iv THE FIRST PHASE OF THE OCCUPATION 79
delivered by him on the eve of his final departure, when his physical strength had almost reached the breaking point, there was no more eloquent and moving passage than that in which he hotly repudiated it.
" I hear it frequently stated that, although the material prosperity of Egypt has increased marvellously of late years, nothing has been done towards the moral and intellectual advancement of the people. What! gentlemen, has there been no moral advancement ? Is the country any longer governed, as was formally the case, exclusively by the use of the whip ? Is not forced labour a thing of the past ? Has not the accursed institution of slavery practically ceased to exist ? Is it not a fact that every individual in the country, from the highest to the lowest, is now equal in the eyes of the law ; that thrift has been encouraged, and that the most humble member of society can reap the fruits of his own labour and industry; that justice is no longer bought and sold ; that everyone is free, perhaps some would think too free, to express his opinions ; that King Baksheesh has been dethroned from high places and now only lingers in the purlieus and byways of the administration ; that the fertilising water of the Nile is distributed impartially to prince and peasant alike ; that the sick man can be tended in a well-equipped hospital; that the criminal and the lunatic are no longer treated as wild beasts ; that even the lot of the brute creation has not escaped the eyes of the reformer ; that the solidarity of interests between the governors and the governed has been recognised in theory and in practice ; that every act of the Administration even if at times mistaken —for no one is infallible—bears the mark of honesty of purpose and an earnest desire to secure the well-being of the population ; and further, that the funds, very much reduced in amount, which are now taken from the pockets of the taxpayers, instead of being, for the most part, spent on useless palaces and other objects in which they were in no degree interested, are devoted to purposes which are of real benefit to the country ? If all these, and many other points to which I could allude, do not constitute some moral advancement, then, of a truth, I do not know what the word morality implies."
If a fine example can help to promote the moral advancement of a people, there could be no finer one either of public or of private morality than that which
Insiderations of general policy, can the naiignitu