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

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extra expense, and above all the trouble and delay of landing in Egypt
and again embarking, together with the cost of hotel charges at
Alexandria, are quite sufficient to deter strangers from visiting
Cyprus. The first necessary step will be the establishment of direct
communication from Marseilles and Brindisi, or from Trieste. In that
case, a commencement might be made by a small company of friends who
determine to visit Cyprus annually, and to arrange an hotel upon some
favourable site near Limasol, which they will themselves occupy, and
which can be extended according to future requirements. English people
are somewhat like sheep in following each other, and a quiet beginning
in this simple but convenient form would quickly develop, and Cyprus
would be linked with the beaten paths of tourists. The neighbourhood of
Kyrenia is the most beautiful, but during winter it is exposed to severe
north winds from the snowy mountains.

So much has been written and spoken against the climate of Cyprus that
an unprejudiced account may be acceptable. There are serious
disadvantages to those who by their official position are obliged to
remain in the low country during the summer months, where the extreme
heat must always be prejudicial to the health of Europeans. From the
middle of October to May the climate is most agreeable, but the five
intervening months should be passed at higher altitudes, which, as I
have already described, afford a variety of climates.

Neither Lady Baker nor myself or servants had any climatic ailment
throughout our journeys in every portion of the island. A horsekeeper
had fever while at Famagousta, but he was a native who had suffered
previously, and the fit was a return of chronic ague; my own people
never required a dose of medicine although we were living in tents
through winter and summer.

The water is generally wholesome, therefore dysentery and bowel
complaints are rare; CONSUMPTION IS UNKNOWN; and pulmonary affections
are uncommon. Fevers, including those of a typhoid character, and ague
from malaria, are the usual types; outbreaks of small-pox have been
reduced by general vaccination. The improvement in sanitary regulations
will no doubt diminish the occurrence of typhoid fevers, which even now
are rare considering the filth of the villages and the generally dirty
habits of the population.

Hydrophobia among dogs is very rare, and distemper among puppies is
unknown. Pigs are the general scavengers in the Cypriote villages, and
the flesh of these filthy feeders is much esteemed by the Christian
inhabitants during the winter months. In the monasteries, which, from
their great altitude among the mountains, are occasionally snowed up and
excluded from communication, a winter supply of stores is laid up during
the autumn. The pigs and the fattest goats are killed, and salted in a
most peculiar manner. Without removing a bone, the animal is split from
the neck along the abdomen throughout, and it is laid completely open
like a smoked haddock. Every joint is most carefully dislocated, even to
the shoulder-blade bones, and remains in its place. The flesh is neatly
detached from every bone, and in this form the carcase is salted, and
stretched out in the sun to dry. When prepared it resembles a shield, as
it remains perfectly flat, the back presenting a smooth surface, while
the inside represents a beautiful specimen of comparative anatomy, every
joint dislocated, but secured by the original integument to the socket,
and every bone cleanly detached, but undisturbed from its original
position. The dried body looks like a surgical preparation carefully
arranged for an explanatory lecture.

The common and low quality of food of the lower classes, and especially
of the agricultural population, must induce a want of stamina which is
unable to resist the fever in malarious districts, and this results in
chronic disease of the spleen. I have already described the general
protuberance of the abdomen among the children throughout the Messaria
and the Carpas districts, all of whom are more or less affected by
splenetic diseases. On the mountains a marked difference is observed, as
throughout the numerous villages at high altitudes the children are as
healthy as those of England, although poorly clad in the home-made
cotton-stuffs of the country.

I have already remarked the absence of flannel or other woollen material
worn next the skin; the natives prefer their own manufactures to those
of Europe, and as they grow the cotton, which is spun and woven into
cloth by their own women, there is no actual outlay of coin. Some of the
native material is very superior in strength to the machine-made stuffs
of Manchester, especially a blue stout cotton with a thin red line that
is in general request both for men and women. The only woollen stuff
that is manufactured in Cyprus is confined to Nicosia, where the dark
brown and immensely thick capotes are made for the winter wear of the
common people. A cart-driver during the halt in a winter night simply
draws the hood over his head and face, and, wrapped in his long and
impervious capote, he lays himself beneath his cart and goes to sleep.
Coarse woollen saddle-cloths and bags are also made at Nicosia. The same
locality is celebrated for manufactures of silk and gold embroidery, all
of which is performed by the hands of women, while the printing of
calicoes and the production of morocco leather are local industries
confined to the labour of men.

No country is better adapted for silk culture than Cyprus, where the
mulberry-tree grows in great luxuriance to the altitude of 5000 feet,
and the warmth and dryness of the climate is highly favourable to the
silkworm. There is no tax upon the mulberry, and should artificial
irrigation be encouraged by the government, this tree should be
generally planted throughout the Messaria and all other districts, and a
special impulse should be directed to silk development. Formerly the
production of silk was an important export to France, but of late years
it has decreased to a mere bagatelle. In the spot where I am now writing
there are numerous mulberries in a profusion of rich foliage sufficient
for the production of two pounds of silk by each tree; but they are
entirely neglected, and the same depression in the silk cultivation may
be remarked throughout the island.

The numerous wild-flowers, together with the blossoms of oranges and
lemons, are highly favourable to bees, of which there are several
varieties; but there is no export of wax, which is used within the
island for the manufacture of candles and tapers for the various
churches. The Cyprian bee-hive is a contrivance which is extremely
simple, at the same time that it possesses the great advantage of
sparing the bees when the comb is to be saved. I see no reason why this
primitive arrangement should not succeed in England, and thereby save
countless swarms from destruction.

The hive is an earthenware cylinder about three feet six inches or four
feet in length, by ten or twelve inches in diameter; this might be
represented by a common chimney-pot. One end is securely stopped by a
wad of straw, neatly made in a similar manner to the back of an archery
target. This is smeared on the outside with clay so as to exclude the
air. A similar wad is inserted at the other extremity, but this is
provided with a small aperture or entrance for the bees. In a large
apiary twenty or thirty of these rude pipes or cylinders are piled one
upon the other in the same manner that draining tiles are heaped in
England, and they are protected from the sun and rain by a shed, open
only to the front. The bees learn to recognise their several hives
without confusion, although the cylinders are exactly alike and closely
packed together.

When the comb is fully developed and the honey should be secured, it is
only necessary to open a hole in the back, by removing the wad, and to
blow smoke through the aperture; the bees escape uninjured from their
ordinary entrance. The operator, whose head and face are protected with
the necessary veil, and his hands with gloves, now cuts out the honey
required, leaving a certain quantity as food for the bees, who will
return to their hive when re-adjusted.

When a swarm is captured, the bees are placed in an earthenware cylinder
which has been rubbed in the inside with a mixture of honey and wine.
The shed is a very important portion of the apiary, as it adds
materially to the comfort of the bees by protecting them from the
extremes of weather.

Although the cold of the winter seldom attains freezing-point, it is
sufficiently uncomfortable when accompanied by rain, and all creatures
that are expected to thrive require protection. The climate varies in
different localities, but the following meteorological data, that were
carefully registered by myself, accompanied by those kindly furnished me
by Colonel White, 1st Royal Scots, when chief commissioner of Lefkosia,
will afford a dependable basis for any medical opinion.

in degrees F.
Months. Inches Mean Mean Max. Min.
Rainfall 8 AM 3 PM

February, in the plain of Messaria . . 0.80 46 57 68 37

March, in the Carpas district and ditto 1.71 49 60 68 45

April, in the Kyrenia district, the
maximum at Morphu . . . . . . . . . . nil. 57 68 83 47

At 7 AM
May, in Limasol to 11th inst do. . . . ditto. 64 78 84 76

do. Trooditissa, 4,340 ft. to 31st
from 12th . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.30 56.5 62 73 42

June, Trooditissa . . . . . . . . . . 1.13 66 71.6 78 54

July, do. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.13 77.6 78 84 65

The fall of 1.13 inch of rain in June took place in one hour and a half,
and none of the rain which fell at the mountain range extended to the
low country. It will be seen that from 1st February to the end of May
only 2.51 inches fell throughout the central and eastern divisions, and
very little that was measured in the Carpas district reached the
Messaria. There was a fall of about 1.70 inch in January at Larnaca
which I had no opportunity of measuring, but inclusive of this quantity
the total rainfall from 1st January to the end of summer would not have
exceeded 4.21 inches in the lower country.

The month of July is shown to be the highest temperature at Trooditissa,
but although the maximum of 84 and the mean at 3 P.M. of 78 degrees may
appear high at the elevation of 4340 feet above the sea level, the
extreme lightness and purity of the air so far modified the heat that it
was never oppressive. The thermometer was suspended five feet from the
ground against the trunk of the shady walnut-tree four feet from the
tent wall, into which spot the sun never entered.

The water that issued from the rock by a stone spout beneath the arch
showed a temperature of 55 degrees and never varied throughout the
months of June, July, and August. When the thermometer was above 80
degrees this water fresh from the spout appeared icy cold in comparison.

Colonel White's observations at Lefkosia (Nicosia) for the month of July
exhibit an extremely high range, the mean at 9 A.M. = 84.5 Fahr.
degrees, and the mean at 9 P.M. = 83 degrees Fahr.; while the daily
maximum attains the serious degree of a mean = 108.7 degrees Fahr., the
highest point registered being 115 degrees Fahr. in the shade.

Such a temperature will destroy the health of Europeans, and the
locality is not suitable for headquarters. The governor of the island
might possibly escape to the mountain sanatorium, but the other
officials will sicken in their various overheated offices.

The following is Colonel White's original register:-



Instruments:--Casella's maximum, minimum, and ordinary thermometers;
Negretti and Zambra's large-size aneroid barometer ; 29 feet above
ground, all under deep verandah, shaded from the sun, exposed to coolest
wind, and 5 feet above the roof of the house. The readings taken

H. G. WHITE, Lieut.-Colonel Royal Scots,
Commissioner, Nicosia.
4th August, 1879



In the foregoing chapters I have endeavoured to describe the present
condition of Cyprus, exhibiting the actual resources of the island,
together with the numerous disadvantages resulting from a peculiarity of
climate, and the total neglect of all public works during the Ottoman
rule of three centuries. It will be remarked that nothing of value
exists beyond the agricultural productions, which are now precarious
through the uncertainty of seasons; the metallic wealth has either been
exhausted by the ancient miners, or it remains to be developed; the
forests have been destroyed; the harbours have been clogged by silt; the
communications are confined to pack animals in the general absence of
roads and bridges. Yet, notwithstanding this neglected condition of
the island, the revenue has yielded an average of about 200,000 pounds
annually, or as nearly as possible one pound sterling per head of the
entire population.

