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Title: Correspondence Relating to Executions in Turkey for Apostacy from Islamism
Author: Various
Language: French
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Presented to the House of Lords, by Her Majesty's Command.

May, 1844.








No. 1.

_Sir Stratford Canning to the Earl of Aberdeen_.--(_Received
September_ 20.)

(Extract.)                        _Buyukderé, August_ 27, 1843.

Within the last few days an execution has taken place at
Constantinople under circumstances which have occasioned much
excitement and indignation among the Christian inhabitants. The
sufferer was an Armenian youth of eighteen or twenty years, who
having, under fear of punishment, declared himself a Turk, went to
the Island of Syra, and returning, after an absence of some length,
resumed his former religion. Apprehensive of the danger but resolved
not to deny his real faith a second time, he kept out of sight till
accident betrayed him to the police, and he was then thrown into
prison. In spite of threats, promises, and blows, he there
maintained his resolution, refused to save his life by a fresh
disavowal of Christianity, and was finally decapitated in one of the
most frequented parts of the city with circumstances of great

Inclosed herewith is a statement of the particulars drawn up by Mr.

It is not merely on grounds of humanity that I would draw your
Lordship's attention to this incident: political considerations of
serious importance are connected with it; and on this account, no
less than from regard for the tears and entreaties of a distracted
family, I exhausted my influence in vain endeavours to divert the
Porte from its purpose. Every Member of the Council to whom I
applied, returned the same answer, expressing a willingness to meet
my wishes, and regretting the inexorable necessity of the law.

For my own part I do not believe that any such necessity exists. The
determination of the Government to sacrifice the Armenian youth, in
spite of my earnest solicitations, unless he recanted publicly, is
part and parcel of that system of reaction which preceded my arrival
here, against which I have constantly struggled, and which,
notwithstanding the assurances given to me, and the efforts of its
partisans to conceal it, is day by day gaining strength, to the
despair of every enlightened Turkish statesman, to the prejudice of
our relations with this country, and to the visible decline of those
improvements which, in my humble judgment, can alone avert the
dissolution of the Sultan's empire.

The law, which, in this instance, has torn a youth from the bosom of
his family, and consigned him to an ignominious and cruel death,
would apply with equal force to a subject of any Christian Power.

Such of my colleagues as I have consulted upon this subject appear
to take a view of it similar to my own, I refer, in particular, to
the Austrian, French, Russian, and Prussian Ministers: each of them
has told me that he intended to recommend the question to the
serious consideration of his Government.

Since my arrival here one British and two French subjects have
declared in favour of Mahomedanism, and much difficulty has been
experienced in dealing with the individuals concerned. The British
subject, a Maltese, returned to the Catholic faith a few days after
he had declared himself a Turk, and he was privately conveyed out of
this country. The Porte, on that occasion, evidently identified the
change of allegiance with the change of creed, and not only would a
trifling incident have sufficed to raise the question arising out of
that principle between Her Majesty's Embassy and the Porte, but had
the man been arrested after his recantation, I should perhaps have
been reduced to the necessity of putting all to hazard in order to
snatch him from the hands of the executioner.

The only* Articles relating to this matter in our Capitulations with
the Porte are the sixty-first and seventy-first. The French have an
Article of similar meaning in their capitulations, and by the Treaty
of Kainardji between Russia and the Porte it was agreed that
individuals who had changed their religion should be mutually
exempted from the operation of the Article, which otherwise
stipulates for the extradition of refugees and malefactors.

* Article LXI.--That if any Englishman should turn Turk, and it
should be represented and proved that besides his own goods he has
in his hands any property belonging to another person in England,
such property shall be taken from him and delivered up to the
Ambassador or Consul, that they may convey the same to the owner

Article LXXI.--That should any Englishman coming with merchandize
turn Turk, and the goods so imported by him be proved to belong to
merchants of his own country, from whom he had taken them, the whole
shall be detained, with the ready money, and delivered up to the
Ambassador, in order to his transmitting the same to the right
owners, without any of our judges or officers interposing any
obstacle or hindrance thereto.

Under these impressions I trust that your Lordship will not think I
have exceeded the bounds of prudence in stating confidentially,
though without reserve, to the Grand Vizier the impressions made
upon my mind by the recent execution. Couched as my message was in
respectful and kindly terms, I hope it will operate as a salutary
admonition. The interpreter's report of his Highness' reply is
inclosed with this despatch.

Inclosure l in No. 1.

_Case of the Armenian Avakim, son of Yagya, of the parish of Top

About a year and a half ago Avakim having had a drunken quarrel with
some neighbours, was sentenced at the War Office to receive 500

Fear and intoxication induced him to become a Mussulman, and he was
conducted on the spot to the Mehkemé where the name of Mehemet was
given him.

Some days afterwards Avakim repented of what he had done, and fled
to Syra, from whence he returned a few months ago.

About three months ago, while returning from his sister's house with
a small bundle containing wearing apparel, he was recognized by the
Kolaga of the quarter, Mustapha, and denounced at the War Office of
having renegaded from Islamism. He was then submitted to the most
cruel punishment to compel him to re-abandon his original belief,
and was even paraded through the streets with his hands tied behind
his back as if for execution. Avakim, however, unintimidated by
torture or the prospect of death, proclaimed aloud his firm belief
in Christianity, and was led forth to suffer on Wednesday last
amidst the execrations of the Ulema partisans.

Only one man, Taouk-Bazarli Ali, among the thirty armed police who
conducted him, could be prevailed upon to strike the blow. Many of
the Turks spat on him as they passed, and openly reviled the faith
for which he had died. A Yafta, in the following terms, was affixed
on the opposite shop:--

"The Armenian shoemaker, Avakim, son of Yagya, having last year, in
the beginning of Moharrem, while at an age of discretion, accepted
Islamism, and received the name of Mehemet, some time afterwards
renegaded, and having now obstinately persisted in refusing the
proffer made to him by the law to re-become a Moslem, sentence of
death was awarded unto him according to fetwa, and he has thereby

The first intelligence received in Pera of this occurrence was the
appearance in the streets of the unfortunate lad's mother tearing
her grey hair, and rushing distractedly from the scene of bloodshed.
The poor old woman, when assured of her boy's fate, returned and sat
in grief by the corpse, from which she was afterwards removed.

A petition of the Armenians for the corpse was rejected, and it was
after three days exposure cast into the sea.

_Constantinople, August_ 27, 1843.

Inclosure 2 in No. 1.

M. Pisani to Sir Stratford Canning.

Excellence,                       _Péra, le_ 24 _Août_, 1843.

Conformément à vos ordres, j'ai vu le Grand Vizir, et je lui ai
rendu, mot à mot, le message contenu dans votre instruction
confidentielle en date d'hier, relativement au jeune Arménien qui
vient d'être exécuté. Son Altesse a répondu de la manière suivante:

"Quant à moi, personnellement, j'ai en horreur même d'égorger une
poule. Les exécutions, si fréquentes dans l'ancien système, sont
très rares aujourd'hui. Mais dans le cas récent, je vous ai déjà
dit, et je vous répète, qui ni les Ministres, ni le Sultan, ne
pouvaient absolument pas sauver la vie de l'Arménien. Les lois du
Coran ne forcent personne de se faire Musulman; mais elles sont
inexorables tant à l'égard du Musulman qui embrasse une autre
religion, qu'à l'égard du non-Musulman qui, après avoir de son
propre gré embrassé publiquement l'Islamisme, est convaincu d'y
avoir renoncé. Nulle considération ne peut faire commuer la peine
capitale à laquelle la loi le condamne sans miséricorde. Le seul,
l'unique moyen d'échapper à la mort, c'est pour l'accusé de déclarer
qu'il s'est fait de nouveau Musulman. C'est dans le seul but de
sauver la vie a l'individu en question que nous avons, contre la
lettre de la loi, qui exige que la sentence dans le cas dont il
s'agit soit mise à exécution aussitôt qu'elle a été prononcée, que
nous lui avons laissé quelques jours de temps pour y bien réflêchir,
avec l'assurance que la déclaration voulue par la loi une fois
faite, il serait mis en liberté, et qu'il pourrait partir de
Constantinople; mais comme il a résisté à toutes les tentatives
faites pour le persuader de recourir au seul moyen d'échapper à la
mort, force fut à la fin d'obéir à la loi, sans quoi les Oulémas se
souleveraient contre nous. L'exécution a dû, aux termes de la loi,
être faite publiquement."

Voyant que le Grand Vizir n'avait rien dit par rapport aux
observations de votre Excellence sur ce qui arriverait si un
étranger, un Anglais par exemple, se trouvait dans des circonstances
analogues, j'ai prié son Altesse de considérer et de faire
considérer au Ministère Ottoman, dans quelle position la Porte se
mettrait vis à vis du Gouvernement Anglais, si elle recourait à des
violences. Le Grand Vizir a dit alors: "Je ne sais pas vraiment ce
qu'un cas pareil exigerait s'il s'agissait d'un étranger; j'ignore
ce que les lois disent à l'égard d'un Franc qui se trouverait
compromis par les circonstances qui ont fait condamner à la mort
l'Arménien, qui est un rayah."

Le Grand Vizir a fini par dire; "Faites mes complimens à Monsieur
l'Ambassadeur, et dites lui que j'apprécie ses sentimens d'humanité
et de bienveillance; mais que ce qui vient d'arriver était un mal
tout à fait sans remêde."

J'ai l'honneur. &c.,



Excellency,                       _Pera, August_ 24, 1843.

In conformity with your orders I saw the Grand Vizier and
communicated to him, word for word, the message contained in your
confidential instruction of yesterday respecting the young Armenian
who has just been executed. His Highness made answer to the
following effect:--

"As regards myself personally, I have a horror of even putting a
fowl to death. Executions, so frequent under the old system, are now
of rare occurrence. But in the late instance, as I have already said
to you, and again repeat, positively neither the Ministers nor the
Sultan could have saved the life of the Armenian. The laws of the
Koran compel no man to become a Mussulman, but they are inexorable
both as respects a Mussulman who embraces another religion, and as
respects a person not a Mussulman, who, after having of his own
accord publicly embraced Islamism, is convicted of having renounced
that faith. No consideration can produce a commutation of the
capital punishment to which the law condemns him without mercy. The
only mode of escaping death is for the accused to declare that he
has again become a Mussulman. It was only with a view to saving the
life of the individual in question, that we--contrary to the letter
of the law, which requires that the sentence in cases of this
nature, should be executed as soon as pronounced--allowed him some
days respite to think over the matter carefully, with the assurance
that having once made the declaration required by law, he would be
set at liberty and would be able to leave Constantinople; but
inasmuch as he resisted all the attempts which were made to induce
him to have recourse to the only means of escaping death, it finally
became necessary to obey the law, otherwise the Ulemas would have
risen against us. The execution, according to the terms of the law,
was necessarily public."

Seeing that the Grand Vizier had said nothing with reference to your
Excellency's observations as to what would occur if a foreigner, an
Englishman for instance, were to be placed in similar circumstances,
I begged His Highness to consider, and to direct the consideration
of the Ottoman Ministry to the nature of the position in which the
Porte would place itself as regards the British Government, were it
to have recourse to violence. The Grand Vizier then said, "I really
do not know what would become necessary in such a case if a
foreigner were concerned; I am ignorant as to what is said in the
law as regards a Frank who should be compromised by the
circumstances which caused the Armenian, who was a Rayah, to be
condemned to death."

The Grand Vizier concluded by saying, "Present my compliments to the
Ambassador, and tell him that I appreciate his humane and
well-intentioned sentiments, but that what has occurred was a
misfortune for which there was no remedy whatever."

I have, &c.

(Signed) F. PISANI.

No. 2.

_Lord Cowley to the Earl of Aberdeen_.--(_Received September_ 20.)

My Lord,                          _Paris, September_ 18, 1843.

M. Guizot informed me this morning that he had received a
communication from M. de Bourqueney, relative to a most
unjustifiable act of the Turkish Government, in having, under
circumstances of great cruelty, put to death an Armenian Turk who
had embraced Christianity, and had refused to renounce that religion
and resume the Ottoman faith.

M. Bourqueney having asked for instructions for his guidance in this
matter, the Minister for Foreign Affairs sent him a protest which he
is to present to the Ottoman Government on the behalf of the
Government of France.

M. Guizot observed, that as the Great Powers of Europe were using
their best endeavours to induce the Sultan's Christian subjects to
live peaceably under the Ottoman rule, they could not allow of such
arbitrary acts of cruelty as that which had been perpetrated, and
which was sufficient to rouse the whole of the Christian population
against the Government. He understood, he said, that Sir Stratford
Canning had asked for instructions from your Lordship in this
matter, and that he trusted that they would be in a similar tenor to
those he was about to send to M. de Bourqueney.

I have, &c.,

(Signed) COWLEY.

No. 3.

_Chevalier Bunsen to the Earl of Aberdeen_.--(_Received September_

Le Soussigné, Envoyé Extraordinaire et Ministre Plénipotentiaire de
Sa Majesté le Roi de Prusse, a l'honneur de transmettre à son
Excellence le Comte de Aberdeen, Principal Secrétaire d'Etat de Sa
Majesté Britannique pour les Affaires Etrangères, copie d'une
dépêche qu'il vient de recevoir, avec l'ordre d'en donner
connaissance à sa Seigneurie.

En s'acquittant de cette commission, il profite, &c.

(Signé) BUNSEN.

_Londres, le_ 28 _Septembre_, 1843.


The Undersigned, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
from His Majesty the King of Prussia, has the honour to transmit to
his Excellency the Earl of Aberdeen, Her Britannic Majesty's
Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, a copy of a
despatch which he has just received, with instructions to
communicate it to his Lordship.

In executing this instruction, he avails himself, &c.

(Signed) BUNSEN.

_London, September_ 28, 1843.

Inclosure 1 in No. 3.

_Baron Bülow to Chevalier Bunsen_.

Monsieur,                         _Berlin, ce_ 21 _Septembre_, 1843.

Vos rapports au Roi jusqu'au No. 91 du 15 du courant nous sont
parvenus et ont été placés sous les yeux de Sa Majesté.

