- Historical event:
- 24 March 1829
- In earlier times British Catholics were often persecuted, and laws were directed against them to the extent that the Catholic priests had to hide in special holes in situations when state control visited a house.
On this day the British Parliament passed a law that granted Catholics substantially increased political freedom in Britain. Namely, British Catholics were often persecuted in earlier times, and laws were directed against them to the extent that the Catholic priests had to hide in special holes in situations when state inspectors visited a house.
According to the new law, Catholics were able to sit as MPs in the British parliament. The Irish Catholic politician and lawyer Daniel O’Connell was credited for pushing that law through, and he therefore received the honorary nickname “The Liberator”. The Prime Minister, the Duke of Wellington (famous for defeating Napoleon Bonaparte) is accredited among those who supported the new law.
Although he was not a Catholic, Wellington reportedly even threatened the king that he would resign as prime minister if the law is not approved. Wellington’s brother – Marquis Wellesley – also had a substantial role in this. He was previously the Viceroy of Ireland, and knew how things stood with the Catholic population there.