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HISTORY AND DESCRIPTION OF THE ISLAND OF MALTA,

(Illustrated witb a correct Map.) [The following valuable article respects of the grand masters, and the illustrious

ing an Inand which has always at- defender of Malta : it was built soon tracted the attention of mankind, and after the famous fiege by the Turks in which has lately been a peculiar subject of 1550. On the other side, adjoining to po'itical speculation, has been communi- the harbour for the gallies, is another cated to us by a gentleman whose oppor. large town, where the knights formerly tunities of collecting original information dwelt before they removed to Valetta. It are considerable, and who has combined with his own materials those of all the is in every respect as clean and as elewriters who have had occafion to describe gantly built as the latter. The ships and

gallies of the order lię in the harbour at

the bottom of which it stands. THE 'HE three islands which lately com The houses in both the towns are built

posed the fovereignty of the Grand of free-stone, of such remarkable beauty Master and the Knights of St. John of as to appear always new; and the earth Jerusalem, are MALTA, Gozo, and LA and duit are so white, that far from soilCumino. In approaching them by tea, ing the walls, they appear perfectly to the coasts of all the islands appear bare renew their colour.

This whiteness, and barren, particularly that of Gozo, however, of the pavements and walls, which presents to the view the ruggedest (both in town and country) creates no Thore to be seen any where; but they are little duft; and from its colour, which is all covered over with towers, redoubts, offensive to the eye, and the heat reflected and fortifications of various kinds. - by it, many of the inhabitants are said Malta, however, affords a very fine pro to be remarkably weak-lighted. The spect in failing towards it from Sicily, streets are generally crowded with wellnotwithstanding the shore in this part is drest people, who appear to live in health rather low and rocky.

and affluence; and the inns here have all To a vessel approaching the harbour of the appearance of palaces. Valetta, the chief port and nietropolis of The principal buildings are the palace the island, nothing can be more striking of the Grand Master, the Infirmary, the than the external aspect of the city; Arsenal, the Inns or Hotels of the Seven and nothing more terrible. (in failing Tongues, and the great and very magunder it) than the almost impregnable nificent church of Șt. John. The pavefortress of St. Elmo, the baitions of ment of this last is reckoned the richest in which are erected on a rock hanging over the world. It is entirely composed of seand projecting into the sea, with dreadful pulchral monuments of the finest marbles, batteries completely defending the en- porphyry, lapis lazuli, and other valuable trance of both the ports.

Itones, admirably fitted together, and reThe stranger is no less struck on getting presenting, in a kind of Mosaic, the arms to lard, (in this seemingly new world), and insignia of those whom they are in: when he first takes a view of the interior tended to commemorate. of the harbour; the innumerable forts; the nificence of these monuments, the heirs two towns erected in an amphitheatre; thè of the grand matters and commanders long edifices, which, though none of them (trik- vied with each other. The palace is a ingly beautiful, yet are all in good taste, very noble, though a plain structure ; commodious, and very well built, and and the grand pasters, who ger.erally cons have the appearance of being founced on Iulted conveniency more than magnifivast and noble bastions ; together with cence, were thought to be more comfortthe beau:iful and extensive flights of stone ably and commodioully lodged than any steps, which lead to large streets, all prince in Europe, the king of Sardinia perfectly straight and parallel, and re. excepted. The great stair-case is much markably well paved with white free- admired, and spoken of by travellers as Itone; these various objects combined the easiest and best they ever saw. As the form a molt superb prospect, inferior per: whole of Yaletta is built upon an emihaps in magnificence to none, and cer nence, none of the streets, except those tainly not resembling that of any other along the quay, are level. cily upon earth.

The total number of the knights of the The new town is that part of the city order was about a thousand. The house which is built on the right-side of the hold attendance and court of the grand harbour, and takes its name from its master were very princely, and his power founder, Frederick John de Valetta, one was more absolute than that of many

monarchs.

In the mag

1799,]
History and Description of Malta.

