LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The Creevey Papers
Ch X: 1814-15

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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The peace having reopened the Continent to English travellers, Mr. Creevey took his wife, who was in failing health, in the autumn of 1814, to spend the winter at Brussels; than which, as affairs turned out, he could scarcely have chosen a less tranquil resting-place for an invalid.

Lady Holland to Mrs. Creevey [at Brussels].
“Holland House, 23rd Sept., 1814.

“. . . We have all assured Mr. Jeffrey* that you and Mr. Creevey will be glad to see him, so do not be surprised at receiving a visit from that very dear little man, who has the best heart and temper, although the authors of the day consider him as their greatest scourge. . . . You will thank us much for his acquaintance, as he is full of wit, anecdote and lively sallies. . . . The strange intrigue about the Dss. of Cumberland’s not being received is likely to become publick.† From the letters I have seen, our old Queen is likely to come off second best, as her actions are directly in contradiction to her professions; but all these Court

* Francis Jeffrey, the distinguished lawyer and judge, and editor of the Edinburgh Review.

† The Duke of Cumberland did not marry till August, 1815. His wife was Princess Frederica, daughter of the Duke of Mecklenberg-Strelitz, and widow, 1st, of Prince Frederick of Prussia, and 2nd, of Prince Frederick William of Salmo-Braunfels.

squabbles are trumpery and uninteresting in the greatest degree. I hear nothing of the meeting of Parliament, and conclude it will stand over Xmas. We hear reports of disunion among the luminaries who govern us, especially in those at Paris as to the subject of France, both as to its limits and its ministry; but it is so much their interest to agree, that it will not transpire beyond a little grumbling. . . .”

Lord Holland to Mr. Creevey.
“Holland House, 17th Oct., 1814.

“The peace, as it is with some stretch of courtesy called, satisfies no one class of people. Those who hate France think enough has not been done to reduce her power of mischief, and those who feel some little sympathy with her from a recollection of the original cause in which she engaged, and to which late events have in some degree brought her back, lament her humiliation, and resent yet more the triumph of her enemies. When a male child is born, every woman in the house looks an inch higher; and when a legitimate King is restored, every sprig of Royalty in Europe becomes more insolent and insufferable. . . . I have, I own, a little tendresse for the Dutch King whom you laugh at. It does not seem that the Flemish have any. . . .

Henry Brougham, M.P., to Mr. Creevey.
“Temple, Nov. 24, 1814.
“Dear Lord Creevey,

“I beg to begin by informing you that Lord Binning, the Canningite, is extremely angry to find persons who are not lords getting the title in France just as if they were. To learn that this delusion extends to Brussels must drive him mad. Next, let me notify to you the destruction or doing of Canning and Co.—not his character, for no man who can make a flashy speech ever lost that, except, perhaps, by conviction for a certain kind of offence—but his being
sent abroad, and on the score of his child’s health;* so that
Mouldy† and Co. may be gasping, and he can’t possibly come to their aid without either killing or curing his child. He can’t do the one, and he won’t do the other. I am told the Moscovites are ashamed of their member, and the result will be their chusing Husky.‡ All this I tell you because you are a good hater. You know I care not two farthings one way or t’other, and have far more liking—I should rather say far less dislike—towards C. than to many of our own friends—the little Whigs who ruin the party.

“This brings me to add, that the Ministry being dished over and over again has no effect in turning them out, because our friends have lost the confidence of the people—a plant of slow growth and almost impossible to make sprout again after it has been plucked up and frostbitten—for example, by the Grenville winter. . . . Meanwhile, Holland House being, by the blessing of God, shut up, some chance of favorable change is afforded. I forgot another event of much account in truly Whig eyes—a young Cavendish§ is, or is to be soon, added to the H. of C. You may expect news, therefore. Perhaps you’ll say the Govt. will be overthrown. Possibly: but I expect that, at the least, the interesting young person will divide once in the course of the Frost, if it lasts, and that he will range under the illustrious heads of the House of Cavendish. . . . As for the big man of all, Prinnie, he has been ill in the bladder, on which Sam [Whitbread] said—‘God make him worse!’ but this prayer was rejected. Young P.‖ is as ill off as ever

* Canning, who had been out of office since his duel with Castlereagh in 1809, was sent as ambassador to Lisbon in 1814.

