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Title: Secret History of the English Occupation of Egypt - Being a Personal Narrative of Events
Author: Blunt, Wilfrid Scawen, 1840-1922
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Secret History of the English Occupation of Egypt







    Being a Personal Narrative of Events




    COPYRIGHT, 1922,

    _Published, October, 1922_

    _Set up and printed by the Vail-Ballou Co., Binghamton, N. Y._
    _Paper furnished by W. F. Etherington & Co., New York, N. Y._
    _Bound by the Plimpton Press, Norwood, Mass._



When I first arranged with Mr. Blunt to publish _The Secret History of
the English Occupation of Egypt_, I suggested that he write for the
American Edition a brief foreword bringing the book into even closer
relation to the Anglo-Egyptian situation as it stands today. He thought
this idea a good one, and agreed to write such a note. But Mr. Blunt was
born in 1840, and has for a number of years been in failing health. In
June he wrote me that he was so ill as to be quite unable to finish the
foreword, which he had actually commenced to write. He felt furthermore
that any advantage the edition would gain by having a new preface by him
would be more than counterbalanced by any delay in the appearance of the
book "at the present extremely critical moment."

He remarked further: "What could I have said more appropriate today as a
new preface than the few words which already stand as the short preface
I set to the first edition of my _Secret History_ (published in London
and which you reprint in this new edition). This and my poem _The Wind
and the Whirlwind_ (which you also give as an Appendix). Both are
absolutely true of the present shameful position of England in Egypt and
the calamity so closely threatening her Eastern Empire. What could I say
more exactly suited? This is the punishment we are reaping today for our
sin of that sad morning on the Nile which saw the first English gun open
its thunder of aggression just forty years ago at Alexandria in the name
of England's honour. What could I add to my words of grief and shame
then uttered and repeated here? Let these stand for my new preface. My
day is done. Alas! that I should have lived to see those words come true
of England's punishment, more than true."

A. A. K.


I desire to place on record in a succinct and tangible form the events
which have come within my knowledge relating to the origin of the
English occupation of Egypt--not necessarily for publication now, but as
an available document for the history of our times. At one moment I
played in these events a somewhat prominent part, and for nearly twenty
years I have been a close and interested spectator of the drama which
was being acted at Cairo.

It may well be, also, that the Egyptian question, though now quiescent,
will reassert itself unexpectedly in some urgent form hereafter,
requiring of Englishmen a new examination of their position there,
political and moral; and I wish to have at hand and ready for their
enlightenment the whole of the materials I possess. I will give these as
clearly as I can, with such documents in the shape of letters and
journals as I can bring together in corroboration of my evidence,
disguising nothing and telling the whole truth as I know it. It is not
always in official documents that the truest facts of history are to be
read, and certainly in the case of Egypt, where intrigue of all kinds
has been so rife, the sincere student needs help to understand the
published parliamentary papers.

Lastly, for the Egyptians, if ever they succeed in re-establishing
themselves as an autonomous nation, it will be of value that they should
have recorded the evidence of one whom they know to be their sincere
friend in regard to matters of diplomatic obscurity which to this day
they fail to realize. My relations with Downing Street in 1882 need to
be related in detail if Egyptians are ever to appreciate the exact
causes which led to the bombardment of Alexandria and the battle of
Tel-el-Kebir, while justice to the patriot leader of their "rebellion"
requires that I should give a no less detailed account of Arabi's trial,
which still presents itself to some Egyptian as to all French minds, in
the light of a pre-arranged comedy devised to screen a traitor. It does
not do to leave truth to its own power of prevailing over lies, and
history is full of calumnies which have remained unrefuted, and of
ingratitudes which nations have persisted in towards their worthiest




Since the first brief preface to my manuscript was written twelve years
ago, events have happened which seem to indicate that the moment
foreseen in it has at last arrived when to the public advantage and
without risk of serious indiscretion as far as individuals are
concerned, the whole truth may be given to the world.

Already in 1904 the original manuscript had been thoroughly revised, and
in its purely Egyptian part remodelled under circumstances which add
greatly to its historic value. My old Egyptian friend, Sheykh Mohammed
Abdu, of whom so much mention is made in it, had taken up his country
residence at my doors at Sheykh Obeyd, and I found myself in almost
daily intercourse with him, a most precious accident of which I did not
fail to take full advantage. That great philosopher and patriot--now,
alas, lost to us, for he died at Alexandria, 11th July, 1905, the day
being the twenty-third anniversary of the bombardment of that
city--after many vicissitudes of evil and good fortune had attained in
the year 1899 to the supreme position in Egypt of Grand Mufti, and
having thus acquired a wider sphere than ever of influence with his
fellow countrymen, had it at heart to bequeath to them a true account of
the events of his time, events which had become strangely misunderstood
by them, and clothed with legends altogether fantastic and unreal.

On this subject he often spoke to me, regretting his lack of leisure to
complete the historic work, and when I told him of my own memoir, he
urged me very strongly to publish it, if not in English at least with
his help in Arabic, and he undertook to go through it with me and see
that all that part of it which related to matters within his knowledge
was accurately and fully told. We had been personal friends and
political allies almost from the date of my first visit to Egypt, and
with his garden adjoining mine it was an easy matter for us to work
together and compare our recollections of the men and things we had
known. It was in this way that my history of an epoch so memorable to us
both took final shape, and I was able (how fortunately!) to complete it
and obtain from him his approval and _imprimatur_ before his
unlooked-for death closed forever the chief source of knowledge which he
undoubtedly was of the political movement which led up to the revolution
of 1881, and of the intrigues which marred it in the following year.

The Mufti's death, a severe blow to me as well as to Egypt, postponed
indefinitely our plan of publishing in Arabic, nor till the present year
has the time seemed politically ripe for the production of my work in
English. The events, however, of 1906, and now Lord Cromer's retirement
from the Egyptian scene, have so wholly changed the situation that I
feel I ought no longer to delay, at least as far as my duty to my own
countrymen is concerned. We English are confronted to-day in our
dealings with Egypt with very much the same problem we misunderstood and
blundered about so disastrously a generation ago, and if those of us who
are responsible for public decisions are, in the words of my first
preface, to "re-examine their position there, political and moral,"
honestly or to any profit, it is necessary they should first have set
before them the past as it really was and not as it has been presented
to them so long by the fallacious documents of their official Blue
Books. I should probably not be wrong in asserting that neither Lord
Cromer at Cairo nor Sir Edward Grey at home, nor yet Lord Cromer's
successor Sir Eldon Gorst, have any accurate knowledge of what occurred
in Egypt twenty-five years ago--this notwithstanding Lord Cromer's tardy
recognition of the reform movement of 1881 and his eulogium of Sheykh
Mohammed Abdu repeated so recently as in his last annual Report. Lord
Cromer, it must be remembered, was not at Cairo during any part of the
revolutionary period here described, and, until quite recently, has
always assumed the "official truth" regarding it to be the only truth.

For this reason I have decided now finally on publication, giving the
text of my Memoir as it was completed in January, 1905, the identical
text of which my friend signified his approval suppressing only certain
brief passages which seem to me still too personal in regard to
individuals living, and which could be excised without injury to the
volume's complete historic value. I can sincerely say that in all I
have written my one great aim has been to disclose the _vérité vraie_ as
it is known to me for misguided History's sake.

If there is at all a second reason with me, it must be looked for in a
promise publicly made as long ago as in the September number of the
"Nineteenth Century Review" of 1882 that I would complete some day my
personal _Apologia_ in regard to events then contemporary. At that time
and out of consideration for Mr. Gladstone, and for the hope I had that
he would yet repair the wrong he had done to liberty in Egypt, I
forbore, in the face of much obloquy, to exculpate myself by a full
revelation of the hidden circumstances which were my justification. I
could not clear myself entirely without telling facts technically
confidential, and I decided to be silent.

There is, however, a limit to the duty of reticence owed to public men
in public affairs, and I am confident that my abstention of a quarter of
a century will excuse me with fair judging minds if I now at last make
my conduct quite clear in the only way possible to me, namely, by a
complete exposure in detail of the whole drama of financial intrigue and
political weakness as it was at the time revealed to me, substantiating
it by the contemporary documents still in my possession. If the
susceptibilities of some persons in high places are touched by a too
candid recital, I can but reply that the necessity of speech has been
put on me by their own long lack of candour and generosity. During all
these years not one of those who knew the truth has said a confessing
word on my behalf. It will be enough if I repeat with Raleigh:

    Go, Soul, the Body's guest,
      Upon a thankless errand.
    Fear not to touch the best,
      The truth shall be thy warrant.
    Then go, for thou must die,
    And give the world the lie.



_April_, 1907.


 PREFACE OF 1895                                 vii

 PREFACE ON PUBLICATION, 1907                     ix

     I. EGYPT UNDER ISMAÏL                         1

    II. SIR RIVERS WILSON'S MISSION               19

   III. TRAVELS IN ARABIA AND INDIA               38

    IV. ENGLISH POLITICS IN 1880                  51





    IX. FALL OF SHERIF PASHA                     146

     X. MY PLEADING IN DOWNING STREET            162

    XI. THE CIRCASSIAN PLOT                      186


  XIII. DERVISH'S MISSION                        228

   XIV. A LAST APPEAL TO GLADSTONE               251


   XVI. THE CAMPAIGN OF TEL-EL-KEBIR             285

  XVII. THE ARABI TRIAL                          323

 XVIII. DUFFERIN'S MISSION                       349


     I. ARABI'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY                    367

    II. TEXT OF NATIONAL PROGRAMME               383



     V. NOTE AS TO THE BERLIN CONGRESS           401

    VI. THE WIND AND THE WHIRLWIND               404

Secret History of the English Occupation of Egypt



My first visit to Egypt was in the winter of 1875-6, when I spent some
pleasant months as a tourist on the lower Nile. Before, however,
describing my impressions of this my earliest acquaintance made with the
Egyptian people, it may be as well, that, for their benefit and the
benefit of foreign readers generally, I should say a few words in
explanation of what my previous life had been as far as it had had any
relation to public affairs. It will show them my exact position in my
own country, and help them to understand how it came about that,
beginning as a mere onlooker at what was passing in their country, I
gradually became interested in it politically and ended by taking an
active part in the revolution which six years later developed itself
among them. I was already thirty-five years of age at the date of this
first visit, and had seen much of men and things.

I began life rather early. Belonging to a family of the landed gentry of
the south of England with strong Conservative traditions and connected
with some of the then leaders of the Tory party, I was placed at the age
of eighteen in the Diplomatic Service, in the first instance as attaché
to the British Legation at Athens where King Otho was still on the
throne of Greece, and afterwards, during a space of twelve years, as
member of other legations and embassies to the various Courts of Europe,
in all of which I learned a little of my profession, amused myself, and
made friends. I was thus, between 1859 and 1869, for some weeks at
Constantinople in the reign of Sultan Abd-el-Mejid; for a couple of
years in the Germany of the Germanic Confederation; for a year in Spain
under Queen Isabella; and for another year in Paris at the climax of the
Emperor's prestige under Napoleon III; and I was also for a short time
in the Republic of Switzerland, in South America, and in Portugal.
Everywhere my diplomatic recollections are agreeable ones, but they are
without special political interest or importance of any official kind.

Our English diplomacy in those days, the years following the Crimean
War, which had disgusted Englishmen with foreign adventures, was very
different from what it has since become. It was essentially pacific,
unaggressive, and devoid of those subtleties which have since earned it
a reputation of astuteness at the cost of its honesty. Official zeal was
at a discount in the public service, and nothing was more certain to
bring a young diplomatist into discredit at the Foreign Office than an
attempt, however laudable, to raise any new question in a form demanding
a public answer. We attachés and junior secretaries were very clearly
given to understand this, and that it was not our business to meddle
with the politics of the Courts to which we were accredited, only to
make ourselves agreeable socially, and amuse ourselves, decorously if
possible, but at any rate in the reverse of any serious sense. It is no
exaggeration when I affirm it that in the whole twelve years of my
diplomatic life I was asked to discharge no duty of the smallest
professional importance. This discouraging _régime_ gave me, while I was
in the service, a thorough distaste for politics, nor was it till long
after, and under very different conditions and under circumstances
wholly accidental, that I at last turned my attention seriously to them.
My pursuits as an attaché were those of pleasure, social intercourse,
and literature. I wrote poems, not despatches, and though I assisted
diplomatically at some of the serious dramas of the day in Europe, it
was in the spirit of a spectator rather than of an actor, and of one
hardly admitted at all behind the scenes. On my marriage in 1869, which
was soon followed by the death of my elder brother which left me heir to
the family estates in Sussex, I retired without regret from the public
service to attend to matters of private concern which had always
interested me more.

Nevertheless my early connection with the Foreign Office, though it was
never to be officially renewed, was maintained on a friendly footing as
of one honourably retired from the service, and this and my experience
of Courts and capitals abroad, proved later of no little value to me
when I once more found myself thrown by accident into the stream of
international affairs. It gave me the advantage of a professional
knowledge of the machinery of foreign politics and, what was still more
important, a personal acquaintance with many of those who were working
that machinery. Not a few of these had been my intimate friends. Thus at
the very outset of my life I had found myself in official fellowship
with Lord Currie, who for so many years directed the permanent policy of
the Foreign Office, with Sir Henry Drummond Wolff, Sir Frank Lascelles,
Sir Edward Malet, Lord Dufferin, Lord Vivian, and Sir Rivers Wilson, all
closely connected afterwards with the making of Egyptian history, with
Lord Lytton who was to be Viceroy of India in the years immediately
preceding the crisis of 1881, and amongst foreign diplomatists with M.
de Nélidoff, Russian Ambassador at Constantinople, Baron Haymerly, who
died Prime Minister of the Austrian Empire, and M. de Staal, for twenty
years Russian Ambassador in London. With all these I was on terms of
personal intimacy long before I paid my first visit to Egypt, and it is
with a full knowledge of their individual characters that I am able to
speak of them and judge them. Having been myself, as it were, of the
priesthood, I could not well be deceived by the common insincerities
which are the stock in trade of diplomacy, or mistake for public policy
action which was often only personal. It is far too readily believed by
those who are without individual experience of diplomacy that the great
events of the world's history are the result of elaborate political
design and not as they are really in most instances, dependent upon
unforeseen accidents and the personal strength or weakness, sometimes
the personal whim, of the agents employed.

For the first few years of my retirement from the service I occupied
myself entirely with my domestic affairs, and, as I have said, it was
only by accident that my mind was gradually turned to politics. In 1873,
finding myself in indifferent health, and to escape a late spring in
England, I made with my wife our first common journey in Eastern lands.
We went by Belgrade and the Danube to Constantinople, where we found Sir
Henry Elliott at the Embassy and renewed acquaintance with other friends
connected with it, among them with Dr. Dickson, of whom I shall have
afterwards to speak in connection with the tragical death of Sultan
Abd-el-Aziz, and who attended me with great kindness during a sharp
attack of pneumonia I had there and for whom I contracted a sincere
regard. The Ottoman Empire was then enjoying a period of comparative
tranquillity before the storm of war which was so soon to burst over it,
and I troubled myself little with its internal broils, but my
sympathies, such as they were at that time, were, in common with those
of most Englishmen of the day, with the Turks rather than the Christians
of the Empire. On my recovery from my illness, I bought half a dozen
pack horses at the At-maidan, the horse market at Stamboul, and with
them we crossed over to Scutari and spent six pleasant summer weeks
wandering in the hills and through the poppy fields of Asia Minor, away
from beaten tracks and seeing as much of the Turkish peasant life as our
entire ignorance of their language allowed. We were impressed, as all
travellers have been, with the honest goodness of these people and the
badness of their Government. We judged of the latter by what we saw of
the ways of the Zaptiehs, our semi-military escort, whose manner with
them was that of soldiers in an invaded country. Yet it was clear that
with much fiscal oppression a large personal liberty existed in rural
Turkey for the poor, such as contrasted not unfavourably with our own
police and magistrate-ridden England. The truth is that everywhere in
the East the administrative net is one of wide meshes, with rents
innumerable through which all but the largest fish have good chance of
escaping. In ordinary times there is no persecution of the quite
indigent. I remember telling some peasants, who had complained to me
through my Armenian dragoman of hardship in their lives at Government
hands, that there were countries in still worse plight than their own,
where if a poor man so much as lay down by the roadside at night and got
together a few sticks to cook a meal he ran the risk of being brought
next day before the Cadi and cast into prison; and I remember that my
listeners refused to believe my tale or that such great tyranny existed
anywhere in the world. My deduction from this incident is the earliest
political reflection I can remember making in regard to Eastern things.

The following winter--that is to say, the early months of 1874--we spent
in Algeria. Here we assisted at another spectacle which gave food for
reflection: that of an Eastern people in violent subjection to a
Western. The war in which France had just been engaged with Germany had
been followed in Algeria by an Arab rising, which had spread to the very
outskirts of Algiers, and the Mohammedan natives were now experiencing
the extreme rigours of Christian repression. This was worst in the
settled districts, the colony proper, where the civil administration was
taking advantage of the rebellion to confiscate native property and in
every way to favour the European colonists at the native expense. With
all my love for the French (and I had been at Paris during the war, and
had been enthusiastic for its defence at the time of the siege) I found
my sympathies in Algeria going out wholly to the Arabs. In the Sahara,
beyond the Atlas, where military rule prevailed, things were somewhat
better, for the French officers for the most part appreciated the
nobler qualities of the Arabs and despised the mixed rascaldom
of Europe--Spanish, Italian, and Maltese as well as their own
countrymen--which made up the "Colonie." The great tribes of the Sahara
were still at that time materially well off, and retained not a little
of their ancient pride of independence which the military commandants
could not but respect. We caught glimpses of these nomads in the Jebel
Amour and of their vigorous way of life, and what we saw delighted us.
We listened to their chauntings in praise of their lost hero
Abd-el-Kader, and though we misunderstood them on many points owing to
our ignorance of their language, we admired and pitied them. The
contrast between their noble pastoral life on the one hand, with their
camel herds and horses, a life of high tradition filled with the memory
of heroic deeds, and on the other hand the ignoble squalor of the Frank
settlers, with their wineshops and their swine, was one which could not
escape us, or fail to rouse in us an angry sense of the incongruity
which has made of these last the lords of the land and of those their
servants. It was a new political lesson which I took to heart, though
still regarding it as in no sense my personal affair.

Such had been the preliminary training of my life, and such its main
circumstances when, as I have said, in the winter of 1875-6 I first
visited Egypt. The only other matter which, perhaps, deserves here a
word of explanation to non-English readers, and it is one that in Europe
will receive its full appreciation, is the fact that my wife, Lady Anne
Blunt, who accompanied me on all these travels, was the grandaughter of
our great national poet, Lord Byron, and so was the inheritor, in some
sort, of sympathies in the cause of freedom in the East, which were not
without their effect upon our subsequent action. It seemed to us, in
presence of the events of 1881-2, that to champion the cause of Arabian
liberty would be as worthy an endeavour as had been that for which Byron
had died in 1827. As yet, however, in 1875, neither of us had any
thought in visiting Egypt more serious than that of another pleasant
travelling adventure in Eastern lands. We had on leaving England the
plan of entering Egypt from the south, by way of Suakim, Kassala, and
the Blue Nile, and so of working our way northwards to Cairo in the
spring, but this, owing to the issue, just then so unfortunate to Egypt,
of the Abyssinian campaign, was never realized, and the only part of our
program which we carried out was that instead of landing at Alexandria,
as was then the universal custom, we went on by the Canal to Suez and
there first set foot upon Egyptian soil.

My first impression of all of Egypt is of our passage on the last day of
the year 1875 through Lake Menzaleh, at that time the unpersecuted home
of innumerable birds--a truly wonderful spectacle of prodigal natural
life--to a point on the Canal north of Ismaïlia. What a sight it was!
Lake Menzaleh was still an almost virgin region, and the flocks of
flamingos, ducks, pelicans, and ibises which covered it, passed all
belief in their prodigious magnitude. The waters, too, of the lakes and
of the Canal itself were alive with fish so large and in such great
quantities that not a few were run down by our ship's bows in passing,
while everywhere they were being preyed on by fish hawks and cormorants,
which sat watching on the posts and buoys. I imagine that the letting in
of the sea for the first time on land never before covered with water
provided the fish with feeding ground of exceptional richness, an
advantage which has since been lost. But certain it is that both fish
and birds have dwindled sadly since, and it seems unlikely that the
splendid spectacle we saw that winter will be again enjoyed there by any
traveller's eyes.

We landed at Suez in the first days of the year 1876, and the news of
the great disaster which had overtaken the Egyptian army in Abyssinia
was the first that greeted us. The details of it were not generally
known, but it appeared that seven ortas, or divisions, of the Khedivial
troops had perished, while a tale was in circulation of the Khedive's
son, Prince Hassan, having been captured and mutilated by the enemy, an
exaggeration which was afterwards disproved, for the prince, a mere boy
at the time, had been carried away from the battlefield of Kora early in
the day, at the very beginning of the rout, as had Ratib Pasha himself,
the Egyptian general in command, who was in charge of him. Loringe
Pasha, however, the American, had really lost his life with many
thousands of the rank and file, and the misfortune put a final limit to
the Khedive Ismaïl's ambition of universal empire on the Nile. In our
small way it affected us, as making our thought of a journey to Kassala
impossible, and deciding us on a less adventurous one immediately in
Lower Egypt.

We were anxious, nevertheless, to see Egypt in a less conventional way
than that of ordinary tourists, and, having our camping equipment with
us for the longer journey, we hired camels at Suez and went by the old
caravan route to Cairo. It is not necessary that I should say much of
our journey across the desert. The four days spent in it alone with our
Bedouin camel-men gave us our first practical lessons in Arabic--in
Algeria we had been dependent wholly on a dragoman--and they laid the
basis, too, of those relations with the desert tribes of Arabia which
were afterwards to become so pleasant to us and so intimate. On the
fifth morning we entered Cairo, greeted on our arrival at Abbassiyeh by
the whistling of bullets fired by the Khedivial troops at practice, for
we had unwittingly encamped overnight just behind their targets and the
aim of the recruits was very uncertain, but no harm was suffered. We
little thought at the time that we should ever be interested in the
doings of these soldiers as a fighting army, and still less that our
sympathies would one day be with them in a war against our own
countrymen. I was as yet, though not perhaps even then enthusiastically
so, a believer in the common English creed that England had a
providential mission in the East, and that our wars were only waged
there for honest and beneficent reasons. Nothing was further from my
mind than that we English ever could be guilty, as a nation, of a great
betrayal of justice in arms for our mere selfish interests.

Neither need I say anything in detail about Cairo, through which we
passed that day without stopping longer than to ask for our letters at
the Consulate. Our object was to see the country districts and not to
waste time on a city already in part European, and we thought to find
camping ground immediately beyond the Nile. So we rode on. We did not
understand the entreaties of our camel-men that we should alight and let
them and their camels go back, or realize that we were doing them an
injustice by forcing them to break the tribal rule which forbade them as
Bedouins of the eastern desert to cross over to the west. In spite of
their expostulations we held on our way by the Kasr-el-Nil bridge and
the road to Ghizeh. We had caught sight of the Pyramids and pushed on
eagerly in their direction, and were only stopped by the failing light
which overtook us at sunset close to the little fellah village of
Tolbiya, the last but one before the Pyramids are reached. It was there
that we made our halt and alighted for the first time on the black soil
of the Nile, as yet hardly dry from the autumn inundation.

The good people of Tolbiya, in their hearty fellah fashion, received us
with all possible hospitality. Though living on the tourist road to the
Pyramids and accustomed to treat Frank travellers in some sort as their
prey, the fact of our alighting at their village for a night's lodging
gave us a character of guests they at once recognized. Of all the
Europeans who for many years had passed their way, not one had made a
pause at their doors. Thus our relations with them were from the outset
friendly, and the accident served us as an introduction in the sequel to
other villagers when, after a few days spent among these, we went once
more on our way. We had no choice at the time but to stay where we were,
for in the morning our Bedouins refused to go a mile farther with us,
and, having received their hire, departed with their camels. Other
camels then had to be found. So it happened that my first week in Egypt
was occupied in going a round of the neighbouring village markets in
search of the needed beasts, and making purchases of pack saddles and
water, skins and all kinds of travelling gear for our further journey.

The fellahin at that time were in terrible straits of poverty. It was
the first of the three last terrible years of the Khedive Ismaïl's
reign; Ismaïl Sadyk, the notorious Mufettish, was in power; the European
bondholders were clamouring for their "coupons," and famine was at the
doors of the fellahin. It was rare in those days to see a man in the
fields with a turban on his head, or with more than a shirt to his back.
Even in the neighbourhood of Cairo, and still more in the Fayûm to which
we took our way as soon as the camels were procured, I can testify that
this was the case. The country Sheykhs themselves had few of them a
cloak to wear. Wherever we went it was the same. The provincial towns on
market days were full of women selling their clothes and their silver
ornaments to the Greek usurers, because the tax collectors were in their
villages whip in hand. We bought their poor trinkets and listened to
their stories, and joined them in their maledictions on a government
which was laying them bare. We did not as yet understand, any more than
did the peasants themselves, the financial pressure from Europe which
was the true cause of these extreme exactions; and we laid the blame, as
they did, on Ismaïl Pasha and the Mufettish, Ismaïl Sadyk, little
suspecting our English share of the blame.

The villagers were outspoken enough. Englishmen in those days were
popular everywhere in Mohammedan lands, being looked upon as free from
the political designs of the other Frank nations, and individually as
honester than these in their commercial dealings. In Egypt especially
they stood in amiable contrast with the needy adventures from
the Mediterranean sea-board--the Italian, Greek, and Maltese
money-lenders--who were sucking the life blood of the Moslem peasantry.
Already there were rumours in the air which had reached the village of a
possible European intervention, and the idea of it, if it was to be
English, was not unpopular. The truth is that the existing state of
things was wholly unendurable, and any change was looked to with joy by
the starving people as a possible relief. England to the fellahin in
their actual condition of beggary, robbed and beaten and perishing of
hunger, appeared in the light of a bountiful and friendly providence
very rich and quite disinterested, a redresser of wrongs and friend of
the oppressed, just such, in fact, as individual English tourists then
often were, who went about with open hands and expressions of sympathy.
They did not suspect the immense commercial selfishness which had led
us, collectively as a nation, to so many aggressions on the weak races
of the world.

In the year 1876 I too, as I have said, was a believer in England, and I
shared the common idea of the beneficence of her rule in the East, and I
had no other thought for the Egyptians than that they should share with
India, which I had not yet seen, the privilege of our protection. "The
Egyptians," I wrote in my journal of the time, "are a good, honest
people as any in the world--all, that is, who do not sit in the high
places. Of these I know nothing. But the peasants, the fellahin, have
every virtue which should make a happy, well-to-do-society. They are
cheerful, industrious, obedient to law, and pre-eminently sober, not
only in the matter of drink, but of the other indulgences to which human
nature is prone. They are neither gamblers nor brawlers, nor licentious
livers; they love their homes, their wives, their children. They are
good sons and fathers, kind to dumb animals, old men, beggars, and
idiots. They are absolutely without prejudice of race, and perhaps even
of religion. Their chief fault is a love of money, but that is one
political economists will readily pardon.... It would be difficult to
find anywhere a population better fitted to attain the economical end of
the greatest happiness for the greatest number. In politics they have no
aspirations except to live and let live, to be allowed to work and keep
the produce of their labour, to buy and sell without interference and to
escape taxation. They have been ill-treated for ages without losing
thereby their goodness of heart; they have few of the picturesque
virtues; they are neither patriotic nor fanatical nor romantically
generous. But they are free from the picturesque vices. Each man works
for himself--at most for his family. The idea of self-sacrifice for the
public good they do not understand, but they are innocent of plots to
enslave their fellows.... In spite of the monstrous oppression of which
they are the victims, we have heard no word of revolt, this not from any
superstitious regard for their rulers, for they are without political
prejudice, but because revolt is no more in their nature than it is in a
flock of sheep. They would hail the Queen of England, or the Pope, or
the King of Ashantee with equal eagerness if these came with the gift
for them of a penny less taxation in the pound."

Such were my first thoughts about Egypt in the early days of 1876, not
altogether inaccurate ones, though I was far from suspecting the growth
already beginning of political ideas in the towns. Neither did I
understand the full influence of European finance in the hardships from
which the peasantry were suffering. Nevertheless, on our return to Cairo
in March I saw something of the reverse of the medal. Mr. Cave's
financial mission had arrived during our tour, and was established in
one of the palaces on the Shubra Road, and from its members--one of whom
was an old acquaintance, Victor Buckley of the Foreign Office, and from
Colonel Staunton, our Consul-General--I learned something of the
condition of financial affairs; while a little later Sir Rivers Wilson,
also my friend, who was to play later so prominent a part in Egyptian
affairs, appeared at Cairo and joined the other members of the financial
inquiry. What their report was of the condition of affairs I need not
here relate in detail, but it will help to an understanding of the
matter if I give a very short account of it and how their mission came
to be appointed, the first of its kind in Egypt.[1]

The Khedive Ismaïl's reign had begun in the full tide of a period for
Egypt of high material prosperity. His predecessor, Saïd, a man of
fairly enlightened views, had had the good sense to give all possible
encouragement to the fellahin in agricultural matters. He had abandoned
the claim of the Viceroy to be sole landlord on the Nile, had recognized
proprietary rights in the existing occupiers of land, and had fixed the
land tax at the low figure of forty piastres to the feddan. This had
resulted in a general enrichment of the population, and the fellahin,
emancipated from their old condition of serfdom to the Circassian
Pashas, were everywhere accumulating wealth. Egypt at the close of
Saïd's reign had become not only the most prosperous province of the
Ottoman Empire, but one of the most progressive agriculturally of the
Eastern world. The revenue, though small in comparison to what it is
now, probably not more than four millions sterling, was easily
collected, and the expenses of administration were insignificant, while
the public debt amounted to only three millions. It is true that in his
later years Saïd had granted a number of concessions to European
adventurers on terms which were becoming a heavy burden on the state,
but the general wealth of the country was so large that this was not
more than its light taxation could bear, and the Viceroy had at his
disposal, when all yearly claims had been discharged, probably not less
than a couple of millions for his free expenditure. Certainly there
never had been an age in Egypt when the mass of the native inhabitants
had been so materially prosperous; and to the fellahin especially it had
come to be spoken of as, for them, the "age of gold." Ismaïl, when in
1860 he succeeded to the Viceroyalty, was without question the richest
of Mohammedan princes and master of the most prosperous of Mohammedan

Ismaïl's character, before he became Viceroy, had been that of a wealthy
landed proprietor managing his large estates in Upper Egypt according to
the most enlightened modern methods. He was praised by nearly all
European travellers for the machinery he had introduced and the
expenditure he had turned to profit, and it is certain that he possessed
a more than usual share of that natural shrewdness and commercial
aptitude which distinguishes the family of Mohammed Ali. His succession
to the Viceroyalty had been more or less a surprise to him, for until
within a few months of Saïd's death he had not been the immediate heir,
and his prospects had been only those of an opulent private person. It
was perhaps this unexpected stroke of fortune that from the beginning of
his reign led him to extravagance. By nature a speculator and
inordinately greedy of wealth, he seems to have looked upon his
inheritance and the absolute power now suddenly placed in his hands, not
as a public trust, but as the means above all things else of
aggrandizing his private fortune. At the same time he was as
inordinately vain and fond of pleasure, and his head was turned by his
high position and the opportunity it gave him of figuring in the world
as one of its most splendid princes. He was surrounded at once by
flatterers of all kinds, native and European, who promised on the one
hand to make him the richest of financiers, and on the other the
greatest of Oriental sovereigns. In listening to these his own
cleverness and commercial skill betrayed him, and made him only their
more ready dupe. Ismaïl, before his accession, had been an astute
money-maker according to the ways in which money was then made in Egypt,
and he had had, too, a European education of the kind Orientals acquire
on the Paris boulevards, superficial as regards all serious matters, but
sufficient to convince him of his capacity to deal with the rogues of
the Bourse with the weapons of their own roguery. In both directions he
was led astray.

His first act of self aggrandizement was simple and successful. The
revenue, which rested chiefly on the land tax, was low, and he raised it
by progressive enhancements from the 40 piastres where he found it, to
160, where it has ever since stood. The country under his hand was rich
and at first could afford the extra burden. Men gave of their
superfluity rather than of their necessity, and for some years did so
without complaint. This enhancement, however, of the revenue was only
part of his rapacious program. His native flatterers reminded him that
in the days of his grandfather the whole land had been regarded as the
Viceroy's personal property, and that, moreover, Mohammed Ali had
claimed and exercised for some years a monopoly of its foreign trade.
Ismaïl schemed to revive these rights in his own person, and though he
did not dare, in the face of European opinion, to commit any great acts
of open confiscation in regard to the land, he gained to a large extent
his ends by other means, and so rapidly that in a few years he managed
to get into his own hands a fifth of the whole area of the cultivable
land of Egypt. His method was by various means of intimidation and
administrative pressure to make the possession of such lands as he
desired to acquire a burden to their owners, and to render their lives
so vexatious that they should be constrained to sell at prices little
more than nominal. In this way he had, as I have said, possessed himself
of an enormous property in land, and he doubtless thought that this was
to prove to him a correspondingly enormous source of personal income.
But his very covetousness in the matter proved his ruin. It was found in
practice that while under his personal management as a comparatively
small owner his estates had been well worked, and had brought him
wealth, his new gigantic ownership laid him open to losses in a hundred
ways. In vain he laid out enormous sums on machinery. In vain he laid
whole villages and districts under contribution to furnish him forced
labour. In vain he started factories on his estates and employed
managers from Europe at the highest salaries. He was robbed everywhere
by his agents, and was unable to gather from his lands even a fraction
of the revenue they had brought in taxation when not his own. This was
the beginning of his financial difficulties, coinciding as it did with
the sudden fall in agricultural prices, and especially of cotton, which
soon after set in, and it was the beginning, too, of the ruin of the
peasantry, whom, to supply his deficiency, he now loaded with irregular
taxation of all kinds. Ismaïl Sadyk, the notorious Mufettish, was his
chief agent in this disastrous history.

It was not long, however, before Ismaïl fell into much more dangerous
hands, and embarked in much more ruinous adventures than these early
ones. To say nothing of the enormous sums which he poured out like water
on his own private pleasures, of his follies of palace building, his
follies with European women, and his follies of royal entertainment,
there were schemes of ambition vast enough to drain the purse of any
treasury. It is not known precisely how many millions he expended at
Constantinople in procuring himself the Khedivial title, and in getting
the order of the viceregal succession altered in favour of his son. But
it must have been very many, while still more went in hair-brained
schemes of speculation and in liabilities contracted towards European
syndicates. Lastly, there was the conquest of the Upper Nile, and the
attempted conquest of the kingdom of Abyssinia. To provide for all these
immense expenditures loans had to be raised, at first on a small scale
with local bankers and Greeks of Alexandria, and presently in more
reckless fashion on the European Stock Exchange. Here his worst
counsellor and evil genius had been Nubar Pasha, the Armenian financier,
who, by a strange inversion of ideas, has come to be regarded by a
certain class of Egyptian opinion ignorant of history as an "Egyptian
patriot." Nubar was, however, in fact, the one man who, more than any
other after Ismaïl himself, was responsible for Egypt's financial
ruin.[2] Commissioned by his master to find him money at any cost to
meet his extravagant wants, he raised loan after loan for him in Europe
on terms which realized for him hardly more than 60 per cent. of the
capital sums he inscribed himself for as debtor, while he, Nubar,
pocketed as commission several millions sterling. Of the ninety-six
millions nominally raised in this way, it has been calculated that only
some fifty-four reached Ismaïl's hands.

At the date which I am writing of the whole of this liability had not
yet been incurred, but already the interest on the foreign debt amounted
to four millions yearly, and to raise sufficient revenue to meet it and
to carry on the administration and pay the huge expense of the
Abyssinian war, the peasantry were being fleeced, as I have described,
under pressure of the whip, of their last hoarded piastres. Those who
talk lightly in these days of Ismaïl as a prince rather unfortunate than
guilty, and to be pitied in some sort for the betrayal of the country
financially to Europe, know nothing of the truth, nor do they realize
the enormity of the ruin inflicted by his selfish folly on his fellah
subjects. It has been calculated that the total cost of his reign to
Egypt amounted to something like 400 millions sterling, nor is this in
my opinion an exaggerated estimate, for it had gathered in the whole of
the peasant savings of a number of prosperous years, and nearly the
whole of their agricultural stock besides the public debt, and left
them, moreover, indebted privately to the amount of something like
twenty millions to the Greek and other local usurers.

Such had been the causes of Egypt's misfortunes as I learned them at
Cairo in the spring of 1876. With regard to the origin of our financial
intervention, it was certainly at that time Ismaïl's own foolish doing,
and was not, as far as I know, prompted by any direct political motives
in England. He most certainly applied to the English Government for
financial assistance through Colonel Staunton in the autumn of 1875, and
in a way that almost necessitated the assistance having a political
character. His reason for choosing England rather than France as the
recipient of his confidences was that at the time England was in a far
better position financially to help him. The French Government was still
crippled by the expense of the war with Germany of 1870, and was really
unable to assist him in any effectual way, while, as I have already
said, the friendship long existing between England and Turkey, and the
abstention of Englishmen so far from commercial intrigues in Egypt had
probably convinced him, in company with the general opinion of the
Mohammedan East, that England was a non-aggressive power as far as the
Ottoman Empire was concerned. Especially in the matter of the Suez Canal
the French Government had become an object of suspicion, and it was
therefore natural that when Ismaïl resolved to sell his shares in the
Canal, it was to England rather than to France that he made the offer of
them. I remember well the impression produced in England at the time. It
was by no means one of general approval, and Disraeli was much blamed
for involving the Government in a transaction which had almost
necessarily political consequences. What is, I think, not generally
known, at any rate in Egypt, is that the agreement to purchase the
Khedive's share for four millions sterling was made not by the English
Government collectively, for Lord Derby was averse to it, but on the
personal responsibility of the Prime Minister who, without consulting
his colleagues other than Lord Derby, they being absent from London,
arranged with the London house of Rothschild to advance the money. What
may have been in Disraeli's mind politically about it I do not know, but
I am very sure that Lord Derby, who was then at the Foreign Office, had
no idea connected with it of political aggression. Lord Derby was a man
whose view of foreign policy was essentially one of non-intervention,
nor had Disraeli as yet succeeded in indoctrinating his party with his
own imperialistic ideas. The transaction, nevertheless, was one of evil
augury for Egypt, and especially by reason of the part played in it by
the Rothschilds. As will be seen later, the financial connection of this
too powerful Hebrew house with Egypt was the determining cause, six
years later, of England's military intervention.[3]

Mr. Cave's mission, which followed immediately on the purchase of the
Canal shares, was without any question Ismaïl's doing also. The object
in Ismaïl's mind, as is perfectly clear, when he asked for it, was still
further to work the new mine of English political assistance he had
discovered, with a view to further loans. He wanted to get some public
testimonial, in the shape of a published report, in favour of his
continued solvency, and so to re-open to him the European stock
exchanges. It was for this purpose that he applied to Colonel Staunton
for an English inquiry, and to a large extent he succeeded in his plan.
Mr. Cave, who was chosen by the English Government for the inquiry, was
a worthy and, I believe, quite disinterested man, but one who lacked
experience of the East, and so was specially easy to deceive; he lacked
also the fibre necessary for dealing quite courageously with all the
facts. Ismaïl, like most spendthrifts, when it came to the point of
showing his accounts, had always concealed a part of them, and, with the
assistance of Ismaïl Sadyk, now gave a fanciful budget of his revenue,
which Cave too readily accepted. He also allowed dust to be thrown in
his eyes to some extent as to the misery of the fellahin. It was the
Khedive's plan to surround distinguished financial visitors whom he
desired to captivate with the show of great wealth. The mission was
splendidly entertained and taken about everywhere by the Khedive's
officers, who arranged things beforehand, and prevented as far as
possible the nakedness of the land from being seen. Thus Cave's report,
when it was published, gave only a partial truth. I think too that Cave
might have insisted, if he had been of a stronger character, on the fact
which lay at the bottom of all Egypt's financial difficulty, namely,
that in justice, and indeed it might have been maintained in law,
Ismaïl's debts were personal not public ones, and should have been so
treated. Cave's weakness on this point was the beginning of the
political intervention in favour of the bondholders, and his report led
by a necessary logic to the recognition of Ismaïl's debt as a public
obligation. Sir Rivers Wilson, who immediately followed him, though a
far abler man, was equally inexperienced, and was at that time chosen, I
believe, principally for his knowledge of the French language. I knew
him intimately, and I knew also, but in a less degree, Cave; and I
continued in correspondence with Wilson for some years and am well
acquainted with all his Egyptian doings.

My last recollection that winter at Cairo is of a barbaric banquet
offered by the Khedive to Mr. Cave and the members of his commission, to
which I was by accident invited. It was given in the Viceregal Kiosque
at the Pyramids, and was one of those extravagant entertainments Ismaïl
was accustomed to dazzle European eyes with, nor was there anything
wanting to point the contrast between the wealth of the entertainer and
the poverty of those at whose expense it was really given. The table was
spread for us literally under the eyes of a starving multitude of
peasants, the very peasants Mr. Cave was there to save from ruin. Yet
none of us seemed to feel the incongruity of it all. We feasted
elaborately, and drank champagne of the best, and went our way, and it
is only now that, with a better knowledge of the whole circumstances, I
recall the real character of the scene and recognize it for what it in
all verity was with its waste and surrounding misery, a true presentment
of the twin causes of the coming revolution.


[1] Note. For a fuller and better account of the finance of that time
serious students of Egyptian history should consult "Egypt's Ruin" by
Theodore Rothstein published by A. C. Fifield, 13. Clifford's Inn,
London, in 1910 with an introduction by me.

[2] Note in correction as to Nubar's wealth _see_ Appendix.

[3] Since this was written much new information with regard to the
purchase of the Canal shares has been made public, modifying in some
degree the account here given; the main facts however regarding the
Rothschilds' connection with it and Disraeli's remain untouched.



On leaving Cairo that spring of 1876 we paid our first visit to the
confines of Arabia. It was then more the custom with European tourists
than it is now to go on from Egypt into Syria by way of the desert, and
we took once more to our camels and our tent life, and with the same
Bedouins who had escorted us from Suez, crossed the Suez Canal and made
a long tour through the Sinai peninsula and on by Akabah to Jerusalem.
As we were strange to the country we passed through, and were still very
ignorant of Arabic and had with us no dragoman, we got into some rather
perilous adventures which are now amusing to recollect, though at the
time they were disagreeable enough. It is perhaps worth recording as a
curious accident of travel that as we were passing along the shore of
the Gulf of Akabah, which is fringed in places with coral reefs, we had
stopped to examine these and to admire the wonderful colours, purple,
gold, and vermilion, of the innumerable little fishes which live in
them. I was standing thus at the sea's edge, my gun, which I always then
carried, in my hand, when I saw a great commotion in the water near me
and suddenly, before I was well aware of the cause, a large shark, one
of a shoal, leaving the rest came straight to where I stood and was
already within a few yards of me before I understood what manner of fish
it was or that I was the object of its attack. I had barely time to
raise my gun when it turned, as these fishes do, on its side and rose
half out of the water to take hold of me, and it was so near me when I
fired that my charge of small shot killed it without the need of a
second barrel, so that we were able, with the help of a lasso, to bring
it high and dry on shore. It was a very large one, nearly ten feet long,
and I do not doubt that if I had been a little more careless than I was
I might have been carried from the rock into the sea by it. The
incident brought home to me the danger which was once so common in
Egypt for the fellahin from crocodiles in the Upper Nile, and I have
been cautious in the matter of sea bathing ever since.

We fell into trouble, too, with certain Arabs on our way, through our
ignorance of the rules and customs of the desert. When camped outside
Akabah, we received a visit from Abunjad the well-known Sheykh of the
Alawin, a branch of the Howeytat tribe, who had the customary right of
escorting travellers to Petra, and whom we managed to offend, with the
result that we ended by starting without escort or guides, our only
native companions being two Arab boys who had followed us from Mount
Sinai, and knew nothing of the northern country. With these we ventured
north for Palestine, and presently ran short of water. The wells, when
we by fortune found them, proved to be almost dry, and it was only after
great hardships under a burning sun that we at last reached an Arab
encampment. Things had become so bad for us one night that we had
resolved that if at noon on the following day we should have still
failed to find water we must abandon our baggage and push on on our best
camels for our bare lives to the settled country. An hour, however,
before the time agreed on, the happy sound of an ass braying told us
that a camp must be near, and presently we spied an Arab child perched
on a mound, and from him, under some compulsion of fear, got knowledge
of their watering place. It was a beautiful pool of rain water in the
hollow of a rock, and here we lay long and quenched our thirst and
filled our goat skins. By good fortune it was, the men of the place,
Azazimeh Arabs, were away or I doubt if we should have been allowed to
take so liberal a share of this "Bounty of God," for they were in
possession of the place and had sown a little barley field, as Bedouins
often do on the Syrian frontier for the chance of rain, and this was all
their drinking store till their corn should be ripe. Nor were they
otherwise than justly angry on their return, and we had to watch all
night for fear of an attack. It was not till morning that they came with
shouts and menaces, but we had already loaded our camels, and being well
armed held on our way. Knowing the ways of Bedouins better now, I feel
sure that we need not thus have quarrelled with them, and that with a
little explanation and payment for our disturbance of their rights they
would have received us well. But as it was, we were within a hair's
breadth of a serious misadventure, and deserve to be thankful that the
following day we at last reached the grass lands between Hebron and
Gaza. Here the more settled Arabs gave us a good reception, and having
made friends with them the memory of our past danger was soon forgotten.
This ended our travels for that year, and from Jerusalem we returned in
the early summer by the ordinary sea route to England.

The winter of 1877-8 saw us again in the East, this time with a larger
program of adventure. We visited Aleppo, and passed down the Euphrates
to Bagdad, and on our return journey made acquaintance with the great
Bedouin tribes of Mesopotamia and the Syrian Desert south of Palmyra. We
began now to know something of the language, and to understand the
customs of the Arabs, and made no more mistakes of the kind I have just
described. For this we were largely indebted to the wise counsels of the
then English Consul at Aleppo, Mr. Skene, who had had a large experience
of Bedouins and their ways, and who taught us to approach them on their
nobler side, and putting aside all fear to trust them as friends,
appealing to their law of hospitality. The history of this most
interesting and successful journey has been very fully written by my
wife in her "Bedouin Tribes of the Euphrates," in reality a joint work,
in which my first political views in regard to Arabian liberty may be
traced by those who care to seek them. My sympathy with the Arabs as
against the Turks, with whom they were at chronic war, was the result of
no pre-conceived idea, and still less of any political plan, but was
caused by what I saw, the extreme misgovernment of the settled districts
by the Ottoman officials, and the happiness of the still independent
tribes. It was a time of much local disorganization. The Russo-Turkish
war was in its last desperate throes at Kars and Plevna, and though our
good wishes were all with the Moslem armies as against the invading
Muscovites, the sight of the miserable Syrian and Mesopotamian villagers
being driven in chains as recruits to the sea coast moved us to anger
against the imperial government, an anger which the hatred everywhere
manifested by the Arabs against the Turks daily intensified. It was
impossible in those days of far worse rule than now for any one with
the instinct of liberty to do otherwise than resent the Ottoman
misgovernment of its Arabic-speaking provinces. It was a government of
force and fraud, corrupt and corrupting to the last degree, where every
evil engine was employed to enslave and degrade the people, where the
Moslems were worse treated than the Christians, and where all alike were
pillaged by the Pashas. The Turk in his own home in Asia Minor has a
number of honest and manly virtues, but as a master in a subject land he
is too often a rapacious tyrant. Every vilayet had been bought with
money at Constantinople, and the purchasing Valy was making what fortune
he could during his term of office out of those he was given to
administer. The land of Bagdad, under Ottoman rule, we had seen turned
into a wilderness, Damascus into a decaying city. Everywhere land was
falling out of cultivation, and the Government, like a moral plague, was
infecting the inhabitants with its own corruption. Can it be wondered at
if, in view of these doings, we thought and spoke strongly, and, though
our Government at the time was in open alliance with the Porte, our
sympathies were with any scheme which might make the Arabian provinces
independent of the Empire?

On my return to England I find a record that on the 14th of May, 1878, I
was taken by my cousin, Philip Currie (now Lord Currie), who was then
his private secretary and one of the highest officials at the Foreign
Office, to see Lord Salisbury. Lord Salisbury had just accepted the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and, though I knew nothing of it, must have
been at the point of signing the famous secret treaty with the Sultan
known as the Cyprus Convention, and our journey in Arabian lands had
excited his interest to learn from me something about them. In answer to
his questions I told him all my thoughts very frankly, and I remember
especially suggesting to him the possible independence some day of
Syria, and that it might join hands with Egypt against the common
misgovernment of their Turkish rulers. To this, however, he by no means
responded, saying that there could be no political connection between
the two provinces of the Ottoman Empire, and that the case of each stood
on a separate basis. He was more influenced by me, however, when I spoke
unfavourably of the then much talked of Euphrates Valley Railway scheme,
under English guarantee, in which I saw a new danger to Arabian liberty,
and I have reason to know that my arguments weighed with him to the
extent that he shortly after refused all Foreign Office support to the
enterprise, which has remained to this day abandoned. My conversation on
this occasion left me with a high opinion of Lord Salisbury's
intelligence on Eastern matters, and, though his view of them has never
been mine, I have always preserved a strong feeling of his personal
integrity, while it began a connection between us never intimate, but
always friendly on his part. To the last he allowed me to write to him
on these subjects, and though seldom agreeing he invariably responded to
my occasional letters with more than the usual official courtesy.

Any hopes, however, that I may have had of persuading Lord Salisbury to
my views about the Arabs were speedily dispelled by his attitude that
summer at Berlin, when his policy was publicly proclaimed of
guaranteeing to the Sultan the whole of his Asiatic dominions. The inner
history of the Congress of Berlin as it affected Egypt is so curious,
and at the same time so important, that it is necessary I should tell it
here as I learned it soon after the events had happened.

It will be remembered that the terrible winter of 1877-8 witnessed the
final scenes of the war between Russia and Turkey, and that the spring
of the new year found the Czar's army at the gates of Constantinople.
The same period had been one of extreme misery in Egypt. The Cave
mission, whose arrival I had seen at Cairo, had been followed by other
financial missions of less integrity, which had resulted in what was
known as the Goschen-Joubert arrangement of the Khedive Ismaïl's debts,
a truly leonine settlement, according to which the enormous yearly
charge of nearly seven millions sterling had been saddled on the
Egyptian revenue, an amount which could only be wrung out of the ruined
fellahin by forcing them, under the whip, to mortgage their lands to the
Greek usurers who attended the tax-gatherers everywhere on their rounds
through the villages. The last two Niles had been very bad ones, and
there had been famine in the land from the sea to Assouan. Many
thousands of the villagers--men, women, and children--had died that
winter of sheer hunger. There had been nothing like it since the
beginning of the century. Under these circumstances it was clear that
either the Khedive must go bankrupt or a reduction be made on the
interest of his debts, the Goschen-Joubert arrangement being abandoned.
The former course would have been the more equitable and by far the
better one for the country, but in the foreign bondholders' interests
this was put aside, and a final attempt was made by these, this time
successfully, to secure the diplomatic intervention of the great Powers
for yet another settlement between Ismaïl and his creditors. The moment
was a favourable one as far as England was concerned, for it coincided
with the resolve of the English Government, under Disraeli's guidance,
to play a forward political game, and take the leading part in the
affairs of the Ottoman Empire. Lord Derby, who so far had gone
unwillingly with his chief in his new policy of imperial adventure, now
would go no further with him and left the Foreign Office, and, as we
have seen, was replaced by Lord Salisbury. It was the signal of a
general diplomatic advance, not unaccompanied with menace. The British
fleet was brought through the Dardanelles into the Sea of Marmora, the
Russian army was overawed and prevented from entering Stamboul, and
under pressure of the English demonstration a treaty of peace was
hurriedly drawn up between the Czar and the Sultan, the treaty of San
Stefano. On the side of Egypt, at the same time, an official Commission
of Inquiry was appointed, which, though nominally international, was
intended at the Foreign Office to be mainly an English one, my friend
Sir Rivers Wilson being chosen as English commissioner. His appointment
was, I believe, almost the first Lord Salisbury signed on taking the
command in Downing Street.

It will also be remembered that two months later a secret convention was
negotiated at Constantinople by our then Ambassador, Sir Henry Layard, a
man of great ability and knowledge of the East, who had acquired the
personal confidence of the still youthful Sultan, Abdul Hamid, in
accordance with which the island of Cyprus was leased to England and a
guarantee given to the Sultan of the integrity of all his Asiatic
provinces in lieu of promises of reform to be enforced by the presence
in Asia Minor of certain ambulant English consuls, military men, who
were to give advice and report grievances. The idea of the Cyprus
Convention, certainly in the minds of Disraeli and Salisbury who signed
it and of Layard its true author, was to establish informally but none
the less effectually an English protectorate over Asiatic Turkey. The
acquisition of Cyprus was in their view to be the smallest part of the
bargain. The island was really of very little value to England as a
_place d'armes_, and its selection for that purpose was due less to its
fitness for the purpose than to a fantastic whim of Disraeli's, backed
up by the roseate report of its potential wealth sent in by one of our
consuls who had an interest in the island. Disraeli many years before,
as a quite young man, had in his novel "Tancred" advanced half jestingly
the idea of a great Asiatic empire under an English monarchy, and Cyprus
was to be specially included in it as recalling the historic fact that
our English king, Richard Coeur de Lion, had once been also its
sovereign. The whole thing was a piece of romantic fooling, but Disraeli
loved to turn his political jests into realities and to persuade his
English followers, whom as a Jew he despised, in all seriousness to the
ways of his own folly. The really important object aimed at by Layard in
the Convention--and it was certainly his rather than Salisbury's, who
was new to office and whose experience the year before at Constantinople
had made him anything but a Turcophile--was to acquire the strategic
control of Asia Minor, which it was thought might be effected through
the ambulant consular posts it created. These were to supervise the
civil administration in the provinces, and see that the peasantry were
not too much robbed by those who farmed the taxes, and that the
recruiting grounds of the Ottoman army were not depopulated by
mismanagement. Thus the advance of Russia to the Mediterranean might, it
was thought, be checked in Asia as their advance in Europe had been
checked at San Stefano.

Looking back at the position now, with our knowledge of subsequent
events, and especially of the Sultan Abdul Hamid's character, it seems
strange both that the Sultan should have signed such a Convention which,
if it had been carried out, would have put Asiatic Turkey as much into
English military hands as Egypt is to-day, or that our Foreign Office
should have believed in its success, and the epithet applied to it at
the time by Gladstone, who denounced it as an "insane Convention," seems
more than justified. It must, however, be remembered that as regards
Abdul Hamid he had really no choice, with the Russian army still at his
doors, but to accept the English alliance even if it should mean
tutelage, and also that up to that point England had always proved a
reliable and disinterested friend. Layard, on the other hand, was
conscious of his personal ascendency at the palace, and he knew how
great the prestige was in the Asiatic provinces of the English name. An
English Consul in those days held a position of absolute authority with
Valys and every class of Ottoman officials, and he may well have thought
that this could be indefinitely extended. The honour of England was so
great in all Turkish eyes, and her policy towards the Moslem Empire had
been so sympathetic that no suspicion existed anywhere of her having
selfish plans. Layard, too, was himself a believer in the Turks, and he
may have had dreams of playing the part at Constantinople of _Maire du
Palais_, which Lord Cromer has shown us an example of since at Cairo.
Now, it is only astonishing that such English dreams should ever have
been indulged in, or that by Moslems England's disinterestedness should
ever have been trusted.

Lastly, it will be remembered that a month after the secret signature of
the Cyprus Convention, the great European Congress of 1878 met at
Berlin. It had been called together principally at Disraeli's instance,
and was to be the most important meeting of the Powers since the
Congress of Paris. Like the earlier Congress its special object was to
determine the fate of European Turkey and of the Christian subjects of
the Sultan, and on England's part to revise the treaty of San Stefano.
On its success in this direction Disraeli had staked his whole
reputation as a statesman. England had intervened, according to his
showing, on the highest motives of policy as Turkey's best and most
disinterested friend, and it was on her approval as such by the other
great Powers that depended his political position at home no less than
abroad. So vital, indeed, to Disraeli did success at the Congress
appear, that he went himself to it as chief plenipotentiary, taking Lord
Salisbury, who was still new to diplomacy, with him as a second
ambassador, while Russia was represented by Prince Gortschakoff, France
by M. Waddington, and Italy by Count Corti, Prince Bismarck presiding as
host over the whole august assemblage. I may add that Currie accompanied
Lord Salisbury as _précis_ writer on the occasion, and Lord Rowton,

The general proceedings of the Congress are of course well known, and I
need not here describe them, but what has never been published is the
following all important incident, of which, as already said, I learned
the particulars some little time after it occurred. The Congress
assembled on the 13th of June, and as the matters to be discussed were
of the highest moment, and there was not a little suspicion of each
other among the plenipotentiaries in regard to a possible partition of
Turkey, it was proposed at the outset that a preliminary declaration
should be made by each Ambassador affirming that his Government came to
the Congress unfettered by any secret engagement as to the questions in
dispute. This declaration Disraeli and Salisbury, who seem to have been
taken by surprise, and were unprepared to make a clean breast of their
secret doings with the Sultan, had not the presence of mind to refuse,
and no less than the others formally agreed and gave their word to--it
must be remembered that both were new to diplomacy. It may therefore be
imagined how high a surprise it was, and scandal at Berlin when a few
weeks later, 9th July, the text of the hidden Cyprus Convention was
published in London by one of the evening papers. One Marvin, an
Oriental traveller and linguist, but who had no official position at the
Foreign Office, had been imprudently employed as translator and copyist
of the Turkish text by Currie, and had sold his information for a round
sum to the "Globe." The publication came as a thunderclap on our Embassy
at Berlin, and though the authenticity of the text was promptly denied
in London, the truth at Berlin could not long be concealed. Our two
plenipotentiaries found themselves confronted with the unexplainable
fact that they had perpetrated a gross breach of faith on their European
colleagues, and stood convicted of nothing less than a direct and
recorded lie. The discovery threatened to break up the Congress
altogether. Prince Gortschakoff declared himself outraged, and he was
joined in his anger on the part of France by M. Waddington. Both gave
warning that they would withdraw at once from the sittings, and M.
Waddington went so far as to pack up his trunks to leave Berlin. The
situation was an ugly one, and was only saved by the cynical good
offices of Bismarck, on whom Disraeli, as a fellow cynic and a man of
bold ideas, had made a sympathetic impression. The German Chancellor,
as "honest broker," brought about the following compromise, with which
M. Waddington declared himself satisfied. It was agreed between the
French and English plenipotentiaries:

1. That as a compensation to France for England's acquisition of Cyprus,
France should be allowed on the first convenient opportunity, and
without opposition from England, to occupy Tunis.

2. That in the financial arrangements being made in Egypt, France should
march _pari passu_ with England; and,

3. That England should recognize in a special manner the old French
claim of protecting the Latin Christians in Syria.

It was in consideration of Disraeli's surrender on these three points
that Waddington consented to remain at Berlin and join the other
ambassadors in arranging the Balkan settlement, which eventually was
come to more or less on the lines of the English proposals. The price
thus paid to France by Disraeli of a province belonging to his ally the
Sultan, it is curious to reflect, enabled that statesman to return a
little later to London and claim a public triumph, with the famous boast
in his mouth that he had brought back "peace with honour." A curious
history truly, and deserving to be specially noted as marking the point
of departure for England of a new policy of spoliation and treacherous
dealing in the Levant foreign to her traditional ways. To the Cyprus
intrigue are directly or indirectly referable half the crimes against
Oriental and North African liberty our generation has witnessed. It
suggested the immediate handing over of Bosnia to Austria. It helped to
frustrate a sound settlement in Macedonia. It put Tunis under the heel
of France, and commenced the great partition of Africa among the
European Powers, with the innumerable woes it has inflicted on its
native inhabitants, from Bizerta to Lake Chad, and from Somaliland to
the Congo. Above all it destroyed at a critical moment all England's
influence for good in the Ottoman Empire. It embittered Moslem hearts
against her in 1881 and 1882, and, as I will show, was a powerful factor
in the more violent events of those troubled years in Egypt. Also it
most certainly defeated its own end in Asiatic Turkey if England's
co-operation in reform was really contemplated. The doings at the
Congress opened the Sultan's eyes to the danger there might be in any
English co-operation, and also beyond question hardened his heart to a
policy contrary to English advice, and in which he has been only too
successful, that of suppressing all liberty and self-government among
his own Turkish subjects. To it the Liberal party at Constantinople owes
more than to anything else its ruthless persecution, and it is even not
too much to say that whatever woes have been inflicted on the Armenians
have been caused by the false hopes raised at Berlin of their
emancipation by England's moral help, a help her own immorality has made
her powerless to give. The immediate effect in Egypt of the compromise
come to with M. Waddington was the despatch of a telegram from Berlin to
Wilson at Alexandria ordering him, much to his chagrin and surprise, to
see that in all the financial appointments made in connection with his
official inquiry, France should receive an absolutely equal share. It
was, indeed, though unknown to Wilson at the time, the determining
cause, a year later, of the Anglo-French condominium.[4]

Public affairs were in this position when in the autumn of that same
year, 1878, I found myself once more upon my road eastwards. My journey
of the winter before to Bagdad, and especially the success I had had in
a matter much more interesting to me than any politics, the purchase and
bringing safely home of the Arab mares which were to form the nucleus of
my now well-known stud at Crabbet, had roused considerable interest and
curiosity in England, and I had spent the summer preparing my wife's
journal for publication, and it was now in the Press. We were not
content, however, with this, and had made up our minds to a new
expedition still more adventurous than any we had yet attempted, and
were on our way back to Damascus, from which starting point we designed
to penetrate into central Arabia and visit Nejd, the original home and
birthplace of the Arabian horse. Our sea-voyage from Marseilles would
touch at Alexandria, and it so happened that I found on board the
Messageries steamer at Marseilles my friend Sir Rivers Wilson who had
just been appointed Finance Minister in Egypt, and in his company we
made the voyage. During the six days' passage I had ample opportunity to
learn from him all that had happened during the past two years at Cairo,
and the tale he told me of the condition of the country was a very
terrible one. I remember well his account of that most dramatic of the
many crimes of the Khedive Ismaïl, his murder of the Mufettish Ismaïl
Sadyk, an act of treachery which more than any other alienated from the
Khedive the allegiance, I will not say of his Egyptian subjects at
large, for that he had already lost, but even of that group of slaves
and servants by which he was surrounded.

Ismaïl Sadyk was an Algerian by birth but had come at an early age to
Egypt, and had by his abilities risen in the viceregal service, his
first connection with the Court having been, I believe, under Abbas I as
a superintendent of his stud. Under Saïd and Ismaïl he had served in
various official capacities and had made himself, as we have seen,
Ismaïl's _âme damnée_ in the work of extracting their last piastres from
the fellahin. With all his cruelties to them--and he had shown
inexhaustible ingenuity in devising means for their spoliation--he had
maintained a certain honourable repute at Cairo as an Arab gifted with
the traditional virtue of generosity and a large liberality in spending
the wealth he had acquired, and so as an old man was not unpopular. For
the last few years of his life he had been Finance Minister, and to
Ismaïl had always proved himself a devoted and faithful servant. Ismaïl
had nevertheless betrayed him a few months before the time I am writing
of basely to his death, and under circumstances so revolting that the
Egyptian world, used as it was to crime in high places, had been shocked
and confounded. The Khedive's motive had been the wholly base and
selfish one of screening himself by casting upon his too faithful
Minister the blame of certain frauds he had himself committed, and he
had insured his silence by having the old man murdered almost in his own

The details given me by Wilson were as follows: Ismaïl had been in the
habit, in his dealings with the various European commissioners whom he
had from time to time invited to inquire into his financial affairs, of
concealing as far as was possible from them the extreme truth of his
senseless extravagances, and with his Minister Ismaïl Sadyk's help had
once more now, as on previous occasions, presented to the new official
commission a false statement of his debts. The pressure, however, on him
was severe, as the commission had received a hint, if I remember
rightly, from Riaz Pasha, that they were being befooled on this point,
and he, fearing that the whole truth would come out, and when the matter
should be fully gone into by the commission his Minister might tell the
facts, determined to be beforehand with him and make of him his
scapegoat and victim. He took the execution of the deed into his own
hands. It was his custom with his Minister, with whom he was on the
closest possible terms of personal friendship, to call sometimes for the
old man in the afternoon at the Finance Office and take him for a drive
with him to Shubra or to one or another of his palaces; and so on this
occasion he did, and, suspecting nothing, the Minister mounted with him
and they drove together to the Jesireh Palace and there got down and
entered. No sooner, however, were they inside than Ismaïl on some
pretext left him alone in one of the saloons and immediately sent to him
his two younger sons Husseyn and Hassan and his aide-de-camp, Mustafa
Bey Fehmy, when the princes struck and insulted the unarmed Minister and
hustled him on board one of the viceregal steamers which was lying with
steam up beside the quay, and there, though not without a vigorous
resistance, the old man was despatched. According to Wilson, the actual
doer of the deed was Mustafa Bey, acting under the Khedive's order, and
he added that the truth had been disclosed through the young
aide-de-camp falling ill of fever soon after and telling it in his
delirium. I have reason, however, to believe that as far as Mustafa's
personal act went this was a mistake, though the rest of the facts have
been fully confirmed to me, and that the Mufettish was handed over by
Mustafa to Ishak Bey, in whose charge he perished, though whether at
once or a little later is uncertain. Some say that Ismaïl Sadyk was
thrown as many another had been thrown, with a stone tied to his feet
into the Nile, others that he was conveyed alive as far as to between
Waddy Halfa and Dongola and there strangled. All that is quite beyond
dispute is that once on board the steamer he was never seen again alive,
and that the steamer having gone up the river, it was some weeks later
officially announced that the Mufettish was away in Upper Egypt for a
change of air and ultimately that he had there taken to drink and died.
It is also certain that Mustafa, a mild young man and unused to scenes
of violence, and being himself, as the Mufettish was, of Algerine
extraction, was so horrified at the _rôle_ he had been ordered to play
in it that he had a long and dangerous illness. It was this experience
that a year later caused him to take the part he did against his master
Ismaïl and ultimately to join Arabi in the earlier phases of the
revolution of 1881-2. He is the same Mustafa Fehmy who has for so many
years filled the office of Prime Minister in Egypt.

Of all these things we talked as we sat day after day on the deck of the
Messageries steamer, and, especially, of course, of Wilson's own
important mission as Ismaïl Sadyk's successor. Wilson's hopes at that
time were high regarding his own administrative success, and he showed a
keen appreciation of the responsibility of the charge he had undertaken
of restoring Egypt to prosperity and rescuing the fellahin from their
financial bondage, but he was also fully aware of the difficulties which
lay before him. The Khedive's character he had learned to understand,
and he was prepared to find in him an astute and unscrupulous opponent.
But he counted on his own _bonhomie_, tact, and knowledge of the world
to be able to live on friendly terms with him, and to avoid what
personal risks he might run. He relied too on his French education, for
he had lived much at Paris, to preserve intact the dual character of the
Anglo-French Ministry, of which he formed a part, and above all he
relied on Nubar. In Nubar he reposed unlimited confidence, believing him
to be a heaven-born Eastern statesman, and one devoted to English
interests. He had, moreover, behind him, as he thought, the full support
of the London Foreign Office, and what was perhaps even a stronger stay
in Europe, the interest and power of the house of Rothschild. On this
last he knew he could rely, for he had just persuaded them on his
passage through Paris to advance that fatal loan of nine millions on the
Khedivial Domains which was to bind them to the cause of European
intervention whenever necessary on the part of the bondholders. To
myself, who knew Wilson well, though I sympathized to the full with his
humanitarian hopes and personal aspirations, there seemed to be certain
elements of doubt in his position which did not augur altogether well
for his success.

We parted at Alexandria in good hope that all would go well with him in
a mission so much one of despair to a ruined state, but with misgivings.
The difficulties before him we both guessed would be immense, and in
spite of his excellent qualities of heart and head and his great _savoir
vivre_, I had my fears for him. The event more than justified my
forebodings, and in a shorter time than either of us could have thought

Sir Rivers Wilson's brief career as Finance Minister in Egypt failed
through many causes. It was of ill omen, I think, at the very outset
that it should have commenced with a new and heavy loan, the proceeds of
which it is difficult to find were put to any serious purpose. Errors of
administration, too, there certainly were which inflicted great
injustice on the people, and which, as will be seen later, prepared the
way for a general discontent. It is not, however, necessary for me to go
into these, for they are matters of notoriety to be found in the Blue
Books. Wilson's excuse for them must be found in the fact that in all
matters of internal policy he trusted absolutely for guidance to Nubar,
and that he greatly overrated Nubar's power to deal with them. If Wilson
had been more of a statesman and less of a financier he would not have
blundered as he did into political difficulties which, with a little
more experience of the arts of government, might have been easily
avoided. Nubar was a weak reed on which to lean. As a Christian and an
alien it was not difficult for one so astute as Ismaïl to rouse
Mohammedan opinion against him, and when, thinking only of restoring the
financial equilibrium, Wilson began a series of crude retrenchments
among the native officials, a discontented class was at once brought
into existence which gave the Khedive his opportunity of diverting the
popular ill-will from himself to his Christian Ministers. What made it
the more easy for him was that in these retrenchments no European
salaries were cut down. The agreement with France had made it imperative
that each Englishman employed in Egypt should be duplicated with a
Frenchman, and Wilson did not dare touch one of them. Wilson, as holding
the purse strings, had to bear the odium of all this.

Nor did he, in spite of his good intentions, succeed in relieving the
peasantry in any way of their burdens. It was an essential part of his
program that the Khedive should remain solvent, and that meant that the
interest on the enormous debt should be punctually paid. The nine
millions advanced by the Rothschilds went mostly in paying the more
urgently immediate calls, and not a tax was reduced or a demand
remitted. On the contrary, the _régime_ of the whip went on, even more
mercilessly than before, in the villages, and an additional terror was
introduced into the agricultural situation by the institution, at great
expense and most futilely carried out, of a new revenue survey, under
English direction, which was interpreted as the prelude of a still
enhanced land-tax. Lastly, the project, lightly suggested by Wilson, of
rescinding the Moukabalah arrangement, which would have meant
confiscation by the Government of landed property representing something
like fifteen millions, disturbed every landowner's mind, and led to the
belief that even worse things might be expected of the English Minister
than any they had suffered from his predecessors. It seems to me
astonishing now with my better knowledge of Egypt that any one so
intelligent and well meaning as Wilson undoubtedly was should have
fallen into such errors, and I half suspect that some of them were
suggested to him for his discomfiture by the Khedive himself. The climax
of the Wilson-Nubar political unwisdom was reached when, without any
arrears of pay being given them, the native army, including 2,500
officers, began to be disbanded. This put the alien Ministry finally
into the Khedive's hands, and it was a chance Ismaïl did not throw away.

The history of the _émeute_ of February, 1879, which overthrew the
Nubar-Wilson Ministry, needs to be recounted here as it really happened,
for the truth about it will not be found in any published history. The
Khedive was, as we have seen, anxious to divert the popular hatred with
which he was regarded in Egypt from himself to his new Ministers, and he
was also most desirous of ridding himself of their tutelage. By an Act
called the Rescript of 1878 he had abdicated his personal control of the
revenue and the administration into their hands, and used as he was for
eighteen years to absolute power in Egypt it irked him already to have
lost it. He had only signed the Rescript as an alternative to
bankruptcy, and this being averted he did not intend to stand by the
letter of his bond. Being also an astute judge of character, he had seen
at once the weakness of the Ministry, how Wilson and his French
colleague, de Blignières, depended, in their foreign ignorance of
Egyptian things, altogether on Nubar for their knowledge how to act, and
also how helpless Nubar himself was as a Christian to rule a Mohammedan

Nubar was known to the Mohammedan official class as an Armenian
adventurer, who had enriched himself as agent of the loan-mongers of
Europe at the public expense, and to the fellahin as the author of the
International Tribunals, an institution extolled by foreigners, but to
them especially odious as having laid them more than any other agency
had done in bondage to the Greek usurers. As these Courts were then
administered in Egypt, a fellah who had once put his signature to any
paper for money borrowed could be sued before foreign judges according
to a foreign procedure and in a foreign language, without the smallest
chance, if he was a poor man, of defending himself, or of showing, as
was often the case, that the figures had been altered or the whole paper
a forgery, and he might be deprived of his land and of all he possessed
before he well knew what the claim made on him rightly was. Nubar was
known especially for this, and was without following of any native kind
or supported by any opinion but that of the foreign commercial class of
Alexandria. It was therefore through Nubar that Ismaïl saw the new
_régime_ could be most easily attacked, and most surely reduced to
impotence. All that was needed to overthrow it was a public native
demonstration against the unpopular Christian, and this the discontent
of the 2,500 officers cashiered and cheated of pay and pension made it a
very easy matter to arrange.

Ismaïl's chief agents in getting up the _émeute_ of February
were Shahin Pasha, one of his own Court servants, and Shahin's
brother-in-law, Latif Effendi Selim, who, as Director of the Military
College, held a position specially advantageous for the purpose. By
these a demonstration of the students of the college was arranged, which
at the hour named marched through the streets of Cairo announcing their
intention of demanding the dismissal of the obnoxious Ministry, and they
were joined by the crowd and especially by such of the cashiered
officers as chanced to be upon their way, and it was so arranged that
they should arrive at the Government offices at the hour when the
Ministers were about to leave it. There they found Nubar Pasha in the
act of stepping into his carriage, and they insulted and assaulted him,
Nubar's moustache being pulled and his ears boxed. A general popular
demonstration followed, and presently the first regiment of the
Khedivial Guard under its colonel Ali Bey Fehmy, which had been held
in readiness, appeared upon the scene, and a little after the
Khedive himself. A few shots were then fired over the heads of the
demonstrators, and the Khedive having ordered them to their homes the
crowd dispersed. The program, arranged beforehand with Ali Bey, had been
successfully carried out, and the Khedive was able to claim of the
English and French Consuls, to whom he immediately appealed, the
necessity of Nubar's dismissal, and to persuade them that but for his
powerful intervention and authority with the people worse things would
have happened. Nubar therefore was advised to resign, and a Moslem
official of the Khedive's choosing, Ragheb Pasha, was allowed to be
named Prime Minister in his place. With Ragheb, a special adherent of
his own, at the Ministry of the Interior, Ismaïl knew that Wilson and de
Blignières would be powerless to administer the country, and that their
fall also must speedily follow.

Nubar having been thus successfully disposed of, Wilson's tenure of
office as Finance Minister became, as the Khedive had calculated, all
but impossible, and his fall was hastened by extraneous circumstances.
Our then Consul-General in Egypt, Vivian (afterwards Lord Vivian and
Ambassador at Rome) had been estranged from Wilson by a personal quarrel
which had taken place between them, and when in his political
difficulties Wilson appealed to him for support, the support was
grudgingly given or altogether withheld. Wilson's final discomfiture
soon followed; an incident, somewhat similar to that of February, was
arranged in March at Alexandria, on which occasion he and his wife were
hustled and hurt by the mob, and when Wilson laid his complaint before
the Foreign Office it refused him any efficient backing for redress. He
was advised, as Nubar had been, to resign, and, there being no other
course left him, he retired from office and returned to Europe.

I have an interesting letter from Wilson of this date. Writing on 30th
April, 1879, he says: "You will I daresay have heard that I have been
upset by that little scoundrel the Khedive. He didn't quite have me
assassinated, as you not without reason imagined might be the case, but
he had me attacked in the street and very roughly handled, and now he
has had the satisfaction of getting rid of me altogether, H. M.'s Govt.,
with their usual loyalty to their agents, having left me to my fate.
Crepy Vivian is the cause and chief abettor of this sudden overthrow of
arrangements which he was instructed specially to protect. Partly from
jealousy, and a good deal from want of intelligence, with the addition
of a great deal of vanity, he went at once into the Khedive's camp. His
Highness, whose highest art of government lies in the disunion of the
people he has to deal with, might reasonably have expected to make a
split between Blignières and myself, or between one or both of us and
Nubar, but in his wildest dreams he never could have hoped that the
English Consul-General would become his toady and instrument for the
overthrow of the Ministry imposed on him by an English Government.... We
leave on the 6th and shall get to London about the 15th. I am glad to be
out of the place now. The whole thing is going to the devil. The country
is pestilential with corruption. The French and English Governments seem
afraid of acting, and for the moment the Khedive rides rampant and is
bleeding the country to death. The smash cannot be delayed, but in the
interval it is dreadful to think of the mischief and misery that are
being worked."


[4] I have given the story of the arrangement made with Waddington as I
heard it first from Lord Lytton at Simla in May, 1879. The details were
contained in a letter, which he showed me, written to him from Berlin,
while the Congress was still sitting, by a former diplomatic colleague
and have since been confirmed to me from more than one quarter, though
with variations. In regard to the main feature of the agreement, the
arrangement about Tunis, I had it very plainly stated to me in the
autumn of 1884 by Count Corti who had been Italian Ambassador at the
Congress. According to his account, the shock of the revelation to
Disraeli had been so great, that he took to his bed, and for four days
did not appear at the sittings, leaving Lord Salisbury to explain
matters as he best could. He said there had been no open rupture with
Waddington, the case having been submitted by Waddington to his fellow
ambassadors, who agreed that it was one that could not publicly be
disputed, "Il faut la guerre ou se taire." The agreement was a verbal
one between Waddington and Salisbury, but was recorded in a dispatch
subsequently written by the French Ambassador in London, in which he
reminded the latter of the conversation held in Berlin, and so secured
its acknowledgment in writing.

See Appendix VI. as to the Berlin Congress.



While these important events had been happening in Egypt I had been
away, still travelling with my wife on our new adventure in Central
Arabia, far removed from all knowledge of them or of the affairs of the
outside world.

On our way to Damascus, where we were to begin our serious campaign, we
had stopped for some days in Cyprus, being curious to look at the new
English possession, just acquired at the cost of so much scandal, which
we found receiving its first lessons in English administration at the
hands of Sir Garnet Wolseley. The island was still in its summer heat,
no rain having fallen, and seemed to us little better than a dusty
wilderness. We called on Wolseley at his government house at Nicosia,
and found him making the best of a rather forlorn and very isolated
position. In his talk with us he put as good a face as he could on the
outlook of this latest "gem of Empire," but it was clear that in his
professional mind the island had no great merit, and was rather in the
nature of that gross of spectacles brought home from the fair we read of
in the "Vicar of Wakefield." It was difficult, indeed, to see what use
it could be put to, or how it could be made to pay its cost of
management. Its acquisition had already begun to bring discredit to the
English name, and it was generally spoken of, we found among the
Mohammedans of Syria, as a _backshish_ taken by England for services
rendered to the Sultan.

At Damascus we met several interesting personages, among others the old
hero of the Algerian war with France, Seyyid Abd-el-Kader, and that
other in some ways hero, the ex-leader of the Turkish constitutional
party, Midhat Pasha. My impression of the latter, much as I was inclined
to sympathize with Mohammedan reform, was not favourable. Personally he
was unimpressive, of no distinguished appearance, and with a certain
boastful and self-assertive manner which suggested vanity as a leading
characteristic. In a long conversation I had with him on the subject of
Ottoman regeneration, I found his ideas shallow and of that commonplace
European kind which so often in the East do service for original thought
and depth of conviction. His ideas of reform for the Empire, and of the
Syrian vilayet of which he had just been appointed Valy, as he expounded
them to me, were wholly material ones, the construction of railroads,
canals, and tramways, all excellent things in their way, but leaving
untouched the real necessities of the administration and which, as he
had no funds whatever at his disposal for public works, were in his own
province quite illusory. Of the larger matters of economy, justice, and
protection for the poor, he did not speak, nor did he show himself in
the smallest degree in sympathy with the people of the province he had
come to govern. Indeed, he was imbued with more than the usual Turkish
contempt for everything Arabian, which he took no pains to conceal, and
his avowed methods in dealing with the Bedouins were brutal in the
extreme. This naturally repelled me. Nevertheless I cannot help
regretting now that I did not make some effort at the time of his
misfortunes to rouse public feeling in his favour in England, when such
might have perhaps saved him from the terrible punishment he suffered at
the Sultan's hands. I did not, however, at that time know all the facts,
and it was only in 1884 that I learned, from a source on which I could
rely, the true history of Midhat's trial on the false charge of murder
brought against him three years before. This is so important a matter
that I make no excuse for relating it here in detail.

It may be remembered that when I was at Constantinople in 1873 I had
been cared for during a serious illness by Doctor Dickson, the then
physician of the British Embassy, with whom I had formed a very pleasant
intimacy. This worthy old man, who had already at that time been some
thirty-five years in Turkey, had become thoroughly orientalized and
possessed a wider experience and more complete knowledge of all things
Ottoman than perhaps any other Englishman then living. He had, moreover,
a loyal sympathy with the people among whom he had so long lived, and
had retained with it a very high integrity and sense of old-fashioned
English honour, which made him the most capable and reliable witness
possible in regard to events which had come under his notice. His
evidence, therefore, on what I am about to relate may be considered as
absolutely final on the matter it touches. In 1884 I was again at
Constantinople, and it was then that he gave it me; and it seemed to me
so important as a corrective to history that I at once on the day I
heard it wrote it down. It is textually as follows:

"Nov. 3, 1884. Doctor Dickson was sent by the English Embassy to
investigate the circumstances of Abd-el-Aziz' death; and he gave us a
most precise account of all he had seen at the palace that day. The
party of doctors consisted of a Greek, Marco Pasha, of an old Englishman
who had been Lord Byron's doctor, and several others. They found the
body in the guard house and examined it carefully. The Sultan was
dressed in a silk shirt, such as the _caïquejis_ wear, plain without
stripes, and pink silk trousers. When stripped the body was found
without scratch or bruise, 'the most beautiful body in the world,' with
the exception of the cuts in the two arms on the inside where the
arteries are. The cut on the left arm was deep to the bone and Dr.
Dickson had put his finger into the wound. That on the right was
imperfect and the artery was not severed. They were manifestly the cause
of death. The other doctors were satisfied with this examination and
went away; but Dr. Dickson and the other English doctor insisted upon
taking the evidence of the Sultan's mother, and this was her account:
Abd-el-Aziz had twice since his deposition tried to destroy himself,
once by trying to throw himself down a well, once into the Bosphorus,
but had been prevented; and the Sultana had been warned to give him no
instrument with which he could effect his purpose. When therefore he had
asked her for a mirror and scissors to trim his beard she had chosen the
smallest pair she possessed, and thought it impossible he should harm
himself with them. She occupied the room next to his, and there were
always one or two girls on watch when she was not herself with him. It
happened, however, that one afternoon he had ordered the girls out and
bolted the door, saying he wished to be alone; and the girls did not
dare disobey. But when half an hour was passed they came and told her,
and at first she was not alarmed, but bade them wait at the door and
listen. Then they came back and said they heard nothing, and at the end
of the hour she herself went, followed by her women, and pushed the door
open. They found the Sultan leaning on his side on the sofa dead in this

[Here in my journal is a sketch.]

"The sofa and the curtains of the room were of velvet, red on yellow
ground. And Dr. Dickson's colleague examined the place and found the
left arm of the sofa saturated with blood, and a great pool of
coagulated blood on the floor beneath; also on the middle of the sofa a
small mark of blood corresponding with the wound on the right arm, but
though he examined carefully there was not a speck elsewhere than close
to the sofa, so that it was impossible there could have been any
struggle or murder. As the Sultana said: 'If he was murdered the
murderer must have been myself, for I was in the next room and nobody
else could have come near him.' At the trial of Midhat and the rest for
murder, they produced a linen, not a silk, shirt, with a cut in the side
as from a sword thrust, a pair of green or yellow trousers, and a fur
dressing gown, not those which were on the corpse, and chintz covers of
the sofa and chintz curtains sprinkled with blood, not those of the room
where the body was found. Dr. Dickson had thereupon written a protest
stating what he knew, and had given it to Lord Dufferin, begging him to
have it handed as evidence to the President of the Court. But Dufferin
would not interfere without instructions, and while he telegraphed, or
pretended to telegraph, Midhat was condemned. Marco Pasha, he says, must
have been induced to give the evidence he did. The story of men having
been seen climbing in and out of the window was ridiculous, as it was so
high from the ground the men must have broken their legs jumping out.
Dr. Dickson is a very precise old gentleman, and the sort of witness
whose evidence would be accepted by any jury in the world. I therefore
entirely believe his account, improbable as at first sight it seems,
that a Sultan should not have been murdered and should have committed
suicide. Midhat and Damad died in chains at Taif some months ago, having
been starved to death. Midhat's end was hastened by a carbuncle, but he
was none the less made away with. The Sheykh el Islam has also recently
died there, who gave the _fetwa_ authorizing Abd-el-Aziz' deposition.
This act of terror has given Abdul Hamid the absolute power he now

Another person of importance to my narrative whom we met that autumn of
1878 at Damascus was Sir Edward Malet, at that time Secretary of Embassy
at Constantinople, and who was making a tour of Syria partly for his
amusement, partly to gather information. During my diplomatic career I
had served twice under his excellent father, and had been very intimate
with his family and with himself from the days when we were both
attachés, and I am therefore able to speak of his character, which has
been strangely misunderstood in Egypt, from intimate personal knowledge.
Malet was a man of fair ordinary abilities, gifted with much industry,
caution, and good sense. Having been born, so to say, in diplomacy and
put into the service by his father when he was only sixteen, he had had
a thoroughly professional training, and, as far as the traditions and
usages of his work went, he was an entirely competent public servant. He
could write a good plain despatch, and one which might be trusted to say
not a word more than his instructions warranted, and would commit his
Government to nothing not intended. He had the talents which are perhaps
the most useful under the ordinary circumstances of the service to which
he belonged, prudence, reticence and a ready self-effacement, those in
fact which should distinguish a discreet family solicitor,--and the duty
of a diplomatist, except in very rare cases, is in no way different from
that of a solicitor. Imagination, however, Malet had none, nor
initiative, nor any power of dealing on his own responsibility with
occasions requiring strong action and prompt decision. He was the last
man in the world to lead an intrigue or command a difficult situation.
Personally he was amiable, without being attractive, and he had retained
a certain boyishness of mind which in his unofficial moments was very
apparent. His industry was great and his conduct irreproachable. As a
quite young man this was very noticeable. He always preferred his work,
however little interesting, to any form of amusement, and even when on
leave would spend his spare afternoons copying despatches with us in his
father's chancery rather than be at the trouble of inventing occupation
for himself elsewhere. I record this because he has been credited in
Egypt with an ambitious and intriguing restlessness which was the
precise opposite of his very quiet character. Neither in pleasure nor in
work had he the smallest spirit of adventure. Otherwise it is possible
that he might have accompanied us, as I proposed to him to do, to
Arabia, but he was not one to leave the beaten track, and, though I
interested him as far as I could in my more romantic plan, he preferred
to follow the common tourist road, and so went on after a few days to

Our own journey was a very different one, and proved to be of even more
interest than I had anticipated. The full detail of it has been
published both in English and in French, under the title "A Pilgrimage
to Nejd," and so I will deal, with it here briefly. To narrate it in a
very few words: we travelled by the Haj Road as far as Mezarib and from
thence to the Jebel Hauran, where one of the Druse chiefs of the Atrash
family provided us with a _rafyk_ or guide, and so passed down the Wady
Sirhán by Kâf to Jôf where Mohammed el Aruk, son of the Sheykh of
Tudmor, who was with us, had relations. Thence, after some stay with
these, we crossed the Nefud, a hazardous passage of ten days through the
great sand desert to Haïl and, though we had no letters or introductions
of any kind, were received by the Emir Mohammed Ibn Rashid, the then
sovereign of independent Nejd, with all possible honour. Our quality of
English people was a sufficient passport for us in his eyes, and the
fact of our visits made the previous year to so many of the Anazeh and
Shammar Sheykhs, rumours of which had reached him. By this time we had
learned sufficient Arabic to be able to carry on a conversation, and we
found him courteous and amiable, and exceedingly interested to hear all
we had to tell him about the affairs of the great world from which Nejd
is so completely shut off by the surrounding deserts. On matters which
at all concerned Arabia he was curious to learn our opinion, and
especially as to the characters of the various Bedouin Chiefs, his
enemies or rivals. European politics interested him very little, and
hardly more the politics of Constantinople or Egypt, for at that time
the Sultan, though Nejd was called at Bagdad a province of the empire,
was in no way recognized by the Wahhabi Princes as their sovereign, and
the only relations they had had with him for a century had been those of
a hostile character. The recollection of Mohammed Ali's invasion of Nejd
was still a living memory, and Midhat Pasha's more recent seizure of El
Hasa on the Persian Gulf and his abortive expedition to Jôf were much
resented at Haïl. It stood us in good stead with Ibn Rashid that we had
come to him without the intervention of any Ottoman authority.

The result of this friendly visit to the capital of independent Arabia,
with the view I obtained there of the ancient system of free government
existing for so many centuries in the heart of that wonderful peninsula,
was to confirm me in the enthusiastic feelings of love and admiration I
already entertained for the Arabian race. It was indeed with me a
political "first love," a romance which more and more absorbed me, and
determined me to do what I could to help them to preserve their precious
gift of independence. Arabia seemed to me in the light of a sacred land,
where I had found a mission in life I was bound to fulfil. Nor do I
think that I exaggerated the value of the traditional virtues I saw
practised there.

By nearly all Orientals the Bedouin system of government is looked upon
as little else than brigandage, and on the confines of civilization it
has, in fact, a tendency to degenerate into such. But in the heart of
Arabia itself it is not so. In Nejd alone of all the countries of the
world I have visited, either East or West, the three great blessings of
which we in Europe make our boast, though we do not in truth possess
them, are a living reality: "Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood," names only
even in France, where they are written up on every wall, but here
practically enjoyed by every free man. Here was a community living as
our idealists have dreamed, without taxes, without police, without
conscription, without compulsion of any kind, whose only law was public
opinion, and whose only order a principle of honour. Here, too, was a
people poor yet contented, and, according to their few wants, living in
abundance, who to all questions I asked of them (and in how many lands
had I not put the same in vain) had answered me invariably, "Thank God,
we are not as the other nations are. Here we have our own government.
Here we are satisfied." It was this that filled me with astonishment and
pleasure, and that worked my conversion from being an idle onlooker at
the misfortunes of the Eastern world into one filled with zeal for the
extension of those same blessings of liberty to the other nations held
in bondage. Our journey back to the civilized but less happy world of
Irak and Southern Persia, which we visited in turn in the following
spring, only confirmed and intensified my conviction. How wretched a
contrast indeed to Nejd were the lands of the Lower Euphrates, inhabited
by the same Arab race, but a race demoralized, impoverished, and
brutalized by Ottoman rule! How still more wretched Persian Arabistan! I
cast about in my mind for some means of restoring them to their lost
dignity, their lost prosperity and self-respect, and, for a moment, I
saw in England's protection, if it could be given, a possible road for
them to salvation. It was with ideas of this sort taking shape and
substance in my mind that, after a most difficult land journey from
Bagdad to Bushire on the Persian Gulf and thence by sea to Kurrachi, I
found myself at last in India, where experiences of another kind were
awaiting me and a new lesson in the economy of Eastern things.

My reason for going on to India, after the severe journey we had just
made, was that on our arrival at Bushire we had found letters awaiting
us from Lord Lytton, who had for many years been my most intimate
friend, inviting us to pay him a visit at Simla. Lytton, of whose
endearing personal qualities I need here say nothing, for I have already
paid that tribute to his beloved memory, had been like myself in the
diplomatic service, and I had served with him at Lisbon in 1865, and we
had written poetry and lived together in an intimacy which had been
since continued. Now in 1879 he had been a little over two years Viceroy
in India, and at the time we arrived at Simla was just bringing his
first Afghan campaign to a successful conclusion, and he signed the
Treaty of Gandamak in the first month of our staying with him. Lytton,
who was a man of very superstitious temperament, though a rationalist in
his religious beliefs, spent much of his spare time during the war, hard
worker though he was, in making fire-balloons which he launched at
intervals, arguing from their quick or slow ascensions good or bad
fortune to his army. Not that he allowed such results to decide his
action, for he was a steady worker and sound reasoner, but it soothed
his nerves, which were always highly strung, to have these little
intimations of a supernatural kind in which he persuaded himself half to
believe. He connected my coming to Simla with the good turn the war had
taken, and looked upon me as a fortunate influence as long as I was with
him. He made me the confidant of all his thoughts, and from him I
learned many interesting things in the region of high politics which I
need not here particularize, though some of them will be found embodied
in this memoir. With my Arabian ideas, as a man of romance and a poet,
he at once professed his sympathy, and gave instructions to Sir Alfred
Lyall, who was then his Foreign Secretary, to talk the matter over with
me and give me all possible information.

The Indian Government was at that time not at all disinclined to make a
forward movement in the Persian Gulf. There had been for many years past
a kind of protectorate exercised by the Indian Navy of the Arabian
seaports, a protectorate which, being rigidly restricted to the
prevention of piracy and quarrels between the tribes at sea without any
attempt at interfering with them on shore, had been wholly beneficent,
and the recent assertion of the Ottoman claim to sovereignty over them
was resented at Calcutta. The Sultan Abdul Hamid too had already begun
to alarm our authorities by his Pan-Islamic propaganda, which it was
thought was affecting the loyalty of the Indian Mohammedans. Ideas,
therefore, of Arab independence were agreeable to the official view, and
Sir Alfred Lyall reported well of mine to Lytton, so well that there was
a plan half agreed to between us that I should return the following
winter to Nejd and should be the bearer of a complimentary message from
the Viceroy to Ibn Rashid. I am glad now, with my better knowledge of
the ways of the Indian Government, that this proposal led to no
practical result. I see plainly that it would have placed me in a false
position, and that with the best will in the world to help the Arabs and
serve the cause of freedom I might have made myself unconsciously the
instrument of a policy tending to their subjugation. It is one of the
evils of the English Imperial system that it cannot meddle anywhere
among free people, even with quite innocent intentions, without in the
end doing evil. There are too many selfish interests always at work not
to turn the best beginnings into ill endings.

These matters, however, were not the only ones I discussed with Lytton
and his subordinates. Sir John Strachey, his finance minister, put me
through a course of instruction on Indian finance and Indian economics,
the methods of dealing with famines, the land revenue, the currency, the
salt tax, and the other large questions then under discussion--Strachey
being the chief official advocate of what was called the forward policy
in public expenditure--and with the unexpected result that my faith, up
to that moment strong in the honesty of the Indian Government, as the
faithful guardian of native interests, was rudely shaken. The following
extracts from letters written by me at the time from Simla will show how
this short glimpse of India at headquarters was affecting me: "I am
disappointed," I wrote, "with India, which seems just as ill-governed as
the rest of Asia, only with good intentions instead of bad ones or none
at all. There is just the same heavy taxation, government by foreign
officials, and waste of money one sees in Turkey, only, let us hope, the
officials are fools instead of knaves. The result is the same, and I
don't see much difference between making the starving Hindoos pay for a
cathedral at Calcutta and taxing Bulgarians for a palace on the
Bosphorus. Want eats up these great Empires in their centralized
governments, and the only way to make them prosper would be to split
them up and let the pieces govern themselves." Also to another friend,
Harry Brand, Radical Member of Parliament, now Lord Hampden, "The
_natives_, as they call them, are a race of slaves, frightened, unhappy,
and terribly thin. Though a good Conservative and a member of the
Carlton Club I own to being shocked at the Egyptian bondage in which
they are held, and my faith in British institutions and the blessings of
British rule have received a severe blow. I have been studying the
mysteries of Indian finance under the 'best masters,' Government
secretaries, commissioners, and the rest, and have come to the
conclusion that if we go on _developing_ the country at the present rate
the inhabitants will have, sooner or later, to resort to cannibalism,
for there will be nothing but each other left to eat. I do not clearly
understand why we English take their money from these starving Hindoos
to make railroads for them which they don't want, and turnpike roads
and jails and lunatic asylums and memorial buildings to Sir Bartle
Frere, and why we insist upon their feeding out of their wretched
handfulls of rice immense armies of policemen and magistrates and
engineers. They want none of these things, and they want their rice very
badly, as anybody can see by looking at their ribs. As to the debt they
have been saddled with, I think it would be honester to repudiate it, at
least as a Debt on _India_. I never could see the moral obligation
governments acknowledge of taxing people for the debts they, and not the
people, have incurred. All public debts, even in a self-governing
country, are more or less dishonest, but in a foreign despotism like
India they are a mere swindle."

On the whole, this brief visit to India at headquarters had considerable
influence with me in the shaping of my ideas on the larger questions of
Imperial policy, and giving them the direction they afterwards took. I
still believed, but with failing faith, in the good intentions, if no
longer in the good results, of our Eastern rule, and I thought it could
be improved and that the people at home would insist upon its being
improved if they only knew.

One of my last recollections of my two months' stay with Lytton at
Peterhoff, as the Viceregal residence was then called at Simla, was of a
dinner at which I sat next to Cavagnari the evening before he set out on
his fatal mission to Kabul. He was an interesting man, the grandson, so
he told me, of a Venetian merchant who, when the French Republican army
occupied Venice, lent a large sum of money to Bonaparte, which was never
repaid. The Emperor, however, rewarded him by making his son his private
secretary, who became a devoted adherent of the Imperial family. Lewis
Napoleon Cavagnari, the grandson, was also a strong Bonapartist, and
believed himself, on account of his name, to have before him a very high
destiny. He had faith in his "star," and I can testify that in his talk
to me that night--and it was long and intimate--the last thing he seemed
to think of was failure or danger in his mission. Yet only a few days
before he must have had an admonition in the tragic news, of which we
also talked, of the Prince Imperial's death in South Africa. When we
parted it was with an engagement on my part and on my wife's that we
would go in the autumn to visit him at Kabul. "You must not come,
however," he said, "before the autumn, because I shall not have got the
Residency comfortable or fit to receive ladies." Of any more dangerous
reason he gave us no kind of hint.

Another acquaintance at that time with whom a tragic history is
connected was Colley, then Lytton's military secretary, who the year
following was to die on Majuba Hill. Lytton had the highest possible
opinion of his military talents, and between them they had in large
measure directed the Afghan campaign from Simla. His fault was, I think,
too great self-confidence and too much ambition. He occupied Majuba
because he could not bear to let the campaign end without gaining some
personal success. Melgund again, who is now Lord Minto, Pole-Carew, and
Brabazon, Lytton's aides-de-camp, were all three, with Lord Ralph Kerr,
among our friends of that time, and Plowden and Batten, the husbands of
their two fair wives. We made the voyage back from Bombay in Melgund's
company and that of Major Jack Napier, leaving India on the 12th of July
in full monsoon and arriving at Suez on the 25th, and on the same day by
train to Alexandria.

