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On becoming Prime Minister in 1868 Gladstone had a mission to pacify Ireland This was going to be partly responsible for the loss of power after one term when the Liberal Party had been at its electoral victory at its highest level of popularity and more united than it was to ever be again in the nineteenth century It was called by Ensor the greatest ministry of Victorias reign however this was more to do with its speed and the issues taken on in its early years than the outstanding ability of its ministers as a whole The government was very much a mixed ministry with Whigs Radicals and Peelites however the Whigs dominated The new middle class ministers were in control of the departments with the greatest legislative responsibilities Gladstone who approved of what was done left the details of the bills to his ministers whilst he was engaged in the pacification of Ireland which he thought would be achieved by reforms of land religion and education A major cause of upset among Liberal supporters was Forsters 1870 Education Act as it failed to provide the system of free national and secular education that the Nonconformists were committed The nonconformists were a key pillar of support within the Liberal coalition so they were not happy when the act seemed to favour Anglicans as it increased their state grant and to obtain some measure of rate aid as well The non-conformists have their own pressure group called the National Education League founded in 1869 by Joseph Chamberlain and a group of radicals Their contempt for the 1870 Act led the League to become more political and more extreme Chamberlain wrote the great principal of Religious equality must be accepted as part of the Programme of any Party which seeks our support and alliance The Nonconformist Revolt long threatened has begun Religious disunity was rife within the Liberal Party it has therefore been
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