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Gerald Strickland, 1st Baron Strickland, 6th Count of Catena, GCMG (24 May 1861 – 22 August 1940) was a Maltesemarker and Britishmarker politician and peer, who served as Prime Minister of Malta, Governor of the Leeward Islands, Governor of Tasmania, Governor of Western Australia and Governor of New South Wales.

Strickland was born in Vallettamarker, son of naval officer Walter Strickland and Louisa Bonici Mompalao, the niece of a Maltese count who later succeeded to the title of Count of Catena. He was educated at St Mary's College, Oscottmarker, and Trinity College, Cambridgemarker.

He died at his residence in the Villa Bologna, Attardmarker and is buried in the family crypt at the Cathedral of St Paul, Mdinamarker.

Political career

Strickland began to take an active part in Maltese politics at an early age and in December 1887, he accompanied Dr. Fortunato Mizzi — founder of the Maltese Nationalist Party — to London to submit a scheme for a legislative assembly. The result was that the new Constitution of December 1887 was largely based on the joint Strickland-Mizzi proposals.

In the following year, Strickland was appointed Principal Government Secretary, a post which he held till 1902 when to avert more trouble in Malta which were created by his orders in councils to increase taxation, he was nominated Governor of Tasmania (1904 to 1909), Governor of Western Australia (1909 to 1913) and Governor of New South Wales (1913 to 1917).

In 1917, Count Strickland returned to Malta and, after the grant of Self Government, formed the Anglo-Maltese Party in 1921, which soon afterward amalgamated with the Maltese Constitutional Party to become the Constitutional Party under his leadership. As such, Strickland was the leader of the Opposition between 1921 and 1927. In 1924, Lord Strickland won the seat of Lancaster for the Conservatives in the British House of Commonsmarker. He left the House of Commons in 1928 upon being made a peer.

After the 1927 elections, Strickland with a majority in the Legislative Assembly, became Head of Ministry (the fourth Prime Minister of Malta) from August 1927 until June 1930. Amongst the most important events of his government were the commencement of building works for St. Luke's Hospital in Gwardamanġia, his clash with the Senate, which led to the issue of Letters Patent which curtailed its powers and his concurrent clash with the Ecclesiastical Authorities.

On the 1st of May 1930, Archbishop Mauro Caruana and Gozo bishop Mikiel Gonzi issued a pastoral letter, read in all the churches of Malta and Gozo. In it they declared that whoever voted for the Constitutional Party and its former coalition partner, the Labour Party, committed a mortal sin.

This mortal sin was also committed by those who read Strickland's newspapers, printed by his Progress Press, namely the Daily Malta Chronicle and Ix-Xemx. He subsequently began publishing Il-Progress and Il-Berqa.

The clash between the Catholic bishops and the Constitutional Party led to the suspension of the Malta Constitution following consultations between the British Governor and London.

Between July 1932 and November 1933, Strickland was again the leader of the Opposition, and after the grant of a new Constitution in 1939, he became the leader of the elected majority in the Council of Government.

Personal Life

In 1890 Strickland married Lady Edeline Sackville-West (1870-1918), the daughter of the 7th Earl De La Warr. They had five daughters; Hon. Mary Constance (1892-1970); Hon Cecilia (1897-1982); Hon. Mabel OBE (1899–1988); Hon. Dr. Constance LMSSA (1912-1979) and Hon. Henrietta (1903). Following the death of Lady Edeline in 1918, Sir Gerald married Margaret Hulton DBE in 1926.

Titles and honours

Strickland was appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1889, for rendering invaluable services during a severe cholera epidemic. He was promoted within the order to KCMG in 1897, and again to GCMG in 1913. He was raised to the Peerage of the United Kingdom as Baron Strickland, of Sizergh Castlemarker in the County of Westmoreland, on 19 January 1928.

References




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