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EA.STER]Sr Miissioisr 








Author of " Persia : Land of the Imams." 








Westcott & Thomson, 
Stereotypers and Electrolypers, Philada. 










The Author. 


The attention of the public is drawn, at the present 
time, to Persia by reason of the Shah's recent visit to 
Europe. It appears to be assumed by many persons 
that because the people are interested in him they will 
be concerned to know more of his land and of what- 
ever is likely in any way to affect the future of his 
kingdom. A glance at what is now commonly writ- 
ten concerning that land will reveal the effort which 
is made to please the public by presenting whatever is 
most curious and fabulous in the Shah and his country. 
When the popular taste for the disgusting cannot be 
satisfied with fact, there are many writers ready to sup- 
ply the lack from fancy and to recall the fictions of 
China and the Middle Ages. When the public taste 
calls for more refined delusions, the demand is supplied 
by the suppression of some facts and the exaggeration of 
others. The people have been taught to look upon the 
Shah as a coarse beast, or as a magician whose province 
it is to call up the fabulous era with which the name 
of Persia has been for so long a time associated. He 
and his land have been seen through a cloud of ro- 



mance. His attire and manners, so much in contrast 
with the costume and ways of European princes, and 
his sparkling gems, are in keeping with the popular 
fancy and aid in perpetuating the delusions of past 
ages. Diplomacy also is busy in magnifying his im- 
portance, and rivals vie with one another in inciting 
the populace to render attentions which may serve to 
disclose the value of the services which they have given 
to the Shah, the Queen and the Czar. Amid them all 
the amiable king of Persia comes as the fabled sheep 
of the golden fleece, to be either sheared by European 
sovereigns or to bear back to his own desert country 
countless aspirations to rival the glory of Christian 

In the prevalence of this demand for the fabulous, 
and while the critics and the people see this far-off 
country in the magic light of Aladdin's wonderful lamp, 
I could not reasonably expect to break the spell or meet 
the call for the graphic and marvelous by the plain 
story of the humble efforts of a few missionaries. Yet 
I feel confident of being able to shed a light which, if 
it does not have the charm to transmute all base things 
on which it falls to gold and gems, will reveal things as 
they are, and disclose a power at work in that realm 
destined to make more useful, if not more mysterious, 
changes than those which were wrought by Aladdin's 
lamp. However, if any persons care not to journey 
with me in my humble way, I leave them to take 


the "enchanted horse" which stands ready in nearly 
every bookstall to bear them to the Land of the 
Sun. I shall have rendered some good service if these 
pages dispel somewhat of the cloud of fable with which 
the Shah and his laud have been iuvested, and if they 
shall cast some light on the conditions in which he is 
placed. Especially will they serve a good purpose if 
they shall bring to his aid and to the Christian workers 
there the sympathies of the friends of progress and the 
prayers of the Church of God. 

The object of this volume is to give the principal 
facts in the founding and fortunes of the Eastern Persia 
Mission of the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions 
in the United States. The book, though complete 
in itself, is part of a more extended one comprehend- 
ing a narrative of the founding and fortunes of the 
Church and missions in Persia. 

In this volume the author has shunned a repetition 
of all matters treated of in his earlier work, entitled 
Persia: Land of the Imams, so far as such omission 
seemed to be consistent with a fair understanding of the 
subjects considered. For this reason there is in this 
book no such extended treatment of some topics as their 
importance might seem to justify. That book describes 
the natural resources of the country, its principal places, 
people, customs and religions, and does not give any 
particular or full account of the missions in that land. 
But this book treats chiefly of the missionary work. 


I think it will be in place here to refer to some errors 
concerning the missionaries and their work in Eastern 
Persia which have been bandied about in conspicuous 

The author of the work entitled The Land of the 
Lion and the Sun in the opening sentence of his book 
pretends to quote the words of an American missionary. 
I would remind the readers of that book that the sen- 
tence referred to is a falsehood, invented, as I suppose, 
by Dr. Wills, the author of the work. No American 
missionary ever used the words given as a quotation in 
that sentence. Dr. Wills might have found men of his 
own nation, near at hand, who could say "wall'^ for 
wellj " hegg " for egg, and " 'orse " for horse ; so I can 
conjecture two reasons only why the doctor should have 
invented that fiction — namely, to establish the blood- 
relationship of the American missionaries to himself by 
pronunciation, or to start off his book on Persia with 
such a myth as would season all the rest of it. 

Many errors of statement are made with reference to 
the missionary work, both by new missionaries and by 
those who in America seem to be charged with the duty 
of providing information for the people. There is alto- 
gether too much eagerness on the part of these persons 
to make their own facts and invest the whole with the 
charm of romance. I will not attempt to designate all 
these errors, for many of them have resulted from no 
evil intent, but simply from lack of knowledge and of 


disposition to kuow the facts. But with reference to 
others it is to be said that it is marvelous how some 
persons can write words of pious ecstasy with deliberate 
misrepresentation. Some of these errors will be cor- 
rected by the narrative contained in these pages. 

It has been my intention to continue the narrative 
only to the close of the year 1884. Marked changes 
and progress have been made in Tehran since that date. 
The mission premises in that city have been sold, and 
a new site purchased and new buildings erected. But 
as I have not intimate and personal knowledge of these 
events, and as the printed reports at command are in- 
complete, I have not attempted to give any particular 
account of them. 

If what I have written in this little volume shall 
serve to enlist the interest of those who read it in be- 
half of the religious welfare of the people of Tehran 
and Eastern Persia, and lead them to do sincerely what 
they can for that people, I shall have been repaid for 
my labor, and shall feel that it has not been lost. 



Grouping and Names of the Missions — Western and Eastern Mis- 
sions Defined — Contrasts in the Two Fields— General View of 
the Country — View from Damavand — Antiquity and Fame of 
Khorasan — Difference in the People of the Two Divisions — 
Historical Associations — Great Cities of Persia, Ancient and 
Modern — Cities of Eastern Persia mentioned in the Bible — 
People of Eastern Persia— Their Wretched Condition— Houses, 
Dress and General Appearance — Women and Men — Filthiness 
of the People— Contrasts Page 23 


Intellectual and Religious State of the People — Prominent Features 
of the Religious State— Persian Mohammedans extremely Relig- 
ious—Excessive Attention to Externals — The Chief Element of 
Sheahism— The Divine Right of Ale— Sacredness of the Sayeds 
— Mohammedan and Protestant Devotions compared — Persian 
Superstition — Belief in Spirits and Demons : Deves, Jins, Ghouls 
— Departed Spirits — Faith in Talismans — The Evil Eye— Exam- 
ples of Demoniacal Possession — Exorcists — Sacred Books pos- 
sessing Supernatural Power — The Koran in Necromancy — The 
Armenian Bible— Other Books— Dreams, Faith in ; Examples of 
— Superstition not Confined to the Lower Classes ; Examples — 



Superstitious Ceremonies — Fears — Spirit of the Religious Orders 
— Characteristics — Learning Esteemed — Kind of Learning — Love 
of Religious Discussion — Sinister Motives in Discussion — As- 
cendency of the Secular Authorities over the Olema — :Examples 
of the Methods of the Mullahs — Cases in Rasht and Ispahan — 
Controversial Books — Examples of Deception Universal — Decep- 
tion as an Embellishment of Manners — Fraud the Great Barrier 
to Progress — Prevalent Vices: Intemperance; Opium-eating; 
Use of Tobacco ; Adultery and Sodomy ; Gambling . Page 33 


Condition of the Women of Persia — Effect of Sheahism on the 
Popular Estimate of Women — Influence of Fatima — Effect shown 
by Persian Poetry — Popular Estimate of the Sayeds — Sanctity of 
Female Sayeds — A Woman's Power over her Husband — Chiv- 
alrous Spirit of Persians — Example of the Shah — Reverence of 
Persians for Maternity — Property Rights of Woman — Conditions 
Adverse to Woman — Lack of Schools for Females— Child-mar- 
riage — Female Seclusion — Woman's Costume— Effect and Preva- 
lence of Polygamy — Baneful Effect of Sekah Marriage— The Non- 
Mohammedan Women of Persia: Jewesses, Christian Women — 
Contrasts — Influence of Islam — Degraded Condition of Christian 
Women— Efforts for the Redemption of Woman in Persia — 
Proportion of Male and Female Converts — Place Assigned to 
Women in the Churches — No Converts from Mohammedan 
Women Page 58 


Particular Account of the Opening of the Mission in Eastern Persia 
— Appointment of Mr. Bassett to Tehran — Tour of Exploration — 
Departure of Mr. Bassett and Family from Oroomiah for Tehran 
—Snowstorm— Incident in a Balakhanah of Kilishkin— Last 
Stage of the Journey— Mrs. Bassett Page 74 



Tehran, Situation of — Temperature and Climate — Antiquity of Teh- 
ran — Changes in — Later Improvements — Population : Armenians, 
Jews, Guebers, Mohammedans — Mullahs and Shah — Foreign Le- 
gations — State of Society — Mission-Work previous to 1872 — Pros- 
pective Work of the Missionary — Native Assistants — Religious 
Toleration — School Opened — Armenian Elders — Baron Matteos — 
Proposed Union of Schools — Departure of the Shah for Europe — 
Prime Minister — Shah's Wife — Conspiracy — Erection of a Chapel 
— Congregation at the Chapel — Opposition of the Archbishop and 
Elders — Action of the Authorities — Schemes Defeated — Arme- 
nians of Feruzbahrom and Zard Aub — Summer Retreat — Vanak 
— Violence of the Priests — Intemperance of the Villagers — Priest 
Megerditch — Heat of the Country — Sickness — Increase in Schools 
— Annual Meeting in Oroomiah — Return to Tehran — Rains and 
Floods — Persian Houses — The Work in Hamadan — Mechail and 
Reforms — Priest Oracale — Persecution — Transfer of Native 
Preachers Page 79 


Persecution in Tabriz — Nestorian Helpers— Tour of Mr. Coan — Peti- 
tion of Nestorians — How Disposed of — Mr. Bruce in Julfa — Open- 
ing of School for Girls — Supply of Books — Proposed Distribution 
of Scriptures in Khorasan — The City of Yezd — Situation and 
People — Departure and Tour of Mechail and Babilla — Reception 
in Yezd — Summoned by the Mujtaheed — Peril — Interposition of 
the Governor — Flight of the Colporteurs — Results — Transfer of 
Native Assistants — Opening of School in the Eastern Quarter — In- 
temperance — Summer Retreat at Tajreesh — Environments — Per- 
sian Monogamy — Religious Services — Affairs in Hamadan and 
Shevarin — Mission Removed to North Side of Tehran, called 
Shimron Gate — Description of Buildings — Removal of Girls' 
School — Training-Class — Course of Study — Summary of Schools 
— Annual Meeting in Tabriz — Arrival of Mr. Potter — Return to 
Tehran — W^ork of Mr. Potter— Affairs in Shevarin and Hama- 


dan — Tour to Hamadan — The Governor, Interview with — Trial 
of the Kathoda — Intemperance of the Native Persian Armenians 
— The Kashish Khanah — Ceremonies of the Khanah Described 
— The Khanah Suppressed — Taxes Kelevied — Priest Oracale seeks 
a Kemission of tlie Taxes — Negotiations with the Mustofe — The 
Priest Presents a Petition to the Shah — Teachers sent to Karaghan 
and Easht— Summer Ketreat — Ascent of Shimron — Keinforce- 
ments— Mr. Bassett's Tour to Tiflis — Kasht, Armenian Congrega- 
tions in — Sketch of Mission-Work and Eesults in Rasht — Baku- 
Armenian Congregation of Protestants — Armenian Priest — Ar- 
menians of Shamakha — Sargis, his Work and Character — Deten- 
tion of Eeinforcements — Mission- and Bible- Work in Tiflis — 
Eussian Sabbath — Departure of Missionaries to their Eespective 
Fields — Miss Sarah Bassett takes Charge of the Girls' School — 
Christian Literature in Persian — Condition of the Persian Script- 
ures — New Edition of Scriptures Sought — Mr, Wright and the 
British and Foreign Bible Society — Persian Hymns and Music — 
Attendance of Jews — Bequest for Jewish School — Sketch of Jew- 
ish School Page 120 


Organization of the Church in Tehran — Need of a Confession — Char- 
acter of the Converts — Contributions— Hosein Ale, his Parents 
and Work — Preparation of Mohammedans for the Gospel — Eela- 
tion of Officers of the Persian Government to Missionaries — 
The Sadr Azam — Colporteurs in Casveen — Summoned by the 
Governor — Their Work in the Villages — Hamadan — Changes of 
Preachers — Arrival of Kasha Shamoon — Sale of Books — Interest 
among Jews — Narrative of the Work among the Jews — Trials and 
Aims of the Jews — Firman for their Protection — Their Appeal to 
the British Society — Changes — Special Services — Publication of 
the Tract Primer — The Censor of the Press — Testimony of the 
Mujtaheed concerning the Primer — Other Translations — Mr. 
Potter's Tour to Mashhade Sar and Quarantine — Eoute to Mash- 
hade Sar — Work of the New Missionaries — English Services — 
Statistics of 1878 Page 168 



Departure of Mr. Potter for America — Departure of Mr. Bassett for 
Mashhad — Proposed Translation of the Gospel of Matthew — 
Colporteurs and Books for Mashhad — City and People — Fanatical 
Character of the Pilgrims and Mullahs — The Jews of Mashhad 
— Skeptics — Success of the Book-Agents Hosein and Daiid — 
Sequel of the Work in Mashhad — Book-Depot and Colportage — 
Mirza Daiid — His Work — Return to Tehran — Captive Geor- 
gians of Abasabad — Purchase of Premises in Tehran — Titles to 
Real Estate — Persecution of the Teacher in Karaghan — Sup- 
posed Secular Authority of Missionaries — Persecutions in Ham- 
adan — Journey of Mr. Bassett to Hamadan — Visits Karaghan — 
The Armenian Settlement — Visit of Elders — Preaching — Dese- 
cration of the Sabbath — The Priest of Bargoshad — School — 
Journey by Night — A Village in Need — Appeal for the Sick — ■ 
Arrival in Hamadan — Visit of the Jews — Their Wants — Jews 
Baptized — Audience with the Governor — Summer W^ork — Jews 
in Tajreesh — Marriage of the Rev. Mr. Potter — His Return to 
Persia — The Press — New Premises Occupied by the Girls' School 
— Sickness of Mrs. Scott — Return of Mr. Scott and Family to 
America — His Death and Character — Persecution of Jews in 
Hamadan — Orders of Persian Officers — Work in Tehran — Divis- 
ion of Bible- Work — Return of Mr. Bassett to the United States 
— Sickness by the Way — Work in London — Summary of the 
Work in Eastern Persia Page 184 


Schools — Marriages — Persecutions in Hamadan — Represented to the 
British Minister — Yasse Attar — Position of the British Minister 
— Reasons for — Orders of the Shah touching the Attendance of 
Mohammedans at the Religious Services and the Instruction of 
Mohammedans — Attendance Prohibited by the Missionary — Lib- 
erty of Non-Mohammedans — Protestant Village — Expediency of 
forming Christian Villages — Mr. Bruce in Hamadan — Arrival 
of Mr. Hawkes in Tehran — Bookroom opened in Hamadan — 


Death of Agah Jan — Mussulmans Received to the Church — Pro- 
posed Occupation of Hamadan — Visit of Missionaries and Mr. 
"Whipple to Hamadan — Work in Hamadan — Division of the 
Bible- Work in Persia — Report of the year 1880 — Girls' School 
— Persecutions in Hamadan — Persecution of the Pastor — Return 
of Mr. Bassett and Family — Dr. W. W. Torrence — Voyage on the 
Caspian — Detention at Ashurada — Journey to Tehran — Changes 
in the Persian Foreign Office — Flight of Shamoon to Tehran — 
His Return to Hamadan — Meeting of the Persian Mission — 
Division of the Mission — Appointment of Mr. Hawkes to Ham- 
adan — Consideration of the Orders of the Persian Government — 
Copy of the Action taken by the Mission sent to the British Min- 
ister — Reply of the Minister — Attendance of Mohammedans — 
Efforts for a Modification of the Orders — Refusal of the British 
Minister to Interfere for a Modification — Mission Resolve to Close 
the Chapel — Appeal to the Persian Foreign Office and to the 
Shah — Modification granted by the Shah — The Chapel Opened — 
Two Missions in Hamadan — Mr. Potter Removes to the Western 
Side of the City — Dr. Torrence opens a Dispensary — Mirza 
Lazar goes to Rasht — English Services — School for Jews — 
Nurillah — Boarding-School — Services of Worship and Schools — 
Miss Bassett Returns to America — Protestant Chapel and Ceme- 
tery — Eclipse of the Sun Page 211 


Arrival of Reinforcements — Eastern Persian Mission Constituted — 
Schools — Theodore Isaac — Services of Public Worship in Eng- 
lish — Report of the Girls' School for 1882 — Book Department — 
Medical Department — The Native Church — Death of Usta Abra- 
ham — Erection of a New Chapel — The Building Described — 
Opposition excited by the Amene Sultan — Attempt to Purchase 
the Mission-Premises by the Amene — The Work in Hamadan — 
Persecutions — Mirza Sayed Khan — Beginning of the Mission of 
the United States to Persia — Inquiries concerning the Safety of 
Citizens of the United States in Persia — Report of ihe British 
Foreign Office in Reply — First Appointment under the Act of 


Congress — Appointment of S. G. W. Benjamin — His Arrival in 
Persia — His Antecedents and Qualifications — Public Worship in 
English — Services in Persian — Matters with the Araene Sultan — 
Aflairs in Hamadan — The Secretary of the Legation goes to 
Hamadan — Attempts of the Old Armenians in Hamadan — Per- 
secutions — Pleasant Episodes — Miss S. Bassett returns to Persia 
in Company with Miss Sherwood — Summary of the Year's Work 
— Work for Women, as shown by the Keports of Mrs. Bassett 
and Mrs. Potter — A Glimpse of the Girls' School, as given by the 
Re])ort of Miss Bartlett — Special Religious Interest in the W^inter 
of 1883-84- Summer Residence and Work — Resignation and 
Return of Mr. Bassett to America ; Reasons therefor — Statements 
of the Annual Report — Summary of the Year's Work in Hama- 
dan — Summary of Statistics of the Mission — Miss Schenck's Quar- 
terly Report— Miss Bassett's Report of the Year's Work in the 
Girls' School Page 238 


Methods of Mission-Labor in Persia, especially Eastern Persia — 
Methods Modified by the Condition of the People — The Romantic 
Method — Finding a Congregation — Henry Martyn's Experience 
— Street-Preaching not Attempted in Mohammedan Villages — 
Practicable in Christian Villages — Obstacles to Gathering Con- 
gregations — Intolerance of Islam — Opposition of the Priests — 
Too Sensitive a Conscience — Time-honored Religions — Protest- 
antism too Honest — Power and Futility of Controversy— Other 
Methods Essential — Interested and Disinterested Motives — Desire 
for Education and Power of Schools — Permanent Congregations, 
how Formed — Difficulty in the Way of Obtaining Native Preach- 
ers — Nestorian Preachers — Armenians of Eastern Persia — As- 
sistants to be Trained — Religious Services — Persians accustomed 
to Public Worship — Habits of Reverence— Preaching — Music — ■ 
Influence of Sacred Song — The Organ — Matter of Preaching — 
Doctrines of Religion — Objectionable Doctrines — The Ale Alla- 
hees — EflTect of the Peculiarities of the Persian Religion on the 
Relations of Persians to Christianity — Imitation of Christian 


Doctrine, and Assumptions — Eesemblance to Rome — Revulsion 
from Rome — Conflict of the Gospel and Sheahisra — Method of 
Successful Approach — Preparatory Instruction of Converts — Cir- 
culation of the Scriptures — Instances of the Influence of the 
Bible— The Circulation of Other Books— Pfander's Works- 
Books in the Armenian Language — Kind of Books Needed — 
Use of Medical Missions— Special Efforts for Persian Women by- 
Christian Women Page 281 


Difl&culties Peculiar to the Field — Expensive Establishments— Dis- 
play of Wealth — Educational Establishments — Similarity of 
Motives in Tehran and in New York — Missionaries are Repre- 
sentatives — Impression Created by Foreign Legations — Criticism 
of Missionaries — Requirements in the Way of Schools — Judicious 
Use of Funds — Espionage of the Persian Authorities — Preoccu- 
pation of the Minds of the People by Worldly Allurements — 
Usual Influence of Foreigners — Demand for Foreign Protection — 
Advantages of the Field — A Centre of Influence for the King- 
dom — Political Influences — Persian Young Men— Good Influence 
of Foreigners — Consecration of Wealth Page 301 


DiflSculties and Encouragements in the Whole Field — Intolerance — 
Peculiarities of Persian Mohammedanism — The Weaker Phase — 
The Difficulty of the Mental Condition — Policy of European 
Governments — Dispersed State of the Non-Mohammedan People 
— Encouragements — Increase of Intelligence, Means of: Tele- 
graphs, Postal System — Favorable Impression of Foreigners — 
Results of Missionary Work — Precedents in Favor of Religious 
Liberty— Success of Bible-Work — Exploration— Preparatory 
Work — Present and Prospective Effect of the Russian Ad- 
vance on the Eastern Border of Persia — Natural Resources 
of Eastern Persia — Elements of Change — Policy of European 

■ Nations . •. ." . Page 315 



Providential Calls— Power of Social Influences — Plea for Some Iso- 
lated Communities — Abasabad Georgians — Jews of Mashhad — 
A College in Tehran, Reasons for Page 326 


The Bible in Persia — No Evidence of Christian Literature in Per- 
sian in Early Times — The Bible First in Importance— First Ver- 
sion of any Part of the Bible in Persian — Version of Tus — Ver- 
sion of Kaffa — Version of Wheeloe and Pierson — Earlier Con- 
jectured Version — Version of Nadir Shah — Version of Col. Col- 
brook — Version of L. Sebastiani — Version of Henry Martyn — 
Version of the Psalter by Henry Martyn — Dates of Publication 
of Different Editions — Glen's Version of the Psalms — Poetical 
and Prophetical Books — Version of the Historical Books by 
Pinkerton and Lee — Publication of Glen's Version of the Psalms 
and Proverbs — Glen's Version of the Old Testament, printed at 
Edinburgh — Robinson's Version of the Old Testament — Version 
of the Psalms by Mirza Abraham — Calcutta Edition of Martyn's 
Version — Lithograph Edition of Robinson's Version — Bruce's 
Version — Versions in Turkish — Amirchanjanz's Version in 
Transcaucasiau Tartar — Publication of the Transcaucasian Ver- 
sion — Labaree's Version in Azarbijanee — Bassett's Version in 
Turkmanee — Difficulties in the Way of Translating in Persian — 
Great Size of the Volume of the Persian Bible — New Edition in 
Small Size — Lodiana Edition — Efforts in the Way of the Circula- 
tion of the Scriptures in Persia — Favorable Attitude of the Per- 
sian Government toward Christian Literature — Other Religious 
Books in Persian — By Whom and When Made — Books in Per- 
sian Turkish Page 331 



Mullahs 45 

Shah of Persia 61 

Armenian Women 69 

Tehran from the Ispahan Road 81 

Jews of Tehran 87 

Burial-Tower and Plains of Ra and Tehran . . 91 

GuEBERs' Burial-Tower 95 

Prime Minister in Court Costume 103 

Mechail and his Wife 117 

Apartments of the King's Treasurer 129 

Girls' School, Tehran 133 

Training-Class of Young Men 137 

Governor of Ardelan 141 

Armenian Priest 145 

Armenian Patriarch 149 

Baku 157 

Baku Mussulman and Wife 161 

Shrine of Reza 185 

Dervish 189 

Mission-Premises, Tehran 205 

Interior of New Chapel 243 

Hut and Booth near Rasht 253 

Armenian Mother and Son 257 

Carepet and his Wife Victoria 263 

British Legation , 305 




Grouping and Names of the Missions — Western and Eastern Mis- 
sions Defined — Contrasts in the Two Fields — General View of 
the Country — View from Damavand — Antiquity and Fame of 
Khorasan — Difference in the People of the Two Divisions — 
Historical Associations — Great Cities of Persia, Ancient and 
Modern — Cities of Eastern Persia mentioned in the Bible — 
People of Eastern Persia — Their Wretched Condition — Houses, 
Dress and General Appearance — Women and Men — Filthiness 
of the People — Contrasts. 

rriHE missions of the Presbyterian Board of Foreign 
-*- Missions in Persia are grouped under two names — 
" The Western Persia Mission '^ and " the Eastern Per- 
sia Mission." The terms denote the position of the 
two divisions with relation to one another, and not an 
exact and equal division of the area of the country with 
reference to the points of the compass. If it were re- 
quired to divide the land in length from east to west on 
the thirty-sixth parallel by a line drawn from north to 
south, the latter line would intersect the former at or 
very near Mount Damavand, or about forty miles east 
of Tehran. 



The provinces of Khorasan and Karman comprise 
Eastern Persia, geographically considered. But as the 
greater part of these provinces is an uninhabited desert, 
the capital may be considered as practically the central 
city of the eastern section. It is really the geographical 
centre of the northern part of the country only, or of 
that part lying north of the thirty-third parallel. The 
missions of the " Board " above named have no station 
or work south of that latitude. All their operations 
have been carried on, therefore, in what is properly 
called Northern Persia, except such incidental eifort as 
may have been made south of the city of Hamadan. The 
cities of Casveen and Seuah are the most western towns 
in which work has been, or is likely to be, done by the 
missionaries of Tehran and Hamadan, and the regions 
east of the former places constitute the field of the East- 
ern Persia Mission. 

This section of the country differs in some particulars 
from the district west of it. The greatest differences are 
in the extent of desert, altitude of mountains and plains, 
and in the races of people and their languages. The 
western part is a country of high table-lands, the cen- 
tre of the kingdom. Here the plains are from four to six 
thousand feet above the sea, and the mountains called 
Zagros cover the southern portion of this field. In the 
north the Elburz Mountains form a striking contrast with 
the great desert stretching southward and eastward at 
their base. They differ from the mountains of Western 


Persia iu their great altitude and iu their general direc- 
tion. Several peaks in this range rise to a height of 
from twelve to fifteen thousand feet above the sea, and 
Damavand, the loftiest mountain of Western Asia, marks 
very nearly the centre of the range in its stretch across 
tlie kingdom from the western shore of the Caspian Sea 
to the eastern border, and stands as a sentinel looking 
over the wide desolation of the great desert on the south 
and on the waters of the Caspian Sea on the north. If 
there is a marked contrast iu the contour of the moun- 
tains and plains of the two divisions we have made, there 
is but little difference in the aspects of barrenness and 
desolation, for these appearances belong to all Persia, 
excepting only the narrow strips of forest along the 
shores of the sea and the few verdant fields which here 
and there greet the eye, and which are small oases in a 
broad expanse of arid plains. 

The view which the traveler obtains as he ascends 
some high mountain in that country is a fair index of 
the aspect of all the interior. He sees mountain sepa- 
rated from mountain by broad plains in monotonous suc- 
cession, and all destitute of verdure and glaring in the 
fierce rays of an unclouded sun. But the plains are not 
wholly without objects of interest. Some of them are 
covered with flowers of many bright colors, among 
which the poppy is most conspicuous, and the air is 
laden with the sweet odor of the camel-thorn and other 
shrubs. Could the traveler climb the side of Mount 


Damavand, and could his eye take in the entire pros- 
pect presented from the summit of that mountain, he 
would see the strange contrast between the aspect of the 
regions of the interior and those of the Caspian coast — 
the contrast between desert and dense forest, between a 
cloudy sky, an arid and clear air and thick vapors ris- 
ing above the sea and forest as from a boiling caldron. 
As one looks out upon the dreary scene, the wide unin- 
habited spaces, and perceives no traces of great towns 
and great works of the past ages, it is difficult to believe 
that here some of the chief cities of antiquity flourished 
and these plains resounded to the tread and shout of 
mighty armies. 

The greater part of Eastern Persia is included within 
the large province of Khorasan, a name which means 
the ^' Land of the Sun,'' and which has often been ap- 
plied to the whole kingdom. It is a country which, 
though so widely desert, is more celebrated in Persian 
poetry and romance than any other part of the land. It 
rivals in the great deeds of its people all other provinces 
of the realm. Here are laid the principal scenes of the 
mythical era. Here the great heroes of the fabulous 
period first became known to fame. Here the Aryans 
first made their homes in Persia. Here the great Par- 
thian kingdom was born. Here the first successful revolt 
against Arab rule in Western Asia was devised, and 
hence was propagated the greatest schism of the Moham- 
medan world. 


The western and eastern sections of the coimtry differ 
in races of people and in their speech. In the west the 
inhabitants are for the most part of either the Turkish 
or the Kurdish race. In the east, however, the Aryan 
and pure Persian stocks prevail, and the Persian tongue 
is the language most commonly used. 

The central districts of this eastern section were the 
centre of the Median kingdom. Persia proper lay to 
the south in what is now the province of Fars, and Par- 
thia proper was situated in the north-eastern section. 
The great cities of ancient times located within these 
boundaries were — Raghes, first and greatest; Arsacia, 
Ra and Ecbatana, and possibly Hecatompylos, the earli- 
est capital of Parthia. The most important cities of the 
present time are — Tehran, the capital ; Hamadan, com- 
manding the site of the ancient Ecbatana; Casveen, 
distinguished once for its proximity to Almood, the cap- 
ital and fortress of the Assassins ; Rasht, the metropolis 
of the Caspian sea-coast ; Kashan, once famous for the 
potteries in its vicinity, and now noted for its black 
scorpions ; Koom, sacred for the shrine of Fatima, its 
burial-place of kings and queens ; and Mashhad, " the 
holy,^' celebrated among Sheahs for the shrine of Imam 
Reza, the mausoleum of the great khalafah of Baghdad, 
and for its minarets and domes of gold. After these 
there is a number of second-rate cities and towns, such 
as Simnon, Savah, Sabzewar, Damgan, Sare and Bar- 
frush, having each from five to ten thousand souls. 


This entire region, desolate as it now is, was in time past 
the theatre of great events and is rich in antiquities. 

Nothing is said in the Bible of the cities of this part 
of the country. Hamadan is the only place in it which 
has been identified with a Bible name. That city is be- 
lieved to represent the Acmetha mentioned in the book 
of Ezra, and is thought to have been the burial-place of 
the famous Queen Esther and her kinsman Mordecai. 
The ruins of Ra are supposed to occupy the site of the 
Raghes mentioned in the apocryphal books of the Old 

The people inhabiting the district I have described are 
for the most part of Persian stock, but there are many 
settlements of Turks and Kurds, and the Turkish blood 
is mingled with the Persian in the northern part of the 
country. The provinces of Gelan and Mazandaran are 
inhabited by what appear to be distinct races, differing 
from the people of other provinces. But all these races 
are Mohammedans except a few feeble and impoverish- 
ed colonies of Jews, Armenians and Guebers. The last- 
named are so few as to form no factor of the popula- 
tion worthy of mention. The two first named are 
widely dispersed in small colonies in the cities and 

All the people, without exception of race or religion, 
are extremely poor, save a very few men who have in- 
herited titles or been especially favored by the govern- 
ment. These men of wealth do not usually reside in 


the districts in which their estates lie, but resort to the 
capital and the large cities. The people live in villages 
composed of hovels constructed of sun-dried bricks or 
of mud. It is difficult to conceive of more forlorn and 
poverty-stricken abodes than are these huts of the poor 
peasants, nor can anything in the way of a village be 
imagined more forbidding than one of these clusters of 
huts compressed into the smallest space possible, so as to 
save expense and labor in building the wall with which 
the place must be enclosed. Especially dreary do these 
villages appear when they are constructed on a treeless 
plain and have no shade to relieve the sight of their 
brown and dingy walls. In many places, however, the 
unsightly walls are half concealed by the dense foliage 
of poplar, willow and sycamore trees, and the hovels 
are separated by gardens of many kinds of fruit trees, 
and the narrow streets resound with the ripple and fall 
of rills of crystal water. 

The dress and appearance of the inhabitants of these 
villages are in keeping with the aspect of the hovels in 
which they live. The females are representatives of the 
domestic environments. As the traveler passes through 
the environs or the narrow streets he will see the women 
on the house-tops or in the streets. Many of them have 
the prescribed chadur, or outer mantle, in which custom 
requires them to appear, but it is often thrown loosely 
over the head and carelessly or not at all wrapped about 
the person. The faces of the women are in such places 


uncovered, and are seen to be careworn, sun-burned and 
begrimed with smoke and dirt. The garments are tat- 
tered and dirty, and nearly all the women have the look 
which tells of poverty, privation and the absence of the 
cheering and nobler incentives of life. The apparel of 
the men, as they are seen in their shops or fields, is not 
much better, but their faces and motions show the in- 
fluence of the freer and more healthful life of the field, 
for they live much of their time in the open air. It 
could not be reasonably expected that such a people 
would be examples of cleanliness. In this particular 
they may compare well with the poor and degraded 
of other countries, but no European or North American 
country presents such a continuous, unmitigated pest of 
vermin as belongs to all places, persons and things in 
Persia. It is wellnigh impossible for the rich and the 
higher classes of the people to keep themselves free of 
the evil so long as they conform to the customs of the 
land. The peasants and masses of the people are cov- 
ered with vermin. The servants of the rich are from 
these lower grades of society, and bear with them 
wherever they go the evidence of their contact with the 
people. The inns on all the roads are caravansaries and 
open to all travelers, and abused by all. The beggar 
and tramp may lie down to-night on the earthen floor in 
the room wliere to-morrow night the prime minister or 
the Shah may have to spread his carpet. A long train 
of camels and other beasts of burden bear the conveni- 


ences and luxuries of life required by a prince. His 
tent or his rooms, all that are available, are well fur- 
nished after the Oriental fashion, but the scores or hun- 
dreds of servants of the prince must shift for themselves, 
and find lodgino^s in the huts of the peasants and in the 
stables. From these places they come to the service of 
their royal masters. So accustomed are they to this 
manner of life that reform would be impossible unless 
their lords stood by them and gave to them daily the 
care required by infant children. 

The places of public resort are free to all. In the 
mosques the people sit upon the floor; at home they 
spread their beds upon the floor. The public baths are 
underground dens reeking with filth. All the people 
feel the result of the defects of their civilization and 
habits of life. Some of the religious ablutions are 
beastly, and occasion habits which are prejudicial to the 
public health. Many of these habits are purely Ori- 
ental, and are practiced by non-Mohammedans. They 
are not entirely Mohammedan, though it should be 
known that the worst of them originated with the Mo- 
hammedan creed and are perpetuated by it. It may be 
said that Christian lands have hovels, paupers and filth. 
A Persian once said to me, ^^ Show me in this land, if 
you can, any hovels more filthy than the huts to be 
seen in Ireland.'' But there is some relief from the 
curse in European countries. There are homes and 
inns and places of public resort where one may be safe 


from annoyance and the fear of it. But not so is it in 
Persia. In all the land the inns are no better than sta- 
bles, and the keepers of them do not know what cleanli- 
ness is. 


Intellectual and Religious State of the People — Prominent Features 
of tlie Religious State — Persian Mohammedans extremely Relig- 
ious — Excessive Attention to Externals — The Chief Element of 
Sheahisra — The Divine Right of Ale — Sacredness of the Sayeds 
— Mohammedan and Protestant Devotions compared — Persian 
Superstition — Belief in Spirits and Demons: Deves, Jins, Ghouls 
— Departed Spirits — Faith in Talismans — The Evil Eye— Exam- 
ples of Demoniacal Possession — Exorcists — Sacred Books pos- 
sessing Supernatural Power — The Koran in Necromancy — The 
Armenian Bible— Other Books — Dreams, Faith in ; Examples of 
— Superstition not Confined to the Lower Classes ; Examples — 
Superstitious Ceremonies — Fears — Spirit of the Religious Orders 
— Characteristics — Learning Esteemed — Kind of Learning — Love 
of Religious Discussion — Sinister Motives in Discussion — As- 
cendency of the Secular Authorities over the Olema — Examples 
of the Methods of the Mullahs — Cases in Rasht and Ispahan — 
Controversial Books — Examples of Deception Universal — Decep- 
tion as an Embellishment of Manners — Fraud the Great Barrier 
to Progress — Prevalent Vices : Intemperance ; Opium-eating ; 
Use of Tobacco ; Adultery and Sodomy ; Gambling. 

11/riSSIONARY labor has to do chiefly with the 
"^^ moral and religious state of the people, but it is 
affected iu some measure by every interest. It will be 
difficult for the reader of these pages to understand the 
needs of the Persians, the obstacles to be met by the 
missionary, or to perceive what has been accomplished, 
if he be ignorant of the intellectual and religious condi- 

3 33 


tion of these people at the begioning of missionary- 
work. The religious creed leaves its trace in the mental 
state which it creates or cultivates. 

If there were no restrictions to effort in behalf of 
Mohammedans imposed by the common law of the 
country, then missionaries would have to do chiefly 
with Mohammedans. But since the penalty of apostasy 
is supposed to be death, their labor is directed largely 
to Armenians and Jews. Yet much may be done direct- 
ly and indirectly for the Mohammedan Persians. They 
are not, therefore, to be left out of a description of the 
people. Mohammedans constitute the bulk of the pop- 
ulation, an overwhelming majority, in comparison with 
which the non-Mohammedans make but an insignificant 
company. Mohammedan influence is everywhere evi- 
dent and paramount, and whatever affects them touches 
their subject races. For these and other reasons, which 
need not be stated here, the missionary is deeply con- 
cerned over their condition. I here note some of the 
prominent features of this condition. 

They are extremely religious. Christianity does not in 
any place nor in any sect present such excessive concern 
for the externals of religion as does Sheahism. I be- 
lieve that the Persians are more religious than Turks or 
Arabs. Their religious creed has all the essential doc- 
trines of Islam and other tenets in addition. It has 
all the incentives of Suueeism to religious observances, 
and other motives which the ^unee h^s not. The chief 


doctrine of the Sheah sect is an element of enthusiasm 
additional to all tliat is furnished in the so-called ortho- 
dox faith. The doctrine of elective succession to the 
khalafate, the tenet of the Sunee, is less calculated to 
sanctify the object of choice than the doctrine of divine 
right, believed by the Sheah. He holds that the apos- 
tles of his order possessed by divine appointment their 
right to rule all Mohammedans. To him these per- 
sons are really objects of adoration. Immeasurable 
degrees of merit are obtained by the reverence of these 
apostles. In the course of time the number of sayeds 
has become too great for computation. Their tombs 
are conspicuous objects in nearly every village and city. 
To these shrines the people resort for the special benefits 
which are believed to be conferred by these saints. 

A Sheah endeavors to observe all the ceremonies 
prescribed by the Koran and many others required by 
the traditions. He prays five times a day. Many ab- 
lutions are to be performed. A mistake in the repeti- 
tion of the prescribed prayer makes a new effort at rep- 
etition necessary. One day in the week, if not oftener, 
he must go to the shrine of some sayed, and on Friday 
— his Sabbath — he must go to the mosque for public wor- 
ship. Besides this, he has a penance in the form of an 
ablution or a prayer or alms to be performed as an 
atonement for certain sins. He must keep during the 
year many feasts, and must fast during the month of 
Ramazan. Sin, he believes, is obliterated and merit 


{ obtaiDed by every repetitiou of the uame of God and 
' of a verse of the Koran or of a name of an Imam. It 
should not be supposed that a Mohammedan's prayer 
is so easy a thing as that to which a Protestant has 
been accustomed. His head must touch the earth In 
prayer. The Persian finds special merit in having his 
forehead touch a small cake of the sacred soil of Kar- 
balah. With this cake of earth he is prepared to say 
his prayers in any place, and can safely kneel on his 
bed or on his carpet. But in every prayer he must 
consider well the points of the compass. All his devo- 
tions would be vitiated were he to bow his head toward 
any other place than the Kabah. There are movements 
and positions of the head, knees, hands and limbs 
which require great care and precision. The perform- 
ances for the shrines are prescribed with minuteness. 
The Mohammedan is proud of his dexterity and grace 
of motion in prayer. In addition to the usual round 
of orthodox ceremonies, the Sheah has those which 
commemorate the Imams. These are the wailiugs of 
Moharam and of other seasons. 

The Persian Sheahs are very superstitious. They 
have a great fear of the supernatural. This is a trait 
of the adherents of all false religions. The manifesta- 
tions of this feeling are curious, and a refutation of the 
religion is often seen in the removal of the cause of 
superstition. The belief in spirits, demons and demon- 
iacal possessions is common. There is much indistinct- 


ness in their notions of these superhuman beings. The 
names most commonly used to denote them are deves, 
jins and ghouls. The first named are devils, or evil 
beings supposed to inhabit forests and desert places, to 
exist in a human body of uncouth and fierce aspect 
and to possess superhuman power, but of satauic and 
evil intent. They are supposed to be influenced by 
Satan, the great deve. It is true, I believe, that the 
name is sometimes applied to wild animals, but only 
because of a fancied resemblance. The simple-minded 
peasants seem to think that the wild men, as apes and 
some other animals, are veritable deves. The jins are 
often confounded with the deves in the popular super- 
stitions, yet a distinction is made between the two in 
the Koran. The former are commonly understood to 
be rational and invisible beings intermediate between 
angels and men, and are either good or bad. The 
Koran preserves something of the ancient myths con- 
cerning the genii, and furnishes the foundation for the 
notions entertained by the common people. The word 
ghoul is purely Persian, and is used to denote a being 
which is, in part, both man and beast, and which in- 
habits the desert. It is of great strength, but of little 
wisdom, and feasts on the bodies slain by the king of 
death. The conception seems to be essentially that of 
the old myth of the satyr modified by Pei'sian imagina- 
tion. The belief in the existence of these monsters ia 
as commonly present as is the belief in the being of 


deves and jins : it furnishes the source of many of the 
large stock of Persian tales. 

The belief in the return to earth of departed spirits is 
universal in Persia. So is the notion of the direct inter- 
position in human affairs of both good and bad spirits. 
Evil spirits are thought to take possession of human 
beings because of sin or omission of a duty, as the 
neglect of a fast or a prayer. It might be conjectured 
that a mind filled with notions of this sort would be 
greatly disturbed by anticipation of danger. So it would 
be were it not for the fact that the power and influence 
of the evil beings may be broken by talismans, prayers, 
fasts and interpositions of saints. Bad spirits are sup- 
posed to cause harm to man or beast by what is called 
the " evil eye." The term is commonly used. It means 
that a person may look upon an object with such a sinful 
feeling as to cause an evil spirit to inflict some injury on 
the object. A person was looking at and admiring a 
beautiful donkey. When the owner mounted it and 
rode off the animal seemed to be lame. The owner could 
conjecture no other reason for the lameness except that the 
man who praised it had communicated to the creature the 
evil eye. Some persons are thought to have the power 
of summoning an evil spirit by a look of the eye. The 
power is an unfortunate possession, for most persons are 
anxious to be rid of a man having such a baneful influ- 
ence. It is sometimes seriously charged by one man 
against another that he possesses this power and has 


used it for doing evil. The charge is sometimes made 
the pretext for extortion in the way of damages. A 
servant was once riding a fine horee down the mountain, 
when the animal fell and was seriously hurt. The only 
excuse made by the man to his master was that at the 
instant the horse fell he was admiring it and feeling 
great pride on account of the beauty and excellence of 
the horse, and must have given it an evil eye. 

Another form of spirit interposition is in the way of 
demoniacal possession, by which is meant that an evil 
spirit enters a person, whom it controls continuously or 
periodically. Certain diseases are thought to come from 
Satanic influence. Exorcism naturally follows belief in 
demons. There are professional exorcists. Some of the 
mullahs are believed to have power over spirits. Exor- 
cists are not only known among Mohammedans, but 
with Jews and Armenians. Exorcism is a distinct func- 
tion of an order of the clergy in the Armenian Church. 
To this office men are regularly ordained. The function 
is exercised by Armenians and Jews as a means of gain, 
and large sums are paid in some instances for casting out 
an evil spirit. The arts practiced for this purpose are 
many. The Koran or some other sacred book is read, 
prayers are recited and talismans used. The exorcist is 
often discreet enough to perceive that the supposed pos- 
session is the effect of disease, and he administers a nos- 
trum which brings notoriety and the coveted reward. 
A man who had traveled over a wide extent of country 


uslug the pretended gift informed me that he had effected 
many cures. He seemed sincerely to believe the com- 
mon superstition. It is not strange that one brought up 
among the people should so think. The exorcists of the 
Armenian Church are often put to it to find subjects on 
which to exercise their gifts. Their province, however, 
is understood to embrace, I believe, spiritual errore and 
corrupt agents, as well as the demons. The presence of 
this office in the Armenian Church may with reason be 
thought to have come from the earliest days of the 

The superstition of Persians invests all sacred books 
with supernatural influence. That power is shown in 
the control of spirits and in many other ways. A 
mullah, in discussing the merits of the Koran, related 
his own experience to me as evidence of the divine origin 
of that book. " One day," said he, " my knife was 
stolen. I did not know who had taken it, but I deter- 
mined to try and find out the tliief. I wrote a verse of 
the Koran on three strips of paper, and on the back of 
each strip I wrote the name of a suspected person. Then 
I made three little balls of clay, and put one strip of 
paper in each ball. I then put the balls in a basin of 
water. They all sank at once, but the clay of one soon 
parted and dissolved, and the paper which I had put in 
it rose to the top of the water. I read on it the name of 
the suspected person. I went to him and accused him 
of the theft. He immediately confessed, and gave up 


ray knife. Such is the power of the Koran." The book 
is often suspended over the door or above the highway, 
that the charm of it may be felt by all who pass beneath 
it. It is laid on the sick. Its verses are written on bits 
of paper, and these are placed on those parts of the body 
which appear to be the seat of the disease. Some per- 
sons will not undertake a journey until a favorable omen 
has been obtained by opening the book at a passage un- 
derstood to be prophetic of good luck. The stars are 
often consulted, but the Koran has to a great extent 
taken the place of the ancient astrology, though it should 
be said that the science of astrology is now closely con- 
nected with the mystic numbers and words of the Koran 
and other books. 

The practice of seeking favorable omens is not con- 
fined to Mohammedans, but is common with Christians 
and other sects, each one using its own sacred books and 
paraphernalia of worship. The Armenian Bible is an 
oracle for Armenians in more ways than the true way. 
A like use of the Old Testament and of the Gammora 
is made by Jews. Sometimes an old Bible or other book 
is made famous for working miracles and effecting cures 
of disease, and the people come from far to receive the 
benefits of its charm. 

