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SOME ACCOUNT OF MALTA. No. I.
in Malta, and but fow springs. The principal defiles and 1. GENERAL REMARKS.
valleys run from south-west to north-east. It is as easy to acquire, as it is difficult to give, the first About three miles and a-half to the north-west of Malta idea of the places and persons that compose any given is another island called Gozo, ten miles long, by more than history, the mere names of which must be repeated again five in breadth, and of an oval form. It is bounded by and again, and as often without imparting any information, perpendicular rocks on all sides, which in one part rise to unless there previously exist in the reader's mind some the height of 570 feet above the level of the sea, and this defi:ite idea of these elements of knowledge-unless there particular point serves as a landmark to vessels coming are some tenter-hooks already driven into the brain, as a from the westward, and is 26 feet higher than any part of clever man has quaintly enough expressed himself, whereon Malta. This island has a greater depth of soil, is more to hang fresh facts and after-associations. In the island of undulated, and more fruitful than the former, but offers Ithaca, an lonian lawyer, and an educated inan, (for he inlets only for the smaller craft. As a passing observation spoke English,) amongst other strange questions, once we may say, that the ancients describe Gozo as being surasked the writer of this paper how far England was from rounded with good harbours, which tells volumes about the London; and a clerk in an Athenian government office insignificance of their navies. inquired if France were far distant from America; he has In the channel between these two islands is another, also been asked by an English woman, accomplished at her named Cumino, two miles in length, and one in breadth; piano, if Athens were in Greece ; and has heard another, a near this is the rock Cominotto, which name shows the very accomplished musician, describe an occurrence as playful way the Italian language expresses size, or any having taken place " in Madeira, or some other town in other common quality, by slightly varying the ends of Portugal." Add to these, the English in general suppose words. To the south of the whole is an uninhabited, rocky Demerara to be an island in the West Indies, and Mexico islet called Filfola or Filfa, about which we know nothing a state of South America; nor is it long since Monmouth more than the Maltese proverb, " See Filfola and die, has ceased to be in Wales. To record errors is almost as meaning, we presume, ironical ecstacy at the beauty of a instructive as to register truths; for men are not apt to barren rock. forget the palpable mistakes of others, while these not It has been supposed that these islands are the remains unfrequently reflect their own.
of a large tract of land which once extended towards the Casual oecurrences often bring places and persons upon south-west, and which resisted the violence that caused the the surface, as it were, of the public mind; individual destruction of the country, of which, if this hypothesis - be atteution is drawn to a particular subject by the public true, they formed a part. From the sea, their present apprints of the day; fact after fact soon accumulates, and pearance is that of Hat islands, not visible at a greater disexcites surprise that so much interesting material could have iance than twenty-four miles, and at no point rising so high escaped previous notice. When her gracious majesty the as 600 feet above its level. queen dowager Adelaide went there to pass the winter of 1838-9, thousands asked “Where is Malta ?" Upon this
2. EARLY HISTORY OF THE MALTESE ISLANDS. “leuter-book" we will try to hang a few of the most im. As the plan of the port gave to the reader a more definite portant associations of the place.
idea of the place than verbal description, so the following The Mediterranean Sea is about two thousand miles in bird's-eye view of its history will show at once the principal length from Gibraltar to Palestine, and the Maltese islands epochs into which the subject naturally divides itself. are very nearly half way between these two places. They
B.C. 402. The Carthaginians have entire
possession of Malta. are a group of low rocky islands, 58 miles, or fourteen hours'
242. The Romans take it from the Carthaginians. sail, in a native boat with a tolerable wind, from the nearest
The Goths possess Malta. point of Sicily, and 179 miles from Cape Demas, the nearest 533. Belisarius expels the Goths from the island. point on the mainland of Africa. Malta, which is the 870, or thereabouts. The Arabs take possession of it. largest of these islands, is considerably smaller than the 1120. Roger, the Norman conqueror of Sicily, expels the Arabs. Isle of Wight, off the Hampshire coast, being only 171
1530. The Maltese islands separated from Sicily by Charles the
Fifth, and given by him to the Knights of St. John. miles in length, and of miles broad. It consists of an
1798. The grand-master of the Knights surrenders to General inmense sost, white, calcareous rock, covered with a thin
