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^T. 36] ME. GLADSTONE AND LOED COWPEE 347
already as good as resolved upon a plan, and we do not know any absolute reason why the form of it should not be satisfactory.
6 Sincerely yours,
fW. E. GLADSTONE.'
On May 2 Mr. Gladstone telegraphed in cypher to Lord Cowper:
' Matters being settled here for immediate action and on a footing named in last telegram to sign and give necessary directions for the three forthwith/
To this Lord Cowper wired in reply :
11 should much prefer, for reasons I will give by letter, that your intention should be carried out by my successor. But I will obey orders if insisted on/
This letter, giving the reasons, ran as follows :
Lord Coioper to Mr. Gladstone
1 Vice-Eegal Lodge, Dublin:
' May 2, 1882.
' MY DEAR ME. GLADSTONE,—The proposed release of the three members of Parliament so took me by surprise that I have hardly been able to form a deliberate opinion about it. Nothing but a series of formidable objections has yet occurred to me. This is the way in which the circumstances present themselves to my mind. These men have been, imprisoned for a gross violation of the law. They follow this up with a violation still grosser, the No Bent manifesto. There is at this moment a great amount of bad outrage. We know or suspect that this is instigated by the prisoners. At the same time their organs in the Press taunt us with having put under restraint the only people who have