[Experience of Predecessors and Early Donations]

On this point I cannot restrain myself from invoking the judgment of heaven upon those unworthy servants who had not the understanding to appreciate the value of the benefits thus liberally bestowed upon them. Such, I am compelled to observe, is the perverseness of human nature, that there were among them individuals who could not be brought, without the greatest reluctance, to yield to me the ordinary marks of homage and allegiance.* With men thus turbu­lently disposed, we ought not, I say, to negociate on any terms, because their views invariably tend towards convulsions on the state, and their increasing prayers are for dissention and civil broil, as offering the only means of advancing their own base and sordid plans of ambition, forgetting that they are themselves the very description of men to be first swept away by the storm.

So just was the observation ascribed to Shah Tahmasp of Persia, now in Paradise, that I cannot forbear to introduce it in this place. Having just finished a tank or reservoir near one of his palaces, it occurred to him to ask his courtiers what they thought the best substance with which to fill it, independently of water. One of them gave his opinion in favour of gold. “Thou hast well said,” replied the monarch, “for thy prevailing propensity is avarice.” Another said he should like to see it brimful of sherbet, sugar, and rose-water, intermingled with pieces of ice. “Apparently,” observed the king, “thou art an opium-eater, and hast very correctly indicated thine appetite.” Others described one thing, and others different sorts of things, according to their several ideas: but Shah Tahmasp concluded by a declaration, that neither of these opinions coincided with the sentiments of his own mind; for that, in his judgment, the reservoir could not be better filled than with the blood of tur­bulent and disaffected men, the agents of tumult and commotion.* And most truly, do I say, was it spoken; for since the death of my father, I have had abundant experience that the number of loyal and faithful men is deplorably small, and, if indeed at all to be met with, not more than one in a hundred thousand.

Of Shah Abbas, while I was yet prince royal, I remember hearing it related, that his attachment to Ferhaâd Khaun, one of his ministers, was so powerful, that once, when the minister lay sick of his wounds, his sovereign, during his frequent visits in the morning, was accustomed with his own tongue to lick the wounds; and he had been raised by his master to the very highest dignities in the Persian empire. Yet after all, was the monarch compelled to take off the head of the man so singularly cherished. I cannot entertain a doubt but that the Shah had too many reasons in justification: for long have I been convinced, that to tie up the hand against punishing the ingratitude of the traitor, is of all follies the most egregious. And yet, when thoroughly tried, the good and faithful servant cannot be too highly and liberally cherished. It cannot, however, be too often repeated, that the wretch who traffics for an advance of stipend at the moment his services are required, needs no further trial. He can be no other than a dis­loyal profligate.

To the individual stipendiaries of the government I assigned, at the same time, an increased allowance, in the proportion of fifteen to ten (that is, to him that had only ten, I assigned fifteen rupees), and to novices in trade, artisans possibly employed in the different arsenals, from ten to twelve in the aggregate. I augmented the allowance to the inmates of my father’s harram, consisting of nearly seven thousand individuals, from two to four ashrefies of five methkals a day each respectively,* and independently of the royal presents which I conveyed to them on the usual annual festivals and days of rejoicing. During the reign of my father, the ministers of religion and students in law and literature, to the number of two and three thousand, in the principal cities of the empire, were already allowed pensions from the state; and to these, in conformity with the regulations established by my father, I directed Meiran Sudder Jahzan, one of the noblest among the Seyeds of Herât, to allot a subsistence corresponding with their situation; and this not only to the subjects of my own realms, but to foreigners—to natives of Persia, Roum, Bokhára, and Azerbaijan, with strict charge that this class of men should not be permitted either want or inconvenience in any shape: “Wealth is from God—all power is from him—and these are his servants:”—and since it hath pleased him, from among so many hundred thousand laks of the human race, to chuse me for the monarch of a mighty em­pire, of which the reins have thus been placed in my hands, I could not be justified in permitting distress to lay hold of those devoted to his service, or in neglecting to make myself acquainted with all their wants, and to adopt them as the objects of my peculiar care. For how fearful my responsibility on the great and awful day of account, were my conduct to be the reverse of what is here stated.

In the next place I decreed a general pardon and enlargement of prisoners throughout the empire, so that from the fortress of Gualiar alone there were set at liberty not less than seven thousand individuals, some of whom had been in confinement for forty years. Of the number discharged altogether on this occasion, some conception may be formed when it is mentioned, that within the limits of Hindustan there are not less than two thousand four hundred fortresses of name and competent strength, exclusively of those in the kingdom of Bengal, which surpass all reckoning: for Rajah Maun Sing had not less than two hundred and eighty sons, all of whom, at one time or another, were in rebellion against the authority of their father; in the course of which, retiring to the summits of the hills, they there erected these forts to screen themselves from the punishment due to their parricidal rebellion. And yet will it be believed, that in the space of not more than four years, the whole of that country, a country of many months’ journey in extent, with all its numberless forts, was completely subjugated by my father, all the sons of the Rajah being alternately destroyed; and the Rajah himself falling alive into the hands of his adversaries, finally submitted to the conqueror.

Among these my earliest regulations, I ordained that the precious metals included in the royalties of the empire should be coined anew in my own im­perial name, assigning to each coin an altered denomination: thus, to the gold moher of two thousand tolahs,* I gave the name of nour-e-shahy—light of the kingdom; to that of one thousand tolahs, nour-jahaun—light of the world; to that of five hundred tolahs, nour-e-doulut—light of the state; to that of one hundred, nour-moher—light of the sun; and to that of one tolah, which was substituted for the gold rupee, I gave the designation of Nour-ud-deen Mahommed, Jahangueir Padshah—light of the faith of Mahommed, Jahangueir emperor. Moreover, for every one of these coins in gold I struck a corresponding piece in silver, exhibiting on one side the year of my reign, on the other the attestation of our faith: La-illauh-il-ullah, and Mahommed-ur-russoul-ullah —there is no God but God, and Mahommed is the messenger of God.