As it seems, he practically stopped writing in 1704.
Relatively numerous; more than twenty in Istanbul, some transcribed from the printed edition
Na’ima’s philosophy of history and politics is mainly to be found in his two prefaces (see Thomas 65-89; N I:2-65 and VI:App., 2-58; Ip I:1-48, IV:1858-1893), the first written after ca. 1697, when the Grand Vizier Amcazade Köprülü Hüseyin Paşa commissioned the writing of his history, and the second intended as a preface to the second part of the work, which was never written, and mainly concerning the 1703 revolt (Edirne vak’ası).
In the first and most detailed preface, Na’ima starts by a long essay on history writing (see Thomas 110-115; N I:4-8; Ip I: 2-6). He speaks of the didactic value of history not only in moral teachings but also in what may be called history laws: study of history will show “what are the causes and the springs of action which foretell and which bring decay and decline to the civilization of mankind and which show that a state, a society of men (devlet-i ictima’iye), is taking the road to expiration and death”; because, he explains, the history of particular incidents is subordinate to the inherent qualities of a state in its maturity, so that an intelligent man who can grasp these qualities will understand this state’s course and development.
After laying down his rules for historians, trying to show the great difference from the simple chronicler (among which he inserts an estimation of astrology as a perfectly legitimate means of interpreting history), Na’ima narrates the circumstances under which he was commissioned to compile his work and praises his mentor, Amcazade Köprülü Hüseyin Paşa, to whom he dedicates it.
Then he proceeds to the preface proper, which (as analyzed by Thomas, 68-69) consists of a foreword, two sections, an excursus and several “observations”, with a conclusion in the end. The foreword (N I:12-26; Ip I:10-20; Thomas 70-73) stresses the idea that God has taught mankind to use those means and courses of action that suit each age of history, now declaring war, now concluding peace. To prove his point, he narrates the story of the peace Muhammad concluded with the Quraysh of Mecca (treaty of Hudaybiyya), although undoubtedly he had the miraculous power of overpowering them with supernatural means. As Lewis V. Thomas showed, the aim of this unusual beginning for an introduction to history was to draw a direct parallel with Hüseyin Paşa’s much-criticized negotiations that ended up with the Treaty of Karlowitz (1699); Na’ima wanted to emphasize that peace with the infidels might be an option under some circumstances, and not automatically a kind of treason or cowardice.
From the first section of the preface, one part is based almost verbatim on Kâtib Çelebi’s Düsturü’l-amel fi l-ıslahi’l-halel (N I: 27-33; Ip I:21-25; Thomas 73-76, including a detailed concordance of the two texts). Omitting the concrete evidence on the numbers of the Ottoman army or the development of the budget deficit, Na’ima copies in a slightly shorter form his predecessor’s analysis on the analogy between the human body and society (ictima’-i beşeriyye, devlet), with the three ages of man (growth, standstill or stasis, decline) corresponding to the rise and decline of any given state. In the same way, he copies Kâtib Çelebi’s simile of the four humours of the body with the four classes or “columns” of society, namely the ulema, the military, the merchants and the peasants or reaya. For the latter, Na’ima expands the medical simile in a rather unexpected way, saying that just as “dry” diseases, like melancholia or anxiety, occur to man when black bile is dominant, so does excessive ease and luxury of the peasants (vüs’at-ı hal ve tereffüh-i re’aya i’tidâlden bîrûn olsa) produce strife, disobedience and rebellion. However, just as black bile is seldom changing by itself in the body unless steered by other humours, the peasants as well never harm the state on purpose (re’ayadan memlekete zarar mutasavver değildir); only “sometimes they get excited and easily erupt with protest and proclamations”.
