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II. AN INDISCRETION IN THE LIFE OF AN
III. CHILD’s PLAY, - - - - - . Cornhill Magazine, - - . 18
IV. M.R. FROUDE’s “LIFE AND TIMES OF THoMAS BECKET.” By Edward A. Free- man. Part IV., . - - - - . Contemporary Review, . - . 32
V. THE CHINESE As Colonists, • - . Mineteenth Century, - - . So VI. THE RELATION of MEMORY TO WILL, . Spectator, - - - - . 56 VII. GARDEN-PARTIES, . - - - - , Spectator, . - - - . 59. VIII. INvALIDS, - - - - - - , Spectator, . - - - . 61
Miscell ANY, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
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From Macmillan's Magazine. CYPRUS.
UNDER the Sublime Porte the island of Cyprus formed part of the Vilaet of the Archipelago. The chief residence of the vali was at the Dardanelles. The governor of Cyprus, called a mutassurrif, resided in the island, at Leufcosia or Nicosia. He administered the affairs of the island with a council, over which he presided. This council was composed of the mufti, or highest Mussulman religious authority in the island, the Greek archbishop, the mubasebegi, or financial agent, the eveafnazir, or administrator of Mussulman religious property, three Mussulman and two Christian notables. The council met as often as it was summoned by the governor, and always once a week. Its decisions were embodied in documents called musflatas, which were signed by all the members present. These decisions relieved the governor of much personal responsibility, and received the highest consideration at Constantinople. The council occupied itself with all questions of public utility and general administration. From the large Mussulman majority in the council it will be evident that no initiative could be taken by the Christian members; indeed, as a matter of fact, all initiative came from the governor. The council was advantageous in giving the governor, invariably a stranger to the island, the benefit of local advice, and in obliging him to act in harmony with the representatives of the country. To a good governor the council never proved a hindrance; to a bad one it was an impediment to be overcome, but it was no protection against the evils of an inactive administration. The island was divided into five districts and sixteen arrondissements. The chief functionary over a district was called a caimakam, and that over an arrondissement was called a mudir. The caimakam, or prefect, administered with a council, and reported to the governor. The mudirs reported to the caimakam. The council of the caimakam consisted of the cadi, or judge, and four notables. Such was the system of administration which prevailed
in Cyprus, and which is known in Turkey
as the vilaet system. It assigned to the representatives of the people an important position, but, partly from incapacity and partly from servility, the Christian population did not profit by the liberal advantages accorded to it. The result was that the Christian representatives were in reality, although not avowedly, the choice of the governor and caimakams; but this was a defect, not in the system, but in its execution. It is evident that much of the system which we have just described might be profitably adopted by the British government. Substituting British for the Turkish functionaries who er officio are members of the councils, eliminating the ecclesiastical members, both Mohammedan and Christian, and giving to Mussulmans and Christians equal representation, there would be the elements of a very desirable council, containing a highly civilized element, in whose hands would be all the initiative, and a less advanced section, possessing local knowledge and practical experience of the country. The evils of a too-greatly personal government would be avoided, and the people would be trained gradually to take an interest in the administration which ruled them. It cannot be too often insisted upon that our task is not to Anglicize Cyprus, but simply to preserve order, to facilitate the develop. ment of the material resources of the island, and to further the moral and intellectual interests of its people. We have to practise what we have so long urged on the Porte – viz., to afford to the native races, by an enlightened and impartial administration, the means of moral elevation and material prosperity. For this result too much government is nearly as detrimental as too little. Our administration must be only the enlightened conception which guides the native hand; and the queen of England must be not only the mistress of Cyprus, but also the honored object of the love and devotion of its native races. There is a vast gulf between the natives of Cyprus and the natives of India, which we must not ignore, and our rule in Cyprus will be an utter failure if we apply to it, without important modifications, our Indian notions of government.
The prosperous days of Cyprus were those in which she enjoyed a large share of selfgovernment; and it is to this elevated position that we must again raise her out of the depths of moral degradation and material bankruptcy into which an unenlightened foreign domination has plunged her. The revenues which the Porte derived from Cyprus may be classified under three heads: (1) Revenues resulting from the administration of property belonging exclusively to the State. (2) A royalty upon the produce of all lands. (3) Taxes, direct and indirect. The general budget of receipts may be estimated as follows: —
Such are the chief taxes, and we will proceed to examine them in detail.
