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THE HERO OF SAINT DOMINGO,
SOLDIER, STATESMAN, MARTYR;
TRIUMPH, INDEPENDENCE, AND ACHIEVEMENTS.
BY REV. C. W. MOSSELL, A. M., B. D.
LOCKPORT, l. Y.:
WARD & COBB.
C. W. MOSSELL.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
This book is dedicated to the good and brave people of
the United States, who in any way have contributed to the
preservation of the Union and the abolition of slavery; and
who in the future by their votes and every other legitimate
method, will seek to perpetuate free institutions and bequeath
to posterity a government of the people and for the people;
in which every citizen shall remain equal before the law, and
secure in all his rights. In this relation it affords no ordinary
pleasure to mention the name of Judge Albion W. Tourgee,
who is doing his whole duty in creating a wholesome public
opinion, without which the hopes and sentiment herein ex-
pressed cannot be realized.
NOTE.-The authority upon which this work is based is four fold: Un-
published official documents, historic and secret letters of the L'Ouverture
family, contemporary history, and current Haytien tradition. For the two
former sources of rare information we are indebted to Gragnon-Lacoste,
member of the Academy of Science, Belle-Lettres, Art of Bordeaux; so
also a member of the Legislative Academy of Toulouse, one of the com-
mission appointed on historic monuments and the author of several works
on Saint Domingo.
Hayti, as its name signifies, is a country full of mountains.
It is not, however, to be inferred that it is not rich in plains
and valleys of inexhaustable fertility, nor that the mountains
are not productive even to their summits. Indeed it would be
difficult to find a country more abundant in all those qualities
of nature and soil calculated as developed in richness, char-
acter and quantity of production, to make a people independ-
ent and wealthy, Hayti is, too, a country of wondrous beauty.
Her landscapes, no less than her matchless skies, charm and
delight one, and it is no mistake to call this island the Queen
of the Antilles. But the chief glory of Hayti, that which
gives her name and place among even the most advanced
nations of the world, is her brave defense and triumph in be-
half of human freedom. There is no spot in the 28,000 square
miles, which compose her territory, which has not been made
even richer by the blood spilled thereon as it flowed from the
veins of some brave son, wounded and dying for liberty.
The most remarkable fact connected with any people's his-
tory, of which the world has knowledge, distinguishes the life
of the former slaves of this island. The history of the world
outside of Hayti furnishes no record of a slave class asserting
its right to freedom as against their masters, and maintaining
such assertion through all the stages of personal liberty and
national independence and sovereignty. The honor and glory
of self-emancipation, crowned with the final consummation of
national masterhood, belong only to the Haytian slave, who
was led to his victory by the matchless, indomitable heroes,
L'Ouverture and Dessalines. There is nothing pertaining to
such a people, their past history and present condition,., their
prospective progress and prowess, which may not justly com-
mand the attention and consideration of mankind, and every
effort to make fully and correctly known the true character
and hope of such a people, should be recognized as a special
and useful service done the world. How can one better serve
his race than in making known the virtues of a brave people,
whose examples in deeds and sacrifices to advance individual
and popular welfare, furnishes a light by which the conduct of
others who struggle for freedom, for just recognition, may be
guided ? And how can this be done more successfully than
in the portraiture of the character and deeds of the person
who by presence and word animated and controlled such
people ? Indeed, Toussaint L'Ouverture is the strong, steady
mirror which reflects nobility and power of Haytian character.
Too much cannot be said of him. He deserves the applause
of the world.
A work at this time, after eighty-six years of national free-
dom and independence, as secured to Hayti through the
struggles of Toussaint and Dessalines, and sustained through
the efforts of Boyer and Petion as the exemplars of the later
leaders and statesmen, Soulouque, Jeffrard, Salnave and Solo-
mon, not to mention others, must be welcome as a valuable
contribution to the world's literature upon a subject full of
interest and importance. Especially must this prove to be
true if such work be written by one whose impartiality of con-
viction and learning, inspired and supported by actual obser-
vation of the people and the country, their character, habits
and life, in daily intimate social, educational and religious
association with them at their own homes, in their own cities,
upon their own plantations, in their own schools and colleges,
in their own churches and cathedrals, in their own courts of
justice, their legislative assemblies and their marts of trade
and commerce. Then add the ability still, after large obser-
vation of them from such standpoints, connected with their
divers revolutionary movements, as to be able and ready to
do them, in such respect, simple justice, and one is fitted for
the task of impartial and just authorship in their case.
The author of this book, an American by birth, education
and habits of correct study, reflection and conclusion comes to
his work fully and fitly prepared.
The Rev. Charles W. Mpossell, a missionary of the African
Methodist Episcopal church, of long residence on the island
of Hayti, enjoying while there large social, general contact
and observation, is the author of this book. Every page of it
will be found full of interest, instinct with historical and per-
sonal reminiscence, as well as learned in philosophical com-
ment and conclusion. It is commended therefore to the care-
ful, appreciative consideration of the public.
JOHN MERCER LANGSTON, LL. D.
Petersburg, Va., July 26th, 1890.
The island of Hayti, with the exception of Cuba, is the
largest of the West Indies group, and is situated at the
entrance of the Gulf of Mexico, between 170 37' and 20o north
latitude, and between 68 2o' and 740 28' west longitude. It
has a territory as extensive as that of Ireland. The extreme
western point is Cape Tiburon. The extreme eastern, Cape
Engano. Its greatest length is 407 miles, and its greatest
width is 16o miles. From Cuba the distance is 70 miles and
from Jamaica 130 miles. Puerto Rico is 60 miles east, and
from the United States to Hayti the distance is 1200 miles.
The population of the whole island, which is occupied by the
two republics, Haytian and Dominican, may be estimated at
twelve hundred thousand; of these, 800,000 are found within
the limits of the Haytian republic. This beautiful island,
which presents such a varied aspect, elevated and mountain-
ous, is very properly characterized by the name of Hayti,
which was given to it by the aborigines. Their ancient tradi-
tions bring to light two other names, and the significance of
both depends upon the point of view from which the territory
is considered. Quisqueya was the name applied to the east-
ern section, the interpretation of which is, extensive territory.
Bohio was the name applied to the western section and signi-
fied the territory where there are many valleys. In the time
of the aborigines Hayti was divided into five kingdoms, La-
Gua, LeMarien, LeXaragua, LeMaguana, LeHiquey, governed
by Kaciks, hereditary chiefs, who had under them as tribal and
vassels the Nitaynos, or governors of provinces. When Chris-
topher Columbus, after having touched at Cuba, discovered
the island of Hayti, December 6th, 1492, finding between it
and parts of Spain a striking resemblance, he gave to it the
name of Hispanola-Little Spain. He wrote to Ferdinand
and Isabella: "Hispanola is a marvel." Recently one of
Hayti's poets, M. Charles Villevalaix, charge d'affaires d'
Hayti, at London, has saluted Hayti in a charming manner, as
the island nestled among the evergreen and as the amiable
daughter of the waves. And later still he has spoken of the
fascinating odor of the foliage, of the variegated hues of the
fish which swarm the waters and of the unequalled lustre of
the moonlight nights. Had I not visited the country I would
not attempt to describe it, but even now after having resided
there a number of years, I hesitate. My best effort to convey
correct impressions as to what the island really is must neces-
sarily give a very faint idea of the beauty of her landscapes.
I shall faithfully perform my task without even hoping to pro-
duce a good imitation of the original. The reader is invited
to assist by his imagination. Picture to yourself an island
green as an emerald, surrounded by and elevated above a sea
as blue as indigo, and whose sides are indented with a number
of beautiful bays, upon the silver sands of which the waves
exhaust their force and subside. The artist who will prove
most successful ini throwing this tropical picture upon the
canvas must be the one who understands best how to blend
the opal of the sky, the verdure of the hills, and the indescrib-
able blue of the ocean, which modifying each other, throw a
soft halo of glory over the landscape. The interior of Hayti,
like the interior of Cuba, is crowded with rough mountain
chains, which differ very much in construction, are unequal in
height and which extend in all directions. Between these
mountain ranges are plains; the more extensive resemble the
prairies of the United States, the less extensive the dales of
Europe. Cultivation in these plains reminds one of the
famous garden of Hesperides, so exhuberant is the growth of
the orange tree and the mango tree, covered with golden
fruit; so prolific are the banana trees and the fig trees, whose'
branches are burdened with delicious fruit. Beside this nutri-
tious food, we find growing in great profusion on these fertile
lands the palm tree, the cocoa tree, the coffee tree, the cotton
tree, and sugar cane. In Hayti nature seems to have been
prodigal in the distribution of her blessings. She has given
without calculation, and the result is Paradise. Nevertheless
this garden spot of the world has been the theatre of horrible
scenes; the stage upon which has been enacted dramas almost
too awful to be mentioned, which prove, however, the strength
and weakness of human nature. The soil of Hayti has been
moistened with blood from the summit of the highest moun-
tain to the seaboard. Soon after the discovery of the island
the search for gold attracted to it large numbers of colonists.
They divided among themselves the native population. These
avaricious masters forced them to work the mines. In a very
short time the nature of the labor they were called upon to
perform and the hardships they endured led to the extermina-
tion of the native population. In fifteen years there was
a decrease of 1,ooo,ooo. The Spanish emigrants soon re-
paired this loss by bringing in Africans, supplied by the
Portugese, who at that time occupied themselves with the
slave trade. Aerrera, who claimed to be an authority, said
that one negro would do more work than four Indians. It is
worthy of remark that more gold was dug out of the mines of
Hayti than is now in circulation in Europe. In 163o, a num-
ber of French adventurers were expelled by the Spanish
admiral, Frederick de Tolede, from St. Christophe, which
place they had taken possession of five years before, under
the leadership of Niel d' Enambuc of Dieppe. They sought
refuge on the western side of Hayti, but fearing they would
be disturbed there they abandoned their refuge and shortly
afterward established themselves at La Tortue. They now
asked for the protection of the Metropolis. In 1640, the gov-
prnor of the Frenlh Islands in America sent tQ take charge of
them Levasseur. This man, who was always so fortunate in
his contact with the Spanish, was shot by Willis, chief of the
English buccaneers. After the death of Levasseur, his lieu-
tenant, Rausset, became his successor, and gathering around
him 500 men at Port Margot, recaptured La Tortue, of which
he was first proclaimed governor, then afterward proprietor.
Called to France to render an account of his administration,
Rausset was shut up in the Bastile. From this prison he was
not permitted to emerge until the i5th of November, 1664,
after he had conceded his rights in La Tortue to the West Indes
Company. The company, in order to take possession of the
island in its own name, made choice of Birtrand d'Orgeron,
who had resided in the new world for eight years. His
administration was very satisfactory, but he died in 1675.
His successor was De Pounancey, his nephew, who moved the
seat of government to Cape Francais. He died in 1682, and his
place was filled the following year by M. de Cussy, who was
charged to organize the government of Saint Domingo after
the system in vogue at Martinique. At the same period M.
de St. Laurent and M. Degon established at Petit-Goave a
supreme court, from which place it was afterward transferred
to Leogane. This was the tribunal of final resort. They
established also four imperial courts, at Petit-Goave, Leogane,
Port de Paix and at Cape Francais. To the end that he might
maintain order through his administration, not always peace-
able, the new governor sent an expedition to Mexico, which
returned with rich spoils. After that he took from the Span-
iards San Yago. It is proper to say, however, that attacked
by the enemy the following year, he was defeated and shot on
the plains of Limonade. The victorious Spanish taking pos-
session of the Cape burned it. Le Ducasse, who was sent in
October, 1691, to occupy the position made vacant by the
death of de Cussy, found the colony in a deplorable condition.
In 1695, he had to sustain a war both against the English and
the Spanish, who pillaged the Cape and Port de Paix in order
to avenge the loss of 3,000 slaves which they had taken the
year previous on the coasts of Jamaica. It was not until 1697,
by virtue of the treaty of Ryswyk, that an end was put to
these savage contentions. Louis XIV. obtained, under the
treaty mentioned, from the King of Spain, Charles II., the ces-
sion of all the western part of the island, which for forty years
belonged to the French by virtue of conquest. The section of
country around Cape Beata was sparsely settled indeed. One
might travel the country to the extent of 150 miles and not
find ioo inhabitants. The Marquis de Signaley granted it, in
1698, for thirty years, to the company called St. Louis, which
placed itself under obligation to transport in the course of five
years, 1,500 whites and 2,000 negroes. This company made
poor use of its privilege and was ruined by the extravagance
of its agents. Ducase was made commander of the navy, in
1703. His successor in office was M. Anger, a native of
Guadaloupe. Up to this time the civil and military power ex-
ercised by the governor, was placed in the hands of a com-
mission. These two administrators, under whom the colony
prospered, died in 1706. The former was replaced by Count
de Choisell-Beaupre and the later by M. J. J. Methon de Sen-
neville, who received the title of Minister of Justice and of
Finance, and who occupied the position for nearly four years.
The following named gentlemen were his successors in office:
de Gabaret, Count d' Arquin, Charles de Blenac, de Chateau,
Morand, Le Marquis de Sorrel. Under the government of the
last mentioned official, during the year 1722, complaints
against the Indies Company were frequently made. This
company had a monopoly of the slave trade, but it did not
furnish enough Africans to do in a profitable manner the ex-
tensive cultivation projected by the planters. In consequence
of which they took up arms. They burned the houses of the
company and laid violent hands on the Governor, whom they
forced to agree with them. This revolt did not subside until
the privileges enjoyed by the company were abolished by the
treaty of Leogane. Two years later great distress prevailed
throughout the colony, caused by an earthquake which lasted
fifteen days. During these days of tribulation Port au Prince
was demolished. De Nolivos was governor at this time. His
successor in office was the Count d' Ennery, to whom the col-
ony was indebted for the convention, the object of which was
to settle the boundary question, and which did, in 1778,
definitely fix the frontier line between the two possessions. It
is worthy of remark that while the Spanish settlement
declined, the French colony, although more recently estab-
lished, seemed to take on new vigor every year. It was at
.this epoch that the greatest splendor of the French colony
clearly manifested itself. The Haytian historian, in his work
entitled, "Petion and Hayti," writes that one cannot imagine
a more beautiful spectacle than the cultivation of the soil as
conducted in this island, which he was pleased to call the
Queen of the Antilles. At the time of which Moreau d' Saint-
Remy writes, "there were established in Hayti 792 sugar
refineries, 2,810 coffee plantations, 3,097 indigo manufactories,
and 705 cotton factories in full operation. The exports
amounted to sixty-four millions, three hundred and thirty
thousand dollars annually; the imports were a trifle in excess
of the exports. One thousand four hundred vessels were
required annually to carry the cargoes shipped from the ports
There is nothing more interesting in a country than its pop-
ulation. Between the colonists and the slaves there grew an
intermediate class, which was composed of what was known
as the Affranchis. This class muliplied as rapidly by mar-
riages among themselves as they did by the marriages which
they contracted with the whites. In 1789, the number of
slaves on the island was estimated at 5oo,ooo; the class
known as the Affranchis at 300oo,ooo, and the colonists at
40,000, and these 40,000 were responsible for the painful
oppression, the degrading servitude endured by a multitude
numerically speaking twelve times greater. As for the
Affranchis, they were not permitted to exercise any political
rights. As a result of the presentation of their grievances,
which were urged by the society known as the Friends of the
Blacks, organized at Paris, 1787, and which numbered among
its members Brissot, Gregoire, Mirabeau, Lafayette, Petion,
Robespierre, in harmony with Barnave's proposition, appeared
the decree of the 28th of March, 1790. The colonists not only
became irritated when they saw the Affranchis, by virtue of
said decree, permitted to exercise political rights, but posi-
tively refused to submit thereto. Vincent Oge, who repre-
sented at Paris the Affranchis, allowing himself to be deceived
by the pretended friendship of the chief of the French navy,
aided by the goodness of Clarkson, the English philanthrop-
ist, returned to Saint Domingo under the assumed name of
Poissac. He tried in vain to reach the Governor, Count de
Peinier. After every effort and every measure proving inef-
fectual, seconded by his friend, J. B. Chavannes, he took up
arms at Dondon, and associated with him were 250 men of
color. What could this handful of determined men do against
1,500 regular troops, supported by two pieces of artillery,
commanded by Colonel Cambefort? Put to flight they sought
an asylum, one in the wood of the Grand Riviere, the other in
the Spanish part of the island. Oge was arrested at Hincha,
Chavannes at San Juan. Rouxelle de Banchelande, who was
the successor of Peinier, and who was at the time exercising
gubernatorial functions, required their extradition. The Span-
ish governor, Don Joaquim Garcia, gave them up. The super-
ior court, which convened at the Cape, condemned them and
ordered them to be broken upon the wheel. After this pain-
ful death, their heads were separated from their bodies; that
of Oge was placed upon a pole and set up in the public road
which enters Dondon, and that of Chavannes, treated in the
same way, appeared in the highway which entered Grand
Riviere. In this case, from the blood of the martyrs, there
sprung up, like the teeth of the dragon, a multitude of war-
riors. A few days intervening and insurgent bands appeared
on different habitations. On the 14th of August, 1791, they
were seen near the Red Bluff, on the habitation of Lenormand
de Mazy. The 21st, they appeared on the habitation Rateau ;
the 26th of the same month they were seen on the habitation
Diegue, not far from Port au Prince in the west. The revolt
once started moved on by virtue of its own momentum. The
slaves seized the neck of the vulture which had devoured them
through long years and wrung it without remorse, without
compunction of conscience. They called upon God to witness
while they wrought destruction by the torch and indescribable
havoc with the machette, more terrible in their hands than the
claymore in the hands of the Scotch Highlanders. The
chiefs who directed these firebugs, these murderers, these
fiends given to pillage, did their awful work in a painfully
thorough manner. They were, with a few honorable ex-
ceptions, a strange lot of fellows. They were wicked; they
were cruel. Their hearts were stone; their nerves steeled.
