Finally, the Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel changed positions and passed the Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1829.
He campaigned for Catholic emancipation—including the right for Catholics to sit in the Westminster Parliament, denied for over 100 years—and repeal of the Acts of Union which combined Great Britain and Ireland .
It was one of the first mass-membership political movements in Europe. On visiting St. John's in 1786, Prince William Henry (the future King William IV) noted that "there are ten Roman Catholics to one Protestant", and the Prince worked to counter the early relaxations of ordinances against this substantial majority.. As I said before, the parliament of Ireland, in the year 1798, with the exception of one or two persons, were unanimous; and, on a recent occasion, there were seven marquises, twenty-seven earls, a vast number of peers of other ranks, and not less than two thousand Protestant gentlemen of property in the country, who signed the Declaration, stating the absolute necessity of making these concessions. In 1825 he accompanied Daniel O'Connell to London to protest against the suppression of the Catholic Association. The Bill of Rights requires a new monarch to swear a coronation oath to maintain the Protestant religion and asserts that "it hath been found by experience that it is inconsistent with the safety and welfare of this Protestant Kingdom to be governed by a Papist Prince".  Despite this, the votes in the House of Lords were consistently negative, in part because of the king's own opposition. But let us look a little further, my lords. If I am not mistaken, at the time of the dispute between the episcopalians and the kirk of Scotland, the state of society in Scotland, was as bad as the state of society in Ireland is at the present moment. The charismatic pioneer of Irish popular politics, O'Connell had grown up in the shadow of the repressive 'Penal Laws' which maintained the social and civil inferiority of Catholics in Ireland. Daniel O'Connell (1775-1847) Irish political leader who campaigned for Catholic emancipation and led calls for increased aid for Ireland during the Irish Famine. These were choice documents to me. It was the state that was in danger — and from what? I am certain, my lords, when your lordships look at the division of opinion which prevails in both Houses of parliament upon this question, — when you look at the division of opinion which prevails in every family in this country and in Ireland, from the most eminent in station down to the lowest, — when you look at the division of opinion which prevails amongst even the Protestants in Ireland — when your lordships look at these circumstances, I am sure you will perceive the vast difference there would be between a contest carried on now, and that which was carried on at a former period.
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