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A few detectives would be very useful: crime, immorality, and policing in Valletta, 1881-1914.

For the administrators of British colonies, dealing with crime amongst colonial populations presented a dilemma. On the one hand, the administration of government in an imagined social entity that was the British Empire suggested the need for a uniform system of policing. Models imported from England would be extended to populations across the world as a means of bringing the benefits of "civilization" and solving problems in colonial societies. (1) On the other hand, British administrators were far from convinced that English models worked equally well across the continents. Perceptions of local populations, shaped by imperial social attitudes, led to the idea that people differed in one or more ways from English people, and called for improvisation. This was no clearer than in India where British authorities "discovered" criminal tribes and invented fingerprint identification as a means of surveillance. (2)

In Malta, the authorities encountered a society where criminal activity rarely occurred. British travelers from the late eighteenth century throughout most of the nineteenth century commented on the absence of crime. The Maltese were understood to be reserved and hard-working, tempted by criminality only when faced with the prospect of starvation owing to severe economic conditions. By the late nineteenth century, however, Malta was thought to have developed a crime problem. The problem occurred in Valletta, the capital, where drunkenness, prostitution, and gambling jeopardized military and political ambitions. Furthermore, it had become apparent that this was not an indigenous problem, but rather had been provoked by the large number of British sailors and soldiers in the city. While the British could, and did, see their own government as solving Valletta's crime problem, it also became more dilficult to avoid acknowledging the British presence as the cause of the problem.

This essay reviews crime, immorality, and policing in Valletta during the last decades of the nineteenth and first decade of the twentieth century. The discussion examines the nature and scope of the city's "crime problem", the alleged sources of the problem, and the solutions proposed to address it. Reference is made throughout this discussion to the domestic English context which informed authorities in Malta, although public immorality presented a concern for different reasons in Valletta than cities in England. First, some background about the city and crime and policing during the British period.

Valletta, Crime and Policing

Malta is a small island located in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily, north of Tunisia, and about midway between Gibraltar and Jerusalem. From 1530 until 1798, it was ruled by the Knights of the Order of St John of Jerusalem. Pope Pius IV gave the Knights permission to fortify Malta and provided financial support for building a capital city. The Vatican dispatched its top civil engineer, and the monarchs of Spain, Portugal and France sent cash and equipment. Grand Master Jean de la Valette chose a promontory rising steeply from the sea, and overlooking deep blue-water harbors on each side, Marsamxett and the Grand Harbour. The Knights used the abundant local supply of honey-colored limestone to build fortifications, aqueducts, palaces, plazas, churches, colonnades, hospitals and grand houses. The plans called for straight streets and regular blocks of buildings, to enable defense against Moorish or Turkish invaders. (3)

Most of the buildings went up in the late sixteenth century. The Order of St John drew its membership from the leading families of Europe, and each of the nationalities built their own auberges or palaces. Italian and Spanish Knights located their auberges inside Porta Reale (the city gate), the French knights along Strada Reale (the main thoroughfare), and the German Knights chose the north end, not far from the Jewish ghetto. Valette built his palace, in the center of the city, and subsequent grand masters surrounded it with their own projects. Grand Master la Cassiere built the great hospital of Sacra Infermia, reputed to be the best in Europe during its first decades of service. He also built the conventual Church of St John where the history of the Order would be installed on hundreds of marble slabs in the floor laid in memory of Knights who had fallen in their war against Islam. In the early seventeenth century, the Ursoline nuns established their convent opposite the great hospital. In the eighteenth century, Grand Master de Vilhena built the Manoel Theatre; when it opened in 1731, it was only the third theatre in Europe. Also, in the eighteenth century, Grand Master Pinto commissioned the university building and rebuilt the Castellania palace. This building contained halls of justice, cells for prisoners awaiting trial, and a chapel. The Great Prison, on Strada San Cristoforo, housed Turkish slaves and those sentenced to the galleys. "The police indeed is much better regulated than the neighbouring countries" remarked an English traveler in 1773, "and assassinations and robberies are very uncommon; the last of which the grandmaster punishes with utmost severity." (4)

Early in the nineteenth century, Britain decided to establish a permanent naval presence in the Mediterranean. In 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte, while en route to Egypt, had claimed Malta for France. French troops banished the Order of St John from the island and declared the natives citizens of the republic. But French forces ransacked Malta's churches for treasure and alienated the Maltese. The Maltese forced out the French, and, to prevent Bonaparte's return, asked the Royal Navy to intervene. Although Admiral Nelson did not see much of strategic value in the island, British forces took possession in 1800, if only to thwart French ambitions. The Grand Harbour became increasingly important in circumventing Bonaparte's continental system, and Malta became in 1814 a crown colony within the British Empire. The first British governor, Sir Thomas Maitland, claimed property formerly held by the Knights for the British Crown. The escutcheons of the Knights came down and the royal coat of arms went up. For the most part, the colonial administration appropriated the buildings of the Knights. The palace of the grand masters became the colonial governor's residence. The Castellania became the law courts and gaol for those awaiting trial, and the Great Prison, the place of confinement for those sentenced to imprisonment. But, British civil engineers added several buildings to Valletta. Following a visit to Malta in 1839, Queen Adelaide decided to finance the building of a church for British residents. The gothic spires of St Paul's collegiate church joined the landscape of sixteenth-century baroque. During the 1860s, the Royal Opera House was built on Strada Reale, from plans prepared by Charles Barry, best known for his Houses of Parliament in London. (5)

Crime, throughout most of the nineteenth century, was not seen as a problem. Property crime did increase during the 1830s, but this occurred in the countryside, not Valletta. In 1836, the Colonial Office dispatched John Austin and George C. Lewis to Malta to carry out a royal enquiry into discontent with the government. Their reports covered a catalog of issues including freedom of the press, institutions of public education, and employment of Maltese in civil service posts. They prefaced their proposals concerning the police, appellate courts, and prison with an abstract on the state of the poor. Austin and Lewis described a system of tenant farming, with worsening conditions (due to the collapse of the cotton trade), and as a consequence, an increase of thefts. They prepared detailed proposals for staffing and organization of the police force and coast guard, and recommended redeployment of police from Valletta. The crime problem took place in the countryside where there were few police and where gangs of thieves kept victims from cooperating in prosecution efforts. (6)

Even then, visitors were led to comment on the absence of serious crime. In his History of the British Possessions in the Mediterranean (1837), R. Montgomery Martin observed: "In the criminal court it does not appear that there is much business of a serious nature. The common offence is stealing and pilfering; but there is a remarkable absence of all crimes of a very aggravated nature". (7) Absence of crime accorded with views of Maltese as hard-working, law-abiding, disciplined people, particularly the women. To visitors, Maltese women appeared much like nuns. Joseph Beldham, an English barrister, remarked on their "half monastic" costume, the faldetta. Made of black silk, or coarser fabric for poorer women, this cloak covered the entire body and partially veiled the face. All Maltese women wore this when in public, at least from the time of Knights when it had been promulgated. (8) In the late nineteenth century, the compiler of the census felt compelled, in remarks on the small number of women prisoners, to point our: "The above number of prisoners is exceedingly small, naturally so because Female criminals are very rare in Malta." (9)

