Eliot Warburton.

The crescent and the cross: or, Romance and realities of eastern ..., Volume 1 online

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These primary schools send pupils to the two pre-
paratory schools of Abouzabel and Alexandria, where
they learn the Turkish language, mathematics, geo-
graphy, and history.

The special schools are intended for the engineers,
artillery, cavalry, infentry, medicine, agriculture,
foreign languages, music, and the arts. There are
altogether in Egypt nine thousand pupils, who are
lodged, clothed, and fed at the Pasha's expense.

Once entered as a pupil in any of these schools, the
Egyptian becomes the property of the Pasha, and may
be sent into his fleets, his army, his manufactories, or
even his kitchens^ at his will.^ Education, under these
circumstances, is considered by the natives as only one
degree less to be dreaded than conscription.



Egypt is the easiest country in the world to con-
quer 5 she is so used to it ! In fiwt, it is her ruler or
rulers, for the time being, that ofier the sole resistance
she has ever made. All over the East, and here
especially, power has been established by blood alone :

' Some of his chiefs haying remoDstrated against sending their sons
to Europe for education, the Pasha yielded — ^and sent the boys to
vrork as labourers at the barraget of the Nile.



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MEHEMET ALL 323

since the days of Cleopatra, Egypt has never had a
sovereign of Egyptian hirth, nor have her people ever
had a national cause ; their lives are passed in one
long effort to avoid taxation, which deprives them of
every comfort; and conscription, which renders its
victims hopeless : once ranged under the Crescent
banner, there is no hope of freedom but from infirmity
or death. Brilliant as have been Mehemet Ali'^s
successes, fertile as is the country he rules over, and
peaceM as it appears to the grateful traveller, there
is perhaps no more miserable nation imder heaven.

The Egyptians have no motive to action ; success
in life is with them impossible ; and their voluptuous
climate contributes to the enervation of all moral and
physical energies. As their climate predisposes them
to indolence and sensuality ; their government to ser-
vility, meanness, and dissimulation ; their religion to
intolerance, pharisaic observances, and falsehood ; it
may easily be imagined that there is little in their
education to counteract the tendencies which are ine-
vitable from such influences. They have no country
to lose, no independence to forfeit, no patriotic feelings
to be wounded ; their national condition has fearfiiUy
fulfilled the prophetic doom, that they should "be
trodden under foot and abased ; a nation that should



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324 MEHEMET ALL

ever be under the rule of foreigners.'' The Viceroy
has exhausted the last vital energies of the country ;
and no government can retain influence in Egypt after
his decease, that is not possessed of wealth enough to
restore some chances of prosperity, and principle enough
to restore some promise of independence to this degraded
and unhappy land.

Meanwhile, Cairo is now the crowded thoroughfere
of England and India : our flag has become as fami-
liar to the Arabs of the Bed Sea as to the people of
Alexandria. Egypt is rapidly becoming influenced,
not by the nation that gives officers to her armies, but
by that which gives merchants to her counting-houses,
and capital to her exhausted resources. She is be-
coming gradually and unconsciously subsidized by the
wealth that England lavishes, and hourly more en-
tangled in those golden chains from which no nation
ever strove to loose itself.

With what temper Mehemet Ali regards this state
of things it would be vain to inquire. At his age, a
man is more likely to repose with complacency on
what he has already accomplished, than to enter upon
a new course of difficult, if not hopeless, undertakings.
He had energy and moral courage enough to en-
counter the vicegerent of the Prophet in the field, and



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MEHEMET ALL 325

to vindicate the independence— not of his country, but
of his command. Like Henry VIII., he converted the
fat revenues of peaceful drones into the tough sinews of
ambitious war ; like Peter the Great, he made an army
of steady soldiers out of slavish serfe, and a commanding
navy out of a nest of pirates ; Uke Sultan Mahmoud,
he annihilated the Mamelukes, whose existence was
more incompatible with his authority than was that
of the Janissaries with the power of the Porte.

Mehemet Ali has done all this, and thereby placed
himself in the front rank of History.

