Between 1541 and 1563.
In the first chapter of Âsafnâme ("Grand Vizier's Book") (T 6-24) L.P. speaks of the qualities of the Grand Vizier. He must not be malicious and selfish (garaz); he must be guided only by God, as he has nothing to gain (there no higher post to attain). He must not share his secrets with none else but the Sultan. The Sultan himself must not be too closely related with his boon companions (nedîm); the latter should have their portion of gifts and presents, but not to intermingle with the business of the people (masâlih-i halk). The Grand Vizier ought to take care of his people, raising the poor and powerless among them to various posts. However, he must grant only timars, and not ze’amets, to his men; there cannot be two or three kılıç in one place, unless in the hass of the defterdar or the nişancı. Special emphasis is given to the need for few couriers (ulak); if they are appointed in places where there is no need for them, they are oppressing the people. The Grand Vizier must keep the Sultan from being greedy of money: undemanded properties must be kept in custody in the treasury for seven years, waiting for a heir to appear, because “the properties of people ought not to enter the property of the Sultan without reason, since this leads to the death of his power” (emvâl-i halk bî-vech dâhil-i mâl-i pâdişâhî olmak fenâ-yı devlet daldır). The Grand Vizier must appoint wise and experienced men in head of the janissaries. He must not conceal anything from the Sultan. He should perform his prayers in his house; he must be accessible and condescending. He must not permit bribery to take place. Lütfî Paşa then describes the income of a Vizier and praises contentedness. He must not spend his time in carouse, but only in state affairs. He must show equal favour to all religious and bureaucrats, not listening to calumnies and consulting them for their affairs. Two days a week he must dine with the heads of the state; here Lütfî Paşa describes in some detail the hierarchy of these officials, from the beylerbeyis down to the various administrative, judicial and military offices. Now, only those who come from the imperial palace or the sons of beylerbeyis and defterdars can become salaried müteferrikas; similar premises must rule the appointments of sancakbeyis etc. The Grand Vizier must be present in person when wrongdoers are brought to the Council. He must take special care of the price regulations (narh), as they are one of the most important affairs of the world. He must not remove officials from their posts with one or two complaints, but send first a letter of advice and then inquire the matter in depth; he must appoint everyone according to his abilities. Finally, a reaya cannot be a sipahi if he is not a son or grandson of sipahi, or else everybody would want to become a sipahi and nobody would produce.
In the second chapter (T 25-35) L. P. discusses the affairs of the army in campaign. He discusses matters such as, who can be appointed head of the army, the importance of planning the logistics before the campaign starts, the spatial planning of a camp, the protection of the Sultan’s person during the battle; special emphasis is given to naval warfare.
The third chapter (T 35-40) deals with the treasury. “The power of the king comes with the treasury, and the treasury comes with taking measures and not with oppression” (T 35: saltanat hazîne ile olur ve hazîne tedbîr ile olur zülm ile olmaz). Now, when L. P. became Grand Vizier, the treasury was in a desperate condition. Sometimes it had to be supplied from the external old treasury (taşrada mevcûd olan eski hazîne; Lutfi must have meant the inner treasury); this is a disorder (ihtilâl), because the revenues must always be higher than the expenses. The Grand Vizier must look to that in certain ways: first, by decreasing the number of the kuls and keeping their lists tidy and reliable (here the phrase asker az gerek öz gerek); second, by appointing as defterdars people with experience and wisdom, who know how to increase the revenues of the state and who will not be led by greed and egoism. The salaries must not be increased, as possible; pensions must be handled with care, and here L. P. gives a list of the pensions to be given to each retired official of various ranks. It is better to give the mukataas as government offices than as tax-farming (mukâta’âtı iltizâm ile virmekden emânet ile virmek evvelâdır: T 39). The revenue from Egypt belongs personally to the Sultan as “pocket-money” (bi’z-zât ceb harclığı). Every year, the budget must be checked in order to plan the measures for the next year.
The fourth and final chapter (T 40-44) speaks of the reaya. From among them, [only] the eşkinci, ellici and akıncı must be recruited. The registers of the reaya are kept in the imperial council; surveys are made every thirty years. Whenever reaya leave a place for another due to oppression, the judge must send them back to avoid the ruin of the land. Extraordinary levies (‘avariz) must be collected in regular intervals; oarsmen for the fleet are to be levied according to the law and paid by the treasury. If a reaya obtains a timar for some reason or if he is a danişmend, his relatives must still be reaya. The descendants of the Prophet must be controlled by their chief, who has to check for intruders. The reaya must not be very encouraged (re’ayete çok yüz virmemek gerekdür); if they obtain great property they must not be oppressed, but they cannot dress themselves in the manner of a sipahi.
In various parts of the text: Selim I is described as “excellent in justice, holy war, knowledge and generosity” (‘adl ve gazâ ve ma’rifet ve sahâvet: T 7); also in “intelligence, quick understanding, justice and kindness” (‘akl ve iz’ân ve ‘adl ve ihsân: T 32; “master of justice and kindness” is also Suleyman, T 33). The great Sultans are famous for their justice and piety (T 44).