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
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, email@example.com