THE EGYPTIAN PROBLEM
across the desert was conducted with extraordinary economy, it imposed financial sacrifices upon the Egyptian Treasury which it could still barely afford. On one occasion the British Government had to come to the rescue, for, under cover of the rigid control which foreign Powers were still able to exercise over Egyptian expenditure, France and Russia, out of sheer opposition to Great Britain, instructed their representatives on the Commission of the Egyptian Debt to enter a suit in the Mixed Tribunals—and won it—restraining the Egyptian Government from devoting certain financial reserves to the purposes of the Sudan expedition. Infinitely more dangerous to Anglo-French relations was the famous Marchand expedition, which crossed the African Continent from the Niger and hoisted the French flag at Fashoda on the White Nile, at the very moment when the victorious Anglo-Egyptian forces, having reached Khartum, were working their way up the river from the north. But for the wisdom of the British > and French Governments and the personal tact displayed by Kitchener in dealing with Colonel Marchand and in inducing him to withdraw from an untenable position, the reconquest of the Sudan might have ended in a disastrous conflict between England and France.
For more than twenty years now we have been slowly but steadily reclaiming the Sudan to a prosperity it had never yet known. If Egyptian Nationalism resents the British flag waving beside the Egyptian flag over Khartum, it would do well to remember that, were our flag to disappear, that of Egypt would go with it, for even the Mahdi's reign of terror has not weakened the hatred and contempt in which the Sudanese hold the Egyptians.
Our position in Egypt was from the first day of the Occupation beset with so many international pitfalls that Lord Salisbury, as soon as he returned to power in 1885, made a very determined attempt to obtain relief from the Sudan trouble and to get out of Egyptexpedition together with the laborious construction of hundreds of miles of railway