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Cyprus, as I Saw it in 1879 by Sir Samuel W. Baker

Part 6 out of 7

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enormous and overpowering.

In times of scarcity, which unfortunately are the general conditions of
the country, owing to the deficiency of rain, the farmer must borrow
money not only for the current expenses of his employment, but for the
bare sustenance of his family; he has recourse to the usurer, and
henceforth becomes his slave. The rate of interest may be anything that
can be imagined when extortion acts upon one side while poverty and
absolute famine are the petitioners. The farm, together with the stock,
are mortgaged, and the expected crops for a stipulated number of seasons
are made over to the usurer at a fixed sum per measure of corn, far
below the market price. Another bad season adds to the crushing burden,
and after a few years, when the unfortunate landowner is completely
overwhelmed with debt, perchance one of the happy years arrives when
propitious rains in the proper season bring forth the grand
cereal-producing power of Cyprus, and the wheat and barley, six feet
high, wave over the green surface throughout the island. The yield of
one such abundant crop almost releases the debtor from his misery;
another year would free him from the usurer; but rarely or never are two
favourable seasons consecutive; the abundant harvest is generally
followed by several years of drought. This pitiable position may be
quickly changed by government assistance without the slightest risk.

The first necessity is capital, and the usurer must disappear from the
scene. I do not think that an agricultural bank will be practically
worked, as the value of money in the east is above 6 per cent., which is
the maximum that the Cyprian cultivator should pay. The government must
advance loans for the special erection of water-wheels, or other methods
of irrigation, at 6 per cent., taking a mortgage of the land as their
security; this loan upon water-works to take precedence of all others.
The government can borrow at 4 per cent., and will lend at 6, which is
not a bad beginning for a national bank. The water-wheels can be
constructed in a few weeks, and their effect would be IMMEDIATE; there
would be no doubtful interval of years, but the very first season would
leave the cultivator in a position to repay the loan; at the same time,
the government would reap the direct benefit of a certain revenue from
the irrigated and assured production of the land.

This is no visionary theory; the fact is already patent in the few farms
belonging to wealthy land-owners that I have already described, as
exhibiting the simple power of a few water-wheels to produce abundance,
while upon the margin of such verdant examples the country is absolutely
desert, parched and withered by a burning sun, yielding nothing either
to the owner or to the revenue, while at the same time the water-supply
is only four or five yards beneath the feet of the miserable proprietor,
who has neither capital nor power to raise it to the surface.

There is no necessity for the government to embark in any uncertain
enterprise, neither should they interfere with the native methods of
irrigation; and above all things, no money should leave the island to
fill the pockets of English contractors in the purchase of pumps, or
other inventions. All that is required by the Cypriote is capital; lend
him the money at 6 per cent.: the government will be saved all trouble,
and the profit to all parties will be assured. The money expended in the
erection of water-wheels or other works will circulate throughout the
island in the payment of native labour, and will relieve the wants of
many who, in the absence of land, must earn their livelihood by manual
labour. "Water!" is the cry throughout this neglected island; it has
been the cry in Eastern lands from time immemorial, when in the thirsty
desert Moses smote the rock, and the stream gushed forth for multitudes;
when Elijah mocked the priests of Baal with, "Call him louder!" in their
vain appeal for rain, and the "little cloud, no bigger than a man's
hand," rose upon the horizon in answer to his prayer. In the savage
tribes of Africa, the "rain-maker" occupies the position of priest and
chief. In England, the clergy offer prayers for either rain or for fine
weather. In Cyprus the farmer places the small picture of the Virgin
upon his field, before which he lights his tapers, which the wind
extinguishes; at the same time THE WATER-SUPPLY IS CLOSE BENEATH HIS
FEET, and the expenditure of a few pounds sterling would produce a
permanent blessing and uninterrupted prosperity by practical common
sense and labour, without any miraculous interposition in his behalf.

There are few countries where such facilities exist for irrigation, and
the work should be commenced without delay. Should next year be one of
drought like the spring of 1879, the greatest misery will befall the
population; there is already sufficient disappointment in the want of
progress since the British occupation, and the feeling will be
intensified should the assistance of government be withheld in this
crying necessity of artificial irrigation.

The Cypriote well-sinker is wonderfully clever in discovering springs,
and I have already described the method of multiplying the water-power
of one source by securing and concentrating the neighbouring sources.
This work only requires money, and the inhabitants, without further
assistance than loans secured by a water-rate upon the district, will
rapidly develop the natural supply. There should be a special commission
appointed, in each of the six districts of Cyprus, to investigate and
report officially upon this subject. In forming the commission, care
should be taken that the native element should predominate, and that no
enthusiastic English engineer, blooming with new schemes, should thrust
into shadow the Cyprian intelligence upon the working of their own
systems. If I were an English engineer employed in any work, I should
probably have the natural failing of enforcing my own opinions; but from
many years' experience I have come to the conclusion that the
inhabitants of a country are generally better qualified than strangers
for giving practical opinions upon their own locations. There is plenty
of intelligence in Cyprus; the people are not savages, but their fault
is poverty, the natural inheritance of Turkish rule; and we, the
English, have the power to make them rich, and to restore the ancient
importance of the island. In England, at the time that I am writing,
money is not worth 2 per cent. owing to the general depression of trade;
the money-market has been in this plethoric or dropsical state for the
last three years, and there appears to be no hope upon the commercial
horizon of a favourable change. In Cyprus the resources are great, but
the capital is wanting, and the strange anomaly is presented that the
exchange of the British for the Turkish flag has not increased public
confidence. Something must be done to change the present stupor; if
Cypriotes were Candians (Cretans) their voices would be forcibly heard,
and the Turkish rule beneath the British uniform would be quickly
overthrown. The Cypriote, down-trodden for centuries, is like sodden
tinder that will not awaken to the spark: he is what is called "easily
governed;" which means an abject race, in which all noble aspirations
have been stamped out by years of unremitting oppression and injustice;
still, like the Cyprian ox, he ploughs the ground. It is the earth alone
that yields the world's wealth: if we have no other thoughts but
avarice, let us treat the Cypriote as we should his animal, and make him
a wealth-producer. England has acquired the reputation of the civiliser
of the world; it is in this character that we were expected to effect a
magic change in the position of Cyprus; instead of which we have
hitherto presented a miserable result of half-measures, where
irresolution has reduced the brilliant picture of our widely-trumpeted
political surprise to a dull "arrangement in whitey-brown" . . . which
is the pervading tint of the Cyprian surface in the absence of
artificial irrigation.



The life at our quiet camp at Trooditissa was a complete calm: there
could not be a more secluded spot, as no human habitation was near,
except the invisible village of Phyni two miles deep beneath, at the
mountain's base. The good old monk Neophitos knitted, and taught his
boys always in the same daily spot: the swallows built their nests under
the eaves of the monastery roof and beneath the arch which covered in
the spring, and sat in domestic flocks upon the over-hanging boughs
within a few feet of our breakfast-table, when their young could fly.
Nightingales sang before sunset, and birds of many varieties occupied
the great walnut-tree above our camp, and made the early morning
cheerful with a chorus of different songs. There was no change from day
to day, except in the progress of the gardens; the plums grew large: the
mulberries ripened in the last week of July, and the shepherd's pretty
children and the monastery boys were covered with red stains, as though
from a battlefield, as they descended from the attractive boughs. It was
a very peaceful existence, and I shall often look back with pleasure to
our hermitage by the walls of the old monastery, which afforded a moral
haven from all the storms and troubles that embitter life. On Sundays we
sent a messenger for the post to the military camp at Troodos, about
five and a half miles distant, and the arrival of letters and newspapers
restored us for a couple of days to the outer world: after which we
relapsed once more into the local quiescent state of complete rest. It
must not be supposed that we were idle; there were always occupations
which by degrees I hope improved the place, and to a certain degree the
people. Occasionally I asked the old monks to sit and smoke their
cigarettes in our "rachkooba," when they sipped their hot coffee, and
explained difficult theological questions to my intense edification; of
course I always listened, but never argued. My particular friend old
Neophitos treated me to long stories which he imagined must be new and
interesting, especially the history of Joseph and his brethren, which he
several times recounted from beginning to end with tears of sympathy in
his eyes at Joseph's love for the youngest brother Benjamin. The Garden
of Eden, the Deluge, including the account of Noah's Ark, and several
equally modern and entertaining stories, I always listened to with
commendable attention. Yet even in this solitude, where the chapel-bell
on Saturday night, and at daybreak upon Sunday mornings, was in harmony
with the external peaceful surroundings, and it appeared as though
discord could never enter the walls of Trooditissa, the old monks had
their cares and difficulties.

The principal cause of trouble was "servants!" I was quite surprised, as
I thought we were nearer heaven in this spot than in any earthly
locality I had ever visited; but even here the question of "servants"
was an irritation to the nerves of the patient monks. My own servants
were excellent, and never quarrelled or complained; they appeared to
have been mesmerised by the placid character of their position, and to
have become angelic; especially in not fatiguing themselves through
over-exertion. With the monks the case was different. In this quiet
retreat, where man reigned alone, as Adam in the Garden of Eden; where
the cares and anxieties of married life were unknown within the sacred
walls of celibacy, a single representative of the other sex existed in
the ubiquitous shape of a "maid of all work;" and as Eve caused the
first trouble in the world, so the monastery "maid" disturbed the
otherwise peaceful existence of Neophitos.

This maid's name was "Christina," and she received the munificent sum of
one hundred piastres per annum as wages, which in English money would be
fifteen shillings and sixpence every year. The world is full of
ingratitude, and strange to say, Christina was dissatisfied, which
naturally wounded the feelings of the good monks, as in addition to this
large sum of money she received her food and clothes; the latter
consisting of full trousers, and a confusion of light material, which,
having no shape whatever, I could not describe. Christina, though young,
was not pretty, and she was always either crying or scolding, which
would of course spoil any beauty; while at the same time she was either
washing all the clothes belonging to the whole establishment of monks (a
very disagreeable business), or hanging them out to dry near the spring;
or she was sweeping the monastery; or arranging the very dirty rooms of
the establishment; or baking all the bread that was required; or cooking
the dinner; or repairing all the old clothes which the monks wore when
they were only fit for a paper-mill. As there was no special
accommodation in the shape of a laundry, Christina had to collect
sticks, and make a huge fire beneath a copper cauldron in the open air,
into which she plunged all the different vestments of the monks and
priests, and stewed them before washing. This was a Cyprian "maid of all
work," whose gross ingratitude troubled the minds of her "pastors and
masters;" and one day a peculiar mental disturbance pervaded the whole
priestly establishment and caused a monasterial commotion, as, after a
violent fit of temper attended by crying, Christina had declared
solemnly that she "would stand it no longer," and "she wished TO BETTER

Whenever there was a difficulty the monks came to me; why, I cannot
imagine. If the shepherd's goats invaded their gardens and destroyed the
onions and the beet-root crops, they applied to me. Of course I advised
them to "fence their gardens," and they went away satisfied, but did not
carry out the suggestion so in due time their crops were devoured. They
now told me that THEY ALWAYS HAD DIFFICULTY WITH WOMEN! This new theory
startled me almost as much as the novelty of the old monks' stories.
WORK. It had not occurred to them that a middle-aged woman might have
combined all that they desired. Knowing their strict moral principles, I
had suggested an "old woman" as the successor of Christina; as I
explained to them that, to be in harmony with the establishment, a woman
of a "certain age" as general servant would not detract from the
religious character of the place. However I might argue, the old monk
hesitated; but while the monk wavered, Christina's "monkey was up," and,
taking her child in her arms, she started off without giving a "month's
notice," and fairly left the monastery, with monks, priests, deacons,
servants and the dogs all aghast and barking. There was nobody to wash
the linen, to bake the bread, to sweep the rooms, to cook the dinner, to
mend the clothes! Christina was gone, and the gentle sex was no longer
represented in the monastery of Trooditissa.

