The Duke of Wellington an alcoholic?

Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,809
Australia
As has been pointed out above, drinking amounts that seem excessive to us was common in the early 19th century, and there is no evidence that Wellington was an alcoholic.
 
Jan 2019
215
Finland
I have just been watching a programme about the history of Fontainebleau Palace, Paris. Quite interesting, though I wonder why the English-speaking contributors tended to call it Fontainebleu, which is not the same thing at all. The last major work on the palace was done by Napoleon, whose time ran out in 1815 as explained by a French contributor. As transcribed from subtitles: “He passes the border into Belgium and faces in battle a tenacious, alcoholic English general by the name of Wellington. Napoleon is swept away and would never return to Fontainebleau.”

All right, any of us might struggle to summarize the battle of Waterloo in less than thirty words, but “a tenacious, alcoholic English general”? Admittedly, the Duke of Wellington had a lot of pubs named after him, but he held down some quite responsible positions – like prime minister. Is there any reason to suppose he had a drink problem?
If he did what he did while having a drinking problem then it's just more impressive. But there are other possibilities, like a famous general later in life becomes a politician and away from the fields of battle, frustrated by clerks and civil servants he turns to the bottle.
 

redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,944
Stockport Cheshire UK
If he did what he did while having a drinking problem then it's just more impressive. But there are other possibilities, like a famous general later in life becomes a politician and away from the fields of battle, frustrated by clerks and civil servants he turns to the bottle.
There is no evidence for this either, as far as I'm aware.
 
Dec 2019
35
Adelaide
If he did what he did while having a drinking problem then it's just more impressive. But there are other possibilities, like a famous general later in life becomes a politician and away from the fields of battle, frustrated by clerks and civil servants he turns to the bottle.
Read Christopher Hibbert, "Wellington - A Personal History". Wellington got his alcohol tolerances in Calcutta (as Colonel Wesley of the 33rd Regiment), whose officers' mess parties and drinking bouts were infamous.
 
Jan 2019
215
Finland
There is no evidence for this either, as far as I'm aware.
Well I didn't put it forth as an assertion.

Read Christopher Hibbert, "Wellington - A Personal History". Wellington got his alcohol tolerances in Calcutta (as Colonel Wesley of the 33rd Regiment), whose officers' mess parties and drinking bouts were infamous.
If I recall correctly, if we go sometime back in history then Wallenstein was infamous for not drinking alot, or not at all. And of course, drinking bouts among young officers are to be expected in history. Now that I think of it, I'm reminded of a president of my country who along his entourage was accustomed to heavy drinking and none of that was considered a problem. But any among them who couldn't be tip-top the next day was considered weak or couldn't stop drinking was considered an alcoholic and thus weak.
 
Dec 2019
35
Adelaide
Well I didn't put it forth as an assertion.



If I recall correctly, if we go sometime back in history then Wallenstein was infamous for not drinking alot, or not at all. And of course, drinking bouts among young officers are to be expected in history. Now that I think of it, I'm reminded of a president of my country who along his entourage was accustomed to heavy drinking and none of that was considered a problem. But any among them who couldn't be tip-top the next day was considered weak or couldn't stop drinking was considered an alcoholic and thus weak.
Thank you Taikuri my friend, for that nice little anecdote. As for Wallenstein, maybe that was why it was Gustavus Adolphus who fell off his horse.