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Full text of "Journeys In Persia And Kurdistan ( Vol.Ii)."

IMPRESSIONS      A POSSIBLE RESURRECTION                  259

modified by Christianity ? It looks very much as if
the men to initiate and carry out administrative and
financial reforms are not forthcoming, and that, unless
the Shah is willing to import or borrow them, the
present system of official corruption, mendacity, bribery,
and obstruction may continue to prevail.

The inherent weakness of Persia lies in her administra-
tive system rather than in her sparse population and
paucity of fuel and water, a paucity arising partly out of
misgovernment. In the felt evils of this system, and
in the idea that law, equitable taxation, and security for
the earnings of labour are distinctively European blessings,
lies a part of the strength of Eussia in Persia. I have
elsewhere remarked upon the indifference with which
Eussian annexation is contemplated. A reformed system
of administration, by giving the Persian people some-
thing to live for and die for, would doubtless evoke the
dormant spirit of patriotism, and render foreign conquest,
or acquisition without conquest, a less easy task.

After living for ten months among the Persian people,
and fully recognising their faults, I should regret to see
them absorbed by the " "White Czar " or any other power.
A country which for more than 2000 years has maintained
an independent existence, and which possesses customs, a
language, a civilisation, and a nationality of its own, and
works no injury to its neighbours, has certainly a raison
d'ttre.

My early impressions of Persia were of effeteness
and ruin, but as I learned to know more of the
vitality, energy, and industry of her people, and of the
capacities of her prolific soil, I have come to regard her
resurrection under certain circumstances as a possibility,
and cordially to echo the wish eloquently expressed by
the Marquis of Salisbury on the occasion of the Shah's
last visit to England: " We desire above all things that