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From The Fortnightly Review, at the present juncture. Whether Great EGYPT, 1882–1892.

Britain should have interfered in Egypt The progress that has been made in as she did in 1882 was a question upon Egypt during the last seven years is one of which at the time there was much differthe most remarkable events in modern ence of opinion ; but the interference havtimes, and reads more like a transformation ing been made by the responsible rulers scene in a fairy-tale than one of the hard of the country, it is impossible for us now realities of history. Ten years ago -in to escape from the natural consequences 1882 - the condition of the country was of our actions. With the majority of the almost desperate. Emerging from liquida. French the opinion is fixed and apparently tion by the help of France and England, it ineradicable that our presence in Egypt appeared again to be on the verge of abso. is due to a cool, premeditated policy. As lute bankruptcy. Discontent permeated a matter of fact, we were there in spite of the whole population, and a spirit of revolt ourselves. No government was more unwas rampant in the army. Disturbances willing to intervene in foreign affairs in accompanied with cruelty and bloodshed any way than that of Mr. Gladstone in were frequent in the most densely popu- 1882, and they would never have interlated of its towns. The finest portion of vened at all had not events been too strong the chief commercial city, Alexandria, had for them. With certain results of interbeen burat to the ground, and the Euro- ference by Lord Beaconsfield's governpean population that carried on its trade ment in foreign and colonial affairs before and commerce had fled or been given over their eyes — the mistakes made in Zuluto outrage and massacre. Trade and com. land, the disasters in Afghanistan, the merce were for a time completely para. doubtful acquisition of Cyprus with its lyzed. The Khedive Tewfik was a fugitive entangling engagements, the unprecein his palace of Ras-el-tin, and the govern. dented deposition of Ismail Pasha — they ment, such as it was, was in the hands of came into power in 1880 with the sincere rebel soldiers. The opinion of Europe determination to interfere as little as poswas shown at the time by its stock, which sible in such matters. Their own talents, went down to 45.

they conceived, were more adapted for Now, in 1892, all is changed. The home affairs, and had they been able to finances of the country are in as sound carry out their wishes they would have condition as those of any of the States of banished foreign and colonial policy to Europe. On all sides are to be seen signs Saturn. It is a strange coincidence that, of prosperity and content. The army has coming into office with such strong, and, been reorganized, and disloyalty in its no doubt, sincere views of non-intervenranks is unknown; trade and commerce tion, they actually, during their five years are flourishing ; vast reforms affecting the of office, intervened more than any governwell-being of the whole population have ment the country has had for the last halfa been carried out; Alexandria has been century. They were always intervening, rebuilt in so magnificent a style that its and the disastrous consequences which people begin to think that its needless generally attended their intervention may burning was not an unmitigated evil; be attributed to this original disinclination great material improvements with regard to intervene - their intervention generally to irrigation have been made throughout coming too late and being supported in a the country; the new Khedive Abba has half-hearted manner. succeeded to his throne in as quiet a man- It is a fact that should not be forgotten ner as would the heir of any old-estab. that the first three years of our intervenlished monarchy; and the opinion of tion in Egypt did more harm than good to Europe may be grasped by the fact that the country, and the harm would never Egyptian stock is at par.

have happened if the government of the The cause or causes of this almost day had had the courage to act upon the miraculous change are well worthy the advice and opinions of those who had exconsideration of Englishmen, especially 'perience in the country and knew the state of affairs. Had the most ordinary precau. Dufferin was asked to perform an impos. tions been taken, Alexandria would never sible task — to draw up a workable constihave been burnt down, and the probabili- tution for a people who did not know what ties are there would have been no Egyp- a constitution was. Lord Northbrook, a tian War, no Tel-el-Keber, no massacre of man of great administrative ability, with Egyptian troops, and no loss of the Sou- all the experience acquired as a governordanese provinces. It is undoubted that general of India, and with the rank of a three years after the British intervention Cabinet minister, was sent as a special Egypt was in a worse condition than be- high commissioner to inquire into the fore our intervention. Alexandria had causes of Egypt's woes, and to suggest been burnt, the armies of Hicks Pasha remedies. What' evils he did find out, and Baker Pasha had been annihilated, what ameliorative measures he suggested, the garrisons of Tokar, Singat, Senaar, are absolutely unknown to the public, who Kassala, Berber, and Dongola had been paid the bill for the mission. The mis. massacred. Lord Wolseley's expedition sion ended in moonshine. His report to Khartoum had failed, Gordon had been would, no doubt, be admirable and statessacrificed, and the whole of the Soudanese manlike, but apparently it did not suit the provinces, with a population supposed to party crotchets of the ministry, for it never number eleven millions of souls, had been saw the light; no copy of it is, I believe, lost to Egypt. The Egyptians might well to be found in the Foreign Office, and, if ask to be saved from their friends, for it report be true, it was committed to the is absolutely true that all these disasters flames. As for General Gordon, his treatcame from preventable causes and might ment by the government of the day was have been prevented, or at least enor- treacherous and cruel in the extreme. mously mitigated had it not been for the Called upon at a moment's notice to give almost unaccountable and apparently in. up a good and useful appointment under fatuated conduct of the government. To the king of the Belgians, for the double foreigners their conduct was unaccount. purpose of saving the Egyptian garrisons able, but, no doubt, the causes were, first, in the Soudan from annihilation and of their sincere disinclination to intervene at extricating the government of the day all, and then the divided state of opinion from the difficulties their vacillating policy among their supporters, some being for had produced, he, of all men, should have intervention, some against, and the result been trusted and allowed to act on his was an attempt to please both sides, end- own responsibility. His gallantry and ing in a policy of change, hesitancy, and military ability were known to all; but the uncertainty.