An increase of revenue can only result from a corresponding advance in
material prosperity, which must depend upon an influx of capital that
will develop the agricultural resources upon which Cyprus will mainly
depend. There are some few collateral profits that may perhaps increase,
such as the sponge fisheries, and a probable discovery of red coral by
the employment of the helmet-diving apparatus. At present the condition
of the sea-bottom is little known; the sponges, of an inferior-quality,
are collected by dredging, and the boats pay a fixed sum for a licence
according to the size and construction of the dredging apparatus,
varying from 5 to 20 pounds per annum; this yields a small annual
revenue of about 1600 pounds, which embraces the entire coast of Cyprus.
By careful management the salt might exhibit an increase, but on the
other hand, the wine, if relieved from the present extreme taxation,
would for the first two or three years ensure a considerable reduction.

No increase of imports can be expected until the general advance of
internal prosperity shall enable the population to extend their demand
for foreign manufactures. We have seen that the peasantry are contented
with the home-made cotton stuffs which they produce without an
expenditure of money; and the habits of the agricultural classes are
simple, and independent of external aid. It will require many years
before the customs of the Cypriotes shall be changed by the intercourse
with strangers, and the increase of their wealth, commencing from the
zero of poverty, must be the base of future expectations. We generally
remark in the advancing desires of communities that women exert a
powerful influence in the development of manufactures. The wholesome,
and to a certain extent civilising, attention to personal appearance,
creates a demand for articles of dress and other little vanities which
encourage trade, and by degrees the improvement in every household
expands into a new birth of external relations with foreign countries,
which induces an increase of imports. The women of Cyprus are completely
subjugated to their husbands, and although exempt from the cruelty
unfortunately so prevalent among a similar class in England, they are
seldom indulged in the love of finery which in our own country is
carried to an excess. The baggy trousers and the high hob-nailed boots
of the Cyprian Venus will hardly excite the ambition of British
manufacturers, and for many years the females will remain in their
present position. There are already soap manufactories in the island,
and the first groundwork for improvements in personal habits will be
ensured by their extension, before the exterior fineries of more
civilised communities shall be introduced. We may therefore omit the
Cyprian female from the class that would benefit the island
commercially, but she will perform her duty in a sensible and simple
manner as a good housewife, and thereby assist in the prosperity of her
husband the agriculturist. The more pains that we may bestow upon an
examination of the resources of Cyprus, the more certain becomes the
conclusion that the present and the future depend entirely upon
agricultural development.

This fact is patent to all who can pretend to a knowledge of the island,
and the question will naturally intrude, "Was Cyprus occupied for
agricultural purposes?" Of course we know it was not: but on the other
hand, if we acknowledge the truth, "that it was accepted as a
strategical military point," it is highly desirable that the country
should be self-supporting, instead of, like Malta and Gibraltar, mainly
dependent upon external supplies.

If Cyprus belonged to England or any other Power, it would be a valuable
acquisition. We have seen that under the Turkish administration it was a
small mine of wealth, and remains in the same position to its recent

We pay 96,000 pounds sterling per annum to the Turks, out of an assumed
revenue of 170,000 pounds. Therefore, without any trouble or risk, the
Turk is receiving 3.25 per cent. interest upon three millions. This
establishes an unfortunate precedent in the valuation of the island
should England eventually become a purchaser.

If Cyprus can, without undue taxation, afford a revenue of 170,000
pounds, it is palpable that a large margin would be available for those
absolutely necessary public works--irrigation, the control of the Pedias
river, road-making, harbour-works, bridges, extension of forests and
guardians, and a host of minor improvements, such as district schools
for the teaching of English, &c. &c. In fact, if we held Cyprus without
purchase as a conquered country, such as Ceylon, Mauritius, or other of
our colonies, it would occupy the extraordinary position of a colony
that could advance and pay its way entirely by its own surplus revenue,
without a public loan! This is a fact of great importance--that, in
spite of the usual Turkish mal-administration, the island has no debt,
but that England has acknowledged the success of the Turkish rule by
paying 96,000 pounds per annum as the accepted surplus revenue of this
misgoverned island!--which holds upon these data a better financial
condition than any of our own colonies.

If the total gross revenue is 170,000 pounds a year, and we can afford
to pay 96,000 pounds to the Porte, and at the same time allow the home
government to boast in the House of Commons of "a surplus," Cyprus is
one of the most lucrative positions, and the Turks can fairly claim a
success instead of admitting the blame of mal-administration.

If the Turks by mismanagement can obtain a nett revenue of 96,000 pounds
a year, how much should England obtain by good management?

The fact is that, as usual, the English government has been hoodwinked
in their hasty bargain. The island can pay its way, and, if free from
Turkey, would become most prosperous; but we have inherited an estate so
heavily mortgaged by our foolish Convention, that the revenue is all
absorbed in interest, which leaves nothing for the necessities of
development. The commissioners of districts are over-worked and
ill-paid, their allowance of interpreters is quite insufficient to
secure the necessary check; and their position is incompatible with the
importance of their official status. There is no money for any
improvements, and the boasted surplus will just suffice for the payment
of salaries and the absolutely necessary items of carrying on a
government more in accordance with the position of Greece or Denmark
than with the historical reputation of Great Britain.

This financial embarrassment has disappointed the expectations of the
inhabitants, who naturally had anticipated brilliant advantages from the
reform between Turkish and English administrations. My own opinion may
be valueless, but it is shared by many; Cyprus should belong absolutely
to England, or we should have nothing to do with it. I repeat the dictum
expressed in the introduction; if England is the ally of Turkey and she
can depend upon the integrity of that defensive alliance against Russia,
there is no need for any station that incurs the obligations of Cyprus;
all the Turkish ports would be open to our ships. The occupation of
Cyprus would therefore suggest that a far-seeing government had doubted
the integrity of Turkey, and had therefore determined to secure a
pied-a-terre in a strategical position that would command the east of
the Mediterranean. Upon this point opinions will again differ, and I
quote the words of one of the most experienced statesmen and an
ex-minister of the Upper House, who writes:--

"The objections to Cyprus as a military and naval station are shortly
these. It will oblige us to establish a garrison, and therefore to
increase and divide our forces in the Mediterranean. There must be
barracks, hospitals, store-houses, &c. After all this expenditure Cyprus
will weaken rather than strengthen our power.

"Famagousta may be made a good harbour; but how can it be defended? The
ships will not be, as in Malta, defended by batteries projecting far
beyond the anchorage; Famagousta will require ships of war to defend it,
or batteries constructed on the breakwater--a most costly undertaking.
As a coaling-station it is not wanted, because colliers accompanying the
fleet are much more convenient. If, in short, we are supreme at sea,
Cyprus is not wanted; if we are not supreme, Cyprus will be an

I acknowledge the force of a portion of the argument, and no one can
more highly respect the distinguished authority I have quoted, who, as
an ex-First Lord of the Admiralty of practical experience, must carry
the great weight of his ability and position; but I would suggest that
Famagousta is underrated. I have already described that powerful
fortress, and in its present condition, if mounted with forty-ton guns
upon the sea-face, I doubt the possibility of an attack from seaward.
The natural reefs which form the sea-wall afford the greatest facilities
for batteries a-fleur-d'eau, as their solid foundations require the
simple levelling of cement, and a facing of steel plates would complete
an impregnable line of casemates that would render the approach by sea

The advantages of attendant colliers is great as a continuous
coal-supply to a fleet, especially during the blockade of an enemy's
port; but for a cruising fleet, or for independent vessels, the speed of
the colliers would be insufficient, and a line of coaling-stations, at
intervals of five days' steaming is in my opinion highly important, in
addition to the necessity of docks where ironclad vessels could obtain
the necessary repairs after a naval engagement. It is a serious result
of modern improvements that the cumbrous and complicated ironclads
cannot be repaired in a few days after an action with the enemy by their
own carpenters and crews, like the wooden vessels of old, but that docks
must be within reach, and all the appliances of the engineers' yards and
an arsenal. Without this advantage, Famagousta would be a useless
acquisition, and Cyprus would be worthless as a strategical position.

In my opinion the entire question hangs upon the integrity of Turkey as
an ally. England has done but little for her, and we may expect too
much. The Turks are thoroughly aware that an Anglo-Turkish defensive
alliance, and the "Protectorate of Asia Minor by Great Britain," are
political arrangements based upon self-interest, for which they owe us
no personal gratitude; in the hour of their distress we declined
material assistance, but seized the opportunity for occupying one of
their important positions--Cyprus; their only satisfaction remained in
the knowledge that they had "done us" in the bargain. We have quickly
discovered the painful fact, and one party to the alliance already feels
aggrieved, and seeks for an alteration in the terms of the Convention.

I cannot conceive any more dangerous risk to friendships than an
interference in the private affairs of individuals, or in the public
administration of governments. We have assumed the enormous
responsibility of the Protectorate of Asia Minor under conditions which
we must know will never be fulfilled; Turkey promises to reform the
abuses of her internal administration, &c. &c.! Anybody who knows Turkey
must be aware that such a reform is impossible: the honest
administrative material does not exist in the Ottoman Empire, and the
promises of the Porte have been tolerably exemplified since the Crimean
war. Under these circumstances the Anglo-Turkish alliance is in a
questionable position. We have assumed the Protectorate of Asia Minor
conditionally; we occupy Cyprus conditionally; and should Turkey fail to
perform her promises in the government of her Asiatic provinces, we have
a back-door for an escape from our onerous engagement. Unfortunately
English diplomacy is celebrated for back-doors. In the Berlin Treaty we
entered Cyprus through a back-door, and we may possibly retire by the
same exit; but there is little doubt that the Turk does not believe in
our professed determination to defend him by force of arms in the event
of a future conflict between Russia and the Sultan in Asia Minor.
Notwithstanding our professed sincerity, the Turk has become an
unbeliever in the faith of treaties and political engagements; he
believes most thoroughly that should "British interests" require the
sacrifice of honour, England will somehow or other manage to slip
through the Ottoman fingers, and escape from her alliance when called
upon to meet Russia in the field. Of course the ignorant Turk is wrong,
and his suspicions are unfounded.