Now, omitting Kâtib Çelebi’s excursus on the situation of the reaya and the causes of their oppression, Na’ima embarks on a short analysis of the merchant class, the yellow bile of society. When in equilibrium with the other three humours, yellow bile increases the appetite of the body; in the same way merchants, when in an average situation, cause order and well-being in the society by making transactions and bringing forth an abundance of goods. But, as when bile is less or more than normal it harms man, likewise whenever “the merchant and the rich” either get oppressed or become greedy and profiteering, they bring harm in the harmony of society (cemâl-ı memleket) by weakening and impoverishing the people. As for the military, Na’ima repeats Kâtib Çelebi’s analysis, stressing explicitly that a state’s army has always been growing in numbers in the age of decline; again he follows verbatim his predecessor in his examination of the finances (always under the light of the medical simile) and of luxury and pomp as a sign of decline. As for Kâtib Çelebi’s conclusions, Na’ima refers to the need of a skilled doctor for society but avoids dwelling in the need for “a man of sword” (because this had already happened in the beginning of the Köprülü dynasty of viziers, as Thomas  notes). Instead, he copies (again almost verbatim) a part of his predecessor’s Takvimü’t-tevarih conclusions, i.e. the distinction between politics emanating from reason (aklî siyaset) and those emanating from the Holy Law: “the world is destroyed not through infidelity, but through oppression”, as the saying (quoted also by Kâtib Çelebi) goes.
The second part of the first section in Na’ima’s preface (N I:33-40; Ip I:26-30; Thomas 77-78) is based on Ibn Khaldun’s Mukaddima. Na’ima’s eclecticism is here evident, since just after describing the three ages of state (according to Kâtib Çelebi’s anthropomorphic theory) he sets on describing in detail five such stages. It is God’s will, he explains, that every “state and community” (devlet ü cem’iyyet) passes through defined stages, to each of which correspond different behaviours of the statesmen and different features of society. The first stage is that of “victory” (zafer vaktı), in which the state struggles “to free itself from the hands of others and to conquer dominion” (eyâdî-i gayrdan intizâ’ ve mülke istîlâ için). In this period, people are content with harsh clothes and a simple way of life and obey to the characteristic solidarity and zealous cohesion (asabiyyet) which is the cause of might and victory; people and army (kavm ve asker) are united, share all booty and nobody wishes to stand higher than the others. In the second stage, that of “independence” (istiklal), the victorious state consolidates itself; the ruler begins to alienate his people (kavm) from his affairs, to be independent in his decisions and to grant his family wealth and power. Moreover, the ruler gathers slaves and uses them to punish those who, led by their whims, act wrongfully. The tribal power (kuvvet-i aşiret) and the zeal is only an “imaginary event” (emr-i vehmî) that makes the members of a tribe in the first stage unanimous in their opinions and acts; on the other hand, slaves and purchased servants or those friends of the ruler who choose enslavement as a sign of kindness and favour, are “metaphorically within the notion of solidarity” (mecâzâ asabiyet hükmünde dahil) and join the benefits of the tribal structure. Thus, while this common zeal is necessary in the appearance of a state, it gives its way to a “private tribe of the ruler” (kavm-i hass) as the dynasty leaves nomadism behind and becomes settled. Consequently, the early companions of the ruler lose gradually their power and also their confidence to the dynasty. In the Ottoman case, observes Na’ima, the companions and servants of the Sultan, be them men of the sword or of the pen, originate from various sorts, different in their customs, habits, clothing and etiquette. While most of the dynasties perish in this second stage because of the internal strife described above, the Ottoman state has avoided this fate because of this peculiarity.
The third stage is that of peace, ease, confidence and security. It is a time of prosperity, where the poor and the needy are taken care of and the notables respected and honored with high offices. Promising youths find their way into the state apparatus and flourish, while soldiers and servants get paid in time and are always ready to defend the country. The rulers (ashâb-ı devlet) act without any opponent or partner and make laws for the community. At the same time, the state is now strong enough to dispense of the tribal solidarity (aşiret ü asabiyet) necessary in its early stages. State offices become stable and officials begin to form dynasties for their offspring, defending them against opponents; thus, solidarity becomes unnecessary, as nobody doubts one’s subjection and obedience. In the fourth stage, however, that of saturation and tranquility (kanâ’at ü müsâleme), people are contented with their ancestors’ deeds and do nothing but imitate them. The power of the ministers and the wealth of the magnates is now more than ever, and soldiers live in ease and prosperity; those who hold high offices have established their posts for themselves and for their offspring. Finally they succumb to their whims and compete with each other, planning plots and intrigues against one another; moreover, they start to covet wealth and prefer it to truth, thus gradually swerving away from the concepts of just government. Moreover, the army begins to be rebellious and undisciplined; sending them to campaigns is the only way to keep them calm, with the result that the state has to pay constantly a heavy burden both in men and in wealth. A wise measure for these troubles, adds Na’ima, is to put a stop in campaigns and to try to reorganize state affairs instead. Again, the reference to his contemporary politics and the allusion to the peace policy of his patron is evident, all the more since later he claims that the Ottoman state had reached the fourth stage during the time of the disastrous siege of Vienna in 1683, i.e. in the beginnings of the long war-cum-rebellion to which the Treaty of Karlowitz put an end (N I:59; Ip I: 44; Thomas 77-78).
