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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

IX.
SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS
175
far more numerous and have a larger stake in the country than our own British community. The latter numbers only 24,000, whereas there are 56,000 Greeks, 40,000 Italians, and 21,000 French, to name only the most important", now that the Germans and Austrians have practically disappeared with the war. All these communities, including our own, may comprise some very dubious elements, but taken altogether they.display a high standard of industry, and enterprise, and business capacity, and it is they who have built up the whole of the external and a large part of the internal trade of Egypt, and given an exchange value to her immense agricultural wealth in the markets of the world. They have grown steadily since the British Occupation in 1882, and though some of them may not have much love for us, and we have at times found them extremely unaccommodating, they have relied as much as our own people upon the maintenance of British control as the chief and, indeed, essential guarantee for their safety. They generally distrust the Egyptians, as many Englishmen do, and though they may be more inclined than we are to treat them with an outward show of easy familiarity, they betray at times a contempt and dislike for them which very few Englishmen entertain. If they criticise British methods of control it is not because they consider them too forceful, and if they believed there was any real prospect of our withdrawal from Egypt they, and probably their Governments, would protest vigorously against it as a gross betrayal of common European interests.
That the Nationalist leaders are anxious to propitiate them at any cost has been shown by their remarkable change of front in regard to the Capitulations. Perhaps the most genuine of Egyptian grievances against England has been her failure to secure any real abatement of these oppressive servitudes. Yet now, when we are definitely and formally pledged to take up the question of the Capitulations, and are in a much stronger position to overcome the opposition of other Powers to any serioustry out of which it makes its living. Several of these communities arehave gone far to remove the sense of bitterness. After all the Syrian expedition would have been scarcely feasible without Egyptian labour and Egyptian supplies, and some expression of gratitude would not have marred its glory. But the saving word was never spoken ; and the payments due from the military authorities continued to lag for months behind, and the ugly past                    towns, the Central Government merely making certain