Sir, Her British Majesty's vice Consul, Mr. Hermann Scholer, has communicated to you the fact that Mr. George Weber, a naturalized citizen of the United States of America, died here in prison on the 29th of March. I do not know how fully he reported the circumstances of the case, in fact we have so little information about the matter that I am prompted to call your attention again to it as an outrage demanding the fullest investigation.
By way of description I would say that Mr. Weber was about 5 ft. 5 in. tall; hair and full beard, gray; head, very large; chest very full, in fact the upper part of the body was out of proportion to the limbs and feet, which were quite small;
weight, about 170 pounds ; age, 70 years.
Mr. Weber reached here on the evening of the 28th of March and the first intimation we had of his arrival was the announcement of his death the folowing morning.
All that we could learn of the case from the authorities here was that he had been arrested on suspicion (an old man of 70, not knowing any of the language of the country, could not have been a very suspicious character) by the Vali of Koniah and was being taken to Constantinople.
We have no information of his journey from Koniah to Kutahya, we do not know how long he had been on the way, to what storms and cold he had been exposed without any suitable protection for he was very thinly clad, we do not know how many nights, hungry footsore and sick, he had faced in filthy prisons or what indignities he had to endure from criminals of every class into whose company he was every evening thrown. We are informed that he was brought from Kutahya to Bozuyuk by train (if he had been left on the cars he would have
reached Constantinople the same day and you would have heard his story by word of mouth).
From Bozuyuk he was compelled to walk to Pazarjuk, a distance of from 25 to 30 miles, and from there to here (a two days' journey) he was brought in a springless wagon; he was so weak and exhausted that he had to be lifted out of the wagon, in doing this they let him fall and, shame to relate, in this Capital city of the Hudivendigliar Vilayet he was in this condition again thrust into the common prison for the night; he must have been burning up with fever for they said he wanted water all the time.
As to the antecedents of Mr. Weber, we know very little, neither is it apparent what his business was in Koniah, we infer from some writing found among his papers that he passed through Eski Shehir and he may have been in search of work on the railway which is being constructed in those parts; he was evidently poor and may have been obliged to beg, but in any case it remains for our Government to say
whether it will allow one of its citizens to be thus arrested, driven like an animal some 250 miles, lodged with felons, only to fall exhausted by the way and die in one of these foul prisons. If his life had terminated one day sooner, he would not even have had a Christian burial.
It is very true that all this is just what the Turkish Government is doing every day to its own subjects; it neither knows or practices the maxim "Innocent until proved guilty."
I trust that the bare recital of these facts will lead to an examination of the case followed by such redress as will secure exemption from like barbarous treatment -- for all American citizens, whose work calls them to travel through the interior of this Empire.
Very respectfully yours,
Theo. A. Baldwin