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THE LIBRARY OF BROWN UNIVERSITY
THE CHURCH COLLECTION
THE BEQUEST OF
COLONEL GEORGE EARL CHURCH
CONDITION, RESOURCES, AND PROSPECTS.
THOMAS WARD & CO., 27, PATERNOSTER ROW;
CHARLES GILPIN, 5, BISHOPSGATE STREET WITHOUT.
JO:HNSTON AND NIARRETT, PRINTERIS,
13, MARK L&NE.
I NTROD UCT ION.
IN bringing before the public a view of the present state of Hayti, it seemed desirable to prefix to the narrative, a brief sketch of the history of the island. The Author bad intended to prepare such a sketch; but upon examining those works, both French and English, which are considered as authorities, he found so many discrepancies and counter statenients, involving the character of several of the leaders in the late revolution, that he abandoned the attempt in despair. The history of Hayti has yet to be written, nor can it be written impartially, so as to establish the truth, and the whole truth, till the present generation shall have passed away. The literary public of France and England may yet look for an accession of historical materials, that will throw great light on the late contests between the free and the servile classes, and between the whites and the men. of colour. The present Secretary of State for Hayti, General Inginac, who is now advanced in age, and who was engaged in the wars of the revolution, almost from his boyhood, has prepared a narrative of the passing events of the period, both civil and military, which is intended for publication at his decease. This nara 2
rative, when published, will, no doubt, illustrate many circumstances that are now obscure, and serve to unfold more clearly the character and motives of some remarkable men, his contemporaries. It is the delight of the lovers of liberty to dwell with enthusiasm on the talents and exploits of Toussaint L'Ouverture, undoubtedly the greatest man that took part in the revolution of St. Domingo, and one of the ablest Generals of his age; but it is very doubtful whether his character, as a leader in the great struggle, will come out of the crucible of impartial history, with all that brightness and purity that some modern narratives, half history, half romance, seem to assign to it. The opinion of many persons in Hayti, whether well or ill-founded, we stop not to inquire, is certainlv adverse to such high pretensions these
individuals represent Toussaint as one of the best men of his day; but not as free from many of the blemishes which generally attach to warriors. The lines of Pope are become an axiom, and are often quoted as decisive with regard to men who are engaged in the dismal work of slaughtering their fellows
All heroes are alike : the points agreed;
From Macedonia's madman to the Swede."
and it is remarkable to observe, as a confirmation of the poet's doctrine, which is true to a certain extent tiat the character of Hannibal, as penned
by the severe and vigorous hand of Juv enal, has been accommodated by Dr. Johnson in his "1Vanity of Human Wishes," to represent the life and exploits of Charles the Twelfth ; and that the portrait drawn of the latter, might, with the omission of a line or two, and the change of half a dozen words, be made literally to apply to Napoleon Buonaparte. If there be any exception to the truth of Pope's apothegm in modern days, that exception may undoubtedly be made in favour of Washtington and Toussait. But those great men who act in a public contest, where the passions of a whole people are stirred np and roused into revengeful activity, however mild they may be by nature, and however disposed to act with mercy, often contract the stains that attach to the party they embrace, or the cause in which they embark, and exhibit in their conduct more than a common frailty. The civil wars of Hayti are now ended; and happy would it be for humanity's sake, if we could draw the curtain of night on the many dark transactions that disgraced the period of their progress The people of that country, however, have learned from them an awful lesson ;and this one gDood consequence has resulted, that the Republic, weary of contending with the sword, is now desirous of keeping it sheathed in the scabbard, and of maintaining, an honourable and lasting peace.
'The author of the following "1 brief notices" declines the task of an historian ; bnt if his pages,
which are intended to exhibit the present state of H-ayti, with its resources and prospects, should afford amusement or instruction, in any degree, to those who read them, his end will be fully answered, and he will receive all the reward he desires or looks for.
York, Third.Month, 1842.
HAYTI, ITS GEOGRAPHY ..............................
OUTWARD BOUND-SHORES OF HIIAYTI-JAMAICA-ABOLITION OF SLAVERY IN THE WEST INDIES ...................
RETURN TO HAYTI-SANTIAGO DE CUBA-TOWN OF CAPE
HAYTIEN-PLANTATIONS IN TIIE PLAINE DU NORD-EXCURSION TO SANS SOUCI-CHRISTOPHE-GENERAL OBSERVATIONS ............................. ........... ... 12
DEPARTURE FROM CAPE HAYTIEN-JOURNEY TO GONAIVESTOWN AND COMMERCE OF GONAIVES-COASTING VOYAGE TO
CITY OF PORT-AU- PRINCE -THE ABBE D ECHEVERRIASCHOOLS PRISON JURISPRUDENCE INTERVIEW WITH
THE PRESIDENT ...... ......................... ... 69
CONSTITUTION OF HAYTI-CHURCH ESTABLISHMENT-ARMYCOMMERCE-FINANCE-EMPLOYMENTS AND CONDITION OP THE PEOPLE-ESTIMATE OF THE POPULATION ........... 86
CARNIVAL AT PORT-AU-PRINCE-VISIT TO THE CUL DE SACSUGAR PLANTATIONS-DISTILLERIES-CONSUMPTION OF ARDENT SPIRITS-JOURNEY TO LE GRAND FOND-JOURNEY BY LEOGANE OVER TIlE MOUNTAIN TO JACMEL-RETURN TO
THE CAPITAL ................ .. ................. 134
THE FINE ARTS-PHYSIOGNOMY OF THE NATIVES-INEFFICIENCY OF THE CITY POLICE-DEPARTURE FROM HAYTICONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS ....... ............... 162
H1A YT It
HAYTI, ITS GORPY
Tua island of Ilayti, formerly Hispaniola or St. Domingo, placed between the 18th and 20th degrees of north latitude, and from 68 to 75 degrees west, has a length of 360 miles from east to west, and a breadth, varying -from 60 to 120 miles. Its circumference ineasured by an even line, excluding the bays, is nearly a thousand miles. This island so important for its stuation and gYreat natural advantages, is four timns as large as Jamaica, and nearly equal in extent to Ireland. It is situated at the entrance of the GulIf of Mexico: is one of the four larger Antilles, and holds the second rank after Cuba, from which it is distant only twenty leagues. Jamaica lies westward of it about forty leagues; and Porto Rico, a large and now populous island belonging to Spain, twenty-two leagues eastward. On the north are the Bahama islands, at a distance of two or three days' sail; and south ard, separated by 700 miles of ocean, is the great continent of South America.
2 GEOGRAPHY OF HAYTI.
The principal islands adjacent to IlaYti and belonging to it, are Gonave, La Saone, Isle de Vacbes, and Tortue, all of considerable extent ; but all through tbe policy of the government uncultivated. H1ayti presents* tbe aspect of a large territory composed of mountains and plains, watered by a few extensive unnavigable rivers and innumerable streams: it abounds in forests of mahogany wood and other fine timber-affords a great -variety of climate; and, displays a grandeur and beauty of natural scenery, not surpassed in tbe tropical regions of tbe New World, or perhaps of tbe globe itself.
Like all tbe other islands of tbis region, it is subject to awful tempests, known by tbeir Indian name of hurricanes, and is liable to frequent stocks of earthquake. The latter formnida ble phenomenon in 1564, destroyed the newly founded city of Concepcion de la Vega, and has occasioned at several different and distant periods, the overthrow or disturbance of Port-auPrince, its present capital. A line of demarcation, in some places artificially drawn, formerly sepa rated the Spanish part of the island from the French; but there, is now no political distinction of territory, thie whole country being united under one political head subject to the same laws. The ancient part of the island where the Spanish language is still spoken, embraces more than two-thirds of the soil, and contains only one-sixth. of the inhabitants. The population of the Spanish part is estimated at a hundred and thirty thousand ; of the French part, nearly seven hundred thousand. The
French or western territory, is the only part of the island that has numerous towns and villages, and it is here principally, that commerce carries on its exchanges with other nations. A large quantity of mahogany
GEOGRAPHY OF HAYTI. 3
wood is exported from Santa Domingo, and a good deal of tobacco from Santiago and Port au Platte, all towns once belonging to the Spaniards, and still Spanish as to language and the customs of the people; but the great staples of coffee, cotton, mahogany, and dye-wood, are collected on the French side and shipped from Cape Haytien, Port-au-Prince, Cayes, Gonaives and Jacmel.
The mountains of Hayti are many of them of great height. The principal range, is that of Cibao, near the centre of the island, from which other chains of hills diverge in different directions. The peak of Cibao is 7200 feet above the level of the sea. The mountains bearing the name of La Selle, Le Mexique, and Le Janiel, are parts of the same range terminating on the southern coast. La Selle has an elevation of 7000 feet, and bears south-west of Port-au-Prince, at a distance of forty miles. The La lotte mountains rise in the neighbourhood of Cayes, some of which are said to be as high as those of La Selle and Cibao. Besides these, there are the mountains of Monte Christo running from the north of the island eastward to the Peninsula of Samana, from the summits of which, Columbus gazed with astonishment at the extent and fertility of the plains below, since that period deprived by death and massacre of its original inhabitants, and now known by the expressive name of la despoblada or the unpeopled. The other ranges are those of Cahos and Los Muertos, which are rather hills than high mountains, having a mean elevation of about 2500 feet. "This configuration," says M Moreau de St. Mlery, "and the height of the mountains is the cause why, notwithstanding the great extent of many of its plains, the island when viewed from seaboard appears mountainous altogether, B2
4 GEOGRAPHY OF HAYTL
and that its aspect is so forbidding. But the observer," he continues, "who contemplates these vast chains and all the branches that diverge from them, and pursues their various ramifications over the surface of the island, will see at once the cause of its fertility : they form an immense reservoir for the waters which are distributed to the soil by rivers without number: they temper the heat of a burning sun, arrest the fury of the winds, and multiply the resources of human industry to an astonishing extent."
The most spacious of the plains, 'is that of Vega eal, which traverses several of the northern departments : its length is 220 miles: it is exceedingly fertile and well Watered. Its chief produce, is tobacco of an xcellent. quality: it grows also sugar and cocoa, and affords pasturage to large herds of cattle; but owing, to its present sparse population, yields comparatively little of food or agreeable luxuries to the wants of man. The noble rivers Yague and Youna which traverse its whole extent, will serve greatly to facilitate the transit of its produce, whenever a large and active body of settlers may devote themselves to the cultivation of its soil. This plain alone might well support its million of inhabitants. That of Santa Domingo is the next in importance, and has very few people upon it, although from its fertility and extent of surface-700 square leaguesit would yield, if cultivated, an immensity of produce. The plain of Azua has a surface of 1.50 square leagues, and that of Neybe eighty square leagues. Of the remaining plains, it is only needful to mention, La plaine du ANord, near Cape HIaytien, and Le cul de sac, near Port au Prince, in both of which, sugar was formerly cultivated to a great extent, and
GEOGRAPHY OF HAYTI. 5
where a large number of sugar works and distilleries are still in operation to furnish syrup and rum for the home market.
The principal rivers are the Yague and Youna before mentioned and the Artibonite, whose entire course is 160 miles longr in almost a direct line, and which, during, the time of its floods, floats on its bosom to the sea, those vast logs of mahogany tbat find so ready a sale in the markets of Europe, under the name of Spanish mahograny.
Hayti bas some lakes of considerable size, -where alligators abound: it is rich also in mineral springs, and is believed to possess vast treasures of iron and copper ores, together with gold and silver. The mines that conta in the precious metals have long since been abandoned for want of capital.
Such in its physical structure, is one of the islands we proposed to visit on our leaving home in 1839, for voyage to the West Indies.
6 OUTWARD BOUND.
OUTWARD BOUND-SHORES OF HAYTI-JAMAICA-ABOLITION OF SLAVERY IN THE WEST INDIES.
IN the latter part of the year 1839, 1 left home, accompanied by my wife, on a missionary tour to Jamaica. After stopping by the way at Barbados, Martinique, Tortola, St. Thomas, and Porto Rico, our vessel the Hecla steamer made for the windward passage, and coasted the -northern shores of Hayti. The hold outlines of the mountains, whc Inmn places approached to within twenty miles of the shore, and the numerous stupendous cliffs which beetled over it, castin~, their shadows to a great distance on the deep-the dark retreating bays, particularly that of Samana, and extensive plains opening inland between the lofty cloud covered hills, or running for uncounted leagues by the sea side, covered with trees and bushes, but affording no glimpse of a human habitation-presented a picture of gloom and grandeur, calculated deeply to depress the mind; such a picture as dense solitude unenlivened by a single trace of civilize tion, is ever apt to produce. Where, we inquired of ourselves, are the people of the country? Where its cultivation? Are the ancient Indian possessors of the soil all extinct, and their cruel conquerors and successors entombed with them in a common gravye? For bundreds of miles as we swept along its shores, we saw
OUTWARD BOUND. 7
no living thing, but now and then a mariner in a
solitary skiff, or birds of the land and ocean sailing in the air, as if to shew us that nature had not wholly lost its animation, and sunk into the sleep of death. Towards the north-west extremity of the island our course became a little enlivened: we entered the bay of Cape ilaytien, formerly Cape Frangois, since Cape Henry, and now, for brevity's sake, The Cape. The terrible fortress of La Ferriere, which commemorates the rule of Christophe, and which serves as a mausoleum for his remains, looked down upon us from a distant mountain; two forts commanded the entrance to the harbour, in which were numerous merchant vessels lying at anchor, taking in or discharging their cargoes; and on our right hand, flanked by forest-crowned hills, rose the city itself, once denominated the little Paris-the handsome city of the queen of the Antilles. Our stay was short: we landed for two hours, left the mail from Europe, spoke to the British Vice-Consul, visited the markets, conversed with a few of the black citizens, and again set sail. Before we had passed through the narrow strait that separates Tortue (the Turtle island) from the main-land, we were gratified with a distant view of the town of Port de Paix, rising in amphitheatre on the hills, illumined by the rays of the setting sun. Soon after we headed the Cape St. Nicholas Mole; and the following day landed
at Santiago, the eastern capital of Cuba. Here as at Cape Haytien our stay was limited to the time allowed for post-office business ; the next day we reached Kingston in Jamaica. It is not the object of this little volume to detail the incidents of our travels in Jamaica, an island so often visited and so well known ; but we
cannot, in connexion with it, avoid a brief notice of that memorable event which has done so much to change the condition of its people, and seems fraught with such inestimable blessings to posterity. Here we trace the interesting spectacle of a colony, once deeply distressed and clamouring for fiscal aid to the mothercountry; now smiling in prosperity and brightened by mercantile hope; not long since distracted by civil disturbances, the fruits of oppression inseparable from its institutions; now enjoying peace and tranquillity, with a docile, loyal, industrious population, whom the Queen of England, or the ruler of any nation, might well be gratified to own as subjects. The grand experiment of giving unqualified freedom to the slaves of Jamaica and our other West Indian islands, has been attended with the happiest success. All classes of the population rejoice in the result. The prognostications of the planters and the mortgagees of colonial property, that the slaves when emancipated would become an idle vagabond race, a nuisance to the soil-that the fields would go out of cultivation-the lives of the white inhabitants be endangered-and the properties ruined-these and other prophecies of the same sackcloth cast, are all falsified by the most gratifying facts. Just the reverse of all this has taken place; and Jamaica and the other islands have begun a new race of prosperity. "Magnus ab integro soclorunz vascitur ordo." The labourers work well for wages, and squatting and vagabondage are unknown. The cane and coffee fields partially neglected at the coming in of freedom, owing to the injudicious attempts of overseers and attorneys to coerce labour, by means of rent, are recovering their former fruitfulness. Two years have passed away in which we
WORKINGOF FREEDOM. 9
have seen din-inished produce, the consequence of unwise conduct on the part of the planters; and a third, in which the deficiency has sprung from a visitation of Divine providence in a long continued drought. Sounder views of political economy, and a wiser conduct than was once pursued have succeeded; the seasons are again propitious, and there is now every reason, with regard to the future, to look for extended commerce and increased prosperity. In passing through Jamaica (and we went into almost every district) we scarcely met with a single individual who seemed to regret the change that had taken place-not one who professed a wish, even for gain's sake, to return to the former system of slaver 'y. We conversed with men of every rank and condition, from the Governor and Judges of time island to the Clerk who serves in the countinghouse, and all hore their unqualified testimony to the important fact, that freedom works well. That it works -well for the labourer is obvious at every step of the stranger's progress : the proofs are on every hand; that it works well for the proprietor is demonstrable by a few simple and striking facts. The estates of proprietors, in numerous instances, are worked at a 1ess cost now than under slavery. Penn or pasture land, we w ere told as a matter of common observation, may he worked cheaper than before: some of the large coffee plantations we know are so worked, from the testimony of the managers themselves-; and we have in our possession a letter from the attorney of some of the la r~gest sugar estates in the island, in which he distinctly tells us, that he sees no reason why sugar properties in the district where he lives should not be cultivated as cheap as ever they -were. To all the proprietors of such lanuds, B.
