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Wellington’s Secret : The future hero of Waterloo dealt with political ambush as comfortably as he dealt with the military kind.
Wellington’s Secret

From Self-Help by Samuel Smiles (1812-1904).

Arthur Wellesley spent the years 1797 to 1804 in India. He went out as a Colonel in the British Army’s 33rd regiment of Foot, and was soon being addressed as General Sir Arthur. On 23rd September 1803, he secured a significant victory over the Maratha Empire at Assaye in the state of Maharashtra, western India.

SHORTLY after the Battle of Assaye, one morning the Prime Minister of the Court of Hyderabad waited upon him [Sir Arthur] for the purpose of privately ascertaining what territory and what advantages had been reserved for his master in the treaty of peace between the Mahratta princes and the Nizam.* To obtain this information the minister offered the general a very large sum — considerably above £100,000.**

Looking at him quietly for a few seconds, Sir Arthur said, “It appears, then, that you are capable of keeping a secret?”

“Yes, certainly,” replied the minister.

“Then so am I,” said the English general, smiling, and bowed the minister out.

* That is, the Maratha Empire and the Nizam-ul-Mulk of Hyderabad, monarch of the Hyderabad State.

* In terms of purchasing power, £100,000 in 1804 would be roughly equivalent to £8 million today. See Measuring Worth.

From Self-Help by Samuel Smiles (1812-1904).

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Picture: Via Wikimedia Commons. View original
Major-General Arthur Wellesley, during his time serving in India, painted by Richard Home (1752-1834).
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