The problem in Valletta, to the extent there was a problem, had to do with beggars. "What interested me ..." Hans Christian Andersen said of visit to Malta in 1840, "was the people--the half-veiled countrywomen, whose eyes flashed behind the veil, the crowd of ragged beggars, and the many foreign sailors who had hired horses and galloped by in their white hats." (10) William Makepeace Thackeray, who visited Malta in September 1844, described his reception in the Grand Harbour by "little tubs in which some naked, tawny young beggars came paddling up to the steamer". And, among the palaces, churches, and "London shops" of Strada Reale, "professional beggars run shrieking after the stranger." (11) By the early twentieth century, the police still complained about beggars. The police report for 1904-5 mentions the "great number of street arabs" who "infest the streets, causing trouble to police, and a nuisance to the public." (12)

Generally, the British administration concerned itself with military and political objectives and could he surprisingly indifferent to domestic and local issues. Crime prevention never really emerged as a priority. The authorities in Malta, as in other colonies, took an interest in police organization to the extent that it helped achieve a particular goal: order. (13) At the same time, Malta became too important as a military base for the government to regard the Maltese as they did other colonial populations. They did not want to repeat the French mistake. They could not afford to alienate the people as any military defense of the island would require their active support. The awareness of Malta as a "fortress colony" informed decision making about wider issues, including immorality and crime. (14)

In 1849, Governor Richard More O'Ferrall carried out a reorganisation of the police, prompted by concerns about public order. The previous governor, Patrick Stuart, had managed to create a political crisis out of domestic peace. An adherent of the Church of Scotland, he had curtailed celebrations of the traditional festa surrounding Ash Wednesday because the first day fell on Sunday. When a crowd gathered under Stuart's window at the palace, he called on the 42nd Regiment to "disperse the mob" leading to some 28 arrests. He was replaced by O'Ferrall, Malta's first Catholic governor. From the time he arrived, O'Ferrall pursued a series of civic reforms including opening a civic hospital, a prison at Corradino, village dispensaries, and a police modeled after "the English police force". He reduced the number of officers, increased the number of constables, and established a system of promotion to attract "a better class". He convinced the Colonial Office to expand the number of police overall with the argument that the population on the island was increasing and a large number of strangers were coming to Malta given steam navigation. (15)

By 1881, Valletta had a population of about 24,000. There were 21 hotels and lodging houses, 7 convents, 17 bakeries, 9 schools and colleges, 6 pharmacies, 2 theaters, 232 shops and 134 stores, in addition to an archaeological museum, public library, and covered market. (16) During the next few years, the city acquired electric lights, railway service, and motorized buses. In 1882, the committee charged with reviewing proposals to replace gas lamps for lighting the streets, decided to delay agreement of a contract pending the outcome of experiments underway in England, Europe and America for "a new lighting medium". (17) Initial attempts to set up an electric power station failed, but by 1896, a functioning electric light system began operation. In 1883, railway service began from Valletta to Mdina, and the main railway station opened across from the Royal Opera House near the Porta Reale. Motor ferry service also became available about this time. The ferry provided cheap service, across the harbor (Marsamxett), between Valletta and Sliema. In 1903, the Electric Tram Company opened three lines connecting Valletta with Birkikara, the Three Cities, and Zebbug. "Whatever old Valletta may have been," Ralph Richardson remarked in 1906, "modern Valletta has totally changed for the better." He described a fine stone city with broad streets, excellent shops, comfortable hotels, and handsome houses with "widely-spreading suburbs, electric tramways, motor-omnibuses and a general appearance of prosperity." The streets of the city were clean, well-kept, and well-lighted; the population quiet, sober, well-dressed and industrious. (18) Similarly, the Royal Commission on Finances, Economic Position and Judicial Procedures (1912) envisioned Malta as a winter resort for Europeans who desired health, pleasure and sunshine. "Valletta is the cleanest, and in situation and architecture, one of the most beautiful, of the cities of the Mediterranean." (19)

Drunkenness, Prostitution, and Gambling

Nevertheless, beginning in the 1880s, local observers identified a crime problem of troubling dimensions. Valletta represented the site for an unsettling alliance of immoral activities: drunkenness, prostitution, and gambling.

Concern focused on the population of sailors and soldiers. Crews of the Mediterranean Fleet numbered some 7,000 in 1891 and climbed to more than 10,000 in the years before the First World War. (20) In 1911, there were 7653 officers and men garrisoned in the city, including the Royal Garrison Artillery, Royal Engineers, 2nd Devonshire, and 2nd Somerset Light Infantry. (21) Immorality acquired significance owing to the "threat" to the military. The fear that fighting men might not be fit enough to defend the British Empire drove anxieties about the night-time economy. This was analogous to the situation in England during the 1870s when social critics feared the craving for drink and cheap amusement on the part of the poor would engulf civilized London. Political and social commentators worried the distinction between the respectable working class and "the residuum" would become blurred beyond delineation. (22)

In 1880, Sir Penrose Julyan determined Valletta had a surplus of "grogshops". He spent three months in Malta preparing a report for the Colonial Office on the administration of civil establishments. The police issued licenses for the sale of wine and spirits, and before 1873, efforts of philanthropists to minimize grant of licenses prevented widespread proliferation of shops. But Valletta had an over-supply and this produced an unfavorable effect on sailors and soldiers. "Nothing but needless temptation is thrown their way by the low houses which face them whenever they pass out of their barracks," Julyan said. The competition led to adulteration of beer, wines, and spirits served, and also to the "exhibition of such allurements as may come from the presence of women." The costumes of barmaids, as well as their words and gestures, left no doubt as to their character. (23) Clement Laprimaudaye, the superintendent of police, used the issue of drunkenness to ask for a new central police station "worthy of the capital of the island". The several small stations afforded little advantage as they did not provide adequate space for the constables and undermined morale. "They become receptacles for drunken men wherein to sleep off the effects of their excess, and lounges for every busy body who gets mixed up in a quarrel or disturbance." (24)

The governor appointed a committee in 1902, chaired by A. Naudi, the crown advocate, to enquire into regulations concerning the sale of wines and spirits. The Naudi committee in Malta was modeled after the Royal Commission on Liquor Licensing Laws (1896-8) in Britain. The Royal Commission, chaired by Viscount Sidney Peele, examined the labyrinth of licensing provisions with the overall aim of reducing the number of licensed premises. The commissioners look evidence about the ratios of pubs to the number of people in England, Scotland and Ireland and attempted to derive a national average. In Malta, the Naudi committee attempted to calculate the average yearly consumption of spirits, beer, and wines, but this was complicated by the very different drinking patterns of the residents. The local Maltese population preferred wine and the soldiers and sailors, beer; the military population consumed 20 percent of the wine and 70 per cent of the beer. (25) The committee investigated concerns about price and quality; there were rumors local shopkeepers added water or alcohol. They concluded most of the beer was imported from England and supplied to naval and military canteens; retailers did add water. Wines came from Spain and Greece, and while shopkeepers did mix weak and strong wines, they did not add alcohol. The committee heard from military officers, shopkeepers, and importers. Dr G.B. Mifsud, a magistrate, explained that while Englishmen consumed less alcohol than Maltese, drunkenness was more frequent among them. Military officials did not deny that drunkenness was a problem but tended to see it as a feature of conditions in Valletta. Sergeant William Porter testified that grogshops remained open until 3 am when the Fleet was in, and that drunkenness on the part of soldiers was greater in Malta than he had seen in Egypt or India. Sergeant John Kefford agreed. There was more drunkenness in Valletta than Dublin due to the cheapness of the alcohol, the great number of public-houses, and the quartering of men close together. (26)

