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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

GOVERNMENT BY MARTIAL LAW              293
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£100,000,000. The land tax was then settled to yield £5,000,000 per annum for a term of thirty years which does not run but for another decade. It is impossible to alter the assessment, but it has been suggested that, without proceeding to any reassessment, a steeply graduated super-tax might be imposed on owners of more than five feddans, and that no landlord should be allowed to lease out his land for cultivation at a rental higher than three times the land tax and super-tax he would then be paying. It is a difficult question, but it will have to be taken in hand, or Egypt may be threatened with a serious agrarian movement.
If the appalling prevalence and steady increase of crimes of violence in the rural districts did not point to the necessity of reforming the whole system of village governance and police, it could scarcely be indefinitely shelved after the lurid light thrown upon it by the abuses which were committed during the war in connection with the levying of supplies and the recruitment of the Labour Corps in the villages. The fellah was delivered by Lord Cromer from the exactions of the tax-gatherer and the hardships of the corvee. He has yet to be delivered from the petty tyranny of the village Omdeh.
It was by large measures of reform unmistakably con-ceived in the interests of the Egyptian masses and directly brought within the range of their experience and intelli-gence that we won and retained for many years the confidence and good will of the great majority of the people of Egypt. We had the courage to take great risks in those days when the poverty of the Egyptian exchequer might have excused some pusillanimity. Though our hands were much more free, the later years of the veiled Protectorate were only once touched with the same spirit, when Lord Kitchener came to the rescue of fellaheen indebtedness with his " Five Feddan Law."
The spirit of that first period when British control really meant the discharge of a great trusteeship is just as much needed to solve the problems of the present day.e n-nting value of agricultural land in Kgypt wan then <*Mimat<*<i at £17,000,000. it may now hi* ot limited at rinse cmhe almost   uninterrupted  expansion  of  Egyptian  revenue which has been going on since the early years of the