Copyright © The Malta Historical Society, 2010.



Roger Ellul-Micallef*

Cleardo Naudi is perhaps best remembered by some cognoscenti of Maltese history for having been, during the first decades of the British administration of Malta, a Protestant convert and for having been involved in the translation of some Scriptural texts.[1] As may be appreciated from a forthcoming monograph,[2] his contributions to the Protestant missionary evangelization efforts in the Mediterranean were far more extensive than have so far perhaps been appreciated. His work outside this field has also, for many years, received scant attention and he must not have been deemed sufficiently important as to merit a mention in the standard text on Maltese medical history,[3] though some amends were made later.[4] This paper aims at tracing his origins, his medical education and his association with the University of Malta.

Family origins and medical education

Cleardo Paolo Naudi was the first-born son of the lawyer Dr Giovanni Battista Naudi and Maria Antonia Mamo.[5] Cleardo was born on 3 June 1781 in St. [p.324] Paul’s Street Valletta, a city where his mother’s family possessed other property ‘sulla strada stretta dirimpetto della porta maggiore della Veneranda Chiesa Conventuale di San Giovanni[6] and was baptized in St. Paul’s Collegiate Parish Church.[7] He was given the names Antonius, Cleardus, Fidelis, Marcellus and Dominicus, to which was added Paulus, the name of the Patron Saint of the Parish where he was baptized. Cleardo had four brothers: Agostino,[8] who like him became a physician; Giuseppe, who trained as a teacher in England and ran a Methodist-financed school in Malta; Lorenzo, who became a priest; and Francesco, who studied law and was eventually called to the Bench on 2 January 1841. He also had six sisters: Anna, Margherita, Paola, Rosa, Theodora and Maria Angela. Cleardo was called after his maternal great uncle, Don Cleardo Mamo who was, for a time, the parish priest of Għaxaq.[9]

Medical historians had not, so far, determined where Cleardo Naudi had studied medicine.[10] University of Malta’s records show that he had spent a couple of years studying mathematics and experimental physics under Professor Carlo Azopardi but his name does not appear among the University’s first graduates [p.325] when the University was re-established as a teaching institution by Sir Alexander Ball.[11] As with all Maltese who had spent time abroad and wished to marry, when Cleardo Naudi decided to wed, he had to prove that during the time he had spent abroad he had not contracted marriage. On 16 January 1807, he made a formal declaration of his Stato Libero to the Bishop’s Curia.[12] Naudi stated that he had been born in Valletta and had been ‘battezzato nella Collegiata Chiesa di San Paolo.’ He said that he had gone to study medicine ‘al Colleggio in Napoli’ where he had stayed for two and a half years. He asked two medical colleagues, who had studied with him in Naples, to give evidence on his behalf. The first witness, twenty-four year old Dr Archangelo Pullicino, stated that he was then living ‘nella città Rohan’ where he was practising as a doctor. He said that he had known Cleardo Naudi for the previous ten years because, before they met in Naples, they had been schoolmates in Valletta. Pullicino stated that throughout all this time Naudi was unmarried. A second witness, who also declared that Naudi had remained single during his stay in Naples, was Dr Joseph Xaverius Mangion who hailed from Valletta and also practised there. Mangion, who had studied Physics and Mathematics with Naudi at the University of Malta, also stated that Naudi had left Naples before him. To the declarations made by Pullicino and Mangion was added a certificate drawn up on 13 January 1807 by Fr. Baldassare Cassar, parish-priest of Għaxaq, stating that Naudi was a practising Catholic, ‘trovarsi sufficientemente nella dottrina giusta.’

Cleardo Naudi was first married, in 1815, to Maria Teresa dei Baroni Azopardi but he was left a childless widower. On 16 December 1827, he contracted his second marriage with Elizabeth Walker Thirkill, then living at Għaxaq, whose parents George Walker and Elizabeth N. Thirkill hailed from Newcastle and who has been wrongly reported to have been a grandniece of the Rev. S. Walker, Archbishop of York.[13] Banns were published at the parish church of Porto Salvo, Valletta, and at the parish church of Għaxaq. They were married by the parish-priest of Għaxaq, Rev. Francesco Saverio Vassallo. Witnesses at their wedding were Notary Ignazio Molinos from Valletta and Angela Dimech from Għaxaq. Present at the marriage ceremony was Cleardo’s brother, Don Lorenzo Naudi. Vassallo [p. 326] had been delegated by Bishop Mattei to interrogate Naudi about his religious beliefs.[14] It must have been at this point that Naudi, who had earlier embraced the Protestant faith as a Methodist,[15] recanted and renounced protestantism. The couple had two children, a girl, Ferdinanda Josephina, born on 22 November 1828 who died on 25 March 1844 and was buried at the Msida Bastion Cemetery, and a son, Frederick William who also died young on 23 December 1852 when aged twenty-two years. His wife Elizabeth died on 2 March 1849 when only thirty eight years old, after an eight-month painful illness, having survived Cleardo by twelve years.

Noting Naudi’s close association with a number of Protestant missionary societies operating from Malta, it is perhaps not surprising that a sketch of his character has so far only been traced to a missionary journal.[16] In referring to Naudi’s efforts in the cause of protestant evangelisation, it stated that the ‘liberal education of a medical man, united to a mind emancipated from the shackles of Romish bigotry, and enlightened by the spirit of pure benevolence, have qualified Dr Naudi to be a highly useful instrument in the promotion of this great cause.’[17] The article went on to say that, although Dr Naudi had been educated as a Roman Catholic, he ‘had probably never bestowed any very close thoughts on serious subjects till he met, rather accidentally, with some religious books from England; these arrested his attention, and he has been since that time, an increasingly thoughtful character.’

Naudi’s Association with the University

On 1 June 1805, Cleardo Naudi was appointed by the Council of the University to the newly-founded Chair of Experimental Chemistry and Natural History.[18] Naudi, who would have lectured his students in Italian, could not have learnt a great deal of chemistry and biology during the short time he spent in Naples. He had also successfully practised privately as a physician for a number of years. Around March 1812, ‘the Governor requested him to select one of his most suitable pupils to send to England, minutely to investigate the plan of hospitals; also to inspect schools, and other benevolent institutions…’. Naudi was said to [p.327] have been pleased ‘with the opportunity of visiting the country where the Bible Society originated and immediately offered himself for this appointment.’ He arrived in England in July 1812.[19] Naudi is reported to have related all of this in a letter ‘communicated to some persons in London and dated June 29, 1813.’[20]

The Government in Malta thus financed an eighteen-month stay in London where Naudi is also said to have attended courses at St. Thomas’s and Guy’s medical schools and visited the Brook’s [sic] Museum.[21] From a letter, dated 2 December 1812, which he addressed to the Secretary of the London Jewish Society, it has been possible to learn that, during his stay in London or at least for some part of it, he was living at Bartlett’s Buildings.[22]

Chemistry as a scientific discipline began to germinate towards the middle of the seventeenth century with Robert Boyle’s writings in which a clear distinction was made between alchemy and chemistry.[23] A further century had to pass before it could be recognised as a mature modern science thanks to Antoine Lavoisier’s work, published in the year of the French Revolution.[24] In Britain, in the early part of the nineteenth century, chemistry was considered as a branch of medicine and, at Universities, the same person often occupied both chairs. Enthusiasm for chemistry was first imparted to medical students at Edinburgh by William Cullen.[25] Some of his students later helped transform medicine from an empirical art to a science-based discipline by offering lecture courses [p.328] in Chemistry to medical students.[26] At Guy’s Hospital, where Cleardo Naudi carried out some of his postgraduate work, a new lecture theatre and a laboratory specifically designed for the teaching of chemistry was the first to be built in London.[27] The growing importance of Chemistry in the medical curriculum was increasingly recognised, particularly when chemical tests began to be advocated as an aid to clinical diagnosis. At Guy’s, the Chemistry Course began to be taught by William Babington (1756-1833) in 1792 and, in 1802, he was joined by the Quaker pharmacist William Allen (1770-1843).[28] This is where Dr Naudi must have initially met Allen, who eight years later, in 1820, as Treasurer of the British and Foreign School Society, first visited Malta in connection with the setting up of free, Protestant-run schools. Naudi could not have had a better teacher than Allen.[29]

