Page:Madagascar - Phelps - 1883.djvu/80

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78

A SKETCH OF

misery which the Queen inflicted upon her people, a generous wish arose within his breast to free them from her tyrannical control. He easily gained the friendship of the amiable Prince Rakoto, who declared that he cared not who ruled over the island so long as the government was good and just, and they soon came to an understanding, and entered into treaty stipulations, Mr. Lambert intending to seek assistance from either the French or English government.

Accordingly, in the year 1856, he went to Paris, and in a private interview with the Emperor, laid open the boundless misery to which the people of Madagascar were exposed from their government, and appealed to him for help in their behalf. Failing to elicit the sympathy of the Emperor in a philanthropic object. which might not fully accord with the political interests of France, Mr. Lambert proceeded to England, and laid the matter before the English Minister, Lord Clarendon. But instead of deriving aid from this quarter, he imagined that obstacles were thrown in his way by the London Missionary Society, who feared, it is said, that in the event of the French occupation of the island, the Roman religion might be the only form of worship introduced and licensed, which, in their opinion, would be a much greater misfortune for the inhabitants than even the cruel sway of Ranavalona herself. It is even charged that the Society determined to oppose Mr. Lambert's designs, and sent an especial missionary for this purpose to Tananarivo, to acquaint the Queen of what his designs were.

On Mr. Lambert's return to the Mauritius in November, 1856, he stopped at Cape Town, South Africa, where he met, as if by accident, with Madame Pfeiffer. In her extensive travels over the globe she had long entertained an ardent desire to visit the Island of Madagascar. A native of Vienna, the capital of Austria, she had now attained the age of sixty years, and was on her second voyage to the Dutch East India possessions. On arriving at Cape Town, Mr. Lambert went on board her ship, introduced himself to her, said that he had heard while in Paris of her intention to visit Madagascar, and invited her to accompany him to that island. He had written to the Queen, from Paris, he said, for permission to land in the island, for no one was permitted to land there without her approval, and he had no doubt but that he could gain permission for the landing of Madame Pfeiffer also. But in consequence of the rainy season, the voyage there could not be undertaken till the follow-