Mr. Sperry to Mr. Foster.

No. 13.]

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith a report from John Tyler, esq., the interpreter of this legation, in regard to a serious and unjustifiable interference with the rights of American missionaries at Tabriz. It will appear from Mr. Tyler’s report that there were signs of hostility to the religious and educational work of the American (Presbyterian) mission establishment at Tabriz before Mr. Fox, vice-consul, left this legation. The open act of interference was committed, however, after Mr. Fox’s departure, on the 6th of October, 1892. At the date of this act, 27th October, 1892, there was no one at this legation with official power to deal with the matter. Mr. Tyler, as interpreter, was in charge of the legation, and in the emergency he very thoroughly and ably took the business in hand. Although without official standing before the Persian Government, his long and respectable career in Persia, and the personal friendship which exists between him and the principal officers of his Imperial Majesty the Shah, and also the personal acquaintance which he has the honor to have with the Shah, enabled him to bring the subject effectively before the Persian authorities in this city. The matter was the more delicate because the work of the missionaries at Tabriz was interrupted under cover of the authority of the heir apparent, who is the governor of Tabriz. It is to be said that the disposition of the responsible ministers of His Majesty’s Government was most friendly to the United States, but this fact does not diminish the credit due to Mr. Tyler for the promptness, thoroughness, and intellectual force with which he presented the case of the missionaries and urged that due reparation be made. The entire correspondence, which is very long, would make this even more evident than the summary which Mr. Tyler has made in his report.

To my mind the most serious aspect of this affair is its arbitrary quality. No complaints were made. The missionaries were not informed that they were pursuing a course which was offensive to the [Page 481] native authorities. No opportunity was given for a comparison of the facts with the complaints. But after some informal and irresponsible talk, on the part of a subordinate, which did not rise in importance much above gossip, the seals were summarily placed upon both the school and the church, thus completely arresting the work of the missionaries, and in fact punishing them to that extent and degree while the question was being argued as to whether or not they deserved punishment. This was not only eminently unfair, but the later removal of the seals by the Persian Government shows that it was also unjustifiable. No conditions were exacted, or even mentioned, as the price of the removal. The wrong which it was thus conceded bad been done was simply cured. But to cure the wrong did not carry with it amends for the protracted interval during which the missionaries were forced, by a secret and summary process, to endure the wrong.

There is probably much in the fanatical nature of the population of Tabriz, in the local atmosphere, which explains this act of summary suppression. But to explain the act is not to show that it may safely be allowed to be repeated. On the contrary, the explanation shows that the Government of the United States ought to make more effective provision for the safety of its citizens residing in Tabriz. Some officer of the United States should be there with power to receive and examine complaints, and to transmit them in authentic shape to this legation, in case the matter goes so far as that; and all this should be done, and required to be done, before punishment is inflicted. Otherwise the work of the missionaries at Tabriz is liable to summary and prolonged interruption at any moment.

For some time the missionaries at Tabriz have been looking to the English authorities in that city for such assistance as they might require. You will recall what efficient assistance was rendered by Col. Stewart, at that time consul-general in Tabriz (now at Odessa, Russia), at the time of the murder of Mrs. Wright.

Under our treaty with Persia the United States have the right to have a consul at Tabriz. This right is not now exercised, and, I believe, never has been exercised. I have ventured to write to the Bev. Mr. Wilson, asking him to suggest the name of some responsible man living at Tabriz who would serve as the official representative of the United States in that city. Any suggestions that he may make will be at once forwarded to Washington for your consideration and that of the President. I am clear in my own mind that there ought to be an official representative of the United States in Tabriz, no matter how limited his powers may be.

Before American churches and schools in Persia are closed and placed in disuse there ought to be official knowledge of the matter by an authorized representative of the United States, to whom the Persian authorities, even the most fanatical, would feel bound to go and to explain before the act of interference occurred, to the end that the condemnation may not come first and the hearing afterward.

I inclose herewith a copy of a resolution adopted at Tabriz in regard to my own relation to the removal of the seals. The work had been done when I arrived by Mr. Tyler, and the resolution of thanks to him is the more important.

The thanks of the missionaries have been sent to the Shah and his Government.

I have, etc.,

Watson R. Sperry.
[Page 482]
[Inclosure 1 in dispatch. No. 13.]

Mr. Tyler to Mr. Sperry.

