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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

130
THE EGYPTIAN PROBLEM
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Great Britain the active co-operation of the Egyptian army. That this offer was ever made, or at any rate that it ever took formal shape, is now disputed in British official quarters. Anyhow, whether or not it was made and declined. General Sir John Maxwell, commanding the British forces in Egypt, had already issued, immediately after the rupture with Turkey, a Proclamation which, after announcing the existence of a state of war between Great Britain and the Ottoman Empire, stated that though " the British were now fighting to protect the rights and liberties of Egypt which were originally won upon the battlefield by Mehemet Ali " and to secure the continuance of the peace and prosperity which she had enjoyed during the thirty years of the British Occupation, Great Britain nevertheless, " recognising the respect and veneration with which the Sultan is regarded by the Mahomedans of Egypt, takes upon herself the sole burden of the present war without calling upon the Egyptian people for aid therein," merely requiring them in return not to hamper our military operations nor to render aid to the enemy.
The material value of Egyptian co-operation in the field would probably have been slight, as the greater part of the army, which was only about 30,000 strong altogether, was required since the reconquest of the Sudan for garrison duties in that remote and far-stretched dependency. But would not the moral effect have been worth taking into account ? Having thrown cold water on any good will which a generous appeal to Egyptian co-operation might have elicited, we never even carried out the promise we had so loftily given that we should not call upon the Egyptian people for aid in the war ! Far from doing so, we frequently used Egyptian officers and soldiers on the Suez Canal, in the Hedjaz, in Syria, and, in fact, wherever and whenever we found it convenient to do so, and before the end of the war we imposed, directly and indirectly, many heavy burdens upon the Egyptian people. In other respects, in fact, than actualy middle of thesh Represen- incorporatinghe visit which heocialf light railways and the introduc