No. 533.
Mr. Heap to Mr. Hunter.

No. 277.]

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.,

[Page 932]
[Inclosure No. 277.—Translation.]

The Prime Minister to Mr. Heap.

maintenance of light-houses on cape carthage, cane rocks, cape bon, goletta.

Honored Sir: I am directed by my august master the Bey to call your attention to the expense occasioned by the maintenance of the above-named light-houses. Their total annual expense is a serious item for this government. It amounts to 45,747 piasters.

Taxes are levied for two only of these lights and the receipts are only 20,400 piasters. As there is no charge for the maintenance of the other two lights, the deficit is 25,347 piasters per annum.

The maintenance of these lights being an expense that should be defrayed by the shipping frequenting our ports, His Highness has instructed me to beg you to devise, in concert with your colleagues, some practical measure, either by creating a tax for the two light-houses for which no tax is now paid, or by increasing the light-house dues already established, whereby to attain the end which the government has in view, of making the receipts balance the expenditure.

I pray God to have you in his holy keeping.