With a mutual want of confidence in the integrity of an alliance, it
would hardly be surprising should the Sultan attach more importance to
the practical force of Russia than to the moral rectitude and high
political principles of England. The power of Russia has been felt, and
the position of European Turkey is that of a dislocated and dismembered
Empire, which upon the next explosion will reduce the Sultan to the
small extremity on the Bosphorus between Constantinople and the lines of
Tchataldja. Turkey will cease to be a European Power, and upon the
outbreak of the next Russian war she will be discovered as represented
by Asia Minor, in which the claws of the Eagle are already fixed in the
vital points--Batoum, Kars, and Ardahan. A Russian advance from those
positions will, according to the terms of the alliance, compel Great
Britain to exhibit herself as the champion of Turkish rights in armed
defence of Asia Minor.

When we reflect upon the prodigious responsibility of such an alliance
with a crippled Power that has been completely subdued, the victorious
army of the Czar retired from the gates of the capital, the nation
bankrupt beyond all hopes of liquidation, the various states in chronic
discontent both in Europe and in Asia, and the claims of Greece
threatening to explode the combustible materials, we may well appreciate
the back-door that has so frequently afforded a retreat from an
untenable position.

If it is necessary for England to form a defensive alliance with Turkey
as a crippled Power, with Russia actually established in Asia Minor, why
should we have waited until Turkey was mortally stricken, when by an
earlier alliance we could have at least saved Asia Minor in its
integrity? We have let the lion into the house with a boast that we will
turn him out in the event of further roaring, instead of having
prevented his entry in the first instance.

Under all the circumstances of the risk and responsibility assumed by
England in a defensive alliance with Turkey under the title of a
Protectorate of Asia Minor, the Cyprus Convention is highly unfavourable
in its conditions. The island should have been simply conveyed from
Turkey and transferred as a free gift to England, as a position
necessary for her occupation under the probable contingencies of the
Anglo-Turkish alliance, and it should have at once become a portion of
the British Empire. Had this course been pursued a mutual confidence
would have been established; on the other hand, all back-doors would
have been sealed, as we should have been bound by all the laws of honour
to defend Turkey to the last extremity in Asia Minor.

Russia, in Kars, occupies a position which affords an unbounded horizon
for political intrigue. The various Turkish Pachas and other district
authorities throughout Asia Minor have witnessed the irresistible
advance of Russia, while England stood afar off, and only assisted
Turkey with her good counsel. The same authorities now see Russia in
possession, while England, who has not assisted during the bloody
struggle, appears upon the scene as a political Paul Pry, and intrudes
upon the mysteries that surround Pachas, Governors, and various
functionaries, who, from the highest to the lowest official, mainly
exist upon extortion.

It is hardly necessary to explain that British assistance in such a form
will be most unwelcome, and will increase our reputation for
intermeddling while in the hour of extremity we withhold the required
aid. Any interference on our part with the administration of Asia Minor
will cause an extreme jealousy and suspicion throughout all classes of
Turkish officials, who will be rendered the more amenable to the guiles
of Russian intrigues from Kars and Ardahan. A very slight knowledge of
Turkish character would induce the natural conclusion. The English would
be suspected of coveting Asia Minor, as they had already obtained
Cyprus, and Russia would have gained her end in destroying all
confidence that might possibly have existed, and thus endanger the
defensive alliance.

There are serious risks that might enforce the advance of Russian troops
beyond the defined frontier. Already there are reports of general
discontent and threatened disturbances. In the event of a mutiny of
Turkish troops on the Russian border, the Russians might be invited to
assist by the Pacha in command. Sometimes such revolts are factitious,
for political purposes. In all cases the position of Russia in Asia
Minor is one of extreme danger to Turkey, and it is far from improbable
that activity on her side, and passiveness upon ours, may terminate in a
friendship between the Russians and the Turks to the detriment of
British interests, and to the confusion of the assumed Protectorate.
This document distinctly states:--If "Batoum, Ardahan, Kars, or any of
them shall be retained by Russia, and if any further attempt shall be
made at any future time by Russia to take possession of any further
territories of his Imperial Majesty the Sultan in Asia as fixed by the
definitive treaty of peace, England engages to join his Imperial Majesty
the Sultan in defending them by force of arms."

In a despatch from Lord Salisbury to Sir A. H. Layard, dated 30th May,
1878, these ominous words are contained:--

"Even if it be certain that Batoum and Ardahan
and Kars will not become the base from which
emissaries of intrigue will issue forth, to be in due
time followed by invading armies, the mere retention
of them by Russia will exercise a powerful influence
in disintegrating the Asiatic dominion of the Porte."

In the same lengthy despatch the conditions are described which Turkey
must fulfil in reforming the abuses of the present administration, &c.
&c., and there can be no doubt that the British government contemplated
the necessity of supplanting a considerable number of the peculant
Turkish officials by experienced English officers, whose supervision
would ensure the necessary reforms. If such a course should have been
accepted by the Porte there could be no question of the salutary effect,
as the presence of British officials in actual authority throughout the
provinces of Asia Minor would have proved to the various races our
positive determination to uphold their rights, and to defend them from
the oppression and extortion to which they had been subjected. Such a
position would have given England the control that is absolutely
necessary to effect the reforms in the administration of Asia Minor,
without which the result will be anarchy and revolution within a few
years, fostered by Russia precisely in accordance with the policy that
has terminated in the disruption of Turkey in Europe.

In the same despatch of 30th May, 1878, Lord Salisbury continues:--

"Her Majesty's Government intimated to the Porte on the
occasion of the Conference at Constantinople that they
were not prepared to sanction misgovernment and
oppression, and it will be requisite before they can
enter into any agreement for the defence of the Asiatic
territories of the Porte in certain eventualities, that
they should be formally assured of the intention of the
Porte to introduce the necessary reforms into the
government of the Christian and other subjects of the
Porte in those regions. IT IS NOT DESIRABLE TO REQUIRE

The italics are my own, for the weak point of the Convention is
exhibited by this sentence.

No "general terms" should ever be mentioned in a communication with
Orientals, and no convention should have been concluded with the Porte,
unless every detail had been previously considered and specially agreed
upon between the contracting parties. When this Convention was made
public, I concluded that the British government contemplated the
official employment of a certain number of their own officers to carry
out the spirit of the agreement, without which the Convention would be a
farce; at the same time I was convinced that the suspicions of the
Turkish government and the stubborn pride of the race would resist any
such direct interference upon the part of England. Under these
conditions Asia Minor would remain exactly where it was. A grand scheme
which would have had immense political results, had the Turks accepted
our interference in the honourable spirit of our intentions, has been
frustrated by their want of confidence, and the Convention remains,
containing an agreement of stupendous importance, by which England is
committed to a military undertaking of the first magnitude, while Turkey
risks nothing except her "PROMISES OF REFORM in the administration of
her Asiatic provinces."

"British interests" in this transaction are represented by Cyprus, which
we occupy as tenants--paying 96,000 pounds a year for the ruined house,
and leaving ourselves no balance from the revenue for the necessary

There is no more difficult political associate than the Turk; his
defensive weapon is delay, and in moments of the greatest emergency his
peculiar apathy or patience never forsakes him. Proud and haughty to a
superlative degree, in his heart he detests all extraneous counsel and
interference, and would rather glide onward to destruction than grasp
the hand stretched out to save him. Turkey has expected much from
England, and has made a poor return for our sacrifice of blood and
treasure during the Crimean war. She obtained an ephemeral financial
reputation through the aid of France and England in becoming guarantees
for a public loan; upon this false position she traded until the
inevitable bankruptcy plunged her into ruin, and opened the gate for the
entrance of her enemies, at the same time that dishonesty entailed the
severance of friends. England has from mutual interests endeavoured to
preserve her from absolute dissolution, and the Protectorate of Asia
Minor was a step of political audacity in her favour that surprised the
world. This extraordinary offer of material aid has been met by the same
want of confidence that has marked the decline of the Turkish Empire;
the only extra interference in Asia Minor has been the appointment of a
few additional British consuls. These gentlemen will report long lists
of abuses, and the general mal-administration of the Turkish officials;
they will be hated accordingly, and being absolutely powerless for good,
they will simply keep the Foreign Office informed of what was thoroughly
well known before. Remonstrances upon our part will be made to the
Porte, who will deny the accuracy of the consular reports, and
ultimately a special commission will be sent out, which will prove their
correctness; the Porte will again promise amendment, but will not
sanction the appointment of British officials. In this old-fashioned
course, so thoroughly understood by all who have any knowledge of
Turkey, the affairs of Asia Minor will be conducted, until revolution
shall bring Russia upon the scene at the most favourable opportunity;
and England, who has been thwarted by the Power she has endeavoured to
save, will, by the terms of the Convention, be compelled to appear in
arms as the defender of the remnant of the Turkish Empire.

Common sense would suggest the absolute necessity of special and clearly
defined conditions in concluding an alliance with Turkey which may at
any moment demand our military interference. If we are bound to assist
by force of arms in the defence of Asia Minor, it is equally necessary
that Turkey should be bound to qualify herself for resistance to an
attack from Russia. It should have been distinctly agreed that Turkey
should raise a territorial army of an estimated strength for the
protection of Asia Minor, and that a certain number of British officers
should hold important commands, to ensure the regular payment of the
troops and to maintain the necessary discipline. Had such conditions
been defined, and the civil courts been placed under the supervision of
British officials, the Protectorate of Asia Minor would have become a
practical combination that would have been an effectual check to Russian
encroachments; but as the affair now stands, the alliance is fraught
with extreme danger to ourselves. I cannot conceive the possibility of a
credulity that would induce experienced statesmen to believe in the
assurances given either by Turkey or by Russia. The history of the past
is sufficient to prove the utter fallacy of assertions, promises, and
treaties; Turkey will persist in mal-administration; Russia, who is now
marching upon Merv in spite of former assurances, as she advanced on
Khiva under similar pretexts, will at the moment of her own selection
assuredly break through her boundaries in Asia Minor. The position of
England will be contemptible. We have thrown down the gauntlet to Russia
by an ostentatious alliance with Turkey, but we hesitate to insist upon
the overwhelming necessity of British official and military officers
to organise the civil administration and an army of defence; thus, when
the sudden emergency shall arise, Turkey will be totally unprepared; the
various races that comprise her Asiatic dominions will already have been
poisoned by intrigue, and the only defence that can be offered to a
Russian advance will be afforded by Turkish neglect, which has left the
country devoid of roads.