special reason for his employment was his In one respect Mr. Gladstone's minis- knowledge of the Soudan country and its try showed its good sense. For the carry- inhabitants. His expedition from the ing out of its objects it selected excellent first was considered by many to be a forinstruments. For extricating a country or lorn hope, and on all sides it was admitted a ministry from difficulties better men that he carried his life in his hand. If could not be found than those they se- ever the leader of an expedition should lected — Lords Dufferin and Northbrook, have had a free hand it was General GorGeneral Gordon and Sir Evelyn Baring; don, and yet, apparently for party considand the question why the first three failed erations, his hands were from the first and the last bas succeeded is well worthy tied, and his requests neglected or rethe attention of statesmen. The ability of fused. His requests for money, for Indiac all for the work they were called upon to troops, for Turkish soldiers, and for En do is admitted, and the cause of failure of glish officers were all declined. The most Lord Dufferin, Lord Northbrook, and flagrant resusal of all was that of Zebehr General Gordon was that their hands were Pasha. People knowing the character of tied by the ministers at home and they Soudanese chieftains might have their received no support for the courses they doubts as to Gordon's wisdom in asking advised or attempted to pursue. Lord | for the co-operation of Zebehr Pasha. He had unwittingly been the cause of the general at Zanzibar. Mr. John Gorst, son cruel murder of Zebehr's young son - a of the present secretary of the treasury, boy of eighteen years of age and some though now serving in the offices of the thought that if opportunity offered Zebehr Egyptian ministry of finance, is considered might take his revenge. This, however, by those capable of forming opinions as was Gordon's own affair. He wanted him. one of his aptest pupils, with a knowledge Nubar Pasha, then prime minisier at of Eastern affairs and a tact in dealing Cairo, and Sir Evelyn Baring both ap- with them which must be useful to an proved, and, in the first instance, the gov. empire like ours. Sir Edgar Vincent, ernment did the same. When, however, though nominally financial adviser to the Lord Randolph Churchill, then in the Egyptian government, would be the first responsible position of the leader of the to acknowledge that his financial successes fourth party, expressed himself as shocked have been due to the training and the inat one who had owned slaves being em- spiration he received from Sir Evelyn. ployed by Gordon, the ministers were There is no reason for supposing that Sir frightened, and actually refused to let Evelyn Baring's brain power has been Gordon have his way. Well might he different between 1885 and 1892 from what in despair use words against the govern- it was between 1883 and 1885, or that his ment that employed him which, I should administrative faculties underwent a procthink, were never used before by any ess of regeneration on the accession to agent in his position without his being at office of Lord Salisbury in July of 1885. once recalled — saying that "he left to Yet the fact remains that up to 1885 bis them the indelible disgrace of abandoning administration was a failure, and that since the garrisons of Senaar, Kassala, Berber, then it has been one of the most brilliant and Khartoum." Great as were his tal. successes of the century. He was apents for the purpose for which he was pointed in 1883 by Mr. Gladstone, and employed, it is no wonder that he failed under his regime up to July, 1885, there when his advice was neglected and his occurred the massacre of Hicks Pasha's view's scouted by the ministers who de army, the defeat of Baker Pasha's troops, spatched him on his dangerous errand. the useless expeditions to Suakim, the

