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June 22; it is not, therefore, necessary to trouble your Lordship with a repetition of them. The Sadr Azim now, adducing the name and authority of the Shah, persists in maintaining that the Meerza cannot, and shall not, hold any appointment under Her Britannic Majesty's Government, and has intimated, in terms too plain to be misunderstood, that if the Meerza leaves Tehran for Shiraz, the Persian Government will cause him to be seized or detained. To this I have replied, that as the Meerza has his British passport and agency commission under your Lordship's instructions, if the Persian Government attempt to detain or molest him in the discharge of his duties, they must expect the same consequences as would ensue from a similar injury offered to any other servant or employé of the Mission, and that the responsibility of those consequences will rest upon them. So far as I can judge from language, the Sadr is determined not to concede the point, and prefers risking the interruption of friendly relations with this Mission to the permitting a man whom he dislikes, and whose family has a feud with his own, to eat his bread in peace at a remote post under the protection of the British Government.
In this, as in most other instances, his Highness has used the Shah's name just as it suits his convenience: when it answers his purpose to act on his own responsibility, and at his own pleasure, he makes no scruple of saying that His Majesty has nothing to do with such matters, and that he himself is the organ of the Persian Government; when, on the contrary, it suits his purpose to cloak his own personal views under the pretence of zeal for the Shah's honour, then he excites and irritates His Majesty and draws him personally into the discussion that may be going on; the latter course he has followed on this occasion with a view to drawing me into a personal dispute with the Sbah; but I have protested against this irregular course, and have desired his Highness to carry on the discussion as usual in the name of the Persian Government, without dragging His Majesty into it.
Copies of this correspondence, with a report of its result, will be transmitted to your Lordship by a future post.
I have, &c. The Earl of Clarendon.
CH. A. MURRAY.
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No.51.- Mr. Murray to the Earl of Clarendon.—(Rec. Jan. 1, 1856.) (Extract.)
Tehran, November 17, 1855. I HAVE the honour to inclose, for your Lordship's information, copies and translations of the correspondence that has taken place between the Sadr Azim and myself respecting Meerza Hashem Khan, appointed to the British Agency at Shiraz, under the instructions contained in your Lordship's despatch dated August 1,
It is with much regret that I find myself obliged to take up your Lordship's time with these prolix and tedious documents upon a matter of most trifling importance in itself, but rendered serious in its consequences by the perverse obstinacy of the Sadr Azim.
Your Lordship will see it stated in the Sadr Azim's despatch (Inclosure No. 6), that he never knew of our having an agent at Ispahan, Shiraz, &c., and that the Persian Government never had consented, and never would consent, to such a thing; whereas it is à notorious fact that not a week passes that our local agents are not in communication with the Governors of those towns, respecting the claiins of Hindoos and other British subjects. Only a short time ago, in a case reported to the Foreign Office, the Sadr Azim, at my request, ordered a Commission of Arbitration to sit at Ispahan, in presence of our Agent, on the claims of a British subject against the Custom-House, which was accordingly done, and the result reported to me by our Agent; yet now, because the Sadr's order for arbitration was addressed direct to the Persian Governor, and not sent in writing to me, he denies the fact, and says in an official letter that he never knew that we had an Agent at Ispaban. And with respect to our Agency at Shiraz, two years have scarcely elapsed since a chief servant of the Sadr's, who had insulted our Agent there, was, on the official demand of Mr. Thomson, sent back all the way from this place, and publicly punished in Shiraz in presence of our Agent.
I proceed to call your attention briefly to the more salient points of this dispute with the Persian Government; the first and chief of which is, whether the British Government was justified in considering Meerza Hashem Khan as being out of the actual service of the Persian Government, and as being, therefore, eligible, like any other Persian subject, for employment under this Mission. In support of this point, your Lordship will observe that I have proved that the Meerza bad been employed upwards of a year in the Mission without any pay from the Persian Government; that on my arrival, and since my arrival, the Sadr Azim bad never privately or officially complained to me of Mr. Thomson's having retained the Meerza in the Mission, nor had he ever requested me to induce the Meerza to return to any real or supposed service under the Persian Government; that the words which he acknowledged to me in the presence of my Attaché, that he had formerly addressed to Meerza Hashem Khan, were, in the opinion of that individual, in the opinion of Her Majesty's Government, and of this Mission, equivalent to a dismissal from the Shah's service, and a permission to gain his livelihood elsewhere. On these grounds, I had, agreeably to your Lordship’s instructions, appointed him to the Agency at Shiraz. The replies of the Sadr to these arguments your Lordship will see in his Highness's own
despatches, 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 o f 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 Meerza; a measure which was not only a violation of the rights enjoyed under Treaty by employés 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 Persian Government had been guilty of an act of illegal violence; and to show the animus by which they were a 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 arenue 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 the 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. I have given the Persian Government until Monday next, the 19th instant, to inform me of their decision, under the alternative conveyed in my despatch to the Sadr, Inclosure No. 11. The Earl of Clarendon.
CH. A. MURRAY.
(Inclosure 1.)—Mr. Murray to the Sadr Azim.
November 4, 1855. MEERZA Hashem Khan having been nominated to Shiraz by Her Majesty's Government to reside in that city as Agent for this Mission, I have the honour to state, for your Highness's inforination, that he has been furnished with his commission and passport, and will start for his post in the course of a few days. H.E. The Sadr Azim.
CH. A. MURRAY.
* High 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 wbich, 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, he 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.
As a reply to your letter was necessary, I have confined myself to merely copying the Shah's autograph word for word. C. A. Murray, Esq.
(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 custoin for Sovereigns to take any part in such discussions. Your Highness, on 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 ine 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, I cannot consent to follow.
With reference to the case of Meerza Hashem Khan, lately appointed British Vakeel* at Shiraz, I am quite ready to answer any 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.
CH. A. MURRAY.
(Inclosure 4.)—The Sadr Azim to Mr. Murray. (Translation.)
November 6, 1855. I HAVE received your Excellency's letter of this date. You expressed surprise that I had communicated to His Majesty the Sbab, my royal master, the contents of your letter. I believe I have frequently informed you, buth 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 de. rogatory to his Royal dignity; nor is the obedience and submission which I practise unsuitable to the position and office which I bold. 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 His Majesty the Shah, and to admit the right of the Mission to have an Agent in Shiraz, which is 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 wbich is contrary to right. C. A. Murray, Esq.