Dreams are firmly believed to be revelations of future 
events. The knowledge of them has been reduced to a 
science. They have been carefully analyzed, and are 
divided into the portentous and the unportentous. The 


prophetic class are minutely described. But few of the 
people understand the complicated science. They are 
governed by their own forebodings as to the import of 
their dreams, and it is believed that they are not slow to 
invent dreams to meet exigencies of their callings. It is 
a common thing for a Persian to begin a request by re- 
lating a dream in which he describes in a very graphic 
way all the conditions which he hopes will be fulfilled 
by you. This belief is not confined to the illiterate, but 
is prevalent with all classes. A learned mullah, speak- 
ing to me of his faith in dreams and in the Koran, 
related the following : ^' Of all the members of the 
household, we honor and love the grandmother most. I 
loved my grandmother very much, and when she died I 
was lonely, and neglected to read the Koran as I used to 
do when she was living. After a time I forgot to read 
for the repose of her soul. So time went on : autumn 
came and the cool nights, and we took our beds from the 
roof and spread them at night in the court. But there 
came a change and the air was close and hot, so that I 
ordered that my bed should be taken to the roof again. 
One night I sat up in the court a long time after the 
other members of the family had gone to sleep, and I 
thought of many things which had happened in the past 
year. At last I went up to bed, having my cloak over 
me, and thinking I would lie down for a part of the 
night only, and that after midnight it might be too cold 
to remain on the roof. How long a time I had been 


tliere, and whether I was awake or asleep, I can hardly 
telh I saw a form in indistinct outlines near the farther 
side of the roof slowly moving in the darkness. As I 
looked upon it, thinking it might be some member of 
my family, I saw that it came on toward me, and I could 
see something of the features. A chadur covered in 
part the head and shoulders and fell about the person. 
As the form came nearer in slow and measured motion 
and without seeming to touch the ground, I perceived 
that the eyes were intently fixed, that the face was serious 
and stern, and that an uplifted hand threatened me. As 
the spectre approached I discerned its unearthly look and 
bearing, and knew that a being from the unseen world was 
approaching. Springing from my bed as the spectre came 
nearer, and stepping backward, I cried, ^ Who are you V 
But the form silently continued its steady approach, 
coming frightfully near. I stepped backward ; again it 
came on. I moved back again, looking all the time 
toward it. It came forward as I retreated, until at 
last I became conscious of a deeper darkness below me, 
and that I stood upon the verge of the roof, whence 
another step could not be taken. The thought flashed 
on my mind, ^ This spirit intends to kill me.' Then, 
looking in despair and horror, I saw it was my grand- 
mother. ^Oh, mother!' I cried, 'will you kill me? 
Spare me now, and I promise to offer the korbon and to 
read three suras on next Friday night.' I awoke. The 
next day T told my wife what I had dreamed, and I saidy 


* I have promised grandmother to read three suras on next 
Friday night. Do not let me forget it. If I do, she 
will kill me.' Friday night came. I had gone to bed, 
and was just about to put out the light when I thought 
of my promise. I arose and read the three suras. From 
that day to this, now nine years, my grandmother has not 
appeared to me. Such are the charm and power of the 

These superstitions seem to be stronger with the 
higher classes and learned men than with the illiterate — 
a fact accounted for by the teachings of their religious 
books. A mujtaheed holding a high position, once con- 
versing with me and speaking of the curing of the sick 
by prayers and charms, claimed to have cured many per- 
sons. When asked to describe the process by which he 
cured, he spoke of different things ; among them was 
this — namely, to kindle a fire near the head and feet of 
the sick and to burn passages of the Koran written on 
bits of paper, also to burn prayers written for the pur- 
pose. It is impossible for a person who has not associ- 
ated with Persians to understand the fear to which they 
are all their lives in bondage, or the heavy burdens in 
the way of religious ceremonies which they have put 
upon themselves. With them every act has its danger 
of defilement and its ceremony of purification. The 
tears shed in the religious weepings are bottled, and 
used to cure the sick and poured out as libations. Says 
one of the Persian teachers : " A tear shed in weeping 


Pase 45. 


for Hassan and Hosein will wash away the sins of a 

We can form no adequate conception of the amount 
of thought which must be given by these people to 
religious convictions. The superstitious mind is won- 
derfully prolific in the products of the imagination. 
These statements relate especially to Mohammedans, 
but they are true, to a great extent, of all the sects of 
Persia. The nominal Christians and the Jews feel the 
influence of their rulers, and there has been some rival- 
ry between them and the Mohammedans in the matter 
of traditions and religious feasts, fasts and rites, and 
they have borrowed from one another. The cross, chal- 
ice, wafer, chrism and paraphernalia of the Church are 
invested by the imagination of Armenians and Moham- 
medans with a supernatural charm and virtue. 

The spirit of the religious orders furnishes some in- 
sight to the religious state of the people. The mullahs 
may be called the priests of the Mohammedans. But 
Islam has no sacrificial service, and the mullahs are 
more properly termed teachers and preachers or minis- 
ters of religion. Many of them are ministers without a 
charge, and never officiate before a congregation. It is 
not my purpose to give here a description of the common 
offices and duties of these men : this has been written 
in another volume. I wish now to give an under- 
standing of the spirit and temper of the mullahs, and 
to show how they are affected toward religious truth. 


One notable feature of their condition is their great 
esteem for learning. They prize all learning, but 
especially that which they have been taught to consider 
such. The knowledge which they covet is that which 
they have been trained to consider most desirable : it is 
the knowledge of their own religious system. It may 
be true that many of these men are more desirous of 
the reputation for wisdom than for the actual possession 
of it, but even this desire shows that in their judgment 
learning has a value. It must be confessed that many 
of them are very zealous for knowledge, and very labor- 
ious in their pursuit of it. Some of them spend the 
greater part of a lifetime in preparatory study. We 
have in Christian lands but few examples of such long- 
continued and intense application of mind in the way of 
preparation as is furnished by the best representatives 
of Islam. It is a great pity that this zeal and labor are 
not directed to the investigation of all knowledge, or 
of something better than the theology and rites of 
Islam. In fact, the greater part of this study is de- 
voted to the discussions on the proper manner of ob- 
serving the rites — how these are vitiated and how made 
meritorious. As their whole system is one of justifica- 
tion by ceremonies, we can understand how important 
this study must be thought by them, and how valuable 
in their estimation a thorough knowledge of fasts, ablu- 
tions, prayers, pilgrimages and the whole round of rites 
must be. There is a course of secular study prepara- 


tory to the study of sacred things which they value for 
its relation to the latter. Arabic grammar, logic, as- 
tronomy and astrology are thought to be important 
subjects of study. These people have a very extensive 
literature relating to religious subjects. Many books 
have been written by Sheahs concerning the question of 
the succession in the khalafate and on the sayings and 
example of the twelve Imams. Persian mullahs have 
very little or no knowledge of geography, mathematics 
and the natural sciences. They know nothing of any 
branch of learning which could give them an acquaint- 
ance with anything outside of the range of their own 

Another prominent trait of these men is their love 
of discussion about religious matters. Some of them 
have gained from their own books and from controver- 
sial works some knowledge of the principal points of 
controversy between Islam and other religions, espe- 
cially the Christian religion. They have the Koran's 
statements with reference to the divinity of Christ and 
the Trinity. Every book written against Mohamme- 
danism is sure to call out one or more replies. They 
have, in Persian, works written in refutation of Juda- 
ism composed by apostate Jews, and in refutation of 
Christianity prepared by converts to Islam from the 
ranks of the nominal Christians. Controversy seems to 
possess remarkable power to stir up an evil spirit in 
these mullahs. Argument incites them to deeds of vie- 


lence in a marked degree. They are wanting too much 
in honesty to feel the force of argument. This state- 
ment is true of the majority, not of all the ministers of 
Islam. It is commonly said by them that he who is 
not convinced by the proofs of Islam can be converted 
only by a club or a sword. Argument on their part is 
the commonly designed prelude to violence. The proofs 
of Islam, they say, are infallible, and it is the duty of 
all men to accept them : he who does not is worthy 
of death. 

No confidence is to be reposed in the semblance of 
kindness and friendship with which the Persian begins 
his argument. His opponent is safe only when he has 
physical force at his command sufficient for his pro- 
tection. Henry Martyn during his stay in Shiraz is 
said to have held many discussions with the Persian 
mullahs, but had there been no British government 
known to the olama of that city, Martyn would have 
fared badly, I conjecture. Tact and friendship may 
protect some persons and bring them great liberty of 
speech and action. These qualities sometimes protect 
the feeble from the rage of wild beasts. But I speak 
of Persians in general, not of exceptions. There has 
been great improvement within the past few years in 
the spirit and conduct of the olama. I will not speak 
of the reason of the chau^e. But it is not so thorouerh 
and radical as to have abolished the disposition and 
custom of which I speak. The secular authorities have 


gained some advantage over the mullahs. The power 
of the priesthood is not so great in secular aifairs as it 
once was. But it is yet common for mullahs to intro- 
duce a trial with argument to pave the way for violence. 
.The usual expression with which a Mohammedan begins 
his argument is : " This discussion is to be continued 
until either you shall have converted me or I shall have 
convinced you.'' No words can truly describe the 
cruelty and violence to which Mohammedans resort 
when they have liberty to follow their inclinations. An 
Armenian was accused before a mujtaheed of Rasht of 
the crime of adultery. Obeying the summons, he came 
to the house of the mujtaheed and sat down on the 
pavement near the wall of the house while the mullah 
was hearing Mohammedan witnesses in an upper room. 
The instant that the mujtaheed pronounced the man 
guilty, one of his servants took an iron mangal full of 
live coals and threw it from the upper window upon 
the head of the condemned man as he sat in the court. 
The rabble then tied a rope to his feet and dragged the 
mangled body through the streets. It is true that the 
Shah reproved the conduct of the mujtaheed, but he 
inflicted no punishment except to consign the priest to a 
residence of several months in one of his palaces in the 
suburbs of Tehran. Several persons charged with being 
Baubs were arrested in a village about nine farasaks 
from Ispahan. The accused were brought before the 
shaik al Islam. The investigation opened with a dis- 


cusslon. Ooe of the accused, Kazim, asked the shaik 
if he believed the New Testament, and on the shaik 
replying that he did, Kazim replied, ^^ Then you must 
find testimony to Mohammed in the New Testament, 
for that book was written before Mohammed/' Where- 
upon the shaik cried out, " Kafir ! infidel !'' and ordered 
that Kazim be slain. The man was then led away to 
the place of execution and beheaded. 

I have mentioned the influence of controversial books 
in Persia. In illustration of this I will quote a few ex- 
tracts from my journal : " After public worship to-day a 
rozakhan and two young mullahs remained to talk with 
us. After asking what proof I had that no other law- 
giver or saviour should arise after Christ, and being ad- 
vised to read the New Testament to find the answer of 
his question, the young man drew from beneath his coat 
a book written in Persian and entitled Nusrat id Deen^ 
^The Defence of the Faith,' and said that the book 
proved clearly the authority of Mohammed from both the 
Old and the New Testaments. The passages quoted from 
the Old Testament were such as declared the blessings of 
Esau, but no mention was made of the blessings of Isaac." 
Again : " I have been detained by a discussion with a 
mullah, who has been very inquisitive. He brought to 
me a book entitled Sef ul Ommah, ^ The Sword of the 
People,' a controversial work of Islam. It was written 
by Hajah Mullah Ahmad. A Jewish rabbi of Kashan, 
near which city Ahmad lived, tells me that Ahmad sent 


his SOD to the Jewish rabbis to hear the Old TestameDt 
read and interpreted, with the express purpose of writ- 
ing this book. He says also that the occasion inducing 
the mullah to write the work was the receipt by Fattah 
Ale Shah of a. controversial work from London, to which 
the Shah desired that an answer should be composed. 
He says that Ahmad spent three years in the preparation 
of the book.^^ Again I find this note : " There has been 
much discussion of late among the mullahs of Tehran. 
It appears that the book ^ Scale of Truth ' [Mezon al HaU] 
was reported to the mujtaheed Ah Said Saduk, who on 
reading it wrote a complaint to the governor of the city 
concerning the circulation and publication of such books. 
The governor replied that the work was published in In- 
dia, and that he could not call the British government 
to account for it, but the best thing to be done was that 
he, Saduk, should compose an answer." 

Love of controversy is not confined to Persian Mo- 
hammedans, but is a marked trait of all Persians. It 
has peculiar development with Sheahs. The Sheah en- 
ters into a controversy with a relish, and he is very cer- 
tain to come out of it either a winner or mad as a hornet. 
But Persians of other beliefs show that they would do as 
he does if they could. If they have been instructed by 
him, they have been apt pupils. 

Deception is another trait of Persian character. It 
should not be represented, as it has been by some trav- 
elers, as an amiable weakness and an excess of the good 


quality called courtesy. True, it enters into all the acts 
of a Persian's life. As an embellishment of manners it 
may be more tolerable than in other matters. But so 
strong is a Persian's propensity to put on the semblance 
of truth that every profession of his is to be received 
with allowance. The deception he practices is good evi- 
dence of his knowledge of the natural expression of 
truth. He can imitate or put on the outward appearance 
of every virtue and good quality. How can one dissem- 
ble so accurately without knowing what is truth ? The 
semblance itself is proof of the perception of what is 
true and good. His deception as an embellishment of 
manners becomes in time intolerable, and as a means of 
paving the way to cruelty it is shocking. The verdant 
stranger and traveler in that land may be soothed with 
assurance given that after hours of weary riding he is 
now near the place of rest, and the assurance may give 
some spirit for the remaining long and tedious march ; 
but when these delightful embellishments lead him into 
darkness where he expects light, and over rocks and a 
rugged way where he was led to believe he would find a 
smooth road, he learns that there is something more val- 
uable than the ornaments of speech. The Persian may 
offer you his eye, his head, his house and his lands free, 
and to emphasize the generous offer may solemnly lay 
his hand on his heart or his eye ; but the wayfarer may 
be assured that it is all for ornament, and that instead of 
giving, the cheat expects pay for everything, with an ex- 


tra karan added for the courtesies and ornaments. The 
sober declaration made to me by a venerable mullah is 
very significant of the tendencies of Persians when he 
said, "During the blessed month of Ramazan all the 
people abstain from food and drink, and the better class 
abstain from lying also." 

While these statements are true of the Persians as a 
whole, there are many Persians of intelligence whose 
word is reliable in the ordinary affairs of social and bus- 
iness life. But the insecurity of property and traffic 
through the prevalence of deception and fraud is, more 
than any other thing, the great barrier to commerce with 
Persia and to the general progress and improvement of 
that country. 

Deception may be called a national vice in Persia, but 
it is not the only one. The prevalent vices in that coun- 
try are nearly the same as are seen in other lands. The 
use of alcohol and intoxicating drinks is not a national 
vice of Persia. Mohammedan law and the public senti- 
ment of the nation are against the manufacture, sale and 
use of all kinds of alcoholic and spirituous drinks. The 
proportion of drinkers to the Mussulman population must 
be very small. In the absence of statistics we are left 
to conjecture. Large quantities of wine aud brandy are 
manufactured, and a large amount is imported. But the 
total amount is small compared with the products of the 
manufactories of other countries. There are no distille- 
ries in the land. Whatever liquor is manufactured is made 


in the dwellings of Armenians, Jews and Guebers. In 
the cities there is a large number of drinkers, not only 
among non-Mohammedans, but among the Mussulmans 
also. Prohibitive orders are sometimes issued, but these 
are spasmodic efforts. The chief officers of state are 
sometimes the worst drinkers. The country at large, 
however, is wellnigh free from the sale and use of alco- 
hol. There is not an open and public liquor-saloon in 
the kingdom. The manufacture and sale are the privi- 
lege and disgrace of the Christians and Jews. 

Although such is the state of the liquor-traffic, the 
Persians make up for the loss of w^iiskey by the use of 
opium and tobacco. The proportion of opium-eaters 
and smokers may safely be conjectured to be as large as 
is the number of drinkers in other countries. There are 
many Persians who use the deadly hasheesh, and many 
take arsenic. No vice is so prevalent with Europeans 
as is the use of tobacco among Persians. Every Persian 
man and woman smokes the kalyon. This pipe is seen in 
every place where Persians are to be found. It is carried 
on the highway by every Persian traveler ; it is seen in 
every shop in the bazar and in every dwelling in the 
laud. The smoke of the kalyon is said to have a very 
injurious effect upon those persons who use it habitually. 
Although polygamy is permitted and there is no limit 
to the number of concubines allowed by the law of the 
land, yet Persians say that adultery and sodomy are 
both very prevalent. The license given in the way of 


marriage does not prevent the other vices. In fact, it 
may be believed that this license tends to the increase 
of the other two vices. The prevalence of sodomy is 
notorious. Although the nominal penalty of adultery 
is death by stoning, the severity of the punishment 
does not prevent the expectation of escape. The pen- 
alty is seldom inflicted. If the vice is as rare as the 
execution of the penalty, the kingdom might be 
thought to be a model of virtue. If sodomy be a 
common vice of the men, adultery is said to be a special 
vice of the women, by which they retaliate. The cos- 
tumes of the females and the religious and social cus- 
toms give favorable opportunities for amorous intrigues. 
The street-costume is so effectual a concealment of the 
person that no man is able to distinguish his own wife 
from other women in a public place, and custom forbids 
him to indulge his suspicions by any officious inquiry. 
Gambling is common with Persians. Cards, chess and 
other games are used for this purpose, and the effects here 
are the same as those which are seen in other countries — 
namely, waste of time and loss of money, with drunken- 
ness and other vices. 


Condition of the Women of Persia — Effect of Sheahism on the 
Popular Estimate of Women — Influence of Fatima — Effect shown 
by Persian Poetry — Popular Estimate of the Sayeds — Sanctity of 
Female Sayeds — A Woman's Power over her Husband — Chiv- 
alrous Spirit of Persians — Example of the Shah — Eeverence of 
Persians for Maternity — Property Eights of Woman — Conditions 
Adverse to Woman — Lack of Schools for Females— Child-mar- 
riage — Female Seclusion — Woman's Costume — Effect and Preva- 
lence of Polygamy — Baneful Effect of Sekah Marriage — The Non- 
Mohammedan Women of Persia: Jewesses, Christian Women — 
Contrasts — Influence of Islam — Degraded Condition of Christian 
Women — Efforts for the Redemption of Woman in Persia — 
Proportion of Male and Female Converts — Place Assigned to 
Women in the Churches — No Converts from Mohammedan 

rpHE condition of the native women of Persia is a 
subject worthy of consideration by itself. In the 
treatment of this topic we have to notice the difference 
in the social and moral status of Mohammedan and 
Christian women. The state of the former is deter- 
mined, to a great extent, by the laws and customs of 
Islam, but not entirely by these, for these general prin- 
ciples are modified by the pecidiar tenets of the sects. 
The Persians are Sheah Mohammedans, and the pecu- 
liarities of this sect have a marked influence over the 



estimate at which woman is held. This division of 
Islam owes its origin to a woman. The claim of the 
Imams to the supreme control of the Mohammedan 
world rests upon the right of succession in Fatima, the 
daughter of Mohammed and wife of Ale. This is not 
the only ground of the claim, but it is a valid one if 
the right to rule rests upon the right of inheritance. 
The Sheahs contend for the right of inheritance. The 
Sunees advocate the elective right in the congregation 
of believers at the first. The principle has long since 
been abandoned by them, and the sultan claims author- 
ity on the ground of heredity. Fatima, having the 
right of succession, is necessarily a person greatly revered 
by Sheahs. The ruling sect of the Sheahs is that called 
the " Twelve,'' and is strongest in Persia. The chief 
tenet is that the right of the khalafate belonged to the 
direct descendants of Fatima and Ale to the twelfth 
generation, the succession ending in the Mahde. The 
place which Fatima fills in Persian history and tradition 
has a marked influence over the sentiments of Persians 
toward woman. The place given to her must raise the 
popular estimate of woman in general. That such has 
been the result is shown by the poetry and much of the 
literature of Persia, as also by the religious ceremonies 
and the common life of the people. Persia is the only 
country of the Mohammedan world in which poetry 
has been to any great extent cultivated. It was not 
until the Sheah faitli asserted its power that Persian 


poetry began to flourish. The poetical element may be 
naturally more marked in Persians than in other Mo- 
hammedans, but it seems to be true that Sheahism has 
cultivated that element. Much of the poetry is in praise 
of Fatima, and, unconsciously to Persians, inspires noble 
sentiments toward her sex. 

Fatima is the mother of the sayeds. The female 
members of this sacred class are held in no less rever- 
ence than the male descendants of the first Sheah. The 
sayeds are the direct descendants of Fatima and Ale. 
They now compose a countless multitude, and are com- 
monly distinguished from other Mohammedans by the 
green turban. They are often found in large communi- 
ties and intermarry. In many places they hold lands 
under grants from the crown. Although the lineage is 
reckoned in the male, yet it is thought to be more hon- 
orable when both parents are of the house of Fatima. 
To wed a sayed is thought to be a great honor, and she 
is not slow to assert the rights of her order and family. 
Even though she may be married to a man of common 
blood or a peasant, her relation to the founder of the 
national faith commands respect and makes her a dis- 
tinguished person in her own circle of friends. She will 
resent a wrong done to her as a crime committed against 
the whole line of saints. An appeal by her to her neigh- 
bors is sure to bring down the wrath of the community 
in which she lives upon the oifender, and every one 
has a superstitious fear of her person and character. 

Shah of Persia. 

Page 61. 


Woman gains some advantage in Persia from the 
chivalrous spirit of Persians. It is thought to be un- 
manly for a man to resent the ire of a woman. If she 
meets him in a public place, she may take off a shoe from 
her foot and slap him in the face with it, but he dare 
not retaliate by beating her. He will show his sense 
of honor by standing patiently while she punishes him, 
rather than incur the disgrace of having lifted a hand 
against her or having fled from her. There is hardly 
any disgrace which a Persian dreads more than to be 
assailed by a woman in a public place. It is related 
that the Shah was once riding in the street when at a 
certain point on the way he was met by a company of 
women who implored protection from the extortion of 
his vazier. This man had, in collusion with the bakers, 
raised the price of wheat and bread. The Shah escaped 
as best he could from the crowd, and turned into one of 
his gardens. Seating himself on the porch of his sum- 
mer-house, he ordered the vazier to be brought to him 
with a rope about his neck. AVhen the man came near 
the Shah said, " Why have you put me to shame ? Why 
have you raised the price of wheat ?'' — " For your sak&," 
replied the vazier. "The wheat is in your granary, 
and the purchase was made for your benefit.'^ — " Yes,'' 
replied the king, "but you have dishonored me by 
bringing all the women out against me. — Strai>gle him !" 
cried the Shah. But now the king's favorite appears 
and intercedes, and the man's life is spared. It should 


not be thought that the Persians are so amiable that 
they always act with this forbearance. In his own home 
the man is not tardy in asserting his authority, and cus- 
tom gives him the right to whip his wife as well as 
his children. In many cases, however, it is danger- 
ous for him to exercise this prerogative. I have heard 
Persians say that it is important in selecting a wife to 
take one who will bear the rod with docility. 

Heverence for maternity has its influence in protect- 
ing woman in Persia. This feeling is inculcated by the 
Koran. The sentiment, very strangely as It would seem, 
centres in the grandmother. She is the most honored 
member of the family. The children respect her more 
than they do their own mother. She is to them the 
model of motherhood. The practice of polygamy seems 
to give special occasion for the exercise of the maternal 
feeling in the parent and the filial sentiment in the son. 
The lack of the husband's aifection is supplied by the 
love of the child. The son regards his mother as an 
object of his protection. She looks to him for solace and 
support. She is his chief mourner at his decease, but 
shftuld he survive her his Is the most heartfelt sorrow. 

A Persian woman is protected by the law in the pos- 
session and sole use of all property inherited by her. 
Her husband has no right to the property. But this 
right of hers is not always protected, although the law 
is clear. Her title, however, is usually maintained. 
There is no effort made in Persia by Persians for the 


education of wonieu and girls. Many of the Moham- 
medan women are readers. Whatever learning they ac- 
quire is obtained from private tutors. It is rarely the 
case that a woman learns to do more than read; the! 
majority of females cannot do that. The colleges in the' 
n\osqucs are for male students ; there is no provision for 
woman's education. The custom of child-marriage is 
against her. The Mohammedan girl is of age at nine. 
She usually marries before her thirteenth year, and goes 
to the control of her mother-in-law, and has the charge 
of a family and the work of a household. If she is of 
the peasant class and poor, she will labor in the field be- 
sides attending to her domestic duties. Yet women do 
not commonly perform the work of men in the field. 

The custom — or rather theory — of Persians requires 
woman's seclusion. Her costume is a sign of this se- 
clusion, and the greater and more inconvenient part of it. 
With peasants and the poor there is practically no harem, 
and little or no appearance of retirement except the wear- 
ing of the chadur, the loose cotton cloth or mantle which 
is thrown over the head, and which may be instantly 
wrapped about the person if it be desired to conceal tlie 
face from a stranger. On all ordinary occasions the 
chadur is laid aside while the woman is at work. It is 
only the very rich who can carry out into every-day life 
the Eastern theory of the harem. 

The system of polygamy is the great cause of the Mo- 
hammedan woman's degradation and misery. It is true 


that (he practice is impracticable to a great raauy. Many- 
Persians have but one wife. But the influence of the 
law and the public sentiment created by the system have 
all the effect upon her condition of the universal practice 
of the custom. The system takes from her all confidence 
in the permanency of the affection of her husband. It 
prevents all expectation of permanence in the marriage 
relation, because she agrees in the marriage contract to a 
divorce at the will of her husband. It fosters feelings 
of jealousy and occasions intrigue in the household. It 
should not be thought that poverty is any barrier to the 
practice of polygamy ; the rich men do not commonly 
have the largest number of wives. The men who are 
least able to bear the expense are often found to have 
several wives. 

Of all the social and religious customs, no one is more 
baneful in its influence over women than the custom of 
Sekah marriage. This is a system of concubinage under 
which there is no limit to the number of wives, and no 
requirement respecting the continuance of the relation 
except the agreement made by the contracting parties. 
It is legalized prostitution sanctified by a brief religious 
rite. However bad the physical effects of this system 
may be, these are not the greatest of the evils resulting 
from it. The effect on the woman's sense of honor and 
self-respect and on the morals of the people is yet more 
fatal. When marriage is treated by the law and religion 
as so light and trifling a matter, the people very natu- 


rally come to think that it is of no great sanctity, but a 
matter of convenience only. 

These statements relate to the Mohammedan women 
especially, and not to all the non-Mohammedans. There 
is no very marked difference between the state of the 
Jewish and Mohammedan women. There is some pride 
of race and of religion which protects, in some degree, 
the Jewess ; but the customs and laws of Islam are 
drawn very largely from the Old Testament. In the 
marriage contract the right of divorce by the husband is 
acknowledged by the woman and is at the man's option. 
Sekah marriages are frequent among Jews, but not so 
common as with Mohammedans. Polygamy is lawful 
and is practiced among the Jews. Jewesses are excluded 
from the synagogues and from the schools. They are as- 
signed to the gallery without, and obtain their view of 
what is passing in the synagogue through small holes left 
in the walls. By this arrangement there is a painful and 
sham attempt to perpetuate the distinctions made in the 
appointments of the tabernacle and temple by the sepa- 
rate courts for the men and for the women. No arrange- 
ment of a Persian synagogue is more effective to show 
woman's degradation and the vile, heartless character of 
the men than this outer gallery arranged for the females. 

Of all the women of Persia, the Christian women, 
even in the uureformed state of the Oriental churches, 
occupy the most honored place and have the happiest lot. 
But their condition is degraded by the influence of Mo- 


hammedan laws and customs. That influence requires 
conformity to Mohammedan notions of dress and seclu- 
sion — not in all particulars, but in many respects. It 
also inculcates in men ideas of women which are con- 
trary to Christian precept and influence. Armenian 
women wear the street-costume of Mohammedan females 
whenever they go upon the street. At home a handker- 
chief is worn over the mouth, tied about the lower part 
of the face and around the neck. Whatever other pur- 
pose it may serve, this indicates silence and submission, 
and is often thought to be a very important and useful 
custom, as any one would judge it to be who has heard 
the epithets and the torrent of words which a Persian 
woman can use when once she opens her mouth. An 
Armenian woman once poured out a flood of impudent 
words upon a man who had reproved her, when the man 
answered by a slap on her mouth. The woman com- 
plained to the priest, but he replied that had she kept 
the handerchief over her mouth she would not have suf- 
fered the indignity. 

Notwithstanding the Mohammedan environments, the 
Armenian women have an evident superiority in per- 
sonal comeliness, truth, chastity and all moral qualities, 
while in domestic happiness, security in the love of hus- 
band and family, permanency of the marriage relation, 
safety of life, possessions and honor, the comparison is 
all to their advantage. Whatever is hard in their lot 
is due mainly to the corruption of their own Christian 

Aruicuiau Women. 

Pa-u GO. 


doctrine and practice and the power of a Mohammedan 
government. They are lacking, however, in intelligence, 
knowledge and purity and in the whole current of life. 
It is rarely the ca^se that any Armenian women of the 
rural districts can read or write. In one suburban Ar- 
menian village, in a population of some two hundred 
souls, not one woman could read the Armenian Script- 
ures. Armenians of the cities offer a more favorable 

The question arises in this connection, " What has 
been or can be done to improve the condition of the 
women of Persia?" Nothing has been done except the 
expedients ado2:)ted by missionaries. There has been no 
marked change in Mohammedan laws and social cus- 
toms. The missionaries have done something in the 
way of mission-schools. Not more than two hundred, 
however, of all the million females receive the direct ben- 
efit of this education. The influence exerted in behalf 
of woman by female missionaries should not be despised. 
In time it will affect large numbers of the people, but it 
cannot be expected to do all that should be done for a 
radical change of woman's status in Persia. The growth 
of ProtCvStant Christianity will be in her favor, but Prot- 
estantism must suffer the power of Oriental social laws 
so long a time as Mohammedanism remains, \yoman 
never can attain to much excellence under these laws. 
Her future is determined by the same conditions which 
fix the fate of all the people of Eastern lands. Much 


may be done by individual conversions, the education of 
some and the improvement of a few communities j by 
this means an efficient contribution may be made to the 
general and public good. But a radical and general im- 
provement of the people can come only with the com- 
plete overthrow of the Mohammedan political power. 
There is a marked contrast in the proportion of male 
to female converts in Eastern Persia and in America and 
other Christian lands. In the latter there is a decided ex- 
cess of females. In Persia the opposite is true. The num- 
ber of accessions to the churches from the male popula- 
tion exceeds the number of additions from the female. 
There are two marked reasons for this difference. The 
men. are by custom the leaders in all public assemblies 
and changes. Mohammedan women attend the mosques, 
Armenian women attend the churches, but not in such 
numbers as do the men. When they go to these places 
of public resort they must be closely veiled and must oc- 
cupy a retired part of the auditorium. Another reason 
for the difference is the stronger prejudice and supersti- 
tion of the women. They hold to the old religion more 
firmly than their fathers and brothers do. Reason and 
argument have less weight with them to convince ; but, 
on the other hand, their opposition is less decided and 
active. The place assigned to the native woman in the 
old churches is either a gallery or the rear of the audi- 
torium, where a railing or picket separates her from the 
place given to the man. In the mosques the women oc- 


cupy one side of the room, as in some parts of Europe 
and America the division is made between the sexes. 
In mosques all the congregation sit or stand facing the 
Kabah, or place of prayer. In the tazeahs, or religious 
theatres, the men and women occupy separate sides of 
the room, sitting face to face, the women being veiled. 
I am not aware that any Mohammedan woman of Per- 
sia has become a Christian, although several Mussulmans 
have made a profession of their faith, and many have 
shown their dissatisfaction with Islam. 


Particular Account of the Opening of the Mission in Eastern Persia 
— Appointment of Mr. Bassett to Tehran — Tour of Exploration — 
Departure of Mr. Bassett and Family from Oroomiah for Tehran 
— Snowstorm — Incident in a Balakhanah of Kilishkin — Last 
Stage of the Journey — Mrs. Bassett. 

TTAVING introduced my readers to the country and 
people of Eastern Persia, so that they will under- 
stand some of the principal environments of the mission- 
aries and mission-work in that country, I will now give 
a more particular account of the mission in the part of 
the country I have described. 

The occupation of Eastern Persia by resident Ameri- 
can missionaries began with the settlement in Tehran of 
Rev. James Bassett in the fall of 1872. We speak of 
this settlement as the occupation of Eastern Persia, 
because the charge of work in Hamadan and also the 
supervision of native itinerant work in Khorasan was 
specially given to Mr. Bassett. At this time there was 
no mission of any Protestant society in the capital, nor 
had any been established in that city at any previous 
time. Excepting the independent work carried on in 
Ispahan by the British missionary Rev. Robert Bruce^ 
the American mission in Oroomiah was the only Protest- 



ant mission in the kingdom of Persia at that date. The 
mission in Oroomiah was founded in 1834 expressly for 
labors among the Nestorian Christians of Western Persia. 
But in 1871 this mission was transferred from the 
American Board in Boston, now the Missionary Board 
of the Congregational churches of the United States, to 
the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions, having its 
office in the city of New York, and plans were formed 
for the enlargement of the work of the mission so as to 
embrace the chief cities of Persia ; and the mission was 
henceforth known by the name of the " Mission to Per- 
sia." In pursuance of these plans Mr. Bassett was ap- 
pointed, while the mission was yet practically confined 
to Oroomiah, to occupy Tehran or Hamadan as he might 
think most expedient on visiting these two cities. The 
extended tours made by this missionary in the spring 
and summer of 1872 were preparatory to the occupation 
of one of these cities by him. He traveled from Oroo- 
miah to Tehran vid Tabriz. From the capital he jour- 
neyed to Hamadan and Seuah, returning to Oroomiah on 
the 18th of July. He remained in that city until the 
2d of November, expecting during the last ten days of 
this time to be joined by a missionary from the United 
States, who would go on with him to Tehran, where it 
seemed most expedient to begin work at that time. The 
lady missionary appointed in America to go to the capi- 
tal is said to have been unable, owing to ill health, to 
proceed farther than to Constantinople, from which place 


she returned to the United States. The gentleman re- 
ferred to preferred to remain in Oroomiah. Mr. Bassett, 
therefore, with his family, consisting of his wife and 
three children, left Oroomiah, as stated, for Tehran, go- 
ing by way of Tabriz. The party reached the capital 
on the 29th of November. They were favored with, 
fair weather and dry roads until they came into the 
vicinity of Casveen. Hastening on because of the late- 
ness of the season and to save the extra distance of the 
circuitous route of the plain, they crossed the spur of the 
Elburz between Horumdarah and Kilishkin, and on 
the summit of the pass encountered the first snowstorm 
of the season. They suffered no special inconvenience 
from the cold, for they had taken all needed precautions 
against it, and the distance over the pass was but one 
day^s journey. Mrs. Bassett rode with one of the chil- 
dren in a taktravan ; the other two children had their 
large covered and padded baskets in which they rode, 
the two baskets being swung, pannier style, over the 
back of a horse. The taktravan was well lined with 
felt to exclude the cold. 

At Kilishkin the party occupied a balakhanah, or 
chamber of the inn, the lower rooms being unfit to use. 
The chamber was constructed, Persian fashion, with five 
doors on one side of the room and opening over the 
court, and intended to be open in the summer. But it 
was now cold and stormy weather, and they were closed, 
though some of the fastenings were loose. While the 


other members of the party were busy here and there, 
the baby crept to one of the doors, and, raising herself to 
her feet by the aid of the door-frame, she put her hands 
and weight on the door, when it instantly flew open and 
the child fell out and over the doorsill ; but l\er father 
happened to be near, and saw her just in time to put his 
foot upon the few inches of the long skirt yet passing 
over the sill : this prevented the fall. The child was 
suspended between the door and the stone pavement 
below by the end of her long skirt, and so saved from a 
fall from the chamber upon the stones. 

The highlands, where cold weather might be expected, 
having been passed, the party came upon the lower coun- 
try of the plains of Casveen and Tehran, and traveled 
more leisurely and without sickness or harm. The last 
stage of the journey was made from near Meanjub and 
along the upper road to the village of Kend. From this 
road they had in the entire distance a view of the plain 
of Tehran on their right, and from near Kend for the 
first time they saw the capital. With what interest did 
they look upon this city now spread out before them, not 
only because of its relation to themselves as their pros- 
pective home and the end of a long and tedious journey, 
but also because of its relation to the future of mission- 
work in Persia ! 

They entered the city by the gate called " Asp Davon," 
or horse-race — so named from the fact that the road lead- 
ing to the race-course passes through it — and proceeded 


to the house prepared for their reception in the north- 
ern quarter of the city, known as Shimrou gate. It is a 
fact of interest that Mrs. Bassett was the first American 
lady to enter the capital of Persia. If we take into the 
account her journey of the previous year from Trebi- 
zond, she had within the last fourteen months traveled 
in a taktravan and by caravan, and with an infant in 
arms, not less than a thousand miles. Yet she wrote at 
the time that she had never been in better health nor 
more happy than when thus journeying in the heart 
of Asia. 


Tehran, Situation of — Temperature and Climate — Antiquity of Teh- 
ran — Changes in — Later Improvements — Population : Armenians, 
Jews, Guebers, Mohammedans — Mullahs and Shah — Foreign Le- 
gations—State of Society — Mission- Work previous to 1872 — Pros- 
pective Work of the Missionary — Native Assistants — Keligious 
Toleration — School Opened — Armenian Elders — Baron Matteos — 
Proposed Union of Schools — Departure of the Shah for Europe — 
Prime Minister — Shah's Wife — Conspiracy — Erection of a Chapel 
— Congregation at the Chapel — Opposition of the Archbishop and 
Elders — Action of the Authorities — Schemes Defeated — Arme- 
nians of Feruzbahrom and Zard Aub — Summer Retreat — Vanak 
— Violence of the Priests — Intemperance of the Villagers — Priest 
Megerditch — Heat of the Country — Sickness — Increase in Schools 
— Annual Meeting in Oroomiah — Return to Tehran — Rains and 
Floods — Persian Houses — The Work in Hamadan — Mechail and 
Reforms — Priest Oracale — Persecution — Transfer of Native 

AS we now enter a new field of missions destined to 

play an important part in the evangelization of the 

land, some account of the city which is the chief centre 

of the field seems to be pertinent to the subject and may 

be of interest to the reader. 

Tehran, the present capital of Persia, is situated on 
the northern side of a broad plain which runs nearly 
due east and west at the base of the Elburz Mountains, 
and opens into the north-western corner of the desert of 



Khorasan. From the city there is an unbroken view to 
the south-east far into the desert. Bat between the cap- 
ital and the barren regions of the desert proper there 
intervene the fertile plains of Ra and Varomene, 
stretching, together, a distance of some forty miles. 
The city stands within a semicircle of the Elburz and 
on the lower slope and southern face of Mount Shimron, 
one of the highest peaks of this notable range. To the 
north-east, some forty miles, the summit of the cone of 
Damavand rises to the height of twenty thousand feet 
above the level of the sea. The top of Shimron gains 
an altitude of nearly thirteen thousand"^ feet above the 
sea and nine thousand two hundred and fifty feet above 
the plain of Tehran. The environments, in the way of 
mountain and plain, are on a broad and grand scale, but 
they carry with them no cheerful and refreshing pros- 
pect, and can please, if at all, only by the feeling of 
grandeur which they inspire. 

This plain, although it is nearly two hundred miles in 
length, has no considerable stream of water in it. The 
Karaj, a small river, rises northward of Tehran, and, 
breaking through a rocky barrier in a narrow gorge, en- 
ters the plain some twenty-five miles westward of the 
capital. It flows southward across the plain and along 
the southern side of it, and at no point in its course is 
nearer the city than fifteen miles. The city, therefore, 
has no source for the supply of water except the con- 
^12,750 feet. 


naughts which have been excavated along the lower 
slope of Shimron. Near the foot of that mountain 
there is the appearance of some fertility, and the plain 
is dotted with villages, but in the greater part of it 
naught is seen but a treeless and arid waste, on which 
a glaring sunlight shines from a cloudless sky, and over 
which hot winds from the desert blow during half the 
year. The Elburz serve as a barrier to the winds from 
the Caspian Sea and the north. Clouds gather about 
the lofty cone of Damavand, but vanish as soon as they 
approach the heated borders of the plain. In the win- 
ter the mountains and plain are covered with snow and 
swept by strong winds. The former become impassable. 
The plain is not long covered with snow, great as the 
altitude is. The greatest degree of cold on the plain of 
Tehran is rarely below 10° Fahrenheit. The climate is 
distinguished for equability. The changes of the sea- 
sons come on very gradually. The healthfulness of this 
region varies greatly in short distances, owing no doubt 
to differences in the irrigation and drainage of the lands. 
In former years Tehran was afflicted with malarial and 
typhoid fevers, but of late there has been great improve- 
ment in the sanitary condition of the city, and it will now 
compare favorably with the most healthful places in the 
kingdom. It is the custom, however, of the European 
residents and of many of the natives to resort to the 
mountains in the hot season. Some four miles north- 
ward of the capital there is an extensive cluster of vil- 


lages known as Shimrouaut. These villages are the 
principal summer resorts. The whole district is dotted 
with the white tents of the army and of refugees from 
the heat and the mosquitoes and gnats of the plain. 

The importance of Tehran dates from the occupancy 
of the place, then a small village, by Agah Mohammad, 
the first of the Kajar tribe to obtain control of the king- 
dom and the founder of the Kajar dynasty. He was 
crowned king of Persia in 1796, but he made Tehran 
a rendezvous for his forces as early as 1776. After the 
erection of palaces and government buildings there was 
a gradual growth of the city until the year 1867, when 
the place is supposed to have had about sixty thousand 
inhabitants. At this date improvements were begun, 
and were carried on in the following years. The old 
walls were torn down, the area enlarged and a new moat 
dug. The newly-added area was laid out in wide streets 
after the plan of European towns. The improvements 
of a few years have made a very great change in the 
aspect of the city, rendering it more tolerable as a place 
of residence. It is now much more populous than when 
these changes began to be made. The tendency of the 
population in Oriental countries is to the capital. It is 
significant that the growth of Tehran has been greater 
in the last fifteen years than in the whole period of its 
previous existence, an interval of ninety-seven years. 
The growth is owing chiefly to the improved policy of 
the government. The reign of Nasir id Deen Shah has 


becD one of peace. He has encouraged intercourse with 
foreign governments ; he has made special effort to im- 
prove the capital. The increasing attractiveness of the 
capital has been felt by the people of other cities, to the 
loss of the latter. Comparatively little improvement 
has been made in other towns, but Tehran has grown 
with a rapidity equal to that of the most prosperous cit- 
ies of other countries. The growth compares favorably 
with that of some of the flush towns of the United 
States. It is barely a decade older than the city of Cin- 
cinnati, and has nearly as large a population. This, con- 
sidering the entire period of its growth, is certainly re- 
markable, especially for an Oriental city. The actual 
rapidity of progress is much greater than this statement 
indicates, for the larger part of the increase has been in 
the last fifteen years. 

The population of Tehran is representative of all the 
races in Persia. The Persian and Turkish stocks pre- 
dominate. The Persian language is the language of law 
and literature. On the opening of the mission the num- 
ber of Armenians in Tehran was about one hundred and 
ten families. Seventy households were located in five 
suburban villages. The Jews claimed three hundred 
houses. The Guebers were not more than one hundred 
and fifty souls. The number of Europeans was estimated 
to be one hundred, of whom one-half were English- 
speaking people. The balance of the population was 
Mohammedan. The Armenians were settled in two 


quarters of the city — one on the south-eastern side of 
the town, near the old gate called Shah Abd al Azeem ; 
the other on the western side, near the Casveen gate. 
The former community was the earlier settlement and 
numbered forty households. The latter had seventy 
households, and was made up by removals from the first 
colony. In each section there was an Armenian church 
and an officiating priest. The churches were dark and 
dismal places, built in the old style. They were con- 
structed of sun-dried bricks. A railing or picket fence 
in the rear of the audience-room separated the women's 
apartment in the church from that of the men and from 
the altar. The priests read the service in the ancient 
Armenian language, a speech unknown to the worshipers. 
A school had recently been opened in the western settle- 
ment, and a teacher had been imported from Constanti- 
nople. He was a member of the Roman Catholic 
Church, but did not profess to be in the employ of the 
Romanists. There was no free tuition, and the children 
of the poor were excluded. 

The Armenians, with few exceptions, are poor and 
ignorant; especially so are the inhabitants of the vil- 
lages. Among the Armenians of the city were several 
Russian subjects, much superior to their Persian co-relig- 
ionists in intelligence and wealth. These men were 
leaders in the Armenian community, and some of the 
Persian ArmeL.ians were of high rank and in the employ 
of the Persian government. By virtue of their descent 

Jews of Tehran. 

Page 87. 


from Georgian princes they received pensions from the 

The Jews of the capital trace the origin of their 
colony to the settlement of Hebrews in the village of 
Damavand, Avhich is near the mountain of that name. 
The place is about thirty miles eastward of Tehran. 
There was a colony settled here a long time before the 
founding of the Kajar capital. Some thirty families and 
the graves of their ancestors are the only memorials of 
the early colony. The Jews in Tehran are located in 
the eastern part of the city. The place is distinguished 
for poverty and filth. The people appear to have 
been more prosperous in former times than now. They 
gathered here from many places in the kingdom. Only 
those who had some property could live in the capital, 
but here the steady weight of Moslem rule has tended to 
their impoverishment and ruin. They possess ten syna- 
gogues, but every one of these, with a single exception, 
is no more than a small room in a dwelling-house. Jew- 
esses are not permitted to enter these rooms, but are con- 
signed to an outer gallery or vestibule, where they must 
see and hear through little holes left in the brick walls. 
In three of the synagogues schools were taught, but the 
course of instruction consisted of teaching the pupils to 
read the Hebrew Scriptures and traditions and to write 
the rabbinical character. The most influential men of the 
colony were physicians. Some of the Jews have been hon- 
ored by the Shah and have good place?, but the greater 


portion of them follow disreputable pursuits. They, as the 
Armenians and Guebers also, are manufacturers of wine 
and alcohol. They are fortune-tellers and exorcists, and 
they furnish secret retreats where Mohammedans can 
drink with impunity. The rabbi must slay every animal 
which is eaten, and the blood must be shed while he re- 
peats a formula. The Feast of Tabernacles is celebrated 
in booths erected in the courts of the houses, for the peo- 
ple fear to make these on the house-tops, lest they should 
be seen by their Mohammedan neighbors and they should 
suffer violence. On Saturdays and other sacred seasons 
the long veil is worn during the service of the syna- 

The Guebers of Tehran are, for the most part, mer- 
chants from Yezd. They deal in cotton, silk and woolen 
goods manufactured in Yezd and Kerman. Their re- 
ligious rites are practiced in secret, if at all. They have 
erected a "tower of silence'' for the exposure of the 
dead on the side of a desolate mountain about six miles 
south-eastward of Tehran and overlooking part of the 
ruins and plain of Ra. The top of the tower is ar- 
ranged with niches for the reception of the dead bodies. 
It is intended that the vultures shall consume the flesh, 
but these birds seem to be easily satiated : that which 
they leave is burned and the ashes and the unburned 
remains are thrown into a pit in the centre of the 

The most noteworthv institution of the Guebers at 

Burial-Tower and Plains of Ra and Tehran. 

Page 91. 


this time was a seminary for the education of the youths 
of both sexes. The school was under the management 
of an agent of the Parsees from Bombay. He resided 
in Tehran for the purj^ose of protecting the interests of 
his people in Persia. He brought funds from India, but 
these were so unfortunately invested as to occasion much 
loss and in great part to compel the abandonment of 
the educational scheme. The leaders of this movement 
represented the advanced class of the Parsees of India. 
Their school was ordered after the English schools, so 
far as ability permitted it to be. The studies were those 
of the English course. The religious doctrines and cere- 
monies of the Guebers were not conspicuous features of 
the instruction and discipline. The mission was of great 
service to the Guebers in many ways. By intercession 
with the Persian authorities the taxes were reduced or 
remitted wholly, and the Guebers enjoyed more liberty 
and security than before the establishment of the mis- 
sion of the Parsees. There was some prospect of en- 
lightenment for these people, if not of religious reforma- 
tion, and the lack of the largest success in the movement 
seems to be an occasion of regret to all the friends of 

With reference to the Mohammedan population of 
Tehran very little need be added to that which has been 
previously written. It will be remembered that the 
Persian Mohammedans are of the sect called the 
" Twelve f^ but the fact that they are considered by the 


Turks or Sunees to be heretics does not appear to aifect 
their feelings toward other religions. It has been as- 
sumed that they are more tolerant than Sunees because 
they have themselves been called heretics and have been 
persecuted. It is possible that there may be some diifer- 
ence in the feelings of these two great Mohammedan sects 
toward Christians. The difference, we think, is hardly 
perceptible, and if there really be any it is to be attrib- 
uted more to natural temper than to religious faith, and 
is due rather to political relations than to either of the 
other motives. The mullahs of the capital exert some 
influence over their order in the rural districts. It is 
not, however, the priesthood, but the secular govern- 
ment, which determines the measure of religious tole- 
ration. The religious orders may intimidate the people 
and greatly influence the Shah and his court. The Shah 
is a sincere and, possibly, a superstitious Mohammedan, 
but either his policy or his natural disposition has led 
him to exercise a measure of liberality which could 
hardly be looked for in one of his creed. 

