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Abstract:
Collection of 818 files, unsorted. They contain an unknown number of references to the Báb and his milieu. Four entries have been found so far, and searching this archive may yield more.
Notes:
This is a work-in-progress. Many more years will be added, and some finds still have to be typed and translated. If you can read French and want to help research these documents, or improve the translations below, please email us.
Written in French and English.

Le Journal de Constantinople

1848-1851

1. About

Le Journal de Constantinople is one of the richest primary sources covering Persia during the period of the Báb and has been known to Baha’i scholars for some time. After more than a year of searching, Steven Kolins found them posted online at saltresearch.org, from which site he downloaded all issues from years 1848-49 and ran OCR on them. So far, Kolins has found four entries on the Bab, which are cited at bahaikipedia.org/"name_of_Bab"#Journal_de_Constantinople and bahaikipedia.org/Newspaper_coverage_of_the_Zanjan_Upheaval#Le_Journal_de_Contantantinople, and are posted below.

The original PDFs are about 12MB each. Kolins ran character-recognition on them (using Acrobat Pro 9.5), resulting in PDFs that that average 600K each. Because of the low quality of these images and their small print, OCR has minimal success. Mike Thomas tried using professional software and OCR techniques (enhancing color channels, modifying grayscale levels, and selective blur/enhancement using Photoshop, PaperPort and OmniPage) but had no better results. With luck and persistence you might find some search terms, e.g. place names (in their older French equivalents, e.g. Tauris for Tabriz), but otherwise the only way to find Babi-related content in these journals is simply to read through them all.

All of the smaller OCR-ed PDFs can be downloaded below. We have made them available as (1) individual PDFs which can be viewed or downloaded one-by-one, and (2) zipped archives, which contain all the PDFs in one easy-to-download file. We have also uploaded a few of the original PDFs, which can be used to test your own OCR if you think you might get better results. Because these are so large, we have only uploaded a few samples. If you would like the rest — which total about 3GB per year's worth of issues — please contact me and I will put them in my Dropbox account. And if you find anything related to Bahá'í studies in these documents, please let us know!

2. OCR-ed PDFs with reduced-size images, of all issues from 1848-1849

view or download
individual PDFs
[600 Kb each]:
1848
1849
1850
1851
download complete set
as a zipped archive:
1848.zip [151 MB]
1849.zip [153 MB]
1850 [not yet online at saltresearch.org]
1851.zip [142 MB]

3. Original full-size PDFs without OCR, of just four sample issues
(issues selected have Bábí-related content, which is translated below)

view or download
individual PDFs
[11-12 MB each]:
1848-06-21
1849-03-24
1849-03-29
1851-01-09

4. Entry dated June 21, 1848, issue #98, pp. 1-2

Original (see both high-res and OCR-ed PDFs above):
D'après notre correspondance de Perse, datée de Teheran, 1er mai, que nous publions plus bas, la province de Khoraçan se trouvait dans la plus parfaite tranquillité. Mais s'il faut s'en rapporter aux lettres qui sont arrivées à Constantinople par le dernier courrier de Tébriz, et qui sont d'une date plus récente que celles de notre correspondant, un chef de révolte dont nous avons déjà eu occasion de parler, le Salàr, aurait réuni tous ses partisans aux environs de Samarkande, envahi ensuite le Khoraçan, et après s'être emparé de Méched, capitale de cette province, d'où il aurait chassé les troupes royales, il y aurait commis d`horribles massacres.

Les mèmes lettres annoncent que les habitans d'Ispahan, ayant à se plaindre des vexations du gouverneur de cette ville, Mirza-Méhémet-Taki, et voyant l'imam Djuma, l'un des principaux mollas du pays, prêter son concours aux mesures de ce fonctionnaire, se seraient soulevés après s'être placés sous les ordres du muschtehid Mirza-Ibrahim, fils du célèbre Séid-Méhémet-Bakir, et auraient tué le gouverneur et le molla. On ajoute que l'insurrection aurait été dirigée non seulement contre l'autorité de ces deux fonctionnaires, mais encore contre l'autorité du pouvoir royal.

Ces nouvelles, on le comprend, ont jeté l'effroi sur la place commerciale de Tébriz, et considérablement ralenti les opérations des négocians de Constantinople qui ont des relations avec le Perse.

De plus, il paraîtrait que les faits auxquels ces nouvelles se rapportent, auraient eu pour résultat d'encourager les partisans de Bab dans leur résistance á l'autorité religieuse du pays. Bab est un fou qui s'est annoncé en Perse, il y a quelque temps, comme le Mehdj (Messie), et par ses prédications dans l'Azerbaïdjan et le Ghilan, il avait réussi á grouper autour de lui environ 30,000 prosélytes. Le prince royal nommé en dernier lieu gouverneur de Tébriz, ayant pu, par la persuasion, obtenir que Bab confessàt son imposture, celui-ci a été jeté dans un cachot, apres avoir été soumis prèalablement à la torture, conformément aux lois du pays.