Tancred Curmi, the superintendent of police at the time of the enquiry, supplied the committee with official figures concerning the number of grogshops. There were 254 licensed premises in Valletta: 8 hotels, 19 restaurants, 7 bottle license, 65 grocery shops, 38 common wine shops, and 155 grogshops. Although that certainly seemed to be an alarming number, Curmi could not accept that it was excessive. Whenever the government called attention to the number of grogshops, it tended to take "a partial view of the problem instead of tackling it both from civilian and military points of view at the same time." As he explained, the number of grogshops should be subdivided into those frequented by military, 41, and those by civilians, 114. He did not think that 41 grogshops for soldiers and sailors constituted an oversupply, although he did suggest the number frequented by civilians should be reduced to 70 or 80. (27) Curmi alluded to difference between British Malta and Maltese Malta. Despite the presence of significant numbers of British in the city, the two nationalities did not mix. Entertainment operated on different lines. English society found plenty to occupy itself and a little money went along way. Officers could afford a trap and ponies, drive tandem, play polo, ride in races, keep a box at the opera, and purchase tickets for club dances. The Malta Union Club, located in the former Auberge de Provence, opened in 1826 for officers in the Royal Navy, Army and Marines. (28)

For more than one public official, the problem of grogshops was not only that they encouraged drunkenness but also prostitution. Public debate included a great deal of discussion about whether women should be allowed to work in them. In England, temperance activists saw the public-house primarily as an institutional means for spreading intemperance, vice and immoral behavior. The barmaid represented the "beater of glamour" who sexualized the pub as public space. She was taken to be "a moral casualty, fatally vulnerable to drink, seduction and worse." Abstinence campaigners conceded that women employed in pubs were not necessarily of low character to begin with but insisted the circumstances of their employment corrupted them. The women were employed to attract men, and when their novelty wore off as hucksters for drinks, they found themselves unemployed and liable to descend into prostitution. (29) The sexualized nature of the grogshop alarmed authorities in Malta as well. Fallen women presented a particular moral hazard because of their power to contaminate men in both moral and physical senses. Provost Sergeant H. Jackson told Naudi's committee that prostitutes from lower Valletta frequented grogshops until three or four o'clock in the morning. Soldiers were taken to private rooms where they could purchase drinks and sex. (30)

The leader of the Reform Party, Sigismondo Savona, raised the issue in the Council of Government. He asked the chief secretary to government, Gerald Strickland, to furnish the number of women of ill-fame residing in various streets of Valletta, including major thoroughfares of Strada Reale, Mercanti, and San Nicola. Strickland agreed that women of this description had been seen in these areas. (31) The admiral and commander in chief of the Mediterranean Fleet complained to Governor Fremantle about prostitutes in Valletta. Prostitutes in Strada San Andrea created "extreme nuisance and indecency" for his family and other military staff in the neighborhood. As he frequently passed that way, he was "continually called out to, and solicited to enter, and beckoned to. ..." On one recent occasion, he informed a police constable and testified before the magistrate. But no action was taken as the magistrate determined no violation of public morality occurred. He urged the governor to see the presence of these prostitutes--in their houses, walking the streets, smoking on door-steps--for the public scandal he believed it really was. (32)

In addition to anxieties about excessive drinking and commercial sex, the British government of Malta worried about gambling. In 1894, Governor Fremantle directed the superintendent of police, Laprimaudaye, to investigate reports. There was a great deal of gambling going on in Valletta, the governor said, and most of it took place in grogshops and unlicensed houses. Laprimaudaye was sceptical. Games took place in these establishments, and so long as they were not "games of hazard" they were not against the law. It was difficult for the police to distinguish card games from betting at card games, and the only way to avoid this would be to make card games themselves illegal. (33) Rumors of gambling continued. In 1907, the governor directed the police to warn the proprietors of the Melita Club on Strada Zaccaria action would be taken if they permitted gambling to take place. The police closed the club, but when the governor learned it had re-opened, he asked the police to intervene again. The superintendent of police replied that no gambling took place at the Melita Club and suggested the governor's source for the information was bogus. The informant who had claimed to see "many officers frequenting the place daily and falling into ruin" did not exist. (34)

Gambling establishments may have attracted more serious criminal activity. The police did report in 1907 an attempted murder at a gambling house. Two brothers, along with a third partner, had started a gambling house on Strada San Ursola. These premises were "the resort of bad characters" and the police had prosecuted repeatedly. The incident occurred when the third partner, concerned the brothers wanted to get rid of him, drew a pistol, fired five shots, and wounded each of the brothers. (35) But more likely, gambling presented a problem owing to the views of Gerald Strickland. He was a Catholic of "strict and even rigorous personal morality" and made use of his extensive influence in Maltese politics to impose his personal view on Maltese society. Early in his career as chief secretary to government, he initiated a crusade to prohibit tombolas, and when a few members of the Council of Government sought to relax these restrictions, he lashed out. He affirmed his opposition to "this most infamous system of public gambling." Never, he insisted, had the government sponsored such activity as those in favor had claimed. The superintendent of police used to be present at many transactions connected with tombolas in order to prevent the commission of crimes, given the dishonesty and immorality that accompanied a game in which the sponsors held out unequal chances. "The same arguments," Strickland thundered, "that hold against the importation of bar-maids for low grog-shops hold equally good in any opinion against any system of public gambling." (36)

Social Sources of Immorality

The military presence in Valletta certainly presented a problem, but whether soldiers and sailors were seen as perpetrators or victims depended on the point of view. Perceived sources of immorality included the alleged character of the Maltese, the influx of foreigners, and a faltering prison system.

