Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, For the Year 1887, Transmitted to Congress, With a Message of the President, June 26, 1888
to Mr. Bayard.
Constantinople, October 19, 1886. (Received Nov. 8.)
Sir: I have the tenor to inclose the correspondence in reference to the case -of Bev. Dr. Herrick:
(1) A copy of a letter from Bev. Mr. Dwight; (2) a copy of my letter to Mr. Dwight; (3) a copy of Mr. Dwight’s reply; (4) a copy of my dispatch to the Sublime Porte on the subject.
Finding from Mr. Dwight’s second letter that Rev. Mr. Filian is a Turkish subject, and moreover being informed that he himself has come to Constantinople to attend to his own ease with the Turkish Government, I have limited my dispatch to the Sublime Porte to the interference with Rev. Dr. Herrick.
In Rev. Mr. Dwight’s first letter he bases his complaint on the 82d article of the “Capitulations ou traités anciens et nouveaux entre la Cour de France et la Porte Ottomane renouvellés et augmenés à Constantinople le 28 mai 1740.”
The following is the extract of the Capitulations to which he refers, the original text of which I inclose:
The bishops and religious persons under the Jurisdiction of the Emperor of France who are in my Empire will be protected as long as they keep within the limits of their profession, and no one can prevent them from the exercise of their religious rites according to their usage in the churches which are within their possession, as well as in the other places where they dwell; and when our tributary subjects and French subjects go and come to one another for sale and purchase or other business they shall not be molested, against the sacred laws on account of such intercourse.
I have, etc.,
Rev. Mr. Dwight to Mr. King.
Constantinople, October 9, 1888.
Dear Sir: On the 7th of August of the present year the Rev. Dr. Herrick, an American missionary residing at Marsovan, went to Kastamouni to administer the sacraments to. Protestants residing at that place. On his arrival at Kastamouni he found that the preacher at whose house he was to stay had been ordered by the local governor to desist from holding divine service in his house. Dr. Herrick then sent his passport and other papers to the local authorities, pointing out that he was an American missionary, for twenty-eight years resident in the Turkish Empire, and during all that time in the habit of performing such services as the one now proposed, and explaining that he had come to Kastamouni in order to administer the sacrament of the [Page 1080] Lord’s Supper to Protestants in that place, and that therefore he begged the authorities to permit the holding of the service in a quiet way in the house rented by the American mission, and occupied for more than a year by the Protestant preacher. Mr. Filian. He added that of course there would be no objection to the presence of a functionary charged with seeing that at the service nothing was done contrary to good order, but that the prohibition of the service without reason did not accord with the laws of the Empire in reference to the freedom of worship.
Upon the receipt of Dr. Herrick’s request the local authorities sent police to the house, with orders to prevent any person from outside the house from access to it either during the service or after it was over.
The police formed a cordon about the house, and thus held it in a state of blockade during the whole time that Dr. Herrick remained within it, that is to say, until the afternoon of the 9th of August, when Dr. Herrick left the city. Even one of our booksellers, who chanced to be in the city over the Sabbath, and who needed to see Dr. Herrick on matters connected with his business, was prevented by the police from having access to the house.
I pass over the insult offered to an American citizen whose papers are in regular order, in blockading his house and thus advertising to the people of the city that the governor chooses to regard him as a dangerous character. The serious part of the incident is the violation of the privileges enjoyed by American missionaries under the capitulations (and tinder the usages of sixty years, of holding religious service in their own houses, and in having free access to native houses, and freedom to receive the calls of native visitors. This privilege has never once been called in question until this occasion since American missionaries came to this country in 1829.
The ground of the enjoyment of this privilege by American missionaries is the French capitulations of 1740, in their stipulations as to the rights and privileges of the members of religious bodies. The status under the treaties of American missionaries has always been regarded as the same as that of the French missionaries and “religieux.”
Even in the matter of receiving goods free of duty through the custom-house the American missionaries, as invested with the same religious and benevolent character, have been recognized as having the rights conferred on the French “religieux” by the capitulations.
In regard to the particular case in hand, the treaty provides for the emergency, permitting foreign ecclesiastics to exercise the rites of religious worship in the places which they inhabit, and to receive native visitors without hinderance.
The eighty-second clause of the French capitulations of 1740 contains the following stipulations on this point:
“The bishops and “religieux” dependent on the Emperor of France, who are in my Empire, will be protected while they keep within the limits of their condition, and. no one can prevent them from exercising their rites of worship according to their customs, in the churches which are in their hands, as well as in the other places which they inhabit. And where our tributary (non-Muslim) subjects and the French go and come, the one to the abode of the other, for purchases, sales, and other affairs, no one can molest them in contravention of the sacred laws on account of this frequentation.” Furthermore, there is no law of the Empire which authorizes the interference of the authorities to prevent the holding of religious worship; on the contrary the laws and the treaties alike declare the exercise of religious worship to be the privilege of all:
It is not necessary to urge the calling to account of the governor of Kastamouni because of his wanton outrage upon a precious right in this case. He may have been ignorant of the gravity of his offense. But I would respectfully beg that you would kindly request the Sublime Porte to take such measures as it may seem necessary for the instruction of the governor of Kastamouni, so that Dr. Herrick or others of our number on going to the city again may not be subjected to restrictions and indignities such as are put upon foreign missionaries in no other part of the Empire.
Very respectfully, etc.,
Mr. King to Mr. Dwight.
Constantinople, October 13, 1886.