The case of Sir Evelyn Baring differs slaughter of the Egyptian garrisons in from that of Lords Dufferin and North the Soudan, the reckless abandonment of brook and of General Gordon in this most the Soudanese provinces, the curtailment important respect - he has had the oppor. of Egyptian territory by throwing back tunity of serving under Lord Salisbury, as the frontier to Wady Halfa, the failure well as under Mr. Gladstone, and so of of Lord Wolseley's expedition, and the showing what stuff he himself, when un. eventual sacrifice of Gordon — catastrofettered, was made of. Facts have proved phes enough, one would think, to dama that he is a man of great ability, a born and daunt the most courageous of adminadministrator, with all the financial talents istrators. At the time blame was freely that have distinguished so many that bear attributed to Sir Evelyn for many of these bis name, with a will as strong as that of disasters, but subsequent events plainly the great Elchi Stratford Canning, and prove that those were responsible who with an unbounded capacity for work. had tied his hands as they had tied those Like all great administrators, he has the of Dufferin, Northbrook, and Gordon. faculty of inspiring those who work under Lord Salisbury came into power in July, him with confidence and a love of their 1885, and under Mr. Gladstone's ministry, work, and already he has trained up a from February, to July, 1886, Lord Rosesmall band of Eastern administrators, who bery was at the Foreign Office. Of him must have a good future before them. it may be said with certainty that, in his The abilities of one of his ablest lieuten- short administration of foreign affairs, and ants, Mr. Gerald Portal, have been recog. especially of Egypt, he followed in the dized by Lord Salisbury by appointing footsteps of Lord Salisbury, and not those him, at the early age of thirty-two, consul. of Lord Granville or Mr. Gladstone. The


difference to Sir Evelyn Baring has been the sum of £1,000,000 being added to the this. He has had a far freer hand, with debt of Egypt for this purpose. At the far larger personal responsibility, with the time doubts were expressed as to the adcertain knowledge that he would be loyally visability of adding to the debt of so supported at home, and that his measures deeply indebted a country, but the result would not be made subservient to party has more than justified the course then purposes. This has given free scope to pursued. his ability, and the results show how Altogether a sum of £1,800,000 has much more advantageous it is to leave been expended since the year 1885 in resuch ability unfettered than to crib, cabin, pairing the "barrage," originally projected and confine it by crude directions from a by an eminent French engineer, the concountry more than two thousand miles struction of the Teufikieh Canal, and distant.

other works connected with irrigation and The successes of Sir Evelyn Baring's drainage in both Lower and Upper Egypt. administration, or to speak with more The object has been to afford means of technical correctness, the Egyptian ad-water transit independent of the state of ministration under the gentle guidance and the Nile, and to bring water, so to say, to supervision of Sir Evelyn, speak for them- the doors of the fellaheen for them to use selves.

for agricultural purposes. In his last reIn 1882, the year of Mr. Gladstone's port Sir Evelyn Baring says "that he has intervention, the finances of Egypt were no hesitation in saying that the expendisuch that, taken in consideration with the ture of this £1,800,000 on irrigation and state of the country, Egyptian stock had drainage has contributed probably more sun in the market to 45, and the deficit than any one cause to the comparative for the year was £632,368. In 1883 the prosperity that the country now enjoys." deficit on the year was £709.397, and in The increase in the cotton crops alone 1884, £665,444. In 1885 there a justifies his statement. During the eleven small surplus of £3,979, caused by the years from 1879-80 to 1889–90 the average cutting down of expenditure by nearly one yield of the coiton crop annually was two million, the revenue itself being less than million pine hundred thousand cantars. in 1883 and 1884 by between £,250,000 and In 1890-91, when the country had par. £300,000. In 1886, 1887, 1888, and 1889, tially reaped the benefits of the repaired though the expenditure increased to more barrage, the crop sprang up to four million than it was in 1884, the surpluses contin-one hundred and fifty-nine thousand canued till they reached £653,939 in 1890, tars, and the yield for the year 1891-92 is and £1,100,000 in 1891.

calculated at not less than four million This result has not been produced by five hundred thousand cantars. This an increase of taxation or by an undue shows that since the repair of the barrage lowering of expenditure. On the con- and the improvement of irrigation works, trary, though extravagance in various de. the crop is one million, six hundred thoupartments has been cut down, there has sand in excess of what it was in the eleven been a large increase in the expenditure years previous. In money, at even the of money upon useful objects, such as present low price of cotton, this is an aneducation, the improvement of the prisons, nual gain of £3,000,000. and the furtherance of public works, and One of the results of this improvement with it there has been a large remission of in the finances of Egypt and its increased taxation. The present healthy state of productiveness, caused by the repairs to Egyptian finance has been brought about the barrage and the drainage works, is a by a due attention to proper economy, by development of its trade, and it is esti. reforms in the distribution and collection mated that, were prices the same now as of the taxes, and especially by attention they were in 1881, the increase in the to productive public works.

