Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

so and the expenditure at 9,559,000 pounds. n 1887 the actual receipts were 9,616,358 pounds, and the disbursements 9,207,900 pounds. The International Commission appointed in 1880 to examine the financial situation estimated the annual revenue for 1882 and succeeding years at 8,411,622 Egyptian pounds. The debt was adjusted on this basis, 1,157,718 pounds being assigned to the interest and sinking fund of the privileged debt, which was secured on the railroad and telegraph receipts and the Alexandria port dues; 2,263,686 pounds to the service of the unified debt; 3,641,544 pounds to the administrative expenses of the Government: 681,486 pounds to the Turkish tribute; 193,858 pounds to payment of interest on the Suez Canal shares § by England; and 377,858 pounds to the Moukabala annuity, the Daira K. and unforeseen expenses. The powers in 1885 guaranteed a new loan of 9,000,000 pounds sterling, bearing interest at 34 per cent., for the settlement of the Alexandria indemnities and the floating debt, and to provide £1,000,000 for irrigation works. Another loan of 2,300,000 Egyptian pounds, bearing 44, per cent. interest, was issued in May, 1888, for the purpose of paying off mo on Domains lands held by }. mail Pasha and members of his family and of redeeming pensions, imposing no additional charge on the revenue. The total debt on Nov. 30, 1888, was as follows:

descriptions or debt. Guaranteed loan.......... - - - - - - Unified debt........ - - - - - - - - - - Privileged debt..... Idomains loan

Daira loan.................................... 8,636,480 Conversion loan ........ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Total . . . . . . . . ................ - - - - - - - - - - - - £103,983,240

The Domains and Daira Sanieh loans are guaranteed by the Domains and Daira estates, which are intain by commissioners for the benefit of the bondholders. The revenues, however, fall short of the amount of the interest, and the Government has to make good the deficiency, which is estimated for 1889 at 275,000 pounds. The new guaranteed loan calls for a fixed annual sum of £315,000, which provides for its gradual redemption. The interest and sinking fund of the conversion loan of 1888 amount to 130,000 pounds. Other debt charges, besides the interest on the preference and unified debts, are the Daira Khassa, an annual payment of 34,000 unds to the Daira loan commissioners; 194,pounds of interest fo. to England on the purchase money for the Khedive's Suez Canal shares in lieu of the dividends, which are mort;. to the company till 1894; and the Mouabala annuity of 150,000 pounds. The interest at 4 per cent. on the unified debt amounts to 2.184, pounds, and the privileged or preference debt, on which 5 per cent. is paid, requires 1,087,000 pounds. When the new guaranteed loan was raised, the sinking funds of the other debts were suspended. The revenue since the British occupation began has exceeded the normal budget of the debt commissioners; but the expenditure likewise has gone far beyond their estimate, owing chiefly to the addition to the debt resulting from the military occupation and the expenses of operations in the Soudan. The

