Mauritius and Madagascar Journals of An Eight Years' Residence in the Diocese of Mauritius, and of a Visit to Madagascar
by Vincent W. Ryan, D.D.
Bishop of Mauritius
Madagascar: Events of the last Thirty Years--Malagasy Documents:--1. The Suppression of Prayer. 2. Another Account: 3. First Persecution; Arrest of Rafaravavy: 4. Death of Rasalama: 5. Death of Rafaralahy--Various Letters--Account of the Persecution of 1849--Subsequent Letters.
BEFORE I proceed to give some details of my visit to Madagascar, it seems natural to advert, for a few moments, to the deeply-interesting subject of the past history of that island. Yet I cannot offer to my readers a mere repetition of a narrative with which most of them must already be well acquainted. In four or five different publications all the leading facts of a history, which is almost without a parallel, have been made familiar to the English public. [Such as, The Gospel in Madagascar; Mr. Ellis's Three Visits; and two or three other volumes.] I shall not, therefore, present the same facts in any narrative of my own. But the progress of the Gospel in Madagascar has been marked by one peculiar feature. When the messengers by whom the message of mercy was first conveyed to that island were driven away, they left behind them scholars who could not only, under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, keep alive the flame of Divine truth, hut also put on record both the sufferings of the faithful followers of their Lord, and the chief events of their chequered career. These disciples, deprived as they were of all European help, took care to preserve the memory of the fearful scenes through which they themselves had passed. Every circumstance of importance in their long struggle with their persecutors was faithfully recorded. A portion of these interesting narratives has been placed in my hands, and I feel unwilling that so valuable a document should remain unknown. I propose, therefore, to print it, in the present chapter, as a fitting introduction to the account which I have been requested to give of my visit to that interesting island. And to it I shall append a few further accounts of the same description--letters written, many years ago, by the native Christians to their friends in Mauritius, narrating their trials and difficulties, and intreating advice and assistance. The first section of this chapter will appear for the first time in print on this occasion; the second will be gathered from published accounts, given at the time, i.e. many years since, but which, to many of my readers, will be still new.
I begin, then, with a portion of the native history, translated from the original Malagasy documents by one who was himself formerly a labourer in that island. The aptness of the Scripture citations will strike the reader. As a motto to the whole history, they placed at the head, Luke, xii. 32, 33.--"Fear not, little flock," &c. &c.
I.--THE SUPPRESSION OF PRAYER TO GOD. (WRITTEN BY RATSARAHOMBA.)
"Not long will last
Not many days
Bring only sorrow:
Yonder the dawn appears,
For happiness is near.
The clouds will break,
The darkness vanish:
Accomplished be the Word!
It cannot fail:
But we shall see ere long
The land good to dwell in."--Hymn 157.
IT was in the month of March, 1835, that the Sovereign suppressed prayer to Jehovah God, and belief in Jesus Christ: in the first place, calling all the white people, with their wives and children, to assemble at Ambodinandohalo to hear the Queen's words.
Assembled, the word of the Sovereign was told by Ratsimanisa,--"As to you, whites, you can do this in the English language among yourselves; but my people cannot do so" (i.e. pray to Jehovah and Jesus Christ).
Then were the Missionaries exceedingly grieved, having no answer. Going to their houses, they could only pray to Jehovah to change the Queen's heart, if that were good, and to save the believers.
OF THE WHITE PEOPLE, MISSIONARIES.
This was the Testament given by Jesus Christ to His disciples,--Matt, xxviii. 19.--"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost/'
This is what the Missionaries have exhibited in these latter days, when preachers have stood forth with many good people, as it were executors of the will, to fulfil the Lord's commands. So, calling a Kabary (assembly), they said, Who is willing to go and teach the foolish and ignorant natives? Then there were those who replied, "Enough! let me go." So they divided the work and labour among all of them and those that remained at home said, "Go, then, and we will support you, your wives and your children, in all your journey; for that is our share."
Those who went were called "Missionaries," or "Sent;" and they were not people of no standing, without fathers or mothers in the land of their nativity; but there were relatives, having grief to part with them, and friends who wept over them; and themselves also felt sorrow at parting with their relatives, for they left persons whom they loved, for their own love to the salvation of mankind and the glory of God upon the earth. But they gave their own lives willingly, and esteemed them as nothing, that they might accomplish and fulfil the will of God.
After this, a very stringent Kabary (proclamation) was delivered to the people, telling what things the Queen Ranavalona disliked; viz. prayers to God. [Kabary. A word used in various senses; as, in English, we have "Order," meaning either rank, or regularity, or a command.] So she enacted a strong law on the subject: for she said, "This has changed the ancestral customs; and the things done by the nodor (ancestral) kings are what must be observed." So the people were forbidden to do these things again (i. c. to pray, be baptized, or anything of that kind, or the substance of it); and they were forbidden to pronounce the name Jehovah, or to say, Believe in Him, or Jesus Christ. For she said, "What are these words used by you? we know nothing of these words: for was it not Rakelimalaza (Little but Renowned One), and Rarnahavaly (the Answerer), andManjakatsiroa (the One King), who made Ranavalomanjaka to reign? So do not this thing," said she.
Then those who had done so were ordered to accuse themselves, each one telling what he had done, whether going to chapel, praying, preaching, or being baptized.
It was seen that the Queen was exceedingly angry: for the music ceased in the Palace, the cannon was continually fired off, and there was a great terror.
For about eight days the people went up on a hill to accuse themselves; nevertheless there were some that did not go up, for they said to themselves, "We will wait for God, to see what Jehovah will do for us." [To give in their confessions; which were written down.] Then the people feared, for they thought some would be put to death, and did not see what the Queen would do to them.
The Missionaries also had great anxiety: "for it was we," they said, "who first taught them, and these are our children against whom the Queen is angry." So their hearts palpitated extremely on this account. All of them then, except Mr. Griffiths, wrote a letter to the Queen, saying, "Let us tell your Majesty, if there be blame it is our fault, for we were the origin and authors of all this." Then the Queen replied that she did not blame them; but it was her own people she deemed guilty.
And the end of this Kabary was, that some were reduced in rank, and the tribes were fined; but none were put to death on this occasion by the Queen; but it was enacted that any who were guilty a second or a third time should certainly be put to death.
So when the Missionaries saw that there was no longer any means of teaching the people, they all went home in 1835, except the families of Mr. Johns and Mr. Baker.
Prayer did not then cease, for when God implants His Word in people's hearts men cannot root it up. For such has been from the death of Stephen (Acts vii.) until this time.
For from the beginning Christians have exceedingly abhorred backsliding from the knowledge of Christ; but would rather reply to their accusers like the reply of Peter (Acts, v. 29),--"We ought to obey God rather than man."
So it was in Imerina: for there were people who thought not of, nor regarded, the rigour of the Sovereign's law, but esteemed their bodies worthless as a bit of lost iron, and also their goods, that they might obtain that to which God called them. For they followed the Lord's words, saying, "Fear not them that kill the body; but fear Him who can cast away the soul into hell:" (Matt. x. 28): and the words, Luke, xiii. 24,--"Strive to enter in at the strait gate." So they went forward on this occasion; for they said, "We cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven except through great tribulation." So they visited each other oftentimes; and when they met together they sang and prayed in whatever houses they assembled; and in the country in such places as were secret. And many people saw and heard this, but were not yet bold to accuse them.
