HISTORY ETHNOGRAPHY NATURE WINE-MAKING SITE MAP
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SIR SAMUEL WHITE BAKER
CYPRUS AS I SAW IT IN 1879
page 502

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CYPRUS : TROODITISSA MONASTERY, 44OO FEET ABOVE THE SEA, 21 Stpicmber, 1879. Messrs. Macmillan cV Co. M Y DEAR SIRS, 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 information. 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

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