civil and financial administration can show some economies as compared with the time of the dual control. There has been a slight increase in the productive capacity of the country as the result of small improvements in the irrigation works. Reforms in the administration of justice have worked beneficially. A change in the dates for collecting the land tax so as to coincide with the harvest season and more thorough collections have benefited the revenue. None of the promised reductions of taxation have been effected, save a partial remission of the octrol duties. The partial abolition of the corvée is, as far as it goes, an advantage to the fellaheen. The financial credit of the Government, owing not so much to the improved state of the finances as to the political connection with Great Britain, stands very much better than before the English occupation, when Egyptian securities were as low in the market as those of Turkey are now. With unified bonds at 90 in the spring of 1889, the credit of Egypt was higher than that of Austria or Italy. The English advisers of the Khedive considered it a favorable time for converting the privileged debt into 4- or 44-percent. bonds, and thus effecting an annual saving of £150,000 or more. The bonds are not legally convertible, because the law of liquidation made them payable at par in semi-annual drawings extending over sixty-five years. The o Government desired the support of a legal opinion, and applied to the most eminent lawyers in England; but with one mind they all condemned the proposed operation as a breach of contract. Nevertheless, Riaz Pasha affirmed the absolute right of the Egyptian Government to pay off the bonds at par. The consent of all the powers, however, was requisite. Sir Edgar Vincent, financial adviser to the Khedive, and Baron Richthofen, Commissioner of the Caisse de la Dette, went to Europe to negotiate with the governments and with the bankers, and in May the Egyptian Government addressed a circular to the powers communicating the draft of a decree for converting the preference debt, reimbursing the 44-per-cent. loan of 1888, and placin at the disposal of the Government £1,200. for the commutation of pensions and for constructing irrigation works intended to avert the disastrous effects of a low Nile for the future. Rothschild and Bleichröder signed the contract to provide the money for the conversion. The Governments of England, Germany, AustriaHungary, and Italy gave their adherence to the project without reservation. Russia consented with the proviso that all the other powers should agree, and that the saving effected by the conversion should be o to the redemption of the unified debt. To this the Egyptian Government agreed. The French Government expressed approval of the financial proposals, but pointed out that the excellent financial position of Egypt was evidence that order was restored, and that thus the condition that England had laid down for the evacuation of Egypt was fulfilled, and therefore made its consent conditional on receiving assurances of the intended withdrawal of the British troops. What was desired was a renewal of the promises made by Gladstone and repeatedly confirmed by Salisbury. But the British Premier would not reaffirm the engagement that he had ". accepted as binding. In his o to the French position, communicated by M. Waddington, he simply declined to discuss the question of evacuation in connection with the Egyptian conversion scheme, at the same time pointing to the advance of the derwishes, which occurred opportunely, as a proof that the presence of English troops was necessary for the security of Egypt. In responding to a speech of Lord Carnarvon in the House of Peers, who urged the Government openly to declare Egypt to be a British dependency, he revealed in veiled diplomatic terms the intention to continue the tutelage until circumstances would admit of annexation.

[graphic]

I have not been able to agree with the suggestion of my noble friend that the guardianship of this country over Egypt has been otherwise than beneficial, or that we have not obtained such a measure of success as we have a right to expect. I need not go further and say that the withdrawal of this country from Egypt would be attended with evil to Egypt. When my noble friend goes beyond the criticism of the past or the examination of the present condition of #. and the effect of the measures which this country has sanctioned or encouraged and asks us to penetrate into the future and say what the future relations of this country and Egypt are to be, I must respectfully ask the house to allow me to decline. We have again and again explained what in our judgment are the obligations which bind us to Egypt, and which we have intended to fulfill, and when my noble friend says there has been vacillation or the semblance of vacillation, I again can not admit that the charge is sustained by any evidence or any particulars. If my noble friend will do me the honor to refer to the account which I gave four years ago of the policy which the then incoming Government thought it their duty to pursue with respect to Egypt, and the circumstances in which Egypt found herself. I think he will find we have not deviated by a hair's breadth from the line which we then laid down. I need not repeat what I have already ex "...o the obligation with we feel bound in honor to riāli before we withdraw from the guardianship of Egypt. But when my noble friend asks us to go beyond that and to convert ourselves from guardians into proprietors, and to say that, in despite of all that we have said and that our predecessors have said, we will, under the circumstances and conditions as they are now, declare our stay in Egypt permanent and our relations to Egypt that of a o country to a conquered, I must say I think my noble friend pays an insufficient regard to the sanctity of the obligations which the Government has undertaken and by which they are bound to abide. In such a matter we have not to consider what is the most convenient or what is the most profitable course: we have to consider the course to which we are bound by our own obligations and by European law. We shall try to observe that rule faithfully. Undoubtedly we have no intention of abandoning our task until it is fulfilled ; but we have no authority or right to give it the extension my noble friend desires.

Sir Edgar Vincent was led to suppose that the French Government regretted assuming an attitude that obstructed financial reform, and in July the Egyptian Government applied to it again, receiving in reply an assurance that the French ministry shared the view of Riaz Pasha, that the conversion is of vital importance to Egypt, but, as the political situation remained unchanged, France was compelled to withhold her consent.

