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Alteration of the Duke of Wellington's letter to Patrick Curtis

The following report is taken from the Edinburgh Review of December 1828; the Review reproduced reports from other newspapers.

From The Courier; December 1828

The Duke of Wellington, in his letter to Dr Curtis, wrote as follows — and our readers will see the alteration of which we have spoken for two or three days past:— "I have received your letter of the 4th inst., and I assure you that you do me justice in believing that I am sincerely anxious to witness A (not the) Settlement of the Roman Catholic Question, which, by benefiting the state, would confer a benefit on every individual belonging to it." And this, a very polite writer in a morning paper calls a matter of no consequence, and his desires the paper to pull us up for still harping on the alteration! Now, with all due deference to this writer, there does appear to is to be some difference between the use of the definite article and the indefinite. — The definite article, the, admits of a construction inconsistent with the Duke's views, as declared in his public speeches upon the Catholic Question — and the alteration seems to have been for the purpose of inducing a belief that his Grace's sentiments had experienced the change in favour of the settlement which the Roman Catholics were desirous of obtaining. Substitute the indefinite article a for the, and then his Grace's settlement is limited, as one which, by benefiting the state, would benefit every individual belonging to it. But if, as the pull-him-up correspondent of a morning paper says, the alteration makes no sort of difference, why was it made at all? To us, however, the most material part of the Duke's letter is the sentence immediately following the one to which we have alluded — 'but I confess that I see no prospect of such a settlement.' This confession conveys a sufficient assurance, that all the reports of the measures in contemplation, and bills in preparation, are wholly unfounded. Government do not intend to propose any measure; for, by the terms made use of by his Grace, the only object which could induce to do so appear be impracticable.

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