of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table, is immortal, though little of the author is known. The work is named Morte D' Arthur. Scott says: "It indisputably is the best prose romance the English language can boast of." Malory aimed to give epic unity and harmony to the whole mass of French romance. Caxton's edition of the work was finished in 1485. In the preface to this edition we learn that Malory was a knight and finished the work in 1470.

Malplaq.iet (mal'plÓ'kÔ'), a village in France, near the Belgian frontier, celebrated as the scene of the bloody defeat of the French under Marshal Villars by the British and Dutch under the Duke of Marlborough and Prince Eugene, Sept. 11, 1709. The allied armies numbered over 100,000 men, and the French army somewhat less. The loss on each side amounted to about 20,000 men.

Malt is made from barley by steeping the grain during about 80 hours, "couching" it until the seed germinates, which may occupy some 12 days, and then drying it in a kiln at a temperature which may vary greatly, but often is from 100° to 1500. See Brewing.

Malta (mal'iÓ), an island in the Mediterranean, 58 miles south of Sicily. It is 17 miles long and about 8 broad, and covers 95 square miles. It belongs to Great Britain, and is strongly fortified. It is the headquarters of the British Mediterranean fleet and the chief coaling station for British vessels. There are several smaller islands as Gozo and Comino, connected with it, belonging to England. Malta is treeless, and has no rivers or lakes, water being obtained from springs; but the soil is very fertile. There are several good harbors, and numerous odd caverns hollowed out by the sea, some of them quite large. Trade is mainly one of transit; some 3,500 vessels enter and clear from the port annually, half of which are British. Wheat, potatoes, corn, barley, cotton and the southern fruits are the principal products. The language is a dialect of Arabic, with a mixture of Italian, though the higher classes speak English and Italian. There is a university, founded in 1769, with four faculties and 147 students. Malta also has 167 public schools, with 18,719 in attendance. The cathedral of St Paul, built in 1697, and the grotto of St Paul, where the apostle is thought to have lived during his three months' stay, as well as the Bay of St. Paul, commemorate the apostle's shipwreck on his journey to Rome. The church of Musta, modeled after the Pantheon at Rome, has one of the largest domes in Europe. The capital is Valetta (population 50,000). Malta was settled by the Phoenicians about 1000 B. C. The Greeks took possession about 700 B. C, the Carthaginians in 480 B. C , and the Romans in 216 B. C. Under the Romans Malta was famous for cotton-cloth, honey and roses. Malta went with the eastern empire when the

Roman kingdom was divided. In the 5th century it was conquered by Vandals and then by Goths, and in 870 the Arabs came into possession, but were driven out in 1090 by Count Roger of Sicily. Finally coming into the power of Charles V, he gave it (1530) to the Knights of St. John, who fortified it, making it very powerful. In 1798 the Knights surrendered the island to the French; but the people rebelled and succeeded after a two years' siege in driving off the French with the aid of the English. The people preferred the rule of Great Britain to that of the Knights, and the Congress of Vienna in 1814 recognized Malta as a British dependency. Population 205,059. See Malta Past and Present by Seddall and The Story of Malta by M. M. Ballou.

Mal'ta, Knights of, were a military and religious order of the middle ages. They were also called the Knights of St. John and Knights of Rhodes, and belonged to what were known as Hospitalers in the Roman church, who were devoted to the care of the poor and the sick. The order was founded about 1048, in a hospital built at Jerusalem and dedicated to St. John the Baptist. The order gradually became a military one, sworn to guard the holy sepulcher and to war against unbelievers. The last stronghold in Palestine was Acre, which they yielded after a terrible siege by the ruler of Egypt and sailed to Cyprus in 1291. After the Reformation they declined in importance, and most of their lands were confiscated by the different European states. There are two or three branches of the order still existing, and two modern associations, one of which, the English Knights of St. John, was the principal founder of the Red Cross Society.

Mal'thus, Thomas Robert, an English clergyman and writer on political economy, was born at Albury, Surrey, in 1766. In 1798 he issued the work which made his reputation and by which he has since been known ■ An Essay upon the Principles of Population as It Affects the Future Improvement of Society. The leading idea was that, the population of the earth increasing steadily in geometrical ratio, the world must soon be over-populated ; and that, unless means to check such increase be promptly adopted, the nations of the earth must soon be brought to the verge of starvation. He insisted that abstinence from marriage could alone keep down the threatened overplus of population. He himself married in 1805, and was the same year appointed professor of history and political economy in East India College at Haileybury. Malthus also published Observations on the Effects of the Corn Laws, Principles of Political Economy and Definitions in Politica Economy. He died at Bath, Dec. 23, 1834

Mai'vern Hill, Battle of, the last of the battles of McClellan's memorable Peninsular campaign. The hill is situated near James