Naudi would also have come across, at Guy’s, Alexander Marcet[30] who had begun to lecture in Chemistry at the medical school in 1807.[31] Marcet, a student of Joseph Black at Edinburgh,[32] had an excellent knowledge of Chemistry and worked first on the chemical analysis of mineral waters and later on urinary calculi, showing how they could be identified by simple chemical tests.[33] Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospitals were exciting places to be working in when Cleardo Naudi was there. A year prior to Naudi’s visit to London, Richard Bright[34] had been appointed as a physician. He devoted his life’s work to renal medicine investigating the various causes of albuminuria, which was then thought of as a life-threatening disease. Naudi would have been exposed to Bright’s ideas and [p.329] the application of Chemistry in the study and treatment of disease. A similar belief in the absolute importance of Clinical Chemistry as being essential for the advancement of scientific medicine was also held by William Prout, who too had joined Guy’s Hospital in 1811.[35] Prout went on to study respiration, carrying out experiments on himself in a bid to determine the amount of carbon dioxide exhaled under different circumstances and at various times of the day. A year previously, the French chemists Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac (1778-1850) and Louis Jacques Thenard (1777-1857), working in Paris, devised a new method of organic analysis by which carbon and hydrogen were oxidized quantitatively to carbon dioxide and water. The principles of Clinical Chemistry had began to be established early in the nineteenth century but progress in the conversion of medicine into a science-based discipline remained slow in Malta, as it did in many places in Europe, throughout the nineteenth century.[36]

Naudi was chosen to deliver the oration at the opening of the Academic Year on 6 October 1806.[37] He dedicated his Oration to Sir Alexander Ball, ‘Contrammiraglio e Commissionario Regio per Sua Maestà Brittanica nelle Isole di Malta e Gozo.’ He said that he had been assigned, by the Rector, ‘l’incarico d’incitare la Gioventù Maltese all’amore dello studio….’ As a physician and a professor of Chemistry, it was not surprising that he chose to underline the importance of the study of science, particularly applied science, as this, he believed, would result in an improvement in the quality of life and thus deserved the support of whoever headed the Government as well as that of public and private bodies.[38] His cri de coeur – ‘Imprendo di provare, Uditori illustri, che le scienze in uno stato qualunque devono meritare l’attenzione del Principe, del pubblico e del privato, e che queste per essere veramente utili devono avere lo scopo di migliorare la sorte dell’uomo principale Signore della terra che abitiamo’ was to be repeated on many an occasion throughout the following centuries. Unfortunately, quite frequently, it was to fall on deaf ears.

He promised his students the setting up of a School of Chemistry that would help them in their study of local medicinal products: ‘Vedeste Giovanetti Maltesi in breve tempo ergersi una scuola di Chimica pratica, per la quale già incominciate a conoscere e ad aprezzare quelle nostre produzioni naturali che prima o [p.330] ignoravate o calpestavate. Vedeste un’altra scuola della scienza delle piante crescere sotto i vostri occhi, e voi stessi principate già a famigliarizzarvi colla figlia secondogenita della storia Naturale colla Bottanica.[39] Naudi encouraged his students to visit ‘un Gabinetto di cose alla Chimica’, a museum that had been put together by the Onorabile Sig. Wilkie.[40]

The only reference to Cleardo Naudi’s work as a chemist that has so far been traced is his chemical analysis of the stone used in buildings in Malta. This was first reported by Dr Hennen in his book. This type of stone was compared by Hennen to the Oalite or Roestone of Bath. Hennen wrote that the analysis made some years previously ‘by Dr Naudi, professor of chemistry at the university, and a scientific English resident’ resulted in the determination that ‘alumina and magnesia existed in quantity in this building stone – in the softer sort magnesia was prevalent, – and alum in the harder.’[41] Hennen’s reference to Naudi’s work was later copied verbatim.[42] The various types of stone as well as Malta’s soil were also analysed some years later by Dr John Davy during his stay on the island. Davy’s knowledge of chemistry was apparently superior to that of Naudi’s, and the two would later cross swords at the University.

During his first stay in London, Cleardo Naudi must have been introduced to a number of leading figures in the field of Chemistry by his many Protestant friends. One of his most important contacts seems to have been Richard Phillips who, a couple of years after Naudi had returned to Malta, sent him a parcel of books, for which Naudi wrote back thanking him.[43] Philips was a member of [p.331] the Society of Friends, a Quaker, and Naudi would, at the time, have shared with him similar religious views. It is apparent that, at least in his first few years as a professor of Chemistry, Naudi had done his level best to keep abreast of developments in the subject he was teaching, for Phillips was one of the leading chemists of his day.[44] Richard Phillips very probably sent Naudi some of his own publications on the subject.[45]

 Naudi resigns from his University Chair

Towards the end of 1833, following the retirement of the Rev. Professor Girolamo Inglott O.P.[46] from his post as Rector of the University and the eventual appointment of Canon Emmanuele Rosignaud[47] in his stead, it was being increasingly recognised that reforms needed to be introduced at the University. Changes appear to have been particularly necessary at the Medical School where, evidently, not all had been well for some time. Thus, on 13 February [p.332] 1833, the then Professor of Medicine, Stefano Grillet,[48] had written to the Rector complaining that the medical students had stopped attending his course of lectures, delivered at his own home, and which the University had asked him to resume.[49] The medical students concerned, when asked to explain why they had failed to attend Grillet’s lectures, wrote to Council complaining about Grillet’s teaching and asked to continue their studies under the direction of Dr Costantino Schinas.[50] The students[51] complained that Grillet was now too old, sick and, more important, not abreast with new developments in medicine.[52] Schinas, of Greek origin,[53] had by then already acquired a reputation as a good clinical teacher and had shown a genuine concern for academic standards.[54] Realizing the poor standard of teaching at the Medical School, Schinas later pushed for a Commission to be set up and report on the state of things there.

The Council of the University became increasingly aware of the problems at the Medical School, particularly those involving the departments of Chemistry and Botany[55] and also of the complaints by students about the teaching of Anatomy. On 7 January 1832, the University Secretary, Canon Dr Fortunato Panzavecchia,[56] was directed by the Council of the University to write to Professor Cleardo Naudi asking him to provide a list of missing chemical items considered to be [p.333] necessary for the carrying out of experiments deemed relevant to the study of medicine. Panzavecchia told Naudi that Rector Inglott hoped that this list would be available for the next meeting of Council that was scheduled for the following 4 February.[57] For some unknown reason, Naudi seems to have failed to forward the requested complete information.[58] On 5 June, Panzavecchia wrote again, on behalf of the Council, to both professors of Botany and Chemistry requesting them to ensure that their students acquired the necessary knowledge expected of them by a Professor of Medicine.[59] Schinas, who by then would have had enough time to assess the situation, was getting worried that when the medical students came to him to start their clinical training, they would not possess the necessary scientific knowledge to benefit from his lectures.

