London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1911. 1st Edition. Hardcover. Black cloth. Plates. Three volumes. Covers show signs of wear. Volumes are cocked. Foxing present and some pencil marginalia. Otherwise a clean and tight set in good condition. Item #140934
The subtitle of this work is: "being the history of the English Catholics during the first thirty years of the 19th century." Volume I treats 1803-12. Volume II treats 1812-20. Volume III treats 1820-29 This is the build-up to the Catholic Emancipation of 1829 in Great Britain. This three-volume work is preceded by an introductory two-volume work on the dawning of a "Catholic revival" in England. Ward then follows all this work with a subsequent two-volume work on the consequences of Catholic emancipation and the restoration of the Catholic hierarchy. Catholic emancipation or Catholic relief was a process in the Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in the late 18th century and early 19th century that involved reducing and removing many of the restrictions on Roman Catholics introduced by the Act of Uniformity, the Test Acts and the penal laws. Requirements to abjure (renounce) the temporal and spiritual authority of the Pope and transubstantiation placed major burdens on Roman Catholics. The penal laws started to be dismantled from 1766. The most significant measure was the Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829, which removed the most substantial restrictions on Roman Catholicism in the United Kingdom. The Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829, passed by Parliament in 1829, was the culmination of the process of Catholic Emancipation throughout Britain. In Ireland it repealed the Test Act 1672 and the remaining Penal Laws which had been in force since the passing of the Disenfranchising Act of the Irish Parliament of 1728. Its passage followed a vigorous campaign on the issue by Irish lawyer Daniel O'Connell. O'Connell had firm support from the Prime Minister, the Duke of Wellington, as well as from the Whigs and liberal Tories. The Act permitted members of the Catholic Church to sit in the parliament at Westminster. O'Connell had won a seat in a by-election for Clare in 1828 against an Anglican. Under the then extant penal law, O'Connell as a Roman Catholic, was forbidden to take his seat in Parliament. Sir Robert Peel, the Home Secretary, who had until then always opposed emancipation (and had, in 1815, challenged O'Connell to a duel) concluded: "though emancipation was a great danger, civil strife was a greater danger." Fearing a revolution in Ireland, Peel drew up the Catholic Relief Bill and guided it through the House of Commons. To overcome the vehement opposition of both the House of Lords and King George IV, the Duke of Wellington worked tirelessly to ensure passage in the House of Lords, and threatened to resign as Prime Minister if the King did not give Royal Assent.