Finally, the fifth stage is that of prodigality, excessive expenditure, and eventual destruction. Contrary to their predecessors, the people of this period get greedy and hunt luxurious housing and clothing. Besides, they (i.e., now, rulers) initiate various “strange customs”; they spend money in illegitimate goals such as pomp and exhibition for the sake and whims of women, while the prosperity of the land, the protection of the treasury and the needs of the army lose their significance. Even innovative taxes and dues cannot cover the expenses; the state has to impose loans on those who previously had gained wealth under its protection. As needs grow, the state has to resort even to forced loans, which in fact are very near to confiscation (müsadere); wealthy people fear for their sustenance and think of going to Mecca or to Egypt to raise again properties, not suspecting that even in foreign lands they are not safe. Here again, however, Na’ima feels compelled to argue that things can be mended even in this stage, provided campaigns come to a halt first.
The first section of the preface ends with an excursus on the “circle of justice” (N I: 40-44; Ip 30-33; Thomas 78-79). Na’ima cites Kınalızâde, claiming (falsely) that the latter had taken this scheme from Ibn Khaldun’s Mukaddima: dominion (mülk ü devlet) stands with the army, the army stands with wealth, wealth comes from the reaya and the reaya’s prosperity comes with justice. Na’ima stresses again that military campaigns are the most serious factor that leads to the disruption of this circle; the wise agree, he says, that it is forbidden to start a campaign when finances are in a bad state and the soldiers divided. In such cases, many rulers of the past chose to make peace instead. To enhance his view, Na’ima inserts al-Makrizi’s narrative on the Crusaders, who benefited from the discord and strife among Muslim rulers of the Middle East. In Na’ima’s version, the temporary peace that gave Jerusalem to the Crusaders gave also the opportunity to the Islamic states to re-organize their power; moreover, Salah al-Din (Saladin) managed to recapture the Holy Land because he first had managed to recover financially and to mobilize a united army. This success story and its prerequisites are described in Abdürrahman Şirazî’s book, parts of which were translated by Mustafa Ali in his Nüshatü’l-selatin, whence Na’ima took them and, as he asserts, appended them to his history.
In the second section, Na’ima moves on to more specific observations on human societies, again in an Ibn Khaldunian vein; in fact, summarizing and in many instances copying verbatim Ibn Khaldun’s work. The first part (N I:44-46; Ip I:33-34) brings in the notion of nomadism versus settled civilization (buduv ü hazar) as a factor influencing the route of history. The savage peoples (ümem-i vahşiyye) are stronger than the others, he argues, as might and courage are stronger in savageness and nomadic existence; because they do not know the hindrances of ease and comfort, they subdue other peoples easily. However, when their wilderness goes away as they gradually become familiar with the pleasures and comforts, so goes their valour and courage, just like wild beasts are turned to domesticated animals by man. Indeed, the wish for luxury and ease is only natural for a state during the stage of its extension and stability (ittisâ’-i devlet ve rüsûh-ı memleket ü saltanat vaktinde); as the wealth of the people increases, pleasure and ease start to become customary. Every new generation grows up in more and more luxury and wishes more and more pomp and comfort for themselves. Gradually, men tend to discard their own training in war and arms and to entrust the protection of their souls and goods to kings (muhâfaza-ı nüfus u emvâle mülûk ü hükkâm müvekkel), and the war with their enemies to soldiers; so they stay inside castles and houses and make their living (kâr u kisbe iştigâl) under the protection of their dynasty (sâye-i devlette). Thus, however, they become weak in their minds and hearts, like women or children; in the absence of experienced men, they find everything faulty and give advice to each other. They ignore the power of the ease, into which they have sunk, and the value of the state, under which they sit in tranquility; and so they gradually lose their courageous nature, immersing into the comforts of the settled life (refh-i hazâret).
