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French interests in Madagascar appear to have been compromised at the beginning of 1824. Indeed, the demands of France for its “Rights” on Madagascar and the occupation by Sylvain Roux of Sainte-Marie in 1822 resulted in Radama I’s retaliation. The latter, already settled in Toamasina in 1817, had Foulpointe occupied in June 1822 by a troop of troops commanded by Governor Rafaralahy-Andriantiana, and then conquered the coastal areas to the north of that port, in particular Tintingue and Pointe At Larée opposite Sainte-Marie.
The successive protests of the French agents did not alter the situation considered worrying by the governor of Bourbon, Freycinet, “caught between a whole series of contradictions, from the all theoretical views of the rights of France, to the notion down to earth Of the supply of his colony “(Jean Valette, archivist-paleographer).
A solution must therefore be taken urgently, “whatever it may be”, to the problem of Anglo-Malagasy relations and Anglo-French relations. This solution came to him from the captain of artillery Carayon, on availability and installed in Sainte-Marie where he created with his friend Albrand a flourishing agricultural enterprise.
Frequently informed of the Saint-Marien problems, in frequent contact with the betsimisaraka chiefs driven out by Radama I and refugees in the shadow of the French flag, Carayon arriving at Bourbon in December 1823, “was the personage appointed to provide the governor with Information to guide the policy to be presented to the Minister “. On the 3rd of February, 1824, Carayon drew up an account of the advantages to be obtained by France from an establishment in Madagascar, at the port of Tintingue, and on the most suitable means to be followed in succeeding it. A memorandum which Freycinet transmitted to the Minister by letter of 28 February.
With an “all military” reasoning, Carayon believes that the best way to break the encirclement of Sainte-Marie is to found an establishment opposite Tintingue. But, according to Jean Valette, as well informed as he is, “Carayon is a man of his time, imbued with French theses, for which the famous Rights of France are an intangible point.”
Moreover, “anglophobic insofar as the English were opposed to the French interests in Madagascar”, he does not seem to understand the motivations that push Radama to rely on the British. Hence the qualifications “absurd” or “ridiculous” that he gives to this policy of Radama. For him, the latter is “the plaything of the Englishmen who flatter his ambition and who, inciting the monarch to conquer the whole island, have only one preoccupation: to play to the French aims.” And for Jean Valette, his great mistake is not to grasp that there are two distinct policies, that of the English and that of Radama.
In his analysis Carayon nevertheless understands that he is “an exceedingly ambitious man” who does not need to be encouraged to pursue a policy “deeply rooted in his mind: the conquest of Madagascar”. But he does not understand that Radama, conscious of the difficulties of this policy and pragmatic, seeks the means to carry it out. That is where the English intervene. “But it is certain that these English councils, which were certainly interested, merely fitted into Radama’s own plans. More than subjection of Radama to the English, there was rather tacit complicity between them, each using the other and each of the two parties was fully aware of it. “
It is this complicity that Carayon does not perceive and “naively”, he believes that it would be easy to detach Radama from the English alliance to draw him into the French alliance. Alliance which, according to Jean Valette, would be equivalent for Radama to abandon its policy of conquest, “of which he had no intention whatsoever.” On the other hand, in the end of his Memoire, Carayon treats “more pertinently” the attitude of the Betsimisaraka vis-à-vis Radama, specifying however: “It is to be feared … that they do not end up making common cause With Radama when they see the latter leave in the utmost tranquility those who submit voluntarily to him. And indirectly, he recognizes “the political skill of Radama.”