I think it was at Aden, as we passed it to the Red Sea, that we learned
the great news of the day in Egypt, the deposition of the Khedive
Ismaïl, a subject to us of great rejoicing, and no sooner had we arrived
at Alexandria than I learned the full details of his share in the affair
from that other intimate friend of my diplomatic days, Frank Lascelles,
whom I found acting Consul-General at the British Agency. What he told
me does not differ much from the account of it officially published, and
I need not repeat it here. What, however, is not generally known is the
part played in it by the Rothschilds, which Lascelles did not at that
time know but which I heard later from Wilson. Wilson, indeed, was able
to boast that through these he had had his full revenge. On his return,
he told me, from Egypt, crestfallen and abandoned by his own Government,
he had gone straight to the Rothschilds at Paris and had represented to
them the danger their money was running from the turn affairs had taken
at Cairo and Alexandria. The Khedive intended to repudiate his whole
debt and to shelter himself in doing so by proclaiming Constitutional
government in Egypt. If they did not prevent this, all would be lost. He
thus succeeded in alarming the Rothschilds and in getting them to use
the immense political influence they possessed in favour of active
intervention. At first, however, they had pulled the strings both at
Downing Street and on the Quai d'Orsay in vain. The English Government
was no longer in an intervening mood, trouble having broken out for them
in South Africa; and at Paris, too, there was an equal unwillingness. In
despair for their millions the Rothschilds then made supplication at
Berlin to Bismarck, who ever since his Frankfort days had extended a
certain contemptuous protection to the great Hebrew house, and not in
vain. The French and English Governments were given to understand by the
then all-powerful Chancellor that if they were unable to intervene
effectively in Egypt in the bond-holders' interests the German
Government would make their cause its own. This settled the matter, and
it was agreed that, as the least violent form of intervention, the
Sultan should be applied to to depose his too recalcitrant vassal. To
the last moment Ismaïl refused to believe that the Porte, on which he
had lavished so many millions and was still appealing cash in hand--for
he had hidden treasures--would desert him. The pressure from Europe was
too great. Wilson claims to have had the question of Ismaïl's successor
submitted to him as between Halim, whom the Sultan much preferred, and
Tewfik, and to have decided in favor of the latter as being known to him
to be of weak character and so the more convenient political instrument.
But be that as it may, the fatal telegram was despatched conveying to
Ismaïl the news of his fall, and that his Viceregal functions had passed
away from him to his son. It had been Lascelles' disagreeable duty to
convey the news to the old tyrant of eighteen irresponsible and ruinous
years. True to his rapacious habit, his last act had been to deplete the
treasury of its current account and to gather together all the valuables
he could anywhere lay hands on, and so retire to his yacht, the
"Mahroussa," with a final spoil of his Egyptian subjects amounting, it
is said, to three millions sterling. Nobody had cared to hinder him or
inquire, or bid him stay even for an hour.



Cavagnari's tragical death at Kabul, which took place before the summer
of 1879 was over, a disaster which involved Lytton in a new war and
endless political trouble, effectually ended any projects we had made of
fresh travel for that year, either in Afghanistan or Arabia. I spent,
therefore, a full twelve months in England, the busiest as yet in some
ways of my life. Up to that date, though I was now in my fortieth year,
I had not only taken no public part in politics, but I had never so much
as made a speech to an audience or written an article for a review, or a
letter to a newspaper. Constitutionally shy in early life I had shrunk
from publicity in any shape, and the diplomatic training I had had had
only aggravated my repugnance to being _en évidence_. Diplomacy, whether
it has or has not anything to hide, always affects secrecy and
entertains a distrust of public speaking and an extreme jealousy of the
indiscretions of the Press. Now, however, having persuaded myself that I
had a mission in the Oriental world, however vague and ill defined, I
began to talk and write, and even overcame my timidity to the extent of
appearing once or twice upon a platform. The first occasion on which I
ever thus spoke was at a meeting of the British Association at Sheffield
on the 22nd of August, to which I was invited as a distinguished
traveller in the company of M. Serpa Pinto, M. de Brazza, and Captain
Cameron, all of African fame, and where I opposed Cameron's advocacy of
a Euphrates Valley Railroad. I was able to speak on this matter with
more authority than he, for, though he had gone out with much beating of
drums the year before to explore the route, he had turned back from the
difficult part of it--that which lay between Bagdad and Bushire--while
we had made the whole route from sea to sea; and I followed up my
opposition in an article on the same subject, the first I ever wrote,
in the "Fortnightly Review." John Morley was at that time editor of the
"Fortnightly," and I had an introduction to him from Lytton, and managed
to interest him in my Eastern ideas. Both these little ventures with
speech and pen brought me credit and encouraged me to do more in the
direction of what was now my propaganda. I was busy too with poetry;
and, again, I had my wife's book of travels, "A Pilgrimage to Nejd," to
arrange and edit. The multiplied work occupied me fully all the winter.

With home politics I troubled myself not at all, though it was a time of
crisis, and Gladstone, with the General Election of 1880 at hand, was in
the full fervour of his Midlothian preaching. My sympathies, as far as
England was concerned, were still rather with the Tories, and on
Oriental questions I looked upon Gladstone, little as I loved the Turks,
as an ignoramus and fanatic. My personal friends, with the exception of
two or three, Harry Brand and Eddy Hamilton, were all Tories, and my
love for Lytton covered in my eyes the worst of Disraeli's Imperial
sins. I clung to the thought that England in the East might yet, through
the Cyprus Convention properly interpreted, be made an instrument for
good, and I was swayed backwards and forwards in regard to her Imperial
position by opposing hopes and fears. It was not till I had cleared my
thoughts by putting them into print that I gradually came to any
settled plan. One great pre-occupation, too, I had that year in the
establishment of my stud of Arab horses at Crabbet, about which I was in
constant correspondence with the world of sport, including a public one
with the Jockey Club. Curiously enough, it was in connection with my
views on horseflesh that I first came into epistolary communication with
Mr. Gladstone. His well-known hobby about ancient Greece had made him
curious to learn my opinion about the horses of antiquity, and
especially the probable breeding of those of Greece and Troy; and a
message was conveyed to me through Mr. Knowles, the editor of the
"Nineteenth Century Review," asking a memorandum on their genealogy.
This, and the accident of his naming Edward Hamilton, with whom I was
intimate, his private secretary when he took office in April in
succession to Disraeli, were the links which led to our correspondence
later on Egyptian affairs.

A few extracts from a fragmentary journal I began to keep in 1880 will
show the chaos of ideas, literary, social, and political in which during
that year, I lived. The extracts are only such as have some relation to
Eastern affairs, and I find them embedded in a mass of notes recording
events of private and ephemeral interest no longer of any value. The
first gives a picture of Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, for so many years
our Ambassador at Constantinople, and who was now living in retirement
and extreme old age with his two daughters on the borders of Kent and

"_March, 1880._--A visit to Lord Stratford de Redcliffe at Frant. Lord
Stratford has given me a paper on reforms for Turkey, which he is
thinking of sending to the 'Times,' and I read it in bed. It is an old
man's work, rambling and vague, with hardly an occasional touch of
vigour. Old men should write nothing but their recollections, and Lord
S. is ninety-four. A wonderful old man, nevertheless, with a countenance
of extreme benignity, a complexion of milk and rose leaves, clear blue
eyes, and hair as white as snow. Though rather deaf, he still talks
well. I wrote him in return a memorandum with my ideas for Asiatic
Turkey, and later spent the morning with him listening to his old-world
recollections. He was _Chargé d'Affaires_ at Constantinople when Byron
passed through on his Childe Harold journey, and had ridden with him
every day for six weeks. Byron had been very agreeable, and there was
nothing at that time _scabreux_ in his conversation. He had also (before
that) in 1805 met him at Lord's Cricket Ground at the Eton and Harrow
match, both of them playing in the elevens on opposite sides. Byron
played cricket 'as well as could be expected considering his infirmity.'
He, Lord S., had never been willing to think there had ever been
anything really wrong between B. and Lady Caroline Lamb. The impression
Lord S. gives me is one of extreme kindness, gentleness, and benignity,
quite foreign to his reputation. I had rather sit listening to these
old-world confessions than to the talk of the prettiest woman in

"_March 16._--Breakfasted with Rivers Wilson and discussed Colonel
Gordon's character. All the world is agreed about his being a very
wonderful man. He has ruled the Soudan for four years single-handed, and
has repressed the slave trade completely. Now he comes home to England
and nothing is done for him. Neither Lord Beaconsfield nor any of the
Ministers will so much as see him. He made a mistake at starting (in his
relations with them). Passing through Paris (on his way home) he called
on Lord Lyons (at the Embassy), and begged him to see to the appointment
of a European successor to himself in the Soudan, and in the course of
conversation held out the threat that, if the English Government would
not do this, he would go to the French Government. Whereupon a
correspondence ensued with Lord Lyons, in which Gordon wrote a last very
intemperate letter ending in these words: 'I have one comfort in
thinking that in ten or fifteen years' time it will matter little to
either of us. A black box, six feet six by three feet wide, will then
contain all that is left of Ambassador, or Cabinet Minister, or of your
humble and obedient servant.' This has stamped him (in official eyes) as
a madman. Now he has left Europe, shaking the dust off his feet, for

This little anecdote is very characteristic of Gordon and is in harmony
with much of his correspondence, four years later, with Sir Evelyn
Baring. Our officials always detested him, for he habitually violated
the rules of their diplomacy and the conventions of their official
intercourse. Some thought him mad, others that he drank, and others
again that he was a religious fanatic who, when he was in doubt between
two courses, consulted his Bible for an oracle, or as a last solution
"spun a coin." Not one of them understood or trusted him. At the moment
of which I am writing, the early spring of 1880, he was very angry with
the English Government for the part it had taken in deposing Ismaïl.
Gordon for some reason or other liked Ismaïl, and hated his successor
Tewfik, and as soon as he learned at Khartoum what had happened, he had
thrown up his Governorship, and was now especially angry because a
Turkish pasha, and not a European, had been appointed in his place.
Gordon was a man of genius, with many noble qualities, but he was also a
bundle of contradictions, and the officials were probably right when
they looked upon him as not being at all times quite of a sound mind.
This, as will be seen, was the official opinion even at the very moment
of his being charged at the Foreign Office with his last mission to

The following, too, of the same date, 16th March, is interesting:
"Called on Cardinal Manning. Our conversation was on politics. He asked
me which way I should vote at the Elections. I said, 'I should vote only
on one consideration, a £5 note,' _Cardinal_: 'You mean you will not
vote at all?' _I_: 'I can get up no interest in these things. I look
upon European civilization as doomed to perish, and all politics as an
expedient which cannot materially delay or hasten the end.' _Cardinal_:
'I take the same view, though probably on different grounds. Europe is
rejecting Christianity, and with it the reign of moral law. The reign of
force is now beginning again, as in the earliest ages, and bloodshed and
ruin must be the result. Perhaps on the ruins the Church may again build
up something new.' Talking of Asia, he said that Ralph Kerr had told him
that the inhabitants of India attributed the mildness of our rule to
fear. They respect the Russians because they govern by military law.
_I_: 'The Russians are Asiatics. They govern in the Asiatic way--by
fraud if possible--if not, by force. This Asiatics understand.'
_Cardinal_: 'The Russians, as you say, are Asiatics; and I will tell you
more: their Nihilists are Buddhists. Nihilism is a product not of the
West, but of the East.'"

The General Elections, it must be remembered, of 1880 were fought to a
very large extent on questions of Eastern policy. Gladstone in his
Midlothian campaign had attacked with tremendous violence the whole of
Disraeli's scheme of imperial expansion, and had denounced as grossly
immoral his intervention at Constantinople and Berlin in favour of the
Turks, his acquisition of Cyprus, his purchase of the Suez Canal shares,
and his aggression on Egypt--as also Lytton's two Afghan campaigns and
the Boer War still raging in South Africa. With regard to Egypt,
Gladstone had as long before as the year 1877 made known his views in
print, and in an article in the August number of the "Nineteenth Century
Review" of that year, "Aggression on Egypt and Freedom in the East," had
declared himself in the clearest and strongest terms opposed to the
undertaking by England of any form of responsibility on the Nile. This
article is so remarkable and so wonderfully prescient of evils he was
himself destined to inflict upon Egypt that it deserves quoting. He
objects in it to such aggression on various grounds: first, as
increasing England's burden of Eastern rule, already too great;
secondly, because extensions of imperial rule can only be effected by
immoral means; thirdly, as regarded Egypt, that the pretence of
protecting the route to India by occupying the Nile Valley was a false
one, the route by the Cape of Good Hope being England's true line of
communication; and, fourthly, because intervention of any kind, whether
on the Suez Canal or at Cairo, must inevitably lead to farther and
farther adventures in Africa. "Our first site in Egypt," he writes, "be
it by larceny or be it by emption, will be the almost certain egg of a
North African Empire that will grow and grow till another Victoria and
another Albert, titles of the lake sources of the White Nile, will come
within our borders, and till we finally join hands across the Equator
with Natal and Cape Town, to say nothing of the Transvaal and the Orange
River on the south or of Abyssinia or Zanzibar to be swallowed by way of
_viaticum_ on our journey--and then, with a great empire in each of the
four quarters of the world ... we may be territorially content but less
than ever at our ease." He had made also a plea for the continuation of
Mohammedan self-government at Cairo. "The susceptibilities which we
might offend in Egypt," he says, "are rational and just. For very many
centuries she has been inhabited by a Mohammedan community. That
community has always been governed by Mohammedan influences and powers.
During a portion of the period it had Sultans of its own. Of late, while
politically attached to Constantinople, it has been practically governed
from within, a happy incident in the condition of any country and one
which we should be slow to change. The grievances of the people are
indeed great, but there is no proof whatever that they are incurable.
Mohammedanism now appears in the light of experience to be radically
incapable of establishing a good or tolerable government over civilized
and Christian races; but what proof have we that in the case of a
Mohammedan community, where there are no adverse complications of blood
or religion, or tradition or speech, the ends of political society, as
they understand them, may not be passably obtained." Lastly, he had
foreseen the quarrel which an attempt by England to seize Egypt would
create with France: "My belief is that the day which witnesses our
occupation of Egypt will bid a long farewell to all cordiality of
political relations between France and England. There might be no
immediate quarrel, no exterior manifestation, but a silent, rankling
grudge there would be like the now extinguished grudge of America during
the Civil War, which awaited the opportunity of some embarrassment on
our side and on hers of returning peace and leisure from weightier
matters. Nations have long memories." He had ended his article by a
solemn warning and an appeal to the hand of the Most High to confound
the intrigues of Cabinets, and secure the great emancipation of the
East. "No such deliverance," he concludes, "has for centuries blessed
the earth. We of this country (England) may feel with grief and pain
that we have done nothing to promote it. Whatever happens, may nothing
still worse than this lie at our door. Let us hope ... that to abdicate
duty we may not have to add a chapter of perpetrated wrong."

With these noble declarations, reiterated in a score of speeches during
the Election campaign of 1880, I could not but be in sympathy, had it
been possible to take them as quite sincere or as representing a policy
intended by the Liberal Party to be carried out when they should be in
office. But Gladstone did not at that time inspire me with any
confidence, and between Whigs and Tories there seemed to me to be but
little difference.

"_March 20._--John Pollen (then private secretary to Lord Ripon) dined
with us. We talked of the Elections and agreed there was not much to
choose between Whigs and Tories. I shall not vote. Though Lord
Salisbury's policy is less contemptible than Lord Granville's or
Gladstone's, it is coquetting too much with the Germans to please me. To
bring Germany down to Constantinople would be a greater misfortune than
anything Russia can accomplish."

"_April 6._--Paris (the Elections being over and having resulted in a
large Liberal majority). Godfrey Webb and I breakfasted with Bitters (my
cousin Francis Gore Currie), and I then went to the Embassy. Sheffield
(Lord Lyon's private secretary) very important about the new Liberal
Government--what he said to Hartington, and what Granville said to him.
Though I abstain from politics, I confess I think the Gladstonian
triumph a great misfortune. They are so strong now that we shall have
all sorts of experiments played with our British Constitution. The game
laws, the land laws, and all the _palladiums_ will be dismantled. Our
policy in Asia will suffer. The Whigs know nothing of the East and will
be afraid to reverse the Tory policy, and afraid to carry it logically
out. They will try to reform Turkey, and, finding it impossible, will
lose their temper and very likely drift into a war. Personally the
change is annoying to me, as now Lytton will resign with the Ministry
and we shall be baulked of our Indian visit next winter. But all these
things are trifles in the march of history."

"_April 9._--(Still at Paris.) A letter from Anne full of politics....
'Hartington is to be Premier, Goschen Admiralty, and Gladstone finance
... nothing in the foreign policy will be changed! Cyprus kept, Russia
thwarted, and Turkey administered from Gallipoli.... Lord Ripon does not
know his _own_ place, if any. I hear Mme. de Novikoff[5] still described
as the Egeria of Gladstone.'... Dined with Adams (first secretary of the
Paris Embassy) and met there Rivers Wilson, who goes to-morrow to Egypt
with Dicey, and Arthur Sullivan the composer--all pleasant company."
(This was Wilson's final mission in which he arranged the law of

"_April 26._--Home to England, where Gladstone is the talk of the hour.
He has taken office (as Prime Minister) and has surrounded himself with
ineptitudes, Childers, Bright, Granville! Hartington, who is a good
second-rate man, takes the India Office and Ripon goes to India. This
last arrangement is a secret."

Lord Ripon's appointment to India as Viceroy was the only quite sincere
attempt made in foreign policy by Gladstone to carry out in office what
he had preached when in opposition. Ripon was a thoroughly honest man,
of no very brilliant parts but straightforward and in earnest. He took
seriously the mission with which he was entrusted by the new Government
of making and keeping the peace on the Indian frontiers, and of
inaugurating a new policy having for its object to carry out the Queen's
proclamation of self-government among the natives. To the astonishment,
and indeed scandal, of the official world, he took with him as his
private secretary Gordon, whom all looked upon as mad--than which no
better proof could have been given of his _bona fides_ towards Native
India. Gordon, however, was not of the stuff of which private
secretaries, even with a chief like Ripon, are made, and he had hardly
landed at Bombay before he resigned. I do not think that Ripon was in
fault in this, but rather Gordon's restless chafing against all rules
and conventions. I shall have later to describe Ripon's viceroyalty when
I come to my second Indian journey in 1884. Now it will be enough to say
that, if it achieved comparatively little, it was through the
pusillanimity of the Ministry at home rather than his own. He valiantly
went on in the course traced out for him at the start, but like boys who
sometimes in a race, to make a fool of their companion who is in front
of them, hang back and stop, he found out to his confusion after a while
that he had been running alone and that the Ministers who had changed
their minds without letting him know had long been laughing at him for
his persistence. It must have been a bitter moment for him when he, too,
had to give in. The other appointments made were all, as far as
the highest offices went, given by Gladstone to the Whigs. Lord
Granville--the matter which interested me most--got the Foreign Office,
an amiable old nobleman with a good knowledge of French, but very deaf
and very idle, whose diplomacy was of the old procrastinating school of
never doing today what could possibly be put off till to-morrow, or, as
he himself was fond of putting it, of "dawdling matters out" and leaving
them to right themselves alone. Of such a Minister nothing in the way of
a new policy could be expected, and none was attempted either in Turkey,
or Egypt, or elsewhere. The Cyprus Convention was neither repudiated nor
turned to account for any good purpose, and beyond a little sham
pressure put upon the Sultan in the matter of Montenegro and the Greek
frontier, things were left precisely as they were. The only change made
was that Layard, the author of the Convention, was recalled from
Constantinople and Goschen appointed in his place, the same Goschen who
had made the leonine arrangement for the bondholders in Egypt three
years before, his own family firm of Göschen and Frühling being one of
them. The only act of the new Foreign Secretary which showed that he
remembered Mr. Gladstone's denunciations of the Turks was that, in order
to prove that Gladstone had been right and Disraeli and Salisbury wrong
about them, he in defiance of the ordinary rule in such matters at the
Foreign Office published a secret despatch of Layard's which
contradicted everything the Ambassador had written about the situation
at Constantinople in his public despatches. In this unfortunate document
he had laid bare the secret vices and weaknesses of the Sultan Abdul
Hamid, his personal cowardice especially being insisted on and
emphasized with details then unknown to the world, but now notorious, of
his system of spy-government. Its publication was a gross act of
treachery to Layard, and was, moreover, an act of folly from the effects
of which our diplomacy at Constantinople has not yet recovered; Layard
had been, so to say, Abdul Hamid's bosom friend and had received from
him favours of a kind not usually accorded to European Envoys. The
Sultan had shown himself to Layard as to a comrade on whom he could
rely, and the disclosure of what he considered Layard's treachery
alienated for ever his goodwill from England.

Nevertheless, and notwithstanding the unpromising position at the
Foreign Office, I was resolved in the interests of my propaganda to make
a bid for sympathy for my plans with the new Prime Minister. I was
encouraged to this by the appointment he had made on taking office of
one of my most intimate friends, Eddy Hamilton (now Sir Edward Hamilton,
K.C.B.), to be his private secretary, from whom I learned that, whatever
might be the public exigencies of the moment abroad, Mr. Gladstone's
sympathies with Oriental liberty were no whit abated. From Hamilton I
had no secrets as to my own views and plans, and all that he thought
necessary to win his master to them was that I should give them a wider
publicity in print. There were other channels, too, through which it was
judged that Gladstone might be influenced, and some of these are
referred to in my journal.

"_June 12._--Hamilton Aidé took me to call upon Mrs. L, who lives in a
big house in M ... Square, a plump, good-natured Irishwoman of fifty,
impulsive, talkative, but without trace either of beauty or anything
else. She is one of Gladstone's _Egerias_, and our visit was partly
diplomatic, as I want to indoctrinate her with my Arabian ideas, and
through her the Prime Minister. She is already enthusiastic about such
Arabs as she has seen, and affects a serious interest in the East. She
read us with much spirit a drama she had been writing about Herod,
Cleopatra, and Julius Caesar--sad stuff, which she assured us Gladstone
admired exceedingly.

"Rolland, John Pollen and Lawrence Oliphant to dinner. The last a very
attractive man. He has just come back from Constantinople, where he has
been trying to get a concession from the Sultan for lands beyond Jordan
to be colonized by the children of Israel."

"_June 22._--The Plowdens to dinner and Eddy Hamilton, who is now
Gladstone's private secretary. Plowden goes to Bagdad to-morrow as
Resident. I indoctrinated him and Eddy on the Eastern question."

"_June 26._--Lord Calthorpe, Percy Wyndham, and Captain Levitt joined us
at Crabbet, and we had a show of horses. Lord C. tells me he has shown
my letter about Arab horse-racing to several members of the Jockey Club,
and he will bring the matter forward at one of the club meetings next
month; so that it is to be hoped we shall succeed. If I can introduce a
pure Arabian breed of horses into England and help to see Arabia free of
the Turks, I shall not have quite lived in vain. My fourth letter to the
'Spectator' (on the politics of Central Arabia) has appeared to-day, and
my article in the 'Fortnightly' ('The Sultan's Heirs in Asia') is
advertised.... Later to the Admiralty, where Lord Northbrook
complimented me on my letters (they were the first I had ever written to
a newspaper). Sir Garnet Wolseley was there, a brisk little jerky man,
whom it is difficult to accept as a great general. I reminded him of our
visit to Cyprus. He said, 'I believe Lady Anne is writing a book.' 'Yes,
but we have said nothing about Cyprus in it.' 'Oh, you didn't stay long
enough.' 'We thought it best to say nothing.'"

The article here spoken of, "The Sultan's Heirs in Asia," was, as I have
said, a bid for Gladstone's serious attention to my ideas, and through
Hamilton's help, who brought it under his notice, it was completely
successful, though characteristically the feature of it which interested
him most was that which has proved least politically practical, and was
to me the least important, namely, the future of the Armenian provinces
as an independent state. The idea I propounded was, that in the same way
as a large portion of European Turkey had been given its independence,
so in the decline of the Ottoman Empire the Asiatic provinces should
also be encouraged to form themselves into independent states, according
to their prevailing nationalities; and I appealed by name to Mr.
Gladstone to make good his words, so freely and so recently uttered in
favour of Eastern liberty, by making use of the instrument devised by
his predecessors in office, the Cyprus Convention, not for the selfish
purposes of English imperialism, but for the good of the peoples of the
East. Its publication in the July number of the "Fortnightly" led to my
being invited to Downing Street, where I had an opportunity of pressing
my views personally on the Prime Minister. It will be seen that I was
not on that first occasion much impressed by him; but I was encouraged
to develop my ideas, and from that time my opinion, conveyed to him
generally through Hamilton, was of some account with Gladstone in regard
to Eastern affairs.

"_June 27._--Called on A. with whom I found Queensberry. He began at
once to expound to us his religious doctrines, talking in an excited,
earnest way. These doctrines seem to me mere Comtism. There is some sort
of Supreme Being, not a personal God, and a conscience by which man is
guided in his search of perfection. The principle doctrine, 'faith in
humanity,' and the principal duty, 'the perfectioning of body and soul,'
especially body. The Marquess is not a very lucid expounder, and
proposed to recite us a poem instead--a poem he had written. While we
were expecting this in came Philip Currie and a little old man with a
long nose and very black eyes, Malkum Khan, the Persian Ambassador.
These sat down and listened while Queensberry recited. The poem was in
blank verse, vague, doctrinal, fantastic, beginning with the Matterhorn
and going on to Humanity. When he had finished the Oriental spoke. He
said, 'Perhaps it would interest you to hear the story of a religion
which was founded some years ago in Persia, and of which I was at one
time the head. It will exemplify the manner in which religions are
produced, and you will see that the doctrine of Humanity is one at least
as congenial to Asia as to Europe. Europe, indeed, is incapable of
inventing a real religion, one which shall take possession of the souls
of men; as incapable as Asia is of inventing a system of politics. The
mind of Asia is speculative, of Europe practical. In Persia we every day
produce "new Christs." We have "Sons of God" in every village, martyrs
for their faith in every town. I have myself seen hundreds of Babis
suffer death and torture for their belief in a prophet whose doctrines
were identical with those of Jesus Christ, and who, like Him, was
crucified. Christianity is but one of these hundred Asiatic preachings,
brought into notice through its adoption by the Greek mind and given a
logical form and a material complexion. If it had remained an Asiatic
faith it would long ago have perished, as a hundred moral and mystic
teachings have perished before and after it. When I was a young man I,
too, as I told you, founded a religion which at one time numbered 30,000
devotees. I was born an Armenian Christian, but I was brought up among
Mohammedans, and my tone of thought is theirs. I was foster-brother to
the Shah and when he came to the throne he made me his Prime Minister.
At the age of twenty I was practically despotic in Persia. I saw the
abuses of government, the decline of material prosperity in the country,
and I was bitten with the idea of reform. I went to Europe and studied
there the religious, social, and political systems of the West. I
learned the spirit of the various sects of Christendom, and the
organization of the secret societies and freemasonries, and I conceived
a plan which should incorporate the political wisdom of Europe with the
religious wisdom of Asia. I knew that it was useless to attempt a
remodelling of Persia in European forms, and I was determined to clothe
my material reformation in a garb which my people would understand, the
garb of religion. I therefore, on my return, called together the chief
persons of Teheran, my friends, and spoke to them in private of the
need which Islam had of purer doctrine. I appealed to their moral
dignity and pride of birth. There are in Persian two words, each
signifying Man--_insan_, from the Arabic, and _adhem_ (Adam), more
strictly Persian in derivation. The second signifies Man as a genus, a
particular kind of animal--the first man as an intellectual and
distinguished being (the _homo_ and _vir_ of Latin). You all, I said,
pride yourselves that you are more than _adhem_; you are also _insan_.
And it is to enable you to justify that pretension that I will advise
you to do this and that. They all found my reasoning good, and in a
short time I had got together 30,000 followers. Under the name of a
Reformation of Islam I thus introduced what material reforms I could.
To my doctrine is due the telegraph, the reorganization of the
administrative departments, and many another attempted improvement since
gone to ruin. I had, however, no intention at the outset of founding a
religion. The character of saint and prophet was forced on me by my
followers. They gave me the title of "Holy Ghost," and the Shah that of
"Reformer of Islam." I wrote a book, a bible of my creed, and
enthusiasts maintained that I worked miracles. At last the Shah was
alarmed at my power, which in truth had become superior to his own. He
sought, in spite of our old friendship, to kill me, and my followers
sought to kill him. For two months we both lived in great fear of
assassination, and then we came to an explanation. I loved and revered
the Shah, and I asked permission to travel. My followers took leave
of me with tears, even the Mollahs kissing my feet. I went to
Constantinople, thinking to get permission from the Sultan to reside at
Bagdad, and I in fact went there and gained new converts from among the
resident Persian and Bagdad Shiahs. But the Turks deceived me, and I had
to leave my work unfinished. My followers in Persia urged me to return,
but I was deterred through several motives; first, I feared to find my
death for a religion in which I did not believe, secondly, my health
broke down, and, thirdly, I had married a wife. I wrote to the Shah, who
replied, offering me any appointment I would, so I would remain abroad;
and I accepted the position of Ambassador-General to all the Courts of
Europe.' It was strange to hear this little old man, in European clothes
and talking very good French, recounting a tale so purely Oriental. I
walked home with him afterwards (he lived on the other side of Hyde
Park), and he detailed to me his ideas about the East and West, both of
which he knows, and knows thoroughly. I left him with the impression
that he was the most remarkable man I had ever met, and more convinced
than ever of the superior intelligence of the Eastern mind. Who is there
in Europe that could have made one thus feel like a child?"

This chance meeting, at a fine lady's house in Belgravia in the middle
of the London season, affected me profoundly, and to a certain extent
revolutionized my ideas. I trace to it, and to other talks which I had
later with this singular personage, the conviction which rapidly
overcame me that in all my thought of freeing and reforming the East I
had begun at the wrong end, and that, if I was to effect anything either
for the Arabs or for any other of the Moslem peoples subject to the
Turks, I must first make myself thoroughly acquainted with their
religious ideas. As yet I had passed among them, in spite of my
political sympathy, as a stranger to their more serious thought; without
religious prejudice myself of the ordinary Christian kind, I had learned
to respect Islam, but I did not comprehend it, nor had I ever discussed
its teachings with any one learned in its law or conversant with its
modern thought. I saw at once the weakness, nay the absurdity of my
position, and I resolved before I went any farther to devote the
following winter to a study of at least the main features of the
Mohammedan doctrines as they affected Mohammedan politics. With this
view I made my plans for the winter. My thought was to go to Jeddah at
or about the time of the pilgrimage, and there inform myself as I best
could, and then take any occasion that might offer for further action. I
wished to penetrate once more into Arabia, if possible through Hejaz, or
perhaps Yemen to Nejd. I had an idea that among the Wahhabis I might
find a teacher who would give me the Arabian as opposed to the Ottoman
view of Islam, and that I might devise with him a movement of reform in
which I should suggest the political, he the religious elements. It was
a sufficiently wild idea, but I entertained it seriously at the time,
and the confession of having done so will explain to Egyptian readers
how it came about that I took the line I did at Cairo a year later.

I was influenced, too, at that time in London by another learned
Oriental, one Sabunji, whose acquaintance I had made in the character of
Arabic teacher. He, too, like Malkum Khan, was of Christian origin, a
member of one of the Catholic sects of Syria, and he had even taken
priest's orders and served the Congregation of the Propaganda at Rome;
but he had latterly thrown off the cassock and, like the Ambassador, was
much more in sympathy with Islam than with his own faith. As an Arabic
scholar he was very remarkable, and he had a wide acquaintance with the
questions, half political, half religious, which were being discussed
just then among Mohammedans. He had done the main work for the late Dr.
Badger in compiling the Arabic-English Dictionary which goes by Dr.
Badger's name, and in 1880 was carrying on in London an Arabic newspaper
called "El Nakhleh," the Bee, in which religious reform was preached to
Mohammedans once a month, on the most advanced lines of modern thought.
There was a mystery about the financing of this little journal, and the
motives prompting its issue, which I never quite fathomed. His own
account of it was that his chief patron was the Sultan of Zanzibar, a
very enlightened and liberal-minded ruler. But I was never quite
satisfied with this explanation, and I have since had reason to believe
that the funds to support it, and the suggestion of its politics came,
in part at least, from the ex-Khedive Ismaïl. Ismaïl was at that time
very angry with the Sultan for his betrayal of him to Europe, and the
"Bee" was violent against Abdul Hamid, and denounced him especially as
an usurper of the title of Emir el Mumenin and Caliph. I do not well
remember whether it was from this Sabunji or from Malkum Khan that I
first came to understand the historical aspect of the caliphal question
and its modern aspects, but, opposed as I was to Ottoman rule, it struck
me at once as one of high importance to the kind of reform I was
beginning now to look for. There is notice in my journal of my having
sent in a memorandum to Mr. Gladstone on the subject, and I have a
letter from Hamilton, showing that the idea was considered one of
importance by members of the Cabinet and generally in Downing Street.

"_July 3._--A tea party at A.'s, a 'collection of mystics,' old Rolland,
Dunraven, and Oliphant. The two latter and I had a conference in a back
room which resulted in our agreeing to act in common on the Eastern
question, so as to influence public opinion in England. We are to have a
preliminary meeting at Dunraven's on Thursday."

"_July 8._--Called on Percy Wyndham and converted him to my political
creed. Also received a visit on the same subject from Mr. Boyce, M. P.
Dined with Dunraven, Oliphant, Otway, Percy Wyndham, Harry Brand, and
Whittaker, editor of the 'Levant Herald,' at Limmer's Hotel, to arrange
a course of action with a view to influencing public opinion in England
respecting Asia. Nothing more definite settled than the formation of a
committee for receiving news. Later to Bryce's, where I met one
Robertson Smith, who has been lately in the Hejaz." (This was the
well-known professor.)

"_July 13._--Went to a party at Mrs. Gladstone's. We arrived early,
before other people had come, and I had twenty minutes' conversation
with the great man. I detailed to him my ideas about the regeneration of
the East, in which he seemed to take an interest, as far as a man can
who is totally ignorant of the A B C of a question. His remarks struck
me as the reverse of profound, and his questions contrasted unfavourably
with those put to me three years ago by Lord Salisbury. A British
steamer had been fired on by some Arabs on the Tigris, and he began by
remarking that he feared this fact showed a marked antagonism towards
England on the part of Arabia. The state of the Ottoman Empire he
considered most _critical_. Probably the East had never been in a more
_critical_ state than now. If the Treaty of San Stefano had been carried
out Turkey could hardly have been more _critically_ situated than she
was. I succeeded however, I think, in grafting him with two ideas, one
that the Caliphate was not necessarily vested in the House of Othman,
the other that Midhat Pasha was a fool. He has evidently made up his
mind about nothing, and will let himself drift on till the smash comes."

"_July 15._--Attended a meeting of Philo-Asiatics. In the afternoon to
Aldermaston, a fine park with a tiresome modern house; Sir Henry Layard
doing the honours. I had a great prejudice against him, but find him
agreeable and without pretension, considering his position. He talks
well, especially of his travels, and he really understands the East,
reminding me a little of Skene and Rolland, both fellow travellers of
his in old days.... Layard's memoirs would be the most interesting of
any man's of the present century. His rise from the position of a
wandering outcast among the Kurds, almost himself an outlaw, to that of
British Ambassador to the Porte, contains all the romance of human

"_July 17._--An interview with Sir Charles Dilke (Under-Secretary of
State) at the Foreign Office. I explained to him my idea of going to
Nejd this autumn with Abdallah Ibn Saoud, and to my surprise he seemed
to acquiesce. Although our conversation was not a long one, it left me
with the impression of Dilke being a superior man. His questions were
plain and to the point, and, once understood, he wrote the draft of a
despatch to Goschen at Constantinople, referring me for further details
to Tenterden (the permanent Head of the Foreign Office), and I am now
full of the notion of going to Arabia and heading a movement for the
restoration of the Arabian Caliphate. People have been called great who
have sacrificed themselves for smaller objects, but in this I feel the
satisfaction of knowing it to be a really worthy cause."

Sir Charles Dilke, who was destined to play a considerable part in the
events of 1882 in Egypt, had in 1880 been only a few months at the
Foreign Office. He and Chamberlain, who were great political friends,
represented with Bright the Radical element in the new government.
Chamberlain got the Local Government Board and a seat in the Cabinet,
and Dilke the Foreign Under-Secretaryship, which, with his chief, Lord
Granville, in the House of Lords and an idle man besides, was a position
of great power Dilke knew how to take advantage of. Neither of the two
men belonged to the class from which Ministers in England are usually
chosen, but were looked upon as middle-class men, and I remember the
disgust with which Dilke's appointment was received at the Foreign
Office, where aristocratic pretensions are traditional among the clerks.
Dilke, however, soon showed his mettle by the way he took his work
in hand, and, what was even more to the purpose with them, by
certain Gallicisms in conversation which were also a Foreign Office
characteristic, so that in a very few weeks he found himself not only
tolerated but popular. The Abdallah Ibn Saoud referred to in my journal
was a certain Abdallah Ibn Theneyyàn Ibn Saoud, of the old princely
family of Nejd, who had found his way to Constantinople, and had there
applied to the British Embassy for help to gain or regain a political
position in his own country. I had heard of him from Currie, and had
jumped to the conclusion that this might be the opportunity I sought in
Arabia, and so applied to the Foreign Office to put me in communication
with him and favour my projected journey. The plan, however, came to
nothing, though, as has been seen, not altogether disapproved at the
Foreign Office, for when the matter was referred to Lord Tenterden, the
permanent Under-Secretary, he demurred, on the ground that the thing if
undertaken with the cognizance of the Foreign Office would be liable to
be regarded as a "secret mission," and such missions were contrary to
the traditions of the Office. And so the plan was abandoned. Just at
this time, too, the news of the disgraceful defeat of the British army
under Burrows at Candahar by the Afghans reached London, and I fancy
made them doubly cautious in Downing Street. The defeat was a final blow
to Lytton, and to the policy of adventure beyond the Indian frontier he
had made his own, and at no time within recollection did the imperial
fortunes of England seem so low. All the world was depressed by it, even
I, little of a Jingo as I had become.

"_August 5._--To Portsmouth by train, having got a telegram to say the
Lyttons are expected to-night or to-morrow. Portsmouth is a strange,
old-fashioned town, still without a decent inn; and we are at a
pot-house called the 'Star and Garter.' In the house opposite there is a
bust of Nelson, and from the windows one can see the 'St. Vincent' and
the 'Victory.' Little as one may care for one's country--and Heaven
knows I am no Chauvin--it is impossible not to be touched by these
relics of England's greatness. I never till this moment quite realized
the decay of her fortunes since sixty years ago. What a shock it would
be for Nelson and his companions if he could read the papers to-day,
full of dastardly congratulations at the discovery that not 2,000 but
only 1,000 men were lost on the Helmund, and at General Burrows not
having positively run away; of fears lest England should embark
single-handed on a war with Turkey, and an abject hope that France may
think fit to see us through our difficulties in the East--all this, with
Lytton's arrival at Portsmouth, Lytton who, if things go wrong with
India, will leave a name in history as the first of the unsuccessful
Viceroys of the British Empress and the one most responsible for India's
loss. All this, I say, gives one a feeling of sorrow impossible to
describe. Yet I do not join with those who cry out on Lytton's policy,
still less on its execution. His policy was a necessary one, and its
execution has been bold and successful. He has been conspicuous in the
history of England's decay only because he is himself conspicuous. He
could not have stemmed the tide of events. He went with them, guiding as
he could but powerless to do more. England's decay rests upon causes far
more general than any one man or party of men can be responsible for. We
fail because we are no longer honest, no longer just, no longer
gentlemen. Our Government is a mob, not a body endowed with sense and
supported by the sense of the nation. It was only by immense industry,
immense sense, and immense honour that we gained our position in the
world, and now that these are gone we find our natural level. For a
hundred years we did good in the world; for a hundred we shall have done
evil, and then the world will hear of us no more."

"_August 6._--After several false alarms the 'Himalaya' was signalled;
and, having fortunately met the rest of the small party of friends come
to greet Lytton, we went out to meet her and were taken on board just
opposite Osborne. At the gangway, brown as a berry and very ill dressed
in clothes of four years ago and a flap-away Indian hat, stood Lytton
with that cigarette in his mouth which cost him his Viceroyalty. On what
trifles success depends! If he could have refrained from smoking out of
season, and if he could have gone to church with his wife, all his sins,
though they had been like scarlet, would have been forgiven him by the
Anglo-Indian public. As it was, he had this against him throughout his
reign, and it turned the scale when he was politically defeated. But for
this he would never have been recalled. He himself, conscious of having
done his best and done well, cares nothing for such things, and he is
right. I could envy him this feeling almost as much as I envy him the
delight of going home to Knebworth. When we had seen them on shore and
taken tea with them at the inn, we wished them good-bye. 'Oh, the dear
drunken people in the streets!' Lady Lytton exclaimed, 'how I love

"_September 7._--Knebworth. In the morning I wrote and read, but in the
afternoon I went down with Lytton to the fishing house and talked over
the Eastern question, in which I find his views not very divergent from
my own. We are both agreed that the day of England's _empire_ is fast
ending--for my own part I do not care how soon. Lytton has more

"_October 29._--Crabbet. Spent the day with Lytton ... he read me his
defence for the House of Lords. He has an immensely strong case, and
should make one of the most remarkable speeches of the age if he is
allowed to bring forward all the documents in his possession. He showed
me these, the Russian correspondence taken at Kabul and the draft of a
secret treaty between Shere Ali and the Russians. He also told me that
when he was going to India Schouvaloff called on him and proposed to him
to divide Afghanistan between Russia and England."

This is nearly the last entry in my journal of 1880, which unfortunately
I discontinued till two years later. The full explanation Lytton was
never allowed to make in Parliament, and his speech, robbed of its
strongest points, fell comparatively flat when he made it before the
House of Lords. I will, however, add an extract from a letter he wrote
me on the 18th of November, which will complete this chapter of my
story. It is of value as giving a very accurate epitome of the political
situation of the date: "I saw," Lytton writes, "in one of the papers the
other day a statement that the new Sherif of Mecca (Abdul Mutalleb), who
is completely a tool of the Sultan, is working actively under orders
from Constantinople to put the Mohammedans against us in all parts of
the world. The cry is now, 'The Caliph in danger.' This was to be
expected, and I fear the opportunity has passed for the good which might
have been effected a year ago through the Arabs. The only result of
Gladstone's action, so far as I can see, has been to destroy our
influence at Constantinople and transfer it to Germany, without
substituting for it any other means of controlling the Mohammedan world.
The Mansion House speech (Gladstone's), expected with so much curiosity,
seemed to me a weak confession of utter failure in the policy of the
Government. They drop Greece and Armenia, and everything else, with the
admission that their fingers are scorched by the burning end of the
stick at which they grasped so wildly nine months ago. And in Ireland
they are drifting into great difficulties which may even break up the
Cabinet. The fact is the policy which the Government wants to carry out
is everywhere rejected by the Nation; and the policy which the Nation
wants carried out the Government naturally shies at, not wishing to
stultify its promises and declarations. So the result is, for the
present, no policy at all. As for myself I keep silence, _morne et
profond_, till Parliament meets, though my heart burns within me."

The last weeks of my stay in England that autumn were, however, less
occupied with politics than with the publication of a volume of poetry,
to which I had been persuaded by Lytton, and the proofs of which I left
to him to correct. This was "The Sonnets of Proteus," which had a
considerable success and which has since gone through many editions. It
gave me almost at once a certain rank in the literary world which was
not altogether without its influence on my subsequent relations with my
political friends.


[5] Madame de Novikoff, a very charming woman, who was in the confidence
of the Russian Government, had come to England for the first time a
little before this date, her very earliest English visit being paid to
us at Crabbet. She had brought an introduction to us from Madame de
Lagrené, a Russian friend of ours living in Paris, and as yet knew no
one. She stayed with us a week, but finding me unsympathetic with her
anti-Islamic views, went on and soon after made a political capture of
Mr. Gladstone.



I left England that autumn of 1880 on the 3rd of November, in the first
place for Egypt, and without any more definite further plan than to go
on from thence to Jeddah and educate myself in view of possible future
opportunities. My wilder schemes in regard to the Arabs seemed for the
moment impracticable, and all that I hoped for was to gain sufficient
knowledge of the doctrine and modern tendencies of Islam to put it into
my power to act should circumstances become more favourable. On leaving
London I had arranged with Hamilton that we should correspond during the
winter, and that I would let him know anything of special interest which
might occur on my journey and which he might communicate to Mr.
Gladstone, who was still, he assured me, though I had not seen him
again, interested in my ideas. At the Foreign Office I was looked upon,
though in a friendly way, more as a visionary than as anything seriously
likely to affect the official view of Eastern policy, even under a
Radical Prime Minister.

At Cairo, where I arrived a few days later, I found much change, and
all, as it seemed to me, for the better. The old irresponsible tyranny
of Ismaïl had given place to the comparatively mild _régime_ of the
Anglo-French _Condominium_. The finances had been regularized, and order
put into most of the Administrations. I visited some of the same
villages I had known in such terrible straits five years before, and
found that the worst evils affecting their position had been put a stop
to, and, though still poor and highly-taxed, there was no longer that
feeling of despair among the fellahin which had made them pour out the
history of their woes to me when I had first come among them as a
sympathetic stranger. I went to the British Agency, and was delighted to
find established there as Consul-General my friend Malet, who gave me a
roseate account of the reforms that had been effected or were in
project, for as yet little had been actually done except financially.
All was going slowly but steadily on the road of improvement, and the
only clouds he could see on the horizon were, first, in the Soudan,
which was so great a drain upon Egypt's resources, and, secondly, in the
Army, where there had been latterly symptoms of discontent. He spoke
much in praise of the new Khedive, Tewfik, and took me to see him at the
Palace, and I found him, if not very interesting, at least holding the
language of a civilized and liberal-minded Prince. An echo of Malet's
optimism may be recognized in my letters from Egypt of that date, and I
find the draft of one I wrote to Hamilton of which the following is an

"I find a great change here for the better since five years ago, and,
whatever may be the shortcomings the late Government may have to answer
for elsewhere, their policy in Egypt certainly was a success. The
country people now look fat and prosperous, and the few I have talked
to, people who in former years complained bitterly of their condition,
now praise the Khedive and his administration. They seem, for once, to
have gone the right way to work here, making as few changes as possible
in the _system_ of government and only taking care that the _men_ who
caused the disorder should be changed. It was a great stroke of policy
getting rid of Ismaïl, and I feel little doubt that with proper
management the present man will go straight. Egypt is so rich and such a
cheap country to govern that its finances _must_ come right, if it
limits its ambition to its own natural prosperity. But there are one or
two rocks ahead, the government of the Soudan for instance, which will
always be an expense and will always be an excuse for maintaining an
army. I cannot conceive why Egypt should charge itself with governing
the Nile beyond the First Cataract, its old boundary. Putting down the
slave-trade in Africa is an amusement only rich countries need afford
themselves. It will also be a great misfortune if such protection and
supervision as the Government gets from England should be withdrawn, at
least for some years and until a new generation has grown up used to a
better order of things than the old. I should like immensely to see
Syria put under another such _régime_. That, too, if there is no
attempt to hold the desert, is a fairly rich country and might be made
to pay its way. But it would require a very distinct protection from
Europe to relieve it of the cost of an army. For police purposes a very
small force would be sufficient, and I am convinced that people in
England exaggerate immensely the difficulty of keeping the peace between
the mixed Mohammedan and Christian populations there. These have all
lain groaning together so long under the same tyranny that the edges of
their prejudices have got worn down."

With regard to my plan of seeking Mohammedan instruction, I was from the
outset singularly fortunate. Rogers Bey, a distinguished Eastern scholar
whom I had known some years before as Consul at Damascus, was now an
official of the Finance Office at Cairo, and from him I obtained the
name of a young Alem connected with the Azhar University, Sheykh
Mohammed Khalil, who came to me daily to give me lessons in Arabic, and
stayed to talk with me often through the afternoons. It happened,
however, that he was far more than a mere professor of the language of
the Koran. Mohammed Khalil, of all the Mohammedans I have known, was
perhaps the most single-minded and sincere and at the same time the most
enthusiastic Moslem of the larger and purer school of thought such as
that which was being expounded at that time at Cairo by his great
master, Sheykh Mohammed Abdu. I like to think of him as he then was, a
young man of about thirty, serious, intelligent, and good, without
affectation, pious and proud of his religion, but without the smallest
taint of Pharisaism or doctrinal intolerance or of that arrogant reserve
which is so common with Mohammedans in dealing with persons not of their
own faith. He was all the contrary to this. From almost the first day of
our intercourse he made it his duty and his pleasure to teach me all he
knew. His school of interpretation was of the very widest kind. He
accepted as true creeds all those that professed the unity of God; and
Judaism and Christianity were to him only imperfect and corrupted forms
of the one true religion of Abraham and Noah. He would hear nothing of
intolerance, nothing of bitterness between believers so near akin. The
intolerance and the bitterness were the evil legacy of ancient wars, and
he believed the world to be progressing towards a state of social
perfection where arms would be laid down and a universal brotherhood
proclaimed between the nations and the creeds. As he unfolded to me
these ideas and based them on texts and traditions, declaring them to be
the true teaching of Islam, it may be imagined how astonished and
delighted I was--for they were very close to my own--and the more so
when he affirmed that they were the views beginning to be held by all
the more intelligent of the younger generation of students at his own
university, as well as elsewhere in the Mohammedan world. He gave me,
too, an account of how this school of enlightened interpretation had
sprung up almost within his own recollection at the Azhar.

The true originator of the Liberal religious Reform movement among the
Ulema of Cairo was, strangely enough, neither an Arab, nor an Egyptian,
nor an Ottoman, but a certain wild man of genius, Sheykh Jemal-ed-din
Afghani, whose sole experience of the world before he came to Egypt had
been that of Central Asia. An Afghan by birth, he had received his
religious education at Bokhara, and in that remote region, and
apparently without coming in contact with any teacher from the more
civilized centres of Mohammedan thought, he had evolved from his own
study and reflection the ideas which are now associated with his name.
Hitherto all movements of religious reform in Sunnite Islam had followed
the lines not of development, but of retrogression. There had been a
vast number of preachers, especially in the last 200 years, who had
taught that the decay of Islam as a power in the world was due to its
followers having forsaken the ancient ways of simplicity and the severe
observance of the law as understood in the early ages of the faith. On
the other hand, reformers there had been of a modern type recently, both
in Turkey and Egypt, who had Europeanized the administration for
political purposes, but these had introduced their changes as it were by
violence, through decrees and approvals obtained by force from the
unwilling Ulema, and with no serious attempt to reconcile them with the
law of the Koran and the traditions. The political reforms had been
always imposed from above, not suggested from below, and had generally
been condemned by respectable opinion. Jemal-ed-din's originality
consisted in this, that he sought to convert the religious intellect of
the countries where he preached to the necessity of reconsidering the
whole Islamic position, and, instead of clinging to the past, of making
an onward intellectual movement in harmony with modern knowledge. His
intimate acquaintance with the Koran and the traditions enabled him to
show that, if rightly interpreted and checked the one by the other, the
law of Islam was capable of the most liberal developments and that
hardly any beneficial change was in reality opposed to it.

Having completed his studies in 1870, and being then thirty-two years
old, he passed through India to Bombay and joined the pilgrimage to
Mecca, and, this duty accomplished, he came on to Cairo and afterwards
to Constantinople. He remained on this first visit no more than forty
days in Egypt, but he had time to make acquaintance with certain of the
Azhar students and to lay the foundations of the teaching he afterwards
developed. At Constantinople his great eloquence and learning soon
asserted itself, and he was given a position in the _Anjuman el Elm_,
where he lectured on all subjects, his knowledge being almost universal.
He had great quickness of intellect and an astonishing memory, so that
it is said of him that he could read a book straight off on any subject
and master the whole contents as inscribed upon his mind forever.
Beginning with grammar and science, his lectures went on to philosophy
and religion. He taught that Sunnite Islam was capable of adapting
itself to all the highest cravings of the human soul and the needs of
modern life. As an orthodox Sunni, and with the complete knowledge he
had of the _hawadith_, he was listened to with respect and soon got a
following among the younger students. He inspired courage by his own
boldness, and his critical treatment of the received commentaries, even
those of El Hánafi, was accepted by them as it would hardly have been
from any other. Their consciences he was at pains to free from the
chains in which thought had lain for so many centuries, and to show them
that the law of Islam was no dead hand but a system fitted for the
changing human needs of every age, and so itself susceptible of change.
All this stood in close analogy to what we have seen of the re-awakening
of the Christian intellect during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries
in Europe and its adaption of orthodox doctrines to the scientific
discoveries of the day. It is strange, however, that in Western Islam
the new spirit of criticism should have been initiated as it was, by
one whose education had been made in such unprogressive lands as those
of Central Asia, and at a university so far away.

Sheykh Jemal-ed-din's career at Constantinople was a brilliant but a
short one. He was essentially a free lance, and, like most Afghans, a
disregarder of persons and of those ceremonial observances which
regulate among the Ottoman dignitaries the personal intercourse of the
great with those who attend their levées. Although protected by certain
of the Liberal Statesmen, and notably by Ali and Fuad Pashas, who saw in
his teaching a support to their unorthodox political reforms against the
old-fashioned Ulema, Jemal-ed-din had managed to give offence to the
high religious authorities, and especially by his independent personal
attitude to the Sheykh el Islam, and these soon found in his lectures
matter for reproof and condemnation. Advantage was taken of certain
passages in his lectures to denounce him to the Government as an atheist
and a perverter of the law, and when the Afghan reformer had replied by
a courageous demand to be confronted with his high accusers and heard in
a public discussion the official sense of propriety was shocked and
alarmed. The challenge was producing an immense excitement among the
Softas, the younger of whom were all on Jemal-ed-din's side, and the
quarrel seemed likely to lead to serious trouble. Notice was somewhat
reluctantly given that he had better leave once more for Egypt and the
Holy Places. It was thus under the cloud of religious persecution that
he returned to Cairo, but not without having sown the seed of inquiry
which was to mature some years later at Constantinople in the shape of a
general demand among the Softas for constitutional reform. It was the
religious part of the movement which was to culminate in the political
revolution attempted by Midhat Pasha in 1876.

At the Azhar, when he returned to Cairo in 1871, Jemal-ed-din's
reputation had of course preceded him, and, though Egypt was then in the
darkest night of its religious unintelligence, for the moral corruption
of the Government, especially in Ismaïl's reign, had infected all
classes and had extinguished every tradition of courage and independence
among the Ulema, considerable curiosity was felt about him. The few
friends he had made on the occasion of his first visit welcomed him, if
not openly, in secret, and presently the wonderful fire and zeal of his
conversation drew around him, as it had done at Constantinople, a group
of young and enthusiastic followers. The most remarkable of these, his
earliest disciples at the Azhar, were Sheykh Mohammed Abdu, who was to
play so important a part in public affairs later and who is now Grand
Mufti of Egypt, and Sheykh Ibrahim el Aghani the well-known publicist.
To these he was able to communicate without reserve his stores of varied
knowledge, and to inspire them with his critical spirit and something of
his courage. Courage indeed was needed in those days for any man at
Cairo to speak out. Ismaïl brooked no kind of opposition and wielded
power so absolute in the country that independent speech, almost
independent whispering, had disappeared from men's mouths. It was only
the fellahin of the village, already despoiled of all, that dared
complain, or those in the city too poor and insignificant to be of any
political count. The highest religious authorities, as well as the
highest officials, had long been silent about injustice and had chosen
their part of acquiescence, content so long as they could get their
share, each one however small, of the general plunder.

On this dark state of intellectual and moral things Jemal-ed-din's
courageous teaching broke like an apparition of strange light, and his
very courage for awhile secured him a hearing undisturbed by admonition
from the Government. Perhaps his quarrel at Constantinople was a
passport to Ismaïl's tolerance, perhaps he deemed this Afghan too
insignificant a force to call for suppression. Perhaps, like Ali and
Fuad Pashas, he thought to turn the new teaching to account in his long
war with the European Consuls. Be this as it may, Jemal-ed-din was
allowed during the whole of the remaining years of Ismaïl's reign to
carry on his lectures, and it was only on Tewfik's accession and the
establishment of the Anglo-French condominium that he was arrested on an
executive order, sent untried to Alexandria, and summarily exiled. He
had, however, already done his work, and at the time of which I am
writing his principles of Liberal reform upon a theological basis had so
far prevailed at the Azhar that they had already been adopted by all
that was intellectual there among the students. The reformer's mantle
had fallen upon worthy shoulders, shoulders indeed it may be said,
worthier even than his own. My little Arabic instructor, Mohammed
Khalil, was never weary of speaking to me of the virtues and
intellectual qualities of him who was now his spiritual master, Sheykh
Mohammed Abdu, the acknowledged leader at the Azhar, in Jemal-ed-din's
succession, of the Liberal Party of reform.

I find a note among my papers that it was on the 28th of January, 1881,
that I was first taken by my enthusiastic Alem to Mohammed Abdu's little
house in the Azhar quarter, a day to be marked by me with an especially
white stone, for it began for me a friendship which has lasted now for
nearly a quarter of a century with one of the best and wisest, and most
interesting of men. When I use these words of him it must not be thought
that they are light or exaggerated judgment. I base them on a knowledge
of his character gained in a variety of circumstances on very difficult
and trying occasions, first as a religious teacher, next as leader of a
movement of social reform and as the intellectual head of a political
revolution; again, as prisoner in the hands of his enemies, as exile in
various foreign lands, and for some years under police surveillance at
Cairo when his exile had been annulled; lastly, by the strength of his
intellect and his moral character reasserting himself as a power in his
own country, resuming his lectures at the Azhar, placed in the
judicature, named Judge of Appeal, and finally, in these last days,
Grand Mufti at Cairo, the highest religious and judicial position
attainable in Egypt.

Sheykh Mohammed Abdu when I first saw him in 1881 was a man of about
thirty-five, of middle height, dark, active in his gait, of quick
intelligence revealed in singularly penetrating eyes, and with a manner
frank and cordial and inspiring ready confidence. In dress and
appearance purely Oriental, wearing the white turban and dark kaftan of
the Azhar Sheykhs and knowing as yet no European language, or, indeed,
other language than his own. With him I discussed, with the help of
Mohammed Khalil, who knew a little French and helped on my insufficient
Arabic, most of those questions I had already debated with his disciple,
and between them I obtained before leaving Cairo a knowledge really
large of the opinions of their liberal school of Moslem thought, their
fears for the present, and their hopes for the future. These I
afterwards embodied in a book published at the end of the year under the
title of "The Future of Islam." Sheykh Mohammed Abdu was strong on the
point that what was needed for the Mohammedan body politic was not
merely reforms but a true religious reformation. On the question of the
Caliphate he looked at that time, in common with most enlightened
Moslems, to its reconstitution on a more spiritual basis. He explained
to me how a more legitimate exercise of its authority might be made to
give a new impulse to intellectual progress, and how little those who
for centuries had held the title had deserved the spiritual headship of
believers. The House of Othman for two hundred years had cared almost
nothing for religion, and beyond the right of the sword had no claim any
longer to allegiance. They were still the most powerful of Mohammedan
princes and so able to do most for the general advantage, but unless
they could be induced to take their position seriously a new Emir el
Mumenin might legitimately be looked for. Certainly a new political
basis was urgently required for the spiritual needs of Islam. In all
this there was a tone of moderation in the expression of his views very
convincing of their practical wisdom.

In the course of the winter I made with my wife our intended visit to
Jeddah, where I gathered much information of the kind I sought as to the
opinions of the various sects of Islam. No place accessible to Europeans
could have been better chosen for the purpose, and I made the
acquaintance of a number of interesting Moslems through the help of one
Yusuf Effendi Kudsi, who had a connection with the English Consulate.
Among them the most remarkable were Sheykh Hassan Johar, a learned and
very intelligent Somali, Sheykh Abd-el-Rahman Mahmud from Hyderabad in
India, Sheykh Meshaat of Mecca, several members of the Bassam family
from Aneyzah in Nejd, and a certain Bedouin Sheykh, a highly educated
man, from Southern Morocco. My stay in Jeddah, however, was but a short
one, as I fell ill of a malarious fever very prevalent there, and this
prevented any idea I may still have had of penetrating into the
interior. The moment, too, I found was a most unfavourable one for any
plan of this kind, through the new hostility of the Meccan authorities
to England. Already the Sultan Abdul Hamid had begun to assert himself,
a thing for many generations unknown to his Ottoman predecessors, as
spiritual Head of Islam, and in Arabia especially he had become jealous
of his authority, while his quarrel with our Government made him
suspicious, more than of any other, of English influences. Only a few
months before my visit to Jeddah he had made a vigorous assertion of his
authority at Mecca by the appointment of a new Grand Sherif of strong
reactionary and anti-European views. The former Grand Sherif Huseyn Ibn
Aoun had been a man of liberal ideas and known for his friendly
relations with the English Consulate, and had so incurred his
displeasure and met a violent death. Whether this was in reality
contrived by the Sultan, or perhaps his Valy, it is not possible
precisely to say, but it was certainly believed to have been so when I
was at Jeddah.

I learned the particulars of the Sherif Huseyn's death from his agent at
Jeddah, Omar Nassif, who most certainly laid it to the Sultan's charge.
According to this account, which I have since had confirmed to me from
other quarters of authority, Huseyn had just ridden down from Mecca at
the close of the pilgrimage, as the custom was, to Jeddah, there to give
his blessing to the departing pilgrims. He had travelled down by night
and was making his entrance on horseback to the seaport riding in state
with an escort, partly Arab, partly Ottoman, intending to alight at Omar
Nassif's house, when an Afghan pilgrim poorly dressed, came forward from
the crowd as if to ask alms and stabbed him in the belly. The Sherif,
though wounded, rode on and died in his agent's house in the course of
the day, having, as I heard, been unskilfully treated for his wound
which need not have been fatal. There were various circumstances which
seemed to differentiate the case from one of fanaticism or common
murder. The assassin was no Shiah schismatic, as was first supposed, but
an orthodox Sunni, and he used language after his arrest which seemed to
show that he considered himself commissioned. "There was an elephant,"
he said, when asked the reason for his deed, "the greatest beast of the
forest, and to him was sent an ant, the least of living creatures, and
the ant bit him and he died." Also there was no open trial made of the
assassin, who was executed within four days of his arrest, while
everything was done to hush up as far as was possible and conceal the

Huseyn's successor who was of the rival house of Zeyd, the Sherif Abdul
Mutalleb, belonged to the extremest school of Mohammedan reaction. He
was an aged man, old enough to have been Sherif at the time Mecca was
occupied by the Wahhabis, when he had conformed, at least outwardly, to
the Wahhabi doctrine. Now, in extreme age, he was reinstated as Prince
in order to further the Pan-Islamic views held at Constantinople. Under
Huseyn it would have been very possible for an Englishman to have
travelled through the Hejaz without molestation, and both Doughty and
Professor Robertson Smith had received his aid and protection. Now any
such attempt would have been very dangerous, and, in fact, the French
traveller Hüber lost his life in venturing in that same year. We
consequently returned to Suez, and later by Ismaïlia into Syria.

Passing through Egypt I received the following letters from Hamilton in
answer to two of mine. They are principally interesting as showing how
the Government's attention to Eastern matters was already being diverted
and distracted by their troubles nearer at home in Ireland. It is a
curious and melancholy thing to observe how the necessity, as the Whigs
in the Cabinet considered it to be, of putting down nationalism and
liberty in Ireland reacted upon the fine feelings they had expressed so
readily out of office of sympathy with national freedom in the East.
Gladstone, whose inclination no doubt would have been for liberty in
both directions, had weighed himself in the Cabinet by these Whig
Ministers, his colleagues, who were all along bent on leading him in the
opposite direction. Ireland throughout the history of the next two years
proved the stumbling-block of his policy, and, as I will show in its
place, the decision of coercion there was decided on in 1882 at the
self-same Cabinet Council with the decision to coerce in Egypt. The
connection of misfortune between the two countries was a fatality not a
little tragical, both to the countries themselves and doubly so to
English honour.

     "10, Downing Street, _Decr. 22, 1880_.

     "... I took the liberty of showing your letter to several who I
     knew would like to read it, including Lord Granville, Rivers
     Wilson, Pembroke, and Harry Brand. I think it especially pleased
     Rivers Wilson, who looks with a very tender eye on his work in
     Egypt, and who was naturally gratified to hear from an independent
     source that what he had so prominent a hand in had resulted in so
     much good. I am afraid he considers that his own contribution to
     the result has not been fully appreciated.

     "Ireland has continued to monopolize all the time and energies of
     the Government, and I am afraid it is difficult to exaggerate the
     grave state of affairs in that distracted country. Thank goodness,
     we are now within hail of the re-assembling of Parliament. Whether
     or no the Government has erred on the side of over-patience and
     excessive forbearance remains to be proved, and it is not for me to
     venture to express an opinion. The present state of things is
     certainly a disgrace to this country; and the Government are driven
     reluctantly to hark back on the old stereotyped course of strong
     coercive measures. I am beginning, most unwillingly, to think that
     Ireland is not fitted for a Constitutional Government, and that,
     however much we may try to remove legitimate grievances, she will
     not be got into hand again without a return to something like a
     Cromwellian policy. It is heart-breaking work all round, and unless
     some extraordinary transformation can be effected, we shall
     probably have to submit in this country to any amount of shipwrecks
     of governments within the next few years. I feel very gloomy as to
     the look out. Would that we could apply to Ireland a regeneration
     such as you have found in Egypt.... That wretched Ireland has
     nearly knocked the Government out of time as regards foreign
     policy. They will, however, still manage, I hope, to find a corner
     of room for Greece, and not let that question entirely slide, which
     would inevitably mean war between Turkey and Greece. Greece could
     never contend single-handed with Turkey successfully, and Turkey at
     war would probably be the signal for a general revolt in Eastern
     Roumelia and Macedonia. I still trust some sort of compromise on
     the question of adjusting the territory of the kingdom of the
     Hellenes may be effected by the intervention of the Powers in the
     direction of a small slice northwards, and perhaps the handing over
     of Crete. There is no doubt that a means of strengthening and
     opening out Greece must be found, not only to keep the peace
     temporarily in the East, but to lay the foundations for some power
     that may grow into a set-off against the Slavic nationalities...."

     "10, Downing Street, _Feby. 11, 1881_.

     "Your letter has since its receipt made a little ministerial round.
     I read parts of it to Mr. Gladstone; and Lord Granville and Mr.
     Goschen have both had the benefit of perusing it themselves, and of
     perusing it, as I am told, with interest. Lord Granville, moreover,
     sent a copy of your postscript, which related to Indian matters, to
     Lord Hartington. I hope in having turned your information to
     official account I shall not be considered to have abused your
     confidence. I have shown it also to Harry Brand. His father, the
     Speaker, has had difficulties to encounter such as no predecessor
     in the Chair ever had before; and he has come out of the ordeal
     magnificently. What with unprecedented continuous sitting of the
     House for days and nights and wholesale suspensions of obstructive
     Members, we have been having most exciting Parliamentary times. I
     trust, however, that the neck of obstruction as of the Irish
     land-agitation has been fairly well broken; and when once the
     Coercive, or rather Protective, measures have been passed, and a
     fair, just and strong and comprehensive Land Bill has become law,
     we shall not be troubled again immediately with the Irish

     "Meanwhile of course all public attention has for the last few
     months been centred on that wretched God-forsaken country, and the
     public have not troubled their heads much with foreign affairs.
     However, the Greek question has not been forgotten. Lord Granville
     has been pulling the strings most diplomatically, and not, I hope,
     without success. Of course the great stumbling-block of making head
     with this difficult question has been the very shabby part which
     France has played, first blowing so hot and then blowing so cold.
     However, Bismarck has been induced to take the initiative in making
     a new proposal which may possibly lead to good results. The primary
     condition of all the Powers is of course to maintain the peace of
     Europe. If it were not that the outbreak of war between Turkey and
     Greece would almost inevitably lead to the outbreak of disturbances
     and fighting in Bulgaria and Eastern Roumelia, and if it were not
     that Greece's chances single-handed in a combat would be very
     small, the natural preliminary to Greece raising herself in the
     European scale would be by an appeal to the sword. The modern
     Romans would not have had a united kingdom but for fighting for
     it, and the modern Greeks could hardly complain were they obliged
     to face similar difficulties and dangers. But apart from the
     dangers of a stand-up fight, Greece, having been made the special
     protégé of Europe, has a right not to be thrown overboard now. If
     the Berlin award cannot be enforced peacefully--and owing to
     France's action this seems to be admitted--I believe the massacre
     of the award has been termed in diplomatic phraseology, 'Le
     Barthélemy de St. Hilaire'--the best alternative seems to be to
     find some equivalent for Greece--I mean by compensating her
     elsewhere for what she does not obtain, Thessaly and Epirus, which
     she would accept and which the Powers would in concert help her to
     obtain. Such a proposal as this may possibly be the new departure.
     I am afraid your remedies, though far more effective, are too
     drastic for acceptance by Europe."

I do not remember what in my letters can have suggested this long
digression about Greece, which did not particularly interest me at the
time. The phraseology of the letter is so like Mr. Gladstone's own that
I half think this and the previous letter must have been more or less
dictated by him. For this reason I quote them almost _in extenso_, and
because the long account of the difficulties of his Greek policy
suggested to me the idea that perhaps he might, if there was a rising on
the Greek frontier, also encourage one concurrently with it of the Arabs
in Syria.

Our journey from Ismaïlia was an interesting one. Once across the Suez
Canal we struck due eastwards, over a long track of sand dunes, to a
very little known hill region called the Jebel Hellal. This, on a small
scale, has some of the characteristics of Nejd, in vegetation and in the
arrangement of its sand drifts, and we made friendly acquaintance there
with the Aiaideh, the Teyyaha, and, further north, with the Terrabin
tribes, as well as with those very Azazimeh with whom we had been so
nearly having an encounter five years before. All these tribes were at
that time independent of the Ottoman Government, living as they did in
the no man's land which forms the frontier between Syria and Egypt. They
had, however, as is always the case in independent Arabia, been at feud
with each other and, with debts of blood on either side, the war had
gone on and on, causing much disturbance even to the confines of Gaza.
The Ottoman Government, to put an end to the trouble, had resorted to
one of their common devices. They had invited the chiefs of the two
principal tribes to a friendly conference with the Muteserif of Gaza,
and had had them treacherously surrounded and captured, and were now
holding them as hostages for the peace of the frontier in prison at
Jerusalem. At that time the long tradition of English influence in
Turkey was still alive among the Arabs, and as we passed through the
tribes the relations of the imprisoned sheykhs besought my intervention
with the Government to obtain their release. In pity for them I
consented to do what I could, and I took with me the acting Sheykh of
the Teyyaha, Ali Ibn Atiyeh, and the little son of the Sheykh of the
Terrabin, who rode on with us to Jerusalem, making our way over the
hills by no road so that we arrived at El Kuds, or rather at Bethlehem,
without having entered a single town or village on all our journey. At
Jerusalem I called at once upon our Consul, Moore, and obtained through
him from the Pasha an order to visit the prisons, and found there the
sheykhs I was in search of in an underground dungeon near the Mosque of
Omar. They were in a pitiable condition, suffering from disease and long
confinement, and I made an application to the governor on their behalf
for an amnesty for them on condition that a general peace should be
agreed to between the tribes, an agreement which I had got them to sign
and seal. The Muteserif, however, declared himself incompetent to order
their release, and referred me to his superior, the Valy of Damascus, as
being in a position to do so; and to Damascus we therefore went, still
accompanied by Ali Ibn Atiyeh and with our camel caravan, by way of the
Jordan valley and the Hauran plain, a beautiful and interesting journey,
for the whole country, there having been heavy rain, was a garden of
Eden with flowers. In the Hauran we found war going on between the
Ottoman troops and the Druses, but managed to slip by between the two
armies without molestation and so arrived at Damascus, where we alighted
at a little house in the Bab Touma quarter which I had purchased, with
an acre of garden behind it, on our visit of three years before when we
were starting for Nejd.

Our house at Damascus was next door to that of the well-known
Englishwoman Lady Ellenborough, or, as she was now called, Mrs. Digby,
who, after many curious adventures in the East and West, had married in
her old age a Bedouin sheykh of one of the Anazeh tribe, and was living
with her husband, Mijwel, at Damascus, being no longer able to bear the
hardships of her former desert life. From her and from her excellent
husband, whom we knew well, we received the advice that we should put
our case for the release of the prisoners neither before the Consul nor
directly before the Valy, but indirectly through the intermediary of
their distinguished friend and our acquaintance of 1878, Seyyid
Abd-el-Kader, whose influence at Damascus was more powerful on all
things relating to the Arabs than any other with the Government.
Abd-el-Kader was then a very old man, and was leading a life of
religious retirement and held in great reverence by all in the city, and
amongst the Arabs in Syria especially, he had a large following, for he
had often proved their protector. Mijwel assured me that it would be
merely a matter of money with the Valy and that if the Seyyid would
undertake the negotiation with a sufficient sum in hand it could be
easily managed. I consequently called with him and Ali Ibn Atiyeh on
Abd-el-Kader, whom we found with his eldest son Mohammed, a very worthy
man, born to him while he was still in Algeria of an Algerian mother,
and explained our errand, and the Seyyid gladly consented to be our
intercessor with the Pasha, and if possible to arrange for the release
of the Teyyaha and Terrabin sheykhs on the condition prescribed of a
general peace between the tribes, and I left with him a bag containing
400 Napoleons in gold, which he considered would be a sufficient sum to
obtain what we required. Bribery was so much a matter of course in
dealing with Ottoman officials in those days that I do not think either
the Seyyid or I or any of us had a scruple about offering the money. The
sum was a large one, but my sympathy was strong with the imprisoned
Bedouins, and I had it at heart to be able to send Ali Ibn Atiyeh back
to Jerusalem with an order of release for them. So I made the sacrifice.
As it turned out, however, the negotiation failed of the effect
intended. A few days later the bag was brought back to me by Mohammed
Ibn Abd-el-Kader untouched, with a message from his father that the Valy
sent me his compliments and would have been very pleased to be agreeable
to me in the matter but it was beyond his competence; it had already
been referred to Constantinople, and it was there alone that the thing
could be arranged.

The sequel of this little incident is curious, and has a direct bearing
on events the following year in Egypt. Finding my local efforts vain, I
took the Valy's advice and wrote to Goschen, our Ambassador at
Constantinople, and laid the case before him, urging as a reason for his
interesting himself in it, that possibly some day our Government might
have need of securing the passage of the Suez Canal from possible attack
on the eastern side should England happen to be at war with any other
power. Goschen, if I remember rightly, took some steps in the matter,
and when a few weeks later Lord Dufferin succeeded him at the embassy it
was handed on to him, and eventually, after long waiting, what I had
asked was granted, and the sheykhs were set free. My suggestion,
however, about the tribes was to bear fruit later of a kind I did not at
all contemplate or intend, for when in the summer of 1882, the military
expedition under Wolseley was decided on, it was remembered by Goschen,
or some one else connected with the Government, and, using my name with
the Bedouins, a secret agent was sent precisely to the tribes I had
befriended south of the Gaza to draw them into alliance with the English
forces against the Egyptian Nationalist army. I was therefore, as they
say, unworthily "hoist with my own petard." This was the famous Palmer
mission, about which I shall have more to say in its place.

Syria and all the Arab frontier was at this time in a great state of
political ferment. There were two currents of feeling there among
Mohammedans, the one of fanaticism fostered by the Sultan, the other in
favour of liberal reform, representing the two sides of the Pan-Islamic
movement, and at Damascus it was represented to me that the feeling
against the Sultan and the corrupt Ottoman administration was so strong
that a general revolt might at any time occur. I spoke to Mohammed Ibn
Abd-el-Kader about it, and found that he and his father were strongly on
the liberal side and that, like the rest of the Arabic speaking Ulema,
they favoured the idea of an Arabian Caliphate, if such could be made to
come about; and the thought occurred to me that no one then living had a
better title to be candidate for the Ottoman succession than
Abd-el-Kader himself might have. I therefore begged Mohammed to sound
the old Seyyid on the subject, and to ask him whether he would be
willing, should such a movement come to a head, to be put forward as its
leader. Mohammed did so, and brought back a message from his father to
the effect that, though too old to take any active part in a movement of
the kind himself, his sons would be willing, and he would not refuse to
give his name as a candidate for the Caliphate, should such candidature
be thrust upon him. There would, however, be no chance of success to the
movement unless it should have support from without, the Ottoman
Government being militarily too strong, and it was arranged that I
should communicate his answer confidentially to our Government and
ascertain what attitude England would assume in case of a Syrian rising.
This therefore I did, using my usual channel of communication with Mr.
Gladstone, his private secretary Hamilton, asking what help the Arabian
movement might count on. I suggested, in reference to Hamilton's letter
already quoted, that such a movement might be favourably regarded by our
Government, especially in connection with their difficulties with the
Porte about Greece. Gladstone's interest, however, in the East and in
foreign politics had by this time altogether cooled down, and Hamilton's
answer was brief and discouraging. "I hope," he wrote, "that there is
good prospect that the war between Greece and Turkey will be averted,
and therefore I trust there will be no necessity to resort to your
scheme in Syria. I can, I am afraid, only say that it is conceived that
such a state of things might arise when something of the sort you
suggest might be necessary, but that the case is not considered to have
arisen. This is confused and enigmatic, but I fear I can say no more."
With this I had to be content, and I made no delay in communicating the
result to the Seyyid.

The rest of our journey that summer was without political interest. We
again visited our friends the Anezeh Bedouins, whom we found encamped
near Palmyra, but our dealings with them were merely about horses. The
Anezeh care nothing about politics other than those of the desert and as
little for the affairs of religion. They can hardly indeed be counted as
even nominally Mohammedans, as they neither fast nor pray nor practice
any Moslem observance. Their only connection with Islam is that they
have in common with it the old Arabian customary law on which the law of
the Sheriat was founded, but they do not, as far as I have ever been
able to ascertain, hold any of the Moslem beliefs except vaguely and
negatively the unity of God. They are without respect for Prophet or
Saint or Koran, and know nothing whatever of a future life. With them we
travelled northwards to the border of their wanderings and found
ourselves at the beginning of the summer heat at Aleppo, and soon after
once more in England.[6]


[6] It is worth recording that while at Aleppo on this occasion we made
friends with two English officers afterwards prominently connected with
Egypt and the Soudanese war, Colonel Stewart, who shared with Gordon in
the defence of Khartoum against the Mahdi, and Colonel Sir Charles
Wilson who succeeded to the command of the British army at Metemneh
after the battle of Abu Klea. Stewart, at my suggestion, made a tour
that summer among the Anazeh and Shammar Bedouins, but failed to get on
good terms with them, the truth being that he was quite out of sympathy
with Orientals. Wilson, a man of far wider ideals, accompanied us on our
homeward journey as far as Smyrna, which we reached in the time of
Midhat Pasha's arrest. Both were at that date Consuls in Asia Minor of
the perambulating kind provided by the terms of the Cyprus Convention.



The summer of 1881 I spent almost entirely at Crabbet, writing the book
which was the fruit of my winter experience: "The Future of Islam." It
was composed somewhat in haste and under circumstances unfavourable to
deliberate judgment, for in the very act of writing it, events crowded
so closely on events, and portents upon portents that a calm forecast of
Islam's destiny seemed at times almost impossible. Nevertheless, and in
spite of many defects, I look upon the work as still of serious value,
if only historically, as showing the condition of the Mohammedan hopes
and fears of the day when it was written. In it I committed myself
without reserve to the Cause of Islam as essentially the "Cause of Good"
over an immense portion of the world, and to be encouraged, not
repressed, by all who cared for the welfare of mankind. I gave an
historical sketch of its origin, its glories, and its apparent decay, a
decay which was very similar to that which had seemed to overtake
Christendom four hundred years before, and which might be met as
Christendom had met its troubles by a religious reformation and the
freeing of its thought from the bondage of a too strict tradition
impeding its evolution. I expounded the ideas, as I had learned them
from Sheykh Abdu, of the liberal school of teaching, and appealed to all
that was best among my own countrymen to sympathize with their hopes as
against the party of reaction which, hide-bound in the old and evil
ways, had nothing to offer but a recrudescence of fanaticism and a last
desperate appeal against its many enemies to the sword. To England
especially, as interested so largely in the future of Islam through
India, I addressed myself, urging that her policy should be an active
one of friendship with the better elements of Eastern thought in its
struggle with the worse, not merely to profit by its decay for the
extension of her own material interests. "The main point," I said, "is
that England should fulfil the trust she has accepted (by her
inheritance of the Mogul Empire and her long connection with Ottoman
affairs) of developing, not destroying the existing elements of good in
Asia. She cannot destroy Islam or dissolve her own connection with her.
Therefore, in God's name, let her take Islam by the hand and encourage
her boldly in the path of virtue. This is the only worthy course and the
only wise one, wiser and worthier, I venture to assert, than a whole
century of crusade."

The chapters of this little volume, as they came out in monthly numbers
of the "Fortnightly Review," produced a considerable effect in England
and also among the English-reading Moslems of India, and found their
way, to some extent, in translation to Egypt. Already, while I was
writing them, it had become clear that great events were imminent in the
Mohammedan world and were even now in progress. Early in May the French
Government with hardly a note of warning, and in pursuance of the secret
arrangement made at Berlin three years before between M. Waddington and
our Foreign Office, invaded Tunis and, on the fanciful pretext of
protecting the Bey from a quite unreal danger threatened him by his
subjects, occupied the western portion of the Regency and proclaimed a
French Protectorate. This sudden act of aggression on a perfectly
inoffensive and harmless neighbour was justified by nothing in the
condition of the province either in the way of ill government or danger
to Europeans or even financial embarrassment. The Bey himself was a mild
and respectable personage, and had in no way forfeited the goodwill of
his people. The seizure of his person by General Bréart, and the
usurpation of his authority by the French Republic was an act of cynical
illegality almost without parallel in the history of modern aggression
upon weaker nations, if we except the invasion of Egypt by Bonaparte in
1799, and was generally condemned in England where the history of the
Berlin betrayal was not as yet suspected. In the Mohammedan world it lit
a flame of anger and dismay which gathered in intensity as the truth
became slowly known. The western Tunisians, taken wholly by surprise at
first, had hardly fired a shot against the French, and the Bey had been
forced to sign the Treaty presented to him at the sword's point by
Bréart, which surrendered the independence of the Regency, before the
real state of the case came to be understood. But in the eastern
provinces the tribes of the desert took up arms, and before the middle
of summer the revolt had spread to the Algerian Sahara and a wave of
anger against Christendom was rolling eastwards which, as will be seen,
had begun to affect Egypt dangerously, and remains in truth to this day
responsible for precipitating the action of the liberal reformers there
and of the army in demanding self government.

It is worth noting, as showing the complicity of our Government in this
scandalous affair, that Lord Granville allowed himself to be content
with an assurance given him by the French Government, that the
occupation of the Regency was only for the restoration of order, though
it was patent that order had not been so much as threatened, and that it
would not continue a day longer than might be necessary to secure the
safety of the Bey's Government--a line of falsehood closely imitated by
Lord Granville himself the following year when the positions of France
and England were reversed in Egypt. It is most noticeable too that,
though Parliament was sitting at the time, Lord Salisbury, the leader of
the opposition, maintained an absolute silence about Tunis, though his
followers, who did not know his secret reasons, were clamorous for
explanations. Bismarck was equally silent at Berlin, and no single Power
of those who had been represented at Berlin dissented, though the
Italian public was deeply aggrieved by the French action. The Sultan
alone of them recorded his public protest, Tunis having been always
reckoned as part of the Ottoman dominions. By the European Governments
it was accepted speedily as a _fait accompli_.

The history of the rise of what in the summer of 1881 began to be known
as the Egyptian National movement needs here to be told. It had its
origin as a practical idea in the last desperate efforts made by the
Khedive Ismaïl when he had quarrelled with Wilson to maintain himself in
power against the consular tutelage in which he had, by his folly and
his debts, placed himself. He sought to recover the moral status he had
lost and the goodwill of his subjects by making to them a popular appeal
for support, and in the spring of 1879 he proclaimed his intention of
calling together an assembly of Notables. There is little doubt that his
intention was, under the cloak of a national demand, to repudiate at
least a portion of the debt, and though no one in Egypt, except perhaps
certain European residents, thought him sincere, the idea of a
constitutional form of government as a remedy for the ills they were
suffering began from that time to be popularized at Cairo. Sheykhs
Jemal-ed-din and his school had always maintained that the growing
absolutism of Mohammedan princes in modern times was contrary to the
spirit of Islam which in its essence was a Republic where every Moslem
had the right of free speech in its assemblies, and where the authority
of the ruler rested on his conformity to the law and on popular
approval. Ismaïl was condemned by the Azhar reformers on the double
ground of his being a breaker of the law and a political tyrant. In the
spring of 1879 it had been much discussed among them in private how, and
by what means, he could be deposed or even, if there were no other way,
removed by assassination. It was the consciousness of his double peril,
both at home and from Europe, and of the opinions held at the Azhar that
determined him to appear as a Constitutionalist. Constitutionalism, it
must, moreover, be remembered, was much in the air just then not only in
Egypt, but at Constantinople, where an assembly had met convoked by
decree of the Sultan only five years before. Little, therefore, as
Ismaïl was trusted by the Reformers, his new move was one of which they
could not but approve, and it was taken up and expounded by such printed
organs of opinion as had furtively begun to be established at Cairo
under their direction. Apart from the Azhar, there were not a few of the
high officials who at this time were Constitutionalists, notably Sherif
Pasha, Ali Pasha Mubarak and Mahmud Bey Sami el Barodi. Nor was this
all. The Khedive's heir apparent and eventual successor, Mohammed
Tewfik, had come under Jemal-ed-din's potent influence, and through him
was in close communication with the Reformers, and had given them
repeated pledges that if ever he came to the Khedivial throne he
would govern on strictly constitutional lines. Ismaïl's latest
Ministry, which lasted three months, included Tewfik and Sherif,
Constitutionalists both, and they were actually in charge of the
administration when the old Khedive was deposed.

Tewfik's accession was therefore greeted by Jemal-ed-din and the
Reformers as a stroke of good fortune, and, though they regretted that
it had not been in the power of the Egyptians themselves to depose the
tyrant, they looked forward to the new _régime_ with the confident
expectation of men who had at last obtained a lever to their wishes. The
new Khedive, however, like many another heir apparent when he has
succeeded to power, was not long in changing his opinion, and a month
had hardly elapsed before he had forgotten his promises and betrayed his
friends. Tewfik's character was one of extreme weakness. The son of a
woman who had been a servant only in his father's house, he had been
from his childhood treated as of small account by Ismaïl and brought up
by his mother in bodily fear of the unscrupulous Khedive, and in those
habits of insincerity and dissimulation which in the East are the
traditional safeguards of the unprotected. He had grown up in this way,
in the harem more than with men, and had been unable to rid himself of a
certain womanish timidity which prompted him always to yield his opinion
in the presence of a stronger will than his own, and after yielding, to
regain his ground, if possible, by indirect means and covertly as is the
habit of women. He had, too, a large share of the womanish quality of
jealousy and of the love of small vengeances. Otherwise, in his domestic
life he was well-conducted as compared with most of his predecessors,
and not unadorned with respectable virtues. As a ruler his was too
negative a character not to be a danger to those who had to deal with
him. His first impulse was always to conceal the truth and to place upon
others the blame of any failure that might have occurred by his fault.
His resentments were shown not by open displeasure, but by tale-bearing
and false suggestion and the setting of one against another where he
desired to prevail or be revenged. It has been said of him that he was
never sincere, and that no one ever trusted him who was not betrayed.

When therefore on his accession Tewfik found himself placed between two
forces with opposite ends in view, the force of his reforming friends
urging him to fulfil his constitutional promises, and the force of the
consulates forbidding him to part with any of his power, a power they
intended to exercise in his name themselves, he consented first to his
Minister Sherif's suggestion that he should issue a decree granting a
Constitution and then at the instance of the Consuls refused to sign it.
This led to Sherif's resignation, and the substitution in his place of a
nominee of the Consulates, Riaz Pasha, on whom these counted to carry
out their ideas of financial reform while leaving him full power, under
the Rescript of 1878, to carry on the internal administration as he
would, without check from any Council or Assembly, in the Khedive's
name. The weakness shown by the Khedive in this, the first important
decision of his reign, was the cause of all his future troubles. Had he
remained loyal to his promises to the Reformers and to his Ministers,
and summoned at that time a Council of Notables, he would have had his
subjects enthusiastically with him and would have been spared the
intrigues and counter intrigues which marked the next two years and
prepared the way for the revolution of 1882. As it was, he found himself
by his compliance deprived of all authority, and treated as a mere dummy
prince by Consuls whose will he had obeyed and by his new Minister.

The character of Riaz has been much debated. At the time of my visit to
Egypt in the autumn of 1881, his name was in execration with the
Nationalists as the author of the violent but abortive measures which
had been taken for their repression, but as I now think in part
unjustly. Riaz was a man of the old _régime_ and as such a disbeliever
in any but the most absolute forms of government, and he carried on the
administration while in power according to the received methods which
had prevailed in Ismaïl's time, by espionage, police rule, arrests, and
deportations. But he was neither unjust nor personally cruel, and he was
certainly animated throughout his public career by a real sense of
patriotism. His idea in taking office under the joint control of the
English and French Consulates, and the assistance he gave them in
opposition to the popular will, was, as he has since assured me, simply
to recover Egypt from its financial misfortunes and redeem the debt and
so get rid as speedily as possible of the foreign intervention, nor is
there any doubt that in the first year of his being in office great
progress had been made in relieving the fellahin from their financial
burdens. But the process of redemption must in any case have been a very
slow one, and there is no probability that he would have succeeded
either in freeing Egypt from the tutelage imposed on it or even of
seeing the grosser evils of the administration which still weighed upon
the people sensibly relieved. The _régime_ of the Joint Control which
Riaz served looked solely to finance and troubled itself hardly at all
about other matters. The fellahin were still governed mainly by the
kurbash, the courts of justice were abominably corrupt, the landed
classes were universally in debt and were losing their lands to their
creditors, and the alien caste of Turks and Circassians still lorded it
over the whole country. There was no sign during the period of anything
in the shape of moral improvement encouraged by the Government or even
of improvement in the administrative system. This was the weak side of
the Anglo-French _régime_ and the cause of its failure to win popular
favour. Nevertheless, it may be questioned whether the crisis would have
come as speedily as it did, but for the Khedive's own insincerities and
intrigues against his Minister. It was his character, as I have
explained, to yield outwardly to pressure but at the same time to seek
to regain his end by other means. Thus it happened that he had hardly
taken Riaz to his counsels before he began to intrigue against him. He
was jealous of his authority and grudged the power that he had given to
his too independent Minister. This is the true history of the series of
crises through which Egypt passed in 1881, including, to a large extent,
the military troubles which ended in Riaz' fall from power.

The intervention of the army during the winter of 1880-81 as a political
force in Egypt is so important a matter that it needs careful
explanation. As an element of discontent, it may be said to date from
the disastrous campaign in Abyssinia which destroyed in it the Khedivial
prestige, and at the same time by the financial difficulties it had
involved made the pay of the soldiers precarious and irregular. The men
who returned from the campaign had no longer any respect for their
generals who had shown themselves incompetent, and the subordinate
officers for the most part made common cause against them with the men.
This came about the more naturally because the higher posts in the army
were occupied exclusively by the Turkish-speaking "Circassian" class
which at that time monopolized official power, while the common soldiers
and the officers to the rank of captain were almost as exclusively drawn
from the Arabic-speaking fellahin population. The class feeling became
strong when it was precisely these that were mulcted of their pay, while
the Circassians continued to enjoy their much larger salaries
undiminished. During the last three years, therefore, of Ismaïl's reign
the rank and file of the army had fully shared the general discontent of
the country, and there had been conspiracies, never made public, among
the lower officers which at one moment very nearly came to the point of
violent action. A leader in this class feeling in the army was, as early
as 1877, Ahmed Bey Arabi, whose rank as lieutenant-colonel, a very
unusual one to be held by a fellah, gave him a position of exceptional
influence with his Arabic-speaking fellow countrymen. A short biography
of this remarkable man will not be here out of place.

Arabi was born in 1840, the son of a small village sheykh, the owner of
eight and a half acres of land, at Horiyeh, near Zagazig, where his
family had been long established and enjoyed a certain local
consideration of a semi-religious kind. Like many other village sheykhs
they claimed a strain of Seyyid blood in their otherwise purely fellah
lineage, and had a tradition of being, on that account, somewhat
superior to their rustic neighbours. How far this claim was a valid
one--and it has been disputed--I do not know, but it had at least the
effect of giving them a desire for better religious education than is to
be found in the Delta villages, and Arabi, like his father, was sent as
a youth to Cairo and was a student there for two years at the Azhar. At
the age of fourteen he was taken for a soldier, and as he was a tall,
well-grown lad and Saïd Pasha, the then Viceroy, had a scheme for
training the sons of village sheykhs as officers, he was pushed on
through the lower ranks of the army, and at the early age of seventeen
became lieutenant, captain at eighteen, major at nineteen, and Caimakam,
lieutenant-colonel, at twenty. This rapid and unexampled advancement in
the case of a fellah was due in part to the protection of the French
general under whom he was serving, Suliman Pasha el Franzawi, but still
more to the favour shown by the Viceroy, who affected to be, like the
mass of his subjects, an Egyptian, not merely a member of the alien
Turkish caste, and wished to have fellah officers about him. Arabi, a
presentable young fellow, even so far enjoyed his favour as to be named
his A. D. C., and in this capacity he accompanied Saïd to Medina the
year before his death. It was during this close intercourse with the
Viceroy that he acquired his first political ideas, which were those of
equality as between class and class, and of the respect due to the
fellah as the preponderating element in Egyptian nationality. It is this
particular advocacy of fellah rights which distinguished Arabi from the
other reformers of his day. The Azhar movement was one of general
Mohammedan reform, without distinction of race. Arabi's was essentially
a race movement and as such far more distinctly national and destined to
be far more popular.

The unexpected death of his master, Saïd, was a great blow to Arabi's
hopes. Under Ismaïl the favour shown to the fellah officers was
withdrawn, and all preferment was once more given to the Circassians.
Arabi found himself treated with scant courtesy by these, and was given
only subordinate duties to perform in the transport service and
semi-civilian posts. This threw him into the ranks of the discontented
and made him more than ever the advocate of the rights of his own class.
He was eloquent and able to expound his views in the sort of language
his countrymen understood and appreciated, not very precise language
perhaps, but illustrated with tropes and metaphors and texts from the
Koran, which his Azhar education supplied. He thus exercised a
considerable influence over those with whom he came in contact. During
this period he came a good deal into the society of Europeans,
especially at Alexandria, where he had been sent on business, not
altogether military, connected with the Khedive's Daira. His relations
with these were friendly, and throughout his career he remained free
from the least taint of fanatical intolerance in regard to Christians.
On points of religion, though his practice was strict, he belonged to
the largest and most liberal school of Mohammedan interpretation, and
he was essentially a humanitarian in his ideas of the fraternity of
nations and creeds. He knew no language, however, but his own, and
maintained his integrity free from the European vices which are so
easily acquired.

In the Abyssinian war Arabi saw some service, but only on the
communication lines between Massawa and the front, and he returned from
the campaign like all the rest, incensed at the way in which it had been
mismanaged. It was this that turned his attention decidedly to politics
and gave a wider scope to his indignation now principally directed
against the Khedive. This was intensified when he found himself
arrested, with another fellah officer, Ali Bey Roubi, on a false charge
of having been concerned in the attack on Nubar, a manoeuvre of
Ismaïl's intended to screen his own part in the affair; and, after his
release, he for a moment joined with others in a plan which, however,
came to nothing, of deposing the Khedive. It is probable that, if Europe
had not intervened when it did, this result would have ultimately
happened, either through the action of the army or perhaps by Ismaïl's
assassination, for such a solution too was at one time seriously
discussed at the Azhar. All the Reforming party it is certain, and the
soldiers with them, rejoiced at Ismaïl's downfall. It is a mistake also
to suppose that Arabi was at the outset hostile to the new _régime_.
Neither with Tewfik nor with the European Consuls had he the smallest
quarrel. On the contrary, he saw in Tewfik a friendly influence, and in
the Consuls protectors for the fellahin from their old oppressors.
Moreover, he had obtained the command of a regiment of the guard, and
was quartered where he would most have desired to be, in the Abbassiyeh
barracks at Cairo. Had moderate prudence been used in dealing with the
soldiers' very real grievances, and a War Minister less hostile to the
fellah officers been appointed, there is every reason to believe that
neither he nor any of his fellow officers would have thought of taking
up an attitude hostile to the Government. Action in self defence was
forced upon them, and for this the Khedive's jealousy of Riaz was mainly

The trouble came about in this way: when the new Ministry under Riaz was
formed, Osman Rifky, a Turkish pasha of the old school, was made
Minister of War. He was an extreme representative of the class which for
centuries had looked upon Egypt as their property and the fellahin as
their slaves and servants. His attitude, therefore, towards the fellah
officers was from the first a hostile one, and in the appointments made
by him it was to the Circassian, not the fellah, element in the army
that preference was always given. The soldiers too were angry at being
made use of for purposes outside their military duty, and subjected to a
kind of _corvée_ of hard labour such as the digging of canals and
agricultural work on the Khedivial estates, to which they had become
unaccustomed, and it was for taking their part and refusing to allow the
men of his regiment to be ordered away to dig the Towfikiyeh Canal that
Arabi first incurred the Minister's displeasure. There were questions
too of pay withheld which called for redress, and on the 20th of May,
1880, a first petition was sent in by the fellah officers, of whom Arabi
was one, setting forth their grievances.

The address included nothing political, and was made in proper form to
the Ministry of War, and led, through the intervention of the French and
English Consuls, to an official inquiry which proved the justice of the
complaints. In this matter the French Consul, M. de Ring, took the part,
as was just, of the officers, and from that time gave them to a certain
extent his protection, especially when during the course of the Inquiry
he had found himself in personal altercation with Riaz. Arabi in all
this, while taking a leading part, was prudent and moderate, and his
conduct was approved by the Consuls. Since his return to Cairo, as
Colonel of the Fourth Regiment, he had renewed his acquaintance with the
reformers of the Azhar and the Constitutional party, and through a
mutual friend and Arabi's fellow officer Ali Bey Roubi, was in
communication with two of the Ministers, Ali Pasha Mubarak and Mahmud
Bey Sami. These, though Constitutionalists and adherents of Sherif
Pasha, had retained their places as Ministers of Public Works and
Religious Foundations (_Awkaf_) when Sherif had been dismissed. By
Mahmud Sami, Arabi and the fellah officers were especially befriended.

