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APIA. JOHN C. WILLIAMS, Acting Consul.
JANUARY 1, 1862.
I have the honor to forward to you my report upon the commerce of these islands for the year 1861. It is impossible to furnish accurate returns, as there is no custom-house or any account kept of the imports and exports by the authorities, but the returns now enclosed are, however, a near approximation to the real value. The only produce of those islands for export is cocoa-nut oil, which is shipped to Sydney and Valparaiso, although two cargoes were sent to Hamburgh last year. The principal imports from America, though not direct, are tobacco, lumber, and casks.
Statement showing the description and value of merchandise imported into and exported from Apia during the year 1861.
Statement showing the number and tonnage of vessels entered inward and cleared
outward from Apia during the year 1861.
The following communications furnish very interesting statistics of this important island.
BOSTON, December 9, 1862.
Having been resident at Madagascar in July and August, 1861, at which time the death of Queen Ranavalo and the accession of Radama II became known, I have felt it my duty to transmit to your department any information which I may have acquired, since I believe no other citizen of the United States has enjoyed the same facilities.
The island of Madagascar, extending from latitude 12° south to 26° south, and longitude 44° east to 51° east, comprises a territory larger than Great Britain and Ireland, and contains a population estimated at from three to five millions. Situated in the direct course of the commerce of Europe and America with India and the East, abounding in fine harbors and rivers, producing in abundance cotton, rice, tobacco, silks, dyes, dye-woods, cattle, and timber-rich, unquestionably, in mines of iron, copper, and coal-it has, nevertheless, remained for the last thirty years nearly excluded from intercourse with the civilized world. Two small islands to the eastward of it, Mauritius and Bourbon, have, in the hands, respectively, of the English and French, proved immense sources of wealth to these governments, besides giving them the virtual control of the East Indian
Successive attempts by the English and French East India companies during the last century to establish themselves on this island failed chiefly through mismanagement; yet the French still hold one or two harbors, and have within ten years seized the Mayotte islands to the northward.
In 1817 the English government recognized Radama, chief of the Hovas, one of the numerous tribes on the island, as King of Madagascar; and until his death, in 1828, civilization progressed rapidly. The language was reduced by the missionaries to a written form, the Bible was translated, and more than one thousand of the natives received instruction in mechanical knowledge.
At his death the crown was seized by Ranavalo, one of his wives, who ruled supreme as Queen until last year. She expelled the missionaries, suppressed the Christian religion, and attempted to close the ports to all foreign commerce. The neighboring colonies have continued a trade, chiefly for bullocks, and an attack made in 1845 by French and English men-of-war resulted in their being obliged to pay an indemnity to the Hovas.
Having witnessed the deep interest taken by these colonial governments in the opening of the ports as proclaimed by the new King, and not being aware of any attempts to call the attention of your department to it, I have taken the liberty to suggest some advantages which would probably ensue from a prompt recognition of the Hova government.
Whilst England possesses in Port Louis a harbor strongly fortified, and a safe refuge for her vessels in time of war, and France is constantly expending large sums in creating a stronghold at Bourbon, our vessels-of-war are unable to obtain coal or provisions except by the sufferance of these powers. From Liberia to the Cape of Good Hope, and thence to Batavia and Manilla, I believe there are no ports open to us in case of war with the western European powers. In view of our immense commerce and tonnage engaged in these waters, would it not be advantageous to secure numerous convenient harbors in the territories of a friendly sovereign? and still more so, to secure the cession of some port suitable for the construction of a naval station, especially as private enterprize would soon create an important commercial depot under its protection.
I have already stated that the island, as its geographical position would indicate, abounds in the staples of commerce. Rice, tobacco, and sugar, of a kind
resembling our varieties rather than the eastern, are universally raised. Cotton of an admirable quality is everywhere produced, and needs but the stimulus of a demand to be largely cultivated. Indigo, dye-woods, hides, beeswax, and silk, have all been articles of export in former years. A native fibre-the product of the rafia palm-is universally used there in the manufacture of cloth, and, in the opinion of practical manufacturers in this city, it will be an economical substitute for many kinds of cotton cloth.
These points concern, perhaps, the mercantile and manufacturing community more especially than the government. I mention them as additional reasons in
favor of active measures in recognition of the government.
A year since the King despatched his favorite and prime minister, M. Lambert, a Frenchman of wealth and education, as an envoy to the English and French courts; and he has returned with valuable presents, and a full recognition of the new government. Consuls have been appointed by both governments to reside on the island, and attempts are being made to open a direct trade with Europe.
The King has opened the ports, allows unlimited exports, and offers grants of land to every real settler.
As his policy is to civilize his countrymen and to encourage commercial intercourse, should not a great maritime power like our country avail itself of the present favorable opportunity to conclude a permanent treaty?
Aware of the many pressing claims on your time, I do not enter into the details of the points enumerated; though should it prove that I have the good fortune to be able to serve the government by any information in my possession, I shall be most happy to make any explanations which you may desire. I remain, with much respect, your obedient servant,
W. H. WHITMORE.
BOSTON, December 29, 1862.
I beg leave to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 26th, in reply to my communication in regard to Madagascar.
