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Abstract:
Six versions of the first public mentions in English of the Bábís, from November 1845.

First newspaper story of the events of the Bábí Faith

compiled by Steven Kolins.
2013
first written or published 1845-11

Summary

The events reported on in the following six newspaper accounts are referred to in Nabil's The Dawn-Breakers around page 143: "Quddús, with feelings of unshakable determination to carry out the expressed wishes of his Master, set out from Búshihr..." (see reference.bahai.org/en/t/nz/DB/db-27.html). These events were reported and then echoed a number of times. See "Persia - or - Mahometan Schism" [Bahaikipedia.org] for further details. The samples presented here (see below) are in order of publication, from left to right, as follows:
  1. "Persia", The Times (London), Nov 1, 1845, p. 5, 6th col, online at newspapers.com/clip/20214/first_known_mention_of_babibahai/
  2. (page may be slow to load)
  3. "Persia", Bradford Observer (London), Nov 6, p. 7
  4. "Mahometan Schism", Literary Gazette and Journal of the Belles, Letters, Arts, Sciences, etc., Nov. 15, p. 13, books.google.com/books?id=UcdLAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA757 (left column, middle)
  5. "Mahometan Schism", Patriot (London), Nov 20, 1845, p. 7 (one example of an echo)
  6. (untitled) London Nonconformist, Nov 26, 1845, p. 11 (one example of an abridged echo)
  7. "A Modern Mahomet", Boon's Lick Times, (USA) April 4, 1846, p. 1, online at chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83016957/1846-04-04/ed-1/seq-1 (note that it references the New York Mirror, an instance so far not found)

Text

The first text (see below) reads:

We have been favored with the following letter, dated Bushire, August 10:

A Persian merchant, who has lately returned from a pilgrimage to Mecca, had been for some time endeavoring here to prove that he was one of the successors of Mahomet, and there had a right to demand of all true Mussulmans to mention him as such in their profession of faith; he had already collected a good number of followers, who secretly aided him in forwarding his views. On the evening of the 23d of June last, I have been informed from a creditable source, four persons being heard at Shiraz repeating their profession of faith according to the form prescribed by the new impostor were apprehended, tried, and found guilty of unpardonable blasphemy. They were sentence to lose their beards by fire being set to them. The sentence was put into execution with all the zeal and fanaticism becoming a true believer in Mahomet. Not deeming the loss of beards a sufficient punishment for the believers in the impostor, they were further sentenced on the next day to have their faces blacked and exposed throughout the city. Each of them was led by a Mirgazah (executioner), who had made a hole in his nose and passed through it a string, which he sometimes pulled with such violence that the unfortunate fellows cried out alternatively for mercy from the executioner and for vengeance from Heaven. It is custom in Persia on such occasions for the executioners to collect in Persia on such occasions for the executioners to collect money from the spectators, and particularly from the shopkeepers in the bazaar. In the evening, when the pockets of the executioners were well filled with money, they led the unfortunate fellows to the city gage, and there told them

"The world was all before them where to choose
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide."

After which the Mollahs at Shiraz sent men to Bushire with power to seize the impostor, and take him to Shriaz, where, on being tried, he very wisely denied the charge of apostasy laid against him, and this escaped from punishment.

The newspaper story continued to be echoed into Australia and New Zealand at least.

History of scholarship on

It took some time for the newspaper record to be identified by Bahá'ís. The first published awareness of this series of historical references by Bahá'ís was identified by H. M. Balyuzi when he published the biography, The Báb: The Herald of the Day of Days in 1973. This mention was of the Jan/Feb issue of The Eclectic Magazine of Foreign Literature, Science, and Art, p. 142 bottom left column (online here; discovery was credited to Mr. Barry Watson,) subsequently leading to the discovery of the Nov. 19th articles as published by Mr. Balyuzi, see pages 76–77 (hard back edition, 1973) of The Báb: The Herald of the Day of Days. Subsequently earlier and later echoes have been identified. The earliest of the series has been identified by Robert Caldwalader as the Nov 1 Times article "Persia", herein included, in his 1976 article in World Order: "Persia": An Early Mention of the Báb (Winter 1976-77, pp. 30-34.) In 1981 Moojan Momen included more references and far more material generally in The Bábí and Bahá'í religions 1844-1944: some contemporary western accounts, isbn=978-0-85398-102-2, pages 4 and 69–70. In 2013 I [Steven Kolins] identified the second mention in Bradford Observer (London), Nov 6 , p. 7 which adds the line "Among the recent arrivals from India we find a letter dated Bushire, August 10th, from which we make the following curious extract..." Dozens of echoes have been identified across many newspapers in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and New Zealand. See "Persia - or - Mahometan Schism", Bahaikepedia.org, for further details.

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"Persia", The Times (London), Nov 1, 1845, p. 5 "Persia", Bradford Observer (London), Nov 6, p. 7 "Mahometan Schism", Literary Gazette and Journal of the Belles, Letters, Arts, Sciences Nov. 15, p. 13 "Mahometan Schism", Patriot (London), Nov 20, 1845, p. 7 (untitled) London Nonconformist, Nov 26, 1845, p. 11 "A Modern Mahomet", Boon's Lick Times, (USA) April 4, 1846, p. 1
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