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TO THE SECOND VOLUME OF
COURT AND FASHIONABLE
CONTAINING A CRITICAL REVIEW OF THE MOST DISTINGUISHED WORKS OF LITERATURE FOR THE LAST SIX MONTHS.
TRAVELS IN PERSIA.
ARTICLE I.-Travels in Persia, by Edward Scott Waring, Esq. of the Bengal Civil Establishment, &c. &c. &c.
THIS is certainly the age of travelling, or at least of writing travels: but whilst ambition, the love of fame, or of money, (all of which passions exercise an empire in turu over the breasts of our modern writers,) have sent out many into the various parts of Eu-lance of the commercial tyrants of the East,
has been neglected more from necessity than choice; that none of the hardy sons of literature could be found who would venture to be smuggled over in the capacity of a Guinea Pig, or brave the jealousy and vigi
Whilst such has been the state of Persia, with respect to our literary information concerning ait, we congratulate the public, thatit has fallen within the power and talents of the author of the present book, to do that with facility which others could not do at all; to visit Persia without check or suspicion, to explore the face of the country, to investigate the sources of its commerce and revenue, and to make himself acquainted with its laws, institutions, and general history.
rope, Asia, Africa, and America, on a voyage of discovery, whether these different quarters would afford new materials for a folio, quarto, or a modest octavo; whilst such, we say, has been the competition of authors which should first tread upon new land, and stretch his quill across it, thereby, like the Spaniards of old, fixing his sovereignty over it, so far as the tributes extend which the sons of Parnassus claim a right to levy, we do not remember that Persia has been visited by any of a very modern date. This remote quarter has been very happily exempted from the subjugation of the pen, by the difficulty which all travellers must find in getting there. The East India Company has possessed itself of almost all the regular avenues. There is a way indeed through Turkey, but the Infidels have no respect to learning, aud would not be much inclined to venerate a passport for the purpose of writing a tour. Indeed such are the obstacles of getting footing in Persia, that we must conclude it Supplement-Vol. II.
Mr. Waring being on the Bengal Civil Establishment, easily obtained permission to visit Persia; and as a scholar, a man of enterprize, industry, and truth, such a man could not visit, and undertake to write upon it, without considerably augmenting the pub lic stock of knowledge. To these qualities we must add, that Mr. Waring was perfectly acquainted with the language of the country in which he travelled.
Mr. W. commenced his journey on the 10th of April 1802; the period of his stay was
short; and if not enough for all purposes, it was sufficient for a very pleasing account. This book is rendered yet more interesting by the present political state of Europe.
"The present king of Persia ascended the throne under a variety of advantages, which rarely occur in a country where the only claim to sovereignty decease, he was at Shiraz; upon this event he ad depends upon the sword. At the time of his uncle's vanced towards Tahiran, and was fortunate enough to gain possession of this important place. It was at deposited, and the families of all the principal this place where all the treasure of the empire was Eng-officers of the realm. He, by this means, secured the affections of the soldiery, and the fidelity of all the principal officers of state. Haji Ibrahim, the most considerable and respectable person in the empire, declared himself in his favour; and it was chiefly owing to his exertion and influence, that
the king met with so little resistance in the accom.
Having subdued the West in great measure to his authority, the views of Bonaparte are now directed to the East; and he tells us, in his official manifestoes, that the balance of an eastern power must be formed, in order to prevent Russia in the north-east, and land in an opposite quarter, from overrunning that whole division of the globe. His secret missions to, and active intrigues with Persia are notorious. Whilst we are writing, a kind of deputation from the court of Persia is at the head quarters of his army in Poland. What are his objects we do not pretend to explain; perhaps it is to excite the Persian monarch to attack the Russian possessions between the Euxine and Caspian; or to menace hostilities or interruptions to our settlements in India. But whatever may be the views of our enemy, it is pretty certain that the flame of war will extend further than Europe, and that Persia will as speedily as possible be excited to all means of annoyance which she may posssess against Great Britain.
But to the work before us.
