* Rulers of the Mediterranean *
by Richard Harding Davis

I recently discovered a book that I have had in storage since 1984. My book marks showed me that I had read about three chapters. I began again as this author is very interesting. Part of his biography is at the end of some excerpts below.

The excerpts are from his book about the English and their control over Egypt. The book was copyrighted in 1893 and published in 1903. You can read the whole book at Google Book Search. I copied the excerpts below in case "the powers of the world" decide you shouldn't have this kind of information about political power and made Google remove it from their site.

If you compare what the English did in Egypt, with what the corporate powers of the United States are trying to do today in the oil countries, you will find that only the names of the people and the locations have changed.

Rulers of the Mediterranean
by Richard Harding Davis

copyrighted in 1893 and published in 1903

Copied from the middle of page 154

The trouble began at Alexandria, where the excited people attacked the foreign residents, killing some, and destroying valuable property. Men of war of the two powers represented in the Dual Control had already arrived to put down the rebellion. When the riot on shore was at its height the English war-vessels bombarded the city. The bombarding of Alexandria was war, but it was not magnificent. There are certain things made to be bombarded - forts and ships of war - but cities are not built for that purpose or with that ultimate end in view. The English people, as a people, however, regret the bombardment of Alexandria as much as any one. The French war- vessels for their part, refused to join the bombardment, and so were requested by the English admiral to sail away and give the other half of the Dual Control a clear field. Different people give you different reasons for the departure of the French fleet at this crisis. Some say that M Clemenceau, who hated M Freycinet and his policy, possibly raised the cry of the German wolf on the frontier, and pointed out the danger at home if the army and navy were engaged otherwise than in protecting the border. Others say that, like the good one of the two robbers in the Babes in the Wood, one of the Dual Control drew the line at murder or at the bombardment of a country she was supposed to protect. Plundering the Egyptians was possible, but not bombarding their city. They stopped at that. The English followed up the bombardment of Alexandria by the battle of Tel-el-Kebir, which ended the rebellion. The Citadel of Cairo surrendered at their approach, and the Khedive's rule was again undisturbed. The English remained however to "restore order," and to see to the "organization of proper means for the maintenance of the Khedive's authority." They have been doing that now for ten years, and it is interesting to note that they have made so little progress that the last "disorder" in Cairo was due to the action of the British consul-general himself in allowing the young Khedive just twenty-four hours in which to dismiss one of his cabinet. This can hardly be described as "maintaining the authority of the Khedive," which the English had to do.

Starting the middle of page 162.

For the last ten years the English have been as tardy in getting out of Egypt as they were in going after Gordon into the Soudan. They have repeatedly declared their intention of evacuating the country, not only in answer to questions in the House, but in answer to the inquiries of foreign powers. But they are still there. They have not been idle while there, and they have accomplished much good, and have brought benefits innumerable to Egypt. They have improved her systems of irrigation, upon which the prosperity of the land depends, have strengthened her army, have done away with the corvee, or tax paid on labor, and with the kurbash, or whip used in punishment, and, what is much the most wonderful, they have brought her out of ruin into such a condition of prosperity that she not only pays the interest on her enormous debt, but has a little left over for internal improvements. There has also been a marked change for the better in the condition of the courts of justice, and there has been an extension of a railroad up the Nile as far as Sirgeh. But the English to day not only want credit for having done all this, but they want credit for having done it unselfishly and without hope or thought of reward, and solely for the good of mankind and of Egypt in particular. They remind me of those of the G.A.R. who not only want pensions and medals, but to be considered unselfish saviors of their country in her hour of need. There is no reason why a man should not be held in honor for risking his life for his country's sake and honors, if he wants them, should be heaped upon him, but not money too. He cither served his country because he was loyal and brave, or because he wanted money in return for taking certain risks. Let him have either the honors or the money, but he should not be so greedy as to want both. England has made a very good thing out of Egypt, and she has not yet got all she will get, but she wants the world to forget that and look upon her as an unselfish and enlightened nation that is helping a less prosperous and less powerful people to get upon their feet again. Of course it is none of our business (at least it is our policy to say so) when England stalks forth like a roaring lion seeking what she may devour all over the world. Americans travel chiefly upon the Continent and unless they go into out-of-the-way corners of the world they have no idea how little there is left of it that has not been seized by the people of Great Britain. For my own part I find one grows a little tired of getting down and sailing forth and landing again always under the shadow of the British flag. If the United States should begin with Hawaii and continue to annex other people's property, we should find that almost all of the best corner lots and post-office sites of the world have been already pre-empted. Senator Wolcott once said to Senator Quay: " I understand, Quay, you want the chairmanship of the Library Committee. You seem to want the earth; if you don't look out you will interfere with my plans."

