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Commercial value of Madagascar-Population, extent, pro
ductions, trade-Origin of inhabitants- Independent provinces-Semi-civilization-Capacities—The Capital — Radama-British connexion with Radama-His illness and death-Accession of the Queen-Her origin and claims-Murder of Rakotobe, of Ratefy, and othersStarving to death—Treachery-Ramanetaka's escapeAndriamihaja, his melancholy fate-Queen's dreams about him-His successors in office-Despotism.
GENERAL STATE OF THE COUNTRY SINCE THE ACCESSION OF
Proportion of the country under the Queen's government
Standing army-Bourgeois—Extermination of the male population-Expeditions-Hova troops self-destroyed at Ikongona-Crucifixion-Carnage-Near escape of two boys-Sale of captive children-Native letter describing a campaign-American whalers—Embassy to EnglandBarbarous cruelty-Civil service to the governmentPractice of district betting—Villages deserted—Modes of capital punishment_Queen's amusements-Power abused -Provisions scarce- -Service to the Government by the
idolatry--Charms—Places at which they offer worship-
Commercial value of Madagascar—Population, extent, pro.
ductions, trade-Origin of inhabitants—Independent provinces—Semi-civilization—Capacities—the Capital — Radama -British connexion with Radama-His illness and deathAccession of the Queen-Her origin and claims-Murder of Rakotobe, of Ratefy, and others — Starving to deathTreachery-Ramanetaka's escape-Andriamihaja, his melancholy fate-Queen's dreams about him—His successors in office-Despotism.
It is one of the most singular circumstances connected with the modern history of European enterprise, that Madagascar has never been subdued, and colonized, by any European state. The French have had the earliest and largest connexions with that island, but have scarcely ever exercised the sovereignty over any extensive portion of its territory. Its value has been unaccountably overlooked, and its insalubrity greatly overrated. It was justly regarded by a French writer at the close of the last century, as capable of indemnifying France for the loss of St. Domingo; and, with equal propriety, it has been represented by an English gentleman, intimately acquainted with this subject, as having capabilities to render
VALUE OF MADAGASCAR.
it of more worth to Great Britain than all her possessions in the West Indies.
The island is somewhat larger than Great Britain and Ireland, containing an industrious, intelligent, and semicivilized population, amounting, there is reason to believe, to between four and five millions.
The extent of its natural resources has not yet been adequately ascertained. There are vast forests, rich savannahs, numerous lakes, and many valuable rivers. The land is everywhere low in the neighbourhood of the coast, and the interior is mountainous. The highest elevation in the country probably does not exceed 8,000 feet. Iron, slate, and lime-stone are abundant. Coal, it is said, exists; and silver, it has also been affirmed, has been discovered near the capital, but of which the natives are forbidden by the government to speak, lest the fact of its existence becoming known, should excite the usual cupidity of Europeans, and terminate in the subjection of the country to a foreign yoke :-not at all an improbable supposition, with the history of Mexico and India in view. Many valuable articles suited for commerce are already produced ; some on a large scale, and all capable of an indefinite increase, whenever intelligence, liberty, and capital, can obtain fair play in the country. Among these articles may be specified sugar, cotton, hemp, silk, indigo, tobacco, gumelastic, gum-copal, ebony, wax, &c. The only articles at present largely exported are cattle and rice, to Mauritius and Bourbon, besides hides, horns, prepared beef, ebony, and gum-copal, and a manufactured cloth called Rofia, from the beautiful palm tree of that name.
Madagascar possesses many remarkably fine ports,
harbours, and roadsteads. Most of these are
The inhabitants are all of a dark complexion, some races being much more swarthy than others. They are evidently of a varied origin, and to a large extent are now so intermingled with one another, as to have lost the distinctive traces of their original condition. The language, which is the same throughout the island, with a few dialectical varieties, identifies the inhabitants with the Malayan races. Some of the natives possess Malay features, others resemble Arabs, and a few approximate to the negro race, but without the woolly hair.
Madagascar does not appear ever to have formed one kingdom, or to have been held under the sovereignty of one chieftain. During the whole period that it has been intimately known to Europeans, which is about 200 years, it has been occupied by independent tribes, holding possession of their respective districts, and amounting to about twenty or thirty, but among which, some few were