This item is only available as the following downloads:
This volume was donated to LLMC
to enrich its on-line offerings and
for purposes of long-term preservation by
- . ... .. .
ABRIDGED FROM THE HISTORY OF BRYAN
CONTINUED TO THE PRESENT TIME.
ILLUSTRATED WITH A MAP.
PRINTED FOIL T. BROWN, AND W. LAINGS
By J. Pillans V9 Sons.
ii | j. ,I
rk-HE improvement of the human mind adds to
I. its natural vigour. Science improved the
mind of the juftly-famed Columbus; and he boldly
-ventured out of the common track, and fet fail in
hopes of reaching a new continent,
The iflands which form the frontier of the Weit-
ern world were only discovered in the days of Co-
lumbus; but his efforts, however, paved the way to
the full discovery of the American continent. This
part, of the globe is usually divided into North and
South America. The Weft Indies include all that
lhifter of islands which reach in a curve dire~fion
from the Florida thore to the gulf of Maracaybo.
Some, by a more minute division, denominate thefe
the Windward and the Leeward islands.
In refpeCt of climate, there is little variety, unlefe
that which is produced by local elevation. In the
Vponth of May, the vernal vigour firft appears: then
the thirty plains caft off their wintery covering, and
Sfame a lively green.
When the funr beams in aU its strength at noon,
gdptle showers defend, which produce a rapid
growth. During the face of two weeks, thefe frue,
tifying.Aowers continue, and, with a rapidly un-
( ii )
-nown in the colder -climes, raife the fummer to its
Until the land-breeze arifes, the heat is very in-
tenfe during the mornings; but afterwards, the cli-
mate becomes tolerable. From the ift of July to
the middle of Auguft, there is little change of the
feafon: After that, the refrefhing breeze departs,
and tremendous hurricanes fucceed.
In the months of November or December, a norlh
wind begins to blow ; and winter reigns until the
return of March. The climate, however, in the
Weft Indies, is very variable, from the extent, the'
cultivation, and the local situation.
Some writers have affected, that thefe iflands were
formerly noxious and unpleafant, but the account of
Columbus given to his prince, Ferdinand, fully re-
futes thefe ignorant affertions. Speaking of the ri-
vei connected with the harbour Porto Santo, he
fays, The banks of this river are embellifhed with
Slofty palm-trees, whofe fhade gives a delicious
" freihnefs to the air; and the birds and the flowers
" are uncommon and beautiful. I was fo delighted
" with the feene, that I had almoft come to the re-
" solution of staying here the remainder of my days;
" for, believe me, Sire, thefe countries far furpafs
" the reft of the world in pleafure and conveniency;
" and I have frequently obferved to my people, that,
" with all my endeavours to convey to your Majefty
" an adequate idea of the charming obje&s which
" continually prefent themselves to our view, the de-
" feription will fall greatly fhort of the reality."
The woody groves are greatly superior to any that
tre feen on thii fide the Atlantic. tor can our fo-
refts equal theirs. What-eaftern foreft ever prodiu.
ced a tree similar to the wild cotton-tree, which,
hollowed into a canoe, is qualified to carry an hun-
dred perfonrs I
It wilt, however, be admitted, that the woods are
greatly inferior in- refpe&e of harmony. A few of
the tropical birds have the talent of a plaintive mu-
fic; but, at the fame time, the general concert of
the woods cannot be compared with that of Europe.
More fublime objefs, however, attraC the atten-
tionr, than any that have yet been mentioned. In
thefe regions, the mountains tower fo high, that their
fummits remain untrodden by the foot of manr
while they are covered with perpetual fnow. The
fpefator may afcend fo high as to look down upon
the clouds rolling below him, and alfo hear the con-
teft of tempefts under him, and the terrible thundtp
reverberating in countlefs echoes from- mountain to
To give the reader a more intelligent view of the
Rate of the prefent natives of St Domingo, it may
be needful to percent him- with the following narra-
It was about the year 144Z that the firft Africai
flaves were dragged from their native foil. A Por-
tuguefe feized upon two Moors, and conveyed them
-to Portugal; but Prince Henry humanely ordered
him to take them back to Africa. Instead, how.
ever, of obeying the orders of his Prince, he fold
them at the Rio del Ora, and, in exchange, received
fome gold duft and ten black. This incidental ooe
A z currency
corrence rpufed Avarice to commence a fettled -traf
fic upon an extensive fcale.
When the Spaniards fucceeded in their queft qf
gold mines in the iflands discovered by them, it was
foon found, that the native Indians were too deli-
cate in their conflitution, and too feeble in their
mental powers, to anfwer the purpose of working
their mines; therefore, flaves were tranfported from
I Africa to fupply that defe&. .Accordingly, history
records, that negroes wrought the mines of Hifpa-,
niola even in the year 1502.
/ An avaricious villain, in the service of Elizabeth,
informed that flaves were a valuable commodity in
.Hifpaniola, failed to Africa with three (hips, and, by
S the moft unwarrantable means, feized 300oo flavrey
C" .I 4 and fold them to great advantage in Hifpaniela.
Stimulated by his former fuccefs, he fet out on a
similar voyage the year following, with fix fhipsi
In a third attempt of the fame nature, he and all his
crew were buried in the deep.
In extenuation for the condu& of carrying on the
lave-trade, it hath been strongly afferted, that there
are multitudes of the unhappy Africans belonging
to different tribes, who are actually born in a fate
of flavery, and are the property of their owners, who
sear them either for fate or labour. Others were ta-
ken prifoners who are either flain or fold; and, if
no opportunity is offered to fell) death is the imme-
diate confequence. Some have even informed u4,
that the flaves who have not been purchased by Eu,
ropeans have b*en alually flain in their prefenct.
,It is farther mentioned, that fuch is the wretched
tate of the poor Africans at home, that the worft
situation in which they are found in the iflands be.
longing to the Europeans, is greatly superior to that
in which they were in their own native country.
Upon this fide of the question, it hath farther
been argued, ", By what means have the greater part
of the poffeffors of flaves in the Weft Indies come
"9 into their eftates ? By inheritance, and by acci-
0 dent. It may be faid, that they should abandon
their property, when they find that the potfeffion
of it is not to be justified by humanity. This has
"in faft been done. Humane men in Britain, in.
Sfluenced by the univerfal fympathy for the real or
fuppofed injuries of the African negro, fent out
"orders to the favors of their Weft-India poffef.
fions to enfranchife the flaves upon their effates.
"They have, however, been fince convinced, that
Such well-meant benevolence is not even confifb.
ent with the inteteft- of the flaves themselves."
The fame author adds, "The fociety eftablifhed in
SGreat Britain, for propagating the gofpel in fo&
reign parts, are alfo polfl'ors of eftates in the
Weft Indies, as a colle&ive body. The feelings
"of thefe men were as fenfibly alive to the fufferings
of their fellow-creatures as any other Chriftians;
"and, if. they had considered it as the real benefit
"of the negro to be immediately emancipated, they
"would, dbubtlefs, have thought it their moft fa-
- cred duty to have done fo. But, upon ferious and
u mature deliberation, their judgment convinced
a them to the contrary ; aid -they have been obliged,
a in order to divide the work, to purchafe others,,
t And. keep them in the fame situation."
( vi )
< But, after all, it muft be admitted, that the hu.a
mane mind is strongly grieved to refle& upon the
immenfe number, of about 450,000, of the children-
of Adam enflaved by their brethren in the Weft In-
dies. How natural for human depravity, when once
a crime hath been committed, to exert its ingenuity
in the invention of arguments, either to extenuate or
Nor let the reader fuppofe that it is intended to
decide upon the merits of the difficult question,
", What now ought to be done to remedy the exift~
ence of an univerfally acknowledged evil ?" for, to
discover the fpecific means to cure and to eradicate
fuch an extenfive and complicated evil, evidently ap-
pears beyond the reach of human prudence or fore.
fight. The moft that can be done is, to begin the
benevolent work of melioration and emancipation,
and, guided by experience and acquiring wisdom,
to haften to maturity, if it can be reached. But it
ferioufly merits the confederation, both of the free
and of the enflaved, whether or not, by ufing too
much hafte, or employing improper, means, the evil
complained of may not rather be increased than di-
minifhed or removed.
Thefe preliminary obfervations appeared proper
to pave the way'to the. abridged history of St Do-
mingo; which, both frpm its extent and prefeat
commotion, is become an obje& to which the eyes
of all Europe are now turned, to fee what will be
the termination of the prefent conteft between the
natives and the French.
ST DOING 0.
&Mtation, twent, and local deftr n.-S.uality of the
&il.-Prodce.-Spaniards the jirft European Lwh
fettled i 8t Domingo.-A-Emigrated to Mexico whoA
the GedMines dimiud.-BandofEngvFtenck
and Dutch, fettle in the ahado ed count.-Do-Dm-
J& Animals become wild;--fford them Food.-
Ca#fes of their Union; -are attacked by the Spa.
rdards ;-difplay uncommon wvaur in their onu do.
IN north latitude 180 2o', and in fouth longitude
680 40', lies the island of St. Domingo. It is
near 140 miles in breadth, and 390 in length.
In this exteifive island, np fmall degree of variety
obtains, both in refpe6& of climate and of foil. The
general face of the country is mountainous, particu-
larly in the centre, and towards the eaft coaft. The
mountains, similar to thofe in other parts of the Weft
Indies elevate their tops to an extenfive height. Ao-
H HISTORY or Sr DOMINGO.
cefible and rich glens are alfo fituated between thefe
mountains, which form an agreeable variety to their
The foil is different in different places, but gene.
Tally fufceptible of great improvement, and natural-
ly qualified, under the kind hand of cultivation, to
produce every fpecies of vegetables. Accordingly,
that ifland produces fugar, coffee, cacao, ginger, and
all thofe other tropical productions which ftore the
European market, and enrich the Weft Indian
The Spaniards were the firft Europeans who crof-
fed the Atlantic, and fixed their habitation in this
ifiand. It is computed that about one million of
innocent natives were destroyed by that cruel and
avaricious race. The report of the existence of gpld
and filver mines in the newly-explored regions, rou-
-fed the infatiable avarice of4 that nation; and multi-
tudes of all ranks commenced adventurers to the
-weft. But their chief obje&: being to empty the
-bowels of the earth of her gold, no fooner had the
golden foil in St Domingo begun to be diminished,
than they emigrated in, vaft numbers to Mexico, to
Thare in her treaffires. Scarcely, therefore, had a
century elapfd' from their taking poffeffibn, when it
was almost deflated, and only a few of the more
ihduftrious remained, to cultivate the ground for
their own fubfiftence.
This fertile and, beautiful' country being almost
defolated, Spanifli cruelty provided for its repopula-
tion, by conftraining a company of Englifh and
stench planters to fly from St Chriftopher's. After
A' 0 during
HISTORY oF ST DOMINGO. ,
enduring merehardfhips than language can deferibe,
they efcaped in open boats, and found refuge in the
uninhabited ifland of Tortuga. This island lies with-
in a few miles of the north coafl of St Domingq.
About the fame period, Providtnee over-ruled the
cruelty of the Spaniards to augment this affociatioq.
A number of Dutch refugees fled from Santa Crua,
and joined their fellow-fufeiers.
Tortuga became the common abode of thefe three
exiledd tribes; and similar. calamkties induced them,
to coalefce, until they formed the origin of what is
now denominated the French part of St Domingo.
The domestic animals which were left by the Spa.
niards to roam in the plains of St Domingo became
the food and. support of the refugees, who went there.
merely for the purpofe of hunting, and retreated to
Tortuga as their common dwelling. Besides the oc.
pauisyl of hunting, they began to cultivate the-
ground; and the neceffaries of life were suddenly
fupplied. By this means poverty was avoided; they-
enjoyed equal freedom; were deemed upon one le-
vel in refpe&k of rank; and the obfcurity of their
situation gave them time to acquire considerable
strength and numbers. But the perfecuting fpirit
which had driven them into one common dwelling
foon attacked them there. The Spaniards, under no
better pretence than that they occupied a part of the
globe which they deemed their exclufive property,
attacked them with all the violence of united avarice,
cruelty, and revenge. Neceffity, which often com-
pels to unknown exertions, conft.rained, thefe into-
cent and haraffed men to turn -upon their perfecu-
'1o .fISTORY or S r DOMINGO.
tors; and, in the contest, not only proved the moft
formidable foes of the Spaniards, but performed very
singular a&s of heroic valour. What might not be
expe&ed from the combined influence of all'the paf-
-ions of the human mind) routed to the highest vi-
gour ? Of the advancing strength of this mixed co-
-ony, from its original landing in Tortuga, and their
spreading through part of the island of St Domingo,
until their reception under French prote&ion, an ac.
S count is given jn the history of that ifland, by PerC
IHTSTORY oF Sr DOMINGO.
Political divisions of the Ifland.-Local description of the
Spani/h part of St Domingo.-The Ea l.fide negle-..
ed and uncultivated.-Southfide unimproved until one
reaches the Capital.-Defcription of the Capital.-
Roads which ifue forth from St Domingo through
the country.-Country eafq of the Capital pleafant and
fertile.--Spanj/h territory terminates on the fourth at
a Petris.--Boundary Line runs in a curved direlion
across the Country to the river Maffacre.-North
toafo unimproved ; bat the inland cultivated and un-
commonly fertile.-Population of this divifion.-- Local
deftription of the French divjifon.-Conftlis of three
departments.-Eafl fide similarr to the Spanijh.--
Southern divifwn varfied with numerous Capes.-.
1%o good Harbours..- Country agreeable and produc-
4ive.-Wefern div/fion includes the chief Towns.-.
Port au Prince defcribed.-Land fruitful in the vi.
cinity.-Northern divifyon defcribed.- Cape Frangois
defcribed.--Rich Lands in the neighbourhood.-Cape
St Nicholas described. -Population of the Frenc dat-
Vifon.- General JIate of the produce.
THE general and political divisions of St Do-
mingo are two; the Spanifh and the French
departments. Of the origin and population of both
thefe, the reader hath already heard. As the mind
will be the better qualified to form an adequate idea
t -HISTORY or ST DOMINGO.
%;f tfl fcenes afterwards described, by being made
previouslyy acquainted with the fate of each depart.
ment, the local description of each next claims atten-
Recorded information is canty with refpe& to
the property which remained in the pofleffion of the
few Spaniards who did not chufe to accompany their
avaricious brethren to Mexico. Upon the western
boundary of their property, towards the noith-eaft
point, is fituated Vieux Cape Frangois. Upon the
eaft fide are alfo found the bay Ecoffolfe, Port Go-
fier, Cape Cabron, Cape Samand, Cape Raphael,
and Cape del Enganno. The country, in this direc-
tion, exhibits nothing to the eye of the beholder but
a mournful fcene of natural barrennefs. This ne-
gle&ed foil is, however, capable of considerable im-
At the fouth-eaft point, the river de Higuey, rufth-
ing from the mountains in the vicinity of the city
Zeibo, difembogues itself into the ocean. The mall
Wile Saoana, which is feparated from St Domingo by
a paffage navigable by fmall veffels, is the firft ob-
je& upon the fouth, proceeding from the fouth-eaft
point; and, during the remaining part of the fourth
coaft, the eye meets with nothing but uninhabited
and uncultivated regions, where the rivers de la Ro6.
maine, Cucumaja, Macoris, and Yuca, empty their
watery treasures into the ocean, which they had col-
leked among the mountains. During this courfe,
the general face of the country, the nature of the
foil, and the fate of cultivation, are similar to that
of the weft fide.
HISTORY OF ST DOMINGO. 13
Almoft about the centre of this fide of that part
which belongs to Spain, is fituated St Domingo, the
capital from whence the ifland receives its name.
This city lands upon the bank of the large river
Ozama, which, by a multitude of tributary ftreams
originating from the mountains, increase to fuch a
magnitude as to be navigable, even fo far up the
country as the town of St Laurent.
Bartholomew Columbus founded this city in the
year 1498. It owed its name to St Dominick, who
flourished about this period.
The situation of the town is commodious. The
river wafhes its fide, and forms an extenfive and
commodious harbour. The fortrefs and caftle rife
in the midft of the town, and form a grand obje&
among the leffer buildings. There is alfo a cathe-
dral-church, and three monafteries, all built of
ftone, and elegantly finished. To there public build-
ings is added, an hospital for the reception of the
aged and infirm.
