Mr. Marsh to Mr. Seward.

No. 172.]

Sir : I have sent you several journals containing information respecting the important measures proposed by the present Italian ministry for the disposal of the financial and politico-religious questions growing out of the abolition of the monasteries and the intended sale of the church land.

The bill presented by the minister of finance has been considered—I cannot say discussed—by the various sections or “ officers “ into which the complicated organization of the chamber of deputies divides its members, and the result is that all the officers, and the committee appointed by them, are nearly unanimous in rejecting the bill, without proposing either amendment or substitute.

The bill varies widely from that prepared by Baron Ricasoli before his last entrance into the cabinet. I do not know how far he personally approves the new proposal, but he will doubtless express his opinions, with his usual promptness, in the discussion upon the report of the committee. It is, however, possible that the bill may be withdrawn, and that some ministerial modification may take place before the report is ready for presentation.

The defeat of the bill threatens to affect the money market seriously, because its passage would have furnished some present relief to the pressing necessities of the exchequer. On the other hand, the success of the measure would disgust and dishearten, if not an absolute majority, at least a large minority of the most liberal and intelligent portion of the Italian people.

I cannot but think that such large concessions to influences which always have been and still are undisguisedly hostile to the best interests of the nation, would involve a loss of political strength by the government which would be but inadequately compensated by the temporary and partial relief to be derived from the measure.* * * * * *

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.