Mr. McDonald to Mr. Gresham.

No. 26.]

Sir: I have the honor to invite your attention to the accompanying communication to His Majesty the Shah from me.

The occasion of it was the atrocious murder of Aga Jan Khan, an Armenian Christian, a man of prominence and character at Oroomiah, Persia.

The piteous appeal of the wife of the murdered man, reciting the horrible particulars, was forwarded to me by Americans in Oroomiah with the request that I transmit it to His Majesty the King. In doing so it will be seen that I disclaim any official authority in the matter, but act merely in a personal capacity and in the interest of humanity.

A copy of another paper, an appeal to the vali and (heir apparent), the governor of Tabriz, a son of the Shah, from American citizens at Oroomiah, forwarded to me through the British consulate at Oroomiah and the British legation in this city, will also be found as an inclosure of this dispatch.

In this it will be seen that the missionaries say “the Christians have been obliged to shut themselves in their homes for fear of another similar incident taking place.” Supposing that this remark embraces the American citizens, I have called the attention of His Majesty to it in my official capacity, invoking the interposition of his authority and power in their behalf.

I have, etc.,

Alex. McDonald.
[Inclosure 1 No. 26.]

Mr. McDonald to the Shah.

Your Imperial Majesty: Disclaiming any authority or purpose to act officially in the matter, I yet beg in the interest of justice and mercy to transmit to Your Majesty the accompanying pathetic petition, which was forwarded to me for that purpose, by a grievously wronged and irreparably injured woman. Despoiled and deprived by brutal violence of her loved and honored husband, she cries to your exalted Majesty for redress and succor. An inhuman outrage seems to have been committed, which, I cannot doubt, if as stated, will excite the sympathy and arouse the indignation of your justice-loving and crime-hating Majesty. I may here state that other accounts of this terrible outrage have reached me through other sources, not only corroborating the story of this humble and stricken woman, but presenting the horrible details in a more ghastly and repulsive light.

As one residing near Your Majesty, who admires your many excellencies and respects your power, not in my official capacity, as I have stated, but unofficially and privately, I beg to be permitted to obey the behests of humanity and lay this petition at the feet of your august Majesty, hoping and believing that it will meet with such treatment at your hands as in your supreme wisdom it may seem to merit and demand.

I beg permission here also to represent to Your Majesty that in another communication that has come to me on this subject, through the British consul at Tabriz, and the British legation of this city, from some of my countrymen, American missionaries at Urmi, after reciting the awful details of the murder, it is stated that the Christians there have been obliged to shut themselves up in their houses for fear of another such terrible incident.

This statement, as the representative of American Christians in Persia, I invite the serious attention of Your Majesty to, and beg that such orders will be given as will insure their safety and guarantee their protection as peaceable and law-abiding citizens in the peaceful pursuit of their holy calling.

I have, etc.,

Alex. McDonald,
United States Minister.
[Page 503]
[Inclosure 2 in No. 26.—Translation.]

The Petition of Leah to His Imperial Majesty the Shah: This petition showeth that this humble one and her relations, viz, Ain-es-Sultaneh, who is in Paro, and Gehanghir Khan and Neriman Khan, who are in the royal train fulfilling their duties and spending their lives in the service of their King, and who have always been and still are home born and living under a covenant of salt in loyalty to the high functionaries of the eternal and triumphant state, under these circumstances, then, how does it come to pass that with Your Imperial Majesty’s exalted sense of justice and righteousness the husband and master of this humble one, by name Khajeh Âga Jân Khan, was, within half an hour after leaving his house to go to his shop for business, by a mob of wicked people of Oroomiah, on a false accusation, surrounded and treacherously, from hatred and enmity, dragged from his shop into the mosque, where, from the blows of sticks and stones and the stabs of daggers, he was brutally slain and almost torn to pieces. His body was then drawn by ropes to the outside of the city and thrown into the very water of the moat, and afterwards his body was sold for money, and his shop and goods in it plundered, whilst I, the humble and helpless one, from fright and terror, dare not go to my home. The soldiers also who have surrounded his house are destroying his property and giving much trouble to his friends, and by no means hesitate to cause loss, grief, and pain.

Finally this humble one lifts up beseeching hands to the skirts of justice and honor of Your Imperial Majesty, who, according to your ideas of cherishing your subjects and meting out justice, I pray, may do whatever is thought necessary on behalf of my late husband whose photograph I inclose.

[Inclosure 3 in No. 26.—Translation.]

Petition sent by the American missions of Urmi to his imperial highness, the Vali Ahd.

We beg to state that your royal highness’ justice sun, which is fair and shines all over the Aderbejan province, and since your royal highness always desires the peace and comfort of your subjects and nations: We therefore think it necessary to state the true facts in regard to Aga Jan Khan’s case, a christian merchant; and we hope your royal highness will be kind enough to give justice in this matter and order the punishment of the guilty parties. Aga Jan Khan had an office in the caravansarah of the late Suja à Dowleh. As usual, he comes in the morning and sits in his office. A few merchants came to his office for business and went away; besides these a Mussulman and a Christian also came to his office, and whilst these two men were in his office two Persian women came to him and spoke to him about some loan transactions, but they did not come to any decided conclusion about the loan, and the two Persian women left his office. After a quarter of an hour a party of Syeds, mullah students, and others came from Jumah Musjed to the caravansarah, and they ascended to a watchmaker’s shop, which is situated on top of Aga Jan Khan’s shop, and there they had some consultation (unknown to us). Then they came down to Aga Jan Khan’s shop, and without any words or questions they seized him by the collar and dragged him into the caravansarah compound; then they started to beat him most shamefully all round, and from there they drag him to Jumah Musjed.

The head mullah, seeing the state of affairs, gets into the crowd, takes Aga Jan Khan from them and puts him into a room and shuts the door well. At the same time the governor and kargozar were informed. They had sent four or five men (forashes), but the men did nothing in the matter to give any help; for three hours Aga Jan Khan was kept in that room like a prisoner; in the course of the three hours the state of affairs was continually being communicated to the governor, kargozar, and the serperast, but they neither took steps to prevent the mobs nor tried to carry him away to the Government house.

After three hours’ imprisonment a few Syeds and others break into the room and stab him in several places, then bring him out into the compound and all the audience that were present there again start to stab and kick him most cruelly and, furthermore, thinking that these tortures are not sufficient, they tie a rope around his neck and feet and pull him through the streets and bazars out of the city and there they throw him in a water pool full of dirty water coming from the Persian Hamams. Then they start to stone him there. Such cruelty was never known yet.

At last we had to offer a sum of money, and by the help of the governor’s and kargozar’s men the body was taken out” from the dirty water; further we beg to state that the cause of this poor man’s murder was simply for an untrue fact and [Page 504] gossip, and many men can give evidence to this effect, that all charges made against him are untrue. We also know well that all charges made against him were untrue, and further beg to say that he could never commit such a crime in an open caravansary, moreover in his shop, which can he looked into from three sides.

Such cruel murder is against the laws of the Government, hut it is owing to the weakness of governors that such events take place.

In conclusion, we beg to state that the Christians have been obliged to shut themselves in their homes for fear of another similar incident taking place.

The men who have murdered are all well known and can be easily discovered.

Doctor Cochrane.