Under these inevitable circumstances, England will probably accuse
Turkey of neglecting to fulfil the conditions of the defensive alliance,
and the "back-door" will offer a convenient exit from the difficulty;
in which case, Turkey will be compelled to make terms with Russia that
will probably terminate in a Russo-Turkish alliance AGAINST England, who
will be accused of having treacherously deserted her after breaking a
solemn engagement--and obtaining Cyprus.

This may be a gloomy prospect, but it is not one shade darker than the
reality of the position, unless the Porte will sanction the assistance
of a British administration that would entirely change the political
aspect. A reform of administration in Asia Minor to be effective, should
be based upon the judicial system pursued by the English in the courts
of Cyprus--where the Turkish laws remain undisturbed, but they are
administered under the supervision of specially appointed officers. For
the most part Turkish laws are based upon pure equity, and leave little
to be desired beyond their faithful execution. The oppression and
extortion prevalent throughout the Turkish dominions are directly
contrary to the laws, and are the result of personal tyranny on the part
of the authorities.

In the event of a rupture with our ally that would result in a
Russo-Turkish combination, Cyprus would exhibit its importance as a
strategical position that would entirely command the coasts of Syria and
the approach to Egypt. As I have already stated, the value of the island
is conditional upon the permanence of the Turkish alliance; should
Turkey and England remain friends and allies, Cyprus is quite
unnecessary as a British military station; but our possession will
restored arsenal and harbour of Famagousta would complete a position
that would dominate the whole of the Turkish shores upon the
Mediterranean, and in conjunction with Greece, which would assure the
refuge of Corfu to our fleets, the naval power of Great Britain would be
absolute to the east of Gibraltar.




It is the 22nd August, and the manuscript of "Cyprus as I saw it in
1879" has already been forwarded to England. In another month we shall
be en route for the Euphrates via Alexandretta, and through Bagdad to
India by the Persian Gulf. I shall therefore be placed at the serious
disadvantage of an exclusion from the proofs, which may require
alterations and corrections; this will I trust excuse me should any
repetitions be apparent that would otherwise have been detected before
publication. There is little to add to the description I have given that
would be of public interest, therefore the few additional details are
consigned to a short Appendix.

The seclusion of the monastery has been an agreeable interval that has
formed a moral harbour from the uncertain seas of busy life, and we
shall leave the quiet spot and the good old monks with some regret. A
great change has been effected since our arrival in early May. The heaps
of filth have given place to extreme cleanliness; the monks wash their
hands and faces; even the monastery yard is swept. No atom of impurity
is allowed to deface the walk from the cold spring to the great
walnut-tree. My little garden has flourished and produced largely; the
melons were of excellent flavour; the tomatoes and other vegetables were
good, including a species of esculent amaranthus which is a substitute
for spinach. I employed a man and his son to open the path for 2.75
miles, from the monastery to the military route to Troodos, which much
improved the communication, and somewhat relieved our solitude by
increasing the visits of our friends. If any stranger should now arrive
from England at Trooditissa he would appreciate the calm and cool asylum
contrasting with the heat of the lower country; but should he arrive
even one short month after our departure, I fear the picture will have
changed. Throngs of mules will have defiled our clean courtyard, and
will be stabled within our shady retreat beneath the walnut-tree, which
will remain unswept. The filthy habits of the people, now restrained
only by strong remonstrance, will be too apparent. The old monks,
Neophitos and Woomonos, (who are dear old people when clean) will cease
to wash, and the place and people will certainly relapse into the
primeval state of dirt and holiness in which we first discovered it.

We leave in friendship with all, and during our sojourn at Trooditissa
of more than three months, no quarrels, or even trifling disagreements,
have occurred between the servants or the people. The temporary storm
occasioned by the abrupt departure of Christina was quickly lulled by
the arrival of the middle-aged-maid of all work of seventy-five, who
has performed all her arduous duties with admirable patience. Our own
servants have been most satisfactory since their first engagement upon
our arrival in Cyprus in January last; Georgi the "prodigal son," has
been of much service as interpreter, and is an honest and willing young
man, but there is a peculiarity in his physical constitution exhibited
in the mutual want of attachment between his person and his buttons.
These small but necessary friends continually desert him; and his shoes
appear to walk a few inches faster than his feet, leaving him in a
chronic state of down-at-heel. Collars will not assimilate with his
neck; whether they are tied with strings, or fastened with buttons, the
result is the same, and Georgi's exterior when all or three parts of his
buttons have deserted him, exhibits a looseness which I am glad to say
by no means applies to his character. The cook Christo is an excellent
fellow, always willing to please, and good in his profession; added to
which, he assumes a demeanour of importance which is irresistible, and
makes all paths smooth. My Abyssinian, Amarn, is always the same quiet,
steady character, who performs his daily work with the calm regularity
of the stream that turns a mill-wheel, and can always be depended on. It
is a pleasure to me that our party does not dissolve upon leaving
Cyprus, but the servants accompany us on the Asiatic shore.

In conclusion, I must acknowledge with due thanks the valuable
assistance that I have received in statistical information afforded by
the kindness of the High Commissioner, His Excellency General Biddulph,
R. A, C. B., and the various chief commissioners of districts, including
Lieutenant-Colonel White, First Royal Scots, of Lefkosia;
Lieutenant-Colonel Warren, R. A., of Limasol (now promoted to Chief of
the Staff); Claude Delaval Cobham, Esq., M. A., of Larnaca; Captain
Inglis, of Famagousta; and Captain A. Wauchope, 42nd Highlanders, of

In taking leave of Cyprus I must express my share in the general regret
at the departure of Sir Garnet and Lady Wolseley, from whom we received
much kindness. His successor, General Biddulph, R. A., is well known as
a most able and painstaking officer, who is admirably suited for the
responsible position he now occupies, but all will remember with due
appreciation the vigorous administration of Sir Garnet Wolseley, who was
selected for the command of Cyprus in the difficult period of the first
British occupation.





It will be remarked that August at Trooditissa is considerably lower in
temperature than July.

The following data, from 1st to 17th August, kindly supplied me by
Lieut.-Colonel White, Chief Commissioner of Lefkosia, will exhibit the
difference between that station, 442 feet above the sea level, and
Trooditissa Monastery, 4,340 feet.

The following official estimate of revenue and expenditure must be
accepted as only approximate. As the taxes are at present collected by
dimes, or tenths, the amount must depend upon the agricultural
prosperity of the island, which is liable to considerable fluctuations,
and during the present year of semi-famine will result in a serious
diminution. There will probably be a sensible decrease in the Customs
receipts, as the import of European goods has been checked by the
collapse of many European traders who had arrived in Cyprus at the first
announcement of the British occupation, and discovered that their goods
were unsuited to the requirements of the extremely poor and frugal
population. The greater portion of the English traders have already
retired from the island; the Greek merchants who have been long
established are satisfied with small profits, and their expenses are
upon a proportionate scale, which renders British competition quite
impossible. The Cypriotes decline to purchase from the English stores,
as they are ignorant of the language, and the goods are ill-adapted to
their wants. The first rush of commercial activity due to the political
movement in 1878 has subsided, and the trade will be represented chiefly
by the agricultural exports from the island until some more favourable
conditions of our occupation may induce a new impulse, and capitalists
may venture upon investments in Cyprus.

The mines of umber near Larnaca have been let, and it is by no means
improbable that an extension may in a few years be apparent in
enterprises of this description. Copper mines near Khrysokhus are being
opened, but the preliminary operations can afford no clue to the value
of the result. The umber is shipped exclusively to Holland for the
manufacture of paint, and the produce of Cyprus is considered to be the
finest quality. Although asbestos is reported to exist of a remarkably
long fibre and soft texture, I have never met with it except in the
coarse form which is common in many portions of the island, especially
on the Troodos range, where the base of this stone is a shining greenish
substance of a horny texture, which gradually terminates in bristles of
asbestos. I have also seen it in thin veins of metamorphic rocks,
glittering like silver, and when scratched with a knife, it resolves
into a downy condition like scraped cotton. All these mineral resources
require a special and minute investigation.


Memorandum on the Revenue and Charges of the Island of Cyprus for the
Five Years from 1873-4 to 1877-8, under Turkish Administration, with an
Estimate for the Year 1878-9, including the Charges of British
Administration of the Island.

In submitting the enclosed statement of the accounts of Cyprus for the
past five years, with the estimate of revenue and expenditure for the
current official year, 1878-79, I propose to describe briefly the
character and operation of the several taxes of the island in the past,
and the considerations that have guided me in framing the estimate for
the present year.

Dimes, or Tithes on Produce of the Land.

This is the Government share of the produce of the land, and constitutes
by far the largest item in the revenue of the island. In the, year 1874
the tithe was raised to an eighth part, or 12 1/2 per cent on the
produce, but that was abandoned in 1876, and the tithe is all that has
been since levied with the sanction of the Turkish Government.

The unit of the Turkish revenue system is the village; then the nahie,
or group of villages; then the caza (canton); then the sandjak
(arrondissement); and, lastly, the vilayet, or province, under a
Governor-General, Director of Finance, and Council of Administration.
Throughout these several stages-from the village to the nahie, caza,
sandjak, and chief place of the vilayet-there are excellent rules for
the check and disposition of the revenues, but they are not observed.
Indeed, in the judicial, as in the revenue and financial administration
of the island, the organisation of establishments and rules of procedure
are commendable in every way, but the rules are unknown to, or ignored
by, the officials employed to administer them.

The tithes are farmed by the Turkish Government to merchants and
speculators in the spring of each year, when the ripening crops enable
all concerned to estimate the extent and quality of the year's produce.
The sale of the tithes (by villages, nahies, or cazas, as may be
preferred) commences in March and ends on the 15th June, and whatever
tithes then remain unsold the Government undertakes to recover through
its own agents.

