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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

ii         FROM MBHEMET ALI TO THE OCCUPATION       27
not only doing a magnificent stroke of business for the British Treasury, but demonstrating to the whole world that the British Government did not intend to let Egypt go any further headlong to ruin.
Whem the final crash came on April 8th, 1876, with the suspension of payment of Egyptian Treasury bills, the public debt of Egypt, which had amounted only to £3,293,000 in 1863 at the time of Ismail's accession, had risen to over £94,090,000, whereof £68,000,000 was funded and £26,000,000 floating. " Roughly speaking," writes Lord Cromer, than whom there can be no better authority, " it may be said that Ismail added on an average about £7,000,000 a year for thirteen years to the debt of Egypt, and that for all practical purposes the whole of the borrowed money, except £16,000,000 spent on the Suez Canal, was squandered," and, it may be added, squandered on vulgar luxury and empty ostentation. For during the same period, as the subsequent financial inquiry showed, the ordinary revenue of the country, also about £7,000,000 a year, had yielded in the aggregate almost exactly the same sum— £94,000,000—that Ismail had borrowed, and had, within perhaps £3,000,000 altogether, provided enough to cover all the legitimate expenditure incurred on the administration of the country and on public works of unquestionable utility, and even on the payment of the Turkish tribute and a good many other items of more questionable usefulness or policy. Something was done even during Ismail's reign for the material development of the country ; new canals had added more than a fifth to the cultivable area; a great network of telegraphs covering 6,000 miles had been carried right up to the Sudan; instead of 250 miles of railway there were now 1,200; the harbour works of Suez and Alexandria were enlarged ; the foreign trade of Egypt, import and export, had multiplied threefold. This much may be placed to his credit, and his grandiose policy of expansion in the Sudan, and even his war with Abyssinia, disastrous as were itsorrowed £11,000,000 abroad ande.   And on this occasion rumour was no lying jade.    In theament " to showWithin the first year of the Occupation