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address was excellent, founded on the very appropriate text, “ Save, Lord, we perish.” It was the last public address ever delivered there. The officers then came to the residence of Mr. Griffiths, where the Europeans had met by appointment, to receive the queen's message. Ratsimanisa, the most inveterate enemy to Christianity, was at their head. His appearance indicated great excitement and determined enmity, as if actuated by some malignant power. There being no room for the whole party in the house, they entered the chapel; and after the usual forms of salutation, Ratsimanisa said, there was a letter from the queen to the Europeans, adding, “most of you understand the Malagasy language; if there are any here who do not, the others can translate it for them.” The following letter was then read :“ TO ALL THE EUROPEANS, ENGLISH AND FRENCH.
“ Antananarivo, 26th February, 1835. “ I INFORM you, my friends and relations, with regard to the disposition you have manifested towards my country, in teaching the good disposition and knowledge, I thank you for that; it is highly acceptable to me, for I have observed the disposition manifested by you to Radama, and also to me, that you have not changed.
" And I also inform all you Europeans, that whilst you reside here in my country, you may, among yourselves, observe all the customs, (religious observances,) of your ancestors, and your own customs; and do not entertain any fears, for I do not change the customs of your ancestors, or your customs, for the disposition that you have manifested to my country is good : however, though I state that, if the law of my country be violated, the party is guilty, whoever he may be ; nor is that done in this country only, but throughout the world, wherever the law of the country is violated, the party is guilty.
“And further, I tell you explicitly, that if these people of mine should change the customs of the ancestors, and that which has been transmitted from the ancient line of my predecessors, and 'ANSWER TO THE EDICT.
from Andrianimpoinimerina and Radama, if they should change that, I utterly detest it, (laviko izany,) for that which has been established by my ancestors, I cannot permit to be changed : I am neither ashamed nor afraid to maintain the customs of my ancestors; but if there be good disposition and knowledge that. may be beneficial to my country, that I assent to, but still the customs of my ancestors I cannot allow to be relinquished.
“ And hence, then, with regard to religious worship, whether on the Sunday or not, and the practice of baptism, and the existence of a society, (or societies,) those things cannot be done by my subjects, in my country; but with regard to yourselves, as Europeans, do that which accords with the customs of your ancestors and your own customs. But if there be knowledge of the arts and sciences, that will be beneficial to my subjects in the country, teach that, for it is good; therefore I tell you of this, my friends and relations, that you may hear of it.
“ Saith Ranavalomanjaka.” After receiving the message of the queen contained in her letter, the Europeans retired from the chapel to their houses, followed by many of the native Christians overwhelmed with grief and terror.
To the letter from the queen the following reply was sent two days afterwards :
“ Antananarivo, 28th February, 1835. “ To Ranavalomanjaka :
May you attain to old age, not suffering affliction. Madam, may you equal in length of days the human race. We have received your letter, brought to us by the officers of the palace, and we are happy to find that the disposition we have manifested in your country, and in teaching the good disposition and wisdom, has been acceptable to you.
“ Nevertheless, we are exceedingly grieved respecting your word, which says, religious worship is not to be performed by your subjects. For we know and are assured, that the word of God is beneficial to men, and the means of making them wise, whoever they may be, and that it renders illustrious and prosperous those kingdoms which obey it. And this teaching of ours, the word of God, together with teaching the good disposition, and the arts and sciences, are the purposes for which we left our native country.
REPLY TO THE ANSWER.
“ We, therefore, most humbly and earnestly entreat of your Majesty not to suppress our teaching the word of God, but that we may still have the means of teaching it together with the useful arts and sciences.
“ And with regard to your word, saying that we are not allowed to purchase land; we have heard the message, and submit to it; and we will not purchase land—for you, Madam, are the Sovereign of the Country.
May you attain to old age; and we pray to God to bless you. May you live long, and may your kingdom prosper, say we Europeans.
“ JOHNS, FREEMAN,
Сніск, , CAMERON,
KITCHING, BAKER.” In reply to the letter from the missionaries the queen rejoined as follows:
“ Tananarino, 2d March, 1835. “ To Messrs. Johns, Freeman, Chick, Cameron, Kitching, Baker :
“ Health to you. I have heard the message in your letter, and I say to you, ' Did I not expressly tell you, that with regard to the customs of your ancestors, they are not changed, that is, among yourselves, not even while you are here in my country?
«« « And while you are here in my country, if the customs of your ancestors were changed, should you not be grieved ?
6. And I tell you what I have already told you, that my people are not to do these things, for that which was done by my ancestors cannot be changed.'
“Such is the message of the sovereign, which she has directed to be sent as an answer to the message in your letter.
“ Say RAINIMAHARO, ) 11th honour, Officers of
RainisEHENO, ) the Palace.” The language of this letter is sufficiently evasive, for the missionaries had not hinted at any change being made in their religious customs, nor did they attempt to force any changes on the people. But it was manifestly useless to press any explanations on the attention of the government, as their decision was now deliberately taken, and authoritatively announced.
As yet no restriction was placed on the distribution of religious books, and the hope was entertained that at least those which had been already distributed would be allowed to remain in the possession of those who had received them, and for the same reason they were still given to those who applied for them during the two days' interval between the letter of the queen and the kabary to the people; and as all the scholars had came up to town to hear the kabary, there were most extensive applications for books and tracts. From that time most of the Christians withdrew, and hardly ventured to visit the missionaries, as it was found that Rajery, one of the most inveterate enemies among the judges, had sent some of his Dekana or aides-de-camp to watch near their houses, so as to see what natives came to them. It is probable that many were at this time employed as spies, and it seems that the Christians, being aware of it, were on their guard. now a time of great excitement among
all parties, friends and foes, at the capital, and it was felt that the lapse of a few days would involve a most important crisis in the history of the mission, and the moral state of Madagascar. The friends of the idolatrous party were on the alert, the entire civil power of the government was being arrayed in its defence, and the little flock of Christians were on the eve of becoming like lambs in the midst of wolves.” The members of the mission knew that the cause of Christ must ultimately triumph, but rejoiced even in this with trembling, knowing how fearful might be the struggle ere victory for truth
Detailed account of the proceedings directly connected with the
suppression of Christianity in Madagascar.
Having in the last chapter explained some of the causes and circumstances which led to the adoption of a series of vigorous measures for the suppression of Christianity in the island, it may be useful and instructive to notice in this chapter the measures themselves, as illustrative of the spirit and character of the government, and of the trials to which the native Christians were exposed.
On Sunday, the 15th of February, all the “ Heads of hundreds” were ordered to assemble in the spacious parade ground at Tananarivo.* The judges met them there, and conveyed the queen's command, that they should forth with summon all that were able to walk, men, women, children, and slaves, to attend a “kabary,” to be held that day fortnight, the 1st of March. None were to remain at home in Imerina, excepting one individual in each house, to take charge of the property. The soldiers were ordered to assemble on the 24th of February, invalids as well as those in health. On their arrival, the troops of each district had a spot assigned them for encampment; their names were called over, and their numbers strictly examined. On the 26th and 27th,
* It is called Imahamasina, and is situated on the western side of the hill, and is so extensive, that from 100,000 to 200,000 persons might be conveniently assembled there.