Vous êtes sans doute déjà instruit, par la voie des journaux, des
détails de l'exécution de l'Arménien Serkiz Papazoghlou, mis à mort
dernièrement à Constantinople pour avoir renié la foi de Mahomet
qu'il avait embrassée quelque temps avant. A la vérité, la lettre du
Coran inflige la peine de mort à tous ceux qui abandonnent le
Mahométisme, mais longtemps déjà l'usage avait adouci la rigueur
d'une loi si peu en harmonie avec les préceptes de la civilisation,
et depuis nombre d'années aucune exécution de ce genre n'avait eu
lieu. Celle du malheureux Serkiz doit par conséquent être considérée
comme un triste retour aux barbaries du fanatisme Musulman. Elle le
doit d'autant plus que, d'un côté, l'énergique intercession de Sir
Stratford Canning en faveur de la victime est restée infructueuse;
et que, de l'autre, les autorités Turques, en conduisant Serkiz,
quoique Arménien, en costume Franc et la casquette sur la tête au
supplice, semblent avoir voulu donner à ce sanglant spectacle le
caractère d'un défi public porté par l'ancienne cruauté Mahométane à
l'influence des moeurs Européennes et de la civilisation Chrétienne.

Partant de ce point de vue et regardant la catastrophe qui vient
d'avoir lieu comme un symptôme de plus d'une tendance rétrograde et
pour ainsi dire anti-Européenne dont, dans son propre intérêt, il
importe de détourner le Gouvernement Ottoman, les Répresentans des
Cinq Grandes Puissances à Constantinople ont cru qu'un avertissement
unanime, à la fois bienveillant et sérieux, que ces Puissances
feraient parvenir à cet effet à la Sublime Porte, produirait sur
elle une impression salutaire. Ils ont, en conséquence, et sur
l'invitation spéciale de Sir Stratford Canning, sollicité de leurs
Cours respectives les instructions nécessaires pour se porter à la
démarche en question, et M. l'Ambassadeur d'Angleterre voulait en
outre proposer à Lord Aberdeen de s'employer dans le même sens
auprès des Cabinets de Berlin, de Vienne, de Paris, et de St.

Je n'ai pas encore reçu de communication à ce sujet de la part de
Monsieur le Principal Secrétaire d'Etat, mais je me suis empressé de
répondre par la dépêche dont je joins ici une copie, à celle que
l'Envoyé du Roi à Constantinople a adressé à Sa Majesté sur cette

Veuillez, Monsieur, en donner connaissance, ainsi que de la présente
dépêche, à Lord Aberdeen, et exprimer de ma part à sa Seigneurie
l'espoir d'être allé de cette manière au devant des ouvertures
qu'elle serait peut-être dans le cas de me faire faire [sic] sur la
démarche proposée par les cinq Représentans à Constantinople, mais
mise, de préférence, sur le tapis par M. l'Ambassadeur d'Angleterre.

Recevez, &c.,

(Signé) BULOW.


Sir,                              _Berlin, September_ 21, 1843.

Your reports to the King, to No. 91 of the 15th instant, have been
received and laid before His Majesty.

You are doubtless already acquainted, by means of the newspapers,
with the details of the execution of the Armenian, Serkiz
Papazoghlou, lately put to death at Constantinople for having
renounced the Mahomedan faith, which he had embraced some time
before. In truth, the letter of the Koran inflicts the punishment of
death upon all those who abandon Mahomedanism, but for some time
past custom had mitigated the rigour of a law so little in harmony
with the precepts of civilization, and for a number of years no
execution of this kind had taken place. That of the unfortunate
Serkiz must therefore be considered as a sad return to the barbarity
of Mahomedan fanaticism. It must be so much the more so because, on
the one hand, the energetic intercession of Sir Stratford Canning in
behalf of the victim was fruitless; and because, on the other, the
Turkish authorities, in leading Serkiz, although he was an Armenian,
in the Frank costume and with a cap upon his head to execution, seem
to have wished to give to this bloody spectacle the character of a
public defiance offered by the old Mahomedan cruelty to the
influence of European manners and Christian civilization.

Setting out from this view of the case and looking upon the
catastrophe which has just taken place as a fresh symptom of the
retrograde, and it may be said anti-European, tendency from which it
is important that the Turkish Government should, in its own
interest, be diverted, the Representatives of the Five Great Powers
at Constantinople thought that a joint representation, at once kind
and earnest, which those Powers should make for this purpose to the
Sublime Porte, would produce a salutary impression upon it. They,
therefore, and at the special request of Sir Stratford Canning,
applied to their respective Courts for the instructions necessary to
enable them to take the step in question, and the English Ambassador
wished moreover to propose to Lord Aberdeen to communicate in the
same sense with the Cabinets of Berlin, Vienna, Paris, and St.

I have not yet received any communication upon this subject from the
Principal Secretary of State; but I lost no time in replying by the
despatch of which I inclose a copy, to that which the Envoy of the
King at Constantinople addressed to His Majesty respecting this

Have the goodness, Sir, to communicate it, as well as this despatch,
to Lord Aberdeen, and to express to his Lordship, on my part, the
hope that I have in this manner anticipated the overtures which he
would perhaps have caused to be made to me with reference to the
step proposed by the Five Representatives at Constantinople, but
especially suggested by the English Ambassador.

Accept, &c.,

(Signed) BULOW

Inclosure 2 in No. 3.

_Baron Bülow to M. Le Coq_.

Monsieur,                         _Berlin, ce_ 20 _Septembre_, 1843.

Vos rapports au Roi, &c., &c.

Ce que vous avez mandé sur l'exécution de l'Arménien Serkiz
Papazoghlou n'a pu manquer de nous inspirer un intérêt aussi vif que
douloureux. En effet tous les détails de cette sanglante catastrophe
sont bien de nature à mériter la sérieuse attention des Puissances
Européennes. Ce sont autant de symptômes d'une tendance rétrograde à
laquelle la Sublime Porte paraît s'être abandonnée depuis quelques
années, et qui, en tolérant et en favorisant peut-être même les
excès du fanatisme Musulman, est aussi contraire aux lois de
l'humanité qu'aux règles qu'une saine politique devrait dicter au
Gouvernement Ottoman.

A en juger d'après les circonstances qui ont précédé, accompagné et
suivi la mort de cette malheureuse victime de la rigueur Mahométane,
ne serait-on pas tenté de croire que ce Gouvernement a oublié ce
qu'il doit aux efforts réunis des Grandes Puissances, à leurs
conseils désintéressés, à la salutaire influence de la civilisation
Européenne? Ne semble-t-il pas, en opposant aux moeurs plus douces
qui sont la suite de cette civilisation la lettre impitoyable du
Coran, avoir l'intention de faire sentir à l'Europe entière le peu
de cas qu'il fait du bienveillant intérêt, de la constante
sollicitude que lui ont voués les Cabinets Européens,

Or, les graves conséquences, qu'un pareil sytème [sic] entraînerait
pour la Porte, en finissant par lui aliéner réellement l'intérêt de
ces Cabinets, sont si évidentes, que nous aimons à croire qu'un
avertissement unanime de leur part suffira pour la détourner d'une
voie également désastreuse sous le point de vue politique et moral.
Je me range sous ce rapport entièrement à l'avis de Sir Stratford
Canning, et après avoir pris les ordres du Roi, notre Auguste
Maître, je vous invite, Monsieur, à vous associer à la démarche que,
je n'en doute pas, Messieurs vos collègues d'Autriche, de France et
de Russie seront également autorisés à faire à cet effet auprès du
Gouvernement Turc en commun avec M. l'Ambassadeur d'Angleterre. Dans
cette occasion où les Représentans des Cinq Grandes Puissances
agiront en quelque sorte comme organes de la civilisation
Européenne, il importera surtout de constater leur unanimité.
Veuillez par ce motif, Monsieur, attendre que les instructions que
Messieurs vos collègues ont sollicitées, leur soient parvenues, et
alors vous concerter avec eux sur la meilleure forme à donner à la
démarche qu'elles prescrivent. Si contre toute attente ces
instructions n'étaient pas de nature à établir un accord entier des
Cinq Puissances dans cette affaire, vous voudrez bien, Monsieur,
m'en informer, pour que je puisse, selon les circonstances, vous
faire parvenir des directions ultérieures. En tout cas la démarche
en question devra se borner à être simultanée et non pas collective,
et le langage que vous tiendrez à la Porte, pour être sérieux et
ferme, ne s'en tiendra pas moins dans les bornes d'un conseil
amical, et évitera tout ce qui pourrait blesser la susceptibilité
politique et religieuse du Gouvernement Ottoman.

Nous n'avons pas encore reçu la communication à laquelle nous
pouvons nous attendre de la part de Lord Aberdeen, en suite de la
demande que Sir Stratford Canning lui a adressée au sujet de
l'affaire qui fait l'objet de la présente dépêche. Mais j'envoie une
copie de cette dernière à l'Envoyé du Roi à Londres, pour en donner
connaissance à M. le Principal Secrétaire d'Etat, et pour informer
de cette manière sa Seigneurie que, d'accord avec Sir Stratford
Canning sur l'opportunité de la démarche qu'il a proposée, le
Cabinet du Roi s'est empressé de vous autoriser à y concourir.

Recevez, &c.,

(Signé) BULOW.


Sir,                              _Berlin, September_ 20, 1843.

Your reports to the King, &c. &c.

The account which you have given of the execution of the Armenian
Serkiz Papazoghlou could not fail to excite our lively and painful
interest. Indeed all the details of this bloody catastrophe are well
calculated to deserve the serious attention of the European Powers.
They are so many symptoms of a retrograde tendency to which the
Sublime Porte appears to have given itself up for some years past,
and which, by tolerating, and perhaps even encouraging the excesses
of Mahomedan fanaticism, is as contrary to the laws of humanity as
to the rules which a wholesome policy should dictate to the Turkish

To judge from the circumstances which preceded, attended, and
followed the death of this unhappy victim of Mahomedan severity,
should we not be tempted to think that that Government has forgotten
what it owes to the united exertions of the Great Powers, to their
disinterested advice, and to the salutary influence of European
civilization? Does it not appear, by placing in opposition to the
milder customs which are the result of that civilization the
inexorable letter of the Koran, to intend to make the whole of
Europe feel the little importance which it attaches to the
benevolent interest and the constant solicitude with which the
European Cabinets have regarded it?

Wherefore, the serious consequences, which such a system would
entail upon the Porte, by finally alienating from it in reality the
interest of those Cabinets, are so evident, that we are fain to
believe that an unanimous intimation on their part will suffice to
turn it aside from a course equally disastrous in a political and in
a moral point of view. I side entirely in this respect with the
opinion of Sir Stratford Canning, and after having taken the orders
of the King, our august Master, I request you, Sir, to join in the
step which I doubt not your colleagues of Austria, France and Russia
will be equally authorized to take to this effect towards the
Turkish Government, in common with the Ambassador of England. On
this occasion when the Representatives of the Five Powers will act
in some manner as the organs of European civilization, it will above
all things be important to evince their unanimity. For this reason,
have the goodness, Sir, to wait until the instructions for which
your colleagues have applied, have reached them, and thereupon
concert with them as to the best form to be given to the step which
those instructions prescribe. If, contrary to all expectation, those
instructions should not be such as to demonstrate an entire
agreement of the Five Powers on this matter, you will have the
goodness, Sir, to inform me of the fact, in order that I may,
according to circumstances, transmit to you further instructions. In
any case the step in question should be limited to being
simultaneous and not collective, and the language which you will
hold to the Porte, while it is serious and firm, must not the less
be confined within the bounds of friendly counsel, and must avoid
everything that could wound the political and religious
susceptibility of the Ottoman Government.

We have not yet received the communication which we may expect from
Lord Aberdeen, in pursuance of the application made to him by Sir
Stratford Canning, on the subject of the matter treated of in this
despatch. But I send a copy of this last to the King's Envoy in
London, in order that he may communicate it to the Principal
Secretary of State, and in this manner acquaint his Lordship that
the King's Cabinet, agreeing with Sir Stratford Canning as to the
fitness of the step which he has proposed, has hastened to authorize
you to concur in it.

Receive, &c.,

(Signed) BULOW.

No. 4.

_The Earl of Aberdeen to Sir Stratford Canning_.

Sir,                              _Foreign Office, October_ 4, 1843.

The barbarous execution of the Armenian, recorded in your
Excellency's despatch of the 27th of August, has excited the
attention and interest of Her Majesty's Government in an unusual
degree; and they highly approve the line of conduct which you
pursued in reference to it.

Her Majesty's Government had hoped that the time had passed away
when the perpetration of such acts of atrocity could have been
tolerated; and that the law by which they are permitted or enjoined,
although it might still disgrace the Mahomedan code, had fallen so
completely into disuse as to have become virtually null and of no

It is, therefore, with the most painful feelings, that Her Majesty's
Government have seen so cruel a law brought so injudiciously again
into operation; and they consider every Christian Government not
only justified, but imperatively called upon to raise their voices
against such proceedings, whether the law be executed to the
prejudice of their own subjects, or of the Christian community in

Her Majesty's Government confidently trust that no repetition of so
unjustifiable an act as that against which your Excellency so
properly remonstrated will ever be suffered, and still less
authorized by the Turkish Government; and they earnestly counsel
that Government to take immediate measures for effectually
preventing the future commission of such atrocities.

Under the full conviction that the Sultan will have the humanity and
wisdom to listen to this counsel, which is given with the most
friendly feeling, and which will, I doubt not, be equally impressed
on His Highness by other Christian Governments, I do not think it
necessary to enter further at present into the other points set
forth in your Excellency's despatch above referred to.

You will not fall to communicate this despatch to Rifaat Pasha.

I am, &c.,

(Signed) ABERDEEN.

No. 5.

_The Earl of Westmorland to the Earl of Aberdeen_.--(_Received
October_ 30.)

My Lord,                          _Berlin, October_ 23, 1843.

I have communicated to Baron Bülow your Lordship's despatch of the
4th instant to Sir Stratford Canning relative to the late execution
of an Armenian at Constantinople, and his Excellency has requested
me to express the interest with which he had learnt your Lordship's
views on that subject.

I have, &c.,


No. 6.

_Sir Stratford Canning to the Earl of Aberdeen_.--(_Received
November_ 2.)

My Lord,                          _Buyukderé, October_ 11, 1843.

The Prussian Minister has communicated to me an instruction
addressed to him by Baron Bülow in reply to his representations on
the subject of the Armenian youth, whose execution and its natural
consequences were brought under your Lordship's notice in my
despatch of August the 27th.