Commerce.—The imports of merchandise in 1887 had a total value of 8,137,054 Egyptian

pounds, and the exports amounted to 10,876,417 pounds. The imports of specie were 3,066,740 pounds, and the exports 1,898,062 pounds. The principal imports were cotton goods, of the value of 1,547,571 pounds; other textile manufactures, 668,604 pounds; machinery, 504,075 pounds; coal, 407,342 pounds; hosiery and clothing, 362,805 pounds; wine, beer, and spirits, 323,630 pounds; oils, 309,057 pounds; timber, 289,597 pounds; tobacco, 268,003 pounds; coffee, 239,589 pounds: iron and steel manufactures, 227,145 pounds; indigo, 222,773 pounds. The value of the exports of raw cotton in 1887 was 7,524,567 pounds; cotton seed, 1,277,050 pounds; beans, 524,380 pounds; sugar, 489,893 pounds; wheat, 169,803 pounds; rice, 133,800 pounds. Of the total export and import trade in 1887, the share of Great Britain was 54.2 per cent.; of France, 9.5 per cent.; of Turkey, 9.5 per cent.; of Austria-Hungary, 7.3 per cent.; of Russia, 7 per cent.; of Italy, 5.6 per cent.; of India, 2-5 per cent.; of Greece, 66 per cent.; of America, 56 per cent.: of all other countries 3:28 per cent. The conclusion of commercial treaties in 1884 with Greece, Italy, England, the United States, Portugal, and other countries promoted commercial exchanges, especially by th. impetus that it gave to tobacco imports. The Government receipts from tobacco rose from 124,410 pounds in 1884 to 387,000 in 1888. Agriculture.—The grain crops are sown in November and harvested in May or June. In March the principal summer crops are sown, consisting of cotton, sugar, and rice, which are ripe in October or November. Rice, sorghum, and vegetables are go. in July, and are ready to gather in September or October. In 1887 there were 1,288,361 acres under wheat, 977,064 under clover, 898,485 under cotton, 784,651 under beans, 709,867 under maize, 540,166 under barley, 458,100 under Egyptian maize, 155,833 under lentils, 155,418 under rice, 135,650 under helbe or fenugreek, 82,080 under potatoes, 73,914 under sugar-cane, 32,737 under vetch, 21,555 under melons, 13,885 under lupins, 12,101 under tobacco, 11,368 under peas, 5,147 under sesame, and 57.515 under vines, orchards, and other crops, making a total of 6,367,960 acres, of which 1,217,565 acres bore double crops. In Lower Egypt, where the land is watered by means of canals, four crops are grown in three years. In Upper Egypt irrigation is effected by flooding the land at high Nile, and seven crops are obtained in every six years. The number of feddans cultivated in Lower Egypt in 1887 was 2,743,990: in Upper Egypt, 2.217,472. The cattle and farm animals, ...i. horses and camels, was 1,668,860. There were 3,452,674 bearing date trees in 1887. The Nile rose in 1887 to the highest level recorded in 150 years. In 1888, on the contrary, there was, with the exception of 1877, the lowest Nile of the century. It was suspected that the Mahdists had deflected the course of the White Nile. The deficiency had a disastrous effect especially on the agriculture of Upper Egypt, where 300,000 acres were thrown out of cultivation. The resulting loss of revenue was estimated at £300,000. The number of men employed in forced labor by the Irrigation Department was 