10 WORKING OF FREEDOM.
it is quite evident, that the share of the twenty millions which fell to their lot, was given them for nothing. The compensation money paid by Great Britain to the planters, however it might be intended to operate, serves, not as an indemnity to meet losses accruing from the great and happy change from slavery to freedom, but to clear off the accumulated and fast increasing incumbrances which the oppressive and wasteful system of slavery had induced. A large proportion of the estates in the West Indies had been brought dreadfully into debt, and. made subject to heavy mortgages. The compensation money has served to unlock the iron chests and set the securities and title deeds free. Instead of being, subject, as formerly, to all the heavy charges of a imperious consignee, imperious and unbending, because the estates were under his power, the planter is nowv at liberty to send his produce to the best market, to choose for a correspondent the ablest merchant he can find, and to bring- the expenses of transport within the utmost economical limits. One step in economy leads to another: he looks about him on every hand: pleased with the success of one experiment, he tries another, and going on as a cautious, prudent man ever will do, gets delivered from the consequences of former poverty, neglect, and waste. The consequence of the present state of things: of physical1 freedom to the slaye, and commercial freedom to the master, is thil, that lande I estates are rising, in value. The former money-value of the slaves has already, in perhaps the majority of instances, been transferred to the soil, many properties in land now selling for a much larger sum, than durnna the agitation of the slavery question the land and the slaves would have sold for togTether.
WORKING OF I hLLDOM.
WXhat a practical comment on the adage, that justice is in all cases the truest policy; and what an example to those nations who, in spite of warning, and in defiance of Christian principle persist in continuing slavery!
But if, instead of a pecuniary gain to the proprietor, the planter should be able to prove a loss-if less sugar and rum were likely to be exported, and the profits of cane and coffee fields should sink to a minimum : what would be the trifling inconvenience compared with the immense advantages gained by the labouring community'? The proprietary body has rather a smaller income than before, hut the people are well clothed, housed, and fed; chapels and school-houses are erected, education is sought after, public worship is frequented, the prisons are getting gradually emptied, and a fline, free, moral and religions peasantry tread the soil till lately disgraced by fetters and the whip. Never wvas a great moral experiment more successfully carried out than the abolition of slavery in the British colonies ; never, i proportion to the number who were objects of it, wasa political change attended hy such speedily happy results. May England persevere in her righteous legislation till every vestige of slavery has ceased from her soil in tIe East as Well as the West, and may her noble conduct stimulate her daughter on the other side the Atlantic and all other nations to follow 1 er example.
12 RETURN TO HAYTI,
RETURN TO HAYTI-SANTIAGO DE CUBA-TOWN OF CAPE
HAYTIEN-PLANTATIONS IN THE PLAINE DU NORDEXCURSION TO SANS SOUCI-CHRISTOPHE-GEIERAL
THE year 1840 had now nearly passed away, and the employments which had so long detained us in Jamaica being brought to a close, we took leave of our many kind friends at Kingston, and went on board the Government steamer bound for Barbados, with the outward mail. The cabin passengers were seventeen in number :-some bound for Cuba; two, like ourselves, for Hayti; and the remainder for the windward isles, or for Europe. The night was stormy, the wind blowing hard a-head, but early the next morning we lost sight of land, and at four o'clock, P.M.i., cast anchor in the spacious and beautiful harbour of St. Jago. The commander of the packet, knowing the remorselessness of the Spanish character in these regions, advised me not to go on shore, as since we landed there twelve months before, a notification had been made to the captains of English ships, that no person known or suspected to favour missionary or anti-slavery principles would be safe in the city, and that the British Consul could not, if he would, afford them protection. We felt no disposition to visit the city again ; we had perambulated its streets onee, and were
SANTIAGO DE CUnBA. 13
quite content to remain on deck, and take leisurely view of the shipping and the harbour, and the hills and mountains that surround it. The dominion of slavery may transform. man into a monster, but throws no curse on natural scenery. Commerce is ever active in St. Jago: slaves on the quay and wharf, watched and superintended hy villanons looking white men and half castes, are constantly busy in stowing away foreign merchandise, and loading outward-bound vessels with copper ore from the neighbouring mines. The city, itself gloomy in appearance, like the bondage it fosters, has streets of houses built after the Moorish fashion. Heavy gateways open into court-yards, surrounded by chambers and domestic offices iron gratings in front, instead of windows, frown on the street; jealousies above are substituted for curtains and blinds~, and broad piazzas on the second floor overhang the pavement, protecting passengers from the rays ofa vertical sun. The streets are hot, unpaved, and dusty, and in the middle of the day quiet enough ; some common carts may be seen, and, perhaps, a fewv volentes richly painted and gilded, with enormous high wheels and springs and axles so arranged as to adapt them to deep gullies and broken ground, in which the wealthy slave-owners, or their Creole ladies, without caps or bonnets, ride out in a lolling careless posture to transact business, or make their moringD calls. At our first visit to this port, in company with a young Peruvian, our fellow -.passenger, we called at thme house of a barrister, a friend of his, whose wife and daughter received us with much courtesy. Almost as soon as we were seated fruit was ordered, and when wve had partaken of it, a female slave entered the room with a pitchiler of
14 SANTIAGO DE CUBA.
water and basin, and a towvel on her arm, and after pouring water on our hands in succession, and handing us the towel, removed the remainder of the feast, and left the room. The inhabitants of Santiag.o are estimated at from twenty-five to thirty thousand, of whom a large number nrc household and out-door slaves, in abject degrading servitude. W"e saw no glass windows in a single house, except in the residence of the British Consul.
In the course of a few hours our commander received the mail, and wve again threaded our way amongst the many vessels in the harbour, passed the castle of Moro, and once more set sail in a stormy sea. The threat nowv held out to missionaries and abolitionists who dare to set foot on Cuba n soil is, that they shall be sent to the Aloro, and there lie without salvation." Another rough night and swelling waves; but before noon on the morrow -we came in sight of Ca pe Nicholas Mole, in Hanti, leav-ing. the eastern coast of Cuba yet visible far behind us. Early in the morning of the following day, we lauded second time at Ca pe Ha ytien. It was the first day of the new year 1841, the thirty-seventh anniversary of Haytien independence, and of course kept as a national festival. Liberty was proclaimed by Dessalines
--equal law and liberty to all classes in 1804. The custom-house wa s closed, a senutinel or two watched the landing of the pasIsengers, and their luggage was sent under guard to tile public store. There are no taverns in Hayti like those of Europe, where stranugers are sure to get accormmodated for money; boarding-houses are found in somne of the I rg in towns, and where there
reno e traveller must solicit board and lodgin aa favyour, and grass for his horses if travelling on the
CITY 01 CA PE Ii-T. YTIFN 1
road, and get on in the best way he can. We obtained private apartments at the Cape, at the house of La Veuve Piquion, a respectable coloured matron, who keeps a store on the qnay, and is much esteemed by her neighbours for the prudent manner in which she trains up a large family of sons and daughters. This good lady received us as her guests, with liberty to dine alone, or at a common table with herself and her children. For the first few days we preferred the latter, and after that, for several weeks used a common saloon with our friends Henry and Maria W. Chapman, of Boston, Massachusetts, who, advocates of anti-slavery principles like ourselves, had come to this island to inspect the state and condition of the people, to see the country, and improve their health. At this house we were handsomely entertained, with much satisfaction to ourselves, at a moderate cost, and had no reason to repent our choice of a tavern. Let not travellers from England and A merica expect, however, to find in Hayvti well-furnished lodging rooms, privacy of retirement, or those common comforts which in their owvn ordinary family routine at home are considered as essential. They may depend on being supplied with good food, and if they wish it, with the fine fruits of the country, and the light wines of France: they may find a lodging-room sheltered from the rays of the sun, and the rains of heaven; more than these in the shape of entertainment they must not look for. There are many discomforts in Haytien domestic life, to which only the mind naturally contented in itself can easily become reconciled.
We had brought with us to this country some large cases filled with elementary books for young people, reading lessons for public sch ools, and a good
16 CITY OF CAPE HAYTIEN,
store of moral and religious works, chiefly in the French and Spanish languages, which bad been liberally furnished by our friends in England. The duty on books imported is very high in this island, amounting to about twenty-five per cent. on the cost price; but when I explained to the Director of the Customs that they were brought for gratuitous distribution, and not as merchandize, bie generously allowed them to pass duty free. This circumstance was the less expected by us, and the more welcome, inasmuch as the British Vice-Consul who had observed these cases in the store, and knew their contents, had told us we should probably have much difficulty in getting them passed at 11l. Our escape from trouble and cost on this occasion, was partly owving to a young mulatto wvho had been in Europe, and knew soinething of the religious society to which we belonged, who told the sable chief hie might safely depend on our word. We are bound to bear testimony to this act of kindness on the part of the authorities, and to state that, in passing through the island, we received everywhere from this and every other class of public functionaries, polite and confiding attentions. Let not the white man, in the pride of his complexion, lool down with disdain on these black republicans :there are men in office in the island of Hayti, botlh black and coloured, wvlo would bea r comparison with men of the same class in any part of the world. Ha ving entered our names at the civil tribun, a id promised submission to the laws of the state during our sojourn, we were left at liberty to act as we plea sed, and to gro a nywhere within the limits of the Cape. Whoever travels in the interior mnst procure a passport from the General commnandiin the arriond. sement.
CITY OF CAPE HAYTIEN. 17
The city of Cape Haytien, now for a time our residence, stands on the north-east side of a bay semicircled by hills of great elevation, such as in most countries would be called mountains. By these bills the extensive level district of La plaine du Nord" is shut out from view. Standing on the quay, nothing strikes the eye but high land and wide ocean, except that at one point the level land leading to the mountains presents itself, and the glittering sea-side village of La petite anse. In former days, under the French dominion, this was considered the handsomest town of all the West Indies, and the most flourishing. It is still as large as ever, but half of it is in ruins, the public buildings and a large number of the houses having been battered down by cannon and musquetry, or destroyed by fire during the wars of the revolution, and never yet rebuilt. The pavement of some of the streets was broken up during the same dismal strife, or has since that period been ploughed up by the torrents which pour down from the mountains. The toute ensemble of the town, from these causes, has somewhat of a melancholy aspect, and gives the stranger at first view an unfavourable and rather gloomy impression. Its front towards the sea is nearly a mile in length ; and its breadth, backward to the hills, about three-quarters of a mile. Making allow.ance for all irregularities, Cape Haytien may be described as a city having twenty-seven streets, running east and west, crossed at right angles by nineteen others from north to south, containing what once were good houses, some of them magnificent, of two and three stories, built of brick or stone, and covered with slates, tiles, and mahogany or pine shingles. A wide gutter runs down the middle of each principal street, and con-
18 CITY OF CAPE n1AYTIE1N.
veys the mountain rains from the hills to the sea. In general appearance, the place strikingly resembles St. Pierre, of Martinique; both are built after the fashion of France, and have their prototype in the more modern towns of that country. The basement story of many of the houses is occupied in stores, warehouses, and stables; the upper part only being furnished as a residence for the family. The population in 1789, amounted to 18,500; the present number of the inhabitants, including the small garrison, is supposed to be about nine thousand. The cathedral is a handsome structure, lately rebuilt by public subscription; the military hospital has been also of late restored, and improvements are going on in other quarters. There are several handsome squares in the city, with fountains yielding good water, but we looked in vain through them all for the small temple commemorative of freedom, of which a drawing is given by Rainsford in his ample quarto, and which has been copied by the Penny 01cigatzzne, in a sketch of the Life of Toussaint L'Ouverture, ascribed to the pen of Harriet Martineau. There may have been such a building, but it is not to be found here. The trade of Cape Haytien is greatly decayed, though still respectable. Much has been said of the salubrity of Hayti, but the town and environs of the Ca pe afford no proof of it. The rays of a vertical sun beaming with full force are reflected by the hills behind, and concentrated to focus in the streets; added to which there are marshes, and some low swampy land in the immnediate neighbourhood wvhichs yield at certain seasons pestiferous malaria. It is true, there are refreshing winds blowing constantly from the sea in the day time, which serve to moderate and temper the excessive heat,
REVIEW OF THE TROOPS. 19
and to dissipate the noxious air ; but the place, notwithstanding, must be unhealthy, especially after the heavy rains. During the military rule of Christophe, whom every body, when speaking of him, designates not as King, but as Monsieur, Cape Haytien was the capital of the island. This remarkable and very ambitious man began here the erection of a palace for himself, which was left unfinished at his death, and which now lies a desolation, as if to scoff at the pride of kingship, and level distinctions in the dust. On the western side of the town is a large open plain, called Le champ do Mars, where he -used to exercise his troops. On this plain, during our stay at the Cape, we witnessed a review of the militia of the arrondssement or district, who are brought out once a quarter for a single day. Early in the morning the drums were beating in every part of the city, and the soldiers, some on horseback, some on foot, clothed in dark military coats and white trowsers, not a precise -uniform, were seen pouringr in through the barrier, and sauntering to the place of rendezvous. At eight o'clock the square was formed. About two
thousand foot soldiers, and three hundred horse, were mustered on the field. The commander, General Bottex, once in the confidence of Christophe, but now a sturdy republican, came to the ground with his field-officers, handsomely attired and mounted. Every officer had the accoutrements of his rank, and almost every charger was covered with a gay saddle-cloth. The troops were indiscriminately mixed of black and coloured, the latter bearing a proportion of perhaps two in ten. A considerable number of spectators ma de their appearancewomen dressed in white and chintz, with gay turban Madras handkerchiefs, leading their children in holiday
20 REVIEW OF THE TROOPS.
garments; and many young llack gentlemen, too young to be yet in the ranks, came well dressed, with cane in hand, or a handsome whip, riding on good ponies, Ni'ith yellow and puce coloured saddle-cloths, and pistol-cases on their saddle-bows. The scene was gay and lively, and seemed to afford much delight to the company assembled; but it was speedily closed: the morning proved unfavourable, a shower of rain came on, and the General dismissed the troops before the review had well begun. Every citizen of a given ago not enrolled in the standing army, or specially exempt by some profession, is required to serve in the militia, and every individual provides at his own cost his arms, clothing, and accoutrements. Great ridicule has been attempted to be cast on the Ilaytien soldiery, who are represented in caricature as so many scarecrows: their appearance on the present occasion, except in the want of an exact uniform, was nearly as respectable a~s that of an English brigade.