The French Minister has also communicated to me a note, transmitted
to him from Paris for presentation to the Porte, with reference to
the same deplorable act of the Turkish Government.

Copies of these two papers have not been given to me; but I
understand that the Prussian instruction has been sent to your
Lordship, and it is probable that the same degree of confidence has
been shewn to your Lordship by M. Guizot. I have only to remark that
the terms in which these documents are respectively expressed,
appear to me highly creditable to the Cabinets from which they have
issued, and, should your Lordship see fit to instruct me in a
similar sense, it would afford me great satisfaction to repeat to
the Turkish Minister, with the immediate authority of Her Majesty's
Government, what I ventured at the time to intimate by anticipation
on my own suggestion. Baron Bülow and M. Guizot appear to be equally
impressed with the dangerous character of that policy to which the
Armenian execution is traceable, and their reprobation of the act
itself is proportionally strong. Baron de Bourqueney is prepared to
give in his note without waiting for the concurrence of his
colleagues. M. Le Coq is instructed to act simultaneously with the
other Representatives of the Five Powers.

With respect to the Austrian and Russian Ministers, I am informed by
M. de Titow that the Emperor of Russia's absence from St.
Petersburgh has prevented his receiving an immediate answer to his
despatches; and I hear that the Internuncio refers to a
communication made by Prince Metternich to the Turkish Ambassador at
Vienna as sufficiently expressive of the sentiments of his Court and
superseding the necessity of any step on his part without further

I would venture humbly to submit that a concurrent expression of the
sentiments of the Five Courts on such an occasion would hardly fail
of producing a most beneficial effect upon the counsels of the

I have, &c.,


No. 7.

_The Earl of Aberdeen to Sir Stratford Canning_.

(Extract.)                   _Foreign Office, November_ 4, 1843.

I have received your despatch of the 11th of October, reporting that
the French and Prussian Ministers had received instructions from
their respective Governments on the subject of the execution of the
Armenian referred to in your despatch of the 27th of August.

I calculate that your Excellency will have received on the 24th
ultimo my despatch of the 4th, by which your Excellency will have
been enabled to acquaint the Porte with the feelings with which Her
Majesty's Government had received the intelligence of that
melancholy transaction. I have nothing to add to that instruction.

No. 8.

_Sir Stratford Canning to the Earl of Aberdeen_.--(_Received
November_ 23.)

My Lord,                          _Buyukdéré, October_ 31, 1843.

The instruction which I have received from your Lordship respecting
the Armenian decapitated for returning to the Christian faith,
cannot fail of making a deep and, I hope, a salutary impression upon
the Ottoman Ministers.

I have had it carefully translated into Turkish, and placed in M.
Pisani's hands for communication to the Porte, accompanied with an
instruction of which I have the honour to inclose a copy herewith.

Monsieur de Bourqueney having been directed to present an official
note upon the same subject, I thought it advisable to give a certain
degree of formality to the communication of your Lordship's
despatch, and particularly to leave it with the Minister for Foreign
Affairs in writing. A copy of the French Minister's note is herewith

The presentation of this remonstrance has strongly excited the
public attention, and occasioned no small embarrassment at the
Porte. It was proposed in Council to return it, but the suggestion
was overruled, and I hear that nothing will be added to the verbal
reply already given.

The substance of that reply, which M. de Bourqueney read to me from
the report of his first interpreter, is by no means unfavourable.
The language employed by Rifaat Pasha in speaking of the French
Minister's note to M. Pisani, admitted, in substance, that much
might be said with reason against the manner and circumstances of
the execution, but as to the act itself, he said that nothing could
be alleged against a judgment founded upon the express will of God.
His answer to the communication of your Lordship's instruction has
not yet reached me. It will have the greater interest as two more
cases of religion involving capital punishment have recently
occurred. The offender in each instance is a native Mussulman; and
nothing, I conceive, but the late expression of indignation has
prevented the Porte from executing the sentence of the law.

I am informed that Rifaat Pasha, on consulting the Grand Mufti as to
one of these cases, was advised not to bring it under His Holiness'
notice as he had no choice but to declare the law; and a charitable
intimation was added, that where a State necessity existed, the
Porte would herself be found the most competent judge.

The Russian Minister informs me that he is still in expectation of
instructions from St. Petersburgh. The Internuncio refers to the
remarks addressed by Prince Metternich himself to the Turkish
Ambassador at Vienna. M. de Le Coq reserves the communication of his
instruction, in the hope of being able to act simultaneously with M.
de Titow. The silence of any one of the leading Courts on such an
occasion would be a cause of just regret.

I have, &c.,


Inclosure l in No 8.

_Baron de Bourqueney to Rifaat Pasha_.

                                  _Thérapia_, 17 _Octobre_, 1843.

Le Soussigné, Ministre Plénipotentiaire de Sa Majesté le Roi des
Français près la Porte Ottomane, a reçu de son Gouvernement l'ordre
de faire à son Excellence le Ministre des Affaires Etrangères la
communication suivante.

C'est avec un douloureux étonnement que le Gouvernement du Roi a
appris la récente exécution d'un Arménien qui, après avoir embrassé
la religion Musulmane, était revenu à la foi de ses pères, et que
pour ce seul fait on a frappé de la peine capitale, parcequ'il
refusait à racheter sa vie par une nouvelle abjuration.

En vain pour expliquer un acte aussi déplorable voudrait-on se
prévaloir des dispositions impérieuses de la législation. On devait
croire que la législation faite pour d'autres temps était tombée en
désuétude; et en tout cas il était trop facile de fermer les yeux
sur un pareil fait pour qu'on puisse considérer ce qui vient
d'arriver comme une de ces déplorables nécessités dans lesquelles la
politique trouve quelquefois non pas une justification mais une

Lors même que l'humanité, dont le nom n'a jamais été invoqué en vain
en France, n'aurait pas été aussi cruellement blessée par le
supplice de cet Arménien, lors même que le Gouvernement du Roi, qui
a toujours protégé, et protégera toujours la religion Chrétienne en
Orient, pourrait oublier que c'est le Christianisme qui a reçu ce
sanglant outrage, l'intérêt qu'il prend à l'Empire Ottoman et à son
indépendance, lui ferait encore voir avec une profonde douleur ce
qui vient de se passer.

Cette indépendance ne peut aujourd'hui trouver une garantie efficace
que dans l'appui de l'opinion Européenne. Les efforts du
Gouvernement du Roi ont constamment tendu à lui ménager cet appui.
Cette tâche lui deviendra bien plus difficile en présence d'un acte
qui soulevera dans l'Europe entière une indignation universelle.

Le Gouvernement du Roi croit accomplir un devoir impérieux en
faisant connaître à la Porte l'impression qu'il a reçue d'un fait
malheureusement irréparable, mais qui, s'il pouvait se renouveler,
serait de nature à appeler des dangers réels sur le Gouvernement
assez faible pour faire de telles concessions à un odieux et
déplorable fanatisme.

Le Soussigné, &c.,


                                  _Therapia, October_ 17, 1843.

The Undersigned, Minister Plenipotentiary of His Majesty the King of
the French at the Ottoman Porte, has received orders from his
Government to make the following communication to the Minister for
Foreign Affairs.

It has been with a painful astonishment that the King's Government
has learnt the late execution of an Armenian who, after embracing
the Musulman religion, returned to the faith of his fathers, and
who, for this act alone, has been capitally punished, because he
refused to redeem his life by a fresh recantation.

In vain can the imperious terms of the law be appealed to for an
explanation of so lamentable an act. It might have been supposed
that a system of law formed for other times had fallen into
desuetude; and at all events it was too easy to overlook such a
circumstance to admit of that which has happened being considered as
one of those lamentable cases of necessity, in which policy
sometimes finds not so much a justification as an excuse.

Even had not humanity, whose name has never been vainly invoked
in France, been so cruelly hurt by the punishment of this
Armenian,--even could the King's Government, which has always
protected, and ever will protect, the Christian religion in the
East, forget that it is Christianity which has been thus cruelly
outraged,--the interest which it takes in the Ottoman Empire and in
its independence would still cause it to behold what has occurred
with profound regret.

That independence can in these times find a real security only in
the support of the public opinion of Europe. The efforts of the
King's Government have been constantly directed towards obtaining
for it that support. This task will become much more difficult after
an act which will excite universal indignation throughout the whole
of Europe.

The King's Government considers that it discharges an imperious duty
in making known to the Porte the impression which has been made upon
it by an event unfortunately irreparable, and which, were it to
occur again, would be likely to cause real danger to a Government
weak enough to make such concessions to a hateful and lamentable

The Undersigned, &c.,

Inclosure 2 in No. 8.

_Sir Stratford Canning to M. Pisani_.

Sir,                              _Buyukderé, October_ 30, 1843.

In presenting to the Minister for Foreign Affairs the accompanying
translation of an instruction addressed to me by the Earl of
Aberdeen, with reference to the Armenian who was lately executed at
Constantinople, you will be careful to impress his Excellency with a
conviction of the deep and painful sentiments excited throughout
Great Britain by that deplorable act.

You will require that the instruction be forthwith submitted not
only to his Highness the Grand Vizier, but also to His Imperial
Majesty the Sultan.

A copy of this letter, with a translation in Turkish, is to be left
with Rifaat Pasha.


No. 9.

_Sir Stratford Canning to Mr. Addington_.--(_Received November_ 23.)

Sir,                              _Buyukderé, November_ 3, 1843.

A delay in the departure of the messenger affords me the opportunity
of transmitting to you at once the inclosed report addressed to me
to-day by M. Pisani. Though not official, it shews the strong
impression which has been made upon the Porte by a knowledge of the
sentiments entertained throughout Europe with reference to the
Armenian lately executed. The Porte will probably seek to avoid
replying ostensibly to the remonstrances of the several leading
Courts, but means will, no doubt, be taken to prevent the necessity
of practising such atrocities in future. A degree of success so
important, though limited, might reasonably encourage the allied
Courts to enter into a more complete understanding for the removal
of other blots from the legal or political practice of the Turks, in
their intercourse with Christians.

I have, &c.,


Inclosure in No. 9.

_M. Pisani to Sir Stratford Canning_.

Excellence,                       _Péra, ce_ 3 _Novembre_, 1843.

J'ai conformément à vos ordres remis à Rifaat Pacha la traduction en
Turc des instructions du Comte d'Aberdeen et de la lettre de votre
Excellence, avec une copie de votre lettre.

Rifaat Pacha a lu la traduction des deux pièces qu'il a trouvées
très-importantes. Il m'a dit qu'il mettra les instructions de Lord
Aberdeen sous les yeux du Grand Vizir et du Sultan.

Rifaat Pacha m'a dit confidentiellement que les mesures qu'il est
question de prendre sont, d'ordonner à toutes les autorités à
Constantinople et dans les provinces, d'avoir désormais soin,
lorsqu'un Turc qui était Chrétien, se fait Chrétien de nouveau, et
lorsqu'un Turc dit des injures contre Mahomet ou contre les
Prophètes, ou vomit d'autres blasphèmes, de ne pas permettre qu'il
soit traduit et jugé devant un Mehkemé quelconque; mais si le cas
arrive à Constantinople, d'envoyer l'accusé à la Porte, et s'il
arrive dans un pays hors de Constantinople, de l'envoyer au Pacha de
la province, sans aucune espèce de jugement préalable. De cette
manière-ci, dit Rifaat Pacha, la Porte et les Pachas au-dehors
songeront aux moyens de terminer ces sortes d'affaires sans éclat,
et (j'ose inférer des paroles de son Excellence) sans recourir à la
peine capitale.

Rifaat Pacha a ajouté que la Porte ne peut faire aucune réponse par
écrit sur cette affaire sans se compromettre, soit vis-à-vis des
Puissances Chrétiennes, en disant qu'elle est obligée de mettre à
exécution la loi qui regarde les Chrétiens qui, après avoir embrassé
l'Islamisme de leur propre gré, y renoncent et redeviennent
Chrétiens, et qui encourent par là la peine de mort,--soit vis-à-vis
de la loi, en déclarant qu'elle ne sera pas exécutée à l'avenir dans
un cas semblable à celui de l'Arménien.

Mais Rifaat Pacha m'a paru convaincu qu'après le bruit que l'Europe
a fait, une scène semblable à celle de l'Arménien ne se renouvellera
point. Les mesures que le Gouvernement se propose de prendre ont
pour but d'éviter un jugement; et sans jugement on ne peut condamner
personne à mort. L'Arménien avait été jugé au Mehkemé dit du Stambol
Effendi, avant d'être envoyé à la Porte. Le Kiatib qui est en prison
pour avoir dit des injures contre Mahomet, a été jugé au Mehkemé de
Salonique, avant d'être envoyé à Constantinople; et le Conseil
suprême l'a déclaré digne de mort, quoiqu'il n'ait pas été
juridiquement et formellement condamné ici encore. La circonstance
que le Kiatib a été jugé déjà et convaincu d'avoir blasphémé le nom
de Mahomet, expose ses jours au plus grand danger.

J'ai l'honneur, &c.,



Excellency,                       _Pera, November_ 3, 1843.

In conformity with your orders, I placed in the hands of Rifaat
Pasha the Turkish translation of Lord Aberdeen's instructions and of
your Excellency's letter, with a copy of your letter.

Rifaat Pasha read the translation of the two documents which he
considered to be of great importance. He told me that he will lay
Lord Aberdeen's instructions before the Grand Vizier and the Sultan.

Rifaat Pasha told me confidentially that the measures which it is
proposed to take, are to order all the authorities at Constantinople
and and [sic] in the provinces henceforth to take care that when a
Turk who was a Christian, becomes again a Christian, and when a Turk
speaks insultingly of Mahomet or the Prophets, or utters other
blasphemies, he shall not be allowed to be given up to, and judged
by, any Mehkemé whatever; but if the case occurs at Constantinople,
the accused shall be sent to the Porte, or if it occurs in a
district beyond Constantinople, he shall be sent to the Pasha of the
province without any previous judgment. In this manner, said Rifaat
Pasha, the Porte and the provincial Pashas will devise means for
terminating affairs of this kind without noise, and (I venture to
infer from his Excellency's words) without having recourse to
capital punishment.

