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For a contract to an uncertain date, between 1826 and 1828 Radama Ier grants the house Blancard extremely detrimental monopoly to trade with Madagascar Bourbon. Which raises rather violent reactions from the French authorities.
These, after trying unsuccessfully to develop a common policy with the British authorities of Mauritius, “whose trade is equally aggrieved” (Jean Valette), decide to act alone, by force if necessary. But in Paris, if we understand the concerns of Bourbon and if we accept the idea of ​​military intervention, it is still very cautious. Essentially, it seems, for reasons of credits.
At the time, the reinforcements largely composed of troops Noires Yolofs- recruited in Senegal, to complement the garrison of Sainte-Marie island are only paltry forces preventing any action. “By cons, they worried the Merina authorities and could only make them more reluctant to accept, for any negotiations, the resumption of trade relations, lack of resources, the French authorities could not obtain by force.”
Finally, in order to reassure the Merina authorities, the governor of Bourbon must repeatedly send the Madagascan coast naval officers. They will be responsible on the one hand, to discreetly report on the state of mind; secondly, “to reassure the intentions of France.” Among these officers, Commander Louis Joseph Victor Carpentin, commanding the corvette “Seine” performs a short mission in Foulpointe and Toamasina. The day before his departure for the Big Island, Count Cheffontaines, Governor of Bourbon, gave him “instructions”.
According to Jean Valette, two points need to be raised concerning these instructions. The first concerns the sudden interest brought to Robin. Until 1827, in fact, the French authorities neglect this character, the same suspect because of his desertion. The second point is reflected by a reference to the possibility of the presence of Radama Toamasina. And this allusion shows “the ambiguity of the French policy towards the sovereign.” The French authorities wish to negotiate with him, yet they refuse to recognize his authority over Madagascar. And engage him negotiations would come to recognize. This does not lack complicate things.
Carpentin therefore embarked with food, medicines, Artillery soldiers and military workers that leave the colony of St. Mary, the command of Acting is ensured by Jean-Louis Carayon. This done, he goes to Foulpointe. To obey the instructions, is primarily involved in collecting information on Merina forces stationed in this position and the fortifications are high there, “and with what is envisaged in case of attack.”
In Toamasina, the military aspect also plays an important role, but the key is spent on Robin. Carpentin several interviews with him. The portrait he traces is fairly accurate. Yet John Valletta highlights several information obtained by Captain lack pinpoint accuracy. “It is curious to note some errors, especially on the English presence, but also on the relationship between Merina and Sakalava. “
The distance is large enough between the western and eastern coasts, and Western news should arrive that deformed Toamasina. “If the thing is already apparent in interviews with a character as well placed and so knowledgeable that Robin, that should it be among contractors and other individuals?