William Henry Blatch, husband of Mrs. Harriot Stanton Blatch, the suffrage leader, recalls an encounter between his grandparents and the Duke of Wellington in a letter to the New York Times published on January 8, 1908.
WELLINGTON NO ROUGH RIDER
Riding Tests Would Have Disqualified the Victor of Waterloo.
To the Editor of the New York Times:
If the riding tests now being applied to army officers had been strictly carried out in the old country ninety years or so ago the Great Duke of Wellington would have been retired long before the battle of Waterloo.
He had a notoriously bad seat in the hunting field and yet was very fond of the sport.
Once when out with the foxhounds near his Strathfieldsay estate he got a bad fall in a field on my grandfather’s farm and took refuge in our humble abode; he was covered with mud and chalk and my grandmother cleaned him up and made him comfortable. My father, aged a few months, was taken from his cradle and kissed by the Iron Duke, who tenderly replaced him in his cozy nest. Little recking [sic] of the honor done him.
Naval men may also take comfort from the experience of the hero of Trafalgar, Lord Nelson, who was always a sufferer from mal de mere after a few days on shore.
New York, Jan 5, 1908
The grandparents in question were William Henry Blatch (1792-1851) and Marianne Sweetapple (1792-1877) of Nutley, Hampshire, England. The incident would have occurred about 1820, some five years after the battle of Waterloo on June 18, 1815. At this time Wellington was Master-General of the Ordnance in the Tory government of Lord Liverpool.