Sir: I have the honor to present for your information a report on the facts and circumstances which developed themselves in connection with the closing and sealing by the authorities, on the 27th of October last, of the doors of the American Presbyterian mission church and boys’ school in Tabriz.

For some time previously to these extreme measures being taken it appears that there had been considerable opposition to and agitation against the work of the mission, though not against the missionaries in their private capacity. In a letter addressed to me as early as the 4th of May Mr. Wilson, one of the missionaries, complained of the highhanded and unjustifiable behavior of the Armenian bishop of Tabriz, who had taken and forcibly detained a young Protestant girl, a member of the mission church. This Episcopal dignitary had not, it appears, confined his interference and annoyance to the American missionaries only, for Mr. Wilson states in his letter that both the French and Turkish governments formally protested against him to the Shah’s Government.

Shortly after this Mrs. Wilson, writing to the missionaries in Teheran, expressed her apprehension that the Mohammedan population might be incited against them. On Mr. Fox’s first interview with the foreign minister after his return from his tour in the south, he spoke to his excellency on the subject, who promised to make inquiries, and if it should appear that there was a just cause for complaint or any ground for fear on the part of the missionaries, he would immediately communicate with the prince governor, the heir apparent. From this time no official report was made to the legation until the 10th of November, when a dispatch, covering a letter from Dr. Vanneman, the medical officer in charge of the mission, was received from the acting English consul-general in Tabriz, informing the legation that the mission church and boys’ school in that city had been closed and sealed by the orders of the prince governor.

Dr. Vanneman, in his letter to the acting English consul, states that for several days preceding the sealing of the church and boys’ school, the mirza (native secretary) of the foreign office representative came to the school and told the Armenian teacher, who was present, that complaints had been made against the ornamental entrance to the roof of the church, about the ten commandments being printed on the walls inside, that Mohammedan children attended the school, and that Moslem women came to the houses of the missionaries. On being shown the entrance to the roof of the church, the ten commandments printed inside the church, and on receiving assurances that no Moslem children attended the school, and that Persian women only attended Dr. Miss Bradford to be treated professionally, the mirza seemed satisfied and left. Dr. Vanneman remarked that as no complaint was either made to himself or to his associate, Mr. Brashear, they paid little attention to the visit of the mirza or his conversation with the teacher. Dr. Vanneman furthermore states that the doors were closed and sealed without any communication whatever being made either to himself or any other person responsible for the management of the mission. Immediately on his becoming aware of what had been done by the authorities he at once sent word to the acting English consul, who sent his mirza to the foreign office representative with a request to have the seals removed, at least until the return of Mr. Wilson (the oldest member of the mission), who at that time was on a visit to Hamadan, to attend the annual meeting of the mission. He was, however, put off with some evasive reply. Dr. Vanneman himself sought and obtained an interview with the foreign office representative and demanded to know why such an unusual and unjustifiable step had been taken.

He was told that the valiahd (heir apparent) had given the orders without assigning any reason.

The acting English consul-general in his dispatch to the legation expresses himself very freely on the subject. He states that the whole matter was traceable to the agitation by the Armenian priests, and that they bribed the officials to induce them to close the church and school. He adds that they did not produce and prove one specific case, and that it was an attempt to interfere with the right of Persian subjects to worship in that form which their consciences approved.

Immediately on receipt of the acting consul’s dispatch I wrote to the foreign minister requesting the favor of an interview as soon as possible, but in consequence of a death in his family and the usual funeral ceremonies not? being concluded, he could not see me until two days afterwards.

In my interview with his excellency I mentioned the various charges that had been brought against the missionaries, and the explanations and denials which they had [Page 483] given, and I ventured to express my conviction that there was no ground for the action taken by the authorities, and that I hoped he would give orders to have the seals removed without any formal representation being made from the legation to the foreign office. He replied that as the prince governor was concerned in the matter he could not cancel an order given by him without first bringing the facts of the case to the notice of the Shah, and asked me to put in writing what I had just stated to him verbally. On the following day I sent a dispatch in Persian and English, in which I stated that from the information I was able to gather from the letter of Dr. Vanneman, Mussulman women did not attend the services of the church, although they did visit the lady doctor (Dr. Bradford), but only to be treated professionally; that Moslem boys did not attend the school, which was entirely devoted to the education of Armenians and Nestorians; that the missionaries had not the least desire either to offend the religious sentiments or the artistic tastes of the Government authorities, in adopting that peculiar style for the entrance to the roof of the church of which complaint had been made; that it seemed difficult to raise any objection to the ten commandments being printed on the inside of the wall of the church, as that was a custom generally observed in most Christian countries, and that they merely inculcated man’s duty to God, to his parents, to his neighbors, and to mankind; that the missionaries regretted that these complaints were not made directly to them, and an opportunity afforded them of giving explanations. I added that I thought it would be evident to his excellency that the missionaries had in no way departed from that sphere of benevolent work among native Christians, which had been graciously permitted and recognized for so many years past by the Government of His Imperial Majesty the Shah. In conclusion, I begged his Excellency to take such steps as he might deem advisable to have the seals removed, and the work and worship of the missionaries be allowed to go on as usual.

