The Road to Waterloo Week Six – “The Belgians Undergo the Most Lively Sensations.”

By Monday April 3rd the book publishers had jumped on the Napoleonic bandwagon and advertisements began appearing in the newspapers –
“Letter to a noble lord on the present situation of France and Europe accompanied by official and original documents. John Murray Albemarle-street.”
“The CRISIS, addressed to the people of ENGLAND on the Emperor NAPOLEON’S returned to Power. By a barrister of the Middle Temple. James Ridgway Piccadilly (Price 2s)”
“The STATEMENT of BONAPARTE’S plot made to Earl BATHURST and the FRENCH AMBASSADOR in October and November last by WILLIAM PLAYFAIR Esq. is now ready, price 1s 6d. It contains also the Cypher in which Bonaparte corresponded, with the Key, his Proclamation in Cypher and Decyphered etc. At 41 Pall-mall.”

Fashion 1815
For those hoping to ignore the rumbling threat of war, an intriguing fashion advert describes garments that can be bought ready-made and then altered to fit the customer:
“Elegant, Nouvelle and Fashionable Millinery, Dresses, Pellisses, Mantles etc etc – Thomas and Co. agreeable to their usual plan, have (under the superintendence of Mrs. Thomas) completed the greatest choice of articles in the above branches, uniting in a pleasing style, the French with the English taste, and which are composed of prime and nouvelle materials. The above are particularly adapted for evening or full dress, the dinner party or the promenade and from being made in all sizes enables them to execute any commissions with all possible speed and thereby doing away (in a very material degree) the necessity of giving orders. 193 Fleet- street, west end corner of Chancery-lane.” The charming little image above is from a lady’s memorandum book for 1815.

The foreign papers, reported on Monday, told that the Belgians were undergoing “the most lively sensations” – as well they might. British ships had been permitted to enter Dieppe peaceably and that appeared to be the official port for communications, Meanwhile, in Paris, Napoleon seemed largely concerned with returning affairs as quickly as possible to the position before he left, including changing back the names of Paris streets.

“The Duc d’Orleans and his daughter, with their suite, arrived from Amsterdam and put up at Greillon’s (sic) Hotel, Albemarle Street.” It was not clear whether they intended staying for the duration of the emergency, or whether this was just a visit.

“Madame Catalini’s delightful retreat, The Hermitage, at Old Brompton is to be disposed of. In the event of her return from France, her engagements are so numerous and particularly during the summer months, when the Hermitage may really be compared to a paradise, that she has no means of enjoying thcatalanie advantages that its easy access to town will afford some more fortunate purchaser. The interior embellishments and furniture are spoken of in high terms of admiration. Mssrs. Robins are empowered to dispose of it, and report says, at a sacrifice to the fair warbler of many thousand pounds.” Madame Catalini (shown left) was a singer of huge international fame who would appear in Brussels to great acclaim as the crisis developed.

Wellington arrived in Brussels on Tuesday to take command of an Allied army that would total between 800,000-1,200,000 men when mustered and on Saturday 8th April Bonaparte ordered the general mobilisation of France. The situation was escalating.
The Marriages column of the Morning Post on Monday recorded one of the marriages of military men now gathering in Belgium.
“A few days since, by special licence, at Bruxelles Lieut. Colonel George H. Berkeley to Miss Sutton eldest daughter of Lady Sutton of Mosely House in the county of Surrey. His Grace the Duke of Richmond gave away the bride.”


Filed under Books, Entertainment, Fashions, Love and Marriage, Napoleon, Wellington

9 responses to “The Road to Waterloo Week Six – “The Belgians Undergo the Most Lively Sensations.”

  1. helenajust

    This series is really making it clear how slowly events unfolded, as well as how long it took for news (and people) to travel. Thank you again!

  2. Nora Quinlan

    I was in London last week and say a great, very visual, exhibit on Napoleon and the media at the British Museum. Read every caption and learned a lot!

    • Nora, I hope you bought the catalogue, a snip at 20 quid, with all the exhibits and more. Fantastic stuff and a great exhibition.
      Louise, this is also a fantastic blog with so much detailed info in it. A mine of information for Napoleonic War nuts. Thanks on behalf on self and fellow nuts. Casey

      • I’m going to the exhibition next month &, on the advice of fellow author Joanna Maitland, bought the catalogue first – apparently the captions are tiny and this way I hope to get much more out of it. Glad you are enjoying the blog

  3. Have tweeted re your telegraph blog. Really interesting. Never seen the illustrations before, so thanks for those.

  4. Jo Beverley

    Because I’m a romance writer, I wondered what happened to the happy couple. “Lt.-Col. Sir George H. Berkeley, K.C.B., 35th Foot, w.
    Eldest son of Adml. Sir George Berkeley. Served in the Pa. Was for a
    short time Surveyor-Gen, of the Ordnance, and M.P. for Devonport.
    D. a maj.-gen. and col. of the 35th Foot, 25th Sept., 1857.”

    Haven’t found out about his wife, yet.

    From the Waterloo Roll Call, here. Interesting stuff.

  5. Elizabeth Bailey

    That last bit about the wedding signals a book in itself! This is so fascinating.

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