to Mr. Frelinghuysen.
Constantinople, December 2, 1882. (Received December 22.)
Sir: I have the honor to inform you of the release from prison of five Greeks who were arrested by the Turkish military authorities and tried by a court martial at Janina, in Epirus, some eighteen months ago, and sentenced to perpetual banishment for the utterance of seditious cries when Janina was evacuated by the Turks.
Numerous petitions had been presented to Mr. Wallace to obtain the pardon of these men. The Sultan, yielding to Mr. Wallace’s request, gave an imperial iradé (edict) for their release; by some mistake other prisoners were released in their place. Mr. Wallace thereupon renewed his request to the Sultan and another iradé was given, but there was an obstruction somewhere which delayed its execution.
When I called on Assym Pasha on the 30th ultimo, to present my respects on his appointment as minister for foreign affairs, I represented to him the hardship these men were suffering in being kept in confinement so long after an imperial pardon had been granted them, and his excellency promised to attend to the matter at once. They were released that afternoon.
It will be a genuine satisfaction to Mr. Wallace that the friendly feeling which the Sultan entertains for him has benefited these unfortunate men, whose severe and unnecessarily long imprisonment for the utterance of a few intemperate words has caused much sympathy. It is probable that without Mr. Wallace’s interference their case would [Page 817]have remained unknown to the Sultan, and their imprisonment been prolonged indefinitely, every other influence brought to bear on their case having proved of no avail.
These men are primates, or chiefs of villages, and have an ecclesiastical character.
I am, &c.,