† The Right Hon. Nicholas Vansittart, Chancellor of the Exchequer, created Lord Bexley in 1823.

‡ The Right Hon. William Huskisson [1770-1830] was Secretary to the Treasury in the last administration of Pitt and in the Duke of Portland’s, but he resigned office with Canning in 1809. In 1814 he resumed office as First Commissioner of Woods, &c., though his views on free trade were not in harmony with those of the Tory Cabinet. He was not returned for Liverpool till 1823.

§ Hon. Charles Cavendish, created Baron Chesham in 1858: died in 1863.

Princess Charlotte of Wales.

—no money, sale of trinkets to pay pensions, &c., an old lady sleeping in the room, &c., &c. The Party are no longer as averse to the subject as
Lauderdale would wish and Ly. Holland. . . . I mentioned above my Paris trip having been most agreeable. I say, after seeing all the rest of Europe from Stockholm to Naples, nothing is to be named in the same year with Paris for delights of every kind and sort. . . . It is the place to go to and live at: be sure of that.”

“Temple, 15 Dec, 1814.

“I delayed writing last Friday in hopes of having better news to give you of Sefton, who had been dangerously ill of an inflammn. of the bladder. . . . To-day came a letter from himself, which is a picture of the man, to be sure, but gives rise, nevertheless, to much alarm. Hat Vaughan had written to make him ask Stanistreet (his ally) about the ‘Fortunate Youth’ hoax, on which the said Hat had a bet. Sefton begins thus—‘As I have just had my will witnessed by 3 physicians, I thought I might not have another opportunity of asking Stanistreet your question;’ and then he goes on very coolly to give the details of the matter. He concludes by saying he had had a relapse, and been in great jeopardy, and that he had lost 140 ounces of blood in five days. This was in addition to 40 the first attack, besides every sort of discipline—calomel, hot baths, antimony, &c., &c. . . . After such evacuation by bleeding, I know the cursed effects upon the system, and want him to have the best advice. . . . My own complaints came, I believe, wholly from the infernal bleeding I had in that country of broken bones and traders and voices—Northumberland; and tho’ I bled about a bucket full, it was nothing to this late performance of the Earl.

“I put all private feeling out of the question (tho’ I don’t know why one should, considering the d——d country we have to deal with), and I say that no loss I know would annoy me more at present than his. If he was invaluable before, now that everything like discipline is at an end he is 1000 times more so. You cannot easily conceive . . . how he rallied, animated, stirred, supported—in short, did all that a man could
do who absurdly chose to be silent when he might have done great things in speaking. He was once or twice even on the point of doing this also, and I know must have succeeded. . . . I dined yesterday at
Coutts’s. The last time I had that pleasure (Erskine being there) a difficulty arose about thirteen persons at table; to prevent which, E. being there likewise yesterday, twenty guests were provided; among them Lauderdale and the Marchioness of L.* (the Countess of L. being in the Ionian Islands with all his family), Warrender† and his wife. I learnt from W. (and L. seemed to agree), that Prinnie is in a bad way. They have positively ordered him to give up his stays, as the wearing them any longer would be too great a sacrifice to ornament—in other words, would kill him. . . .

“The D. of York dined t’other day at Holland House, and was very gracious. Whether any attempt at getting £200,000 to pay his debts will succeed, is another matter. . . . A breach between Prinnie and him seems unavoidable, sooner or later, tho’ the D.’s discretion will make it more difficult for P. to bring him to a quarrel than most people.

“As for Mrs. P., I never for a moment have doubted that a divorce is as impossible as ever. They may buy her; but even that will take time, for we were prepared for such a purpose 3 years ago, and steps were taken to create delays, which must be effectual. However, I don’t expect to see the Ministers do such an act of folly, not to mention the situation of the Chancellor, and Canning, and the interests of Hertford House.

