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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

CHAPTER III
THE FICTION'S AND  IMITATIONS   OP  BRITISH  CONTROL
THE British Occupation came as Mehemet All had long ago foreseen ; but it came, not from any set purpose of British policy, but as the inevitable resultant of forces which he had himself originally set in motion. He had galvanised Egypt into life again at the very time when its life was destined to affect more closely than for centuries before the interests of Europe in general and of Great Britain in particular. For the application of steam power to navigation was reopening the old direct trade route to India and the Far East across the Isthmus of Suez, which had been for three hundred years diverted to the longer ocean routes round the Gape, and the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, which Mehemet Ali did so much to accelerate, was bringing the strategical importance of Egypt once more into relief. That was the first stage. The second stage covers the failure of Mehemet Ali's successors, and notably of his grandson, Ismail, to consolidate his work. Instead of entrenching the new Egyptian State behind the bulwarks of economic prosperity and progressive liberty, they brought it to the verge of ruin, whilst the opening of the Suez Canal was creating a fresh European and essentially British interest in the maintenance of peace and order in Egypt. Egyptian bankruptcy might never have led to the British Occupation if it had not been followed by Egyptian anarchy. Neither Lord Salisbury, who was in office
43an blood, but he looked one straight in the face and his manners were courteous. He was very ignorant, and to some extent a tool in the hands of abler men. But I believe he was honest and well-meaning, and a