There are three great roads which iffue forth from
the capital, one taking an eafterly, and another a
wefterly direkion along the fea-coaft. The third
moves up the country, in a curved direfion, towards
the north-weft, and, after visiting St Thome, Ba-
nica, Malaye, and Soufriere, it terminates at the
town of Cape Francois.
The remaining part of the fouth Spanith coaft, on
the weft of St Domingo, is diversified with different
capes and points. Here are found Cape Jkremi,
where the river De Niaza runs into the ocean. Here
alfo the traveller meets with Pointe de la Palonquin,
14 HISTORY OF ST DOMINGO.
Pointe de Niazo, the Baye de Sainte Catherine, and
federal others. But the moft remarkable are, the
great and the fmall Capes of Mongen, where a ridge
of mountains penetrates a considerable way into the
Upon the eaft of the town of St Domingo, the
traveller arrives 'at a more agreeable fcene. Then a
great extent of level country, called the Plains, fuc-
ceeds to the unpleafant view on the weft fide.
Thefe plains are copioufly supplied with water, fo
that the ground may be artificially watered in time
of drought, and therefore are qualified to yield crops
in great abundance.
On the fouth, the Spanifh territory terminates at
the ifmall river a Pitres. This point is parallel to the
.one on the north, where the Spanifh department ter-
xninates ; but, instead of the boundary taking this di-
refion, it moves in a curved line, paffing by the fkirts
of the lofty mountains in the neighbourhood of Port
au Prince, and through the plains on the fouth of the
town Hincha. Having paffed through thefe plains,
leaving the greater part of them in poffeflion of the
Spaniards, the boundary-line encircles two large
mountains; and then, by a line almost north-eaft,
-it haftens to unite with the river Maffacre, which
forms the line of diviflion upon the north.
In confequence of the vaft extent of country
through which this line paffes, the fcene is very va-
riable. At one time, the majestic mountains, in all
the gloom of terror, feem fufpended over the head of
the traveller'; and, ere he is aware, he is agreeably
furprifed with plains flourishing in all the rich luxu-
HISTORY OF ST DOMINGO. 13
-zlence of vegetation. And when his fancy has been
delighted and amufed with this agreeable fcene, the
terrible mountains again appear, and become his
companions during the reft of the journey, until the
river Maffacre, which terminates his course, presents
itfelf to view..
On the north fide, the Spaniih coaft i3 diversified
by the appearance of la Grange, Pointe de la Petite,
Salines, Pointe de la Roche, Pointe Ifabelique, Port
Cavaille, and Pointe du Cas Rouge. Next appears
the town of Port Plate; and afterwards, St Yago,
Pointe de Mafcoury, Baye de Baume, Cape de la
Roche, diverfify the fcene, until you arrive at the
The numerous mountains and hills which fkirt the
,coaft give the view of melancholy grandeur, mingled
with barrennefs, to the border ~ but the inland is fu.
perior to any part of St Domingo. In a line of fif.
ty miles, the river Yuna, interfe6ts the noble and
fruitful valley of Vega Real, and runs into the bay
of Samana, on the eaft coaft. It is almost incredible
what this valley is capable of producing, under pro-
per cultivation. The.river St Yago, which rifes, by
means of many ftreams, from the mountains of Ci-
bao, runs through the middle of the weftern part of
this division, and adds greatly both to the beauty and
fertility of the adjacent country.
The inhabitants of this political division were, in
the year 1717, computed at about 18,410, but have
greatly diminished in numbers fince that period.
The fcanty population adds much to the natural
sudenefs of the country.
x6 HISTORY or Sr DOMINGO.
The second political division of St Domingo be.,
longs to the French, and lies weft of the Spanifh.
This part is fubdivided into three departments, call-.
cd the Southern, the Weftern, and the Northern.
Where the line of division interfeCts the country,
the general furface, and foil, and cultivation, are fi-
mnilar to thofe already mentioned, as belonging to
the Spanifh division. The fmall towns of Pilate,
Plaifance, Le Petit Fond, Le Tapion, Montrouij and
Arcalia, are fituated in this direaion.
The Southern divifiou is about fixty leagues in
length, from a Pitres to Cape Tiburon, on the fouth-
weft extremity. The places which give variety to
the fcene in this direfion are too numerous to be
mentioned. Although the roads and harbours are
many, yet thefe are in general dangerous. The
principal towns along this coat are Jaquemel, and
Aux Cayes. At the latter there is an harbour, but
fo incommodious, that the shipping that frequents it
is conftrained to take shelter in the Baye des Fla..
mand in the hurricane.feafon. The face of the
country is agreeable, and the land produaive, and
in fome places well cultivated.
The Weftern division includes a line about an
hundred leagues. There are federal refpe&able
towns in this quarter. Here stands, upon the eaft
fide, the town of Port au Prince, once deemed the
metropolis of the colony. Here there is an harbour,
well fitted for the accommodation of thips; but the
situation being low and marfhy, it is very unwhole.-
fome, although surrounded with lowering hills.
The exterfive and uncommonly fertile plain of
HISTOR-Y or ST DOMINGO.
Cul-de-Sac,. %bout nine miles in breadth and thii
in length, lies on the eaft-of this town. Here the
fugar.plantations vie with each othe .in beauty and
fertility; and, by fmall canals, the attacks of fum-
mer's drought are repelled. Nor do the neighbour-
ing mountains refu e to. yield their tribute,of coffee,
when the hand of cultivation demands the fame.
St Marc's, Leogane, Petit Goave, and Jeremiei
are towns which are fituated in this diftri&, and
with which the reader will become acquainted du.
ring the courfe of the history. The villages are alfo
numerous; fo that this conftitutes the moft popu.-
lous part in the ifland.
The Northern division of the French part of St
Domingo is'about forty-leagues of a fea-coaft, reach-
ing from the river Mafflacre, the line of division on
the eaft,. unto Cape St Nicholas, on the north-weff
extremity. The capes, and points, and harbours,
and towns, and villages fituated upon this coaft, are
very numerous ; but the principal of them are, Port
Dauphin, Cape Francois, I'ort Paix, and Cape St
During the war, Cape Francois was the residence
of the French government ; and, for elegance and
order, it occupies the second rank in European ar.
chitefure. Besides the commodious and elegant
houfes which form the body of the town, it is adorn-
ed.with a church and a college belonging to the Je.
fuits, where the colonial and provincial meetings
were held. Nor are thefe the only public buildings;
a barrack, an arfenal, a theatre, a prison, and two
hospitals, add to the beauty and utility of the town.
B 3 The
i8 HISTORY or ST DOMINGO.
The situation of this town is by no tteans agree-
able. Situated at the foot of an high mountain, it
is sheltered from the falubrious effe&s of the inland
breeze; and the rays of the fun are alfo reverbera.
ted upon the town. Towards the eaft lies a tra&k
of land twelve miles broad, and fifty long, which
perhaps produces more riches than any tra& of the
fame extent in the known world. From this fertile
neighbourhood, and from the convenience of its har.
bour, this city advanced to great opulence; but it is
Sfflifing to add, that the next time the reader will
behold this city making its appearance in the follow- '
ing pages, he will behold it flaming in every quar.
ter, and thefe flames continuing their violence, until
the whole is reduced to afhes.
Nor ought Cape St Nicholas to pafs undefcribed.
The natural and acquired advantages of this poft are
many. The extent and fafety of the harbour is un-
equalled in that quarter of the globe. The port is
free, therefore frequented by the American hips.
The fortifications upon the coaft are efteemed the
ftrongeft ip the Weft Indies. Numerous hills over-
top the harbour from the land ; and therefore, not
only would an invading army have to encounter dif-
ficulties in feizing the port, but it would be impof-
fible to retain poffeflion, although acquired, unlefs
the pofterior country were alfo fubdued. If the re-
mark might be hazarded, had human wifdom not
failed on the occxfion, this port would have obtained
the superiority to Cape Frangois, or any other place
in the colony ; but the refpe& of places, similar to
that of talents, feems to be fortuitous.
HISTORY OF ST DOMINGO. 19
The population and the cultivation of a country
will always bear 'an exa& proportion to each other.
The population of the French division of St Domin-
go, according to the calculation of Bryan Edwards
at the time he wrote, was 30,821 white people, and
42 negroes in a fate of flavery. Upon a mo-
ments refle&ion, we will therefore discover, that
the superior number of the natives, independent of
any foreign aid, is no lefs a number than 403,608 !
If the merchant is about to complain that his de-
partment is negle&ed, he fhall be informed, that of
the different kinds of fugar, there are 0o8z planta-
tions; qifcoffee, 3137 ; of cotton, 4957; of indi-
go, 2158: and of lefs valuable eftablifhments, as
provifion-polinks, cacao-groves, tan-pits, potteries,
brick-kilns, &c. the number is about 677.
*so HISTORY or ST I OMINGO..
Djferent orders of inhabitants in St Domingo.-An-
cient fate of the Government of the Country before the 4
Revolution ;-arbitrary and oppreffive. -Governor
arreo/s the Judges, and fends them to the Baflile.-
Military force ;-origin and extent thereof.-Mife-
rable fate of the Mulattoes.- Code Noir publijhed.-
Profperous late of St Domingo at the Revolution in
France.-Caufes of a Revolution in France.-MAeet-
ing of the National Affembly.-Charaaer of the Go-
vernor of St Domingo at that period.-Provincial
Meetings held in opposition to his orders.-Send eigh-
teen Deputies, only fix of whom obtain obtain Seats in
the National Afembly.--The general clamour in Pa-
ris againfl the Planters.-Society Amis des Noirs ;-
their views.-Comparative fate of France and Eng.-
land. -National Affembly decree the Meeting of a
Colonial Affembly in St Domingo.-Inhabitants had
anticipated the fame.-Mild nature of their pro.
ceedings.-Violence againfR the Whites who favour.
ed the Mulattoes.-A Magi/frate mafacred.-- Con.
fequence.s of the Edit of the National Afembly.-.
Colonial Decree -The example of America Jlrong
upon the conduct of the Inhabitants of St Domingo.
A DISTINCT view of the geography of a counr.
try is neceffary to the intelligent underftand-rd
ing of its history. With this object in view, the reader
bath been presented with a local description of that
HISTORY OPFST DOMINGO.
island, the hiftory of which is now the fubjea o
Next to the nature of the place is the quality of
the perfons who dwell there. Similar to the Qther,
Indian settlement, three different claffes of men com-
pofe the inhabitants of St Domingo ; the whites,
who have emigrated from Europe ; the blacks, who
have been brought from Africa; and the mulattoes,'
who have been produced in the ifland, from the in.
tercourfe between the whites and the blacks.
Before the year 1789, the judicial authority was
in the hands of an intendant and governor-general,
both chofen by the crown ; and the term of theit
power was triennial. Their power was partly uni-
ted, and partly diftin6. When their powers were
combined, they were arbitrary and extensive. They
iffued forth laws, fupplied the vacancies in the pub-.
lic stations, difpenfed the crown-lands, and determi-
ned every question in police and finance. In thofe
arbitrary days, the only security of the people arofe
from the contentions of the judges among them.
felves ; but, even in thefe instances, the power of
the governor generally preponderated.
There were alfo inferior courts fRationed in differ.
ent parts of the colony; and in the town of Cape
Frangois and in that of Port au Prince were two fu.
preme courts, before whom appeals were brought.
from the inferior. But all the members of this court
were under the influence of the governor: thus he
was, in fa&, absolute in his power. Of this the fol.
lowing anecdote is full proof. The prince de Ro-
2 HISTORY oF ST DOMINGO.
han, when governor, arrested all the judges on their
feats, during the exercise of their judicial authority,
dragged them on board a fhip, put- them in irons,
haftened them to Paris, and for a considerable time-
confined them in the baftile, without bringing them
to trial. It is eafy to perceive, that corruption and
vice muft be the attendants of fuch undue influence.
It was fortunate, however, that an appeal was ad-
mitted to the King ; and, in general, justice was ob-
tained froin him.
Each of the fifty-two parishes raised one or more
companies to ferve as militia. The amount of the
King's troops was between zooo and 3000.
In this situation, the colony depended for its feli-..
city chiefly upon the difpofitions and virtue of one
man. The general progress of civilization had,
however, in a very considerable degree diminished
that deference paid to high birth and elevated con.-
neaions. Induftry and the fruits of commerce had
exalted the commons to fuch a degree of wealth,
that the nobles were confirained to often their an-
tient method of defpifing. But the situation of the
-mulattoes was wretched beyond description. The
negro who was the property of a master, was fup-
ported and defended by him; but the mulattoes
were reckoned the property of the public,,and there.
fore they endured every fpecies of injury, without
commiferation or redrefs. When they arrived at
maturity, they were conftrained to ferve three years'
in the army ; and afterwards, during a great part of
the year, they wrought upon the highways in a fate
HISTORY or ST DOMINGO. 23
Nor was this all. The mental powers were chain-
ed, as well as the body enflaved. 'The mulatto was
debarred from the poffeffion of any public office, or
even any private station, which required a liberal
education, and conferred refpela.. No mulatto was
permitted to become a priest, a lawyer, a physician,
a furgeon, an apothecary, or fchoolmafter. ) Such
was the contempt of African blood, through the pre-
judices of that colony.
Nay, even the pracice of the law united with the
popular odium, to render this clafs completely un-
happy. A mulatto feldom obtained justice, when
.he complained of a white; whereas the latter never
failed to gain immediate redrefs. There were only
two circumstances favourable to the mulattoes ; the
one, that the manners of the people sometimes mo-
dified the rigour of the laws; and the other, that
they were allowed to hold property to any amount.
By wealth, therefore, they could sometimes bribe
the venal judges, and meliorate their situation.
In the reign of Louis XIV. a royal edil wa5 paf-
fed in favour of the negroes, known by the name of
the Code Noir, full of humanity,,and honourable to
that monarch. But in every country of flavery,
where fear is tlie ruling principle, every attempt is
vain to regulate the rights of one clafs of men in op-
pofition to another.
It hath been difputed, whether the situation of the
laves in St Domingo is better or worfe than in the
other iflands ? The fa& appears to be, that the fi.
station of all is very similar i and.if any diftindlion
HISTORY or ST DOMINGO.
can be made, it is this, that the Englifh flames are
better fed, and the French better cloathed. It mufti
however, be acknowledged, that the situation of all
ranks in St Domingo was much better than the phi-
lofopher might deduce, from the form of govern-
ment already mentioned. The general figns of pro-
fperity abounded; the towns were splendid and opu-
lent, their markets ftored, their commerce flourith-
ing, and their cultivation rapidly increasing, when
the eventful year 1789 introduced a fet of new prin-
ciples, and feelings, and a&ions, throughout the vaft
dominions of France.
Then the eyes of the public began to perceive the
neceffity of new arrangements, and the removal of
To trace thofe effe&s to their proper caufes, to
unfold the atrocious purposes of pretended philan-
thropy, political frenzy, and difappoirdted ambition;
and to describe the extensive and lamentable ruin
that followed, and thereby to afford an important
leffon to the nation, is the work to which the pen
The mild treatment of fabje&s permits the fate
to glide in a fmoother ftream; but when corrup-
tion, or injuftice, or oppreflion, have long continued
tQ exert their baneful influence, the hidden powers
of human nature at length awake, and difplay un-
common vigour in feeking redrefs or relief. By this
progrefs in human nature, long oppreflion, and its,
conne&ed evils, paved the way for a revolution in
the government of France.
-HISTORY or ST DOMINGO. 25
Former mifakes began to convince the public
mind in France, that a political reformation was ne-
ceffary. This commenced. with the calling of the
flates-general of the- kingdom, and refolving upon a
more ample representation of the different orders of
the community. No foonet had the reforming fpirit
begun to move.in the parent-country, than it quick.
ly-circulated through all the dependencies. Nor was
the consequences long in reaching St Domingo.
M. Duchilleau was then governor in St Domin.
go; and as he was reckoned favourable to the fights
of the people, he was permitted to remain in the go-
vernment for fome time.
The reign of hypocrify is, however, of thort du-
ration. Afions foon follow upon internal fenti-
ments, when once thefe have taken poffeflion of the
mixL The condua, therefore, of that man foon
unfolded the difpofitions of his heart.
When his favourite plan was too much intruded
upon, he attempted to oppofe the wii of the people,
by prohibiting the provincial and colonial meetings.
But his difrmulation met its due reward; for they
poured contempt upon his authority, and held their
meetings in opposition to his mandate.
