THE NESTORIAN CHRISTIANS - LETTER
TO THE EDlTOR OP THE TIMES.
?SIr,? We have the pleasure of sending a letter just received from the Foreign-office of Her Majesty?s Government on the subject of the oppressions to which the Christian community of the Nestorians in Persia have for many years been subject from their Mahomedan neighbours.
All who take an interest in that ancient people, and in those who have so faithfully laboured among them, will be glad to hear that the efforts repeatedly made to obtain for them not only protection in their social rights, but also full religious liberty, are now likely to be crowned with complete success.
We remain, Sir, your obedient servants,
JAMES DAVIS Secretary.
HERMAN SOHMETTAU, Foreign Secretary.
Evangelical Alliance, 7, Adam-street, Strand, Jan. 23.
?Foreign-office, Jan. 22.
? Sir,? With reterence to your letter o! the 18th of July last, respecting
the state of the Nestorians in Persia, I am directed by the Earl of Clarendon
to acquaint you, for the information of the committee of the Evangelical Alliance,
that a despatch, dated the 4th of December, has been received at this office from Her Majesty?s Minister in Tehran, from which her Majesty?s government are happy to learn that the Shah has taken steps which there is every reason to believe will afford the Nestorians effectual relief from the oppressions to which they have hitherto been subject.
?You are aware that when Earl Russell?s attention was called in 1863, to the unhappy condition of the Nestorian community, his Lordship instructed Mr. Alison to make a strong representation to the Persian Government on their behalf. The Persian Government gave orders which it was hoped would have been attended with very beneficial results, but it subsequently became apparent that these orders were disregarded by subordinate authorities ; that Mirza Mijif Ali, the agent appointed by the Persian Government to watch over the interests of the Nestorians, abused the power intrusted to him ; that the Governor of Oroomiah took no measures to check this officer?s misconduct, and that the Persian Minister of Foreign Affairs did not pay proper attention to the representatives of Majesty?s Minister.
?Under these circumstances, Mr. Alison has made a personal appeal to the Shah, and has fully explained to His Majesty the various grievances of the Nestorian community. Lord Clarendon has now much satisfaction in informing the committee that a new governor has been appointed at Oroomiah, and that Ahmed Khan, on whom that post has been confered, appears to be a person on whose integrity reliance may be placed, and also that a native Christian of rank will be appointed to superintend the affairs of the Nestorians. Lord Clarendon therefore trusts that the appointment of these officers, and the interest shown by the Shah personally and by his Prime Minister on behalf of the Nestorians, will prove the means of putting a stop to the personal injuries which members of that community have received from the Mussulmans among whom they live, as well as of preventing the seizure of their property, and other acts of injustice from which they have suffered.
?Another question has arisen respecting the propretorship of a church at Ardeshai. After careful consideration of all the circumstances of the case, Mr. Alison has come to the conclusion that it would not be expedient that the Catholic Nestorians should be disturbed in their possession of this building-the more so as the Shah has, with great liberality, not only granted a site for a new church for the Nestorians, but has further headed with a donation of 100l, a subscription which has been opened for providing funds for its construction.
?I am to add that Mr. Alison will be instructed to convey to the Shah the personal thanks of Her Majesty?s Government for the measures which His Majesty has taken for the relief of the Nestorians, and to express the high sense which Her Majesty?s Government entertain of the just and enlightened principles of government evinced by His Majesty in the steps which he has taken to remove the grievances of his Christian subjects.
?I am, Sir, your most obedient humble servant?
?The Secretary of the Evangelical Alliance, &c?