The only effectual employment of the soldiery in flayti, is that of an armed police: they drumn and fife, and muster on parade, and go through their evolutions, but the country is in perfect peace, and they have nothing to do, that tells for anything, but to stand sentry at the doors of the public offices, and be ready at the command of the magistrate to hunt up les mnauvaee sujets ; to guard prisons and prisoners- who work in the chain-gangs, and to loiter or lounge at the barriers, collecting tolls and examining permits. One of the most appalling sights at Cape Haytien is the groups of criminals chained together, and sent into the streets and suburbs to repair the roads and highways, accompanied by soldiers with loaded muskets. These poor wretches are often ill fed and half naked, and some of
PUBLIC PRISON. 21
them graunt and miserable, but happily their number is not large. The Public Prison is a good building, with spacious yards and clean apartments : it contained at the time of our visit only forty sentenced prisoners. The women are kept apart from the mnen, and the debtors and convicts for petty offences have a wvard to themselves. The most hardened criminals who compose the chain-gang, have a number of small rooms opening into a close, narrow, common yard, which we were permitted to look into through a sort of wicket, but not to enter, as we had no special order for this part of the prison, and Captain Bottex, the Governor's son wh o kindly conducted us, had no power to demand an entrance. Some of the inmates were employed in plaiting grass and rushes for baskets and mats, to eke ont their miserable subsistence of a few plantains weekly, others were quite idle, and some nearly naked. The lunatics were kept distinct from the criminals. This prison afforded us no very favourable impression with regard to discipline, but is probably quite as good as some of our English and Irish prisons even at the present day. The Military Hospital is a noble edifice, with large, long, well.-ventilated, well-furnished apartments, and fitted up with a good kitchen, and hot and cold baths. It contained but sixteen patients, who appeared to have all the physical comforts that men under their circumstances could desire. There is a physician, a lay superintendent, and several servants. The Hospitalfor the Peer is in a dilapidated state and has few inmates. A society is formed to endeavour to repair the buildings by public subscription, and to make it an asylum worthy of a good city. We had no reason to suppose from anything we saw or heard, that much destitution or extreme poverty
2 HOSPITALITY OF THE PEOPLE.
prevails. There is in the negro race a spirit of kindness not common to barbarous or haif-civilised nations; such is the testimony of Mlungo Park and other African travellers; and a disposition to help others is fostered in this country by the influence of the Roman Catholic religion, which teaches its votaries to rely on good works as the ground of justifica tion, and as meriting an eternal reward. A few days before our arrival at the Cape, a ship from Bremen with a hundred and seventy German emigrants, bound for Newv Orleans, had been wrecked at Point Isabella, and driven on shore in a heavy gale of wind. No lives were lost; much damage was sustained, but the passengers and the crew were brought in safety to the Cape. The news of their arrivalstrangers in a strange land, speaking an unknown tongue, dejected, care-worn, much of their little property lost in the wreck, some of them sick, and nearly all without food-aroused the feelings of these good people, and awakened the liveliest sympathy. No Consul of their own nation to protect them, they might have perished of hunger, but for the generous assistance of all classes of the citizens. The authorities, all black or coloured men, ordered houses to be open for their reception, into which beds and moveables were conveyed; medical men proffered their assistance, and the inhabitants supplied them with food and clothing. We passed through some of the buildings where they were placed, and were cheered to witness the alacrity with which they were served. Their sorrows were soon soothed by these kind attentions, and some of them, foregoing the pleasure which they had promised themselves in an early meeting with their friends in Louisiana, who had left their father-land before them, made
POPULATION OF THlE CITY 23
arrangements for a temporary sojourn in Hlayti, where work at fair wag-es -was promised them, and where they had found an asylum in distress. There are no poor laws in Hayti ; assistance to the poor is voluntary ; and from the abundance and cheapness of provisions, a small quantity of silver goes a great way. There is much reason to fear, however, that great suffering, ensues from want of efficient medical help. The charges of medical men are not high, as in Jamaica and other of the islands; hut owingr to the little emulation that prevails among the people, and their consequent want of ready money, they are unable. especially in country places, to procure good advice and suitable medicines when needed. When an epidemic of an alarming character shews itself, a great mortality ensues. From this cause the increase of population is probably not larger- in Hayti, where the soil is luxuriantly fertile, and where every man wbo is industrious, may by very little exertion procure all the common comforts of life, than it is in the old and crowded countries of Europe. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to judge of the healthiness or otherwise of particular districts from the mortality, owing to the extreme uncertainty of the number of deaths. Births are well registered, because almost every infant is brought to the priest to be baptised; but large numbers die and are buried in the country, of whom no notice is ever taken. A census is only taken in the town, and then in so imperfect a manner, as to leave the subject of population always in perplexity and doubt. The following is an abstract of the register of Cape ilaytien:
1839. Born 329. Died 349. Married 1840. Born 353. Died 297. Married 832.
24 BIRTHS, DEATHS, AND MARRIAGES.
The deaths in this city, which is governed by a Corporation and regulated by municipal laws, are said to be accurately recorded : the number of inhabitants is reported at something less than nine thousand. The year of 1839, was one of great sickness ; but taking the average of the two years, the births were as one in twenty-five of the population-about the same average as in England: the deaths as one in twenty-six, or about fifty per cent. higher than in England. The marriages are one in 266, or less than half the number that take place in this country, and as a natural consequence, a large proportion of the children born are illegitimate. This statement, whilst it proves nothing as to the general rate of increase in the whole island, proves very decidedly that Cape Haytien is a very unhealthy locality. This want of health among the people cannot arise from bad dwellings, for the houses are good and airy, and well fortified against the influence of weather; it must be attributed, as before observed, to its situation at the foot of high hills, reflecting the beams of a scorching sun, and from swampy ground. But few of the merchants or principal inhabitants are married men concubinage is
common, and unhappily, regarded as not dishonourable. Whenever a ball is given, or a large party invited, the invitation is equally extended to Monsieur and Madame ," or to "Monsieur and his lady ;"
and by this confounding of moral distinctions among the upper classes, the evil descends to the lower ranks, and becomes perpetuated. Some of the merchants at the Cape are wealthy men, keep their country houses, and give handsome dinners, at which they make a great display of servants, and costly plate
EXCURSION TO SANS SOUCI. 25
they usually attend their stores and counting-houses during the day, and take their exercise on horseback an hour or two before sunset. Horses abound in the island, some of which are trained to great swiftness, and are always to be had at a moderate cost, either on purchase or hire. Not choosing to encumber ourselves with horses and servants during our limited stay, we hired two steeds which were to be always ready at our call, and in this manner, sometimes alone, sometimes accompanied by our friends from America, we explored the hills above the town, which afford many interesting rambles; and made sundry excursions to the sugar estates on the plain. One of the most agreeable journeys we made in this desultory manner was to Sans Souci, once the palace of King Henry Christophe, which lies at five leagues distance from th Cape along the level plain, and between a defile of bills, that form the termination of an extensive mountain range. General Bottex, the Commandant, had given us permission to visit it, as also the citadel. At three o'clock in the morning, the moon shining bright, the horses for our little company stood ready caparisoned at the door. Our good tempered laughing, hostess, La veuve Piquion, a short fat personage, came out attired in a white muslin robe, with a damask silk shawl of crimson and white on her shoulders, and a yellow turban handkerchief on her head; the latter was surmounted by a new black weaver hat, surrounded by a broad golden band, bespangled in front by a golden star and buckle, and adorned with black plumes made to nod like a tuft of ostrich feathers. The back of her palfrey was spread over with a rich puce-coloured saddle-cloth, bordered with a fringe of gold lace : her second son, Francis
26 EXCURSION TO SANS souCI.
whom she had selected to be our guide, stood solemnly by, with a long sword at his side, according to the country phrase, "pour nous debarasser des mechants,and as soon as he had seen the rest of us mounted, sprung on his own saddle, which was adorned with pistol cases, and led the way along the quay to the. city gate. My horse also was duly furnished within pistol cases, covered with leopard skin, but without fire arms : that of my wife was nnincumbered. We presently cleared Le champ de Mars, and came to the harrier. The sentries were perhaps asleep, but the name of our hostess, Piquion, loudly shouted, brought the officer out who listened to the watch-word, or the tale she told him, and the gate was opened. The rain a few days before had fallen in torrents, and the road was, in some places, so intolerably deep in mire, that we could only pick our way slowly and by piecemeal, seldom exceeding a foot pace. About three miles from the city, we met a curious group of country people in carts, and with horses and asses loaded with yams, plantains, and sweet potatoes, and some with bundles of guinea grass, for sale at the morning market: they were bivouacking by fire-light, sipping coffee, and waiting for the hour when the city gate should be thrown open. The glare of fire-light in the decaying moonbeams, on a company of faces varying in colour from yellow brown to jet black, and displaying teeth of ivory whiteness, produced a singular effect. Soon after, we met other g.roupes, some on foot, others on horseback; the women riding astride, like men, with infants in their arms, or asleep behind them in apron folds at their back. Urchins of boys, as is almost always the case in these expeditions, ran before, or behind, and everywhere. "Bon Jour,
EXCURSION TO SANS SOUCI. 27
J1fonsiear" Bon jour Maidame," were the cheerful salutations that 'met our ear, accompanied, sometimes by a sentence of unintelligible Creole, half French, half African, that amused us from its oddity. The people were dressed in common clothing; the women in dark blue check, or printed cotton, with a Madras handkerchief; the men in white jackets, or worn out military coats; the children in an Osnaburgh shirt or shift, some of them more than half-naked. The appearance of the men was rather ragamuffin, something like that of a banditti. The common people of Hayti are wonderfully docile, and free from the charge of attempts at highway robbery, or we should not have wondered at the strange fashion, for it is only a fashion, of going armed through the country. It was once a common custom in the Spanish part of the island, and is now absurdly adopted on the French side. The roads we passed over had hedges of the ordinary description, in some places formed of the penguin aloe, or a plant with sharp prickly pointed leaves, called Adam's needle; and in others of logwood, which grows to a great height. We passed hy the massive gateways of many deserted or neglected sugar estates, where the mansions that once adorned them, are now crumbling and in ruins, shewing the marks of their former destruction hy fire, and subsequent decay. As the sun rose, we entered the defile leading, to Sans Souci, and as soon as we reached the village, dismounted and ordered breakfast.
The Major-Commandant of the place had received orders from the General to shew us respect. In consequence of the numerous books we had distributed, and the attention we had paid to the public school, the cognomen of philanthropists had heen bestowed on c 2
28 SANS SOUCI.
us at the Cape. A mounted cavalier came to the
door, and seeing me, a stranger, addressed our young attendant with the question, Qui est ce Monsieurm, Lephilantirope ?" Oui, le merne," was the reply. Leaving his horse to the care of a soldier who stood by, he immediately entered the house, introduced by young Piquion, as "Le Commandant de place." Caught in an undress, much, as we supposed, to his mortification, he could not assume the official consequence which attaches, more particularly, to black officers in the army. We sat together a few minutes, and I had good leisure to survey his habiliments. Over a Madras handkerchief wrapped tight round his head, like a man suffering with a grievous cold, he had placed a large cocked hat, which from its rusty colour, seemed to have done service in the civil wars, twenty years before: the nap, if it ever had any, was worn off, and a rent in the front of it had been carelessly repaired by a kind of packthread. The lace of his coat was tarnished; sundry rents and gashes exhibited the lining : and his trowsers, once of blue cotton or jean had been washed to a dirty white. He was, however, vastly complaisant, and we were very polite to each other. Was it our pleasure to visit the citadel? This we found would have been too much to accomplish so as to return to the Cape the same day: we therefore declined it, but begged permission to visit the palace. lie would conduct us himself to the palace of "Monsieur Christophe" with great pleasure, and shew us whatever we wished to see. A friend of his, Jacques Caesar, a magistrate and architect of the neighbouring chapel, who sat in the room, requested leave to be one of the party. The first view of Sans Souci from the village is very striking.
SANS SOUCI. 29
The palace stands between two lofty hills well covered with fine trees; and mountains rise on the back ground, on one of which the citadel stands. The buildings, though once splendid, were never in good architectural taste, and defaced as they now are from the battering of cannon and musket balls, windows shattered, walls crumbling and the roof falling in they resemble a huge deserted cotton factory. The whole domain, when properly maintained in the days of Christophe, must have been a princely affair, and adds one to the many other proofs he gave, that it was his ambitiOD to be thought every inch of him a King. The rooms were spacious and lofty, the floors and side panels of polished mahogany, or beautifully inlaid with mosaic: the apartments are said to have been sumptuously furnished: and the gardens and the baths for the young princesses were all in keeping with the general splendour. The coach-houses and stables were magnificent. A number of the royal carriages still remain, the panels of which gilded and emblazoned by the royal arms, shew at how great a cost they must have been constructed. One of the coaches was built in London, and cost X700 sterling, and when equipped, as it used to be, with six fine grey horses and postilions on splendid saddles, bearing a King and his Chamberlain in their robes of state, must have struck the gazing negro crowd with astonishment. These splendid baubles are suffered by the present republican government to remain and moulder and everything belonging to the palace to fall to decay, as a satire on the follies of kingship, and to render the name of King odious. The horse barracks in the vicinity of Sans Souci are deserted; and only a few straggling soldiers occupy the post. As soon as
30 SANS sOUCI.
the rebel troops heard that Christophe was dead, they made an immediate furious attack on the palace: the dead body of their monarch was treated with indignity, scarcely saved from mutilation by a bribe from the Queen; musketry was discharged through the windows from the areas below; the secret chambers were ransacked, and the treasures of gold and silver, of which there was an ample booty, at once secured. The huge mirrors that adorned the walls, in which"lHe of Gath,
Goliath, might have seen his giant bulk
Whole without stooping, towering crest and all."were dashed to atoms. Everything within doors, and everything without was exposed to the rapine and fury of a soldier mob.
Christophe was the ruler of ilayti fifteen years. Born in Grenada or St. Kitt's, (history is doubtful which) he found his way to Cape Haytien when a very young mnan, and entered early on a military life. Accepting a commission under Toussaint L'Ouverture, hie distinguished himself in many achievements; and when that gr eat and deeply injured man was betrayed and sent prisoner to France, he made common cause with the ferocious Dessalines to revenge, by renewed hostilities, the perfidy of the French. At the death of Dessalines, the northern army elected him chief of Hayti. He never, however, obtained the rule of more than half the territory of even that part of the island which had belonged to France; and the number of his subjects, when King, probably never exceeded twvo hundred thousand. Although he began his career with an evident desire to improve the condition of the people, and give them
a standing among civilized nations, the maxims of his government were unfortunately tyrannical. Wanting a revenue, and not knowing bow otherwise, to obtain it, and believing also that the people had become too much dissipated by war to labour willingly for wages, he compelled field labour at the point of the bayonet. By this means, he secured large crops of sugar and rum; and making himself, like Mohammed Ali of Eglypt, the principal merchant in his own dominions, he became rich, kept a court, and maintained a standing army. He took possession of the best plantations in his own right, and gave others to some of his military comrades, and a few civilians who pleased him, on whom hie bestowed the titles of Barons, Counts, and Dukes. The Chateaux Royaux, as his own and the Queen's domains were denominated, were worked by soldiers disbanded, ,or on leave of absence. In the last year of Christophie, twenty of these plantations yielded ten millions of pounds of sugar, equal to 5000 hogsheads of a ton weight each. One of them, three leagues from the Cape, called the Queen's Delight, yielded 500 hogsheads of superior sugar, of the enormous weight of 25 cwt. each. Many of the estates of his great men were cultivated like his own, by coerced labour. Liberty did not at once obtain dominion in Hayti. The black army had triumphed; but the black generals forgetting the pit of slavery from whence they bad emerged, exercised but little mercy, and showed but little regard to their companions in arms who had fought under them in the ranks. Over this part of the history of the Haytien revolution, philosophy and humanity might gladly draw the veil.
