Mr. Hirsch to Mr. Blaine.

No. 131.]

Sir: The question of interference with the book trade of the American missionaries, of which I have informed the Department in my No. 104, March 31 last, is still in statu quo.

The minister of public instruction, to whom the matter has been referred by the Grand Vizier, is preparing a reply, which, as I am informed, will shortly be handed in.

It is hoped that it will prove to be in harmony with our views.

In the meantime, however, complaint has been made to me of the burning of some of the books which had been seized during the past winter at Deir el Zore, in Mesopotamia, information of which has only lately been received hero.

[Page 766]

The value of the property destroyed was not very great, but after full consideration it was deemed best to demand payment; which I have done in a note addressed to the Sublime Porte, a copy of which is herewith inclosed, and which I hope will meet the approval of the Department.

I have, etc.,

Solomon Hirsch.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 131.]

Mr. Hirsch to Said Pasha.

No. 34.]

Mr. Minister: I beg to bring to the attention of Your Excellency a case of great hardship which has just been reported to me, which has caused the American missionaries much inconvenience and considerable pecuniary loss.

Some months ago they placed a number of books for sale into the hands of a local agent in Deir el Zor, in Mesopotamia. These books, with the exception of one, were all authorized by the Government, and the authorization was printed on the title-page of each volume. All the requirements of the law in the case had been complied with and they were therefore entitled to its full and unqualified protection, just as fully as if the property had consisted of any other class of merchandise.

The local authorities, however, seized all the books, and, notwithstanding the authorization, retained them for quite an unreasonably long time, after which a portion was returned, while the balance of them were all burned.

Your Excellency will at once see that this is not only an unwarranted confiscation and inexcusable destruction of private property, but is a great injury as well to the business which these American citizens are peaceably following and in the pursuit of which they have the right, under the treaties, to claim the fullest protection.

I am fully persuaded that Your Excellency will take prompt measures to compensate my countrymen for the destruction of their property, which was of the value of 600 piasters, as well as to make other suitable reparation for the injury caused to their business, and to give such orders to your subordinate officials throughout the Empire as will prevent a like occurrence in the future.

Accept, etc.,

Solomon Hirsch.