It does not accord either with our plan or our limits to give a full analysis of these travels; we shall make a copious extract, and conclude with expressing a general opinion. We must observe, however, that upwards of half of this book consists of various specimens of, and translations from Persian poetry, accompanied with criticisms and remarks upon its beauties. The names of Terdusi' and Hafif, have been spread through the country, by the elegant muse of Sir William Jones; Mr. Waring's translations are in prose, and though there appears to be a great deal of fancy, frequently of sublimity, in the prosaic versions, we cannot say that we derived much pleasure from the perusal. In a word, this is the dullest and most tedious part of the book.
tents of this work, and of the talents and style of its author.
The present King of Persia is named Ah Shaw, he ascended the throne in the year 1795. His court is holden at Tahiran, now the metropolis of Persia. Mr. Waring launches into the size and magnificence of this city. The following description of the present monarch of Persia is a fair sample of the con
plishment of his wishes.
Fatah Ali Shah, the present king, is about sevenand-twenty years of age; he is a Kejer, an inconand of no repute before the accession of Aga Nosiderable tribe in the neighbourhood of Tahiran, hamed Kahan to the throne of Persia. Indeed, during the reign of Kerim Khan, they were in ge the people of the bazar refusing to sell them any neral disrepute, nothing being more common than article, on the plea that they had nothing fit for a Kejer sufficiently bad and vile. But now, owing to the very great partiality the king evinces for his tribe, they have become the most considerable people in the kingdom; and the name of Kejer is detested and feared in every part of the empire of Persia. All the responsible trusts are conferred upon them: and the present governor of Ispahan, and of the district of Irac, was elevated from his former situation of a seller of greens, to his present station, merely because he was a Kejer.
"The manners of the king are said to be very dignified, though at the same time very affable and prepossessing; and he is allowed to possess all the exterior accomplishments of a Persian. In his per son he is superior to most men; and the immense length of his beard (a gift highly valued by the Persians) is a perpetual theme of discourse and admiration. He has been engaged in no military enterprise, and, in consequence of this, the public opinion denies him the only Persian virtue, courage. His annual expeditions towards Khorasan, are of his subjects, and accustoming his troops to made with the view of engaging the attention the fatigues of actual service, but without the
smallest design of attempting the reduction of that province. The greatest blemish in his character, is the murder of Haji Ibrahim, who had regard. ed him as a son, and who had evinced for him the affection of a father. It is said that the minister used to take greater liberties than the extent of his services allowed; but I know of no excuse which can palliate such barbarous inhumanity.
"The court of Tahiran is said (by those who have had many opportunities of judging) to be very magnificent and splendid, and in every respect becoming the sovereign of au extensive and flourish. tug empire. When the king receives any one in state, his sons, who are very numerous, stand in a
ine from the throne; his ministers and officers of state behind thein; and in the avenues are perhaps more than two thousand golami shahis sumptuously clothed. The master of the ceremonies introduces the stranger, and every thing is conducted with
the greatest decency and solemnity. Permission of being seated in the presence of the king is only granted to ambassadors, and envoys of foreign states, and to, I believe, the Shaikh al Islam, as the chief priest of the Moslem religion. The king sometimes wears his regalia; and by allowing the rays of the sun to fall upon him, I have heard it was impossible to behold him with any degree of steadiness. His jewels are supposed to be superior to any potentate's in the world; indeed it would be surprising were it otherwise, as he has possessed himself of all the valuable jewels in his empire.
"The king has now reigned above seven years; and were it possible to form an opinion on the du ration of a despotic government, he has every prospect of reigning for a much longer period. His brother, Hussun Culi Khan, who twice threw off his allegiance, is now in a place of sanctuary, which, I believe, the king respects more on account of the entreaties of his mother, than from any reverence he entertains for the place itself. He is, however, guarded with strictest vigilance, and it is almost impossible for him to effect his escape.
