Select Page

Madagascar News Forums The Transformation of Antananarivo Reply To: The Transformation of Antananarivo


“His attachment to the inhabitants and European manners has, by his example, an astonishing effect, and in the end, by increasing the desire for comfort of the inhabitants, will complete the work of civilization and open a new commerce which will replace the slave trade . This grand design, if pursued with perseverance by the government of Mauritius, will be attained, no doubt, and the island of Madagascar will assume its natural importance. This is one of the portraits of Radama made by a European, in this case Thomas Pye, an English civilian agent in Toamasina.
In a letter to Robert T. Farquhar, Governor of Mauritius, on July 14, 1817, he boasted that he had brought back all along the East Coast, “the order and tranquility that had been for a moment disturbed by fear Naturalists and traitors at the sight of Radama’s immense army “with whom he will have to speak officially. It was on the eve of this first interview that the Phaeton arrived at the port of Toamasina bringing back the two brothers of the king and their preceptor James Hastie of Mauritius.
During this first interview with the young king merina, Thomas Pye explains to him the desire of the governor of Mauritius to make him king of all Madagascar, so that it opens to the trade the whole of its kingdom. Robert Farquhar also hopes that he will conclude a treaty of friendship with Jean René, one of those who are best able to help him with this plan, without detracting from the rights and authority of the latter. “By increasing the power and authority of John Rene, Radama increased the glory and consideration of his crown in the eastern part of the island and he did not diminish his dignity by adopting Jean René as his father since they Were both sons of the governor of Mauritius. “
Thomas then drafted a short treaty which, according to him, was ratified in the presence of the entire Radama army, some 40,000 men, in the Manangareza camp near Toamasina. After the King and John Rene sealed the oath of blood. The treaty stipulates that the brother of the latter and head of Ivondro, Son, will be installed in his fief and will regain its authority. Finally, most satisfactory arrangements are made to compensate “the presence of this immense army which had sowed terror and famine on its road and which had given birth to Toamasina a panic that is difficult to describe.”
Radama’s entrance to Toamasina in grand style, the way he received his brothers at the head of his army, the signing of the treaty and his speech to the soldiers to explain to him, according to the Englishman, “all this was great and Deserves the pen of the historian and the pencil of the artist. “
However, the absolute necessity of evacuating this army as quickly as possible from a region where it finds great difficulty in eating, prevents the English agent from discussing with Radama the most important subject for Robert Farquhar, The question of the slave trade. “But the latter having now won over to him the most powerful chief of the interior, and the most civilized of the chiefs of the coast, who can not refuse him anything, this point has already been acquired. “
Thomas Pye does not hide his surprise to see the good order and discipline that reigned in Radama’s army. Although 40,000 men camped about a kilometer away from Toamasina, running out of food, no food, not even the equivalent of a penny, is stolen. And among the soldiers who have permission to leave the camp, there is not one who has not returned after sunset.
Radama controls with a glance this great army, apparently composed of irregulars. His bodyguard reached the highest degree of discipline under the command of British sergeant Brady who served as an instructor. “The latter deserves the greatest congratulations for the superior manner in which this guard performs the exercises and many maneuvers. It executes the burst fires with admirable precision. The uniform of the men and their keeping are also impeccable. Their outfit consists of a turban, a white shirt, a tunic, a waistcoat and trousers, a leather belt and elegant silver-colored gibernes adorned with pearls. The authors claim that Radama takes great pleasure in monitoring their progress.
Thomas Pye concludes his letter by declaring that he transmits to James Hastie the instructions of the Governor of Mauritius. “I explained to him that he had to consider himself a resident and principal officer of the government of Mauritius with the Merina and Madagascar. “