Skip to main content

Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

See other formats

in theory to the Egyptian official. Goaded on by political agitators or secretly encouraged by Palace friends, the Egyptian stood more and more on Ms dignity, and the Englishman was inclined to retaliate by showing less and less consideration for susceptibilities behind which he suspected sheer obstruction. It must be remembered too that the virulent campaign of insult and calumny against British officials conducted in violent Nationalist and anti-British papers, believed to be subsidised by the Khedive, was not calculated to maintain an atmosphere of sympathy and good will amongst its victims.
Sir Eldon Gorst had served for many years under Lord Oromer in different branches of the Egyptian administration, and though he had been back for some little time to the Eoreign Office before he returned to Egypt as representative of the British Government, he had an intimate acquaintance with the whole system and the whole personnel. But for the very reason that he had been part of it himself, he lacked enough prestige to assert his authority effectively, and the machine had in fact grown too unwieldy to be controlled by any one individual. Lord Kitchener had the defects of his great qualities. He threw himself into the work that interested him with extraordinary energy, but he was impatient of any contradiction, even when his contempt for details often stood badly in need of correction. Two British Advisers were thus driven to resign, and their places were not taken by men who inspired the same public confidence. He was a great hustler, but not a great administrator, and he even more than Sir Eldon Gorst reaped the dead-sea-fruits of the change of British policy which at the beginning of the second phase of the Occupation restricted the degree of British control to be exercised over the Egyptian organs of government.
British policy had set before itself in 1907 a higher aim than that to which Lord Cromer's mainly administrative policy had been directed so long as there was no other practical policy compatible with the restraintsfness but often actual discourtesy in socialf light railways and the introduc