Rifaat Pasha added, that the Porte can give no written answer
respecting this affair without compromising itself either as regards
the Christian Powers, by stating that it is forced to execute the
law regarding Christians who, after having of their own accord
embraced Islamism, renounce it and become Christians again, and thus
incur capital punishment,--or as regards the law, by declaring that
it will not for the future be executed in cases similar to that of
the Armenian.

Rifaat Pasha, however, seemed to me convinced that after the noise
which has been made in Europe, a scene similar to that of the
Armenian cannot be renewed. The measures which the Government are
about to adopt have for their object to avoid a trial, and without a
trial no one can be condemned to death. The Armenian was tried at
the Mehkemé called that of the Stambol Effendi, before being sent to
the Porte. The Kiatib who is in prison for having uttered
blasphemies against Mahomet, was judged at the Mehkemé of Salonica,
before he was sent to Constantinople; and the Supreme Council has
declared him worthy of death, although he has not yet been
judicially and formally condemned here. The circumstance of the
Kiatib having already been tried and convicted of uttering blasphemy
against the name of Mahomet puts his life in the most imminent

I have, &c.,


No. 10.

_Sir Stratford Canning to the Earl of Aberdeen.--(Received December

(Extract.)                        _Buyukderé, November_ 17, 1843.

I am happy to state that a serious and salutary impression has been
made upon the Turkish Government by the communication of your
Lordship's instruction respecting the Armenian decapitated in the
streets of Constantinople. Preceded as that communication was by the
delivery of M. Guizot's impressive note, and followed, as I believe
it to have been, by the presentation of Baron Bülow's instruction to
M. de Le Coq, the Porte has felt, even in the absence of any similar
declaration from the Austrian and Russian Legations, that she cannot
with prudence or safety repeat an atrocity tending so directly to
excite the indignant feelings of Christendom against her. I have not
received, nor indeed have I yet demanded, an official answer to my
remonstrance. M. de Bourqueney, though, like myself, without
instructions on that point, has made the demand, but, at my request,
he has abstained from pressing it, agreeing, on reflection, with me,
that it would be advisable at all events to afford time for M. de
Titow to hear from his Government, and to take a step more or less
in harmony with ours. It remains indeed to be considered whether it
would be prudent, even with that advantage, to insist upon receiving
a formal answer. I have already forwarded to your Lordship's office
the substance of Rifaat Pasha's remarks, and they convey an
assurance that the Porte will in future find means to avoid the
application of the law in cases like that which proved fatal to the
unfortunate Armenian.

The apparent consequences of what has been done in this matter are,
a Ministerial understanding that occasions of calling the law into
action as to religious offences involving a capital punishment are
for the future to be avoided, and a proclamation addressed to the
Turkish authorities in Roumelia for the better treatment and
protection of the Sultan's Christian subjects.

I venture to believe that your Lordship will derive the same
gratification which I do from this result.

No. 11.

_Sir Stratford Canning to the Earl of Aberdeen_.--(_Received
December_ 18.)

My Lord,                          _Buyukderé, November_ 20, 1843.

I have the satisfaction to state, that the Russian Envoy has
informed me of his having received an instruction from his Court on
the subject of the Armenian youth decapitated at Constantinople. His
Excellency has given me to understand that the terms of this
instruction are in harmony with the sentiments of Her Majesty's
Government; and I presume that he will make me a more complete
communication of its contents the first time we meet.

I have, &c.,


No. 12.

_Sir Stratford Canning to the Earl of Aberdeen_.--(_Received
December_ 24.)

(Extract.)                        _Constantinople, December_ l, 1843.

Having sounded Rifaat Pasha as to his intention of answering the
representations of the Five Powers concerning the late religious
execution, I was told by his Excellency that, although the Porte
wished to avoid any recurrence of that atrocity, yet, as such
executions, divested of the objectionable forms which accompanied
the Armenian's death, were obligatory under the law considered by
Mahomedans divine, and might be forced incidentally upon the
Government, it would be embarrassing to give an official declaration
to that effect. Some ostensible record of the Porte's intention to
avoid religious exeutions [sic] in future would, I humbly conceive,
be satisfactory to Her Majesty's Government, and it would not
perhaps be impossible to frame a reply, which might convey the
required security without coming into collision with the Mussulman
faith. There is reason otherwise to apprehend that the advantage now
obtained will be of very short duration.

P.S.--There is reason to fear that another religious execution has
recently taken place in the Pashalic of Brussa.

No. 13.

_Sir Stratford Canning to the Earl of Aberdeen_.--(_Received
January_ 5, 1844.)

(Extract.)                        _Buyukderé, December_ 17, 1843.

I have the honour to state, and I do so with much concern, that the
rumour, which has for some time prevailed, of another execution,
similar to that of the Armenian youth, having taken place by order
of the Porte, is now confirmed. The statements inclosed herewith
describe the circumstances as far they are known. One of them is an
extract of a despatch addressed to me by Her Majesty's Consul at
Brussa, which is at no great distance from Biligik where the Greek
was executed. The other was communicated to me by one of my
diplomatic colleagues.

Rifaat Pasha in conversing with me some time ago alluded to this
execution, of which I had then scarcely heard the rumour, and he
spoke of it as a kind of accident, which had occurred prior to the
late remonstrances respecting the Armenian, and which was not to be
taken in proof of an objectionable policy at the Porte. With a
variation of terms, and in some degree of facts also, he has offered
the same kind of vague excuse to others, and I believe in particular
to the Internuncio.

I presume that your Lordship would not approve of such an occurrence
being thrown into oblivion without an attempt at explanation, and I
am persuaded that any backwardness under such circumstances would
only serve to confirm the Porte in her present infatuated course of
policy. I have, therefore, communicated upon the subject with my
colleagues of Austria, France, Russia, and Prussia, and finding them
all substantially of the same mind, I have drawn up the instruction
of which a copy is here inclosed, and sent it to Rifaat Pasha by M.
Pisani. Similar instructions were sent in by the others, though
neither collectively, nor simultaneously, and perhaps not in writing
by the Austrian and Russian Ministers.

Your Lordship will observe that we ask for a distinct assurance from
the Porte that measures shall be taken to prevent the recurrence of
such revolting punishments in future. In proposing to make this
demand I had in view the corresponding passage in your Lordship's
instruction, communicated to Rifaat Pasha, and I thought to satisfy
M. de Bourqueney, who had presented an official note in the former
instance and applied for an answer, without exceeding the limits
which my other colleagues were prepared to observe. Their joint
acceptance of the suggestion, and their engagements to make the same
demand, induce me to hope that the Porte's reply will prove
satisfactory, though I cannot yet speak with confidence in that

Inclosure I in No. 13.

_Mr. Consul Sandison to Sir Stratford Canning_.

(Extract.)                        _Brussa, December_ 9, 1843.

A fresh instance, I learn, has unfortunately occurred about a week
ago of the sanguinary spirit of the Turkish law and people against
relapsed proselytes. A young Greek at Biligik in the adjoining
district, who had become a Mussulman and returned to his own creed,
has been put to death by hanging. He must have been a willing victim
from what my informant states, as his profession of Islamism had
been complete according to the usual rites.

P.S.--The execution of the Greek at Biligik took place, I further
learn, after the return of an answer from the Turkish Government to
a report on the case from the municipality of Biligik.

Inclosure 2 in No. 13.

_Extract of Letter communicated by M. de Cordoba to Sir Stratford

                             _Constantinople_, 6 _Décembre_, 1843.

Un jeune Grec s'était fait Turc dans un moment de mauvaise humeur;
revenu a lui, il était allé trouver un prêtre et avait témoigné le
désir de rentrer dans sa croyance. L'ecclésiastique, approuvant sa
pensée, lui dit qu'il devait réparer sa faute en revenant
publiquement sur son erreur. Le jeune homme, âgé de 22 ans, fit la
chose comme elle lui était ordonnée. Aussitôt les autorités Turques
s'emparent de lui et le mettent au secret: ceci se passe aux
environs de Brousse. L'on rapporte le fait à Constantinople: ici, en
dépit des notes Française, Anglaise, &c., on tient conseil, et
l'ordre est envoyé de l'exécuter, et en effet il y a quatorze à
quinze jours cet infortuné a été pendu publiquement à Biligik.
L'effet qui cet événement a produit sur les habitans Turcs du lieu a
été tel que le Gouverneur a dû prendre les plus grandes précautions
pour empêcher le massacre de tous les habitans.


                             _Constantinople, December_ 6, 1843.

A young Greek turned Turk in a moment of ill temper; having come to
himself, he went to a priest and evinced a desire to return to his
faith. The priest, approving his intention, told him that he must
repair his fault by a public retractation of his error. The young
man, who was twenty-two years of age, did as he was ordered.
Forthwith the Turkish authorities lay hold of him and shut him up:
this happens in the neighbourhood of Brussa. The transaction is
reported to Constantinople: here, notwithstanding the French and
English notes, &c., a Council is held, and the order to execute him
is sent off, and in fact this unfortunate person was publicly hanged
at Biligik fourteen or fifteen days ago. The effect which this event
produced on the Turkish inhabitants of the place has been such that
the Governor has been under the necessity of taking the greatest
precautions to prevent the massacre of all the inhabitants.

Inclosure 3 in No. 13.

_Sir Stratford Canning to M. Pisani_.

Sir,                              _Buyukderé, December_ 16, 1843.

It is with sentiments of deep concern that I have received
unquestionable intelligence of another religious execution, similar
in principle to that of the Armenian Avakim. In stating this
circumstance without delay to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, you
will lay before his Excellency the substance of the two accompanying
papers, which contain a relation of the principal facts. You will
express the surprise and disappointment which I feel in the
contemplation of so revolting an act, after the very distinct
communications which had recently taken place between his Excellency
and myself respecting the previous case. A full knowledge of the
sentiments entertained by Her Majesty's Government, and also by four
other leading Cabinets of Europe, has not to all appearance
prevented the Porte from again publicly outraging the principles of
humanity, and again exposing herself to the just animadversion of
those friendly Powers.

Under these circumstances, and referring to the instructions of my
Government already communicated to Rifaat Pasha, I deem it an
indispensable duty to invite the explanations of the Porte, and to
state my expectation that the Turkish Government will not only
declare its regret for the two executions in suitable terms, but
that it will accompany the declaration with an assurance, admitting
of no question for the future, that effective measures will be
immediately taken to preclude the recurrence of such unwise and
odious acts.

You will conclude by leaving with Rifaat Pasha a copy of this
instruction, and by calling upon his Excellency to lay it before the
Sultan, and to apprize you on an early day of the answer sanctioned
by His Majesty, for the information of my Government.

I am, &c.,


No. 14.

_M. Guizot to Count Ste. Aulaire_.--(_Communicated by Count Ste.
Aulaire to the Earl of Aberdeen, January_ 13.)

(Extract.)                        _Paris, le_ 9 _Janvier_, 1844.

Malgré les promesses formelles de la Porte, et les mesures qu'elle
disait avoir prises pour empêcher le renouvellement du douloureux
scandale auquel avait donné lieu, il y a quelques mois, l'exécution
d'un Arménien supplicié pour être revenu à la religion Chrétienne
après avoir embrassé l'Islamisme, un Grec des environs de Brousse
vient encore d'être mis à mort dans des circonstances absolument
semblables. Interpellé à ce sujet par M. de Bourqueney, la Porte n'a
su alléguer pour se justifier que des malentendus et des méprises
dont les allégations même sont contradictoires. Un tel fait n'est
plus seulement un outrage à l'humanité, c'est une insulte jetée à
l'Europe civilisée par le fanatisme d'un parti que le Gouvernement
Ottoman n'a pas le courage de contenir et de réprimer, à supposer
qu'il n'en soit pas lui-même le complice dans une certaine mesure.
Ce courage, il faut le lui donner en lui faisant craindre d'encourir
le sérieux mécontentement des Puissances dont l'appui bienveillant
lui est si nécessaire.

Je vais charger M. de Bourqueney de faire à cet effet une démarche
énergique auprès de la Porte, et je ne doute pas que Lord Aberdeen
ne donne à Sir Stratford Canning des instructions analogues. Le
Gouvernement Britannique croira certainement aussi devoir se joindre
à nous pour demander le concours des autres Grandes Puissances.


                                  _Paris, January_ 9, 1844.

Notwithstanding the formal promises of the Porte, and the measures
which it had declared that it had taken to prevent the repetition of
the mournful scandal to which a few months ago the execution of an
Armenian who was punished for having returned to Christianity after
having embraced Islamism, gave rise, a Greek of the neighbourhood of
Brussa, has now been put to death, under circumstances precisely
similar. On being questioned on this subject by M. de Bourqueney,
the Porte could only allege in its justification misunderstandings
and mistakes the very allegations with regard to which are
contradictory. Such a transaction is no longer only an outrage to
humanity, it is an insult cast upon civilized Europe, by the
fanaticism of a party which the Ottoman Government has not the
courage to keep within bounds and repress, supposing that it is not
itself to a certain degree an accomplice in the measure. This
courage must be given to it by causing it to apprehend that it will
incur the serious displeasure of the Powers whose benevolent support
is so necessary to it.

I am about to instruct M. de Bourqueney to take an energetic step
for this purpose towards the Porte, and I doubt not that Lord
Aberdeen will furnish Sir Stratford Canning with corresponding
instructions. The British Government will likewise assuredly think
fit to unite with us in demanding the concurrence of the other Great

No. 15.

_The Earl of Aberdeen to Sir Stratford Canning_.

Sir,                         _Foreign Office, January_ 16, 1844.

I have received your Excellency's despatch of the 17th of December,
reporting that a Greek had been executed near Brussa as an apostate
from Islamism, and inclosing a copy of the communication which you
had directed Mr. Dragoman Frederick Pisani to make to the Porte in
consequence of that transaction.