Christophe and Pe'tion were political rivals, and a
murderous war of some years was carried on between them. Buoyant at first with success, Christophe became soured in after life through repeated disappointments. Possessing great powers of mind, he resolved on great enterprises, and having once undertaken a project would suffer no controllable difficulty to interrupt its progress. The citadel of La Ferriere had been begun by the French: he determined to carry out the design, and make it one of the strongest fortresses of the world. I asked Captain Agendeau of Cape Haytien, who worked two years and a half as a prisoner within the walls, how many persons had lost their lives by hard labour during its erection ? As many persons," he replied, as there are stones in the building: every stone cost the life of a human being." This famous citadel was reared by bands of men and women, who were compelled to labour on very insufficient rations of food: vast numbers died in consequence of exhaustion, and many more of wounds and bruises received in the cruel work of forcing stones and other heavy materials up the steep sides of the mountain. Prisoners were employed upon it. Captain Agendeau was sent there, with thirty-two other coloured men, out of revenge for the escape of two mulattos who had gone to join P6tion's army at Port-au-Prince. Christophe had a strong and invincible prejudice against the coloured class, of whom Pdtion was one. The coloured people were aware of it, both men and women; and endeavoured, it is believed, by secret counsels, to effect his overthrow. On his return to Sans Souci, on one particular occasion, lie was informed that during his absence, the mulatto women of Cape Ilaytien had offered up prayers in the great church that he might
never -be permitted to return again to his palace: revenge rankled in his soul-his purpose was immnediately taken-he ordered a company of his soldiers to make domiciliary visits, and lead out the accused women to summary execution. A dark retired spot, about a mile froin the city was chosen for the massacre; and here in cold blood these unhappy -victims of cruelty were butchered. Bayonets were plunged into their bosoms, and their dead bodies cast into a deep well; this well is now called, The W~ell of Death, and nobody will drink of its waters. We took a walk to the place with one of the citizens, who assured us that there was scarcely a coloured family at the Cape who had not to mourn a near relation, lost to them in that horrid catastrophe. Many other acts of Christophe's cruelty and tyranny were related to us by eye and ear witnesses. Not an individual in the north of Hlayti affects.. to doubt of his tyranny, or attempts to palliate his misdeeds. A respectable merchant, who when young served in the citadel, assured us, that the King on risingr early one morning proceeded to the hospital, and finding that the French physician whom he had engaged to attend the troops had not yet made his appearance, sent for him, and gave him a severe reprimand; high words ensued-the King ordered him to be beaten-the physician, indignant at this treatment, said, You have dishonoured me; you may as well take off my head at once." Do you desire that ?" said Christophe, "4 your wish small be gratified ;" an immediate order was given to his guard r: the culprit was led into near apartment, and his body presently brought out a headless trunk. One of Chmistophe's generals was a black man, (we conceal his name, though it is well C 3
known in Hayti) who having heard of the orders given to destroy the mulatto women at the Cape, inhumanly killed his own concubine, who was one of the number, and his child. One day, when in company with the King, hoping to obtain his favour from the circumstance, he related what he had done. The
monarch, for once, seemed horror-struck; anger flashed in his dark face, and whirling his baton at the General's head, he knocked out one of his eyes. This very officer
-this executioner of his most intimate friend, this literal monstrum horrendum cui lumen ademptum," passed over to the republican side, when President Boyer made his triumphal entry at the Cape, and now commands an arrondissement in the eastern part of the islaiid! The fact here given was related to us, both in the north and south by different individuals. One fact more, and we shall close for the present our catalogue of crime. Leaving Sans Souci one morning for the Cape, in a carriage drawn by his beautiful greys, the road being miry from a heavy shower of rain, the wheels stuck fast in the mud; the angry chief descended from his carriage, and with his own hand, as the story was told us, hamstrung the horses with his sword, and laid a contribution on the citizens at Cape Haytien to the value of the horses, for not having kept the road in repair! These and similar freaks and crimes, were the outbursts of a semi-barbarian mind, untutored, undisciplined, but formed by nature for great purposes, and endowed with extraordinary gifts. This great man, for great he was as well as cruel, had the sagacity to see that nothing but education could raise the mass of his subjects from the heathen ignorance and degradation into which slavery had plunged them. He resolved,
thrfron establishing schools for boys aod a college; and his purposes for good, as well as for evil, being always acted on with energy, he addressed letters to the philanthropists of England, invited over competent masters, built school rooms, imported books and lessons, set up printing presses, and began the good work of education for this class of his subjects, with a diligent unsparing hand. The education of girls was wholly neglected. Few schools were set up at first, or indeed at any time, in the rural districts; but one at least was established in every town. The common branches of elementary education were taught, together with the English language, which he vainly hoped might be made to supersede the French, and the mathematics. Young men were trained at the college to serve as engineers, physicians, and classical instructors. Several of the schools are now extinct, but the fruits of them remain ; the encouragement thus given to learning has had its influence on Haytien -society to the present day. Several civilians and officers of the army, who were taughlt in these schools, are men of capability and intelligence, and speak the English language fluently; they venerate our country, and our tongue remains an object of study and emulation to their children. Christophe was not only the patron of education but of industry; and it gave him pleasure to see his country recovering the ground lost in the civil wars, and advancing in name and wealth. lie promoted industry on the principles laid down by his predecessor, Toussaint, but went far beyond him in urging the severities of the rural code: this among other things tended to render him unpopular; and when remonstrated with by Sir Home Popham, the English Admiral
who came on a visit to him from Jamaica, hie justified himself on the ground that he understood best the character of his own people, and that decision, :firmness, and severity were indispensable. He desired also, and earnestly promoted the extension of legitimate commerce, which he followed up very much after the manner of the present Pachia of Egypt; and had many points in his character which would have made him to rank high among rulers, had not ambition and tyranny marred the great and generous qualities which really existed in his mind. Tyranny, during the last few years of his life was his ruling infirmity, and led to his overthrow. A beginning mutiny had broken out at St. Mark :he gave orders to the garrison at the Cape to march out immediately, seize the ringleaders, and put them to death. "Let us rather go to Sans Souci" said the officers, "and cut off his own head." "I am ready to join you," said the Duke de Marmalade. A largess was given to the
soldiers, and they marched toward the palace. The King learned too late the extent of the conspiracy, and felt at once that his reign was ended: he was sick at home unable to mount his horse; and ordering all who were about his person to leave the room, lie took a pistol, and deliberately shot himself dead. Such was the end of this negro chief ; a man, who in the beginning, and in some subsequent stages of its career, seemed likely, under Divine providence, to prove a blessing to Hayti. His aims were great, and inany of them good, but being mixed with turbulence and passion, they brought misery to many of his subjects, and proved of little advantage to the people wvhomn lie governed. In one respect, lie excelled Cbarhemagne; lie could write his own name, but
RETURN TO THE CAPE. 37
this, as far as the art of writing went, is said to have been the extent of his accomplishment. lie
dictated letters and despatches, and was an admirable judge of the fitness and relevancy of words. His
private secretary was the Baron de Vastey, a mulatto, a man of respectable literary acquirements, as his history of Hayti shows, but of a base dishonourable disposition.
On returning from Sans Souci to the Cape. we took a new road by La grande riviere and Le quartier 2Iorin, passing through the midst of many fine sugar plantations, either deserted, or cultivated only in part by a few labourers, who work on the system recognised by the Code rurale, and now in general use, of receiving one-quarter of the net produce, with provisions to live on, or half the produce without. Among the plantations we noticed in the course of the day, were the following, Praderes, Camfort, Gerbier, Charrier, Le Pont, Fontinelle, Ic6, Lacombe, Lalande, Carrd, Sans Souci, and Duplas. The plantation Ice belongs to La veuve Belliard, where we stopped and conversed with some of the shipwrecked emigrants who bad here obtained employment, and were just sat down in one of the large outbuildings to a substantial repast. Lacombe is the property of Jacques Cnsar, the intelligent magistrate and architect, who accompanied us through the ruined apartments of the palace, and who persuaded us to pay him a hasty visit at his own home. We could not fail here to be struck with the entire equality that seems now to subsist in Hayti between servant and master. Every workman that made his appearance was addressed in the courteous language, "Mon fis," and on inquiring the cause, we found it to be that the profits of planting
38 RETURN TO THE CAPE.
were good, labourers were scarce, and that it was necessary to conciliate all by kindness, or no work would be done. Good land -may be bad of tbe government in every part of the island at a low price; and any man not satisfied witb his condition as a private labourer, may easily buy it, and become a freeholder in bis own right. The slave cabins of a former proprietor remained onl Lacombe, and were tenanted by tbe labourers, who work in common, as joint sbarers witb tbe proprietor of the produce. These cabins or houses, like many others that we saw on other plantations are something better than those of Jamaica; but the people in geiieral are not so well clothed, and some of the children are quite nak-ed. The peasantry of Hayti, through the prevalence of heathenism and ignorance, have little emulation, and few wants, and grow up contented with common fare, coarse clothing, and enjoyments of a mere animal nature: it is true, they work to live, as without some labour they cannot subsist; but they do not, and they will not work hard to please anybody, and hence agriculture languishes, and commerce is stationary. Duplas is one of the many plantations denominated Chateaux Royaux, formerly cultivated by Christophe for his own personal benefit, and is now in possession of the President Boyer.~ There is on it a handsome mansion, and some very respectable storehouses, a distillery, and a large number of very good cabins. The maxims of government adopted by
Boyer, are in many respects totally opposed to those of Christophe :he neither compels labour by military coercion, nor holds out higher inducements of a pecuniary nature than his brother planters; hence his estates, like theirs, are only half cultivated, and exhibit
RETURN TO TIRE CAPE. 39
signs of neglect. The guava bush covers what once were cane-fields, and diminished herds of cattle roam over the pastures. On reaching the handsome village of M~orin, we dismounted at the Vicar's house ; he was not at home, but his sister, a Spanish lady, brought us out cassava, bread, and sweet cakes, and offered us wvine and lemonade. Having rested a while in their spacious cool keeping-room, and taken a walk through the cemetery, we hastened on our journey homewards, fearful that the sun might set before we reached the Cape, and leave us in total darkness. The town of La Petite Anse stands on a bay that fronts the town of Cape ilaytien. In passing through it, several groups of women and children respectably attired, some of them handsomely, came to the doors of their houses to greet us. We were much struck with their agreeable appearance; and that of the place in general. Devastation has done its work here in past days; many of the buildings were set on fire, or destroyed by cannon, and are still in ruins, but many remain in a good condition. The road from Petite Anse to the Cape is on the shore, washed by the waters of that awful bay, where in the time of Le Clere and Rochambeau, the French army made such a dreadful havoc of their prisoners of war, sending them out heavily ironed in boats and plunging them into the sea! Many a sumptuous banquet of human flesh have the sharks enjoyed on this coast, and the sight of its waters is constantly recalling the horrors of those dreadful days. Cani Europeans reproach Dessalines, Christophe, and their black armies with cruelty? Let them look at the conduct of their own savage military commanders, and see on which side cruelty the most predominates. How gladly
40 REFLECTIONS ON SLAVERY.
should we draw the curtain of night over transactions that disgraced the world! Wearied with our long day's excursion, gratified hy what we had seen of the country and the people, hut far from gratified with
recialswhih w herdor which history, speaking to us on the very spots where dark deeds were done, recalled to our recollection ; we passed over the ferry which led to our lodgings, and retired to rest.
On excursions of this kind, though not so long, we often set out accompanied hy our friends from Boston, and explored the immediate environs of the Cape. We visited villages and solitary houses together on hill and plain, conversed with the common people whom we met on the road or at their own houses, looked at their provision grounds and gardens, and obtained an acquaintance with their mode of life. A feeling of sympathy for the past wrongs of Hayti, and for the negro still held in unrighbteous bondage in many parts of the western world, hound us together in a common cause, and a -grateful companionship; often did we congratulate each other on what we saw of the freedom and physical happiness of those wvho were once slaves in this laud, hut who are oppressed no longer. Nor did we omit often to advert to that debasingy servitude in which millions of the negro race are still held in the United States, hy a people calling themselves Christians, and boasting of their country as the freest on the earth! What a mockery of religion wvas once the couduct of Great Britain towards the slaves in her colonies: what a mockery of religion is the present conduct of America; and what a lie to the declaration of her federal constitution, that all men by nature are free and equal! The single circumstance that we were all sincere haters of
EDUCATION AT CAPE HIAYTIEN. 41
the abominable system of slavery in all its forms, and under every modification, ensured us a cordial reception in Hayti, and made our stay there, so far as it depended on the authorities, and the good wishes of the people, highly agreeable to us.
One object of our continued stay at the Cape was to ascertain, as far as possible, the moral and religions state of the people there; and with this view we visited the public and private schools, and sought interviews with the Romish priests and the few Protestant missionaries, who from different parts of the country- from Port-au-Prince, Port-au-Platte, Samnana, and from Turk's Island, of the Bahamas-bad come there to hold their annual conference. The high school of Cape Ilaytien was founded by Christophe in 1816, and is conducted on the monitorial system :the lessons used are those of the Borough Road School, and the Scriptures without comment are used as a class-book. The master has a salary from the government of seventy Hlaytien dollars per month, equal in the present depreciated currency to 63 sterling per annum, and is allowed the liberty of receiving a few private pupils on his own account, who pay him about fifty shillings each per annum for instruction. The average attendance of boys is 135 daily, who are engaged in study seven hours a-day, during five days of the week. The pupils are well instructed in the common branches of learning, and are taught to think, to exercise the memory, and to behave politely. Some of the forwardlest of the boys are taught the English language by a Creole professor who speaks it well. Children of African descent excel in the imitative arts, and hence they write a good hand; the specimens of penmanship we saw in this school
42 EDUCATION AT CAPE HAYTIRS.
were admirable. The management of it altogether-the quietness-the docility of the boys-their reading, and, their compositions, would reflect credit on any institution of the sort in any country. Besides this school, there are in the city seven private schools for boys, averaging forty pupils each; and nine for girls, averaging fifteen each. There are also four professors, or tutors, who give lessons to about fifty children at their own homes. The total number of children of both sexes receiving education at the Cape is about 550, or one-sixteenth of the entire population: about half as many in proportion to the population as receive education in the towns of Jamaica. The difference between these two islands in regard to education is very great. In Jamaica, schools are fast spreading over the whole country, and begin to act beneficially on the rural population ; in Hayti, they are confined exclusively to the towns, and in the country, where at least seven-eighths of the population is to be found, there is as much ignorance as in the days of slavery.
The middle class among the citizens are exceedingly attached to stage entertainments. There is a public theatre at Cape Haytien, and so widely does the folly spread, that those schools are most encouraged in which the young people are taught to act plays. A sort of rehearsal takes place occasionally, and the parents and friends of the pupils attend to witness and applaud. But little religious instruction is imparted at the private schools, and that little is exclusively Roman Catholic. A large number of the men who live in the towns of Hayti, as is said to be the case in many other popish .countries, are unbelievers ; the women attend mass frequently, and confession at least once in the year; and
flock to the Cathedral on high days, attired in holiday dresses, presenting a gay and attractive spectacle. The usual dress of the upper class of women on these occasions, is a handsome robe of chintz or white muslin, a turban handkerchief folded gracefully on the bead, gold and pearl ornaments on the neck, silk stockings, and satin shoes. Gay silk parasols or umbrellas are their constant accompaniments. The dress of the men is very similar to that of England and France; but persons in office, whether civil or military, frequently bear a goldheaded baton which they use as a walking-stick., or handle, with an air of official dignity.
