The Peel Web

I am happy that you are using this web site and hope that you found it useful. Unfortunately, the cost of making this material freely available is increasing, so if you have found the site useful and would like to contribute towards its continuation, I would greatly appreciate it. Click the button to go to Paypal and make a donation.

The Marquis of Anglesea's letter to Dr Patrick Curtis

Anglesey was the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland; Dr Curtis had sent a copy of the Duke of Wellington's letter of 11 December, together with a copy of Curtis' reply to the Duke.

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

The following letter has been addressed, by his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, to the head of the Romish Church in Ireland:—

Phoenix Park, Dec. 23, 1828

Most Reverend Sir, — I hasten to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 22d., covering that which you received from the Duke of Wellington, of the 11th inst. together with a copy of your answer to it. I thank you for the confidence you have reposed in me. Your letter gives me information upon a subject of the highest interest. I did not know the precise sentiments of the Duke of Wellington upon the present state of the Catholic Question. Knowing it, I shall venture to offer my opinion upon the course that it behoves the Catholics to pursue.

Perfectly convinced that the final and cordial settlement of this great question can alone give peace, harmony, and prosperity to all classes of his Majesty's subjects in this kingdom, I must acknowledge my disappointment on learning that there is no prospect of its being effected during the ensuing session of Parliament. I however, derive some consolation from observing that his grace is not wholly adverse to the measure: for, if he can be induced to promote it, he, of all men, will have the greatest facility in carrying it into effect. If I am correct in this opinion, it is obviously most important that the Duke of Wellington should be propitiated: that no obstacle that can by possibility be avoided should be thrown in his way; that all personal and offensive insinuations should be suppressed; and that amply allowance should be made for the difficulties of his situation. Difficult it certainly is, for he has to overcome the very strong prejudices, and the interested motives, of many persons of the highest influence, as well as to allay the real alarms of many of the more ignorant Protestants.

I differ from the opinion of the duke, that an attempt should be made to 'bury in oblivion' the question for a short time. First, because the thing is utterly impossible; and next, because, if the thing were possible, I fear that advantage might be taken of the pause, by representing it as a panic achieved by the late violent reaction, and by proclaiming that if the government at once and peremptorily decided against concession, the Catholics would cease to agitate, and then all of them miseries of the last years of Ireland will be to be reenacted. What I do recommend it is, that the measure should not be for a moment lost sight of — that anxiety should continue to be manifested — but all constitutional (in contradistinction to merely legal) means should be resorted to, to forward the cause; but that, at the same time, the most patient forbearance, the most submissive obedience to the laws, should be inculcated — that no personal and offensive language should be held towards those who oppose the claims. Personality offers no advantage; it effects no good: on the contrary, it offends, and confirms pre-disposed aversion. Let the Catholic trust to the justice of his cause — to the growing liberality of mankind. Unfortunately he has lost some friends, and fortified his enemies, within the last six months, by unmeasured and unnecessary violence. He will soonest recover from the present stagnation of his fortunes by showing more temper, and by trusting to the legislature for redress. Brute force, he should be assured, can effect nothing. It is the legislature but must decide this great question; and my greatest anxiety is, that it should be met by the Parliament under the most favourable circumstances, and that the opposers of Catholic emancipation shall be disarmed by the patient forbearance , as well as by the unwearied perseverance, of its advocates.

My warm anxiety to promote the general interests of this country, is the motive that has induced me to give an opinion, and to offer advice.

I have the honour, etc etc

See also The Greville Memoirs Chapter IV

Meet the web creator

These materials may be freely used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with applicable statutory allowances and distribution to students.
Re-publication in any form is subject to written permission.

Last modified 4 March, 2016

The Age of George III Home Page

Ministerial Instability 1760-70

Lord North's Ministry 1770-82

American Affairs 1760-83

The period of peace 1783-92

The Age of the French Wars 1792-1815 Irish Affairs 1760-89

Peel Web Home Page

Tory Governments 1812-30

Political Organisations in the Age of Peel

Economic Affairs in the Age of Peel

Popular Movements in the Age of Peel

Irish Affairs
Primary sources index British Political Personalities British Foreign policy 1815-65 European history
index sitemap advanced
search engine by freefind