Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States

Edited by: Lalor, John J.
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New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co.
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Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
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MALTA, GOZO AND COMINO. In 1798 the fortunes of war gave these three islands to England, and the treaties of 1815 upheld her possession of them. Their area is 115 square miles; in 1871, when the last census was taken, the civil population was 149,084.


—The civil legislation remains very nearly what it was when the English first took possession of the island; the changes are inconsiderable. In 1829 a very important innovation was made in criminal legislation by the introduction of trial by jury. During some years there was no great cause to rejoice over this, as from time to time the jury, through lack of firmness, allowed enormous crimes to go unpunished; but at length this method of dispensing justice succeeded in working properly. In 1838 the inhabitants, without receiving complete political liberty, were granted freedom of the press. So far, the English government and the Maltese population have only cause to congratulate themselves on this measure.


—The management of local and municipal affairs is in the hands of a council, one-half of which is chosen by election. In order to give the inhabitants means of making known their desires, several consulting committees have been formed, the members of which are changed every year by rotation.


—The revenue is composed mainly of customs duties. It continued to increase from 1838 to 1836, when it reached the sum of £144,795, the expenditures being only £129,776. From 1856 to 1866 the receipts continued to increase, and reached the sum of £196,459, to which corresponded £185,449 expenditures. In 1870 the equilibrium was disturbed, to the detriment of the receipts, which fell far below the expenditures, the former amounting to £158,631, and the expenditures to £171,788. Among the receipts, the customs duties exceeded £100,000; the second place was occupied by the land tax, which produced upward of £30,000. Almost all this revenue was devoted to the civil expenditures of the island; only £6,200 being applied to military outlay—Malta is considered by England less as a colony than as a military post, whose garrison should be kept as strong as possible at all times. (See GIBRALTAR) In 1851 this garrison was composed of only 3,331 men. Since that time, by successive additions, these figures have doubled. In 1861 the garrison was composed as follows: 5,415 infantry of the line, 636 colonial militia, 782 artillerists, and 283 engineer sappers. The militia artillery of Malta (Royal Malta fencible artillery) is composed of 637 Maltese, 23 of whom are officers.


—The commerce of these islands increases continually; still, there is more continuity and regularity in the movement of importations than in that of exportations. The greater part of imported merchandise comes from England. In 1867 the imports lose to £6,395,320; in 1868, to £7,222,760; in 1869, to £4,808,440. In the same years the exports were £5,256,400, £7,221,320, and £4,187,160. The movement of shipping was, in 1869, 3,695 vessels arrived, with a capacity of 1,367,399 tons; 3,702 ships cleared, with a tonnage of 1,375,208. Since 1862 this movement remained within the following limits, arrivals and clearances combined:

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Malta exports chalk, lime, olive oil, oranges, wine, wool, and small cattle; the imports are dry goods, beer, butter, coal, leather dressed and undressed, cotton both in tissue and in thread, iron, woolen and silk stuffs.


—BIBLIOGRAPHY. Boisgelin, Ancient and Modern Malta, 2 vols., London, 1805; Bres, Malta antica illustratra, Rome, 1816; Avalos, Tableau historique, politique, physique et morale de Maltc, Paris, 1830; Tullack, Malta under the Phœnicians, Knights and English, London, 1861.


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