The Liverpool Catholics stood out resolutely against the Bill which perhaps explains their subsequent bitterness, but hard economic facts made extreme voluntarism untenable. The Catholics feared local control and wanted denominational education financed out of national taxation; they set out to use the ‘year’s grace allowed by the Act for the preparation of plans of new schools, for submission to the Imperial Government’. During the whole of the 1870 discussion on the Education Bill, the Catholic hierarchy had been in Rome at the first Vatican Council, though Cardinal Manning had been in secret correspondence with Gladstone on the issue. The Church hierarchy in Lancashire was reaping the rewards of its own anti-ritualism and distinctly low church approach. The electorate was the same for both school board and municipal elections. In January 1872, this was fifty eight thousand and fifty-one. The election was held on the last day of January, with nearly sixty thousand voting papers being sent out by post.