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always more powerful and extensive than the rest. There is no one generic name by which tribes recognise one another as inhabitants of the same country, nor have they any common name for the whole island itself. They distinguish themselves by the respective territories to which they belong, as Sakalavas, Betanimenas, Hovas, &c.
Madagascar” is a name given to the country, as it appears, by foreigners, either Arabs or Europeans; and
Malagasy,” which is an adjective for the inhabitants and language of the country, is but very partially used by the people themselves, and principally on the eastern coast.
The natives of Madagascar are not in a state of barbarism. They appear to have acquired, from time immemorial, by their intercourse with Arabs and Malays, and subsequently with Europeans, many of the arts and habits of civilized life. They possess large flocks of cattle, cultivate and artificially irrigate extensive tracts of soil, are familiar with the value of property, and live in large communities, with considerable regularity of municipal government. They have no native coin. In those parts of the island, where they have had little or no intercourse with foreigners, purchases are made by exchange; in the rest, the Spanish dollar is used, and for amounts smaller than the dollar, it is cut into pieces and payment made by weight. The only native metal worked is iron; the people have long known the manufacture of various articles in that metal, as well as in horn, wood, silk, and cotton. They excel also in the manufacture of silver chain from dollars imported in the sale of their produce. Many of their houses are large and substantially
built of wood, and their towns, which usually occupy the summits of hills, are well defended by large moats. The people are industrious in their habits and peaceable in their dispositions: they are hospitable to strangers, and respectful and courteous in their demeanour to each other. Under a government less oppressive and rapacious, the country would soon assume an appearance of great fertility and comfort, and by the fostering care of liberal and enlightened rulers, the people would rapidly rise in the scale of intelligence, wealth, and power. There are materials to render the Malagasy a noble and powerful nation, whose friendship and resources would be well worthy of commercial relations with Europe and India, and whose mind and energy would qualify them to act as benefactors on the eastern coast of Africa.
Madagascar has attracted more of the notice of Great Britain during the last twenty-five years than in any former period. This has arisen, in part, from the circumstance of the island of Mauritius having been finally ceded (after conquest) to the Crown of Great Britain, and from the commercial relations between that beautiful island and Madagascar,—and in part, from the labours of the Protestant Mission, established there in 1818 by the London Missionary Society.
At the period just mentioned, Radama was a powerful and enterprising, though youthful, chieftain in that part of the island called the Hova country, situated in about the most central part of Madagascar, 200 miles from the eastern coast. He had succeeded to his father, Andrianimpoinimerina, who, from a very limited possession of influence and power, had risen to extensive authority, and
had formed the ambitious project of subjugating the whole country to his own individual control. Radama inherited the ambition of his father, adopted his policy, and succeeded in enlarging the boundaries of his kingdom. In all this he was much favoured by the friendship and countenance of Sir Robert Farquhar, at that time governor of Mauritius.
Sir Robert had the sagacity to discern the enterprising qualities of Radama, and formed an alliance with him on behalf of the British Government. The terms of that alliance involved some points of quesvionable policy, for while Radama engaged to suppress the slave traffic in Madagascar, the British government engaged to supply him annually with an equivalent, con„sisting, besides money, of arms, military clothing, and ammunition, for the loss of revenue occasioned by the suppression of the slave trade. Radama was sagacious enough to see his own interest in the offer of the governor of Mauritius, and found in the “equivalent” of arms, clothing, and ammunition, the means of equipping a large native army, by which he might effectually destroy the independence of the tribes around him, and so become, de facto, what he always claimed to be, but never actually was, king of Madagascar. And thus Great Britain, having supplied a handful of men with the weapons of destruction, and taught them how to wield them most effectually by sending a few soldiers to drill the natives, lent herself ungraciously to the task of abetting the ruin of the independence, liberty, property, homes, and lives of thousands and many tens of thousands of the peaceful inhabitants of the island, who had never raised a finger against the British throne, nor against the Hovas over
DEATH OF RADAMA.
whom Radama reigned, but who now, furnished with British weapons, could desolate whole regions of inoffensive agriculturists, and glory in schemes of conquest, rapine, and blood, that have literally filled the whole of Madagascar with groans, and anguish, and death.
It was in the spring of 1827, that Radama left the capital to visit the eastern coast of the island. He remained several months at Tamatave, where courting Europeans and colonial visitors, and courted by them in return, he indulged habits of intemperance and irregularity that would have wasted even stronger constitutions than his own.
On his return home, at the close of the year, he was far from being well. An affection of the throat had seized him, his constitution was undermined, and he found a premature grave in July of 1828, at the age of thirty-six. The reports which were circulated as to his having been poisoned, were perfectly groundless. No other poison than the habitual and copious use of ardent spirits was needed to destroy the vigour of his constitution. Vices usually attendant on intoxication were superinduced; diseases followed, and Radama perished by their natural effects.
Rakotobe, the eldest son of Radama's eldest sister, was the recognised heir apparent up to the time of Radama's death. Had Radama lived long enough to have a son grown up to maturity, his ambition would, in all probability, have appointed him successor to the crown in preference to a sister's child, whatever other claims the latter might, by usual custom, be supposed to sustain. The only son Radama had, died while an infant, not without strong suspicions of unfair means having been
ACCESSION OF THE QUEEN.
employed for his destruction, by interested parties and near relations.
The death of Radama was concealed from the public for a few days. Two favourite officers had been in constant attendance an him, and these, it is believed, were adopting secret measures to secure the succession of Rakotobe, the legitimate claimant. They were probably aware that they would have to encounter considerable difficulty, from the state of parties, in effecting the object, and therefore, acting with extreme caution and policy, hesitated to adopt the prompt measures the case demanded. One of these had, a few months previously, accused to the king some of Radama's nearest relations of some offences that incurred his severe displeasure, and he was now alarmed for his own safety lest, on the death of his sovereign, these parties should find means of resentment. It was during this delay that the measures were formed to secure the accession of Ranavalona, the present queen. A young man who had been promoted a short time before by Radama to the rank of the sixth honour, as a reward for his courage on being willing to fight a duel at the king's desire, was in attendance on the two officers already mentioned, and hence had the opportunity of becoming acquainted with the fact of Radama's decease. He seized the moment to convey the information to Ranavalona, who had been one of the wives of Radama.
The father of Ranavalona had saved the life of Andrianimpoinimerina, the father of Radama, when his uncle, Andrianjafy had formed the design of destroying him, by pushing him over the brow of the hill at Ambohimanga. When Radama's father came to the crown,