Saturday, 24 August 2013

The Duke of Wellington on the Jews with tails story

The Wellington statue by Francis Leggatt Chantrey, inaugurated in 1844, with the Bank of England in the background.

Wellington's close friend Harriet Arbuthnot recorded in her diary on February 7, 1823:
"The Duke of Wellington spent the evening with us. He is greatly against war ; tho', as far as his pleasure is concerned, I am sure he would like to begin his campaigning again. He said it was such and active & merry life, all in high spirits & always confident of victory.
As proof of the ignorance of the Spaniards & their fitness for any [and] every thing enlightened & liberal, Lord FitzRoy says that the Royalists really believed the Constitutionalists to be Jews & Devils (Synonymous terms with them) & that they have tails. Mina the other day ordered a Royalist to be shot, & the man fell on his knees & said, "Spare my life & I will become a Jew like yourself". "The Duke told me the Spaniards believed the French to be Devils, & once he had a Guerilla come to him, who told him he had had to guard three French officers from one post to another & that, in crossing a bridge, he thought the best thing he could do was to upset them into the river. This he did, carriage & all, "& do you know," he said, "they were all Jews for, as they were drowning, I saw their tails" !!"

Francis Bamford and the Duke of Wellington (eds) The Journal of Mrs. Arbuthnot, 1820-1832, 
Vol. I February 1820 to December 1825, London, Macmillan & Co. Ltd., 1950, pp.212-214.

"his Grace vehemently opposed the admission of Jews to seats in Parliament. He deemed 
it indispensable that, in a Christian legislature none but Christians should be permitted to sit"

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