I was sorry for Christina, but I was glad the child was gone; although I
pitied the poor abandoned and neglected little creature with all my
heart. As a rule, "maids of all work" should not be mothers, but if they
are, they should endeavour to care for the unfortunate child. This
wretched little thing was about two years old--a girl; its eyes were
nearly closed with inflammation caused by dirt and neglect; it was
naked, with the exception of a filthy rag that hung in tatters scarcely
below its hips; and as its ill-tempered and over-worked mother
alternately raved, or cried, the child, which even at this age depended
mainly upon her nursing for its food, joined in a perpetual yell, which
at length terminated in a faint and wearied moan, until it laid itself
down upon the bare, hard stones, and fell asleep. It was a sad picture
of neglect and misery; the shepherd's pretty children shunned it, and in
its abandoned solitude the little creature had to amuse itself. The face
looked like that of an old careworn person who had lost all pleasure in
the world, and the child wandered about alone and uncared for; its only
plaything was my good-tempered dog Wise, who allowed himself to be
pulled about and teased in the most patient manner. I cured the child's
eyes after some days' attention, and my wife had it washed, and made it
decent clothes. This little unusual care, with a few kind words in a
strange language only interpreted by a smile, attracted the poor thing
to the tent, where it would sit for hours, until it at length found
solace in the child's great refuge, sleep. It would always follow Lady
Baker to and fro along the only level walk we had, from the tent to the
running spring, and would sit down by her side directly she arrived at
our favourite seat--a large flat rock looking down upon a precipitous
descent to the ravine some 500 feet below, and commanding a view of the
low country and the distant sea. It was an obstinate and perverse little
creature, and it insisted upon climbing upon rocks and standing upon the
extreme edge overhanging a precipice. If it had been the loved and only
offspring of fond parents, heiress to a large estate, it would of course
have tumbled over, in the absence of nurses and a throng of careful
attendants, but never having been cared for since its birth, it
possessed an instinctive knowledge of self-preservation, and declined to
relieve its mother of an extra anxiety. It was an agreeable change to
lose the sound of a child's constant wailing, and I suggested to the
monks that its presence was hardly in accordance with the severe aspect
of the establishment. There was some mystery connected with it of which
I am still ignorant, as I never ask questions; but it is at the least
ill-judged and thoughtless on the part of "maids of all work" to engage
themselves to any situation where the kissing of a rock, or a holy
effigy, may lead to complications. It was of no use to moralise;
Christina was gone, together with the child; there was absolute quiet in
the monastery; neither the scolding of the mother, nor the crying of an
infant, was heard. The monks looked more austere than ever, and remained
in unwashed linen, until they at length succeeded in engaging a charming
substitute in a middle-aged maid of all work of seventy-five!

About the 20th July the swallows disappeared, and I have no idea to what
portion of the world they would migrate at this season. In the low
country the heat is excessive, and even at the altitude of Trooditissa
the average, since the 1st of the month, had been at 7 A.M. 70.7
degrees--3 P.M. 77.3 degrees.

The birds that had sung so cheerfully upon our arrival had become
silent. There was a general absence of the feathered tribe, but
occasionally a considerable number of hoopoes and jays had appeared for
a few days, and had again departed, as though changing their migrations,
and resting for a time upon the cool mountains.

I frequently rambled among the highest summits with my dogs, but there
was a distressing and unaccountable absence of game; in addition to
which there was no scent, as the barren rocks were heated in the sun
like bricks taken from the kiln. The under-growth up to 4500 feet
afforded both food and covert for hares, but they were very scarce. A
peculiar species of dwarf prickly broom covers the ground in some
places, and the young shoots are eagerly devoured by goats; this spreads
horizontally, and grows in such dense masses about one foot from the
surface that it will support the weight of a man.

When grubbed up by the root it forms an impervious mat about three or
four feet in diameter, and supplies an excellent door to the entrance of
a garden, to prevent the incursions of goats or fowls. The Berberris
grew in large quantities, which, together with the foliage of the dwarf
ilex, is the goat's favourite food. Not far from the village of
Prodomos, upon the neighbouring heights, I found, for the first time in
Cyprus, the juniper, which appeared to be kept low by the constant
grazing of the numerous herds.

The walking over the mountains is most fatiguing, and utterly
destructive to boots, owing to the interminable masses of sharp rocks
and stones of all sizes, which quite destroy the pleasure of a
lengthened stroll. The views from the various elevated ridges are
exceedingly beautiful, and exhibit the numerous villages surrounded by
vineyards snugly clustered in obscure dells among the mountains at great
elevations above the sea. Prodomos is about 4300 feet above the level,
and can be easily distinguished by the foliage of numerous spreading
walnut-trees and the large amount of cultivation by which it is

There was no difficulty in gaining the highest point of the island from
our camp, as a zigzag rocky path led to the top of a ridge about 600
feet directly above the monastery, which ascended with varying
inclinations to the summit of Troodos, about 2100 feet above
Trooditissa; by the maps 6590 feet above the sea, but hardly so much by
recent measurement.

The moufflon, or wild sheep, exists in Cyprus, but in the absence of
protection they have been harassed at all seasons by the natives, who
have no idea of sparing animals during the breeding season. The present
government have protected them by a total prohibition, under a penalty
of ten pounds to be inflicted upon any person discovered in killing
them. In the absence of all keepers or guardians of the forests, it
would be difficult to prove a case, and I have no doubt that the natives
still attempt the sport, although from the extreme wariness of the
animals they are most difficult to approach. The authorities should
employ some dependable sportsman to shoot a certain number of rams which
are now in undue proportion, as the ewes with young lambs have been an
easier prey to the unsparing Cypriotes.

Absurd opinions have been expressed concerning the numbers of moufflon
now remaining upon the island, and it would be quite impossible to
venture upon a conjecture, as there is a very large area of the
mountains perfectly wild and unoccupied to the west of Kyka monastery,
extending to Poli-ton-Khrysokus, upon which the animals are said to be
tolerably numerous. There are some upon the Troodos range, but from all
accounts they do not exceed fifteen.

On 2nd July I started at 4 A.M. with a shepherd lad for the highest
point of Troodos, hoping by walking carefully to see moufflon among some
of the numerous ravines near the summit, which are seldom invaded by the
flocks of goats and their attendants. I took a small rifle with me as a
companion which is seldom absent in my walks, and although I should have
rigidly respected the government prohibition in the case of ewes, or
even of rams at a long shot that might have been uncertain and
hazardous, I should at the same time have regarded a moufflon with good
horns at a range under 150 yards, in the Abrahamic light of "a ram
caught in a thicket" that had been placed in my way for the purpose of
affording me a specimen.

On arrival at the top of the ridge above the monastery the view was
superb. We looked down a couple of thousand feet into deep and narrow
valleys rich in vineyards; the mountains rose in dark masses upon the
western side, covered with pine forests, which at this distance did not
exhibit the mutilations of the axe. At this early hour the sea was blue
and clear, as the sun had not yet heated the air and produced the usual
haze which destroys the distant views: and the tops of the lower
mountains above Omodos and Chilani appeared almost close beneath upon
the south, their vine-covered surface producing a rich contrast to the
glaring white marls that were cleared for next year's planting. The top
of Troodos was not visible, as we continued the ascent along the ridge,
with the great depths of ravines and pine-covered steeps upon either
side, but several imposing heights in front, and upon the right, seemed
to closely rival the true highest point.

As we ascended, the surface vegetation became scanty; the rocks in many
places had been thickly clothed with the common fern growing in dense
masses from the soil among the interstices; the white cistus and the
purple variety had formed a gummy bed of plants which, together with
several aromatic herbs, emitted a peculiar perfume in the cool morning
air. These now gave place to the hardy berberris which grew in thick
prickly bushes at long intervals, leaving a bare surface of rocks
between them devoid of vegetation. There was little of geological
interest; gneiss and syenite predominated, with extremely large crystals
of hornblende in the latter rock, that would have afforded handsome
slabs had not the prevailing defect throughout Cyprus rendered all
blocks imperfect through innumerable cracks and fissures. A peculiar
greenish and greasy-looking rock resembling soapstone was occasionally
met with in veins, and upon close examination I discovered it to be the
base of asbestos. The surface of this green substance was like polished
horn, which gradually became fibrous, and in some specimens developed
towards the extremity into the true white hairy condition of the
well-known mineral cotton.

We were near the summit of the mountain, and arrived at an ancient camp
that had been arranged with considerable judgment by a series of stone
walls with flanking defences for the protection of each front. This was
many centuries ago the summer retreat of the Venetian government, and it
had formed a sanatorium. This extends to the summit of the mountain,
where fragments of tiles denote the former existence of houses. In the
absence of water it would have been impossible to adopt the usual custom
of mud-covered roofs, therefore tiles had been carried from the low
country. It is supposed that the stations fell into decay at about the
period of the Turkish conquest.

A rattle of loose stones upon the opposite side of a ravine suddenly
attracted my attention; and two moving objects at about 230 yards
halted, and faced us in the usual manner of inquiry when wild animals
are disturbed to windward of their enemy. The rocks were bare, and their
cafe-au-lait colour exactly harmonised with that of the two moufflon,
which I now made out to be fine rams with large and peculiar heads.
Motioning to my shepherd lad to sit quietly upon the ground, upon which
I was already stretched, I examined them carefully with my glass. Had
they not been moving when first observed I should not have discovered
them, so precisely did their skins match the rocky surface of the steep
inclination upon which they stood. They remained still for about two
minutes, affording me an excellent opportunity of examination. The horns
were thick, and rose from the base like those of the ibex, turning
backwards, but they twisted forward from the first bend, and the points
came round towards the front in the ordinary manner of the sheep. Like
all the wild sheep of India and other countries, the coat was devoid of
wool, but appeared to be a perfectly smooth surface of dense texture. It
was too far for a certain shot, especially as the animals were facing
me, which is always an unsatisfactory position even when at a close

I put up the 200 yards sight, and raised the rifle to my shoulder,
merely to try the view; but when sighted I could not clearly distinguish
the animal from the rocks, and I would not fire to wound. My shepherd
lad at this moment drew his whistle, and, without orders, began to pipe
in a wild fashion, which he subsequently informed me should have induced
the moufflon to come forward towards the sound; instead of which, they
cantered off, then stopped again, as we had the wind, and at length they
disappeared among the rocks and pines. It would be almost impossible to
obtain a shot at these wary creatures by approaching from below, as they
are generally upon high positions from which they look down for expected
enemies, and the noise of the loose rocks beneath the feet of a man
walking up the mountains would be sure to attract attention. The only
chance of success would be to pass the night on the summit of Troodos,
and at daybreak to work downwards.

I made a long circuit in the hope of again meeting the two rams, during
which I found many fresh tracks of the past night, but nothing more.

The summit of the mountain was disappointing, as the haze occasioned by
the heat in the low country obscured the distant view. It was 8.10.
A.M., and the air was still deliciously cool and fresh upon the highest
point of Cyprus, which affords a complete panorama that in the month of
October or during early spring must be very beautiful. Even now I could
distinguish Larnaca, Limasol, Morphu, all in opposite directions, in
addition to the sea surrounding the island upon every point except the
east. The lofty coast of Caramania, which had formed a prominent object
in the landscape when at Kyrenia, was now unfortunately hidden within
the haze.

