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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

112
THE EGYPTIAN PROBLEM
CHAP.
Feddan " Law in restraint of village usury, thought to create a moderate party out of the smaller landowning class, which is the backbone of the country. Even the first session, however, was not very encouraging, but Lord Kitchener remained hopeful. He had begun to see through Abbas II, and he realised that a great part of the political mischief in Egypt had been due to the revival of the autocratic power of the Khedive, whom he himself, like his predecessor, had too long humoured. The Khedive had played his cards with undeniable astuteness, and for a long time circumstances had favoured him. For he had been able at first to play off the two sections into which the new Nationalist party was divided against each other, and both ultimately against us. When Lord Cromer left Egypt, one section consisted of the more moderate representatives of the newly educated classes and of notables and landowners who were ready to unite with them in resisting a revival of the old autocratic methods to which the Occupation had set a term. To that extent they accepted British control, though they wanted a larger share for Egyptians in the conduct of public affairs. This section was known as the " hasb-el-oumm" or "popular" party. The other section, which called itself the " hasb-el-watan" or " patriotic " party, was much more aggressive. It was bitterly anti-British and to some extent Pan-Islamic, and looked to Constantinople for support. Its first leader had been Mustapha Kamel, whose mantle after his death fell on to Mohamed Ferid. Both were men of great eloquence and magnetism. Its organ, the Lewa, conducted with no little ability a relentless campaign against the Occupation. The " popular party " had received a good deal of encouragement from Lord Cromer, who had prevailed on the Prime Minister, Mustapha Pasha Fehmi, whom he trusted entirely, to take Saad Zaghlul, one of its most promising members, into the Cabinet. Abbas II hated Zaghlul in consequence almost as much as he had hated Mustapha Pasha'n by the enactment of the " IPive