No. 306.
Mr. Maynard to Mr. Fish.

No. 71.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose, for the purpose of giving you a complete history of the almost-forgotten Salonica affair, two dispatches to the legation from Mr. Lazzaro, the United States consular agent, with translations.

So far as I can learn from all the information at my command, he has borne himself during this distressing period with great forbearance, and has exhibited a very becoming spirit. I think you will agree with me that these communications place his candor and his judgment in a very favorable light.

Rachid Pacha, the minister of foreign affairs, expressed himself to me quite satisfied that the imputation made upon him by the report of the governor-general of Salonica was unwarranted, and promised so to telegraph to the minister in Washington, with instructions to inform the Department of State.

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 71.—Translation.]

Mr. Lazzaro to Mr. Maynard, May 25, 1876.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch dated May 18, by which you do me the honor of approving the promptness with which I furnished you, by dispatch and telegrams, with all the particulars I could get of the unhappy affair in which the connection of my family happened to be as unexpected as disagreeable. [Page 570] I deeply regret that my name, in my capacity as American consular agent, being unjustly attached to an affair in which I took no part has occasioned you uneasiness and trouble. I thank you for being satisfied with the explanations I have already had the honor to make of my conduct in this affair, and which I hope is such as to acquit me of any direct or indirect participation in it, and at the same time authorize you to refute any slanderous attack against me by the authorities and others.

I thank you also for your kind attention in informing the minister of foreign affairs that a delegate on the part of the legation would be sent here in case of an investigation.

I cherish the hope that after the steps taken by you to give the Porte the necessary explanations of my conduct, it will not take place; but in that contingency, such a support from you will be of great advantage to me. I ought, however, to inform you that a proposal to put me under investigation was made in the commission, and abandoned on the testimony and assurances in my favor of Mr. Blunt, the British consul.

The Bulgarian girl who caused the mischief at Salonica is a native of the village of Bogdantza. According to the inclosed document, a copy of the statement by the head men of Bogdantza, this girl is shown to be only twelve years old; nevertheless, more precise information makes her some years more. According to the same document it appears that this girl was carried off by a band of Turkish women while she went for water at the village fountain. Her light reputation and the suspicions of the villagers that she had had intimate relations with a young Turk of the village, lead me to think that she was in connivance with her ravishers in order to be carried off. According to the statement of her family she was lost for three days, and was concealed in several Turkish houses, where, under the influence exercised over her by her new friends, she decided to become Mahommedan.

On the 5th of May, having already adopted the feradjé and the yashmak, and accompanied by two negresses and the imam of the village, she left for the depot of Carasuli, and took the train to Salonica, where, it is said, she was going to declare her new faith before the local authorities. The mother, on her part, after wandering three days from house to house in search of her daughter and not finding her, took the same route to go to Salonica and make a complaint to the archbishop.

Chance gave the unhappy woman what she had sought in vain—she found her daughter again and saw her in a car surrounded by her traveling companions. Her first movement was to address herself to the employés of the railway company, explaining to them with deep sorrow the carrying off of her daughter, and begging them to help recover her. Some hot-headed young men took up her case and promised to assist her.

Mr. George Abbot, brother of Miss Abbot, my son’s governess, was unhappily of the number.

Mr. Abbot, by virtue of the law of the country which forbids the presence of men in the car with Turkish women, obliged the imam to go into another compartment and placed the mother near her daughter. At sight of her the daughter is said to have exhibited emotion, and, expressing regrets for what she had done, to have thrown herself on the neck of her mother.

That scene stimulated the zeal of those who had promised to save her. Arrived at Salonica about 6 o’clock, they left the car under the escort of two policemen who were waiting for them at the station. At the same time the mother, aided by the young employés, called again for assistance. That day being the fête of St. George, many promenaders of every nationality were at the station.

Several persons among them answered voluntarily to the appeal, and taking hold of the girl they tore off her feradjé and yashmak. The Turks who accompanied her tried to resist, and a little affray took place. The police force on service at the station interfered to separate them, and succeeded in taking possession of the girl. But while on their way to the governor’s residence (conak) they were assaulted again by the Christians, who took possession of the girl once more, and finding my carriage on the way, stopped it and forced her into it, in company with another person. Two young girls ten years of age and an old family servant-woman were in the carriage, having asked my mother’s permission to take this opportunity to visit the station.

My coachman, whether from stupidity or excess of misdirected zeal, brought the girl to the consulate after she was forced into my carriage. At the consulate she was joined afterward by her mother and an old uncle. Meanwhile my family was absent from home. My mother was the first to return. Seeing her, the coachman approached her and said, “Madam, I have done something, but I do not know if well or not. I have brought to the consulate a young Bulgarian girl that some Christians at the station rescued from the hands of the Turks, and, forcing me to stop, put into my master’s carriage.”

In my former dispatch I have already had the honor to say that my carriage was at the station by my orders, given four days before to my coachman, when I left him to take the train to Topsin.

My mother found the girl, the uncle, and the mother in the consulate. They all fell [Page 571] at her feet and begged permission to remain there. My mother, before taking decided action, waited for the return of my brother Nicholas, who came soon after.

