HISTORY ETHNOGRAPHY NATURE WINE-MAKING SITE MAP
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SIR SAMUEL WHITE BAKER
CYPRUS AS I SAW IT IN 1879
page 299

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no amelioration of their condition has been effected during twelve months of British rule. Captain Savile, in his excellent digest of all that concerns this island, writes :— " The grievances connected with the culture of the vines and the manufacture of wine which are alluded to in the consular reports, existed as long ago as 1863, and were then mentioned by Consul White, who says that the peasants were even then beginning to find it more profitable to sell their grapes, or to make them into raisins, rather than, by turning them into wine, to subject themselves to the duty lately imposed over and above the tithe and export duties, which were collected in a very harassing manner. The growers have had to pay, under the tax called ' dimes,' an eighth part of the produce of grapes to the treasury ; but this could not be taken in kind, so a money value was fixed yearly by the local medjlis, or fixed tribunal ; but as the assessment was based on the market-price at the chief town of the district, instead of. the value at the place of growth, this tax, instead of being about 12$· per cent., in reality amounted to over 20 per cent. Then again when the wine was made, an excise duty of 10 per cent, was levied, and on export, a tax of 8 per cent, had to be paid. The natural consequence of these excessive impositions has been the diminution of a culture for which the island is particularly adapted. Consul Lang suggests that it might be wise to free this production from all tax, except a proper export duty. " How easy it is to be generous at the expense of others !—here are (including Consuls White and Lang) no less than five British consuls who have been protesting against this instance of oppression and injustice since the year 1862, and it would naturally have been expected that one of our first acts upon assuming the government of Cyprus would have been to abolish an abuse " that had excited the remonstrances of our own

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