The second part of this section (N I:46-49; Ip I: 34-37) sets out to show how tyrannical and harsh ministers (ümera) weaken the conquering power and the ability of a state to wage war. For the needs of their reproduction, men have the natural tendency to dominate others (re’is bi’t-tab olup); whereas, whenever they are overwhelmed by the power and dominion of others and obliged to submit and obey, their sensual ardor wanes out and they become sluggish. Na’ima illustrates this point with a story figuring Sa’d ibn Abī Waqqās, one of the companions of the Prophet, confiscating the booty a valiant soldier had gathered without his consent; caliph Umar gave it back, saying that this would harm his ardor and zeal. This is why servants and children’s zeal is weakened when they are intimidated with heavy punishment, or why excessive harshness in education makes fragile characters. Thus, the use of intimidating and violent methods in politics has not been deemed right, especially during the fourth and fifth stages of a state, toward the end of the standstill period; when kings and judges investigate too thoroughly people’s lives and impose severe punishments for minor misdemeanors, people feel humiliated, become avaricious, start to lie and deceive, and so forth. Instead, ministers (vülat) should rather persuade than impose, so as to enhance solidarity and union among the people. It has to be noted, observes Na’ima, that this ability of gentleness and suavity is met mostly among silly and stupid people, while only rarely is it seen among men of a strong intellect; but acute intellect is not necessarily characterizing virtuous men, and therefore an excess of smartness and reasoning can be shameful for statesmen (hükkâm-ı sâhib-i siyaset), as people call shrewd politicians “Satans” and demoniac. Some think that as far as it concerns the faculty of thought (kuvvet-i fikriyye), its moderation must be desirable and excess (or lack) of it criticized, just as in the other virtues. Na’ima argues that the excessive presence of this faculty, i.e. shrewdness, is not considered blameworthy; but in public affairs and in social intercourse it is not proper to exhaust and weaken the people investigating their slightest movements: as Plato has said (in Arabic), “those who search the sins people hide, lose the love of their hearts”.
Next, Na’ima expands his thoughts on some of the ruling classes under the light of the stage theory: a small chapter on “the men of the sword and of the pen” (N I: 49-52; Ip I: 37-39; Thomas 79-80) stresses that in the beginning of a dynasty or state, the need for the sword is greater, while the pen only serves the execution of the king’s orders. Similarly, in the last stages of a state there is again a great need for the sword, overpowering that for the pen. However, in the middle stages the dynasty, now in the zenith of its power, has to rely on the men of the pen rather than the army, in order to control its income and expenses and to execute its decisions. In this period, kings and viziers respect and care for both the ulema and the scribes; they, in their turn, protect the kingly order and the honour of the state, taking part in every important council and meeting. Even excess of respect for this class cannot be detrimental for the state; only rarely do men of the pen transgress their limits. They usually are moderate in their manners, build houses appropriate for their ranks and in general only benefit the state. Men of the sword, on the contrary, while offering their lives and souls for the war against the enemies of the state, tend to be dependent on the monies and gifts given to them by the dynasty; especially when these remunerations become excessive, soldiers get used to a comfortable life. Their expenses grow more and more and they wish to imitate their superiors in luxury, with the result that they often end up in debt and poverty. On the other hand, if the state increases their salaries in order to match their expenses, its budget gets heavily burdened and consequently the peasants, as source of the state income, impoverish. Thus, the men of the pen and those of the sword should be kept in equilibrium, with a careful dispensing of gifts and remunerations to those worthy.