In 1872 the foreign governments represented at the 
court of the Shah were — England, Russia, France and 
Turkey. In the course of the next thirteen years there 
were also the legations of Austria, the United States of 
America and Germany. The American missionaries 
were under the protection of the British legation ; that 
is, so far as the mission had any representations to make 
to the Persian authorities, such were made by the British 


legation. These representatives were provided with com- 
modious buildings in the city and on Shiniron. This year 
the British minister occupied, for the first time, the new 
premises in the northern part of the city. The build- 
ings had recently been constructed. The old legation 
was in the southern quarter, and had been sold to a Per- 
sian. The gentlemen connected with the legations and 
the chiefs of the telegraph corps were men of cultivated 
minds and manners. But it is to be said of many of the 
foreigners that their morals w^re not as good as their 
manners, and were not such as their social and official 
standing might lead one to expect. By contact with 
foreigners many of the natives were demoralized. Ar- 
menians especially felt the influence of the association, 
and female chastity was put at a low estimate by native 
women and foreign residents, while as yet the presence 
and influence of English and American women were un- 
known. The utter lack of a moral sense in the natives 
when their virtue is tried by the prospect of gain is con- 
spicuous and deplorable. In the case of Mohammedans 
this lack is supplied by a severe law with a terrible 
penalty which guards the sanctity of the Mohammedan 
home, but no such law has been enacted for Armenian 
households or for the non-Mohammedan people : they 
are left to the exercise of their own religious laws and 
liberty. It is true that the greatest licentiousness pre- 
vails among Mohammedans, but under conditions which 
protect the Mohammedan home from pollution by for- 


eigners. The Christian law may be plain enough, but 
that is set aside by the unscrupulous. Armenian pa- 
rents sold their daughters to foreigners to live in wedlock 
for a limited period. The practice was followed openly 
and without shame. In this way Armenian women be- 
came mistresses of foreign legations, and were conspicu- 
ous for an extravagant and luxurious style of living. 
Such relationship to foreigners was supposed to be a 
source of wealth and was greatly coveted by Armenian 
females. But in the course of a few years there has 
been a marked change in this particular, attributable 
to the influence of American and English families and 
Christian agencies. 

The Roman Catholic mission had been established in 
Tehran for some years, but its growth up to this time was 
small indeed compared with its expansion in the period 
covered by this narrative. Competition with Protest- 
ants appears to have been an important factor in the late 
enlargement of this mission. At this time there was no 
Protestant mission in the capital, and none had ever been 
established here. A Nestorian colporteur was sent from 
Oroomiah to this city in 1870. He opened a bookstall 
in the bazar, and frequently preached in private houses, 
especially in the house of Mr. Tyler, an English gentle- 
man and a teacher in the Shah's college. He was here 
during the severity of the famine, and left for India in 
1872, and thence returned to his home in Oroomiah. 
To the missionary in Tehran was committed the 


fouuding of the church aud the opening of mission- 
work there, and the supervision of the work previously 
begun in Hamadan. He and his family were now sepa- 
rated from all missionary associates by the distance from 
Tehran to Oroomiah, not less than five hundred miles. 
The nearest mission of any society was that of Mr. 
Bruce in Ispahan. There was no mission-station on the 
east between Tehran and India. At this time it was 
impossible to obtain any suitable Nestorian preacher to 
aid in the work in the capital. Mechail, an Armenian 
of Hamadan, had been called to meet Mr. Bassett in 
Tehran to aid in secular matters. A Nestorian named 
Baba accompanied the missionary from Oroomiah as a 
colporteur. He rendered efficient help as a lay worker 
in the villages and bazars. During the winter the mis- 
sionary resided in the northern part of the city. He 
applied himself to the study of the Persian language, 
and preached in the Turkish to Armenians who assem- 
bled at his house. In the following year he preached in 
the Persian tongue. 

In the beginning of the mission in Tehran it was to 
be remembered that religious liberty had not been given 
by the Persian government to its Mohammedan subjects. 
The law of the land, as commonly understood, does not 
permit a Mohammedan or the child of a Mohammedan 
to change his religious faith, and the penalty for apos- 
tasy is death. It is true that the law is, commonly, no 
more nor less than the caprice of the ruler, and that ca- 


price is fertile in expedients for doing whatever the ruler 
desires to do. But the religious authorities have great 
power, and the secular authorities may yield to the 
priests, and the caprice of the ruler may accord with 
their decisions. It was not certain that the government 
would permit missionaries to use the Persian language in 
Christian worship and instruction. It was also a serious 
question whether the secular authorities would permit 
the circulation of Christian books in that language. In 
view of the intolerance of Islam, as well as from con- 
siderations of special gain to the mission cause, all pre- 
vious missions in Persia, except that of Mr. Merrick, 
had been designed exj)ressly for some non-Mohammedan 
sect, as the Nestorians, Armenians, Jews or Guebers, and 
the religious or race language of the sect has been taken 
by the missionary as his specialty and as a medium for 
instructing the people of the sect for whom he labored. 
In Tehran the number of Armenians was so small as to 
make the sphere of mission-work very contracted if ef- 
fort were to be confined to them. If the missionary 
were to labor for them exclusively, and the Armenian 
language were acquired for this purpose, Jews and other 
people could not be reached. But all the people know 
the Persian. It was decided, therefore, to carry on the 
work in the Persian language so far as the labors of the 
missionary were concerned, in the hope that the religious 
instruction would be available to every sect and race. 
The decision has been justified by results, and the plan 


adopted has been contiuiied during the subsequent years. 
Whatever may be said with reference to the methods of 
work in other fields, this is undoubtedly the one best 
adapted to the condition of the people in Tehran. 

Early in the spring (March 6, 1873), at the request of 
several Armenians, a school was opened near the Cas- 
veen gate. An Armenian named Lazar was employed 
to teach ; he was not then a converted man, but subse- 
quently he gave evidence of a change of heart, and united 
with the Protestant church at the time of its organiza- 
tion. He served the mission as teacher, and later as 
preacher, until his death and during a period of nearly 
fourteen years. The school was opened with ten schol- 
ars. The attendance soon increased to fifteen and twenty. 
The Armenians now called a council to determine what 
their relations to the mission and school should be. 
Their purpose in calling the meeting was to oppose the 
mission, but temperate councils prevailed, and they de- 
cided that it was most expedient neither to encourage 
nor to oppose the work. The Armenians were to some 
extent favorably influenced by a young merchant fnjm 
Western Persia named Baron Matteos. He had been in 
prosperous circumstances and was of a wealthy family, 
but had suffered reverses in business. He had been con- 
verted through the preaching of Mr. Labaree. The 
social position and manners of this young man were 
such as to give weight to his words with many persons. 
He was quiet and gentlemanly, and gave evidence of a 


sincere faith. By identifying himself with the mission- 
work he incurred the ill-will of his own people. He 
and Baba rendered efficient service in the bookroom, 
which was in their care. Matteos in the next year re- 
turned to Tabriz, and was for some time in the service 
of the mission in that city. The Armenians now pro- 
posed a union of the two schools, on condition that no 
religious instruction should be given in it. Such a con- 
dition could not be accepted, and therefore the mission- 
scliool was continued. A large and influential number 
of this people are skeptics, but hold to the Church as 
a social organization essential to the perpetuity of the 
Armenian nation, language and literature. They desired 
to do much in the way of schools, but cared nothing for 
strictly religious doctrines and influences. 

In the mouth of April the Shah departed for a tour 
of Europe. The event created great excitement. This 
was the first visit to European courts undertaken by any 
Shah, and was thought by many people to be ominous 
of evil. Farhaud Mirza, the governor of Ardelan, was 
called to the charge of affairs during the king's absence. 
The day of departure was fixed by favorable omens. 
The Sad-r Azam, or prime minister, was the principal 
mover in the Shah's arrangements and in all the im- 
provements going on in the kingdom and capital ; but 
he brouglit down upon himself the displeasure of the 
mullahs and princes, and, most of all, the wrath of one of 
the king's wives, who was a great favorite of the king. 

Prime Minister in Court Costume. Page 103. 


It is said that he opposed the wish of this woman to ac- 
company the Shah to Europe, representing to the king 
that the woman would be an object of curiosity to Eu- 
ropeans, and by her costume would excite the mirth of 
the populace, which would be a dishonor to the queen 
and a source of mortification to the Shah. So the lady 
returned and occupied the palace at Neaveron, which is 
at the foot of Shimron. Here the mullahs and princes 
assembled during the king's absence and plotted the 
overthrow of the Sadr Azam. When the king returned 
to Anzile, he was there notified that the discharge of the 
Sadr Azam had been decreed, and that officer resigned, 
but was afterward appointed minister of foreign affairs. 
These events had their influence upon the court and 
populace, making them ill disposed toward foreigners. 
Some of the khans and their subordinates were insolent 
because they expected a restoration of the old order- of 
the government. 

The increase of the mission-school and the need of a 
place of worship made it necessary to construct a chapel, 
to be used also as a school -room. A small lot of land 
near the Casveen gate was purchased and a small build- 
ing erected thereon. It was completed May 1st, and 
opened for services on the 9th of May. The Moham- 
medan workmen employed in constructing this chapel 
were very anxious to make a show of their own religion, 
knowing that the building was for Christians and think- 
ing that their own fidelity to Islam might be questioned. 


They were very careful to be seen at the hour of prayer, 
and therefore spread their garments upon which to 
kneel in the most public places by the side of the street 
and on the wall. The Sabbath services in this chapel 
were a Sabbath-school and preaching. These meetings 
were attended by Armenians, Jews and Mohammedans, 
and the room was filled to its utmost capacity. This 
good attendance continued until opposition was stirred 
up by the archbishop and some of his people, so that the 
Armenian attendants were fearful of suffering violence. 
The archbishop came from Julfa near Ispahan in the 
month of August. In his representations to the king 
he asked that the Armenians might not be made respon- 
sible for the acts of the Protestants, and represented 
that parties from America had come to Persia with a 
view to the conversion of Armenians and Mohammedans 
from the faiths of their fathers. In July three influen- 
tial Armenians made complaint to the Naibe Sultan that 
the American missionary was endeavoring to subvert 
both the religion of the Armenians and of the Moham- 
medans. In consequence of this charge the naib sent 
a farash to the mission-school to see if there were any 
children of Mohammedans there. There were, however, 
no Mohammedan children in the school, and the farash 
so reported. Two children had been sent only a day or 
two before this, but, as the teacher was apprehensive of 
treachery, they were not received. Concerning the com- 
plaint about the conversion of Armenians, the naib is 


reported to have said, in substance, that since the mis- 
sionaries teach the same Bible as that used by Arme- 
nians, it could not be said that they sought to destroy 
the Armenian religion. The mission was thus permitted 
to continue its work, but the order of the archbishop — 
for he had forbidden his people to attend the Protestant 
services of public worship — the opposition of the priest 
and the fear of Mohammedans reduced the number of 
attendants at the cliapel to those who had virtually ac- 
cepted Protestant sentiments and to the circle of their 
friends. The chapel was constructed as chapels are in 
America, with the front door opening on the street ; but 
now the Armenians were so much alarmed, aud so fear- 
ful of violence being offered by Mohammedans either at 
the instigation of the mullahs or at the suggestion of 
some of the Armenians, that they desired the front door 
might be permanently closed aud an entrance made 
through the court. Their request was granted, and the 
front doorway was filled up with brick, and the vestibule 
used as a bookroom. 

About twelve miles west of Tehran there was a vil- 
lage owned by Mohammedans and inhabited by both 
Armenians and Mussulmans. It was called Feruzbah- 
rom and Zard Aub. The Armenians came to this place 
during the great famine, hoping to reap an ample har- 
vest, for the adjacent lands are noted for their abundant 
supply of water and for fertility. The dwellings were 
miserable huts of sun-dried brick, having arched roofs 


of the same material. The wretched occupauts of the 
village had perished of famine, and nearly every hut 
had fallen in part. About sixty Armenians now inhab- 
ited the broken hovels. They had no means of subsist- 
ence except such meagre aid as the owner of the village 
gave, to be repaid from the prospective harvest. The 
missionary and the colporteur Baba made frequent visits 
to this place, and established a congregation and school. 
Services were begun in January, and the school was 
opened in the month of May. All the villagers came 
to the meetings, and there was soon a marked change 
in them. They, as all Armenians are taught, believed 
that forgiveness of sins must be secured by the sacra- 
ments and absolution from a priest. They had no re- 
gard for the Sabbath as a holy day, and they did not 
hesitate to lie and cheat and swear. They now kept the 
Sabbath, and they were so alarmed at their state that 
some of them said, " There is nothing now that we fear 
so much as to lie and curse.'' The unhealthfulness of 
the place compelled them to seek a new home. A num- 
ber died of fever, and nearly all were sick. In the se- 
lection of another village due regard was had to health- 
fulness, and they chose Bohmain in the Elburz Moun- 
tains and in the vicinity of Damavand. This village 
nestles among lofty mountains, and its adjacent fields 
are supplied with water from mountain-streams. The 
winters are severe, but in this place they have health and 
a fair measure of success in farming. In 1880 an effort 


was made by the mission in Tehran to establish a Prot- 
estant viHage where the adherents of the mission might 
enjoy the aid and advice of the missionaries without op- 
position. Owing to representations made of the fertil- 
ity of the soil and the supply of water, the same local- 
ity was chosen, without knowledge or thought of the 
former experiences of the Armenians of that place. The 
sickness of all the people and the death of several in the 
course of the first year so disheartened the remnant that 
the project was abandoned. In the autumn of 1874, 
after the harvest had been gathered, the people of Fe- 
ruzbahrom removed to Bohmain, where they have lived 
until the present time. As they passed through Tehran 
going to their new home, they lodged for a night in the 
mission-chapel, being excluded from the Armenian 
church by their affiliation with Protestants. In Boh- 
main they have had the care and aid of the mission in 
the way of schools and a preacher. Three years after 
their removal a converted priest was sent to reside with 

Early in the summer there is an exodus of Europeans 
and native Persians from Tehran to the villages of 
Shimronaut. The missionary removed to the village 
of Vanak. This was the largest suburban settlement 
of Armenians. It is situated on a small plateau on the 
slope of Shimron. The site commands a view of the 
plain on the west and south, but the view of the city is 
obstructed by higher ground. Before the drought which 


preceded the famine of 1871-72 the place was supplied 
-with water and gardens, but in the time of famine the 
trees were cut down and sold. Many of the people left 
for more favored regions. The remnant were kept alive 
by the funds distributed by foreigners and contributed 
from abroad. The British minister supported many by 
paying wages for workmen to construct roads. The fimds 
contributed abroad were thus disbursed, and the refugees 
were employed in making roads to Gulak and Vanak. 
In the summer of 1873 there was but one garden near 
the village. It was just without the gate, and was 
owned by the aubdar of the Mustofe al Mamalake. Be- 
ing, as the name denotes, the overseer of the water, he 
could obtain a supply for his garden. TJie place was 
hardly worthy the name " garden," for it had so suffered 
from drought that but few trees remained. This village 
was chosen by the missionary that he might have oppor- 
tunity to labor for the Armenians who seemed to be 
specially inclined to give a favorable hearing. But the 
foreign Armenians of the city made a special effort to 
defeat his work. Money was given by them with which 
to open a school in the village. The sou of the elder 
priest of the village was employed by them to teach. 
The two priests, Abraham and Megerditch, were incited 
to oppose the mission. The people were forbidden by 
them to visit the missionary or to attend the Protestant 
relio^ious services. Priest Megerditch was stationed at 
the gateway to prevent the people from going to these 


services. Some of them, however, on one or two occa- 
sions left the village secretly, but on their return they 
were cursed and beaten by Megerditch. The feast-days 
were celebrated in the village with greater zest and ex- 
pense than was usual. At such seasons the entire male 
population drink wine and arak to excess, the liquor be- 
ing set out in large kettles and open jars in the courts 
of the houses and in the streets. In the fall the priest 
Abraham died and the charge fell to Megerditch. This 
man could hardly read the ritual, and could not read the 
Scriptures in the ancient language. Two years later he 
declared himself a Protestant. In the mean time, his 
wife had died, and by the laws of the Armenian Church 
he could not marry a second wife while a priest. He 
wished to marry again. His decision was considered a 
good indication by the mission, and was respected. He 
was admitted to the mission-school and training-class for 
young men. After having been in the school for several 
months he was sent to the Armenian settlement of Kara- 
ghan. Afterward, at his own request, he taught a small 
school in the village of Darooz, and finally was permit- 
ted to settle with his family in the village of Bohmain. 
Here he has remained until the present time, a consist- 
ent Christian and friend of the mission. Some of the 
prominent characteristics of this man disappeared at the 
time of his conversion. Before this he was a loud talker 
and a man of violent temper, but his subsequent life has 
been marked by great mildness and moderation. His 


wife and her father and mother were also of Vanak, 
and during many years, have been consistent members 
of the mission-church in Tehran. 

As the season advanced the heat became intense. The 
irrigation of the fields in the early summer and the 
stretches of verdure lessened somewhat the degree of 
heat, but it was felt in greater intensity when the har- 
vests were gathered and the irrigation of the land ceased. 
All the members of the missionary's family were pros- 
trated with fever and were obliged to seek cooler air on 
Shimron. On this occasion the forethought exercised 
at the opening of the mission seemed to be timely, for 
medical attention was cheerfully rendered by Dr. Baker, 
medical superintendent of the government of India's 
telegraph corps in Persia. To have resided in the vil- 
lage occupied by the British legation would have given 
the missionary the pleasure of English society and have 
shortened the distance to be traveled by the physician ; 
but the best interests of the work in hand seemed at the 
time to require that he should forego the pleasure and 
identify himself with the people for whom he came es- 
pecially to labor. 

Supervision of the congregation and the school near the 
Casveen gate required the missionary to reside in that 
part of the city. On returning, therefore, from Vanak, 
a house was rented in that quarter and near the chapel. 
The school for boys had been in session during the sum- 
mer, and was now attended by forty pupils. The at- 


tendance at the school of the old Armenian church had 
risen from twenty-five to sixty scholars, a number of 
wliom were admitted without charge. In fact, the 
school was now essentially a free school, thanks to com- 
petition \vith Protestant missions. 

The interests of the work in Tehran required the mis- 
sionary to attend the annual meeting of the Persian mis- 
sion to be held in Oroomiah. Mr. Easton with his wife 
and Miss Jewett had been appointed to Tabriz, whither 
they had gone in the summer. Going by chapar to Tab- 
riz, Mr. Bassett journeyed from that place to Oroomiah in 
company with Mr. Easton. At the village of Ola, near 
Salmas, they met one of the newly-appointed missionaries 
of the Basle society then on their way to Tabriz to open 
a mission of that society for the Nestoriaus. It was ar- 
ranged at the meeting in Oroomiah that two colporteurs 
should go to Tehran for service in Eastern Persia, and 
that two native preachers should be sent to be located, one 
in Tehran and the other in Hamadan. Up to this time 
the school in Shevarin had been in charge of Ohanes, an 
Armenian of the village, and the work in Hamadan had 
been cared for by Mechail. Both of these young men 
had been in Oroomiah and in the school at Seir for a 
time, having been taken to that place by Mr. Shedd in 
1869. The return of Mr. Bassett to Tehran could not 
be made before the 12th of December. The road was 
now covered with snow as far as to Sultaneah, a distance 
of nearly two hundred miles from Tabriz. The road for 


the greater part of the way lies over mountains and 
highlands. Violent rains prevailed along the valley 
of Tehran. In that city rain fell continuously during 
twelve days, and caused many roofs and houses to fall. 
There was not a dry ceiling to be seen in the city. The 
roofs of the best structures were found to be defective. 
The walls and roof of a chamber recently constructed over 
a part of the house occupied by the mission had fallen. 
The newly-made roof of earth, having become saturated 
with water, by its increased weight caused the main tim- 
bers to break, and in its fall carried the outer walls. 
Baba was sleeping in the room beneath, and was alarmed 
by the crash. He sprang from the bed just in time to 
avoid the heavy timber of the roof, which, crashing 
through the floor above him, fell into the bed from 
which but an instant before he had escaped. Most Per- 
sian houses are alike frail. If a stream of water strikes 
the unburned bricks of the walls, they dissolve at once. 
It is only by repeated sprinkling with straw and chaff, 
and frequent salting and rolling with a heavy stone 
roller, that the roofs can be kept in tolerable condition. 
The distress in Hamadan caused by the famine of the 
previous year had not entirely ceased with the harvests 
of this year. Aid had been sent to the needy from the 
famine fund. Opposition had been excited against 
Mechail, and he had been assailed by Armenians and 
Mohammedans on various pretexts, especially on the 
charge of a misuse of the funds. The charge wa3 


thoroughly investigated, and it appeared to have been 
made on account of, and in revenge for, his refusal to 
comply with all the demands made upon him. The 
Mohammedans charged him with being an agent of for- 
eigners. Some Armenians thought to harm the Protestant 
cause by injuring Mechail, for they knew him to be the 
most forward in the cause. A service was held, by per- 
mission of the priest Oracale, in the Armenian church. 
At the instigation of Mechail the handkerchiefs, cruci- 
fixes, crosses and paraphernalia of the old service were 
removed from the church, and tied up in a napkin and 
put away in the house of a priest, where they have re- 
mained. The entire community had become convinced 
of the error of the old forms of worship and demanded 
a reformation. A few persons yet held to the old ser- 
vice, and the priest yet officiated for their benefit. Per- 
sonal interest seemed to lead him to pursue a compro- 
mising course, whereby he hoped to keep the favor of 
the archbishop and his own flock. So long as he saw 
his own support to be assured he was quite willing 
that his people should take their own course. He seemed 
to have felt some distrust of the old order, and at heart 
to have entertained kind feelings toward Protestant sen- 
timents. He pursued this policy until the last. A suc- 
cessor has never been appointed, or if appointed has 
never been able to recover the lost ground. Mechail 
was not an ordained preacher. His zeal could not pre- 
vent the effects of some imprudence on his part. He was 


naturally progressive and aggressive, and the same spirit 
which impelled him in these first days of reformation 
now leads him to argue with the missionaries that the 
native Protestant Christians can manage the missionary 
work more economically and efficiently than the mission- 
aries themselves. 

The same methods were adopted to make Mechail's 
position untenable which are so common in like condi- 
tions. The Mohammedan authorities were set upon 
him, and their subordinates endeavored to extort money. 
He was obliged to leave the place, and he fled to Tehran. 
Here he was given charge of the bookstall in the bazar, 
with the privilege of laboring as he had opportunity 
among his people. At times he was appointed to preach, 
and was given charge of the chapel, but he did not succeed 
in holding an Armenian congregation any great length 
of time. A congregation gathered by the missionary was 
sure to run down on his hands, notwithstanding the fact 
that he had a fluent use of the Armenian tongue. The 
only worker in Hamadan during several months next 
succeeding these events was the young teacher of She- 
varin. A little later Mirza Abraham reopened the 
school in the city, and held the place with fair success 
as teacher during several years and until his death. He 
was an Armenian of Hamadan, a member of the Prot- 
estant church organized a few years later than these 
events, but he had been instructed in the schools of 
Hamadan only. 

Mechail and his Wife. Page 117 


The Nestorian preacher who had been appointed by 
the annual meeting to go to Hamadan, and who was or- 
dained for this purpose, conchided to remain on the 
plain of Oroomiah. The deacons Guergues and Babilla 
came on to Tehran as previously arranged. Their 
journey was made in the month of January, 1874, the 
most unfavorable season of the year for travel, but the 
time was of their own choosing. The road was covered 
with deep snows and the way was blocked for some days 
by heavy storms. Owing to the unfavorable season, the 
two deacons wTre permitted to remain in Tehran until 
the spring. Guergues had formerly been in charge of 
the bookroom in Tehran. As soon as the roads were 
passable, he went on to Hamadan, arriving in that city 
in April. Mechail and Babilla went with books to the 
villages of Karaghan and Hamadan. 


Persecution in Tabriz — Nestorian Helpers — Tour of Mr. Coan — Peti- 
tion of Nestorians— How Disposed of — Mr. Bruce in Julfa — Open- 
ing of School for Girls — Supply of Books — Proposed Distribution 
of Scriptures in Khorasan — The City of Yezd — Situation and 
People — Departure and Tour of Mechail and Babilla — Reception 
in Yezd — Summoned by the Mujtaheed — Peril — Interposition of 
the Governor — Flight of the Colporteurs — Eesults — Transfer of 
Native Assistants — Opening of School in the Eastern Quarter — In- 
temperance — Summer Eetreat at Tajreesh — Environments — Per- 
sian Monogamy — Religious Services — Affairs in Hamadan and 
Shevarin — Mission Removed to North Side of Tehran, called 
Shimron Gate — Description of Buildings — Removal of Girls' 
School — Training-Class — Course of Study — Summary of Schools 
— Annual Meeting in Tabriz — Arrival of Mr. Potter — Return to 
Tehran — Work of Mr. Potter — Affairs in Shevarin and Hama- 
dan — Tour to Hamadan — The Governor, Interview with — Trial 
of the Kathoda — Intemperance of the Native Persian Armenians 
— The Kashish Klianah — Ceremonies of the Khanah Described 
— The Khanah Suppressed — Taxes Relevied — Priest Oracale seeks 
a Remission of the Taxes — Negotiations with the Mustofe — The 
Priest Presents a Petition to the Shah — Teachers sent to Karaghan 
and Rasht — Summer Retreat — Ascent of Shimron — Reinforce- 
ments — Mr. Bassett's Tour to Tiflis — Rasht, Armenian Congrega- 
tions in— Sketch of Mission- Work and Results in Rasht — Baku — 
Armenian Congregation of Protestants — Armenian Priest — Ar- 
menians of Shamakha— Sargis, his Work and Character — Deten- 
tion of Reinforcements — Mission- and Bible- Work in Tiflis — 
Russian Sabbath — Departure of Missionaries to their Respective 
Fields — Miss Sarah Bassett takes Charge of the Girls' School — • 


Christian Literature in Persian — Condition of the Persian Script- 
ures — New Edition of Scriptures Sought — Mr, Wright and the 
British and Foreign Bible Society — Persian Hymns and Music — 
Attendance of Jews — Request for Jewish School — Sketch of Jew- 
ish School. 

TN February of 1874 there was a sore persecution of 
■^ the Mohammedans of Tabriz who were suspected of 
Christian sentiments. Information of the fact having 
come to Tehran by telegraph, the missionary in that city 
caused notice to be sent to the Mohammedans known to 
be attendants at the religious services, in order that they 
might absent themselves from the chapel for a time. 
The precaution, however, seemed to be unnecessary, as 
no attempt was made by the mullahs to do violence to 
any one. 

All the Nestorian preachers engaged for Tehran by 
the mission in Oroomiah failed to come. Deacons Elea 
and Shamoon remained in the western field. Priest 
Mosha came as far as Tabriz and entered the service of 
the mission in that city, being engaged to do so by Mr. 
Eastou and Mr. Coan. The latter, in view of his in- 
tended return to America, had arranged for a tour to 
Tehran and Ispahan. He left Tabriz in the month of 
March, going thence by chapar to the capital. The 
roads were in a bad state, owing to the rains and melt- 
ing snow. Remaining a few days in Tehran, he in com- 
pany with Mr. Bassett went by chapar to Ispahan, 
reaching that place in three days, on the 18th of April. 
They returned to Tehran on the 7th of May. Mr. Coan 


had special requests to make of the Persian authorities. 
These were embodied in a petition which was sent from 
the evangelical Nestorians, and which reached the capital 
after his departure. The objects named in the petition 
were — the release of the Nestorians who had been drafted 
to serve in the army as musicians ; the prevention of ex- 
tortion practiced on Nestorians returning from Russia ; 
relief from the violence perpetrated by the khans in the 
villages; relief from the exactions of the sarparast; and 
last, though not least, the recognition of the '* Evangelical 
Nestorian Church " as a separate organization having 
all the rights of other recognized sects, and having an 
agent resident at the court of the Shah with power to 
hear complaints and to refer matters to the Shah. On 
consultation in Tehran the last object was thought io be 
undesirable and opposed to the best interests of the mis- 
sion-work among all the sects of Persia, and was there- 
fore abandoned. The usually slow progress of aifairs in 
Persia prevented the authorities from giving attention at 
this time to the other objects named. The formal and 
written petition had not yet come to hand. These mat- 
ters, therefore, were left with the British minister. Soon 
after this the sarparast died, and this made any reference 
to his administration unnecessary. The minister inter- 
posed in behalf of the musicians. He was told by the 
Persian minister of foreign affairs that the young men 
would be permitted to return to Oroomiah on furlough, 
and that they would not again be called out. At the 


expiration of several months they returned to their 
homes. It should be noted here that non-Mohammed- 
ans are not required to render military service, but are 
taxed in lieu of such service. It was thought, therefore, 
to be unlawful and oppressive to compel Nestorians to 
enter the army in any capacity. 

It had been proposed that the American mission 
should occupy Julfa in case the Church Missionary 
Society should not do so. Mr. Bruce was now living 
in Julfa carrying on independent missionary work. It 
was undecided whether he w^ould remain longer than 
might be necessary to complete his revision of the New 
Testament. An officer of that society had stated to a 
member of the American mission that his society would 
not undertake work in Persia. However, a few months 
later the mission of I\Ir. Bruce was adopted by the 
Church Missionary Society as its own mission. Here, 
again, as in case of the Komanists, competition seems to 
have had a salutary eifect. There being no post between 
Ispahan and Hamadan, it was found to be most expedi- 
tious for Mr. Coan to return to Tehran. He journeyed 
thence to Oroomiah via Hamadan and Senah. 

A day-school for girls was opened in Tehran on the 
24th of April with twelve pupils. Schools were re- 
opened in the villages of Feruzbahrom and Darooz — 
the former for the benefit of the Mohammedans and a 
few families of Armenians yet living there who could 
not leave the village at that time. 


One of the most important departments of mission- 
work is the circulation by sale or gift of Christian books, 
especially the Scriptures. These books are required to 
be in nearly all the languages spoken in the kingdom. 
They were in Persian, Armenian, Turkish and Hebrew. 
The sources of supply were the Bible and tract societies. 
They were obtained chiefly from the American agencies 
in Constantinople. The books were conveyed by cara- 
van from Trebizond to Tehran. The British and For- 
eign Bible Society was the only publisher of the Script- 
ures in Persian. The Religious Tract Society of London 
very generously responded to calls for religious books in 
Persian, so far as any were extant in that language. No 
printing in Persian was done by any American society, 
but books in that language, especially the Scriptures, were 
obtained in great part from Dr. Bliss, the agent of the 
American Bible Society in Constantinople. The books, 
especially the text-books prepared for schools in the 
Armenian tongue, were much admired by the Persians 
for the excellent style in which they were gotten up. 

Two years previous to this time a proposition had been 
made by Mr. Arthington of Leeds, England, that two 
colporteurs should be sent from Tehran through Khora- 
san vid Yezd and Tubbes in the great desert, thence to 
return to the capital, the object of the tour to be the dis- 
tribution of the Gospels of Luke and John in the Per- 
sian. These Gospels had not been published in separate 
volumes, but, at the suggestion of Mr. Labaree of Oroo- 


miah, the American Bible Society, by its agent in Con- 
stantinople, arranged for the publication of these Gospels 
by the British and Foreign Bible Society, and the work 
of their distribution, according to the plan proposed, so 
far as practicable was committed to the supervision of 
the missionary appointed to Tehran. The books reached 
that city some two years later, and arrangements were 
made for their distribution. Mechail and Babilla hav- 
ing completed their work in the Karaghan district, and 
having returned to Tehran, were quite willing to go to 
Yezd on the proposed tour. It was suggested that they 
should go at once to Yezd, open a bookstall there and go 
on immediately to Mashhad. 

The city of Yezd is situated in the desert of Khora- 
san, but is surrounded by a small tract of some fertility. 
It is reputed to have a population of thirty thousand 
souls ; all are Mohammedans except about five thousand 
Guebers and fifteen hundred or two thousand Jews. 
The place is distinguished for its manufacture of cotton, 
silk and woolen goods, as w^ell as for its colony of Gue- 
bers. Of the colony of Jews, four hundred perished in 
the late famine. We have no record of the mortality from 
the same cause among the Guebers. 

Having taken a stock of Scriptures in Persian and 
Hebrew, and having been charged to " salute no man by 
the way,'' the two colporteurs set out for Yezd on the 
18th of May, 1874. They went to Kashan, and thence 
crossed the section of the desert which intervenes between 


Kashan and Yezd. This part of the way is very dreary. 
The stations consist each of a post-house and a few huts. 
They were very glad to have company by the way, and 
so found a traveler like themselves bound for the chief 
city of the desert. They told him of their purpose and 
work. When they had gone over the greater part of the 
distance their traveling companion Avished to hasten on, 
and as he carried no impediments in the way of books 
he could travel faster than they could, and as he had 
reached the settlements near Yezd, he had no special 
need of any protection which their company could afford. 
Before leaving them he advised them as to the caravan- 
sary they should occupy. 

On arriving in Yezd the colporteurs found that their 
coming had been made known. Their companion had 
reported with the view of preparing the way for them, 
and had added such embellishments as an Oriental only 
knows how to use. He sought, no doubt, to do a good 
turn to the colporteurs. The people came in large num- 
bers to the caravansary, and there was a decided run in 
the book business. But many persons came out of curi- 
osity. The business was reported to the principal muj- 
taheed, and he sent his farashes to bring the young men 
to his presence. This put a serious aspect upon the sit- 
uation, for the mujtaheeds are known to be zealous 
guardians of the laws of Islam, and not at all disposed 
to tolerate Christian books. The summons was alarm- 
ing, yet the colporteurs obeyed. The mujtaheed received 


them very coolly and declared the New Testament to be a 
lie. He then demanded that they should become Mussul- 
mans or convince him so thoroughly of the truth of the 
Bible that he should be constrained to become a Chris- 
tian. This is the usual prelude to violent acts on the 
part of a Mohammedan mullah. As he may resort to 
force, he has the conclusive argument. The mujtaheed 
ordered that Mussulmans should return the Scriptures 
purchased. The populace reflected the sentiments of 
the religious authorities. Some of the people attempted 
to stone the young men. These were so fearful of vio- 
lence being offered that they did not dare to lodge in the 
caravansary, but remained at night in the gardens with- 
out. The governor of the city, however, was very 
friendly. He sent word to the mujtaheed that as these 
men were in the service of foreigners, their case fell 
under the jurisdiction of the secular authorities and 
minister of foreign affairs. Having heard from the col- 
porteurs a statement of their affairs, he advised them to 
leave the city, owing to the evident evil design of the 
mujtaheed. They dared not leave the city by day, 
but withdrew in the night to the open fields near by 
and departed at early dawn for Ispahan. All their 
books, however, were sold, and the supply was wholly 
inadequate to the demand. We may reasonably believe 
that great good was done. The word was brought 
openly to light in one of the darkest places of Asia. 
The reception given to the Bible was owing, in great 


part, we may suj^pose, to the fact that the book had not 
before this been openly distributed in Yezd, nor had mis- 
sionary work been attempted there. 

From Ispahan the colporteurs returned to Tehran in 
the month of July. In i\\^ following month Babilla 
was sent to Hamadan to take the place of Guergues, as 
the latter wished to return to Oroomiah. He was will- 
ing to remain in the capital a few months, and was given 
charge of the chapel on the west side of town. A school 
was opened in the Armenian colony in the eastern quar- 
ter of the city, and religious services were held here on 
Sabbaths. There was not a house in the colony in which 
wine or arak was not made, and the missionary stipu- 
lated in renting the room that no wine or alcohol should 
be made or drunk on the premises. Every house was a 
drinking-den to which Mohammedans resorted for gam- 
bling and drinking. The manufacture and sale of al- 
coholic drinks is the most lucrative business in which 
the non-Mohammedans can engage : it could not be so 
profitable were there no Mussulman patrons. 

The season was far advanced before the missionary 
removed for the summer. The village of Tajreesh was 
selected for the summer retreat. It is the largest village 
of Shimronaut, and contains about five thousand people, 
all of whom are Mohammedans. It is some two miles 
above and north of the British and Russian retreats. A 
good supply of water, arable lands and a high altitude 
have all combined to make this the most desirable 


suburban village. It is surrounded by extensive gardens 
and groves of poplar, fruit and chinar trees. Many 
of the officers of the Persian government have their 
retreats here. The French legation occupies spacious 
grounds in the border of the village, and the Austrians 
for some time rented premises a short distance below the 
French. The village itself is a cluster of miserable 
hovels of Persian peasants, but it commands an exten- 
sive prospect of the plains on the south. The city, how- 
ever, is hidden by low hills at the foot of Shimron. 
Durinor the sunamer relieiious services were held on Sab- 
baths in the building occupied by the mission, and were 
attended by Armenians from the villages of Darooz and 
Yanak and by Mohammedans and Europeans. The 
garden and pavilion of Farhaud Mirza were adjacent to 
the premises occupied by the mission. Mrs. Bassett was 
occasionally a guest of the Persian ladies of the prince's 
household. The prince had but one wife, in deference, 
it is said, to the lady's family ; so also his daughter was 
the only wife of a prince. It is frequently the case that 
a Persian will forego the privilege of polygamy out of 
regard to the rank of his wife or from affection for her. 
This fact shows the popular judgment of the relation of 
polygamy as an institution to the women of Persia. 

A little way from the mission-premises was the gar- 
den of the king's treasurer and the king's son-in-law. 
The summer palace of this prince was on an extensive 
scale, and the grounds were spacious and were laid out 


in good taste. The owner of the property was suddenly- 
killed while the palace was yet incomplete, and it re- 
mains in about the same condition as that in which he 
left it. Yet the place is not so incomplete as to be un- 
worthy of the pretentious name which it bears — namely, 
Boghe Firdose, the " Garden of Heaven." This prince 
also had but one wife, for it was thought to be wholly 
unworthy and unbecoming his connection with the king 
for him to take another. 

At this time there was no marked change in the aifairs 
of the mission in Hamadan. The priest of Shevarin 
professed great friendship for the mission, and desired 
to have a school in that village. He was very friendly 
so long as his own son was employed as teacher and he 
practiced the old rites of the Church and taught the 
Church Catechism. This book is a curious work when 
considered in the light of Protestant sentiment. On 
visiting the school in the next spring the missionary ob- 
served that the catechism was taught, and he requested 
the children to recite it. In answer to the question, 
^' What evidence do you give of being a Christian ?" 
the reply was made, " I make the sign of the cross and 
take the sacrament." The old priest would not tolerate 
any other teaching, and finally became so hostile as to 
incite the people against the school and the Protestant 
worship. Ohanes was put in charge of the school, but 
in the course of the winter he was driven from the place 
by the kathoda of the village and the school was closed. 

Girls' School, Tehran. 

Page 133. 


There was now a promise of reinforcements from the 
United States for the mission, and it seemed to be im- 
portant to obtain premises adapted to the prospective 
increase of the mission-work. Buildings were to be had 
in the northern part of the city at a reasonable rental, 
and arrangements were therefore made to secure them 
with a view to their occupancy in the autumn. The 
place was situateil near the king's garden, Lala Zar, and 
between it and what is now the Tob Maidon. The build- 
ings were not all that could be desired, but they were 
ample. They were divided by four courts, each of 
which could be entirely separated from the othere. One 
of the divisions was appropriated to the use of the girls' 
school, and the rooms were furnished after the Persian 
fashion. This school had been opened in the house of 
an Armenian woman named Anna Haunum, near the 
old Armenian church, in the western part of town. The 
school was kept as a day-school during the summer. 
On the 8th of February, 1875, it was removed to the 
new quarters provided for it, and was opened as a board- 
ing-school w^ith nine pupils. On the 22d of the month 
the attendance had increased to fifteen boarders and two 
day pupils, under the supervision of Mrs. Abigail W. 
Bassett and Mr. Bassett. The instruction was in charge 
of Mirza ISIechail, and later was in the care of an Ar- 
menian of Tehran named Ohanes. A native woman 
had charge of the domestic arrangements, subject to the 

direction of the missionaries. The rooms of another 


part of the mission-premises were used for recitation by 
a class of young men who were preparing to be teachers 
and preachers. The class numbered seven pereons, all 
of whom, except one, were from Hamadan. All of them 
became membei*s of the church, and have led consistent 
Christian lives, and four of them are preachers in the 
service of the mission, three being in Tehran and its 
vicinity and one in Hamadan. Two of the class were 
sent to Roberts College at Constantinople in 1883, and 
after remaining there three years they returned to Tehran, 
where they are now employed as teachei-s. One of the 
class is in Hamadan, and is said by the missionaries of 
that city to be an efficient man and preacher. He has 
doubtless been greatly helped by the training and ex- 
perience obtained in Hamadan. These young men at 
this time pursued their studies in Armenian under the 
instruction of Lazar, who was considered the l^st scholar 
in ancient Armenian to be had in Tehran. They took 
lessons in Persian and Arabic from a well-qualified Per- 
sian, and they received instruction every day in the Bible 
and in Christian doctrine from the missionary. A large 
room in the building occupied by the mission was used 
for the services of public worship, and the missionary 
preached here every Sabbath for the benefit of the pupils 
of that school and the people living in that part of the 
town. There were now three schools in Tehran and one 
in the village of Darooz. 

Armenians and Mohammedans gathered frequently in 





■ 1 

S«i. ^ .Ji: 

; i\ 


i^ / if 

Training-class of Young Men. Page 137 


the book-room in the bazar for conversation with the 
native helpers and other Christians. There were also 
frequent visits of inquirers at the mission-premises. 
The number of scholars in the east-side school was now 
seventeen, in the west-side school thirty, and in the girls' 
school seventeen — making, in all the schools of the city, 
sixty-four pupils. 

The annual meetino^ of the Persian mission was this 
year to be held in the city of Tabriz, and it was neces- 
sary that the missionary at Tehran should attend the 
meeting. He therefore journeyed to that city by chapar, 
this being the fifth time that he had made the journey 
between the cities of Tehran and Tabriz. The mission 
recommended at this time an appropriation for the pur- 
chase of press and type by the station of Tehran for 
printing in Persian. The purchase of the press was 
made four years later. As previously arranged by let- 
ter, the missionary here met the Rev. Joseph L. Potter, 
who had been appointed to the mission in Tehran. Mr. 
Potter came from the United States by way of Constan- 
tinople, Trebizond and Van. At the close of the meet- 
ing the two missionaries journeyed to Tehran, reaching 
that city on the 21st of November, 1874. During the 
winter Mr. Potter gave his attention to the study of the 
Persian language, assisted in the secular business of the 
mission and preached in English to a congregation of 
foreio-ners now o-athered for Sabbath services in the mis- 
sion-premises. A large reception-room in these premises 


furnished ample and comfortable quarters for the services 
of public worship. 

The work in Hamadan demanded attention, and early 
in the spring the missionaries visited that city. The 
opposition to the mission-work in the village of She- 
varin has been mentioned. There was a division in the 
village between the adherents of the old Church and 
the advocates of reform. Opposition was being stirred 
up in Hamadan also. The governor of the city at this 
time was a brother of the Shah. He had represented 
Persia at foreign courts, and was a gentleman of refined 
manners and well informed in European affiiirs. It is a 
significant fact that he takes European and American 
periodicals. Courtesy required that the missionaries 
should call upon him. At the appointed hour they 
went to the palace. It was late in the afternoon and 
after the usual crowd of the dewan khanah had been 
dismissed. The prince had retired to his private apart- 
ments. The missionaries were conducted through a laby- 
rinth of corridors and rooms. Such an approach may 
be well calculated to impress the mind of an Oriental 
with an idea of the sanctity of the person who dwells 
within, but no such impression is made on the mind of 
one accustomed to Western ideas of business and the 
value of men. It is not to be assumed, however, that 
Western ideas are necessarily better than those of the 
East in this particular. In Europe and America the 
common estimate of men is affected very much by the 

Governor of Hamadan. 

Page 141. 


extent of the lauds through which the house is ap- 
proached or by the extent of the factory and quantity 
of machinery in view of which one passes to the man 
who controls the establishment. The Asiatic has not 
yet formed his estimate by this measure. 

The prince entered the room wearing a cashmere gown 
trimmed with fur and reaching to the instep, and em- 
broidered Persian slippers of Rasht work. He resem- 
bles the Shah in stature and features. The room was 
furnished with a Persian carpet, curtains and chairs. 
Reference was made to the conduct of the kathoda of 
Shevarin in reply to the question of the governor if 
there was anything he could do for us. We asked if 
there was not liberty for Armenians in religious matters, 
to which he replied, '^ Yes, there is religious liberty for 
everybody in Persia." The kathoda and priest had pro- 
fessed to act in obedience to the orders of the archbishop. 
The governor advised that we refer the matter to the 
prince, an officer of the Tehran government, w-ho owned 
the village, saying that if this person did not attend to 
the business he w^ould himself see to it. The conduct 
of the kathoda was referred to the prince, and a hearing 
of the case was appointed. The kathoda had threatened 
Protestants, and had said that if they continued their 
efforts " blood would be shed.'' The prince expressed 
doubts at first w^hether the case did not fall within the 
jurisdiction of the archbishop as the head and ecclesi- 
astical ruler of the Armenians. To this it was replied 


that the missiou did not recognize the authority of the 
archbishop, and that it rested with the authorities of the 
secular law to say whether any persons in Persia had tlie 
right or privilege of changing their religious faith and 
worship. Christians, Jews and Guebers were permitted 
to become Mohammedans, and it was understood by the 
mission that the religious liberty of these sects was rec- 
ognized by the Persian authorities, and examples were 
cited, as in Tehran, Oroomiah, Ispahan and other places. 
To this view of the case the prince assented, saying that 
if any of the people of Shevarin desired a school or to 
hold religious services they ought not to be prevented. 
The result was that the prince ordered the kathoda to be 
bastinadoed then and there. The missionaries, however, 
had no desire to see the man harmed, and at their re- 
quest he was discharged on promising never again to 
interfere with the schools and congregation and on giving 
bonds to keep the peace. The prince inquired, " What 
shall be done with the priest?^' He deserved to be 
turned out of the village, as he had driven the Protest- 
ant teaclier away, but the missionaries not wishing to 
retaliate, he was permitted to remain in the village. 
Unfortunately, in this case the teacher was intemperate. 
Tins fact was no real apology for the conduct of the 
priest and kathoda, nor was it any cause of their action, 
for they also drank. 

The complaint against the teacher was started at this 
time, because of the known temperance sentiments of 



L ! 



Armenian Priest. Page 145. 


the mission, it beiug said that he did not represent the 
mission. It may have been thought to have some in- 
fluence with Mohammedans by such a charge, yet it 
could not have nmch weight with them, for tlie habits 
of all tlie Armenians were too well known to them. 
When the missionary, in the presence of the prince, said 
to the kathoda, " How can you, who drink and are 
drunken, make such a complaint of this teacher ?'' he 
could only reply, " We are drunken in the night, but 
this man is drunk in the daytimej^ The teacher recon- 
ciled all parties, however, on the temperance question by 
signing a total-abstinence pledge. At this stage of the 
mission-work it was impossible to find Armenians of 
strictly temperate habits. All non-Mohammedans are 
in the habit of drinking wine or arak, usually both. 
While they extol temperance in sentiment, they think it 
no sin to drink. Priests and people, therefore, use wine 
to beastly excess. We cannot expect them to become 
advocates of temperance until they have been instructed 
and reformed. But it is a marvel to wdiat excess of drunk- 
enness they will go in secret. Drunkenness by day is 
one of the, great improprieties. Such is the force of 
this custom that intemperance practiced during many 
years is often concealed. 

