HL Deb 14 June 1877 vol 234 cc1755-6

asked the noble Lord the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether he will lay on the Table of the House the Correspondence that has passed since the close of the last Session of Parliament to the present date between the Colonial Office, the Governor of the Island of Malta, and the members of the Maltese Nobility, relative to certain grievances of which the last-named complained?


said, that the reason why Papers on this subject had not as yet been presented, was because the Correspondence to which the Question of his noble Friend referred had not been completed. He was unable to say definitely when he would be able to produce that Correspondence; but he hoped that in a month or six weeks, the matter would have reached such a stage that he could lay the Papers on the Table. The question upon which they bore arose out of the recent visit of the Prince of Wales to Malta and the principal point at issue was whether the Maltese Nobility should, upon such an occasion, walk in public procession before or after the Representatives of the Chamber of Commerce. Upon this par- titular point he had given a decision which, he hoped, would be so far satisfactory to the Maltese Nobility; and that was, that he agreed to their taking precedence, on any occasion of the kind, of the Chamber of Commerce, in accordance with a course which had been sanctioned by Sir Henry Stokes when he was Governor of Malta. A list of those who claimed the privilege in question had been furnished; but it gave rise to questions which a Commission—of which two learned Judges were among the Members—had been appointed to determine, and the inquiry was now proceeding. Their Report when received would be included in the documents to be produced. He was extremely desirous that the Maltese Nobility should be declared entitled to privileges which they very naturally highly valued.