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that the Englishman's own countrymen, who, according to their custom, judged mainly by results, expected that at the touch of his administrative wand all abuses would forthwith disappear; that the fellah expected immediate relief from taxation and oppression ; that the Levantine contractor expected to dip his itching palm into the till of the British Treasury; that the Englishman's position was undefined, and that he was unable to satisfy all these expectations at once; that, having just quelled a rebellion in Egypt, he was confronted with a still more formidable rebellion in the Soudan; and, lastly, that before he had seriously begun the work of reform, he was constantly pressed by Frenchmen, and by some of his own countrymen, to declare his conviction that the work was accomplished,—when all these points are remembered, the difficulty of the task which England undertook may be appreciated in its true light. But the task was ennobled by its difficulty. It was one worthy of the past history, the might, the resources, and the sterling national qualities of the Anglo-Saxon race. I shall presently endeavour to show how it was accomplished. Before, however, dealing with this portion of my task, the component parts of the population of Egypt require some further analysis.
Classification of the population - The Turco-Egyptians-The Egyptians
-The hierarchy - The Grand Mufti—The head of the El-Azhar University—The Grand Kadi—The Sheikh el-Bekri—Mohammed el - Saadat - Abdul - Khalik el - Saadat - Mohammed Abdu Mohammed Beyram-The Omdehs and Sheikhs - Their submissiveness to the_Pashas—Their sympathy with Arábi— Their tyranny over the Fellaheen—Their feelings towards England The Fellaheen—The Bedouins.
ACCORDING to the census of 1897, the dwellers in Egypt were at that time 9,734,000 in number. These 9,734,000 souls may be classified in various ways.
In the first place, they may be considered as, on the one side, Ottoman subjects, a category which would include almost every species of semi-Egyptian hybrid, and on the other side, Europeans, a category which would include every nondescript who could, by hook or by crook, get his name registered at some European Consulate. Or, they may be classified as officials and non-officials, a classification, the discussion of which would bring into relief the fact that, when the British occupation commenced, it had not yet been realised by the native officials of Egypt that they were the trustees of the non-official classes ; rather were the latter considered to be the legitimate prey of the former. Or, they may be classified as Moslems and Christians, a distinction which, being converted from terms of
religious belief into those of political and social life, would differentiate the ignorant, conservative mass from the more subtle, more superficially intellectual, but, if the true Europeans be_excluded, by no means more virile minority. In the following remarks, the last of these three classifications will be adopted
The Moslems consist, first, of Turks and TurcoEgyptians; secondly, of Egyptians; and thirdly, of Bedouins. A few Moslems resident in Egypt will thus remain unclassified; for instance, there are a few Algerians and Tunisians, who are French, and a few natives of India, who are British subjects. There are also a considerable number of Soudanese, an element which was found of importance when the reorganisation of the Egyptian army was taken in hand. But, for the purposes of the present argument, it will suffice to deal with the Moslems under the three main heads given above.
The Turk was the conqueror of Egypt, and within the memory of persons still living behaved as such. But there are now but few pure Turks left. In the absence of fresh importations from Turkey, a process of Egyptianisation set in. Absence from the headquarters of Ottoman thought and action, and intermarriage with Egyptians, produced their natural results. It is thought that no such thing as a pure Turk of the third generation is to be found within the length and breadth of the land. It is, indeed, a misnomer to speak of Turks in Egypt. By the time the English occupied the country in 1882, all the Turks had blossomed or, as some would say, degenerated into Turco - Egyptians. This is a point which the English politician had to bear carefully in mind, for as each year of the British occupation passed by, the Turco - Egyptian element in Egyptian society became more Egyptian and less Turkish
in character and habits of thought. In common with other Moslems, the Turco-Egyptians looked to the Sultan as their Pope. But, on the other hand, they were year by year less inclined to regard him as their King. When, in 1892, the British Government stepped in and prevented a Firman of the Sultan from being promulgated, they rallied in a half-hearted and platonic manner round the Commander of the Faithful. They winced at the spectacle of his humiliation at the hands of a Christian Power. But, even then, the feelings of indignation excited in their breasts were probably no stronger than those which would be felt by an Italian patriot, who was also a devout Catholic, and who saw the Vatican obliged to yield to the Quirinal.
Again, in 1906, when the relations between England and Turkey were strained by the occurrence of what is known as the “Sinai Peninsula” incident, a strong wave of pro-Turkish feeling seemed to sweep over Egypt, but it was a purely fictitious movement, manufactured by the Anglophobe press. It speedily died a natural death.
In truth, religious conviction, backed by racial prejudices
and by the sympathy generally entertained amongst Orientals for a theocratic form of
government, may for a while wrestle with personal interest and political associations, but the chances are that, if the struggle is continued, religious conviction will get a fall. Pro-Turkish sentiment will, therefore, smoulder and occasionally flicker up sufficiently to show some feeble light, but it will never burst into a blaze. For, in fact, many considerations are constantly dragging the Turco - Egyptian in a direction away from Constantinople. Although he may try to deceive others, he cannot deceive himself. He knows well enough what he would do if he got the upper hand; he would plunder every one he could indiscriminately. He knows
that his own brethren, whom his ancestors left behind at Constantinople, are prepared to act on precisely similar principles, and he feels that if they, who are certainly the most powerful of the sons of Islam, were once to step on the scene, his affinity of race would avail him little; he would take rank with the plundered rather than with the plunderers; or, at best, he would have to stand by and see the Egyptians robbed without obtaining any adequate share of the plunder. Rather than submit to this fate, it were perhaps better to take the good things the Englishmen offer to him; it is true that they will not let him spoil the Egyptian, but they will prevent the Constantinopolitan Turk from spoiling him; they give him wealth and security for his life and property ; perhaps it will be as well to pause before throwing away these benefits in order to obtain the doubtful advantages of being governed by a number of co-religionists, whose community of religion will in no degree temper their rapacity. Then, again, as time went on, a few Turco-Egyptians were animated by sentiments which, however unpractical, were by no means ignoble. They became identified with Egyptian aspirations, and wished to establish a government free from the interference of either Turk or European. A few also recognised the benefits conferred on the country by the British occupation, and loyally co-operated with the British officials in furthering the cause of reform.
Thus, in 1882, the English found a body of Turco-Egyptians who occupied the principal places under Government; who were the chief landowners in the country; who disliked the English, inasmuch as they knew by intuition that their intervention would save the Egyptians from being plundered; who occasionally cast a glance towards Constantinople, and were willing enough to try and