Mr. King to Mr. Blaine.

No. 34.]

Sir: In 1883 there was an attack made on two American missionaries, Rev. Mr. Knapp and Dr. Raynolds, which was reported to the State Department in Mr. Wallace’s No 234 of June 18, 1883, and was the subject of much subsequent correspondence during 1883, 1884, and 1885.

Moussa Bey, who committed this outrage, has since that time become notorious by his many murders and outrages committed in Kurdistan, especially against the Armenians.

These outrages have attracted wide attention and have become the subject of discussion in the English Parliament. Much information relative [Page 726] thereto may be seen in a recent publication of the British Government:

Correspondence respecting the condition of the populations in Asiatic-Turkey, 1888–’89. (Presented to Parliament August, 1889.)

Chiefly through the influence of the British ambassador the Turkish Government caused Moussa Bey to come to Constantinople to answer these charges against him; he arrived here in June and is here yet, but he has not been put under arrest. He presented a petition to the Sultan denying the charges and asking for a trial. I inclose a copy of this petition as given in the English “Blue-Book” above spoken of.

In the course of the summer about fifty witnesses against him arrived in Constantinople, mostly Armenians, but including at least one important Mussulman witness.

Moussa Bey is yet under forty years of age, and is a man of well-known family in Kurdistan and he has many influential friends and relations in the employ of the Turkish Government 5 he has influential friends at the Palace (Yildez), who are trying to screen him in these matters. He has not yet been put on trial in the true sense of the word. An official was appointed to investigate the case and to hear the testimony, but the investigation was made in a manner very unsatisfactory to the witnesses against him. Finally, after long delays it was reported that the testimony against him was of little importance, and that he was not guilty; but from the representations of the British ambassador or other causes immediately another official was appointed to make a new investigation. This second “trial” has been going on for some weeks and is not yet finished.

As soon as the missionaries in Eastern Turkey learned that Moussa Bey was coming to Constantinople, they expressed a wish to have an effort made for his punishment for the outrage against Mr. Knapp and Dr. Raynolds.

Mr. D. A. Richardson, secretary of the Eastern Turkey Mission was here during the summer and I had several conversations with him and Rev. H. O. Dwight, of the Bible House, upon the subject.

Mr. Dwight and Mr. Richardson interchanged opinions with the missionaries in Eastern Turkey, and it was the general opinion that it would be well to re-open the case with the Sublime Porte.

I at first did so by conversation with the grand vizier, but later it was thought best also to send a note to the minister of foreign affairs, of which I inclose a copy.

I did not feel that after the failure of justice in this aggravated case in 1883 and 1884, that I could now secure the punishment of Moussa Bey, except under unusual circumstances, but we hope that my note will strengthen the efforts which the British ambassador, Sir William A. White is making so skilfully against him, and that if not imprisoned he will at least not be allowed to return to Kurdistan.

I have, etc.,

Pendleton King.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 34.]

Petition presented to the Sultan by Moussa Bey.

I, your humble servant, am one of those who from their youth up till now have shown fidelity and good service to Your Imperial Majesty both in offices and in war, even to the point of risking life.

[Page 727]

A parcel of fabrications have been submitted to Your Majesty, making me out a brigand and a notorious rascal.

I, your servant, while purposing to come to Your Majesty’s throne and submit my case and not to accept any one of these fabrications, immediately on your gracious message set out and came to take refuge in Your Majesty’s justice.

Now, whoever has suffered any injustice, wrong, or oppression from your servant, let him come forward. I am ready to appeal to your imperial justice. I venture, relying on Your Majesty’s clemency, to pray that, if I am found guilty of these fabricated charges I may be punished, but if I am found innocent that the authors of them may be punished for their calumnies and that any right may be made public.

This and all other matters depend on the iradé and firman of Your Majesty.

Your servant,

Mirza Bey Zade
Moussa. Bey.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 34.]

Mr. King to Said Pacha.

Sir: Permit me to recall to your excellency’s attention an outrage committed on two Americans, Rev. Mr. Knapp and Dr. Raynolds, in the year 1883, near the village of Ghourie, in the region of Bitlis.

The matter was reported to the Sublime Porte, by General Wallace, United States minister, in his note, No. 167, of June 13, 1883, and in detail in his No. 179, of September 10, 1883.

Many notes were exchanged upon the “subject during the years 1883, 1884, and 1885.

United States legation to Sublime Porte, No. 184; November 7, 1883; No. 185, November 12, 1883; No. 190, December 13, 1883; No. 198, January 24, 1884: No. 241, February 27, 1885.

Sublime Porto to the United States legation: June 21, 1883; December 8, 1883; January 28, 1884; February 27, 1884; April 21, 1884; January 12, 1885; April 8, 1885, and others.

Mr. Knapp was severely beaten with a club, and Dr. Raynolds received ten sword cuts. They were dragged into the bushes, gagged, bound, and left to die.

It was well established, as the above notes show, that the leader of the attacking party and the person who inflicted the sword cuts on Dr. Raynolds was Moussa Bey, who has since that time become notorious through many other outrages committed by him.

Through the garbling of the record of the investigation for which the examining magistrate and the deputy imperial prosecutor were afterwards placed under judgment (see notes from H. E. Assim Pacha to General Wallace, April 21, 1884, and January 12, 1885) Moussa Bey was allowed to go free and was not again arrested.

My Government regarded “the case of Knapp and Raynolds as clearly made out and the identification of the principal assailant, Moussa Bey, as complete;” and that, because he was never punished “justice was denied,” and that the last note from the Sublime Porte was “neither final nor satisfactory”; and on account of the “magnitude and cruelty of the offense.” Mr. Bayard (Secretary of State) instructed this legation “again to appeal to that sense of justice which should prompt the Turkish Government to make honorable amends for this crime.”

Some years have elapsed during which Moussa Bey has gone unpunished for this crime, and his presence in this city to undergo trial for murder and numerous other outrages leads me again to lay this matter before the Sublime Porte, and, while not wishing to interrupt or embarrass the progress of the trial, to request your excellency, first, to take the necessary measures to prevent this criminal from escaping from this city; and, secondly, whatever the issue of the above mentioned trial may be that at its close Moussa Bey may suffer the punishment required by law for this murderuos attack on American citizens, as above recalled to your excellency’s attention.

Accept, etc.,

Pendleton King.