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a shock. My reluctancy in that quarter, you will understand; but I hope the talented individual to whom it refers, will, ere this, have rivetted his fastidious (not mine ungenerously to say fickle) choice on some brighter being than your poor friend. It will break like a torpedo on the Podds. O yes! we anticipate. - She who crested it so high at Tinglebury to stoop to a Flemish foreigner !”
She, whose opinions were dearer to her than the quick of her bones, to join in nuptial bands with a Papist !” Witness I not the laugh? Hear I not the supercilious mockery?-The Nibletts, who will shout for joy, to conceive me in the filaments of their net -I can parry them, too. Secure in feminine principle and Christian integrity, strong and stately as the adamantine cedar in the foundations of my felicity, I can put aside the Podds ; and forgive -meet the Nibletts ; and challenge her to assert which has chosen the best. A foolish creature, my dear, will have it that I promised him a promenade. 10! * Well, indulgence was always inevitable to your Diana and here is Mr. Pecker, on the other side, telling me the post must go. My eyes are in a whirl. Am I treading on cerulean air ? Feel, kindest partner of my girlhood’s fond experiments, for your fluttering
RAILROADS IN EGYPT.
THERE is no remark oftener repeated than that the affairs of this world are in a perpetual state of mutation. One of the most striking examples of its truth is the constant changes that take place in the relative importance of kingdoms and states. Neglect is now the fate of many nations that once filled the world with the fame of their achievements : and spots which have been comparatively forgotten acquire, from time to time, a sudden and unexpected prominence, blaze with unwonted light, become the theatres of political intrigue, the arena to which is transferred that strife betwixt rival powers, which, whatever form it may assume, whether it wears the horrid garb of war, or dons the more decent apparel of peace, ever continues to rage, and is frequently most
* From a direction in Miss Rill's MS., the Editor presumes the above exclamation to be Italian. It is not, however, in Baretti.
violent, when, in the eyes of the superficial observer, it has ceased to exist.
Egypt is precisely in such a position. For several years it had been by many considered merely as a field for the labour of the antiquarian-à land of wonder, of pyramids and obelisks, of temples and propylæama region peopled, if we may so speak, with mummies, hieroglyphics, and crocodiles. The French campaign, the more brilliant than solid rule of Mohammed Ali, but above all, the establishment of what is called the Overland Route, have changed all this. Egypt does not now only appeal to the imagination and historical sympathies of men, its affairs are no longer foreign to us, they come home to our business and bosoms; the whole English nation, directly or indirectly, is interested in every question which concerns it. There is scarcely a family perhaps in the United Kingdom some relation or friend of which is not compelled to use this once mysterious land as a common highway; the mythical gloom which formerly overhung it is dissolved ; we look at it now in a much more vulgar light, and not only feel curiosity about its condition, but more than that, are absolutely compelled in some respects to take the initiative in matters which we might otherwise deem it advisable to leave for ever unmeddled with on our part. Before the Overland Route was regularly established, Egypt was visited for its own sake, in order to satisfy the requirements of a liberal curiosity ; it is now the half-way house between England and India, one of those stepping-stones which enable steam, with its giant strides, to traverse the vide expanse of water that separates us from our possessions in Asia.
Various projects have been started for the purpose of improving this route ; and to some of them we shall endeavour to direct the attention of our readers. But before doing so, let us premise a few words on the actual state of the transit. We are not among those who join in the outcry against the present arrangements. There have been, doubtless, many just complaints made ; but it cannot be concealed, that the cause of the outcry now raised against the whole establishment is the assumption of it by the Pasha. Whether this was a wise or proper act on his part is a question open to discussion, but into which we do not think it necessary at present to enter. This, however, we must say, that the violent and indiscriminate attacks that have been made, the exaggerations that have been indulged in, the distortion of facts as regards the transit
administration, are not very creditable, and have tended to damage very much that respect in which Englishmen should always be held. Unjust accusations often fail in producing the desired object; but they are never without some effect, for they recoil on him who makes them, and throw a stain on the quarter whence they proceed. We allude more particularly to certain articles which have appeared in the Bombay press, emanating, probably, from interested parties, in which advantage is taken of certain accidents incidental to the season, as the heat and want of water, both in the Nile and the Mahmoudiyah, to denounce the whole conduct of the transit, and to declare that it is virtually at an end.
