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he saw the accident and, thinking that the simplest way of getting the omnibus out would be to float it, forthwith turned on all the water into the lock. Several-I forget how many-of the inside. passengers were drowned, and amongst them the unfortunate piano-tuner.

I fear it may be said that I have overrated the interest attaching to some of the trifling events

of my youth in a dear home, and have been led into the too common weakness of chronicling small beer; but, however they may appear to others, these trifling events are to me part of a happy time which has left


Deposited upon the silent shore Of memory, images and precious thoughts

That shall not die and cannot be destroyed."



THE annual report of Lord Cromer on the " Finances, Administration, and Condition of Egypt, and the Progress of Reforms" is always interesting. In a style singularly graphic and clear it treats in detail of an extensive organisation working for the improvement of Egypt and the wellbeing of its people. These reports are a yearly review by a competent chief of the work of his agents; and a record of the progress made towards the high ideal of moral and material attainment which he has in view. Their perusal leaves on the mind of the reader the conviction that the objectif which Lord Cromer has ever and only before him is the advancement of the interests of Egypt. With him success is gauged by progress, and that progress must be demonstrated by tangible results. We discern in the writer all the qualities of a successful administrator—a firm grasp of details, a close scrutiny and watchful supervision, and a whole-hearted appreciation of good services when rendered.

It may easily be understood how these qualities act as a stimulant to effort and devotion upon Ministers

and functionaries whose labours are so sympathetically followed and so willingly recognised.

Financially, the situation of Egypt is shown by Lord Cromer's report for 1896 to be in the highest degree satisfactory. In a few words the financial results of that year may be described as yielding a surplus of £E316,000 after plac ing to "reserve" £E906,000, thus raising that fund to £E5,590,000. These figures are in themselves so

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"During the last six years debt has been either paid off or withdrawn from the market by Government purchase, at an average rate of no less than £750,000 a-year. During the last three years the average £850,000 a-year. At this rate, leaving out of account the Daira and Domains loans, the latter of which will disappear gradually, whilst the former will certainly be much diminished as the properties are sold, the whole of the Egyptian debt would be paid off in about forty-four years. I should add that the interest-charge on the bonds on the market, which on the 1st January 1883 stood at £4,163,000, is now £3,776,000, a diminution of £387,000."

Administratively, along the whole line there is progress. In justice, Lord Cromer draws attention to various important Mohammedan law reforms which were carried out in 1896, and we cannot refrain from quoting his closing observations upon that subject:

"These well-considered reforms, the conception and execution of which do great credit to the Egyptian Ministers, have met with no serious opposition. Indeed I have every reason to believe that they have been received with feelings of lively satisfaction by the very great majority of the people of Egypt."

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poorly paid and imperfectly acquainted with the new code of laws. By special allowances, granted to those who pass an examination in the new code, their pecuniary situation might be improved, and the standard of qualification might be raised.

From a note of Sir John Scott, appended to Lord Cromer's report, it is evident that the native tribunals are gaining slowly, but not less surely, the confidence of the people; and that the patient and conciliatory labours of the judicial adviser are receiving the reward of success which they deserve. The summary justice tribunals, which are his creation, tried in the year 51,696 cases, and the decisions, adds Sir John Scott, "are as a rule in accordance with the facts and the law; the appeals are comparatively few, and generally the sentence is confirmed." This prompt and inexpensive system of justice is an appreciated boon to the rural population; and we are not surprised to learn that the demands are numerous for an increase in the number of these


Of the prosperous condition of trade in Egypt there can be no better indication than the railway traffic. "The gross receipts of the railways during 1896 amounted to £E1,822,000 as compared to £1,750,000 in 1895," while in 1886 they were only £E1,270,000. The working expenses of the lines

at present open represent 43 per cent of the gross receipts-a percentage greatly inferior to that of our railways in England. The railway extensions now being carried out are also significant of the spirit of progress which is alive in the country. We are told by Lord Cromer that "by the end of 1897 it is expected that through railway communication will be established from Cairo to Assouan," which means an addition of about 241 miles since 1895. On the subject of this extension we will not conceal our regret that, south of Luxor to Assouan (131 miles), a change to a narrow gauge has been resolved upon. The motive is economy, but it is penny - wise, pound-foolish. The break of gauge will be seriously inconvenient in the transport of troops, and generally disadvantageous to both passengers and traffic. Last year the narrow gauge was to have begun some fifty miles north of Luxor, but the rails for that section were transported to the frontier and replaced by others of a broad gauge. If still possible, it would be well to repeat that operation and extend the broad gauge to Assouan.

Two concessions for the construction of light agricultural railways (2-feet 6-inch gauge, and about 200 miles in length) have been given, and we agree with Lord Cromer that "it cannot be doubted that the introduction of the system of light railways will prove of great benefit to the country." These railways, having a Government guarantee of 3 per cent interest, have justly attracted the attention of capitalists both abroad and in Egypt. One of the concessions has been taken by an English syndicate, and this is the second undertaking in which British capital has been embarked in Egypt for works of public

utility. It is remarkable that hitherto French and German capitalists have shown most confidence in enterprises in Egypt.

