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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

vi        THE SECOND PHASE OF THE OCCUPATION      117
that there would be no repetition of the purely factious spirit displayed by the old Legislative Council and General Assembly. In the last of his annual Reports from Cairo for the year 1913, Lord Kitchener wrote that the success of the recent constitutional reform would depend upon one factor and one only, namely, the spirit in which it was carried out. If the new Assembly co-operated loyally and earnestly with the Government for the good of the people of Egypt, it would mark an important step along the path of true progress. " If, on the other hand, outside influence and foolish counsels prevail, and the Assembly indulges in unjustified hostility, unseemly bickering, and futile attempts to extend its own personal importance, . . . not only will it destroy itself, but it will convince all reasonable men that Egypt is not for the present fitted for those representative institutions which are now on their trial."
Unfortunately, when the new Assembly met, it was the " outside influence and foolish counsels" which Lord Kitchener had deprecated that once more prevailed. The preliminary question of the Standing Orders engrossed most of its attention and time, and served as a pretext for interminable and angry discussions which betrayed the bitter antagonism between the Prime Minister and Zaghlul. The latter carried the Assembly with him, but he showed then, as he was to show afterwards as leader of the Party of Independence, that with all his forensic ability he lacked the qualities of judgment and discrimination between essentials and non-essentials that are required of a statesman. Abdul Aziz Bey Fehmi failed for much the same reasons. The first part of the session was barren of any useful or important legislation. But if it did little credit to the Assembly, it entirely discredited the Prime Minister, who had himself outlived the Khedive's favour. For Mohamed Said had already had more than one hint that Lord Kitchener's attitude towards Abbas was stiffening, and the counsels of discretion which he began to urge on his august master's credit was the visit which heocialf light railways and the introduc