In thefe meetings, the reafonings were advanced
with manly freedom ; and a tone of language very
uncommon in the French dominions was adopted.
After mature deliberation, they chofe eighteen depu-
ties to represent them in the National Affembly.
Thefe deputies arrived in France not long after the
commencement of the Affembly; but, however par-
16 HISTORY oF ST DOMINGO.
tial they were to liberty and ample reprefentatlon, it
was with fome difficulty that the third part of thefe
deputies obtained their feats in the National Affem-
The elevated tone of the public mind refpe&ing
freedom routed the popular indignatiop against the
VWeft Indian planters, which their own extravagant
mode of living in the mother-country tended greatly
Previous to this period, considerable agitation had
been raised both in France and England concerning
.the situation of the African flaves. A society was
formed in London, whofe profeffed obje& was, to
induce government to prohibit the farther importa-
tion of flaves intothe Britiih dominions. A fociety
was alfo formed in Paris, .called Amis des Noirs, or
the Friends of "the .Blacks. It: is but justice to ad-
mit, that the moving principles of both focieties ap.
pears to have been, the honour of human nature,
and the general happinefs of :mankind; but thefe
two focieties moved in oppofite direcions: Nay,
both feem to have drunk a little of the general fpirit
of their refpe&ive nations. The fate of England
at this period was more cool, 'rational, and fedate ;
therefore, the friends of the blacks refiding there on-
ly fought to prevent the future enflaving of their
brethren. The fate of France was troubled, ferment-
-ed, and violent; therefore their friends there would
be fatisfied with nothing lefs than the univerfal and
immediate liberation of all who were in a fate of
HISTORY oF ST DOMINGO.
The nature of their feelings produced correfpons
dent language and aions. Therefore; the vehe4
ment harangues of. the members of that affociation
inflamed the popular indignation to fuch an height;
that the fafety of a planter in the ftreets of'Paris was
extremely dubious. At this period alfo, there was
a great number of natives from St Domingo, who,
from federal cafes, had emigrated to the mother,
country ; fome, to fee the manners and improve&
ments of Europe; others, to obtain education, or to
fuperintend the education of their children ; and
fome having acquired fortunes, retired there to live
inii flendour. All thefe formed an alliance with
the fociety Amrsis des 4Noir, and alfo conveyed to
their brethren at home the general fentiments of the
nation concerning their condition.
As might naturally be expe&ed, the whites who
had pofleffions- in St- Domingo, .from whence they
derived their opulence, foon began to' looAupon that
society as aiming a fatal blow at all their power and
influence over their flaves. In this fentiment they
became the mor6 confirmed, when the National Af-
fembly paffed the' declaration of rights, in which,
among other things, it was declared, that ,< all men
,4 are born, and continue free and equal as to their
The National Affembly, apprehensive that fome.
thing very alarming might happen in St Domingo,
in confequence of the general tumult concerning.
dtem in the capital, decreed the institution of Colo1
nial Meetings in St Domingo: But the uncommon
a8 HISTORY or Sr DOMINGO.
delay of the arrival of this decree was ill fuited to
the prefent temper of the inhabitants of St Dominb
go; therefore, by parochial and provincial meetings
they anticipated the decree.
This historical faa, more than a written volume
illustrates the disadvantage that both the kgidfiture
and the fubjeas are under, when they are feparated at
fuch an immenfe distance. Univerfal praaice fhowes
that local prejudices, looal circumffances, and local
conveniences, muft all be refpe&ed in the ifuing of
laws ; but the unavoidable delay in diftaat fituationo
often .produces very ferious evils.
In thefe meetings, their fentiments were very dif.
feresot but they all concurred in the propriety of a
more ample reprefeatation, and refolved, that, unkf&
an order, in the fpace of three months, arrived fromn
the King for that puipofe, they should affume fuch
.power to themfalves, and convoke a Colonial Affrea.
bly. It appears both a singular and a fortunate oc.
currency, that the fubjeCs in St Domingo weoe do-
ing, without the knowledge of legal authority, :the
very fame thing that the.government of Frane was
at the fame time decreeing them a right to do under
During the buddings of reformation in St Domino-
go, the mulattoes, informed of the favourable fentib.
ments of the French nation concerning them, and
at the fame time inftruted in their rights, became
very tumultuous, and imperioufly demanded infant
emancipation. They even affembled in vaft numo.
bers in arms; but not adding in concert, they were
HISTORY or Sr DOMINGO.
i Nor was the temper of the Provincial Aflemblies
hoftile to the rights of the mulattoes, but they were
uncommonly mild in their treatment of the prifoners
which they;took in this fkirmifh. The chiefs and
others imprifoned at Jacmcl were liberated, on the
interference of the Affembly in the Weft. Thofe
who had revolted atAtribonite were pardoned, upon
their fubmiffion. What! renders this a& of clemen.
cy the more worthy of attention is, that the rebellion
was more extenfive and inveterate in the latter than
in the former place, .
The popular rage flamed with:great violence, buta
particularly againstt fuch" of the whites as had gene,
roufly avowed themselves their friends. The depu-t
ty-pyocureur-geneaakLhad adopted their cafe, and
very imprudently -declaimed against_ the flavery of
the negroes; thereorefe the, Northern Affembly ar*
refuted him but the .:governor interpefed,' refcue4:
him from tkeirrhands, and fent himnout of:the ifland.
A magjftrate in PetitkGoave, about to form a con' -
ne&io'nwithla woman of colour, 'irt order to remove *
the odium. which he fuppofed.might becaft upon
him for that conddi,. attacked :thej local prMjudi&
ces of his countrymen, by drawing up a memorial
in behalf of the mulattoes, in which they were made,
to claim the full benefit of the national declaration of
rights. The- Parochial Committee arrested and im-
prifoned him, but the enraged populace dragged hinm
from confinement, and piut him to death.
The hiftory of nations, and particularly of the rude
and uncultivated, proves that when the minds.of the
C 3 multitude
go mTITY tw ST IDMTNGO.
multitude are ftRongly agitated, and routed to
eomnxn height, they become regardlefs of all law,
and a& is opposition to it, unmindful of the con*
fequences. Such was the cafe with .the unculti
vated populae of that p"ce ; for they committed
this t&iion, *'though the municipality and ithe ma
giftrates did all in their power to event them.
-In the beginning of January 1790, the royal edit
for calling a-s aembUyaawived in tDomingo. It
pot only permitted the as)teing, but fpecifid the
place, the time, the mode of cletioa, and-other cir,
uAinftenme jre-ative to dair ontution. k hap..
opened, however, that thattee wre not agreeabe to the
wishes tof the people therefore, they heated them
With contemptuous ne~gic, a sd -and according to
-..This cxbdua was wettpfentol with no fill de
gree of exaggeration to the .people of France; and
%iffelent runours cikubted. Some aledged, that
it was their intention to throw offheir dependence,
0"d become a rfeparate ftte. Others -innuated, that
4 libertygivn them by the National Afembly to
*gulate their own intesnalpolicy, implied a renun
tiaoiH of their dependence upon F"ance. The com.r
swcia iM itemft took the akrm j and petitions and
tomonftaneos weft fest to the National A&mbly,
intreating that the moft fpeedy and ffetual mea,
fueaes nightt be taken to conciliate the minds of the
inhabitants of ;St &mingn, that fuch m valuable ap1
pendage of -the roh at might aot bc iseco.
veuably e ....,
ImrSTOIY or STr DIOMINGO,
Ever face the days in which the feudal 6hainm
were brtoen, the influemcef rank and superior birth
hath gradually diminished. The man of industry
and of commerce, in oonfequence of the refpe&
paid to wealth, hath afcetded in the fcale of fo*
city. Nor will the qieftion remain long of doubt-
ful difoefion, whether the commercial or the landed
interest in the nations of Europe prpoderates...-..
The ianAence of the commercial was then froug
Therefore, with all the df nieywhich the itua..
tion df St Domingo ?equided, the Ai embly tk the
matter underconfideration, and,4y great Rmajoriy
dcreed, "That it was not ihe intention of the Af
" fembly to comprehend the interior goaemmenIt of
46 the colonies in the constitution which they had
"c framed for the mother-country, or to fubjet them
of to laws which were incompatible with their local
" eftablifhiments ; they therefore authorife the inha-
se bitants of each colony to fignify to the National
,, Affembly their fentiments concerning that plan of
M interior legislation and commercial arrangement
a which would be moft conducive to their profpe-
de rity." They concluded the decree with declaring,
"4 That the National Affembly would caufe no inno-
i" vation, either direly or indireaCly, in any fyftem
"f of commerce in which the colonies were already
This law, however wife and falutary in the cir.
cumftances of the cafe, was received with the keen.
eft difpleafure on the part of the blacks, and their
5S HISTROYor Si DOMINCGO
friends in France. They regarded it as the implicit-
fanetion of the African traffic. It is, however, pros
per to remark, that the Affembly appears rather to
have had the preftrvation of the colony than the con4
tinuation of the flave-trade in their view when pafl
Aing that law. Nor was it to be fuppofed, that the
inhabitants of St Domingo, with the example of
America before their eyes, would have continued
long the dependents of France, had the animosities
which once exifted been fomented by a degree of an
opposite nature and tendency, The deliberations of
the Afembly will be the beft proof of their inclinas
tions refpe&ing this political arrangement. The de*
tail of thefe proceedings willafford materials for the
HISTORY or &r DOMINGO.
French Revw&ution fel by the neighbouring Nations.-
Meeting of the Colenial Affembly.-Proincinl MlM.
ings continue.-Pre/dent guided theA Afembly.-Bu- 4
ntefs tranfa&ed in the Afnibly.-Moderanion re
martab e.-D c tsies in the way of efirmaHtin.--
Efeq of influence in a Contitution.-Arri'al if
Meaduit.,--His genal-CharaItr.--fMeans he fd
to rdtan the OUAd Syft- of fYyray.-'Whites dfu*
nite, and weaken theirStrength.-'- e n ew CemIf
sution Yied.-Articlertf the neow Citufitn.-
COnfiqWprac^-Cendsi rf the Lepartff ereto.-
A#femlyfid them a 'vote of thanks.-.Declare them.
jfw w n thefdeeof the Cdon,.-Mau4dit asafke th&
Aj-. ly If the Wef.,-AMmbers fail fir Frane t
THE late agitations in the French dominions
not only convulfed all Europe, but penetra.
ted beyond the Atlantic. The internal commotion
foon drew the attention of the neighboring nations ;
and they were not long idle fpedtators, but began to
feel the fame continental fhock. The national ener-
gy and vivacity of the French had long been pent
down ; but this only tended to render the ftruggle
the more violent and univerfal
Thus we have not onuy, during the late war, be.
held the neighboring nations exerting themselves to
34 HISTORY or ST DOMINGO.
remain upon their ancient bafis, but the fame ftruggl&' I
proving too formidable for the remote colonies, who,
were removed at a greater distance from the fcene of
Hence the general movement of Europe having
reached St Domingo, Ihe, by rapid fteps, haftenedlt9
a, revolution. It hath already been found, that the
public mind had drunk deep into the fpirit of the
mother-country, and had begun to hold parochial
and provincial meetings to confult concerning poli-
tical melioration. We have. alfo heard of the arri-
val of the legal authority to convoke a Colonial Af-
fembly, to deliberate concerning their internal go-
vernment. Accordingly, this fame affociation met
on the 16th of April 1790, not in the place which
royal authority enjoined, but in the town of St
Marc's. Special care was taken to have an ample
eprefeotation. The greater part of the parithes.re.-
tgrued two members. The return 'from the princi-
pal towns was certainly extravagant. The tow, of
Port au Prince, both from its extent and local
situation, was,. no doubt, greatly superior ; yet
the number of eighteen members to reprefent
itfelf alone appears very immoderate. Reformers
shouldd always proceed upon moderate principles
The town of Cape Frangois in the north, was refol*
ved to outnumber her, and therefore fhe returned
twenty members to represent her in the auguft Co4.
Thofe who are little accustomed to the exercise
of power are generally tenacious of that honour.,
Therefore the members who composed the Provinm
XIISTORY or ST DOMINGO. 3 $
dal Affemblies, although they were completely re-
prefented in the General Aflembly, neverthelefe
continued to retain and exercise their original authe
rity. And, when they fufpended the difcharge of
their fun&ion for a time, they ordained committees
of their number to a&l during that period.
-But fuch is the univerfal imbecility of mankind,
'that the many are always guided by the few. Nay,
even in the moft refpe&able and leaft corrupted af-
fociations of men, an individual, with superior au-
dacity, although not of superior mental powers, will
imperceptibly enflave the' minds of the reft, and draw
them after him.
Such was the cafe in the General Affembly of St
Domingo. The president introduced the bufinefs
by an inflammatory difcourfe, calculated more to
roufe the spirits of a tumultuous mob, than to in.
Ipire the calm and fedate feelings which ought to
reign in the minds of thofe who are deliberating
concerning the property, comforts, and lives of their
fellow-creatures. His general topic was, the re.
hearfal of "different grievances in the conftitution,
the mode in which the colony had, formerly been
governed; and proposed federal new regulations,
particularly an immediate leffening of the rigour of
the laws which refpecked the mulattoes and the
The meeting, relieving their own minds from re.
-fledion, imbibed the ideas of the fpeaker, and in.
Rftantly took into consideration the redrefs of fome
military grievances which were the caufe of loud
36 HISTORY or Sr DOMINGA
complaint among the mulattoe& It is proper alfe
to admit, that the famous article in the Declaratios
ef Rights by the mother-country, was carefully re-
fpe&ted in this circaamfance ; for they. decreed, that
their military service thoul4 be exacly proportioned
to that of the whites, and that in future the oppre&
fve,-authority of the king's different officers over
them should be deemed unconstitutional, and there'
fore prevented. Nor can the wifdom of the meet.
ing be impeached in this part of their condue ; it
was certainly the oppreffive groans of that clafs of
men which had roufed the attention of all ranks,
both in France and St Domingo, and therefore their
cafe, in all propriety, ought firft to be taken under
confederation. Thefe begun favours were intended
as the forerunners of univerfal conciliation and fa.
vour toward the whole clafs of mulattoes.
The courts of juftice next underwent a review.
There the call was loud for reformation. The
groffeft corruption, and bribery, and oppreffion, and
injuftice prevailed. Nay,. there was no principle
of honesty or law which was not facrificed to the
avarice and cruelty of thofe who formerly ruled in
that diftant part of the French empire. The fame
moderation alfo marked their condue in this. fecon4
ftep, for they only fought the redref of flagrant
a&s of injuftice, One cafe, however, might have
operated to produce this moderation, even that their
minds were chiefly directed towards a new conftitu-
tion for the colony. The combined efforts of the
human mind in that part of the globe now fruggled
to meliorate the fate of suffering humanity.
STOWY &r 01DOI=NGO. 37
He~e the fentiments -of an elegant writer may
.be introduced. "t Improved by viciffitude, and
ftharpened, not benumbed, by the oppreffioan
of power, they difplayed all the wifdom of conn.
Scil on the firft emergency, and all the energy
Sof aaion in the firft enterprize. The outlet of a
*-a republic is always marked with peculiar force
" and vigour, The mind, liberated from oppreffion,
" springs with elafficity and ardour to every- object
a of affivity. The people feel their new fituation;
they grafp from fentiment what afterwards they
lfupport by reafon. The spirit of patriotifin catches
K and pervades the whole community."
But private interest retards the progrefs of public
utility. The exiftence and the wealth of all the ane
client fervants of the crown were attacked; therefore
they favoured the fyftem of oppreffion. The gover-
nor and his numerous dependents were at Sfirft fo
greatly alarmed, that they were afraid even to move
in fecret in their own defence; but, when they re-
covered from this fear, ,they united their strength,
and began to-rally round the standard of the gover-,
Political writers have difcourfed of the nature and
advantages of influence in a political body: nay,
fome have proceeded fo far as to infinuate the pro-
priety of procuring and maintaining that influence.
Thefe men, however, cannot deny that the fate of
fociety is unqueftionably the beft, where no corrupt
influence is needful to move the machine of govern-
meht, nor to perpetuate its exiftence.
:38 HISTORY or ST DOMINGO.