I have to state to your Excellency that Her Majesty's Government
entirely approve the promptitude with which you acted on this
occasion. But the repetition of a scene of this revolting kind so
soon after that which had, in the course of last summer, excited the
horror and indignation of Europe, evinces such total disregard, on
the part of the Porte, for the feelings and remonstrances of the
Christian Powers, that it is incumbent upon Her Majesty's Government
without loss of time to convey their sentiments on the matter still
more explicitly to the knowledge of the Porte. They take this course
singly, and without waiting for the co-operation of the other
Christian Powers, because they desire to announce to the Porte a
determination which, though it doubtless will be concurred in by
all, Great Britain is prepared to act upon alone. Her Majesty's
Government feel too that they have an especial right to require to
be listened to by the Porte on a matter of this nature, for they can
appeal to the justice and to the favour with which the vast body of
Mahomedans subject to the British rule are treated in India, in
support of their demand that all persons, subjects of the Porte and
professing Christianity, shall be exempt from cruel and arbitrary
persecution on account of their religion, and shall not be made the
victims of a barbarous law, which it may be sought to enforce for
their destruction.

Whatever may have been tolerated in former times by the weakness or
indifference of Christian Powers, those Powers will now require from
the Porte due consideration for their feelings as members of a
religious community, and interested as such in the fate of all who,
notwithstanding shades of difference, unite in a common belief in
the essential doctrines of Christianity; and they will not endure
that the Porte should insult and trample on their faith by treating
as a criminal any person who embraces it.

Her Majesty's Government require the Porte to abandon, once for all,
so revolting a principle. They have no wish to humble the Porte by
imposing upon it an unreasonable obligation; but as a Christian
Government, the protection of those who profess a common belief with
themselves, from persecution and oppression, on that account alone,
by their Mahomedan rulers, is a paramount duty with them, and one
from which they cannot recede.

Your Excellency will therefore press upon the Turkish Government
that, if the Porte has any regard for the friendship of England,--if
it has any hope that, in the hour of peril or of adversity, that
protection which has more than once saved it from destruction, will
be extended to it again, it must renounce absolutely, and without
equivocation, the barbarous practice which has called forth the
remonstrance now addressed to it. Your Excellency will require an
early answer; and you will let the Turkish Ministers understand that
if that answer does not fully correspond with the expectations which
Her Majesty's Government entertain, your Excellency is instructed to
seek an audience of the Sultan, and to explain to His Highness, in
the most forcible terms, the feelings of the British Government, and
the consequences, so injurious to Turkey, which a disregard for
those feelings will involve. Her Majesty's Government are so anxious
for the continuance of a good understanding with Turkey, and that
the Porte should entitle itself to their good offices in the hour of
need, that they wish to leave no expedient untried before they shall
be compelled to admit the conviction that all their interest and
friendship is misplaced, and that nothing remains for them but to
look forward to, if not promote the arrival of, the day when the
force of circumstances shall bring about a change which they will
have vainly hoped to procure from the prudence and humanity of the
Porte itself.

Your Excellency will seek an interview with the Reis Effendi, and,
having read to him this despatch, leave a copy of it, with an
accurate translation in his hands.

I am, &c.,

(Signed) ABERDEEN.

No. 16.

_The Earl of Aberdeen to Sir Stratford Canning_.

Sir,                         _Foreign Office, January_ 16, 1844.

With reference to my other despatch of this day upon the subject of
the execution of the Greek near Brussa as an apostate from Islamism,
I inclose, for your Excellency's information, an extract of so much
of a despatch from M. Guizot to Count Ste. Aulaire as relates to
this matter, which Count Ste. Aulaire communicated to me a few days

Your Excellency will perceive from this paper that M. Guizot
anticipates that Her Majesty's Government will be disposed to invite
the co-operation of the other Great Powers with the view of making a
simultaneous appeal to the Porte on that subject. But although Her
Majesty's Government would certainly be glad to see the other Powers
of Europe declaring their abhorrence of so revolting a system as
that against which your Excellency and your French colleague will be
instructed to protest, they consider it, nevertheless, unnecessary
formally to solicit their co-operation in a matter in which they all
may be supposed to take a common interest, and to be prepared to act
without previous concert with each other.

I have however directed Her Majesty's Ambassador at Paris to
communicate to M. Guizot a copy of my other despatch of this day;
and I should wish your Excellency to concert with M. de Bourqueney
as to the manner in which the instructions which I have addressed to
your Excellency and those which M. de Bourqueney will receive from
his Court on this matter, and which I conclude will closely
correspond with those addressed to yourself, shall be carried into
execution so as to produce a salutary impression on the Porte.

A copy of my former instruction will be transmitted to Her Majesty's
Ambassador at St. Petersburgh for communication to the Russian
Government; but Lord Stuart de Rothsay will not be instructed, for
the reason stated in this despatch, to invite the Russian Government
to make a similar representation to the Porte.

I inclose a copy of my despatch to Lord Stuart de Rothsay. A
corresponding despatch will be addressed to Sir Robert Gordon and to
Lord Westmorland.

I am, &c.,

(Signed) ABERDEEN.

No. 17.

_The Earl of Aberdeen to Lord Cowley_.

My Lord,                     _Foreign Office, January_ 16, 1844.

I inclose, for your Excellency's information, a copy of a despatch
from M, Guizot which has been placed in my hands by the Count de
Ste. Aulaire, expressive of the just indignation of the French
Government on receiving the tidings that, notwithstanding the
representations which were made to the Porte by the Five Powers on
the occasion of the execution of the Armenian at Constantinople in
September last, a Greek has now been put to death near Brussa for
returning to Christianity after having embraced Islamism. This event
had been already made known to Her Majesty's Government by a
despatch from Sir Stratford Canning of which I herewith transmit a

The Government of the Queen share entirely the feelings of
indignation and disgust which the French Government evince on this
occasion; and I have consequently instructed Her Majesty's
Ambassador at the Porte to make a fresh and more energetic
representation than before to the Turkish Government, in
condemnation of this repeated act of barbarity.

I inclose a copy of this instruction to Sir Stratford Canning, and
also of a further one of the same date, in which I direct his
Excellency to concert with the Baron de Bourqueney in carrying that
instruction into effect.

Your Excellency will communicate these instructions to M. Guizot.

I am, &c.,

(Signed) ABERDEEN.

No. 18.

_The Earl of Aberdeen to Lord Cowley_.

My Lord,                     _Foreign Office, January_ 16, 1844.

With reference to my other despatch of this day, inclosing, for
communication to M. Guizot, a copy of an instruction which I have
addressed to Sir Stratford Canning respecting the execution of a
Greek near Brussa who had apostatized from Islamism, I have to state
to your Excellency that, in the event of your making the
communication to M. Guizot in sufficient time to enable him to send
his instructions to the French Minister at Constantinople by the
steam-vessel which leaves Marseilles on the 21st of this month, the
post for which is made up in Paris on the evening of the 18th, I
should wish your Excellency to acquaint Sir Stratford Canning by
that opportunity with what may have passed between you and M.

The despatch will be sent this evening by post through France so as
to go on by the Marseilles steam-vessel of the 21st.

I am, &c.,

(Signed) ABERDEEN.

No. 19.

_The Earl of Aberdeen to Lord Stuart de Rothsay_*.

My Lord,                     _Foreign Office, January_ 16, 1844.

I inclose for your Excellency's information, a copy of a despatch
from Sir Stratford Canning reporting that a Greek has been executed
near Brussa as an apostate from Islamism; and a copy of an
instruction which I have in consequence addressed to that
Ambassador. Your Excellency will communicate this instruction to
Count Nesselrode for the information of the Russian Government; but
although Her Majesty's Government would doubtless see with pleasure
that the other Powers of Europe should declare their abhorrence of
so revolting a system as that which the Porte has twice acted upon
within the last few months, they do not think it necessary formally
to solicit their co-operation in a matter in which they all may be
supposed to take a common interest, and to be prepared to act
without previous concert with each other.

Your Excellency will therefore merely put Count Nesselrode in
possession of the instructions given to Sir Stratford Canning, and
leave to the Russian Government to determine for itself whether it
shall instruct M. de Titow to the same effect.

I am, &c.,

* A similar despatch was addressed on the 20th January to Sir Robert
Gordon and the Earl of Westmorland.

(Signed) ABERDEEN.

No. 20.

_Lord Cowley to the Earl of Aberdeen_.--(_Received January_ 22.)

My Lord,                          _Paris, January_ 19, 1844.

With reference to your Lordship's despatches of the 16th instant on
the subject of the execution of a Greek for returning to
Christianity after having embraced Islamism, I have the honour to
report that I had yesterday evening an interview with M. Guizot,
when I communicated to him the contents of those despatches, and
also of your Lordship's instructions to Sir Stratford Canning in
consequence of the aforesaid transaction; and I have now the honour
to inclose a copy of the despatch which, conformably to your
Lordship's instructions, I have addressed to Sir Stratford Canning
informing him of what passed upon this subject between M. Guizot and

My despatch was forwarded last night to Her Majesty's Ambassador at
Constantinople, and will reach Marseilles in time to go by the
steam-vessel which sails from that port on the 21st.

I have, &c.,

(Signed) COWLEY.

Inclosure in No. 20.

_Lord Cowley to Sir Stratford Canning_.

Sir,                              _Paris, January_ 18, 1844.

I have received instructions from Lord Aberdeen to communicate to
the French Minister for Foreign Affairs your Excellency's despatches
to his Lordship respecting the execution of a Greek near Brussa who
had apostatized from Islamism, as also his instructions to your
Excellency, under date the 16th instant, in consequence of that
transaction. I am also desired to take the earliest opportunity of
acquainting you with what may have passed between M. Guizot and me
after this communication.

I had this evening a conference with the Minister for Foreign
Affairs, when I communicated to him the contents of your despatches
upon this subject, and also Lord Aberdeen's instructions to you of
the 16th instant, and I am happy to be enabled to state that M.
Guizot expressed his entire approbation of those instructions.

He also assured me that he had signified to M. de Bourqueney, in
terms not less strong than those used by Lord Aberdeen in his
instructions to you, the indignation and disgust of the French
Government at this transaction, affording as it did a painful
testimony of the total disregard of the Porte to the remonstrances
of the Allies upon a previous act of a similar kind.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs then assured me that he had
directed M. de Bourqueney to consult with your Excellency as to the
best manner of carrying into effect the instructions of the two
Governments. The Representatives of France at St. Petersburgh,
Vienna, and Berlin, have likewise been directed to bring the subject
under the consideration of those Courts; but M. Guizot inclines to
the opinion that a separate, rather than joint, representation to
the Turkish Government would be advisable. He trusts, however, that
the British and French Plenipotentiaries will act in concert upon
this occasion, as they have done successfully in every other
transaction at Constantinople in which the Allies have taken any

I have, &c.,

(Signed) COWLEY.

No. 21.

_The Earl of Westmorland to the Earl of Aberdeen_.--(_Received
January_ 30.)

My Lord,                          _Berlin, January_ 24, 1844.

In compliance with the directions contained in your Lordship's
despatch of the 20th instant, I have communicated to Baron Bülow
your instructions to Sir Stratford Canning relative to the late
execution of a Greek at Brussa. Baron Bülow gave me an instruction
to read addressed to M. de Le Coq, which was dated only two days
later than your Lordship's, and which expressed in strong terms his
reprobation of the conduct of the Turkish Government upon this
occasion. Baron Bülow felt the greatest satisfaction at the
statements made by your Lordship, and determined to write again to
M. Le Coq directing him to act in accordance with them. He hopes
that by conduct and language so energetic as that adopted by your
Lordship an impression may be made upon the Turkish Government, and
an end be put to the barbarous cruelties of which it has of late
been guilty.

I have, &c.,


No. 22.

_Sir Robert Gordon to the Earl of Aberdeen_.--(_Received February_

(Extract.)                        _Vienna, February_ 16, 1844.

In compliance with your Lordship's instructions, I have communicated
to Prince Metternich, for the information of the Austrian
Government, your despatch to Sir Stratford Canning relating to the
execution of the Greek renegade by the Turkish authorities at Brussa
on the ground of his apostacy from Islamism.

Whilst I stated to his Highness that my Government did not think it
necessary formally to solicit the co-operation of the Internuncio in
a matter which could only be viewed by every Government in Europe
with the greatest abhorrence, I have been anxious to ascertain in
how far the instructions which are forwarded from hence would be
made to coincide with your Lordship's; and I have now to state that,
although agreeing in the principle upon which have been founded the
remonstrances of Her Majesty's Government, and seeking to arrive at
the same result, the Austrian Minister has nevertheless a decided
objection to the wording of your Lordship's instructions, and the
peremptory terms in which it is endeavoured by them to enforce the
Sultan's compliance.

No. 23.

_Lord Stuart de Rothsay to the Earl of Aberdeen_.--(_Received
February_ 24.)

(Extract.)                   _St. Petersburgh, February_ 6, 1844.

In obedience to the orders contained in your Lordship's despatch of
the 16th January, I have communicated to Count Nesselrode a copy of
your instructions to Sir Stratford Canning upon the subject of a
Greek who had been executed near Brussa as an apostate from

I did so without alluding to the wish of Her Majesty's Government
that the Russian Minister at Constantinople might be furnished with
instructions on the subject. The Vice-Chancellor, nevertheless, said
that he should consider attentively the communication I had made,
and see how far it might be useful to adopt a similar course,
adding, that although he quite participated in the feelings which
actuated Her Majesty's Government, he thought that other means might
be tried which would be more efficacious in attaining our common
object. He afterwards remarked that through the instrumentality of
some of the Russian Consular Agents Pashas had not unfrequently been
persuaded, in an unofficial manner, to facilitate the removal from
their Government of Greeks and others who had rendered themselves
liable to capital punishment for apostacy; and he gave me to
understand that he was of opinion that greater security to
Christians would be obtained by the exercise of the individual
influence of foreign agents, than by seeking an alteration in the
fundamental laws of the Turkish Empire, such as appeared to be the
object of Her Majesty's Government.

Count Nesselrode appears disposed to instruct M. Titow to give his
general support to Her Majesty's Ambassador.

No. 24.

_Sir Stratford Canning to the Earl of Aberdeen_.--(_Received March_

(Extract.)                   _Constantinople, February_ 10, 1844.

On the 5th instant I received your Lordship's instructions of the
16th ultimo, relating to the execution of a Greek near Brussa for
relapsing from Islamism, and directing me to require of the Porte an
unequivocal renunciation of the principle involved in that barbarous
act. I received at the same time, from Her Majesty's Ambassador at
Paris a despatch informing me that he had communicated those
instructions to M. Guizot, and was authorized by him to express that
Minister's approbation of their contents, and his intention of
ordering M. de Bourqueney to concur with me for the attainment of
the object to which they were directed.

