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Étienne de Flacourt, 48, a large shareholder of the Compagnie de l’Orient, arrives on
15 December 1648 in Fort Dauphin, to replace Pronis as General Director in Madagascar. “Physical, heavy, corpulent and puffy, he was morally assuredly intelligent, audacious and probe, but intolerant, gruff and fantastic” (Urbain-Faurec).
Galant man and curious of exotic beauties, he holds on his arrival at Fort Dauphin, to know Andrian-Ravelo, the wife of Pronis, of which, he assures, “he had heard praise the charms as far as Paris”. He showed him a great deal of courtesy and sympathy and gave him some valuable presents that he brought from France for him. He even suggests that he holds her as the legitimate wife of Pronis, whom he regards as his own brother.
This did not prevent her, a few days later, from giving “unexpectedly and without reason” the order to the young woman to leave the Fort and to abandon the house she had occupied for a long time with her maidservants and slaves . And as Pronis manifested the desire to accompany him, Flacourt, who refused any explanation, had him arrested and put in chains.
Shortly after these mood swings, did not the new director-general, “of incomprehensible humor, come and ask Pronis to be the godfather of the little Metis girl-although Huguenot, A spirit of conciliation and appeasement, decided to have the baptized and instructed by the Lazarist priests recently installed at Fort Dauphin.
However, more and more, Flacourt allowed himself to be circumvented and showed
Of injustice to please the clan hostile to his predecessor. One day he ordered Pronis to embark, as a simple sailor on board a small vessel that went to some point on the coast in search of wood and wax. Wishing to avoid any incident that could
Bringing new unrest into the colony, Pronis calmly accepts the bullying and insults of which he is daily victim.
Despite his severity and rigor, Flacourt was not disdained to indulge in jokes from time to time, “it was of the most doubtful taste.” One day, Andrian-Tsissei, a chief from the vicinity of Fort Dauphin, sent a musket to repair to the Fort. The general manager knows that this is a friend of Pronis. He decides to play a trick on both of them.
He ordered the gunsmith responsible for the repair, to drill a hole in the breech of the gun and to reseal it summarily with lead. Thus, he thinks, at the first shot, the charge of powder would burst in the nose of the gunner and would tear off his face.
But Pronis is warned of this bad farce and warns Andrian-Tsissei.
Deprived and somewhat ashamed, Flacourt sent the former governor to prison for a week. “As if he were a bad soldier.”
Las and disillusioned, Pronis asks only to leave the Colony. On February 19, 1650, he was offered an opportunity more than seven years after his arrival in the island, when the “St. Lawrence” who had just spent two years in Madagascar was sent back to France.
As he lost a number of sailors during this stay, Captain Le Bourg asked Flacourt to complete his crew. Happy to be able to get rid of the strong heads of the garrison and those who sulk its administration, Flacourt refers to 48 men, preferably chosen among those who are of reformed religion … And of course, Pronis was on the journey.