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 15, 1890. (Received August 18.)
Sir: I have the honor herewith to submit for your consideration the copy of a dispatch I have received from Consul-General Stewart, at Tabreez, with a copy of the minutes it inclosed of the proceedings of the trial of Minas, Mrs. Wright’s assassin, as also a copy of my reply to the above, which I trust will meet with your approval.
I have, etc.,
Colonel Stewart to Mr. Pratt.
Tabreez, Persia , July 5, 1890.
Sir: I have the honor to forward you the proceedings in the trial of Minas. The preliminary inquiry took 1 day and the actual trial or record of evidence 4 days.
I was informed by the Mustasbar-ud-Douleh that the orders received were that the evidence be recorded here, and also the defense of Minas, and then the proceedings should be sent to Teheran for the authorities there to record the finding and sentence on the prisoner. At the preliminary inquiry the prisoner Minas pretended to have forgotten all the circumstances, though this was a mere pretense; but at the actual trial, when confronted with the witnesses, he made no such, pretense, and was reasonable and even intelligent in his cross-examination of witnesses and defense of himself.
The trial ended on the afternoon of the 3d July, and I had only Friday and Saturday to make a translation into English of the proceedings and to make two copies of my translation, one for you and one to keep. Under the circumstances and in the time it was impossible to make an exact literal translation of each word, but the meaning of each witness is carefully given, and I think Your Excellency will find that it is a good working translation.[Page 676]
The proceedings in Persian are also sent. The proceedings all through the trial were in duplicate, one copy for the Persian Government and one for you.
The copy for the Persian Government is being sent to Teheran by this post, but your copy is equally an original. They have been compared and when I signed them were exactly alike.
The original letter in Syriac from Minas to David is attached to the Persian proceedings in the hands of the Mustashar-ud-Douleh.
Concerning the age of Minas, he looks about 19 years old, and Mr. Mechlin told me he believed he was about 20 years of age.
When the evidence about his age was taken, I was unprepared for it, and my witnesses who could have told his age were gone away. As by Mohammedan laws a young man becomes of age at 15, and Minas allowed he is about 17 years old, I did not dispute his contention, though I think he is older than his statement by about 2 years.
I thought it better not to keep the case open until the maidservant Asli arrived, as she has not come yet. In fact, I think delay in the settlement of the case is undesirable, and would suggest that Asli be not examined when she arrives, if she does come.
She would probably only give evidence in favor of the prisoner, even though untrue. I would ask orders from you on this subject.
Deacon Zeah and Minister Johanna, to whom she confessed, are still here in case you should wish her to be examined, but I think it undesirable.
The evidence seems to be very complete against Minas, and he has practically no defense.
I have, etc.,
Colonel, Her Majesty’s Consul-General, Tabreez.
Translation of proceedings at trial of Minus, the son of Sayad, Armenian, for the murder of Shushan, the wife of the Rev. J. Wright, American subject.
Preliminary inquiry into the case of Minas, the son of Sayad, inhabitant of Ooroomeeyah, which inquiry took place on Thursday, the 23d of Shawal, 1307, answering to 12th June, 1890, at the Persian foreign office, Azerbaijan, in the presence of Colonel Stewart, Her Britannic Majesty’s consul-general, and the acting agent for foreign affairs, as follows:
First question addressed to Minas by the acting agent for foreign affairs.
Question. What is your name, and of what place are you an inhabitant, and in what employment were you employed?
Answer by Minas, son of Sayad, of the Ooroomeeyah district. My name is Minas. I am the son of Sayad, native of Dizzeh Tukia, in the Ooroomeeyah district, and I was employed at the village of Oola, in the Salmas district, as a teacher,
Q. Were you in service in the school, and did you receive a salary as teacher or not, and who was the chief person of that school?—A. I was in service, and I received a salary. The chief person of the school was Mr. Mechlin.
Q. Had not the Rev. Mr. Wright something to do with that school.?—A. I do not know.
Q. Do you know the Rev. Mr. Wright?—A. Yes; I do.
Q. Was not Rev. Mr. Wright in charge of the school and looked after it and visited it?—A. I do not know.
Q. On the 24th of the month Ramazan (14th May) where were you?—A. I can not recollect. I do not know. I have gone out of my mind.
Q. Since when has this madness and forgetfulness which you say has come over you commenced?—A. I do not know.
(Here the prisoner addressed the English consul-general in English and said, “I am hungry; I have no money for my expenses.” Bread was here offered to the prisoner, but he did not accept it.)
