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issue of a Khedivial Decree, laying down both the time and duration of the meeting. The practical result of this arrangement has been that the Councils have never met more than once a year. The time has certainly come when the whole of this question may usefully be considered. One of the last proposals I made before leaving Egypt? was that the Provincial Councils should be reorganised, their powers somewhat increased, and that steps should be taken to carry out more fully what was unquestionably Lord Dufferin's intention, viz. that the Councils should be real working bodies, acting as advisers to the Moudir. Sir Eldon Gorst has this matter in hand, and will, I do not doubt, with the help of the British and Egyptian officials, be able to devise a scheme suitable to the requirements and present condition of the country.
The question of whether the powers and constitution of the Legislative Council may advantageously be changed is one of far greater difficulty. As I have already said, I do not propose to discuss it at length. I will, therefore, only say that whilst I am not prepared to maintain that some cautious steps in this direction might not before long be prudently taken, I am very strongly of opinion that any attempt to confer full parliamentary powers on the Council would, for a long time to come, be the extreme of folly and would be highly detrimental to the true interests of the Egyptians themselves. The facts that many of the members of the Council are men of unquestionable honesty and intelligence, and that some are personal friends of my own, cannot blind me to the fact that, as a whole, the Council, -as would, indeed, be the case with any similar body which could, under present circumstances, be constituted in Egypt,-possesses two great defects.
See Egypt, No. 1 of 1907, pp. 29-32.
The first is one which they share with representative bodies in some other countries. It is that, acting under public pressure, they are too apt to propose important changes in the fiscal system, and, at the same time, to advocate large additional expenditure on public objects, without sufficient consideration of the financial results which would ensue were effect given to their proposals. It should never be forgotten that any extension of representative institutions, which was obtained at the risk of again plunging Egypt into all the financial embarrassment from which the country has been so hardly and so recently rescued, would be far too dearly bought. The second defect, which in the
any one acquainted with the past history of modern Egypt is extremely pardonable, is that the most enlightened members of the Council have not, as yet, acquired all those qualities necessary to give them the moral courage to assert their true opinions fearlessly. Notably, many of them are terrorised by the local press. To the European mind, it may seem a contradiction in terms to say that freedom of speech is checked by the freedom of the press. But in the Land of Paradox all things are possible. I have no doubt whatever that a large number—probably a majority — of the members of the Legislative Council would welcome the enactment of a rigorous press law as a measure calculated to free them from the moral shackles which now hamper their liberty of speech and action.
Of all the institutions created by Lord Dufferin, the Legislative Assembly has, in practice, turned out to be the least useful and efficient. It was, and still is, too much in advance of the requirements and political education of the country. No real harm would be done if it were simply abolished, and, indeed, the cause of representative government
would, I believe, benefit if, simultaneously with its abolition, the Legislative Council were organised, and its powers somewhat increased. Without doubt, however, the adoption of this course would be regarded by many-erroneously, in my opinion—as a retrograde measure. therefore, be politically desirable not to entertain the idea. In that case, I hold that, for the time being, the Legislative Assembly should be left alone. I deprecate any attempt to enlarge its powers, and I think it would be extremely difficult to amend its constitution.
The purely Egyptian portion of the machinery of government has now been described. This part of the machinery would, however, never get into motion were it not impelled by some strong motive power. That motive power is furnished by the British officials in the service of the Egyptian Government. The special functions of these officials will be described in the next chapter.
THE BRITISH OFFICIALS
Qualifications required of an Anglo-Egyptian official-Positions of the
vil and military officials—The ench in Tunis—The Financial Adviser—Sir Edgar Vincent—The Judicial Adviser-History of his appointment—Sir Raymond West-Justice under Egyptian management-Sir John Scott—The Public Works DepartmentSir Colin Scott-Moncrieff—Sir William Garstin-The Financial Secretary – Blum Pasha — Lord Milner-Sir Eldon Gorst - SubDepartments of Finance, The Interior - Public InstructionEuropean and Egyptian officials.
It is related that a lady once asked Madame de Staël to recommend a tutor for her boy. She described the sort of man she wished to find. He was to be a gentleman with perfect manners and a thorough knowledge of the world; it was essential that he should be a classical scholar and an accomplished linguist; he was to exercise supreme authority over his pupil, and at the same time he was to show such a degree of tact that his authority was to be unfelt; in fact, he was to possess almost every moral attribute and intellectual faculty which it is possible to depict, and, lastly, he was to place all these qualities at the service of Madame de Staël's friend for a very low salary. The witty Frenchwoman listened with attention to her friend's list of indispensable qualifications and eventually replied : “Ma chère, je comprends parfaitement bien le caractère de l'homme qu'il vous faut, mais je dois vous dire que si je le trouve, je l'épouse."
This story is applicable to the qualifications demanded of an ideal Anglo-Egyptian official.
The Anglo-Egyptian official must possess some technical knowledge, such as that of the engineer, the accountant, or the lawyer; otherwise, he will be unable to deal with the affairs of the Department to which he is attached. At the outset of his career, he is usually placed at a great disadvantage. He must often explain his ideas in a foreign language, French, with which he has probably only a limited acquaintance. Unless he is to run the risk of falling into the hands of some subordinate, often of doubtful trustworthiness, it is, at all events in respect to many official posts, essential that he should acquire some knowledge of a very difficult Oriental language, Arabic. These, however, are all faculties to which it is possible to apply some fairly accurate test. The Anglo-Egyptian official must be possessed of other qualities, which it is more difficult to gauge with precision, but which are in reality of even greater importance than those to which allusion is made above. He must be a man of high character. He must have sufficient elasticity of mind to be able to apply, under circumstances which are strange to him, the knowledge which he has acquired elsewhere. He must be possessed of a sound judgment in order to enable him to distinguish between abuses, which should be at once reformed, and those which it will be wise to tolerate, at all events for a time. He must be versatile, and quick to adapt any local feature of the administration to suit his own reforming purposes. He must be well-mannered and conciliatory, and yet not allow his conciliation to degenerate into weakness. He must be firm, and yet not allow his firmness to harden into dictation. He must efface himself as much as possible. In fact, besides his special technical knowledge, he