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HIS IMPROVEMENTS IN EGYPT.
One of the first acts of Mohammad Alee was to invite artizans and manufacturers to come and settle in the country; and he shortly afterwards procured engineers from several countries of Europe, to explore the different parts of his dominions. But he did a greater work that even this—he sent, at the expense of the state, a number of Egyptian boys to Europe, to be instructed in the different arts and sciences—many of these were educated in British universities, and are now teachers in their own. He caused a vast number of his people to be collected and instructed in the different trades necessary to more civilized nations. He erected dock-yards, arsenals, and manufactories, that have not only given employment but trades to many thousands that heretofore knew but the handling of a mattock, or unsheathing of a yatagan. Not contented with having them educated in other countries, he erected and endowed polytechnic and military schools, with colleges of law, physic, divinity, and belles-lettres ; in these he clothes, maintains, and pays several hundred boys, the first of whom had to be dragged by the kidnapping conscription officers from the filth of mud hovels, the raggedness of a torn blue shirt, the pains of hunger, or the fare of bad beans and dowrah bread, and the more pleasing task of raising water in a bucket from the Nile, and remaining in a state of the most blissful ignorance, to receive the blessings of education.*
He has attempted, and is carrying into effect, that great step towards civilization in any country, the introduction of grades in society. By the security he has given to life and property, he has brought into the cities the wares, and also the manufacturers of Europe, hundreds of whom are every where settled in the
* The following is a brief summary of some of the labours of Mohammad Alee in Egypt:--In the naval college there are 1,200 pupils ; in the military, 1,400; in the Eugeun, 100; in the veterinary hospital and school, 150; there is also a school of music; and, in addition to the several institutions and factories that I have mentioned in these current remarks, I may add 1,000 men in the turboosh manufactory at Founah. There are printing establishments and paper mills at Boolack; sugar manufactories; chemical works for saltpetre and chloride of lime at Old Cairo; powder manufactories and pyrotechnic schools; together with power loom, calico printing, dying, bleaching, and woollen cloth manufactories, copper mills, glass works, and brass and iron foundries, &c.
country ; and by the protection he has afforded, and the respect he has caused to be shown to all who travel here, he has opened up a field for scientific research till now unknown in any Mohammadan country; and the daily number of arrivals at his capital of European savans, and wealthy travellers, fully attests this. But it is not alone in Egypt, or under his immediate eye, that this exists; for the traveller of 1837 can proceed through places such as the hill country of Judea, and the mountains of Syria, with as great (perhaps greater) safety than through many of the large towns of Europe ; though, a few years ago, it required both bribes, promises, and often force of arms to effect a passage through these countries.
He has established courts of justice, and in his own person hears petitions, and gives redress to manifest grievances. In 1819 he commenced and completed that great national work, the cutting of the Mahmoudie canal, and although he has long delayed, and may never commence the railway from Suez to Cairo, yet he has opened a safe and direct passage for us to India, by way of the Red Sea, on which our steamers now ply.* And, as an instance of the liberality of the Basha, as well as of the state of the arts here, I may mention that part of the machinery of the British steamer, which, at the period of our visit, became damaged in her passage from Bombay, was, at his cost, and by his artizans, repaired at Cairo. Had not this been the case, the vessel must have returned to England to be repaired.
He has also introduced and established the cotton trade in Egypt; a commerce particularly well suited to that country. He has, it is true, made a demand of soldiers that the population of Egypt cannot afford; but these he has washed, shaved, clothed, disciplined, and armed, like Europeans. He has, since 1827, by native hands, furnished, armed, and manneda navy little inferior to any in Europe. He has caused a toleration of religious opinion unknown in any other Mohammadan country, and has afforded protection even to the
* Notwithstanding the outcry raised about his not commencing this road, although the rails have long been completed at Cairo, those who are at all acquainted with the country must know how utterly foolish such an attempt would be, in a place where the sand-storm of an hour or the caprice of a few Bedawees could destroy the work of months.
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; hut 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 Básha stands with the Porte and the different powers 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 Básha. 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