We are in a position to contradict these statements, having not only performed the journey ourselves, but having had opportunities of hearing the opinions of many hundreds of persons who have Ilone so likewise. The following, then, we believe, is a fair representation. The transit is far from perfect ; both in matters of detail and in the general plan fault may be found and improvements suggested ; the journey, especially that across the Desert, is always fatiguing, and great hardships are sometimes encountered. People who travel between Alexandria and Suez must not expect to find, especially in manners, the same facilities and comforts as between London and Liverpool. Egypt is still a semicivilized country, whatever some sycophants may pretend. But we can bear testimony to the fact that the employés, high and low, are polite and obliging; so that we never heard a single complaint made by any passenger of personal incivility. The inconveniences and hardships that are experienced, chiefly during two months of the year (June and July), are the result of the same system of mismanagement which causes much of the misery of Egypt. It has always, for example, been a custom in that country to neglect public works when once completed, and the Mahmoudiyah Canal, therefore, has been suffered to choke up in many places ; but, we can assure the complainants, not out of any desire to impede the transit. The same cause which has compelled many of our countrymen to undergo so much fatigue between Alexandria and Atfeh, has also offered serious impediments to the whole commerce of the country, and acted as a great discouragement to agriculture. But these things are not, as they are represented to be, quite new. In 1815 there were similar obstacles encountered, though not in the same degrec ; because we have this year had a very low Nile, and because Said Pasha thought or found it necessary to irrigate
luis rice fields liith the water that was intended to serve the purj'ose of navigation. We are aware, that if a hundredtlı part of the energy ere exhibitel in cleaning that was exhibited in making the canal, it might always be kept tolerably open ; but we can scarcely expert this in a country where the principle is, never to put a ne piece of cloth on an old garment.
In saving this, we do not mean that we despair of ever seeing any improvement, that we must always be content to be tugged along in more or less discomfort in heavy truck-boats, or wheeled across the desert in two-irheeled vans, it an enormous expense of animal life. On the contrary, our object in the present paper is to show that vast improvements may and must be made ; but, at the same time, the course many have pursued is both unjust and impolitic. It is unjust, because the complaints are in many instances unfounded, or misdirected ; it is impolitie, because if a man like the Pasha finds that what he does do is ill appreciated or misrepresented, he may take it into his head to do nothing at all.
Ilowever this may be, one thing is certain, that having gone to Go great an expense in perfecting that portion of the route to India which lies over her proper domain, the sea ; having succeeded to a certain extent in opening a new line of communication through the centre of Europe, England cannot rest satisfied until every possible improvement is introduced into the transit through Egypt. Luckily there has for a long time existed in the mind of Mohammed Ali a desire to lend himself in this particular to the views of Great Britain. Twelve years ago, Galloway Bey, his engineer in chief, laid before him a project, of which he instantly appreciated the importance. It was proposed to him to construct a railway from Cairo to Suez, which would not only save a great deal of valuable time, but enable passengers to escape from that most disagrecable portion of the journey, the crossing of the desert.
The history of this project, and of the cause of the delay that has taken place in its accomplishment, is a curious one; but we cannot at present undertake more than a sketch, or rather a notice, of some of the most important heads. The first step, naturally, was to have the ground surveyed, which was done very minutely by the projector himself. It was soon ascertained that instead of any engineering difficulties existing, there scarcely ever was a line which held out hopes of being completed at so small an expense. The peculiar conditions under which labour was to be
procured being taken into consideration, it appeared more than probable that the whole work could be executed for £300,000. Every encouragement therefore was offered on this score ; and, in fact, the difficulties that have been thrown in the way of the construction of the railway have never had reference to the cost of its construction ; they have all been political, within the province of diplomatists, not of engineers-of consuls general, not of surveyors.
Before the establishment of the Overland Route in its present state, it required some sagacity to see that such a line as that we mention would be of the importance it must now acquire. It is
mind that can look forward and estimate the probabilities of the future. Men are too apt to follow in the train of events, to be led by circumstances instead of moulding them. It does therefore some honour to Mohammed Ali that he early perceived and acknowledged the value of the Suez railroad, and took steps for its construction.
In 1834 Galloway Bey received instructions from Mohammed Ali to carry out the proposed undertaking, and proceeded to England to make the necessary arrangements, purchase of rail, &c. At the same time he was deputed by his Highness to acquaint the British Government with the circumstances. All he required by way of remuneration was a common transit duty on merchandise of 7 per cent. Confident that so rea nable a proposition could not fail of being fully acceded to, Galloway Bey lost no time in laying it before the government, who unfortunately treated the communication with indifference. This of necessity disgusted the Pasha, and served the interests of foreign powers, in dissuading him from carrying on the work. Political events now crowding round him, and being repulsed
power most interested in the construction of the railway, Mohammed Ali suffered the idea for a long time to sleep, though twenty miles of rail, with locomotives, were actually brought over from England by Messrs. Galloway ; and instead of resuming at the final settlement of the Egyptian question this once favourite project, he allowed himself to be drawn by French influence into others of doubtful utility or apparent absurdity. The fortifications of Alexandria, which are crumbling at one end whilst they are unfinished at the other, attest the prevalence of idea opposed to sound improvement ; and the Barrage-a project truly barbarian, in which means are employed vastly disproportionate to the end