Guergues and Babilla having left Hamadan, Caspar, 
of the training-class, was appointed a temporary supply 
of the congregation. Some of the people had opened the 
Kashish Khanah, so called by Armenians, but Falgier 


Khanah, as named by Mohammedans and Jews ; that is, 
" house of magic art." The literal translation of the 
first name is " priest's house/' so named, it is said, be- 
cause first opened by a priest. The writer once held a 
conversation with a man who had charge of the Kashish 
Khauah during several years. The ceremonies practiced 
in the place were simply the repetition of selections from 
the New Testament and ritual and other sacred books 
for the cure of the sick and for other objects. An exten- 
sive business was carried on in this house in writing the 
passages of the Bible and the prayei's on parchment and 
paper, to be used as talismans and to be laid on the sick. 
Mohammedans were the patrons of the establishment. 
When asked if he thought the business was right, he 
said that he did so consider it at the time. When asked 
if he knew of any cures of diseases being effected by the 
ceremonies and prayers, he replied that he did. He jus- 
tified the traffic carried on by saying that there could be 
no harm in reading the Bible to the people and reading 
or reciting prayers for them. He justified the sale of 
the talismans by the financial straits of the colony and 
the exactions of the Persian authorities. The Moham- 
medans, he said, filched from Christians, and to take ad- 
vantage of them in return is, he argued, entirely justi- 

Whatever the fact may be as to the efficacy of these 
prayer-houses, it is certain that some of the people have 
great faith in them. But many resort to them in des- 

Armenian Patriarch, Page 149, 


peration as an expedient in emergencies. The mission- 
ary had required that the Kashish Khanah should be 
closed, but there were some persons in the colony who 
yet adhered to the old order of things or acted independ- 
ently. The matter having now been considered with 
the people, the missionaries informed the priest Oracale 
and the congregation that the mission would withdraw 
from them entirely unless the khanah were abandoned. 
They therefore gave a written agreement not to open the 
institution again, and that should any one do so he 
should be excluded from the congregation. Matters in 
Hamadan and Shevarin having been adjusted as far as 
seemed to be possible at this time, the missionaries re- 
turned to Tehran. 

In the course of a few months after the events re- 
corded above the Persian authorities relevied the old tax 
of two hundred and six tomans on the Armenians, and 
the colonists were not able to pay it. This tax had been 
levied many years before under an assessment made when 
the colony numbered one hundred houses of some seven 
hundred souls, but the colony now comprised no more 
than thirty houses, or about two hundred souls at the 
most. Priest Oracale came to Tehran for the purpose 
of getting the tax remitted. The priest remained in 
Tehran during several months. The secretary named 
Mustofe al Mamalake had charge of the assessments, 
but he committed the business to subordinates, who re- 
sorted to all manner of expedients to extort from the 


people. Tlie mustofe finally agreed to obtain a firman 
from the Shah remitting the whole tax, provided he were 
paid the equivalent of the tax for one year and twelve 
hundred bottles of wine. The sum of money was finally 
discounted to one hundred tomans, the amount paid and 
the firman issued to be delivered on receipt by the mus- 
tofe of twelve hundred bottles of wine. These were 
afterward sent from Hamadan, and the firman obtained. 
Since that time the Armenians have been free from the 
oppressive tax. 

There was a curious incident connected with this aifair. 
It is a custom with the Shah to permit the presentation 
of petitions to himself as he passes through the streets. 
This is made possible by the order of escort which is 
adopted. In that order there is a long space between 
the van- and rear-guards. In this space the Shah rides 
or walks alone. Footmen called shahteers — that is, 
spears of the king — walk on the highway on either 
hand of the Shah, separated by wide spaces. A person 
wishing to present a petition stands with his paper on 
his bare head and close by the road where the Shah will 
see him. The priest of Hamadan, having become weary 
with delays, concluded to try a petition, and so stood in 
the highway. He wore, as usual, his black gown, and, 
uncovering his head, placed the paper on it. He was 
seen by the king, who after inquiring of a shahteer who 
the man was, ordered the petition to be received. The 
petition was for the relief of the congregation from the 


taxes. The Shah wrote on the back of the paper this 
order to the miistofe : viz. ^' Examine the taxes of the 
Armenians of Haniadan and report to rae.'' Nothing 
further was heard until the above-mentioned proposal 
of that officer. The taxes were remitted for this year, 
but in the following year were again demanded, the rea- 
son assigned being that the wine had not been delivered. 
It was forthwith forwarded to the mustofe. 

At the close of the school-year young men of the 
training-class were sent as colporteurs to Karaghan and 
to Rasht. Earnest requests for schools and teachers had 
been received from both these places. From the former 
place the request first came in 1873, but the increased 
work and expense could not then be undertaken. The 
summer retreat this season was the village of Tajreesh, 
but the house rented was the only one that could be ob- 
tained. It was on the margin of the village, and so 
exposed on the north and east to the heat of barren 
lands as to become in the course of the summer ex- 
tremely hot, although the altitude of the mountain at 
this point is not less than five thousand feet above the 

Some account of a day of recreation in the mission 
may be a pleasant episode in our narrative. The two 
missionaries set out for the ascent of Shimron. The 
mountain is very precipitous, yet a road has been con- 
structed by which beasts of burden pass very near the 
summit. " Starting," writes Mr. Bassett, " at dawn, Au- 


gust 19th, we followed the road by Sayedabad. From 
this place there is no more than a blind trail of goat- 
herds. We led our horses over the greater part of the 
ascent. In some places the rocks seemed to be impass- 
able, but by a zigzag course we picked our way over the 
huge rocks and up the steep sides of the ravines. Hav- 
ing been told that there is a glacier on the northern slope 
of the mountain, we passed below the highest point, go- 
ing to the opposite side ; but we found no more than a 
few drifts of snow in the shaded places. Not a plant 
or a shrub grew on the mountain-side. Patches of green 
grass were seen in places where the snow had recently 
melted. The highest point of snow was found to be 
11,950 feet above the sea-level. Near this point we ate 
our luncheon, and Mr. Potter noted that water boiled at 
189° Fahrenheit. We began to return by crossing the 
highest point, now covered with sunlight and clear of 
snow, and found that my barometer indicated an alti- 
tude of 12,750 feet. From this summit we had a fine 
view of the mountains on the north and of the gorges or 
valleys of the Shah Rud and Jorje Rud. On the south 
were the mountains of Karao^han and broad stretches 
of the desert and country toward Koom. At our feet 
were the plains of Ra and Tehran and the city nine 
thousand two hundred and fifty feet below us." 

Word having been received of the arrival at Constan- 
tinople of reinforcements for the mission, it was arranged 
that Mr. Bassett should go to Tiflis to meet those persons 


of the party who had been appohited to Tehran. This 
seemed to be necessary, for the route through Georgia 
and Persia is difficult to one who has not a knowledge 
of the languages spoken in those countries or who is not 
acquainted with the mode of travel customary in them, 
and an escort is indispensable to ladies unaccustomed to 
the country. The missionary left the capital on the 
24th of September, 1875, going vid Rasht and Baku, 
the most direct route to the capital of Georgia. The 
road to Rasht crosses the plains of Tehran and Casveen 
and the Elburz Mountains, and passes through the jun- 
gle of Gelan, a distance of twenty-five miles. Rasht is 
the principal emporium of the Caspian sea-coast in Per- 
sia, but the seaport is about eighteen miles north-westward 
of that city and on the northern side of the bay called 
Mord Aub. While in Rasht opportunity was given the 
missionary to investigate the condition of the Armenians 
and to consider the expediency of opening mission-work 
here. Religious services were held in the house of an 
Armenian named Zohrab. The tw^o young men from 
Tehran had opened a school. One of them gave his 
attention to colporcage. The Armenians had no school, 
but soon after this began one in the house of the priest. 
It was started in opposition to the mission effort. The 
priest opposed the Protestants from the first. He had 
been abroad in Europe for the purpose of obtaining 
funds wherewith to complete the two churches under his 
care, one in Rasht and the other in Anzile. The walls 


of both structures were nearly completed, but work had 
ceased for lack of fuuds. These were obtained, how- 
ever, in a year or two, and the structures finished. 

The mission-work begun in Rasht at this time has 
been continued until the present day. It was inter- 
rupted in 1876, but resumed in the following year. It 
was again suspended by reason of the plague. Mechail 
was living here with his family when the plague first 
appeared, and he thereupon returned to Tehran. This 
scourge was attended with great mortality, but fortu- 
nately was not communicated to any other city in the 
kingdom. In the autumn of 1883 a church was organ- 
ized in liasht, and has been sustained, and supplied with 
native teachers and preachers from Tehran. The organ- 
ization of the church was the immediate result of the 
labors of Mirza Lazar, the first teacher in Tehran. He 
taught and preached in Rasht in 1881-82, with much 
efficiency and acceptance. It has been difficult to find 
native Persians of other places who are willing to live 
in Rasht as teachers and preachers, owing to the un- 
healthfulness of the Caspian Sea coast. 

The missionary continued his journey by steamer to 
Baku. Arriving at this place on Sabbath morning, he 
went immediately to the place of worship of the Prot- 
estant congregation. He had been informed of this so- 
ciety by an Armenian whom he met in Rasht, and who 
was a passenger on the steamer. The people were now 
assembled for worship, and were led by Avek Yartinoff, 


an Armenian and member of the police. Making him- 
self known to this man, he addressed the people, and an 
appointment was made for him to preach in the after- 
noon. The congregation met in a priv^ate house, having 
no place or house of worship. It was understood that 
the Russian authorities would not permit the erection of 
a church by this society, the organization not being rec- 
ognized by them. There was a marked contrast between 
the appearance of the Armenians of this place and their 
coreligionists of Persia. The former seemed to be in 
much better circumstances than the latter. This con- 
trast may be observed in all the Armenians of Russia. 
By invitation the missionary dined with the priest of 
one of the principal Armenian churches of Baku. This 
man in the early years of his priesthood had professed 
Protestant sentiments and went to Germany, entering 
the service of the German missionaries ; but the priva- 
tions to be met were much greater than he had antici- 
pated, and he returned to the service of the Armenian 
Church. A pleasant and tidy family gathered at the 
table over which the priest and his wife presided after 
the customs of Europeans. Arriving at Shamakha, the 
missionary met the leader of the Protestant Armenians 
of that place. The mission of Sargis has been aided by 
the Germans with funds for the erection of buildings 
and support of schools and teachers. The pastor of this 
flock is now an old man, and is disposed to retire from 
the active duties of his charge. He is in many particu- 


Ijii's a rcMKii-kahk; man — nMuarkahh^ for lils ])i('ty, iiitcl- 
Icci, scli'-sacrilu^o and acOiii^vciiuMils. II is \\i\\ lias hccn 
oncoflrial and extritiiiu; iMiuTgciicies, and the work lie 
lias acconiplislicd is an example to all his j)(M)j)le who 
would IxMielit their race. Considering the work to which 
lie has been (tailed, it seems to have been fortunate that 
he has chosen a celibate life. 

On arriving at Tiflis the missionary received word 
of the detention of the reinforcements at Constantinople 
on account of the sickness of a son of Mr. Labaree. It 
was arrang(>d, however, that the other members of the 
party should conw on to Tiflis, and thence go on to Per- 
sia. A week must elapse before they could get to Pote. 
During this time the missionary made the accpiaintance 
of some of the Armenians and Nestorians of that city. 
There was but a small band of the latter 2)eople. The 
Armenians of Tiliis are many and prosperous, but no 
Protestant mission has been oj)ened among them, ow- 
ing to the restrictions j)ut on such ellbrt by the Russian 
government. The British and Foreign Bible Society 
has sustained a depot of its publications and an ag(uit 
here. Mr. Watt was the successful agent of that socnety 
at this time. He had sold many thousand coj)ies of the 
Scriptures to the soldiers of the Russian army. The 
missionary was much im})ressed with the absence of Sab- 
bath observance in Russia. The Sabbath is the great 
market-day, and from this circumstance has come the 
Turkish and Mohammedan name of the Christian Sab- 

Baku Mu86ulman and Wili;. 1 „>^., u,l. 


bath ; that is, Bazar Guen, market-day. The churches 
were opened for worship and the shops for trade. The 
eutii-e contents of the shops appeared to have been turned 
into the streets. The highways were blocked with loads 
of wood, provender, vegetables, furniture, clothing and 
everything that market-men and merchants have to sell 
or that people are supposed to want. 

The party from Constantinople having come to Pote 
and Tiflis at the appointed time, arrangements were 
made for the journey to Persia. Mr. Stocking had now 
come from Oroomiah, and accompanied Miss Van Duzee 
and Miss Pogue to that city to engage in the mission- 
work there. Miss Sarah Bassett having been appointed 
to the mission in Tehran, she, in company with her 
uncle, journeyed to that city, where they arrived in the 
month of December. She immediately took charge of 
the girls' school, making her home in the building oc- 
cupied by the pupils. Though not then acquainted with 
the Armenian language, she was able to superintend the 
business and domestic arrangements of the school, and 
in the course of the following year was able to superin- 
tend the instruction in the Armenian, language. 

One of the most seriously-felt wants at this time was 
a Christian literature in Persian. There were almost 
no published works in that tongue to use as text- 
books or with which to supplement the teaching of the 
missionaries. There was much in the Armenian that 
was available for Armenians. The books prepared in 


Constautinople, though differing somewhat from the 
vernacular of Persian Armenians, are fairly well under- 
stood by this people. But in the Persian language there 
is no trace of Christian literature, except the few books 
which have been prepared within the last fifty years, 
which may all be counted on one's fingers. Martyn's 
translation of the New Testament and Glen's version 
of the Old Testament are the ones commonly used. 
Attention was given to the form of the Persian Script- 
ures by the missionaries in Tehran. The only edition 
of the Old Testament was an octavo volume of 1658 
pages. The New Testament was an octavo volume of 
532 pages, and the entire Bible was made up of these 
two bound in one volume of 2190 octavo pages. The 
great size of the book was a serious obstacle to the gen- 
eral circulation and use of it. Th-e members of the 
Tehran mission recommended (February 25, 1876) to 
the British and Foreign Bible Society that it issue an 
edition of the entire Scriptures in Persian in a small 
form suitable for general circulation. The recommenda- 
tion was adopted by that society, and as soon as practi- 
cable thereafter such an edition was published. Rev. 
William Wright, the superintendent of publication of 
the society, responded promptly to the request of the 
mission, and was ever ready to encourage the work of 
Bible distribution in Persia. The Bible-work in that 
land owes much to his encouragement and efficient aid, 
sustained by the noble society which he represents. The 


whole-souled and manly spirit which that society by its 
officers exercises toward the weary workers in desert and 
dreary lands is truly refreshing. 

A small collection of translated hymns, prepared at 
first by Deacon Yohannan in Tehran in 1874, having 
been revised and enlarged by Mr. Bassett, was now pub- 
lished at a Mohammedan press in Tehran (March, 1876) 
for the use of the mission. This appears to be the first 
and only collection of Christian hymns in the Persian. 
A few hymns were translated and added by Mr. Bassett 
in 1884. This little book has been used in the services 
of public worship since the time of the first edition until 
now. The preparation of sacred song for worship in 
Persian is one of the most difficult of tasks. Persians 
have no music which can be used in religious services. 
In fact, they have no music at all which is not an im- 
portation. The music of the Armenian Church is no 
more than reading and intoning. The Mohammedans 
have a method of chanting a few well-known pieces, but 
these are unwritten and are not suitable to Christian wor- 
ship. In the preparation, therefore, of sacred song the 
most common expedient is to use the music of English 
and American churches. These tunes are composed for. 
English verse. Only a few of these measures are found 
in Persian poetry. In some countries the custom, with 
missionaries, is to write the foreign words in English 
measure ; but this cannot be done in Persian without 
such a departure from the rules of Persian versification 


as to shock the good taste of the iutelligent and edu- 
cated Persians. In the first hymns some were cast in 
the English measure to correspond with the music to 
which the words are set in English books, but in later 
translations it has been the purpose to follow the rules 
of Persian prosody. 

In the autumn of 1875 and the following winter and 
spring there was a large attendance of Jews at the ser- 
vices of public worship on the mission-premises. As 
many as one hundred were sometimes present, also a 
goodly number of Armenians and some Mohammedans. 
The Jewish women were at all times the most disorderly 
persons in the congregation. In fact, all were quiet and 
respectful except them. They would talk aloud during 
the service with reference to all they saw and heard. 
The reproofs of their husbands and fathers were not 
sufficient to keep them in order. A result of the inter- 
est taken by the Jews was a request for a school in their 
colony. There was delay in acceding to the request, be- 
cause that suitable buildings could not be had. There 
was now a school for Armenian children about half a mile 
from the Jewish quarter. Arrangements were made later 
to send the Jewish children to this school. The first week 
one hundred and twenty-five children attended. It was 
found to be necessary to limit the number. These chil- 
dren walked through the streets and bazars from the 
Jewish to the Armenian quarter. They were often set 
upon by Mohammedan children and Mussulmans and 


beaten. It was necessary to obtain the services of police- 
men to protect them as they went and came. Some 
months later the Armenian children were transferred to 
the school on the mission-premises and a house rented 
for the school in the Jewish quarter. The lack of funds 
caused the closing of the scliool in 1880, but it was re- 
opened in the following year under more favorable 
auspices, and was continued with good results. In 1883 
an attempt was made by certain Jews to break up the 
school. The assistant teacher, a rabbi, was forced to 
leave the school with the children in his department. 
The principal of the school was a converted man and 
a member of the church at the time of this opposition. 
He appealed to the Persian authorities. His life had 
been threatened and the school-children were beaten 
from the door of the school. The parents of many of 
them were fearful, and the attendance was in this way 
greatly reduced. The authorities, however, finally caused 
the leaders of the opposition to be arrested and fined. 
The school was first opened with Mechail as superin- 
tendent; after him Caspar had control; but in 1881, and 
until 1884, the principal was a converted Jew named 
Baba, a physician of Tehran. 


Organization of the Church in Tehran— Need of a Confession — Char- 
acter of the Converts — Contributions— Hosein Ale, his Parents 
and Work — Preparation of Mohammedans for the Gospel — Rela- 
tion of Officers of the Persian' Government to Missionaries — 
The Sadr Azam — Colporteurs in Casveen — Summoned by the 
Governor — Their Work in the Villages — Hamadan — Changes of 
Preachers — Arrival of Kasha Shamoon — Sale of Books — Interest 
among Jews — Narrative of the Work among the Jews — Trials and 
Aims of the Jews — Firman for their Protection — Their Appeal to 
the British Society — Changes — Special Services — Publication of 
the Tract Primer — The Censor of the Press — Testimony of the 
Mujtaheed concerning the Primer — Other Translations — Mr. 
Potter's Tour to Mashhade Sar and Quarantine — Boute to Mash- 
hade Sar — Work of the New Missionaries — English Services — 
Statistics of 1878. 

/^NE of the most interesting events in the history of 
^^ this mission was tlie organization of a church in 
Tehran on the 26th of March, 1876, with a member- 
ship of twelve native Persians. Of these, ten men and 
one woman were Armenians, and one man was a con- 
verted Mohammedan. Three elders and two deacons 
were chosen and ordained. The elders were Lazar, Me- 
chail and Usta Abraham. The deacons were Caspar and 
Carepet. A short summary of doctrine and a covenant 
were adopted, and the same were subsequently used at the 

organization of the church in Hamadan. It is possible 


that a confession may not he necessary for every church, 
yet it would seem to he important on mission-fields, for 
many reasons. Tiiere is for the whole Church no com- 
mon standard of belief, as in American and European 
churches, and in the present hostile attitude of the sects 
it would be difficult, if not impossible, to form one ex- 
actly in accord with the sentiments of one sect which 
would not be objectionable to another. That only would 
be satisfactory which is very general and elementary, 
comprehending the essentials of Christian doctrine. In 
the absence of such there is danger that the native 
preachers, each for himself, will undertake to form a 
creed for his church. 

The Armenians, having been baptized in infancy, 
were not rebaptized ; the Mohammedan convert was 
baptized. All these }3ersous had been examined in their 
knowledge of Christian doctrine and duty and their evi- 
dences of piety. All professed a change of heart. After 
twelve years of acquaintance with them I know not that 
any one of them has denied the faith either by word or 
act. In succeeding years other persons have united with 
this church, and it gives promise of permanency and 
future influence. The members of the church began 
immediately to contribute of their income according to 
their ability. Contribution-boxes were put in the cha- 
pel by the side of each door ; an account of the collec- 
tions was kept by the deacons, and the annual report 
showed results creditable to the church. "Several of the 


members were teachers, and others were pupils, iii the 

Of all these no one excited more interest than tlie con- 
vert from Islam. He was not the only one who was 
thought by the mission to be prej)ared for membership. 
He had been intimate with the native Christians and ac- 
quainted with the mission for nearly a year before making 
a public profession. His change of sentiments was, at the 
time, unknown to his family. Later, however, the fact 
became known to his mother, and then to his father, 
but they were anxious to conceal it. At first it was a 
source of great grief and alarm to his mother, who used 
every endeavor to change his purpose. Finally, when 
the report came to the father, he caused his son to be 
bound, and began to beat him, threatening to kill him ; 
but his mother, hearing the noise, appeared on the scene 
and pleaded for her son. She was a first wife, and so en- 
titled to more consideration than the other three wives. 
Her authority was recognized. The sou, however, was 
not a favorite with his fixther, owing to the schemes of 
later wives, Avho wished to alienate the property. Ho- 
sein entered the service of the mission as a colporteur, 
and was very successful. He had two wives. To one 
of these, however, he was only betrothed, after the cus- 
tom of the country. But that betrothal could not be 
broken any more readily than a marriage contract. It 
may seem not to be demanded by the Christian law that in 
such case he should be required to put either wife away if 


they were both minded to live with liim after his change 
of religion. It is to be said, however, that Moham- 
medan marriage is not Christian marriage. Tlie relation 
formed in it is from the first looked ui)on by both par- 
ties to the marriage as, possibly, a temporary one. The 
Mohammedan wife agrees to a divorce on payment of a 
stipulated sum. The divorce is not attended with any 
dishonor, but is taken to be a matter of course. The 
relation of husband and wife does not rest upon mutual 
affection, nor is it formed, at first, on any such ground. 
There are instances, no doubt, in which the divorce 
should not be insisted upon as a qualification for church- 
membership. The condition and necessities of the par- 
ties to be separated should be considered. From the 
first engagement of this man with the mission he has 
been a colporteur until now. He carried the Scriptures 
to the people on the plains of Ra and Varomene. He 
placed the Bible in several mosques in Tehran, where it 
was secretly studied by students of the schools. He car- 
ried books to Koom and Kashan on several occasions. 
In 1878 he was called to Mashhad to take charge of a 
depository in that city. He remained here during the 
year, laboring Avith marked success until his return to 

The inquiry may arise why Mohammedans in Persia"^ 
are not affected by missionary labor? In answer it may 
be said that mission effort when directed to the two 
classes, Mohammedans and nominal Christians, finds 


them in veiy different coDclitious of mind. The former 
have no intellectual and religious preparation inclining 
them to accept the distinguishing doctrines of the gos- 
pel. Whatever of Christian truth has reached them 
has come in the distorted and perverted form presented 
in the Koran, and is intended to prejudice their minds 
against the Christian statement of the gospel. In every 
people which has been brought under the power of that 
gospel there has been a long period of preparation be- 
fore any great reformation has been effected. 

Officers of the Persian government seem to be very 
cautious not to identify themselves in any way with mis- 
sions and missionaries. They are less cautious in the 
country than in the capital. Here association with the 
representatives of a foreign religion might be made use 
of by rivals, and any suspicion as to their religious pro- 
clivities would be equivalent to social ostracism. The 
men of rank have political and social standing which 
they guard with great caution, and to which they sacri- 
fice every other interest. Men who are known as pro- 
gressives among their own people furnish no exception 
to this statement. The late Sadr Azam had the reputa- 
tion among Europeans and Persians of being a very lib- 
eral man, and of having used his influence for progress 
and the improvement of Persia. He cultivated friendly 
relations with foreign governments, and sought to intro- 
duce to Persia the education and arts of Europe. But 
as a reformer and progressive he was a great sham. His 


improvements did not extend beyond the adornment of 
the capital and the construction of a few telegraph-lines. 
In fact, he seems not to deserve the credit of the latter 
improvement. He interfered more with missionary work 
than the most bigoted Mohammedan who has held the 
office of minister of foreign affairs in late years. Every 
mission in Persia suffered restrictions during his admin- 
istration ; his appointees as sarparasts were most imbecile. 
He issued stringent orders concerning Mr. Bruce's work 
in Julfa ; he put restrictions on converted Jews in Ham- 
adan ; and finally he issued, ostensibly by command of 
the Shah, those orders which made all foreign missiona- 
ries in that land a body of police to guard Mohammed- 
ans against Christian influences. AVhen we consider that 
he was reputed to be more infidel than Mohammedan, and 
that his private life was understood to be licentious, his 
conduct with reference to missionaries can be reasonably 
accounted for only on the supposition that he was partic- 
ularly desirous that no suspicion of sympathy with a 
foreign religion should rest upon himself. 

At the close of the spring term of the school two 
young men were sent to the city of Casveen and the ad- 
jacent regions for the purpose of selling the Scriptures 
and other religious books. The city is wholly Moham- 
medan except a few Armenian inhabitants. Many of 
the people are Baubes, but secretly such, and outwardly 
are identified with the ruling sect. The colporteurs oc- 
cupied a room in the caravansary, where in the course 


of a short time they were visited by many purchasers 
of books. Some of the mullahs complained to the gov- 
ernor of the work, and he ordered that Mohammedans 
should not purchase. This order, he claimed, was for 
the protection of the colporteurs. No doubt he expected 
to reap a double advantage, assuming to protect the book- 
sellers and the interests of Islam. He ordered the young 
men to appear before him to investigate the reports. On 
the evening of June 19th two farashes were sent to con- 
duct them to the governor's palace. They obeyed the 
summons, taking with them copies of the Scriptures. 
When asked what the doctrines of the Protestants were, 
they gave in reply a copy of the New Testament. The 
governor read portions of it, and pronounced it a good 
book. He said that he could not prohibit the sale of 
the books, because duty had been paid on them as ar- 
ticles of merchandise. He assured the colporteurs that 
he would protect them. They found, however, that the 
people had been so alarmed and that the mullahs were so 
opposed that their work was now at an end in this place ; 
they therefore departed for Karaghan. One of them went 
on to Hamadan ; the other spent the season in going to 
the Mohammedan villages between Karaghan and Sava. 
He openly offered the Bible for sale in the bazars and 
maidons of thirty-four villages, and sold a goodly number 
of books to the Mussulmans, yet met with no opposition. 
A new impulse was now given to the work in Hama- 
dan. I have stated that in consequence of the with- 


drawal of Deacon Guergues from that city Caspar had 
been sent thither. Guergues returned to Oroomiah in 
June, 1875, and in the following October, Caspar re- 
turned to Tehran to pursue liis studies, and Priest Sha- 
moon was sent from Oroomiah to take the place made 
vacant in Hamadan, and arrived in that city on the 6tli 
of November. He preached in the Turkish language to 
the Armenians ; he also gave attention to the sale of 
books. The bookstall in that city was now resupplied. 
Several boxes of the Scriptures in Hebrew were sold to 
the Jews. Books in Persian and Armenian were also in 
demand. The Protestants were now for the first time 
organized into a church. The first members were all 
Armenians, but in the course of the following two years 
much religious interest was excited among the Jews by 
the labors of the priest. This interest seemed to reach 
its height in the winter of 1877-78. Previous to this 
date no Jews were attendants on Christian worship. In 
1877 some thirty Jew^s of Hamadan professed Christian 
sentiments, but they were not prepared for membership 
in the church, and inany of them w^ere moved to favor 
missionary eifort among themselves from the expectation 
of political and secular advantage, hoping to receive pro- 
tection against the extortion of Mohammedans. They 
wished the American mission to furnish them with 
schools. Manj- attended the preaching of Priest Sha- 
nioon. Meetings for religious worship were held in the 
houses of some of the people. The movement was met 


with the old spirit of intolerance, and persecution fol- 
lowed. The Jews of the synagogue sought the support 
of the Mohammedan authorities. The leaders of the 
Christian party were Doctors Jan and Raheem, and a 
jeweler named Hyim. Raheem was in favor with the 
authorities. The old party refused the Christian Jews 
entrance to the synagogues, baths and markets, on the 
pretext that, being Christians, they were unclean. The 
Christians sought to overcome opposition by an appeal 
to the Mohammedan authorities. At the solicitation of 
the Christian Jews, Mr. Bassett undertook to obtain an 
order from the Persian minister of foreign affairs for 
their protection. Such an order was issued. It declared 
the riffht of Jews to chano^e their relio-ious views and 
forms of worship and to become Christians or Arme- 
nians, and forbade any one to molest them in any way; 
but the same firman declared the right of tlie Jews to 
the undisturbed exercise of their religious rights — to own 
baths, shops and markets, and to admit or exclude there- 
from whomsoever they would. This virtually sustained 
the right to exclude Christians. On this account the 
firman was not satisfactory to the reformers. They 
wished to compel the Jews to admit them to the baths 
and shops. A little later certain Armenians advised an 
appeal to Mr. Bruce and to the missionary societies of 
the Church of England, with a view to obtain the polit- 
ical or personal rights sought. Letters were written to 
the American missionary in Tehran having charge of the 


business saying that the old Jews must be forced to open 
their markets and shops to Christian Jews, and threat- 
ening a union with British societies unless such advan- 
tage could be obtained for them by the Americans. The 
missionary replied that no such orders could be reason- 
ably expected or asked of the Persian government, and 
that the petitioners should be content with the liberty of 
their own convicti(ms and personal rights. In 1878 a 
petition for schools and aid was drawn up by, or at the 
instigation of, an Armenian, signed by the greater part of 
the proselytes and forwarded to Mr. Bruce, and was then 
sent by him to the London Society for Promoting Chris- 
tianity amongst the Jews. A favorable response was 
made by that society, and two years later two missiona- 
ries were sent by them to the Jews of Hamadan, but were 
withdrawn in 1884. 

Mr. Potter left Tehran September 4, 1876, to attend 
the meeting of the Persian mission to be held in Oroo- 
miah. He went to Tabriz, and thence to Oroomiah, in 
company with Mr. Easton. Mirza Mechail started for 
Rasht on the 20th of the same month to labor in that 
city. A few months later he was obliged to leave Rasht 
on account of the prevalence there of the plague. The 
week of prayer was observed by the church of Tehran 
in the first week of the year 1877, the members of the 
church and the missionaries conducting the exercises. 
In the spring of this year two of the training-class were 
sent to Hamadan and vicinity to labor as colporteurs. 


The native teacher Ohanes returned to Shevarin, and 
one of the training-class was sent to take liis place in the 
village of Tchenoktche in the mountains of Karaghan. 
Priest Megerditch was, at his own request, permitted to 
labor in the village and in the adjacent settlement. In 
Tehran special services for inquirers were held on Fri- 
days, and the articles of the confession were at stated 
times explained to the members of the church and to 
all who thought of uniting with it. 

The translation of the American Tract Society's Tract 
Primer having been completed by Mr. Bassett, that 
society made an appropriation for the publication of it. 
Some delay was occasioned by the effort to have the 
work printed in London, to secure better work, but it 
was found to be less expensive to publish it through a Mo- 
hammedan press in Tehran. The publication led to some 
interesting incidents showing the relation of the mission- 
work to the Persian authorities. It is required that 
every book printed shall be approved by the censor of 
the press before publication. His seal must be put upon 
the manuscript before the printer can put the work in 
the press. The seal of the censor was committed by him 
to his mother, as was also the prerogative of examining the 
manuscripts. When the manuscript of the Tract Prim- 
er was presented to her for her approval, she observed 
the illustrations and noted that the book was a Christian 
work, and ordered her scribe to examine it closely. The 
examination being comjjleted, she said that she would not 


affix the seal to it, and that she had a mind to send both 
the book and the scribe who assisted in preparing it to the 
Shah. The scribe was a Persian mullah, and feared to do 
anything more in the matter. The printer, however, was 
more courageous and persistent. The subject was finally 
referred to the minister of science, who said that he would 
affix the seal provided any mujtaheed of Tehran would 
give his written approval of the publication. The man- 
uscript having been taken to one of the mujtaheeds, he 
examined the work and discovered the expression " Jesus 
the Son of God.^' This he declared to be blasphemy and 
opposed to the teaching of Islam. Another judge of the 
religious law was more liberal, and wrote to the minis- 
ter that as Mohammedans acknowledged Jesus to be a 
prophet, it would be lawful to print any book which 
honored him. On receiving this note and the usual fee, 
the seal was attached to the manuscript and the work 
was put into the hands of the printer. But these nego- 
tiations and examinations were protracted through the 
year, so that the work was not printed and bound until 
the spring of 1878. 

In the spring of 1877, Mr. Potter began the transla- 
tion of Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, Lazar began the 
preparation of a geography in Persian, and Mr. Bassett 
arranged to supervise a translation of the Gospel by 
Matthew into the Gaghattai Turkish. Information hav- 
ing been received that reinforcements for the mission 
would reach Persia in October, Mr. Potter volunteered 



to meet them at the Caspian port and escort them to 
Tehran. He left the capital on the 3d of October, go- 
ing to Mashhade Sar, a port of the Persian Caspian coast. 
The plague had now nearly disappeared from Rasht, but 
there was no communication with the place, and pas- 
sengers on steamers bound for Persia were obliged to 
land at other places. He remained in Mashhade Sar 
twelve days awaiting the party. The steamer having 
made a second trip, and no information having been re- 
ceived from them, he thought it best to go to Baku, 
thinking to meet the party there. He says : " We 
reached Mashhade Sar October 9th. On the 12th the 
steamer arrived, and it was ascertained from the cap- 
tain that the boat did not run to Baku, but to Cape 
Apscheron, about three hours above Baku, and further 
that there was a strict quarantine at tlmt point, a very 
unpleasant place to go through. As the captain very 
kindly offered his services to forward letters and mes- 
sages to Baku, and to bring the party to Mashhade Sar, 
I concluded to take the captain's advice and send word 
to the party to come on to Mashhade Sar, and myself to 
remain at that point. After waiting twelve days the 
steamer again came around, and the captain not being 
able to get any information of the American party, I 
concluded to go to Apscheron, with the intention of 
trying to go through quarantine and proceed to Baku 

"Leaving Mashhade Sar October 24th, nine hours' 


run brought us to Aschurada, and thence to Apscheron, 
where we arrived on the 27th, and I concluded to go 
into quarantine. My baggage was duly disinfected by a 
vapor of carbolic acid, and my money washed with some 
chemicals, and I took up my quarters in the summer 
tent with a dozen narrow bedsteads. The next day 
(October 28) the Astrakan steamer came in, bringing 
the expected party and releasing me from quarantine, to 
my inexpressible delight. I immediately re-embarked 
on the steamer, along with Mr. and Mrs. Scott and Miss 
Schenck, on our way to Tehran, where we arrived Friday 
night, November 9, 1877." 

The route by Mash hade Sar crosses the highest regions 
of the Elburz Mountains and passes near the lofty peak 
of Damavaud. The pass is in many places very precipi- 
tous, but is fairly passable by the roadway which in late 
years has been constructed by the order of the Shah. 
The borders of the Caspian are here, as at Easht, a 
dense jungle and noted for malaria. In the summer and 
early autumn it is considered unsafe for Europeans to re- 
main long in this region. Mr. Potter was taken ill with 
chills and fever on the return, and did not recover until 
after several months. 

In the arrangements of the missionary work Miss 
Schenck was associated with Miss Bassett in the super- 
vision of the girls' school, and Mr. Scott preached in 
English at the residence of Col. Smith, where for two 
winters the service of the Church of England had been 


read by some one of the English residents. The service 
was discontinued, as usual, in the spring, and Mr. Scott 
gave his attention to the study of the Persian. 

About this time our religious services were attended 
by many Baubes. One of them was a very persistent 
caller, and brought to me several copies of the writings 
of the Baub of Akka. But in time he became very in- 
dignant that we did not accept the tenets of the sect, 
and charged that Christian teachers were as obstinate 
as Jews and Mohammedans, and contended that all who 
rejected tlie clear testimony furnished by the Baub ought 
to be put to death. There is in Tehran a representative 
or vakiel of the Baub. He looks after the interests of 
the sect in Persia, receives the communications of his 
superior in Syria and superintends the distribution of the 
messages and the preachers and the remittance of funds. 
This man called upon us at the mission-premises. He 
appeared to be a man of about sixty years of age. He is 
very corpulent and stout and is closely shaven. He was 
very desirous that we should listen to him, but his dis- 
course was highly figurative and mystical. The princi- 
pal points which he attempted to show were that the 
divine Person has always been manifested in the world 
since the creation. The manifestation was in the prophets, 
and later in Jesus Christ and Mohammed. The Baub, 
he claimed, is the last or latest revelation of Deity. 
A month later he called again, bringing his son-in-law, 
a resident of Savah. The vakieFs name is Hajah Mullah 


Ismael. His visit was preceded by a servant bearing on 
a tray a present of rose-water, pomegranates and figs. 
The conversation of Ismael was of the same essential 
character as that of the previous visitor. It is indeed 
strange that thes.e people should risk so much for so 
absurd a delusion. The Baub himself was once a resi- 
dent of Tehran. His adherents have been moved with 
a zeal worthy of a better cause. The profession of the 
tenets of the sect is severely punished, in many cases 
with cruel torture and death. 


Departure of Mr. Potter for America — Departure of Mr. Bassett for 
Mashhad — Proposed Translation of the Gospel of Matthew — 
Colporteurs and Books for Mashhad — City and People — Fanatical 
Character of the Pilgrims and Mullahs — The Jews of Mashhad 
— Skeptics — Success of the Book-Agents Hosein and Daiid — 
Sequel of the Work in Mashhad — Book-D^pot and Colportage— 
Mirza Daiid — His Work — Return to Tehran — Captive Geor- 
gians of Abasabad — Purchase of Premises in Tehran — Titles to 
Eeal Estate — Persecution of the Teacher in Karaghan — Sup- 
posed Secular Authority of Missionaries— Persecutions in Ram- 
adan — Journey of Mr. Bassett to Hamadan — Visits Karaghan— 
The Armenian Settlement — Visit of Elders — Preaching — Dese- 
cration of the Sabbath — The Priest of Bargoshad — School — 
Journey by Night — A Village in Need — Appeal for the Sick — 
Arrival in Hamadan — Visit of the Jews — Their Wants — Jcavs 
Baptized — Audience with the Governor — Summer Work — Jews 
in Tajreesh — Marriage of the Rev. Mr. Potter — His Return to 
Persia — The Press — New Premises Occupied by the Girls' School 
— Sickness of Mrs. Scott — Return of Mr. Scott and Family to 
America— His Death and Character — Persecution of Jews in 
Hamadan — Orders of Persian Officers — Work in Tehran — Divis- 
ion of Bible- Work — Return of Mr. Bassett to the United States 
— Sickness by the Way — Work in London — Summary of the 
Work in Eastern Persia. 

TN February, 1878, Mr. Potter left Tehran for the 
UDited States, going by post to Tabriz and TIflls, 
thence by Pote and the continent. 


Shrine of Reza. 

Page 18.1 


Mr. Bassett had been authorized by the British and 
Foreign Bible Society to make a translation of Mat- 
thew's Gospel into the Takah dialect of the Turkmans, 
sometimes called the Gaghattai. He left Tehran in the 
month of April, going to Mashhad with a view to the 
introduction of the Scriptures there, and for the purpose 
of completing the arrangements made with the Bible 
Society for translating. Mechail and Carepet were to 
accompany him as colporteurs. Several boxes of books 
were sent on by caravan with these men as far as to 
Shah Rud. The missionary followed later by chapar, 
overtaking the colporteurs and caravan, according to 
appointment, at that place. All caravans were escorted 
from this point, a distance of four days' travel, by a 
company of soldiers, this part of the route having long 
been considered unsafe, owing to the raids of the Turk- 
mans. A lengthy account of this journey has been 
given in another volume, and need not be repeated 

No place in Persia is so sacred to the Sheah as INIash- 
had, for here is the grave of the only Imam buried in 
that kingdom. It has been called the '' holy," in honor 
of the eighth Imam, who was interred here. There is at 
all times a large number of pilgrims in the city from 
every Mohammedan country in Asia. It might be 
thought that so noted a place would exhibit the high- 
est type of Oriental architecture, but, the shrine of Reza 
excepted, there is nothing noteworthy in the city. The 


streets are narrow, crooked and filthy, the central ave- 
nue alone excepted. Whatever attempt has been made 
in the way of building and decoration appears to have 
been exhausted on the shrine of Reza ; but of this noth- 
ing is visible to the traveler entering the city or to one 
without the walls of the shrine, except the gold-tiled 
dome and lofty minarets. The broad avenue leading to 
the mosques called Reza is crowded with markets and 
a motley throng of rough and fierce-looking people, in 
which the dervishes are most conspicuous. As many of 
this throng of pilgrims as desire it are fed from the 
bounty of the shrine. The six hundred pounds of rice 
furnished daily by the mosque w^ould seem to be a small 
allowance for the crowd, the guards and priests. 

This did not seem to be the safest place for missionary 
work, but there could be no question as to the need of 
the people and the certainty of an audience. The mul- 
lahs were said to be a dangerous set of fellows. The 
crowd that filled the streets was to all appearance equally 
desperate and fanatical. Adoration of Reza was the 
popular act, whatever the secret sentiments of the people 
may have been. The dervishes were many and of all 
orders, but the wandering and beggarly element seemed 
to predominate. Yet neither the missionary nor the 
colporteurs were molested. The colporteurs entered the 
city several days after the arrival of the missionary, and 
paid duty on their books at the custom-house in Script- 
ures. In a few days they sold all the books they had 


Page 189. 


brought with them, and they received orders from Jews 
for two more loads. These were immediately ordered 
from TehraD. But the colporteurs desired to leave the 
city with the missionary, for they feared to remain after 
his departure and dared not leave the place alone. He 
therefore accompanied them a day^s journey, and put 
them in charge of a caravan bound for Tehran. The 
people who resorted to the colporteurs most of all were 
Jews, for there were no Armenians or Christians in the 
city. It has been reported that the mullahs have vowed 
that no Armenians or other non-Mohammedans shall 
reside in the place ; for they say, " It would be a dis- 
honor to our shrine and holy city to permit any 'in- 
fidels' to live within the sacred precincts.'' They seem 
to have acted on this principle many years ago, when * 
they raided the Jewish quarter, killing some thirty-five 
Jews and giving the balance of the colony the alterna- 
tive of the Koran or death. The Jews were the princi- 
pal purchasers of both Hebrew and Persian Scriptures. 
Many of the books were bought for the use of the Jews 
of this city, and many to be carried to Herat and settle- 
ments of Jews in Turkistan. The condition of this 
remnant of Israel is sad to contemplate. They have 
been forced to deny the religion of their fathers. The 
worship of God after the law of Israel is observed in 
secret if at all. Some of this people manifested intense 
interest in religious matters, and came for inquiry and 



discussion. It was evident that even in this remote 
quarter of the world .some of this people were not lack- 
ing in current objections to the Scriptures. Two Jews 
desired to meet the missionary for the purpose of con- 
sidering the Messiahship of Jesus. One of the first 
questions proposed was how the genealogical tables given 
by Matthew and Luke could be reconciled. The Jews, 
however, were not the only parties who manifested deep 
interest in the work of the missionary and seemed to 
give encouragement for effort in this city. Some of the 
Mohammedans were apparently dissatisfied with the 
prevalent faith and forms of worship. Here were the 
extremes of fanaticism and unbelief. One man, whose 
name and place should be suppressed for his protection, 
who had been to Constantinople and had made the pil- 
grimage to Makkah, and seen all of Islam, yet said, " I 
do not keep the fast, and I am not afraid of being defiled 
by Christians, but I must pretend to be a good Moham- 
medan, which I am not, for the sake of my wife, who 
is the daughter of a sayed.'' Another of high rank said, 
" The people of this city are not sincere Mohammedans ; 
many are disgusted with the shams and tricks perpetrated 
by the mullahs of Persia." Such were the openings for 
Christian labor here that Hosein Ale of Tehran was 
ordered from that city to remain in Mashhad during the 
year. He wrote a few weeks after his arrival that he 
could do much more in the way of selling books here 
than he could do in the capital. He ordered a good 


supply of the Scriptures, which was forwarded to him 
iu due time. 

A Jew of Mashhad by the name of Daiid was here 
employed by Mr. Bassett to assist in the work of the 
proposed translation. His boyhood and youth had been 
spent among the Turkmans of Ahal and Merv. In 
later years he had lived among the tribes as doctor and 
merchant. He remained in Tehran several months, and 
on completion of the translation returned to Mashhad. 
On the return of Hosein to the capital Daiid was em- 
ployed as a colporteur, and later as a book-agent, in 
which capacity he has served until the present time, 
having charge of the book-supply for Mashhad. 

The proposed translation was completed in 1879, and 
printed in 1880 by the British and Foreign Bible Society, 
and a supply of the books was sent to Mashhad. These 
with other Scriptures in Turkish, Persian and Hebrew 
have been sent to the country of the Turkmans and 
to Herat, and to the people on the eastern border of 

The missionary returned to Tehran over the route by 
which he had come, reaching that city on the 29th of 
May. In the account of this journey special mention is 
made of the colony of Georgians living in Abasabad. 
Being Christians by their antecedents and at heart, they 
naturally excite the sympathies of other Christians. 
Like the Jews of Mashhad, they have been compelled 
in the course of time to profess Islam. Their condition, 


both religious and secular, seems to be all the more de- 
plorable when we consider from what they have fallen 
and what they have suffered. The priest of the colony, 
though ostensibly a mullah, desired that efforts should 
be made in behalf of his people. But labors for their 
good must be of a radical nature. There seems to be no 
hope of permanent benefit to them except in their re- 
moval, for they are helpless in the midst of Moham- 
medans, and are isolated from all the Christian colonies. 
During the summer negotiations were entered into for 
the purchase of premises for the mission in Tehran. 
The purchase seemed to be necessary for many reasons. 
Persian houses require a continual expenditure of funds 
in the way of repairs, and little hope can be entertained 
that the owner of the property will ever make these 
repairs according to agreement. He is usually in great 
need of funds, and nothing can be done with him with- 
out payment of a large part of the rental in advance. 
Having obtained this, he is quite sure that his tenant 
will make the repairs ratlier than see the roof fall in or 
leave the premises and lose the advance payment. In 
the growth of the city there was a demand for houses, 
and the price of real estate was rapidly advancing. The 
best locations and best opportunities for the purchase of 
property were lost in those early days for the lack of the 
necessary funds. Some small purchases were made for 
a chapel and schools, but these were not at any time 
thought to be or designed to be the permanent locations 


to be occupied by the mission families. It had been the 
wish of the mission to purchase land near the Casveen 
gate, so as to be near the Armenian colony in that quar- 
ter, but the lack of funds and the unsettled state of the 
title to vacant lands in that vicinity made such purchase 
impossible or inexpedient. Purchase here being im- 
practicable, the opportunities presented in the northern 
part of the city should have been seized, but these oc- 
curred during the years of the greatest financial embar- 
rassment of the Board in New York, and could not, 
therefore, be taken advantage of. The property now 
bought was situated in the district known as the Shim- 
ron gate, and on the western side of the king^s garden, 
Lala Zar, and the roofs of the houses commanded a 
view of the garden. The property was owned by a 
European officer of the king's army ; the buildings 
were erected for his own use. One inducement to this 
purchase was the promise of a recognition of the trans- 
fer by the Persian Foreign Office, which would be an 
important concession to the mission. It was felt that 
the premises were not all that were needed, but they 
were well located, gave room for present needs and were 
ready for immediate occupancy, saving the loss of time 
required to build. But, more than all, they were as ex- 
tensive as the funds of the mission would permit them 
to purchase. The buildings ready for occupancy were 
three, and furnished accommodations for the girls^ school 
and two families. They readily rented for three hun- 


dred tomans, or six hundred dollars, which was twelve 
per cent, on the price paid to purchase them. On exam- 
ination it was found that it would require some action by 
the authorities to perfect the title. The completion of these 
formalities was not effected until the autumn. The deeds 
were finally recognized by a mujtaheed and sealed at the 
Foreign Office. A person unaccustomed to the transfer 
of property in Persia can hardly realize the difficulties 
which attend such transfer. The possession of all the 
deeds from the first sale is thought to be necessary as 
evidence of title. A registry of conveyances should be 
kept by every mujtaheed who takes the acknowledg- 
ments, but the greater part of these papers are never 
put on record. The land now purchased comprised 
about four thousand seven hundred square yards. Of 
the three houses on it, one was well adapted to the wants 
of the girls' school. 

