to Mr. Hunter.
Tunis, August 2, 1878. (Received August 22.)
Sir: The prime minister has addressed a letter to the consuls relative to the expense of maintaining the light-houses on this coast. There are four light-houses on the coast of this regency, viz: One on the Cane Rocks, opposite to Bizerta; one on Cape Carthage; one at the Goletta, and one on Cape Bon. The minister states that the annual expense of these lights is 45,747 piasters ($5,398.14), while the total income from light-houses and tonnage dues is 20,400 piasters ($2,407.20), leaving a deficit of 25,347 piasters ($2,990.94), and that he is instructed by the Bey to ask that the treasury be relieved of this charge by additional taxation.
Vessels under 36 tons now pay 5 piasters ($0.59) for the light-house at the Goletta, and those over 36 tons 10 piasters ($1.18). There is also a tax of 3/100 of a franc per ton on all vessels for the light-house on Cape Bon. These are the only light-house dues charged.
It would seem equitable to allow this government to collect by a tonnage or other shipping tax a sum sufficient to cover the expense of all the light-houses on this coast.
A translation of the minister’s letter is inclosed.
I am, & c.,