Today marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. Napoleon’s defeat by The Duke of Wellington and the Allied Forces finally concluded a nail-biting campaign during which the fate of Europe had hung in the balance, and ushered in nearly a century of relative peace. So now, as celebrations and commemorations abound, our minds have naturally turned to how the news broke two centuries ago…
This wonderful extract from the Morning Post, Thursday 22 June 1815, paints a vivid picture of the response when word of the outcome reached home shores:
The article continues in the same emotive language, declaring: “Britain, therefore may indeed now be truly considered as at the summit of glory. Having saved herself by her own exertions, she has saved Europe by her example and support, and to her generous and noble sacrifices will Europe and the world be indebted for the overthrow and annihilation of the curse and scourge of the human race – upon which great and God-like event we may now venture to congratulate the British public and the whole race of civilised man.”
Wellington’s despatch from the battlefield is described in detail, as is its delivery to the king by the Major Henry Percy, who had raced across the Channel to share the tidings as swiftly as possible. According to the Morning Post, Major Percy “proceeded to Lord Harrowby’s, in Grosvenor-square, where all the Cabinet were assembled, and there delivered the Dispatches and the Eagles with which he was entrusted, amidst the universal and extatic cheering of the populace [sic]”
The British Newspaper Collection have the power to make historical events come alive, relaying a unique contemporary insight into days gone by. Start exploring today, and see what you can discover!