Constantinople , May 12, 1872. (Received June 3.)
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt from the Department of State of dispatches numbers 15, 16, and 17. I shall carefully follow the instructions as to the course to be pursued toward certain pretended citizens of the United States residing in Constantinople, indicated in dispatch No. 15.
From all the testimony which I can gather, Mr. Joseph Paul Hamson, although in possession of a passport issued at London in 1855, has not really the slightest claim, beyond that established by the passport, of being considered an American citizen.
Mr. Brown’s report as to Mr. J. F. Gunster is correct. Mr. Gunster is an Austrian Jew by birth, and he has never set his foot upon the territory of the United States. As you suppose, he is the absconding jailer mentioned in my dispatch No. 3. We shall probably never again hear of him.
Shortly after my arrival here Mr. Aristahis Azarian presented himself to me, exhibited his old passport from the Department of State, and requested me to issue a new passport to him. Knowing that there had been a question as to his right of citizenship in the United States, which my predecessor, Mr. Morris, had refused to acknowledge, I questioned Mr. Azarian closely, and he professed to be able to obtain copies of his naturalization papers from the United States, and pledged his word to produce them within a reasonable time. Pending that production, to the time allowed for which I have placed a limit, I instructed the consul-general to protect Mr. Azarian as fully as though his claim were established. I hope that Mr. Azarian may prove his right to citizenship of the United States, for he is a very useful man to this legation, sitting, as he always willingly does, as judge in the tidjaret or mixed court, in American cases, and therein displaying marked ability. We could more readily dispense with many a man of undoubted citizenship, in the American colony, than with the valuable services of Mr. Aristahis Azarian. In addition to the claim advanced by the two Azarians, Aristahis and James, a third brother, Mr. Joseph Azarian, is undoubtedly a citizen of the United States. He resides in the city of Boston almost altogether, where he and his two brothers have, in conjunction, an important commercial house. On the whole, this Azarian affair is pretty well mixed up, after the usual Levantine fashion, and whether Aristahis and James can emerge from it as American citizens remains to be seen. I understand that there was no suspicion of the claim of the brothers Azarian to American citizenship until, at the death of their father, a few years ago, when they got into a triangular fight over the property of the deceased, and one brother denounced the others to the minister, the consul, and to everybody who would listen to him, more Turcico. Now that peace has been made among them, the protesting brother would fain return his family to our fold, more Turcico once more.
The passport of James Azarian I shall endeavor to find. It is said to be among the papers of the late Mr. Brown.
I have, &c.,