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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

CH. XVI
GOVERNMENT BY MARTIAL LAW
275
anyhow, less than ever likely to be convoked again in existing circumstances after the very clear indication which its members chose to furnish of its present political orientation, ^rom time to time many members had individually declared their adhesion to the Party of Independence, whose leader, Saad Pasha Zaghlul, was its one elected Vice-President. There had been some talk of collective action whilst the Miner Commission was in Egypt, but none took place until just after its departiire. When tfcey at last decided to make a demonstration they made it as dramatic as possible. To the number of about five-sixths of their total strength, they met at ZaghluTs house in Cairo, invested their proceedings as far as they could with the solemnity of a regular sitting of the Assembly, elected the senior amongst them to the chair, and passed unanimously a series of subversive resolutions which need not be enumerated, since one of them contained the quintessence of all the rest. It declared all laws and decrees promulgated since the prorogation of the Assembly before the war to be null and void—that period including, of course, the decrees that had announced the deposition of the ex-Khedive and the accession of the late Sultan Hussein and the proclamation of the British Protectorate. Another resolution affirmed the right of Egypt to complete independence and declared Zaghlul to be the only recognised mandatory of the nation, whilst a very lengthy one, divided into various subheads, affirmed the sovereignty of Egypt over the Sudan and the indissoluble union of the two countries, and protested with great emphasis against the execution of the Mle projects in the Sudan without the consent of the Egyptian people. The meeting was obviously unlawful, as under the Organic Statute which created the Legislative Assembly it can only be convoked by decree, and the resolutions were in any case ultra vires, as they related to matters which under the same Organic Statute it is specifically precluded from dealing with. But as an act of demonstrative defiance
T 2
Iect of any issue by negotiation from a deadlockdrawinghad   committed   the   heinous   offencecially in o particular case which Egyptian public opinion, rightly that Egypt' wan quit** unripe for such democratic