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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

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„ I
THE Nationalist movement of 1882 was born of a merely military mutiny, and so little was there ever of any deep national feeling behind it that it collapsed like a pricked bubble as soon as the Egyptian army, which under the impulse of a handful of leaders had supplied the one driving power, broke at Tel-el-Kebir almost before the sun had risen, and was scattered to the winds before sunset. A few battalions made a short stand when their trenches were first rushed in the dark, but neither Arabi himself nor his army put up the slightest resistance when daylight disclosed the full force of the British attack. Arabi surrendered and his troops simply melted away, a mere mob of officers and men tumbling over each other to cast off their uniforms and escape across country to the safe shelter of their own homes. Not a shot was again fired. The only other important Egyptian force, at Kafr Dawar outside Alexandria, made its submission quite cheerfully the same afternoon, just about the same time as the British cavalry reached Cairo. The Occupation became at once a military promenade, not a military operation.
I do not remember to have seen at the time so much
as an angry face amongst the Egyptian people.    Even
the Nationalists, who most keenly resented our presence,
turned almost at once to us for protection from the wrath
• of the rulers against whom they had rebelled.    Arabiccessfully parried the worst attempts of the Sultan to revive the political ascendancy of Turkey, and he released the Egyptian Treasury from the grip of the foreign bondholders ; but the burden of the Capitulations was one which he was not in a position to lighten, as they cannot be touched without the consent of all the Powers concerned, and it was only after the Anglo-French Agreement of 1904 that he was able even to suggest to the British Government the possibility of framing a scheme for their revision which under British auspices might overcome foreign opposition to any change. The Capitulations remained and still remain what they were his successors  teem with instances that illustrate   the   resourcefulness   of   the   law-breakers   in exploiting  the  benefits   of   the   Capitulations  and theifc