Beauvais was followed by 300o blacks, which he called ground
squirrels. Buckman, of Jamaica, was the chief of 125 negro
maroons from the Blue Mountains, and in obedience to his
orders these maroons drank the blood of a hog, sacrificed
according to the dark rites of the vaudoux-worship. Then
there was Martin, the furious; Romaine Riviere, a mulatto,
who called himself the god-son of the Holy Virgin, and who
exercised undefinable influence over the unfortunates who
were in the revolution, not so much for the cause of liberty
as for the opportunity it afforded them to indulge their
inordinate appetites and baser passions. To this list we
must add the name of Hallaou, the much dreaded, who carried
a charm in the thickest of the conflict, which was said rendered
him invulnerable; and we add another name, Biassou, who
called himself the viceroy of the conquered territory, and who
Olid not hesitate to burn in a slow fire the prisoners who fell
into his hands. And again, Jean Francois, who was known as
general-in-chief and grand admiral of France, covered himself
with laces and crosses and other articles taken from his vic-
tims. He inspected his troops, mounted upon a richly har-
nessed horse, or in a carriage drawn by four chargers.
Jeannot, who was perhaps the most ferocious of the insurgents,
called himself the avenger of Oge and Chavannes. His stand-
ard was the body of a white child fixed to the end of a pike.
The entrance to his camp was between two rows of poles and
the end of each pole was crowned with the head of one of his
white victims. The trees surrounding his camp were provided
with hooks from which were suspended by their chins the
bodies of the white masters. The prisoners who fell into his
hands were placed between boards and sawn asunder. He
mingled the blood of his victims with rum and drank it in
order to quench his thirst. This list is completed when we
add the names of J. J. Dessalines, who was the incarnation of
the destructive forces of the revolution; Henry Christophe, a
king of the north, who became the Nero of the times, and
whose end was like that of the notorious Roman; and finally,
Toussaint L'Ouverture, who was in the war not for revenge,
but to advance the cause of liberty, who at an early stage in
the revolution separated from the insurgents, positively
refused in any way to be made responsible for them, who
declared that the crimes committed by them were calculated
to compromise, rather than help, the cause of freedom, and
whose character and reputation, whose life and deeds we have
labored faithfully to unfold, in what we have written, and so
also in the translation of works which rest upon the very high-
We have named the leaders of the Haytian Spartans who
forced Governor-General Blanchelande to fly; who tired the
civil commissioners, Roume, St. Leger and Mirbeck, Polverel,
Sonthonax, and Ailhaud; who thrashed, at Crate-a-Pierrot,
General Leclerc, the brother-in-law of Napoleon Bonaparte;
who routed, at the ridge known as Tranquility, General Pam-
phile de Lacroix, and who humiliated Chambeau-Chambeau,
whose guard was a pack of miserable Cuban blood hounds,
used for the purpose of hunting down runaway slaves. These
terrible warriors, who buried the English in the ;ands of
Grande-Anse, Leogane, Archaie, St. Marks, Mole St. Nich-
olas, and who caused the Spaniards to find premature graves
along the ridges of Quanaminthe, Marmelade, Plaisance,
Limbe and Borgne, have written their names where they can-
not be erased. France, in whose path the disturbance of the
peace of Amiens had thrown many difficulties, let go her grip.
During this favorable period the insurgents proclaimed, with
becoming solemnity, their independence, on the first of Janu-
ary, 1804. This was the first arrow shot from the palm
planted by Toussaint L'Ouverture. J. J. Dessalines, elected
governor, soon declared himself emperor, under the title of
James I. His immoral conduct and impolitic measures alien-
ated the hearts of his partisans. He was murdered at Pont
Rouge. A stilletto in the hands of an obscure Brutus was the
instrument with which the fatal wounds were inflicted. After
the death of Dessalines public gaze fixed itself on Henry
Christophe, who had distinguished himself in the revolt
against the Metropolis. The important question, especially
the question which suggested itself to the more intelligent of
the community, was: Will he profit by the example of his
predecessor ? Will he amend the course of conduct through
which he has already become notorious ? The most anxious
were not kept long in suspense. In imitation of Dessalines,
he caused himself to be proclaimed king, under the name of
Henry I. His was a reign of terror, through which massacre
followed massacre ; and for this reason his government stood
in marked contrast with that which had been established by
Petion in the south. Alexandre Petion, wise, just, pacific,
spared the blood of his countrymen, and his mild government
in the south offered a refuge for those who were fortunate
enough to escape the tyranny of Christophe. In the death of
Petion the country sustained an irreparable loss, and the pro-
found grief which seized the hearts of the people gave ample
proof that they were conscious of their misfortune. The suc-
cessor of Alexandre Petion was Pierre Boyer. The accession
of Boyer to power seemed to intensify the wrath of Henry I.
He ordered St. Marc, the bulwark of his kingdom, to be put in
condition of defence. This order would have without doubt
been executed had it not been that he was stricken with
apoplexy. The administration of President Boyer was a suc-
cess. In thirteen months order was established and pros-
perity everywhere restored. He conquered the Spanish part
by force and ingenuity, and made one government out of the
two sister republics. For twenty years Hayti had been per-
,mitted to hold on in the even tenor of her way without inter-
ruption from other nations. All things considered this was a
tacit recognition of the independence of the island. In 1825,
after negotiations with France, which covered a long period,
the Republic of Hayti obligated herself to pay to the colonists
the damage which they sustained in the loss of habitations,
thirty million francs in thirty years, and Charles X. added to
the instrument, which carried this agreement, an explicit
declaration, France's sanction and recognition of Hayti's
autonomy." Here we give the rulers of Hayti which came
after Boyer, in the order of their service: Riviere-Herard,
Guerrier, Pierrot, Riche, Soulouque. Jeffrard, Salnave, Nissage
Saget, Michel Dominque, Boisrond-Canal, Solomon, and Hyp-
olite, the present incumbent, whose administration is both
vigorous and progressive. Since the reigns of Dessalines and
Christophe, the only crown government known to Hayti was
that of Emperor Soulouque, Faustian I. His majesty occu-
pied the throne, which he ascended in 1848, for twelve years.
In form of government Hayti is a republic. The president is
the chief executive officer; the legislative functions of the
government are confided to the National Assembly and the
Senate. The Cabinet is ordinarily composed of five Secre-
taries of State, who preside over as many different depart-
ments, namely: Justice, Finance and Foreign Affairs, Interior
and Police, Agriculture and Commerce, War and Navy, Public
Instruction and Worship.
The forty-two chapters of this book are replete with valua-
ble information never before presented to the American pub-
lic. Thirty-four of these chapters crystallize around the hero
of San Domingo; the events which transpired in rapid succes-
sion between 1790 and 1804-the most important period in
the history of Hayti-the period of violent changes, and the
beginning of the transition in which a nation passed from the
house of bondage to the promised land. We have produced
overwhelming evidence which proves conclusively that the
most stupendous struggle in the life of the Haytian nation
was, after all, conducted by a moral, intellectual and humane
force, of which Toussaint L'Ouverture was the personification.
In the name of the hero of San Domingo we send forth this
book, and in the name of this man, who conventionality made
a slave, but whom God made great, may this volume convince
the world that while the noblest qualities of heart and mind
do not at all enter into the character of the whites, who are
vain and intolerent, they most assuredly ornament the lives of
the blacks who are civilized.
C. W. MOSSELL.
WEKDELL PIILLIP$' ESTIMATE OF TOUSSRINT L'OUVERTURE.
History says that the most statesman-like act of Napoleon
Bonaparte was his proclamation of 1802, at the peace of
Amiens, when, believing that the indelible loyalty of a native
born heart is always a sufficient basis on which to found an
empire. He said, Frenchmen, come home; I pardon the
crimes of the last twelve years ; I blot out its parties ; I found
my throne on the hearts of all Frenchmen !"-and twelve
years of unclouded success shows how wisely he judged.
That was in 1802. In 800oo, this negro made a proclamation;
it runs thus: "Sons of San Domingo, come home. We never
meant to take your houses or lands; the negro only asked
that liberty which God gave him. Your houses wait for you,
your lands are ready; come and cultivate them." And from
Madrid and Paris, from Baltimore and New Orleans, the emi-
grant planters crowded-home to enjoy their estates, under the
pledged word that was never broken. Carlisle has said, "The
natural king is one who melts all wills into his own." At this
moment Toussaint L'Ouverture turned to his army-poor, ill-
clad and half starved-and said to them: "Go back and
work on these estates you have conquered, for an empire can
be founded only on order and industry, and you can learn
these virtues only there." And they went. The French ad-
miral who witnessed the scene, said that in a week his army
melted back into peasants. It was 18oo.
The world waited fifty years before, in 1846, Robert Peel
dared to venture, as a matter of practical statesmanship, the
theory of free trade. Adam Smith theorized, the French
statesmen dreamed, but no man at the head of affairs had
WENDELL PHILLIPS ESTIMATE.
ever dared to risk it as a practical measure. Europe waited
till 1846, before the most practical intellect in the world, the
English, adopted the great economic formula of unfettered
trade. But in 18oo, this black, with the instinct of statesman-
ship, said to the committee who were draughting for him a
constitution, "Put at the head of the chapter on commerce
that the ports of San Domingo are open to the trade of the
Again it was i8oo, at a time when England was poisoned on
every page of her statute books with religious intolerance,
when a man could not enter the House of Commons without
taking an Episcopal communion, when every state in the
Union, except Rhode Island, wa full of intensest religious
bigotry. This man was a negro. You say that that is a
superstitious blood, he was uneducated. You say that makes
a man narrowminded. He was a Catholic. Many say that is
another name for intolerance. And yet-negro, Catholic,
slave-he took his place by the side of Roger Williams, and
said to his committee, Make it the first line of my constitu-
tion that I know no difference between religious beliefs."
It was 18oi. At this time Europe concluded the Peace of
Amiens, and Napolean took his seat on the throne of France.
He glanced his eye across the Atlantic and with a single
stroke of his pen reduced Cayenne and Martinique back into
chains. He then said to his Council, "What shall I do with
San Domingo ?" The slave-holders said give it to us;
Napoleon turned to the Abbe Gregoire, What is your opin-
ion ?" He replied, "I think these men would change their
opinions if they change their skins." Colonel Vincent, who
had been private secretary to Toussaint, wrote a letter to
Napoleon, in which he said, "Sire, leave it alone, it is the
happiest spot in your dominion. God raised this man to
govern; races melt under his hand; he has saved you this
island, for I know of my own knowledge that when the Repub-
lic could not have lifted a finger to prevent it, George the III.
WENDELL PHILLIPS* ESTIMATE.
offered him any title and any revenue if he would hold the
island under the British crown. He refused and saved it for
France." Napoleon turned away from his Council and he is
said to have remarked, I have sixty thousand idle troops, I
must find them something to do." Then again like Napo-
leon,-like genius always-he had confidence in his power to
rule men. You remember when Bonaparte returned from Elba
and Louis XVIII sent an army against him, Bonaparte
descended from his carriage, opened his coat offering his
breast to their muskets and saying, Frenchmen, it is the
Emperor," and they ranged themselves behind him, his sold-
iers, shouting," Vive L'Empereur." That was in 1815. Twelve
years before, Toussaint finding that four of his regiments had
deserted and gone to Leclerc, drew his sword, flung it on the
grass, went across the field to them, folded his arms and said:
" Children, can you point a bayonet at me ?" The blacks fell
on their knees praying his pardon. His bitterest enemies
watched him and none of them charged him with love of
money, sensuality, or cruel use of power. I would call him
Napoleon, but Napoleon made his way to empire over broken
oaths and through a sea of blood. This man never broke his
word. "' No retaliation was his great motto and rule of his
life, and the last words uttered to his son, in France, were
these: My boy, you will one day go back to San Domingo,
forget that France murdered your father." I would. call him
Cromwell, but Cromwell was only a soldier, and the State he
founded went down with him into his grave. I would call
him 'Washington, but the great Virginian held slaves. This
man risked his empire rather than permit the slave trade in
the humblest village of his dominion. You think me a fanatic
to-night, for you read history not with your eyes, but with
your prejudices. But fifty years hence, when truth gets a
hearing, the muse of history will put Phocion for the Greek,
and Brutus for the Romans, Hampden for England, Fayette
for France, choose Washington as the bright consumate
xxvi. WENDELL PHILLIPS' ESTIMATE.
flower of our earlier civilization and John Brown the ripe fruit
of our noonday ; then dipping her pen in the sunlight will
write in the clear blue above them all the name of the soldier,
the statesman, the martyr, Toussaint L'Ouverture.
Origin, education, early occupation of Toussaint. Insurrection of San
Toussaint throws himself into the insurrection. The position he occupies
in the Black Army.
Toussaint takes an active part in the Revolution.
Toussaint enters the service of Spain.
Toussaint subjugates Dondon and Marmelade. In consequence of these
victories he receives the name of L'OUVERTURE.
Toussaint L'Ouverture enters Gonaives. Invasion of the English.
Toussaint L'Ouverture, having conquered all his enemies, placed himself
with 4ooo men within the pale of the French Republic.
Toussaint L'Ouverture distinguishes himself in the service of France.
Toussaint L'Ouverture engages in several battles with the English, and
takes possession of several positions, which prove advantageous.
Toussaint L'Ouverture takes from the Spanish St. Michael and St. Raphael.
Rigaud recaptures Tiburon and Leogan from the English.
Toussaint L'Ouverture takes vengeance on the Spanish for the massacre
committed by them at Fort Dauphin. His first interview with Gen-
Toussaint L'Ouverture defeats the English in several engagements and
recaptures Verrettes. Toussaint leaves a testimony of his humanity at
at Petite Riviere. Expedition against Jean Francois. Composition
of the Western line of workers. Death of Blanc Cazenave.
Toussaint L'Ouverture takes Mirebalais. His magnanimous conduct
after the victory. He receives a deputation of Independent Blacks.
Toussaint L'Ouverture obtains a brilliant victory over the English. The
English again take possession of Mirebalais. "
Touissaint L'Ouverture receives the brevet General of Brigade. His in-
dignation on learning the trouble at the Cape. Generals Laveaux and
Desagneaux visit the places where he was in command and exercised
authority. Pinchinat, principal instigator of the movement at the Cape.
Efforts of Toussaint L'Ouverture in favor of the French Republic.
Conduct of Toussaint L'Ouverture during the events of the 20oth of March.
He is named Associate Governor of the Colony. Reflection on the
crisis at the Cape.
Toussaint L'Ouverture receives from the new Civil Commissioners the title
General of Division. Troubles in the South. Election of the Colonial
Deputation. Toussaint L'Ouverture recompensed by the Supreme Ex-
ecutive Council of France. Toussaint L'Ouverture organizes his regi-
ments. He evades the proffers of Rigaud. He sends his sons to the
Colonial Prytaneum at Paris.
Toussaint L'Ouverture drives the English from Mirebalais. Results of
Toussaint L'Ouverture is proclaimed General in Chief of the Colonial Army,
His installation at the Cape. Comments on the discourse of L'Ouver-
ture. He coiresponds with Laveaux. Promotions in the Army of the
North. New conquest of Verrettes and Mirebalais. Toussaint L'Ouver-
ture's efforts prove abortive before Saint Marc.
Toussaint L'Ouverture expels Sonthonax from the Colony; The reason
why. The manner in which Toussaint L'Ouverture protects his former
Toussaint L'Ouverture is proclaimed the Benefactor of the Colony. Refu-
tations of Saint Remy. Toussaint L'Ouverture assumes an offensive
attitude toward the English. Hedouville at Saint Domingo. Toussaint
L'Ouverture negotiates with the representative of Great Britain for
the evacuation of Port au Prince. His interview at the Cape with
Hedouville. Hedouville gives audience to Toussaint and Rigaud.
Results of the interview.
The English evacuate Jeremie. Toussaint L'Ouverture negotiates with
Brigadier Maitland for Mole Saint Nicholas. Merry making at the Mole.
Toussaint L'Ouverture refuses the Kingship of Saint Domingo. Refu-
tation of the French historian. Report of the giving up of the Mole.
Toussaint L'Ouverture dissaproves of the order of cultivation carried
out by Hedouville. Dissatisfaction among the soldiers.
Toussaint L'Ouverture gives protection to the Emigrants who have become
landed proprietors. His proclamation. He appears at the Insurrec-
tion of Fort Liberti. Departure of Hedouville. Toussaint L'Ouver-
ture sends delegates to France. Melancholy proclamation of Hedou-
ville. The General-in-Chief, Toussaint L'Ouverture, repairs to the
habitation Descahaux and there resides.
Toussaint L'Ouverture Governor-General in the mean time. His sojourn
on the Habitation Descahaux. Anecdotes. Thoughts on prejudice
Toussaint L'Ouverture commences correspondence with Rigaud. Arrival
of Roume at Port au Prince. Emancipation celebration. Roume
changes the Government from Port au Prince to the Cape Francais.
Troubles at Corail. Execution at Jeremie. Toussaint L'Ouverture
foresees the need of the Colony. Treaty of Commerce with the United
States. The contracting parties, the President of the United States of
America, John Adams, and General Toussaint L'Ouverture. Toussaint
L'Ouverture refuses to receive the English Envoy.
Toussaint L'Ouverture, unable to secure by peaceable means the submis-
sion of Rigaud, carries war into the South.
Toussaint L'Ouverture aM Aux Cayes. He organizes both the civil and
Toussaint L'Ouverture disposed to take possession of the Spanish part of
the Island. Toussaint L'Ouverture receives the new French Constitu-
tion. Don Garcia surrenders the Spanish part of the Island to Tous-
Toussaint L'Ouverture causes the Colonial Constitution to be written out.
Toussaint L'Ouverture sends the constitution to France. Character of
M. de Vincent. Work of codification. Insubordination of General
The French Government receives the Colonial constitution from San Dom-
ingo. Motives of and preparation for an expedition against the Colony.
Manuscript of M. Isaac L'Ouverture. Three months war.
Departure of Toussaint L'Ouverture and his family. The Blacks take up
arms again. Aboard the vessel Heros. Toussaint L'Ouverture's voy-
age to France. Arrival of other members of the family at Bayonne.
