A SKETCH OF
but this act was loudly protested against by the French governor of Bourbon. It is probable that amongst other reasons for objections to this measure, the French governor was influenced by the fact, that the Isle of Bourbon, as well as the Mauritius, was deeply involved in the slave-trade, which the British government had recently renounced, and to which governor Farquhar was avowedly and openly opposed. The abolition of the slave-trade by the British, in 1807, during the prevalence of the French revolutionary war, may in fact be regarded as a strong distinctive difference in favor of liberty in the struggle between the English and French, and which had no small effect in the direction given to the successes of the war.
The efforts of Governor Farquhar to introduce civilization and Christianity into Madagascar, and to suppress the slave-trade there, aided by the London Missionary Society, and thwarted mischievously by fellow officers of his own government, much to the injury and discredit of the national service—would furnish an interesting history of themselves. We shall give a succinct account of them; but before doing so, and to their clearer understanding, the reader will desire to form some idea of the island, its productions and inhabitants.
In a geological point of view the island exhibits primitive formations, chiefly granite, sienite, and blocks of exceedingly pure quartz. Of this latter mineral, the natives make use to ornament the summits of their tombs. Grey-wacke, schist, clay slate, suitable for roofing, chalcedony, lime-stone, including various kinds of marble, basalt, sand-stone, are common in the island. Finely crystalized schools frequently occur, and in the lime-stone of apparently fresh water formation are found imbedded fossils, including serpents, lizards, chameleons, and several kinds of vegetables.
No subterranean fires are known to be at present in active, visible operation, yet indications of volcanic action frequently occur, and are strongly marked. Many of the rocks, for several miles together, are composed of homogeneous earthy lava; scoria and pumice are also occasionally discovered. Rock-salt, nitre, and pyrites yielding a valuable percentage of sulphur, are met with.