Arthur, Duke of Wellington

1828 - 1830, 1834

Arthur, Duke of Wellington

As prime minister, Wellington (1769-1852) lasted nearly three years, with a mixed record. On the plus side, Peel’s Metropolitan Police were just one of the useful reforms he fostered, carrying on the work of the 1822-27 phase of Liverpool’s government. His biggest mistake was to pass Catholic Emancipation less than a year after driving out of his Cabinet Huskisson and the other ministers who supported it – a lack of forward planning he would never have tolerated in his military capacity.

Wellington’s high intelligence, superb administrative capabilities and immense prestige made him potentially a very good prime minister with a long tenure. However, he delegated Commons management to the prickly Peel, so that even before losing power he was losing support in the Commons and the country. Through the death of George IV, he was forced to hold an election before the wounds of Catholic Emancipation were healed, but that added only moderately to the difficulties he was already facing. A truly great man, but barely an average prime minister.

More biographical information can be found in Wellington's Chronology entry

© 2024 Martin Hutchinson