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i MEHEMET ALI: CREATOR OF MODERN EGYPT 17
by defraying all the expenses, but by actually paying them to be taught. The more promising pupils were sent, also at his expense, to complete their education in France, or more rarely in England. He encouraged Europeans to come to Egypt for purposes of trade as well as of travel. It was then that the foreign settlements began to develop which have gradually come to play the chief part in the commercial and industrial and financial life of Egypt. The French scientific mission which had accompanied Napoleon's expedition to Egypt had struck his imagination, and when he sent his sons to conquer the Sudan he invited French savants to join them. He can hardly be blamed if he was sometimes unable to discriminate between vulgar adventurers and worthier representatives of European culture. He lacked knowledge, though he was eager for it, and whether in his varied friendships or in his many speculative undertakings, it was his inexperience rather than his usually sound instinct that was his undoing. If he turned to Frenchmen for advice and help in preference to Englishmen, it was but the natural consequence of political developments that had made him regard France rather than England as his friend.
Though it was in the smashing defeat of the small British force landed in Egypt in 1807 that Mehemet Ali had laid the foundations of his fortune, he was too great a soldier to overrate the significance of a success mainly due to incompetent British leadership. He had seen what British soldiers were capable of doing when he had fought side by side with them under Abercrombie on his first arrival in Egypt, and he had appreciated, as few Orientals ever do, the value of British sea-power. As far back as 1815 he had confided to the traveller Burck-hardt, who fell in with him in the heart of Arabia during his Wahabi campaign, his belief that " England must some day take Egypt as her share of the spoil of the Turkish Empire." " For," as he put it with the rough force of an Eastern proverb, " the big fish swallow the
o 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