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A Hunting-PRAYER. 263
tion suffered the most from fever. The wild bulls scrape holes in the ground with their feet, and then rub their horns in them, apparently in order to sharpen them, but perhaps only in the rage of menace, for Mr. Hastie shot one while thus engaged in preparation to attack him. The grass among which they pasture is sometimes ten feet high. In this, when the wild cattle want to conceal themselves, they lie down on their bellies, with their fore feet under their nose, and their hind legs under their belly; if alarmed, they spring up in a moment, and gallop off in a cloud that darkens the face of the country in their course. A wild bull, going at full speed, will turn in a twentieth part of the space, and in a twentieth part of the time, that a horse can. They are so quick-scented, that they can only be approached from the leeward. The least noise, even the falling of the branch of a tree, to the windward, will frighten a whole herd away. Radama’s army, while encamped in the district of Sacalaves, was divided into parties to go and hunt the wild bullocks. Agreeably to the custom of the country, on the first herd being seen, the party halted, laid down their arms, with the muzzles of the guns and the points of the spears turned to the rear; and an aged chieftain implored for success on the enterprise in nearly the following terms:– “O thou great Rangoor master of these superb plains and herds, be it known to thee that the mighty king, Radama, attended by a formidable army, is thy visitor ; and it will only be consistent with thine own high dignity, and his exalted rank as governor of the earth, a king unequalled by any other king, that thou shouldest present him with a part of thy superabundant stock for the use of his attendants. Be it known to thee, O Rangoor! that the wants of the mighty king are bounded, but his liberality is without bounds; he is slow in accepting, but lavish in bestowing, favors. He comes not in hostile array, but as thy visitor in amity. O you, Coutafauts and Taihaua / guardians of your great master's innumerable flocks, let it be your care to do him honor in the selection of the presents that he may order for the use of his royal visitor, so that we, his attendants, may partake of such fare as will induce us to make favorable representations of your attention to our mighty king, and thereby entitle you to his beneficent consideration. We again repeat, we are visitors in amity, and only claim your hospitable entertainment during our sojourn with you.”
This supplication being ended, we advanced towards the herd of upwards of a thousand, &c. I visited a settlement of vampire-bats, where very many thousands of these creatures were clustered together. I killed a number before any were cooked, when I was much disappointed at finding them out of season and very lean. The Sacalaves assert that these vampires do not swallow any thing solid, and say that they chew the adoblahi and the vuwar; also a species of figs, with some other tender young fruit, and the leaves of trees, but that they swallow the juice only. The king's greyhounds took me a wild boar, that had its eyes nearly in front of its head. Under these were two deep indentures; and, within nine inches of the extremity of its snout, two excrescences, of three inches each in length. We often saw numerous flocks of Guinea-fowls. When disturbed, these birds run close together, hold their heads high up, and stand so that several may be killed at a shot. The Ovah (Tananarivo) people become melancholy when they have been a little time absent from home. Many carry with them a small parcel of their native soil, when going on what they consider a long journey; and they frequently invoke the Almighty that they may be permitted to restore it to the spot from whence they took it. When on the road to return to their native place they are always very gay. During the morning several small parties, arriving from Ovah, met the troops on their journey thither; and the formality of relatives meeting, touching noses, and the new comers from the capital embracing the feet of the returning soldiers, created much merriment; but little attention was paid to many of the newly arrived parties, who, learning of the death of those they came to meet, commenced a violent howling, and loosened and disordered their hair. The stock of sheep, pigs, and poultry, that share the family bed, remove every apprehension of want. The music of many milch cows, bellowing for their calves, which are also the nightly inmates of the mansion, and the barking of a number of cur-dogs, to which the taste of flesh meat is unknown, proclaim the possessor both great and rich; terms which were not long since applied in this country to the owner of even a single dollar; and the individual that could show one was often congratulated on the extent of his wealth.
