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Coleridge's Malta.

Hough, B. and Davis, H., 2007. Coleridge's Malta. Coleridge Bulletin, 30, 81-95.

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In 1809 when Coleridge was prompted to write about his time in Malta by the death of Sir Alexander Ball, the late Civil Commissioner whom he so much admired, he recorded that he regarded his stay on the Island as “in many respects the most memorable and instructive period of my life”. As those familiar with Coleridge’s history recall, Coleridge had arrived on Malta in May 1804 predominantly to liberate himself from opium dependency. Coleridge impressed Ball, whom he met shortly after his arrival. Given the staffing problems confronting him, Ball eventually made Coleridge the offer of Edmund Chapman’s post as under-secretary during the latter’s absence from Malta on the speculative corn mission, about which more will be ventured below. After an assurance that the work would be “nominal” Coleridge accepted the post because the salary would defray the expenses of his planned journey to Sicily. Coleridge thus began his official tasks as under-secretary to Ball. However, following the death of the Public Secretary and Treasurer, Alexander Macaulay, on 18th January 1805, Coleridge was appointed as a temporary replacement pending Chapman’s return to the Island, albeit that he declined to act as Treasurer. As Acting Public Secretary he assumed a post second in civil dignity to that of the Civil Commissioner, and found himself at the heart of government. The purpose of this article is to outline the legal, political, administrative and economic challenges encountered by the British administration in the period 1800-1809 in which Coleridge had assumed an important role, as well as to venture some comments about the coherence of British policy. Some limited observations on Coleridge’s contribution to the success of British rule at this time will also be advanced.

Item Type:Article
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:1255
Deposited On:11 Dec 2007
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 13:07


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