Khedive Tewfik


Evelyn Baring's (later Lord Cromer) initial task in 1884 as diplomatic agent and Consul-General of Britain was to demand that Tewfik should abandon the Sudan. Tewfik gave his consent with reluctance, but, having consented, he did everything he could to ensure the success of the policy which Baring had been sent to carry out. He behaved with equal propriety during the negotiations between Sir H. Drummond Wolff and the Turkish envoy, Mukhtar Pasha, in 1886. His position was not a dignified one but that of a titular ruler compelled to stand by while others discussed and managed the affairs of his country. The Sultan was his suzerain; in Britain he recognized his protector: to the representative of each he endeavoured to show friendliness and esteem. As time went on his confidence in Baring increased, until at last he deferred to the British agent in almost everything. On occasion, however, he acted on his own initiative, as when in June 1888 he dismissed Nubar Pasha and summoned Riaz Pasha to form a ministry, an action influenced, nevertheless, by Tewfik's knowledge of the divergence of views between Nubar and the British agent. Baring encouraged Tewfik to show his activity in matters of administration, and he took a great interest in all matters connected with irrigation, education and justice. He was not an imposing man, but he showed a genuine desire to govern his country for its own benefit. He understood the importance to Egypt of British assistance and support; his natural shrewdness made him accept the British conditions; his natural good feeling kept him from any inclination to intrigue.

In private life he was courteous and amiable. He had no desire to keep up the unapproachable state of an oriental ruler. Indeed, in many ways his manners and habits were less oriental than European. He married in 1873 his kinswoman, Emina Ilhamy, with whom he lived very happily. She was his only wife and Tewfik was a strong advocate of monogamy.


The Road to Suez




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