Fort de-Joux. Toussaint L'Ouverture interrogated. The circumstances
of his death. The post-mortem examination. Evacuation of San Dom-
ingo. The autonomy of the Haytiens recognized. The Island is again
called Hayti: the name by which it was known when discovered by
Presidents Jeffrard and Solomon contrasted.
The Revolution of 1879.
Revolutionary condition of the country.
The aims of President Solomon's administration.
Hayti and the Uuited States.
A Question in Diplomacy.
The Christian Religion in Hayti.
ORIGIN, EDUCATION, EARLY OCCUPATION OF TOUSSAINT L'OUVERTURE.
INSURRECTION OF SAN DOMINGO.
The origin of this black man, that the abolitionist of the last
century considered as providential; of this individuality which
to say the least was extraordinary; whose fame occupies a
place in both the old and new world; and who had in hand
during several years the destiny of San Domingo, the most
important of the colonies which the French still possessed in
America at the commencement of this century, merits our
consideration and deserves our attention for a moment.
Pierre Dominique Toussaint, surnamed at first Breda, after-
wards L'Ouverture, was descendant of Gaou Guinou,* chief of
a powerful nation of the Aradas, who on account of his mili-
tary qualities, was feared or dreaded among all those people
who in former times inhabited the slave coast. The father of
Toussaint, second son of this king,t was taken prisoner in one
of those severe engagements that the love of combat and
thirst for gain keep up among savage people, and was sold as
a slave, following the custom of the barbarous Africans.t
*Guinou in Arada, or Adra, signifies good, a language which is yet
spoken at Dahomey, the kingdom of which this ancient tribe constitutes a
tAbout 1802, after the capture of Toussaint, one reproached him as being
the descendent of an African king.
tChataubriand has often described, in his journeys through America, the
wars to which the savages of Louisiana and Natchez gave themselves up.
So far as ferocity is concerned, all these wars are much alike, only in Africa
the prisoners, reduced to a state of slavery by the conquerors, were sold in
the market. To-day they serve in the hecatombs, that is, in the religious
service which requires a sacrifice of an hundred oxen.
TOUSSAINT L OUVERTURE;
The slave ship landed the father of Toussaint L'Ouverture
on the island of San Domingo, toward the middle of the
eighteenth century. There reduced to a most abject condi-
tion by an odious prejudice which Christian sentiment repels,
he was left in the midst of one thousand of his ancient sub-
jects, whose condition was congenerous to his own, on a sugar
habitation that Count de Noe owned, in the section of the
cape* known as the highlands.
Separated from his native land, the second son of Gaon
Guinon, who took his father's name, heard no more the war
songs of his nation in which was celebrated the valor of their
kings and the exploits of their ancestors. But he had treas-
ured them up in his memory, and their recollection in some
degree, softened the first years of his captivity. He found in
the house of Count de Noe, and among the laborers of neigh-
boring habitations, some of his countrymen, who like himself
were slaves in another hemisphere ; but they recognized him
as their Chief, and rendered to him the honor due his rank,
saluting him according to the manner of their country.
Informed of this fact M. Beager, overseer of the habitation
Breda, a Frenchman of a very polite stamp, anticipated the
intentions of the master of the house in giving to the African
Prince la liberte de savanne.f
*This point is interesting from historical consideration. The first French
who left the island of Tortue in order to establish themselves in San
Domingo, were but a dozen in number, at the time they commenced to
dispute with the Spanish, and it was in San Domingo they mustered their
forces and means,-attracted there by the superb and sublime so grandly
displayed in nature. The Count de Noe owned in this place, 1789, a rich
sugar habitation, which was called by the name of the former proprietor-
Count de Breda. Count de Noe, originally from L' Ile-en-J' Ourdain (Gas-
cogne), was very highly esteemed. He was considered by the blacks a
very humane master, so much so that they often used the expression,
"Happy as a negro of Breda." Cham, so dear to the readers of Charivari,
has perpetuated in France the good reputation of his family.
tLa liberte de Savanne is a sort of liberty of which the historian does not
speak, and therefore merits a word of explanation. The condition of the
African passing from servitude to this new state was, at the time, almost
OR, HAYTI'S STRUGGLE.
He was put in charge of five negroes with whom he culti-
vated the portion of ground assigned to him. It was not long
before he became a member of the Roman Catholic Church.
He married a woman of his own country who was both beauti-
ful and virtuous, and who had received in baptism the name
of Pauline. The occasion of this marriage, brought about in
the region of the Cape, a tragic event, which we will relate in
abridging the notes we have had transmitted to us.
Among the prisoners of war sold on the market of Whyda,*
and crowded aboard the slave ship which entered the har-
bor of Cape Francais,f for the purpose of leaving there a
cargo of human freight, was found the woman and two infants
of the son of Gaou Guinou. Slavery had united for the
second time, this young couple ; barbarisrfi and cupidity had
to break this double union, in order to rivet hand-cuffs on
them in their separation.
The young African was the daughter of the king of the
Aygas-Aguapeens of to-day-neighbors of the Aradas. Two
children, a boy and a girl, formed the appendage of the un-
fortunate woman, and doubled the value of the future slave.
She was of slender figure, not deficient in grace; a physiog-
nomy at all times agreeable and imposing, presenting in her
person the harmonious blending of those native qualities
preferable to a freedom absolute, in this particular, that he who obtained
such a favor rested under the protection of his former master, both as to his
person and his goods. This intermediate class was not numerous. A par-
tial liberty did not equal, however, what we might call, for want of a better
term, freedom absolute, notwithstanding the train of inconveniences con-
nected therewith. The freed people were not like the whites in regard to
*The word Whyda the black Aradas pronounced Ouida. This word is
Creole. Whyda, a large village situated some distance from the sea coast,
belonged to the kingdom of Dahomey. This city was open to Europ-
eans, as well as Godoune, a rival city. Whyda, or Ouida, had long been
an important slave market.
TOUSSAINT L'OUVERTURE ;
attributed by the ancients to warlike women,* whom they
claim to have met in the plains of Themiseyre, and whom
travelers still find in some countries of Asia and America and
who constitute in this our day the best battalions of Dahomey.f
Affiba was beautiful indeed, under the rag of cotton which
scarcely covered her person. The African girl became the
property of the highest bidder. Happily he was a man very
much esteemed for his humanity, who, when he became
acquainted with the circumstances of her captivity, set her
free and placed her under the care of a worthy person, in
order that she might be initiated in the first notions of civili-
zation.4 Slave on the earth, man, whatever may be the color
of his skin, which is, when we have said the worst, a mere
accident of birth,; does not differ from his neighbor in the
sight of God.
D'Affiba, pagan, became therefore by the grace of baptism,
Catharine ; her daughter took the name of Geneviere; her
son the name of Augustin, which was associated always with
the former name of his mother,-D'Affiba.
If it were not that Catharine found herself in a strange land,
so different from her native patrie,-the remembrance of which
strongly binds itself about the heart of the exile, l'ajoupa
paternal,-if it were not that she had regrets caused by a cruel
*The king of Siam has his warlike women.
tBadon, the actual king of Dahomey, finds his best troops for assault and
attack among his warlike Aradien women. The word Arada is Creole.
One ought to say Allada in French. Allada is the word used by modem
geographers. "The Aradas," says M. Morean de Saint Mery, "respire
from a large chest, and a view of their bodies gives an image of force and
beauty. These qualities, which do not discover themselves in the house of
Toussaint L'Ouverture, reappear in an eminent degree in the person of his
eldest son. Les Bordelais, the people of Bordeaux, a few years ago, saw
in their midst a negro remarkable for his height; in appearance, grave and
distinguished. His forehead was marked by the intelligence it concealed;
his physiognomy reflected the beauty and purity of his soul. This negro
was the son of General Toussaint L'Ouverture, who was the ancient gov-
ernor of St. Domingo."
tShe was baptised by a Catholic priest.
OR, HAYTI'S STRUGGLE.
separation from the grand lakes, where the copious mangrove
trees unite their branches in forming a thick grove,-a forest
of sweetest perfume in which one's ears are constantly saluted
by the chirping of birds, whose plumage represents a hundred
different colors exceedingly bright and beautiful,-we repeat,
were it not for these sad recollections added to another, viz.:
that while she was free, she was in the midst of her brothers
and sisters bowed under the yoke of slavery; the young
negress had almost no reason whatever to envy the whites.
In the meantime, shouts qf joy were heard from a distance,
and these announced a day of merry-making on the habitation
of Breda. Catharine, obedient to a sentiment of curiosity
which moved her to seek the cause of this emotional efferves-
cence, learned soon that an emancipated slave was about to
be united in marriage to the beautiful Pauline, a young girl of
Arada, like herself. Now it was that a thousand bitter
thoughts traversed her soul. 0, despair! The happy hus-
band is Gaou Guinou from whom an awful destiny had sepa-
rated her on the slave coast.
A chagrin, mortal in its nature seized her soul and very
shortly afterwards she died. The Aradas who dwelt on the
highlands about the Cape related long afterwards to their
little children the painful history of D'Affiba, the African
From the marriage of Gaou Guinou with Pauline, five child-
ren were born. John, the youngest, who resembled his grand-
father, received the name of Gaou. He died in infancy;
Peter, who received the grade of colonel and served in the
army of Charles IV., King of Spain, who was at that time in
possession of the Spanish part of the Island of St. Domingo;
Paul, who became a general in the colonial army of France;
Marie Jeanne, who was united in matrimony to Colonel Claude
Martin ; last, but not least, the oldest of all, Toussaint, more
illustrious by himself than by the rank his forefathers had
occupied in Africa,
Several historians copying from each other have fixed the
2oth of May, 1743, as the date of the birth of Toussaint. C'est
une erreur. He was born on the heights of the Cape, on the
habitation of Count de Noe, the 20th of May, 1746.
Toussaint from his birth was so frail and puny, that his
parents feared for a long while they would not be able to con-
serve the life of their first born. Being in a suffering condi-
tion in his infancy, his constitution very naturally became
weak, and every part of his body was so badly formed that
his associates called him nothing but fatras-baton. Fatras
taken in the sense of disorder, confusion, and baton giving the
idea of his whole being. Baton literally means a stick, a cud-
gel. In the evenings after the victories, which he won so
often over the enemies of France, Toussaint L'Ouverture
pleased himself in exciting the patriotic enthusiasm of his
officers, by relating narratives of the heroes of the mother
country. For me," he would say pleasantly, with the fine
tone of voice which was peculiar to him, I am fatras-baton,'
as you know." This qualification, to which his own words
bear ample testimony, indicating an amount of good nature
and a large degree of personal satisfaction, caused his hearers
to laugh and inspired their courage in battle.
In spite of his apparent feebleness, Toussaint, whose nervous
system was extremely exercised by the activity of his mind
and the bias of his character, gave himself to various physical
games. No child of his age could dispute with him the prize
or reward of the race, nor surpass him in the games which
required suppleness, and in which youth loves to participate.
None knew better than he how to lance a cheval to the end of
the road, and riding bare back to jump over a precipice, and
in a word to excite, curb or moderate, the ardor of a racer. It
seems as if we see here something which foreshadows the
future destiny of the young Toussaint; for the success of his
arms, and indeed the safety of his person, he owed more than
pne time to his dexterity in the art of managing a horse.
OR, HAYTI'S STRUGGLE.
Intelligence was not lacking in the home of our young
negro, whose development was not postponed for a great
change or amelioration in the physical forces.
Gaou Guinou, his father, taught. him what he knew: the
history of his forefathers, the language of the Aradas, and the
knowledge of plants known for their medicinal qualities.
Toussaint owed to these precious notions his first elevation in
the black army, where there was a want of doctors.
One has said it was a happy hour for the old Aradas of the
habitation of Breda and the village on the heights of the
Cape, when they could talk with the young Toussaint about
the Fatherland, in the idiom which recalled to them the joys
of childhood and the land of their nativity,-" Home, sweet
There was living on the highlands of Cape Francais, a black
man esteemed for the purity of his manners, and who was not
wanting in knowledge. His name was Pierre Baptiste. He
knew a little of French, still less of Latin; add to this some
notions of geometry, and a thorough knowledge of the map
of his district, and you have an accurate idea of the scientific
baggage of our sage.
Pierre Baptiste was in fact a scholar for the time and place
where he lived, and especially when we take into considera-
tion the prejudice of caste. A black man instructed as was
Pierre Baptiste, in the midst of a multitude degraded and
demoralized, was he not truly a prodigy ? He possessed in a
high degree a quality more precious than all others,-the
philosophy of the heart. Ah! How true it is, if slavery
debases the soul, liberty exalts the man and creates a con-
sciousness of his own worth, his rights and his duties! Pierre
Baptiste emancipated, set at liberty, was no longer the creep-
ing worm of servitude, no longer the plaything of chance.
This black man, Pierre Baptiste, owed the favor of his
instruction to the goodness of one of those Jesuit mission-
aries, who in' preaching the power of a holy religion, enlight-
TOUSSAINT L OUVERTURE;
ened and ennobled the spirit of man in the different countries
where Providence led them. This important and influential
man was the godfather* of the son of Gaou Guinou, and did
all in his power to transmit to his godson all that he had
learned at the school of the good missionary.
A writer speaking of Toussaint, said: Having received
some rays of light, he conducted himself in an admirable
manner in the revolution, which, terrible as a volcano of the
Andes, turned upside down the island of St. Domingo.
Toussaint might properly be spoken of as a self-made man.
He was endowed with great intelligence, with excellent judg-
ment, with a prodigious memory, and with an astonishing
faculty of assimilation. By his example he neither encour-
aged indolence nor ignorance. Looking to future honors, he
read first, history and biographies, and afterwards treaties on
military tactics and the commentaries of Cmsar. He read
also the lives of the great military chieftains. He had his
manner of thinking and writing,-his style we discovered in a
multitude of writings, proclamations, correspondence, admin-
istrative acts, memoires, etc., which reflect the fire of his
imagination and the individual stamp of his genius.
Toussaint knew what a major ought to know:-to draft a
plan for a campaign, to take the topography of a place, to
dictate to his secretaries orders, proclamations, and all other
official communications, which disclosed a superior spirit and
*The negro respects, perhaps, his godfather more than his father. "Ce
papa douan bon Die disait-il." "This papa, or father, the good God
gives," says he. The same is true of the godmother. The force of this
nepotism was so strong in St. Domingo that one of the ancient colonists
wrote truthfully that the godfather, the godchildren and the godmother
decided all when occasion required it. The godfatherhood became the
cause of sublime devotion on the part of some of the negroes during the
horrors of the revolution, in which the whites were the victims, in expiation
of the enslavement of their black brothers. It is worthy of remark that on
many occasions when they were powerless and in imminent danger, the
godchildren put their own lives in jeopardly in order to save the lives of
their godfathers and godmothers who were white.
OR, HAYTI'S, STRUGGLE.
a degree of knowledge simply wonderful. Such is the prop-
erty of the man of genius. He comes from the hand of God,
if not entirely developed, fully endowed. Some have under-
taken to reproach this man, who sprang as a meteor from the
bosom of darkness; this man whom God raised up in order
to restore a people to their proper place in the human family
We repeat, some reproach this man on account of his little
knowledge of language*. It is to be believed that Merovee,
Pepin-le-Bref, Hugues-Capet, and many other illustrious war-
riors, knew no more of letters than did Toussaint L'Ouverture ;
but did this hinder them from founding dynasties and winning
victories ? What! was he only an ordinary man,-this black
who was placed at the head of the simple laborers of the corn-
field; who improvised himself general; this valiant gladiator
that the French Convention proclaimed general of brigade,
and whom the Directoire Executif made general of division;
this warrior to whom the hero d'Abouker et des Pyramids gave
for the second time the supreme command of San Domingo;
this legislator whose work still lives in the destinies of the
people, which it ought to have conducted into the path of
modern civilization, at a time when France had neither admin-
tration nor law ?
The French generals who took part in the expedition
against San Domingo-Bourdet, Dagua, de Vincet, Tressinet;
the admirals, Latouche, Treville, and Gautheaume-have
rendered justice to the ability, military and administrative;
to the elevated character of Toussaint L'Ouyverture, whom
they had seen engaged on the battle-field.
When Toussaint became a full grown man, he had no longer
the appearance of a fatras-baton. He was of ordinary height,
of a striking figure ; his deportment did not lack that dignity
which ought to be the appendage of the chief who exercises
*M. B. Ardouin, a Haytien writer of whom we shall often have occasion
to speak, has wished to push this matter to the point of demonstration. To
what end ?
TOUSSAINT L'OUVERTURE ;
the first command. His face round and almost without beard,
showed a nose with open nostrils, and thick lips, but expres-
sive, with eyes sparkling, reflecting the fire of his soul. If his
forehead appeared uncovered, it was because he combed his
hair back in order to make a queue, which he wore after the
French mode. In everything he studied to appear as he ought.
His civilian clothes, as well as those he wore on parade,
evinced a taste equal to that of a cutter, expert in his art. He
loved jewelry and beautiful accoutrements. His house at the
Cape was built entirely of white marble, and held beautiful
furniture. He was in the same condition on each of his habi-
tations, where he loved to rest himself after the fatigues of his
campaign, and to enjoy the sweet association of his family.
In following the order of facts from which we digressed for
a moment, we find Toussaint on the habitation Breda, not
armed with the lash of the commander, but overseer*, after
having acted in several different capacities intelligently and
caring for the utensils of the sugar refinery, etc. For this high
position he was indebted to the intendant general, M. Bayon
de Libertat,-a position calculated to satisfy his ambition, for
it elevated him to the rank of the whites, and gave him the
advantages enjoyed by them. Since one has spoken of his
good qualities, why should not one declare his faults ? Tous-
-- saint had the reputation of being inconsistent and fickle.
Pierre Baptiste, having had notice of some wicked proposals,
wished him to marry. Toussaint has himself said somewhere,
that M. Bayon de Libertat wished him to choose a young and
frisky negress, but that he preferred to marry a woman well
"versed in the art of housekeeping." He chose Susan Simon,
the sister-in-law of Pierre Baptiste, a girl of Aradas, in order
not to be unequally yoked. Both had already followed the
custom of the Colony, or using a more common expression,
*A free negro, or mulatto, they called overseer. This commander was
most of the time very hard on the slaves, whose work he superintended in
the field and in the workshop.
