Mr. Pratt to Mr. Blaine.

No. 463.]

Sir: I have the honor herewith respectfully to submit for your consideration the copy of a dispatch I have received from Consul-General Stewart, at Tabreez, relative to the case of Mrs. Wright’s assassination, with a copy of my reply to the same, which I trust you will approve.

I have, etc.,

E. Spencer Pratt.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 463.]

Colonel Stewart to Mr. Pratt.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 3d instant, acknowledging receipt of my letter from Ooroomeeyah dated 24th May. I have to thank Your Excellency for the expression of your approval of what I did to obtain the arrest of the murderer of Mrs. Wright.

I received your telegram, which reached me, in Persian, at Soutchbulak, near the south end of the lake of Ooroomeeyah, on the 6th instant, asking me to represent you at the proceedings taken against the murderer of Mrs. Wright. I replied at once, in Persian, as telegrams could not be sent from thence in English, saying I was about to proceed to Tabreez for that purpose. Soutchbulak is 126 miles from Tabreez and I started at once and made the distance in four long marches. There is no direct chap-par from that place, or I should have come chappar.* I reached Tabreez on 10th June before the murderer of Mrs. Wright had arrived here. He was brought in chained last evening, and I was informed of it this morning.

I arranged that the first meeting to go into the case of murder should take place tomorrow.

It is a sad story, the murder of Mrs. Wright. Though she was not by birth an American, being a Nestorian, born in Turkish territory, she was a highly educated lady who had been in America, and Mr. Wright, I understand, is very much stricken by his loss. She leaves two young children.

The murderer Minas had no grounds of quarrel either against her or Mr. Wright, who had treated him most kindly. He had, however, made an attempt to shoot both Mr. and Mrs. Wright the night previous to his murder of Mrs. Wright, and was only foiled by their having changed the position of their sleeping place, and he was thus unable to shoot them through the window as he had intended.

[Page 670]

I have not yet seen the murderer, hut I hear he confesses to this first attempt, so there is no palliation of the offense of murder committed by him, and his crime undoubtedly deserves a death sentence.

Although the governor of Salmas was supine in the first instance, he did exert himself after I arrived and had spoken strongly to him and his successful arrest of the murderer and bringing him from Turkish territory without encountering difficulties from the Turkish authorities deserves some praise.

The missionaries themselves have given a reward of 50 tomans to 3 out of the 4 capturers of the murderer. The fourth, a servant of the governor, the governor would not allow to accept a share of the money, as he said he was in the service of the Persian Government and could only be rewarded through it.

I propose to address Your Excellency by the next post in view to a small reward being given besides that already given by the missionaries.

I have expended no money as yet in the matter except a single toman for information and the price of a few telegrams to you. I will let you know the amount afterwards.

You may feel satisfied I shall do my best so far as it is in my power to bring this business to a successful termination. His Excellency the Emir Nizam seems ready to help in every way.

It is rumored, though I do not know if its true, that some Armenians offered 200 tomans to the governor of Salmas if he would connive at the escape of the prisoner.

I have, etc.,

C. E. Stewart,
Colonel, Her Majesty’s Consul-General, Tabreez.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 463.]

Mr. Pratt to Colonel Stewart.

Sir: I have received your dispatch of the 11th instant from Tabreez, acknowledging the receipt of the letter I addressed you to that city on the 24th ultimo, as well as of my telegram which reached you at Soutchbulak on the 6th of this month, your reply to which came duly to hand.

The great fatigue of your 126 miles’ continuous ride from Soutchbulak to Tabreez I fully appreciate, and, whilst sincerely thanking you for having thus exerted yourself in order to reach the latter city upon the prisoner’s arrival there, trust you will not suppose I should ever have consented to your subjecting yourself to a like hardship could I have anticipated your intention in the premises.

I note what you say about the criminal Minas having reached Tabreez in chains on the evening of the 10th instant, and of the first session of the court to try his case having been fixed for the day following that on which you wrote.

The particulars you give of the Maid criminal’s previous attempt to murder both Mr. and Mrs. Wright I have also carefully considered. As regards the prosecution, I see no occasion to modify the recommendations contained in my dispatches of the 12th and 14th instant, which you must ere this have received.

The alteration which you refer to in the conduct of the governor of Salmas after your appearance on the scene I shall bear in mind, and hasten to assure you that it will afford me pleasure to act upon such suggestions as you may think proper to make concerning the matter of additional reward for the criminal’s pursuit and capture.

The question of the alleged attempt to bribe the governor of Salmas to connive at the prisoner’s escape whilst the latter was in his custody it might be well to investigate, but this I prefer to leave to your discretion.

I am, etc.,

E. Spencer Pratt.
  1. Service of post horses.