disgrace would not have fallen on the English government.
Now, by the light of this sad history, what are the prospects for the future? Was there ever a time when clearness of plan and distinctness of policy were more required than they are now? I am not going to say that the policy of the government is bad. It would be paying them an extravagant compliment if I said so. They have no policy.
On one point only do they put down their foot and that is, the Egyptians shall not keep the Sudan. We were told that they were going to smash the Mahdi, but now we are to make peace with the smashed Mahdi. If you smash the Mahdi thoroughly he will be of no use to you, and if you do not smash him thoroughly he may maintain at the bottom of his heart a certain resentment against the process of being smashed.
Now, let us examine what are the interests of England in this matter. With Mediterranean politics as such we have no great interest to concern ourselves; but Egypt stands in a peculiar position. It is the road to India. The condition of Egypt can never be indifferent to us, and, more than that, we have a duty to insist—that our influence shall be predominant there. I do not care by what technical arrangements that result is to be obtained; but, with all due regard to the rights of the suzerain, the influence of England in Egypt must be supreme.