From TemeraireWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Character Profile[edit]

Name: Arthur Wellesley, later Duke of Wellington
Date of Birth: 1 May 1769
Service: Army
Rank: General
Nationality: British


General Wellesley was one of the British generals in command of the army when Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Britain in 1807, along with Generals Dalrymple and Burrard. He was described as "a lean sharp-faced man with a decided aquiline nose, and the Order of Bath." He was placed in sole command after the British government, forced to flee to Scotland, was offered terms of surrender by Murat and Talleyrand. His management of the Battle of Shoeburyness in March 1808 led to the expulsion of Napoleon's forces from Britain.

Wellesley's command style was characterized by his extreme practicality and bluntness. For example, he willingly accepted Jane Roland's command of the Aerial Corps, despite the fact that she was a woman, because she was quite obviously the only person competent to do the job. When the other generals objected to having dragons carrying army troops because the troops would not like it, Wellesley proposed to "shoot the first insubordinate bastard to refuse." (Although when the event arose, he actually employed subtler means.)

Wellesley considered Laurence a "sentimentalist", a "damned romantic" and probably a bit of a fool.

Wellesley at first appeared to consider Temeraire, now leading a regiment of unharnessed dragons from the Pen Y Fan Breeding Grounds, as a sort of distraction for intimidating Wellesley's opponents into silence. Over time, he came to appreciate that dragons are intelligent and to expect of them the same degree of discipline that he expected of his human officers. He was unimpressed by Iskierka's private prize raids, which he described as "brawling". As far as Wellesley was concerned, if she wouldn't follow orders, she was useless. Nor would he let Temeraire off the hook for Iskierka's misbehaviour, pointing out that since Temeraire had taken the position of commanding officer, it "damned well" was his fault if she ran off.

After some negotiation, facilitated by Laurence, Wellesley gave his word to Temeraire that after the war, a more widespread system of coverts would be built and the dragons who had fought would be paid. However, he warned Temeraire that if Temeraire could not maintain discpline among the dragons he led, Wellesley would treat his own promises as cavalierly as Temeraire treated his orders.

Wellesley's practicality led him to engage in practices that most military personnel of the time would have considered dishonourable and which might have led to a government inquiry if the government were inclined to inquire. These included the sort of guerrilla-like, take-no-prisoners warfare that he ordered Laurence and Temeraire to engage in. When, a few days before the Battle of Shoeburyness, Laurence repented of accepting these orders and submitted a formal, written refusal to Wellesley, Wellesley assumed that news of the battle plans had been leaked to Laurence and that Laurence was trying to place full responsibility on Wellesley for the slaughter of French irregulars. The assumption is revealing - it's probably what Wellesley himself would have done in Laurence's place.

After the victory at Shoeburyness, Wellesley was made Duke of Wellington. He supported the exile of Laurence and Temeraire to Australia because he considered Temeraire's "Whiggish rabblerousing" to be politically dangerous. When Temeraire protested that because dragons are intelligent, they have a right to be political, Wellesley replied, "I can and will deny you or any man or beast the right to tear apart the foundations of the state... Rights be damned; we will never hear an end of anyone crying for their rights."

From this it is obvious that Wellesley's political philosophy was diametrically opposed to Temeraire's.