From this elevated position I could faintly hear the military band
practising at the camp of the 20th Regiment, invisible, about a mile
distant among the pine-forests, at a lower level of 700 feet. There were
no trees upon the rounded knoll which forms the highest point of Cyprus:
these must have been cleared away and rooted out when the ancient camp
was formed, and the pines have not re-grown, for the simple reason that
no higher ground exists from which the rains could have washed the cones
to root upon a lower level.

I now examined every ravine with the greatest caution in the hopes of
meeting either the two rams, or other moufflon, but I only came across a
solitary ewe with a lamb about four months old; which I saw twice during
my walk round the mountain tops. Upon arriving during my descent at the
highest spring of Troodos, where the cold water dripped into a narrow
stream bed, I lay down beneath a fine shady cypress, and having eaten
two hard-boiled eggs and drunk a cupful of the pure icy water mixed with
a tinge of Geneva from my flask, I watched till after noon in the hope
that my two rams might arrive to drink. Nothing came except a few tame
goats without a goatherd; therefore I descended the abominable stones
which rattled down the mountain side, and by the time that I arrived at
our camp at Trooditissa, my best shooting boots of quagga hide, that
were as dear to me as my rifle, were almost cut to pieces.

There was a terrible picture of destruction throughout the forests of
Troodos. Near the summit, the pines and cypress were of large growth,
but excepting the cypress, there were scarcely any trees unscathed, and
the ground was covered by magnificent spars that were felled only to rot
upon the surface.

I was not sorry to arrive at the shepherd's hut upon the ridge
overhanging the monastery upon my return. The good wife was as usual
busy in making cheeses from the goat's milk, which is a very important
occupation throughout Cyprus. The curd was pressed into tiny baskets
made of myrtle wands, which produced a cheese not quite so large as a
man's fist. I think these dry and tasteless productions of the original
Cyprian dairy uneatable, unless grated when old and hard; but among the
natives they are highly esteemed, and form a considerable article of
trade and export. Cesnola mentions that 2,000,000 (two million) cheeses
per annum are made in Cyprus of this small kind, which weigh from half a
pound to three-quarters. I have frequently met droves of donkeys heavily
laden with panniers filled with these small cheeses, which, although
representing important numbers, become insignificant when computed by

During our stay at Trooditissa we occasionally obtained eels from a man
who caught them in the stream at the base of the mountains; this is the
only fresh-water fish in Cyprus that is indigenous. Some persons have
averred that the gold-fish dates its origin from this island; this is a
mistake, as it is not found elsewhere than in ornamental ponds and
cisterns in the principal towns. It is most probable that it was
introduced by the Venetians who traded with the far East, and it may
have arrived from China.

The streams below the mountains contain numerous crabs of a small
species seldom larger than two inches and a half across the shell, to a
maximum of three inches; these are in season until the middle of June,
after which they become light and empty. When alive they are a brownish
green, but when boiled they are the colour of the ordinary crab, and are
exceedingly full in flesh, and delicate. The shell is extremely hard
compared to the small size, and the claws must be broken by a sharp blow
with the back of a knife upon a block.

We frequently had them first boiled and then pounded in a mortar to a
paste, then mixed with boiling water and strained through a sieve; after
which cream should be added, together with the required seasonings for a
soup. I imagine that the common green crabs of the English coasts, which
are caught in such numbers and thrown away by the fishermen, would be
almost as good if treated in the same manner for potage.

The calm monotony of a life at Trooditissa was disturbed every now and
then at distant intervals by trifling events which only served to prove
that peculiar characters existed in the otherwise heavenly atmosphere
which showed our connection with the world below.

One night a burglar attempted an entrance; but the man (who was a
carpenter) having been previously suspected, was watched, and having
been seen in the middle of the night to place a ladder against the outer
gallery, by which he ascended, and with false keys opened a door that
led to the store-room of the monastery, he was suddenly pounced upon by
two strong young priests and fairly captured. On the following morning
the monks applied to me, and as usual I vainly pleaded my unofficial
position. I was either to do or to say something. If the man was sent to
Limasol, thirty-five miles distant, the monks would have the trouble and
expense of appearing as prosecutors; the robber would be imprisoned for
perhaps a couple of years, during which his family would starve. I could
offer no advice. I simply told them that if any robber should attempt to
enter my tent I should not send him to Limasol, but I should endeavour
to make the tent so disagreeable to him that he would never be tempted
to revisit the premises from the attraction of pleasing associations. I
explained to the monks that although a severe thrashing with stout
mulberry sticks would, if laid on by two stout fellows, have a most
beneficial effect upon the burglar, and save all the trouble of a
reference to Limasol, at the same time that the innocent wife and family
would not be thrown upon their relatives, they must not accept my views
of punishment as any suggestion under the present circumstances.

About half an hour after this conversation I heard a sound of
well-inflicted blows, accompanied by cries which certainly denoted a
disagreeable physical sensation, within the courtyard of the monastery,
and to my astonishment I found that my interpreter and willing cook
Christo had volunteered as one of the executioners, and the burglar,
having been severely thrashed, was turned out of the monastery and
thrust down the path towards the depths of Phyni. Christo was a very
good fellow, and he sometimes reminded me of a terrier ready to obey or
take a hint from his master upon any active subject, while at others, in
his calmer moments, he resembled King Henry's knights, who interpreted
their monarch's wishes respecting Thomas a-Becket.

On 6th June we had been somewhat startled by the sudden appearance in
the afternoon of a man perfectly naked, who marched down the approach
from the spring and entered the monastery-yard in a dignified and
stage-like attitude as though he had the sole right of entree. At first
sight I thought he was mad, but on reference to the monks I discovered
he was perfectly sane. It appeared that he was a Greek about forty-five
years of age, who was a native of Kyrenia, and for some offence twenty
years ago he had been ordered by the priests to do penance in this
extraordinary manner. His body, originally white, had become quite as
brown as that of an Arab of the desert; he possessed no clothing nor
property of any kind, not even a blanket during winter; but he wandered
about the mountains and visited monasteries and certain villages, where
he obtained food as charity. He would never accept money (probably from
the absence of pockets), neither would he venture near Turkish villages,
as he had several times received a thrashing from the men for thus
presenting himself before their women, and it is to be regretted that
the Cypriotes had not followed the Turkish example, which would have
quickly cured his eccentricity. He was a strong, well-built man, with
good muscular development; his head was bald with the exception of a
little hair upon either side, and he was interesting to a certain extent
as an example of what a European can endure when totally exposed to the
sun and weather. Sometimes he slept like a wild animal beneath a rock
among the mountains, or in a cave, when such a luxurious retreat might
offer a refuge; at other times he was received and sheltered by the
priests or people. This individual's name was Christodilos, and
according to my notes taken at the time, he is described as "originally
a labourer of Kyrenia; parents dead: one brother and two sisters



The monastery gardens of Trooditissa at the close of July exhibited the
great fruit-producing power of the soil and climate at this high
altitude, but at the same time they were examples of the arbitrary and
vexatious system of Turkish taxation, which remains unchanged and is
still enforced by the British authorities. I shall describe this in
detail, and leave the question of possibility of development under such
wholesale tyranny to the judgment of the public. It is difficult to
conceive how any persons can expect that Europeans, especially
Englishmen, will become landowners and settle in Cyprus when subjected
to such unfair and irritating restrictions.

PURPOSE, at the rate of 10 per cent. ad valorem.

At first sight this system appears incredible, but upon an examination
of the details our wonder ceases at the general absence of cultivated
vegetables and the propagation of superior qualities of fruits. If the
object of the government were purposely to repress all horticultural
enterprise, and to drive the inhabitants to the Nebuchadnezzar-like
grazing upon wild herbs, the present system would assuredly accomplish
the baneful end. The Cypriotes are called indolent, and are blamed by
travellers for their apathy in contenting themselves with wild
vegetables, when their soil is eminently adapted in the varying
altitudes and climates for the production of the finest qualities of
fruits and green-stuffs. I will imagine that an Englishman of any class
may be placed in the following position of a cultivator, which he
assuredly would be, if foolish enough to become a proprietor in Cyprus.

I am at this moment looking down from the shade of the great walnut-tree
upon the terraced gardens and orchards beneath, which are rich in
potatoes of excellent quality, onions, beet-root, &c.; together with
walnuts, pears, apples, plums, filberts, figs, and mulberries. The pears
and plums are of several varieties, some will ripen late, others are now
fit to gather, but nothing can be touched until the valuer shall arrive;
he is expected in ten days; by which time many of the plums will have
fallen to the ground, and the swarming rats will have eaten half the
pears. The shepherds' children and the various monastery boys live in
the boughs like monkeys, and devour the fruit ripe or unripe, from
morning till evening, with extraordinary impunity; women who arrive from
the low country with children to be christened place them upon the
ground, and climb the pear-trees; neither colic nor cholera is known in
this sanctified locality. The natives of the low country who arrive at
the monastery daily with their laden mules from villages upon the other
side of the mountains, en route to Limasol, immediately ascend the
attractive trees and feast upon the plums; at the same time they fill
their handkerchiefs and pockets with pears, &c., as food during their
return journey. "There will not be much trouble for the valuer when he
arrives," I remarked to the monks, "if you allow such wholesale robbery
of your orchards."

"On the contrary," they replied, "the difficulty will be increased; we
never sell the produce of the gardens, which is kept for the support of
all those who visit us, but we have much trouble with the valuation of
the fruits for taxation. It is hard that we shall have to pay for what
the public consume at our expense, but it will be thus arranged. . . .
The valuer will arrive, and he will find some trees laden with unripe
fruit, others that have been stripped by plunder; the potatoes, &c.,
will be still in the ground. We shall have a person to represent our
interests in the valuation as a check upon the official; but in the end
he will have his own way. We shall explain that certain trees are naked,
as the fruit became ripe and was stolen by the boys. 'Then you ought to
have taken more care of it,' he will reply; `how many okes of plums were
there upon those trees?' We shall have to guess the amount. `Nonsense!'
he will exclaim to whatever figure we may mention, 'there must have been
double that quantity: I shall write down 1500 (if we declared 1000),
which will split the difference.' ("Splitting the difference" is the
usual method of arranging an Oriental dispute, as instanced by Solomon's
well-known suggestion of dividing the baby.).

"We shall protest," continued the monks, "and this kind of inquisitorial
haggling will take place concerning every tree, until the valuer shall
have concluded his labour, and about one-third more than the actual
produce of the orchards will have been booked against us; upon which we
must pay a tax of 10 per cent., at the same time that the risks of
insects, rats, and the expenses of gathering remain to the debit of the
garden. In fact," said the poor old monks, "our produce is a trouble to
us, as personally we derive no benefit; the public eat the fruit, and
the government eats the taxes."

There were curious distinctions and exceptions in this arbitrary form of
taxation: if a fruit-tree grew within the monastery courtyard it was
exempt; thus the great walnut-tree beneath which we camped was free. It
was really cheering to find that we were living under some object that
was not taxed in Cyprus; but the monk continued, and somewhat dispelled
the illusion . . . "This tree produced in one year 20,000 walnuts, and
it averages from 12,000 to 15,000; but when the crops of our other trees
are estimated, the official valuer always insists upon a false maximum,
so as to include the crop of the courtyard walnut in the total amount
for taxation."

The potatoes, like all other horticultural productions, are valued while
growing, and the same system of extravagant estimate is pursued.

