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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

86                     THE EGYPTIAN PROBLEM                CHAP.
Lord Cromer, whatever his other difficulties, could always count on the loyalty and generally on the intelligent good-will of the Khedive. Tewfik had behaved with great dignity and real courage during the stormy months of 1882, refusing sturdily even to s£ek shelter on a British man-of-war during the bombardment of Alexandria, though the city was in the hands of an army in open rebellion against him. He knew, nevertheless, that he owed the safety of his throne solely to British support, and he learnt to realise that, not only his own dynastic interests, but also the interests of his people could best be served by acquiescence in the policy of the British controlling power. A good Mahomedan, clean-living, naturally kind-hearted, and with little of the Oriental despot about him, he had a genuine dread of religious fanaticism, of which he had experienced the dangers. But he had not the greatness or the energy to place himself whole-heartedly at the head of an Egyptian party of reform. Lord Cromer has pithily summed up the real service that Tewfik rendered to his country : " He should be remembered as the Khedive who allowed Egypt to be reformed in spite of the Egyptians." His qualities were negative rather than positive, but even with those limitations they were extremely helpful to Lord Cromer, who was less than ever tempted to underrate them when Abbas Hilmi became Khedive on his father's death in 1892.
The French, for whom Tewfik had very little liking, would have been extremely jealous had he sent his son to be educated in England. So to give umbrage to neither of the two great rival Powers, he sent the boy to Vienna. The choice was not a happy one, for the reactionary and militarist atmosphere of the Austrian capital tended to encourage a naturally self-willed disposition. Abbas brought back with him to the Abdeen Palace the ideas of the Hofburg, and within a short time of his accession he tried a fall first with Kitchener, who was then Sirdar of the Egyptian army, by affronting in publicwhich he could clearlynterested, 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."