Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922 | View Entire Issue (July 15, 1906)
The Omaha Sunday Bee.
HALF TO:iE SECTION
P2g:s 1 to 8
No Filthy Sensations
THE OMAHA DEC
Best ttT. Vcst
VOL. XXXVI-NO. 4.
OMAIL, SUNDAY MORNING, JULY 15, 1906.
SINGLE COPY FIVE CENTS.
AROUND THE WORLD WITH WILLIAM JENNINGS BRYAN
Experience in Egypt with Quarantine and the Pest of Flies that Annoyed Pharaoh, Together with Some Observations on the Physical and Social Conditions that Prevail and the Danger that Threatens the Fellah
AFF, April 23, '06. (Special Correspondence of the Bee.)
The first article on Egypt might have been begun with an
account of our stay In quarantine, but as this precaution
igalnst the spread of Asiatic diseases Is of modern origin, X
thought it best to speak of it in this article.
The P. It O. steamer Persia, which brought us from Bombay to
Egypt, was suspected of having four cases of plague on board. One
man having died and been burled at sea Just before we reached Sues,
and three more being ill, the international health board insisted on
taking charge of the ten passengers bound for Egypt. We were
, taken on board a barge and towed a couple of miles up the Sues
canal to the quarantine station, which we reached about midnight
Besides the four in our family, there were three Americans
from Ohio, two English merchants from Egypt and an English lady
engaged In missionary work in Palestine. We were comfortably
housed In one story brick buildings and were informed that we
would have to remain there five days unless further Investigation
removed the suspicion of the plague. While the members of the
company proved to be very congenial, we were all anxious to have
the stay shortened as much as possible on account of Its Interference
with our plans.
At the end of two days we were notified that a bubonic germ
had been discovered and that we must stay the full time. The quar
antine station is situated on the bank of the canal and is surrounded
on three sides by as barren a desert as can be found. The buildings
are enclosed by a double fence, and the on)y exit is to the wharf
through a lane. We were permitted to go to the wharf and, under
the escort of a guard, were allowed to gather shells on the bank of
the canal. Thus occupied, when not reading or writing, the days
passed much more pleasantly than we had expected, and we were
almost sorry when the time came for us to separate. One day our
quarters were visited by a slrrocco, and from the dust and sand that
filled the air until the sun was darkened we were able to gain some
Idea of desert life.
Canal a Huge Ditch.
The canal itself is a little disappointing. It is simply a hags
ditch, and with an expanse of sand on either bank seems, narrower
than it is. The sides are not walled as a rule, and the depth thirty
feet does not reveal Itself. Several dredges are constantly at work
removing the sand which drifts in with the wind or is washed in by
the tide. The canal is said to follow the route laid out more than
8,000 years ago by Rameses II. About 3,600 ships pass through the
canal each year, an average of nearly ten a day. Somewhat mora
than that passed during our stay, some of the ships being loaded
with Russian soldiers from Japan, and others crowded witn pilgrims
i 2 returning from Mecca.
J On the afternoon of the fifth day the head physician came out -
SUVA loioaoou UD uu a Ul DU IUW kUtl. w u ww . "-DP
but somewhat belated information, that the three men taken from
the ship did not have the plague; we had,' however, been so court
eously treated that we did not complain of the board bills or quar
antine fees, even though the detention proved unnecessary. The '
spread of the plague through Europe would be such a calamity that
ire realize It la better to err on the side of over-caution. At any
rate, we have added to our experience- and are carrying the yellow
flag (the quarantine signal) home as a trophy.