Il serait possible que ces mouvemens eussent des rapports avec les projets révolutionnaires de Sàlar, dont le père, Assaff Eddewlet, oncle du Chah, continue à résider à Bagdad depuis son retour du pélérinage de la Mecque. On dit qu'une lettre d'Assaff Eddewlet adressée à son fils pour l'engager à la soumission envers son souverain, a été interceptée par les agens de Hadji-Mirza-Aghassi, et qu'au lieu de considérer cette lettre comme un act louable, le ministre du Chah n'y aurait vu qu'une ruse, et par conséquent un nouveau sujet d'irritation contre son auteur.

Bien que les nouvelles que nous venons de donner sur la situation de la Perse, soieat puisées à des sources dignes de foi, nous pensons qu'avant d'y ajouter une complète créance, il serait convenable d'en attendre la confirmation par les lettres que le prochain courrier nous apportera de ce pays.

Translation (trans. by J. Winters; email me if you can improve it):
According to our correspondence from Persia, dated May 1st from Teheran, which we publish below, the province of Khorasan was in perfect tranquility. But if we rely upon the letters that arrived in Constantinople with the last courier from Tabríz, which are more recent than those of our correspondent, a leader of rebellion of which we have already had occasion to speak, the Salar [see Dawnbreakers], has reunited all his supporters around Samarkand. He then invaded Khorasan, and after seizing Mashhad, capital of the province, where he chased the royal troops, and there he committed a horrible massacre.

The same letters report that the inhabitants of Isfahán, having complained of harassment by the governor of the city, Mírzá Muhammad Taqi, and having seen the Imam Jum'ih, a leading mullá of the country, [and?] having sided with the measures taken by this functionary, rose up under the orders of the mujtahid Mírzá Ibrahim, son of the famous Sayyid Muhammad Báqir, and killed the governor and mullá. It adds that the insurrection was directed not only against the authority of these two officials but also against the authority of the royal power.

This news, understandably, has cast fear upon the commercial center of Tabríz, and significantly slowed operations of the merchants of Constantinople who have relations with Persia.

In addition, it would appear that the facts to which this news relates has had the effect of encouraging the supporters of the Bab in their resistance to religious authorities of the country. The Bab is a madman who has announced himself in Persia, some time ago, to be the Mahdi (Messiah), and by his preaching in Azerbaijan and Gilan, he has succeeded in gathering around him about 30,000 converts. The royal prince named last governor of Tabríz, having been able, by persuasion, to get the Bab to confess his imposture. The latter has been thrown into a dungeon, after having previously been subjected to torture, in accordance with the laws of the country.

It is possible that these movements had relationships with revolutionary projects of Salar, whose father, Asaf al-Dawla (Asifu'd-Dawlih), uncle of the Shah, continues to reside in Baghdad since his return from pilgrimage to Mecca. It is said that a letter from Asaf al-Dawla advising his son to submit to to his sovereign was intercepted by the agents of Haji Mirza Aghasi, and instead of considering this letter as a commendable act, the minister of the Shah saw it as a ruse, and therefore a new source of irritation against its author.

Although the news that we have just given concerning the situation of Persia has been drawn from reliable sources, we believe that, before giving it complete credence, it would be proper to wait for confirmation from letters which the next post will bring us from that country.

5. Entry dated March 24, 1849, issue #152, p. 1

Original (see both high-res and OCR-ed PDFs above):
On nous écrit de Tauris, le 1er mars:

"Le dernier courrier venu de Tehéran nous annonce que Djafer-Kouli-Khan, le chef le plus considerable de la révolte du Khoraçan, venait d'arriver dans cette dernière ville pour y faire sa soumission au roi Nasreddin Schah. Cet heureux événement va mettre fin, espère-t-on, à la guerre du Khoraçan, qui entravait le gouvernement dans sa marche, et qui employait une partie de ses fonds et de ses forces. Il y a quelques jours encore, on n'espérait point un pareil résultat, car on disait l'armée royale sous les ordres du Prince Sultan Murad-Mirza fourvoyée dans les montagnes que séparent le Khoraçan des plaines habités par les Turcomans, loin de sa base d'opérations, et l'ou craignait de la voir subir le même sort que le corps d'expedition envoyé sous le règne de Momammed Schah at commandé par Hamzé-Mirza, qui se trouve actuellement a Hérat avec les debris de son armée.

