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GIOVANNI MARITI
Travels in the Island of Cyprus
page 12

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most convenient arrangements to avoid annoyances or to lessen the demand. The poor subjects might very often be saved from oppression if their archbishop were not from policy, and sometimes from personal interest, ready to lend himself to the exactions of the Muhassil, so that they are often abandoned by the very person who ought to take their part. When the Governor wishes to collect money out of season, or of his mere caprice, the mode of imposing duties and taxes is curious enough. He may even tax with a certain sum anyone who bears a name which he may select ; as, for instance, any-one called George has, without appeal, to pay a certain sum. Such an exaction falls on members of the Greek community only, who are treated more as slaves than subjects. For voluntary homicide the law imposes on the slayer the capital penalty, and on the village where the homicide took place a tax which goes to the treasury of the Grand Signor, together with the sum levied as blood-money. The blood-money for a man killed, of 30 or 35 years of age, is reckoned at 500 piastres : for others a calculation is made of the time which, humanly speaking, the man might have lived, and of the gain which in that residue of his life might have accrued therefrom to the Grand -Signor, the sum being often excessive. If the homicide resulted from some accident, or were indirectly planned, the slayer very often escapes all punishment but the payment of some few piastres. The Mehkeme are the courts before which are pleaded all causes, criminal and civil; in the capital the Molla presides, in the other cities and in the principal villages the Qazi, judges who acquit or condemn after a short hearing. The Turks have no written civil law, their guide is the Qur'an, their sacred book. Every good Qazi ought to have many texts from it, called Fetawa, written out in long lists, to which, according to the cases, are given various interpretations, very often opposed to the true sentiments of their lawgiver. A man who is summoned to a court for debt has no choice 8 A General View of the [CH.

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