Ch.XVIII, p.320, f.1

The following is Dr. Cormick's account of his personal impressions of Mirza Ali-Muhammad the Bab, extracted from letters written by him to the Rev. Benjamin Labaree, D.D. (Dr. Cormick was an English physician long resident in Tabriz, where he was highly respected. The document was communicated to Professor E. G. Browne of Cambridge University, by Mr. W. A. Shedd, who wrote concerning it, in a letter dated March 1, 1911: "Dear Professor Browne, In going over papers of my father (the late Rev. J. H. Shedd, D.D., of the American Mission at Urumiyyih, Persia, of the same mission as Dr. Benjamin Labaree), I found something which I think may be of value from a historical point of view. I have no books here, nor are any accessible here, to be certain whether this bit of testimony has been used or not. I think probably not, and I am sure that I can do nothing better than send them to you, with the wish that you may use them as you think best. Of the authenticity of the papers there can be no doubt.")

"You ask me for some particulars of my interview with the founder of the sect known as Babis. Nothing of any importance transpired in this interview, as the Bab was aware of my having been sent with two other Persian doctors to see whether he was of sane mind or merely a madman, to decide the question whether to put him to death or not. With this knowledge he was loth to answer any questions put to him. To all enquiries he merely regarded us with a mild look, chanting in a low melodious voice some hymns, I suppose. Two other Siyyids, his intimate friends, were also present, who subsequently were put to death with him, besides a couple of government officials. He only once deigned to answer me, on my saying that I was not a Musulman and was willing to know something about his religion, as I might perhaps be inclined to adopt it. He regarded me very intently on my saying this, and replied that he had no doubt of all Europeans coming over to his religion. Our report to the Shah at that time was of a nature to spare his life. He was put to death some time after by the order of the Amir-Nizam Mirza Taqi Khan. On our report he merely got the bastinado, in which operation a farrash, whether intentionally or not, struck him across the face with the stick destined for his feet, which produced a great wound and swelling of the face. On being asked whether a Persian surgeon should be brought to treat him, he expressed a desire that I should be sent for, and I accordingly treated him for a few days, but in the interviews consequent on this I could never get him to have a confidential chat with me, as some government people were always present, he being a prisoner. He was very thankful for my attentions to him. He was a very mild and delicate-looking man, rather small in stature and very fair for a Persian, with a melodious soft voice, which struck me much. Being a Siyyid, he was dressed in the habit of that sect, as were also his two companions. In fact his whole look and deportment went far to dispose on in his favour. Of his doctrine I heard nothing from his own lips, although the idea was that there existed in his religion a certain approach to Christianity. He was seen by some Armenian carpenters, who were sent to make some repairs to his prison, reading the Bible, and he took no pains to conceal it, but on the contrary told them of it. Most assuredly the Mussulman fanaticism does not exist in his religion, as applied to Christians, nor is there that restraint of females that now exists." In connection with this document, Professor Browne writes as follows: "The first of these two documents is very valuable as giving the personal impression produced by the Bab, during the period of his imprisonment and suffering, on a cultivated and impartial Western mind. Very few Western Christians can have had the opportunity of seeing, still less of conversing with, the Bab, and I do not know of any other who has recorded his impressions." (E. G. Browne's Materials for the Study of the Babi Religion," pp. 260-62, 264.)