The Rescript of Gülhane – Gülhane Hatt-ı Hümayunu
(3 November 1839)
All the world knows that in the first days of the Ottoman monarchy, the glorious precepts of the
Kuran and the laws of the empire were always honored.
The empire in consequence increased in strength and greatness, and all its subjects, without
exception, had risen in the highest degree to ease and prosperity. In the last one hundred and fifty
years a succession of accidents and divers causes have arisen which have brought about a
disregard for the sacred code of laws and the regulations flowing therefrom, and the former
strength and prosperity have changed into weakness and poverty; an empire in fact loses all its
stability so soon as it ceases to observe its laws.
These considerations are ever present to our mind, and ever since the day of our advent to the
throne the thought of the public weal, of the improvement of the state of the provinces, and of
relief to the (subject) peoples, has not ceased to engage it. If, therefore, the geographical position
of the Ottoman provinces, the fertility of the soil, the aptitude and intelligence of the inhabitants
are considered, the conviction will remain that by striving to find efficacious means, the result,
which by the help of God we hope to attain, can be obtained within a few years. Full of
confidence, therefore, in the help of the Most High, and certain of the support of our Prophet, we
deem it right to seek by new institutions to give to the provinces composing the Ottoman Empire
the benefit of a good administration.
These institutions must be principally carried out under three heads, which are:
The guarantees insuring to our subjects perfect security for life, honor, and fortune.
A regular system of assessing and levying taxes.
An equally regular system for the levying of troops and the duration of their service.
And, in fact, are not life and honor the most precious gifts to mankind ? What man however
much his character may be against violence, can prevent himself from having recourse to it, and
thereby injure the government and the country, if his life and honor are endangered ? If, on the