Influence was fRrongly hoftile to the generous pro.
ceedings of the General Affembly in St Domingo;
A formidable body of men, who formerly poffeffed
all the places and power of the colony, were excited
to the ftrongeft ferment. Of this number were the
whole herd of taxmen and inferior officers; thofe
who occupied the principal flations in the military
department; the venal and odious crowd of fivil
and criminal judges, who enriched themselves at the
expence of confcience, and justice, and every thing
Thefe men, under the strong preffure of their feel.
ings, were not only willing to aid the governor-gene,
ral, but even called upon him, with an urgent voice,
to lead them forth in one combined effort, to defend
their intruded rights.
Peynier, the governor, remained in that station
until difplaced by the arrival of Chevalier Mauduit
from Europe. The former governor was deftitute
of the abilities neceffary in fuch defperate circum.
f1ances, and therefore the infamous coalition could
gain little or no strength during his government.
But the talents required, refided in Mauduit. His
genius was both penetrating and inventive. Nor
was he more qualified to invent, than to execute;
for, with wonderful acivity, he could, purfue his
plans to maturity. Nor was there any deceit or cun.
ning of which he was not capable.
Before he left Europe, he vifited Count d'Artois,
and framed the plan of his future condua. His firft
diffimulation evinces to what an eminence he had
HISTORY orF ST DOMINGO. &
arrived as a villain. To divide the interests of the
contending parties, and thereby to leffen their
strength, he declared himself the friend and patron
of the mulattoes, that he might in this manner gairt
over their confidence. The weak mind of Peynier
was foon vanquished by his superior powers ; fo that
every thing was concluded according to his wifh.
The political-cunning of Mauduit in thefe ma-.
neuvres is exceedingly obvious. Union and ftrengtht
are univerfally conne6&ed both in nature and poli.
tics. That strength which might be more than fuf.
ficient toV accomplif an undertaking, greatly dimii-
nithes when feparated. Had both the clafres of mu-
lattoes and negroes remained in a firm and rational
coalition, they might have averted their impending
calamities, and fectired the continuation of their
privileges. Or, had the whites and the mulattoes
cemented their interests, and, kept them in clofe coa-
lition, both the fyftem of tyranny might have been
defeated, and the property of the blacks retained.
- But fufpicion and diftruft prevailed among all par.
ties. Not only were the people of colour difunited
by the machinations of Mauduit, but the planters
became fo unfortunately unwife as to contend a-
mong themselves. In hll'their meafiires which they
adopted, the General AfTembly in St Marc's were
oppofed by the Provincial Affembly of the Noith.
Amid the strong contvulfions of human nature
among a rude people, it is not furprifing that the
bafer principles of envy and difcord spring up
even When better fruits are produced at the fame
SD 2 time.
40 HISTORY oi ST DOMINGQ:
time. The temperate fpirit difplayed by thefe men
911 f9me occasions have done them honour, but their
ivifcom hath greatly failed them in the mutual dif-
cords which prevailed when the ftriieft unanimity
and harmony ought to have prevailed.
The mournful effek& was, that the forebodings of
a civil war were obvious before the new conftitutionz
bad received existence. In this late of the public
*mind, it is eafy to perceive that it was ill qualified
for the folemn work of legislation.
The new constitution iffled forth from the Na.
tional Afembly about the end of May. The execcu
tive government in the hand of Mauduit and his a&,
bcxate had long bee preparing, and only waited
for a pIaufble reafon to begin a civil war; therefore
they made the publication of the new plan as the
avowed cafe. This places the new code in fuch an
important station in the history, that it deferves to
be detailed at large.
The preamble is of considerable length, and then
a few fundamental propositions fucceed. In thefe
the right of confirming and ratifying the laws is de-
clared to be inherent in the crown, therefore inca.
pable of being delegated to any other power whatever.
It admits of no doubt, however, that the legislators
of St Domingo, in thi& refpe&, paid a high degree of
veneration to the royal authority of Paris. The ar.
ties of their conflitution are ten in number, and
expreffed in the following words.
1. Tht legislative authority, in every thing which
HISTORY oi ST DOMINGO.
relates to the internal concerns of the colony, is veft-
ed in the affembly of its representatives, which hall
be called The General Affembly of the French part of
2. No adlof the legislative body, in what relates
to the internal concerns of the colony, hall be con-
-fidered as a definitive law, unlefs it be made by the'
representatives of the French part of St Domingo,
freely and legally chofen, and confirmed by the
3. In cafes of urgent neceflity, a legislative decree
of the General Affembly, in what relates to the in-
ternal concerns of the colony, hall be considered as
a provf/ional law. In all fuch cafes, the decree fall
be notified forthwith to the governor-general, who,
within ten days after fuch notification, hall caufe'
it to be published and enforced, of' tranfmit to the?
General Affembly his obfervations thereupon.
4. The neceflity of the cafe on which' the execu-
tion of fuch a provisional decree is-.to depend, hall
be a separate question, and be carried in the affir-
mative by a majority of two-thirds of the General-
Affembly, the names and numbers being taken
If the governor-general hall fend down his ob-&
fervations on any fuch decree, the fame fhall be en-
tered in the journals of the General Affembly, who
hall 'then-proceed to revife- the decree, and consider
the observations thereupon, in three federal meetings.
The votes for confirming or annulling the decree
lhalf be given in the words Yes or 'N and a minute
4! HISTROY OF ST DOMINGO.
of the proceedings *hall be figned by the members.
present, in wlMch hall be enumerated the votes on
each fide of the question and if there appears a
majority of two-thirds for confirming the decree, it
hall immediately be enforced by the governorrgeneraL
6. As every law ought to be founded on the con-
fent of thofe who are to be bound by it, the French part
of St Domingo iball be allowed to propofe regula-
tions concerning commercial arrangements, and the
fyftem of mutual conne&ion; and the decrees which
the National Affembly hall make, in all fuch cafes,
ball net be enforced in the colony until tkh General AJf.
fembly have cofented tkerete.
7. In cafes of preffingneceffity, the importation of
articles for the fupport of the .inhabitants fall not be-
confidered as any breach in the fyftemn of commercial
regulations between St Domingo and France, provi-
ded that the decrees to be made in fuch c4fes by the
General Affembly ball be fubmitted to the revision
of the governor-general, under the fame conditions
and modifications as are prescribed in the third and
8. Provided alfo, that every legislative a& of the
General Affembly, executed provifionally, in cafes
of urgent neceffity, fhaU be forthwith tranfmitted
for the royal fjE&ion. And if the King hall refufe
his confent to any fuch a&, its execution hall be
upendede, as foon. as the King's refufal fall be le.
gally notified to the General Affembly.
"9 A new General Affembly hall be chofen every
-two years, and none of the members who'have com-
pofed the former Afffembly ball be eligible to the new.
HISTORY or ST DOMINGO.
io. The General Affembly decree, that the pre-
ceding articles, forming part of the conftitution of'
the French colony of St Domingo, fall be immeA
diately tranfmitted to France for the acceptance of
the National Affembly, and of the King. They hall
alfo be notified to the governor-general, and tranfmit.
ted to all the pariih-s and diftri1s of the colony."
This decree was by no means popular. Its ob-
jea was unqueftionably great, and it embraced a va-
riety of objets. But colonial fubordination seemed
incompatible with fome parts of this famous decree.
That article which declares, that no exterior regula.-
tion thbuld operate in the colony, until confirmed
by the General Affembly, is arrogating a power
which was inconfiftent with the radical principles of
monarchy. Nor is the article lefs bold which de&
nies the negative voice to the governor, who repreo
fents the King in that part of the empire.
It will readily be allowed, however, that the fen.
timents,and tempers of men at that period were much
agitated in St Domingo; and that no one fet of laws
could be framed which would have obtained their
approbationr The events were unquefiionably new,
and the remedies were fuch as had not been called
for upon former emergencies. Nor had the menm
bers of that auguft body been accaftomed to the fe.
kmn work of making laws to regulate the affairs of
an extensive -community.
All that can be urged in extenuation feems to be,
that the circumftances of the cafe were novel, and
the members. of the Colonial Affembly ineape.
44 HI STORY OF ST DOMINGO.
rienced in the bufinefs of legislation. It is im-
poffible that they had any ferious intention of decla-
ring the colony an independent fate, in imitation of
the Englifh American. provinces. Neverthelefs, the
decree was no fooner promulgated, than this notion
was induftrioufly propogated by their enemies; and
when this report failed to gain belief, it was pre.
tended that the colony was fold to the Englifh, and
that the members of the General Affembly had re-
ceived, and divided among themselves, forty mil-
lions of livres as the purchafe-money.
If the extreme credulity, and jealous temper, of
the French character, had not been demonstrated by
recent events, it would fcarcely obtain credit, that
charges, thus wild and unfupporetd, could have
made an impreffion on the minds of any considerable
number of the people. The effe&, however, was
fo ftrong, as to induce fome of the Weftern parifhes
to recal their deputies; while the inhabitants of Cape
Frangois took ftill more decisive measures. By a bold
exertion, they inftantly. renounced obedience to the
General Affembly, and presented a memorial to the
governor, in which they,. in a bold and imperious
tone, requefied ulim to diffolve that Affembly; and
declared, that they considered the colony as loft, un.
lefs he inftantly proceeded to deprive that body of
every fpecies of authority.
With inward fatisfa&ion M. Peynier received
this addrefs. At this period the policy of both par-
ties appears to be of that quality which rejeded all
thoughts of compromise by means of negotiation.
-A circumstance alfa occurred at this juncture which
HISTORY or ST DOMINGO.
would have rendered every measure abortive, ald
though it had been attempted.
A fhip of the line, called the Leopard, commanded
by M. Gallifoniere, lay in the harbour of Port au
prince. This officer imbibed the principles, and en.
tred into the views, of M. Peynicr and Mauduit,
and confequently made a fumptuous entertainment
for the partizans of thefe gentlemen; and by this,
or fome other part of his conduil, gave great of-
fence to the failors. Whether influenced by the
power of corruption, or aauated by the unaccount.
able volubility sometimes displayed in the naval cha.
rater, the faa admits of no doubt, that they with.
drew their obedience from their proper commander,
and declared thermfelves decidedly in the interefla of
the Colonial Afftembly. Thus situated, M. Galifo.
niere abandoned the fhip, when they became fo tunr
bulent and mutinous; and the crew called one of the
lieutenants to the command.
Convinced of the advantages that might reafonaw
bly be expe&ed from this event, the Affembly imme.
diately transmitted a vote of thanks to the feamen,
and, in flowing terms, extolled their patriotic con.
du&; and required them, in the name of the law,
and of the King, to detain the thip in the road, and
await their farther orders. Flattered by this adula.
tion of the Affemxly, they fixed the vote of thanks
to the main-maft, and promised obedience. About
the fame time, fome partizans of the Affembly took
poffeflion of a powder-magazine at Leogane.
A civil war now impended. M. Peynier iffued a
proclamation to diffolve the General Affembly, two-
days after the vote of thanks had been tranfmitted to
46 -HISTORY or ST DOMINGO.
the crew of the Leopard. He charged the mem-
bers with entertaining proje&s of independency; af-.
ferted that they had, in a traitorous manner, poffeffed
themselves of one of the King's fhips, by bribing
the crew to revolt. He announced the members,
and all their adherents, traitors to their country, and
enemies both to the nation and the King; and inti-
mated his. intention to employ every fpecies of force
against them, in order to bring' to condign punifh-
ment: and he fummoned all officers, civil and mili.
.tary, to co-operate and fupport his meafures.
The committee of the Weftern Provincial Affem-
bly was firft attacked. This body held their meet-
ings at Port au Prince. During the intermiffion of
the Affembly, this committee, in the exercise of its
fubordinate fun&ions, had difplayed fuch a zealous
attachment to the General Affembly, as expofed its
members to the refentment of the governor and his
confederates. It was, therefore, determined to ar-
reft their perfons, and M. Mauduit undertook to con-
du& the undertaking.
Having obtained intelligence that the committee
held their confultations at midnight, he fele&ed
about ioo of his soldiers, and intended to furprife
the members during their deliberations. But, to
his mortification, on arriving at the houfe, he found
. it proteaed by 400 of the national guards.
A fkirmifh enfued, but it is not certain who gave
the firft fire; nor are the other circumstances fuf-
ficiently authenticated. The only faas which have
been authenticated are, that two men were killed on
the part of the Affembly ; that federal were wounded
HISTORY OF Sr DOMINGO.
*n both fides; and that Mauduit retreated without
effe&ing his purpose ; yet, neverthelefs#feized and
bore away in triumph the national colours.
The intelligence of this event roufed the Aflembly
to take the moft vigorous measures. They fum.
moned the people to haften from all quarters, pro.
perly armed, to prote& their representatives; and
moft of the inhabitants of the adjacent parifhes in-
flantly obeyed the fummons. For the fame purpofe,
the fhip Leopard was brought from Port au Prince
to St Marc's.
On the other hand, the Northern -Provincial Af-
fembly joined the party of the governor, and dif.
patched to his affiftance a detachment from the re-
gular troops, which was joined by a body of two
hundred people of colour.
A much greater force was colleCted in the Weft-
ern Province, by Mauduit; and the preparations on.
both fides indicated a fpeedy, -obftinate, and bloody
conteft. The human mind, however, displayed one
of thofe wonderful eccentricities of charaCter which
bath often been displayed in times of public commo-
tion ; which at prefent prevented the effufion of hu.
man blood. At this impending crifis, the National
Aflembly came to the fudden and unexpeCted refo-
lution to undertake a voyage to France, in order to
juftify their condu6a in person, both to the King and
to the National Affembly.
A confiderable number of the Weftern and South-
ern provinces gave a decided approbation of their
conduCk: therefore, their motives were deemed the
more laudable; and, in a fhort time, two thoufand
4 HISTORY o S&r DOMINGO,
men had armed, and were haftening in full march to
Port au Prtpce, to defend their perfons, and to apw
prove of their measures. Firm in their resolution,
not lefs than eighty-five, of whom fixty-four were
fathers of families, on the memorable 8th of Auguft,
a&ually embarked on board the Leopard, and took
their departure for Europe.
The proceeding in itself was fingular, and it pro..
duced a singular effea. The governor and his afo..
ciates were greatly furprifed; and the populace at
large were filled with admiration and applaufe.
Thefe members of the Affembly were attended to the
-place of embarkation by perfons of all ranks, who,
in all the ardour of pious affefion, invoked Heaven
in theit behalf, and fthed tears of fenfibility and af-
fefion over the contemplation of a condua which
was univerfally placed in the higheft eftimation;
nay, considered as difplaying as noble a proof of felf..
denial, and as brilliant an example of heroic and
Chriftian virtue, as any age had ever exhibited. A
momentary calm followed; and M. Peynier, with a
trembling hand, refused the reins of government
Both parties were afhamed not to refer, without re.
luiance, the refpeaive differences to the wifdom
and equity of the King and the National Affembly..
The firft attempt to eftablifh a free constitution on
the principles of, limited monarchy in French St Do.
mingo, terminated in this manner. Various impoNr
tant refle&ions naturally follow. It has been frank-
ly acknowledged, that the General Colonial Affemn
bly, in May z8. exceeded the proper boundary of
their constitutional faniaons. This pftial irregtu
HISTORY oF ST DOMINGO.
larity night, however, have been corre6ed, wiirut
violence or blood ; but this misfortune attends every
deviatiok from equity, that in the conflict of con-
ftending parties, the exceffes of the one party are al-
ways considered as the beft juftificatioin for the out-
rages of the other.
An apology, however, exists for fome part o4 their
condu&. The urgent plea df'felf-defence vitiditiates
the measures of securing to their"intdereft the Led-
pard's crew, and the feizure of the magazine at Leo-
gane. It admits of no doubt, that, in conjtnfio'n
with M. Mauduit, M. Peynier had long mediated
and laboured to devifb the beft means to reftore the
ancient defpotic fyftem to all its original strength.
Nor can it be denied, that they had made vigQrous
preparations for that purpose; nay, he had pofitive-
ly written to M. Luzerne, the minister in France, in-.
forming him, that he was firmly determined never to
permit the Aflembly to meet. Nor ought it to be
concealed, that the French minister tacitly difappro.
ved of his measures, and recommended moderate
and .conciliatory councils.
The infatuated governor, however, fill continued
in the fame career of politics; and, diftruftful of the
fidelity of the French soldiers, he applied to the go-
vernor of Havannah for a reinforcement of Spanifh
troops from Cuba. It is, therefore, fufficiently evi-
dent, that he concurred in the plan of Mauduit, to
ffetd a couftcr-revolution and hence it is reafon-
able to conclude, that both the difcord and diftruft
Which prevailed among the inhabitants, and alfo the
fatal diffcnfions that alienated the Provincial Afiem.