“As the session approaches, it is natural to feel anxious for your return. It will be a session of detached and unexpected affairs, and full of sport and mischief, after a dull commencement. . . . Don’t believe those who say nobody will come up. Everybody will. Curiosity and idleness will also make everybody attend from 4 to 7 daily,‡ and when have

* The allusion is obscure, as there was no Marchioness of Lauderdale.

Sir John Warrender, 5th baronet of Lochend, and his wife, Lady Julian, daughter of the 8th Earl of Lauderdale.

‡ In those days the sittings of the House of Commons began at 4 p.m.

they done more? . . . Your coming is indispensable. I could give so many reasons, that I shall give none. You must be over before the 27th Jany.—that is quite certain. . . . I shall only say everything will depend on a little exertion soon after the meeting. When I tell you that
Bennet almost gave up attendance, because Mrs. B. would not allow him to remain later than 6 any night, you will conclude that there are two fools in the world; and, strange to tell, one is a brother of O[ssulston]—the other a Russell.* She is really too bad. I used to think her a model, till marriage brought her out: now she exceeds all belief. . . .”

“Southill, 28 Dec, 1814.

“. . . C. Stuart† will do whatever he can to make himself useful to you. . . . He is a plain man, of some prejudices, caring little for politics and of very good practical sense. You will find none of his prejudices (which, after all, are little or nothing) at all of an aristocratic or disagreeable kind. He has no very violent passions or acute feelings about him, and likes to go quietly on and enjoy himself in his way. He has read a great deal and seen much more, and done, for his standing, more business than any diplomatic man I ever heard of. By the way—as for diplomacy, or rather its foppery, he has none of the thing about him; and if you ever think him close or buttoned up, I assure you he had it all his life just as much. He has no nonsense in his composition, and is a strictly honorable man, and one over whom nobody will ever acquire the slightest influence. I am so sick of the daily examples I see of havoc made in the best of men by a want of this last quality, that I begin to respect even the excess of it when I meet it. I thought you might like to be forewarned of your new Minister, and therefore have drawn the above hasty sketch. . . .”

* The Hon. Henry Bennet, 2nd son of the 4th Earl of Tankerville, and an active member of “The Mountain,” married, in 1816, Gertrude Frances, daughter of Lord William Russell.

Sir Charles Stuart, G.C.B., British Minister at Brussels. He was a grandson of the 3rd Earl of Bute, and was created Baron Stuart de Rothesay in 1828.

Hon. H. G. Bennet, M.P., to Mr. Creevey [at Brussels].
“Whitehall, 2 Feby., 1815.

“Our partys at Taylor’s* are very flourishing—the veal tree in full fruit—and I go there every night. All the party (tree as well) send there remembrances to you. Taylor is steady with Prinny for the session, as he has been told that Py. said the other day—‘he loved no man so well.’ Is not this provoking? that so good a man shd. be so duped.”

Henry Brougham to Mr. Creevey.
“Temple, Jan. 17, 1815.

“. . . Liverpool (the town) is all in an uproar (indeed I might say the same of the man of that name) about the property tax. We shall do them to a certainty. Our friends are in much force on the American peace and renewal of their trade, and the Scotchman (Gladstone) at a woful discount, having become odious to all parties. His letters in the newspapers boldly denying the receiving a communication from Jenky† on the property tax (and which he now explains away, I understand, by a quibble) are quite fatal with a ‘generous and open-hearted publick,’ who never understand special pleading, and are very ready to confound it with lying. Accordingly, I expect to see severe handling at the approaching meeting called by a large requisition, at the head of which are ‘Earl of Sefton and W. Roscoe, Esq.’ S. will be good on the backbone, and the pautriot will have much to urge. Our worthy friend, now returned from America, will not be bad—and the Pastor tells me ‘Carey is now in the state of a loaded blunderbuss, and it is hard to say whether he mow down more friends or foes, but probably many of both.’ Erskine is K.T.,‡ and says he passes

* Michael Angelo Taylor’s, a constant rendezvous of the Whig party. Mr. Taylor was an importunate candidate for a peerage.

† The Premier, Lord Liverpool.

‡ Knight of the Thistle.

the happiest hours of his life at the Pavillion, which is like enough, if his w——e knocks him down before his son as she lately did.”