This system is a blight of the gravest character upon the local industry
of the inhabitants, and it is a suicidal and unstatesmanlike policy that
crushes and extinguishes all enterprise. What Englishman would submit to
such a prying and humiliating position? And still it is expected that
the resources of the island will be developed by British capital! The
great want for the supply of the principal towns is market-gardens.
Imagine an English practical market-gardener, fresh from the ten-mile
radius of Covent Garden, where despatch and promptitude mean fortune and
success: he could not cut his cauliflowers in Cyprus until his crop of
unblown plants had been valued by an official and while he might be
waiting for this well-hated spirit of evil, his cauliflower-heads would
have expanded into coral-like projections and have become utterly
valueless except for pig-feeding. I cannot conceive a more extravagant
instance of oppression than this system of taxation, which throws
enormous powers of extortion into the hands of the official valuer. This
person can oppose by delays and superlative estimates the vital
interests of the proprietors; if the property is large, the owner will
be only too glad to silence his opposition by a considerable bribe; the
poor must alike contribute, or submit to be the victim of delays which,
with perishable articles such as vegetables, represent his ruin. Is it
surprising that the villages of the desolate plain of Messaria are for
the most part devoid of fruit-trees? We are preaching to the Cypriotes
the advantage of planting around their dwellings, as though they were
such idiots as to be ignorant that "he who sows the wind will reap the
whirlwind." If they plant fruit-trees under the present laws they are
planting curses which will entail the misery of inquisitorial visits and
the most objectionable and oppressive form of an unjust taxation. As the
law at present stands, the amount of fruit is ridiculously small, and
the quality inferior, while cultivated vegetables are difficult to
obtain. Can any other result be expected under the paralysing effect of
Turkish laws? which unfortunately British officials have the
questionable honour of administering.

I have heard officials condemn in the strongest terms the laws they are
obliged to enforce. There are few persons who are obtuse to the sense of
injustice, but at the same time the suggestion has been expressed that
an extreme difficulty would be experienced should the taxes be collected
in any other form than dimes. I cannot see the slightest truth in this
disclaimer of responsibility for Turkish evils, and I believe the
present difficulty might be overcome with little trouble by a system of
rating the land ad valorem.

The soil and general value of properties in Cyprus vary as in England
and other countries according to quality and position. There is land
contiguous to market towns of much higher value than the same quality of
soil in remote districts; there are farms supplied with water either
naturally or artificially, which are far more valuable than others which
are dependent upon favourable seasons. Land which formerly produced
madder was of extreme value, and should have been adjudged accordingly;
but why should not all properties of every description throughout Cyprus
be rated and taxed in due proportion? The valuation should be arranged
by local councils. The vineyards which produced the expensive wines
should be rated higher than those of inferior quality. Gardens should be
rated according to their distance from a market; fields in proportion to
their water-supply and the quality of the soil. The Cypriotes do not
complain of the amount of 10 per cent. taxation under the name of dimes,
but they naturally object to the arbitrary and vexatious system of
inquisitorial visits, together with the delays and loss of time
occasioned by the old Turkish system. "Rate us, and let us know the
limit of our responsibility"--that is the natural desire of the
inhabitants. If the industries of the country are to be developed they
must be unfettered; but if weighed down by restrictions and vexatious
interference, they will hardly discover the benefit of a change to
British masters.

Some people in Cyprus make use of an argument in favour of the present
system of dimes or collecting in kind by tenths, which does not commend
itself by logical reasoning. They say, "if you rate the land ad valorem,
and establish a monetary payment of 10 per cent., you will simply burden
the poor land-holder with debt during a season of drought, when his
property will produce nothing. According to the present system he and
the government alike share the risk of seasons; if the land produces
nothing, there can be no dimes." It does not appear to have occurred to
these reasoners that in such seasons of scarcity the taxation could be
easily reduced as a temporary measure of relief according to the
valuation of the local medjlis or council; but I claim the necessity of
artificial irrigation that will secure the land from such meteorological
disasters, and will enable both the cultivator and the government to
calculate upon a dependable average of crops, instead of existing upon
the fluctuations of variable seasons.

The district of Larnaca will offer a fair example of the usual methods
of taxation, and as the figures have been most kindly supplied by the
authorities of the division, they can be thoroughly relied upon.

The revenues of the district (Larnaca) are derived from the following

1. Dimes (i.e. tenths of the produce)--in some instances may
be paid in kind.
2. Property Tax--4 piastres per 1000 upon the value of
immovable property, such as buildings, land, trees;
this is classed as 1st class Verghi.
3. Charge upon Income derived from Rents--40 piastres
per 1000; classed as 2nd class Verghi.
4. Charge on Trade Profits--30 piastres per 1000; 3rd class
5. Exemption from Military Service--this tax levied upon
Christians only, at the rate of 5000 piastres for 180 males.
6. Duty upon Sale of Horses, Mules, Donkeys, Camels, and
Cattle--1 piastre in every 40 upon price; also tax on goods
weighed by public measurer.
7. Tax on Flocks of Sheep and Goats--2.5 piastres per head.
This is not levied until the animal shall be one year old.

In 1877 the amount received was--

Piastres. Paras.
1. Dimes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 822,000
2. Property Tax. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221,897 24
3. Rent Charge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20,089 32
4. Tax on Trade-Profits . . . . . . . . . . . 65,340 20
5. Military Exemption. . . . . . . . . . . . . 153,333 25
6. Sales of Animals, Measures, &c. . . . . . . 450,000
7. Sheep and Goats . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200,000
_______ ___

1,932,659 101

The return of sheep and goats in the district of Larnaca during
the year 1878, and comprising 36 villages, was rendered as 47,841.

The following taxes are payable by inhabitants of
Scala and the neighbourhood:--

JANUARY, 1879.

1. The tithe of agricultural produce, including silk, payable in
some cases in kind, in others in money.
2. Tax in lieu of military service, 5000 copper piastres for 180
Christian males.
3. Verghi (a), 4 per 1000 on the purchasing value of houses,
land, or immovable property.
4. Verghi (b), 4 per cent. on the rent of immovable property, or
houses not occupied by their owners.
5. Verghi (c), 3 per cent. on profits and professions.
6. Tax on sheep, 2.5 silver piastres each.
7. Tax on goats, 2 silver piastres each.
8. Tax on pigs, 3 silver piastres each.
9. Tax on wood and charcoal. Wood for carpenters' uses pays
20 per cent. on the value at the place of production, and a
further 5 per cent. on the amount of the tax on coming into
the town.

Firewood pays 12 per cent. on the value at the place of
production, and a further 5 per cent. as above.

Charcoal pays 2 piastres per 100 okes.

10. Tax on goods weighed, one half para per oke. (In the case of
wood and charcoal, hay, chopped straw, lime, and onions,
the tax begins at a weight of 50 okes, and at a rate of 5
paras for 50 okes.)
11. Tax on grain measured, 2 paras per kilo paid by the buyer,
and 2 paras per kilo paid by the seller. If measured for the
sole convenience of the owner, 2 paras per kilo.
12. Octroi. Every load brought from the villages to the town pays
a tax of one oke per load, or in money, according to the
market rate of the goods.
13. Tax on the sale of mules, horses, donkeys, oxen, and
camels in the town, 1 para per piastre of the price.
14. Property tax (municipal) paid by owners:--
On houses let to tenants, 5 per cent. per annum.
On houses inhabited by the owners, 3 per cent. per annum.
15. Tax on camels (M.) 2 shillings each per annum.
16. Tax on carts (M.) belonging to and working in Larnaca and
Marina townships, 1*. each per annum.
17. Corvee. Forced labour on roads four days a year.
18. Shop licences (M.) in classes, 10*, 5*., 2*., 1*., 10 shillings.
19. Wine licences (C.H.) in classes, 25 per cent., 12.5 per cent.,
6.25 per cent. on rental.
20. Licences to merchants, bankers, &c., (M.) in classes, 10*.,
5*., 2*., 1*.
21. Monopolies. Salt, gunpowder.
22. Custom House duties 8 per cent. on imports, 1 per cent.

Custom House duty on wine, 10 per cent.
Custom House duty on imported tobacco, 75 per cent;
on home grown, or imported unmanufactured,
10 pence a pound.
23. Stamps, transfer and succession duties. Mubashine. Voted
to remain in force until March 1st, 1879.

[Transcriber's Note: Omitted table of villages on page 388
which was hard to read.]

There are other taxes according to the laws of
succession upon the death of an individual which I
give in the same words as furnished to me by the

Memorandum of the Defter Hakkani about the Transfer in Succesion of

When a man dies his properties must be duly transferred to his heirs,
who must apply to the authorities within six months, in order to have
the transfer made.

The transfer is made by giving a new Kotshan (Title), to the heirs in
exchange for the Kotshan of the deceased.

The right to the inheritance is stated by the laws as follows:--

1st, To the son or daughter; in want of which,
2nd, to the grandson and granddaughter; in want of which,
3rd, to the father and mother; in want of which,
4th, to the brother from the same father and mother; in want of which,
5th, to the sister from the same father and mother; in want of which,
6th, to the brother from the same mother; and in want of which,
7th, to the sister from the same mother.

The grandson and the granddaughter from right to the inheritance of the
share belonging to their father, who may have died before the death of
their grandfather; they inherit together with their uncles and aunts as
another direct son or daughter of the grandfather.

In all above stated degrees of inheritance, except in the 1st and 2nd,
the husband or wife has right to the fourth share of the land left by
the husband or wife.

This is for property in land (Arazi).

As to the freehold property (Emlak), the male inhabitants two-thirds and
the female one-third; but it is very difficult to enumerate the various
shades of division which are always made by the cadis according to the
Cheni law; there is no Nizam law in this respect.

All system of endorsment on Kotshan is abolished.

The duty on transfer in succession of a freehold property is half the
fees on transfer by sale.

In transferring by sale the fees are 1 per cent. on the value, if this
freehold property is a real one (Emlaki Serfi); and 3 per cent. if it is
vacouf freehold property (Emlak Meocoofi). Besides this 3 piastres as
price of paper, and 1 piastre as clerks' fees (Riataki) are paid for
every new Kotshan.

The lands (Arazi) pay 5 per cent. indifferently on transfer by sale and
on transfer by succession.

The custom is to value lands at one year's rental, or value of products.

If a house is occupied by the owner no tax on rental is demanded; the
only tax demanded in that case being that on the proportionate value.

The proportionate values of real properties are not assessed for a fixed
period. Therefore the value, once assessed, can remain the same for many
years, or it can be altered in the annual inspections of the Vakouat
Riatibs according to an increase or decrease of value that may take
place on account of repairs, a general rise of value, or partial or
entire destruction by fire, rain, &c.

The poverty of the agricultural classes was so generally acknowledged
even by the Turkish administration that it was absolutely necessary to
relieve them by some external assistance; it was therefore resolved in
1869 to create an "Agricultural Bank and a Locust Fund;" the principles
of this establishment are sufficiently original to attract attention.

In 1871 the Turkish government issued a decree that all cultivators of
the ground should pay to the authorities a sum of money equal to the
price of one kilo of wheat and one of barley for every pair of oxen in
their possession, in order to create a capital for the new bank. The
number of oxen would represent the scale of every holding, as they would
exhibit the proportion of ploughs required upon the farm, and thus yield
an approximate estimate of the area.

This arbitrary call upon the resources of the impoverished farmers was
an eccentric financial operation in the ostensible cause of assistance,
but it produced a capital of 169,028 piastres. The rate of interest upon
loans to individuals, or for particular districts, for the purpose of
destroying locusts was 8 per cent. previous to the year 1875, and was
increased to 12 per cent. since that period. Receipts for all sums
borrowed for the public benefit of locust destruction were signed by the
head-men and members of councils of villages.

At first sight the establishment of an agricultural bank sounded
propitious as a step in the right direction, but, according to the
conditions of all loans, it became usurious, and saddled the unfortunate
farmers after a few bad seasons with debts that could never be paid off.
If X borrowed 1000 pounds, he received only 880 pounds, as the year's
interest was deducted in advance, but he was afterwards charged compound
interest at 12 per cent. upon the whole 1000 pounds. Compound interest
at 12 per cent. means speedy ruin.

