« PreviousContinue »
CH A P.
is Fort Louis, which is well fortified. According to an enumeration, in 1776, the Isle de Bourbon contained 6340 whites, and 26,175 black slaves, chiefly employed in agri- France, culture. The population of the Ise de France then amount
Population. ed to pretty nearly the same numbers of whites and blacks respectively.
273. The productions of these two islands are much the Spices.. fame. But I have great reason to believe, that a very material improvement has, by this time, taken firm root in both. For, during my stay at Paris, in 1787, I was informed that M. Ceré procured from Ceylon, and planted in the Ifle de France, of which he was governor, 3000 cinnamon trees, and 10,416 clove trees, 18 of which last soon advanced in growth; also 18 nutmeg trees, 10 of which have since produced 1088 fine nutmegs, so ripe that the wind shook them down. From these plants, 60 others have been produced, besides 20 which were partly distributed in the Island, and partly sent to the neighbouring Island of Bourbon, and to Cayenne, in S. America. In 1784 there were in the nursery 124 more young plants, of which 20 were ready to be sent abroad. In June 1785, 10 young trees, in the Ifle de France, yielded 800 nutmegs, and 9 others had about 500 far advanced. The same year 24 were sent to Bourbon and 260 were planted in the nursery.-In 1786, the Dutch, in the true spirit of monopoly (see § 112 note) sent a vagabond to the Isle de France, to destroy these plantations, by corrupting the nursery men. But prudence, or rather cunning, is not always combined with villainy. The plot was timely discovered, and doubtless
heads, and 5 shillings for those of monkeys. A friend of mine tells me he once received, in behalf of a black watchman, 15 shillings.cur. for rat's heads.
CHA P. would have drawn a deserved punishment on the fellow
who was charged with it's execution, if he had not made
"_“ Our peo
rithing eltablishments there.
274. “ The French," says the compiler of the Atlas mari. timus et commercialis *,“ have carried the discoveries in Madagascar to the highest perfection, both on the coast and
in the inland parts. The following brief account, by one of Former fiou- their governors, seems the best yet published.”—
ple have had a settlement on this island, ever since 1622,
the former; and have made several attempts to extend, Colony at or to regain, their acquisitions in Madagascar. In 1767, a tempted in
colony was attempted on that island, under M. de Maudave.
* Printed, London 1728.
c H A P.
* But it was soon perceived that this enterprize was founded on false principles; and it was abandoned, from the impossibility of affording the advances of every kind, which M. de Maudave required for the new colonists*." That the enterprize was founded on false principles, is far from being improbable; and, from the minister's own words, just quoted, we may fafely infer that it was given up from false æconomy. We shall make this inference with the more confidence, when we consider the feeble support given by the court of France to their next attempt to make an establishment on Madagascar.
276. The attempt alluded to was made in 1772, under the Benyowsky's conduct of the Count de Benyowfky, a Polish nobleman prize, in 1772 who, whether we consider the vigour and capacity of his mind, or the astonishing variety and danger of his adventures, must certainly be ranked
the most extraordinary characters that any age or nation has produced. My limits will not contain the minute particulars of the expedition, and, if they could, I am not sure that I should insert them; rather wishing to stimulate than to gratify the reader's curiosity, relative to that interesting piece of biography, the Memoirs of the Count de Benyowsky, translated from the Count's own MSS. and from authentic, official documents, chiefly by the editor, the learned and ingenious Mr. Nicholson. 277. I must therefore content myself with stating a few Is not pro
perly fitted principal facts, relative to this extraordinary enterprize. In
* See the letter from the French minister M. de Boynes, to Mell. De Ternay and Maillart, dated March 19, 1773, in " Memoirs and Travels of the Count de Benyowsky,” e vols. 4to. from the text of which, together with the preface of the able editor, and the documents and vouchers annexed, this short sketch is chiefly compiled,
CH A P.
ment and merchants of the Ile de
1772, the Count prevailed on the court of France to enter
the undertaking. Opposed by
278. In September 1773, the Count landed on the Ife of France, there to experience a succession of the most mortifying disappointments. Whether he there betrayed any fymptoms of that ambition which, though it does not appear to have been ill directed, was certainly an ingredient in his character; or whether, as seems far more probable, a vile spirit of intrigue, which, as I myself have experienced, was perfectly characteristic of the former French place. men, tinctured the characters of the governor and intendant, I shall not presume to decide. Neither shall I attempt to appreciate the degree of influence which the evident aversion of the jealous traders of the Isle of France to any establishment at Madagascar, had on the minds of the government of that colony. I shall only mention the simple fact, as established by the proofs before me, that they were, from the beginning, extremely adverse to the views of the Count.
279. After great delay, and a tardiness scarcely distinin Madagar.
guishable from the most insulting opposition, and which, in
Lands at last
able on any supposition favourable to the French ministry, C H A P.
280. Before the 5th of September, the Count had con- Builds fort
281. On the last mentioned day (September 5th 1774) he Distributes began to distribute grounds among his troops, for the com- digs a canal. mencement of a vigorous cultivation, on which he seems all along to have been intent.-From the 14th to the 16th of February 1775, he was again employed in distributing lands of a superior quality; for they naturally produced sugarçanes, cotton, indigo and tobacco.--He had already found means to engage about. 6000 of the native blacks, whom he found both willing and expert labourers, to join the harbour with the neighbouring river, by a canal, above an English mile and a half in length, a work which they actually performed in four days; and, on the oth of March, we find him agreeing with two chiefs, for about the same number of their men, to make a road towards Angontzi, 63. English miles in length.
282. Among his other difficulties, the Count unfortunate. Opposed to ly had to struggle with the hostility of some of the chiefs.
supported by Their jealousy of independence, was originally excited by others.