.7o HISTORY or ST DMINGO.
bly of the North from the General Affembly of Sr
Marc's, were induftrioufly fomented and encouraged
by M. Peynier and his affociates. The fpeedy and
decifive determination of the Colonial Affembly to
repair to France, there to plead their caufe in perfon,
and to furrender themselves to the supreme govern-
,ment, fully vindicates-them from all impeachment of
.their loyalty. Nor can it be doubted, that their at-
tachment to the mother-country was fully fecured
by numerous ties, both of interest and of elf-prefer-
The mournful hiftory of an unfortunate individual
claims our attention, before we proceed to record
what came to pafs in Europe, in confequence of the
arrivaJ of the members pf the Colonial Affembly in
HISTORY or ST DOMINGO.
CHA P. V.
Temper during the fitting of the AJfembly.-Temper of
the Mulattoes in France.-Opinions of the different
Parties.-Oge Iftrurted and flimulated; -induced
to believe that the whole Bodt of the Mulattoes would
rife in Arms ;-provided wfih Money to purchaf
Arms in America ;-plan divulged at Paris ;--he
lands fafre with Arms and Ammunition --fimmons
the Governor to redrefr Wrongr, under the threat of
Arms ;-joined by very few-'- isrouted* and flie
to the Spani/h Territories.-Mulattoes again tak up
Sjimso--Mauduit :reconcites Parties.-M. Feynier
R lgns,. -M. Blanchelande is chofen in his place; -he
demands Og from the Spaniards ;-Tried and con-
dkmnid-Ogb's B#others, and theirs condemned'tj
ke hantgedJ-4Oge and dhevae to be broken on the
Wheelt-- Og' difplays great contrition, begr for Lifer
and promotes to divulge important Secrets -is bro.
ken on the Wheel.-Remarks on the Condua of the
T HE people of colour refi4ing jn the colonies
remained more peaceful than might have been
expeded during the fitting of the Affembly of St Do-
mingo. In the Weftern and Southern provinces,
the temperate and lenient measures, and the favour-
able difpofition manifefted towards them, produced
a beneficial and decifive effeC. This is strongly il.
luftrated by the following circumstance :-that al-
E 2 though
3 U HISTORY oF STr DOMINGO.
though three hundred from thefe provinces had been
deluded by Mauduit into his service, they foon be-
came fenfible of their error; and demanding their
difmiffion, quietly returned to their refpeafive habi-
But fuch of the mulattoes who refided in the mo-
ther-~ountry continuca in a-mnore-hofik dipofikion,
and were couraged .i their animofities by parties
of different descriptions. No fooner was the decree
of the.28t4 of May made known to the public, than
it excited univerfal clamour and diffatisfaaion. Many
who concurred in nothing elfe, united tirvoices
1i repxqbbigi (h conduct of the inhabitants of St
Thq pirtizas ofm democray and rpulifilm
joined tdhe d4larers to the ancient goverm~na, in
the pefenst qvfi.onf0. To the forgrss the coitu-A
tioa o 17p appw49 vpa sa odiouo thda thkid
tyrannical fy4tm f andrthefv polticiano, wiohthe
Aeepeft and dgrkeft defigo, poltffed all that m*in,
firma fs, ad vigour of ihara6tr, which their pur.
pofe& required, and. which, to the aftonhment of the
world, have ever fince rendered-them irrefiftible.
By the very fame means, thefe two parties expea-
ed to obtain very diTereht ends. With equal affi.
duity, another party exerted themselves to promote
public einftifion. This dalfs was composed of fpe.
culative reformers, whofe opinions could hot be re-.
conciled to the new government, because the imagi-
nation of each of them teemed with a favourite
fyflem which he was anxious to recommend to
HISTORY OF ST DOMINGO.
It doth not appear that the philanthropic fociety,
called the Amis des Noirs, was a diftin & body; they
rather feem to have been equally divided between
the democratical and the one joft now mentioned.
Strengthened and ftimulated by fuch powerful anui.
liaries, it is not furprifing that the efforts of this fo-
ciety made, a strong impreffion upon. the minds of
thofe who had been taught to consider their perfonal
wtongs as a national caufe, and even have driven
fome of them into the wildeft exceffes of fanaticifim
Among fuch of thefe unfortunate people resident
in France as were thus inflamed into madnefs, was 4
young man, under thirty years of age, named James
Og6: he was born in St Domingo, of a rnulatto
woman, who ftill poffeffed a coffeerplantationi in tha
Northern province, about thirty miles from Cape
Frangois, whereon the lived very creditably; and
found mears, out of its profits,. to educate her fon at
Paris) and even to support him therein oiiedegme
of .aftlence, after he had obtainct the age of manor
Og6 had been introd cedto the: meetings :of the
AHio des NMirs, under the patronage of Gregoire;
Briffot, La Fayette, -and Robefpierre, the leading
rnembes~ ofthat, society, A~id was by thema initiated
inttth peplhr do&rine-of equality dathe oight i f
man. Here he fftt learned the natuiratmifqrieWof
his condition, the cruel wrorns and:o0tumelionsafii
fronts to which he and all his mulatto-brethren in
the .Weft Indies etee expofed, and, the monftrotw
injulfice and abflrdity which, to ufe the words of
lE 3 Gregoire,
54 HISTORY or ST DOM~NO;
Gregoire, is eftinatifg a mnan's merit by the to-
' loar of his &in, and placing at an immenfe diflaace
" from each other the children of the fame parent.
0 This is a condua which ftifes the voice of nature,
u and breaks afunder the bands of fraternity."
It will readily be granted, that thefe are great and
obvibus evils; but it would have been fortmate, if,
instead of bewailing their eiftence, and magnifying
their extent, the fplendid taknts of Briffot and Gre-
goire had been applied to devife the beft ptadical
means of redreffing thefe existing wrongs.
But the deep dcfigns of thefe men had other ob.
je&s in viei, even th excite commotions, and raife
convulsions, in every part of the French dominions )
and the unfortunate Og became the tool, and after-
wards the viditn, of their ctuel ambition.
The unfufpicious Oge had beea induced tu be-
leve, that the whole body of the mulattoes'in tih
French iflands Were prepared to tife a& one man, ap4
revenge their wronags up their oppreforsi and that
nothing but an etpeieed a.nd. valiant leader was
wanting to reduce them to akion, and to cown
then with vi*ory ; ad fhmly conceiving. that lhe
poitefed all the qualifications of ap able general, he
determined to proved o St Domiogo by the frft
tonveyance. Tbefocity, to earowirg, hiw a;s.l
lioos, and to chaerit the coneeit of his own import.
dance, procuted him the rank of lieWunat-coloae
in the army of one of the German Eledors.
The society had fuifciem petnetwrtion to dif4ew
tmat they could not transport a p;opar qWuRy of
arms and ammunition from Fvame without at4a-
HISTORY OF ST DOMINGO.
ing the attention of the public, and awakening the
fufpicion of the planters who refided in the mother.
country ; therefore they recommended to Oge to
nake a circuitous voyage, in order to purchafe thefe
articles in North America. Furnifthed, therefore,
with money and letters of credit, he embarked for
New England in the month of July 1790.
But the caution and cunning of thefe men were
snfuccefsful on the prefent occasion; for, previous
to the departure of Oge, the whole plan was divul.
ged, and not only intelligence of the scheme, but
alfo a portrait of Og6, was transmitted to St Do.
wningo, before his arrival in that island. On the i th
of (&ober 1790, he fecretly landed from an Amec
rican vefiel, and found means, undifcovered, to con.
vey to the place which his brother had prepared, the
arms and ammunition which he had purchased.
The white inhabitants received the firft intelli.
gence of Og's arrival from himfelf. During the
pace of fix weeks, Ogi and his brother employed
themfelves in fpreading difaffiion, and exciting re.
volt, amoug the malattoes. They confidently affiu
xed them, that all the inhabitants of the parental coun.
try were ready to aid in the recovery of their natural
sights; and that even the King himfelf was favour*
able to their caufe. Promies were lavited on fome,
and money upon others. But, aotwithft/ading i
all-theofe igorous efforts, and a the go eral favour,
able fpirt of the times, Og6 was not able to allare
to his standard more than 2oo fobwoere; and even
the greater part of thefe were raw uqdifipliwe4
56 HISTORYOY OF ST DOMINGO.
youth, arid totally averfe to all kind of fubordination
But the human mind is not eafily induced to a-
bandon a favourite undertaking. For, even thus cir..-
cumftanced, he dispatched a letter to the governor,
in which, after reproaching him and his prede-
ceffors with the non-execution of the Code Noir, he-
demands, in very imperious terms, that the provi-
fions of that celebrated ftatute should be enforced
throughout the colony; he requires, that the privi-
leges enjoyed by one clafs of the inhabitants should
be extended to all perfons, without diftin&tion
declares himfelf the prote&or of the mulattoes; and
announces his intention of taking up arms in their
behalf, unlefs their wrongs should be redreffed.
About fifteen miles from Cape Frangois, he fla-
tioned his camp, at a place called Grande Riviere,
and appointed his two brothers, together with one
Mark Chevane, his lieutenants. Chevane was a fierce,
intrepid, a&ive, and enterprifing man, prone to
mifchief, and thirty for vengeance. Oge himfelf
was naturally mild and humane; he cautioned his
followers against the shedding of innocent blood ;
mLt in this refpef little regard was paid to his
wifhes; the firft white man that fell-in their way
they murdered on the fpet. A second, of the name
of Siccard, met the fame -fate ; and, it is related
that their cruelty towards fuch perfons of their owa
complexion as refused to join in the revolt was ex*
treme. A mulatto man, of fome property, being
urged to follow them, pointed to his wife and fia
ahikldrn, affigning the largenefs of his family as a
HISTORY df Sr DOMINGO.
native for withirig to temtin. This condouftwat
considered as contutnacious; and it is aff~rted, that
not only the .tat himtfel,4 bIt the *hole of his .fa-
mily, were maffacred without mercy.
* No fooner was intelligence of thefe enormities re-
ceived at the town of Cape Fran-ois, than the inha-.
bitants proceeded, with the ,itnoft vigor and tina.
nimity, to adopt rneafdres for.fAppreffing the re.
volt. A body of regular troops, atd the Cape regi.-
nient of militia, were forthwith dispatched for that,
puspoft. They foon intefted the camp of the re.w
tokers, who made lefs refdthfne than might have
been expeaed from men in their defper~t circumni
Banet THld nrut betamn gteital ; many of them
tf klked and abeut fimy made prisoners; the.
ieA ditffrfed themfeves it the: mountains Og6
bimfel one 6f his brothers, 'and Chvarne, hiraftib-
L i btuk infage ha the Spanifl temitorids. 06
Qg'd'other brother' no intcHigeac was dtdrwawds
In general the ifp6ttifon of the white ifhabitants
towards the malattdeswaa fliarpened into greater
animofity after this unfuccefsful attempt of Oged
The lower claffis, in particular, breathed nothing
but vengeance against them, and very ferious appre-.
henfions were entertained, in. all parts of the colony,
of a piofcription and inifdare of the whole body.
Alarmed by fimila, reports, and the appearances
which threatened, the mulattoes flew to arms in
many places. Camps were formed at Artibonite1
Petit Goaves, Jeremie, and Les Cayes. But the
moft nunieous and powerful army affcmbled near
S HISTORY OF &r DOMINGO.
the little town of Verette. The whites affembkd iar
considerable numbers in the neighbourhood, and Co-,
lenel Mauduit haftened to their affiftance with a
corps of 200 men from the regiment of Port auw
Prince. A cautious paufe, however, was made,
and neither party proceeded to actual hoftilitiese
M. Mauduit even left his detachment at the port of
St Marc's, thixty-fix miles from Verette, and, pro-
ceeding fingly and unattended to the camp of the
mulattoes, had a conference with their leaders. It.
was never publicly-divulged what paffed on that oc%
cafion. It is certain, however, the mulattoes retire
to their habitations.in confequence of it ;-but.the fi.
lence and fecrecy of M. Mauduit, andLhi infience
over them, gave cocafion to very urifavourald fafpia,
cions, by no means tending to conciliate the dife.
sent claffes of the inhabitants to each other. He waa
charged with, having traitoroully persuaded" tthea
not to defift from their purpofe, but only to poftponex
their vengeance to a more favourable oppottuniry.I
aftiring them, with the utmoft folemntity and appa-
rent fincerity, that the King himfelf, and all the
friends, of the ancient government, were fecretly at-
tached to their-caafe, and would, support it when-
ever they could do it with advantage, and that the
time was not far diftant.
He is faid to have purfued the fame line of con-
du& at Jeremie, LesCayes, and all the places which
he vifited. Every where he held fecret confultations
with the chiefs of the mulattoes, and thofe people
every where immediately difperfed.
At Lee Cayes a ikirmifh had happened before his
HISTORY or Sr DOMINGO.
arrival, in which about fifty perfons on both fides
had loft their lives, and 'preparations were ma-
king to renew hoflilities. The perfuafions of M.
Mauduit effeded a truce. Rigaud, the leader of
the mulattoes in that quarter, however, openly de-
clared, that it was his decided opinion, that it was
.only a fallacious and tranfient calm, and that nothing
-lefs than the total extermination of the one party or
-the other would be the-fatal coiffequencee.
M. Peynier, finoting his station by no means plea-
fant, refigned the reins of government, and, in No-
,vember 1790, fet fail for Europe. He was fucceeded
.by M. Blanchelande,. and be entered upon the au-
thority of lieutenant-gepeml, or. coriander in chief,
-to the great fatisfa&io9of all the planters. That he
-might 4not-difappoint their fond expectations of a de.
cifive and vigorous administration, his firft fep was, to
-make a2 positive demand of Oge and his afociates from
the Spaniards. The imperious tone, and the other
-meafui es by which he accompaniedrthis demand, in-
duced an immediate compliance. Abopt the latter end
of December the ill-fated Og6, andhis companions
in wretchednefs, were delivered into the hands of a
detachment of French troops, and lodged in the
common jail of Cape Francois. Nor did the.vio-
- lent rage which was then planning against them per-
mit them to remain.long there without entering 'up.
on their fatal trial. .
But the forms of juftice'were at leaft regarded.
The trial was tedious, the examinatioua frequent,
and at laft sentence was pronounced in the beginning
.of March 1791. The brothlwof Og4, ajg with
60o HISTORY -or Sr DOMINGO.
nineteen others more, were condemned to be hang.
-ed. A more cruel .and .terrible death was eferved
for Og and Cbevane the lieutenant; they were
adjudged to be broken alive upon the wheel; and in
-that woeful condition they were left to linger until
The two leaders displayed a very different harac-
ter -on the present interesting oocafion. Chevane
displayed a bold and undaunted firmness, and per-
mitted not a single groan to etcape him, .during the
-moft excruciating tortures. But fortitude had aban-
doned Og6 in-that trying hour; for no fooner did
the fatal sentence roach his eat, than with watery
eyes he implored mercy. Impelled by fuch ferfations,
he promifad to cpake important discoveries, if that
would puchafe is life. Accordingly, twenty-four
hours were given him to divulge thefe important fe-
crets ; but it was generally believed that. tlefe wefe
.entombed with their author.
But the general belief wat uafoinded on the pre-
fent eccaflon; fOr it was Aifcovered, that this un-
fortume youth not Wnly made a full c4nfeffien of
the fa&s related, but alfo difelefed a dreadful plot
in agitation, and fpeqifod the meafares impending
ever the oelony. With all the felemnities of immor.
tality before him, he detailed at large te s eafures
-%hich the oelawred people had taken to excite the
negr6 flames to open rebellion. l e flamed the
achifs, and positively aflured them, that nevertheless
,;of his own unfuccefefal 'attempt, a general revolt
womuwmsce ocrtinly have, taken place inthe month
of ebmary aia ft, if an tmtraopdinary iaundatin of
HISTORY OF ST DOMINGO.