A few hours' ride brought us to Cairo, the metropolis and cap
ital of Egypt. It Is not an ancient city, as they count time in Egypt,
having been founded about 1,000 years ago, -but it has in' the busi
ness portion the appearance of a European ciy and contains a popu
lation of more than 600,000. . Of its Inhabitants 35,000 are Euro-,
pean. the Greeks . leading with, about 10,000 and taa. Italians;
Trench, English,' Austrians and Germans following In the order
named. The British would outnumber the French If the garrison
were included, but the city reminds one much more of France than
of England. Many of the buildings recall the streets of Paris, and
the sidewalks adjacent to restaurants and saloons are filled with
tables and chairs as In continental Europe
Cairo Is a city of mosques and minarets, as one quickly dis
covers when he takes a bird's-eye view of the city from the citadel,
which stands upon an eminence In the suburbs. While the main
streets are suggestive of Europe, the native quarters and bazars are '
distinctly oriental, many of the .streets being too narrow for a car
riage. The shops are for the most part little open booths, and each
line of business has Its particular section. On one street silver and
goldsmiths monopolise the space; another street is gay with red
shoes; In another the red fes, the universal hat, is conspicuous; and
still another is given over to vegetables. Some of the larger stores
handle Persian rugs, silks, brass ware. Inlaid work and patchwork
reproducing the drawings found on tombs and temples. The bazars
also abound in interesting reminders of 'the land of the mummy,
the pyramid and the sphinx.
Nile and Its Fertile Valley.
We had not been In Cairo long before we visited the banks of
the Nile, that, wonderful river without whose fructifying waters
there would have been no Egypt. It is one of the most remarkable
in some respects the most remarkableof all the rivers of the
earth. No wonder the ancient Egyptians Included a Nile god among
their deities, for next to the sun, to which they raised their obelisks,
nothing was so necessary to their existence as this almost magic
stream. The Nile renders fertile two narrow strips, one on either
bank, 4,000 miles long and but a few miles wide. . For 1,300 miles
it flows through a desert and receives but a single tributary in that
distance, and yet. after supplying irrigation for the crops of some
10.000,000 of people, It pours Into the ocean a scarcely diminished
stream. The annual rise of the river not only supplies water, but it
renews the land by deposits of alluvial soil.
Some one has described the Nile valley as appearing, If seen
from above, like a strip of green carpet on a Hoot of gold, so yellow
' are the sands that hem it In. No 'one who has not visited an arid
country and noted the Influence of water upon the thirsty soil can
imagine how distinctly the line is drawn between the verdant field
and the barren desert that adjoins It Where the waters of the Nile
can be brought upon the land, a farm will rent for $30 per acre,
while a few feet away the land cannot be given away. Lord Cromer
In a recent report gives the income and expenditure of a number of
the fellaheen, or farmers. The statements shows that $100 worth of
cotton is sometimes produced from a single acre or about f 30 worth
of corn. The average income, taking all crops together, often runs
as fclgh as S50 per acre.
An Increasing quantity of land is being brought under the
canals, but irrigation from wells is still the main reliance of a large
proportion of the people. Water can be found at the level of the
water in the river, and the landscape is dotted over with old-fash-loned
well sweeps and with water wheels, where blindfolded camels
or oxen tread their patient round. The land produces so abundantly
and there la such a variety of garderiand farm products that one
recalls that passage in the Bible in which the children of Israel
are described as longing for the "fleshpots of Egypt." Coming from
India to Egypt we could not but notice the difference in the appear
ance of the people. In the former country they looked so emaciated
and hungry; in the latter they are strong and robust, and seemingly
well fed. In the markets, too. the food is heaped up in big baskets,
while in India it is exposed for sale in tiny piles that speak only
too plainly of the poverty of the people.
Fellah Feeds Them AIL
For ages upon ages the fellah has drawn from the inexhaus
tible storehouse of the Nile. Cheops, Kephren and their successors
built pyramids, and the fellah fed the builders; Thutmosls and
Sethos and their descendants constructed tombs end temples, and the
fellah supported the laborers; the Rameses added gigantic statues
to the stupendous works of their ancestors, and the fellah still fur
nished food; the Persians overran the country, and still the hand
of the fellah supplied the necessaries of life; then came Alexander
the Great, and the Ptolemies, Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, and the
' " " ' ' ' '.' .. .,!' ; ' v7'-.i:.;-:-vVv;,
v- i x fTsrjV vT-v,'f't
( i'J -IStn' -U- : fe.yf.t'::rv v..:.
