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By the Shah's command, copies of the correspondence which has passed between the Persian Ministers and your Excellency on this subject will be specially forwarded direct, with a statement of the true reason for this discussion, which they have already promised to advance, showing the facts and the true state of the case, to the Miniaters of the British Government, and moreover, the Ministers of foreign Governments who reside in Tehran will be informed of the circumstances. The case will be submitted to the sense of justice of the British Ministers.
With regard to what you have written, that it is your intention to instruct the British Consul to remain in Tehran during the absence of the Mission to take charge of the commercial affairs of English subjects, I beg, with the greatest respect, to state that, on account of the proceedings and position of Mr. Stevens, and tho expectations which they entertain from a person of his disposition, the Persian Ministers do not consider it expedient that he should remain in Tehran, and they believe it to be at variance with the interests of both countries that he should do so. Tour Excellency is therefore at liberty to place any officer you may deem it advisable, with the exception of Mr. Stevens. C. A. Murray, Esq.
P.S.—His Majesty the Shah has done me the honour to address to roe an autograph, respecting your request for a Mehmandar, and I am directed to transmit to you herewith a copy of that note.
(Inelorure 3.)—Autograph Note from the Shah to the Persian
Misisteb Job Fokeios Affairs, November 22, 1855.
I Have seen the British Minister's letter, and I am aware of his intention to leave, and of his request for a Mehmandar. Indeed, if the advantages which are to accrue to us from the residence of a British Minister here are those which we see, it is for the benefit of both Governments that he should quarrel and depart. "Whenever I contrast my own sincerity to the British Government, and the expectations which I entertain at heart from their friendship with the conduct of the Mission, I am drowned in a sea of amazement. Do yon suppose that the Mission of such a great Government resides in Tehran merely to cause every clay some new detriment to the dignity and reputation of our Government? It is always the protector of the perverse and obstinate, and of the simpletons of o<ir household, who, without being injured in the least, are invited to the Mission with the temptation of increase of pay and position. They are ever desirous to humiliate this Government, and they interfere in the internal affairs of this country in such a way that the rights of the guest now exceed those of the master and host. According to Treaty, we possess the right to demand the dismissal and withdrawal from office of foreign Consuls, in the event of our being dissatisfied with them. They do not respect our wishes in regard to a person like Meerza Hashem Khan, a servant in the Government pay and one of our subjects, and in their opposition to us they forget their own dignity and that of their Government. Meerzas out of employment were not so scarce in Tehran that they should, for Meerza Hashem, a servant in our pay, make us and themselves the subject of discussion amongst strangers and natives.
With regard to what he has written, that he will leave a Consul here, if by Consul he means Mr. Stevens, whose proceedings and mischief-making, while living in Tabreez, would fill 10 books, and whose proceedings here are just what you now see—when Mr. Murray, as Minister Plenipotentiary, has become the cause of coolness and misunderstanding in this way between the 2 Governments, what are we to expect, and what confidence can we have in a person like Mr. Stevens, notorious for his mischief-making. If the British Minister goes, let him take with him Mr. Stevens; let him place some one else in his place. Send a copy of this autograph in answer to the Minister's letter, and prepare the details of his conduct for the information of the British Ministers, together with the real truth of the question. If the British Minister desires the humiliation of this Government, of course we, so long as we have the power, will not submit to any indignity.
P.S.—The propositions of the British Minister are such as cannot be agreed to, and whoever is a true servant of ours will not submit to these conditions. Send a copy of this to the British Minister, and copies of the others to the foreign Ministers resident here, who, in perfect justice, will coincide with us.
(Inclosure 4.)—Mr. Murray to the Persian Minister for Foreign
November 24, 1S55.
I Beg to acknowledge your Excellency's despatch of yesterday's date, informing me that the Persian Government have appointed Hadee Khan, Colonel, to be my Mehmandar, on the withdrawal of this Mission from Tehran; a step to which I have been compelled by the offensive conduct of the Persian Government in imprisoning a person under the protection of this Mission contrary to the laws of nations, and also to the laws of Persia, and afterwards writing me the most offensive despatch ever addressed to a foreign Minister.
I am happy to learn that, by the Shah's commands, the correspondence -which haa passed on both sides is to be communicated to foreign Governments, and I trust it will be communicated entire, and without the omission of any part, because then the right of the question will be generally known, ami all foreign Governments will igroe that a Minister who has received insults such as have been offered to me, especially in the last despatch addressed to me by the Sadr Azim, had no choice but to strike his flag, if he could not obtain satisfaction. With respect to the statements regarding the true origin of the discussion, which the Persian Government threaten to »end to Europe, I presume that your Excellency will let me know •hit they are, either before or after they are sent.
With respect to what your Excellency has written concerning the stay of Mr. Consul Stevens in Tehran, to take care of the affairs uf British subjects during the absence of the Mission, it is my dutv to inform you that it is out of my power to make any change in the arrangement that I intimated in my last letter. It is not by my choice or selection that Mr. Stevens remains here in charge during my absence; it is simply because he is Consul, and according to the law of nations, unless it be the intention to declare war, the Consul, it always left in charge when the functions of the Mission arc impended. The Consul is appointed here by the Queen of England, and not by me; and if one or two members of the Persian Government have a personal dislike to Mr. Stevens, it is a matter to bo rtgretted, but I cannot, on that account, violate tiie regulations of diplomacy, or depute an Attache to perform duties which belong to i Consul. Further, I take upon myself to assure your Excellency, that if Mr. Consul Stevens is treated in the discharge of his duties with justice and propriety, the Persian Government will have no reason to complain of anv unfairness or want of courtesy on his part.