58,788. They cleared from the canals 8,893,300 cubic metres. The work done by machinery and hired labor costs about 5 d. per cubic metre. The expenses of dredging the Ibrahimieh Canal have been reduced by more than half since 1885. Railroads and Telegraphs. – The total length of railroad lines is 1,109 miles, of which 165 miles are double. The length of lines in actual operation in 1887 was 900 miles. The gross receipts were 1,296,568 Egyptian pounds, and the expenses 586,456 pounds. The Government in the beginning of 1888 had 3,172 miles of telegraphs, with 5,423 miles of wires. Cairo and Alexandria are connected by telephone. The number of European commercial telegrams dispatched in 1887 was 429,729: of Arabic commercial telegrams, 380,175 ; of railroad telegrams, 817,077. The Post-Office.—The number of domestic letters carried during 1887 was 8.174,000; of foreign letters, 4,742,000; of parcels, 130,676. The amount of specie transported was £11,486,095, as against £10,926,296 in 1886. Of the foreign correspondence 31 per cent. was with Great Britain. The Suez Canal.—The length of the canal, which was opened for navigation on Nov. 17, 1869, is 87 miles, inclusive of 21 miles of lakes. The share capital of the company consists of 395,471 shares of 500 francs each, of which 176,602 formerly belonged to the Khedive Ismail, and were purchased from him by the British Government in 1875 for the sum of £3,976,582. Besides this capital of 197,735,500 francs, the company has raised at various times 85,502,330 francs by 5-per-cent. obligations, issued at 60 r cent. of the par value; 24,098,580 francs y 3-per-cent. obligations; 8,709,000 francs by bonds paying 6% per cent. ; 3,864,000 francs by 5-per-cent. coupon bonds; and 53,062,810 francs in other ways. There are 100,000 founders' shares in addition to those placed on the market. The company's statutes provide that an interest of 5 per cent. on the paid-up capital must be first paid. All earnings in excess of that are divided in the proportion of 15 per cent. to the Egyptian Government, 10 per cent. to the founders' shares, 71 per cent. as dividend on the other shares, 2 per cent. to the employés, and 2 per cent. to the managing directors of the company. The surplus profits thus divided in 1887 amounted to 29.988,490 francs, and the dividend paid to shareholders, after providing for the sinking fund, was 15% per cent. The gross receipts for the year were 57,862,350 francs. The number of vessels that passed through the canal during 1887 was 3,137, of 8,430,043 tons. Of these, 2,330, of 6,372,586 tons, were British ; 185, of 567,064 tons, French ; 159, of 364,214 tons, German; 138, of 379,061 tons, Italian; 123, of 300,943 tons, Dutch: 82, of 197,675 tons, Austrian; 28, of 48,489 tons, Norwegian: 26, of 92,613 tons, Spanish; 22, of 57,847 tons, Russian; 10, of 23,093 tons, Turkish: 7, of 10,370 tons, Chinese; 7, of 5,677 tons, Portuguese: 5, of 3,609 tons, Egyptian ; 3, of 2,111 tons, American : 2, of 3,807 tons, Japanese; and 1, of 876 tons, Belgian. In 1888 the number of vessels that used the canal was 3,440, of which 1,608 passed through at night. The number of passengers was 183,000. Since 1870 the total traffic has been 40,297 ships, the tonnage has been 65,000,000, and the

number of passengers more than 2,000,000. The night service has reduced the average time of passage to 30% hours. The gross receipts for 1888 were 67,000,000 francs, and the expenses 7,743,000 francs, or 114 per cent. Events in the Soudan.-The conflicting rumors of the bazars, and tales brought from the Soudan by paid and voluntary messengers, soldiers of Hicks's army escaped from captivity, Greek traders in disguise, and other dubious elements, indicated in their main drift that the ower of the Khalifa Abdulla was on the wane in the early part of 1889. The first of the Egyptian garrisons to desert to the Mahdists had been Dara, which was betrayed by Khalet, wakeel of the Mudireh. Inducing the acting mudir of Keb Kubieh to join him, Khalet besieged Fasher, and captured it by strategy in January, 1885, sending a large store of rifles, a mitrailleuse, and twentyfour guns to the Mahdi at Omdurman. The Mahdists thought that they had the sympathies of the tribes of Darfour, and, leaving emirs in charge, they departed to enter on other conquests. Yet Yussuf, a grandson of the late Sultan, immediately arose, proclaimed himself Sultan, and for nearly a year held the province against the Mahdi's forces. Even after he was slain, and the country had been reoccupied, the o continued the war, and in 1887, when the ervishes were resolved on conquering Dar Tama, Waday, and others of the western provinces, they sent strong re-enforcements into Darfour. The generals of the Sultan of Waday put to flight the Mahdists with great losses, and they have never been able to establish themselves in that rovince, except at Omshianga and Shiaka. In ordofan Mahdism gained a strong foothold only in the principal centers, such as Obeid and Bara. The people of Darfour finally reconquered their independence with the aid of the Sheikh Senoussi, the powerful religious despot of the Sahara and Western Soudan, who gave the French much trouble in Tunis. When his general, Moheideen, appeared in the latter part of 1888, his force, augmented by accessions of the tribes around Bornu and Bogu, expelled the dervishes from Fasher, driving them back on Obeid. All the tribes of Darfour joined Senoussi, and the dervishes were driven out after many sanguinary battles, taking refuge in Kordofan. The Khalifa sent thern re-enforcements; but not withstanding these they were beaten again, and the city of Kordofan was occupied by Senoussi’s people, who were joined by the Arabs of the district. All the tribes of the Upper Nile were said to be against Mahdism in the beginning of 1889, excepting the Baggaras and the Dongolese. The Shoukrieh on the Atbara river revolted, and killed the Khalifa's officials. A Mahdist army commanded by Mohammed el Khair was said to have been defeated by Abou Ghema Iya, one of Senoussi’s generals, at a place seven days’ journey west of Omdurman. An English force was sent in the autumn of 1888 against Osman Digma, who was harassing the garrison at Suakin. The Mahdist general was beaten in a decisive engagement, and retired to Handoub. The English force was withdrawn from Suakin. Osman Digma also retired in February, 1889, to Tokar, where supplies were more abundant. Two months later he appeared again before Suakin, intrenched himself in its environs, attacked the Egyptian garrison, and succeeded in capturing a redoubt. The black troops were, however, fully competent to deal with the dervishes. On May 5 Col. Holled Smith, the Governor of Suakin, captured the port of Halaib, driving out the dervishes by shells from his vessels, in order to protect the trade fostered by the British. Successive armies were sent from Omdurman ainst Emin Pasha on the Bahr-el-Gazelle. In ovember, 1888, on the intelligence that the previous force had been annihilated, a fresh corps of 6,000 men was dispatched. The troops of the first expedition were reported to have been surrised in August, 1888, while cutting a passage or their steamer through the grass-dam that obstructed the White Nile, only a few of them escaping, leaving the steamers and barges with their stores and arms in the possession of Emin's men. In October there was a report of the surrender of one of Emin's garrisons south of Lado. One of the Khalifa's generals, Abou Hanga, was engaged in 1888 in an unsuccessful camo against King Johannes of Abyssinia. He raided Gondar, killing and taking captive large numbers of both sexes, but was beaten in a | battle, returning with only a few hunred of his men to Omdurman. When King Johannes threatened to advance as far as Khartoum, if necessary, in order to chastise the assassins, another army of 6,000 men was collected with difficulty in the neighborhood of Khartoum, which was victorious in the battle near Galabat, where the Negus lost his life. Advance of the Derwishes.—The Khalifa and his emirs began in 1888 to collect a force for a descent on Upper Egypt. Adventurous bands from Dongola and Berber have harrassed the garrison at Wady Halfa every year. The Khalifa decided to make this time a more determined attack than usual, in order to restore his diminishing prestige and rekindle the belief in his religious mission, since the Kabbabish and many other tribes began to place their faith rather in his rival, Senoussi, who was advancing in the western Soudan. The Soudan is an overpopulated country, becoming more so since the stoppage of the slave trade, and has been impoverished by intestine wars and the cessation of external commerce. Therefore it is not difficult to raise a force for any adventure that promises conquest or plunder, especially if the fanatical motive is added of wresting territory from the dominion of Christians. The retirement of the British troops from Suakin, regarded as a retreat by the Soudanese, encouraged them to engage in the enterprise. Wad el N'juma, the most trusted of the Khalifa's generals, collected a force of about 8,000 men at Dongola, and in April the vanguard moved forward from Sarras in the desert, encountering on April 30 the Egyptian icket at the village of Serra, where Major Judge eld his ground with 50 men, and, when re-enforced by Major Cunningham with 100 more, attacked and drove back the enemy, said to have been 450 strong. The dervishes lost 40 killed and captured. The Egyptian cavalry scoured the desert, expecting to cut off the dervishes' retreat to Sarras, but they had made a camp far out in the desert. In June the main body of the

dervishes was ready to advance from Sarras. On receipt of the intelligence that a force of 2,000 men were on the march and intending to turn Wady Halfa and secure a position to the north of it, Gen. Grenfell, the sirdar or commander-inchief of the Egyptian army, ordered Col. Shakespear with his battalion to re-enforce the garrison at Assouan. As these events coincided in time with the French demand on the English Government to indicate a time for leaving Egypt, the English garrison was sent forward a few weeks later to take up a position of observation in the rear of the Egyptian troops, and at the same time British troops were ordered from Malta and Cyprus to take the place of the troops withdrawn from Alexandria and Cairo, in order to avert the dangers of an insurrection of the Egyptian people in sympathy with the Mahdist invasion. The Khalifa sent envoys to Egypt bearing letters for the Queen of England and the Khedive, exhorting them to embrace Mahdism, and threatening them with invasion and extermination in case of refusal. In proof of his wer he inclosed the Queen's original letter that ad been taken from the Negus Johannes of Abyssinia, whose defeat and death had been the consequence of his refusal to adopt the new religion. A body of 340 mounted dervishes made a raid on Gustol, 40 miles north of Wady Halfa, but were driven back into the desert by the fire from a gunboat. Near the end of June Wadel N'juma had established his camp at Matuka, 12 miles south of Wady Halfa. Accessions to the horde made the total number 12,000 or 14,000, with 800 camels, before the onward movement began, but of these not more than 5,000 were fighting men, the rest being villagers pressed into the service, camp followers, slaves, women, and children. The Soudanese had great difficulty in feeding so great a number of non-combatants, and found, it impossible to supply them with water, as the Egyptians patrolled the river in gunboats, while their cavalry guarded the bank, to prevent the enemy from taking water from the Nile. Wad el N'juma made one determined effort to get a foothold on the river bank at Arguin, on July 2. His whole force, with his six guns, advanced in close order against the fire of the gunboats, three battalions of Egyptian infantry, the camel corps, and a field battery. They charged with desperation, but were easily repulsed by the artillery fire, and, leaving 500 dead on the field, they retreated to the hills, pursued by the cavalry and harrassed by the camel corps on their flank. There were 500 prisoners taken, and two of the enemy's guns. On the Egyptian side 70 men were killed or wounded, among the latter being two of the British officers. From that time daily numbers of the famished and emaciated camp followers deserted to the Egyptians. Parties of the enemy stole down to the river for water, and in nearly every instance were cut off, and killed or made prisoners. Those who returned to Serra and beyond found the river bank guarded everywhere. In the desert there were few wells, and these were seldom used by the invaders, who wished to retain the friendship of the Hadendowa nomads. Wad el N'juma, after his repulse at Arguin, deserted the camp at Matuka, and passed to the north of Wady Halfa. As they marched northward the Egyptian troops kept a parallel course in their steamers. Cavalry visiting their deserted camps found women and children dying from exhaustion. The sheiks of the Bimban district and the merchants of Assouan were in sympathy with the invaders, but were unable to aid them, as Gen. Grenfell had the entire west bank of the Nile, as far as Toski, cleared of crops and date trees, and the inhabitants all transported to the other shore of the river. On July 10 he issued a proclamation threatening with death any person who held communication with the enemy. At that date Wad el N'juma's army was camped three miles south of Abu Simbel, where it was bombarded by the gunboats on the 9th with destructive effect. The dervishes in smaller numbers attempted to advance on the east side of the river, but they encountered the enmity of the Bishareen Arabs, who held 400 of them besieged in their camp near Meissah. In some of the skirmishes with water parties the Egyptians killed as many as 60 and 90 dervishes at a time. Before the middle of July their losses in killed and wounded were estimated at 2,500, or half their fighting force. At that time the Emir of Dongola, who had supplied the Mahdist com. with his troops, sent 1,500 re-enforcements. The o forces, who were both before and behind the Mahdists, could easily have crushed them at any moment, but for political reasons it was given out that the #. were not strong enough, and the British garrison in Egypt was re-enforced by two regiments. Wad el N'juma was one of the most fanatical of the lieutenants of the late Mahdi. He had taken an important part in the rout of Hicks Pasha, had served with the Mahdi against Gordon, and commanded the Soudanese forces that confronted Gen. Wolseley at Metemneh. On July 16 Sir Francis Grenfell sent a proclamation to the Mahdist camp, calling on Wad el N'juma and the three principal emirs to surrender, and Wo's !. the lives of all should be spared. oad el N'juma had the messenger beaten, and then read the proclamation to the people. In his answer, he said: Your force is nothing to me, and my goal is not Bimban, as you think, but the world, which I am to convert. All who surrender to me.' I can protect. Your letters have been sent to the Khalifa to answer. I can not stop now. Take my advice and surrender. Remember Hicks and Gordon, and what little good their armies availed them. The dervishes remained many days at Khor, where they could obtain water from the wells of Abu Simbel, before undertaking the march of four days through the desert to Toski. Their camp was shelled by the Egyptian artillery several times. Maku el Nur, in command of the re-enforcements from Dongola, who were diminished by battle and desertions to about seven hundred men, joined Wad el Niuma about July 25, and on July 28 the Mahdists struck their camp and resumed their march northward. On Aug. 1 they took a position near Toski. There Gen. Grenfell with the black Egyptian infantry, assisted by a detachment of British mounted troops under Col. Kitchener, attacked them on Aug. 3. In the early morning a reconnoitering force of Egyptian cavalry and camels drew out ad el N'juma's entire force by a feint of re

