In his resignation letter to Liberal Chief Whip Tom Ellis Rosebery cited the recent speech by William Gladstone on Armenia as the primary reason for his standing down, ‘The recent course of events makes it necessary to clear the air. I find myself in apparent difference with a considerable mass of the Liberal Party on the Eastern Question and in some conflict of opinion with Mr. Gladstone, who must necessarily always exercise a matchless authority in the party; while scarcely from any quarter do I receive explicit support…’. Rosebery also wrote to two of his closest colleagues, H.H. Asquith and Earl Spencer and to Gladstone, to inform them of his decision. As for the rest of the party, the first they knew of the resignation was when they read about it in the newspapers the following morning.