Mr. King to Mr. Blaine.

No. 59.]

Sir: Some copies of a Bible dictionary sent out for sale by the Bible House to local agents were recently seized at Ererum, and other copies [Page 723] of the same work were seized at Salonica, and the local Ottoman official at Salonica tore out one or more pages from each of these books, and then offered to return the books thus mutilated to the book agent. Each of these books, as all others sent out by the Bible House, contained a printed notice giving the date and number of the permission of the ministry of public instruction to print and sell the book.

Such seizures have happened from time to time.

Therefore, while regulating these particular seizures, I thought it would be well if I could procure a general instruction from the Sublime Porte to the local officials of such a nature as to prevent, or at least to render less frequent, such seizures, which are inconvenient and troublesome to the book department of the Bible House. It is not practicable to put the stamp of the ministry of public instruction on each book, because that would necessitate the sending back to Constantinople many books which are already in various cities in the interior of this Empire.

But the Grand Vizier and the minister of public instruction have agreed to stamp a general catalogue of books duly authorized, and to send instructions not to seize the books therein named. I inclose a copy of a note I have sent to the minister of public instruction on the subject. This proposition, before being accepted, must go before and receive the approval of the board of education, some members of which are less liberal than the Grand Vizier or the minister of public instruction, and are, in fact, reactionary in their policy, and will doubtless try to raise objections to this simple and practicable plan of preventing these difficulties. However, I hope that it will be accepted, or will result in some amelioration of the situation.

I may add that, owing to the frequent changes of officials in the Ottoman service and the absence of a fixed policy, and especially on account of the natural conflicts between two civilizations and religions so different, no absolute and permanent settlement of many of the difficulties we have in reference to books and schools and churches can be expected.

I have, etc.,

Pendleton King.
[Inclosure in No. 59.]

Mr. King to Munif Pasha.

Mr. Minister: As Your Excellency is aware, books sent out for sale by the American missionaries are sometimes seized in the interior, notwithstanding that they have been authorized by the ministry of public instruction and bear the date and number of the authorization.

To prevent such seizures, which are troublesome to Your Excellency as well as to the missionaries, I have proposed to His Highness the Grand Vizier to have prepared a catalogue of books authorized for sale, each title to include the number and date of its authorization. Then each of these catalogues is to receive the seal of the ministry of public instruction, with a statement that every book mentioned in the catalogue has been duly authorized, and these catalogues are to be sent to the local book agents. Finally, His Highness the Grand Vizier will instruct the different valis, and through them all local Ottoman authorities, not to seize nor interfere with any book whose title appears in this stamped catalogue. His Highness the Grand Vizier regards this as satisfactory and practical, and is willing to accept it if it is satisfactory to Your Excellency.

As Your Excellency informed me verbally this week that such an arrangement would be satisfactory to you, I would be much obliged to you if you would kindly inform me when I shall instruct the missionaries to prepare such a catalogue.

Accept, etc.

Pendleton King.