As far the military authorities were concerned, the problem of prostitution had to do with the immorality of women. British reaction followed the pattern of response in other colonies; military authorities chose to focus on the health threat to their personnel posed by what they saw as an indigenous problem of fallen women rather than acknowledge the impact of colonial rule on local society. (37) Captains of ships in the harbor complained to the superintendent of police about the prevalence of venereal disease contracted when men came ashore in Valletta. The police, Laprimaudaye insisted, made "strenuous efforts" to detect and subject to medical examination women infected with the disease, but the women changed their dwellings every two or three days. Most of the women were not registered prostitutes and the men were seldom able to identify them. (38) Tancred Curmi echoed Laprimaudaye's statement about unregistered prostitutes. There were 152 registered prostitutes in 1903. "This number is exceedingly low," he explained, because a number of women not on the register were "practically prostitutes." The number of women engaged in "clandestine prostitution" was already large and increasing daily. (39)

There was some speculation about the racial traits of the people. Sir Donald MacKenzie, who visited Malta as assistant private secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York on their imperial tour in 1901, offered his appraisal of Maltese character. The character of the Spaniard in Gibraltar was "dignified and taciturn" while the Maltese had "more of the mercurial south-Italian temperament." Another difference of the Maltese was the "want of respect for constituted authority. Like the Greek and the Levantines generally, he is always inclined to defy and annoy the police, and police often have great difficulty in preserving order." Although the rule of English law had improved the situation, the authorities had reason to complain about the "insubordinate spirit of certain classes." MacKenzie detected this insubordinate spirit as the royal procession passed along. (40) Ralph Richardson offered a similar assessment in the Scottish Geographical Magazine (1906), although not with the same implication of law-breaking. Although the British had been in Malta since 1800, the Maltese were only "superficially Anglicised". Not only did they persist in using their strange, uncouth language, but their religious customs ran to extremes unknown in England or even Europe. With regard to the character and habits of the Maltese, he had been apprised that while "good and gentle", they never-the-less lacked the "best qualities of the British working classes". (41)

But any British observer who had reasonable contact with Maltese society arrived at a different conclusion, particularly about the morality of women. In a series of articles about life in Malta, a naval officer described the Maltese as "sober and industrious, law abiding and remarkably intelligent." They did not seek over-indulgence at grogshops for amusement, but preferred activities associated with religious festivals, including processions, illuminations, and music. (42) John Wignacourt, another British observer, declared that Valletta had its share of "petty pilfering cheats" and they brought about a less wholesome atmosphere. On the other hand, he described the Maltese woman as a "highly sexualized being" in the sense that her main functions were to get married, produce children, stay indoors, and look after the house. "When I say that the Maltese women are sexualized", he emphasized, "I do not mean that they have the slightest tendency to immorality. In fact, I never knew women more moral." The Maltese women were so pure and unspoiled, so inexperienced in worldly ways, their kind smiles and friendly eyes were likely to be misinterpreted in the minds of foreign men. (43) If anything, women in Malta endured "undue and antiquated restrictions" foisted on them by their religion. Frederick Ryan cited what he said was an old Maltese maxim that a woman should be seen only twice in public: on the day she is married and on the day of her funeral. (44)

Some observers uncovered more than trace of imperial prejudice in perceptions of Maltese people. Augusto Bartolo noticed a resurgence in some circles of the idea that Malta formed a part of Africa rather than Europe. Parliament had clarified the matter some years ago when they specified that British soldiers in Malta were to be considered as serving in Europe. But this "old belief" about Africa had returned, and "not a few educated Englishmen are still to be found who do not hesitate for a moment to class the Maltese amongst the coloured races!" (45) The Reverend W.K.R. Bedford insisted the Maltese were descendents of the Phoenicians, and should be understood in this way. "Treat him not as an Italian serf but as a descendent from the most ingenious and industrious people in the world's history" and Malta's problems would evaporate. (46)

There was of course the distinct possibility that Valletta had no crime problem before the British military arrived and that immorality reflected the British presence more than anything about the Maltese. Yet even the Maltese had reasons for avoiding a straightforward and purposeful discussion of this issue. The military presence generated not only the night-time leisure economy, but the island's economy more generally. The Three Cities of Senglea, Cospicua, and Vittoriosa, across the Grand Harbour from Valletta, depended on the naval dockyard and fleet, and the villages of Paola, Zabbar, Hamrun, Zeitun and Curmi relied in the greatest part on the presence of the Royal Navy and Army. The pay of 10,000 officers and men was spent on the island, chiefly on Maltese produce. Withdrawal of the naval force would reduce "50,000 industrious and deserving people to destitution and ruin." (47) Incidents involving policing of military personnel took on serious dimensions. Intervention into common fights over mundane conflicts quickly escalated into political issues involving serious diplomatic and legal questions. In 1894, for example, a bombardier and gunner of the Royal Malta Artillery, on leaving a grogshop, became embroiled in an argument with a taxi driver. Civilian police took the men into custody for rude language, insolence and denying the authority of the police. What would have been an ordinary incident of bad behavior metamorphosed into a case with political and legal ramifications when military authorities asserted the two men had been subject to unlawful detention. And when the governor learned the police constable involved had been formerly acquainted with the men having previously served in the Royal Malta Artillery, he decided to placate the military rather than proceed with an enquiry. (48)

Rather than confronting the impact of the military presence on Maltese society, members of the government, both British and Maltese, decided to focus on the influence of foreigners. During the 1890s, members of the Council of Government pressed Strickland to restrict the number of aliens. Savona questioned Strickland about surveillance of music hall artistes. He claimed the police had specifically approved of a scheme in which some local proprietors contracted to pay board and lodging, besides travel expenses, for women from London to perform in Valletta's music halls. Strickland explained that while this had occurred, it had not occurred with the prior approval of police as alleged. Given the impropriety and irregularity associated with singing and dancing girls, the police did not want to become moral guarantors of entertainment in grogshops. (49) Savona continued to goad Strickland about the number of aliens resident in Malta. Did the government intend to introduce in the council, without unnecessary delay, legislation to prevent immigration of "foreign paupers and women of ill-fame?" (50) The largest number of immigrants during these years came from Italy. In 1881, there were about a thousand foreigners in Malta. More than three-fourths had come from Italy; the remainder from France, Turkey, Greece, Austria-Hungary, and elsewhere. Of the 548 foreigners in Valletta, there were 333 men and 215 women, and in the category of "fallen woman" (filles soumises) under occupations of foreigners, all except one were shown as coming from Italy. (51) This trend continued. In 1911, the number of foreigners nearly doubled, and most of them came from Italy. The most significant occupations for foreign women were: nuns and sisters (157) and fallen women (58). All of the fallen women were reported as being born in Sicily. (52)

The deterioration of Valletta's moral climate was also said to result from a tailing prison system. In 1889, a committee appointed to enquire into the police force commented on the inefficacy of detention. In most cases, they observed, those fined for contraventions refuse to pay and elected to subject themselves to imprisonment instead. Frequent stays in prison of a few days "demoralized" the lower classes and undermined prison discipline as they spent their confinement in "complete idleness". The committee recommended immediate legislation to remedy any misconception about persons given detention; it should be applied as the exception, not the rule. (53) This belief anticipated the Gladstone Committee Report on Prisons (1895) and coincided with wide opinion in Britain that the system of short prison stays (as a substitute for transportation) had been a failure. (54)

