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PERSONAL CHARACTER OF THE BASILA.
poor despised Jew. Not only by the efforts of government, but in his own household, and in his own person, has this great reformer commenced the work of improvement. He has done away with the hareem attendant on an Eastern prince. His household exceeds but little that of an European noble, and his children are instructed in polite literature and accomplishments. by an English lady of the Methodist connexion. With a mode. ration in expenditure nowhere to be found in the court of a person of similar rank—with a frugality and temperance of habit never before exhibited by an Eastern prince, Mohammad Alee is perhaps, as a governor, better acquainted with all the different details of his kingdom than any other ruler in existence. There is no one department of the state that he is not acquainted with ; no account of any consequence that he does not audit; nor is there any office that is not held by his immediate appointment. The finances of a kingdom; the state of commercial interest; the intrigues of diplomacy ; the value of stock ; and the very. working of each department of the dock-yard or arsenal, where he may often be found, are severally under the superintendence of this great man. He-unlike a character to whom he has been often compared—forgot not, in the plenitude of his power, the Josephine of his poverty, whom he consulted and cherished with a fidelity that a Turk seldom bestows on female old age ; and now, in the midst of all the troubles and anxieties of a life so arduous as his, he finds moments to spend over the tomb of the partner of his early life. He is another proud instance of the power of mind over every obstacle that may be opposed to it ;in him, it raised a soldier of fortune, who, it is said, could not sign his name at the age of thirty, to the rank he now holds amongst the earth's rulers.
But with all this it is true, and lamentably true, that the country is over taxed. Every date-tree bears a tax it is scarcely worth ; every ardab of wheat is subject to a like exaction ; every camel, every boat, and every cotton-tree in Egypt is the Basha's. He is the chief and indeed the only real merchant in the country, and is now, perhaps, the greatest merchant in the world. It is true, and lamentably true, that he regulates the price of corn and other kinds of food, which must be stored in public granaries. But do we find the people perish for lack of sustenance ?-no; but great as this taxation now is, it is acknowledged to be far lighter than what it bad been previously.
EFFECTS OF EGYPT'S REGENERATION.
The overweening ambition of Mohammad Alee, and his desire of conquest, together with the mistaken endeavour to force Egypt into what nature never intended she should be, a warlike country, is the great fault of his policy. It is to support his large army that the unjust taxation has been resorted to; but with this force I see that Syria has been conquered and reduced to a state of quiet, which, with the immunities granted by Mohammad Alee, has induced a greater number of Israelites to go forward to Jerusalem than was ever known since its destruction; and in the glorious consequences of the revolution of Syria at the battle of Koniah, I see brought about the plain and direct fulfilment of that prophecy, in which we are told by Isaiah (xix. 23) that there shall “be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria.”
Altogether I am of opinion that the balance must now lie on the side of the good done by Mohammad Alee in Egypt. He has, however, done another great work; he has placed it in that position from which it can never return to its former degenerate state ; for the very tradesmen, the artizans he has trained, and the thousands who are now educated, must prevent such a catastrophe ever occurring. Would, or could Mohammad Alee recall even a part of that soldiery who are now retained to hold Syria, and perhaps Egypt, from the Sooltan, and place them in their native villages, they would not make the worse subjects, or worse agriculturists, from having been subjected to order, cleanliness, and discipline.
That men like Mohammad Alee have, for a particular purpose, been raised up, have flourished, conquered, decayed, and fallen, Scripture warrants, and experience proves; and on that warrant it is for the thinking mind to say whether he has been allowed the
power he now possesses, but
“ To point a moral, or adorn a tale ;"
or that he is the instrument employed to hasten that glorious day when Egypt shall be “sent a Saviour, and a great one, and he shall deliver them. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt, and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land; whom the Lord of Hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt, my people, and Assyria, the work of my hands, and Israel, mine inheritance.”—Isaiah xix. 24, 25.
PRESENT CONDITION OF THE EAST.
In the foregoing sketch I have carefully avoided mixing up the present political condition of Egypt, or the relation in which the Basha stands with the Porte and the different
of Europe ; but the affairs of the east have now become a topic of such absorbing interest, and the Egyptian army has assumed such a threatening position, that even the passing traveller will be asked for an opinion as to the comparative merits of the contending parties, and the probable issue of the present crisis.