Buonaparte. stratum of earth, seldom exceeding more than a foot in 1800, Surrendered by the French to the English. depth; of an irregular form, the south-western sides pre A Phænician colony from Tyre is said to have held these sent, for the most part, only perpendicular rocks; the north- islands as early as the fourteenth century before the birth east, however, offers several commodious barbours, and of Christ; and this people used them as a barbour and a Valetta, the present capital, is built upon a tongue of land depot for the commerce and civilization flowing from the which divides two of the largest of these at the north-East, as they are now used for the same purpose by the eastern corner of the island. Standing on this tongue of merchants of the West, who are sending back, upon a land, with the face towards the north, in front of the be- counter current, the debt of ages, not without the interest. holder, is the tideless Mediterranean, on the porizon of Ulysses, king of Ithaca, one of the Ionian islands, after which may be seen, with a clear day and a good eye, the having taken part in the destruction of the city of Troy in snowy top of Ætna, 128 miles distant; upon his right, and the twelfth century B.C., is said to have wandered, amongst consequently eastward, is a magnificent harbour 3400 yards other places, to Sicily, where his companions stole and in length 450 yards wide at its entrance, and opening up killed some oxen that were sacred to a heathen god; into several convenient inlets, wbich are land-locked. To alarmed for their safety, they took ship and fled, but were the westward and the left is a smaller harbour, called Mar- wrecked upon a neighbouring island, and all were drowned samuscetto, signifying a place of shelter, where all vessels except Ulysses himself. This island, then called Ogygia, from the East are first compelled to pass an appointed is supposed to have been Gozo, close to Malta. period of quarantine before they are allowed to enter the The Tyro-Phænicians, together with a few small societies * Grand Harbour." This sketch of the position and capa- of Ionic Greeks, are said to have maintained, under an bilities of the capital of Malta will be made clearer by aristocratic constitution, their independence till the fifth comparing it with the bird's-eye view given on the preceding century before the Christian era, when they were assailed page. Marsa Scirocco Bay to the south-east, and St. by the Carthaginians, to whom, after a feeble resistance, Julian's, St. Paul's, and that of Melleha to the north-west, they are said to have submitted. Diodorus of Sicily says complete the list of the smaller harbours.
that the colonists were very rich; that their houses were The point of land on which Valetta stands is 200 feet large and highly ornamented, and that the people were above the level of the sea, but as it joins the mainland, it expert in many trades, and especially for their manufacture becomnes considerably lower; and it is only as the southerd of linen [query cotton] cloths, which were held in great esshore is neared, that the island gradually rises to the height teem for fine and delicate texture. The exact time at which of several hundred feet. To the westward of the city, the Carthaginians effected this conquest is not known; they however, a ridge of land, running north and south, divides were in possession of the islands, however, in the year the island into two unequal parts. There are no streams | 402 B.C. Other accounts say the Greeks succeeded the
Phænicians, and that it was from them that the Car. I their turn, were expelled by Belisarius, the general, and thaginians wrested them. Like the early history of all afterwards the emperor of the East, in the year 533 A.D. countries, the first facts are involved in so much obscurity, The Arabs conquered Malta about 870 A.D., and having that we shall find it more satisfactory to press on to the lost possession of it for several years, finally recovered it following epoch.
about 900 A.D., and put the Greek inhabitants, who were When the Romans conquered Sicily, they took possession subjects of the Eastern empire, and their enemies, to the of Malta, and erected it into a municipium, which, in their sword. In 1120, Count Roger, the Norman conqueror of law, denoted that individuals or places were invested with Sicily, took these islands, and expelled the Arabs; and the rights and privileges of a Roman citizen, a title, how they remained attached to Sicily until that island, together ever, when bestowed upon foreign cities and people, but too with Naples, fell into the hands of Charles the Fifth, emoften merely nominal in effect. From an oration of Cicero peror of Germany, who granted them to the Knights Hoswe learn that Verres, a Roman and rapacious prætor of pitallers of St. John, commonly known, at the present day, Sicily, was accused, amongst other crimes, of having plun as the Knights of Malta. dered the temple of Juno at Malta. This is instructive, as telling us the nature of the idolatrous worship then in
3. EARLY HISTORY OF THE KNIGHTS OF MALTA. vogue in the island; but we shall see, when we come to
Then in Palestine,
By the way-side, in sober grandeur stood speak of the existing antiquities, that while these Roman
A hospital, that, night and day, received fanes have all passed away, together with their creeds,
The pilgrims of the west; and, when 'twas asked, the temples of a far higher antiquity remain until to-day.
“Who are the noble founders ?" every tongue From this we may safely infer that there was an idolatry
At once replied, " The merchants of Amalfi.” more deeply rooted as identified with the associations of an
That hospital, when Godfrey scaled the walls,
Sent forth its holy men in complete steel; earlier age, which the Romans did not eradicate, and to
And hence, the cowl relinquished for the helm, the very altars of this primeval worship we shall be able to
That chosen band, valiant, invincible, introduce our readers in the sequel.
