Value of the Maltese usage of dei Marchesi, dei Conti and dei Baroni

The following letter to the Governor is reproduced in Crispo Barbaro’s “The Nobles of Malta as at Present Existing” 2nd Edition (Malta, 1883, Puglisevich) page 58     Malta No. 128   Downing Street                                                                                                             

11 December 1878   

Sir, I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch no. 136, enclosing a Memorandum by the Crown Advocate on the law of Malta with regard to the genealogical designations of “dei Marchesi”, “dei Conti” and “dei Baroni”, which have hitherto been assumed by certain Maltese gentlemen, and more or less recognized in public and notarial documents. I have considered this subject and have come to the conclusion that it will be best for the Maltese Government to adhere to the practice which prevailed before this question arose, and which I understand was, that the designation is admitted in the case of every individual who is commonly known by it as part of his name, and is reputed to belong to the family to whose title it refers. It will be as well however to issue a Notice that in allowing these designations to be continued, the Government merely declines to interfere with a practice which has for some time existed, and does not recognize any legal right to the use of them.         

                                                                I have &c                                                                         (Signed) M.E. Hicks Beach         Governor, Sir Arthur Borton K.C.B. &c    &c    &c