Skip to main content

Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

;                           90                      THE EGYPTIAN PROBLEM                 CHAP.
of the Caisse.   When these bodies began to display greater ;                       activity, it unfortunately assumed the form it generally
1                       takes  in  assemblies  that   have   never  been  given the
chance of acquiring any sense  of  responsibility from ,'                       the  exercise of real power.    The  lawyers -and  other
*                       representatives of the newly educated classes took the
;                        lead and were prone to indulge in voluble eloquence and
,                        unsparing criticism not always based on any knowledge
or recognition of the facts.    But even unintelligent or exaggerated criticism is probably better for a Government !                       than no criticism at all, and as Ministers learnt to take
\                       the Legislative Council more into its confidence, and to
!                       explain its  own position and purposes  more  clearly,
there had been a marked improvement in the tone and substance of discussions, and the recommendations made j                       by the Council had often  been such  that Government
1                       was fain to accept them in whole or in part, or at least
to give adequate reasons for their rejection or postponement. Lord Cromer certainly did not despair of the future of self-governing institutions in Egypt, though he strongly advocated caution and patience in regard to them.
One of the most encouraging symptoms was the growing Jtl                            interest shown by the provincial towns in the creation
mi'                            and extension of municipalities.   Here again the Egyptian
|$                            Government was terribly hampered by the Capitulations,
M,                           which made it practically impossible to impose municipal
||jr                           taxation from which foreigners could remain exempt.
|||,                           The idea of paying voluntary taxes was at first very
^T                           uncongenial to the Egyptian mind, but gradually the
f v                             People of several important towns, where foreign residents
had the good sense to set the example, became reconciled to it, and by the year 1906 Mixed Municipal Commissions, on which Egyptians and foreigners sat together, had been established in Mansourah and five other important s                        towns, the Central Government merely making certain
contributions to their expenditure. At the same time, Local Commissions, which had the same powers as the'                       period of the Occupation, or the success with,   which