CHAPTER IV
CATHOLIC EMANCIPATION

1827-1829

THE early history of the struggle for Catholic emancipa­ tion does not concern this volume. It belongs to the general history of the time. The question had, as has been said, divided, weakened, or destroyed every Government which held office from the time of the Union until it was finally settled in 1829. Pitt had deliberately left the question of the admission of the Catholic subjects of the Crown to civil equality unsettled at the time of the Union. He had no choice in the matter. The face of the king was sternly set against Catholic emancipation. He regarded it as a violation of his coronation oath. The Government of Lord Grenville fell because it declined to give the king a pledge not to bring forward the question. Thencefor­ ward, although no formal pledge was given, Governments were formed on the understanding that the question would not be mooted by them. The division of opinion on the matter, however, did not correspond with divisions of party. The Whigs were Catholic--to use the con­ venient but not very accurate phraseology of the time--

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