"Le premier ministre Mirza-Taki-Khan jouit de toute la confiance et de l'estime de son souverain qui va, dit-on, lui donner un témoignage éclatant de sa satisfaction. Mirza-Taki-Khan doit sous peu de jours épouser la soeur de Nasreddin Schah. Nous qui avons connu et qui connaissons le mérite réel de notre ancien Vézir-Nizam, nous éprouvons un véritable plaisir de le voir si bien traitè par Nasreddin Schah. Nous souhaitons qu'il soit long-temps à la tète des affaires, car il mettra l'ordre d'uns toutes les branches de l'administration, nous n'en doutons pas.

"On parle depuis quelque temps d'une secte religieuse qui a pris les armes dans le Mazenderan pour défendre ses dogmes et son chef qui est actuellement en prison ici. Les Babis, c'est ainsi qu'on les nomine du nom de leurs chefs, professent des idées socialistes fort avancées; ils sont aussi forcenés qu'on le peut imaginer, et ils se sont déjà portés a des excês contre des délégués du pouvoir. Mainenant que le gouvernement semble complètement délivré des embarras du Khoraçan, il saura probablement les réduire.

"Nous n'avons que des nouvelles très confuses de Ghiras et d'Ispahan."

Translation (trans. by J. Winters):
This was written to us from Tabríz on the 1st of March:

"The last letter received from Tehran reports that Jafar-Kuli Khan, the most considerable leader of the revolt of Khorasan, had just arrived in the latter city to make his submission to the king Nasreddin Shah. One hopes this happy event will end the war in Khorasan, which hampered the government's work, and used a portion of its funds and its forces. One hopes there are a few days more to develop a similar result, because it is said that the royal army under the command of Prince Sultan Murad Mirza got lost in the mountains that separate the Khorasan plains inhabited by Turkomans, far from its base of operations, and feared seeing them suffer the same fate as the expedition sent under the reign of Muhammad Shah under the control of Hamza Mirza, who is currently in Herat with the remains of his army.

"It is said that the Prime Minister Mirza Taki Khan enjoys the confidence and esteem of his sovereign who will give him a striking testimony to his satisfaction. In a few days Mirza Taki Khan will marry the sister of Nasreddin Shah. We who have known and know the real worth of our former Vizier Nizam feel great pleasure to see him so well treated by Nasreddin Shah. We hope he will be the "head of affairs" for a long time because it will bring order to all branches of government, we do not doubt.

"We have been talking for some time of a religious sect who took up arms in Mazenderan to defend its dogmas and its leader who is currently in jail there. Babis, so named after their leader, profess some very advanced socialist ideas. They are also furious as one can imagine, and they are already worn to excesses against delegated power. Now that the government seems completely delivered of embarrassment by Khorasan, it probably will reduce them.

"We have only very vague news about Ghiras and Isfahan."

6. Entry dated March 29, 1849, issue #153, p. 1

Original (see both high-res and OCR-ed PDFs above):
Aux détails sur la Perse, que nous avons publiés dans notre dernier numéro [above], nous ajouterons les suivans qui nous sont transmis par notre correspondent de Téhéran: "Le Salar est étroitement cernè par les troupes royales dans la capitale de Khoraçan. La mission anglaise qui avait voulu faire rentrer en gràce le rebelle, n'a pu obtenir cette faveur du Chah.

"Husséin-khan, gouverneur de Fars, a été chassé de Chiraz par les habitans de cette ville qu'avaient exaspérés ses exactions. Ce fonctionnaire avait acheté le gouvernement de Fars, il y a à peu près un an, pour la somme de 100,000 tomans.

"Bab, dont je vois ai announcé la révolte et l'emprisonnement à Erdébil, il y a plusieurs mois, s'étant réfugié dans le Mazendéran, s'y est entouré d'un parti de 600 furieux environ qui occupaíent un petit fort d'où ils repoussaient les troupes envoyées contr'eux à plusieurs reprises. Un corps de 3,000 hommes a pu, enfin, exterminer ces factieux, et faire sauter leur repaire.

"La légation russa a demandé et obtenu le pardon de Behmen-Mirza, oncle du Chah actuel, que, ainsi que nous avons eu occasion de le dire, s'était réfugié à Tiflis."

Translation (trans. by J. Winters):
To the details on Persia which we published in our last issue [above], we add the following, which was transmitted to us by our correspondent in Tehran: "The Salar is closely surrounded by the royal troops in the capital of Khorasan. The English mission who wanted to return thanks to the rebellion, was unable to obtain this favor from the Shah.

"Hussein Khan, the governor of Fars, was chased from Shiraz by the inhabitants of this city that was exasperated by his exactions. This officer had bought the government of Fars, there for almost a year, for the sum of 100,000 tumans.