OR, HAYTI'S STRUGGLE.
they had contracted marriage according to the Creole.*
The domestic circle was therefore complete on the day when
the nuptual benediction was pronounced. Susan who was
good and industrious, had by a former husband, a son named
Placide. Toussaint welcomed him around the domestic hearth,
and brought him up as his own son, and called him in the day
of his prosperity, to a brilliant destiny. But what returns did
the adopted son make to the family of Toussaint ? He was
nothing less than a judgment in the Yard d'Agen, where the
family resided during several years. Some events, which will
be related further on, hindered Placide from usurping the name
of L'Ouverture, and denied him all right to the heritage of
the General in Chief.
Toussaint cultivated with care the homestead. "We went,"
said he, one day, Susan and I to work in our field. Scarcely
did we perceive the fatigue of the day. Heaven has always
blessed our labors. Not only do we roll in abundance, but
we have still the pleasure of giving food to those who stand
in need of it. Sunday and holidays we went to mass; after
an agreeable repast we passed the rest of the day at home, and
we terminated it by prayer, in which we both took part."
The happy Toussaint, on account of the regularity of his
habits and his application to study-which elevates the spirit
of a man and directs his thoughts-was really loved and
respected by all classes. His own people, after a manner,
worshipped him, and often did him honor, recognizing in him
a child of royal parentage. The planters themselves, surprised
to find in a black man so much elevation of soul and depth of
thought, were not able to prevent themselves from esteeming
him. His intellectual faculties matured in proportion' to the
habitual contact with the more intelligent.
Dwelling often in his thoughts on the degradation that a
barbarous regime had caused to weigh heavily on his brethren,
*Nobody, except the priests, regarded it as an evil in the colonies,
TOUSSAINT L OVERTURE ;
he asked himself if it were a result springing from the curse
pronounced upon Ham; or, simply the result of an inhuman
speculation ? "For God," said he, to himself, has created
all men in His image, and for the same end." Had he not
read in his books that the civilization which the whites spread
out with great vanity, had had its birthday in the extreme
Orient ? And was not humanity symbolized in the adoration
of the wise men, who, following the star, left their homes in
the East ? Elevating his thoughts, and dwelling upon meta-
physical subjects, he did not see in the color of the skin but
an accident, the result of climate; nature having prepared all
beings for the necessities of their existence, in the midst of
which they were born, and where they were to go the rounds
of the days allotted them. The supplement of this was made
known to him by a man of science,* viz.: That the children
of the negroes scarcely differed from those of the whites at
their birth, and that the air altered the color of their bodies in
developing a quality, or, speaking in a more commonplace
manner, a corruption of blood.f
It was also in reflecting on the law which governs the trans-
formation of men in our epoch, and the conditions which
bring about this transformation, that he arrived at this result
indicated by science: That the transformation of man is by
transition, from the white type to the black type, in the action
of the tempers. He knew also that in Africa, par example,
*In San Domingo there were several learned societies. The men who
constituted them sent their communications to the French Academy, and
the Academy of Science, Belle-Lettres and Arts of Bordeaux. They all
convened at Cape Francais, capital of the French portion of the island.
tit is necessary to consult the works of M. Moreau de St. Mery when one
writes on San Domingo. He has made this observation: Negro children
have on the day of their birth, a skin of which the red tinge would remain
the index of their color, if a slight dark border were not observed on certain
parts of the body and at the roots of the nails. We will add that one finds
white lines in the hands of negroes, whatever may be their age. Buffon
says, that negroes are only found in climates where all the circumstances
combine to produce a constant and excessive heat. Hist. Nat."
OR, HAYTI'S STRUGGLE.
certain portions of the population of Asiatic origin have con-
served the white type in the northern portion of the desert;
while those dwelling in the regions negricentes of the south,
were transformed in proportion to the time they remained
there; that in the transformation one recognizes the march of
the active operation of the tempers, which is different from
that which is the result of crossing the blood.
Has not the black man," said he again, been created as the
white man, to look to heaven; does he not enjoy the ability
to think ? Has he not a conscience, a soul; and does he not
carry about with him the idea of God ? And does not religion
in stamping upon the forehead of the negro the seal of Christ-
ianity, assign to him his place ? In what, therefore, consists
the moral ? If he is degraded, only by his color does he
differ from others."
Toussaint, who was not able to see from this time a reason for
slavery, which is an institution contrary to nature, and in op-
position to the religion of Christ,-which has regenerated the
world-found himself so close to liberty; and yet such a sim-
ple difference in the skin, had placed such an enormous dis-
tance between one man and another. His imagination exalted
him, while listening to passages in a new book, that the
abolitionists of Europe had introduced clandestinely into
America: L'Histoire Philosophique des Deux-Indes de l'Abbe
Raynal.* He finally procured for himself this work. The read-
ing of certain passages enabled him to see all the infamy which
crushed his neighbors. Perhaps, indeed, he asked himself then,
if he would not become one day their liberator ?t For the
*The celebrated society, "Friends of the Blacks," lisez des mulatres,
distributed at the same time in the colonies, the work d' Hilliart d' Auber-
teuil, treating of the legitimate revenge of the black race.
tThe philosopher, Raynal, called forth the liberator of the blacks by this
vehement cry: Nations of Europe Your slaves are not in need of your
generosity, or of your councils, in order to break the sacreligious yoke
which oppresses them. The negroes lack but a chief. Where is the great
man? He will appear; we have no doubt of it. He will show himself; he
TOUSSAINT L'OUVERTURE ;
moment the exaltation that a similar discovery ought to have
stamped upon his mind, was happily tempered by the senti-
ments that he imbibed in .the Holy Book whose doctrines he
cherished. What have they not said of his monkish ideas ? "
A partisan fanatic of the colonial system has written, The
negro differs from the white." Mark the affirmation. Let us
hear now the explanation: For the yan, the worms of Guinea,
crabs at the sole of the feet, the disease of the skin, the spalme
in the adults, and the convulsions among children are diseases
common among the blacks, but infinately rare among the
whites, whether Creole, or not." And this is sufficient to dis-
turb the laws of human nature. Another sophistry: In the
New World, one has only found light and civilization in the
temperate zone-Peru and Mexico." Let us bear .in mind
these citations, for the reader will soon be left to exercise his
own judgment. The time advanced. A new philosophy came
to throw in doubt all that which men had respected up to the
present-authority and religion. A grand revolution, which
resulted in changing the principles of which we have just
spoken, burst upon the continent of Europe, in the bosom of
the metropolis. The echo of the canon of Bastile was heard
as far as San Domingo. The moment was solemn for a man
of the intelligence and courage of Toussaint. We will soon
see him face to face with the events. A word, in the way of
preliminary explanation of the immense catastrophe, which
spreads itself out before our eyes. The colonists, having had
to groan for a long time, on account of the despotism exercised
by those who administered the affairs of the government, wel-
comed with a blind enthusiasm the day of a revolution which
will unfurl the sacred standard of liberty. This venerable signal will cause
to gather around him the companions of his misfortune. More impetuous
than the torrents, they will leave everywhere the indellible traces of their
iust resentment. The Old World will join in applause with the New.
Everywhere people will bless the name of the hero, who shall have estab-
lished the rights of humanity. Everywhere, the people will institute trophies
to his glory."
OR, HAYTI S STRUGGLE.
promised to free them from the yoke of an administration
extravagant and unstable. Heavy taxation, injustice and ser-
vice in the militia, constituted the burden of their complaints.
They swore to win, unber favorable circumstances, their
ancient privileges, and to establish for themselves, also, their
constitution. The movement came without any further provo-
cation, and developed itself with fury. The freedmen, blacks
and mulattoes, entered in favor of the famous declaration-the
rights of man. The resistance of the white patriots, to some ex-
igencies which would have caused them to forget their griefs,
was obstinate. (From both sides they came in arms.) The
execution of a colored man who had come from France, armed
with the chart granted by the National Assembly, was the im-
provised signal for the uprising of the mulattoes, which pre-
ceded but a few days the revolt of the blacks.* The insur-
rection burst out in the northern part of the island, on the
night of the 21st of August. The negroes under the leader-
ship of Bouckmann, rose with fury for the massacre of the
whites and to burn the habitations. They committed such
atrocities that pen is unable to depict them. This subject has,
however, tempted some writers. "The spread of the fire,"
wrote a man of color, grieving over the losses, traced by the
flames, were so rapid, that in the space of a week the burnt
district covered all the plains of the north, from the east to
the west, from the sea-beach to the foot of the mountains.
These wealthy mansions, these superb manufactures of great
productiveness, which poured out millions in the bosom of the
metropolis, were annihilated. The activity of the flames was
such, that the smoke and cinders, pushed by the breeze in the
mountains, caused them to resemble volcanoes; the air inter-
mingling and dry, resembled a burning furnace. The habita-
tions, already set on fire, threw out perpetually, sparks, ruin,
debris. Fine clothing was dispersed and disappeared. The
*His name was Vincent Oge. He left France with a coat ribboned and
decorated with the ensign of the Golden Lion,
land was watered with blood, strewn with dead bodies aban-
doned to the voracity of birds of prey and ferocious beasts.
Here is the picture which the richest portion of the colonies
presented in a very short time after the work of destruction
commenced. The flames which devoured Cape Francais, now
called Cape Hayti, a little while afterward were the comple-
ments of the triumph of the mulattoes over the whites, and the
step of the advance guard of the pre-eminence of the blacks-
who continued to give themselves to devastation and to cruel-
ties the most unheard of-less by cupidity than by the spirit
of hatred and vengeance.
Sections of the west and south did not witness at first
parallel atrocities on their territories; but there also civil war
commenced, and massacres followed in regular order. The
evil, however, was neither as general nor as terrible as
in the north. The most civilized countries are the most hor-
rible to see in times of revolution.* In the midst of this
universal conflagration," says M. Saint-Remy, a historian of
Hayti, and of this outburst of all the excesses of vengeance,
Toussaint, faithful to his master, protected the plantations
during a whole month, at the head of the blacks of the habita-
tion,f and hindered the insurgents from burning the fields of
cane." All the whites, women and children, flying bewilderd
from their residences in the country, flocked to the city. Mad-
ame Bayon de Libertat continued at her own house under the
protection of Toussaint.1 M. Bayon de Libertat was en-
camped on the heights of the Cape and came often to the
habitation to excite the vigilance of the laborers. It was,"
*Cape Francais was called the capital of the island,-the Paris of the An-
tilles. The civilization there was more advanced than in any other part.
tHe managed the habitation of Breda. It is well known that Toussaint
was the manager of the sugar refinery of this habitation.
tIt is an error that M. St. Remy wrote Bayon de Libertat. The overseer
of the Compte de Noe appertained to an honorable family of Languedoc,
who maintained a warm attachment for the son of Toussaint L'Ouverture,
during his captivity in France,
OR, HAYTI'S STRUGGLE.
said he, with inexpressible joy, "that Toussaint saw me
among the slaves in a moment, when to be white, was suffi-
cient reason to be massacred."
Thus the revolution embraced all the country; but Tous-
saint Breda still fulfilled all the duties towards his unfortunate
masters. "Finally," says the author already quoted, "Tous-
saint, seeing the revolution take an irresistable course, from
this moment, exhausted by fatigue, perceived no means by
which he might longer protect the residence of Madame
Bayon, at Breda. Fearing, on the contrary, for her existence,
he prevailed upon this woman to set out for the Cape, during
the absence of M. Bayon. He put the horses to the coach and
placed in it a few necessaries and some very valuable things,
and then causing Madame Bayon to enter, he committed the
charge to his brother Paul, who afterwards became a general
in the French service. After the departure of Madame Bayon
the greater portion of the working men took part in the
TOUSSAINT THROWS HIMSELF INTO THE INSURRECTION. THE POSITION
THAT HE OCCUPIES IN THE BLACK ARMY.
One asks himself what part will Toussaint take in these
distressed and perplexing times, the revolt being in every
camp. Will he allow himself to go over to the whites on
account of the horror of the excesses committed by the insur-
gents ? The recognition accorded him invited him to that
side; but the whites themselves divided into patriots and
counter-revolutionists, or to say the same thing, into red pom-
poons and white pompoons,* gave an example of the most
vile dissension. Will he turn his eyes towards the west or the
south, in order to find shelter during the outburst of the tem-
pest ? Andre Rigaud, Beauvais, Lambert, and others,-old
members in the legion of the French army-had raised the
flag of liberty in these quarters only for the people of color,
leaving to the blacks their chains, their bondage. Will Tous-
saint permit himself to remain longer insensible to the misfor-
tunes and to the aspirations of those for whom he ought to
sound the hour of deliverance ?
He was their liberator, reserved by Providence I It will be
under the banner dipped in his own blood that Toussaint will
*There was in San Domingo a party of patriots composed of colonists,
and one of royalists, composed of the chiefs of the army and the principal
agents of the government. The provincial assembly of the north intended
to manage affairs in a different manner from that of the general assembly
for the French part of San Domingo. The former of these wore the black
cockade instead of the cockade of three colors, and gave to the troops fol-
lowing their division cockades of white, green and yellow. They formed two
regiments. The flag of the first was white, with stripes of white, black and
red, having a lizard in the middle, with these words : "Je vis dans le feu."
The second flag was black, red and white, with white stripes, having a
phoenix in the white, beneath which was this device: "Je renais de ma
.MARB PALACEr 'Vicinity of Cape ayt
M.,3RBLE, PALACE--Vicinity of Cape Hayti.
OR, HAYTI'S STRUGGLE.
enroll himself; not for crime, but for liberty-holy cause-to
which he will remain faithful from that time on, till the day of
Toussaint," said M. Saint Remy, the testimony of whom we
love to invoke, because we find more often in him, a contra-
dictor, was for the most part known by the chiefs and the
members of the bands for his instruction and his moderation.
No one blamed him because he came at a late day, into the
revolution. In the meanwhile it required a little time for him
to establish himself in the confidence of the insurgents and in-
crease his influence among them."
At this epoch, more than a hundred thousand negroes were
in revolt in a single quarter of the north. These bands, organ-
ized to kill and burn, had no arms other than torches, clubs,
knives, marchettes,* a few swords, and a few guns stolen from
the habitations. They had that which was more powerful than
all the rest, an inordinate fury for destruction. After Bouck-
mannt had been killed in repelling an attack made on the vil-
lage of the Cape, the insurgents recognized for their principal
chief a young Creole, of a happy exterior, who had belonged
to a colonist by the name of Papillion. Long before the rev-
olution he had fled from the house of his master, from which
time he lived the life of a maroon, in the mountains. This
negro was not exactly cruel, yet in the meantime his hands
became stained with crime.
Jean Francois had for lieutenant a negro named Biasson,
one of the slaves of the Fathers of Charity, who lived near
the Cape. He was a monster in the true acceptation of the
word. Nature had stamped him with a repulsive countenance
and evil instincts. His predominent faults were lewdness and
drunkenness. As for other things, he was enterprising and
active in conducting business. Jeannot, a slave of the habita-
*The instrument with which they cut sugar cane.
tA man endowed with Herculean force, he sowed fire and flame, and
strewed his path with dead bodies. He commanded the first insurgents,
tion Bullet, was a little man, and in every respect frightful.
Naturally wicked and vindictive, he lived without regret or
remorse for his horrible crimes. Like Biasson, he was capable
of conducting the grandest enterprises, especially when he
had to spill torrents of blood.
Such were the men that Toussaint joined in camp
Galiffet, in the plains of the north, where dwelt the quarter-
master general of the insurgents. Toussaint remarked that
the blacks did not spare any but the surgeons, on the habita-
tions where they committed devastation and murder; not
from pity, but from an instinct of self-preservation.
Not wishing to be an assassin in the midst of brigands,
Toussaint commenced, on the contrary, to render himself use-
ful to humanity by turning to profit the special knowledge of
the secret virtue of plants which he had received from his
father. He dressed the wounds of those who had fallen in
battle and organized the service of the ambulance. While
the others drew upon their heads the malediction of Heaven,
Toussaint, who had been drawn into the movement only by
force of circumstances, fulfilled to some degree the mission
of an apostle of charity. In this modest position he had
time to study the art of war and to familiarize himself with
the strategies of the camp. Both the art and war itself were
alike new to him. We will see later the progress made, which
was to make for him the reputation of a genius. He was able
to form a correct idea of the faults and qualities of the gen-
erals who had the principal commands. This discrimination
in characters carried him to the conquest of supremacy.
Letters really humanize," said M. St. Remy, if author-
ized to speak of humanities in a country where they were not
generally in favor." It was owing to the art of reading and
writing-and this was not the limit of his instruction-that
Toussaint posseesed a sufficient influence over the people to
enable him to make his way without staining himself with
murder, or dishonoring himself by plundering and committing
OR, HAYTI'S STRUGGLE.
crimes, examples of which too often came under his notice.
As for the rest, we will say here,.his godfather, whose counsel
he followed almost blindly, had marked out for him the line
of conduct he ought to observe; which was indeed, to direct
the insurrection according to the preponderance of his knowl-
edge, rather than to imitate insignificant men and traitors to
the African cause-whom one met following circumstances at
this time; now in the ranks of the insurgents, then in the
militia, as the government of the colony poised on one point
or another; on victory or defeat. In harmony with this tactic,
Toussaint, when the time came, exchanged his position of
doctor for the title of aid-de-camp of General Biasson.
In the meantime, Jean Francois and his lieutenants, finding
nothing more to avenge in the plains of the Cape-but recently
the pride of the colony-resolved to go and beard the whites
in their camp.
Jeannot succeeded particularly well in the most audacious
undertakings. The inhabitants of Grand Riviere and. of
Dondon* took to flight before these triumphant hordes.
The evening came, and the insurgents danced the Chica in
the glare of devasting and wide-spread conflagration. The
day following a night of such debauch, Jeannot went out intox-
icated with wine, and stained with carnage. Proud of such
exploits, he covered himself with the epaulettes of a general.