Dear Sir: Your communication of 9th instant has been received, and in connection with it I should like some additional information, in order that I may examine the ground for action as definitely as may be. * * *
- Is Rev. Mr. Filian an American citizen?
- Has he in the past held public worship in Kastamouni? If so in what place, i. e.,in a church or in a private house?
- Have the Protestants in Kastamouni a church?
- If not, have they asked permission to build one? When was such permission asked (if asked)? On what grounds refused (if refused)?
- Have your ministers been (as a rule) hitherto allowed to hold public worship in private houses of natives, i.e., Turkish subjects, and in private houses of American citizens resident in Turkey?
In addition to your written reply I shall be glad to talk the matter over with you, referring to the law bearing on the case, provided you should be in Peru soon.
Mr. Dwight to Mr. King.
Dear Sir: Your favor of this day’s date is received, and I answer the questions in reference to the Kastamouni case as below:
(1) Is Rev. Mr. Filian an American citizen?
He is an Ottoman subject.
(2) Has he in the past held public worship in Kastamouni, and if so, in what place?
He has held worship in a dwelling-house rented by the American mission) and to this worship any who have wished to come have been admitted.
(3) Have the Protestants in Kastamouni a church?
(4) If not, have they asked permission to build one?
The Protestants in Kastamouni are few in number, and are mostly, if not all, temporary residents in the place, since the city is a central location, where business men are frequently led from other places in the line of their trade.
A number of sojourners, wishing to have religious privileges, ask for a preacher, and Mr. Filian was sent there by the American mission, the Protestants who attend his service paying half of his salary; the state of the case being this”: The Protestants of Kastamouni have never asked for permission to build a church, and have none. In fact there could hardly be under the circumstances any other arrangement than the one in existence there. Those who wish to attend service on the Sabbath go to the house of the preacher and quietly hold service, as is customary in other parts of the Empire in similar cases.
In this connection allow me to call your attention to the fact that we do not and can not ask the intervention of the United States legation in behalf of the Rev. Mr. Filian, and the Protestants of Kastamouni.
My only request to you was that if you saw fit you would ask the Porte to instruct the governor of Kastamouni concerning the rights of the American citizen, Dr. Herrick, or other American citizens who maybe temporarily staying in Kastamouni, and who exercise their functions as religious and ordained men in the quiet way contemplated by the treaties.
Your fifth question applies to the case of Dr. Herrick.
(5) Have your ministers been, as a rule, hitherto allowed to hold public worship in private houses of natives (Turkish subjects) as in private houses of American citizens resident in Turkey?
They have been for more than fifty years, and are now, allowed to receive any persons, from outside the house who wish to attend the services which they hold where-ever they are. Presume that if our ministers were to make any disturbance in the way of calling people together by a public method, there might be objections on the part of the authorities to such procedure, but this is never done. No case has ever come to my knowledge of an interference on the part of the authorities to prevent people from attending our services, whether held in private houses of natives or of American citizens.
In fact the local authorities have in times past interfered to protect such services from disturbance from ill-disposed persons. My own acquaintance with this subject extends over a period of about thirty-five years, and I find no record of any trouble in this line before my personal knowledge of the facts commences.
In the case in hand the authorities at Kastamouni did not deny the right of Dr. Herrick to hold service in the house in question. The only point of our complaint to the legation is the placing of a police guard about the house to prevent any from outside the house from holding communication with Dr. Herrick, not only on the [Page 1082] Sabbath, but on the nest day also. Such an act is utterly without precedent, and seeing that Dr. Herriek’s passport and teskere were in regular order, and were in the hands of the authorities, the act was from our point of view entirely unjustifiable.
* * * * * * *
Mr. King to the Sublime Porte.
Constantinople, October 18, 1886.
Excellency: I beg to call your attention to a case of recent interference with the rights and privileges of an American citizen, Key. Dr. Herrick.
On the 7th August, 1886, Rev. Dr. Herrick, an American missionary, went to the city of Kastamouni to administer the sacrament to the Protestants residing there. On his arrival fee found that the preacher, at whose house he was to stop, had been ordered by the local governor to desist from holding divine service in his house. Dr. Herrick then sent his passport and other papers to the local authorities, and pointed out that he had been for twenty-eight years an American missionary resident in the Turkish Empire, and during all that time in the habit of performing such service as the one now proposed. Therefore he begged the authorities to permit the holding of the service in a quiet way, in the house rented by the American mission, and occupied for more than a year by the Protestant preacher, Rev. Mr. Filian. Dr. Herrick added that of course there would be no objection to the presence of a functionary charged with seeing that at the service nothing was done contrary to good order; but that the prohibition of the service without assigning any reason did not accord with the laws of the Empire in reference to the freedom of worship.
Upon the receipt of Dr. Herriek’s request, the local authorities sent police to the house, with orders to prevent any person from outside the house having -access to it, either during the service or after it was over. The police formed a cordon about the house, and thus held it in a state of blockade during the whole time that Dr. Herrick remained within it—that is to say, until the afternoon of August 9, when he left the city.
This is a serious violation of the privileges enjoyed by Americans for the last sixty years of holding religious service in their own houses and in having the freedom to receive visitors. I am happy to state to your excellency that I am informed that these privileges have never before been called in question.
I respectfully request you to give such orders to the governor of that province as will prevent the recurrence of such an incident, should Dr. Herrick or any other American missionary visit Castamouni again.
I avail, etc.,