“Temple, Wedy.

“. . . The only remarkable thing I have to tell you is that yesterday arrived a formal annunciation of our blessed Lady, the Pss. of Wales, that early in May she is to appear and make herself manifest in Kensington Palace. I had warned her of her perils at Xmas, and she writes the letter to Jenky, officially, on 11th Jany. This is pretty well for a morning cordial to our illustrious Regent. Ferguson, M. Taylor and I t’other day made a party and went to the Stakes—the Jockey* in high force as also was Mister Chairles Moris. The said Jy. begins to think the [illegible] blown upon by the great ribbon trade in which P. has been dabbling; for he was pleased to speak of ‘ribbons of all sorts—blue and red,’ a kind of disrespect not customary with him.

“I dined with Erskine t’other day in a large party, and he seems much in fear of that subject being broached. I took occasion to congratulate him twice of happy events that had happened since we met, and made each time a short pause, so that he expected the Thistle was coming out; but I added—the peace with America and Tom’s marriage. He was clearly hustled about his new honour. Romilly made a very good joke about it: he called him ‘The Green Man and Still,’ alluding to his silence in the House of Lords.”†

“March 8, 1815.

“. . . I must repeat my intreaties that if you can at all make it convenient to come even for a fortnight this session after Easter, you should do so. Whitbread cannot tell you how much you are wanted, because he is quite satisfied all is right when he is there himself. . . . All our friends are jibbing on the Scotch job, except the Mountain. To hear Whigs speak for a measure that goes directly to augment

* The 11th Duke of Norfolk.

† The ribbon of the Order of the Thistle, just received by Erskine, is green.

1814-15.]THE HUNDRED DAYS.213
the power of the Crown in the very worst direction, viz. great increase of judicial patronage, is a little spleening. . . .
Adam* and Lauderdale talk them over, tho’ they all know that Adam was a principal means of keeping them out of place. This is a subject too irritating, by God, to think of. What think you, too, of Adam keeping his household office about the P., tho’ a puisne judge? Were I in Parlt., I should undoubtedly bring forward a specific and personal question upon it. But why does not Folkestone? I hope to God he will.”

The deliberations of the Congress of Vienna, where Wellington was British Plenipotentiary, were verging upon violent rupture, owing to the anxiety of every Continental Power either to increase its own dominions or to diminish those of its neighbour. The disputants had gravitated into two hostile groups, wherein Russia and Prussia, supporting Murat, King of Naples, in his aggression on the Papal States, were ranged against Great Britain, France, and Austria. Suddenly, at the beginning of March, all these disputes were hushed to silence in the imminence of common peril. Napoleon had escaped from Elba and landed in France. The wondrous Hundred Days had begun.

Hon. H. G. Bennet to Mr. Creevey [at Brussels].
“Upper Brook St., 3rd April, 1815.

“. . . You are at the fountain head of all the continental projects. Here we are certainly for war: the old doctrines of there being no security for peace with Napoleon are again broached, and you hear all repeated, which one had almost forgot, of the nonsense of 1793. Parties are making on these subjects, and they are as you may imagine. Ld. Grenville started furious for

* The Right Hon. William Adam [1751-1839], Attorney-General to the Prince of Wales and Lord Chief Commissioner to the Scottish Jury Court.

