Roman Catholic Exclusion

Justin McCarthy
Chapter X | Start of Chapter

O'Connell declared that if he were driven to the alternative, he would rather have the repeal of the Union even than Catholic Emancipation, because every great measure of liberty would be won for Ireland by a Parliament of her own in a much shorter space of time than could possibly be accomplished in the British Parliament. O'Connell's power grew greater every day, and he soon became the acknowledged leader of the Irish people. It seemed to all liberal-minded persons in Great Britain an obvious anomaly that such a man should not have an opportunity of representing the claims of his country in the House of Commons, but as yet the laws remained on the statute-book which rendered it impossible for any professing Roman Catholic to obtain a seat there. Each newly-elected representative for a constituency was called upon before he could take his seat to swear an oath, proclaiming not merely his allegiance to the reigning Sovereign, but also his disavowal and detestation of the tenets of the Roman Catholic Church.