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the hills of Ceylon

the hills of Ceylon

The Khedive was a profligate and a spendthrift; his ministers and governors were cruel, dishonest, and tyrannical; the national resources had been dissipated in a veritable debauch of extravagance and corruption. I doubt, indeed, if the sun ever shone on a more decadent, demoralised, and discouraged nation than was Egypt on that June day in 1879, when a cablegram from Constantinople, addressed, significantly enough, to “Ismail Pasha, ex-Khedive of Egypt,” brought the Sultan's demand for his immediate abdication in favour of his son Tewfik. Called to a heritage of bankruptcy and wide-spread discontent, the new ruler, anxious though he undoubtedly was to use his prerogatives for his people's good, found himself forced to decide between European intervention and native rebellion. The question was decided for him, however, for, in the spring of 1882, Arabi and his lawless soldiery broke loose and overran the land.
Dance of Nuba women, Kordofan.


Whether this Arabi Pasha was at heart a patriot or a plunderer is a question which has never been satisfactorily decided, nor is it one which particularly concerns us, although, if you ever happen to find yourself at Kandy, in
, where he still lives in exile, I would recommend you to call upon him, for he will receive you with marked hospitality and will talk to you quite frankly about those stirring events in which he played so prominent a part. As this is a story of the present, rather than of the past, suffice it to say that Arabi, then an officer in the Egyptian army, instigated [Pg 111] a military revolt which had as its object the ending of European influence in the affairs of Egypt  the scene of a violent and murderous attack..

So rapidly did this propaganda of “Egypt for the Egyptians!” spread among the lower classes of the population, and so perilous became the position of foreigners resident in the country, that, upon Alexandria being captured and looted by the revolutionists, a British squadron bombarded and partially destroyed that city, while a British army, hurried from Malta for the protection of the Canal, in which England held the dominating interest, dispersed Arabi's forces at Tel-el-Kebir, pushed on across the desert to Cairo, stamped out the remaining embers of the revolt, and restored in a measure the authority of the Khedive, though not without taking the precaution of surrounding him with British “advisers” and garrisoning his cities with British troops.

Such, in tabloid form, is the story of the beginnings of British domination in the land of the Valley of the Nile.

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