On 23 January 1834, at the suggestion of the Acting-Rector, Dr Rosignaud, Council decided to set up an investigative Commission whose task was to report on the state of affairs of the Medical School.[60] The Commission was in actual fact an internal one made up of Drs. Gravagna,[61] Galea,[62] and Chetcuti[63] with the [p.334] important addition of the acting Rector’s nominee, Dr John Davy[64] who, at the time, besides being the President of the Comitato Medico, was also a member of the University Council. The Commission had to complete its task[65] and report back to Council[66] by Thursday, 30 January. When the report[67] of the Commission was read out at the Council meeting, Dr Davy proposed that the School of Chemistry ought to be closed down because of the shortcomings and incompetence of the professor. This, he maintained, was the only way in which one could declare the position vacant and advertise it.[68] Davy’s motion was opposed by Judge Randon[69] who said that they ought first to listen to what Dr Cleardo Naudi had to say in his defence and, secondly, he believed that Council did not have the legal power to [p.335] sack professors.[70] Although Dr Davy insisted that his motion be put to the vote, Council agreed with Randon’s suggestion and Naudi was called in and asked what he had to say about the Report. Naudi’s defence was based mainly on two points: the fact that his department lacked equipment which he had repeatedly asked for and the lack of interest exhibited by the students.[71] Council did not accept the excuses put forward by Naudi and, amending Davy’s original motion, agreed to close down the School of Chemistry and suspend Professor Naudi, referring the case to the Governor.

At this point Dr Davy left the meeting, and the Council members, including Judge Randon, thought it was wise to recall Dr Naudi and inform him of their decision and persuade him that it would be to his advantage to resign his post,[72] as otherwise Council would feel duty-bound to carry out further investigations into his teaching and administration of the School of Chemistry. Judge Randon then left the room as it was very late, ‘per essere l’ora assai inoltrata’ and Dr Naudi was recalled. The latter, having learnt of the ‘officiosa communicazione’ from some Council members, replied that he needed time till the following day to reach a decision, but must have realized that the cards were stacked against him. Council was summoned two days later, on Saturday 1 February, with all the previous seven members being present. The Acting-Rector, whose turn it was to chair that meeting, informed them that Dr Naudi had sent him a formal letter of resignation. Rosignaud proposed that a full report should be drawn up and sent to the Chief Secretary to Government to let him know what had happened, pointing out Dr Naudi’s request for a pension following his resignation. Besides Cleardo Naudi and Stefano Zerafa, the report had also criticized the way Anatomy was being taught by Prof. Gavino Patrizio Portelli[73] who, at the time, was also the [p.336] professor of surgery.[74] It was, however, not held necessary by Council to ask for his resignation. However, on 3 February 1834, Rosignaud wrote to Portelli pointing out that he had been directed by Council to draw his attention to the unfavourable references to his teaching in the report. Three years later, medical students were still complaining about the fact that they were being taught Anatomy without any dissections being carried out on a cadaver.[75] This time, Council decided to order Professor Portelli to teach ‘per una mezz’ora fatta una dimonstrazione sopra il cadavere delle materie spiegate in Cattedra nella lezione antecedente.[76]

That same Monday, the Acting Rector wrote to Sir Frederick Hankey informing him that following ‘alcune informazioni sulla imperfezione dello stato della scuola chimica’, he had decided to appoint a Commission ‘per visitare qualche Classe’ and to draw up a report on the state of affairs. From the report, Rosignaud told Hankey, ‘risultarono quindi verificate le informazioni avute non che il cattivo stato di quella Scuola.’ Rosignaud described the discussions that went on in Council and how, having heard what Naudi had to say in his defence, Council, not having accepted his excuses, had pointed out to Naudi that a more detailed investigation might prove to be more embarrassing for him, and thought that it would be more to his advantage were he to offer his resignation. Finally Rosignaud told Hankey that Naudi had sent his formale dimissione and had asked to be granted a pension commensurate with the number of years, twenty-nine, he had spent teaching at the University. Hankey was also requested to obtain the Government’s approval for the University to advertise the vacant Chair.[77] Hankey lost no time in replying [p.337] and, on 6 February 1834, informed the University Council that he had brought to the Lt. Governor’s notice the ‘modo non soddisfacente ed assai inefficace col quale il Dr Cleardo Naudi ha eseguito i suoi doveri di Professore di Chimica …’ Hankey further told Council members that ‘per ordine di Sua Eccellenza sono ad informarvi ch’egli approva quel tanto che gli vien raccomandato, ma in quanto al suggerimento contenuto nella lettera dell’A. Rettore, cioè che qualche pensione venisse assegnata al detto Dr Naudi, Sua Eccellenza gli rincresce, che sotto tali circostanze, l’accordar qualunque si fatta pensione e del tutto fuor di questione.[78] Naudi seems to have had no longer any friends at the Palace and to have apparently lost all influence with his erstwhile local English friends. One wonders whether his renunciation of the Protestant beliefs and his re-embracing of the Catholic faith, which he had to do in order to marry his second wife, had anything to do with it. Naudi’s prevarication cost him the support and friendship of many of his Protestant friends whilst, at the same time, he never regained the trust of the majority of his Catholic colleagues and acquaintances.

A week later, on Thursday 13 February 1834, Council met under the presidency of the Rev. Cleugh and decided that the now vacant Chair of Chemistry be advertised.[79] When the Chair was advertised,[80] there were initially two applicants, Dr G. G. Aquilina and the aromatario Giuseppe Fenech but the latter subsequently withdrew his application.[81] The Collegio Medico’s[82] choice of Dr Aquilina[83] was presented at a meeting of Council held on Tuesday 4 March, [p.338] with Dr Davy presiding, and accepted by Council members who unanimously agreed to recommend his appointment to the Governor and, at the same time, decided to request Government to grant Aquilina the sum of £30, ‘per una volta’, so that he could acquire laboratory equipment deemed fundamental for the study of Chemistry and, ‘senza dei quali inutile sarebbe qualunque operazione di Professore.’[84] Dr Giovanni Gaetano Aquilina[85] was thus chosen to replace Cleardo Naudi as professor of Chemistry. The Council’s recommendations were, therefore, submitted for confirmation to the Lieutenant-Governor. This did not take long in coming for, on 15 March 1834, Hankey informed Council that their choice of Aquilina had been approved and moreover ‘una spesa di trenta lire, per l’acquisto di certi strumenti necessary per la Scuola Chimica’ were also being made available.[86] The money that had been denied to Naudi seems to have been made readily available to his successor. Certain things apparently never change, Plus ça change plus c’est la même chose.[87]7 At the time of his forced resignation, Naudi’s monthly salary amounted to £2.18s.4d.[88] Matters in the Scuola Chimica took some time before they were satisfactorily sorted out because, a few months after his appointment, Aquilina became seriously ill and chose to go abroad for treatment. On 24 July 1835,[89] he asked for and was granted three months leave on 21 August.[90] The University requested the approval of Government to appoint at first Dr Saverio Arpa[91] to act as professor of Chemistry during Aquilina’s indisposition.[92] Aquilina took somewhat longer to recover than had [p. 339] been expected but the University Council appeared satisfied with Arpa’s running of the Scuola Chimica.[93] In January 1836, because Arpa was then busy with his work as an obstetrician and with the teaching of Midwifery, Rosignaud asked Government for approval of the temporary appointment by Council of Dr fisico Lorenzo Fenech.[94] Aquilina eventually recovered and occupied the Chair till his demise in 1859.

