The Duke of Wellington
Madam, - The recent correspondence on the Duke of Wellington (entertaining though it is in many respects) exposes an alarming ignorance of Irish history, and I am surprised that The Irish Times saw fit to publish the letter by Mr Thomas Dion Russell (on the anniversary of Robert Emmet's Rising of all days) without some kind of historical health warning.
The part played by the Duke of Wellington in the enactment of Catholic Emancipation on April 13th, 1829 surely equals his achievement at Waterloo on June 18th, 1815, for on both occasions he is to be seen leading from the front.
Indeed, when sectarian bigotry in its various forms still remains as a scourge among us, we can surely turn to the Iron Duke as a source of inspiration.
I do not write (and do not wish to write) in disparagement of the Orange Order, but I think it pertinent to quote the words of Wellington when he refused to join the Orange Order in February 1821:
"I confess that I do object to belong to a society professing attachment to the Throne and Constitution of these realms, \ which . . . a large proportion of His Majesty's subjects must be excluded, many of them as loyal men as exist, and \ as much attachment to the Constitution.
"This objection is natural from one who was born in the country in which a large proportion of the people are Roman Catholic, and . . . who has never found that, abstracted from other circumstances, the religious persuasion of individuals. . . affected their feelings of loyalty."
The religious tolerance of Wellington, especially in the prevailing conditions of his age, is something of which we in Ireland can be justly proud. Wellington's father, Lord Mornington, was after all professor of music at Trinity. Perhaps April 13th should be for us an occasion of national rejoicing. Yours, etc. -
GERALD MORGAN, FTCD
Madam, - Without his gallant horse, Copenhagen, the Duke of Wellington might not have beaten Napoleon. So maybe the good people of Trim, Co Meath should replace their monument to the Iron Duke with another devoted to his horse.
Since they were both "born in a barn" it shouldn't make any difference.
And in the interest of fair play why don't the good citizens of Ballinasloe, Co Galway build a statue commemorating Napoleon's horse, Meringo, since this gallant hero of Waterloo was also "born in a barn" near their town. - Yours, etc.,