No. 722.
Mr. Blaine to Mr. Wallace.

No. 8.]

Sir: Referring to recent instructions touching the subject of brigandage in Turkey, I desire to forward herewith, for your information, a copy of a letter from the secretary of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, at Boston, of the 27th ultimo, in relation to the insecurity of life and property of American missionaries in that empire. The murder of Dr. Parsons, mentioned in the inclosed letter, has heretofore been the subject of much correspondence between this Department and the legation at Constantinople, as a reference to the files of the latter will show, and was especially presented in my instruction to you of the 29th of June last, No. 3.

In view of the emphatic and unmistakable character of that instruction, it has not been thought necessary to direct you specially at the present time.

Commending the matter to your earnest consideration, however,

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 8.]

Mr. Clark to Mr. Blaine.

Sir: I beg to call your attention to the long delay in inflicting capital punishment on the murderer of Dr. Parsons, of Nicomedia. Of the three murderers, two were sentenced to imprisonment for life and one to be hung. The sentence was secured only through the interposition of the representative of the United States Government; and further effort on the part of the government is now necessary to secure the condign punishment of the murderer. While this punishment is delayed, the life and property of the American missionaries scattered through the country are in great peril. In fact, since the death of Dr. Parsons they have suffered more than in any five previous years since our missionaries went into that empire. Mr. Montgomery, in Northern Syria, and parry were robbed but a few months since. Mr. Perry, in the central part of Asia Minor, was also attacked by a party of robbers and stripped of everything. Dr. Barnum, on his way from Harpoot to Constantinople, was also robbed, but by remarkable address succeeded in persuading his robbers to return to him most of what they had taken. Mr. Pierce, within a few miles, comparatively, of Constantinople, has been attacked by robbers. As there are more than one hundred missionaries of the board scattered through the empire, whose lives and property are thus in constant peril, and all the more that sentence against the murderer of Dr. Parsons was not executed, we beg to call the attention of the State Department and ask that special instructions be given to the representative of our government at Constantinople. I do not know but more will be required than simple representations; a naval demonstration has been necessary on two occasions to secure the execution of murderers of missionaries.

I am also instructed by the prudential committee to call your attention to a flagrant act of injustice just perpetrated by a Turkish judge in Bitlis in Koordistan, in the eastern part of the empire. It appears that Rev. George C. Knapp, on going to Bitlis twenty-two years since, rented a house for a year; but before the year had expired the house was sold at auction by the government. Rather than be turned out of his house, Mr. Knapp overbid others and secured the house. Last winter a judge came from Constantinople, who has just decided that the house was illegally sold, and that Mr. Knapp must give it up to a pretended claimant, and, in addition, pay L. T. 200 for costs. Mr. Knapp has enlarged his house during his occupancy, on several occasions, and the property is much better now than when he first took it. The claimant insists that he will not be content with less than L. T. 1,000, and the attempt is made to wrest this large house, or this sum, from the missionary. It is a pure piece of injustice from first to last, unprecedented almost even in Turkey. Mr. Knapp has appealed [Page 1188] to the American minister at Constantinople. The whole thing is of a piece, however, with the indifference now manifest to the rights of Americans in the empire. I hope it may be sufficient simply to have appealed to the American minister; but the indifference shown to former representations in the various cases above mentioned leads the prudential committe of the American Board to feel that a representation should be made here to the State Department.

Very sincerely, yours,

Foreign Secretary American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions.