A SKETCH OF
had taught, without associating with it any religious instruction; and partly to a fear of becoming dependent on the British government, of whose enroachments in India, Ceylon, and South Africa she had received very highly colored accounts. The government had indeed always manifested extreme jealousy of foreigners residing in the island, and a fear of all foreign intercourse with the country.
Deprived of much of their means of usefulness among the people, the missionaries directed all their energies to the completion of the holy Scriptures. Assisted by native youths, they also completed a Dictionary of the English and Malagasy languages, to which a second part of Malagasy and English was added. But as the spirit of the government naturally became more and more hostile, the missionaries were compelled gradually to withdraw, until finally the last of their number left the capital, with deep regret, in the month of July, 1836, eighteen years after their first arrival in the country.
Fresh idols were now continually brought to the capital; new altars were erected in several places; tombs, altars, and other objects of superstitious veneration, that had been lying in ruins, were repaired; new ceremonies were appointed, and offerings more frequently presented. In all these attempts to restore the influence of idolatry, the Queen seemed to take the lead, being at times occupied for several days together in the observance of idolatrous ceremonies, and inaccessible to any excepting those who were engaged in the service of the idols.
In the early part of 1837, great scarcity prevailed in many parts of the country, and multitudes, it was feared, died from want. The sufferings of the people induced no relaxation of the oppression and severity of the government. Between the departure of the last of the missionaries in 1836, and the month of March, 1837, nine hundred criminals, charged with various offences, were put to death, having been declared guilty by the tangena; fifty-six were burnt to death, and sixty killed by spearing and other means, making a fearful total of 1,016 executions in the short space of eight months. That the country under these circumstances should prosper, was impossible; and it is not surprising that agriculture was neglected, and that multitudes driven by despair had recourse to violence and plunder; universal anarchy and complete desolation was only prevented by the military forces of the government.
In the year 1836, the Queen determined on sending an embassy to England and France. It is probable that reverses