A long conclusive chapter follows (N I: 52-65; Ip I:39-48; Thomas 80-82). In its beginning, Na’ima argues, copying almost verbatim Kâtib Çelebi’s Düstürü’l-amel (A134-135; omitting the statistical data), that as the age of standstill of a state comes to its end (sinn-i vukûf-ı âhiri, which he further explains as the fourth and fifth stages), the state expenses tend to overcome its income. Balancing the budget is generally considered a very difficult task, and Na’ima agrees with Kâtib Çelebi that only the use of compelling force (bir kâsirin kasrı) can manage it. But instead of his predecessor’s advice, which focused in the gradual reducing of military salaries by a powerful vizier, Na’ima prefers to stress again (as he had done in his foreword) the need for a temporary abandonment of war and campaigns till the treasury comes to a balance and the soldiers regain their power. During this peaceful period, the government must care for the reordering of the cities and the well-being of the subjects and especially the peasants. More specifically, a sum equal to the state payments of one year (devlet-i aliyyenin bir senelik mevâcib mesârifine kifayet edecek kadar) must be collected by taking arrears from state property (mal-ı mîrîden tedâhül ref’ olunup), and then the expenses should be carefully cut down. Na’ima explains that the abundance of cash will be beneficial, since “as the saying goes, the wise merchants gain not from buying but from selling”.
However, one should be careful not to remove the signs of splendor and grandeur (esbab-ı ihtişam) from kings and magnates: for states naturally tend to luxury and pomp, and the abolishment of customary usage can be difficult albeit beneficial; and indeed, wearing furs or using decorated weapons are now ordinary practices for the people. In the fourth and second stages of a state’s life, such luxury and respect for the king has replaced the solidarity and nomadism of the older stages. Some may complain that without money no government is possible (maslahat bitmek güç oldu), and thus that this policy is impossible; but the result of such advice would only be complaints and misery for the people. Nevertheless, administrators (mülûk ü hükkâm) should act independently from the sayings and opinions of people; the excess in friendliness is against the rules of good manners (kanun-ı edeb) and harms majesty and modesty. Thus, they have to act “under the curtain of importance and of power” so as the people will wait their decisions with awe. To this effect, Na’ima quotes Ibn Khaldun again: by nature man seeks perfection and so people tend to imitate great men, whose intellectual perfectness they acknowledge, not only in their behaviour and views but also in their attire and headgear. Consequently, a wise administrator would first seek to inspire law and respect to the people, so as afterwards they will follow him wholeheartedly in his decisions. So, the reduction of luxury and pomp must be gradual and careful, and should be executed according to the ranks and with moderation. Pomp could be tolerated in state officials (erkân-ı devlet), but not in those who only wish to satisfy their carnal whims with their private wealth; because luxury should mark the distinction between the soldiers and the servants of the state, on the one hand, and the simple commoners, on the other. For the same reason, high offices such as that of a vizier should be given sparingly, lest they lose their value.
After some piece of exhorting advice, in which Na’ima urges military and administrative officials to physical training, ulema and scribes to write treatises, preachers to raise the people’s morals, and finally story-tellers to excite soldiers in times of campaign, a more concrete conclusive part follows: after an eulogy of the Ottoman Empire and its history, he jumps to Kara Mustafa Paşa’s vizierate and the war he initiated with Hungary. Once again, Na’ima notes here that the Ottomans were then in the fourth stage of the state; due to the peculiarities of this stage, the campaign and the consequent siege of Vienna were doomed to fail. Na’ima considers Mehmed IV’s decision to execute the vizier and confiscate his property as a mistake; more and more useless campaigns followed; the Venetians and the Russians seized the opportunity and entered the war against the Ottomans; more and more money and man-power were spent with no avail. What Na’ima wants to stress here is again the need, in such conditions, for an interval of peace, a “time for ease and security, during which nice measures would re-impose order and prosperity… the peasants would be at rest with the lightening of their tax burden, the treasury would be filled again with the diminishing of expenses, and the army would be re-organized”. Finally, under the vizierate of Köprülü Hüseyin Paşa, peace was restored –and here Na’ima praises in length and somehow immoderately (to use Thomas’ wording) his mentor, as well as the reisülküttab Rami Mehmed Paşa, who conducted the negotiations at Karlowitz. Thus, somehow abruptly and with the promise to write more at the relevant chapter of his history (never written), Na’ima brings his preface to an end, expressing the hope that this peace will give the state the opportunity to restore its order and prosperity.
