Browse Items (37 total)

July 12, 1789

Gouverneur Morris, an American in Paris, wrote about the street protests that followed the King’s dismissal of the royal minister of finance, the popular Jacques Necker. Many Parisians considered Necker the man most able to enact reforms that might…

September 3, 1792

A British diplomat in Paris here describes, in dispatches back to London, the goings–on in Paris in early September, in light of news of advances by the Duke of Brunswick’s Prussian forces toward the capital. This diplomat was naturally most…


This account, probably by Thomas Howell, a soldier of the Highland Light Infantry regiment, offers a firsthand account of the skirmishes between British/Portuguese forces and the French armies. Little is known about Howell except that he was born in…

November 21, 1813

This account by British Private William Wheeler of the 51st Regiment gives a vivid account of the hand–to–hand fighting in Portugal. Wheeler’s letters home were saved by the family and form the basis of their publication in 1949.

June 15, 1815

At the Battle of Waterloo, Dickson (1789–1880) was a corporal in a Scottish cavalry troop. He had enlisted in 1807. His reminiscences of the battle were written down by relatives years later.

July 5, 1821

On the occasion of Napoleon’s death, the leading English paper expressed the view of the English establishment: hatred of his despotic rule, yet a kind of sneaking admiration of his “extraordinary life.”


Some in the popular classes saw in Napoleon an opponent of monarchs.

November 1790

Born in Ireland, Edmund Burke (1729–97) immediately opposed the French Revolution, warning his countrymen against the dangerous abstractions of the French. He argued the case for tradition, continuity, and gradual reform based on practical…

October 12, 1791

The magnitude of the insurrection quickly became clear as alarmed observers related that considerable armies were being raised to fight the rebels. It is noteworthy that such reports even to northern U.S. newspapers expressed little sympathy for the…

May 16, 1792

Blame now falls, at least according to the author of this letter, on the "blood–thirsty aristocracy," which has created dissensions among the French. The author also expresses alarm at the thought of the revolt spreading to other islands in the…
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