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and the correspondence of Mr. Daines Barrington discovers a cordial solicitude for Mr. Bruce's literary reputation.
The succeeding part of the Appendix contains an account of Ethiopic MSS., vocabularies of the barbarous dialects in Abyssinia and the neighbouring provinces, local descriptions and sarratives, with engravings of several individuals mentioned by Mr. Bruce, as well as of articles of natural history belonging to these countries. It was objected to the original work that it contained no connected delineation of the Abyssinian manners and customs; and this was a defect which the editor appears to have taken great pains to supply by selections from Mr. Bruce's unpublished papers.
ART. VIII. Authentic Materials for a History of the People of Malta.
First, Second, Third and Fourth Parts ; containing the Form of Government under their own Magistrates, under the Grand Masters, and under the British Civil Commissioners ; their former Efforts to regain their ancient Rights and Liberties, and their present Claims thereto ; a memorial to the King ; Re. venues, Expenditure, Coins, Corn-Measure, Agriculture, &c. By William Eton, Esq. Superintendant General of the Quarantine and Public Health Department in Malta, Author of the Survey of the Turkish Empire. 8vo. pp. 270. 6s. Boards.
Cadell and Davies.
, outlines of constitutions, and abstracts of laws, although they furnish little amusement, and are deemed repulsive by most readers, form essential parts of the accounts of all civilized countries. To these documents the present volume is very much confined ; and though consequently it will not be generally considered as of the most attractive nature, it furnishes useful information, and will be particularly acceptable to the politician and the historian.
we may presume to say that mutual esteem subsisted between them. His personal knowlege of the editor, therefore, and of the circumstances of perfect INDEPENDENCE, in EVERY respect, which have always characterized this work, would never permit him to speak in the language adopted by Dr.Blair, and to allege that Reviews are
always guided by the interest of some booksellers.” Without meaning any sarcasm on the booksellers, the Monthly Review might as truly be said to be guided by the street puppet-shew men, who direct the motions of Punch and his wife Joan.
This letter of Dr. Blair was written just at the time when we were paying that tribute to his sermons which, if he had read it, would probably have induced his self-love to persuade his judgment that Re. viewers were not always either erroneous or unjust.
The article respecting Malta shewed the hollowness of the peace of Amiens, and indicated at once the incapacity of the British cabinet and the bold perfidy of Bonaparte. It ought to have determined the judgment of the public respecting the authors of that measure on this side of the water ; but it has happened that the noble Lord who stood forth its advocate, and who may be presumed to have had a principal share in acceding to it has enjoyed a high share of royal and public confidence. under a variety of administrations, and constitutes at this moment a principal pillar of this great state. — In a ; preliminary discussion of the question of retaining Malta, Mr. Eton, however, defends the measure with much ingenuity and ability ; and he assigns more plausible and convincing reasons in vindication of Great Britain, than any which are to be found in the arguments and state-papers of the period. The atfecting and instructive memorial of the Maltese to the British government, against the surrender of their island to the order of St. John, would not have been made in vain, had cabinets been endowed with any thing approaching to sensibility : but this appeal did not merely address itself to the feelings ; it rested on the strongest grounds of justice. Yet the British ministry of the time not only consented to abandon, but actually to deliver over into the hands of old and inveterate oppressors, a free, brave, and high-minded people ; who had done all but completely rescue themselves from the French ; and who, relying on the good faith of Britons, had thrown themselves into our arms, in the hope and under a promise of protection from all their enemies. It is Mr. Eton's object, therefore, as we have said, to defend the violation of the treaty in the non-fulfilment of this stipulation in it, and to shew the necessity and the justice of • never ceding Malta to any other power.'
Previously to the cession of the island to the order of St. John of Jerusalem by Charles V.,
• Malta was a republic governed by its own laws; the principal magistrate was named by the King of Sicily ; who had the choice out of three persons proposed by the consiglio popolare, or parliament.
• If the magistrate abused the powers committed to him, which were considerable, the parliament had a right to complain to the Suzerain, and demand his removal from office, &c. All other complaints of public grievances were likewise represented to the King of Sicily ; who protected the island from foreign enemies ; and the Maltese were obliged to make a common cause, and take a share in all wars in which the King of Sicily was engaged. The Maltese enjoyed in his dominions the same privileges as his own subjects, and they enjoyed in Malta all those of the Maltese.'
Even by the terms of this cession, the enjoyment of all their former liberties was confirmed to the Maltese : but it was impossible to preserve them against the power of the Grand Masters :
· Liberty was secured to the people of Malta principally by the institution of a Consiglio Popolare, or assembly of national representatives.
• The Maltese appear to have constantly enjoyed the blessings of a free constitution, except at intervals, when they were under a foreign yoke ; and even then they unceasingly struggled to break their chains.
· The time when this body was instituted in the exact form now known, is not precisely ascertained, bus it was soon after, if not be. fore, the Saracens were forced to evacuate their island, on being ex• pelled Sicily, A.D. 1090.
• In 1396, Martin, King of Aragon, and Mary, gave Maita as a feud, with the title of Marquisate, to Moncada, count of Augosta ; but the Maltese, indignant at becoming subjects of an uncrowned head, refused to acknowledge him, and purchased the government of their island of Moncada for 30,000 florins of gold, a large sum in those days, and which he had paid into the royal treasury: The King, by a diploma, dated the 17th November 1397, to which he swore on the Gospel, declared Malta and Gozo inalienable, for ever, from the crown of Spain, and established it as a perpetual law, binding to his successors, not to alienate these islands in any manner whatever, or under any title whatever, either temporarily or perpe. tually, though the person appointed should even be of the royal blood, and permitting, in case of contrary conduct of the crown, the Maltese nation to resist “ manu forti proqrò in nullum crimen, de lictum vel inobedientiam incurrere repulentur et aliquatenus conseantur, &c.'
