Persia Revisited eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 143 pages of information about Persia Revisited.
that metal cannot be imported and coined, so as to give a gain to the Mint-master, who has no idea of sacrificing any of the great profit he has made on copper.  No silver has been coined since March, 1895, and this is the Mint-master’s excuse for sending out copper in great quantities, to take the place of silver.  Twenty copper shahi go to a kran (present exchange value 4-1/2d.), and in the absence of silver employers of labour pay wholly in copper, which for bazaar purposes is at a discount, so much so that, when a purchase is beyond question above a kran in amount, an agreement as to payment in silver or copper is first made, and then the bargaining begins.  In a country where money bears a high value, as proved by the fact that accounts are still reckoned in dinars, an imaginary coin, of which one thousand go to a silver kran and fifty to a copper shahi, the depreciation I have mentioned is a very serious affair, for it touches the mass of the people sorely.  When travelling off the beaten track in Persia, I have always been amused and interested in hearing my head-servant announce loudly in a tone of importance and satisfaction to my village host for the night that I had ordered so many ‘thousands’ to be given for house-room, fuel, barley, straw, etc.  The kran was never mentioned; it was always a ’thousand.’[A]

[Footnote:  A:  Since the above was written, information has been received that the late Shah, about three weeks before his death, promulgated a decree directing the Mint coinage of copper to be suspended for a term of five years, and intimating that the Customs, Post-office and Telegraph departments would accept copper coin to a certain amount in cash transactions, at a fixed rate.  And, further, arrangements have been made with the Imperial Bank of Persia to purchase, on account of the Government, copper coin up to a certain sum, from small bona-fide holders who are in possession of it in the regular course of retail business for the necessaries of life.]


—­Religious tolerance in Tehran —­Katie Greenfield’s case —­Babi sect —­Liberal opinions —­German enterprise in Persia —­Railways in Asia Minor —­Russian road extension —­Railways to Persian frontiers —­The Karun River —­Trade development —­The Kajar dynasty —­Life titles —­Chieftainship of tribes —­Sanctuary —­The Pearl cannon.

The late Shah was always liberal and conciliatory in the treatment of his Christian subjects throughout the country, and this is a matter which, at the present time, deserves special notice.  In the history of Persia many proofs of friendly feeling towards Christians are to be found, and the sovereigns appear to have led the popular mind in the way of goodwill to them.  Shah Abbas the Great was an example of kind and considerate tolerance, and it was Shah Abbas II who said of them, ’It is for God, not for me to judge of men’s consciences:  and I will never interfere with what belongs to the tribunal of the Great Creator and Lord of the universe.’  The Western Christian missionaries are fully protected in their mission work among the Eastern Christians in Persia on the understanding that they do not actively and directly engage in proselytizing Mohammedans.

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Persia Revisited from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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