He gave himself the name of the Great Judge. He who was
but a hideous tormentor, covered his meanness with marks of
distinction and ensigns of glory. Once master of Dondon,
Jeannot marched against Valliere, which he took on the 26th day
*It is not difficult to discover the ridiculous in these peculiar and fantastic
names. Dondon, Marmelade, Sale-Trou, Anse-a-veau, Coupe-a-Pintade,
et Tulli-Quante, for the most part have their etymology from the peculiar-
ities of the places found and occupied by the first colonists, and from other
circumstances either natural or fortunate. We may laugh at the word Mar-
melade, or Lemonade, but have not the French une Ville d'Orange-a vil-
lage called Orange, a principal city, and in other days a principality of great
TOUSSAINT L'OUVERTURE ;
of October, 1791. Of fourteen prisoners who fell into his hands,
eight perished by tortures the most atrocious. The cruelties
of this hideous brigand grew with the fortunes of war. No
sooner was he seated in his camp on the habitation Dufay,
near the Grand Riviere, than he seemed to undertake the task
of rendering the place celebrated by a series of crimes, of
which not even the most infamous were capable. The decora-
tions of his camp were gibbets and scaffolds.
Toussaint who exercised already a marked ascendancy over
the insurgents, comprehended that to kill men from whom
the possibility of defence had been taken, murder prisoners of
war, put to the knife innocent women, impale and mutilate
dead bodies, drink the blood of victims with the sensuality of
cannibals, was rather to compromise than to serve the cause
of liberty and independence ; and in the interest of the sacred
cause for which he was contending, he never ceased to call the
attention of Jean Francois and Biasson to the conduct of
Jeannot and the long list of his crimes. He required them to
respect le droit des gens.
Surprised by Jean Francois in his camp, at Dufay, during a
night in October, Jeannot was brought before a council of war.
At the moment of the execution, the priest Bienvenu, rector
of Marmelade, offered him the pardon of God, to which he
gave little or no attention,-so great was his anxiety, and so
earnest his petitions in asking and begging for his life.
The war, if one may call it thus, viz.: eruptions, hand-to-
hand fights, in turn followed by successes and reverses,
assumed a character before unknown, and Toussaint had
become influential, in the council especially, when it was a
question of administration.
In proportion as the opposing assemblies formed their regi-
ments and distinguished their armies by local colors, Jean
Francois, Biasson and Toussaint had it in mind to organize
their battalions. Their companies were constituted. The flag
was white, aux armes de France, bearing on one side this
OR, HAYTI'S STRUGGLE.
device, "Vive le Roi," and on the other, "Ancient regime." They
called themselves Gens du Roi,"-" People of the King."
The officers wore a black scarf. Do you not see here two
antithesis the most piquant-the black and the white unite
together,-despotism and independence compounded in the
same love ? They gave themselves titles in order that they
might wear the corresponding decorations.* Jean Francois,
who fought only by land, called himself Grand Admiral of
France. Biasson, who never had the military merit of his
ancient chief, wished to be military dictator of the countries
won by conquest. Toussaint appropriated to himself also,-
and why not, since he was an officer superior-the uniform
of general, though he was in reality only a non-commissioned
officer; yes, but a brigadier of the king. The two principal
officers decorated themselves with lace and large red cords,
shoulder" straps covered with flowers in imitation of the lily,
and large-sized epaulettes.
It now becomes necessary that we should initiate the reader
into the tendencies of the times and new events of the war.
Why these colors; why these devices; why these aristo-
cratic uniforms among men, who, with the exception of Tous-
saint, the favorite of Breda, had known but the dress and con-
dition of the slave ? In arraying themselves in the manner
already described, did they obey only a sentiment of stupid
The answers to these questions are implied in the
terms of the proclamation which these chiefs of the blacks
addressed to the inhabitants of St. Domingo-a proclamation,
the echo of which they thought would resound in the ears of
the powerful monarch of the metropolis. We have taken
arms," said they, "for the defence of the king, whom the
whites retain as a prisoner in Paris, for the reason that he
wished to free the blacks, his faithfnl subjects." Hence they
*The soldiers were fantastically dressed in the belongings of their masters,
did not make the war in order to massacre and pillage, but in
order that they might enjoy the rights of those who wore the
red turbans-the patriots. Such was indeed the policy of the
negroes, in this second phase of the insurrection-a policy
which disclosed the mind and intention of Toussaint.
The war of St. Domingo assumed the double character of
politico religieux comme en Vendee, with this difference, the Ven-
deens fought for God and the king, while the black French
fought to the end that they might mitigate their sufferings and
ameliorate their condition.
Toussaint asked himself now and then, what would be the end
of the insurrection, and if the condition of the negroes would not
be worse after the overthrow of the existing regime, as the col-
ony would not be able for a long time, to recover from it. Was it
not, therefore, more wise and more advantageous to compromise,
and accord pardon always on condition of repentance. He
profited on an occasion of the suspension of arms, at the hour
of bivouac to suggest to his military chiefs, that propositions
looking to the establishment of peace would be favorably re-
ceived from the whites ; to weigh well all things, as the war
would possibly turn to their disadvantage, for he had heard it
said that the National Assembly had had information concern-
ing the troubles in St. Domingo, and that the Assembly was
disposed to send commissioners to the colony with an armed
force quite sufficient to remand each faction to its respective
task ; that they knew quite as well as himself the ameliorations
that the crown proposed to substitute in lieu of slavery.
It was therefore prudent in this matter, to confide themselves
to the word of the king. He added that no one could say
truthfully, that fear had been the cause of their determination.
Had they not sufficiently proved that which showed the valor
of their arms and courage ? Did heaven not appear to declare
in their favor by throwing discord in the camp of their enemies ?
No one would question their fidelity when it was known tac-
bR, HAYTI'S STRUGGLE.
ictly that the colonists had essayed to turn St. Domingo over
into the hands of the English.*
The representatives of France received with deference the
negro deputies, but on the other hand they themselves did not
find a welcome reception from the colonial assembly. Tous-
saint advised his colleagues not to divulge the results of his
first interview. Finally the assembly dismissed the emissaries
without giving them a satisfactory reply.
When Biasson learned of th'e failure of this new measure, he
allowed his temper to control him in all of his actions.
Already he had given orders to have all the prisoners of, war
brought into his camp, and he was himself disposed to cut off
their heads, when Toussaint, in whom the sentiment of
humanity was predominant, unexpectedly arrived. He first
praised his idea of vengeance, in order more easily to appease
his wrath. Speaking upon this subject, M. Saint-Remy said,
"Toussaint possessed an eloquence rapid, animated and figura-
tive; an eloquence, the triumph of which, was in perfect
accord with the laws of nature. And this is precisely the dis-
tinguishing property of a man of genius." Thus the wrath of
Biasson was subdued.
We would say in passing that the pamphlets, the libels, the
cry of "*wolf," and indeed political writings published at a
certain epoch, had left on the popular mind the impression
that it was common to hear in these words: Toussaint, the
black, was a monster of cruelty, and that he took to himself
the honor of every crime of which the negroes, and indeed
*In a moment of despair, the colonists of the Cape addressed themselves
to the governor of Jamaica, asking him for protection. This step on their
part gave rise to the accusation, viz.: that which they did in this particular,
was in perfect keeping with a long-cherished desire to turn the colony over
to the English. The proclamation of this fact was the very instrument*by
which their enemies succeeded in crushing them. The deputies whom they
sent to Paris, gave certain explanation to the National Assembly in session
Nov. 3oth, 1791. Their memorial rejects the accusation. The tactics of
Toussaint were, to say the least, adroit and ingenious.
even the mulattoes, proved themselves capable." Posterity,
however, on the contrary, will render justice to his humanity.
The commissioners foresaw the deplorable effect which
would follow the resistance of the Colonial Assembly to the
divers conciliatory efforts, that they endeavored to arrange
with caution, and which were always, it is necessary to say,
accepted or challenged with respect by the principal chiefs of
the blacks. Therefore despairing of success in the object of
their mission, and seeing the authority of the government dis-
regarded by the personal treatment they received, they
resolved to re-embark. On their arrival at Paris, Messrs. de
Mirbec and de Saint Leger* enlightened the National Assem-
bly on the true situation of things in St. Domingo. They
declared to the Assembly that if the amnesty of which they
were the representatives had in no way been made profitable
to the negroes, conciliation had become of less importance
among the men of color. This exposition of the condition of
things in St. Domingo gave rise to the decree of the National
Assembly, April 4th, 1792, by which it was declared that men
of color and free negroes were to enjoy the same political
rights as the whites; and ordered new elections both for the
municipalities and the colonial assemblies. The decree
also named three new commissioners, on whom it conferred
almost unlimited power.
Associated for the purposes of carnage, destruction and
theft, Jean Francois and Biasson were thrown into confusion
when they learned, by the decree, that their rule was at
an end through the abandoned districts where they had each
taken the title of vice-roi of the conquered countries. Several
times they were about to come to action in the borough of the
Grande Riviere. By common consent they established two
governments, after a manner; one in the north and the other
*M. de Roume entertained particular views, and being a Creole, was
more familiar with the colonists and the natives, but took good care not to
disclose his views.
OR, HAYTI 6 STRUGGLE. 57
in the east. These two chiefs, Jean Francois and Biasson,
were now without a rival. It was, however, an officer of the
army of Biasson, already very high in rank and influential on
account of his intellectual superiority, who contemplated for
himself an independent course.
Toussaint, according to the testimony of his detractors,
remained in the very crisis of the insurrection perfectly free
and clear of all crime. M. Saint Remy rendered him this
justice. How can we reconcile the good he thought of Tous-
saint with the evil he said of him ? The answer to this
question is easy when we learn that M. Saint Remy, in writ-
ing his book, complied first of all a un esprit de system. The
same spirit has tended for a long time to pervert the moral
sense among the Haytiens.
TOtJSSAINT L'OUVERTURE ;
TOUSSAINT TAKES AN ACTIVE PART IN THE REVOLUTION.
Up to the present time Toussaint seemed to be attached to
the army with the object of gaining its esteem without taking
a direct part in the war. He was, however, no mere novice in
the art of commanding. A certain document gives us to un-
derstand that he possessed a thorough knowledge of the theory
of arms. His professor, in fencing and the military art, was
an old officer in one of the regiments of the Cape. As he had
great intelligence, he was soon able to conduct, not only the
movements of a campaign, but also the undisciplined battalions
of Biasson. Charles Belair, who became his aide-de-camp as-
sisted at these exercises, and indeed on one occasion he informs
us that Toussaint received the felicitations of ungrand manceu-
vrier Lieutenant-Colonel Desfourneaux.*
The manner in which Jean Francois and Biasson conducted
affairs, brought disgrace on the cause of the blacks in the eyes
of Toussaint, who resolved on that account to commence and
continue the war for liberty, with due regard, under all cir-
cumstances, for the rights which belong to prisoners.
The law which went into effect on the 4th of April, so fav-
orable to the men of color, maintained and encouraged slavery.t
Toussaint rather assumed that he might obtain the com-
mand of Camp Pele, the advanced post in the section of the
Tannerie. This position, which occupied the crest of an
elevation between Dondon and Grande Riviere, overlooked
*Un autre officer, nomme Gilles Lorette, ancien soldat dans la milice du
Cap, lui servit, au debut, de premier instructeur ; l'armee blanche Colon-
iale lui fournit par la suite de quoi former des cardres.
tThe Assembly, complying with the solicitation of the society known as
the Friends of the Blacks-Amis des Noirs-accorded to the Affranchis the
liberties for which they had taken up arms. The slave institution, how-
ever, remained intact.
OR, HAYTI S STRUGGLE.
the surrounding country for a great distance, and constituted
a permanent menace to the soldiers camped in and about the
Cape. A young officer by the name of Assas,* who com-
manded the National Guard of the Cape, received the order
to drive the negroes from the heights they occupied and take
possession of their battery. Toussaint did not wait to be
attacked in his camp. He took his position some distance in
advance of it; drew up his army in battle array, and watched
the enemy bravely, in order to advance himself. The troops
of the Cape, animated by a noble ardor, precipitated them-
selves, struck and dashed headlong. Stubborn determination
was manifested equally on both sides. The officers proved to
be embodiments and prodigies of courage. Toussaint was
seriously wounded on the arm in the melee; his ranks were
broken, and his men covered the earth. He simply sounded
the retreat and withdrew to the Tannerie, leaving to the brave
Assas the advantage he had gained, October, 1792. The
conqueror received a few days later the epaulettes which
belong to the rank of colonel.
The new commission, composed of Sonthonax, Polverel and
Ailhaud, three enthusiastic Jacobins, landed at the Cape, the
17th of September, 1792. The commission was accompanied
by 1o,ooo troops, commanded by three generals. In the ranks
of this army figured several captains with whom we will soon
become acquainted, through the unfolding of events-Etienne
Laveaux, lieutenant-colonel; Desfourneaux and Montbrun,
both of the same military grade. The last mentioned-Mont-
brun-was a mulatto and creole of St. Domingo. General
Rochambeau was also with the squadron. He was at the head
of a small army destined to repress any attempts at revolu-
tion which might manifest themselves at Martinique.
Rochambeau, who was for the time being intrusted with the
general command, cleared the sections of the Tannerie and
*He was related by blood to a hero of the same name.
the Grande Riviere without difficulty. The 8th of November
he recaptured the village Quanaminthe by assault, the fort of
which was defended by Jean Francois in person. Several
other forts met the same fate. In the north the success was
not so complete. Toussaint, although suffering from the
wound recently received, had retaken bluff Pele, sur le
Colonel d'Assas, and maintained his position there, in spite of
the efforts of the troops of the Cape to dislodge him.
Laveaux, who had taken the command after the departure
of Rochambeau, finally came into possession of this fortifica-
tion, and soon did not find any serious resistance, except be-
fore the Tannerie. This point had always been considered as
the bulwark of the insurgents. The road which conducted
thither was shut up by double doors which stood eight feet
from each other. The first door was lined with copper, and on
the side towards the camp there was a large trench into which
had been turned the water of the river ; on the other side there
was a trench running up to the middle of the bluff, strength-
ened by a thick palisade. The batteries were placed on a
platform in the center of the bluff, protected by a barricade
constructed according to the rules known to the art of civil
engineering.' It is acknowledged that Biasson encamped at
the Tannerie. The happy arrangements-if indeed we are not
agreed to say the surprising means of defence described in the
the report* of this siege-had been prized by Toussaint, who
was in himself the embodiment of the genius of the black army
of the North. After the loss of this position which they
regarded as impregnable, Biasson and Toussaint aimed to sit-
uate between themselves and the enemy, the double range of
mountains of Valliere. As under the circumstances amnesty
had been happily proclaimed, an opportunity was lost, and a
second error committed, viz., the voluntary halt of Laveaux in
in his victorious course. Sonthonax seemed to consider no
*The Report of Laveaux.
OR, HAYTI S STRUGGLE.
want more pressing than certain changes in the army, in order
to make room for volunteer companies composed of negroes
and mulattoes. There were the Legion of Equality, the Legion
of the West, and the Legion of the South. This arrangement
points back to an intention to draw upon and drain the African
blood at the very source, for the black men and the colored men
were soon to find themselves face to face, for the purpose of
destroying each other.
At this epoch the unfortunate Louis XVI. was put to death
on the scaffold With one breath France declared war against
the great powers. In this provocation England found a pre-
text to send an army for the purpose of invading an Do-
mingo. Monge, who was secretary of the navy and of the
colonies, thought it best to withdraw from the sections of San
Domingo in revolt, and he so advised; but on the other hand,
the commissioners Polverel and Sonthonax offered the insur-
gents un code noir, in which they annulled that which was
objectionable in the former ordinances (May 5, 1793).
The destruction of the city of Cape Francais showed to
what disastrous consequences the policy followed by the com-
missioners had led. All that ancient history recounts about
the sack of Thebes, the fires which consumed Troy, the
despair of the inhabitants of Sagonte, and the sad and painful
extremities to which the Jews were reduced in Jerusalem at
the time when Titus beseiged it, dwindle into insignificance as
they are brought into comparison with this awful calamity.
Such crimes ought not to go unpunished. The convention
had already pronounced, on the i6th of July, against the civil
commissioners. A second acquisition against them, brought
before the tribunal after the burning of the Cape, was strongly
supported by Jeambou-Saint-Andre. The dictators were not
able to maintain themselves in their positions, flattering and
caressing the men of color, whom they were not slow in sacri-
ficing to the blacks,
62 TOUSSAINT L'OUVERTURE;
In the meantime Don Gaspard, of Gassassola, called the
soldiers of Jean Francois and Biasson into the service of the
king of Spain.
CITY OF CAPE HAYTI.
OR, HAYTI S STRUGGLE.
TOUSSAINT ENTERS THE SERVICE OF SPAIN.
As the apathy of Jean Francois rendered him indifferent to
every thing which did not become in some way a satisfaction
in gratifying his vengeance and increasing his pleasure, he re-
garded with a jealousy mingled with fear, the progress which
was bringing fame to Toussaint in his command. Indeed, did he
not already see in him a rival ? He conceived an animosity
against Toussaint, the first lieutenant of Biasson, after the bril-
liant military feat at the bluff known as Morne Pele, and under
a pretext which remains unknown, caused him to be arrested
and put in prison at Valliere. Placed at liberty, however
through the favor and intervention of his chief, Toussaint re-
solved to depend in the future solely upon himself. He knew
full well that since the battle at Morne Pele, all the soldiers of
whom he had command, were disposed to follow his fortune in
war, whatever that might be. Toussaint owed nothing to the
generosity of the king of Spain. Following the example of
captains of the ancient regime, he had formed on his own ac-
count a corps of six hundred choice men, well disciplined and
armed. It was, therefore, in the quality of Marechal de Camp
-Lieutenant-General-the title with which he was already
decorated, that he placed himself under the orders of the Mar-
quis d'Hermonas, Governor of Saint Raphael, reserving to
himself liberty of action and the right to direct his move-
ments. The commissioners, hoping still to retain the negroes
in their service, opened negotiations with Jean Francois and
Biasson. They wrote to them, and said, Come and rejoin
us ; you will be free; you will be citizens; and you will con-
serve your military grades, &c." These agents counted un-
seasonably and preposterously without Toussaint-Toussaint,
who was a mw 9of true courage. To attack him for the pur-
TOUSSAINT L OUVERTURE;
pose of subduing his spirit, was not to attack him at all. It
was to M. de Nully, then commander of Dondon, that the
commission confided the task, which was fraught with anxi-
ety, of winning over the army of Biasson. The officers came
together in the camp, which occupied the Bassin Caiman, and
declared to him in every response, that they would never treat
or have negotiations with the civil commissioners, whose
authority and power they did not recognize; that having up
to the present time fought with their soldiers to sustain the
rights of the king, they would shed the last drop of their blood
for the defence of the Bourbons, to whom they had promised
an inviolable fidelity. "Jusqu'a la Mort.*" June 25, 1793.
