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Catholic Association (The)

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1756. The first Catholic Association was formed for the purpose of obtaining relief from disabilities. In 1760 the association was re-established on a more representative basis, but it became moribund in 1763. Another association was organised in 1773, which fell under the control of Lord Kenmare; this society was broken up 1783. In 1793 a new society was formed on a still wider basis, and Wolfe Tone was elected secretary. In 1793 the Catholic Relief Bill received the Royal Assent.

In Ireland, 1823; suppressed 1825 (6 Geo. iv. c. 4); dissolved itself February, 1829. The association was first suggested by Daniel OʹConnell at a dinner-party given by Mr. OʹMara at Glancullen, and on Monday, May 12th, the first meeting of the association was held in Dempsey’s Rooms, Sackville Street. It became one of the most powerful popular movements ever organised. The objects were: (1) to forward petitions to Parliament; (2) to afford relief to Catholics assailed by Orange lodges; (3) to support a Liberal press both in Dublin and London; (4) to circulate cheap publications; (5) to aid the Irish Catholics of America; and (6) to aid English Catholics. Indirectly it undertook the repeal of the Union, and the redress of Irish grievances generally. Everyone who paid 1d. a month was a member. (See Catholic Emancipation.)

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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