Cleardo Naudi must not have taken the local Government’s refusal to grant him a pension lying down and must have contacted his remaining friends in England when he went there in 1835 to try and explain his ostensible re-embracement of the Catholic religion. Apparently, he managed to persuade the authorities in London that he had been treated unjustly for, on 20 April 1837, Hankey wrote to Rosignaud, in his capacity as Rector, and informed him that he had been directed by the Governor to acquaint him ‘that in consequence of instructions which have been received from His Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for the Colonial Department, Dr Cleardo Naudi is to be allowed a Pension from the separate fund of the University.’[95] No less a person than the Principal Secretary of State further ordered that Naudi was to receive £2.18s.4d. per month, ‘commencing from the day on which he ceased in consequence of his resignation to receive pay as Professor, namely from the 1st day of February 1834 inclusive’. Naudi was, in fact, given his full former salary as a pension. It is perhaps not so surprising that the Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies intervened on Naudi’s behalf. He was Charles Grant, first Baron of Glenelg, one of a group of humanitarian Anglican evangelicals prominent in British politics in the 1820s and 1830s. There can be little doubt that some of Naudi’s remaining Protestant friends must have intervened on his behalf with the Secretary of State.[96] It is very likely that one of these friends was Dr Thomas Hodgkin[97] who had, in 1836, forwarded a Report,[98] [p.340] drawn up by Naudi on the need for the Maltese to emigrate to North Africa, to Sir George Grey[99] for onward transmission to Lord Glenelg.[100]

Naudi did not, however, enjoy his pension for long because he soon fell victim to the cholera epidemic which broke out at the Ospizio in Floriana on 9 June 1837. He died in Valletta on 30 July. His obituary stated that he had ‘filled several respectable situations under this Government’ and of having ‘applied himself lately with great perseverance to assist those attacked with the cholera morbus, his unceasing exertions, increased by night and day, were rendered more laborious from the distances he had to traverse; and after a few days of fever, he fell a victim to his zeal and humanity.’[101]

* *Roger Ellul-Micallef MD (Malta), PhD (Edin.), FRCP (Edin.), FRCP (Lond.), Hon.D.Sc.(Westminster) is the Professor of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the University of Malta. He has published over sixty peer-reviewed papers in leading scientific journals such as The Lancet, the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and the European Journal of Respiratory Diseases, and has been an invited speaker at many international meetings. He has also edited two books on bronchial asthma and written a number of chapters in postgraduate medical books. He was Chairman of the Council of Europe’s Committee on Higher Education and Research (1993-96), Rector of the University of Malta (1996-2006), and Chairman of the European Access Network (2000-08). For services rendered to International Higher Education, Professor Ellul-Micallef was awarded the rank of Grande Ufficiale al Merito della Repubblica Italiana, an honorary doctorate by Westminster University, and the grade of Commandeur de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the French Government. He is interested in the History of Medicine, particularly in the development of the Maltese medical tradition and has contributed several papers on this topic, both locally and abroad.

[1] C. Sant, The Translation of the Bible and the Maltese Language 1810-1850, transl. A. Borg, University of Malta, Melitensia Collection, 1975.

[2] R. Ellul-Micallef, Cleardo Naudi: An enigmatic Protestant Convert.

[3] P. Cassar, Medical History of Malta, Welcome Historical Medical Library, London 1964.

[4] P. Cassar, ‘Medicine in Malta in 1800-1810, Contrasts, Concepts and Personalities’, St. Luke’s Hospital Gazette 6, 1971, 3-20.

[5] Għaxaq Parish Archives (GPA), Liber Matrimoniorum 1747-1805, f. 44v. The couple were married on 24 April 1780.

[6] Archiepiscopal Archives Malta (AAM), Patrimonia Sacra (PS) vol. 24, no 23A.

[7] St. Paul Parish Archives Valletta (SPAV), Liber Baptizatorum (LB), 4.6.1781, f. 243. He was baptized by the ‘Rev. Petrus Paulus Muscat Canonicus Thesaurarius et Curatus’ on the following day. His godparents were ‘Rdus. Dnus. Don Marcellus Mallia ex Casalis Asciach’ and ‘Donna Xaveria’, the wife of Gabriele Camilleri, from Valletta.

[8] His brother Agostino was also born in Valletta on February 26, 1783 and was baptized by Vice-Parish Priest Don Joseph Attard on the following day. He was christened Joseph, Antonius, Agostinus, Theodorus and the ‘Patrini’ were Dominus Mattheus Naudi and Domina Antonia Muscat, both from Valletta. Cf. SPAV, LB, f. 347. The family later moved to Ghaxaq where Cleardo’s parents had a further six daughters and three sons. Cf. GPA, LB 1770-1800, ff. 64, 86rv. Agostino, Cleardo’s younger brother, had like him, qualified at Naples, and had worked there for some time. In 1810, he set up a private school at Valletta and, with Government approval, began to teach Anatomy in the Cemetery of the Civil Hospital. The outbreak of the plague in 1813 brought a temporary end to his activities. In 1814, when he resumed his teaching, he tutored his students in the rest of the subjects making up the clinical curriculum, and they were later admitted to sit for the examinations set up by the University and were awarded its degrees. Cf. Il Filologo, 3.xii.1839, 22. He gained a number of part-time University appointments including taking over the teaching of Chemistry during his brother’s temporary absence from the island. Cf. Archives of the University of Malta (AUM), Letter Book 1825-1836, 22 Giugno 1826, ff. 26-27. Naudi’s fame as a teacher and a physician has been said to have resulted in an offer of the Chair of Medicine at the University of Naples by Dr Bruno Amantea. Cf. Il Filologo, 3.xii.1839, 22; Dr N.Z. (Nicola Zammit), L’Arte,, 3-5. Amantea (1750-1819) was the leading surgeon in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. He was the ‘Professore di Anatomia Demonstrativa’ in the ‘Regia Università degli studj’, ‘Chirurgo di Camera di Sua Maestà Siciliana’, and Chief surgeon in the ‘Spedale degl’Incurabili e di quello dei Pellegrini’ at Naples. Cf. P. Magliari, Elogio del Prof. Bruno Amantea, Napoli 1854. Agostino, who was aware of the unemployment then rampant on the island, sought to alleviate the miserable plight of his fellow countrymen, as did his brother Cleardo later on. He published a treatise on the cultivation of the silkworm, at a time that Government was trying to introduce the silk industry in Malta, titled Sull’industria d’allevare i bachi di seta, Messina 1827.

[9] Don Cleardo Mamo was the parish priest of Ghaxaq between 1748 and 1774 and, during his time, the building of the parish church was completed. Don Mamo’s father, Giuseppe, was a ‘barbitonsor’, a barber surgeon, who owned and ran a barber’s shop in Valletta with the help of Joannes la Grange. AAM, PS, vol. 24, no 23A.

[10] Cassar 1971, 3-20.

[11] The University was refounded by Ball with the appointment on 28 October 1800 of Canon Francesco Saverio Caruana as its Rector. The Academic Year was opened at the Church of the University with an oration by the Rev. Vincenzo Thei of the Austin Friars on 5 November 1800. Cf. Acta Academiae Melitensis (Act. Acad. Mel.), vol. 2, 1800-1832, ff. 1-6. Prof. Azopardi, who was also a physician, was the Head of the Department of Physics and Mathematics. Besides Naudi, who is listed as hailing from ‘Cas. Hasciac’, there were two other students following the course, Vincentius Azopardi and Joseph Mangion, both from Valletta. Cf. Act. Acad. Mel., vol. 1, 1800-1809, f. 14.

[12] AAM, Stati Liberi, 1806-1807, no 68.

[13] The Rev. Samuel Walker (1714-1761), BA (Oxon) was a prominent Evangelical Anglican Minister who was never made bishop. Cf. E. Sidney, The Life, Ministry and Selections from the Remains of Revd. Samuel Walker BA, London 1835.

[14] GPA, Liber Matrimoniorum 1805-1853, f. 50v.

[15] It has not been proved possible to determine the exact date of when Naudi renounced his Catholic faith but English missionary journals list him among their ‘Protestant missionaries to the Heathen’ as early as 1817. Cf. The Missionary Gazetteer’ 1825, 409. Sant 1975, f.n. 9, had earlier mentioned 10 October 1824.

[16] This description appears to have been sent on 16 February 1814 by Philo L. Mills to the editors of the Connecticut evangelical magazine and religious intelligencer, 7, 1814, 112. Mills was an American philanthropist and entrepreneur with considerable business interests in Nottingham.

[17] The cause mentioned here, of course, referred to the spreading of Christianity in the Mediterranean, particularly in the Ionian Islands and the Middle East, a letter about which Naudi had written to the London Missionary Society on 29 June 1813.

