! via INTRODUCTORY 1 ! of vital importance to Great Britain when the invention j of steam power enabled her to reopen the old maritime i trade routes between Europe and the Orient through the ! Mediterranean and the Red Sea, and ultimately led to the j making of the Suez Canal. British intervention, there- ; upon became inevitable as soon as the misrule and ^ financial profligacy of Mehemet Ali's successors plunged Egypt into ruin and anarchy, and it was the greatness ,! as well as the imperfections of the work which England f found herself impelled to undertake during an occupation '. prolonged far beyond her original expectations that produced in the shape of Egyptian Nationalism the ,: stirrings of that spirit of revolt against European ascen- dancy which the impact of Western civilisation provokes sooner or later amongst all Oriental peoples. As elsewhere it has set in motion forces, in part progressive • and in part reactionary, which in Egypt, under the ; particular impulse given to them by the war, have found •j expression in a skilfully organised political campaign i against the maintenance of the British Protectorate as well as in an explosive outburst of emotional patriotism, I never entirely free, in an Oriental and Mahomedan people, ; from racial and religious passion. ' At a time when self-government is recognised more : ' clearly than ever before to be the keystone of the British '! Empire and has been set before the peoples of the greatest i of our Oriental dependencies as the goal which they ! also shall reach, it is not unreasonable that Egypt should j claim something of the same boon as the corollary of j the permanent association with the British Empire into which we sought to force her during the war by the proclamation of a British Protectorate. Were that her whole claim, few if any responsible Englishmen would refuse to go a long way to satisfy it without questioning too closely the actual fitness of the Egyptians to govern ' themselves. But the Egyptian Nationalists, who have :••• at least temporarily carried the bulk of their articulate fellow-countrymen with them, go much further than that.