페이지 이미지

too, arrived; time passed, and brought no result; and the affairs in which the British Minister was engaged were as worthless as those carried on by his predecessors, and the trouble and vexation caused us by them far greater. The first arrow shot from his quiver was the business of Ferliard Mecrza, he having reopened that question, which anuoyed us much, as did also the next one, relative to the claim of one Sadik, ferrash; and that was succeeded by the affair of Andr6, the tailor, so that he never left us free from bitterness and trouble; then came the story of the Embassy Gholam, who had left the service of the Shah's mother; in fact, it would be necessary that you should read the whole correspondence for you to understand the details of this last affair. Every day we had a troublesome affair of the Minister's with which to occupy ourselves, to the detriment of public business, as regarded internal affairs. ~We had hoped that even if the Minister did not come forward with any proposition for consolidating the friendship of the two countries, he would at least abstain from anything to cause their collision, but now he has raised the question of Meerza Hashem Khan, the particulars of which are as follows:

The Khan is son of the late Meerza, Mahomed Baheera Khan, and nephew, on the sister's Bide, to Ismail Khan. He was brought up iu the harem of his late Majesty, as a page, and accompanied the present Shab to and from Azerbijan. His first accession of fortune was the receipt of 200 tomauns yearly, as Gholam pish-khidmet.* He afterwards requested to be admitted into the Nizam,t or public service, was accepted, and placed iu the Academy of Public Instruction (Dar ul Funoon). After some time, he accompanied the Koyal cortege to the summer quarters, as usual, during the time that Mr. Thomson was Charge" d'Affaires. One day I saw a letter which had arrived from that gentleman, stating that he had made Hashem Khau First Moonshee, or Native Secretary, to the Mission. On being acquainted with this circumstance, as it was entirely at variance with Persian regulations that a born and salaried servant of our Government should be taken from that service and go elsewhere to obtain service, and as, moreover, such conduct might form a precedent for anybody else to do the same, we lost no time in informing Mr. Thomson that we considered the Khan a real servant of the Persian Government, and viewed him as a deserter from that Government, who had taken sanctuary in the Embassy; that therefore we could not possibly recognize him as a servant of the Embassy, and we begged to decline accepting any official document in his writing. After much resistance on the part of Mr. Thomson, and much exchange of communication upon tliia profitless business, conducted, on his part, with so much hardness

* Confidential body-guards of the Sultan. t Regular army.

as to occasion us much annoyance, he acknowledged the irregularity of the proceeding and the groundlessness of his opposition to us, and, with justice, yielded the point that the Khan Bhould have no employment as Moonshee; he accordingly replaced him in that post by Meerza Fezloollah, brother of the late Meerza Hussein Khoolee, a former Secretary to the Mission, and he notified his appointment officially. We accepted the letter containing the above announcement, and recognised the appointment. Feezloollah entered upon and discharged his duties until his dismissal on account of some opposition which he made to the Mission, when he was replaced by the present Moonshee, Suleiman Khan, the Affghan. When Fezloollah entered upon his post, Mr. Thomson turned Hashem Khan out of the tent which had been pitched in the summer camp for the First Moonshee, and placed the former as its occupant.

The Persian Government now demanded of Mr. Thomson that Hashem Khan should be sent out of the Mission, in order that he might return to his former service. To this Mr. Thomson replied, by a request that a man might be sent to reassure the Khan, on account of his safety, and conduct him from the Mission, or that he might be allowed to send him, accompanied by a member of the Mission, to resume his service, he being reassured and satisfied. We could not accept this request, having so frequently experienced and been grieved by the interference of British Agents in our internal affairs, such as the case of Meer Ali Khan, Khan Baba, Khan Khonsari, and Ferhad Meerza; and I told Mr. Thomson that the Khan must leave the Mission without its intervention, when he would be well and kindly treated; precisely as in the case of HuMein Khan, the Nizam-ud-dowleh, of Abbas Koolee Khan, Lariiani, of Koocheek Khan, and others, who, without reason, took sanctuary in tlie Mission, and left it without its intervention, beyond a friendly verbal request from Colonel Sheil that they might be kindly treated; they experienced the kindest treatment, not only then, but after Colonel Shell's departure, and when they might have been exposed to enmity, in consequence of our engagement to treat them well. However, Meerza Hashem Khan would not leave the Mission, and Mr. Thomson also called upon me, before the arrival of Mr. Murray, and said "Although it is to my discredit, yet the Britith Government have approved my conduct in the dismissal of Hashem Khan, and I am grateful for their satisfaction." Although not customary or proper that the Mission should resume the matter from the beginning, and reopen the question, yet after the present Minister arrived, he determined I know not upon what grounds, to continue the protection of the Mission to the Khan; during all this while we were endeavouring to put the latter at ease, and induce him to come out, but he declined doing so.

