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: 231
DOI Page: Citation link: 
License: Public Domain Mark Use / Order
1 cm


vans, is valued at about £400,000 Every year a caravan comes from Abys-
sinia with a number of black slaves, gold-dust, gum, ivory, ostrich feathers,
&c.; another caravan from Morocco, with pilgrims for Mecca, comes through
Algiers, Tripoli, and Tunis, across the desert, to Alexandria. There are also
caravans arriving occasionally from Damascus with silks, dried fruit, and oil.
In 1822, there were only sixteen mercantile houses in Alexandria, there are
now forty-four; of these thirteen are French, nine are Austrian, and only
seven are English. There is a tribunal of Commerce established by the Pasha,
by which all mercantile disputes and differences are heard and adjudged.

In 1814, suddenly appeared that astonishing decree, by which the Pasha
announced to the inhabitants of Egypt that the whole country belonged to
him, and that all the dwellers therein were but labourers on his great farm, or
at best but tenants at his will. Mehemet Ali made a pretext to visit Arabia,
while this decree was being carried into effect by his minister. The men bowed
tamely to his decree, but the women rose tumultuously, and excited some leading
sheikhs to make a demonstration of resistance. One of the latter was arrested
and executed on some pretence foreign to the occasion; the women were
allowed to talk out their indignation, and Egypt has been ever since the un-
questioned private property of the Pasha. Soon afterwards, he appropriated
all the revenues belonging to pious institutions, and took them under his own
protection. This last measure created more dissatisfaction than the former
one, as it rendered many desperate. Previous to this appropriation, 6000 per-
sons received daily alms from the mosque of El Azhar alone, and 2000 slept
within its walls.

It is true that Mehemet Ali had a precedent for thus taking possession of
all the land in Egypt in the case of Joseph's Pharaoh, Osirtesen the First, in
tho year 1706 B. C.: but, in the latter case, the Egyptians received a consid-
eration for the loss of their possessions, and Pharaoh only virtually possessed
himself of quit-rents, amounting to one-fifth of the value of the agricultural
produce. From Mehemet Ali the Egyptians received nothing in lieu of their
possessions, except a somewhat better administration of public affairs and some
better irrigation for the lands. In return for this, the Pasha claims four-fifths
of the produce of the land.
loading ...