45 monarchs. Both in the privy-council, intercourse and collision of the individuals where political measures which required of different nations with each other, No fecrecy, and where affairs of the greatest particular character was to be met with importance were managed, as also in what here in the extreme. The French fkip was called the Great Council, he could and assuming air, the German strut, stub. propose what he thought fit, and carry bornness, and pride, the Spanish stalk, every point, without being himself re- taciturnity, and folemnity, were still to sponsible for any step. In this latter be perceived, although blended in small council, it was requisite that every quet- proportions ; the original characteristics tion to be discussed should be proposed in were retained, and might be distinguished, the first instance by the grand master him- although their exuberance, and what made felf, so that he could let it remain aito- them appear extravagant and ridiculous, gether unnoticed, if he did not wish to was worn off and had disappeared. The have it determined upon : he also diftri- great politeness observable here might buted all the lucrative offices and favours also partly be ascribed to this ; that as the of the order ; and could not only create knights were entitled by law, as well as any places he thought necessary, but even custom, to demand satisfaction of each appoint as many honorary baillies as he other for the least breach of it, every one had occasion for votes to defeat his op- of course was under a necesity of being ponents. His titles were Serene High- very exact and circumspect with regard ness and Eminence. He nominated to to his words and actions, as well as to the twenty-one commanderies and one priory, exterior punetilios of decorum. (some of which were worth upwards of This lingular order', which was a com2000l. a year) every five years; and as pound of the military and ecclesiastical there were always a great number of ex- policy, has now fubfitted with great eclat pectants or ambitious pretenders, much about 700 years. It was initituted at exterior submission was paid to him, and Jerufalem by Godfrey of Boulogne, (to he was exceedingly caressed and courted. protect the pilgrims visiting what was In 1770, the Chevalier Don Pinto, a called the holy fepulchre, and to mainPortuguese, who had presided over this tain an everlasting war with the Mafingular little nation upwards of thirty hometans), under the name of the Order years, had during that time disposed of of the Knights Hospitalers of the Priory 126 commanderies, besides priories and of St. John; which building stood imother offices of profit. In fact, the situ- mediately beyond the Chartreux-house in ation of the grand master was the highest that city. After the loss of Jerusalem, and best appointinent to which any pri- the knights retired from place to place, vate individual in Europe could legally until having made a conqueit of the island aspire, the papacy excepted.

of Rhodes, they fixed there, and were He was chosen by a committee of thenceforward ityled Knights of Rhodes: twenty-onc knights, the committee being in 1522, however, they loit that island to nominated by the seven nations, three out the Turks. The order formerly consisted of each nation. The election, by their of eight nations, of which England was Itatutes, was to be over, within three days one, and possessed great 'riches here, as after the death of the former grand master. well as in other catholic cou ries, having During these three days, scarcely an in- at one time 19,000 manors in various dividual slept in the island, all was cabal parts of christendom; but on the separaand intrigue ; and most of the knights tion of this country from the church of were malked in order to prevent their par- Rome, Henry VIII. confiscated all their ticular attachments and connections from poffeffions. Their priory-house in Lonbeing discovered.

don stood in the Strand, and contributed As Malta was an epitome of all Eu- its materials to build the spacious palace rope, and an assemblage of the younger of the Protector Somerset, in the reign of brothers, (who are commonly, perhaps, Edward VI. the best) of its first families, it was cer Travellers who have been present at the tainly one of the best academies for po- celebration of their church service (partiļiteness on the surface of the globe. All cularly in the church of St. John) speak the knights and commanders had much of it as infinitely more charged with

pathe air and deportment of gentlemen and rade and ceremony than what is observed men of the world. It was curious, how- in the other catholic, countries. The ever, to observe the effect produced upon number of genuflexions before the altar, the various people that composed this the kissing of the prior's hand, the holdheterogeneous mixtus, by the familiar ing up of his robes by the fubaltern

priests,

priefs, the ceremony of throwing incenfe regiment of about five hundred regulars, upon

all the Knights of the Great Crois, who served on board their ships of war; and neglecting the poorer knights, with a and one hundred and fifty

composed the variety and multiplicity of other articles, guard of the sovereign. Their sea force would appear highly ridiculous to a pro- commonly consisted of four galleys, three teftant, and are certainly very remote galliots, four hips of fixty guns, and a from the essential purity and fimplicity of trigate of thirty-lix, besides a number of primitive Christian worship*.