II.--THE SUPPRESSION.--ANOTHER ACCOUNT.
Acts, iv. 17.--"But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name."
A day never to be forgotten is this day: for at noon the Queen Ranavalomanjaka ordered all the whites, whether English or French, to assemble at Mr. Griffiths'.
They sent to Mr. and Mrs. Griffiths to inquire if all were assembled. More than five times they sent. The reply was, "They are not yet come." The great ones therefore sent an aid-de-camp to collect them, for they were annoyed at the delay.
When all were come, the officers of the Palace, more than sixty men, entered, bringing the Queen's word. After Raininaharo, 11th honour, Chief Officer of the Palace, had spoken the compliments to the Queen, he said, "The word of the Sovereign to be told you, relatives and friends, is in writing." He added (addressing Ratiaray, 10th honour), "Read." It was read. He trembled whilst reading the Queen's word to the Teachers: for he knew that it could not be felt as agreeable, and liked by the Teachers (Missionaries and others).
Now the substance of these words was to be golden-mouthed to the whites, calling them relatives and friends, and thanking them for all their bodily and mental labours, teaching her people wisdom and good dispositions; but yet making a law to suppress at once the teaching of God's Word, praying to the God of life, observance of the Sabbath-day, public assemblies, baptizing, the Lord's Supper, the making of a Society (Church), and the pronouncing of the name of Jesus. So that thereby the labour of the Missionaries in Madagascar was ended. The Missionaries did not see any word of God by which they could reply to this message.
Some inquired from Mr. Griffiths, "How shall we reply to this?" Others said, "You must reply." So Mr. Griffiths said to the officers, "In a written word the Queen sends to us, so we will also put on paper our reply to the Queen's words." "Very good," said they. "So do, and send it to me," said Raininaharo. They departed.
Ratsimahavava (a slave of Raininaharo, put with Mr. and Mrs. Griffiths to learn household work, who had learned every night the Word of God), when he heard of this suppression of the Word of God, said, "The Devil will dance to night."
They (the Missionaries) were in consternation at this message of Ranavalomanjaka. The Teachers of God's Word then wrote thus,'--"This work we have been so long carrying on we deemed to be sweet to your Majesty, pleasing to you, and a thing you liked; as making your people wise, and cleansing your land and prospering your kingdom; therefore did we fatigue our bodies and make our minds anxious in teaching your people. Nevertheless, now, at this time, you do not like it, and forbid it: therefore are we surprised and annoyed that you prohibit the teaching of what is right and lawful."
Then came the Queen's reply to this,--"It is my people that I do not like to change the customs of my ancestors., and therefore I shall prohibit them."
Then the Teachers waited to see what the Queen would do to the learners. And on Sunday (8th March) following, the Queen's word was announced to the learners. The people (Ambaniandro) were collected at Mahamasina, to a Kabary, when the Sovereign's word was announced as follows,--
"This is what I declare unto you, Ambaniandro, (all my people), says Ranavalomanjaka; it is impossible that in this land there can be two (Sovereigns); it is not to be inquired to how many did the kings, Andriatsimitoviaminandriana, &c. &c., leave the kingdom, for to me only was it left. Behold then, you fellows, these customs descending from the twelve sovereigns are held by me, Ranavalomanjaka; and now at this time that you fellows would change] them., even these Vazimha (ancestors worshipped), and Sikidy (divination), and the Sampy (idols), and the customs descended from the twelve kings; I detest it (the change), says Ranavalomanjaka. If the ancestors' customs are contemptuously treated by people, that is a thing I detest, says Ranavalomanjaka. And these words which you fellows use, saying, 'Believe Him,' 'follow His ways;' those words, 'Baptism,' 'Society;' you fellows are following the customs of the whites, and on Sunday you fellows abstain from work, and you fellows required to swear and will not, but say, 'True,' 'Verily;' you fellows cannot be allowed to lean aside in this matter; and if you make yourselves masters in this, I hold this in aversion, says Ranavalomanjaka."
"Then," replied the chief judges, headmen (of districts), and military officers, "if such is the error (or crime) of your servants, so that on this account our Sovereign Lady is angry (for, indeed, it is in the sky there are no stumbling-stones, but on earth are causes of transgression); then, O Officers of the Palace! take these our words of reply, and say to our Sovereign Lady that it cannot be inquired to how many did the twelve kings bequeath this kingdom: it is to her Majesty alone: therefore, we plead guilty; for it is a thing done. So, whatever our Lady decides upon (as punishment) is to be thankfully accepted." [This is the technical language of complete submission.]
To this plea of guilty the following reply was given,--"I esteem not 10,000 people to be many; but if it be a question of changing the rites and customs of the twelve kings, and rites descended from, the ancestors, then would I cut off twice as many, so I swear (such is my past coronation oath), for I will not suffer fools in my land. Yet, on account of those words of the people, and their supplication for pardon, behold! I give three days for self-accusation in this matter. So, let each one come and confess; for, if thou (each one) dost not confess in this matter, but art convicted by accusation, thou shalt be put to death by me, says Ranavalomanjaka; for I am a Sovereign that will not deceive."
The people again replied, thanking the Queen,--"It is agreeable to us, sweet to us, swallowed by us, what you say, O Rabodonandrianampoinimerina (the Queen's title of honour); and we make a plain plea of guilty, for we have done this ourselves, our wives, our children, and our families: so, whatever our Lady determines, we render thanks to her, whether it be long or short" (for a less or more severe punishment).
Then the Kabary broke up, for it was evening.
On the evening of the next day all the whites were again required to assemble at Mr. Griffiths' house. Then came Raininaharo, 11th Honour, along with his companions, officers of the palace, bringing a letter from the Queen, saying,--"You can abstain on Sundays, being each one a white person, and observe your customs but those taught by you must not abstain or observe your customs: moreover, if you do not teach figures (arithmetic), then you must cease to teach" (or they may cease to learn).
They then went to Ambatovinakey [A place of public proclamation] and proclaimed,--"You fellows, who kill the moon in your houses (desecrate the month by observing Sunday), as if you (mean wretches!) could see the moon before the beast of the field! [The new moon is observed for the Queen to announce the first of the month from the mountain-tops, before even animals, which are always on the look-out; hence it is an impudent assumption to change days.] Such has never been my word, says Ranavalomanjaka, nor a word of the officers of government, nor of the twelve sovereigns; but you are usurping, changing houses (having secret conventicles), and doing your own wills, not abiding under the reign established by Radama, but changing the kingdom."
