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'Persia' [‎9v] (18/156)

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The record is made up of 1 file (78 folios). It was created in 1 Dec 1879. It was written in English. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.


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on a special mission to Teheran, and succeeded in
concluding both a commercial and political treaty
with the Shah.
Futteh Ali Shah’s reign is noteworthy also toi tlie
commencement of that extension of the ussian
frontier to the Caspian which is now likely to play
so important a part in the future ol Central Asia.
The retirement of the Russian forces from coi„ia
m 1796 has already been mentioned. 1 he local
dissensions which thereupon prevailed in that pro
vince enabled the Emperor Paul, m 1800, to
publish an ukase, by which he incorporated it with
the Russian empire “ for the purpose of preventing
“ further disturbances in that territory. On the
Emperor’s assassination in 1801 the ukase was
confirmed by his son, Alexander, who further ap
pointed General Zizianoff to the post of Governor
General of the “ provinces beyond the Caucasus.
This officer, inspired with that zeal and disregard ot
orders which so distinguishes the model Russian
Governor of a distant Russian province, at once
occupied Mingrelia (1801), captured the fort of
Elizabethpool (1802), marched against Em an
(1804), reduced all the provinces between Georgia
and the Caspian (1805), and was only prevented
from subjugating Baku (1805), a port on that sea,
by his own unexpected assassination by the Governor
of that place. . „ • j 1
Unable to cope with this new and formidable
ao.rreesor, the Shah turned to England for help,
aSd was refused. He thereupon made overtures to
France. The imagination of Napoleon, who re
garded Persia as part of the great highway leading
to India, was fired at the prospect of a successful
invasion of that country. General Gardaune was
despatched at once on an embassy to Teheran, and
laid the foundation of that military system in the
Persian army to which reference has already been
made. In' the meantime, England, becoming
thoroughly alarmed, made great efforts to recover
her ascendancy at the Shah s court, efforts which
led to the withdrawal from the capital of General
Gardanne, and to the conclusion first (1S0») pt a
preliminary, and secondly (1812) of a definitive
treaty of peace with Persia,* under which British
replaced French Officers in the array of the Shah.
It was not until 1814, however, that this treaty,
with certain modifications, was ratified by the British
Government. _ ,, 3
Whilst Great Britain and Persia were thus drawn
together as allies in Asia, Great Britain and Russia
were beginning to co-operate in Europe for de-
livering the Continent from the terror of Napoleon.
The new Russian ally was, however, unfortunately
eno-a^ed in active hostilities with the new I ersian
allv ° As earlv as 1812, when the Erench army was
harassed by the Russians in the retreat from
Moscow, the Persian army was cut to pieces by
the Russians on the bank of the Araxcs, and the
diplomatic complications which followed these
events induced the British Government to reconcile
the differences between Russia and Persia, ending
Note.—By the terms of these treaties Per
sian ports were to be opened to English and
Indian traders. The Shah engaged to make
no alliance with the Afghans, and to lay
waste their country if ever they should invade
India, and to exclude all Frenchmen from
his dominions. On the other hand, the
English were to assist him with military
stores in the event of war between 1 ersia
and the French or Afghans. (For fuller
details s€€ Aitchison’s Treaties, Vol.
p. 375.) Captain Malcolm's proceedings in
Persia are unsparingly criticised and con
demned by Sir Henry Rawlinson in his ad
mirable review of 1848, pp. 9-10, on our
relations with Persia, published in “ Englam
and Russia in the East.”
* Bv this treaty Persia bound herself to
declare null and void all alliances with Euro
pean Powers in a state of hostility with
England, and to prevent any invasion of India
through Persia. It was stipulated that the
“ limits of the territories of the two States of
“ Russia and Persia shall be determined
“ according to the admission of Great Britain,
“ Persia, and Russia that, in case of any
unprovoked European invasion of 1 ersia, the
British Government was to furnish the Shah
with Officers and material of war, or, in lieu
thereof, to pay an annual subsidy of 80,000Z.;
that, in case of a war between England and
Afghanistan, Persia should co-operate with
the British Government; and that, should
His Persian Majesty require assistance from
the English in the Persian Gulf Historically used by the British to refer to the sea area between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Often referred to as The Gulf or the Arabian Gulf. , they should,
if convenient and practicable, assist him with
ships of war and troops, &c.-—(For fuller
details, see Aitchison’s Treaties, Yol. vi.,.
p. 391.)

About this item


The memorandum is divided into the following chapter headings:

  • 'General Status of Persia', ff 2r-12;
  • 'Persia and Herat', ff 12v-24r;
  • 'Persia and Seistan [Sīstān]', ff 24r-31v;
  • 'Persia and Kohuk', ff 31v-35;
  • 'Persia and the Navigation of the Karun [Kārūn] River', ff 35v-39r;
  • 'Persia and her integrity', ff 39r-47;
  • 'Persia and Merv', ff 47v-52v;
  • 'Continuation of General Status of Persia', ff 52v-61;
  • 'Appendices', ff 63-78.

