No. 40.
Mr. Partridge to Mr. Fish.

No. 117.]

Sir: In my No. 113 I mentioned the question which had arisen here, and which has since been debated in the chambers, in consequence of the publication and attempted enforcement y the Bishop of Pernambuco of the papal bulls of excommunication against the Freemasons and the (irmandades) other brotherhoods. The matter has occasioned a great deal of excitement, and the petitions of the Freemasons, &c., claiming that such publication was illegal, were referred to the council of state. This body has decided, and advised the Emperor, that the bishop had infringed the Brazilian constitution and laws by his proceeding.

It is now settled that no papal bull or decree can be published or enforced in Brazil without the beneplacet of the government.

In consequence, the minister of the interior had addressed a communication to the bishop, informing him that such publication and enforcement cannot be allowed without consent of the government. He has been careful, at the same time, to so express this information as to give as little offense as possible to the clerical party, and saving all respect for the episcopacy, “upon whose holy ministry,” he says, “depends the peace of the faithful and the splendor of the Brazilian church.”

The daily papers are filled with articles and communications growing out of this affair, and the liberal party are now clamorous for the establishment of civil marriage, &c., declaring that the future of Brazil and her progressive civilization and increase of immigration depend upon the complete severance of church and state, and upon the abolition of the impediments and obstacles created by the church and still allowed in the legislation of the country.

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The clerical party have thus met with a signal defeat, but it is still strong in the chambers, and will throw itself on either side to defeat the other whose measures may have displeased it.

There has been no other discussion of matter of interest before the chambers.

The yellow fever still lingers in Rio, and some few cases daily are still reported.

The flag ship Lancaster and the Ticonderoga are both in Rio.

I have, &c.,