The Pirate of the Mediterranean [eBook]

W.H.G. Kingston

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Malta, which I have selected as the opening scene of the following story, is, from its historical recollections, its fine climate, and brilliant skies, a very interesting spot; although, for such beauty as its scenery possesses, it must be acknowledged that it is indebted very much more to art than to nature.

Notwithstanding, however, the noise it has made in the world, and will, I suspect, should we ever be driven into a war with our vivacious continental neighbour, again make, it is but a rock some twenty miles long, and twelve broad, in the middle of the Mediterranean, with a smaller rock, Gozo, to the north of it, and was, probably, at one time of this planet’s existence, merely a continuation of Sicily or Italy’s toe, or a lump, as it were, kicked off into the middle of the sea.

If, also, report speaks true, the very soil which gives verdure to its valleys, and nourishes its sweet-scented orange-groves, was imported from richer lands; yet, notwithstanding this, a larger number of inhabitants of every religion, colour, and costume, continue to exist on its surface, than on any similar-sized portion of the globe.

But in its capital, Valetta, with its magnificent fortifications, and superb harbour, are centred its chief attractions, and which have gained for it a name imperishable on the page of history as the bulwark of Christendom, against the pagan hosts of the Saracens.


About the Author

William Henry Giles Kingston was born in Harley Street, London, on 28 February 1814. He was the eldest son of Lucy Henry Kingston, and grandson by his mother's side of Sir Giles Rooke, Knight Justice of the Court of Common Pleas. His father was in the wine business in Oporto,[1] and Kingston lived there for many years, making frequent voyages to England and contracting a lifelong affection for the sea. He entered his father's business, but soon indulged his natural bent for writing.

His newspaper articles on Portugal were translated into Portuguese, and assisted the conclusion of the commercial treaty with Portugal in 1842, when he received from Donna Mariada Gloria an order of Portuguese knighthood and a pension.

His first book was The Circassian Chief, a story published in 1844, and while still living in Oporto, he wrote The Prime Minister, an historical novel, and Lusitanian Sketches, descriptions of travels in Portugal.

Settling in England, he interested himself in the emigration movement, edited in 1844 The Colonist and The Colonial Magazine and East India Review, was honorary secretary of a colonisation society, wrote in 1848 Some Suggestions for a System of General Emigration, lectured on colonisation in 1849, published a manual for colonists, How to Emigrate, in 1850, and visited the western highlands on behalf of the emigration commissioners. He was afterwards a zealous volunteer and worked actively for the improvement of the condition of seamen.

But from 1850 his chief occupation was writing books for boys, or editing boys' annuals and weekly periodicals. The Union Jack, a paper for boys, he started only a few months before his death.

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