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SIR SAMUEL WHITE BAKER
CYPRUS AS I SAW IT IN 1879
page 480

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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 tagricultural 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 ps 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 5n many portions of the island, especially on the Troodos range, where the base of this stone is a shining greenish substance of a ìiorny 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.

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