Meerza Hashem has a wife, who married him after many other husbands, and who happened to have a doubtful reputation in public, yet bhe was the daughter of the late Prince Ahmed Ali Meerza, and sister to the principal lady of the Shah's harem. When Meerza Hashem Khan was Under Secretary at the Embassy, his wife also shewed a preference for that neighbourhood; aud from this, scandalous reports, the mention of which would be disgraceful to our Government and people, grew curreut among the people of Tehran, inside and outside. The Ministers, in consequence, found themselves under an obligation (to take notice of it), and addressed a circular letter to the foreign Representatives in Tehran, couched in the most veiled and decorous terms, in the hopes of awakening the attention of the members of the British Mission to this point, and putting them on their guard against the future possibility of tearing the curtain of sanctity by which the connections of the Imperial harem are veiled. This made no impression on the tastes of the Mission, who not only acted as before, but gave Meerza Hashem Khan authority to bring his wife to Gollahe (the summer quarters of the Mission), and place her in a tent among those belonging to the Mission, only separated by one wall. These circumstances at last grew so notorious that the Prince Sultan Hussein Meerza, brother of the lady, and son of the late Ahmed Ali Meerza, being indignant at these reports, proceeded first to the principal ulemah aud moollahs of the city, from whom he sought and obtained a fetwah, bearing all their seals, after which he wrote to me, informing me that he had taken his sister, and detained her in her own house as a place of refuge. A copy of the Prince's letter, and of the fetwah, is inclosed for your information. It was upon this that the British Minister came forward in opposition, and the whole of the correspondence that has passed with him is inclosed herewith, according to their date and number, and he has brought affairs to that pass that he has terminated friendly relations, and has lowered the flag of the Mission, the symbol of the continued amity of the two countries; a proceeding with which this Government can never be satisfied, and must always deeply regret. If I were to state the whole of the business in this paper, it would never be contained within limits; I have, therefore, to refer you for the details to the correspondence. In every step taken, and every message sent by us, whether by the intervention of the principal noblemen of the State, or the friendly mediation of M. Bourre, the French Minister, or of Haider Effendi, the Ottoman Charge d'Affaires, Mr. Murray's conduct was that of an Agent specially appointed to embroil the 2 countries, so little moderation did he show, aud with such increased force did he insist on his proposition; so much so, that when we, at the instance of M. Bourre, addressed him a letter, giving him unquestionable satisfaction, and revoking our last previous letter, he would not accept the letter of satisfaction, but sent it back again. These particulars are fully known to the French and Ottoman Representatives, as are also all the circumstances, and I also send this last letter for your own information. The object of sending you all this amount of correspondence is that you should be thoroughly acquainted with the affair, and should call, immediately upon its receipt, upon the French and Austrian Ministers, and most especially upon his Excellency the British Ambassador, to whom you will remit the abort letter which I have addressed to him, and. further, put into his hands copies of the whole correspondence which has passed from the beginning to the end. You will state that the Persian Government is surprised at the conduct of an Agent of the British Government: at the present moment, when it is the object of every State to cement and increase its friendship with other States, upon what considerations do your Agents alienate from their Government it» old and faithful friend? The English Government has been and is always desirous of witnessing a strong and settled order of :hiD?a in this country, and they make use of language, which is occasionally heard, to the effect that we are not reckoned among the number of "civilized" nations. Now when the Agents of Britain might be introducing what they are convinced to be the benefits of civilization into Persia, and guiding and instructing her people Id that path, why and upon what considerations do they now seek to disgust the Persian Government with civilization and force them back in the contrary direction P The accusation brought at the t*f.nning of the war against Eussia by the nations of Europe was thia, that Russia was as yet imperfectly civilized, and was desirous of punning a course of war and bloodshed; but against the Government of Persia, which has always maintained the most perfect observance of its previous friendship with each State, and the most complete respect for the principle of civilization, what accusation cube?

The Ministers of this country endeavoured as long as it was in their power to accommodate and arrange matters with Mr. Murray, and made the utmost exertions; but in the same proportion that we evinced a conciliatory spirit, the hardness of his terms increased. Finally, under the mediation of the French Minister and the OttoBan Charge d'Affaires, we sent him a message to the following »sTcvt: That if Meerza Hashem Khan is so disposed, he may remain io Tehran, and a bill for 400 tomauns, being the amount of two years' ••laiy, lies in hia favour at the Treasury; although he has been for 2 years in sanctuary at the Mission, and the Government have been deprived of his services, yet taking the request of the Mission into consideration, the money will be given him, together with an additional sum of 300 tomauns, on account of debts, losses, Ac., incurred by him, and he will resume his former service; I also will write him a letter bearing my seal, and recording my promise that he shall incur no harm or injury, in order that his mind may be set at ease; and after he has come out, he will promise and engage on his part to keep his wife safe, and not take her to unsuitable places, or leave her there, and also to restrain her from going there of her own accord; upon which terms his wife will be surrendered to him. Moreover, if he feel so disposed, he may repair and be employed in service in any province of Persia out of Tehran, with the exception of Tabreez and Shiraz; he will in that case be promoted, and receive 100 tomauns additional; an instruction will also be addressed to the governor of the province in which he may be, to pay him 200 toinauns a-year out of his own funds—so that he will get 500 tomauns a-year; while in the event of his choosing to live out of Tehran, his wife will be surrendered to him unconditionally, so that he may take her with him. But if, however, he remains in Tehran,he cannot be promoted, nor his salary increased, for such a proceeding might form a precedent; other public servants might entertain the delusion of moving off to the Mission; in the hopes of obtaining promotion and increase of pay, and a cause of mutual bitterness and ill-will might be thereby generated between this Government and the Mission.

The Minister was not satisfied with the above arrangements, and broke off his relations. The propositions which he himself made were, in the eyes of the people of this country, so onerous, that if the Government were to entertain the idea of admitting and accepting them, it would endanger the independent authority and security of this State, and compromise the safety in life and property of its foreign guests. His principal proposition was this, that the wife of Meerza Hashem Khan should, in spite of the various details and reports (about her), be they true or be they false, in spite of all the information relative to her collected by the Ulema, and of the fetwahs, and testimony as written and sealed by them, be surrendered to her husband, under the authority of the Ministers, to be by him taken to a house close to the dwelling of the Mission. Considering that the history of the Russian Minister Greybayedoff is yet fresn, and its painful circumstances, the shame and dishonour of which -to Persia has not yet been obliterated before the nations of Europe and the countries of the whole world, are ever before the eyea of this Government; and if that amount of bitter feeling was then roused on account of one Georgian girl, would not those feelings be much aggravated on behalf of the present lady, who is nearly connected

« 이전계속 »