On the 14th of November, I addressed a letter to Mr. Paton, the acting English consul-general, thanking him for the interest he had taken and the efforts he had made to have the matter settled.

The Rev. S. G. Wilson, having heard, at Hamadan, of the closing of the church and school, wrote to me on the 9th of November, giving certain particulars relating to the building of the church and other matters, all of which I found useful in my communications with the foreign office. I replied to this on the 17th, informing Mr. Wilson of the arguments I had used with the foreign minister in refutation of the complaints that had been made against the mission, and assuring him of my intention to do all I possibly could to remove the impediment that had been raised against their work.

Considering that I had already waited sufficiently long to allow the foreign minister to institute inquiries in Tabriz, I sent a verbal message to the under secretary of state, on the 5th of December, asking when I might expect a reply to my letter of the 13th of November. He replied that he hoped all would be satisfactorily arranged. Not getting any written communication from the foreign minister, I sent a formal memorandum to the foreign office on the 9th, in which I reminded the Department that in my dispatch of the 13th of November, I had proved that there was no justification for closing the church and school, and I had hoped that when it had made the inquiries an order would be given to remove the seals. I remarked, further, that in consequence of the rains, and access to the roof being closed, considerable damage had been done to the church. In order to emphasize my arguments I added that the matter had been reported to the board of foreign missions in America, and I begged that the seals might be removed before it was brought to the notice of the U. S. Government.

On Sunday, the 14th of December, I received the reply of the foreign office to my two communications, which I will presently analyze in detail, and also give a summary of my reply sent in parallel columns of Persian and English; but in order to preserve some continuity in my report I will briefly state, that in reply to a telegram from Mr. Wilson I observed that the foreign minister considered the question a serious one, and that he evidently would not on his own responsibility order the church and school to be opened; and as the Shah had been out of Teheran for nearly three weeks on a hunting expedition, some unavoidable delay had been caused.

I inclosed in this letter a copy of the foreign office memorandum, and requested Mr. Wilson to read over the document very carefully, and make such remarks on the charges brought forward as he might consider advisable, and forward them to me as soon as possible.

The charges preferred against the missionaries, in the memorandum referred to above, were contained in a report from the foreign-office representative addressed to the minister of that department, and in substance are as follows:

That the missionaries had built the church without the permission and sanction of the Government authorities; that they had added a spire to the edifice, with the object of hanging therein a nakoos; that they had been preaching in the church; that they admitted Armenian children to the schools, and taught them the rules [Page 484] and principles of the Protestant faith: that Mussulmans had been converted to Christianity; that Mussulman children attended the school in opposition to the laws of the religion and the state; that they published a curriculum of the lessons given in the school; that Mohammedans had been converted to Christians in Oroomiah and Salmos; that all persons before entering the service of the missionaries were compelled to be baptized; that Persian (Mussulman) women attended the services of the church; that Mr. Easton (one of the missionaries) had had the photo of a Mohammedan woman taken in a group of his family; that Protestants had a church for their worship and preaching contrary to the laws of the state; that certain Armenians were induced by improper methods (by payments of money) to send their children to the schools; that the Armenian bishop and priests had complained to the authorities on the subject.

