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the auberge was denominated the Grand
Commander, who, by virtne of his office,
was perpetual president of the oonimon
treasury, comptroller of the accounts, su-
perintendent of stores, governor of the
arsenal, and master of the ordinance ; he
■ had the nomination (subject to the appro-
bation of the Grand Master and council)
of all officers from the difi^rent languages,
and to this he added the power of appoint-
ing persons to the various places of trust
in the church of St. John, and in the In-
firmary. This auberge is situated in tlie
Strada Reale ; it is a fine building, with a
plain but imposing facade. Besides the
chapel which this language owned in the
church of' St. John, il possessed another
separate church, as did also several of the
other languages.

. Auberge d'Awergne. — ^The head of this
inn was called the Grand Marshal ; and
he had the military command over all the
Order, excepting the Grand Crosses or their
lieutenants, the chaplains, and other per-
sons of the Grand Master's household. He
intrusted the standard of the Order to that
knight whom he judged most worthy such
distinction. He had the right of appoint-
ing the principal equerry, and, when at
sea, not only commanded the general of
the galleys, but the Grand Admiral him-
self. This auberge occupies a site opposite
the side-square of St. John's church in the
Strada Reale.

The Auberge of Itaig,— The Superior of
this language was styled the Admiral. In
the Grand Marshal's absence he had the
.comn^and of the soldiery equally with the
seamen. He also appointed the comptrol-
ler and secretary of the arsenal ; and when
he demanded to be named to the general-
ship of the galleys, the Grand Master was
obliged to propose him to the council,
which was at liberty' to appoint or reject
him at pleasure. This auberge is situated
in Strada Mercanti, opposite to tiie Au-
berge de Castile. Over the entrance is a
bronze bust of the Grand Master Canafa,
with his coat of arms, and many trophies
and ornaments of white marble, said to

have been cut from a large pillar which
once stood in the Temple of Proserpine, in
the Cittjt Notabile. The small church of
Sta. Catarina, which adjoins it, also be-
longed to this language.

Avberge CastUe. — ^The chief of this inn
was dignified with the title of Grand Chan-
cellor. It belonged to his office always to
present the vice chancellor to the council,
and his presence was likewise necessary
whenever any **6t(2b" were stamped with
the great seal. Those who assumed this
dignity were obliged to know how to read
and write. This is the largest auberge in
the city, and occupies a very delightfol
situation close under the walls of the ditch,
commanding an extensive view of the
country be^'ond. - It is surmounted with
a great display of ornamental sculptoro,
consisting chiefly of warlike trophies, arms,
musical instruments^ etc. In the centre
is a marble bust of Grand Master Pinto.
It is at present occupied by the officers
of the English garrison. To the knights
of this language appertained the church
of St. James, in Strada Mercanti, a neat
specimen of architecture, ornamented in a
very chaste and simple style.

Auberge de France, — ^The Superior of
this inn, during the existence of the Or-
der, was called the Grand Hospitaller.- He
had the direction of the hospital, and ap-
pointed the overseer and prior to the in-
hrm&ryj and also ten writers to the coun-
cil. The officers who filled these employ-
ments were changed every two years.
The Auberge de France is situated in
Strada Mezzodi.

Atiberge of Aragon. — The titie of the
Superior of this inn was the Draper, or
Grand Conservatiar. He was charged with
every thing relating to the conservatory-—
to the clothing and the purchase of all nec-
essary articles, not only for the troops, but
also for the hospitals. This building oc-
cupies a small square fronting on Strada
Vescova, and is now the residence of the
Lord Bishop of Gibraltar.

Avberge of England and Anglo-Baivaria,
— The head of this establishment was dig-
nified with the title of the Tancopolier.
He had the command over the cavalry
and the guards stationed along the coast.
While the ** language" of England JBx»t-
ed, their inn was the building which fronts
the square before the small church of Sta.

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Catarina o^the Italians on the one side,
and Strada Reale on the other. After the
Reformation, when all the English com-
manderies were confiscated by order of
Henry VIII., this langaage ceded up its
rights,' and was sncceeded by the Anglo-
Bavarian, whose inn stands on the plat-
form of St. Lazanis, facing the entrance
into the Quarantine Harbor. This bulld-
in::^ is now occupied by ofllcers of the Brit-
ish garrison.


