THE BREAKDOWN OF THE CONTROL
Egyptians recognised the necessity of a friendly agreement with England, whose assistance and protection they, however, carefully differentiated from control and protectorate. They did not deny the material benefits which the Occupation at first conferred upon Egypt, nor the high standard of endeavour it preserved under the vigilant supervision of Lord Cromer's great personality. But they maintained that it had failed more and more grievously as time went on to achieve even the narrower tasks set before it, let alone the higher task of training up Egyptians to govern themselves. Even the reports issued by the Ministry of Education convicted it, they contended, of dismal failure in respect of both primary and secondary education, for in close upon forty years It had barely reduced the overwhelming percentage of illiteracy, and to-day, as in 1882, Egyptians who wanted a real education were almost compelled to go abroad for it. They read, though with much less reason, a similar confession of failure into the report of the latest Committee on Sanitation. Or, turning to the Irrigation Department, formerly most popular and highly respected, where to-day, they asked, was the confidence it once enjoyed ? Not only Egyptians but many Englishmen had ceased, they asserted, to trust either its competence or its integrity of purpose. In almost every department the British personnel, they declared, had been steadily expanding, even in the subordinate ranks which it had always been understood should be filled by Egyptians, and while the quantity had increased, the quality from top to bottom, with rare exceptions, had deteriorated in efficiency, in industry, and in manners. Egyptians in the public services were treated more and more as inferiors and not as collaborators, and the British official world had steadily cut itself off from any intimate contact with Egyptians, save with those who were prepared to have no opinions of their own.
Such results, they contended, were not due merely to a.general (Jeterioration of the British personnel. Theyptians, jit