In commenting upon and refuting these charges I took occasion first to thank the foreign office for instituting inquiries as to the truth or falsehood of the accusations brought against the missionaries; but I remarked that, as these proceedings had not resulted in the removal of the seals from the church and school, and that as the report of the foreign office representative was in such conflict with the information supplied by the missionaries, a reply in some detail seemed to be unquestionably demanded. Briefly stated it was as follows:

  • First. With regard to the charge that the missionaries had built the church without the permission of the Government authorities, I replied that this was not correct, as they held a paper given to them for that purpose.
  • Secondly. To the charge that they had added a spire to the church, with the object of hanging therein a nakoos (a heavy plank of wood suspended on hinges, and struck with a mallet to call to prayers). I denied that such was the case, and it was simply and solely intended as an entrance to the roof.
  • Thirdly. As to the complaint that the missionaries had been guilty of preaching in the church, I observed that the construction of a church presupposed the holding of service, and that preaching formed a necessary and important part in them.
  • Fourthly. In reply to the complaint that Armenian children attended the schools, I admitted that the missionaries did not deny the fact; but I added that as the rules of faith and conduct were identical in these two sections of the Christian church, there could be no objection to their being taught in the school.
  • Fifthly. With regard to the assertion that Mohammedans had been converted to Christianity, I stated that no such report had reached the legation, and that I very much doubted if such an event had taken place.
  • Sixthly. In answer to the charge that Mussulman children attended the school, I said the missionaries declared that it was not true, with the sole exception of the foreign-office representative’s mirza’s son, who merely went to learn English; but I added if the mirza disapproved of his son’s going, he could have ordered him to stay away, and there would have been an end of the matter. If his object, however, in sending him to the school was to have a pretext for bringing a charge against the missionaries or stir up ill feeling, it was for the foreign office to judge whether the missionaries or the mirza was in fault.
  • Seventhly. Regarding the publication of the curriculum of the studies in the school, I replied that these missionaries denied that such was the case, or that any order was given to them to discontinue the teaching as was asserted. Indeed, they complained that these charges were not made to them personally, and so an opportunity afforded them of making an explanation. In fact both the church and school had been closed without any direct communication being made to them on the subject.
  • Eighthly. With regard to the conversion of Mohammedans to Christianity in Oroomiah and Salmos, I reminded the foreign office that missionaries had been located amongst the Nestorians in those places for upwards of fifty years without any charge whatever being brought against their moral character, and it was possible that during that long period some cases of conversion had taken place, just as many Christians had become Mussulmans; but I thought that the foreign office would perceive that this question had little relevancy to the subject at issue.
  • Ninthly. With reference to the accusation that all persons entering the service of the missionaries were first compelled to be baptized, I observed that the foreign office knew as well as the legation that baptizing a man (supposing the charge to be true, which the missionaries denied) no more made him a Christian than did the pronunciation of the name of Mohammed make a man a Mussulman.
  • Tenthly. To the charge that Mussulman women attended the services of the church, I replied that the missionaries denied this, but admitted that some did visit the lady doctor to receive advice and assistance, but with no other motive or intention whatever.
  • Eleventhly. In noticing the accusation that Mr. Easton had had the photo of a Mussulman woman taken in the group of his family, I stated that I felt sure that Mr. Easton had not the remotest intention of infringing the laws of the country, or [Page 485] that he supposed this act would he made a pretext for closing the doors of the house of God, and I was convinced that if he had had the faintest idea that such a result would have followed he would not have committed so serious an act of indiscretion. Moreover, he left Tabriz in the spring, and was in no way connected with this church.
  • Twelfthly. On the question that Protestants had built themselves a church, I ventured to observe that through the favor of His Imperial Majesty the Shah, peoples of various religions were allowed to have churches in which to worship God in their own way, and I was quite certain that it was neither the wish of the Shah nor his Government, nor that of the crown prince, that Protestants should be denied this privilege.
  • Thirteenthly. To the charge that certain Armenians were induced by unlawful means to send their children to the school, I maintained that if their parents were satisfied that these children were thereby made better citizens and subjects, which were points of great importance in the Christian religion, no real damage was done to the state.
  • Fourteenthly. Regarding the complaints of the Armenian bishop and priests, I held it probable that if these persons were to pay more attention to the improvement of their system of education, and make greater efforts to carry it into effect, the children would most likely be sent to their schools instead of to those of the missionaries.

In commenting on these charges I remarked that I felt it necessary to make each one the subject of some observations and explanations, which I trusted would be found satisfactory to the imperial foreign office, and that it would be admitted there was no further necessity for keeping the church and school closed. I added, moreover, that the legation in considering these charges (the first that had been brought against the missionaries) felt, without in the least desiring to give trouble to the Government, that it would have been preferable had the authorities, before taking this extreme step, made some communication to the legation, that it might have instituted inquiries as to the truth of the charges made against the missionaries of infringing the laws of the country. In conclusion, I remarked that the legation had taken and would continue to take the profoundest interest in all that concerned the happiness, prosperity, and stability of the Kingdom, and would cooperate with the Imperial Government in preventing dissensions and disputes between their respective subjects and so perpetuate that harmony and good feeling which it was the utmost desire of the U. S. Government to foster and consolidate.