'General Status of Persia' provides a geographic description of the Kingdom including details of its boundaries, rivers, and transportation links. It also includes an outline of its demography, and its revenue by province. Military matters are also covered in this section; this includes an in-depth look at the Persian army — its pay and composition — and a look at the employment of British officers in Persia. This section concludes with a narrative of Persia's modern history from the sixteenth century.

'Persia and Herat' describes the extent to which the province's boundaries can be defined, and provides a brief description of each district within; Ghorian, Sabzawar, Farah, Bakwa, Kurak, and Obeh. It also includes a description of the town of Herat, and information on the province's demography and climate. The section also provides detailed coverage of the tribes in the region. The development of British policy towards Herat is explained through the use of select correspondence. This includes the relative merits for Britain in either maintaining Herat's independence, or supporting Afghan or Persian rule; extensive reference is made to the Treaty of Paris (1857).

'Persia and Seistan' also provides a geographic description of the province, along with information on its administrative divisions, climate, and transportation links. Its main purpose however is to outline the development of British attitudes concerning the governance of this province; should it be overseen by Afghanistan or Persia? To provide context, it covers the historical basis for the two competing claims. It concludes by describing the British arbitration of the matter in 1871-72 by General Frederick John Goldsmid, and its outcome; summaries of the statements provided by the Afghan and Persian sides are included.

'Persia and Kohuk' explains how Persia has disputed the award of this province to Khelat by General Goldsmid in 1871, and British reluctance to amend the award in favour of Persia.

'Persia and the Navigation of the Karun River' outlines British efforts to open up the Karun River for steam navigation. It explains that Russian success in improving transportation infrastructure in the north of Persia — in contrast to British failure in the south — is seen to be putting British trade at a disadvantage; the Karun River is seen as having the best potential for resolving this. The prospects for the construction of a railway in southern Persia are also briefly examined.

'Persia and her integrity' details the development of a diplomatic understanding from 1834 between Britain and Russia, in which both powers established their mutual interest in the maintenance of the territorial integrity of Persia. It chiefly concerns British suspicions that Russian activities in central Asia do not match their professed intentions towards Persia (i.e. British fears that Russia is encroaching on central Asia).

'Persia and Merv', in addition to providing an overview of the region's history and ancient settlements, considers what the British consider to be the encroachment of Russia on Persia's northern borders; the British consider any potential Russian occupation of Merv to be a threat, and it is explained that Persian control is preferred.

'Continuation of General Status of Persia' concentrates on British concerns over increases in Russian influence at the Persian Court in Tehran; the British fear Persia becoming a vassal of Russia and facilitating Russian expansion towards Afghanistan. It therefore discusses the extent to which Britain should take advantage of Persian overtures to establish friendly relations with that power in order to prevent this scenario. It also briefly discusses Persian designs on Bahrain, and the desirability — for Britain — in maintaining its status as an independent state, in addition to emphasizing the need to maintain Britain's protectorate role in the Persian Gulf Historically used by the British to refer to the sea area between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Often referred to as The Gulf or the Arabian Gulf. . Topics also included in this section, but covered in less detail include: the conference of consular powers on the Resident in the Persian Gulf Historically used by the British to refer to the sea area between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Often referred to as The Gulf or the Arabian Gulf. ; the development of telegraph lines in Persia; and negotiations respecting the demarcation of the Persian-Turkish border.

The memorandum is signed by Owen Tudor Burne of the India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. .

The appendix at the back is divided eight sections as follows:

  • I. 'Employment of British Officers with the Persian Army', f 63;
  • II. A selection of memoranda (dated 20 July-24 December 1868) concerning the need to strengthen British influence over Persia, and the means available to achieve it, ff 63v-64;
  • III. A selection of memoranda (dated 10-30 October 1868) on the possibility of employing British officers with the Persian Army, f 65;
  • IV. 'The Policy of Great Britain towards Persia, ff 66-69;
  • V. Instructions given to Major-General Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlingson as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of Persia, dated 4 August 1859, ff 68-69;
  • VI. 'Outline Sketch by Colonel Burne of the Shah of Persia's Visit to England, 1873, ff 69-72;
  • VII. 'Note by Colonel Burne on the Persian Army, 20th December 1871', ff 72-73;
  • VIII. 'Abstract of Events in Persia, Afghanistan, &c. from 1722 to the present period', ff 73v-78.
Extent and format
1 file (78 folios)

The file is arranged into eight chapters — outlined in a table of contents on f 1 — with an appendix at the end.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence for this description commences at f 1A and terminates at f 78, as it is part of a larger physical volume; these numbers are written in pencil, and are located in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. side of each folio. Pagination: the file also contains an original printed pagination sequence.

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English in Latin script
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'Persia' [‎9v] (18/156), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/18/C28, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 22 October 2019]

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