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CLAUDE DELAVAL COBHAM
Exerpta Cypria
page 375

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himself. He heard the commands and threats, and could not but obey, so terrified and trembling for Ins life, much against his will the wretch sailed for Constantinople. Without waiting for his arrival the Porte nominated another muhassil, and the bishops were ordered to sail with him for Cyprus. The Bishop of Paphos started first and reached his country. The Archbishop embarked on another vessel, and was wrecked off G-allipoli. But by the divine mercy he escaped, and arrived unhurt at Levkosia. The Bishops of Cition and Kyrenia remained behind to await the arrival of Haji Baqi, and to be present if necessary at his trial. At last the coward Haji Abdu'l Baqi arrived, presented himself before the Vazir, wa#$ examined and found guilty of the charges laid against him. He was condemned, and stripped of his wealth and authority, and the crow remained the crow he was before, just escaping with his life. The bishops reached Cyprus loaded with a debt of over 700 purses, and found their country had been for a year past scourged with want and dearth; the crops had failed through the drought, the people wer« sunk in debt and misery, and hardly knew where to look for grain. Everyone was famine-struck, and business unprofitable and uncertain. Above all, the people had an evil habit of not ascribing their misfortunes to the proper source, nor the increase of their debts to the insatiate and heartless greed of the governors, but thoughtlessly laid the blame on their spiritual fathers and chiefs : and this not only, now, but from of old. Ingratitude, alas, is a very old heritage among Cypriots. Many refnse to lend a helping hand to those whose love had prompted them to risk their lives for their compatriots. What then? When things in Cyprus were reduced to this lamentable and miserable condition, the wicked Baqi (the Vazir by whom he was condemned baring fallen, and the seals of the Empire being entrusted in 1784 to another) began to plot against the Cypriots, and especially the bishops: but his evil machinations turned against himself. He used all his influence, collected large sums of money, and again obtained his investiture as muhassil for the coming term. But qnickly his joy vanished, like a shadow or a dream. The news of the scheme reached the island, and aghas, ulema and rayahs hurried off in troops to the Porte, denouncing hiin, trumpeting forth his tyranny, and declaring with determination that the population, to the veiy children, would leave the country if they saw their implacable enemy and oppressor but set a foot in it. They insisted moreover that he only songht the post to get his revenge on his accusers. The Vazir was satisfied of the villainy of the one-eyed wretch, and of his aims, and forthwith, by the Sultan's command, issued a terrible decree that, under pain of death, he should never dare to land in Cyprus. He was stripped of his office, and banished to Jaffa, a desert spot: and there, Heaven lending ear to the groans of a whole people, he was soon struck by the piagne, and spit out in tortures his miserable soul. His countrymen preserved the memory of his crimes by raising piles of stones in the , highways and crossways, to which each passer-by adds his stone and his curse. Bnt as my history must find its end in the end of this present December, 1788, a year which has been disastrous throughout the Ottoman Empire, I think it well to note here the new distribution of the imposts to be levied from the Rayahs, under the order of the reigning Sultan, dated 1785. At that time it pleased the Porte, for high and secret reasons of state, to put up for sale the imperial revenues of many provinces, inclnding Cyprns, which was now separated from the emoluments of the Yazirs, who for more than a hundred years had dealt with the island as their own property. From information received from other quarters, but chiefly from Michael, son of the Archbishop Chrysanthos, an old gentleman still residing in Venice, the revenues of Cyprus were sold for 1,562,500 piastres, or 312,500 seqnins. They were divided CYPPJANOS. 385

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