So long renowned as champions of the Cross, Figs, melons, honey, cottons, &c., were exchanged, at In Rhodes, in Malta.-Rogers. this time, for corn; the linen cloth of Malta was considered ALTHOUGH it is only forty years since these military friars as an article of luxury at Rome. As a curious circum- virtually ceased to exist as an independent order, yet so stance, it may be mentioned that in a sepulchral urn, not little is now known about them that we are compelled to long since discovered at Gozo, was found a coin of Ancient say a few words concerning their origin, in order to make Britain. According to the superstition of the age, a small the narrative intelligible. piece of money was given to the dead to pay their passage "It is written," says Sir William Segar, " that at the across the waters that divide this life from the next exist citie of Amiens, in Picardie, a province of France, there ence, and as Britain became a Roman colony before the was borne a certaine gentleman, who, in his childhood, had birth of our Saviour, this provincial coin, struck, as it was bene brought up in learning: and being growen to man's customary, at Rome, might easily have passed with its estate, disposed himselfe to the exercise of armes, and possessors to any other part of that great empire; and, therein long time continued. Afterwards, having attained ultimately, according to their superstition, to the pocket of riper yeres, he despised the world, and framed himselfe to Charon, the reputed waterman of those invisible and a solitarie life, as one fully resolved to live in contemplation, doubtful waters.
unseene of any but God alone. Having sometime remained To this time and place belong the shipwreck of St. Paul, in that solitarie sort, a suddaine desire he had to visite the as narrated in the twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth chap- sepulchre where Christ was buried, which shortly after he ters of the Acts of the Apostles. We are aware that a small did. And to the end that he might with securitie passe the island in the Adriatic Sea has sometimes been mentioned barbarous nations, he apparalled himselte like unto a phi, as the scene of this part of St. Paul's sufferings, but with sition; by which meane, without impediment, he performed out any foundation further than the resemblance of the his jorney. Thus having passed the difficulties of travell ancient names of the two places. Paul came from Crete, in divers strange countries, he arrived at Jerusalem, and and was on his way to Rome, and Malta was consequently being there, fell into acquaintance with Simon, patriarch almost in his course, which the other island was not. Paul of that citie, and in lamenting wise enformed him of the wintered where he was shipwrecked, together with 275 oppression and crueltie offered and dayly used by the other persons, and passed from thence at once to Sicily, Infidels towardes the poore Christians in those countreys, whereas the smaller and unhealthy Melite of the Adriatic whereunto Simon answered, that albeit the Christians in being within half a league of an excellent harbour, and those countreys indured great outrages, yet they of Jerusaclose to a rich mainland, would not have detained all these lem suffered much greater, and should be forced to more, strangers for such a length of time; nor, having detained if God did not defend them." them, could they have gone from thence to Syracuse in This “certaine gentleman," who was no other than Peter Sicily, in those times of feeble navigation, without touching the Hermit, was afterwards sent by the patriarch of Jeru. at some other port, which, as is evident from the narrative, salem to the pope, and temporal powers of Europe, to they did not. "Grotius, too, says there was an inscription solicit succour for the Christians of Palestine, "and many discovered in Malta, in which the same expression occurred, great kings and potentates consented to take in hand the as is met with in the seventh verse of the twenty-eighth recovery of the Holy Land from the oppression of the chapter of Acts, “ the chief man" of the island, whose Infidels.” Hence arose the first crusade, the foremost body of father Paul healed; the same Greek word being used by which consisted of an undisciplined rabble of 60,000 fanatics, both writers, as if it had been a conventional title of common whose path was marked with every species of intemperance, use. Tradition, also, of the facts, exists in one, and not in and who were finally cut to pieces by the Turks, upon the the other, of the islands. We have already mentioned St. plains of Nice, one of the chief cities of the Turkish king. Paul's Bay; here they say he was shipwrecked, which we dom of Roum, which then extended from the Hellespont believe to be true: St. Paul's Cave is also pointed out to to the frontiers of Syria. But others were behind, and the traveller, and here they say he was imprisoned, but Nice was soon invested by an army of 100,000 knights, this there is no occasion to receive; the Maltese, however, including their attendants, besides 600,000 pilgrims, able have ever cherished the general associations with their to bear arms. In seven weeks that city surrendered, and islands and religion: St. Paul is their patron saint; and in June of the following year, 1099, the standard of the although tradition, taken apart from, or in opposition to, cross was planted on the walls of Jerusalem. other witnesses, is of no value, yet when strengthened by Two hospitals for the relief of pilgrims had already been circumstantial evidence, must be allowed to have the weight founded at Jerusalem, while it was yet under Turkish thralof an unbroken testimony.