It was in this conjuncture of affairs that the Khedive, seeing in it
the elements of an intrigue against Riaz, put himself in communication
with the officers through the intermediary of his A. D. C., Ali Bey
Fehmi, an officer of fellah origin but attached through his Circassian
wife to the Palace, and Colonel of the 1st regiment of the Guard. This
Ali Fehmi was a very worthy young officer, and though he had not taken
any part in the petition sent in to the Ministry and was without
political bias, was already on friendly terms with Arabi and the rest,
and had no difficulty in persuading them that the Khedive too was on
their side in the quarrel, and had sent him to warn them that worse
things were being designed against them by Osman Rifky and Riaz, and
that unless they could procure the dismissal of these they would always
be in danger. Arabi was the easier persuaded of this because Riaz had
already had many of the Constitutionalists arrested, and some of these
had been friends of his own. Sheykh Jemal-ed-din had been summarily
dealt with, and a young landowner of the Sherkiyeh, Hassan Mousa el
Akkad, a special friend of Arabi, had been deported only a short time
before to the White Nile, for the mere reason that in response to an
invitation publicly made by Sir Rivers Wilson he had petitioned against
the Moukabalah confiscation. It was therefore suggested to the officers
that they should be beforehand with Osman Rifky and should petition for
his dismissal, a request which the Khedive would view favourably.

The affair came to a crisis about the end of the year 1880, when one
evening, Arabi being with other officers at the house of Nejm el Din
Pasha, he learned that it had been decided at the Ministry that he and
his fellow Colonel of the Black Regiment, Abd-el-Aal Bey Helmi, were to
be deprived of their commands and dismissed the service; and almost at
the same time news was brought him that Ali Fehmi was at his own house
and desired to see him. On returning home, therefore, he found Ali Fehmi
waiting for him, and with him Abd-el-Aal who confirmed what he had
heard, and after taking counsel it was decided that they should all
three together--for Ali Fehmi expressed himself willing to throw in his
lot with theirs--go to the Prime Minister and insist upon an end being
put to their persecution by the dismissal of Osman Rifky; and this the
next day they did. Arabi's own account given to me of their interview
with Riaz is interesting and I have no doubt correct: "We went," he
says, "with our petition to the Ministry of the Interior and asked to
see Riaz. We were shown into an outer room and waited while the Minister
read our document in the inner room. Presently he came out. 'Your
petition,' he said, 'is _muhlik_, a hanging matter. What is it you want?
to change the Ministry? And what would you put in its place? Whom do you
propose to carry on the government?' And I answered him, '_Ya saat el
Basha_, is Egypt then a woman who has borne but eight sons and then
become barren?' By this I meant himself and the seven Ministers under
him. He was angry at this, but in the end said he would see into our
affair, and so we left him."

At the Council of Ministers which assembled immediately after this
incident the Khedive played a treacherous part. In order to involve the
Ministry in an open quarrel with the officers, in which he knew the
officers would have M. de Ring's protection, he proposed that they
should be arrested and placed upon their trial by Court Martial, but to
this Osman Rifky objected because he also would thus be put on trial,
while Riaz was against making it a case of public scandal at all, and
took the officers' part. It was pointed out however to Riaz privately
that his opposition would be misinterpreted, and would be looked upon as
an act disloyal to the Khedive, and he withdrew his opposition, and a
compromise was come to according to which Osman Rifky was to be left to
deal with the officers summarily, and according to methods common in
Ismaïl's reign. No open action therefore was taken against the officers,
and the case was left undecided by the Council.

What followed is well known. Some days later the three Colonels who had
signed the petition received an invitation to attend at the Kasr el Nil
Palace to arrange with the Minister what part their regiment should take
in some festivities which were being organized for the Princess Jamila's
wedding. Arrived there, they found a number of their superior officers,
Circassians, with Osman Rifky, and were at once arrested, disarmed, and
insulted. Arabi has always maintained that it was intended to put them
on board a steamer which was lying in the river outside, and have them
conveyed up the Nile and drowned; and I see no reason to doubt that
this was the case. Osman Rifky's object was to avoid a trial, which
would have exposed his own tyrannical proceedings, and it would
doubtless have been reported that the officers had been dismissed the
service and gone to their homes. Be this however as it may, they were
speedily released by the soldiers of Ali Fehmi's regiment, who, under
the command of their major, Mohammed Obeyd, a good and loyal man who was
afterwards killed at Tel-el-Kebir, marched down on news being brought
and forced the Palace doors. The Circassian Generals then beat a retreat
as they best could, and Osman Rifky was forced to an undignified flight
through a ground-floor window, whereupon the three Colonels marched back
at the head of their troops, and with drums beating, to their barracks.
Here they drew up a letter telling what had happened, and explaining
that their action had been one of self-defence only, and in no way
endangered the safety of any one, and addressed it to M. de Ring,
begging his intercession with the Khedive, and that another Minister
might be appointed in Osman Rifky's place, to which in the course of the
day the Khedive readily acceded. It is certain, however, that he and M.
de Ring together made a strong effort to get Riaz also dismissed, on the
plea that as Prime Minister he was principally responsible for the
disorder which had happened. Nevertheless Riaz was too strongly
supported by the Financial Controllers and by the German Consul General,
and, I think, by Malet, who was at that time, as I have recorded, by no
means favourably disposed to the officers, and on the matter being
referred to London and Paris the Khedive's wish was disregarded, and
shortly after M. de Ring was recalled by his Government in disgrace.

The date of this first military disturbance at the Kasr el Nil was 1st
February, 1881. It took place while I was still in Egypt, but after I
had left Cairo, and I do not remember to have heard Arabi's name
mentioned before it happened. The public part, however, that he played
that brought him into immediate notoriety, and at once his name was in
all men's mouths as that of a man who had been able successfully to defy
the Government and bring about a change of Ministers. His position in a
very few weeks became one of power in the country, or at least of
imputed power, and, as the custom is in Egypt, petitions of all kinds
poured in upon him from persons who had suffered wrong and who sought
his aid to get justice. The fact that he had appeared in the affair as
champion of fellah wrongs against the Turkish ruling class gave him
popularity outside of Cairo, and many of the Notables and country
sheykhs put themselves into communication with him. To all he returned
what good answers he could and help as far as his limited power
extended, and wherever men met him his fine presence, attractive smile,
and dignified eloquence in conversation conveyed a favourable

In personal appearance Arabi was at that time singularly well endowed
for the part he was called upon to play in Egyptian history as
representative of his race. A typical fellah, tall, heavy-limbed, and
somewhat slow in his movements, he seemed to symbolize that massive
bodily strength which is so characteristic of the laborious peasant of
the Lower Nile. He had nothing in him of the alertness of a soldier, and
there was a certain deliberation in his gesture which gave him the
dignity one so often sees in village sheykhs. His features in repose
were dull, and his eyes had an abstracted look like those of a dreamer,
and it was only when he smiled and spoke that one saw the kindly and
large intelligence within. Then his face became illumined as a dull
landscape by the sun. To Turkish and Circassian pashas this type of man
seemed wholly negligible, that of the peasant boor they had for
generations dominated and held in slavery and forced to labour for them
without pay, and it seemed impossible to them he should be used
otherwise than as a tool in their astute hands. Riaz from first to last
despised him, and even the intellectual Reformers of the Azhar took
little count of him as a political force. But with his own peasant class
his rusticity was all in his favour. He was one of themselves, they
perceived, but with their special qualities intensified and made
glorious by the power they credited him with, and by the semi-religious
culture he had acquired at the Azhar superior to their own. It must be
remembered that in all Egyptian history, for at least three hundred
years, no mere fellah had ever risen to a position of any political
eminence in Egypt, or had appeared in the light of a reformer, or
whispered a word of possible revolt. I doubt, however, whether his
qualities alone, which were after all rather negative ones, or his
talents, of which he had as yet given no proof, would have sufficed to
bring him to the front as a National leader, but for the unwise
persecution to which he was subjected by Riaz in the months following
the affair of Kasr el Nil, and which, through the intrigues of the
Minister's political enemies, he was always able to thwart and
circumvent. The most important of these, and the man in the best
position to warn him of his dangers was the new Minister of War, Mahmud
Bey Sami, who, through M. de Ring's influence, had been given Osman
Rifky's succession, and who, as one of the ex-Minister Sherif's party,
was a strong Constitutionalist. Though not personally acquainted with
Arabi hitherto, he had already been friendly disposed towards him, and
with one of the fellah officers, Ali Bey Roubi, he was on terms of
intimacy. Having become Minister of War, he was in a position to help
them actively, and to give them notice of designs against them such as
came to his ears; and he was able to do this the more effectively
because he still saw little of Arabi personally, though remaining in
touch with him through Ali Roubi. He had made the officers a general
promise that if at any time the Khedive joined actively against them
they would know it, even if he did not warn them directly, by his
retirement from the Ministry.

Mahmud Samiel Barodi's part in the revolution of that year was a
determining one in the course it took. Of a Circassian family long
established in the country, and so of the traditional ruling class, he
was, like Sherif Pasha, a reformer and a patriot. Intellectually, he was
far superior to Arabi, and was indeed one of the most cultivated
intelligences in Egypt, with a good knowledge of literature, both Arabic
and Turkish, and especially of Egyptian history, besides being an
elegant and distinguished poet. English writers, following the lead, or
mislead, of the Blue Books, talk of him only as an intriguer, but he was
something much more than this, and it must be remembered that in
intriguing, as he undoubtedly did here against Riaz, he acted against a
Minister who was of a different party from his own, and whom he had not
elected to serve. At the time Riaz took office in 1879, Mahmud Sami was
already in the Ministry, and there had been an understanding that he
and Ali Mubarak, who were Constitutionalists, should remain on an
independent footing as far as their own departments were concerned. In
the spring of 1881 they were both undoubtedly intriguing against Riaz,
but it was with the object of restoring their own party chief Sherif
Pasha, to power. This puts a different complexion upon Mahmud Sami's
action, and I fancy might find many a parallel in the annals of our own
English Cabinets. His part, as I see it, throughout the troubles that
were coming was a perfectly loyal one, both to the Constitutional and
the National cause, and he paid dearer for his constancy, for he was a
rich man and so had more to lose, than any other concerned in the

The Khedive's part in the next seven months was far less straightforward.
He seems throughout to have been torn with irresolutions, jealousies,
fears, and ambitions. Riaz' enemies had suggested to him that that
masterful Minister was plotting against him to supplant him as Khedive,
an altogether absurd suspicion which he nevertheless at times gave ear
to. At other times Arabi's growing popularity aroused his jealousy, and
he was constantly shifting from one dread to the other, while his
ambition was to regain his own or rather his father's lost authority.
The Anglo-French control irked him sorely, and he knew that by the bulk
of his subjects he was disliked and despised. His Circassian
_entourage_, the men of his Court, were all violent against the fellah
officers and were constantly urging him to take strong measures against
them, while Sherif Pasha and the Constitutionalists were for his making
use of them on the lines already attempted to get rid of Riaz and the
Consular subjection in which he lay, by another military demonstration.
Such was the state of things in the month of August when the general
ferment in the Mohammedan world, caused by the French invasion of Tunis,
brought matters at Cairo to a definite crisis.



It is difficult to determine the precise part played by the Khedive in
the final act of the revolutionary drama, the military demonstration of
the 9th September at Abdin Palace. According to Ninet and certain other
writers there was a complete pre-arrangement and community of action
between Tewfik that day and the military leaders with the object of
bringing about the fall of Riaz and with it of the Consular tutelage in
which Tewfik found himself enmeshed. But this is only true in a general
sense. Arabi himself has always assured me that during the summer of
1881 he had no personal relations with the Khedive beyond those official
ones which his service as colonel of one of the guard regiments
entailed. He only on three occasions had speech with His Highness, and
on these no political subject was touched on between them. At the same
time it is quite certain that the idea of a demonstration with the
objects named had been suggested from time to time during the summer by
Tewfik to the officers through the intermediary of his A. D. C., Ali
Fehmi. Ali Fehmi, though he had been concerned with Arabi in the affairs
of the Kasr-el-Nil and had been arrested with him, was none the less
received back into the Khedive's favour, who thought to make use of him
still in the double capacity of spy on the fellah officers and
intermediary, if he required it, with them. Ali Fehmi's connection with
the Court through his marriage seemed to Tewfik a guarantee of his
fidelity, and it was on account of his ultimately siding entirely with
Arabi, notwithstanding his Court connection, that Tewfik's resentment
was afterwards so bitter against him. Tewfik, however, was a man, as we
have seen him, of varying moods, and while he still counted on the help
of the army to rid himself of Riaz he was also swayed by occasional
fits of jealousy of Arabi's rapidly growing popularity. This popularity
was very marked all through the summer months and brought him into
communication with innumerable country sheykhs and Notables to whom the
idea of fellah emancipation which he preached was naturally congenial.
He began to be talked of in the provinces as "_el wahhíd_" the "only
one," and in truth he deserved the appellation, for he was the only man
of purely fellah origin who had for centuries been able to resist
successfully the tyranny of the reigning Turco-Circassian caste.

It cannot be too strongly emphasized that the National movement of 1881
was essentially a fellah movement, having for its object the
emancipation of the fellahin, and that it was directed primarily against
the iniquitous Turkish Government, which had ruined the country, and
only incidentally against the Anglo-French control when this last
declared itself openly the ally and supporter of that tyranny. Other
interests, however, naturally joined in with the movement; and besides
being sought out by the fellah Notables, Arabi soon found himself
approached as an ally by the professed Constitutionalists, many of whom
were members of the ruling caste, and were at heart as much opposed to
fellah liberty as was Riaz himself. The idea of a Constitution in the
minds of men of this class was one in which the supreme power,
though taken from the Khedive, should remain in the hands of the
Turco-Circassian oligarchy, the only ones they considered capable of
governing the country. The chief of these Turkish Constitutionalists was
Sherif Pasha, and the course of the summer found him in indirect but
close correspondence with Arabi as the means of bringing about the
Constitution which should be the road for him to a resumption of office.
Arabi, always sympathetic to the Constitutional plan, lent himself
readily to the idea, and the more so because Sultan Pasha, the most
powerful of the fellah Notables, was himself a strong Constitutionalist,
and acted as intermediary between him and Sherif. It was arranged
between them all that, when a favourable moment should occur, Arabi
should add the weight of the army's influence to any pressure that it
might be necessary to bring to bear upon the Khedive to obtain his
consent to the Constitutional demand. Nor was the Khedive by any means
averse from the thing demanded, as it necessarily included the dismissal
of Riaz, an object still to him of prime importance; and, at the time
when this feeling predominated in his mind, he, through Ali Fehmi,
encouraged Arabi to go forward with his plan and assured him of his

The first message received by Arabi in this sense was one very
characteristic of Tewfik's indirect and timid methods of intrigue.
Speaking one day with Ali Fehmi about the growing power of the army as a
political influence, he said: "You three, Arabi, Abd-el-Aal, and
yourself, are three soldiers--with me you make four." And he bade him
deliver this declaration as a message to Arabi. It was followed by hints
far more direct, so that it was soon accepted as certain that any
demonstration that might be made by the army which should demand Riaz'
dismissal would have the Khedive's secret approval if not his open
favour. It was necessary, in order to put constraint upon the Consuls,
that the Khedive should seem to yield to a physical necessity when
consenting to a change of Ministers.

Nevertheless, when the moment for action actually arrived, it was far
from certain what line the Khedive would take. The crisis came about in
this way. In the month of August Riaz Pasha, who up to then had despised
the fellah movement too completely to think it at all dangerous, became
for the first time alarmed. The part in it played by the soldiers he had
thought to be able to cope with by some of those irregular methods which
are the time-honoured tradition of Turkish Government. He had beset
Arabi and his fellow colonels with spies and had sought constantly to
involve them through the police in some personal quarrel or street
disturbance which should put them in his power, but always in vain. The
soldiers invariably received warning of any serious design through their
friend at the War Office, Mahmud Sami, and were constantly on their
guard. It had been arranged, too, between Mahmud Sami and Arabi that if
ever the Minister should be forced to retire from the War Office, it
would be a sign to the fellah officers that they must expect the worst,
even if they should hear nothing of it from himself. When, therefore, in
August Riaz, losing patience, quarrelled with the War Minister and it
was announced that Mahmud Sami had resigned, the officers saw that the
moment for action, as far as they were themselves concerned, could not
long be delayed. Riaz had insisted with Mahmud Sami on the banishment of
the two leading colonels with their regiments from Cairo and had got the
Khedive, in one of his fits of jealousy at Arabi's popularity, to go
with him in ordering it, and when Mahmud Sami demurred, his dismissal
had been summarily announced to him. The Khedive and Riaz were at the
time away still for the summer season at Alexandria, and Mahmud Sami, in
his disgrace, had been ordered by letter to leave Cairo at once for his
village, and so had not had time to communicate with his military
friends. These, nevertheless, knew that trouble was in store for them,
and it was the more apparent because Mahmud Sami's successor was no
other than a certain Circassian general of the worst reactionary type,
Daoud Pasha Yeghen, the Khedive's brother-in-law, whom they knew to be
especially their enemy. In the first days of September the Court
returned to Cairo, and the colonels, having taken counsel only with
Sultan Pasha and their most intimate civilian allies, prepared for
immediate action. They were resolved that, which way soever the Khedive
might now be inclined towards them, they would carry out the projected
demonstration and insist on a change of Ministry as a guarantee of their
personal security. They saw plainly enough that if they allowed
themselves to be separated from each other and removed from Cairo it
would be an easy matter for Riaz to ruin them in detail. The least they
might expect at his hands would be dismissal from the service, and it
was far more likely that they would be arrested and tried for mutiny in
connection with their doings in February. It was part, too, of their
program to obtain an increase of the army, and they added to it a demand
of the Constitution, which seemed to all the only permanent guarantee
against arbitrary government.

The crisis came suddenly on the 8th of September. Daoud Pasha, who like
most men of his class held the fellah officers in supreme contempt and
who anticipated no resistance from them, issued his order for the
departure of the two regiments, Arabi's to Alexandria and Abd-el-Aal's
to Damietta, and on receiving it the colonels decided upon instant
action. That they counted upon the Khedive's tolerance, if not his
sympathy, is certain, and they knew his weak character too well to doubt
that, whatever he might have resolved on in counsel with Riaz the day
before, on the day of trial he would be found on the side of the
strongest battalions. All they were in any real anxiety about was the
attitude of Ali Fehmi, though on him too they counted as almost
certainly a friend. Ali Fehmi and his regiment, the first of the guard,
had been excepted from the Ministerial order of removal from Cairo, and
was still quartered at Abdin barracks, and if the Khedive was really
hostile to them, and Ali obedient to orders, the result might be a
conflict. Otherwise the demonstration had all the probability of
being a pacific one. In order, however, to minimize the risk of a
misunderstanding they sent word in writing to the Khedive apprising him
of their plans, and as a proof that there was no hostility intended to
himself declared that they would not march to his residence in the
Ismaïlyeh quarter but to Abdin, the official palace, and begged him
there to meet them and hear their complaints.

The rest may be best told in Arabi's own words: "The next morning," he
says in his most complete account of the affair, "I wrote a letter
stating our demands and sent it to the Khedive at Ismaïlyeh Palace
saying that we should march to Abdin Palace at the Asr (mid-afternoon)
there to receive his answer. And the reason of our going to Abdin, and
not to Ismaïlyeh where he lived, was that Abdin was his public
residence, and we did not wish to alarm the ladies of his household. But
if he had not come to Abdin we should have marched on to Ismaïlyeh.
When, therefore, the Khedive received our message he sent for Riaz Pasha
and Khairi Pasha and Stone Pasha (the American), and they went first to
Abdin barracks, where both the Khedive and Riaz Pasha spoke to the
soldiers, and they gave orders to Ali Fehmi that he should, with his
regiment, occupy the palace of Abdin. And Ali Fehmi assented, and he
posted his men in the upper rooms out of sight, so that they should be
ready to fire at us from the windows. But I do not know whether they
were given ball cartridge or not. Then the Khedive, with the Generals,
went on to the Kaláa (citadel), and they spoke to the soldiers there in
the same sense, calling on Fuda Bey to support the Khedive against us,
the Khedive scolding him and threatening 'I shall put you in prison.'
But the soldiers surrounded the carriage, and the Khedive was afraid and
drove away. And he went on by the advice of Riaz to Abbassiyeh to speak
to me. But I had already marched with my regiment by the Hassaniyeh
quarter to Abdin. And they stopped to ask about the artillery and were
told that it also had gone to Abdin.

"And when the Khedive arrived at Abdin he found us occupying the square,
the artillery and cavalry being before the west entrance and I with my
troops before the main entrance. And already when I arrived before the
Palace I had sent to Ali Fehmi who, I had heard, was there and had
spoken with him and he had withdrawn his men from the Palace, and they
and Ali Fehmi stood with us. And the Khedive entered by the back door on
the east side, and presently he came out to us with his Generals and
aides-de-camp, but I did not see Colvin with him though he may have been
there. And the Khedive called on me to dismount and I dismounted. And he
called on me to put up my sword, and I put up my sword; but the
officers, my friends, approached with me to prevent treachery, about
fifty in number, and some of them placed themselves between him and the
palace. And, when I had delivered my message and made my three demands
to the Khedive, he said 'I am Khedive of the country and I shall do as I
please' (in the Egyptian patois) '_ana Khedeywi el beled, wa amal zay ma
inni awze_.' I replied, 'We are not slaves and shall never from this day
forth be _inherited_' (_nahnu ma abid, wa la nurithu bad el yom_). That
is to say, 'We shall never be, as slaves are, subject to being
bequeathed by will from one master to another.' He said nothing more,
but turned and went back into the palace. And presently they sent out
Cookson to me with an interpreter, and he asked why, being a soldier, I
made demand of a parliament. And I said that it was to put an end to
arbitrary rule, and I pointed to the crowd of citizens supporting us
behind the soldiers. Then he threatened me, saying 'But we will bring a
British army'; and much discussion took place between us. And he
returned six or seven times to the palace, and came out again six or
seven times to me, until finally he informed me that the Khedive had
agreed to all. And the Khedive mentioned Haidar Pasha to replace Riaz,
but I would not consent. And when it was put to me to say it, I named
Sherif Pasha, because he had declared himself in favour of a _Mejliss-el
Nawwab_, Council of Notables. I had known Sherif a little in former
years when he was serving in the army. And the same evening the Khedive
sent for me, and I went to him at the Ismaïlia Palace, and I thanked him
for having agreed to our requests, but he said only: 'That is enough, go
now and occupy Abdin, but let it be without music in the streets.'"

This seems to me a very straightforward account and agrees with
everything else that I have been able to learn about the events of the
day from native evidence, and even in a general way with the Blue Books.
The Khedive's part in it was, according to its showing, hardly heroic,
but it was less a case with him of physical cowardice than the English
official account suggests. He knew perfectly well that he ran no danger
from the soldiers, nor was there anything they had asked of him that he
was not quite willing to grant or at least to promise. He stood, as they
say, to win in either event, and was in the secret of much that, to
Cookson and Colvin, was altogether a mystery.

These two Englishmen, mentioned by Arabi, were respectively Sir Charles
Cookson, the British Consul at Alexandria temporarily in charge of the
English Agency in Malet's absence on leave at Cairo, and Sir Auckland
Colvin, the English Financial Controller. They were almost the sole
representatives of the Foreign official body then in Egypt--for M. de
Sinkiewicz, the new French Minister, had not yet arrived, and M. de
Blignières, Colvin's French colleague, was also away. They had,
therefore, the leading part to play in advising the Khedive and
reporting the matter home. Colvin, an Indian official with the
traditions of the Anglo-Indian art of government, and being quite
unsuspicious of the semi-understanding there was between Tewfik and the
officers, was all for violent measures, and recommended that the Khedive
should adopt such an attitude towards them as might have been taken
successfully by Mohammed Ali sixty years before, but was quite unsuited
to the actual circumstances. His advice was that he should without more
than a short parley shoot Arabi with a pistol with his own hand.
Cookson, who knew Tewfik's timidity better, though he also was ignorant
of his partial collusion with the officers, was for compromise, and
effected precisely that solution which Tewfik had schemed so long to
obtain, namely, the dismissal of Riaz and the recall of Sherif. His
account of the affair may be read with profit in the Blue Books, as also
Colvin's narrative of it in the "Times," to which he communicated the
account published, and in the "Pall Mall Gazette," of which he was the
regular correspondent. The publicity thus given to their action gained
the thanks of the English Government for both officials, and for Colvin
the honour of a knighthood and a political position in Egypt he did not
till that time possess. And so the matter ended. Riaz, who with the
recollection of Nubar's and Osman Rifky's adventures had taken no part
in the discussion with the soldiers but had remained prudently inside
the Palace, received that evening his dismissal and retired to
Alexandria and thence to Europe to remain there till help should come to
him from the protecting Powers; and Sherif Pasha, after some show of
reluctance, was installed Prime Minister in his stead. All Egypt woke
next morning to learn that not merely a revolt but a revolution had been
effected, and that the long reign of arbitrary rule was, as it hoped,
for ever at an end. The Khedive had promised to assemble the Notables
and grant a Constitution, and henceforth the land of the Pharaohs and
the Mamelukes and the Turkish Pashas was to be ruled according to
the laws of justice and administered not by aliens but by the
representatives of the Egyptian people themselves.

The three months which followed this notable event were the happiest
time, politically, that Egypt has ever known. I am glad that I had the
privilege of witnessing it with my own eyes and so that I know it not
merely by hearsay, or I should doubt its reality, so little like was it
to anything that I had hitherto seen or am likely, I fear, ever to see
again. All native parties and, for the moment, the whole population of
Cairo were united in the realization of a great national idea, the
Khedive no less it seemed than the rest. He was delighted, now the
crisis was over, in the success of his plot for getting rid of Riaz, and
with him the most irksome features of the Dual Control, and he trusted
in Sherif to rid him sooner or later of Arabi. Sherif and the Turkish
liberal magnates were no less elated at their return to power, and even
the reactionary Turks, who were by no means at one with Riaz, shared in
what they considered a triumph against Europe. The soldiers were
relieved of the incubus of danger which had so long weighed on them, and
the civilian reformers rejoiced at the civil liberties they now looked
on as assured. Those who had most doubted and held back longest
acknowledged that the appeal to force with its bloodless victory had
been justified by results. Throughout Egypt a cry of jubilation arose
such as for hundreds of years had not been heard upon the Nile, and it
is literally true that in the streets of Cairo men stopped each other,
though strangers, to embrace and rejoice together at the astonishing new
reign of liberty which had suddenly begun for them, like the dawn of day
after a long night of fear. The Press, under Sheykh Mohammed Abdu's
enlightened censorship, freed more than ever from its old trammels,
spread the news rapidly, and men at last could meet and speak fearlessly
everywhere in the provinces without the dread of spies or of police
interference. All classes were infected with the same happy spirit,
Moslems, Christians, Jews, men of all religions and all races, including
not a few Europeans of those at all intimately connected with native
life. Even the foreign Consuls could not but confess that the new
_régime_ was better than the old, that Riaz had made mistakes, and that
Arabi, if he had not been wholly right, had at least not been wholly

Arabi's attitude both towards the Khedive and towards the new Ministers
was correct and dignified. He had several interviews with Tewfik which,
at any rate on Arabi's side, were of a most cordial character, while
with the Sherif and Mahmud Sami (restored as Minister of War) he showed
himself perfectly willing, now his work was done and the liberty of the
country obtained, to stand aside and leave its development to his
civilian friends. All his speeches of that time--and some of them are to
be read in the Blue Books--are in this reasonable sense and reveal him
as deeply imbued with those lofty and romantic humanitarian views which
were a leading feature of his political career. There is not a trace in
them of anything but a large-minded sympathy with men of all classes and
creeds, nor is it possible to detect unfriendliness even to the European
financial control whose beneficial influence on Egypt he, on the
contrary, cheerfully acknowledges. The old _régime_ of Turkish
absolutism is past and done with--that is the theme of most of the
speeches--and a new era of national freedom, peace, and goodwill to all
men has begun. On the 2nd of October, a fortnight after Sherif's
installation at the Ministry, we find Arabi leaving Cairo with his
regiment for Ras-el-Wady amid the universal enthusiasm of a grateful

There was only one cloud at that date visible on the Egyptian horizon,
the possible hostility of the Sultan to the idea of a Constitution.
Abdul Hamid, after playing for a while with Constitutionalism at
Constantinople, had shown himself at last its implacable enemy, and that
very summer had ordered the mock trial and condemnation of Midhat, its
most prominent advocate. The appearance, therefore, of a Special
Commission at Cairo early in October representing the Sultan and
instructed to inquire into what was happening in Egypt disturbed, to a
certain extent, men's minds, and doubtless hastened the departure both
of Arabi to Ras-el-Wady and of Abd-el-Aal to Damietta. The visit,
however, of the Commissioners passed off quietly. The new Ministers were
able to explain that in the political movement which was now avowedly a
national one, no disloyalty was intended to the Sultan. On the contrary,
the fate of Tunis had convinced the Egyptians that their only safety
from European aggression lay in strengthening, not loosening, the link
which bound them to the Ottoman Empire, and that in reality the object
of the Revolution had been to prevent further encroachments by the
Financial Control of France and England on Egypt's political
independence. All was for the best, and the country was now content and
pacified. Ali Pasha Nizami, the chief commissioner, was consequently
able to take back with him a favourable report of the situation, and
this was strengthened by the second commissioner, Ahmed Pasha Ratib,
who had an opportunity of personal talk with Arabi on his way to Suez
and Mecca.

This interview, which had important consequences later for the growth of
the political situation, took place in the train between Zagazig and
Tel-el-Kebir, Arabi had assured me on his part an accidental one, he
having gone to Zagazig to visit his friends Ahmed Eff. Shemsi and
Suliman Pasha Abaza and being on his way home. "As I was returning," he
has told me, "by train to Ras-el-Wady it happened that Ahmed Pasha Ratib
was on his way to Suez, for he was going on to Mecca on pilgrimage. And
I found myself in the same carriage with him, and we exchanged
compliments as strangers, and I asked him his name and he asked me my
name, and he told me of his pilgrimage and other things. But he did not
speak of his mission to the Khedive, nor did I ask. But I told him I was
loyal to the Sultan as the head of our religion, and I also related to
him all that had occurred, and he said, 'You did well.' And at
Ras-el-Wady I left him, and he sent me a Koran from Jeddah, and later,
on his return to Stamboul, he wrote to me, saying that he had spoken
favourably of me to the Sultan, and finally I received the letter
dictated by the Sultan to Sheykh Mohammed Zaffer telling me the things
you know of." The Ottoman Commission therefore passed off without
leading to any immediate trouble. It was coincident with the arrival at
Alexandria of a French and an English gunboat, which had been ordered
there by the two Governments at the moment of receiving the news of the
demonstration at Abdin; and the gunboats and the commissioners left on
the same day in October. Malet by this time had returned to his post,
and so had Sinkiewicz, and it was agreed between them that the situation
needed no active intervention. Malet indeed wrote at that time in the
most favourable terms to his Government both of the new Ministers and of
Arabi, whose honesty and patriotism, though he had had no personal
communication with him, he was now inclined to believe in.

It was at this junction of affairs in Egypt that early in November I
returned to Cairo. I had had no recent news from my Azhar friends, and
was ignorant of what had happened there during the summer beyond what
all the world knew, and it was not even my intention when leaving
London to do more than pass through the Suez Canal on my way back (for
such was again my plan for the winter) to Arabia. I had been deeply
interested in the crisis which was being witnessed throughout the
Mohammedan world, and I still hoped to be able to take some personal
part in the great events I saw impending--I hardly knew what, except
that it should be as a helper in the cause of Arabian and Mohammedan
liberty. When the revolt took place in Algeria in connection with the
French aggression on Tunis, I had written to my friend Seyyid Mohammed
Abd-el-Kader at Damascus asking him for an introduction to its leader,
Abu Yemama, but this he had not been able to give, and I had also tried
in vain to discover Sheykh Jemal-ed-din Afghani's whereabouts in
America, where, after wandering two years in India, he was said to be,
and now my thoughts were once more turned to Arabia which I had come to
look upon as a sacred land, the cradle of Eastern liberty and true
religion. Strangely enough, I did not suspect that in the National
movement in Egypt the chief interest for me in Islam already lay, as it
were, close to my hand, and it was a mere accident that determined my
taking any part in what was coming there, even as a spectator.

The reason for my blindness and indifference was that in England the
events of September had been represented in the Press as purely
military, and even at the Foreign Office there was no knowledge of their
true significance. I share with most lovers of liberty a distrust of
professional soldiers as the champions of any cause not that of tyranny,
and I found it difficult to believe, even as far as Malet did, that
Arabi had an honest purpose in what he had done. I knew also that Sheykh
Mohammed Abdu and the rest of my Azhar friends were for other methods
than those of violence, and that the reforms they had so long been
preaching would in their opinion take a lifetime to achieve. It seemed
impossible to understand that the events of a single summer should have
brought them already to maturity. As to the promised Constitution, the
London Press declared that it was mere talk, a pretext of the kind that
the ex-Khedive Ismaïl had made use of against Wilson, and Malet was
reported to have declared that it would remain a promise only because
the Sultan whom he had seen at Constantinople on his way back to Egypt
would never allow it.

The Ottoman Commission added to my distrust of the whole movement and
the fact that Arabi had demanded an increase of the army to the number
of 18,000 men. These were the common views of the day in England and I
had no special knowledge in correction of them. I remember shortly
before leaving London, that when I called on my cousin Philip Currie at
the Foreign Office, he surprised me by expressing an opinion that
perhaps there was something more in the National Movement in Egypt than
appeared on the surface. "Malet," he said, "is rather inclined now to
believe in it. I wonder you do not go there. Perhaps you might find in
Arabi just the man you have been looking for." He knew of course my
ideas, which he had never taken quite seriously or as more than a
romantic fancy, and his words were lightly spoken and we laughed
together without discussion. Yet afterwards I recalled them to memory
and wondered that I had been so little responsive. My thoughts, however,
were fixed elsewhere.

It is worth recording that the night before I started I entertained at
dinner at the Travellers' Club three of my then rather intimate friends,
John Morley, who had recently become editor of the "Pall Mall Gazette"
besides being editor of the "Fortnightly Review," Sir Alfred Lyall, and
our Consul at Jeddah, Zohrab. With these I had a long talk about
Mohammedan and Eastern affairs, and it was agreed between me and Morley
that, if I found the champion of Arabian reform that I was seeking, I
should let him know and he would do his best to put his claims
prominently before the English public. Morley was not as yet in
Parliament, but he already held a position of high influence with the
Government through his personal connection with Chamberlain; his paper,
the "Pall Mall," was one of the few Mr. Gladstone read, the only one, I
believe, in the soundness of whose views he had any confidence. It was a
pleasant dinner and we all took rather enthusiastic views as to the
possibilities of the future of Islam. On the subject of Egypt, however,
Morley was unfortunately already under other influences than mine. His
correspondent for the "Pall Mall Gazette" was no other than the
Financial Controller, Sir Auckland Colvin, and so it happened that when
the crisis came in the spring he was found, contrary to what might have
been expected of him, on the English official and financial side, and
one of the strongest advocates of violent measures for the suppression
of liberty.

On my way to Egypt an incident occurred which I shall have to return to
when its full importance comes to be considered. At Charing Cross
Station I found Dilke and his private secretary, Austin Lee, on their
way, as I was, to Paris, and I made the whole journey in their company.
Dilke that day was in the highest possible spirits. His intimate friend
Gambetta had just, 15th November, succeeded St. Hilaire as French Prime
Minister; and Dilke, who had been for the last six months the English
Commissioner at Paris for the negotiation of a renewal of the Commercial
Treaty with France without having succeeded in concluding it, was now
returning to his work confident that with the change at the Quai d'Orsay
he should no longer have any difficulty. Gambetta, on his side, had a
plan of his own in which Dilke as Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office
could be of the greatest use to him. St. Hilaire had made a terrible
mess of the Tunis invasion and had left all North Africa in a blaze for
his successor to deal with. Gambetta had come into office determined to
use strong measures, and, as they say, to "grasp the nettle" with both
hands. He was filled with apprehension of a general Pan-Islamic rising,
and saw in the National movement at Cairo only a new and dangerous
manifestation of Moslem "fanaticism." He was closely connected, too,
through his Jewish origin with the great financial interests involved in
Egypt, and had made up his mind to better St. Hilaire's halting
aggression on Tunis by forcing our intervention also in Egypt. In this
he wanted our Government to go with him and join in an anti-Islamic
crusade in the name of civilization, and as a first measure to
strengthen the hold of the European Joint Control at Cairo. On both
these matters, the Commercial Treaty and Egypt, Dilke was most
communicative, though he did not put all the dots upon the i's, treating
the former as a special English interest, the latter as specially a
French one. It was a point of party honour with the Liberal Government,
which was essentially a Free Trade Government, to show the world that
their Free Trade declarations did not prevent them from getting
reciprocity from other nations, or favorable commercial terms from
protectionist governments, and Dilke knew that it would be a feather in
his cap if he could obtain a renewal of the French concessions. So eager
indeed was he about it that I distinctly remember saying to myself, half
aloud, as we parted at the Gare du Nord: "That man means to sell Egypt
for his Commercial Treaty." Nor did the event prove it otherwise than
exactly a true prophecy. It will be seen a little later that to the
trivial advantage of obtaining certain small reductions of the import
duties levied on English goods in France, the whole issue of liberty in
Egypt, and to a large extent of Mohammedan reform throughout the world,
was sacrificed by our Liberal Government. But of all this in its place.

My going at all to Cairo that winter was, as I have explained, somewhat
fortuitous, providential I might almost say, if I was not afraid of
giving my personal action in Egypt too much importance and too high a
meaning. The ship which was to bring me out my servants and camp
equipage, after nearly foundering in the Bay of Biscay, ran aground in
the Canal and I was obliged to wait at Suez. I left it for Cairo,
meaning to be there for a few days only. It had been reported in England
that the Azhar Ulema had been won back from their ideas of reform and
had adopted the Sultan's reactionary Pan-Islamic views. Half distrustful
of the result, I sent a message to my first friend, at the University,
Sheykh Mohammed Khalil, and then another curious accident occurred. In
answer to my note begging him to come and see me at the Hôtel du Nil,
where I had alighted, behold, instead of the young Alem whom I knew so
well, another Azhar Sheykh of the same name, Sheykh Mohammed Khalil el
Hajrasi, a perfect stranger who greeted me with a stranger's welcome.
The newcomer had received my message, and, thinking it had come from a
European merchant with whom he had dealings in connection with his
native village in the Sherkieh, had followed close upon the heels of the
messenger. This Mohammed el Hajrasi, though a man of less intrinsic
worth than my real friend, was a person of some importance at the Azhar,
and proved to be perhaps of even more interest to me at the moment than
the other could have been from the fact that he was intimate with the
chiefs of what was then called the military party at Cairo and was
personally acquainted with Arabi. This my own Mohammed Khalil was not,
and, as I presently found, neither he nor his chief Sheykh Mohammed
Abdu, would have served me as an intermediary with these, for, as
already said, they had disapproved of the immixture of the army in
political affairs in September and, though rejoicing at the result, were
still to a certain extent holding aloof. Hajrasi, however, when he had
recovered from his surprise at finding me an Englishman and not the man
he had expected, was nothing loath to talk of Arabi and his doings, and
when I went on to explain my views to him of reform upon an Arab basis
he at once became confidential and explained to me his own views which
were not very different from mine. He was one of the principal Sheykhs,
he told me, of the Shafeite rite, and had close relations with the
Liberal party of reform at Mecca, who were then in avowed opposition to
Abdul Hamid and were looking forward to a new Arabian Caliphate. This
was a great point of sympathy between us, and it was not long before we
had made a full exchange of our ideas; and I think no better proof could
be given of the wonderful liberty of thought and speech which marked
those days in Egypt than that this eminent religious Sheykh, who
certainly a year before would have locked his secrets jealously in his
bosom, even perhaps from a friend, should suddenly have thus unloosened
his tongue in eloquent response to my questions and should have unfolded
to me, a European and a complete stranger, his most dangerous
aspirations in politics. It no doubt, however, was in some part due to
the presence with me of my learned Arabic professor, Sabunji, whom I had
had the happy inspiration to bring with me from London to help out my
poor resources of that language.

It was thus from Hajrasi that I first learned the details of what had
been going on at Cairo during the summer and the true position of the
soldiers in regard to the National Party, facts which I soon after had
confirmed to me from a number of other sources including my original
friends, Mohammed Khalil and Mohammed Abdu. Sabunji, moreover, who had a
real genius for this kind of work, was presently busy all the city over
seeking out news for me, so that in a very few days we knew between us
pretty nearly everything that was going on. Nor were we long before we
had made acquaintance with some of the fellah officers who had taken
part with Arabi in the demonstration, especially with Eïd Diab and Ali
Fehmi, with whom I was pleasantly impressed. The matters being
principally discussed at the moment were, first, the character of the
Khedive--was he to be trusted, or was he not, to fulfil the promises he
had given? He had promised a Constitution, but was this to be a real
transfer of power to Ministers responsible to a Representative Chamber,
or only the summoning of a Chamber of Notables with common consultative
powers? Tewfik was mistrusted on this point, and it was generally
believed that he was being advised to shuffle in this way out of his
engagement by Malet who, as already said, had just come from
Constantinople and had declared that the Sultan would never agree to
real Constitutional government.

The more advanced section of the Nationalists were bitter against the
whole house of Mohammed Ali and especially of the branch of it to which
Tewfik belonged, his father Ismaïl and his grandfather Ibrahim, a cruel
and treacherous race which had brought untold woes upon the fellahin and
had ruined the country morally and financially, and had, by their
misconduct, brought about foreign intervention. Secondly, there was the
question of reforms. Now that the Press was free, attacks were beginning
to be made upon various gross abuses, the injustice of the taxation
which, under the foreign Financial Control, favoured Europeans at the
expense of the native population; of the unnecessary multiplication of
highly paid offices held by foreigners, French and English; of the hold
obtained by these over the railway administration and the administration
of the domains which had passed into the hands of representatives of the
Rothschilds; of the scandal of £9,000 a year subvention being granted
still, in spite of the poverty of the land, to the European Opera House
at Cairo. A campaign was being carried on, especially by the "Taif"
newspaper, edited by a hot-headed young man of genius, Abdallah Nadim,
against the brothels and wine-shops and disreputable cafés chantants
which under protection of the "Capitulations" had invaded Cairo to the
grief and anger of pious Moslems. There was an echo, too, of the
bitterness felt by all Mohammedans just then on account of the French
raid in Tunis where it was affirmed that mosques had been profaned and
Moslem women outraged. Nevertheless the feeling at Cairo between native
Christian and native Mohammedan was altogether friendly. The Copts were
as a rule wholly with the revolution, and their Patriarch was on the
best of terms with the Ministry of which Butros Pasha was a prominent
and respected member. Even the native Jews with their Chief Rabbi were
all for the Constitutional reform. With the officers the point of
principal concern was naturally that of the promised increase of the
army, which they affirmed was necessary in view of what had taken place
in Tunis, where the Bey had been found quite unprepared with a military
force sufficient to defend his country. The legal maximum allowed by the
Sultan's Firman in Egypt was 18,000 men and the army must be raised to
that point.

My earliest intervention in the affairs of the Nationalists of any
active kind came about in this way. About the end of November my friend
Sheykh Mohammed el Hajrasi informed me of an agitation which was going
on among the students of the Azhar, especially those of the Shafeite and
Malekite rites, to depose the actual Sheykh el Islam, or as he is more
generally called, Sheykh el Jama, the head of the Hanefite rite,
Mohammed el Abbasi. The reason given me for this was that, as a nominee
of the Khedive, he could not be relied on to give an honest _fetwa_
(legal opinion) as to the legality of constitutional government, and
that it was believed that he would be made use of to refuse a _fetwa_ in
its favour and so give the Khedive an excuse for withdrawing from his
full promise. The Hanefite rite has always been the Court rite in Egypt,
the Turkish Viceroys, even since the time of Sultan Selim, having
usurped the privilege of Court appointment, and the Government has
always named a Hanefite to the supreme religious office. At the same
time by far the larger number of the students, who amount in all to some
15,000, have been and are of the other two rites, and an attempt was now
to be made in accordance with the revolutionary ideas of the day to
revert to the more ancient form of nomination, namely by general
election. He had come, el Hajrasi said, to consult me about this because
the idea was prevalent that Malet was behind the Khedive in the
support he was giving to el Abbasi and in the plan of evading his
constitutional promise. The difficulty he thought I might be able to
remove, if I went to Malet and used my influence with him in their
favour. To this I very readily assented, and with the result that I
found Malet entirely ignorant of the whole matter and quite ready to say
that the religious disputes of the Ulema were outside his province; and
that he should interfere on neither side. On the 5th of December,
therefore, el Abbasi was by vote of the students deposed from his office
and a Sheykh of the Shafeite rite, el Embabeh, named in his place. El
Embabeh had not been the most popular candidate, for the majority of the
students had been for the Malekite el Aleysh, a man of high courage and
religious authority, who afterwards played a leading part during the war
and died in the first months of the English occupation in prison, it is
generally believed poisoned from his outspoken evidence at the time of
Arabi's trial. Embabeh, a man altogether his inferior, obtained the vote
only as the result of a compromise, the Khedive having refused el
Aleysh. Four thousand students voted at this election and there were
only twenty-five dissentients. The little service thus rendered them
gave my friends among the Nationalists confidence in my will and power
to serve them, and they asked me to delay my departure and stay on at
least some weeks to see them through their farther difficulties. To this
I readily agreed, seeing in the development of a movement so congenial
to my ideas work of the very kind that I was seeking and one in which I
could be of real use, as interpreter of their perfectly legitimate
ambitions, both with Malet at the Agency and at home with Gladstone.

In the following few weeks I saw Malet almost daily, and acquired
considerable influence over him. Though not unsympathetic towards the
Nationalists, I found him very ill informed as to their views and
objects. He knew none of their leaders personally except Sherif Pasha,
and depended in regard to the general drift of affairs on what Sherif
and the Khedive thought fit to tell him. For what was passing in the
street he had nobody on whom he could rely except his Greek dragoman
Aranghi who picked up his news at the cafés of the European quarter.
Thus he had little means of understanding the situation, nor was
Sinkiewicz, his new French colleague, much better informed. Malet was
also in terrible perplexity as to the real wishes of his own Government.
Lord Granville had just written him the well-known despatch of November
4th, in which he had stated in vague terms the sympathy of Her Majesty's
Government for reforms in Egypt. But this might mean almost anything,
and was no guide as to the attitude he should observe if any new
conflict should arise between the Khedive and the Nationalists, or
between these united and the Financial Controllers. Above all he was in
doubt as to Mr. Gladstone's mind in the affair of the Constitution. It
was, therefore, a real relief to him to find in me some one who had a
definite policy to suggest, and mine was very clearly that he should
support the Nationalists.

I was able, too, to assure him about Gladstone that he need not doubt
that when the Prime Minister came to know the facts he _must_ be on the
Constitutional side. I received support, too, with Malet on this point
from certain English friends of mine whom I found at Cairo, winter
visitors, whom I was able to influence to my views. Among these the most
prominent were two ex-Members of the House of Commons, Lord Houghton,
who in early life had been an enthusiastic advocate of freedom in the
East, and Sir William Gregory, an old follower of Gladstone's and a
well-known Liberal. By the middle of December I had succeeded in
bringing round nearly all the English element at Cairo to my view of the
case. Even Sir Auckland Colvin, the English Financial Controller, who
had three months before given the Khedive the heroic advice to shoot
Arabi, professed himself converted and half inclined to come to terms
with the revolution.



On the 6th of December Arabi, who up to this time had been in retirement
at Ras-el-Wady, a military post close to Tel-el-Kebir, arrived at Cairo
and on the 12th for the first time I saw him. He had hired a house close
to his friend Ali Fehmi's, who was now wholly with him, and not far from
the Abdin Barracks. It was in company, if I remember rightly, with Eïd
Diab, and taking Sabunji with me, that I went to him, it having been
arranged beforehand that I should do so by some of our mutual friends.
Arabi was at that time at the height of his popularity, being talked of
through the length and breadth of Egypt as "El Wahíd," the "only one,"
and people were flocking from all sides to Cairo to lay their grievances
before him. His outer room was full of suppliants, as was indeed the
entrance from the street, and this was every day the case. He had
already heard of me as a sympathizer and friend of the fellah cause, and
received me with all possible cordiality, especially, he told me, on
account of what he had also heard, my family connection with Byron,
whom, though he knew nothing of his poetry, he held in high esteem for
his work for liberty in Greece. The point is worth noting, as it is very
characteristic of Arabi's attitude towards humanity at large without
distinction of race or creed. There was nothing in him of the fanatic,
if fanaticism means religious hatred, and he was always ready to join
hands in the cause of liberty with Jew, Christian, or infidel,
notwithstanding his own, by no means lukewarm, piety.

I talked to him long and without reserve on all the questions of the
day, and found him equally frank and plain spoken. Towards the Khedive
he expressed his perfect loyalty "so long as he kept to his promises and
made no attempt to baulk the Egyptians of their promised freedom." But
it was clear that he did not wholly trust him, and considered it his
duty to keep a strict eye over him lest he should swerve from the path.
In a letter that I wrote soon after, 20th December, to Mr. Gladstone,
when I had had several other conversations with him, I said of him: "The
ideas he expresses are not merely a repetition of the phrases of modern
Europe, but are based on a knowledge of history and on the liberal
tradition of Arabian thought, inherited from the days when Mohammedanism
was liberal. He understands that broader Islam which existed before
Mohammed, and the bond of a common worship of the one true God which
unites his own faith with that of Judaism and Christianity. He
disclaims, I believe, all personal ambition, and there is no kind of
doubt that the army and country are devoted to him.... Of his own
position he speaks with modesty. 'I am,' he says, 'the representative of
the army because circumstances have made the army trust me; but the army
itself is but the representative of the people, its guardian till such
time as the people shall no longer need it. At present we are the sole
national force standing between Egypt and its Turkish rulers, who would
renew at any moment, were they permitted, the iniquities of Ismaïl
Pasha. The European Control only partially provides against this, and
makes no provision whatever by national education in self-government for
the day when it shall abandon its financial trust. This we have to see
to. We have won for the people their right to speak in an Assembly of
Notables, and we keep the ground to prevent their being cajoled or
frightened out of it. In this we work not for ourselves but for our
children and for those that trust us.... We soldiers are for the moment
in the position of those Arabs who answered the Caliph Omar when, in old
age, he asked the people whether they were satisfied with his rule, and
whether he had walked straightly in the path of justice. "O son of El
Khattab," said they, "thou hast indeed walked straightly and we love
thee. But thou knewest that we were at hand and ready, if thou hadst
walked crookedly, to straighten thee with our swords." I trust that no
such violence will be needed. As Egyptians we do not love blood, and
hope to shed none; and when our Parliament has learned to speak, our
duty will be over. But until such time we are resolved to maintain the
rights of the people at any cost and we do not fear, with God's help, to
justify our guardianship if need be against all who would silence

This kind of language, so different from that usually used by Eastern
politicians in their conversations with Europeans, impressed me very
deeply, and I made a strong mental contrast between Arabi and that other
champion of liberty whom I had met and talked with at Damascus, Midhat
Pasha, altogether in Arabi's favour. Here was no nonsense about
railroads and canals and tramways as nostrums that could redeem the
East, but words that went to the root of things and fixed the
responsibility of good government on the shoulders which alone could
bear it. I felt that even in the incredulous and trifling atmosphere of
the House of Commons words like these would be listened to--if only they
could be heard there!

With regard to the Sultan and the connection of Egypt with Turkey, Arabi
was equally explicit. He had no love, he told me, for the Turks who had
mis-governed Egypt for centuries, and he would not hear of interference
from Constantinople in the internal affairs of the country. But he made
a distinction between the Ottoman Government and the religious authority
of the Sultan, whom, as Emir el Mumenin, he was bound, as long as he
ruled justly, to obey and honour. Also the example of Tunis, which the
French had first detached from the Empire, and then taken possession of,
showed how necessary it was to preserve the connection of Egypt with the
Head of the Moslem world. "We are all," he said, "children of the
Sultan, and live together like a family in one house. But, just as in
families, we have, each of us provinces of the Empire, our separate room
which is our own to arrange as we will and where even the Sovereign must
not wantonly intrude. Egypt has gained this independent position through
the Firmans granted, and we will take care that she preserves it. To ask
for more than this would be to run a foolish risk, and perhaps lose our
liberty altogether."[7] I asked him rather bluntly whether he had been,
as was then currently asserted, in personal communication with
Constantinople, and I noticed that he was reserved in answering and did
so evasively. Doubtless the recollection of his conversation with Ahmed
Ratib, of which I then knew nothing, crossed his mind and caused his
hesitation, but he did not allude to it.

Finally we talked of the relations of Egypt with the Dual Government of
France and England. As to this he admitted the good that had been done
by freeing the country of Ismaïl and regularizing the finances, but they
must not, he said, stand in the way of the National regeneration by
supporting the Khedive's absolute rule or the old Circassian Pashas
against them. He looked to England rather than to France for sympathy in
their struggle for freedom, and especially to Mr. Gladstone, who had
shown himself the friend of liberty everywhere--this in response to what
I had explained to him of Gladstone's views--but like everybody else
just then at Cairo he distrusted Malet. I did what I could to ease his
mind on this point, and so we parted. This first interview gave me so
favourable an opinion of the fellah Colonel that I went immediately to
my friend, Sheykh Mohammed Abdu, to tell him how he had impressed me,
and suggested that a program, in the sense of what Arabi had told me,
ought to be drawn up which I might send to Mr. Gladstone, as I felt
certain that if he knew the truth as to the National aspirations, in an
authoritative way, he could not fail to be impressed by it in a sense
favourable to them. I spoke, too, to Malet on the same subject, and he
agreed that it might do good, and I consequently, in conjunction with
Sheykh Mohammed Abdu and others of the civilian leaders, drew up,
Sabunji being our scribe, a manifesto embodying succinctly the views of
the National party. This Mohammed Abdu took to Mahmud Pasha Sami, who
was once again Minister of War, and gained his adhesion to it, and it
was also shown to and approved by Arabi. This done I forwarded it, with
Malet's knowledge and approval, to Gladstone, explaining to him the
whole situation and inviting his sympathy for a movement so very much in
accordance with his avowed principles. "I cannot understand," I said, in
concluding my letter to Gladstone, "that these are sentiments to be
deplored or actions to be crushed by an English Liberal Government. Both
may be easily guided. And I think the lovers of Western progress should
rather congratulate themselves on this strange and unlooked for sign of
political life in a land which has hitherto been reproached by them as
the least thinking portion of the stagnant East. You, sir, I think,
once expressed to me your belief that the nations of the East could only
regenerate themselves by a spontaneous resumption of their lost national
_Will_, and behold in Egypt that _Will_ has arisen and is now struggling
to find words which may persuade Europe of its existence."

While sending this "Program of the National Party" to Gladstone, I also
at the same time, by Sir William Gregory's advice, sent it to the
"Times." Of this course Malet disapproved as he thought it might
complicate matters at Constantinople, an idea strongly fixed in his
cautious diplomatic mind. But Gregory insisted that it ought to be
published, as otherwise it might be pigeon-holed at Downing Street and
overlooked; and I think he was right. Gregory was a personal friend of
the then excellent editor of the "Times," Chenery, whose services to the
National cause in Egypt at this date were very great. Chenery was a man
of a large mind on Eastern affairs, being a considerable Arabic scholar,
and had published a most admirable English translation of the
"Assemblies of Hariri"; and he was able thus to take a wider view of the
Egyptian question than the common journalistic one that it was a
question primarily concerning the London Stock Exchange--this although
he was himself an Egyptian Bondholder. He consequently gave every
prominence to the letters Gregory and I wrote to him during the next few
months in support of the National movement, and to the last, even when
the war came, continued that favour. In the present instance, indeed,
Chenery somewhat overdid his welcome to our program, stating that it had
been received from Arabi himself, an inaccuracy which enabled Malet, who
knew the facts, to disown it through Reuter's Agency as an authentic

It will perhaps be as well to explain here the way in which the London
Press and especially Reuter's News Agency was at this time manipulated
officially at Cairo and made subservient to the intrigues of diplomacy.
Very few London newspapers had any regular correspondent in Egypt, the
"Times" and the "Pall Mall Gazette" being, as far as I know, the only
two that were thus provided. Both, as far as politics were concerned,
were practically in the hands of Sir Auckland Colvin, the English
Financial Controller, an astute Indian official, with the traditions of
Indian diplomacy strongly developed in his political practice. He had
some experience of journalism, having been connected with the "Pioneer"
in India, an Anglo-Indian journal of pronounced imperialistic type with
which he was still in correspondence. He was also Morley's regular
correspondent in the "Pall Mall Gazette," and had through him the ear of
the Government. The importance of this unavowed connection will be seen
later when he made it his business to bring about English intervention.
Lastly, on all important diplomatic matters he inspired the "Times,"
whose regular correspondent, Scott, depended on him for his information.
With regard to Reuter and Havas, the Telegraphic Agencies, both were
heavily subventioned by the Anglo-French Financial Control, receiving
£1,000 a year each, charged on the thin resources of the Egyptian
Budget. Reuter especially was the servant and mouthpiece of the English
Agency, and the telegrams despatched to London were under Malet's
censorship. This sort of manipulation of the organs of public news in
the interests of our diplomacy exists in nearly all the capitals where
our agents reside, and is a potent instrument for misleading the home
public. The influence is not as a rule exercised by any direct payment,
but by favour given in regard to secret and valuable information, and
also largely by social amenities. In Egypt it has always within my
knowledge been supreme, except at moments of extreme crisis when the
body of special Press correspondents at Cairo or Alexandria has been too
numerous to be kept under official control. In ordinary times our
officials have had complete authority both as to what news should be
sent to London, and what news, received from London, should be published
in Egypt. It is very necessary that this, the true condition of things,
should be steadily borne in mind by historians when they consult the
newspaper files of these years in search of information.

Down, however, to near the end of the year 1881, except for this small
difference of opinion, my relations with Malet remained perfectly and
intimately friendly. He made me the confidant of his doubts and
troubles, his anxiety to follow out the exact wishes of the Foreign
Office, and his fears lest in so difficult a situation he should do
anything which should not gain an official approval. He professed
himself, and I think he was, in full sympathy with my view of the
National case, and he leaned on me as on one able, at any rate, to act
as buffer between him and any new violent trouble while waiting a
decision in Downing Street as to clear policy. Thus I find a note that
on the 19th December I was asked by him and Sir Auckland Colvin, whose
acquaintance I had now made and who affected views hardly less
favourable than Malet's to the Nationalists, to help them in a
difficulty they were in about the Army Estimates.

It was the time of year when the new Budget was being drafted, and the
Nationalist Minister of War, Mahmud Sami, had demanded £600,000 as the
amount of the year's estimates for his department. It was an increase of
I forget how many thousand pounds over the estimate of 1881, and was
necessitated, Mahmud Sami said, by the Khedive's promise of raising the
army to the full number of men allowed by the Firman, 18,000. The
Minister had explained his insistence on the plea that a refusal would
or might cause a new military demonstration, the bug-bear of those days;
and I was asked to find out what sum the army would really be satisfied
with for their estimates. Colvin authorized me to go as far as £522,000,
and to tell Arabi and the officers that it was financially impossible to
give more. He had no objection, he said, to the army's being increased
so long as the estimates were not exceeded. He thought, however, the sum
proposed would suffice for an increase up to 15,000 men. I consequently
went to Arabi and argued the matter with him and others of the officers;
and persuaded them, on my assurance that Colvin's word could be trusted,
to withdraw all further objection. They said they would accept the
increased sum of £522,000 as sufficient, and make it go as far in the
increase of soldiers as it could. They meant to economize, they said, in
other ways, and hoped to get their full complement of men out of the
balance. They promised me, too, on this occasion to have patience and
make no further armed demonstrations, a promise which to the end they
faithfully fulfilled. Arabi's last words to me on this occasion were
"_men sabber dhaffer_," "he who has patience conquers." I sent a note
the same day to Colvin informing him of the result, and I was also
thanked by Malet for having helped them both out of a considerable

Nevertheless Malet, about a week later, surprised me one afternoon, 28th
December, when I had been playing lawn tennis with him, as I often did
at the Agency, by showing me the draft of a despatch he had just sent to
the Foreign Office mentioning my visit to Egypt and the encouragement I
had given to the Nationalists, and without mentioning what I had done to
help him, complaining only of my having sent the Program against his
wishes to the "Times." As we had up to that moment been acting in
perfect cordiality together, and nothing whatever had occurred beyond
the publication of the manifesto, I took him pretty roundly to task for
his ill faith in concealing my other services rendered to his diplomacy,
and insisted that he should cancel this misleading despatch, and with
such energy that he wrote in my presence a cancelling telegram, and also
a second despatch repairing in some measure the injustice he had done
me. I have never quite understood what Malet's motive was in this
curious manoeuvre. I took it at the time to be a passing fit of
jealousy, a dislike to the idea that it should be known at the Foreign
Office that he owed anything to me in the comparatively good relations
he had succeeded in establishing with the Nationalists; but on
reflection I have come to the conclusion, as one more in accordance with
his cautious character, that he was merely guarding himself officially
against public responsibility of any kind being fixed on him for my
Nationalist views, should these be condemned in Downing Street. It is
the more likely explanation because his private conscience evidently
pricked him about it to the extent of avowing to me what he had
officially done. The insincerity, however, though repented of, was a
warning to me which I did not forget, and while I continued for some
weeks more to go to the Agency it was always with a feeling of possible
betrayal at Malet's hands. I was ready, nevertheless, to help him,
and it was not long before he was again obliged, by the extreme
circumstances of his political isolation at Cairo, to resort to my good
offices, and, finding himself in flood water altogether beyond his
depth, to send me once more as his messenger of peace to Arabi and the
other Nationalist leaders.

All had gone well so far, as far as any of us knew, in the political
situation at Cairo down to the end of the year, and during the first
week of the new year, 1882. There was a good understanding now between
all parties in Egypt, the army was quiescent, the Press was moderate
under Mohammed Abdu's popular censorship, and the Nationalist Ministers,
undisturbed by menace from any quarter, were preparing the draft of the
Organic Law which was to give the country its civil liberties. On the
26th of December, the Chamber of Delegates summoned to discuss the
articles of the promised Constitution had met at Cairo, and had been
opened formally with a reassuring speech by the Khedive in person, whose
attitude was so changed for the better towards the popular movement that
Malet was able, on the 2nd of January, to write home to Lord Granville:
"I found His Highness, for the first time since my return in September,
cheerful in mood and taking a hopeful view of the situation. The change
was very noticeable. His Highness appears to have frankly accepted the
situation." Arabi had ceased to busy himself personally with the redress
of grievances, and it had been arranged with the approval of the French
and English agents that Arabi should, as they expressed it, "regularize"
his position and accept the responsibility of his acknowledged political
influence by taking office as Under-Secretary at the War Office. This it
had been thought would be putting the dangerous free lance in uniform
and securing him to the cause of order.

The only doubtful point was now the attitude of the Deputies in regard
to the details of the Constitution they had been assembled to discuss;
and the majority of them, as were my reforming friends at the Azhar,
seemed disposed to moderation. "We have waited," said Sheykh Mohammed
Abdu, "so many hundred years for our freedom that we can well afford now
to wait some months." Certainly at that date Malet and Colvin, and I
think also Sinkiewicz, were favourably disposed to the claim of the
Nationalists to have a true Parliament. They had begun to see that it
was the universal national desire, and would act as a safety-valve for
ideas more dangerous. A frank public declaration of goodwill at that
moment on the part of the English and French Governments towards the
popular hopes would have secured a workable arrangement between the
Nationalist Government and the Dual Control, which would have
safeguarded the bondholders' interests no less than it would have
secured to Egypt its liberty. Nor did we think that this would be long

On the first day of the New Year the National Program I had sent to Mr.
Gladstone was published in the "Times," with a leading article and
approving comments, and in spite of Malet's prognostication of evil had
been well received in Europe, and even at Constantinople where it had
drawn down no kind of thunderbolt. Its tone was so studiously moderate,
and its reasoning so frank and logical that it seemed impossible the
position in Egypt should any longer be misunderstood. Especially in
England, with an immense Liberal majority in the House of Commons, and
Mr. Gladstone at the head of affairs, it was almost inconceivable that
it should not be met in a friendly spirit--quite inconceivable to us who
were waiting anxiously for Gladstone's answer at Cairo, that at that
very moment the English Foreign Office should be proceeding to acts of
menace and the language of armed intervention. Unfortunately, however,
though none of us, not even Malet, at the time knew it, the decision,
adverse to the Egyptian hopes, had already been half taken. The program
reached Mr. Gladstone, as nearly as I can calculate it, a fortnight too
late. We were all expecting a message of peace, when, like thunder in a
clear sky, the ill-omened Joint Note of January 6th, 1882, was launched
upon us. It upset all our hopes and calculations and threw back Egypt
once more into a sea of troubles.

It is right that the genesis of this most mischievous document, to which
is directly due the whole of the misfortunes during the year, with the
loss to Egypt of her liberty, to Mr. Gladstone of his honour, and to
France of her secular position of influence on the Nile, should be truly
told. Something regarding it may be learned from the published
documents, both French and English, but only indirectly, and not all;
and I am perhaps the only person not officially concerned in its
drafting who am in a position to put all the dots with any precision on
the i's. In Egypt it has not unnaturally been supposed that, because in
the event it turned to the advantage of English aggression, it was
therefore an instrument forged for its own purposes at our Foreign
Office, but in reality the reverse is true and the note was drafted not
in Downing Street but at the Quai d'Orsay, and in the interests, so far
as these were political--for they were also financial--of French

I have told already how I travelled with Sir Charles Dilke from London
to Paris, and of our conversation on the way and of the impression left
on me by it that he would "sell Egypt for his Commercial Treaty"; and
this is precisely what in fact had happened. The dates as far as I can
fix them were these: On the 15th of November St. Hilaire had gone out of
office, and had been succeeded by Gambetta, who found himself faced with
a general Mohammedan revolt against the French Government in Tunis and
Algeria. He was alarmed at the Pan-Islamic character it was taking, and
attributed it largely to the Sultan Abdul Hamid's propaganda, and he
thought he saw the same influence at work in the National movement in
Egypt, as well as the intrigues of Ismaïl, Halim, and others. France had
been traditionally hostile to the sovereign claims of the Porte in North
Africa, and Gambetta came into office determined to thwart and deal with
them by vigorous measures. He was besides, through his Jewish origin,
closely connected with the _haute finance_ of the Paris Bourse, and was
intimate with the Rothschilds and other capitalists, who had their
millions invested in Egyptian Bonds. Nubar Pasha and Rivers Wilson were
then both living at Paris, and his close friends and advisers in regard
to Egyptian matters, and it was from them that he took his view of the

He had, therefore, not been more than a few days in office before he
entered into communication with our Foreign Office, with the object of
getting England to join him in vigorous action against the National
movement, as a crusade of civilization and a support to the established
order at Cairo of Financial things. In London at the same time there was
a strong desire to get the Commercial Treaty, which was about to expire,
renewed with France as speedily as possible, and advantage was taken at
the Foreign Office of Sir Charles Dilke's personal intimacy with the new
French Premier to get the negotiation for it finished. A commission for
this purpose, of which Dilke and Wilson were the two English members,
had been sitting at Paris since the month of May, and so far without
result. Dilke's visit to Paris was in connection with both matters, and
was resolved on within a week of Gambetta's accession to power.
Reference to newspapers of that date, November 1881, will show that the
negotiations between the two Governments about the Commercial Treaty
were just then in a highly critical state, and it was even reported that
they had been broken off. Dilke's presence, however, gave them new life,
or at least prevented their demise. Between the 22nd of November and the
15th of December he passed to and fro between the two capitals; and at
the latter date we find Gambetta (Blue Book Egypt 5, 1882, page 21)
approaching Lord Lyons, our Ambassador at Paris, with a proposal to take
common action in Egypt. He considers it to be "extremely important to
strengthen the authority of Tewfik Pasha; every endeavour should be made
to inspire him with confidence in the support of France and England, and
to infuse into him firmness and energy. The adherents of Ismaïl and
Halim and the Egyptians generally should be made to understand that
France and England would not acquiesce in his being deposed.... It would
be advisable to cut short the intrigues of Constantinople," etc. This
language is communicated by Lord Lyons to the Foreign Office, and on the
19th Lord Granville "agrees in thinking that the time has come when the
two Governments should consider what course had better be adopted," etc.
Thus encouraged, Gambetta on the 24th proposes to take occasion of the
meeting of the Egyptian Notables to make "a distinct manifestation of
union between France and England so as to strengthen the position of
Tewfik Pasha and discourage the promoters of disorder." The Egyptian
Chamber meets on the 26th, and on the 28th Dilke, who has returned the
day before to Paris, has a long conversation with Gambetta about the
Treaty of Commerce ("Times"), while on precisely the same day Lord
Granville agrees to give "assurance to Tewfik Pasha of the sympathy and
support of France and England, and to encourage His Highness to maintain
and assert his proper authority."

This identity of date alone suffices to fix the connection between the
two negotiations, and shows the precise moment at which the fatal
agreement was come to, and that my communication of the National Program
to Gladstone, which was posted on the 20th, must have been just too late
to prevent the disaster. Letters then took a week to reach London, and
Gladstone was away for the Christmas holidays, and cannot have had
time, however much he may have been inclined to do so, to forward it on
to the Foreign Office. Our Government thus committed to Gambetta's
policy, Gambetta on the 31st (Blue Book Egypt 5, 1882) presents to Lyons
the draft, drawn up with his own hand, of the Joint Note to be
despatched to Cairo in the sense of his previous communication of the
24th--and, be it noted, on the same day negotiations for a renewal of
the Commercial Treaty are announced as formally renewed. On the 1st of
January the Paris correspondent of the "Times" sends a précis of the
Joint Note to London, explaining that he only now forwards it, having
been instructed by M. Gambetta only to divulge it "at the proper
moment." This is understood to mean the final success of Dilke's
commercial mission, and the following day, 2nd January, he returns to
London. I trace, nevertheless, the influence of my appeal to Gladstone
in the delay of five days, still made by Granville before he unwillingly
signs the Note, and the reservation he stipulates for on the part of Her
Majesty's Government that "Her Majesty's Government must not be
considered as committing themselves thereby to any particular mode of
action," a postscript typical of Granville's character, and, as I think
too, of a conflict in ideas, afterwards very noticeable, between the
Foreign Office, pushed on by Dilke, and Gladstone as Prime Minister.

Such is the evidence which, intelligently read, can be gathered from the
published documents of the day. I have, however, a letter from Sir
Rivers Wilson dated a few days later, 13th January, in answer to one of
mine, which explains in a few words the whole situation. "I am above all
pleased," he writes, "at the interest you are taking in Egyptian
politics. You confirm what I believe to be the case in two particulars
at least, viz., that the soldiers express the feeling of the population,
and that Tewfik has been working with the Sultan. As regards the latter
circumstance I must say there is nothing surprising in it. Six weeks ago
Gambetta said to me, 'Le Khedive est aux genoux du Sultan.' But the
reason is plain. Tewfik is weak and cowardly. His army is against him.
The Harems hate him. He found no support there where he naturally might
have looked for it, viz., at the hands of the English and French
Governments, and so he turned to the only quarter where sympathy and
perhaps material assistance were forthcoming. It was to remedy this
state of things that the idea of the Joint Declaration was conceived,
whatever gloss or subsequent explanation may be now put forward, and I
shall be disappointed if it does not produce the desired effect and
cause the officers, Ulemas, and Notables to understand that renewed
disturbance means armed intervention in Europe. Our Government may not
like it, but they are bound now by formal engagement to France and
cannot withdraw."

This letter, coming from Wilson at Paris, holding the official position
there he did, and being, as he was, on intimate terms both with Dilke
and Gambetta, is a document of the highest historical importance, and
fixes beyond the possibility of doubt on the French Government the
initiative in the designed intervention, though the Yellow Books also
are not altogether silent. These, though most defective in their
information, do not hide Gambetta's initial responsibility. I heard at
the time, and I believe that the form of joint intervention he designed
for Egypt was that England should demonstrate with a fleet at Alexandria
while France should land troops. Had that come to pass we cannot doubt
that French influence would now be supreme in Egypt. It was only
frustrated that winter by the accident of Gambetta's unlooked-for fall
from power by an adverse vote on some domestic matter in the Chamber at
the end of the month, for Gladstone at that time was far too averse from
violent measures to have sent an English fleet with a French army, and
the landing of troops would have been certainly needed.

There is more than one moral to be drawn from this historic episode, and
the most instructive is, perhaps, the fact that neither of the two
Ministers, with all their cleverness and in spite of their apparent
success each in his own scheme, really effected his purpose. Gambetta
and Granville in the first weeks of January doubtless plumed themselves
on having gained an important object and strengthened the friendly link
between their two Governments by a common agreement. Gambetta had got
his note, Granville his treaty. But neither rogue was really able to
bring home his booty. Gambetta, though he exerted all his influence with
the Chamber to get the Commercial Treaty with England renewed, failed to
obtain a majority and the treaty lapsed, and with it the Liberal
argument that Free Trade was not isolating England. On the other hand,
though he had got Granville unwillingly to sign the Note, which he
intended to use for the glory of France, Gambetta found that he had
forged a weapon which he could not himself wield and which within six
months passed into his rival's hand, while the friendly arrangement
proved almost as soon as it was come to, to be the destruction of all
cordial feeling between the two nations for close on a generation.
Personally, in the disappointment of the two intriguers and the rival
interest of the two nations, I am able to hold a detached attitude. What
seems to me tragic in the matter is that for the sake of their paltry
ambitions and paltrier greeds a great national hope was wrecked, and the
cause of reform for a great religion postponed for many years. The
opportunity of good thrown away by the two statesmen between them can
hardly recur again in another half century.

The effect of Gambetta's menace to the National Party was disastrous at
Cairo to the cause of peace. I was with Malet soon after the note
arrived, and he gave it me to read and asked me what I thought of it. I
said: "They will take it as a declaration of war." He answered: "It is
not meant in a hostile sense," and explained to me how it might be
interpreted in a way favourable to the National hopes. He asked me to go
to the Kasr el Nil and persuade Arabi, who had just been made
Under-Secretary of War, to accept it thus, authorizing me to say, "that
the meaning of the Note as understood by the British Government was that
the English Government would not permit any interference of the Sultan
with Egypt, and would also not allow the Khedive to go back from his
promises or molest the Parliament." He also told me, though he did not
authorize me to repeat this on his authority, that he hoped to get leave
to add to the Note a written explanation in the sense just given. I know
that he telegraphed repeatedly for some such permission, and that he
wrote strongly condemning the note as impolitic and dangerous. Not a
word, however, of these important protests and requests is to be found
in the Blue Books, though the Blue Books show that Lord Granville must
have paid attention to them to the extent of expressing himself willing
to give some such explanation of the Note but being prevented from doing
so by Gambetta. Sinkiewicz seems also to have asked his Government to
be allowed to explain the Note, but was forbidden. Sir Auckland Colvin,
too, condemned the Note in conversation with me quite as strongly as
Malet had done.

I went accordingly to the Kasr el Nil about noon on the 9th (the text of
the Note had reached us on the 8th) and found Arabi alone in his
official room. For the first and only time I have seen him so, he was
angry. His face was like a thundercloud, and there was a peculiar gleam
in his eye. He had seen the text of the Note though it had not been
published--indeed, it had only as yet been telegraphed--and I asked him
how he understood it. "Tell me, rather," he said, "how you understand
it." I then delivered my message. He said: "Sir Edward Malet must really
think us children who do not know the meaning of words." "In the first
place," he said, "it is the language of menace. There is no clerk in
this office who would use such words with such a meaning." He alluded to
the reference to the Notables made in the first paragraph of the Note.
"That," he said, "is a menace to our liberties." Next, the declaration
that French and English policy were one meant that, as France had
invaded Tunis, so England would invade Egypt. "Let them come," he said,
"every man and child in Egypt will fight them. It is contrary to our
principles to strike the first blow, but we shall know how to return
it." Lastly, as to the guarantee of Tewfik Pasha's throne. "The throne,"
he said, "if there is one, is the Sultan's. The Khedive needs no foreign
guarantees. You may tell me what you will, but I know the meaning of
words better than Mr. Malet does." In truth, Malet's explanation was
nonsense, and I felt a fool before Arabi and ashamed of having made
myself the bearer of such rubbish. But I assured him I had delivered the
message as Sir Edward had given it me. "He asks you to believe it," I
said, "and I ask you to believe him." At leaving he softened, took me by
the arm to lead me down and invited me still to come as before to his
house. I said: "I shall only come back when I have better news for you,"
by which I intended to hint at a possible explanation of the Note such
as Malet had telegraphed for permission to give. None however came. Nor
did I see Arabi again till more than three weeks later, when a letter
from Mr. Gladstone reached me which I interpreted in a more hopeful
sense and which caused us great rejoicing.

On returning to the Residency, Malet asked me how I had fared. "They are
irreconcilable now," I answered. "The Note has thrown them into the arms
of the Sultan." Such indeed was the effect, and not with the soldiers
alone, but as soon as the Note was published with all sections of the
National Party, even with the Khedive. Gambetta, if he had expected to
strengthen Tewfik's hands, had missed his mark entirely. The timid
Khedive was only frightened, and the Nationalists, instead of being
frightened, were enraged. The Egyptians for the first time found
themselves quite united. Sheykh Mohammed Abdu and the cautious Azhar
reformers from that point threw in their lot wholly with the advanced
party. All, even the Circassians, resented the threat of foreign
intervention, and on the other hand the most anti-Turkish of the
Nationalists, such as my friend Hajrasi, saw that Arabi had been right
in secretly leaning upon the Sultan. Arabi thus gained immensely in
popularity and respect, and for many days after this I hardly heard
anything from my Egyptian friends but the language of Pan-Islamism. It
was a Roustan[8] policy over again, they said.

I did my best to smooth down matters with them till the explanation
should arrive which Malet had promised us; but I found my efforts
useless. It was an alarming three weeks for us all, from the delivery of
the Note till Gambetta's fall. News came that a French force was being
assembled for embarkation at Toulon, and that was the form of
intervention generally expected. Indeed, I think it is not too much to
say that Gambetta's resignation on 31st January alone saved Egypt from
the misfortune, even greater perhaps than what afterwards befell her, of
a French invasion avowedly anti-Mohammedan and in purely European


[7] Sir William Gregory, who saw Arabi about the same date as I did, has
recorded in the "Times" very similar language as used by him.

[8] Roustan was the French diplomatist at Tunis who had engineered the
French designs on the Regency.



The political crisis at Cairo, by the middle of January, was evidently
approaching fast. Indeed it had become inevitable. The publication of
the Joint Note happened to coincide with the drafting of the new _Leyha_
or Organic Law, which was to define the power of the Representative
Chamber in the promised Parliament. In regard to this, the Financial
Controllers had been insisting with the Ministry that the power they had
been exercising for the last two years of drawing up the yearly Budget,
according to their own view of the economic requirements of the country,
should remain intact, that is to say, that it should not be subject to
discussion or a vote in the Chamber; and to this Sherif Pasha had
agreed, and had already drafted his project of law without assigning to
the Chamber any right in money matters. The majority of the delegates,
however, were not unnaturally dissatisfied at this, arguing that the
Foreign Financial Control, having its sole status in the country as
guardian of the foreign obligations, and as the interest on the debt
amounted only to one-half of the revenue, the remaining half ought to be
at the disposal of the nation.

Nevertheless, there is no reason to suppose that the point would not
have been conceded by them, especially as Sultan Pasha, who had been
named their President, was with Sherif in considering it prudent to
yield, had things remained during the month as they were at the
beginning. It has been seen how readily the War Office had come to terms
with the Controllers in the matter of the Army Estimates. Now, however,
under the menace of the Note, the Notables were no longer in a mood of
conciliation, and met Sherif's draft with a counterdraft of their own,
adding a number of new articles to the Leyha, largely extending the
Parliamentary powers, and subjecting the half of the Budget not
affected to the interest of the debt to vote by the Chamber. This
brought the Controllers into active conflict with them, M. de Blignières
taking the lead in it and bringing Colvin into line with him. The
Controllers declared it absolutely necessary that the Budget should
remain whole and undivided in their hands, and denounced the
counter-draft as being a project, not of a Parliament, but of a
"Convention." The phrase, founded on memories of the French Revolution,
was doubtless de Blignières', but it was adopted by Colvin, and pressed
by him on Malet. The dispute was a serious one, and might lead to just
such mischief as Malet feared, and give excuse to the French Government
for the intervention it was seeking. Sherif having already committed
himself to the Controllers' view, was being persuaded by them to stand
firm, and the Khedive's attitude was doubtful. A quarrel between the
Khedive and his Parliament on a financial question involving European
bondholding interests was just such a case as the French Government--for
Gambetta was still in office--might be expected to take advantage of for

In this emergency Malet--and Colvin, who though he wished to get his way
as Financial Controller had no mind for French intervention--joined in
asking me yet once again to help them, and to make a last effort to
induce the extreme party among the Notables to yield something of their
pretensions, and after consultation with Sheykh Mohammed Abdu, who as
usual was for prudence and conciliation, it was arranged that I should
have a private conference at his house with a deputation from them, and
argue the case with them, and show them the probable consequences of
their resistance--namely, armed intervention. Accordingly, I got up the
case of the Controllers with Colvin, and drew up with Malet the
different points of the argument I was to use. These I have by me in a
paper headed, "Notes of what I have to say to the Members of the
Egyptian Parliament, 17th January, 1882."

According to this my instructions were to represent to the Members of
the Deputation that the existing procedure respecting the Budget was an
international affair, which neither Sherif nor the Parliament had any
right to touch without gaining the consent of the two controlling
Governments. I was to recite the history of the Control's establishment,
and show them a private Note which had been appended by Malet and Monge
(the French Consul-General), 15th November, 1879, to the Decree
instituting it. I was to invite the members to consider whether
an alteration in the form of determining the Budget was not an
international matter, and, as such, outside the sphere of their action.
They had admitted that international matters must be left untouched by
them. The control of the Budget was an international matter. Therefore
it should be left untouched by them. I was, however, authorized by
Colvin to say that personally he had no objection to a slight
modification of the present arrangement, such as should give the
Parliament a consultative voice which might later become a right of
voting. Should they accept such a compromise, Malet would represent the
matter favourably to his Government, though he had no authority to
promise its acceptance by France or England. All other differences with
Sherif they must settle with him themselves, etc., etc.

On this basis, with Sabunji's help and Mohammed Abdu's, I argued the
case thoroughly with them, and convinced myself that there was no
possibility of their yielding. They agreed, indeed, to modify three or
four of the articles which the Controllers had principally objected to
as giving the Chamber powers of a "Convention," and the amendments I
proposed in these were in fact incorporated later in the published
Leyha. But on the Article of the Budget they were quite obdurate,
notwithstanding the support Sheykh Mohammed Abdu gave me. They would not
yield a line of it, and I returned crestfallen to report my failure, nor
did I again undertake any mission of mediation between Malet and the
Nationalists. I had done my best to help him to a peaceful solution of
his difficulties, but our points of view from this time forth became too
divergent for me any longer to be able to work with him. Although I had
done my very best to persuade the Notables to give way--for I was then
firmly convinced that they were menaced with intervention--I could not
help in my inner mind agreeing with them in their claim of controlling
the free half of the Budget as a sound one, if Parliamentary Government
was to be a reality for them, not a sham. Malet's despatches of the time
show that they were all of one mind on this point, and even Sultan
Pasha, who was a timid man and easily frightened, declared roundly that
Sherif's draft was "like a drum; it made a great sound but was hollow
inside." As between Sherif and the Notables in the quarrel which
followed, my anti-Turkish sympathies put me on their side rather than on
his. At Malet's suggestion I had a little before called on Sherif and
had discussed the matter with him, and had been unfavourably impressed.

Sherif was a Europeanized Turk of good breeding and excellent manners,
but with all that arrogant contempt of the fellahin which distinguished
his class in Egypt. Malet had a high opinion of him because he was a
good French scholar and so was easy to deal with in the ordinary
diplomatic way, but to me he showed himself for this very reason in
disagreeable contrast with the sincere and high-minded men who were the
real backbone of the National movement, and for whom he expressed
nothing but the superior scorn of a fine French gentleman. He was
cheerfully convinced of his own fitness to govern them and of their
incapacity. "The Egyptians," he told me, "are children and must be
treated like children. I have offered them a Constitution which is good
enough for them, and if they are not content with it they must do
without one. It was I who created the National Party, and they will find
that they cannot get on without me. These peasants want guidance." When,
therefore, a fortnight later the quarrel became an open one between him
and them I had no difficulty in deciding which way my sympathies lay.

I was no longer at Cairo when the news of Sherif's resignation on the
2nd of February reached me. The failure of my negotiation, just
described, with the Notables, had depressed my spirits. I felt that by
undertaking it I had risked much of my popularity with my European
friends, and that they perhaps distrusted me for the pains I had taken
to convince them against a course on which their hearts were set; and I
had retired to a distance from the conflict which I could no longer
control or help in to any good purpose. While living at the Hôtel du Nil
during the winter I had all the time had a camp with tents and camels
and attendant Arabs, pitched outside the city, to which I had
occasionally gone, and now I retired to it altogether. The camp was
pitched on the desert land between Koubba Palace and Matarieh, then a
wholly desert region at a point now called Zeitoun, where there were the
insignificant ruins of what had once been a _shaduf_, the sole sign of
human habitation. Here we were completely alone, except that at the
distance of a mile there was another camp, that of Prince Ahmed, outside
Materieh. There was no communication then by any form of public
conveyance with Cairo, and when at rare intervals we went in, we rode
our camels to a point between Abbassiyeh and Faggalah where donkeys were
to be hired. There was not a single house on the sands beyond Abbassiyeh
to the north-east. For a moment thus I was able to forget politics and
to enjoy what I have always loved best, life in the open air. I had,
however, rendered a last service to my friends by writing a warm defence
of the Egyptian National policy in the "Times." To this I was urged by
my friend, Sir William Gregory, who had himself sent more than one
powerful letter in the same sense to what was then emphatically the
leading journal of Europe.

It is hardly possible to exaggerate the importance a letter on any
subject had in those days when published by the "Times," and the
certainty there was, if it was on any political question, of its being
read by the statesmen concerned and treated with full attention. Nor is
it, perhaps, too much to say that Gregory's letters and mine, especially
his, were largely the means of obtaining a respite for Egypt from the
dangers that threatened her. As they came back to Cairo and were
reproduced in Arabic by the native Press, our Egyptian friends were
reassured about us and their confidence in me revived. It was at the
expense, however, of Malet's goodwill. Like all diplomatists he hated
publicity, and he was angry with us both because we, who had both been
in the Government service, had appealed as it were over the head of the
Foreign Office and his own to the Press. With the regular Press
correspondents he knew how to deal, but he could not deal with us who
were independent writers, or exercise the smallest censorship on our
opinions. There was an end therefore to the close intimacy I had, up to
that point, in spite of small disagreements, had with the Agency. This
was unfortunate, as it threw Malet, who always needed to lean on some
one stronger than himself, into other and less conciliatory hands.

On the 31st of January, the very day of the change of Ministry at Paris,
I find a note to the effect that I went in to Cairo and saw Colvin and
had a remarkable conversation with him. This has become of great
historical importance through subsequent events, for it marks the date
within a few days of the change of the temper of the English Financial
Control, and with it of our diplomacy towards Egyptian Nationalism, and
also fixes upon Colvin, what is indeed his due, the chief responsibility
of the rupture which afterwards through his contriving came about. I
have already said something of Sir Auckland Colvin's character. He was a
typical Anglo-Indian official, strong, self-reliant, hard, with the
tradition of methods long practised in India, but which were still new
to our European diplomacy, endowed with just enough sympathy with
Oriental character to make use of it, without loving it, for English
purposes; but cold in manner and unattractive. I had at an earlier stage
of affairs taken Sheykh Mohammed Abdu to call on him, thinking to bring
about a _rapprochement_, and I had also tried to do the same with the
officers. But his manner had repelled the Sheykh, and the officers had
been too shy to come with me. He was sometimes astonishingly frank in
speech. I remember his telling me, on one occasion, when we were talking
of Eastern duplicity, that it was a mistake to suppose that in this
Orientals were our masters. An Englishman who knew the game, he said,
could always beat them at their own weapons, and they were mere children
in deceit when it came to a contest with us.

In the present instance he was more than usually outspoken. The quarrel
between the Notables and Sherif was at its acutest stage; and I asked
him what he thought of the situation. He said he considered it most
grave. It was evident that the Nationalists were resolved upon the fall
of Sherif, and, if they succeeded, he (Colvin) would have no more to do
with them. He told me he had completely changed his mind about them. He
had thought them amenable to reason, but he found them quite
impracticable, and he would do his best to ruin them if ever they came
into office. I asked him how he proposed to do this, or stop a movement
which he had so lately approved, but which had gone quite beyond his or
anybody's control--how, except by that very intervention we had all
along been trying to avoid. He said he had changed his mind about
intervention too; that he believed it now to be necessary and
inevitable, and that he would spare no pains to bring it about. I
expostulated with him, urging that intervention meant only war and war
meant only annexation. He said he quite understood it in that sense. The
same thing had been seen over and over again in India. England would
never give up the footing she had got in Egypt, and it was useless to
talk about the abstract rights and wrongs of the Egyptians. These would
not be considered. He repeated what he had said about ruining the
National Party, and added that he had made no secret of his view. He
should work for intervention and, if it must be so, for annexation. I am
quite sure I am not mis-quoting this conversation in any essential
feature. It was not merely half a dozen words spoken in haste, but an
argument which lasted half an hour; and it affected me so strongly that
I decided to warn my Egyptian friends, to whom I had pledged my word for
Colvin's good feeling towards them, that they must now expect the worst
of him. They answered that they knew it, as they had received
information already in the same sense about him.

This conversation opened my eyes to a new danger. Only the day before I
had received two letters, written the one from the Liberal, the other
from the Tory camp in England, and both conveying the same warning. John
Morley, in answer to a letter I had written asking his sympathy with the
National cause, wrote: "Whether your schemes will come to much I am at
this moment inclined to doubt. Egypt, unluckily for its people, is the
battlefield of European rivalries; and an honest settlement in the
interests of its population will be prevented to suit the convenience of
France. I don't see my way out of it. It is that curse of the world, _la
haute politique_, which will spoil everything." Lytton also had written:
"That small portion of the British public which thinks at all of foreign
affairs is much pre-occupied and disturbed in mind by the false position
into which we are drifting in Egypt, and almost too frightened to speak
loudly on the subject. It seems to me, however, that their ideas are
very hazy. In my own mind there is no doubt that this is only the first
fruits of a radically wrong policy which has lost us the co-operation of
Germany and Austria, and placed us practically at the mercy of France, a
power with which we can never have any sound or safe alliance." Both
letters had been written before the fall of Gambetta, and here I seemed
to hear an echo of their words, especially Morley's words, "la haute
politique," from the man who had it most in his power to spoil an
honest settlement, and that to suit the convenience, not of France
merely, but of England. I was very much alarmed. I have often regretted
my last words to Colvin on this occasion. "I defy you," I said, "to
bring about English intervention or annexation." I regret it because I
think it added a personal as well as a political stimulus to his
subsequent action. It had become a trial of strength between us.

Two days later, 2nd February, Sherif Pasha, finding he could not bend
the National Delegates to his will, and under the influence, I make
little doubt, of Colvin's threat of intervention, resigned office, and
was succeeded, at the choice of the Delegates, by Mahmud Pasha Sami as
Prime Minister, with Arabi as Minister of War, a thoroughgoing
Nationalist combination at which all Egypt rejoiced.[9] I heard the news
at my retreat in the desert with mixed feelings of jubilation and
anxiety, an anxiety which was only relieved when on the 27th I received
an answer from Mr. Gladstone to my letter of six weeks before enclosing
to him the National program. The long delay in replying was doubtless
due to the embarrassment and perplexity as to a policy which Lord
Granville's deal with Gambetta had involved him in. Gambetta's
providential fall, however, had now to a large extent freed our
Government's hands, and a passage was being inserted in the Queen's
speech at the opening of Parliament which conveyed something like an
expression of sympathy with the National Egyptian hopes. This, Mr.
Gladstone sent me later, and his letter concluded with the following
reassuring words: "I feel quite sure," he said, "that unless there be a
sad failure of good sense on one or both, or as I should say, on all
sides, we shall be able to bring this question to a favourable issue. My
own opinions about Egypt were set forth in the 'Nineteenth Century' a
short time before we took office, and I am not aware as yet of having
seen any reason to change them."[10]

The reference thus made to his article "Aggression on Egypt," was of the
very highest importance, for, as already mentioned, the article was a
scathing denunciation of just that forward policy of intervention and
annexation which Colvin had propounded to me. Armed with this proof of
Gladstone's goodwill I went back joyfully to Cairo, and was able to tell
Arabi that I had not assured him of my sympathy in vain. I found him at
the War Office surrounded by his friends, and in converse with the
Coptic Patriarch, and with a tribe of idle sycophants as well,
Levantines and Europeans, come to salute the rising sun. Among these the
new Minister moved with a certain dignified superiority which became him
well. He was no longer the mere colonel of a regiment, but a man sobered
by the sense of public responsibility, a fellah still, and still a
patriot, but also with the manner of a statesman. He took me aside, and
I showed him Gladstone's letter, and we rejoiced over it together as a
message of good omen.

The first fruits of Colvin's hostility, nevertheless, we had not long to
wait for. Who precisely was the originator of the lie I do not know, it
was probably the Khedive, whose malicious jealousy was already at work
against his Ministers, but a false report was telegraphed by Reuter to
Europe that the action taken by the Notables against Sherif was due to
military intimidation. A story was related and was repeated at some
length in the "Times" to the effect that Sultan Pasha, the president of
the Chamber, had only yielded to personal menace, and that Arabi had
drawn his sword in his presence, and had threatened to make the old
man's children fatherless. It was a foolish tale, for Sultan happened to
be without offspring, and at Cairo it was laughed at by all who knew the
truth, and how close an intimacy there was between the two, but it was
sufficient as a weapon to "ruin the Nationalists," and easily passed the
censorship of the Agency, being reproduced even in Malet's despatches of
the day, as was a similar tale, which had also been telegraphed, that
the Khedive's acceptance of Sherif's resignation had been extorted under
a like pressure.

Absurd, however, as the tale was, Sultan was offended by it, and, as I
was now generally known to the Deputies as their friend, he begged me to
call on him and convey to Malet his emphatic denial of the whole story.
I consequently went to Sultan's house, where he had assembled a large
party of Deputies and other high personages, among whom were the Grand
Mufti el Abbasi, Abd el Salaam Bey Mouelhy, Ahmed Bey Siouffi, Ahmed
Effendi, Mahmud, Rahman Effendi, Hamadi, and El Shedid Butros, a leading
Coptic deputy. All these, with Sultan, absolutely denied and repudiated
the idea that they had acted under any kind of pressure, and Sultan
spoke with indignation of the absurdity of the tale as regarded himself.
"Ahmed Arabi," he said, "is as a son to me, and knows what is due to me
and due to himself. His place is at the War Office, mine with the
Parliament. It is of me that he would ask advice rather than venture to
give me any on my own concerns, and as to his drawing his sword in my
presence he could only do so if I were attacked by enemies. These are
stories which no one who knows us both could for an instant believe, and
they are absolutely false. You may take it for certain that the least of
the members present who represent the people are better judges of their
wants than the greatest of the soldiers. We respect Ahmed Arabi because
we know him to be a patriot and a man of political intelligence, not
because he is a soldier." These words of Sultan Pasha's are quoted from
a memorandum I made of them at the time. The old man also spoke bitterly
of Malet for encouraging the newsmongers, and begged me to tell him the
facts, and also to telegraph them to Mr. Gladstone, and make them known
in the London press. This I did to the best of my ability. I sent a full
account of it to the "Times," though, if I remember rightly, it was, for
some reason, never printed, and I telegraphed in the same sense to Mr.
Gladstone, and also wrote him a long letter giving my view of the
general situation.

To Malet I went straight from Sultan's house and expostulated with him
warmly. But he insisted on the truth of his tale, which he had got, he
told me first, from Sultan himself, and then not from Sultan but at
second hand from "some one on whom he could depend," and, when I
pressed him further as to who this was, lost temper and said I had no
right to cross-question him. This was my last talk with him on any
political matter. Malet's new attitude proved to me that he, like
Colvin, had gone over to the enemy's camp, and was now no longer to be
trusted. I saw that the situation was a very dangerous one, for between
them they had the Press and the Foreign Office wholly in their hands,
and though I possessed at home the Prime Minister's ear and a certain
publicity for my views in the "Times," I felt that I was fighting
against them at an extreme disadvantage. I consequently decided to delay
no longer my return to England, where I could do more for the Egyptian
interests than I could at Cairo, by word of mouth and by a personal
appeal to Gladstone. Before going, however, I had numerous conversations
with the leading Deputies and with my friends at the Azhar, to whom I
communicated my design, of which they all approved; and I arranged with
Sir William Gregory that after my departure he should continue to defend
the National cause, in which he was as enthusiastic as I was, in the
"Times" and by letter with his friends in England. My thought was to
return to Egypt, perhaps, in a few weeks' time, and take part in any
further developments that might arise.

I paid a last visit to Arabi the morning of the day I left for England,
27th February. I had been little more than three months in Egypt, and it
seemed to me like a lifetime, so absorbing had been the interests they
had brought me. I looked upon Egypt already like a second _patria_, and
intended to throw in my lot with the Egyptians as if they were my own
countrymen. I was estranged from those of my countrymen in blood,
except Gregory, who formed the then little English colony at Cairo.
Following Colvin's lead they had all gone over like sheep to ideas of
intervention, for be it noted that it was now no longer French
intervention that was talked of, but English, and at once in English
eyes the immorality of aggression had been transformed into a duty. What
had been abominable when threatened by Gambetta now appealed to them as
just and desirable and patriotic when proposed by Granville. Similarly
the new Prime Minister at Paris, M. de Freycinet, having reversed his
predecessor's policy of intervention, the French colony were for peace
with the Nationalists, all except de Blignières and those who had
official posts they feared might be suppressed in the new reign of
National economy.

Colvin and de Blignières were industrious in spreading trepidation among
the holders of sinecure offices, and it was amusing to note how suddenly
and completely the poet Lord Houghton abandoned his first attitude of
romantic sympathy with Egyptian liberty when his son-in-law, Fitzgerald,
who had one of these sinecures, represented to him that his daily bread
was thereby threatened. It was well known, as part of the Nationalist
program, that it was intended to reduce the expenditure on unnecessary
salaries and to suppress the duplicated posts. This was ascribed by
Colvin not to its true cause, a very legitimate economy, but to
"fanaticism," a convenient word which began now to be freely used in
describing the National movement. What, however, I think more than
anything else was condemned just then by the little group of English
officials was the "monstrous" determination which the Egyptian Chamber
was said to have come to, if it could secure the right of voting the
Budget, to cut down the subvention of £1,000 a year paid to Reuter's
Agency. Without this it was felt that it would be impossible any longer
to know at Cairo the odds on the Oxford and Cambridge boat race or even
on the Derby or Grand Prix. There was a dark hint, too, thrown out that
the charge of £9,000 a year then figuring in the Budget as a grant in
aid to the European Opera House might be reduced, and on this astounding
proof of "fanaticism," Fitzgerald, as a patron of the ballet, was
especially insistent. These things, with others almost as trifling, were
made a serious crime to the Notables and to the new Ministry, who were
countenancing the reductions. I used to hear the tale of their
complaints from Gregory, who was now in much closer touch with them than
I any longer was. It was in answer to their threats of intervention,
which were beginning to have an effect on the Stock Exchange in the
lowered price of Egyptian Bonds and of property generally in Egypt, that
I at this time resolved to give proof of my confidence in the national
fortunes by buying a small estate for my future residence in the
neighbourhood of Cairo, and the result was my purchase of Eheykh Obeyd
Garden, a property of some forty acres, between Merj and Materieh.

