GOVERNING ELEMENTS, OLD AND NEW FROM what has been said about the character of the Occupation, it will be seen that to talk about England `governing' Egypt is a misuse of language. We do not govern Egypt; we only govern the governors of Egypt. From the beginning our idea has been that the actual administration of the country should be left in native hands, with a certain number of Englishmen to see that things are properly done. Impatient critics have sometimes complained of this complicated system. Why, they say, do we not obtain simplicity and efficiency at once by abolishing it, and establishing a complete British civil service, like that which accomplishes the far more difficult task of managing the affairs of the peoples of India?
The reason is that we pledged ourselves not to annex or incorporate Egypt ourselves, but simply to prepare the Egyptians for self-government. It was a promise given in haste and with an inadequate knowledge of the facts. If we had known in 1882 all that we have learnt since, it would assuredly not have been given at all. But given it was; and the policy it suggests has been steadily kept in view. Honestly and laboriously we