Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, Transmitted to Congress, With the Annual Message of the President, December 1, 1890
Mr. Pratt to Mr. Blaine.
Teheran, July 5, 1890. (Received August 9.)
Sir: I have the honor to submit for your consideration the copies of correspondence that has passed between Consul-General Stewart and myself relative to the Wright assassination case since my No. 469 of the 30th ultimo.
I have, etc.,
Colonel Stewart to Mr. Pratt.
Tabreez, June 28, 1890.
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Your Excellency’s dispatches Nos. 3 and 4.
The witnesses summoned by me have all arrived except the woman Asli. She refuses to come or give any evidence. I tried in the first instance to persuade her to come through the missionaries, as I thought it would be better that she should come with the missionary party and not be tutored by the Persian authorities.
When I was at Salmas the woman Asli was a willing witness and made statements to several people. As soon as I heard of her unwillingness to come I summoned her through the Persian authorities and hope she may soon arrive; but, as I have two good witnesses who can repeat her statements, and I have a witness, Deacon Zeah, of Salmas, to whom Minas while in prison at that place confessed that he had the night previous to stabbing Mrs. Wright come to the house with a revolver for the purpose of shooting both Mr. and Mrs. Wright, I think I can prove the case sufficiently, even though I do not get the woman Asli’s evidence. I shall, however, do my best to obtain it.
The witnesses for the prosecution arrived here on Wednesday, and I applied for the court to reassemble the next day, but on that day the agent for foreign affairs the Wakil-ul-Mulk was replaced by a new agent for foreign affairs, appointed under orders from Teheran, the Mustashar-ud-Douleh. The Persians, therefore, represented that it was impossible under the circumstances of the change of foreign agents to hold the court that day and asked for a delay of 2 days. Under the circumstances, I consented, and the trial is to recommence to-day.
I send a list of the charges I have framed against the prisoner Minas, and I have ample evidence to prove these charges. The witnesses I have are Mr. Mechlin, who sewed up Mrs. Wright’s wounds; Dr. Shedd, to whom Minas, when captured, confessed having stabbed Mrs. Wright; Dr. Samuel, who attended Mrs. Wright; Theodore, brother of Mrs. Wright, and his wife, who were in the house at the time of the assassination; the latter was in the room and an eye-witness to the stabbing, also Deacon Zeah, of Salmas, whose evidence I have mentioned above; he can also repeat the confession made by the woman Asli to him. Minister Johanna, of Salmas, to whom the woman Asli confessed that she had prevented the attempt to shoot Mr. and Mrs. Wright the night previous to the stabbing; and, finally, Dr. Mary Bradford, who was with Mrs. Wright at the time of her death and can certify she died of her wounds, and that the death of the male unborn child was, to all appearances, caused by the shock of stabbing the mother.
I did not summon Mr. Wright, though I suggested it would be well if he was able to come. He has not come, and I am rather glad he has not done so, as he is much upset by his wife’s death, and his children are ill, and it is difficult for him to leave them.
Besides this, as in Mohammedan law I understand it is not usual to allow the plaintiff to give evidence, difficulties might have arisen on this point. I could no doubt have overcome them, but I have very ample evidence without him.
The witnesses all ask for payment of their traveling expenses from and back to Ooroomeeyah and Salmas, as the case may be, and Dr. Samuel, who is a medical practitioner unconnected with the mission at Ooroomeeyah, asks for some reasonable compensation for his loss of practice whilst away from that place.
Will you please authorize me to disburse these expenses?
I have, etc.,
Colonel, Her Majesty’s Consul-General, Tabriz.
Charges against Minas, Armenian inhabitant of Oola, Salmas.
- First charge. That on Wednesday, the 14th day of May, 1890, answering to the 24th day of Ramazan, 1307, he, Minas, at Oola, Salmas, wounded Shushan Wright, the wife of the Rev. J. Wright,. American subject, in many places with a dagger, from which wounds she died on the 1st day of June, 1890, answering to the 12th day of Shawal.
- Second charge. That he, Minas, caused the death of Shushan Wright’s male unborn child, she having, in consequence of her wounds on the 1st June, given birth to a dead male child.
- Third charge. That on the night previous to his stabbing Shushan Wright, the wife of the Rev. J. Wright, Minas came to the house of the Rev. John Wright, and made an attempt to shoot both the Rev. John Wright and Shushan Wright with a revolver.
Mr. Pratt to Colonel Stewart.
Teheran, July 5, 1890.
Sir: I am now in receipt of your dispatch of the 28th ultimo, from which I note that you have received my Nos. 3 and 4 and that all the witnesses subpoenaed by you to testify for the prosecution at the trial of the assassin Minas had arrived, except the woman Asli, whom you had found it necessary to summon through the. Persian authorities.
Under the circumstances, I agree with you that it was best not to insist upon Mr. Wright’s appearing at the trial if his testimony could be dispensed with.
The charges in the list which you inclose appear to fully cover the case, besides having the advantage of being both concise and to the point.
I am, etc.,