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ilespati-hen, in which he plainly tells me that if I send the Meerza on his duty to Shiraz he will be seized and imprisoned by order of the Persian Government; a step which the Sadr well knew, without my telling him so, must lead to the hauling down the flag of this Mission.
The next step in the transaction is the seizing and imprisoning the wife of the Mcerza; a measure which was not only a violation of the rights enjoyed under Treaty by employes of the Mission, but also a violation of the civil and religious law of Persia. As soon as I heard of this outrage, I desired the Meerza to lose no time in obtaining from 2 or 3 of the principal Moshtehids,# a fetwah or decree, as to the law on his case respecting the detention of his wife, or the attempt at forcible divorce, without his consent. These he obtained, and it was fortunate that he did so, as, although they could not materially affect the diplomatic question at issue, they proved, beyond dispute, that the Persiau Government had been guilty of an act of illegal violence; and to show the animus by which they were influenced, I may add that, if he had not applied, and got these fetwahs immediately, he would not have got them at all, for 2 or 3 other Moshtehids, to whom application was subsequently made, acknowledged that they could not give any fetwah on the subject, as they had received a prohibitory message from the Sadr.
Here, in this one incident, we have an instance of a Prime Minister who insults a foreign friendly Mission, oppresses a Persian subject, and then tries to close the only avenue which the laws of the country afford for justice or redress.
My Lord, I felt that I should disgrace the position which I hold, and tho country which I serve, if I had submitted to this gross affront offered to our flag; so I have insisted on the wife of the Meerza being liberated and restored to her husband. .1 have given the Persian Government until Monday next, the 19th instant, to inform me of their decision, under the alternative conveyed ill my despatch to the Sadr, Inclosure No. 11.
The Earl of Clarendon. CH. A. MURRAY.
(Inclosure 1.)—Mr. Murray to the Sadr Azim.
November t, 1S/S5.
Meeeisa Hashbm Khaj* having been nominated to Shiraz bv Ifer Majesty's Government to reside in that city as Agent for this Mission, I have the honour to state, for your Highness's information, that lie has been furnished with his commission and passport, ami will start for his post in the eouree of a few days.
HE. The Sadr Azim. CH. A. MURRAY.
* Hifrii Priests.
(Inclosure 2.)—The Sadr Azim to Mr. Murray. (Translation.) November 4,1855.
I Hate received your Excellency's letter of this day's date; but as the matter it contained was serious, and connected with the internal administration of this country, and at variance with the institutions and customs which have long been in force in Persia, and strange moreover, I did not think it right, of my own accord, to reply to it; I therefore lost no time in submitting it to His Majesty the Shah, who was pleased to address to me an autograph note, the substance of which, word for word, without any alteration whatever, I now insert in this letter by His Majesty's commands:
Meerza Hasham Khan is a servant in the pay'of this Government, and his name is enrolled in the list of Government servants; and he cannot enter the service of any other person, according to the established law of this country, unless he receive his dismissal first. It is certain that if he has had the presumption, of his own accord, to do such a thing, the internal affairs of this country will be thrown into confusion, and it will be a bad example for others.
Of course his Excellency the Minister Plenipotentiary is not aware of this; otherwise, in justice and right, he would never, in the face of the friendly relations existing between the 2 Governments, commit an act which is irregular and incompatible with the Persian institutions. If, after being informed of these circumstances, ho should persist in this course, without a regard to the preservation of the dignity of this country, certainly, whatever steps are necessary for upholding its dignity and reputation, will be adopted; and any consequences arising from this will rest with that person who takes the initiative in an affair of this description.
Asa reply to your letter was necessary, I have confined myself to merely copying the Shah's autograph word for word. C. A. Murray, Esq. SADR AZIM.
(Inclosure 3.)—Mr. Murray to the Sadr Azim.
November 6, 1855.
I Have received your Highness's despatch of the day before yesterday's date; and I observe with regret and surprise that your Highness has made an objectionable innovation, in causing the Shah to take a part in the official correspondence passing between your Highness and myself. Up to this date, in this country as in all others, a due respect for Royalty has established a rule, that diplomatic correspondence takes place between the Minister of one Power and the Vizier of another; and it is not the custom for Sovereigns to take any part in such discussions. Your Highness, or) this occasion, by drawing aside the curtain of awe, which has hitherto veiled the person of the Shah, and by causing His Majesty
to come forth on the arena of discussion, seems to ihe to have committed an act which tends to lower the dignity of the Shah; and it is a course which, out of respect to His Majesty, and out of regard for the established customs of diplomacy, 1 cannot conseut to follow.
With reference to the case of Meerza Hashem Khan, lately appointed British Vakeel* at Shiraz, I am quite ready to answer auy arguments which your Highness can advance against the appointment, when you bring them forward in the customary form on the part of the Persian Government.
H.E. The Sadr Azim. CIL A. MURRAY.
(Inclosure 4.)—The Sadr Azim to Mr. Murray. (Translation.) November 6,1855.
