Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub
[blocks in formation]

powerful indeed,” said they, “must those ('ody') charms be, which can induce her to keep on talking in this way even to the very

last!” She was now taken from the house of Ramiandravola, and ordered for execution the next morning. She was put that afternoon into irons of a peculiar construction, not intended so much for the security of the prisoner as for cruel punishment. The irons consist of rings and bars, and are so fastened around the feet, hands, knees, and neck, as to confine the whole body in an excruciatingly painful position, forcing the extremities together, as if the sufferer were packed into a small case.

These irons are called" omby fohy," “ the shortened bullock," from the mode in which the natives are accustomed to tie the animal by drawing the fore and hind feet together in one knot.

Being led to the place of execution next morning, she expressed her joy that she had received the knowledge of the truth, and continued singing hymns on the way. Passing by Mr. Griffiths' chapel, where she had been baptized, she exclaimed, “ There I heard the words of the Saviour!” On reaching the fatal spot, she requested permission to kneel down and pray; her request was granted; she calmly knelt down, committed her spirit into the hands of the Redeemer, and in that attitude was speared to death, the executioners, three or four in number, standing behind and by the side of her, and striking her through the ribs and the heart.* The pain would be momentary, the release triumphant, and the bliss that followed immortal. Her body was left to be devoured by the wild dogs that frequent all places in Madagascar

* See the vignette, title-page.

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

me ye

where criminals suffer. When Rafaravavy and a friend went some time afterwards to the exact spot where she was killed, they could find only a few bones lying about, where they had been scattered by the dogs.

The name Rasalama" is formed of the well-known oriental word " Salama," peace," "health," "happiness," and the usual Malagasy affix to proper names, “Ra.” Though a sufferer and a martyr, she realized all that the name imported. She found “peace in believing.She was sustained by the smiles of the Saviour, and enjoyed the fulfilment of his promise, “In

shall have peace.Some said, when she was led forth to death, “Where is the God she prays to, that he does not save her now?” Others were touched with pity, and could not see for what crime these Christians were put to death.

He who enrolled with honour the name of Antipas as his “ faithful martyr” at Pergamos, has, in his providence, now enrolled the name of “ Rasalama” proto-martyr of Madagascar; and long will that name continue embalmed with fragrancy in the memory of those who love the Saviour's cause.

Few of the Christians, if any, except one young man named Rafaralahy, ventured to the spot while she was put to death. He did, and was deeply affected with the scene. He saw her calmness, and returned from the spectacle a martyr in spirit. "If,” said he, “I might die so tranquil and happy a death, I would not be unwilling to die for the Saviour too." The event will show that he was ere long put to the awful test.

as the

[blocks in formation]

From the Martyrdom of Rasalama, 1837, to that of Rafaralahy,

in 1838.

ABOUT a week after Rasalama's death, the rest of the accused party were divided as slaves among the first officers; Rainiharo took Andrianantoandro and his wife and child, Ramanana, Ratiasoa, Ranomé, Ratsarahomba (David), Andrianimanana, and Simeon; Rainingitabé took Raminahy; Andriantsalama had Raivo and Rafara; Ratsimanisa had Razafy and Razafitsara. Paul remained still in irons, and two soldiers were guarding him, and although Razafy, Paul's wife, had not been accused, but was reduced to slavery because she was the wife of one deemed guilty, she was treated by Ratsimanisa as one of the party. When her master was asked why she was put in irons, since her husband only had been found guilty, “Oh,” said he, with a sneer, “her very appearance tells us she is one of them.” That she really was there can be no question, but she had escaped the notice of the accuser in the first instance, and the evidence appealed to, that her dejected looks were against her, would not quite have satisfied a lover of impartial justice.

Rasoamaka (Joseph) and Ramanisa reached the capital on their return home from Tamatave in a few days after the above mentioned division of the Christians

the officers had taken place. They heard of this fresh burst of persecution while on their way up from the coast, when about forty miles from home. They heard also that

among

[blocks in formation]

their own names had been given in amongst their friends as guilty. They hesitated whether to attempt effecting their escape, or to proceed home and surrender themselves to the government, and bear the persecution in common with their friends. After much deliberation and prayer, they came to the decision that it was their duty to proceed home and impeach themselves to the government, for God,”

,” said they, “may make us useful to some of our fellow slaves; perhaps we may be instruments in bringing some of them to Jesus; there is every probability that our lives will be spared, though we may suffer perpetual slavery; and perhaps these afflictions are among the things which God has appointed to make us fit for heaven!” They arrived among their friends on the 13th of August, and on the 15th were apprehended by the Vadintany and the Dekana of the first officers.

There is somewhat curious in the native mode of proceeding in such cases. The following is introduced as an illustration of the manner of apprehending a prisoner and serving a warrant of distress. On entering the house of Rasoamaka (Joseph), the officer of justice, addressing him, said, “ May we be excused by the ground under our feet, and the village within which we stand, and all the roofs of the houses around us. May we be excused by the father and mother, and by all the relations of the party who are not guilty; to you all we have no message; our business is with you alone, Rasoamaka, for it is said you still keep the book and make prayers, which 'I do not suffer to be done in my country,' says the Queen, and which I have prohibited and made a law against.' The people, moreover, paid a bullock and a dollar as a fine for

[blocks in formation]

what they had done, and as a pledge that such a thing should not be done again; and now there are some so daring as to throw down the orim-bato* (fixed stone) raised up at that time. 'I detest that,' says the Queen; 'and whoever is born even of parents that have done good in my kingdom, or are even nearly related to me, if they transgress my laws, I detest their deeds,' saith the Queen, ‘for they seek that which desecrates me; they are like those who destroy the nest of the takatra,t and thereby are seized with leprosy. I,' saith the Queen, 'am the just balance, and will equalize Imerina: the way the hands go, shall the feet follow; let his wife and children be sold, and everything in and out of the house belonging to Rasoamaka, even to a white bead, or a piece of black cord, let all be confiscated, and let his relations be careful that they do not claim anything of his property. We advise you to admonish your son to conceal nothing from the Queen. He is young and may be tempted to conceal part of his property ; be careful to keep nothing of his with you; if discovered, all your property will be confiscated just as his, says the Queen.”

In a few days after the property had been confiscated, Joseph and Ramanisa, and their wives, were taken to Ambatonafandrana to be valued; their wives were redeemable, but they were not. The men were valued at seven dollars each, the wives at sixteen each. The disproportion was in consequence of the officers having to pay for the men, while the relations had to pay for the

وو و

* A figurative expression to denote transgressing the established law.

+ A native bird.

« VorigeDoorgaan »