Q. Did you know the wife of the Rev. Mr. Wright?—A. Yes; I knew her.
Q. How long is it since you saw Mrs. Wright?—A. I do not know; I can not remember.
Q. Did you know the maidservant who was in the service of Mrs. Wright, and do you know her name?—A. I do remember the maidservant who was in the service of Mrs. Wright, but I do not recollect her name.
Q. Had you any flirtations either with the servant or Mrs. Wright?—A. No, none.[Page 677]
Q. Why were you brought here, and from whence were you brought, and when did you arrive?—A. I do not know; it is 3 days since I arrived here.
Q. Have you received your wages for the past month?—A. I have not received my wages for the past month.
Q. Why have you not received them; did they not give you your wages, or did you yourself not wish for them?—A. I had no necessity for my wages, so I did not take them.
This preliminary inquiry is here closed. Memorandum by the first mirza of the foreign office, Mirza Maasum Khan, who was at that time acting as foreign affairs agent at Tabreez: On this 23d day of Shawal (12th June), these questions to and answers by Minas were made in my presence.
Hadji Mirza Maasum Khan.
Memorandum by Her Britannic Majesty’s consul-general: I was present and heard these questions put and answered by Minas.
C. E. Stewart,
Colonel, Her Britannic Majesty’s Consul-General.
Tabreez, June 12, 1890.
Inquiry concerning the circumstances attending the death of the wife of the Rev. J. Wright commenced 10th day of the month Zulkaada, 1307 (Persian), answering to the 28th June, 1890, at the Persian foreign office, in the presence of His Excellency the Mustashar-ud-Douleh and Colonel Stewart, Her Britannic Majesty’s consul-general, and the moturned-as-sultanen, Hadji Mirza Maasum Khan, first secretary of the foreign office, Tabreez.
The above court having assembled, Her Britannic Majesty’s consul-general states: These three charges which I now hand in, in writing, I make against Minas, the son of Sayad, he having committed these offenses at Oola, in the Salmas district. I will now proceed to prove these offenses against Minas by witnesses.
- First charge: That he, Minas, on the 24th day of Ramaan, 1307, answering to the 14th day of May, 1890, at Oola, Salmas, wounded Shushan, the wife of the Rev. Mr. Wright, 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, 1307.
- 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 of June given birth to a dead male child.
- Third charge: That on the night of the 14th May (Persian style, as Persian days commence at sunset, in English counting would be night of the 13th May)—that is to say, the night before the day of the stabbing of Shushan, the wife of the Rev. Mr. Wright—he, Minas, came to the house of Mr. Wright with a revolver in his hand with the purpose of shooting both Mr. and Mrs. Wright.
Minas is present in court and hears the charges made against him read.
First witness is called. Miriam, the wife of Theodore.
Question by the Mustashar-ud-Douleh to Miriam, the wife of Theodore. (Theodore is the brother of the late Mrs. Wright.) She is questioned through Theodore, as the witness only understands Syriac. The witness is solemnly warned to speak the truth, in fact, is solemnly affirmed, and is then asked:
Q. State what happened on the 14th day of May, at the village of Oola, to the wife of the Rev. Mr. Wright?—A. On the 14th day of May, at the village of Oola, I was sitting with Mrs. Wright in the drawing room. We heard a knock at the door of the dining room and Minas, the prisoner now before the court, came in and sat down in the dining room and commenced a conversation with Mr. Wright.
Q. What was the conversation about?—A. As yet I was in the next room, but after a very short time Shushan, the wife of Mr. Wright, went out of the drawing room into the dining room, where Mr. Wright and Minas were, and commenced to cut out some women’s clothes. A few moments after this I followed and came into the dining room and sat down beside Mrs. Wright. From the conversation of Mr. Wright and Minas, I understood that he, Minas, was asking Mr. Wright for his wages. Mr. Wright left the dining room, and went into the room where he kept his money safe to fetch some money. At this time there were three persons in the dining room, that is to say, Shushan and myself and Minas. Minas then got up from his place and struck a dagger in between the shoulder blades of Shushan and a second blow with the same dagger on the point of her left shoulder, and he gave her more wounds, one on her right wrist and two on her right hand, and two very slight wounds, one on her chin and one on her neck. After giving these wounds, Minas quickly ran out of the room, leaving his hat and shoes in the room. I and Shushan for a moment were not able to scream. As soon as Minas quitted the room we both began to [Page 678] scream. Mr. Wright and Theodore, my husband, hearing our screams, came into the room. As soon as they entered the dining room they called out, “What is the matter?” I answered, “Minas has wounded Mrs. Wright and run away.” Mrs. Wright from that moment became very ill and died on the 1st of June.