Simultaneously with the above memorandum I had the honor to announce to the minister of foreign affairs the receipt of your telegram from Vienna and the probable date of your arrival at the Persian port of Enzelli, and I hoped that this information would induce the authorities to see the wisdom and justice of opening the church and schools without further delay.

On the 17th of December I received from the foreign office a memorandum in the form of a reply to mine of the 14th, in which the minister asserts his belief that his representative in Tabriz had given an unprejudiced report of the circumstances that had been the cause for sealing up the church and school, and that the missionaries had been obliged to use their particular arguments in order to make their case good. Peremptory orders, continued the memorandum, had been sent to Tabriz to have the seals removed, but at the same time the legation was desired to warn the missionaries against allowing Mussulman women and children to visit them or enter the church and school, and by no means to transgress the laws of the religion and the state, and not to neglect the advice of the representative of the Foreign Office, who was only solicitous for their safety, lest troubles and difficulties might follow.

Not feeling sure that the minister’s orders would be executed, even if they were sent, on the 19th I asked Mr. Wilson by wire whether the seals had been removed, and to my regret on the following day I received a reply that they had not. The next day I addressed a memorandum to the foreign office expressing my extreme surprise and disappointment at the refusal on the part of the Tabriz authorities to carry out the minister’s orders, and at the missionaries still being deprived of their place of worship. On the 21st the foreign minister sent a telegram to the legation, with a request that I would myself have it dispatched to the foreign-office representative in Tabriz, ordering, in the most peremptory manner, the immediate opening of the church and school. I had it sent off at once, and at the same time apprised Mr. Wilson of the fact and asked him to let me know the result. On the 23d I received a telegram from Mr. Wilson informing me that instead of the minister’s orders being carried out, the mirza of the foreign-office representative had called at the mission and pretended to read a telegram he alleged had been sent by the foreign minister ordering the doors of the church and school to be kept closed. I immediately addressed a memorandum to the foreign office expressing the greatest astonishment at this inexplicable behavior of the Tabriz authorities, and respectfully requested, in the most unequivocal manner, that the seals be at once removed. Late the same day I received from the foreign minister a telegram written by himself [Page 486] ordering, in the most indignant and peremptory terms, the seals to be taken off without any further question or hesitation. On the 25th the foreign-office representative replied to the telegram of the minister, to the effect that he had shown his excellency’s orders to the prince governor, who had commanded him in equally strong language to leave the seals on, adding that he had sent a detailed telegram of all the circumstances to the prime minister, and until his reply came the doors were to remain closed. This last telegram was sent through the legation, and in forwarding it to the foreign office I took occasion to observe that from the tenor of the telegrams sent to Tabriz I had had the greatest hope that the matter would be settled, and that I still trusted that the doors would be opened before your arrival, that you might enter upon your tenure of office free from complications of any kind. Not receiving any reply to these communications I addressed a further memorandum to the foreign office stating that I had received two letters and two telegrams from the missionaries within the last few days who complained that they had no church in which to conduct their religious services; and I repeated my expressions of extreme surprise that, notwithstanding the peremptory orders of the minister, the doors of the church and school were still closed, yet I felt sure that from the well-known feelings of friendship which his excellency had toward the legation, and in view of the speedy arrival of the new minister, he would not allow the church to be kept shut up. I added, moreover, that the following day being the first day of the new year the legation had the greatest desire that the church should be opened for services. On the 6th of January, the day of your arrival, I received a private note from one of the under secretaries assuring me that orders had been sent to open the doors of the church, and on the following day Mr. Wilson sent you a telegram reporting the removal of the seals.

From a consideration of all the circumstances of the case, and viewed in the light of statements and reports contained in lengthy communications received from Mr. Wilson and Dr. Vanneman, and from information which I had been able to gather from other sources, it was clearly evident that there was great antagonism and opposition on the part of a portion of the Armenian community, including the bishop and priests, to the work of the missionaries; and that they had, by liberal bribes, incited certain of the officials in Tabriz to get up an agitation, and by misrepresentations prevail upon the crown prince to close the church and school, and thus put a stop to missionary enterprise in Tabriz altogether. Consequently it was only natural that these corrupt and bribed servants of the Crown should hold out as long as possible, and do all in their power at least to save appearances and to present a certain justification for the bribes they had received. I was perfectly aware of the force of the pecuniary argument, and, therefore, was prepared for some delay.