treating to within four miles of Toski, where the infantry under Col. Wodehouse and the artillery under Maj. Rundle opened the attack, and a general action took place. After seven hours of severe fighting, the dervishes being driven from two positions in the hills at the point of the bayonet, the Egyptians won a complete victory, driving the enemy into the desert, after having killed Wad el N'juma, 12 of his principal emirs, and 1,500 of the fighting men, about half of the entire force. The Egyptian losses were very light. The Egyptian infantry fought with steadiness i courage, withstanding a succession of fierce onsets of the dervishes. The Egyptians pursued in gunboats the retreating remnant of the invading force, and occupied Sarras, but afterward evacuated it, and drew back to their old line at Wady Halfa. ELIXIR OF LIFE. The desire to arrest the natural decay of age, to prolong life, if not indefinitely yet for a space beyond the ordina term of human existence, has prevailed in all times and among all peoples. hen all men desired immortality, the world was loath to believe that its great heroes shared the common fate of humanity. King Arthur sleeps at Avalon, and Holger Danske dreams until the appointed hour for awakening. Barbarossa sits spell-bound in Thuringia until his red beard shall have wound itself thrice around the great stone table before him. Charlegmagne slumbers less quietly in the Odenberg, for he emerges once a year to bless the harvests. Brian Boroihme in Ireland, Boabdil the Unlucky and the great Cid in Spain, Kuez Lavai in Servia, and other celebrities, elsewhere, wait, crowned and armed somewhere in the bosom of Mother Earth, until the time shall be ripe for their return. Merlin sleeps in an old tree spell-bound by Vivian. John the Divine lies at Ephesus, untouched b corruption, the ground heaving above him wit every breath, waiting the summons to come forth and bear witness against Antichrist. Joseph of Arimathea sleeps a sleep that is not that of death in the holy city of Arras. The resting-places of all these heroes and saints have been discovered at sundry times by persons who have lost their way; and in most cases the intrusion has startled the slumberers so that they have opened their eyes only to find that the appointed time has notarrived. On the other hand, the curse of a deathless life has been passed on more than one unfortunate—on the dancers of Kolbeck, because they sighed for an eternity of their mad revels: on the Wild Huntsman, because he wished to chase the wild deer forever; on Vanderdecken, captain of the “Flying Dutchman,” because he vowed he would double Cape Horn whether God willed it or not; on the Man in the Moon, because he gathered fagots on Sunday: on the Wandering Jew, because he refused to let the crossladen Saviour rest for a moment on his threshold. But the horrors of an enforced immortalit were never more vividly painted than by Swift in the Struldbrugs of Luggnagg, who were doomed to an eternity of dotage, a burden to themselves, despised by the beings born to the happier heritage of death. Tennyson, in his monologue of “Tithonus,” has set forth the É. etical and philosophical aspect of immortal life without immortal youth.

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »