Page:Madagascar - Phelps - 1883.djvu/69

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

for their material advantages, and not for the Christianity that they taught. This fact became very evident on the occasion of finishing a canal under the direction of the missionary artisans, between the river Ikiopa and an extensive lake at Amparibé, in the neighborhood of the capital. The lake was made use of as a reservoir of water for mills erected under the superintendence of Mr. Cameron. It was for such uses as these, and for supplying the ranks of the army with intelligent youths, the advantages of which the natives were not slow to perceive, that the schools were encouraged by the government. But the government could no more make use of Christian efforts in this way, than the slave power of the United States could make use of the government for its purposes. The irreconcilable antagonism between sordid self-interest and the purity of Christian principle, the government of Madagascar was wholly unconscious of. Other and more civilized governments are aware of this antagonism, and weakly seek to reconcile it; but the barbarous government of Madagascar did not even suspect its existence.

Again it was reported, in 1831, that the French designed to attack the island, and it was proposed to add 25,000 men, to the forces already enrolled. For this purpose, every one in the schools, both pupils and teachers, upwards of thirteen years of age, was drafted into the army. This proceeding rendered parents averse to sending their children to the public schools, and many of them sent slaves to the schools instead.

Shortly after the report of the arrival of a French expedition at Bourbon, an emissary from the Court of Rome landed at Tamatavé, bearing, as he stated, propositions for introducing the Romish faith among the people. The ecclesiastic represented himself as Count Henry de Solage, vicar apostolic. He had been to India and New South Wales, and stated that he was charged with a special communication from Charles X. of France, and the Pope. He wished to proceed to the capital, but was detained by Prince Carroller on the coast, until the pleasure of the Queen could be known; and letters announcing his arrival were sent up to the capital. In the meantime he persisted in proceeding on his journey, and after advancing a few days, being met by the Queen's officers, his bearers, apprehensive of the consequences of governmental displeasure, left him. He refused to return to the coast, and remained at Ambatoharanana, where, while waiting permission from the Queen