During the summer the teacher in the Armenian vil- 
lage of Tchenoktche, Karaghan, met with bitter opposi- 
tion from Mussulmans. A lawsuit had been begun by a 
Mohammedan claimant of the village against the Ar- 
menian owner. The teacher, being an Armenian and 
having entered the village under the auspices of the 
Armenian owner, became an object of enmity to the 
new claimant. It is probable that the opposition was 
instigated and encouraged by some of the Armenians of 
the neighboring villages. Orders were obtained from 
the minister of foreign affairs requiring redress of the 


wrongs done to the young man and that he should be 
protected ; but the order was entirely disregarded by the 
Mohammedan landlord. A party of six horsemen rode 
into the village, seized the teacher and forced him to go 
with them to another village. He escaped at night 
and fled to the governor of the district, who protected 
him and procured for him a safe return to his school. 
This young man was Ohaues, now for several years con- 
nected with the mission in Hamadan. 

The missionary in Persia is frequently constrained to 
intercede with the authorities for the protection of the 
native Christians. Owing to the influence of the for- 
eign legations, the power of the missionary in secular 
matters is very greatly overrated by the natives, and 
any refusal by him to give assistance is taken by them 
as evidence of ill-will on his part or of disinclination to 
help them out of their troubles, which often arise be- 
cause they are Christians or at least are favorably dis- 
posed toward missionaries. 

A Mohammedan once came to the missionary in Teh- 
ran bringing a decree of an eminent mujtaheed of Ispa- 
han setting over to him certain lands near that city. 
The decree had been resisted by the authorities of Ispa- 
han. The man desired the missionary to command H. 
B. M. minister to issue an order for the restoration of 
the property agreeably to the judgment of the mujta- 
heed. The man argued thus: The missionary is a 
Christian mujtaheed ; he has the same authority with his 


own people that a mujtaheed of Islam has with Moham- 
medans, and the decree of the mujtaheed is sufficient 
evidence of the equities of the case. 

With the first movement of the Jews of Hamadan 
toward Christianity, whether from true or improper 
motives, there appeared also the spirit of persecution. 
The Mohammedan authorities and their subordinates 
were used as the tools of the opposition. They gladly 
favored one party or another as they perceived the op- 
portunity to extort money from them. In this state of 
affairs it seemed to be important that the missionary in 
charge of the work in Hamadan should go to that city, 
agreeably to the request of the pastor of the native 
church and of the people. Mr. Bassett therefore left Teh- 
ran for that city on the 24th of October, going by post. 
After reaching Bevaron, a post-station on the pass of 
the Karaghan Mountains, and nearly midway between 
Tehran and Hamadan, he crossed the mountains to the 
northern side and to the Armenian settlement compris- 
ing the villages of Lar, Bargashod, Tchenoktche, 
Yange Kallah and Zambar. In the first are sixty fam- 
ilies ; in the second, forty ; in the third, fifty ; in the 
fourth, twenty-five ; and in the fifth, fifteen. They are 
near together, no one of them being more than four 
miles from Lar. Together they may contain a popula- 
tion of one thousand Armenians, besides Mussulmans. 
These people refer the origin of their colony to the cap- 
tives brought by Shah Abas to Ispahan, and in particu- 


lar to the portion of the captive colony brought from 
Utch Kallesia. But they have received accessions from 
other places. The first company started from Julfa near 
Ispahan, and led for several years a roving life, settling 
at Savah, Tehran, Kazas and Kamara. They say that 
pure air, arable land and a copious spring of water at 
Bargashod, furnishing water sufficient for the tillage of 
five villages, were the chief attractions. Several years 
ago a large part of the colony went to the Karadag in 
Russia, but, becoming dissatisfied, they returned to Kar- 
aghan. These villages are all in a deplorable state of 
ruin. In three of them there are churches, but part of 
the walls and roofs had fallen, so that they could not be 

The further account of this settlement and this visit 
of the missionary may best be given, for the most part, 
in the words of his report. He wrote : '^ Our school- 
teachers had been sent to the village of Tchenoktche. 
I therefore w^nt immediately to that place. On Sab- 
bath morning the elders made a formal call. The time 
was spent in religious conversation. They professed to 
accept our statement of Christian doctrine. They 
urged their need of schools and preachers, but fear of 
the priest and of the suspicion of Protestant tendencies 
prevented any very decisive recognition on their part. 
They evidently desired schools, but not a religious serv- 
ice, and made no effort to gather the people for public 

worship on the Sabbath. The men w^ent off to the fields 


to work or to visit in other villages. Near sunset squads 
of men and droves of donkeys Avere seen coming down 
the mountain. I determined to raise a congregation, 
and therefore, calling the people nearest to me, I went 
on to the little hill in the centre of the village, where 
there was an open space and a spring of water, and call- 
ing also the people who were coming into town, I soon 
had a congregation such as the village could afford. 
The company of tax-gatherers who at that time came 
along the way gave variety to the costume of the crowd 
by the red and white shawls tied around their heads and 
by the knives and pistols stuck in their girdles. On 
Monday morning I went up to Bargashod, three miles 
distant. The only Armenian priest of the settlement 
resides here. He appeared to be very friendly, and it 
was arranged that he should open a school in his house ; 
but later he wrote that some of the members of his flock 
had charged him with having sold the people to the Prot- 
estants, and demanding, as a condition on which alone the 
arrangements could be carried into effect, that he should 
divide his bribe with them. As, however, he had re- 
ceived nothing, a division was not possible. After hav- 
ing gone to each village in succession and preached to 
as many people as could be gotten together, I started on 
my return to the post-road, said to be about four fara- 
sangs distant, intending to reach that day the post-house 
at Nobaron. Going southward from Lar, I passed the 
village of Zambar. The villagers had seen our colpor- 


teurs in former years. Crossing the Karaghan range, 
it was dnsk before we reached the foot of the mountain. 
In a short time it was dark and raining. Our chapar 
shagird lost his way. We rode until eleven o'clock at 
night, when the barking of a dog enabled us to find a 
village. One of the horses fell into a ditch, throwing 
his rider, whose foot was fast in the stirrup. Dismount- 
ing, I held the horse while the man extricated himself. 
Arriving at the village gate, we were obliged to give an 
account of ourselves before the people would open for 
us. Our men made all necessary explanations. It 
was therefore soon known that a ^Frangee' was near. 
Men and women gathered about us, and much was said 
by them of which we caught a few expressions, such as 
these : Good men these are ! the best kind of a millat 
(sect). — They have all kinds of asbob (machinery). — I 
want some medicine. — They have the best doctors. — Are 
you a doctor ? A special plea was made in behalf of a 
very sick person who was said to be dying. His poor 
wife insisted that I must be a doctor, my statement to 
the contrary notwithstanding, and that I could cure him 
even if I were not a doctor. Leaving the company at 
the gate, I went with one of our men to the hut of the 
sick man. Here I found a Mussulman doctor wanting 


antimony. Several children were lying near a kursee, 
and the sick man lay close by them. The matron of 
the hut, greatly concerned for her husband, disclosed the 
wretchedness of the situation by the light of a rag soak- 


iDg In an open earthen oil-lamp which she held in her 
hand. Doing all that I could for the sick man, who 
did not seem to be so ill as represented, I departed, fol- 
lowed by the blessings of the wretched people. Taking 
a guide at this village, after an hour's ride we arrived 
at the post-house in Nobaron." On the following morn- 
ing the missionary resumed the journey to Hamadan. 

Arriving in that city, the missionary visited the Jew- 
ish quarter, and many Jews called upon him. A large 
number of the people seemed inclined to Christianity, 
but only a few had taken any positive stand in relation 
to it. Some thirty Jews called upon the missionary for 
consultation with reference to the establishment of a mis- 
sion among them. The matter was fully discussed. 
They were told that a school would be opened for them 
in the Jewish quarter as soon as possible. In the mean 
time, the priest Shamoon was instructed to preach among 
them, which he was himself forward to do. But it was 
impossible to give any assurance that missionaries would 
be sent from America expressly for them. The matter 
of their appeal to the British society was openly dis- 
cussed, and they were told that the American mission 
would not attempt to compete with any other society or 
appear as a rival. They replied that the petition had 
been sent when they supposed that we could not help 
them. They were advised to attend the religious serv- 
ices held in the Armenian church, but conducted in the 
Persian language, which they well understood. Three 


Jews were at this time examined by the elders of the 
church and the missionary, and were publicly baptized 
aud received by him to the communion in the church. 
In the examination they all attributed their religious 
interest to the labors of Shamoon. Two of these men, 
Dr. Raheem and Hyim, were persons of intelligence 
and influence. The governor of the city at this time 
was the Eelkhanah. On one occasion the missionary was 
given audience to present the grievances of the Jews, 
and he was invited to dine with the governor, at which 
time that officer promised to protect the converts and to 
redress any wrong done them. But it was a difficult 
matter to separate present complaints from old feuds, 
and as yet there had been no violence offered a convert 
on account of his religious convictions. Six Jews had 
been received to the communion before the close of 

During the summer months the mission remained in 
the village of Tajreesh. Mr. Bassett was engaged in 
the translation work with Mirza Daiid of Mashhad. 
Services of public worship were here conducted in Per- 
sian, and were attended by the Mohammedans and Ar- 
menians. The latter were from the villages of Darooz 
and Vanak. Although not permitted to attend Protest- 
ant services while the missionaries officiated in or near 
an Armenian village, they now came several miles to 
the service, and escaped the observation of the priest 
and avoided all molestation. A few Jews from the city 


of Tehran came to Tajreesh and attended the religious 
services at the mission, but they feared the Mohammed- 
ans and sought protection in the neighborhood of tlie 
mission. During the time of woi*ship a Mohammedan 
would quietly pull a Jew from a bench or chair and 
take the seat himself. For so long a time have the 
Jews been accustomed to such treatment that they sel- 
dom remonstrate. 

Mr. Potter married Miss Harriet Riggs at her home 
in Xew Jei*sey on the 1st of August, 1878, and with his 
bride returned to Tehran in the following Xovember, 
arriving in that city on the 14th of that month. An 
appropriation for the purchase of a printing-press and 
tvpe had been made by the annual meeting of the mis- 
sion in the autumn of 1874. The press was now bought 
by Mr. Potter, and with the press the necessary outfit for 
printing by the lithographic process. Owing, however, 
to the pressure of other work and lack of suitable build- 
ing, the press has not been used. Printing has been 
done at the Mohammedan presses in Tehran as far as 
work has been needed. 

Before the arrival of Mr. Potter the mission returned 
to the city from Tajreesh, and entered for the first time 
the premises purchased this season as above stated. The 
or'irh' school was removed to the building set apart for it. 
Mr. Scott and family occupied this building with the 
ladies in charge of the school. The instruction was in 
the Armenian tongue, but some of the older scholars 


studied the Persian. Religious services were conducted 
by Miss Bassett in the Armenian language. There was 
no room or house on the mission-premises suitable for a 
chapel. A large stable was therefore overhauled and 
plastered, and made a very tidy and fair room. In this 
the congregation of Persians assembled on Fridays and 
Sabbaths until the autumn of 1883 and the completion 
of a larger chapel. 

The health of Mrs. Scott was such at this time that 
it was thought to be advisable by the physicians con- 
sulted that she should return to America. Mr. Scott 
therefore left Tehran on the 27th of November. He 
remained some weeks in Scotland and England. The 
physicians consulted there advised quiet and rest. This 
could not be had among strangers, and the party there- 
fore hastened home, and arrived in New York in the 
following March, where, after a brief illness, Mr. Scott 
died within a week after his arrival. Mr. Scott when 
he came to Persia was reported to be a person of un- 
usually good health. His robust frame seemed to justify 
his statement that he had never experienced any serious 
illness. He was a graduate of Princeton College and 
Seminary, and had the reputation of being a good class- 
ical scholar. His first and only year in Persia was de- 
voted chiefly to the study of the Persian language. He 
rendered good service by preaching in English and by per- 
forming some secular work. He did not remain on the 
field long enough to preach in the Persian language. His 


death was felt to be a great loss to the mission, for 
much had been anticipated from his promising abilities. 
Early in the winter of 1879 great excitement was 
created among the Jews of Hamadan by sj>ecial efforts on 
the part of the Jews of the synagogues to prevent Chris- 
tian Jews from entering the synagogues and baths owned 
by Jews. The governor called Eelkhanah had been 
recalled, and a new governor appointed who favored the 
old party. The orders of the Jewish priests forbidding 
the sale of food and merchandise to the converts was 
confirmed by the order of the Persian minister, on the 
ground that the converts could purchase in other places 
or have their own shops, and that, as they could have 
their own places of worship, they should not trespass 
upon the right of other Jews to the exercise of their 
own religious laws. In the absence of tlie minister re- 
course was had to the Mustofe al Mamalake, who issued 
an order to restrain the persons opposing tlie converts, and 
requiring that Christians should be protected and |)ermitted 
to enter the synagogue ; but the order was disregarded by 
the local authorities. In this year tiiere was opened a 
school for Jews in Tehran, as has been stated. A thou- 
sand volumes of the new edition of the Scriptures in 
small size were now received from the British and For- 
eign Bible Society by way of the Persian Gulf, and col- 
porteurs were immediately sent out with the books. In 
this year arrangements were discussed for the division 
of the Bible- work in Persia between the two Bible soci- 


eties, the British and Foreign and the American Bible 
Society. It was proposed that the former should supply 
the southern half of the country, and the latter the north- 
ern part. Such an arrangement was carried into effect in 
the following year. Teachers were again sent to the Ar- 
menians of the Karaghan Mountains, the translation 
of the Gospel of Matthew into the dialect of the Takah 
Turkmans was completed, and Mirza Daiid returned to 

On the 20th of August, 1879, Mr. Bassett and family 
left Tehran for America, having been in Persia for eight 
years. One of the children was very ill, and, owing to 
the heat of the day, the party were obliged to travel by 
night over the plain of Tehran and to the pass of the 
Elburz. The post-road to Casveen was not yet com- 
pleted, and the journey was made by caravan. Remain- 
ing in Casveen over the Sabbath, they left early on Sunday 
evening to journey by. night, but, the sick child becoming 
much worse, they were obliged to halt and return to Cas- 
veen. Being ninety-two miles from Tehran, it was im- 
possible to get the aid of a European physician. In this 
emergency a Mohammedan doctor was called. Although 
it was now the time of the long fast of Ramazan, and 
he declined to respond to the call of native Persians, yet 
he immediately went at night to see the child of the 
missionary, and his treatment was so efficient that in 
two days the party were able to journey, being supplied 
with a good stock of medicines prepared by the doctor. 


The little patient gradually recovered, but was not en- 
tirely wel] until the party experienced the effect of the 
cold climate of Europe. Mr. Bassett remained in Lon- 
don during the autumn and part of the winter of 1880, 
superintending the publication of the Takah translation. 
In February the party crossed the Atlantic to the United 
States, where they remained until April, 1881. 

In the year 1879 there were in Tehran, connected 
with the mission, two regular congregations, two places 
of worship and three schools. There were thirty 
church-members and one hundred and thirty pupils in 
the schools of the city. The church in Hamadau num- 
bered thirty-two members and about sixty attendants, 
with a school of thirty pupils. Schools were established 
in Rasht and Karaghan and in the village of Darooz, 
and the work of Bible-distribution was carrried on upon 
the eastern border of Persia from Mashhad, and in much 
of Central Persia from Tehran and Hamadan, as part 
of the regular work of the mission. 


Schools — Marriages — Persecutions in Hamadan — Represented to the 
British Minister — Yasse Attar — Position of the British Minister 
— Reasons for — Orders of the Shah touching the Attendance of 
Mohammedans at the Religious Services and the Instruction of 
Mohammedans — Attendance Prohibited by the Missionary — Lib- 
erty of Non-Mohammedans — Protestant Village — Expediency of 
forming Christian Villages — Mr. Bruce in Hamadan — Arrival 
of Mr. Hawkes in Tehran — Bookroom opened in Hamadan — 
Death of Agah Jan — Mussulmans Received to the Church — Pro- 
posed Occupation of Hamadan — Visit of Missionaries and Mr. 
Whipple to Hamadan — Work in Hamadan — Division of the 
Bible- Work in Persia — Report of the year 1880 — Girls' School 
— Persecutions in Hamadan — Persecution of the Pastor — Return 
of Mr. Bassett and Family — Dr. W. W. Torrence— Voyage on the 
Caspian — Detention at Ashurada — Journey to Tehran — Changes 
in the Persian Foreign Office — Flight of Shamoon to Tehran — 
His Return to Hamadan — Meeting of the Persian Mission — 
Division of the Mission — Appointment of Mr. Hawkes to Ham- 
adan — Consideration of the Orders of the Persian Government — 
Copy of the Action taken by the Mission sent to the British Min- 
ister — Reply of the Minister — Attendance of Mohammedans — 
Efforts for a Modification of the Orders — Refusal of the British 
Minister to Interfere for a Modification — Mission Resolve to Close 
the Chapel — Appeal to the Persian Foreign Office and to the 
Shah — Modification granted by the Shah — The Chapel Opened — 
Two Missions in Hamadan — Mr. Potter Removes to the Western 
Side of the City — Dr. Torrence opens a Dispensary — Mirza 
Lazar goes to Rasht — English Services — School for Jews — 
Nurillah — Boarding-School — Services of Worship and Schools — 



Miss Bassett Keturns to America — Protestant Chapel and Ceme- 
tery — Eclipse of the Sun. 

TN January, 1880, the school for Jews in Tehran was 
-*- closed for lack of funds. The training-class was 
dismissed. Four of the members of this class married, 
and were employed as teachers or colporteurs. Caspar 
and Carepet married daughters of Mechail. The young 
ladies had for some years been members of the girls' 
school, and for more than a year had been betrothed to 
these young men, in accord with the Armenian custom. 

New cases of persecution arose in Hamadan, and Mr. 
Potter represented them to the British minister, who 
directed the British agent in that city to inquire into 
them, and, if possible, get the offenders punished. But 
he declined to give the agent any general directions as 
to the protection of Jewish converts. In the month of 
March a telegram from Hamadan announced that the 
Jew Yasse Attar had been severely beaten and thrown 
into prison, and that nothing had been done for him or for 
other Jews by the British agent. The telegram was re- 
ferred to the British minister, who replied that he could 
not interfere officially, but would speak to the Sapr 
Salar about it. No promise or hope of redress was 
offered at the British legation. It should be said, in 
reference to the position taken by the minister on this 
subject, that the representatives of foreign governments 
do not claim to have any right to interfere officially in 
behalf of the subjects of the Persian government. They 


can act in such cases only unofficially, on the grounds 
of personal friendship or other reason. However, utv- 
official action is usually sufficient to furnish the Persian 
authorities with all the cause or apology which they need 
for granting the request of a representative of a foreign 
court. The force of any appeal by a foreign minister 
depends very much upon the relations of his govern- 
ment to the Shah and upon his own standing with the 
Persian authorities. 

On April 2d a note was addressed to Mr. Potter by 
the British minister which stated, in substance, that it 
had been brought to the notice of the Shah that of late 
religious meetings held on the mission-premises had been 
attended by Mohammedans, and that he had received 
official communication on the subject setting forth the 
objections of the Shah's government to religious instruc- 
tion being given to Mussulmans. He also added that 
*^ should he continue in the course complained of, the 
Persian government would not allow him to reside 
here;'^ also adding that the police had received ordei-s to 
arrest any Mussulmans who may attend the meetings. 
On the same day the missionary replied to the commu- 
nication that he had issued orders directing that' no Mus- 
sulmans be allowed to attend the religious services or 
schools. As a compensation for this restriction touching 
Mohammedans the British minister said that he had ob- 
tained orders with reference to the Jews and the religious 
liberty of non-Mohammedans. On the 16th of Novem- 


ber following the minister obtained, or communicated, an 
order from the Persian minister addressed to the gov- 
ernor of Hamadan, directing that the Jews who have 
become Christians be allowed to go to the bath-house 
" which is open to Armenians and Nestorians," and in 
December an order was issued by the same Persian of- 
ficer to the governor of Hamadan declaring expressly 
the religious liberty of all non-Mohammedans in Persia. 
An effort was now made to concentrate the Protestant 
Armenians in one village called Zard Aub. With ref- 
erence to this Mr. Potter wrote in the report of that 
year as follows : " A new out-station has been opened 
about twenty-five miles from Tehran, and an attempt 
made to establish a Protestant village under the auspices 
of the elders of the Tehran church. A tentative occu- 
pation was begun in the spring, and it is hoped this 
place will prove a refuge for Christian converts where 
they may enjoy the quiet exercise of their religion and 
be secure in their rights as tenants." But these expec- 
tations were disappointed by reason of the unhealthful- 
ness of the location, and after much sickness and several 
deaths the village in the following year was abandoned. 
With reference to the expediency of isolating Christian 
converts in villages exclusively their own and enjoying 
special secular advantages, the author of this work 
would here express no judgment, but he would give to 
his readers, especially the missionaries, the benefit of the 
statement that the expediency has been questioned by 


missionaries of long experience ; and there are examples 
of such villages in Persia and other Mohammedan coun- 
tries where the results have been disastrous rather than 
beneficial to the people gathered in them. The question, 
however, would seem to be one which must be deter- 
mined by the circumstances in which the people are 
placed, rather than by any general rule. It would seem 
to be safe, however, to say that under a government 
habitually and notoriously false to its own pledges the 
less the missionary has to do with the secular affairs, 
especially the rights of property of the people, the bet- 
ter it will be for his influence with all classes, and so 
much the less of his time will be lost. 

Mr. Bruce, of the Church Missionary's mission in 
Jul fa, visited the city of Haraadan in the month of 
November, and heard representations of the Jews of 
that place. In the report of the London Society for 
Promoting Christianity amongst the Jews it is stated, 
in substance, that the representations of Mr. Bruce en- 
couraged that society to project a mission to Hamadan 
expressly for the Jews of that city. 

On the 4th of December, 1880, Eev. J. W. Hawkes 
arrived in Tehran, having been appointed to the mission 
in the capital by the " Board '' in New York. Mirza 
Ohanes was sent to open a bookroom in Hamadan, the 
room having been dispensed with now for several years, 
owing; to the little amount of work done in the book- 
business there. Agah Jan, one of the leaders of the 


Jewish converts, died in November of this year, leaving 
his family in very destitute circumstances, and aid was 
given them. The mission in Tehran resolved that Mus- 
sulmans, applicants for church-membership, should be 
examined, and if their examination proved satisfactory 
they should be received into the Church. Soon after 
this two Mussulmans were examined as to the evidences 
of their faith in Christ, and one of the number was re- 
ceived to the communion. Proposals were made in 
Tabriz looking to the occupation of Hamadan by some 
of the missionaries of the former city, but action in the 
matter was deferred. The members of the mission in 
Tehran, in company with Mr. Whipple, then agent of 
the American Bible Society in Persia, went to Hamadan. 
They record their great satisfaction in view of the work 
in that city and their reception by the people. They 
agreed to the opening of a school among the Jews, and 
engaged Hyim as teacher and evangelist, and made ar- 
rangements for the purchase of land for a chapel and 
cemetery. The congregation at the time was stated to 
consist of " forty men, thirty women and twenty chil- 
dren — in all ninety souls." 

The American Bible Society now assumed the support 
of the colporteur at Mashhad and part of the expenses 
of the agents in Tehran and Hamadan. Mr. Bruce now 
came to Tehran in the interest of the British and For- 
eign Bible Society, making a division and sale of the 
books of that society in Tehran ; and having completed 


these arraugenients, he returned to Ispahan. Thus the 
two Bible societies were fully installed in Persia, each 
one having a general agent — one, Mr. Whipple, residing 
in Tabriz, and the other, Mr. Bruce, resident in Julfa 
(Ispahan). These facts have value as showing the 
growth and prosperity of Bible-work in Persia. 

The report for the year 1880, as made by Mr. Potter, 
presents the progress of the mission in the following 
statements : ^' Only two members have been received to 
the church in Tehran the past year, making the present 
membership on the roll thirty-one. Contributions ex- 
clusive of the subscription of missionaries have amounted 
to $95, of which the sum of $54 was expended in part 
support of a native helper at Tehran, and $10 was sent 
to Oroomiah for the relief of the famine-sufferers.'' With 
reference to Hamadan he writes : ^' The Xestorian pastor 
has continued his services with acceptance. Four have 
been received into the church, and one has died, leaving 
the number of members thirty-five. The contributions 
have amounted to $88, of which $45 was for famine 
relief at Oroomiah, and $22 toward the support of the 
native pastor. The Jewish movement at Hamadan seems 
to be growing in importance, demanding some forward 
movement on the part of the mission. Repeated efforts 
for the protection of the persecuted converts seem at 
length to have been crowned with complete success. An 
order from the Persian minister of foreign affairs to the 
governor of Hamadan has at length brought peace to 



the oppressed. The leader in this awakening among the 
Jews has been called to his reward. 

^' Work in the Karaghan district was given up in the 
summer, because of a very disturbed state of affairs re- 
sulting from the disputed ow^nership of the village, which 
caused many of the Armenians to desert the place in 

"Interest in the Scriptures has increased, and our 
sacred book has been placed in the hands of a number 
of Persians of high rank who expressed a desire to ex- 
amine it. Sales during the year, 430 volumes, amount- 
ing to $117. A stock of the Turkish Matthew, trans- 
lated by Mr. Bassett, has been received from t!ie British 
and Foreign Bible Society, and a supply sent to Mash- 
had, from whence some have been forwarded to Merv, 
Bokhara and to two other points in the interior of 

"The girls' boarding-school of Tehran has had a 
prosperous year, reaching the full number of twenty 
pupils. Owing to the high prices which have prevailed, 
and which still continue, it has been a very difficult 
problem to carry on the school with the amount allowed 
in the estimate. 

" It seems impossible to sustain a good boys' school at 
Tehran without a large expenditure for instruction, more 
especially as it has not been practicable for the mission- 
aries to teach in the school for several years. At pres- 
ent one teacher is engaged, having twelve pupils. The 


school at Hamadan, iucluding both boys and girls, re- 
ports thirty-oue in attendance. AVe regret to say that 
the divisions and a want of brotherly feeling among the 
members of this church [in Tehran] became painfully 
apparent early in the year, which have excited a chilling 

In the course of the summer of 1881 additional rooms 
were constructed for the girls' school, and two rooms 
were added to the chapel on the west side, to be used for 
manual labor, where the boys of the school might learn 
shoemaking and tailoring. 

In the month of September word was sent by tele- 
graph to Mr. Potter from the pastor in Hamadan of 
fresh persecutions in that city. Mr. Potter again re- 
ferred the matter to tlie British minister, who promised 
to see the Persian minister on the subject. The cases of 
persecution were these : Two Jewish converts were seized, 
beaten and imprisoned, and were released on a condition 
of the payment of a fine of seventy-five tomans. An 
attempt was also made to collect again a tax of fifty 
tomans additional, about half the amount remitted by 
express firman of the Shah some six years previous to 
this time. Pastor Shamoon had been very active and 
bold in his efforts with the authorities in behalf of the 
Jews and Armenians. He sent the telegram. On this 
account the governor caused him to be arrested and 
bound to be flogged, but by the intercession of Dr. 
Eaheem he was released, but with threats for the future 


should he meddle with the affairs of these people. 
Greatly exasperated and mortified, and fearing lest the 
threats made might be put in execution, the pastor fled 
to the protection of Zain al Abadeen at Shevarin. The 
members of the church in Hamadan sent a petition to 
the missionary in Tehran asking redress for the insult 
and violence offered the priest, and desiring relief from 
the taxes. These papers were referred to the British 
minister that he might present them to the Persian 

Mr. Bassett and family left the United States on their 
return to Persia in May, 1881. They remained in Lon- 
don until the 25th of August. While in that city he 
reviewed, by request of the committee of publication 
of the British and Foreign Bible Society, a part of the 
manuscript of Mr. Bruce's revision of the New Testa- 
ment in Persian, with a view to the expediency of its 
publication. He also called upon the secretaries of the 
London Society for Promoting Christianity amongst the 
Jews, acquainting them with the work carried on by the 
American mission in Hamadan. 

Dr. W. W. Torrence, a graduate of Rush Medical 
College of Chicago, had been appointed medical mis- 
sionary for Tehran, and he had arranged to join the 
party with Mr. Bassett for the journey to Persia. Ar- 
riving with his wife in London as arranged, the party 
left that city at the time above stated, and traveled by 
way of Berlin, Czaritzin and Astrakhan, thence by 


steamer on the Caspian. Storms prevailed on that sea, 
so that they were unable to effect a landing at Anzile, 
the steamer running directly across from Lankoran to 
Ashurada. Here they were obliged to land, and wait 
until the steamer coming from the north on the eastern 
side of the Caspian should arrive, that it might take 
them back to Anzile. Ashurada is the name given to a 
natural bay and harbor at the south-eastern extremity 
of the Caspian. The harbor is commodious, but there 
is no settlement here, on the Persian shore, of any im- 
portance. The only village, Gaz, is a small cluster of 
thatched and filthy huts. The country adjacent is a 
dense jungle in which tigers, leopards and other wild 
animals abound, but the mosquitoes are more formidable 
than the tigers, and the malaria is more to be feared than 
all the wild animals, the mosquitoes included. This is 
such that it is unsafe for foreigners and the uuacclimated 
to tarry here at all. Fortunately, the party were obliged 
to remain but a night, as the steamer bound westward 
came on the following day and took them to Anzile, 
where they were able to effect a landing, for there was 
now here a calm sea, so that boats could pass the road- 

The party remained in Rasht two days to make ar- 
rangements for the journey by land. While here the 
Armenians renewed their request for missionaries and 
schools. The party now crossed the Elburz to Casveen, 
going by night over the Hazon pass. At Casveen they 


met Mr. Wilson and Miss Jewett of the mission in Tab- 
riz on thfeir way to the annual meeting of the Persian 
mission to be held in Tehran. Both were novv ill of 
chills and fever. As post- wagons could be obtained at 
this place, the remainder of the journey was made with 
rapidity. Miss Jewett joined the party with Mr. Bas- 
sett and Dr. Torreuce (28th of September, 1881), and 
all reached the capital on the second day from Casveen, 
but all except Mr. Bassett were prostrated with fever. 
All but one recovered in a few days ; that one only after 
a dangerous illness of three weeks' continuance. 

For a better understanding of subsequent events it 
may be here noted that Mirza Hosein Khan (called Sadr 
Azam, also Sapr Salar) had recently been removed from 
office and appointed overseer * of the shrine of Reza 
at Mashhad, and Mirza Sayed Khan, late overseer of the 
shrine, had been appointed minister of foreign affiiirs at 
Tehran. The former died suddenly at Mashhad in the 
autumn of 1881. The latter died in Tehran in January^ 
1884, and was succeeded in office by the Nasr al Mulk. 
Hosein Khan was noted, as we have stated, for pro- 
gressive ideas and liberal measures. On the contrary, 
his successor was considered a bigoted Mussulman. 

Soon after the arrival of the reinforcements. Pastor 

Shamoon of Hamadan — who, as stated, had been arrested 

and narrowly escaped a scourging — hastened to Tehran. 

As might be expected, he desired that reparation should 

* Mutavalle Bashe. 


be made by the authorities for the injury done him. As 
it did not seem at all probable that tbe Persian govern- 
ment would take any such view of the action of the 
governor as the pastor entertained, the pastor being a 
Persian subject, it was proposed by the mission that if 
the minister of foreign affairs would issue an order 
authorizing the return of Shamoon, and requiring the 
governor there to protect him, no further demands would 
be made in the case. A request to this effect having 
been prepared and adopted by the mission, it was trans- 
mitted by Mr. Potter to the British minister, and a de- 
cisive order was obtained from the Persian minister in 
the interest of Pastor Shamoon ; and thus armed for 
the future and justified for the past, he returned to 

Besides the usual routine business of the annual meet- 
ing, some measures were adopted by this session of the 
Persian mission which are of special interest. It was 
recommended that the mission be divided, the western 
part of the country, including the stations of Oroomiah 
and Tabriz, with their out-stations, to be called the West- 
ern Persian Mission, and the eastern and central part of 
Persia, with the stations of Tehran and Hamadan and 
their out-stations, to be known as the Eastern Persia Mis- 
sion. In the course of the following year this recom- 
mendation, suggested by Secretary Irving, was approved 
by the Board of Missions in New York, and the two 
missions were duly constituted in separate meetings in 


the full of 1882. This action was made necessary by 
the long distances to be traveled between the eastern and 
western sections of the country in order to attend the 
annual meetings and to arrange the business of the 

lu the present lack of missionary forces in the several 
stations it seemed to be very difficult and inexpedient to 
spare any one to go to Hamadan. The care of that field 
was therefore committed, as in the past, to the mission in 
Tehran, with the recommendation that some one or two 
of the members should reside in that city. In view of 
this recommendation, Mr. Hawkes expressed a willing- 
ness to go thither, and was therefore appointed to that 
station. It was with great reluctance that the Tehran 
station consented to the change, for his services were 
grGsatly needed in the capital. He left Tehran in the 
month of November for his new field of labor, where 
he was the only American missionary until the arrival 
in the next year of the missionaries sent expressly for 
mission-work in that city. 

The orders relating to the attendance of Mussulmans 
at the public services for worship, issued April 2, 1880, 
by the Persian government, Avore considered by the mis- 
sion. The judgment of that body was expressed, in 
part, in these words : " We ought not and cannot pre- 
vent the attendance of Mussulmans on our religious 
services. In some cases this might be done, but to do 
so continuously would impose upon us a task difficult if 


not impossible in itself, and so unworthy of us that it 
should not be thought of. The order would most nat- 
urally apply to the organization of schools and to the 
systematic gathering by us and our agents of Mussul- 
man congregations. AVe recognize the obligation to 
obey God rather than man, but there seems to be war- 
rant for an effort to avert the fury of the secular power. 
Such eifort we may make, in the prayerful hope that 
Providence will indicate clearly our duty and give abil- 
ity to discharge it. We recommend, therefore, the fol- 
lowing: 1. It is the duty of all our missionaries and 
native helpers to answer in the spirit of meekness, not 
of controversy, all who sincerely seek to know the way 
of life. 2. It is not our duty, nor is it wise, to open 
schools for Mussulmans at the present time. 3. That it 
be left to each station to act in view of the aforesaid or- 
ders as the providence of God and evident duty may 

A copy of this action was sent to the British minister, 
for the reason that the orders of the Persian authorities 
relating to the subject had been received from him. 
The reply of the minister, dated October 22, 1881, is 
interesting in several particulars, and is as follows : " If 
I understand this communication rightly, it is not the 
intention of the members of the mission generally to 
prevent Mussulmans from attending your religious ser- 
vices, but all missionaries, native as well as American, 
are left perfectly free to act as they think best with re- 


gard to the attendance or non-attendance of Mussul- 
mans; and you further consider that the prohibitory 
orders issued by the Persian government, only have 
reference to the organization of schools for Mussulmans. 
I feel it to be my duty to call attention to the official 
memorandum addressed to me by the Persian minister 
for foreign affairs on the 29th of March, 1881, and 
communicated by me to Mr. Potter on the 20th of April 
of that year. That gentleman replied the same day to 
the effect that he had issued orders directing that no 
Mussulmans be allowed to attend your religious services 
and schools. I find it a matter of regret that your com- 
mittee should now rescind the orders, as by so doing they 
are incurring a grave responsibility. 

" You cannot but be aware that the Persian govern- 
ment have never, for a moment, thought of tolerating a 
regular school for Mohammedans : the prohibitory orders 
they have issued are directed not against the opening of 
schools, a chance they have never even discussed, but 
against the attendance of individual Mohammedans at 
religious services. You must bear in mind that Mussul- 
mans here are Persian subjects and amenable to the laws 
of their country. They render themselves liable to ar- 
rest and punishment by attending your services, and it is 
therefore a serious matter to allow them to do so. 

^' Considering the sentiments of the Persian govern- 
ment with regard to the proselytism of Mussulmans, I 
feel it my duty to warn you that should the missionaries 


here or elsewhere allow Mussulmans to attend their re- 
ligious services, they will imperil their position in the 
country, as the government would probably interfere 
with their work, if they did not even forbid their resid- 
ing in Persia." 

The minister further intimated that he would inform 
the Persian authorities that the mission declined to ob- 
serve the orders. In view of this intimation the com- 
mittee replied, stating that it would be impossible to 
consider the matter fully and answer at once, and asking 
that in the mean time no action be taken prejudicial to 
the interests of the mission. 

On the 3d of November an answer was sent by Mr. 
Bassett, the missionary in charge of the business, such 
reply having been approved by the mission in Tehran. 
Its principal points are given in the following ex- 
tracts from the records : " If we are held responsible 
for the attendance of Mussulmans at all times and places 
of our religious worship, then, as must be apparent to 
every one, there has been put upon us an exceedingly 
difficult if not impracticable task, as well as one repug- 
nant to our convictions of duty. This is the particular 
grievance under which we labor, and it is to this that we 
wish in particular to call the attention of Your Excel- 
lency, in the hope that if any action be necessary you 
will use your influence to obtain a modification of the 
order, at least in this particular feature of it. While 
we recognize the powder of the Persian government over 


its own subjects, we wish to put especial emphasis on the 
fact that it is repugnant to our convictions of right, as 
well as to our sense of honor, to exclude any persons 
from our religious meetings. It appears to us, more- 
over, to be very ungracious on the part of the authori- 
ties that they should seek to put us in the attitude of 
guards over Islam and make us responsible for their 
own faith.'^ 

It was suggested that the mission would post the or- 
ders of the Persian government over the chapel-doors 
if this would be taken as a fulfillment of the order on 
its part to prevent the attendance of Mohammedans ; but 
to all these expedients the minister replied : ^' The Per- 
sian government having stated clearly that the object 
they have in view with respect to your chapel services 
and schools is to prevent Mohammedans from receiving 
religious instruction from you, it would, in my opinion, 
be useless to ask them to accept as a fulfillment of their 
orders the posting of a notice such as you have suggested 
over the chapel-doors. It may be taken for granted that 
they will certainly consider their official notification as 
having been disregarded if they find that Mohammedans 
are in the habit of attending your services and schools, 
and that religious instruction is being afforded them. 
The Shah and his ministers have strongly expressed 
their determination to carry out the decisions they have 
taken in this matter with a view to prevent efforts at 
proselytism amongst Mohammedans, and should any 


attempt be made Id that direction at the present time I 
believe it will lead to restrictions being placed on your 
schools and missionary labors here and elsewhere in Per- 
sia, if it does not result in objections being raised to your 
continued residence in the country/' 

One marked feature of the situation was that, notwith- 
standing the orders of all parties, Mohammedans were 
yet attending the religious services in all the mission- 
stations, and no effort was made to prevent their doing 
so. The mission was therefore liable to the severe pen- 
alties threatened by the minister so long as the orders of 
the Persian government were not rescinded or modified. 

It being evident that nothing could be done through 
the British legation to modify the order, the mission, 
after prayerful consideration, adopted, on the 6th of 
December, the following minute, to wit : " ^Yhereas the 
British minister, to whom the mission has in years past 
referred all important matters with the Persian authori- 
ties, has recently expressed the opinion that the orders 
issued in April, 1880, prohibiting the American mission- 
aries from giving instruction to Mussulmans either in 
school or public assemblies, would be held to be in force 
by the said authorities, and disregard of such orders 
would most likely lead to other and great restrictions 
being put upon our work here and in other places ; and 
whereas there was in 1880, in purport, a promise of 
obedience to the order made by this station ; and whereas 
sincere and honest dealing with the authorities in such 


circumstances requires us either to refuse compliance 
with such orders or to exclude Mussulmans from the 
religious worship — a task difficult itself and repugnant 
to our convictions, and which if done promises to create 
a false impression as to the nature of our work and of 
our duty to all classes ; and whereas said orders had 
special reference to the religious services on the mission- 
premises, and should we disregard the clearly expressed 
opinion of His Excellency we could not reasonably ex- 
pect his favorable influence in the matter ; and whereas 
the attendance is now largely of Mussulmans ; therefore, 
Resolved, That the services in the mission-chapel be dis- 
continued until such time in the providence of God as 
they may be honestly reopened." The chapel was there- 
fore closed, and the reason therefor was publicly stated 
to the congregation. It should be added to what is 
written above touching the orders of the Persian govern- 
ment referred to, that they were issued to the missions 
of every society in Persia, and so did not relate to the 
American missions alone. 

A communication was now addressed by Mr. Bassett 
to the Persian minister of foreign affairs, stating the case 
and asking relief from the order. It was stated that the 
Persian authorities have control over their own subjects 
and that to exclude Mohammedans would be contrary to 
the customs of the missionaries and their religious princi- 
ples. It was asked, therefore, that the responsibility be 
transferred to the police, or that the orders be posted ou 


the doors of the chapel. The Persian minister referred 
the subject to the Shah, as he dared not act independ- 
ently. On hearing the request, the Shah said, "Let 
the matter be referred to the police.'' An order to this 
effect was sent to the chief of the police from the Persian 
Foreism Office. As this order is a curious document, I 
herewith give a translation of it, as follows: 

" To the Count , Controller of the Order [^Nasin] of 

the City, 
" One Near the King and Honored : 

" The letter of Mr. Bassett, of the New World, was 
sent to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Now, because 
this matter relates to the order of the city, therefore the 
letter itself I herewith send, that you should forbid 
Mussulmans to attend the churches on Sabbath days. 
What right have the common people [the unlearned] to 
go to church ? 

"In the month Rabe ul Aval, 1299 [Jan. 28, A. d. 

" Sealed by the Persian Minister of Foreign Affairs.'' 

This result, though not all that could be desired, was 
understood to relieve the mission of the necessity of ex- 
pelling Mohammedans from the chapel or of standing as 
guards for them. The chapel was therefore reopened for 
public services on the 30th of January, 1882, and the 
services have been held at the usual times during sub- 
sequent years. 


The Rev. J. Lotka, a converted Jew and missionary 
of the London society referred to above, arrived at 
Hamadan October 25, 1881, soon after Mr. Hawkes 
entered the city. The Jews of Hamadan therefore had 
their earnest expectation fulfilled. The representatives 
of two missionary societies were now ready to labor for 
them. The American mission had a nucleus already 
formed in a church organized and schools established, 
and twelve years of continuous missionary labor in that 

In November of this year Mr. Potter, at his own sug- 
gestion and with the consent of the mission, removed to 
the district of Tehran known as the Casveen gate, with 
a view of being in the settlement of the Armenians and 
near the chapel in that district. He had charge of the 
school and chapel services and other work in that quar- 
ter. Dr. Torrence opened a dispensary in his own resi- 
dence on the north side, and was busy in meeting calls 
for medical services from both Persians and Europeans. 
He also discharged the duties of treasurer, relieving Mr. 
Potter of the work of that office. The medical mission- 
ary was received with favor at once by all classes of the 
people : medical skill gave him access to people whom a 
clergyman could not reach. 

Mirza Lazar was now sent to Rasht to take charge of 
the work there. Owing to delay in making his arrange- 
ments for the winter, he did not arrive at that city until 
December and the opening of the winter. In Tehran 


prayer-meetings were held ouce a week by Mrs. Potter 
on the west side for the benefit of the native women. 
Special religious services were held in the girls' school, 
for the benefit of the pupils, by the ladies in charge of 
the school, and much religious interest was manifested 
by the older scholars. Services in the chapel on the 
north side of town were in the charge of Mr. Bassett, 
who preached also in English to a congregation which 
met at his residence. 

In January, 1882, the school for Jews was reopened 
by request of the elders of the Jewish colony. The 
school had now been closed about two years. Besides 
Baba and the rabbi mentioned as teachers, a converted 
Jew named Nurillah was employed to teach some of the 
branches. He was a member of the church in Tehran 
and attended the king's college. In August, 1883, he 
departed for Loudon at his own choice and expense, and 
having letters from members of the mission to the secre- 
tary of the Turkish Missions Aid Society. He was de- 
tained by sickness on the way, and was in needy circum- 
stances when he entered London. He was kindly re- 
ceived by the secretary of that society, and by him in- 
troduced to Mr. Stern, of whom he received instruction. 
He entered the Hebrew Missionary Training Institution 
in Palestine Place, London, where he has pursued a 
course of studies preparatory to the ministry of the gos- 
pel. He has spent some of his vacations in connection 
with the mission to the Jews in Mogadore in Morocco. 



The writer of these pages met him in London in 1884, 
and was much pleased with the evidences of improve- 
ment in mind and manners. His progress is most cred- 
itable to him, and especially to those who have prepared 
him for his work. 

It was now proposed to change the school of Armenian 
boys to a boarding-school, owing to the applications re- 
ceived from parents who wished to place their boys in 
the mission-school. The want of suitable buildings pre- 
vented the best arrangement of the school, but a num- 
ber of boys were placed in Armenian families and aided 
by an allowance for food and clothing, and others were 
received as day-scholars. The school was opened in the 
district of Shimron gate. The pupils of the east-side 
school were brought to this one, so doing away with the 
school on that side of the city. Several applications for 
admission were received from Mohammedans, but being 
referred to the Persian authorities they were not re- 

Miss Sarah Bassett returned to the United States on 
account of ill-health. She left Tehran in April, going 
by the way of Tabriz, Tiflis and the Black Sea. She 
was accompanied by Mr. Potter and Miss Schenck to 
Tabriz. During the absence of these ladies Mrs. Potter 
had charge of the girls' school. Miss Schenck returned 
in May, having been absent about one mouth. She re- 
mained with the school in the city during the following 
summer. On his return from Tabriz, Mr. Potter rented 


a house adjoining the mission-premises on the north side, 
and removed to it. The services in the chapel at the 
Casveen gate were pat in charge of the elders of the 
church, and the school in that place was consolidated 
with the school on the north side. 

As a result of the services in English measures were 
taken to obtain funds for the erection of a chapel and 
purchase of laud for a cemetery expressly for Protestant 
foreigners. The Roman Catholics owned a chapel and 
cemetery used expressly for papal foreigners. The Ar- 
^menians also had their own place of burial. But no 
provision had been made for Protestants. A lot of land 
some four miles from the city, and adjacent to the Ro- 
man Catholic burial-ground, had for several years been 
used, but it was a desolate place and unprotected. The 
need of effort for foreigners on the part of the mission 
was felt, not only because of the interest in the religious 
and general good of the foreigners, but also by reason 
of the fact that the missionaries, being the only Protest- 
ant clergymen in the city, were called upon to officiate at 
all funerals of Protestants. Requests to bury in our 
chapel lot were numerous, and threatened to be without 
end. To refuse was, to say the least, unpleasant to all 
parties. The proposed chapel was designed to provide 
for this need of foreign residents. It was a condition 
of the subscription that the proposed building should be 
to the satisfaction of the mission and under its control. 
In the course of a few months the subscription amounted 


to about twelve hundred dollars, and was paid. With 
reference to a site, effort was made by the British minis- 
ter to obtain a grant of land from the Shah. After a 
delay of some months and the rejection of several ob- 
jectionable conditions proposed by the authorities, the 
minister informed the mission that he had accepted a 
grant of land subject to the following conditions, to wit : 

^' 1. The building should not exceed in size and extent 
that described in the plans and specifications referred to." 

It was manifest to the mission that any such conditions 
as that could not have emanated from the Shah, as the 
size and style could be of very little interest to him. 

"2. That no children of Mohammedans should be 
admitted to the chapel ; and 

" 3. That no Mussulmans of any age should be al- 
lowed to attend services held in the building." 