From the attitude of these officers it would seem that the
commissioners were responsible for the conduct of the insur-
gents. After the defection of the blacks came the revolt of
The attitude of the commissioners was dictatorial. The un-
just orders frequently issued to the officers of the regular
army, were a constant source of vexation, and brought about
a condition of things insupportable. In France many officers
of the army were put to death ignominously. They sought,
therefore, a place of refuge under the Spanish flag. MM. de
Nully, de Lafeuillee, and several other officers of the first
rank, were among the number. TIe defeat and loss most
keenly felt was that of the Tannerie, recently captured by
Laveaux. This camp covered nearly the whole plain. The
officer who commanded it, instead of seeking to winToussaint
by promises, according to the trust which had been committed
to him by the commissioners, delivered himself up to the
black general, arms and baggage. All of his officers left the
service, and being generally well instructed, were voluntary
and valuable accessions to the line and staff of Toussaint.
*This reply, written by the secretary-general of the army, was signed
thus : "Toussaint, General of the Army of the King; Moyse, Brigadier;
Galbart, Colonel; Thomas, Commandant de le Crete Ronge; Biasson,
Governor General for the King."
OR, HAYTIIS STRUGGLE.
TOUSSAINT SUBJUGATES DONDON AND MARMELADE. IN CONSEQUENCE OF
THESE VICTORIES HE RECEIVED THE NAME OF L'OUVERTURE.
The departure, or rather the flight, of M. de Nully left Don-
don without a defender. This post, as a consequence, fell tp
the charge of Colonel Brandicourt, whose merit was equal to
his courage. But was it possible at this moment to maintain
a position already compromised by the loss of the Tannerie ?
All the communications with the Cape were intercepted, and
a scarcity of provisions was an early probability. A council
of war decided the evacuation of Marmelade, where they had
hoped that the army would be able to find subsistence.
Toussaint saw very clearly, from the point of view where he
was making his observations, the movements of M. Brandi-
court, and judged as to his intentions. After which he sta-
tioned himself in ambush on the way between Dondon and
Marmelade. He had but 6oo black soldiers and some reserves
who came from Dondon and Grande Riviere, to oppose an
army of 1,500 men, composed of soldiers bearing all sorts of
arms, and a great number of auxiliaries. Lieutenant-Colonel
Pascaud commanded the white troops; M. Raynal, the auxil-
iaries; the lieutenant of the grenadiers, Planel, was at the
head of the advance guard; M. Brandicourt occupied the
Toussaint entertained the notion that artifice and tactics
alone, on this occasion would be able to triumph over the
greater numbers and valor of the French. He would effect
this result if he could manage to obstruct and bar the passage
of his adversary and turn the enemy in a different direction.
"Toussaint," mentions a document which we consult, "ap-
proaches as near as possible to the borough of Dondon and
intercepts the wute which leads to the Cape." The next day,
TOUSSAINT L'OUVERTURE ;
having perceived the movement in the earthworks of M.
Brandicourt, he judged that the intention of his adversary was
to come to action, or to evacuate the borough of Dondon; to
go as soon as possible towards the camp at the bluff, known
as Morne Pele, in order to draw near to Marmelade once
more. Toussaint took the following precautions in case of an
attack: He set out at the head of 300 choice men, and in
passing crossed some by-ways and frightful precipices. He
continued his march in order to place them advantageously
in ambush between the two camps, under the orders of his
first officer, Charles Belair. Then he came and rejoined his
troops, who were in front of Dondon, with the firm resolution
to give battle in the position he occupied, or to pursue the
enemy if he moved out of his position.
From five o'clock in the evening until dark the two parties
were near enough to observe each other. M. Brandicourt
awaited this moment as the most favorable to facilitate his
retreat. M. Pascaud had received orders to effect it, and
while he commenced from his side a retrograde movement in
the direction of Camp Pele, the colonel advanced, accom-
panied by a few officers. From a military point of view he
regarded the route upon which he was passing without inter-
ruption, as inaccessible to the enemy-made so by Nature's
own arrangement-and therefore perfectly free. He perceived
his error, however, when he fell into the hands of the vigilant
Charles Belair, and discovered from the situation the great-
ness of his peril, and the grandeur of the intrepid movement
attempted by Toussaint. M. Brandicourt, surprised and sur-
rounded, was made prisoner, with all his attendants, and con-
ducted to the general quarters of his happy adversary, who
was absent. An officer came to the advanced post and
announced the news to the general-in-chief.
Toussaint repaired very soon to his headquarters and treated
M. Brandicourt very honorably, exhorting the chief of so
many brave men not to expose them inconsiderately, as all
OR, HAYTI'S STRUGGLE.
further attempts at defence would prove abortive. M. Brand-
icourt responded that if he was a prisoner, his soldiers were
not, and inasmuch as they were surrounded by enemies whom
they would be obliged to face on all sides, honor required
them to fire their last cartridge. It was for this purpose he
asked the privilege to expedite a courier to M. Pascaud.
Toussaint replied: I have too much admiration for your
courage not to grant that which you desire, but I would ad-
mire much more your humanity, if-all possible retreat being
cut off from your troops-you should not give an order to
invite the effusion of blood." In the interval, an officer arrived
whom Lieutenant-Colonel Pascaud had dispatched to M.
Brandicourt, in order to ascertain his last instructions. M.
Brandicourt, touched by the magnanimity of Toussaint and
the painful position in which he found his soldiers, advised M.
Pascaud to yield to the force of circumstances, and not to
make any use of his arms, whatever, unless the enemy should
refuse to accord him the honors of war. M. Pascaud surrend-
ered in obedience to this order; entered the Grand-Bassin,
while Toussaint's quartermaster-general was beating the
tambour, and displaying the flags. One had then a spectacle
altogether new, in the camp of Toussaint-the conquerors per-
fectly delighted in the midst of the vanquished, whose apparal
was imposing, but who trembled in the presence of their
enemies, and perhaps would have attempted flight had they
not been reassured as they read the countenance of their gen-
eral. This was not a matter of surprise," adds the historian;
"it was the first time that such good fortune crowned their
efforts, and the war had in reality only commenced." M.
Pascaud and his troops filed out with their baggage, in charge
of a small detachment. All of the officers were allowed to
retain their side arms and carry them in the march to Saint
Raphael, where M. Brandicourt had already arrived.* The
*The commissioners did not neglect to accuse this unfortunate officer ot
treason. At other times he was the spoiled child of the revolution. M.
TOUSSAINT L'OUVERTURE ;
Marquis of Hermonas wrote Toussaint a letter in which he
expressed his thanks and satisfaction, touching the unexpected
Encouraged by the success of an enterprise, in which the
good fortune was itself a proclamation of superior qualifica-
tion on the part of the leading spirit, Toussaint conceived a
grand project, which was to subjugate the entire section,
including Marmelade, Ennery, Plaisance and Gonaives.
This combination, once achieved, would prove judicious and
advantageous. By establishing a strong line of works from
east to west, he would make himself master of all the com-
munications and roads to which access to the north was possi-
ble. He calculated also that in possession of the places men-
tioned, it would require less men to defend a single line and
less trouble for him, personally, to overlook the works and
pieces of artillery, than if he had his soldiers and all his means
of defence scattered over a vast plain. There were, also,
other considerations; he would be able to supply his army
with greater facility in a country where all the inhabitants
were his friends. His munitions of war dispersed here and
there in the impregnable parts of the line, would be less ex-
posed when surprised by the troops of the republic. Finally,
inasmuch as he intended to give his personal attention to all
matters appertaining to the army, the fortifications and re-
doubts, the oversight would be much less difficult.
He not only put himself into communication with the
people of the districts where he desired to extend his opera-
tions, but gave his personal attention to all correspondence,
and was prompt and exact in, all his negotiations. These
reliable means naturally suggested themselves to him in the
absence of topographical maps, viz.: Charts, giving distances
from one point to another; the direction of mountains;
Ardouin, who was seldom capable of being generous, indulged this opinion.
Thanks for the details furnished in our document, M. Brandicourt is free
from any such crime.
OR, HAYTI'S STRUGGLE.
the course and depth of streams; the difficulties of roads,
and the accommodations for filing out in case of retreat.
Hereafter we shall understand better these advantages.
Toussaint was already experienced in the art of war, although
up to the present he had practiced it by intuition.
We see very clearly from preceding events that the insur-
gents were already nothing more nor less than soldiers in the
cause of liberty-fighting to better their condition before
serving the interests of Spain. They were not unmindful of
the assistance rendered by Spain, and expressed themselves
well and fully with regard to it, in order to draw therefrom
munitions of war and money with which to pay troops.
Royalty was at this time in sympathy with their fetich wor-
ship. In Charles IV. we see an example of it, the most remark-
able. In the eyes of the insurgents two men, Polverel and Son-
thonbix, the authors of the new black code, personified the
Republic. For these men they had nothing but contempt and
that in the highest degree ; and the Republic with its retinue
of irritating patrons and furious declamations was odious to
The proclamations issued by the civil commissioners fol-
lowed each other in rapid succession, and for a few days, there
was on every occasion, an effort to inaugurate a war, that
would be in its character detestable, and in its far-reaching
results the most unfortunate.
The war as set forth in the plan of the commissioners and to
some extent carried out, was fratricide. The soldiers with
whom the government fought the blacks, were the very super-
ior white Silhouettes selected from the mulatto troops. From
this moment and occasion a prejudice of color sprang into
existence, which neither time nor mutual interests have been
able as yet to overcome entirely. Toussaint's first object, and
first prize which he hoped to win, was Marmelade, the country
adjacent to Dondon. He took, by storm, under a heavy and
severe fire of musketry, Camp Pele, situated in front of Bluff
TOUSSAINT LOtOUVERTURE ;
and Crete-a-Pin, positions which formed two formidable bar-
riers to the aggressors whose objective point was Marmelade.
The brave Vernet commanded at this point, having at his
command Lafrance, colonel of the legion known as Nou-
veaux Libres." Toussaint entered the field with two corps
of troops, the right wing having been placed under the com-
mand of Colonel Desrouleaux, who came of his own accord
into the ranks of the black army, Toussaint himself directing
the left wing. Vernet, commanding a strong force of artillery,
occupied the center of the borough of Marmelade. Colonel
Lafrance and Captain Jean Baptiste Paparel with their armies
faced on either side the right and left wings of Toussaint's
forces. From the moment they began action, which took
place in the morning, Lafrance compromised his position.
Both sides fought bravely, until prevented by the shades of
night, manifesting at times, the spirit of desperation. Then
it was that the adversaries of Toussaint decided to pour out
their troops on the Ennery.
The conqueror found in Marmelade large quantities of
munitions of war, of which he had great need and a dozen
field pieces. In possession and master of Marmelade, after a
a battle which covered him with honor, Toussaint gave for
the second time since he exercised an independent command,
an example of wise moderation, a proof of executive ability
and the genius of organization which were inate in him and
manifested everywhere in his movements and establishments.
He called together all the proprietors, who, from the com-
mencement of the civil war, were refugees, thoroughly organ-
ized throughout the country, on Spanish territory; and to
Jean Baptiste Paparel who joined him after his great victory,
Toussaint confided the care of these refugees and the respon-
ible mission of defending the country from all outside aggres-
sion. Very shortly after this, 300 men from the regiment of
Bearn came over and joined the ranks of Toussaint, from whom
he selected some of his best officers. Dubuisson, a native-of
OR, HAYTI'6 STRUGGLE.
Bayonne, Birette, a young planter of Marmelade, and Jacques
Maurepas, from a company of footmen, were attached to his
staff. The following is an extract from a MS., showing the
popularity and high esteem in which Toussaint was held at the
time. "Tout le monde," porte un manuscrit, "etait content
de lui; on ne parlait que de l'elevation de son esprit de son
genie et de sa magnanimite." Everybody," said a MS., "was
satisfied with him and talked only about his high moral tone,
c-est-a-dire the elevation of his spirit, his genius, and his
After the battle which resulted in the overthrow of Marme-
lade, Lieutenant Colonel Desfourneaux marched against Saint
Michael, a village situated on the Spanish frontier, in order to
commence a movement that would enable him to carry out
his intention of extending his line of works from east to west.
Desfourneaux did not go very far beyond Gonaives. August
If Toussaint triumphed by virtue of his tactics and the valor
of his troops, he at least sometimes owed his success to the
inconsistency of the civil commissioners. This assertion rests
upon the following facts : After the evacuation of Marmelade,
Colonel Vernet came and camped with his troops at Ennery,
on the habitation Pilboreau. This place was a short distance
from the Grande Riviere, where Polverel had made a halt dur-
ing his march from Port au Prince to the north. Vernet
profitted this occasion to make some explanation of his defeat
at Marmelade. He said to the commissioner : If Marme-
lade has been lost, it is to be attributed simbly to the little
attention given to the declarations made from time to time by
Paul Lafrance, and to the insufficiency of the means of defence
at command." In answer to which Polverel, in an angry tone,
asked the question, "How many men did you have ?"
"Twelve hundred," said the colonel. "Twelve hundred men !
You had better say twelve hundred cowards," responded the
commissioner. This insult was a slap. It was a fatal slap.
tOUSSAINT L'OUVERTURi ;
Indignation seized Vernet, and he went over to increase the
force of Toussaint, who gave him a position of great dis-
tinction; won his esteem; secured his devotion, and after-
wards gave him the place of a relative in his family.
A few days after the event of which we have just spoken,
the same commissary, Polverel, speaking before several per-
sons on the slope of Rouffeliers about the hero of Dondon and
Marmelade, made the following exclamation : "Ce b- gre-
la se fait donc ouverture portout !"* The word passed from
mouth to mouth, and from the moment it was uttered public
opinion confirmed the epithet. From this time the chief of
the blacks never dropped his surname, L'Ouverture (the
Opener), which he transmitted as a glorious heritage to his
Let us pass in review the result of these events. Colonel
Desfourneaux, whose objective point was Saint Michael, contin-
ued his retreat towards Gonaives, which it was his purpose to
protect in marching toward the east, leaving Paul Lafrance
on the habitation Pilboreau. He was not aware that he was
followed by an indefatigable adversary, who was actuated
by the principle contained in the axiom, A good general
ought not to accord truce to the enemy." Toussaint invaded
the district of the Ennery; attacked the post at Pilboreau ;
took possession of it without much difficulty, and installed
himself there, while Lafrantce hastened to seek succor at Gon-
aives. The Ennery was handed over on conditions. Duvig-
neau passed into the service of the conqueror.
Toussaint was now inclined to lead in person a large num-
ber of troops against Gonaives, the possession of which would
place him in direct communication with the sea. It would be
an outlet, the point of departure for the line of defence, the
eastern extremity of which touched the confines of the Span-
ish frontier. At this very moment, while Toussaint was con-
"This negro makes an opening everywhere."
6tR, HAYTI S STRUGGLE.
templating his grand march to the sea, A. Chanlatte, com-
mander of the post at Plaisance (pour la Republique), arrived
suddenly at Rouffeliers, where the garrison of Pilboreau found
supplies, drove Toussaint L'Ouverture from his position, and
reassured the people of Gonaives by his presence. Bleck,
captain of the Legion Republicaine de 1' Ouest, landed at
Gonaives at the same time a reinforcement of 1,500 men
of color. The results of this victory, like summer fruit, were
of very short duration. Toussaint L'Ouverture recaptured
Ennery, after coming in possession of the camps of Audigier
and of Merion-the first situated on the Grande Colline and
the second on the Grande Riviere d'Ennery. This success
caused Toussaint L'Ouverture to think more seriously than
ever over the contemplated conquest of Gonaives.
The following Haytien authors have made mention of Tous-
saint L'Ouverture: Thomas Madiou, Saint-Remy and Beau-
brun Ardouin,* but they have apparently, with intention,
taken no notice of several victories which the chief of the
blacks won over his enemies at the commencement of his
career. M. Beaubrun Ardouin confesses, however, what was
the art of his military success, He understood himself better
than the others."
After he had made himself master of the stronghold known
as the Ennery-a position in which he could command all the
plain of Gonaives-Toussaint L'Ouverture, faithful to his
plan, which consisted, as we have said, in the purpose to form
a line of works from west to east, strengthened by fortifi-
cations, around which were great trenches, desired very much
to be in possession of the Tannerie-a place already taken
and retaken some twenty times. He presented himself before
this fort in a manner calculated to display the great strength
of his military forces; but. as he had an aversion to the
*These are the principal ones whose writings exercise a baneful influence
in perpetuating prejudices between the two colors, into which the people
9f Hayti are divided.
TOUSSAINT L'OUVERTURE ;
effusion of blood, he called upon Brammant Lazary, a black
man, who commanded the fort, to surrender at his discretion.
Brave, and knowing only his duty, Brammant not only refused
to surrender, but he had the audacity to go so far as to make
the general who menaced him a tableau seductive of the ben-
efits for which the men of his color were indebted to the
Republic.* Toussaint L'Ouverture admired the courage of
Brammant Lazary, but he did not think as Lazary thought.
For Toussaint L'Ouverture, the word and promises of the
commissioners were by no means the gospel.