It will be interesting to Egyptian readers to know what the prices of
land in that neighbourhood then were. There was, as I have said, at that
time not a single house built on the desert strip between Abbassiyeh and
Kafr el Jamus, and the Government was willing to sell it to anybody who
would buy it at the rate of a few piastres an acre. I thought at one
moment of establishing myself on the land where my camp of the moment
stood, and I made inquiry of my friend Rogers Bey, who was in the Land
Department of the Ministry of Finance, and I find among my papers the
draft of an application I sent in for a hundred acres, where now the
suburb of Zeitoun stands, for which, at his suggestion, I offered
fifteen piastres (three shillings) an acre. The same land is worth
to-day, 1904, at least two hundred pounds an acre, ground value. But
while I was in negotiation for it I chanced to hear that Sheykh Obeyd
Garden was in the market, and I purchased it, so to say, "over the
counter" from the Domains' Commission for £1,500. It was then the best
fruit garden in Egypt, enclosed in a wall with a bountiful supply of
water, and contained, on estimation, 70,000 fruit trees, all in splendid

The history of the garden is worth recording. It was a piece of good
land standing on the desert edge, belonging in the early part of the
nineteenth century to the Imam of Ibrahim Pasha's army during the
campaign of Arabia but the Imam falling into indigent circumstances, the
Pasha bought it of him, enclosed thirty-three acres with a wall, dug the
sakiehs, and laid it out as it now is some time in the early thirties.
The fruit trees with which it was planted were brought in part from Taif
in the Hejaz, in part from Syria. Ibrahim had a passion to make it the
best of its kind, and in his time and the time of his nephew, Mustafa,
to whom it descended, the fruit from it brought in a yearly revenue of
£800, the labour being all done by _corvée_ of the fellahin of the
neighbouring villages. The pomegranates of the garden were so large that
it was a tradition with the gardeners there that thirty went to a camel
load, and that they were sent yearly to Constantinople as a present to
the Sultan. What is certain is that in the time of Ibrahim's grandson,
Tewfik, when in his father's reign he was living in retirement at
Koubba, the ladies of his household used to be carried there every
Friday during the spring season to spend the day. In the ruin of
Ismaïl's fortunes it came, in 1879, to the Domains Commissioners, and
was one of the smaller properties scheduled by them for sale, and so it
chanced into the market. On our way to Syria the year before we had
camped one night outside its walls and had wondered at its beauty with
the apricot trees in full flower. No sooner did I hear of it as a
possible acquisition than I abandoned all other schemes of purchase; and
in one of its shady walks I am writing my memoirs to-day.

But to return to my farewell visit to Arabi. On this occasion we talked
all the questions over which were being debated at the moment by the
Nationalists with their plans of reforms and their hopes and fears at
home and abroad. The few weeks that Arabi had been in high office had
matured him and strengthened him, and he discussed things with me with
all possible sobriety of thought and language. He assured me
emphatically that he and his fellow Ministers were most anxious to come
to a friendly understanding with the English Government on all matters
in dispute between them and the Agency at Cairo; and he begged me to
convey to Mr. Gladstone a formal message to that effect. He complained,
however, strongly of Malet and Colvin, whose recent action and the part
they were taking in the campaign of misrepresentation being organized in
the English Press proved their hostility. "There will never be peace at
Cairo," he said, "as long as we have only these to deal with, for we
know that they are working mischief against us in secret, if not openly.
We shall stand aloof from both of them. But we do not on that account
wish to quarrel with England. Let Mr. Gladstone send us whom he will to
treat with us, and we will receive him with open arms." He also talked
at great length of the practical reforms Mahmud Sami and the other
Ministers were contemplating, most of which have since been included in
the list of benefits conferred on the country under British occupation,
and which Lord Cromer has adopted as his own. Such were the abolition of
the _corvées_ which the rich Turkish pashas levied on the villagers,
their monopoly of the water at the time of the high Nile, the protection
of the fellahin from the Greek usurers, who had them in their clutches
through the iniquitous abuses of the International Tribunals, and even
that latest remedy for agriculture distress on which Lord Cromer
specially prides himself, an agricultural Bank under Government

Other questions discussed were the reform of Justice, then fearfully
corrupt, the education of men and also of women, the mode of election to
be adopted for the new Parliament, and the question of slavery. On this
point he dwelt at some length, because the European officials of the
department concerned in its suppression were beginning, like the other
foreign officials, to fear that in the new National scheme of economy
their salaries would be reduced, and were pretending that the Mohammedan
revival would mean a revival of the slave trade. Arabi showed me how
little ground there was for this pretence, that the only persons in
Egypt who still had slaves or wished to have slaves were just the
Khedivial princes and rich pashas, against whose tyranny the fellah
movement was directed, that according to the principles of the Liberal
reform all men were to be henceforth equal, without distinction of race,
or colour, or religion. The last thing compatible with these was the
revival of slavery. Lastly, as to the necessity of military preparation
for a possible war, which as a soldier and war minister he had uppermost
in his mind, he spoke plainly and with energy. The National Government
would not disarm or relax its precautions until the true Constitutional
_régime_ was firmly established and acknowledged by Europe. He hoped not
to exceed the War Estimates agreed on with Colvin, or to be obliged to
increase the number of men recruited beyond the 18,000 allowed by the
Firmans. If, however, the menace of armed intervention were long
continued they would adopt the Prussian system of short service, and so
gradually bring a larger force as a reserve under arms. He asked my
opinion of the chances of a conflict, and I told him plainly that from
what Colvin had boasted to me of his intention to bring it about, and
from the means of Press agitation he had already adopted with that end,
I considered the danger a real one, and that it was to neutralize, as
far as I could, the campaign of lies which had begun that I was going to
England. My business there would be to preach the cause of peace and
goodwill. At the same time I could not advise him to do otherwise than
stand firmly to his ground. The best chance of peace was to be prepared
for defence. The great enemies of Egypt were not so much the European
governments as the European financiers, and these would think twice
about urging an armed attack if they knew that they could not do so
without the risk of ruining their own interests in Egypt by a long and
costly war. An armed nation resolute and ready to defend its rights was
seldom molested. I remember quoting to him Byron's lines, "Trust not for
freedom to the Franks," of which he greatly approved; and these, I
think, were our last words. I promised him that if it came to the worst
I would return and throw in my lot with theirs in a campaign for


[9] There were one or two weak points in the formation of the new
Ministry, the most important being in the choice made of their Minister
of Foreign Affairs. Neither Mahmud Sami nor Arabi, nor any other of the
fellah leaders, knew any European language, and, as a knowledge of
French was essential in dealing with the Consulates, a man not of their
own party or way of thinking was taken in from the outside. This was
Mustafa Pasha Fehmi, a man of fairly liberal notions, but a member of
the old ruling class, and a follower of Sherif's--the same who had been
Ismaïl's A. D. C. in 1878 and had taken an unwilling part in the death
of the Mufettish. It was his horror at this crime that had converted him
to constitutional ideas. But like Sherif he despised his fellah
colleagues. He, when the pinch came two months later, did these much
ill-service by his weak or hostile presentment of their case in the
official correspondence. This, as they could not read his notes and
despatches, they were unaware of till it was too late to remedy.

[10] For full text of this letter _see_ Appendix.



Such is the history faithfully and fully told of the part I played that
winter in Egypt. In telling it I have relied for the accuracy of my
memory of the main incidents on such letters and short notes as I have
been able to find among my papers, and especially on an account of it
drawn up by me while the war of 1882 was in progress, and published in
the September number of the "Nineteenth Century Review" of that year. Of
this, my present memoir is little more than an amplification. What
follows will be comparatively new matter, for though most of it has long
been written in a disjointed way, I have never found a moment suited to
its completion. For dates and incidents, however, I am supplied with
ample materials of a contemporary value, first in a brief diary which
from the time of my arrival in England I now once more regularly kept,
and next in the many published and unpublished letters still in my
possession, which passed between me and various public personages with
whom I had found myself in correspondence during the four months which
elapsed between my arrival in England and the bombardment of Alexandria;
and again after Tel-el-Kebir with those who on my behalf were conducting
Arabi's trial. These form a body of evidence which I shall quote where
needful, either in the text of my narrative or in an appendix to it.
Taken together, with the necessary thread of explanation, they of
themselves form an almost complete history of the causes of the war.

The political situation which I found on my arrival, 6th March, in
London, was a wonderful contrast to that which I had left behind me a
week before at Cairo. Gladstone had been now nearly two years in office,
and the enthusiasm for Eastern nationalities and Eastern liberty, which
at the elections of 1880 had carried him into power, had cooled down
everywhere, and in official circles had given place to ideas of imperial
coercion, especially in the case of the Nationalists of Ireland, which
were by no means of good augury in regard to Egypt. The Cabinet was
divided into two sections of opinion. The great Whig leaders who
controlled the chief departments of the Administration, Hartington,
Northbrook, Childers, and the rest were all for strong measures,
Gladstone, with Harcourt and Bright, almost alone for conciliation, and
the general feeling of the country was violent against all "lawlessness"
everywhere. The Habeas Corpus Act had been suspended in Ireland, and
Parnell and a score more of the Nationalist members of Parliament were
actually shut up, untried, in Kilmainham Gaol. Business in the House of
Commons was being obstructed by the remainder of the Irish members, and
the very name of Nationalism to the Liberal Party had become a byword
and reproach. The atmosphere of Westminster and the public offices was
therefore not at all favourable to my propaganda of nationalism on the
Nile. The only persons really interested in Egypt were those few who
held Egyptian bonds, and these had been persuaded by Colvin's
manipulation of the Press that Arabi and the National Party were a set
of fanatical incendiaries who would burn down the Stock Exchange if they
could get the chance, and who had already succeeded in lowering the
value of securities and making dividends precarious.

At the Foreign Office the position about Egypt was this. Granville, old
and deaf and very idle, finding himself relieved from the incubus of
Gambetta's forward policy, was following his instinct of doing nothing
and letting things settle themselves as placidly as circumstances would
allow him. He did not want to intervene or to take action hostile to the
Nationalists or, indeed, action of any kind. He did not even give
himself the trouble to read the despatches, and he left the work of
learning what was going on to his private secretaries, and more
especially to the Under-Secretary of State, Sir Charles Dilke, who was
able to sift the news for him and set before him such facts as he
selected, and such views as suited him. Dilke, who had been with
Gambetta the responsible author of the Joint Note of 6th January, was,
now that Gambetta had disappeared from the direction of affairs in
France, become a prime mover on his own account in the policy of
intervention, and was working with Colvin and the financiers to bring
things to such a pass that his unwilling chief, in spite of himself,
should be obliged to intervene. Though not himself a Cabinet Minister,
Dilke in this had behind him the powerful support in the Cabinet of
Chamberlain, a personal friend and ally, whom on foreign matters, which
Chamberlain did not affect to understand, he could securely count on.
The two together had the reputation of being the most advanced Radicals
in the Ministry, and so carried great weight with just that section of
the Liberal Party which was least inclined on principle to foreign
adventures. The mass of the Radicals in the House of Commons knew
nothing and cared nothing for questions in dispute so far away.

Nevertheless I found that personally I could command considerable
attention. My letters to the "Times" had been widely read, and there was
a certain curiosity to hear what I had to say. Gregory and I had managed
to invest Arabi with that halo of romance which as champion of the
fellah wrongs was certainly his due, and on that ground, if no other, I
could always obtain a hearing. Rumours of all kinds were afloat about
him, ludicrous tales which portrayed him as a Frenchman or a Spaniard in
Egyptian guise, as the paid agent, in turn of the ex-Khedive Ismaïl, of
the pretender Halim, and of the Sultan--as everything in fact but what
he really was. I, who had seen him, could explain. It was a matter not
of serious interest with anybody, but, as I have said, of considerable
curiosity. And so I was listened to.

My first visit on arrival was to 10, Downing Street. Here, though I did
not see Mr. Gladstone himself, I found my friend Hamilton, his private
secretary, and had with him an altogether satisfactory talk. I was a
little doubtful, seeing that I had quarrelled with Malet, how I might be
received. But he hastened to assure me that my "interference" with
Malet's diplomacy was in no way resented by his chief. On the contrary,
Mr. Gladstone was very much obliged to me for my letters, and for the
line I had taken in Egypt. It was a busy time for him, however, just
then, the busiest of the official year, the weeks before Easter, and the
thoughts of ministers were elsewhere than in Egypt. The Irish question
was priming everything in Mr. Gladstone's mind. I might, however, make
my own mind comfortable about the dangers which seemed to threaten at
Cairo. They could not lead to serious trouble. Whatever might be the
ideas "over the way" (meaning the Foreign Office), Mr. Gladstone would
see that they were not put in practice. Armed intervention with Mr.
Gladstone in power was an "impossibility." The mere thought of it was
ridiculous. We would talk of it again and I should see Mr. Gladstone
later. In the meanwhile Hamilton would let Lord Granville know that I
was come. I left him entirely reassured.

Another visit I paid the same morning was to my cousin, Algernon Bourke
(then generally known as "Button" to his friends). His rôle in Egyptian
affairs that year was destined to be an important one, and his name, or
rather his pseudo-name, constantly recurs in my diary. His position in
life was that of a young man of fashion, closely connected with the
official world, for he was a younger son of the Lord Mayo who had been
Viceroy of India, and was nephew to the Rt. Hon. Robert Bourke
(afterwards Lord Connemara), who had been Under-Secretary for Foreign
Affairs, and was now, in 1882, leader of the Tory opposition in the
House of Commons on all questions of foreign politics. Button had also a
position on the staff of the "Times," not as a writer, but as an
intermediary for Chenery, the editor, with political personages. As a
peer's son he had the _entrée_ to the galleries of both Houses of
Parliament, knew everybody and everything that was going on there, was
intimate with people about the Court, with the high world of finance,
and generally with the wire-pullers in the various departments of the
State. Our friendship was a close one, and throughout the trying months
that followed he was my chief confidant and adviser, having more worldly
wisdom than I then could boast, and a fertility of resource in action
altogether admirable. To him I owed three parts of the publicity I
obtained for my views in the Press, and of the help given me in
parliament. On arrival I narrated to him all that had happened during
the past winter in Egypt as well as my plans for the future. His view of
the position was a very different one from Hamilton's, for his intimacy
with the Rothschilds made him aware of the financial strings that were
being pulled in the City to bring about intervention, and he had a low
opinion of Gladstone's ability to understand foreign questions or deal
with a case where the money interests of all the Stock Exchanges of
Europe were so largely concerned. Still he advised me to maintain the
footing I had acquired in Downing Street, and use my influence there to
the best of my ability, holding in reserve, if Gladstone should fail me,
his own friends of the Opposition, whose assistance, in case of need, he
promised me. For the moment the best I could do would be to talk to
everybody I knew who was in Parliament on both sides of the House, and
to go on writing letters to the "Times." This sound advice I accordingly
proceeded without delay to follow.

I find in my diary that on the 9th of March I went to see George Howard
and his wife (now Lord and Lady Carlisle), and succeeded in enlisting
their sympathies, especially hers, to my plans. She was then, as now, a
strong politician, and was an absolute believer in Gladstone, and she
advised me to put my whole trust in him and he would certainly prevent
any mischief being done to liberty. Her husband was less sanguine, but
he readily agreed to take me to the House of Commons, of which he was a
member, that afternoon, and introduce me to his friends there of the
Liberal Party, such as he thought could help me best. And so together we
went, and I made the acquaintance of Dilwyn, Bryce, and other
influential members who had been specially interested in the affairs of
Bulgaria and Armenia at the time of the Berlin Congress. These all
promised me their assistance, as did that excellent man Mr. Chesson,
with whom, and with Howard's brother-in-law, Lyulph Stanley, we had a
long talk in the tea-room. Chesson, though not a Member of Parliament,
was a person of considerable political power, as he made it his
business, as secretary of the Aborigines Protection Society, to organize
agitations on all questions where aggression on non-European peoples was
threatened, and he proved throughout of the greatest assistance to me,
as he was in daily communication with the best of the Radical members.
Howard, however, advised me not to put my case into the hands of the
"professional non-interventionists," but rather to work my propaganda on
an independent basis. I was at that time quite new and inexperienced in
English politics, so new that though I was forty-one years of age this
was the first time I had ever been inside the lobbies of the House of
Commons. I was, however, from that date a frequent visitor there,
across to the inner lobby being at that time almost free.

The same day I had a talk with Philip Currie at the Foreign Office, and
a long discussion about Egypt. I found him at first rather put out with
me at what I had been doing at Cairo, the effect of Malet's complaints
of me, and affecting to believe that I had been playing a "large
practical joke at the expense of the Foreign Office." But this did not
last, and I was able to convince him of the seriousness of the matter,
and of my own earnestness, if not that I was right in my views, and he
arranged that I should see Dilke the next day, and also Granville.

I find also at this date that I had a talk with Lord Miltown, an Irish
peer, which shows the curious connection between Egypt and Ireland in
the political ideas of the day. "His, Miltown's, account of Ireland is
singularly like that of Egypt by the European officials. He thinks the
difficulty in Ireland got up by agitators; that the Irish fellahin are
not really with the National Party, and that armed intervention would
set things right."

On the 10th I saw Dilke at the Foreign Office, having first gone to his
house in Sloane Street. He was in a hostile mood, and instead of
listening to what I had to say, poured out a string of complaints
against the new Egyptian ministry, telling me "that Arabi's government
had spent half a million sterling on the army since they came into
office," and other absurdities. I knew this story could not be true, as
the Nationalists had only been in power six weeks, and went to
Sanderson, who was then Lord Granville's private secretary (now Sir
Thomas Sanderson and head of the Foreign Office), and made him look up
the question of the fabulous half million, when, on referring to the
despatch about it, we found that the sum had been spent, not as Dilke
had told me in the last _six weeks_, but in the last _year_. This
extraordinary misstatement of Dilke's, which he had made to me as a
matter beyond dispute, may of course have been only a gross blunder, but
it was repeated in the newspapers of the day, several of which were
under Dilke's inspiration, and is a good example of the way in which
news, however absurd, prejudicial to the Egyptian Nationalists, was then
being circulated by him. Morley was one of the channels he principally
used, and all through the spring and early summer of 1882, the "Pall
Mall Gazette" (the only paper Gladstone read attentively) was, through
Dilke's influence, and Colvin's, made a channel of preposterous lies and
the most uncompromising advocate of intervention. Morley, I am willing
to believe, persuaded himself that the things they told him were true,
and acted in good faith, but it is nevertheless certain that on him more
than on any other journalists of the time lies the responsibility of
having persuaded Gladstone to the act of violence in Egypt which was the
chief sin of Gladstone's public career. Morley's position, however, was
then not an independent one, and he was hardly the master of his own
published thoughts. He was not yet in Parliament, but waiting for a
seat, and all his hope of a political career lay in the patronage of his
political friends, Dilke and Chamberlain, so that he had practically no
choice, if he was not to sacrifice his ambition, but to follow the lead
Dilke gave him about Egyptian affairs. He was afterwards sorry for the
evil he had done, and has never, I think, liked to recall to memory the
part he then played. But without doubt his responsibility for bringing
on the war was great. The whole of the Egyptian episode in Morley's
"Life of Gladstone," it may be noticed, has been slurred over in a few
pages. But history is history, and his mistake needs to be recorded.

This matter settled with Sanderson, Currie took me in to see Lord
Granville, whom I did not as yet know, and another conversation
followed. Lord Granville was a man of singularly urbane manners, and
began by inquiries after my stud of Arab horses, paying me a number of
polite compliments about them. Then, turning to the subject of Egypt, he
"informed me plump that he had certain knowledge that Arabi had been
bought by Ismaïl, and that the whole thing in Egypt was an intrigue to
restore the ex-Khedive!" This was another of the preposterous stories
that were being foisted on the Foreign Office and the public to
prejudice opinion against the Egyptian cause. It had reached the Foreign
Office, as far as I have been able to ascertain, in a despatch or
private letter from Sir Augustus Paget, then British Ambassador at Rome,
to whom the ex-Khedive appears to have boasted at Naples that he had "ce
gaillard là," meaning Arabi, in his pocket.

It is hardly necessary to inquire what motive of the moment Ismaïl may
have had for making this assertion, for his word was never of any value,
while the whole tenor of Arabi's career proves it to have been the
absolute reverse of fact. Arabi's attitude at the date in question was
more than ever one of hostility to the Circassian pashas, Ismaïl's
adherents, who were actively intriguing with Tewfik against him. Ismaïl,
however, had purposes of his own to serve in making it appear that the
trouble in Egypt had come about on his account. He always clung to the
idea that the day would come when the Powers of Europe would repent of
having deposed him, and would return to him as the only possible ruler
of a country distracted because he was no longer there to control it. At
the moment I did not know the quarter from which the story was derived,
nor could I do more to refute it than by telling Lord Granville how
utterly opposed to the ex-Khedive the National fellah leader had always
been.[11] This I did, and I delivered also the message Arabi had
entrusted me with for Mr. Gladstone. His only answer was "Will they give
up the claim of the Chamber to vote the Budget?" I told him that I
feared it was hopeless to expect this, as the Deputies were all of one
mind. "Then," he said, "I look upon their case as hopeless. It must end
by their being put down by force." I told him I could not believe the
English Government could really intervene, on such a plea, to put down
liberty. But he maintained his ground, and I left him much dissatisfied,
resolving that I would waste no more time upon trying to persuade the
Foreign Office, but would put what pressure I could on them from the
outside. "I must see Gladstone."

I also, the same day, saw Morley at his newspaper office, to try to
neutralize the effect of the falsehoods with which he was being flooded,
but I feared without success. He believed implicitly in Colvin, who was
his regular correspondent at Cairo, and there were other influences
besides, as we have seen, at work upon him and which were too strong for
me to combat in his mind.

On the 11th I dined with Button, who had invited a party specially to
meet me. These were Sir Francis Knollys, the Prince of Wales's
secretary, Reginald Brett (now Lord Esher), who was then Lord
Hartington's secretary, Clifford, a leader writer of the "Times," and
General Sir John Adye, who was a friend of Wolseley's and served under
him that year in the Egyptian Campaign, remaining, nevertheless, a warm
sympathizer with the Egyptians throughout, and, as will be seen,
rendering good service to the cause of humanity after Tel-el-Kebir. We
had a pleasant evening, and all showed themselves interested in my
Egyptian views, and I remained talking with some of them till one in the
morning. Knollys I know was impressed by what I told him, but Brett, who
was a friend of the Rothschilds and other financiers who were clamouring
for intervention, proved afterwards one of our bitterest enemies. He was
working at the time for Morley in the "Pall Mall Gazette," and inspired,
if he did not write, some of the articles which so influenced Gladstone.

On the 13th I saw Goschen, having been sent to him by Hamilton, on Mr.
Gladstone's suggestion, as a man who, though not a member of the
Government, was much trusted by them and advised them, especially on
Egyptian affairs. With him I went more thoroughly than with either Dilke
or Granville into the details of the National case. He affected much
sympathy with me, more probably than he felt, and was particularly
anxious to impress on me the notion that he was not taking a financial
view of the situation. This was, doubtless, because his past connection
with Egypt had been as representative of Ismaïl's creditors. I found him
agreeable in manner, with much charm of voice, and I was with him quite
two hours. His last words to me were: "You may be sure at least of one
thing, and that is, that whatever the Government may do in Egypt they
will do on general grounds of policy, not in the interests of the
Bondholders." This was satisfactory and seemed to be in harmony with the
situation of the moment, for that very morning the news had been
published of de Blignières' resignation of his post at Cairo of French
Financial Controller. The event had been interpreted in London as
signifying a quarrel between the French Government and the Nationalist
Ministry, but I knew that this was not the case. De Blignières had been
even more and earlier than Colvin a worker for intervention, and I read
his resignation for what it really was, a sign that his Government had
thrown him over. If Colvin at the same time had been made to resign--and
things, I believe, were very near it--all the subsequent trouble might
have been avoided. Colvin, however was too strongly backed up by Dilke
just then to be displaced.

I went on from Goschen's to lunch with Button, and found him with Lord
De la Warr, a very worthy Tory peer and country neighbour of my own in
Sussex, who had been the year before in Tunis, and had there imbibed,
during the French invasion, a certain sympathy with the Arabs. Later we
worked a good deal together on the Egyptian question, and he proved of
considerable assistance when things came, in July, to a crisis. I was at
that time urging that a Commission of Inquiry should be sent to Cairo,
and it seemed that he, perhaps, might fill the post.

The same afternoon I saw Hamilton in Downing Street. A violent article,
headed "Smouldering Fires in Egypt," had just appeared in the "Pall
Mall," which was little better from beginning to end than a tissue of
the old malicious stories, with some new ones prejudicial to the
Nationalists. To these Hamilton pointed as a convincing proof, seeing
they were in the "Pall Mall," that I must be wrong, "Or why," he said,
"should Morley, who is so good a Liberal, take such a very illiberal
line?" I explained to him Colvin's position in regard to Morley, which I
had not yet done, and urged him again to let me speak with his chief. Up
to this point, from a feeling of loyalty to men who had been my friends,
and with whom I had acted during the earlier stages, I had refrained
from making complaints against them, though Malet had not scrupled to
complain of me. But now I saw that further silence on my part would be
only mischievous, and I was resolved to tell Gladstone all the truth
about them. Morley had the day before warned me of the impending article
as one to which I would not assent, and had invited an answer to it. But
I was too angry to reply, except with a short private note, which I
followed next day by a visit to Northumberland Street, where I
reproached him with printing the malicious nonsense. The evil, however,
had been done, for the publication had immediately preceded a motion in
the House of Commons brought forward by Sir George Campbell in regard to
Egypt where the defamatory tales had been made use of. I was present at
the debate on the motion, in which the principal speaker for the
Government was Goschen, who adopted a conciliatory attitude, but less
than a quite friendly one to Egyptian Nationalism. My conversation with
him in the morning may have saved us from a worse pronouncement. Still
there was no definite declaration made favourable to liberty.

My diary for 14th March notes a talk with Sir Henry Rawlinson, the
former Minister to Persia, a distinguished Oriental historian, his views
being of the strongest Anglo-Indian official type. The Egyptians had
always, he said, been slaves, and slaves they would remain. Their
country would be absorbed with the rest of Asia by England or
Russia. He knew Asiatics too well to believe they had any taste for
self-government. Also another talk with Walter, the proprietor of the
"Times," whom Button had suggested I should see. He conversed in
platitudes for half an hour, and in the end, promised he would send a
special correspondent to Cairo for independent news. (This, however, was
not done, Macdonald, the manager, objecting on the score of needless

On the 15th I went to see Sir Garnet Wolseley at the Horse Guards, and
had with him a conversation which needs special mention. "After a little
talk about Cyprus, we got upon Egypt and the chance of resistance on the
part of the Nationalists in the case of intervention, and he asked me my
opinion. I said, of course, they would fight, and not only the soldiers
but the people also, and afterwards, perhaps, use other methods. He
refused to believe that the army would fight at all. But I maintained
the contrary, and told him if they sent him out to conquer Egypt in its
present mood, he must be prepared to take with him at least 60,000 men."
In this I no doubt exaggerated the case, for my object was to represent
it as a very difficult one, which the Government should think twice
about before attempting. "He volunteered the information that he had
been consulted two or three times during the winter with a view to
immediate occupation. He assured me, however, that nobody wanted to
intervene, that the occupation of Egypt would be most unpopular with the
army, and that he himself should be very sorry to have to go there. He
would far rather the Egyptians should disband their army and trust to
European protection. But I told him I could not advise them to do that,
and that people were not often attacked who really meant fighting. He
said, 'Well, of course there is no such thing as honour in war, and if
there were really any question of fighting, they ought not to trust us
more than other people.'" He then talked about the various military
routes to Cairo, Bonaparte's, by the left bank of the Nile, and
especially the desert way between the Suez Canal and the Delta, so that
I felt pretty sure that if troops were landed it would be on that side.
But I was careful to give him no information which could be of the least
use to him, and I only laughed when he half seriously asked me whether I
would go with him and show him the way if it came to a campaign. My
impression of Wolseley was of "a good smart soldier, an Irishman, with a
rough touch of brogue, good humoured, and I should fancy enterprising.
But he does not impress me as a man of genius--what Napoleon used to
call a '_général à dix mille hommes_.'" It is worth noting that in
writing to Sheykh Mohammed Abdu, through my secretary, Sabunji, soon
after this conversation, I alluded to the danger there might be, in case
of intervention, of their being attacked from the Ismaïlia side, and I
believe it was in consequence of this hint that the lines of Tel-el
Kebir were begun to be traced by Arabi's order.

The same day I saw Lyall, whom I found just starting for India, where he
had been named Lieutenant-Governor of the North-West Provinces. I found
him much less sceptical about the National Party in Egypt than was the
case then with most Anglo-Indians. In the evening I dined with Hamilton
and Godley, Gladstone's two private secretaries, and showed them the
draft of a letter I had written to Lord Granville, in which I had
formally delivered Arabi's message of goodwill to the English
Government, and also his complaint against Colvin and Malet, which I had
not mentioned to him, for the reason already given, when I saw him at
the Foreign Office. Of this draft the two secretaries highly approved,
and especially Godley, who was the senior of the two, and he made me
strike out a phrase I had introduced of apology for my interference in
this important public matter. He said emphatically, "Your interference
needs no excuse." Godley was a singularly high-minded man, representing
the better and more enthusiastic side of Gladstone's public character,
the large sympathy with what was good in the world and the scorn of what
was base. Except that he had great practical ability for his official
work, he was absolutely unlike the men usually found in our public
offices, and throughout the Egyptian crisis he gave me his warmest
support and sympathy. Hamilton, though also sympathetic, was more so
because he was my personal friend than from any natural enthusiasm for
the kind of cause I was defending. My letter ended with a suggestion
that something in the nature of an official inquiry should be sent to
Cairo to examine into the facts in a spirit friendly to the Egyptians.
They both urged me to send in the letter, and I consequently did so four
days later, under the date 20th March. Its importance justifies my
giving it here _in extenso_:

     "London, _March 20th_, 1882.

     "The kindness with which your Lordship was good enough to listen to
     me on certain points of the political situation in Egypt,
     encourages me to offer you the following suggestions for your
     further consideration:

     "If I rightly understood your Lordship, Her Majesty's Government
     are not desirous of precipitating matters in that direction, but
     would be willing to accept a peaceable solution, could such be
     found, of the question in dispute between the Control and the
     Egyptian Government, and would only resort in the last instance to
     force were the political interests of England to be seriously
     impaired, or international engagements actually broken by the
     National Party now in power.

     "Now, I am sufficiently well acquainted with the views of that
     party, or, at least, of their most prominent leaders, to be able to
     speak positively to the fact that there is nothing nearer to their
     wishes than a good understanding with Her Majesty's Government.
     Indeed, I have the authority of Arabi Bey to assure your Lordship
     that, if addressed in a friendly manner, he will use his utmost
     influence with his party, and it is very great, to allay the bitter
     feelings which have arisen between the Egyptians and the English
     and other officials employed in the country, and that he would meet
     half-way any negotiations which may be entered into with a view to
     a peaceable arrangement. He has begged me, however, to lay before
     you the difficulties of the position in which he is placed by the
     attitude of personal hostility displayed towards him by the English
     Controller-General, and to a certain extent also by Her Majesty's

     "Sir Auckland Colvin, as your Lordship is well aware, has taken a
     prominent political part in the various ministerial changes, and in
     what it is perhaps necessary to call the revolution, which the last
     six months have witnessed in Egypt. On the 9th of September it was
     he who advised the Khedive to arrest and shoot this very Arabi Bey,
     now Minister of War; and he has taken no pains to conceal the fact,
     having himself, as I understand, communicated the details of what
     then happened to the English newspapers. It is also well known to
     the Egyptians that he has been and still is in communication with
     the press in a sense hostile to the National Party, and especially
     to the army, and that on the occasion of Sherif Pasha's resignation
     he unreservedly stated his intention to 'use every means in his
     power to ruin the National Party and bring about intervention.' If
     these things were known only to Arabi, he might, he assures me,
     overlook them; but, unfortunately, they are matters of public
     notoriety, a fact which makes it impossible for him to show himself
     on terms of intimacy with their author.

     "Of Sir Edward Malet he has expressed himself less decidedly, but
     still partly in the same sense. It has been a misfortune of Sir
     Edward's position with the Egyptians that his visit to
     Constantinople closely coincided with the strong advocacy of
     Turkish intervention which the English press displayed last autumn,
     and I am myself convinced that the French Government are
     responsible for the belief, which is ineradicable in all minds at
     Cairo, that he has at various times suggested military action. I
     know, myself, that this is untrue, and that Sir Edward has, on the
     contrary, deprecated any such solution of his difficulties; but
     certain facts remain, which lend a colour to the idea. Thus to the
     very date of the assembling of the Egyptian Chamber he refused to
     recognize the National demand for Constitutional Government as a
     serious matter; again, he joined Sir Auckland Colvin in displaying
     a marked partisanship for Sherif in his quarrel with the deputies;
     and he has since given offence by expressing his belief in a
     story, wholly unfounded and peculiarly irritating to those
     deputies, namely, that their President, Sultan Pasha, a man
     universally respected, had been personally insulted by Arabi.

     "Be this as it may, it is certain both Sir Edward Malet and Sir
     Auckland Colvin, instead of being in a position to advise and
     restrain are practically 'in Coventry' with the Egyptian
     Government. They are shut out from all true sources of information
     regarding their plans, and are compelled to leave the field open to
     intriguers of other nationalities who have no interest in advising
     moderation or desire to avert a rupture.

     "If your Lordship should find that there is any reason in my
     argument thus stated, I may perhaps be permitted to make the
     following suggestion.

     "The National Ministers are now engaged in preparing a series of
     grave complaints against the working of the system established by
     England and France and sanctioned by the Control, some of which
     complaints are certainly well founded. They are willing to approach
     the inquiry in a moderate and friendly spirit, but they will
     certainly approach it in a hostile one if the Control and diplomacy
     continue hostile. The matters in dispute are largely matters of
     fact which, if justice is to be observed and an undoubted moral
     standing ground acquired by Her Majesty's Government, should be
     examined in an absolutely impartial mood and on the evidence no
     less of the Egyptians than of the Europeans. That evidence, I
     submit, it is out of the reach of Her Majesty's representatives,
     diplomatic and financial, to procure, and that impartiality will
     certainly be suspected in their case by the Egyptians. Would it not
     then be advisable, during the six months which must elapse before
     the Egyptian Parliament reassembles and the conflict be engaged, to
     send something in the nature of a commission of inquiry to examine
     into the facts complained of in a friendly spirit, the only spirit
     which can possibly avert disaster."

To continue from my diary I find that on the 16th I wrote, with
Sabunji's help as scribe, a long letter to Arabi, telling him that I was
asking for a Commission to be appointed and that I was in good hopes,
but entreating him to be cautious; and also to Gregory, who was still at
Cairo. The situation in Egypt then was that the Chamber of Delegates,
having insisted upon the right they had claimed to vote that half of the
Budget which was not affected to the payment of the interest on the
debt, a new _Leyha_, or organic law, granting a Constitution on European
models had been signed, as we have seen, by the Khedive and published.
The Ministers had also presented to the Chamber of Deputies a list of
practical reforms, all of which were much needed and most of which have
since, after many years, been carried out. Which done, the Chamber had
been adjourned till the autumn. Absolute tranquillity had meanwhile
prevailed throughout the country, and the sole cause of quarrel with
Europe was the financial one of the vote, a dispute which could not
become acute for at least six months, when the next new budget would be
framed. There is not the smallest doubt that if Colvin had been induced
to join his French colleague, de Blignières, in retiring from Egypt, and
my suggestion of the Commission had been adopted, things in Egypt would
have quieted down and all cause for armed intervention would have
disappeared. The Egyptian Ministry desired nothing more than to live at
peace with the whole world and to come to an understanding with the Dual
Governments on all disputed questions.

On 20th March I lunched at Button's to meet his uncle, Robert Bourke,
who was to bring forward the Egyptian question next week formally in
Parliament. With him was another Tory member, Montague Guest, who had
interested himself in the cause of Tunis. These were among the second
strings to my bow, if Gladstone should fail me. Then I attended a
meeting of the Asiatic Society, to which I had just been elected, and in
the evening dined with Rivers Wilson. With Wilson I "quarrelled
fearfully about Egypt." He told me he had helped to draw up a new Note,
at the Foreign Office, which was now being despatched to Malet,
"insisting on the fulfilment of all International engagements," a Note
intended to be a new menace to the National Party, but which I think was
never sent, or perhaps cancelled, as it does not appear in the Blue
Book. My letter to Granville may have been the cause of its suppression.
Wilson insisted that the whole National movement was an invention of
Ismaïl's, and that "if the ex-Khedive were to land to-morrow at
Alexandria, every Egyptian would come to him on his hands and knees."
From this dinner I went on to a party at Lady Kenmare's, where I met
Lady Salisbury, who took me aside, and cross-questioned me with much
appearance of sympathy about the Egyptian cause, and I laid it before
her to the best of my ability, knowing that what I said would be
repeated to her husband. Of course there could be no real sympathy in
any of the Tories, especially in Lord Salisbury, for my views on
Egyptian liberty, but it suited the Opposition to take me up to just the
extent that would help them to bring the Government into discredit,
Salisbury himself was throughout a thoroughgoing advocate of
intervention. I walked home that evening with Hamilton, whom I had found
at the party, and told him of Wilson's boast about the new Note, and
entreated him to get me immediate audience of his chief, and he urged me
to send in my letter at once to Granville, and also a copy of it to
Gladstone. This I did the following morning, entrusting both to Hamilton
for delivery. He had already, 21st March, arranged an interview for me
with his chief for the next day. A dinner in the evening at Robert
Bourke's, General Taylor, the Opposition Whip, Lady Ely, and a number
more Tories.

_March 22._--This was a most important day. I had now been a full
fortnight in England, and, though I had certainly not let any grass grow
under my feet, I had nevertheless failed as yet to get speech of the
Prime Minister. To-day, however, made me ample amends. I went a little
before the hour appointed to Downing Street, so as to have time for a
few words with Hamilton, who told me his chief had read my letter; and
at twenty minutes past eleven I was received by him. Mr. Gladstone I
found looking far better and younger than when I had seen him last,
nearly two years before. Then he had seemed on his decline, but now he
seemed vigorous and singularly alert in mind and body. He received me
very kindly. My letter to Lord Granville was before him on the table,
and he was evidently prepared and eager for what I had to say. He told
me to tell him all, and, without talking much himself, listened. His
manner was so encouraging and sympathetic that I spoke easily and with
an eloquence I had never had before, and I could see that every word I
said interested and touched him. He let me speak on for perhaps a
quarter of an hour, only from time to time interjecting some such words
as "you need not tell me this, for I know it," as when I would prove
the reality of the National feeling in Egypt. His sympathy was obviously
and strongly with the movement.

Then he asked me a question about the position of the army and the
reason of the prominent part taken by it in public affairs. Of this he
was suspicious. I explained the history to him and assured him that the
interference of the soldiers had been greatly exaggerated, and the
stories of their intimidation of the Deputies were quite untrue; that
the sole reason for the present military preparations was the dread of
foreign intervention. I explained the feeling of the Party towards the
Sultan and the Viceregal family--towards Tewfik, the ex-Khedive, and
Halim. He asked me whether I had told all this to Lord Granville. I
said: "He stopped me at the outset by telling me that Arabi had been
bought by Ismaïl! What could I say?" Just at that moment somebody looked
in and told Mr. Gladstone that Lord Granville was in the house and had
sent up his name, and I was terribly afraid Mr. Gladstone was going to
let him in, which would have prevented me from telling my full story.
But with a look of annoyance he went out for an instant, and sent Lord
Granville away, and then came back with a sort of skip across the room
and rubbing his hands as one might do on having got rid of a bore. The
gesture was an extraordinary encouragement to me, and he at once made me
go on.

I delivered all Arabi's messages about the Slave Trade and the other
projects of reform, and then went on to explain Colvin's position and
Malet's. He said, almost pathetically, "What can we do? They are
esteemed public servants and have received _honours_ for their work in
Egypt." He insisted upon the word _honours_. He then asked me to tell
him something about the civilian leaders of the National Party, and I
explained the position of some of them, Mohammed Abdu, Ahmed Mahmud,
Saadallah Hallabi, Hassan Shereï, and others of the Deputies, and,
lastly, Abdallah Nadim, journalist and orator. This designation at once
excited Mr. Gladstone, and the account of his eloquence, and he took
down his name upon a slip of paper. Thus time slipped away till it was
twelve o'clock, and he had another appointment. I had been with him
forty minutes--a very fast forty minutes too. As I was going out I
turned and asked him, with a sudden thought, whether I might not send
Arabi some message from him in answer to his messages. He thought an
instant and said, "I think not." And very slowly and deliberately: "But
you are at liberty to state your own impression of my sentiments," and
then in a sort of House of Commons voice, which was in strange contrast
with the extremely personal and human tone in which he had been
conversing: "If they wish to judge of these, let them read what we say
in Parliament, especially what I say, for I never speak lightly in
Parliament. In our public despatches we are much hampered by the opinion
of Europe, which we are bound to consider, and this is not favourable to
Liberal institutions in Egypt. But they should read our speeches." He
had turned to the table, for we were half-way across the room, and took
up a paper which was on it, a despatch already signed, and which I felt
sure was that which Wilson had told me he had helped to draft, and
seemed on the point of showing it to me--and then refrained and put it
down again. Once more his manner became natural and intimate. He thanked
me again for my letters and all that I had told him, and begged me to
let him hear if any new combination arose. His extreme kindness as he
shook hands with me moved me greatly and I was near shedding tears, and
went away feeling that he was a good as well as a great man, and
wondering only how any one with so good a heart could have arrived at
being Prime Minister. "_El hamdu l'Illah. El hamdu l'Illah_," I kept
repeating to myself, "_El nasr min Alah, wa fathon karibon_."

Such was the Gladstone I saw unveiled for a moment that day--a man of
infinite private sympathy with good, and of whom one would affirm it
impossible he should swerve a hair's breadth from the path of right.
But, alas, there was another Gladstone, the opportunist statesman, who
was very different from the first, and whom I was presently to see
playing in public "such fantastic tricks before high Heaven as make the
angels weep." I will attempt a character, drawn from my observation of
him, which was a close one, during the next ten years, of this very
remarkable personality.

Gladstone, as I have said, was two personages. His human side was very
charming. He had an immense power of sympathy, and what I may call a
lavish expenditure of enthusiasm for such things as attracted him, and
he had also a certain humility of attitude, often towards persons far
inferior to himself, which compelled their affectionate regard, as did
certain little human weaknesses which have found no place in any
memorial of him that has yet been published. All this made him beloved,
especially by the young, by the women who knew him well, both those who
were good and those who were less good. This was the happy, the
consistent part of him. His public life was to large extent a fraud--as
indeed the public life of every great Parliamentarian must be. The
insincerities of debate were ingrained in him. He had begun them at
school and college before he entered the House of Commons, and by the
time he was thirty he had learnt to look upon the "Vote of the House" as
the supreme criterion of right and wrong in public things. In deference
to this he had had constantly to put aside his private predilections of
policy, until towards the end of his life his own personal impulses of
good had assumed the character of tastes rather than of principles. They
were like his taste for music, his taste for china, his taste for
_bric-à-brac_, feelings he would like to indulge, but was restrained
from by a higher duty, that of securing a Parliamentary majority. This
was his ultimate reason of all action, his true conscience, to which his
nobler aspirations had constantly to be sacrificed. His long habit, too,
of publicity, had bred in him, as it does in actors, a tendency to
self-deception. From constantly acting parts not really his own, he had
acquired the power of putting on a character at will, even, I believe,
to his inmost thoughts. If he had a new distasteful policy to pursue,
his first object was to persuade himself into a belief that it was
really congenial to him, and at this he worked until he had made himself
his own convert, by the invention of a phrase or an argument which
might win his approbation. Thus he was always saved the too close
consciousness of his insincerities, for like the tragedian in Dickens,
when he had to act Othello, he began by painting himself black all over.
I believe this is not an unfair estimate of Gladstone's public
character. Certainly it is the light in which his actions showed him to
me in his betrayal that year of the Egyptian cause.

As yet, however, I had no misgiving, and in the next few days wrote
letters to my friends at Cairo detailing the good news. With Gladstone
on our side, what more was there to fear? Only I prayed them to be
patient till the Commission I had asked for should arrive. That some
attempt was made by Lord Granville to carry out my suggestion is clear
from the Blue Books. But Granville's heart was also as clearly not in
it, or he was thwarted by Dilke or others in the Foreign Office. He
wrote me a note on the 24th asking me to luncheon, when I should have an
opportunity of discussing the question of the Commission, but by an
accident, which was probably not an accident, the note did not reach me
till too late, a manoeuvre which was repeated with the same result a
week later. The Blue Books record a little abortive negotiation with
France for a special inquiry, but it was soon dropped, and Lord
Granville's favourite method of dawdling things out is responsible for
the rest. Before many weeks had passed, the intriguers at Cairo had
effected their purpose of a new disturbance, and the difficulties of
conciliation had become enormously increased.

The rest of the short session before Easter in London may be briefly
told. I went down for a few days to Crabbet to see after my private
affairs, but that did not prevent me from writing to my friends in
Egypt, Arabi and Mohammed Abdu and Nadim, telling them of my success
with Gladstone and imploring their prudence. On the 26th I received a
letter from Button, enclosing a note from a person in a very responsible
position, which I find still among my papers. It is so short and
instructive that I give it as it stands:

"_22nd._ I am very anxious that Mr. Wilfrid Blunt should meet and see
Natty Rothschild, whose Egyptian interests require no explanation. He
goes to Lord Granville and the Foreign Office so constantly, and in this
matter, like St. Paul, 'dies daily.' To bring them to an intelligent
understanding on this vexed question would be a real service. I am
desired to ask if you could bring W. Blunt to luncheon at New Court on
Friday next at 1 P.M. _Do_ if you possibly can. It will be _useful_ in
many ways."

Here, of course, was the real crux of the situation, the nine millions
of the Rothschild loan supposed to be in danger in Egypt, half of which,
Button told me, was still held by the Rothschilds themselves. I
consequently went up to London on the morning of the 27th, the day
named, and under Button's wing to the City, but by misfortune only to
find that "Natty" had been called that morning abroad on account of the
illness or death of a near relation, I forget which. We consequently did
not see him, but he had left a message instead, begging me to write him
my views. I regret the accident which prevented the meeting, for it
would have been interesting, though I do not suppose it would have
effected any good. I have often wondered since what would have been the
nature of the "intelligent understanding" so much desired; and I have
sometimes suspected that the common financial argument might have been
tried with me in the shape of shares to bring about an arrangement with
Arabi for the betrayal of his political trust. Some such, it seems, was
tried upon Arabi two months later through another channel. Nothing,
however, came of the visit, except that I wrote my memorandum, too long
a one here to quote, the object of it being to recommend, as a matter of
policy, that financiers who had interests in Egypt should accept the
revolution that had occurred and make the best of it, and predicted that
bondholders would lose more by a war than by conciliation. I have since
been told that Rothschild, who, after great tribulation and anguish of
mind at the time of the bombardment of Alexandria and nearly in despair
thinking he had lost his millions eventually recovered the value of all,
resented my prediction of evil as that of a false prophet. But that does
not greatly concern me. My memorandum was drawn up not in his interest
as creditor but in that of his Egyptian debtors.

Another curious entry, 28th March, gives a hint of the ideas current in
Printing House Square. This was the first time I had been to the "Times"
office, and Button was again my _cicerone_. We saw there Macdonald, the
manager, with the object of trying to get him to send out a new
correspondent to Cairo, who should give the "Times" independent news,
and Mackenzie Wallace had been thought of for the purpose. But
Macdonald, with Scotch caution, would not go to the expense. He was
quite satisfied from a business point of view, he said, with the kind of
news Scott, their correspondent at Alexandria, was sending them. English
people, he said, had only two interests in Egypt, the Suez Canal and
their bonds, if they held any, and Scott's views on these two matters
were what they wanted. Beyond this they did not care in any special way
about the truth. He complimented me all the same on my own letters,
which as I was not paid for them they were obliged to me for, and they
would always be glad to print whatever more I had to say. But a special
correspondent just then was not needed.

I was in correspondence about this time with Allen, the Secretary of the
Anti-Slave-Trade Society, a very worthy man but of extremely narrow
views. Sir William Muir had taken me to task in the "Times" for having
asserted in one of my letters that it was part of the National program
in Egypt to suppress what remained of slavery in Egypt, and he had been
at the pains to prove by chapter and verse from the Koran, that slavery
was and must always be an institution of a religious character with
Mohammedans. Allen, too, I found indignant at the idea of Arabi's being
actively in favour of its suppression, which he, Allen, seemed to
consider was the sole business of the Society's anti-slavery agents at
Cairo. His anger was very much what a master of foxhounds might express
at the unauthorized destruction of foxes by a farmer. Mohammedans, he
considered, had no business to put down slavery on their own account, or
what would become of the Society. This at least was the impression his
argument left on me.

Lastly, I find a note of having been asked, 1st April, to meet the
Prince of Wales, who wanted to see me, at dinner, _en partie carrée_. My
host on this occasion was Howard Vincent, who was at that time on
intimate terms with H. R. H. I was stupid enough not to go to the
dinner, which would have been interesting. But I unfortunately had a
previous engagement for the same day to meet Princess Louise of Lorne at
the Howards, and did not like to break my engagement, which was also an
important one. I went, however, in the evening to Vincent's and had some
talk with the Prince of Wales about Egypt, though not on the subjects
connected with it that most interested me.

Here the first Act of my English campaign may be said to end. Up to this
point all, in spite of huge difficulties, had gone well with my
propaganda. My preaching of the National Egyptian cause had been almost
everywhere well received, and the talk of intervention had subsided. At
one moment my hopes were very high, for Button had ascertained that the
Commission I had asked for was to be sent, and he named to me even the
person said to have been chosen. But, alas, it proved a vain rumour.
Then everybody went out of London for the Easter recess, and before they
returned the news of the Circassian plot was upon us. It was the
beginning of the pitiful end.


[11] Since the above was in print I have lit on the following entry in
my diary of 1884, which at the same time confirms and corrects what is
said of Paget's connection with this colony: "Vienna, Sept. 20. Dined at
the Embassy. Sir A. Paget very amiable, talked about Egypt. He remembers
Nubar Abba's dragoman. He asked my opinion of Arabi, and I asked him in
turn whether it was true that Ismaïl had told him that Arabi was in his
pay. He said he had never talked to Ismaïl about Arabi, but he remembers
having heard that Ismaïl said, 'ce gaillard là m'a conté les yeux de la



How fair the prospects in Egypt still were in the first week of April,
notwithstanding the many rumours of disturbance there which were being
spread through Europe, may be judged from the following two letters
written to me at that time by Arabi, and still more by a third which I
received at the same time from Sheykh Mohammed Abdu. Sheykh Mohammed
Abdu's high character throughout his life for the strictest veracity and
the exalted position he now holds as Grand Mufti of Egypt, give to his
testimony a historical value which can hardly be exaggerated, and may
well be placed in accepted contradiction of the multiform falsehoods of
the Blue Books. His functions that spring as Director of the Official
Journal and Censor of the Press at Cairo put him, moreover, in a
position of knowledge as to what was passing in the counsels of the
National Ministry, which neither Malet nor Colvin nor any European in
Egypt could at all pretend to. I draw the special attention, therefore,
of historians to these convincing documents:

     "Cairo, _April 1st, 1882_.

     "_To our respected, sincere, and free-minded friend, Mr. Wilfrid
     Blunt, may God prosper his best projects._

     "After offering praise to God, the conqueror of the strong and the
     upholder of truth, I beg to say that your letter dated March 10th
     has reached me, and caused me an immense pleasure. Without doubt it
     will please every free man to see men free like you, and truthful
     in their sayings and doings, and determined to carry out their high
     projects for the benefit of mankind generally, and the advantage of
     their own country in particular.

     "The contents of your letter prove that you are enamoured of the
     freedom of mankind, and that you are trying your best to serve the
     interests of your English nation, being aware that those interests
     in the East, and especially in Egypt, can only be made secure
     forever by helping the Egyptians to be free and thus gaining their
     affection. Free Englishmen should surely help those who are
     striving for the independence of their country, for its reform, and
     for the establishment of an equitable Government. Your praiseworthy
     endeavours will, we do not doubt, secure for you an honourable name
     with your countrymen, when they shall come to discover in what way
     you have laboured to remove the veil of untruth which interested
     men have spread before their eyes.

     "As to ourselves, we thank you for your good services as they
     concern both Egypt and England, which country we hope will be the
     most powerful friend to assist us in establishing good order on a
     basis of freedom, and an imitation of civilized and free nations.
     Please God, we shall soon see the success of your endeavours, and
     we therefore consider your safe arrival home a good omen of

     "With regard to the advice you kindly gave us we have to thank you
     for it, and beg to say that we are trying our best to keep things
     quietly and in order, because we consider it one of our most
     important duties to do so, and we are endeavouring to succeed. We
     can assure you that all is now tranquil. Peace reigns over the
     country; and we and all our patriotic brethren are with our best
     will defending the rights of those who dwell in our land, no matter
     of what nation they may be. All treaties and international
     obligations are fully respected; and we shall allow no one to touch
     them as long as the Powers of Europe keep their engagements and
     friendly relations with us.

     "As to the menaces of the great bankers and financial people in
     Europe, we shall bear them with wisdom and firmness. In our
     opinion, their threats will only hurt themselves and injure those
     Powers who are misled by them.

     "Our only aim is to deliver the country from slavery, injustice and
     ignorance, and to raise our people to such a position as shall
     enable them to prevent any return of the despotism which in time
     past desolated Egypt.

     "These words which I write to you are the thoughts of every
     thoughtful Egyptian and free-minded lover of his country.

     "Please remember me kindly to your good lady, and oblige your
     sincere friend,


     "Cairo, _April 6th, 1882_.

     "_To our true friend, Mr Wilfrid Blunt._

     "After returning thanks to God for the freedom and reforms with
     which He has been pleased to bless us, I beg to say that I received
     your second letter after having sent you the reply to your former
     letter. I avail myself of this fortunate occasion to repeat my
     sincere thanks for your good endeavours. I consider it to be my
     duty, and the duty of every pure conscience, even the duty of all
     men, to thank you for your good services. In acknowledging benefits
     the ties of friendship are strengthened, and so between nations. We
     are extremely anxious to come to an understanding about the
     friendship and mutual interests of ourselves and the Powers with
     whom we are under engagements, for it is only through friendship
     that those who have the rights in our country can enjoy the fruit
     of treaties and contracts, which we consider it our duty to respect
     and defend. If any rupture should take place, it would affect not
     us only or principally, but all other Powers, and principally Great
     Britain. No large-minded Statesman can fail to foresee the
     advantage which must result to England from befriending us, and
     helping us in our struggle.

     "As to the Control, you may rest assured it will not be hindered in
     the discharge of its duty, according to the rights guaranteed it by
     international treaties. It has never been our intention, or the
     intention of any in this country to touch the rights of the
     Controllers, or to trespass on any international treaty.

     "Should the representatives of the Powers in this country be
     faithful to their duty, and to the interests of their own
     countries, they cannot do better than help us in our truly National
     enterprise, and prove in acts what they promise us in words.

     "We have made up our mind to do all we can to give our nation a
     position among civilized nations by spreading knowledge through the
     country, maintaining union and good order, and administering
     justice to every one. Nothing will make us go back an inch from
     this determination; threats or menaces will not deter us from it;
     we yield only to friendly feelings, and these we appreciate

     "As to the tranquillity of the country, it is not disturbed. We are
     endeavouring to efface the bad traces left behind by former

     "As to the questions which you put to us, we have already sent
     their replies through Sheykh Mohammed Abdu by telegraph. Truly all
     the rumors spread in Europe about the excessive military
     expenditure are void of foundation. The military budget has neither
     increased a para, nor decreased a dirhem. It stands just as it was
     fixed on 21st December, 1881 in the time of Sherif Pasha. Hence you
     may rest assured that the rumours you took the trouble to mention
     are spread only by unscrupulous persons. We regret to see falsehood
     thus finding continually its way into the newspapers of civilized

     "Let us pray God that He may guide the thoughtful statesmen of
     Europe to find out the truth, and better learn the condition of our
     country. So they will render service to their own countries as well
     as ours by strengthening the ties of good feeling. May God grant us
     all to enjoy the blessing of peace and a friendly understanding.


These letters, written in answer to mine conveying my "impression" of
the Prime Minister's friendly sentiments, and which I forwarded at once
on receiving them, in translation, to Mr. Gladstone, would, I feel sure,
have received his attention had not he been just then away from London
and occupied with what was to him a far more absorbing and important
affair--for it was threatening the existence of his Government--the
condition, almost one of revolution, in Ireland. Nor had I any
opportunity of seeing either him or Hamilton till the Easter recess was
over at the end of the month. In the meanwhile events in Egypt had again
become most critical through what is historically known as the
Circassian plot, the news of which reached London in the third week of
April. I did not pay it much attention at the time, looking upon it as
only one of the many false rumours being printed. But it soon turned out
to be serious enough, not only in itself, but especially as giving our
diplomacy the opportunity it had been waiting for of setting the
Khedive in open quarrel with his Ministers. Malet was by this time
completely subjugated by Colvin, and was henceforth guided in his action
to the end by Colvin's Anglo-Indian suggestions.

The author of the conspiracy was without question the ex-Khedive Ismaïl.
I know this, among other sources of information, from his then
secretary, Ibrahim Bey Mouelhi. The ex-Khedive from his retreat at
Naples was still pulling the strings of his party at Cairo, and giving
advice through them to his son. His chief agent was one Ratib Pasha,
whom I remember hearing of in the previous autumn as among the worst
enemies of the Nationalists, and it was through him that the plot was
worked. The idea was to get up among the Circassian officers of the army
a reactionary movement against the fellahin. Arabi and the chief fellah
officers were to be assassinated, and a counter-revolution brought
about, which Ismaïl hoped might in the whirligig of things lead to his
own restoration. I am convinced that there was never at any time the
least chance of this, but it will be remembered that Rivers Wilson
believed in it as possible, and had, perhaps, even come round to
thinking it financially desirable as an alternative to the utter
weakness of Tewfik and his inability to support the Control. Tewfik, as
usual, was halting between two courses, that of going on with the
Constitutional Ministry and Arabi, of whom he was now profoundly
jealous, and that of joining the Turkish reaction at the risk of
bringing back his father. Sherif and Malet were working together, and
Sherif's house had become a centre of the diplomatic intrigue against
the Ministry inspired by Colvin. I do not say that either Colvin or
Malet, or even, perhaps Sherif, were cognizant of the intended blow, but
it was well known that they would favour any party which should succeed
in overthrowing the Ministry, and that gave confidence to the
conspirators. The plot, however, was betrayed to Arabi before it had
time to come to a head, though not until an unsuccessful attempt had
been made on Abd-el-Aal Bey, and the conspirators were promptly arrested
and imprisoned. The details of the plot will be found, with other
interesting matter, in the following letter I received at the time from
Sheykh Mohammed Abdu, dated April 25th:

     "As to the promotions of the officers, of which European newspapers
     are making so much talk, allow me to explain the facts. In the
     first place, the promotions were not made by Arabi Pasha's sole
     will and pleasure, nor were they a bribe to gain the officers'
     affections towards Arabi. They were made in consequence of the new
     military law, which prescribes that officers, after a certain age,
     or sick, or infirm, or disabled, should retire from active service
     with a pension. In Sherif Pasha's time this military law began to
     take effect, and accordingly 558 officers were put on the retired
     list. Next 96 officers were sent a year ago to the frontier of
     Abyssinia, Zaila, and elsewhere, while 100 officers left the army
     and took civil employ. The total number thus retired is 754. It was
     thus natural that promotions should be made to fill up vacancies.
     There are still fifty vacancies reserved for the cadets of the
     Military School.

     "Arabi's title of Pasha was not forced on him by the Sultan, but by
     the Khedive, who insisted that all his Ministers should hold that

     "Let me now dispel from all minds, once for all, the false idea
     that Arabi, or the Military party, or the National party, are tools
     of the Turks. Every Egyptian, whether he be a learned man (of the
     Ulema) or a fellah, an artisan or a merchant, a soldier or a
     civilian, a politician or not a politician, hates the Turks and
     detests their infamous memory. No Egyptian can look forward to the
     idea of a Turk landing in his country without feeling an impulse to
     rush to his sword to drive out the intruder.

     "The Turks are tyrants who have left calamities behind them in
     Egypt which still make our hearts sore. We cannot wish them back,
     or wish to have anything more to do with them. The Turks have
     footing enough with their firmans in Egypt. They must stop there,
     and try nothing further. But if any attempt of this kind comes to
     our knowledge, we shall hail it as a not altogether unwelcome
     accident. We have had already some presentiment about this, and it
     has been the cause of our preparations. We shall make use of the
     event, if it happens, to recover our full independence. Our
     clearest minded statesmen are now watching every movement of
     Turkish policy in this country to check it the moment it oversteps
     its limits. I do not deny that there are Turks and Circassians in
     Egypt who advocate the cause of the Porte, but they are
     few--nothing to those who love their country.

     "With regard to the Circassian conspiracy against Arabi Pasha's
     life, it is not really a serious danger.

     "The ex-Khedive Ismaïl, the greatest enemy Egypt ever had, and one
     still envious of her happiness, has long been mining us with plots
     to destroy (blow up) our present Government, thinking in so doing
     to prepare the way for his return. But God Almighty has scattered
     to the wind his hopes, since every Egyptian knows that Ismaïl's
     return means the ruin of Egypt. The tyrant (_Faraoun_), however,
     hoping against hope, sent to Egypt one of his followers, Ratib
     Pasha, who had been banished; and he, by underhand means in Sherif
     Pasha's time, received admission to Egyptian soil, where he joined
     his brother, Mahmud Effendi Talaat Beg-bashi, and later secured to
     his service Yusuf Bey Najati, Mahmud Bey Fouad, Kosrow Pasha's
     nephew and Otheman Pasha Rifki (all these are Circassians). These
     worked to make converts to their plan, which was to destroy the
     actual Ministers, and kill the superior officers of the army,
     beginning with Arabi Pashi. Through their efforts, about forty of
     the inferior officers joined their plan, swearing alliance, but at
     first put off its execution for want of a pretext. This was found
     in the discontent of nine Circassian officers, who objected to
     being ordered for service to the Soudan. Ratib's party became aware
     of what was going on among them, and took advantage of it to
     suggest to the nine Circassians that they should refuse to go
     except with promotion.

     "The Ministry has long had a suspicion of the mischief which was
     impending. As long ago as when Ratib first returned to the country,
     Mahmud Sami, the present Prime Minister when Minister of War,
     requested Sherif Pasha, in the Khedive's presence, to expel Ratib.
     He suspected something wrong in the fact that Ratib had left the
     ex-Khedive so suddenly at Naples. But Sherif refused, although
     Mahmud Sami warned him that he would be held responsible for all
     that might one day happen. This because Ratib was Sherif's
     son-in-law, and, as is thought, also perhaps his accomplice in the
     design of restoring Ismaïl.

     "It happened, however, that Ratib's party invited a certain
     Circassian officer, Rashid Effendi Anwar, to join them, and that
     this officer refused to have anything to do with their plan, and,
     leaving the conspirators where they were, came straight to Arabi
     and disclosed the plot. Thus they were arrested, and brought to
     trial by court-martial.

     "The event has caused little excitement among the common people.
     Every one knows that Arabi's life is exposed as other men's, to
     dangers daily. Nor is it possible for a man, however great he be,
     that all should wish him well. But we should only laugh if it were
     stated publicly that England was on the verge of anarchy because a
     madman, soldier or civilian, had tried to shoot your Queen.

     "The Circassians in the army number in all eighty-one persons, and
     no one in his senses need be alarmed at the chance of so small a
     number of men succeeding against the Government.

     "Now, as to the Slave Trade. The present Ministry is trying hard to
     suppress domestic slavery. The Mohammedan religion offers no
     obstacle at all to this; nay, according to Mohammedan dogma Moslems
     are not allowed to have slaves except taken from infidels at war
     with them. In fact, they are captives or prisoners taken in legal
     warfare, or who belonged to infidel peoples not in friendly
     alliance with Mohammedan princes, nor protected by treaties or
     covenants. But no Moslem is allowed to be taken as a slave.
     Moreover, if a person is an infidel, but belongs to a nation in
     peaceful treaty with a Mohammedan prince, he cannot be taken as a
     slave. Hence the Mohammedan religion not only does not oppose
     abolishing slavery as it is in modern time, but radically condemns
     its continuance. Those learned gentlemen in England and elsewhere
     who hold a contrary opinion should come here and teach us, the
     Sheykhs of the Azhar, the dogmas of our faith. This would be an
     astonishing spectacle. The whole Mohammedan world would be struck
     dumb when it learned that a Christian had taken upon him the task,
     in the greatest Mohammedan University in the world, of teaching its
     Ulema, professors, and theologians the dogmas of their religion,
     and how to comment on their Koran.

     "A Fewta will in a few days be issued by the Sheykh el Islam to
     prove that the abolition of slavery is according to the spirit of
     the Koran, to Mohammedan tradition, and to Mohammedan dogma.

     "The Egyptian Government will endeavour to remove every obstacle in
     the way, and will not rest till slavery is extirpated from Egyptian


The plot thus on the 25th of April seemed to be frustrated, nor would it
have led to any more serious complications but for the action taken by
Malet in regard to it. Instead of supporting the Ministry against whom
it had been directed, his official sympathies were given wholly to the
conspirators. These had been tried by court-martial and condemned to the
not overwhelming punishment of being banished to the White Nile, a
penalty constantly enforced in Egypt even in the time of the Dual
Control. Malet, however, wrote home that the sentence was a monstrous
one, equivalent to death, while the "Times" correspondent was allowed to
publish the story, an altogether false one, that Arabi had privately
visited the prison and there had had the conspirators tortured under his
eyes. That there was no truth in this tale it is hardly necessary to
affirm. Yet Malet gave it a certain countenance in his despatches to the
extent of mentioning it as a report prevalent, and that cries had been
heard issuing at night from the prison. What is certain is that it was
made a pretext with him for encouraging the Khedive to quarrel with his
Ministers by taking the case out of their hands into his own, and
commuting their sentence into one of simple exile, an act which
according to the new Constitution was beyond his right.

To go back to my journal in London, I find that on 28th April I went to
Downing Street "rather wroth" about nothing having been done for Egypt,
but Hamilton bade me be patient and said that my idea of a Commission
had been taken up. Also, the next day, Button congratulated me on my
success. "He tells me there has been a fearful crisis about Egypt; that
the Sultan was for sending troops there, deposing Tewfik, setting up
Halim, and hanging Arabi. The English and French Governments, however,
have prevented this, and Arabi is to be supported and a Commission
sent." On Tuesday there was to be a declaration of their Egyptian
policy in the House of Lords by the Government. This news of the
Sultan's intervention seems, in fact, to have been a crisis of the
moment brought on by the Rothschilds with the support of Bismarck. The
relations between Constantinople and the National Party in Egypt had
become strained in the last few weeks through various circumstances
which it is time now to explain, as well as the peculiar communications
which passed in the month of February between the Sultan and Arabi,
communications which are of the greatest possible importance in
estimating Arabi's growing position of political power in Egypt superior
to that of his fellow Ministers.

It will be remembered that when the Sultan's Commissioners visited Egypt
in the autumn of 1881 Ahmed Pasha Ratib (not to be confounded with Ratib
Pasha, the ex-Khedive's agent), who was one of them and the Sultan's A.
D. C., met Arabi in the train on his way to Suez and Mecca, and that
they had interchanged ideas and made friends, and that the Pasha had
promised to represent him favourably to his master as a good Mohammedan
and one loyal to the Caliphate. This had led to correspondence between
them, of which I have in my possession the originals of the following
two important documents. They came into my hands, with a mass of other
papers, at the time of Arabi's trial. The two letters were written
within three weeks after the Government of Mahmud Sami was formed, in
February, 1882, in which Government Arabi was Minister of War. The first
is from Ahmed Ratib, the second from Sheykh Mohammed Zafir, one of the
great religious sheykhs of Constantinople, who at that time was charged
with the Sultan's secret correspondence; and both were written at the
Sultan's personal command.


     "I related to His Majesty the Sultan the conversation we had on the
     railway between the stations of Zagazig and Mahda on my return to
     Constantinople, and it caused great pleasure to His Majesty, and he
     ordered me to communicate to you his Imperial compliments. I
     related to His Majesty all the kind treatment I received at your
     hands and the courtesy my eyes witnessed while I was at Cairo, and
     His Majesty was extremely gratified thereat, so that the
     satisfaction he felt in your devotion and fidelity was increased
     manyfold. People had made him think that you were acting, I know
     not how, contrary to right, and had succeeded in perverting His
     Majesty's idea about you, but now as I have exposed the true state
     of the case to him, I swear to you that His Majesty deeply regrets
     ever having paid any attention to these false and lying statements
     about you; and as a good proof of this His Majesty has commanded me
     to write this letter, and to express to you the sentiments which

     "It matters nothing who is the Khedive of Egypt. The thoughts of
     the ruler of Egypt, his intentions and his conduct must be governed
     with the greatest care, and all his actions must tend to secure the
     future of Egypt and to uphold intact the sovereignty of the Caliph,
     while he must show the most perfect faith in upholding the faith
     and the country's rights. This will be required of him of the
     persons who have been on the Khedivial Throne. Ismaïl Pasha and his
     predecessors gave bribes to Ali Pasha, Fuad Pasha, Midhat Pasha and
     their representatives of the Sublime Porte, traitors; and, after
     shutting the eyes of the officials, dared to overtask and oppress
     the Egyptians. And, in addition to this, they made heavy debts and
     brought the Egyptians under a grievous yoke. And today, in the eyes
     of the world, their state has specially appealed to our pity, but
     the whole position is an extremely delicate one which calls for the
     necessity of finding a speedy and sure remedy. Therefore it
     behooves you above all things to prevent anything that might lead
     to foreign intervention, and never to stray from the just and true
     path nor to listen to any treacherous falsehoods, but in every way
     with watchful care to hinder the seditious projects of foreigners.
     This is the great hope of the Sultan.

     "And, since we two shall correspond in the future, you must take
     necessary precautions to prevent our letters from falling into
     strange hands. For this the easiest way at present, and there is no
     safer channel you can find, is to submit your correspondence to the
     true and trusty man who carries this letter and that of Sheykh
     Mohammed Zafir.

     "I would also add that it is indispensable that you should send
     secretly some officer who knows well what is going on in Egypt,
     and who is a trusted friend of yours, to present at the footstool
     of His Majesty the reports on the state of the country in true

     "I beg you to send the answer by the man who brings this letter.

     AHMED RATIB, Aide-de-Camp of the Sultan.

     "_4th Rebi ul Akhar._ _22nd Feb., 1882._"

     "_To His Excellency the Egyptian Minister of War._

     "I have presented your two faithful letters to His Majesty the
     Sultan, and from their contents he has learnt all your sentiments
     of patriotism and watchfulness, and especially have the promises
     you make of your efforts to guard faithfully and truly His
     Majesty's interests been a cause of lively satisfaction to His
     Majesty, so much so that His Majesty ordered me to express his
     pleasure and his favour to you, and further bade me write to you as
     follows, viz.:--As the maintenance of the integrity of the
     Caliphate is a duty which touches the honour of every one of us it
     is incumbent on every Egyptian to strive earnestly after the
     consolidation of my power, to prevent Egypt from passing out of our
     hands into the rapacious grasp of foreigners as the Vilayet of
     Tunis has passed, and I repose all my confidence in you, my son, to
     exert all your influence and to put forth every effort to prevent
     such a thing happening. And you are to beware never for one moment
     to lose sight of this important point, and to omit none of the
     precautionary measures which are called for by the age in which we
     live, keeping all ways before you, as a perpetual goal, the defence
     of your faith and of your country; and especially you are to
     persist in maintaining your confidence and the ties which bind you.

     "That country (Egypt) is of the highest importance to England and
     France, and most of all to England, and certain seditious intrigues
     in Constantinople, following in the path of these Governments,
     have, for some time past, been busy with their treacherous and
     accursed projects, and, since they have found it to their profit
     zealously to promote these intrigues and seditions in Egypt, it is
     the especial desire of His Majesty that you should keep a very
     careful eye on these persons (or things?). And, according to the
     telegrams and news sent by the Khedive, Tewfik Pasha, one of this
     party, we see that he is weak and capricious; and also it is to be
     remarked that one of his telegrams does not corroborate another,
     but they are all in contradiction (wound each other). In addition
     to this I may tell you that Ali Nizami Pasha and Ali Fuad Bey have
     spoken to His Majesty most highly in your favour, and Ahmed Ratib
     Pasha also has repeated to His Majesty the substance of the
     conversation he had with you in the railway carriage between the
     stations of Zagazig and Mahda, and as His Majesty places the
     greatest confidence in Ahmed Pasha, His Majesty desires me again
     for this to express his trust in you, and to say that as he
     considers you a man of the highest integrity and trustworthiness he
     requires of you, above all things, to prevent Egypt from passing
     into the hands of strangers, and to be careful to allow them no
     pretext for intervention there.

     "The orders which Ahmed Pasha Ratib will receive on this head will
     be separately communicated to you. Both my letter and that of Ahmed
     Pasha Ratib, by order of His Majesty, have been written by one of
     His Majesty's own private secretaries, and after we have affixed
     our seals to the letters; we also put an extra seal on the

     "And, in a special and secret manner, I tell you that the Sultan
     has no confidence in Ismaïl, Halim, or Tewfik. But the man who
     thinks of the future of Egypt and consolidates the ties which bind
     her to the Caliphate; who pays due respect to His Majesty and gives
     free course to his firmans; who assures his independent authority
     in Constantinople and elsewhere; who does not give bribes to a
     swarm of treacherous sub-officials; who does not deviate one
     hair's-breadth from his line of duty; who is versed in the
     intrigues and machinations of our European enemies; who will watch
     against them and ever preserve his country and his faith intact--a
     man who does this will be pleasing and grateful, and accepted by
     our great lord the Sultan.

     "If I have not entered into any further details in this letter of
     mine, I beg you to excuse me because Ahmed Ratib Pasha only arrived
     three days ago, and yet in that time, owing to his declarations of
     your fidelity and true intentions, His Majesty has expressed his
     full confidence in you. I only received the message I have just
     given you yesterday. I hope to be able to send you by next week's
     post a more detailed letter. In every case be careful not to let
     any letter you send fall into strange hands but try to get a
     special messenger, and, as for this time; it would be better if you
     would send your answer by the hand of the man who brings this

     "Your Servant, MOHAMMED ZAFIR.

     "_4th Rebi ul Akhar, 22nd Feb., 1882._"

These two letters are records of such high historical importance that if
ever my memoirs come to be printed they should be annexed to them in
facsimile. They explain much of what happened later in June at the time
of the Dervish Mission, and they prove that if Arabi took upon himself
then and during the months of the war the position in some degree of
dictator in Egypt, it was not without ample justification from a
Mohammedan point of view, in the commands of the Caliph as head of his
religion to protect the province against Christendom. They show, too,
why it was that in the month of August Abdul Hamid was so loath to
proclaim him a rebel, and how absurd was the charge of rebellion brought
against him at his trial.

Nevertheless, it must not be assumed from this that Arabi had made
himself the Sultan's tool in anything that concerned the administrative
independence of his country. His position on this point was a firm one.
He hated the Turks, and would certainly have resisted in arms any
attempt from Constantinople at military intervention. Of this Sheykh
Mohammed Abdu's letter is ample proof, and it is in harmony with all
that Arabi has himself told me. His position, therefore, at the Caliphal
Court was a changing and precarious one. He had strong friends there in
Ahmed Ratib and Mohammed Zafir, but he also had strong enemies. Sabit
Pasha, the Khedive's Turkish secretary, was especially one of them, and
reported to Yildiz everything he could find against him. Thus, when the
arrest of the Circassian conspirators occurred, among whom were Osman
Pasha Rifki, and other important Turks, it is quite possible there was a
wave of anger against Arabi in the Sultan's mind. But it does not seem
to have lasted, and from the moment when it became once more a question
of resisting Europe, Arabi again had the Sultan's approval. As between
Tewfik, the puppet of the Anglo-French Control, and Arabi the defender
against the two Christian Powers of the independence of a Moslem state,
there could be no hesitation in the Caliph's sympathies.

I think it is to be regretted that the Sultan's wish to depose Tewfik
and set up Halim was not carried out. Though Arabi did not belong to the
party of Halim in Egypt, he would certainly not have opposed it after
Tewfik had gone over to the English against him, and it would have been
accepted by a considerable number of respectable men in Egypt who knew
Halim to be both more intelligent and more liberal in his views than the
other. The Sultan's intervention, therefore, would have been a peaceable
one if he had refrained from sending an army to enforce it. On the whole
it was probably the best solution. The French Government, however, were
strongly opposed to the immixture of the Sultan in Egyptian affairs, and
our diplomacy at Cairo was pledging itself more and more every day to
Tewfik. All that came of the idea of Turkish intervention and of the
commission I had asked for, and which had been almost promised, was an
absurd compromise of the two things, in the shape of a proposal made,
but not insisted on, by Lyons to Freycinet at Paris, that a French, an
English, and a Turkish general should be sent to Egypt to "restore
discipline in the Egyptian army." Lord Lyons, be it remarked, had a
special reason for taking Malet's view of the situation in Egypt in the
fact that Malet had been for years his private secretary and devoted
servant in the profession.

Nothing, therefore, was really done of what I had been told at Downing
Street to expect, not even those few words of goodwill in Parliament
which Gladstone had begged Arabi to wait for. By a synchronism, tragic
for Egypt, the crisis at Cairo, so long worked up to, coincided exactly
with that other crisis which had also been impending in Ireland. There a
_régime_ of threats and coercion under Forster, the Chief Secretary, had
been tried all through the winter. Members of Parliament had been
imprisoned without trial, and the arts of police despotism had been put
into more rigorous practice than for many years, and without any result
of pacification. Gladstone had persuaded his Cabinet to try conciliatory
measures. According to a secret arrangement made with Parnell, the Irish
leader, while he was in gaol at Kilmainham, and known as the Kilmainham
treaty, Parnell and his political friend, Dillon, had been released;
and, as a consequence, Forster on the 2nd of May resigned his office and
attacked the Government for their pusillanimity in the House of Commons.
The very same day, 2nd May, had been fixed for a Ministerial statement
about Egypt, on a motion made by Lord De la Warr in the House of Lords,
and I find the following entry in my journal:

"_May 2._--Met Lord De la Warr at the House of Lords. He took me in, and
I expected to hear the promised statement about Egypt, but heard instead
Lord Granville's announcement of Mr. Forster's resignation in Ireland. A
good deal of excitement. Lord Granville seemed rather shy and badgered.
Lord Salisbury interrupted once or twice.... I heard Rosebery say a few
words in a very impressive and dignified manner, etc., etc. Egyptian
affairs are put off as of no importance." Ireland for the next few weeks
drove out all English interest in Egypt, so much so that when on the 6th
I took Mohammed Abdu's important letter, explaining the Circassian plot,
to Morley, he refused to publish it on the ground of its length, and
that "nobody cared about Egypt."

This, however, was but the first act of the coming tragedy. On the 7th
Lord Frederick Cavendish, a brother of Lord Hartington and an intimate
friend of Gladstone's, who had been appointed Chief Secretary in
Forster's place to carry out the new policy of conciliation, was
assassinated at Dublin with Mr. Burke, the chief permanent official, by
members of an Irish secret society, known as the "Invincibles." These
were in reality quite unconnected with Parnell's Parliamentary party,
but the public did not discriminate between the two, and the result was
a universal cry for strong measures against all forms of rebellion. For
a moment Gladstone battled against this, and it was proposed to Dilke,
who, as an advanced Radical, was with Chamberlain at that time friendly
to the Parnellites, that he should take the post of danger at Dublin and
continue, as Cavendish's successor, the task of conciliating Ireland.
But Dilke did not like the look of things, and refused the post. It was
found difficult to get any one to accept it. What, however, decided the
abandonment of the policy of conciliation was the attitude of
Hartington. He took the matter of his brother's death, which he felt
deeply, as a personal wrong to be avenged, and from that moment became
the most determined enemy of Irish Nationalism. Gladstone had to choose
between resignation and the abandonment of his policy, and, seeing a
majority of his Cabinet against him, he chose the latter. Trevelyan was
sent to Dublin and new coercive measures were resolved on. And so, too,
as to Egypt. Up to this point, in spite of the unconciliatory views of
the Foreign Office, Gladstone, supreme in the Cabinet, had been able to
put a veto on any active form of armed intervention. But now he found
himself out-voted, and Egypt, too, was thrown to the wolves. "Look," his
colleagues seem to have said to him, "where your policy of conciliation
has led us in Ireland." If I have been rightly informed, a policy of
coercion in Ireland and of intervention in Egypt was decided on at one
and the same Cabinet in the second week of May. I quote some extracts
from my Diary in illustration of the double situation.[12]

"_May 8._--In consequence of the ugly look of things in Egypt I have
written an ultimatum to Gladstone begging him to relieve me of the
dilemma I am in, caused by the Government's silence. I have said that I
must speak the whole truth if Lord Granville won't. All the world,
however, is agog about Ireland. Yesterday came the astounding news of
Lord Frederick Cavendish's and Mr. Burke's murder at Dublin. At first it
seemed as if the Government would have to resign, but to-day Parnell has
written to disown all connection with the crime, and I think Gladstone
will be the stronger for it. On Friday when I was in the lobby of the
House of Commons Artie Brand (the Speaker's son), who was there, pointed
me out 'the three Irish conspirators' talking together. Parnell is a
tall, good-looking man of about 32, with nothing of the murderer about
him. Dillon is tall and very pale and dark, and would do for Guy Fawkes
in a cloak and dagger. They looked very much like gentlemen among the
cads of the lobby.

"_May 11._--There is bad news from Egypt. The Khedive having refused to
sign the Circassian sentences, Arabi has convoked the Chamber and they
talk of deposing Tewfik. I went at once to Downing Street and saw
Godley, on whom I urged the necessity of Gladstone giving me an
immediate answer. Gladstone is away at Lord Frederick's funeral, and I
have agreed to wait till to-morrow for an answer; but Godley saw I was
in earnest and promised it should be given. It is, of course, an
unfortunate moment." I have a vivid recollection of Godley's sympathy on
this occasion. I was myself deeply moved. It seemed to me so tragic a
thing that the whole fate of a nation and of the best hopes of reform
for a religion, both historic in the world, should depend on the
possibility of securing the attention of one old man for half an hour,
for I felt sure I could again persuade him. I did not, of course, know
the exact position of the Cabinet, but Godley must have known, and he
seemed almost as much to feel it, as myself. I know he all along
disapproved the Foreign Office policy in Egypt, and I think he felt
deeply the disgrace of Mr. Gladstone's share in it when, in spite of his
Midlothian speeches, he came forward as the apologist of a war against
Oriental freedom in the interests of finance. Very shortly after his
chief's change of policy he left his service for a permanent post
elsewhere, and I have always fancied it was more or less in protest.

"_May 12._--Freycinet has declared he will not let the Turks intervene,
so I feel easier.... Rode to George Howard's who approved my plan (of
publishing the whole truth). I have all ready now ... and the 'Times'
will publish. It appears that Rothschild has been working hard with
Freycinet to get the French Government to set up Halim instead of
Tewfik.... In the meanwhile all that has actually been done is to order
a fleet to be ready in a fortnight at Plymouth.... Saw Eddy Hamilton. He
promises the answer to-night. The Howards are very angry with Dilke
because he has refused the Chief Secretaryship for Ireland. 'He will
lose caste by this.' They looked upon it as the shirking of a post of
danger, but it is quite possible that Dilke was better pleased to remain
where he was, at the Foreign Office, pulling the strings for Granville
in Europe. It would have been well for Egypt if he had accepted.

"_May 13._--Gladstone's answer has come; he cannot tell me any details,
but Lord Granville will speak on Monday, and he begs me to wait till
then. He only promises that the Liberal policy shall be in accordance
with Liberal doctrines. So I am satisfied. I have written (to Gladstone)
to offer to go out as mediator between Arabi and the Khedive. I have
sent the following telegram to Arabi: 'I entreat you have patience. Do
nothing rashly or without Parliament sanction. Delay action against the
Khedive. I am working hard for you, but must have time. There is real
danger.' At five o'clock I received an answer from Gladstone to say that
he supposed my last letter was written before the arrival of recent
news. I cannot understand what he means by that, as there is nothing in
the evening papers.... Late at night an answer from Arabi: 'Mai 13. Je
vous remercie de vos conseils. Différend déféré aux délégués.
Tranquillité complète. Certainement aucune crainte pour Européens. Ahmed

The true history of the crisis which had taken place that first
fortnight of May at Cairo, as I afterwards learned it, was this. On the
second, the Khedive finding himself pressed by Arabi, his Minister of
War, to sign the sentences of exile on the Circassian officers, some of
whom were His Highness's personal friends, called Malet to his counsels
and received from him the advice, fortified by a promise of English
support, that he should refuse his signature; and this must be
considered the moment at which Tewfik first resolved to throw himself
especially upon English protection in his quarrel with his Ministers.
Malet thereupon wrote an important despatch which is published in the
Blue Books, extolling in high terms the character of the Khedive, as one
deserving the full confidence of Her Majesty's Government. The Khedive,
therefore, refused to sign, though constitutionally his signature to the
decision of the court-martial could not be withheld.

The refusal, aggravated by the fact, which at once became known, that it
had been suggested by a foreign Consul, angered the Nationalist
Ministry, and letters were addressed by the Prime Minister, Mahmud Sami,
to the members of the National Parliament requesting their attendance at
Cairo. This was no doubt an irregular proceeding, inasmuch as the
Parliament could only be legally summoned by the Khedive, and it gave
umbrage to some of the members who were also annoyed at being called
again to Cairo from their country homes at an inconvenient season of the
year. Nevertheless, a large proportion of them came in answer to Mahmud
Sami's letters, and though they had no formal sitting, decided at a
meeting held in Sultan Pasha's house to support the Ministers, and it
was resolved by forty-five to thirty, that, if Tewfik persisted in
intriguing with the English and French Consuls against them, there was
no other way than to impeach and depose him. Malet, however, having by
this time received a telegram of approbation from the Foreign Office,
and finding the Khedive wavering, informed him that the English and
French fleets had been ordered to Alexandria on a plea of protecting
European subjects. Upon this the Khedive sent for Sultan Pasha, the
President of the Chamber, and exposed the situation to him, and so
worked upon his fears, and upon a certain personal jealousy which he
knew to have grown up in the Sultan's mind toward Arabi, that he
persuaded him to take part with him, and trust to European support
rather than run the risk of war. Sultan then, at a new informal meeting
of the Deputies, declared himself on the Khedive's side against the
Ministers, and obtained the adhesion of six other Deputies to his view,
though the large majority of them remained faithful to the Ministry. It
was at this juncture that my telegram to Arabi was received at Cairo,
and it seems to have had some effect with Sultan, to whom it was
doubtless shown. But the English papers of the thirteenth asserted that
the Chamber had joined the Khedive against Arabi, and on the fifteenth
that Mahmud Sami had resigned. The following is from my journal.

"_May 14._--Sunday, at Crabbet. I see in the 'Observer' that Sultan
Pasha went yesterday to the Khedive to make terms between him and Arabi;
so I conclude my telegram came just in time. The papers all say that he
and the Chamber have sided against Arabi with the Khedive, but I will
not believe that till I hear further. What is likely is that Sultan
Pasha has been put out at the Chamber being invoked without a legal
summons, and at an inconvenient time of the year. The army has had too
much influence in the Ministry not to have made itself enemies. There is
probably jealousy, but I do not believe in more. The whole thing has
doubtless been fostered by Colvin and Malet. and the Circassians have
been encouraged by the idea of Turkish intervention. They have ordered
ships to Alexandria, which, if I am not mistaken, will have the effect
of uniting all once more against the Europeans.

"In the afternoon a perplexing telegram from Abdu, 'Il n'y a pas
discorde entre Sultan Pasha et le Parlement. Le loup (meaning the
ex-Khedive Ismaïl) dont participation dans le complot Circassian est
supposé dans ma lettre a Sabunji, est en effet complice. Différend
principal est déféré aux délégués. Tranquillité publique n'est pas

Van Benningsen, the distinguished Dutch judge, author, under the title
of "Un Juge Mixte," of one of the most valuable works about Egypt under
the Dual Control, was staying with me at Crabbet at the time, and I
found him an ardent sympathizer with the Nationalists.

The next day, 15th May, was that of the long promised explanation by the
Government of their Egyptian policy, and I went up to London in high
hopes of something good, being fortified by the telegram I had received.
I was doomed, however, to a new disappointment. Though the matter of
Egypt was discussed in the House of Lords, Granville had nothing better
to promise the Egyptians than a repetition of the old menace of
Gambetta's Joint Note, and the statement, which I felt certain was
untrue, that the Deputies at Cairo and the whole country were supporting
the Khedive in his quarrel with his Ministers. This, then, was the
famous "Liberal policy" Hamilton had promised me. I felt myself absolved
from all obligation of reticence towards Gladstone, who seemed to have
played with and deceived me. I left the House of Lords as soon as I had
heard the speech, in great anger, and resolved henceforth to act without
further reference to prudence on my part or the Government's
convenience. After thinking the matter over during the night in much
perplexity, I decided upon a bold step. I was resolved to defeat the
intrigue I knew was going on. As soon as the telegraph offices were open
in the morning, 16th May, I sent the following message to Cairo:

"To Arabi Pasha, Minister of War. Lord Granville states in Parliament
that Sultan Pasha and the Deputies have joined the Khedive against you.
If untrue, let Sultan Pasha telegraph me contradiction. United you have
nothing to fear. Could you not form a Ministry with Sultan Pasha as
Prime Minister? But stand firm."

"To Sultan Pasha, President of the Chamber of Deputies. I trust that all
who love Egypt will stand together. Do not quarrel with Arabi. The
danger is too great."

Also to each of the following Deputies: "Butros Pasha, Abu Yusuf, and
Mahmud Pasha Falaki. Parti national, est il actuellement content
d'Arabi? Le Gouvernement Anglais prétend le contraire. Si vous vous
laissez désunir de l'année, l'Europe vous annexera."

And I sent the same last telegram to Mohammed Abdu, to Sheykh el
Hajrasi, and to Abdallah Nadim, the orator. All the eight telegrams were
signed with my name, and I knew that in thus sending them I was sure to
incur the anger of the Foreign Office, if not of Mr. Gladstone, for it
could hardly be unknown to the Agency at Cairo, as messages sent by the
Eastern Telegraph Company were at that time pretty well common property
there. I was resolved, however, to run the risk of this, my only doubt
being how to express succinctly the nature of the danger against which I
warned the Deputies. The words, "Europe will annex you," seemed to me to
do this best, for though, perhaps, our Government had no immediate
thought of annexation nor yet the French Government, the ultimate end
seemed certain, and Colvin's words rang in my ears; nor do I think that
the event so far has otherwise than justified me. Then, having fired my
shot, I went back to the country repose of Crabbet to wait for what
should happen. The answer came sooner than I at all expected, and that
very evening, as I was sitting down to dinner, I received the following
from Sultan Pasha:

"Le différend qui existait entre le Khedive et les Ministres
complètement disparu. Nous sommes tous d'accord à maintenir le repos et
la tranquillité et à appuyer le Ministère actuel. Sultan."

In delight I telegraphed it at once to Gladstone, and to the "Times" for

"_May 17._--To London again in the highest spirits, and on my way
received new answers."

From the Sheykh el Islam, el Embabeh:

"Le différend entre le Khedive et le Ministère est applani. Le Parti
National est content d'Arabi. Le nation et l'armée sont unies."

Another unsigned, but no doubt from one of the Deputies:

"Tout le pays avec Arabi and le Ministère Sami. Fellahs, Bedouins,
Ulemas, tous sont unis. Il n'y a qu'un seul d'entre nous qui soit contre
la liberté Egyptienne et qui tache de fausser l'opinion publique."

And a third of like character from Mohammed Abdu.

Moreover, in confirmation of the glorious news, the morning papers
announced that in the afternoon of yesterday the Khedive, through Sultan
Pasha's mediation, had forgiven the Ministry. It was clear that I had
won a first diplomatic victory. With such powerful proofs in my hand, I
went with a light heart to Downing Street and showed my telegrams, and
found Hamilton and Godley, who congratulated me on my success. I told
them the telegrams I had sent had cost me £20, and Hamilton said they
ought to be repaid me out of the Secret Service Fund. Though this was,
of course, said jokingly, it proves that, at least on Mr. Gladstone's
side of Downing Street the result I had gained against the Foreign
Office was cordially approved. Moreover, as I had not seen Gladstone
himself, Hamilton and Godley advised me to write him another formal
letter and press home my point against the Foreign Office, on the ground
of their false information, and I agreed to do so, and spent the night
at this work, having first arranged with Button that, if need should be,
the letter should be published in the "Times," and in the meanwhile I
sent Sultan a telegram begging him to congratulate the Khedive.

The morning, nevertheless, was to bring me a sharp reverse, if not yet a
defeat. At a very early hour, having slept in London at my then town
house, 10, James Street, Buckingham Gate, I sent for the morning papers,
and found in all of them a Reuter's telegram from Cairo giving the text
of my telegram to the Deputies, the one ending "Europe will annex you,"
as having been addressed by me to the Sheykh el Islam, and stating that
the Sheykh el Islam had since recanted the telegram he had sent me
in reply. Also in the "Standard" there was a telegram from its
correspondent at Cairo saying that he was authorized by Sultan Pasha to
contradict the telegram from him which had been published in the "Times"
of yesterday, the same having been written under military intimidation.
I consequently at once wrote a second letter to Gladstone, and sent him
the two by the same messenger before noon, with a note to Hamilton
saying, that I considered it necessary both should be published. I had
found Button at home, and had shown him the letters, which he promised
should appear in the morrow's "Times." He was delighted with them, and
assured me they would make a sensation.[13]

Nevertheless, though they had already been put in type, for I had left
copies of them with Button, the two letters were not published. The
reason for this is given in my diary. At six o'clock I found a note from
Eddy Hamilton saying he would be at home all the afternoon, so I went to
him. He said he thought the telegram to the Sheykh el Islam an
unfortunate one, and advised me strongly not to publish. "I asked him
what assurance he could give me that nothing violent was intended at
Alexandria. He said he understood that the fleet going there only meant
the securing of the lives of British subjects. He did not think it at
all likely there would be any demand made for the disbanding of the
Egyptian army or any disembarkation of troops. Also he assured me that a
Commission, such as I had proposed, would be sent to Egypt. I am quite
satisfied with this, and have sent David (my servant) to the 'Times'
office to stop the publication of the letters."

I do not doubt that the assurances given me in Downing Street on this
occasion were given in good faith, but they were soon belied by the
Foreign Office, and my silence as to the telegrams did me, from that
time forth, an injury with the public. The "St. James's Gazette" spoke
of me that very evening as an "incendiary," and other journals, seeing I
did not reply, followed suit. Their language re-acted on the Government,
and doubtless also on Gladstone, though he knew the truth, which the
public as yet did not. I continued, it is true, my communications and
visits to Downing Street, but they became inevitably on a less and less
intimate footing. For this reason I regret that I allowed myself to be
persuaded, and that the letters did not appear, as had been arranged
that night, in the "Times." Had they done so I cannot help thinking that
the fatal ultimatum of 25th May would not have been issued.


[12] See Lord Eversley's letter quoted in the Preface.

[13] These two letters are practically embodied in my letter
subsequently published on June 20. See Chapter XIV.



The history of the next six weeks in Egypt, from the arrival of the
English and French fleets at Alexandria to the bombardment of the city
is that of a desperate attempt by our diplomacy one way or another to
regain its lost footing of influence, and failing that to bring about a
conflict; and of a no less desperate and unscrupulous attempt by the
Foreign Office at home to force Gladstone's hand to an act of violence.
In all this there was far less of statemanship, or even financial
intrigue, than of personal pique. The tone neither in the Chancelleries
of Europe nor of the Stock Exchange was so urgent as to make a peaceful
treatment of the case impossible. France, under Freycinet, had withdrawn
entirely from Gambetta's aggressive designs, and would readily have made
the best at any moment of a political situation by no means hopeless at
Cairo, while Germany and Austria, representing the financial interests,
especially of the Rothschilds, were for a repetition of the remedy found
efficacious in 1879, the Sultan's intervention in the form of a new
firman, substituting Halim for Tewfik. This would have been an easy
solution of the quarrel which had arisen between Tewfik and his
Ministers, and though not the ideal to which the Nationalist leaders
looked, would have been accepted by all parties as an ending of the
crisis. The other countries of Europe were for the most part in sympathy
with the National movement, Switzerland and Belgium strongly so, while
Italy was so enthusiastic that at one time, in spite of the Government,
which supported English policy, a corps of volunteers was being enrolled
under Menotti Garibaldi to help Arabi. It was only in England that
public opinion, worked upon systematically through the Press primed by
our diplomacy, was at all excited or called for vigorous action.

The personal element in the struggle is easy to understand. Malet and
Colvin had committed themselves at the time of the change of Ministry in
February to an attitude of uncompromising hostility to the Nationalists,
and any solution of the crisis which should leave these in power at
Cairo they knew would mean their own disgrace. Colvin would certainly
have had to follow his French colleague, de Blignières, into retirement,
and Malet would have been removed to some minor post in the service
where his blundering would have been of less grave consequence. The
Foreign Office, too, had its own _amour propre_ to save. Dilke was an
ambitious man, and did not mean to fail, and even old Granville, fond as
he was of his ease, had his public phrases to make good. Thus from the
middle of May to the 11th of July, the date of the bombardment, we have
the spectacle of a series of diplomatic manoeuvres wholly indefensible
by any valid plea of necessity, absolutely at variance with all the
avowed principles of Mr. Gladstone's Midlothian policy, and so cynically
unscrupulous that I doubt if in the annals of our Foreign Office
anything comparable to them exists.

On the other hand, in native Egypt, we see the National Party just
at the moment when it had secured for the country the right of
self-government and an existence of personal and civil freedom which it
had never before in all its history enjoyed, when its Parliament had
met, and after a first happy session had adjourned, when its mind was
busy with projects of reform and when the general desire was to rest and
be thankful, at peace with all the world, hurried from its attitude of
calm into a sea of apprehension from without, and of treachery, backed
by foreign intrigue, from within. Three letters written to me at the
beginning of the crisis, the first two from Arabi himself, the third
from that gallant old Swiss gentleman, John Ninet, who alone of the
European sympathizers with the National fellah cause remained on in
Egypt and took part with the army during the war, will show what the
earlier feeling in native Cairo was.

