It happened today - June 21, 2016
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NQ55Qp78mo On this date in history, June 21, the Duke of Wellington inflicted a signal defeat on Napoleon and brought the war to a successful conclusion. Eh? What’s that you say? Didn’t we already have Waterloo and wasn’t it on June 18 of 1815? True. But I’m talking about Vitoria, on June 21 1813, which drove the French out of Spain and ended the Peninsular War.
I actually like Wellington for all sorts of reasons. He was a conservatives’ conservative opposed to the Reform Bill. And he had a gift for blunt bon mots like “I have seen their backs before” when some French officers turned their backs on him at a ball as well as the possibly apocryphal comment on new troops arriving in Spain that “I don't know what effect these men will have on the enemy, but by God, they terrify me.”
He was also part of the classic stiff-upper-lip exchange with Lord Uxbridge when the latter was struck by a cannonball at Waterloo: “By God, sir, I've lost my leg!” “By God, sir, so you have!” And when someone greeted him in the street with “Mr. Jones, I believe” he replied “If you believe that you will believe anything.” (I also rather like his fellow commander at Waterloo, the valiant if somewhat impetuous Marshal Blucher, despite the latter’s delusion at one point that he was pregnant with an elephant – I am not making that up.)
But if there’s one thing I really like about Wellington, it’s the way he kept beating Napoleon through determined leadership, military ability and sheer persistence.
Beethoven even composed his Opus 91, “Wellington’s Victory,” in reaction to Vitoria. The least we can do is clap.