Skip to main content

Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

See other formats

iv       THE  FIRST  PHASE   OF   THE  OCCUPATION       75
sanitation, which seemed wantonly to disturb familiar habits, whereas their congenital fatalism was ready to accept all the consequences of grossly insanitary conditions as the will of an inexorable Providence. Nevertheless, the* violent outbreak of cholera which occurred the year after the Occupation, and the appearance of bubonic plague imported from India, forbade inaction, and Sir John Rogers, and, after him, Sir Horace Pinching, had the tact and good sense not merely to impose obnoxious if necessary regulations, but also to try to instil into the village barber, who has from time immemorial fulfilled the functions of doctor and medical officer, the rudiments of sanitary laws. Hospitals, especially eye-hospitals, in a country devastated by ophthalmic diseases, afforded, moreover, object lessons of which the most ignorant could not dispute the value. In the last of his annual Reports Lord Cromer stated that in 1906 31,000 in-patients and 128,000 out-patients had been treated in Government hospitals, which had been established by that time in the chief provincial towns, besides such complete novelties as a foundling hospital and a lunatic asylum.
In some departments the fear of stimulating international jealousies which were liable to react very quickly on the political situation was not unnaturally always present to Lord Cromer's mind. For instance, the judicial system we found in Egypt was based on the Continental model, which differs from our own almost as widely in spirit as in procedure ; and the large areas of jurisdiction reserved for the Consular Courts, and for the Mixed Tribunals, hampered the British reformer in one direction quite as much as in another, the no less important field of jurisprudence and jurisdiction, covering all questions of personal status, marriage, divorce, guardianship, succession, etc., which in a Mahomedan country must be left to Mahomedan courts, alone competent to administer the canonical laws of Islam. There were many who pressed Lord Cromer to make, at least in the native
'IIlldesigned, still stood as a sign-postland to pursue for a long time to