The rivers had not prevented it. He informed them
that the leaders held their meetings in certain caves,
in the parifh of La Grande Riviere, to which he
-pledged himfelf, that if his life was fpared, to con-
du&I a body of troops; fo that the confpirators might
be fecured amidft their atrocious confultations. The
council of the Northern Province had appointed cer-
tain comfniffioners to try the unfortunate Og6, be-
fo. whom likewife this confeffion was made, who
a&ed in the manner already mentioned. The mem-
bers of this cornmifflion were well known to be firm-
ly attached to the ancient government ; and there-
fore, it is not eafy to difcover, whether, in the fub-
verfion of this evidence, they followed the inftruc-
tions of the superior officers in the administration of
the government, or whether they were guided by
their own internal fentiments. The immediate exe-
cution prevented the difclofure of. fuch an important
The planters in general candidly declared, that
they were the viims of the latent purposes and
ungovernable paffions of two defperate and malig-
nant factions; the royalifts, in the colony; and the
republicans, in the mother-country. The fecrecy
and circumfpe&ion displayed in the conduEaof the
commiffioners, is a strong proof that the planters
were not greatly mistaken. Charity, which induces
its poffeffor to adopt the favourable fide, might lead
to the fuppofition, that the commiffioners regarded
the information of Oge only as the empty artifice of
an unhappy man, to 'obtain a mitigation of the dread-
ful punishment which awaited. The commiffioners,
62 HISTORY OF ST DOMINGO.
however, never having made this apology, the bene-
volent mind is deprived of producing it in their be-
The human mind is totally at a lofs to afcertain
upon what principle of rational policy the royalifts
could have been induced to involve in ruins fo noble
and beautiful a part of the French empire; but of
men who openly and wantonly aimed at the fubver-
fion of all good order and fubordination, the mind is
naturally difpofed to fufpeCt the worft: and it may
be frankly acknowledged, that, even to the powers
of keen discernment, their conduct remains wholly
inexplicable. The fallacious and cruel idea was
certainly adopted by them, that fcenes of bloodfhed,
devaftation, and ruin, abounding in every part of the
French dominions, would induce the bulk of the
people to regret the lofs of their former government,
and thus gradually lead them to co-operate in effe&-
ing a counter-revolution, efteeming the evils of anar-
chy and bloodshed as much more direful than the
deadly-fullen repofe of defpotifm. If fuch, indeed,
were the motives of their condu&, they muft be
deemed infatuated men, deprived of the common
principles of human prudence, being the leaders of
a people whom Providence feems to have devoted to
HISTORY oF ST DOMINGO.
Colonial Members arrive in France ;-their reception ;
-condemned without a hearing.-By an Ad of the
Ajfembly, the Decrees and Ads of the Colonial Ajfem.
bly are reverfed.-The efea which this Condut pro-
duced in St Domingo.-The caufe, the circumstances,
and the Cruel Murder of M. Mauduit.-Conduc
of Friends in France.-Abbe Gregoire claims from
the National Affembly, in behalf of the Mulattoes, all
the Privileges enjoyed by the Whites ; -is fuccefful
in his claim.--M. Barnave, and the Deputies of the
T HE historical narrative hath continued unbro-
keni during the detail of the tragical ftory of
the unfortunate Oge ; but the attention of the read-
er muft now be dire6led to the conduC' of the Na-
tional Affembly, in confequence of the reports, from
all parts of St Domingo, concerning the proceedings
of the Colonial Affembly of St Marc's.
On the I3th of September 1790, the deputies
who embarked for France land fafe at Breft. Amidft
the fhouts of' applaufe and congratulation, they fa-
luted the French fhore. Similar honours were con-
ferred upon them with the National Affembly itfelf.
But this univerfal refpe&t and kindnefs ferved only
to increase the disappointment which they foon af-
terwards experienced in the capital, where a very
different reception awaited them.
They had the mortification to find, that their ene-
F 2 mies
64 HISTORY oF Sr DOMINGO.
mnies had been beforehand. Deputies were already
arrived from the Provincial Affembly of the North ;
who, uniting with the agents of Peynier and Mau-
duit, had fo effeLtually prevailed with M. Barnave,
the president of the colonies, that they found their
caufe prejudged, and their condua condemned with-
out a hearing.
On the 21 ft of September, the National Affem-
bly iffued a peremptory order, dire&ing them to at-
tend at Paris, and wait for farther dire&ions. Their
ready obedience to this order procured them no fa-
vour: They were only allowed a single audience,
and then indignantly difmiffed from the bar. They
folicite& a second hearing, and an opportunity of con-
fronting their adverfaries ; but the National Affem-
bly refused the requeft, and directed the Colonial
Committee to haften its report concerning their con-
This report was presented by M. Barnave on the
u ith of October. It comprehended a detail of all
the proceedings of the Colonial AfTembly, from its
firft meeting at St Marc's, and cenfured their gene-
ral condu6 in terms of the greatest afperity; nay,
it proceeded fo far as to represent their condu& as
flowing from motives of difaffedion towards the mo-
ther-country, and an impatience of fubordination to
conflitutional authority and good government.
The report concluded by recommending, that
" all the pretended decrees and a&s of the faid Co-
" lonial Affembly should be revered, and pronoun-
T< ced null, and of no effect ; that the faid Affembly
" should be declared diffolved, and its members ren-
HISTORY OF ST DOMINGO.
" dered ineligible, and incapable of being delegated
", in future to the Colonial Affembly of St Domin-
" go; that teftimonies of approbation should be
9- transmitted to the Northern Provincial Affembly,
" to Colonel Mauduit, and to the regiment of Port
" au Prince, for refifting the proceedings at St
" Marc's; that the King should be requefted to
" give orders for the forming a new Colonial Af-
" fembly, on the principles of the national decree of
" the 8th of March 1790, and inftruaions of the
" 28th of the fame month; finally, that the ci-devant
" members, then in France, should continue in a
" fate of arreft, until the National Affembly might
" find time to fignify its further pleafure concerning
A decree tol his effe& was accordingly voted on
the 12th of Odober, by a very large majority ; and
the King was requefted, at ihe fame time, to fend
out an augmentation of force, both naval and mili-
tary, for the better supporting the regal authority in,
Except among the partizans of the former go-
vernment, the furprife and indignation which the
news of this decree excited in St Domingo, it is im-
poffible to defcribe. By the friends of the former
government, it was regarded as the firft ftep towards
the revival of the ancient fyftem; by the other party
'it was considered as a dereli&ion of all principle by
the National Affembly; and declaring, that they fill
considered thofe perfons as the legal representatives
of the colony who now refided in France, the orders.
for eleCting a new Colonial Affembly were fo little
F 3 regarded,
66 HISTORY oF Sr DOMINGO.
regarded, that many of the parifhes positively refu-
fed to chufe other deputies, until the fate of their
former members was known. One immediate and
apparent effe& of this decree was, to heighten and
inflame the popular resentment against Mauduit and
his army. In addition to what already hath been
mentioned concerning the charaCer of this officer,
he was generous in his difpofition, and even profufe
in his bounty towards his soldiers. His uncommon
.gencrofity naturally procured the attachment of his
regimerst towards his perfon, far exceeding the ufual
limits of obedience and duty.
But how frequently has the hiflorian to contem-
plate the extremes of humanity: For thofe very
troops, not long after the aforefaid decree, appeared
cruel, ungovernable, impetuous, and inconftant; fo
that they maffacred that very general, whom, but a
little before, they regarded almoft to adoration. This
faal is fo extraordinary in its nature and conne&ed
circumstances, that it appears not an unneceffary di-
greffion, to place it in a stronger light before the
mind of the reader.
It hath already been mentioned, that, on the 29th
of July 1790, M. Mauduit carried off the colours
from a detachment of the national guards, when at.
tempting to feize by force the perfons who compo-
fed the committee of the Weftern Provincial Affem-
Some account hath alfo been given of the pro-
ceedings of M. Peynier, the late governor, who fet
the example to the troops, to reje& the national
cockade, and to wear a white feather in their hats,
HISTORY or ST DOMINGO.
the symbol anu avowed fign of the loyal party. The
circumstance of M. Mauduit carrying off the colours
was followed with fuch effeIs, that not only the
detachment who were bereft of their enfign, iut all
the national guards refiding in the colony, deemed
this adion as the moftoutrageous and unpardonable
infuk which could poffibly be offered to any mili-
tary corps who had fworn fidelity to the new confti.
tution. Nor would the expreffions of their indigna-
tion have been delayed for a single moment toward
the author of this affront, had not the dread of the
superior discipline of the veterans compofing the Port
au Prince regiment, whofe commander he was, re.
trained their violence. ft unavoidably happened,
however, that the regiment being implicated in the
guilt of the commander, they alfo participated of hit
odium, and were confequently held in deteftation by
the other troops.
At this period, two (hips of the line, Le Fou-
gueux and Le Borde, with two battalions of the re.
giments of Artois and Normandy, arrived from
France. The crew of the Leopard had vifrted thefa
troops, and carefully imbibed them with their own,
fentiments ; therefore, on their landing at Port au
Prince, they openly difplayed the fame hoffile difpog
fitions towards the regiment of Mauduit as bad al.
ready been manifefted by the national guards. They
positively declined all manner of communication or
intercourfe; and even carried their opposition fo far,
as to refufe to enter into any of their places of ordi*
nary report. The whole of their conduct towards
them, fully displayed that they confdered them in
68 HISTORY OF ST DOMINGO.
no other light than as the enemies of the colony, and
the traitors of their paternal country.
It is by no means wonderful that this conduct of
the newly-arrived troops made a deep impreflion
upon the minds, both of the officers and privates, of
the difgraced regiment. A little time after this pe-
riod, mutual reproaches and accusations circulated
through the whole corps. The white feather was
indignantly torn from their hats; and the dark and
Allen glances towards their once-revered command-
er, indicated, that not only he had loft their confi-
dence, but alfo that he was the objea of impending
There vifible figns foon informed Mauduit of the
full extent of his danger; and, anxious not to in-
volve the governor M, Blanchelande and his family
in the dangers which awaited him, he admoiffhed
them to haften to Cape Frangois, whilft they could
do it with fafety. This advice Mauduit adopted;
and which afterwards brought him the fevereft cen-
fure. In thefe alarming circumstances, Mauduit
a&ed the only part which seemed prudent; and ha-
ving harangued his grenadiers, he candidly informed
them, that, for the fake of peace, he was willing to
reftore to the national troops the colours which he
had taken from them; and, at the head of his own
regiment, to deposit them in the church in which
they had been usually lodged: He requested no-
thing elfe from them, but that they would prote&
him from personal infult, while making this ample
reparation. There grenadiers, once the confidants
of their commander, were now faithkef to their de-
HISTORY or STDC MINGO.
olaration,. which: they had at prefent uttered,. thab
they would prote6l him to the laft drop) of thin
Amidft a rvaft. crowd of amazed fpe&ators, Maun
duit the next day made the ample reparation which
he had promifed.. Ungeneroufly, and very unfortu,
nately, in the very moment of this humiliating fer,
vice, one of the soldiers exclaimed, He muft afi
pardon of the national guards upon his knees." In.
flantly giving vent to the impulfe of the moment
the whole regiment applauded his proposal. With
a military and heroic fortitude, Mauduitftacted back
with indignation, and presented his naked hreaft
to the point of their fworis. Might it not have
been expe&ed, that their minds would have been. pa-
cified, and that they would hale fpurned at the idea
of wreaking their vengeance' upon their commanding
officer, after he haad made' fuch.an apology ?- buW
shocking toclat, immediately his hbeaft was pierced
with an hundred wounds, by the hand eof his owts
men, and not one fingte arm lifted in his" defence.
Either aftonithed with the treachery of his soldiers,
eo filled with hatred at the man, the fpeaatocs flood
motionlefs during the horrid deed.
Nor can the stores of language afford expreffione
to unfold, how barbaroufly and inhumanly ,they
treated the dead body of their commander. To that
eventful day it was referred to behold the barbari-
ty and revengeful cruelties of the American favages,
for the firft time, exceeded by a civilized nation.
The mind thinks from the ta4k to add, that were it
not to offend the feelings, even of the rudeft of fo-
70 HISTORY OF ST DOMINGO.
city, many other shameful instances might be ad-
duced in confirmation of this strong affertion.
It is, however, fome honour to humanity, and
confolation to the reader, to learn, that the only ef-
fe& which the condu& of thefe ungrateful men to-
wards their indulgent commander,. was, to compel
them to lay down their arms, anid instantly to haften
prifoners to France.
The fociety denominated Amis des Noirs were
*erting all their cunning and artifice in the paternal
country, in laying plans, and devifing fchemea,
which gave birth to deeds ftill more generally hor.
rible, in the very time that thefe disgraceful enormi-
ties were committing in St Domingo.
A little reflcaion will difcover, that there are
many local circumstances unknown to thefe at a di-
ftance, which have a powerful influence upon the
politics of any place. The fame was the cafe con.
cerning St Domingo. It was well known, that the
general' body of the coloured people were by no
means averfe to a conciliation with the whites ; but
either through ignorance or inattention, this local
fa& was disregarded, and no arguments could in-
duce the pretended friends of the blacks who refided
in Europe, to leave the affairs in St Domingo to their
own- natural operation.
' This remark receives considerable strength from
the fa&, that Barnave, whole official station gave
him the beft acquaintance with the local fa&s, was
at length convinced, that any interference of the.
mother-country with the ftfuggles of St Domingo,
HISTORY or ST DOMINGO.
would only tend to render the confequences more
terrible, and the deftrufion more univerfal.
His advice ought to have been received with grate.
ful fubmiffion; but fuch is the effect of a favourite
and begun plan, that he was heard with indifference,
and without effeCt. The human mind is capable of
difplaying the genius of fanaticifm in the political,
as well as in the religious circle ; and ufual under
the beneficial influence of that principle, the, difco-
vered miftake and recantation of a few only ferves -
to ftrengthen the errors, and embolden the purfuits,
of thofe who remain.
Exemplifying this remark, La Fayette, Briffot,
and fome other peftilent reformers, called in the
fupreme legislative authority to give effect to their
To place, before the mind of the reader, in a lu-
minous point of view, the nature and complexion of
that conduct, which transformed the moft beautiful
colony,in the whole globe into a field of carnage and
devastation, it is neceffary to recal his attention to the
national decree paffed on the 8th of March 1790.
That decree disclaimed all intention of the Na-
tional Affembly to interfere in the local and internal
affairs of the colony. Nor can the mind which is
unbiaffed by prejudice, hefitate for one moment in
afferting, that if this statute had been properly up-
derftood, and faithfully obferved, it would have
difplayed its inherent wifdom by the moft falutary
But hoftile incendiaries are the deftroyers of wife
laws. To render as abortive as poffible, and to
72 HISTORY OF ST DOMINGO.
roufe to greater vigour the rising flame, a few days-
after the paffing of this law, a code, or chapter of
inftruftions, were proposed, and decreed to be tranf-
mitted to the governor, refpeding the manner in
-which the Affembly wished this law to be executed
That additional code contained eighteen articles,
and, among others, the following: "f That every
-" perfon of the age of twenty-five and upwards,
", poffeffing property, or having refided two years in
" the colony, and paid taxes, should be permitted to
69 vote in the formation of the Colonial Affembly."
With equity and discernment, the friends of the
colonifts, who fat in the National AKembly,. oppo-
fed the measure, as :repugnant t6 the decree of the
8th; plainly averring, that in no cafe there fboukl
be an interference in the local arrangements' and in-
terior regulations of the colonial government. There
is no evidence leading to the fuppofition, that.the
mulatto-people were either direelly or indiretly in-
cluded in the decree. The favourers of the mea-
fure openly pretended, that it was only to modify
the privileges of voting in the parochial meetings,
which were compofed alone of the whites. Previous
to that period, in no instance had the coloured people
attended thofe meetings; nor fo much as fet up a
claim for that privilege.
Thefe explanatory inftrufions, however, had no
fooner iffued from the National Affembly, than the
former and supporters of the prefent measures
threw off the mafk; and the mulattoes resident in
the paternal country, as well as the fociety of Amis
HISTORY oW ST DOMINGO,
dis Neirs, informed their friends in St Domingo,
that the people of colour not being exempted, were
virtually concluded in that law. Either from real
ignorance, or want of power to enforce their wishes,
thefe fent deputies to France to intreat an explana-
tion of the. ad from the National Affembly itfelf.