     "Cairo, _May 15, 1882_.

     "_To my dear and sincere friend Mr. Blunt._

     "Praise be to God, your letter of the 20th April duly reached me.
     We have read it with great pleasure. Let us hope that the fruit of
     your endeavour will soon be gathered. Indeed, every sound-minded
     lover of freedom bears witness to your philanthropic efforts. My
     pleasure was increased by learning from you that my two letters
     reached you in a favourable hour. May God in his mercy give peace
     to our minds, and better the condition of affairs, and lead us to
     what he thinks for the good of our country.

     "As to the publication of my two letters I only wished to refute
     the attacks made upon me by my enemies, those who accused me of
     being a man extravagant in his ideas and seeking after despotic
     power. These are mere calumnies, as you know full well. I like
     better to remind you that as a member of the Egyptian Government I
     am responsible as Minister of War for the acts of my office, as we
     all are responsible for our departments. I have but one voice in
     the Cabinet, and I act according to the policy imposed upon me by
     the Prime Minister, as shown in the letter he presented to the
     Khedive when he first formed the Ministry. You may reply upon my
     truthful word that we are all of us in anxious watch over our
     country, and trying to rule it according to just principles, and we
     have made up our minds, by God's help, to overcome all
     difficulties. If any among the European nations, who love mankind
     and love civilization, will take us by the hand and help us in our
     struggle, we shall be infinitely grateful to them. If not we have
     to thank God only, who has been our support from the beginning.

     "As to the state of the country, it is in perfect peace. Our only
     perplexity is caused by the lies published by unscrupulous men in
     the European press. This is a gratuitous hostility, but we hope
     that soon the veil of prejudice will fall from their eyes.


     "Cairo, _May 21, 1882_.

     "After offering to you our best salutations and compliments, we
     tender you our thanks for your endeavours, and for the interest you
     take in the welfare of our country, and for your constant
     inquiries, either by telegrams or by letters, after the events
     which have been taking place, and we have already replied, as the
     rest of us did, explaining the true state of things. We now add
     these few further explanations.

     "All the people in the country are grieved at the despatch of the
     French and English ships, and they look on this as a sign of evil
     intentions on the part of the two Powers towards the Egyptians, and
     as an intrusion into our affairs, without necessity and without
     reason; and truly the Egyptians have made up their minds not to
     give in to any Power which wishes to interfere with our internal
     administration. They are also determined to keep their privileges
     confirmed to them by the treaties of the Powers. And they will
     never allow a tittle of these to be taken from them as long as they
     have life. And they will also try their best to watch over European
     interests and the lives of European subjects, their property and
     honour, as long as these keep within the limits prescribed to them
     by law.

     "We all endeavour to do our duty, and we trust in God in defending
     our rights, and through His help we hope to obtain our purpose.
     This is the welfare of our country and the peace of those who live
     in it. We also trust in the justice of Europe that the Powers shall
     not begin the attack upon us, but on the contrary that they may
     behave wisely with us. Because this will really be better for the
     success of their own wishes, and their interests in our country.

     "It will be better for Great Britain if she does not rely on her
     representatives in this country, because they are persons who have
     private motives, which they wish to serve. And we think that even
     if they succeed it will be for the disadvantage of their

     "This is enough now of the present state of things, and the future
     will tell the rest.

     "Herewith I send you a letter addressed to Sir William Gregory, and
     beg you to be kind enough to hand it to him.

     "Please present my compliments to Mr. Sabunji and Lady Anne Blunt,
     and may God preserve you all.


Ninet's letter is of especial value from its date, 19th May, the last
day of Egypt's peaceful enjoyment of self-government. It says:

     "My heart of an old Swiss patriot bleeds now at the most unjust of
     all international interventions. The country is entirely united in
     favour of its honest leader, sprung, like the fellahin, from the
     _limon du Nil_ (the black mud of the Nile). The Egyptian people has
     loyally accepted its debt contracted for it by an unscrupulous
     despot, one who in sixteen years squandered more than three hundred
     millions sterling to fill his own pockets, the pockets of the
     diplomacy, high and low, and of the Semitic and Nazarene
     usurers.... A peaceful revolution has been accompanied by and with
     the will of the nation. Not a single act unbecoming a scrupulous
     government has taken place during the great change effected. But
     Europe, interested more in the dealers in stocks and shares than in
     the aspirations of a people, sends her fleets. Why? Because the
     Chamber of Representatives found it proper to claim the right of
     discussing the Budget! Where is the crime?... Suppose a Minister of
     your Queen, having a disagreement with her, were to receive news
     that a powerful combined fleet of the Catholic Powers would go to
     Ireland and pacify it? Even so the analogy is not complete. Egypt
     is quiet. Not a European or Christian can complain. Would not the
     position be intolerable?... Arabi is wise and tranquil, awaiting
     the future like a sage of ancient times. The army, the country, the
     towns are with him. The French Consul-General has been a silent
     member. Sir E. Malet has been _cassant, parti pris inconciliant_,
     sowing fear in Cairo, instead of reassuring the people. You have no
     idea, my dear sir, of the abominable lies every day telegraphed to
     the 'Times,' 'Standard,' 'Daily News,' by the telegraphic
     agencies.... Well, never a word, not an insult from the
     population--we have been and are as quiet here as an English
     congregation on a Sunday in Regent's Park. The fleets are expected

Other letters of a later date will show it in its later stages. The
supreme injustice of the attack being made on them by England, the
country above all others which had been associated in their minds with a
traditional love of liberty and of those humanitarian doctrines of which
she had been the apostle, revolted men's minds and roused in them
feelings of anger foreign to their natural attitude. Under constant
threat of violence, now from England, now at English instigation from
the Sultan, and knowing not whom to trust and fearing everywhere
betrayal, it is not surprising that wild ideas prevailed even among
those who had been soberest hitherto in their expression. At the same
time it is not a little remarkable what few mistakes were made in action
by the leaders under circumstances of such extreme and constantly
changing difficulty, and the closer one examines these the more they
redound to their credit. Nothing but the desperate shifts of our agents,
when one after another their treacherous expedients had failed them and
they found themselves faced with a disgraceful diplomatic defeat, to
bring about a violent solution through the guns of the fleet, forced the
Egyptians at last from their calm attitude and enabled our Foreign
Office to claim a victory.

This may be affirmed without attributing either to Arabi or to any other
of the leaders qualities of a first-class kind. They were neither
diplomatists nor administrators nor soldiers at all to be compared with
their opponents, and they were most of them quite inexperienced in the
arts of government and the subtleties of international usage. Arabi's
best quality, I think, was a certain dogged determination not to be
driven from the position he had originally announced, namely, that,
while ready to be friends with all the world, it was his duty to defend
his country against all hostile comers. In this he rendered in those
weeks an incalculable service to his fellow countrymen, which it is
right they should be reminded of. Nothing is more certain than that, if
Arabi had been less obstinate than he was in refusing either for threat
or bribe to leave Egypt, and if thereby the Egyptians had not fought,
the fellahin would still be the double slaves they were in 1880, slaves
to their Turkish masters as well as slaves to Europe. What does any
patriot suppose would have resulted from Arabi's compliance? Liberty in
any form? A continuance of self-government? Foreign rule less strenuous
than now? Certainly, none of these things. What would have come to pass
is very clearly shown by the _régime_ established at Cairo immediately
after the war. It would have been one of police despotism, espionage,
and secret punishments, unmitigated by any further interest taken in
Egyptian nationality by the moral sense of Europe. It is possible that
as a matter of form a Chamber of Notables might have been allowed to
remain in existence for a few sessions as what is called a consultative
body, but it would have been one wholly powerless and wholly discredited
of patriotism. The Turco-Circassian rule would have been ruthlessly
re-established, and the Financial Control, reinforced with new political
powers and exercised entirely in financial and European interests, would
have had neither the will nor the power to enfranchise the fellahin from
their Turkish masters, themselves the slaves of Europe. The whole legend
of fellah nationality would have vanished in a disgraceful smoke, for a
nation which has never dared fight for its existence is justly despised.
The native press would have been reduced to the condition we find it in
in Tunis. There would have been neither civil nor personal liberty, nor
any regard paid to native rights. It would be still, in fact, what Egypt
was in 1883, a land where no man could speak above his breath or count
on his next door neighbour not to betray him. Arabi at least saved his
countrymen from this, and, if when it came to the point of actual
warfare he was found incapable as a soldier, they still owe him as a
patriot much. He prevented them from incurring the supreme disgrace of
not having fought at all on the only occasion in all their history when
the chance was theirs to stand up for their freedom.

Having said this much, I will return to my story. The true history of
the telegrams, as I afterwards learned it, at Cairo was this. They had
arrived at a most critical moment when the attitude of the Deputies and
of some among the weaker-kneed of the other civilian leaders was
exceedingly doubtful. Malet had persuaded the Khedive to take heart and
quarrel with his Ministers, and the Khedive had persuaded Sultan Pasha
to join him partly by working on his jealousy of Arabi, for he was
disappointed at not having been included by Mahmud Sami in the Ministry
of February, partly by informing him that the English and French fleets
were on their way to Alexandria. And Sultan, in his turn, had persuaded
thirty, as against forty-five, of the Deputies. So that Malet had been
able to telegraph to the Foreign Office that the Chamber was supporting
the Khedive. My telegrams, however, had given new heart to waverers and
had put such pressure upon Sultan that he had gone at once to the
Khedive (who was engaged in drawing up a new list of Ministers under the
Presidency of Mustafa Pasha Fehmi, the colourless Minister of Foreign
Affairs) and effected a reconciliation between him and Mahmud Sami. The
ministerial crisis was considered by everybody at an end. Hardly,
however, was the arrangement made than it was undone. Malet, having got
wind of the telegrams, sent for Sultan Pasha, and partly by threats
about the fleet, partly by promises, once more persuaded him to take
sides with the European Control.

Sultan Pasha, who afterwards deeply regretted his defection from the
National cause at this critical moment, always affirmed that Malet, to
win his support, gave him his word of honour that day that the rights of
the Egyptian Parliament would be respected; and I have been told by his
friends that Sultan died reproaching himself that he had been fool
enough to believe him. Nevertheless, with the exception of Sultan,
nobody of any importance among the Deputies allowed himself again to be
detached from the National cause. All who had received my telegrams
believed me rather than Malet, and Arabi's hands had been immeasurably
strengthened when ten days later the next great crisis came. Malet's
coup with the fleet had been discounted, and it ended in a complete
fiasco. The sending of the fleet had been intended by Lord Granville as
a _brutum fulmen_, which was to effect its purpose without real
violence, a method in which he greatly believed and of which his success
the year before at Dulcigno in the matter of the Greek frontier had
specially enamoured him--indeed, it was one of his maxims that "a threat
is as good as a blow." Malet also, who knew Lord Granville's mind,
counted at that time on a bloodless victory. He throughout miscalculated
the power of the National sentiment; and it was only when he saw that he
had failed diplomatically that, following Colvin's lead, he prepared for
force. The dates are: May 17th, Malet finally secures Alexandria. May
25th, Malet and Sinkiewicz issue their ultimatum, stating that it has
been suggested to them by Sultan Pasha. It demands the resignation of
the ministry and Arabi's retirement from Egypt. May 27th, the Mahmud
Sami Ministry resigns. May 28th, Cairo rises and insists upon Arabi's
reinstatement as Minister, and Arabi is reappointed Minister of War with
something like dictatorial powers.

In England during all this crisis the outlook for me was a black one,
made darker by the unfortunate defection, just at the moment when his
support was most needed, of my fellow champion of the Egyptian cause in
London, Sir William Gregory. Gregory had committed himself quite as
deeply to the National Party in its earlier stages as I had, and had
written a number of powerful letters in support of Arabi in the "Times,"
and his influence stood far higher than mine in official quarters and
with Chenery, the "Times" editor. The prospect, however, of possible
hostilities in connection with the arrival of the fleets alarmed him,
and he had latterly begun in his letters to doubt and qualify his
published opinions. Since leaving Egypt in April he had been travelling
on the Continent and I had been hoping daily for his arrival in London
to reinforce my pleadings with the Government. Instead of this, I found
to my dismay that, if not exactly against us, he was doing us little
service. We were to have gone together to an anti-aggression meeting but
now he refused to go. I find in my journal:

"_May 19._--Gregory has failed us. He dined last night with Chenery who
has frightened him, and he refuses now to go to the meeting. I went to
the meeting and made my speech and answered a number of questions put to
me, giving the true history of the telegrams, and I got Dilwyn, the
chairman, to vote my conduct patriotic.

"_May 20._--I hear Lord Granville is furious with me about the

On Sunday, 21st May, the very next day, after this entry, I had an
embarrassing meeting with Granville. I had been asked with my wife some
time before by her cousin, the present Lord Portsmouth, to spend that
Saturday to Monday at Hurstbourne, and the Granvilles had also been
asked and several other persons more or less political. I fancy
Granville had wished to meet me, as it is called "accidentally" in
diplomatic parlance. But in the interval grave events had taken place,
and I was not a little disturbed when I found him staying there, for I
had not myself been told of it. The moment was an unfortunate one, for
that morning we had brought down with us the "Observer" newspaper which
contained an account of the first rebuff given to the fleet at
Alexandria. "We arrived with Lowell, the American Minister, and found
the house empty, every one gone to morning church. On their return I
perceived to my horror, for I was not expecting it, Lord Granville and
Lady Granville walking back with the rest of the party. Things however
went off well, for I had the sympathy of most of the party with me,
especially as we had brought news down with us that the arrival of the
fleets at Alexandria had been resolutely answered by Arabi by a call to
arms, and that 4,000 of the Redifs (reserve men) had responded to it.
His Lordship looks worried, so I argue well for the Nationalists. I had
a deal of conversation with him on every subject in the world except
Egypt. Lord Granville is very pleasant company, a _raconteur_ of the
old-fashioned type, each story being neatly and concisely got up, not
always apposite to the moment but almost always good. With the rest of
the party Egypt was gaily and sympathetically discussed. Henry Cowper
was charming--Lowell and Stuart Rendall most sympathetic--the last, that
is, when Lord Granville was out of hearing.... It was a lovely day and
we sauntered about the park and gardens, Henry Cowper telling good
stories, amongst others one, _à propos_ of the Eastern Question, of
Disraeli. He had heard him say 'Tancred is a book to which I often
refer, not for amusement but for instruction.'" Lowell, as already said,
was the whole of that summer a strong believer in the National Party,
and always gave me support in conversation about it when we met.

It is worth noticing in connection with this visit to Hurstbourne that
Lord Granville two days later, 23rd May, sent the fatal telegram
authorizing Malet to "act as he thought fit," with the result that the
Ultimatum was issued on the 25th. The view of the case in Egypt as
printed at that date by John Morley in the "Pall Mall Gazette," runs
thus: "Affairs still remain in a very critical condition at Cairo.
Ourabi[14] persists in maintaining an attitude of defiance. He is
playing his last card. The reserves are being brought up from the
villages--in chains--troops are being hurried to the coast to resist a
landing and artillerymen are being sent to the ports at Alexandria, the
guns of which, such as they are, surround our ironclads. All this,
probably, is only a game of brag, intended to extort better terms for
himself." "The experiment," says Morley, "of vigorous representations
emphasized by ironclads at Alexandria has been fairly tried, and there
seems to be no doubt that it has completely failed."

"_May 22._--To London. Harry Brand, whom I met at the Club, tells me
Dilke tells him 'it must end in intervention.'

"Old Houghton sent to say he wished to consult me about Egypt, and I had
a long talk with him in the Lobby of the House of Lords.... I advised
him, if he was pushing the Government to land troops in Egypt, to send
at once for his daughter home.

"_May 23._--Lord Granville in the Lords has made a jocular answer to
demands for information about Egypt.

"_May 26._--Gladstone has spoken about Egypt, a long rigmarole of which
the only thing remarkable is that he expresses his confidence in a
peaceful solution.... The Consuls have delivered an Ultimatum stating
that their object is to restore the Khedive's personal authority and
demanding the exile of Arabi.

"_May 27._--Sultan Pasha denies having suggested the terms of the
Ultimatum.... The Ultimatum is refused.... Saw Gregory. We think the
Egyptians will have to fight now, and I feel I ought to go out and join
them.... Telegram in the evening papers that Arabi's Ministry has

"_May 28._--Sunday at Crabbet. Things all seem gone to ruin in Egypt. I
suppose the Khedive's personal authority under the Control will now be
revived. If Arabi leaves the country and the army is disbanded, or
reorganized under Circassian officers, Egypt may bid good-bye to
liberty. She will share the fate of Tunis. Vicisti O Colvine!

"_May 29._--I could not sleep but began roaming about soon after 3. It
tormented me to think I did not go to Egypt immediately on hearing Lord
Granville's speech. I might have saved matters.... Now all is bright
again. By an extraordinary transition the papers announce that Cairo has
risen and has demanded Arabi's recall as Minister of War, the Khedive
acquiescing. The news seems too good to be true, but it cannot be
doubted from the anger of the newspapers. This shifts things back into
more than their old place, and now there is nothing to fear except from
the Porte. I have made up my mind to go at once to Egypt. Went up to
London, saw Gregory, lunched with the Howards, and wrote a letter to
Eddy Hamilton announcing my intention. Mrs. Howard advises me to trust
all to Gladstone, and in my letter to Hamilton I have done so
implicitly. Only it is a wrench to leave England in June and face the
turmoil and the heat of Cairo. I am happier though, feeling that at
least I am doing all I can do and doing my duty. Anne will go with me."

My letter to Hamilton, written under the influence of the Gladstonian
atmosphere of Palace Green, runs thus:

     "_May 29th, 1882._

     "DEAR EDDY,

     "Though Mr. G. is, I fear, displeased with me for the telegrams I
     sent to Egypt a fortnight ago, I do not wish to take any important
     step without his knowledge. I am convinced that some day he will
     forgive me for what I have done, and approve what I intend to do;
     and I have perfect confidence in him that he will act towards Egypt
     on the Liberal grounds you spoke of, as soon as he is certain of
     the truth. I believe, also, that I may still be of use to England
     as well as to Egypt in circumstances which may occur; and with that
     idea, I am going, unless anything unforeseen occurs, next Friday to

     "I will tell you exactly what I shall advise the National leaders.
     I shall urge them, first of all, to sink all petty differences in
     the presence of a great danger. I shall urge them, as I have always
     done, not to quarrel with the Khedive; and if I have an opportunity
     I shall urge the Khedive not to allow himself to be persuaded by
     the Consuls to quarrel with the people. I shall fortify Arabi in
     his determination to retain the full direction of the army in his
     hands by remaining Minister of War, but shall advise him to leave
     all other offices of State to civilians, and especially to members
     of the Chamber. I shall urge the Egyptians to keep on the best
     terms they can with the Sultan, short of admitting his soldiers
     into their country, and on the best terms with the European Powers
     short of yielding their constitutional rights. At the same time, I
     shall advise them strongly, as I advised them last January, to
     yield something to the Controllers of their present claim regarding
     the Budget--that is to say, to postpone their rights at least for
     this next year. I shall explain to them the position, as far as I
     understand it, of the English Government, anxious not to destroy
     their independence, yet bound by ties contracted by their
     predecessors; of the French Government, traditionally inclined to
     push its powers in the Mediterranean, and forced on by the
     financiers; of the German Government, willing to divert the French
     from home affairs and dissolve the English alliance; and, lastly,
     of the Sultan, with his Caliphal dreams, a matter which they
     probably understand at least as well as I do.

     "I do not propose myself to take any part in military operations,
     should such occur, except in the last necessity, against the Turks,
     for I know nothing of military matters, and have a horror of war.
     But I shall urge the Egyptians to resist invasion, from whatever
     quarter, and, if vanquished, to pursue a persistent policy of
     refusing taxation not sanctioned by their laws--whereas, if
     unmolested, I would have them pay their debt to the last farthing.
     I shall have no need to repress fanaticism, for they are not
     fanatics; but I shall join my voice to Arabi's in favour of the
     humanest interpretation of the laws of war. I also wish to be at
     hand in case of need, to protect European residents at the first
     outbreak of hostilities.

     "I do not think I am acting unadvisedly in telling you this. My
     idea of a policy for the Egyptians is, that they should act by a
     rule diametrically opposite to the common Oriental ones. I would
     have them tell the truth, even to their enemies--be more humane
     than European soldiers, more honest than their European creditors.
     So only can they effect that moral reformation their religious
     leaders have in view for them.

     "I am, yours affectionately, W. S. B."

The "Pall Mall" utterances of this date are again worth quoting, as they
show the absurdly unreal view of the situation in Egypt put forward at
that time by the Foreign Office, Colvin, Dilke, and the rest. Malet's
despatches had led the Foreign Office to believe that Arabi had behind
him no popular following outside the army, that the Khedive was in
reality beloved by his subjects, and it was thought that it only needed
now a little additional show of outside help from Constantinople being
at hand to bring about a manifestation in Tewfik's favour which, if it
did not force the army to submission, would lead to civil war demanding

The "Pall Mall Gazette," 26th May, says: "The Ultimatum which England
and France have addressed to the Egyptian Ministry is to be accepted or
rejected in twenty-four hours. This afternoon, therefore, the crisis
ought to be over and the order despatched to Constantinople for the
Ottoman _gens d'armes_ who are to restore the authority of the Khedive
under the control of England and France." Again, on 27th May: "A few
hours may decide whether the crisis in Egypt is to be solved peacefully,
or whether the country is to be the scene of civil war and foreign
occupation. The Ministry has resigned, and so far the terms of the
Anglo-French Ultimatum have been complied with.... On the other hand it
is at least likely that Ourabi ... may throw off the mask and declare
boldly against his head." The kind of civil war expected is explained
next day, 28th May: "Last night the Khedive slept at the Ismaïlia palace
surrounded by twelve thousand loyal Bedouins. The presence of these
children of the desert in the Capital of Egypt constitutes a material
safeguard against a new _pronuncia mento_. No doubt it is a fearful
prospect, that of a civil war in the streets of Cairo between the
Bedouins and the regular army; but its possibility is a security for a
pacific solution of the crisis.... Ourabi's position is no longer what
it was. Even the power of the sword is no longer exclusively in his
hands. If the Khedive with the swords of the Bedouins, the ironclads of
England and France, and the support of the Chamber of Notables cannot
reduce Ourabi to submission, the position must be more hopelessly
complicated than any one has hitherto ventured to affirm."

What a fantastic account! Twelve thousand loyal Bedouins camped round
the palace of Ismaïlia! The Chamber of Deputies devoted to the Khedive!
Arabi standing alone intimidating them all! Yet it was with these lies,
of which honest John Morley was made the popular mouthpiece, that
Gladstone was being persuaded to apply the astonishing remedy for unruly
Egyptian Nationalism of bringing in on it the "unspeakable Turk," the
"Bashi-bazouk," fresh from his "Bulgarian atrocities," and the "man of
sin" himself, Sultan Abdul Hamid. The illusion of the Khedive's
popularity only lasted forty-eight hours. Then we read in the "Pall Mall
Gazette" of 30th May: "The time has at last come for immediate action in
Egypt. The Khedive is a prisoner in his palace. The twelve thousand
Bedouins who were reported to be encamped around their sovereign have
vanished into thin air," etc., etc.

Meanwhile I was awaiting an answer from Downing Street, and making my
preparations for an immediate start for Egypt. Mr. Gladstone was out of
town, staying with Lord Rosebery at the Durdans, in my eyes an ominous
circumstance. I knew Rosebery's view of the Egyptian question, for a few
weeks before I had found him at Downing Street with Hamilton, and had
walked with them both by the little garden exit through St. James's
Park. On the way I had asked him his views about Egypt, and he had
answered very briefly, "I have no views at all but those of a
bondholder." He was, in fact, through his wife, a Rothschild, largely
interested in the financial aspect of the case; and I looked upon
Gladstone's visit to him just then as an evil symptom. Rosebery was not
as yet in office, but had influence with Gladstone, and I knew through
Button that he was being pushed forward by the Rothschilds to do their
political work for them. This continued for some years, and his mission
to Berlin in 1885 was suggested and made successful by the Rothschilds,
and later at the Foreign Office he worked consistently in their
interests on Egyptian questions, though I have heard that before taking
office he got rid of his Egyptian stock.

"_May 30._--No answer from Eddy. I see Mr. G. is out of town at the
Durdans. All however is going on well in Egypt, Arabi the acknowledged
master of the situation.... I found a note yesterday from Houghton
asking again to see me, and I went to him at his house in Mayfair, and
told him of my plan of going to Egypt. By his manner I am convinced that
he has been commissioned by Lord Granville to sound me.... I have told
Glyns (my bankers, Messrs. Glyn, Mills, and Currie) to get me £1,000 in
French gold, the sinews of war. I feel very loath to go, but happy,
being sure that I am doing what is right.... Sabunji will go too....

"_May 31._--To London early and found another note from Houghton saying
'surely I won't go.' I am certain this is an unofficial hint."
Houghton's note was characteristic: "My dear Blunt, assuredly you had
better not go to Egypt just now. Whatever you say or do there will be
exaggerated and probably misinterpreted. The alliance between the
Military Party and the Porte seems complete, and that won't suit your
views. You could let me know if you hear anything precise. My daughter
is still at Alexandria, but I am anxious for Fitzgerald, who must be
obnoxious to the army from his military economies. I am yours very
truly, Houghton. Bring your friend (Arabi) back with you if you do go,
and come and dine here with him."

"Also a telegram from Eddy. 'Your letter received. I implore you to do
nothing till after seeing me. Shall be back this evening.' He is at
Salisbury.... At half past five found Eddy in Downing Street. He
implored me not to go, as my position in Egypt, and my known connection
with Gladstone would be misunderstood, and make a terrible row. He
promised me there would be no landing of troops or intervention at all.
On this assurance I consented not to go. I told him, however, that I
hoped they would not consider me responsible for accidents which might
occur, and which it was my main object in going to prevent. He said they
would not.

"A large card has come from Lady Granville inviting us to the Foreign
Office on the 3rd to celebrate the Queen's birthday. I shall keep this
as an answer to Harry Brand's charge of treason.... Now I am quite
contented. Sabunji is to go instead of me, and will do just as well. He
has telegraphed by my orders to Arabi in answer to a letter I have
received from him: 'Letter received. Do not fear the ships. No
intervention. Issue public notices in every town for the safety of
Europeans.' This in accordance with a suggestion of Eddy's.

"_June 1._--Everything seems going on beautifully. Arabi acknowledged
master of the situation in Egypt. The Sultan supposed to be so at
Constantinople. Button thinks the 'Times' will pay for my telegrams
Sabunji may send them. If so, so much the better. I have agreed to give
Sabunji £30 a month and his expenses.... Went to the House of Commons
with Nigel Kingscote (the Prince of Wales's equerry), who got me into
the Speaker's Gallery. Gladstone was giving his announcement of a
conference at Constantinople as the upshot of it all. No troops are to
be mobilized in India, and no troops to be landed in Egypt. He considers
such a course would endanger European lives. McCoan, an M. P., formerly
editor of the 'Levant Herald,' asked whether it was true I was 'about to
proceed to Egypt to put myself at the head of the insurrection.' Dilke
answered that he believed I had 'relinquished my intention.' Gladstone
then made the astounding statement that Arabi had 'thrown off the mask,'
and had threatened to depose the Khedive and put Halim on the throne of
Egypt. This is too absurd, but it is playing into my hands, because the
statement must be at once disproved, and the fact of its having been
made will show how ignorant the Foreign Office are. Gladstone will now
probably be angry with Malet for having led him into such a blunder.
Frank Lascelles, however, who walked home with me from the House, tells
me he has seen Malet's telegram respecting this, and all it says is that
the Khedive told him this, and he does not vouch for its truth. So are
things done!"

Malet's telegram, as it stands in the Blue Book (Egypt, No. 11, 1882),
says even less than this. It runs thus: "The Khedive sent for M.
Sinkiewicz and me this morning and informed us that it had come to his
knowledge that the military intended this afternoon to depose him and
proclaim Halim Pasha as Khedive of Egypt.... The Khedive said he hardly
believed the truth of this information." Yet on such a slender rumour
Gladstone, who had declared to me that he never spoke lightly in
Parliament and had bidden me wait for his spoken word in the House of
Commons as a message of goodwill to the Egyptians, fires off, to give
point to his speech, this quite untrue announcement, his first definite
utterance since I had seen him on Egypt. It is a curious comment on the
ways of Ministers and the processes of the Gladstonian mind. The
immediate effect on me of the Prime Minister's speech was a complete and
lasting disillusion. Never after this did I place the smallest trust in
him, or find reason, even when he came forward as champion of
self-government in Ireland and when I gave him my freest support, to
look upon him as other than the mere Parliamentarian he in truth was. I
do not say that on that wonderful 22nd of March he was not for the
moment in earnest when he spoke to me so humanly, but it was clear that
his sympathies with the cause of right, however unfeigned, were not the
law of his public action, which was dictated, like that of all the rest
of them, by motives of expediency. The discovery destroyed for me an
illusion about him which I have never regained.

"_June 2._--Lord De la Warr, Gregory, Brand, and Button met at my house,
and all but Brand seemed highly pleased at the situation. Harry still
calls me a traitor, and declares that Arabi has made a gigantic fortune,
and that he must and will be suppressed out of Egypt. Button then drew
up with Sabunji a code of signals for him to telegraph us news; and I
gave him £100 for his expenses, for which he will have to account. The
telegrams are to be sent to me and I am to communicate them to Button
for the 'Times.' I have given Sabunji my instructions, of which the two
most important are that Arabi is to make peace with Tewfik and on no
pretence to go to Constantinople. Now we have packed him off, anxious
only lest he should be stopped at Alexandria. Button tells me that if I
had persisted in going, orders would have been given to Sir Beauchamp
Seymour to prevent my landing.... My mind is at rest."

If I had heard Gladstone's speech before agreeing with Hamilton to
renounce my journey to Egypt I probably should have persisted in my
intention, but, as things turned out, I doubt if it would have resulted
in any good. Even if I had not been prevented from landing I could
hardly have used more influence personally with Arabi and the other
leaders than I succeeded in exercising through Sabunji. Sabunji was an
admirable agent in a mission of this kind, and it is impossible I could
have been better served. His position as ex-editor of the "Nahleh," a
paper which, whether subsidized or not by Ismaïl, had always advocated
the most enlightened views of humanitarian progress and Mohammedan
reform, gave him a position with the Azhar reformers of considerable
influence, and he was, besides, heart and soul with them in the National
movement. As my representative he was everywhere received by the
Nationalists with open arms, and they gave him their completest
confidence. Nor was he unworthy of their trust or mine. The letters I
sent him for them he communicated faithfully, and he faithfully reported
to me all that they told him. These letters remain a valuable testimony,
the only one probably extant, of the inner ideas of the time, and a
_précis_ of them will be found at the end of this volume. Sabunji landed
at Alexandria on the 7th of June and remained till the day before the


[14] This French spelling of Arabi's name used by the P. M. G. was due
originally, I believe, to Colvin's French colleague, de Blignières, and
was adopted by him and by Baron Mallortie who, with Colvin, was Morley's
principal correspondent that year at Cairo.

[15] Sabunji remained in my employment till the end of 1883. Then he
left me and visited India, where he had relations, and after many
vicissitudes of fortune drifted to that common haven of Oriental
revolutionists, Yildiz Kiosk, where he obtained the confidential post
with Sultan Abdul Hamid of translator for the Sultan's private eye of
the European Press, a post which I believe he still holds, 1907.



I have now come to a point in the history of this wonderful intrigue
where, if I had not semi-official published matter in large measure to
support me, I should find it hopeless to convince historians that I was
not romancing. It seems so wholly incredible that a Liberal English
Government, owning that great and good man Mr. Gladstone as its head,
should, for any reason in the world financial, political, or of private
necessity, have embarked on a plan so cynically immoral as that which I
have now to relate. John Morley in his published life of Gladstone slurs
over the whole of his astonishing Egyptian adventure that year in a
single short chapter of fifteen pages, out of the fifteen hundred pages
of which his panegyric consists, and with reason from his point of view,
for he could have hardly told it in any terms of excuse. It is necessary
all the same that historians less bound to secrecy should have the
details plainly put before them, for no history of the British
Occupation will ever be worth the paper it is written on that does not
record them.

By the 1st of June it was generally acknowledged that the policy of
intimidation by mere threat, even though backed by the presence of the
fleets, had ignominiously failed. Mahmud Sami's Ministry indeed had
resigned, but the initial success had been immediately followed only by
a more complete discomfiture. The Ultimatum had expressly demanded that
Arabi should leave Egypt, and not only had Arabi not obeyed, but the
Khedive had been obliged by the popular voice to reinstate him as
Minister of War, with even larger responsibilities than before, and in
even more conspicuous honour. Our Foreign Office, therefore, found
itself in the position of having either to eat its empty words in a very
public manner, or to make them good against one who was now very
generally recognized in Europe as a National hero. Its colleague in the
matter, France, had long shown a desire to be out of the sordid
adventure, and Mr. Gladstone's Government was left practically to act
alone, if it insisted on going on, according to its own methods. The
method resolved on was certainly one of the most extraordinary ever used
by a civilized government in modern times, and the very last which could
have been expected of one owning Mr. Gladstone as its chief. It was to
beg assistance from the Sultan and persuade him to intervene to "get rid
of Arabi," not by a mere exercise of his sovereign command nor yet by
openly bringing in against him those Ottoman _gens d'armes_ which had
been talked of, but by one of those old-fashioned Turkish acts of
treachery which were traditional with the Porte in its dealings with its
Christian and other subjects in too successful rebellion against it.

A first hint of some such possible plan may be found in the "Pall Mall
Gazette," in one of its little inspired articles, as far back as the
15th May, in which John Morley, explaining with satisfaction the
Government policy of "bottle holding" the Khedive, adds that "Ourabi may
before long be quietly got rid of." The full plan is of course not
divulged in the Blue Books, but it is naïvely disclosed a little later
in the "Pall Mall," where, without the slightest apparent sense of its
impropriety, the dots are put plainly on the i's. The idea as I learned
it at the time was that the Sultan should send a military Commissioner
to Egypt, a soldier of the old energetic unscrupulous type, who, by the
mere terror of his presence, should frighten the Egyptians out of their
attitude of resistance to England, and that as to Arabi, if he could not
be lured on ship-board and sent to Constantinople, the Commissioner
should invite him to a friendly conference, and there shoot him, if
necessary, with his own hand. The suggestion was so like the advice
Colvin had given to the Khedive, and had boasted that he gave, nine
months before, that there is nothing improbable in its having been
again entertained. A Commissioner was consequently asked for at
Constantinople, and one Dervish Pasha was chosen, a man of character and
antecedents exactly corresponding to those required for such a job, and
despatched to Cairo.

The excellent Morley, in an enthusiastic paragraph describing the
arrival of this new Ottoman _deus ex machina_, grows almost lyrical in
his praise.

"The Egyptian crisis," he says, "has reached its culminating point, and
at last it seems that there is a man at Cairo capable of controlling
events. There is something very impressive in the calm immovable dignity
of Dervish Pasha, who is emphatically the man of the situation. After
all the shiftings and twistings of diplomatists and the pitiful
exhibition of weakness on the part of the leading actors in this
Egyptian drama, it is an immense relief to find one 'still strong man'
who, by the mere force of his personal presence, can make every one bow
to his will. Nothing can be more striking than his assertion of
authority, and nothing more skilful than his casual reference to the
massacre of the Mamelukes. Dervish is a man of iron, and Arabi may well
quail before his eye. One saucy word, and his head would roll upon the
carpet. Dervish is quite capable of 'manipulating' Arabi, not in the
Western but in the Eastern sense of that word. In this strong resolute
Ottoman it seems probable that the revolution in Egypt has found its

And again, 15th June: "The past career of Dervish Pasha is filled with
incidents which sustain the impression of vigour he has laid down at
Cairo. He is at once the most vigorous and unscrupulous of all the
Generals of the Ottoman army. Although he is now seventy years old, his
age has not weakened his energy or impaired his faculties. His will is
still as iron as it was of old, and he is quite as capable of ordering a
massacre of the Mamelukes as was Mehemet Ali himself.... His early
military experience was acquired fighting the Montenegrins, who always
regarded him as the most dangerous Commander whom they had had to meet.
In one of the last acute fits of hostility (about 1856) between the
Porte and Montenegro, Dervish penetrated to Grakovo, the northernmost
canton of the Vladikate, as it then was; and the Voivode of the
district, cut off from retreat to the South, took refuge in a cave, the
habitual hiding-place of the people against sudden raids, it being so
situated that the usual expedient of attack, smoking out by fires
kindled at the mouth, was inapplicable. The attempts of the Turks to
force a passage were easily repulsed, and Dervish entered into
negotiations, the result of which was a surrender on condition of the
lives, liberty and property of the besieged being respected. The
Turkish engagements were kept by the extermination of the entire family
of the Voivode. The prisoners were marched off to Trebinji and thrown
into the dungeon of the fortress, tied back to back, one of each couplet
being killed and the survivor not released for a moment from the burden
of his dead comrade.... Dervish's _modus operandi_ during the late
Albanian campaign is not generally understood. He went into Albania to
enforce the conscription in which he utterly failed, though he had very
slight military opposition, most of the battles he reported being purely
mythical. But he was very successful in another plan of operation, which
consisted in quartering himself on the Estates of the principal Beys,
and extorting from them the last pound which could be squeezed out,
when he moved on to the next one. He sent quantities of coin to
Constantinople, but no recruits. If any prediction of the latest result
of Dervish's mission may be based upon the history of those in which he
was formerly engaged, we should say he would succeed with Arabi as he
succeeded with the Lazis and Albanians.... Egyptians are less warlike
than Albanians and Lazis, but even in Egypt the Gordian knot may have to
be severed with the sword."

These are pretty sayings which, if he remembers them, should, I think,
sometimes make John Morley a little ashamed of the part he was persuaded
by his Foreign Office friends to play that summer as apologist of their
iniquities. No wonder he has dismissed the whole Egyptian episode from
his history in a few pages. Pretty doings, too, for Gladstone to explain
to his non-professional or even his professional conscience! The shade
of Disraeli may well have smiled!

The Sultan's new mission, nevertheless, was not, as arranged by Abdul
Hamid, quite so simple a piece of villainy as our Foreign Office
imagined. The Emir el Mumenin had no real idea of lending himself as the
mere cat's paw of the Western Powers to do their evil work for them. He
was pleased to intervene, but not blindly, and he was much in the dark
as to the real situation in Egypt, and desired to be prepared for all
contingencies. Arabi still had friends at Court who represented him as
championing the faith at Cairo, and in Tewfik, Abdul Hamid had never had
any kind of confidence. He still desired to replace him with Halim.
Following, therefore, the method usual with him of checking one agent
by another agent, he added to his appointment of Dervish as chief
commissioner a second commissioner more favourable to Arabi, Sheykh
Ahmed Assad, the religious Sheykh of one of the confraternities
(_tarikat_) at Medina, whom he had at Constantinople with him, and was
in the habit of employing in his secret dealings with his Arabic
speaking subjects, consulting him on all matters connected with his
Pan-Islamic propaganda. Thus it happened that on its arrival at
Alexandria the Ottoman mission in reality bore a double character, the
one of menace in the person of Dervish, the other of conciliation in
that of Assad. This Sheykh had it for his special present business to
inform the Sultan of the tone of Arab feeling in Egypt, and especially
of the Ulema of the Azhar, and he was provided with a private cipher,
unknown to Dervish, with which to correspond with his imperial master.
Arabi and his intimates gained knowledge of this and were consequently
prepared beforehand to receive the mission as one not wholly
unfavourable to them, and the spectacle was witnessed of both parties in
the state showing pleasure at its arrival--the Turks and Circassians at
the appearance of Dervish, and the Egyptians at that of the Medina

Both the Khedive as head of the State, and Arabi as head of the
Government, sent their delegates to Alexandria to receive the mission,
Zulfikar Pasha on the part of the Khedive, Yakub Pasha Sami, the
Under-Secretary for War, on that of the Minister, and both were well
received. Arabi, too, had commissioned Nadim the Orator to go down some
days before to prepare public opinion to give the envoys a flattering
reception, and at the same time to protest aloud against the Ultimatum
delivered by Malet and his French colleague. Consequently, when the
procession was formed to drive through the streets to the railway
station, the two envoys in their respective carriages, having with them
each a delegate, there was general acclamation on the part of the crowd.
"_Allah yensor el Sultan_," was shouted, "God give victory to the
Sultan"; and at the same time "_El leyha, marfudha, marfudha_," "The
Ultimatum, reject it, reject it!" "Send away the fleet!" These cries had
their effect at once upon the Chief Commissioner, and made Dervish
cautious. Both at Alexandria and at Cairo deputations waited on him at
his levees from the Notables, merchants, and officials. To all alike
Dervish gave a general answer. The Sultan will do justice. He, Dervish,
was come to restore order and the Sultan's authority. Only to the Turks
he announced Arabi's speedy departure for Constantinople, to the
Egyptians the as speedy departure of the fleets. Sheykh Assad meanwhile
in private reassured Arabi, declaring to him that the Sultan meant him
no evil.

As to the fire-eating attitude attributed by our Foreign Office to
Dervish, and alluded to by Morley with so much praise in the passage
already quoted, it was not in reality of a very determined kind. Dervish
was old and was far more intent on filling his pockets than on engaging
in a personal struggle with the fellah champion. Tewfik had managed to
get together £50,000 for Dervish as a _backshish_, and that with £25,000
more in jewels secured him to the Khedive's side, but he made no serious
attempt at any _coup de main_ against Arabi. A single unsuccessful
attempt at brow-beating the Nationalists showed him that the task would
be a dangerous one. On the Friday after his arrival at Cairo he made a
round of the mosques and expressed his annoyance at the boldness of
certain of the Ulema, who, on his leaving the Azhar, presented him with
a petition, and still more clearly in the afternoon when the main body
of the religious Sheykhs called and stated their views to him with a
freedom he was unaccustomed to. All these, with the exception of the
ex-Sheykh el Islam, el Abbasi, of the Sheykhs Bahrawi and Abyari and the
Sheykh el Saadat, who had espoused the Khedive's cause, declared
themselves strongly in favour of Arabi and urged him to reject the
Ultimatum, and especially that part of it which demanded Arabi's exile.
Dervish upon this told them to hold their tongues, saying that he had
come to give orders, not to listen to advice, and dismissed them, at the
same time decorating with the "Osmanieh" the Sheykh el Islam and the
other dissentients.

Popular feeling, however, immediately manifested itself in a way he
could not mistake. The Sheykhs returned from their audience in great
anger, and informed every one of the turn things were taking, and the
very same evening messengers were despatched by the Nationalist leaders
by the evening trains to the provinces to organize remonstrance. Private
meetings of a strong character were held during the night at Cairo,
denouncing the Commissioner, and the next morning, Saturday, a monster
meeting of the students was held in the Azhar mosque to protest against
the insult offered the Sheykhs. There Nadim was invited to address the
meeting from the pulpit, and he did so with the eloquence habitual to
him and with its usual effect. The report of this shook Dervish's
self-confidence, and within a few hours of its reaching him he sent for
Arabi, whom he had hitherto refused to see, and Mahmud Sami, and
addressed them both through an interpreter in terms of conciliation,
Sheykh Assad being with him and supporting him in Arabic. At this
meeting, though no coffee or cigarettes were offered (an omission
remarked by them) Dervish adopted towards them a tone of friendliness.
He made the Nationalist Chiefs sit beside him and expounded the
situation with apparent frankness. "We are all here," he said, "as
brothers, sons of the Sultan. And I with my white beard can be as a
father to you. We have the same object in view, to oppose the Ghiaour,
and to obtain the departure of the fleet, which is a disgrace to the
Sultan and a menace to Egypt. We are all bound to act together to this
end, and show our zeal for our master. This can best be done,"
addressing Arabi, "by your resigning your military power into my
hands--at least in appearance--and by your going to Constantinople to
please the Sultan." To this Arabi replied that he was ready to resign
his command. But that, as the situation was very strained, and as he had
assumed the great responsibility of keeping order he would not consent
to any half measure; if he resigned, he would resign in fact as well as
name, but he would do neither without a written discharge in full.
Moreover, he would not be held responsible for things laid already to
his charge of which he was innocent. He had been falsely accused of
tyrannical acts, of malversation and other matters, and he would not
leave office without a full discharge in writing from all complaints.
Also he would defer his voyage to Constantinople till a time when things
should be more settled, and then go as a private Moslem to pay his
respects to the Caliph. Dervish was not prepared for this answer and he
did not like it. His countenance changed. But he said, "Let us consider
the matter as settled." Then, alluding to the excitement there was at
Alexandria, he added, "You will telegraph at once to Omar Pasha Lutfi
[the Governor of Alexandria] and the commander of the garrison at
Alexandria to say you have resigned your charge on me, and that you are
acting as my agent, and on Monday there will be a meeting of the Consuls
and the Khedive, and we will give you your discharge." Arabi, however,
refused to do this, declaring that until he had received his written
discharge he should retain his post and his responsibility. And so,
without a definite understanding having been come to between them, he
and Mahmud Sami withdrew.

Such is the account, I believe a true one, told by Ninet and confirmed
by others who should know of this important interview. It took place
about noon on Saturday, the 10th of June, and is of importance in many
ways and especially for its bearing on what followed the next day, as is
notorious, a riot, originating in a quarrel between an Egyptian donkey
boy and a Maltese, broke out there about one o'clock in the forenoon and
continued till five, with the result that over two hundred persons lost
their lives, including a petty officer of H. M. S. "Superb," and some
two hundred more Europeans. Also Cookson, the English Consul, was
seriously hurt, and the Italian and Greek Consuls received minor
injuries, the disturbance being only quelled by the arrival of the
regular troops. It was the first act of popular violence which, during
the whole history of the year's revolution in Egypt, had been committed,
and the news of it, spread throughout Europe by telegraph, produced,
especially in England, a great sensation.

As the responsibility for this affair, so unfortunate for the National
cause in Egypt, was afterwards laid upon the person it had most injured,
Arabi, and as the incident was made use of by our Foreign Office and
Admiralty, with other excuses not less unjust, to bring about the
bombardment of Alexandria and the war that followed, the plea being that
Egypt was in a "proved state of anarchy," it will be well here, before
we go any further, to place upon the right shoulders what criminality
there was in the whole incident. When I heard of it in London my first
instinct was that, if not the accident the papers said it was, it was
part of the plot I knew to have been designed through Dervish Pasha at
the Foreign Office to entrap and betray Arabi, but it was not till after
the war that I came into possession of the full particulars concerning
it, or had it in my power to refute the false accusations made a little
later against the Nationalists of having themselves devised and brought
it about. The very contrary to this was then shown to be truth. As we
now all know, who are in the secrets of that time, the riot, though
perhaps accidental in its immediate origin, had for some weeks
previously been in the designs of the Court party as a means at the
proper moment to discredit Arabi as one capable of preserving order in
the country.

The position of things at Alexandria was this: Alexandria, more than any
other town in Egypt, was in large part a European city, inhabited,
besides the Moslem population, by Greek, Italian and Maltese colonists,
all engaged in trade and many of them money-lenders. At no time had
there been much love between the two classes and the arrival of the
fleets, avowedly with the intention of protecting European interests,
greatly increased the ill-feeling. It needed much loyalty, firmness, and
tact on the part of the Governor of the town to preserve order, and
great discretion on the part of the fleet. Unfortunately the Governor,
Omar Pasha Lutfi, was a man entirely opposed to the Nationalist
Ministry. He was a Circassian, a member of the Court party, and a
partisan of the ex-Khedive Ismaïl's, and at the time of the Circassian
plot had done service to Tewfik by entering into communication with the
Western Bedouins to gain them to the Khedive's side. He had, therefore,
rather encouraged than repressed the element of disorder in the
Mohammedan population. The Greeks, on the other hand, had proceeded to
arm themselves, with the assistance of the head of their community,
Ambroise Sinadino, a rich banker, who was also agent of the Rothschilds
in Egypt; and the Maltese, a numerous community, did likewise through
the connivance of Cookson, the English Consul. Things, therefore, were
all it may be said, prepared for a riot as early as the last week of
May, in expectation of that "civil war" which, it will be remembered,
the "Pall Mall Gazette" foresaw as an approved alternative, should the
Nationalist Ministry refuse to resign and Arabi to accept suppression.

There is no doubt that disturbance, as a proof of anarchy, was a thing
looked forward to by our diplomacy at Cairo as probable, and even not
undesirable in the interests of their "bottle-holding" policy. That Omar
Lutfi had a personal interest in the suppression of Arabi is also
easily proved. In the telegrams of the day, when the Ultimatum was about
to be launched, a list is given of the purely Circassian and Khedivial
Ministry which it was intended should succeed that of Mahmud Sami, and
Omar Lutfi is named in it as the probable successor of Arabi at the War
Office. Nor was this announcement unfounded, for a few days later we
know that Omar Lutfi was, in fact, sent for by the Khedive to the
Ismaïlia Palace and offered the post.[16] The Ultimatum was delivered on
the 1st of June, and the Ministers resigned on the 2nd, having waited a
day because the Khedive had told them he would first telegraph for
advice to Constantinople, though on the following morning, when they
again came to him, he informed them that his mind was made up to accept
the Ultimatum notwithstanding that he had received no answer. When,
therefore, on the 3rd the Khedive had been obliged, through the popular
demonstration in Arabi's favour, backed by the German and Austrian
Consuls, who saw in Arabi the man best capable in Egypt of maintaining
order, to rename Arabi Minister of War, the disappointment to Omar Lutfi
is easily understood, and the temptation he was under of creating
practical proof that the German Consuls were wrong. We have, besides
this, evidence that on the 5th of June the Khedive, who, no less than
Omar Lutfi, had received a great rebuff, sent him a telegram in the
following words: "Arabi has guaranteed public order, and published it in
the newspapers, and has made himself responsible to the Consuls; and if
he succeeds in his guarantee the Powers will trust him, and our
consideration will be lost. Also the fleets of the Powers are in
Alexandrian waters, and men's minds are excited, and quarrels are not
far off between Europeans and others. Now, therefore, choose for
yourself whether you will serve Arabi in his guarantee or whether you
will serve us." On this hint Omar Lutfi immediately took his
measures. As civil governor he was in command of the Mustafezzin, the
semi-military police of Alexandria, and through them directed that
quarterstaves, (_nabuts_) should be collected at the police stations to
be served out at the proper moment, and other preparations made for an
intended disturbance. Ample proof may be found in the evidence printed
in the Blue Books of the complicity of the police in the affair, though
a confusion is constantly made by those who give the evidence between
these and the regular soldiers by speaking of the police, as is often
loosely done in Egypt, as _soldiers_. The regulars were not under the
civil, but the military governors, and took no part in the affair until
called in at a late hour by Omar Lutfi when he found the riot had
assumed proportions he could not otherwise control. It is to be noted
that the chief of the Mustafezzin, Seyd Kandil, a timid adherent of
Arabi's, refused to take part in the day's proceedings, excusing himself
to Omar Lutfi on the ground of illness.

The disturbance was therefore prepared already for execution when
Dervish and his fellow Commissioner landed on the 8th at Alexandria. It
was probably intended to synchronize with the plot of Arabi's arrest,
and to prove to the Sultan's Commissioner, more than to any one else,
that Arabi had not the power to keep order in the country that he
claimed. I am not, however, at all convinced that Dervish was in
ignorance of what was intended, and I think there is a very great
probability that he had learned it before his interview with Arabi, and
that if he had succeeded in getting Arabi to resign his responsibility
the riot would have been countermanded. As it is, there is some evidence
that the outbreak took place earlier than was intended. It is almost
certain that the immediate occasion of it, the quarrel between the
donkey boy and the Maltese, was accidental, but probably the police had
received no counter-orders, and so the thing was allowed to go on
according to the program. What is certain is that the Khedive and Omar
Lutfi, the one at Cairo, the other at Alexandria, monopolized
telegraphic communication between the two cities, that Omar Lutfi put
off on one and another pretext, from hour to hour, calling in the
military, who could not act without his orders as civil governor in a
case of riot, and that the occurrence was regarded at the Palace as a
subject of rejoicing and by Arabi and the Nationalists as one to be
regretted and minimized. Also, and this is a very important matter, the
committee named to inquire into the causes of the affair by the Khedive
was composed almost entirely of his own partisans, while he secured its
being of no effective value as throwing light on the true authors, by
appointing Omar Lutfi himself to be its president. The connection of
Omar Lutfi and the Khedive, moreover, is demonstrated in the fact that,
while given leave of absence when suspicion was too strong against him
among the Consuls, he nevertheless reappeared after the bombardment and,
joining the Khedive, obtained the post he coveted of Minister of War, a
post which he held until May, 1883, when Lord Randolph Churchill having
brought the case against him and the Khedive forward in Parliament, he
at the end of the year retired into private life. Fuller proof of their
complicity will be found in the Appendix.

One point only in this sinister affair is still a matter for me of much
perplexity, and that is to determine the exact amount of responsibility
assignable in it to our agent at Cairo and Alexandria. There are
passages in Malet's despatches which seem to show that he was looking
forward, about the time when the disturbance was first contemplated, to
some violent solution of his diplomatic difficulties, and there is no
doubt that it had been for some time past part of his argument against
the Nationalist Government that it was producing anarchy. Also it is
certain that Cookson had connived at the arming of the Maltese British
subjects at Alexandria. Still, from that to complicity in a design to
create a special riot there is a wide difference, and everything that I
know of Malet's character and subsequent conduct in regard to the riot
convinces me that he did not know this one at Alexandria was intended.
Malet honestly believed in Tewfik as a trustworthy and amiable prince,
and accepted whatever tales he told, and his undeception about him after
the war I know to have been painfully complete. With regard to Colvin
much the same may be said. He was probably as ignorant of the exact plan
as he had been of the Khedive's true action the year before at Abdin,
though it is difficult to understand that either he or Malet should not
have soon afterwards guessed the truth. They had both allied themselves
to the party of disorder, and when disorder came they accepted the
Khedive's story without any close inquiry because it suited them to
accept it, and they made use of it as an argument for what they wanted,
the ruin of Nationalist Egypt and armed intervention. That is all the
connection with the crime I personally lay at their doors.

What followed may be briefly sketched here before I return to my
journal. The immediate effect of the riot was not exactly that which the
Khedive and his friends intended. It had been allowed to go much farther
than was in their plan, so much farther that the regular army had been
obliged to be called in, and instead of discrediting Arabi it so
seriously frightened the Levantine population of Alexandria, who were a
chicken-hearted community, that they began to look to him as their only
protector. Even the Foreign Consuls, all but the English, came round to
this view of the case, and the perfect order which the army from this
time on succeeded in maintaining, both there and at Cairo, largely
increased his prestige. I believe that then, late though it was in the
day, Arabi, if he had been really a strong ruler, which unfortunately he
was not, and if he had been a better judge of men and judge of
opportunity--in a word, if he had been a man of action and not what he
was, a dreamer, he might have won the diplomatic game against his
unscrupulous opponents. For this, however, it was necessary that he
should denounce and punish the true authors of the riot; and that he
should have proved with a strong arm that in Egypt he was really master,
and that any one who dared disturb the peace should feel the weight of
it. Then he would have appealed to Europe and to the Sultan in the words
of a strong man and they would not have been disregarded; nor would our
Government in England, who, after all, were no paladins, have stood out
against the rest. Unfortunately for liberty Arabi was no such strong
man, only, as I have said, a humanitarian dreamer, and with little more
than a certain basis of obstinacy for the achievement of his ideals. He
was absolutely ignorant of Europe, or of the common arts and crafts of
its diplomacy. Thus he missed the opportune moment, and presently the
Europeans, frightened by Malet and Colvin, who were playing a double
game with him, getting him to preserve order while they were preparing
the bombardment, lost confidence in him and his chance was over. From
that moment there was no longer any hope of a peaceful solution. A wolf
and a lamb quarrel was picked with him by Sir Beauchamp Seymour, who had
sworn to be revenged on the Alexandrians for the death of his
body-servant, a man of the name of Strackett, who had been killed in the
riot; and the bombardment followed. A greater man than Arabi might, I
say, have possibly pulled it through. But Arabi was only a kind of
superior fellah, inspired with a few fine ideas, and he failed. He does
not however, for that deserve the blame he has received at the hands of
his countrymen. Not one of them even attempted to do better.[17]

Now to return to London and my journal:

"_June 3._--To Lady Granville's party at the Foreign Office. All the
political people there. Everybody connected with the Foreign Office
ostentatiously cordial. Talked about the situation to Wolseley,
Rawlinson, the American Minister (Lowell) and others. Also had a long
talk with Sir Alexander and Lady Malet, who were very kind in spite of
my political quarrel with their son. People seem relieved at the crisis
in Egypt being postponed. But Wolseley tells me the Sultan has refused
the Conference. The Khedive's cousin, the fat Osman Pasha, was there,
and the Princes of Wales and Edinburgh and Prince Leopold and the Duke
of Cambridge and other bigwigs. I was surprised to find Henry Stanley,
too, quite cordial. He said he had a great admiration for Arabi as
champion of the Faith, and that they would promote him, and both he and
Tewfik remain at Cairo. So, as he represents Constantinople views, I
conclude there is no danger from that quarter. The game seems won now,
barring new accidents."

This last reference, which is to Lord Stanley of Alderley, is of
importance. He was a very old and close friend of mine, but we had
hitherto differed about Egypt, and on this ground. He had been many
years before, in the time of Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, Attaché to our
Embassy at Constantinople, and had imbibed there the extreme
philo-Turkish views then in fashion with Englishmen. In 1860, while
travelling in the East Indies, he had become a Mohammedan, and I had
first made his acquaintance in a rather singular way. I was on my way in
the autumn of that year from Athens and Constantinople to England, and
was travelling up the Danube when there came on board our steamer at one
of the Roumanian ports the family of an ex-hospodar, and with them an
Englishman of no very distinguished appearance, and of rather plain,
brusque manners, whom I took to be their tutor or secretary. As our
journey lasted several days, I made friends with my fellow traveller,
and found him interesting from his great knowledge of the East, but he
did not tell me his name. On our arrival, however, at Vienna, he
proposed to go with me to the Embassy, and I then discovered who he was,
and we travelled on together to Munich, where his younger brother,
Lyulph Stanley, a Balliol undergraduate, was learning German, and in
this way I became acquainted little by little with all his family. I
came to know him very well, and I take this opportunity of saying that,
though he was undoubtedly eccentric in his ideas, he remained through
life one of the sincerest and least selfish men I have known. As a
Moslem he was entirely in earnest, and in many ways he sympathized with
my views, but he would not hear of my preference of the Arabs to the
Turks, whom he considered the natural leaders of Islam. In London he was
always in close relations with the Ottoman Embassy, and his view of the
position as between the Sultan and Arabi--the Dervish mission was
already in the air--has on this account considerable historical value.

"_June 4._--Sunday at Crabbet. The first day for weeks I have not
thought about Egypt. I consider the whole matter settled now, and have
played tennis all the afternoon with a light heart. The Wentworths,
Noels, Frank Lascelles, Henry Cowper, Molony, and others came down from
London. Lovely weather.

"_June 5._--To London again.... Lady Gregory tells me they are
displeased now with Colvin--consider him not suited to his place in
Egypt--this from Lord Northbrook. Lord Granville has sent to consult him
(Sir William Gregory)." Lady Gregory, be it noted, had remained more
staunch than had her husband to the National cause; and later they both
rendered once more important services to Arabi, especially at the time
of his trial. The London newspapers at this time were beginning to take
a more intelligent interest in Egyptian affairs, most of them having
sent special correspondents to Cairo or Alexandria, among them the
"Daily Telegraph," whose correspondent became a strong Arabist.

"_June 6._--The 'Daily News' is already preparing itself for a renewal
of the _status quo ante ultimatum_, and the other papers seem likely to
follow suit,--all but the 'Times' and 'Pall Mall," just the two papers
which had the truth preached to them and which rejected it. English
opinion, however, is hardly now a straw in the balance.... I had another
long talk with Lascelles, and hope that I have more or less converted
him. In the evening I rode with Bertram Currie, who offers to wager
Arabi will have been extinguished in a fortnight." (_N. B._--Bertram was
the elder brother of Philip Currie, a banker, and strong practical
supporter of Gladstone, with whom he was personally intimate. His
opinion, no doubt, reflects that of Downing Street at the moment.)

"_June 7._--Lady Gregory came in and gave me news. She tells me that
Lord Granville told her husband that all their hopes now rested on
Dervish's mission from Constantinople. 'Dervish,' Lord Granville said,
'is quite unscrupulous, and he will get rid of Arabi one way or other.'
I suppose this means by bribing;[18] indeed, Lord Granville seems to
have said as much, but it may also mean by 'coffee.' I do not, however,
fear the latter. The Sultan's object will be to get Arabi to
Constantinople, not to kill, but to keep him as a hostage. I am anxious
all the same Sabunji should arrive. I cannot help fancying they may try
and prevent his landing, knowing his connection with me. A note has come
from him written in the train, with additions to our code of signals
which are rather amusing.... Later saw Gregory, who confirms all his
wife told me of his interview with Granville. He thinks Colvin and Malet
must be recalled.... Pembroke writes to John Pollen that the Foreign
Office is unbounded in its anger against me. Never mind.... I met Austin
Lee, Dilke's secretary, at the Club, and he asked me the latest news
from Egypt. I said, 'I hear you are sending a barrel of salt to put on
Arabi's tail.' 'No,' he answered with some readiness, 'the salt is to
pickle him.' ... Rode in the evening with Cyril Flower (who had married
a Rothschild) advised him to sell his Egyptian Bonds.... Dined with
Bertram, whom I found much more humane. He believes in Gladstone, and
the eventual independence of Ireland. 'Only,' he says, 'Gladstone has
the misfortune of being a generation before his age. We shall all
believe in attending to our own affairs in another twenty years.'

"Frederic Harrison has written to protest in the 'Pall Mall' against
intervention in Egypt." This was a powerful article headed "Money, Sir,
Money," which was followed by other letters. I have always regretted
that I had not earlier become acquainted with the writer, the soundest
and most courageous man on foreign policy then in the Liberal Party, and
by far their most vigorous pamphleteer. Had we met a month or two
before, I feel sure that he might have prevented the war, for though not
in Parliament, he wielded great influence. The misfortune of the public
position that Spring was that there was not a single man of great
intellectual weight in the party, Harrison excepted, free from official
bondage.... "Party at Lady Salisbury's. Talked with Miltown, who was
rather angry, I thought, at my handiwork in Egypt, and not quite polite
about my telegrams. Also with old Strathnairn, who would like 'to go out
with 10,000 men and hang Arabi.' Also with Osman and Kiamil Pashas, the
Khedive's cousins, though not about politics.... The Sultan's Commission
has arrived in Egypt.

"_June 8._--A telegram from Sabunji at Alexandria announcing his
arrival. Now I feel relieved from anxiety. He says the Turkish
Commission has gone to Cairo.... Harry Brand refuses to come to my
lawn-tennis party at Crabbet till he sees how things go at Cairo. I fear
he has much of his money in Egypt and will lose it.

"_June 9._--There is another letter from Frederic Harrison in the 'Pall
Mall.' Wrote to propose to show him my correspondence with Gladstone.
Saw the Gregorys. The Commission is hailed with a great flourish of
trumpets at Cairo, but we fancy this is only to herald a compromise.
Sabunji telegraphs that Arabi has declared publicly he will resist the
landing of Turkish troops. He is still at Alexandria, which disquiets
me. He ought to be in Cairo. Dined at Wentworth House to meet Sir Bartle
Frere, a soft-spoken, intelligent man.

"_June 10._--Luncheon with Mr. and Mrs. Green, very superior and
sympathetic about Egypt." (_N. B._--This was Green the historian. He was
already in failing health. I have a clear recollection of his emotional
sympathy with me and with the cause I was pleading. His loss to an
honest understanding of statesmanship was a great one.) "I am anxious
about things there for the first time for a fortnight. The evening
papers announced that Dervish has won--bought over--a part of the army
and has proclaimed himself Commander-in-Chief, summoning Arabi to
submit. Unless he stands firm now all is lost. After much consideration
I have sent the following telegram to Sabunji: '7 p. m. Arrest
Commission. Fear not but God.' This partly in cipher. My trouble is lest
Sabunji should not have gone to Cairo. Or why does he not telegraph? Can
he have come to grief?... Dinner at Lyulph Stanley's where, besides
others, we met Bright. I found him most humane about Egypt, and spoke a
few words with him, I hope, in season. I spoke my mind pretty freely. It
is now a question of boldness on the part of the National Party. I fancy
Dervish's orders have been to test this, and, if he finds them
determined, to support them. He will crush them, if he can, through the
Circassians. But I trust they may crush him, or at any rate frighten
him. The Sultan dares not put them down by force.

"_June 11_, Sunday.--By early train to Crabbet. I was very nervous
looking into the papers lest some _coupe de main_ should have been made.
But the 'Observer' shows that nothing has yet happened. There are the
same stories of Dervish's swagger to the Ulema and the officers. But
that is nothing.... At 2 o'clock the Princes Osman and Kiamil and their
cousin ---- and their alem Aarif Bey and an English bear-leader, one
Lemprière, came down to see our horses. While we were showing them these
a telegram came in cipher from Sabunji as follows: 'Cairo, 12 p. m.,
June 10. I have just had an interview with Arabi. He is supported by the
Parliament, the University, and the Army, all except Sultan Pasha and
the Sheykh el Islam. The nation is decided to depose the Khedive. The
Porte dislikes the proposals of Europe. Arabi insists there will be no
peace while Malet and Colvin are here. Arabi will resist a Turkish
invasion. He will not go to Constantinople. Sheykh Aleysh has been made
head of the Azhar. The Porte has decided to depose the Khedive. Malet
has urged the proposals of Europe on the Commission. Abdallah Nadim at a
public meeting of 10,000 spoke against these proposals and against the
Khedive.' If the Khedive's cousins whom we were entertaining could have
read it, it would have spoiled their appetites. We have talked the
matter over and are going to telegraph them to proclaim a republic in
case they depose Tewfik. I am relieved of all anxiety now that I know
Sabunji is with them."

In what I here say of Princes Osman and Kiamil I do them less than
justice. They had no love for Tewfik, their father Mustafa having been
driven out of Egypt and despoiled of much of his possessions by Ismaïl,
and they also had a considerable amount of patriotism. At least they
gave proof of it during the war when they were among Arabi's strongest
adherents. Their sister, Nazli Hanum, did much to help us at the time of
the trial. Aarif Bey was a young man of great ability, a Kurd by birth
but with Arab blood, well educated and of high distinction. He
afterwards became Secretary to Mukhtar Pasha at Cairo, and edited a
literary newspaper, but lost himself in intrigues of all kinds and has
disappeared. The fourth person on this occasion was a Europeanized Turk
and member of the Sultan's household, but his name in my diary is not
recorded. We talked Eastern politics, though not Egyptian, freely at
dinner, politics of a Pan-Islamic kind which included the hope that
France as well as England would sooner or later be driven out of North

I may here insert a letter I wrote to Sabunji on the 9th, and one I
received from him of the same date as his telegram just given.

     "10, James Street, _June 9, 1882_.

     "Your telegram announcing your landing in Egypt relieved me of much
     anxiety. I hope by this time you are at Cairo and in communication
     with our friends. I think they cannot do better just now than keep
     on the best possible terms with the Commissioners. Only I would
     have them beware of trusting them. I know that great hopes are
     placed by the enemies of Egypt on Dervish as a man quite
     unscrupulous in his mode of dealing with rebels. Every effort will
     be made to get Arabi to go to Constantinople. But this he must not
     do. They will try to bribe him and persuade him that his going will
     be for the good of the country. He must not be deluded. It is
     possible even they may try to arrest or poison him, though I do not
     think that likely. When, however, they see he stands firm and has
     got the country with him, they will not quarrel with him. My strong
     advice to him is that he should make his submission at once to
     Mohammed Tewfik as the Sultan's viceroy, on condition of retaining
     his place as Minister of War. If he does this the English and
     French Governments will have no just cause of quarrel with him; and
     the European Conference, if it assembles, will not sanction their
     further intervention. I am sure that our Government will not insist
     on their Ultimatum as regards Arabi leaving the country. But they
     and the French are bound to support Tewfik as nominal sovereign of
     Egypt. It would be very dangerous at the present moment for Arabi
     to quarrel either with Tewfik or the Sultan. Only let him hold his
     ground as practical ruler of the country.... People are very angry
     here with me, but I do not care, so long as Egypt gets her

I give a letter, somewhat condensed, which was written to me by Sabunji
from Cairo on the day of the Alexandrian riot, but before news of it had
reached him.

     "Cairo, _June 11, 1882_.

     "On my arrival I called on Arabi Pasha, Mahmud Sami and others who
     are of the party. They received me with enthusiasm and inquired
     after you. Mohammed Abdu informed me that he had been told you had
     been advised by some influential people not to come to Cairo. Arabi
     overwhelmed me with joy when he saw me. A week before my arrival he
     addressed a large audience and read them a letter I had written, in
     which I dwelt upon the necessity of perfect union among

     "The situation at present stands thus: In my telegram I told you
     how we had talked of all that had happened from the discovery of
     the Circassian plot down to the present date. Now Sheykh Aleysh,
     the great holy man of the Azhar, has issued a _fetwa_ in which he
     states that the present Khedive, having attempted to sell his
     country to the foreigners by following the advice of the European
     Consuls, is no more worthy of ruling over the Moslems of Egypt. He
     must therefore be deposed. All the Sheykhs of the Azhar, who
     consider Sheykh Aleysh as their spiritual head, have accepted the
     _fetwa_.... Sheykh Mohammed Khodeyr of the Azhar went with
     twenty-two Notables to meet Dervish Pasha, and presented him a
     petition signed by 10,000 persons in which they requested him to
     reject the proposals of the Powers and depose the Khedive. There
     are fourteen moudiriehs in Egypt. Only three mudirs are personally
     opposed to Arabi. The Copt and Arab element of the fellahin
     unanimously supports him.... Embabeh (Sheykh el Islam), being
     afraid of both the Khedive and the National Party, keeps aloof, and
     avoids politics under plea of ill-health. Arabi told me 'he will
     never yield either to Europe or Turkey. Let them send European,
     Turkish, or Indian troops, as long as I breathe I will defend my
     country; and when we are all dead they will possess a ruined
     country, and we shall have the glory of having died for our native
     land. Nor is this all. A religious war will succeed the political
     one, and the responsibility of this will fall on those who provoke
     it.' He is determined to resist and will not go to Constantinople;
     Arabi is now supported by the majority of the nation. Nine only of
     the Deputies are against him. Sultan Pasha has deserted him and
     joined the Khedive, being frightened by Malet and the arrival of
     the fleet. He and the Khedive are now looked upon by all the Arab
     element as traitors.... Deputations from all the provinces came to
     Dervish requesting the deposition of the Khedive, a fact which it
     is impossible to explain on the supposition that Arabi compelled
     them.... Ninety thousand persons have signed petitions to Dervish
     to reject the proposals of Europe and keep Arabi in office.

     "All the Azhar Sheykhs except Embabeh, el Abbasi, and the Sheykh el
     Saadat are supporting Arabi, also Abd-el-Rahman Bahrawi. Nadim held
     a large meeting of about 10,000 persons in Alexandria, and spoke
     against the proposals of Europe, and proved the unfitness of the
     Khedive to reign. He brought proofs from the Koran, the Hadith,
     and modern history to prove his case and persuade his hearers.
     Arabi also in an animated speech denounced all the misdeeds of the
     reigning dynasty from Mohammed Ali down to Tewfik. I have spoken to
     Abdu, Nadim, and others about soliciting letters and signatures
     from Notables, Ulema, fellahin, merchants, and others, to be sent
     to you to prove the reality of the National movement. They agree to
     get the documents in ten days and I shall send them to you.

     "I have found out that we formed an erroneous idea of Mahmud Pasha
     Sami. I have had many conversations with him and have got
     information about him even from his opponents. I find he is one of
     those who first planned the National movement as long ago as in
     Ismaïl's time. He suffered a great deal for his liberalism yet
     stuck to his principles. Several of the leaders of the party,
     Nadim, Abdu, and even Arabi, confess that they owe their power to
     his help and constancy. He was tempted by Ismaïl to give up the
     party, but he refused all money. He spends all his income in doing
     good to the party, and his house is like a caravanserai. His
     private life is that of a philosopher, spending little on himself
     and satisfied with his lot and all that comes. He is not an
     ignorant man. He is well versed in Arabic literature, better than
     Arabi, and if he is hated by the Turks it is a proof of his
     patriotism. He is going to write a letter to Lord Granville to
     prove the existence of a real National Party in Egypt, and to avow
     their friendship to England, which they look upon as the champion
     of liberty, and as a nation which has always taken by the hand
     people who were struggling for their freedom. I suggested that
     similar letters from Arabi and Embabeh to Lord Granville and Mr.
     Gladstone would be of use, and I promised to translate the letters
     and send them to their destination.

     "When it was rumoured that the Sultan intended sending Dervish to
     urge Arabi to accept the Powers' Ultimatum, Nadim went to
     Alexandria and held a meeting of about 10,000 persons and spoke for
     two hours against the Note and suggested that every one in the
     Assembly should protest against it. Nadim, the new Oracle of
     Delphi, was cordially obeyed. When the men returned home they
     taught their wives and children to join them in protesting against
     the Note. In fact, when Dervish landed, the children were heard
     shouting in the streets '_el leyha, el leyha_,' 'the note, the
     note,' and from the windows the women called out, '_marfudha,
     marfudha_,' 'reject it, reject it.' Dervish took a lesson from this
     and changed his colours....

     "Embabeh, who for a few days showed himself hostile to the National
     Party for having openly sanctioned the deposition of the Khedive,
     yesterday made peace with them. But Sultan Pasha has disappointed
     every one. He has joined the Khedive blindly, frightened by the
     thought of an European intervention, and being assured by Malet
     that Arabi would not be suffered to remain in office. Thus the poor
     old fellow fell into the same snare with Sherif. He is no longer
     popular, and has got nothing for his change of policy.

     "Another curious event took place yesterday. When Dervish summoned
     the Ulema to consult about the best measures to be taken for an
     honourable peace, two of the Ulema only took the Khedive's part.
     All the rest pleaded the National cause. Dervish was vexed and
     dissolved the Assembly, decorating the two dissenting Sheykhs,
     Bahrawi and Abyari. When the result was published in the papers it
     created a revolutionary movement in the Azhar. I was present at
     several of the meetings of the Ulema and other persons, and there
     was general indignation. The Koran and the Hadith were freely
     quoted, showing the unfitness of Tewfik to rule over a Mussulman
     community. They were not satisfied, however, with private meetings,
     but in my presence insisted upon holding a public meeting in the
     Azhar to protest against the insult inflicted on them. Accordingly
     the meeting was held in the Azhar Mosque, in the very place where
     the prayers are made; and Nadim was ordered by the Ulema to address
     the Assembly, which exceeded four thousand persons. The effect
     produced by Nadim's oration I have no time to describe. You have
     seen Nadim and know how eagerly people hear him and how excited
     they get by his eloquence."


[16] The "Pall Mall" of 28th May, has the following: "Cairo, 27th May,
Omar Pasha Lutfi, Sherif Pasha, Ragheb Pasha, and Sultan Pasha,
President of the Chamber of Notables, assembled at noon to-day at the
Ismaïlia Palace.... The Presidency of the Council will probably be held
by Sherif Pasha or Omar Pasha Lutfi.... Omar Pasha Lutfi will be
Minister of War."

[17] Arabi was probably deterred from taking open action against Omar
Lutfi, in part by the strong solidarity there is among Moslems in all
quarrels with non-Moslems, in part by his suspicion of the Khedive's
complicity, which at first was a suspicion only. He was extremely loath
to quarrel with Tewfik at that moment, as he had just been reconciled to
him, and only a few days before had sworn to protect his life as he
would his own. He preferred therefore, in his language at the time, to
attribute the chief blame to Cookson and Sinadino, who truly on their
side were not without blame. This will be seen in Sabunji's letters and
other documents concerning the riot printed in the Appendix.

[18] My diary of 1888 records: "Dec. 22, Cairo. To breakfast with Zebehr
Pasha.... He spoke highly of Arabi, and said that he had been present at
a conversation, between him and Dervish Pasha, in which Dervish had
offered Arabi E£250 a month if he would go to Constantinople. But Arabi
had said that, even if he were willing, there were 10,000 men would
stand between him and the sea."



Such was the state of feeling in the inner circle of the Nationalists at
Cairo when the Alexandrian riot occurred. The next day I went up to
London in high spirits, carrying with me Sabunji's telegram of the 10th
to show to Hamilton. The news of the riot met me at the station.

"_June 12._--... Another scare. Riots at Alexandria, Cookson hurt, an
officer of the Superb killed, and fifty or sixty Europeans. This has
caused great excitement. I am not sure whether it will be for Arabi's
advantage or not. It will show he is master of the situation; unless,
indeed, it be a trap laid for him by Dervish to get him to go to
Alexandria where he might arrest him.... I went to Eddy Hamilton and
told him I was now in possession of indisputable knowledge that Arabi
commanded the country, also that Tewfik was in great danger of being
deposed by the feeling of the country, and that, if they did not want a
violent solution of the difficulty, they had better come speedily to
terms with him. He promised to repeat all I said to Gladstone. It is
evident to me now that they would catch at any compromise which should
leave Tewfik on the throne.

"Went down to the House of Commons. Harry Brand asked his father, the
Speaker, for a ticket of entrance for the 'rebel Blunt,' and he said,
'he does not deserve one,' but gave it. Dilke answered various questions
about Egypt, assuming that Dervish and the Khedive were having it all
their own way. This has rather frightened me, for there is a report that
Arabi has gone down with Dervish to Alexandria (this proved untrue), and
I fear treachery. Sabunji, too, has sent a new telegram as follows: 'I
have just seen Arabi. Your message delivered. All quiet. Abdallah Nadim
addressed four thousand persons at the Azhar, attacking the Turkish
Commission and the Khedive. The Commission has withdrawn the proposals
of Europe, and I hope for peace. The Circassians are intriguing. The
Sheykh el Islam has rejoined, Sultan Pasha has not. The riot is
nothing.' To this we composed an answer coming down in the train, and
sent it from Three Bridges: 'Dervish means mischief, bribery, perhaps
murder. Call a public meeting under Nadim and Abdu and the Azhar
University, a hundred thousand persons. Let them insist on Dervish's
departure. If this is refused let him be arrested by the police and sent
away. Make terms with the Khedive. Be careful the Consuls are not
molested. Let Nadim be the mover in action. Arabi and the army must
stand aloof.' I am far from easy in my mind.

"Had a long conversation before leaving London with Frederic Harrison,
who has written again on Egypt to the 'Pall Mall.' I have shown him my
letters to Gladstone. He will be of valuable assistance.... Just as we
were leaving James Street Lady Malet rushed in wildly, demanding of me
the truth of what I had been doing in Egypt. I told her pretty nearly.
She said my honour was at stake in clearing myself of the charge of
intriguing against my country. She besought me, too, to calm down things
there; and I promised to send a message to Arabi not to touch a hair of
her son's head. I shall write by to-morrow's mail, and in the meanwhile
my telegram will suffice. I do not think he runs the slightest danger.
Poor Lady Malet! I am very sorry for her. She told me people said I had
been in a conspiracy with Gladstone against her son's policy in Egypt. I
assured her that Gladstone was guiltless of my telegrams, and that I
accepted the full responsibility of all I had done. She made me promise
to come and see her; but--such are the miseries of political life--she
looks upon me as Edward's murderer.

"_June_ 13._--I was very nervous all night, expecting to hear that Arabi
had been arrested or murdered. But the papers show him to be quite
master of the situation. The Khedive is forming a new Ministry, in which
Arabi is to be Minister of War as ever. I trust, therefore, he has
followed my advice about making terms with Tewfik. Now they have only to
get Dervish away, and all will go smoothly."

So thought the majority of the London papers, the "Pall Mall" almost
alone dissenting from this view of a peaceful solution having been
arrived at, and its comments, prompted by the Foreign Office, show the
animus of our officials and their determination there should not be
peace on any terms which should leave the Nationalists in power. Morley
thus writes: "It would be difficult to make a greater mistake than that
into which the 'Times' has fallen this morning, when it mistakes the
temporary and provisional arrangement, entered into by the Khedive, the
Consuls-General, Dervish, and Arabi for the preservation of order, for
the final settlement of the Egyptian difficulty. The excitement in Egypt
is so great that Europeans are in danger of their lives. The only
restraining force in the country that can hold the mob in awe is the
army, and the army is in the hands of Arabi. For the moment, then, Arabi
must be made use of to prevent massacre. But because Dervish holds Arabi
responsible with his head for the preservation of order, it no more
follows that he has abandoned the intention to re-establish the _status
quo_ than that England and France have come to terms with Arabi because
they insisted he should use his troops to suppress the rioting in
Alexandria." We were, however, taken in in England, just as Arabi was
taken in at Cairo, by the treacherous truce Malet and Colvin had agreed
to, and did not suspect its hollowness. Arabi on that occasion gave his
word of honour to Tewfik that, come what might, he would defend his life
like his own, and this promise the Khedive, who had nothing but
treachery towards him in his heart, accepted and abused to the end.

To continue my journal of that day I find: "Button told me yesterday
that Rothschild had offered Arabi £4,000 (one hundred thousand francs) a
year for life if he would leave Egypt.[19]... As we went up to London
they gave us the following telegram: 'Cairo, June 12th, 11 a. m. I have
just seen Arabi, he sends you his salaams. He thinks the European
proposals have disappeared and peace is concluded. Arabi master of the
situation. Dervish gone. Khedive went to Alexandria. Arabi led him by
the arm to the station. National Party triumphant. I worked hard but
have triumphed.'... I have been between laughing and crying ever since.
I went at once to Downing Street, and told Eddy Hamilton and Horace
Seymour what had happened. They seemed to think that now, even at the
eleventh hour, Gladstone might acknowledge his errors, or rather Malet's
errors, and make peace with Arabi. Button thinks this possible too. But
the Foreign Office will harden its heart.... Dined at home and went to a
party at the Admiralty. Found the Gregorys and Sir Frederick Goldsmid
there, and had some conversation on Egypt with Lord Northbrook. I spoke
my mind to him pretty freely. I said, 'It depends entirely upon you now
whether there is bloodshed in Egypt or not.'

"_June 14._--I am quite worn out. Mrs. Howard, whom I met in the Park,
said I looked altered. And in fact I have not had Egypt, sleeping or
waking, out of my head since the crisis began.... I spent the morning
and breakfasted with Goldsmid, who is going this evening on a special
mission to Constantinople, and primed him well with my views, showing
him all my Gladstone correspondence." (_N. B._--This General Goldsmid
was afterwards employed as chief of the Intelligence Department by
Wolseley in his campaign. He was a soft-spoken man, whom I had known the
year before at Cairo.)... "Had luncheon with Lascelles, who seems to
agree with my views about Egypt." (There was some thought, I believe, at
that time at the Foreign Office of his being sent out to Cairo to
replace Malet, as he already knew Egypt; and on a mission of
conciliation he would have done well. Only, unfortunately, none such was
decided on.)... "There is confirmation of Sabunji's news in to-day's
'Daily Telegraph.' The other papers look upon the Khedive's and
Dervish's flight as caused by their desire to restore order at
Alexandria. They say Dervish will put himself at the head of 12,000 men
who have been massed there and march against Arabi, who is now alone at
Cairo(!). I have telegraphed to Arabi: 'Praise God for victory and

This was the last point at which it seemed to me possible that the long
game I had been playing against Colvin could be won and war averted.
Henceforth it was a losing battle, though I fought it out to the end.
The determining cause with Gladstone, in whom alone salvation lay, was,
I believe, about this date when certain industrial towns of the North of
England protested against the dilatory character of the Government
treatment of the Egyptian case, on the ground that the long continuance
of the crisis there was injuring trade. This was used upon him as a
means of coercion by Chamberlain, egged on by Dilke, in the Cabinet.

"_June 15._--I am anxious about the state of things at Alexandria, but
suppose Arabi can depend upon his men. There is a general stampede there
and at Cairo. Malet, I am thankful to say, has left Cairo. Dervish still
hangs on at Alexandria. He and the Khedive have gone to Ras-el-Tin
Palace, where they are under the guns of the fleet.... Another telegram
from Sabunji as follows: 'The Khedive's departure has aroused suspicion.
Agitation. Activity in army preparations. Nadim, Abdu and the army
openly defy the Porte. Arabi is moderate and vigilant. A plot to murder
Nadim. There is danger of serious disturbance on European side. Dervish
declines retiring till the fleet is withdrawn. Recall Malet for God's
sake. All curse and will murder him if he continues.' I went at once to
Eddy Hamilton and implored him to get Malet ordered on board ship" (this
was done) "and afterwards sent him (Hamilton) a letter warning the
Government not to count on Turkish troops. We then sent an answer to
Sabunji: 'Turkish Commissioner demands troops from Constantinople. They
are not likely to be sent. But prepare. Keep order at all costs. Another
riot would be fatal. Malet leaves soon. Patience.'... Dined at Lord De
la Warr's.... On coming home found the telegraph to Cairo interrupted,
by the flight, I suppose, of the Eastern Telegraph clerks. This alarms
me a little.

"_June 16._--Went to see Button, who is very hopeful. But I am losing my
faith in Gladstone and think the English Government means mischief. I
gave my Gladstone correspondence yesterday to Kegan Paul to put in
print, so as to have it ready in case of the worst.... My telegram has
gone after all.... In low spirits. Another telegram from Sabunji: 'New
Commissioner with unknown instructions arrived. Nation and army in
counsel daily to devise defensive plans. They distrust the double
Commission. Inform me of Gladstone's policy and of Lord Granville's.
Arabi is firm. All the journals closed except the "Wattan" and the
"Official Journal." Panic among foreigners. The Khedive has thanked
Arabi for keeping order. All is quiet. Nadim has been stopped from
calling public meetings.'

"Yesterday when I saw Eddy he told me I had better not return to Downing
Street as my visits there were remarked on, but to write him any news I
might receive. Now I have written him yet another letter to try and find
out what Gladstone's policy really is. Eddy's answer, however, is very
unsatisfactory. There is a sensational announcement in the 'St. James's
Gazette' of British troops ordered to Egypt. Home to Crabbet in a very
nervous state. I see that a hurried meeting of the Cabinet was called
yesterday in Mr. Gladstone's private room. Can this ordering of troops
have been the consequence? I cannot help thinking they mean to push on
an intervention. The French, however, have apparently made their peace
with Arabi."

Not the French only, but the other European Powers, especially Germany
and Austria, were at that moment in a mood to come to terms with him and
to sacrifice Tewfik, for the preservation of order's sake. The "Pall
Mall Gazette" of 16th June says: "The German Powers are supposed to
advocate an arrangement with Arabi on the basis of Tewfik's abdication
in favour of his son with a regency.... There are many points in its
favour, though 'the solemn obligations of England and France' may make
it impossible for them to do otherwise than stand by the man who has
implicitly followed their counsels--especially those of the English
Representative--it is perfectly conceivable that the practical failure
of Tewfik, personal as well as political, may have impressed the other
Powers with the expediency of by and by finding some more capable
substitute." Compare, too, Malet's despatch of June 14: "The Agents of
Austria and Germany have telegraphed to their Governments that the
effect of any armed intervention, not excepting Turkish, will place the
lives of their countrymen in danger. They consider the political
question as a secondary matter compared with the security of their
fellow subjects. With this object they are in favour of leaving the
matter entirely in the hands of the Porte, and they believe that the
only means of avoiding the most serious calamities is the departure from
Alexandria of the fleet and myself." Poor Malet at this date, I have
heard, spoke to his friends of his professional career as ruined. All
depended for him and Colvin on bringing on hostilities.

"_June 17._--Very troubled night. But there is no confirmation of the
news about the troops in to-day's papers; and the day is so fine, I feel
again light-hearted. The Sultan dares not interfere. That is proved. The
French have made their terms with Arabi, and it is hinted that Germany
and Austria are doing likewise. So England does not matter.

"The following is our party at Crabbet: Ebrington, Lymington, Granny
Farquhar, Eddy Hamilton, Dallas (of the Foreign Office), Nigel Kingscote
(junior), Button Bourke, and Walter Seymour. News of despatch of troops
contradicted. All seems going well. We have agreed to talk nothing about
Egypt. But we cannot help it.

"_June 18._--Sunday, Waterloo day, and never did England look more
foolish. I got a telegram at breakfast announcing a new Ministry under
Ragheb and Arabi, evidently consented to by the German Powers and
Turkey. We are consequently singing Hallelujahs."

Here I may as well insert three more of Sabunji's letters, which he
wrote in these last days. They throw a valuable light on what was
passing in the Nationalist mind at Cairo:

     "Cairo, _June 14, 1882_.

     "I called to-day on Arabi Pasha just a few minutes after he
     received your telegram. We talked for about an hour and a half. I
     asked him why this panic in the country if he and the Khedive had
     already come to terms. He said: 'As far as I am concerned I believe
     the Khedive would be sincere in his dealing with me, if left alone
     and far from Sir E. Malet's advice. He has by this time become
     convinced that there is nobody in his Government who could control
     the country and preserve peace except the man whom European
     statesmen despise, Ahmed Arabi. The Khedive has now made peace
     with me, and in the presence of the Representatives of the six
     European Powers and of Dervish Pasha, has asked me to take on
     myself the responsibility of public safety. I have accepted his
     order, and pledged my word and sworn to defend his life and the
     lives of all who inhabit Egypt, of every creed and nation; and, as
     long as I live and my jurisdiction is not interfered with, I will
     keep my word. But, if this peace is looked upon by others as a
     fictitious and fraudulent peace, that is the Khedive's lookout. For
     myself, I am sincere in my dealing with all who deal honestly and
     sincerely with me; but with those who deal dishonestly I pay them
     with their own coin, and with the fraudulent I am doubly
     fraudulent. Time and Ismaïl, in spite of us, have trained us to
     Turkish deceit. As we make use of the arms, guns and ammunition
     they left us, so we make use of their deceit, _when the Turks force
     us to do so_. We will not be the aggressors, but we will resist all
     who attempt to attack us. We are a sincere nation, and grateful to
     those who take us by the hand and help us to reform our country. We
     wish for nothing except reforms' (he uttered that with emphasis).
     'But those who would cheat us will find us the very roots of fraud,
     _sudar el ghish_. Europe, and especially England, looks upon us as
     barbarians. They can crush us, they say, in twenty-four hours.
     Well, if they are willing, let them try it, but they will lose
     their 80 millions of public debt and the 20 millions the fellahin
     privately owe to the bankers. The first shot fired will release us
     from these engagements; and the nation on this account wishes
     nothing more than war.'

     "I hear much the same language from every one. Great preparations
     are going on. Vast stores of rifles and ammunition have been found,
     laid up by Ismaïl when he intended to make himself independent of
     the Porte. These they will make good use of. But I tell them I hope
     there will be no occasion. They say they can resist for years, for
     God has blessed them with a crop this summer twice as great as in
     ordinary fertile years.

     "I sounded Arabi about Halim. I found him to prefer Halim to
     Tewfik, but he says that if Tewfik will only free himself from
     Malet's influence all will go well. Malet, he says, has been misled
     by Colvin, and has done immense harm to his own country, as well
     as Egypt, by their misrepresentation of facts.

     "_June 17._--Last night I went to Shereï Pasha's, where Arabi,
     Mahmud Sami, Abd-el-Aal, Ali Fehmi, Nadim, Hajrasi and many others
     were being entertained at dinner. After they had dined and we were
     smoking and talking politics, an officer came in with a letter from
     an English lady asking protection, as she had been advised to leave
     Cairo. I was begged to write her an answer at once to assure her
     there was no danger, and that if there should be trouble Arabi
     would protect her life as his own. Arabi has become a hero with
     many of the European ladies, whom I have heard praising him for the
     protection he has given. When he drives through the town all rush
     to the windows and balconies. I make converts to the National
     Party, all I can, among the Europeans I meet.

     "_June 18._--Yesterday at noon, on Ragheb being telegraphed as
     Prime Minister, I went to see Arabi, who read me a telegram just
     received from the Khedive requesting him to co-operate with Ragheb
     as Minister of War. After coffee had been served he wrote a
     telegram of thanks to the Khedive and handed it to me. It was very
     politely worded. A few minutes afterwards he said: 'Let us go for a
     drive through the town to inspire confidence in the minds of the
     people.' He and Ali Fehmi drove in one carriage, and I and Nadim in
     the other. We went through Faggala, preceded by heralds. We
     alighted at Embabeh's house (the Sheykh el Islam's), and Arabi
     said, 'Come in, I will introduce you to our Pope.' On entering the
     reception room Arabi took off his boots, and turning to me said,
     'We consider this place as the holy abode of our Sheykh.'
     Accordingly I did the same. On entering, the Sheykh, who was
     sitting on a low divan, rose and advanced a few paces towards
     Arabi, who saluted him and kissed his hands. I only shook hands
     with him, and he invited us to take seats. There were several of
     the Azhar Sheykhs with him, among them the son of Arusi. At first
     they talked about the situation and the new Ministry. Then the
     conversation turned on Embabeh's dealings with the Khedive during
     the late events. From all I saw I conclude that the report of a
     coolness having taken place between Embabeh and Arabi was not true.
     While Embabeh was concluding his narrative coffee was served, and
     Arabi introduced me formally to him, and explained that I was a
     friend of Mr. Blunt. Embabeh then explained to me all about the
     telegram. He had written the answer, he said, with his own hand,
     thinking the telegram addressed to him; but he had never apologized
     to the Khedive about it. He believes Sir E. Malet heard of it
     originally through Sultan Pasha, or some of the Khedive's

     "Next Arabi showed Embabeh a proclamation he had made guaranteeing
     the lives and properties of all the inhabitants of Egypt, whatever
     their creed or nation, and Arabi begged him to write a similar one,
     showing, as Sheykh el Islam, that the Mohammedan religion, far from
     allowing, forbids Moslems to hurt Christians, Jews, or others, and
     commands the faithful to protect them. Embabeh agreed to this, and,
     in my presence and that of the other four Sheykhs, prayed God to
     help him to succeed in reforming the country. He also promised to
     help him in fostering peace between Mohammedans and others,
     inasmuch as all were brothers notwithstanding the diversity of

     "We then went on to Artin Bey's, where also we were entertained
     with great honour, and afterwards drove through the Clot Bey Road,
     the Mouski, and other parts of the town, while the people stood on
     both sides saying, 'May God exalt you.'

     "At the end of the drive Arabi told me he was invited to dine with
     Seyd Hassan Akkad, and took me with him, with all the pashas,
     officers, sheykhs, and Ulemas. Our host's large house was crowded;
     Arabi, Mahmud Sami, Ahmed Pasha, Abdu, Nadim, and I were in the
     principal sitting-room, where we recited poetry, making or
     composing elegies and satires, and amusing ourselves at Ragheb's
     expense. Arabi composed a satire, Abdu two, Nadim made four, and
     Sami two. At dinner I sat by Arabi. The courses were about thirty
     different Arab dishes, besides the European and Eastern cakes,
     sweetmeats and fruit.

     "After dinner we talked freely about politics, and about different
     plans and forms of government. The republican form was preferred;
     and Mahmud Sami, who displayed great knowledge and ingenuity,
     endeavoured to show the advantage of a republican government for
     Egypt. He said: 'From the beginning of our movement we aimed at
     turning Egypt into a small republic like Switzerland--and then
     Syria would have joined--and then Hejaz would have followed us.
     But we found some of the Ulema were not quite prepared for it and
     were behind our time. Nevertheless we shall endeavour to make Egypt
     a republic before we die. We all hope to see the "Saturnia regna"
     once more.'

     "_June 19._--Abdu, Nadim, Sami, and I were talking the night before
     last about the peaceful means to be taken to tide over the Egyptian
     difficulty. Abdu said that he has made up his mind to get together
     all the documents he has in his possession, with others concerning
     Egyptian affairs, and go to England and depose them himself before
     Mr. Gladstone and the English Parliament. He would take also with
     him a worthy person as representative of the leading merchants of
     the land; and another who would represent the liberal fellahin.
     Mahmud Sami approved the idea, and said he also wished he could go
     to Europe on such a mission, and Abdu is already preparing for the
     journey. So is Nadim and Seyyid Hassan Moussa el Akkad, the leading
     Arab merchant of Cairo, a man of considerable wealth, influence,
     and patriotism.

     "Ragheb is made Prime Minister, but his policy being Turkish nobody
     is pleased with him except the Circassians. People suspect some
     Ottoman intrigue in the matter and are very uneasy. I am trying to
     calm their minds and tell them to keep quiet.

     "The last events have increased the hatred in the Arab heart
     against the Turks, Circassians, and the Sultan himself. I heard
     Sami and Abdu and Nadim curse the Sultans and all the Turkish
     generation from Genjis Khan to Holagu and down to Abdul Hamid. They
     are preparing the nation for a republican form of government. A
     large party is already formed and disposed; _crescit eundo_. They
     will seize upon the first occasion which presents itself. They
     expect the armed intervention of Turkish troops with pleasure in
     this last crisis. It would have been the signal for a complete
     independence from the Porte. But the cunning Turk saw the danger
     and abstained. Nadim told me yesterday, while we were coming from
     Shubra, that he must, before he dies, crush down the Sultan's
     throne. ---- said: 'This is my aim too--may God help us to

     "I must tell you that I have been received here with such honour,
     respect, and politeness as I never could dream of. All the pashas,
     colonels, sheykhs, merchants receive me with open arms, and lavish
     upon me their kindness and hearty thanks. We have arranged with
     Nadim to give a dinner party to all the leaders of the National
     Party in your honour, and to thank you for the help given them in
     their struggle."

     "Cairo, _June 22_.

     "Last night I went to Mahmud Sami's house, where I met all our
     friends and the Pashas and many other of the leaders. We talked
     politics all night, and I communicated to them the contents of your
     letters received to-day by Brindisi. I also gave them a summary of
     the English newspapers you and Lady Anne had sent me. Afterwards I
     presented to Mahmud Sami, in the presence of Nadim, a petition on
     the part of the National Party, in which they ask Mr. Gladstone to
     send to Egypt a Consul who understands the affairs of their
     country. Sami approved the petition and said they will have it
     signed when Arabi Pasha comes back to Cairo and present it to Mr.
     Gladstone through you. At the end of the _soirée_ I was informed
     that Sir E. Malet has for the fourth time urged Tewfik to arrest
     Abdu, Nadim, Mahmud Sami, and myself.

     "_June 23._--As soon as Ragheb Pasha was confirmed by the Khedive
     as Prime Minister, his first act and order was to call me to
     Alexandria with Nadim. On Monday night the Under-Secretary sent his
     carriage to my hotel with his man, who informed me that Hassan
     Pasha Daramalli wished to see me, and had sent his carriage. I went
     with Nadim, not trusting myself to go alone. When we got there we
     were received courteously, and afterwards he informed me that
     Ragheb Pasha had charged him with a message that he wished me to go
     and meet him at Alexandria at the Divan of the Administration. I
     replied 'very well,' and Nadim said he, too, would go with me. And
     so we left the house with the firm intention of having nothing to
     do with Ragheb.

