Page:Madagascar - Phelps - 1883.djvu/70

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to advance, he died suddenly, not without strong suspicions of having poisoned himself.

Anxious to afford any facility for printing the entire Scriptures, and multiplying books, the directors of the London Missionary Society, sent out a new printing press and types; and these the Malagasy government ordered to be taken up to the capital, free of expense to the missionaries. The carrying of packages for the government was often an extremely severe service, and sometimes proved fatal to the bearers. On one occasion several were injured, and two died. When the occurrence was reported to the Queen, she replied, with the heartless indifference of one whose political creed is that the people exist for the sovereign, not the the sovereign for the people—“And what then? Was it not in the service of the government that they died.”

The labors of the artisans who taught the natives to work in wood and iron, continued to be highly prized by the people, and Mr. Cameron, who had just finished the erection of a mill, was applied to by the government to undertake the establishment of an iron foundry and a glass manufactory. He acceded to the proposal; and it was arranged that, before commencing the foundry, he should proceed to England, accompanied by two or three native youths, who were not only desirous of visiting that country, but had been selected by the government as eminently qualified to derive great advantage from a visit to the manufactories of Great Britain.

But the divergent tendencies of Christianity and the spirit of idolatry that animated the government, became more manifest every day. The Queen personally did not appear to cherish any unfriendly feeling towards the missionaries, but on the contrary, often seemed disposed to tolerate their exertions; but she was the zealous votary of the idols, on whose favor she was taught to believe her continuance in power depended. Among her ministers were three brothers; the eldest was commander-in-chief of the forces, the second first officer of the palace, and the third a judge; two of them were the Queen’s paramours, and all were pledged to raise the idols and former superstitions of the country to their original importance. These brothers exercised in the name of the Queen supreme power in Madagascar; they appear, from the time of Radama’s death, to have seized every occasion for impeding the progress of Christianity, and to have aimed at the ultimate expulsion of the missionaries, and the extinction of Christian faith.