I proceeded at once to execute the commands of Her Majesty's
Government. To the French Minister I read your Lordship's first
instruction, and also Lord Cowley's despatch. He returned my
confidence by putting me in possession of M. Guizot's instructions
to him of the 13th ultimo, and by expressing his readiness to act in
concert with me for the accomplishment of our common purpose. To
Rifaat Pasha I communicated a copy, together with an exact
translation, of your Lordship's first instruction. I waited upon his
Excellency by appointment for this object on the 9th instant, having
apprized the Russian, Austrian, and Prussian Ministers of my
intention the day before.

The Ottoman Minister for Foreign Affairs read, in my presence, the
whole of your Lordship's instruction translated into Turkish. Having
finished it, he rose from his seat rather abruptly, without saying a
word, and left the room for a few minutes. On his return, he told me
that the subject was too important for him to give me an answer
without referring to the Council; but, if I were inclined to listen,
he would at once impart to me such observations as occurred to his
mind. I assured him that I was willing to receive with becoming
consideration whatever he thought proper to state; and he then
proceeded to draw a strong line of distinction between custom and
divine law, intimating that a practice derived from the former
source might be abandoned to meet the wishes of Europe, or even of
Great Britain alone, but that a law, prescribed by God himself, was
not to be set aside by any human power; and that the Sultan in
attempting it might be exposed to a heavy, perhaps even to a
dangerous, responsibility. He sought to learn from me whether your
Lordship had been fully aware of this view of the case in writing
the instruction communicated to him; and it seemed to be his object
both to prepare me for an unsatisfactory answer, and to obtain from
me some admission which might give him an advantage in shaping the
decision of the Council.

I had already, in presenting the instruction, endeavoured to make it
clearly understood, that Her Majesty's Government had no object in
view but the one so distinctly and powerfully stated therein; and
also to show how imperiously the welfare of the Porte itself
requires that a practice and principle which operate as moral
barriers between Turkey and Christendom, should now be once for all
renounced and utterly abandoned. I had every reason to believe that
your Lordship had instructed me with a full knowledge of the
question in all its bearings and eventual consequences; that the
course deliberately adopted by Her Majesty's Government, and
announced to the principal Courts of Europe previously united in
reprobation of the late impolitic and atrocious executions, was not
to be receded from; and that any opening to a compromise on so vital
a point could only encourage resistance and endanger the most
important interests. I, therefore, rested entirely on the terms of
your Lordship's instruction, to which, in truth, there was nothing
for me to add.

Although I replied to some of Rifaat Pasha's remarks in a
considerate and conciliatory manner, I referred him steadily to your
Lordship's instructions, and left no reason to hope that any evasive
or temporizing assurance would be accepted as satisfactory by Her
Majesty's Government.

No. 25.

_Sir Stratford Canning to the Earl of Aberdeen_.--(_Received March_

My Lord,                     _Constantinople, February_ 12, 1844.

The interview which I had on the 9th instant with Rifaat Pasha was
followed yesterday by one of a similar character between that
Minister and the French Representative. M. de Bourqueney obligingly
called upon me as soon as he returned from the Pasha's house; and
his report of the conference presented in substance a counterpart of
what had before passed between his Excellency and myself. He stated
that he had given in a paper composed of the strongest passages from
M. Guizot's instruction to him of the 13th ultimo; that he had found
in Rifaat Pasha's remarks the same indication of resistance on the
ground of religion which I had experienced; that in reprobating the
executions complained of, and urging the abandonment of so barbarous
a law for the future, he had placed himself as nearly as possible on
the same ground with me, and that he had carefully avoided any
premature discussion of the form of declaration by which the Porte
would probably, in the end, attempt to satisfy the remonstrating
Governments without a surrender of the principle, or more than a
virtual suspension of the practice.

Notwithstanding the want of any instruction from M. Guizot,
subsequent to Lord Cowley's communication to that Minister, Baron de
Bourqueney found himself sufficiently authorized by the instruction
of the 13th to give me his cordial and unqualified support.

Agreeably to M. Guizot's suggestion, as conveyed to me in Lord
Cowley's despatch, we have acted separately in form, though
concurrently in substance.

I have, &c.,


No. 26.

_The Earl of Aberdeen to Sir Stratford Canning_.

Sir,                              _Foreign Office, March_ 19, 1844.

I have received your Excellency's despatch of the 10th of February,
giving an account of the manner in which you had executed the
instruction of the 16th of January, which I addressed to your
Excellency on receiving your report of the execution of a Greek near
Brussa on the ground of his having renounced his profession of
Islamism and returned to Christianity.

I have to acquaint you that Her Majesty's Government entirely
approve of your having rested your communication to the Turkish
Minister on the terms of my instruction, and of your having steadily
referred his Excellency to that document, while replying in a
considerate and conciliatory manner to the remarks which he
addressed to you.

Nothing, indeed, can be further from the wish of Her Majesty's
Government than that a communication which they have been compelled
by a strong sense of duty, and, I may add, by a sincere regard for
the welfare of Turkey, to make to the Porte, should be rendered more
unpalatable than from its nature it was likely to be, by being
conveyed in harsh or dictatorial terms; and they wish, if the
question is still under discussion when this despatch reaches your
Excellency's hands, that you should constantly bear in mind, that
Her Majesty's Government, although they propose to abide by the
general tenour of the communication which you have been directed to
make to the Porte, have no desire, and would deeply regret, that the
acquiescence of the Porte in the demand which they have addressed to
it, should be attended with unnecessary pain to the feelings of the
Turkish Government.

Her Majesty's Government are persuaded that if the Ministers of the
Porte will dispassionately consider what has been desired of them,
they will find that, without any real sacrifice of national or
religious opinion, they may place themselves in harmony with the
wishes and the feelings of the Christian Powers. Her Majesty's
Government have not urged, and do not propose to urge, them to
abrogate any law, divine or human, but merely to revert to the
system which Her Majesty's Government believe to have been for some
time past constantly acted upon, and to allow the law to remain
practically dormant, and thus silently withdraw from a practice
which cannot be enforced without rousing the feelings of
Christendom, and rendering it impossible for the Turkish Government
to retain the good-will of Christian Powers.

The Ministers of the Porte cannot, on calm reflection, suppose that
if they deliberately deprive their Government of the moral or
physical support of Christendom, the Turkish Empire can long be
preserved from the destruction with which, from numerous causes, it
is continually menaced; neither can they believe that, although the
sentiments of the various Powers of Europe on the question to which
the revival of an obsolete practice has now unfortunately given
rise, may be conveyed to the Porte in terms more or less decided,
there is any real and essential difference between the expectations
and the intentions of all. All must yield to public opinion
universally expressed; and the Porte may rest assured that Christian
States will, with one accord, refuse to tolerate any longer a
practice which, both in the principle on which it rests and the
manner in which it is carried into execution, is designed to
stigmatize the faith which they profess and cherish.

I am, &c.,

(Signed) ABERDEEN.

No. 27.

_Count Nesselrode to M. de Titow_.--(_Communicated by Baron Brunnow
to the Earl of Aberdeen_, March 19.)

                        _St. Pétersbourg, le_ 15/27 _Février_, 1844.

Je n'ai pas manqué de prendre les ordres de l'Empereur sur le
contenu de votre rapport No. 10, du 21 Janvier/2 Février, par lequel
vous nous avez rendu compte de la fâcheuse impression que la
nouvelle exécution religieuse qui a eu lieu à Biligik a produite à

Sa Majesté a voué une attention sérieuse aux diverses considérations
que vous nous avez exposées pour décider du plus ou moins
d'opportunité qu'il y aurait pour les Puissances de l'Europe en
général, et pour la Russie en particulier, à protester contre des
actes de cruauté incompatibles avec les principes d'humanité dont la
Porte devrait se montrer pénétrée à l'égard de ses sujets Chrétiens.
D'une part, nous avons reconnu la difficutté, pour ne pas dire
l'impossibilité, de découvrir le moyen propre pour paralyser d'une
manière définitive les effets de la loi du Coran qui concerne les
apostasies; d'autre part, nous ne saurions ne pas élever la voix,
lorsqu'il s'agit de l'application de la peine de mort à des
individus qui, en embrassant le Christianisme, ou en retournant dans
le sein de l'Eglise, invoquent notre protection, et nous imposent le
devoir de les soustraire aux rigueurs d'une législation barbare.

Dans un tel état de choses, l'opinion que vous a communiquée M. le
Comte de Stürmer, nous a paru celle qui offre le plus de chances de
succès. Cette opinion est d'ailleurs conforme aux vues que j'ai été
dans le cas de vous développer sur la même matière dans une occasion
précédente. Il est donc de l'intention de l'Empereur que vous
déclariez à la Porte Ottomane, sous la forme d'un conseil
bienveillant, que nous nous attendons positivement à ne plus voir se
renouveler des exécutions qui soulèvent contre elle l'indignation de
toute la Chrétienté. C'est dans son propre intérêt que nous lui
adressons cette demande. La Porte ne doit pas se faire illusion sur
les élémens qui fermentent en Turquie. Au lieu de s'aliéner les
sentimens des populations Chrétiennes, le Gouvernement Ottoman doit
travailler plus que jamais, à se les concilier. Qu'il comprenne
enfin la nécessité de laisser tomber en désuétude des dispositions
surannées de la loi Mahométane, qui ne peuvent être maintenues qu'au
mépris des représentations unanimes de toutes les Puissances. Tel
serait à peu près le langage que vous auriez à tenir, Monsieur, à la
Porte Ottomane, de concert avec les autres Représentans, et nous
espérons qu'en la rappelant ainsi à la conscience de ses devoirs et
de ses intérêts réels, nous l'empêcherons de retomber dans la voie
vicieuse qu'elle a suivie en dernier lieu.

Recevez, &c.,



                        _St. Petersburgh_, 15/27 _February_, 1844.

I have not failed to take the orders of the Emperor upon the
contents of your despatch No. 10, of the 21 January/2 February, in
which you have reported the painful impression which the fresh
religious execution which has taken place at Biligik has produced at

His Majesty has given his serious attention to the various
considerations which you have laid before us in order to determine
the greater or less degree of propriety there would be in the
principal Powers of Europe generally, and in Russia particularly,
protesting against acts of cruelty incompatible with the principles
of humanity with which the Porte should show itself animated as
regards its Christian subjects. On the one hand, we have perceived
the difficulty, not to say the impossibility, of discovering the
suitable means of definitively paralyzing the effects of the law of
the Koran relating to apostacy; on the other hand, we cannot but
raise our voice when it is a question of inflicting the penalty of
death upon individuals who, in embracing Christianity, or in
returning into the bosom of the Church, appeal to our protection,
and impose upon us the duty of withdrawing them from the rigours of
a barbarous legislation.

In such a state of things the opinion which M. de Stürmer has
communicated to you, has appeared to us to be that which offers the
greatest chance of success. This opinion is, moreover, in conformity
with the views which I have had occasion to explain to you on the
same subject on a former occasion. It is then the Emperor's
intention that you should declare to the Ottoman Porte, in the form
of friendly counsel, that we positively expect no longer to witness
executions which array against it the indignation of all
Christendom. It is with a view to its own interest that we address
to it this demand. The Porte must not delude itself with regard to
the elements now in a state of fermentation in Turkey. Instead of
alienating from itself the feelings of the Christian population, the
Ottoman Government ought more than ever to labour to conciliate them
to itself. Let it comprehend, in fine, the necessity of allowing to
become obsolete antiquated enactments of the Mahomedan law, which
cannot be upheld but in disregard of the unanimous representations
of all the Powers. Such should be the purport of the language which,
Sir, you should hold to the Ottoman Porte, in concert with the other
Representatives; and we trust that in thus recalling it to a sense
of its duties and real interests, we shall prevent it from again
falling into the vicious system which it has recently followed.

Receive, &c.,


No. 28.

_Lord Cowley to the Earl of Aberdeen_.--(_Received March_ 21.)

(Extract.)                        _Paris, March_ 18, 1844.

With reference to the representations made to the Ottoman Government
by the French and English Representatives at Constantinople on the
subject of the execution of a Greek near Brussa, as reported in Sir
Stratford Canning's despatches of the 10th and 12th February, I have
the honour to state that M. Guizot has communicated to me the
substance of what passed at a conference which he has had within
these few days with Reshid Pasha upon that subject.

The Pasha said that he was instructed to express in strong terms the
concern of the Sultan at this interference of the Allied Sovereigns
(of Great Britain and France in particular) in the internal concerns
of his empire; that a compliance with these demands might be
attended with very serious consequences to himself and his
Government; and that he (the Pasha) was instructed to express the
fervent hope of his Master, that they would not be persisted in.

M. Guizot replied that the French and British Governments never
could desist from expressing their abhorrence of such atrocious acts
of cruelty as had been perpetrated upon the late occasion, and which
had given rise to a renewal of the requisition that the practice
should be entirely abandoned, and that they confidently expected
that their representations would have the desired effect upon the
Ottoman Government.

No. 29.

_The Earl of Aberdeen to Lord Cowley_.

(Extract.)                        _Foreign Office, March_ 22, 1844.

I transmit to your Excellency herewith a copy of an instruction
which I addressed on the 19th instant to Sir Stratford Canning, in
reply to his Excellency's despatch of the 10th of February last
relative to the execution of the Greek near Brussa, a copy of which
was forwarded to your Excellency on the 15th instant.

You will lose no time in communicating this instruction to M. Guizot
and you will at the same time, suggest to him the propriety of
instructing the French Minister at the Porte to make it perfectly
clear to the Turkish Government, that neither Great Britain nor
France demand the abrogation of any law of the Turkish Empire; and
that all that we desire is an assurance that the practice which has
so justly called forth the reprobation of all Christian countries,
shall cease, by the law being suffered to remain, as it had long
been, dormant.

No. 30.

_Sir Stratford Canning to the Earl of Aberdeen_.--(_Received March_

(Extract.)                   _Constantinople, February_ 29, 1844.

I applied to Rifaat Pasha on the 24th instant, in concert with the
French Minister, for an answer to your Lordship's requisition on the
subject of the executions for apostacy from Islamism. My application
was made in the form of an instruction to M. Frederick Pisani, and
Baron de Bourqueney adopted a similar line of proceeding. Copies of
my instruction to M. Pisani and of his report of Rifaat Pasha's
reply, identical with the report of the French interpreter, are
inclosed herewith for your Lordship's more complete information.