Mustashar-ud-Douleh to Minas:
Q. What reply do you make to the evidence of Miriam?—A. I do not know; all these things she says are inventions.
Q. Then who killed Mrs. Wright?—A. I do not know who killed Mrs. Wright.
Q. When you asked for your wages was Mrs. Miriam in the room?—A. I never asked for my wages. The time for the receipt of my wages had not arrived.
Q. Has Mrs. Miriam done anything against you, i. e., is she your enemy?—A. Mrs. Miriam was only a visitor at the house; she has never done anything against me, i. e., she is not my enemy.
The witness withdraws.
Second witness. Theodore (the brother of the late Mrs. Wright), is solemnly affirmed in the same way as the first witness by the Mustashar-ud-Douleh, and questioned.
Q. What evidence can you give?—A. On the 14th day of May, in the village of Oola, I was sitting in the room where Mr. Wright keeps his money safe. I there overheard a conversation going on; I was able to hear that Mrs. Wright and the prisoner now present, Minas, were talking together. I then saw Mr. Wright come out of the next room into that in which I was—in this room he kept his money. He opened the iron safe and began to count out some money. At this moment we heard screams from the next room, which was the dining room, and Mr. Wright and I went into the dining room and saw that Shushan, the wife of Mr. Wright, was wounded. We asked, “What is the matter?” My wife, Miriam, answered, “Minas has stabbed Shushan and run away.” From that moment Shushan became ill, and remained ill until her death on the 1st June. During the illness of the wife of Mr. Wright, as she was often bleed-ng at the mouth, there was always danger of death at any moment.
Question by Mustashar-ud-Douleh to Theodore:
Q. When you arrived in the room what was Shushan’s state?—A. At the moment of our arrival in the room Shushan was on her feet; she walked a few paces and then fell on one side of the room. She was bleeding from her wounds. Previous to her death on the 1st June she gave birth to a dead male child and 3 hours afterward died.
Question to Minas by Mustashar-ud-Douleh:
Q. If you have anything to answer to Theodore’s evidence, now speak.—A. The voices of most people are much alike. Theodore tells lies about me.
Q. Are you at enmity with Theodore?—A. No; we are not enemies.
The witness withdraws.
Third witness. Jalil, son of Abbas Ali, inhabitant of the village of Oola, a soldier in the old regiment of Khoi, is called in and solemnly affirmed.
Q. What evidence can you give?—A. I was walking at the upper end of the graveyard of Oola when I saw Minas running without his hat or shoes. I said, “Minas, where are you going?” He answered, “Nowhere.” At that moment Yadegar, a servant of Mr. Wright, arrived and called out, “Catch Minas; he has stabbed Mrs. Wright.” I then went toward Minas; he had a six-chambered pistol in his hand, which he pointed at me. I turned and went away to the window of the house of Mr. Wright. I saw this much through the window, that Mr. Wright was holding Mrs. Wright by the side and blood was running from her wounds. Also, on the day Minas was brought in prisoner! was at the old city Salmas. I saw Minas being brought in. Minas called out to me from a distance and asked, “Is Mrs. Wright dead?” I answered, “She is not dead.”
Question by Mustashar-ud-Douleh to Minas:
Q. If you have any answer to Jalil, speak.—A. I was always in the habit of going (for the purpose of nature it is here understood) to the river bank without my hat or shoes. Jalil saw me so going and asked me, “Where are you going?” I answered, “I am going there.” From where I met Jalil I went to the river bank, and Jalil turned back. From the river bank I returned to my own house. It was some days after this that I started for Van to acquire learning. Some men followed me, took [Page 679] me prisoner, and brought me back. When I was being brought back at the Old City, as the people who were bringing me back had told me I was accused of stabbing Mrs. Wright, when I saw Jalil, who was a friend of mine, I asked him, “Is Mrs. Wright dead or alive?” Jalil answered, “She is not yet dead.”
