AMĪN-AL-DAWLA, FARROḴ KHAN ḠAFFĀRĪ

 

AMĪN-AL-DAWLA, ABŪ ṬĀLEB FARROḴ KHAN ḠAFFĀRĪ (1227-88/1812-71), a high ranking Qajar official. He was the great grandson of Qāżī Moʿezz-al-dīn Moḥammad Ḡaffārī (governor of Kāšān, Naṭanz, Qom, and Jowšaqān, 1162-93/1749-79) and cousin of Abu’l-Ḥasan Mostawfī and Abu’l-Ḥasan Ṣanīʿ-al-molk, the celebrated painters (Narāqī and Ḡaffārī, Ḵānadān, pp. 12, 13, 70, 71). As a boy he was sent to Tehran to attend the court of Fatḥ-ʿAlī Shah (r. 1212-50/1797-1834), where he became private page of the shah (pīšḵedmat-e ḵāṣṣa; Sarābī, Maḵzan al-waqāyeʿ, intro., p. 4). In the summer of 1249/1833 at the command of the prince ʿAbbās Mīrzā, he joined the forces of Moḥammad Mīrzā (the future Moḥammad Shah) who was besieging Herat (Eṣfahānīān, Maǰmūʿa-ye asnād I, p. 1). In 1252/1836 he was sent by Moḥammad Shah to Māzandarān where he ably prevented a local rebellion. The following year he was sent to Isfahan and in 1255/1839 to Gīlān to handle similar situations (M. Ḥ. Eʿtemād-al-salṭana, Montaẓam-e Nāṣerī III, pp. 166, 169, 170, 174). He was present at the siege of Herat in 1254/1838 and was ordered by Moḥammad Shah to prepare a report on the conduct of the Persian army (Lesān-al-molk Sepehr, Nāseḵ al-tawārīḵ II, pp. 315, 317, 318, 320). In 1267/1850 Mīrzā Taqī Khan (the future Amīr Kabīr) charged him to collect the taxes of all the provinces and in 1270/1854 he became private treasurer to Nāṣer-al-dīn Shah (Maǰmūʿa-ye asnād I, pp. 6, 7). In Ramażān, 1272/May, 1856, he received the title of Amīn-al-molk (ibid., I, p. 9). In 1272/1855-56 when Iran was besieging Herat for the third time and in conflict with England, the shah sent him as ambassador (īḷčī-e kabīr) to the court of Napoleon III; he was also given the mission to converse privately with the Ottoman sultan and contact the French and British ambassadors in Constantinople in order to prepare a peace treaty with the English (Maǰmūʿa-ye asnād I, pp. 11-42). He remained for over two years in Europe, and at the insistence of the shah and Mīrzā Āqā Khan Nūrī, the grand vizier, he signed the treaty of Paris on 7 Raǰab 1273/3, March 1857 (Maḵzan al-waqāyeʿ, intro., pp. 17, 25; Maǰmūʿa-ye asnād I, pp. 209, 211, II, pp. 100, 182), thus ending the war by an Iranian retreat from Herat. During his mission to Europe, which included Mīrzā Malkom Khan as counselor (Maǰmūʿa-ye asnād I, pp. 55, 59, 60, 64, 66, 89, 134-35, 240, 275, 325-61, 332; II, pp. 175-76), he signed friendship treaties with several European states. He was also responsible for the establishment of the first diplomatic relations with the United States, in Rabīʿ II, 1273/December, 1856. Much impressed by the political, social, and technical progress of the European countries, Farroḵ Khan joined the French freemasonry of Grand Orient (Thieury, France, pp. 35, 40; Maḵzan al-waqāyeʿ, intro., pp. 22, 47). Arriving at Constantinople on his return journey to Iran, he was delayed by the intrigues of Mīrzā Āqā Khan Nūrī who (partially influenced by Malkom Khan, who had left earlier for Iran) feared that the successful ambassadorial mission might make Farroḵ Khan a dangerous rival to himself for the office of grand vizier (Maḵzan al-waqāyeʿ, pp. 426-27; Maǰmūʿa-ye asnād III, pp. 3, 6, 106, 354, 362, 365; Bakhash, Iran, p. 7). Finally Farroḵ Khan reached Tehran (in 1275/1858) having accomplished a protracted and unprecedented mission of diplomatic negotiations with European