After presenting the island of Madagascar, and having located it in the context of the time, the American brochure of 1883 begins to criticize the Malagasy approach (read our previous Note) and especially the English.
For the anonymous author of the brochure quoting the English “Contemporary Review”, these
Last year committed themselves “to a great extent, to give some support to the hova government by the words spoken by our special envoy to Queen Ranavalona last year. Vice-Admiral Gore-Jones repeatedly confirmed the agreement (about the independence of the island) and encouraged the Hova government to consolidate its authority on the West Coast. This language prompted the Hova to undertake an action on this coast which served as a pretext for the present French intervention.
The American pamphlet then explains the “real motive” of this French intervention: the non-execution by the queens Rasoherina and Ranavalona II of the treaty concluded between Radama II, assassinated, and the French Lambert and Laborde. In addition, the Franco-Malagasy treaty signed at Antananarivo on 8 August 1868 contains an annex clause.
“Art.4: The French in Madagascar shall enjoy full protection for their persons and property. They may, as the subjects of the most favored nation, and in conformity with the laws and regulations of the country, establish themselves wherever they think fit, lease, acquire any kind of immovable property, and engage in all commercial transactions And industrial sectors which are not prohibited by domestic legislation. Leases, contracts of sale and purchase and contracts of engagement of workers shall be passed by authentic deed before the consul of France and the magistrates of the country. “
Thus, according to the American pamphlet, “the French Government is entitled to demand the execution of this clause, the refusal of which has been the principal cause of their disagreement with the Hova government.” Despite these treaties, the Merina discouraged the settlement of foreigners, and as long as they were allowed to limit the possession of the land by short leases, “this beautiful and rich island will remain the unproductive country it has Always under their rule, and the poor and unfortunate people of the East Coast, whom they have conquered, will wait in vain for the introduction of industries which might give them the means of softening their miserable condition. “
For the authors of the American pamphlet, this treaty does not annul the ancient rights of France over the possession of other regions of the island, and it grants him some privileges. The English are not satisfied and hope that the French will be expelled from the island, which they want to make “an African India”. The Americans know well what this means for them, and through their Consul at Toamasina, Mr. Robinson, endeavor to secure the balance of power between the French and the English.
The pamphlet then cites the case of “Stillman B. Allen” to prove British bad faith. “This American ship has a shipload of weapons destined for the Hova government (which is prohibited by a Franco-Malagasy agreement) and the British agent assured him that the commander of the French warship stationed at Tamatave Mr. Robinson (…) warned the French commander and the consul that the unloading would take place anywhere, which was done stupidly “(to the detriment of the French). Consul Robinson concluded that “in the affairs of Madagascar he was not sure of having very great confidence in the statements of English agents or Hova officials.”
And the pamphlet adds: “The murder of two Americans and a Frenchman of their friends in September (1882) shows clearly the well-known spirit of the English in all these colonial matters. It seems, however, that there was only one American killed, the prospector Emerson, murdered near St. Augustine’s Bay on September 10, 1882, for his companion Hulett succeeded in escaping. The other victim killed is the French (or Mauritian) Theodore Parent established in the South of Madagascar and who served as a guide to the Americans.
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