No. 5.
Mr. Osborn to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 437.]

Sir: On the 10th instant, last night, terminated the discussion in the Chamber of Deputies of the National Congress on the budget of the minister of education and worship, by a vote of thirty-six to twenty-three In favor.

[Page 5]

A hot debate took place on the section relating to the suppression of the seminaries for the education of priests, in which the minister, De Wild, took part.

Heretofore provisions were made in the budget for the support of the seminaries, but the question recently having been raised as to the supremacy of church or state (by Dr. Clara, acting bishop of Cordova, who was suspended and replaced by a Catholic congress assembled in this city, and more recently by the bishop of Salta, who issued a pastoral letter of the same tone and tenor as that of Dr. Clara, and whom the President has suspended pending the consideration of his case by the attorney-general), and alleged intermeddling with the public schools on the part of the apostolic legate, Dr. Maltera, “archbishop of Irenopolis” (and of whom the minister of foreign affairs, several days ago, asked for an explanation of his conduct), has caused already a division of the people into two parties, clerical and anticlerical, and it is quite probable that the next Presidential contest will be fought out on that issue if it be not settled before, and I am inclined to think it will.

It appears from the remarks of the minister that the President, by withholding supplies, is determined to press the matter to a separation. He appears to be fully supported by all his ministers and the more thoughtful of all the prominent men of the country.

The supporters of the church seem to labor under the mistake that the church is superior to or equal with the state, or that the church is a state church, whereas in the framing of the constitution the question was compromised by inserting an article making it incumbent on the Government to support inclusively the Roman Catholic Church.

The church press is bitter, and the feeling is intense, and while many apprehend that serious trouble will result, I am inclined to believe that the Government has the elements of power so well in hand that the church will quietly submit, or that, by common consent, the constitution will be so amended as to permit both parties to care for and support themselves, which event, in my judgment, is close at hand

I have, &c.,