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MALTA


Sir Lintorn Simmons) with regard to the presentation of the bishopric (worth about £4000 a year) the right to veto the appointment of distasteful candidates. This right was exercised to secure the nomination of Canon Caruana and later of Monsignor Pace. When the pledge, given by the Treaty of Amiens, to restore the Order of St John with a national Maltese “ langue, ” could not be f ulfllled, political leaders began demanding instead the re-establishment of the “ Consiglio Popolare ” of Norman times (without reflecting that it never had legislative power); but by degrees popular aspirations developed in favour of a free constitution on English lines. The British authorities steadily maintained that, at least until the mass of the people became educated, representative institutions would merely screen irresponsible oligarchies. After the Treaty of Paris stability of government developed, and many important reforms were introduced under the strong government of the masterful Sir Thomas Maitland; he acted promptly, without seeking popularity or fearing the reverse, and he ultimately gained more real respect than any other governor, not excepting the marquess of Hastings, who was a brilliant and sympathetic administrator. Trial by jury for criminal cases was established in 1829. -A council of government, of which the members were nominated, was constituted by letters patent in 183 5, but this measure only increased the agitation for a representative legislature. Freedom of the press and many salutary innovations were brought about on a report of John Austin and G. C. Lewis, royal commissioners, appointed in 1836. The basis of taxation was widened, sinecures abolished, schools opened in the country districts, legal procedure simplified, and Police established on an English footing. Queen Adelaide vistied Malta in 18 38 and founded the Anglican collegiate church of St Paul. Sir F. Hankey as chief secretary was for many years the principal official of the civil administration. In 1847 Mr R. Moore O'Ferrall was appointed civil governor. In Tune 1849 the constitution of the council was altered to comprise ten nciminated and eight elected members. V

The revolutions in Italy caused about this time many, including Crispi and some of the most intellectual Italians, to take refuge in Malta. These foreigners introduced new life into politics and the press, and made it fashionable for educated Maltese to delude themselves with the idea that the Maltese were Italians, because a few of them could speak the language of the peninsula. A clerical reaction followed against new progressive ideas ind English methods of development. After much unreasoning vituperation the Irish Catholic civil governor, who had arrived amidst the acclamations of all, left his post in disgust. His successor as civil governor was Sir W. Reid, who had formerly held military command. His determined attempts to promote education met with intense opposition and little success. At this period the Crimean War brought great wealth and commercial prosperity to Malta. Under Sir G. Le Marchant, in 18 58, the nominal rule of military governors was re-established, but the civil administration was largely confided to Sir Victor Houlton as chief secretary, whilst the real power began to be concentrated in the hands of Sir A. Dingli, the Crown advocate, who was the interpreter of the law, and largely its maker, as well as the principal depository of local knowledge, able to prevent the preferment of rivals, and to countenance the barrier which difference of language created between governors and governed. The civil service gravitated into the hands of a clique. At this period much money was spent on the Marsa extension of the Grand Harbour, but the rapid increase in the size of steamships made the scheme inadequate, and limited its value prematurely. The military defences were entirely remodelled under Sir G. Le Marchant, and considerable municipal improvements and embellishments were completed. But this governor was obstructed and misrepresented by local politicians as vehemently as his predecessors and his successors. Ministers at home have often appeared to be inclined to the policy of pleasing by avoiding the reforming of what might be left as it was found. Sir A. Dingli adapted a considerable portion of the Napoleonic Code in a series of Malta Ordinances, but stopped short at points likely to cause agitation. Sir P. Julyan was appointed royal commis-Xvu. I7

sioner on the civil establishments, and Sir P. Keenan on education; their work revived the reform movement in 1881. Mr Savona led an agitation for a more sincere system of education on English lines: Fierce opposition ensued, and the pqri passu compromise was adopted to which reference is made in the section on Educalion above; Mr Savona was an able organizer, and began the real emancipation of the Maltese masses from educational ignorance; but he succumbed to agitation before accomplishing substantial results.

An executive council was established in 1881, and the franchise was extended in 1883. A quarter of a century of Sir Victor Houlton's policy of laissez-faire was changed in 1883 by the appointment of Sir Walter Hely-Hutchinson as chief secretary. An attempt was made to utilize fully the abilities of this eminent administrator by creating him civil lieutenant-governor, in whom to concentrate both the real and the nominal power of detailed administration; but the military authorities objected to his corresponding directly with the Colonial Office; and a political deadlock began to develop. Sir A. Dingli was transferred from an administrative office to that of chief justice. With the continuance of military power over details, the public could not understand where responsibility really rested. The elected members under the leadership of Dr Mizzi clamoured for more power, opposed reforms and protested against the carrying of government measures by the casting vote of a' military governor as president of the council. To force a crisis, abstention of elected members from the council was resorted to, together with the election of notoriously unfit candidates. Under these circumstances a constitution of a more severe type was recommended by those responsible for the government of Malta and was about to be adopted, as the only alternative to a deadlock, by the imperial authorities.

A regulation excluding Maltese from the navy (because of their speaking on board a language that their officers did not understand) provoked from Trinity College, Cambridge, the Strickland correspondence in The Times on the constitutional rights of the Maltese, and a leading article induced the Colonial Office to try an experiment known as the Strickland-Mizzi Constitution of 1887. This constitution (abolished in 1903) ended a period of government by presidential casting votes and official ascendancy. For the first time the elected members were placed in a majority; they were given three seats in the executive council; in local questions the government had to make every effort to carry the majority by persuasion. When persuasion failed and imperial interests, or the rights of unrepresented minorities, were involved the power of the Crown to legislate by order in council could be (and was) freely used. This system had the merit of counteracting any abuse of power by the bureaucracy. It brought to bear on officials effective criticism, which made them alert and hard-working. Governor Simmons eventually gave his support to the new constitution, which was received with acclamation. Strickland, who had been elected while an undergraduate on the cry of equality of rights for Maltese and English, and Mizzi, the leader of the anti-English agitation, were, as soon as elected, given seats in the executive council to co-operate with the government; but their aims were irreconcilable. Mizzi wanted to undo the educational forms of Mr Savona, to ensure the predominance of the Italian language and to Work the council as a caucus. Strickland desired to replace bureaucratic government by a system more in touch with the independent gentlemen of the country, and to introduce English ideas and precedents. Friction soon arose. Mizzi cared little for a constitution that did not make him complete master of the situation, and resigned his post in the government.

Sir Walter Hely.-Hutchinson left Malta in March 1889, and was succeeded by Sir Gerald Strickland (Count Della Catena), who lost no time in pushing, and carrying with a rapidity that was considered hasty, reforms that had been retarded for years. The majorities behind the government began to dwindle and agitation to grow. Meanwhile the Royal Malta Militia was established as a link between the Maltese and the garrison. Thepolice were reorganized with proper pay, criminal laws were rigorously u