"The king's eldest son, Mihr Ali Khan, is an en
'One-eighth of the lands in Fars and Irac is pro
terprising young man, much esteemed by the soldiers and military officers; and as his illegitimacy deprives him of all hope of peaceably succeeding his father, it is difficult to say what the intriguesbably possessed by the king; the remainder by his of discontented noblemen might not excite him to attempt. He has frequently declared to the king his father, that the sword should either secure or deprive him of the throne; and that it was his determination to evercome the obstacles which were placed in his way. Such is the situation of princes in a despotism, that it is the only means they have of preserving their lives; and in the event of the king's death, Persia will again be deluged with blood: for as the princes are the governors of various districts in the empire, they have each the means of asserting their claims to the throne.
subjects. The produce of these lands are subject to two divisions, the one called Nukd, and the other Jinsi; or, in other words, the former yielding produce for manufacture, as cotton, silk, &c.; and the latter crops of grain. Those who cultivate land belonging to the king, either Nukd or Jinsi, pay a rent of half the produce, besides the deduction which is made on account of the seed: the king, however, supplies cattle for drawing water, and digs wells at his own expense.'
"The king of Persia has revived a taste for literature, so scandalously neglected by his predeces sors. He is himself a man of considerable taste and erudition, and is also a tolerable poet. As it is an unusual circumstance for sovereigns to be poets, I venture to produce a specimen of his composition. "If thou wert to display thy beauties, my beloved, to Vamec, he would sacrifice the life of Azra at the shrine of thy perfections.
"If Yufuf beheld thy charms, he would think no more of Zulekha.
"Come to me, and comply with my wishes; give me no further promises of to-morrow.
"When the mistress of Khacan approached him with a hundred graces, one glance captivated his heart."
The military force of Persia consists chiefly of cavalry; and it is only when they are going against a fort that they make use of infantry. The troops are clothed, furnished with horses, arms, &c. at the expense of the king; and the pay which they receive is from ten to fifteen tuman a year; in addition to this, they are supplied with an allowance of barley and straw for their horses, and, wheat, rice, and butter for themselves. They receive also something under the head of inam, a present, but this I believe to be very uncertain. This pay, however, is very great; for when we consider the value of money in Persia, (which I look upon to be four
or five times greater than in England), and the supplies which they receive, it will appear that their yearly pay amounts to fifty or sixty guineas.
When the king puts himself at the head of his army, the different serkardas (chieftans) are ordered to assemble their troops; and the king, having pledges in his hands for the fidelity of his soldiers, is certain of having an army of fifty or sixty thousand men in a few days. Besides these troops, there is another body called Yholam Shahis (slaves of the king), and who are considered to be the choicest troops in the empire. They have charge of the king's person, receive greater pay, and are clothed in a more expensive manner than the regular cavalry.
'These may be about twenty thousand; but the flower of this corps is formed into a body of about four thousand, who are distinguished by the exces sive richness of their dress, and the insolence of their behaviour.
That there is one just and wise God; that all those persons called prophets, are only to be considered as just and virtuous men; and that there never existed an inspired work, nor an inspired writer. The use of tobacco, opium, and coffee was interdicted. Among a number of the civil ordinances of the Wahebis are the following. Illegal to levy duties on goods the property of a Moslem; on specie, two and a half per cent.; land watered naturally, to pay ten per cent.; artificially, five per cent. The revenues of conquered countries to belong to the community: the revenues to be divided into five parts; one to be given to the general treasury, the rest to be kept where collected, to be al
The following is the account of the present lotted for the good of the community, for travelstate of the military force:
lers, and charitable purposes; a Mostem, who de viates from the precepts of the Koran, to be treated as an infidel: the destruction of magnificent tombs, a necessary act of devotion.'
The force of the Walebis is very considerable, probably eighty or ninety thousand. Whenever an expedition is undertaken, the chiefs are directed to be at a certain place by such a time: and it is so contrived, that a large body shall meet at a particu lar spot, without knowing the designs of their leader. This force is generally mounted on camels, and their arms are chiefly a sword and spear. They have guns or matchlocks; those which they have are very bad.
Since finishing this, intelligence has been re
The revenue of the sovereign is stated to consist in the rents derived from an eighth part of the lands; the remaining seven-eighths belong to the subject,
The sect of the Wahebis is very considerable in Persia; Mr. W. assigns the following tenets to them.