One Protestant missionary, and only one, is settled at the Cape: he, like all the rest of the Wesleyan persuasion, has a small congregation, and preaches alternately in French and Enalish. The state of Protestantism is deplorably low in every quarter of the island, the religious services of the missionaries, who are Englishmen, being chiefly attended by coloured people who emigrated from America, and were nominally Protestants before they came. The congregations at all the stations are small, and very little disposition is evinced by any class of the people to send their children to a Protestant school, even for gratuitous instruction. Satan, the grand deceiver, wears in this land of moral darkness a four-fold faceinfidelity, ignorance, heathen superstition, and a religion (as taught by many of the priests) of folly and lies. One or other of these qualities may be said to frownill every quarter. The sight is appalling, but nothing will terrify the devoted follower of Christ, or deter him from endeavourino, to convert his deluded fellow-men from blindness and error. The pure and peaceable principles of the gospel have won their way in regions
darker than this, and will yet prevail even here. The influence and success of Protestant missions is not at first to be judged of by the number only of those persons who attend at a stated religious service. The missionary mixes with the people out of doors, converses familiarly with them, distributes tracts, bestows useful books, settles differences, and gives encouragement to the well-disposed : his wife helps him in his labour of love to the people, joins him in setting a good. example, and shows many acts of kindness and assistance towards her own sex. Not putting their light under a bushel, but on a candlestick, they give ligbt to their neighbours around them, and win them gradually to examine and see for themselves, what the root is from which these Christian virtues spring. Faith bids us to believe that true Christianity will yet make its way by its own resistless energy, and the blessing of its Divine Author, through every region of the globe.
The government of Hayti assumes the power of appointing the priests to their respective cures, and of shifting them at pleasure from place to place. Some of the most respectable for character and learning are placed in the larger towns. The Cure' of Cape Haytien is a Spaniard; his assistant, or vicar, is a Frenchmanan Abbe' by title, and a man of more than common endowments of mind. The latter ecclesiastic, obligingly made us a call soon after we landed; I gave him a copy of most of the publications we intended to distribute : he promised to look them over; bad no objection, lie said, to the propagation of any works which tended to promote our common Christianity, but must resist all books of a controversial nature, aimed point-blank at the Church of Rome. Our books were not generally of
THE ABBE 0F CAPE HAXTIEN. 4.5
this sort, though strictly evangelical in their scope and tendency :some of them he recommended to his parishioners, and during onr stay interdicted none of them. He frequently called on us, and we returned his visits. Onr conversation turned on subjects of a moral and religions nature, connected with the welfare of the people. On one occasion, speaking of a hook intended to illustrate the religious principles of the Society of Friends, he remarked, that they laid no stress on good works as the ground of our justi-fication and acceptance with God, and that they admitted only one baptism as essential-that of the Holy Ghost and of fire; on both these points he thought they were in error: on both the Catholic Church differed, widely from them, and the Catholic Church, hie presumed, was right. With regard to the first question, that of justification by works, I endeavoured to show him that this was the very point on which the reformation by Luther turned-that Protestants look to fai *th in Christ, a faith that works by love to the purifying of the heart, as the alone ground of a sinner's justification before God; and that Roman Catholics, by adopting the opposite principle of salvation by works alone, make fallen man his own justifier and not Christ : so that by this system Christ may he said to have died in vain. With regard to water baptism, which the Church of Rome regarded as a sacrament, I argued that as the work of man's purification could be effected only by the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit, which was the washing of regeneration, the baptism that now saves,' according to the testimony of the Apostle Peter himself, and as the Friends admitted this baptism in all its fulness as essential, subscribing to it ex animo, he must not place them out of the pale of Christianity, because
46 THE ABBE OF CAPE HAYTIEN.
they differed from him in a ceremonial rite. He allowed, with regard to justification, that he had not so entirely made up his mind as to refuse to re-consider the question, and promised to come again and renew our discourse. Before we quitted this part of Hayti we called to take leave of him, and found him reading Barthe's Annales de J'eglise, a copy of which we had given him. He said he saw no reason why the holy Scriptures should be interdicted to the laity; and was so far touched with a feeling of protestantism, that he requested me to give him an introduction to the Paris Bible Society, and consented at last to allow me to Border for him fifty copies of De Sacy's French Bible, an approved Roman Catholic version, and two hundred copies of his New Testament for a beginning distribution among his flock. The Abb6 is a man of polished exterior, speaks elegant French, and from having lived much in Paris, and mixing evidently with good society, is an interesting, agreeable companion. He gave us at parting his hearty benediction in the few expressive words, Dieu vous protege.
The books which we brought for distribution made a great noise; we were, in fact, so besieged by applications for them, that we began to fear our hostess would look upon our vocation, as a nuisance. There are no booksellers' shops in the city; the few works that are sold are disposed of at the general stores, and consist chiefly of dictionaries and other school books, with a few Romish prayer books, and fabulous church legends.
The time which we had proposed to stay at Cape Haytien having drawn to a close, we made application to General Bottex for a passport, and made preparations for a jonrney by land to the town of Gonaives, on the western coast of the island.
DEPARTURE FROM CAPE IL YTIEN. 47
DEPARTURE FROM CAPE RAYTIEN-JOURNEY TO GONAIVES
-TOWN AND COMMERCE OF GONAIVES-COASTING
VOYAGE TO PORT-AU-PRINCE.
HAVING made a bargain with one of the citizens for two good saddle horses, together with a sumpter horse to carry our little baggage, and a servant to attend us : we despatched our other effects by sea, and waited the hour of departure. For the accommodation thus agreed on, we paid eighty Haytien dollars, or 6 sterling; it being stipulated that we should make the journey to Gonaives in two days, and that the servant should feed himself, and take care of the horses by the way. The distance was seventy miles. But, alas! for bargains; and, alas! for carefully made arrangements in a strange land, and among a people of strange tongues. The servant confided to us as an honest man and good guide, spoke a barbarous Creole dialect, half French, half African; and his only object being to save a few dollars for himself, he would have half-starved the poor horses, if we bad not discovered his trickery, and bought grass for them out of our own purse. Being well mounted ourselves, on animals that we had tried before: we set out in good spirits, and soon outstripped our lazy attendant. Our journey for the first six leagues to Limb6e, was over the Plaine du Nord, by a grand broad road, flanked for a great part of the way on
48 THE TOWN OF LIME.
each side by plantations and well cultivated provision grounds. The houses on the plantations, once inhabited by the owners, were nearly all in ruins, and the estates much neglected; the outbuildings also were much dilapidated. We passed on the edge of the fine estate where Toussaint L'Ouverture was born, and from which he made his escape when a slave, to lend a hand to the rebel troops. On ascending the bill which led to Linib6, we had a beautiful view of the river, the bay, the ocean; the country was wonderfully picturesque and afforded us delight. The town of Limbed is situated on rather high ground, and consists principally of two long streets and a public square. The inhabitants are about five hundred, chiefly small freeholders, subsisting on the produce of their own grounds. The houses are better than the common huts of plantations, plaster-built, wattled, and thatched, and stand apart from each other, having many of them a small garden attached, in which were bread-fruit trees, orange trees, plantains, and bananas. One of these gardens, three hundred feet by sixty-five, yields the owner a large supply of provisions and small vegetables, and three hundred pounds of coffee annually. We called on Colonel Cincinatti, the Commandant, who received us very politely. This military officer was once chamberlain to King Henry Christophe, and possessed the manners of a courtier. Kindly offering my wife his: arn, he conducted us through the place, showed us all that was worthy of observation; and invited us to make free use of his dwelling-house as long as we should think- proper to stay. We thanked him for his proffered hospitality; but were obliged to take leave at an early hour. Our servant whom we had left behind
CAMP COQ. 49
reached the town before we left it; but finding that no dependence could be placed on his keeping up with us, we engaged a new guide, and pressed on to Camp Coq, a village situated in a defile of the mountains, three leagues distant. We saw numerous habitations by the road-side, and abundant indications of a rising and thriving population. We met several groups of people; women riding on horseback like men, and many naked children. The men of Hayti pass much of their time in sauntering, idling, talking, and playing games of chance or skill: some we saw stretched out at their ease under the shade of trees; others were sitting on chairs and stools in the open air, as if they had nothing to do, and were only desiring to kill time. Most of the women were pretty well dressed; but many of the men, like others we had seen at the Cape, were clothed in a raged military uniform, which had done its service on parade, and was thought too good to be thrown away. We had taken the precaution on leaving the Cape to pack up a cold roasted fowl, on which, with an omelet prepared by a cottager, and a cup of coffee, we had breakfasted by the way; but the evening drew near, and we wanted dinner. The village of Camp Coq is the only convenient resting-place between Cape Haytien and Gonaives; and here, according to information given us, we expected to find good entertainment and handsome lodging. On reaching the place, our guide stopped short at a poor hut, got off his horse and told us to dismount. "We are not going, to stop here," said I, this cannot be the house." Oui Monsieur, c'est ici que demeure Madame Babilliers." There was no alternative; we had really arrived at the far-famed tavern, and reluctantly entering, prepared to pitch our
50 CAMP CoQ.
tent for the night. Our saddles were removed, and the horses turned out to grass: we paid off the guide, and ordered our evening meal. Our hostess, poor as was the house she lived in, really understood her business, and made us welcome. In about two hours, we sat down at a table covered with a nice clean table-cloth, napkins and silver plate, to a good dinner, consisting of soup, stewed fowl, rice, yams, and plantains, and graced with a bottle of claret wine. The next point of consideration was the lodging: this was less suited to our taste and wishes. The lint was divided into three apartments: the middle was the dining room, with a clay floor worn into deep holes : the two sides were portioned off as lodging-rooms by thin walls, that reached to within a few feet of the naked thatched roof, and afforded ample room for scorpions, lizards, and snakes. The mattress for visitors was good and clean. We had scarcely retired to seek such rest as the place might afford, when there canie up to the house a troop of travellers, to claim, like ourselves, the benefit of a night's shelter-twenty men, women, and children, with a number of loaded asses. Nothing dismayed, and thinking only of the small gratuity she should receive for each, the good lady, our hostess, took them all in. The asses were tethered near the door, or let loose on the common: some of the men laid themselves down in the piazza with a slight covering over them: the rest of the company, of both sexes, spreading mats on the diningY-room floor, sought repose there. Before attempting to sleep, they lighted some candle wood, smoked tobacco out of short pipes, talked, laughed, and sung, and were very merry. The asses brayed, and till about midnight we could get no rest; between that
SINGULAR GROUP. 51
time and early cock-crow we obtained some sleep, and then rose to pursue our journey. It was three o'clock, and our departure gave rise to a general commotion: coffee was prepared for us at a side table; and to reach it we had to pass over, or through, the medley crowd of lodgers on the floor. Some of the women sprang up, lighted candle wood, as on the evening before, and began to smoke; others lifted themselves up with a sort of laughiingr astonishment, to gaze on as we sipped the coffee, and to hear us give directions for the journey. Our new guide, whom we had hired the day before, stood by, with a long sword girt close to his side. The most comical part of tile scene was to come. We had looked at the drowsy visitors coiled up on the floor, and observed the singular effect of a doll lig-ht on dusky skins with some amusement; but presently, our landlady, who had been very attentive to us, came up to the coffee stand, to present her bill. I drew out my purse, and gave her a small gold coin and some of the debased silver coin of the country. She had probably never looked on a piece of gold before, and evidently wondered what it could mean: I explained its value, and my statement was confirmed by a stander by: she looked at it on both sides, turned it over, and over, and over again: her very soul seemed fixed on the coin, as though it was meant to deceive her; and at last, utterly, incredulous as to its worth, she refused to take it, and returned it into my hands. What a subject was here for the pencil of a Rembrandt! The light of two candles concentrated on a yellowish bronze face worked up by the spirit of covetousness, from a fear of losing its due, and a group of people, old and young, white, black, brown, and yellow, standing, sitting, or lying D 2
52 PICTURESQUE SCENERY.
around, in a dull, dusky cabin. Our baggage, which contained a bundle of dollar notes, was already packed up ; we opened it again, took out some paper, and left it with her to ber heart's content.
We were now at liberty to take leave of Camp Coq, and again mounted our horses. Our company was now five persons: my wife and 1, our servant from the Cape, a friend of his whom lie bad picked up by the way, and a guide, who knew the neiglibourhood, and could conduct us in the dark. Confidence in the common people of Hayti is rarely or never misplaced; strangers may travel in every part of the country, night and day, without danger of being robbed or molested. Our journey led us through mountain streams, over rocky and rugged ground : the stars afforded us sufficient light where no tall trees overshadowed the road; but we came to several passes where bamboos bad been planted on both sides, which, bending down, formed a dense-arched canopy over our heads, and made the road as dark as a railway tunnel. Through avenues of this sort the river in some places flowed : the bottom of the stream was stony, and it seemed hardly safe for my wife to venture through on horseback, lest a false step of the animal should plunge her in the water : at these spots, therefore, one of the black guides took ber in his arms, and waded with her to the opposite bank, leaving another to conduct the horse ; and thus by dint of patience, courage, and confidence, we got safely along, and met with no disaster.
At sun-rise a morning mist veiled the sides of the mountains, and filled the valleys like a Migbty river : the summits of the bills were clothed with luxuriant vegetation., but the gorges between, and the villages
TOWN OF PLAISANCE. 53
scattered on their slopes were hid from view; as dlay advanced, and the sun increased in power, the mists gradually disappeared: clouds of vapour rolled up the mountains, dissolving above them into thin air; the banana, the cabbage palm, the tree fern, and the graceful bamboo disclosed their beautiful forms; huts and provision grounds emerged to view; and sheep, goats, and cattle, seemed suddenly to spring into existence and to gladden the green fields. The air was sufficiently cool to allows of active exercise; and descrying, from the top of a hill, the town of Plaisance at about a league distant; we set off at a brisk canter, to reach it as soon as possible to obtain a wished-for breakfast. On arriving, we inquired for a place of entertainment, and found, to our dismay, that there was none in the place : the only alternative, therefore, was to throw ourselves on the charity of some good householder, and to send the guides on a scamping expedition to procure forage for the horses. 'One of the public officers, a sort of deputy-major, kindly received us, and desired bis wife to prepare us eggs, coffee, bread and milk. Entertainments of this sort, though highly welcome to travellers, are more expensive than the common and better repasts of an inn or boarding-house; as the mistress looks for a consideration far exceeding the value of the benefit conferred on her guests.
We here paid our respects to the black general, Dubat; and after surveying the market, and calling at a few houses to converse with the inhabitants, we proceeded on our route with a new guide; leaving tbe servant, with his friend and the baggage to follow. The mountains of Plaisance, about 3000 feet in height, have many attractions of climate and scenery: they abound in small coffee
54 PASS OF LES ESCALIERS.
plantations ; the palm and fern-trees grow luxuriantly tall; and fruit trees are abundant. The commune, (or parish) of Plaisance gave a title in Christophe's days to oue of his dukes. The road which hitherto ha d been good, soon after leaving the town, became narrow, steep and stony; giving warning of our approach to the farfamed and magnificent pass of Les Escaliers; the ladder or staircase descent which leads to the plains below. On arriving at the brow of the mountain, we looked down on a long, steep, smooth road, paved with flat stones, many of them broad like a London pavement, and from constant wear become almost as slippery as glass itself. A mule of the Andes would look at such a pass for a few moments, place its fore feet in a right position, adjust its body to its burden, give a loud snort, and hlide down with rapidity. Our horses were not suited to this sort of enterprise, and we had no courage for the feat. What should we do'? There was another road winding through the lower country, longer by four leagues ; this seemed too far: we therefore resolved to go on, taking all chances, and dismounting, led the horses as well as we could, and with a little sliding, but without a fall or bruise, brought them safely down the steep. Truly thankful were we at last to find ourselves once, more on secure ground. The sides of this strange road are defended, in many places, by massive granite rocks, and adorned in others by magnificent forest trees and deep woods. The scenery is grand, but the way perilous. To strangers circumstanced as we were, with horses not absolutely to be depended upon as surefooted, the only alternative was to dismount and walk; the thought that we escaped danger by doing so, served to keep up our spirits, and enabled us to endure the toil.
