He took it for granted that he must, during his long career as a Tory statesman, have aroused a hostile feeling against him in the minds of the Irish Catholic leaders, and he firmly believed that a measure brought in by some Minister more popular in Ireland would be welcomed with more gratefulness and more cordiality by O'Connell and his associates in the Catholic movement. Peel's intention was, therefore, to resign his office, and leave some statesman who might be considered better fitted for the task to bring in the measure for Catholic Emancipation. Peel's own idea was that Earl Grey, who had always been an advocate of civil and religious liberty, would be the best man whom the King could invite to form a Government and to deal with the Catholic claims. But before this stage of the arrangements could be reached Peel had to train over the Duke of Wellington to his side and persuade the Duke to conquer the King's opposition. It was difficult enough to persuade the Duke of Wellington, who had so lately announced that nothing was to be done for the Catholic claims; but Peel succeeded in bringing Wellington to listen to reason. The difficulty he had was all the greater because Lord Anglesey had lately been dismissed from his office as Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, on the ground that he had shown a want of discretion in talking too freely in Ireland about differences in the Cabinet on the subject of the Catholic claims. We may safely assume that Lord Anglesey was dismissed from office because the King could not put up any longer with his strenuous recommendations that those claims should be taken into consideration. In any case, Lord Anglesey's dismissal must have seemed to Peel to make the task of winning over the Duke of Wellington more difficult. But the Duke was won over before long. The truth was that the Duke had an absolute faith in Peel's judgment and statesmanship, and when Peel made up his mind the Duke felt himself bound to make up his mind in the same way. The Duke's position then and on other occasions was perfectly simple. If he had been commanding an army in a foreign and a difficult country he would have accepted the services of a guide who knew the place, and would have followed the teachings of the guide when in order to reach a certain spot he was advised to go this way rather than that. In the same spirit he accepted the guidance of Peel. "Peel," he said to himself, "knows all about this political question; I do not, and I am quite certain that the King does not; therefore I am bound to follow Peel's guidance and to do all that I can to get the King to follow it as well."
One thing the Duke certainly did know all about, and was satisfied that he did know all about it : he knew perfectly well that he could not possibly get on without Peel, and therefore he implored and he insisted that Peel must give up all idea of resigning his office and must not leave him, the Duke, all alone to face in bewilderment the difficulties of the crisis. He made it a question of old comradeship, and put it to Peel not to desert his comrade at a moment of such peril. Thus adjured, Peel could not possibly press his resolve, and he therefore consented to stand by the Duke so long as the Duke would stand by him. That difficulty at all events was over. Indeed it became apparent that the idea of prevailing on the King to invoke the services of Lord Grey was absolutely out of the question. The King detested Lord Grey. George IV. had been accustomed to Ministers and to followers who yielded to him and flattered him and nourished his self-love and his absurd pride in his own judgment. Lord Grey was a cold, stern, unbending man, who acted only on the dictates of his reason and his conscience, and into whose mind it never entered that he was bound to cajole his Sovereign by any sort of flattery or semblance of intellectual deference. Indeed it was strongly believed by many at the time that one of the King's chief objections to Catholic Emancipation was found in the fact that Grey was in favour of the principle, and that Grey had again and again proved unyielding on questions of policy. George believed that the judgment of the Sovereign was entitled to exact implicit obedience from any Minister. Therefore Peel consented to hold his place in the Duke of Wellington's Ministry, and the Duke agreed to approach the King and endeavour to make him listen to reason. The Duke soon found that the task was even more difficult than he had supposed it to be. George III. had resisted Pitt, but, to do him justice, out of conscientious motives, however perverted the principle of conscience might have been, simply because he believed that it was an offence against the religion of the State for an English Sovereign to allow religious equality to those who professed the faith of Rome. If George III. could have been persuaded by the tongues of men or of angels that to approve of Catholic Emancipation would not have been to break his coronation oath, he might have consented to the policy of Pitt and of Canning.
But with George IV. there were mixed motives. He professed to feel the conscientious objection, but there can be no doubt that he felt still more strongly the blow to his foolish self-conceit and his absurd idea of his own personal dignity which would have to be borne if he were to consent to give way to any one on such a question. George had lately said, on more than one occasion, that if his subjects did not like a Protestant king they could find a Catholic king in the Duke of Clarence, whom, for some reason or other, George chose to regard as a devoted advocate of the Catholic claims. George met the Duke of Wellington in the same spirit, and after many ineffectual disputations Wellington and Peel were forced to the conclusion that it would be impossible to obtain the King's consent, point blank, to any measure of Catholic Emancipation. They therefore devised a little plan by which to get round their obstinate sovereign. They obtained leave to draw up and submit to the King for his consideration, a memorandum containing their views of a policy to be adopted with regard to the consideration of the whole Irish question, without any special reference to Catholic Emancipation. This scheme did indeed include Catholic Emancipation, but that was only one subject among others, and it was fondly hoped that the King might be thus cajoled into allowing the whole scheme to pass without objection, seeing that it. no longer rested on Catholic Emancipation alone. The King yielded so far as to consent to have the scheme submitted to him, but distinctly declared that he would not pledge himself to give it a favourable consideration. Time was pressing; Peel had already given formal notice in the House of Commons that on a certain day near at hand he would call attention to the whole subject of the disabilities imposed on Roman Catholics.