Upon an examination of the accounts, the whole affair represents
apparently large figures in piastres, which when reduced to pounds
sterling presents a miserable total that proves the failure of the
enterprise. As I have already stated, a "bank" could not succeed in
Cyprus if it were established specially to benefit the agriculturist;
money can always command 10 per cent., while the farmer should obtain
the loans necessary for irrigation at a maximum of 6 per cent. if he is
really to be encouraged. This can only be accomplished through a
Government or National Bank, expressly organised for the purpose of
developing the agricultural interests. As the government can obtain any
amount at 4 per cent., the National Bank could well afford to lend at 6,
especially as the loan would be secured by a first mortgage, to take
precedence of all other claims upon the property.

The "Locust Fund" was an admirable institution which has achieved great
results. There can be little doubt that throughout the world's history
man has exhibited a lamentable apathy in his passive submission to the
depredations of the insect tribe, whereas by a system of organisation he
would at the least have mitigated the scourge which has in many
instances resulted in absolute famine. At one time the plague of locusts
was annually expected in Cyprus as a natural advent like the arrival of
swallows in the usual season, and when the swarms were extreme the crops
were devoured throughout the island, and swept completely from the
surface, entailing general ruin. The cultivation of cotton, which should
be one of the most important industries, has been much restricted from
the fear of locusts, as they appear in May, when the tender young plants
are a few inches above the ground and are the first objects of attack.

It is related that when under the Venetians, Cyprus annually exported
30,000 bales or 6,600,000 lbs. of cotton. In 1877 the consular reports
estimated the entire produce of the island at 2000 bales of 200 okes per
bale, or 1,100,000 lbs., equal to only one-sixth of the original
Venetian export.

The steps taken to destroy the locusts have so far diminished their
numbers that in certain districts the production of cotton might be
largely extended. M. Mattei, and Said Pacha when governor of Cyprus,
combined to make war upon the locust swarms by means of a simple but
effective method, which will render their names historical as the
greatest benefactors in an island that has seldom known aught but

The idea originated with Signor Richard Mattei, who is the largest
landed proprietor in Cyprus. It is much to be regretted that
professional entomologists can seldom assist us in the eradication of
insect plagues; they can explain their habits, but they are useless as
allies against their attacks. M. Mattei had observed that the young
locusts invariably marched straight ahead, and turned neither to the
right or left; he had also remarked that upon arrival at an obstacle
they would endeavour to climb over, instead of going round it. Under
these peculiarities of natural instinct a very simple arrangement
sufficed to lead them to destruction. Pits were dug about three or four
feet deep at right angles with the line of march, and screens of cotton
cloth edged at the bottom with oil-skin were arranged something after
the fashion of stop-nets for ground game in covert-shooting in England.
This wall, with a slippery groundwork, prevented the insects from
proceeding. As they never turn back, they were obliged to search
sideways for a passage, and were thus led into the pits in millions,
where they were destroyed by burying the masses beneath heaps of earth.
If a few gallons of petroleum were sprinkled over them, and fire
applied, much trouble would be saved. This is a crude method of insect
destruction which could be improved upon, but great praise is due to the
efforts of M. Richard Mattei and Said Pacha for having devoted their
energies so successfully to the eradication of a scourge which proved
its ancient importance from the Biblical registration of a curse upon
the Egyptians.

There is a reward given by government for the destruction of locust
eggs. Each female deposits two small cases or sheaths beneath the
ground, containing thirty or forty eggs in each. The position is easily
distinguished by a shining slimy substance. A certain sum per oke is
given, and the people gladly avail themselves of the opportunity of
earning money at the same time that they destroy the common enemy.

The British administration is keenly alive to the importance of this
warfare, and I have frequently met commissioners of districts galloping
in hot haste, as though in pursuit of a retreating enemy, towards some
quarter where the appearance of locust swarms may have been reported, in
order to take immediate measures for their destruction.

Unfortunately the locust is not the only enemy of cotton cultivation,
but the (to my mind) abominable system of dimes, or tenths of produce to
be valued while growing, restricts the cultivator to an inferior variety
that will remain within the pod, instead of expanding when liberated by

The cultivation of cotton differs according to the many varieties of the
plant. Pliny described the "wool-bearing trees of Ethiopia," and I have
myself seen the indigenous cotton thriving in a wild state in those
parts from whence they were first introduced to Egypt, during the reign
of Mehemet Ali, grandfather of the Khedive. It is well known that
although comparatively a recent article of cultivation in Egypt, it has
become one of the most important exports from that country. Cotton of
the first quality requires a peculiar combination of local conditions.
Water must be at command whenever required during the various stages of
cultivation; and perfectly dry weather must be assured when the crop is
ripe and fit to gather. The collection extends over many days, as the
pods do not burst at the same period. Some of the most valuable kinds
detach easily from the expanded husk and fall quickly to the ground,
which entails constant attention, and the quality would deteriorate
unless labour is always at hand to gather the cotton before it shall
fall naturally from the plant.

It will be therefore understood that, although many soils may be highly
favourable to the growth of fine qualities of cotton, there is an
absolute necessity for a combination of a peculiar climate, where
neither rain nor dew shall moisten, and accordingly deteriorate the
crop. Egypt is specially favoured for the production of first-class
cotton, as in the upper portions of the Delta rain is seldom known; but
the extreme carelessness of the people has reduced the average quality
by mixing the seeds, instead of keeping the various classes rigidly

The dry climate, combined with the fertile soil of Cyprus, would suggest
a great extension of cotton cultivation, when artificial irrigation
shall be generally developed, but so long as the present system of
collecting the dimes is continued, the farmer cannot produce the higher
qualities which require immediate attention in collecting. During the
delay in waiting for the official valuer, the pods are bursting rapidly,
and the valuable quality is falling to the ground; the cultivator is
therefore confined to the growth of those inferior cottons that will
adhere to the pods, and wait patiently for the arrival of the government

Consul Hamilton Lang, in his interesting work upon Cyprus, suggests that
the duty should be collected upon export, to relieve the farmer from the
present difficulty, which would enable him to cultivate the American
high qualities. It is almost amusing to contrast the criticisms and
advice of the various British consuls who have for many years
represented us in Cyprus with the ideas of modern officials. There can
be no doubt concerning consular reports in black and white, and equally
there can be no question of existing ordinances under the British
administration; but what appeared highly unjust to our consuls when
Cyprus was under Turkish rule, is accepted as perfectly equitable now
that the island has passed into the hands of Great Britain.

For many years I have taken a peculiar interest in cotton cultivation,
and in 1870 I introduced the excellent Egyptian variety, known as
"galleen," into Central Africa, and planted it at Gondokoro, north
latitude 4 degrees 54', with excellent results. In the first year this
grew to the height of about seven feet, with a proportionate thickness
of stem, and the spreading branches produced an abundant crop of a fine
quality, which detached itself from the seeds, immediately reducing the
operation of the cleaning-machine or "cotton-gin" to a minimum of
labour. I have been much struck with the inferiority of Cyprian cotton;
scarcely any of the crop finds its way to England, but is exported to
Marseilles and Trieste. Should Consul Lang's suggestion be carried out,
and the duty be taken upon export to relieve the grower from the
vexatious delays of the inquisitor or government valuer, there can be no
question of immediate improvement. There is no more trouble or expense
in producing a first-class cotton than in the commonest variety, when
climate and soil are so peculiarly favourable as in Cyprus. If the
government continues the system of ad valorem taxation, common sense
will suggest that the highest quality would alike be favourable to the
revenue and to the cultivator; therefore, in the interests of the
country and of individuals, every encouragement should be afforded to
the farmers to ensure the best of all species of produce throughout the
island. The excellent compilation of Captain Savile, officially and
expressly printed for the service of the government, contains the
following passages:--

"According to all accounts the taxation of the inhabitants of Cyprus has
under Turkish administration been carried out in a most severe and
oppressive manner, and the imposts upon certain articles of agriculture
and commerce have been so heavy that their culture and export has in
some cases been almost abandoned. . . .

"The cultivation of vines for the manufacture of wine has been so
heavily and unjustly taxed, that a great part of the vineyards have of
late years been turned to other and more profitable purposes, or else
have been abandoned, and consequently a branch of agriculture for which
the island is especially suited and a remunerative article of commerce
is neglected and allowed to decline. An extensive development of
vineyards and manufacture of wine should be encouraged, and with this
object it has been suggested that it might be wise to free this
production from all except export duty.

"Allusion has already been made to the injurious effect of the
collection of the tithe (dimes) upon cotton at the time when the crop is
gathered, instead of at the time of shipment, and it has been explained
how the former method prevents the farmers from growing the best and
most remunerative varieties of the plant; this is a matter that requires
the attention of the authorities when the re-adjustment of the taxes is

Captain Savile's useful book is an echo of consular statements and
reports written in England for government information without any
personal experience of the island; but from my own investigations I can
thoroughly endorse the views expressed, and I only regret that the
miserable conditions of our occupation have rendered such necessary
reforms most difficult, as the poverty of the present government of
Cyprus cannot afford to run the risk of experimental lessons in

When criticising and condemning existing evils, it must be distinctly
understood that I do not presume to attach blame to individual
authorities of the local government: I denounce the arbitrary and
oppressive system of TURKISH rules, which, although in some instances
mitigated by our administration, still remain in force, and are the
results of the conditions that were accepted when England resolved upon
this anomalous occupation. I have to describe Cyprus as I saw it in
1879, and in this work I endeavour to introduce the public to the true
aspect of the situation "as I saw it;" other people have an equal right
with myself to their own opinions upon various subjects, but, should we
differ upon certain questions, we shall at least be unanimous in praise
of the extreme devotion to a most difficult task in a contradictory
position, exhibited not only by the governor, and commissioners of
districts, but by all British officers entrusted with authority. If
Cyprus were free from the fetters of the Turkish Convention, and the
revenue should be available for the necessary improvements, with
commercial and agricultural reforms, the same energy now bestowed by the
governor and other officials would rapidly expand the resources of the
island. We are prone to expect too much, and must remember that at the
time I write, only twelve months have elapsed since the day of the
British military occupation. No officers understood either the language,
or laws, of the people they had to govern; they were for the most part
specially educated for the military profession, and they were suddenly
plunged into official positions where agricultural, legal, commercial,
and engineering difficulties absorbed their entire attention, all of
which had to be comprehended through the medium of an interpreter. It is
rare that the most favoured individual combines such general knowledge;
Turks and Greeks, antagonistic races, were to lie down contented like
the lion and the lamb under the blessing of a British rule: all
animosities were to be forgotten. The religion of Mussulmans would
remain inviolate, and the Greek Church would hold its former
independence: freedom and equality were to be assured when the English
flag replaced the Crescent and Star upon the red ensign beneath which
Cyprus had withered as before a flame; the resources of the country were
to awaken as from a long sleep, and the world should witness the
marvellous change between Cyprus when under Turks, and when transferred
to Englishmen. "Look upon that picture, and on this!" The officers of
our army were the magicians to effect this transformation, not only
strangers to the climate, language, laws, customs, people, but without
MONEY: as the island had been robbed of revenue by the conditions of the
Turkish Convention.

In spite of the many abuses which still exist, and which demand reform,
there could not be a more tangible proof of the general efficiency of
the officers of our army than the picture of Cyprus after the first
year's occupation. Although the government has been severely pinched for
means, and a season of cruel drought has smitten the agriculturists;
with commerce languishing through the uncertainty of our tenure, the
Cyprian population of all creeds and classes have already learned to
trust in the honour and unflinching integrity of British rulers, which
ensures them justice and has relieved them from their former oppressors.



