First agreements and calculations
| Conditions of an agreement|
The charges and the services of the Historical Monuments were transferred from the Interior Ministry to the Ministry of Education and Fine Arts. The Director at that time was Joseph Chaumié, working under the auspices of Emile Loubet, seventh president of the IIIrd Republic.
On October 23, 1902, a ministerial directive is addressed to the prefect of Corsica. In the absence of a delegated architect, an engineer of bridges and highways from Porto-Vecchio, A Prospéri, is appointed to the administrative supervision of the reconstruction. He will be the representative of the administration on location. His responsibility is to make the liaison between the contractor and the Ministry. He is the manager and must transmit the vouchers to justify the authorized expenses in accordance with the local municipal controller whose office is in the town of Lévie. If he lacks knowledge of historical monuments, he is however competent to manage major construction projects.
Since it concerns work whose artistic quality is primordial, the usual procedure of a public announce enabling concurrent bidding is not applied. In this case, the contractor, who must be an expert in his field, is introduced to the Ministry by the architect. Follows a contract by mutual agreement between the Ministry and the contractor.
The project concerns the restoration of the church San Giovanni Batista and the partial reconstruction of the bell-tower according to the survey notes pertaining to the part that had resisted to damage done by lightening, and especially the bay opening conserved on the first floor.
The services of the ministry communicate to A. Prosperi (2) of Porte-Vecchio, the designated architect that they are disposed to assume about 2/3 of the cost of the restoration, and thus the village of Carbini, proprietor of the monument must pay the other 1/3. The village has no income to cover its contribution. In 1902, Carbini has a population of 350.
The farms produce just enough to feed families, and there are very few tourists to admire the bell suspended on a pole at the entrance of the church. It is useless to ask the church committee because the parish is of a biblical poverty.
Therefore, the administration accepts the following arrangement: The village possesses some of the necessary material amongst the ruins of San Quilico, which it can furnish to the contractor for the reconstruction of the bell-tower, as well as some volunteer workers. At this time, no one is concerned about the archeological and historical aspects of the site which is being treated like a vulgar excavation. And no one foresees the difficulties that will be produced by this uncanny mixture when it is time to pay the bills. But it is the only combination possible.
The chief architect, Ballu, faced with the extreme difficulty of this restoration project, tried to ‘unclass' the monument, but did not succeed for political reasons that can easily be imagined.
In late summer of 1902, the Mayor of Carbini, Camille Nicolai, launches a subscription to the population of Carbini to collect volunteer work days, and inaugurates the list by signing up himself for 20 work days. In this way he collects promises of 620 volunteer work days of which he retains 420 work days of non- specialized laborers useful for transporting and handling material. The subscription, written on stamped paper is a caution for the ministerial services; for 34 signatures , there are 22 “Nicolai”.
Surprise: the people of Carbini have collected 1800,07 francs deposited on the account of the municipal controller. How did they collect such a large sum of money? Considering that a transporter using his horse and wagon earned only 2.60 francs a day in 1900, and a first-class mason earned 5,00 francs. The donations probably represent years of savings , which shows their tenacity. It is also possible that they received contributions from generous Corsican expatriates.
On July 3, 1902 a descriptive estimation for the sum of 27 598, 43 francs is addressed to the service of Historical Monuments by Prospéri. In accordance with administrative nomenclature, this estimation of expenses is established by the ‘series of prices'. The last reference of prices consulted had been published in 1900. This device was currently used up until the end of the XXth century. The prices were established and published by the Central Society of French Architects. For ambiguous reasons related to concurrence, this device is no longer used in France.
The work is financed as follows
F : 11 735, 00.- Ministry (Fine-Arts)
F : 5 000, 00.- Ministry (Cult)
F : 1 800, 07.- Carbini species
F : 7 803, 36.- Carbini materials
F : 1 260, 00.- Carbini 420 days of work
F : 27 598, 43.- Total
A local contractor was presented by Prosperi : Sylla Nicolai of Carbini who curiously sends in his invoice on August 26 for 6308,32 francs, approximately the sum necessary for the church. Perhaps to reconcile with the initial project of 1893? (cf. supra).
The restoration project becomes tangible at the same time as the confusion begins.
The estimate of Prospéri is approved on October 15 1902 by the Director of Fine Arts and co-signed by the Minister. The same day, the Minister signs a decree stipulating that the work will be accounted by mutual agreement with the contractor presented by Prospéri in accordance with a law of 1837.
The invoice of Sylla Nicolai is reevaluated by the Director on October 16; after deducting imponderables as well as the fees of Prospéri, the sum is fixed at F: 26 284, 22- and approved on October 24.
Sylla Nicolaï has an accident on another building site and is unavailable.
In January 1903, Sylla excuses himself for medical reasons. Is this the truth or a diplomatic maneuver? Is the reconstruction of the belfry beyond his capacities?
Had he flared a losing affair?
Note 2: Prospéri also employs an é in his name, but Ballu writes his name without an accent. Certain Nicolaï have a dieresis on the final ï, while others do not..