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To What Extent Was the Treaty of Amiens a Negation of All the Maltese Had Tried to Achieve During the Insurrection?

Autor:   •  November 23, 2017  •  1,385 Words (6 Pages)  •  227 Views

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The conditions agreed upon by France and Britain had a big impact on the Maltese. First and foremost was the decision for the restoration of the Order with a new Grandmaster. Secondly, neutrality was to be guaranteed by all the great powers. The King of Sicily had to be the main protector providing half of the soldiers safeguarding Maltese neutrality. Moreover, neutrality was extended to trade, and there could no French or English langues so as to ensure neutrality. There would also be the creation of a Maltese langue with no requirements of nobility. Apart from this, half of the officers, soldiers and civil servants had to be Maltese.

To the Maltese, the treaty of Amiens meant that they had fought against the Order and the French for nothing, as if the Order returned to Malta, due to it being a weakened institution, the French might eventually seize the opportunity to reinvade Malta. The Maltese protested also because to them, the treaty meant that the agreement they had reached with Britain to be under their rule was broken. The Maltese wanted British sovereignty and wanted to be treated as partners not as a conquered territory. Thus they wanted to have a say in decisions regarding the future of their Islands, and to be able to actively participate in the running of the country by having a local government. After all, if they were able to run Malta by means of the Congresso during the Insurrection, they could surely run Malta under normal conditions.

The Maltese political elite, who had been the leaders during the insurrection, had an especially negative reaction to the treaty as they knew what they wanted for the country and the treaty would mean that all their efforts to emancipate Malta would be to no avail, as they would be back to square one with the Order in power. As a result, the elite decided to form a draft of what they wished to have, which was entitled: The Declaration of Rights of the Inhabitants of the Islands of Malta and Gozo. Amongst the rights they demanded were the right to have Great Britain as the lawful sovereign while the General Congress composed of Maltese representatives elected by the Maltese themselves would have an active participation in the running of the country. An important right was that of no interference in religious matters while also being able to practise one's religion of choice, not that imposed by the sovereign.

The Declaration of Rights, which was actually quite similar to that of the French, was an assertion, but it reduced the bargaining power of the Maltese with the British because they expressed unlimited loyalty to Britain which later on hindered the quests for rights.

To conclude, we can say that the Treaty of Amiens was a negation of all that the Maltese population had achieved in 1798 to 1800. However, in actual fact, the treaty did not come into effect as the British decided to stay in Malta. What the treaty did not negate, was the Maltese protonationalism which emerged during the period of the French sojourn in Malta, as one can observe that the Maltese worked together to preserve all that made them Maltese, while also trying to assert themselves as a quest for independence.

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