The liberals obtained a majority at the elections of 1858, and Van der Brugghen resigned. But the king would not send for Thorbecke; and J.J. Rochussen, a former governor-general of the Dutch East Indies, was asked to form a "fusion" ministry.

It is needless to say that Thorbecke and his followers protested strongly against the dragging of the king's name into a political contest, as gravely unconstitutional. The ministry had a troubled existence.

The death of Thorbecke was the signal for a growing cleavage between the old doctrinaire school of liberals, who adhered to the principles of 1848, and the advanced liberalism of many of the younger progressive type. To Gerrit de Vries was entrusted the duty of forming a ministry, and he had the assistance of the former first minister, F. van de Putte.

When the Liberals, in the middle of the nineteenth century, did an act of great toleration by emancipating the Roman Catholic Church, the Protestants threw over the Liberal Cabinet, and the Liberal leader, Thorbecke, was returned to Parliament by the most Catholic town of Holland, Maestricht, in Limburg.

Heemskerk and Van Zuylen retained office for a short time in the face of adverse votes, but finally resigned; and the king had no alternative but to ask Thorbecke to form a ministry. He himself declined office, but he chose a cabinet of young liberals who had taken no part in the recent political struggles, P.P. van Bosse becoming first minister.

The liberal majority in the newly elected States-General was considerable; and it was the general expectation that Thorbecke would become head of the government. The king however suspected the aims of the liberal leader, and personally disliked him.

The ministry, on hearing of what had taken place, sent its resignation, which was accepted on April 19. Thus fell the Thorbecke ministry, not by a parliamentary defeat, but because the king associated himself with the uprising of hostile public opinion, known as the "April Movement."

There were at this time in Holland four political parties: the old conservative party, which after 1849 gradually dwindled in numbers and soon ceased to be a power in the State; the liberals, under the leadership of Thorbecke; the anti-revolutionary or orthodox Protestant party, ably led by G. Groen van Prinsterer, better known perhaps as a distinguished historian, but at the same time a good debater and resourceful parliamentarian; the Catholic party.

It has already been told that the deaths of Thorbecke and Groen van Prinsterer led to a breaking up of the old parties and the formation of new groups.

The ministry resigned, and Van de Putte became head of the government. He held office for four months only. His bill for the abolition of the cultivation-system and the conversion of the native cultivators into possessors of their farms was thrown out by a small majority, Thorbecke with a few liberals and some Catholics voting with the conservatives against it.