1 Hate received your Excellency^ letter of this date. You expressed surprise that I had communicated to His Majesty the Shah, my royal master, the contents of your letter. I believe I have frequently informed you, both in writing and verbally, that in all matters of business, especially in affairs connected with the Foreign Department, I am charged to submit the entire questions to the Shah; and the practice existing in this country no way resembles the usages prevalent in Europe. Neither is that attention which His Majesty pays to the administration of his country derogatory to his Royal dignity; nor is the obedience and submission which I practise unsuitable to the position and office which I hold. What indeed causes surprise is, that your Excellency should, in your official letter, write that, by the orders of Her Majesty's Government, Meerza Hashem Khan, who is in the pay of this Government, has been appointed Agent to the Mission at Shiraz, and that you should expect me to consent to such a strange and serious matter without the knowledge of Hia Majesty the Shah, and to admit the right of the Mission to have an Agent in Shiraz, which ia not granted in the Treaty.
In short, with regard to Meerza Hashem Khan, the case is just as I before stated; I again repeat it by the Shah's orders: If Meerza Khan should start for any place as a servant of the Mission, against the inclination of the Shah, by His Majesty's orders be will be prevented; and any disagreeable consequences which may arise from such a proceeding will rest with that person who commits an irregularity by taking the initiative in a matter which is contrary to right.
O. A. Murray, Esq. SADR AZIM.
(Inelosure 5.)—3Ir. Murray to the Sadr Azim.
November 8, 1855.
I Hate received your Highness's letter of November 6, in which you say that I expressed my surprise at your having communicated to His Majesty the Shah the contents of my despatch. If your Highness will take the trouble to read my despatch you will see that I never said anything of the kind. I expressed my surprise and my disapproval at the course you had followed in drawing the Shah hi person into a discussion which, according to established custom, ought to be carried on between your Highness and myself on the part of our respective Governments. And your Highness is quite mistaken in supposing that the customs of England and of Persia are dill'erent in this respect, for in truth they are exactly the same. In both countries the Vizier submits to the Sovereign the despatches received from and addressed to foreign Missions, and, having received the Royal commands, writes accordingly in his own name and that of his Government, without drawing the Royal name and dignity into the discussion. Such has always been the practice, and 1 hope your Highness will conform to it. It is indeed a matter of regret to me in this instance to reflect that your Highness's last despatch will, in course of time, be submitted to the Queen; for it cannot fail to alter the opinion which my lute reports will have led Her Majesty to form of the friendship entertained by your Highness for Her Majesty's Government; for it clearly appears, by the kind of threat held out in your Highness's despatch, that in a matter of the most trifling importance, and which your Highness could have explained satisfactorily in a few words to His Majesty tho Shah, you are prepared to sacrifice the friendship happily existing between the 2 countries, which you have so lately pretended a desire to cement by a still closer alliance.
The next argument of your Highness is still more extraordinary and unfounded. You pretend to find it strange that I should inform you of the appointment of an Agent of the British Government at Shiraz, as if it were something new, and not before known to the Persian Government; whereas it is perfectly well known to your Highness that although, by Treaty, Bushire, Tabreez, and Tehran, are the only places in Persia where British Consular Agents can reside, the British Mission has for many years entertained Agents in Shiraz, Ispahan, and other cities of Persia, to assist British subjects in their affairs, and to transmit to the Mission intelligence of passing events. Although these Agents have not the privileges of Consuls, they have always been treated with courtesy by the local Governors; and it is not long since your Highness yourself, in respect of a commercial dispute at Ispahan, ordered an Ijlas* to be * Commission of Inquiry.
held, at which the British Agent was present, to attend to the claims of the British subjects interested. As these things are perfectly familiar to your Highness, of what avail is it to waste your own time and mine by pretending that the appointment of an Agent of this class at Shiraz is unknown to the Persian Government and contrary to Treaty?
I come now to the special case of Meerza Hashem Khan. Tour Highness has more than once insisted that he is in the service of the Shah, and in the receipt of a salary for service. It is my duty to inform your Highness that since I have been in Persia, and for some time previous, he has neither been in the Boyal service nor has he received a farthing of salary. It may be the case that your Highness has desired that the berata* for his pay should still be made out, and that his name should be kept on the books of the War Office as if he were still in the service, on purpose to keep up this discussion with the British Mission, although you were well aware that he would not receive the pay nor re-enter the service; and that in fact he never had any office or military charge in the War Department whatsoever.
Your Highness has stated to me that no servant of the Persian Government can be considered as having left the service unless ho can produce a paper of dismissal. I have made extensive inquiry, both among Europeans here and Persians, and I find these papers of dismissal, so far from being an universal custom, are of extremely rare occurrence; if a servant is to be dismissed, the common practice seems to be that a superior officer tells him to go about his business, and he goes away without receiving any paper at all. I am aware that your Highness argues that in Persia a servant cannot leave his employment without the consent of the Government; your Highness will excuse me if I decline to accept this proposition. I am well aware that in the army those who are recruited must serve, whether they will or no, unless they can pay the redemption money; and I know also that a slave must serve whether he will or no, whether he be satisfied or dissatisfied with his condition: but if your Highness argues that a Persian, not only born free, but of good and respectable family, finding himself in au employment where his salary is insufficient for his maintenance, or the labours are too great for his strength, cannot present his resignation and seek employment elsewhere, you leave no distinction between him and the slave. It may, indeed, be true, either in the Eoyal service, or in that of your Highness, that if you had a pish-khidmet,t or any other servant to whom you gave an insufficient salary, and that he came to you to ask for an increase of pay in order that he and his family might eat bread, it is in your power, instead of either letting the man seek * Government Bills. t Upper servant.