dom, by some merchants of Amali, in Italy, one of which “The barbarous people," then, that showed Paul and his was dedicated to St. John, a patriarch of Alexandria. companions no little kindness, were the Roman-Maltese; This latter, which had hitherto been a secular establishthey kindled a fire, and received every one of the two ment, now, in the enthusiasm of the period, became hundred and three score and sixteen souls, and lodged them monastic order: the hospitallers abjured the world, and courteously, and honoured them with many honours, and formally dedicated themselves at the altar as the servants when they departed, they laded them with such things as of the poor and of Christ. Gerard, the father of the order, were necessary. This happened A.D. 62, at which time died in the year 1118, or 1120, and was essentially a man the name of Malta was Melite or Melita.
of peace; but Raymond du Puis, an ambitious warrior, was The Romans maintained their authority over these islands chosen as his successor, and, without absolving the monks until Rome fell under the power of the Goths: these, in from their former obligations, to meet the exigencies of the
times, he added others equally arduous. He organized | scarce that wood was sold by the pound; and the natives them into three classes, differing in birth, rank, and office: usually dressed their food on fires made with thistles, or the first consisted of knights of justice, of patrician ancestry, cow-dung dried in the sun. The Citta Nutabile, or capital, whose duty was to fight; the second of priests, to perform occupied a rising ground in the centre of the island, and the services of religion in church and camp, and to minister was a paltry, miserable, and defenceless place. The to the sick and wounded; the third class, named Sergens, fortifications which commanded the harbours were insig. served either in the battle-field or the hospital, as required. nificant and in ruins. The population was, at this time, Each brother, at his profession, took vows of chastity, obe about 12,000; but an uncultured soil, and the rapacity of dience, and poverty, all of which were broken in the latter corsairs, who made constant descents upon the lošand, times; and the knights further solemnly swore to defend sweeping away whole families into captivity, kept the Christianity with their swords. Their banner was a white inhabitants in constant fear and produced the natural cross on a red field, and hence they were often called “the results of insecurity: White Cross Knights."
Gozo was described in the same report as separated In consequence of the crowd of knights that rallied under from Malta by a channel about a league and a halt wide, this standard, it soon became necessary to divide the order in the midst of which were two islets called Cumin and .nto separate nations, or languages, or tongues, as they have Cuminot. According to the survey, Gozo was eight leagues differently been denominated, which at first were those of in circumference, destitute of harbours, and environed by Provence, Auvergne, France, Italy, Arragon, Germany, shoals and reefs, but withal blessed with a fertile soil. and England. The government of the order was strictly The inhabitants amounted to about 5000, who dwelt like aristocratic, the master, afterwards called the grand-master, the people of Malta, in casals, or villages. Their only being president of the council, and in the exercise of defence from the corsairs was a badly fortified castle built supreme jurisdiction. Princes supplicated to be buried in on a hill. the habit and harness of these warrior monks; kings were Constant attacks of Saracens and Turks had completely proud to be enrolled under their victorious banner; and desolated these islands and their dependencies, and the Alfonso the First, king of Arragon and Navarre, having impoverished inhabitants could barely provide themselves no offspring, named the Knights of the Hospital and Temple with the necessaries of life. In the year 1516, only (an order similar to the former) heirs to both his crowns, fourteen years before this time, all the revenue which the à deed which the subjects of those kingdoms very properly Imperial Governor could wring from them was forty ducats. set aside.
The first step to the possession of Malta by the knights In 1187, Jerusalem was taken by Saladin, and the knights, was the delivery of the castle of St. Angelo which comafter the entire loss of the Holy Land, in 1291, withdrew manded the most commodious part, to a proper officer to Cyprus. Here they remained eighteen years, when, under a temporary governor and a captain-at-arms, who snatching the Isle of Rhodes from the Saracens, in 1308, was followed by the grand-master himself, Villiers de l'Isle they settled there, and for more than 200 years were known Adam, at the end of the year 1530. It is said that his by the name of the Knights of Rhodes.' Time, however, fortitude almost deserted him when he beheld upon this had not softened the bitter rancour between the Christian sterile spot no edifice superior to a fisher's hut, sare a and the Turk; and on the morning of the first of January, dilapidated andalmostuntenablefortress. He immediately 1523, the order was compelled to abandon Rhodes to Soly. threw up a few defences around the insignificant casàl or man the First, surnamed the Magnificent, emperor of the village which had risen close to the castle of St. Angelo, Turks; but not before they had endured a long series of and at the same time marked out a position for his future disasters with great physical and moral fortitude, and had capital. been deserted by all those “great kings and potentates” of In hopes, however, of a settlement in more fruitful Greece, Christendom, who had, in an earlier age, lavished the blood the order attacked Modon, a town in the Morea, in the of their subjects upon the sepulchre of Christ in order to following year, 1531, and their conduct in this and similar convert, by the robbery of conquest, and the wholesale expeditions should warn us against indulging our sympamassacres of people, Infidels, to that religion which says, thies too freely with this or any other self-constituted body "Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is of men, who, under the name of religion, or the conventional near."
honour of the world, have worked out the mixed motives
of human nature, but motives are too subtile for us to 4. COMMENCEMENT OF THE MODERN MILITARY analyze, and chivalry has not yet been judged by its fruits. IMPORTANCE OF MALTA.
