The Firman

(translated from the Italian)

The most relevant sections -- those dealing with what Elgin was given permission to do -- appear in Italics.

[After the usual introductory compliments, and the salutation of Peace] -- It is hereby signified to you, that our sincere Friend his Excellency Lord Elgin, Ambassador Extraordinary from the Court of England to the Porte of Happiness, has represented to us, that it is well known that the greater part of the Frank [i.e. Christian] Courts are anxious to read and investigate the books, pictures or figures, and other works of science of the ancient Greek philosophers: and that in particular, the ministers or officers of state, philosophers, primates and other individuals of England, have a remarkable taste for the drawings, or figures or sculptures, remaining ever since the time of the said Greeks, and which are to be seen on the shores of the Archipelago and in other parts; and have in consequence from time to time sent men to explore and examine the ancient edifices, and drawings or figures. And that some accomplished Dilettanti of the Court of England, being desirous to see the ancient buildings and the curious figures in the City of Athens, and the old walls remaing since the time of the Grecians, which now subsist in the interior part of the said place; his Excellency the said Ambassador has therefore engaged five English painters, now dwelling at Athens to examine and view, and also to copy the figures remaining there, ab antiquo : And he has also at this time expressly besought us that an Official Letter may be written from here, ordering that as long as the said painters shall be employed in going in and out of the said citadel of Athens, which is the place of their occupations; and in fixing scaffolding round the ancient Temple of the Idols there; and in moulding the ornamental sculpture and visible figures thereon, in plaster or gypsum; and in measuring the remains of other old ruined buildings there; and in excavating when they find it necessary the foundations, in order to discover inscriptions which may have been covered in the rubbish; that no interruption may be given them, nor any obstacle thrown in their way by the Disdar (or commandant of the citadel) or any other person: that no one may meddle with scaffolding or implements they may require in their works; and that when they wish to take away any pieces of stone ("qualche pezzi di pietra") with old inscriptions or figures thereon, that no opposition be made thereto.

We therefore have written this Letter to you, and expedited it by Mr Philip Hunt, an English gentleman, Secretary of the aforesaid Ambassador, in order that as soon as you shall have understood its meaning, namely, that it is the explicit desire and engagement of this Sublime Court endowed with all eminent qualities, to favour such requests as the above-mentioned, in conformity with what is due to the friendsihp, sincerity, alliance and good will subsisting ab antiquo between the Sublime and ever durable Ottoman Court and that of England, and which is on the side of both those Courts manifestly increasing; particularly as there is no harm in the said figures and edifices being thus viewed, contemplated and designed.

Therefore, after having fulfilled the duties of hospitality, and given a proper reception to the aforesaid Artists, in compliance with the urgent request of the said Ambassador to that effect, and because it is incumbent on us to provide that they meet no opposition in walking, viewing or contemplating the figures and edifices they may wish to design or copy, or in any of their works of fixing scaffolding or using their various implements; It is our desire that on the arrival of this Letter you use your diligence to act conformably to the instances of the said Ambassador, as long as the said five Artists dwelling at Athens shall be employed in going in and out of the said citadel of Athens, wihch is the place of their occupations; or in fixing scaffolding around the ancient Temple of the Idols, or in modelling with chalk or gypsum the said ornaments and visible figures thereon; or in measuring the fragments and vestiges or other ruined edifices; or in excavating, when they find it necessary, the foundations, in search of inscriptions among the rubbish; that they be not molested by the said Disdar nor by any other persons, nor even by you [to whom this letter is addressed]; and that no one meddle with their scaffolding or implements, nor hinder them from taking away any pieces of stone ("qualche pezzi di pietra") with inscriptions or figures. In the above-mentioned manner, see that you demean and comport yourselves.

(Signed with signet)
Seged Abdullah Kaimacan