The port of Limasol will eventually become the chief commercial centre
of Cyprus, and in the depression of 1879 caused by drought and general
uncertainty it formed a favourable exception to the general rule. It may
be interesting to examine the position of the revenue during the years
inclusive from 1875 to 1878.


Year. Revenue. Expenditure. Balance.
Piastres. Piastres. Piastres.
1875 964,839 164,663 800,176
1876 819,139 172,472 646,667
1877 1,340,643 169,506 1,171,137
1878 1,553,363 161,594 1,391,769

The exports from Limasol have been largely in excess of imports:--

Year Exports Year Imports

1875 77,022 1875 47,325
1876 59,895 1876 50,920
1877 93,805 1877 41,920
1878 101,457 1878 99,714

The principal articles of export from Limasol are wine and caroubs, and
the general production of these items has been as follows:--

Year. Okes. Year. Tons.

1875 Wine 4,811,732 1875 Caroubs 8,690
1876 " 3,710,884 1876 " 6,080
1877 " 2,208,617 1877 " 6,520
1878 " 5,795,109 1878 " 4,345

The different descriptions of wine and spirits produced in the
Limasol district during the last four years are as follows,
values in okes:--

Year. Raki or -------------------Wine.------------------
native brandy Commanderiea. Red Wine. Black Wine.
1875 467,711 173,946 85,008 4,056,067
1876 251,298 87,585 56,434 2,815,567
1877 181,269 45,522 38,563 1,943,290
1878 378,694 180,103 133,555 5,102,757

In the year 1878 the goods exported from Limasol may be approximately
represented by--

Cotton for Austria . . . . 10,000 okes valued at 500 pounds sterling.
Wool for France c. . . . . 9,500 okes valued at 560 pounds.
Rags for Italy . . . . . . 77,600 okes valued at 700 pounds.
Sumach in leaf for
Greece. . . . . 110,000 okes valued at 500 pounds.
Black wine for
Turkey. . . . 1,850,000 okes valued at 25,000 pounds.
Commanderia for
Austria . . . . 155,000 okes valued at 2,075 pounds.
Caroubs for
England, France,
Russia, and Italy . . . . 10,000 tons valued at 33,000 pounds.
Raisins for Austria,
France, and Turkey . . . . 90,000 okes valued at 850 pounds.
Skins for Greece . . . . . .9,800 okes valued at 1,025 pounds.
Sundries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . valued at 11,000 pounds.

Total value of exports. . . . . . . . . . . . . 75,210 pounds sterling.

The tobacco produced in the districts of Limasol and Baffo and at Lefka,
inclusive, is a mere trifle compared to the capabilities of the

In 1875 the crop amounted to 1,395 okes.
1876 " 1,280 "
1877 " 857 "
1878 " 1,731 "

This is only worth enumeration as an example of the utter insignificance
of the production, which should be an important item in the agricultural
wealth of the island. The greater portion of the tobacco consumed in
Cyprus is imported in bales from Salonica, and is consigned to
manufacturers who divide and classify the leaves, which are cut, and
formed into packets bearing the Custom House stamps, supplied upon
purchase. Limasol alone imports about 20,000 okes, which are forwarded
from Larnaca, where the duty is paid. No export duties of any
description are levied upon goods from this island.

The direct benefit to the Cypriotes conferred by the British occupation
was exhibited in the sudden rise of value both in real property and in
labour. The rental of houses within the principal towns was trebled, and
it would be difficult to establish an average price of land either in
towns, or upon the outskirts, as the prices demanded have been in most
instances fictitious, representing the desires of the seller, but in no
way verifying the actual selling value. I have only heard of a few small
plots that have changed hands at quadruple their former estimate, and as
a rule there are few buyers during this period of uncertainty respecting
the permanence of our occupation; but owners hold out in the hope of an
ultimate decision in favour of British absolute possession. In the town
of Limasol there has been a decided rise in the general value of
property, which is due to the steady improvement of the trade, and does
not represent a mere speculative impulse as in Larnaca, which has
suffered by a subsequent reaction. The municipal receipts of Limasol
have increased from 207 pounds sterling in the twelve months ending 30th
September, 1878, to 1718 pounds in the ten months of 1879. This has
certainly been due to the energy of Colonel Warren, R. A., the chief
commissioner of the district, to whom I am indebted for all statistics
connected with the locality.

The position of a district chief commissioner was by no means enviable
in Cyprus. The pay was absurdly small, and he was obliged to institute
reforms both for sanitary and municipal interests which necessitated an
outlay, and increased the local taxation. The population had been led to
expect a general diminution of imposts upon the suddenly-conceived
British occupation, and the Cypriotes somewhat resembled the frogs in
the fable when the new King Log arrived with a tremendous splash which
created waves of hope upon the surface of the pool, but subsided into
disappointment; they found that improvements cost money, and that
British reforms, although they bestowed indirect benefits, were
accompanied by a direct expenditure. The calm apathy of a Cypriote is
not easily disturbed; he is generally tolerably sober, or if drunk, he
is seldom the "WORSE for liquor," but rather the better, as his usual
affectionate disposition may be slightly exaggerated, instead of
becoming pugnacious and abusive like the inebriated Briton. There are no
people more affectionate in their immediate domestic circle, or more
generally courteous and gentle, than the Cypriotes, but like a good many
English people, they have an aversion to increased taxation. Thus,
although the British commissioners of districts vied with each other in
a healthy ambition to exhibit a picture of paradise in their special
localities, the people grumbled at the cost of cleanliness and health
within their towns, and would have preferred the old time of
manure-heaps and bad smells gratis to the new regime of civilisation for
which they had to pay.

The Greek element is generally combustible, and before the first year of
our occupation had expired various causes of discontent awakened
Philhellenic aspirations; a society was organised under the name of the
"Cypriote Fraternity," as a political centre from which emissaries would
be employed for the formation of clubs in various districts with the
object of inspiring the population with the noble desire of adding
Cyprus to the future Greek kingdom. Corfu had been restored to Greece;
why should not Cyprus be added to her crown? There would be sympathisers
in the British Parliament, some of whom had already taken up the cause
of the Greek clergy in their disputes with the local authorities, and
the Greeks of the island had discovered that no matter what the merits
of their case might be, they could always depend upon some members of
the House of Commons as their advocates, against the existing government
and their own countrymen. Under these favourable conditions for
political agitation the "Cypriote Fraternity" has commenced its
existence. I do not attach much importance to this early conceived
movement, as Greeks, although patriotic, have too much shrewdness to
sacrifice an immediate profit for a prospective shadow. The island
belongs at this moment to the Sultan, and the English are simply tenants
under stipulated conditions. Before Cyprus could belong to Greece it
must be severed from the Ottoman Empire, and should England be
sufficiently wayward to again present herself to the world as the
spoiled child of fortune, and deliver over her new acquisition according
to the well-remembered precedent of Corfu, the monetary value of all
property in Cyprus would descend to zero, and the "Cypriote Fraternity,"
if householders or landowners, would raise the Greek standard over
shattered fortunes.

The total of population within the entire district of Limasol in 1879
represented 23,530, comprising 12,159 males and 11,371 females, of all

The following list is the official enumeration of animals and trees
within the same province:--


Cattle. Mules. Horses. Donkeys. Pigs. Goats. Sheep.
6,006 1,812 1,129 4,026 2,138 19,896 11,790


Caroubs. Olives. Walnuts.
267,779 114,413 957

Natural pine and Cyprus forests, with oak, &c., not counted.


Cultivated land. Uncultivated land.
40,642 donums. 114,650 donums. 21,180 donums.

According to this official statistical representation the cultivated
land would be in proportion to the population about five donums, or two
and a half acres, per individual.

The question of ownership of lands will eventually perplex the
government to a greater extent than many persons would imagine, and the
difficulty attending the verification of titles will increase with every
year's delay.

Before the British occupation, land was of little value, and an extreme
looseness existed in the description of boundaries and landmarks. In the
absence of fences the Cypriote can generally encroach upon any land
adjoining his limit, should it belong to the state. Every season he can
drive his plough a few paces further into his neighbour's holding,
unless prevented, until by degrees he succeeds in acquiring a
considerable accession. The state is the sufferer to an enormous extent
by many years of systematic invasion. Forest land has been felled and
cleared by burning, and the original site is now occupied by vineyards.
The bribery and corruption that pervaded all classes of officials prior
to the British occupation enabled an individual to silence the local
authority, while he in many instances more than doubled his legal
holding. The absence of defined boundaries has facilitated these
encroachments. According to an official report this difficulty is dwelt
upon most forcibly as requiring immediate investigation. The vague
definition in title-deeds, which simply mentions the number of donums,
affords no means of proving an unjust extension; such terms are used as
"the woods bounded by a hill," or "the woods bounded by uncultivated
land," and this indefinite form of expression leaves a margin of
frontier that is practically without limit, unless the invader may be
stopped by arriving within a yard of his nearest neighbour. My
informant, Colonel Warren, R. A., chief commissioner of Limasol, assured
me that some holders of land in his district, whose titles show an
amount of ninety donums, lay claim to ten times the area. There is
hardly a proprietor who does not occupy a ridiculous surplus when
compared with his title-deeds, and the encroachments are even now

This system of land-robbery was connived at by the officials for a
"CONSIDERATION;" old title-deeds were exchanged for new on the
application of the holder, and the seals of the venal authorities
rendered them valid, at the same time that hundreds of acres were
fraudulently transferred from the state. When the intention of a British
occupation was made public, a general rush was made for obtaining an
excess over the amount defined in the title-deeds, by the swindling
method; and the extent to which this plunder was extended may be
imagined from the fact that 40,000 such documents were awaiting the
necessary signatures when, by the arrival of the British officials, the
Turkish authority, who could not sign the deeds with sufficient
expedition, was dismissed, and the false titles were invalidated.

The monasteries and the vacouf (Turkish religious lands) lay claim to
lands of vast and undefined extent, which are mystified by titles and
gifts for charitable purposes, surrounded with clouds of obscure usages
and ancient rules that will afford a boundless field for litigation. In
fact, the existing government has arrived at the unpleasant position of
being excluded from the land, nearly all of which is claimed either by
individuals or religious institutions.

The arrangement of this most serious question will stir up a nest of
hornets. The equitable adjustment would demand a minute survey of the
various districts, and a comparison of the holdings with the title
deeds; but what then? It is already known that the holdings are in
excess, and where is the legal remedy that can be practically applied?
If the actual letter of the law shall be enforced, and each proprietor
shall be compelled to disgorge his prey, there will be endless
complications. In England, twenty-one years' uninterrupted possession,
with occupation, constitutes a valid title. In Cyprus the extended
holdings have in many instances been inherited, and have remained
unquestioned as the acknowledged property of individuals, while in other
cases they have been more recently acquired. The question will comprise
every possible difficulty, and can only be determined by a special
commission officially appointed for a local investigation throughout
each separate district.

