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the care of an Amptman, who is a sort of deputy governor and the second magistrate in the island; but at this time there are but two of these; the southern ampt having been put under the immediate cognizance of the Stiftsamptman, and the eastern one united with the northern.
• The ampts are again divided into about twenty syssels, and these into repps. To each syssel is prefixed a Sysselman, whose office it is to collect the royal revenues, either in kind or money, according to the regulation of each particular district. They all receive their salaries out of the taxes, excepting only one or two, who are paid an annual sum by the Landfogued.
A repp is superintended by a person called Reppstiorar, who is subordinate to the Sysselman, as the latter is to the Amptman, and whose duty, besides that of seeing to the peace and good order of the community, is in a particular manner directed to the care and maintenance of the poor. A Reppstiorar's emoluments are excessively small, and his office a very inferior one.
The Landfogued of Iceland is the treasurer of the island, and to that office the one of Byefogued is generally annexed, which is the master of the police in the town of Reikevig.
The court of criminal and civil judicature consists of a judge* and two assessors (or inferior judges) with a secretary. All sentences must be signed by the Stiftsamptman, and an appeal lies from this court to the supreme court of judicature at Copenhagen-f-. Iceland know.s of no trials by jury; for the judge and assessors act both as jurors and judges. Besides this superior court or althing,
* The present chief judge or justitiarius is the learned Mr. Stephensen, whose name so often occurs in the course of the Journal. He is generally called by his Danish title of Etatsroed (Counsellor of State).
f Of late years, in consequence of the difficulty of communication between the parent country and Iceland, supreme power and authority in the courts of judicature have been given to the governor, in conjunction with the chief judge and assessors. This, however, is understood to be only a temporary arrangement. • .
which has its sittings six times in the year at Reikevig (whither it has been removed only within these few years from Thingevalle), there are annual provincial courts held in the different syssels, and extraordinary ones are occasionally appointed by the Amptmen.
The punishments for capital offences are at present the same as those in Denmark, and the criminal is not hanged but beheaded. It is a fact, however, that of late years, no Icelander has been found who would undertake the office of executioner, so that it has been necessary for the very few who have been sentenced to suffer death, to be conveyed to Norway, there to receive the punishment due to their crimes. The common mode of punishing offences of a less heinous kind, is either whipping, or close confinement and hard labor in the tughthuus, or house of correction, for certain years, or for life.
Of the revenues accruing to the parent state, I am not capable of speaking with any degree of certainty. * "Some of them arise from taxes on property, founded upon an estimate which is annually made, under the superintendance of the Reppstiorars of the several individuals in each parish. This estimate is conducted in a somewhat singular way; its basis being a very ancient regulation of property, according to the number of ells of wadmal, the cloth of native manufacture, which each individual possessed, or was enabled to manufacture in the course of the year. The term hundred, which was formerly a division derived from the number of ells, is now applied to other descriptions of property. An Icelander is reckoned possessor of an hundred, when he has two horses, a cow, a certain number of sheep and lambs, a fishing-boat, furnished with nets and lines, and forty rix-dollars in specie; and it is by this ratio that the amount of all possessions is ascertained, and the tributes levied upon them. One of the tributes, called the Tuind's, requires from every person, possessing more than five hundreds, the annual payment of twelve fish, or an equivalent amounting to twenty-seven skillings, or somewhat more than a shilling of English money. This tax increases in an uniform ratio with the increase of property; and its produce is allotted in equal portions to the public revenue, to the priests, to the churches, and to the maintenance of the poor. Another tribute, called the Shattur, consisted, in former times, of twenty ells of wadmal, but is now commuted to money, at the rate of four skillings and an half per ell. It is paid to the public revenue by the owners of farms, and by all, whose property, estimated in hundreds, exceeds the number of individuals composing their families. A third tax, called the Olqf-tallur, is paid either in fish or money; likewise in proportion to the property of each individual*." Besides, however, what arises from the taxes imposed upon the inhabitants, the king receives a certain sum for the rental of such farms as are his private property. Land in Iceland comes under three divisions: such as belongs 'to the king, to the church, and to the peasants themselves. It would be interesting to ascertain, were it possible, the present proportion of each, but to do thjs with any kind of accuracy is impracticable, from the