...... M..(M.4yr jl' i ; i -t li ' .r '.-i' v, . ;j J . J -f'i'iiii..
VIEW OF THE CITY OF CAIRO.
fellah plowed-on; after the Roman came the Arab, and after the
Arab the Turk, followed byNapoleon and later by the Brlton,' but
through all this change of dynasties the fellah kept "the noiseless
tenor of his way," and as. a middle man, handed over the bounties
of the Nile valley to the rulers, and their armies and he Is doing so
today. Of the 1,100,000 land owners, nearly 960,000 hold less than
five acres each, and -almost' half of the total acreage Is owned by
12,300 persons. More. than one-tenth of the tillable Is owned Hy
1,600 Europeans. - .
- ' Very few horses are seen In the country, the beasts of burden
being the ox (there are a few water buffaloes also) , the-donkey and the
camel. The ox resembles the American rather than the Indian ox in
that it has not hump on its shoulders and the drawings on some of
the walls represent cattle with horns as large as those formerly worn
by the Texas steer. The donkey poor, patient creature has not
changed materially in the last 4,000 years. The pictures drawn of
him by the ancient Egyptians show him Just as he is now. Then, as
now, a large part of his nourishment went to the development of his
vocal organs and left the rest of his body woefully small for the
large burdens which he was called upon to carry. If his disposition
Slick Work of Speculative Crooks
was as gloomy in the days of the Pharaohs as it is at present, ha
probably annoyed them when he lifted up his voice and wept as he
now annoys the tourist.
The camel, however, if the test is special fitness for the country.
Is the king of beasts. He pulls the plow, urns the water wheel, draws
the wagon, carries burdens, and for long distance travel outstrips
the horse. Equipped with emergency water tanks, he can go for
several days without drinking, and for this reason is of inestimable
value on desert Journeys. He kneels to receive his load, though
sometimes with pathetic groans, and Is as docile as the horse. He
has sometimes been styled "the ship of the desert" and seems to
have been fashioned for this peculiar region. His large, padded
feet do not add to his beauty, but they enable him to cross sandy,
plains into which a horses's hoof would sink.
! Plague of Flies Still Potent
The Elble says that the plague of flies brought upon Egypt when
Moses was endeavoring to secure the release of the Israelites was
removed when Pharaoh promised to let the people go, but one is
inclined tb think that they afterwards returned when Pharaoh again
hardened his heart for nowhere have we found files like those of
' Egypt. They bite with unusual vigor and are very persistent in their
attentions. At first we thought It strange that people should carry
horsehair brushes as a protection against the files, but we were soon
driven to follow their example. These flios seem to be especially
attracted to the eyes of children. As these files, like those la
. other countries, carry disease, it is not strange that sore eyes should
be especially prevalent here. Blindness seems to be more common
than elsewhere, and a very considerable percentage of the people
have lost one eye. So widespread Is this affliction that Sir Ernest
Cassell has established a fund of 40,000, the interest on which Is to
be devoted to the treatment of diseases of the eye. Already the
fruits of this beneficence are being enjoyed by the poor. The
Mohammedan women in Egypt wear veils a custom which is but
slowly giving way to western ideas; if the eyes of the children were
protected with half as much care as the faces of the women, what
benefits would resultl
- England's Authority and Influence.