[18] Act. Acad. Melit., vol. 2, 1800-1832, f. 20: In hac studiorum Universitate novam Chemiae Experimentalis atque Historia naturalis Cathedram Exc. Art. et Med. Dr Cleardus Naudi ex Cas. Hasciak electus est.

[19] Connecticut evangelical magazine and religious intelligencer, 7, 1814, 112.

[20] The Panoplist, and Missionary Magazine, Boston, x, 1814, 33-36. Naudi’s letter found itself published in this North American magazine, having reached the editor’s desk in a very roundabout manner. A copy was sent by a ‘gentleman in London to his friend in this country, and communicated to the Rev. Dr Morse by a gentleman in Princeton (N.J.)’ who then handed it to the editor of the Panoplist for publication.

[21] Cassar 1971, 13. Cassar gives no references for this statement. The museum visited by Naudi was one of the public anatomical museums in London. It was set up by Joshua Brookes (1761-1833) FRS, FLS, a student of John Harvey (1728-1793) and a teacher of anatomy. Cf. J. Brookes, Brookesian Museum: The Museum of Joshua Brookes, London 1828. It had a collection of human anatomical and zoological specimens collected by Brookes over a period of more than 30 years. All the specimens were auctioned off on 14 July 1828. Among the specimens was Lot 268, auctioned on the second day, described as ‘A fine cast of a double foetus with a single head, of nearly full growth. The mother, a Maltese, delivered at Malta and the specimen presented by Dr H. Davis.’

[22] London Society Publication, no. 15, 1812, 7. Bartlett’s Buildings were situated on the south side of Holborn Circus near Hatton Street. Cf. H.A. Harber, A Dictionary of London, 1918. These buildings hosted, for a time, a number of missionary societies including Bartlett’s Buildings’ Society (BBS) and The Society for promoting Christian Knowledge. Soon after the foundation of the British and Foreign Bible Society on 4 March1804, relations between it and the BBS became soured. Cf. The Christian Observer, 9, 1811, 765- 770. Naudi may well have found accommodation in these buildings with the help of his English missionary friends.

[23] R. Boyle, The sceptical Chymist: or Chymico-physical doubts and paradoxes…, Oxford 1680.

[24] A. L. Lavoisier, Traité Élémentaire de Chimie, 2 tom., Paris 1789.

[25] William Cullen (1710-1790) wrote very little on chemistry but emphasized its importance during his lectures and works on Materia Medica and Medicine. He occupied the first ever created lectureship in chemistry, at the University of Glasgow, in 1747, and was subsequently appointed Professor of Chemistry and Medicine at Edinburgh in 1755. Cf. J. Thomson, An Account of the life, lectures and writings of William Cullen, Edinburgh 1832, vol. 1.

[26] N.G. Coley, ‘George Fordyce MD, FRS (1736-1802): physician – chemist and eccentric’, in Notes Rec. R. Soc. Lond. 55, 2001, 395-409; idem, ‘George Pearson MD, FRS (1751-1828): the greatest chemist in England?’, in Notes Rec. Soc. Lond., 57, 2003,161-175.

[27] H.C. Cameron, Mr Guy’s Hospital 1726-1948, London 1954, 89.

[28] Allen had his own chemical laboratory at his pharmacy where, in addition to experimental work on drugs, he investigated a wide range of chemical topics. Cf. E. Crepps, Plough Court: the story of a notable pharmacy 1715-1927, London 1927, 23-24 and, 28.

[29] Allen’s experimental work was highly regarded by the leading European chemists of the day including Humphrey Davy (1778-1829) and Jöns Jacob Berzelius (1779-1848). Cf. L. Bradshaw ed., The life of William Allen with selections from his correspondence, vol. 3, London 1846-1847.

[30] A. Garrod, ‘Alexander Gaspard Marcet’, (portrait). Guy’s Hosp. Rep. series iv, 5, 1925, 373-389. The author, Archibald Garrod, later to be acknowledged as the father of Clinical Biochemistry, spent the First World War in Malta as a Colonel in the RAMC and struck a very close relationship with Temi Zammit.

[31] W. Babington, A. Marcet, W.A. Allen, Syllabus of a course of chemical lectures read at Guy’s Hospital, Royal Free School Press, London 1811.

[32] Joseph Black (1728-1799) was a Scottish physician who was appointed in 1757 as the Regius Professor of the Practice of Medicine at the University of Glasgow. In 1766 he succeeded Cullen as professor of Chemistry at Edinburgh University. He is the discoverer of carbon dioxide, latent heat and specific heat.

[33] A. Marcet, An essay on the chemical history and medical treatment of calculous diseases, London 1817.

[34] Richard Bright (1789-1858) and his co-workers showed how physicians and chemists, when working together, could help unravel the patho-physiology of disease. Cf. R. Bright, ‘Tabular view of the morbid appearances in 100 cases connected with albuminous urine’, Guy’s Hosp. Rep., 1836, 1:380-402; D. Berry And C. Mackenzie, Richard Bright 1789-1858; physician in an age of revolution and reform, London 1992.

[35] William Prout (1785-1850) is perhaps best remembered for his 1815 observation that the atomic weights of the elements are whole-number multiples of that of hydrogen. Cf. W.H. Brock, From protyle to proton: William Prout and the nature of matter 1785-1985, Bristol 1985. In 1824, Prout discovered the presence of hydrochloric acid in gastric juice. In 1831, he was elected to give the Gulstonian Lectures at the Royal College of Physicians of London. Cf. W. Prout, ‘Observations on the application of chemistry to physiology, pathology and practice’, Lond. Med. Gaz., 8, 1831, 257-265, 321-327, 388-391.

[36] N.G. Coley, ‘Medical chemists and the origins of clinical chemistry in Britain’, Clin. Chem. 50, 2004, 961- 972.

[37] Act. Acad. Mel. vol. 2, f.23.

[38] C. Naudi, Orazione letta per l’apertura degli Studj nella Chiesa dell’Università di Malta nel mese di Ottobre 1806, Malta 1806, 3.

[39] Naudi was, at this time, also responsible for the teaching of Botany. Cf. fn 38 supra, 10-11. Naudi seems to have been more interested in teaching his students Pharmacognosy and applied Chemistry rather than the pure science.

[40] Mr Wilkie, ‘a gentleman long resident in Malta’ was the Commissary of Supplies and Commissioner of the Docks and was one of the public officers listed by the Persian traveller Taleb Khan when the latter visited Malta. Cf. Mirza Abu Talib Khan, Travels in Asia, Africa, Europe during the years 1799, 1800, 1801, 1802 and 1803, transl. by C. Stewart, vol. 3, London 1814, 5. Patrick Wilkie F.L.S. had apparently, as early as 1802, persuaded Ball to purchase ‘a large piece of ground at the immense expense of between 9 and 10,000’ scudi to lay it out as a Botanical Garden. The garden was left in the care of the Carmelite friar Padre Carlo Giacinto, referred to as one ‘whose knowledge of botany is very confined’, years before he succeeded Cleardo Naudi to the Chair of Natural History (1824-1829). The garden is said to have been greatly neglected after Wilkie had eventually left Malta, first to go to Spain and later to retire in England. In an anonymous letter to the editor of the English Monthly Magazine, Malta was accused of being ‘a country where the science (botany) is so little cultivated’ and a plea was made to the Maltese Government to do something about the mismanagement of Malta’s Botanical Garden. Cf. The Monthly Magazine, 36, 1813, 111-112.

[41] Dr John Hennen MD, FRSE (1779-1828) was an Inspector of Military Hospitals and author of Sketches of the Medical Topography of the Mediterranean; comprising an Account of Gibraltar, the Ionian Islands and Malta, London 1830, 457. His book was edited by his son Dr J. Hennen (1800-1871). The copy of this book held at the University of Malta Archives belonged to Sir Temi Zammit and was donated to the University by his late son Charles.

