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ANOTHER YEAR'S PROGRESS IN EGYPT.

LORD CROMER'S REPORT.

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It is a gratifying circumstance at present open represent 43 per
that the conception and execu- cent of the gross receipts—a per-
tion" of such important reforms centage greatly inferior to that of
are attributable to the Egyptian our railways in England. The
Ministers; and it is of good railway extensions now being car-
augury for the future. There is ried out are also significant of
a large field for similar reforms in the spirit of progress which is
the "Mussulman “Mehkemebs” alive in the country. We are
(cadi's courts), which can best told by Lord Cromer that " by the
be carried out by native initia- end of 1897 it is expected that
tive. The native judges of these through railway communication
courts, cadis and muftis, are will be established from Cairo to
poorly paid and imperfectly Assouan," which means an addition
acquainted with the new code of of about 241 miles since 1895.
laws. By special allowances, On the subject of this extension
granted to those who pass an
examination in the new code, that, south of Luxor to Assouan
their pecuniary situation might (131 miles), a change to a narrow
of qualification might be raised.

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we will not conceal our regret

success

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The annual report of Lord eloquent as to require no comment.
Cromer on the · Finances, Ad- It may, however, be added that
ministration, and Condition of there is in them nothing abnormal.
Egypt, and the Progress of Re. The preceding year gave nearly
forms" is always interesting. In similar results, and succeeding
a style singularly graphic and ones may be expected to change
clear it treats in detail of an ex- only for the better. The total
tensive organisation working for amount of Egyptian bonds on the
the improvement of Egypt and market at the 1st of January 1997,
the wellbeing of its people. These we are told, was £99,912,000, and
reports are a yearly review by a in reference to this debt Lord
competent chief of the work of his Cromer makes the following sag.
agents; and a record of the pro- gestive remarks :-
gress made towards the high ideal
of moral and material attainment has been either paid off or withdrawn

'During the last six years debt
which he has in view. Their from the market by Government pur-
perusal leaves on the mind of the chase, at an average rate of no less
reader the conviction that the than £750,000 a year. During the
objectif which Lord Cromer has last three years the average has been
ever and only before him is the £850,000 a-year. At this rate, leav;
advancement of the interests of ing out of account the Daira and
Egypt. With him

Domains loans, the latter of which

is gauged by progress, and that

will disappear gradually, whilst the

former will certainly be much dininprogress must be demonstrated ished as the properties are sold, the by tangible results. We discern whole of the Egyptian debt rcould be in the writer all the qualities of paid off in about forty-four yeurs.

I a successful administrator—a firm should add that the interest-charge grasp of details, a close scrutiny

on the bonds on the market, which and watchful supervision, and a

on the 1st January 1883 stood at
whole-hearted appreciation of good diminution of £387,000."

£4,163,000, is now £3,776,000, a
services when rendered.
easily be understood how these

Administratively, along the
qualities act as a stimulant to

whole line there is

In

progress. effort and devotion upon Ministers justice, Lord Cromer draws attenand functionaries whose labours are tion to various important Mohamso sympathetically followed and so medan law reforms which were willingly recognised.

carried out in 1896, and we cannot Financially, the situation of refrain from quoting his closing Egypt is shown by Lord Cromer's

observations

upon

that subject :-
report for 1896 to be in the high-

“These well-considered reforms, the
est degree satisfactory. In a few conception and execution of which
words the financial results of that do great credit to the Egyptian
year may be described as yielding Ministers, have met with no serious
a surplus of £E316,000 after plac opposition. Indeed I have every rea-
ing to “reserve” £E906,000, thus ceived with feelings of lively satis:
raising that fund to £E5,590,000.
These figures are in themselves so

faction by the very great majority of
the people of Egypt.

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be improved, and the standard gauge has been resolved upon.

The motive is economy, but it is From a note of Sir John Scott, penny - wise, pound - foolish. The appended to Lord Cromer's report

, break of gauge will be seriously
it is evident that the native tribu- inconvenient in the transport of
nals are gaining slowly, but not troops, and generally disadvan-
less surely, the confidence of the tageous to both passengers and
people ; and that the patient and tratfic

. Last year the narrow
conciliatory labours of the judicial gauge was to have begun some
adviser are receiving the reward fifty miles north of Luxor, but the
of success which they deserve. rails for that section were trans-
The summary justice tribunals, ported to the frontier and replaced
which are his creation, tried in by others of a broad gauge. If
the year 51,696 cases, and the still possible, it would be well to
decisions, adds Sir John Scott, repeat that operation and extend

are as a rule in accordance with the broad gauge to Assouan.
the facts and the law; the appeals

