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date: 09 June 2023

Duke of Wellington 1769–1852
British soldier and statesman 

  1. As Lord Chesterfield said of the generals of his day, ‘I only hope that when the enemy reads the list of their names, he trembles as I do.’
    usually quoted as, ‘I don't know what effect these men will have upon the enemy, but, by God, they frighten me’
    letter, 29 August 1810, in Supplementary Despatches… (1860) vol. 6
  2. Up Guards and at them!
    letter from an officer in the Guards, 22 June 1815, in The Battle of Waterloo by a Near Observer [J. Booth] (1815); later denied by Wellington
  3. Hard pounding this, gentlemen; let's see who will pound longest.
    at the Battle of Waterloo, 1815
    Sir Walter Scott Paul's Letters (1816) Letter 8
  4. Next to a battle lost, the greatest misery is a battle gained.
    in Diary of Frances, Lady Shelley 1787–1817 (ed. R. Edgcumbe, 1912) vol. 1
  5. Publish and be damned.
    replying to a blackmail threat prior to the publication of Harriette Wilson's Memoirs (1825)
    attributed; Elizabeth Longford Wellington: The Years of the Sword (1969) ch. 10
  6. I used to say of him that his presence on the field made the difference of forty thousand men.
    Philip Henry Stanhope Notes of Conversations with the Duke of Wellington (1888) 2 November 1831
  7. Ours is composed of the scum of the earth—the mere scum of the earth.
    of the army
    Philip Henry Stanhope Notes of Conversations with the Duke of Wellington (1888) 4 November 1831
  8. All the business of war, and indeed all the business of life, is to endeavour to find out what you don't know by what you do; that's what I called ‘guessing what was at the other side of the hill’.
    in The Croker Papers (1885) vol. 3 ch. 28
  9. The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton.
    oral tradition, but probably apocryphal; the earliest reference is a remark said to have been made when revisiting Eton; see Orwell
  10. Because a man is born in a stable, that does not make him a horse.
    rejecting the view that his Irish birthplace determined his nationality
  11. If you believe that, you'll believe anything.
    to a gentleman who had accosted him in the street saying, ‘Mr Jones, I believe?’; George Jones RA (1786–1869), painter of military subjects, bore a striking resemblance to Wellington
    Elizabeth Longford Pillar of State (1972) ch. 10