Beginning in the first decade of the twentieth century, an unprecedented number of women came to prison. The report for Corradino Prison for 1911-12 shows how overall admissions increased during the previous five-year period climbed from 5,580 in 1907-8 to 10,825 in 1911-12. Superintendent Patrick Holland explained that the largest increase occurred for females: 1,109 women in 1911-2 compared with 789 in 1910-11. (55) The overwhelming majority of the women confined in Corradino received a short sentence, and most had been committed to prison on more than one occasion. In 1912, the Royal Commission, chaired by Francis Mowatt, appointed to look into economic and judicial affairs, commented on the ineffectiveness of Malta's prison in regard to habitual offenders. Most prisoners had a previous conviction, "that is to say, 75 per cent of the prisoners are recidivists." (56) The Mowatt commission confronted Holland with statistical documentation concerning the large portion of repeat offenders. Out of a total of 7699 commitments during the previous year, 4720 had been committed three or more times. Holland qualified this figure by reminding the committee that it included those sentenced to detention (those classified as first-class misdemeanants in the British Isles). But he conceded that he knew of persons sent to Corradino for as many as 40 times. "That shows your prison system is not very deterrent," one of the committee members concluded. "It may be that" Holland agreed reluctantly. (57)

In response to concerns expressed by the Royal Commission, the colonial government appointed Major Ralph Turton, Commandant of the Detention Barrack, to review the situation. Overall, he urged a strict and rigorous regime that recalled the "hard fare, hard labour, and hard bed" recommended for English prisons by the Carnavon committee in 1863. The detention of persons for a few days in response to small infractions showed the prison failed to deter. The expansion of the juvenile ward had no influence of re-shaping their character. The rules of silence, separation of classes, and supervision "appears to be very slack" and liberal provision in diet and sleeping quarters only served to attract more prisoners. "With good food, a comfortable bed, no work to speak of, able to converse and smoke, there is no wonder the civil prison is increasing in its population and popularity." He clarified the issue of recidivism. Most of those returning to prison were sentenced to detention for non-payment of fines, so they were not the habitual criminals the Royal Commission worried about. "Some of those sentenced are very poor and cannot find the money, at once, to pay the fine," Turton explained, "Others may have the money but prefer the sentence of Detention to parting with their money." (58)

Curiously, Turton justified his remarks concerning the need for a reformatory for boys with reference to the Italian criminologist, Cesare Lombroso. Generally speaking, British criminology eschewed reference to Italian criminology; British authors mentioned similar ideas, but preferred to avoid acknowledging any debt to foreign expertise. (59) But Turton makes direct reference: "It is admitted by all Criminologists that imprisonment as a curative punishment is useless, and after the gates of a Prison have once been passed is no deterrent. Professor Lombroso, the well known criminologist, in his great work 'L'Uomo Deliquente' declares that the criminal, like the insane, is a defective, a physical, nervous, mental anomaly--a specialised type of humanity somewhere between the lunatic and the savage, and requires curing rather than punishing. If that is true as regards criminals, it must be far more true as regards juvenile offenders." (60)

Measures to Restore Moral Order

Several solutions to Valletta's crime problem emerged in public discussion. These were music halls and coffee taverns; legislation to increase surveillance of foreigners, and criminalize drunkenness and prostitution; and the establishment of a detective force.

To address the problem of drunkenness, alternatives to public were proposed. In 1881, the Victoria Music Hall opened on Strada Stretta (with an English proprietor), and the police saw this as a positive addition to Valletta's night-time leisure offering. Music halls emerged in England in the 1850s and expanded rapidly during the 1860s and 1870s. Prostitutes did form part of music hall audiences during this period, but a wave of "empires" and "palaces" during the 1880s, featuring grand buildings and professional artistes, gave these establishments fresh dignity. Open and fluid seating gave way to fixed seating and distance between the performer and stage. This arrangement represented an alternative to the "long bar", popular during the Victorian era, which reformers claimed encouraged drinking excessive amounts in a hurry. (61) The music halls promoted in Valletta did not resemble the large halls, but the "free halls" of the Midlands and the North of England. In these smaller concert halls and pub concert rooms, eating and drinking continued during the performance. Drink remained a mainstay of the music hall economy; often the admission ticket could be exchanged for a drink. At the time music halls were held up as the future for Valletta's leisure economy, music halls had already entered a period of crisis in England owing to over expansion and the new technology of cinema. (62)

A number of those who gave testimony before the Naudi commission suggested music halls would reduce drunkenness. Corporal Edward Stone of the Military Foot Police felt there was more drunkenness in Malta than Chatham and Portsmouth because in England there were many more amusements. The availability of music hall entertainment served as an inducement for men to save their money, which in Valletta, they spent on drink. Curmi argued that sailors and soldiers needed more places of amusement where they could spend their money on pleasures other than alcohol. At present, Valletta offered nothing in the way of public entertainment other than grogshops. A few music halls and cafe chantants would decrease drunkenness. (64)

Temperance workers encouraged teetotal shops, although these proved unpopular with the public and authorities. In 1882, Samuel Sim of England's National Temperance League journeyed to Malta to promote coffee taverns for the soldiers and sailors. Antonio Bartolo scoffed at this idea. The coffee taverns set up across the United Kingdom had failed miserably. This was due in no small part to the "trash they retail". In this scheme, "old ladies with nothing better to do ... force highly diluted tea and coffee down the throats of the hardworking public ... weak tea, villainous coffee, and ginger beer will never substitute." If the temperance workers really had a mind to improve the conditions for military men in Valletta, they would put their energy into improving the quality of wine, spirits, and beer retailed to the public. (65)

Although some coffee taverns did appear, they became a magnet for other problems. In 1890, Sigismondo Savona raised the issue in the Council of Government. Regulations taken several years earlier excluded women from grogshops, but, he explained, a "certain class of people, native and foreign" prefer shops with young women. This meant that in some streets, one would see five or six girls selling lemonade and ginger beer to sailors and soldiers. The girls working in these tea shops then directed the men to establishments nearby were they could purchase alcoholic drinks. (66) The police believed the teetotal shops were little more than a front for prostitution. Laprimaudaye dispatched several letters to the government warning of "the growing evil" brought about by the increasing number of shops for the sale of non-intoxicants. Many appeared in the worst quarters of Valletta, usually next door to wine-and-spirit shops, and frequently shared the same owner. The owners employed "mostly girls of loose habits" to attract soldiers and sailors. The teetotal shops "combine the brothel and the wine and spirit shop without the safeguard to decency" which the police had been able to enforce, in some measure, on licensed premises. (67)

To monitor behavior at wine-and-spirit shops, the police monitored barmaids. To work as a barmaid, women had to obtain a police certificate. Keepers of licensed premises were required to notify the police when women left employment in order to keep these lists up to date, and they made periodic visits to make sure no infringement of regulations occurred. (68) Laprimaudaye sought police regulations for teetotal shops similar to those for wine-and-spirit shops. If the police could prohibit young women from working in them, enforce a fixed time for closing, and refuse some shops altogether, a great deal could be achieved. The police could prevent the scandalous scenes occurring every evening in Valletta's "Fontana District" which, be admitted, was "quite beyond police control." He continued to pursue some legal means for "checking the existing open and disgraceful importation of Italian and Sicilian women for purposes of prostitution' at 'the so-called teetotal shops'." There were a significant number of teetotal shops kept without a license, and the police asked the Council of Government for an ordinance. "I have reason to believe", the superintendent said, "that these women are the chief source of the (venereal) disease." (69) Laprimaudaye's concerns mirrored those of Sir Richard Mayne, the Chief Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, several years later. Mayne asked the Peele Commission on Liquor Licensing in 1896-8 for police authority to enter coffeehouses in the same way as beer-houses and licensed victuallers.

