Mr. Mathews to Mr. Fish.
Tangier , February 11, 1874. (Received March 11.)
Sir: Your dispatches Nos. 59 and 60 have been duly received.
Affairs in the interior of Morocco are as yet rather unsettled. In the province of El Garb, which lies between this and Fez, murders and robberies have been committed.
Intelligence has been received from Fez that the Sultan has promised to discontinue the imposition of tolls, or gate-taxes, on animals carrying merchandise, produce, &c. This news has given great satisfaction to the native population, especially at Fez, where a spirit of serious disaffection had been evinced in consequence of these taxes. Foreign traders interested in the trade of Morocco will also be much gratified to learn that this objectionable and injurious tax will be removed. It has been a subject [Page 41] of strong remonstrance on the part of the foreign representatives, and the removal of the tax has been unceasingly urged by them upon the attention of the Moorish government. The Emperor has also been induced to abolish the tax at the advice of His Highness Mulay Abbas, his uncle and father-in-law, who is an enlightened and liberal-minded prince.
At Laraiche it is reported some disturbance had taken place when the news of the Sultan reached that port, in consequence of the contractors, who had bought the monopoly of levying the tax, having declared that they would not relinquish their right of levying it, as they had received a letter from one of the Sultan’s ministers directing them to continue to impose it rigorously.
The toll-keepers were stoned by the mob, and the governor was compelled to put them in prison as the sole place of security against the fury of the populace. Serious disturbances had likewise taken place some months ago at Azemor, Sallee, Fez, and Alkasar on account of the continuance of the tax. The government had never attempted to impose this tax at this town, the residence of the foreign representatives.
The Italian corvette “Prineipessa Clotilde” arrived at this port on her way to the western ports of Morocco. The Italian chargé d’affaires Signor Scovasso, went on board her as far as Rabat.
I am. &c.,