There was, moreover, a prevailing impression in Teheran that this was an initiatory move against all missions, and that similar measures would, if this succeeded, be adopted against the missions in Oroomiah and other places. I felt sure, however, that the Shah and his Government were too anxious to stand well with foreign governments to take a reactionary step of such very questionable policy. Still the prince governor of Ispahan had expelled an agent of the “English society for the propagation of Christianity amongst the Jews,” and the British minister had not been able to get him reinstated.

In one letter I received from Dr. Vanneman my opinion was asked as to the expediency of preferring a claim for damages against the Tabriz authorities, for unlawfully entering and forcibly closing the church and school. In replying, however, to this proposal I took the liberty to state that I was afraid, in view of the present unsettled state of the country, an application of that kind to the Government would have little prospect of success and might possibly do harm rather than good. I added that I should not like, and I did not think it was advisable to make a demand on the foreign office which could not be supported by the authority of the U. S. Government, and to be obliged to acquiesce in a refusal would weaken the position and moral influence of the legation, which at the present time it seemed necessary to strengthen and increase as much as possible.

It is a pleasure to me to bear testimony that in the conduct of these delicate and difficult negotiations (for some members of the Persian Government and a vast proportion of the population are very susceptible and sensitive on religious questions) I had the hearty cooperation and assistance of the missionaries in Tabriz; and it was a source of great satisfaction that I could always refer to the purity of their intentions, their prudence and moderation, and to the blamelessness of their moral character, without the least fear of refutation.

It will be only just to observe, too, that in all my communications with the foreign office I was treated with great courtesy, although it might have justly refused to recognize my position, as I had never been introduced to the Shah or his ministers, even as the official interpreter of the legation. I trust, however, that what I have done in this matter meets with your satisfaction, and will not be disapproved by the Secretary of State.

[Page 487]

Before closing I should like to put on record that the munshi of the legation rendered me very valuable advice and assistance in the Persian correspondence, for which I feel that, at the least, he deserves this recognition of appreciation.

I have received from the committee of the Tabriz mission the following resolution with regard to my action in this matter:

“At a meeting of the American missionaries held in the city of Tabriz on the 7th instant (January), the following resolution was passed:

“We desire to express to Mr. John Tyler, interpreter in charge of the U. S. legation, our most heartfelt thanks for the deep interest and sympathy which ho has manifested, and the wise and masterly manner in which he has represented before the Persian authorities our case in regard to the closing of the church and school.

“And we feel that he has richly earned this respect and attention, as witnessed in his bringing to a successful issue this unhappy affair of gross injustice and indignity to a number of American subjects.

“We congratulate him most heartily on his triumphant vindication of what seemed to be simple justice.

“We have also observed and appreciated not only the energy and business-like way of following up each step in the progress of the case, but especially in his keeping us so well informed, both by telegrams and letters, of the receipt of our communications and his action in respect to them.

“For this all he deserves and we hereby gladly give expression to our grateful thanks.

W. S. Vanneman, M. D.

W. L. Whipple,
Agent of American Bible Society,

Tabriz, 9th January, 1893.

I have, etc.,

John Tyler,
[Inclosure 2 in dispatch No. 13.]

At a meeting of the American missionaries, held in Tabriz, Persia, on the 7th instant, the following action was taken:

Resolved, That we, as American citizens, having heard of the arrival of his excellency the Hon. Watson R. Sperry, the United States minister to the court of the Shah, hereby send our cordial greetings and warm welcome to Persia and extend to him our best wishes for a long and successful administration.

We note also in this connection, with pleasure, the auspicious coincidence of his excellency’s arrival and the removal of the seals and the opening of the doors of our church and school, the closing of which was the cause of so much annoyance and anxiety to us all.

We also request his excellency, if he can do so conveniently, to express to His Imperial Majesty the Shah of Persia and his ministers of state the sincere thanks of the Protestant community, as well as our own, for their gracious favor in this unhappy affair.

  • W. S. Vanneman, M. D.,
  • W. L. Whipple,
    Agent of the American Bible Society,