When the sales are effected the tithe-farmer signs a bond for the
amount, payable in six monthly instalments, commencing from the 1st
August, with interest on instalments not paid at due date. Each
tithe-farmer is required to have a sufficient surety, who also signs the
bond and is jointly and equally responsible with the principal. After
conclusion of the agreement, the tithe-farmer proceeds at once to watch
the fields in which he is interested and to estimate the yield. He sees
the grain cut, threshed, heaped, and insists upon its remaining upon the
threshing-floor until his claim is satisfied-the claim always exceeding
the stipulated tenth. For wheat, barley, and other grains, arrangements
have to be made by the cultivators for transit to the nearest port of
embarkation, on terms more or less unfavourable to themselves. Their
cattle are taken away for transport when most required in their own
fields, and they have to bear all the expenses of transit, except the
expense of the first mile, which is paid by the tithe-farmers. For
fruit, vegetables, and other perishable articles, the tithe is commuted
in a money payment, respecting which there are usually disputes,
determinable by the local Kaimakam or head Government official of each
caza. The awards of these officials are always in favour of the
tithe-farmers, who are members of the Administrative Councils, or
otherwise persons of influence in the cazas comprised in their
respective engagements. Later in the year, or about the 15th August, the
vineyards are similarly visited by the tithe-farmers or their
representatives, and estimates of the produce are made by them and by
the cultivators. These estimates always differ, and are the subject of
constant disputes, which are referred to the Kaimakam, whose award is
generally in favour of the tithe-farmer. As the grape cannot be removed
until the claim is settled, the cultivator submits to the exactions of
the tithe-farmers rather than risk the deterioration or loss of his
stock, and is thus practically mulcted in proportions far exceeding a
tenth of the entire produce. The effect of these illegal exactions has
been to reduce the cultivation of the grape throughout the island.

But, though keen in their dealings with the peasantry, the tithe-
farmers are slow in their own payments to the Government Treasury.

These payments are required, under their bonds, in six monthly
instalments from the 1st August; grace is allowed for forty days, and
the instalments are required to commence on the 10th September. They are
delayed, however, on various pretexts, and reclamations and remissions
of revenue are often unjustly obtained through collusion with the local
Kaimakams and Malmudirs. Thus, the tithe-farmer makes his bargain with
the Government when the crops are ripening, recovers his claim directly
they are gathered, indefinitely postpones his own obligations to the
Government and often evades them altogether. Although, under his bond,
interest is payable on overdue instalments, it is never enforced. An
examination of the accounts revealed the existence of considerable
arrear claims extending over several years, and for the most part
irrecoverable now. Practically, the tithe-farmer's obligations have
never been discharged in the year to which they belonged. Of the
collections credited in the year 1876-77, nearly one-half was on
account of the claims of prior years.

These facts clearly show that the operation of the tithe system has
resulted in a loss of revenue to the State. It has impoverished the
peasant, involving him in the toils of the money-lender as well as of
the tithe-farmer. It has checked the productiveness of the island, the
area now under cultivation being less than a third of all the culturable
lands of Cyprus. Some modification of the tax, or of the machinery for
its collection, would therefore seem to be imperatively required.

There are not wanting points of analogy, as of difference, between
Cyprus and some of the British provinces of India, and a suggestion has
been made to substitute the Indian system of a fixed money payment for
the tenth of the produce in kind. Curiously enough, the converse
proposition has lately found favour in India in connection with the
agrarian riots in the Dekkan, and what is there regarded as the bane of
the Indian system is now proposed here as the antidote of the Turkish
system. Like the Cypriote, but in a greater degree, the Dekkan peasant
is poor, indebted, and indifferent to the improvement of his land, and
both are constantly liable to the effects of drought and famine. But
whilst the State requires from the former only a tenth part of his
actual crops, the Indian peasant is liable for the full money rate fixed
without regard to the rainfall and the crops. As between the State and
the peasant, the elastic tithe tax would seem to be preferable-its evil
working in Cyprus being due mainly to the irresponsible and unscrupulous
agencies entrusted with the collection of the tithes. In attempting any
reform, therefore, care should be taken at the outset to avoid
principles or methods that have contributed in India to evils similar to
those that have to be rectified here. The direction and scope of the
reform must necessarily depend upon more complete information than is at
present available respecting the land tenures and local agricultural
customs of this island, the varieties of soil, the means of irrigation
actual and possible, and the conditions and habits of the agricultural
classes generally.

Information on these essential points may, however, be obtained
before the termination of the present engagements with the tithe-
farmers in March 1879. A rough field survey would prepare the
ground for a systematic inquiry into rights and interests in each
estate and village throughout the several districts of the island.
The inquiry, conducted by the respective commissioners of districts
in the next few months of favourable weather, may be made to
embrace the following points
1. The extent of the several holdings, and whether held under
proprietary, sub-proprietary, or occupancy rights.
2. The average produce of each estate or holding, and its value,
say for the last three or four years.
3. The areas respectively (1) under cultivation, (2) not under
cultivation but culturable, (3) unculturable and barren waste.
4. In the case of culturable lands not under cultivation, inquiry
should be made whether this is the result of the oppressive way of
collecting tithes, or the want of money or cultivators, or whether
the land is required for grazing or other purposes.
5. The character of the soil in various parts of the island, and
the respective producing capabilities.
6. The arrangements, existing and possible, for irrigation by wells,
aqueducts, and tanks.
7. The proportion of the people occupied in agriculture, and
the proportion in other pursuits than husbandry.
8. The personal condition of the agricultural classes, whether well
housed, well clad, with good cattle, ploughs, and gear, or the reverse.
9. The standard for measuring land. The area of each estate
or holding, after measurement, should be reduced to English
standard acres.

The result of these inquiries, accurately and clearly recorded, would
afford valuable data for determining the extent to which the present
tithe arrangement may be modified for the ensuing financial year.
Whatever modification may be adopted in substance, the tax will at least
be collected without injustice or oppression, and the cost of collection
will be covered by the increased revenue which must result from an
improved administration. The proportion of the produce heretofore taken
in Cyprus, as the share of the Sovereign power, is considerably below
that taken in other Eastern countries. In India, this share under the
ancient Hindoo Rajahs was one-sixth. Under the Mohammedan rule, a third
of the average produce of average land was held to be the Government
share. Under British rule, from one-third to one-half of the rental is
the standard of assessment at the present day, representing a much
larger proportion than a tenth of the produce of the land. And in Cyprus
(as has been shown in the preceding remarks), although the declared
share of the State was only one-tenth, the peasantry have contributed a
very much larger proportion, the difference forming the perquisites of
the collectors of the revenue. Hence it may fairly be assumed that the
British administration may take a larger share than one-tenth of the
produce, without imposing any additional burden whatever on the people.
It may rather be hoped that any increased State demand upon the
cultivator will still leave him a larger proportion of the fruit of his
labours than he has heretofore enjoyed, with absolute freedom in
disposing of it to the best advantage.

A further increase of the revenue from land may be anticipated from the
extension of cultivation. With light assessments, improved
communications, and occasional State aid, a large proportion of the
culturable lands, now lying neglected, may be gradually brought under
cultivation, stimulating the industry of the people, and increasing the
productiveness and wealth of the island.

For the current year, however, the existing arrangement with the
tithe-farmers must be accepted, and the revenue estimated accordingly.
The year's tithes were sold for 82,088 Turkish liras, or nearly 74,000
pounds sterling, and the whole amount has yet to be collected. Already,
the tithe-farmers plead inability to recover their dues from the
cultivators. The truth probably is that, whilst the British
administration has somewhat checked their habitual exactions, it has
emboldened the peasantry to resistance which would never have been
attempted under the Turkish rule. Due justice will be done between the
parties, but, in any case, the Government claim of 82,088 liras is
covered by sufficient security, and will be realised for the most part.
During the earlier months of the current year, before the British
occupation, the sum of 1,306,321 piastres was recovered on account of
silk tithes and tithes of prior years. Adding this sum to the unrealised
claims, and leaving a margin for default, the receipts for the year may
be taken at 8,352,000 piastres, or 72,000 pounds sterling. The average
of the previous five years was 8,584,786 piastres, and they included
three years of scarcity. The account rendered by the Ottoman Government
for the past year, 1877-78, exhibits the dimes or tithes at 12,500,595
piastres, but that was the amount of the year's demand, and the actual
realisations amounted only to 5,072,872 piastres. Looking to the
favourable conditions of the present year as compared with the past
year, the estimate of 72,000 pounds sterling may be accepted.

Tithes on Vakouf Lands.

The tenth part of the produce of vakouf lands, fields, and gardens is
appropriated for the maintenance of mosques, monasteries, tombs, and
other religious foundations. The tithes on vakouf lands are paid to the
Mutavelli, or local administrators of the vakoufs, who remit 20 per cent
to the Minister of the Evkaf at Constantinople, and retain the balance.
The Mutavelli are not required to account to any Government functionary
for the revenue of vakouf lands beyond the annual subsidy of 20 per cent
to the Evkaf. It is understood, however, that in many cases the objects
and purposes for which these vakouf lands were assigned have long since
ceased to exist, and thus not only are the pious intentions of the
founders frustrated, but a considerable public revenue is diverted into
private channels. The legal conditions attached to these vakouf lands,
and to the lands and other property in Cyprus claimed for the Ottoman
Crown and State (under Article IV of the Convention between Great
Britain and Turkey) are at present the subject of a special inquiry, and
the result will have an important bearing on the revenue to be hereafter
administered by the British Government. For the present year, the tithes
on vakouf lands have been farmed for 1,676 Turkish liras in the
districts of Famagousta, Kyrenia, Papho, and Limasol. No tithes have
been sold in the other divisions. As the tithes on vakouf lands do not
belong to the general revenues of the island, they are not included in
the estimate now submitted.


This tax is divided into three classes:--
1. Emlak verghisi, or impost on houses or immovable property,
at 4 per thousand on the purchasing value.
2. Impost of 4 per cent on the rent of immovable property, or
houses not occupied by their owners. The rent is assumed at io
per cent of the value.
3. Verghi temetu, or impost on professions and trades, at 3 per
cent on profits and salaries.