statesmen; the shah commanded that a special welcoming ceremony be held (Merʾāt-al-boldān II, p. 233). Farroḵ Khan charged one of his secretaries, Ḥosayn Sarābī, to write the diary of the travels; the first of the two volumes is a narrative of the mission while the second describes the administrative and legislative organizations of European countries. Nāṣer-al-dīn Shah and Mīrzā Āqā Khan were so alarmed by the liberal models described by Farroḵ Khan that the publication of the book was banned (Maḵzan al-waqāyeʿ, intro., p. 26; Bakhash, Iran, p. 31). The first volume was only published in 1344 Š./1965. In Jomādā I, 1275/December, 1858, Farroḵ Khan became Minister in Presence (wazīr-e ḥożūr), bearer of the shah’s private seal, and the head of the Imperial servants (Merʾāt II, p. 235). Convinced of the necessity of progress for his country, he persuaded the shah to have a group of students (forty-two in number) sent to Europe for training in technical and scientific fields under the guardianship of the well-known Iranist Alexandre Chodzko (ibid., II, p. 235; Thieury, France, pp. 30-38; Maḥbūbī Ardakānī, Tārīḵ-e moʾassasāt I, pp. 320f.). In Ramażān, 1275/April, 1859, Farroḵ Khan received the title of Amin-al-dawla and became minister of the interior (Merʾāt II, p. 240). He presented to the shah a booklet in his own name (probably written by Malkom Khan) on suggested reforms for the improvement of the administration and the army and for the establishment of a parliament (maǰles-e tanẓīmāt) and a cabinet (maǰles-e wozārāʾ; Maǰmūʿa-ye asnād, pp. 330-50). He was also appointed as the tutor of the eldest son of the shah, Masʿūd Mīrzā (the future Ẓell-al-solṭān). In 1276/1859 he became member of the council of the state (maǰles-e šūrā-ye dawlatī). Sir Henry Rawlinson, the British minister in Tehran (1859-60) found him “the most influential man” (Maḥmūd, Tārīḵ II, pp. 60f.; Maḵzan al-waqāyeʿ, intro., p. 24). A. Gobineau, the French minister called him “a very clever statesman.” Amīn-al-dawla carried out significant negotiations concerning Bahrain with the new British minister Charles Alison (1860-72) and the legation’s secretary E. B. Eastwick, who praised him (Maḥmūd, Tārīḵ II, pp. 579, 589). In 1282/1866 he was considered by the shah as a candidate for grand vizier (Eʿtemād-al-salṭana, Ḵalṣa, p. 58), but finally the king appointed Moḥammad Khan Sepahsālār. In May, 1866, he was once more Minister in Presence and governor of the provinces of Isfahan, Fārs, the regions of central Iran and in charge of the customs administration (Merʾāt II, p. 59). In the early spring of 1283/1867 he became minister of the court (Nāṣer-al-dīn Shah, Safar-nāma, p. 13; Merʾāt III, p. 68). He died on 18 Ṣafar 1288/5 May, 1871 from a heart attack and was buried at the shrine of Ḥażrat-e Maʿsūma in Qom. He built many caravansarais, bazaars, houses, and mosques in Tehran, Kāšān, and elsewhere (Eʿtemād-al-salṭana, Maʾāṯer, p. 87; Narāqī, Aṯār-e tārīḵī); among them his tīmča in Kāšān is a splendid example of Persian architecture (Żarrābī, Tārīḵ, p. 624; Dieulafoy, Perse, pp. 196, 197). At his death his brother Hāšem Khan received the title Amīn-al-dawla. Among Farroḵ Khan’s sons were two prominent persons, Moḥammad Ebrāhīm Ḡaffārī Moʿāwen-al-dawla (1860-1918) and Mahdī Ḡaffārī Qāʾem-maqām (1865-1917).

 

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(F. Gaffary)

Originally Published: December 15, 1984

Last Updated: December 15, 1984