On his disdain for the press
On his disdain for the press
On his disdain for the press
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On his disdain for the press

ARTHUR WELLESLEY, 1ST DUKE OF WELLINGTON, 31 DECEMBER 1832

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On his disdain for the press
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, 31 December 1832
WELLINGTON, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of.(1769-1852). Autograph letter signed ("Wellington") to the Rev. Samuel O'Sullivan, Apethorpe, 31 December 1832.

Four pages, bifolium, 81 x 112mm. (Light soiling along fold on second leaf).

Castigating the "Evils … Which the Press inflicted upon the Country." Writing to Rev. Samuel O'Sullivan (1790-1851) in Dublin, he agrees with the minister's "opinions about the Press; and in those which you deliver respecting the Injurious Course followed by those who have hitherto had the task of defending the Institutions. Unfortunately their system was necessarily defensive. They were bound as men in Office to defend the Liberties of the Press. Their unwillingness to innovate even to prevent these Liberties from becoming Licentiousness can be understood; as long as hopes could be entertained by any means there was a remedy for the Evils publick as well as Private which the Press inflicted upon the country. The Press has however undoubtedly been the Instrument by which the Constitution of the Country has been overthrown. I should almost doubt the efficiency of the Remedy which you propose, if adopted alone, and I am afraid that all remedies are too late." His comment relative to the nation's constitution being "overthrown" alludes to the Reform Act of 1832 which expanded the franchise dramatically by dismantling most of the "rotten boroughs" while granting representation to the cities that had developed during the industrial revolution. During his brief tenure as Prime Minister (1828-1830), Wellington was an outspoken critic of electoral reform—and his staunch resistance cost him a vote of no-confidence that brought his government down in November 1830. Wellington and the Tory Party's continuing opposition to electoral reform made his home at Aspley House a target for demonstrators who smashed the house's windows on at least two occasions in 1831. In June 1832, Wellington fitted his home with iron shutters.

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