Then the people replied,--"We plead guilty on account of these things, done by ourselves, by our wives, our children, and our families; for we thought it was good in our land. Yet now, as our Sovereign Lady does not like it, we plead humbly: whatever our Sovereign Lady does, is accepted with thanks." The bearers of the Queen's message then replied, saying,--"Let each one among all of you have his or her name written down, with what transgression he perpetrated, were it only once; tell of the houses where you have done this, and what you have done. You, soldiers! make a separate list, telling what you have done, and your names. In like manner let the scholars, people, and slaves, give in these particulars." Then the word-bearer of the Queen went home, and the people dispersed, going to have their names written down, and the confessions of all learners. Some said,--"To look for pretty women was our end in going to places of worship on Sundays; for there were assembled the cleanly and handsome when Sunday came round." Others, at Analakely, [A great soap manufactory]--"We were doing work for the Government service under the white people, and they would not have liked us if we had not gone; therefore we did so." Others said,--"We, indeed, were baptized, but we had no belief; so, when the Queen prohibited baptism, we went away." But the larger number said,--"We were indeed baptized, and prayed in many different houses, of which we cannot tell the number we frequented, for we prayed every morning and evening, and on eating or drinking, or whatever we were doing: so, whatever our Sovereign Lady determines, we must give her thanks." Others, who had not been baptized, yet made confession, saying,--"We have indeed prayed, we know not how often: so, whatever our Sovereign Lady determines, thanks be to her."
Then were separated those who had been baptized; and they sent this reply to the Queen,--"Take this our message to the Queen, that we have in truth been baptized; then, whatever our Sovereign Lady decides upon, we render thanks." When the Queen had heard these messages she replied,--"I have heard your statements; let them all he put into one list." Then they were made into one summary writing.
There was one man who had not had his name written down (he was said to be, like Rafaralahy, afterwards put to death); he went to the chief judges to accuse himself (confess to being a Christian), and said,--"I come to accuse myself, for I often prayed, and went to the places of worship frequently." It was asked of him,--"What! are you, then, that fellow?" "Yes, I also." They said,--"Now, fellow, make a prayer, and let us hear it." [These were the judges in civil cases, and not inclined to carry out so unprecedented a law: true, it was the military statute law, but they did not like to be the Queen's executioners, to put the Christians to death merely for doing what the Queen disliked.] He immediately knelt down and prayed thus,--"O God over all! Lord of heaven and earth! who hast given us hands and feet! have mercy upon us sinners, for Thou oughtest to be exceedingly angry on account of our transgressions and our failings. And bless the Sovereign of this land; prosper her Government in the right and fitting ways, that her subjects may dwell in peace. Strengthen her servants, subdue her enemies. Let her advisers have just designs and suitable thoughts, to benefit her land, and make her people wise, and to prosper her kingdom. Bless all the people; the Judges and the Officers, the Civilians and the Soldiers; whether men or women, little or great. Rejoice the afflicted; heal the sick; make the fools wise. Forgive our sins and our errors, because of the sufferings and death of Jesus Christ, Saviour and Redeemer."
Before he ceased to pray, the Judges said,--"That is enough, for we do not see his fault; but it is the changing of ancient customs that the Queen dislikes in this: so, go home, for we have heard the fellow's prayer."
Then all the praying people assembled together, each division collecting together with their companions, to write their names and self-accusations, as the Queen had commanded. Soldiers, scholars, civilians, slaves, each were put down on one paper, and in four divisions. When it was finished, and all names and confessions were entered, it was taken to the Queen. [I heard the numbers of the names estimated at about 850, besides others, making about 1000; but they got tired of the work, and stopped it.] Oh, how anxious was the talking of the people when this document had reached the Sovereign! for they said, four or six out of these four classes will be put to death for doing what the Queen does not like. When the teachers heard this, they wrote a letter to the Queen, in which they said,--"May it please your Majesty, we humbly beseech; be not needlessly angry with the people that prayed and learned from us, for if there be occasion of anger, and something you disapprove, which you deem to be guilt, we who taught are they with whom you should be angry, for with us exclusively they found these things, which did riot arise among themselves."
The answer of the Queen to this was,--"You incur no blame and guilt on this account, but what you did was good: but what angers me with the people you taught is, that they change the customs of the ancestors; for they go to the praying-houses continually."
All desired the return of the Sabbath-day; nevertheless fearingly, for fear and the trembling of death had fallen upon a great many at that time: for it was thought that many would be put to death among the people that prayed to God. Especially severe was the message sent to the twelve chief learners under the Missionaries, and to Razafimanana, an officer of the 10th honour (a General); so that there seemed to be no hope for their lives: they must, it was thought, suffer death.
Now, on the evening of Saturday there was a dreadful storm of wind, with rain, thunder, and lightning--"such as had never been seen," said the old people; so that the trees were torn up by the roots, and the house of the great enemy of the Word of God was thrown down (he by name Rainiharo); and many other houses were destroyed in the villages around on that night. Mr. Griffiths went to Rainiharo to offer congratulations, after the custom of the people on such occasions.
And there happened to be a soothsayer passing by, and he cried out, "All! God is firing from on high!" Some ignorant people said, "The God of the whites, perhaps, is angry with the Sovereign for the suppressing of prayer; for never have we seen any storm so wonderful as this."
Nevertheless, on Sunday there was no commotion whatever, or talkings; but the town of Antananarivo was exceedingly silent, whether in the palace or the city; but soon after noon-day on Monday, at about three o'clock, the cannon were fired to summon all the praying people to assemble together. There was great terror. Many said, "The Kabary will be held at Ambatoraka." [A place where death-sentences are pronounced.]
So the greater part of the people said, "Some will probably be put to death." At length, when they heard the voice of the crier calling out to the praying people, "To Andohalo! to Andohalo! "then the hearts of all the praying people were comforted, for it was understood that there would be no execution if the Kabary were held there, for it is not the custom to execute criminals there. [It was the design of the military officers, the real government of the day, to create great terror; and as nobody was in the secret, we were all in a state of great terror, though death could not legally be inflicted.--Trans.]
When all were assembled at Andohalo, those bringing the Sovereign's word arrived. And this was the reply to the people's pardon-begging, and the conclusion of the edicts addressed to them,--
"Now this is my declaration to you, subject-people, saith Ranavolamanjaka. I would have had these people put to death, if it had not been for the pardon-begging of the Ambaniandro (loyal people); but, on account of the plea for pardon made by you, this is my edict,--Every sixth shall pay a fine of unbroken money (the whole dollar); and the military officers, and civil officers over hundreds, shall be reduced to half their rank. And as to Ratsimiharo, this is the Queen's declaration to him,--If he had not been a part of me and companion, I would have put him to death, saith Ranavalomanjaka; but he shall be reduced two degrees in rank. And as to Razafimanana, (the General), because he acted without asking leave of me, but did his own pleasure, therefore he also is reduced two ranks. And with regard to Ravalisa, 8th rank, officer of the palace, who said, 'These fellows would have led me to prayer, but I would not,' I will raise him and add one degree to his honour, saith Ranavalomanjaka."
Some of the people remarked, "Ah! this man was wise in not knowing the Word of God." Others, who knew the Word of God, said, "They who are praised of men for unrighteousness, are an extreme abomination in the sight of God."
This was the great law of suppression under which the Christians suffered for twenty-five years. It was fully accepted by the people.
