No. 70.
Mr. White to Mr. Evarts.

No. 64.]

Sir: A crisis in the cabinet has occurred and the respective ministers of foreign affairs and of finance, Baron de Villa Bella and Mr. Gaspar Silvaria Martins, have resigned.

The Emperor has appointed Mr. Alphonsus Celso as minister of finance, and Mr. Sinimbu, president of the council of state, as minister of foreign affairs ad interim.

It appears that there was a disagreement in the cabinet over the proposed change in the electoral system from indirect to direct elections, the two ex-ministers insisting that the change should include the political emancipation of non-Catholics, giving to them the same political rights enjoyed by Catholics; to this the Emperor and majority of the cabinet refused to assent, and the two resignations were promptly tendered to, and as promptly accepted by, the Emperor.

The question of giving political rights independent of religious belief or faith has caused a division in the Liberal party through which the Conservative party fancy they see the road to power. Equal political rights will be enjoyed ere many years, and in my judgment the time is not far distant. When the new law is proposed in the Chambers (the two houses) I shall forward a copy of it to you.

Mr. Alphonsus Celso, the new minister of finance, had the twofold honor of being made senator and minister of state on the same day. He was minister of marine during the war with Paraguay, and displayed great ability and energy in the conduct of the affairs of the department of marine during that trying period. He is considered one of the ablest financiers in the empire, and his appointment gives universal satisfaction.

I find that Mr. Celso is a warm friend of our country, and during the [Page 133] debate in the assembly on the reply, to the speech from the throne, he, in the course of his speech, alluded to the recent extradition, approving of it, and adding that the United States were sure to become, sooner or later, the Mend and ally of Brazil on whom Brazil must rely in time of danger.

The references to his approval of the extradition and to our country were cheered by members.

Mr. Sinimbu, president of the council, and minister of agriculture, commerce, and public works, who takes charge of foreign affairs until a minister is decided upon, you are already acquainted with through the dispatches from this legation. He is a wise, practical statesman, possessing extraordinary abilities and energy, and he has accomplished many reforms of vital importance in the interest of economy and good government.

It is to be hoped that Mr. Sinimbu will decide to retain the portfolio of foreign affairs, for he is eminently qualified for the position, and the diplomatic corps have unbounded confidence in his judgment and his talents.

Brazil is fortunate in having as director-general of foreign affairs a ripe scholar, an experienced diplomatist, a careful, conscientious, and indefatigable official, Baron de Cabo Frio. Since I became chargé d’affaires ad interim I have had occasion to visit the foreign office very frequently, and I have always been received by the Baron de Cabo Frio, who has invariably shown me the greatest attention, and has also aided me in obtaining information desired by persons who have written to the legation. The baron has been in diplomatic life forty years.

The foreign office is a model department.

I have, &c.,