RADAMA's MILITARY POLICY. 265
Mr. Hastie had introduced wheat, oats, and barley into the country, and saw small patches of these growing luxuriantly. The females (of the Sacalave country) are very robust. They are largely formed about the chest, and the lower part of the spine is remarkably prominent. Yet neither of these protuberances produce so unsightly an appearance as the ill shapes that distinguish the women of the northern part of Boyana. Few of them are of a complexion much removed from the Caffre-color. Their dress is often very slovenly and disgusting. N. B.-Both these journeys were performed northward from the capital (Tananarivo), and the whole country either submitted to Radama or was conquered, though he had but little fighting. His army was so powerful, and the manner of his proceeding sojudicious and humane, that all the tribes found it best to submit. He placed portions of his army at different places, to keep his new subjects quiet, or to protect them from freebooters. In every case he required the people to surrender their arms to him, as they would thenceforth not need them, and as an inducement he gave their owners a fair price for them. This was a stroke of wise policy. The country in general is alternately hilly, mountainous, or swampy and poor, though many places are rich in ricegrounds, pasturage, &c., and much of the land is capable of extensive cultivation. It is, however, very thinly peopled. The houses of the inhabitants are wretched hovels, being often made of the leaves of the rofia-palm, stuck in the ground, meeting at the top, and open at both ends. The best of them are planked; others, of a middling kind, are wattled, and miserably thatched with grass. Mr. Hastie gives no account of the geology of the country. It appears generally well watered by innumerable streams, rivers, and lakes, but is in most parts bare of fine timber, in room of which there is much long grass and underwood. The fuel of the people is grass, moss, and cowdung; in some places brushwood. Their food is rice, sweet potatoes, manioc, plantains, beef, wild fowls of the Guinea species, which are every where in great plenty, fish, wild hogs, monkeys, &c. The wild cattle are sometimes very large. One carcass loaded seventeen men, and four more were required to carry the fat and such of the intestines as they used. WOL. III. 23
266: cliMATE OF MADAGASCAR.
The range of the thermometer was from 52°, at sunrise, to 98°; and the climate not good, as very many of the soldiers fell ill, and not a few died. Great numbers were left in sick quarters, though they appear to have been well fed, and well cared for, by the king, who maintained a rigid discipline, forbidding all plunder, and punishing the slightest theft with death. He held many cobars (or public meetings), at which he required the attendance of all his conquered or submitting subjects; when, also, they took the oath of allegiance or fidelity to him. On these occasions he proclaimed himself king of Madagascar, made known his laws, and the terms of protection, which were submission, and the payment of a tenth of their property. He every where denounced most firmly against the slave-trade, both in exportation and importation, and punished either with death. Rain was not frequent during the campaigns. They had occasional lightning and thunder, and wind, but nothing remarkable. Almost all the diseases of the soldiery were fevers; and the king himself returned home ill of one. There are no regular roads in the country, only occasionally a foottrack.
Radama sent twenty youths on board one of our ships of war, and six on another, to learn seamanship, and other arts of civilized life. He appears to have listened with much deference to Mr. Hastie's advice on many occasions, and the latter seems to have acted with great wisdom and prudence.
A Bullock-ship arrives at the Mauritius—The Deputation sail for Madagascar—Arrive at Tamatave—Proceed towards Tananarivo– Various Circumstances and Incidents by the Way—Fortified Villages—Tombs—Arrival and Reception at the Capital—Death of the Rev. Daniel Tyerman—Death of the King of Madagascar—Missionaries' Letter to Mr. Bennet.
June 20. He ARING that a bullock-transport had arrived from Madagascar, we went down to see her; and, having no better alternative, engaged with the captain to take us with him on his return. She is a stout brig, of two hundred tons burthen, and fitted solely for the trade in which she is
ARRIVAL AT TAMATAWE. 267
engaged. Nothing could well exceed the filthiness and stench of the vessel, being crowded with horned cattle, in this hot climate, and all restless after their voyage. In landing them, a rope is put round the bottom of the horns of each, when, by a clumsy contrivance, it is hauled up by the neck, swung over the side of the ship, and let down into the water, to swim for its life till it reaches the shore. Booms are placed on either flank of the course which they are intended to take, about twelve or fourteen feet apart, to keep the herd in line. The strong ones easily effect their passage, but the young and the feeble are accompanied by men in a boat, to hold their heads above water, and otherwise prevent them from being drowned. Those which we saw landed had had a stormy voyage of sixteen days between the two islands, and appeared very lean and spiritless, though naturally large and strong animals. Many had died on the passage. The cost of bullocks being about five dollars a head at Madagascar, and the selling price here about forty dollars each, such cargoes often turn out very profitable ventures. July 3. We sailed from the Mauritius the 29th of June, and after an easy, but certainly not a comfortable, passage, arrived at Tamatave, this day. On entering the harbor we saw the remains of a vessel, recently wrecked, lying on the reef. [A few weeks after this, Mr. Bennet, on his return from the interior, to re-embark for the Mauritius, saw on the same reef the wreck of the very vessel (the Meteor) which brought his friend Mr. Tyerman and himself to Madagascar, at the date aforementioned. The crew had been saved.] Immediately on landing, we were met by our missionary friend, Mr. Jones, who came from the capital (Tananarivo) thus far, to escort us thither. We found also a letter from the king, waiting for our arrival, whereby we were welcomed to Madagascar, and invited to present ourselves at his court, as early as might be convenient. We were introduced to quarters in the town, appointed, as marshal Robin (a French gentleman in the service of Radama, and holding the second rank in the state) informed us, by express orders from the king. Directions also had been issued, that the means of travelling into the interior should be provided for us, from stage to stage; a circumstance of great advantage to stran. gers, in a country where there are no roads.