Mr. Heap to Mr. Hunter.
Tunis , November 10, 1873. (Received Dec. 11.)
Sir: I had the honor to inform the Department on the 23d of October last, [No. 160,] of the appointment of General Keredine as prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, in the place of General Sidi Mustafa Khaznadar.
At an interview with the bey on the 27th of October, I expressed the desire to call on General Sidi Mustafa, to which his highness gave his assent. His consent was necessary, as the late minister is kept under strict surveillance in his palace, which he is not allowed to leave.
Sidi Mustafa seemed very tranquil under this great reverse of fortune, though he must know, better than any one, what dangers surrounded him. He was grateful, he said, for the numerous favors he had received from the bey, and protested that his aim had always been the prosperity of the regency and the honor and welfare of his sovereign; he was old and needed repose, and was thankful that he was allowed to seek it in retirement from office.
* * * * * * *
A few evenings after this visit I returned that of General Keredine, who had called at the American consulate upon his appointment as prime minister. He is familiar with the French language, speaking it fluently and with precision and elegance. * * *
The minister requested me to inform my government that it is his firm intention to devote his best energies to the reform of abuses, the amelioration of the condition of the country, and the maintenance of friendly relations with foreign powers by the respect of treaties and a strict adherence to principles of justice and equity in all his dealings with their subjects, and that he desired above all their friendly co-operation. He spoke eloquently of the abasement and humiliation of Mahometan nations, and although Tunis holds but an bumble rank among them, he hoped that when its resources come to be wisely developed and administered, it will contribute no mean quota to the wealth of the world. “We are aware,” he said, “of our weakness, surrounded as we are by great and powerful nations, and set the highest value on the sympathy and friendship of your great and generous nation in the efforts we may make for our regeneration.”
I am, &c.,