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The Duke of Wellington's speeches on Catholic Emancipation (17)

3 April 1829

These documents are taken from: The Speeches of the Duke of Wellington in Parliament, collected and arranged by the late Colonel Gurwood, C.B., K.C.T.S., (London, John Murray, Albemarle Street, 1854)


In the adjourned debate on the Roman Catholic Relief Bill, the Archbishop of YORK expressed his determination to oppose the measure, as one fraught with danger to the Protestant Church.

The Earl of FALMOUTH was strongly opposed to the Bill, but trusted that the noble Duke would at least, in the event of its failing to accomplish the ends proposed by it, come down to that House, and redeem his pledge of a former evening to propose its repeal.

THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON said:

I rise to say a few words in explanation of what has fallen from the noble Earl. I did not say, my Lords, that, if the measure now before your Lordships did not succeed as beneficially as I expect, that I would come down to Parliament with a proposition for its repeal. What I said was, that I hoped it would produce satisfaction and tranquillity in Ireland, and I stated my reasons for hoping that it would. I believe I likewise stated that I considered it necessary and essential to the honour and interests of this country that Ireland should be tranquil, prosperous, and happy. What I said with respect to coming down to Parliament was, that, if this measure did not produce the tranquillity in Ireland which my ideas of its tendency led me to expect, I should have no hesitation to come down to Parliament for a new remedy to perfect it — that I would ask your Lordships to grant me such a remedy with the same confidence I now ask your Lordships to consent to the Bill before you.

As I am on my legs, I will, with the permission of the noble Earl, explain another point alluded to in his speech. I did not compare the party who opposed the Episcopalians in Scotland with the Roman Catholics in Ireland, in the relation of the supposed danger of either obtaining an ascendancy in the State. I did compare the contest of the anti-Episcopalians in Scotland with the contest between the Roman Catholics and the Church of England in Ireland. I stated that I hoped tranquillity would be restored to Ireland, when the disabilities which the Roman Catholics at present laboured under were removed, on account of the example afforded by Scotland, when disabilities affecting the majority of its inhabitants had been in like manner removed. I referred to this example, because, so soon as the disabilities of the anti-Episcopalian party in Scotland were removed, tranquillity was established in that country; and I showed, or endeavored to show, your Lordships, that the dangers apprehended from the present Bill were also feared from the removal of the disabilities under which the anti-Episcopalians laboured, by quoting a petition presented to the Parliament of Scotland when that removal was under its discussion. As well as I recollect this is what I said.

Debate adjourned.

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See also Gleig's Life of Wellington (1862)
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