     "Thus at the very time I was telegraphing to you, 'for God's sake
     save Malet or he will be murdered by fanatics,' he was urging the
     Khedive to arrest me. Often, when hot-headed young Egyptians were
     discussing Malet and Colvin's death, I endeavoured to convince them
     of their folly, and that no possible good result could come of it
     to the National cause.

     "_June 24._--Mahmud Pasha Fellaki, who had deserted the National
     cause on account of his not having received a place in Mahmud
     Sami's Ministry, has now been reconciled and has received from
     Arabi the post of Minister of Public Works."

       *       *       *       *       *

(Sabunji then describes the crisis preceding Mahmud Sami's resignation,
Arabi's appeal to the Sultan, Dervish's mission and Osman Bey's mission,
and how they flattered Abdul Hamid with professions of zeal for the
Caliphate.) "As to their real convictions, however, they care for Abdul
Hamid as much as they would care for a man in the moon. They would make
use of him as long as he can be useful to them and until they are strong
enough to declare themselves an independent republic. This has been the
basis of their program from the beginning. But they have prudently
chosen to proceed by degrees. Mahmud Pasha Sami assured me in Nadim and
Abdu's presence that before they die they must declare themselves
independent of the Porte, and Egypt a republic. Nadim's efforts are
employed to instill this idea in the minds of the young generation.
Since I came here I and Nadim have been together night and day. We sit
talking and devising plans till one or two every morning. We mix in
every society. Sheykhs, Ulemas, Notables, merchants, and officers
receive us with open arms, and we talk to them of your endeavours and of
the service which you have rendered to the National cause. They all long
to see you and present you with their hearty thanks. Indeed, people so
good and sincerely kind deserve every attention and help."

I am not able to fix an exact date to the moment when Gladstone finally
hardened his heart against the Egyptians and resolved on military
operations--he persuaded himself that it would not be war--but it must
have been some time between the 20th June and the end of the month. The
considerations that seem to have decided him were, first, of course,
parliamentary ones. His Whig followers were on the point of a revolt,
and Chamberlain was pressing him with tales of the impatience of the
provinces. The diplomatic defeat of the Foreign Office was becoming
too plain to be concealed. Granville, with his little maxims of
procrastination and using a threat as if it were a blow, had "dawdled it
out" in Egypt till England had become the laughing-stock of Europe. On
the Stock Exchange things were looking badly and trade was suffering
from the long crisis. What were called the "resources of civilization,"
that is to say, lying, treachery and fraud, had been tried by the
Foreign Office to more than their extreme limit, and one and all had
proved absolutely of no use against the Nationalist obstinacy. Arabi had
been ordered by all the majesty of England to leave Egypt, and he had
not gone. On the contrary he had gained an immense reputation throughout
the Mohammedan East at England's expense. It seemed to many that there
would be a Pan-Islamic revolt in India. England, as I had said on
Waterloo day, had never looked so foolish. Serious officials were
alarmed at this, and all the jingoism of the Empire, asleep since
Disraeli's parliamentary defeat in 1880, was suddenly awake and crying
for blood. Mr. Gladstone hardened his heart and let his conscience go,
not, I think, by any deliberate decision saying that this or that should
be done, but simply by leaving it to the "departments," and to the "men
on the spot," that is to say, the Admiralty, Sir Beauchamp Seymour, and
Colvin (for Malet had been withdrawn) to work out a solution their own
way. We had won our diplomatic game against the Foreign Office too
thoroughly. It was to be the turn now of England's fighting forces.

"_June 19._--A Stock Exchange scare of Bright and Chamberlain having
resigned" (a scare which showed the ignorance of the public as to
Chamberlain's position, classing him still with Bright).

"_June 20._--A more reasonable article in the 'Daily News.' Frederic
Harrison strongly advises me to write Gladstone a public letter and have
it printed. He is prepared to answer for its effect in the provinces. I
have accordingly begun one.

"_June 21._--Finished my letter and took it to the Howards for approval.
He (George Howard) made me modify some sentences, so as not to
compromise Gladstone personally. She warmly approved. Frank Lascelles
was there. I then arranged with Button to publish it tomorrow, or Friday
at latest, and sent it in to Gladstone.

"_June 22._--To Button early. We think they mean mischief after all.
Harry Brand writes that if the French hold out on the Note the
Government mean to act in Egypt, notwithstanding Germany. I doubt,
however, if France is prepared for this. I shall follow up my letter (to
Gladstone) with other letters, if necessary. I am certain that if
England lands troops anywhere in Egypt, the Sultan will proclaim a Jehad
and that the Mussulmans will rise in India. Things are in a pretty

My letter to Gladstone appeared in the "Times" on the following day,
23rd June, the very day the Conference met at Constantinople. It created
a great sensation. It stands thus:

     "_June 21st, 1882._


     "The gravity of the present situation in Egypt, and the interests
     of honour and advantage to the English nation which are there
     engaged, impel me to address you publicly on the subject of the
     diplomatic steps which have led to this imbroglio, and to put on
     record certain facts which, in the case of any new departure taken
     by the Powers at the approaching Conference, should not be lost
     sight of.

     "You are aware, sir, that during the past winter I was engaged as
     mediator in a variety of unofficial but important negotiations
     carried on between Sir Edward Malet and Sir Auckland Colvin on the
     one hand, and the chiefs of the National Egyptian party on the
     other, negotiations in which I engaged my personal honour to the
     loyalty of Her Majesty's agents; also that I have been in close
     communication with those chiefs since my return to England, and
     that I am consequently in a position to speak with certainty and
     authority as to the character and intentions of the popular
     movement in Egypt. You know, moreover, that I have from time to
     time warned Her Majesty's Government of the danger they were
     running from a false appreciation of facts, and that I have
     repeatedly urged the necessity of their coming to a rapid
     understanding with those in whose hands the guidance of the
     movement lay. Finally, you know that in the interests of right and
     justice, and in accordance with a promise made by me to the
     Egyptians, I have counselled them to the best of my ability in the
     recent crisis, and spared no pains to urge them to come to that
     settlement of their difficulties with the Khedive, Mohammed Tewfik,
     at which they have now happily arrived. In this I took upon myself
     a great responsibility, but one which, I think, the event has
     already justified.

     "The main points in the past which I would state are these:

     "1. In the month of December last I assisted the National Party to
     publish a program of their views, which was just and liberal, and
     to which they have since rigidly adhered. At this time, and down to
     the publication of the Dual Note of the 8th of January, the
     Egyptians had no quarrel whatever with England or the English.
     Neither had they any real quarrel with the Khedive or the Control,
     trusting in these to permit the development of political liberty in
     their country in the direction of Parliamentary and constitutional
     self-government. Their aim was, and is, the resumption by Egypt of
     her position as a nation, the redemption of her debt, and the
     reform of justice. They trusted then, as now, to the army, which
     was and is their servant, to secure them these rights, and to their
     Parliament to secure them these ends; and they were prepared to
     advance gradually, and with moderation, in the path they had

     "2. The Dual Note, drawn up by M. Gambetta with the view of making
     England a partner of his anti-Mussulman policy and understood by
     the Egyptians as the first step in a policy analogous to that
     recently pursued in Tunis, changed this confidence into a sentiment
     of profound distrust. Instead of awing them, it precipitated their
     action. It caused them to insist upon the resignation of Sherif
     Pasha, whom they suspected of the design to betray them, and to
     assist with the Khedive in summoning a Nationalist Ministry to
     office. This insistence, though represented by the English journals
     as the work of the army, was, in fact, the work of the nation
     through their representatives the Notables. Of this I can furnish
     ample evidence.

     "3. The unexpected fall of M. Gambetta prevented the execution of
     the threat of armed intervention implied by the Dual Note.
     Nevertheless, a plan of indirect intervention was persisted in. The
     English and French Controllers-General protested against the
     Constitution granted by the Khedive on the 6th of February, and the
     English and French Governments carefully withheld their assent to
     it, signifying only that the Article, giving to the Egyptian
     Parliament the right of voting that half of the Budget which was
     not affected to the payment of the Debt, was an infringement of
     international engagements. Their argument for this, based on
     certain firmans of the Porte, and certain decrees of the Khedive,
     has been constantly denied by the Egyptians.

     "4. Acting, it must be presumed, in accordance with their
     instructions, the English agents at Cairo have for the past three
     months set themselves steadily to work to bring about a revolution
     counter to the will of the people and the liberties granted to them
     by the Viceroy. The English Controller-General, though a paid agent
     of the Egyptian Government, has not scrupled to take part in this;
     and the English Resident Minister has spared no pains to create a
     quarrel between the Khedive and his Ministers. The
     Controller-General, sitting in council with the Ministers as their
     official adviser, has withheld his advice, counting, it would seem,
     on the mistakes likely to be made by men new to office, and noting
     these in silence. The English press correspondents, hitherto held
     in check by the Resident, have been permitted full license in the
     dissemination of news injurious to the Ministry, and known to be
     false. I will venture to recall to you some of the scares reported
     at this time and disseminated through Europe--the scare of banditti
     in the Delta; the scare of the Bedouin rising; the scare of revolt
     in the Soudan; the scare of an Abyssinian war; the scare of huge
     military expenditure; the scare of a general refusal to pay taxes,
     of the resignation of the provincial governors, of the neglect of
     the irrigation works, of danger to the Suez Canal; the scare of
     Arabi Pasha having become the bribed agent, in turn, of Ismaïl, of
     Halim, and of the Sultan.

     "For some of these a very slight foundation may have existed in
     fact; for most there was no foundation whatsoever.

     "On the 20th of March I addressed Lord Granville, by Arabi Pasha's
     request, on this subject, and pointed out to him the danger caused
     to peace in Egypt through the attitude of the English agents urging
     that a Commission should be sent to Cairo to examine into Egyptian

     "In the month of April advantage was taken by the English and
     French Consuls-General of the discovery of a plot to assassinate
     the National Ministry, and traced by these to an agent of Ismaïl
     Pasha's, to induce the Khedive to put himself in open opposition to
     his Ministers. Those implicated in the plot and condemned to
     banishment were men of position, Turks and Circassians, and as such
     of the same race and society with the Khedive and he was unwilling
     to ratify their sentence, and suffered himself to be persuaded to
     refuse his signature. This led to the rupture which the previous
     diplomatic action of the Consuls-General had prepared. A summons
     was then sent by Mahmud Sami Pasha to the Deputies to come to Cairo
     and decide between the Ministers and the Khedive, and the Deputies
     came. Sultan Pasha, however, through jealousy, refused to preside
     at any formal sitting; and advantage was again taken of the
     circumstance by the Consuls-General to encourage all who were in
     opposition to the National Party to rally round the Khedive. A
     section of the rich Egyptians, fearing disturbance, sided with the
     Circassians, and the Consuls-General, deceived by appearances,
     ventured a _coup de main_. An _ultimatum_, dictated by them, was
     sent in to the Ministers, insisting on the resignation of the
     Ministry and Arabi Pasha's departure from the country. The step for
     an instant seemed to have succeeded, for the Ministry resigned. It
     became, however, immediately apparent that the feeling of the
     country had been miscalculated by our diplomacy, and Arabi, by the
     manifest will of the nation, returned next day to power.

     "I cannot understand that the action of our Consul-General in this
     matter was justified by any principle of Liberal policy; it has
     certainly not been justified by success.

     "6. When the Fleet was ordered to Alexandria, I endeavoured to
     convey a warning, as my private opinion, based upon all I had
     witnessed last winter of the temper of the Egyptian people, that
     the presence of English men-of-war at that moment in the port of
     Alexandria, especially if their crews should be allowed on any
     pretence to land, would be exceedingly likely to provoke a serious
     disturbance and it was my intention to go myself to Egypt to do
     what I could towards mitigating what I feared would be the results.

     "7. About the same time the English Government consented to the
     despatch of a Turkish Commissioner to Cairo. It was supposed that
     the authority of the Sultan was so great in Egypt that obedience
     would be shown to whatever orders his representative might bring,
     or that, at any rate, little opposition would be offered. In any
     case, the Porte was authorized to act in its own way. Dervish Pasha
     was sent; and it is lamentable to record that the English Foreign
     Office at that time seems to have counted mainly on the fact that
     he was a man notoriously unscrupulous in his method of dealing with
     rebels. I have reason to know that what was expected of him was,
     that he should summon Arabi Pasha to Constantinople; that, failing
     this, he should have recourse to bribery; and that in the extreme
     resort, he should arrest or shoot the Minister of War as a mutineer
     with his own hand. Whether these were really Dervish Pasha's
     instructions or intentions I will not argue. The Porte seems to
     have been as little prepared as Her Majesty's Government were for
     the strength of the National feeling in Egypt; and only the union
     and courage shown by the people would seem to have convinced the
     Sultan that methods such as those formerly used by Dervish against
     the Albanians would here be out of place. Humaner counsels have in
     any case prevailed, and peace has been recommended between the
     Khedive and his people.

     "Such, sir, is shortly the history of England's diplomatic action
     in Egypt during the past six months. It is one of the most
     deplorable our Foreign Office has to record. The future, however,
     in some measure remains to us, though, when the Conference
     assembles, England's will be only one of many voices raised in the
     settlement. It is not for me to suggest the words which should
     there be spoken; but I will venture to express my conviction that
     if Her Majesty's representative then comes forward with an honest
     confession of the mistakes made, and a declaration of England's
     sympathy with Egyptian freedom, England will regain her lost
     ground. In spite of the just anger of the Egyptians at the unworthy
     tricks which have been played upon them by our Foreign Office, they
     believe that a more generous feeling exists in the body of the
     English nation, which would not suffer so vast a public wrong to be
     committed as the subjugation of their country for a misunderstood
     interest in Egyptian finance and in the Suez Canal. They have, over
     and over again, assured me, and I know that they speak truly, that
     their only aim is peace, independence, and economy; and that the
     Suez Canal cannot be better protected for England, as for the rest
     of the world, than by the admission of the Egyptian people into the
     comity of nations. Only let the hand of friendship be held out to
     them freely, and at once, and we shall still earn their gratitude.

     "I am, Sir, your obedient Servant,



[19] Arabi, in answer to a question of mine as to this matter, told me
many years afterwards that he had never heard of any offer of a pension
_as made him by the Rothschilds_. He said, however, that soon after the
ultimatum of 26th May, he received a visit from the French Consul, who,
having asked what was the amount of his then pay, had offered him the
double--that is to say, E£500 a month--from the French Government, if he
would consent to leave Egypt and go to Paris to be treated there as
Abd-el-Kader had been treated. He refused, however, to have anything to
do with it, telling him that it was his business if necessary to fight
and die for his country, not to abandon it. I have a note of this
conversation but without date. Compare also the "Pall Mall" of 18th May:
"Ourabi is said to be thinking of visiting Europe to recruit his
health--a commendable intention, and no harm would be done if he were
alotted a handsome travelling allowance on condition that he did not



We now come to the bombardment of Alexandria, a quarrel deliberately
picked by Admiral Seymour and Colvin acting in concert, for the removal
of Malet only put the diplomatic power more entirely into Colvin's
hands. Malet was replaced, not as I had hoped by Lascelles, whose
independence of character and knowledge of Egypt might have enabled him
to take a line of his own, but by a simple Foreign Office clerk named
Cartwright, who, ignorant and helpless, was a mere passive tool directed
by the Controller. I have not much to add to the public records of those
last three weeks at Cairo and Alexandria, but my diary will give an idea
of what was going on in London. My public letter to Gladstone called
down a storm of abuse upon my head from Malet's and Colvin's friends,
and generally from the Jingo and financial elements in the Press and

"_June 24._--There is an angry letter from Henry Malet (Edward Malet's
elder brother) in to-day's 'Times.'... Lord Lamington, too, has given
notice of a question as to my 'unofficial negotiations' in the House of
Lords for Monday. The more talk the better.... A party of people (at
Crabbet) for Sunday, Lascelles among them.

"_June 25._--Wrote an answer to Henry Malet and sent it to the 'Times.'
A soft answer turneth away wrath." (I was loath to quarrel in this way
with old friends, and I was resolved not to hit back except on

"_June 26._--A long letter has come from Sabunji (that already given in
the last chapter). They are giving a public dinner in my honour at
Cairo.... Met Lords De la Warr and Lamington (they were brothers-in-law)
at the House of Lords, and got the former to ask for Malet's despatch
of December 26th (that which Malet had said he had cancelled). Lord
Lamington was going to have based his speech on Henry Malet's letter,
but I showed him what nonsense this was. All the same he made a very
strong speech in an indignant tone about me. Lord Granville looked white
and uncomfortable, but admitted the fact of my having acted on one
occasion to pacify the army, a point gained. (This had been denied by
Henry Malet.) He could not remember about the despatch of the 26th, but
would look for it." (The reason of the great embarrassment of the
Government on being questioned about my "unofficial negotiations" was
that they had got into similar difficulties in their Irish policy by
making use of Mr. Errington the year before as a means of communicating
unofficially with the Pope about the attitude of the Irish clergy.)
"Dined with Henry Middleton at his club early, and went with him to a
meeting of the Anti-Aggression League in Farringdon Street. Sir Wilfrid
Lawson, in the chair was excellent. He is the pleasantest speaker I have
listened to. Also Sir Arthur Hobhouse was good. Frederic Harrison read a
lecture in which he stated the Egyptian case fairly." _N. B._--Henry
Middleton had been much in Egypt and was intimate there with the Coptic
community. A letter written to him during the war by the Coptic
Patriarch has been published. It is interesting as showing how entirely
the Copts were with Arabi at that time.

"_June 27._--Dinner at Pembroke's. All the Wilton Club there, some forty
people. I sat next to Harry Brand and had a grand row with him about
Egypt. After dinner healths were drunk, my own among the number, and I
had to make a speech. I felt myself in rather an unfriendly atmosphere
politically, as most of those present were Jingoes, but I was specially
complimented for my public services by Eddy Hamilton, who proposed my
health. I said in reply that some served their country in one way and
some in another, but that as long as one served it and did one's duty,
it did not much matter what one did." (These speeches, of course, were
not serious, as the Wilton Club was only a convivial gathering of Lord
Pembroke's personal friends who came together at his house two or three
times a year to dine and make merry.)

"_June 28._--Rode to George Howard's, and showed him Sabunji's letter
and my Gladstone correspondence. Sabunji states that the National
leaders are thinking of going to England to lay their case before Mr.
Gladstone, and I have asked Howard to get me, if he can, an interview
with Mr. Bright. Bright is more amenable, I fancy to reason than the
rest, and perhaps it might do good to see him. There is no doubt that
war preparations are being made, for whatever purpose it may be. I don't
believe, all the same, that they are intended as anything more than
strengthening Dufferin's hands at the Conference. I have sent a telegram
to Sabunji saying that nothing is yet decided about sending troops, and
begging patience.

"_June 29._--Called on Bright at his house in Piccadilly. He talked in a
friendly tone, but less sympathetically than Gladstone and less
intelligently. The upshot, however, is very satisfactory. He assures me
that no active steps have yet been taken for hostilities, and he does
not believe they will be taken. He considers the Suez Canal to be of
little strategical value to us, preferring, with Gladstone, the Cape
route for military communication with India. I explained to him my idea
of a Mohammedan reformation and how little the movement in Egypt had in
common with the Sultan's fanatical ideas. I think my visit may do good
by strengthening the peace party in the Cabinet." (_N. B._--Bright
scouted more strongly than this entry would suggest the idea of
hostilities at Alexandria. He bade me make my mind quite easy about
them. And I am sure he was speaking truly according to his knowledge.
But the poor man, whose principles were absolutely opposed to warfare,
was kept in complete darkness as to what was going on at the Admiralty
and the War Office, and, as he himself afterwards told me, was persuaded
that, even when the threat of bombardment was decided on in the Cabinet,
it would remain like all the other threats, a _brutum fulmen_. The
theory laid before the Cabinet by the Foreign Office was that the mass
of the Egyptians were with the Khedive, not with Arabi, and that on the
first shot being fired by the British fleet the populace of Alexandria
would rise and bring Arabi, who was alone in his intention of
resistance, a prisoner to their sovereign's feet. Bright, when he found
how he had been cajoled into consenting to the bombardment which had led
to the burning of Alexandria and the necessity of a regular war, was
very angry and resigned his place in the Cabinet, nor did he ever
forgive Gladstone for his share in the deception practised on him or the
abandonment of their common principles.)

"Called on Lady Gregory, who has written a paper on the Control of
Egypt, which is amusing. Dinner at the Howards. She (Mrs. H.) is
enthusiastic about my plans.

"_June 30._--Colvin contradicts flatly through the 'Times' correspondent
that either he or Malet have ever made use of my services as mediator or
intermediary on any occasion. This puts him in my hands after Lord
Granville's admission of the fact on Monday." (_N. B._--This denial in
plain terms by Colvin of things it is impossible he should have
forgotten need not be characterized by me. The matter was not made
better by a private letter he wrote me, 6th July, in which he repudiated
in part his responsibility for the "Times" telegram. I accepted his
explanation at the time as genuine, but when a little later I asked him
to repudiate the telegram publicly, he declined to do so, and in terms
which were merely a repetition and aggravation of the untruth.)

"Breakfasted with De la Warr to meet Broadley, the 'Times' corespondent
at Tunis." (_N. B._--This is the same Broadley whom, at Lord De la
Warr's recommendation I afterwards entrusted with the defence of Arabi.
He had been practising as lawyer in the Consular Courts at Tunis, and
latterly as "Times" correspondent there. He was a man of great ability
and had made himself serviceable to De la Warr in many ways, giving him
the information about Eastern affairs which were De la Warr's hobby, and
preparing, when in England, his speeches for him on such subjects in the
House of Lords. At the time of the invasion of Tunis by the French he
took a strong part in the "Times" in favour of the Mohammedan rising and
published a useful book about it afterwards called "The Last Punic
War.") "He says all are waiting in Tripoli and Tunis for the Sultan to
come forward. Otherwise el Senoussi will read the Mohammedan revival....
Wrote a letter to the 'Times' in answer to Colvin which ought to smash
him. Luncheon at the Gregorys.

"Eddy writes a friendly letter saying that Mr. Gladstone will not go
back from his expressions of sympathy with Egyptian independence, if
what I have told him proves true. This must be owing to Bright." The
letter here referred to is an important one as bearing on the settlement
afterwards made in Egypt, and the promise of independence and liberal
institutions made at Gladstone's suggestion by Lord Dufferin in his
celebrated despatch. But for the hold I had acquired over Gladstone on
this point, I have no manner of doubt that after Tel-el-Kebir Egypt
would have been annexed to the British Empire. The Whigs in the Cabinet
all intended it.

"_July 2._--At Brocket. This, after Wilton, is the most charming country
place I have seen. All in it is exactly as it was fifty and sixty years
ago in the days of Caroline Lamb and Lord Melbourne. Lord Palmerston
died here. Henry Cowper, whose it is now, is to me very sympathetic. Our
party consists of Henry Brand and his wife, the American Minister, Lord
Houghton, Lymington, and Frederick Leveson Gower, Lord Granville's
brother and secretary. Great wrangling about Egypt but all friendly
enough, even Leveson. And the American is on my side.... I had a little
talk with Leveson after we had played lawn tennis. He spoke very
despondingly of the British Empire, but thought England might last
without revolution at home. At Brocket such talk is melancholy.... There
is another fierce attack on me in the 'Observer.'

"_July 3._--At Brocket. I fancy if there is to be any intervention at
all it is to be Italian--at least, if intervention is ordered by the
Conference. This I should greatly dislike, for at present the Italians
seem sympathetic, but if launched on conquest they would be brutal in
their methods. Besides, the Italians are not assailable at home, as we
and the French are." (_N. B._--The Italian Government was being asked at
this date to join us in armed intervention in Egypt, but they wisely
declined. It would have been very unpopular with the Liberals in Italy
where Menotti Garibaldi was organizing a force to help Arabi.) "Drove
over to Knebworth to luncheon. Lytton has been building and making a new
drive into the Park, certainly a great improvement; we talked about the
British Empire, on which subject he is as despondent as I am. He thinks
my policy in Egypt might have succeeded, or any policy but that of
trusting to chance. Now he foresees a Mohammedan rebellion in India, go
things how they may.... In the evening to Temple Dinsley where the
Brands are.

"_July 4._--To London; found a telegram saying that Arabi certainly
would not go to Constantinople, also a letter from Sabunji, which has
made me uneasy. It has evidently been opened in the post, and the
contents may have compromised the National leaders at Constantinople.
There are telegrams, too, in the papers about a renewed quarrel as to
the fortifications at Alexandria; and Lady Gregory, who came to James
Street, has heard from Sir Erskine May that Beauchamp Seymour has orders
to bombard Alexandria to-morrow." (Sir Erskine May, was I believe, the
Chief Permanent Official of the Admiralty. The earliest correspondence
referring to a bombardment in the Blue Books occurs on 26th June, when
the Admiralty telegraphs to Sir Beauchamp Seymour: "If Egyptian troops
are making preparations to attack, communicate with French Admiral and
bring ships into position." This telegram shows the wolf and the lamb
argument that was being used to excuse our own intended attack. We know
from Palmer's journal, to which reference will be made later, that
Seymour had resolved to bombard at least as early as 4th July. Among the
determining causes with Gladstone and the Cabinet at this time was, I
believe, the bogus report of a massacre at Benha, a wholly fabulous
incident which was largely made use of to infuriate English opinion
against Arabi.) "She [Lady Gregory] has also heard that Colvin has
resigned and his resignation been accepted." I don't know whether there
was any foundation for this report, but it is too late already for his
recall to have made any difference in the result. It was probably
altogether a false report.

"_July 5._--I am very uneasy in my mind now about these threats of
bombardment. At twelve I went to the House of Commons and heard Dilke
announce that the fleet had orders 'under certain circumstances to act
in a certain way.' Had luncheon with Sir Wilfrid Lawson, who is a really
charming man, and read him Sabunji's letter describing his dinners and
conversations with the National Chiefs. He and others with him will do
what they can. But there is nothing now to do. My letters to Gladstone
are printed, but I dare not publish them until I see what line the
Porte takes.... Dined at Lady Rosamund Christie's. Knowles was there and
says that the bombardment is to begin to-morrow morning. Fawcett takes
my side. My fear is lest the Nationalists should stake all on an
artillery duel with the fleet, in which they cannot help being beaten,
and so be discouraged. They ought, I think, to abandon Alexandria, and
make an entrenched camp out of reach of the guns of the fleet. But I
dare not advise." (About this time Button informed me that the Admiralty
plan was to effect a landing during the bombardment with the idea of
cutting off Arabi's retreat. This news, if I remember rightly,
influenced my telegram next day and my letter of the seventh.)

"_July 6._--Admiral Seymour has sent in an ultimatum, and I have
telegraphed to Sabunji as follows: 'Avoid meddling with the fleet. Send
Abdu with a message to Gladstone. Patience.' I am not sure whether I am
doing right, but prudence is certainly on the right side. Besides, Arabi
will judge independently of my opinion, and he has never yet been wrong.
I have sent copies of my correspondence with Downing Street to Cardinal
Manning and Knowles (and also to Lord Dufferin). After luncheon went to
see Hill, the editor of the 'Daily News.' He is now all on our side, it
being too late to do any good. He promises, however, to write what he
can.... In the evening a telegram from Sabunji saying that all is quiet,
so I suppose the difficulty is staved off.... I wrote to-day to Eddy
proposing to show him Sabunji's letters (those already given). It is a
desperate remedy, but the circumstances are desperate.

"_July 7._--Went to see Stanley of Alderley and urged him to see
Musurus, so as to prevent any split between Arabi and the Sultan. I told
him pretty nearly the facts of the case, but made him understand this
was not a moment for Mohammedans to dispute, and that the Turks and
Egyptians could settle their domestic differences later. He seems quite
to agree with me.... Then wrote a letter to Sabunji recommending them
not to quarrel with the fleet, but to make an entrenched camp out of
reach of the guns. I still think that no English expedition will be
landed in Egypt, but that they will have to fight the Turks or possibly
the Italians.... The papers announce a pacific settlement of the
difference between Arabi and the fleet, which is satisfactory so far.

"_July 8._--At Crabbet. The second post has brought a letter from Eddy
Hamilton which seems to imply that Gladstone is still open to
conviction. This is more than I expected"--(and more, too, than the
letter implied. What Hamilton wrote was, "I hope it goes without saying
that it has been the desire of the Government all along to get at the
truth, but that, apparently, has not been so easy.") "I have accordingly
been preparing a précis of Sabunji's letters. In the Evening Lascelles
and others arrived.

"_July 9._--Sunday. I have consulted Lascelles about sending Sabunji's
letters to Gladstone, but he thinks it is too late. Hartington has told
him that they intend occupying Egypt and probably annexing it, on the
principle _j'y suis, j'y reste_. Chamberlain has said: 'We have got the
Grand Old Man into a corner now, and he _must_ fight.' I shall,
therefore, wait events. The 'Observer' announces a new threat or
Ultimatum. This time I shall leave Providence to decide." (What I record
here as having been told me by Lascelles is of historical importance. He
was in a position to know what was going on more than any of my friends.
As a former _Chargé d'Affaires_ in Egypt he was consulted at the Foreign
Office, and as Lord Hartington's first cousin he had his confidences
about what was going on in the Whig section of the Cabinet.)

"_July 10._--A new Ultimatum is announced, this time in terms which
Arabi cannot accept. They want him to surrender the forts. The French,
however, refuse to take any part in this act of piracy. M. P., who knows
naval people, assures me that Beauchamp Seymour is in a terrible fright;
that the 'Invincible' is the only ship with really sound armour plates,
and that the fleet is in a most critical position." (There was some
truth, I believe, in this. The ships, as they were moored in the
harbour, lay directly under the fire of the forts at short range. If the
Nationalists had been as unscrupulous as our people were, they might
have taken the ships at a disadvantage and perhaps sunk them. But Arabi
was not the man for a _coup_ of this kind, and he was, besides, a
stickler for the common Mohammedan rule of not firing the first shot in
war. The quarrel, too, was none of his seeking, and all he was bent on
was to avoid all excuse for a collision. He consequently allowed
Seymour to move his ships away and choose his own distance.) "Arabi may
then be in the right in accepting the duel. At any rate, it is forced on
him in such a way that he cannot refuse. Strangely enough, I am in high
spirits. My idea is that this bombardment and bloodshed, however it
terminates, will produce a revulsion in public feeling here and stop
further proceedings. Nobody really wants war or annexation, except the
financiers. And these would soon go to the wall if the public spoke. The
Powers, too, will probably be angry at this act of violence in the
middle of the Conference. For England the outlook seems very bad. It
will probably lead to a war with France and the loss of India.... To
London and saw Lady Gregory, who wants me to send a copy of my Gladstone
letters to Gibson, as Gibson is the coming man of the Conservatives, and
the Conservatives will soon be in power. Gladstone was beaten on Friday
on an important vote.... Harrison has written Gladstone a scathing
letter, telling him his action in Egypt will ruin his moral character
forever in history. This is certain, and I will take care it does so....
Lunched with George Currie, who, as a bondholder, is now pleased at the
firmness of the Government. They were afraid, he says, at one time that
Gladstone would have thrown them over.

"To the House of Commons, where I saw Lawson. He asked me what could be
done. I said, 'Nothing.' Dilke made a statement confirming the
Ultimatum.... Lord De la Warr called at six to ask whether I would not
telegraph to advise an arrangement. But I told him I could not do this
any longer, for the Egyptians could not give up their forts honourably.
Home to Crabbet.

"_July 11._--At Crabbet. I settled this morning in my mind that if the
weather was fine things would go well in Egypt--and behold it is
raining!... I shall stay here now till all is over, except on Thursday,
when I have been asked to Marlborough House, to have the honour of
meeting Her Majesty.... We shall know all in a few hours.... It rained
heavily till 2, then cleared. I remained indoors in a nervous state,
unable to do anything.... At half-past four David brought a 'Globe,'
with news showing that the bombardment began at 7 and was still going on
at half-past 11. At 5, Anne came from London with the 'Pall Mall' and
'St. James's,' showing it was not all over at 1.40. It is evident that
the Egyptians fought like men, so I fear nothing. They may be driven out
of the forts and out of Alexandria. But Egypt will not be conquered. The
French fleet has gone to Port Saïd, and it is impossible there should
not be an European war. I have sent my Gladstone correspondence to the
Prince of Wales.

"_July 12._--The forts are silenced, but the Egyptians show no sign of
yielding, and the newspapers announce another bombardment for to-day.
This is a monstrous thing. The Sultan, I am glad to see, stands firm;
and a religious war is inevitable, succeeding, as Arabi said it would
the political one. The prophecy about Gladstone will thus come true. His
conscience must be a curious study just now, the conscience of a Eugene
Aram, and I believe him capable of any treachery and any crime. I can do
no more, and shall stay here. Went fishing in the forest, a bright warm
day, with a slight threatening of thunder about noon. The evening papers
talk of a flag of truce and a heavy swell which has prevented the ships
from firing.

"_July 13._--Saw Button, who tells me an occupation is inevitable. Old
Edward Blount was in the train. He tells me the French are in no
condition to fight. Their navy is so ill-found he doubts their having
the ammunition. He thinks there will be a revolution in a few months....
Found Sir Wilfrid Lawson at home in Grosvenor Crescent and had much
discourse with him, but he agrees it is hopeless doing anything with the
Government.... Had luncheon with the Howards. She is staunch, he
doubtful.... Coming back by underground railway I read the news of
Alexandria being in flames, of the evacuation of the town, and of a new
massacre by roughs. This is nothing but what must have been. I am glad
of one thing only, and that is the army has got safe out of that
mousetrap. I have had it on my mind ever since Arabi went to Alexandria
that he would be caught there in some way by his enemies. Now he seems
to have done just what I recommended, retired to a fortified position
out of reach of the guns of the fleet. People, or rather the newspapers,
are very angry because he retired under flag of truce, but I am not
military man enough to see where the treachery was, especially as
Admiral Seymour had announced that he would understand a white flag to
mean the evacuation of the forts." (This charge of having violated the
white flag was made a special count against Arabi at his trial, and
absurdly insisted upon by Gladstone, because he, Gladstone, had
committed himself to a statement that to retire while under the white
flag was a violation of the laws of war. This was persisted in after
other graver charges were abandoned, until it was discovered that in
Lord Wolseley's "Soldier's Pocket Book," a text book in our army, it is
distinctly laid down that the contrary is the rule.)

"I was in two minds about going to Marlborough House, but decided it
would be best to show loyalty. So went. Everybody cordial enough except
old Houghton, who all but cut me. The Malets were there--poor old
people--but I did not venture speaking to them. Robert Bourke came to me
in great glee at the mess the Government found themselves in. Such are
the amenities of party political life. Everybody else nearly was there
that I had ever seen. The Prince of Wales shook hands with me, but he
said nothing. Her Majesty was looking beaming--I suppose elated at her
bombardment. Gladstone is said to have announced in the House that he
would not send an army to Egypt. He declares he is not at war with
anybody. However Button, with whom I dined, assures me troops are going
and that they mean annexation. Dined with him and Lord Bective.

"_July 14._--Breakfasted with De la Warr. I showed him Arabi's letter to
Gladstone, and he advised me not to send it, but offered to propose to
the Prince of Wales to speak to me about it. I think this will be a good
plan. I dare not let the Government have such a document in their hands
until it is settled what form intervention is to take."

The letter here referred to is one that Arabi dictated to Sabunji at
Alexandria and sent to me, desiring me to communicate it to Gladstone as
from him. It was not signed or sealed by him, and was sent by Sabunji in
English, not in Arabic; for which reason Arabi afterwards, when charged
with having written it, among other charges made against him at the time
of his arrest, denied having written at all to Mr. Gladstone. I was
consequently taunted by my enemies with having forged the letter, though
I had stated that it was "dictated" in my enclosing letter of two days
later. The letter as sent to Mr. Gladstone was as follows:

     "Alexandria, _July 2, 1882_.


     "Our Prophet in his Koran has commanded us not to seek war nor to
     begin it. He has commanded us also, if war be waged against us, to
     resist and, under penalty of being ourselves as unbelievers, to
     follow those who have assailed us with every weapon and without
     pity. Hence, England may rest assured that the first gun she fires
     on Egypt will absolve the Egyptians from all treaties, contracts,
     and conventions; that the Control and debt will cease; that the
     property of Europeans will be confiscated; that the Canals will be
     destroyed; the communications cut; and that use will be made of the
     religious zeal of Mohammedans to preach a holy war in Syria, in
     Arabia, and in India. Egypt is held by Mohammedans as the key of
     Mecca and Medina, and all are bound by their religious law to
     defend these holy places and the ways leading to them. Sermons on
     this subject have already been preached in the Mosque of Damascus,
     and an agreement has been come to with the religious leaders of
     every land throughout the Mohammedan world. I repeat it again and
     again, that the first blow struck at Egypt by England or her allies
     will cause blood to flow through the breadth of Asia and of Africa,
     the responsibility of which will be on the head of England.

     "The English Government has allowed itself to be deceived by its
     agents, who have cost the country its prestige in Egypt. England
     will be still worse advised if she attempts to regain what she has
     lost by the brute force of guns and bayonets.

     "On the other hand there are more humane and friendly means to this
     end. Egypt is ready still--nay, desirous to come to terms with
     England, to be fast friends with her, to protect her interests and
     keep her road to India, to be her ally; but she must keep within
     the limits of her jurisdiction. If, however, she prefers to remain
     deceived and to boast and threaten us with fleets and her Indian
     troops, it is hers to make the choice. Only let her not underrate
     the patriotism of the Egyptian people. Her representatives have not
     informed her of the change which has been wrought among us since
     the days of Ismaïl's tyranny. Nations, in our age, make sudden and
     gigantic strides in the path of progress.

     "England, in fine, may rest assured that we are determined to
     fight, to die martyrs for our country, as has been enjoined on us
     by our Prophet, or else to conquer and so live independently and
     happy. Happiness in either case is promised to us, and a people
     imbued with this belief, their courage knows no bounds.


"Went to see Gregory. He is frightened at Alexandria's being burnt, and
will have it that Arabi did not order it. I say he ordered it, and was
right to do so. This is the policy of the Russians at Moscow, and
squares with all I know of their intentions. I cannot think it will do
any harm in the long run, and it will get more completely rid of the
Greeks and Italians. Of course, he was not responsible for the massacre,
which is doubtless exaggerated. To fire the town, cut off the water
supply and take up a strategical position on the railway is what any
determined general would have done." (And so I say still. The burning of
Alexandria gave Arabi just the time to entrench himself at Kafr Dawar.
If he had carried out the other part of his program and blown up and
blocked the Suez Canal, he might have made a good and long fight of it,
and even possibly have won the campaign. I will return to this, however,
when I come to treat of the war.)

"_July 15._--Button writes that the Prince of Wales wants a copy of
Arabi's letter, and I have sent word to say I shall be happy to read it
to His Royal Highness. I will not let it out of my hand as yet.... Sir
Donald Currie came to see the horses. He is sensible about Egypt, as
many people are individually. But the newspapers are raising a universal
howl. I am depressed in mind, thinking of the future. Egypt can hardly
not be ruined, and it is little consolation to think that the Europeans
there and the bondholders will be ruined too. Still, there is a God in
heaven for those who trust Him.

"_July 16._--It seems as if the Turks had at last consented to send
troops. Button gave me the conditions yesterday. They are to come and go
and catch Arabi, all in a month. The thing is absurd. If they go, they
will go to stay. They will also make terms with Arabi, and all England
will have gained will be that the Sultan will declare war. All things
considered, this is the best solution I could have expected. Otherwise
it must have been annexation.... Wrote letter enclosing Arabi's letter
for Gladstone.

"_July 17._--Went to London and saw Button. I have agreed to send the
letter to Gladstone and to the Prince of Wales, and have accordingly
done so.... I wish Gladstone to be warned of all the consequences of his
action in Egypt, as on Saturday he stated that the destruction of
Alexandria was a result which it was impossible to foresee, of
bombarding it! Now, if Cairo is destroyed, he will be without excuse.
Bright has resigned. At least _he_ is an honest man. He made his
statement to-night saying he considers the bombardment a breach of
international law and the moral law."[20] (I have some reason to believe
that Gladstone had shared Bright's delusion that the Alexandrian forts
could be bombarded without serious consequences of bloodshed,
conflagration, and war. The difference between the two men was this:
that Bright, when he saw he had betrayed his principles by consenting to
it 'went out and wept bitterly'; Gladstone stifled his remorse and
profited as largely as he could by the popularity which war always
brings to the Ministry that makes it.) "... Home late and in low
spirits. I have done what I could to avert this war, and war is now the
only solution."

Here, unfortunately, my diary of 1882 ends.[21]


[20] I met Bright more than once in later years, and his language was
strong to me as to the way he had been misled into complicity with the
bombardment of Alexandria. I find the following in my journal of 1885:

"_June 9._--To the Howards. She (Mrs. Howard) dined last night with
Hartington and Granville and Bright.... Bright told her that he was at
the Cabinet which decided on the bombardment of Alexandria, but Lord
Granville had assured him it would not really take place, and it had
long ago been settled that he was to leave the Cabinet on the first shot
fired in any war. It had been a cause of grief and tears to him to watch
the slaughter which had since occurred, but he had not had the heart to
stand up and denounce his former friends. He had, however, written to
Mr. Gladstone after the war to say that if he allowed Arabi to be tried
by the Egyptian Government it would be a _lasting infamy_."

"_March 16._--At night to dine with the Howards. It was a very
interesting dinner, John Bright, John Morley, Frederick Leveson, and Mr.
Wright, etc.... At first we were all rather stiff.... However, Wright
broke it up by asking Bright _á propos of boots_, who it was that caused
the bombardment of Alexandria. Whereupon Bright broke in denouncing the
war strongly and the injustice of keeping Arabi a prisoner in Ceylon. He
also explained that Beauchamp Seymour had telegraphed to ask permission
to bombard some time before but had been refused. At last it was
Chamberlain who had insisted on his being allowed to do it....
Hartington, Bright said, had not urged it."

[21] The allusions to an expected Mohammedan rising in India, here and
elsewhere quoted from my diary, seem now, in the light of events,
somewhat exaggerated. They were, however, justified by the ideas
prevalent at the time; and the dread of a general conflagration in the
East is perhaps the best excuse that can be made for our Government's
action in pressing on in July an immediate violent solution of its
difficulty in Egypt.



It now remains for me to give an account of the chief incidents of the
brief campaign in which for two months native Egypt stood up in arms
against her English enemy. No true description of it will be found in
the works of any English writer, and still less are the French versions
of the story true. The reign of terror, which under the protection of
the English garrison for a year or more followed the re-establishment of
the Khedive and the Turco-Circassian _régime_ at Cairo, effectually
stopped the mouths of native Egyptians as to what had happened there
during the Khedive's absence, and though a momentary light was shed on
the facts by the publicity of Arabi's trial, no organ of the vernacular
press was found bold enough to allude to them otherwise than according
to the official version; while later, when under French protection the
organs of native opinion had gained courage, time had been given for
certain legends to grow up which still to a large extent influence the
educated Egyptian mind.

The first point to make clear, for it is denaturalized in the Blue Books
and has been ignored by all English writers, is the essentially National
character of the defence offered by native Egypt to the English
invasion. The official version, of course, is that it was the army alone
that offered resistance to Seymour's impossible demands at the time of
the bombardment, and afterwards to Wolseley's land invasion. This was
merely a continuance of the diplomatic fiction which had been built up
at the Foreign Office to excuse its determination to intervene in
financial interests, and may be read in its most grotesque form of
untruth in Lord Dufferin's opening speech to the European Conference at
Constantinople. According to the English Ambassador, Egypt--and this was
before the bombardment--was in a state of anarchy, where neither life
nor property was secure and where massacres were taking place, through
the action of the army headed by Arabi and other mutinous colonels,
which was making it impossible to carry on the government or secure
order and financial stability. How gross an exaggeration this statement
of the political case was, and how it had been gradually put together on
a basis of lies and inventions, I have already sufficiently shown. What
needs still to be explained is the precise share of responsibility for
the acceptance of Seymour's challenge to the artillery duel at
Alexandria, which commenced the war, assignable to Arabi, on whom the
whole of it has been unjustly laid.[22]

That Arabi had been, from the date of the publication of the Joint Note
of 6th January, a chief advocate of self-reliance and preparedness for
war is undoubted, but at the same time he had always been for
conciliation, if possible, rather than war. Resistance had always been
his political platform, but on it he by no means stood alone, and the
arrival of the fleets at Alexandria in May had immensely strengthened
his position with all sections of civilian opinion. With the example of
Tunis before Mohammedan eyes it was indeed impossible not to see what
was being prepared for Egypt by the European Powers, the creation of a
fictitious condition of anarchy and rebellion which should justify
intervention for the protection of the life and property of Europeans,
the seizure by persuasion or constraint of the person of the ruler on
the plea that he needed protection from his rebellious subjects, and the
forced acceptance by him of a military protectorate. This had been
effected by the French army in Tunis. It was to be repeated now exactly
on the same lines by the English in Egypt. Egyptian patriotism,
therefore, was not difficult to persuade that at last, with the dire
alternative before them, it was a less ignoble fate to yield after a
defeat than at once, at the first summons.

Arabi's voice was an important element in the decision arrived at on the
10th of July to reject the admiral's demands, but it had no need of his
insistence and still less of being imposed by menace. All the members of
the general Council convened to consider the answer declared themselves
equally of opinion that it was beyond the legal power of the Khedive to
yield any portion of Egyptian territory to the demand of a foreign
commander without striking a blow or at least without direct orders to
that effect having been received from the Sultan. Nor was the Khedive
himself of any other opinion. It included many representative men
besides the members of the Government--and the spectacle was witnessed
of all alike pressing the view that the forts must be defended, and of
the Khedive taking a specially prominent part in the patriotic talk and
being supported in it by Sultan's representative, Dervish Pasha. No
Moslem present, not even Sultan Pasha, who had definitely thrown in his
lot with the English, dared make the public declaration that another
answer than refusal was possible to Seymour's demands.

Arabi, as the result of their unanimous decision, received from the
Khedive precise orders as Minister of War and Marine to prepare the
forts for action and to reply with their artillery as soon as the
English fleet should have opened fire, while urgent instructions the
same evening, of the 10th, were sent to the Under-Secretary of War at
Cairo to proclaim throughout the provinces that war had been resolved
on, and to hasten the calling in of the reserves and the formation of
new battalions of recruits. It may be said that the Khedive was
insincere in the warlike attitude he adopted at the Council. Of course
he was insincere. No public action of his life showed Tewfik otherwise
than a double dealer. In all probability both he and Sultan Pasha, who
had spoken in the same sense, had agreed to make this show of patriotism
so as to cover themselves with public opinion in case it should so
happen that the forts should prove stronger than the fleets, nor must it
be forgotten that the Sultan's envoys were present at the Council, and
the avowed policy of the English Government at the moment was still to
get the Sultan to intervene. Tewfik, therefore, as usual was playing for
the double chance, and was resolved clearly on one thing only, to side
with the strongest party.

There is a curious despatch in the Blue Books which shows what he said
to his English advisers. As early as the 6th of July he was made
acquainted with Seymour's intention to bombard, and had apparently been
urged to place himself for safety on board one of the English ships. But
this did not suit his personal fears or the waiting game he was resolved
on, and he sent to Colvin to acquaint him with what his plan was in
regard to his safety during the firing. He could not do otherwise--so we
read--than remain in Egypt. He could not desert those who had stood by
him faithfully in the crisis, or abandon Egypt _when attacked by a
foreign Power_, merely, as it would be said, to secure his personal
safety. He would, therefore, retire to a palace on the Mahmoudieh Canal
with Dervish Pasha. And he remarked that the more rapidly the whole
affair was conducted, the less would be the danger to himself
personally. And this was the program he adhered to, except that he
finally decided on retiring, not to the Mahmoudieh Palace, but to his
country palace at Ramleh, eight miles farther from Alexandria, as a
still safer place from the chance firing of Seymour's guns.

Shortly after the war I had a curious confirmation of Tewfik's
indecision from no less authoritative a source than Lord Charles
Beresford, who had commanded the Condor at the bombardment and had acted
as Provost-Marshal in Alexandria after it, and who told me that in a
moment of unusual frankness the Khedive had one day explained to him the
reason of his remaining ashore during the fight, as being nothing else
than his extreme perplexity as to which of the combatants would prove
the better fighter. The general belief in Egypt had been that the
English ships would be sunk, and he had been in a state of panic doubt
all day at Ramleh, running every half hour to the roof of the palace to
see how it fared with them. It was only when he discovered in the
evening that they remained intact, while the forts had been silenced,
that he finally made up his mind to place himself under Seymour's
protection. Beresford's experience of the weeks he had then spent at
Alexandria, I may explain, had given him a profound contempt of Tewfik,
and a certain sympathy with Arabi and the fellahin who had carried on
the war in spite of their prince's defection.

Be this, however, as it may, the conduct of the Khedive at the Council
and the fact that he had given his name to the orders issued for a war
_à outrance_ imposed a perfectly legal aspect on the subsequent National
defence, and invalidated, according to all Mohammedan rule and practice,
the Khedive's counter orders when he had passed over to the enemy's
side. This must be remembered if we are rightly to understand the
Nationalists' legal case, and the view taken of the position by plain
patriotic minds when their prince's perfidy gradually became known. The
Mohammedan view about war is a simple one. When blows have been struck
and war publicly announced by the Chief of the State, it is his duty and
the duty of all his people to continue it until some definite victory
has been achieved or reverse sustained. A prince made captive during the
war by the enemy is by the fact incapacitated from giving any further
valid orders, and _à fortiori_ a prince who has turned traitor; and it
was in this light that Tewfik was considered by his subjects until
brought back by the force of English arms as their restored, but unloved
lord to Cairo. Nothing of this aspect of the case will, of course, be
found in any English narrative, but, in place of it, absurd laudations
of a prince to be admired as "loyal" for the sole illogical reason that
he showed himself loyal to England and served her through the war as her
unashamed accomplice. But I will return to these matters later.

A second point which it is necessary should be insisted on is the proper
apportionment of responsibility for the maintenance of law and order
throughout Egypt, and for the strategical conduct of the war, between
Arabi and the other Nationalist leaders who worked with him during
those eventful two months. The facts as I have been able to ascertain
them are these. With regard to the government of the country, as soon as
it was clearly demonstrated at Cairo that the Khedive could be no longer
looked upon as Chief of the State, exercising freely his right of
issuing orders, a General Council was assembled to consider the position
of affairs and decide what should be done. In this the lead was taken by
the religious and other civilian dignitaries, rather than by the
military element. Arabi was not himself present at the general meeting,
being absent with the army at Kafr Dawar, nor did he once during the war
pay any visit to Cairo or intervene personally in the management of
affairs there. The Council, however, was very fully attended, there
being present, besides the great religious sheykhs, the Turkish Grand
Cadi, the Grand Mufti, the Sheykh el Islam, and the heads of the four
orthodox sects. All the most representative Moslems of the country were
there, including four princes of the Viceregal House who had openly
espoused the National cause, many of the provincial Governors who had
been expressly summoned to Cairo for the occasion, and the chief country
Notables, and also, representing the non-Mussulman population, the
Patriarch of the Copts and the Chief Rabbi. The Council was, therefore,
fully entitled to any claim of validity in its decisions which
universality can give, for it comprised all sections of political
opinion and class divergency. Many of the chief men were of Circassian
origin, but endowed with sufficient patriotism as Moslems to see that,
now it had come to fighting against a European invader, no honest choice
was left but to defend Egypt against him irrespective of party feuds.

It was, accordingly, resolved by the Council, without a dissentient
voice, that the Khedive was no longer in a position legally to command,
and that his decrees, while he remained in English hands, were from that
very fact invalid. Tewfik's first announcement of his new attitude had
been to dismiss Arabi from his post of Minister of War. The Council
resolved that Arabi should be maintained in it, and instructed him as
such to continue the defence of the country. A permanent Council, or
rather it should perhaps be called "Committee of Defence," was named to
assist him in his work, and this under the able presidency of Yakub
Pasha Sami, the Under-Secretary for War, continued throughout the
campaign to organize the details of recruitment, provisioning and the
supply of military material. Similarly, with regard to the civil
administration of the country it was resolved that in the absence of
Ragheb and the other Ministers at Alexandria--for these had been
detained more or less under compulsion by the Khedive and his English
guard--the business of government should be carried on by the separate
departments without any change in the ordinary routine, nor did this
lead to the smallest confusion, seeing that the Ragheb Ministry had
never been a working one. Indeed, the Administration gained considerable
in efficiency, and it may safely be said that no Egyptian Government was
ever better managed in its details than was the National one during the
campaign. The Ministry of the Interior fell to the charge of the
Under-Secretary, Ibrahim Bey Fawsi, and the police, in its most
important section, to Ismaïl Eff. Jawdat, both very able administrators,
who, in spite of the excitement of the time, succeeded in maintaining
perfect order throughout the country. Two or three Circassian Mudirs,
who had sought to ingratiate themselves with Tewfik by imitating Omar
Lutfi and inciting to disturbance, were by them arrested and detained in
prison to the end of the war, and after this no further rioting
occurred. Such Europeans as remained at Cairo were carefully protected,
and all who wished to leave were forwarded under police escort to Port

Nothing could have been more untrue than Lord Dufferin's repeated
assertions at the Conference at Constantinople that massacres of
Christians were occurring daily in Egypt. And so, too, with the other
departments. There was no interruption in the regular gathering in of
the taxes, or in the regular distribution of civil expenditure. At the
end of the war the Treasury showed a perfectly clean balance, without
the smallest deficit, when its coffers were delivered over to the
Khedive's officers after Tel-el-Kebir. No smallest sum had been
extracted and the books were in their usual order. The ordinary course
of justice had been regularly maintained, and there was no visible sign
of the country having passed through any unusual crisis. Four months'
provision for the army remained in the magazines of the War Office when
Wolseley took possession of them.

As to Arabi, his position continued to be essentially a political one,
and it was as Minister of War that he worked with the supreme direction
of the forces and as popular leader till Wolseley's advance on
Tel-el-Kebir hurried him suddenly from the scene. His great prestige
with the country sheykhs and the fellahin of the Delta made it easy for
him to inspire these with enthusiasm for the war, and at his pleading
supplies flowed in gratuitously from all sides, and also volunteers for
the army. In this respect he proved himself of great service to the
national defence, and he was probably well advised in making no attempt
from first to last to take any personal part in handling troops in the
field. His abstention on this head has been attributed by his detractors
to physical cowardice, and it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that
there was some truth in this. Arabi was too pure and unadulterated a
fellah to have any of the strong fighting instincts which are found in
some races but are conspicuously absent in his own. His courage was of
another kind than that which prompts to daring action in war, and in
spite of his soldier's training he had never been present at any actual
battle. He was probably conscious of his deficiency on this head as he
certainly was of his complete lack of all the higher scientific
knowledge which modern warfare requires. He was absolutely without
military education of a modern type, or experience beyond that of the
common barrack-yard routine, and he would, I imagine, have been quite
unable to manoeuvre a division had he been called upon to do so even
on parade. The true explanation, however, of his personal inaction, I
think, is that Arabi, being for the moment practically Head of the
State, was not expected to lead the army in person. This does not,
however, excuse him altogether in my eyes, nor has it excused him in
those of his fellow countrymen who rightly blame him for not having
personally crossed swords with the enemy, at least in the last days of
the campaign.

With regard to the actual military operations I do not profess to have
full knowledge, but nevertheless will venture a short account of them as
I have been able to obtain them from Egyptian, and not English, sources.
My admirable correspondent, Sabunji, had unfortunately left Egypt with
the other fugitives just before the bombardment, and I remained without
knowledge of what was passing in the country till the end of the war.
Nor do the documents of the trial throw much light on this. What I have
been able to learn has been gathered piecemeal in after years from those
who took part in them, and accounts of this kind are never very accurate
as to dates or figures. The only European present with the army was that
excellent Swiss patriot and friend to Egyptian freedom, John Ninet, who
was in a position to know much of what went on, as he spent the first
month of the war with Arabi at Kafr Dawar, helping him with his foreign
correspondence; and with Ninet I have had many talks. But his
enthusiastic character injures him as a quiet safe historical witness,
and the book he published in 1884 is so carelessly written and so
controversial in its style that it is impossible for one to have full
confidence in regard to the details he records. Moreover, Ninet had
ceased to be at headquarters before the real campaign began, having
remained on at Kafr Dawar when these were transferred to Tel-el-Kebir.
Such knowledge as I have of the war I will nevertheless briefly give.

On the day of the bombardment the Egyptian artillerymen fought well, and
for a far greater number of hours than either Sir Beauchamp Seymour or
any of his officers had thought possible. They were, however, at a
terrible disadvantage through the antiquated character of the forts they
were called upon to defend. These dated from the reign of Mohammed Ali
and were faced as the fashion had then been with stone, a most dangerous
material for their defenders when exposed to modern shell fire, as the
stone work splinters and so increases the explosive effect of the
hostile missiles. The defect had not been foreseen even by so able an
engineer as was Mahmud Fehmi, and the loss among the defenders was
great. The total Egyptian garrison of Alexandria is given in the Blue
Books as from 8,500 to 9,500 men, and this figure corresponds fairly
well with native accounts, while a thousand has been named as the number
of the killed and wounded. If the figures are anything near correctness
the proportion is a very large one. The honour of the garrison was in
any case amply saved, and was the beginning of a reaction of opinion
against the war in England which in the following weeks became more and
more pronounced. Arabi's part in the defence was as on subsequent
occasions not a prominent one. He remained during the day at the
Ministry of Marine which is not far from Ras-el-Tin and so within the
range of the enemy's fire, but he made no personal inspection of the
defences until the bombardment was over, and contented himself with
being at hand to receive the news of the fight and give the necessary
orders. In the evening he went to Ramleh to announce the result to the
Khedive, where Tewfik, to hide his satisfaction, made a fool's quarrel
with him because he had not brought with him a detailed report of the
day's fight _in writing_.

It is difficult to understand that Arabi should not have seen which way
the Khedive's mind was already set. In all probability he did so, and
the danger there was of treachery, for in the morning he sent a strong
guard nominally for the Khedive's protection, but really to keep him
under surveillance, with a message informing him that as Seymour
threatened a renewal of the bombardment he should have to withdraw the
garrison, and inviting him to retire with them beyond range of the
English guns and so to Cairo. Arabi without doubt ought to have gone
himself a second time to see that the invitation was not on any pretext
evaded and have carried Tewfik, if necessary, by force as a prisoner
away with him, for the example of the Bey of Tunis was before him, and
he had sufficient experience of the Khedive's craft to make it
impossible to trust anything to his honour. Arabi's negligence in this
matter was a fatal error. Arabi was, however, apparently too occupied
that morning in arranging the military evacuation to give the time
necessary for another visit to Ramleh, and in the course of the
afternoon, by dint, according to Tewfik's account to his English
friends, of _bakshish_ and a liberal distribution of orders, he managed
to slip away from his guards to Alexandria in the train sent to convey
him to Cairo, and there placed himself, without any more disguise, under
Seymour's protection. He carried away with him, too, as all were in the
same train, both Dervish and his Ministers, and so secured them as in
some measure partners of his treachery. Once at Ras-el-Tin with a guard
of seventy English bluejackets the whole party were practically
prisoners. Dervish, five days later, having a swift steam yacht of his
own, and having received peremptory orders from Constantinople, put an
end to the disgrace for himself of the situation, and managed to evade
the English fleet which tried to stop him. But Ragheb and his fellow
Ministers, hopelessly compromised, ended by accepting the situation and
remained on at Ras-el-Tin as Tewfik's servants till such time as having
served their purpose as a simulacre of legal government, they had to
make room for a stronger and more decidedly English administration.
Arabi, in the meanwhile, ignorant how he had been befooled, was wholly
engrossed in the business of withdrawing the troops from their position
of danger, and taking up a new and better line of defence at Kafr Dawar.

The choice of this very strong post upon the Cairo railway, lying as it
does flanked by the shallow lake of Mariut and a series of marshes, was
due, I believe, to Mahmud Fehmi's engineering skill, and Arabi could not
have done better than he did by adopting it as the site of his new camp.
It lay well beyond the reach of Seymour's guns, and could not be
approached by a hostile army, except along the narrow causeway of the
railway line, and so was practically impregnable from the side of
Alexandria, while on the land side all the Delta lay open to the troops,
with its inexhaustible supplies and free communication with Cairo. Here
the Egyptian army was able to hold its own against the English
successfully for nearly five weeks, repulsing all attacks, and even
harassing the enemy with counter attacks almost to the gates of
Alexandria. Had there been no other gate of entry into Egypt than Kafr
Dawar the National game would have been won.

With regard to the burning of Alexandria I have never been able to make
up my mind exactly what part, if any, the Egyptian army took in it.
Arabi has always persistently denied having ordered it, and an act of
such great energy stands so completely at variance with the rest of his
all too supine conduct of the war that I think it may be fairly
dismissed as improbable. At the same time it is equally clear that he
could not but regard it as a fortunate circumstance, for without it it
is very doubtful whether he could have made good his retreat to Kafr
Dawar. His army was a beaten army, and though not exactly demoralized
might easily have become so, had even a very small force been landed
from the fleet to hold the railway line and bar their retreat. It
certainly was in the English plan to entrap the army if possible, and
only the unexpected valour of the defence, and perhaps the _ruse_ of the
white flag seems to have prevented some attempt at a landing with this
purpose from being made by Seymour. As it was, the burning of Alexandria
made it possible for Arabi to establish himself quietly at Kafr Dawar
and gain those few days' breathing time needed by his army to recover
completely its _morale_.

Ninet, who was present at the whole affair, attributes the conflagration
primarily to Seymour's shells, and this is probably a correct account,
for without it it would be difficult to account for the panic which on
the 12th of July, made the whole population of Alexandria abandon their
homes and fly from the city. Had the artillery attack been restricted,
as was pretended, to the forts this hardly would have been the case, and
it is quite certain that it was not so restricted. Whether by intention
or by mistake the city received its share of the shell fire, and Ninet
speaks as an eyewitness in regard to its destructive effect. At the same
time it is equally certain that the conflagration was increased, and
especially in the European quarter, with purpose and intention, and that
this was the work to some extent of the rearguard of the army, which
left Alexandria in a state of disorder and shared in the plunder,
already begun by the Bedouins of the city. Nor is it less certain that
Suliman Pasha Sami, who commanded the rearguard, was called to account
in no way by Arabi for what his men had done. I do not consider the
question of any great importance as affecting the moral aspect of the
case, it being clearly a military measure which any commander would be
justified in adopting, thus to cover his retreat and make useless,
as far as in him lay, the enemy's base of operations on shore.
Historically, however, it is of importance, and I therefore say that on
a balance of evidence I am of opinion that the retreating army had its
share in it, not in consequence of any order, but as an act of disorder.
As there was a strong wind blowing at the time, the conflagration soon
spread, and by midnight the whole city was in a blaze. The fact,
however, in no way lessens the prime responsibility of our Government
for the destruction, every detail of which, but for the gross
miscalculation of our agents, might have been easily foreseen and ought
certainly to have been provided for.

Once established at Kafr Dawar, which was occupied on the 13th, the
Egyptian army was in clover and could wait events. Arabi established his
headquarters at Genjis Osman, one station farther on in the direction
of Cairo, and Mahmud Fehmi laid out the lines of defence, and all worked
heartily and confidence was restored. The mass of the Alexandrian
fugitives were gradually despatched by train to the interior, where for
awhile they gave great trouble, being in a state of fanatical anger and
despair, and ready to revenge their troubles on any European or native
Christian who might cross their path. At Tantah especially, where the
Circassian Mudir, Ibrahim Adhem, was an adherent of the Khedive, and who
knew that disturbances between Mohammedans and Christians had been
looked on favourably by the Court, something which was almost a massacre
occurred, and but for the timely intervention of the great local magnate
and friend of Arabi's, Ahmed Bey Minshawi, who put it down in spite of
the Governor with a band of his fellah adherents, the disorder might
have spread to other places. But the Mudir was summarily arrested
and sent a prisoner to Cairo, as were two other Mudirs equally
untrustworthy, and the trouble ended, nor was internal peace again
disturbed during the whole of the war.

On the evening of the 14th, a first communication reached Arabi from the
Khedive, the text of which is given by Ninet, but which will not be
found in the Blue Books. It is a valuable document, dictated evidently
by Colvin or some other of Tewfik's English advisers, as it is based in
every phrase on the English official view of the situation. It begins by
stating the cause of the quarrel, that the bombardment was the simple
consequence of a refusal to comply with the English admiral's demand for
the dismantling of the forts, and that he, the admiral, had no intention
of imposing a state of war on Egypt, that he now wished to renew
friendly relations with the country, and was ready to hand back the city
to any Egyptian army which should be disciplined and obedient, and in
default of such to Ottoman troops. In order to make the necessary
arrangements for their transfer, the Khedive invites his Minister of War
to return at once to Ras-el-Tin, there to confer with Ragheb Pasha and
the rest of his colleagues, and in the meanwhile to suspend all warlike
preparations, now become useless. We know from the Blue Books that this
friendly invitation to Arabi was merely a trap to lure him back into
English reach, and so secure his person, for on the 15th Cartwright
telegraphs to Granville, "The Khedive has summoned him [Arabi] here. If
he comes he will be arrested, if not, declared an outlaw." The incident
shows how entirely Tewfik had already made himself the unresisting
mouthpiece of English policy, and how entirely the English Government
had adopted as its own the treacherous methods of the Ottoman Government
in dealing with "rebels." Arabi's answer was to remind the Khedive that
it was His Highness himself and Dervish Pasha who had urged that the
admiral's demands should be rejected and that his menaces, if followed
by acts, should be answered with war; that as a matter of fact a state
of war existed, and that until the British fleet should have left
Alexandria it was impossible that the army could return to the city. The
refusal was followed a few days later by the receipt, at Kafr Dawar, of
a number of printed proclamations bearing the Khedive's signature, in
which it was announced to the various Mudirs, Notables, and others whom
it might concern, that Arabi, having refused to obey the Khedive's order
to go to Alexandria and confer with him, he was deprived of his
functions as Minister of War. It was the publication of these three
documents at Cairo, whither Arabi forwarded them, that led to the
summoning of the Great National Council already described, with the
result we have seen.

The month that followed was one full of hope and enthusiasm for the
Egyptians. Relieved by his strange defection to the enemy from all doubt
as to their allegiance to the Khedive, the citizens and country Notables
were able to display their patriotism without disguise, and the whole
country was aware that it was a war now in which, as Moslems, they were
concerned no less than a war for liberty. With the mass of the fellahin
so deeply in debt, it was understood besides as a war against their
Greek creditors, and there is no doubt that this was the chief motive
power that sent volunteers to the standard, and that unloosed the purse
strings of the Notables. A very few days proved that in establishing the
army at Kafr Dawar a wise choice had been made, for the English, under
General Alison who had landed with several thousand men, though often
attacking it, were always repulsed, and it was fondly hoped that the
resistance might thus be indefinitely prolonged.

At Genjis Osman, Arabi, now the chief personage in the state, though
still holding rank only as War Minister, held daily a kind of court, to
which the provincial magnates, the Cairo Ulema, and the great merchants
thronged. A huge tent, formerly belonging to the Viceroy Saïd, received
them, Saïd's widow having presented it to her husband's once A. D. C. as
a national offering, while Nazli Hanum and others of the princely ladies
showed also their enthusiasm by gifts to the hero of the day.[23] It
cannot be denied that Arabi's head was somewhat turned by these
flatteries, and that they were the occasion of military jealousies which
proved detrimental to the cause when soon after the pinch came. If Arabi
should succeed in repelling the English attack to the point of their
having to come to terms with him, it was felt that he would remain
master of Egypt; and officers far better educated than himself, and with
a better knowledge of the art of war, and who knew Arabi for what he
was--a very poor soldier--felt aggrieved at the thought of his future
fortunes and his present pre-eminence. Arabi himself was doubtless quite
unaware of this, and in his dreamy way followed where fortune led him,
and with an ever-growing superstitious belief in his high destiny and
his providential mission as saviour of his people. His religious tastes
led him to surround himself especially with holy men, and much of the
time which he should have given to the secular duty of organizing the
defence was wasted with them in chaunts and recitations. This seems to
have been continued by him to the very end. What his ultimate military
plan was it is difficult to determine. According to Ninet his
calculation was that if he could prolong the resistance for a few
months, Europe would be obliged to come to terms with him. The
Conference was sitting at Constantinople, and the Sultan was being
urged on all sides to intervene, and the worst that could happen was
that Ottoman troops would be landed, who were as likely as not to
fraternize with his own. He knew himself to be regarded throughout the
Mohammedan world as the champion of Islam, for the pilgrims just
returning from Mecca had brought the news, and it would be difficult for
the Sultan to take real part with England against him. He had, too, a
remnant of his trust in Gladstone, and of the traditional belief in
Englishmen's sympathy with liberty, which he believed might still
prevail if only the truth could be brought home to them by the spectacle
of Egyptian patriotism--dreams, of course, and most delusive ones, but
shared in by many others, and not altogether inexcusable, considering
the events of the past six months.

Nevertheless, on the 16th August, Wolseley, with the first instalments
of the British land expedition, disembarked at Alexandria, and, as it
was not to be supposed that he would confine himself to the thankless
task of bombarding the impregnable lines of Kafr Dawar, it became urgent
with the military committee sitting at Cairo to decide on providing new
lines of defence on the far more easily assailable side of the Suez
Canal. An Eastern army under Ali Fehmi was consequently got together at
Cairo, which occupied the Canal in force; and the lines of Tel-el-Kebir,
which, in spite of the warning I had sent through Sheykh Mohammed Abdu
in April, had never been more than traced, began to be dug in earnest.
It became also a question of imminent importance to block the Suez Canal
towards its northern extremity, lest British ships should be beforehand
with the defence and should land at Ismaïlia. The opinion was unanimous
among the military chiefs that this was a strategic necessity, and that
at any cost of quarrel with the French Canal authorities it should be
done. Arabi, however--and this was his second great mistake--could not
make up his mind to the act. His hesitation was due to French influence.
M. de Lesseps had arrived at Alexandria towards the end of July and,
having learned something of the English design of using the Canal for an
attack on Egypt, became alarmed for its safety, and he had gone on to
Port Saïd and set himself to work to prevent, as far as in him lay, this
design by appealing to Arabi's sense of honour. De Lesseps was a man of
great self-confidence, and believed himself able, by the mere fact of
his presence, to intimidate our Government, and represented that the
Canal was neutral ground and excluded from the operations of
belligerents. After the war, when I was carrying on the defence of
Arabi, I wrote to M. de Lesseps to obtain from him what evidence he
might be able to give in the prisoner's favour as a humanitarian and
friend of progress, and he placed in my possession copies of the letters
he had received from Arabi in relation to this matter, though not of
those he had himself written.[24] From this it is clear how Arabi was

After some preliminary correspondence, we find Arabi on the 4th of
August giving his decision plainly. Several English men-of-war, under
the command of Admiral Hewett, were in the Canal between Ismaïlia and
Suez, and Lesseps had written to complain that they were giving orders
and issuing proclamations to the inhabitants on shore. Their right to do
this Arabi repudiates, saying, that it is by direction of the Council
that he sends him the answer, and adds, apparently in reply to some
further appeal made to him personally by Lesseps, to respect the Canal's
neutrality: "As I scrupulously respect the neutrality of the Canal,
especially in consideration of its being so remarkable a work, and one
in connection with which your Excellency's name will live in history, I
have the honour to inform you that the Egyptian Government will not
violate that neutrality, except at the last extremity, and only in the
case of the English having committed some act of hostility at Ismaïlia,
Port Saïd, or some other point of the Canal." Here the principle is
clearly and well laid down, but the weak point of it is to be perceived
in its leaving to the enemy to commit the first act of hostility instead
of forestalling and preventing him.

Nevertheless we have Ninet's assurance, which has been confirmed to me
from other quarters, that every preparation was made secretly for the
blocking of the Canal at a certain point between Ismaïlia and Port Saïd,
and that it was only due to Arabi's extreme personal unwillingness to
sign the final order that, in opposition to the opinion of all his
colleagues in the Council, the hour of grace was allowed to slip by.
Lesseps, on the arrival of the British fleet at Port Saïd conveying
Wolseley and the army, had sent Arabi a last bombastical telegram,
which Ninet quotes as follows: "Ne faites aucune tentative pour
intercepter mon Canal. Je suis là. Ne craignez rien de ce côté. Il ne se
débarquera pas un seul soldat anglais sans être accompagné d'un soldat
français. Je réponds de tout." This occasioned a final council of war at
Kafr Dawar on the 20th at which all but Arabi were resolved to disregard
Lesseps' message. Arabi, however, suffered himself to be deceived still
by the boast about the French troops, and argued against it, and though
orders were given that evening for the "temporary" destruction of the
Canal, the delay caused by the discussion had already been fatal, and
Wolseley had steamed through the Canal before they had been executed.
Arabi's weakness in this matter is a most serious blot on his strategic
fame, and stamps him also with political inefficiency. Wolseley
alluding, long after, to it in a speech made by him in connection with
the proposed Channel Tunnel between England and France, said: "If Arabi
had blocked the Canal, as he intended to do, we should be still at the
present moment on the high seas blockading Egypt. Twenty-four hours
delay saved us."

The date of Wolseley's occupation of Ismaïlia was the 21st of August,
and from this point the defence of Egypt entered into a new and
practically hopeless phase, though the campaign was not so wholly a walk
over for the English as has been pretended. The British army was over
30,000 strong, and though probably of no great fighting value had it
been opposed to European troops, was sufficient to deal with the scanty
forces at Arabi's command. The whole strength at Kafr Dawar had never
been more than 8,000 regulars, with 80 Krupp guns, nor in all Egypt
could it be counted at more than 13,000 disciplined men, while the new
levies got together within a month were unfit as yet for any service
except that of manual labour at the trenches. Wolseley, therefore, had a
comparatively easy job before him when once he found himself ashore with
no obstacle between him and Cairo, except the unfinished lines of
Tel-el-Kebir. The English intelligence department had, however, to make
assurance doubly sure, already taken secret measures for success of a
kind which is always employed in modern warfare but never avowed, and
which it is right that I should here put on record, having by a curious
accident the details of the most important of them in my possession.
That Wolseley's advance was helped by bribery has always been
indignantly denied by English writers, but it is time the truth should
be authoritatively told.

The attack on Egypt from the side of the Suez Canal had been resolved on
by our War Office and Admiralty early in the year, and it was determined
about the middle of June to prepare the way betimes by a large operation
of bribery, especially among the Eastern Bedouins. The credit of the
particular _modus operandi_ belongs personally to Lord Northbrook, who,
as I heard at the time of its first supposed success from Gregory, took
a special pride in it, and the more so because it was based upon a hint
I had originally thrown out, with no thought when I did so that it might
be ever seriously acted upon or used against any who were to be my
friends. It will be remembered that in the spring of 1881 I had
travelled through the desert east of the Canal, and had interested
myself in certain unfortunate Sheykhs of the Teyyaha and Terrabin tribes
held in captivity at Jerusalem, and that in order to persuade our
Embassy at Constantinople to solicit their release I had represented
that it might one day be found of importance to have these Bedouins
friendly to England. Lord Northbrook had heard of this, and, now that I
was in such disfavour with the Government, thought it would be amusing
to "hoist me with my own petard," and by using my name in addition to
more solid inducements to get the help of these Arabs against Arabi.

At that time hardly any Englishman could speak a word of Arabic, and it
was difficult to discover an emissary capable and willing to undertake
the job. Northbrook consequently called into his counsels the then
professor of Oriental languages at Cambridge, Edward Palmer, a
distinguished Arabic scholar, who also had some personal acquaintance
with the district intended to be operated in, as he had been connected
at one time with the Palestine Exploration Society. Palmer was then
living in London, an impecunious man, making a poor living by
journalism, and weighted in his struggle for life by a recent marriage.
When, therefore, on the 24th of June he received an invitation, through
Captain Gill, R. E., of the Intelligence Department, to breakfast the
next morning with Lord Northbrook at the Admiralty, and was met there
with an offer from Lord Northbrook that he should undertake the task,
represented to him as an honourable and patriotic one, of ascertaining
the bribable character of the Bedouins east of the Canal, and securing
their services for the British Army, and with it the further offer of
£500 down for preliminary expenses, and promises of large pecuniary
reward in case of success, poor Palmer did not hesitate and agreed to
start at once. Just before his departure, however, on the 26th, he
called on me, representing himself to be on his way to Alexandria, where
he had been appointed correspondent of the "Standard" newspaper, and
asking introductions to my Nationalist friends there for whom he felt,
he said, a strong sympathy and would favour in his writings. This, of
course, was a cover to his real business, as to which he was silent, and
inclined me to granting his request, and, though I did not trust his
countenance, which was far from sincere, I gave him introductions to
Sabunji and one or two others, though not, I think, to Arabi.

Palmer's true programme traced out for him at the Admiralty was to go
first to Alexandria, where he was to discuss his plans with Admiral
Seymour, and then without delay to proceed to Jaffa where he should
assume an Eastern disguise and visit the desert south and west of Gaza,
and put himself into communication with precisely those Teyyaha and
Terrabin tribes whose interests I had espoused eighteen months before.
His journals, portions of which have been published, are on this point
very instructive. In them the details of his arrangement with Lord
Northbrook are constantly alluded to. He describes going on board
Admiral Seymour's yacht at Alexandria, where he was told to proceed at
once to the desert and begin work, the Admiral giving him "a revolver, a
rifle, and plenty of cartridges," and where he finds it "expected there
will be war at once, and perhaps it may begin tomorrow." "I am glad," he
says, "there is really to be fighting, because, though I shall be a long
way off, I shall be able to get a great deal of good out of it and do
something towards winning it for our side...." The Admiral said to me he
"congratulated the country on finding so able a man to undertake such a
difficult task." Palmer also sees "Sir Sidney Auckland [_sic_] the
political agent"; and we learn later in the journal that the Admiral
told him Alexandria was to be bombarded soon. Then he goes, much elated,
in the Admiral's steam launch, on board the steamer for Jaffa, with the
British flag flying, and "two sailors to carry the gun and revolver."

At Jaffa he lodges with the British Consul, the Jew Shapira, who sends
his son down to Gaza to help his preparations for the desert journey and
find an Arab to go with him, and he buys himself Arab dress and other
things he may require. He laments the heat and the difficulty of his
mission, but consoles himself with dreams of rich rewards and possible
honours. On the 15th, just before leaving for the desert, he hears
secretly of the bombardment, and decides to go through to Suez where he
writes for a ship's boat to take him off at a safe place.

On the 16th he sees a number of the Terrabin tribe: "They were very
curious to know who I was and what I wanted. My man said I was a Syrian
officer on the way to Egypt. Of course I am dressed in full costume like
a Mohammedan Arab of the towns. I found out more about them than they
did about me. I now know where to find and get at every Sheykh in the
desert, and I have already got the Teyyaha, the most warlike and
strongest of them all, ready to do anything for me. When I come back I
shall be able to raise 40,000 men. It was very lucky that I knew such an
influential tribe.... I get on capitally with my mission, and am longing
to get instructions from Suez and know if our troops have landed. I did
not expect to find out as much as I have done this first trip. I think
our fortune will be made." On the 18th "I had an exciting time, having
met the great Sheykh of the Arabs hereabouts. I, however, quite got him
to accept my views."

And again, 19th July, "It is wonderful how I get on with them. I have
got hold of some of the very men Arabi Pasha has been trying in vain to
get over to his side, and when they are wanted I can have every Bedawi
at my call from Suez to Gaza.... Of course I know nothing of what has
been done in Egypt since I left, except that Alexandria was bombarded as
the Admiral told me it would be soon. But I hear from the Arabs that the
Egyptian military party are still in arms, so I suppose our troops must
have landed by now." On the 20th "The Sheykh, who is the brother of
Suliman, is the one who engages all the Arabs not to attack the caravan
of pilgrims which goes to Mecca every year from Egypt, so that he is the
_very man_ I wanted. He has sworn by the most solemn Arab oath that, if
I want him to, he will guarantee the safety of the Canal even against
Arabi Pasha, and he says that if I can get three Sheykhs out of prison,
which I hope to do through Constantinople and our Ambassador, all the
Arabs will rise and join me like one man."

On the 21st, "I am anxious to get to Suez, because I have done all I
wanted by way of preliminaries, and as soon as I can get precise
instructions I can settle with the Arabs in a fortnight or three weeks
and get the whole thing over. As it is, the Bedouins will keep quite
quiet and will not join Arabi, but will wait for me to give them the
word what they are to do. They look upon Abdallah Effendi, which is what
they call me, as a very grand personage indeed!" On the 22nd, "I hear
from a Bedouin, who has just come on from Egypt, that Arabi Pasha has
got 2,000 horsemen from the Nile Bedouins and brought them to the Canal.
But when they get to Suez they will soon go back, for my men know them,
and if fair means won't do I shall send 10,000 of the Teyyaha and
Terrabin fighting men to drive them back. I have got the man who
supplies the pilgrims with camels on my side, too, and as I have
promised my big Sheykh £500 for himself, he will do anything for me. I
am very glad that the war has actually come to a crisis because now I
shall really have to do my big task, and _I am certain of success_. I
shall know almost directly what I am to get. Lord Northbrook told me I
was to have the £500 for this first trip, and that as soon as I began
negotiations with the Arabs they would enter on a fresh arrangement with
me. I shall save at least £280 out of this, which is not a bad month's
work!... I don't think they can give me less than £2,000 or £3,000 for
the whole job...." And again on the 26th, "I find it is possible to get
to the ships near Suez, and I start to-morrow, and hope to be on board
in four or five days. I have been so successful that I shall write for
more money, saying I have been obliged to spend all mine on presents--a
few hundred pounds is a great deal to us and nothing to the Government,
who would, I know, have given thousands for what I have already done--of
course I shall make the most of the difficulties and they have been
really great. I will send you a hundred or so as soon as I get the
chance from Suez.... I have had to give away a great deal, but have
still nearly £300 left after paying my journey to Suez! That is better
than newspaper work, £300 in a month!" "I have had a great ceremony
to-day, eating bread and salt with the Sheykhs in token of protecting
each other to the death!" On the 28th, "I have got the great Sheykh of
the Haiwath Arabs with me now, and get on capitally with him. In fact I
have been most wonderfully successful throughout. I have been sitting
out in the moonlight repeating Arabic poetry to the old man till I have
quite won his heart."

At last Palmer reaches Suez, August 1. "I am safe on board the P. and O.
boat," he writes, "and have got your letter. I got here by going to a
part of the coast above Suez, and got on board at midnight. It cost me a
lot of money, nearly £10, but I escaped the Egyptian sentries. The
troops are coming on Thursday, and this is Tuesday!... I have just seen
the Admiral. He is delighted with the result of my work and has
telegraphed to Lord Northbrook. He had three boat crews watching the
coast for me, but I got here by myself." August 2, "I am off again to
the desert for a short trip in about two days. I have been asked to go
to the coast and cut the telegraph wires and burn the poles on the
desert line so as to cut off Arabi's communications with Turkey! Captain
Gill arrived at Port Said yesterday and will be here this morning.
Yesterday I had a most interesting day. I called on the captains of all
the men-of-war and met with a most pleasant reception. They all insisted
upon my drinking iced champagne with them, and in the evening the
Admiral gave a dinner party on board the flagship in my honour. It was a
beautiful dinner and I did not get back to my ship until one this
morning." August 4, "On Monday I was ordered to accompany the commanding
officer and take Suez. We landed with three guns and 500 men. The
Egyptian soldiers ran away, so we had no fighting to do. I was in the
first boat which landed. We then made the Governor give us up the town
and £50,000 which he had, and we took possession. The day before
yesterday Lord Northbrook telegraphed to the Admiral to congratulate me
on my safe arrival, and informing me that I was appointed 'Interpreter
in Chief to Her Majesty's Forces in Egypt,' and placed on the Admiral's
Staff. I am here [Suez] in great state at the hotel at Government
expense, and have all my meals with the Admiral. I am going up to
Ismaïlia the day after to-morrow on a gunboat, and the Admiral here
said, 'Don't let the other Admiral keep you--you are on the books of the
"Euryalus," his flagship.' I have got a staff of about forty men working
under me. The Admiral told me the other night that I was sure of the
Egyptian medal and the 'Star of India.' They won't let me go to the
desert, for the present at least, as they want me here.... I am one of
the Chief Officers of the Expedition and an awful swell. The 72nd
regiment are coming to-morrow and I have got to see about camels for
them.... The pay is to be what I suggest, but I haven't settled it yet."
And then suddenly the splendid climax, "Captain Gill has just come, and
placed twenty thousand pounds at my disposal for the Arabs."

The rest is a mere dream of gold and glory. August 6, "Suez ... I start
to-morrow for a few days in the desert to buy camels. Captain Gill and
the Admiral's Flag Lieutenant go with me, and we shall be all safe and
jolly. My position seems like a dream. The Admiral said as I preferred
leaving the Government to settle my pay, that in the meantime I might
draw _to any amount_ for private expenses--so I will send you another
£500 as soon as I come back. I could do it now, but do not want to look
hard up. I have got £260 left, after paying all expenses of my journey,
etc., in hard money in my despatch box, and to-day _twenty thousand
pounds in gold were brought by ship and paid into my account here!_ I
have _carte blanche_ to do everything. I give passes to the sentries. If
I see a dozen horses I buy them off-hand. Yesterday I found thirty
camels and gave a man £360 for them by just writing on a slip of paper.
To-night I have been interpreting while the Governor dined with the
Admiral. I have servants, clerks, and interpreters at my beck and call,
and in short I could not be in a higher position. We are very securely
entrenched here and the enemy is eighty miles off, and to-morrow the
Indian troops are coming. Of course it is war time, but as I am on the
staff of the Commander-in-Chief, I am not likely to get into risky
places. I have seen active service though, having been one of the first
to land when Suez was taken. The Admiral is such a nice man, and I am
told he never forgets his officers, but pushes them on to promotion. He
_told me_ I should get the 'Star of India'! good-bye."

This is the last pathetic entry in a very human document. The next day
Palmer started with Gill and Charrington for Nakhl in the eastern
desert, Gill's mission and Charrington's being to destroy the telegraph
wire between Egypt and Syria, for which purpose they took with them a
box of dynamite, while Palmer's mission was announced as that of "buying
camels." The two officers, like Palmer, were dressed in Arab costume,
but they had with them uniforms to add dignity to their proceedings when
they should reach the friendly tribes. The amount of money taken with
them out of Palmer's £20,000 has been variously stated at £3,000 to
£8,000. Gill has recorded his dissatisfaction at the nature of the
mission on which he was called to serve. It cannot have been the
purchase of camels, an official euphemism which now that Palmer had
become a high officer of Her Majesty he seems to have adopted, but
beyond a doubt to carry out his original avowed purpose and fulfil his
promises to his Bedouin friends, by paying them the large sums agreed
on. He would have taken all the £20,000 for his 40,000 fighters but that
the Admiral expostulated.

The party, however, was foredoomed to disaster. The Bedouin escort, men
of the Haiwat and Howeytat, got scent of the gold they were carrying,
and were determined to be beforehand with the Teyyaha, for whom it was
intended--the Egyptian governor of Nakhl, an isolated fort halfway
between Suez and Akabah, there is good reason to believe, being their
accomplice and instigator. They had hardly therefore, got more than a
few miles on their way before they were attacked, made prisoners,
despoiled, stripped and bound, and finally shot at the edge of a ravine
in the Wady Sudr. And so poor Palmer's dreams of fortune ended. The
catastrophe was too conspicuous a one to save the Government from
questions asked in Parliament, and that worthy gentleman, Sir Henry
Campbell-Bannerman, as Under-Secretary, was put up in the House of
Commons to give answer and to deny roundly the whole affair of Palmer's
secret mission, or of any dealings on his part with the Bedouins, except
as buyer of camels.

Nor does Professor Palmer's journal stand alone as documentary
evidence. Captain Gill also left a diary amply confirming the main
facts. His business under the Intelligence Department was of the same
nature west of the Suez Canal as Palmer's had been east of it. The diary
begins at Alexandria and the writer speaks of having gone to see Sir
Frederick Goldsmid, the head of his department, and he expresses his
hope to be soon at work among the Bedouins west of the Canal. He
describes having received, in the Khedive's own handwriting, a list of
the principal Sheykhs between the Canal and the cultivation, of whom he
mentions two by name, Saoud el Tihawi at Salahieh, and Mohammed el
Baghli at Wady Tumeylat. He understood the Bedouins to be waiting to
side with whomever they found it their best interest to follow. At Port
Saïd Gill hears from the ex-Governor that these Bedouins can be bought
at from £2 to £3 per man. On 4th August he mentions reading Palmer's
report to Sir B. Seymour. He says, "Had I known the report would go
direct to the Admiral, I would have asked Hoskyns whether he had the
money for Palmer." He adds, "Palmer says he can buy fifty thousand
Bedouins for £25,000, and I shall certainly urge that the money be given
him." He mentions a report of his own as to blocking the Canal, which he
says could only be effectively done by the Egyptians at one point, which
he names, and gives as his reason the want of stones elsewhere to sink
the barges with. He talks of Lesseps as having it in his power to do
real mischief, as he has all the dredges and boats belong to the Canal
at his disposal. August 5th: Gill goes down the Canal with another
officer to Suez, taking with them £20,000 in gold for Palmer. They stop
at Ismaïlia, and he sees there Mr. Pickard, with whom he discusses the
best route to choose for cutting the telegraph. He says there are three
ways: (1) from the coast near el Arish, which both agree would be
dangerous, (2) from Gisr or Kantara, objectionable as violating the
neutrality of the Canal, and (3) from Suez, the only practicable route.
He does not seem to trust Pickard, and decides to cut the wire himself
from Suez. August 6th: He mentions the fact that he is glad to get rid
of the £20,000 on its being made over to Palmer. He talks of going with
Palmer to a great meeting of Shekyhs he is to attend at Nakhul, and
remarks that if he goes so far with him he shall be able to judge how
far "Palmer's rather rose-coloured expectations" are justified. These
two documents between them amply prove the reality of the bribery
resorted to before Tel-el-Kebir.

I was much connected with this affair at the time it occurred, as I was
applied to by members of the families of all the three victims of it, to
aid in their researches, and to make the matter public and in one
instance to obtain from the Government a proper recognition of services
rendered and as yet unacknowledged. The case, after being denied in the
House of Commons, was at my instance brought on by my brother-in-law,
Lord Wentworth, in the House of Lords, and was the occasion of much
anger among the Ministerial peers, and an astonishing display of
untruth. Lord Granville, Lord Northbrook, and their colleagues, got up
one after the other and roundly denied the whole story of Palmer's
mission, and of his having received any money for the purpose of bribery
among the Arabs. It is a curious fact that Lord Salisbury, to whom I
went just before the debate to try to enlist his aid in opposition to
the Government, excused them in some measure to me on the ground that in
cases where secret service money was concerned, it was conventionally
permitted to Ministers to lie. He nevertheless aided Lord Wentworth to
the extent of securing him a fair hearing, which the others would have

Palmer's and Gill's were nevertheless but crude dealings, and would by
themselves, I think, have done little to further Wolseley's objects but
for the far more efficacious intervention in support of them given by
the Khedive. Saoud el Tihawi was the only Arab Sheykh who systematically
or at all efficiently betrayed Arabi, and it was the Khedive who
procured his defection. Saoud received in payment for his work as spy in
Arabi's camp 5,000 Austrian crowns, and betrayed him throughout, from
the date of the removal of the Egyptian headquarters from Kafr Dawar to
Tel-el-Kebir. Saoud was an Arab of a naturally superior type, and with a
good head on his shoulders, but he had long been perverted by his
association with Lesseps and the French, having his land and permanent
camp within a day's journey only of the Suez Canal, and had been
accustomed to hunt the gazelle with them, and play the part of fine
gentleman, which is the ruin of Bedouin morality. That he did indeed
play the part of spy and traitor in the English interest I have his own
half admission, for passing by Salahieh in the spring of 1887, I stopped
a night at his tents, and he seeing me to be English, and knowing
nothing of my political sympathies, spoke of his doings during the war
in terms there was no mistaking. Acting as scout for Arabi, it was easy
for his men to pass from camp to camp, and so convey intelligence. There
was nothing specially to be ashamed of in this treachery, according to
Bedouin morals, for to the Arab tribes Egyptians and Turks and Franks
are equally outside the sphere of their allegiance, and in serving them
it is merely a question of what suits their interest best. On the east
of the Nile the Bedouins have exceedingly little religious feeling to
prevent their siding with the infidel, if their advantage lies that way,
and no love was ever yet lost between Bedouin and Fellah.

What did Arabi infinitely more harm than this and facilitated the
rapidity of Wolseley's advance, was the tampering with his officers
through the instrumentality of certain emissaries despatched in disguise
to Cairo and Tel-el-Kebir, who, armed with money and promises of
promotion and advancement when the "rebellion" should have been put
down, succeeded in detaching not a few from their loyalty. This was not
done directly by Wolseley or the English intelligence Department,
though, perhaps the funds were furnished by them, but by the Khedive,
who was far better aware whom to approach with success than any
Englishman could be. His most intelligent and active agent in this work
was his A. D. C., Osman Bey Rifaat, who knew well the temper of most of
the officers, and the jealousies which inspired them. To these,
especially to those of Circassian origin, he represented the futility of
the National resistance and the advantage there would be for them in
being beforehand in reconciling themselves to the Khedive instead of
awaiting the punishment which would certainly follow. Wolseley and the
English were only acting as the Khedive's servants and in concert with
the Sultan, who also was about to send troops, having declared Arabi a
rebel. With the Circassians this line of argument naturally had weight,
and with the baser class of Egyptian officers the money argument was
added. Arabi, for the reasons already stated, although enthusiastically
followed by the rank and file of the army, had incurred no little
jealousy among the superior officers, who judged themselves to be all
better soldiers than he, and his procrastination in the matter of
blocking the Canal had still further increased their dissatisfaction.
All confidence in his military leadership was destroyed among them from
the day of the landing of the English at Ismaïlia without the promised
opposition of the French, and without adequate preparations to oppose
them on that side having been made.

With the civilian chiefs of the Nationalists another agent was employed,
also not without effect. This was none other than the old leader of the
fellah movement, Sultan Pasha, who, having thrown his lot in now wholly
with the English, was not ashamed to lend himself to the work of
spreading disunion among those who still retained their patriotism. To
the new generation of the Egyptians it seems difficult to understand how
a man of such initial high conduct as a lover of his country should have
sunk to so mean a pass. But I think it is not really difficult to
explain. Sultan was a proud man of great wealth and importance, and used
to being given the first place everywhere--the "king," as he was
called, of Upper Egypt, the first and foremost of the great fellah
proprietors--and with what seemed to him a natural right to leadership
in the fellah party. Arabi he had patronized as a younger man and one of
no social standing, who might help him in his ambitions, but who should
never have presumed to supplant him in the popular affections. He was
disappointed on the formation of the Sherif Ministry in September, 1881,
that he was given no place in it, and was only half consoled with the
presidency assigned him of the new Parliament. Still less was he pleased
when on the formation of the more purely fellah administration of
February, 1882, he was again left out, and the lack of what he
considered the due consideration shown him caused him to drift gradually
into opposition. Then came the arrival of the fleets at Alexandria, and,
as we know, he was partly cajoled, partly frightened by Malet into
declaring himself in favour of the English demands, and threw in his lot
finally with the Court party against his former associates. There is
nothing difficult to understand, more than in the Khedive's case, in the
downward grade he was obliged to follow. It became with him, I imagine,
a matter of obstinacy rather than any longer of ambition, and his
patriotic scruples had been allayed by the promise made him that the
English intervention was intended only to restore the condition of
things previous to the Mahmud Sami Ministry, and that Egypt should still
have her claim to Constitutional government respected. In this sense he
addressed letters to his numerous former friends at Cairo, putting
forward the explanation that the alliance between the Khedive and the
English was a merely temporary necessity, as the English troops would
not stay in Egypt when once the Khedive's authority had been
re-established; and that Arabi had lost the confidence of the Sultan,
and that the continued resistance at Cairo was generally condemned by
Moslems. These letters, distributed carefully, were not without their
influence, and money again played its powerful part. Sultan indeed seems
to have advanced the money out of his own pocket, for the very first
financial act of the restored Khedivial Government after Tel-el-Kebir
was to make him a public present of £10,000 under the title of an
indemnity for losses sustained by him during the war, while he also
received an order of English knighthood. The sums actually given away by
Sultan were not, as far as I can learn, very large, being supplemented
with more considerable promises, which after the war remained
unfulfilled, and very likely the £10,000 more than covered the sums
Sultan actually disbursed. Be this as it may, there is no question that
with the Khedive's help Wolseley's path of victory was made a very easy

In spite, however, of all these disadvantages of internal intrigue, the
National defence might still have been prolonged, if the end could not
be averted, but for the bad luck which from this point throughout
attended the army. As soon as it was quite clear that Egypt would be
attacked from the East, Mahmud Fehmi, the engineer, the ablest of all
Arabi's lieutenants, was despatched to Tel-el-Kebir, to carry out and
finish the lines there, which had never been more than lightly traced.
Had they been finished as they ought to have been, they should have
proved a formidable obstacle to the advance of the English army, but by
an extraordinary fatality, which was hardly within the range of the
common hazards of war, the General, within a few days of his arrival,
was captured and made prisoner by a small party of English Life Guards,
who, far in advance of the English position, happened to be passing
near. The accident was a strange one. Mahmud Fehmi, attended only by an
A. D. C., and having put off his uniform on account of the heat, had
passed one evening to the other side of the Wady Tumeylat, and partly to
get a breath of air, partly, too, for a better view of the desert in the
direction of Ismaïlia, had climbed alone, on foot, a low sandhill, of
which there are several, running into the cultivated land, when suddenly
the small English party pounced on him. As Mahmud was not in uniform,
Colonel Talbot, in command of the party, was doubtful how to treat him,
and was near accepting his explanation that he was an Effendi with
property in the neighbourhood, but finally decided to carry him off with
them, which they accordingly did, the A. D. C., having remained in a
village hard by not knowing what had happened, nor had Talbot any notion
of the value of his capture until some time after the return of the
party to the English headquarters. As a matter of fact, however, it was
one of the greatest possible importance, and a blow to the defence of
Tel-el-Kebir for which there was no remedy.[26]

The second misfortune was the disabling at Kassassin of the two
generals, first and second in command, at a critical moment of that not
altogether unequal combat. These were Ali Fehmi, Arabi's tried
companion, and Rashid Pasha, two officers who were both good soldiers,
with courage and some experience of war, and who took the initiative
against Wolseley first by a reconnaissance, and then by a renewed attack
on him in force at Kassassin. It was the best and last chance the
Egyptians had of checking the English advance, and it was not very far
from being successful. According to the Egyptian account of the affair,
the enemy was taken by surprise, and for a long time the issue remained
doubtful, the Duke of Connaught being at one moment near being made
prisoner. Had this happened and had the Egyptians maintained their
advantage, there is no knowing what terms might not have been granted
them of recognition and peace, for already public opinion had veered
round in England, and people were becoming ashamed of a war waged
against peasants fighting for their freedom from an ancient tyranny. Two
things, however, failed them in their plans, first Mahmud Sami was to
have advanced from Salahieh with a couple of thousand men to join them
in the morning and take the enemy on his right flank, but misled by
Saoud's Bedouins in the night he missed the point of rendezvous; and
secondly, it is certain that Arabi, if he had had any soldierly
instincts, ought to have taken the field in person with them, if not in
the front line of attack, at least as commanding a strong reserve. As it
was, the whole force employable did not appear on the battlefield, and
by a still further stroke of ill fortune both the commanders were
wounded, and put for the rest of the campaign _hors de combat_. It is
also certain that one of the Egyptian generals, Ali Bey Yusuf, purposely
betrayed his comrades.

