Copyright © The Malta Historical Society, 2005.

Source: Melita Historica : Journal of the Malta Historical Society. 1(1952)1(1-2)

[p.1] Another Step forward

A. Bonnici

With the issue of this first number of Melita Historica the “Malta Historical Society” takes another step forward towards the attainment of its end. The lack of a historical review of this kind has been felt for many years. In fact, ever since the “Historical and Scientific Society” ceased to publish regularly its organ Archivum Melitense, research workers and others interested in the development of historical studies have been discouraged by the lack of a suitable organ for the publication of their individual researches. It is the aim of Melita Historica to provide such an outlet for members and other students of local history.

The important part played by these islands in the Second World War and the increasing interest in our archives shown by English scholars and by learned organisations all over the world have likewise contributed towards a general appreciation of the need for a historical publication aiming at a scientific approach to the study, of Maltese History.

In this first number we cannot but recall that the “Historical and Scientific Society” strove to foster the study of Maltese History, instilling a deep and enlightened love for it through lectures and original contributions appearing in Archivum Melitense. In doing so it set a high standard of achievement which it maintained for many years, earning thereby the respect of Maltese and foreign scholars.

The “Malta Historical Society,” whilst acknowledging the inspiration derived from such an achievement, has set itself a higher ideal. We shall not be satisfied with lectures and papers on topics of local interest, nor will our efforts cease with the publication of a historical journal.

In our inaugural address to the Society ,we enumerated some of the activities which we expect our members to perform and, besides the reading of papers and the publication of a journal, we had stressed the imperative need of compiling a catalogue of all publications — printed books, pamphlets or periodical articles — and of manuscripts dealing with any aspect of Maltese History. Through the voluntary and generous work of some of our members, a card-index of articles appearing in various periodicals, both local and foreign, has been started. This work is still proceeding.

On the same occasion we also pointed out that the publication of outstanding historical documents and other source material would prove [p.2] very useful to the future historian and would add an invaluable tool to the inadequate stock of research apparata in Malta.

Melita Historica seeks to attain this fourfold aim: it will publish articles of local historical interest, news of the Society’s activities, bibliographies of new publications concerning Malta, and textual reproduction of important documents of Maltese History. The first two features will appeal to those who are interested in local history in general and who wish to follow the progress of the Society; the other two will prove invaluable to more advanced students and to those who have some original contribution to make to the subject.

In addition to works already undertaken, the “Malta Historical Society” aims at compiling a National Register of Archives, be they pertaining to Government or to the Archiepiscopal Court, to the Holy Inquisition or to the Order of St. John, to the Cathedral or Collegiate Chapters, to Monasteries or to Ecclesiastical Institutions, to private families or to individuals.

In due course the Society will also undertake other historical enterprises which will be specified later on.

It is our earnest desire that, besides providing bibliographical aid for research workers and serving as a training ground for future historians, Melita Historica will promote a love of our history and traditions and will set an ideal attractive enough to enable us to face and overcome the many difficulties that lie ahead.