I beg leave to submit, further, the accompanying printed document, received yesterday from Mauritius, being the text of a concession made by King Radama II to Mr. J. Caldwell, of Mauritius, and his associates, granting them valuable privileges. The Mauritius papers received by the last mail state that others, both English and French, have received similar concessions, and that probably no duty will be placed on imports at present.
This Mr. Caldwell is a planter at Mauritius, and accompanied the embassy sent by the governor in October, 1861, to congratulate the King on his accession. The port of Vohémar is one of the four or five at which the bullock trade has been carried on. You will notice, however, that the King's proclamation is directed to his officers at all his principal seaports.
The enumeration of articles of export confirms my opinion of the natural wealth of the island; and the clause conceding grants of land would seem to permit the appropriation of sufficient land on any harbor for coal-yards or warehouses for government purposes. Mr. Caldwell is interpreter to the
I should not have trespassed again so soon on the time of your department had not the opportune arrival of this document confirmed my opinion that active steps were being taken by other governments to obtain a permanent foothold on the island.
Renewing my offer to place any information I may have at the service of the government, and thanking you for your courteous reception of my communication, I remain, with much respect, your obedient servant,
H. Ex. Doc. 63-39
W. H. WHITMORE.
ANTANANARIVO, August 23, 1862.
To his Majesty RADAMA II, King of Madagascar:
I beg your Majesty to allow me and my companions to make establishments for trade and plantations in various parts of your Majesty's dominions.
With your Majesty's permission we will first begin at Amboanio, which the Europeans call Vohémaro.
We will give your Majesty one-tenth of all produce that we export, whether we plant it or trade in it.
Also, if we export timber, bees-wax, gum copal, India-rubber or other gums, we will give your Majesty one-tenth of what we export; but your Majesty will bear no part of the expense of collection or labor, which we shall pay ourselves.
If we work mines of lead, copper, iron, coal, or other mineral, (except gold and silver,) we shall likewise pay your Majesty one-tenth part of all we export, and your Majesty will bear no part of the expense.
I therefore pray your Majesty to be pleased to grant me as much land for plantation and working as we may require, provided that we do not take possession of land already occupied by other persons, whether natives or others. And I also ask your Majesty's permission to hire laborers among your Majesty's subjects, whom we shall pay according to the agreement we may make with them.
I have the honor to be your Majesty's most humble servant,
15th Honor, Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
13th Vtra. Off. P. D., Seceritory.
13th Vtra. Off. P. D., Seceritory. Seen, for attestation of the signature of his Majesty, King Radama II, as well as those of his ministers and officers, Rainilaiarivony, Ra Haniraka, Rasoamiaramanana, and Rainikialavao.
T. C. PAKENHAM,
Consul for Madagascar.
BRITISH CONSULATE, Antananarivo, September 26, 1862.
I do hereby certify that the signature on the other side hereof is the true and bona fide signature of Thomas Conolly Pakenham, esq., her Majesty's consul at Antananarivo, Madagascar.
Given under my hand and seal, at Government House, Port Louis, Mauritius, this fourth day of November, 1862.
ANTANANARIVO, August 23, 1862.
To the honors, officers of the palace, and all officers, at Toamasina, Mahavelona, Vohimasina, Soamianina, Anonibe, Amboanio, Marantsetra, Vohijamakary, Amorontsanga, Mojanga, Antomboka, Mananjara, and Fort Dauphin.
Saith RADAMA II, King of Madagascar:
I mention to you the affair of Mr. J. Caldwell and his companions. He asks me to work at your place, to trade and to plant.
I have listened to what he says. Our agreement is, that on the things he buys to send beyond the sea he pays ten per cent. for me; on everything that he sends beyond the sea of every kind, whether wood, or beeswax, or gum copal, or India-rubber, if he send any such articles, he pays ten per cent. to me. It is his own affair to pay the men who collect such things. I have nothing to pay. If he dig lead, copper, iron, or anything else, he has also to pay me ten per cent. of all he sends beyond the sea. And himself he pays all expenses for the articles, and I have nothing to pay. As to digging gold and silver, we have
not made any agreement.
This is our agreement. When he arrives near you give him all the land he may ask for, whether a large or small quantity, to work. Let him choose the place that he likes, to plant and to work. But do not give the place where other people are planting. If he cut timber, or collect beeswax or other things, or if he is going to dig lead and other things, do not prevent him. Let him do so, but ten per cent. is for me, according to our agreement. Let him also pay such men as wish to work with him in this business; do not prevent the people working with him. Let the people work with him according to the arrangements they may make together.
Take care of the kingdom; do not forget it.
King of Madagascar.
I hereby swear that the above is a true and faithful translation from Malagasy into English of a document in possession of J. Caldwell, esq., the said document legalized and attested by the honorable H. Lemière, esq., Madagascar consul, under date 4th November, 1862.
Sworn in chambers at the court-house, Port Louis, this fourth day of November, in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty two, before me, C. FARQUHAR SHAND, C. J.
I do hereby certify that the above is the true and bona fide signature of Charles Farquhar Shand, esq., chief justice of this colony.
Given under my hand and seal, at Government House, Mauritius, this fourth day of November, 1862.