The mission replied, through Mr. Bassett, that they 
could not accept the grant on the conditions. The mis- 
sion had no expectation of using the building for mission 
purposes, and had no need or desire to open the chapel to 
Mussulmans or any other Persians, but they were un- 
willing to submit to any humiliating conditions, es- 
pecially conditions with reference to which the mission 
had expressed its feelings and purpose so decisively. 
The mission proposed that land be pii7'chased without 
condition, but it was stated that the land granted by the 
Shah had been, by the British minister, tendered to par- 
ties of the Church of England in that country, and fur- 


ther aid solicited with a view to an English chaplaincy. 
The mission therefore asked the subscribers to receive 
the funds collected. They organized a society, appointed 
trustees and a building committee and received the 
amount collected. The mission was thus relieved of 
any further obligation in the matter. It is to be re- 
gretted, however, that the arrangement for the benefit of 
the foreigners was not completed, for the chapel was not 
constructed. The English society proceeded in the au- 
tumn to lay a foundation for the walls on the land 
granted by the Shah, but they were informed by the 
British minister that the Persian authorities would not 
permit burials to be made within the walls of the city. 
The trustees therefore, having waited a year, and feeling 
that as one great object of the undertaking was a ceme- 
tery for foreigners, and this was now impracticable, and 
that they would be defeated in any effort to this end, 
tendered the funds in hand to the individuals who had 
subscribed them. 

A phenomenon of unusual appearance this year was 
a total eclipse of the sun. It occurred on the 17th of 
May, 1882. The period of total obscuration was four 
minutes, or from 10.28 to 10.32 A. M. The sky was 
perfectly clear and the stars shone with brilliancy. A 
bright comet apj^eared near the sun during the obscura- 
tion. Native Persians were much alarmed and very 
serious. Some of them said they could not understand 
how we could smile in the day of judgment. 


Arrival of Reinforcements — Eastern Persian Mission Constituted — 
Schools — Theodore Isaac — Services of Public Worship in Eng- 
lish — Eeport of the Girls' School for 1882 — Book Department — • 
Medical Department — The Native Church — Death of Usta Abra- 
ham — Erection of a New Chapel — The Building Described — 
Opposition excited by the Amene Sultan — Attempt to Purchase 
the Mission-Premises by the Amene — The Work in Hamadan — 
Persecutions — Mirza Sayed Khan — Beginning of the Mission of 
the United States to Persia — Inquiries concerning the Safety of 
Citizens of the United States in Persia — Report of the British 
Foreign Office in Reply — First Appointment under the Act of 
Congress — Appointment of S. G. W. Benjamin — His Arrival in 
Persia — His Antecedents and Qualifications — Public Worship in 
English — Services in Persian — Matters with the Amene Sultan — 
Affairs in Hamadan — The Secretary of the Legation goes to 
Hamadan — Attempts of the Old Armenians in Hamadan — Per- 
secutions — Pleasant Episodes — Miss S. Bassett returns to Persia 
in Company with Miss Sherwood — Summary of the Year's Work 
— Work for Women, as shown by the Reports of Mrs. Bassett 
and Mrs. Potter — A Glimpse of the Girls' School, as given by the 
Report of Miss Bassett — Special Religious Interest in the Winter 
of 1883-84 — Summer Residence and Work — Resignation and 
Return of Mr. Bassett to America ; Reasons therefor — Statements 
of the Annual Report — Summary of the Year's Work in Hama- 
dan — Summary of Statistics of the Mission — Miss Schenck's Quar- 
terly Report— Miss Bassett's Report of the Year's Work in the 
Girls' School. 


N the autumn of 1882 the missiou was gratified by 
the arrival of Dr. Alexander and wife, Miss Anna 



Montgomery and Miss Cora Bartlett. The three first 
named had been appointed to Hamadan, and Miss Bart- 
lett to Tehran. They were met at Anzile by Dr. Tor- 
rence, and by him escorted to Tehran. They remained 
here a few days during the organization and session of 
the Eastern Persian Mission. That mission now met for 
the first time and adopted a basis of organization and 
by-laws. The members constituting the mission at the 
time of organization, named in the order of their connec- 
tion with the mission to Persia, were — Rev. James Bas- 
sett, Mrs. Abigail W. Bassett, Rev. Joseph L. Potter, Miss 
Sarah J. Bassett (now absent in America), Miss Anna 
Schenck, Mrs. Harriet Potter, Rev. J. W. Hawkes, Dr. 
W. W. Torrence, Mrs, Torrence, Dr. E. W. Alexander, 
Mrs. Alexander, Miss Cora Bartlett and Miss Anna 

The schools and religious services were maintained 
without interruption. The school for Jews was attended 
by about fifty scholars. The boys' school on the mission 
premises was taught during the spring and summer by 
an Armenian named Theodore Isaac, of India. He left 
that country, where he had received a good education, to 
attend the University of Cambridge, England. He re- 
mained in Tehran until the autumn, and was employed 
by tlie mission to teach. He was a very zealous Ar- 
menian, and, though willing to teach a Protestant school, 
would not listen to a Protestant Armenian. He would 
leave the chapel as soon as one began to preach, because, 


as he said, they were not ordained. He went on to Cam- 
bridge, and thence, in time, to the University of Bonn. 
From the latter place he wrote in 1886, expressing his 
readiness to return to Persia, and also indicating a 
marked change of sentiment with reference to many 
points of difference with Protestants. 

During the winter of 1882-83 the services of religious 
worship, both in English and Persian, on the mission- 
premises were conducted by the two clerical missionaries 
jointly. The attendance on the part of foreigners now, 
as heretofore, was all that could be expected. Col. 
Smith, the superintendent of the government of India's 
telegraph in Persia, gave during many years to these 
services the encouragement of his presence and influence, 
and in so doing he was earnestly seconded by his accom- 
plished wife. Mr. Nelson also, superintendent of the 
Indo-European telegraph in Persia, with his family, was 
an attendant and reliable friend of the cause, as were also 
Dr. Baker and others too many to mention in particular. 

A few statements from the annual report for 1882 
will close the review of that year. The report of the 
girls' school, made by Miss Schenck, speaks of the re- 
ligious interest of this year " as more thorough, deep and 
lasting than at any previous time." Several important 
points are sought to be attained : 1, To take pupils while 
very young ; 2, to keep the school open during the en- 
tire year ; 3, to make the English language the medium 
of instruction. The number of pupils enrolled has been 


45. The report of the book department, made by 
Mr. Potter, shows that 1200 volumes of the Scriptures 
and parts of the Scriptures have been sold and 433 vol- 
umes have been granted, and 617 volumes of text-books 
sold and 349 volumes granted. Bookrooms have been 
kept in the cities of Tehran, Rasht, Koom, Zerd and 
Mashhad. The report of the medical department to 
May 1, 1882, made by Dr. Torrence, shows that 4539 
prescriptions were given, 3352 persons seen for consulta- 
tion, and the receipts of the department for medical ser- 
vices were T.206.2.09, or $412. A hospital for Persians 
and Europeans was an object to be attained in the near 
future. The native church in Tehran had received four 
members — one a Jew and three Armenians. The total 
membership was then 29. The contributions of the 
church amounted to $85. The death of the elder Usta 
Abraham was a great loss to the church. He was one 
of the members received at the time of the organization 
of the church. He was much esteemed for prudence, 
honesty and industry. He had not been aided by the 
mission nor was he at any time in its employ. The re- 
port of the schools gives tliose maintained during the 
year in Tehran. It mentions also the need of a seminary 
for boys. 

In April, 1883, the erection of a new chapel on the 
mission-premises in the district of Shimroji gate was 
begun. The need of this had long been felt, but the 
means of construction had not been provided. It was 


built of burned brick. The height of ceiling was about 
twenty-two feet. The floor was laid with large tiles, 
and in three sections raised one above another. The 
audience-room was seated with well-made pews. The 
pulpit chairs, of carved wood, were made by the direction 
of the Persian minister of arts, Jangier Khan, and were 
given to the mission by him. They were upholstered 
with crimson velvet. The window-frames and the sash 
in diamond panes were made by a Persian carpenter and 
were set with colored glass. The sashes were made in 
two sections, and turned on perpendicular rods in the 
centre. A heavy cornice of plaster of Paris extended 
around the wall beneath the ceiling. There were 
also three centre-pieces of the same material, and cor- 
nices and scrolls above the windows. There was an 
alcove back of the pulpit, the end of the audience-room 
having an arch of brick of the width of the platform. 
The interior walls and ceiling were finished with a white 
coating of plaster of Paris. This could be well afforded, 
for gypsum is very abundant in Persia. The structure 
was completed in the autumn. The walls had been car- 
ried to near their full height before any opposition was 
started. Ameue Sultan, the king's chamberlain, was a 
near neighbor of the mission ; he was absent during the 
summer with the king in Khorasan. His wife, being 
informed of the building, sent word to stop the work, 
and caused information to be given to the prince, who 
appealed to the Shah ; but before word could reach Teh- 

Interior of New Chapel. Page 243. 


ran the walls were completed. The servants of the 
prince had ordered the masons to quit the work, and 
they dared not return until Mr. Bassett himself stood 
over them and ordered the Mussulmans of the prince's 
household to attend to their own affairs, and forbade 
their molesting the masons, refusing to obey any order 
except that of the Persian Foreign Office delivered by 
the legation. There was some negotiation, but the Per- 
sian minister did not order the walls to be taken down. 
He gave an order for the completion of the roof. A 
wall was built on the top of the roof, across the rear, to 
screen the workmen, so that they could not look into the 
court of the harem of the prince. For some time the 
workmen could not go upon the roof without being 
ordered down by the servants of the sultan. They, 
being Persians, very naturally feared the displeasure of 
this man. The Amene had desired to purchase the land 
on which the chapel had been erected, but the mission 
could not sell it without great detriment to itself; but 
it offered to sell all its premises to him on condition of 
permission being given by the Persian authorities to pur- 
chase other land. The Amene, however, seemed to 
think that he could obtain the property eventually at a 
low figure. He again sent proposals to purchase when 
the chapel was completed. He saiij that he liked the 
new building and would pay the value of the lot and the 
cost of the chapel, which was about five thousand dol- 
lars. But the mission could not afford to sell its chapel, 


and the prince renewed his proposals for the purchase 
of all the premises, saying that he would have to tear 
down all the buildings except the chapel in case of 
purchase, as they would be of no use to him. But 
he was not yet ready to give the full value of the 

During: the winter of 1881-82 the work in Hamadan 
was carried on without material change. The year 1882 
Avas the first of the two missions, the British and Amer- 
ican, in that place, and was a time of great annoyance and 
of persecution of the Jewish converts. Nor was there 
any improvement in the year 1883. Mirza Sayed Khan 
ignored his own orders. In fact, there was no dependence 
to be placed on his decisions : he observed or evaded them 
at his own pleasure. The schools were closed and opened, 
and reclosed and reopened. It was ordered that no one 
should sell land or building-material to the missionaries 
in Hamadan or to any foreign missionaries, though 
building was at the time being carried on by the Prot- 
estant mission and the papal mission in Tehran. The 
opposition was greater, if possible, after the arrival of 
the American legation than before. A few weeks pre- 
vious to that the Persian authorities expressed the pur- 
pose to leave all matters of inquiry, or not to open 
any new questions, until the arrival of the American 

In the spring of 1882 it was learned that efforts were 
being made in the United States to obtain an act of 


Congress authorizing the appointment of a representa- 
tive of the government of the United States for Persia. 
Previous to 1883 the United States had never been rep- 
resented at the court of Persia. At the time of the war 
opened on Persia by the Kurds in 1880 inquiries were 
made by the government of the United States at the 
British Foreign Office concerning the safety of the citi- 
zens of the United States in the country of the Shah. 
The correspondence includes a reference to the action of 
the mission taken subsequent to the close of the Kurdish 
war in 1881, and relates the orders issued by the Persian 
government touching Mussulmans and the giving of re- 
ligious instruction to them. In the report of the British 
Foreign Office there is a partial statement of the reasons 
assigned for their action, in which it is represented that 
the missionaries consider it their duty "to obey God 
rather than man,'^ and the condition of the missionaries 
in consequence of their action is said to be " critical," so 
much so as to seem to justify a telegram from the De- 
partment of State in Washington to the minister of the 
United States in London, expressing the hope that Her 
Majesty's representatives would continue to affi^rd pro- 
tection to the missionaries as heretofore. All this was 
the result of the report of the action of the mission to 
the British Foreign Office by Mr. Ronald Thomson, the 
British minister in Tehran, while the missionaries had to 
appeal to the Shah himself for protection from those 
measures to which the British minister himself was a 


party. The representations made by Mr. Thomson were 
an important factor in the influences leading to the estab- 
lishment of a mission of the United States government 
in Persia. The reason given for the mission was ^' the 
protection of American citizens " in Persia. The results 
were very acceptable to those citizens, and the Americans 
resident in Persia have occasion for gratitude to the peo- 
ple in America who had their interest so much at heart 
as to adopt measures for their protection — a favor which 
the missionaries would have been very reluctant to 

The first appointment under the act of Congress was 
that of Rev. H. H. Jessup, D. D., of Syria. It is fairly 
presumed that no one acquainted with Dr. Jessup would 
have thought that he would accept the appointment. It 
may be believed that it was sought for him by interested 
friends as an act of courtesy in their anxiety to do him 

On the declination of the appointment by Dr. Jessup, 
Mr. S. G. W. Benjamin was appointed minister resident 
and consul-general at the court of the Shah. He arrived 
with his wife and daughter at Anzile in the month of 
May, 1883, and was escorted to the capital with the 
usual honors and by a special messenger of the Shah. 
He was formally received in the capital on the 9th of 
June, the king having delayed his own departure for 
Mashhad to do him honor. His Majesty departed on 
the same day for the eastern border of his dominions, 


ostensibly, it is said, to pay his devotions at the shrine 
of Reza, but really to investigate certain questions about 
the boundaries as they would be affected by the opera- 
tions of the Russians in Turkistan. 

Mr. Benjamin is the son of the Rev. Nathan Benjamin, 
a missionary appointed in 1836 by the American Board to 
Athos in Greece, and later to Athens and Constantinople. 
The early associations of the minister were such, there- 
fore, as to make him a friend of missionaries. Well ac- 
quainted with the French and Turkish languages and 
the character and customs of Orientals, a man of liter- 
ary culture, he was well fitted by these and other quali- 
fications for the position to which he had been appointed. 

Mr. Benjamin, as well as Col. Smith and other persons, 
was desirous that services in English should be held in 
the new chapel on Sabbath afternoons. They were 
therefore begun and maintained during the usual time of 
residence in the city. Later in the season, by special ar- 
rangement with the members of the American and Brit- 
ish legations, the morning services of the Church of Eng- 
land were read by Mr. Bassett and a sermon was preached 
by him. The members of the British legation contracted 
to pay during the season the sum of about $150, which 
was duly paid to the treasurer of the mission. 

The services in Persian were conducted by the two 
missionaries, each officiating on alternate Sabbaths. A 
Sabbath-school for Persians was sustained by good at-, 
tendance, also a prayer-meeting on Fridays in Persian. 


The demands of the Amene Sultan and business mat- 
ters relating to Hamadan were referred to Mr. Benjamin. 
It was demanded of the Amene that he should fill up 
with brickwork the windows which he had constructed 
to overlook the mission-premises. This business fell 
to the Persian minister of foreign affairs. But Mirza 
Sayed Khan was fruitful in expedients for avoiding the 
points at issue, and he feared the influence of the 
Amene. The windows, however, were in time closed 
through the efforts of the legation. Matters with the 
authorities in Hamadan went on from bad to worse until 
the spring and summer of 1 884. In the winter of 1 883- 
84 the Christian Jews were greatly annoyed, as were also 
the missionaries in that city. Owing to the difficulty 
experienced in obtaining any redress of wrongs from 
Mirza Sayed Khan, the minister sent his secretary, Mr. 
Keun, to Hamadan to consult with authorities there. 
Some of the Jewish converts had been beaten, fined and 
imprisoned for persisting in serving the missionaries, 
contrary to the order of the Persian authorities. In the 
fall of 1883 the Armenians of Shevarin attempted to 
obtain possession of the church in Hamadan. The fa- 
rashes entered the building and took out the benches and 
other property belonging to the missionaries, and closed 
the doors of the church. The representative of the le- 
gation could obtain no concessions from the authorities. 
The prince-governor had returned to Tehran, leaving 
affairs in the management of his son, a mere lad. The 


secretary called to his aid the farashcs of the governor 
and arrested some of the oifenders, and caused the 
schools to be opened, but they were closed as soon as he 
left the city. The farashes put a lock and seal on the 
doors of the building used for a school for Jews. A 
school for Armenian girls in the care of Miss Montgom- 
ery was not molested. In spite of these annoyances, 
though not permitted to build, the missionaries were 
suffered to purchase residences for their own use. Mirza 
Sayed Khan died in the spring of 1884. It was hoped 
that his successor would be more liberal and efficient. 
Mr. Benjamin presented to him a strong protest against 
the acts of the authorities in Hamadan, and demanded 
indemnity and the removal of some of the officials of 
that city ; but the new Persian minister very deliberate- 
ly composed a reply charging that the missionaries had 
violated treaty stipulations. These charges were, how- 
ever, withdrawn, for he soon thereafter ordered indem- 
nity to be taken from the Armenians who had caused 
the church-furniture to be seized and the church closed. 

It must not be thought that there were no pleasant 
phases of the mission-work and life in Hamadan. The 
following extract from a letter written by Dr. Alex- 
ander, under the date of February 9, 1883, shows that 
there were some pleasant episodes in the course of 
affairs : 

" We were all to the prince's Wednesday night, and 
the big man of Shevarin has sent his carriage to take us 



out to his place for the evening ; so you see we do not 
live in constant storms. God is always kind, and makes 
it pleasant for us here/' 

In the month of October, Miss S. Bassett returned 
from America in company with Miss Sherwood, ap- 
pointed to Tehran, but, owing to the fact that Miss 
Montgomery was without an associate in the women's 
work in Hamadan, Miss Sherwood was a few months 
later transferred to the mission in that city. In the 
fall of the following year she married the Rev. J. W. 
Hawkes of Hamadan. On the arrival of the ladies at 
Anzile they were met by Mr. Potter to escort them to 

A few statements gleaned from the annual report of 
this year give a concise account of the year's work. 
Two schools were maintained in Tehran throughout the 
year. One of these, situated near the Casveen gate, has 
been attended by about 25 children of Armenians. Of 
this number, 12 have been assisted by allowances for 
food and clothing, and 2 are orphans and 5 are half- 
orphans. This school is designed to be, as soon as pos- 
sible, a boarding-school for boys. Two thousand tomans 
were asked for the purpose of erecting a suitable building. 
The studies pursued are in Persian, English and Arme- 
nian. The second school is that for the children of Jews. 
The average attendance has been 40. The languages 
employed in instruction are Hebrew, Persian and Eng- 
lish. The New Testament in Persian is used as a text- 

Hut ami Bootli near Rasht. Page 253. 


book, and the Catechism is learned. The school in 
Kasht has been attended by 20 pupils. The congrega- 
tion of native Persians was removed to the west side of 
Tehran, owing to changes to be made in the buildings 
occupied hitherto on the north side of town. The ser- 
vices were attended by Jews, Armenians and Moham- 
medans. The Persian authorities have not interfered 
with the attendance. The native church has experienced 
no marked change. Land for a cemetery has been pur- 
chased by the church. The report mentions the need of 
a well-qualified native pastor. It mentions also the sub- 
scription for a chapel and cemetery for foreigners, and 
the erection on the mission-premises of a new chapel 
capable of seating three hundred people. The interest 
in Rasht culminated in the organization (October 16, 
1883) of a church in that city and under the care of 
Mirza Lazar. The collections in Rasht have amounted 
to about $64. Priest Megerditch has resided and labored 
in Bohmaiu and its vicinity. The arrival of a legation 
of the United States is mentioned as a propitious event, 
relieving the mission of the greater part of the usual 
business with the Persian authorities. 

The work for Persian women may be shown by ex- 
tracts from the reports made by the ladies in charge of 
the different departments of that work. Mrs. Bassett 
began to hold meetings with Jewish women this year in 
the Jewish quarter of the city. Concerning this, under 
date of November 13, 1883, she writes : " I began meet- 


in^-s in the Jewish quarter in the month of November. 
]\let- at the house of Mirza Baba, who is tlie teaelier of 
the Jews' boys' sehool, witli an attendance of 24 women 
and girls. Tliey seemed greatly pleased that I should 
meet them onee every week and endeavor to show them 
the way of life. The number increased, gradually week 
by week, also the interest. I said to the women and 
little girls the next week after the meeting, I would meet 
all who wished to learn to read. When the time came I 
Ibund eight or ten girls ready for their lesson. The 
women thought they were too old to commence to learn 
to read. But before I had finished with the little ones 
they were looking over my shoulder at the letters, and 
seemed much interested. Their ignorance and degrada- 
tion are very great. It seems strange to them that we 
should read. They need to be taught of the better life. 
I hope this winter we may hear many of them inquir- 
ing what they shall do to be saved. They manifested 
a great deal of interest, and were generally regular in 
their attendance, bringing some new one with them 
nearly every time. They often come to see me.'^ 

Mrs. Potter writes, under date of October, 1883, of 
her work among Armenian women : " Naturally, the 
work commences and the interest centres among those 
who are members of our church ; and, very happily, 
nearly all of these live in one quarter of the city, near 
each other. Early in the fall we called upon them 
preparatory to starting a weekly prayer-meeting to be 

Armenian Mother and Son. Page 257. 


held from house to house. Most of the women ex- 
pressed great willingness to attend and take part in such 
a service, promising to do all they could to sustain it. 
Looking back now over the months, including all the 
meetings in one glance, I think I can say they have 
kept their word. If there has been disappointment at 
one time, there has been encouragement at another. A 
bright spot that I may mention is the interest shown by 
one woman, a sister of the wife of one of our helpers. 
Her husband is engaged in making and selling wine, 
and is so much opposed to us and to Protestantism as to 
have even destroyed his wife's Testament and hymn-book 
some few years ago, forbidding her to have anything to 
do with us. Still, she managed to get other books, and 
under pretence of visiting her friends would frequent- 
ly come to the preaching services. But last winter she 
took a bolder stand, and urged that we should hold our 
prayer-meeting at her home in its turn. We saw with 
great delight her desire to hear and learn the truth. 
This little cluster of praying women met together regu- 
larly each week from November until May, with one or 
two exceptions when bad weather or sickness prevented, 
and we think there was a perceptible spiritual growth 
among them, though we cannot report many brought into 
the kingdom of those entirely unacquainted with its truths, 
" At the beginning of February a meeting was opened 
in another Armenian quarter of the city, distant fully two 
miles from the missionary's house, a considerable part 


of the way being through the bazars. But this difficulty 
was the least of all to be surmounted, a far greater one 
being to gain access to the hearts of the women them- 
selves, or even to find any of them willing to listen. Be- 
fore attempting the service w^e called among them and 
asked whether they would like to have it. With the 
native politeness and (shall I say it ?) lack of sincerity, 
their answers to us were very favorable. But on the day 
appointed for the first meeting they sent us a message to 
the effect that, word having been passed about, no one 
was ready to come. Still, we persevered in going, and 
were encouraged by being able to gather together eleven 
persons; and the average attendance continued to be 
nearly this number during the three months, notwith- 
standing the prejudices against us which were plainly 
felt to exist, and the influence of those who adhered 
strongly to the old faith. 

^' Sanam, a native Christian woman, for some years a 
pupil in our girls' school, accompanied us to these meet- 
ings, partly because we feel that she is qualified for 
evangelical work and are desirous to help her take it up, 
and also that she might introduce us into homes where 
we were unacquainted. She proved to be of great as- 
sistance in reading the portions of Scripture selected for 
the day, leading in prayer, helping to sing the hymns 
and sometimes speaking a few words. After the meeting 
we frequently went together to call upon some one whom 
she knew and invite her to attend the following week. 


"An incident which occurred one day may serve to 
show how little heart some of them had in the mat- 
ter, and how well satisfied they were with their own 
spiritual condition. We were waiting for the women to 
assemble when an old woman came in who with her 
daughter had repeatedly been invited to the service. 
After the usual salutations, Sanam inquired for the 
daughter. Raising her voice to a high tone, the mother 
burst forth with, ^ Why should she come ? What shall 
she come for ? Is the lady going to give us money ?' 
(This last word she fairly shouted.) Then turning to 
me with many gestures, still speaking at the top of her 
voice, she said, ' Money ! money ! Give us money ; that 
is what we want. It is the beginning of all things; 
we cannot have clothes or rice or anything without 
money ; give us that, lady.^ She was told that if she 
would listen she would receive something still better 
than money, but her cry was still the same, and she con- 
tinued to shout and gesticulate until tlie others, coming 
in, so took my attention that she was obliged to stop. 
Now, all this was half in jest, but it showed most 
plainly the woman's real feelings, that money was worth 
more to her than any teaching ; nor could she be con- 
vinced that there was anything better to desire, though 
plainly told that one who was nearing the grave, as she 
was, should be far more careful for her souFs w^elfare 
than for getting money, which she could not take with 
her. Also, a poor woman coming in with tears running 


down lier cheeks, carrying a sick child in her arms and 
having left a husband at home crazy with delirium tre- 
mens, afforded a good opportunity to show her that there 
are troubles which even money cannot alleviate. But it 
was all of no effect, for the old woman left the house as 
soon as she saw me open my Testament.'' 

A glimpse of the interior of the girls' school is given 
in the following quarterly report made by Miss Bartlett. 
It represents the last quarter of the year 1882, but vir- 
tually the first quarter of the mission- work for 1883 : 

"On the 4th of October, 1882, I entered our school- 
room for the first time, and I wish I could tell you how 
pleased I was with our black-haired, black-eyed girls. 
Though I have been only a short time in Persia, would 
you, dear home-friends, like to hear some of my first 
impressions of our work ? It seems to me that the har- 
vest of Persia is not yet ripe for the gathering of golden 
sheaves, but that much of the toilsome, weary work of 
preparation and seed-sowing still remains to be done. 
But in our own special field, the girls' school, much of 
this liarder foundation-work has been accomplished by 
such self-denying labors as some of us will never know. 

"The school is not yet running like clock-work, for 
there are not enough laborers to keep all the parts thor- 
ouglily oiled ; but many things mark steady improve- 
ment. We have enrolled during this last quarter 34 
names. This is not many, we know, but it is sufficient 
increase over former years to show that the balance tips 

i i 



^BB^^v "' .>riXi\^^ 

Carepet and his Wife Victoria. 

Page 263. 


to the riglit side. Of this number, 10 are contract- girls ; 
that is, girls whose parents or relatives have signed their 
names to a written agreement, thus promising them to us 
for a term of years, not less than five. In this way we 
gain complete control over them, and they are not merely 
schola7'Sj but our children, to be cared for in every partic- 
ular. No, we are not proud of them now, but we hope 
to be some day, when they go forth to throw the light 
of Christian womanhood into the darkness of their sur- 

" We were glad to welcome Sanam and Victoria back 
as day-scholars. They were married and left us three 
years ago, and have now returned, each seeking work for 
hands and hearts left idle and empty by the death of 
their little ones. Their husbands are two of our most 
promising helpers, and we rejoice not only to see these 
girls striving to keep step with them, but also because 
we think it will have some influence against the horrid 
custom of early marriage which steals away our girls so 

'^ But the company that gathers in our schoolroom 
would not be complete without mention of the two 
women of our household. One of these, Sushau, is an 
earnest Christian, a member of the church, ^vho has 
come through much trouble to find everlasting peace. 
We hear with gladness of her meetings and talks with 
the girls, for we think her influence most salutary. If 
I could show you the numerous pairs of little native 


stockings out at toes and heels, the gaping holes made 
by the week's wear and tear, the piles of plain sewing 
waiting to be done, you could easily guess her occupa- 
tion. During this quarter we received the first money 
ever paid by the father of one of our girls for current 

'^ As our earnest desire is that the girls may become 
earnest Christians while with us, much attention is given 
to religious instruction, Miss Schenck and Mrs. Potter 
each having a daily Bible-class and afternoon meeting 
on Sabbath. I cannot help in this way now, so I have 
several English classes, hoping that if I fail to learn 
Armenian we may still be able to talk a little. Mrs. 
Potter and I have spent a good many hours over the 
sewing, but if you should visit us you might not believe 
it unless you should give long enough notice for the girls 
to don their Sunday dresses. I grumble a good deal be- 
cause the parents ask for their children so often, and 
when once out of the house we have no idea when we 
shall see them again ; but Miss Schenck can laugh at 
this annoyance, it is so much less than formerly. 

*^ The week of prayer called us for a while from our 
usual duties, and besides special services held in the little 
prayer-room and on the other side of the city we had 
several meetings in our schoolroom. We exerted our- 
selves to keep the 14 girls who remained with us during 
the holidays both busy and happy. To each was given 
a new dress, and they sewed industriously and merrily 


over them, thus occupying the days, and in the evenings 
we entertained them witli games. We prepared for their 
Christmas, the 18th of January, a little Christmas-tree, 
which really looked quite pretty trimmed up with pop- 
corn, fancy bags filled with candy, oranges, picture- 
books, English and Armenian Testaments, Bibles and a 
nice woolen dress for each of the women. Plenty of 
time "was given them to enjoy it, while we passed boun- 
tiful refreshments of oranges, popcorn balls, candy, nuts 
and figs. The delight of the children well repaid us for 
our trouble. Last week the day of prayer for schools 
was observed, and nearly the whole day was spent in 
prayer and praise. We long very much to have it a 
marked day in our school, that the girls may learn to 
look forward to it. Some of our girls are Christians, 
we hope, but we need, more than I can tell you, an out- 
pouring of the Spirit." 

During the winter of 1883-84 special religious inter- 
est prevailed in the girls' school and in the congregation. 
The attendance at the public services on Fridays and 
Sabbaths was larger than ever before. The number 
present was often as many as one hundred and fifty. 
Of these as many as fifty or sixty were Mohammedans, 
some were Jews and many were Armenians. As a re- 
sult of the interest, on the 14th of May, 1884, fourteen 
persons united with the church in Tehran. Five of 
these were pupils of the girls' school. 

During the summer Mr. Potter and Dr. Torrence with 


their families resided in Gulhek, the summer retreat of 
the British legation; Mr. Bassett and family and the 
girls^ school, with the ladies in charge, occupied premises 
in the village of Tajreesh, at the place called Aseaub, or 
the Mill. Mr. Bassett remained here until the 24th of 
August, 1884, preaching on Sabbaths in the city to the 
native church and congregation. On the day mentioned he 
and his family departed for the United States, he having 
some mouths previously resigned his connection with the 
Board and the mission, to take effect this year. The reasons 
leading him to take this step were, first, the educational 
wants of his family — wants which could not be met in 
Persia ; and, secondly, the inadequate support furnished 
under the regulations of the Board. This inadequacy 
has since been shown by the fact that the salaries of the 
missionaries in Persia have been very materially in- 
creased since he left the field. At this time a reinforce- 
ment for the mission was expected to arrive in the fall. 

A few statements gathered from the annual report of 
the mission with reference to the mission-work of the 
year 1884 will be pertinent and complete the record up 
to this date. 

The Rev. T. J. Porter and wife arrived at Tehran on 
the 23d of October. He took charge of the services of 
public worship in English for the remainder of the year. 
The Sabbath-school was continued during the winter and 
spring and until the hot season, when it was dismissed 
until fall. The averas^e attendance of the Sabbath- 


school had been 85. Tlie total number of members 
received to the Tehran church from the time of or- 
ganization in 1876 had been, including those persons 
received this year, 57. The membership at this date 
was 38, giving a loss of 19 by removals and deaths 
since the organization. The contributions from all 
sources amounted to $419. AVeekly prayer-meetings 
for native women were held by Mrs. Potter in the Ar- 
menian quarter of town, and a monthly social gathering 
of native women was held in the fall at the houses of 
Mrs. Potter and Mrs. Torrence alternately. The year 
was a prosperous one in the girls^ school. The whole 
number enrolled was 40 ; the average attendance of 
pupils, 31. The school for Jewish girls numbered 15 
pupils. The total number of scholars in the mission- 
schools was 146. Dr. Torrence reported the number of 
patients at the dispensary during the year to be 2500. 
In the latter part of the year the dispensary was re- 
moved to another quarter of tlie town, owing to the 
danger to the mission families from infectious diseases. 
Three books are reported as having been published in the 
course of the year — namely : The Shorter Catechism, trans- 
lated by Mr. Basse tt, a 16mo volume of 65 pages ; a new 
enlarged edition of hymns in Persian, translated by Mr. 
Bassett, a 16mo volume of 67 pages ; Pilgrim's Progress, 
translated by J. L. Potter, with notes and index. Each 
copy contains six full-page wood-cuts, the sheets being 
furnished at cost by the Presbyterian Board of Publica- 


tion. The sales of Scriptures were 1214 volumes, and 
of religious text-books 418 volumes. 

A summary of the year's work in Hamadan is made 
in the report of that mission, the substance of which is 
given as follows : 

"The mission-work at Hamadan has been impeded 
during the past year by various forms of opposition on 
the part of all classes — Moslems, Armenians and Jews. 
Notwithstanding the forces working against them, how- 
ever, the missionaries have not only held their position, 
but have made substantial progress in their work. 

" As heretofore, two services have been held each Sab- 
bath in the Armenian quarter of the city without inter- 
ruption, the aged Nestorian pastor and Mr. Hawkes con- 
ducting the services. The church-building hitherto oc- 
cupied for these services — which, by the way, is dark, 
dilapidated and uncomfortable — was claimed by the old 
Armenians, and through the enmity of certain influential 
men at the capital was given over by the authorities to 
them. The Protestants have since worshiped in private 
houses. ^ We have made this,' writes Mr. Hawkes, ^ the 
occasion of a petition to the Shah for permission to build 
a new chapel, and the last mail brings word that he has 
granted the petition and made a contribution of 400 
tomans toward the erection of the building. The prince- 
governor came to see the chosen location, approved of it, 
and ordered that work should commence about the 1st 
of April. We hope it will be completed before next 


winter.' The Sunday-school has been kept up, with 
110 names on the roll and an average attendance of 60. 
Services among the Jews have been attended by only a 
small number, as the people have been in constant fear 
of persecution. To lessen their fears, Pastor Shimon 
has taken a house in the midst of their homes, and, hav- 
ing accommodations in his dwelling both for preaching 
services and a girls' school, it is hoped that they both 
may be carried on without interruption. 

"The girls' school in the Armenian quarter is the 
only one that has been allowed to continue its course 
undisturbed through the various persecutions of the year. 
Fifty-six have been in attendance. Since the marriage 
of Miss Sherwood to the Eev. Mr. Hawkes, Miss Mont>- 
gomery, her associate in the school, has received into the 
building ten boarders. Her labors in the supervision of 
such a school, requiring unremitting attention upon her 
part, while, at the same time, she is prosecuting the study 
of both Persian and Armenian, it will be readily seen, 
must be very arduous. 

" The boys' high school has been sadly interrupted, 
being several times closed by government order. The 
Jewish boys have thus lost much time, and the Ar- 
menians, although generally keeping up their studies, 
have not made the progress they should have done. Dr. 
and Mrs. Alexander have opened a boarding department 
for the boys in an unoccupied room in their house. 
They have had six under their care. Another school, 


for Jewish boys only, has been started during the past 
year. There are in it some 50 boys, but the disturbances 
prevailing have had their influence upon this also. 

" A school started by Mrs. Alexander for girls in the 
Jewish quarter was soon stopped by the government. 
The number enrolled reached 25. The immediate cause 
of the closing was a prayer-meeting started in the same 
room at the urgent request of the neighbors. It imme- 
diately stirred up the prejudices of the leading Jews. 

" Dr. E. W. Alexander has rendered valuable service 
to the many natives who have sought his help through 
the year, notwithstanding the violent opposition of the 
native doctors, who, while secretly admitting the virtue 
of foreign medicine, say that they must shut out the for- 
eigners as long as possible. Both he and Mrs. Alexander 
claim our deep sympathy because of the successive forms 
of sickness with which she has been afflicted, having 
long suffered from a low form of fever and also from an 
attack of smallpox, which was at one time raging in the 
city. The health of the other missionaries has been al- 
most uninterruptedly good." 

A review of the foregoing statements shows that the 
total number of pupils in all the schools of the Eastern 
Persia Mission at this date was 276, including 15 schol- 
ars in the school in Rasht. Regular congregations were 
sustained in three cities and one village. The number 
of congregations was 6, with an average attendance of 
about 175 in all. The Sabbath-school attendants num- 


bered about 250. The congregation of English-speaking 
people is not included in this estimate. 

Miss Schenck, in her quarterly report of April, 1884, 
writes of tlie girls' school : 

" Several of our girls have been Christians, no doubt, 
for some length of time, and it is our joy to rejoice in 
recognizing their gradual quiet growth into an ever 
higher degree of piety, as evidenced in the formation 
of Christian character, the questions of conscience from 
thoughtful ones, the response from the face indicative 
of unexpressed concern within, and the unhidden, in- 
terested anxiety for the spiritual condition of parents 
still ignorant of the true spirit and intent of Christ's 

*' Some of the girls are touchingly moved to take the 
occasion of calls [of parents] on reception-day to read 
the Bible to their parents, unabashed by the presence of 
others. One dear child even followed up this reading 
by putting in her father's pocket a previously-written 
note for him to spell out at his leisure at home, and, we 
trust, to be moved by its plain words and bold — for a 
daughter in this land to say to her father — to be con- 
cerned for his own soul as his child is for it. 

" Other girls, more recently entered, seem almost im- 
mediately to show in face and conduct an acquiescence 
in the teachings and a readiness to assume their duty, as 
shown to them in God's word, before they are able to read 
it for themselves. These Christian girls are with us, and 



growing in their Christian life. As we pray regularly 
right through the roll for them, one by one, as is our 
custom, our faith grasps the promises of God for them. 

" But these poor children are not blessed with pious 
parents — far from it. Some of these, especially the 
mothers, are wicked in heart and life, and they wish and 
expect their daughters to be the same. Indeed, the only 
motive of some in putting their girls with us is the hope 
that it may prove a time of preparation for them to gain 
money by selling them without marriage. We may be 
brought to face the fact that neither we nor the girl can 
stand against the power of a wicked mother to dispose as 
she will of her child. 

" Can you, in view of these facts, appreciate the per- 
plexity with which we meet a question that is much in 
our thoughts and prayers — that of receiving the girls 
into church-membership ? This in Christian lands is a 
simple, straightforward matter, the first presented and 
acknowledged duty and privilege of a convert to claim 
the blessings of full membership in the visible Church. 
Duty here, in such cases, is a complicated question. 
Who is wise enough to decide it ? Since children of God 
may be saved out of the Church, is it expedient to risk 
bringing reproach upon the Church, rather than wait a 
few years, if need be, for developments in their future 
life ? Our experience leads us to choose the safer course 
of not hurrying them into the churches. 

"Many show much interest in their lessons. The 


progress in most cases is commendable. Some, from not 
having any idea how to hold a pen, have in a short time 
learned to write a fair hand. But they are chips of the 
old blocks, after all, and have some queer ways to which 
they cling, such as putting away their books, bread 
and treasures under the carpets (carpets here are not 
tacked down) and tying up clothing in a big cloth, 
though nice little chests and shelves and hooks are pro- 
vided for their use. We are still suffering the incon- 
venience of having no desks for our schoolroom. 

^' Having three lady-teachers present this winter has 
enabled us to make marked progress in English instruc- 
tion. The examination was entirely in English, except 
a Catechism of Bible history in Armenian. The classes 
were practical, and mental arithmetic, algebra, geography, 
dictation and grammar, with children's motion-songs 
interspersed. Rewards of English Bibles were given to 
six girls for committing the Catechism for Young Chil- 
dren in English. At present most of the teaching is oral 
and without books, though w^e expect gradually, as they 
get more command of the language, to have them use 

" One of our church elders has a weekly class of the 
older girls, the time of which he is now employing in 
teaching and explaining the Church covenant. 

^^ Our household has been greatly blessed in health 
during this winter of unusual sickness and frequent 
death. Indeed, wath grateful hearts we record the fact 


that our school has never been visited with a really seri- 
ous case of illness. Did Easter come oftener than once 
a year, we fear such would cease to be true, for the 
quantity of eggs that a school full of girls can boil, color 
and otherwise dispose of is enough to do away with all 
hope of good health for some time to come. However, 
our experience with picnics as an antidote for hard-boiled 
eggs has so far proved successful. This year we tried 
an extra large dose, going a mile outside of the city — not 
to such woods, however, as American children have for 
picnicking. Oh no ! Woods are unknown about Teh- 
ran. But the Shah and such other men as are rich 
enough plant gardens in the desert, and build high mud 
walls around them, and dig ditches through which the 
water is brought down from the mountains to water the 
garden, and so trees are coaxed to grow. And some- 
times, by paying the gardener who takes care of it, we 
can get permission, as we did this time, to spend the 
day in his garden. But he looks rather nonplussed 
when he unlocks and opens the great gate, and thinks 
what injury all these forty folk and nine donkeys are 
likely to do to his fruit trees if permitted to run wild in 
his garden. So the girls, instead of having entire free- 
dom, have to be cautioned to be careful and play in the 
broad paths. But what with getting up their swing and 
using it to their hearts' content, and eating several lunches, 
and the fun of riding the donkeys up and down through 
the garden, and some riding while the others walked 


back to the city, as we had gone out in the morning, we 
•were about as tired a set as if our picnic had been in the 
old orthodox American style. 

" We are indebted for two boxes from Erie Presby- 
terial Society, and could the kind friends know the 
help and impulse given to our social hour, as shown 
in the greater amount and better work accomplished 
since its arrival, they would be sufficiently repaid and 

"The gift of a magic-lantern from Iowa has been 
much appreciated by the girls. 

" Two boxes with very acceptable contents and of 
most helpful character were also received from different 
bands and auxiliaries of the Philadelphia society. Could 
the makers of that clothing see the neat appearance of 
our girls, and appreciate the actual labor saved to us by 
their sending it all ready to put on, they would under- 
stand how we prize their boxes, better than by any words 
we can write." 

The yearns work of the girls' school is reviewed by 
Miss Sarah Bassett in the annual report, under date 
of October, 1884, as follows : 

" It is my duty as well as pleasure to review the past 
year, not only for our own benefit, but also that our 
friends may know what we have striven to accomplish. 

"The last day of October, 1883, found me again in 
Tehran, after an absence of eighteen months, ready and 
glad to resume my share of duties which had rested 


heavily ou shoulders not able to carry such a burden, 
however willing they might be. 

" Classes were soon formed, and during the winter 
there were daily recitations in arithmetic, both mental 
and practical, algebra, geography, reading, writing, 
grammar and dictation in the English language, while 
the Bible was studied in the Armenian. Afternoons 
were spent by the girls in studying Armenian and Per- 
sian with a native teacher, and part of the year French. 
Evenings were devoted to what was called the English 
social hour, at which time fancy-work was taught and 
English spoken. 

" The week of prayer was duly observed, besides the 
regular public services, which the girls were able to at- 
tend only part of the time, owing to the rain and to the 
meetings being on the west side of the city some dis- 
tance from us : the missionaries each met the girls in the 
schoolroom and pointed out the way of life in plain lan- 
guage, to which the girls listened attentively and after- 
results proved that they were profited thereby. 

" The Armenian New Year and Christmas were each 
noticed and celebrated in a way to delight the hearts of 
the children, especially the latter day. Upon it the 
girls were invited to see a beautiful tree the ladies had 
dressed for their pleasure with lovely gifts sent by kind 
friends in the home-land for such occasions. The mis- 
sionaries, with our United States minister, his wife and 
daughter, were invited to witness the giving of the gifts 


to the girls. It was very gratifying to have Mr. and 
Mrs. Benjamin express so heartily their surprise and 
pleasure in what they saw to commend in our school. 
Such times have their mission of encouragement to us, 
marking as they do our growth and progress in num- 
bers, manner and appearance. 

" The day of prayer for schools was not forgotten, but 
was observed by religious exercises from morning until 
evening, and, from studying the faces of the pupils, we 
could not but feel they were thoughtfully and earnestly 
striving to make the day one which would never be 

" May 18th our hearts were gladdened by seeing five 
of our girls unite with the church, thus acknowledging 
their love for the Saviour and desire to glorify him. 
Very earnestly we pray that their example may be such 
as will lead their fi-iencls and schoolmates to Christ. 

"During May and in July the girls were taken for 
picnics to gardens near the city. In this way we strive 
to give them the change they need and still keep them 
with us. The wet spring, followed by unusually cool 
summer weather, made us hopeful of more than usual 
comfort during the hot months, and that we would be 
able to continue the lessons and accomplish much sew- 
ing. But early in July there were indications of poor 
health among the girls, which resulted in some serious 
illness and interfered with our plans. Among the cases 
very like scarlet fever one case of smallpox was devel- 


oped, which was iniraediately removed to a rented house, 
with nurses hired to care for her. The remaining pu- 
pils were sent to a garden not far from the city, with 
two elders and their families, to await results. After 
fifteen days' quarantine and no one being ill, we all re- 
moved to a garden at Tajreesh. July 29th, after an ill- 
ness of three weeks, Aroosiag Hargobiau died. She was 
one of our brightest and best little girls, loved by all her 
schoolmates as well as her teachers. 

"The two months in the country were spent busily 
sewing, and during that time four hundred yards of 
cloth and muslin were transformed into one hundred 
and forty garments. Some of the girls were taught to 
cut and fit and to sew on the sewing-machine, thus being 
of use to us, and preparing them, should it be necessary, 
to earn their livelihood in this city, where machines are 
becoming abundant. 

" Our whole number of pupils enrolled during the 
year has been 40, with an average attendance of 32. 
We were made the recipients during the year of four 
boxes, filled with clothing and materials for our work in 
the social hour, from friends in the home-land. Thus 
the year has passed with all its trials and pleasures, and 
we have entered upon a new year with 34 names enrolled 
and new studies begun." 


Methods of Mission-Labor in Persia, especially Eastern Persia — 
Methods Modified by the Condition of the People — The Romantic 
Method — Finding a Congregation — Henry Marty n's Experience 
— Street-Preaching not Attempted in Mohammedan Villages — 
Practicable in Christian Villages — Obstacles to Gathering Con- 
gregations — Intolerance of Islam — Opposition of the Priests — 
Too Sensitive a Conscience — Time-honored Religions — Protest- 
antism too Honest — Power and Futility of Controversy — Other 
Methods Essential — Interested and Disinterested Motives — Desire 
for Education and Power of Schools — Permanent Congregations, 
how Formed — Difficulty in the Way of Obtaining Native Preach- 
ers — Nestorian Preachers — Armenians of Eastern Persia — As- 
sistants to be Trained — Religious Services — Persians accustomed 
to Public Worship — Habits of Reverence— Preaching — Music — 
Influence of Sacred Song — The Organ — Matter of Preaching — 
Doctrines of Religion — Objectionable Doctrines — The Ale Alla- 
hees — Effect of the Peculiarities of the Persian Religion on the 
Relations of Persians to Christianity — Imitation of Christian 
Doctrine, and Assumptions — Resemblance to Rome — Revulsion 
from Rome — Conflict of the Gospel and Sheahism — Method of 
Successful Approach — Preparatory Instruction of Converts — Cir- 
culation of the Scriptures — Instances of the Influence of the 
Bible — The Circulation of Other Books — Pfander's Works — 
Books in the Armenian Language — Kind of Books Needed — 
Use of Medical Missions — Special Efforts for Persian Women by 
Christian Women. 


