No. 293.
Mr. Nelson to Mr. Fish.

No. 738.]

Sir: Among several important acts of Congress passed since my last general dispatch, I have to inform you that the so-called “laws of reform” issued by President Jaurez at Vera Cruz in 1859 and 1860, which effected the nationalization of church property and the separation of church and state in Mexico, have been converted into amendments to the federal constitution a few days since. Already the legislatures of five States have ratified them, and there can be no doubt that the remaining States will speedily imitate their example.

A law of Congress which permitted, under certain conditions, the processions and other public religious ceremonies of the Catholic Church has been repealed, and those ceremonies must hereafter be confined to the interior of the churches.

The law for the summary punishment of kidnapers has been again extended for the term of one year.

Congress has declared Mr. José Maria Iglesias duly elected chief justice of the supreme court, and Messrs. José M. Lozano and Manuel Castañeda y Ñajera associate justices. All these gentlemen took their oaths of office yesterday.

Owing to the press of business before Congress, it is not probable that the appropriation bill now under discussion can be fully considered and voted during the few remaining days of the present session. In such case, the precedent of the last two years will doubtless be imitated, i. e., to leave in force the estimates of the fiscal year 1870–’71, with a few additions and suppressions.

Popular disturbances against Protestants have lately occurred in Guadalajara, and in two or three towns of the State of Mexico, resulting in the latter cases in bloodshed.

The supreme court has decided against Messrs. Kelly & Co., of Mazatlan, in the matter of the double payment of duties, concerning which your Department, at the request of the English government, instructed me to use my friendly offices.

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The insurgent Lozada, with his few remaining troops, has been repeatedly defeated, and his movement reduced to complete insignificance.

I have, &c.,