war, or at least declaring there was no chance of avoiding it. A correspondence has taken place between him and
Grey, who is anxious for peace, which has considerably softened the Bogey, and now he [Grenville] declares that his opinions are not made up, but that he shall await further information. So much is gained by Grey’s firmness, who is behaving very well. Elliot and the Wynnes and that wise statesman Fremantle* are more hot, and the former holds as a doctrine of salvation that the existence of the French power, with Napoleon at the head, is incompatible with the safety of Europe: so you see what are to be the labours necessary to be accomplished in case the war faction triumphs. I have not as yet heard of there being any more lovers of war. Ld. Spencer, the Carringtons, &c., are for peace, and what is more amusing still, Yarmouth, who preaches peace at the corners of all the streets, and is in open war with Papa and Mama† upon that subject. Prinny, of course, is for war: as for the Cabinet, Liverpool and Ld. Sidmouth are for peace; they say the Chancellor‡ is not violent the other way; but Bathurst, Castlereagh, &c., &c., are red hot, and if our allies will concur and the plans do not demand too much money, war we shall have. Sam is all for Boney, and the Slave Trade decree has done something. We consider here that the Jacobins are masters at Paris, and let them and the free press and the representative government come from that source. Leave them to themselves, and quarrel they will; but war will unite every soul, particularly if upon the cursed motives of the high party. . . . However, all the world of all parties speak of Ney with abhorrence, as his offers to the King—from whom he got everything, double the money he demanded, &c.—were all made with a firm determination to betray him. He said, among other things, that he would bring Napoleon in a cage: to which the King replied—‘Je n’aimerais pas un tel oiseau dans ma chambre!’ Chateaubriand has also declared for Napoleon, and made a speech in

* The Right Hon. Sir Wm. Henry Fremantle, M.P. [1766-1850], a Grenvillite. Joined Lord Liverpool’s Government in 1822.

Lord and Lady Hertford.

Lord Eldon.

1814-15.]BRUSSELS IN 1815.215
his favour in the same style of nonsense and blasphemy for which the Bourbons had named him Minister to Sweden.

“Most brilliant court at the Tuilleries, and the French say ‘L’Empereur est la bonté même.’ They would say the same of the devil; but if I was a Frenchman, I should be all for Napoleon. . . . The Guards have marched this morning to embark at Deptford for Ostend. I consider they will be there in two days. The fellows went off in high spirits, as it is known here that beer, bread, meat and gin are cheap in Flanders. . . .”

From Mr. Creevey’s Journal.

Brussels, Sat., April 22, 1815.—I met this night at Lady Charlotte Greville’s, amongst various other persons, the Duke of Wellington, and he and I had a conversation to which most of those present became parties. He maintained that a Republick was about to be got up in Paris by Carnot, Lucien Buonaparte, &c., &c., &c. I asked if it was with the consent of the Manager Buonaparte, and what the nature of the piece was to be. He said he had no doubt it would be tragedy by Buonaparte, and that they would be at him by stiletto or otherwise in a very few weeks. I, on the contrary, thought the odds were in favor of the old performer against the new ones, but my Lord would have it B. was to be done up out of hand at Paris: so nous verrons. I thought several times he [Wellington] must be drunk; but drunk or sober, he had not the least appearance of being a clever man. I have seen a good deal of him formerly, and always thought the same of his talents in conversation. Our conversation was mightily amicable and good, considering our former various sparring bouts in the House of Commons about Indian politics.”

Hon. H. G. Bennet, M.P., to Mr. Creevey [at Brussels].
“May 31, 1815.

“. . . We, the Mountain, are in hopes the Grenvilles are about to part company. Ld. Buckingham holds
very warlike language abroad and is for peace against the Ministers, so we are not to be fettered or controlled; and this even on
Althorpe’s motion about Prinny’s [illegible] the £100,000 outfit. The Grenvilles swear either to vote against us or not to attend. I mean one of these fine days to fire a shot at them when they are sheering off, and I cannot tell you how joyful I feel at the chance of it. You may depend upon it the Marquess wishes to be a Duke,* and he is looking sharp after Stafford’s patent, with which Ld. G. Leveson’s earldom is soon to come forth;† but I don’t think that the Government are at all pleased at our division. They put off the debate till that of the Lords was over to try the effect of Bogey’s speech;‡ but it had but little, and so far from it lessening Sam’s minority, you see we rose from 72 to 92. The Treasury Bench thought we might divide 80, but none calculated on more. We hope it may tell with the foreigner: it does much here. Grattan, after all, was no great thing—full of wit and fire and folly—more failures than success in his antithesis, and his piety and religious cant was offensive, as, after all, whatever may be its merit in an individual, it is only used in a speech for the worst of purposes. . . .”

