History – 1657 – 1660 Martin de Redin

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On the death of John Paul Lasearis the Convent found itself divided into two powerful factions, each of which sought by every means to secure the election of its own candidate. The first was fomented by the Prior of Navarre, Martin de Redin of the Langue of Aragon, then Viceroy of Sicily, and the other known as the faction of “the flying squadron,” favoured a very powerful rival, the Grand Inquisitor Odi. The latter, in order to attain his purpose, had armed himself with a papal brief declaring that any Knight who was guilty of canvassing either directly or indirectly, or of employing promises or threats to secure his election, thereby rendered himself ineligible as Grand Master of the Order. This brief was presented with due formality to the Council by Odi’s secretary, along with a declaration of the Grand Inquisitor accusing Martin de Redin of using malpractice’s to secure the post, and disqualifying him from competing. The exertions of Odi’s party, however, were not crowned with success; De Redin was elected on the 17th August 1657, and as a last resource the Grand Inquisitor appealed to the Pontiff. The Grand Master elect, however, immediately submitted his election for the approval of the Court of Rome. Alexander VIII, then Pope, thinking well of this readiness to abide by the decision of the Holy See. And desirous of maintaining friendly relations with the King of Spain, who strongly favoured the cause of De Redin, confirmed the election, and furthermore directed the Grand Inquisitor to personally announce the fact to the venerable fraternity. As a mark of gratitude for the high favour shown him by the Pontiff, De Redin on assuming the contested dignity appointed the Pope’s favourite nephew, the Prior de Bichi, to one of the richest Italian commanderies, and presented him with a diamond cross worth 1,200 Maltese Scudi. During his short rule of two years De Redin achieved great popularity for his zeal in procuring provisions from all parts of Italy, while Malta was labouring under great difficulties, and his conciliating policy restored perfect tranquillity within the Convent. For the better protection of the island he constructed, at his own expense, fourteen lunettes and raised a standing regiment of 4,000 musketeers. He died on the 6th February 1660, at the age of sixty-nine.

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