E. G. Browne's "A Traveller's Narrative:" Note L


        The Báb was accompanied on his journey to Mákú by his amanuensis Áká Seyyid Huseyn of Yezd, Mullá Sheykh 'Alí 'Jenáb-i-'Azím', Mullá Muhammad 'Mu'allim-i-Núrí' (afterwards killed at Sheykh Tabarsí)1, and an escort of twelve horsemen under the command of Muhammad Beg Chápárjí. A full account of this journey, on the authority of Hájí Mírzá Jání of Káshán, who had it directly from the aforesaid Muhammad Beg, is contained in the Táríkh-i-Jadíd. The substance of this account is as follows:-

        When Muhammad Beg was ordered to conduct the Báb to Tabríz and there deliver him over to Bahman Mírzá the governor, he was so averse to undertaking this charge that he feigned illness in hopes of being excused so thankless a task. His orders, however, were peremptorily repeated, and he was obliged to set out. He had been instructed not to take the Báb into the towns which they must pass on the road, and accordingly on approaching Zanján he called a halt at a stone caravansaray situated outside and at some distance from the city. In spite of this, no sooner did their arrival become known than numbers of the inhabitants came out in the hopes of being able to get a

        1 This is according to Subh-i-Ezel's statement. According to the Táríkh-i- Jadíd his companions were, besides the escort, Áká Mírzá 'Abdu'l-Wahháb, Mullá Muhammad, Áká Seyyid Huseyn the amanuensis, his brother Áká Seyyid Hasan of Yezd, and Seyyid Murtazá.

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glimpse of the Báb. Muhammad Beg, being occupied with other business, took no heed of what was passing, while the other men who composed the escort only offered such opposition to the entry of each group of eager visitors as sufficed to procure for themselves a gift of money. Presently an urgent message was brought from Ashraf Khán the governor of Zanján (who was greatly alarmed at the popular excitement caused by the Báb's proximity to the town) ordering Muhammad Beg at once to start again and proceed to some spot further distant. Muhammad Beg accordingly informed the Báb, with many apologies and expressions of regret, that he must prepare to resume his journey without delay, to which, with a single expression of surprise and regret at the governor's harshness, he submitted, and they pushed on to a brick caravansaray two farsakhs beyond Zanján. At Mílán the Báb's arrival was the signal for a similar demonstration of enthusiasm on the part of the populace, and some two hundred persons who had come out of mere curiosity were converted to the new faith.

        Before Tabríz was reached Muhammad Beg too began to experience that marvellous fascination which the Báb exerted over almost everyone with whom he came in contact, and ere the journey was completed he had become an avowed believer in the divine mission of the captive whom he was conducting into exile. Of those disciples who accompanied the Báb on this journey two only - Áká Seyyid Huseyn and Seyyid Murtaza - allowed it to appear that they were his companions. The others used to follow at some distance behind, and only on halting for the night did they seek to find some pretext for approaching their beloved Master. In spite of these precautions, Muhammad Beg, whose faculties were perhaps quickened by his own recent conversion, did not fail in time to discover what they wished to keep secret from him, for of the change which had been wrought in his opinions and feelings they were not yet aware. One day, however, he opened his heart to them, declaring that when he reflected on the service in which he was engaged he felt himself to be worse than Shimr and Yazíd, and expressing the warmest admiration for the patience, sweetness, gentleness, and holiness of the Báb, "for," said he, "had he chosen to give the slightest

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hint to the people of Zanján or Mílan that they should effect his deliverance, they would not have given us time to draw our breath ere they had effected their object."