On this occasion, the Sovereign proceeded to enact a most severe law, as follows,--"If any are guilty a second, especially a third time, they shall not live; I will put them to death," saith Ranavalomanjaka. Then answered all the Kabary answerers, all the heads of the people, and the military officers (in the name of all the classes), and said, "Firstly, let us render thanks, Rabodonandrianimpoinimerina, [A great title, signifying "The Lady Sovereign served by Imerina"] for thy favour and regard to us, our wives, our children, and our families, by which thou dost not put to death, dost not destroy us, on this account. It is grateful to us, swallowed by us, sweet to us. Thanks, exceeding thanks, to our Sovereign Lady. Moreover (to the Queen's messenger), take this our declaration to our Sovereign Lady,--With regard to these words of thine, which no one can alter, that none must transgress a second time, especially a third time, there is no hatred of wives and children, no disregard of relations, that we will not show (to fulfil the law), but we will deliver them up, and will take heed that this shall be no anxious care to our Lady." Then they delivered the Hasina thereupon (a form of tribute in token of loyalty), and the Kabary broke up.
Then also all the believers thanked God for saving them from the fear and tremor of death; for they said, "Blessed be God, who hath not dealt with us after our sins:" and they rejoiced in Jehovah at that time. (Hab. iii. 2. 1 Sam. ii. 1, 2. Gen. xxxii. 9, 10.)
The people then asked permission (from the Government), saying, "Where shall we put the books of instruction given to us by the white people?" On the morrow they were told,--"Bring all your books to Soavindrainihanjaka; let not one hold back a single one at all." And this was made perpetual. Therefore, many of the scholars feared to keep any book having in it the name of Jehovah and Jesus Christ. Greatly was the grief of many augmented, for they had hoped to kindle a lamp in the midst of darkness. So the greater number delivered up the books; yet were there many who retained small portions of the books of instruction.
Afterwards, when some of the scholars taught by Mr. Griffiths resorted to him (as school-children), and did not bring their books and lessons, not even one, Mr. Griffiths said, "Where are the books I gave you?" They replied, "We have delivered them all at the Soavindrainihanjaka." Mr. Griffiths said, "How is it that you have given up inv property there? Many of these books do not contain the name of Jehovah and Jesus Christ. Go and fetch them quickly." So the scholars went and told the rulers, saying, "Mr. Griffiths has ordered us to fetch the books: for there are many among these books without instruction of the Word of God." The reply of the Sovereign was, "Take all the books to Mr. Griffiths (without exception)." Accordingly, on the morrow, the scholars brought all the books to Mr. Griffiths, so that the east of his premises was nearly filled with them.
And many there were who hid books of the Word of God, putting them into small boxes, and burying them under the earth in each one's house, drawing them out at night-time to be read; for they could not of all things abandon the words of eternal life. And some who had many books brought one or two to Mr. Griffiths; and their language was, when they delivered up the Baiboly and the Testamenta (they called the Old Testament, "Baiboly"), while tears fell from their eyes, "We must not hold fast the lamps (or lanterns) to enlighten us in the dark, and to point out to us salvation from everlasting sorrow and suffering." And, "Happy were we when we saw that word (of God), and heard the word preached to us." Never can it be forgotten; but our fathers, our mothers, our children and our relations, occasion us fear, remaining in darkness, not to see the light. For we had hoped to be able to teach them to know God and Jesus Christ the Saviour; but now the means of teaching them are shut up. For the Sovereign will not allow them to be spoken to and taught any longer. This is our grief, making our tears to fall day and night, that, absolutely, there are no means of teaching our children and relations, and of speaking with our fathers and mothers forthwith.
Now the Christians were "tampina,"--shut up, sealed, corked (as the word means), as a bottle that must only be opened by the master. No foreign help, no open sympathy: left to themselves and to God.
III.--THE FIRST PERSECUTION, 1836, 1837.--RAFARAVAVY AND HER COMPANIONS.
Jer. xliv. 4.--"Do not this abominable thing which I hate."
Now after a short time from this period the praying progressed again, and we remembered the word which says, "If we cannot free ourselves from them who speak on earth, how much more from Him who speaks from Heaven!" Heb. xii. 25. (Quoted from memory.) At this time the number of the people serving God multiplied, and strengthened in mutual love: and the very slaves who afterwards accused her, came to learn from Rafaravavy. So they (the Christians) had prayer on the hill-tops, and in houses, where they met together, as they had formerly. Consequently, on the 26th of Adimizana (7th month, now near the end of the year), two persons, her slaves, made a compact to look and hear again, that they might lay an accusation. The names of these accusers were Rakasikia and Rambodotafikia; and the names of the accused were, Rafaravavy, &c.--eight names.
They laid their accusation before the authorities, who conveyed it to the Queen, who ordered them to be touched (apprehended) by the bearer of the silver spear, called The Hater of Falsehood. And the charge against them by this officer was, "Praying and doing what the Queen has prohibited you from doing." So these were each of them apprehended, and shortly sentenced thus,--"Of the men, they are to lose wives and children (reduced to slavery), and for their persons the Sovereign will decide; and for the bodies of the women also her Majesty must choose." Thus accused, they replied, saying,--"We cannot deny that we prayed to the Lord of heaven and earth, indeed; therefore, whatever our Sovereign Lady does must render thanks (or praise, honour) to her." Then were they questioned, and strongly pressed thus,--"Who, individually, are your associates?" they inquired, but no one would tell. Yet there was one of us that boldly gave some names. It was Rasalama (the first martyr). She expressly named Andriamanana, and Rainitsieva, &c. (Five names of the most devoted Christians are in the list.) So these also were apprehended, as had been the former; and the men were condemned to lose wives and children, and the Queen to choose what should be done to their persons, as also the persons (bodies) of the women. There was not one of these that denied having prayed; so their property was all confiscated, and they made ready (as having to be sold into slavery). After this valuation of them, their friends gave bail for them for a short time, when they were all taken to Ambotondrafandrana (to be sold), except Rafaravavy, since it was thought she would be put to death: so she was put in bonds in a separate house. So they were all appraised at Ambotondrafandrana, and it was proclaimed,--"These are reduced to slavery for ever and ever--not to be redeemed." Then the appraised were all put into one house, to be guarded until purchasers were found, and the men were chained: but the women were not bound.
IV.--THE KILLING OF RASALAMA, THE FIRST MARTYR, 1837.
"These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."--Rev. vii. 14.
"And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony: and they loved not their lives unto the death."--Rev. xii. 11.
When they had all entered the house appointed by the Queen, then spoke Rasalama,--"If I see the Tsitialaingia coming I rejoice, for I have hope of life in heaven." [Officer bearing the silver spear.]
When the guard in charge heard this, he bound her strongly, and she rose up to be bound; "for most worthy am I to bear this," she said, "whether it be blows or bonds."
