Secret History of the English Occupation of Egypt
- THE FUTURE OF ISLAM 1882
- IDEAS ABOUT INDIA 1885
- THE SECRET HISTORY SERIES
- I THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH OCCUPATION OF EGYPT 1907
- II INDIA UNDER RIPON 1909
- III GORDON AT KHARTOUM 1911
- IV THE LAND WAR IN IRELAND 1912
- V MY DIARIES PART I. [THE SCRAMBLE FOR AFRICA] 1919
- VI MY DIARIES PART II. [THE COALITION AGAINST GERMANY] 1920
- LOVE SONNETS OF PROTEUS 1880
- THE WIND AND THE WHIRLWIND 1883
- IN VINCULIS 1889
- A NEW PILGRIMAGE 1889
- ESTHER AND LOVE LYRICS 1892
- GRISELDA 1893
- SATAN ABSOLVED 1899
- SEVEN GOLDEN ODES OF ARABIA 1903
- POETICAL WORKS. A COMPLETE EDITION 1914
SECRET HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH
OCCUPATION OF EGYPT
Being a Personal Narrative of Events
WILFRID SCAWEN BLUNT
NEW YORK ALFRED·A·KNOPF MCMXXII
BY WILFRID SCAWEN BLUNT
Published, October, 1922
Set up and printed by the Vail-Ballou Co., Binghamton, N. Y.
Paper furnished by W. F. Etherington & Co., New York, N. Y.
Bound by the Plimpton Press, Norwood, Mass.
MANUFACTURED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
When I first arranged with Mr. Blunt to publish The Secret History of the English Occupation of Egypt, I suggested that he write for the American Edition a brief foreword bringing the book into even closer relation to the Anglo-Egyptian situation as it stands today. He thought this idea a good one, and agreed to write such a note. But Mr. Blunt was born in 1840, and has for a number of years been in failing health. In June he wrote me that he was so ill as to be quite unable to finish the foreword, which he had actually commenced to write. He felt furthermore that any advantage the edition would gain by having a new preface by him would be more than counterbalanced by any delay in the appearance of the book "at the present extremely critical moment."
He remarked further: "What could I have said more appropriate today as a new preface than the few words which already stand as the short preface I set to the first edition of my Secret History (published in London and which you reprint in this new edition). This and my poem The Wind and the Whirlwind (which you also give as an Appendix). Both are absolutely true of the present shameful position of England in Egypt and the calamity so closely threatening her Eastern Empire. What could I say more exactly suited? This is the punishment we are reaping today for our sin of that sad morning on the Nile which saw the first English gun open its thunder of aggression just forty years ago at Alexandria in the name of England's honour. What could I add to my words of grief and shame then uttered and repeated here? Let these stand for my new preface. My day is done. Alas! that I should have lived to see those words come true of England's punishment, more than true."
A. A. K.
I desire to place on record in a succinct and tangible form the events which have come within my knowledge relating to the origin of the English occupation of Egypt—not necessarily for publication now, but as an available document for the history of our times. At one moment I played in these events a somewhat prominent part, and for nearly twenty years I have been a close and interested spectator of the drama which was being acted at Cairo.
It may well be, also, that the Egyptian question, though now quiescent, will reassert itself unexpectedly in some urgent form hereafter, requiring of Englishmen a new examination of their position there, political and moral; and I wish to have at hand and ready for their enlightenment the whole of the materials I possess. I will give these as clearly as I can, with such documents in the shape of letters and journals as I can bring together in corroboration of my evidence, disguising nothing and telling the whole truth as I know it. It is not always in official documents that the truest facts of history are to be read, and certainly in the case of Egypt, where intrigue of all kinds has been so rife, the sincere student needs help to understand the published parliamentary papers.
Lastly, for the Egyptians, if ever they succeed in re-establishing themselves as an autonomous nation, it will be of value that they should have recorded the evidence of one whom they know to be their sincere friend in regard to matters of diplomatic obscurity which to this day they fail to realize. My relations with Downing Street in 1882 need to be related in detail if Egyptians are ever to appreciate the exact causes which led to the bombardment of Alexandria and the battle of Tel-el-Kebir, while justice to the patriot leader of their "rebellion" requires that I should give a no less detailed account of Arabi's trial, which still presents itself to some Egyptian as to all French minds, in the light of a pre-arranged comedy devised to screen a traitor. It does not do to leave truth to its own power of prevailing over lies, and history is full of calumnies which have remained unrefuted, and of ingratitudes which nations have persisted in towards their worthiest sons.
Sheykh Obeyd, Egypt.
Since the first brief preface to my manuscript was written twelve years ago, events have happened which seem to indicate that the moment foreseen in it has at last arrived when to the public advantage and without risk of serious indiscretion as far as individuals are concerned, the whole truth may be given to the world.
Already in 1904 the original manuscript had been thoroughly revised, and in its purely Egyptian part remodelled under circumstances which add greatly to its historic value. My old Egyptian friend, Sheykh Mohammed Abdu, of whom so much mention is made in it, had taken up his country residence at my doors at Sheykh Obeyd, and I found myself in almost daily intercourse with him, a most precious accident of which I did not fail to take full advantage. That great philosopher and patriot—now, alas, lost to us, for he died at Alexandria, 11th July, 1905, the day being the twenty-third anniversary of the bombardment of that city—after many vicissitudes of evil and good fortune had attained in the year 1899 to the supreme position in Egypt of Grand Mufti, and having thus acquired a wider sphere than ever of influence with his fellow countrymen, had it at heart to bequeath to them a true account of the events of his time, events which had become strangely misunderstood by them, and clothed with legends altogether fantastic