HC Deb 25 April 1901 vol 92 cc1305-6

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that his direction, dated 13th March, 1899, to the Governor of Malta to proclaim the substitution of the English for the Italian language in Malta in all legal proceedings, has created discontent among the population, and has been the subject of protest by the elected members of the Council of Government of Malta to the Governor against this substitution of the English for the Italian language; what reply did he give on his visit to Malta last November to the deputation of the representatives of the Maltese people who waited on him for the purpose of urging on Her late Majesty's Government the inadvisability of the enforcement of the English language on the inhabitants of Malta; and whether, having regard to the opposition offered to the intended substitution of English for Italian in Malta in the proceedings of the courts of justice, which began twenty years ago, and to the fact that the Italian language has been the educational language of the Maltese for the last nine centuries, and that the use of the language by its user in the Proclamations of the Governors and the command of William IV. when granting a commission for the codification of the Maltese laws that the Italian laguage should be the authorised text of the code, His Majesty's Government will refrain from the enforcement in Malta of the English in substitution for the Italian language.


The hon. Member's question does not correctly state the facts, which I have already explained in my answer to previous questions on the 7th and 10th December last.† I have no reason to believe that any discontent exists among the population of Malta, and by the last return I find that the parents of the children in the elementary schools of Malta have to the extent of 98 or 99 per cent. elected for English in preference to Italian. As I have already stated, the subject to which the hon. Member refers was not mentioned at my interview with the elected members in Malta. I see no reason to modify the position which His Majesty's Government have adopted.

MR. POWER (Waterford, E.)

When will the correspondence be laid on the Table?


I hope very shortly; it is being prepared.