This vast building, the residence of the
Grand Masters of the Order, is surrounded
by the four principal streets. It is 800
feet on each side, and has a spacious square
in front, called Piazza St. Giorgio. It has
two principal entrances, two court-yards,
with fountains ; one of them is now used
as a racket-court for the amusement of the
officers of the garrison.

The interior of the palace consists of a
lower and upper story, each containing a
range of apartments running round the
bttUding. The halls and apartments in
the upper story are very elegant, many of
them pmb^Uis'hed with views commemora-
tive of the battles of the Order. Some of
the pjintin^.^ are of superior workman-
ship. Amon^^ the several masters whose
geniiH adorns these walls are Caravaggio
d'Arpino and. Cavalier Fauray. In the
waiting-room are some fine productions by
Maltese artists. The principal pieces are
St. George and the Dragon, St. Michael,
St. Peter, Mary Magdalene, and iSneas.
Most of the ancient paintings were placed
here by the Grand Master Zandadari, and
Are chiefly scriptural illustrations.

The most interesting sight in the build-
ing is the Armory, It occupies a large sa-
loon extending the whole length of the
building, and contains the armor and a
great many warlike weapons belonging to
the Knights of Malta, with numerous tro-
phies of their sf^endid victories. It also
contains-20,000 muskets, 1000 pistols, 30,000
boarding- pikes, belonging to the garri-
son. There are 90 complete coats of ar-
mor for mounted knights, and 450 cuirass-
es, casques, and gauntlets for infantry.
The last - mentioned armor is arranged
along the upper part of the room, in regu-
lar order, with their respective shields, on
which is portrayed the white cross of the

Order 'on a red field. The armor of the
mounted cavaliers and men-at-arms is of
different kinds ; some burnished, and oth-
ers painted black and varnished. The
complete suits of armor are placed upright
on stands, and posted up along the rows of
muskets at certain distances from each
other, looking like so many sentinels, and
giving a very sombre appearance to the
whole room. A trial was once made of
the force of resistance of one of these suits,
and several musket-balls were discharged
against it at 60 yards' distance, which only
produced a very shallow concavity. This
piece of armor may be seen with the rest.

At one end of the room is a complete
suit of black armor, standin«^ about seven
fiect high and three and a half wide. It
is not very probable that this has been
often used. The helmet alone weighs 37
pounds. Close by the above is an open
case, in which mar be seen many curious
specimens of musketry, pistols, swords,
daggers, etc., chiefly trophies taken by the
knights in their engagements with the
Turks. The sword of the famous Alge-
rine general Dragut is preserved among
the spoils. Before this case is a cannon
made of tarred rope bound round a thin
lining of copper, and covered on the out-
side with a coat of plaster painted black.
This curious specimen of ancient warfere
was taken from the Turks during one of
their attacks upon the city of Rhodes. It
is about five feet long and three inches
bore. At the other extremity of the room
is the complete armor of the Grand Master
Alofio Wignacourt, beautifully enchased
with gold ; above which is a drawing of
the same, armed cap-a-pie, a copy from the
masterpiece of the famous Caravaggio
which is in the dining-room.

On the most elevated part of the palace
is the Torrelta^ a small quadrangular tow-
er, from whence vessels of war are signal-
ized. In the lower part of this building
were formerly preserved the treasures of
the Order, among which was the sword,
shield, and golden belt of Philip II., king
of Spain, sent by him as a present to the
Grand Master La Valette. There are sev-
eral other apartments in the palace well
worth examination.

The Church of St, John.— This edifice
holds the first rank among the tights of
Malta, and should you have but time to

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vbit one place in Malta, let this be the
one. It was built nearly three centuries
ago, at the time La Cassiera was Grand
Master, and was subsequently enriched by
donations of the Grand Master who suc-
ceeded him, and also by several sovereigns
of Europe. The fa9ade of the church is
heavy and monotonous, but the interior is
magnificent. The choir is ornamented
with an admirable piece of sculpture in
white marble on a raised base, represent-
ing the baptism of Christ by St. John, in
two figures as large as life. This piece
was from a design by the famous Maltese
artist Caff;^ and completed after his death
by Bomini.

