Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

degree of action, and will then produce results which the casual observer may think are due to the excellence of the system, whereas they are in reality for the most part obtained by the occurrence of adventitious circumstances in spite of the system. Administrative internationalism, like Richelieu, is occasionally capable, if not of absolute good, at all events of assuming a fictitious appearance of goodness.

Thus, the Egyptian Railways benefited by the increase of prosperity and by the general reforming impulse which was imparted to the Egyptian administrative machine by the predominance of British influence in the country.

They would have benefited still more had the British reformers been from the first allowed a free hand in dealing with their administration.

In 1904, as a consequence of the arrangements with the Powers, to which allusion has already been made, the Egyptian Government acquired full right to deal with the Railway Administration in any way they might think fit.

Few, save those behind the scenes, have probably recognised fully that the Anglo - French Agreement was only signed just in time to prevent a complete breakdown of the Railway Administration. Such, however, is unquestionably the case. If means had not been found to spend a large amount of capital on developments and improvements, the railways of Egypt would have been wholly unable to cope with the growing requirements of the country.

Towards the close of 1905, Sir Charles Scotter visited Egypt and made a full report on the condition of the Egyptian Railways. His suggestions are now being carried out. The Railway Administration is being thoroughly reorganised. Capita]

1 See Egypt, No. 1 of 1906, pp. 110-113.

2

expenditure to the extent of £3,000,000 has been sanctioned, of which £1,635,000 was expended before the close of 1906. It is probable that an additional grant of £1,000,000 will be eventually required. Thus, it may be hoped that before long the Egyptian Railway Administration will be in thoroughly good order.

Looking back to one of my earliest Reports I notice that in 1890, the Egyptian Railways carried 4,700,000 passengers and 1,683,000 tons of goods. In 1906, they carried no less than 22,550,000 passengers and 20,036,000 tons of goods. These figures serve as a striking illustration of the immense improvement in the material condition of the country which has taken place during the last few years. They also afford an ample justification for the large reductions which have been made in the rates.

In addition to the State Railways, a network of 1145 kilometres of Agricultural Railways, which are owned by private companies, exists in Egypt. These railways are largely used. In 1906, they carried 6,924,000 passengers and 929,000 tons of goods.

8. Daira Sanieh. The Daira properties formed part of the huge estates which Ismail Pasha contrived, generally by illicit and arbitrary methods, to accumulate in his own hands.

They originally extended over an area of more than half a million of acres. When Ismail got into financial difficulties, he borrowed · Egypt, No. of 1892, p. 20.

I may remark that the same lesson is to be learnt from an examination of the statistics of the Post Office and Telegraph Departments, in both of which the rates have been largely reduced. In 1885, only 12,500,000 letters and 83,000 parcels passed through the Post Office. In 1905, the figures were : letters, 50,700,000; parcels, 250,000. In 1906, no less than 1,925,000 telegrams, of which 1,248,000 were in Arabic, passed over the lines, as compared to about 311,000 in 1890.

2

£9,500,000 on the security of these properties. They were administered by a Board of Directors, consisting of an Egyptian Director-General, and two Controllers, one British and one French. The Director-General was the executive officer, but the Controllers had ample powers of supervision and inspection. They alone were the legal representatives of the bondholders.

Until the year 1891, the Daira expenditure was always in excess of the revenue. On several occasions the deficits exceeded £200,000. With the exception of the year 1895, when there was a deficit amounting to £102,000, the accounts of every year subsequent to 1890 showed a surplus. In the two years 1904-5, the revenue exceeded the expenditure by no less than £817,000.

In 1898, an arrangement was made under which the Daira estates were sold to a company, who again resold them in lots. The sales are now complete. Most of the purchasers were Egyptians. The Government share in the profits of the liquidation amounted to about £3,280,000.

4. The Domains Administration. The properties, known by the name of the Domains, comprise the estates ceded, under pressure, by Ismail Pasha in 1878. On the security of these estates, a loan of £8,500,000 was negotiated with Messrs. Rothschild. It was, at the same time, arranged that the Domains should be administered by a Commission consisting of an Englishman, a Frenchman, and an Egyptian.

Up to the year 1899, the revenue yielded by the estates was invariably less than the expenditure. In one year (1885) the deficit amounted to no less than £275,000. From 1900 onwards, &

· Vide ante, vol. i. p. 63.

surplus, varying from £26,000 to £150,000, was always realised

By gradual sales? the extent of the Domains properties, which originally consisted of nearly 426,000 acres of land, was reduced by the close of 1906 to about 147,000 acres. Simultaneously, the outstanding capital of the loan was reduced from £8,500,000 to about £1,316,000. It cannot be doubted that the whole of this loan will be paid off before long, and that, when this is done, some very valuable lands will remain at the disposal of the Government.

With the sale of the Daira and Domains lands, almost the last traces of the injury which Ismail Pasha inflicted on his country, by accumulating 1,000,000 acres of the best land in Egypt in the hands of himself and his family, will disappear.

Some comprehension of these institutions is necessary in order to understand the extent to which the freedom of action of the British officials in Egypt was at one time crippled. A brief examination of that curious mosaic termed the Judicial System of Egypt will tend to bring into still stronger relief the anomalous position occupied by the Anglo-Egyptian reformer. In the case of those institutions of which I have so far treated, the shackles have now been, for the most part, struck off. In the case of those with which I am about to deal, they still remain and bar the way to reform.

1 The great majority of the purchasers have been Egyptians. The land was, for the most part, sold in small lots.

2 On November 30, 1907, the outstanding capital of this loan amounted to only £1,050,940.

3 If the present price of land is maintained, the value of the estates which will remain over after the complete liquidation of the loan will probably be about £5,000,000.

CHAPTER XLII

THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM

The Mixed Courts-Nubar Pasha's objects in creating them-Attributes

and composition of the Mixed Courts—Defects in the institutionThe Consular Courts—The Native Tribunals and the Kadi's Courts -Summary of jurisdictions in Egypt.

In creating the International Tribunals, or, as they are more frequently called, the Mixed Courts, Nubar Pasha had two objects in view. In the first place, he was struck with the fact that, inasmuch as the European adventurers who flocked to Egypt during the reigns of Said and of Ismail had no legal means for obtaining a redress of any real or imaginary grievances, they fell back, in case of need, on diplomatic support, with results that were not unfrequently disastrous to the Egyptian Treasury. Nubar Pasha, therefore, conceived the statesmanlike project of creating law-courts, which should command the confidence of Europe, and which should be empowered to try civil suits between Europeans, on the one hand, and Egyptians or the Egyptian Government, on the other hand. In the second place, although in dealing with Ismail Pasha this aspect of the case was kept in the background, Nubar Pasha wished to erect a legal barrier between the population of Egypt and the capricious despotism of the Khedive. His original intention was to place all the inhabitants of Egypt, whether Europeans or Egyptians, under the jurisdiction of

« PoprzedniaDalej »