'If you do not
send Zubehr, you have no chance of getting the garrisons away.'
'I believe,' said Sir Evelyn Baring in support of these telegrams,
'that General Gordon is quite right when he says that Zubehr Pasha is
the only possible man. Nubar is strongly in favour of him. Dr. Bohndorf,
the African traveller, fully confirms what General Gordon says of the
influence of Zubehr.' The Pasha was vile, but indispensable.
Her Majesty's Government refused absolutely to have anything to do
with Zubehr. They declined to allow the Egyptian Government to employ him.
They would not entertain the proposal, and scarcely consented to
discuss it. The historians of the future may occupy their leisure and
exercise their wits in deciding whether the Ministers and the people were
right or wrong; whether they had a right to indulge their sensitiveness
at so terrible a cost; whether they were not more nice than wise; whether
their dignity was more offended by what was incurred or by what
General Gordon has explained his views very clearly and concisely:
'Had Zubehr Pasha been sent up when I asked for him, Berber would in all
probability never have fallen, and one might have made a Soudan Government
in opposition to the Mahdi. We choose to refuse his coming up because of
his antecedents in re slave trade; granted that we had reason, yet, as we
take no precautions as to the future of these lands with respect to the
slave trade, the above opposition seems absurd.