Summons to the Kings
Beginning in September 1867, Bahá'u'lláh wrote
a series of letters to the world leaders of His time, addressing,
among others, Emperor Napoleon III, Queen Victoria, Kaiser Wilhelm I,
Tsar Alexander II of Russia, Emperor Franz Joseph, Pope Pius IX,
Sultan Abdul-Aziz, and the Persian ruler, Nasiri'd-Din Shah.
In these letters, Bahá'u'lláh openly proclaimed His
station. He spoke of the dawn of a new age. But first, He warned,
there would be catastrophic upheavals in the world's political and
social order. To smooth humanity's transition, He urged the world's
leaders to pursue justice. He called for general efforts at
disarmament and urged the world's rulers to band together into some
form of commonwealth of nations. Only by acting collectively against
war, He said, could a lasting peace be established.
Continued agitation from opponents caused the Turkish Government to send the exiles to Acre, a penal city in Ottoman Palestine. Acre was the end of the world, the final destination for the worst of murderers, highway robbers and political dissidents. A walled city of filthy streets and damp, desolate houses, Acre had no source of fresh water, and the air was popularly described as being so foul that over flying birds would fall dead out of the sky.