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BABIISM

Grisel, who had been initiated into Babeuf's society, complete evidence of a conspiracy for an armed rising fixed for Floréal 22, year IV. (11th of May 1796), in which Jacobins and socialists were combined. On the 10th of May Babeuf was arrested with many of his associates, among whom were A. Darthé and P. M. Buonarroti, the ex-members of the Convention, Robert Lindet, J. A. B. Amar, M. G. A. Vadier and Jean Baptiste Drouet, famous as the postmaster of Saint-Menehould who had arrested Louis XVI., and now a member of the Council of Five Hundred.

The coup was perfectly successful. The last number of the Tribun appeared on the 24th of April, but Lebois in the Ami du peuple tried to incite the soldiers to revolt, and for a while there were rumours of a military rising. The trial of Babeuf and his accomplices was fixed to take place before the newly constituted high court of justice at Vendôme. On Fructidor 10 and 11 (27th and 28th of August), when the prisoners were removed from Paris, there were tentative efforts at a riot with a view to rescue, but these were easily suppressed. The attempt of five or six hundred Jacobins (7th of September) to rouse the soldiers at Grenelle met with no better success. The trial of Babeuf and the others, begun at Vendôme on the 20th of February 1797, lasted two months. The government for reasons of their own made the socialist Babeuf the leader of the conspiracy, though more important people than he were implicated; and his own vanity played admirably into their hands. On Prairial 7 (26th of April 1797) Babeuf and Darthé were condemned to death; some of the prisoners, including Buonarroti, were exiled; the rest, including Vadier and his fellow-conventionals, were acquitted. Drouet had succeeded in making his escape, according to Barras, with the connivance of the Directory. Babeuf and Darthé were executed at Vendôme on Prairial 8 (1797).

Babeuf's character has perhaps been sufficiently indicated above. He was a type of the French revolutionists, excitable, warm-hearted, half-educated, who lost their mental and moral balance in the chaos of the revolutionary period. Historically, his importance lies in the fact that he was the first to propound socialism as a practical policy, and the father of the movements which played so conspicuous a part in the revolutions of 1848 and 1871.

See V. Advielle, Hist. de Gracchus Babeuf et de Babouvisme (2 vols., Paris, 1884); P. M. Buonarroti, Conspiration pour l'égalité, dite de Babeuf (2 vols., Brussels, 1828; later editions, 1850 and 1869), English translation by Bronterre O'Brien (London, 1836); Cambridge Modern History, vol. viii.; Adolf Schmidt, Pariser Zustände wahrend der Revolutionszeit von 1789-1800 (Jena, 1874). French trans. by P. Viollet, Paris pendant la Révolution d'après les rapports de la police secrète, 1789-1800 (4 vols., 1880-1894); A. Schmidt, Tableaux de la Révolution française, &c. (Leipzig, 1867-1870), a collection of reports of the secret police on which the above work is based. A full report of the trial at Vendôme was published in four volumes at Paris in 1797, Débats du procès, &c.

 (W. A. P.) 

BÁBÍISM, the religion founded in Persia in A.D. 1844-1845 by Mírzá ‛Alí Muhammad of Shíráz, a young Sayyid who was at that time not twenty-five years of age. Before his “manifestation” (zuhúr), of which he gives in the Persian Bayán a date corresponding to 23rd May 1844, he was a disciple of Sayyid Kázim of Rasht, the leader of the Shaykhís, a sect of extreme Shí‛ites characterized by the doctrine (called by them Rukn-i-rábi‛, “the fourth support”) that at all times there must exist an intermediary between the twelfth Imám and his faithful followers. This intermediary they called “the perfect Shí‛ite,” and his prototype is to be found in the four successive Bábs or “gates” through whom alone the twelfth Imám, during the period of his “minor occultation” (Ghaybat-i-sughrá, A.D. 874-940), held communication with his partisans. It was in this sense, and not, as has been often asserted, in the sense of “Gate of God” or “Gate of Religion,” that the title Báb was understood and assumed by Mírzá ‛Alí Muhammad; but, though still generally thus styled by non-Bábís, he soon assumed the higher title of Nuqta (“Point”), and the title Báb, thus left vacant, was conferred on his ardent disciple, Mullá Husayn of Bushrawayh.