This will be a labour of years, and the innumerable intricacies and
entanglements will test the patience and HONESTY of interpreters in a
country where bribery has always opened a golden road for an escape from
difficulty, while our own authorities are entirely ignorant of the
native language. It is this lack of natural means of communication viva
voce which increases the already awkward position of high officials: the
power of speech belongs to the dragoman alone, and a great gulf exists
between the English and the Cypriote, who represent the deaf and dumb in
the absence of an interpreter. The old song "We have no money," is the
now stereotyped response to all suggestions for district schools, but if
we are to retain Cyprus, one of the most urgent necessities is the
instruction of the people in English. It is not to be expected that any
close affinity can exist between the governing class and the governed,
in the darkness of two foreign tongues that require a third person for
their enlightenment. In many cases secrecy may be of considerable
importance, and the conversation should be confined to the principals,
but the third person must invariably be present as interpreter, and
unless he is a man of the highest integrity he will not lose an
opportunity of turning his knowledge of state secrets to account for his
own advantage. Throughout the Levant it is difficult to find men who
combine the rare qualities necessary for a confidential dragoman; such a
person would be invaluable, as he would represent all the cardinal
virtues, at the same time that he must possess a natural aptitude for
his profession, and a store of patience, with the most unruffled temper.
The natives dread the interpreter, they know full well that one word
misunderstood may alter the bearing of their case, and they believe that
a little gold judiciously applied may exert a peculiar grammatical
influence upon the parts of speech of the dragoman, which directly
affects their interests. There are, no doubt, men of honour and great
capability who occupy this important position, at the same time it is
well known that many interpreters have been found guilty; the exceptions
proving the rule, and exhibiting the extreme danger and general
disadvantage in the ignorance of the native language. It cannot be
expected that the English officials are to receive a miraculous gift of
fiery tongues, and to address their temporary subjects in Turkish and in
Greek; but it is highly important that without delay schools should be
established throughout the island for the instruction of the young, who
in two or three years will obtain a knowledge of English. Whenever the
people shall understand our language, they will assimilate with our
customs and ideas, and they will feel themselves a portion of our
empire: but until then a void will exclude them from social intercourse
with their English rulers, and they will naturally gravitate towards
Greece, through the simple medium of a mother-tongue. Limasol must
perforce of its geographical advantages become the capital of Cyprus. As
I have already described, the port may be much improved. The
neighbouring country is healthy, and well covered with trees; the
landscape is pleasing, and the new road opens a direct communication
with the mountain sanatorium. The most important exports of the island
are produced within the district, and, as might be expected, the result
of commercial enterprise is exhibited in the increased intelligence and
activity of the Limasol inhabitants. It is highly to be desired that
this favourable position should become the seat of government. Although
the troops in 1879 are camped among the barren rocks beneath the
pine-forests upon Mount Troodos, at an elevation of about 5800 feet
above the sea, there is no necessity for a station at so extreme and
inconvenient an altitude in north latitude 35 degrees. The general
unhealthiness of the troops upon the first occupation of the island
during the summer and autumn of 1878, determined the military
authorities to arrange the new camp at the greatest altitude practicable
with a regard to the supply of water, but the experience gained in 1879
proves that a permanent camp, or barracks, may be equally healthy at a
lower and more convenient level. This fact would establish an additional
advantage in the selection of Limasol for headquarters, as the troops
would be in the immediate neighbourhood at all seasons. Colonel Warren,
R.A., who had been the prime mover in all the improvements that had been
made in Limasol since the British occupation, was promoted on 1st August
to the position of chief of the staff under Sir Garnet Wolseley's able
successor, Major-General Biddulph, C.B., R.A., and the district thus
lost its leading spirit. In reforming abuses and promoting progress,
Colonel Warren had not entirely escaped the usual fate of men who are in
advance of their age. The unflinching determination to administer the
laws without fear or favour to all classes had infringed upon the
assumed immunities of the Greek Church, which had always received
deferential consideration from the Turkish government, and although
actually liable to taxation, the right had never been enforced. This is
a curious contradiction to the vulgar belief in Mussulman intolerance
and bigotry; the Greek Church not only enjoyed a perfect freedom under
the Turks, but the bishops were assisted in obtaining a forced tribute
from their flock by the presence of Turkish zaphtiehs (police), who
accompanied them during their journeys through the diocese.

An interference with Church property or established rights is certain to
create a buzzing of the ecclesiastical bees, who will swarm against the
invader with every sting prepared for action. As the case was
investigated by a special court of inquiry, and terminated, as might
have been expected, completely in favour of Colonel Warren, it is not
necessary to enter upon minute details; but, as the plaintiff was the
Bishop of Citium, and this first public attack created a peculiar
agitation that will probably be repeated, it may be interesting to
examine the actual position of the Greek Church as it existed during the
Turkish administration.

The Church in Cyprus is represented by an Archbishop and three Bishops
as the acknowledged heads. The diocese of the former comprises Lefkosia,
Famagousta, and the Carpas districts, while the three Bishoprics are
those of Larnaca or Citium, Kyrenia, and Baffo.

The revenues of the Archbishop amount to about 2000 a year, and the
necessary expenditure for staff, schools, &c., to 1500. The Bishopric
of Baffo is the richest, with a revenue of about 1000; at the same time
the outgoings are small, amounting to 300 a year for the payment of his
staff, and one-fifth of the expenses of a public school.

The Bishopric of Larnaca or Citium is valued at about 900 a year, but
the expenditure is confined to 200. That of Kyrenia is about the same
as Citium. There is no possibility of determining an exact figure, as
these revenues are dependent upon voluntary payments, which cannot be
enforced by any statute; but there is a "Berat" (decree) which invites
the local authorities to render the bishops assistance in the collection
of their revenues, without the absolute enforcement of any payments. No
amounts due to the bishops for either canonical, ecclesiastical, or alms
(Zitia), can be recovered through a court of law. On the other hand, the
all-powerful countenance afforded by the Turkish government represented
by public functionaries (zaphtiehs), who accompanied the bishops during
their diocesan visits upon a tour of collection, was a moral influence
that succeeded in extorting the unwilling fees. In case of a defaulting
village, it is said that a bishop has been known to suspend the
functions of the priest until the necessary payments should be completed
by his parishioners, who, thus temporarily cut off from all ghostly
comfort, hastened to arrive at a pecuniary compromise.

The monasteries are an important institution throughout Cyprus, and
there is a decided difference between the monks of these establishments
and the general priesthood. The monks are supposed to devote their lives
to charitable objects; they are not allowed to marry, and they have a
superior education, as all can read and write. On the other hand, the
priests are grossly ignorant, and it is computed that only a quarter of
their number could even write their own names. These are allowed to
marry one wife, but they cannot re-marry in the event of her decease;
they are generally poor to a superlative degree, and are frequently
obliged to work for hire like common labourers. Should a man desire to
become a priest, it is only necessary that he should be recommended by
the inhabitants of his village as a person of good reputation that would
be suitable for the office: he is then ordained by the bishop upon
payment of a fee of about one hundred piastres (or 150), and he is at
once at liberty to enter upon his duties. These ordination fees are a
temptation to the bishops to increase the number of priests to an
unlimited extent, and the result is seen throughout Cyprus in a large
and superfluous body of the most ignorant people, totally unfitted for
their position.

The monasteries vary in their revenues, as they have derived their
possessions at different periods from grants of land, or private gifts,
or legacies. In like manner with the bishops, although they cannot
legally compel the villagers to pay according to their demands, they
assumed a power which by long sufferance had become recognised by the
ignorant peasantry, who reluctantly acceded to their claims. I have
myself witnessed an altercation between the monks and shepherds on the
mountains upon a question of cheeses and goats, which the former claimed
as annually due to the monastery; it appeared that prior to the British
occupation they had been able by threats to extort this demand, but the
shepherds had now determined to free themselves from all payments beyond
those which the law compelled, and they resisted the priestly authority,
before which they had hitherto remained as slaves. This spirit of
independence that has been so quickly developed by the equity of British
rule will probably extend, and may seriously interfere with the revenues
of the Church, should the population determine to abide by their legal
status and refuse the ordinary fees. It cannot be expected that either
bishops, monks, or priests regard this change with satisfaction, and in
their hearts they may sigh for the good old times of a Turkish
administration, when the Greek Church of Cyprus was an imperium in
imperio that could sway both the minds and purses of the multitude,
untouched by laws or equity, and morally supported by the government.

The most important monastery in the island is that of Kykou; this is
situated upon the mountains at an elevation of 3800 feet above the sea,
and it comprises an establishment of sixty monks, with a gross revenue
from various properties in different portions of the country estimated
together with donations at about 5000 per annum. The monastery of
Mahera estimates its revenue at 2000; that of Fameromeni at Nicosia, at
2000 without any expenditure, as the three monks, together with one
servant, are paid by the extra incomes of the Church. There are many
monasteries throughout the island, and all with the exception of Kykou
and St. Andrea, at the eastern point of Cyprus, pay a certain portion of
their revenue to the bishop of the diocese. The two monasteries I have
excepted are perfectly independent of all ecclesiastical control in
revenue and finance. Considerable caution will be necessary in arranging
the land question with these numerous establishments, which have
hitherto enjoyed a peculiar independence. Up to the present time the
income of the bishops has been derived from the annual payments from
monasteries, by the canonical tax paid by every church; from the alms
(Zitia), which is a tax levied upon all crops; from the dish exposed for
offerings in church while they officiate, and from various ordination
fees and marriage licences. From the inquiries I made in various
dependable quarters, the bishops are not generally beloved either by the
monks, priests, or public; but this absence of appreciation may be due
to the continual demands upon the funds of monasteries and the pockets
of the peasantry, more than to any personal peculiarities of character.
There are stories of neglect of duty and misappropriation of funds
intended for charitable purposes, which I should decline to believe
possible among ecclesiastics of such devout principles and high
position. The Archbishop is much beloved, and is loudly praised by all
classes of the inhabitants, to whom he owes his election as supreme head
of the Church after the following manner:-

In the event of death, the vacant see of Cyprus is represented by the
Bishop of Baffo, and the new archbishop must be elected by the people.
The bishop occupies the position of president of an ecclesiastical
council, to which representatives are sent from every district, charged
with the votes of the inhabitants in favour of the archbishop. Upon his
election, the approval and confirmation of his appointment must be
obtained by an imperial decree before the archbishop can officiate. In
the same manner every bishop is elected by the people of the district,
and their representatives are sent to Nicosia, where the archbishop
presides over his council, or court; but the new bishop must also be
confirmed in his position by an imperial decree.

Should an archbishop be guilty of any crime, either civil or
ecclesiastical, he may be deposed by the head of the Church at
Constantinople, acting in conjunction with the Turkish government, at
the request of the inhabitants of Cyprus.

Bishops may be deposed by the archbishop, who would in such a case
assemble the Synod, composed of the heads of clergy in his presidency.
Before this tribunal a bishop would be summoned to appear in case of an
accusation, and the trial would take place in open court; the power of
punishment or absolution remaining in the hands of the archbishop.

The Turkish government appears to have held a peculiar position in
relation to the Greek Church in Cyprus, as, although acting in
conjunction and in harmony with the customs of the inhabitants, it
reserved the right of supreme authority in special cases; thus at
various epochs the Turkish government deposed the Archbishops
Chrissanthon and Panareton, hanged the Archbishop Kipriano, and banished
the Archbishops Joachim and Damaskino.

From the universal complaints, there can be little doubt that the
schools that should be established from funds specially invested for
that purpose in the hands of certain monasteries, bishops, &c., are
grossly neglected, and it has already been suggested that a commission
should be instituted by the British authorities, under the presidency of
the archbishop, for a rigid investigation of the resources of all
monasteries and the ACTUAL revenue of bishoprics, together with the
disbursement of all sums that should have been expended either for
education or for charitable purposes.