Two concessions for the con-
are comparatively few, and gener; struction of light agricultural
ally the sentence is confirmed."

railways (2-feet 6-inch gauge, and
This prompt and inexpensive sys, about 200 miles in length) have
tem of justice is an appreciated been given, and we agree with
boon to the rural population ; and Lord Cromer that "it cannot be
we are not surprised to learn that doubted that the introduction of
the demands are numerous for an the system of light railways will
increase in the number of these prove of great benefit to the
courts.

country." These railways, having
Of the prosperous condition of a Government guarantee of 3 per
trade in Egypt there can be no cent interest, have justly attracted
better indication than the railway the attention of capitalists both
trafic. “The gross receipts of the abroad and in Egypt. One of the
railways during 1896 amounted concessions has been taken by
to ££1,822,000 as compared to an English syndicate, and this is
£1,750,000 in 1895," while in the second undertaking in which
1886 they were only £E1,270,000. British capital has been embarked
The working expenses of the lines in Egypt for works of public

It may

It is a gratifying circumstance at present open represent 43 per that the “conception and execu cent of the gross receipts-a pertion” of such important reforms centage greatly inferior to that of are attributable to the Egyptian our railways in England. The Ministers; and it is of good railway extensions now being caraugury for the future. There is ried out are also significant of a large field for similar reforms in the spirit of progress which is the Mussulman “Mehkemehs” alive in the country.

We are (cadi's courts), which can best told by Lord Cromer that “by the be carried out by native initia- end of 1897 it is expected that tive. The native judges of these through railway communication courts, cadis and muftis, are will be established from Cairo to poorly paid

and imperfectly Assouan,” which means an addition acquainted with the new code of of about 241 miles since 1895. laws. By special allowances, On the subject of this extension granted to those who pass an we will not conceal our regret examination in the new code, that, south of Luxor to Assouan their pecuniary situation might (131 miles), a change to a narrow be improved, and the standard gauge has been resolved upon. of qualification might be raised. The motive is economy, but it is

From a note of Sir John Scott, penny - wise, pound - foolish. The appended to Lord Cromer's report, break of gauge will be seriously it is evident that the native tribu- inconvenient in the transport of nals are gaining slowly, but not troops, and generally disadvanless surely, the confidence of the tageous to both passengers and people; and that the patient and traffic. Last

year

the narrow conciliatory labours of the judicial gauge was to have begun some adviser are receiving the reward fifty miles north of Luxor, but the of success which they deserve. rails for that section were transThe summary justice tribunals, ported to the frontier and replaced which are his creation, tried in by others of a broad gauge. If the year 51,696 cases, and the still possible, it would be well to decisions, adds Sir John Scott, repeat that operation and extend “are as a rule in accordance with the broad gauge to Assouan. the facts and the law; the appeals Two concessions for the conare comparatively few, and gener-struction of light agricultural ally the sentence is confirmed.” railways (2-feet 6-inch gauge, and This prompt and inexpensive sys- about 200 miles in length) have tem of justice is an appreciated been given, and we agree with boon to the rural population; and Lord Cromer that "it cannot be we are not surprised to learn that doubted that the introduction of the demands are numerous for an the system of light railways will increase in the number of these prove of great benefit to the courts.

country.” These railways, having Of the prosperous condition of a Government guarantee of 3 per trade in Egypt there can be no cent interest, have justly attracted better indication than the railway the attention of capitalists both traffic. “The gross receipts of the abroad and in Egypt. One of the railways during 1896 amounted concessions has been taken by to £E1,822,000 as compared to an English syndicate, and this is £1,750,000 in 1895," while in

1895,” while in the second undertaking in which 1886 they were only £E1,270,000. British capital has been embarked The working expenses of the lines in Egypt for works of public

to be relied upon in cases which Egyptian securities, which pur.

or, if not, the consequences are un calculation that forty-four years

have not the means to execute; the safes of the Caisse de la Dette.

