Mehemmed Ali Pasha, the victorious pacificator of Egypt and Arabia, is already renowned in the civilized world. Egypt, once the home of discord and the headquarters of anarchy, under his administration has long enjoyed peace and prosperity; is permeable in all directions, and in perfect safety to the merchant and the traveler, and is yearly progressing in wealth and improvement.
The Viceroy has been particularly attentive to revive and extend those commercial relations of Egypt with the surrounding countries, which once rendered it the richest and most flourishing territory in the ancient world.
A well chosen library of the best European books on the art military, geography, astronomy, medicine, history, belles-lettres and the fine arts has been purchased from Europe by the Viceroy and placed in the palace of Ismael Pasha, where is also a school, at the Viceroy’s expense, for the instruction of the Mussulman youth in the Italian language and the sciences of the Franks. To which establishments has been lately added a printing press, for printing books in the Turkish, Arabic and Persian languages, and a weekly newspaper in Arabic and Italian. The library and the press are under the superintendence of Osman Noureddin Effendi, a young Turk of great good sense, and who is well versed in the literature of Europe, where he has resided for several years, by order of the Viceroy, for his education: he is at present engaged in translating into Turkish some works on tactics, for the use of his countrymen.
For several years past the inland commerce of this favored land had suffered great interruptions from the confusion and discord to which the countries on the Upper Nile have been a prey. The chiefs of Shageia had formed themselves into a singular aristocracy of brigands, and pillaged all the provinces and caravans within their reach, without mercy and without restraint; while the civil wars, which have distracted the once powerful kingdom of Sennaar for these last eighteen years, had occasioned an almost entire cessation of a commerce, from which Egypt had derived great advantages.
His Highness the Viceroy, in consequence, determined, as the most effectual means of putting an end to these disorders, to subject those countries to his dominion.
Four thousand troops were accordingly put under the command of Ismael Pasha, the youngest son of the Viceroy, with orders to conquer all the provinces on the Nile, from the Second Cataract to Sennaar inclusive.
Through the influence of the recommendation of Henry Salt, Esq., His Britannic Majesty’s Consul General in Egypt, I was ordered by the Viceroy to accompany this expedition, with the rank of Topgi Bashi, i.e. a chief of artillery, and with directions to propose such plans of operation to the Pasha Ismael as I should deem expedient, but which the Pasha might adopt or reject as he should think proper.