She also spoke much and sang in the house, and the master of the house was angry when he heard it. Rasalama also inquired what words of hers they had reported to the ruling officer. Then said the messenger, "We reported nothing except the words saying, 'If I hear the Tsitialaingia coming I rejoice, as having hope of life in heaven.'" "Why," said she, "when I spoke so many words, did you report so few trifling ones? In vain is the net spread if the bird is not caught." She also said,--"The master of sorrow is nothing, but it is the scoffers that are dreadful." [That is, as if it were said, "The Queen is not much, to be cared for, but evildoers or speakers are a dreadful thing."] Then again she spoke,--"Alas! alas! the kingdom is destroyed." Then said the guard and the master of the house,--"What is it, you slut, that should destroy the kingdom? "They then beat her severely, and bound her fast; neither did they cover her with the lamba (outer garment). Then she said to them,--"You will see evil when the last man comes," (meaning death). Again she spoke,--"I ask, sirs, my garment; for I am now cold." And she prayed. Then they gave her the garment, when she said,---"Yea; for she who asketh, receiveth; and to her that knocks, it is opened; and, moreover, they seeking, find." Then came again the writer, saying, "Put in good order your words, for we do not perceive what words we should write to be taken to the Queen." She replied again,--"Yonder is where I would be joined (meaning the house of Rafaravavy), to be a substitute for my companion; for behold you say, 'Rafaravavy shall be put to death': it is not she who shall die, but I shall be killed in her stead. And as to these men, Indraintsieva, east of Analakely, and Andrianantoandro, who told of them? Was it not I only? And shall not that be for their glory? (One of these, in fact, suffered martyrdom in 1840.) There was no one to raise them up, so I exalted them. And as to these, Ratsarahomba, and Ratiaray, and Ramanakoraisina, these shall be my associates when the last man comes." She then said, "Andriamatan (means, eyes pressed), and Andriamarivo (stoned), and the last man, (death.") (This is unintelligible except the last.)
After this, they offered her rice to eat, but she said,--"This little rice is brought to bribe us; but when shall it happen that Rasalama shall serve Ingiahivony?" [The language is strongly negative,--"Shall I become the slave of Ingiahivony? No, never! Let me go to Christ and heaven!"] (The officers took the condemned Christians at a nominal value for slaves, &c., but she would sooner go to heaven, the land of liberty and purity.) Again they pressed her to eat, the master of the house saying,--"If you will eat, we will relax the fetters." "Yes, then, I will eat a little," she said. So they loosed her chains again. Then she clapped her hands and said,--"With these I received the Bible, and I read it." Afterwards she spoke in like manner, on recalling the taking away of her garment,--"Why did you dishonour the Queen? Am I not of one kind with her? for, is she not a woman as well as I?"
The landlord then spoke to all present, saying,--"If even a dog's mangled carcase were hung up over me, when should I be found doing what my Sovereign Lady disapproves? Would it not be better to precipitate one's self over the rock than do what her Majesty dislikes?" Rasalama replied,--"Here thou, Ramiandravola, sayest, 'If a mangled dog were over me, when should I do what the Queen dislikes?' And if to be thrown from the rock of making right (name of the rock over which criminals are thrown), how should I not follow the Queen's words? [This is one of the strange sayings they often use to express themselves strongly--here for unbounded loyalty and subjection.] Oh, you shall see evil when the last man comes; for, don't you understand that the last man is Death?"
They now removed her into a separate house from the rest. And when she was to be killed they put on the death-manacles, and led her by the chapel of Mr. Griffiths, for it had been her house of prayer. Then she said to the people accompanying her,--"In this house I heard the words of the Saviour; for here was I taught, as by a father and mother, the word of the Saviour." She was then condemned and led to execution, they proclaiming to the people,--"For being high-mouthed, this one is put to death, O Merina Ambaniniandro! So I announce to you, she would not wait for my judgment upon her, therefore I have put her to death." Still, on the road she continued to sing, for she hoped for the life in heaven; so that some people said,--"Where is that God to whom she has prayed, that He does not save her now?" The rest of her associates were brought into slavery, and divided amongst the military officers.
V.--RAFARALAHY, A SOLDIER: THE SECOND MARTYR PUT TO DEATH, 1838. "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."--Rev. ii. 10.
After a short time--about five months--there was another accusation laid in the month Adaoro, 1838 (perhaps April). There was a man named Rafaralahy; this man made great progress in belief and in the love of God and Jesus Christ; he also manifested great kindness to people, and he taught his wife and the servants (slaves). Many people had affectionate friendship with him. There was one man, Rafiakarana, in trade with him, so that they two were close friends, and they conversed about the Word of God, which it was forbidden by the Queen to do. That conversation caused his death, since he disregarded the prohibition of the Queen in this matter proclaimed to the people.
For after a while he showed to him (Rafiakarana) the Bible and some other books which he possessed. Rafiakarana was astonished when he saw these, and exclaimed, "What, here then is England! and Mr. Griffiths (the Missionary) is yet here, and I almost get into danger!" After awhile they two estimated their stock, and it was with the money of Rafaralahy the business had been carried on; that caused the dispute. Rafaralahy suffered awhile and did kindness to Rafiakarana, for he wanted to have no dispute whatever with him, but endured, though the money was his own in fact. Then rose up again Rafiakarana and his associates to accuse Rafaralahy that there was again prayer with him.
Rafiakarana also elevated the kiady over the rice and small property--all of it--saying it was his. [This was a pole, to signify that lie claimed the property.] He then laid claims of debts upon Rafaralahy, and seized three of his slaves, sometimes saying, "I have debts due to me from Rafaralahy, and seize you in payment;" and sometimes saying, "When he prayed I took them." In short, his assertions were continually changing. Nevertheless, Rafaralahy had made over these slaves to his mother and sister; and in fact the Queen's judgment was given to restore to him the rice and small things which had been claimed by Rafiakarana, so that he did not obtain a farthing; yet he desired again to get the land of Rafaralahy's relations. In short, there were no persons, whether military officers, or believers or unbelievers, among all the people, that did not hate Rafiakarana on account of his deeds, and he is now very miserable in his living among the people in his own fellowship (acquaintance).
Then came the Tsitialaingia to apprehend Rafaralahy, and he could not deny the accusation. He was pressed to tell of his associates (turn informer and save himself, as was offered to all), but he did not tell; so a confiscation was ordered. They therefore took his person and his wife, and bound him in his house. And in the house he was confined: so they cooked rice, and placed it before them all; and when they had eaten about a mouthful, just then the executioners came to convey him to the place of execution. And they inquired, saying, "Is the prisoner here?" The people in the house (his wife and two slaves, with the aide-de-camp and others), gave no reply: but he himself replied, saying, "Here I am." They then removed the chains from his legs and took him forth, tying his hands behind him. So he went out, showing no fear whatever. And he clasped hands with his wife and bade her farewell. Now, when approaching the place of execution, he turned his head to look at the slaves and smiled; and he spoke, but the two servants did not hear what he said. He went a little further and then looked back again, and said to the slaves in presence of the people, "Be not vainly grieved for me, but take heed to your own deeds; for this will beautify me." [Maliamandina--to cleanse, polish, &c.] Then the people reviled him exceedingly on account of that speech. Again he looked back on the servants and smiled. Arrived at the place of death, the executioner said, "Make haste now." Then he said, "Do not needlessly hurry me, but let me retire by myself a little." Then he kneeled down, and so was speared; and he died. His brother then begged his corpse, which was given, and it was buried.