Question by Mustashar-ud-Douleh to Jalil:
Q. Was it on the day that Mrs. Wright was stabbed that Minas ran away?—A. Yes; it was on that very day he ran away.
Fourth witness. Mr. Mechlin is called into the court and is solemnly affirmed and questioned by the Mustashar-ud-Douleh.
Q. Give any evidence you may be able concerning the wife of Mr. Wright.—A. On the 14th day of May I was called from my house at Huftawan by a letter from Mr. Wright. It is a quarter of an hour’s walk from Huftawan, where I lived, to the village of Oola. When I reached the house of Mr. Wright it was half past 3 o’clock. When I arrived at Mr. Wright’s house I saw Mrs. Wright prostrate on the floor and Mr. Wright closing with his hands two wounds on Mrs. Wright, one on the left shoulder and the other between the shoulder blades. Shushan (Mrs. Wright) said to me, “Minas has wounded me.” It was the Minas here present of whom she spoke, and Mr. Wright said also it was Minas who wounded his wife. After this conversation Mr. Wright asked me to sew up the wounds of Mrs. Wright. I then sewed them up. Two wounds were very severe and penetrated deeply. After I had sewn up the wounds we carried the lady to her bed. At the time that we took her to her bed she was suffering very much from her wounds. Also, she had two wounds on her right hand; these were not very severe. These wounds I brought together with piaster. We believed that Mrs. Wright was about to expire, and each day there was an expectation of her death until the 1st of June, when she died. She had also a slight wound on the chin.
J. C. Mechlin.
Question to Minas by the court:
Q. What answer have you to the evidence of Mr. Mechlin?—A. There are many people of the name of Minas. Mr. Mechlin did not himself see me commit the deed. Perhaps it was some other Minas.
Reply by Mr. Mechlin: No; this was the Minas meant. Besides him there was no other Minas in the village.
J. C. Mechlin.
The above evidence was given by witnesses Saturday, the 28th June, 1890. The court adjourned until Tuesday, the 1st of July.
The court, constituted as before, reassembled at the Persian foreign office at Tabreez on Tuesday, the 1st July, 1890, answering the 13th of Zulkaada, 1307.
Fifth witness. The Rev. J. H. Shedd, d. d., is called into court, and, having been solemnly affirmed by the Mustashar-ud-Douleh, is questioned as follows:
Q. On the subject of Minas and Shushan, the wife of the Rev. Mr. Wright, what evidence can you give?—A. On Wednesday, 5 weeks ago, that is to say, on the 27th May, I heard that Minas had wounded the wife of Mr. Wright. As Minas had been a pupil of mine, I felt very sorry, indeed, to hear this. I went to the prison at Dilman (Dilman is the chief place of the Salmas district) for the purpose of seeing Minas.
The prison was rather dark, so I called out to Minas by his name. At first he did not answer but only cried very much; then said, “My face is black.” I said to him, “Why did you do this deed?” He answered, “Satan tempted me.” I said to him, “Did you learn this way at Salmas or Ooroomeeyah?” He answered, “At Salmas.” I then asked, “Had you this purpose in your mind for a long time, and when did you form this purpose?” Minas answered, “I formed this purpose only the day before I committed the deed.” I said, “What was the cause of your committing this deed, that is to say, the wounding of Mrs. Wright?” Minas answered, “It was a suggestion of Satan.” I said to Minas, “What shall I say to your friends?” Minas answered, “I am worthy of all punishment, but I hope for forgiveness of my soul from God, and I beg you to pray for my soul to God.”
J. H. Shedd.[Page 680]
Question by the court to Minas:
Q. What answer do you make to this evidence?—A. I was in prison in the dark. When I saw Mr. Shedd I did not answer him, I only cried. I never lifted my head from the ground.
On this denial Mr. Shedd said to Minas before the court: “Do you recognize me (i. e., meaning as your teacher)? Do you not know that you and I will have to appear before God? It is better to speak the truth.” Minas answered: “Mr. Shedd did come to me in prison; I was in a very bad place and was very uncomfortable; I had my head on the ground and was crying while he was present in the prison. Mr. Shedd prayed and went away.”
The Rev. J. H. Shedd, d. d., withdraws from the court.
Sixth witness. Dr. Samuel is called into court, and is solemnly affirmed by the Mustashar-ud-Douleh, and is questioned by the court.