Gregoire Abbe brought the consideration of this fub.
jet before the National Affembly in the beginning
of May 1791; and, with all that warmth and elo-
quenee for which he was to eminently diftinguifhed,
supported1 the claim of: the free mulattoes to the full
benefit of the inftruf&ione of the 28th of March
i790, and to all the rights-and privileges enjoyed by
the white" citizens of the French colonies. The ti-,
dings of the mifeAble death of Oge unfortunately
reached Paris at this critical jun ure, and raised
fuch a ftorm of indignation which all the eloquence
andpowers of the planters resident in France were
unqualified to oppose. Declamations and depreca-
tions were heard in every company against their op-
preffion and cruelty. To support the public tempeft
against them, a tragedy, or pantomime, formed on
the ftory of Og6, was prepared, and performed on
the public theatres..
During the rage of this popular tumult, the plant-
ers were not only held in univerfal deteftation,, but
they even durft not venture their perfons in the
ftreets of Paris. Gregoire, Condorcet, La Fayettj
Briffot, and Robefpierre, by the dextrous prafiee-
of thefe arts, routed the public mind to infift upon
the rights of the coloured people; fo that their caufe
appeared fuccefsful beyond all difpute. Confusion
G G and
74 HISTORY oF ST DOMINGO.
and difmay feized the minds of the advocates and
supporters of the planters. With unavailing effe&
they prediaed the total ruin of the colony, should
fuch a law be enforced. The imperious Robefpierre
exclaimed, ," Perifh the colonies, rather than facri-
1" fice one idea of our principles !" The majority re-
iterated the fentiment, and the decree paffed amidft
loud acclamations of applaufe.
This decree declared and ena&ed, That the
people of colour resident in the French colonies,
born of free parents, were entitled to, as of right,
and should be allowed the enjoyment of, all the
privileges of French citizens; and, among others,
to thofe of having votes in the choice of reprefen-
tatives, and of being eligible td feats both in the
Parochial and Colonial Affemblies." Thus in one
hour was torn up by the roots the radical principles
of a free constitution, by the unfkilful hand of the
National Affembly; and by one law, all the former
laws, prejudices, ufages, and opinions concerning
that people, were repealed.
There is too much evidence in support of the re-
mark, that the condu& difplayed in giving that
people the privilege of the fole and exclusive right of
paffing laws for their local and interior regulation
and government, was, by conditional inftrufions,
converted into worfe than folly. The candour and
firmnefs of the Colonial Committee, headed by M.
J3arnave, its president, difplayed itfelf on the prefent
occafion, both by candidly informing the Affembly
of the awful confequence of this meafure, by the im-
mediate fufpenfion of the exercise of its functions,
HISTORY oF ST DOMINGO.
and alfo by the colonial deputies, intimating their
resolution of withdrawing their attendance. But
infatuation will be restrained by no check; for the
only effe& produced by thefe measures on the Na-
tional Affembly was, a positive order to the three fe-
veral commiffioners appointed for regulating the in-
ternal affairs of the colonies, to repair immediately to
the fpot, and enforce the national' decrees, by every.
poffible and coercive meafure. The melancholy
confequences to which it devoted St Domingo, will
deeply interest our feelings in the following chap-
76 HISTORY oF STr OMINGO.
CHA P. VII.
General deva]iation and melancholy State of St Domin-
go ;-Decree of National Affembly the caufe.-Thke
Affembly of the North proceed to chufe new Members
to compofe a Colonial Affembly.--The Mulattoes af-
femble in Arms; ,-proceed to open Hoflilities in the
Northern Province.-Whites unable to cppofe their
Spower and number.--Ihe extetfive Plain of the
Cape de9froyed.-Horrid particular Murders.
THE moft vigorous imagination, and the moft
fertile pen, are unable to defcribe the fcenes
of horror now before us. Whatever are the relative
importance of the ftruggles between the different
claffes of French citizens, and the violence of thete
contending factions, they no longer claim attention.
Now a fceue of woe, now a picture of human cala-
mity, is presented to the view, unequalled in any age
or in any country.
The mind revolts, and the pen trembles, when
about to relate, that more than one hundred thou-
fand cruel favages, accuftomed to all the barbarities
of an African region, taking advantage of the dark-
.nefs and obfcurity of the night, rufh upon the unfuf-
picious and peaceful planters, fimilar to a herd of
famifhing lions and tygers, thirfting and roaring for
their prey. Death, attended with every fpecies of
horror, of cruelty, of outrage, and pain, every where
attend their progress and rebellion; and maffacre and
HISTORY or ST DOMINGO.
conflagration exult in all their direful vigour and de-
folating fury. No fex, nor age, nor rank, are re-.
garded ; nay, immediate death is compaffion, com-
pared to that kind of death which awaited the vene-
rable old man, the gallant youth, the refpefable ma.
tron, the beautiful virgin, and the helplefs infant.
Uncontrouled and unregulated, the ungovernable
paflions of favage mortals burft forth in war, to
praftife the moft shocking and shameful enormities.
In thort, the moft beautiful plains in the known
world are in a few days turned into a field of car-
nage, and a wildernefs of defolation, by the fire con.,
fuming what the fword hath been unable to deftroy.
The long-meditated vengeance, fostered by the
oppreffion of many years, co-operated with the pre-
fent infamous decree of the Affembly, to kindle this
devouring flame. It is fufficiently evident, that
whilft any calamity hath not actually happened, it
may be prevented; therefore, although the dying
declaration of Oge proves that the mifchief was im-
pending, yet the fatal decree infpired vigour and ac-
tivity into the poifon. Yes, the prepared combuf.
tibles were lighted by this torch, formed by the hands
of the National Affembly itfelf.
Nor are thefe mere affertions, devoid of proof. For
no fooner was the intelligence thereof received at
- Cape Frangois, on the 3oth of June, than indigna.
tion, and rage, and resentment, flew through the
colony, and in no place more violent than in the
town of the Cape, who had always been ftrong in
her attachment, and firft. in her profeffions of regard
to the mother-country.
78 HISTORY orF ST DOMINGD.
A general federation was to have taken pace on
the 14th of July, but in one voice they resolved to
reject the civic oath. The moft difcordant interests
were coalefced, by the influence of this decree.
Under the firft impreffions of this decree, it was pro-
pofed, to confifcate all the French property, and to
feize all the (hips in the harbour. Not only was an
embargo laid, but a motion was alfo made to pull
down the national colours, and raife the Britifh
standard in their place. Every fpecies of colonial
fubordination was loft, and the national cockade
every where trodden under foot, while the governor.
general was conftrained to contemplate thefe indig.
nities with ina&ive filence.
In a memorial whhch dropped from the pen of
that officer hinffelf, concerning his administration
in that ifland, the fears and apprehenfions which he
felt on that oceafion, are emphatically deferibed. He
fays, Acquainted with the genius and tempers of
the white colonists, by a refidence of even years in
the Windward Iflands, and well informed of the
Grounds and motives of their prejudices and opi-
*, nions concerning the people of colour, I imme-
*t diately forefaw the disturbances and dangers which
of the news of this ill-advifed meafure would inevi-
tably produce ; and not having it in my power
to fupprefs the communication of it, I loft no
'* time in apprifing the Kitig's ministers of the gene-
ral difcontent, and violent fermentation which it
excited in the colony. To my own obfervations
I added thofe of many refpeaable, fober, and dif-
U paffionate men, whom I thought it my duty to,
HISTORY oF ST DOMINGO.
", confult in fo critical a conjun&ure; and I con-
c, cluded my letter, by expredling my fears that this
*' decree would prove the death-warrant of many
" thousands of the inhabitants. The event has
41 mournfully verified mypredifions."
The federal parifhes within the Northern depart.
ment now proceeded, without farther delay or hefi-
tation, to the election of new deputies for the Colo-
nial Affembly. On the 9th of Auguft thefe met at
Leogane, to the number of 176, and affumed the
title of the General Affembly of the French part of
St Domingo. Uncommmon unanimity and fteadi.
nefs of temper were difplayed during their proceed-
ings, although little bufinefs was tranfa&ed; and
they adjourned to the 25th of the fame month, with
the resolution to meet at Cape Frangois.
Compelled by the tone of the public mind, M.
Blanchelande found it neceffary to tranfmit to the
Provincial Affembly of the North a copy of the let-
ter written to the King's ministers. Nor was this
the only conceffion he was conftrained to make to
the temper of the times; for he added the moft fo-.
lemn affurance, that he would fufpend the execution.
of the hated decree whenever it should come out to
him properly authenticated. Certainly no cizcum-
ftance could more strongly evince that hie authority
was totally gone.
The mulattoes, in every part of the colony, alarm.
ed at thefe proceedings, and perhaps dreading a ge.
neral profcription, flocked to arms and the whites,
by a deluded fatality, permitted them to collect
without moleftation. The objea which at present
8q HISTORY OF ST DOMINGO.
drew the attention of every individual was, the meet-
ing of the Affembly, from whom an ample and an
immediate redrefs of all grievances was affuredly
M. Blanchelande himfelf declares, That he
" cherished the fame flattering and fallacious
of hopes."-" After a long fucceffion of violent
c formss" he fays, I fondly expealed the re-
" turn of a calm and ferene morning. The temr.
" operate and conciliating conduA of the new
" Affembly, during their fhort fitting at Leogane;
", the characters of moft of the individual mem-
" bers, and the neceffity, fo apparent to all, of
" mutual conceffion and unanimity on this great oc-
" cation, led me to think that the colony would at
" length fee the termination of its miferies; when,
Salas the ftorm was ready to burft, which has
" fince involved us in one common deftruwion."
A general alarm and consternation was circulated
throughout the town of Cape Francois on the morn-
ing of the 23d of Auguft, a little before the dawn
of day. Some, who had efcaped the deftrudQion,
routed the inhabitants from their flumbers, to inform
them that a general revolt of the flaves in the adja-
cent parifhes had taken place during the night, and
that they were spreading defolation and death over
the beautiful and extenfive valley to the north-eaft.
The governor and officers upon duty met in coun-
cil ; but the reports were fo imperfeCt and contra-
di6ory, that they gained but a feeble affent. The
return of day, however, and the fudden and frequent
arrival, together with the ghaftly and terrified c0un-
HISTORY or ST DOMINGO.
tenances, of thofe who flied from the malfacre, Ten-
dered the fad tidings no longer doubtful.
About nine miles from the city, upon a planta-
Ition called Noe, the rebellion commenced. In the
middle of the night twelve or thirteen of the ring.
leaders advanced to the fugar-houfe, and dragging a
young man, an apprentice to the refiner, they cut
him to pieces with their cutlaffes in the front of the
dwelling-houfe. The overfeer awakened, and a-
larmed with his woeful cries, amid the agonies of
fuch cruelty, went to his affiftance, and was that
dead upon the fpot.
The apartment of the refiner was next attacked,
tand ,that unhappy man murdered in his bed. In the
neighboring chamber lay a young man fick, whom
they cut in abihooking manner with heir outlahfis,
.and left for dead; but he had sufficient firength to
anore to the .next plantation, there to relate what le
.had feen, .and- that every white man upon the plan-
.tation -was iflain, except the furgeon, who was con.
.Lrained to attend them, left they should Rand in
*need of his services. Thefe perfons, upon receiving
,this information, fled for their 'lives ; and it is not
mentioned what became of the young man.
In an increased band they proceed to the houfe
of M. Clement, where his negroes instantly joined
them, and M. Clement was flain by the hand of his
own poftilion, unto whom he had always fhewn the
greatest kindnefs. The refiner was alfo murdered;
tbut the other white people found means to efcape.
A few miles diftant, the flaves upon the plantation
of M. Flaville arofe and murdered five white people,
82 HIlSTORY or STr DOMINGO.
one of whom had a wife and three daughters. On
their bended knees, entreating for mercy, thefe three
unfortunate women beheld the husband and the fa-
ther flain before their eyes. They themselves were
indeed fpared for the present, but only devoted to a
more direful fate, and inflantly dragged away with
the inhuman ruffians.
What an awful fcene did the return of day ex-
hibit Then it fully difclofed, that all the flaves in
the plain ated in concert, and that a general maf-
facre of the whites was effe&ing in every quarter.
The females indeed were fpared upon fome eftates,
but only to gratify the brutal defire of thefe ferocious
men. Nor will compaffion to the feelings of the
public permit to mention the situation and manner
in which fome of thefe suffered violation.
It was, however, generally believed in the town,
that the rebellion was only partial. The plantation
of M. Gallifet was the moft extensive upon the plain,
and he had always treated his flaves fo indulgently,
that M. Odelug, his agent, confident that they would
not rife in rebellion, haftened to the place, only at-
tended by a few soldiers from the town-guard. To
his aftoniihment and grief, however, upon his ap-
proaching the place, he found the negroes in arms,
and carrying for their standard the body of a white
infant, which they had recently transfixed on a
flake. The agent unfortunately had advanced too
far to retreat, and was accordingly flain, with
moft of the soldiers, without the leaft mercy. The
few who efcaped brought the horrible news to the
n' ." -: .,, -> m
HISTORY or ST DOMINGO.
After the greater part of the whites were butcher..
ed on the different plantations, the few only except-
ed who had found fafety in flight, the depredators
exchanged the fword for the flaming torch. Not
many minutes elapfed, when, in a thousand different
directions, the flames were feen from the town,
afcending and forming a fpefacle more horrible
than either the powers of the pen can defcribe, .or
the vigour of fancy paint. The dwelling-houfes,
the fugar-houfe, and all the other buildings, were
mingled in one great conflagration.
The Affembly conferred the chief command of
the national guards upon the governor, and all the
citizens flew to arms, and the governor was entreat-
ed to give fuch orders as the preffling neceffity of the
cafe required. What an alarming and affliaing
fcene took place in the town Conflernation and
difmay overwhelmed every mind, and the lamentable
cries of the women and children, running up and
down the ftreets, greatly increased the horrors of
The firft meafure adopted was, to fend the white
women and children who refided in the town on
board the fhips who lay in the harbour; and as
there was reafon to fufpe& the negroes who remained
in the town, the firongeft men among them were
fent on board likewise, and very ftriatly guarded.
There ftill remained in the city, however, a con-
fiderable number of mulattoes, who had not openly
taken any part in the difputes between their brethren
and the whites. The situation of thefe was truly
critical. The lower clafs of the people, deeming
84 HISTORY or ST DOMINGO.
the mulattoes as the immediate authors of the rebel-
lion:, they would inrftntly have destroyed thefe, had,
not the Affembly and the governor taken them un,
der their proteaion, and vigoroufity interpofed in
their behalf. In return for this favour,, all the ftrong
men among them offered to march against the ro.
bels, and to leave their wives and childrenras pledges
for their fidelity. Having accepted of this offer,
they were enrolled among the different companies of
Amidft the terrific glare of surrounding flames,
the Affembly held their deliberations; and, after
they had been confiderably augmented by the fea.
men who could be fpared. from the thips, and put in-
to the bhft poffibie degree of order, they wished to
fend a detachment to.attack the principal body of the
Having, therefore, received orders, M. de Tou-
zard, an officer who had diftinguifhed himfelfin the
service of North America, took the command of a
party of militia and troops of the line, and with thefe
marched to attack a band of about four thoufand ne-
groes, stationed on the plantation' of M. Latour. It
was to no purpose that many of them were flain ;
they increased by hundreds; therefore Touzard was
forced to retreat; and, unqueftionably, if the rebels
had immediately purfued them to the town, they.
could have destroyed it, and either have flain the in-
habitants, or conftrained them to take fhelter in
In this situation of affairs, the Affembly admonifh-
ed the governor to a& for fome time upon the defen-
HISTORY or ST DOMINGO.
live. Deading every moment that the flames would
pour down in torrents upon the town, they firft for*
tified all the ways and paffes which led to it.
The principal road from the eaft was interfered
by a river, over which there was at present no bridge.
In order to defend this pafs, a battery of cannon was
created on boats lathed together, while fmall camps
were formed at proper diftances upon the banks of
The other principal road was from the fouth,
which lay through a mountainous diftrie. There
heights were suddenly feized, and considerable bo-
dies of troops ftatiorted there. Thefe precautions,
however, not being thought fully sufficient, it was
refolved to furround the whole town byland with a
strong palifade. In the erefion of this defence, all
the inhabitants, without diftinaion, were inftantly
employed ; and, both to obtain the aid of the feamen,
and to fecure a retreat in cafe of neceffity, an em-
bargo was laid upQn all the hips in the harbour.
