Mr. Pratt to Mr. Blaine.

No. 456.]

Sir: I have the honor to report that yesterday, the 23d instant, the British minister here, Sir Henry Drummond Wolff, sent me a telegram he had received that morning from Col. C. E. Stewart, the English consul-general at Tabriz, to the effect, as you will see by the inclosed copy, that the wife of the Rev. J. N. Wright, an American missionary residing in the district of Salmas, western Persia, within Colonel Stewart’s consular jurisdiction, had been dangerously stabbed by an Armenian and was in a critical condition in consequence, whilst the would-be assassin, owing to dilatoriness of the local authorities, had succeeded in evading arrest.

Immediately upon noting the above, I called on the British minister and asked if he could throw any further light on this subject. He replied that all he knew of it was contained in the telegram transmitted me, but added that he would be glad to forward Colonel Stewart any instructions I desired to give that officer touching the incident in question. I accordingly begged that Colonel Stewart be requested at my expense to telegraph the name of the party suspected of this crime and such other information relating thereto as might be at present obtainable.

My next step was to endeavor to see the prime minister, His Highness the Eminé Soultan, but since—owing to an engagement in the country with the Shah—His Highness was unable to give me an interview until the following afternoon, I deemed it obligatory, in view of the urgency of the case, to address him an official note, in which, as you will observe by the accompanying copy and translation, after briefly stating the facts as reported, I urged that peremptory telegraphic instructions be sent the governor of Salmas to take the necessary measures for effecting without delay the arrest of the perpetrator of this crime.

Then, to forestall any distorted account of the affair that might reach the Government or the public through nonofficial channels, I at once cabled you the following:

Wife of J. N. Wright, American missionary, Salmas, western Persia, been dangerously stabbed by an Armenian. Have demanded immediate arrest.

Spencer Pratt.

This morning I received from His Highness the Eminé Soultan two telegrams, the one to the governor of the province of Azerbaijan, the other to the governor of the district of Salmas, ordering that upon the representations made by this legation immediate steps be taken for the apprehension of Mrs. Wright’s assailant and a report of the occurrence returned by telegraph.

[Page 659]

Having assured myself of the transmission of the two telegrams referred to, I sent you to-day my second cable message, reading as follows:

In compliance with my demand, immediate arrest ordered.

Spencer Pratt.

Regarding Mrs. Wright’s nationality, I have to say that she was born a Persian Nestorian, but, having been married for the last 5 years to the Rev. J. N. Wright, a native citizen of the United States, and lived with him in lawful wedlock for the whole of that time, part of which was spent in America, there appears no question as to her claim to American citizenship under section 1994 of the Revised Statutes.

In view of the above, I trust you will approve the action I have taken in this matter, which justice and the personal safety of our citizens here seemed imperatively to demand.

I have, etc.,

E. Spencer Pratt.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 456.]

Colonel Stewart to Sir H. D. Wolff.


Her Britannic Majesty’s Minister,

The wife of Rev. J. Wright, American missionary here, was stabbed by an Armenian. She is very dangerously wounded and is in a critical condition. I am doing everything to get assassin, who fled, arrested.

Governor before my arrival gave no assistance, but is now trying hard to arrest assassin.

Mrs. Wright is by birth a Nestorian. Please inform American minister.

[Inclosure 2 in No. 456.]

Mr. Pratt to Eminé Soultan.

Your Highness: I have the honor to inform you that the British minister here, His Excellency Sir Henry Drummond Wolff, has just transmitted me a telegraphic dispatch which came to him this morning from Colonel Stewart, English consul at Tabriz, stating that the wife of the Rev. Mr. Wright, an American citizen residing at Salmas, had been stabbed by an Armenian, and that the governor had not prevented the escape of the assassin.

Accordingly, I beg that Your Highness will send me a telegraphic order to the said governor commanding him to have the guilty party in question immediately arrested, in order that I may be able to notify my Government by telegraph that the Government of His Majesty has taken the necessary measures to insure the punishment of this crime.

Being confident that you will not fail to accede to this request, I beg Your Highness to accept, etc.,

E. Spencer Pratt.