PASS OF LES ESCALIERS. .5.5
We now look back on our descent of Les Escaliers with vivid pleasure; but we had to pay for it at the time by a sense of weariness that left us less able to cope with the fatigues that followed. The day wvas sultry : a vertical sun beamed full on our heads, and there was no place of entertainment or shelter near. At length, after several hours of toil, we came to a good looking habitation, enclosed by wooden fences; and we turned in to solicit food and rest. The first object that met our view was a naked mulatto girl, hard at work in the broiling sun, pounding cassava in a huge mortar with a wooden pellett. On remonstrating with the miistress, who ought to have known better than to allow it, she excused herself by stating that the girl was not her's, but the daughter of one of her servants, who lived on the premises; and on speaking to the latter, the subject was turned off with such stupid indifference, as to allow us no room to hope for improvement. lany of the Haytien mothers appear utterly dead to all moral considerations, and leave their childIren to grow up as they please, the victims of wayward passion, and of conduct without restraint. The government has provided no schools for boys, except in the larger towns, and for girls no where. What can be expected from a people without religion, and without education ? The owner of this property was a mulatto woman of middle age, apparently uneducated, who entertained a strong prejudice against the blacks; and lamented that the President could not be induced to pass a law for compelling them to work. There is an aristocracy of the skin, even in Hlayti, where all the'institutions are founded on the principle of putting it down. This springs from the pride and tyranny of the old French
56 ROAD TO GONALVES,
colonists ; and it is one of the cruel legacies bequeathed by slavery.
Having eaten a scanty meal, and payed for it handsomely, we rode on to "1La coupe de pentarde"-the guinea fowl defile-so named from the multitudes of wild guinea fowls that inhabit this part of the island, and afford game to the Haytien sportsmen. At this spot, the view is wide and extensive, and highly interesting. A range of naked chalk hills extends right and left in a curved direction to the sea; embracing a well wooded plain, of about twelve miles in depth, traversed by broad roads leading to Gonaives, St. Mark, and their neighbouring villages. The shipping of Gonaives and the islands of the ocean beyond are visible; and every thing bespeaks a numerous population and an advancing civilization. It was market-day at Gonaives: hundreds of people had passed us within the last two hours; wending their way homeward to the high mountains : the sight surprised us, and seeing other groups in the distance, we began to count the people. Before entering the town itself, we had passed in all four hundred and sixty-five persons, -with nearly as many horses, mules, and asses, drawing, light carriages, or loaded with commodities, which the peasantry were carrying back, in return for the small parcels of cotton and coffee which they had carried to market. The women, as usual, were decently dressed ; and the men were more respectable in appearance than any we had seen on our route: they were evidently small cultivators who live on their own freeliolds. All seemed cheerful and happy. It was one of the most cheering sights we saw in Hayti; and we could not but contrast it with those dark and terrible days, when slave proprietors, under the
ROAD TO GONAIVES. 57
French dominion, oppressed the people with intolerable hardships ; and inflicted cruelties too horrible to relate. In this very region, within the memory of many living witnesses, Deodune, a cotton planter, buried some of his slaves in the earth as deep as their shoulders, and to satisfy his revenge, or for devilish amusement, rolled stones at their heads till they died! The rest of his slaves then rose,, and in indignation. put the monster himself to death.
So hot was the day, and so wearisome the toil of riding, that we journeyed only at a foot pace: our guide, who had walked with us from Plaisauce, his sword girded at his side, tripped nimbly along; performing his part of the journey, about thirty miles, with ease and alacrity, often outstripping us on the road. The last few miles of the plain proved excessively toilsome to us; my wife kept up her spirits tolerably well ; but I scarcely knew how to sit my horse; and, what added to our trials, we entered the long town of Gonaives without knowing wvhere we should find a resting-place. No inn or tavern, or public boarding-house to be heard of! We had been told of an English merchant who resided there; to his house, therefore, we made our way, and to our great joy were cordially received as guests by himself, his wife, and daugThter. The servant had not yet arrived with the bagg age; but our new friends supplied all our need out of their own wardrobe; and after plentiful washings, and an excellent evening meal, we retired to a sumptuous lodging-room to rest.
The next day was the first of the week-the Christian Sabbath. There were only two Protestant families in the place, one of which was that of our hospitable host, James Ostler from Cornwall, who in the morning of that D3
day reads the service of the Church of England in his own parlour. The Roman Catholics had lost their priest, who was gone from home, and there was no one to fill his place. Here, therefore, was a town of 5000 inhabitants, in which no public worship of any kind was performed; except that some of the women, and perhaps a few men, as is common in Catholic countries, entered the parish church to cross themselves with holy water, count their beads, and say their prayers. Several of the respectable inhabitants paid us a visit during the day; to whom, as well as to others before we left, we gave religious books and tracts ; which, from the influence they exercise, and from their imposing no moneytax on the people, a woman at the Cape was pleased to designate as "Les petits predicateurs qui ni mangent vi boivent." Among them were publications of the Paris Religious Tract Society; Lives of pious individuals, Barthe's Annals of the Christian Church and Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, all in French ; and a variety of little works to illustrate and to explain the principles of the Society of Friends on Christian doctrine, slavery, and war. Bibles and Testaments were asked for, which I promised to send from Port-au-Prince. Our servant not arriving with the baggage, and notice having reached us that his horse had broken down on the rough road near Les Escaliers, twenty miles behind us; we engaged a man and horse to go in quest of him, and direct him to take back the saddle horses we had hired of his master, and to send us the baggage which lie held in charge. Late at night, as we were about retiring to rest, the aforesaid servant, to our astonishment, made his appearance; the wicked fellow had refused to deliver up the baggage to another, on the plea, that lie
was bound to deliver it with his own hands! He had, therefore, urged on his broken-down steed, and brought back our horses, making a journey to the latter of forty long miles, and bringing them in at an hour of the night when no grass or provender could be procured. Our very hearts sunk within us at the thought of three horses, jaded with toil, exhausted and hungry, condemned to pass a wearisome night without food; and we could not help bitterly reproaching him for his grievous misconduct. He received the reprimand very stupidly: his whole thoughts seemed to be wrapped up in a promise I had made him, that if he brought us safely to Gonaives, I would make him a small present. To gain this trifling douceur, lie had ventured to torment three poor dumb animals with a long and painful journey-not feeding them by the way-and to run the risk of starving them for at least ten hours longer. The morning came, and by dint of solicitation, we procured a few bundles of juicy reeds, (no grass could be found) and when the horses had eaten these and drank some water, lie turned their heads homeward, and led them away. lie deserved nothing but reproof, or to have been led before a magistrate; but I gave him two Haytien dollars and sent, by a private haud, a letter to his master to expose his misconduct. Our host believed that he and his companion had broken down the poor baggage horse by alternately riding him. The circumstance taught me this lesson, which every traveller in Hayti would do well to observe; that is, never to keep in advance of the guide, nor lose sight of your baggage; but always to keep the train before you, however slow you may be compelled to travel.
The town of Gonaives, where we were now located,
is situated at the head of a small bay on the western shore: the houses are mostly of wood, and of one story; the streets are long, with a large square in the centre, on one side of which stands the parish church, now in ruins. It has a good harbour for shipping, and a noble convenient quay, where logs of mahogany lie piled up in great quantities. The exports of the place are cotton, coffee, mahogany, and salt. The annual exports of coffee, coastwise and abroad, average about four millions and a half of pounds' weight annually; those of cotton, including the district of St. Mark, more than a million of pounds; and those of mahogany, 800,000 feet. There is, of course, a custom-house, but its officers are badly paid, and till lately were notorious smugglers. The chief receives little more than 70 sterling, per annum. The revenue of Hayti is mainly derived from duties on articles imported and exported. It was
formerly the common practice of the officers, in concert with such of the merchants as were willing to enter into their schemes, to falsify the custom-house returns, and to enrich themselves at the government expense. No pains were taken to remedy the abuse, till the honest merchants, who refused to encourage a contraband commerce, became loud in their complaints : the President then interfered to put a stop to the evil. The salaries of the officers, however, owing to the depreciated paper currency in which they are paid, are still wretchedly inadequate. The two great shipping ports for mahogany timber, are Gonaives and Santo Domingo. The mahogany shipped from this part of Hayti grows on the mountains, about a hundred miles in the interior; in a part of the island which once belonged to Spain. A merchant residing at Gonaives, or at the great salt works, (Les
MAHOGANY CUTTING. 61
grandes salines,) at the mouth of the Artibonite, goes to a tract of land where the trees are in maturity; and bargains with the proprietor for, perhaps, a whole forest, at a given price per tree. He then has his oxen driven to the spot, and engages a band of wood-cutters-men who live in these districts, and devote themselves to wood-cutting as their only employment. In the last quarter of the moon the hatchet begins its work; the forest rings with the sound, and mighty trees fall prostrate. The merchant, attended by some workmen, skilful to discover flaws, or to find out unsound timber, then perambulates the woods; makes his selection of all the good trees; has them cleared of the superfluous branches; and directs their removal: they are then dragged by thirty or forty oxen to the bed of the nearest mountain stream, and left for the floods to roll down. This dragging of trees through the forest, and over hill and dale, is represented as being an extremely arduous, toilsome, dangerous, and costly work; occasioning immense personal labour, and the loss of much cattle, who are either bruised or die from exhaustion. The mountain streams are nearly dry the greater part of the year; but when swelled with the rains, they become deep and rapid, and carry down the timber first to La petite riviere, and thence to the Artibonite which flows into the ocean. On these streams and rivers, dams are constructed at different places to arrest the timber : there are dwellings where men reside who form it into rafts, beginning with a few logs only, and going on increasing their bulk, till they reach the mouth of the Artibonite; where they are made into floating rafts of great size, and towed by sailing vessels to the port of embarkation. Extraordinary pains are taken to arrest the mahogany
62 INFLUENCE OF THE MOON.
in its downward course; but much of the heaviest and best timber sinks in the deep rivers; and, with all the care bestowed at the different stages of its progress, a large proportion is necessarily lost in its outlet to the sea. Much of the drift, borne out to the ocean, is recovered on the coast, or not far from land, and is restored to the owner on the payment of salvage; but the merchant lays his account with the definitive loss of one tree in ten. The large sea-rafts are bound together by strong iron chains ; and the vessels that tow them, being often numerous and crowding all the sail they can carry, grive at the full season an animated appearance to the bay and harbour.
Our host at Go-naives, who is an extensive mahogany merchant, told us, that when hie began his career hie laughed at the mountain people for cutting down their trees at a particular period of the moon. li1e ordered some stout timber to be felled when the moon was at the full, but soon found reason to repent his folly; it had not lain long on the ground before it began to sp lit of its own accord, and at last burst asunder with a noise that resembled the firing of cannon Howev er inexplicable to philosophy the fact may be, the moon has an undoubted and extraordinary influence both on the animate and inanimate creation. Different mnaladie's are known to spring from sleeping in the moonbeams in the tropical regions ; and sometimes, to persons of weakly temperament, from merely travelling by moonlight. Many well authenticated cases of suffering from this cause were related to us ; which served to confirm the declaration of the Psalmist, that not only does the sun smite by day, but the moon by night. As soon as the mahogany rafts are stranded on the
MAHOGANY CUTS. 63
shore, the merchant agoain examines and marks his timber, rejecting the unsound logs ; the ends of the wood, which are often inferior, and, which, owing to the high duty in this country, are not suited to the English market are cut off, and sent to the United States; where such wood is admitted duty free, and where it is worked up into cheap furniture. The best and heaviest logs are measured, branded, valued, and shipped chiefly to London and Liverpool. A whole forest of mahogany in the high mountains has sometimes been purchased at a dollar a tree; the present price of an extensive cut is about three dollars a tree. Logs are often selected which readily sell in London for 100 sterling. My friend, James Ostler, shipped one from Gonaives, that measured 1600 feet, which was sold at 2s. 61d. per foot, and realized him more than 200. Millions of lance wood spars, might be exported fromt this country; but they are said to be too heavy to float on the rivers, and land carriage would be too expensive. The Haytien government forbids the cutting down of any timber adapted to ship-building, except for the ships of Hayti ; and as Hlayti has no ships of her own, hut a few brigs and sloops, her large forests of oak and bayone, del maria, and cancagron woods, (the latter of which is harder and heavier than mahogany,) are suffered to go to decay. The palma christi plant growvs everywhere in this region, and yields a large quantity of common castor oil, which sells at two shilling-s the gallon. Salt is made in large quantities on the seashore at Les qrandes salines; and furnishes a supply for the whole island. The plains in this neighbourhood are well adapted to the growth of cotton; the average price of which in large quantities for shipment is
64 BANANA GROVES-NEW TESTAMENTS.
three-pence sterling per pound. Almost all the cotton exported from Hayti is grown here; and so numerous are the small parcels of it which are sent to market from time to time by the cultivators, that as many as four thousand horses and asses, laden chiefly with this article, and with coffee, have been counted at Gonaives in a single day. In the vicinity of this commercial town are some banana and plantain groves,, belonging to a merchant's family, which we visited much to our gratification. From the great height of the trees, and from the vast spreading of their leaves, we could walk at noon-day, delightfully sheltered from the beams of the sun. A bunch of plantains or bananas, when the fruit is mature, is a fine object as it hangs pendant from the upper branches : this fruit forms part of the staple food of the country, and seems to be more relished than any other.
Among the few families to whom we were introduced at this place, was that of the British Vice-Consul, M'Guffie, a Scotchman by birth, who received us with much kindness and hospitality. He told us that thirteen years ago, in 1827 or 1828, twenty-six cases of New Testaments, French and English in parallel columns, which had been seized, on the fall of Christophe, by President Boyer, were sold by auction, at Port-au-Prince, and bought by a merchant at five cents or two-pencehalfpenny a copy. These were shipped under the care of the Vice-Consul himself, to St. Thomas', as part of a commercial speculation, to be disposed of by De Castra and Wys; who wondered and laughed at the transaction. Who among all their numerous customers in the Carribean islands would ever think of asking for New Testaments? The Vice-Consul recommended them to try the market at Martinique, or some other of the
French islands, but never heard afterwards what had become of them. These books had been sent over, a long time before, by some philanthropists of England, for use in the schools of Hayti, and ought not to have been impounded and sold by the new government. Repeated applications are said to have been made for the value of them, but no answer was returned to the applicants. The public school at Gonaives, during our stay there, was in abeyance for want of a suitable master; or from the unwillingness at head-quarters to furnish the needful salary for his support. Several of the inhabitants complained of the neglect. We left them two sets of reading lessons for its use when it may be re-opened; and promised to solicit the authorities at Port-au-Prince to send them a well-qualified master without delay. Before taking a final leave of this interesting place, for such, in some respects, it proved to us, let us for a moment, revert once again to the memory of Christophe. Our friend, the British merchant, knew him intimately; and, as his immediate agent, carried on for him a trade with Bourdeaux in sugar and coffee; bringing back French wines, and other commodities and luxuries for his private consumption. He thought him honourable in his dealings; but, as a ruler, excessively capricious and tyrannical. He well remembered the five justices of Cape Haytien who bad given a decision that displeased the King; and saw them return from the citadel, where they had been sentenced to hard labour, in common working dresses, covered with lime dust. A man, professing himself to be a prophet, was about the same time thrown into a lime-kiln and burnt alive; the King intimating that he must have been an impostor, or he would have seen his own fate and avoided it!
