From Alan Moorehead’s The Blue Nile, explaining the cultural conditions after Napoleon began his Egypt campaign in 1798:
It was perfectly true that the Mamelukes, in moments of violence, behaved infinitely more cruelly to the Egyptians than the French did. But this was not the point. The Mamelukes were the devil they knew, and Bonaparte was not. His sincerity — and there is no doubt at first his approach to the problems of governing Egypt was both very sincere and very intelligent — was misunderstood. The Egyptians naturally looked for duplicity beneath the apparent altruism.