Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

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Nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won.

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (1 May 1769 – 14 September 1852) was an Anglo-Irish soldier and politician. He rose to prominence during the Peninsula War and became a national hero in Britain after the Napoleonic Wars, during which he led the victorious Anglo-Allied forces at the Battle of Waterloo. He would later be elected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on two separate occasions.

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It has been a damned nice thing — the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life.
There is no mistake; there has been no mistake; and there shall be no mistake.
About the quote: This shows that he see's his promotion as an afterthought, and not that important
Simple: Napoleon has ruined my plans, by god, he has arrived much quicker then I thought possible


  • My heart is broken by the terrible loss I have sustained in my old friends and companions and my poor soldiers. Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won.
    • Letter from the field of Waterloo (June 1815), as quoted in Decisive Battles of the World (1899) by Edward Shepherd Creasy
Simple: I am very sad from the losses I have taken in my old friends and soldiers. Believe me, only a battle lost can be close to as sad as a battle won.
  • It has been a damned serious business... 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. ... By God! I don't think it would have been done if I had not been there.
    • Remark to Thomas Creevey (18 June 1815), using the word nice in its original sense of "uncertain", about the Battle of Waterloo, as quoted in Creevey Papers (1903), by Thomas Creevey, Ch. X, p. 236. This has also been misquoted as "A damn close-run thing."
Simple: It has been a very serious day...Blucher (the allied Prussian general) and I have lost 30,000 men. It has been a very uncertain thing - the closest battle you ever saw in your life. By god! I don't think we would have won if I had not been there.


  • Publish and be damned.
    • His response in 1824 to John Joseph Stockdale who threatened to publish anecdotes of Wellington and his mistress Harriette Wilson, as quoted in Wellington — The Years of the Sword (1969) by Elizabeth Longford. This has commonly been recounted as a response made to Wilson herself, in response to a threat to publish her memoirs and his letters. This account of events seems to have started with Confessions of Julia Johnstone In Contradiction to the Fables of Harriette Wilson (1825), where she makes such an accusation, and states that his reply had been "write and be damned".
Simple: If you tell the public, you will be damned.


  • Who? Who?
    • Repeatedly asked in a loud voice in February 1852, during the introduction of the new cabinet of Prime Minister Edward Smith-Stanley, composed largely of political unknowns not recognized by the deaf and octogenarian Duke. The cabinet became known as the Who? Who? Ministry. As quoted in The Speeches of the Duke of Wellington in Parliament (1854) edited by John Gurwood and William Hazlitt, p. 272

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