In 1899, the government enacted the Aliens Law. This law required foreign arrivals to present themselves to the police within two days of disembarking to supply information (name, profession, birthplace) and make surety against becoming a burden to the government. The names of those intending to establish resilience in Malta were entered into the Register of Resident Aliens kept at the police office. Aliens could be deported on conviction of crime or for "leading an idle and vagrant life." (70) During each of the next five years, the police carried out hundreds of deportations under the law, mostly for want of surety. About five persons per year were deported for crimes. Large numbers of aliens came into Malta between 1903 and 1907, attracted by high wages paid by the Admiralty for workers. The breakwater project in the Grand Harbour employed every available laborer in Malta, and workers had to be imported from Italy and Spain. In 1905, Curmi said there had been "a considerable increase" in alien immigration, with 635 guarantees signed against 412 during the previous year. "Undesirable aliens continue to give trouble and their misdeeds are only kept in check with difficulty. In connection with this and a few details, the law requires revision". (71) By the following year, the influx of undesirable aliens, and alien immigration generally, had decreased. Many had repatriated. But he asked for legal reforms with a view to dealing more effectively with undesirable aliens. (72)

There was demand for new legislation concerning drunkenness and prostitution as well. Curmi urged the government to pursue principles lately adopted in England to deal with drunkenness. Drunkenness, under certain conditions, should be made a punishable offense. "Since the application of stringent laws in England against inebriates, drunkenness in that country has sensibly decreased." Curmi appeared to have had in mind the Habitual Drunkards Act (1879) which gave magistrates the power to commit "criminal inebriates" to reformatories. In 1902, Strickland pushed through the Council of Government approval for funding of a criminal lunatic ward within the Lunatic Asylum at Attard. The crown advocate, Vincent Frendo Azzopardi, agreed. "I think Malta is the only place in which there is no section exclusively reserved for criminal lunatics." (73) This decision may have resulted from Italian influence as much as English. Professor Lom-broso, who had included the category of "insane criminal" in his classification scheme, added in 1897 the sub-category of "alcoholic criminal". He taught that while alcoholics were not necessarily atavistic, they shared the same characteristics as born criminals (deliquente nato): cruelty: cruelty, impulsiveness, laziness, and remorselessness. It is likely that Strickland, fluent in Italian, would have been familiar with Lombroso's work. (74)

Strickland also introduced extensive regulations concerning prostitution in an effort to regulate the commercial sex trade into extinction. Regulations enacted in 1899, 1900 and 1902 prohibited prostitutes from an expanding number of Valletta streets and areas in the suburbs (Floriana). The laws also added further restrictions to limit their activities. Government Notice 41 of 1902 made it illegal for a prostitute to reside within fifty yards of a church, in any building adjacent to a wine and spirit shop, or stand on the pavement with others. Prostitutes could not stand in the doorway of a house, nor leave the door open, but had to remain indoors behind wooden blinds. Windows on the ground-floor, as well as on balconies, had to be kept closed. (75)

The government preferred to criminalize prostitution rather than provide for fallen women, which had to do with the fact that most prostitutes at this time were believed to have come from Sicily. The government had established a mag-dalen asylum for fallen women in 1850, within the Ospizio, a poor house located in the outskirts of Valletta, but later decided to transfer the women to a convent. Julyan, in his report of 1880, suggested the government hive off responsibility for the magdalen asylum to a "private religious establishment". At the same time, local authorities worried about the mix of women kept at the Ospizio. In response to a question raised in the Council of Government, the comptroller of charitable institutions, Giuseppe Monreal, assured the members there were four rooms available for prostitutes. None shared a room except for one prostitute of "violent character" kept with the others to be under watch. (76) The transfer did not take place until 1890 or so, after Savona pressed the matter in the Council. By 1891, the magdalen asylum at the Ospizio had closed and the magdalen asylum of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in Balzan enclosed 34 penitent women." (77)

Much of the discussion about solutions centered on establishing a detective force. The Malta and Mediterranean Review ran a series of articles on crime in Valletta. The editor, Antonio Bartolo, expressed his affinity for British rule and tended to advocate for British interests. "We have heard much concerning the alarming increase of crime in Malta during these last few years," he wrote, "especially of burglaries and other daring robberies." The Malta police did not have a criminal investigation division or C1D, and he recommended that a "proper detective force" be organized immediately. (78) To do this, men would need to be recruited from outside the existing police ranks as, in a small place like Malta, current police were too well known. New staff would need to be brought in, and compensated with a fair salary or they would be tempted into dishonest means of making money. Bartolo also suggested a technological solution. "One thing which tends greatly to assist robberies of this nature is the want of sufficient street illumination." The police did make use of electric street lighting, in conjunction with various restrictions, to suppress prostitution. In 1899, the acting superintendent of police informed the chief secretary to government of the need for "two electric lamps on the French Curtain." This area overlooked "Strada Fontana which is now being inhabited by [prostitutes]." (79) Improved lighting may however have accelerated the very activities the police were intending to prohibit. (80)

Britain had been resistant to the establishment of a detective force throughout the Victorian Era and a Home Office enquiry provoked by the scandal in 1877 demonstrated why that resistance was there. The "trial of detectives" involved two Scotland Yard men in a scam to pay for insider tips on horse races. The Home Office reckoned it had solved the problem with higher pay and better organizational accountability for detectives, and the newly organized criminal investigation department opened in 1878. The first head of this CID, Howard Vincent, brought out a police code for town and borough police forces across Britain and the Empire to showcase professional aspects of police work and assure the public the turf club fraud was a thing of the past. (81) In Malta, Tancred Curmi took the opportunity in his testimony before a commission to enquire into the working of the police in 1904 to advocate for a detective branch. The commission conceded that Curmi had demonstrated the necessity of a properly organized detective branch, and recommended an inspector with some aptitude in this area be attached to the superintendent. "A few detectives would be very useful," the committee concluded, but worried about finding properly qualified men. In Valletta, concealing their identity would be very difficult. (82)

There was, however, clearly a problem with relying on informants. In 1904, bomb outrages occurred at Gudia and Rabat. The bombings stopped in Rabat when the police arrested the man said to be the "ringleader of a gang of mischief makers" and the court sentenced him to seven years hard labor. However, it turned out that this man had been a regular informant and "under the protection of the police for a considerable time." When asked why this had been the case, Curmi said that it was a mistake of the police leadership at the time. Although the man's criminal activities were known to constables, they were afraid to inform superiors. "There are professional informers and others who would give information provided their names were not used," Curmi declared, "this is why 1 insist on a proper criminal investigation department under control of the director." (83) Curmi got his detective branch, although not on the lines of Scotland Yard, and reported a decrease in crime owing to this innovation. A decrease in crimes for 1907, was, he claimed, "undoubtedly due to energetic preventive steps" enabled by a police force nearly up to strength, and better organization of the criminal investigation branch. These measures led to the arrest and conviction of "several dangerous characters known to be the ringleaders of the criminal class." (84)

