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Firman of Appointment of Muhammad `Ali as Pasha of Egypt Issued by Ottoman Sultan, 1840

The act of submission which thou hast just made, the assurances of fidelity and devotion which thou hast given, and the upright and sincere intentions which thou hast manifested, as well with regard to myself as in the interests of my Sublime Porte, have come to my sovereign knowledge, and have been very agreeable to me.

In consequence, and as the zeal and sagacity by which thou art characterized, as likewise the experience and knowledge which thou hast acquired in the affairs of Egypt during the long space of time that thou hast held the post of Governor of Egypt, give reason to believe that thou hast acquired a title to the favour and to the confidence which I may grant to thee, that is to say, that thou wilt be sensible of their full extent, and all the gratitude which thou shouldst have for them, that thou wilt apply thyself to cause these feelings to descend to thy sons and thy nephews, I grant unto thee the Government of Egypt within its ancient boundaries, such as they are to be found in the map which is sent unto thee by my Grand Vizier now in office, with a seal affixed to it, together with the additional privilege of hereditary succession, and with the following conditions:-

Henceforth, when the post shall be vacant, the Government of Egypt shall descend in a direct line, from the elder to the elder, in the male race among the sons and grandsons. As regards their nomination, that shall be made by my Sublime Porte.

If at any time fate should decide that the male line should become extinct, as in that case it will devolve upon my Sublime Porte to confer the Government of Egypt on another person, the male children, issue of the daughters of the Governors of Egypt, shall possess no right to, no legal capacity for , the succession of the Government.

Although the Pashas of Egypt have obtained the privilege of hereditary succession, they still must be considered, as far as precedency is concerned, to be on a footing of equality with the other Viziers, they shall be treated like the other Viziers of my Sublime Porte, and they shall receive the same titles as are given to the other Viziers when they are written to.

The principles founded on the laws of security of life, of the security of property, and the preservation of honour, principles recorded in the salutary ordinances of my Hatti Sheriff of Gulhane; all the Treaties concluded and to be concluded between my Sublime Porte and the friendly Powers, shall be completely executed in the Province of Egypt likewise.

In Egypt, all the taxes, all the revenues, shall be levied and collected in my sovereign name; and all the regulations made and to be made by my Sublime Porte shall also be put in practice in Egypt, reconciling them in the best way possible with the local circumstances and with the principles of justice and of equity, Nevertheless, as the Egyptians are likewise the subjects of my Sublime Porte, and in order that they may not one day be oppressed, the tithe, the duties, and the other taxes which are levied there, shall be so, in conformity with the equitable system adopted by my Sublime Porte; and care shall be taken to pay, when the period for payment shall arrive, out of the customs duties, the capitation tax, the tithe, the revenues, and other produce of the Province of Egypt, the annual tribute of which the amount is inserted and defined in another Imperial FIRMAN.

It being customary to send every year from Egypt provisions in kind to the two Holy Cities, the provisions and other articles, whatever they may be, which have up to this time been sent thither, shall continue to be sent to each place separately.

As my Sublime Porte has taken the resolution of improving the coin, which is the soul of the operations of society, and of effecting this in such manner that henceforth there can be no variation either in the alloy, or in the value, I grant permission for money to be coined in Egypt; but the gold and silver monies which I permit thee to coin shall bear my name, and shall resemble in all respects, as regards their determination, value, and form, the monies which are coined here.

In time of peace, 18,000 men will suffice for the internal service of the province of Egypt; it shall not be allowed to increase their numbers. But as the land and sea forces of Egypt are raised for the service of my Sublime Porte, it shall be allowable, in time of war, to increase them to the number which shall be deemed suitable by my Sublime Porte.

The principle has been adopted that the soldiers employed in the other parts of my dominions shall serve for five years, at the end of which term they shall be exchanged for recruits.

That being the case, it would be requisite that the same system should also be observed in Egypt in that respect. But with regard to the duration of the service, the dispositions of the people shall be attended to, observing what is required by equity with regard to them.

Four hundred men shall be sent every year to Constantinople to replace others.

There shall be no difference between the distinguishing marks and the flags of the other troops which shall be employed there, and the distinguishing marks and the flags of the other troops of my Sublime Porte. The officers of the Egyptian vessels shall have the same flags as the officers and vessels of this place.

The Governor of Egypt shall appoint the officers of the land and sea forces up to the rank of Colonel, With regard to the appointments to ranks higher than that of Colonel, that is to say, of Pashas Mirliva (Brigadier-Generals), and of Pashas Ferik (Generals of Division), it will be absolutely necessary to apply for permission for them, and to take my orders thereupon.

Henceforth the Pashas of Egypt shall not be at liberty to build vessels of war without having first applied for the permission of my Sublime Porte, and having obtained from it a clear and positive authority.

As each of the conditions settles as above is annexed to the privilege of hereditary succession, if a single one of them is not executed, that privilege of hereditary succession shall forthwith be abolished and annulled.

Such being my supreme pleasure on all the points above specified, thou, thy children, and thy descendants, grateful for this exalted sovereign favour, ye shall always be diligent in scrupulously executing the conditions laid down, ye shall take need not to infringe them, ye shall be careful to ensure the repose and the tranquility of the Egyptians by protecting them from all injury and from all oppressions, ye shall report to this place, and ye shall apply for orders on all matters of importance which concern those countries, it being for these purposes that the present Imperial FIRMAN, which is decorated with my sovereign signature, has been written, and is sent to you.

Contributed by C. R. Pennell, University of Melbourne, rpennell@unimelb.edu.au