Enclosed in this letter was the following list of “the Mountain”:—

Milton.   Wynn, Sir Watkin.
Balem.   Mallem.
Plunket.   Fremantle.
Pelham.   F. Lewis.
Grattan.   Gower, Lord.
Baring.   Calvert.
Sir T. Baring,   Knox.
Wrottesley.   S. Smith.
Carew.   Smith.

* The 2nd Marquess of Stafford was not created Duke of Sutherland till 1833, six months before his death.

Lord Granville Leveson-Gower, youngest brother of the 2nd Marquess of Stafford, was created Viscount Granville 12th August, 1815, and Earl Granville in 1833.

Lord Grenville’s.

1814-15.] THE SHADOW OF WAR. 217
Hon. H. G. Bennet to Mr. Creevey.
“Whitehall, June 13.

“Why, what a fellow you are! have you not received my two last letters that you complain so? Sam complains too, and he sends you his respects, for you never write to him, and he says you ought to do so, for you have nothing to do but to lounge. He has not been well—his old attack, but he looks better, and is so. I hope soon he will get out of town, and we shall have our release from that damned place the H. of C, where we spend our time, health and fortunes. . . . We all congratulate you at the recovery of your senses, as we thought the Great Lord* had bit you, and that he, [illegible] and the Frog† had got you quite over, and that you really believed Boney was to be eat up alive; but from all we hear from Paris he has a great army, and that things are disturbed in La Vendée, &c., &c. Yet I put my confidence in the Jacobins, and if they act; all the youth of France will come out with them, and then let me see the state your Kings will be in. For my part, if I thought they [the Kings] could succeed, I shd. be miserable; it is only their entire failure that keeps me in tolerable humour.

“Our warlike friends are more peaceable, except the Grenvilles: at least Ld. Buckingham is trying hard for office. His own creature, Freemantle, never comes near us: the Stale‡ stays away, too, from the Lords, and uses the old language of clogging the wheels of government. All this, you will perceive, leads to place, and I am prepared for anything—be it the basest of the crew. . . . Grey is in the most confounded ill humour: Ponsonby goes to the play, and when he comes to the House sits on the 2nd bench, and Opposition muster in general from 20 to 30 persons, amongst whom is your humble servant: no other people make a show. Ridley and Monck never miss. Mrs. Cole§ is doing very well: the young one‖ factious and violent—looking at the coming storm with fear; for come it will, and not long first. It is quite impossible but

* Wellington. The King of Holland. Lord Grenville?

§ Mr. Tierney. Hon. James Abercromby.

that our finances must, if
Boney be not overthrown this year, give way, and our dividends cease. . . . The Loan is taken this day, I hear, at 54, so you see to what a state our finances have sunk.”

The agony of apprehension—the scuffle of preparation—which swept over Europe during the terrible Hundred Days, when, regiment by regiment, the French army rallied to the returned Emperor, can never lose their hold upon the reader of history. The dismay among English residents and holiday-makers in Brussels, their precipitate flight, and the scenes of undignified confusion and panic which accompanied it, can never be more vividly or more truthfully depicted than in the pages of Vanity Fair. Still, Thackeray wrote from hearsay. Distant though that day may be from our own, it has lost little of its interest for us of the present. One is grateful to one who, like Mr. Creevey, actually witnessed the mighty drama, and was at the pains to record his experiences. From the moment when, on 5th April, the Duke of Wellington arrived in Brussels from Vienna to take command of the allied forces in Belgium, it was apparent that these must act on the defensive, much as their commander desired to take the initiative. Of the 700,000 troops of which he had written on 24th March to his brother, Sir Henry Wellesley,* as ready to be massed on the French frontier “in about six weeks,” none were yet at hand. The Russians were advancing slowly through Poland; the Austrians had their hands full with Murat in Italy; of the Prussians, only 30,000 were near enough to co-operate with the Duke’s composite array of 24,200, whereof but 4000 were British, mostly recruits. The choice

* Created Lord Cowley in 1828.

of battle-ground, then, lay with
Napoleon, not with the Powers. Everything depended upon how soon he could make ready to strike.