The government of Egypt defleB definition. Nominally, the khe
dlve Is the supreme authority, aided by a native legislative council
and assembly (their business Is to advise, however, rather than to
legislate), but back of the khedlve is Lord Cromer, the agent and
consul general of England, whose power is undefined and almost
unlimited. England's authority in Egypt rests upon the articles of
capitulation signed after the bombardment of Alexandria In 1882. In
these articles It was announced that England's occupancy would be
of brief duration, but In 1904 she secured from France, Germany,
Austria-Hungary and Italy consent to postpone the fixing of a data
for her withdrawal, she at the same time announcing thai it was
not her intention to interfere with the political situation in Egypt
England's reasons for remaining in Egypt are , very clearly
stated by Lord Mllner in his book entitled "England in Egypt" Ha
says: "On the one hand, our commercial interests In Egypt are so
i great and growing that her prosperity, which would be immediately
wrecked by mlsgovernment is a matter of concern to us. Secondly,
and chiefly, the geographical position of Egypt compels attention to
her political position. We have nothing to gain by owning the
country ourselves, but we should have a great deal to fear from Its
falling into the possession of another power." "
. England's interests in Egypt are numerous. She takes most of the
' VIAUSISXiSawrn&ar ihrlpiitricf
of Columbia jail awaiting trial on a number of different
swindling counts, had made a couple of visits to South
, America, addressing his investigations particularly to
Ecuador and the United States of Colombia. When he
struck ; Washington , last autumn he had the finest assortment of
ornately stamped "concessions,", all beautifully written out in flow
ing Spanish, ever put on view in this capital, whero such documents
are by no means out of the ordinary.
The merest cursory examination of these "concessions" was
enough to convince anybody possessed of sufficient imagination that
the holder had Just about nabbed first chance at everything of value
in Ecuador and Colombia hundreds of square miles of gold fields
(he didn't getrat whack at mere, mines, but whole "fields"), silver
fields, copper fields, emerald beds, hundreds of thousands of acres
of rubber plantations in full bearing, vast deposits of phosphates and
nitrates, whole provinces of oil that was only a couple of feet beneath
topsoll, and so on.
The young man, who claimed to be a Harvard graduate, a law
yer, a chemist and an engineer, chose a notoriously rich field for the
exploitation of his "concessions" when he came to Washington. He
even organized a little "exchange bank" of his own, consisting of a
table, a couple of chairs and some neat rubber stamps for the print
ing of the word "accepted" on drafts, with his wife to act as draft
stamper in his absence, and he was very busy telling easy Washing
ton fol.Ks about all of the good South American things of his when
he slipped the cog that landed him in Jail.
This one got caught. That's something that few of the large
and Ingenious tribe of "concession" holders who operate in Wash
ington do. The gieat majority of them get away with the swag.
Some of them, the quietest an4 most retiring kind of workers, too,
have been almost unbelievably successful in separating Washington
folk from their money.
Few of the smart crooks who prey on the Washington popula
tion through the medium of phony investment enterprises do their
work to the accompaniment of any blare of trumpets. They install
themselves in certain hotels or fashionable boarding houses, and,
being execellent mixers and handshakers, they get acquainted easily
enough, parade their good thing in a confidential sort of way to a
few, "show them" how the Investment of a few hundred of thou
sands will infallibly grow into yachts and country villas in a very
brief space of time, and thus get the word passed around. The first
victims "let in on the ground floor" innocently bring their friends to
the sacrifice, and thus the profitable group of Investors is formed.
The Rubber Game.
A typical case was that of a chap who did a big thing of it on
the strength of a magnificent rubber plantation In Chiapas. Mexico,
that he didn't own. He came to Washington about a year ago. He
installed himself In a high grade boarding house in the toffy resi
dential eectlon, called In Washington the Northwest, and proceeded to
get acquainted with the folks in the neighborhood. One of his best
equipments toward this end was a good southern patois, tor, despite
the infusion of northerners, the capital remains almost as southern
This cheerful worker knew everybody for blocks around the
boarding house within two months after he had hit the town. He
didn't say a word about rubber to any of them for a long time.
Then he took two or three of the men folk into his confidence
as to that proposition. He didn't ask them to buy anything. He
simply told them what a fine thing he had himself, and he always
had an ample bundle of yellow money somewhere In his clothes and
k trick of flashing it in a wholly unostentatious way.
He rigged matters so that they had to ask him the nature of
his fine snap, and then he told them. Rubber plantation in Chiapas,
ever so many tens of thousands of acres, all trees In bearing. He
was acquiring some more tens of thousands of acres, however, right
alongside of those already In bearing, and bad organized a company
to take over those new acres and finance the working of the new
section. He discoursed expansively on how sauch money per acre
rubber trees produce.