Before the beginning of each financial year, the district authorities
prepare statements designating the contributions required from each
village and town, according to the number of houses, the number and
means of the population. The assessment is made roughly, and the tax is
recovered by Moukhtars of villages, selected by the inhabitants and
confirmed by the district authorities. All collections are forwarded, as
recovered, to the Treasury of the sandjak.

All sales and transfers of immovable property, with the title-deeds
thereto appertaining, have to be registered in the Registration Office,
and the means are thus partially afforded for assessing the owners of
property for the 4 per thousand on the value, and the 4 per cent. on the

But the 3 per cent. on professional profits and salaries is arbitrarily
fixed for each village, or group of villages, and the Moukhtars levy the
personal contributions of each tax-payer as they think fit.

In this process there is considerable oppression of the poorer
taxpayers, and also loss of revenue to the State. Both would be
obviated, or at all events mitigated, by entrusting the assessment to
Government officers, and by a more careful and exact registration of
property, and of profits from trades and professions. The revenue from
the licence tax in towns must largely increase in the future.

As a rule, the district officers endeavour to recover the verghis before
tax-payers are subjected to the exactions of the tithe-farmers for
payment of the dimes and other imposts. In some of the Turkish vilayets,
the Government have gone so far as to forbid the local tribunals from
condemning the tax-payers to pay the claims of third parties until they
have assurance that the verghis have been paid.

The average yield of the verghis tax in the last five years was
3,521,083 piastres, or 30,354 pounds per annum. The account of the last
year of the series (1877-78) showed a revenue of 3,193,850 piastres, or
27,535 pounds. The demand for the current year is 3,380,246 piastres, of
which only 518,545 piastres have been recovered up to the present time.
The slackness of the Turkish revenue officials in collecting this tax is
due partly to the change of administration and uncertainty as to future
taxation of the island, and partly to the war tax and other burdens
imposed upon the people during the past year. The needful measures have
now been adopted for effecting recovery, and as the tax affects property
and the well-to-do classes, it is hoped that about 2,000,000 piastres
will be recovered in the next six months. Adding this sum to the
recoveries already effected, the revenue of the entire year is estimated
at 2,552,000 piastres, or 22,000 pounds.

Tax on Exemption from Military Service.

This superseded the capitation tax formerly levied upon Christian
subjects, and other subjects of the Porte who were not Mohammedans, for
exemption from military service. It is a tax of 27 3/4 piastres for each
male inhabitant from twenty to forty years of age, but practically it is
levied upon males below and above the limits of age. Returns of the
numbers coming under this impost are settled between the heads of
villages and the Moukhtars. The latter are required to recover the money
and pay it in twelve monthly instalments into the chest of the sandjak.

The rate of 27 3/4 piastres is equivalent to 5s. per man per annum.
There is no apparent reason why it should not be paid at once and
credited in the Government Treasury immediately on payment.

This tax is unpopular and offensive to those whom it affects throughout
the Turkish dominions. The Greek, Armenian, Bulgarian subjects of the
Porte have protested against it from time to time, but without effect.
Were these declared eligible for military service on the same terms as
Mohammedan subjects, but with the option of providing substitutes, the
impost would be relieved of its invidious character, and perhaps yield a
larger revenue to the State than heretofore. This, however, equally with
the exoneration tax, would be inappropriate in Cyprus under a British
administration, which does not require any considerable proportion of
the population for military service. It is matter for consideration,
therefore, whether this light tax may be continued in some other form.

The average yield of this tax during the past five years was eqivalent
to 12,270 pounds a year. It increased last year, on account of the war,
to 15,110 pounds. But in the current year the recoveries have been
slack, for the reasons stated above in regard to the verghis, and the
estimate is therefore for 1,044,000 piastres, or 9,000 pounds.

Tax on Sheep.

There is a regular enumeration of the sheep and goats throughout every
village in the island during the month of March, and the tax is evied at
the rate of 2 1/2 piastres, or about 6d. per head. The tax is collected
by the Local Government officials, and with proper arrangements should
all be recovered in the month of April, but there are considerable
arrear claims, extending back to several years.

The average revenue derived from this tax in the last five years was
9,854 pounds per annum. The recoveries already made in the current year
amount to 1,187,364 Piastres, or 10,235 pounds. The estimate for the
entire year is taken at 1,276,000 piastres, or 11,000 pounds, and the
realisation of this sum may be expected.

Miscellaneous Revenue.

Under this head are comprised various small taxes, such as the tax on
sales and transfers of landed property, on contracts, on measurements,
on sale of cattle, on swine, stamps, judicial fees and fines, &c. The
average yield of these taxes in the last five years was 767,005
piastres, with an increasing tendency in the later years. The amount
recovered in the first six months of the current year was 743,775
piastres. The estimate for the entire year may therefore be safely taken
at 1,102,000 piastres, or 9,500 pounds.


We now come to the indirect taxes. I hope on a future occasion to
describe, more fully than time will allow at present, the effect of the
existing customs tariff in the past, and the modifications that may be
made under British administration in this important branch of the public
revenue, and in the excise on tobacco and spirits. It is sufficient to
say at present that the customs revenue is derived from a duty of 8 per
cent. upon imports and 1 per cent. upon exports, and that the receipts
of the last five years give an average of 981,405 piastres, or 8,460
pounds. The increased population and trade consequent upon the British
occupation of the island have already had a sensible effect upon the
revenue. The collections in the first four months of the current
official year under Turkish rule amounted to 268, 718 piastres, or 2,316
pounds. In the next two months of British administration they amounted
to 305,386 piastres, or 2,632 pounds, being an increase of over 127 per
cent., and that without any change in the tariff or the customs
regulations. A continuance of this rate may safely be reckoned upon for
the next six months, and the revenue of the entire year is therefore
estimated at 1,554,400 piastres, or 13,400 pounds. This estimate takes
account of the probable early abolition of all export duties.

Excise on Tobacco and Spirits.

The receipts of the last five years give an average annual revenue of
6,475 pounds for tobacco and 4,546 pounds for spirits. The receipts for
the first six months of the current year amount to 4,400 pounds for
tobacco and 3,930 pounds for spirits. The estimate for the entire year
is 8,650 pounds for tobacco and 8,200 pounds for spirits, and it is
expected that the actual realisations will fully cover the estimate.

Revenue from Salt.

A considerable revenue was derived from the Government monopoly of the
salt lakes in the neighbourhood of Larnaca and Limasol. The salt was
sold for local consumption and for exportation to the coast of Syria,
but an injudicious increase to the selling price, with short weights and
increased cost of shipment, diverted the supply of the Syrian demand
from Cyprus to the salt lakes of Tunis, and gradually reduced the
revenue from this source. Owing to the excessive rains of last year, and
the influx of more fresh water into the lakes than could be evaporated
by the sun's rays during the summer, the lakes are at present
unproductive. But in the earlier months of the current year, under
Turkish administration, the sum of 1,756,840 piastres was recovered and
credited in the Treasury on account of previous salt dues, and that
amount is accordingly entered on the estimate with its English
equivalent of 15,145 pounds. No other receipts are expected in the
current year, and the revenue from salt has practically ceased. A
considerable outlay will be required to repair and secure the salt lakes
against the irruption of the drainage of the surrounding country.

The past revenue from salt should be excluded from the computation of
the payment to be made to the Porte from the surplus revenues of Cyprus,
under Article III of the Convention of 4th June, 1878.

To sum up. Having regard to the revenue arrangements concluded before
arrival of the British in Cyprus, to the realisations in the first four
months of the current year under Turkish administration, and to the
altered conditions under which the finance of the remainder of the year
has to be administered, I am of opinion that the revenue may be safely
estimated at 170,000 pounds, as below:--

Tithes on land . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72,000
Tax on property, professions, and trades . . . . . . . . 22,000
Tax on sheep . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11,000
Tax for exemption from military service. . . . . . . . . 9,000
Customs duties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13,400
Excise on tobacco and spirits . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16,850
Salt monopoly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15,145
Miscellaneous . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10,605
Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 170,000

In future years even though the revenue from the salt monopoly be
entirely lost, we may confidently hope for such an expansion of the
revenue from land*, (*footnote: The island of Cyprus is 140 miles bang
from east to West, with an average breadth of 30 miles. This gives an
area of 4,200 square miles, or 2,688,000 acres. Assuming even 1,500,000
acres to be culturable, with an average rental of 2 shillings an acre,
the should have a revenue from this source alone of 150,000 pounds a
year.) from houses, from customs and excise duties, as will ensure a
total income of more than 200,000 pounds a year.

Expenditure of Cyprus.

The estimate of expenditure is based upon the actual cost of the Turkish
and native establishments now maintained, and the cost of the new
agencies created by the change of administration. The account of
expenditure rendered by the Ottoman Government for the past five years
gives an annual average of about 24,000 pounds a year. Deducting from
this rate the pay of officials and subordinate establishments no longer
retained, also pensions and charitable allowances, and the cost for six
months of the old Zaphtieh or police force (the corresponding charge for
the reformed police force being added to the estimated cost of British
establishments), the balance of 1,972,000 piastres, or 17,000 pounds,
may be accepted as a fair estimate of the charges for native
establishments in the island during the current official year. The
charges for British establishments are estimated at 35,000 pounds, and
they include expenses, incidental to the occupation of a new country,
that are not likely to recur. It will be possible, in the future, to
reduce the scale of charges for British and native establishments, as
further experience is gained, and the entire machinery of the executive
administration is brought under effective control.

The estimated expenditure for Native and British establishments may be
broadly divided under the following heads:--

Central Administration-
Including pay of the Turkish Governor for part
of the year, and of the British High
Commissioner, Financial and Judicial
Commissioners, and High Court for remainder
of the year . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12,400

District Administration--
Including British Commissioners of District,
Native and British Establishments . . . . . . . 13,500
Military Police . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16,500
Customs and Excise Establishment . . . . . . . 5,000
Prisons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,000
Miscellaneous . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,600

The expenditure of the current year being estimated at 52,000 Pounds,
and the revenue at 170,000 Pounds, the resulting surplus will be 118,000
pounds. An examination of the accounts of Cyprus, for the five years
preceding the British occupation, enables me to affirm that the average
surplus of revenue over expenditure in that period was less than 100,000
Pounds per annum. The future yearly contribution to the Ottoman
Government from the surplus revenues of Cyprus, under the Convention of
the 4th June, 1878, will not, therefore, exceed, and may fall short of,
the sum of 100,000 Pounds. Nearly one half of this claim for the current
year was taken by the Turks from surplus revenue before our arrival. We
shall easily make up the balance from the revenue now in course of
collection. And, under ordinary conditions, the current revenue will not
only cover the annual payment to the Porte and the expenses of
administration, but also provide a fair outlay for roads and sanitary


Financial Commissioner of Cyprus.

