“By God, Sir!”

A gold Irish Freedom Box presented to the Earl of Uxbridge – known for, amongst other things, his stiff upper lip repartee at the Battle of Waterloo – made £100,900 (AUD 197,230) at Bonhams’ Waterloo Sale (lot 152) on the 1st of April.

Geo_IV_gold_Irish_Freedom_Box__Edward_Murray_Dublin_c1827_01a_BonhamsGeorge IV 18 carat gold Irish Freedom Box by Edward Murray, Dublin, circa 1827. (Bonhams)

Lord Uxbridge led the charge of the heavy cavalry against Comte d’Erlon’s column at the Battle of Waterloo. At the end of the battle he lost part of one of his legs to a cannonball, leading to a brief exchange of words: He was close to Wellington when his leg was hit, and exclaimed, “By God, sir, I’ve lost my leg!”

Wellington replied, “By God, sir, so you have!”

During the amputation of the tattered leg, Uxbridge smiled and said, “I have had a pretty long run. I have been a beau these forty-seven years, and it would not be fair to cut the young men out any longer.”

Uxbridge was offered an annual pension of £1,200 in compensation for the loss of his leg, but refused, saying, “Who would not lose a leg for such a victory?”

Jack Plane

About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
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3 Responses to “By God, Sir!”

  1. Eric R says:

    ” According to another anecdote his only comment through the dreadful procedure was, “The knives appear somewhat blunt.”
    The stuff real men are made of…..


  2. Tim Caveny says:

    As I am unfamiliar with the genus ( of Irish freedom box ), I wonder if you could provide some idea of size or scale? Thank you.


    • Jack Plane says:

      Freedom Boxes are similar to the keys bestowed upon a dignitary by a town or city in acknowledgement or appreciation of an act or service – as indeed, Nelson Mandela was awarded the Freedom of London in 1996.

      This Freedom Box was presented to Lord Uxbridge by Trinity College Dublin (borne out by the arms on the base of the box).

      According to the link in the post, the box is 8.6cm long.



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