On 9 April, the Times reported that Napoleon had abdicated. In subsequent negotiations, he was exiled to the island of Elba over which he was given sovereignty while his wife Marie Louise was made Duchess of Parma, Placentia and Guastalla. Napoleon was to receive an income of 2 million francs a year, and members of the Bonaparte family were promised pensions to be paid by the French government. He would return ‘with the violets’ i.e. in the Spring, he promised, and the modest flower became a symbol for the deposed Emperor. In this little engraving of a bunch of violets, the silhouettes (here outlined in blue) of Napoleon, Marie Louise and their young son were hidden.
The Regent's domestic troubles continued, the populace siding with his estranged wife, the Princess of Wales. On 2 June the problem of the formal come-out of his daughter and heir, eighteen-year-old Princess Charlotte, was resolved by having the Tsar’s sister, the Grand Duchess of Oldenburgh, present her to the Queen. On his way to her majesty's Drawing-room the Prince was beset by ‘the most dismal yells, groans and hisses’ so that the horses were put to their full speed to carry him through this ‘ungracious scene’.
It was hoped that the princess would make a match of it with the Hereditary Prince of Orange but she refused, to her father’s wrath and the entertainment of the cartoonists of the day. Here he threatens his daughter's ladies while, on the right, the princess makes her escape to seek refuge with her mother. Advice and counsel was sought on all sides and public uproar only averted when she agreed, at five a.m. the following morning, to return to her home at Warwick House, but not before she signed a minute witnessed by the Duke of Sussex and the future Lord Brougham that she was resolved not to marry the Prince of Orange.
The sovereigns left England on 27 June. The next day, in an unprecedented ceremony, the Duke of Wellington appeared in the House of Lords for the first time since being elevated to the peerage in August 1809, where the clerks read his patents as baron and viscount, earl, marquis, and lastly as duke. Peace had formally been proclaimed on 20 June and on 7 July the Prince Regent proceeded to St Paul’s Cathedral for a thanksgiving service. He was much hissed both going and coming. Despite this, he arranged for a Grand Jubilee to be held on 1 August to mark both the peace and the centenary of the accession of King George I, founder of the Hanoverian dynasty in England. The elaborate festivities included two balloon ascents, a ‘Naumachia’ or mini naval combat on the Serpentine between an English and a French Fleet, and grand fireworks from a castle or fortress especially erected in Green Park for the purpose. After the fireworks there followed ‘the Grand Metamorphosis of the Fortress into the Temple of Concord’.
7 July also saw the anonymous publication of a new novel, Waverley or ‘Tis Sixty Years Since. Set during the Jacobite uprising of 1745, it proved an instant success, the first edition of one thousand copies being followed in the same year by two further editions, together comprising four thousand copies. Waverley is frequently regarded as being the first historical novel in the western tradition. It was soon rumoured to be by the Scottish poet Walter Scott, but he insisted on preserving the anonymity, publishing succeeding novels as ‘by the Author of Waverley”. Eventually, although not a series or sequels, these became known as the Waverley novels.
Another publication later that year was The Life of Napoleon, a Hudibrastic Poem by Doctor Syntax that demonised the fallen emperor in mock celebratory verses. In this illustration, a parody of Fuseli’s Nightmare, the young Napoleon dreams of future glory.
Harry, to his great delight, was sent home with despatches, making the crossing from the Chesapeake to Spithead in only twenty-one days. It was seven years since he had set foot in England, but uppermost in his mind was the reunion with his wife, Juana, from whom he had parted the previous May.
On 24 December the Treaty of Ghent was signed, formally ending the war between the United Kingdom and the United States. However it took some time for the news to reach the combatting armies. On 8 January 1815, the British attacked New Orleans and were defeated, but some hostilities continued until mid-February when both sides had ratified the Treaty.
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