NICOSIA, CYPRUS, September 25, 1878.


|No| Revenue | Amount|No| Expenditure |Amount |
| | | _L_ | | | _L_ |
| 1| Dimes or tithes on pro-| |1 |Pay of the Turkish Go-| |
| | duce of land . . . . | 72,000| |vernor of Cyprus for | |
| | | | |part of the year, and | |
| | | | |of the British High | |
| | | | |Commisioner for | |
| | | | |remainder of the year;| |
| | | | |also Secretarial | |
| | | | |Establishments for the| |
| | | | |entire year. | 9,000|
| | | | | | |
| 2| Verghis, or tax upon | |2 |Finance and Accounts | |
| | property, professions | | |Establishments . . . | 1,400|
| | and trades . . . . . . | 22,000| | | |
| | | | | | |
| 3|Tax for exemption from | | | | |
| |Military Service. . . . | 9,000 |3 |Law and Justice, | |
| | | | |including Insular High| |
| | | | |Court . . . . . . . . | 2,000|
| | | | | | |
| 4|Sheep tax . . . . . . . | 11,000|4 |Administrative Estab- | |
| | | | |lishments of the six | |
| | | | |districts of Cyprus, | |
| | | | |including cost of col-| |
| | | | |lection of district | |
| | | | |revenues, establish- | |
| | | | |ments of district | |
| | | | |Judicial Courts, &c. .| 13,500|
| | | | | | |
| 5|customs Duties . . . . .| 13,400|5 |Cost of Prisons . . . | 3,000|
| | | | | | |
| 6|Excise on Tobacco and | |6 |Cost of Military | |
| |Spirits . . . . . . . . | 16,850| |Police Force . . . . .| 16,500|
| | | | | | |
| 7|Salt Monopoly . . . . . | 15,145|7 |Customs and Excise | |
| | | | |Establishments . . . .| 5,000|
| | | | | | |
| 8|Miscellaneous, including| |8 |Miscellaneous, | |
| |tax on sale and transfer| | |including Educational | |
| |of landed property, on | | |Establishments . . . .| 1,600|
| |measurements, on con- | | | |_______|
| |tracts, judicial fees | | | | |
| |and fines, &c . . . . . | 10,605| | | |
| | | | | | |
| | | | | Total of Estimated| |
| | | | | Expenditure . . . | 52,000|
| | | | | | |
| | | | | Surplus . . . . . |118,000|
| | Grand total Estimated|_______| | | |
| | Revenue . . . . . . .|170,000| | Grand total . . . |170,000|


British Establishments.
L. s. d.
Cost of the Nicosia Division . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,844 12 0
Cost of other five divisions of Cyprus, viz.,
Larnaca, Famagousta, Limasol, Papho, and Kyrenia . . . 7,000 0 0
Financial Commissioner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 666 0 0
Judicial ditto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 600 0 0
Judicial Clerk, and contingencies . . . . . . . . . . 200 0 0
Interpreter of High Court . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 240 0 0
Director of Customs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 510 0 0
Customs and Excise Establishments . . . . . . . . . . 5,000 0 0
High Commissioner and office establishments,
travelling expenses, including furniture, 400L. . . . 5,700 0 0
Travelling allowances for High Commissioner . . . . . 300 0 0
Re-organised Police Force for the Island of Cyprus,
including pay, rations, and clothing . . . . . . . . . 11,000 0 0

Temporary translators to be hereafter absorbed in
Civil Establishments and contingencies in
connection therewith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,340 0 0
Miscellaneous . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 600 0 0
35,000 0 0

Native Establishments.

Add. Piastres.
Expenses of Turkish Establishment 2,609,549

Pay of Mutessarif for six months,
60,000 piastres; Zaphtiehs for six
months, 500,000 piastres; Pensioners
and correspondence &c. . . . . . . . . 637,549
1,972,000 17,000 0 0

Total cost of British and Native Civil Establishments
in Cyprus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52,000 0 0

CYPRUS FOR 1879-80.


Nature of Revenue. Estimate, 1879-80.
Piastres L
Tithes 8,640,000
Verghis 3,400,000
Military exemption 1,080,000
Sheep tax 1,220,000
Miscellaneous 2,000,000
Customs 2,800,000
Excise 2,128,000
Total 21,268,000 == 177,233


Designation. Annual Cost
L s. d. L s. d.

The High Commissioner, Executive and
Legislative Councils 11,106 17 0
The Department of Finance and Accounts 2,127 0 0
The Department of Law and Justice 4,985 12 0


The District of Nicosia 4,453 8 0
" Larnaca 4,585 3 0
" Famagousta 3,035 8 0
" Limasol 3,306 4 0
" Papho 2,959 0 0
" Kyrenia 2,131 0 0

Customs and Excise 4,636 18 0
Police 23,241 14 0
Prisons 2,583 17 0
Miscellaneous 1,000 0 0
Expenses of collection of taxes hitherto
sold to tax-farmers 5,000 0 0
Total of Establishments. 75,152 1 0

Payment under agreement with the Porte (about) 96,000 0 0
Interest on money borrowed for Public Works,
shown in the annexed Schedule, say 1,200 0 0
Expenses of the Survey 1,990 0 0
Total Expenditure 174,342 1 0




From Nicosia to cut through the fortifications at the Papho Gate,
making a raised causeway over ditch and a road connecting it
with the Government Office at the High Commissioner's residence,
and with the main road from Nicosia to Larnaca, about
2 1/2 miles 800
From Nicosia to Kyrenia, about 16 miles 1,100*
From Vassilia to Hai Grosch (Kyrenia district), about 22 miles 1,600*
From Larnaca to Limasol, about 40 miles 6,000*
From Limasol to Papho, about 39 miles 5,000&
Chrysokou to Levka, about 32 miles 5,000&
Nicosia to Famagousta, about 35 miles 4,000^
Famagousta to Trichomo, about 15 miles 1,000^
To improve the tracks between Trichomo and Carpas, 35 miles 2,700^
Rebuild culverts on Larnaca-Famagousta road 200^
Improving country roads in Larnaca district 900^
Gap in Mountain road from Larnaca to Messaria, to make it
practicable for carts 100^
Total 28,400
*Not finished for carts. &Not commenced.
^Most of these have not been commenced, August 1879.


Estimated cost.

Rebuild the Konak of Nicosia 3,000
" Konak and prison at Papho. 600
" Mudirate at Chrysokou 70
" Custom-house, Police barracks,
and Konak at Limasol 1,500
The Mudirate of Kilani to be rebuilt at Platraes 500
Repairs to various buildings 330
Total 6,000



Kindly supplied by the Chief Commissioner, Captain A. G. Wauchope,
42nd Highlanders.

No. 1--Tithes of Kuklia 1,100
" Ballo 2,800
" Khrysokus 3,400
" 2-- " Silk Production 760
" Caroub Production 333
" 3 Sheep tax 1,760
Swine tax 250 2,010
" 4--Weighing and Measuring tax 100
" 5--Court Fees 226
Registration of Property 120
Inland Revenue Stamps 80
" 6--Customs and Excise 1,000
" 7--Verghi 3,747
Askeria (freedom from military service) 708
" 8--Miscellaneous 100


No. 1--British Establishment, including Interpreters 1,330
" Native do. do. 540
" 2--Houses for Commissioner and Assistant do. 90
Stationery 47
Travelling Expenses of all officers 140 277
" 3--Petty repairs 100, Public works 120 220
" 4--Military Police 3,200
Prison 114, Daavi Court 171 285
" 5--Customs and Excise 280
" 6--Tithing Expenses 880
" 7--Expenses of Sheep tax 57, Pig tax 15, Weighing
and Measuring 48 120
" 8--Collecting Locust Eggs 120
Balance of surplus Revenue 9,232

"This year the peasants brought to the market 34,000 okes of Silk
(93,500 lbs.) cocoons, which realised to them about 6,800L. These
cocoons were bought by three merchants excepting about 2,500 okes of
silk wound by the people here." . . . "You are aware that the cocoon
before being in a fit state to export must be dried, and during the
process a great shrinkage takes place, which varies considerably
according to the original quality of the cocoon. This year the cocoon
was excellent and the shrinkage small; 3 1/2 wet cocoons equalling 1
dry, while last year 5 wet equalled 1 dry.

"It is upon the dried cocoon that the tithe is fixed. When the cocoon is
good and the price likewise, there is very little winding done here."

"It is computed that the Caroub trees in the Baffo district number about
40,000. Of Olive trees I cannot give you anything like a guess; I should
only be misleading you."

(Signed),"A. G. WAUCHOPE."

It will be remarked that no outlay is contemplated for road-making or
repairs of bridges, nor for any of the necessary public works, as the
general revenue of the island cannot afford the local expenditure. This
otherwise prosperous little province would be self-sustaining, as
sufficient income would be realised for the annual outlay required for
road-making and other improvements. There cannot be a truer example of
the error in our Convention with the Porte by which we have agreed to
the surplus revenue exhibited by the Turkish system of accounts in an
average of five years. The Baffo estimates show a surplus of 9232L. upon
the financial year, but there is the forced neglect of all necessary
improvements owing to the terms of our occupation, which rob the country
of about 100,000L. annually. According to the figures of the Baffo
forecast of revenue and expenditure, Cyprus can afford to pay the amount
of rental to the Porte, but this is to the detriment of all public
works, which will render material progress impossible, at the same time
that the incubus of Turkish taxation will be permanent.


