In the eighteenth century, the Catholics of England lacked many basic freedoms under the law: they could not serve in political office, buy or inherit land, or be married by the rites of their own religion. So virulent was the sentiment against Catholics that, in 1780, violent riots erupted in London—incited by the anti-Papist Lord George Gordon—in response to the Act for Relief that had been passed to loosen some of these restrictions.
The Gordon Riots marked a crucial turning point in the fight for Catholic emancipation. Over the next fifty years, factions battled to reform the laws of the land. Kings George III and George IV refused to address the "Catholic Question," even when pressed by their prime ministers. But in 1829, through the dogged work of charismatic Irish lawyer Daniel O'Connell and the support of the great Duke of Wellington, the watershed Roman Catholic Relief Act finally passed, opening the door to the radical transformation of the Victorian age. Gripping, spirited, and incisive, The King and the Catholics is character-driven narrative history at its best, reflecting the dire consequences of state-sanctioned oppression—and showing how sustained political action can triumph over injustice.
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by Carolly Erickson
by Anthony Loyd
by Simon Winchester
by Tony Spawforth
by Antonia Fraser
by Frank Haskell
by Ian McEwan
"There's something uniquely soothing and enlightening about listening to this excellent history of the long struggle for Catholic emancipation in Britain and Ireland under the reign of King George III and his successors. The issues are safely remote, rooted in ancient prejudices and interparty rivalries that are centuries removed from our own. Steven Crossley is a highly polished narrator, worthy of a position in any of the courts whose head buttings he so elegantly surveys. You may sometimes lose your bearings in this long progression of ministers, mistresses, and legislative maneuvers, but the very remoteness of Regency ecclesiastical politics is what makes this polished narrative so very engaging. D.A.W. © AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine"
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