Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

226

ARMY COMMANDED BY TURKS.

In the formation of the Egyptian army, Mohammed Ali's greatest difficulty was to find a class of men of whom he could make officers. The Arabs—with all their ignorance -were probably more fit for the purpose than the Turks; but he was justly fearful that the officers, if taken from the same class as the soldiers, would acquire an influence which might prove subversive of his plans; and cause his own destruction, without effecting any permanent good for the country; whereas, by persuading the Turks to accept the superior offices, he kept them in his interest, without apparently doing any injustice to the contemned native Fellah.

Aware, however, that this state of things cannot last; whilst Mohammed Ali affects to favour the Turks, and is obliged to humour their prejudices; he is at the same time preparing the natives of the country - who are by no means so inveterately opposed to Frank innovations, and do not possess the overbearing conceit and obstinacy of the Osmanleesto take the stations to which their superior

ESTABLISHMENT OF SCHOOLS.

227

acquirements will entitle them. By the encouragement given to talent and the establishment of schools, they are already made aware of the debt of obligation they owe Mohammed Ali. They are also daily losing some portion of the awe with which they have been accustomed to regard their Turkish

Turkish oppressors, and it is to be hoped will—when they become aware of their strength, which they inevitably must do ere long-see the necessity of remaining united, and the advantage of following up a sistem that has wrought so happy a change in their condition.

It follows, from what I have above stated, that at the present moment the officers compose by far the worst class of the Egyptian army.

Hence it must be evident that the Arab troops cannot be what our neighbours call “ manquvrières ;" indeed, their utmost knowledge of tactics amounts to deploying from column into line, reforming column, and a few similar simple movements; and even these are executed in a loose and slovenly manner, and occupy a space of time that

228

DISCIPLINE OF THE TROOPS.

would cause their utter destruction before most European troops.

But, if Mohammed Ali has not succeeded in bringing his army to a very high state of either instruction or discipline, he has, at all events, organized a body of men fully equal to cope with any enemy against whom he is for some time likely to have to contend ;a force to which the country is indebted for its release from the thraldom of the Porte and for its present state of civilization; the community at large, for the security Thich it affords to trade, science, and industry; by whose means, in fine, an order of things has been established, which, if fortunately followed up, will make Egypt once more a rich and powerful nation.

Let not Mohammed Ali deceive himself, however, by supposing (as his parasites constantly assure him) that his troops are quite a match for the best disciplined soldiers in Europe: indeed, regarding the Egyptian army in that light, there is something quite ludicrous in its present Franco-mussulman state :

THE ARAB SENTINEL.

229

from the short affairé gait of the French Pasha,* its instructor general — whose exchristian legs, encumbered in a Turkish nether garment, struggle in vain for the mastery over its cumbersome and ample folds — to the listless Arab sentinel posted at his door, who — regardless of all decorum, civil and military–having laid his firelock down in a corner, sits at his ease, "faccendo la caccia dei pidocchi !"

• Sulieman Pasha (Colonel Sevès.) To this officer is due the credit of having, with infinite pains, patience, and perseverance, despite of jealousies, backbitings, and prejudices, and with but slight assistance from his subordinates, brought the Egyptian army to its present state of discipline — such as it is a task, which certainly bespeaks the possession of rare military qualities. From his services in the Morea, where he was the principal adviser of Ibrahim Pasha, it may be inferred that he is equally as capable of directing an army in the field as of preparing one for it-au reste, according to the general testimony of his countrymen (for I had not the honour of his acquaintance) he is in social life “ un brave garçon,” and, as far as having three wives and a handsome service of pipes and coffee cups, he does his “petit possible" to convince the world that he is a good Mussulman.

230

PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

CHAPTER VIII.

Public Schools - Encouragement given by Mohammed Ali to the

Education of the Lower Orders-Artillery and Naval College at Tourah — Cavalry School at Ghizeh -Medical and Veterinary College at Abouzabel — Disadvantage under which it labours from the want of a common Language between the Professors and Students Instance of a Dragoman's free TranslationConcluding Remarks on the College-Clot Bey.

If to the army Egypt be indebted for the progress she has made towards civilizationto the public schools that have been founded must she henceforth look for completing her regeneration : and, although many persons are disposed to accuse Mohammed Ali of hav. ing solely had the furtherance of his own ambitious projects in view by establishing the former, he must certainly, considering his advanced age, be acquitted of the charge of educating the rising generation for

any

selfish purpose.

« ForrigeFortsæt »