But Lord Cromer's report for 1896 is of especial interest for the information which it contains in reference to the expenses of the recent advance to Dongola. In a former article we said that £1,250,000 was such a sum as a responsible Minister would have been justified in asking for the extraordinary expenses of the Sudan expedition of last year. We erred on the safe side, as we desired to do. It now appears from a detailed statement, communicated by Lord Cromer, that the actual amount of these extraordinary expenses only amounts to £E715,066, including £E172,281 for railway extension and £E65,542 for cost of gunboats with armament. These two last items are of permanent utility, and represent together an outlay of £E237,823. The balance, £E477,243, will be admitted to be a remarkably small sum for the extraordinary expenses of an expedition which occupied seven months, and engaged an army of 15,000 men. We expressed, in our former article, confidence in the financial prudence of Lord Cromer and Sir Elwin Palmer, feeling assured that they would not have embarked in the expedition without having provided sufficient resources to carry it through. Their prudence has been fully proved. An advance of £E500,000 had been obtained from the Caisse de la Dette, and the Egyptian Government had at its credit in the Special Reserve Fund, and completely at its disposal, on the 31st December 1896 £E255,000. These two sums would have largely provided for the ex

traordinary expenses of the Dongola expedition.

But by a judgment of the Appeal Court of the Mixed Tribunals the Egyptian Government, in November last, was condemned to refund with interest the advance which it had received from the Caisse de la Dette; and as the judgment could not legally be set aside, it became necessary to find the money elsewhere. With laudable promptitude the British Government came to the rescue. Availing itself of a right which it possessed by international agreement to raise money up to the limit of a million of pounds, the Egyptian Government accepted the proffered assistance as an advance in account current. In the circumstances no other solution was possible.

To the amount necessary to repay the Caisse de la Dette a further sum of £270,000 was added, representing the cost of a light railway from Wady Halfa to Abu Hamed; and on the 5th of February the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed to Parliament, and carried by a majority of 112, a vote of £798,802 as a grant in aid of the expenditure incurred in connection with the Egyptian expedition to Dongola. With this grant the extraordinary expenses of last year are cleared, and provision is made for the material necessary to lay down a line of railway to Abu Hamed.

It would be a waste of space here to expose the fallacies upon which the Mixed Court of Appeal based its judgment, condemning the Egyptian Government to refund the advance accorded to it for the Dongola expedition by a majority of the Commissioners of the Caisse. It was a judgment influenced by political considera

1The Sudan Advance," Blackwood's Magazine, September 1896.

tions, irrespective of either law or equity. Our chief regret is that it was pronounced by a court of the mixed tribunals, which, we are bound to acknowledge, have deservedly acquired in the country a good reputation for probity and justice. On this account, while we agree with the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the decision was "almost absurd," we regret the comment which he went on to make::

"I am bound to say that, in my opinion, when next year the time arrives at which the constitution and the powers of these mixed courts have to be reconsidered, a very grave question ought to and must arise as to what shall be their powers and authority in the future, and whether they shall be allowed in this way to interfere in affairs which have been deliberately intrusted by the Great Powers to another tribunal altogether."

The lesson taught by the judgment is that the mixed tribunals, as long as France and Russia pursue a policy of annoyance, are not to be relied upon in cases which involve political considerations. With prudent foresight, however, such cases can generally be avoided, or, if not, the consequences are unlikely to be serious. It is always a mistake to threaten what we have not the means to execute; and in this instance, as any modification in the position of the mixed tribunals can only be effected with the consent of all the Great Powers, we would gratuitously give France and Russia the opportunity they desire to put us in the impasse of either retracting our demands or reverting to the deplorable régime of consular courts under the capitu

lations, which the mixed tribunals were created to abolish.

In favour of the Caisse de la Dette much may be said. The financial fetters with which it binds the Treasury are indeed strong, but they have often proved salutary. In regard to the inflexible grasp with which it holds the "Reserve" from economies of conversion, it must be admitted that the Egyptian Government, under British advice and with its eyes open, accepted that situation in 1890, and in our opinion wisely, because it was the only means of reducing the interest of its debt by £350,000 per annum. It is therefore inconsistent to-day to complain that France refuses to apply these economies to purposes which we think advantageous; for, in truth, she is thus only acting as every one with any knowledge of her tactics of obstruction foresaw from the first she would do. After all, the evil is not without some compensation of good. The Caisse employs, and is bound to employ, these economies in the purchase of Egyptian securities, which purchases enable Lord Cromer, in a passage which we have already quoted, to make the interesting calculation that forty-four years hence what is not extinct of the Egyptian debt will be locked up in the safes of the Caisse de la Dette. In the treatment of the General Reserve Fund, from which it was desired to take the £500,000 for the expedition to Dongola, the Caisse has shown its readiness to assist in works of public utility. On the 1st of January last about one-third of the fund had been pledged, chiefly for the construction of railways; and more recently a fresh grant1 of £E250,000 has

1 In Lord Cromer's report this grant is said to be from the "Special Reserve Fund," but this is an error for General Reserve Fund.

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