The grand altar, which stands at the
uppermost part of the nave, is very sump-
tuous, and deserves notice on account of
the various colored marble and other val-
uable stones of which it is constructed.
Before it, on either side, on a raised pave-
ment, stands a chair covered with a rich
canopy of crimson velvet ; that to the left
is occupied b}' the bishop, and the one on
the right is destined for the sovereign of
the island, over which is placed the es-
cutcheon of Great Britain. Close by the
latter is a seat prepared for the governor
of the island. The pavement is composed
of sepulchral slabs, worlced in mosaic with
various colored marble; many of them
contain jasper, agate, and other precious
stones, the cost of which must have been
very great. These cover chiefly the graves
of the knights and other servants of the
Order, and bear each an appropriate epi-
taph, or rather a panegyric on the virtues
of the deceased. Many have had their
escutcheons set in beautiful mosaic, look-
ing as bright as if laid down but yesterday.

The chapels of the different languages
of the Order which run parallel with the
nave form the two aisles, and are very
splendidly decorated; the roofs are con-
structed in the shape of a dome in the in-
terior, and are very profusely carved with
different ornaments in alto-relievo.

The first arch on the right hand as you
enter the church leads to the chapel of the
Crucifixion, in which are several very fine
paintings, especially the one behind the
altar, the Beheading of St. John, by Mi-
chael Angelo Caravaggio. From this chap-
el a flight of stairs leads to a subterraneous
apailmcnt, in which stands a rustic chapel.

The second arch covers the cl^pel of the
Portuguese knights; the^walls are orna-
mented with paintings. It contains two
splendid mausoleums of grand mastors-^
that of Emanuel Pinto and Manoel de Yil-
hena : the latter is of bronze, very costly,
sustained by two lions of the same mate-
riaL The fourth arch leads into the chapel
of the Spanish knights. Over the altar ia
a painting of St. George ; those on the side
walls represent the trial and martyrdom
of St. Lawrence. In this chapel are four
magnificent mansolenms of grand mas-
ters : Martin de Bedin, Raphael de Cotoner,
Perillos £. Boccaful, and Nioohw Cotoner :
the two last are very grand. The £fth
arch leads to the chapel of the knights of
Provence. This contains a plain black
mausoleum of the Grand Master Gorsan.
The paintings above the altar represent
St. Sebastian. The sixth and uppermost
arch leads to the chapel of the Virgin. On
the side-walls are three silver plates, with
a bundle of kej's suspended from each.
These were trophies taken from the Turks.

To the left hand, on entering the church,
is a splendid copper mausoleum of the
Grand Master ZondadarL The whole is
supported by a marble base, and flanked
with two fine pillars of the same material*
The metal statue of the knight, as large
as life, in a reclining posture, and the va-
rious ornaments which surround it, are
very grand. It is considered a splendid
production of art.

The first arch down the aisle, on the
left, leads to the vestry, in which are sev-
eral paintings and portraits of grand mas-
ters. The second chapel is that of the
knights of Austria. The altar-piece rep-
resents the Adoration of the Wise Men,
and on the side-walls the Murder of the
Innocents and the Birth of Christ. The
fourth chape'i is that of the Italian knights.
It contains the mausoleum of the Grand
Master Carafa. The altar-piece is the
Espousals of St. Catharine. There are two
drawings by Caravaggio, Jerome and Mary
Magdalene. The next chapel is that of
the knights of France. In this chapel
there are two monuments of prand mas-
ters. That of Prince Ludovico Philip
d' Orleans, who was mterred here, is very
fine. Over the altar is a fine picture, the
Conversion of St. Paul ; on the side-wails,
the Holy Family and St. John in the Des*

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Grotto of St. Paul.

ert. The sixth and last chapel is that of
tli« knights of Bavaria. It was also used
by the Enf^^lish knights of the Order. Over
the ^Itar is a drawing of St Michael and
the Draj2;on.

From this chapel a staircase leads to the
cr^'^pt, in which are the tombs of several
grand masters. Among these is that of
L'Isle Adam, the first commander of tlie
Order in Malta, the famotia La Yalette,
Yignacoart, La Cassiera, Cardinal Yerda-
la, and Pietro de Monte.

Among the many public institutions of
Malta is one well worthy of imitation in
oar own country. Even Austria is far
ahead of us in this respect. That is, the
Monie di Pieta, or Public Patonbrohery,
It was established in 1597 for the purpose
of affording pecuniary relief to the dis-
tressed at reasonable interest, thereby pre-
venting them from having recourse to usu-
rious contracts. Any sum of money, liow-
ever small, is advanced to applicants on
the security of property given in pawn,
such aa. gold, silver, and other precious ar-
ticles, or wearing apparel, whether worn
or new. The period of the loan is for three
years on pawns of the first description, and
never more than two on those of the latter,
renewable at the option of the parties, who
are also at liberty to redeem their pawns
at any time within the period on payment
of interest in proportion. The rate of in-
terest is 6 per cent, per annum. The un-
claimed pawns at the expiration of the pe-
riod are sold at public auction, and the pro-
Ijeeds, after deducting the sum due the in-
stitution, are payable to the person pro-
ducing the ticket.