tuitously give France and Russia assist in works of public utility.
the opportunity they desire to On the 1st of January last about

tions, irrespective of either law lations, which the mixed tribunals
or equity. Our chief regret is were created to abolish.
that it was pronounced by a In favour of the Caisse de la
court of the mixed tribunals, Dette much may be said. The
which, we are bound to acknow. financial fetters with which it
ledge, have deservedly acquired binds the Treasury are indeed
in the country a good reputation strong, but they have often proved
for probity and justice. On this salutary. In regard to the in-
account, while we agree with the flexible grasp with which it
Chancellor of the Exchequer that holds the “Reserve" from econ
the decision was almost absurd,” omies of conversion, it must be
we regret the comment which he admitted that the Egyptian Gov.
went on to make :-

sum

as

ernment, under British advice and

with its eyes open, accepted that
“I am bound to say that, in my situation in 1890, and in our
arrives at which the constitution and opinion wisely, because it was the
the powers of these mixed courts only means of reducing the interest
have to be reconsidered, a very grave
question ought to and must arise as It is therefore inconsistent today
to what shall be their powers and to complain that France refuses to
authority in the future, and whether apply these economies to purposes

of its debt by £350,000 per annum.

been deliberately intrusted by the

594

Another Year's Progress in Egypt: [ April
utility. It is remarkable that traordinary expenses of the Don-
hitherto French and German capi- gola expedition.
talists have shown most confidence But by a judgment of the Appeal
in enterprises in Egypt.

Court of the Mixed Tribunals the
But Lord Cromer's report for Egyptian Government, in Novem.
1896 is of especial interest for the ber last, was condemned to refund
information which it contains in with interest the advance which
reference to the expenses of the it bad received from the Caisse
recent advance to Dongola. In de la Dette; and as the judgment
a former articlel we said that could not legally be set aside, it
£1,250,000 was such a

became necessary to find the money
a responsible Minister would have elsewhere. With laudable promp-
been justified in asking for the titude the British Government
extraordinary expenses of the came to the rescue. Availing
Sudan expedition of last year, itself of a right which it pos-
We erred on the safe side, as we sessed by international agreement
desired to do.
It now appears

to raise money up to the limit of
from a detailed statement, com a million of pounds, the Egyptian
municated by Lord Cromer, that Government accepted the proffered
the actual amount of these extra- assistance as an advance in account
ordinary expenses only amounts to current. In the circumstances no
£E715,066, including £ E172,281 other solution was possible.
for railway extension and £E65,542 To the amount necessary to re-
for cost of gunboats with arma pay the Caisse de la Dette a
ment. These two last items are of further of £270,000 was
permanent utility, and represent added, representing the cost of a
together an outlay of £E237,823. light railway from Wady Halfa
The balance, £E477,243, will be to Abu Hamed; and on the 5th
admitted to be a remarkably small of February the Chancellor of the
sum for the extraordinary expenses Exchequer proposed to Parlia-
of an expedition which occupied ment, and carried by a majority
seven months, and engaged an of 112, a vote of £798, 802 as a
army of 15,000 men. We ex- grant in aid of the expenditure
pressed, in our former article, incurred in connection with the
confidence in the financial pru- Egyptian expedition to Dongola.
dence of Lord Cromer and Sir With this grant the extraordi-
Elwin Palmer, feeling assured that nary expenses of last year are
they would not have embarked in cleared, and provision is made for
the expedition without having pro the material necessary to lay down
vided sufficient resources to carry a line of railway to Abu Hamed.
it through. Their prudence has It would be a waste of space
been fully proved. An advance here to expose the fallacies upon
of £E500,000 had been obtained which the Mixed Court of Appeal
from the Caisse de la Dette, and based its judgment, condemning
the Egyptian Government had at the Egyptian Government to re-
its credit in the Special Reserve fund the advance accorded to it
Fund, and completely at its dis- for the Dongola expedition by a
posal, on the 31st December 1896 majority of the Commissioners of
£E255,000. These two sums would the Caisse.

It was a judgment
have largely provided for the ex influenced by political considera-

altogether,

sum

as

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they shall be allowed in this way which we think advantageous ; for, the interfere in affairs which have in truth, she is thus only acting Great Powers to another tribunal as every one with any knowledge of

her tactics of obstruction foresaw

from the first she would do. After The lesson taught by the judg. all, the evil is not without some ment is that the mixed tribunals, compensation of good. The Caisse

long as France and Russia pur employs, and is bound to employ, sue a policy of annoyance, are not these economies in the purchase of involve political considerations, chases enable Lord Cromer

, in a With prudent foresight, however, passage which we have already such cases can generally be avoided, quoted, to make the interesting likely to be serious. It is always hence what is not extinct of the a mistake to threaten what we Egyptian debt will be locked up in and in this instance, as any modi. In the treatment of the General fication in the position of the Reserve Fund, from which it was mixed tribunals can only be desired to take the £E500,000 effected with the consent of all for the expedition to Dongola, the the Great Powers, we would gra- Caisse has shown its readiness to

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put as in the impasse of either re- one-third of the fund had been tracting our demands or revert- pledged, chiefly for the construcing to the deplorable régime of tion of railways ; and more recentconsular courts under the capitu- ly a fresh grant 1 of £E250,000 has

"In Lord Cromer's report this grant is said to be from the “Special Reserve Fund," but this is an error for General Reserve Fund,

1 - The Sudan Advance," Blackwood's Magazine, September 1896.