Lazary, surprised in his camp, on the ioth of September,
had jnst time enough to make his escape with a few of his
soldiers; the rest were incorporated in the army of the con-
queror. In the meantime Captain Villate dispatched a force
from the Cape, recaptured the Tannerie, but was not able to
maintain himself in possession of it. Toussaint L'Ouverture
now judged it prudent to demolish a place which was the
object so much desired by both sides.
He afterwards repaired to Marmelade, as much to rest, after
the fatigue of a laborious campaign-during which he received
several slight wounds-as to complete his arrangements in
view of a future campaign, in which he hoped to subjugate
Gonaives. His family was en surete at Saint Raphael.
*The commissioners first gave liberty to the blacks who served as auxil-
iaries ; afterwards they made a general proclamation, not authorized by the
OR, HAYTI'S STRUGGLE.
TOUSSAINT L OUVERTURE ENTERS GONAIVES. INVASION BY THE ENGLISH.
The commissioners, Polverel and Sonthonax, to whom the
committee on public safety had made soine complaints, July
14th, 1793, were not able to maintain in the colony more than
a shadow of authority.
On the ioth ot November, the inhabitants of Verrettes, of
Petite Riviere and of Saint Marc, issued a manifesto under the
caption, Resistance to Oppression." In it they protested
against the act of general emancipation, declaring it to be
productive of no good, originating with, and coming from, the
two dictators of San Domingo.
Toussaint L'Ouverture, who had hoisted the flag of liberty,
was not disposed to participate in the views of these malcon-
tents. He resolved, on the contrary, to profit by the division
which so clearly manifested itself among them. Not more
than a fourth part of the people of Gonaives were loyal.
Bleck, a soldier devoted to the interests of the Republic,
had his headquarters at Gonaives, but unfortunately for him
he was commanding troops who were demoralized and want-
ing in almost every particular, even discipline. Surrounded
by these circumstances, he formed the resolution to repair to
Saint Marc. Here, in the very place where he hoped to
obtain aid and receive conseil de paix et d'union-in the midst
of those he considered his companions in arms-he found
nothing but a prison.
Toussaint L'Ouverture now thought the moment had
arrived and that circumstances were favorable for him to enter
Gonaives. He set out, followed by an imposing force, and
arriving at Gros-Morne, he was so situated as to be able to
make observations. Masseron, Cazes, and Paul Lafrance
thought for a moment of defending Gonaives. In the mean-
time the two last mentioned, realizing that the means of de-
TOUSSAINT L OUVERTURE;
fense at their disposition were so entirely insufficient that
they could not entertain any hope, decided therefore to make
terms with Toussaint L'Ouverture. Masseron, standing alone
in his opinion, resolved to give battle, but at the approach of
950 men, composing the army of Toussaint L'Ouverture, who
had'gained, by a forced march, Gros-Morne, he made his way
to Pont-de-l'Ester-from which place, if necessary, he might
gain without difficulty, Mirebalais. "The council of war was
scarcely over," says M. Saint Remy, "when they heard at
Gonaives the report of twenty-one cannons, which followed in
peals of quick succession-the echo being heard like thunder
in the camps of Coupe-a-Pintade and of Couleuvre."
"The English are about to embark," was heard here and
there, as a menance; but the last echo of the artillery an-
nounced the triumphant entrance of Toussaint, and the
additional conquest of Gonaives, December 6th, 1793 The
people of Gonaives saw in this great general a liberator, and
offered magnificent civic honors to him. Cazes and Paul
Lafrance were continued in their positions. Another officer,
who afterwards achieved renown in the army of Toussaint,
was received and placed as captain on his staff. This soldier
Masseron, not having time to carry his sick out with him, on
the entrance of Toussaint, left them behind. Their sad con-
dition was in itself a successful appeal to the heart of Tous-
saint L'Ouverture, who sent them to Masseron under the pro-
tection of a strong guard. The conqueror received at Gonaives
the representatives of Blanc-Cazenave, the commander of
Ester, by whom they were authorized to make the announce-
ment that he, their commander, recognized Toussaint L'Ouv-
erture as his chief, and that all the men under his command
were animated by the same disposition. Thus Toussaint
L'Ouverture saw rallying under his standard, not only the
refugees from bondage, but whole battalions of anciens libres,
OR, HAYTIpS STRUGGLE.
deserting the flag of the Republic. This happy turn of fortune
placed the victorious general in the ascendancy.
The accomplishment of the task of establishing a line of
works extending from west to east was not yet realized, inas-
much as Plaisance remained in the hands of General Laveaux.
A. Chanlatte, colonel in the Legion de I' Egalite, was in com-
mand at this place. The commander of the army of the
north, having no disposition to make any allowance whatever
in favor of this officer, this place shared the fate others had,
which was really desirable, on the part of Toussaint L'Ouver-
ture. From this time and occurrence, Chanlatte conceived for
the man who was an honor to the African race,* an enmity
which was never extinguished.
The Republic had nothing more left under her jurisdiction
in the north, except Fort Dauphin, where Candy was en-
trenched; Port-de-Paix, at which place Laveaux had estab-
lished his general quarters, and which if once abandoned could
not be re-occupied; and Cape Francais, commanded by Vil-
late, who was still in possession of the bourgade of Petite-Anse
and that of Haut-du-Cap. These localities, as well as many
ports of the south, were menaced by the combined squadrons
of Spain and Great Britain.
Authority which loses its prestige is often forsaken by its
ablest and most enthusiastic supporters. Buquet, commander
of Petite-Riviere; Morin, commander of Verrettes ; Savary,
commander of Saint Marc, and the commander of L'Arcahaye,
followed the example of Cazes, of Paul Lafrance, and of Blanc-
Cazenave. In reality, according to M. Saint-Remy,t all was
*M. Saint Remy remarked : "Toussaint made the opening for my race
to all social distinction." According to this confession Toussaint was such
a saviour as Moses was, and by a sigular aberration-not by jealousy, spite
or foolish pride-you throw from the pedestal the idol, in order to place
thereon a fetich.
tOf the three historians whose names have already been mentioned,
Saint Remy, a man of color, who lived at Cayes, was the most impartial in
Ais expressed view touching Toussaint L'Ouverture. His work, one has
TOUSSAINT L'OUVERTURE ;
in subjection in the presence of the glory which covered
The spectacle which Saint Domingo presented at this time
was most pitiable. On one side she was afflicted by all the
horrors which follow in the wake of civil war ; and on the
other, by what was still more terrible, the scourge of foreign
On the 19th of September, 1793, two frigates, with 5oo men
on board, detached from the garrison at Jamaica, appeared
before Jeremie, and were welcomed by the shout of Vive le
Roi Georges! Vivent les Anglais !" Andre Rigaud' and a
few officers of the south repelled the attacked of Colonel
Whitelock, off Tiburon, October 4th. There was no place
whatever in the south, at this time, that could be regarded as
the principal aim or object of the English ; their desire caused
them, first of all, to wish possessions in the north.
There on a point projecting out from the sea coast, which
stands as a sentinel, is a formidable rock known by the name
of Mole Saint Nicholas. Some one has called it the Gibral-
tar of the Antilles."
Count d'Estaing built this fortification May, 1749, when he
took possession of Saint Domingo in the name of France,
with a view of commanding both the ocean and the Gulf of
Mexico. Dubeux, who was commanding it when the English
appeared, and who was already pushed to extremity by Son-
thonax- whose vile character rendered him incapable of exer-
cising moderation-and by the excesses of the mulatto,
Lapoint, whose name remains odious in the history of Saint
Domingo, surrendered the fort and village to a ship carrying
fifty guns-l'Europa. From that hour the English held the
keys of the island, or perhaps it is better to say, the French
assured us, during his stay at Paris, where he went for the purpose of secur-
ing an editor, did undergo important modifications. This writer while in
France, kept up a correspondence with the son of Toussaint L'Ouverture,
who was residing at Bordeaux.
OR, HAYTI'S STRUGGLE.
part of it. The Spanish surrounded the eastern part by land
and by sea. Arcahaye, Saint Marc, Leogane, and Grand
Goave received the English as friends-perhaps we might say,
About this time Sonthonax did not seem to exercise his
better judgment; he required Laveaux to expose himself to
flame and iron, after the manner of those he called brigands.
Polverel was in favor of another method of discipline, possi-
bly more in harmony with legal provisions. He established
the guillotine at Port au Prince. The aspect of the first exe-
cution was so horrible to the blacks, who witnessed it, that
they pulled it down, and this awful instrument of death has
not since been rebuilt among them.
In the interval Sonthonax bravely refused to deliver up
Port au Prince into the hands of Commodore Ford; but Tiburon
fell to the enemy, February 2d, 1794, after making, however,
a heroic defence. An unsuccessful attempt to seduce General
Laveaux, by Colonel Whitelock, ended in the offer of a cartel,
which was not accepted. Laveaux drove his ships from Port
The condition of things at Fort Dauphin became more and
more intolerable. Candy, chief of the colored soldiers, and
Knappe, captain of the white troops, signed with the Spanish
articles of agreement, which were the conditions of capitula-
tions. These two traitors suffered the punishment of their
crime in the same place. Candy, at the place called Liberty,
was put in irons, and the bleus were massacred there without
Toussaint L'Ouverture, having learned in his camp-which
was situated quite far from Fort Dauphin-that the condi-
tions upon which the capitulation had been made were
violated, and that there had been a terrible massacre of the
French, made haste to present himself before the Spanish
chiefs. He said to them: "Desist from killing these men.
If you do not, I wiLl cause my troops to take arms and compel
you to respect the oath, under which you bound yourselves in
the articles of capitulation." This energetic representation,
coming from a soldier whose character and merit were not un-
known to them, resulted in the conservation of what remained
of the garrison, who proclaimed Toussaint to be their savior,
The English and French occupied the principal places on
the sea coast of Saint Domingo, during the month of May,
1794, with the exception of Cape Francais-which was not
very desirable, being a heap of ruins-Port Republican, on the
west, and Cayes on the south.
BARRACKS AT CAPE HAYTI.
OR, HAYTI'6 STRUGGLE.
TOUSSAINT L'OUVERTURE, HAVING CONQUERED ALL HIS ENEMIES,
PLACED HIMSELF, WITH 4000 MEN, WITHIN THE PALE OF THE
After an absence of seven months, Toussaint yielded to the
desire to see his family, which he had located at Saint Raphael,
in the Spanish territory, safe from the accidents of war. The
Marquis d'Hermonas, commander of the section of country
where his family temporarily resided, celebrated his arrival by
public demonstrations, and presented him, in the name of the
King of Spain-to the success of whose arms he had contrib-
uted largely-the brevet of General (the functions of which
he exercised nominally, while at Saint Raphael) a sword of
honor, and the decorations of Charles IV.*
Toussaint L'Ouverture left Saint Raphael for Marmelade, at
which place he had established his head-quarters, about the
middle of the month of March, 1794. By the way, he stopped
at Saint Michael. Don Cabrera, who was the governor, gave
some public demonstrations in his honor which were in no par-
ticular inferior to those tendered him at Saint Raphael.
We will substitute some facts, mentioned by L'Ouverture in
an address which he delivered the 2oth of March, 1794, to Don
Garcia, Governor General of the Spanish Colony, in his resi-
dence at Santo Domingo, for the doubtful stories published by
the historians covering this period of the life of Toussaint
L'Ouverture. He declared in a document, that, from the be-
ginning of the war, he was satisfied by his own persuasion to
be close by Don Cabrera, as he was already no longer depend-
ent upon Jean Francois or Biasson ; and that he was left to
conceive and accomplish the various expedions-the results
of which were so favorable to the Spanish cause-according
*At this time he wore a medal upon which was engraved these words,
TOUSSAINT L'OUVERTURE ;
to his will and pleasure. I informed and rendered account
of my operations," said he, to General Biasson; not that
I considered myself his subordinate or inferior, but for the
good of the cause, knowing his impetuous, intermeddling and
thoughtless character, which rendered him capable of doing
more evil than good, as was demonstrated on all occasions."
In the meanwhile, designing persons arrived for the pur-
pose of prejudicing the commanding general, Don Garcia,
against Toussaint L'Ouverture. An order was issued for the
arrest of Brigadier Moyes, his nephew, who was at Saint
Raphael, under medical treatment, made necessary by a wound
he had received. The same order required the commander
not to allow the family of Toussaint to go out of his sight.
The purpose was to strike Toussaint where he would feel it the
most; also to furnish him a pretext which would be sufficient
excuse for his making an attempt to realize the project he had
had under consideration for some time : viz., to place himself
with his soldiers under the flag of the Republic. The mon-
archy, in the service of which he intended to enter when he
threw himself into the movement, disappeared with Louis
XVI. General Laveaux, informed of the disposition which
animated Toussaint L'Ouverature after his quarrel with Bias-
son and Don Cabrera, thought the time had come to attempt
through the man holding in his hands the principal forces of
the country, some indirect measures, but of such nature as to
confirm him in his real intentions-those he had entertained
from the beginning of the movement. Chevalier, an officer of
Toussaint L'Ouverture, was charged with this mission. A let-
ter which will appear further on, will acquaint us with the re-
sults that followed the conference, afterwards convoked to
discuss the measures.
Toussaint L'Ouverture was not the man to re-enter the French
army as a fugitive and deserter. Besides, he had to avenge
himself on Biasson and Cabrera, who had become in a manner
the gaolers of his family, on Cabrera, who had jutt refused to
OR, HAYTI'S STRUGGLE.
render him simple justice. Toussaint L'Ouverture reasoned
thus, touching the propositions which had been made to him :
Would not General Laveaux, who was already favorably dis-
posed towards him, esteem him more, if he should present
himself covered with the laurels of victory ? Of a double
victory won over the enemies of the French Republic, of which
he (Laveaux) was the most devoted of soldiers, if not the
happiest ? Having decided in his mind to carry out the fol-
lowing plan, he gave the command of Marmelade and Plaisance
to Colonel Gabart and Jean Baptiste Paparel. At the same
time, he ordered Brigadier Moyse, who commanded Don-
don, to hold the Spaniards in check on the frontier, as well as
General Jean Francois, whose headquarters were on the Grande
Riviere. Under all conceivable circumstances the orders
which Moyse had received, required him to defend himself to
the very last.
As for Toussaint, he placed himself at the head of 250 men,
formerly of the ancient regiment of Bearn, and five battalions
of black troops, commanded by Colonels Vernet and Dessa-
lines and Lieutenant-Colonel Clerveaux. Besides these he
had with him his aides-de-camp, Birette, Dubuisson, Charles
Belair, and some officers of merit who had just left Biasson.
Toussaint L'Ouverture, figuratively speaking, fell with the
rapidity of lightning upon the section of the country known
as the Ennery, and drove General Biasson from the habitation
Lariviere, demolished the camp, and drove him back to Saint
Michael, situated on Spanish territory. Generous after vic-
tory, he returned to General Biasson his gold watch, snuff
box, enriched by diamonds, and his carriage horses,-Biasson
in his hasty flight having left behind all his valuables. From
the Ennery, Toussaint made haste to march on Gonaives,
where he was wounded on the thigh by a grape shot. For
this reason he was able to pursue the Spaniards only as far as
the bridge of Ester. Leaving his enemies at this point he
returned and entered Gonaives opce more, This point was
very highly regarded on account of its importance, and it
afterwards became the theatre on which his army performed
Thinking at Gonaives over the distressed condition of Gen-
eral Laveaux, and Villate, his second, he directed towards
Port de Paix and the Cape-now freed from the blockade of
the Spanish and Euglish-a large portion of the provisions
which he found in the warehouses of the enemy.
The events which had followed in quick succession, both at
the Ennery and at Gonaives, were sufficient proof to Don
Garcia that the domination of Spain in the French part of
Saint Domingo was about to be severely shaken. This was
the prelude of graver misfortunes.
The officers in command at Acul, Gros-Morne, Haut Limbe,
and those who occupied the plains of the north, came over to
Toussaint L'Ouverture. In the presence of these manifesta-
tions and with a knowledge of these facts, Jean Francois did
not believe it prudent to remain longer with the enemy. He
evacuated the plains of Limonade and the section known as
Morin, without daring to run the risk which might follow
a contest with the weapons of war. The people were really
happy to be delivered from a yoke, which they had supported
-if not under protest, at least with repugnance-and saluted
Toussaint L'Ouverture as the liberator. He was, in fact, the
liberator of his race, for he proclaimed universal liberty in
every section where he exercised authority.
We will soon see him conferring the same inestimable boon,
not simply upon sections, but throughout the length and
breadth of Saint Domingo.
On his return to Marmelade, after a glorious and successful
expedition, he gave several proofs of the natural kindness of
his heart. Toussaint L'Ouverture wrote to Laveaux on the
18th of May, declaring that he had placed his victorious
armies at the disposition of France. This chief of the blacks
has been too shamefully misrepresented by his enemies, for
OR, HAYTI'S STRUGGLE.
us not to use the explanation on this occasion, which he him-
self furnished in his correspondence with Laveaux:
"TOUssAINT L'OUVERTURE, General of Brigade, to ETIENNE
LAVEAUX, Governor-General, Etc.-
"The citizen, Chevalier, commander of Terre Neuve and
Port a Pinent, has delivered your letter to me, bearing date
5th courant, and animated by the most ardent recollections, I
appreciate as I ought, the truth it contains. It is very true,
General, that I have been led into error by the enemies of the
Republic. You ought to recall that the object desired and
awaited by me, before the disasters which occurred at the Cape,
and as seen by the measures offered by me, now in your pos-
session, was only to unite, in order to fight successfully the
enemies of France, and so put an end to the war among the
French of the colony. Unfortunately for all concerned, the
methods of reconciliation proposed by me-the liberty of the
blacks recognized, and a general amnesty declared-were re-
jected. This caused my heart to bleed, and I again took up
arms against the unfortunate situation of my country, foresee-
ing the misfortunes which followed, and in this I was not mis-
taken, as a fatal experience has proven the realities of my
predictions. In the meantime, the Spanish offered me their
protection, and liberty to those who would fight for the cause
of the kings. I accepted their offers, seeing myself entirely
abandoned by my brethren, the French. It is, however, very
certain, that the national flag now floats at Gonaives, as well
as through all the subjugated territory, and I have driven the
Spanish and emigrants from Gonaives ; but my heart has been
wounded by the sad results which have fallen upon some of
the unfortunate whites, who were victims in the days of tribu-
lation. I am not as some others, who can look upon the hor-
rible events in cold blood. I have always had the disposition
to interfere, and grieved when I found myself unable to pre-
vent the evil.* There have been several insurrections among
the laborers and working men, but I have now established
order, and all are at work as heretofore.