The optimism of the first preface, composed between 1699 (when the Karlowitz treaty was signed) and 1702 (year of Köprülü Hüseyin Paşa’s deposition), gives way to a grimer image in the second, written soon after the “Edirne event” of 1703 (N VI App: 2-58; Ip IV: 1858-1892; Thomas 42-48 and 83-89). The most part of this preface is dedicated to a narrative of the revolt, aiming to praise the course of action followed by Ahmed III and his Grand Vizier and Na’ima’s new patron Moralı Hasan Paşa. Na’ima says explicitly that this was his main aim, although a more detailed account has to be written in the relevant chapter. Then he sets off to describe the şeyhülislam Feyzullah Efendi’s meteoric career and nepotistic practices: there he asks himself an objection in favour of Feyzullah Efendi’s, namely that he was by no means the first ulema who gave posts to his relatives and followers. Then he answers this objection, as follows (N VI App: 7-10; Ip IV:1861-1862): such appointments are acceptable (ne güzel) when granted by the Sultan’s favour, but this must be done moderately (bir cihet-i mu’tedile ile) and with regard to dignity and merit. Well-known ulema dynasties did exist before, but they behaved with self-restraint and frugality, while the Feyzullah family sought to control every single appointment, from the smallest office to the most significant ulema and administrative posts, or even to the Grand Vizierate. Another objection, adds Na’ima, is that a şeyhülislam has indeed “the general superintendence of the affairs of both religion and state, of things general and particular (din ü devlet mesâlihine ve umûr-ı külliyye ve cüz’iyyeye nezâret-i âmmesi vardır)… and since the Sultan himself trusts him in good faith, he enjoys the trust of the dynasty (mu’temedü’d-devle)” (N VI App: 10-13; Ip IV:1862-64). Na’ima’s answer is that kings may well have those who trust (mu’temedü’d-devle) supervising their administrators (ser-i kârda olanlar), so as the latter ones do not harm the state; but this is not for the former to take over these affairs completely. The ulema’s task is to guide the administrators (vükelâ) to the right path, not to impose their own interests; it is the Grand Vizier’s duty, having the highest post of all those granted by the Sultan, to administer all the affairs pertaining to the well-being of the subjects, the treasury, the army and so forth. Whenever some other official or companion of the Sultan intermingles with the Grand Vizier’s work and is able to annul his decisions, the state affairs fall from the natural order (nizâm-ı tabî’î üzre görülmeyip) and rebellion (ihtilâl) is at hand. Such a person, moreover, may amass the properties and the services of people and overwhelm the power of the Grand Vizier, the absolute proxy of the Sultan (vekil-i mutlak); his rise and power may become so great that he will be considered a partner of the Sultan’s power (cenâb-ı saltanata müşâreket hâline varsa gerektir). Inevitably, concludes Na’ima, this will lead to fear, hatred and his ultimate destruction. Moreover, he adds (N VI App: 18-19; Ip IV:1867-68), administration and politics require “recourse to stratagems and intrigue” (hîle ü sanâyi’ dolabı); a statesman must from time to time approach and associate people with various means, promising gains to one and threatening another, while prudence requires that he keeps a secret treasury for the time of retirement or need. All these behaviours, says Na’ima, are unfit for the dignity of the ulema, who had better stay away from state affairs in general.