        Muhammad Beg was in hopes that he might be appointed to accompany the Báb to Mákú - his ultimate destination - and this hope he communicated to the Báb, who, however, replied that this was by no means a thing which he desired, for that in that journey there would be harshness and cruelty shewn wherein he would not that Muhammad Beg should bear any part. When they had come within a stage of Tabríz the Báb requested Muhammad Beg to go on in advance and announce his approach to Bahman Mírzá, to whom he also sent a message praying that he might not be sent to Mákú but might be allowed to remain in Tabríz. To this message the Prince merely replied that it had nothing to do with him, and that the instructions given at the capital must be complied with. Much distressed at being the bearer of such unwelcome tidings, Muhammad Beg returned to meet the Báb, whom he brought in to his own house at Tabríz. There the Báb remained for several days until the fresh escort which was to conduct him to Mákú arrived. The Báb sent Muhammad Beg with a second message to the Prince, again renewing his request for permission to remain at Tabríz. To this message also Bahman Mírzá turned a deaf ear; and such was Muhammad Beg's chagrin, and so great the sorrow which he experienced on parting from the Báb (whose new escort would suffer no further delay in starting), that he fell ill of a fever which did not quit him for two months.

        No sooner had Muhammad Beg recovered his health than he set out for Mákú to visit the Báb. On his arrival there he fell at the Báb's feet, entreating him to overlook and condone any fault of which he might have been guilty. The Báb answered that he was not willing that even his enemies should suffer, much less his friends, and that he freely forgave all who had wittingly or unwittingly trespassed against him. He then enquired concerning the details of the disgrace which had befallen two of those who had slighted him - Ashraf Khán and Bahman Mírzá - with which Muhammad Beg forthwith proceeded to acquaint him; and, on hearing the indignities to which Ashraf Khán

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had been subjected by the relatives of a woman whom he had seduced, he expressed sorrow that so severe a punishment should have overtaken him.

        The confinement to which the Báb was subjected at Mákú was by no means an excessively rigorous one. Not only his amanuensis Áká Seyyid Huseyn, but also (according to Subh-i-Ezel) Mullá Sheykh 'Alí, and apparently others amongst the most earnest and devoted of his followers, were constantly with him, while many others flocked to Mákú from all parts of Persia and were permitted to hold almost unrestricted converse with their Master. Besides this, continual correspondence was carried on between the Báb and his most active apostles, in spite of the instructions given to 'Alí Khán the warden of Mákú Castle by the Prime Minister Hájí Mírzá Ákásí to the effect that no such correspondence was to be permitted. Whether 'Alí Khán found himself unable to prevent his correspondence (at any rate without risking a popular tumult), or whether he simply connived at it either from indolence, indifference, or partiality for the Báb, does not very clearly appear. It would at any rate seem that he always treated his prisoner with the utmost respect and deference, toiled daily up the steep road from the village to the Castle (which stood on the summit of a neighbouring hill), and, when questioned by his friends as to the opinion which he had formed of the Báb, would reply that, although he was not clever enough to understand his sayings, he was convinced of his greatness and holiness.

        During his sojourn at Mákú the Báb composed a great number of works, amongst the more important of which may be especially mentioned the Persian Beyán and the 'Seven Proofs' (Dalá'il-i- Sab'a), both of which contain ample internal evidence of having been written at this period (B. ii, pp. 912-913). Indeed, if we may credit a statement made in the Táríkh-i-Jadíd on the authority of Mírzá 'Abdu'l-Wahháb, the various writings of the Báb current in Tabríz alone amounted in all to not less than a million verses! The Prime Minister himself, Hájí Mírzá Ákásí, was made the object of a homily entitled "The Sermon of Wrath" (~~~) "which," says the author

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of the Táríkh-i-Jadíd, "if anyone will peruse, he shall understand the true meaning of inward Strength and Power." Whether this document reached the eyes of him for whom it was intended and roused him to take further steps for the more effectual isolation of its author is uncertain; but at all events fresh instructions of a more peremptory character were despatched by the Prime Minister to the Warden of Mákú commanding him at once to put a stop to the interchange of letters between the Báb and his followers. 'Alí Khán replied that he was absolutely unable to do this; whereupon orders were issued by the Prime Minister for the removal of the Báb from Mákú to Chihrík. 'Alí Khán, though his own action had brought about this transference, communicated the announcement thereof to the Báb with every expression of distress and concern, but the latter sternly cut short his apologies saying, "Why dost thou lie? Thou didst thyself write, and dost thou excuse thyself?" So the Báb was taken to Chihrík. and placed in the custody of Yahyá Khán.

