Warburton, Eliot
Travels in Egypt and the Holy Land, or, The crescent and the cross: comprising the romance and realities of eastern travel — Philadelphia, 1859

Page: 229
DOI Page: Citation link: 
https://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/warburton1859/0543
License: Public Domain Mark Use / Order
0.5
1 cm
facsimile
APPENDIX.

229

The inundation of the Nile affords a universal, and the only, manuring of
the lands of Egypt. When the waters retire about the month of November
the seed is sown, and harvest appears in March. Thus, new wheat and
barley can be offered in the English markets in the first week of April.

Until 1821, the cotton plant was only found as an ornament in some
gardens of Cairo. It is now, after wheat, the most important production of
the valley of the Nile. Its culture adopted by the Pasha, at the recommen-
dation of M. Jamel, a Frenchman, succeeded beyond expectation. It is
planted in March, and gathered in November or December: it requires a good
soil, and renewal of seed every third year. Indigo is also a recent introduc-
tion, and produces considerable revenue to the Pasha, particularly that which
is grown in Nubia. Rice is kept in water, and afterwards under damp straw,
until it begins to germinate ; then planted in moist land. It is sown in
November, and threshed at the same time, and in the same primitive majmer
as the wheat.

The more fruitful soil in Egypt produces three crops in the year ; one by
inundation, and two by irrigation. This last I have already described as
very severe labour, and as employing 150,000 men, with 50,000 oxen, at the
shadoofs and water-wheels. The monstrous injustice which is practised on
the peasant in various forms of taxation is almost incredible. Government
supplies oxen and seed, it is true, but the pensant has to pay nearly the value
of the former every year, and the latter is always given in fraudulent measure,
and demanded back in full. The taxing officers frequently exact twice or
threefold the value of their claims ; and even when this is paid, the poor
peasant may be called upon to make up the arrears of any insolvent neigh-
bour.

The Pasha has established a number of factories, in which cotton, linen,
woollen, silk, and other stuffs, are produced, besides iron foundries, and manu-
factories of arms. There are fifteen cotton factories, containing 1459 spin-
ning-jennies. That called " Malta," at Boulac, is well worth a visit, and, to
a superficial observer, appears as well conducted as any in England. The
wool employed in the cloth factories is native, except a small quantity im-
ported from Tunis.

The manufactures of Egypt are altogether monopolized by the Pasha, and
only maintain their existence by his fiat. Notwithstanding the low prices of
the raw material, and the small expense of human labour, this extensive
speculator can be undersold by Europeans in every branch of his various
manufactures. Besides this, the articles are all inferior in quality to those of
Europe. The climate appears to take part with the inhabitants against
manufactures: the heat of the weather is injurious to the material, and the
fine sand that pervades every breeze of wind is very destructive to the ma-
chinery. Moreover, the cultivable soil of Egypt, which the most inveterate
political economist will allow should first be attended to, requires more labour-
ers than the present population can afford ; and thus the country suffers sja
much from Mehemet Ali's passion for manufactures as from war.

/
loading ...