For a while no cloud appeared on the horizon: and the Liberal party were still disorganized (see Campbell-Bannerman and Rosebery) over their attitude towards the Boers.
At Glasgow on the 5th of December he again outlined a Liberal programme, this and other speeches all leading to the assumption that his return to active co-operation with the Liberal party in the general election - which could not be long delayed - was fairly certain.
The diet of 1839 refused to proceed to business till the political prisoners had been released, and, while in the Lower Chamber the reforming majority was larger than ever, a Liberal party was now also formed in the Upper House under the brilliant leadership of Count Louis Batthyany and Baron Joseph EdtvOs.
The Liberal party had been out of office for eight years, the Conservative -Junimist coalition had practically carried out its complete programme, and legislation was at a deadlock owing to the abstention of the Liberal opposition.
The Board of Trade was asked to supply full figures, and while its report was awaited the uncertainty of attitude on the part of the government afforded grateful opportunity for opposition mischief-making, since the Liberal party had now the chance of acting as the conservative champions of orthodox economics.
Largely owing to his influence the Liberal party refused in 1878 to abandon its Free Trade policy, an obstinacy which led to its defeat in that year.
Mr Forster and Mr Cardwell, as private members in opposition, brought in Education Bills in 1867 and 1868; and in 1868, when the Liberal party returned to office, Mr Forster was appointed vice-president of the council, with the duty of preparing a government measure for national education.
Neither the war minister nor the commanders of the garrison chose to punish the offenders, and sooner than endorse such want of discipline, Sagasta and the Liberal party once more made way for Canovas.
The disclosure, soon afterwards, of a conspiracy to resort to dynamite still further alienated the sympathies of the Liberal party from the Irish nation.
Events had now made Mr Lloyd George and his financial policy the centre of the Liberal party programme; but party tactics for the moment prevented the ministry, who remained in office, from simply sending the budget up again to the Lords and allowing them to pass it.