Religious Toleration and the Repeal of the Penal Laws
|3.||The Quebec Act of 1774: Precursor to the Irish Catholic Relief Act of 1778||7|
|4.||The Contribution of the American Revolutionary War to the Irish Catholic Relief Act of 1778||12|
|5.||Catholic Antipathy: The Reason Behind Moderate Irish Catholic Toleration||16|
This thesis adopted several primary sources, which provided reliable evidence in the research, for instance, the works of Edmund Burke, John Toland, John Locke and David Hume. These sources assisted the completion of this study to a great extent. However, the analysis of further primary sources could have added to a more complete picture of Catholic emancipation.
Especially parliamentary speeches could have largely contributed to my research, but their accessibility is limited making them difficult to attain.
As a consequence of the thesis’s limited capacity, it was solely centralized around the background and motives of the Catholic Relief Act of 1778. Consequently, it did not allow the further discussion of the subsequent Catholic relief in the eighteenth century. Any concessions attained in the 1780s and the later achievements, such as the Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1791 and its Irish equivalent in 1793, could not be included in this paper. To better understand the implications of this thesis, future studies could address the analysis of these consequent decades.
On the other hand, this thesis presented a comprehensive view on the actual motives of the Catholic Relief Act of 1778. It was based on a thorough overview of historiography, which included theories formulated in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as well as contemporary works. It summarized the perspectives formed by historians up until the present day, circumventing the mistake of focusing on one specific aspect contributing to the eighteenth-century Irish toleration. Therefore, it shed light on the inadequacies of these studies and proposes a balanced assessment of Irish Catholic relief in 1778. Based on these conclusions this thesis offers an appropriate starting point for future studies investigating the topic of Irish Catholic relief in the late eighteenth century.…
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