Page:Frederic Shoberl - Persia.djvu/63

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

in the seraglio for the new comers admitted into it, and to furnish them with all the requisite utensils, which must be of silver.

This statement is confirmed by Kinnier, who farther informs us that the Ameen-ad-dowlah is charged with the administration of the interior or the home department, including the collection of the revenues, the cultivation of the lands, &c.

Hadice Mohammed Hussain Khan, the present Ameen-ad-dowlah, was originally a green-grocer in lspahan, of which city he is a native. From this humble'station, he rose successively to be deputy of his division, mayor of the city, and chief of a rich and extensive district near Ispahan, where he acquired great reputation for his good government. He afterwards made himself acceptable in the eyes of the late king, by a large peshkeesh or present; and as the then governor Of Ispahan was a man of dissolute life, oppressive and unjust, he succeeded in deposing him, and was himself appointed beylerbey. Here, from his intimate knowledge of the markets, and of all the resources of the city and its inhabitants, he created a larger revenue than had ever before been collected. He became the partner of every shopkeeper, of every farmer, and of every merchant; setting up those with capitals who were in want, and increasing the means of others who were in trade. He thus appeared to confer benefits, when by his numerous monopolies he was raising the price of almost every commodity. As, however, this revenue was apparently acquired without oppression, his reputation as a financier greatly increased: in spite of the opposition of his enemies, he advanced rapidly in the favour of the reigning monarch, and in the honours to which it led. On the accession of the present king, his zeal, his devotedness, and above all his presents, secured to him a continuation of the royal favour; and at length he rose, in 1807, to the dignity of Amee-ad-dowlah, or second visir of the state. How he acquired the wealth which enabled him to emerge from the green-grocer's stall, is not exactly known. His enemies assert, that during the last civil wars in Persia, a string of Jaafer Khan's mules were passing close to his house in 'the middle of the night, when two of them were accidentally detached from the rest, and strayed into his yard: they happened to be loaded with precious ones and other articles of great value, which, on the subsequent destruction of that prince, he appropriated to himself.

There cannot be a stronger instance than he is, of the few qualifications requisite to become a statesman in Persia. Illiterate as any green-grocer may well be supposed, necessity has obliged him, since his elevation, to learn to read and write: but he has succeeded so ill, that he can scarcely make out a common note, or join two words together in writing. At an audience of the