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various changes that have taken place. The Icelandic Villarium is here our only guide, and from this is extracted the following statement, in applying which to the present time, it must be observed, that, from subsequent sales, the quantity of farms in the possession of. the occupiers has been materially increased, and the regal and ecclesiastical estates proportionably diminished.
The exact expenditure of the island, which, in .the present state of affairs, considerably exceeds the amount of the revenues, is more easily ascertained; but, previously to mentioning the particulars of it,
it will be necessary to give some little account of the persons holding offices, who have not yet been noticed, but whose expences are defrayed by government, or, what is the same thing, paid from funds established for the purpose, which are under the superintendence of goverment. The salaries of the different masters of the small school at Bessestedr, the only one in the island maintained at the public expence, together with the allowance for the support of the boys, amount to three thousand two hundred and fifty-three rix-dollars.
It is greatly A.o be lamented that there are no hospitals throughout Iceland of any sort; that which formerly existed at Guvernaes having been dissolved, from being considered too burthensome an institution, and the poor wretches sent to their respective homes, where those deemed incurable are allowed a small pittance for their maintenance, which does not altogether exceed the sum of sixtyfour rix-dollars per annum. There is consequently no place of reception for the sick, and, what aggravates the evil is, that there are but six medical men in the whole island, and these necessarily resident at such a distance from the greater number of the inhabitants, that they are comparatively of little service: their1 salaries are besides extremely small. An apothecary is commissioned to distribute gratis a certain quantity of medicine annually, for which, independent of his pay, he is allowed three hundred and fifty rixdollars. To judge from all this, it might be concluded that Iceland is singularly salubrious, but, on the contrary, in no country is medical attendance more necessary than here, where the greater part of the inhabitants are afflicted with the most inveterate cutaneous complaints, for which their extreme ignorance and the want of medicines render them incapable of applying either remedy or palliative. The sick and the lame are seen crawling about in almost every part of the island, presenting the most pitiable objects of distress and misery. Nor is more care taken of the females, or of providing for the safety of the coming generation; as, though twenty midwives are provided by government, they are grossly ignorant, and the pains taken to remove their ignorance are so applied as to be almost wholly
nugatory. One is sent from Copenhagen for the purpose of giving the necessary instructions to the rest; but her salary of one hundred dollars per annum is too small tb enable her to take long journies, or to do any effectual good. The other nineteen receive altogether only one hundred rix^dollars per annum;
1 must not omit, in the small list of useful officers in the pay of government, to mention two Danish lieutenants, who are engaged with respectable salaries in the survey of the whole island; and, to judge from one or two specimens of their plans that have come under my observation, they are well capable of undertaking this important task.
The annual expences of Iceland, which are paid by government from various funds established in Copenhagen, will be at once seen by the following accounts. It will be, however, necessary to observe, that 2^ per cent, is deducted by government from all salaries paid to officers and others, unless the contrary is permitted by express order. What is called extra deduction in the accounts,
seems to be a kind of imposition practiced on some particular persons, since it is not exacted from all alike. Another deduction is also made for rank-tax, unless the officers are exempted from it by special permission; and such is the case throughout the whole of his Danish Majesty's dominions: all are obliged to pay a tax in proportion to the rank they maintain; whether this rank is obtained by the employments they hold in the state, or whether it is a mere title.
The current money of the country is chiefly Danish bank-notes of ninety-six skillings value each. One skilling is equal to a halfpenny English, sixteen skillings constitute one mark Danish, and six marks Danish one rix-dollar. These bank-notes are, however, distinguished from those current in Denmark, by having a few Icelandic words printed on the back, specifying their value. The only specie to be met with consists of these skillings, penny, twopenny, and fourpenny pieces of an adulterated silver: all other silver and gold coin, which used to be seen in abundance, is now almost unknown.