Page:Men of the Time, eleventh edition.djvu/640

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ISMAIL-PASHA.

capitals of Europe^ mcluding Lon- don, in order to invite the Sove- reigns to be present at the opening of the canal. The Viceroy gave serious offence to the Sultan by the airs of sovereignty he assumed during this journey, and by the language of independence which he employed in his invitations; but the year in which the quarrel arose saw its amicable termination. The Khedive gave way upon the matters of form, which were those upon which the Porte laid the most stress, and a new firman, maintain- ing, confirming, and defining the privileges of the Pasha, was read to him with all due formality. How- ever, on June 8, 1873, a firman was granted by the Sultaii to the Khe- dive of Egypt, sanctioning the full autonomy of that country, and enacting the law of primogeniture in favour of Ismail-Pasha's family. The attempt to Europeanize the country entailed a vast expenditure, and Egypt acquired a national debt of more than .£80,000,000. In 1875 the Khedive procured a temporary respite from his difficulties by the sale of his shares in the Suez Canal to the British Government for the sum of .£4,000,000 ; and then, being at last aware of the critical state of his finances, and of the incompe- tence of Orientals to mend it. His Highness requested the British Government to provide him with some exx>erienced financier to effect a thorough reform. In Dec., 1875, Mr. Stephen Cave, M.P., accom- I)anied by Colonel Stokes, E.E., was sent out, and after some months' examination, wrote an elaborate report on the Egyptian finances. Afterwards, however, Egyptian credit fell still lower, till m 1876 the Khedive suspended payment for a time. In that year Mr. Goschen, M.P., and M. Joubert were sent out as the representatives of the English and French bond- holders to attempt an adjustment of the financial affairs of Egypt. The result was a scheme which was

accepted by the Khedive. Mr. Bivers Wilson, having been more recently charged with a similar mission, induced the Khedive to give up his family estates to his creditors, and Mr. Wilson himself accepted the post of Egyptian Minister of Finance (Aug., 1878). The report of the Commission of Inquiry was presented to the Elhe- dive Aug. 20, 1878, It proposed a nimiber of specific financial and administrative reforms, all of which tended to limit the authority of the Khedive, and it plainly called upon him to surrender all his pro- perty, estimated by him, exclusive of the sugar estates previously sur- rendered to the Daira Debt, at about JB450,000 per annum. The Khedive was to receive, in exchange for this surrender to the State, an acceptance of all his liabilities by the Public Treasury, and a Civil List for himself and family. A new ministry was formed by Nubar Pasha at the close of the year, and Mr. Rivers Wilson and M. de Bli- gni^res were admitted into it as representing the interests of the Western Powers. This ministry was, however, overthrown in Feb., 1879, by an dmeute which the Khe- dive was suspected of fostering. A strong movement of intervention was originated in France by power- ful financial bodies interested in the Egyptian Debt, and a joint representation of the French and English governments resulted in the apparent submission of Ismail Pasha, and the formation of a new Cabinet under Prince Tewfik, the Khedive's heir, in which the Euro- pean ministers were to have a com- manding voice. This arrangement lasted for a few weeks. In April the Khedive, declaring that the ministerial measures were unjust to the bondholders and damaging to the public credit, dismissed his advisers. After some delay, due to the difficulty of inducing the Powers to agree as to the course "to be pursued, and after Ismail Pasha