Na’ima then goes on with the narration of the Edirne revolt; by the way, he praises Ahmed III and his behaviour, noting among others that as soon as he became Sultan, he reduced the palace expenses (N VI App: 31; Ip IV: 1875-76). Finally, he reaches his conclusion, first enumerating the deeper causes of the rebellion and evaluating its results (N VI App:43-52; Ip IV:1883-87). He considers good that Feyzullah Efendi’s family stopped interfering with state affairs; but on the other hand, a military rebellion can never be a good thing, and in these days, when the Ottoman state has reached its fourth or even fifth stage, the number of salaried persons and the state expenses have increased in such a degree that covering them becomes an almost impossible task. In such circumstances, argues Na’ima, it is very difficult for a king to stay in the capital (darü’l-mülk) and impose reforms; instead, he should rather go to another place with any excuse (such as hunting, war preparations, or just visit) and try to amend things from there. From a distant place, Na’ima explains, it is easier to amass money in the treasury by taking secret measures for reducing expenses and increase income, while if he does so from the capital the people is bound to revolt. This happens because the people of the capital are by nature settled down (hazariyyet rüsuh bulmuştur) and are used to profit from the state and live by it; thus they watch closely the palace activities and are easy to circulate rumours about the palace and the dynasty, for good or for bad; then, merchants might raise their prices or ask for their payments according to rumours. Only from a distance and in secret is it possible to take some measures, just like merchants use “legal stratagems” (hîyel-i şer’iyye) to increase their property. In the same way, a man whose financial situation is at straights had better find and excuse and leave his house temporarily, in order to fix his finances gradually away from the pressure of his family and his debtors, who will give him a period of grace by necessity. The “human society” (devlet-i ictimâ’iyye-i insaniyye) functions in a similar way; that is why Abbasid caliphs or the old Christian kings of Constantinople maintained palaces away from their capital cities. Not only that, but as a matter of fact whenever rulers pretend to leave their cities for hunting or other excuses they do it to be for a little while free from the siege of rumours and demands they confront in their palaces. This, however, is not a very commendable course of action; it only comes out of necessity. At any rate, it must be done with moderation, and the expenses of the Sultan at a distant place should not exceed his expenses when in his palace. While Köprülü Mehmed and Ahmed Paşa were viziers, Mehmed IV followed this advice and only temporarily moved to Edirne or Bursa; he exaggerated from the time of Köprülü Mustafa Paşa onward, and also started to do so for sheer pleasure, with the disastrous results known. Similarly, Mustafa II seemed almost to leave Istanbul forever, adding an extra cause for the revolt that overthrew him.
After this highly personal note, Na’ima proceeds to his “conclusion of conclusions” (N VI App: 52-8; Ip IV:1887-92; Thomas 87-88 and 45-48), where, after noting that “words that do not comport with the time in which we live should be abandoned” (asra münâsıb olmayan sözler metrûk kalmakla), he sets five principles for conducting public affairs; if followed, a state “will not thenceforth experience further change and disturbances”. First, a wise way of reducing expense and increasing income must be found, but without cutting off the payments of anybody, or imposing new taxes and other innovations (tekâlif ve bid’atler). Second, some stratagem must be found in order to abolish payments in arrears, but without ending in owning money to anyone. Third, order and discipline should be imposed to the army, but in a moderate way; especially the provincial taslakçı class should be preventing from wronging the state treasury and officials. Four, care must be taken for the well-being and prosperity of the peasants, without dispossessing provincial governors and commanders from their pageantry. Fifth, secret measures should ensure that the Sultan’s companions and notables stay happy and cheerful, so that they love him and that no idea of rebellion can even pass from their minds. Now, Na’ima does not fail to note that these measures may well seem impossible and contradictory, and also that they seem very difficult to be implemented effectively in a short time. He answers to this that in this very moment there is no weakness in the Ottoman state; but in a time when the Islamic states had a real weakness, that of the Crusades, Salah al-din (Saladin) followed the principles and guidelines of a wise book and managed to re-organize the Muslim armies and recapture Jerusalem in a very short time. Na’ima then narrates in detail the merits of this essay and its course throughout the Ottoman centuries (including its being copied by no less than Idris-i Bitlisî), promising to translate it sometime (see above).
