Page:Frederic Shoberl - Persia.djvu/32

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25
PERSIA.

event, Kerim conferred on Hussain Khan, one of these Cadjars, the government of Asterabad; nay more, that after he had rebelled, and been taken and put to death, his brother, Murtasa Kuli Khan, was appointed his successor. But it is no uncommon thing in Persia, to see a family, several members of which have manifested a rebellious spirit, nay, even a rebel himself, obtain his confirmation in some high dignity. The court keeps numerous and trusty agents about such a person, and all his motions are known to the government. Kerim's death set the other sons of Mohammed Khan at liberty, and they availed themselves of it to retire to Asterabad. Aga Mohammed, the most enterprising of them, expelled Murtasa from his government, and established himself in his stead. This act of violence sowed disharmony among the brothers, two of whom joined Ali Murad, a powerful rebel, while the two others espoused the cause of Aga Mohammed.

The latter became at length the undisputed soverign of Persia, though he never assumed the title of Shah. He was assassinated by two of his officers in 1797. The instigator of this crime, Sadik Khan, the general of his armies, took advantage of it to seize the royal treasures, before the death of Mohammed was publicly known, and at the head of 10,000 men fled to Adherbijan. It was his intention to succeed his victim. Three other competitors meanwhile entered the lists: these were Baba Khan, governor of Shiraz, nephew of Aga Mohammed; Ali Kuli Khan, Mohammed's brother; and Mohammed Khan, son of Zeki Khan, successor to Kerim: and the first of these is the reigning monarch of Persia.

The tribe of the Cadjars is at present divided into two branches, the Yocaroo-Bash and the Ashgah-Bash, which have several subdivisions. It is computed that there are from fifteen to eighteen thousand Cadjars in Khorasan, at Meru; five thousand at Erivan, and one thousand at Guindjeh. Ever since the accession of Aga Mohammed to the throne, the principal offices in the state have been filled by Cadjars, which renders them obnoxious to the public hatred and the jealousy of their rivals.


SECTION II.

FETH ALI SHAH.

Feth Ali Shah, the present king of Persia, was the son of the same Hussain, on whom Kerim conferred the government of Asterabad, after the downfall of Mohammed Khan, and who perished in consequence of his rebellion, if that term may be applied to the attempts of a number of ambitious men to seat themselves on a throne to which there was no rightful owner.