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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

I    MEHEMET ALL: CREATOR OF MODERN EGYPT    15
"the nomenclature subsists to the present day—a Mudir a,t the head of each province, a Mamour in each Merkez or district, and Omdehs as official headmen of each village. The land, hitherto held in common by the fellaheen "who were in common responsible for the taxation levied Tby the State, was distributed amongst them individually so that according to the quality of the soil each adult fellah received from three to five acres, which became practically his freehold property and were entered in his mame in the cadastral registers. To Mehemet All's feeen personal interest in the scheme his own seal affixed "to the land registers in most of the Mudiriehs bears witness. It was a great and far-reaching reform, and that he "borrowed the main lines from France says no little for •the insight he had acquired into European conditions, for the French Revolution had then only recently evolved out of the chaos of the old regime a land system which created a great and prosperous peasant proprietary. "Unfortunately, Mehemet Ali's practice fell desperately "below the excellence of his theory. To meet the expenses of the great wars on which he was constantly engaged lie had to impose taxation which, even if levied by aaiore regular methods, was almost as crushing as the •unregulated spoliation under the Mamelukes, and gradually Ms Mudirs and Mamours and Omdehs had to have recourse to the same methods as the revenue-farmers in •the Mameluke days to screw the last piastre out of the lielpless fellaheen, whilst recruitment for the armies which demanded incessant reinforcements became an even worse "terror than the kurbash of the tax collector and the interminable corvees.
At the same time, if Mehemet Ali's exactions were at •times quite merciless, he did not spend the proceeds on sloth and luxury. He had the European's activity of mind and body. He liked sometimes to call himself a Macedonian, and it was in the true spirit of Alexander the Oreat that, quite early in his reign, he dispatched two of Ms sons to conquer the Sudan, bidding them if possibleurces ofne to death in the streets of the capital. Egypt wasit in Egypt.    Within the first year of the Occupation