Also by Allan Mallinson







The long peace that followed the final victory at Waterloo was in many ways similar to that which has followed the Second World War. The principal powers, exhausted to a greater or lesser degree, looked to their interior economy or their empires; distant wars of decolonialization troubled some of them, while several wrestled with the forces of revolution within. The Ottoman empire, in its early phase of collapse, resembled the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. The Iberian peninsula too, for a decade one of the hottest seats of war on the continent, lapsed into a sad and squalid period of civil war, the implications of which, in Europe and South America, taxed the wisdom of the great figures of British politics. One of those was the Duke of Wellington, then in the process of metamorphosis from first soldier of Europe to prime minister of the world’s foremost power.

Captain and Brevet-Major Matthew Hervey, a professional officer of the 6th Light Dragoons, was recently returned with his regiment from India. Like many a cavalryman in the Cold War a century and a half later, he found himself frustrated with soldiering in such a peace. He therefore sought the sound of the guns.

I am indebted to the usual team at Transworld for their unfailing support, though with much sadness I must record the retirement of Anthony Turner, copy editor, who has worked on all the previous manuscripts with the keenest eye, and to whom I am greatly obliged. My younger daughter has been of unflagging assistance. Colonel Tom Huggan, a former military attache in Lisbon, but for thirty years retired from the Active List (though still as active as might be), has been of true help throughout. I am grateful, too, to the British ambassador in Lisbon, Glynne Evans, and her personal assistant Patricia Fletcher; they have answered several thorny questions and pointed me in the right direction – not least to Major (retired) Nick Hallidie of Elvas. The archives and museum of the Portuguese army have provided me with a great deal of material, as too has our own Foreign and Commonwealth Office library. I owe thanks, as well, to Stephen Hebron of Dove Cottage. Monsignor Patrick Kilgarriff, rector of the Venerable English College, Rome, has wittingly and otherwise continued to be of enormous help. Finally, I should like to record my immense gratitude to Catherine Payling, director of the Keats-Shelley House in Rome, who over the past three years has allowed me unlimited access to the splendid library of that beautiful museum to the Romantics, and has in addition been a tireless and most generous adviser on a range of subjects, not least on the manuscript of Rumours of War.

London Gazette of 24 November 1826

St. James’s, November 21, 1826

THIS day His Majesty proceeded in state from St. James’s-Palace to the House of Peers, where he arrived ten minutes before two o’clock; and, having alighted from the state coach, was received at the portico by the Great Officers of State and others, and proceeded to the robing-room in the customary manner, wearing a cap of estate adorned with jewels: the sword of state being borne by the Earl of Liverpool, K.G.

His Majesty was there robed, and having put on the imperial crown, the procession moved into the House in the usual order.

His Majesty being seated upon the Throne, the Great Officers of State and others standing on the right and left, Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt, Knt. Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, was sent with a message from His Majesty to the House of Commons, commanding their attendance in the House of Peers. The Commons being come thither accordingly, His Majesty was pleased to deliver the following most gracious Speech to both Houses of Parliament:

My Lords, and Gentlemen,

I HAVE called you together at this time for the purpose of communicating to you the measure which I judged necessary to take, in the month of September, for the admission into the ports of the United Kingdom of certain sorts of foreign grain, not then admissible by law.

I have directed a copy of the Order in Council issued on that occasion to be laid before you, and I confidently trust that you will see sufficient reason for giving sanction to the provisions of that Order, and for carrying them into effectual execution.

I have great satisfaction in being able to tell you, that the hopes entertained at the close of the last session of Parliament, respecting the termination of the war in the Burmese territories, have been fulfilled, and that a peace has been concluded in that quarter, highly honourable to the British arms and to the councils of the British Government in India.

I continue to receive from all Foreign Powers assurances of their earnest desire to cultivate the relations of peace and friendly understanding with Me.

I am exerting Myself with unremitting anxiety, either singly or in conjunction with My Allies, as well to arrest the progress of existing hostilities, as to prevent the interruption of peace in different parts of the world . . .



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