· This Consiglio Popolare was a permanent representation of the whole people. Its esistence, and its functions, are acknowledged, authorized, and confirmed by all their Suzerains.
· The gradual encroachments on its rights and privileges, and its final suppression by the Grand Masters, were the principal causes of the disaffection of the Maltese, and of the many conspiracies which were formed to subvert their usurped power.
• In the Consiglio Popolare resided the whole legislative authority.
• li not only nominated the members of the executive goverriment for the management of ordinary affairs ; but it watched their conduct, and retained the power of controlling and displacing them.
· The appointment of the principal officer of government, the capilano, received the sanction of the Suzerain. The powers of this officer have varied at different periods; but they were always detined, and always limited. Sometimes he has been nominated solely by the Suzerain ; sometimes by the Maltese ; but generally they submitted to his choice the names of three persons, and this seems to have been the more general and constitutional practice.'
• All important matters were decided by the popular council. The jurats, as the administrators of public property, were dependent on it, and nominated by it. It took care of the commercial interest of the Università, and superintended its operations; and for this effect, whenever it became necessary, it nominated procurators, syndics, &c.
• It appointed ambassadors to sovereigns, to negociate on public affairs, and to their Suzerains to ask favours, or complain of violation of privileges, either by themselves or their offices, it being the particular duty of the council to defend rights and privileges.
• This council deputed of its own body a certain number of persons of probity, of the first and second classes (of which the Consi. glio Popolare was always composed) to form a Consiglio Particolare, which annually elected by scrutinio the new public officers or ministers, the election of whom belonged to the citizens, agreeably to their most ancient privileges '-
• The public officers in the nomination of the Consiglio Popolare, or the particular council chosen out of its body. were, both in Malta and Gozo, the jurats aud the treasures of the Università (who compose that magistracy); the acatapani, who were then of the first fa. milies, latterly they are a kind of assistants in the markets, and in the affairs of the Università ; the judges, criminal and civil; the superintendent of the city ramparts, and other public edifices; the commis. saries of the public health department ; procurators of the hospital and public places.'
• No new duty or tax could be collected without the consent and order of the Consiglio Popolare, and it seems that the consent of the Suzerain, who protected the people individually as well as collectively, was also necessary, at last, to taxes of importance.'--
• With respect to the persons who composed the Consiglio Popolare, it appears by ancient records, that before the coming of the Order of St. John, and many years afterwards, this body was composed of a certain number of persons, of families of the first and second classes, and the representatives of towns, (casal) elected by the people, who were called constables (contestabili
, conétables.) The jurats and all other officers of popular election had a seat in the Consiglio Popolare, on general affurs.'
The statement in the latter part of the ensuing paragraph will somewhat remind the reader of the actual situation of another popular council :
• The goverument of Malta existed nearly in a constitutional man, ner for some time after the admission of the Order of St. John; but by degrees encroachments were made; and when the Università named an ambassador to complain of the danger the people were in, of totally losing all their rights, one of the Grand Masters seized and hanged him. The Consiglio Popolare at length ceased to be the representation of the people, and was composed wholly of persons who held offices in the appointment of the Grand Master; and they were consulted merely to levy taxes, to build fortifications and edi. fiscs for the use of the Order, or for public convenience.'
It is with deep concern that we read in these pages that the British government of Malta accords but little with the natural expectations and hopes of its inhabitants, with their antient liberties, or with the rules and maxims of our own inestimable constitution. One passage will serve to inform the reader how this matter stands :
• General Pigot, when he was invested with the civil as well as militarv government, was so deceived (for no one doubted the goodness of his heart, or his wish to do jusiice) as to make a decree, establishing a supreme tribunal, composed of his secretary (whom he ictrusted with the management of civil and criminal affairs) and two of his secretary's creatures, who had power to decide in all matters whasever, either originally or by appeal, or whenever they chose to take cognizance of matters. This decree was however torn down by the people from the public places where it was stuck up; but Mr. Cameron sent one of these printed decrees to the Secretary of State.'
The form of a government for Malta and Gozo, composed by some of the first lawyers and of the nobility and the principal persons of those islands, (of which a copy is here given,) must, by the free spirit which it breathes, and the wise provisions which it contains, afford high pleasure to every genuine Briton.
It proposes the re-establishment of the Consiglio Popolare, which is to be wholly a lay assembly, and to consist of 39 persons. The deputies of the nobles are to amount to about one third of the whole, and the remaining deputies are to be returned by the cities and burghs. An ecclesiastical council is also framed, which is to unite itself to this body, when the subject of religion is discussed. Na persons holding lucrative executive situations are elegible into this aseembly.
The Maltese are most anxious to continue subject to the crown of England : but they at the same time desire that it shall ensure to them the blessings of a liberal government. To their free will we owe the possession of the island, and yet we have not deigned to take any notice of either the one or the other wish of this interesting people, but have continued to exercise over them the despotic sway which the degenerate order had usurped. They have been and still are discontented with this treatment. 'Mr. Eton has encouraged them to state their grievances, and to seek the removal of them : he has assisted them in the pursuit of their object, and has stood forwards the advocate of their claims ; he exposes and inveighs against the unnatural and impolitic conduct of the British councils ; and he has insisted on the right of the subject-people to a treatment worthy of their antient privileges, unbroken spirit
, and loyal disposition towards Great Britain. This conduct, we