The tithes exacted by the bishops from the peasantry add seriously to
the imposts of ordinary taxation, and there is every probability of a
reform being demanded by the inhabitants at the hands of the British
administration. When under Turkish rule, the Greek Church enjoyed not
only perfect freedom, but an immunity from taxation, as, although they
were legally liable, the law was never enforced upon the clergy. The
English government has determined upon the observance of all laws by all
classes, and the Church has awakened to the fact that there is no

"From the earliest times the Greek Church of Cyprus has enjoyed an
especial degree of independence; in the reign of the Emperor Zeno, A.D.
473, exceptional privileges were conceded to the Archbishop of Cyprus,
who, although he owns the supremacy of the Patriarch of Constantinople
over the orthodox Greek Church, claims to be entirely independent of him
as regards Church discipline; he wears purple, carries a gold-headed
sceptre, has the title of Beatitude, signs in red as the Greek Emperors
were wont to do, and uses a seal bearing a two-headed imperial eagle. It
is said that these dignities were conferred in consequence of the
fortunate discovery at Salamis of the body of St. Barnabas, with a copy
of the Gospel of St. Matthew, which precious relic was sent to
Constantinople, and in return the Emperor confirmed the Church of Cyprus
in its absolute independence, and gave the archbishop the above
privileges."* (*Savile's Cyprus, p. 142.)

St. Paul and St. Barnabas visited the island A.D. 45, and the conversion
of Sergius Paulus, the proconsul at Paphos, by their preaching, was the
first seed of Christianity implanted in Cyprus at the period when the
inhabitants were steeped in heathenism; but some of the superstitions at
present existing are hardly less degrading than pagan rites, and in the
kissing of the Virgin's cave at Trooditissa for the purpose already
described, we can trace an affinity with the ancient worship of Venus.



The population of Cyprus is about 200,000, of which number more than
three-fourths belong to the Greek Church; nevertheless the minority of
Turks completely dominated prior to the British occupation. Although the
Cypriote is, as I have described, courteous, gentle, and affectionate in
his domestic circle, he is at the same time cunning and addicted to
petty larceny, and in all your dealings with these apparently easy-going
people you must exercise the same acuteness that is so absolutely
necessary in England. There are few great crimes in proportion to the
population, nor do we ever hear of such atrocities as those classes of
murders which so frequently blacken the page of our modern history.
Homicide is more common than actual murder, and is often the result of a
sudden quarrel where knives are drawn, and a fatal stab in passion
constitutes the offence. Sheep-stealing is the prevalent crime, and is
carried on with an amount of hardihood that can only be accounted for
from the difficulty of proof. The flocks of goats, &c., roam over the
wild and uninhabited area of the high mountains and frequently stray
from the shepherd and are lost for two or three nights; by the time they
are recovered a certain number may be missing, and it is hardly possible
to discover the thief, as the animals have been driven to a great
distance. Tracking would be out of the question over the rocky surface,
where every small plot of naked soil is trodden into countless footmarks
by the innumerable goats which browse upon the mountain slopes. At night
the flocks are generally herded within a circle protected by a fence of
thorny bushes; sometimes these folds are invaded by thieves during the
darkness, and a considerable number are driven off. As the locality
would be generally distant from the principal town, and the shepherd
cannot forsake his flock for several days to prosecute, the thieves
frequently escape, and this immunity encourages them to further
depredations. During my residence within the precincts of the monastery,
the fold upon the hill within a quarter of a mile of the establishment
was thus robbed, and the thieves were never discovered.

The police or zaphtiehs are generally too far from these wild localities
to be of any service, and they are at present too few for the proper
supervision of the island. A plan is I believe in contemplation to
extend this body upon a scale that will render the force efficient as a
gendarmerie, which would to a considerable degree relieve the necessity
for a permanent European military force. There can be no better soldier
than the Turk under British officers. The Christians in Cyprus have an
objection to this service, and there is no reason why a military force
to combine the duties of police should not be organised, that would be
thoroughly acclimatised, and would at the same time be maintained for
less than half the expense of English troops. There is nothing to fear
from the Turkish population in Cyprus, and they would willingly enlist
in our service, and could always be depended upon in case of necessity.
The force already organised is an admirable nucleus, and could be
rapidly increased; each man finds his own horse and receives two
shillings a day inclusive; his clothes and arms being provided by the
government. For service in the trying climate of Cyprus the Turk is
pre-eminent. I do not see any need for the presence of British troops in
this island. The fortresses are all dismantled, the natives are
peaceful, and the extremely low price of wine and spirits is terribly
adverse to the sanitary condition of the English soldier. The staunch
sobriety of the Turk, his extreme hardihood, which enables him to endure
great fatigue upon the most simple fare, and his amenity to discipline,
together with an instinctive knowledge of arms and a natural capacity
for a military profession, render him a valuable material for our
requirements in organising a defensive force in Cyprus. Should it be
determined that a certain number of British troops shall be retained,
they can be spared unnecessary exposure, and retire to the mountain
sanatorium during the summer months.

The wages of both artisans and ordinary labourers have risen
considerably since the British occupation, as might have been expected.
Skilled masons and carpenters can now command from 3 shillings 6 pence
to 5 shillings per diem, who formerly could earn a maximum of 3
shillings. Ordinary masons for building walls can even now be obtained
for 2 shillings 6 pence and 3 shillings, and agricultural labourers
receive 1 shilling. It is probable that should extensive government
improvements be undertaken, or large contracts be made by private
individuals for public works, the rate will rise from one shilling to
eighteen pence, as the demand for labour shall increase. Should schools
be established and education become general throughout the island, the
result will probably be exhibited by a corresponding advance in wages,
as individuals will estimate their value at a higher rate. At present
there is no organised system of education for the peasantry, and the few
schools are confined to Nicosia, Larnaca, Limasol, Baffo, and Morphu,
all of which are supported by original grants, voluntary contributions,
the payments of pupils, and by certain sums annually provided by the
bishops and monasteries.

The rate of wages should in all countries bear a just proportion to the
price of food, and should the habits of the Cypriotes remain unchanged,
and their diet retain its simple character, there is no reason to
anticipate a rate that would eventually exceed 10 shillings or 11
shillings a week. If we determine upon low wages, we must keep down the
price of food. The Turkish administration had peculiar municipal laws
upon this subject which are still in force in some localities, but have
been abrogated in Limasol. I have already mentioned that the price of
meat was fixed at a certain sum per oke, so that good and bad sold at
the same figure, and resulted in the inferior qualities being sent to
market, while the best never appeared. Fish, fruits, and vegetables were
rated in the same manner, and the municipal authorities ruled, and fixed
a standard price for everything; good and bad all shared alike. By this
extraordinary legislation, which to the English mind is inconceivable,
the finest cauliflowers and the most common varieties would sell exactly
at the same price; no matter what the quality of vegetables might be,
all were reduced to the same level. Fish was simply fish. The best
varieties and the most inferior were included in the same despotic law.
Salmon and stickleback, turbot and sprat, herrings and soles, would (had
they existed) have been sold at so much a pound independent of their
qualities. The result was that if your servant went to market to buy a
fine species of fish, the seller insisted upon his taking a due
proportion of inferior trash that was hardly eatable. "All was fish that
came to the net;" little and big, good and bad, fetched the same price.

Such a system would ensure the worst of everything; what gardener would
devote his energies to producing fine varieties, if a common field
cabbage would rival his choicest specimens at the same price, but at a
minimum of labour?

It was evident that the lowest class of vegetables would represent the
garden produce, as this absurd rule was a premium for indolence, whereas
free competition, that would have assured high prices to the best
qualities, would have stimulated the cultivators in their productions.
This argument was so indisputable that the chief commissioner (Colonel
Warren, R.A.) determined at all hazards to introduce free markets into
Limasol; and although opposed to the conservative ideas of his municipal
council, he carried out his views of a healthy competition and free and
unrestricted trade, which would awaken the Cypriotes to the fact that
labour properly directed would ensure the best qualities, that would
benefit the producer by securing the best prices.

Self-evident facts in an English community may be utterly misconstrued
in Cyprus. The Cypriote has never been accustomed to unrestricted
freedom, but like his own ox in the plough, he requires a certain amount
of control, and his energies must be directed by a driver or ruler. When
the vegetables were assured of a certain fixed price per oke regulated
by the authorities, he knew that he would obtain that amount for his
produce whether good or bad; accordingly he brought his goods to market.
But, when he found that his inferior vegetables would remain unsold, or
would realise a mere trifle should a competitor's stall present a
superior show, he withdrew altogether from the market, which at length
became deserted; and the few who maintained their positions advanced
their prices to such an exorbitant degree that vegetables became a
luxury in which none could indulge but the rich. The fishermen profited
by the reform and only caught sufficient for the minimum demand, but at
the same time that they reduced their own labour and consequently the
supply of fish, they also took advantage of the new law of free trade,
and advanced their prices in extortionate proportion. Instead of the
self-evident prosperity that would benefit all classes, the sudden
liberty to which the Cypriote was unaccustomed acted diametrically
against all English expectations, and for the time ruined the market.
This was told me by Colonel Warren himself, and the failure of the
apparently wholesome reform is suggestive of the danger that may result
in the too sudden enfranchisement of those races which from a long
series of oppression are unfit for perfect liberty.

At the same time there can be no doubt that the vexatious and arbitrary
systems of taxation pursued in collecting the "dimes" has prevented the
extension of market gardens, and were this tax remitted, I cannot
imagine any more lucrative occupation than the growth of vegetables of
the best quality for the FREE markets of the principal towns.

Some encouragement is necessary in promoting exhibitions, or
horticultural shows, accompanied by substantial prizes, in various
localities; and I should not be dismayed by the failure of the first
well-meant attempt at reform in Limasol.

When I was at Limasol in May the price of cauliflowers was 2 pence the
oke (2.75 lbs). Fish was dear at 2 shillings the oke; mutton 8 pence the
oke. Beef is seldom eaten by the Cypriotes; potatoes are good, and are
usually 1 penny the lb. Flour, best, 8 pence the oke. If a sheep should
be purchased alive, and be killed for home consumption, the mutton
should not exceed 3 pence per lb. for the best quality, leaving the
skin, head, &c., as profit.

There are two varieties of sheep; the fat-tailed species supplies the
best mutton, but the wool of both is coarse, and is exported to Trieste
and Marseilles to the amount of about 400,000 lbs. annually. A large
trade in lamb skins is a necessary result of the slaughter of a
considerable proportion of lambs every winter and spring, owing to the
usual scarcity of pasturage, which limits the increase of the flocks.
The entire yield of skins is absorbed by Trieste and Marseilles.

A sheep in good condition of the fat-tailed species weighs when dressed,
without the head, 16 okes, or 44 lbs. Fowls in the country can generally
be purchased for 1 shilling each, but they are double that price in the
market-towns. Turkeys fetch about 4 or 5 shillings each; pigeons 6
pence; fish is about 2 shillings the oke, or 8 pence the lb.; milk about
4 pence a quart; eggs from 24 to 30 for one shilling.

The grapes are the best fruit in Cyprus; these are really good, and in
some instances would compare favourably with the hot-house produce of
England. The best varieties can be purchased at the vineyards for less
than 1 penny the lb. The above prices prove that the expense of
necessaries is moderate, and the actual cost of existence low, but the
want of good servants is a serious disadvantage.

At some future time Cyprus will become the resort of delicate persons to
escape the winter and spring of England, as the climate of the southern
portion of the island is most enjoyable during the cool season. In the
neighbourhood of Limasol there are many excellent sites for building, in
picturesque spots within two or three miles of the town. At present
there is no adequate comfort for invalids, and the hotels are hardly
adapted for persons who are accustomed to luxury. The commencement is
attended with risk, and it would be dangerous under the existing
conditions of the island to build and furnish an hotel with grounds and
gardens sufficiently attractive for English visitors. There is no direct
communication from England, which effectually debars Cyprus from an
influx of travellers. It is necessary to land at Alexandria either from
Marseilles or Brindisi, and thence to re-ship in small and uncomfortable
steamers, which are by no means suitable for ladies or invalids. The

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