Several Councils have been held, as well at the Porte as at the
Sheik-ul-Islam's residence.

I inclose with this despatch a short report from M. Pisani, which
preceded the instruction referred to above.

Inclosure l in No. 30.

_Sir Stratford Canning to M. Pisani_.

Monsieur,                         _Péra, le_ 22 _Février_, 1844.

Le message que vous m'avez transmis avant-hier de la part de son
Excellence Rifaat Pacha, laisse tout-à-fait incertaine l'époque où
je recevrai une réponse à la communication importante que j'ai eu
l'honneur de lui faire le 8 du courant par l'ordre exprès de ma
Cour. Il est pourtant à désirer que cette incertitude ne soit pas
prolongée hors de mesure. La question dont il s'agit est toute
entière dans la dépêche officielle dont la copie se trouve depuis
quinze jours entre les mains du Ministre, et j'attends du
Gouvernement Ottoman la prompte solution d'une affaire qui touche de
trop près ses intérêts, son avenir, et ses rapports avec les
Puissances amies, pour que son Excellence soit autorisée à la
regarder comme purement du ressort de la religion.

Il me semble, au contraire, que cette question est, à ne pas en
douter, essentiellement liée avec les considérations les plus
élevées de la politique. J'aime par conséquent à croire que les
Ministres de Sa Hautesse ne méconnaîtront pas leur obligation d'en
mesurer la portée par les principes de la raison et les règles de la
prudence dont aucun Etat ne pourrait impunément se dispenser. Eviter
la responsabilité qui appartient nécessairement à leur position
serait-ce en effet autre chose que priver leur Souverain du gage le
plus sûr de leur exactitude à en remplir les conditions conformément
au but de leur nomination, aux exigeances de la conjoncture, et aux
inspirations de la sagacité que la Providence leur a accordée?

Je vous invite donc, Monsieur, à vous rendre de nouveau auprès du
Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, et à exprimer formellement à son
Excellence ma juste attente que le Conseil ne tardera pas à me faire
remettre par son canal une réponse catégorique et comme je l'espère,
satisfaisante à la demande d'un Gouvernement sincèrement ami de la
Porte. Vous lui laisserez une copie de cette instruction, et vous
vous entendrez quant au temps de sa présentation avec Monsieur
l'Interprète de l'Ambassade Française, qui est muni d'une
instruction pareille par son Ministre.

Je suis, &c.,



Sir,                              _Pera, February_ 22, 1844.

The message which you yesterday conveyed to me from his Excellency
Rifaat Pasha leaves altogether uncertain the time at which I shall
receive an answer to the important communication which I had the
honour to make to him on the 8th instant by the express order of my
Court. It is however to be desired that this uncertainty should not
indefinitely be prolonged. The question at issue is altogether
contained in the official despatch the copy of which has been for
the last fortnight in the Minister's hands, and I expect from the
Ottoman Government the speedy settlement of a matter which affects
its interests, its future position, and its relations with friendly
Powers too nearly for his Excellency to be authorized in considering
it merely as a religious question.

On the contrary it appears to me that without doubt this question is
essentially connected with the highest political considerations. I
am consequently fain to believe that the Ministers of His Highness
will not overlook their obligation to estimate the bearing of it by
the principles of reason and the rules of prudence which no State
can with impunity disregard. To shrink from the responsibility which
necessarily attaches to their position, what else would that be than
to deprive their Sovereign of the surest pledge of their diligence
in discharging the conditions thereof consistently with the object
of their appointment, the emergencies of the state of affairs, and
the inspirations of the sagacity which Providence has bestowed upon

I accordingly request you, Sir, to go again to the Minister for
Foreign Affairs, and formally to intimate to his Excellency my just
expectation that the Council will not delay to cause to be delivered
to me through him a categorical answer, and, as I hope, a
satisfactory answer to the demand of a Government sincerely friendly
to the Porte. You will leave with him a copy of this instruction,
and you will concert as to the time of its delivery with the
Interpreter of the French Embassy, who is furnished by his Minister
with a similar instruction.

I have, &c.,


Inclosure 2 in No. 30.

_Answer of Rifaat Pasha to M. Pisani, February_ 22, 1844.

Aucune nouvelle démarche n'était nécessaire pour nous faire sentir
l'importance de cette question, importance dont nous sommes
profondément pénétrés. Nous la traitons avec tout le sérieux et tous
les soins que sa gravité exige. Oui, ce que vos chefs respectifs
disent est vrai; cette question a son côté politique aussi bien que
son côté religieux. Il faut en effet que nous nous séparions de la
nation, ou bien des Puissances Chrétiennes; ce sont là deux grands
maux également à éviter. Le Sultan a ordonné que cette question soit
discutée dans un Conseil d'Oulémas qui s'ouvrira Samedi prochain
chez le Sheik-ul-Islam, auquel seront appelés le Cazi-Asker et
d'autres notabilités parmi les hommes de loi; après quoi, le Conseil
des Ministres s'en occupera de nouveau. Ne croyez-pas au reste que
nous nous soyons bornés à appeler leur attention purement et
simplement sur la question sous le rapport religieux; nous leur
avons remis aussi les protocoles des conférences, les dépêches des
deux Gouvernemens, et même des extraits des journaux qui ont agité
cette question, et nous leur communiquerons également les
instructions que vous venez de me remettre, et qui, bien que
superflues pour la Porte, peuvent encore ajouter à l'impression
produite par les autres pièces qui sont entre leurs mains. Comme
nous ne devons pas douter des bonnes intentions des Puissances, nous
espérons que MM. les Représentans d'Angleterre et de France, dans
leur haute sagesse et avec l'esprit d'équité qui les anime, ne se
refuseront pas à prendre en considération les graves difficultés qui
existent, et qu'ils se prêteront à amener une solution qui nous
sauverait des deux maux que je vous ai signalés. C'est là le but que
nous devons nous efforcer d'atteindre.

C'était pour vous informer de la marche de cette affaire que je vous
ai prié ce matin de passer chez moi.


No fresh step was requisite to make us sensible of the importance of
this question, with which we are deeply impressed. We are dealing
with it with all the seriousness and all the care which its gravity
requires. Yes, what your respective chiefs say is true; this
question has its political as also its religious side. It is
requisite, in fact, that we should separate ourselves from the
nation, or otherwise from the Christian Powers; those are two great
evils to be equally avoided. The Sultan has commanded that this
question shall be discussed in the Council of Oulemas which will be
opened next Saturday at the Sheik-ul-Islam's, to which the
Cazi-Asker and the other principal persons among the men of the law
will be summoned; after which, the Council of Ministers will again
apply themselves to it. Do not suppose, however, that we have
confined ourselves to directing their attention purely and simply to
the question as it regards religion; we have likewise submitted to
them the protocols of the conferences, the despatches of the two
Governments, and even the extracts of the newspapers which have
discussed this question, and we shall likewise communicate to them
the instructions which you have just delivered to me, and which,
although superfluous as far as the Porte is concerned, may still add
to the impression produced by the other documents in their hands. As
we must not doubt the good intentions of the Powers, we trust that
the Representatives of England and France, in their profound wisdom,
and with the spirit of equity by which they are animated, will not
refuse to take into consideration the serious difficulties which
exist, and that they will lend themselves to bring about a solution
which would preserve us from the two evils which I have pointed out
to you. That is the object which we must strive to attain.

It was in order to acquaint you with the progress of this matter
that I requested you to call upon me this morning.

Inclosure 3 in No. 30.

_Answer of Rifaat Pasha to M. Pisani, February_ 20, 1844.

Nous connaissons toute l'importance de la question dont il s'agit.
Mais il faut considérer que cette question n'est ni politique ni
administrative, et qu'elle regarde la religion. Il faut donc que
nous consultions préalablement les docteurs de la loi, et la mission
d'examiner cette affaire leur a été donnée de la part du Conseil;
cette affaire reviendra ensuite au Divan.

J'accomplis ma mission, qui est celle de porter exactement à la
connaissance des Ministres de la Sublime Porte tout ce que les deux
Représentans me disent, et je ne manquerai pas de leur faire savoir
la réponse du Conseil. Ainsi, non seulement je ne suis pas à même de
répondre aujourd'hui, mais il m'est encore impossible de vous dire
avec précision quel jour je pourrais vous la donner. Je ferai savoir
au Conseil le message dont vous vous êtes acquitté aujourd'hui.


We know all the importance of the case in question. But it is
necessary to consider that this question is neither one of policy
nor of administration, and that it concerns religion. We must
therefore first consult the doctors of the law, and the charge of
inquiring into this matter has been entrusted to them by the
Council; the matter will then come back to the Divan.

I discharge my duty, which is to represent exactly to the Ministers
of the Sublime Porte what the two Representatives say to me, and I
shall not fail to let the latter know the answer of the Council. For
this reason, not only is it not in my power to give you an answer
to-day, but it is also impossible for me to say to you precisely on
what day I can give it to you. I will let the Council know the
message which you have communicated to-day.

No. 31.

_Sir Stratford Canning to the Earl of Aberdeen_.--(_Received March_

(Extract.)                        _Constantinople, March_ 3, 1844.

I have this moment received important information, and I rely so
much upon its correctness that I send off an express to overtake the
messenger. The Turkish Government has virtually decided on complying
with your Lordship's requisition.

Rifaat Pasha has written to propose in rather urgent terms a private
interview with me. I have assented to this proposal, repeating at
the same time my opinion that no advantage is likely to result from
it. The French Minister will be present, and we shall probably meet
on the 5th.

In reply to our renewed demand for the Porte's official answer,
Rifaat Pasha has pressed for an additional delay of eight or ten
days, alleging that the deliberations of the Council are not yet

On the expiration of that term, or shortly afterwards, I trust it
will be in my power to forward the official confirmation of what I
now submit to your Lordship with confidence.

No. 32.

_Lord Cowley to the Earl of Aberdeen_.--(_Received March_ 27.)

My Lord,                          _Paris, March_ 25, 1844.

With reference to your Lordship's despatch of the 22nd instant
inclosing a copy of your instructions to Sir Stratford Canning under
date the 19th instant, I have the honour to state that upon
communicating those instructions to the Minister for Foreign
Affairs, he assured me that he would without loss of time send
instructions of a similar tenour to M. de Bourqueney, although that
Minister was already in possession of the sentiments of his
Government relative to those barbarous executions; which are, that
the Government of France had no intention of requiring of the
Ottoman Government that they should abrogate any law, but they
expect a satisfactory assurance in writing should be given to the
Allies that the practice complained of should cease.

I have, &c.,

(Signed) COWLEY.

No. 33.

_Sir Stratford Canning to the Earl of Aberdeen_.--(_Received March_

My Lord,                          _Constantinople, March_ 6, 1844.

The confidential interview to which I was invited by Rifaat Pasha,
took place yesterday, and the French Minister was also present. In
order to mark more emphatically the private character of this
meeting we trusted entirely to Foad Effendi, who accompanied Rifaat
Pasha at my request, for the interpretation of what passed between
us. I am happy to say that although the Pasha repeated all the
arguments stated in M. Pisani's report, of which a copy has been
already transmitted to your Lordship, nothing occurred to shake my
confidence in the information previously conveyed to me and recorded
in my preceding despatch. The French Minister participated fully in
this impression, and gave me his support in a most frank and
effectual manner.

The Pasha's main position was this: if we refuse, we lose the
friendship of Europe; if we consent, we hazard the peace of the
empire; you come as friends, and therefore we reckon upon your
helping us to find some course by which we may satisfy you without
injuring ourselves.

In answer we confirmed his persuasion that our intentions were
friendly; but we added that our course was prescribed by the
instructions; that we could not admit the supposition of our
Governments having acted without a full consideration of the
consequences; and that although we were not called upon to require
an express and formal repeal of the law which they termed religious,
we must, at the very least, require an official declaration that
effectual measures would be taken to prevent the recurrence of
executions for apostacy, and a disclaimer of every idea involving
insult to Christianity, or the persecution of its followers, on
account of their faith.

This explanation appeared to produce a good effect on the Pasha's
mind, and I observed with particular satisfaction, that he admitted
that the Mufti had expressed to the Porte a personal opinion, which
drew a very desirable distinction between the strict language of the
law and the discretion warranted by State necessity.

Upon the whole, my Lord, it was sufficiently apparent that the
objections entertained by the Porte are far from insuperable; that
much of the remaining difficulty arises from the reference unwisely
made to the Ulemah; and that, with every wish to escape from our
demand, and every determination to give us the least acceptable
degree of satisfaction, there is no intention ultimately to refuse,
although it is possible that we shall not be able to obtain as
complete a declaration as we could desire without a reference to
London and Paris.

I have, &c.,


No. 34.

_Sir Stratford Canning to the Earl of Aberdeen_.--(_Received April_

(Extract.)                        _Constantinople, March_ 14, 1844.

Since I had last the honour of addressing your Lordship the Turkish
Ministers have been almost exclusively occupied with the great
question which formed the subject matter of your Lordship's
instruction of 16th January. The deferred settlement of this
question is, indeed, a source of much inconvenience to all who have
business to transact with the Porte. The affairs of Her Majesty's
Embassy, and those of the French and even of the Austrian Legation,
are almost suspended. I have, therefore, been doubly anxious to
obtain the Porte's definitive answer; but notwithstanding every
exertion consistent with the consideration due to an independent and
friendly Government, I have only this moment succeeded in obtaining
it; and I lament to say that it is so unsatisfactory as to induce me
to reject it without a moment's hesitation.

In this decision the French Minister concurs with equal promptitude
and completeness. I inclose herewith the terms of the answer, as
reported to us by our respective interpreters. It was given
verbally, but with some additional authority derived from the
presence of the Grand Vizier and the President of the Council.

