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SIR SAMUEL WHITE BAKER
CYPRUS AS I SAW IT IN 1879
page 315

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been favourable to the plaintiffs, and the Greek proprietor was held to be legally in possession of all water-rights, to the exclusion of the original owners. He, however offered to supply them with water for ; their farms at a fixed rate ; whereas they had hitherto enjoyed that free right for upwards of a century. This loss, or abstraction, of so important a supply, upon which the actual existence of the farms depended in seasons of drought, not only impoverished the cultivators during the present year of famine, but reduced the value of their land to an enormous extent, as farms with a water-supply are worth more than quadruple the price of those which are dependent upon the seasons. Of course I could not help the poor people ; it appeared to my uneducated sense of equity ' to be the maximum of injustice. The question hung upon the Sultan's right to the natural water-supply, ' which I believe has been officially declared invalid ; 1 by what other right the monopoly of the water had ï been conveyed away from the original proprietors I could not understand. The Greek was not enjoying j his victory in absolute peace of mind, as the neighbour-| ing farmers avenged their legal defeat by cutting I holes in the embankments of his watercourses, and thereby nightly flooding their own fields, which, as the channels extended for many miles, would have required the presence of more than all the police of the district to discover the offenders. Upon one occasion ·' upwards of forty of these people appeared mounted upon mules around my camp, to urge my intercession on their behalf, declaring their perfect faith in the honour and good intentions of the English authorities, but at the same time lamenting their ignorance of the native language, which threw the entire power into

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