No natural impulse is so welcome to the individual, no
popular enthusiasm is so contagious, as that which offers TOUCHING at Candia, the knights of St. John passed to outlets for the worst of human passions. No fanaticism that Messina, in Sicily, where the viceroy invited the grand has been preached to man has ever been attended with master, in the name of the emperor, Charles the Fifth of such universal consent as the Crusades, and none erer Germany, to make that city his home; but an enemy, as presented such an amount of crime in the agents, and of ruthless, and more subtle than the Turk, drove them forth suffering in those against whom the contest was waged; once more in search of a refuge. The plague suddenly and of all the half-monastic, half-military orders which made its appearance; and to escape the contagion, which owed their origin to these Crusades, none ever possessed they had probably themselves brought from the east, they such national power and social responsibilities as the took ship nearly as precipitately as they had done at Rhodes, Knights Hospitallers of St. John. While this order was and sailed to Baia, in the Gulf of Naples, carrying the abandoned by the bad and the dastardly of its own society disease along with them, of which several knights of dis as well as by the puissant nations which left it to tinction died at sea during the passage. After a protracted struggle single-handed, as at Rhodes, against the empires sojourn in Italy, the emperor, Charles the Fifth, ceded for of the East, we cannot restrain our sympathies from the ever to the grand-master and religious fraternity of St. spectacle of physical endurance and of moral courage which John, “in absolute title and fee simple," all the castles, for- they presented at that period; danger indeed had purified tresses, and isles of Tripoli, Malta, and Gozo, upon various their ranks, and at the last dauntless hearts evinced stipulations which are foreign to our present subject. supreme self-control in closing a sanguinary war, when
No sooner was this cession rumoured of, than com they could no longer shield those around whom they had missioners were sent by the order to survey their new stood as a wall of steel, after the stone ramparts of Rhodes possessions which now consisted of the Maltese Islands, and had been battered into dust by the tremendous Turkish the town of Tripoli on the coast of Africa. According to cannonade which_Solyman the Magnificent had forced on this official report, which is a valuable authority, Malta with the words, “I myself am fully resolved here to conquer, is described as nothing better than a shelterless rock of soft or end my days; and if I depart from this resolution, let sand-stone, called tuffa, six or seven leagues long and three my head, my fleets, my army, and my empire, be for ever or four broad. The surface of the rock wag scantily covered accursed and unfortunate." But, no sooner had these with earth, but of so coarse and arid a kind that grain troubles passed away, than the very first action which refused to vegetate in it. It produced, however, abundance follows betrays the looseness of the convention, which not of figs, melons, and other fruits, besides cotton and cummin, only allowed, but recognised, in lieu of pay to its soldiers, which, together with honey, were exchanged by the native rapine and violence bought with wholesale murder. We read traders for corn with their Sicilian neighbours. The island that, under the fair colours of honourable commerce, these had no rivulets, and except in the interior, it was destitute knights, with the sanction of their grand-master, entered of springs consequently the inhabitants, as at the present the port of Modon, corrupted the captain of the harbour by day, had to store up the rain in cisterns. Fuel was so bribery, intoxicated the Turks who garrisoned the tower of
the mole, and only did not take the city by giving them. I low, the knights contented themselves with erecting a castle selves up to every species of violence against property, and at the extremity of that promontory, and another on Mount life, and honour. Booty to an immense value was carried St. Julian. The first, then called Fort St. Elmo, and the away to Malta, and while the men, who never injured them, other Fort St. Michael, thus named after similar towers at were slaughtered with savage fury, their wives and daugh- Rhodes. The next grand-master, Claude de la Sangle, made ters, to the number of eight hundred, were torn from their very considerable additions to Fort St. Elmo at his own homes, and in all this, the knights themselves, “sworn to expense, and so completely fortified the peninsula of St. chastity, obedience, and poverty, as servants of the poor and Michael, which, like that of the Bourg, juts out into the of Christ," were the chief spoilers. These are the fruits of Grand Port, that, in honour of him, it was designated the chivalry. Thus was the banner of the white cross knights Isle de la Sangle, and has ever since borne that name. tainted again and again.