quick-failing little vedrels, called fcamThe land force at Malta was equal to pavias, from their exceeding swiftness; the whole number of men in the island, literally runaways. The Maltese sailors capable of bearing arms. They had a are remarkably robust and hardy ; many

of them will row for ten or twelve hours * The anniversary of the raising of the

succeflively, without even the appearance Siege in 1566 was always celebrated at Malta

of being tatigued*. as a public festival. It began with a mor

Next in importance to the city of VaCuary service at St. John's church for the letta (often called Malta) is' Civitavaliant knights who lost their lives at the Vecchia, or Cite Notabile, called Melita hege, and whose names were commemorated by the ancients; this is most probably with an eulogium on the heroic exploits by the oldest town in the island, and was its which they had immortalized themselves. This capital before the arrival of the Knights avas performed on the eve of the anniversary. in 1530. It is ftill the residence of the On the following day, all the troops being bishop. This city is situated near the ainder arms, the Grand Master was saluted centre of the island, and in clear weather according to the military forms; the pospel commands a magnificent view of the tras read aloud under the great standard of the whole. It is very Itrongly fortificd with order, which (after this) was displayed under a canopy by his feat, and a page presented large ditches and fine walls, and is nearly biin wirh a sword and poignard, which Phi

as well built as Valetta, though far from lip II. had sent on the occasion to the Grand Master, Valetta. The whole ceremony

* An English gentleman, who visited the ended with a long procession, during which iliand in 1770, thus describes the circuintalvoes of cannon were fired off from all the itances atiending the departure of a Maltele batteries of the forts.

Squadron from the Port. The 6th of June was likewise observed as a “ Eleven at Night.--The thew is now folemn day of thanksgiving for their deliver- finished, it las afforded us great entertainance from a terrible conspiracy that was formed ment. The Bey of Tunis, it seems, has about thirty-nine years ago by the Mahome- fallen under the displeasure of the Grand tan Naves, at one stroke to exterminate the Monarque, because he refused to deliver up whole order of Malta. All the fountains of without rantom the Couican Naves that were the place were to be poisoned, and every taken before the French were in poflession of fave had taken a solemn oatli to put his the island. The squadron consisted of three maiter to death. It was discovered by a Jew gaileys, the largest with nine hundred men, who kept a coffee-house. He understood the each of the others with seven hundred, three Turkish language, and over-hearing fome galliots, and seven scampavias. These imdiscourse which he thought suspicious, he mense bodies were all worked by oars, and went immediately and communicated the in- moved with great regularity. The Admiral Formation to the Grand Master. The suf- went first; the rest in order, according to pected persons were immediately appre- their dignity. The sea was crowded with bended, and being put to the torture, foon small boats and feluccas, and the ramparts confessed the whole plot. The executions and fortifications were filled with company. that followed were very terrible. Some were The port resounded on all sides with the disa burned alive, some were broken on the charge of heavy artillery, which was anwheel, and some were torn to pieces by the swered by the gallies and galliots as they left four galleys rowing in different directions, the harbour. As the echo here is surprisingly and each bringing off its limb. Since that great it produced a very noble effe&. time the conduct of the flaves has been much “ There were about thirty knights in each more strictly watched, and they have been al- galley, making signals all the way to their lowed less liberty than formerly. Notwith- mistresses, who were wecping for their deAnjing, however, the supposed bigotry of the parture upon the bastions ; for ese gentleMalteic, the spirit of toleration had become men pay as little regard to their vows of do predominant, that about thirty years ago chastity as the priests and confeffors do. they built a niofque for their professed ene- After viewing the show from the ramparts, mies, the Mahometans; and here the poor we took a boat and followed the fquadron for haves were allowed to enjoy their religion some time, and did act return till long after

fun-fet."

being

in peace,

.

