A History of the Knights of Malta or The Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem Volume 2, was written by Major Whitworth Porter (1827 – 1892) and published in 1858.
This is Volume 2 of 2, and contains 546 pages in 11 Chapters, 9 Appendices, with 1 Illustration and 7 pages of charts. One of the most informative books on the subject of the Knights of Malta.
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Excerpts from the Preface:
....Malta has always been considered a most important and valued appanage to the British Crown, and its due security has been carefully and jealously guarded. Still, until within the last few years, comparatively but little was known of the island by the great bulk of the population of England. True, they all had been taught that it was a powerful insular fortress in the centre of the Mediterranean, half way between Sicily and the north coast of Africa, and that, prior to its passing under the sway of England, it had been the home, for upwards of two centuries, of a military community, called "The Knights of Malta." Some, perhaps, had even heard of its siege as a struggle reflecting great renown on the garrison of the island, and as one of the most protracted and heroic defenses made throughout the sixteenth century. But beyond this point little was generally either known or cared for.
....A demand having thus arisen for more detailed information relative to the previous history of the Order of Malta, it has been made a subject of much complaint that such information is very difficult to obtain. The only book in the English language, bearing any pretensions to the title of a popular history of the Order, is Sutherland's "Knights of Malta," published in Constable's "Miscellany." Now this book, which is, after all, but little else than an abridged translation of the voluminous quartos of Vertot, contains no details of aught but the political and public career of the Knights. On their internal organization and social history he is perfectly silent, and yet that is the point on which general interest is more particularly excited.
....Under these circumstances, and having myself experienced the difficulty which exists in obtaining, in a popular form, such information concerning the Order of St. John as is generally sought for, I have endeavored, in the following work, to supply that deficiency, and to collect together, in a readable form, such details as I have gathered, after wading through an enormous mass of reading, from amidst the ponderous tomes of the public library of Malta, and its still more valuable Record Office, where papers and manuscripts of the deepest interest exist in countless profusion.
....Whilst following out a general history of the Order from its first establishment in Palestine, in the close of the eleventh century, to the present day, I have endeavored to intersperse the narrative with such details of their private and social habits and customs as I deemed might prove most acceptable to the general reader, and which I feel well assured have never hitherto been made public.
....I now beg to leave the result of my labors in the hands of an intelligent public, trusting that it will meet with clemency, if not with favor; and not altogether without hopes that I may have supplied a connecting link between the histories of Europe and Asia, which will prove interesting and valuable to the general reader.
On 20 Dec. 1853 Whitworth Porter embarked for Malta, but in February 1855 was sent on active service to the Crimea. He served in the trenches at the siege of Sebastopol until June. For his services he received the war medal, with clasp for Sebastopol, the Turkish medal, and on 2 Nov. 1855 he was promoted brevet-major. After serving at home for eighteen months, he returned to Malta in December 1856. It was during his service in the fortress on this occasion that he made a study of the history of the island, and especially of its rulers, the knights of Malta. The result of this study was a work in two volumes, entitled ‘A History of the Knights of Malta’ (2 vols. London, 1858). On 2 April 1859 Porter was promoted first captain in the royal engineers, and returned to England.