Q. Concerning Shushan, the wife of Mr. Wright, who is said to have been killed by Minas, give what evidence you can.—A. On the 16th day of May I arrived in Salmas district from Ooroomeeyah, and at the village of Oola, in the house of Mr. Wright, I saw Shushan in bed, and she was suffering from the wounds. She was in a very dangerous state. I lifted her clothes and inspected her wounds. She had a wound on the left side between the left shoulder blade and the spine. She had a second wound on the left shoulder. One of these two wounds had penetrated to the lung, and in consequence of these wounds pneumonia had supervened. She coughed, bringing up bloody phlegm. She had another wound on the chin, and others on the right wrist and right hand, and in consequence of these wounds Shushan was in a most dangerous state. She was especially in danger 4 days previous to her death. On the 1st of June, after giving birth to a dead male child, she died. In my opinion the cause of her death was the wounds she had received.
Q. Did you hear anything of this matter from Minas?—A. When Minas was in prison I went to visit him at Dilman and saw him. I said, “What deed is this which you have committed?” He answered, “Satan put it into my mind.”
Dr. A. H. Samuel.
Question by court to Minas:
Q. What reply do you make to this evidence?—A. Yes, Dr. Samuel did see me in prison. He did not ask me any question, and I made no reply. He came and prayed with me and went away.
The witness withdraws.
Seventh witness. Deacon Zeah is called into court, and, having been solemnly affirmed by the Mustashar-ud-Douleh, is questioned as follows:
Q. Concerning this case, in which Minas is accused of killing Shushan, the wife of Mr. Wright, what evidence can you give?—A. I state that this Minas, now before the court, was a teacher in the service of Mr. Wright, that is to say, he taught the little boys. Until Minas had been 4 months at Oola I saw no weapon in his possession. After the 4 months he had always a six-chambered pistol and two daggers in his possession. One dagger he always wore, the second he kept in his house. I was at Huftawan in my own house on a Wednesday afternoon. I can not state the day of the month. Mr. Mechlin came to me and informed me that Minas had stabbed Shushan, the wife of Mr. Wright, and told me to send off a telegram for Dr. Cochran and tell him to come at once. After Minas was caught I accompanied Mr. Shedd to Dilman, and we went to see Minas. Minas hid his face on the ground. I said to him, “Mr. Shedd wishes to see you.” He answered, “I have stabbed Shushan; my face is black before God and before you. Pray to God forme.” I also on another occasion went to see Minas alone. His first question was, “How is the lady?” I answered, “Her wounds are all getting better except one wound.” He answered and said, “I struck one deep wound.” I said, “Where did you strike this wound?” He answered, “In her back.” I said, “What enmity had you with the lady, or who instigated you to this deed?” He answered, “No one instigated me to this deed, but Satan entered my heart.” I also asked Minas, “Had you this inteution previously?” He answered, “No, not previously; only on the night of Wednesday I came to kill them both, that is, both Mr. and Mrs. Wright.”
Q. You say you asked Minas “From what time did this purpose come into yuor mind?” and he answered, “From the night of Wednesday.” Did this conversation take place at your first interview or your second?—A. At the second interview.
Q. What further evidence have you to give?—A. I heard from Asli, the maidservant of Mrs. Wright, that Minas on Wednesday night came to kill both Shushan and Mr. Wright. She said, “I caught hold of Minas and would not allow him to approach them.” When Minas was about to be taken from Dilman to Tabreez, at the house of Hadji Khan, the governor of Salmas, he said to me, “I am going to my death. This body of mine must be punished, but I beg you to pray that my soul may be saved.”[Page 681]
Q. When you the first time went with Dr. Shedd, did you come out with Dr. Shedd or after him?—A. On that occasion we came out together. Mr. Shedd gave me two krans to give to Minas; I gave it to him.
Question addressed to Minas by the court:
Q. What reply do you give to this evidence?—A. With regard to what the witness says about my having a pistol, he himself has a pistol, and so have the American gentlemen. Moreover, my house being far away and on the outskirts of Oola, it was more necessary for me to have a pistol; but I never wore it on my body except on a journey, and this is the custom of the American gentlemen. Besides this, all his evidence is untrue. As he is in the service of the Americans, he is frightened of them and is obliged to say those things. Also, I am an Armenian, while those witnesses are Assyrians. Because I was employed to teach in that village they looked askance at me, i. e., did not approve of me; they therefore tell these lies about me. Several times Zeah came to see me in prison; he wished to get evidence out of me. Some days ago he came to see me in prison here; the soldiers would not permit him to come in.
