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SIR SAMUEL WHITE BAKER
CYPRUS AS I SAW IT IN 1879
page 400

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le could not cut his cauliflowers in Cyprus until his crop of unblown plants had been valued by an official ! and while he might be waiting for this well-hated spirit of evil, his cauliflower-heads would have expanded into coral-like projections and have become utterly valueless except for pig-feeding. I cannot conceive a more extravagant instance of oppression than this system of taxation, which throws enormous powers of extortion into the hands of the official valuer. This person can oppose by delays and superlative estimates Mie vital interests of the proprietors; if the property , is large, the owner will be only too glad to silence his ι opposition by a considerable bribe ; the poor must alike contribute, or submit to be the victim of delays which, with perishable articles such as vegetables, represent his ruin. Is it surprising that the villages of the desolate plain of Messaria are for the most part devoid of fruit-trees ? W e are preaching to the Cypriotes the advantage of planting around their dwellings, as though they were such idiots as to be ignorant that &quot; he who sows the wind will reap the whirlwind. &quot; If they plant fruit-trees under the present laws they are planting curses which will entail the , misery of inquisitorial visits and the most objectionable and oppressive form of an unjust taxation. A s the law at present stands, the amount of fruit is ridi. culously small, and the quality inferior, while cultivated vegetables are difficult to obtain. Can any other result . be expected under the paralysing effect of Turkish laws ? which unfortunately British officials have the questionable honour of administering. I have heard officials condemn in the strongest terms the laws they are obliged to enforce. There _ are few persons who are obtuse to the sense of injustice, '<

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