No. 35.
Mr. Heap to Mr. Hunter.

No. 167.]

Sir: Having received on the 20th instant information from Mr. Spiz-zichino, consular agent at Bizerta, that the men sentenced to the galleys and imprisonment on the 1st of June last for the murder of the dragoman of that agency in December, 1872, were at large, I immediately addressed a letter to the Bey’s prime minister, making inquiry into the matter, a copy of which is inclosed.

The next day the minister sent Mr. Conti, a director in the foreign office, to explain that the release of these men was owing to a mistake, and that he would at once order their arrest and re-imprisonment. I requested Mr. Conti to ask the minister to state this in writing, when he informed me that the criminals were secured. Mr. Conti promised that this should be done, but said that it would be some days before the minister could reply to my letter, as, in consequence of a Mohammedan festival, the foreign office would be closed for a week.

* * * * * * *

Although the minister’s explanation is unsatisfactory, as it does not convey the real facts, I shall accept it when I am officially informed in writing that the men are again in custody.

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 167.]

Mr. Heap to General Keredine.

Excellency: It is my duty to bring to your excellency’s knowledge that I am informed that the prisoners, four in number, who were sentenced in June last to various degrees of imprisonment for the assassination of Mohammed Sennen, a dragoman of the consular agency of the United States at Bizerta, are at large.

If my information is correct, I would respectfully ask your excellency to let me know the reasons that have caused His Highness to release these criminals.

I was officially informed on the 1st of June, 1873, by Mr. Conti on the part of His Highness, and so communicated to my Government, that the four men accused of the murder had been tried by His Highness in person and found guilty, and that one was sentenced to the galleys for life, with hard labor, in chains, and the other to imprisonment for life. It is, therefore, a matter of very natural surprise to learn that these men, after an incarceration of a few months, have been set at liberty.

The lively solicitude my Government has already exhibited to obtain reparation for the murder of an officer attached to a consular agency of the United States, will, I hope, convince your excellency that they will receive the news of the release of these criminals with the greatest concern.

I avail, &c.,