International Perception of the Maltese Nobility (1907).
The following article titled “British Titles not in the Peerages” was penned by the society observer Marquise de Fontenoy (nom de plume for Countess Marguerite de Godart) and published in the New York Tribune of February 13, 1907.
It says a lot about the perception of the Maltese nobility in the year 1907.
British Titles not in the Peerages
Great Britain, besides those its titled classes whose names are recorded in the pages of the “Peerages” and analogous standard works of reference, has a whole nobility of which no mention is made therein – namely, the great princes and the aristrocracy of India, of Burmah and of the Straits Settlements. Attention is called to his fact by the announcement of the death the other day of Sir Sayed Hassan Khan Bahadur, Nawab of Murshidibad, Ameer of Omrah, and Grand Cross of the Order of the Indian Empire. This distinguished native was accorded by the British Crown the status and title of “Premier Noble of Bengal”. Tracing his descent from the Prophet Mahomet and from the rulers of Yemen in the early days of the Moslem faith, he belonged to the famous family which shared in the Mahometan conquest of Bengal. After the fall of Surajah Dowlah at Plassey its head was recognized by the British Government as Nawab Nizram of Bengal, Bahar and Orissa. The late Sir Sayed succeeded to these honours on the death of his father, in 1882, when a fresh settlement was made of the honors and estates, whereby Sir Sayed was invested with the rank of “Premier Noble of Bengal,” the hereditary title of Ameer of Omrah, and of Nawab Bahadur, to be borne by the senior of his descendants entail male. He is succeeded in his honors by his son, the Nawab Asaf, who represented Bengal at the coronation of King Edward in 1902, and who is a graduate of Trinity College, Oxford, as well as a member of the Legislative Council of Bengal .
It is the loyalty of these great nobles and princes of India which enables England to retain, with a relatively small handful of troops, the control of her vast Indian Empire with its teething population of 300,000,000. Under the circumstances, the English people should know something more than they do about the names, the identity, the lineage and the history of this dusky aristocracy, which in point of blue blood bears comparision with most of the noble houses of the British peerage. “Burke” and ‘Debrett” would do well, therefore, to consider the advisability of publishing an appendix to their present works of reference furnishing the information in question, which is assuredly of more importance and interest than the names of the ridiculous Maltese nobility that now find a place in their pages.
Article is taken from: New-York Tribune. (New York [N.Y.]) 1866-1924, February 13, 1907, Image 7.
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