The Maltese title of Taflia.
Footnote: The title of “Marchese della Taflia” is purely nominal and does not have any property attached to it. In their general observations, the Royal Commissioners observed that most of the titles granted by the Grandmasters were merely honorary and had no relevance on property tenure “although it appears that those titles (granted by the Grand Masters) have derived their different denominations from several feudal lands existing in these islands, this annexation, however, is in most cases purely nominal, for those lands were never in reality conveyed to the grantees, but they remained as they are still Government Property.” The Commissioners also identified the only three exceptions to this purely nominal phenomenon, where tenure of property was a prerequisite namely Bahria, delle Catene, and Senia, the last being a divisible property. See:- “Correspondence and Report of the Commission appointed to enquire into the claims and grievances of the Maltese Nobility”, May 1878, presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of Her Majesty (C.-2033.) (See Report Paras. 82).
It was originally granted by Grand Master Rohan on the 13 November 1790. The remainder is unusual as it appears to be couched in very wide terms (See:- Correspondence and Report of the Commission appointed to enquire into the claims and grievances of the Maltese Nobility, May 1878, presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of Her Majesty (C.-2033.) (See Report Paras. 70-71).
The actual report says the following:
“Another patent conferring the title of “Marchese della Taflia” was on the 13th November 1790, granted by the same Grand Master Rohan to Saverio Alessi. In this grant a singular circumstance is noticeable. The patent of creation bears that the title is inheritable by the grantee’s descendants; but it is not therein provided whether should be enjoyed by all the said descendants simultaneously, or by only one of them under the rule of primogeniture. Tibi Magnifico ac Nobili Xaverio Alessi tuisque legitimis descendentibustribuimus, concedimus, et donamus, ac de Marchionis hujusmodi titulo decoramus, nec non ita nominari pose ac debere This grant was in the family, always taken to be limited to the first-born descendant only. The claimant of the title of “Marchese della Taflia”, Bernardo Alessi, is the grandson of the person first ennobled, and the first-born male child in the family. No person having disputed his claim, he will be included in our list, and styled “Bernardo Alessi Marchese della Taflia”.
It is also worthwhile noting that the argument that such title has always been considered as descendible only in the primogenial line of the original grantee cannot hold. (It is also to be remarked that this argument was merely observed by the Commissioners and that they neither agreed not disagreed with it.)
This is being said because:
1. when one considers the fact that the grant relative to Taflia is worded in terms which are different to those relative to other grants and extensions made by the same Grand Master. For example the title of Ghain Kajet(4.06.1796) reads tuisque descendentibus primogenitis legitimis et naturalibus tribuimus concedimus, et donamus, the title of Gnien-is-sultan (1.12.1792) reads Tibi Magnigico Philippo Apap, tuisque descendentibus masculis legitimis et naturalibus ipsisque deficientibus, foemina majori natu, tribuimus, concedimus et donamus, ac te Marchionishujusmodi titulo decoramus, and the extension to Fiddien (17.06.1793) reads Fiat pro primogenitis maribus tantum.Similarly, the San Giorgio extension (5.6.1792) accorded remainder to all (male) descendents in perpetuum
2. Moreover, whilst the Commissioners remarked in regard to title of a foreign origin that they cannot, in fact, suppose that the Grand Masters were disposed to recognize, without any investigation, and as a matter independent of their own sovereign assent and approbation, as Titolati in their dominion, any persons indiscriminately who should have obtained a title of nobility from ay foreign Sovereign, “Correspondence and Report of the Commission appointed to enquire into the claims and grievances of the Maltese Nobility”, May 1878, presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of Her Majesty (C.-2033.) (See Report Para. 102), it is reasonable to assert that the Grand Master knew full well that different remainders bring along different implications.
3. Moreover, it is manifest that the grant of 13.11.1790 does not include any references to remainder by primogenialdescent.
This grant of Taflia is also different to the extension of San Giorgio in the sense that the former is the actual grant whereas the latter was made after a rescript. Thus, in view of the absence of any clause limiting the remainder of the Taflia title to the primogenial descendant, the grant relative to the title of Taflia must be construed as favouring all legitimate descendants of Saverio Alessi.