Consul Thomas Gibson to Terrell (?), December 1894 (forwarding)

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Two letters forwarded to Terrell or his office by Thomas Gibson, the US Consul in Beirut, with a cover letter explaining that they relate to complaints from American missionary schools in Mersine and Tarsus about the treatment of their Armenian faculty and their students.

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Enclosure No 1 with Despatch No 51. of Dec 25 1894.

Copy

Mersine, Turkey Dec 20 1894

Hon. Thomas R. Gibson U.S. Consul Beirut, Syria,

Dear Sir,

We have read your prompt -and reassuring letter of 15--th December. Be assured of our appreciation of your efficient action. Your ask "who are the girls and why are they demanded." Rev. J. C. Martin could not remember their names. The Valy told him that he would not allow Moslem girls, or children, in Christian shools and this is the reason of the demand for the girls.

For forty one years our Mission has been in operation, during all of which time Moslem children have been in our schools. Most of these have not had a single christian in them, while some are mixed, but none have been exclusively for Christians. For over thirty years I

Last edit almost 6 years ago by adamrabinowitz
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myself have had direction during which period the great majority of our pupils have been Moslems. The French school just across the way from our residence have at the present time Moslem children. Neither is Beirut destitute of Christian schools with Moslem pupils. Notably there is Miss Taylor's, a school of excellent record exclusively for Moslems and Druzes. Our Egyptian schools have multitudes of Moslem pupils.

I made the point in conversation with the predecessor of the present Valy, who is now the Valy of Beirut, that in as much as our schools are official and regular and the word Moslem not being in the school Code of the Empire, it would be unfair for us to deny Moslems the excellent advantages of our schools; that for us to do so would give just ground of complaint; and if properly interpreted and emploted would render us liable to legal process for making an invidious distinction against them. The Valy admitted the justice of my

Last edit over 4 years ago by adamrabinowitz
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statement. When I had asked him to consider it as if the application of his own son were the case in point. He then called for the Mudeer - El Maarif, Rev R. J. Dodds also being present, and charged him to make no further mention of this matter, nor to ever allude again to the girls.

If the same girls about whom the fuss was made last year are included in the present demand, I would say, first that they are all of age according to the strictest interpretation of the law, second that the two in Mersine have on their own intelligent profession in Christ being baptized and are members of the Reformed Presbyterian Church here. And third that if they are meant there has been no arrangement made as yet for the paying of their expenses for all the years they have been with us. They were put in our school by the free act and consent of their parents. Then too to bind them by what is a strong point with that race of people their dowry rights were transferred to me. I can

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demand a money consideration of any one desiring betrothal. We have never in a single instance availed ourselves of this check. They agree not to marry against our will. You can see how important this is when I tell you their own uncle desires to have one or all of them in his hareem, and that while their aunt is still living. How can this be otherwise abhorrent to them! One of them was deaf and dumb, her I placed in a school for mutes in Philadelphia, Pa, nearly six years ago, she has learned to read and write there, and to converse in the sign language. I complied carefully with the passport and police regulations when I took her with my family to America. When the question was up a few years ago, during the Ministry of Mr. Strauss, with referrence to Moslems in our Schools it was decided by the Powers. The United States' position was that our Missionaries could not be required to do police duties. Mr. Strauss was about

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to take a still further step, I believe, when his term of office came to a close.

The Turks trumped up the charge against Daoud Saade, one of our teachers, of being a Russian spy, and imprisoned him. When the charge broke down, they brought another against him of circulating inflammatory literature. This also they found it impossible to establish, but kept him imprisoned three years and three months on the testimony of the policemen who had arrested him, who said that he had cursed the Sultan. When this long term of imprisonment had expired he was expelled. He is now a licensed preacher in Cyprus.

In speaking about this with Mr. Strauss I told him it would be the first of a series of like cases if it should prove successful. To which the Minister replied, "I will see to that." But soon after that, much to our grief and disappoint ment he left Constantinople.

Daoud's case was quickly followed by others until by the various devices

Last edit over 4 years ago by adamrabinowitz
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