[42] R. Montgomery Martin, History of the British possessions in the Mediterranean: comprising Gibraltar, Malta, Gozo and the Ionian islands, vol. vii, London 1837, 170-171.

[43] The Wellcome Library, London, Archives and Manuscripts. ‘Extract from a letter by Dr Naudi of Malta to Richard Phillips of London, 1816.’ PP/HO/D/D/207: Box 23.

[44] Richard Phillips (1778-1851) was the son of a printer and bookseller in the City of London. He was an intimate friend of Humphry Davy (1778-1829), William Hyde Wollaston (1766-1828) and Michael Faraday (1791-1867), the leading English chemists at the time. Phillips was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society in 1822 and, from 1839, he was chemist and curator of the Museum of Economic Geology at Charing Cross. He was one of the founder members of the Chemical Society of London, established in 1841, and during the last two years of his life was its President. In 1980, the Chemical Society joined together with the Royal Institute of Chemistry, the Faraday Society, and the Society of Analytical Chemists to form the Royal Society of Chemistry.

[45] R. Phillips, An Analysis of the Bath Water, London 1806; idem, An experimental examination of the last edition of the Pharmacopeia Londinensis, London 1811; idem, Remarks on the Editio Altera of the Pharmacopeia Londinenses, London 1816. In 1826, Phillips published his Syllabus of a course of lectures on chemistry and pharmacy, but it is not known whether Naudi ever received a copy of this publication.

[46] Inglott was appointed on 14 January 1823 as Professor of Philosophy and acting Rector of the University directly by the Governor, Sir Thomas Maitland. Cf. AUM, Registers, vol. 2, 1800-1832, f. 81. The first Rector, appointed by Sir Alexander Ball on 28 October 1800 in recognition of his services during the uprising against the French, Canon Francesco Saverio Caruana, resigned his post on 28 November 1822. Cf. AUM, Registers, vol. 2, 1800-1832, f. 80. Inglott’s administration of the University had, for all intents and purposes, ceased in 1832 because of his failing health. He died on 29 July 1835 in the Dominican Convent at Vittoriosa of which he was prior. He was then 59 years old. Cf. Malta Government Gazette (MGG), 5.viii.1835, 262.

[47] Rosignaud was University Rector between 1834 and 1841. He was first appointed in an acting capacity by the Governor on 25 May 1833. Cf. MGG 1833, 174, and was made Rector on 17 February1834. Cf. MGG 1834, 57. During his term of office, Malta was visited in 1836 by a Royal Commission made up of Dr John Austin and Sir George Cornewall Lewis. The latter had accompanied Austin at the specific request of Charles Grant, Secretary of State for the Colonies. Their visit lasted for almost two years. Cf. Report of the Royal Commissioners Appointed to Inquire into the Affairs of the Island of Malta, London 1838. Rosignaud, who believed that the number of doctors, lawyers and priests graduating from the University was greater than the island’s needs for their services, suggested to the Commission that an increase in the number of students following these courses ought not to be encouraged. The Commissioners accepted his proposal and eventually suggested that the School of Medicine should have only 5 professors to teach anatomy and surgery, medicine, midwifery, chemistry and botany. Other subjects were to be regarded as ‘minor’ and were to be taught by lecturers. Their proposals were accepted and embodied in the ‘Fundamental Statute of the University of Malta’ published in 1838. Cf. S. Cumbo, Piano di Pubblica Istruzione, Malta 1839, 32. Rosignaud, who was later on judged to have been inept at his job, requested to be relieved from his duties on 18 October 1841.

[48] Stefano Grillet (1765-1837) occupied the Chair of Medicine between 1815 and 1833. He was first employed by the Order of St. John and, in 1800, was appointed Principal Physician of the Civil Hospital by the incoming British Administration. Described as ‘a physician of much practice and experience’, on retirement he was assigned a pension ‘as a reward for his zeal and fidelity’. He died at his home in Valletta on 23 March 1837 ‘after a protracted and painful illness.’ Cf. MGG 29.iii.1837, 103.

[49] AU., Miscellanea 1827-1833, f. 21.

[50] Ibid., f. 22rv: ‘di poter vantaggiosamente applicare i loro studi sotto la disciplina del Sigr. Dr Schinas.’ Schinas was first appointed to replace Dr Agostino Naudi, on the latter’s demise on 11 November 1830 and took up the appointment as Naudi’s replacement on 17 January 1831. Cf. AUM, Letter Book 1825-1836, f. 62. He was subsequently appointed ‘ad interim’ as professor of Physics in 1833. In the following year, he was appointed to the Chair of Medicina Pratica. Schinas was responsible for publishing Malta’s first medical journal, L’Ape Melitense, in 1838. Cf. P. Cassar, ‘Maltese Medical Journals 1838-1952’, Melita Historica, i, 1952, 19. He occupied the Chair until his death on 10 May 1856. Cf. Il Portafoglio Maltese, 14 May 1856, 3.

[51] AUM, Miscellanea 1827-1833, f. 22v. The students were ten in number and included Filiberto Gouder, Pietro Paolo Gulia, Paolo Perini, Publio Perini, Giuseppe Clinquant, Luigi Naudi, Giuseppe Mallia, Alessandro Fabri, Giuseppe Carmelo Montanaro and Nicola Caruana.

[52] Ibid., f. 22r. The students complained that Grillet was ‘privo di quei lumi necessary per progredire a questa scienza come pure quelle scoperte che di giorno in giorno van facendo i moderni osservatori Medici; perchè il loro Professore essendo inoltrato in età ed accacciato da malattie non si può dare più a queste cosi serj studj.

[53] Schinas was born at Constantinople and studied medicine at the University of Pisa. He fled from Greece when war broke out and settled down in Malta in 1823.

[54] A. Vella, The University of Malta, Malta 1969, 85.

[55] Naudi stopped being responsible for this department in 1824 when Padre Carlo Giacinto was appointed to the Chair. Giacinto was succeeded in 1829 by Dr Stefano Zerafa.

[56] Canon Fortunato Panzavecchia was an old friend of Cleardo Naudi. Together with Naudi, he was one of the founding members of the protestant-inspired Malta Bible Society when this was established on 5 May 1817.

[57] AUM, Letter Book 1825-1836, f. 66: ‘Lettera al Sigr. Cleardo Naudi in esecuzione della determinazione del Consiglio di 7 Gennajo 1832.’ ‘Dimanda al Professore Illmo. Di Chimica d’un Elenco degli oggetti mancanti nella sua scuola.’ Panzavecchia, in his letter, pointed out, ‘che nella Scuola di Chimica affidata alla direzione di V.S. Illma manchino i mezzi opportuni per potersi istituire una serie di esperimenti chimici applicabili alla Medicina, il Consiglio istesso ha incaricato al Mto. Rev. Sigr. Rettore a dimandare al rispettivo Professore un Elenco degli oggetti deficienti pell’enunziato oggetto.

[58] Apparently not all of these items had been identified for, as late as January 1835, Rosignaud wrote to Dr Carlo Cappello Cicognani, one of the Italian political exiles in Malta and recently appointed Professor of Mathematics and Physics, asking for an ‘Inventario di tutti gli oggetti esistenti nel Gabinetto Chimico’, stressing that seeing ‘il piccolo numero degli oggetti’ that it contained it should not take long to draw up. Cf. AUM, Letter Book 1825-1836, 28.i.1835, f. 167.

[59] Ibid., ff. 70-71. Both Naudi and Zerafa were to make sure that their students would have ‘acquistato quelle cognizioni chimiche e botaniche che sono esigibili da un Professore di Medicina.’ Stefano Zerafa managed to ride the storm and occupied the Chair of Natural History (Biology) up to 1859. Up to the beginning of the twentieth century, both subjects were only taught to those students wishing to study medicine or pharmacy.

[60] AUM, Minutes of the University Council 1824-1829, f. 154. It was decided to establish ‘una special Commissione per visitare la Scuola della Medicina formata da scelti soggetti dal numero dei Dottori del Collegio della Facoltà Medica...’