The history of the Bábís, though covering a comparatively short period, is so full of incident and the particulars now available are so numerous, that the following account purports to be only the briefest sketch. The Báb himself was in captivity first at Shíráz, then at Mákú, and lastly at Chihríq, during the greater part of the six years (May 1844 until July 1850) of his brief career, but an active propaganda was carried on by his disciples, which resulted in several serious revolts against the government, especially after the death of Muhammad Sháh in September 1848. Of these risings the first (December 1848-July 1849) took place in Mázandarán, at the ruined shrine of Shaykh Tabarsí, near Bárfurúsh, where the Bábís, led by Mullá Muhammad ‛Alí of Bárfurúsh and Mullá Husayn of Bushrawayh (“the first who believed”), defied the shah's troops for seven months before they were finally subdued and put to death. The revolt at Zanján in the north-west of Persia, headed by Mullá Muhammad ‛Ali Zanjání, also lasted seven or eight months (May-December 1850), while a serious but less protracted struggle was waged against the government at Níríz in Fárs by Agá Sayyid Yahyá of Níríz. Both revolts were in progress when the Báb, with one of his devoted disciples, was brought from his prison at Chihríq to Tabríz and publicly shot in front of the arg or citadel. The body, after being exposed for some days, was recovered by the Bábís and conveyed to a shrine near Tehrán, whence it was ultimately removed to Acre in Syria, where it is now buried. For the next two years comparatively little was heard of the Bábís, but on the 15th of August 1852 three of them, acting on their own initiative, attempted to assassinate Násiru'd-Dín Sháh as he was returning from the chase to his palace at Niyávarán. The attempt failed, but was the cause of a fresh persecution, and on the 31st of August 1852 some thirty Bábís, including the beautiful and talented poetess Qurratu'l-'Ayn, were put to death in Tehrán with atrocious cruelty. Another of the victims of that day was Hájji Mírzá Jání of Káshán, the author of the oldest history of the movement from the Bábí point of view. Only one complete MS. of his invaluable work (obtained by Count Gobineau in Persia) exists in any public library, the Bibliothèque Nationale at Paris. The so-called “New History” (of which an English translation was published at Cambridge in 1893 by E. G. Browne) is based on Mírzá Jání's work, but many important passages which did not accord with later Bábí doctrine or policy have been suppressed or modified, while some additions have been made. The Báb was succeeded on his death by Mírzá Yahyá of Núr (at that time only about twenty years of age), who escaped to Bagdad, and, under the title of Subh-i-Ezel (“the Morning of Eternity”), became the pontiff of the sect. He lived, however, in great seclusion, leaving the direction of affairs almost entirely in the hands of his elder half-brother (born 12th November 1817), Mírzá Husayn ‛Alí, entitled Bahá' u'lláh (“the Splendour of God”), who thus gradually became the most conspicuous and most influential member of the sect, though in the Iqán, one of the most important polemical works of the Bábís, composed in 1858-1859, he still implicitly recognized the supremacy of Subh-i-Ezel. In 1863, however, Bahá declared himself to be “He whom God shall manifest” (Man Yuz-hiruhu'lláh, with prophecies of whose advent the works of the Báb are filled), and called on all the Bábís to recognize his claim. The majority responded, but Subh-i-Ezel and some of his faithful adherents refused. After that date the Bábís divided into two sects, Ezelís and Bahá'ís, of which the former steadily lost and the latter gained ground, so that in 1908 there were probably from half a million to a million of the latter, and at most only a hundred or two of the former. In 1863 the Bábís were, at the instance of the Persian government, removed from Bagdad to Constantinople, whence they were shortly afterwards transferred to Adrianople. In 1868 Bahá and his followers were exiled to Acre in Syria, and Subh-i-Ezel with his few adherents to Famagusta in Cyprus, where he was still living in 1908. Bahá'u'lláh died at Acre on the 16th of May 1892. His son ‛Abbás Efendí (also called ‛Abdu'l-Bahá, “the servant of Bahá”) was generally recognized as his successor, but another of his four sons, Muhammad ‛Alí, put forward a rival claim. This caused a fresh and bitter schism, but ‛Abbás Efendí steadily gained ground, and there could be little doubt as to his eventual