The 16th instant had been previously fixed for the delivery of the
Porte's answer, and we were content to wait. This morning, however,
I received through several channels a confirmation of intelligence
which had reached me imperfectly the evening before, to the effect
that an unfavourable resolution had already been adopted by the
Council, and that the Turkish Ministers deferred the communication
of it for the sole purpose of engaging the Sultan's word, and
frustrating any eventual appeal to His Majesty. At the same time,
therefore, that, in concurrence with the French Minister, I directed
M. Pisani to demand an audience, if an immediate and satisfactory
answer were not delivered at the Porte, I sent to the Grand Marshal
of the Palace and called upon him to apprize the Sultan forthwith of
my intention to seek a formal audience of His Majesty, and to
entreat that the Royal decision might be withheld until I had an
opportunity of executing your Lordship's instruction in that

Meanwhile in spite of adverse appearances, I still retain the
opinion expressed in a former part of my correspondence. The Porte,
I am satisfied, is prepared to give way in the end, though with much
reluctance. Nothing whatever has occurred to warrant the alarming
rumours of popular excitement and insurrection diligently
circulated, and even countenanced by Rifaat Pasha, some days ago. If
my information be correct, there is reason, on the contrary, to
believe that not only the Mussulman inhabitants of the capital are
sufficiently indifferent to the question at issue, but that many of
the upper classes, some of the most distinguished Turkish statesmen,
and a few even of the Ulemah are favourable to our view of the

Inclosure in No. 34.

_Answer of Rifaat Pasha to M. Frederic Pisani, March_ 14, 1844.

La réponse de son Excellence Rifaat Pacha, dite verbalement et
officiellement, se trouve dans une pièce qui nous a été présentée.
Cette pièce était un extrait d'une dépêche à Aali Effendi et à
Réchid Pacha. Nous avons refusé de la prendre parcequ'elle n'est pas
satisfaisante. Elle est conçue ainsi: "Comme la loi ne permet
nullement de changer les dispositions à l'égard de la punition des
apostats, la Sublime Porte prendra des mesures efficaces, les
mesures possibles, pour que l'exécution des Chrétiens qui, devenus
Musulmans, retournent au Christianisme, n'ait pas lieu."


The answer of his Excellency Rifaat Pasha, verbally and officially
pronounced, is contained in a document which was presented to us.
This document was an extract from a despatch to Aali Effendi and to
Reshid Pasha. We refused to take it, because it is not satisfactory.
It is couched in these terms: "As the law does not admit of any
change being made in the enactments regarding the punishment of
apostates, the Sublime Porte will take efficacious measures, the
measures which are possible, in order that the execution of
Christians who, having become Mussulmans, return to Christianity,
shall not take place."

No. 35.

_The Earl of Aberdeen to Sir Stratford Canning_.

(Extract.)                        _Foreign Office, April_ 6, 1844.

The latest account which I have received from your Excellency of
your proceedings with regard to the question pending with the Porte,
arising out of the execution of the Greek near Brussa on the charge
of apostacy from Islamism, is contained in your despatch of the 14th
of March. From that despatch it appears that, in conjunction with
your French colleague, you had rejected as unsatisfactory the
communication made to your dragomans on that day by the Ministers of
the Porte, and that you were taking measures to secure an audience
of the Sultan, in the event of your failing to obtain from the Porte
without further delay, a more satisfactory reply.

On the statements in that despatch I have to acquaint your
Excellency that Her Majesty's Government concur with you in
considering that the communication made to you through your dragoman
on the 14th of March, was not of that absolute and unequivocal
character which you were instructed in my despatch of the 16th of
January to require from the Porte; and that you consequently acted
rightly in refusing to receive it, and in taking steps to obtain
either a more satisfactory communication from the Ministers of the
Porte, or admission to the presence of the Sultan for the purpose of
addressing to His Highness in person that appeal which you were
directed in case of necessity to make to him.

With regard, however, to the nature of the communication which Her
Majesty's Government would consider satisfactory, I have to state to
your Excellency that Her Majesty's Government are content to abide
by the terms which, it appears from your despatch of the 6th of
March, were suggested to Rifaat Pasha on the preceding day by your
Excellency and M. de Bourqueney, namely, that the Porte should make
"an official declaration that effectual measures would be taken to
prevent the recurrence of executions for apostacy," or, as the
proposition has been reported by M. de Bourqueney to his Government,
"that the Porte will take effectual measures to prevent the renewal
of executions similar to those which have recently taken place at
Constantinople and Biligik."

With such a declaration, officially made, Her Majesty's Government
would be perfectly satisfied, even without the additional clause
reported by your Excellency, which appears to them to be

I need scarcely inform your Excellency that Her Majesty's Government
look with much anxiety to an early solution of this question. They
are sensible of the many inconveniences which the continued
agitation of it may involve, although it is with no small
satisfaction that they perceive from your Excellency's despatch that
there is no present appearance of the difficulties necessarily
attached to the question being increased by any insurrectionary or
fanatical movement on the part of the Mussulman inhabitants of the

I have not yet received from the Turkish Ambassador in this country
any communication of the despatch from which the answer given to
your Excellency, through M. Pisani, appears to be an extract.

It is greatly to be desired that the Porte should act with
promptitude. Much of the embarrassment to which the agitation of
this question has given rise, may be traced to the attempt of the
Porte to invest it exclusively with a religious character.

No. 36.

_Sir Stratford Canning to the Earl of Aberdeen_.--(_Received April_

(Extract.)                        _Constantinople, March_ 23, 1844.

I have the honour and satisfaction to inform your Lordship that the
question of religious executions is happily and, to all appearance,
conclusively settled. The concession has been obtained with great
difficulty; and, even to the last moment, it required the firmness
of resolution inspired by your Lordship's instruction to overcome
the obstacles which were raised against us, and to keep the Turkish
Ministers steady to their professions. I felt it to be my duty to
accept nothing short of your Lordship's requisition in its full
extent. But this obligation did not preclude me either from adopting
such means of success as were best calculated to hasten a favourable
result, or from accepting that result in a conciliatory though
effective shape. By availing myself of an overture to communicate
directly with the Sultan, I succeeded in obtaining all that was
necessary, and in receiving His Highness' acknowledgments for the
consideration I had shewn to his wishes.

These transactions have so little interest now, that it would be a
waste of your Lordship's time to enter upon a narration of them. It
may suffice for me to state that, after several unacceptable
propositions, the Porte's definitive reply was communicated to me
and to the French Minister in suitable terms, and also in writing,
which had been long refused; that to leave no doubt of what I
understand to be the meaning of the Porte, I sent in an
acknowledgment, of which a copy is herewith inclosed, together with
a translated copy of the Porte's declaration; and that to-day, at my
audience of the Sultan, His Highness not only confirmed what the
Porte had declared, but added, in frank and explicit language, the
assurances which I had previously required as to the general good
treatment of the Christians throughout his dominions. He, in fact,
gave me his royal word that, henceforward, neither should
Christianity be insulted in his dominions, nor should Christians be
in any way persecuted for their religion. Important as it was to
obtain this assurance from the lips of the Sovereign himself, I
should have thought it right to demand an audience for the mere
purpose of removing false impressions from His Highness' mind
respecting the motives and objects of Her Majesty's Government. In
this respect, also, I had every reason to be satisfied. The Sultan
expressed the strongest reliance on the friendly intentions of Great
Britain; he fully appreciated the motives which had actuated her on
the present occasion; he acknowledged more than once the signal and
frequent services rendered to his empire by British arms and
counsels; he declared that the great concession which he had now
confirmed, though entirely consonant with his own feelings, had been
made to his sense of obligation towards the British Government; he
called upon me to convey his thanks to Her Majesty for the good
treatment experienced by the millions of Mussulman subjects living
under British sway in India, and his anxious desire that the
engagements which he had taken to protect from violent and undue
interference the Christians established in his empire, should be
appreciated by Her Majesty's Government, and prove a source of
increased good-will between the two nations, and an occasion of
eliciting fresh proofs of friendly interest on the part of Great
Britain towards his dominions.

What passed at this audience is the more important and binding, as
it was one of a formal character, applied for on public grounds;
and, to give it still greater value, the Sultan, after I had retired
from his presence, called back the dragoman of the Porte, and
desired him to assure me that what he had said in public proceeded
from his real conviction, and was, in fact, the sincere expression
of his personal sentiments.

Inclosure 1 in No. 36.

_Official Declaration of the Sublime Porte, relinquishing the
practice of Executions for Apostacy_.


It is the special and constant intention of His Highness the Sultan
that his cordial relations with the High Powers be preserved, and
that a perfect reciprocal friendship be maintained, and increased.

The Sublime Porte engages to take effectual measures to prevent
henceforward the execution and putting to death of the Christian who
is an apostate.

_March_ 21, 1844.

Inclosure 2 in No. 36.

_Acknowledgment of the Sublime Porte's Official Declaration
respecting Executions for Apostacy. March_ 22, 1844.

The official declaration communicated by his Excellency the Minister
for Foreign Affairs shall be transmitted to the British Government,
who will understand with satisfaction that the Sublime Porte, in
taking effectual measures to prevent henceforward the execution and
putting to death of any Christian, an apostate from Islamism,
relinquishes for ever a principle inconsistent with its friendly
professions; and the further assurances to be given at the
Ambassador's audience of the Sultan, in the sense of the instruction
presented in copy to the Porte on the 9th ultimo, will fully satisfy
the British Government that Christianity is not to be insulted in
His Highness' empire, nor any one professing it to be treated as a
criminal, or persecuted on that account.


No. 37.

_Earl of Westmorland to the Earl of Aberdeen_.--(_Received April_

My Lord,                          _Berlin, April_ 7, 1844.

I received a private letter From Sir Stratford Canning, dated
Constantinople, March 23, announcing the termination of his
negotiation with the Turkish Government as to its future conduct in
the cases of Christians who have renounced the Mahomedan religion,
and bearing witness to the cordial manner in which M. de Le Coq, the
Prussian Minister, under Baron Bülow's instruction, had assisted his

I thought it my duty to communicate this feeling to Baron Bülow, who
has expressed himself obliged by the expressions of Sir Stratford
Canning, and most happy to have contributed to so good a work as the
attainment of a written pledge from the Turkish Government that it
will take effectual means to prevent henceforward the execution of
the Christian who is an apostate.

I have, &c.,


No. 38.

_Lord Cowley to the Earl of Aberdeen_.--(_Received April_ 17.)

My Lord,                          _Paris, April_ 15, 1844.

At the desire of Her Majesty's Ambassador at Constantinople I have
the honour to forward to your Lordship copies of a despatch and of
its inclosures which his Excellency has addressed to me in
consequence of the acquiescence of the Porte in the representations
of Great Britain and France on the subject of the execution of
apostates from Islamism.

M. Guizot read to me yesterday Baron de Bourqueney's report
announcing the successful termination of these negotiations, and
expressing his entire satisfaction at the assurances afforded him by
the Sultan, at the audience to which His Majesty has been graciously
pleased to invite him, of his determination to adhere strictly to
the engagements he had entered into with the two Powers.

I have, &c.,

(Signed) COWLEY.

Inclosure 1 in No. 38.

_Sir Stratford Canning to Lord Cowley_.

My Lord,                          _Constantinople, March_ 27, 1844.

As the question relating to the execution of apostates from Islamism
is now successfully terminated, it will be satisfactory for your
Lordship to learn that the entire approbation expressed by M. Guizot
of the instructions addressed to me on the 16th of January by the
Earl of Aberdeen, procured me the active support of Baron de
Bourqueney throughout the late negotiations with the Porte, and that
by acting separately, according to M. Guizot's suggestion, I was
enabled to give the fullest effect to my instructions, marked and
decisive as they were, without losing any part of the advantage
derived from the French Minister's concurrence.

Together we rejected the unsatisfactory answer at first and more
than once proposed by the Porte; together we accepted what appeared
to offer a sufficient guarantee for the accomplishment of our common

The terms in which the final declaration of the Porte was conveyed
to us on the 21st instant, are recorded in the accompanying paper
translated exactly from the Turkish original.

I thought it advisable to acknowledge this communication, and as I
was entitled to expect some additional assurances from the Sultan at
the public audience which I had demanded of His Majesty according to
my instructions, I avoided embarrassing the French Minister by
proposing to him to take part in a step which related exclusively to
my position. A copy of this acknowledgment is inclosed herewith; and
in order to give your Lordship a complete view of the transaction in
its full extent, I add the very terms, as translated to me, in which
the Sultan was pleased to confirm and to enlarge the engagement of
his Government.

I may venture to add that His Majesty's assurances were given in the
most gracious form, accompanied with an expression of thanks for the
liberal manner in which the millions of Mahomedan subjects in India
are treated by the British authorities, and followed by a message,
after I had left his presence, to the effect that the sentiments
which he had declared to me were not only those of the Monarch but
of the individual.

In short, my Lord, I am sanguine enough to hope that Her Majesty's
Government have laid the foundation of a more real improvement in
the temper and policy of this State than was to have been previously
expected; and it is a subject of just congratulation that the
counsels of two great nations have united successfully for the
attainment of so beneficent an object.

The invitation to Baron de Bourqueney to wait upon the Sultan the
day after my audience, and to receive, for the information of his
Court, a repetition of the assurances addressed to me, affords
another proof of His Majesty's sincerity.

I have, &c.,


P.S.--I request that a copy of this despatch and its inclosures may
be forwarded immediately to Her Majesty's Government.

S. C.

Inclosure 2 in No. 38.

_Official Declaration of the Sublime Porte, relinquishing the
practice of Executions for Apostacy from Islamism_.

[See Inclosure l in No. 36.]

Inclosure 3 in No. 38.

_Acknowledgment of the Sublime Porte's Official Declaration
respecting Executions for Apostacy_.

[See Inclosure 2 in No. 36.]

Inclosure 4 in No. 38.

_Declaration of His Highness the Sultan to Sir Stratford Canning at
his Audience on the 23rd of March_, 1844.

"Henceforward neither shall Christianity be insulted in my
dominions, nor shall Christians be in any way persecuted for their

No. 39.

_The Earl of Aberdeen to Sir Stratford Canning_.

(Extract.)                        _Foreign Office, April_ 19, 1844.

I received on the 10th of this month your Excellency's despatch of
the 23rd of March conveying the gratifying intelligence that the
Porte had given way on the question of the execution of apostates
from Islamism. The concession made by the Porte in this respect,
entirely consistent as it is with the wishes and intentions of Her
Majesty's Government, as expressed in my several instructions of the
16th of January, 19th of March, and 6th of April, has given them the
greatest satisfaction; and I have been happy to receive the Queen's
commands to signify to your Excellency Her Majesty's gracious
approbation of the manner in which you have executed your
instructions, and brought to a successful close a question of which
the importance cannot be too highly rated.

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