19 MARCH 1904, Page 1

As we anticipated, the principle of M. Combes's Bill against

the monastic Orders has been accepted by the French Chamber. The first and most sweeping clause, which "forbids all religious Congregations to practise teaching of any kind or nature in France," was passed in the Chamber on Monday by a majority of 318 votes to 231. So strong is the feeling for the Bill in the provinces that many members of the majority, probably indeed as many as fifty, dared not vote against the principle, and on Tuesday only tried to extend the period of grace. The communes, they say, cannot find the necessary moneys for the new State schools required all at once; and they therefore, by a majority of 282 votes to 271, extended the term during which the Congregations are to wind up their schools from five years, which the Government had proposed, to ten years. In those years they hope many things may happen. Possibly • they will, possibly also not ; but the real interest of the matter consists in this, that a majority of the French people are so strongly opposed to education by monks or nuns that they agree to give up their fixed principles of religious liberty and of the equality of all citizens, and to pay nearly half- a-million a year of extra taxes, rather than allow the system to continue.