Reform of the Civil Administration, Revenue, and Expenditure of the Government of Malta, conformably to the actual limited resources of that island, its reduced trade, and the small means of its inhabitants, made on the most economical scale, without prejudice to the Mother Country. Recommended to the consideration of the British Govern- ment, By GEORGE Min:omen, a native of Malta, now in London.
There should be established in the Island of Malta a Council, in which there should be a competent number of members elected by the people, such as it was intended formerly to establish for the good government of the island, and the Content and happiness of the Maltese, as well as their harmony and good under- standing with the local authorities in that island. No taxes or duties should be levied, no laws should be enacted or altered, and no situations created or abo- lished, nor any thing else relating to the legislature of that island should be established without the necessary discussions, debate, and deliberation of the Mid Council, in which the Governor must preside.
There should be a constitution framed, adapted to the present times and to the extreme wants of the Maltese, conformably to the liberal and just laws of Great Britain.
The codes that are now framing in Malta, it is generally expected, will not meet the wishes of the inhabitants, as the persona charged with that duty, five in number, are subservient to Government, and have a salary, so that, notwith- standing their ability and their undoubted probity, they are not at liberty to aa as they would wish.
A moderate press would be very useful to the island, and the Maltese expect it from a liberal nation like the English. The progress of intellect must not be checked, particularly in the island of Malta, which has been so much ne- glected.
The University, so important an establishment for the education of youth, should be rendered entirely free, as formerly, and be maintained by its own re. venue, without imposing any tax on the students. Its property now existing in the hands of the Government should be restored, and administered according to the dispositions of the National Council.
An independent board for public health should he established for the safety and security of the island, as well as to render its proceedings more accredited on the Continent for the benefit of the trade, and of travellers going from Malta to the ports of Europe. There should not be any civil officers admitted into the same, nor the Governor himself, but all should be independent persons nominated by the Council.
On account of the depressed and deplorable state of the island of Malta, the present revenue of from 100,0001. to 110,000/. is considered very heavy and quite impossible to be continued to be raised, the inhabitants being re- duced to the lowest ebb of destitution and misery. To relieve the island as much as possible without prejudice to the Government of the Mother Country, the following reductions might be recommended.
The revenue could be raised from only three branches, which are the most important in the island, viz. land revenue, excise on wine and spirits, and duty on foreign grain. Every other imposition, as the excise on transfer of landed property, the heavy fees and charges of the different tribunals, licenses, custom- house, ports, quarantine, and various other contingencies, should cease entirely, so as to render the place perfectly free, and its harbours open to the trade, with- out any restriction whatever, except the duties on the two heads above-men- tioned, viz. excise on wine and spirits and grain, which are very considerable, and heavy enough for the trade of Malta. The production of these three branches may be calculated as follows.
Full and equitable rent for every individual without distinction or par- tiality whatever, either civil officers, military, or inhabitants, taking advantage of every space of public property, without superfluity of ex- penses either for repairs or accommodation to the government-officers. The whole, if well administered, together with various other receipts of different descriptions, would bring £35,00
.Excise on Wine and Spirits.
The actual duty on common wine is considered for Malta very heavy; this being the beverage of the poor, and as such of the whole population, as every one is become poor (no beer is used, on account of its high price): this should be reduced as much as possible, increasing that on
superior wines, liquors, and spirits ; the whole would produce £15,000
The present duty falls very heavy on the population, and a reduction can- not but justly be strongly recommended, bringing down the amount upon the whole revenue of this department (encouraging the English flag for the importation of grain with a moderate difference in the duty) to £20,000 £70,080 With this amount all the Civil Government expenses and the Royal Malta, Fencible Regiment could be deft aycd, without being of any weight to the 5lothen Country, provided the extravagant and insupportable salaries and high pensions and other superfluous heavy charges which fall so hard upon the population, to. the extreme disgust and annoyance of the Maltese, and which could be dispensed with without the least inconvenience to the island, be discontinued.
Governor, or Lieutenant-Governor, or Acting Lieutenant-Governor, the title would be of no consequence for Malta £3,000' Chief Secretary 800 Audit Colonial Office in England 700 Agent to reside in England for the Maltese, appointed by the National Council 500 Royal Malta Fencibles 11,000
Salaries of the Judges, Civil Officers, and other persons employed under Government, to be all Maltese, as formerly, with very few exceptions, which would be but just, and what they are entitled to. The highest salary for any officer should not exceed 300T., which is a fair allowance for a place like Malta ; and for any family living with proper economy, where the rent, the living and every thing is very cheap, and would be a great deal cheaper if the price of bread be reduced according to the present statement. A wise measure would be to employ as many Maltese as possible, with moderate salaries, increasing those of a great many individuals that are employed under Government, whose salaries are not sufficient for daily subsistence—a tremendous contrast with
those who enjoy a profusion of salaries, fixed by caprice or interest The whole would be 30,000 The remainder would be sufficient for the hospitals, charitable institu- tions, moderate pensions, and other contingencies* 24,000 £70,000 Any other elucidation required, could be furnished by the author immediately ; lie being well informed and provided with documents respecting the island of Malta, his native country.
If this reform be considered practicable, as there is every reason to hope it would be, being the most adapted for the present critical situation of the island, the Maltese will be extremely gratified ; the Government and the British Parlia- ment will not be troubled with any more petitions front them ; and the possession of Malta will be more secure than it is now in the hands of Great Britala. Past oppression will be entirely forgotten; and the Maltese and the English will form only one body of people attached to each other as brethren for ever, and ready to defend the island to the last extremity, blessing the moment of ham,' become so attached ; and a new :era of prosperity and happiness will commence from the very moment of the adoption of this reasonable plan.
London, 121h Aupist 1835. • nut in case this SUM should not be sufficient, the National Council would raise the deficiency by means less aggravating to the population, without affecting the trade. which, in the island, of Malta particularly, should be encouraged as much as possible.