By an Order in Council on 14 September, 1878, powers were given for the
administration of Cyprus by a High Commissioner appointed by Her
Majesty, together with a Legislative Council constituted according to
Clause VI. :-

"The Legislative Council for the said island shall consist of the High
Commissioner for the time being, and of such other public officers and
persons within the same, not being less than four or more than eight in
number, as shall be named or designated for that purpose by her

In Clause XXI. :-

"The High Commissioner may constitute and appoint all such Judges,
Justices of the Peace, and other necessary officers in the said island
as may lawfully be appointed by her Majesty, all of whom shall hold
their offices during her Majesty's pleasure."

It was agreed with the Porte :-

"I. That a Mussulman religious tribunal (Mehkemei Sheri) shall continue
to exist in the island, which will take exclusive cognizance of
religious matters, and of no others, concerning the Mussulman population
of the island.

"II. That a Mussulman resident in the island shall be named by the Board
of Pious Foundations in Turkey (Evkaf) to superintend, in conjunction
with a delegate to be appointed by the British authorities, the
administration of the property, funds, and lands belonging to mosques,
cemeteries, Mussulman schools, and other religious establishments
existing in Cyprus."

The Turkish law courts were preserved in their original construction
under the supervision of the Commissioners of the six districts:--
Lefkosia, Larnaca, Famagousta, Baffo, Limasol, Kyrenia. These courts are
the Idari and Daavi, the Temiz or supreme court sitting in Lefkosia. The
Idari and Daavi courts exist independently in each district. The Cadi is
judge in the Idari, which is composed of three Mussulmans and two
Christians elected by the population, and this court is specially
presided over by the British Commissioner, and all cases in detail are
translated and entered in the register. The Daavi Medjlis or court
consists of five members--the Cadi, two Mussulmans, and two Christians.

An appeal from the decisions of these courts can be made to the High
Court of Temiz at Lefkosia, the decision of which is final, only subject
to the influence of Clauses XXII. and XXIII. in powers granted to the
High Commissioner by Order in Council of 14 September, 1878 :-

"XXII. The High.Commissioner may, as he shall see occasion, in her
Majesty's name and on her behalf, grant to any offender convicted of any
crime, in any court, or before any Judge, Justice, or Magistrate within
the said island, a free and unconditional pardon, or a pardon subject to
such conditions as may at any time be awfully thereunto annexed, or any
respite of the execution of the sentence of any such offender for such
period as to him may seem fit."

"XXIII. The High Commissioner may, as he shall see occasion, in her
Majesty's name and on her behalf, remit any fines, penalties, or
forfeitures which may accrue or become payable to her, provided the same
do not exceed the sum of fifty pounds sterling in any one case, and may
suspend the payment of any such fine, penalty, or forfeiture exceeding
the sum of fifty pounds until her Majesty's pleasure thereon shall be
made known and signified to him."


The birds of passage that visit Cyprus (excepting swallows), exhibit a
peculiarity in their insignificant numbers compared with their
migrations upon the mainlands of Asia, Southern Europe, and Africa. The
bustards that are so common in Turkey and Asia Minor are seldom seen.
The grey crane frequently passes over Cyprus without resting upon its
long flight, and in the month of March its loud cry may be heard so far
in the blue sky that it is difficult to distinguish the flocks of these
large birds at the stupendous height of their airy road towards the
north. Even should the cranes condescend to rest for a short interval
during an unfavourable wind, they leave on the first opportunity. I have
frequently heard them high in air travelling throughout the night--thus
during night and day they have been sailing northwards to make the most
of fair wind and weather.

The sand-grouse is to be seen occasionally on the plains of Messaria,
but never in the quantities that are met with in other neighbouring
countries. Woodcocks are scarce, and those which are shot must have
halted in the island during their passage en route for other shores.
Snipe are very numerous in the marshes of Limasol salt lakes, Morphu,
Famagousta, Kuklia, and Larnaca. Quails are never plentiful, and are
inferior in condition to those of Egypt and Southern Europe. Wild ducks
are to be seen on the lake near Famagousta and at Limasol. The
wood-pigeons, and doves, together with fly-catchers, arrive in April,
but never in large numbers.

Return of Villages, Population, etc., of Famagousta District.

Villages Churches Mosques Turks Christians Total
Naleieh of Famasousta 9* 20 6 685 3,978 4,663
" Carpas 36 46 13 3,470 7,168 10,638
" Messaria 68 66 29 4,861 12,434 17,295
113 132 48 9,016 23,580 32,596

* Includes Famagousta town.
Piastres L s. d.
The taxes for the year 1878 amounted to 1,370,221 = 11,418 10 4
(This being paid in Coime at a very
variable rate, it is scarcely correct
to reduce the amounts to sterling.)
The tithes of this district were farmed
out in 1878 for ... ... ... 25,000 0 0

Revenue therefore was 36,418 10 4

The taxes for the year 1879 amount to... 10,379 90
This does not include indirect taxes such as
Customs, say... 1,000 00

11,379 90

It is impossible to calculate the tithes yet for this year (1879). From
Famagousta the chief exports are corn, from Messaria, donkeys, fruit,
and pottery, the two latter chiefly from Varoshia.

Cyprus: Trooditissa Monastery,
4400 feet above the sea
21 September, 1879.

Messrs. Macmillan & Co.


If I am in time to secure the last efforts of the printer perhaps this
letter in its integrity may convey the information which the autumnal
season has afforded. The difficulty of all writers upon strange
countries lies in their short experience. Each month exhibits the
changes of nature in seasons, meteorological phenomena, and vegetation;
thus the full twelve months should form the data for a detailed
description. I closed my account of Cyprus in August; since which fruits
have ripened and various changes have developed--all have afforded

Taxation in kind, and Government valuation of produce while growing, has
been a crying evil that I have endeavoured to bring before the public as
one of those instances of injustice which stamps the oppressive system
of the Turkish administration; this unfortunately has not yet been
abolished by the British Government. I have already described the
arbitrary and unjust laws that fetter the all-important wine trade,
which is the principal industry of Limasol; but since I forwarded the
manuscript to England I have myself witnessed the miserable effects of
the present laws during the advance of the season in ripening the
produce of the vineyards.

Three weeks ago I walked for some hours through the boundless extent of
grape cultivation at the foot of the mountains below the village of
Phyni; at that time the crop was ripe, and should have been gathered.

The bunches of dark red were equal to the finest hot-house grapes of
England, both in weight and in size of berries; the black were about the
average of the Black Hamburg; the white were smaller and about the size
of the common "sweet-water." A day or two ago I again visited the same
vineyards; the grapes had not been gathered, and I computed that at
least one-third of the crop was destroyed by the delay. The magnificent
bunches of dark red were for the most part shrivelled, one-half the
berries upon each cluster being reduced to the appearance of raisins,
and utterly devoid of juice, while many of the other varieties were
completely withered. The explanation given by the people was simple
enough--"The official valuer had not appeared, and without his
certificate no grapes could be gathered." There are only three valuers
to an extensive district, and it is physically impossible that they can
perform their duties, even were they inclined to attend when summoned to
each village, in the absence of some special inducement. The actual
labour of walking up the abrupt inclines upon the mountain sides which
constitute the vineyards is most formidable, and at least four times the
staff is necessary, of young and capable men, if the valuation of the
crop is to be taken with due consideration to the interests of the
grower. The distressing result that I have myself witnessed in the
partial destruction of the crops can admit of no excuse, but it exhibits
a painful example of mal-administration in the ruin attendant upon a
Turkish system of taxation.

Some persons may suggest that the dried and withered grapes would be
saleable as raisins: this is not the case. Raisins are not merely dried
grapes, as is generally supposed, but the bunch of well-ripened berries
is dipped in a strong solution of potash, and is then either suspended
or is more generally laid upon a mat to dry. In Cyprus the growers
seldom purchase potash, but they dip their grapes in a ley produced from
the ashes of certain woods.

The vineyards at this season are swarming with a species of beccaficos,
and the population are busy in catching these delicious birds with
sticks smeared with bird-lime. It is a species of finch, a little larger
than the chaffinch, the plumage a brownish grey; when plucked the body
is much larger than the common beccaficos, but resembles it in
extraordinary fatness and delicacy of flavour. The natives preserve them
by boiling in commanderia wine, and they are highly appreciated. These
must be added to the migratory birds of Cyprus.

The acorns are nearly ripe, and I am assured by the monks that even
these insignificant productions pay a tax of 6d. per kilo (about 32
lbs.), and the crop is valued accordingly by the special authority.
There are three varieties of large timber oaks in addition to the ilex
and the prickly holly-leaved oak. The acorns of the ilex and holly-
leaved species are small, but those of the three superior species vary
in size, all being much larger than those of England, while one variety
measures nearly three inches in length. This is used as food, with no
other preparation than simple roasting, and is considered to be superior
to chestnuts. The Ancient Britons used the acorn as an article of food,
and probably it was ground into flour after the bitter principle had
been extracted by soaking in running water, in the same manner that many
varieties of wild yams are treated by the natives in Africa. In addition
to the use of the acorn as a substitute for chestnuts by the Cypriotes,
the large species when roasted black makes excellent coffee without any
admixture of the real berry. All the varieties can be used for this
purpose, but that already named is preferred as superior in flavour. The
English poor are not clever in adaptation, and are known to be strong in
prejudices respecting articles of diet, but it appears strange that the
use of the acorn has been entirely neglected as an aid to the bulk of
pure coffee, which would effect a considerable saving in the household,
if the adulteration took place at home.

A few days ago I was conversing with the old monk upon the question of
"Chittim wood," and I suggested my own theory, "that Solomon required
the highly-scented cypress of this island" (for the Temple.) My
venerable informant declared "that a wood exists to this day in Cyprus
which is supposed to be the original species referred to in Scripture;
this is a pine which is only found upon the mountains between Kyku and
Khrysokhus. The grain and surface when planed are exceedingly close and
smooth, and the timber is strong and durable, far exceeding in quality
all other varieties." The native name for this tree is Kandro. I have
sent a monk to gather the cones of this tree, which I shall send to
England for seed, together with a sample of the foliage.

Sincerely yours,
Samuel W. Baker.

Sept. 24, 1879.

P.S. My messenger has just returned with a branch and cones of the tree,
which is only found upon the mountains between Kyku and Khrysokhus.
There is no longer a doubt. It is a beautiful species of Cedar.

S. W. B.

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