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The Duke of Wellington's speeches on Catholic Emancipation (4)

February 12, 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)

The Earl of FALMOUTH, having heard that the noble Duke at the head of the Government had said, 'that, in his conviction, the majority of the people of England were in favour of settling the question,' wished to know whether the noble Duke had used such terms, and whether, by 'settling the question,' he spoke of a measure of Catholic Emancipation?


I am sorry the noble Earl was not present at the discussion of the former evening, since the noble Lord states, from report only, some expressions which he supposes me to have then used, and for expressions so used in a former debate thus calls upon me for an explanation. The noble Earl is in this mode of proceeding quite irregular; it is quite irregular to refer in this manner to a former debate, at which the noble Lord was not even present. I cannot, my Lords, exactly recollect what words I may have used on that occasion, but I think I said that a great portion of the people of England were desirous of seeing this question brought to an issue. So far, my Lords, I have no objection to repeat and renew the expressions imputed to me, but I think the noble Lord is out of order in referring to a former debate.

The Earl of FALMOUTH denied that he was out of order. He presumed that, if the noble Duke had not stated what he (Lord Falmouth) had attributed to him, he had yet said that a great portion of the English people were desirous of seeing the question brought to an issue.


I must repeat my objections, my Lords, to the very irregular mode of statement adopted by the noble Earl. I put it to your Lordships whether such a course is consistent with the order of your Lordships' debates.

The Earl of FALMOUTH thought his question, courteously asked, and the first lie had ever put to the noble Duke, rather roughly answered.

THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON said: My Lords, I did not charge the noble Earl with anything but the fact, — the fact that his conduct was not according to the Orders of your Lordships' House. It is irregular, contrary to order, to refer to a former debate and ask explanations. That is the ground on which I stand, and decline to give the required answer. Now, my Lords, I am far from complaining of any want of courtesy, but I complain of the noble Lord being out of order. However, my Lords, I believe that what I did say was, that a large portion of the people wished to see the question settled. I did not use the phrase 'Catholic Emancipation,' which in this instance would have been completely misapplied. But the noble Lord wants to fix one of those cant terms on me, and throw odium upon me, which I protest I have not deserved. When I shall come forward with a plan which I shall have hereafter to submit to your Lordships, that plan will give, I believe, general satisfaction.

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See also Gleig's Life of Wellington (1862)
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