He showed the first two or three a book of photographs of the
Chiapas plantation, showing his own splendid hacienda right in the
middle of it. surrounded by palms and pictures of natives tapping
the trees and collecting the rubber, and so on. He got them rubber
mad. They pleaded to be allowed to get into the new company with
a little savings they had put away. He didn't seem to be eager to
teiTnVm-Tnraidlo Vhe'y wound xTp : byanttnVthat hV let them Porhi of Egypt and sel!9 tior than any ther countrjr to Egypt. '
At length he let these early ones have a few thousand shares in the
new plantations at SI a share.
They passed the word around among their friends and neigh
bors, and these, too, got interested in rubber. They hunted up the
ingratiating rubber man, and he permitted them to accrue some of
the stock at $1.50 a share. He confined his operations exclusively to
the neighborhood of his boarding house a region embracing a
radius of about five squares in the different directions.
A Nervy Shadower. 1
Then somebody came out with a word of doubt as to whether
that Chiapas rubber plantation was entirely on the level. The doubt
ful word reached the ears of the rubber man.' He flared up instantly,
and then he did an audacious thing. He told the people who had
purchased stock of him that he wanted them to select the most re
liable man In the neighborhood to accompany him to Mexic to have
a look at that Chiapas plantation. They picked out a dentist of the
best repute, and together the rubber man and the dentist hied down
to Chiapas, Mexico.
The rubber man showed him a sure-enough rubber plantation in
Chiapas, and even took him to the hacienda on the plantation that
he pretended was his own and showed him the furniture. He hap
pened to know that only the manager of the plantation was living
in the hacienda at the time, and as the manager didn't know the
game of the rubber man from Washington, he didn't let any word
fall to give the snap away or indicate that the cheerful worker from
Washington didn't own the whole business.
It was a bold move, but it went through on greased skids. The
rubber man and the dentist retrned to Washington, and the dentist
went through the neighborhood telling everybody what he had seen,
what superb thing the Chiapas plantation was, what a fine time he'd
had at the hacienda, and so on.
Which made It mighty fine for the rubber man. They stormed '
his doors to buy stock at f 3 a share on the dentist man's report, and
he swam on the top crest of a veritable tide of gold for four months.
Then, three months ago, he Just went away from here, and nobody
has seen or heard of him since. The bubble didn't burst till after
he left The folks who bought his pretty gilt embellished stock cer
tificates know now that the plantation the dentist man was shown
around in Chiapas belongs to a Mexican who has never been in the
United States. The beauty of this grafter's dodge was that every
thing he took in was pure velvet, except for the cost of having the
pretty stock certificates printed. He didn't spend n nickel for ad
vertising. Winning ways got it. too. for another . adept neighborhood
worker who pulled up In Washington a couple of years ago with
three or four fine specimens of genuine uncut emeralds which he
said be had "picked up" on an immense emerald claim he had staked
out for himself In Brazil, together with about half a ton of beautiful
specimens of tourmaline, which resembles the emerald closely in the
Irishman with a Beautiful Brogue.
This adept, who was un Irishman with a beautiful brogue, but
who could talk the best of Spanish with such Latin-American lega
tion attaches as he happened to meet, took the handsomest flat In
one of the best apartments in town, furnished it splendidly and pro
ceeded to get acquainted with folks in very much the same manner
as tbe man with the rubber stock. When they visited him at his flat
he had a way of dazzling tr em, on their second or third visit, by sud
denly conducting them to a room where he had his emerald and tour
maline specimens 6pread out in artistic disarray on a table having a
coverlet of white velvet.
The sight of the emerald and tourmaline specimens banked
around on the while velvet was beautiful in Its barbaric lavlshness,
' tnd it, of course, evoked instant Inquiries as to where the specimens
came from. The host told the inquiriers with a clever reluctance.
He'd "picked up" the emeralds he told them that tbe whole pile
was composed of emeralds, and got away with It every time on
that emerald bed he'd staked out for himself dovn in Brazil, and as
the price of emeralds was about four times that of diamonds, he had
billions in sight, and so on.
