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IMPRESSIONS          OFFICIAL CORRUPTION                      257

has been consolidated, the empty treasury has been filled,
the semi-independence of the provincial governors has
been broken, Persia has been re-created as a coherent
Empire, certain roads have been made, posts and tele-
graphs have been inaugurated, an Imperial Bank with
branches in some of the principal towns has been formed,
foreign capital has been encouraged or at least permitted
to enter the country, a concession for the free navigation
of the Karun has been granted, and the Na&vri Company,
the most hopeful token of native progress, has received
Imperial favour.

But under all this lies the inherent rottenness of
Persian administration, an abyss of official corruption and
infamy without a bottom or a shore, a corruption of
heredity and tradition, unchecked by public opinion or
the teachings of even an' elementary education in morals
and the rudiments of justice. There are few men pure
enough to judge their fellows or to lift clean hands to
Heaven, and power and place are valued for their
opportunities for plunder.

In no part of Persia did I hear any complaint of the
tribute levied by the Shah. It is regarded as legitimate.
But in most districts allegations concerning the rapacity
and exactions of the provincial governors were universal,
and there is unfortunately great reason for believing
them well founded. The farming of the taxes, the prac-
tical purchase of appointments, the gigantic system of
bribery by which all offices are obtained, the absence of
administrative training and supervision, the traditions of
office, and the absolute dependence of every official on
the pleasure of a Sovereign surrounded by the intrigues
of an Oriental court, are conditions sufficient to destroy
the virtue of all but the best of men.

Where all appointments are obtained practically by
bribery, and no one has any security in the tenure of an
VOL. ii                                                         s