Page:Frederic Shoberl - Persia.djvu/81

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which may serve as a specimen of their proficiency in military affairs. A salute was to be fired at Bushire, and as the guns were not shotted, they conceived that they might discharge them without any danger to the people who were crowded about them. They fired the guns, and several persons were killed on the spot.

One of the most remarkable facts in the modern history of Asia, is the introduction of European discipline in the armies of Persia, which owes this improvement solely to the superior intelligence and personal exertions of Abbas Mirza, the heir-apparent to the throne, for the following account of which we are indebted to Mr. Morier.

In one of the first interviews which this prince had with our ambassador, Sir Gore Ouseley, he described with great naïveté, the motives which induced him to attempt its introduction among his troops. He said, that he soon found out that it was in vain to fight the Russians unless he had soldiers like theirs: that their artillery was only to be opposed by artillery; and that all his efforts to make an impression upon them with his undisciplined rabble were uniformly unsuccessful. His first essays in discipline were attended with little success, because he had in the outset to combat the prejudices of the Persian recruits themselves, who rejected the idea of being assimilated in any manner to Europeans, and particularly to Russians, whom their national hatred made them despise, or perhaps their fear caused them to hate, more than all other Europeans. To efface such impressions, he was himself obliged to adopt a soldier's dress, and to submit to learn the military exercise from a Russian: he commenced with twenty or thirty men at a time, whom he caused to be drilled in a separate court by themselves, that they might not be exposed to the ridicule of the populace; and it was not till he ordered his nobles to follow the example and handle a musket, that he found his scheme making any progress. He had succeeded in teaching a few of his men the platoon exercise and some of the most common evolutions; yet probably he would have got no farther for want of officers, but for the arrival of the French embassy from Buonaparte, the officers of which were put into the command of large bodies, and they advanced his views to the utmost of his expectations. The English mission, which succeeded the French, also supplied him with officers, and his first wish was to raise a corps of artillery, which was done by lieutenant Lindsay, an officer of the Madras army, in a manner truly astonishing. The zeal of this officer was only to be equalled by the encouragement of the prince, who, putting himself above all prejudices, resisting the jealousy of his officers, and the cabal of courtiers, liberally adopted every method proposed, and supported lieutenant Lindsay against