Mr. Gladstone, on February 12th, addressed a letter to Lord
de Vesci, obviously intended for publication, in which he stated that while out of office he had deemed it best to do nothing which might seem to be done in competition with the Govern- ment, but that now he invited free communication of views on Ireland from all classes of the Irish people, as well the majority as the minority. He would not be able to receive deputations, but would " highly value all indications, especially if they go to the heart of the questions before us." Mr. Glad- stone enclosed in his letter extracts from his address to the electors of Midlothian, showing that he considered there were three great Irish questions,—social order, the settlement of the land difficulty, and "a widely spread desire for local self- government, extending beyond what is felt in Great Britain, as to local affairs, but necessarily subject in all respects to the law of Imperial unity." As Mr. Gladstone cannot want reams of additional correspondence, the object of this letter must be partly to suggest that the Government still require time to collect information, and partly to indicate that the Premier still adheres to his view of the order of Irish questions. Neverthe- less, he has declined to propose to renew the Crimes Act, which should stand first.