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


Jean Valette refers to three letters written by Prince Ratefinanahary to the Governor of Mauritius, Sir Charles Corville, as sources of information on the death of the governor of Toamasina, as the Notes recount in their last delivery.
Dated September 13 and Toamasina, the third letter is “tragic in its brevity.” Ratefy then received an order to go to Antananarivo, where he was not sure of returning, and “he bade farewell to the Governor of Mauritius.” According to the archivist palaeograph, this missive like the preceding ones is signed Ratefy and his wife, Rabodosahondra. According to Jean Valette, Corville does not seem to react until he receives, on September 24, the letter dated September 7th.
He replied on 27 September. While accepting to offer Ratefy and his wife a short stay in Mauritius, if the need arises, he makes him understand that he can not receive it definitively, “because of the Gesture could have on relations between Great Britain and the new queen “. This letter will be taken to Toamasina and delivered to Ratefy by Captain Polkinghorne, commander of the warship “Sparrowhawk”, whose mission is simply intelligence. It was this ship which brought to Mauritius the
9 October, Ratefy’s letter of 13 September, which, “because of the threat it posed to the fate of Ratefy, constituted, as it were, the end of Ratefy-Colville’s correspondence.”
The archivist palaeographer also cites the testimony of the Rev. Bennet who attended the funeral of Radama I in Toamasina in August 1828. He left the capital about August 20th, carrying a letter from Lyall to Colville, accompanied by the Rev. Griffiths and Cummings and his wife. Bennet relates: “At Amboitamanga (Ambatoharana), about the middle of our journey, we learned that Prince Ratefy and his wife were in this village, on their way to the capital, where they had been summoned by the government. Bennet shares Ratefy’s feelings. “He felt his fate was sealed and he was looking for a way to escape. “
The prince and his wife plan to flee to the coast in the hope of finding a boat there to transport them to Mauritius. “I assured them that the Governor would grant them protection until
Arrangements can be made for their safe return to Madagascar … “Although the couple managed to reach the coast, they could not get the passage on a transport of oxen and had to hide in the woods. It is then that Ratefy and Rabodosahondra sleep in a hut, exhausted, the envoys of the queen discover them.
“They swallowed Ratefy with strokes and took his wife
prisoner. This one was miserably massacred thereafter. “
Another testimony is that of Commander Verchère-Raffye, who is on the East Coast, at Foulpointe and then at Toamasina in September 1828, and meets Ratefy. On September 5 he went to this city. From the interview he had with General Robin that day, he noted: “General Rafeta (Ratefy), the father of the suitor (Rakotobe), has just ascended to Antananarivo to support his son’s rights. However, during his stay (September 5 to 11), he mentioned: “I saw Prince Rafeta. He seemed to me endowed with a great character. At this moment he was very grieved and especially worried since his son was assassinated. He fears to be sacrificed if this suspicious government suspects him of ideas of vengeance. He would gladly be a party leader if he found the opportunity. According to Jean Valette, the contradiction must only be apparent, and it is during the stay of Verchère-Raffye at Toamasina that Rafety, coming from Ambatoharana, returns to the port where he is actually on 7 September.

Lastly, French agent Dayot, in charge of curatorship at Toamasina and “unofficial” agent of the governor of Bourbon, speaks of the death of Ratefy in a report drafted on October 22, 1828. According to him, it is in Nosiarivo, A few miles from the capital, that have been arrested since October, Ratefy and Rabodosahondra. The latter, to whom he is accused of having left his place of “perpetual exile”, Vohiboazo, where Radama fixes it, is sent there under penalty of death while away. “She exists at this moment, but in a pitiful state, being ill with fevers. As for Ratefy, he is accused of having left his post without a special order from the Court. He seeks to exculpate himself, but his arguments do not prevent him from being condemned to perish by fire.
Dayot concludes that after this sentence it is decided to rely ultimately on a meeting of the people which is held on the 8th of October. Like Lyall, Dayot says that during this great Kabary he is accused of trying to get in touch with Ramanetaka and Ramananolona to defeat Ranavalona I. During this meeting, the previous verdict is confirmed. The queen contented herself with commanding the execution of the penalty by the spear.