HE methods of missionary labor are necessarily 
modified in different lauds by the condition of the 



people to whom that labor is directed. There are 
marked resemblances, however, in the methods followed 
in all lauds. Social and religious laws, climate, lan- 
guage, and even the material resources of the people, 
aflPect in some way the agencies for reaching the popu- 
lace. One of the first questions proposed in every new 
mission-field is, '^How shall a congregation be ob- 
tained ?'' The question is pretty well understood by 
all who are informed on mission-work. But it is not 
always suggested as one that may have any perplexity 
about it. In the old fields the congregations are gath- 
ered. But in a new work, like that to be opened in 
Tehran, the question remained to be answered. The 
romantic notion of early missionary efforts had no place 
here, for the intolerant spirit and laws of the country 
are too evident for any one to be deceived or to remain 
in doubt as to the practicability of that idea. The notion 
once prevailed that the missionary had only to acquire 
the language of the country, and then go upon the street 
to preach, in order to get hearers. There are many 
young men entering the foreign work who seem not to 
have given thought to this subject, and are not unde- 
ceived until they reach a foreign shore and undertake to 
find their congregations. Henry Martyn writes of the 
great difference between his fond expectation of having 
crowds of poor Indians to hear him preach, and the 
reality as he found it in his labors. There are some 
countries where the missionary may regularly go to the 


market or the street and preach, but he cannot do so in 
Tehran nor in any other city of a mixed population in 
Persia. It has not been attempted, so far as I know, by 
any one to preach in the bazar or maidon. The fact that 
it has not been done is evidence of some good reason 
why it has not been attempted. This method may possi- 
bly be practicable in the near future, but has not been 
in the past, and is thought to be impracticable now. 
The reason that it is so is the intolerance and fanaticism 
of the Mohammedans. This method is entirely practi- 
cable in the Armenian and Jewish communities, but where 
there is a Mohammedan population any public effort of 
this sort would be understood by mullahs and by priests 
to be a bold attempt to proselyte. No one could pursue 
this course without violence to the common law of the 
land nor without exciting a mob. It is possible that one 
or two efforts on this plan might be successful, but no 
one acquainted with the people would have any hope of 
being able to keep up the practice of preaching in the 
public places. In every instance where the missionary 
meets the people for the first time, he is certain to have 
an audience drawn by the powerful motive of curiosity. 
But when the preaching has ceased to be a new thing, 
the hearers will be wanting. There are many reasons 
why this is so. In the beginning of effort among the old 
Christian sects the priests and bishops usually oppose and 
intimidate their people. The priests of all orders have 
great power. They can refuse to administer the sacra- 


ments and can inflict stripes. Until recently they could 
imprison the disobedient. They can threaten the erring 
with excommunication in this life and witli the pains of 
hell for ever. The effect of their threats is invariably 
to prevent the greater part of their people from affil- 
iating with Protestants. So far as gatherings of Moham- 
medans are concerned with mission-labor, these are re- 
garded as wholly impracticable. I have never seen a 
Mohammedan who would think of resisting the order 
of a mujtaheed with reference to adherence to Christians. 
X Even converted Mohammedans would consider it neces- 
sary to flee for their lives should they receive any intima- 
tion from a mujtaheed that they were suspected of enter- 
taining the sentiments of Christians. 

But there is a more potent influence to overcome than 
the intolerance and violence of mujtaheeds and priests. 
It is the natural dislike of the reproof of sin, a disquiet- 
ed conscience. A Persian who frequently came to our 
chapel suddenly ceased to attend the services. I asked 
him why it was that one who had appeared so attentive 
for a time should stay away so long. He replied, " That 
which I hear makes me feel uncomfortable ; it makes 
me dissatisfied with myself and my religion, and there- 
fore I stay away.'' 

It is one marked feature of the first efforts for these 
people, while as yet a congregation and church are un- 
formed, that so many persons never come to hear the 
word more than two or three times. Crowds will come 


80 long as they fail to perceive the exact object of the 
preacher. As soon as they begin to understand the 
spiritual and moral nature of the requirements made, 
they begin to be offended. How could we reasonably 
look for any other result? They find all their old 
grounds of trust dissolving ; their good works are seen 
to be of no account. They find that they must undergo 
a terrible trial : they have to meet the scorn and opposi- 
tion of the priests to whom they have from infancy been 
trained to look for instruction, and who are believed to 
possess the " power of opening and closing the gates of 
heaven ;" they have to meet a great deal of social ostra- 
cism ; the new belief divides the house and sets the 
members of the household one against another. But a 
more powerful motive than these considerations remains, 
strong as the other facts may be : it is the fact that they 
must give up their own time-honored and cherished re- 
ligion and their only hope of salvation. Said a Persian 
mullah who had considered the alternative presented by 
our preaching : '' I see that if I become a Christian I 
must cease to believe in Mohammed as the prophet of 
God. No, I cannot do that. I have trusted him too 
long to desert him now. If need be I will sink with ^ 
him to the bottom of hell." 

But the conscience is quite as much against the preacher 
as is the old religious trust. Said a Persian to me, " When 
I hear you preach I feel that I must cease to lie and to 
steal and to do other sinful things. But I cannot afford 


to quit these sins. I cannot make a living in this coun- 
try if I attempt to Hve as you teach us to live ; so I do 
not like to hear about these things." — '^But you/' I 
said, ^^are a professed Christian, an Armenian; does not 
your own Bible teach you clearly what you must do ?'' 
— " Yes," he replied, " but my religion assures me that 
if I do commit these sins I can atone for them by giv- 
ing the priest a karan or by fasting. But if I become a 
Protestant there is no alternative ; I must quit my lying 
and cursing and stealing. I am not yet ready to do that. 
When I get to be rich enough to live honestly, then I 
will become a Protestant." 

Under the power of these motives nearly every mis- 
sionary's congregation disappears, in great part, after the- 
first impulse of curiosity has ceased in the people. A 
very few persons, of all who came at first, may stand by 
him. One or two may believe ; the multitude have de- 
serted him. If now he resort to no other means of 
reaching and holding the people but his public preach- 
ing, what will he do for hearers? I know native Nes- 
torian and Armenian preachers in the employ of the 
mission who at first had full houses, but who in a few 
weeks could muster no other hearers than the members 
of their own families. If the missionary will have a 
discussion with the priests or the mullahs, he can draw 
a crowd until the congregations are dispersed by a mob 
and a row or until the authorities interfere to prevent 
the mob. But the controversy, if possible at all, must 


soon end, and the missionary must rely on something 
more permanent and profitable. Many missionaries who 
have tried the public debate have had no hearers to show 
when the discussion had ceased. I have known also mis- 
sionaries whose " polity " was to rely solely on preaching 
as the missionary agency, and who opposed schools and 
secular helps, who in time had no occasion to preach at 
all, solely because they could find no one to preach to. 
I have noticed that such persons are quite willing to 
preach to a congregation composed of the pupils of a 
school and their parents, however much they may be 
opposed on principle to mission-schools. A knowledge 
of the language of the country, fluency of speech, learn- 
ing, and even deep piety and consecration, are of no avail 
to remedy the difficulty. It is as deeply seated as human 
depravity and as strongly intrenched as a false religion. 
Under these conditions the missionary is depressed and 
mortified. He learns that method has something to do 
with successful fishing for men. He learns now, if he 
has not known it before this, that there is another kind 
of preaching and exposition of the gospel besides that 
of words. It is the preaching by acts of beneficence 
and by teaching and by social life. Satan is not all-wise 
and omnipresent ; he cannot spend his strength at every 
point of approach. He has done his work thoroughly 
in the human heart on the strictly religious side of it ; 
he has strongly fortified his position of defence there. 
Christ drew multitudes to his preaching by the hope of 


worldly gain of some sort. Not that he offered wealth 
or material gains. Quite the contrary. But he at- 
tracted the people by working miracles and by his very 
remarkable claims to Messiahship. 

In Persia there are some persons who come to the 
missionary with sincere desire of knowing what he has 
to impart of religious knowledge. ^A few persons are 
naoved with dissatisfaction with the prevalent religions. 
/The great majority are swayed by considerations of some 
secular gain. Many persons are so desirous of having 
their children obtain the benefit of such secular knowl- 
edge as the missionaries can impart that they are will- 
ing to take the risk of Protestant influence over them. 
Some of them look forward to employment by Europeans 
for their children. Education is seen to be a great help. 
The influence gained with Persians by social intercourse 
is one that is unconsciously felt. By means of schools 
the attendance of the scholars on the services of public 
worship is secured. Here is given a permanent nucleus 
of a congregation. jSocial influences draw other persons, 
and the employees of the mission are required, if re- 
quirement be necessary, to attend the religious services. 
A permanent congregation and church are in time built 
up out of these elements, with an increasing power to 
draw to itself by means of the associations of its mem- 
bers. As the missionaries become known, opposition in 
time dies out or is futile. After the first struggles the 
natives gain confidence and venture more in connection 


with the work. Such is the usual course of growth to 
the missions in Persia. In no m arked instance Jm s-tkere 
ieen^ great. turning of the people to Christ. The 
growUi haj? te!irtire"result of patient toiTcontinued year 
by year. The people of Eastern Persia have offered no 
great opportunities for gain by means of so-called re- 
vival labors. Public preaching for Mohammedans has 
been, as I have shown, in most places impracticable. 
The Christian communities where such effort might be 
possible are very few, and the people, except in the man- 
ner stated, have been disinclined to Protestant views. 
The Armenians are not gathered in large communities in 
this part of Persia. In truth, it may be said that the 
non-Mohammedans are not concentrated in large num- 
bers in any part of the country. Jews have come in the 
way of our missionary work in Tehran, Haraadan and 
Mash had only. The ingatherings of great revivals on 
mission-fields seem to come only after years of labor. 
The time since the beginning of the Eastern Mission has 
been the period of sowing and of prepamtion, the time 
of laying foundations and opening of highways. But 
these years have not been without important results. 
What these are has been shown in the course of this 

It was thought to be desirable to employ native preach- 
ers and teachers as assistants of the missionaries in the 
opening of the mission. But great difficulty was ex- 
perienced in obtaining the right kind of men for thLs 



service. At first it was welliiigh impossible to get a 
Nestoriaii preacher for either Tehran or Hamadan. 
There were two reasons for this : One was that few or 
none of the Nestorians are acquainted with the Persian 
or the Armenian language. They were, therefore, un- 
able to labor efficiently with either the Mohammedans or 
the Armenians of Eastern Persia. All the Nestoriaus who 
at any time have attempted to preach in this section of 
the country have used the Turkish language, with which 
some of the people of this region have acquaintance. 
Another reason was the fact that Nestorians preferred, 
very naturally, to remain with their own people in 
Western Persia, there being none of this race in the 
eastern part. It was found to be impracticable to bring 
Armenian assistants from the Armenian communities of 
Turkey for many reasons : The work among their own 
people created a demand for nearly all who were pre- 
pared to preach ; the very few who might be obtained 
had no knowledge of Persian ; and the distance to be 
traveled by them to reach the field was so great as to 
make the change expensive and of very doubtful expe- 
diency. The only assistants available were the Arme- 
nians of Eastern Persia, and none of these had been 
trained in mission-schools or under our influence. They 
were unconverted men, but some of them were fairly 
well qualified by schools which they had attended, and 
they were specially fitted to do service by their knowl- 
edge of the Persian tongue and the Armenian language 


as spoken iu this part of the land. Several Armenians 
were so employed, and all of them in time became mem- 
bers of the mission-churches. 

Tlie lack of gtmlt^^^ nt;t;isfnnfc; mnrip it. nppp.spf^Tyi_tr> 

organize a training-class of a few young men who should 
be prepared in the most essential things for serving as 
teachers, colporteurs and preachers. These persons have 
done fairly well ; some of them have been efficient and 

Congregations have been maintained permanently in 
several places in Tehran, Hamadan and Rasht, and part 
of the time iu Karaghan. The work of preaching has 
been considered of first importance, and these congrega- 
tions have been sustained by persevering and personal 
effi^rt only. It is probable that they could not have been 
kept up without the schools which have been connected 
with them. The religious services in these congregations 
have been conducted, in the main, as similar services are 
in the home churches. It required no special training 
to enable the Persians to understand the proprieties of 
our public assemblies, for they have been accustomed to 
the public worship of the mosques and the Armenian 
churches. The forms of worship differ, but the people 
have been trained to habits of decorum and their man- 
ner is reverential. In no instance within my own 
knowledge has the congregation of a missionary been dis- 
turbed by any malicious or irreverent conduct. Iu this 
particular the Persians set an example which many of 


the people of Christian lands would do well to imitate. 
It should be said, however, that this orderly conduct is 
not the fruit of much liberty. It appears to be the fruit 
of rigid discipline. The people are accustomed to law 
and to obey, and are taught to respect their superiors in 
age and authority. Superstition also has somethiug to 
do with their conduct in reference to religious exercises. 
Preaching is common to the public assemblies of the 
mosque at some seasons of the year. Persians, therefore, 
are not surprised to find preaching in mission-churches. 
It is less frequent in the Armenian congregations. 

Music is unknown in Mohammedan worship. The 
intoning and chanting of Armenians can hardly be called 
musical. The public worship of mission-chapels is 
usually accompanied with singing and the harmonium. 
The music is not admired at first by Mohammedans; 
the impression made is not in accord with their notions 
of propriety and reverence. But this impression is soon 
effaced, and as soon as they can reconcile their conscience 
to it they listen with pleasure to Christian praise. Sacred 
song is a means of imparting religious impressions, and 
one which may be used in every place. It is not always 
of the best order, judged after an artistic standard^ but 
the hearers are ignorant of the defects, and in a little 
while learn to join in the service. Native congregations 
seldom attain to any excellence in this exercise unless 
trained and led by the voice of a missionary. They 
invariably fall into the minor key, or that peculiar kind 


of siogiiig common in that country, which is not much 
esteemed by themselves and is poorly adapted to the 
hymns commonly sung in the assemblies of Protestants. 
In nearly every mission-station the harmonium or reed- 
organ is used in the services of public worship, but I do 
not know that it or the singing serves to attract any per- 
sons to the congregation after the novelty of the first 
impression has ceased to be felt. The organ is useful, 
however, in leading the service of song. That part of 
the services in which Persians take most interest is the 
preaching. They judge of this by the usual standards 
of excellence, and they are most interested in the pres- 
entation of doctrines, and particularly those doctrines 
which touch their own faith and mode of worship. They ^ 
consider the doctrine of a future life with special inter-HT 
est. The Christian presentation of Christ is in conflict 
with the teaching of the Koran. It is impossible to 
harmonize the two. The greatest differences are in the 
most important and essential points. The Mohammedan 
Persian makes no serious objection to any claim set up 
for Christ if we will omit the claim of his being the 
Son of God and the Redeemer. To claim divinity for 
a human being is no new thing to them. The Ale 
Allahees assert the divinity of Ale, the husband of 
Fatima, as their name denotes. This sect, though tol- 
erated, is very greatly in the minority. The prevalent 
belief and preaching with reference to Ale is that he 
was a good man divinely called and inspired to preside 



over the destinies of Islam. But the Ale Allahees con- 
tend that he was God incarnate. 

The peculiarities of the Persian Sheahism are not such 
that they call for any unusual methods of general mis- 
sionary effort or in the presentation of the gospel. These 
peculiarities, however, do affect the Persian's relation to 
and apprehension of many of the methods and doctrines 
of Christianity. The Persians are almost wholly of the 
Mohammedan sect called the '^Twelve.'' They differ 
from the Sunees, the larger division of Islam, not in the 
essential doctrines of theology, but in the principles and 
methods of the government of Islam. In these the 
Twelve appear to have borrowed from the New Testa- 
ment and from Rome. The number of the twelve 
Imams might be reasonably conjectured to have been 
at first suggested by the twelve apostles. The claim to 
such prerogatives as are assumed for the Imams seems to 
have been taken from the claim for the apostles at first, 
and for the popes in a later age. The hint of the doc- 
trine of the second coming of the Mahde might have 
been given by the doctrine of the second coming of 
Christ. Fatiraism has some resemblance to Mariolatry. 
It might be thought, with show of reason, that Persians 
would be favorably inclined toward the papal Church 
because of these resemblances. But the fact appears to 
be that the peculiar doctrines and forms of worship of 
the Romish Church have no great weight with Sheahs. 
The two great sects of Islam have been in contact with 


Rome nearly thirteen hundred years, and have received 
these marks of the beast, yet they manifest no tendency 
to yield to Rome. The Mohammedan revulsion from 
idolatry repels Persians as well as other Mohammedans 
from the papal Church. A reception of Christianity 
by them carries with it an abandonment of these resem- 
blances. The force of an appeal to them in behalf of 
Christianity is broken by any attempt to ground it upon 
points of resemblance in it to their own system, except 
it be on such doctrines as are essential to any belief in 
the being and perfections of one supreme God. So far 
as Christianity resembles Islam, the former is thought 
to be unnecessary and a justification of the latter. It is 
the difference of the two systems which can affect 
Mohammedans with any concern. The gospel offers 
that which Sheahism has not : it offers a sacrifice for 
sin, salvation without works, and a God moved by love 
instead of one of justice only. This preaching is in 
conflict with Islam, but not offensively so. Missionary 
instruction cannot be confined to the statement of this 
prime feature of the gospel. Christianity is seen by . 
many intelligent Persians to be in conflict with their ^ 
philosophy, theology, ethics and forms of worship. 

It is not necessary to change the method of preaching 
and form of truth in order to adaptation to the wants of 
Armenians. They are nearly as much in need of in- 
struction in the evidences of Christianity and the sub- 
jects named above as the Mohammedans are, although 


they profess to be Christians. In labors of the mission- 
aries for the Jews of Persia emphasis is put upon the 
proofs of the Messiahship of Jesus. This is the pivotal 
point of all labor with them. It is also an important 
point to gain with Mohammedans, for they believe that 
nearly all the Messianic prophecies relate to the office 
and authority of Mohammed. But little effort is made, 
however, to gain any of these people by direct assault on 
controverted points. The most successful means of pre- 
vailing with them is by a presentation of the spiritual 
condition of mankind and of the way of salvation by 
grace only. The truths which affect them most are pre- 
sented in discussions in regard to which they have no 
answer — namely, the sinfulness of man, the perfection 
of the divine law, the failure of works and the suffi- 
ciency of Christ. The conviction of the unreasonable- 
ness and worthlessness of all attempts at justification by 
ceremonies carries with it an abandonment of all that is 
essentially Mohammedan. 

The missionaries in Tehran have not received to the 
Church professed converts from any sect without a pre- 
paratory course of instruction. The schools give a good 
part of the training required in Bible knowledge. It 
is not possible for a pupil to be in these without obtain- 
ing some knowledge of the essential truths of the gospel. 
Converts not in the schools were expected to attend the 
religious services and to receive private instruction 
from the missionaries. 


The course of study in the mission-schools has been 
from the first that of the common schools in Christian 
lauds, with the addition of lessons from the Bible and 
fi'om the Catechism. The Sabbath-schools are attended 
by the pupils of the day-schools and by members of the 
congregations. These and the weekly or daily prayer- 
meetings exhibit no marked differences from like meet- 
ings in Christian countries. 

As will be seen by a perusal of the preceding pages 
of this work, this mission has given a great deal of care 
and labor to Bible-work within its own field. The fruits 
of this work are plainly apparent in every place where 
colporteurs have gone. The visible effects have been 
religious inquiry, an investigation of the claims of the 
Bible and a demand for books. The result with Arme- 
nians has been to supply them with Scriptures where 
they had none. In Tehran the circulation of the Script- 
ures has had the effect of silencing the opposition of some 
of the leading and most violent mujtaheeds. One, a man 
of great influence, was contemplating measures of oppo- 
sition to the Tehran mission. He did not possess a copy 
of the Scriptures, and had not at any time of his life 
seen a copy of the Bible. A Christian Persian, hearing 
of the evil reports, called upon the mujtaheed and sug- 
gested that it would be much more to the credit of a 
judge to know from the book itself what Christians 
taught than to rely on the reports of ignorant and evil- 
disposed persons. The mujtaheed assented to this view 


of the matter, and requested the man to obtain a Bible 
for him, and that he should not let any one know of 
such request or that he had the book in his possession. 
On reading the volume he expressed his surprise, and 
nothing further was ever heard of the resentment of 
this mujtaheed. In several instances known to me the 
gift of a Bible and the perusal of it by Persian officers 
have been the direct means of leading these men to pro- 
tect the colporteurs and Christians and to open the way 
for our work. With reference to the circulation of other 
books little can be said, because there are very few 
Christian books in the Persian language. The mission 
has made no attempt to distribute the controversial 
works of Pfander. However good, therefore, the book 
may be, no claim is made by us for the use of it except 
as a text-book for the training-class. The work is use- 
ful to Persian students in our schools as a presentation 
of the Mohammedan controversy, but its general circu- 
lation is prohibited. The school and religious books in 
the Armenian language are useful in their place, but the 
religious books are chiefly translations pf works com- 
posed in the English language and adapted to Western 
ideas and customs of life, and to a maturity of Christian 
knowledge which is not possessed by Armenians in any 
considerable degree, and not at all by Mohammedans. 
Our work in Tehran and Eastern Persia has need of 
books written in adaptation to Persian modes of life and 
thought, and made attractive by simplicity, also by illus- 


trations. The Persians are very fond of pictures : they 
love to paper the walls of their houses with Harper's 
and Frank Leslie's illustrated papers, and in efforts to 
meet their wants in the way of books it is poor econ- 
omy to leave the illustrations out and to fill up with dry 
dissertations. The popular editions of their own books 
abound in illuminations. 

The Eastern Persia Mission makes use of the medical 
missionary. Among the friends of missions there is a 
growing interest in the medical mission. It is thought 
to be desirable, not only for the safety of the families of 
missionaries, but as a means of influence over natives of 
the country. The physician gains access to Persians 
over whom the clerical missionary could obtain but 
little or no influence, and this for two reasons : first, 
because of the medical treatment he can give ; and, sec- 
ondly, for the reason that he is supposed not to be a 
religious teacher. So far as my own observation of 
medical work in Persia extends, it goes to prove that 
just so far as the physician makes direct religious effort 
for his patients or the people at large he is avoided by 
all who shun any other missionary. I have not seen 
any considerable or permanent increase of the congrega- 
tions from the dispensary. The effect of preaching in 
the dispensary has been to lessen the number of those 
who resort^to that place. As soon as the impression is 
created that the dispensary is a net in wdiich to catch 
proselytes or hearers for the congregation, the medical 


department loses the patronage of the better classes of 
the people. The real efficiency of the medical mission 
has been in the indirect influence exerted by the forma- 
tion of friendships with all classes, and especially with 
the authorities. The effect is not seen in great religious 
gain, but in a secular advantage. The conferring of 
medals and honors by the king on our physicians is not 
to be taken as any indication of the conversion of the 
Shah to Christianity. It is encouraging, however, to 
learn that he is more and more favorably inclined to 
Christian therapeutics. The chief benefit of the medical 
mission, so far as one can judge, is in the preservation 
of the health and life of the men and women whose 
whole business it is to make direct religious eifort for the 
natives. The medical department in Tehran is yet new, 
and that in Hamadan is more recent. The establish- 
ment in Tehran of the hospital which is now in process 
of construction will, it is believed, give the doctor 
greater opportunity than is at present offered for direct 
religious labors witli the people. 

Special effort for the religious improvement of Per- 
sian women has been made mainly in or by the girls' 
schools. Reports of efforts made for women outside of 
the schools have been given in these pages. The want of 
help for this department will in part be supplied by the 
presence of a lady physician. The social life of Persian 
women is such that Christ can be preached to them in 
Persian homes most effectually by Christian women only. 


Difficulties Peculiar to the Field — Expensive Establishments — Dis- 
play of Wealth — Educational Establishments — Similarity of 
Motives in Tehran and in New York — Missionaries are Kepre- 
sentatives — Impression Created by Foreign Legations — Criticism 
of Missionaries — Kequirements in the Way of Schools — Judicious 
Use of Funds — Espionage of the Persian Authorities — Preoccu- 
pation of the Minds of the People by Worldly Allurements — 
Usual Influence of Foreigners — Demand for Foreign Protection — 
Advantages of the Field — A Centre of Influence for the King- 
dom — Political Influences — Persian Young Men— Good Influence 
of Foreigners — Consecration of Wealth. 

TjIVERY missionaiy field has its own peculiar diffi- 
culties in the way of mission-work. Tehran is no 
exception in this particular. One of the most obvious 
demands of the place is an expensive establishment. 
Being, as it is, the capital of the kingdom and residence 
of the king, his court and many wealthy and influential 
men, the citizens of the place have been accustomed to 
the style of living maintained by such persons. Not 
that they all live as princes — far from it — but the poor- 
est of the people are familiar with the show and luxury 
of the great. They look with deference upon palaces, 
parks and royal equipages, and the environments of the 
representatives of courts and princes are, in their minds, 



associated with respectability and with efficiency in every 
undertaking of a public nature. Here, as in no other city 
of the kingdom, poverty and the want of a fair worldly 
estate are a source of weakness. The people have sense 
and discrimination enough to know that the religious 
orders are not expected to live as princes, yet impressions 
are made upon their minds of the same nature and to 
the same extent as those which are created by the en- 
vironments of every Church and religious enterprise in 
America or in England. Influence must be gained 
mainly by the established channels. The people are not 
like the naked savages of Africa and the islands, but a 
cultivated people whose taste and sense of propriety are 
formed in a centre of Oriental splendor, and it is not to 
be presumed that they will be ready to receive shabby 
representatives of Christian zeal. If the missionary 
could command the power by which the apostles and the 
Saviour himself proved their divine mission — the power 
of working miracles, of curing the sick by a word and 
raising the dead — he might be expected to have a fol- 
lowing ; but in the absence of these accessories he is 
judged by precisely the same criterions by which people 
in Christian lauds judge of men and their undertakings. 
There is in Tehran not only a display of wealth in the 
secular life of all classes, but in the religious and educa- 
tional establishments as wtII. These are on a scale with 
the pretensions of the ambitious classes. There are many 
large mosques with fair appointments and revenues. The 


number of such is increasing. One mosque is estimated 
to cost over two millions of dollars. The mujtaheeds 
and Mohammedan preachers are among the best edu- 
cated and cultured of the people. I do not now 
compare these men and their establishments with like 
institutions and orders of men in Europe and America, 
but they are notable in their own country, and mission- 
aries could not expect to rival these institutions in point 
of expensiveness. But on this point it is plain too great 
a contrast would naturally excite contempt. 

It may be said that the people's habits of thought 
and feeling in regard to these matters should form no 
criterion of conduct for the missionaries, and that they 
should not think of commending their cause by con- 
formity to the worldly and ostentatious ways of the 
heathen. The same arguments for conformity to public 
taste which are urged iu the appointments of churches 
and schools in America are, witJiin reasonable limits, 
valid in Persia and in every other mission-field. The 
dirty and poor chapels of New York or London are not 
the places to which the masses resort, much less the re- 
spectable classes. The schools and colleges in America 
which have not adequate means of support are not 
the schools which are most patronized. The feelings of 
many Americans and Englishmen toward rude appoint- 
ments in churches and schools are evidences of the sen- 
timents which are cherished by all people of any refine- 
ment of feeling, whether in Persia or in other civilized 


lands. Missionaries, however pure their doctrine, can- 
not aiford to disregard and shock the taste and sense of 
propriety of the civilization under which the people are 
reared. These feelings are deepened in Persians by the 
belief that Christian missionaries have a constituency 
possessed of great wealth, and that if there be any lack 
of adequate equipment it is either because the mission- 
ary is not approved or because that constituency do not 
esteem his work. 

The life of the representatives of European govern- 
ments confirms this impression of the natives. The le- 
gations are maintained at what seems to this people a 
great expense. The buildings occupied by them are 
spacious and the best which the country affords. They 
support many servants, and command the respect of the 
king and his courtiers by their style of living, if not by 
other means. While it is not expected that missionaries 
will be maintained in the same style of luxury, yet it is 
thought that they also are in no small degree represen- 
tatives of the life and civilization of Christian nations. 
I am sure there is no desire on the part of missionaries 
to emulate the manner of life of courtiers. But it is 
evident that in such a place the appointments for work 
must be of a very different grade from those which 
would be available in some other towns. The chapels 
must be fair structures. The mission-schools must be 
superior to the best schools conducted by Mohammedans 
and Armenians. There must be superiority in the ar- 


rangement and the instruction of these schools. In 
view of these facts, some missionaries might prefer other 
fields and places in which this difficulty is not to be met, 
and where they will be free from all criticisms on the 
subject. It may be said, however, that when once the 
field has been possessed, the foundation laid and the 
buildings erected, the critics ai*e among the most for- 
ward to occupy and to contribute their quota to the in- 
crease of expenses. The difficulty referred to was one 
which appeared at the first thought of occupying Teh- 
ran, and was seriously urged against any attempt to es- 
tablish a mission-station there. But the same arguments 
might be presented in opposition to the opening of mis- 
sions in any capital or in the great cities of other countries. 

The question, "What is a judicious use of missionary 
funds to meet the proper demands of the place ?'^ has 
been one of the most serious and perplexing questions 
which the missionaries in Tehran have had to consider. 
The limited allowances made by the Board have left but 
little or no room for doubt in practice. 

Another source of embarrassment peculiar to this field 
is the fact that missionary work in the capital falls im- 
mediately under the observation of the king and the 
highest secular and religious authorities of that country. 
It might reasonably be expected that this work would 
excite the jealousy of the latter and the opposition of 
both, to some extent. But the fact is, that no great dif- 
ficulty has arisen from this source, other than such as is 


met with iu other parts of Persia. It apj>ears to be true 
that the mission here has suffered less restraint than 
missions in other cities. It is possible that the future 
may show that the conjectured evil has a foundation in 
fact. The future must depend upon the character of the 
men who may rule in the high places of the government. 
The danger furnishes a motive for special prayer that 
He who turneth the king's heart whithersoever he will 
may incline the king of Persia to favor the cause of the 
ministers of Christ. 

The preoccupation of the minds of the people of Teh- 
ran by objects of an enticing and worldly nature is 
thought to be a condition unfavorable to the development 
of religious and spiritual feeling and instruction among 
the people of Tehran. Some of these objects have been 
referred to in connection with other subjects. We have 
here the glare and pomp of Oriental state. The king 
and his court form a conspicuous object in the eyes of the 
people, and the manner of life of the principal men tends 
to the development of the natural love of the world and 
special forms of its vanities. Many of the men in au- 
thority are openly intemperate, while the use of intoxi- 
cating drinks in the greater part of the country is not 
tolerated by Mohammedans. Many of the people are 
extravagant in their dress and style of living, and the 
tendency with the populace is to follow the example of 
the wealthy. The poor and the people of moderate 
means are constantly tempted to live beyond their ability. 


The presence of men of wealth at the capital often stimu- 
lates trade and speculation and increases the covetousness 
so proverbially strong in Orientals. It also engages the 
thoughts of business-men, so that they are less inclined 
to religious services than are the people in many other 
places. The Persians of Tehran have learned some 
of the tricks of speculation. They know what it is to 
make a '' corner " in wheat and other things. They 
have learned to speculate in city property and play 
sharp in making advances in the price of corner lots. 
They have learned how to build to sell, and to sell in 
more ways than one. Some of the merchants have vis- 
ited European cities, and regularly purchase stocks of 
goods in London, Paris, Vienna and Moscow. 

Public affairs also often offer exciting phases. The 
removal from office of favorites of the court or of the 
people, and the appointment of other men to fill the 
places vacated, the rumors of revolt or war, the arrival 
or departure of the ministers of foreign governments, 
new orders of the Shah, the movements of troops and 
many other incidents, all furnish occasion for gossip and 
for suspicion where rumor is the only source of infor- 
mation to the populace. 

The usual influence of foreigners is thought to be ad- 
verse to Christian effort with the natives of the country. 
With a few noble exceptions the foreigners are not exam- 
ples of Christian character. On the contrary, some of 
them are conspicuous for immorality and intemperance. 


The natives imitate the vices rather than the virtues of 
foreigners. Not the least of the evils to be met in the 
course of mission -work in the capital is the demand for 
foreign protection on the part of Persians who become 
in any way identified with missionaries or other foreign- 
ers. This trouble is felt in every part of Persia where 
foreigners reside. All the people experience such griev- 
ances that they resort to foreigners in the hope that re- 
lief will be obtained through their intercessions with the 
Persian authorities. This hope is increased by the evi- 
dence of influence seen in the foreign legations. It is 
often the case that Persians seek the friendship of mis- 
sionaries in the expectation of this temporal advantage 
when they should be actuated by better motives. No man 
of kind feeling and having real sympathy with the people 
in their distresses would refuse to aid when assistance 
could possibly be given. His natural impulse is to in- 
tercede for the oppressed. The customs of the country 
are such that he can often render efficient service in this 
way. The right of the teacher to intercede for his dis- 
ciples, the master for his servants, appears to be conceded 
by the authorities, and is so common a practice that he 
who should disregard the privilege could hardly retain 
the affection or respect of those who look to him for in- 
struction. Much of the missionary's time, therefore, is 
taken up with a consideration of, or an effort to relieve, 
the distresses of the people for whom he ministers. 
We turn from the consideration of the difficulties to 


a view of the advantages of the position. The capital 
of Persia is the centre of the influences which affect the 
whole kingdom for either good or evil. It is true of 
nearly all Oriental countries that the residence of the 
king and the seat of government make the chief city. 
The population follows the person of the king. It cer- 
tainly has been true of Persia in all past time that the 
permanent seat of the court has been the principal city 
in every way. Here are concentrated the political influ- 
ences, the educational institutions, such as they may be, 
the literary men and the military leaders. Here, as in 
no other place, missionary influence might be expected 
to reach the governing classes. Some obscure village or 
provincial capital may bring the missionary into intimate 
relations with some man who in the providence of God 
may be raised to the highest place in the government, 
but under ordinary providences acquaintance with the 
rulers and influence with them are obtained at the capi- 
tal city. While Protestant missionaries do not advise 
schemes of political influence, yet the friendship of the 
rulers of the land is to be desired so far as it may be 
honestly obtained. 

It is a fact worthy of note that from the capital of 
Persia many young men go out to different parts of the 
laud to serve the state in many ways, as in the army, in 
the postal and telegraphic departments and as physicians. 
It is not unreasonable to believe that some or many of 
these persons during their life in the city may come 


under the influence of the gospel, and carry that influ- 
ence with them to many positions of power in other 
parts of the country. Several young men might be 
named who have been associated in some way with the 
missionaries of Tehran and have received appointments 
to responsible positions remote from the capital. One, a 
member of the Tehran church, has for years been in the 
service of the king in one of the principal towns of 
North-western Persia and on the borders of the Turk- 
man country ; another is near the eastern frontier ; an- 
other was appointed to Hamadan. In no other city in 
the kingdom is there an opening of the same extent for 
the employment of Christian young men in positions of 
influence under the government of that country, and 
where they are yet free to exercise their own religious 
convictions. It should not be supposed that the only 
persons sent out from the capital on the service of the 
king are young men from the schools. The missionary 
in that city is known personally or by report to nearly 
all the heads of the departments of state and to the great- 
er part of the subordinate officers. Many of these from 
time to time go with the army or in other service to dif- 
ferent parts of the country, and others come to take their 

In no other city of the kingdom are there so many 
readers. This fact shows the possibility of accomplish- 
ing much good in this city by the circulation of Chris- 
tian books. It is probably true also that in no other 


city of that land are there so many literary men, and 
therefore there is no other place where there is so fair 
a prospect of accessions to our number from this class 
of men. If it be thought that their literature and edu- 
cation are of no value, it must nevertlieless be admitted 
that they are believed by the people to posseijs worth. 
It is also true that these men are the leaders of the peo- 
ple, and especially influential with the better class of 
citizens. The knowledge which they possess is an im- 
portant qualification for dealing with the errors which 
the literature and education serve to perpetuate. 

If the presence of foreigners has its evils, it also has 
its advantages. Many of them are well disposed to the 
missionaries, some of them are earnest Christian men 
and women, and nearly all are kindly disposed to Chris- 
tian effort. Owing to the isolation of foreigners in Per- 
sia, they and the missionaries are brought into intimate 
and friendly relations, and are to some extent mutually 
dependent. It is possible that much good may be done 
by cultivating this friendship and directing the exercise 
of the influence which the foreigners, especially the 
English-speaking people, possess. The mission-work 
gives to all among them who may be kindly disposed a 
favorable op]X)rtunity of aiding the cause of Christ and 
of benefiting the native population. 

If there is at the capital a concentration of wealth, 
and if this may increase the power of a false religion, 
yet we may trust that the gospel has power to bring 


these possessions also into subserviency to its own good 
purpose. We may believe that this wealth and the 
glory of the kingdom will one day be consecrated to 


Difficulties and Encouragements in the Whole Field — Intolerance — 
Peculiarities of Persian Mohammedanism — The Weaker Phase — 
The Difficulty of the Mental Condition — Policy of European 
Governments — Dispersed State of the Non-Mohammedan People 
— Encouragements — Increase of Intelligence, Means of: Tele- 
graphs, Postal System — Favorable Impression of Foreigners — 
Results of Missionary Work — Precedents in Favor of Religious 
Liberty — Success of Bible-Work — Exploration — Preparatory 
Work — Present and Prospective Effect of the Russian Advance 
on the Eastern Border of Persia — Natural Resources of Eastern 
Persia — Elements of Change — Policy of European Nations. 

'TIHE statements of the foregoing chapter have special 
~^ reference to Tehran. But there are difficulties and 
advantages experienced in the missionary work which 
pertain to the whole field of Eastern Persia. 

It will be seen from the course of the government 
and the experiences of the missionaries, as related in 
previous chapters, Jhat the great obstacle to mission 
efforts in Persia is the intolerance of the secular and 
spmfuartutRcJrTEiesI It is so in the whole land. But, 
as might be expected, that intolerance is intense and eifec- 
tive in proportion to the strength and pride of the peo- 
ple. Evangelical labors in this field have to do with 
Armenians, Jews and Mohammedans only or mainly. 
There are many Jewish and Armenian communities in 



which the people fear to receive the labors of Christian 
missionaries, not because of intolerant laws of the sec- 
ular government, but from fear of the opposition and 
persecution which would be excited against them by the 
leaders of these sects, and which could not be immedi- 
ately suppressed owing to the indifference of the secular 
authorities to matters of this sort. 

How far the peculiar religious faith of Persian Mo- 
hammedans may form a discouraging element to be met 
with is a question which has not been fairly answered 
by labors for Persians, owing to the fact that intolerant 
laws have so far precluded such labors that the real 
strength of the system of philosophy and religion has 
not been tested. From what has been done, and judg- 
ing of the theory, it seems to be a fair inference that 
the system has no great inherent strength and no great or 
peculiar element of influence as against other systems of 
religion. It appears to be the weaker phase of Moham- 
medanism. The extravagances and the unnatural phases 
of the system are elements of weakness. The claim 
made by the Mahde is received with reservations and 
skepticism by the people. There is an element of ab- 
surdity in the serious pretensions set up for him by the 
history and traditions of the Twelve. This doctrine is 
an element of weakness also by reason of the dissensions 
which it creates. It gives rise to divisions about his 
powers, and gives occasion to an interminable succession 
of impostors. The main conception of the succession 


of twelve Imams is so palpable an imitation of the num- 
ber and power of twelve apostles that the resemblance 
suggests to every intelligent person the thought of an 
invention and a fraud. The system, however, presents 
the difficulty there is in the condition of the intellect and 
heart which can accept it. It might be expected that 
the only way of leading such a mind to receive another 
and better system would be to instruct and enlighten it. 
We believe that the main reason that so few Mohammed- 
ans have become Christians is the fact that the knowl- 
edge and education essential to a preparation for the re- 
ception of Christianity have been excluded by the intol- 
erance which owes much of its efficiency to European 
diplomacy. European governments have discouraged 
all effort on the part of their subjects for the Persian 
people. This discouragement has included commercial 
as well as religious efforts. It has taken the form of 
positive prohibition to live in the country or to enter 
into any contracts with the government or people of that 
kingdom. This policy has been adopted as a safeguard 
against any political complications. For this purpose 
the scheme may or may not be wise, but, however that 
may be, it has tended to the exclusion of the gospel 
from this and other Mohammedan lands. 

The dispersed condition of the non-Mohammedan 
people has its favorable and unfavorable bearing on mis- 
sionary effort. The settlements of the Armenians, Jews 
and Guebers are widely separated and are feeble. This 


condition exposes these people to the influence of the 
Mohammedans among whom they are dispersed ; it also 
makes missionary effort for them more laborious than it 
would be were these colonies concentrated in one. The 
Protestant communities are necessarily small. On the 
other hand, this state may be thought to have its ad- 
vantages. It gives opportunity for many centres of 
Christian influences among the Mohammedans. Every 
Armenian and Jewish colony when once evangelized be- 
comes a light to a wide region where now the gospel is 
practically excluded. 

We now turn our thoughts to the encouragements 
offered to missionary labor. 

It is a fact of no little interest that there is an increase 
of intelligence in the people of Eastern Persia. There 
are special reasons why it is so. Within a few years 
past these people have been brought, as never before, 
into communication with the world and into contact 
with Christian civilization. Special means of awaken- 
ing inquiry and diff'using knowledge have been estab- 
lished in the land. Of these means mention may be 
made of the telegraph-lines constructed by Europeans. 
The stations along these lines are in the hands of ope- 
rators who have been especially instructed and who are 
inclined to progress. An efficient postal system has 
been established. It gives communication with all the 
provinces and principal towns and with Europe and 
America. Many of the postmasters are Armenians, 


and all have had some instruction. The telegraph and 
the post speak for progress and for the Christian nations. 
The king's college sends out a number of physicians 
having some knowledge of medical science as it is taught 
by Europeans. The inclination of the people is favor- 
able to foreigners. A foreigner of good deportment is 
usually treated with great respect. He is considered 
superior to the native Persian, and his superiority speaks 
favox'ably for his religious faith or the faith of his peo- 
ple. It is commonly remarked by Persians that the 
best religion is that which is accepted by the best and 
wisest nation. They think that Persians are the best and 
wisest, or that Mohammedans are, until they see that the 
superiority is with other people. 

The results of missionary work in Eastern Persia 
promise well for the future. This work, as the forego- 
ing narrative shows, is of recent date. It began with a 
single mission-station ; it has expanded to several sta- 
tions. It began with (me missionary ; it now emplovs 
eleven and a goodly number of native teachers and as- 
sistants, and calls for more laborers to meet the demands 
of the growing interest and the opening fields. This mis- 
sion has had success in several clearly-defined lines of 
effort. Which one of these may be the most important 
in its bearing upon the interests of the whole field I 
would not attempt to decide ; but in referring to them I 
would mention — 

First, the gain in precedents in favor of religious lib- 


ertj and other concessions on the part of the Persian 
authorities. In the early days of missionary effort in 
Persia control over the belief and worship of the j^eople 
of a religious sect was referred by the secular ruler to the 
spiritual head of that sect. The bishop, and after him 
the priests, of the Armenians claimed the right to judge 
of all departures from Armenian faith and practice on 
the part of the people, and the right to inflict penalties, 
to restrain, imprison and to punish all who felt con- 
strained to adopt another belief and form of worship. 
Like authority was exercised by the heads of other non- 
Mohammedan sects. It was needful, therefore, that the 
missionary should find some way of protecting converts 
to his views of religious truth. He could protect the 
convert only by securing the interposition of the secular 
authorities. That interposition was dependent on the 
caprice of the prince, governor or king. The decisions 
of the judge were sometimes favorable to the appeal of 
the missionary, and often adverse. In the course of the 
years of the mission's continuance some general orders 
of the authorities in Tehran have been obtained declar- 
ing the religious liberty of all non-Mohammedans ; but 
the most effectual helps are the decisions in particular 
cases, which may be referred to as precedents establish- 
ing important principles by which the relations of the 
sects are to be regulated. In many cases also where no 
judicial action was called for, in matters of title to prop- 
erty, relations of missionaries to the sects, duties of con- 


verts to the state and questions of privilege, the author- 
ities in Tell ran have made important concessions. 

Secondly, the general circulation of the Scriptures in 
Persia, especially in Eastern Persia. A special eifort in 
this direction has been continued during the years of 
this mission. Previous to the opening of the Tehran 
mission efforts for a general distribution of the Bible 
were spasmodic and after long intervals of time. In 
fact, we think there was no attempt made to penetrate to 
the villages and secluded districts remote from the great 
thoroughfares. The circulation of the Scriptures in the 
Persian language was thought to be extremely danger- 
ous, and possibly impracticable, in other places than the 
great cities or among Armenians and non-Mohammed- 
ans. Colporteurs from Tehran have traversed every 
province and district in Central and Eastern Persia as 
far south as Ispahan and Yezd and as far east as Merv 
in Turkistan and Herat in Afghanistan. The develop- 
ment of the Bible-work by the Tehran mission presented 
such encouragement to increased exertion in this line of 
Christian work that the British and Foreign Bible Soci- 
ety was led to enter the field and to establish an agency 
for Southern Persia, while at the same time the Ameri- 
can Bible Society sent out an agent to supervise and ex- 
tend the work in Northern Persia. The great extent to 
which the Scriptures in Persian and Turkish have been 
circulated is itself a result worthy of all the effort made 
for it, and is so much direct missionary labor for Mo- 


hammedans. The distribution of the Bible is an effi- 
cient means now available for letting in the light on 
Mohammedans, who are supposed to be so inaccessible. 
It is sincerely to be hoped that the advantage gained by 
the two Bible societies will be duly appreciated, and 
that their occupation of the country will not be in name 
merely, and that they will not doze over their posses- 
sions. I believe that Mr. Whipple, the agent of the 
American Bible Society, has endeavored to hold the po- 
sitions gained in all his broad field, extending from the 
Arras to the Tejend River and from Ararat to the Dom- 
ine Kuh. 

Thirdly, the work of exploration. The mission- 
aries of Tehran have personally become acquainted with 
the principal places in all the provinces of the central 
and north-eastern regions. From the capital they have 
traveled westward to Tabriz and Hamadan and north- 
ward to Gelan and Mazandaran, southward to Ispahan 
and east to Mashhad. It is some indication of the ab- 
sence of such exploration in this field to say that we have 
no evidence of the visit of any foreign missionary to the 
Armenian settlement of Karaghan and to Mashhad until 
these places were visited by a missionary of Tehran, ex- 
cept the journey of Joseph Wolff to the latter place 
early in this century and while on his way to Bokhara. 
This we say with no purpose of boasting, but with a 
view to show the condition of the missionary work. 
A knowledge of the field is a desirable attainment as a 


preparation for the most practicable direction of labor. 
This work has called for extended tours which, though 
in some instances made with haste, yet resulted in much 
religious and Christian effort in places both near to and 
remote from Tehran. Besides these specialties, much 
has been accomplished in the usual lines of missionary 
work — namely, by preaching, by schools and by the or- 
ganization of churches. The last-named work implies 
the conversion of souls. An extended preparatory work 
has been done. Important results have been attained, 
but there must be, we believe, an unseen influence pro- 
ceeding from the labors of foreign and native mission- 
aries, from preaching, teaching, books and social inter- 
course with the people, far greater in future results than 
any fruits now visible. 

In speaking of the encouraging attainments and pros- 
pects we ought to mention the present and prospective 
eifect on Eastern Persia of the Russian advance on the 
eastern border. The insecurity of those regions pre- 
vented the improvement of that country, and made that 
part of the land one of the most unpromising. But now 
a railway is completed along the border to the confines of 
Afghanistan, which makes that section the most avail- 
able part of the country from the Caspian Sea. The 
friends of peace and civilization must hail that advance 
with pleasure as a promise of better times for the people 
of those long-desolated regions. The railway destined 
to unite the Indus and the Caspian Sea skirts the eastern 



frontier, aud is completed for more than half that dis- 
tance, and trains of cars are running to the Afghan line. 
It may be predicted that the same interests which make 
telegraphs from the Black Sea to the Persian Gulf 
necessary will also make railways essential along the 
southern base of the Elburz Mountains to the Caucasus 
and the Black Sea, if not in other directions. The rail- 
way and telegraph are efficient agents in dispersing the 
ignorance and superstition in which the religions of the 
Old World find their security. Their advent is to be 
greeted as the forerunner of a higher civilization and 
of Christianity in that land. 