"Gonaives, Gros Morne, Cantons d' Ennery, Plaisance,
Marmelade, Dondon, l'Acul, and all the dependencies, with
the Limbe, are under my jurisdiction, and I have an army of
4,000 men, without counting the citizens of Gros Morne,
which number 600.
I am at this moment at Port Margot, occupied with the
the affairs of Camp Bertin, the chief of which appears to have
the intention of attacking our forces. I have ordered my
troops to march from Limbe and Plaisance, in order to fight
him. I imagine myself now in possession, and as soon as
taken will inform you, in order that you may march against
Borgne from your side, if you should judge proper. I will
then commence a similar movement from my side, and in
this way we will surround the parish and, if necessary,
attack him. After the subjugation of these two places, we
will be free in camp to see and arrange more fully for the
Republican interests. As for the enemy's forces, they will
amount to but little without General Jean Francois, who holds
to, and throws his influence on th"e side of the Spanish. He
is at this moment at Fort Dauphin, where he repaired with
his troops after having been defeated at Trou and at Caracol.
The Spanish are not strong at Saint Raphael nor at Saint
Michael, but they have surrounded themselves with fortifica-
tions. Nevertheless I am persuaded there is nothing to fear,
so far as they are concerned."
Toussaint L'Ouverture, conscious of his superiority and of
the service he was yet to render France, saw all and made
*M. General de Vincent, who knew Toussaint L'Ouverture well, wrote
in 182o, as follows: "The chief of the blacks never showed himself cruel,
and it is not just that he should be thus charged and made responsible for
barbarous acts committed without his knowledge, by his lieutenants-nota-
bly Dessalines, Christophe and Moyse."
bit, ltAYTIbS SthUGGLi.
provisions for the future. Unseen he walked about the camp
of his enemies. He knew what was transpiring in the very
interior of their strongholds. The very walls of their fortifica-
tions seemed to speak to him, and the echo repeated the
orders of his adversaries. His penetration enabled him to
read their thoughts. He saw their movements before they
began to make them. A secret police, assisted by a few who
were perfectly devoted, placed him beyond the danger of a
surprise, pointed out to him a snare-the lurking place of the
enemy-brought him information of a meeting, and made him
acquainted'with the culpable. Do they need munitions ? He
takes them from the enemy. Do they need provisions ? They
are procured for them. Is not the land of Saint Domingo
productive in the extreme ? The fig, banana, igname, potato,
honey, the wine of the palm and the fermented juice of
the cassada plant, are among the delicious productions. Upon
such provisions they subsisted as best they could ; sometimes
upon very little, sometimes with great abundance. Such was
the mode of existence among the African soldiers. Toussaint
was the gravest of the grave, and never asked anything that
he was able to secure himself.
The union he formed with Laveaux was followed by the
happiest results, which were seen in the changes which took
place in the affairs of the Republic on the island of Saint
TOUSSAINT L OUVERTURE;
TOUSSAINT L'OUVERTURE DISTINGUISHES HIMSELF IN THE SERVICE OF
General Laveaux received the letter for which he had
waited with patience, from his new comarade,"with great joy.
We find the proof of this in his account of the event, to the
House of Representatives, April 5th-2oth, 1797.
In a discourse delivered by this same general, on the 19th
of the following September, in the presence of the Conseil des
Anciens, of General L'Ouverture, it was said: "He fought
against us until the 6th of April, 1794. He fought, however,
for the liberty of the blacks. He had been told that this gen-
eral liberty could only be obtained from a king. When at
this epoch I proved to him that the French Republic would
accord this liberty, he placed himself under the flag of France
and made war on the Spanish in the borough of Gonaives-
taking possession of it and bringing with him into our ranks
more than 500o armed blacks, who were fighting with him."
On the 24th of May, 1794, General Laveaux informed the
civil commissioners, Polverel and Sonthonax, of the important
addition that the army of the Republic had just received.
The commissioners rejoiced over the news and were very
anxious to send their felicitations to Toussaint L'Ouverture
In the meantime the Spanish and the lieutenants of Jean
Francois continued to occupy Fort Dauphin. camp Bertinrr, all
the lower Limbe, Port Margot and Borgne. It was very
necessary to drive them from these positions and rid the
country of such destructive bands. Laveaux, who had been
favored by fortune, charged Colonels Villate, Pierre Michael
and Leveille, with this work. The Spanish and their auxil-
aries occupying these places, made a vigorous resistance. As
the effort to subjugate them was prolonged, Toussaint
L'Ouverture, moved with impatience, left Marmelade for
OR, HAYTI'S STRUGGLE.
Plaisance, from which place he fell upon Limbe, and by this
fortunate diversion and happy combination, hastened the tak-
ing of Camp Bertin. This post was commanded by a brave
officer, Charles Coco, who died with his arms in his hands. Jean
Francois attempted to force Moyse to take refuge at Dondon.
Toussaint suddenly appeared and took possession, and the
bands of auxiliaries fled at his approach. The activity of
Toussaint on this occasion was looked upon as something
prodigious. Night and day he was on horseback.*
Toussaint L'Ouverture at this time allowed the English to
beseige Goniaves. Their balls and shells carried death and
destruction by fire in every direction. Colonel Vernet was no
longer able to hold his own, when Toussaint, unlocked for,
appeared, visited the different sections, and passed from one
battery to the other-sometimes on foot and sometimes on
horseback-in order to give his orders and to encourage the
soldiers. The hail of grape shot did not prevent him from
taking this precaution in order to strengthen his position.
Suddenly the roar of the cannon ceased; once more Gonaives
was saved. These facts show us the man.
Pinchinat, a mulatto, of extensive information and of great
intelligence, to whom due deference was naturally accorded,
answering at the French tribunal, discourses, pronounced
before the legislative corps and the supreme executive council
of France, by Borgne, Garigon, La Chapelle and Sonthonax,
applied himself to impairing, if possible, the services rendered
by the blacks, by attributing to the men of color exclusively,
the glory and success merited by the colonial army. It is
thus that he accorded to Villate,f commander of the Cape,
*The name of his horse was Bel-Argent. Monture and Cavalier signify
one and the same thing-from which we have the name, Centaure des
Savanes, given to Toussaint L'Ouverture. Centaure, in English Centaur,
was a name given to a fabulous being and also to a constellation.
tOf whom the historians of color make a true phoenix, that in contrast
with the black, L'Ouverture, he may appear to great advantage. This is
understood and becomes in their writings a matter of ridicule.
under General Laveaux, all the honor of the events which fol-
lowed the return of L'Ouverture to the Republic. The injus-
tice appeared so obvious to the black general-who ordinarily
displayed more moderation in what he said than in what he
did-that the very tone of his voice seemed to indicate the
ebb of his feelings, when answering the misrepresentations, he
said: "Who achieved successive victories before I arrived
among ydu ? Which one of your number drove the Spanish
from the neighborhood of the Cape ? Through whose influ-
ence was Port Margot brought under the laws of the Republic ?
Who recaptured Dondon, notwithstanding the efforts of Jean
In the meantime Pinchinat had the audacity to do honor to
General Villate, for the conservation of a portion of the north.
Pinchinat, no more than M. Ardouin, has ever ignored the
facts in the case; but both have united in disfiguring them by
a crafty policy, which makes fewer dupes in proportion as the
citizens of the young Republic advance in knowledge and
experience.* Villate was as yet only colonel. He had been
the unfortunate lieutenant of a general still more unfortunate.
But what does this amount to ? He was a mulatto, and as
such ought to have been superior to Toussaint L'Ouverture;
but he was not.
In the west the scene was much the same as in the north.
Andre Rigaudt had tried in vain, on the 16th of April, to re-
capture Fort Tiburon from the English. Montbrun contended
for Fort Bizoton, which was the key to Port au Prince, but
without success. Beauvais fled as a fugitive from Croix des
Bouquets. The English had no need to bombard Port au
Prince. The commissioners, on the 4th of June, 1794, tacitly
*It is the same policy which has dictated the famous seventh article of the
Haytien constitution, which separates the Haytiens from other people.
tMulatto of the village of Cayes. He learned the business of a watch-
maker at Bordeaux. Rigaud and Beauvais belonged to the black militia of
Saint Domingo, which went to the seige of Savannah under the command
of Count d' Estaing, during the American war.
OR, 1tAYTI S STRUGGLE. 91
consented to a capitulation, and withdrew-with the officers
of color, mentioned above, and Pinchinat-to the village of
Jacmel, where they awaited the sloop of war, the Esperance.
Captain Chambou, the commander of the sloop, was intrusted
with the mission of making known to Polverel and Sonthonax,
the decree of July 16th, 1793,* which discontinued them in
office and ordered their transportation to France. The cap-
tain of the Esperance was intrusted with another mission, viz.:
To announce in Saint Domingo the decree proclaimed by the
National Convention, the 16th Pluviose,t 1793, which declared
the abolition of slavery in all the French colonies.
*Messidor, the tenth month of the calendar of the first French Republic.
tPluviose, the fifth month of the calendar of the first French Republic.
~.*A~u *'.' -
CROIX DES BOUQUETS.
TOUSSAINT L'OUVERTURE FIGHTS SEVERAL BATTLES WITH THE ENGLISH
AND TAKES POSSESSION OF SEVERAL POSITIONS WHICH PROVE
The commander of the Esperance, by virtue of superior
orders, gave over to General Laveaux the general manage-
ment of the colony. Feeling certain that he would find hence-
forth in Toussaint L'Ouverture a powerful support, as he was
in a position well situated for holding the Spanish in check
on one side, and menancing the English on the other, the new
governor was able to devote some of his time to the cultiva-
tion of the soil in the section of the country around Port-de-
Paix, where his headquarters were established. Villate was
now at Cape Francais in a condition so favorable that he was
able to follow the example of the governor-general; so that
in the midst of war one was able to see and taste to some ex-
tent the sweets and fruits of peace. In reality, this relative
abundance was not long in replacing the misery of the evil
days, by an amelioration long desired. Ships and vessels of
of commerce no longer hesitated to unload their cargoes in
some of the ports of the North. Provisions augmented in
proportion to the transportation of the products of the soil.
Alas! What a reduction What has become of the riches of
the ancient Tyre of the Antilles? The queen of this archipel-
ago was now no more than a poor plebeian ; a mother, it is
true, with large paps but barren.
Toussaint L'Ouverture wrote to General Laveaux that he
would not allow any respite to the enemies of the Republic;
that he would not break his word with a chief whose esteem
he desired to keep. Moreover, activity in war constituted a
large part of his military tactics.
In the early part of the month of July, he had forced Jean
Francois back into the Montagne Noire (the Black Mount-
OR, HAYTIfS STRUGGLE.
ains). He learned at Camp Marchand that the conquered
general, returning suddenly, had given Fort Dauphin to be pil-
laged by his bands, and that he presided with pleasure over a
massacre in which all the population was sacrificed. Indig-
nant at seeing a general shed blood when it was not necessary,
and feeling that the injury was an appeal to himself, Toussaint
L'Ouverture informed General Laveaux that he would under-
take himself to avenge the act. "As for me, General," said he,
" you may depend upon my humane sentiments. I have always
abhorred those chiefs who love so much to shed blood. My
religion forbids me to do so, and in harmony with its princi-
ples I live."*
Toussaint L'Ouverture, although suffering from wounds
received at the outset, fought the Spanish at Savannah d'
Alfort; captured some prisoners, who belonged to the regi-
ment of Cantabre, and returned to the north with the intention
of avenging the barbarous acts of which Jean Francois was
culpable-made so by his conduct at Fort Dauphin.t
The Spanish had scarcely submitted to defeat which had
awaited them, when some secret communication called Tous-
saint L'Ouverture to the banks of the Artibonite, where the
English contemplated establishing themselves.
In the meantime, Laveaux, the commander-in-chief, was ex-
hausting his strength by unprofitable efforts to maintain his
position at Port-de-Paix ; while his first lieutenant had to face
the Spanish and English, united against the Republic. The
most imminent danger for the moment was anticipated from
the side of the English. Toussaint L'Ouverture attacked them
and cut in pieces, in front of Camp Marchand, their legions,
reinforced by the Spanish auxiliaries and the royal Gondrons
(Africans). This was the name the people gave to the
*" Toussaint," says Saint Remy, in a passage of his book, "had a good
heart." It is, therefore, wrong that the historians of color should impute
to him barbarous acts.
TLetter of Laveaux,
recruits. He took possession at once of the bridge of 1' Ester,
of Petite-Riviere, of Coup-a-Pentade, as well as all the posi-
tions occupied by the enemy on the right bank of the Artibo-
nite. He was disposed to follow up his success, when he
received from the general-in-chief the order to make an
attempt to subjugate Saint Marc, the inhabitants of which, one
had said, seemed quite ready to rally around the standard of
Toussaint L'Ouverture made an attack on Saint Marc, dur-
ing the first days of September, 1794. He was repulsed by a
garrison of more than 2000 men. While abiding his time that
he might return, as he had intefided, under the walls of this
place, he surrounded it and went in person and hoisted the flag
of France, at Verrettes. At this point he fought three days,
during which time he measured arms with Major Santa
Coecilia and Brigadier Brisbane.* The 6th of October, Tous-
saint reappeared before Saint Marc. This time Fort Belair
and Morne-Diamant fell into his hands, notwithstanding the
constant fire from the ships of war in the harbor. Almost
immediately, the enemy returning, moved on the positions they
had lost, with the intention of driving him from the posts into
which he had just established his forces. Toussaint L'Ouver-
ture had had the five fingers of his right hand broken, in aid-
ing his gunners to mount a battery at Morne-Diamant, in con-
sequence of which he was carrying his arm in a sling. Never-
theless he sustained the shock of the attack and in turn
charged them at the head of a company of grenadiers. How-
ever, the pain that he experienced constrained him to leave
the direction of the operations of the siege to his lieutenants,
Guy, Blanc Cazenave and Morin. But on account of the ab-
sence of the principal chief, as Toussaint wrote to Laveaux,
matters did not go well.t For another reason it was neces-
*He avenged himself on this officer, who had driven from him two of his
best captains, by treachery.
tLetters of Toussaint L'Ouverture to General Laveaux, October 4, 1794.
OR, HAYTI'S STRUGGLE.
sary to discontinue the siege; the army had used up all its
The ancient partisans of the Counseil de Paix et d'Union,
who had themselves come over to Toussaint," says M. Saint
Remy, discouraged, abandoned him, in order to join again
the masters they had fought. Toussaint himself came very
near being a victim to their perfidy. He owed his life to Capt-
ain Antron, whom he named chief of batallion, in the presence
of the whole army."* In his report to General Laveaux,
Toussaint L'Ouverture spoke thus of this affair: "This check
comes to us through the perfidy of the men of color who are
members of this party.t There never was so much treachery
prevalent. I declare to you that hereafter so far as they are
concerned, I will conduct myself quite differently from what
I have done heretofore. When I made prisoners of them, I
treated them like a good father, and in return what do I receive?
Have not these ingrates tried to deliver me, by a horrible
course to our enemies?" M. Ardouin, who was moved by the
reading of these words, said to the men of his color, You see
very well that Toussaint L'Ouverture detests the mulattoes."
M. Saint Remy saw others when he wrote the following:-" It
is sad to think that Toussaint L'Ouverture may have been able
to find men sufficiently ignorant at any time during the Rev-
olution of Saint Domingo, to say, I will not obey a white
man; I will not obey a black man; I will not obey a mulatto.'
Unfortunate and ignorant blockheads Let us turn aside
from this discussion of the epidermis which disappears
before the immensity of the power of God." In another
passage the same writer expressed himself thus: Rigaud
invited L'Ouverturel to reunite with him at Leogane.
*Note of M. Isaac L'Ouverture.
tSaint Marc remained the boulevard of the reaction. All the mulattoes
who had adhered to the Counseil de Paix et d'Union or who had deserted
the cause of the Republic, sought and found refuge there.
M. Saint Remy always writg Toussaint L'Ouverture as is written
TOUSSAINT L'OUVERTURE ;
L'Ouverture had no prejudice of color although he turned it
to the best account in his policy." The object in view, if one
were not mistaken, was to induce the black general-who was
heaven-sent-to reunite under the law of the Republic. The
intentions of M. Ardouin are all the ignore blameworthy, as
Toussaint L'Ouverture had not spoken in his report but of
the treacherous men of Saint Marc.
Notwithstanding the failure of his enterprise against Saint
Marc, Toussaint did not withdraw from the contest. He
marched his army to the ferry d'Aquin, and leaving sufficient
force to hold the enemy in check at Petite-Riviere on the
Artibonite, at Verrettes and at Pont de l'Ester, he formed his
advance posts and afterwards appeared wherever danger
called him. The character of Toussaint L'Ouverture was
clearly revealed during this memorable campaign, in an un-
published letter that he addressed, March 24th, 1798, to the
secretary of the navy and of the colonies. He appears to us
as a tableau, succinct, but picturesque.
"I was obliged," he wrote, "to direct more than two hun-
dred engagements against the enemy, in order to drive them
back as far as the banks of the Artibonite, and that without
other munitions than we were able to take from them. Pow-
der was so scarce that we regarded the five or six kegs, of ten
pounds each, sent at long intervals by General Laveaux, as
an inestimable blessing. Being without the necessary muni-
tions with which to continue the war, we substituted force and
artifice, courage and prudence. These followed and accom-
panied each other as the circumstances demanded."
Now that we know the facts, is it necessary to refute the
following assertion, made by a French historian-the great
apologist for the Consulat and the Empire ? He called him-
self Toussaint L'Ouverture, Military Mediocrist, knowing at
Scipion L'Africanus. The Louvertyres never place the apostrophe before