       If the United States had taken away the little princess's island from her and continued to plunder weaker nations, she would have found that England wants the earth too, and that she is in a fair way of getting it if some one does not stop her very soon. There are a number of good people in England who believe that for the last ten years their countrymen have spent their time and money in redeeming Egypt as a form of missionary work, and there are others quite as naive who put the whole thing in a word by saying, "What would we do with our younger sons if it was not for Egypt?"

       Three fourths of the officers in the army of the Khedive are English boys, who rank as second lieutenants at home and as majors in Egypt. They are paid just twice what they are paid in the English army and it is the Khedive who pays them and not the English. In this way England obtains three things: she is saved the cost of supporting that number of officers; she gets the benefit of their experience in Egypt, which is an excellent training school, at the expense of the Egyptians; and she at the same time controls the Egyptian army by these same officers, and guards her own interests at Egypt's cost. And as if this were not enough, she plants an Army of Occupation upon the country, and with it menaces the native authority. The irrigation of Egypt has of late been carried on by Englishmen entirely and paid for by Egypt; her railroads are built by the English; her big contracts are given out to English firms and to English manufacturers; and the railroad which will be built to Kosseir on the Red Sea may have been designed in Egypt's interest to carry wheat, or it may have been planned to carry troops to the Red Sea in the event of the seizure of the Suez Canal or of any other impediment to the shortest route to India. We may not believe that the Egyptians are capable of governing themselves, we may believe that it is written that others than themselves shall always rule them and their country, but we must prefer that whoever do this should declare themselves openly, and act as conquerors who come and remain as conquerors, and not as "advisers" and restorers of order. Napoleon came to Cairo with flags flying and drums beating openly as an enemy; he did not come in the disguise of a missionary or an irrigation expert.

       And there is always the question whether if left alone the Egyptians of the present day could not govern themselves. Those of the Egyptians I met who were in authority are not men who are likely to return to the debauchery and misrule of Ismail. They would be big men in any country; they are cultivated, educated gentlemen, who have served in different courts or on many important diplomatic missions, and whose tastes and ambitions are as creditable and as broad as are those of their English contemporaries.

       The two most prominent advisers of the Khedive at present are his Prime-minister, Riaz Pasha, and his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tigrane Pasha. The first of these is a Turk, the second an Armenian and a Christian. It is told of Riaz that he was brought to Egypt when a boy as a slave. A man who can rise from such a beginning to be Prime minister must have something in him. He showed his spirit and his desire for his country's good in the time of Ismail, whose extravagances both he and Nubar Pasha strenuously opposed, and his aid to the English in establishing Egyptian finance on a firmer footing was ready and invaluable. He has held almost every position in the cabinet of Egypt, and is not too old a man to learn new methods, and if left alone is experienced and accomplished enough as a statesman to manage for himself.