That they might haften to take measures to defend
themselves, intelligence was fent to all the parifhes
where the communication was open, either by land
or fea. Thefe formed camps, and formed a chain
of pofts which seemed for a fhort time to prevent
the rebellion from advancing beyond the Northern
province. It is generally fuppofed, that on the 28th
of Auguft, an univerfal revolt of the negroes was-deI.
termined, but that the impetuofity of fome on-td
plain had conftrained them to begin their operattoi
two days before that time.
Afi two places, Grande Riviere and Dondon, thit
86 HISTORY oF ST DOMINGO.
camps were attacked by the negroes, who were now
every where joined by the mulattoes, and carried
with great flaughter. During even hours, the
whites maintained the contest at Dondon ; but, over-
powered by the vaft fuperiority of numbers, they
were conftrained to yield, with the lofs of more than
one hundred of their number. Thofe who remain-
ed fled to the Spaniih territory.
In a thort time, therefore, the whole of the exten-
five plain of the Cape, together with the adjacent
mountains, were in the power of the rebels, and
none to oppofe their direful depredations. No
terms are fufficiently strong to defcribe the horrid,
(hameful, and favage cruelties which were exercifed
towards fuok of the whites as unhappily fell into their
M. Blen, an officer of the police, was feized, nail-
ed alive to one of the gates of his own plantation,
and there fufpended, and with an axe they chopped
off his limbs one by one.
A poor carpenter, endeavouring to conceal him-
felf, was discovered in his hiding-place; then the
favages exclaimed, that he muft die in the way
of his own employment; therefore, binding him be-
tween two planks of wood, they wantonly and deli.
berately fawed him afunder.
The unnatural horrors increase upon the pen as it
proceeds. M. Cardineau, a planter of Grand Ri-
viere, had two natural fons by a black woman, whom
4e had bred up with the greatest tendernefs, and
manumitted in their infancy. Thefe two fons
both united in the revolt; and their father, by all
HISTORY or ST DOMINGO.
the infinuating language in his power, and alfo by
the offer of money, endeavoured to divert them
from their purpofe; but how shocking to relate, they
took the money, and then inftantly ftabbed their own
father to the heart!
Often before the eyes, and fometimes clinging to
the breafts of their mothers, they murdered, with-
out exception, all the white and mulatto children of
thofe parents who had not joined in the revolted
Shocking even fo much as to mention! the young
women were barbaroufly treated, and often imme-
diately after murdered; and sometimes only refers
yed to future barbarity.
At Great Ravine, a venerable planter was bound
by a cruel favage, ringleader of the rebels; and in
his presence he abufed his daughter, a beautiful
young lady; and one of his soldiers barbaroufly
treated the other, and then flew both the venerable
father and the beautiful daughters.
An unexpeaQed and affeaing instance of huma-
nity occurred amidit all thefe fcenes of cruel barba-
rity. On a mountain-plantation, about thirty miles
from the Cape, lived M. and Madame Baillon, their
daughter, a fon-in-law, and two white fervants:
They were informed of the revolt by one of the
flaves, who was alfo himfelf in the conspiracy; but
he promised to exert his utmoft to fave the life of
his master and family. With this defign, he con-
duCed them into an adjacent wood, and then went
and joined the rebels.
He brought them provisions the following night
from the camp of the enemy. He repeated hiskind-
H 2 nefs
88 HISTORY or ST DOMINGO.
aefs the night following, but at the fame time dech.
red, that he could do fo no more.
During three days, they heard no more of their
negro; but at the end of that time he returned, and
direfed them how to make their way to a river
which led to Port Margot, affuring them that they
would find a canoe. They went, found the canoe,
and got fafely into it; but, overfet by the violence
of the current, they were confttained to retire to
their hiding-place in the mountains.
The faithful negro, deeply concerned for their
safety, fought them, found them out, and brought
pigeons, poultry, and bread; and by flow marches
along the banks of the river, brought them at laft
within fiht of the wharf at Port Margot; and then,
taking his laft adieu of the family, haftened to join
therebels. This family were nineteen nights in the
woods. This anecdote was conveyed through Ma-
dame Baillon herfelf; and therefore there is no
doubt of its authenticity.
The gloomy narrative will be refamed in the next
HISTORY OF ST DOMINGO.
Army advance from the Cape again/I the Rebels.-Re-
bellion in the Weflern Province equally violent.-Re-
bels approach the Cape.--A Truce.-Decree of the
.dfembly.- Free Companies of Mulattoes formed.-
Caufes of the Union of the Mulattoes and the Nc-
groes.-Review of the Condua of the Friends of the
Slaves in London and in Paris.-Means ufed to ex-
cite them to open Revolt.-The Letter of Abbe Gre-
goire to the Slaves.
T HE violent emotions of humanity are difficult
to endure. Painful fenfations agitated the
mind of the reader during the progrefs, and particu-
larly at the clofe, of the laft chapter. It is affliHing
to mention, that firnilar fenfations muft arife in the
mind, from the review of the fa&s with which this;
Returning for a little from the country, our at-
tention is recalled to the town of the Cape, where
the inhabitants, deeming themselves in fome degree
secure, the Affembly and the governor thought pro-
per that offensive operations should again commence
against the rebels. With this defign, a fmall army,
under the command of M. Rouvray, marched to the
eaft, and pitched their camp at Rouchrou. The ex-
tenfive buildings upon the plantation were at the
fame time occupied by a considerable body of the in-
furgents, who mounted heavy pieces of cannon upon
the walls. Thefe cannon had been imprudently left
H 3 unproteced
.9o HISTORY or ST DOMINGO.
unproteeed by government, along the harbours
where they had been placed in the time of war.
But it was a matter of greater furprife where they
had obtained their ammunition. It was, however;
afterwards discovered, that the negroes had ftolen
great quantities of powder and ball from the King's
arfenal at the Cape, and fecretly conveyed it to the
rebels. Moft of the fire-arms were at firft imported
by Oge; but afterwards, they were abundantly fup-
plied by fmall veffels from North America.
The whites had frequent fkirmifhes with the
blacks, when they had fent out foraging parties from
this plantation. In thefe engagements the negroes
feldom a&ed valiantly; but no fooner was one body
cut off, than another appeared; and thus they conti-
nued to harafs and deftroy by fatigue and the fword,
until they reduced that fertile country into a defart.
The attention hath hitherto been directed to the
tranfadtions which occurred in the Northern pro.
vince, but the flames of rebellion foon burft forth in
the Weftern province. In the parish of Mirebalais
upwards of 2000 appeared in arms. In the plain
of Cul-de-Sac their direful operations commenced
by burning the coffee plantations in the mountains.
They were joined, by 600 flaves.
A detachment was fent against them from Port au.
Prince, but the force of the rebels was too ftrong for-
them ; fo that, uncontrouled, they continued to rar
vage the country, and to exercise the fame horrid cruel,
ties on the whites who unfortunately fell into their
hantls,as they had exercifed in the Northern province.
Nay, fo far did their audacity and courage flimulate
HISTORY or Si IDOMINGO.
them, that they advanced to Fort au Prince itfell.
In this fixation, the town being fo defencelefs, its
deftru&ion was deemed inevitable.
But one consideration faved the city for the prem
fent from the devouring flames. The attempts of
the mulatto chiefs had been unfuccefsful in bringing
over the generality of the negroflaves, as they had
expended ; their minds cooled a little, and became
inclined to a ceffation of arms. They openly decla-
red they had never taken up arms to turn the coun*
try into a wildernefe, but only to fopport and en.
force the national decree of the i th of May.
M. Jumecourt, an extenfive planter, undertook the
office of mediator, and, by his powerful- and prudent
interpofition, upon the i ith of September, a convene
tion, or truce, was fettled between the people of co-
lour and the whites. As it admits of no doubt
that the original caufe of the revolt was that decrees.
every thing in that matter was now fettled.
For, imitating this example, the General Afetn..
bly, by a proclamation on the 2oth of Septembev.
declared that they would no longer oppofe the exe.
cution of the fame decree. Nay, they even proceed~
ed farther, and declared their intention to grattt
greater indulgences than were even involved in that
law. They alfo appointed the eredion eof certain
companies of mulattoes, in. which. all thofe who,
were qualified might ferve, without diftin&iob of
rank or colour.
The mind of the refleCing reader will eafily per.
ceive, that fuch conceffions, granted at an earlier pe-
siod, would moft certainly have faved the country
92 HISTORY bF ST DOMINGO.
from devaftation and blood; but the wounds which
.had been given were green and bleeding, and all
thofe paffions which are the offspring of pride, an.
ger, malice, hatred, and revenge, were ftill boiling
in the minds of both parties. The awful refult was,
that the flame of contention was not extinguifhed,
but only fmoothered, in order to burft forth with the
greater impetuofity and violence.
The mind-of the intelligent reader will perhaps
inquire, What was the original caufe of the union and
operation of fuch a number of negro-flaves with the men
of colour in this fad rebellion ? The following ftate-
went may ferve as an anfwer to that question.
That man would display great ignorance of the fate
of flavery, and the particular situation of the ifland of
St Domingo, who would deny that the whole body
of the people of colour had, previous to this period,
ample reafon of complaint. The philofopher will
alfo admit, that there is a point to which oppreffion
may advance, when forbearance ceafes to be any long-
er a virtue. It may farther be admitted, that fuch
indeed was the fate of the people of colour in St
Domingo, if the redrefs of their grievances, and the
melioration of their condition, had not occupied the
attention of the firft Geperal Affembly of St Do.
gringo which ever were affembled.
This circumstance, therefore, gives a very diffe-
rent complexion to the fa&, and places the condu&
of thofe wild reformers in an odious light; who fti.
mulated thofe men to feek, at the altar of cruelty
and bloodfled, what would foon have been the will.
HISTORY or St DOMINGO.
ing facriice of reason and hw, upon the altar of
Nor doth the condu& of the people of colour feem
to have been reprehenfible concerning the negro.
flames. In 1? far as confiftent with their own fafety,
their conduct was ftrongly indulgent. The mulat-
toes were the cruel oppreffors of the negroes. Ve-
rifying the pifure often exhibited by human nature,
the cruelties which were exercifed towards the
people of colour by the whites, they, in their turn,
exercifed towards the negroes.
But why did the negroes forget their rooted en-
mity, and unite in operation with the constant ob-
jef& of their hatred ? This question is certainly of
considerable confequence to the proper understand.
ing of the latent causes of this dreadful fcene.
To refolye this hifterical question, let us firft re.
cur to the proceedings of the feciety of Les Abnis de
Noirs in Paris, and to thofe of the Britifth society
which heWl its meetings in the Old Jewty in Lon-
don. A brief review of their united proceedings
will not only remove our furprife at the condua of
the faves in St Domingo, but alfo raife no fmall de-
gree of furprife in the mind, that the flaves in the
Britith iflands did not follow their example.
The reader already knows, that the fociety in Con-
don proposed to have nothing in view but to obtain
an a& of Parliament to prevent the farther importa-
tion of flaves from Africa. Their words were,
"* That they difclaimed all intention of interfering
cc with the government and condition of the negroes
'* already in the plantations." Publicly declaring
94 HISTORY OF ST DOMINGO.
their opinion to be, That a general emancipation
" of thefe people, in their prefent ftate of ignorance
9 and barbarity, instead of a bleffing, would prove
" to them the force of misfortune and mifery."
But the language and private fentini*nts of that,
body were different from their avowed principles.
Their objea was, not only to fill the public mind of
Great Britain with indignation and deteftation of the
flave-trade, but alfo to roufe, to the higheft degree
of elevation, the refentment of the enflaved refiding
in the colonies. In order to effeluate this defign,
they distributed innumerable tra&s and pamphlets
throughout the colonies, at a vaft expence, whofe
principal aim was, to infpire the ideas of their natu-
ral rights, and equality of condition, in order to
lead them to open rebellion and bloodshed.
Nor can the language or arguments ufed in fome
parts of thefe pamphlets be mifunderftood. One
writes in the following manner : Refiftance is al-
" ways juftifiable where force is the fubftitute of
" right: nor is the commitffon of a civil crime poffble in
" ajlate offlavery."
Another writer addreffes them in the following
manner: Should we not approve their condua in
" their violence ? Should we not crown it with eu-
,, logium, if they exterminate their tyrants with fire
"< and fword ? Should they even deliberately infii the
" mofl exquisite tortures on thefe tyrants, would they
" not be excufeable in the moral judgement of thofe
" who properly value thofe ineftimable bleffings, ra-
" tional and religious liberty."
Nor did thefe efforts fuffice. They addreffled
HISTORY OF ST DOMINGO.
them, not only in the artificial, but alfo in the natu-
ral language. A medal was truck, containing the
figure of a naked negro loaded with chains, and in
the attitude of imploring mercy. That thofe who
could not read the inflammatory harangues might
receive inftru&ion, thousands of thefe were difper-
fed in the Weft Indies. But besides thefe means,
there are many of the negro flaves who return
annually from Europe, who are fully sufficient to
rouf their countrymen, and who are induftrious
to represent the planters as a race of remorfelefs
bloody tyrants. The mind cannot eafily imagine
what other methods were left to excite to open re-
bellion, unlefs the a&ual putting of arms and am..
munition into their hands, .and training them to the
ufe of them.
Previous to this period, the fociety in London had
ferved as the model upon which the fociety in Paris
had formed; but the French character is by no
means flow in its operations, therefore they openly
purfued thofe measures which their friends in Lon-
don Rtill fcrupled to adopt. It happened, that at
that period there were a number of free mulattoes
in France, who cheerfully undertook to explain the
fentiments of the mother-country to their brethren
refiding in the colonies.
.This paved the way to a conciliation and a union
between the two claffes who groaned under the iron
yoke : For the negroes, perfuaded that it was only
through the influence and connexion of the mulat-
toes with the people of France that they could ob-
tain an ample and regular fupply of arms and arm-
96 HISTORY OF ST DOMINGO.
munition, they, under this impreffion, foon forgot
their ardent animofity and hatred. On the other
hand, the people of colour, trufting greatly to the
number and strength of the negroes for fuccefs, fo
infinuated themselves into their favour, as to obtain
nine-tenths of all the Northern province.
The leading members of the fociety of Amis des
Nairs appear, however, to have fufpe&ed that the
decree of the i5Sth of May might tend to difunitc
them, fiance its privileges were confined entirely to
the people of colour; therefore, the Abbe Gregoire
wrote and published his famous circular letter.
One immediate effect of that letter was, that the
negroes in(St Domingo deemed him as their great
advocate and prote&or, and one upon whom they
might confidently depend in their struggle to obtain
juffice to themselves. That the reader may in fome
meafure conceive the effed which this eloquent and
nervous letter might be fuppofed to have upon the
minds of a favage people, I hall permit the Abb6
Gregoite to fpeak for himself.
c" FRIENDS !
cc You were Men,-.you are now Citizens. Rein-
Rated in the fulnefs of your 'rights, you will in fu-
ture participate of the fovereignty of the people.
The decree which the National Affembly has juft
published refpe&ing you, is not a favour; for a fa-
Your is a privilege; and a privilege to one clafs of
people is an injury to all the reft. They are words
which no longer difgrace the laws of the French.
"< In fecuring to you the exercise of your political
HISTORY om Sr DOMINGO.
rights, we have acquitted ourfelves of a debt: not to
have paid it, would have been a crime on our part,
and a difgrace to the constitution. The legislators
of a free nation certainly could not do lefs for youth
than our ancient defpots have done.
"c It is now above a century that Louis XIV. fo-
lemnly acknowledged and proclaimed your rights;
but of this facred inheritance you have been defraud-
ed, by pride and avarice, which have gradually in-
creafed your burdens, and embittered your exift-
The regeneration of the French empire opened
your hearts co hope, whofe cheering influence has al-
leviated the weight of your miferies; miferies of
which the people of Europe had no idea! While
the white planters resident among us were loud in
their complaints against minifterial tyranny, they
took special care to be filent as to their own. Not a
hint was fuggefted concerning the complaints of the
unhappy people of mixed blood S who, notwithftand-
ing, are their own children. It is we who, at the
distance of two thoufand leagues from you, have
been constrained to prote& thefe children against the
neglef, the contempt, the unnatural cruelty of their
cc But it is in vain that they have endeavoured to
fupprefs the juftice of your claims. Your groans,
notwithstanding the extent of the ocean which fepa-
rates us, have reached the'hearts of the European
Frenchmen; for they have hearts.
God Almighty comprehends all men in the circle
of his mercy. His love makes no diftintion be-