevey: they had no certain accounts at Brussels, and he called out to me:—“What news?” I said:—“Why I think we’ve done for ’em this time.”’”

The dispatch was begun at Waterloo and finished at Brussels, evidence of which remains in the draft of the original now at Apsley House, which is headed first “Waterloo;” that is struck out and “Bruxelles” substituted.

† At Ligny.

Napoleon had detached the column of Marechal Grouchy, 34,000 men with 96 guns, on the 17th to pursue the Prussians to Namur.

those Guards who kept the farm (meaning Hugomont) against the repeated attacks of the French; and then he praised all our troops, uttering repeated expressions of astonishment at our men’s courage. He repeated so often its being so nice a thing—so nearly run a thing, that I asked him if the French had fought better than he had ever seen them do before.—’No,’ he said, ‘they have always fought the same since I first saw them at Vimeira.’* Then he said:—‘By God! I don’t think it would have done if I had not been there.’†

“When I left the Duke, I went instantly home and wrote to England by the same courier who carried his dispatch. I sent the very conversation I have just related to Bennet.† I think, however, I omitted the Duke’s observation that he did not think the battle would have been won had he not been there, and I remember my reason for omitting this sentence. It did not seem fair to the Duke to state it without full explanation. There was nothing like vanity in the observation in the way he made it. I considered it only as meaning that the battle was so hardly and equally fought that nothing but confidence of our army in himself as their general could have brought them thro’. Now that seven years have elapsed since that battle, and tho’ the Duke has become—very foolishly, in my opinion—a politician, and has done many wrong and foolish things since that time, yet I think of his conversation and whole conduct on the 19th—the day after the battle—exactly the same as I did then: namely—that nothing could do a conqueror more honor than his gravity and seriousness at the loss of lives he had sustained, his admission of his great danger, and the justice he did his enemy.

“I may add that, before I left him, I asked whether he thought the French would be able to take the field again; and he said he thought certainly not, giving as his reason that every corps of France, but one, had

* In 1808.

Captain Gronow, to whom Creevey gave an account of this interview, remarks: “I do not pretend to say what the Duke meant in his conversation with Mr. Creevey, who was truth itself” [Reminiscences, vol. i. 212].

Hon. H. G. Bennet, M.P., 2nd son of the 4th Earl of Tankerville.

been in the battle, and that the whole army had gone off in such perfect rout and confusion he thought it quite impossible for them to give battle again before the Allies reached Paris.

“On Tuesday the 20th, the day after this conversation with the Duke, Barnes and Hamilton would make me ride over to see the field of battle, which I would willingly have declined, understanding all the French dead were still on the field—unburied, and having no one to instruct me in detail as to what had passed—I mean as to the relative positions of the armies, &c. However, I was mounted, and as I was riding along with Hamilton’s groom behind me about a mile and a half on the Brussells side of the village of Waterloo, who should overtake me but the Duke of Wellington in his curricle, in his plain cloaths and Harvey by his side in his regimentals. So we went on together, and he said as he was to stop at Waterloo to see Frederick Ponsonby and de Lancey, Harvey should go with me and shew me the field of battle, and all about it. When we got to Waterloo village, we found others of his staff there, and it ended in Lord Arthur Hill being my guide over every part of the ground.

“My great surprise was at not being more horrified at the sight of such a mass of dead bodies. On the left of the road going from Waterloo to Mont St. Jean, and just close up to within a yard or two of a small ragged hedge which was our own line, the French lay as if they had been mowed down in a row without any interval.* It was a distressing sight, no doubt, to see every now and then a man alive amongst them, and calling out to Lord Arthur to give them something to drink. It so happened Lord Arthur had some weak brandy and water in his holster, and he dismounted to give some to the wounded soldiers. It was a curious thing to see on each occasion the moderation with which the soldier drank, and his marked good manners. They all ended by saying to Lord Arthur:—‘Mon général, vous êtes bien honnête.’ One case in particular I

* Where Picton’s 5th Division repulsed d’Erlon’s corps in the morning. The ragged hedge has now disappeared.

remember, on the other side of the road near the farm at Hugomont, a remarkably fine-looking man reared himself up from amongst the surrounding dead. His aiguilette streaming down his arm, Lord Arthur asked him if he was an officer, to which he replied no, but a sergeant of the Imperial Guard. Lord Arthur, having given him some drink, said he would look about for some conveyance to carry him off (his thigh being broken), and apologised for its not being sooner done, on account of the numbers of our own men we had to take care of. The Frenchman said in the best manner possible:—‘O mon général, vous êtes bien honnête: après les Allies.’

“I rode home with Hume the physician at head quarters, who said there were 14,000 dead on the eld; and upon my expressing regret at the wounded people being still out, he replied:—‘The two nights they have been out is all in their favor, provided they are now got into hospitals. They will have a better chance of escaping fever this hot weather than our own people who have been carried into hospitals the first.’”