By the court:
Q. You say you are an Armenian; was your mother an Armenian or an Assyrian?—A. My mother was an Assyrian; but when she married my father, as my father, named Sayad, was of the Armenian sect, she also became an Armenian; but I myself belong to the sect of the Americans.
The witness withdraws.
Eighth witness. Minister Johanna is called in and duly affirmed by the Mustashar-ud-Douleh.
Q. What is your evidence about the wife of Mr. Wright, who is said to have been stabbed by Minas?—A. When Minas was brought a prisoner from near Van, where he had been arrested, I went to see him at Dilman. It was a Sunday. I think it was somewhere about 10 days after Shushan received her wounds. I gave him salaam and said, “Give me your hand; how are you?” He answered, “I am not worthy to touch your hand. My face is black. I have committed a great sin. I stabbed the lady. Pray for me.” I prayed for him.
By the court:
Q. Did you hear anything from Asli, the maidservant of Mrs. Wright, and what did she say?—A. Three days after Shushan, the wife of Mr. Wright, was stabbed Mr. Wright directed me to take the maidservant to Gavelan (Gavelan is on the road to the servant’s home), as he had discharged her. I took the maidservant to my house, which was on our road, and questioned her both in my house and also on the road. She said to me: Minas came into the room with a dagger in his hand and a pistol at his waist and wished to kill both Shushan and Mr. Wright. I prevented him doing this.”
Question by the court to Minas:
Q. What answer do you give to this evidence?—A. I belong to Ooroomeeyah District, and this man also belongs to the same district. He has a son who teaches like me. Ever since I came and became a teacher in this school and commenced to teach the boys Johanna has been a covert enemy of mine. He is the religious instructor at Oola. He wished that in the schoolhouse where I taught his son should teach the boys, instead of me, and receive the pay. Several times he has spoken to the gentlemen and to Mr. Mechlin and to Shushan, and begged that his son should have my place. It appears that they did not consent to his proposal. From that time he has for this reason been behind my head and tells lies about me. Also, the confession he says he heard from me in the prison is an invention. I have also to say that Mr. Wright had a first wife, and Shushan was a servant in the service of some of the Americans. After the death of Mr. Wright’s first wife he married Shushan. As Shushan was an Assyrian and these witnesses are also the same, they tell these stories against me, It is chiefly because these ministers (Assyrian understood) gave me much trouble that I went to Van to obtain learning. From the village of Charri to the village of Kusr, everyone, if asked, would state that I told them as I was passing that I was going for the purpose of learning. If I was running away, I would not have taken 11 days in going a road which could be passed over in 2 days.
Q. When you went to Van, did you obtain a passport (at the Turkish frontier, it is understood)?—A. Yes, I did.
Q. In what name did you obtain a passport?—A. I called myself Moses, the son of Joseph, and in that name I obtained a passport. It is a common thing for people to call themselves by another name.
The witness Johanná withdrew.[Page 682]
Ninth, witness. Dr. Mary Bradford, of the American mission, is called into court and duly solemnly affirmed by the Mustashar-ud-Douleh.
By the court:
Q. State whatever evidence you have to give.—A. Mr. Wright telegraphed me to come. I started and reached Oola on the 31st of January. I found Mrs. Wright very dangerously ill from wounds, and the day after I reached Oola, it was a Sunday, Mrs. Wright gave birth to a dead male child, and in the afternoon of that day died.
Q. Did Mrs. Wright say anything to you as to who had wounded her, or did you ask her who had given her the wounds?—A. We did not speak on the subject.
Q. Will you state what, in your opinion, was the cause of Mrs. Wright’s death?—A. The cause of death was the wounds she had received.
Q. What do you consider was the cause of the death of her child that was born dead?—A. The wounds received were the cause of this also.
The witness withdraws.
The court rises for the day.
The court, constituted as before reassembled, at the Persian foreign office, at Tabreez, on Wednesday, the 2d of July, 1890, answering to the 14th of Zalkaada, 1307.
The English consul-general produces a letter written in Syriac characters and states: This letter was written by Minas, the prisoner, and given by him to Kerbelai pasha muleteer, to take to David, son of Mukdussie (Mukdussie means one who has visited Jerusalem) Sayad, inhabitant of the village of Kara Hussanlu, as pasha muleteer is an inhabitant of the same village, Kara Hussanlu, as David to whom the letter was written.