People in good circumstances often avail
themselves of this accommodation.

Citia VecchicL, or the old city, is situated
on the centre of the island, and is called
Medina by the niatives. It is well worth
a visit. Its situation is so high that, on a
clear day, the whole island, and the coasts
of Sicily and Africa, may bb seen at the
distance of sixty miles. This city is sur-
rounded by walls, and defended with bas-
tions and other modern fortifications. In
early times it bore the same name with the
island, Melita.

On the election of grand master, the
ceremony of inauguration was performed
in this citj'. Early in the morning the
sovereign laft Valetta, accompanied by his

court, and escorted by a body-guard, with
bands of music. On his arrival near the
city he was saluted by the musketry and
by the principal giuralo^ who presented
him with a bunch of artificial flowers, with
an appropriate speech, and afterward kiss-
ed his hand. The procession then pro-
ceeded until it joined the bishop and the
clergy, who came out to meet them. The
Grand Master was afterward placed un-
der a canopy borne on four poles by the
giurati, and continued walking until he
arrived at the gates of the city, where a
place was prepared for him to kneel upon,
before which a cross was erected. After
the gates were shut the first giurato stepped
forward, having in his hand a silver dish,
with two keys laid upon it of the same
metal, and, making a very low bow, ad-
dressed the sovereign in the following
words: "Most Serene Lord, the Divine
Majesty has been pleased to favor us and
this city by placing over us so great a
prince as lord and master; and the high
honor is conferred upon me of presenting
to your serene majesty the keys of this
city, in order that yon may take possession
thereof. Therefore my colleagues and my-
self, in all humility, beg your most serene
highness to deign to swear upon the habit
of the Grand Cross that you will observe all
the privileges, and franchises, and usages
of this city and of the island of Malta,
which were conceded to them by the most
serene sovereigns of Aragon and Sicily,
and by the magnanimous grand mastei-s
of this sacred Order, the predecessors of
your most serene highness, and command
the same to be observed.^' Tlie Grand
Master then laid his hand upon the cross
on his breast, and said, " I am bound to do
so; I swear." After the keys were de-
livered into his hand the procession pro-
ceeded to the Cathedral, where a solemn
Te Deum was sung, and after the celebra-
tion of mass the pageant terminated.

The ceremony of consecrating the bish-
ops of Malta is also performed in the Ca-
thedral of this city.

Near to the city is the celebrated Grotto
of St. Paulj situated underneath a church
dedicated to the same saint. According
to tradition, St. Paul, accompanied by the
Apostle Luke and Trophimus, resided in
this cave for the space of three months —
the time of his stay upon the isbind. The

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The Catacombs. [MALTA.]

▼eneration for this cave very much in-
creased about the beginning of the 17th
century, when a citizen of Cordova, named
Fra Giovanni, left hi» native country and
came to Malta to tenant it. This ancho-
rite had a chapel erected over the grotto,
which he dedicated to St. Publius, which
was afterward much enlarged by the Grand
Master Lascaris, and enriched with dona-
tions of a vast number of relics by the
reigning pontiffs of Rome. Among these
is a piece of the true cross, a little of the
Virgin Marj^'s milic, some remains of not
less than six of the apostles, and of about
fifty other saints. The grotto is about
thirty-six feet in diameter, and about eight
feet high. A fine marble statue of St.
Paul occupies the middle of the cave, be-
fore which several lights are kept continu-
ally burning.

The CcUacotnbs of St Paul are very cel-
ebrated ; they are situated about five min-
utes* walk from the church, the sacrbtan
of which will supply tapers and light you

Among the numerous places of interest
Ion the island are the TonAs of Bingemma ;
St, Pamirs Bay : there is a small chapel built
on the spot where the barbarians lighted
a fire to warm the shipwrecked crew ; Ca^
hfpso's Grotto^ sung by Homer and dilated
upon by F6n61on in his Telemachus. The
Church of Mellieha is built over the Grotto
of the Madonna, The church contains a
vast number of presents to the Virgin. In
the grotto there is a spring of water sur-
mounted by a large statue of the Virgin.
The natives assert that this image has been
several times taken up and ofiTered a more
respectable place in the church, but that
during the night she has again chosen to
return down forty stairs to her old position.
The cave is filled with headless statues of
gods and goddesses, and, according to the
testimony of the sacristan, owe their de-
capitation to the French during their short
occupation of the island.