In 1909, the Colonial Office sent Colonel E.B. McInnis to review the organization of the Malta Police and he agreed with Curmi about the need for a detective department. A detective department should be composed, McInnis said, of members of the police who have shown special aptitude, those with superior education, and those with ability to read, write and speak English, Maltese, and Italian. Former sailors and soldiers of good character of the Royal Navy and Regular Army should be given every opportunity to join the police with preference extended to former members of the Royal Malta Artillery. The detective office should maintain records of known thieves and circulate information about known offenders to constables. McInnis stressed that one or more members of the detective office should receive training in making and classification of fingerprints. Photographs of prisoners would also assist in identification. Further, the existing aliens branch should be amalgamated into the detective office, with a new aliens law passed along the lines of that enforced in England. The Aliens Law (1899) imposed unnecessary work on the police and was not as effective as if might be. (85)


Social regulation within Britain's imperial strategy invoked perceptions of "sameness" as well as "otherness". To be sure, British social attitudes imposed a hierarchical view of the world in which Britain occupied a prominent place relative to other imperial powers and in which those subjected to colonial rule found themselves relegated to varying degrees of alleged inferiority. But the administration of government, and the formulation of responses to social concerns of crime and immorality, involved comparison with the domestic context. To make sense of unfamiliar surroundings and inscrutable populations, colonial administrators relied on "domestic-imperial analogies". They saw in the immoral activities of "natives" behavior analogous to that of the "undeserving poor" back home. (86)

The dilemma for the British government in Malta, in responding to drunkenness, gambling, and prostitution in Valletta between 1881 and 1914, was an acknowledgment that Malta had no crime problem before they arrived. In India, the West Indies, and elsewhere, British administrators encountered what they took to be indigenous problems of criminality. In these instances, it was relatively easy to insist that British policing provided the solution. Although methods established in England would need to be adapted for colonial populations, the British presence overall would bring about a marked improvement in native societies. But in Malta, British authorities encountered a European population that had been remarkably free from crime. The night-time leisure economy at the center of the problem would not have taken the form it did if it had not been for the presence of sailors and soldiers. In dealing with crime in Valletta, the British government met up with the unintended consequences of their own policies.

Maltese officials conceded that Valletta had a "crime problem" but disagreed about why it mattered. They did not share the view of sailors and soldiers as victims of temptation, nor did they worry about an erosion of fighting strength. Rather, they made distinctions between the leisure activities of British and Maltese, and resisted British characterizations of social amusements. For more than one reason; however, they did not confront the British government in Valletta directly. The presence of sailors and soldiers provided incomes for many Maltese, and with only the slightest prospect of attracting tourists, there seemed to be little alternative. The position of the Church on prostitution was clear enough: to engage in illicit sex was a mortal sin. Even to talk openly about it was inappropriate, and throughout the nineteenth century, the Church in Malta eschewed discussion of the commercial sex trade.

One solution on which both sides could agree was to blame foreigners. The authorities, both British and Maltese, settled on the arrival of Italian and Spanish workers, and particularly Sicilian women, as the chief social source of criminality and immorality in Valletta. With support of the Council of Government, the British governor enacted legal measures to limit and monitor foreigners. The police saw this as a useful means of dealing with the "criminal class". Another solution was the establishment of a detective branch within the Malta police force. Although British administrators were reluctant, at first, to see the value of detectives in Malta, they gave in to requests from the police and public commentators for a proper detective organization. The beginning of the detective branch in Malta illustrates how colonial officials negotiated the desire for uniformity in policing across the colonies and the need to improvise and adapt English practices to differences among colonial populations.

The unintended effects of imperial administration can be seen in one further way, although it would not become clear until several decades later. Both British and Maltese authorities encouraged music halls as a worthwhile alternative to drinking establishments. The number of music halls increased in Malta in the decades before the First World War, but did not present the solution the authorities had thought they would. During the 1930s, the "music hall affair" scandalized Malta as a center for the "white slave traffic" and exposed the grim reality of "clandestine prostitution". The solution to crime for one generation became the crime problem for the next to solve. (87)


(1.) Thomas Richards, The Imperial Archive: Knowledge and the Fantasy of Empire (London, 1993); David Cannadine, Ornamentalism: How the British Saw Their Empire (Oxford, 2001). Sec also David M. Anderson and David Killingray, eds., Policing the Empire: Government, Authority and Control 1830-1940 (Manchester, 1991); Georgina Sinclair, "The 'Irish' Policeman and the Empire: Influencing the Policing of the British-Empire Commonwealth," Irish Historical Studies, 36 (2008) 57-51.

(2.) Chandak Sengoopta, Imprint of the Raj: How Fingerprinting was Born in Colonial India (London, 2003); Clare Anderson, Legible Bodies: Race, Criminality and Colonialism in South Asia (Oxford, 2004); Mark Brown, "Ethnology and Colonial Administration in Nineteenth Century British India: The Question of Native Crime and Criminality," British Journal of the History of Science 36 (2003): 1-19.

(3.) T. Zammit, The City of Valletta (Valletta, 1908).

(4.) Patrick Brydone, Tour Through Sicily and Malta (London, 1773), pp. 330-1.

(5.) Zammit, The City of Valletta.

(6.) Reports of the Commissioners Appointed to Enquire into the Affairs of the island of Malta, part 3, (London, 1839), p. 15. National Library of Malta.

(7.) R. Montgomery Martin, History of British Possessions in the Mediterranean (London, 1837), p. 274.

(8.) Joseph Beldham, Recollections of Scenes and Institutions in Italy and the East (London, 1851), p. 56.

(9.) Census: Islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino (1882), p. 21. National Archives of Malta.

(10.) Hans Christian Andersen, A Visit to Italy and Malta 1840-1841 (London, 1985), p. 172.

(11.) William Thackeray, Burlesques from Cornhill to Cairo and Juvenalia (London 1903), p. 266.

(12.) Police Annual Report for 1904-5 (Malta, 1905), p. 199. National Archives of Malta.

(13.) Georgina Sinclair and Chris Williams, "Home and Away': The Cross-fertilisation between 'Colonial' and 'British' Policing," Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 35 (2007): 221-38.

(14.) Henry Frendo, Party Politics in a Fortress Colony (Malta, 1991).

(15.) O'Ferrall to Grey, despatch of 7 May 1849. National Archives of Malta (GOV 1.2.24).

(16.) Census of the Islands of Malta and Gozo (Malta, 1882), p. 11.

(17.) Report from the Select Committee of 11 January 1882 to Examine and Report on Tenders Received for Lighting the Streets of Valletta (Malta, 1882).

(18.) Ralph Richardson, "Malta: Notes on a Recent Visit," Scottish Geographical Magazine July (1906), p. 365.

(19.) Royal Commission on Finances, Economic Position and Judicial Procedure (Malta, 1912), p. 42. Melitensia Collection, University of Malta Library.

(20.) G.A. Ballard, "The Development of Malta as a First Class Naval Base Since its Inclusion in the British Empire" (1917). Melitensia Collection, University of Malta Library.

(21.) Census of the Maltese Islands (1912), p. 2.

(22.) Gareth S. Jones, Outcast London: A Study in the Relationship between Classes in Victorian London (London 1984), pp. 283-4.