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tions, irrespective of either law lations, which the mixed tribunals
or equity. Our chief regret is were created to abolish.
that it was pronounced by a In favour of the Caisse de la
court of the mixed tribunals, Dette much may be said. The
which, we are bound to acknow- financial fetters with which it
ledge, have deservedly acquired binds the Treasury are indeed
in the country a good reputation strong, but they have often proved
for probity and justice. On this salutary. In regard to the in-
account, while we agree with the flexible

grasp

with which it Chancellor of the Exchequer that holds the “Reserve” from econ. the decision was “almost absurd,” omies of conversion, it must be we regret the comment which he admitted that the Egyptian Govwent on to make :

ernment, under British advice and

with its eyes open, accepted that “I am bound to say that, in my situation in 1890, and in our opinion, when next year the time arrives at which the constitution and opinion wisely, because it was the the powers of these mixed courts only means of reducing the interest have to be reconsidered, a very grave of its debt by £350,000 per annum. question ought to and must arise as

It is therefore inconsistent to-day to what shall be their powers and to complain that France refuses to authority in the future, and whether apply these economies to purposes they shall be allowed in this way which we think advantageous; for, to interfere in affairs which have in truth, she is thus only acting been deliberately intrusted by the Great Powers to another tribunal

as every one with any knowledge of altogether."

her tactics of obstruction foresaw

from the first she would do. After The lesson taught by the judg- all, the evil is not without some ment is that the mixed tribunals, compensation of good. The Caisse as long as France and Russia pur- employs, and is bound to employ, sue a policy of annoyance, are not these economies in the purchase of to be relied upon in cases which Egyptian securities, which purinvolve political considerations. chases enable Lord Cromer, in a With prudent foresight, however, passage which we have already such cases can generally be avoided, quoted, to make the interesting or, if not, the consequences are un calculation that forty-four years likely to be serious. It is always hence what is not extinct of the a mistake to threaten what we Egyptian debt will be locked up in have not the means to execute; the safes of the Caisse de la Dette. and in this instance, as any modi- In the treatment of the General fication in the position of the Reserve Fund, from which it was mixed tribunals only be desired to take the £E500,000 effected with the consent of all for the expedition to Dongola, the the Great Powers, we would gra- Caisse has shown its readiness to tuitously give France and Russia assist in works of public utility. the opportunity they desire to On the 1st of January last about put us in the impasse of either re one-third of the fund had been tracting our demands or revert- pledged, chiefly for the construcing to the deplorable régime of tion of railways; and more recentconsular courts under the capitu- ly a fresh grant of £E250,000 has

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* In Lord Cromer's report this grant is said to be from the “ Special Reserve Fund," but this is an error for General Reserve Fund.

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isarranged to haul them byanumber of templation to ask Parliament during

presents 50 much difficulty that grant in aid, the other expenses

put in railway connection with the fact that we have been compelled base at Wady Halfa, a free way is to make this advance of money) with Wady Halia by the 1st of sired. Their effect has alreaily September, then Berber may be been felt in Egypt and in France.

secured at high water to Khar- through, certainly, no fault or

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the fourth cataract, which is about most advantageous. Although half-way between these two places, slow, it is sure

, and financially it is thus described by Mr Chelu:- is convenient. The Chancellor of

the Exchequer was able to assure “ Although the length of the catar: Parliament, as the result of careact does not exceed six kilometres, it

ful inquiry, that no further grant is difficult to go up it against stream in less than six days, say one kilometre in aid would be required in per day. The velocity of the water 1897in some places is extraordinary ; in others there is no depth. At some

"The Egyptian Government will

construct that railway, and they will points hauling is impossible on

bear all the other account of the multitude of rocks which rise up along the course of the likely to be incurred in the

coming channels, narrow and deep; further stationer. I have satisfied myself on it is literally necessary to slide the boats over sand or rock. Attempted with boats of some size the passage of cost

, and the means of the Egyptian the fourth cataract is only possible if, after lightening them of their loads, it so convinced that it is not in our conmen varying between 50 and 1500."