       Tigrane Pasha struck me as being more of a diplomat than a statesman, but he showed his strength by the fact that he understood the weak points of the Egyptians as well as their virtues. It is not the enthusiast who believes that all in his country is perfect who is the best patriot. To say that such a man as this - a man who has a better knowledge of many different governments than half of the English cabinet have of their own, and who wishes the best for his Khedive and his country - needs the advice or support of an English resident minister, is as absurd as to say that the French cabinet should govern themselves by the manifestoes of the Comte de Paris. These men are not barbarians nor despots; they have not gained their place in the world by favor or inheritance. Their homes are as rich in treasures of art and history and literature as are the homes of Lord Rosebery or Sir Henry Drummond Wolff, and if they care for their country and the authority of their Khedive, it is certainly hard that they may not have the right of serving both undisturbed.

       The Khedive himself has been very generally represented through the English press as a "sulky boy" who does not know what is best for him. It is just as easy to describe him as a plucky boy who wishes to govern his own country and his own people in his own way. And not only is he not allowed to do this, but he is treated with a lack of consideration by his protectors which adds insult to injury, and makes him appear as having less authority than is really his. He might very well say to Lord Cromer, " It was all very well to dissemble your love, but why did you kick me down stairs?"

       Sir Evelyn Baring, now Lord Cromer, and the ruling figure in Egypt, has served his country as faithfully and as successfully as any man in her debt to-day. He has been in Egypt from the beginning of these ten years, and he has been given almost unlimited power and authority by his own country, of which his nominal position of Consul-General and Diplomatic Agent is no criterion. He is a typical Englishman in appearance, broad shouldered and big all over, with a smooth shaven face, and the look of having just come fresh from a bath. In conversation he thinks much more of what he has to say than of how he says it; by that I mean that he is direct, and even abrupt; the Egyptians found him most unpleasantly so. But were he more tactful, he would probably have been better liked personally, but would not have succeeded in doing what he has done so well.

       I do not like what he has done, but I want to be fair in showing that for the work he was sent to do he is probably the best man England could have selected. A man less self-reliant might have feared to compromise himself with home authorities, and would have temporized and lost where Lord Cromer bullied and browbeat and won. He is a very remarkable man. He studies for a half hour every day after breakfast, and plays tennis in the afternoon. When he is in his own room, with a pipe in his mouth, he can talk more interestingly and with more exact knowledge of Egypt than any man in the world, and your admiration for him is unbounded. In the rooms of the legation, on the contrary, or, again, when advising a minister of the Khedive or the Khedive himself, he can be as intensely disagreeable in his manner and as powerfully aggressive as a polar bear. During the last so called "crisis" he gave the Khedive twenty-four hours in which to dismiss his Prime minister. He did this with the assurance from the English Foreign Office that the home government would support him. He then cabled with one hand to Malta for troops and with the other stopped the Black Watch at Aden on their way to India, and called them back to Cairo, after which he went out in full sight of the public and banged tennis balls about until sunset. A man who can call out "forty love!" "forty, fifteen!" in a calm voice two hours after sending an ultimatum to a Khedive and disarranging the movements of six thousand of her Majesty's troops will get what he wants in the end, and a boy of eighteen is hardly a fair match for him.

       As I have said, the English press have misrepresented the young Khedive in many ways. He is, in the first place, much older both in appearance and manner and thought than his age would suggest, and if he is sulky to Englishmen it is not to be wondered at. They could hardly expect his Highness to regard them as seriously as his friends as they regard themselves. The Khedive gave me a private audience at the Abdine Palace while I was in Cairo, and from what he said then and from what others who are close to him told me of him, I obtained a very different idea of his personality than I had received from the English.

Richard Harding Davis: (18 April 186411 April 1916) was a popular writer of fiction and drama, and a journalist famous for his coverage of the Spanish-American War, the Second Boer War, and the First World War. Davis, a managing editor of Harper's Weekly, was one of the world's leading war correspondents at the time of the Second Boer War in South Africa. As an American, he had the unique opportunity to see the war first-hand from both the British and Boer perspectives. Davis also worked as a reporter for the New York Herald, The Times, and Scribner's Magazine.

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