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156

REVENUE OF EGYPT.

CHAPTER VI.

Revenues of Egypt-Taxes-Expenditure-Government Monopo

lies-- Necessity of retaining many of them, in the present state of the Country-Agricultural System-Extent of Land susceptible of Cultivation-Productions of Egypt-State of her Commercial Relations with other Countries—Imports and Exports-Amount of Population – Different nations composing it State of the Fellahs as compared with the Peasantry of other CountriesPaupers Good effects resulting from the Establishment of Manufactories-Manners and Customs of the Inhabitants Education of the Lower Orders-Arts and Sciences-Music-Gradual Improvement in the Condition of the Inhabitants-Anecdote of the March of Mind, and of the drag upon it-Smoking.

The revenue of Egypt is calculated, in the years of “a good Nile,” to amount to twenty millions of dollars ; (four and a half milliions sterling, nearly ;) but at other times it does not exceed fifteen millions. This is exclusive of Syria and Candia, both of which are at present sources rather of expense than profit to the Egyptian treasury ; the former, how

REVENUE OF EGYPT.

157

ever, in the course of a few

years,

will

probably become a source of revenue-the latter

never.

The principal sources from which the revenue of Egypt is derived, are the Miri, or land-tax (more properly ground rent), which amounts to about a million and a half sterling; the Capitation tax, calculated at half a million, and the customs and excise at three hundred and fifty thousand pounds. The rest of the gross amount is made up by the farming out of fisheries, monopolies,* and various minor taxes; amongst which, one on jugglers, dancing women, and courtesans, amounts annually to thirty thousand pounds.

This statement is taken from an official return of the state of the revenues of Egypt in the year 1830, when they amounted only to three millions, six hundred thousand pounds. Another official document gives the principal expenses of the government during the same year, in round numbers, as follows: the

• Under this head must be classed the sale of the produce of the country, which almost all belongs to, and, until lately, was sold exclusively by the Government.

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army, one million and a quarter, sterling; navy, five hundred thousand pounds; arsenals, manufactories, and public works, five hundred thousand pounds; civil administration, secret service, and gratuities, eight hundred thousand pounds; Envoys, and presents to Constantinople, one hundred and sixty thousand pounds; the Viceroy's household, seventy-five thousand pounds.

The revenues of Egypt that reached the Sultan's coffers, under the Mameluke Beys, amounted only to two millions and a half sterling, but that sum was increased to four millions, when the country was again brought under the more immediate dominion of the Porte. Considering, therefore, the new sources of revenue that have been opened to Egypt under Mohammed Ali, by the cultivation of the cotton plant, olive, and mulberry trees, &c., and the increased facilities afforded to its agriculture by the excavation of canals, and the improved system of irrigation, a corresponding increase of revenue ought to have followed, had the inhabitants continued

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159

subject to the same rate of taxation as under former administrations. It appears, however, thatwith all these increased means, the amount of revenue raised from the country continues much the same as formerly.

The revenues of Egypt might be very considerably augmented in various ways, but I am sceptical as to the expediency of abandoning altogether the manufactories, monopolies, &c., and opening the trade; for, as I have already attempted to show, the possession of manufactories is called for by the uncertainty of Mohammed Ali's foreign relations, and the government monopoly on the export of corn, to save the country from famine: whilst the want of landed proprietors and capitalists obliges the Viceroy to constitute himself the farmer general and sole merchant of Egypt.

I doubt, therefore, whether, under all circumstances, Mohammed Ali's monopolizing system be not the best that could be adopted, until knowledge, and with it confidence, can be imparted to the inhabitants of the country.

160

OBSTACLES TO AGRICULTURE.

It is security that, above all things, is wanting; for, besides that agricultural pursuits cannot be followed without considerable funds, (which none of the inhabitants of Egypt possess,) it is security alone that stimulates industry, and renders labour productive ; without it, though the Arab Fellah should possess the treasures of Haroun-el-Raschid, he would not venture to make use of them to improve his land.

It has been observed by a talented writer on political economy, “ that all men are by nature disposed to idleness ; [an axiom that applies peculiarly to the ignorant inhabitant of fertile Egypt) and this disposition is a great obstacle to the pursuit of agriculture, which requires a considerable degree of foresight and knowledge, and a firm reliance on the security of property to labour at one season, in order to reap the fruits at another. The minds of men should be freed from the degrading fetters of ignorance, before they can reap advantage from personal emancipation. In all cases, we shall find that gradual and progressive improvement is conducive to the

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