But there is a more difficult task than that of mus-
tering forces in the field, or appropriating the property
of the defenceless, or making massacre of imprisoned
victims. To invest a nation with nationality — to give
to popular impulse the character of public opinion, was
beyond his power, or never suggested itself to his am-
bition. What loyalty can exist towards a Pasha?
what patriotism in a Pashalic ! The down-trodden
and degraded Egyptian not only has never known
another state of rule, but he has never felt the want
of it ; and herein is at once an element of strength and
weakness in Mehemet Ali'*s position. The yielding
soil afforded no resistance to the planting of his power,
but at the same time it wanted all tenacity to retain.



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326 MEHBMET ALL

or enable it to take root. And now the Pasha's days
must needs be drawing to a close ;* his son Ibrahim's
life is little better, owing to his sensuality and intem-
perance ; Seyd Pasha, though kindly disposed, is defi-
cient in genius, if not in intellect. The character of
Abbas Pasha, the only other member of his &mily
arrived at man's estate, affords little to hope, and
everything to fear. And what is ultimately to become
of Egypt? Is the Porte once more to extend
its baleful authority over this unhappy country,
with all the withering influence which it never
ceases to exercise! Shall we replace the effete and
fanatical creatures of the seraglio in the province
which became a kingdom through their imbecility;
and allow them to interrupt our commerce here, as
they were so long permitted to arrest the building of
our church at Jerusalem !~* Heaven forbid !

^ The above was written in 1844. At this moment, (April, 1848)
Mehemet All is probably no more. He visited Malta in the beginning
of March, in a last hope of health: finding this hope vain, he pro-
ceeded to Naples, where he now lies at the point of death.



For the natural history of Egypt, its Canals, Statistics, Commerce,
and the route to India, the reader is referred to the Appendix, at the
end of the Second Volume.



END OF VOL. I.



F. Shoberl, Jan., Prioter to H.R.II. Priace Albert, Rupert Street.



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NOW IN COURSE OF PUBLICATION,

A New and Revised Edition^ toith Numerous Passages now

restored from the Original MS,, and many additional Notes,

To be completed in Six vols., with Portraits, &c., price iOs, 6d, eftch,

DIARY k CORRESPONDEJ!fCE

OF

SAMUEL PEPTS, F.R.S.,

SECRETARY TO THE ADMIRALTY
IN THB REIGNS OF CHARLES II. AND JAMBS II.

EDITED BY

RICHAED LORD BRAYBROOKE.



The aathority of Pbpts, as an historian and illustrator of a considerable
portion of the seventeenth century, has been so fully acknowledged by
every scholar and critic, that it is now scarcely necessary even to remind
the reader of the advantages he possessed for producing the most complete
and trustworthy record of events, and the most agreeable picture of
society and manners, to be found in the literature of any nation. In
confidential communication with the reigning sovereigns, holding high
official employment, placed at the head of the Scientific and Learned of a
period remarkable for intellectual impulse, mingling in every circle, and
observing everything and everybody whose characteristics were worth
noting down ; and possessing, moreover, an intelligence peculiarly fitted
for seizing the most graphic points in whatever he attempted to delineate,
Pepts may be considered the most valuable as well as the most enter-
taining of our National Historians.

A New Edition of this work, comprising the restored passages so much
desired, with such additional annotations as have been called for by the
vast advances in antiquarian and historical knowledge during the last
twenty years, will doubtless be regarded as one of the most important,
as well as most agreeable, additions that could be made to the library of
the general reader.

" There is much in Pepys's Diary that throws a distinct aud vivid lighf over the
picture of Englaud and its government during the period succeeding the Restoration.
If, quitting the broad path of history, we look for minute information concerning
ancient manners and customs, the progress of arts and sciences, and the various
branches of antiquity, we have never seen a mine so rich as these volumes. The
variety of Hepys's tastes and pursuits led him into almost every department of life.
He was a man of business, a man of information, a man of whim, and, to a certain
degree, a man of pleasure. He was a statesman, a hel-eipriU a virtuoso, and a con-
noisseur. His curiosity made him an unwearied, as well as an universal learner, and
whatever he saw found its way into his tables.'*— QaarftfriEy Revievo,



H. COLBURN, PUBLISHER, GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET.



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Online LibraryEliot WarburtonThe crescent and the cross: or, Romance and realities of eastern ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 18 of 18)