He wasted no time. It was not his custom to squander that priceless element of successful war. Entering Paris on 20th March, he had at his disposal in the first week of June a regular army of 312,400, and an auxiliary force of 222,600—in all, 535,000 men. By that time Wellington’s forces also had been considerably augmented; but how different was their quality from the army he had dispersed in the south of France the year before—the army of which he proudly said in after-years it was “fit to go anywhere, and do anything”! The actual composition of his force in Belgium on 13th June was this:—

British 31,253
King’s German Legion 6,387
Hanoverians 15,935
Dutch-Belgians 29,214
Brunswickers 6,808
Nassau Contingent 2,880
Engineers, Staff Corps, etc. 1,240

Napoleon left Paris on 12th June to join his army on the Belgian frontier. On the 14th his headquarters were at Beaumont, about sixteen miles south of Charleroi, with his five corps d’armée, numbering 126,000 of all arms, well within reach of his personal command.

Thus much to show the position outside Brussels. Mr. Creevey and his correspondents throw some light upon the aspect of affairs within that capital. Doubtless he would have removed his wife from a scene so little suited for an invalid, and have joined the stream
of migrating English before the French crossed the frontier, had not
Mrs. Creevey’s state of health made it the less of two evils to remain where she was.

First come a series of hurried, clandestine notes from Major Hamilton, who had married, or was engaged to, the eldest Miss Ord, and was on General Barnes’s staff.

Major Hamilton to Mr. Creevey.
“Brussels, Thursday, 4 p.m. [about 18th March].
“My dear Mr. Creevey,

If you will not blab, you shall hear all the news I can pick up, bad and good, as it comes. I am sorry to tell you bad news to-day. General Fagal writes from Paris to say that Bonaparte may be in that capital ere many days. His army encreases hourly; and as fast as a regiment is brought up to the neighbourhood of Lyons, it goes over to its old master. Soult is said to have promised not to act against the King, but that his obligations to Bony would not allow him to take part against the latter. Thus saying, he resigned to Louis the office of War Minister, and the man who now holds it said he would only do so so long as the Chamber of Deputies were in favor with the nation. Fagal, take notice, is an alarmist, and I hope our next accounts will not be of so gloomy a nature.

A. H.
“March 20th, 1 o’clock.

Bonaparte is at Fontainebleau with 15,000 men every man of whom he can depend upon, because every man is a volunteer, and they have risked all for his sake. The Royal army is at Melun, consisting of about 28,000 men, National Guards, &c., &c., included—not a man of whom can be relied on. This is the critical moment; for if they allow him to enter Paris without a battle, all is over. I feel that I am not acting imprudently in thus stating facts, which naturally
Mrs. Creevey must be made acquainted with. . . . Wherever we may be ordered to bend our course, I shall always have it in my power to give you such information as you may see necessary to ask for.”

“March 22nd.

“There is no news this morning. All communication with Paris is at an end, and we now look with anxiety for the arrival of Lord Wellington.”

“March 22nd, 11 p.m.

“. . . The unfortunate Louis 18th was at Abbeville yesterday, and has sent to the General commanding at Lille to know if it would be safe for him to go there. Baron Trippe has gone off to Lille to ascertain the answer. . . . 2000 men still remain with Louis.”

“Friday, 4 p.m.

“I am sorry my news still continues bad, indeed worse to-day than ever. ‘The people of Paris seem to think all is lost, and await the entry of Bonaparte as a circumstance not to be prevented. Marshal Macdonald has acted with the utmost loyalty, but all his influence and exertions have been unavailing. His men have told him to “go back to the King, to remain faithful to him if he pleases, but that they would go over to the Emperor.” The troops have refused on every occasion to fire at Bonaparte’s force, or to make any resistance. He has gone to Dijon. The Government has no good information, for the very persons who are sent to gain intelligence go over to the enemy.’

“Matters are not so well with ourselves here as they might be, inasmuch as the Belgians at Mons evince a bad spirit. Dorneburg, who commands that garrison, is a determined and good officer, and has corps of the German Legion near him should circumstances require aid. A letter from Lille speaks favorably of the good spirit prevailing amongst the inhabitants; but alas! if the soldiers do not hold to their allegiance, what can be expected? Pray do not blab; for although all this may have come to your
knowledge through other channels, yet it would not do for me to have the name of a news-giver.

