Mr. Francis to Mr. Fish.
Athens , May 24, 1873. (Received June 16.)
Sir: Among the recent measures of the Greek government awaiting the action of the chamber is the following:
That part of the ecvolades which was claimed by the late Franco-Italian Company, as lying within the area of the mine conceded to them, has now been conceded to the new Laurium Company (see my dispatch numbered 114) by a convention signed on the 11th instant. The principal provisions of this convention are as follows: The company is to smelt down the ecvolades, together with the scoria, which already belong to them, and on the lead from which they now pay the state a royalty of 10 per cent., when the scoria is taken from private lands, and 30 per cent, when taken from national lands. The lead produced in the future from the joint smelting, both of the scoria and ecvolades, is to pay 44 cent., after deducting the working expenses. This 44 per cent, is to be paid either in metal or in cash at the option of the government. The company binds itself to erect within two years twelve additional furnaces, making thirty altogether, twenty of which are to be kept constantly at work producing a minimum quantity of 12,000 tons of lead annually. The company is to be governed by a board of twelve directors, two of whom, possessing three votes, will be named by the government also the government also to appoint a royal commission to inspect the work at Laurium. As regards the ecvolades lying in other parts of Laurium, and which are of vastly greater extent than those conceded as above, it is stipulated that if up to the time of the ratification of this convention by the chamber no better offers be made, they will also be conceded to the company, and in that case the company will pay a royalty on all the lead produced of 50 instead of 44 per cent., and will erect twelve more furnaces, making in all forty-two furnaces. Under this convention, even if the latter part of the agreement is not availed of, it is estimated that the income of the government from the Laurium mines will not be less than 2,000,000 drachma, or some $330,000 annually. Last year the income of the government from this source was about $38,000.
* * * * * * *
The Greek army has been reduced 1,000 men, leaving the whole number about 10,000. This is a saving of 500,000 drachma, or about $82,000, a year.
One of the two Greek iron-clads, the King George, is being dismantled, and will be laid up. This is a saving of 100,000 drachma, or over $16,500, a year.
I am, &c.,