There is a very good theatre in the Stra-

Steada Teatro.

da Teairo; it was erected by the Grand
Master Wilhena in 1731. The government
grants its use free of charge, and it is sup-
plied nearly all the year round with Italian
operas. Occasionally the naval and mili-
tary officers perform for the amusement of
the public.

The traveler may find the commission-
aires of Malta a hard set to get rid of.
The author had one follow him round for
over an hour, although in the interim he
told him fifty times to go about some other
business, and only got rid of the rascal by
dodging him in a crowd at the post-office.
Mr. Prime very truly remarks when he
says, "And plunging down the steep nar-
row streets to the landing-place, overturn-
ing half a dozen commissionaires, each of
whom swore that he was the man that said
good- morning the day previous, and be-
came therefore entitled to his five francs
(for no one need imagine that he will land
at Malta without paying at least three
commissionaires and five porters, if he car-
ry no baggage on shore, or twice as many
if he have one portmanteau).'* The only
remedy we can advise is to take one the
moment you land, to protect you from the

From Malta to Alexandria^ distance 900
miles ; average time 3 days 20 hours.

In addition to the Messageries Maritime
line of steamers from Marseilles to the
East, there are several other lines more di-
rect and cheaper, viz. : there is a line (the
Austrian Lloyds) direct from Trieste to
Alexandria; also by the Ionian Islands
and Greece, by Vienna, the Danube, and
Constantinople ; but the most direct, cheap-
est, and perhaps best is from Paris via Mt.
Cenis, Turin, Ancona, and Brindisi, in 29
hours, and an average sea passage of 73
hours. The fare from Turin to Alexandria
is only 291.67 frs.— this is by the company
A^briaiieo Orienkde, Tour ticket gives you
the facility for stopping at Boulogne, Ra-
venna, and Ancona. The sea passage is
one day shorter than by any other route.

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Geoobapht. [EGYPT.]

"Out of Egypt have I called my son."
Through Abraham's eyes we first see the
ancient Pharaohs, the. earliest seat of art, |
:^cience, and literature. What inducements j
to the Christian, the scholar, and the anti-
quary to visit Eg}^pt, famous alike for the
historical^ events of which it has been the
theatre, its magnificent monuments, and
balmy atmosphere.

This most interesting of lands occupies
the northeastern comer of the African
continent. The waters of the Mediter-
ranean form the northern limit of its soil.
Upon the south it is bounded by Nubia,
upon the east and west by the Red Sea
and the Libyan desert. The lowest of the
Nile cataracts marks the frontier between
Egypt and Nubia, where the modem town
of Assouan stands beside the river's bank,
and the foaming waters hurry past the
temple-covered islands of Elephantine and
Phila. From the shores of the Mediter-
ranean to the first cataract, the valley of
the Nile measures, in a direct line from
north to south, an extent of 550 miles. But
the breadth of Egypt bears only a very
limited proportion to its length, in so far,
that is, as the habitable portion of the coun-
try is concerned. Its breadth on the coast
is 160 miles, but it gradually tapers ofiT to
a point at Cairo, a distance of 104 miles
from the mouths of the Nile, and the rest
of the habitable country is chiefly com-
prised in the narrow valle}** of the Nile
up to Benisoo^, a distance of 83 miles. At
this point it spreads to the west to form the
valley of Faloum, which borders on Lake
Mocris. This vale is nearly circular in its
shape, 40 miles in diameter, and of great
fertility and beauty.

It is estimated that the whole cultivable
territory of Egjrpt, including its lateral
valleys, is about 16,000 square miles. That
portion situated between Lake Mareotis on
the northwest and Lake Menzaleh on the
northeast, watered by the Damietta and
Kosetta mouths of the Nile, is called the
Delta or Lower Egypt. That portion which
includes the valley of the Nile from the
apex of the Delta up to Manfaloot is called
Middle Ejzj^pt. That portion which com-
prehends the remainder of the vallej' up to


the first cataract is called the Said, or
Upper Egypt. These are farther divided

Online LibraryW[illiam] Pembroke FetridgeThe American travellers' guides → online text (page 34 of 65)