Apart from the two prefaces, which contain (especially the first) his stricto sensu political theory, Na’ima inserts also all kind of political advice scattered throughout his voluminous history. Such dispersed advice has been collected by Lewis Thomas (Thomas 89-110) and for the most part consists of practical morals intended for the ear of the ruler or his patron, the Grand Vizier. Among them, a remarkable passage advises against hasty executions, noting that enabling a condemned man to flee “is in itself laudable” (nefsinde bir memdûh iştir: N VI: 276; Ip IV: 1738; Thomas 93); another praises Murad IV’s harshness and terror regime on the grounds that “this was a pretext for the purpose of controlling the riffraff and for frightening the common people in the interests of the state” (erâzili te’dîb ve ‘avâm-ı nâsı terhîb maslahatı için: N III: 170; Ip II:757; Thomas 94-6). An important passage is one where Na’ima speaks again of the proper way to reduce expenses (N VI:310-15; Ip IV:1762-65; Thomas 103-106). It is true, he admits, that wages given to various persons as salaries or stipends have grown to such a number that they pose a serious problem to the state budget. However, history has shown that whenever there was an effort to cut them down, by striking off names from the pay-rolls (kat’-ı erzak), this only led to the destruction of the wishful reformer; general audits (yoklama) bring no result either, because wealthy men give their certificates to their servants or relatives and take them back after the audit has validated them. The only way to cut such stipends down is gradually, by stop making new assignments (and thus waiting for their total number to fall down through the deaths of older assignees) and by strictly prohibiting trade of these assignments. By the way, Na’ima describes the traditional pattern of correlating income to expenses, i.e. according to the authorities of old: income from charity (sadaka), which now has the form of tolls from Muslim merchants (gümrük namına alınan zekat), has to be distributed to the poor and needy, as well as to the clerks of the treasury (beytülmâl hizmetinde olan). Money from booty, i.e. the ruler’s fifth share and money from mines and hidden treasures, belongs to the orphans and travelers. Land taxes, the poll-tax, tolls from infidel merchants, and money extracted from infidel rulers in exchange for peace, i.e. the greatest part of state income, must be devoted to the maintenance of the army, as well as to the salaries of the ulema and the building of castles and mosques. Finally, the properties of those who die with no heirs should be spent for the funerary expenses of the needy. Of course, notes Na’ima, this division has been altered with the passing of time and the change of conditions; for instance, most of the ulema take their salaries from the income of their own posts, so that they represent no burden for the state budget (taraf-ı mîrî), while most other offices are paid through the customs income.
Another piece of economical-cum-political thought can be found after the description of the death of Derviş Mehmed Paşa (1655) and the huge wealth he had amassed (N VI:26-28; Ip IV:1571-1572). Na’ima first quotes Kınalızâde Ali Çelebi (without naming him; cf. K335ff.) on the sources of revenue, which normally are three (agriculture, commerce or leadership i.e. income coming from the ruler), while others have also added craftsmanship. Na’ima thinks that in fact craftsmanship can be reduced to commerce, as the income of most craftsmen barely suffices for their living, since they have no consequent revenue (tedârük-i ma’âşlarından âciz olmakla). On the other hand, magnates and officials (câh ve nâm sahib[leri]) benefit from merchants and peasants, because the latter do not ask for urgent payment, thinking of their future gain, while they also concede part of their profits out of fear. That is how notables and magnates take about one fourth of the efforts of the people and consequently get rich in a short time. However, administrators should never increase their income and property with commerce or agriculture, since thus they fall prey to two great sins: first, that they oppressively grasp the money and properties of the people, thus becoming tyrants; and second, that they are unable of storing up even this wealth they steal from people, since they spend it for luxury goods they think as indispensable; so they fall into the hands of usurers and profiteers and in the end keep nothing but a great sin. Some treatises on morality, Na’ima goes on, consider commerce and agriculture totally prohibited for kings, viziers, governors and administrators: they argue that occupation with such arts is only for inferior people, since administrators who practice them for amassing wealth prevent others from doing the same, which makes them unjust oppressors. If they constantly deal with trade to get indispensable luxury goods and not to fall into the hands of profiteers, they forget the virtues of generosity and they get stripped off the niceties of humanity. So, Na’ima concludes, it is much better for magnates, after they have taken care of their household, to spend their revenues for generous acts of piety and charity.