663 VOYAGE BY SEA.
It was our wish on leaving Gonaives to have proceeded by land, to Port-au-Prince, the capital, a hundred miles distant ; but, independently of the difficulty of procuring suitable horses and servants, we were discouraged from taking this step, by learning that the road, for much of the distance, lay along the naked seashore; that we should pass only through the single town of St. Mark ; and perhaps should be compelled to lodge one night in the open air, or to put up with the meanest accommodations in some poor hut, where we should scarcely find sufficient or proper food. Lookingf at all the circumstances, and being told in addition, that the country was far inferior in picturesque beauty, to that we had already travelled, wve resolved to proceed by sea. A coasting, sloop, loaded with coffee, was ready to sail, and we took our passagec. Our very kind hostess and her family furnished us with a mattress ; and sent on board for us a liberal supply of cold roasted fowl, eggs, bread, and bananas. We stipulated for the exclusive use of the narrow cabin to ourselves.
At ten o'clock, the moon shiningr bright, we left the harbour with a good land breeze; and, soon after spreading the mattress on the deck, w'e lay down to rest, taking the precaution to cover our faces with the folds of our cloaks. A fellow- passenger, afraid like ourselves of the moon-beams, stretched himself in the ship's boat, and covered his head as well as his body with blanket. Early the next morning, we passed the famous salt works, at the mouth of the Artibonite; and at noon were off St. Mark, which lay deep in the ba y and was scarcely visible. This town contains 2000 inhabitants, besides a numerous garrison ; and is governed by a mayor, the only white luau, we believe, who holds a
VOYAGE BY SEA. 67
place of authority in the island. We had the pleasure of making acquaintance with this functionary at the capital; and learned from himself that he owes this mark of distinction to the friendship of the President ; who, when an exile in the United States, received attentions from his father's family. The law of Hayti, which forbids a white man to hold land, to exercise authority, to marry a Ilaytien woman, or to trade without a special licence, was relaxed in his favour: he was permitted to marry the daughter of General Bennett, the commander of the district, and to exercise all the rights of a Ilaytien citizen. No produce is exported from St. Mark direct to foreign countries ; all its trade is coastwise. It is said to be a handsome town, built after the fashion of France, and to be inhabited by some respectable and rather wealthy families. Dessalines had his palace in the vicinity, and made it his chief military post. The wind, which was fair at our setting out, and which we had hoped would have borne us to Port-au-Prince in twenty-four hours, changed its course, and blew strongly a-head; we were, consequently, under the necessity of constantly tacking, and had the trial and mortification of rolling three nights on the deep, instead of one. To beat up against a head wind is painful in any latitude, and in any craft; but the miseries' of a sea-life are, perhaps, best appreciated by those who, in such circumstances, are confined to a small sloop under the fierce beams of a verticalisun, without a cabin that can be used as a shelter, and without canvass for an awning. The steam from the coffee was so offensive, that we could not go below deck, and we had only an umbrella for defence. It was a great mercy to be preserved from
68 ARRIVAL AT PORT-AU-PRINCE.
violent sickness ; and we were not wholly without amusement. The coast was interesting to us from its novelty; and so was the large island of Gonave, and the islets called the Archadyines; among which we kept heating up and down for several hours. Necessity reconciled us to our unpleasant imprisonment. The wished for port at length came in sight, hut our trials were not yet ended. Our captain was an ignorant man and had so imperfect a knowledge of his art, that he twice suffered us to be run upon by a larger vessel entering the harbour -under full sail :the first shock was fearful, and there was much reason to fear we should go down ; the second was less alarming, but still so serious, that we were no longer satisfied to remain on board : the vessel had received injury, and we begged to be sent on shore in an open boat. We at length arrived safely at Port-au-Prince, with no other inconvenience than that of a slight inflammation of the eyes, from the reflection of a burning sun, and a small degree of sickness, which left us soon after we landed.
PORT-AU-PRINCE. 6 9
CITY OF PORT-AU-PRINCE-THlE ABBE D $ECHEVERRIASCHOOLS PRISON JURISPRUDENCE INTERVIEW
WITH THE PRESIDENT.
THE stranger on first landing at Port-au-Prince, the capital of Hayti, feels greatly disappointed. Instead of a handsome city, such as it appears from the ship's deck at sea, rising on a gradual elevation from the shore, and adorned with good houses and gardens; you enter into streets of wooden buildings, withh the pavement dislocated or broken up, the drains neglected, and filth and stable dung interrupting your steps in every direction. The quay is spacious, hut the water is shallow near the shore; and all sorts of uncleanness are suffered to annoy the senses. A constant malaria is the consequence, which at certain seasons of the year, renders the lower quarter of the city very sickly, and occasions much mortality among the sailors from foreign ports. Port-au-Prince, with all its advantages of S'ituation, with every inherent capability of heing made and kept delightfully clean, is perhaps the filthiest capital in the world. The houses in general are of two stories, built slightly of wood, to avoid the rend and tear occasioned by earthquakes, whichl at different times have nearly demolished the city. Some few of the better habitations are of brick or stone, and may be called handsome edifices. The senate-house is a plain
substantial building, with no pretension to splendour and the palace of the President, the largest edifice in the city, was built by the English, for the General's headquarters, during their temporary occupation of the south of the island; and is, therefore, as little like a royal palace as any republican could desire. The Haytien flag, of red and blue, floats on its turrets; and it has in front a spacious court, in which are lodges for the military guard of horse and foot, who are constantly on duty. These are the only public buildings worthy of notice. The Roman Catholic church is a capacious structure, but very plain and homely. There are some pleasant walks and rides in the immediate vicinity, especially in the hills above the town, and on the roads leading to Petionville and Leogane; but none is more generally agreeable than the extensive park-like fields at the back of the President's house; where horsemen and pedestrians repair every morning and evening to enjoy the cool breezes, and to watch the rising and setting of the sun. The public cemetery is a spot of ground which every stranger should visit ; and a funeral procession at the close of day, winding along the public paths that lead to it, produces a very striking and solemn effect. The black boys in their whit2 surplices, bearing lighted tapers-the massive silver crucifix-the mitred Abb and his attendant priests and choristers-the coffin placed on an open palanquin-and a long train of citizensthe men habited in black, the women in white-passing now through the public street, and now in side paths under the shade of tropical trees, afford a picture which has no counterpart in our own country. The length of the city is about a mile; its breadth something less. The population is estimated at twenty-three thousand.
Numerous ships lie at anchor in the harbour, bearing the flags of different nations; and the bustle of commerce is constantly going on. The custom-house stands on the quay, and is a scene of great activity.
The first call we made in the city after landing was on a French woman, who had formerly kept a boarding house, and to whom we had been recommended for lodgings. She had quitted her profession a few weeks before, and was now living a retired life; but she requested us to enter her house, and refresh ourselves ; she readily prepared us breakfast, and directed us where to look for apartments, sending her servant to conduct us, but would take nothing in return. On pressing her to accept some consideration for her pains, she replied with a kind benevolent look, "Ma religion me commande l'exercice de l'kospitalite. Je ne puis rien prendre : rien de tout." We took care, however, to furnish her with a supply of religious books, which she accepted thankfully. We found much difficulty in procuring good accommodations; but succeeded at last in obtaining two large apartments on a ground floor, in one of the principal streets, for the use of which, and board at the public table, we agreed to pay fifty Haytien dollars, or 3. 17s. sterling, per week. We found no cause to regret the arrangement; as by this means we combined private retirement with the advantage of access to good society ; and found ourselves in the very focus of news and general information. We had here the occasional company of merchants of the city, planters from the neighbourhood, travellers from distant parts of the country, and Roman Catholic priests, who come to the capital either to consult with the President, who is head of the church, or to see something of the busy world.
72 THE ABBE D'ECHEVERRIA.
The conversation at table was generally carried on in French, but sometimes in English, out of compliment to us; as we seldom passed a day without meeting with some person who understood the language, and who seemed pleased with the opportunity of speaking it.
Having been furnished with a letter of introduction to the Abbd D'Echeverria, the principal ecclesiastic of Hayti, I waited on hin early to present it; and was received by him with much affability and politeness. He spoke to me of matters connected with the church, and of its temporalities, which he represented as slender enough! I ventured to remind him that sixty Haytien dollars were allowed by law for a funeral of the first class, and a dollar for every baptism. "These dollars," he said, are the sweat of our brow," (le sueur de nos fronts) "but the government impounds a large part of them, and applies it to other uses ; we only obtain twenty dollars for a funeral, and half a dollar for baptizing an infant. What is half a dollar for a baptism ?" In a day or two after, the Abbe returned my call, and requested us, as friends to the abolition of slavery, to pay him a visit at the presbytery: if we would come and dine with him, we should meet, he said, some of the first people of the city. The banquet, for such it was, greatly exceeded our expectations ; its cost and magnificence were far beyond any idea we had formed of the power of priestly wealth in this country. It carried us back in imagination to the times of Cardinal Wolsey. The company consisted of our generous host
-the Abb6 himself, the Chief Judge of the Court of Cassation, three senators of Hayti, five merchants of the city, three Roman Catholic priests, a physician, who married the only daughter of General Inginac, with his
DINNER AT THE PRESBYTERY. 73
amiable- and intelligent wife, and ourselves. It would be useless to enumerate the various courses and dishes that were served on the occasion. Soups, fish, flesh, fowl, and game were brought on the table and removed in quick succession, together with a great variety of ices, creams, pastry, and comfitures: there was also a splendid dessert and many kinds of wine. As soon as the repast was ended, the Abbe' rose and pronounced a eulogiumn on the virtues of the President; and then, in allusion to his stranger guests, spoke of the efforts made by England to destroy slavery and the slave-trade in all parts of the wcrld. It was his wish, as an old friend of Gregoire and La Fayette, to give these guests a welcome to Hlayti, and to introduce them to his fellow-citizens, as deserving of their high respect and kindest attentions. Nothing could be more cordial than his manner, or exceed his polite attention to us all. On retiring to the drawing-room, coffee was immediately served, and some animated conversation followed. We spent a pleasant and instructive evening; and returned home agreeably impressed with the good sense and politeness of the company, who were all coloured persons, except the four priests and ourselves.
The next post of honour and influence to that of the President has long been occupied by General Inginac, a man of colour, who spent some of his early days in Jamaica, and who speaks the English language with great fluency. To him also we had a letter of introduction, as well as one to President Boyer, from th venerable Clarkson. The General received us very courteously, and promised me an early interview with
7-4 PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
the President. In the meanwhile wl- pursued our inquiries relative to the state and condition of the people. One of the first objects to claim our attention was the public schools. There are two institutions of this sort in the capital; one on the principle of mutual instruction, for the poor; and the other, a lyceum or college for young men who have received preliminary instruction elsewhere, and who go there to complete their studies. Both schools are supported by the government. In the first, or elementary school, the number of those who attend is very small indeed;out of eighty-tw~o boys on the list, only forty-three were present, and these were most of them mulattos: they looked intelligent enough, but had evidently been neglected, and knew very little; being' placed under the care of an incompetent master, who received the situation, and enjoys the slender emolument it affords, because, as we were told, the government thought it convenient to pension him off! We examined the classes, and heard some of the boys recite ; but found, on the whole, very little to approve: yet our visit was thought worthy of notice in the Government Gazette, and our approbation of it paraded in a long, article written by the master, in order, as we supposed, to commend himself. The lyceum is a really respectable institution, and does honour to the republic. The branches of education taugTht, are the French, English, Spanish, and Latin languages; the mathematics, composition, history, and fencing. The professors, or teachers, are apparently well qualified men: we attended all the classes, and were much gratified at the progress of some of the scholars. One of the black boys
construe his Latin verses with much readiness. The students are a hundred and fifty in number, mostly mulattos : they are attired in a uniform of blue and scarlet. A public examination takes place at stated intervals at which prizes of useful hooks are given to those who have made the greatest proficien cy. We went on one of these occasions to witness the proceedin's, but came away greatly disappointed. The stage was first occupied by the young fencers, who came in armed with a vizor, a blunted sword, and large stuffed 'gloves; when numerous encounters took place, to the amusement aud delight of some of the spectators, but to our disgust, and we speedily retired from the scene. Tbis practice of training the Ilaytien youth to the art of fencing has most prejudicial effect on the community: the practice of duelling, already dreadfully rife in the island, is strengthened by it, and a warlike spirit engen-. dered and fostered, which it should be the particular and earnest aim of the government to discourage and put down. What has H~ayti, or what is it likely to have, to do with foreign war? Peace is the safety of the Haytien people; peace should be the end and object of all her institutions. To teach fencing systematically in her public schools, is to encourage an art that may one day be turned agTainst the republic itself, and plunge the country into civil war. The sword which is now used as a plaything, may soon be stained with the blood of citizens.
Education is at a rather lower ebb at Port-au-Prince than at Cape Haytien : the total number supposed to receive instruction in the city is about a thousand, as follows
706 PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
Boys at the school for nmtual instruction 80 At the Lyceum & 150
At fifteen private pedagogue schools 450 Girls at eight seminaries and dame schools 200 Boys and girls taught at home 120
This number is small, but the proportion of black children, unhappily, is still smaller. Out of 23,000 inhabitants, the coloured class may number, perhaps, 4000, or one-sixth part of the whole; yet this is the class that may be said to monopolise education. Children who claim their descent from European fathers have no greater aptitude to learn than children of pure African blood; bnt the ancestors of the latter having been slaves, and not having been taught to read, were unable to appreciate the value of education. Indifference to know. ledgre, from this cause, has extended from one generation to another, and has become a rooted habit of mind; which requires the most firm, judicious, and persevering care to eradicate. The subject of education in Hayti is well worthy the attention of philanthropists. Schools must he established, maintained and multiplied in the island, or it will never recover itself from the dominion of semi-heathenism, superstition, and priestcraft, by which its people are still fettered, or be likely to put forth that industry which will increase the fruits of the soil, and enable it, as an agricultural and commercial country, to take rank among civilized nations. If the government of Hayti, stimulated by precept, aiid assisted by the efforts of the friends of education in England, be determined to exert itself to spread light and knowledge, the fatal lethargy of the black people
PUBLIC PRISON. 77
will soon be shaken off. With ample means to educate their children, they only want the disposition : the priests, who, too generally love darkness rather than flight, may for a time oppose the movement, but every difficulty may be overcome by perseverance.
In a population so circumstanced, where all the nobler faculties of the mind are held in abeyance, we need not wonder if crime abounded. Ignorance is proverbially the parent of crime : yet such is the docility of the negro, such his respect for, and general submission to, the authority of human law, that robberies of the person, and other high crimes and misdemeanours, are but little known. Petty pilfering, such as the masters of slaves once permitted, and such as the boasting Spartans encouraged, is common enough; and it is from offences of this sort and from acts of military insubordination, that the gaols are kept constantly filled. We were assured again and again by persons of every rank in society, that travellers may pass through the country from, one end to the other, with known treasure in their possession, and be perfectly safe. The military institutions, as we shall presently see, encourage and con-firm the practice of petty thieving, and have given rise to many, if not most, of the vices that prevail. We requested leave to visit the cityprison, of the Adjutant-commander of the district, who deferred giving us an answer; but on the next morning one of the President's aides-dc-camps came to our lodging with a written permission. The gaoler, who had been apprised of our coming, entered with alacrity, and with much shew of consequence, on his duty. Two officers with drawn swords attended him, and ourselves, through the apartments. A young man, who acted as
78 PUBLIC PRISON.
secretary, followed with pen, ink, and paper, and noted down the observations we made in passing along; which observations were all read over to us, to be verified and attested, before we left. The prison has three courts, of about an equal size, fifty-four feet by twenty seven., The court, No. 1, contains four apartments, and had in it, at the time of our visit, twenty-one prisoners. The court, No. 2, has eight apartments, and consequently less airing room, but contained eighty-one prisoners! The court, No. 3, was devoted to the military, and had in it thirty-one soldiers, who occupied four apartments, and were confined for breaches of military discipline. There is also one other court, No. 4, larger than the foregoing, with one large room, and several small ones, in which men and women are confined for petty offences for a short period only: the yard and apartments being open in the day time to both sexes without restraint, and with little or no inspection! All the rooms of the prisons were clean and well white-washed. There is a fountain of water within the walls, which affords a ready and inexhaustible supply. The faults of this prison are too numerous to mention : the chief defects are want of ventilation, want of space for exercise, and want of classification. The prisoners are thus
enumerated :-Prevenus, sent by the Commandant and other public officers, for petty offences; and prisoners not yet tried; 95. Travaux forces, convicts sentenced to hard labour and the chain gang; 29. Femmes accuse's et condan2nees, women convicts; 14. Condamnees aux correctionels, sentenced to be whipped ; 8. A la reclusion, to occasional solitary confinement; 9. Lunatiques, Insane; 6. Total, exclusive of the military; 161.
