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ANOTHER YEAR'S PROGRESS IN EGYPT.
LORD CROMER'S REPORT.
It is a gratifying circumstance at present open represent 43 per
we will not conceal our regret
The annual report of Lord eloquent as to require no comment.
'During the last six years debt
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
£4,163,000, is now £3,776,000, a
Administratively, along the
whole line there is
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
that subject :-
“These well-considered reforms, the
faction by the very great majority of
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
. Last year the narrow
are as a rule in accordance with the broad gauge to Assouan.
Two concessions for the con-
railways (2-feet 6-inch gauge, and
country." These railways, having
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
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.
tions, irrespective of either law lations, which the mixed tribunals
ernment, under British advice and
with its eyes open, accepted that
of its debt by £350,000 per annum.
been deliberately intrusted by the
Another Year's Progress in Egypt: [ April
Court of the Mixed Tribunals the
became necessary to find the money
to raise money up to the limit of
It was a judgment
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
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.
tions, irrespective of either law lations, which the mixed tribunals
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
* 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.
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
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
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.
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
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
We cannot close without ex.
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