Persia is a land of deserts, and is known in the pres- 
ent time for the poverty of her people aud for the charm 
which the history and romance of the past have thrown 
about her name. But she really needs only the moral 
elements of advancement to attain a place of eminence 
among the nations. She possesses very many sources 
of wealth. Her deserts need only the supply of water, 
which seems to be available, in order to make them ver- 
dant meadows and fruitful fields. Her forests abound 
in valuable and rare timber. Her mountains conceal 
rich ores and precious stones. Her climate surpasses 
that of every other Asiatic country in salubrity. The 
variety of the productions of the soil is very great. Her 
people are healthful, athletic and frugal, of sprightly 
intellect, strongly emotional, amiable and poetical na- 
ture. They are susceptible of culture in a marked de- 


gree. Confident in the sources of renovation for this 
land, we may look forward to a new Persia to arise out 
of the old and prepared to utilize the elements of great- 
ness possessed by her. To one looking now on that 
country as it is, the realization of this expectation may 
seem to be very far in the future ; but the elements of 
change have been fairly introduced, and as they have 
never been before. The pressure from without upon the 
old institutions of the country is increasing. The future 
of Persia is to be determined almost wholly by the policy 
of European nations. Her destiny seems to be in the 
power of England and Russia. Mutual jealousies on 
their part may lengthen the reign of the present order 
of things in that land. On the contrary, by timely en- 
couragement of good tendencies and Christian influences 
they may soon see Persia in the ranks of the progres- 
sive nations of the world. 


Providential Calls — Power of Social Influences —Plea for some Iso- 
lated Communities — Abasabad Georgians — Jews of Mashhad — 
A College in Tehran, Keasons for. 

rriHERE are some marked openiDgs and providential 
calls for Christian effort in Eastern Persia. The 
common means of evangelization will be used : there is 
hardly any limit to the possibility of success in the 
use of such means. The conversion of the people must 
be effected, if at all, by the teaching of the Bible by the 
missionary. But Christianity is commended to men for 
their acceptance by other things than the written word. 
Christ is preached by example and by charity as well as 
by the word. Reverence for the Bible and our depend- 
ence upon formal acts of religious worship too often 
may be substituted for that social life and converse, and 
that active effort to relieve the necessities of mankind, 
which in Christ's life seemed to be as effectual as his 

In missionary work among Mohammedans more might 
be done by social life. Public and formal teaching may 
not, at present, be practical)le with them to any great 
extent, but there seems to be no barrier to friendly in- 
tercourse with the people. Rigorous as the law of 



apostasy from Islam may be, and while it may prevent 
the public, formal gathering of the people for worship, 
yet there is nothing in it to prevent friendly intercourse 
with Persians. This kind of labor will be most practi- 
cable for native Christians, and will naturally become 
more efficient and available as the number of qualified 
assistants is increased and as the missionaries find time 
for tours in the cities and villages of the secluded dis- 
tricts, where Europeans are unknown, and as they fol- 
low up the opportunities given in places where they 
have previously been or those in which the way for them 
has been prepared by native helpers. 

A special plea might be made in behalf of certain iso- 
lated communities of nominal Christians in Eastern Per- 
sia, such as that at Abasabad in Khorasan, and referred 
to on a previous page. Missionary effort could be of 
little avail to such people so long as they remain in their 
present position. Having been forced to become Mo- 
hammedans, at least nominally, they must be put in 
some place of greater security than that which they now 
occupy before missionary effort could be made with any 
reasonable prospect of success. Their removal is en- 
tirely practicable, and should be effected at once. But 
it can be done only by the intervention in their behalf 
of foreign influence. The colony is not large, and there- 
fore the removal is practicable. It might be thought 
that this change should be effected by themselves, but 
the suggestion is quite unreasonable. They now have 


certain rights and reveoues secured by firman of the 
shahs which they would lose were they to remove 
without the consent of the king. Being Georgians, 
there is no Christian sect with which they could affiliate 
except it be with Protestants. Having once been recog- 
nized as Mohammedans, it would be unsafe for them to 
be known now as Christians unless they were protected 
by the government or were removed to a place where 
their change of faith would either be unknown or would 
excite no opposition. It should be remembered that they 
know of no affiliations except with the people of their 
own colony and race. It is unchristian to leave them 
so helpless under the power of Mohammedans. They 
should be taught the way to change their condition, and 
should be objects of special care, as they are subject to 
special evils. 

There are other small colonies in like condition, both 
of Georgians and Jews. Special missionary effi)rt in 
behalf of such colonies with a view to tlie improvement 
of their condition in material as well as spiritual matters 
is called for, and would be productive of good results 
and be justified by the Church at home. The writer 
earnestly hopes and prays that Christian men and women 
of means may be led to consider the deplorable state 
of these remnants of Christ's flock, and be constrained 
to aid in their deliverance. The sum of ten thousand 
dollars judiciously expended would be sufficient to 
remove this Georgian colony to or near the capital, and 


provide them with all necessary means in the way of 
homes and schools. The Jewish colony in Mashhad 
ought to have been removed long since. No Jewish or 
Armenian settlement would ever be made in that city 
by the choice of these people ; they were carried thither 
by order of one of the shahs, and have been captives in 
that city. It may be said that all the non-Mohammed- 
ans are captives in Persia. The greater part of these 
people have long since ceased to be captives in fact, but 
some of the colonies remain virtually such to this time. 
It is to the latter that these remarks have special refer- 

Not the least among the opportunities of benefiting 
the people of Persia is the opening in Tehran for a first- 
class college like Roberts College at Constantinople or 
the American institution at Beyrout. The founding of 
such institutions seems to be the order of the day on 
mission-fields. The fact is evidence of a demand and a 
reason for them. The reasons which justify the use of 
large sums of money for such schools in other countries 
are all in force in Tehran. The college at Oroomiah, 
though efficient and desirable, cannot meet the require- 
ments of the whole kingdom in the way of educational 
advantages, and does not assume to do so. It must 
necessarily receive its patronage in the way of pupils 
from the Nestorians or from Western Persia, to whose 
wants it will be especially adapted by location and by 
the language used. If such a school may be expected 


to be useful in any mission-field, such expectation may 
be formed of one opened in the capital of Persia. 
There it will have the widest influence possible in that 
land. It will reach the largest number of the people 
and the most influential classes. It would necessarily 
offer special inducements to non-Mohammedans. The 
Shah has a college in Tehran which is attended by youth 
from all the religious sects and races, but Christian and 
Jewish youth, as well as Mohammedan, are obligated to 
some Mohammedan observances, and no direct Christian 
influences can here find a place, for the management is 
distinctly Mohammedan, though not officiously so. It 
is a pity that Christian youth should be left to such in- 
fluences. It is impossible to send them all to European 
schools. The people are too poor and unlettered to pro- 
vide for their own wants or to meet their own wishes in 
this particular. Their poverty will compel them to ac- 
cept Mohammedan schools so far as these meet their 
wants. The people most eager for educational advan- 
tages are the non-Mohammedans. Men who have 
wealth to consecrate to a good purpose will find in the 
round of the mission-fields no country more destitute of 
Christian enterprise than Persia, and no sphere or place 
of educational work more promising than the capital of 
the Shah. 


The Bible in Persia — No Evidence of Christian Literature in Per- 
sian in Early Times — The Bible First in Importance — First Ver- 
sion of any Part of the Bible in Persian — Version of Tus — Ver- 
sion of Kaffa — Version of Wheeloc and Plerson — Earlier Con- 
jectured Version — Version of Nadir Shah — Version of Col. Col- 
brook — Version of L. Sebastiani — Version of Henry Martyn — 
Version of the Psalter by Henry Martyn — Dates of Publication 
of Different Editions— Glen's Version of the Psalms — Poetical 
and Prophetical Books — Version of the Historical Books by 
Pinkerton and Lee — Publication of Glen's Version of the Psalms 
and Proverbs — Glen's Version of the Old Testament, printed at 
Edinburgh^-Kobinson's Version of the Old Testament — Version 
of the Psalms by Mirza Abraham — Calcutta Edition of Martyn's 
Version — Lithograph Edition of Kobinson's Version — Bruce's 
Version — Versions in Turkish — Amirclianjanz's Version in 
Transcaucasian Tartar — Publication of the Transcaucasian Ver- 
sion — Labaree's Version in Azarbijanee — Bassett's Version in 
Turkmanee — Difficulties in the Way of Translating in Persian — 
Great Size of the Volume of the Persian Bible — New Edition in 
Small Size — Lodiana Edition — Efforts in the Way of the Circula- 
tion of the Scriptures in Persia — Favorable Attitude of the Per- 
sian Government toward Christian Literature — Other Religious 
Books in Persian — By Whom and When Made — Books in Per- 
sian Turkish. 

nriHE Persian language and literature bear no evidence 
of the presence in former ages of a Christian liter- 
ature in the Persian tongue. It is reasonable to believe 



that if there had been any, some record of it would have 
remained or marked traces of its influence would have 
been seen in Persian books, but neither evidence is 

Of modern evangelical agencies in Persia, the first in 
importance is the Scriptures in the languages spoken in 
that country, especially the Persian tongue. Other 
books are important aids to the missionary, but he will 
be greatly hindered without the Scriptures in the vernac- 
ular. Though translations of parts of the Bible into the 
Persian were made many centuries ago, the general cir- 
culation of the book has here, as in other places, awaited 
the efforts of the Bible and missionary societies. 

The first version of any part of the Bible into Persian 
was a translation of the Pentateuch by Jacob, a Jewish 
rabbi of the city of Tus in Khorasan. The date of the 
translation is unknown, but it is thought that it cannot 
be earlier than the eighth or later than the tenth century. 
This version was first printed in Constantinople in 1546 
with the Hebrew text, the Chaldee Targum of Onkelos 
and the Arabic version of Sudias Gaon. 

Abaka of the Moghul dynasty died in A. D. 1282. 
He is supposed to have been a Christian. Soon after 
his death the Gospels were translated into Persian. A 
Persian manuscript version of the four Gospels was in 
the possession of Dr. Pocock, and was dated A. D. 1314. 
It was said to have been first printed in the London 
Polyglot by Bishop Walton. 


It is stated also that a version of the four Gospels is 
printed in the London Polyglot which is conjectured to 
have been written at Kaffa, a town of the Kriraea, by a 
Roman Catholic, and in A. D. 1341. It is believed to 
have been made from the Peshito Syriac. 

A version of the Gospels was begun by Wheeloc, 
professor of Arabic in Cambridge, and after his death 
was completed by Pierson and published in 1657. The 
editors of this version are said to have used the same 
manuscript as that from which the version in the Lou- 
don Polyglot was printed. They are supposed also to 
have possessed two other manuscripts. 

It is conjectured that there was a much older vei'sion 
of the Gospels, which De Long thinks was translated 
in 1388, and sent by Jerome Xavier, a Jesuit, from Agra 
to the College Romanum. 

The next effort to make a version of the Scriptures 
into Persian was that of Nadir Shah. With reference 
to this Hanway appears to be the principal source of in- 
formation. He says, in substance, that toward the close 
of A. D. 1740, Nadir Shah caused a translation of the 
four Gospels to be made into Persian. The work was 
placed under the supervision of his secretary, Mirza 
Mahde, a noted writer and scholar. He, being empow- 
ered for this purpose, "summoned several Armenian 
bishops and priests, together with divers missionaries of 
the Romish Church and Persian mullahs, to meet him 
at Ispahan. Many of the latter gave bribes in order to 


escape the task. " Among the Christians summoned on 
this occasion, only one Romish priest born in Persia 
was sufficient master of the language to enter upon a 
work of so critical a nature/' " As to the Armenians, 
though they are born subjects of Persia and intermixed 
with the inhabitants, yet there are very few of them 
who understand the language fundamentally/' This 
translation was dressed up with all the glosses which 
the fables and perplexities of the Koran could warrant. 
" Their chief guide was an ancient Arabic and Persian 
translation/' Father de Vigues, a French missionary, 
was also employed in this work, in which he made use 
of the Vulgate edition. ^' The translators were but six 
months in completing this translation and transcribing 
several fair copies of it." In May, A. D. 1741, the work 
was presented to Nadir, then encamped with his court 
near Tehran. In this interview the Shah ridiculed some 
parts, and also ridiculed the Jews, also Mohammed and 
Ale alike. He remarked that the evangelists did not 
agree, ^' therefore he must remain under the same diffi- 
culty that he was under before;" that out of (both), 
if it pleased God to give him health, he would en- 
gage to make a religion much better than any which 
had yet been practiced by mankind. 

We are told that as the style in which the gospel of the 
Polyglot is written has long been antiquated in Ispahan, 
several effijrts have been made during the present century 
to i^roduce a version in the polished dialect now spoken 


by the Persians. A trauslation of the four Gospels was 
made under the direction of Col. Col brook, and pub- 
lished at Calcutta in 1804, but appears not to have been 
extensively circulated. Rev. L. Sebastiani completed a 
translation of the New Testament to near the end of the 
Epistles in the year 1812. A thousand copies of the 
Gospels of this version were printed at Serampore in the 
same year. This version is said to have been designed 
for the use of the Christians in Persia. Sebastiani had 
resided at the court of Persia. Sabat and Mirza Fitrut 
were employed by Henry Martyn to translate the whole 
of the New Testament. These men had been previously 
employed as translators, the one at Serampore and the 
other by Col. Colbrook. This translation was completed 
in 1808. But as it was thought to abound too much in 
Arabic terras, Henry Martyn decided to visit Persia for 
the purpose of effecting a revision in more idiomatic Per- 
sian. He entered Shiraz in 1811, and remained there 
nearly a year. Having completed the revision, he re- 
turned toward England, passing through Tehran and 
Tabriz, but died at Tokat in Asia Minor a. d. 1812. 
Manuscript copies of his revision are in the library of 
the British legation at Tehran. A copy was presented 
to the Shah. Prince Galitzin, the head of the Russian 
Bible Society, caused an edition of five thousand copies 
of Martyn's version to be printed at St. Petersburg for 
circulation in Western Persia. 

The Psalter and New Testament, translated by Henry 


Martyii, were printed at Calcutta in 1816. The former 
was reprinted in Loudon in 1824, and the New Testa- 
ment also, edited by Dr. Lee, in 1827. The New Test- 
ament was reprinted in London in 1837. An edition of 
three thousand copies of the New Testament was printed 
at Edinburgh to accompany the translation of the Old 
Testament made by Dr. Glen, then being printed in Ed- 
inburgh. The edition published in St. Petersburg in 
1815 is said to have been so incorrect that the publica- 
tion was stopped by the Russian Bible Society. The 
version of the New Testament made by Henry Martyn 
is the only one which has been circulated to any extent. 
The work has many excellences and also many defects. 
Among the former may be mentioned the evident ad- 
herence of the translator to the Greek text and the crit- 
ical knowledge possessed by him of that text. One of 
the chief defects is redundance, even more than is found 
in writings of native Persians. This defect has greatly 
augmented the size of the volume, as may be known 
from the fact that while the English version contains 
about two hundred thousand words, that made by Mar- 
tyn has over six hundred thousand words. The size of 
the book has been a serious hindrance to the general 
circulation of the Scriptures in Persia. 

The Rev. William Glen, of the Scottish mission at 
Astrakhan, completed a version of the Psalms, and in 
1826 was employed by the British and Foreign Bible 
Society to make a translation of the poetical and pro- 


phetical books of the Old Testament. At the same time 
Mirza Jaffir was employed by the same society to produce 
a version of the historical books of the Old Testament at 
St. Petersburg, under direction of Dr. Pinkerton and Dr. 
Lee. The book of Genesis, published in London in 1827, 
is said to be the only part of Mirza Jaffir's work which 
has been printed. The books of Psalms and Proverbs, 
translated by Dr. Glen and revised by Mr. Greenfield 
and Mr. Selden, were published in London in 1830-31 
in an edition of one thousand copies. Another edition 
was issued in 1836. 

In 1847 the entire Old Testament, as translated by 
Mr. Glen, was printed at Edinburgh. The entire Old 
Testament was translated by the Rev. T. Robinson of 
Poonah in India, and completed nine years before the 
publication of Mr. Glen's version. 

In 1834 the British and Foreign Bible Society pub- 
lished an edition of a version of the Psalms made by 
Mirza Abraham of East India College, Haileybury, and 
revised by Mr. Johnson of that college. The texts used 
were the Authorized English version and the Hebrew. 
In 1842 five thousand copies of Marty n's version of the 
New Testament were printed by the lithographic process 
in Calcutta. This was an edition so wretchedly executed 
as to be unreadable by Persians, and a disgrace to all 
foreign attempts to print Persian. 

In 1844 five thousand copies of Genesis and part of 
Exodus, as translated by Robinson, were also litho- 


graphed. Thus it appears that much was done in the 
way of ^preparation of the word in Persian.* 

Although these Scriptures have not been so generally 
circulated as to affect the masses of the people in Persia, 
yet copies of several of these versions are frequently to 
be found in the libraries of Persians. The next effort 
at a version of the New Testament in Persian was made 
by Rev. Robert Bruce. He had been a missionary of 
the Church Missionary Society in India, and had some 
knowledge of the Persian as spoken in that country. 
He removed to Persia in 1869, and settled in Julfa, near 
Ispahan, for the purpose of carrying on his translation- 
work. This was prosecuted in connection with mission- 
work until the spring of 1881, when the manuscript was 
sent to the British and Foreign Bible Society for publi- 
cation. A preliminary examination of the work was 
made by Professor Palmer of Cambridge and by Rev. 
James Bassett, then on his return to Tehran. The 
manuscript was then revised by Mr. Bruce and Profes- 
sor Palmer, and published for the British and Foreign 
Bible Society at Leipsic in 1882. The publication was 
supervised by Mr. Bruce. This version follows, at the 
discretion of the translator, the text of the Revised Ver- 
sion published in 1881 and the Authorized Version or 
textus receptus. 

* The foregoing statements touching the authorship of these ver« 
sions are made on the authority of Bible in All Lands, Hanway, and 
the History of the British and Foreign Bible Society. 


Thus there have been made in the Persian one version 
of the Pentateuch, two versions of the entire Old Testa- 
ment, three versions of the whole New Testament and 
five versions of the four Gospels, besides the versions 
of the Gospels included in the translations of the entire 
New Testament. The versions now most used in Persia 
are Martyn's of the New and Glen's version of the Old 

As a dialect of the Turkish language is spoken by- 
many thousand people of Northern Persia, we ought not 
to omit some mention of what has been done to give the 
Scriptures to the Turkish-speaking people of that country. 

The missionaries of the Basle society in Southern 
Georgia translated the New Testament into the Trans- 
caucasian Tartar. By this name is designated the dialect 
of the Turkish spoken south of the Caucasus Mountains. 
The manuscript was long in the possession of the British 
and Foreign Bible Society. The translation of the Gos- 
pel by Matthew in this dialect was printed by that 
society in 1836. The translation is understood to have 
been made by Amirchanjauz, an Armenian in the employ 
of that mission. 

In 1872 a version of the Gospel by Matthew in the 
Azarbijan Turkish was made by Mr. Labaree in Oroo- 
miah for the American Bible Society, and published by 
him in Leipsic. The term "Azarbijan Turkish '^ de- 
notes the dialect of the Turkish which is spoken in the 
province of Azarbijan in Western Persia. It is essen- 



tially the same as the dialect called Transcaucasian Tar- 
tar. In 1876, Mr. Labaree completed and published for 
the Bible Society, in Constantinople, a translation of the 
Gospel by John. 

In the mean time, a version of the New Testament in 
the Transcaucasian Tartar was being made in Tiflis for 
the British and Foreign Bible Society by Abraham, a 
son of the above-named Amirchanjanz. Previous to 
this Abraham was a missionary of the Basle society and 
was stationed for a time at Tabriz. His work is under- 
stood to be a revision of the manuscript prepared by 
his father. His work was completed in 1878 and pub- 
lished in London. 

In 1878-79 a version of the Gospel by Matthew in 
the Takah Turkmanee was made by Kev. James Bassett 
in Tehran for the British and Foreign Bible Society. 
It was published by that society in February, 1880. 
The translator was aided by a Jew of Mashhad. The 
version was designed for Turkmans of Ahal, Merv and 
North-eastern Persia. The language of these people 
is a branch of the Turkish known as Gaghatai. All 
the foregoing versions in Turkish follow the Greek text 
of the receptus. 

No versions of the Scriptures or translations of other 
books into the Armenian language have been made in 
Persia, though there are many Armenians in that coun- 
try and their vernacular is much affected by the Persian 


The Syriac language is used iu Persia by the Nestor- 
iaus only. The history of the Syriac version belongs 
to the era and country of the Syrian Church, but it will 
be in place here to note what has been done in Persia in 
the way of Syriac versions. In 1836, Dr. Perkins be- 
gan a translation of the New Testament from the Greek 
text into the vernacular or modern Syriac of the Nes- 
torians. The work was completed in 1846, and pub- 
lished with the ancient version in parallel columns. 
Immediately on completion of this book Mr. Perkins 
began a translation of the Old Testament from the 
Hebrew text into the vernacular of the Nestorians. 
The New Testament was printed at Oroomiah from type 
made by Mr. Breath of Oroomiah. This version of the 
Old Testament was completed in 1852, and thus the 
whole Bible was given to the people in their vernac- 

The difficulties to be met in making a good trans- 
lation in the Persian are very great. These are greater 
in the use of the Persian than of the Turkish. In the 
latter there is a notable regularity in the formation of 
all the parts of speech. The vocabulary also need not 
be supplied from the Arabic. But the Arabic element 
can hardly be dispensed with in the Persian. It gives 
much diversity both as to construction and vocabulary. 
The modern Persian is deficient in the latter element. 
This deficiency is supplied from the Arabic, and the 
words used to express religious thought are such terms 


as the populace do not employ. The conciseness of the 
Greek and of the Hebrew is poorly represented in the 
redundance of the Persian, and it is with difficulty that 
the translation of the Scriptures can be brought into 
any fair-sized volume. As late as 1872 the only editions 
of the Old and New Testaments in Persian were octavo 
volumes of 1658 and 532 pages respectively. The only 
edition of the whole Bible was, as previously stated, a 
volume of 2190 octavo pages, which after a great re- 
duction from its cost, could not be sold for less than 
eight karans, or about one-third or one-fourth of the 
usual monthly wages of a Persian laborer. This form 
and size of the Bible were thought to be necessary, 
owing to the model form of the Arabic letter. The 
evil has not yet been wholly remedied, yet any one who 
will observe the small compass into which the Koran is 
brought, and in which some Persian books are written, 
will see that reduction is yet practicable. The small 
volume of the entire Bible which the courteous superin- 
tendent of publication of the British and Foreign Bible 
Society, Rev. William Wright, caused to be printed at 
the request of the mission in Tehran, is a decided im- 
provement in the way of size, but is only a step in the 
right direction. The translation itself is verbose, and 
the printers of England and throughout Europe who 
use the Persian type do not understand the language so 
as to make the best use of the type. 

In 1880 an edition of i\\Q New Testament was printed 


for the American Bible Society at the mission -press in 
Lodiana by the lithographic process. It is a 16mo vol- 
ume of 920 pages. But the indistinctness caused by 
printing so closely and in so fine a letter by this process 
has made the book available to the best readers only. 
What has been done in the way of the circulation of 
the Scriptures in Persia is shown, in part, by the reports 
of the different missions in that land. All the missions 
have done something in this line. In fact, it has been a 
conspicuous part of their labors. These efforts began 
with the tours of the eccentric AVolff. But, judging 
from the manner in which he traveled and the length 
of his journeys, and the state of the countries through 
which he passed, it seems fair to conclude that he could 
not at any time have taken any large number of books 
with him. The efforts of the missionaries of the Basle 
society and of the American Board were confined to 
North-western Persia. The latter missionaries were es- 
pecially concerned with the work in the Syriac language. 
The earliest missionaries had much to do to prepare the 
books and the way before the work of distribution could 
begin. The missionaries of the London Society for Pro- 
moting the Gospel amongst the Jews accomplished much, 
but their work was chiefly with Hebrews. In 1870-71, 
Bible-distribution was carried on in the vicinity of Is- 
pahan by the agents of Mr. Bruce of Julfa. In 1870 
bookstalls were opened in Tehran, Tabriz and Hama- 
dan, and kept by Nestorians under the direction of the 


missionaries of Oroomiah. These dep6ts were not, 
however, centres of circulation for the country at large 
nor for the districts in which they were placed. They 
were designed especially for the work in the cities in 
which they were located. The opening of the mission 
in Tehran in 1872 and of Tabriz in 1873 was attended 
with systematic arrangements for the circulation of the 
Scriptures throughout the northern half of Persia. 

It is an encouraging fact that the Persian government 
has made no objection to the Bible-work in that king- 
dom. It has prohibited neither the production of 
Christian books nor the distribution of these works by 
sale and gift. The importation of Bibles and other 
books has not been forbidden. 

There is not much to be said of other books than the 
Bible in the Persian tongue, for the reason that there 
are but few. So far as any are known in Persia at this 
time, they are the following, to wit: Mezon at Haek, 
"The Scale of Truth,'' a work on the Mohammedan 
controversy, and composed by Rev. Dr. C. G. Pfander, 
one of the Basle missionaries ; The Key of Mysteries, a 
work on the doctrine of the Trinity, also by Pfander; 
Keith on Prophecy, translated by Rev. J. L. Merrick, of 
the American mission in Oroomiah, in the early years 
of that mission. A Prayer-book and a Bible history 
have been prepared by Rev. Robert Bruce of Julfa. 
Hymns in Persian, The Tract Primer and The Shorter 
Catechism have been translated by Rev. James Bassett, 


and a translation of the first part of Bunyan's Pilgrim^ a 
Progress has been made by Rev. Joseph L. Potter. 
In the Turkish of Persia or Azarbijan we have the 
Tract Primer, translated by Rev. J. N. Wright, and a 
small collection of hymns prepared at first in Oroo- 



Abasabad, colony of, 327. 
Abraham Mirza, 116. 

priest, 111. 

Usta, 241. 
Accessions to churches, 72. 
Acmetha, 28, 
Adultery, 313. 
Advance of Russians, 323. 
Advantages of Tehran, 100, 311. 

from foreign influence, 313. 
Ahmad, a writer, 63. 
Aladdin's lamp, 6. 
Alcoholic drinks, 55. 
Alexander, Dr., 238. 
Almood, 27. 
Amene Sultan, 250. 
American Board, 75. 
Ancient cities, 27. 
Annual report, 277, 278. 
Antiquities, 28. 
Apocryphal books, 28. 
Apostasy, penalty of, 34, 99. 
Appearance of the people, 29. 
Appointments, females, 29. 
Archbishop, opposition of, 106, 107. 
Armenian churches, 86. 

drunkenness. 111. 

exorcists, 40. 

prostitution, 98. 

Russians, 86. 

schools, 86. 

women, 68. 
Armenians, objects of labor, 34. 
Arsacia, 27. 
Arsenic, use of, 56. 
Aryans, 27. 
Asp Davon, 77. 
Assassins, 27. 

Astrology, 41. 
Aubdar, 110. 


Baba, a colporteur, 99, 108, 114. 

Babilla, 119, 125, 128. 

Baker, Dr., 112. 

Baku, mission in, 156, 159. 

Baptism of Jews, 203. 

Bargashod, 198, 199, 200. 

Bartlett, Miss Cora, 239, 262. 

Basle, Society of, 113. 

Bassett, Rev. James, removal to 
Tehran, 74-76, 99, 113 ; goes to 
Ispahan, 121 ; journey to Tiflis, 
154; obtains orders for Jews, 
176; translation-work, 178, 179 ; 
at Masbhad, 187 ; goes to Ham- 
adan, 198 ; return to America, 
209, 210; return to Persia, 220- 
222 ; reply to British minister, 
227; appeal to Persian minister, 
230, 231 ; supervision of chapel, 
245-249; return to America, 
Mrs. A. W., 135. 

Miss Sarah, 163, 234; returns from 
America, 252; reports girls' 
school, 277. 

Baubes, 51, 173; temper of, 182; 
tenets of, 182; Ismael, 183. 

Beginning of the mission, 99, 100. 

Belief, 36. 

Benjamin, S. G. W., 248, 249, 279. 

Bible, an oracle, 41 ; distribution of, 
125 ; division of Bible-work, 216- 
218; fruits of, 297,298; Bible- 
work, 321 ; societies, 322 ; in 
Persia, 331-345; size of, 342; 




circulation of, 343, 344 ; and the 
Persian government, 344. 

Bliss, Rev. Dr., 124. 

Boghe, Firdose, 132. 

Bohmain, village of, 111. 

Book of Ezra, 28. 

Bookroom, 139. 

Books of the Jews, 41, 52, 100 ,- 
Christian, 124; in the Armenian, 
164 ; kind needed, 298, 299. 

Boys' school, 234. 

British and Foreign Bible Society 
in Tiflis, 160; publications of, in 
Persian, 164; spirit of, 164, 165. 

British and Foreign Office, 247. 

British legation, 94. 

British minister, 212, 213: order of, 
213; reply of, 225-228, 247. 

Bruce, Rev. Robert, 74, 99 ; work of, 
in Julfa, 123 ; in Hamadan, 177, 
215; revision by, 338; works of, 
in Persian, 344. 

Building, difficulties of, 245. 


Calcutta edition of the Scriptures, 

Captive colonies, 327. 
Carepet, 187, 212. 
Caspar, 147, 167, 212. 
Caspian coast, 26. 

sea, 25 ; experience on, 221. 
Casveen, 24, 27; gate, 112. 
Catechism, 269, 344. 
Cemetery, 235. 
Censor of the press, 178. 
Chapel in Tehran, 207 ; closing of, 

229, 231, 235, 236. 
Chaplaincy for Tehran, 237. 
Character of foreigners, 97. 

of Mr. Scott, 207. 
Characteristics of Persians, 34. 
Chess, 57. 

Children of Jews, 166, 167. 
Christianity and Islam, 295, 296. 
Circulation of the Bible, 343. 
Cities of antiquity, 27. 

of the Bible, 28. 
Class of young men, 136. 
Closing of the chapel on account of 

orders, 229. 
Coan, Rev. G. W., 121, 122. 
Colbrook, Col,, version by, 335. 
Cold on the plain, 83. 
College of the Shah, 98. 

College for Persia, 319. 
Colony, 89; in Mashhad, 329. 

captive, plea for, 327. 
Colportage, 124. 
Colporteurs, 98; for Yezd, 125, 126 j 

trial of, 127, 171-174. ' 
Concentration of wealth, 313. 
Concubinage, 56, 105. 
Conditions of grant of land, 236. 
Confession of Faith, 169. 
Congregations, permanent, 291. 
Congress, acts of, relating to Persia, 

247, 248. 
Construction of chapel, 105, 107. 
Contrasts in fields, 25, 26, 27, 31. 
Controversial books, 49, 52, 53. 

spirit, 50. 
Controversy, 52, 53; with mullahs, 

the Mohammedan, 298, 
Converts, how received, 296. 

Mohammedan, 170, 216. 

male and female, proportion of, 
72, 73. 

of Jews in Hamadan, 175-177. 
Copy of orders of the authorities, 

Costume of the women, 65, 68. 
Course of study in schools, 297. 
Criticism, 307. 
Cruelty of mullahs, 51. 
Curing by prayer, 44. 
Customs, 90. 

Damavand, Mt., 23, 25, 2&, 80, 83, 

Damgan, city of, 27. 

Darooz, village of. 111. 

Baud, Mirza, 193. 

Dead, disposal of, 90. 

Death of Mr. Scott, 207. 

Deception, a trait, 53, 55. 

Defence of the faith, 52. 

Demoniacal possession, 39. 

Departed spirits, superstition con- 
cerning, 43, 

Departure of Mr. Scott, 207. 

Destiny of Persia, 325. 

Deves or devils, 37. 

Difference in fields, 24. 

Difficulties of the field, 301-310, 315- 
of the translation-work, 341. 

Dispersed state of sects, 317. 



Disposition of the sects, 94. 

Disreputable pursuits, 90. 

Division of mission- premises, 233. 

Divorces, 171. 

Doctrine of succession, .35. 

Doctrines, eflfective, 293, 296. 

Dress, 29. 

Drunkenness at night, 147. 


Easter in school, 276. 

Eastern Persian Mission, 23, 844. 

Easton, Mr., 113, 121. 

Eelkhanah, 203. 

Eclipse of the sun, 237. 

Educational institutions, 302. 

Effect of polygamy, 64. 

of Sheahism, 59. 
Elburz Mountains, 24, 83. 
Encouragements, 310, 314, 318, 324, 

English chapel, effort for, 235, 236, 

service of Church, 182, 249. 
Environments of Tehran, 80. 
Episodes, 153, 251. 
Errors of reports, preface, 8. 
Esteem of learning, 48. 
Esther, Queen, 28. 
European governments, relation of, 

to Persia, 317. 
Europeans, number of, 85. 
Evil eye, 38. 

spirits, 38. 
Exorcism, 39, 40. 

Exploration, success and use of, 


Famine in Hamadan, 114. 
Farhaud Mirza, 131. 
Fatima, 59. 
Fattah Ale Shah, 53. 
Fears of the Armenians, 107. 
Females, appearance of, 29. 
Feruzbahrom, village of, 109. 
Fictions of the Shah, preface, 5. 
Filth of Persia, 30. 
First efforts of missionaries, 284. 
Flight of colporteurs, 126. 
Floods, 114. 

Foreigners, character of, 97, 309. 
protection of, 310. 


Gambling, 57. 

Gardens, 29. 

Gate, Casveen, 86. 

Ghouls, 37. 

Girls' school, 135, 219 ; report of, 262, 

267, 269, 275, 280. 
Governor, 140. 
Great cities, 27. 
Grouping of missions, 23. 
Guebers, 90, 93. 
Guergues, 119. 


Hajah Mullah Ismael, 182, 183. 

Ahmad, 52. 
Hamadan, 28,114-116,119,132,136, 

140-153, 174-177, 198, 200, 20.3, 

214-216, 219, 221-224, 232, 246, 

250-252, 270-272. 
Hawkes, Mr., 224, 232, 252, 270. 
Healthfulness, 83. 
Heat of Vanah, 112. 
Hecatompylos, 27. 
Henry Martyn, 50 ; methods, 282. 
History of versions of Scripture, 

Hosein Ale, 192. 

Khan, 222. 
Houses, 29, 114. 
Hyim, 176, 203, 216. 
Hymns in Persian, 165, 166. 


Ignorance of the Persians, 86. 

Illness, 209 ; of missionaries, 222. 

Imam Reza, 27. 

Imitations in theology, 294, 295. 

Influence of the Bible, 297, 298. 
of foreigners, 309, 310. 
social, 326. 

Inns, 30. 

Instruction of Mohammedans pro- 
hibited, 213, 214. 

Intelligence, increase of, 319. 

Intemperance, 56, 128, 144, 147. 

Intercession for natives, 197, 310. 

Interview with the governor of Ham- 
adan, 140. 

Intolerance, Russian, 159, 160; Per- 
sian, 315, 316. 

Intoxicating drinks, 55. 

Isaac, Theodore, 239. 

Ismael, Hajah, 183. 



Jacob of Tus, 332. 

Jan, doctor of Hamadan, 176. 

Jessup, Dr. H. H., 248. 

Jewesses, disorderly, 166; meetings 

for, 256. 
Jews, superstitions of, 47. 

intemperance of, 56. 

of Tehran, 89, 90, 166. 
persecution of, 167. 

of Hamadan, 175, 176, 202. 

in Tajreesh, 204. 

school for, opened, 166; closed, 

- 212 ; reopened, 233. 
Jewett, Miss Mary, 222, 
Jins, superstition concerning, 37. 
Journey of colporteurs, 126. 
Julfa, 123. 

Kalyon, use of, 56. 
Karaghan, school opened, 153; op- 
position, 196, 197. 

visited, 198, 209. 

condition of the people, 198, 201. 

work renewed in, 209. 
Karaj, 80. 
Karman, 24. 
Kashan, 27. 
Kashish Khanah, 147. 
Kathoda of Shevarin, 143. 
Keith on Prophecy, 344. 
Keun, secretary of legation, 250. 
Key of Mynteries, 344. 
Khalafah of Baghdad, 27. 
Khorasan, 24 ; name of, 26. 
Kilishkin, village of, 76. 
Koran, superstition about, 41, 44. 
Kurds, 27. 

Labaree, Rev. Benjamin, Jr., 101, 

Land, grant for chapel, 236. 

of the Imams, 7, 8. 

of the Sun, 26, 
Language, 100; use of Persian, 100, 

Lar, village of, 198, 200, 
Lazar goes to Rasht, 101, 232, 255. 
Learned Persians, 313. 
Legation, British, 94, 97, 249. 

of the United States, 246, 247, 249. 

Liberty, religious, 99, 143; of Mo- 
hammedans, 213. 
precedent of, 320, 321. 

Limits of mission-fields, 23. 

Liquor traffic, 56. 

Literature, Christian, 163, 164, 331, 

Lotka, Rev., in Hamadan, 232. 


Manner of life of Persians, 31. 
Manufacture of liquor, 56, 128. 
Marriage, child-, 65. 

of Caspar and Carepet, 212. 
of Mr. Ha^kes, 254. 
of Mr. Potter, 204. 
Martyn's version, 336. 
Mashhad, 27, 187, 193; colony of 

Jews, 329. 
Mashhade Sar, 180, 181. 
Matteos, 101, 102. 
Mazandaran, 28. 
Mechail, 113, 116; goes to Rasht, 

177; to Mashhad, 187. 
Medical missions, 299, 300. 
Megerditch, 110, 111, 112, 178. 
Men of wealth, 28. 
Merrick's translation of Keith, 344. 
Methods of mission-work, 281-300. 
of preaching, 295, 296. 
of aiding the colonies, 328. 
Minister, British, 225, 230. 

of Persian Foreign Affairs, 230, 
Mission, beginning of, 74; plan of 
work, 100. 
in Oroomiah, 75. 
in Persia, 75. 
Mission-premises, 194-196, 307. 

proposed division of, 223. 
Missionaries and the authorities, 172, 
return of, to Persia, 220, 221 ; and 
the legation, 310. 
Modern cities, 27. 

Mohammedans, 85, 93; why not con- 
verted, 171. 
colporteur of, 171 ; and Jews, 203, 

prohibited from attending church, 

received to the Church, 216. 
races, 28 ; number, 34. 
Montgomery, Miss Anna, 239, 251, 



Moral characteristics, 34. 
Mordecai, 28. 
Mosques of Tehran, 303. 
Mountains, 25. 
Mujtahe«d of Yezd, 126, 179. 
Mullahs, studious, 47 ; relation to 
Shah, 9J. 

spirit of, 47, 50, 51. 

ignorance of, 49. 
Music in worship, 165, 166, 292, 

Musicians, release of, 121, 122. 
Mustofe, 152. 


Naibe Sultan, 106,107. 
Narrative, object of, preface, 9. 
Native preachers, 290. 
Neavaron, 105. 
Necromancy, 40. 
Nestorian helpers, 99, 290. 
Night-journey to Nobaron, 201. 
Night-drinking, 147. 
Nobaron, 200. 
Northern Persia, 24. 
Nurillah, 233. 
Nusrat id Deen, 52. 

Observances of Sheahs, 35. 
Officers of government, 172. 

and missionaries, 172. 
Ohanes, 113; of Shevarin, 132. 
Opening of mission, 74. 
Opium, 56. 
Opposition of the archbishop, 106, 

109, 140. 
Oracale, priest, 151. 
Oracle, 41. 
Order of Sadr Azam, 173. 

of Mustofe and Shah about taxes, 

151, 152. 
about school in Karaghan, 196, 1 97. 
of Sadr Azam about Jews in Ham- 

adan, 176. 
concerning Mohammedans, 213, 

in behalf of Shamoon, 223. 
prohibiting missionaries, 224-231. 
prohibiting missionaries, effect of, 

copy of, from Persian minister, 231. 
Organization of the church in Teh- 
ran, 168. 
of the church in Hamadan, 175. 

Organization of the church in Rasht, 
156, 255. 
of the churches, 323, 
of the Eastern Persian Mission, 
Origin of Jewish colony, 89. 
Oroomiah, 75. 

Parthia, 26, 27, 
Peasants, 30. 
Permanent missions, 291. 
Persecution of Mechail, 114, 116. 

in Tabriz, 121. 

of Protestants, 170. 

in Hamadan, 198, 208, 212, 219, 
220, 246, 250, 251. 
Persia and Christian lands, 31. 

proper, 27. 
Persian mission-fields, 24. 

race, 27. 

Armenians, 86, 
Persians, very religious, 34. 
Petition of the church in Hamadan, 

Pfander's books, 298. 
Physicians, native, 89, 209. 
Pivotal doctrines, 296. 
Plain of Tehran, 80, 83. 
Plains, 25. 

Plea for captive colonies, 327. 
Plots against Sadr Azam, 105, 106. 
Poetry, influenced by, 59. 
Police, order referred to, 231. 
Political preferment, 89. 
Polygamy, effect of, 64-66. 

not practiced, 131. 

of church-members, 171. 
Porter, Rev. T. J., 268. 
Possibilities of Persia, 324. 
Postal system, 318. 
Potter, Rev. J. L., arrival, 139; goes 
to Oroomiah, 177; begins trans- 
lation of Pilgrim's Progress, 179 ; 
journey of, to Baku, 180, 181; 
goes to America, 184, 185; mar- 
ries, 204; removes, 232, 233; 
work of, 235, 241, 269, 345. 
Potteries, 27. 
Poverty of the people, 28. 
Power of conscience, 285. 
Prayer, Mohammedan, 36. 

cure, 44, 148. 
Preaching, 136. 

in Persia, 282-300. 



Precedents of liberty, 320. 
Premises, mission, 135; purchased, 

mission occupied, 204. 
Presbyterian Board of Missions, 75. 
Press, printing, 139. 
Priest, of Vanak, 110, 111; of She- 

varin, 143, 144. 
of Hamadan, 151; of Baku, 159. 
Shamoon of Hamadan, 175. 
Prince-governor of Hamadan, 143. 
Prohibition of liquor traffic, 55, 56. 
Prosody, Persian, 165, 166. 
Prostitution, 97, 98. 
Protection of missionaries, 94, 235, 

247, 248. 
of Persians, 310. 
Protestant village, 109, 214, 215. 
colony of Shamakha, 159, 160. 
Providential openings, 326. 
Public baths, 31. 
Publication in Persia, difficulties of, 

Purchase of mission-houses, 194-196. 
Pursuits, disreputable, 90. 


Queen, 105. 
Quarentine, 180, 181. 


Ra, 28. 

Raghes, 27, 28. 

Raheem, 176, 203, 219. 

Railways, 324. 

Ramazan, 55. 

Rasht, 27; work begun, 155; church 

in, 156, 221. 
Readers in Tehran, 312. 
Reform in Hamadan, 115. 
Reinforcements, 154, 155 ; detained, 

Religious state of the people, 33-57. 

Tract Society, 124. 
Removal of Armenians of Feruzbah- 

rom, 108, 109. 
Renting houses in Persia, 194. 
Reply of the British minister, 225, 
227, 228. 

of Mr. Bassett, 227, 228. 
Report of 1879, 210. 

of 1880, 217-219. 

of 1882, 240. 

of 188,3, 252, 255. 

of 1884, 268-272. 

Report of 1884, for Hamadan, 270- 

of British Foreign Office about 
missionaries, 247. 

of woman's work, 255, 280. 

of Miss Bartlett, 262-267. 

of Mrs. Bassett, 255, 256. 

of Mrs. Potter, 256-262. 

of Miss Schenck, 273-277. 

of Miss Sarah Bassett, 277-280. 
Representatives, foreign, 94, 304. 
Results, promise of, 319. 

present, 319, 324. 
Reverence for maternity, 43, 44, 64. 
Revival in Feruzbahrom, 107, 108. 

in Hamadan, 115. 

in Tehran, 166, 267, 289. 
Revolt, 26. 

Reza, Imam, 187-189. 
Rich and poor, 30. 
Rites of Guebers, 86, 93. 
Roman Catholicism and Sheahism, 

294, 295. 
Romance, 282. 
Russian Armenians, 86, 159, 160. 

advance, effect of, 323. 
Russians, intolerance of, 159. 


Sabbath in Persia, 160. 
services, 106. 

Sacred books, 40. 

Sadr Azam, 102, 172, 173, 212. 

Said Saduk, 53. 

Khan, 222, 246, 250. 

Saloons, 56. 

Sargis of Shamakha, 159. 

Sayeds, 35, 60. 

Scale of Truth, 53. 

Schenck, Miss Anna, 181, 234. 

Scholars, 139. 

School, 89; in Shevarin, 132, 136, 
139; condition, 239; Guebers, 
90, 93, 101; village, 108, 112, 
123; city, 128, 296, 297. 

Science of dreams, 41, 42. 

Scorpions, 27. 

Scott, Rev. David, 181, 204, 207. 

Scriptures in Persian, 164, 174, 342. 

Secular authorities and Olema, 51. 

Sef ul Ommah, 52. 

Sekah marriage, 66. 

Senah, 24. 

Servants, 30. 

Shah, 63, 84, 85, 94, 102, 230, 231. 



Shah, grants by, 236, 247, 307. 

petitions to, 152, 208. 
Shamakha, 159. 

Shamoon, priest, 175 ; threatened, 
219; flees, 222 j returns to Ham- 
adan, 223. 
Sheahism, 34-36, 59, 294, 316, 317. 
Sherwood, Miss, 252. 
Shevarin, 113, 140, 143, 144,250,251. 
Shimron, Mt., 80, 84 ; ascent, 153, 154. 
Shrine of Fatima, 27. 

of Imam Reza, 27. 
Shrines, 35. 
Smith, Lieut.-Col., 249. 
Smokers, 56. 
Snowstorm, 76. 
Social influence, 326. 
Sodomy, 56, 57. 
Speculative spirit, 309. 
Spies, 106. 

Spirit of religious orders, 47. 
Spirits, belief in, 36-38, 43. 
Stocking, Mr., 163. 
Subjects of study of mullahs, 48. 
Subscription for chapel, 235, 236. 
Success of the mission, 319-324. 

of the Bible-work, 321. 
Succession, doctrine of, 35. 
Sultaneah, 113. 
Summary of statistics, 272. 
Summer retreat, 128, 153, 268. 
Sun, eclipse of, 237. 
Suneeism, 34. 
Superhuman beings, 37. 
Superstition, 36, 44, 47. 
Supervision of girls' school, 135. 
Synagogues, Jewish, 89. 

Tajrcesh, 128, 203, 204. 
Takah translation, 209. 
Taste of Persians, 303. 
Taxes of Armenians, 151. 
Tchenoktche, 198. 
Teachers of girls' school, 135. 
Tears, power of, 44. 
Tehran, 23, 24, 27, 75, 80, 84, 94, 212. 
Telegrarph. 318. 
Temptations, 308-310. 
Theodore Isaac, 239, 240. 
Tiflis, mission-work in, 160. 
Tobacco, 56. 

Toleration, 56; of Sheah and Sunee, 

Torrence, Dr. W. W., 220, 232, 241, 

Tours, 75, 323. 
Tower of Silence, 90. 
Tract Primer, 178, 179. 
Transfer of missions, 75; of property, 

Treacherous temper of mullahs, 50. ' 
Trial of mujtaheeds, 51. 

of Baubes, 51. 
Turkish races, 27. 
Twelve, sect of, 59, 93. 


Union of schools, 101. 
Use of the Kalyon, 56. 


Vanak, 109, 110. 

Van Duzee, Miss, 163. 

Varomene, 80. 

VartinoflF, Avek, of Baku, 156. 

Versions of the Scriptures, 332-341. 

Vices, 55. 

View, 25. 

Villages, 29, 107, 108. 

Virtue of Armenians, 97. 

Wealth, 309, 313. 

Western Persian Mission, 2.3, 25. 

Wilson, Mr., 222. 

Whipple, Rev. Wm., 216, 217, 322. 

Wine, 55. 

Wright, Rev. J. N., 345. 

Rev. Wm., 164. 
Wolfi", Rev. Joseph, 322. 
Woman's work for women, 255-267, 

273-280, 300. 
Women, condition of, 58-73. 


Yangee Kallah. 198. 
Yasse Attar, 212. 
Yohannan, deacon, 165. 
Young men of Persia, 311, 312. 


Zain al Abadeen, 220. 
Zambar, village of, 198, 200. 




Date Due 

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