"I have seen it announced that the Bab, after his rebellion and imprisonment in Erdébil some months ago, has taken refuge in Mazandaran where he is surrounded by a party of about 600 angry men occupying a small fort, from which they have repelled the troops repeatedly sent against them. A body of 3,000 men could finally exterminate these rebels, and evict them from their hideout.

"The Russian legation sought and obtained forgiveness from Behmen Mirza, uncle of the present Shah, who, we have had occasion to report, had taken refuge in Tiflis."

7. Entry dated January 9, 1851, issue #279, p. 3

Original (see both high-res and OCR-ed PDFs above):

ERZEROUM, 21 décembre. Kiamil pacha, caïmacam de la province d'Akkiari, arrivé ici de Constantinople, est parti hier pour Van.

... [four paragraphs omitted] ...

La secte des Babis, qui professait un matérialisme scandaleux, niant hautement l'existence de Dieu, et ne reconnaissant d'autres lois que celles promulguées par leurs propres chefs, a été entièrement détruite.

Depuis deux ans ces matérialistes insubordonnés étaient poursuivis par le gouvernement persan. Les Babis qui restaient ouvertement en Perse après l'exécution, à Tuaris, du chef de celle nouvelle secte religieuse, le nommé Bàb de Chiraf, s'étaient barricadés dans un quartier de la petite ville de Linguian, sous la conduite de leur cheik, un nommé Mollah Méhemmet Ali.

Le général persan (Sertip) Méhemmet-khan (descendant de l'ancienne famille princière du Guilan, fils de Fath-Ali khan) pour éviter l'effusion du sang, cherchait à les réduire par la faminé; mais ayant appris que son gouvernement, fatigué de tant de lenteur avait résolu de le remplacer, il ordonna aussitôt de prendre de vive force ce quartier. En effet, les troupes sous ses ordres, dans l'espace de deux heures, après un combat charné, détruisirent tout ce quartier, qui fut incendié; un bon nombre de Babis périrent, en combattant bravement dans l'assaut donné; et le reste tomba au pouvoir des troupes victorieuses de S. M. le Chah, qui ont rendu une service signalé à la société Asiatique, en exterminant les derniers des Babis.

Nous jouissons de la tranquillité la plus parfaite dans tout le pachalik d'Erzeroum, grace à la vigilante et sévère administration de Vàli Hamdi pachâ.

which Google translates to:

Erzerum, December 21. Kiamil Pasha [?] the province Akkiari arrived here from Constantinople, left yesterday for Van. ...

... The sect of the Babis, who professed an outrageous materialism, denying the existence of God highly, and recognizing no laws other than those issued by their own leaders, was completely destroyed.

For two years these insubordinate materialists were pursued by the Persian government. The Babis who remained openly in Persia after the execution, in Tabriz, the head of the new religious sect, called the Bab of Shiraz, barricaded themselves in a district of the town of Linguian, led by their sheikh, a man named Mullah Ali Méhemmet.

Persian General (Sertip) Méhemmet Khan (descendant of the ancient princely family of Guilan, son of Fath Ali-Khan) to avoid bloodshed, sought to reduce by famine; but having learned that his government, tired of so slowly having resolved to replace it immediately ordered to take by force the district. Indeed, the troops under his command, in the space of two hours, after a bloody combat area destroyed everything that was burned; a good number of Babis died, fighting bravely in the assault; and the rest fell into the hands of the victorious troops of the Shah, who made a signal service to the Asian society, by exterminating the last of the Babis.

We enjoy the most perfect tranquility throughout the pachalik Erzerum, thanks to the vigilant and strict administration of Vali Hamdi Pasha.

8. Other hits, not yet sorted

    Updates and echoes

  • There will be an ongoing effort to re-collect and review the issues into the 1860s and further hits will be added. The issues from the years 1850 and 1863 are currently missing at saltresearch.org. They have stated they hope to gather scans of the missing issues through the National Library of France “soon”.

  • Because of its strategic position close to the Middle East and it’s language availability to the West the coverage provided by the Journal was often echoed in western newspapers from Europe through the US and Australia from time to time. If the articles are relevant to Babi/Baha’i history these have also been gathered at Bahaikepedia articles under the index article at Historical mentions of the Bábí/Bahá'í Faiths

  • Other examples of echoes of the Journal’s articles include the citation on January 28 1850, translated into English: trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/38452965

  • The major event of the attempt on the life of the Shah in August 1852 lead to extensive coverage: From Amin Egea in Spain’s newspapers published in irfancolloquia.org/pdf/lights5_egea.pdf, a translation of a piece originally published on October 14 1852. That article also appears in Moojan Momen’s investigations in French at bahai-biblio.org/centre-doc/ouvrage/premiers-recits-occidentaux-foi-babie-bahaie1.htm dated October 13, and another one on 27 septembre 1852, which is also cited at bahai-library.com/books/biblio/babi.history.html
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