(3). Passports. Custom-House.
Passports are usually asked for at all the Egyptian ports, and if
the traveller is unprovided with one he is liable to detention and
great inconvenience. Difficulties of this kind, however, are often
removed by a judicious administration of bakhshish (p. 16) in the
absence of the higher officials.
Custom-House. As a rule the traveller's luggage is opened at
the custom-house. One of the articles chiefly sought for is cigars,
on which 75 per cent of the estimated value is charged. Consider¬
able difficulty is also made about admitting firearms and car¬
tridges. In such cases the examination will be greatly expedited
by the payment of a douceur of a few francs.
On all goods exported, one per cent of duty is charged on the
estimated value, and luggage is accordingly examined again as the
traveller quits the country; but exemption from this troublesome
formality may be again obtained by the above-mentioned expedient.
The exportation of antiquities is strictly prohibited (p. 24). If
luggage be forwarded across the frontier, the keys must be sent
with it; but, if possible, the traveller should always superintend
the custom-house examination in person.
Consuls in the East enjoy the same privilege of exterritoriality
as ambassadors in other countries. A distinction is sometimes made
between professional ('consules missi') and commercial consuls,
the former alone having political functions to discharge ; and there
are consuls, vice-consuls, and consular agents, possessing various
degrees of authority. In all cases of emergency the traveller should
apply for advice to the nearest consul of his country, through whom
the authorities are most conveniently approached, and who will
effectually watch over his interests. It is therefore very desirable
that travellers should take the earliest possible opportunity of en¬
tering into friendly relations with these most useful officials, and
the more so as access to some of the principal objects of interest cannot
be obtained without their intervention. The kavasses or consular
officers, also render important services to travellers, for which they
expect a fee, although not entitled to demand payment.
On 1st Jan. 1870 an important reform in the Egyptian Legal System
which is to be tried for five years, came into operation. Foreigners had
hitherto been entirely withdrawn from the civil and criminal i'uris-
diction of the Egyptian authorities, their consul alone being competent
to take cognisance of cases in which they were concerned. Besides the
native authorities, there thus existed no fewer than seventeen co-ordinate
consular tribunals, each of which administered the law of its
country; and as it was often uncertain before which tribunal and b
what law a case would ultimately be decided, the system caused seriou^
inconvenience both to the landed and commercial interests. The Egypt'
government at length made a proposal, which was specially supported
by the now retired minister Nubar Pasha, and was acceded to by the