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nomade gipsies, are alike remarkable for their musical talents. Having fought with great bravery during the war of emancipation, they are not so despised in Servia as in some other countries.
For produce of the state forests, appears the very insignificant sum of one hundred and twenty-five dollars. The interior of Servia being so thickly wooded, every Servian is allowed to cut as much timber as he likes. The last item in the budget sounds singularly enough: two thousand three hundred and forty-one dollars are set down as the produce of sales of stray cattle, which are first delivered up to the captain of the district, who makes the seizure publicly, and then hands them over to the judge for sale, if there be no claimant within a given time.
Agriculture and Commerce.
Upon the whole, it must be admitted, that the peasantry of Servia have drawn a high prize in the lottery of existence. Abject want and pauperism is nearly unknown. In fact, from the great abundance of excellent land, every man with ordinary industry can support his wife and family, and have a large surplus. The peasant has no landlord but the Sultan, who receives a fixed tribute from the Servian government, and does not interfere with the internal administration. The father of a family, after having contributed a maximum tax of six dollars per annum, is sole master of the surplus ; so that in fact the taxes are almost nominal, and the rent a mere peppercorn ;
the whole amounting on an avarege to about four shillings and sixpence per caput per annum.
A very small proportion of the whole soil of Servia is cultivated. Some say only one sixth, others only one eighth ; and even the present mode of cultivation scarcely differs from that which prevails in other parts of Turkey. The reason is obvious: if the present production of Servia became insufficient for the subsistence of the population, they have only to take in waste lands; and improved processes of agriculture will remain unheeded, until the population begins to press on the limits of the means of subsistance; a consummation not likely to be brought about for many generations to come.
Although situated to the south of Hungary, the climate and productions are altogether northern. I never saw an olive-tree in Servia, although plentiful in the corresponding latitudes of France and Italy (439—44° 50'); but both sorts of melons are abundant, although from want of cultivation not nearly so good as those of Hungary. The same may be said of all other fruits except the grapes of Semendria, which I believe are equal to any in
the world. The Servians seem to have in general very little taste for gardening, much less in fact than the Turks, in consequence perhaps of the unsurpassed beauty and luxuriance of nature. The fruit-tree which seems to be the most common in Servia is the plum, from which the ordinary brandy of the country is made. Almost every village has a plantation of this tree in its vicinity. Vegetables are tolerably abundant in some parts of the interior of Servia, but Belgrade is very badly supplied. There seems to be no kitchen gardens in the environs; at least I saw none. Most of the vegetables as well as milk come from Semlin.
The harvest in August is the period of merriment. All Servian peasants assist each other in getting in the grain as soon as it is ready, without fee or reward; the cultivator providing entertainment for his laborious guests. In the vale of the Lower Morava, where there is less pasture and more corn, this is not sufficient, and hired Bulgarians assist.
The innumerable swine which are reared in the vast forests of the interior, at no expense to the
inhabitants, are the great staple of Servian product and export. In districts where acorns abound, they fatten to an inconceivable size. They are first pushed swimming across the Save, as a substitute for quarantine, and then driven to Pesth and Vienna by easy stages; latterly large quantities have been sent up the Danube in boats towed by steam.
Another extensive trade in this part of the world is in leeches. Turkey in Europe, being for the most part uncultivated, is covered with ponds and marshes, where leeches are found in abundance. In consequence of the extensive use now made of these reptiles, in preference to the old practice of the lancet, the price has risen; and the European source being exhausted, Turkey swarms with Frenchmen engaged in this traffic. Semlin and Belgrade are the entrepôts of this trade. They have a singular phraseology; and it is amusing to hear them talk of their “marchandises mortes.” One company had established a series of relays and reservoirs, into which the leeches were deposited, refreshed, and again put in motion; as the journey for a great distance, without such refreshment, usually proves fatal.