II was organizing a little company, not too heavily capitalized
only f 100,000 to start work at the emerald beds. He didn't
.(Continued on Page Two.),
In the last report of Lord Cromer It Is shown that Great Britain
has he benefit of considerably more than half of the contracts
(about $5,000) entered Into by the Egyptian railway for supplies.
Then, England's citizens own land in Egypt and tney are also inter
ested in the Egyptian debt, which, by the way, amounts to about
$500,000,000, or, approximately $100 per acre of the-tillable land.
The irrigation schemes now developing will require the expen
diture of large sums on contract, and these will give opportunities
for English capital.
The second reason given by Lord Mllner is emphasized by him
and is probably the paramount one, viz., that shetannot afford to
have the valley of the Nile held by a rival power. Her interests In
the Soudan and in India lead her to guard the Suez canal with Jeal
ous care. Lord Mllner suggests as a reason why England should re
main in Egypt that her withdrawal might be followed by such an
abuse of government as to lead to bankruptcy and French Interven
tion. The old argument, "if we don't do it somebody else will," is
presented as the strongest support of British Interference.
English influence, however, has been less harmful in Egypt than
in India, and this is probably due, in the main, to two causes; first
her influence is exerted through a native government whose au
thority she acknowledges; and second, because the interests which
other nations have in Egypt make them oppose any encroachments
on the part of England, while in India she has a free hand. As an
.illustration I might cite the fact that she compels the Indian to sup
port the Indian army while she pays the ordinary expenses of the
3,000 British soldiers In Egypt and only asks Egypt to pay for the
extraordinary expenses. It Is no reflection upon England to say that
she Is better for being watched. We believe that in regard to our
own public men, and it is simply a recognition of the frailty of
human nature. Lord Cromer has been in Egypt for twenty-six years,
and his reports indicate a desire to advance tbe welfare of the people
of Egypt. He has doubless been helpful to the Khedive. He has
insisted upon honesty in the public service and has been a friend of
Debt and Danger to Egypt.
While the national debt contains a large amount of 'usurious
Interest and is therefore much heavier than It ought to be. It has
been funded at a lower rate of interest and Is being gradually pall
off. The debts that are being Incurred for the extension of irrigation
will be more than redeemed by the sale of the land reclaimed, and
the country wlU then have the benefit not only of the reclaimed
land but of the Increased value of lands indirectly benefited. Al
though the salt tax (contrary to Lord Cromer's advice) is still over
200 per cent, the per capita rate of taxation has been reduced; agri
cultural and postal banks have been established, and the government
railway, telegraph and telephone systems have been extended. In
bis 1903 report Lord Cromer presents an argument in favor of gov
ernment roads as against roads owned privately.
The great danger that Egypt has to fear is the disinheritance ot
the fellah and the alien ownership ot the land. Unless great care is
taken Egypt will drift into the condition of Ireland and India and be
drained of her resources by foreign landlords. It is very difficult
for a foreign representative to arbitrate impartially between his own
people at home and the natives among whom he temporarily resides,
and Lord Cromer will deserve great credit if he is able to protect the
Egyptians from exploitation. However well meaning the English ad
visers are now or hereafter may be, Egypt's safety must lie in the
development of her own people. The legislative council understands
this and Insists upon the extension of the school system. Tt is wise
in so doing, for every educated man or woman adds to the moral
force that restrains and directs the government
An Increase in the number of educated not only tends to the
preservation of law and order, but furnishes a large number fit to be
officials, and thus lessens the excuse for the employment of for
eigners. There has been, among reformers, some discussion of a
constitution, but as that would curtail the powers of the khedlve
as well as define the authority of England, it would probably be
opposed at present by the Moslem leaders.
I cannot conclude without a reference to the pioneer work done
in the field of education by the United Presbyterians. They have
several churches and a number of very successful schools and must
be credited with having contributed largely to the progress which
Egypt has Bade and Is making. WJUJA.lt J, J)RYAK '
.(Copyright 1908. ), . - f
Powered by Open ONI