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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

4                        THE EGYPTIAN PROBLEM               CHAP.
French expedition had been escorted out of the country by
British troops who had in their turn landed to co-operate
with a Turkish force against the French invaders.   The
British were the first foreigners to befriend the young
Albanian, who was serving with the Turks as the captain
of a band of his own Albanian followers.   He owed his
life on one occasion to Sir Sidney Smith, who hauled him,
drowning, out of the water into his own gig, and on
another occasion his gallantry won special recognition
from a British general in a sharp action against the
French, in which both British and Turkish forces were
engaged.   But   a   few   years    later   the   kaleidoscopic
changes in European alliances so frequent during the
Napoleonic wars had led to a breach between England
and Turkey, who had then joined hands with Napoleon
against Russia.   Mehemet All had by that time risen
to great power in Egypt.    The ulema of El Azhar, then
as  now  a   stronghold  of   Mahomedan   influence,   had
themselves proclaimed him to be Pasha of Egypt in the
teeth of the Sultan, who merely confirmed him after the
event. When another British expedition was sent to Egypt
in 1807, this time in opposition to Turkey, he inflicted
upon our veteran troops one of the most humiliating
defeats we have ever suffered in the East.    Some 450
heads of British soldiers were exposed in the Ezbekieh to
the derisive gaze of the Cairo populace, and we had to
sue for terms to re-embark the remainder of the ill-fated
expedition.   To the present day the prestige that attaches
to Mehemet All's name amongst the Egyptian people
is due in no small part to those memories.
It was this signal victory over the Infidel that made him master of Egypt. For the Mamelukes had lost what little credit they still possessed by throwing in their lot with ours, and a few years later Mehemet Ali felt himself strong enough to snare some 500 of their chief Beys into the Cairo citadel, where they'were ruthlessly slaughtered, whilst thousands of their followers were done to death in the streets of the capital. Egypt wasit in Egypt.    Within the first year of the Occupation