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GIOVANNI MARITI
Travels in the Island of Cyprus
page 10

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they go abroad make a great parade of their costumes, while the Turks are covered from head to foot with a white cotton sheet. The realm of Cyprus was governed for many years by a Pasha, sent by the Ottoman Porte, but the island began to decline from its ancient splendour, and the necessary cost of the maintenance of a Pasha and his court being found to weigh heavily on the people, they petitioned that the practice might be abolished, and that henceforth they might have instead a Muhassil or simple governor, which was at once granted to them. But they soon found the government of a Muhassil to be burdensome, and some years ago begged that they might have a Pasha again. This was refused, and they still find themselves under a yoke which at one time they thought less oppressive. The revenues of the country are left to the Vezir A'zam, grand Vezir or Lieutenant of the Ottoman Empire. But as he cannot come here to rule it himself, he grants the island to the highest bidder, and sends him to govern it with a Khatti Sherif or august writing, a special order of the Grand Signor, bearing his autograph. As it is not merit but interest which gives access to this dignity, it is by interest that the governors regulate their actions. They ill-use and harass the people, and impose on them unjust taxes, not only to recoup what they pay to the Grand Vezir but also enough to allow them to leave the country after a year, having made their own fortunes and those of all their train. As the Grand Vezir finds every year in Constantinople men who offer more to get the reins of this kingdom, Cyprus is reduced to a miserable condition for want of money, and of a large yield of its usual rich products— results which follow the abandonment of their country by thousands of its inhabitants, one of the greatest disgraces of a state. In all the Turkish dominions there is probably no place where the dues paid by their subjects are heavier ; 6 A General View of the [CH.

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