That the age we live in is one fraught with interest, and that we are hastening towards the dawning of great events, is a fact the most apathetic and indifferent must admit. The theatre on which those coming scenes are likely to take place, is one on which were enacted deeds the most wonderful that ever swayed the destinies of mankind. Knowledge is running to and fro in the world, and “tidings out of the east, and out of the north," (Dan. xi. 44,) are already beginning to trouble us. War is bursting out upon the frontiers of British India; Persia, urged on by Russia, is exhibiting a front that neither her inclination nor her power would warrant; the different independent but heretofore friendly states of Hindostan are conniving at, and, in some instances, offering assistance to powers aiming at Indian possessions; the Burmese are daily gaining strength and knowledge wherewith to meet the soldiers of Europe with their own arms and their own discipline; China, impressed with the state of degradation to which our traffic has brought her, is threatening the
very life and existence of Anglo-Indian commerce; and we have daily proofs of the weakness and instability of the Turkish empire, and the general breaking up of the Mohammadan power. And with reference to that power, our attention is naturally directed towards the cause of the Syrian war, and the claims that Mohammad Alee has to urge in behalf of his right to independence, and the hereditary possession of the vast territory at present acknowledging his sway. To trace the progressive steps that led to his extraordinary elevation would be foreign to the purport of a work that does not profess to give the history of the Basha. Many such sketches are already before the world; but when the life of that great man can be written with accuracy and fidelity, it will form a biography almost unequalled in the nineteenth century, for it will be the history of one of those meteor
EXTENT OF THE BASHA'S TERRITORY.
lights that at times start up to astonish by their brightness, and dazzle by their glare.
Let us consider three subjects :- The extent of territory of the Egyptian Viceroy ; his right to independence; and the effect that independence would have on the balance of power and the general state of affairs in Europe and Asia.
The extent of territory under the dominion of Mohammad Alee is almost unknown in England. It far exceeds that of the mother country, and would, if again added to the 'Turkish empire, make it a more cumbrous machine than it was ever before; for territories and people that never acknowledged the Sooltan, or Mohammadanism, have been subjugated, and are now ruled by the Egyptian Viceroy. He wrung Egypt from the Porte, and has added to it the whole of Syria, and a great part of Asia Minor, as far as where the Euphrates enters the Persian Gulf. In all the Arabian Peninsula, except Muscat; in Nubia, Abyssinia, the ancient Ethiopia ; in the plains of Sennaar, Koordofan, and far as the foot of civilized man has followed the various wanderings of the blue and white Nile, Mohammad Alee's power is more or less acknowledged. The extensive borders of the Red Sea, even. beyond the Straits of Babelmandel, to the confines of Persia and the Indian Sea, with Candia, and the whole upper border of the Mediterranean, are now included in his dominions; and the great nomad tribes of the Bedawees of Petra, Babylon, and from Bagdad to Medina, with few exceptions, own him as their prince. All this, greater even than the mighty empire of Sesostris, was conquered, and is now governed by the orphan boy, whose precarious livelihood was, at one time, gained by the huxtering of tobacco, but who now fills the throne of the Pharaohs, and wields the sceptre of Zenobia!
Were this vast extent of country to be returned into the hands of Turkey, it would but increase the difficulties under which that tottering state now labours, scarcely able to support the pressure of its own weight; for the sixth angel has already begun to pour out his vial upon the great river Euphrates (the acknowledged symbol of the Ottoman empire); and the water thereof is fast drying up. And why is this?—“That the way of the kings of the east might be prepared."--Rev. xvi. 12.
But were it possible that the Porte could even for a time regain its influence, Syria would, upon the death of Mohammad Alee,
HIS RIGHT TO INDEPENDENCE.
instead of being governed by his successor in Egypt, be undoubtedly split up into small bashalics, and the people be once more reduced to the horrors and oppression, moral, physical, and religious, that history informs us was their lot some twenty years ago. That the Viceroy is more than a match for the Porte none can deny; and that, but for the interference of foreign diplomacy, and the threats of foreign aid, he could, at this moment, wrest Constantinople from the descendant of Othman, is equally acknowledged ; of which the late battle of Nazib is too conclusive a proof. His right to the kingdom he has conquered, and which I have already described, is no doubt the right of conquest and the strong arm of power; but that kingdom has as good a claim to independence as America had when she threw off the English yoke, or as Greece had, when, assisted by England, she freed herself from Turkish slavery.
That Mohammad Alee's rule is a more beneficial one for the country we see daily, in the effort he is making to raise the character and condition of the people from that state of degradation in which the baneful influence of Turkish power had kept them for so many centuries—a power, one of whose most firm tenets was war upon the liberty of thought, and death to the introduction of reform, and that regarded all innovations upon the habits, forms, customs, and prejudices of five centuries gone by, as an offence to be punished with the loss of life. Mohammad Alee's present right of tenure to those countries which his sword has won, is a right that, in a moral point of view, the powers of Europe should well consider, for it is the benefit he is conferring upon those countries, by being made the instrument of breaking down the wall of prejudice, ignorance, and superstition, that held them in barbarity-by letting in the light of freedom on them, by opening up the avenues to civilization, and preparing them for that great process of assimilation, which is now taking place among the different nations, tongues, and people of the world.
But it will be asked, was not the late Sooltan a reformer too? had he not improvements in his army and in his capital? did he not shoot his thousands of Janizaries, and endeavour to Europeanize his people? I will let another, who knew the Turkish Empire well, answer these questions. “Of these reforms,” says Marshal Marmont, in his late work on the Present State of the Turkish Empire, “it has been thought that the Sultan has