From this point all was confusion at Tel-el-Kebir, and the pitiful end
became certain. Arabi had lost his best generals and knew not where to
replace them. There were not many he could trust, and those men only of
quite inferior ability. One man indeed there was who might still have
given consistency to the defence, but for some inexplicable reason he
was left away from the field of action. This was the third of the
original "three colonels," Abd-el-Aal Helmi, a valiant fighting man as
any in the army. For some time past he had been employed in what was at
one moment the important duty of defending Damietta from a possible
British landing, and he had with him some of the very best troops,
notably the Soudanese regiment which had been Abd-el-Aal's own. Had
these, with their commander, been brought at once to Tel-el-Kebir, they
might have saved at least the honour of the army, for Abd-el-Aal was one
who could be relied upon for forward action, and his troops were full of
spirit and undiscouraged by defeat. It seems, however, still to have
been thought that Damietta needed its garrison, for I cannot find that
the Military Committee so much as suggested Abd-el-Aal as Ali Fehmi's
successor. I have sometimes thought that Yakub Pasha Sami, the President
of the Military Committee at Cairo, good service as he had done in
organizing the war, had at this time been tampered with by the Khedive's
agents. He was a Mussulman, of Greek origin, and so one of the ruling
class, and there are documents in my possession which show him, though
Arabi's right-hand man at the War Office, as always a Khedive's man
rather than a Nationalist. The Khedive seems to have counted him as
such, and as in other instances after the war, treated him for that
reason with exceptional rigour, and he was one of the seven Pashas
exiled to Ceylon, though the attitude he adopted before the Judges had
been one of servile repentance and protestations of loyalty. Of his deep
jealousy of Arabi the papers give ample evidence, and it is quite
possible that after the disabling of Ali Fehmi, he did his best to
isolate Arabi and hasten his ruin at Tel-el-Kebir. Instead of Abd-el-Aal
the command was given to a very worthy but quite incompetent man, Ali
Pasha Roubi, one of Arabi's old companions of the early days of the
National movement, but who had no other qualification for so responsible
a post.

Arabi himself meanwhile, in spite of the imminence of the English
attack, remained stolidly on in camp surrounded, as always, by the
country Notables, who still flocked to see him, and by religious men,
with whom he passed the time in prayers and recitations. He relied
implicitly on Saoud el Tihawi to give him news of any further advance by
Wolseley, and Saoud always lured him into security. The army at
Tel-el-Kebir was the most incoherent one imaginable. Of regular,
well-disciplined troops, infantry of the line, there cannot have been
more than 6,000 to 7,000, with, perhaps, 2,000 cavalry and a
corresponding number of guns served by good artillerymen. This was all
the really reliable force. The rest were a half-clothed and wholly
undisciplined rabble of recruits and volunteers, good, honest fellahin,
hardworking as labourers in the trenches, but of no fighting value
whatever. Their total number may have been 20,000, but I have no
accurate statistics to go by. Day and night they worked valiantly to
complete the unfinished lines, but this was all the military service
they possibly could render. Stone Pasha, the American, after the war
stated it freely as his opinion that not one of the whole number had
even as yet fired a ball cartridge, and this was probably true.

The end came suddenly at dawn on the morning of the 13th of September.
There has been much romance written by English military writers of the
silent and hazardous night march from Mehsameh under guidance of the
stars and of a young naval officer, and doubtless to those who took part
in it it seemed that the English army was groping its way blindly to the
unknown, but in reality the road had been made plain for them by the
secret means I have alluded to. Two of Arabi's minor officers, both
holding responsible positions, had accepted, a few days before, the
bribes offered them by the Khedivial agents. The names of these two
deserve, to their eternal shame, to be put on record. The first was
Abd-el-Rahman Bey Hassan, commander of the advanced guard of cavalry,
who was placed with his regiment outside the lines in a position
commanding the desert road from the east, but who on the night in
question shifted his men some considerable distance to the left, so as
to leave the English advance unobstructed. The second was the already
mentioned Ali Bey Yusuf, in command of a portion of the central lines
where the trenches were so little formidable that they could be
surmounted by any active artillery. By the account generally given, and
Arabi's own, he not only left the point that night unguarded, but put
out a lantern for the guidance of the assailants. Other names have been
mentioned to me, but not with the authority of these two, and I
therefore prefer not to put them down. As to the two I have given, their
position as traitors was notorious for years at Cairo, as little secret
was made of it by them, especially by Ali Bey Yusuf, who complained
freely of the scurvy treatment he had received for his services. £1,000
indeed had been paid him down in gold before the battle, but a further
promise of £10,000 had never been kept to him, nor did he succeed in
obtaining more from the Government, when he had spent his first round
sum, than a poor pension of £12 a month, which was paid him to his

Arabi and the rest of the army, deluded by Saoud into a false security
as to that night at least, slept profoundly, the poor men in their
trenches and Arabi at his headquarters, about a mile to the rear. Thus,
without any warning, they suddenly found the enemy upon them, the lines
crossed at their weak point by the English, and a little later artillery
in their rear. The vast number of the recruits fled without firing a
shot, half-naked as they were sleeping, worn out with their constant
labour of entrenchment, and having thrown their arms away across the
open plain, and were cut down in hundreds as they ran. It was a mere
butchery of peasants, too ignorant of the ways of war even to know the
common formulas of surrender. This was in the centre and to the right of
the position. To the left a more gallant stand was made, especially
where Mohammed Obeyd was in command, and here and there all along the
lines by the Egyptian artillery. The whole thing lasted hardly more than
forty minutes. Mohammed Obeyd fell gallantly fighting, and with him the
flower of the regular army, and many gunners too who had stuck
obstinately to their guns. But at the end of an hour the fighting was
wholly over, and what remained of the National army was a mere broken

As to the part played personally by Arabi that fatal morning, I have the
evidence, besides his own, of a very worthy man, Mohammed Sid Ahmed, his
body-servant, who in 1888 entered my service as manager at Sheykh Obeyd
and remained two years with me. From him I have over and over again
heard the events narrated. According to Sid Ahmed, the whole camp that
night was in profound slumber, having been assured by the scouts that
the English were making no movement, his master's headquarters at about
the centre of the whole camp, but more than a mile in rear of the front
line of trenches, as undisturbed as the rest. The Pasha had undressed
and gone to bed as usual and slept soundly through the night, nor was
any one awake before the sound of the guns announced the attack. Arabi
then threw hastily on his uniform and got on horseback and rode towards
the firing, followed, among others, by his servant, also mounted. They
had not, however, got far when they were met by a crowd of fugitives,
who declared that all was lost, while Saoud's Bedouins also were
galloping wildly about, adding to the general confusion. The Pasha, Sid
Ahmed assured me, did his best to rally the men, and continued to
advance towards that part of the lines where Mohammed Obeyd was still
holding out, but was gradually borne away with the rest, and yielded to
his (Sid Ahmed's) prayers that he would seek his safety in flight. The
idea that his master had any duty of dying on the field of battle was
always wholly absent from Sid Ahmed's mind, and he prided himself on
having succeeded in persuading him. They were both well mounted on
horses, which had been sent to Arabi by one of the Bedouins of the
Western Fayoum, and reached the Tel-el-Kebir station just before it was
occupied by the English, and though unable there to take train, got
across the small canal bridge before it closed, and so by the causeway
to the other side of Wady Tumeylat, whence they galloped their best for
Belbeis. They were alone, Arabi having been separated from his staff in
the confusion. Arabi's one idea now was to get to Cairo before the news
of the disaster should arrive and prepare the city for defence. At
Belbeis they took train and reached the capital not long after noon.[27]

Arabi, on his arrival in Cairo, seems to have had hopes still of
continuing the patriotic struggle by defending the city. He went
straight to the Kasr el Nil and assisted at a council being held there
by the members of the War Committee, but a compromise of opinion was all
that he could obtain, namely, that while it was decided in principle to
make submission to the Khedive, the question of defending Cairo against
the English army was reserved. Nor had the matter got any forwarder next
day when Drury Lowe with his Indian cavalry arrived at Abbassiyeh. The
truth is all heart had been taken out of the official resistance by the
intrigues of the Khedive's agents, and by Arabi's proclamation by the
Sultan as a rebel having become known. Only the rabble of the streets,
as yet ignorant of all, were still in favour of a defence. The military
circumstances of Cairo were that it possessed nominally a large
garrison, but these were all the newest of new recruits, and although
they would probably have been sufficient to hold the citadel and so
dominate the town, they could not have made a long defence without great
destruction of property in the lower city. For this no one was
prepared, and the sudden arrival of Drury Lowe decided the question with
the War Committee for capitulation, and it was resolved to send him,
according to his demand, the keys of the citadel. Arabi then seeing that
all was over, and on the advice of John Ninet, with whom he had spent
the night in anxious debate at the house of Ali Fehmi, drove to
Abbassiyeh, and there surrendered his sword as prisoner of war to the
English general.[28]


[22] "It is no exaggeration," Lord Dufferin asserted, "to say that
during the last few months absolute anarchy has reigned in Egypt. We
have seen a military faction, without even alleging those pretences to
legality with which such persons are wont to cloak their designs,
proceed from violence to violence, until insubordination has given place
to mutiny, mutiny to revolt, and revolt to a usurpation of the supreme
power. As a consequence the Administration of the country has been
thrown into confusion; the ordinary operations of the merchant have come
to a standstill; the fellahin, no longer finding purchasers for their
produce, are unable to pay the land-tax, and the revenues of Egypt are
failing. This state of things has placed in extreme jeopardy those
commercial interests in which the subjects of all the Powers are so
deeply concerned. Not only so, but those special engagements into which
the Governments of France and England had entered with Egypt have been
repudiated; the officers appointed to carry them into effect have been
excluded from the control they were authorized to exercise, and the
system which had begun to work so greatly to the advantage of the
industrious cultivators of Egypt has been broken up and overthrown.

"But these effects form only a portion of the deplorable situation which
has excited the anxiety of Europe. It is not merely the public creditor
who has suffered extensive damage. The life and property of every
individual European in the country have become insecure. Of this
insecurity we have had a most melancholy and convincing proof in the
brutal massacre by an insolent mob of a number of unoffending persons at
Alexandria, and in the sudden flight from Cairo and the interior (a
flight which implies loss to all and ruin to many) of thousands of our
respective citizens.

"It is evident that such a condition of affairs requires a prompt and
energetic remedy."

[23] The following is from my journal of 1887: "_January 31_,
Cairo.--Called on Princess Nazli. She is at least as clever as she is
pretty. Her conversation would be brilliant in any society in the world.
She told us a great deal that interested us about Arabi, for whom she
had, and I am glad to see still has, a great _culte_, talking of his
singleness of mind and lamenting his overthrow. 'He was not good enough
a soldier,' she said, 'and has too good a heart. These were his faults.
If he had been a violent man like my grandfather, Mehemet Ali, he would
have taken Tewfik and all of us to the citadel and cut our heads
off--and he would have been now happily reigning, or if he could have
got the Khedive to go on honestly with him he would have made a great
king of him. Arabi was the first Egyptian Minister who made the
Europeans obey him. In his time at least the Mohammedans held up their
heads, and the Greeks and Italians did not dare transgress the law. I
have told Tewfik this more than once. Now there is nobody to keep order.
The Egyptians alone are kept under by the police, and the Europeans do
as they like.'"

[24] See Appendix.

[25] I find the following in my diary of 1887: "_February 13._--A visit
from Abd-el-Salaam Moëlhy (one of the original Constitutionalists, and
member of the Chamber of 1882). He told me that he had been an intimate
friend and partisan of Sultan Pasha's, and had been one of those who
joined Sultan in his quarrel with Arabi, but they were all very sorry
now for not having held together; and he did not approve Sultan's
conduct during the war. Sultan had been deceived by Malet, who induced
him to act as he did on a distinct promise that the Egyptian Parliament
should be respected in its rights. Malet gave this verbally, and Sultan
asked to have it in writing, but was dissuaded from insisting by the
Khedive, who assured him that the English Agent's word was as good as
his bond. The old man, when he found out after the war how much he had
been deceived, took it to heart and died expressing a hope that Arabi
would forgive him, and that his name would not be handed down to
posterity as the betrayer of his country. It was jealousy and anger at
Arabi having become Minister that caused the quarrel."

[26] I give this version of the capture as being that of Mahmud Fehmi
himself, but some have recounted it otherwise, accusing him of
desertion. This is, however, not credited by those who knew him

[27] In 1884 I received an account of Arabi's conduct at Tel-el-Kebir,
almost identical with Sid Ahmed's, from his army doctor, Mustafa Bey,
who was sleeping near him that night. His own account of his flight will
be found in the Appendix.

[28] I find in my journal of 1884 that on the 29th October the Egyptian
princes, Osman and Kiamyl, came to see me, and that they talked
patriotically about the late war, and gave me much information. "Osman
was not actually there. He was too fat a prince to do anything
physically, but he sympathized with the cause, and behaved with some
dignity after it was over. Kiamyl was a member of the provisional
government, and saw a good deal of Arabi during the war, and while
bearing testimony to his honest patriotism, blamed him for his too easy
conduct of affairs. He ought, he said, to have shot Ali Yusuf after
Kassassin, for it was perfectly well known he was a traitor, having
received five thousand pounds before the battle, which was thus lost. At
one moment there were 18,000 Egyptians close to 2,500 English, who had
with them the Duke of Connaught. If Ali Yusuf, who commanded the centre,
had advanced then, the English must have been crushed and the prince
taken, but he left the field of battle, and allowed the wings to be
broken. The money paid by the English was most of it false St. George
sovereigns and Egyptian pounds with lead inside. Cairo was full of them
after Tel-el-Kebir, but they were bought up for the Government by the
bankers at five and ten francs apiece in a few days. The money orders
were also mostly forgeries, but Ali Yusuf insisted upon having an order
with a signature he knew. Abd-el-Ghaffar was paid in false St. George
sovereigns, some of which his wife took to Ismaïl Jawdat's wife to
change. Prince Kiamyl had himself broken open some of these pieces and
found them to contain lead. The Bedouins would not be taken in thus, and
Saoud el Tihawi had told him after the war that he had received--I
forget the sum--in silver dollars from one of the English generals. The
whole state of things was very disgraceful, and Kiamyl was under orders
to go in three days to Tel-el-Kebir to arrest Ali Yusuf when the
collapse came. Arabi was betrayed by all about him, some for gold,
others for jealousy. Mahmud Sami was jealous of Arabi, and spoilt the
second battle of Kassassin because he was not in chief command. He was
to advance from Salahieh, and did not keep his rendezvous with Ali
Fehmi--the latter was an honest and good soldier, but most of them were
very worthless. Arabi would not put any Turk into high command, and the
fellah officers were incapable and cowardly. Mahmud Sami was the only
Turk, and he was playing a selfish game throughout. Kiamyl was present
at the council at the Kasr-el-Nil when Arabi returned and when he
explained the destruction of the army with floods of tears. He said he
had fought till he was alone, which was hardly true, and that all was
over. Kiamyl then reproached him, saying, 'A man who embarks in a great
enterprise ought first to count the cost.' 'Arabi ought never,' he said,
'to have been at the head of the army. If he had hanged or shot a dozen
men in the early part of the war, all would have gone well.' Prince
Kiamyl would not hear of the campaign having been a complete walk over
for the English."

According to Mohammed Sid Ahmed Arabi had with him a body of about 1,000
encamped near him at Tel-el-Kebir, most of whom were slain before his
master left the field. But I do not attach full credit to this, at least
as to numbers. There seem to have been some 10,000 Egyptians in all
killed or wounded in the battle--mostly killed, for little quarter was
given--but I do not pretend to answer for any of the figures named. The
immense mounds of the buried dead tell their own tale perhaps best.



While these great events were happening on the Nile, I at my home at
Crabbet spent the summer sadly enough. My sympathies were, of course,
still all with the Egyptians, but I was cut off from every means of
communication with them, and the war fever was running too strongly
during the first weeks of the fighting for further words of mine to be
of any avail. Publicly I held my peace. All that I could do was
to prepare an "Apologia" of the National movement and of my own
connection with it--for this was now being virulently attacked in the
press[29]--and wait the issue of the campaign.

Nevertheless, though in dire disgrace with the Government, I did not
wholly lose touch with Downing Street. I saw Hamilton once or twice, and
submitted proofs of my "Apologia" to him and Mr. Gladstone before it was
published, and this was counted to me by them for righteousness. It
appeared in the September number of "The Nineteenth Century Review,"
and at a favourable moment when the first sparkle of military glory had
faded, and reasonable people were beginning to ask themselves what after
all we were fighting in Egypt about. Written from the heart even more
than from the head, my pleading had a success far beyond expectation
and, taken in connection with an anti-war tour embarked on in the
provinces by Sir Wilfrid Lawson, Mr. Seymour Keay and a few other
genuine Radicals, touched at last what was called the "Nonconformist"
conscience of the country and turned the tide of opinion distinctly in
my favour. This encouraged me. About the same time, too, a letter
reached me from General Gordon, dated "Cape Town, the 3rd of August," in
which he avowed his sympathy with the cause I had been advocating, and
which elated me not a little. It was as follows:

     "Cape Town, 3, 8, 82.

     "_My Dear Mr. Blunt_,

     "You say in 'Times' you are going to publish an account of what
     passed between you and the Government. Kindly let me have a copy
     addressed as enclosed card. I have written a MS. bringing things
     down from Cave's mission to the taking of office by Cherif, it is
     called 'Israel in Egypt,' and shall follow it with a sequel, 'The
     Exodus.' I do not know whether I shall print it, for it is not
     right to rejoice over one's enemies. I mean _official_ enemies.
     What a fearful mess Malet and Colvin have made, and one cannot help
     remarking the _finale_ of all Dilke's, Colvin's, and Malet's
     secretiveness. Dilke, especially, in the House evaded every query
     on the plea that British interests would suffer. Poor thing. I
     firmly believe he knows no more of his policy than the Foreign
     Office porter did; he had none. Could things have ended worse if he
     had said everything? I think not. No more Control--no more employés
     drawing £373,000 a year--no more influence of Consuls-General, a
     nation hating us--no more Tewfik--no more interest--a bombarded
     town, Alexandria--these are the results of the grand secret
     diplomacy. Colvin will go off to India, Malet to China--we shall
     know no more of them. All this because Controllers and
     Consuls-General would not let Notables see the Budget when Cherif
     was in office. As for Arabi, whatever may become of him
     individually, he will live for centuries in the people; they will
     never be 'your obedient servants' again.

     "Believe me, yours sincerely,

     "C. G. GORDON."

The value to me of this letter I saw at once was great, for, though out
of favour with the Foreign Office, Gordon's name was one to conjure with
in the popular mind, and especially with that "Nonconformist conscience"
which, as I have said, was beginning now to support me, and consequently
I knew with Gladstone; and it was on the text of it that I began a fresh
correspondence with Hamilton. Mr. Gladstone had stated in Parliament
that I was the "one unfortunate exception," among Englishmen who knew
Egypt, to the general approval of the war; and I sent him, through
Hamilton, a copy of Gordon's letter, and at the same time invited his
attention to accounts which had begun to appear in the newspapers of
certain atrocities of vengeance which had been indulged in by Tewfik and
his new Circassian Ministers at Alexandria on Nationalist prisoners made
during the war. Torture had, it was related, been inflicted on Mahmud
Fehmi, the engineer General, and the thumbscrew and kurbash were being
used freely. I asked whether such was the state of things Mr. Gladstone
had sent troops to Egypt to re-establish. The letter brought a prompt
and interesting answer, and one which proved of value to me a few days
later when it came to my pleading that Arabi should not be done to death
by the Khedive without fair trial.

     "10, Downing Street, Whitehall,

     "_September 8th, 1882_.

     "I need hardly say that Mr. Gladstone has been much exercised in
     his mind at the rumours about these 'atrocities.' I can call them
     by no other name. Immediate instructions were sent out to inquire
     into the truth of them, and to remonstrate strongly if they were
     confirmed. I am glad to say that, as far as our information at
     present goes, the statements appear to be unfounded. The strictest
     orders have been given for the humane treatment of the prisoners.
     There seems to be some doubt as to whether thumbscrewing was not
     inflicted on a spy in one case; and searching inquiries are to be
     instituted with peremptory demands of explanation and guarantees
     against recurrence. You may be quite sure that Mr. Gladstone will
     denounce 'Egyptian atrocities' as strongly as 'Bulgarian

     "I cannot help thinking that your and Chinese Gordon's opinion of
     Arabi would be somewhat modified if you had seen some of the
     documents I have read.

     "Some months ago (this, please, is quite private) certain inquiries
     were made about Chinese Gordon. He had suggestions to make about
     Ireland, and the result of these inquiries were, to the best of my
     recollection, that he was not clothed in the rightest of minds."

The last paragraph is historically curious. The proof Gordon had given
Mr. Gladstone's Government of his not being clothed in his right mind
was that he had written, during a tour in western Ireland, to a member
of the Government, Lord Northbrook, recommending a scheme of Land
Purchase and, if I remember rightly, Home Rule as a cure for Irish

I was thus once more in a position of semi-friendly intercourse with
Downing Street and of some considerable influence in the country when
the crowning glory of the war, the news of the great victory of
Tel-el-Kebir, reached England, and soon after it of Arabi's being a
prisoner in Drury Lowe's hands at Cairo. The completeness of the
military success for the moment turned all English heads, and it was
fortunate for me that I had had my say a fortnight before it came, for
otherwise I should have been unable to make my voice heard, either with
the public or at Downing Street, in the general shriek of triumph. It
had the immediate result of confirming the Government in all its most
violent views, and of once more turning Mr. Gladstone's heart, which had
been veering back a little to the Nationalists, to the hardness of a
nether millstone. The danger now was that in order to justify to his own
conscience the immense slaughter of half-armed peasants that had been
made at Tel-el-Kebir, he would indulge in some conspicuous act of
vengeance on Arabi, as the scapegoat of his own errors. His only excuse
for all this military brutality was the fiction that he was dealing with
a military desperado, a man outlawed by his crimes, and, as such,
unentitled to any consideration either as a patriot or even the
recognized General of a civilized army. I have reason to know that if
Arabi had been captured on the field at Tel-el-Kebir, it was Wolseley's
intention to give him the short benefit of a drum-head court martial,
which means shooting on the spot, and that it was only the intervention
of Sir John Adye, a General much older in years and in length of service
than Wolseley, that prevented it later--Adye having represented to
Wolseley the disgrace there would be to the British army if the regular
commander of an armed force, whom it had needed 30,000 troops to subdue,
should not receive the honourable treatment universally accorded to
prisoners of war. At home, too, I equally know that Bright, in indignant
protest, gave his mind on the same point personally to Gladstone. It
must not, however, at all be supposed that anything but the overwhelming
pressure of public opinion brought to bear, as I will presently
describe, frustrated the determination of our Government, one way or
other, to make Arabi pay forfeit for their own political crime with his
life. Mr. Gladstone was as much resolved on this as was Lord Granville,
or any of the Whig lords in his Cabinet. To explain how their hands were
forced in the direction of humanity I must go into detail.

The capitulation of Cairo and Arabi's surrender to Drury Lowe were
announced in the "Times" of the 16th, and with it a telegram from its
Alexandria correspondent, Moberley Bell, who represented the
Anglo-Khedivial official view, demanding "exemplary punishment" on
eleven of the National leaders, whom he named, including Arabi. I knew
that this could only mean mischief resolved on of the gravest kind, and
I consequently telegraphed at once to Button, asking him what the
position in official circles was. His first answer was reassuring. "I
can't think there is the least danger of their shooting anybody. You
should, however, take immediate steps to appeal for merciful treatment."
Two hours later, however, a second message from him came. "I don't like
official tone with regard to your friends. Write me privately such a
letter as I can show to my chief." By his "chief" he, of course meant
Chenery, the "Times" editor, with whom, as I have said, he was on very
intimate terms. I consequently wrote at once to Hamilton:

     "I cannot think there should be any danger of death for the
     prisoners taken at Cairo, but should there be, I trust you will
     let me know in time, as I have certain suggestions to make
     regarding the extreme difficulty of obtaining them a fair trial
     just now, and other matters."

To this it is significant that I received no answer for two days, and
then an off-hand one, to the effect that Hamilton was about to leave
London for the country, "and so would be a bad person to depend upon for
any intimation such as I wished." But I was not thus to be put off, and
passing beyond Hamilton, I wrote once more direct to Mr. Gladstone. I
did this after consultation with Button and with Broadley, whom I met at
his house on the afternoon of the 19th. We decided that the latter would
be the man for our purpose, and that the best chance of saving Arabi's
and the other prisoners' lives would be for me to take Broadley out with
me at once and produce him as their legal defender. Button, who knew the
ins and outs of most affairs, was certain there was no time to lose, and
we half engaged Broadley at a fee of £300, afterwards increased to £800
with refreshers. In the meantime Button rendered the cause a great
service in the immediate crisis by managing that it should be announced
next morning in the "Times" that Arabi and his companions were not to be
executed without the consent of the English Government, and that they
were to be defended by efficient counsel. Of course, we had not a shadow
of authority to go upon for this statement, but the "Times" having
announced it made it very difficult for the Government to go back upon a
humane decision so publicly attributed to them.

My letter to Mr. Gladstone, sent in the same evening, was as follows:

     "_Sept. 19, 1882._

     "MY DEAR SIR,

     "Now that the military resistance of the Egyptians is at an end,
     and Arabi and their chief leaders have surrendered to Her Majesty's
     forces, I venture once more to address you in the interests of
     justice no less than of those whom the fortune of war has thus
     suddenly thrown into your hands. It would seem to be contemplated
     that a Court Martial should assemble shortly to try and judge the
     military leaders for rebellion, and, in the case of some of these,
     and of civil tribunal to inquire into their alleged connection
     with certain violent proceedings. If this should be the truth, I
     would earnestly beg your attention to certain circumstances of the
     case which seem to demand careful consideration.

     "1. The members of the proposed Court Martial, if Egyptians and
     appointed by the Khedive, can hardly be free agents or uninfluenced
     in their feelings towards the prisoners. They would be chosen from
     among the few officers who espoused the Khedive's cause, and would
     of necessity be partisans.

     "2. Even were this not the case, native false witness is so common
     in Egypt, and the falsification of Arabic documents so easy, that
     little reliance could be placed upon the testimony adduced. The
     latter would need to be submitted to experts before being accepted
     with any certainty.

     "3. Native evidence, if favourable to the prisoners, will be given
     under fear. There will be a strong inducement to withhold it, and
     as strong an inducement in the desire of Court favour to offer
     evidence unfavourable. The experts charged with examining documents
     will, if natives, be equally subject to these influences.

     "4. The evidence of Europeans settled in Egypt, though given
     without fear of consequences, may be expected to be strongly
     coloured by resentment. These Europeans are, it would seem,
     themselves in some measure parties to the suit. They will many of
     them have lost property or have been injured in their trade during
     the late troubles or have personal insults to avenge. The
     vindictive tone of the English in Egypt is every day apparent in
     their letters published by the English Press.

     "5. It will be insufficient, if full justice for the prisoners is
     to be secured, that the ordinary form of Her Majesty's
     representative being present through a dragoman or otherwise, at
     the proceedings, should be the only one observed. Political feeling
     has probably run too high at Cairo during the last six months for
     quite impartial observation.

     "6. Should English officers, as it may be hoped will be the case,
     be added to the native members of the Court Martial, they will be
     ignorant or nearly ignorant of the language spoken by the
     prisoners, and will be unable themselves to examine the documents
     or cross-examine the witnesses. They will necessarily be in the
     hands of their interpreters, who, if unchecked, may alter or
     distort the words used to the detriment of the prisoners. Nearly
     all the dragomans of the Consulates are Levantine Christians
     violently hostile to the Mussulman Arabs, while it may safely be
     affirmed that there are no Englishmen in Egypt both fully competent
     and quite unbiassed who could be secured in this capacity. Arabic
     is a language little known among our officials, and their
     connection with the late troubles is too recent to have left them
     politically calm.

     "It would seem, therefore, that unless special steps are taken
     there is grave danger of a miscarriage of justice in the trial.

     "To remedy this evil as far as possible I have decided, at my own
     charge and that of some of my friends, to secure the services of a
     competent English counsel for the principal prisoners, and to
     proceed with him to Cairo to collect evidence for the defence. I
     shall also take with me the Rev. Mr. Sabunji as interpreter, and
     watch the proceedings on behalf of the prisoners. My knowledge of
     Arabic is too imperfect for me to act alone, but Mr. Sabunji is a
     friend of the chief prisoners, and is eminently capable of speaking
     for them. He knows English, French, Turkish, and Italian well, and
     is probably the first Arabic scholar now living. The prisoners have
     full confidence in him, and I believe also that they have full
     confidence in me. Thus alone, perhaps, they will obtain, what I
     submit they are entitled to, a full, a fair, and--to some
     extent--even a friendly hearing.

     "In conclusion, it may not be unnecessary that I should promise you
     that while thus engaged I, and those with me, would scrupulously
     avoid all interference with contemporary politics. I shall esteem
     it a favour if I can be informed at as early a date as possible
     what will be the exact nature of the trial and what the principal
     charges made. I hope, too, that every facility will be accorded me
     and those with me in Egypt to prosecute our task, and I cannot
     doubt that your personal sense of justice will approve it.

     "I am, &c.,


This letter, which I knew it would be difficult for Mr. Gladstone to
answer with a refusal, especially after his recent assurances about
"Egyptian atrocities" and "Bulgarian atrocities," I sent at once to
Downing Street, having previously called there and seen Hamilton,
to whom I explained my plan. He did not, however, give me much
encouragement, as his answer to a further note I sent him next morning
proves. My note was that I was writing to Arabi, and to ask him how the
letter should be sent, and expressing a hope to have an answer from his
Chief before Friday, the next mail day. Hamilton's answer suggests

     "Your letter, I am sorry to say, just missed the bag last night. It
     reached me about three minutes too late; but in any case I don't
     think you must count on a very immediate reply. Mr. Gladstone is
     moving about, and moreover will most likely have to consult some
     one before he gives an answer. I am absolutely ignorant myself as
     to questions which your intended proceedings may raise; and
     therefore I have no business to hazard an opinion. But is it not
     open to doubt whether according to international law or
     prescription a man can be defended by foreign counsel? I am equally
     ignorant about the delivery of letters to prisoners of war; but I
     should presume that no communication could reach Arabi except
     through and with the permission of the Khedive and our
     Commander-in-Chief. In any case Malet will probably be your best
     means of communication."

According to this suggestion I wrote a letter to Arabi telling him of
our plans of legal defence and enclosed it, with a draft of the letter,
to Malet, and for more precaution sent both by hand to the Foreign
Office, to be forwarded, with a note to Lord Tenterden commending it to
his care. By a singular accident, however, both note and letter were
returned to me with the message that His Lordship had died suddenly that
morning, and I was obliged, as the mail was starting, to send it by the
same hand, Button's servant Mitchell, to Walmer Castle where Lord
Granville was, and it was only just in time. In the sequel it will be
seen that the packet, though despatched to Cairo, was not delivered
farther than into Malet's hands and then with the instruction that my
letter to Arabi should be returned to me. Malet's official letter to me
performing his duty is sufficient evidence, if any were needed, to show
how far the Government was from co-operating at all with me in my
design of getting the prisoners a fair trial. It is very formal and

     "Cairo, _Oct. 4, 1882_.


     "Acting under instructions from Her Majesty's Principal Secretary
     of State I return you herewith the letter for Arabi Pasha which you
     sent to me to be forwarded in your letter of the 22nd ultimo.

     "I am, etc., EDWARD B. MALET."

My letter to Arabi had been as follows:

     "_To My Honourable Friend H. E. Ahmed Pasha Arabi._

     "May God preserve you in adversity as in good fortune.

     "As a soldier and a patriot you will have understood the reasons
     which have prevented me from writing to you or sending you any
     message during the late unhappy war. Now, however, that the war is
     over, I hope to show you that our friendship has not been one of
     words only. It seems probable that you will be brought to trial,
     either for rebellion or on some other charge, the nature of which I
     yet hardly know, and that, unless you are strongly and skilfully
     defended, you run much risk of being precipitately condemned. I
     have therefore resolved, with your approval, to come to Cairo to
     help you with such evidence as I can give, and to bring with me an
     honest and learned English advocate to conduct your defence; and I
     have informed the English Government of my intention. I beg you,
     therefore, without delay, to authorize me to act for you in this
     matter--for your formal assent is necessary; and it would be well
     if you would at once send me a telegram, and also a written letter,
     to authorize me to engage counsel in your name. Several
     liberal-minded Englishmen of high position will join me in
     defraying all the expenses of your case. You may also count upon
     me, personally, to see, during your captivity, that your family is
     not left in want. And so may God give you courage to endure the
     evil with the good.


     "_Sept. 22, 1882._ "Crabbet Park, Threebridges, Sussex."

Gladstone's answer, which came sooner than I expected, shows as little
disposition to favour any idea of a fair trial as was that of the
Foreign Office. It came in this form from Hamilton:

     "10 Downing Street,

     "_Sept. 22, 1882_.

     "Mr. Gladstone has read the letter which you have addressed to him
     about Arabi's trial and your proposal to employ English counsel.
     All that he can say at the present moment is that he will bring
     your request under the notice of Lord Granville with whom he will
     consult, but that he cannot hold out any assurance that it will
     admit of being complied with."

This was very plain discouragement, though short of a direct refusal,
and a few words added by Hamilton in a separate note were even more so:
"I confess," he says, "that the more I think of it the greater is the
number of difficulties which present themselves to my mind involved by
such a proposal as yours. You will, I presume, hear further on the
subject in a day or two but not from me, because I am off as you know."

I was left, therefore, still in doubts while the situation was daily
becoming more critical. I dared not leave for Egypt without having
received a definite answer, for I knew that at Cairo I should be
powerless, if unarmed with any Government authority, and should probably
not even be allowed to see the prisoners, while Broadley, tired of
waiting, had gone back to Tunis. The Parliamentary session was over and
every one was leaving London, the work of the Ministers being left to
Under-Secretaries, and all business practically at a standstill.
Meanwhile the question of Arabi's death was being keenly debated in the
Press, and all the Jingo papers were clamouring for his execution, only
here and there a feeble voice being raised in protest. Sir Wilfrid
Lawson's Egyptian Committee, which had done such good work during the
summer, had become silent, and from Lawson himself I received just then
a most desponding letter: "I greatly doubt," he said, "whether they will
allow Arabi to have anything like a _fair_ trial. They know well enough
that if they do it will end in their own condemnation, and 'Statesmen'
are too crafty to be led into anything of that sort. At any rate you
are right in _trying_ to get fair play for him." All I could do was to
stay on in London and still worry Downing Street for an answer and go on
prompting the "Times." Therefore, after waiting five more days, I wrote
again to Gladstone for a definite answer, the situation having become to
the last degree critical at Cairo.

     "_Sept. 27, 1882._

     "I wrote to you about ten days ago, stating my intention of
     engaging competent English counsel for Arabi Pasha and the other
     chief Egyptian prisoners in case they should be brought to trial,
     and of going myself to Cairo to procure evidence for them and watch
     the proceedings; and I begged you to give me early notice of any
     decision that might be come to regarding them.

     "Your reply, through Mr. Hamilton, though giving me no assurance
     that English counsel would be allowed seemed to suggest that my
     proposal would be considered; and I accordingly retained,
     provisionally, a barrister of eminence to act for the prisoners,
     should it be decided they should be thus defended. In view also of
     the legal necessity of gaining the prisoners' consent to the
     arrangement, I wrote, under cover to Sir Edward Malet, to Arabi
     Pasha, begging his authorization of my thus defending him, a letter
     to which I have as yet received no answer; nor have I received any
     further communication from yourself or from Lord Granville, to whom
     you informed me the matter would be referred.

     "Now, however, I see it reported in the 'Times,' from Cairo, that a
     Military Court to try all offenders will be named no later than
     to-morrow, the paragraph being as follows:

     "'The Military Court to try all offenders will be named tomorrow.
     The Khedive, Sherif, and Riaz all insist strongly on the absolute
     necessity of the capital punishment of the prime offenders, an
     opinion from which there are few, if any, dissentients. Sherif,
     whose gentleness of character is well known, said to me to-day: "It
     is not because I have a feeling of spite against any of them, but
     because it is absolutely necessary for the security of all who wish
     to live in the country. An English expedition is an excellent
     thing, but neither you nor we want it repeated every twelve

     "If this statement is true it would seem to confirm my worst
     suspicions as to the foregone decision of the Khedive's advisers to
     take the prisoners' lives, and to justify all my arguments as to
     the improbability of their obtaining a fair trial. I therefore
     venture once more to urge a proper legal defence being granted
     them, such as I have suggested; and, in any case, to beg that you
     will relieve me of further doubt and, if it must be so,
     responsibility in the matter, by stating clearly whether English
     counsel will be allowed or refused in the case of Arabi Pasha and
     the chief prisoners, and whether proper facilities can be promised
     me in Egypt of communicating with the prisoners, and obtaining them
     competent interpretation.

     "In the present state of official feeling at Cairo, it would be
     manifestly impossible for me, and those I have proposed to take
     with me, to work effectually for the prisoners without special
     diplomatic protection and even assistance.

     "The urgency of the case must be my excuse with you for begging an
     immediate answer."

This last letter, however, never reached its destination. Gladstone had
left London, and Horace Seymour, his secretary in charge of his
correspondence, under cover to whom I had sent it, handed it on, whether
by order or not I do not know, to the Foreign Office. "Mr. Gladstone,"
he explained, "is out of Town, so upon receipt of your letter yesterday
I sent the further communication which you addressed to him straight to
the Foreign Office.... I did so because he had placed your former letter
in Lord Granville's hands, as Hamilton informed you, and also because I
gathered from your note that this would meet your wish and save time. I
understand that you will shortly receive an official reply from Lord
Granville conveying to you the view of the Government on the matters to
which you refer." Gladstone therefore, had shifted his responsibility of
saying "yes" or "no" on to Granville, and Granville being of course also
out of town it was left for the Foreign Office clerks to deal with
according to their ways. In spite of Seymour's promise that the view of
the Government would shortly be conveyed to me, all the answer I
received was one signed "Julian Pauncefote," stating that Mr. Gladstone
had referred my two letters of the 19th and 27th to Lord Granville, and
that Lord Granville regretted that he did not feel justified in entering
into correspondence with me on the subject. It was thus that Gladstone,
who had made up his mind that Arabi should be executed no less than had
the Foreign Office, finally evaded the responsibility with which I had
sought to bind him. I give the incident in detail as an illustration of
official craft no less than as one of historical importance.

This "Pauncefote" reply decided us to waste no more time. In
consultation with Button and with Lord De la Warr, who had come to
London and had been working to get an answer from Lord Granville on
independent lines, and who now offered to share with me the costs of the
trial if we could secure one (a promise which I may note Lord De la Warr
failed to redeem), it was agreed that we should telegraph at once to
Broadley at Tunis to hold himself in readiness to proceed to Egypt, and
that in the meanwhile we should send out to Cairo by that very night's
mail the first briefless barrister we could lay our hands on as
Broadley's junior till his arrival, and be on the spot to act as
circumstances should suggest. Lord Granville had not agreed, nor had he
at that time the least intention of agreeing, to the appearance of
English counsel on behalf of the prisoners. But the "Times," as we have
seen, had already committed the Government to a statement that Arabi was
not to be executed without its consent, and that he was to be defended
by efficient counsel; and this they had not the face publicly to
disavow. And now Button's influence was so great with Chenery that he
was confident he could again force Lord Granville's hand in the matter
of English counsel through the insistence of the "Times" on a fair

All that day, therefore, we searched the Inns of Court, which were
almost empty, it being holiday time, and it was only at the last moment
that we were fortunate enough to light upon the man we wanted. This was
Mark Napier, than whom we could not have found a better agent for our
purpose, a resourceful and determined fighter with a good knowledge of
the law and one difficult to rebuff. He had the immense advantage, too,
through his being the son of a former British Ambassador, of
understanding the common usages and ways of diplomacy as also of
speaking French fluently, a very necessary qualification at Cairo.
Having agreed to go he received our short instructions, which were that
he was to go straight to Malet and say that he had arrived as Arabi's
counsel, and insist on seeing his client. This was all he could hope at
present to achieve, and if he could do this he would do much. If Malet
should refuse he was to protest and take advantage of every opening
given him to emphasize the refusal. Above all he was to keep us
constantly informed by telegram of what was going on, while we on our
side would fight the battle no less energetically at the Foreign Office
and in the Press. Mark, as I have said, had the great advantage of
having had a diplomatic training and so could not be imposed upon by the
prestige and mystery with which diplomacy is invested for outsiders, and
which gives it so much of its strength. We could not possibly have lit
upon a better man. He started, as proposed, that night by the Brindisi
mail, taking with him a cipher code and two or three letters of
introduction. That, with a hand-bag, was all his luggage.

As to myself, De la Warr, who knew the temper of the Foreign Office and
their personal rage against me, was very insistent that I should not go
to Cairo and to this I assented. At Cairo I should have been only
watched by spies, possibly arrested and sent home, while here I could
continue far more effectively the Press campaign which, of course, could
only really win our battle. Button that very night managed a new
master-stroke in the "Times." De la Warr had succeeded in getting from
Granville an assurance that all reasonable opportunities would be given
by the Khedive for the defence. This assurance was of course illusory as
far as a really fair trial went, as the only legal assistance procurable
at the time by the prisoners at Cairo was that of the various Levantine
lawyers who practised in the international Courts, and these could be no
better depended upon than were the terror-stricken native lawyers
themselves to serve their clients honestly by telling the whole truth,
though a defence of this perfunctory kind would be sufficient to serve
our Government's purpose of being able, without risk of a conflict with
English popular opinion, to ratify the intended sentences of death. It
was intended to have the trial in the Egyptian Court over in a couple of
days, and having proved "rebellion," to proceed at once to execution;
and English counsel would, no doubt, have been ruled out of the
proceedings as a preposterous intervention of foreigners with no legal
status in the country.

Granville's words to De la Warr had been no more than this: "I have no
reason to doubt that the Khedive, with whom the proper authority rests,
will give all reasonable opportunities for Arabi's defence which may not
involve any extraordinary or unnecessary delay, and it devolves on the
prisoners and their friends to take such measures as they may think fit
on their own responsibility." This Button cleverly reproduced next
morning in the "Times" as follows: "Lord Granville has written that
every reasonable facility will be afforded the prisoners in Egypt and
their friends for obtaining counsel for their defence. Mr. Broadley has
therefore been telegraphed to to go at once to Cairo." It is clear from
Lord Granville's angry expostulation with Lord De la Warr (see Blue
Book) how little intention he had of having his words thus interpreted.
But, once published in the "Times," he could not with any decency back
out of the position; and thus by a very simple device we again forced
his hand and this time on a point which, in the event, gained for us the
whole battle.[31]

Nevertheless, we were very nearly being tricked out of our fair trial
after all, and a singularly ugly circumstance of the position in our
eyes was the sudden reappearance, just then at Cairo, of Colvin, the man
of all others most interested, after the Khedive, in preventing
publicity. The Foreign Office object clearly now was to hurry on the
trial, so as to get it over before Broadley should have time to arrive,
for Tunis was and still is without any direct communication with Egypt,
and it was probable that ten days would elapse before he could be there.
Of Napier's sending they had no knowledge. Orders, therefore, were at
once given as a first step that Arabi should be transferred from the
safe keeping of the British Army to the ill-custody of the Khedivial
police, where communication with the outside world would be effectually
barred for him without the English Government incurring thereby any
odium. This was done on the 4th of October, two days before Napier's
arrival; and the trial was fixed for the 14th, while Broadley did not
succeed in reaching Cairo till the 18th. Nothing but Napier's unexpected
appearance at the English Agency disarranged the concerted plan.

A further step taken to hasten the end and make an English defence
difficult was to select the French criminal military code for use in the
court martial, a form which under an unscrupulous government gives great
advantages to the prosecution. According to it a full interrogatory of
prisoner and witnesses is permitted before these have seen counsel and
they are thus easily intimidated, if they take a courageous attitude,
from repeating their evidence at the trial. Thus both Arabi and others
of his fellow prisoners were during the interval between the
interrogatory and the day fixed for trial secretly visited by a number
of the Khedive's eunuchs, who brutally assaulted and ill-treated them in
their cells with a view of "breaking their spirit." Lastly, the Egyptian
Government were permitted to declare that no counsel should be allowed
to plead except in Arabic, thus excluding those we were sending to the
prisoners' help. These particulars were telegraphed me by Napier soon
after his arrival and made us anxious.

All that the English Government had done in some measure to protect the
prisoners from the Khedive's unregulated violence was to appoint two
Englishmen who had a knowledge of Arabic to be present at the
proceedings. These by a great stroke of good fortune were both honest
and humane men, and, as it happened, old friends of my own, Sir Charles
Wilson, whom I had travelled with in 1881 from Aleppo to Smyrna (not to
be confounded with Sir C. Rivers Wilson), and Ardern Beaman, whom I had
known at Damascus, and who now was Malet's official interpreter at the
Agency. Both these men had been favourably impressed by Arabi's
dignified bearing during the days of his detention as English prisoner
of war, and now willingly gave Napier what little private help they

With Malet himself Napier succeeded at least so far as to get his status
and that of the solicitor Eve, whom he had fortunately found at Cairo,
recognized as legal representatives of Arabi's friends, though he could
not obtain from him any definite promise or more than a vague assurance
that English counsel would be allowed to represent Arabi himself. His
applications to see his client were constantly put off by Malet by
referring him to Riaz Pasha, the Khedivial Minister of the Interior, who
as constantly refused, and in the meanwhile the trial was being pushed
forward with all haste, so that it was clear to Napier that he was being
played with and that the trial would be over before the question of the
admissibility of English counsel had been plainly decided.

Things were standing thus when on the 12th of October I received a
sudden warning from De la Warr, who was still in communication with the
Foreign Office: "From what I hear, unless vigorous steps are taken,
Arabi's life is in great danger. You have probably received information
from Mr. Napier." With this ill news I rushed off immediately to
Button's rooms and there fortunately found him, and as all his
information tallied with mine we agreed that a supreme appeal must be
made to the public, and that the Foreign Office must be directly and
strongly attacked and Gladstone compromised and forced into a
declaration of policy. I consequently sat down and wrote a final letter
to Gladstone, in which I spared nothing in my anger of accusation
against Granville and was careful to insist on his own connection with
the matter, and his early sympathies with the Nationalist leader, and,
without troubling ourselves to ask for an answer in Downing Street,
Button "plumped" it into next morning's "Times," Chenery generously
giving it full prominence and directing attention to it in a leading
article. He had ascertained that the intention of the Government was
that the trial should commence on Saturday, that sentence should be
pronounced on Monday, and that Arabi's execution should instantly
follow. It was already Friday, so we only had three days (one of them a
Sunday when no newspapers are published) in which to rouse English
feeling against this _coup de Jarnac_. Fortunately it was enough. I
believe it was on this occasion that Bright, learning from my letter how
things stood, went down to Gladstone and told him personally and plainly
that he would be disgraced through all history as a renegade from his
humaner principles if he allowed the perpetration of so great a crime.
Be this as it may, the Foreign Office capitulated to us there and then,
and, admitting our plea of the necessity of a fair trial, gave
instructions to Malet to withdraw his opposition and treat the counsel
sent to Arabi favourably. The following telegram from Napier announces
our success: "Granville has directed Malet to require that Arabi shall
be defended by English counsel. Proceedings expected to be lengthy."

I have thought it necessary to go into very minute detail in narrating
these early phases of Arabi's trial, because in this way only is it
possible to refute the false and absurd legend that has sprung up in
Egypt to the effect that there was from the first some secret
understanding between Gladstone and Arabi that his life should be
spared. I can vouch for it, and the documents I have quoted in large
measure prove it, that so far from having any sentiment of pity for, or
understanding with, the "arch rebel," Gladstone had joined with
Granville in the design to secure his death, through the Khedive's
willing agency, by a trial which should be one merely of form and should
disturb no questions, as the surest and speediest method of securing
silence and a justification for their own huge moral errors of the last
six months in Egypt. It was no qualm of conscience that prevented
Gladstone from carrying it through to the end, only the sudden voice of
the English public that at the last moment frightened him and warned him
that it was dangerous for his reputation to go on with the full plan.
This is the plain truth of the matter, whatever glosses Mr. Gladstone's
apologists may put on it to save his humane credit or whatever may be
imagined about it by French political writers desirous of finding an
explanation for a leniency shown to Arabi after the war, which has
seemed to them inexplicable except on the supposition of some deep
anterior intrigue between the English Prime Minister and the leader of
the Egyptian rebellion.

This supreme point of danger past, it was not altogether difficult to
foresee that the trial could hardly now end otherwise than negatively. A
fair trial in open court with the Khedivial rubbish heap turned up with
an English pitchfork and ransacked for forgotten crimes was a thought
not to be contemplated by Tewfik without terror, while for the British
Government as well there would be revelations destructive of the theory
of past events constructed on the basis of official lies and their own
necessity of finding excuses for their violence. The Sultan, too, had to
be safeguarded from untimely revelations. The danger for the prisoners'
lives was not over, but there seemed fair prospect of the thing ending
in a compromise if we could not gain an acquittal. The changed state of
things at Cairo is announced by Napier as early as the 16th October; and
I will give the rest of my story of the trial mainly in the form of
telegrams and letters.

     _Napier to Blunt, Oct. 20th_:

     "It is believed the Egyptian Government will try to quash the trial
     altogether, and that the chief prisoners will be directed to leave
     the country. I have not sufficient facts at my command to form a
     judgment on this point, but I think it not unlikely."

And again from Broadley, just arrived at Cairo:

     _Broadley to Blunt, Oct. 20th_:

     "Borelli Bey, the Government prosecutor, admitted frankly that the
     Egyptian Government had no law or procedure to go by, but suggested
     we should agree as to a procedure. He admitted the members of the
     Court were dummies and incompetent. He hoped I should smooth the
     Sultan and let down Tewfik as _doucement_ as possible."

     _Napier to Blunt, Oct. 20th_:

     "I think now we can guarantee a clean breast of the whole facts. It
     is as much as the Khedive's throne is worth to allow the trial to

The chief danger we had to face was a desire, not yet extinct at the
Foreign Office, still by hook or crook to establish some criminal charge
against Arabi which should justify his death. Chenery writes to me 21st
October: "Among important people there is a strong feeling against him
[Arabi] on the alleged ground that he was concerned with, or connived
at, the massacre in Alexandria. The matter will almost certainly come up
at the trial." This danger, however, did not at Cairo seem a pressing
one, and certainly it was one that the prosecution was least likely to
touch, the Khedive himself being there the culprit. Nothing is more
noticeable in the interrogatories than the pains taken by the members of
the Court to avoid questions tending in that direction and the absence
on that point of all evidence which could incriminate any one. It was
one, however, of great political importance to our Government that it
should be proved against Arabi, for on it they had based the whole of
their wilful insistence in forcing on a conflict, and without it their
_moral_ excuse for intervention fell flatly to the ground. The same
might be said in regard to another absurd plea, insisted upon personally
by Gladstone, that there had been an abuse of the white flag during the
evacuation of Alexandria, a supposition which he had caught hold of in
one of his speeches and made a special crime of, though in truth
withdrawal of troops while a white flag is flying is permitted according
to all the usages of war. Otherwise the coast seemed clear enough of
danger, for it was evident that the British public would no longer allow
our Government to sanction Arabi's death for mere political reasons.

Meanwhile at Cairo things were going prosperously. On the 22nd Broadley
and Napier were admitted to Arabi's cell and speedily found in what he
could tell them the groundwork of a strong defence. Arabi's attitude in
prison was a perfectly dignified one, for whatever may have been his
lack of physical courage, he had moral courage to a high degree, and his
demeanour contrasted favourably with that of the large majority of those
who had been arrested with him and did not fail to impress all that saw
him. Without the smallest hesitation he wrote down in the next few days
a general history of the whole of the political affairs in which he had
been mixed, and in form which was frank and convincing. No less
outspoken was he in denouncing the ill-treatment he had received since
he had been transferred to his present prison from those scoundrels, the
Khedive's eunuchs, who had been sent at night by their master to assault
and insult him. Not a few of the prisoners had been thus shamefully
treated; yet by a singular lack of moral courage the greater number
dared not put into plain words a crime personally implicating the
cowardly tyrant who had been replaced as master over them. Nothing is
more lamentable in the depositions than the slavish attitude assumed by
nearly all the deponents towards the Khedive's person, hated as he had
been by them and despised not a month before. A more important event
still was the recovery from their concealment of Arabi's most important
papers, which had been hidden in his house and which he now directed
should be sought out and placed in Broadley's hands. It was with great
difficulty that his son and wife in their terror could be brought to
allow the search--for they, too, had been "visited" by the Khedive's
servants--but at last the precious documents were secured and brought to
Broadley by Arabi's servant already mentioned, Mohammed Sid Ahmed. They
proved of supreme value--including as they did the letters written by
order of the Sultan to Arabi and others of a like compromising kind. The
news of the discovery struck panic into the Palace and there seemed
every chance that the trial would be abandoned.

Napier writing to me October 30th says: "The fact is I believe we are
masters now, and that the Khedive and his crew would be glad to sneak
out of the trial with as little delay as possible. The fidelity of
Arabi's servant and the constancy of his wife enabled us to recover all
his papers but one. They are now in a safe deposited in Beaman's room at
the Consulate.... The Government cannot face our defence. They will
offer a compromise, banishment with all property reserved. What better
could be got?... This question will probably soon have to be

It will be understood that the changed aspect of affairs at Cairo found
its echo, and more than its echo, in the London Press. Cairo was full of
newspaper correspondents, and Broadley, who was a past master in the
arts of journalism, soon had them mostly on his side. His hospitality
(at my expense) was lavish, and the "chicken and champagne" were not
spared. Malet and Colvin, supreme in old days, were now quite unable to
stem the torrent of news, and revelation followed revelation all
destructive of the theory they had imposed on the Government, that Arabi
and the army had been alone in opposing the English demands and that the
National movement had been less than a universal one. Colvin was now
become discredited at the Foreign Office as a false guide, and Malet's
incapacity was at last fully recognized. Lord Granville, furious at our
success, and seeing the political situation in Egypt drifting into a
hopeless muddle, did what was probably his wisest course in submitting
the whole matter to Lord Dufferin for a settlement. I had early notice
from Button of this new move and that Dufferin's first business on
arriving at Cairo would be to bring about a compromise of the trial. My
letter of instructions to Broadley in view of the situation thus created
is worth inserting here:

     _Blunt to Broadley, Nov. 2, 1882._

     "I wish to state over again my ideas and hopes in undertaking
     Arabi's defence and that of his companions, which if they are
     realized will repay me for the cost even though larger than I had
     originally thought probable. Of course the main object was to save
     the prisoners' lives, and that I think we may consider already
     accomplished, for public opinion has declared itself in England,
     and, the preliminary investigation having so entirely failed in the
     matter of the June riots and the burning of Alexandria, no evidence
     that now could be produced and no verdict given by the judges could
     any longer place them in jeopardy. Since your arrival, however, and
     through your skill and good fortune, a flush of trumps has come
     into our hands. Instead of Arabi's papers being locked up in the
     Foreign Office they are in our possession, and, as you tell me
     to-day, our defence is perfect while we hold such a commanding
     position over the enemy that we can fairly dictate them terms. We
     cannot, therefore, be content with anything less than an honourable
     acquittal or the abandonment of the trial. At present the latter
     seems the most probable. Lord Dufferin has been ordered to Egypt;
     the Premier yesterday threw out a feeler for a compromise, and from
     everything I hear proposals will shortly be made for some
     arrangement of the affair by which the scandal and discredit of an
     exposure will be avoided. It depends, therefore, entirely on us to
     save not only Arabi's life but his honour and his freedom and also
     I believe the lives and freedom of all the political prisoners
     inculpated with him.

     "I believe a strong attempt will be made by Lord Dufferin to get
     Arabi to agree to a detention in the Andaman Islands, or some part
     of the British Empire where he would remain a political prisoner
     treated with kindness but not suffered to be at large. I believe
     also he will endeavour to get from him a cession of his papers.
     Neither of these attempts must be allowed to succeed, and all
     proposals including them must be rejected. It is no business of
     ours to save the Sultan's or the Khedive's honour nor to save Lord
     Granville from embarrassment, and I shall consider our failure a
     great one if we do not get far more. I think Arabi should, in the
     first place, state that he demands a trial in order to clear his
     honour, and especially to demonstrate the innocence of those who
     acted with him during the war, viz., the whole nation, or, if not
     brought to trial, that the charges against them should be withdrawn
     as well as against himself. There should, in fact, be a general
     amnesty, also he should retain his papers, though probably he might
     give an understanding that they should not be published for a term
     of years. We cannot, under the circumstances, object absolutely to
     exile, because I suppose it would be argued the Khedive could exile
     him by decree, but even this I should make a matter of favour,
     because the Constitution of February, 1882 (which I hope you have
     closely studied, and which is a most valuable document from the
     fact of its having been confirmed by the Sultan as well as granted
     by the Khedive) forbids such exiling. Still the point would have to
     be conceded. We should, however, refuse anything like imprisonment.
     The Khedive might exile him from Egypt, and the Sultan from the
     Ottoman Empire, but neither would have a right to fix the place or
     nature of his abode beyond them.

     "Nor could the English Government, having handed Arabi to the
     Khedive for trial, let him be taken back untried to be dealt with
     as a criminal by England. The English Government has recognized
     this by refusing so to take him back. Still less could it imprison
     him if so taken without trial. It is, therefore, clear that unless
     tried and convicted he must leave Egypt a free man. Nor can he
     legally be deprived in Egypt of his rank and pay. But I should
     suppose that he will agree to retiring with military rank only, and
     a small maintenance to save him from actual poverty and the
     necessity of working with his hands. I think these terms would be
     dignified, and they are terms we can insist upon. Otherwise I urge
     the necessity of a defence tooth and nail, and I sincerely trust
     that you will not listen to any proposal which may be made of a
     _pro formâ_ trial and letting the Khedive down _doucement_, as
     Borelli proposed. There should either be a real honest exposure of
     _all_ the facts, or an honourable withdrawal of _all_ the charges.
     I trust in you to co-operate with me fully in obtaining this
     result, without regard for the feelings of Consuls or Ambassadors
     or Viceroys. They are nothing to us, and our client's honour and
     cause are everything. Your diplomatic skill is, I have no doubt, a
     match for Lord Dufferin's, and it will be a great game to win. You
     have made Malet do what you wanted, and so you will make Dufferin
     do. If you achieve this we will not talk more about the fee. I
     enclose a letter of introduction to Lord Dufferin."

The following from Mr. Beaman, Malet's official interpreter, and a
witness of unimpeachable authority, is of the highest historical
importance. Beaman had been in charge of the Agency at Cairo during the
last weeks before the bombardment, and being a good Arabic scholar knew
more of the true state of affairs than any one employed there. He had
been appointed a few days before the date of his letter to superintend,
on Malet's part, the trial:

     _Beaman to Blunt, Cairo, Nov. 6, 1882._

     "... This is our last day before the adjournment.... The Palace
     people here are in a great stew at the advent of Lord Dufferin, who
     arrives to-morrow. Broadley's arrival has been an agony to them,
     but this is the last blow. I believe Dufferin is a man who will
     quickly see through our friend Tewfik, and as I hear that his ears
     are open to everybody the temporary Embassy will be better
     informed, I expect, than the Agency has ever been. I had a great
     deal of intercourse with natives before the bombardment of all
     classes and parties, and knew the whole of the game from the four
     sides, English, Turkish, Arabi, and Tewfik. They were each quite
     distinct. As I could not have given my authorities, and as people
     would not have accepted my word for things I could have told, I
     kept my information for myself, but I have given some good hints to
     Sir Charles Wilson, who now has a fairer idea of the Egyptian
     question than any of our officials here. He is an extremely
     cautious man, with a great share of shrewdness and true judgment
     which he does not allow to be warped. Through him I have been able
     to get facts to Malet which I should never have told Malet himself.
     I think now that Malet has quite lost any respect he could ever
     have had for the Khedive. Throughout our proceedings he has acted
     with the greatest fairness to us, although dead against his own
     interests.... You know how deeply he was pledged to the Khedive,
     and it is quite bitter enough a cup to him to see his idol come
     down from the card house which is breaking up.... I think the
     Ibrahim Agha business alone is quite enough to show the Khedive in
     his true colours. I heard the whole story direct from the Palace,
     how the _titunji_, the Khedive's pipe bearer, had kissed the
     Khedive's hand, and asked permission to spit in the faces of the
     prisoners, and it was on this that Sir Charles Wilson made inquiry
     and found it all true. Nevertheless, because it was evident that
     the Khedive had a very dirty piece of linen to be washed in the
     business, it was left alone. I suggested when all the witnesses
     swore falsely that the oath of triple divorce should be
     administered to them, and Sir Charles Wilson was in favour of it
     too, but it was hushed up. His Highness's own family now no longer
     pretend to deny it among themselves. And this is the man for whom
     we came to Egypt.[32]

     "If I was not bound by my position here not to advise Broadley, I
     could give him hints enough for his cross-examination to turn out
     the Khedive to-morrow. I hope it will come out nevertheless. The
     first man to be got rid of is Riaz. He is playing the very devil
     through Egypt. The other day he said: 'The Egyptians are serpents
     and the way to prevent serpents from propagating is to crush them
     under foot. So will I crush the Egyptians.' And he is doing it."

Matters stood thus in the first week of November, the date of Lord
Dufferin's arrival at Cairo. It was a fortunate circumstance for us who
were defending the cause of justice in England that Parliament that year
happened to be holding an autumn session. It brought to our aid
in the House of Commons several Members of first rate fighting
value--Churchill, Wolff, Gorst, Lawson, Labouchere, besides Robert
Bourke, Lord John Manners, W. J. Evelyn, and the present Lord Wemyss, of
the regular Tory opposition, with two or three Irish Members. Percy
Wyndham, to his credit, was the only Tory who had voted with the
minority of twenty-one against the war.


[29] One of the matters principally laid to my charge was due to a
Reuter's telegram announcing that my country house near Cairo had been
broken open by Arabi's order, and that seventeen cases of firearms had
been found in it. The foundation of this story was as follows: In 1881,
when I was on my way, as I intended, to Arabia, I had brought with me
some Winchester rifles and revolvers for the journey, amounting to
seventeen rifles in all, as well as a small brass cannon of the kind
used on yachts, as a present, if I could find a way to send it to him,
to Ibn Rashid at Haïl. These were still stored in my house, and some one
having announced the fact to the provincial authorities, they had taken
possession of them, and removed them to the Cairo citadel. In the
confusion after the war I could gain no intelligence of what had become
of my property except the story which was afloat in London that my brass
cannon had been taken there as a trophy of war, and was forming an
ornament at the Admiralty. It was not till some ten years afterwards
that having lunched one day with my cousin, Colonel Wyndham, at the
citadel at Cairo, he took me afterwards to visit the arsenal, where I
soon recognized my cannon and other property intact. As the box
containing the rifles had my name on it, no difficulty was made in
restoring all to me.

[30] Telegram from Moberly Bell.

[31] I have been recently asked to explain that the true reason why the
"Times" so strongly supported us in our attempt at this critical
juncture to obtain for Arabi a fair trial was the Machiavellian one of
forcing the British Government to undertake responsibilities which would
entail their assumption of full authority in Egypt. I heard, however,
nothing of this at the time, and I prefer still to believe that it was a
generous impulse more worthy of the "Times's" better tradition and of
Chenery's excellent heart.

[32] The fact of Tewfik's having sent his eunuchs to insult the
Nationalist leaders in prison is attested by Sheykh Mohammed Abdu, who
was among the earliest arrested, and was himself one of its victims. He
recorded his prison experience in a declaration submitted to Sir Charles
Wilson 29th October, but which is absent from the Blue Books.



Lord Dufferin's arrival at Cairo on the 6th November placed matters
there on an entirely new footing. Up to that point Riaz Pasha and the
rest of the Khedive's Ministers had been doing pretty much as they
liked, subject only to Malet's weak supervision. But Dufferin was a man
of another mould, and soon showed the Khedive that his position while in
Egypt was to be that of master, not adviser. He paid little attention to
his tales, and not much, I believe, to Malet's, but opened the doors of
his Embassy to every one who could give information. Mackenzie Wallace,
his chief assistant, in a very few days acquired a good general
knowledge of what had been going on in Egypt during the last two years,
and his book about it gives more of the truth than any other yet
published in English. Dufferin, though an idle man, was a rapid worker,
and where he had something serious to do, knew how easiest to do it.

Nevertheless, for the first fortnight after Dufferin's arrival, and
until he had quite assured himself of his ground, the prosecution of
Arabi was allowed to work on in its own casual way, swayed by the
Khedive's ever shifting impulses of a desire to conceal the truth on the
one hand, and an unwillingness on the other to let go his prey. These
will be best recorded by simply reproducing the letters and telegrams
which now passed almost daily between me in London and Messrs. Broadley
and Napier at Cairo, as will the successive steps by which a compromise
of the trial was eventually come to.

     _Broadley to Blunt, November 6th (in answer to his letter of
     November 2nd)_:

     "I entirely concur in all you say, and shall exercise the greatest
     prudence. I am completing a perfect case for defence, showing:

     "(1) Purity, honesty of Arabi's inspirations.

     "(2) Perfect concurrence of Tewfik till July 12.

     "(3) Perfect concurrence of the Sultan throughout.

     "(4) Universality of the movement.

     "(5) Wholly illegal constitution of the Court Martial.

     "(6) Absurdity of the white flag (on which subject Napier has
     secured A 1 deposition from Lambton).

     "(7) Abnormal humanitarian character of Arabi.

     "(8) Abnormal iniquity of all proceedings until our arrival.

     "(9) Torture of prisoners.

     "(10) Letters from Tewfik to Constantinople against England.

     "(11) Systematic falsification of the 'Moniteur.'

     "Shall demand release of all the accused. _Keep this private._

     "Now all I fear is the enormous expense of a protracted trial of
     eight or nine months. Arabi _alone_ calls 400 witnesses.... I spend
     freely. I entertain the correspondents. I have wheedled the
     'Egyptian Gazette' into being our special organ. I have turned
     public opinion here quite in favour of Arabi. We are obliged to
     employ a dozen interpreters at salaries varying from £1 to £2
     10_s._ a week.... My absence from Tunis means utter loss of _all_
     there. All my pending cases have been given up, including some of
     great magnitude. Bourke will tell you I have one retainer alone of
     £250 a year, and another of £100.... I hope you will take all this
     into consideration.... I only say I believe all will depend on
     liberal if not lavish expenditure. Remember we have every one
     against us, and people don't work without a reward here.... An
     Arabi fund should be raised. The nine months' Tichborne trial is a
     specimen. But I don't think we should exceed _one-tenth_ of that at
     the worst.... All I say hinges on expenses. Don't think of me but
     only of incidental expenses.... I work sixteen hours a day....
     Napier is invaluable."

     _Napier to Blunt, November 6th_:

     "You seem to be doubtful about the _acte d'accusation_. We have not
     had it officially communicated. It is not proposed by the
     prosecution to frame it until the close of the evidence. But in
     substance it is fairly stated in a telegram I think to the

     "(1) The abuse of the White Flag.

     "(2) Complicity in massacres and pillage, June 11.

     "(3) Complicity in destruction by fire of the city.

     "(4) Carrying war into territory of the Sultan.

     "(5) General acts of mutiny and rebellion against the Khedive and
     the Sultan."

     _Broadley to Blunt, November 7th (telegraphed)_:

     "If you don't mind expense great success sure--see my yesterday's
     letter. I shall crush Tewfik and his crew past hope of redemption."

     _Napier to Blunt, November 10th_:

     "I have seen Dufferin to-day. He received me most kindly, though he
     declined to enter on business at once. He had only just received
     his instructions. Broadley and I are to meet him to-morrow.

     "There seems to be a desire to burk inquiry into the rebellion
     question. The Government and all the papers are pledged to the
     ridiculous rebel cry, the one of all others that incenses me most.
     It is an old trick that has been played in Afghanistan, the Cape,
     and elsewhere. Any one can see that it may be smashed into a cocked
     hat at once.... Proposals for a compromise must come from the other
     side, must be put in writing, and must contain all that you
     claim--indeed I think they ought to amount to unconditional
     surrender. Of this of course more fully afterwards. You may be
     assured that we will not consent to anything without communication
     with you, and fullest deliberation."

     _Napier to Blunt, November 15th_:

     "I suppose you can guess the innumerable difficulties with which we
     have to deal. In the first place since we were not permitted to be
     present at the examination of the witnesses, it is necessary for us
     not only to have the whole of the evidence copied, but also to
     submit the whole of it to each of the prisoners for his observation
     and consideration.... There are 136 witnesses who will be brought
     against us. Besides these, 125 prisoners have been interrogated,
     and their answers will be used against each other. Then anybody who
     pleases seems to have been allowed to write letters to the Court,
     among others, H. H. the Khedive and, I believe, the Ministers, or
     some of them.... Not one word of the evidence is on oath, and most
     of it consists of hearsay and opinion.... 'In your opinion is Arabi
     a rebel?' 'I don't know.' 'You bad, wicked man, why don't you
     know?' 'I can't tell why I don't know.' 'Then think it over, and
     to-morrow bring a written statement of what you do know.' To-morrow
     the wretch arrives with a written statement that the prisoner in
     question is a rebel and incendiary.

     "Then again the translations afforded us are not correct
     translations from the originals, and the originals are not true
     records of the evidence of the witnesses themselves....

     "Thank Heaven they have imprisoned a man named Rifaat. [He had been
     Secretary to the Government and Director of the Press.] They could
     not have done anything so destructive to their own case. Not only
     does he know French well, but he has good literary ability, and a
     very fair knowledge of all these tortuous and involved intrigues
     rolled up one within another the untanglement of which is a
     business enough to make the head reel. How if it were to appear
     that the Abdin, Sept. 9, demonstration had been got up by the
     Khedive as the best means of ridding him of the disagreeable
     tutelage of Riaz and his Ministry! And how if the dark deeds of
     June 11 were plotted in the Palace to force the English and French
     to crush the now uncontrolled and uncontrollable National movement!

     "I have been in hopes all along that the Government would not face
     the trial, and that they would find some means to put an end to the
     scandal that must ensue. But I begin to think that that will not be
     so. Many people in high places are prompted by motives of revenge,
     and still hope to wreak it upon their enemies. Others hope that by
     the unworthy devices of the Court a fair trial may yet be
     prevented. And I have no doubt they will in a great measure
     succeed. Again, perhaps it is the policy of the English Cabinet to
     insist upon the matter being threshed out, so as to give them time
     to meet the storm, and an opportunity of throwing over the Turks
     and perhaps Tewfik. If the trial is to go on I cannot tell what the
     expense will be, but I fear it will be very great."

     _Napier to Lady Anne Blunt, November 16th_:

     "Lord Dufferin began at once by lending us his assistance. Broadley
     and I called a day or two after his arrival. Broadley made a very
     masterly statement which put him in possession of the whole of our
     numerous causes of complaint. He has also been given copies of our
     formal protests, and I believe will indirectly assist us to defeat
     the Court of imbeciles with whom we have to deal.... The
     correspondents, with the exception of Bell, are all, I believe,
     favourable. The 'Daily News' especially. Wallace of the 'Times' has
     just arrived, and I believe his influence will go far to counteract
     Bell's extraordinary correspondence. Bell will particularly be
     called to account for his 'Arabi's head-in-a-charger' policy. I
     think he seems a little uncomfortable on the prospect of being
     examined on his telegrams in Court."

Mackenzie Wallace, here alluded to, arrived with Dufferin from
Constantinople, where he was "Times" correspondent, and afterwards
became Dufferin's private secretary when His Lordship went to India as
Viceroy. He was an able man, and acted while in Egypt entirely in
concert with Dufferin, and has written the only English narrative of the
events of 1882 which has any historical value.

What follows is in connection with the final attempt made by the
prosecution to get evidence against Arabi on a point which might be
treated as a capital one, namely, the arrest of Suliman Sami, who had
been in command of the Egyptian rear-guard at the evacuation of
Alexandria, and who, having been subjected to the usual intimidation
treatment in prison, was now said to be ready to give evidence that
Arabi had ordered him to burn the city. It was this sudden desperate
attempt to obtain a capital verdict that brought matters to a crisis at
Cairo, and resulted, as we shall see, in the compromise effected by
Dufferin of the trial.

     _Broadley to Blunt, November 17th_:

     "An attempt has been made to force Suliman Bey to implicate Arabi.
     It has been done so clumsily that Suliman has contradicted every
     other witness called to prove the same thing, _but_ I believe it
     was done at a midnight or secret sitting when Wilson was absent....
     Try and make your peace with the Foreign Office, Dufferin is
     square, and we could get a lot by soft words."

     _Beaman to Blunt, November 17th_:

     "I just write a line ... to say that things are going on very well.
     The evidence of Suliman Sami, which seems to have rejoiced the
     prosecution, is not worth a straw, having been palpably invented
     for the occasion, and not supported by any of the preceding
     testimony. The only question seems to be if the prisoners will get
     off without a trial, or if they will have a chance of being fairly
     heard in their own defence. I am convinced that the Government here
     is using every effort to quash the proceedings, as the facts that
     would come out in cross-examination would be compromising to every
     man almost now in power, and would lay bare some very unpleasant
     facts about the Khedive. For this last reason it is just possible
     that our Government may feel inclined to propose terms to Arabi, as
     it will be a rough _exposé_ if the trial proves the biggest scamp
     in Egypt is the man whom we brought an army here to uphold.
     Personally I have very little doubt that the Khedive and Omar
     Loutfi arranged the Alexandrian massacre in order to aim a blow at
     Arabi, who had just declared himself responsible for public safety.
     I hold proofs which carry me half way to conviction, but the time
     has not yet come to produce them."

     _Broadley to Blunt. Telegram. November 18th_:

     "Believe excellent compromise possible. Do not attack the Foreign
     Office. Absolute secrecy necessary."

     _Broadley to Blunt. Telegram. November 20th_:

     "London parleys Dufferin. Egyptian Government's desire to
     compromise lessened by thinking public opinion in England changed
     owing to Suliman Sami's perjury."

     _Broadley to Blunt, November 21st_:

     "Important crisis imminent. The friends of the Egyptian Government
     assert intention of hanging Arabi. Remain in London."

     _Broadley to Blunt, November 21st_:

     "Nothing I could say could give you an idea of the infamous conduct
     of the Egyptian Government. They set our procedure rules at
     defiance, and say they do not care a curse, as they are treating
     diplomatically for the hanging of Arabi."

     _Napier to Blunt, November 21st:_

     "We are simply fighting all the force of the Egyptian Government
     single-handed, though I believe Lord Dufferin will come to the
     rescue. They are striving to procure the judicial murder of these
     prisoners, and it takes all our time to meet their many wiles.
     Wilson and Dufferin are helping us, but they, the Egyptian
     Government, are quick and unscrupulous. We are necessarily more
     slow and cautious."

     _Broadley to Blunt. Telegram. November 26th:_

     "Egyptian Government proposes to try Arabi alone. Telegraph your

     _Broadley to Blunt. Telegram. November 27th:_

     "Letters explaining situation fully posted. Reason to believe if
     Arabi, Mahmud Sami and Toulba consent to admit formal charges of
     rebellion or continuing war against orders of the Khedive, the
     Egyptian Government will consent to exile or internment at the Cape
     of Good Hope, or elsewhere, some of the accused simple exile, the
     majority amnesty. I implore absolute secrecy. Napier and myself
     favourable to compromise seeing difficulty of proving efforts to
     prevent burning, etc."

     _Blunt to Broadley, November 28th:_

     "Cannot approve terms named--certainly not Cape, but am consulting
     friends to-night about funds. Our political position immensely
     strong. Definite answer later."

     _Broadley to Blunt. Letter. November 27th, 1882_:

     ("_Private and most urgent._)


     "I invite _all_ your prudence, calm consideration and tact to the
     subject of this letter. I have had a long interview [with] Dufferin
     to-day. He is most friendly. The dossier is before us. _Nothing_
     presents difficulties but the burning of Alexandria. As regards
     this I believe the proof will fail as to Araby's orders, but many
     ugly facts remain, viz.: no efforts to stop conflagration and
     loot. (2) Continued intimacy with Suliman Sami _afterwards_. (3) No
     punishment of offenders. (4) Large purchases petroleum. (5)
     Systematic manner of incendiarism by soldiers.

     "This is _the rub_. Could Arabi have not stopped the whole thing?
     Besides, some of his former speeches, etc., have a very burning

     "If Arabi will plead _guilty formally to_ one _of the charges of
     rebellion_ (_i. e_., his continuing war after Khedive's orders) he
     will be exiled.

     "Cape of Good Hope under certain conditions with sufficient
     allowance. I think I can secure these terms for him, Mahmud Sami
     and Toulba. Rest, simple exile or pardon. Can I think secure
     _allowance_ or with forfeiture property--retention military rank.

     "Against this we have enormous length trial--chances of turn public
     opinion--expense _and_ the five facts which I allude to above.

     "If a word of this transpires you will do me incalculable injury.
     Think over all this and remember our great and grave
     responsibility. Dufferin is charming. Please at once telegraph as
     follows: If you say 'I accept the principle. Make best possible
     terms,' say _pax_. I _advise_ this course as best. If you say, 'Go
     on--no sort of compromise can be accepted,' say _bellum_.

     "I am prepared to fight manfully to the bitter end strongly as
     ever. I leave all to you--but think well over all the

     "Very faithfully yours, "A. M. BROADLEY."

     _Napier to Blunt. Letter. November 27th_:

     "Cairo, _Nov. 27th, 1882_.


     "It is much to be regretted that the Post Office people have found
     out our correspondence, for they have, to my knowledge, opened your
     last letter to me registered and received last Friday. It contained
     the Borelli charges returned, and a short note from you. I do not
     think anything was abstracted. I shall send this by ordinary post
     under cover to H. H. Asquith, Temple, E. C., in the hope that it
     may escape their vigilance. I, of course, protested at once, but
     do not suppose that they will mend their ways. I also greatly
     regret that I have no time to keep copies of my own letters to you
     for reference. You must not be surprised therefore if you sometimes
     meet with repetition. I cannot tell you of all the tricks they have
     played upon us, as they would fill volumes. The letter had been
     obviously opened by being slit across above the seal, and gummed up
     again. It had been cleverly done, and I might not have discovered
     it but for the fact that the gum used was not quite set. It
     therefore opened along the line of the slit, and I at once found
     the gum where no gum should have been. I will send you a short note
     by the direct mail so that you shall not be surprised at the delay
     in the delivery of this. Although we have been hard at work since
     last mail, I do not know that anything of much importance has
     occurred except that we have been admitted to the defence of Mahmud
     Sami, with whom we have had several long conferences. Toulba is
     ill, suffering from nervous excitement, I think, and asthma. I do
     not know whether he will die, but I have done everything in my
     power to get him proper medical assistance, a change of room, a
     companion, and, if possible, a raised bed.

     "The last evidence in the question of the burning of Alexandria has
     not been communicated to us except through the medium of the
     Egyptian Gazette, which may or may not be correct. It is not
     formidable in itself, but it is quite sufficient to give colour to
     a finding against the prisoner on that charge. It becomes,
     therefore, of the most vital importance to consider whether there
     is no way out other than through the portals of the court martial.
     There is no doubt that we could discredit the evidence, and even
     smash it up in cross-examination. And besides, on the other charges
     of Rebellion and Massacre of June 11th I feel sure we could make it
     hot for the prosecution, but there is an opinion in a very high
     quarter that there is a strong determination to execute if the
     Court should find guilty. Assume, therefore, that the Court Martial
     find the prisoner (for I am only speaking of the chief now) guilty,
     it will be for the English Government to reverse the sentence. I am
     of opinion that it would be dangerous to trust them to carefully
     examine the evidence and the manner in which it has been obtained.
     I think it possible that that matter would be hastily disposed of
     in the Foreign Office, and that they might leave the prisoner to
     the Court, declaring that everything had been done to secure a
     fair trial, and that they could not interfere with a verdict
     deliberately arrived at after the fullest opportunity given to the
     defence. And besides, it is more than probable that they would
     allow _some_ sentence to pass--any sentence suffered here would be
     most dangerous to the prisoner. After careful consideration I dare
     not advise the prisoner to trust to the trial if he have an
     alternative. If terms of banishment are offered, with proper
     safeguards and provision for maintenance, I shall be strongly in
     favour of accepting them. To sum up: If found guilty by the Court,
     some punishment, perhaps death, certainly a serious one, will be
     inflicted: If acquitted, either voluntary banishment without means,
     or remaining in the country at the mercy of the Government here. If
     he leaves the country under a compromise all charges except that of
     rebellion would have to be withdrawn, and provision for his life in
     a suitable place would have to be accorded. I have reason to
     believe that the course of a compromise finds favour with all but
     Riaz, and is also favourably regarded by Dufferin.

     "Give us your opinion, and believe me ever very sincerely yours,


     "P. S.--As far as the case goes nothing could be better. In law, in
     fact, and in the infamous manner it has been conducted. _But_ there
     are the dangers and considerations I have alluded to. Broadley has
     in my opinion conducted all the different discussions with the
     Court and Dufferin with the greatest energy, skill, and judgment.
     The law of the case is perfect for us, _but_ it is a case which
     will be decided in the Cabinet and not in the Court. It is
     impossible to rebut hearsay, and as I have had no opportunity to
     consider the whole evidence, I will not offer an opinion on that

     _Broadley and Napier to Blunt. Telegram. November 28th, 7.42 p.

     "Long interview with Dufferin. I entreat you give us discretion to
     obtain best terms possible. We know delay fatal. Rely on our
     judgment. Foreign Office's support unreliable. Dufferin disposed
     to exceed his instructions on our behalf. Dufferin rules Egyptian
     Government. Defense case burning Alexandria suspicious. Hence
     anxiety. Embrace present moment. Dufferin's good offices absolutely
     necessary. Telegraph instantly full discretion. Interview Dufferin
     ten to-morrow.


     _Napier to Blunt. Same date_:

     "I give you my honour I most strongly concur in our telegram
     herewith. Strongest cause for full immediate discretion. Every
     personal interest contrary to our request. NAPIER, private."

     _Blunt to Broadley, November 28th midnight_:

     "Cannot approve terms less than honourable exile--not
     internment--Aden, Malta, Cyprus. Within these limits use

     _Broadley to Blunt. Telegram. November 29th_:

     "Arabi gives us written authority to act with discretion in concert
     with Dufferin, who proposes Arabi pleads guilty on formal charge of
     rebellion--others abandoned. Sentence read commuting punishment to
     exile--exile simple on parole--good place which you can settle with
     the Foreign Office--perhaps Azores. Suitable allowance granted and
     compensation for loss of property entailed by sentence. You
     probably fail to realize difficulty of rebutting case of burning
     Alexandria and obtaining evidence for defence. Foreign Office
     certainly indisposed to interfere in any Egyptian sentence short of
     death--for example, long detention in an Egyptian prison. Am
     convinced ultimate result inevitably worse, dreading great
     responsibility, having full knowledge of the position of affairs. I
     trust you will leave us discretion, to avoid possible disaster."

     _Blunt to Broadley. Telegram. November 29th, 3 p. m._:

     "Have consulted De la Warr. We approve full discretion on basis of
     telegram just received."

     _Broadley to Blunt. Telegram. November 30th_:

     "All progressing well. Try to negotiate in concert with De la Warr
     the place of exile--Fiji suggested. Gratified at your confidence."

     _Blunt to Broadley. Telegram. November 30th, 2.30 p. m._:

     "Reject Fiji or Azores. Insist on Moslem country for religious
     life. They cannot refuse. Will consult Chenery. De la Warr away."

     _Broadley to Blunt. Telegram. December 1st_:

     "Dufferin's conduct admirable. Suggests De la Warr's arranging
     place of exile with Foreign Office. Prisoners entirely satisfied."

     _Broadley to Blunt. Telegram. December 3rd_:

     "Arabi's trial over. For correct account see 'Standard.' Egyptian
     Government fulfilled all engagements to the letter."

     _Broadley to Blunt. Telegram. December 4th_:

     "Arabi delighted at result and sends thanks--inclined Cape.
     Dufferin brick [_sic_]."

     _Broadley to Blunt. Telegram. December 4th, 4.50 p. m._:

     "Surprised your not wiring. Success complete. Anglo-Egyptian colony

     _Blunt to Broadley. Telegram. December 4th_:

     "Congratulate all. De la Warr says place of exile in English
     territory left to Dufferin. I don't fancy Cape. How about Gibraltar
     or Guernsey. Consult Arabi."

     _Broadley to Blunt. Telegram. December 4th_:

     "Many thanks kind telegram."

It will be perceived by these telegrams that it was not without
reluctance that I agreed to the compromise proposed by Dufferin. We had
at the moment the full tide of English opinion with us, and I knew that
the Foreign Office could not do otherwise than agree to almost any terms
we chose to impose, and I was most unwilling that the charge of
rebellion should be admitted by us. At the same time it was not possible
for me in the face of Broadley's, and especially Napier's, telegrams to
withhold my assent. The responsibility was too great. I had also the
question of costs to consider. It is true that a public subscription
had been opened which had brought us valuable names. But the actual sums
subscribed did not yet amount to £200, while Broadley's bill was running
already to £3,000. A continuation for another month of the trial would
have meant for me a larger expenditure than I was prepared to face in a
political quarrel which was not quite my own. I therefore took counsel
with De la Warr, and especially with Robert Bourke, of whom I have
already spoken, and who warned me how frail a thing public opinion was
to rely on, and advised me strongly to consent. I remember walking up
and down with him in Montagu Square, where he lived, in indecision for
half an hour before I was finally convinced and yielded. I consequently
sent the telegram of approval, and eventually, after much argument, we
succeeded in obtaining as Arabi's place of exile the Island of Ceylon,
the traditional place of exile of our father Adam when driven out of
Paradise. No more honourable one could possibly have been fixed upon.

The exact terms of the arrangement come to with Dufferin were
unfortunately not committed by him to writing, an oversight on
Broadley's part, who ought to have insisted on this and thus saved us
much after trouble and misunderstanding. The negligence allowed the
Egyptian Government to inflict degradation of rank on the prisoners,
which was certainly not in the spirit of Lord Dufferin's arrangement,
though, perhaps, legally following the _pro formâ_ sentence of death for
rebellion. Room, too, was left for dispute as to what was the amount of
the allowance intended as compensation for the confiscations. Broadley
seems to have exaggerated to his clients the promises on this head.
Personally I consider that they were not illiberally dealt with, as the
property of most of them was insignificant, and they were allowed to
retain property belonging to their wives. The only considerable sufferer
pecuniarily was Mahmud Pasha Sami, who had a large estate which he
forfeited. As to Arabi, his sole worldly possessions, besides what
furniture was in his house at Cairo, a hired one, and some horses in his
stable, consisted of the eight acres of good land he had inherited from
his father in his native village, to which he had at various time added
parcels of uncultivated land on the desert edge, amounting to some six
hundred acres, paid for out of his pay in prosperous days. These at the
time of the confiscation cannot have been worth much over £2,000 or
£3,000, for barren land was then selling for only a few reals the acre,
and he had not had time to reclaim or improve them.[33]

A point, too, which was long disputed, but which is no longer of
importance, was whether the _paroles_ of the prisoners were given to the
Egyptian or the English Governments. But with these matters I need not
trouble myself more than to say that the English Government, having
gained its end of getting the rebellion admitted by us, and so a title
given for their intervention in Egypt, gave little more help to the
defence of certain unfortunate minor prisoners who on various pretexts
found themselves excluded from the amnesty, and were subjected to all
the injustices of the Khedive's uncontrolled authority. These, however,
belong to a period beyond that of which I now propose to write, namely,
that of the permanent Occupation, and cannot be detailed in my present
memoir, which now, I think, has made clear at least my own part in the
events of the revolution to the last point where that part was personal.

Looking back at my action in Egypt during that period, with its early
successes and its final failure to obtain for the National Government
fair treatment at English hands, I cannot wholly regret the course I
took. I made, of course, many mistakes, and I feel that I am in
considerable measure responsible for the determination the Nationalists
came to to risk their country's fortune on the die of battle. But I
still think their fate would have been a worse one if they had not
fought, tamely surrendering to European pressure. They at least thus got
a hearing from the world at large, and if any attention since has been
paid to fellah grievances it has been won wholly by Arabi's persistence,
which I encouraged, in accepting the logic of their political principles
even to the point of war. It obliged England to listen to their
complaints and, if it could not prevent her from depriving them of their
political liberty, it has forced her since to remedy most of their
secular material wrongs.

What the future may bring to Egypt I know not. She has grown rich under
English tutelage, and though I do not consider riches synonymous with
the well being of a nation, they have been in Egypt of at least this
value, that they have enabled the native Nile population so far to hold
its own against foreign intrusion as owner of the soil. While this is,
the Nation will remain alive, and the day may yet come for the fellah
race when self-government will be restored to them, and the armed
struggle of 1882 will appear to them in its true light as the beginning
of their national life, and one, as such, glorious in their annals. To
that day of final emancipation I still pin my hopes, though it is not
likely I shall live to see it.[34]

If my life is prolonged for a few years, it is my intention to continue
the writing of my memoirs, and this will include much that is of
importance to Egypt, though nothing of such high historical value as the
recital already made. The present volume may well stand by itself, and
so with regret I leave it. I should have wished to include in it an
account of Lord Dufferin's mission of reconstruction, and the weak
efforts made by Gladstone to undo the wrong he had inflicted on the
cause of liberty, and on his own reputation as a man of good. But this
would lead me too far, and I prefer to end my actual narrative at the
point where we have now arrived, the close of the eventful year, 1882.
On one of the last days of it I received a second characteristic letter
from Gordon in which, speaking of the war and the suppression of liberty
in Egypt, he quotes the following appropriate verse:

     "When thou seest the violent oppression of the poor, or the
     subversion of justice, marvel not at it, for the Higher than the
     Highest regardeth it."


[33] A claim made recently in his name for a large indemnity in regard
to these lands, and embodied in a petition addressed to our King Edward,
is an entire illusion on Arabi's part, and marks the fact, otherwise
very apparent to those who know him, that he has fallen into a condition
of senile decay for which there is no remedy.

The worst oversight was that the promised general amnesty was not
exactly defined. Hence the later prosecutions on so-called "criminal"

[34] This was written in 1904.




I was born in the year 1840 at Horiyeh, near Zagazig, in the Sherkieh.
My father was Sheykh of the village, and owned eight and a half feddans
of land, which I inherited from him and gradually increased by savings
out of my pay, which at one time was as much as £250 a month, till it
amounted to 570 feddans, and that was the amount confiscated at the time
of my trial. I bought the land cheaply in those days for a few pounds a
feddan which is worth a great deal now, especially as it was in a poor
state (_wahash_) when I bought it and now is in good cultivation. But
none of it was given me by Saïd Pasha or any one, and the acreage I
inherited was only eight and a half. I invested all the money I could
save in land, and had no other invested money or movable property except
a little furniture and some horses and such like, which may have been
worth £1,000.

As a boy I studied for two years at the Azhar, but was taken for a
soldier when I was only fourteen, as I was a tall well grown lad and
Saïd Pasha wanted to have as many as possible of the sons of the village
Sheykhs, and train them to be officers. I was made to go through an
examination, and what I had learned at the Azhar served me well, and I
was made a _boulok-amin_, clerk, instead of serving in the ranks, at
sixty piastres a month. I did not, however, like this, as I thought I
should never rise to any high position, and I wished to be a personage
like the Mudir of our province, so I petitioned Ibrahim Bey, who was my
superior, to be put back into the ranks. Ibrahim Bey showed me that I
should lose by this as my pay would then be only fifty piastres, but I
insisted and so served. I was put soon after to another examination, out
of which I came first, and they made me _chowish_, and then to a third
and they made me lieutenant when I was only seventeen. Suliman Pasha el
Franzawi was so pleased with me that he insisted with Saïd Pasha on
giving me promotion, and I became captain at eighteen, major at
nineteen, and Lieutenant-Colonel, _Caimakam_, at twenty. Then Saïd Pasha
took me with him as A. D. C. when he went to Medina, about a year before
he died. That was in A. H. 1279 (1862?).

Saïd Pasha's death was a great misfortune to me and to all, as he was
favourable to the children of the country. Ismaïl was quite otherwise.
In his time everything was put back into the hands of the Turks and
Circassians, and the Egyptians in the army got no protection and no
promotion. I went on serving as Caimakam for twelve years without much
incident till war came with Abyssinia. I was not sent to the war with
Russia, but when the war with Abyssinia broke out all available troops
were wanted, and the garrisons were withdrawn from the stations on the
Haj Road, and I was sent to do this. I was sent quite alone without a
single soldier or a single piastre and had to get there as best I could
on a camel. I went in this way to Nakhl and Akaba and Wej collecting the
garrisons and putting in Arabs to take charge of the forts there as
_ghaffirs_. Then we crossed over the sea to Kosseir and so by Keneh to
Cairo. I was not paid a penny for this service or even my expenses. The
country was in a fearful state of oppression, and it was then I began to
interest myself in politics to save my countrymen from ruin. I was sent
on to Massowa from Cairo and took part in the campaign of which Ratib
Pasha was commander-in-chief, with Loringe Pasha, the American, as Chief
of the Staff. I was not present at the battle of Kora, being in charge
of the transport service between Massowa and the army. It was a
disastrous battle, seven _ortas_ being completely destroyed. Loringe
Pasha was the officer mostly in fault. The Khedive's son, Hassan, was
there, but only as a boy, to learn soldiering. He was not in command nor
is it true that he was taken prisoner by the Abyssinians.

After this I thought much about politics. I remember to have seen Sheykh
Jemal-ed-Din, but not to speak to, but my former connection with the
Azhar made me acquainted with several of his disciples. The most
distinguished of them were Sheykh Mohammed Abdu, and Sheykh Hassan el
Towil. The first book that ever gave me ideas about political matters
was an Arabic translation of the "Life of Bonaparte" by Colonel Louis.
The book had been brought by Saïd Pasha with him to Medina, and its
account of the conquest of Egypt by 30,000 Frenchmen so angered him that
he threw the book on the ground, saying "See how your countrymen let
themselves be beaten." And I took it up and read all that night, without
sleeping, till the morning. Then I told Saïd Pasha that I had read it
and that I saw that the French had been victorious because they were
better drilled and organized, and that we could do as well in Egypt if
we tried.

You ask me about the affair of the riot against Nubar Pasha in the time
of Ismaïl and whether I had a hand in it. I had none, for the reason
that I was away at Rashid (Rosetta) with my regiment. But the day before
the thing happened I was telegraphed for by the War Office with my
fellow Caimakam, Mohammed Bey Nadi, to deal with the case of a number of
soldiers that had been disbanded by the new Ministers without their
arrears of pay or even bread to eat, and who were at Abbassiyeh. But I
knew nothing of what was being arranged against Nubar. That was done by
order of the Khedive, Ismaïl Pasha, through a servant of his, Shahin
Pasha, and his brother-in-law, Latif Eff. Selim, director of the
military college. These got up a demonstration of the students of the
college, who went in a body to the Ministry of Finance. They were joined
on the way by some of the disbanded soldiers and officers, not many, but
some. At the Ministry they found Nubar getting into his carriage, and
they assaulted him, pulled his moustache, and boxed his ears. Then
Ismaïl Pasha was sent for to quell the riot and he came with
Abd-el-Kader Pasha and Ali Bey Fehmy, the colonel of his guard, whom he
ordered to fire on the students, but Ali Fehmy ordered his men to fire
over their heads and nobody was hurt. Ali Fehmy was not with us at that
time. He was devoted to Ismaïl, having married a lady of the palace, but
he did not like to shed the blood of these young men.

Ismaïl Pasha, to conceal his part in it and that of those who got up the
affair, accused Nadi Bey and me and Ali Bey Roubi of being their leaders
and we were brought before a _mejliss_ on which were Stone Pasha and
Hassan Pasha Afflatoun with Osman Rifki, afterwards Under-Secretary of
War, and others. I showed, however, that it was impossible we could be
concerned in it as we had only that very night arrived from Rosetta.
Nevertheless we were blamed and separated from our regiments, Nadi being
sent to Mansura, Roubi to the Fayum, and I to Alexandria where I was
given a nominal duty of acting as agent for the Sheykhs of Upper Egypt,
whose arrears of taxes in the shape of beans and other produce were to
be collected and sent to Alexandria in security for money advanced to
Ismaïl by certain Jews of that place. But before we separated we had a
meeting at which I proposed that we should join together and depose
Ismaïl Pasha. It would have been the best solution of the case, as the
Consuls would have been glad to get rid of Ismaïl in any way, and it
would have saved after complications as well as the fifteen millions
Ismaïl took away with him when he was deposed. But there was nobody as
yet to take the lead, and my proposal, though approved, was not
executed. The deposition of Ismaïl lifted a heavy load from our
shoulders and all the world rejoiced, but it would have been better if
we had done it ourselves as we could then have got rid of the whole
family of Mohammed Ali, who were none of them, except Saïd, fit to rule,
and we could have proclaimed a republic. Sheykh Jemal-ed-Din proposed to
Mohammed Abdu to kill Ismaïl at the Kasr-el-Nil Bridge and Mohammed Abdu
approved. Ismaïl collected the money of the Mudiriehs six months before
his deposition. Latif afterwards avowed his part in the affair. Latif
was put in prison but released on application of the freemasons to

Tewfik Pasha, when he succeeded Ismaïl, by his first act made public
promise of a Constitution. You ask me whether he was sincere in this. He
never was sincere, but he was a man incredibly weak, who never could say
"no," and he was under the influence of his Minister, Sherif Pasha, who
was a sincere lover of free forms of government. Tewfik, in his father's
reign, had amassed money, which was what he cared for most, by receiving
presents from persons who had petitions to make, and who thought he
could forward their ends. He had no wish for a Constitution, but he
could not say "no" when Sherif pressed him. So he promised. Two months
later he fell under the stronger influence of the Consuls, who forbade
him to decree it. On this Sherif called the Ministers together, and they
all gave him their words of honour that they would resign with him if he
resigned. And so it happened. But some of them, notwithstanding their
promise, joined Riaz Pasha when he became Prime Minister in Sherif's
place. In order to persuade them Riaz engaged that each Minister should
be supreme in his own department, and that they would not allow Tewfik
to interfere in any way with the administration. Mahmud Sami joined him
as Minister of the _Awkaf_, Ali Mubarak as Minister of Public Works, and
Osman Pasha Rifki, a Turk of the old school, who hated the fellahin, was
made Minister of War. The new government was a tyrannical one. Hassan
Moussa el Akkad, for signing a petition against the breaking of the
Moukabala arrangement, was exiled to the White Nile, and Ahmed Fehmi for
another petition, and many other people were got rid of who incurred the
displeasure of the Ministers. Of all the Ministers the worst was Osman

We colonels were now once more with our regiments, and as native
Egyptians subject to much oppression. On any pretext a fellah officer
would be arrested, and his place filled by a Circassian. It was the plan
to weed the whole army of its native officers. I was especially in ill
favour because I had refused to allow my men to be taken from their
military duty and put to dig the Tewfikieh Canal, which it was the
practice to make them do without extra pay. Plans were made to involve
me in some street quarrel with the view to my assassination, but through
the love of my soldiers I always escaped. All officers who were not
Circassians were in danger, and all were alarmed. It was thus that Ali
Fehmy, who was a fellah born, though through his wife connected with the
Court, came to join us, for he feared he, too, would be superseded. He
was Colonel of the 1st Regiment of Guards, and stationed at Abdin; I was
at Abbassiyeh with the 3rd Regiment, and Abd-el-Aal Helmi was at Toura.
Ali Roubi commanded the cavalry.

