Wellington, Arthur Wellesley (17691852)

Wellington, Arthur Wellesley (or Wesley), Duke of, born probably in Dublin, third son of the Earl of Mornington, an Irish peer, educated first at Chelsea, then at Eton, and then at a military school at Angers, in France; entered the army in 1787 as an ensign in the 73rd, and stepped gradually upwards in connection with different regiments, till in 1793 he became lieutenant-colonel of the 33rd; sat for a time in the Irish Parliament as a member for Trim, and went in 1794 to the Netherlands, and served in a campaign there which had disastrous issues such as disgusted him with military life, and was about to leave the army when he was sent to India, where he distinguished himself in the storming of Seringapatam, and in the command of the war against the Mahrattas, which he brought to a successful issue in 1803, returning home in 1805; next year he entered the Imperial Parliament, and in 1807 was appointed Chief Secretary for Ireland; in 1808 he left for Portugal, where he was successful against the French in several engagements, and in 1809 was appointed commander-in-chief of the Peninsular army; in this capacity his generalship became conspicuous in a succession of victories, in which he drove the French first out of Portugal and then out of Spain, defeating them finally at Toulouse on the 12th April 1814, and so ending the Peninsular War; on his return home he was loaded with honours, and had voted to him from the public treasury a grant of £400,000; on the return of Napoleon from Elba he was appointed general of the allies against him in the Netherlands and on 18th June 1815 defeated him in the ever-memorable battle of Waterloo; this was the crowning feat in Wellington's military life, and the nation showed its gratitude to him for his services by presenting him with the estate of Strathfieldsaye, in Hampshire, worth £263,000, the price paid for it to Lord Rivers, the proprietor; in 1827 he was appointed commander-in-chief of the army, and in 1828 was Prime Minister of the State; as a statesman he was opposed to Parliamentary reform, but he voted for the emancipation of the Catholics and the abolition of the Corn Laws; he died in Walmer Castle on 1st September 1852, aged 84, and was buried beside Nelson in a crypt of St. Paul's (17691852).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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