278 THE EGYPTIAN PROBLEM ^ CHAP.
Egypt as an arbitrary attempt to prejudge a great j
constitutional issue on which, if we honestly mean to 1
give them any genuine measure of self-government, they I
are surely entitled to be consulted.
The members of Yusuf Wahba's Cabinet are men of good repute and of considerable experience in the conduct of public affairs. They certainly deserve no little credit l
for personal courage, as the lives of the Prime Minister i
and of three of his colleagues have already been attempted, though happily without success, ia the course of their short tenure of office. They cannot, however, be said to govern. They scarcely profess to. They have no public support behind them. They have their friends and well-wishers, but none who will come out into the open and do battle for them. There are plenty of Egyptians who have a greater insight into the practical needs of their country than the majority of ZaghluPs followers. They are just as good Nationalists in the best sense of the term. They may even heartily dislike the Protectorate, but they realise the futility of mere sullen opposition and still more the grave menace to the foundations of social order in the more violent forms of resistance. In private they make no secret of their desire for a friendly settlement with Great Britain, and, whilst resenting some of the methods of British control, recognise the necessity of its maintenance in the interests of Egypt itself within definite limits, which it should not be difficult, they believe, to determine by common agreement. But they have never had the courage to emerge from the tents in which, often for personal reasons, they prefer to sulk. Once a few of them seemed on the point of combining to form a new and distinct political party. They even issued a programme and described themselves as " Independent Liberals." But they soon fell out amongst themselves or succumbed to various forms of pressure which are peculiarly effective in an Oriental community. The new party expired almost before it had drawn breath.
But if Egyptian Ministers may complain that evenpeople ofde its gates, and surrounded by a small ring of courtiers, many of whom are undesirable survivals from the ex-Khedive's entourage. The Egyptian public, to whom he is unknown, swallows greedily all the stories told against him, which one can only hope contain many other nations hud