HC Deb 20 May 1878 vol 240 c263

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, What information has been received regarding recent manifestations of public feeling in Malta; and, what steps have been or are about to be taken in consequence thereof?


On May 15 the Governor of Malta telegraphed that there was great popular excitement and a demonstration against a Vote of £7,000 which he had proposed to the Council for drainage works which have for some time been in course of construction and against any alteration of the taxation, and added that a deputation had waited on him asking for suspension of action pending a reply to the Petition to the House of Commons. He was reminded, in reply, that with regard to the taxation question all that had been at present desired was public discussion, and that any proposals for a change in the law should stand over until his successor assumed the government next month, but that means must be provided to meet such portion of the cost of the drainage works now in progress as would be required during the present year. These works were undertaken because they were considered essential to the health both of the garrison and the civilian inhabitants. A large portion of their cost will fall on Imperial funds, and it is only right that the locality should bear its share. I may add that I do not gather from the Governor's telegram that any disturbance has occurred; but, of course, he will take all necessary measures for the preservation of the peace.