Page:Madagascar - Phelps - 1883.djvu/53

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slave-trade of Madagascar. The particular juncture of affairs in the island was propitious. The king of the Hovas, Radama, had succeeded to his father, whose intentions had been to bring all the tribes of the island under his own sway, and thus to establish but one government for the whole country. The son, Eadama, proved to be a worthy successor of such a sire. He was warlike, enterprising, intelligent, eager for instruction, and was taking lessons in French, having already learned to write his own language in the Arabic character. But the objects of the English governor are so lucidly explained in his own words, that we can do no better than to give these words themselves. In a letter from the Mauritius dated September 12th, 1816 to Earl Bathurst, Governor Farquhar says:—

“I beg leave to state to your lordship the arrival, in this island, of two young brothers of Radama, King of the Orahs, the most powerful of the princes of Madagascar; an event which may be of considerable importance to the inhabitants of these colonies, and which may be followed by advantageous results for the ultimate civilization of Madagascar.

“The different chiefs and sovereigns of the island had been inspired with much jealousy and distrust of the British government, by the artifices of such of the French traders as had been interested in the slave-trade, and whose traffic was suppressed by the establishment of the British government in these islands.

“I therefore thought it indispensably necessary for preserving the harmony which should subsist between the British merchants and other subjects settled at Madagascar, and the native princes, to send a person properly qualified to the latter, in the hopes of forming a lasting peace, and procuring protection to his Majesty's subjects in that island.

“One of his Majesty's subjects, a Frenchman, of the name of Chardeneaux, was indicated to me as peculiarly adapted for the accomplishment of this service, from his long and intimate acquaintance with the different native chiefs, and particularly from the friendship which had subsisted between him and Radama, King of the Orahs, for many years.

“As my desire was, at the same time, to endeavor, by every amicable means, to cut off one great source of supply for the slave-traffic, and as such a mission would at first appear as eminently embracing the interests of the native princes, I was the more disposed to accept the services of M. Chardeneaux on this occasion.