Mr. Tyler to Mr. Olney.
Teheran, Persia, October 7, 1896. (Received Nov. 14.)
Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith inclosed correspondence relating to the disturbed state of the town of Hamadan.
The presence of a large Jewish population, probably upward of 3,000, in this city appears to be a perpetual source of alarm, anxiety, and trouble. The causes for this state of disquiet, and occasionally outbursts of fanatical rage and open revolt against the administrative authorities, are many, but all owing their origin to the weakness and incapacity of the local government and the want of decisive measures at Teheran.
The Jews have been settled in Hamadan from a time coeval with the captivities, and have to-day, many of them, a position and standing which excites the envy of their Moslem neighbors. They have, too, notwithstanding their persecutions, the same methods of doing business as elsewhere, and thereby not unfrequently bring upon themselves the wrath of their victims. If they would behave with a little more prudence in business matters they would escape many indignities and much suffering. Ever since the establishment of the Mohammedan faith in Persia the dominant class has always manifested a bitter spirit of animosity toward them, although at the present time this does not show itself so virulently in Teheran, Ispahan, and some other towns, as formerly. In Hamadan the conflict between the civil and priestly powers has given the disorderly class occasion and excuse to commit every kind of excess at the expense of the Jews, in which they have had the connivance if not the actual support of the priests; and the central government, when they have made a show of authority, have rarely punished the ringleaders of disorder or stamped out the elements of disaffection, consequently they are always ready to break forth when the conditions are favorable. Hence Hamadan, with a population of not more than 40,000 souls, has become one of the most turbulent and worst-governed places in Persia. It lies about 200 miles southwest of Teheran, and has a considerable trade in the tanning of leather.
The missionaries located in Hamadan have generally been on good terms with the governor and with the fanatical priest Mullah Abdullah, and have by mediation and advice greatly ameliorated the condition of the Jews. Their high moral standard of conduct and their unselfish devotion to their trying duties have gained them the respect of all classes, and have enabled them to exercise their influence in favor of better and more lenient treatment of the Jews.
In view of this abnormal state of affairs existing in Hamadan, it seems difficult for the legation to intervene without producing further confusion. In my letter to the Sadr Azem, while asking for full protection of our citizens, I have intimated the cause of these popular outbursts of passion and revenge. I hope it may have some beneficial effect. * * *
It seemed advisable, so as to put Dr. Holmes in possession of full information of my action, to send him a copy of my letter to the Sadr Azem.
I have, etc.,
Vice-Consul-General in Charge.