Page:Frederic Shoberl - Persia.djvu/72

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57
PERSIA.

exemption from taxes for a certain period, and is at full liberty to bequeath it to his children, or to dispose of it in any manner he may think proper.


CHAPTER V.

OF THE SOURCES OF THE REVENUE OF THE STATE.

All the imposts paid by the subject, are included in the three denominations of malieh, sadeer, and peshkeesh.

The malieh are the taxes levied, in money or in kind, on land and towns. They are paid in kind, on corn, silk, cotton, and other articles of that sort; and in money, on vegetables, fruit, and other less considerable productions of the soil. These taxes were formerly only one-tenth, but are now one-fifth, of the produce: they are regulated by the number of oxen kept by the cultivator: thus, it is assumed that one ox is sufficient to do the work of a certain quantity of land, and this quantity is multiplied by the number of cattle. For the taxes in kind, the produce of a jureeb, or acre, is calculated, and the amount of the tax is deduced from this estimate.

The amount of the taxes paid by towns, is governed, not by the number of the inhabitants, but of the houses. In general, a town is taxed for a whole district, and its magistrates fix the quota to be paid by the dependent villages. The collector is called Moustoufee: it is his duty to keep a register of the value, the produce, and the annual amount of the taxes of the lands within his jurisdiction, and a regular statement of the receipts and disbursements made on account of government. The Kelaunter furnishes the troops with provisions, by giving an order countersigned by the Moustoufee on the Umbardar or keeper of the royal granaries: for in the various parts of Persia, there are royal granaries established for receiving the rents and taxes of government, which are entrusted to the management of an Umbardar. The Hakim, who is invested with the general control over these officers, enforces the claims of government either by punishing or confining the cultivators. These officers of course have under them a number of subordinate agents, who are dispersed among the different villages within the circuit of their authority, and make reports of all occurrences to their immediate superiors.

When government is in want of money, it applies to the Hakim, or to the Moustoufee, stating the sum required. These officers have a right to increase it for their own profit, and are