On Tuesday 18 October, the 33rd annual Wellington Lecture took place on Highfield Campus at the University of Southampton. Here they welcomed Beatrice de Graaf, welcome Professor Beatrice de Graaf, one of Europe’s most highly respected experts on the history of terrorism and security who will deliver her lecture: ‘L’Homme de l’Europe’ Revisited: The Duke of Wellington and the Fight against Terror in post-Napoleonic Europe.
Professor Beatrice de Graaf delivered the 33rd Wellington Lecture. Her lecture, illustrated with a mass of satirical cartoons, did not disappoint the audience in providing a fascinating insight into how the ‘terror’ of Napoleon Bonaparte and his allies was curbed in the years after the 1815 peace settlement. Basing her findings on deep archival research in several languages, she revealed the Duke of Wellington as a decisive figure in the new Allied Council in Paris, and someone alert to both the domestic and foreign aspects of European state security. This Allied Council was set up by the Allied victors precisely to control and manage the transformation of revolutionary France into a peaceful and orderly state. Going against the grain of seeing Wellington simply as a deeply conservative soldier, Professor de Graaf contrasted him with the reactionary Prince Metternich of Austria, arguing for Wellington’s reappraisal as a ‘liberal’ in European affairs, a man in fact eager to respect constitutional government. The decade after 1815 is often seen as the start of international summit diplomacy. This colourful lecture uncovered a subject that deserves even more attention from historians, not least because of what it can teach post-Brexit Britain about the advantages of continually engaging with the European continent.
Dr. Zack White, a historian, author, podcaster, battlefield guide, teacher and Chair of the Napoleonic & Revolutionary War Graves Charity also received the Wellington Prize 2022 for his doctoral thesis ‘Pragmatism & Discretion: Discipline in the British Army, 1808-1818’.
‘It’s a privilege to have been awarded the Wellington Prize for the second time in my career, having worked with the Wellington Papers collection on various projects for a decade. The Wellington Collection at the University of Southampton is a hugely valuable resource, and the associated annual Wellington Lecture is a wonderful event. To have been awarded the prize at an event delivered by my good friend and colleague Professor de Graaf made the occasion doubly special.’ – Zack White