[61] Dr Luigi Gravagna was then also the Medico di Polizia, the chief Public Health Officer. Gravagna is best remembered for having pointed out the benefits accruing from the use of vaccines against smallpox and wrote an eight-page leaflet on the subject titled Osservazioni mediche sulla vaccinazione e sul vajuolo, Malta 1827. He was later to confirm the diagnosis of cholera on 9 June 1837 when the epidemic made its first appearance at the Ospizio in Floriana. Gravagna is often stated to have been among the thirteen physicians known to have succumbed to the disease (Cf. Cassar 1964, 186), dying at his home at 148, Strada Mercanti, Valletta on 16 August 1837. However Dr Skinner, a British surgeon, who was at Malta during the plague, wrote that it was uncertain whether Dr Gravagna, ‘a sensible and judicious practitioner, of very amiable manners’ had fallen a victim to the disease. Cf. J. Skinner, ‘On the late Plague at Malta’, The Philosophical Magazine and Journal, xlv, 1815, 241-248.

[62] Dr G. O. Galea was later to occupy the important Chairs of Pathology (1856-1894), Physiology and Medicine (1856-1902).

[63] Dr Tommaso Chetcuti is best known for his pioneering work in psychiatry. This doctor, who hailed from Mosta, improved greatly the conditions and treatment of mentally-ill patients in Malta. He was also the first to appeal for the establishment of an official Maltese pharmacopeia and in his Oration, marking the inauguration of the Academic year, delivered on 1 December 1841, he spoke against the then rampant use of polypharmacy, insisting on the rational therapeutic administration of the few really efficacious drugs that were then at the physician’s disposal. Cf. Il Filologo, 9.xii.1841, 41; Discorso inaugurale recitato il primo Dicembre 1841, Malta 1846. Chetcuti died on 17 March 1863.

[64] Dr John Davy (1790-1868) qualified as a doctor at the University of Edinburgh in 1814. His interest in chemistry was kindled by his brother, the noted chemist Sir Humphry Davy, whom he had assisted for two years at the Royal Institution of Great Britain prior to going to Edinburgh. He spent eleven years (1824- 1835) in Malta on the Army Medical Staff. Davy’s main contribution in favour of the island’s inhabitants was his suggestion for the setting up of the first public dispensary or Farmacia dei poveri. He also offered to supply it with medicines and equipment that were surplus to the needs of the services. It was eventually set up on 10 April 1832 at the Auberge d’Italie, 228, Strada Mercanti, Valletta. Cf. MGG 11.iv.1832, 112. The initial staff members manning this dispensary from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., Monday to Saturday, were Dr Pasquale Conti and his assistant, Dr Gaetano Aquilina as physicians, and the surgeons Publio Monreal and Salvadore Amato, who all had volunteered their free services. The dispensary was run by the speziale Giovanni Casha. This pharmacist had ‘un impiego permanente’. A number of these dispensaries were subsequently set up all over the archipelago, each being referred to by the man in the street as Il-Ber©a, taking its name from the first dispensary set up at the Auberge d’Italie. In the field of Chemistry, Davy is perhaps most noted for his discovery of phosgene. Cf. ‘On a Gaseous Compound of Carbonic Oxide and Chlorine’, Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. Lond., 102, 1812, 144-151. He also discovered silicon and tetrafluoride. Davy became an Inspector General of Hospitals for the British Army and, in 1834, was elected to the very prestigious Fellowship of the Royal Society. Naudi could not have had a more critical and competent person evaluating his School of Chemistry.

[65] The task of the Commission was specifically minuted in Council as being that of ‘visitare ed ispezionare tanto gli allievi quanto le scuole di Chimica, di Anatomia, e di Medicina con fare rapport sullo stato della medesima.’

[66] The Council members present were the Vice Presidente il Decano Dr Bellanti, who chaired the meeting, the Giudice Regio Dr Agostino Randon, the Presidente del Comitato Medico, Dr John Davy, the acting Rector Canon Rosignaud, Baron Joseph de Piro, Rev John Clough, Chaplain to Government, and Count Baldassare Sant.

[67] This report remains untraceable in the University Archives but a transcribed copy is to be found at the National Archives of Malta, GOV 1/2/14, Duplicate Despatches 1836, ff. 433r – 434v.

[68] AUM, Minutes of the University Council 1824-1839, f. 156.

[69] Dr (later Sir) Agostino Randon was appointed to the Bench in 1817. On 6 June 1829, he was appointed one of the members of the Supreme Council of Justice by the Governor. Cf. Proclami, notificazioni ed altri avvisi ufficiali pubblicati dal Governo dell’isola di Malta. Dal 1 Gennajo 1828 alle 31 Dicembre 1829, Stamperia del Governo, Malta 1830, 37. Randon was one of the Judges of H.M. Court of Appeal, of the Criminal Court, and of the Third Hall of the Civil Court. He retired on 1 January 1839 and, in August of that year, was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George and was invested at Malta on 27 December 1839. He died in March 1853.

[70] ‘Il Giudice Randon si oppose detta mozione per i seguenti riflessi: 1. prima perchè prima di essere inteso il Professore riesce irregolare qualunque procedura; 2. Perchè non è nel potere del Consiglio la rimozione di qualunque Professore.Cf. AUM, Minutes of Universty Council 1824-1839, f. 156.

[71] Ibid., f. 157. ‘Fù intanto chiamato il Professore Naudi ed avendo inteso il Rapporto fatto dai Visitatori sullo stato della sua scuola allegò in sua difesa, che i risultati difetti dal rapporto dei Visitatori sono da attribuirsi alla deficienza degli apparati, per i quali più volte fece istanza ed alla disattenzione della maggior parte dei nuovi allievi, e pregò in fine i Gentiluomini del Consiglio, che credendo essi d’impiegare ulteriori procedure, abbino riguardo alla sua condizione di Professore.’ It appears that Naudi first read the Report during the Council session of 30 January 1834. His plea to Council fell on deaf ears. His complaint about the lack of interest shown by the students was apparently well-founded because Schinas himself later wrote to the Rector, on 5 April 1834, pointing out ‘la deficienza degli studenti negli studi preparatorj, e la loro poco volontà d’attendere come conviene ai loro doveri.’ Schinas was annoyed that he had to devote part of every lecture to teaching the students Anatomy and Chemistry. Rosignaud replied four days later, informing Schinas that Council had decided to bar students from sitting for their examinations unless they produced a recommendation from Schinas stating they were eligible to sit for their examinations. Cf. AUM, Letter Book 1825-1836, ff. 132-133).

[72] Ibid., f. 157,’ ‘sarebbe piùttosto conveniente di dimettersi spontaneamente dalla sua situazione di Professore’.

[73] Portelli occupied both the Chair of Anatomy and Histology as well as the Chair of Surgery between 1824 and 1838. In 1809, whilst working at the Military Hospital in Valletta, he came to the notice of Sir William Franklin, then Principal Inspector of Military Hospitals. Franklin persuaded Portelli’s father, Joseph, who was a pharmacist, to allow his son to go and study medicine in London. Portelli joined the Dean Street Anatomical School, founded and run by Prof. Joseph Constantine Carpue (1764-1846), a well-known surgeon who had trained at St. George’s Hospital, London. Gavino Portelli enrolled in the British Army Medical Service as a Hospital Assistant on 6 September 1813, later being promoted to Assistant Surgeon to the 10th Foot Regiment on 26 May 1814. During the British military campaign in Holland (1813-1814), he worked alongside the famous English surgeon, Samuel Cooper (1781-1848). He was probably the first Maltese to study medicine in the U.K., followed by his brother Vincenzo Dionisio who qualified at the University of Edinburgh. He retired from the Army on 24 March 1819, and was appointed Chief Surgeon at the Civil Hospital. Portelli was finally appointed Commissioner and Inspector of Charitable Institutions in May 1858 and retired 7 months later. After a protracted illness, he died on 7 January 1865. Like Agostino Naudi, he began teaching Anatomy as a private tutor, in 1822, applying methods he had learnt from Prof. Carpue in London. It was thanks to his efforts that an anatomical theatre was built in the courtyard of the Civil Hospital between 1822 and 1823. Cf. Il Filologo, 3.xii.1839.