        The Táríkh-i-Jadíd, ever disposed towards the marvellous if not the miraculous, relates that Yahyá Khán saw the Báb in a dream a short time before his actual arrival at Chihrík, and that this dream he related to Jenáb-i- 'Azím (Mullá Sheykh 'Alí), declaring at the same time that should the Báb's appearance prove to be such as he had seen in his vision he would know for a surety that this was indeed the promised Imám Mahdí. On the Báb's arrival Yahyá Khán went out to meet him and beheld his face even as the face in the dream. Thereupon, being greatly moved, he bowed himself in reverence before the Báb, and brought him in with all honour into his own house, neither would he sit down in his presence without permission. In consequence of the impression thus produced on Yahyá Khán, the Báb, in spite of Hájí Mírzá Ákásí's stringent orders, was not much more isolated from his followers at Chihrík. than he had been at Mákú.

        Subh-i-Ezel's version is quite different, and is not only much more probable in itself, but also rests on much better authority, since through his hands passed the greater part of the correspondence which was carried on with the Báb. According to this version, the Báb's confinement at Chihrík.

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was of the most rigorous kind, and it was only with the greatest difficulty that letters could be conveyed to or from him. Some of the expedients resorted to for this purpose were described by Mullá Sheykh 'Alí to Subh-i-Ezel and by him to me. Sometimes the letter to be conveyed to the Báb was carefully wrapped up in a waterproof covering, weighted, and sunk in a vessel filled with mást (curdled milk), which vessel the Bábí messenger would pray the guards to convey as a trifling present to the captive. Sometimes the letter was enclosed in a candied walnut of the kind called juzghand. The bearer, on his arrival at Chihrík, would enter into conversation with the sentries, offer them a share of his juzghands, and finally, having sufficiently ingratiated himself with them, request them to carry a handful of sweetmeats to their prisoner. If they consented to do this, the walnut containing the letter was dexteriously slipped into the handful destined for the Báb.

        A passage from M. Mochenin's memoir quoted by Kazem-Beg (i. p. 371) would seem, however, to imply that even at Chihrík. the Báb was permitted to address those who came to hear and see him. "The concourse of people," he says, "was so great that, the court not being spacious enough to contain all the audience, the greater number remained in the street listening attentively to the verses of the new Kur'án." But at all events the Báb was subjected to a closer and more rigorous confinement at Chihrík. than he had been at Mákú. Hence he used to call the former "the Grievous Mountain" (~~~)1) for which it stands.], and the latter "the Open Mountain" (~~~). His gaoler at Chihrík. was moreover a coarse and unsympathetic creature, to whom Áká Seyyid Huseyn of Yezd gave the name of "Fierce and Terrible" (~~~)2.

        The last point which requires discussion is this:- of the three and a half years which elapsed between the death

        1 It will be noticed that the numerical value of the word ~~~ (318) is the same as that of the name Chihrík. (~~~)
        2 Kur'án, lxvi. 6.

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of Minúchihr Khán (Rabí'ul-Avval A. H. 1263 = Feb. - March A. D. 1847) and the execution of the Báb (Sha'bán 27th A.H. 1266 = July 8th A.D. 1850) what portion was passed by the Báb at Mákú and Chihrík. respectively? As the Báb did not leave Isfahán till after Minúchihr Khán's death, we may, allowing for the time consumed in travelling and probable delays, assume that he did not reach Mákú much before June A.D. 1847. Kazem-Beg says that he remained there six months ere he was transferred to Chihrík, where, if this statement be correct, he must have arrived about the beginning of A.D. 1848. From Chihrík. he was brought to Tabríz to undergo his first examination (see subsequent note) during the life of Muhammad Sháh, who died on Sept. 4th, A.D. 1848; and from Chihrík. he was again brought to Tabríz in July A.D. 1850 to suffer martyrdom. It would therefore seem that of the last three years of the Báb's life six months (from June to December, A.D. 1847) were spent at Mákú, and two years and a half (January A.D. 1848 - July A.D. 1850) at Chihrík.

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