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THE EGYPTIAN PROBLEM
perplexing that the man whom Lord Cromer picked out as typical of all that was best in that group, and as the most promising representative of sober Egyptian Nationalism, was Saad Zaghlul, whose appointment he recommended to the Ministry of Education as the one in which a wisely progressive influence was most needed for guiding the footsteps of a yet younger generation. It may be well to recall in his own words the opinion which Lord Cromer had formed of Saad Zaghlul, who was one of the very few Egyptians to whom he made special reference in the farewell speech from which I quoted another passage in the preceding chapter :
" Lastly, gentlemen, I should like to mention the name of one with whom I have only recently co-operated, but for whom, in that short time, I have learned to entertain a high regard. Unless I am much mistaken, a career of great public usefulness lies before the present Minister of Education, Saad Zaghlul Pasha. He possesses all the qualities necessary to serve his country. He is honest; he is capable ; he has the courage of his convictions ; he has been abused by many of the less worthy of his own countrymen. These are high qualifications. He should go far."
The part which Saad Zaghlul has played in the last Egyptian crisis, and especially as head of the Egyptian Nationalist Delegation in Paris, is hardly that for which Lord Cromer had cast him. But is he alone to blame for the change that has come over him ?
The wonderful transformation scene effected during the first half of the Occupation was over when Lord Cromer left Egypt. He had rescued her from oppression and ruin and raised her to an unprecedented pitch of material prosperity. At the same time, British influence and increased contact with Western ideas had helped to liberate new and conflicting forces which made new demands upon British statesmanship. It had a great opportunity, for the Anglo-French Agreement had given Great Britain a much freer hand in Egypt than she had hitherto had, and the General Election of 1905 had brought the Liberal party once more into power.' Turkey and by the other Powers on Egyptian rights had to that extent strengthened her position as a separate, though still * 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