(23.) Report on the Civil Establishments of Malta (Malta, 1880), p. 23. Melitensia Collection, University of Malta Library.

(24.) Superintendent of Police, 22 December 1890. National Archives of Malta (CSG 01, file 3010).

(25.) Report of the Commission Appointed ... to Enquire Into ... Laws and Regulations Concerning Licenses for the Sale of Wines and Spirits (Malta, 1904), p. 3.

(26.) Report of the Commission (1904), pp. 6-7, 19, 20-1.

(27.) Report of the Commission (1904), p. 69.

(28.) Frederick Ryan, Malta (London, 1910), pp. 156-7.

(29.) Peter Bailey, "Parasexuality and Glamour: The Victorian Barmaid as Cultural Prototype," Gender and History 2 (1990): 148-72.

(30.) Report of the Commission (1904), p. 17.

(31.) Debates of the Council of Government, vol. 16, 22 March 1893, col. 1052. National Archives of Malta.

(32.) Admiral commander in chief to Fremantle, 1 April 1895. National Archives of Malta (CSG 01, file 4915).

(33.) Fremantle to Superintendent of Police, 20 November 1894. National Archives of Malta (CSG 01, file 3369).

(34.) Superintendent of Police, 7 June 1907. National Archives of Malta (CSG 01, file 3010).

(35.) Malta Police Annual Report for 1907-8 (Malta, 1908), p. 11.

(36.) Debates of the Council of Government, vol. 21, 9 March 1898, cols. 1113-5. National Archives of Malta.

(37.) Philippa Levine, "'A Multitude of Unchaste Women': Prostitution in the British Empire" Journal of Women's History 15 (2004): 159-63 and Prostitution, Race and Politics: Policing Venereal Disease in the British Empire (New York, 2004).

(38.) Superintendent of Police, 11 January 1892. National Archives of Malta (CSG 01, file 8532).

(39.) Police Annual Report for 1903-4 (Malta, 1904), p. 196. National Archives of Malta.

(40.) Donald MacKenzie, The Web of Empire (London, 1902), pp. 31-2.

(41.) Richardson, "Malta: Notes," p. 369.

(42.) 'Malta by a Naval Officer' Malta Chronicle and Garrison Gazette, 23 February 1892, p. 3. National Library of Malta.

(43.) John Wignacourt, The Odd Man in Malta (London, 1914), pp. 14, 23.

(44.) Ryan, Malta, p. 108.

(45.) Antonio Bartolo, Malta: A Neglected Outpost of Empire (Malta, 1911), p.7.

(46.) W.K.R. Bedford, "Malta and the Maltese Race," Journal of the Royal Colonial Institute 3 (1896): 176-180.

(47.) Ballard, "The Development of Malta."

(48.) Wynn to Chief Secretary to Government, 17 November 1894. National Archives of Malta (CSG 01, file 3336).

(49.) Debates in the Council of Government, vol. 17, 13 June 1894, cols 1143-4.

(50.) Debates in the Council of Government, vol. 20, 28 October 1896, col. 69.

(51.) Census: Islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino (Malta, 1882), p. 63.

(52.) Census of the Maltese Islands (Malta, 1912), pp. 112-3.

(53.) Report of the Committee Appointed ... to Inquire Into and Report on the Present Organisation of the Police Force (Malta, 1889), p. 10.

(54.) Christopher Harding, "The Inevitable End of a Discredited System? The Origins of the Gladstone Committee Report on Prisons, 1895," Historical Journal 31 (1988): 591-608.

(55.) Corradina Civil Prison Annual Report for 1911-12 (1912), p. 1.

(56.) Report on the Judicial Affairs (1912), p. 194.

(57.) Report on the Judicial Affairs (1912), p. 192.

(58.) Report on Civil Prisons by Major Turton, Commandant Detention Barrack, Malta (1912), pp. 11-2. National Archives of Malta (GMR 731).

(59.) Neil Davie, Tracing the Criminal: The Rise of Scientific Criminology in Britain, 1860-1918. (Oxford, 2005).

(60.) Report on Civil Prisons, p. 13.

(61.) James Kneale, "A Problem of Supervision: Moral Geographies of the Nineteenth Century Public House," Journal of Historical Geography 25 (1999) 333-48.

(62.) Peter Bailey, Music Hall: The Business of Pleasure (Milton Keynes, 1986), pp. ix-xi.

(63.) Report of the Commission (1904), p. 17.

(64.) Report of the Commission (1904), p. 73.

(65.) "Public Houses or Coffee Taverns," Malta and Mediterranean Review, 27 June 1882, p. 2.

(66.) Debates in the Council of Government, vol. 14, 17 December 1890, cols. 609-10.

(67.) Superintendent of Police, 20 August 1891. National Archives of Malta (CSG 01, file 6443).

(68.) Circular No. 29, 15 November 1911, National Archives of Malta (POL 8, 10/1)

(69.) Superintendent of Police, 11 January 1892. National Archives of Malta (CSG 01, file 8532).

(70.) Ordinance No. 1, Malta Government Gazette, 9 February 1899.

(71.) Police Annual Report for 1904-5 (Malta, 1906), p. 12.

(72.) Police Annual Report for 1906-7 (Malta, 1907), pp. 4, 13.

(73.) Debates in the Council of Government, 13 February 1901, vol. 25, cols. 641-2, 643-9.

(74.) Mary S. Gibson, "Cesare Lombroso and Italian Criminology," in Peter and Richard Wetzell, eds, Criminals and their Scientists (Cambridge, 2006), pp. 142-3.

(75.) Government Notice 41, Malta Government Gazette, 26 February 1902.

(76.) Register of References to the Comptroller of Charitable Institutions, 6 December 1881. National Archives of Malta (CI No 18).

(77.) Debates in the Council of Government, 26 November 1890, vol. 14, cols. 79-80.

(78.) "A Detective Force for Malta," Malta and Mediterranean Review, 28 March 1882, p. 1.

(79.) Superintendent of Police, 12 September 1899. National Archives of Malta (CSG 81, file 4180).

(80.) Peter Baldwin, "Nocturnal Habits and Dark Wisdom: The American Response to Children in the Streets at Night, 1880-1930," Journal of Social History 35 (2002): 593-611.

(81.) Bernard Porter, The Origins of the Vigilant State: The London Metropolitan Police Special Branch before the First World War (London, 1987) pp. 6-7.

(82.) Report of the Commission to Enquire into the Working on the Police Force (Malta, 1904), P. 15.

(83.) Report of the Commission to Enquire (1904), p. vi.

(84.) Police Annual Report for 1907-8 (Malta, 1908), p. 9.

(85.) Report on the Re-organisation of the Malta Police Force (Malta, 1910).

(86.) Cannadine, Ornamentalism, p. 6.

(87.) Paul Knepper, "The 'White Slave Trade' and the Music Hall Affair in 1930s Malta," Journal of Contemporary History 44 (2009): 205-20.

By Paul Knepper

University of Sheffield

Department of Sociological Studies

Sheffield S10 2TU

United Kingdom
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