Copyright The Malta Historical Society, 2005.

Source: Melita Historica : Journal of the Malta Historical Society. 1(1952)1(55)

[p.55] Political Parties in Malta following on the Rising against the French. Public Lecture delivered by Professor W. Ganado at the Royal University of Malta Library on the 4th December, 1951.

In this lecture Professor Ganado reviewed the political scene in Malta from the 2nd September, 1798 up to the formation of the Maltese Congress in February, 1799. During these months the Maltese Islands were virtually independent, being governed by the Maltese Provisional Government centred on Imdina, and with a local governing body looking after the needs of each village.

There were various motives influencing the leaders of the Maltese in their stand against the French. There was at first a strong pro-Order party, which included among its supporters, such prominent figures as Teuma-Castelletti, Depiro and Manduca. Of these, Count Manduca later on came forward with the idea of turning Valletta into an international port and raising Malta to the status of an independent country supported by the European nations.

There was also the pro-Russian party which, after the unsuccessful plot within Valletta headed by Captain Lorenzi and supported by Dun Mikiel Xerri, became more or less identified in the minds of the Maltese with the pro-Order party. This state of affairs provided ample scope for the furtherance of the aims of the pro-British party, with Canon F.S. Caruana, Antonio Parnis and Ċensu Borg, Braret, at its head. Pro-British feeling was fanned by the clever Captain Ball, culminating in the hoisting of the British flag by Braret. The moves and counter-moves leading to this significant event were clearly, presented by the lecturer.

The wide range of the lecture may be seen from the following list of headings dealt with by the lecturer: the Constitution of the Provisional Government, the appeals to Sicily and Sicilian help, Russian and British aims on Malta, the political parties and pro-British propaganda, the work of Ball, Vincenzo Borg Braret, the hoisting of the British Flag and the reform of Congress.

This lecture forms part of a more extensive study on which Professor Ganado has been working for some years and it is hoped that the complete work will be published before long. The inclusion, in the form of appendices, of the various letters and documents which the lecturer has been able to bring together from printed, archive and private sources will be of inestimable value to future students, while the provision of a detailed analytical index for ease of reference will greatly enhance the practical value of the work.

J.[oseph] C.[assar] P.[ullicino]