The muleteer pasha is here called into court. He states (pointing at Minas, the prisoner before the court): That man gave me this paper (the Syriac letter above mentioned was handed to him) at the village of Aga Disig below Alisha, and asked me to convey it to David, son of Mukdassie Sayad, inhabitant of my village of Kara Hussanlu. I took this letter, and, finding David not at home, I gave the letter to David’s sister.
The letter was here handed to Minas and he was asked to read it. Minas answered: “The letters are much obliterated; I can not read it. I never saw this man in my life before, and I do not know him.”
Translation of the Syriac letter.
This translation is made direct from the Syriac into English by Dr. Shedd. There is also a Persian translation by another hand attached. The original is with the court.
“Friend, beloved and honored brother, David of Kara Hussanlu. I have the hope in the Lord that your health is good, but if you ask in regard to me, although in body I am well, in spirit I am distressed, because I have committed a very bad deed. I am in need of your prayers. I hope you will remember me. I myself have not the hope in assurance of my life. My case remains in the hands of the Lord. My hope is in the Lord only, but I hope that the Lord will forgive my sins although my face is black. I hope the Lord will spare my life.
“May your wedding be blessed. It is the way of the world; such things happen, but in all these things my hope is in God.”
The examination of the witnesses for the prosecution is completed, and the answers of Minas to each one also. The evidence is read over to each witness in presence of prisoner and signed by them, and the prisoner signs his own replies. This is completed on the 2d July, 1890, and the court rises.
The court, constituted as before, reassembled at the Persian foreign office at Tabreez on the 3d of July, answering to the 15th day of Zalkaada. Minas is brought before the court and questioned.
Q. How old are you?—A. I do not know. I have no written evidence, but my father and mother say I am at present between 15 and 17 years of age. I am certain I am not more than 17 years old.
Q. If you have anything further to state in your defense say so.—A. All the witnesses are in the service of the Americans and receive wages varying from 6 to 15 tomans a month, and for the reason that they are servants they are obliged to say and do whatever the gentlemen tell them, and all they have said are inventions, and [Page 683] Jalil and the other Mohammedans who have given false evidence against me have, I think, received money from the gentlemen and have got gain in this way. Another point I wish also to bring forward against the witnesses who say I confessed to them in the prison at Dilman: There were five prisoners in the prison besides myself; if I had made this confession the Mohammedans would also have heard. If these Mohammedans will come forward and say I made these confessions, then it will be correct.
Q. What would you say if those men were brought and said you did confess?—A. They may say that those witnesses came to me in prison and read the New Testament and prayed with me and I may have said yes to this. If I had confessed to the murder which they fasten on me, those five men in the prison would have been brought here to prove my confession.
Question by the English consul. Even if you have not confessed by word of mouth, you have confessed in writing in the letter given by you to pasha muleteer.
Answer. I never wrote that letter; that is not my writing.
The proceedings are now sealed with his seal by the Mustashar-nd-Douleh, also sealed and signed by the English consul-general, and also sealed by Hadji Mirza Maasim Khan, first secretary of the Persian foreign office.
The court adjourns sine die.
Mr. Pratt to Colonel Stewart.
Teheran , July 14, 1890.
Sir: I have now to acknowledge with many thanks your dispatch No. 28 of July 5, inclosing the minutes of the proceedings in the trial of the assassin Minas, in Persian, accompanied by an English translation of the same.
In view of the statements made to you by the Mustashar-ud-Douleh that the orders received at Tabreez were to the effect that the evidence against Minas, as well as his defense, was to be recorded there and the proceedings afterwards sent to Teheran for the authorities here to note the finding and sentence the prisoner in accordance, I have deemed it advisable to transmit a copy of your Persian version of the said proceedings to the prime minister, His Highness the Eminé Soultan, accompanied by a note stating that in my opinion the evidence adduced fully establishes the guilt of the prisoner Minas as to the charges preferred against him, and that it appeared to me most expedient that he be accordingly sentenced at the earliest moment, and executed at Tabreez, within the province where his crime was committed, and where the atonement therefor would best serve as an example to others.
His Highness the Eminé Soultan being however at present absent on a hunting expedition with His Majesty the Shah, it will doubtless take a number of days before I can receive his reply.
As to the woman Asli, I quite agree with you that under the circumstances it is best not to require her to testify, since there is every probability that she will not do so honestly.
Again assuring you of my sincere appreciation for all the trouble you have given yourself in this matter, I am, etc.,