“In haste, much yours,
A. H.
“10 p.m., Saturday.

“The only good news is the spirit which seems to prevail amongst the people, particularly at Marseilles. . . . Everything looks gloomy; I fear that my dispatch of to-morrow will announce Bony to be not many leagues from Paris. The big-wigs are now together, and I shall have more to tell you at 12 o’c.”

“Sunday, 2 p.m.

“Old Fagal seems to have recovered very much from his fright. He now says Bony is still at Lyons—that the best spirit prevails throughout France, and that affairs seem to wear a brighter aspect. 3000 Dutch troops are on their march to reinforce this army.”

“[No date], 5 o’clock.

“The Prince [of Orange] is just now returned, you shall know what news he brings from Tournay.

“Dorneberg is a good officer, and has much judgment and experience. He commands at Mons.

“Halket commands at Courtray; has a fine British brigade and is a gallant soldier.

“Old Alten has the Cavalry at Ypres, with the 52nd and 69th British, and 4 of the Hanoverian battalions: all good stuff. 7000 Royalists from France, first to bleed, are outside the Belgic frontier; and will give us notice, by their running away; but until we begin to run, Mrs. Creevey need not fancy the French are in Bruxelles; and, for her sake, may they never be is the very sincere wish of

“A. H.”

“Headquarters remain here for the present. The Prince [of Orange] brings no news. All is quiet. Lord March was sent to find out where the King was
on the 24th. His Majesty was not at Bruges, and the Earl returned. If
Lord Wellington comes in a day or two or three, how Mrs. Creevey will crow over all the world! For, rest satisfied, if Bony does not push to-morrow (which he cannot do) his game for the present is up, and a stand can be made on the ground we occupy, with the troops hourly expected from Ostend, and with the Patrone!”*

“26th, 10 p.m.

“A Russian general arrived this day at Mons who left Paris on the 24th. Bonaparte was to review his troops on this day. The General saw no troops on the road but one regiment, and it was marching on Paris. A General from the Prussian army (Röder) has been sent here by Kliest to remain at our headquarters. A great deal of talk, much communication, aides-de-camp from the Duc de Berri—from the King—from Victor; in short, all parties seem to have lost their heads, and instead of getting troops together, they talk about it. It is hoped that Dunkirk is not yet in Boney’s possession. If not, it will form a good flanking position in case of Boney not succeeding in his first attack on our line.”

Wellington took up the command of the allied forces in Belgium on 5th April. There is nothing from Creevey’s pen until the crisis of the campaign was upon Europe.

From Mr. Creevey’s Journal.

June 16. Friday morning, ½ past two.—The girls just returned from a ball at the Duke of Richmond’s. A battle has taken place to-day† between Buonaparte and the Prussians: to what extent is not known; the result is known, however, to be in favour of the French. Our troops are all moving from this place at present. Lord Wellington was at the ball to-night as composed as ever.”

* Wellington.

† Writing early in the morning of the 16th, he refers to Napoleon’s passage of the Sambre on the 15th and the capture of Charleroi.

Reminiscences, written in 1822.

A number of incidents contained in Mr. Creevey’s letters and journals of this period were afterwards thrown into a consecutive form by him, together with many not elsewhere recorded.

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.’”

Lord Arthur Hill to Mr. Creevey.
“Mons, 25th June, 1815.
“Dear Creevey,

“The King entered Le Cateau yesterday and was very well received. I was sent off from thence here with letters from the Duke to Talleyrand, who is here, with the news that Nap had abdicated in favor of his son. There is a provisional government formed. I don’t suppose we shall have any more fighting. Hd. quarters advanced to-day however, but I don’t know where to. I shan’t be able to reach them to-night—roads horrible. Cambray was taken last night by storm: the Governor still in the Citadel—can’t last. Inhabitants illuminated and received our troops with joy—Genl. Colvill’s brigade. Let me hear of Harris and other wounded.

Arthur Hill.

“My wounded mare is in the Duke’s stable under care of Percy’s servant. Will you visit her?”