FORTUNATO MIZZI, son of Magistrate Francesco Mizzi, was born in Valletta on the 14th July 1844. He graduated in law at the University of Malta in 1865. He was President of various social and voluntary organizations as well as of the Chamber of Advocates. In 1883 he founded the newspaper Malta.
Dr. Mizzi is best remembered as a politician. He was inspired by the need for a liberal constitution for Malta, the defense of the Roman Catholic Religion, and the Assertion of the Latin and European culture of his people. He was pro Italian and opposed British efforts to anglicize the educational and judicial systems. His ultimate aim was self-rule for Malta. In 1880 Mizzi founded the Anti-Reformist Party, which soon became known as the Partito Nazionale, to oppose the Royal Commissions of Sir Penrose Julyan and Patrick Keenan, who probed into the civil establishment and the educational system respectively. The Mizzi group maintained that the reforms suggested by the Commissioners were aimed primarily at safeguarding the interest of the British Government.
He successfully contested all the elections, which were held between 1880 and 1904. His policies bore fruit. On December 21, 1887, Letters Patent were announced, granting a Constitution for Malta. But when the British rulers began to ignore the new constitution, Mizzi started a system of non-cooperation. In 1899 accompanied by Salvatore Cachia Zammit, Mizzi travelled to London to submit a petition for constitutional reform to the British government (A Statement of Claims and Grievances of the Maltese). However, the 1887 Constitution became so unworkable it was revoked in 1903. On 21st June of that year, Il Corriere della Sera printed this quote by Dr Mizzi. "Now we are trying to tell the world what an unhappy political situation we are in. We hope in the final triumph of our ideas, for it is absolutely impossible for a people to remain without freedom in the 20th century; the population is determined to acquire freedom".
In 1905 Mizzi was elected President of the newly formed Associazione Politica Maltese, which office he held for a short time due to his sudden death
A partner of his described him in this manner: "He had a mental ability that could make him rich; instead he followed the road based on virtue, followed it tenaciously and directly, without ever deviating, never retreating and faced violence till he died".
The Maltese considered Dr Fortunato Mizzi as the leader of the Nationalist Movement and called him Padre della Patria.
Fortunato Mizzi died on May 18, 1905
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