A Traveler's Narrative

page 15

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[Previous Page] the corps of farráshes would agree to become the instruments of the infliction of this punishment. So Mírzá `Alí-Asghar the Shaykhu'l-Islám, who was one of the noble Siyyids, brought Him to his own house and applied the rods with his own hand. After this they sent the Báb back to Chihríq and subjected Him to a strict confinement.

Now when the news of this beating, chastisement, imprisonment, and rigor reached all parts of Persia, learned divines and esteemed lawyers who were possessed of power and influence girt up the loins of endeavor for the eradication and suppression of this sect, exerting their utmost efforts therefore. And they wrote notice of their decision, to wit "that this person and his followers are in absolute error and are hurtful to Church and State." And since the governors in Persia enjoyed the fullest authority, in some provinces they followed this decision and united in uprooting and dispersing the Bábís. But the late King Muhammad Sháh acted with deliberation in this matter, reflecting, "This Youth is of the Pure Lineage and of the family of him addressed with `were it not for thee.' So long as no offensive actions which are incompatible with the public peace and well-being proceed from him, the government should not interfere with him." And whenever the learned doctors appealed to him from the surrounding districts, he either gave no answer, or else commanded them to act with deliberation.

Notwithstanding this, between eminent doctors and illustrious scholars and those learned persons who were followers of the Báb opposition, discussion, and strife did so increase that in some provinces they desired [to resort to] mutual imprecation; and for the governors of the provinces, too, a means of acquiring gain was produced, so that great tumult and disturbance arose. And since the malady of the gout had violently attacked the king's foot and occupied his world-ordering thought, the good judgment of the Chief Minister, the famous Hájí Mírzá Aqásí, became the pivot of the conduct [Next Page]

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