Page:Frederic Shoberl - Persia.djvu/62

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47
PERSIA.

affords a striking instance. The minister had daily to take minutes of the orders of the tyrant, which the latter dictated while stretched out on a carpet. If he was in an ill-humour, he would generally accompany them with expressions personally disrespectful to the minister; and on one occasion, probably when intoxicated, he abused Mirza Sheffea, saying, that he was continually plaguing him; that he left him no rest; and that he took delight in tormenting him, and in disturbing his slumbers. The minister continued writing, till his majesty's cushion flew at his head. Trembling with fright, he still proceeded with his writing. The diamond kallioon followed the cushion; and after that, every thing else within reach; and the king concluded with firing a pistol at the object of his fury. The ball passed through the minister's beard and lodged in his shoulder. He fell, and was carried away. The Shah soon fell asleep. Several months elapsed before the minister recovered from his wound, and he could not therefore appear at court. In the mean time, Aga-Mohammed did not once inquire after him: but when he got better, he returned to court, and administered the government as usual.

On another occasion, the bowstring was actually round his neck, when luckily he produced a Koran which he always carried about him, and at the sight of the sacred volume the Shah granted him his life. Notwithstanding this treatment, the old minister said, that had he accompanied Aga Mohammed in his wars, he would certainly not have been murdered.

SECTION II.

OF THE AMEEN-AD-DOWLAH, OR SECOND MINISTER

The second minister in Persia is now known by the title of Ameen-ad-dowlah. This title is a new one, and not to be found in the older travellers. It seems probable, that this minister has superseded the nazir, who, in Chardin's time, was the steward of the domains and effects of the crown, and whose functions have perhaps been extended. Morier calls him lord-treasurer, and says that he has a nazir or deputy. According to the same traveller, the Ameen-ad-dowlah defrays the expenses of the royal household, clothes the king's servants, furnishes the khilauts or robe of honour, and provides for the princes and the women. When one of the latter has reached the fifth month of pregnancy, she sends him a list of all the articles requisite for the infant to which she expects to give birth. The Ameen-ad-dowlah is obliged to supply them immediately. That he may be able to perform this service with precision, he keeps apparel for persons of all ages deposited in immense magazines. It is also the duty of this minister to have every year new apartments constructed.