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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

THE EGYPTIAN PROBLEM
CHAP.
discovered that the one-third he was trying to keep was half as valuable again as the larger area he proposed to give up.
The conclusions of the Commission of Inquiry were an unpleasant pill for him to swallow, for they required the cession of the whole Khedivial estates in return for a fixed Civil List, and the adoption of the principle of Ministerial responsibility. He made a virtue of necessity and even claimed for himself the credit of the new system which was to put an end to the errements anciens. He accepted a Cabinet which might well have been called the Cf Ministry of all the talents." The Prime Minister was Nubar, the old Armenian statesman, who had, with rare courage and perseverance, brought about the one great reform which Ismail sanctioned without absolute compulsion, viz., the creation of the Mixed Tribunals. Riaz, who had boldly stood up to the Khedive in days of stress and storm, was Minister of Interior, whilst an Englishman, Sir Rivers Wilson, took charge of Finance, and a Frenchman, M. de Blignieres, of Public Works. Ismail welcomed them cordially—and then at once began to intrigue against them, and when trouble followed blandly turned on them, washing his hands of everything on the plea that, having subscribed to the principle of Ministerial responsibility, he no longer had any power. That he still had more than enough power for mischief he soon showed. Army retrenchments gave him his opportunity. He carried on a propaganda amongst the officers, who readily responded to his incitements. In the course of a turbulent demonstration Nubar and Wilson were roughly handled, and as the Khedive had taken care beforehand to warn the Consular body that he was no longer responsible for the maintenance of public order, and there was as yet no other authority behind the Ministry to give it the necessary support, Nubar had no option but to resign. The two-foreign members of the Cabinet followed his example. The Khedive could boast that if he had lost the first game in the rubber