Mr. Mathews to Mr. Evarts.
Tangier , August 7, 1877. (Received September 18.)
Sir: Referring to my dispatch No. 245, of the 28th July, 1877, informing you that the Sultan had been pleased to present to the foreign representatives a piece of ground for the purpose of enlarging the present Christian cemetery at Tangier, which is now completely filled with graves, I have the honor to acquaint you that at a meeting of the foreign representatives, which took place yesterday, it was resolved that, in order to secure the burial-ground from desecration, it is necessary that it be surrounded by a wall, as it has been found impossible hitherto to prevent the old cemetery, which adjoins the ground ceded by the Sultan, and which is protected on two sides only by a hedge of canes, from being frequently entered into at night by persons of bad character and the tombstones defaced or robbed.
It is estimated that the cost of a wall with entrance-gate and room or lodge will be about $2,000. Such a sum could not possibly be raised here [Page 689] by public subscription, as the European population at Tangier consists almost entirely of persons of the poorest class, and with the exception of the members of the foreign missions and consulates there are very few persons who have the means of subscribing to such a work.
I find that during the last five years there have been 148 interments in the cemetery. Out of this number only 25 were of persons possessed of sufficient means to pay the cemetery burial fee.
It being, therefore, useless to attempt to raise the necessary funds for the required works by local subscription, it was unanimously agreed at the meeting of yesterday that application be made by all the foreign representatives to their respective governments for a grant of money for the purpose.
There are thirteen foreign governments represented at Tangier, and should each of these governments consent to contribute the sum of $155 it would be sufficient for the purpose required, as it is very desirable that the Christian cemetery should be provided with a wall as proposed to protect it from desecration.
I trust that you will authorize me to inform my colleagues that if other governments grant sums of money for this object the United States Government will likewise contribute to the same.
I have, &c.,