From this description it will be proposed.” easily understood how, opposed by

expenses that

both as to the nature of the operations to be undertaken, their probable

1897 for any further expenditure in this matter than that which is now

been accorded to the Irrigation The objectif is Khartoum, but Department to be expended in when it may be convenient to works of drainage.

reach it depends upon circum. We have therefore no hesitation stances. Last year's campaign in saying that until we are pre- proved that the Derwishes cannot pared to take over the debt of hold any position on the river-banks Egypt, after the wise example of against the fire of gunboats. The France in Tunis and Madagascar, bravest of men are helpless against or have the courage to proclaim a the volleys of shot and shell poured protectorate, the mixed tribunals in upon them from these floating and the Caisse de la Dette, with batteries, to which they can only all their faults, are worth preserv- reply from a few antiquated guns ing, and are by no means unmiti and by rifle - fire. Leave their gated evils.

trenches they must, for they be The Chancellor of the Exchequer, come untenable. The only alterin his speech on the vote of the native is to move on or die. The grant in aid, indicated clearly the defence at Berber and Omdurman, intentions of the Government as both on the river's banks, will to the future military operations inevitably meet the same fate as in the Sudan. He said :

at Hafir. Nor can the Derwishes “Since that expedition” (of last

with time improve their powers of year) “was undertaken we have never resistance. Gunboats they cannot concealed, either from Parliament or build, guns they cannot make. It from the country, that, in our view, matters, then, little, as far as the there should be a further advance in opposition of the enemy is conthe same direction, and that Egypt cerned, whether the advance to could never be held to be permanently Khartoum is made this year or secured so long as a hostile Power was in occupation of the Nile valley up to the next. Strategically, howerer, Khartoum. We have had to consider it is of importance to make sure whether that policy should still be of the position of Abu Hamed,

We believe that the policy is right, and we intend that light railway across the desert

and this can best be done by a it shall be pursued.

What

from Wady Halfa. Writing of we propose is that the policy shall be continued in the coming season, first

Abu Hamed, Mr Chelu, in his of all by an advance to a very im

valuable work on the course of the portant point on the Nile called Abu Nile, says :Hamed, which lies to the north-east of the extreme limits of the present

“ Below Abu Hamed the Nile province of Dongola.

This ceases to flow towards the north, and is to be as that was” (last year's) “an

takes a course west-south-west until Egyptian advance, in the first place to it reaches Debbeh, sixty kilometres Abu Hamed and afterwards possibly above Ambukol. As the wind blows beyond. How far I do not think it almost constantly from the north right to say. But this I will say, that during nine months of the year, it in our opinion the main work to be follows that, on account of the direcdone in the coming season should be tion of the river, this wind, favour. first the consolidation and connection

able between Assouan and Debbeh, of the districts alreally under the do

and between Abu Hamed and Khar. minion of the Khedive, and, secondly, toum, ceases to be so from Debbeh to the acquisition of important strategi

Abu Hamed, and constitutes a very cal positions which may be of the

serious obstacle to boats which cannot utmost value in the future.”

struggle against it." We cordially approve of the The river between Ambukol and views thus so clearly enunciated. Abu Hamed is full of rapids, and

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stores for a

The Chancellor of the Exwind and stream and confronted by chequer's anticipations are well constant perils, the upward nav. founded. The material for the igation in this portion of the river railway being provided for by the the transport of artillery and will be covered by the surplus of large army is danger

. 1897, which is likely to amount to
ous. It is this which makes the £400,000.
construction of a light railway-

We cannot close without ex.
220 miles in length-across the pressing our satisfaction at the
desert, from Wady Halfa to Abu firm language used by the Chan-
Hamed, an absolute necessity, cellor of the Exchequer in regard
But Abu Hamed once reached and to the occupation of Egypt: " The

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pursued.

toum, 330 miles distant. It is action of our own is, I think, hoped that this line may be com- rather likely to prolong the occupleted by the 1st of September, pation." but to accomplish this will require

These words are emphatic when the utmost efforts of the energetic it is remembered that they proSirdar, his officers and men, ceed from official lips, and they Should Abu Hamed be connected are all that could have been de

got to before the waters have In Egypt the most simple intellifallen; but if not, then next year gences have been impressed by the both Berber and Khartoum may fact that the mixed tribunals and be taken during the flood.

the Caisse de la Dette, who posed This movement by stages as before them as supreme, have may be feasible is decidedly the proved to be of no account at all

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