While these works were in progress, Malta was derasThe pope having refused to countenance the divorce of tated by one of the most terrible hurricanes that ever burst Catharine of Arragon from her husband, Henry the Eighth over that port. The waves, heaped into mountains by conof England, the latter sequestered the possessions of all of flicting blasts, rolled with irresistible fury into the harbour; his subjects who adhered to the see of Rome. Under these four galleys were sucked into the vortex of a whirlpool; circumstances some of the English knights of St. John the houses near the shore were thrown down, and even the adjured their order; others, named Ingley, Adrian Forrest, Castle of St. Angelo tottered to its foundations. In half an Adrian Fortescu, and Marinaduke Bohus, perished on the hour the wind subsided as suddenly as it had risen, but in scaffold; others died in prison, and the remainder sought an that short space of time six hundred persons perished. asylum at Malta. The act of the English legislature, by The grand-master La Sangle died in 1557, and was sucwhich the order was abolished in our own country, and the ceeded by John de la Valette, one of the most illustrious property helonging to it confiscated, was dated in the year commanders the order ever possessed. Shortly after the 1534. L'Isle Adam, the grand-master, received our country. commencement of his reign, five Maltese galleys took a men, the refugees, with considerable kindness. He was the Turkish galleon, which had on board some females belongmost illustrious head that ever ruled the knights, and ing to the household of the emperor Solyman. This was dying in the same year, worn out with care, they wrote the greatest insult that could be offered to a Turk. The upon his grave, “Here lies virtue triumphant over mis- Kislar Aga and the Odalichi urged vengeance; the Iman fortuné."
of the Grand Mosque publicly invoked him to redeem the Alter various predatory attacks upon Greece anıl the slaves; the people lifted up their voice, and Solyman, northern shore of Africa, the history of which belongs to fanned into wrath, solemnly swore by his beard to extirpate that of the order of St. John, rather than to the history of the order. Malta, but all of which were marked with the same atrocious The forces of the island consisted of 700 knights, besides acts as those they did at Modon,—now the Turks were serving brothers, and about 8500 soldiers. In anticipation victims, and if these were too powerful, the Jews were of an attack, a great iron chain, supported on casks and devoted to pillage, and now from the Moorish coast maidens beams of timber, was carried across the mouth of the of the most illustrious families were reduced to the basesi harbour of the galleys, and John de la Valette was at his bondage by the Spanish and German soldiers, hired by post. He fulfilled, at one and the same time, the duties of the order to carry out their ambitious designs, and paid, the hospitaller, the private soldier, the engineer, the artillelet it never be forgotten by the reluctant lovers of chivalry, rist, and the captain of the host. One hour he was busied hy the property, by the freedom, and the honour of innocent in the hospital, the next superintending the pioneers, and and defenceless females, bought with the blood of their frequently grasped the mattock and the spade by way of natural protectors. “It would, indeed," says an historian example. “A formidable enemy," said he, speaking to a of the order of St. Jolin", "le a breach of historical full conclave of his knights, "are coming like a thundercandour not to state, that the warfare was characterized on cloud upon us; and, if the banner of the cross must quail both sides by sanguinary ferocity. If the Turk and the to the unbeliever, let us remember that it is a signal Moor were cruel and merciless, so was the Christian knight. that Heaven demands from us the lives which we have It was a war of reckless bloodshed and brutal spoliation solemnly devoted to its service. He who dies in this cause a series of legal outrages, which humanity chronicles with dies a happy death; and, to render us worthy to meet it, let regret." After a series of these attacks, and to revenge us renew at the altar those vows which ought to make us them, a Turkish tleet arrived off Port Musceit, now called not only fearless but invincible in the fight." The solemn Marsa muscetta, or the Quarantine Harbour, in July 1551. ceremonial followed,—the eucharist was partaken of,--tem The rocky tongue of land which bounds this port towards poral pursuits and gratifications were for the time renounced, the east, and upon which we said the present capital stands, -private animosities were abandoned, and bending in was then called Mount Sceberras. Besides the old capital devoted brotherhood before the symbol of their faith, they in the interior of the island, the bourg, or town, was the vowed to perish rather than let that be profaned, forgetful only place of shelter, capable of holding out any length of that their own bad passions had polluted it at Modon and at time against the invaders. This bourg was protected by the Coron, at Goletta and at Tunis. castle of St. Angelo, and after inspecting its capabili. The mistake was in turning against the unbeliever the ties from Mount Sceberras, Sinam Pasha, the general of zeal that should have burnt within and purified themselves; the Turkish army, preferred, as an easier task, attacking but it was no false alarm which had driven them to their altar. the Citta Notabile in the interior, which was badly garrisoned, The Turkish fleet, consisting of 159 oared vessels, having and would probably have at once fallen into the hands of the on board 30,000 soldiers, under the command of the pashas Turks, had they not listened to a false rumour that a Chris. Mustapha and Piali, arrived May the 18th, 1565. A squadtian armament, under Andrew Doria, the great Genoese ron of store-ships, carrying the heavy artillery, horses and captain of his age, was on its way to succour the knights. munition, accompanied the tleet. In the course of that and Sinam immediately raised the siege, and left the island, the following night, the whole of the Turkish army disemniaking, however, a descent upon Gozo, carrying off consi- barked, and Fort St. Elmo was the point at which the attack derable booty, and sweeping its inhabitants into slavery. was first commenced. Ramparts were raised by means Sailing from Gozo to Tripoli, the Turkish expedition took of wooden platforms, and on the 24th of May, a battery of that place, which thenceforth ceased to be one of the depen- ten guns, each of which carried a ball weighing eighty dencies of Malta.
