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The Catholic Relief Act 1829 (10 Geo IV c.7) was passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdommarker on 24 March 1829, and received Royal Assent on 13 April. It was the culmination of the process of Catholic Emancipation throughout the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In Ireland it repealed the severe Test Act 1673 and the remaining Penal Laws which had been in force since the passing of the Disenfranchising Act of the Irish Parliament of 1728. Its passage followed a vigorous campaign on the issue by Irish lawyer. Daniel O'Connell. O'Connell had firm support from the Prime Minister, the Duke of Wellington, as well as from the Whigs and liberal Tories.

The Catholic Relief Act permitted members of the Catholic Church to sit in the parliament at Westminster. O'Connell had won a seat in a by-election for Clare in 1828 against the newly appointed President of the Board of Trade, Vesey Fitzgerald, an Anglican. Under the then extant penal law, O'Connell as a Roman Catholic, was forbidden to take his seat in Westminstermarker.Sir Robert Peel, the Home Secretary, who had for all of his career opposed emancipation (and had, in 1815, challenged O'Connell to a duel) was forced to conclude: "though emancipation was a great danger, civil strife was a greater danger." Fearing a revolution in Ireland, Peel drew up the Catholic Relief Bill and guided it through the House of Commonsmarker. To overcome the vehement opposition of both the House of Lordsmarker and George IV, the Duke of Wellington worked tirelessly to ensure passage in the House of Lords, and threatened to resign as Prime Minister if the King did not give Royal Assent.

However, the Catholic Relief Act was a compromise, as it effectively disenfranchised the minor peasantry of Ireland, the so-called Forty Shilling Freeholders. The act raised fivefold the economic qualifications for voting. Starting in the initial relief granting the vote by the Irish Parliament in 1793, any man renting or owning land worth at least forty shillings (the equivalent of two Pounds Sterling), had been permitted to vote. Under the Catholic Relief Act, this was raised to ten pounds. These issues were overcome in the subsequent electoral reform acts passed in the UK Parliament in following years.

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