1799.) - History and Defeription of Malta.

47 being so populous. The cathedral is a to the church is the celebrated grotto in very fine structure, and although excced- which they pretend the apoitle was impriingly large, is (or was some years ago) foned. His name is also preserved by a entirely hung round with crimson dainalk, fort, and by a bay or liarbour for small richly laced with gold. The old palace, vessels, where it is faid he was lip-' however, is not much worth the seeing. wrecked. Above the principal gate of the city is an The great source of water that supplies antique statue of Juno with its ancient Valetta, takes its rise at the distance of drapery, and yet without either head or a mile or two from Civita Vecchia ; and hands. This figure is inserted in the there is an aqueduct composed of leveral walls. The city is governed by an of thousand arches, that conveys it from ficer called the Hahem.

thence to the city. The whole of this The catacombs near Civita - Vecchia immerse work was finished at the private are much spoken of as a great work, ex expence of one of the Grand Matters, tending, according to Tome accounts, Vignacourt, whose name it bears. (probably exaggerated) ieveral miles under The general aspect of the country of ground. It is certain, however, that many Malta is far from being pleasing to the persons have been loft by advancing too eye: as the whole island is nothing but an far, in them; the prodigious number of immense rock of very white free-stone, ramifications making it next to impossible and the soil that covers it is not, in mott to find the way out again. They are to places, more than five or six inches deep. well preserved, being hewn out of a white Their crops, however, from the copious free stone, quite dry, that they always ap- dews which fall in the fpring and fummer pear as if they were just made. From months, and from the moisture which adthe smallness of the galleries, where only heres to the rock below the soil, are furone person can enter at a time; their uni- prizingly abundant. Their wheat and forın arrangement; their roof, which is barley harvests procluce suficient corn to arched, though cut out of the rock; the support the inhabitants about five months chambers of which are seen at various in-, in the year; but the crop they chiefly tervals; the plafter which still adheres to depend upon is that of cotton. This is many of them; the little niches intended the general produce of the island, and is to hold the lamps which enlightened the folncrative, both in quantity and quality, subterraneous abodes; the regularity of that it fupplies the deficiency of every the tombs, mostly placed under square other procluction, and enables them to roofs, with a fort of farcophagus covered pay for the corn, wine, pastry, and other over in a pediment, &c. it is probable neceffaries they import in great variety, that the catacombs are not mere excava and plenty from Allicata in Sicily; that tions, the work of nature, but that they place being the magazine and harbour for were applied to the use of hiding places, exporting whatever is furniihed to Malta where the inhabitants sought refuge, and by Sicily. secreted themselves with their most valu The cotton plant rises to the height of able effects, during the inroads of the a foot and a half, and is covered with a Saracens and other nations. They might number of nuts, or pods, full of cotton. also be designed as a place of interment The Maltele cultivate three kinds of this for the dead, and a place of religious plant; the Indian cotton, which is much worship, where the mysteries of chrif the finest, and thoots five years successively tianity might be celebrated in conceal- without renewing the plants; the com

There are not lo many tom's mon cotton of the country, which does here as in other catacombs, and the large not grow to high, and must be fown

every ones appear to have served for interring two years; and the yellow cotton, of two bodies; places for two heads, cut out which the nankeen is made. The cotton in the stone, are still to be seen. In the produced from these plants, is much fulargelt hall or compartment are two round perior in quality to that of the cotton stones shaped like an oil-mill, the use of tree; at leait the Maltese affirm so: it which cannot now be aícertained.

certainly is the fineft, although that of At no great distance from the old city the cotton tree is by much of the strongest there is a finall church, dedicated to St. Paul, and just by the church is a statue The Maltese oranges juftly deserve the of the apostle with a viper on his hand; character they have acquired; of being the placed, according to tradition, on the fineit in the world. In one kind of them the very ipot where he thook the viper off his juice is as red as blood, and they are of a band, without being injured. Adjoining very delicate flavour. The other forts are

though

ment.