pounds, two sixty pound culverins, and a basilisk of enormous
dimensions, which threw stone bullets that weighed one 5. COMMENCEMENT OF THE GRAND SIEGE OF hundred and sixty pounds, were brought to bear upon the
fort. Every shot told, but the fort still held out. In a
single attack the Turks lost 3000 chosen men, and the COMMISSIONERS were about this time (A.D. 1551) ap- order a third of that number and twenty knights. pointed to superintend the construction of military works, One of the means of defence is a curious instance of the and Leo Strozzi, Prior of Capua, a man of great natural barbarous warfare of the age. Large hoops, made of light talents and vast experience, was of eminent service in these wood, after being dipped in brandy, were rubbed over with matters. Port Musceit being entirely without defence, it boiling oil, and then covered with cotton, soaked in a comwas proposed that a new town should immediately be built bustible preparation, two ingredients of which were gunupon Mount Seeberras; but as the treasury of the order was powder and saltpetre. This operation was repeated three
* Achievements of the Knights of Malta, by ALEXANDER SUTHEL times, allowing each layer of cotton to cool before it was LAND Esq., to whose book we are indebted for the principal facts in covered by another; and when the hour of battle came, these tbo history of that order.
hoops were set on fire, and thrown into the midst of the
MALTA BY THE TURKS.
enemy. Hooped into clusters of unquenchable flame, the too, after a conflict which lasted five hours, was compelled Turkish soldiers often lost all discipline; and to prevent the to retreat, leaving the flower of his Algerines lifeless at the flesh being burnt off their bones, flung themselves into the foot of the ramparts. And, now, having as he thought
worn out the physical energies of the knights, it being mid. At daybreak of June the 16th, a fresh attack was made day, the Turkish general ordered the janizaries, the pride upon the same fort, and at the end of six hours a retreat was of his army, to rush into the deadly gaps which Hassan had sounded by the Turks, who left two thousand of their dead abandoned. After a fatal volley of musketry from the behind them. Hitherto Fort St. Elmo had been rein Maltese, man closed with man, and the battle became a forced by fresh troops from the bourg, but now the enemy series of single combats. Warrior grappled warrior in effected a lodgment on Cape Gibbet, at the entrance of the desperate strife, and separated only when one or both Grand Post, and completely invested the fort, and on the fell mortally wounded to the earth. Stones, fireworks, and 21st of June attacked it again with all the chosen battalions boiling oil were poured upon the enemy at the foot of the of their army.
Thrice did the janizaries rush into a rampart, but the darkness of the night alone dislodged the breach in the walls, and as often were they repulsed with Turks from their position. immense slaughter, till night separated the combatants. The Turkish batteries once more opened upon the towns The knights without the besieged fort vainly attempted to with redoubled activity, and the contest daily grew more throw themselves in for the rescue; those within, anticipa- desperate. The Christians, though almost always victoting their fate with a stern and tranquil fortitude, partook rious, saw their numbers decrease with fearful rapidity. of the most holy sacrament of their religion.