In a former article we explained the nature of the salt monopoly. It is simply an enterprise worked by the government for the exclusive benefit of the treasury, and only in so far as it imposes a fixed price upon the quantity of salt consumed in the island is it a burden upon the population. Of the revenue obtained, 27,oool. is derived from salt exported to foreign parts, so that only about 13,000/. is paid by local consumers. The working of this revenue is very simple, and the new administration will not do wrong in continuing the system of accounts and control which existed in the past. Some years ago there were extensive abuses perpetrated in the working of this administration, such as charging to the government expenses never incurred, and the delivery of larger quantities of salt than was paid for to the treasury. But these abuses have been, in great
measure, put a stop to by a fairly perfect system of control. The revenue from salt may be expected to increase under the British rule. Greater facilities for shipment must be provided, which will be of importance in increasing the export consumption. The expensive and inconvenient transport by carts, from the salt mounds to the shore, must give place to a rapid and easy transport, either by tramway wagon, or by wire tramway bucket; and a good jetty should be constructed to facilitate the loading of small craft. With these facilities, and a slightly reduced tarif, the volume of export shipments may be considerably increased. As the chief object to be aimed at is the enlargement of the circle of consumption, it may be wise to supply the export trade for distant countries, such as England, at lower rates. The article is suitable for ballast, and consequently will be cheaply carried. It is expedient that this source of revenue from export should be developed to its fullest extent, seeing that it benefits the treasury without being in any way a burden upon the island. The second item of revenue we have described as a royalty upon the produce of all lands. This tax is called “dimes,” a contraction of decima, the tenth part. Its existence dates back from very ancient times, and may justly be connected in the mind of the reader with the tithes or tenth part which Abraham paid to Melchizedek, king of Salem. In Turkey, all lands are sold and purchased with this burden, and the natives scarcely regard it as a tax, but rather as the share of the government in the cultivation of the land. It is upon this account that the tithe-tax, although apparently very heavy, is paid by the peasants with far less grumbling than any other tax, and the only disadvantage connected with it is the impediment which the measures necessary for its proper collection are apt to throw in the way of the freedom of the cultivator. This disadvantage is certainly a very serious one, and when speaking of the cultivation of cotton, in my former article, I had occasion to give a very good example of the hurtful manner in which it may operate. Many schemes have been proposed in * *
Turkey for the abolition of this tax, but the difficulty is to find an equally profitaable source of revenue which shall vary according to the prosperous or adverse circumstances of the cultivator. One proposition received considerable favor amongst Anglo-Turkish reformers at Constantinople, and that was the imposition of a fixed tax upon each pair of bullocks. Taxing the possession of land presented the inconvenience of imposing a burden upon lands which might not be under cultivation, a serious disadvantage in a country where proprietors of large estates often leave extensive tracts of land fallow for years; and it was argued, that by taxing the cultivator according to the number of the bullocks which he possessed, this evil would be obviated. But a grave injustice would have been inflicted by the proposed new system. The tax per pair of bullocks would be necessarily a fixed one, without regard to the value or quality of the bullocks; and in this the small peasant would have been sacrificed. A good pair of bullocks such as most large proprietors possess, will easily cultivate forty acres of grain land, while the small bullocks which the peasant rears and employs cannot cultivate more than twenty to twenty-five acres. The burden of the tax would therefore fall with unjust severity upon the small cultivator. Fuad Pasha, without exception the most enlightened of Turkish statesmen and whose ability would have done honor to any country, was quite conscious of the disadvantages arising from the tax of tithes, and, as an experiment, in one of the provinces of the empire, he converted the tax into a fixed money value, based upon the average of five preceding years. But the experiment did not succeed, and he was obliged to revert to the old system at the urgent request of the inhabitants whom he had wished to benefit by the innovation. Later on, a somewhat similar experiment was made in Cyprus during my residence. Upon the urgent representations of Halet Bey, then governor of the island, the Porte did not lease the dimes of Cyprus, but agreed, during three years, to give their collection to each village for a yearly payment of the average amount of
its tithes during five preceding years. In this way it was hoped that all arbitrary exactions, and all inconvenience to cultivators would be avoided, and that the farmers of the island would benefit by the profits formerly gained by the tax collectors. What occurred in the village of Pyla, with which I was connected, will exemplify the working and defects of the experiment. All the three years were fairly good agricultural years. During the first the primates of the village administered the tax, and at its close declared that there was a loss of about one thousand piastres between the value of tithes collected and the amount fixed by the treasury. The accounts, however, were very imperfectly kept. The loss had to be levied fro rata upon the cultivators, and gave rise to a great deal of angry talk — the result of which was, that the villagers requested me to arrange for the future administration of the tax. This was compara
tively easy for me, as more than a third of
the tithe had to be paid by me. An accurate account was kept ; every one was satisfied, and the village had a profit at the end of the second year of about seven thousand piastres, while the profits of the third year sufficed to pay the personal tax of all the village. Unfortunately, the experience of the first year at Pyla was general in all the island, and repeated during the remaining two years, so that at the end of the period there was a loud demand for a return to the old system. The mass of cultivators did not benefit by the profits, while all were responsible for the losses, and it was evident that if a bad year came round the consequences might be very disastrous. The danger to the treasury and to the peasant cultivators of the conversion of tithe into a fixed yearly sum was thus clearly demonstrated. In a good year the peasant does not set aside of his profits for future contingencies. All his profits he invests in land or cattle if he is frugal, or he spends them thoughtlessly if he is not; and in either case they are not available when a bad year comes round. The land becomes absolutely unsalable, the cattle die off, and the credit of the farmer is so shaken that he generally cannot borrow. In these circumstances, what be