texture.

thought to be too luscious. In the orange stinence. The foil of Sicily, on the other months, from November till the middle hand, is immensely fortunate and fertile, of June, the groves of thele beautiful crops of various produce, corn, wine, trees are always covered with a great pro- oil, silk, &c. (which are all mingled tofusion of this delicious fruit. The greatest gether) rapidly succeeding, or rather part of their crops were commonly sent treading close upon each other; while the every year in presents to the different courts

mountains, highly cultivated, almost to of Europe, and to the relations of the che- their tops, the inclosures, fenced with valiers.

hedges of the Indian fig, or prickly pear, The industry of the Maltese in culti- and the sides of the roads garnished with vating their little island, is altogether in a profusion of flowers or flowering shrubs, credible. There is not an inch of ground exceedingly beautiful, altogether present lost in any part of it; and where nature the molt agreeable aspect to the eye

that has not produced foil enough for the can poslibly be imagined (especially in purpose of the husbandınan, they have failing along its very rich coat). Still, brought over ships and boats loaded with however, notwithstanding these natural it from Africa, and particularly from Si- advantages, the peasants there are poor, cily, where there is plenty and to spare. dull, and loathsomely dirty; and in SyraThe whole island is full of inclosures of cuse, and other of their cities, scarcely a free-stone, which are very finall and irre- creature is to be seen, and even those have gularly laid out, cording to the incli- the appearance of disease and extreme nation of the ground. These the inhabi- wretchedness. The inward and outward tants say they are obliged to maintain, cleanliness and comfortableness of Malta notwithstanding the uncouth and deformed and its inhabitants, contrasted with what aspect they exhibit, as otherwise, the ra is visible in Sicily, is so striking in passpid floods, to which they are occasionally ing from one island to the other,' that a subject, would carry off the soil. The stranger would almost be induced to ima. rains, however, fall here but very seldom. gine them a thousand leagues asunder : in

No spot hardly upon earth, presents fact, there never were two countries fo ground naturally more ungrateful and near each other, which, in every phyfical sterile than that of Malta; and yet the fare and moral point of view, have so little mer here, in cultivating the soil, is so mutual relation and resemblance as these active, so indefatigable, and so neat, that have. his poverty has only the appearance of ab

(To be continued.)

LATE PRIME MINISTER OF

ANECDOTES OF EMINENT PERSONS.
The MARQUIS DE POMBAL, from one of those noble, but obfcure fa.

PORTUGAL. milies, which the more opulent and diga
HE

in derstanding, and the immense inter- tempt with the basest class of plebeians. val that separates the mind of one man The proud spirit of Carvalho was ftung from another, are never more clearly ex at an early age by this infolence of the hibited than when an obscure individual grandees, which he forgot not to abate arises from the midst of a nation funk in when he afterwards rose to power. floth, and dozing in the lap of ignorance, Though he discovered considerable taand after pushing down all the obstacles lents while pursuing his studies at the uniplaced by fortune in his way, ascends to versity of his native city, he declined the an eminence so high as to enable him at arts of peace, in which he might have once to despise and to command the whole displayed them, and embraced the proinert mass of his countrymen. The Mar- fession of arms, as better suited to an arquis de Pornbal was one of these rare dent and enterprising mind, and to the prodigies; sometimes portending good, personal advantage with which he was Tometines mischief, to the regions in most liberally endowed by nature. He which they appear.

was one of the handsomeft men of the age Joseph Sebaltian Carvalho was born at in which he lived. His ftature was unCoimbra in 1699, of parents so very hum. common ; his aspect noble and commandble, and so little known, that report has ing; and his strength prodigious. He reduced them to the rank of artisans. was no less remarkable among the Guards The truth however is, that he deroended of the Palace for his undaunted courage;

but

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