It was on Monday, the 19th of Adaora, 1838, that Kafaralahy was apprehended on account of his praying. His wife, children, and property were confiscated, and eventually himself put to death. On the morrow, Tuesday, his two slaves went to see him, in the house where he was bound, along with a certain aide-de-camp; and it happened while they were there the rice was ready, so it was set before them; and when they had taken one or two mouthfuls, the six men appointed to take him suddenly approached with a loud noise, and called out, outside the house,--"Where is the prisoner hound hereabout?" No one replied, and they inquired again. Then Rafaralahy himself replied,--"Here I am." The men said,--"Stand up, fellow." So he stood up; and he, the man and his wife, clasped each other's hands. The executioners took a small rope from the place of his rice, then they removed the iron chains from his feet, and tied his hands behind him with the cord. On being thus taken away, he bid farewell to his companions in the house; but nobody replied, for there was terror upon them. So they took him away. The four of the men went two on each side of him, and the other two went before, carrying the spear to the place of putting to death, Ambohipotsy. And those two servants (slaves) of his, as also that certain aide-de-camp, were there.
The gentlest and kindest of men, he showed strong affections, but no fear.
When they three came to the brother's house, they found the people of the house cooking rice to send to him; so they told them that Rafaralahy was dead. When his brother heard that, he started off to go to Ratiaray (a palace officer), and to the relations of Rafaralahy, that they might beg his corpse from the Queen. Arrived there (at the Palace), they told Ratiaray, who went to the Queen to beg the body. But the brother of Rafaralahy returned to watch by, and save the body, lest it should be devoured by wild dogs, whilst the relatives waited the Queen's reply. It was getting dark; he stood astride some hours, I believe, over the body, holding his eight-foot long spear grasped in both hands, to keep off some twenty or thirty dogs, and killed six or eight. At length Ratiaray returned, announcing that the body was granted. Then Rafaralahy's two slaves went, accompanied by four men, borrowed by the brother from the relations, to fetch away the body. It was night, and an exceedingly dark night; so they carried the body. They went eastward, below Antananarivo (several miles); and just as they reached Ampefiloha, west of Anjanahary, the cannon was fired off, signifying bed-time (about 9 P.M.). Arrived at Ambavahady, in Janahary, they laid down the body to go and buy a shroud, and fetch persons to assist in the burial. When all met, a third part--being a great number--went before to dig the grave. It finished, he was buried about the middle of the night. The burial ended, the people went home.
The papers given above appear, I believe, for the first time, in English; and they will hardly be read by any without interest. But besides these, there are a few other documents of the same class which were printed in a Missionary periodical, some years since, but which have only been partially given in the works recently published on the subject of Madagascar. It has been suggested to me that these native records of the days of persecution ought not to he suffered to drop out of sight, and that it would be advisable to add them to the previously untranslated narratives which have occupied the former part of this chapter. Yielding to this suggestion, I shall here give some of the more interesting of these journals and letters.
The first that I shall give is a letter to friends at Mauritius, dated June 25, 1841,--
"Our salutations to you, say the little flock in Madagascar. Through the blessing of God on us we are yet alive, and do not forget you and all our friends. This is what we have to communicate to you, beloved father; the affliction which has occurred to us, and of which you have heard, greatly increases. Executions, ordeals, and miseries increase throughout the country, so that three thousand persons have lately taken the tangena (poison-water) at Vonizongo, by order of the Sovereign and the officers; and in other places it has been the same. The wretchedness of the people is unutterable; it is exceedingly great through the country, and we announce it to you, our friends in the Lord, However, through the blessing of God, we are able to send you this letter. Do not forget us; do, sir, let us all be remembered by you. We have received your letter conveying your salutation to us all. We now send you the bearer of this letter to see you, and his meeting you will be the same as if we ourselves met you in person. He has our entire confidence; and he is acquainted with us all. You may safely tell him whatever you have to communicate to us, and whatever he tells you, that you may receive as our communication. He has done all he possibly could to preserve the little flock; tell him what you advise us to do. Do rescue us, beloved father, if possible. If God be not our defence, we are dead men: we are as a city set on a hill, that cannot be hid. The bearer of this letter cannot write: will you please to put in writing what you have to say, lest he should forget it.
"Our service under the government continues to be exceedingly severe. When the children of Israel served under Pharaoh, perhaps they obtained some little respite; but ours is incessant labour: we must work both day and night.
"With regard to the number of our little flock, the bearer of this will tell you, if you ask him. Our especial salutations to you; you are as our anchor, and we have seen how zealously and devotedly you have laboured for us; and not only for us who survive, but for them that have fallen asleep. May the Lord bless you in all your work, and may you not lose your reward!"
A second letter was written by four other Malagese to the same friend,--
"June 26th, 1841.--To you, beloved friend, health and happiness. We have received your letter, and the various things you sent with it. May God bless you! May Jehovah God lift up upon you the light of His countenance, for the compassion you have shown to the suffering and afflicted people of God! It is not in our power to repay you. May He bless you, and all that is yours, whether in going out or in coming in!
"You desire us to come to you. [i. e. to escape to Mauritius.] That is good; but there is too much on the road at present to permit the attempt: many are engaged, going and returning, in conveying timber for the Queen's houses. The path, therefore, dear friend, is too difficult as yet; but, through the blessing of God, we do hope to meet you. [Being known as Christians, it was needful to keep out of sight.] You exhort us to take courage, and not to he cast down. "We accept your exhortation, and rejoice. You ask us also if there is anything we want; and desire us to tell you. Now there is one thing that much afflicts us,--our want of Bibles. We can conceal them, though there are many enemies. Those we possess are becoming quite worn out.
"With regard to our means of livelihood, it may be said, we have and we have not. All our property was taken from us before we were reduced to slavery; and we are not yet free, hut remain in servitude. However, it is the word of the Lord, 'Consider the ravens, they sow not, they reap not, yet God feedeth them:' and so, beloved friend, the Lord has pity on us.
"We have been in very great affliction and danger, but God has mercifully preserved us thus far. Salutations to all the congregation with you, from the little flock scattered, for the shepherds are gone. However, we still meet and visit each other occasionally. Our faithful companion conveys this: do not hesitate to place confidence in him."
In the following year, they wrote as follows,--
"Antananarivo, July 8tk, 1842.--May you live and be blessed of God, O beloved friend! And how are you? for, we are in the enjoyment of health through the blessing of God, and we now inquire after your welfare in a letter. I tell you that our trials are greater now than ever, because the number of the persecuted Christians is increasing daily. The officers of the Queen are searching for them everywhere, to put them to death. We do not know what to do, as the road for escape in all directions is almost impassable, and our hiding-places are nearly all known to our enemies, so that the persecuted Christians are at present truly afflicted. If you can fix upon any plan, or find any way for us to escape, write to us immediately in answer to this letter. And may you live and be blessed of God, O beloved friend!"
"Antananarivo, July I6th, 1842.--May you live and be blessed of God, O beloved friend! How are you and your family? I am in the enjoyment of health through the blessing of God, and am alive to inquire after your welfare in a letter. And I tell you, my dear friend, that the present trials of the Christians are very heavy to be borne by flesh and blood, but they are even light to be borne by the mind and soul that lean on the Lord.
"I tell you that two of our number have been accused and condemned (as the others had been before) to perpetual slavery. Four brothers have been recently accused and pursued. Obadia and Ralaijao they could not find, as their friends succeeded in concealing them, but Rabearahaba and Ratsitahina were caught and put to death, in Vonizongo, on Sunday and Monday markets, and their heads were cut off and fixed on poles. The persecutions are carried on with such vigilance at present as to make concealment extremely difficult. Leaning on God's mercy is our only hope of existence here.
