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Departure of the English from Egypt-Misery of the Inhabitants of
Egypt, Mahomed Ali's Exactions-Exasperation of the Sheiks— The Sultan sends Presents to the Viceroy of Egypt_Toussoun appointed Pacha of Two Tails Destruction of the MamlukesDreadful State of Cairo-Mahomed Ali's Remark on the Massacre of the Mamlukes.
IMMEDIATELY on the departure of the English, the Pacha turned his attention, once more, to his old enemies, the Mamlukes. Those, however, of the House of Elfy, entreated his clemency. He took them into seeming favour, and gave them, in proof, the whole province of Fayoum. Their leader he loaded with rich presents and words of grace, and then dismissed him in the fond belief that he was anchored, at length, in the safe har-' bour of the Pacha's friendship.
Still he did not lose sight of the other ramifications of that dangerous order. To effect his plans,
however, he had to tax his ingenuity to the highest point. His exchequer was empty. The wants of his army were like a whirlpool —continually clamorous, and swallowing everything within their suction. Though he had less than twenty thousand men, his officers received
proportion to an army of nearly ninety thousand effective
Yet this was an evil to which the Pacha found himself compelled to yield; for his was a military government, and if his army were to become irate and rebellious, where would he find himself ? Certainly not on the throne. The villages of the Delta and the Said, were falling into ruins; the inhabitants, no longer able to support the burthen of the imposts, had long deserted their dwellings, and fled into the Oases and distant quarters. In the country, agricultural labour was at a stand : in the cities, the few remaining inhabitants—wretched, ragged and hungry-were passing away the day in supplications to Heaven for relief. A heavy taxation was imposed on every article of merchandize, and the monopoly of tobacco was attempted ; but both means failed to produce wherewithal to supply the exigencies of the Viceroy. The increase of the Nile, most opportunely for the people, intervened between them and starvation.
The Pacha was now so careless of acting in conformity with the views of the body of the people, that he courted only his military safeguard ; yet the former had been the stepping-stone to his elevation. He demanded from them the half of all religious endowments, whether hospitals, wells, or cisterns ; mosques, or otherwise. The Sheiks demurred; but the Pacha threatened force. The Sheiks, exasperated, sent him word that they would use and waste limb, and life, and earthly goods for the protection of their sacred establishments : in fact, every thing tended towards a popular commotion. He, however, continued to flatter and cajole the people, and, when in a little better humour, he banished their chief and principal spokesman, Seydoman.
The day of Mamluke extermination was now drawing at hand. The Pacha had received repeated orders from Constantinople to undertake the celebrated expedition against the Wahabees. This he was anxious to do, for there was much glory and greater riches to be acquired by the adventure; if, too, it should prove successful, all his enemies would be intimidated, and the Pacha himself seated as firmly as a rock on the ancient throne of the Pharaohs. But it would have been a mani. festation of childish reliance and ignorance to send the very flower of his army on so distant an enterprize, while such deadly and ever active enemies as the Mamlukes were left to revel and to plunder in the very centre of his dominions. This reasoning induced the determination for their thorough eradication from the country.
med's resolves were like the “ dicta Parcarum,” and though they were tardy in completion, still that tardiness was yet a surer sign of the fixedness and obstinacy of purpose, seldom manifested in youth, always the characteristic of old age.
“ Gradum studio celerabat anili."
His plan was effected on the occasion of a public festival. The Grand Seignor had sent his Kislar Aga to Cairo, as bearer of costly presents to the Pacha, and the firman appointing Toussoun the son of Mahomed, to the dignity of a two-tailed Pachalic. The same youth had been by his father nominated general of the army of Arabia. The 1st of March 1811 was the day set apart for the investiture of Toussoun : and the ceremony was ordered in the citadel. The principal portion of the Mamluke body, that indeed most conspicuous for its activity and boldness, under Elfy's successor, Chahyn Bey, had been enticed some time previously into the city, loaded with honours and attentions, and quartered in an appropriated part of the city.' These Mamlukes had been invited to take part in the parade and festivities of the day; and they consented to do so.
In the morning Chahyn Bey, with his staff and officers, apparel. ed in whatever they possessed of the greatest cost and magnificence, came to the Pacha's hall of audience in the citadel, to offer their congratulations on so joyous an occasion. Mahomed received them with the greatest affability. They were presented with coffee, and he conversed with them severally, with openness of heart, and serenity of brow. But the serpent lay hidden in its bed of roses !
The procession was ordered to move from the citadel, along a passage cut in the rock. The Pacha's troops moved first, followed by the Mamluke corps. As soon, however, as they had passed the gate, at that end of the rocky passage which leads to the citadel, it was shut suddenly against the latter, and Mahomed's forces were ordered to the top of the rocks, where they were perfectly secure from the aim of their victims, and whence they leisurely fired upon the defenceless Mamlukes, and butchered them in cold blood, almost to a man ; for escape was difficult, that end of the defile by which they had entered having been also closed, and its breadth, in many parts, being so scanty that two horsemen could with difficulty stand side by side. Of those who were fortunate enough to find shelter in the Pacha's harem, in Toussoun's abode, and elsewhere, all were merci. lessly dragged forth, conducted before the Kiaya Bey, and beheaded on the spot. The body of the brave leader Chalyn, was exposed to every infamy. A rope was passed round the neck, and the bloody carcase dragged through various parts of the city, exposed all the while to the execrations and the contumely of the inflamed populace. The citadel