Cfl. A. MUEEAY.
(Ineloture 5.)—Mr. Murray to the Fenian Minister Jor Foreign
November 24>, 1855.
It is my duty to transmit to your Excellency a memorandum in r*ply to the Uoyal autograph with which you were yesterday honoured, and of which you sent me a copy. I request that your Excellency will transmit the original of my reply to His Majesty the Shah.'
Having carefully read the letter of His Maje.^ty the Shah, and understood it* contents, it becomes my duty, first, to assure His Mj|»-«ty of inv high renpeet, and that whosoever may have informed His Majesty that I, personally, or as representing the British Government, wish to impose any humiliation on His Majesty, or any detriment to the Royal dignity, has told His Majesty a malicious untruth for the purpose of bringing about the differences now existing between this Mission and the Persian Government. They have also untruly told His Majesty, as they have written to me, that I am always taking under protection mischievous and troublesome Persian servants, and inviting Persian officers to enter the service of the Mission for higher pay. All these falsehoods have been stated on purpose to poison the Shah's mind against myself, although those who have written and spoken them well know that since my arrival I have not taken under British protection one single officer or servant of the Persian Government, and the only 2 serious discussions which I have had on this subject with the Persian Ministers have both been respecting persons who had been in the Mission, or connected with it, long before it came under my charge.
"With respect to Meerza Hashem Khan, the whole difficulty from its commencement to its conclusion, has been owing to the ill-will and the ill-advised proceedings of the Sadr Azim. It is a fact, perfectly well established, that 2 years ago His Highness did employ expressions which were equivalent to dismissing the Meerza and allowing him to seek employment where he could find it. I had this admission from his Higliness's own lips in presence of a member of this Mission; and yet, when I reminded his Highness of it in a late despatch, he wrote riie in reply that his engagements in official business were confined to those supported by written evidence, and only those would be considered binding.
The Shah mentions in his letter that it is his intention to send the whole of the correspondence on this matter to European Governments. Does His Majesty think it will redouud to the honour of the Persian Court that the highest officer in the service should deny his own words, and admit in an official despatch that his verbal statements w crc of no value?
If the Sadr Azim had shown prudence and goodwill in this matter, it might have been arranged at first with the greatest ease. If it were true that, on my arrival here, Meerza Hashem Khan was an officer in the Royal service, and receiving pay, it was his Higliness's duty to inform me of it, in order that steps might be taken lor settling the matter; but his Highness never spoke a word to m& concerning it, and as I was informed that the Meerza had been more than a vear in the Mission without employment, and without pay, I considered it the best arrangement for all parties that he should go as Agent to Shiraz, to which post Her Britannic Majesty's Government accordingly instructed me to appoint him. It is since rbe receipt of that appointment that the conduct of the Persian Government has bsen most improper and offensive, and has thus compelled me to allude in public despatches to subjects that ought not to appear in official correspondence. They seized and imprisoned the wife of Meerza Hasham Khan, thereby not only violating the paper of protection given to him and to his house, but also violating the civil and sacred law ; and thus, while pretending iu their letters that matters belonging to the harem were too delicate to be written about or referred to, they took a step which necessarily caused these very matters to become the talk of all the city. More than this, his Highness the Sadr Azim himself, on more than one occasion, and in the presence of many people, has, in connection with these matters, attributed the basest motives to this Mission as the reason for the protection given to Meerza Ilasliem Khan and his family. I doubt not that his Highness will deny having uttered such expressions, as I have seen in other instances how little it costs his Highness to deny his own words; but I know they were used by him, and the subject is again insinuated in his Highness's official letter of the 19th of November, in which it is coupled with a species of threat. Does His Majesty ihink that 1 or any other British Minister could submit to these affronts, these false unwarrantable calumnies, and these offensive threats, from the head of the Persian Government, or could consent to continue diplomatic relations until full reparation has been made? And has it not occurred to His Majesty, that when that despatch is sent and read by friendly Governments, they will all agree that the Mission flag must be lowered, unless I received the reparation that I required?
With respect to the Consul's remaining at Tehran in the absence of the Mission, I have explained that matter in the accompanying letter. It is an error to suppose that by Treaty the Persian Government possesses the right to demand the withdrawal of any foreign Consul with whom it is dissatisfied. Such a right does not belong by Treaty to the Persian or to any other Government, excepting the right to object to any particular Consul at the time of his nomination. When once appointed, he cannot be sent away at the pleasure of any Government excepting his own.
The Royal autograph uses some harsh expressions respecting the conduct of Mr. Consul Stevens at Tabreez. I think the Shah may remember some good services that the Consul rendered to His Majesty at the time that he ascended the throne, but some time afterwards be reported truly the proceedings of the Tabreez Government, and the cruelty, extortion, and injustice by which the fine province of Azerbijan was and is almost ruined; then be became a "moofsid"* in the eyes of those who wished that the truth should * Mischief-maker.