"I received letters twice from you; one from Tamatave and another from Mauritius, in which you have truly sympathised with us, and given us excellent counsel. I told you in a former letter, that the Queen ordered the tangena to be given me, but by the blessing of God I got over it. Join me, O my beloved friend! to bless the Lord who hath blessed and preserved me alive. Five of our friends are hiding themselves with me, and I shall take particular care of them; but the others go from place to place to seek for something to support nature.
"I assure you that I shall pay the strictest attention to what you have told me, and shall do all that lies in my power, by the help of God, to commiserate our distressed and persecuted friends, even after every farthing that you have placed in my hands is spent.
"May you live and be blessed of God! saith your friend."
"Antananarivo, July 21st, 1842.--May you live and be blessed of God! And how are you and your family? I tell you, O my beloved friend, that our troubles are still increasing--a letter arrived yesterday to inform us that the robbers, on the 12th instant, discovered two of our sisters in the deserts--Rafaravy and Razafitsaroana, and took them away from their concealment.
"These five robbers went up to the village in the night, after all the people were gone to sleep, and found the two women in one house. They tied their hands and feet, and carried away their clothes, and everything they found in the house. They returned to the house to seek for tobacco, and, in searching for it, they discovered our two sisters concealing themselves in the rice-cellar, and carried them off. As to the little money you have placed in my hands, I shall pay the strictest attention to distribute it among the most needy and distressed Christians. Remember me to all friends, and may you live long, and be blessed of God, O beloved friend!"
In the year 1815 they wrote as follows,--
"Our salutations to you. We inquire after your welfare. We are sorry it is so long since we heard from you. We earnestly desire to hear of your state, and should be delighted to see your handwriting.
"With regard to our condition here, we are well; but two sisters the Lord has taken away; and another, the wife of one of us. So far as we can judge respecting their removal, it is happy; for we indulge the hope that God has received them through the salvation which is in Christ. 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord;' and wonderful indeed is the blessing of God: for He has truly answered our prayer, and your cries: so that, as to ourselves, not any of us have been apprehended by the persecution.
"The number of the learners is very greatly increasing; and those who were reduced to slavery, 'never to be redeemed,' have been permitted to be redeemed. Yes! wonderful and astonishing altogether is the power of God, for He rescues His people from the hands of the wicked; He redeemed Israel from slavery; and He plucks them from the hand of the devil, that they may become the people of God. Read Acts, v. 39.
"Be therefore strong in prayer for us, O friends! Tell all your companions, as widely as you can, that 'what is not possible with men is possible with God,' and 'none can hinder what He does.' Do not be unmindful of the children that God has given to be nursed and trained by you, for God will not be unmindful of you; and He will do still more abundantly! Therefore be earnest in prayer, O beloved! for prayer is power, and strength, and life; for God hears your supplications there, and sends His answers to us. We earnestly desire to have some spelling-books and reading-lessons.
"With regard to the general condition of the country, the people are more and more afflicted the seasons are more and more severe; the work becomes harder; the imposed service more oppressive; and the Government does not change. Three of our friends are deceased (besides those before mentioned). We are not able at present to write at great length, because the opportunity of sending a letter has come suddenly; but, if there should be anything else to say, we shall send again.
"And now, in conclusion, O beloved! when we examine the word of God from the beginning to the end, and the passages which are suitable to us in the Word, it gives us hope and confidence indeed. We see that God is powerful; that no one can pluck out of His hands, nor hinder that which He is doing. Read, if you please, Dan. iii. 27, 28; iv. 34,35; vi. 20, 22. Earnestly, therefore, plead on our account and your own; for, if God be with us, who can be against us? (Rom. viii. 31-39.)
"We have been very much grieved to hear of the death of Mr. Johns: and yet again we rejoice, for he has been received by the Saviour.
"All the Christians in Madagascar present their salutations to all you that are in Christ Jesus, in whom friends who love one another, even though distant, are united in one,--say all your friends and companions in Madagascar."
The next document which I shall give is an account of the persecution of 1849, from the journal of a Christian native who was present. Some passages are necessarily omitted, for the sake of brevity,--
"The persecution was commenced on Monday, the 19th of February, 1849, by an order from the Queen's Government to demolish two houses which had been used as places of worship. This order was carried into effect; at the same time five persons were arrested and put in irons. All possible means were used to induce these prisoners to reveal their companions: three of them refused, but two of the five at length gave the names of others, of whom four were immediately seized.
"On the 22nd, two other persons, a father and his son, were arrested. On the 29th, a number of the people were summoned to meet the officers of the Queen, to know her will as to the manner in which the Christians were to be dealt with. 'These are the words of the Queen,' said one of the officers,--'I ask you, saith the Queen,--tell me the truth,--tell me no falsehood. What is the reason you will not forsake this new religion and mode of worship? I have deprived officers of their honours (rank); put some to death, and reduced others to perpetual slavery; and yet you still persevere in practising the new religion. What is the reason you will not renounce it?' Whereupon two of the Christians, in the name of their companions, replied, 'that they were constrained (to persevere) by reverence for God and His law.'
"Another assembly of the people took place on the 25th, when the Queen's officers again brought a royal message, in these words,--'If any new religion or mode of worship, and especially this worship of yours, be introduced and practised in my country, I forbid it: it shall never be done. These are the things that are prohibited,--Baptism; the ceasing from work on each Sabbath, or seventh day; the forbidding to swear by father or mother, or by the Queen; the refusing to sacrifice bullocks, or to worship the idols. Therefore come forward, all of you who have done these things, and confess, that I may determine what punishment to inflict on you; for if any one shall wait until he is accused by another, that person shall he punished without mercy.'
"On the 14th of March, nine persons, five of whom were women, belonging to the province of Vonizongo, when called on to take the oath prescribed, declared their adhesion to the Christian faith, and were put in chains and wrapped in mats. On the 16th, a soldier, who refused the oath of abjuration, was similarly treated.
"On the 21st, all the people who had accused themselves were ordered to repair unto Analakely, to take the oath, and to invoke curses upon their heads if they should transgress any more. But an officer of the 5th honour, when called upon to take the oath, replied, ' It is God alone that I worship, for He alone can do all things for me, and I shall not pray to any other object whatever.' So he was put in chains, to await the Queen's pleasure.
"On the 22nd, the swearing in of the people was continued, when two more persons, one of them a servant of Prince Ramonja, the Queen's nephew, refused, and were put under arrest. On the following day, there were two others. One of these, Ramany, stood up and said,--'I believe in God, for He alone can do all things; and I desire to obey whatever He commands me; but as to swearing by the Queen, or by one's father or mother--a lie is a lie still, whether you swear to it or not. I believe in God, and put my trust in Christ, the Saviour and Redeemer of all that believe in Him.' He also was put in chains, to await the Queen's pleasure. At the same time, a female named Ranivo, of the tribe of Ralambo, avowed her trust in God and in Christ, and was put in prison.
"The next three days were occupied in inquiries among the people, as to the houses where they assembled to worship, and who were the preachers, when Rabetsarasaotra and Rasoalandy were mentioned.