Matters came to a crisis in January, 1881. I had gone to spend the
evening with Nejm ed Din Pasha, and there were at his house some pashas
talking over the changes Osman Rifki had in hand, and I learned from
them that it had been decided that I and Abd-el-Aal should be deprived
of our commands, and our places given to officers of the Circassian
class. At the same moment a message arrived for me from my house to say
that Ali Fehmy had come there with Abd-el-Aal and was awaiting me. So I
went home and I found them there, and from them I learned the same evil
news. We therefore took council what was to be done. Abd-el-Aal proposed
that we should go in force to Osman Rifki's house and arrest or kill
him, but I said, "No, let us petition first the Prime Minister, and
then, if he refuses, the Khedive." And they charged me to draw the
petition up in form. And I did so, stating the case, and demanding the
dismissal of Osman Rifki, and the raising of the army to 18,000 men, and
the decreeing of the promised Constitution. [N. B.--I think Arabi makes
a mistake here, confusing these last two demands with those made on the
9th of September. But he insisted on it the three proposals were first
made in February, and made in writing then.] This we all three signed,
though knowing that our lives were at stake.

The following morning we went with our petition to the Minister of the
Interior and asked to see Riaz. We were shown into an outer room and
waited while the Minister read it in an inner room. Presently he came
out. "Your petition," he said, "is _muhlik_" (a hanging matter). "What
is it you want? to change the Ministry? And what would you put in its
place? Whom do you propose to carry on the government?" And I answered
him, "_Ye saat le Basha_, is Egypt then a woman who has borne but eight
sons and then been barren?" By this I meant himself and the seven
ministers under him. He was angry at this, but in the end said he would
see into our affair, and so we left him. Immediately a council was
assembled with the Khedive and all his Court, and Stone and Blitz also.
And the Khedive proposed that we should be arrested and tried, but
others said, "If these are put on trial, Osman Pasha also must be
tried." Therefore Osman was left to deal with it alone. And the rest you

You ask did the Khedive at that time know of our intention to petition.
He did not know that nor that Ali Fehmy came to us. But afterwards he
knew. You ask did I know the Baron de Ring. I did not know him, nor any
one of the Consuls, but I heard that the French Consul had the most
influence, and I wrote to him telling him what our position was, and
begging him to let the other Consuls know that there was no fear for
their subjects. You ask if I knew Mahmud Sami. I did not know him yet.
But he was friends with my friend Ali Roubi, and I had heard a good
account of him as a lover of freedom. He was of a Circassian family, but
one that had been 600 years in Egypt.

As to the second demonstration of September 9th, we knew then that the
Khedive was with us. He wished to rid himself of Riaz, who disregarded
his authority. I saw him but twice to speak to that summer, and never on
politics. His communication was through Ali Fehmy, who brought us word
to the following effect: "You three are soldiers. With me you make
four." You ask me whether he was sincere. He never was sincere. But he
wished an excuse to dismiss Riaz. We therefore demanded next time the
dismissal of Riaz, as well as the rest, knowing he would be pleased. On
the morning of the 9th September we sent word to the Khedive that we
should come to the _asr_ to Abdin to make demand of the fulfilment of
his promises. He came, and with him Cookson, and it was with Cookson
that I debated the various proposals made. He asked if we should be
content with Haidar Pasha, but I said "we want no relation of the
Khedive." There were no written demands the second time, only a renewal
of the three demands of the 1st February, the Chamber of Notables, the
raising of the army to 18,000 men, according to the firmans, and the
dismissal of Riaz. They agreed to all. The Khedive was delighted. I know
nothing of Colvin having been there, or of any advice he gave to the
Khedive. The only ones I saw were Cookson and Goldsmid. It was Cookson
who talked to me. If the Khedive had tried to shoot me, the guns would
have been fired on him, and there would have been bad work. But he was
entirely pleased with the whole of the proceedings.

You ask about Abu Sultan (Sultan Pasha). He was disappointed, because
when the Ministry was formed under Sherif Pasha he was not included in
it. It was thought, however, that the post of President of the Chamber
of Deputies was more honourable and more important. Only he did not take
this view, and was put out at being omitted from the Ministry. That was
the beginning of his turning against us.

To your question about the ill-treatment of the Circassians arrested for
a plot while I was Minister of War, I answer plainly, as I have answered
before, I never went to the prison to see them tortured or ill-treated,
I simply never went near them at all.

About the riots of Alexandria there is no question but that it was due
to the Khedive and Omar Pasha Loutfi, and also to Mr. Cookson. The riots
were certainly planned several days beforehand, and with the object of
discrediting me, seeing that I had just given a guarantee of order being
preserved. The Khedive sent the cyphered telegram you know of to Omar
Loutfi, and Omar Loutfi arranged it with Seyd Kandil, the chief of the
Alexandria _mustafezzin_. Seyd Kandil kept the thing from us who were at
Cairo. Mr. Cookson's part in it was that a number of cases of firearms
were landed, and sent to his consulate, obviously with the intention of
arming somebody. The moment I heard of what had happened, I sent Yakub
Sami to Alexandria with orders to make a full inquiry, and the facts
were abundantly proved. Much of what has been said however was
incorrect. It is not true that the bodies of Christians were found
dressed as Moslems. The riot began with a Maltese donkey boy, but that
was only the excuse. Omar Loutfi, as you say, was a strong partisan of
Ismaïl's. You ask why a man so dangerous was left in a post where he
could work so much mischief. I can only say that he was not under the
orders of the Minister of War, but of the Interior. It was a misfortune
he was left there. Neither Nadim nor Hassan Moussa el Akkad went to
Alexandria on any business of that kind. Hassan Moussa went there on a
money errand.

What you ask me is true about Ismaïl Pasha. He made us an offer of
money. The circumstances of it were these. We had ordered a number of
pieces of light artillery from Germany, but they would not deliver them
without payment, and we had none. Ismaïl Pasha offered to let us have
£30,000 to pay this, on condition that we would allow it to be said that
we were acting in his interests. The offer was made through M. Mengs
[Max Lavisson], Ismaïl's Russian agent, and Hassan Moussa had some hand
in it. But it was never produced, and if Ismaïl really sent it to
Alexandria, it remained there in their hands. We never touched it.

I do not remember to have heard of any offer such as you speak of having
been made by the Rothschilds [this was an offer made as I heard at the
time by the Paris Rothschilds of a pension to Arabi of £4,000 (100,000
francs) yearly, if he would leave Egypt], but I received soon after the
leyha [the note sent in by the Consuls demanding the dismissal of the
Mahmud Sami Ministry], a visit from the French Consul, during which he
asked me what my pay then was, and offered me the double--that is to
say, £500 a month from the French Government if I would consent to leave
Egypt and go to Paris and be treated there as Abd-el-Kader was treated.
I refused, however, to have anything to do with it, telling him that it
was my business, if necessary, to fight and die for my country, not to
abandon it. I never heard of the Rothschilds in connection with this

I will now give you an account of how Tel-el-Kebir was lost. Some days
before, when the English were advancing, we made a plan to attack them
at Kassassin. Mahmud Sami was to advance on their right flank from
Salahieh, while we were to advance in front, and a third body was to go
round by the desert, south of the Wady, and take them in the rear. The
attack was tried and put partly in execution, but failed because the
plan had been betrayed by Ali Bey Yusuf Khunfis, who sent the original
sketch made by me to Lord Wolseley. He and others in the army had been
corrupted by Abou Sultan acting for the Khedive. When Mahmud advanced,
he found artillery posted to intercept him and retreated, leaving us
unsupported, and the battle was lost. Sir Charles Wilson, while I was in
prison at Cairo, brought me my plan, and asked me whether it was in my
own hand, and I said "yes," and he told me how they had come by it. "It
is a good plan," he said, "and you might have beaten us with it."

This was our first misfortune. At Tel-el-Kebir we were taken by surprise
and for the same reason of treachery. The cavalry commanders were all
seduced by Abou Sultan's promises. They occupied a position in advance
of the lines, and it was their duty to give us warning of any advance by
the English. But they moved aside and gave no warning. There was also
one traitor in command within the lines, Ali Bey Yusuf Khunfis. He lit
lamps to direct the enemy, and then withdrew his men, leaving a wide
space open for them to pass through. You see the marks upon this carpet.
They just represent the lines. That is where Ali Yusuf was posted.
Mohammed Obeyd was there, and I was at this figure on the carpet a mile
and a half to the rear. We were expecting no attack as no sound of
firing had been heard. I was still asleep when we heard the firing close
to the lines. Ali Roubi, who was in command in front, sent news to me to
change my position as the enemy was taking us in flank. I said my prayer
and galloped to where we had a reserve of volunteers, and called to them
to follow me to support the front line. But they were only peasants, not
soldiers, and the shells were falling among them and they ran away. I
then rode forward alone with only my servant Mohammed with me, who,
seeing that there was no one with me and that I was going to certain
death, caught hold of my horse by the bridle and implored me to go back.
Then seeing that the day was lost already, and that all were flying, I
turned. Mohammed continued with me and we crossed the Wady at
Tel-el-Kebir, and keeping along the line of the Ismaïlia Canal reached
Belbeis. There I had formed a second camp, and I found Ali Roubi arrived
before me, and we thought to make a stand. But on the arrival of Drury
Lowe's cavalry none would stay, and so we abandoned all and took train
for Cairo. Ali Roubi made mistakes by extending the lines too far
northwards, but he was loyal. The traitors were Abdul Ghaffar, I think,
and certainly his second in command of the cavalry, Abd-el-Rahman Bey
Hassan, and Ali Yusuf Khunfis. You say Saoud el Tihawi, too. It may be
so. Those Arabs were not to be trusted. His grandfather had joined
Bonaparte when he invaded us a hundred years ago.

Now I return home after twenty years of sorrowful exile, and my own
people I laboured to deliver have come to believe, because the French
papers have told them so, that I sold them to the English!


[N. B.--On March 18th, 1903, I read the foregoing account to Sheykh
Mohammed Abdu at his house at Aïn Shems. He approved most of it as
correct, but made the following remarks:

1. _As to the riot against Nubar._--Arabi's account of this is correct,
except that the order given to Ali Ferny to fire on the students was not
intended to be obeyed and was part of the comedy. Ali Fehmy fired over
their heads by order. Latif Bey was arrested and imprisoned after the
riot by Nubar, but was released on an application made to Nubar by the
freemasons, Latif being a member of that body. Latif in after days
freely acknowledged his share in the affair. As to what Arabi says of
his having proposed at that time to depose Ismaïl, there was certainly
secret talk of such action. Sheykh Jemal-ed-Din was in favour of it, and
proposed to me, Mohammed Abdu, that Ismaïl should be assassinated some
day as he passed in his carriage daily over the Kasr el Nil bridge, and
I strongly approved, but it was only talk between ourselves, and we
lacked a person capable of taking lead in the affair. If we had known
Arabi at that time, we might have arranged it with him, and it would
have been the best thing that could have happened, as it would have
prevented the intervention of Europe. It would not, however, have been
possible to establish a republic in the then state of political
ignorance of the people. As to Ismaïl's having taken away fifteen
millions with him to Naples, nobody knows the amount. All that is known
is that it was very large. For the last few months of his reign Ismaïl
had been hoarding money, which he intercepted as it was sent in to the
Finance Office from the Mudiriehs.

2. _As to Tewfik in his father's time._--What Arabi says of Tewfik
having taken presents for presenting petitions to Ismaïl may be true,
but the thing was not talked of, nor is it in accordance with Tewfik's
conduct when in power. I do not believe it.

3. _As to Riaz' tyranny._--Riaz was tyrannical, but not to the point of
shedding blood. This he was always averse to. I do not remember any talk
about the people being made away with secretly by him. There was no
danger of such at any rate before the affair of the Kasr-el-Nil. During
the summer, however, of that year, 1881, there was talk of attempts
against Arabi and the other colonels.

4. _As to the affair of the Kasr-el-Nil, February 1st, 1881._--Arabi's
account is confused and incorrect. The first petition made by Arabi and
the officers was simply one of injustice being done them. It was made by
Osman Rifki, and it drew down upon them the anger of the Minister of
War, who determined to get rid of them, and first brought Arabi under
the notice of the Consuls. Baron de Ring, who had a quarrel with Riaz,
interested himself in their case, but only indirectly. The petition
talked of by Arabi as having been drawn up in January by him and taken
to Riaz, certainly contained no reference to a Constitution or to the
increase of the army to 18,000 men. These demands were not made until
the September demonstration. The petition of the Kasr-el-Nil time was
simply a strong complaint to Riaz of Osman Rifki's misdoings, and
demanding his dismissal from the Ministry of War. Riaz, at the council
after the demonstration, was in favour of its being made the subject of
an inquiry, which would have necessitated the trial by court-martial not
only of the petitioners, but also of Osman Rifki. Riaz was not in favour
of violence. But it was pointed out to him, privately, that if he
opposed the more violent plan it would be said he was seeking to curry
favor with the soldiers as against the Khedive, and he, therefore, left
the matter to Osman Rifki, to be dealt with as he pleased.

5. _As to the demonstration of Abdin, September 9th, 1881._--The seven
months between the affair of Kasr-el-Nil and the demonstration of
September were months of great political activity, which pervaded all
classes. Arabi's action gained him much popularity, and put him into
communication with the civilian members of the National party, such as
Sultan Pasha, Suliman Abaza, Hassain Shereï, and myself, and it was we
who put forward the idea of renewing the demand for a Constitution. The
point of view from which he at that time regarded it was as giving him
and his military friends a security against reprisals by the Khedive of
his Ministers. He told me this repeatedly during the summer. We
consequently organized petitions for a Constitution, and carried on a
campaign for it in the press. Arabi saw a great deal of Sultan Pasha
during the summer, and Sultan, who was very rich, made much of him,
sending him presents, such as farm produce, horses, and the rest, in
order to encourage him, and to get this support for the constitutional
movement. It was in concert with Sultan that the demonstration of Abdin
was arranged, and it is quite true that Sultan expected to be named to a
Ministry after the fall of Riaz. But Sherif Pasha, who became Prime
Minister, did not think of him and overlooked him. Afterwards Sultan was
pacified and pleased when he was offered the presidency of the new
Chamber of Notables. It was not till after the _leyha_, ultimatum, that
he had any quarrel with Arabi. Then it is true that Arabi drew his sword
in Sultan's presence and that of other members of the Chamber when they
hesitated and were afraid to oppose the leyha. Up to this they had acted
together. Arabi's account of the Khedive's message, "You three are
soldiers. With me you are four," is excellent, and exactly shows the
situation as between him and the officers. Colvin certainly was with the
Khedive at Abdin, but as he knew no Arabic he probably was not noticed
by Arabi. It was Cookson who did the talking. Baron de Ring had been
recalled by his government on the request of Riaz, who complained of his
encouragement of the officers.

6. _As to the riots of Alexandria._--Arabi is correct in his account as
regards Omar Loutfi and the Khedive, who had been arranging the riot for
some weeks. But it is not true as regards Seyd Kandil, who was only weak
and failed to prevent it. He is also wrong about Cookson. The firearms
introduced into the Consulate were for the defence of the Maltese and
other English subjects. Seyd Kandil was exiled for twenty years, but was
allowed quietly to come back, and is now at his country place in Egypt,
and I have often talked over the affair with him. If you like we will go
together and pay him a visit next autumn. Arabi is right in saying that
neither Hassan Moussa nor Nadim were concerned in the riot. Nadim went
down to Alexandria to deliver a lecture and Hassan on money business.]

[The Mufti also added the following remarks on March 20th, 1903.

There was an attempt to introduce freemasonry into Egypt in the later
years of Ismaïl Pasha. The lodges were all connected with lodges in
Europe. Sheykh Jemal-ed-Din joined one, but he soon found out that there
was nothing of any value in it and withdrew. Ismaïl encouraged it for
his purposes when he began to be in difficulties, but freemasonry never
was a power in Egypt.

Mohammed Obeyd was certainly killed at Tel-el-Kebir. There were rumours
for a long time of his having been seen in Syria, and we used to send
from Beyrout when we were living there in exile to try and find him for
his wife's sake, who was at Beyrout, but they always turned out to be
false reports.

Mahmud Sami was one of the original Constitutionalists, dating from the
time of Ismaïl. He was a friend of Sherif and belonged to the same
school of ideas. It is most probable that he gave warning to Arabi of
his intended arrest, as he was one of the Council of Ministers and must
have known. After the affair of Kasr-el-Nil he was altogether with Arabi
and the Colonels. That was why Riaz got rid of him from the Ministry and
appointed Daoud Pasha in his place.

Riaz, at the beginning, underrated the importance of Arabi's action.
Afterwards he was afraid of it. He began by despising it as he did all
fellah influence in politics.

Sherif Pasha resigned in February, 1882, not on account of any quarrel
with Arabi, but because he was afraid of European intervention. He was
opposed to an insistence on the power of voting the budget claimed by
the Chamber of Notables, and he retired so as not to be compromised.

Ragheb Pasha is (as mentioned by Ninet) of Greek descent, though a
Moslem. He had been Minister under Ismaïl, but was a Constitutionalist.
After the leyha he was named Prime Minister, with Arabi for Minister of
War. He acted honestly with Arabi, and remained with the National Party
during the war.

Butler gives May 20th, 1880, as the date of the first military petition.
That is probably correct.

Ibrahim el Aghany was one of the best and ablest of Jemal ed Din's
disciples at the Azhar. He is still living and employed in the Mékhemeh

When the Council was summoned to consider Arabi's petition asking for
Osman Rifky's dismissal, the Khedive was with Osman Rifky for having
Arabi arrested and sent up the Nile, but Riaz at first was for an
inquiry. During an adjournment, however, of the Council, Taha Pasha
persuaded Riaz that if he was for lenient measures it would be thought
he was intriguing with the soldiers against the Khedive--to make himself
Khedive--and Riaz thereupon made no further opposition. This I learned
afterwards from Mahmud Sami who, as one of the Ministers, was present at
the Council.

Ibrahim Eff. el Wakil with Hassan Shereï and Ahmed Mahmud were the
leaders of the liberal party in the Chamber of Notables.]


[When Sheykh Jemal-ed-Din was exiled a few days after the Sherif's
dismissal in 1879, I was told to leave Cairo where I was professor in
the normal school, and to go to my village. My successor at the school
was Sheykh Hassan the blind. I was soon tired of being in my village and
went to Alexandria where I was watched by the police, so I went secretly
to Tantah and wandered about for a long while. Then I came back to Cairo
hoping to see Mahmud Sami, who was my friend, and at that time Minister
of the Awkaf, but he was away, so I went to Ali Pasha Mubarak's,
Minister of Public Works, who was also a friend, but he received me
badly, and everybody advised me not to stay, as it would be thought I
came in connection with a secret society which had been recently formed
by Shahin Pasha and Omar Lutfi and other Ismaïlists against Riaz, so I
went to my village again. But again I grew tired of it, as the villagers
were always quarrelling and resolved to return once more and lecture at
the Azhar. Riaz Pasha was at that time in difficulty to find any one who
could write good Arabic in the Official Paper, and he consulted Mahmud
Sami, who told him that if there were but three more like me Egypt could
be saved. And my successor, Sheykh Hassan, gave him the same opinion of

So I was appointed at the end of Ramadan (October, 1880), third Editor
of the Journal. But my two senior Editors were jealous and would give me
no work to do. So the Journal was no better written. At this Riaz was
displeased, and made inquiry, and as the result I was made Editor, and a
little later Director of the Press. This was before the end of 1880. The
first time I saw you was when I called on you with Rogers Bey at the
Hôtel du Nil, and it was I who recommended to you Mohammed Khalil, and
afterwards he brought you to see me at my house. I criticized the
Government strongly in the Official Journal, and as Director of the
Press allowed all liberty. But I was not in favour of a revolution, and
thought that it would be enough if we had a Constitution in five years'
time. I disapproved of the overthrow of Riaz in September, 1881, and,
about ten days before the military demonstration at Abdin, I met Arabi
at the house of Toulba Ismat, and Latif Bey Selim had come with him, and
there were many there. And I urged him to moderation, and said, "I
foresee that a foreign occupation will come and that a malediction will
rest for ever on him who provokes it." On this Arabi said that he hoped
it would not be he. And he told me at the same time that Sultan Pasha
had promised to bring petitions from every Notable in Egypt in favour of
the Constitution. This was true, for all the Omdehs were angry with Riaz
for having put down their habit of employing forced labour. Suliman
Abaza would not join in the revolution as he thought it premature, and
Shereï Pasha was also against it. But when once the Constitution was
granted we all joined to protect it. But Arabi could not control the
army, where there were many ambitions.

I did not know of the intended demonstration at Abdin, as I was known to
be friendly to Riaz, but it was arranged with Sultan Pasha and Sherif
Pasha. The Khedive was in a constant change of mind about Arabi at that
time, and joined Riaz and Daoud Pasha in their attempt to crush Arabi,
but the day before the event they told the Khedive, who, to overthrow
Riaz, approved.]


You ask me at what date the Khedive Tewfik put himself first into
communication with us soldiers. It was in this way. Shortly before the
affair of the Kasr-el-Nil he encouraged Ali Fehmy to go to us, with whom
we were already friends, his intention being to use him as a spy on us,
he being Colonel of the Guard. But Ali Fehmy joined us in our petition
to Riaz Pasha, and was involved with us in our arrest. After the affair
of the Kasr-el-Nil, and seeing the position we had gained in the minds
of the people, the Khedive thought to make use of us against Riaz, and
he sent Ali Fehmy to us with the message, "You three are soldiers. With
me you make four." That was about a month after the affair, and we knew
he was favourable to us also through Mahmud Sami, who was then Minister
of War. And Mahmud Sami told us, "If ever you see me leave the Ministry,
know that the Khedive's mind is changed to you, and that there is
danger." In the course, therefore, of the summer (1881) when trouble
began to begin for us through the spies of Riaz Pasha, who was Minister
of the Interior, and who had us watched by the police, we had confidence
in Mahmud Sami.

And I was specially involved in displeasure through my refusal to allow
my soldiers to be taken from their military work to dig the Tewfikieh
Canal, they being impressed for the labour by Ali Pasha Moubarak as
Minister of Public Works. For this and for other reasons the Khedive
turned from us, and resolved, with Riaz Pasha, to separate and disunite
the army; and the regiments were to be sent to distant places so that we
should not communicate one with the other. And Mahmud Sami was called
upon, as Minister of War, to work their plan against us, the Khedive at
that time being at Alexandria with the rest of the Ministers. And when
Mahmud Sami refused, Riaz Pasha wrote to him, "The Khedive has accepted
your resignation." And both he and the Khedive notified Mahmud Sami that
he was to go at once to his village in the neighbourhood of Tantah, and
remain there, and not to go to Cairo, and on no account to have
communication with us. He nevertheless came to Cairo to his house there,
and we called on him, but he refused to see us. Then we knew that evil
was intended against us. And the Khedive appointed Daoud Pasha Yeghen in
his place, and the vexation on us increased, and we knew that attempts
were to be made against us. At the beginning of September the Khedive
returned to Cairo with Riaz and the Ministers, and it was resolved to
deal with us. Then I took counsel with Abd-el-Aal and Abd-el-Ghaffar,
the commander of the cavalry at Gesireh, and Fuda Bey Hassan, _Caimakam_
in command at the Kaláa. The miralaï in command at the Kaláa had been
dismissed by Mahmud Sami shortly before leaving office, and had not been
replaced. This miralaï was of us but _khaïn_ (a traitor), and we agreed
that we would make a demonstration and demand the dismissal of the whole
Ministry, and that a Ministry favourable to the Wattan should replace
them, and that a Mejliss el Nawwab should be assembled, and that the
army should be raised to 18,000 men. But we did not tell Ali Fehmy of
our design, for we did not wholly at that time trust him. And the next
morning I wrote stating our demands, and sent it to the Khedive at
Ismaïlia Palace, saying that we should march to Abdin Palace at the
_asr_, there to receive his answer. And the reason of our going to Abdin
and not to Ismaïlia, where he lived, was that Abdin was his public
residence, and we did not wish to alarm the ladies of his household. But
if he had not come to Abdin we should have marched on to Ismaïlia.

When, therefore, the Khedive received our message he sent for Riaz Pasha
and Khairy Pasha and Stone Pasha, and they went first to Abdin Barracks,
where both the Khedive and Riaz Pasha spoke to the soldiers, and they
gave orders to Ali Fehmy that he should, with his regiment, occupy the
Palace of Abdin. And Ali Fehmy assented, and he posted his men in the
upper rooms out of sight, so that they should be ready to fire on us
from the windows. But I do not know whether they were given ball
cartridge or not. Then the Khedive with the Generals went on to the
Kaláa, and they spoke to the soldiers there in the same sense, calling
on Fuda Bey to support the Khedive against us, the Khedive scolding him
and saying, "I shall put you in prison"; but the soldiers surrounded the
carriage, and the Khedive was afraid and drove away, and he went on by
the advice of Riaz to Abassiyeh to speak to me, but I had already
marched with my regiment through the Hassaneyn quarter to Abdin. They
asked about the artillery and were told that it also had gone to Abdin,
and when the Khedive arrived there he found us occupying the square, the
artillery and cavalry being before the west entrance, and I with my
troops before the main entrance, and already when I arrived before the
palace I had sent in to Ali Fehmy, who I had heard was there, and had
spoken to him, and he had withdrawn his men from the palace, and they
stood with us.

And the Khedive entered by the back door on the east side, and presently
he came out to us with his generals and aides-de-camp, but I did not see
Colvin with him, though he may have been there, and he called on me to
dismount, and I dismounted, and he called on me to put up my sword, and
I put up my sword, but the officers approached with me to prevent
treachery, about fifty in number, and some of them placed themselves
between him and the palace, but Riaz Pasha was not with the Khedive in
the square, and remained in the palace. And when I had delivered my
message and made my three demands to the Khedive, he said, "I am Khedive
of the country and shall do as I like" ("_and Khedeywi 'l beled wa 'amal
zey ma inni awze_"). I replied, "We are not slaves, and we shall never
more be inherited from this day forth" ("_Nahnu ma abid wa la nurithu
ba'd el yom_"). He said nothing more, but turned and went back into the
palace. And presently they sent out Cookson to me with his interpreter,
and he asked me why, being a soldier, I made demand of a parliament, and
I said that it was to put an end to arbitrary rule, and pointed to the
crowd of citizens supporting us behind the soldiers. He threatened me,
saying, "We shall bring a British army," and much discussion took place
between us, and he returned six or seven times to the palace, and came
out again six or seven times to me, until finally he informed me that
the Khedive had agreed to all, and the Khedive wished for Haidar Pasha
to replace Riaz. But I would not consent, and when it was put to me to
say I named Sherif Pasha, because he had declared himself in favour of a
Mejliss el Nawwab, and I had known him a little in former times, in the
time of Saïd Pasha, when he served with the army. And in the evening the
Khedive sent for me and I went to him at Ismaïlia Palace, and I thanked
him for having agreed to our request, but he said only, "That is enough.
Go now and occupy Abdin, and let it be without music in the streets"
(lest that should be taken as a token of rejoicing).

And when Ali Pasha Nizami came to Cairo with Ahmed Pasha Ratib from the
Sultan, the Khedive was alarmed lest an inquiry should be made, and
Mahmud Sami being again Minister of War ordered us to leave Cairo, and I
went to Ras-el-Wady and Abd-el-Aal to Damiata, but Ali Fehmy remained at
Cairo. And I saw nothing of Ali Nizami. But being at Zagazig on a visit
to friends, Ahmed Eff. Shemsi and Suliman Pasha Abaza, as I was
returning by train to Ras el Wady, it happened that Ahmed Pasha Ratib
was on his way to Suez, for he was going on to Mecca on pilgrimage. And
I found myself in the same carriage with him, and we exchanged
compliments as strangers, and I asked him his name, and he asked me my
name, and he told me of his pilgrimage and other things, but he did not
speak of his mission to the Khedive, nor did I ask. But I told him that
I was loyal to the Sultan as the head of our religion, and I also
related to him all that had occurred, and he said, "You did well." And
at Ras el Wady I left him, and afterwards he sent me a Koran from
Jeddah, and later, on his return to Stamboul, he wrote to me, saying
that he had spoken favourably of me to the Sultan, and afterwards I
received a letter dictated by the Sultan to Sheykh Mohammed Dhaffar
telling me what I know.

As to Yakub Sami, he was of family originally Greek from Stamboul. He
went by my order to Alexandria to inquire into the affair of the riot,
but they would not allow a true inquiry to be made into it. It was Yakub
Sami who, with Ragheb Pasha, proposed that we should cut off the
Khedive's head. You say we should have done better to do so, but I
wished to gain the end of our revolution without the shedding of a drop
of blood.



1. The National party of Egypt accept the existing relations of Egypt
with the Porte as the basis of their movement. That is to say: They
acknowledge the Sultan Abd el Hamid Khan as their Suzerain and Lord, and
as actual Caliph or Head of the Mussulman religion; nor do they propose,
while his empire stands, to alter this relationship. They admit the
right of the Porte to the tribute fixed by law, and to military
assistance in case of foreign war. At the same time, they are firmly
determined to defend their national rights and privileges, and to
oppose, by every means in their power, the attempts of those who would
reduce Egypt again to the condition of a Turkish Pashalik. They trust in
the protecting Powers of Europe, and especially in England, to continue
their guarantee of Egypt's administrative independence.

2. The National party express their loyal allegiance to the person of
the reigning Khedive. They will continue to support Mohammed Towfik's
authority as long as he shall rule in accordance with justice and the
law, and in fulfilment of his promises made to the people of Egypt in
September 1881. They declare, however, their intention to permit no
renewal of that despotic reign of injustice which Egypt has so often
witnessed, and to insist upon the exact execution of his promise of
Parliamentary government and of giving the country freedom. They invite
His Highness, Mohammed Towfik, to act honestly by them in these matters,
promising him their cordial help; but they warn him against listening to
those who would persuade him to continue his despotic power, to betray
their national rights, or to elude his promises.

3. The National party fully recognize the services rendered to Egypt by
the Governments of England and France, and they are aware that all
freedom and justice they have obtained in the past has been due to them.
For this they tender them their thanks. They recognize the European
Control as a necessity of their financial position, and the present
continuance of it as the best guarantee of their prosperity. They
declare their entire acceptance of the foreign debt as a matter of
_national honour_--this, although they know that it was incurred, not
for Egypt's benefit, but in the private interests of a dishonest and
irresponsible ruler--and they are ready to assist the Controllers in
discharging the full national obligations. They look, nevertheless, upon
the existing order of things as in its nature temporary, and avow it as
their hope gradually to redeem the country out of the hands of its
creditors. Their object is, some day to see Egypt entirely in Egyptian
hands. Also they are not blind to the imperfections of the Control,
which they are ready to point out. They know that many abuses are
committed by those employed by it, whether Europeans or others. They see
some of these incapable, others dishonest, others too highly paid. They
know that many offices, now held by strangers, would be better
discharged by Egyptians, and at a fifth of the cost; and they believe
there is still much waste and much injustice. They cannot understand
that Europeans living in the land should remain for ever exempt from the
general taxation, or from obedience to the general law. The National
party does not, however, propose to remedy these evils by any violent
action; only it would protest against their unchecked continuance. They
would have the Governments of France and England consider that, having
taken the control of their finances out of the hands of the Egyptians,
they are responsible for their prosperity, and are bound to see that
efficient and honest persons only are employed by them.

4. The National party disclaim all connection with those who, in the
interest of Powers jealous of Egypt's independence, seek to trouble the
peace of the country--and there are many such--or with those who find
their private advantage in disturbance. At the same time they are aware
that a merely passive attitude will not secure them liberty in a land
which is still ruled by a class to whom liberty is hateful. The silence
of the people made Ismaïl Pasha's rule possible in Egypt, and silence
now would leave their hope of political liberty unfulfilled. The
Egyptians have learned in the last few years what freedom means, and
they are resolved to complete their national education. This they look
to find in the Parliament just assembling, in a fair measure of freedom
for the press, and in the general growth of knowledge among all classes
of the people. They know, however, that none of these means of education
can be secured except by the firm attitude of the national leaders. The
Egyptian Parliament may be cajoled or frightened into silence, as at
Constantinople; the press may be used as an instrument against them, and
the sources of instruction cut off. It is for this reason and for no
other that the National party has confided its interests at the present
time to the army, believing them to be the only power in the country
able and willing to protect its growing liberties. It is not, however,
in the plans of the party that this state of things shall continue; and
as soon as the people shall have established their rights securely the
army will abandon its present political attitude. In this the military
leaders fully concur. They trust that on the assembling of the
Parliament their further interference in affairs of State may be
unnecessary. But for the present they will continue to perform their
duty as the armed guardians of the unarmed people. Such being their
position, they hold it imperative that their force should be maintained
efficient, and their complement made up to the full number of 18,000
men. They trust that the European Control will keep this necessity in
view when considering the army estimates.

5. The National party of Egypt is a political, not a religious party. It
includes within its ranks men of various races and various creeds. It is
principally Mohammedan, because nine-tenths of the Egyptians are
Mohammedans; but it has the support of the Moors, of the Coptic
Christians, of the Jews, and others who cultivate the soil and speak the
language of Egypt. Between these it makes no distinction whatever,
holding all men to be brothers and to have equal rights, both political
and before the law. This principle is accepted by all the chief Sheykhs
of the Azhar who support the party, holding the true law of Islam to
forbid religious hatred and religious disabilities. With Europeans
resident in Egypt the National party has no quarrel, either as
Christians or as strangers, so long as these shall live comformably with
the laws and bear their share of the burdens of the State.

6. Finally, the general end of the National party is the intellectual
and moral regeneration of the country by a better observance of the law,
by increased education, and by political liberty, which they hold to be
the life of the people. They trust in the sympathy of those of the
nations of Europe which enjoy the blessing of self-government to aid
Egypt in gaining for itself that blessing; but they are aware that no
nation ever yet achieved liberty except by its own endeavours; and they
are resolved to stand firm in the position they have won, trusting to
God's help if all other be denied them.

_December 18, 1881._


     Hawarden Castle, Chester,

     _Jan. 20th, 1882_.


     You will I am sure appreciate the reasons which disable me from
     offering anything like a becoming reply to your very interesting
     letter on Egyptian affairs, which occupy, I am sorry to say, an
     insignificant share of my daily attention.

     But I am sensible of the advantage of having such a letter from
     such an authority, and I feel quite sure that unless there be a sad
     failure of good sense on one or both, or, as I should say, all
     sides, we shall be enabled to bring this question to a favourable

     My own opinions about Egypt were set forth in the "19th Century" a
     short time before we took office, and I am not aware as yet of
     having seen any reason to change them.

     I remain, my Dear Sir,

     Faithfully yours,


     Wilfrid S. Blunt, Esq.

     10, Downing Street, Whitehall,

     _Jan. 21st, 1882_.


     I feel I owe you a great apology for your not having received an
     earlier acknowledgment of your most able and interesting
     communication on the Egyptian movement. Holiday making must be my
     excuse; but my absence from Downing Street did not prevent the
     prompt submission of your letter to Mr. Gladstone, from whom I
     enclose a note. He is sorry that it is somewhat tardy in its

     It is difficult, if not impossible, to write on the present
     critical state of affairs, when the situation may alter from day to

     You may imagine that the alleged national character to the movement
     necessarily commends itself to Mr. Gladstone with his well-known
     sympathy with young nationalities struggling for independence. The
     great crux (I am of course only speaking for myself, and with a
     strong consciousness of ignorance) seems to be, how to favour such
     a movement with due regard to the responsibilities in which we have
     been involved, and the vested interests which are at stake. Every
     alternative seems to be beset with insuperable objections and
     insurmountable difficulties. I can only say that if you can do
     anything towards finding a solution for these difficulties you will
     be doing a great work for Egypt, for the country, and for the
     present Government. I know that you have already been of great
     service, and are entitled to speak on this question with greater
     authority than almost any one else.

     With special regards to Lady Anne, and apologies for such a cursory
     uninteresting note in return for your information,

     Always yrs. affectionately

     E. W. HAMILTON.


     10, Downing Street, Whitehall,

     _2nd March, 1882_.


     Mr. Gladstone has read with much interest your further letter, for
     which he is much obliged. He hopes that you will have felt, or will
     feel, assured from the language in the speech from the Throne, of
     which I enclose by his desire a copy, that the British Government,
     while intending firmly to uphold international engagements, have a
     sympathy with Egyptian feelings in reference to the purposes and
     means of good government.

     Yours always,

     E. W. HAMILTON.


In concert with the President of the French Republic, I have given
careful attention to the affairs of Egypt, where existing arrangements
have imposed on me special obligations. I shall use my influence to
maintain the rights already established, whether by the Firmans of the
Sultan or by various international engagements, in a spirit favourable
to the good government of the country and the prudent development of its



(_N.B._--This occurs in Blue Book, Egypt, No. 7 (1882), but is given
there in French only. The clauses embodying the amendments or
explanations obtained at Sir Edward Malet's and Sir Auckland Colvin's
instance by the author on January 19th, 1882, are marked with an



     Your Highness has condescended to entrust to me the care of forming
     a new Cabinet; I consider it as the first of my duties to submit to
     you the principles which will guide my conduct and inspire that of
     the Ministry over which I am to preside.

     The events which have succeeded each other in Egypt for some years
     past have prejudiced public opinion in various ways here, and in
     foreign countries. These prejudices relate to two orders of ideas:
     our financial expenditure and our internal reforms.

     The general debt of the country was definitely regulated by a
     series of Decrees which was itself completed by the Law of
     Liquidation of 19th July, 1880.

     These laws have acquired the character of International
     Conventions. Your Highness's Government has never ceased to respect
     them. The Ministry will watch over their exact and faithful

     The liquidation of the floating debt is an accomplished fact for
     all those interested (and they are immensely in the majority) whose
     rights have been recognized up to now by the competent authorities;
     it will continue to be actively proceeded with.

     The service of the Consolidated Debt, which includes the special
     administrations of the Daïra and the Domains employed to guarantee
     the Loan of 1878 is being regularly performed. The administrations
     which were created to secure this service, the General Control, the
     Commission of the Debt, the Control of the Daïra, the Commission of
     Domains, are institutions which must be always loyally supported by
     the Government; they have always been so up to the present day.

     Nothing will be changed in this state of things in the future: the
     Ministry will endeavour to consolidate these institutions and to
     facilitate their action. It considers harmony in all these public
     services as an essential condition to the regular course of
     affairs, and it thinks that the general administration of the
     country owes incontestable advantages to this policy.

     Your Highness has always been convinced that, to accomplish
     internal reforms with wisdom and security, the co-operation of a
     Chamber of Deputies was necessary, and it is with this idea that
     the present Chamber has been convoked.

     The Ministry share these sentiments. They will concentrate all
     their attention upon the reorganization of the Tribunals, the
     reform of the administration, the improvements necessary to public
     education to aid the country to advance in the path of progress and
     civilization. They will study measures suitable for the development
     of agriculture, commerce, and industry, as well as all the other
     projects of reform which have been the object of your Highness's
     constant solicitude. But before all they believe it necessary to
     determine the powers of the Chamber of Deputies, in order to enable
     it to give to the Government the co-operation which it expects, and
     to realize the hopes of the people.

     This is why the Cabinet's first act will be to sanction an Organic
     Law for the Chamber of Deputies.

     This law will respect all rights and obligations of a private or
     international character, as well as all engagements relating to the
     Public Debt and to the charges which the latter imposes upon the
     State Budget. It will determine wisely the responsibility of the
     Ministers before the Chamber, as well as the mode of discussing the

     Far from being a source of anxiety, this Organic Law will unite all
     the conditions necessary for securing the interests of the public.

     Such is, Monseigneur, the programme of the new Ministry,
     conformable to the wishes of the country.

     The High Powers--and particularly the Sublime Porte, whose friendly
     support has never failed us in the exercise of the rights and
     privileges which it has granted us--will continue, I confidently
     hope, to lend to your Highness's Government, as in the past, that
     valuable co-operation which has always been beneficial to Egypt.

     I also hope that the authority of your Government will be devoted
     solely to safeguarding individual rights and the maintenance of
     order, and that it will guide the nation in the way of progress and

     The day on which your Highness took in hand the reins of power you
     promised to Egypt a new era of progress. We come to assure your
     Highness of our absolute unanimity for the realization of that
     promise. The goal you would attain, Monseigneur, is the same which
     we are striving for. Full of confidence in you, we have faith in
     the future.

     If your Highness deigns to consent to the programme which I submit,
     I have the honour to beg your Highness to sanction the decrees
     which I present for signature, to constitute the Ministry.



     15, Rabi-Awel, 1299.

     (February 4, 1882.)


     In accepting the task of forming a new Cabinet, without being
     ignorant of the importance of this undertaking, you give a new
     proof of your devotion and of your patriotism. If I have charged
     you with this mission, it is because I knew these your noble
     sentiments of which you have given many proofs, by the numerous
     services you have rendered in the various offices you have already
     filled. I approve of your programme, and of the principles which
     you develop in it. These principles are the foundation of justice.
     They are calculated to maintain and assure order in the country as
     well to give security to all those who inhabit it.

     I share your opinion that my Government should take the necessary
     measures to ensure judicial and administrative reforms, and that it
     should promulgate for the Chamber of Deputies the Organic Law in
     conformity with the ideas explained in your programme.

     My Government ought also to take upon itself the task of developing
     public instruction, agriculture, commerce, and industry. My loyal
     and sincere co-operation shall always be yours in the
     accomplishment of this object.

     I pray God to crown our common efforts for the benefit and
     prosperity of the people.



We, Khedive of Egypt,

In view of our Decree of the 4th October, 1881 (11 Zilcadé, 1298),

In view of the decision of the Chamber of Delegates, and conformably
with the advice of our Council of Ministers,

     Have decreed and decree,

_Art. 1._ The Members of the Chamber of Deputies are elected.
An ulterior and special Law will make known the conditions of
electorability and of eligibility for election, and at the same time the
mode of election to the Chamber of Deputies.

_Art. 2._ The Members of the Chamber of Deputies are elected for a
period of five years. They receive an annual payment of £E.100.

_Art. 3._ The Deputies are free in the exercise of their mandates. They
cannot be bound either by promises or by (government) instructions, or
by an (administrative) order, or by menaces of a nature to interfere
with the free expression of their opinions.

_Art. 4._ The Deputies are inviolable. In case of crime or misdemeanour
committed during the course of the Session, they cannot be put under
arrest except with the leave of the Chamber.

_Art. 5._ The Chamber may also, after its convocation, demand,
provisionally and for the duration of the Session, that any one of its
Members who has been imprisoned shall be set at liberty, or that all
action directed against him shall be suspended during the Chamber's
recess, if for a criminal matter, where no judgment has yet been

_Art. 6._ Each Deputy represents not only the interests of the
constituency which has elected him, but also the interests of the
Egyptian people in general.

_Art. 7._ The Chamber of Deputies shall sit at Cairo. It is convoked
each year by Decree of the Khedive, and according to the advice of the
Council of Ministers.

_Art. 8._ The ordinary annual Session of the Chamber of Deputies shall
be for three months, viz., from the 1st November to the 31st January.
But if the work of the Chamber is not finished by the 31st January, it
may then demand a prolongation of fifteen to thirty days. This
prolongation will be accorded by Decree of the Khedive.

_Art. 9._ In case of necessity the Chamber will be convoked in
Extraordinary Session by the Khedive. The duration of the Extraordinary
Session will be fixed by the Decree convoking it.

_Art. 10._ The Sessions of the Chamber shall be opened in the presence
of the Ministers either by the Khedive or by the President of the
Council of Ministers, acting by delegation of the Khedive.

_Art. 11._ At the first sitting of each annual Session an opening Speech
shall be pronounced by the Khedive, or in his name by the President of
the Council of Ministers. It shall have for its object to make known to
the Chamber the principal questions to be presented to it in the course
of the session. After the reading of the opening speech the sitting
shall be adjourned.

_Art. 12._ During the three following days, the Chamber, having named a
Committee for the purpose of preparing a reply to the opening speech,
shall vote its reply, which shall be presented to the Khedive by a
deputation chosen from amongst its members.

_Art. 13._ The reply to the opening speech may not treat of any question
in a decisive sense, nor contain any opinion which has been the object
of previous deliberations.

_Art. 14._ The Chamber shall submit to the Khedive a list containing the
names of three Members whom it may propose for the office of President.
The Khedive shall name by Decree one of the Members, thus designated,
President of the Chamber of Deputies. The office of President shall
continue for five years.

_Art. 15._ The Chamber shall elect two Vice-Presidents which it shall
choose from among its Members, and shall name the Secretaries of its

_Art. 16._ An official report of the sittings of the Chamber shall be
drawn up under the direction of the Bureau of the Chamber, composed of
its President, Vice-President, and Secretaries.

_Art. 17._ The official language for the Chamber shall be Arabic. The
proceedings and reports of the Chamber shall be drawn up in the official

_Art. 18._ The Ministers shall have the right of being present at the
sittings of the Chamber, and of speaking there, when they shall think
fit. They may cause themselves to be represented there by high state

_Art. 19._ If the Chamber decides that there is reason for summoning one
of the Ministers to appear before it to give explanations on any
question, the Minister shall appear in person or cause himself to be
represented by another official to give the required explanations.

_*Art. 20._ The Deputies shall have the right to supervise the acts of
all public functionaries during the Session, and through the President
of the Chamber they may report to the Minister concerned all abuses,
irregularities, or negligences charged against a public official, in the
exercise of his functions.

_Art. 21._ The Ministers are jointly and severally responsible to the
Chamber for every measure taken in Council, which may violate existing
rules and regulations.

_Art. 22._ Each Minister is individually responsible, in the cases
foreseen in the preceding article, for his acts occurring in the
exercise of his functions.

_*Art. 23._ In case of persistent disagreement between the Chamber of
Deputies and the Ministry; when repeated interchanges of views and
motives shall have taken place between them, if then the Ministry does
not withdraw, the Khedive shall dissolve the Chamber of Deputies, and
decree that new elections shall be proceeded with, within a period of
time not exceeding three months, counted from the day of dissolution to
that of reassembly. All Deputies thus dismissed shall be eligible for

_Art. 24._ If the new Chamber confirms by its vote that of the preceding
Chamber which had provoked the disagreement, this vote shall be accepted
as final.

_*Art. 25._ The Bills and Regulations emanating from the initiative of
the Government shall be brought into the Chamber of Deputies by the
Ministers, to be examined, discussed and voted. No Law shall become
valid until it has been read before the Chamber of Deputies, Article by
Article, voted clause by clause, and consented to by the Khedive. Each
Bill shall be read three times and between each reading there shall have
been an interval of fifteen days. In case of urgency a single reading
shall, by a special vote of the Chamber, be declared sufficient. If the
Chamber judges it necessary to demand the introduction of a Bill from
the Council of Ministers, it shall make the demand through the
intermediary of the President of the Chamber, and in case of the
approval of the Government, the Bill shall be prepared by the Ministry
and introduced to the Chamber according to the forms fixed by this

_Art. 26._ The Chamber shall choose from amongst its Members a
Committee, charged to examine all Bills and Regulation submitted to it.
This Committee may propose to the Government amendments of such bills as
it has been charged to examine; in which case, the bill and the
amendments proposed shall be sent back, before any general discussion,
by the President of the Chamber, to the President of the Council of

_Art. 27._ If the Committee does not propose any amendments or if those
proposed are not adopted by the Government, the original text of the
Bill shall be placed for discussion before the Chamber. If the
amendments proposed by the Committee are accepted by the Government,
then the text thus amended shall be placed for discussion before the
Chamber. In case the Government should not accept the amendments
proposed by the Committee, then the latter shall have the right of
submitting its opinion and observations to the Chamber.

_Art. 28._ The Chamber of Deputies may adopt or reject all Bills
submitted to it by the Committee. It may also return them to the
Committee to be examined a second time.

_Art. 29._ The President of the Chamber shall convey to the President of
the Council of Ministers the Laws and Regulations voted by the Chamber.

_Art. 30._ No fresh tax--direct or indirect--on movable, immovable or
personal property may be imposed in Egypt without a Law voted by the
Chamber. It is therefore formally forbidden that any new tax shall be
levied, under whatever title or denomination it may be, without having
been previously voted by the Chamber of Deputies, under penalty, against
the authority which shall have ordered it, against the employés who
shall have drawn up the schedules and tariffs and against those who
shall have effected the recovery of the amounts, of being prosecuted as
peculators. All contributions thus unduly levied shall be returned to
those who have paid them.

_Art. 31._ The Annual Budget of the Receipts and Expenditures of the
State shall be communicated to the Chamber of Deputies not later than
the 5th of November of each year.

_Art. 32._ The General Budget of Receipts shall be presented to the
Chamber, accompanied by notes explanatory of the nature of each receipt.

_Art. 33._ The Budget of Expenditure shall be divided Department by
Department, and shall be subdivided into sections and chapters,
corresponding to the various branches of the public service depending
upon each Ministry.

_Art. 34._ The following cannot on any account be objects of discussion
in the Chamber:

     The service of the Tribute due to the Sublime Porte.

     The service of the Public Debt.

Also all matters relating to the Debt and resulting from the Law of
Liquidation, or Conventions existing between the Foreign Powers and the
Egyptian Government.

_*Art. 35._ The Budget shall be sent to the Chamber, to be examined and
discussed there (under reserve of the preceding Article).

A Committee composed of as many Deputies, and having the same number of
votes as the Members of the Council of Ministers and its President,
shall be named by the Chamber to discuss, in common with the Council of
Ministers, the Budget Estimates, and to vote them either unanimously or
according to the majority.

_Art. 36._ In case of an exact division of votes between the Commission
of the Chamber and the Council of Ministers, the Budget shall be
returned to the Chamber and, should the Chamber confirm (by its vote)
that of the Council of Ministers, this vote shall become executory
(_exécutoire_). But if the Chamber should maintain the vote of its
Committee, then the procedure shall be according to Articles 23 and 24
of the present Law. In this case, the credits of the Budget Estimates
which shall have caused the division of votes, if they figured in the
Budget of the preceding year, and if they are not affected to any new
object of expenditure, such as public works or others, shall be employed
provisionally and until the meeting of the new Chamber, according to
Article 23.

_Art. 37._ If the new Chamber confirms the vote of the preceding
Chamber, on the Budget, this vote shall become definitely executory, in
conformity with Article 23.

_Art. 38._ No Treaty or contract between the Government and third
parties and no farming concession shall acquire a final character
without having been first approved by a vote of the Chamber, provided
that such Treaty, contract or concession does not relate to an
object for which a sum has already figured in the approved Budget,
corresponding to the year for which the Treaty, contract or concession
shall have been proposed. Likewise no concession for public works, the
execution of which shall not have been foreseen by the Budget, and no
sale, or gratuitous alienation of the State domains, nor concession of
privilege of any kind shall become definitive until it shall have been
approved by the Chamber.

_Art. 39._ All Egyptians may address a petition to the Chamber of
Deputies. The petitions shall be sent to a Committee chosen by the
Chamber from among its Members. Upon the report of this Committee the
Chamber shall take into consideration or reject the petitions. The
petitions taken into consideration shall be sent back to the Minister

_Art. 40._ All petitions relative to personal rights or interests shall
be rejected if they are outside the competence of the Administrative and
Civil Tribunals, or if they have not been previously addressed to the
competent administrative authority.

_Art. 41._ If during the recess of the Chamber grave circumstances shall
demand that urgent measures be taken to avoid a danger menacing the
State, or to assure public order, the Council of Ministers may, then,
upon its own responsibility and with the sanction of the Khedive, order
those measures to be taken, even if they should be within the competence
of the Chamber, supposing the time to be too short for the convocation
of the latter. Nevertheless, the affair should be submitted for
examination, at its next sitting, to the Chamber.

_Art. 42._ No one may be admitted to explain or discuss questions or to
take part in the deliberations of the Chamber other than its Members,
with the exception of the Ministers or of those who are assisting or
representing them.

_Art. 43._ The votes of the Chamber shall be given by the holding up of
hands or by calling over of names or by ballot.

_Art. 44._ The vote by calling over of names shall only be on the demand
of at least ten Members of the Chamber of Deputies. All votes which may
affect the provisions of Article 47 shall be made openly.

_Art. 45._ The naming of the three candidates for the Presidency of the
Chamber, as well as the election of the two Vice-Presidents and the
nomination of the first and second Secretaries to the Chamber shall be
made by ballot.

_Art. 46._ The Chamber of Deputies may not validly deliberate unless at
least two-thirds of its Members are present at the deliberation. All
decisions shall be taken absolutely according to the majority of votes.

_Art. 47._ No votes entailing Ministerial responsibility shall be given
without a majority of at least three-quarters of the Members present.

_Art. 48._ No opinion shall be given by proxy.

_Art. 49._ The Chamber of Deputies shall elaborate its own internal
Regulations. These shall be made executory by Decree of the Khedive.

_*Art. 50._ The present Organic Law may be amended after agreement
between the Chamber of Deputies and the Council of Ministers.

_*Art. 51._ The interpretation of all Articles and phrases of the
present law which it may be necessary to make clear shall be made on
agreement between the Chamber of Deputies and the Council of Ministers.

_Art. 52._ All provisions of Laws, Decrees, Superior Orders,
Regulations, or Usages contrary to the present Law are and shall remain

_Art. 53._ Our Ministers are charged, each in what concerns him, with
the execution of the present Law.

Done in the Palace of Ismaïlieh, 7th February, 1882 (18 Rabi Awel,


    By the Khedive:

    The President of the Council of Ministers, Minister of the Interior.
    (_Signed_) MAHMOUD SAMY.

    The Minister of Foreign Affairs and of Justice.

    The Minister of War and Marine.

    The Minister of Finance.

    The Minister of Public Works.

    The Minister of Public Instruction.

    The Minister of the Wakfs.



     Paris, _September 26th, 1907_.


     I have just read in the _Egyptian Gazette_ of the 14th instant your
     reply to Mr. Lucy about the Cyprus Convention, and I was very glad
     to observe the offer you made in it of correcting in your book any
     errors which might be pointed out to you. It has decided me to
     appeal to your loyalty in regard to a mistake about my father which
     has found its way into it. I do not know from what sources you have
     drawn your information, nor do I doubt your good faith, which has
     certainly been misled.

     You say that Nubar Pasha was Ismaïl's Minister of Finance, and that
     in virtue of this office he was responsible for the ruinous loans
     contracted by the latter. This is evidently a complete mistake, my
     father never having been Minister of Finance, and having had
     nothing to do directly or indirectly with any of the loans.

     The only offices which he filled during Ismaïl's reign were the
     Ministry of Public Works and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He
     was never, I repeat, Minister of Finance, for this very good reason
     that, in spite of his great intelligence and qualities as a
     statesman, he recognized that he did not understand financial
     questions, and the Khedive, who also knew it, would never have
     thought of confiding a Ministry to him, which he himself felt he
     was incapable of directing.

     Ismaïl's Minister of Finance was the Moufettish Ismaïl Pasha Sadek,
     whom you speak of on pages 18, 39 and 40 of your book. He was the
     sole collaborator and confidant of the Khedive upon financial
     matters, and it was he who organized the loans.

     As to my father, I think what will best show you how entirely he
     was a stranger to financial administration, is a simple _résumé_ of
     his career, under Ismaïl, which I shall try to condense into a few

     "In the very first year of Ismaïl's accession, 1863, Nubar Pasha
     was sent on a mission to Paris to regulate the differences relating
     to the Suez Canal. He remained there two years, and upon his return
     to Egypt he was appointed, first, Minister of Public Works, and
     then, Minister for Foreign Affairs. A year later, in 1866, he went
     once more on a mission to Europe, and remained three years absent.
     It was during this period that he obtained the Firman of 1867,
     granting to Egypt administrative autonomy, the right of making
     Customs Conventions with the Powers, and the title of Khedive for
     the Viceroy. It was at this time, too, that he commenced the first
     negotiations for Judicial Reform with the Powers. He did not return
     to Egypt until 1869, and then for six months only, in order to
     assist at the opening of the Suez Canal, and preside at the
     Commission of Inquiry for Judicial Reform which was sitting at
     Cairo, and he returned to Paris in 1870 to continue there the
     negotiations for the Reform. These negotiations, begun in 1867,
     lasted until 1875, about eight years, during which time Nubar Pasha
     lived almost entirely in Europe, with the exception of short
     intervals of a few months in Egypt. In 1874 he was dismissed by the
     Khedive on account of a difference of opinion relative to the said
     negotiations, and he remained in Europe without employment for a
     year. He was recalled by Ismaïl to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs
     in June, 1875. Six months later, he was again dismissed, January,
     1876. He then remained two years in Europe, exiled, and did not
     return until 1878, when recalled by the Khedive to form the Mixed
     Ministry in conjunction with Sir Rivers Wilson."

     My father declares in his memoirs, which I hope one day to be able
     to publish, that during the fifteen years of Ismaïl's reign, he
     spent twelve in Europe on missions, on leave of absence, or in
     exile. The dates and facts which I have recited above prove the
     accuracy of this statement. During all these absences from Egypt,
     Nubar Pasha, exclusively occupied with his negotiations, could not
     take any part in the interior affairs of the country, about which
     he was not even consulted. Thus, while in Paris in 1869, he learnt
     from M. Béhic, Minister of Public Works to the Emperor Napoleon
     III, in the course of a conversation with him relative to the
     Judicial Reform, that the Khedive had just arranged a loan of ten
     millions sterling, of which my father had not even been informed;
     and again, at Constantinople in 1873, where he was pursuing his
     negotiations for the Reform, it was indirectly that he learned that
     the Khedive was negotiating a fresh loan of thirty millions.

     You see, Sir, by these facts, which it will be easy for you to
     verify, that not only was my father never Minister of Finance, nor
     connected with the Khedive's loans, but that all his energy, his
     talents and the influence which he had acquired were employed in
     negotiations abroad: (1) for the regulation of the question of the
     Suez Canal, which culminated in the arbitration of Napoleon III,
     through which Egypt obtained a verdict for the abolition of forced
     labour in the making of the Canal; (2) for obtaining Firmans from
     the Sublime Porte; (3) for the Judicial Reform which was his
     conception and his work, and to which he consecrated all his
     energy, his intelligence, and the best years of his life. I must
     also add that he continued to work zealously for the abolition of
     forced labour while Director of Railways and at the Ministry of
     Public Works. This we owe in large measure to him, as Sir W.
     Wilcocks so courteously testifies in his book on the Irrigation of

     Do you not think, Sir, that I have a right under these
     circumstances to appeal to your courtesy in asking you to rectify
     in the new edition of your book the erroneous passages which I have
     mentioned? You cannot fail to see the importance which I attach to
     these corrections, for it would not be just, in a work bearing upon
     history, for my father to be held responsible for government
     measures to which he was altogether a stranger.

     My father in the course of his laborious career made many friends,
     but also many enemies, as all politicians do. His enemies have not
     failed to spread calumnies about him and to invent stories. I will
     only cite two: First, that concerning his nationality. His
     political adversaries, in the interest of their cause, successively
     reproached him with being an English and a German subject! These
     allegations, the object of which was to discredit him in the course
     of his negotiations for Judicial Reform by contesting, though he
     was a Minister of the Khedive, his Egyptian nationality, have been
     since recognized as being without any foundation. Another legend
     relates to his supposed immense fortune. The most calumnious and
     fantastic assertions have been made with regard to this, generally
     by people who were interested in tarnishing the memory of an
     adversary by leaving it to be understood that such great wealth
     could only have been acquired by unlawful means. They did not
     hesitate to say and write that he possessed more than four millions
     sterling. Although I have not condescended up to now to reply to
     calumnies which have appeared in newspapers, there is no reason why
     I should not give you, for your personal information, the precise
     facts and figures.

     At his death my father left a fortune of £155,000, having settled
     upon my mother during his lifetime a personal fortune amounting to
     an equal sum. Thus the four millions, at which the most moderate
     estimators valued what he possessed, were not in reality more than
     about £300,000. This is a fact which can easily be verified, for
     the Deed of Partition of his inheritance--there being children who
     were minors among the heirs--was registered at the Mixed Tribunal
     at Cairo.

     It is equally easy to show the sources from which this fortune was
     derived. It consisted of donations, which he had received from the
     Khedive in recompense for services rendered, and of an
     exceptionally fortunate investment of a part of these donations.

     By the _résumé_ which I have given of his career, you will see the
     importance of the services he rendered to his country and the
     results obtained by his various negotiations. The Khedive did not
     fail to recompense him, as he had recompensed others of his
     Ministers, and as the British Parliament has recently done for Lord
     Cromer by voting him a donation of £50,000. Thus he received, upon
     the successful result of the negotiations relating to the Suez
     Canal, the Firman of 1867 and the Judicial Reform, various
     recompenses consisting of sums of money, of a property of nine
     hundred acres, and of a house in Alexandria--the whole being of the
     value of about £80,000.

     My father had the fortunate inspiration, at the creation of the
     Cairo Water Company, of which he was President, to invest an
     important part of this sum, £25,000, in shares of the Company; and
     this investment alone sufficed to raise his fortune to the sum I
     have indicated, for it is a matter of public knowledge that the
     Cairo Water Company's shares had gone up to ten times their value
     at the date of Nubar Pasha's death.

     I will end by begging you to excuse my having written you so long a
     letter, but your offer of rectification proves your anxiety to be
     impartial and has authorized my doing so. Thanking you in advance,
     therefore, for the corrections which my information will enable you
     to make, I beg you will accept, Sir, etc.,


_Note._--I am glad to have obtained Boghos Pasha's permission to publish
the whole of this interesting letter, and regret that I cannot, at the
late date of my receiving it, make any alteration in the text of this
edition, such as he at first suggested. I think, however, that the
letter, published in full, will be found more satisfactory than a mere
omission of the passages it corrects could possibly have been.

W. S. B.



It has been pointed out by Mr. Lucy, in the _Westminster Gazette_, that
the account given in the text, page 34, of the quarrel between M.
Waddington and Lord Salisbury, at the Berlin Congress, is manifestly
incorrect, inasmuch as it was the Anglo-Russian agreement of 31st May,
not the Cyprus Convention with Turkey of 4th June, that was published by
the _Globe_ newspaper through the instrumentality of Marvin, the Cyprus
Convention being issued in the ordinary way. The confusion between the
two instruments in the text is undeniable and needs correction. At the
same time the result of as full an enquiry as I have been able to make
into the affair, by a reference to contemporary documents, is not such
as to make me doubt the substantial truth of the story. What seems
precisely to have happened is this:

Lords Beaconsfield and Salisbury, before entering the Congress, had
concluded two separate agreements, both secret, regarding Ottoman
affairs--the one with Russia, the other with Turkey. These while
conceding something to Russia, would, they thought, conjointly secure
the integrity of the Sultan's dominions on the Asiatic side against
further aggression. The agreement with Russia recognized her permanent
possession of Batum, but was more than counterbalanced, in their
opinion, by the second Convention, unknown to the Russian Government as
to the rest of the world, guaranteeing the remainder of his Asiatic
dominions under English protection to the Sultan. The two treaties were
drafted at the Foreign Office almost simultaneously, and by accident or
negligence that with Russia became known, the very day it was signed, to
M. Charles Marvin, a poor journalist and teacher of languages, who had
been taken on as extra Writer for his knowledge of Russian in the Treaty
Department at the Foreign Office. Marvin, who was wretchedly underpaid
at the rate of tenpence an hour, had been intrusted with the copying of
the agreement, and yielded to the temptation of betraying a summary of
it to his employers in the Press. This was on the 31st May, a fortnight
before the Congress met.

For some days after this Marvin seems to have remained on unsuspected at
the Foreign Office, it being imagined at first that it was perhaps Count
Schouvalof himself, the Russian ambassador in London, who had given the
information to the Press. Later, seeing that the summary was no more
than a summary, and had appeared in one newspaper only, the _Globe_, it
was resolved to deny it; and Lord Salisbury had little difficulty in
persuading the House of Lords and the country that it lacked
authenticity. In answer to a question put to him about it by Lord Grey,
Lord Salisbury declared roundly "the statement to which the noble Earl
refers, and other statements that have been made that I have seen, are
wholly unauthenticated and are not deserving of the confidence of your
Lordship's House."

Nevertheless, the incident raised a suspicion of England's good faith
abroad, and, doubtless was the cause of the declaration, mentioned in
the text, being demanded of the Ambassadors at the first sitting of the
Congress. This must have been subscribed to by Lords Beaconsfield and
Salisbury on the 13th June, the other dates being:

     The Agreement with Russia, signed in London, 31st May.

     The _Globe_ summary, published in the evening of the same day, 31st

     Lord Salisbury's denial in the House of Lords, 3rd June.

     First sitting of the Berlin Congress, 13th June.

     Publication by the _Globe_ of the full text of the Agreement, on
     evening of 14th June.

Lord Beaconsfield's and Lord Salisbury's discomfiture must consequently
have been still more sudden than in my account of it when the news
became public property at Berlin on the 15th; and doubtless the
sensation caused there was primarily on account of the Agreement, not of
the Convention, which latter was not published till 8th July. All the
same I still adhere to my recollection of the letter shown me at Simla
that it was the Cyprus Convention that was the main cause of M.
Waddington's resentment, and of Lord Salisbury's concession to him about
Tunis and the rest. That it was so is confirmed to me by a passage in my
diary of 1884, when, being at Constantinople and having just had a
conversation with Count Corti on the subject, I made the following
entry. It must be remembered that the Count had been Italian ambassador
at the Berlin Congress, and was actually ambassador to the Sultan at the
date of the conversation; nor was he other than a friendly witness, for
he was always regarded as an _Anglomane_ and ally of our British

     "_October 26._ Count Corti came to take us in a steam launch to
     Therapia. We had luncheon with the Wyndhams, and called on the
     Noailles (at the English and French Embassies).... On our way back
     to Constantinople Count Corti entertained us with stories of the
     Berlin Congress and of Lord Salisbury's antics there. Disraeli and
     Salisbury had gone there quite on their high horse to curb the
     territorial ambitions of Russia, and the publication of the secret
     convention for the acquisition of Cyprus was a great shock to
     everybody. Salisbury broke it gently to Waddington before the news
     was published, and Waddington consulted his colleagues, it being
     generally agreed that there was no middle course between going to
     war and saying nothing. 'Il faut la guerre ou se taire.' But the
     publication was a great blow to Disraeli, who took to his bed and
     did not appear for four or five days. Lord Salisbury, however,
     brazened it out, and came to the Congress with an air of defiance.
     There was no rupture between him and Waddington, and they remained
     on apparently friendly terms, but Waddington had his revenge. He
     was sitting one day with Salisbury, and, the conversation leading
     that way, Waddington asked what the English Government would say to
     France taking Tunis, and Salisbury said he did not see the harm.
     Whereupon Waddington communicated this to Paris, and on his return
     the French ambassador in London was instructed to write to Lord
     Salisbury reminding him of his words. Thus Salisbury was caught.
     'But,' said Corti, 'if he had known anything of his business he
     would have declined to answer the note officially and would have
     pleaded a private conversation.' He did not believe that any
     arrangement of _condominium_ was come to between Salisbury and
     Waddington at that time, though I told him, without mentioning
     names, of the letter Lytton had shown me. Corti is interesting
     diplomatically, as he has been to more congresses than any man in

This entry, which is a contemporary record of Count Corti's recollection
of the incident, five years after it happened, shows that the two secret
agreements had remained closely connected in his mind as the cause of
Waddington's displeasure. They certainly were present in the Duke of
Richmond's mind when, representing the Foreign Office on 17th June, in
answer to a further question about the authenticity of the full text of
the Anglo-Russian Agreement, he said "as an explanation of the policy of
Her Majesty's Government it is _incomplete_ and therefore inaccurate,"
for this _incompleteness_ can only be understood as an allusion to the
Cyprus Convention in 1878, and the seizure of Tunis by France in 1881,
which after all is the important matter. Some day, no doubt, the whole
incident will be made clear by a publication of the secret records at
the Foreign Office or at the Quai d'Orsay. In the meantime we may accept
it as probable that, finding the Russian Agreement divulged, Lord
Salisbury resolved to make a clean breast also of the other Agreement,
and, in Count Corti's words, broke gently to M. Waddington the existence
also of a Convention with Turkey. One thing I am certain of in my
recollection, that the letter shown me at Simla described the quarrel
and the terms obtained in the reconciliation with M. Waddington.

The Cyprus Convention was published in London on the 9th July, having
been signed on the 4th June, but there is evidence of its having been in
Lord Beaconsfield's thoughts at least three months earlier, for Lord
Derby, speaking in the Lords, 18th July, gave it as his reason for
leaving the Cabinet in March that the policy of the Government had
become such, that it was already, at that date, being considered
necessary "to seize and occupy the island of Cyprus."

W. S. B.






    I have a thing to say. But how to say it?
      I have a cause to plead. But to what ears?
    How shall I move a world by lamentation--
      A world which heeded not a Nation's tears?

    How shall I speak of justice to the aggressors,--
      Of right to Kings whose rights include all wrong,--
    Of truth to Statecraft, true but in deceiving,--
      Of peace to Prelates, pity to the Strong?

    Where shall I find a hearing? In high places?
      The voice of havock drowns the voice of good.
    On the throne's steps? The elders of the nation
      Rise in their ranks and call aloud for blood.

    Where? In the street? Alas for the world's reason!
      Not Peers not Priests alone this deed have done.
    The clothes of those high Hebrews stoning Stephen
      Were held by all of us,--ay every one.

    Yet none the less I speak. Nay, here by Heaven
      This task at least a poet best may do,--
    To stand alone against the mighty many,
      To force a hearing for the weak and few.

    Unthanked, unhonoured,--yet a task of glory,--
      Not in his day, but in an age more wise,
    When those poor Chancellors have found their portion
      And lie forgotten in their dust of lies.

    And who shall say that this year's cause of freedom
      Lost on the Nile has not as worthy proved
    Of poet's hymning as the cause which Milton
      Sang in his blindness or which Dante loved?

    The fall of Guelph beneath the spears of Valois,
      Freedom betrayed, the Ghibelline restored,
    --Have we not seen it, we who caused this anguish,
      Exile and fear proscription and the sword?

    Or shall God less avenge in their wild valley
      Where they lie slaughtered those poor sheep whose fold
    In the gray twilight of our wrath we harried
      To serve the worshippers of stocks and gold?

    This fails. That finds its hour. This fights. That falters.
      Greece is stamped out beneath a Wolseley's heels.
    Or Egypt is avenged of her long mourning,
      And hurls her Persians back to their own keels.

    'Tis not alone the victor who is noble.
      'Tis not alone the wise man who is wise.
    There is a voice of sorrow in all shouting,
      And shame pursues not only him who flies.

    To fight and conquer--'tis the boast of heroes.
      To fight and fly--of this men do not speak.
    Yet shall there come a day when men shall tremble
      Rather than do misdeeds upon the weak,--

    --A day when statesmen baffled in their daring
      Shall rather fear to wield the sword in vain
    Than to give back their charge to a hurt nation,
      And own their frailties, and resign their reign,--

    --A day of wrath when all fame shall remember
      Of this year's work shall be the fall of one
    Who, standing foremost in her paths of virtue,
      Bent a fool's knee at War's red altar stone.

    And left all virtue beggared in his falling,
      A sign to England of new griefs to come,
    Her priest of peace who sold his creed for glory
      And marched to carnage at the tuck of drum.

    Therefore I fear not. Rather let this record
      Stand of the past, ere God's revenge shall chase
    From place to punishment His sad vicegerents
      Of power on Earth.--I fling it in their face.


    I have a thing to say. But how to say it?
      Out of the East a twilight had been born.
    It was not day. Yet the long night was waning,
      And the spent nations watched it less forlorn.

    Out of the silence of the joyless ages
      A voice had spoken, such as the first bird
    Speaks to the woods, before the morning wakens,--
      And the World starting to its feet had heard.

    Men hailed it as a prophecy. Its utterance
      Was in that tongue divine the Orient knew.
    It spoke of hope. Men hailed it as a brother's.
      It spoke of happiness. Men deemed it true.

    There in the land of Death, where toil is cradled,
      That tearful Nile, unknown to Liberty,
    It spoke in passionate tones of human freedom,
      And of those rights of Man which cannot die,--

    --Till from the cavern of long fear, whose portals
      Had backward rolled, and hardly yet aloud,
    Men prisoned stole like ghosts and joined the chorus,
      And chaunted trembling, each man in his shroud.

    Justice and peace, the brotherhood of nations,--
      Love and goodwill of all mankind to man,--
    These were the words they caught and echoed strangely,
      Deeming them portions of some Godlike plan,--

    A plan thus first to their own land imparted.
      They did not know the irony of Fate,
    The mockery of man's freedom, and the laughter
      Which greets a brother's love from those that hate.

    Oh for the beauty of hope's dreams! The childhood
      Of that old land, long impotent in pain,
    Cast off its slough of sorrow with its silence,
      And laughed and shouted and grew new again.

    And in the streets, where still the shade of Pharaoh
      Stalked in his sons, the Mamelukian horde,
    Youth greeted youth with words of exultation
      And shook his chains and clutched as for a sword.

    Student and merchant,--Jew, and Copt, and Moslem,--
      All whose scarred backs had bent to the same rod,--
    Fired with one mighty thought, their feuds forgotten,
      Stood hand in hand and praising the same God.


    I have a thing to say. But how to say it?
      As in the days of Moses in the land,
    God sent a man of prayer before his people
      To speak to Pharaoh, and to loose his hand.

    Injustice, that hard step-mother of heroes,
      Had taught him justice. Him the sight of pain
    Moved into anger, and the voice of weeping
      Made his eyes weep as for a comrade slain.

    A soldier in the bands of his proud masters
      It was his lot to serve. But of his soul
    None owned allegiance save the Lord of Armies.
      No worship from his God's might him cajole.

    Strict was his service. In the law of Heaven
      He comfort took and patient under wrong.
    And all men loved him for his heart unquailing,
      And for the words of pity on his tongue.

    Knowledge had come to him in the night-watches,
      And strength with fasting, eloquence with prayer.
    He stood a Judge from God before the strangers,
      The one just man among his people there.

    Strongly he spoke: "Now, Heaven be our witness!
      Egypt this day has risen from her sleep.
    She has put off her mourning and her silence.
      It was no law of God that she should weep.

    "It was no law of God nor of the Nations
      That in this land, alone of the fair Earth,
    The hand that sowed should reap not of its labour,
      The heart that grieved should profit not of mirth.

    "How have we suffered at the hands of strangers,
      Binding their sheaves, and harvesting their wrath!
    Our service has been bitter, and our wages
      Hunger and pain and nakedness and drouth.

    "Which of them pitied us? Of all our princes,
      Was there one Sultan listened to our cry?
    Their palaces we built, their tombs, their temples.
      What did they build but tombs for Liberty?

    "To live in ignorance, to die by service;
      To pay our tribute and our stripes receive:
    This was the ransom of our toil in Eden,
      This, and our one sad liberty--to grieve.

    "We have had enough of strangers and of princes
      Nursed on our knees and lords within our house.
    The bread which they have eaten was our children's,
      For them the feasting and the shame for us.

    "The shadow of their palaces, fair dwellings
      Built with our blood and kneaded with our tears,
    Darkens the land with darkness of Gehennem,
      The lust, the crime, the infamy of years.

    "Did ye not hear it? From those muffled windows
      A sound of women rises and of mirth.
    These are our daughters--ay our sons--in prison,
      Captives to shame with those who rule the Earth.

    "The silent river by those gardens lapping
      To-night receives its burden of new dead,
    A man of age sent home with his lord's wages,
      Stones to his feet, a grave-cloth to his head.

    "Walls infamous in beauty, gardens fragrant
      With rose and citron and the scent of blood.
    God shall blot out the memory of all laughter,
      Rather than leave you standing where you stood.

    "We have had enough of princes and of strangers,
      Slaves that were Sultans, eunuchs that were kings,
    The shame of Sodom is on all their faces.
      The curse of Cain pursues them, and it clings.

    "Is there no virtue? See the pale Greek smiling.
      Virtue for him is as a tale of old.
    Which be his gods? The cent. per cent. in silver.
      His God of gods? The world's creator, Gold.

    "The Turk that plunders and the Frank that panders,
      These are our lords who ply with lust and fraud.
    The brothel and the winepress and the dancers
      Are gifts unneeded in the lands of God.

    "We need them not. We heed them not. Our faces
      Are turned to a new Kebla, a new truth,
    Proclaimed by the one God of all the nations
      To save His people and renew their youth.

    "A truth which is of knowledge and of reason;
      Which teaches men to mourn no more and live;
    Which tells them of things good as well as evil,
      And gives what Liberty alone can give,

    "The counsel to be strong, the will to conquer,
      The love of all things just and kind and wise,
    Freedom for slaves, fair rights for all as brothers,
      The triumph of things true, the scorn of lies.

    "Oh men, who are my brethren, my soul's kindred!
      That which our fathers dreamed of as a dream,
    The sun of peace and justice, has arisen
      And God shall work in you His perfect scheme.

    "The rulers of your Earth shall cease deceiving,
      The men of usury shall fly your land.
    Your princes shall be numbered with your servants,
      And peace shall guide the sword in your right hand.

    "You shall become a nation with the nations.
      Lift up your voices, for the night is past.
    Stretch forth your hands. The hands of the free peoples
      Have beckoned you--the youngest and the last.

    "And in the brotherhood of Man reposing,
      Joined to their hopes and nursed in their new day,
    The anguish of the years shall be forgotten
      And God, with these, shall wipe your tears away."


    I have a thing to say. But how to say it?
      How shall I tell the mystery of guile--
    The fraud that fought--the treason that disbanded--
      The gold that slew the children of the Nile?

    The ways of violence are hard to reckon,
      And men of right grow feeble in their will,
    And Virtue of her sons has been forsaken,
      And men of peace have turned aside to kill.

    How shall I speak of them, the priests of Baal,
      The men who sowed the wind for their ill ends?
    The reapers of the whirlwind in that harvest
      Were all my countrymen, were some my friends.

    Friends, countrymen and lovers of fair freedom--
      Souls to whom still my soul laments and cries.
    I would not tell the shame of your false dealings,
      Save for the blood which clamours to the skies.

    A curse on Statecraft, not on you my Country!
      The men you slew were not more foully slain
    Than was your honour at their hands you trusted.
      They died, you conquered,--both alike in vain.

    Crime finds accomplices, and Murder weapons.
      The ways of Statesmen are an easy road.
    All swords are theirs, the noblest with the neediest.
      And those who serve them best are men of good.

    What need to blush, to trifle with dissembling?
      A score of honest tongues anon shall swear.
    Blood flows. The Senate's self shall spread its mantle
      In the world's face, nor own a Cæsar there.

    "Silence! Who spoke?" "The voice of one disclosing
      A truth untimely." "With what right to speak?
    Holds he the Queen's commission?" "No, God's only."
      A hundred hands shall smite him on the cheek.

    The "truth" of Statesmen is the thing they publish,
      Their "falsehood" the thing done they do not say,
    Their "honour" what they win from the world's trouble,
      Their "shame" the "ay" which reasons with their "nay."

    Alas for Liberty, alas for Egypt!
      What chance was yours in this ignoble strife?
    Scorned and betrayed, dishonoured and rejected,
      What was there left you but to fight for life?

    The men of honour sold you to dishonour.
      The men of truth betrayed you with a kiss.
    Your strategy of love too soon outplotted,
      What was there left you of your dreams but this?

    You thought to win a world by your fair dealing,
      To conquer freedom with no drop of blood.
    This was your crime. The world knows no such reasoning.
      It neither bore with you nor understood.

    Your Pharaoh with his chariots and his dancers,
      Him they could understand as of their kin.
    He spoke in their own tongue and as their servant,
      And owned no virtue they could call a sin.

    They took him for his pleasure and their purpose.
      They fashioned him as clay to their own pride.
    His name they made a cudgel to your hurting,
      His treachery a spear-point to your side.

    They knew him, and they scorned him and upheld him.
      They strengthened him with honours and with ships.
    They used him as a shadow for seditions.
      They stabbed you with the lying of his lips.

    Sad Egypt! Since that night of misadventure
      Which slew your first-born for your Pharaoh's crime,
    No plague like this has God decreed against you,
      No punishment of all foredoomed in Time.


    I have a thing to say. Oh how to say it!
      One summer morning, at the hour of prayer,
    And in the face of Man and Man's high Maker,
      The thunder of their cannon rent the air.

    The flames of death were on you and destruction.
      A hail of iron on your heads they poured.
    You fought, you fell, you died until the sunset;
      And then you fled forsaken of the Lord.

    I care not if you fled. What men call courage
      Is the least noble thing of which they boast.
    Their victors always are great men of valour.
      Find me the valour of the beaten host!

    It may be you were cowards. Let them prove it,--
      What matter? Were you women in the fight,
    Your courage were the greater that a moment
      You steeled your weakness in the cause of right.

    Oh I would rather fly with the first craven
      Who flung his arms away in your good cause,
    Than head the hottest charge by England vaunted
      In all the record of her unjust wars.

    Poor sheep! they scattered you. Poor slaves! they bowed you.
      You prayed for your dear lives with your mute hands.
    They answered you with laughter and with shouting,
      And slew you in your thousands on the sands.

    They led you with arms bound to your betrayer--
      His slaves, they said, recaptured for his will.
    They bade him to take heart and fill his vengeance.
      They gave him his lost sword that he might kill.

    They filled for him his dungeons with your children.
      They chartered him new gaolers from strange shores.
    The Arnaout and the Cherkess for his minions,
      Their soldiers for the sentries at his doors.

    He plied you with the whip, the rope, the thumb-screw.
      They plied you with the scourging of vain words
    He sent his slaves, his eunuchs, to insult you.
      They sent you laughter on the lips of Lords.

    They bound you to the pillar of their firmans.
      They placed for sceptre in your hand a pen.
    They cast lots for the garments of your treaties,
      And brought you naked to the gaze of men.

    They called on your High Priest for your death mandate.
      They framed indictments on you from your laws.
    For him men loved they offered a Barabbas.
      They washed their hands and found you without cause.

    They scoffed at you and pointed in derision,
      Crowned with their thorns and nailed upon their tree.
    And at your head their Pilate wrote the inscription--
      "This is the land restored to Liberty."

    Oh insolence of strength! Oh boast of wisdom!
      Oh poverty in all things truly wise!
    Thinkest thou, England, God can be outwitted
      For ever thus by him who sells and buys?

    Thou sellest the sad nations to their ruin.
      What hast thou bought? The child within the womb,
    The son of him thou slayest to thy hurting,
      Shall answer thee "an Empire for thy tomb."

    Thou hast joined house to house for thy perdition.
      Thou hast done evil in the name of right.
    Thou hast made bitter sweet and the sweet bitter,
      And called light darkness and the darkness light.

    Thou art become a bye-word for dissembling,
      A beacon to thy neighbours for all fraud.
    Thy deeds of violence men count and reckon.
      Who takes the sword shall perish by the sword.

    Thou hast deserved men's hatred. They shall hate thee.
      Thou hast deserved men's fear. Their fear shall kill.
    Thou hast thy foot upon the weak. The weakest
      With his bruised head shall strike thee on the heel.

    Thou wentest to this Egypt for thy pleasure.
      Thou shalt remain with her for thy sore pain.
    Thou hast possessed her beauty. Thou wouldst leave her.
      Nay. Thou shalt lie with her as thou hast lain.

    She shall bring shame upon thy face with all men.
      She shall disease thee with her grief and fear.
    Thou shalt grow sick and feeble in her ruin.
      Thou shalt repay her to the last sad tear.

    Her kindred shall surround thee with strange clamours,
      Dogging thy steps till thou shalt loathe their din.
    The friends thou hast deceived shall watch in anger.
      Thy children shall upbraid thee with thy sin.

    All shall be counted thee a crime,--thy patience
      With thy impatience. Thy best thought shall wound.
    Thou shalt grow weary of thy work thus fashioned,
      And walk in fear with eyes upon the ground.

    The Empire thou didst build shall be divided.
      Thou shalt be weighed in thine own balances
    Of usury to peoples and to princes,
      And be found wanting by the world and these.

    They shall possess the lands by thee forsaken
      And not regret thee. On their seas no more
    Thy ships shall bear destruction to the nations,
      Or thy guns thunder on a fenceless shore.

    Thou hast no pity in thy day of triumph.
      These shall not pity thee. The world shall move
    On its high course and leave thee to thy silence,
      Scorned by the creatures that thou couldst not love.

    Thy Empire shall be parted, and thy kingdom.
      At thy own doors a kingdom shall arise,
    Where freedom shall be preached and the wrong righted
      Which thy unwisdom wrought in days unwise.

    Truth yet shall triumph in a world of justice.
      This is of faith. I swear it. East and west
    The law of Man's progression shall accomplish
      Even this last great marvel with the rest.

    Thou wouldst not further it. Thou canst not hinder.
      If thou shalt learn in time thou yet shalt live.
    But God shall ease thy hand of its dominion,
      And give to these the rights thou wouldst not give.

    The nations of the East have left their childhood.
      Thou art grown old. Their manhood is to come;
    And they shall carry on Earth's high tradition
      Through the long ages when thy lips are dumb,

    Till all shall be wrought out. O Lands of weeping.
      Lands watered by the rivers of old Time,
    Ganges and Indus and the streams of Eden,
      Yours is the future of the world sublime.

    Yours was the fount of man's first inspiration,
      The well of wisdom whence he earliest drew.
    And yours shall be the flood time of his reason,
      The stream of strength which shall his strength renew.

    The wisdom of the West is but a madness,
      The fret of shallow waters in their bed.
    Yours is the flow, the fulness of Man's patience
      The ocean of God's rest inherited.

    And thou too, Egypt, mourner of the nations,
      Though thou hast died to-day in all men's sight,
    And though upon thy cross with thieves thou hangest,
      Yet shall thy wrong be justified in right.

    'Twas meet one man should die for the whole people.
      Thou wert the victim chosen to retrieve
    The sorrows of the Earth with full deliverance.
      And, as thou diest these shall surely live.

    Thy prophets have been scattered through the cities.
      The seed of martyrdom thy sons have sown
    Shall make of thee a glory and a witness
      In all men's hearts held captive with thine own.

    Thou shalt not be forsaken in thy children.
      Thy righteous blood shall fructify the Earth.
    The virtuous of all lands shall be thy kindred,
      And death shall be to thee a better birth.

    Therefore I do not grieve. Oh hear me, Egypt!
      Even in death thou art not wholly dead.
    And hear me, England! Nay. Thou needs must hear me.
      I had a thing to say. And it is said.


    Transcriber's notes:

    The words:
    "Sultan Pasha. It demands the resignation of the Ministry and
    "force. The dates are: May 17th, Malet finally secures"
    "Alexandria. May 25th, Malet and Sinkiewicz issue their ultimatum,"
    were deleted.

    The following is a list of changes made to the original.
    The first line is the original line, the second the corrected one.

    Canal north of Ismailiyah. What a sight it was! Lake
    Canal north of Ismaïlia. What a sight it was! Lake

    claims had been discharged, probably not less that a couple of
    claims had been discharged, probably not less than a couple of

    Ali had claimed and exercised for some years a monoply
    Ali had claimed and exercised for some years a monopoly

    fish it was or that that I was the object of its attack. I had
    fish it was or that I was the object of its attack. I had

    tyrant. Every villayet had been bought with money at
    tyrant. Every vilayet had been bought with money at

    Ismaïl and his creditors, The moment was a favourable one
    Ismaïl and his creditors. The moment was a favourable one

    Berlin could not long be concealed. Our two plenipotentaries
    Berlin could not long be concealed. Our two plenipotentiaries

    had been no open rupture wth Waddington, the case having been
    had been no open rupture with Waddington, the case having been

    take the part he did against his master Ismaïl and utimately to
    take the part he did against his master Ismaïl and ultimately to

    brother-in law, Latif Effendi Selim, who, as Director of the
    brother-in-law, Latif Effendi Selim, who, as Director of the

    of the Syrian villayet of which he had just been appointed Valy,
    of the Syrian vilayet of which he had just been appointed Valy,

    at Haïl. It stood us in good stead with Ibu Rashid that we had
    at Haïl. It stood us in good stead with Ibn Rashid that we had

    East or West, the three great blessinsg of which we in Europe
    East or West, the three great blessings of which we in Europe

    have our own government. Here we are satisfied," It was
    have our own government. Here we are satisfied." It was

    message from the Viceroy of Ibn Rashid. I am
    message from the Viceroy to Ibn Rashid. I am

    down to Contantinople would be a greater misfortune
    down to Constantinople would be a greater misfortune

    'We thought it best to say nothing."
    'We thought it best to say nothing.'"

    made one thus feel like a child?
    made one thus feel like a child?"

    He also told me that when he was going to India Schouvaloff called
    He also told me that when he was going to India Schouvalof called

    fromEurope to relieve it of the cost of an army. For
    from Europe to relieve it of the cost of an army. For

    difficulty of keeping the peace betwen the mixed Mohammedan
    difficulty of keeping the peace between the mixed Mohammedan

    indirectly throught the intermediary of their distinguished friend
    indirectly through the intermediary of their distinguished friend

    called with him and Ali Ibn Antiyeh on Abd-el-Kader,
    called with him and Ali Ibn Atiyeh on Abd-el-Kader,

    not altogether military, connected with the Khedive's Daira.
    not altogether military, connected with the Khedive's Daïra.

    servants, His attitude, therefore, towards the fellah officers
    servants. His attitude, therefore, towards the fellah officers

    "You three, Arabi, Abd-ed-Aal, and yourself, are three
    "You three, Arabi, Abd-el-Aal, and yourself, are three

    son of El Khattab," said they, "thou has indeed walked
    son of El Khattab," said they, "thou hast indeed walked

    with a general Mohammedan revolt against the French Governmen
    with a general Mohammedan revolt against the French Government

    with Gambetta about the Treaty of Commerce ("Times),"
    with Gambetta about the Treaty of Commerce ("Times"),

    supreme in Egypt. It was only frustrateed that winter by the
    supreme in Egypt. It was only frustrated that winter by the

    come that a French force was being assembled for embarkation
    came that a French force was being assembled for embarkation

    only the firstfruits of a radically wrong policy which has lost
    only the first fruits of a radically wrong policy which has lost

    of their words, especially Morley's words, la haute politique,"
    of their words, especially Morley's words, "la haute politique,"

    do not know, it was probably the Khedive, whose malicious jealcusy
    do not know, it was probably the Khedive, whose malicious jealousy

    with my friends at the Azhur, to whom I communicated my design,
    with my friends at the Azhar, to whom I communicated my design,

    was epecially insistent. These things, with others almost as
    was especially insistent. These things, with others almost as

    The atmosphere of Westminister and the public offices was therefore
    The atmosphere of Westminster and the public offices was therefore

    it may be noticed, has been slurred over in a few pages
    it may be noticed, has been slurred over in a few pages.

    Ismail, and that the whole thing in Egypt was an intrigue to
    Ismaïl, and that the whole thing in Egypt was an intrigue to

    Ismail may have had for making this assertion, for his word
    Ismaïl may have had for making this assertion, for his word

    to the Circassian pashas, Ismail's adherents, who were
    to the Circassian pashas, Ismaïl adherents, who were

    actively intriguing with Tewfik against him. Ismail, however,
    actively intriguing with Tewfik against him. Ismaïl, however,

    India, where he had been namel Lieutenant-Governor of the
    India, where he had been named Lieutenant-Governor of the

    menance to the National Party, but which I think was never sent,
    menace to the National Party, but which I think was never sent,

    not let any grass grow under my feet, I had neverthless failed
    not let any grass grow under my feet, I had nevertheless failed

    the Egytian cause.
    the Egyptian cause.

    it was threating the existence of his Government--the condition,
    it was threatening the existence of his Government--the condition,

    wrong in the fact that Ratib had left the ex-Khedive so suddently
    wrong in the fact that Ratib had left the ex-Khedive so suddenly

    laugh if it were stated publicly that Engand was on the verge
    laugh if it were stated publicly that England was on the verge

    of anarchy because a madman, sodier or civilian, had tried to
    of anarchy because a madman, soldier or civilian, had tried to

    on this point was a firm one.. He hated the Turks, and would
    on this point was a firm one. He hated the Turks, and would

    Turk," the "Bashi-bazouk," fresh from his."Bulgarian atrocities,"
    Turk," the "Bashi-bazouk," fresh from his "Bulgarian atrocities,"

    told Glyns (my bankers, Messrs, Glyn, Mills, and Currie) to
    told Glyns (my bankers, Messrs. Glyn, Mills, and Currie) to

    of the Sheykhs Bahrami and Abyari and the Sheykh el Saadat,
    of the Sheykhs Bahrawi and Abyari and the Sheykh el Saadat,

    police of Alexandria, and through them directed that quartertaves,
    police of Alexandria, and through them directed that quarterstaves,

    in, and intead of discrediting Arabi it so seriously frightened
    in, and instead of discrediting Arabi it so seriously frightened

    were beginnning to take a more intelligent interest in Egyptian
    were beginning to take a more intelligent interest in Egyptian

    know Sabunji is with them.
    know Sabunji is with them."

    are supporting Arabi, also Abd-el-rahman Bahrawi.
    are supporting Arabi, also Abd-el-Rahman Bahrawi.

    I have found out that we formed an erroneous idea of Mahmud
    "I have found out that we formed an erroneous idea of Mahmud

    When it was rumoured that the Sultan intended sending
    "When it was rumoured that the Sultan intended sending

    them himself before Mr. Gladstone and the English Parlament.
    them himself before Mr. Gladstone and the English Parliament.

    "_June 23._--Ah soon as Ragheb Pasha was confirmed by the
    "_June 23._--As soon as Ragheb Pasha was confirmed by the

    "_June 29._--Called on Bright at his house in Picadilly. He
    "_June 29._--Called on Bright at his house in Piccadilly. He

    Punic War.") 'He says all are waiting in Tripoli and Tunis
    Punic War.") "He says all are waiting in Tripoli and Tunis

    He had, however, written to Mr Gladstone after the war
    He had, however, written to Mr. Gladstone after the war

    country Notables, and also, representating the non-Mussulman
    country Notables, and also, representing the non-Mussulman

    13th, the Egpytian army was in clover and could wait events.
    13th, the Egyptian army was in clover and could wait events.

    She is at least as clever as she is pretty Her conversation
    She is at least as clever as she is pretty. Her conversation

    French Canal authorites it should be done. Arabi, however--and
    French Canal authorities it should be done. Arabi, however--and

    the arrival of the British fleet at port Saïd conveying Wolseley
    the arrival of the British fleet at Port Saïd conveying Wolseley

    d'un soldat français. Je reponds de tout." This occasioned
    d'un soldat français. Je réponds de tout." This occasioned

    it and do something towards winning it for our side.... The
    it and do something towards winning it for our side...." The

    On the 21st, I am anxious to get to Suez, because I have
    On the 21st, "I am anxious to get to Suez, because I have

    Stone Pasha, the American, after the war stated it freely at his
    Stone Pasha, the American, after the war stated it freely as his

    some of which his wife took to Ismail Jawdat's wife to change.
    some of which his wife took to Ismaïl Jawdat's wife to change.

    The whole state of things was very disgracful, and
    The whole state of things was very disgraceful, and

    Dilke's, Colvin's, and Malet's secretivenes. Dilke, especially,
    Dilke's, Colvin's, and Malet's secretiveness. Dilke, especially,

    "I need hardly say that Mr. Gladstone has been much exercise
    "I need hardly say that Mr. Gladstone has been much exercised

    been made at Tel-el Kebir, he would indulge in some conspicuous
    been made at Tel-el-Kebir, he would indulge in some conspicuous

    former letter in Lord Granvillle's hands, as Hamilton informed
    former letter in Lord Granville's hands, as Hamilton informed

    counsel; and this they had not had not the face publicly to disavow.
    counsel; and this they had not the face publicly to disavow.

    at the Foreign Office, till by hook or crook to establish
    at the Foreign Office, still by hook or crook to establish

    The proved of supreme value--including as they did the letters
    They proved of supreme value--including as they did the letters

    better could be got?... This question will probobly soon have
    better could be got?... This question will probably soon have

    than I had originally thought probable. Or course the main
    than I had originally thought probable. Of course the main

    is a man who will quickly see through our friend Twefik,
    is a man who will quickly see through our friend Tewfik,

    rebel?" 'I don't know.' 'You bad, wicked man, why don't
    rebel?' 'I don't know.' 'You bad, wicked man, why don't

    death with, as the property of most of them was insignificant,
    dealt with, as the property of most of them was insignificant,

    Shahin Pasha, and his brother-in-law, Latil Eff. Selim,
    Shahin Pasha, and his brother-in-law, Latif Eff. Selim,

    I showed, however, that its was impossible we
    I showed, however, that it was impossible we

    Nadi being sent to Mansura, Roubi to the Fayum, and I to Alexandria
    Nadi being sent to Mansura, Roubi to the Fayûm, and I to Alexandria

    of the importace of this undertaking, you give a new proof
    of the importance of this undertaking, you give a new proof

    The Deputies are free in the exercise of their mandates They
    The Deputies are free in the exercise of their mandates. They

    Afer the reading of the opening speech the sitting shall
    After the reading of the opening speech the sitting shall

    question, the Minister shall apear in person or cause
    question, the Minister shall appear in person or cause

    this vote shall become executory (_executoire_).
    this vote shall become executory (_exécutoire_).

    administration, is a simple _resumé_ of his career,
    administration, is a simple _résumé_ of his career,

    By the _resumé_ which I have given of his career,
    By the _résumé_ which I have given of his career,

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