[74] AUM, Letter Book 1825-1836, letter from Rector to Portelli dated 3 February 1834, ff. 119-120. Gavino Patrizio Portelli was probably the first Maltese Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. He is thought to have been awarded his Fellowship in 1816. In a certificate dated 13 July 1829, drawn up in Latin on behalf of Dr Agostino Bonnici, ‘Datum ex aedibus Theatri Anatomici’, Portelli was referring to himself as ‘Socius Collegi Regalis Chirurgorum Londinensis’. Cf. AUM, Miscellanea 1827-1833, f. 14.

[75] AUM, University Council Minutes 1824-1839, 7 January 1836, f. 255. Students informed Council that they were being expected to learn Anatomy ‘senza l’aiuto della dimostrazione sul cadavere’.

[76] Ibid., f. 255. Half an hour’s demonstration on the cadaver of what had been lectured upon previously was not exactly too onerous a task.

[77] AUM, Letter Book 1825-1836, letter from Rosignaud to Hankey dated 3 February 1834, ff. 121-123.

[78] AUM, Miscellanea 1834-1836, letter from Hankey to University Council, f. 6. The English version of this communication reads that Hankey had reported to the Governor ‘the very unsatisfactory and ineffective manner in which Dr Cleardo Naudi has discharged the duties of Professor of Chymistry (sic)’ and therefore it was decided that ‘under the circumstances, the granting of any such pension is entirely out of the question.’ Cf. AUM, Government Letters 1833-1838, f. 97rv.

[79] AUM, University Council Minutes 1829-1839, f 165. ‘Sia convocato un regolare concorso per Martedì 25 corrente secondo i vigenti statuti.’ Among the conditions listed was one that allowed even those applicants without a medical qualification but in possession of ‘il grado di Maestro delle Arte’ to apply and another which stated that voting for the preferred candidate would be carried out by members of the Collegio Medico’‘per cedole private’, i.e. by secret ballot.

[80] MGG 19.ii.1834, 63. The advert, dated 17.ii.1834 under the signature of Rosignaud, stated that the professorship of Chemistry being vacant, the University Council was giving notice ‘that a concourse will be held for filling up the same on Tuesday the 25th instant and on succeeding days as may be required.’ Candidates were to apply between 20 and 24 February.

[81] AUM, Letter Book 1825-1836, 6.iii.1834, f.129. Fenech apparently enjoyed a good reputation as a pharmacist. ‘Riguardo a farmacisti per tacere di tanti crediamo che un Fenech non debba tenersi per chimico inesperto...’ Cf. Il Filologo, 3 Decembre 1839, 23. Fenech ran a very successful pharmacy and laboratory at Fama, no.58 Strada Reale, Valletta, from where he sold, amongst other preparations,’Nunziata’s Thermomineral Versuvian water’ said to have proved beneficial in a wide spectrum of conditions that ranged from asthma to the ‘remains of syphilitic affections!’ Cf. MGG 2.x.1833, 327; ibid., 6.i.1834, 193.

[82] The Collegio Medico (present-day Faculty Board) was made up of the Rector as President and Doctors G. P. Portelli, Stefano Zerafa, Giuseppe Stilon, Luigi Gravagna, Niccolò Randon, Tommaso Chetcuti and Salvatore Bardon.

[83] AUM, Letter Book 1825-1836, f. 129: ‘Esaminato questi regolarmente dal Collegio si è deportato così lodevolmente, che dichiarandosi sodisfattissimo il Medesimo Collegio dell’abilità del Candidato, per acclamazione l’ha creduto degno di venir promosso alla situazione di Professore.

[84] AUM: University Council Minutes 1829-1839, ff. 169-170; Letter Book 1825-1836, f. 130.

[85] Dr Aquilina (1809-1859) was at the time a Demonstrator in Anatomy, a role which he had to cover once more, albeit temporarily, between March 1837 and June 1838, as the candidates that had then applied to fill this post were deemed unqualified. University affairs were at the time under the close scrutiny and control of government and nothing could be done without the Governor’s or his deputy’s approval. Hankey was directed by the Governor himself to write to Council to ensure that Aquilina would double up as a teacher of Anatomy. Aquilina occupied the Chair of Chemistry for twenty-five years.

[86] Ibid., f. 8 and AUM, Government Letters 1833-1838, f. 113. The latter was an English version of the letter written in Italian.

[87] J-B.A. Karr, Les Guepês, January 1849: ‘The more things change the more they remain the same’. He who pays the piper has always called the tune and it is thus not surprising that university autonomy has, over the centuries, been at best enjoyed in a very restrictive and conditional manner.

[88] Gavino Portelli, as professor of Anatomy and Surgery, received £3.15s a month whilst Costantino Schinas’s monthly salary was £4.3s.4d. Cf. AUM, Government Letters 1833-1838, f. 85.

[89] AUM, Letter Book 1825-1836, f. 196.

[90] Ibid., f. 200, ‘avendo il Dr Aquilina per causa di Salute ottenuto il Congedo a potersi assentare da quest’Isola per mesi tre.’

[91] In 1836, Dr Saverio Arpa was appointed to the Chair of Midwifery on the retirement of Dr Agostino Bonnici, who was the first to occupy this Chair between 1833 and 1835. Arpa occupied the Chair of Midwifery until 1858. In 1854, he volunteered his services during the Crimean War and worked as a surgeon at Scutari hospital.

[92] AUM, Letter Book 1833-1838, f. 221. The Lieutenant- Governor, on 29 August 1835, approved ‘the sum of £10 sterling for the services of Dr Saverio Arpa during the indisposition of Dr Gio. Gaetano Aquilina.’

[93] Ibid., ff. 212-213.

[94] Ibid., ff. 234-235.

[95] AUM. Government Letters 1833-1838, f. 241.

[96] Lord Glenelg, a Whig politician, was Secretary of State for the Colonies between 18 April 1835 and 20 February 1839.

[97] Thomas Hodgkin (1798-1866) was one of the most prominent British physicians and pathologists of the nineteenth century. He worked at Guy’s Hospital, London, at the same time as Thomas Addison and Richard Bright. He carried out part of his medical studies at St. Thomas’s and Guy’s Medical Schools (now part of King’s College) but graduated MD at Edinburgh University in 1823. He is best remembered for having been the first to describe the disease that bears his name, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Hodgkin was a highly engaged member of the Society of Friends. He died from dysentery whilst visiting Palestine with Sir Moses Montefiore and was buried at Jaffa.

[98] The scheme to encourage farmers and skilled workers to emigrate to North Africa was originally a French plan, hatched soon after Napoleon’s invasion of Malta; cf. Public Record Office, London, Ref CO158/94. The Report was received at the Colonial Office on 30 March 1836 but was put aside; cf. C.A. Price, Malta and the Maltese: a Study in Nineteenth Century Migration, Melbourne 1954, 43-45.

[99] Sir George Grey (1812-1898) was a Whig politician and colonial administrator. Moved by the plight of the Irish peasants, he became interested in the systematic colonization of Australia and New Zealand. In 1854 he was appointed Governor of Cape Colony in South Africa.

[100] Glenelg and Grey were in charge of the Colonial Office when Mitrovich was in London asking for the reinstating of the Consiglio Popolare; cf. H.I.Lee ‘The Development of the Malta Constitution 1813-1849’, Melita Historica, 1, 1952, 7-18

[101] MGG, 2.viii.1837, 277.