For four succeeding days the best of Turkish blood was At sunrise on the 23rd of June, thirty-two pieces of lavished upon the walls of La Sangle, and on August 7th, cannon opened the battle of the day with their terrible voice. after four hours of incessant fighting, the fort of St. In four hours only sixty souls remained in the fort, to Michael was nearly won. The Christians, few in number, defend the breach against those without. At length the and exhausted by unnatural efforts, were losing heart, when, breach was cleared; not a knight nor soldier remained alive, to their astonishment and joy, a retreat was suddenly and after the loss, if the Maltese chronicles be true, of 8000 sounded along the Turkish line. A false alarm that suemen on the part of the Turks, and of 300 of their own cours had arrived from Christendom had robbed the pasha knights, besides 1300 hired soldiers, Fort St. Elmo was of the victory which was almost within his grasp. lost and won. When entered by Mustapha Pasha, the If the indomitable valour of the knights should weary Turkish leader was so astonished at the insignificance of the patience of the reader, what must have been its effect its fortifications, that he exclaimed, in reference to the Bourg, upon the Ottoman general? To put an end to the siege, a “What resistance may we not look for from the parent simultaneous attack was made on August 18th, upon the when it has cost us the bravest of our army to humble the castle of St. Michael and the bastion of Castile, with the child ?" Mustapha ordered the breasts of the slain knights resolution of continuing it night and day, by means of fresh to be gashed in the form of a cross, and their hearts torn troops, till the towns were taken. The attacks, though inout, and their lacerated and headless bodies, clothed in terrupted, were frequent, but the month of September com. their battle-vests, to be tied to planks and flung into the sea, menced without any impression having been made upon the in order that they might be drifted down the harbour, and Christians. They indeed had almost won the battle, for meet the eye of the grand-master. After a burst of tears the Turkish general became convinced that famine alone at the sight of his mutilated knights, La Valette ordered all could reduce the city, and famine threatened to reduce bis the Turkish prisoners in the city to be massacred, and the camp first. Maltese artillerymen, loading their guns with the bleeding And now arrived the long looked-for allies from Europe heads of the victims, fired them, instead of balls, into the 6000 troops from Sicily were landed at Melleha Bay upon
the north-west shore of Malta, and without waiting to These revolting acts must be recorded if we would teach ascertain their real strength, the pasha at once retreated or learn the fruits of that savage fanaticism which tempered on board his fleet. When, however, he learned their numthe Crusades, as well as the military orders to which these gave ber, ashamed of his precipitancy, he relanded his troops, and birth. Only a month had passed since the very men who advanced into the interior of the island in search of the committed these acts, at which the savage would recoil, had allied army. He found them intrenched on a hill, flanked rushed to the altar of their religion, which they called by narrow defiles, and consequently difficult of access. Christian, and there had vowed, upon the eucharist of Della Corna, their generalissimo, contrary to his own their faith, to die for the sake-of what? Let the spirit wishes, was induced to move down the hill and meet the that impelled them answer that, and though verily the men enemy. The conflict that ensued was short and decisive; themselves knew not what spirit they were of, shall we, for at the first onset the Turkish line began to waver, and who are far removed from the dark shadows which obscured a charge in their flank by Vincent Vitelli, a valiant Italian the age in which they lived, and which at once account for, captain, completed their discomfiture, and the pasha himand in part palliate their barbarities-shall we suffer our self tied. As the Christians were chasing the fugitives to judgment to be dazzled by the light of poetry, which time the beach, transfixing with their short spears every panting and fancy fling over the chivalry of the past, and shut our Turk that dropt exhausted in their path, Hassan of Algiers, eyes to the sickening, but stern realities of the history before who lay in ambush among the rocks, dashed headlong into us? It is not safe to look upon the glory of their military the battle, and for a time balanced the chances of victory, till state, without closely searching for the nature of the means, Maltese succour compelled all the Turks to re-embark. whether good or bad, that supported that magnificent array; | In the same hour that the remnant of his once formidable nor must we receive their own retails of their motives, army retreated on board their galleys, the Turkish leader without consulting the written records of what they did ordered the anchor to be weighed for Constantinople. after they had obtained the means of carrying out the In this memorable siege 25,000 Turkish soldiers perished, apparent objects of their enthusiasm.
and, at the last, the Maltese garrison barely numbered 600
effective men. History scarcely offers a parallel of such 6. TERMINATION OF THE TURKISH SIEGE.
successful suffering as was displayed on the part of the beThe Turks proceeded, in the next place, to invest the sieged. Solyman, whose pride was wounded by the issue entire peninsulas of La Sangle and the Bourg; seventy
of this war, declared that in the following spring he would cannon began the battering, and on the 5th of July the
appear in person before the walls of Malta, and at once raze Pasha ordered all his guns to open simultaneously upon
its fortifications, and depopulate the island, or die in the unthe two towns. The whole island trembled with the inces- dertaking. At the instigation of La Valette, however, the şant roar of the artillery, and considerable breaches were
arsenal at Constantinople was set on fire by hired incendiamade in the advanced works. The arrival of the viceroy ries, and a vast number of galleys that were being built for of Algiers, with 2000 chosen soldiers, appeared to seal the
the expedition against Malta were destroyed. This comfate of the order of St. John. Candalissi, the lieutenant pelled Solyman to postpone his attack, and, before he could of the viceroy, backed with 4000 men, made good his landing equip another fleet, war called him to his Hungarian fron
tier, where he died, A.D. 1566. upon an uncovered part of the beach, at the extremity of La Sangle, and for a time had indeed planted the Moslem
7. FOUNDATION OF VALETTA, AND OF OTHER flag upon an outwork; but after several hours of hard
PUBLIC WORKS. fighting, the Turks were driven back, leaving about 3500 dead upon the rock. At the same time, young Hassan, The death of the emperor of the Turks, the enemy of Malta the viceroy, stormed the castle of St. Michael, and he and of Christendom, left the grand-master leisure to repair