"On the 28th, another large assembly of the people took place, when the officers of the palace delivered the Queen's message,--'I, the Queen of Madagascar, say that no religion whatever, besides that of Andrianimpoinimerina and Radama, and the ancestors, shall ever be introduced or practised in this my country; anything else is totally rejected by me. Had I not ordered the followers of the new religion to accuse themselves, they would soon have overturned the country. I deem them rebels; and I will tell you how I have punished them,--as the spirits of Andrianimpoinimerina and Radama have revealed to me.'
"The prisoners, before mentioned as having been put in chains, were then brought into Analakely, each being borne by two poles on men's shoulders, wrapped in mats, and their mouths stuffed with rags to prevent them from speaking. The female, Rauivo, alone being unconfined, and made to walk behind.
"The punishments were then proclaimed. 1. The wives and children of all the prisoners were reduced to slavery. 2. Those already slaves were condemned to work in chains all the rest of their lives.....5. The multitude that accused themselves were to atone for their offences by paying each three bullocks and three dollars; but half of that sum was forgiven them. 6. The criminals in custody were, four of them to be burnt alive, and the rest, fourteen, to be thrown from the rock Itsinihatsaka, and their bodies afterwards burnt. This sentence was executed upon them.
"Then all the rest of the people were called upon to take the oath of allegiance,--drinking the holy water mixed with the holy earth taken from the tombs of the twelve kings. The Christians who had been condemned to slavery were then sold in the presence of all the people.
"The Prince Ramonja, the Queen's nephew, was condemned to pay one hundred dollars as an atonement, and Rajoaka, an officer of the palace, to pay fifty dollars; but both these penalties were afterwards reduced one-half. All honours possessed by any of the Christians were declared to be forfeited."
A list then follows of the numbers sentenced to these various punishments, fines, &c., and the whole number amounts to one thousand nine hundred and three persons. And this large number of Christians was discovered, more than twelve years after the last Missionary had left the island."
I pass over several years, and give a letter of the date of 1854,--
"Antananarivo, 4th July,--To the beloved Christian brethren in London,--We have received the letter written. by you on the 7th of January, 1854, speaking of the affliction which we have endured, and telling also, to encourage us, of your love and oneness of heart with us in Christ. And we rejoiced greatly in God when we read your letter, for your reminding us of the love of Christ deeply affected our hearts. Read Rom. v. 3, 4, 5. Therefore would we praise God, the Father of Jesus Christ our Lord, who has blessed us and enabled us to bear those calamities. And we search the Holy Scriptures day and night; they fix our hearts, even though men mock and speak evil of us. Read Matt. v. 11, 12. 2 Cor. iv. 15-17. Matt. x. 22. And we praise the great Redeemer, who has chosen us out of the world to be His people. Read John, xv. 16. 1 John, iv. 10, 19. That also encourages us and supports us in the love of Him. And we desire that, by the help of God, we, together with you, may rejoice in the great Redeemer, who hath caused us to love each other greatly in His name. Read 2 Cor. iii. 5. John, xv. 5.
"And when we have examined and thought on the counsel given to us by you, then our hearts have been gladdened, and we have rejoiced, and we thank you in the name of Christ; for the counsel given by you to us has caused our hearts to be comforted and soothed in our faith and peace. And when we heard that Rev. W. Ellis and Mr. J. Cameron had come to visit and see us, and desired to see the flock of Christ, we were glad, and rejoiced greatly that you had sent them to us, that we might see their faces and shake hands with them: it would be like our seeing you all, therefore we rejoiced on that account.
"And we have rejoiced also on account of Rev W. Ellis and Mr. James Cameron arriving at Tamatave from Mauritius, for we have received good counsel and the word of God from them; we also received letters from them, and wrote to them, and we rejoiced and were glad on that account. Read 2 Cor. vii. 6, 7; ii. 4. The books sent by J. Cameron and Rev. W. Ellis have come to us, but many are the people of God and they (the books) are not sufficient: therefore we say to you, Finish the work, for the people are diligent, through the great mercy of God-Then you who have sent, and we who have received them, may rejoice.
"And we also say unto you, beloved brethren, forget us not in your prayers in the day and in the night. 2 Thess. iii. 1. Col. i. 3. 1 Thess. v, 25. And now we come with our remembrances, and to make salutation to all the flock of Christ that are in your land, or in other lands, who have sympathized with us, and borne affliction with us. Acts, xiv. 22. Matt. x. 38; xvi. 24.
"We hear of the sympathy of the flock of Christ in your land and in other lands towards us. May we, with you, beloved brethren, praise God everlastingly for the grace of Jesus Christ our Lord. Matt. v. 7. May the love which comes from God, and the word of peace which is above all knowledge, be with you!"
One other letter, dated more recently, will fitly introduce the account of my own visit:--
"Antananarivo, Sept. 11th, 1861.--To Rev. Wm. Ellis.--We have received the letter that you wrote in the month of June, 1861, which came from London, and we rejoice at the exhortation you gave for our continuance in Jesus Christ, and your remembrance of us in your prayers to God; and that the brethren and sisters with you ceased not to entreat God on behalf of the brethren and sisters with us.
"And now God has heard the prayers which we have offered to Him, and Madagascar is wide open for the Word of God; those that were in bonds are now all released from their chains, and are conic to Antananarivo. The pilgrims that were in hiding-places are now to be seen; and these are now new things with us.
"On Friday, the 23rd of August, Ranavalona the Queen died, and Rakoto Radama was raised to be the King of Madagascar: on the 23rd of August, 1861, he, Radama II., was raised to be the King.
"But there was nearly a contention about it, for Prince Ramboasalama hired many people to set him upon the throne, and there was nearly a struggle at Antananarivo among the people. But God brought their foolish plans to nothing, and the officers, and the judges, and the leaders of the people were banished by the king, and sent away as exiles. Prince Ramboasalama was also banished from Antananarivo, and those people that were chained and banished were those people that were strong in persecuting the Christians. And now we thank God for subduing the enemy.
"When the people heard it proclaimed that Radama II. reigned, all the people, both great and small, rejoiced exceedingly; and the Commander-in-Chief, Rainihany's son, and his family, and some of the officers and Christians, did all they could to cause Radama II. to reign. But all these people had not power enough to do that; for it was God who sought to do good for Madagascar, and gave strength to these people to cause Radama II. to reign.
"And on Thursday, the 29th August, 1861, we that were in concealment appeared: Rainivao, Ramiandry, Rainiketaka, Razaka, Rabodo, and Andrianbahiny; then all the people were astonished when they saw us that we were alive and not yet buried or eaten by dogs, and there were a great many of the people desiring to see us, for they considered us as dead--and this is what astonished them. On the 9th of September those that were in fetters came to Antananarivo, but they could not walk on account of the weight of their heavy fetters and their weak and feeble bodies.
"And this we tell you, our beloved friend, that whosoever of our brethren or sisters wish to come up to Antananarivo, there is no obstacle in the way--all is free; for Radama II. said to us: ' Write to our friends in London, and say that Radama II. reigns, and say, that whosoever wishes to come up can come.' And bring all the Bibles and Tracts with you, for we long to sec your face, if it be the will of God. We are much in want of medicine, for many are sick and feeble among the Christians, and we long for you to come up to Antananarivo. And we visit you, and we visit your wife, and we visit your children, and all the brethren and sisters in the faith; until we meet may God bless you.