Although the Maltese had willingly placed themselves under British
rule a section of the Maltese resented the fact that the Maltese had
absolutely no say in the administration of their island home. In
fact during the first 35 years of British Rule, the administration
of the Island was the sole prerogative of the British Civil
Commissioners and Governors.
In 1835, a Council of Government consisting of only nominated
members was granted. However in 1849 through the initiative of
Governor Sir Richard O'Ferrall, another Constitution was granted to
the Maltese Islands. This Constitution made provision for a Council
of Government consisting of 10 nominated members and eight elected
members. The first elections took place in 1849, and among the
elected members there was Dr Adrian Dingli, the representative of
Gozo, who was subsequently nominated Crown Advocate in 1845 and
Chief Justice in 1880. The 1849 Constitution remained in force till
During the adminsitration of Sir Thomas Maitland (1813-1824) a
reorganisation of the Law Courts was carried out in 1815. Later, new
Codes of Laws were also promulgated and the liberty of the Press was
granted in 1839.
After the Royal Commission of 1836 primary schools were opened in
various towns and villages and through the inititative of Canon M P
Pullicino (1815-1890), who was Director of Primary Schools, by 1880
there was a primary school in every town and village, although
attendance was not compulsory.
The transport system also improved. The omnibus was introduced in
1856 and was followed by the railway in 1883. In 1882 the steam
ferry service was introduced between Sliema and Valletta and three
years later, in 1885, a regular form of transport was introduced
between Malta and Gozo.
The British Government continued to strengthen the islands defences,
and a number of forts and the "Victoria Lines" were
erected. The importance of British Naval Power also led to the
considerable development of the Naval dockyard with the
construcrtion of docks at Bormla Wharf and Ghajn Dwieli.
A number of important public works were also carried out such as the
new commercial harbour at Marsa, a new Mental Hospital in Attard and
the Royal Opera House in Valletta.