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United States Department of State / Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, transmitted to congress, with the annual message of the president, December 4, 1876
(1876)

Turkish Empire,   pp. 568-593 PDF (2.2 MB)


Page 587

 TURKISH EMPIRE—OTTOMAN PORTE. 587
tion recently wrought in it, as one of the most prosperous Turkish provinces.
It may be interesting, therefore, to inquire in what did this relative prosperity
consist, and also how far nature's bounty and man's industry in this district
are favored or impeded by the political system and administrative traditions
under which they are placed.
1.—FOOD-PRODUCTS AND RAW MATERIALS.
 It would be trite to remark that agriculture, the staple industry of Turkey,
is still in its infancy. What is more useful to be noticed is that no progress
in this direction is possible, so long as the institutions and the social
habits now paramount in Turkey continue to exist. An Austrian traveler, Baron
Berg, has recently recorded his astonishment at the difference he witnessed
in the Turkish empire, between the right and left banks of the Danube. While
vassal Roumania has adopted almost all the modern agricultural implements,
Suzerain Turkey still clings to methods immortalized in the Georgies. The
greater number of large estates in Roumania may to a certain extent explain
her advance in this respect; but their comparative rarity in Turkey is not
the only reason of the backwardness of Turkish agriculture. The unjust assessment
of taxes, and the still more extortionate methods of collecting them; the
system of farming the tithes, with the consequent delays in gathering in
the crops; the ridiculous parceling of land enfOrced by the law on the tapoe,
(title-deeds;) the insecurity of lifeand property which deters educated people
from applying themselves to agricultural pursuits on a large scale; all these
causes co-operate to keep the agricultural industry of Turkey in that primitive
condition from which it will never emerge so long as Turkish administration
proceeds on the principle of periodically slaying the hen that lays her the
golden eggs. In other countries, despotic governments ruling over primitive
peoples have. deemed it their justification and their duty to initiate themselves
an instruction and a series of institutions which might favor the advance
of agriculture; in Turkey not only is there no help from the government,
but private initiative, instead of being encouraged, meets with obstacles
which, in many cases, are well-nigh insurmountable. The difficulties raised
by custom-house officials on the importation of agricultural instruments,
have (~eterred many an advanced agriculturist from those scientific processes
which have done so much for the progress of agriculture in other countries;
two or three young Bulgarians from the district of Philippopolis, who have
finished their agricultnral education in Germany, have not only found no
encouragement from the government, but have even been persecuted in connection
with the recent events; while an agricultural society formed at Peroushtitza
with the object of establishing, as soon as the required capital was found,
a school for theoretical and practical instruction in agriculture, has shared
the fortunes of the ill-fated town where it had originated.
 What has been said of agriculture may with equal justice be applied to cattle-breeding
and silk-worm rearing. As regards the mining industry, though considerable
nuneral wealth exists in some mountainous parts of the province, the law
on the working of mines ha.s operated so well that not a single mine exists
in the district of Philippopolis.
 What this district is capable of producing under more favorable conditions
may be gathered frormi its present production of food-produce and raw materials.
The following figures have no pretensions to accuracy, as no official statistical
returns on these matters exist in Turkey, and the few that exist on the population,
&c., are made to mislead rather than instruct. Under these circumstances
it is impossible to get anything like exact figures; those that appear below,
founded on private inquiries, are only approximative, and are given merely
with the object of showing the relative import. ance of the various articles
of produce in the district of Phillippopolis.
Cereals and grains.—In a year of good average crop, after deduction
of the seed and the quantity necessary for local consumption, the surplus
available for exportation may be estimated at— 100 to 125,000 quarters
of hard wheat, (bIOs dures.)
275 to 300,000 quarters of soft wheat, (biOs tendres.)
125 to 150,000 quarters of Indian corn.
70 to 80,000 quarters of rye.
20 to 30,000 quarters of barley.
10 to 15,000 quarters of oats.
30 to 40,000 quarters of French beans, millet, sesame, linseed, &c.
 The total value of all these grains may be put down at 800,000 pounds Turkish,
(11 Turkish pounds equal 10 pounds sterling.)
 Aniseed—The average annual quantity exported is estimated at 1,000
tons, of the value of 20,000 pounds Turkish.
 Rice—The annual production may be computed at 6,000 to 7,000 tons,
representing a value of 100,000 pounds Turkish, one-third of which is consumed
in the Vilaet of Adrianople, and the rest is exported. The tithe of the rice
is sent in kind to Constantinople for the use of the troops.


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