British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

27
MALTA: THE MARCHESE TESTAFERRATA TO LORD BATHURST, 21 April 18121

Duke Street, Piccadilly, London.

MY LORD,

I had the honour to receive your Lordship's letter of the 3rd instant, informing me that there does not appear to the Prince Regent's Government sufficient grounds for considering the papers which I presented to be, what they profess to be, authorised declarations of the wishes and opinions of the people of Malta, and that I can be considered here only as a private individual, but that it nevertheless was in contemplation to send Commissioners out to Malta in order to examine fully into the circumstances of the civil government and its laws, and for which information I beg leave to express to your Lordship my most grateful acknowledgments. . . .

[The Marchese reasserts his contention:]

That the Consiglio Popolare , composed of the nobility and of a representative elected in every casale, shall be restored, in order to form together the first or chief representative body; that the Università or Public Bank, shall be put on its former footing, its debts paid, and credits called in and realised; that the powers of the King's Commissioner shall be defined; that courts of justice shall be established and rendered independent in giving their sentences; that the suitors shall not be obliged for the institution of their suits to obtain any licence from the Governor; that the judges shall not be displaced unless guilty of improper conduct; that juries shall be established as the basis for the administration of justice; that the Intendant of Police (an employ of the most delicate nature for public security and tranquillity) shall be entrusted to a Maltese gentleman of honour and ability; that the Casa Santa shall be restored for retirement and exercises of piety; that the Press shall be free; that the property of individuals shall be respected; that the expenses of the war and of the present mission shall be discharged out of the revenues of the island, and that such of the grievances of individuals as have been hitherto suppressed shall be heard.

For these purposes the Maltese most humbly request that His Royal Highness the Prince Regent will be graciously pleased to appoint Commissioners who, with Commissioners to be elected in a general Congress of the island, may form a plan of government for His Royal Highness's approval, with powers for hearing the complaints of aggrieved individuals.

In a word, that measures may be adopted for putting the Maltese

____________________
1
W. Hardman, op. cit., pp. 515-16.

-126-

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