The mother of the girl, distracted by sorrow and despair at the thought that her child would soon be torn from her family and lost forever, moved my mother and my brother by her cries and entreaties. My brother Nicholas, surprised and doubtful how to act in a matter which did not concern him, yielded to the prayers of the mother and daughter and consented to keep them at the house Friday night, advising my mother to send them away the next day. The mother and her daughter were accommodated in the dining-room, which is on the ground-floor, where they spent the night together. Next morning the two women left the house, not by the door of the consulate, but by a little door leading to the court-yard of the church of St. Charalambo. In this way my family were relieved of two guests whom a mere accident forced upon their hospitality, and whom they had to care for as an act of pure humanity, and not to create disturbance nor to accomplish a political scheme, as some badly-informed parties here and elsewhere would infer. Early the next day my brother went out to his office. Toward 1 o’clock in the afternoon some one from the house informed him of the visit of Petropoulo Effendi, together with another official of the Porte, who came on the part of the governor-general to take the girl. My brother went home and told those gentlemen that he had given orders the day before for the girl to be sent away; that she had left, and he did not know where she could now be found. As soon as they left, my brother, attaching no importance to an occurrence common enough in the country, left also, and went to the Frank quarter to christen the child of one of his acquaintances.

While he was absent, Mr. Alfred Abbot came to visit my mother, and being already acquainted with the affair asked her if the girl was still with her. My mother answered “no.”

Toward 3 o’clock Mr. Abbot came again, and showing the second letter of his brother, asked my mother where the girl could be found. My mother replied that according to the report in circulation she must be in the house of Mr. Avgerinos. With that he went away, and met with the bearer of Mr. Henry Abbot’s first letter, delayed in the transmission, addressed to my brother Nicholas, the copy of which I had the honor to send you with my first report. He hurried to the house of Mr. Avgerinos, and on his way met the cavass of the British consulate, who was going to our house with a note from Mr. Blunt, asking for the girl, who he still supposed was there. Mr. Abbot took the note addressed to my brother, and said to the cavass that the girl was not at Mr. Lazzaro’s house; that he knew where she was, and if he would follow him he would deliver her to him. The cavass followed Mr. Abbot as far as his own house. Here he stopped the cavass and the ten policemen with him, and turning the little street by his house came back directly with the girl, and told the cavass to take her in the greatest haste to the mosque. The cavass taking her along as fast as he could, was going toward the mosque, when, not far from my consulate, he met an enraged crowd, coming with curses and fierce demonstrations against the consulate, swearing its destruction in order to get possession of her. The appearance of the girl, although too late to save the life of my unhappy colleagues, came in time to abate in some measure the rage of these furies and to turn them from their purpose, and in this way to prevent the destruction of my family and many others.

As to the pretended marriage of the girl with a young Turk, according to all information I can gather, I can assure you that it is without foundation. This young girl, of a very equivocal reputation, is accused of having had relations of an intimate nature with more than one person. It is almost certain, although not proved, that one of her objects in going to Salonica was to enter the harem of Emin Effendi. The presence of that individual in the same train with her, as well as many other circumstances, corroborate this supposition.

This Emin Effendi, though the richest and most influential Turk of the country, does not enjoy a good reputation, and it is he that public opinion points out as being the principal instigator of the mischief which followed the abduction of the girl. As to the rumor of her pregnant condition, I heard it also, but I am not in condition to furnish any definite information on the subject.

She is just now at Mehemed Pasha’s, a man of a great integrity in the country, who received her at his house only after a formal order from the authorities to offer her an asylum.

You will allow me to assure you once more, in the most formal manner, that not only this young girl was never in my service, as is pretended, but that neither myself nor any member of my family had the slightest knowledge of this affair. I am firmly convinced that it was not a made-up affair on either side, and that neither the Christians nor the Turks at the moment dreamed of the monstrous consequences which followed. Certainly the Christians were wrong in pushing their religious zeal to the point of resorting to illegal and forcible means to take the girl; but at another moment such an event would probably pass unnoticed.

Unhappily it found the Turks in a great excitement. On one side the hopeless condition [Page 572] of their government, on the other their continual reverses and forced inactivity in the Herzegovina, seem to have irritated them and to have aroused in them the monstrous religious fanaticism which pushed them to the odious assassination of the two consuls.

In conclusion, it will be superfluous for me to show you all the prejudices and the great dangers that this unhappy affair continues to cause me, my family, and my interests. These dangers and prejudices will not be averted until you, in view of all the explanations I have had the honor to furnish, shall do me the honor of coming to my support, and by the powerful influence of our legation refute officially and unofficially all the false and scandalous reports as unjustly as unworthily circulated against me and the consular agency which I have the honor to represent.

I have, &c.,

Consular Agent.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 71 —Translation.]

united states consular agency, salonica.


We, the undersigned, contzanbasides and agades of the place Bogdantza, declare, with the present document, that on the 21st of April a daughter of Delhio Giota, aged of twelve years, was carried off at 8 o’clock on Wednesday, whilst she was going to take water from the fountain. The persons that had taken the girl were the wives of Suleiman Tsaoussi; those of Chussein, son of Ismail Aga; of Ibrahim Yatzatzi, and of Tasar Akbamba, and many other women, who carried the girl by force away from her mother, and are harboring her to this day by turns in different Turkish houses, using every influence and emulation to induce her to embrace Mahometanism. To this fact we, the undersigned, contzambassides and agades, give our evidence.