value of exports and imports would be Irrigation is the one thing needful to nearly £7,000,000, and of this trade Great make Egypt a productive and flourishing Britain enjoys by far the largest share. country, and to the improvement in the There is one feature which requires irrigation works, which were completed in special notice with regard to this general 1891, is due more than to any other single improvement. Ten years ago wise proph. cause its present prosperous condition. ets would tell you that there were three Sir Evelyn Baring foresaw the necessity things that were impossible in Egypt — of these works in 1884, and chiedy upon ist, to make it solvent ; 2nd, to collect the his recommendation the powers at the taxes without the free use of the kourbash; London Conference of that year agreed to 3rd, to execute public works without that forced and cruel labor which went under be encouraged and increase without any the name of the corvée. Now, not only change in the law. Finance would again is Egypt solvent, but the use of the kour- be neglected, and the taxes be imposed bash and the corvée have both been abol. upon the old system of making the poorest ished. The taxes are now more easily pay most and saving the rich. Justice collected than they ever were in the days would again become a commodity to be when the kourbash was systematically ap- purchased by the rich, and quite out of the plied to the feet of the wretched fellaheen, reach of those who most require it. In and more public works have been executed fact, after seven years of prosperity and by laborers who are paid a fair day's wage, good government, it is probable that were and are voluntary workers, than ever were European control withdrawn, there would in the same time under the remorseless be such a rebound that the last state of system of corvée. In addition, slavery the country would be worse than the first. has been practically abolished; by law Even the great works that have been comslavery is abolished, but there are still pleted would almost certainly be neglected, many domestic slaves who prefer their and by carelessness and inattention would present condition to that of free servants. in time go to ruin. The barrage itself In fact, they rather look down upon the would in time be destroyed. It does not latter with contempt, as holding an inferior rest on firm rock or on gravel foundations, status in their master's household. Free but simply on the alluvial deposit of the servants can be turned away at will, Delta. It is the opinion of experts, and whereas the domestic slave looks upon especially of Sir Colio Scott Moncrieff, himself as attached to the domain, and to whose skill and engineering talents the has the right to remain there, and to be repair and completion of these works is kept and fed, till he dies. Whatever so- mainly due, that the great works are safe called slavery exists is voluntary, and not on only one condition, viz., that they are by law compulsory.

constantly watched. Speaking of their Very many improvements, that space construction and their present condition, will not permit me to notice here, have he tells us that“ while the barrage may be been made in the last seven years, with pronounced a sound reliable work so long regard to the railways, the telegraphs, the as it is carefully watche and repairs post-office, the army, the police, and espe. always effected as they are required, it cially in the criminal courts and in the would be madness to cease this careful administration of justice. It is no exag- surveillance.” Sir Evelyn Baring, who geration to say that, at no period of their has watched the repairs anxiously from known bistory have the Egyptian people the beginning, adds that, “much as he enjoyed anything like the advantages they wishes to see natives of Egypt employed do at the present time. Their national in the service of government to the utmost prosperity has been greatly increased, and extent possible, he is most decidedly.:of they now enjoy rights and privileges to opinion that it is essential, in the interests which they have been strangers for thou of the whole population, that for many sands of years. These advantages are years to come the barrage should be placed directly due to the controlling influence of under the charge of highly qualified Eurothis country, and so far from these advan- pean engineers.” tages conferred upon them being a burden Not merely have the works as they to us, our population has gained directly stand added enormously to the material by increased commercial trade.

prosperity of the country, which would The serious question for responsible be injuriously affected by any neglect people in this country to ask themselves of maintenance, but they are capable of is, Whether this beneficial improvement almost unlimited expansion. One of the is to continue, or whether it is to be gravest and most disastrous errors of Mr. checked and probably entirely destroyed? | Gladstone's government was their dis

One thing is certain, that unless there claiming responsibility for the Soudan is some European control all the advan. provinces in 1883. Had they then owned tages that have been gained during the the responsibility which their own actions last seven years will vanish. Were Egypt of the year before bad imposed upon left to itself, if that be possible, or were them, and taken in hand boldly the paci. it again to pass under the control of Turk. fication and restoration to order of that ish pashas, the kourbash and the corvée country, there can be no doubt that their would be quickly revived, and though efforts would have been successful. It slavery might noi be legalized, it would is quite true that many of the Egyptian

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