One-quarter of a Haytien dollar (five-pence sterling)
PUBLIC PRISON. 79
is allowed weekly to each prisoner to purchase food; what he requires of food more than this, hie must work for, or his friends, if he has any, must supply. A physician is appointed to visit the sick, and to prescribe food and medicine for them, according to their wants. No prisoner, we were told, really suffers from hunger; but this statement was contradicted hy so many persons out of doors, that we douht the fact. Many cases of starvation are believed to have occurred; and it is certain that the prisoners often quarrel and contend with each other for the orange and banana peelings, which those who have sufficient food are contented to throw away. The common work of the prisoners is to make mats and baskets. Some of the men are nearly naked. Such is a brief view of this wretched place of ,confinement ; which, if it reform one convict through terror, is calculated to harden twenty, and to turn them loose on society, to begin a fresh ca reer of vice. Let not Englishmen, however, reproach the African race as barbarous, for permitting such prisons to exist; the gaols of England, half-a-century ago, were many of them equally wretched.
If the prisons of Hayti be bad, the criminal jurisprudence is no better; and stands in equal need of a thorough reformation. The officers of the army act in many cases as justices; and pass sentence for petty offences, on summary conviction. What a wide field for abuse is here! The sentences passed by the civil judges in open court, though seemingly the result of deliberation after a patient trial of the parties accused, are said, in all cases thought worthy of government interference, to be prescribed beforehand. That such is sometimes the case is certain ; for a grave in thme -unconsecrated
80 CRIMINAL JURISPRUDENCE.
burial ground was pointed out to us, which was opened for three criminals charged with sedition, before they had been put on trial !
Accompanied by my friend, James Hartwell, the Wtesleyan missionary, who had been with us through the prison, I entered the Court-house to witness the trial of a prisoner accused of stealing cloth from a store. The p2-ocureur-yeueral, or state-attorney opened the case. Rising, with all the dignity of an important public functionary, he put on his official hat, and addressing, himself to the judges on the bench, two of whom sat covered, he vehemently urged his proofs of the prisoner's guilt; he then called his witnesses, but none appeared. Tile attorney for the prisoner then rose, and contended that as there was no evidence adduced, hie was entitled to an immediate acquittal. The state-attorney again rose, bowed to the bench, put on his hat as before, and urged in reply, that inasmuch as the crime had been distinctly proved before a magi strate appointed to take the examination, in imiine, and this examination was on record before the court, aInd nothing was now advanced by the prisoner to establish his innocence, the absence of witnesses was immaterial, and hie must by law be pronounced guilty. The court, consisting of two lnulattos and an intelligent looking black man, then retired, and were gone about half-an-hour. During, their absence, the two attorneys, accuser and defender, came to mny friend and myself, and asked us what, in such a case, would be the verdict of an English jury. We had no difficulty in saying, that hie would be acquitted without a moment's hesitation. Whilst we sat waiting the return of the judges with their verdict of acquittal, the side door
DINNER TABLE CONVERSATION. 81
opened, and a herald came forward, and proclaimed attention; then the chairman read deliberately the prisoner's sentence, that he was condemned to three years' labour in the chain-gang! Immediately, conducted by two soldiers with fixed bayonets, and wearing a look of consternation and dismay, he was led out of court to his prison-house. Incidents such as these, and others that we met with, were often the subjects of conversation at the dinner-table, and elicited comments from the company that put us in possession of the state of public feeling with regard to these matters. The intelligent part of the Haytien people are evidently at variance with their own government on many public points,-and especially as regards the administration of justice.
Our conversation at dinner sometimes turned on slavery and freedom. On one occasion, several planters, three of them brothers, from a sugar property in the Cul de Sac, were present. The eldest, who had been educated in Paris, addressing the company, said, "Nous avons parmi nous un Negrophile; voulez vous que nous buvions a sa sant6 ;" and turning to me, "Voulez vous nous permettre a boire a votre santd" The custom of
drinking healths is not so common in Hayti as in England; and it may be hoped is going out of fashion everywhere. Without joining in the senseless ceremony, I left them to do as they pleased, but took care from the circumstance, to turn the discourse into a channel which elicited from the company some striking remarks, condemnatory of those nations which permit slavery to continue.
All classes of Haytien citizens, old and young, rich and poor, are loud in their denunciations of slavery and E3
82 SWEDISH CONSUL.
the slave-trade : they dislike the Americans, on account of their permitting slavery to exist, hut receive Englishmen with complacency, because the latter have done so much to put an end to the horrid system. The mayor of St. Mark was often at our table ; with whom we held conversations on the state of education in his own district, and whom we furnished with some sets of school lessons, which he promised to see appropriated to their intended use. A Lancasterian school for boys, founded by Christoplie, still exists in his municipality.
Among the inhabitants of Port-au-Prince, who showed us kindness and hospitality, we are bound to mention one English merchant who has much influence in the city, and who acts as Consul for the kingdom of Sweden. From him and from his amiable wife we received the kindest attentions; which, as being strangers in a foreign land, were peculiarly grateful to us. At his dinner-table we met on one occasion, together with other visitors, the British Consul-General, who was about to return home; the Vice-Consul of Port-auPrince; and' the Consul from Cape Ilaytien. The conversation turned chiefly on wvar, which most of the company joined in approving, as one great means of elevating the power of England, and making her respected among the nations! Our war with China seemed to meet with especial favour ; but for what moral reason it was not easy to comprehend. Much was said by the company, and no doubt with great truth, of the covetousness, lying and gambling of many of the Romish priests, wlso come from France and Corsica to this island as money adventurers; not to help the needy and instruct the ignorant; but to make, from the superstitions
INTERVIEWS WITA TIHE PRESIDENT. 83
of the common people, as much money as possible in the shortest possible time.
Having called a second time on General Inginac, lie obligingly gave me an introduction to General Boyer, the President. An aid-de-camp in waiting led me to the hall of audience; and in a few minutes after, the President himself, attired in a plain suit of black, entered by a private door, and taking me by the hand, requested me to follow him to his own apartment. The manners of the ruler of Hayti are simple and unaffected; to republican plainness, he adds the polish of France, and preserves a quiet independent dignity suited to his rank and station. His age is sixty-eight; but his robust health and evident activity, make him appear much younger. He is a mulatto, with the physiognomy of the French; is rather under than over the average height; and is neither thin nor corpulent: he has a keen expressive eye, and an intelligent countenance. With strangers lie converses only in French; though he has travelled in America, and understands the English language. During the interview of half an hour, with which he kindly favoured me, he made particular inquiries after the venerable Clarkson; with whose character, as a strenuous advocate of tlhe abolition of slavery and the slave-trade, lie was well acquainted; and of whom he had a more intimate knowledge than of other men, from his correspondence with Christophe, in which lie manifested such an intense interest in the best welfare of Hayti. "All the letters of Wilberforce and Clarkson, addressed to Monsieur Christophe," such were his words, are in my possession: they thought highly of the man, but they did not understand his real character: they thought
84 INTERVIEW WITH THE PRESIDENT.
him the genuine friend of his country, but he deceived them." I received a letter from M1r. Clarkson," hie continued, soon after the death of Christophe, in which hie requested me to show kindness to his widow. I thought it somewhat singular; for though Cliristophe was a cruel man, and though he killed my own brother, I would have forfeited my life a thousand times, rather than have shown unkindness to his widow. I always protected Madame Christophe." He entertained,"' he said, "a high regard for the religious Society of Friends: hie had known some of that body in America, and was acquainted with some of their customs. I might depend on his protection whilst in Hayti; and he had given an order to the authorities to furnish me with all the papers I had asked for, to illustrate the resources and condition of the republic."' He wished me however, as strangoer, not to overlook the single fact, that Hayti was a young nation: that it was only yesterday, that she was released from the menaces and fears of France, by a new treaty of compensation for her territory; and that till the present time there had been no opportunity for the government to devote itself in earnest on peace-principles, to improve the institutions of the country. -On rising to take leave, I begged permission to present him with some religious publications, handsomely bound: he received them very courteously; and on observing a series of the tracts of the Peace Society, which had been translated into the French language, he said with an air and tone of sincerity, If the principles of that Society had been acted upon by the nations, what an accumulation of misery would the world have been spared "
,The papers alluded to by the President, were soon
INTERVIEW WITH THE' PIICSIENT. 1-3
after put into my hands by General Inginac, his Secretary of State; and these enable me, in conjunction with information obtained from. other quarters, to lay before the reader a brief statement of the commerce, finances, and expenditure of the island, the number and pay of the standing army, and the employments and resources of the agricultural population. To these I may add, some information on the constitution of Hayti, in church and state; and some observations on the estimated amount of its population.
8 6 CONSTITUTION OF IIHAYTI.
CONSTITUTION OF HAYTI-CHURCH ESTABLISHMENTARIY- COMIMERCE-FINANCE -- DEPLOYMENTS AND
CONDITION OF THE PEOPLE ESTIMATE OF THE
TiE constitution of Hayti, as now embodied in the statutes of the island, was finally modified in 1816. The government of the republic is confided to a President, chosen for life, who has power to nominate his successor at death, reserving to the senate the right, if they see fit, to reject the nomination, and choose any other citizen they may prefer. The legislative power is vested in three branches, which must all concur in passing the laws: 1st, The President, with whom all the laws originate: 2nd, The Senate, chosen for nine years, who are selected from lists presented by the President to the I-ouse of Assembly for its choice: 3rd, The House of Representatives, chosen for five years by free election of the people assembled in their respective communes; who are professedly and in theory, an independent body, at liberty to call in question the management of public affairs, and to address the President on any occasion, as often as they will. The salary of the President is 40,000 Iaytien dollars per annum, with an extra salary of 30,000 dollars when engaged in any one year in traveling through the island on a tour of inspection for the public good. Each Senator has a salary paid by the
CUNSTITLITION 01 HAI. 7
State of 133 dollars per month; and each Representative receives 200 dollars per month during the session of Congress. The Haytien dollar at the present rate of exchange is one shilling and eight pence. The salary of the President, therefore, in sterling money is 3333; and, when travelling, 2500 per annum in addition: the salary of a Senator is 133 per annum; and that of a Representative to the House of Assembly, during a session of three months, ahout 50. The constitution, however liberal it may appear in theory, and containing, ,as it does, some of the essential elements of a republic, is, in practice, often at variance with the liberties and true happiness of the people. The President is chosens for life : he takes care in presenting lists to the House of Representatives, for tile choice of Senators, so to arrange the names, as to ensure the election of the persons that lie wishes ; and from the comparative poverty and ignorance of many members of the H-ouse of Assembly, who are always subservient, ho can influence the decision of that body at his pleasure ; even so far as to induce them to expel any member who manifests the least show of resistance to his will. The President of hlayti, being governor for life, generalissimo of the forces, head of the church, and fountain of honour and rewards, is thus a sovereign in all but the name. Thme maxims of his government are those of clemency, and to rule for the people's good ; but a mistaken -view of what that good really requires, leads him occasionally into acts of substantial injustice. Thme constitution prescribes that a law should be passed to regulate thme choice of soldiers for the army: no project of such a law lmas yet been presented, and the citizens are called out, impressed, and compelled to serve ini the ranks at thme will of the
88 HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
executive. Many and bitter are the complaints on this head, especially from the merchants and traders, who see their sons sometimes torn from them, to be placed side by side with ragamuffins, who are satisfied with the parade and idleness of a military life; and who, from long continuance in it, have become as demoralized and corrupt, as the profession of arms can make them. Do the citizens who feel this oppression look to their representatives for help ? They know that all appeal of this sort would be useless. Only four years ago, early in 1838, in consequence of a bold address to the President, a strife was stirred up between the two Houses of the Legislature; and the House of Representatives was prevailed upon by a majority, to expel six of its best and most honest members! It is impossible to read the printed proceedings and votes of this little parliament, without at once seeing on which side the wrong lies. The following sensible and spirited remarks contained in the address, occasioned the disturbance. But what shall we say of the subserviency of a legislative body that adopted such a resolution by acclamation one month, and pronounced a vote of expulsion on its supporters the next ? "Le choc qui existe entre les principes fondamentaux et les dispositions reglementaires de la constitution sont une antinomie qui doit disparaitre du code des droits et des devoirs. L'expirience proclame cette veritd : les dispositions reglementaires d'une constitution arretent le jen libre des ressorts du gouvernement, dont les principes fondamentaux sont le mobile: elles amoindrissent la somme de bien qui doit devoiler de son action. La nation vous supplie done d'assurer son avenir: vous en avez la puissance et le genie: aujourd'hui que la paix est imperturbable, il nest plus tems d'ajourner. Exprimez un voeu; et
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. 89
bientot des mains rigineratrices reconstruiront l'edifice social: ravivez nos institutions qui sont deja menaces de vetust&, parcequ' aux yeux du pays, elles sont
insuffisantes pour les besoins de la society." The house then goes on to request from the President the projects of new laws suited to the exigency of the times, among which are enumerated, a law to insure the responsibility of public functionaries-to alter the custom-house duties-to fix the rate of interest and repress usury-to restrict the power now given to Justices of the Peace-to determine suits on summary conviction without appeal; and a law to modify the severities of the Code Rural, which it denounces as at variance with public feeling, and therefore inoperative to its end. "Si nous examinons 'a present l'instabilit6 de certaines lois, nous nous etonnerions de les voir s'arreter tout a coup, comme frappes d'inertie, aprbs avoir pris un essor rapide; de ce nombre, on distingue le code rural. Il est tomb, et sa chute a hcras4
l'agriculture; mais il faut le dire, il a subi le sort de toutes les institutions qui ne sont pas dans l'esprit du siecle de perfectionnement. Priv6 de la sanction de
The clashing of fundamental principles with the details of the constitution, is a contradiction which must disappear from the code of rights and duties. Experience proclaims this truth: the details of a constitution interfere with the free exercise of the powers of government which should always be regulated by fundamental principles. They lessen the sum total of the good which ought to result from its action. The nation entreats you then to give it security for the future: you have the power and the genius to do so. At present, peace is undisturbed and secure, it is therefore no time for delay. Express but the wish, and regenerating hands will re-construct the social edifice; re-animate our institutions which are already threatened with decay, because in the eyes of the country they are insufficient for the wants of society.
90 HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
l'opinion, l'interet meme n pu la' garantir dune desuetude native, mais nous croyons pouvoir avancer, sans craindre d'etre contredit, que ce code modifi6 et approprid aux besoins de l'epoque pr6sente, produira les plus heureux effets.''* A few such legislators as these of Hayti, who write and speak in this spirit, might be useful in our own House of Commons; but their reforming hand has been paralysed: the President
thought them too much in advance of the age, and as requiring more than the public good, or the people at large could bear! He therefore caused the Assembly to be decimated, and made their own votes the executioner of his secret decree. The government of Hayti is in fact a military despotism in the hands of a single man; mild and merciful it must be confessed, and desiring the welfare of his country; but mistaken in some of his views, and therefore acting on some occasions in a manner utterly opposed to the public good.
Often did we hear from intelligent Haytiens, serious complaints of this tendency in the executive; and often was the wish expressed to us, that the public press of England and France, might be induced to set forth their national grievances to the world. If you publish
If we examine, at the present moment, the instability of certain laws, we shall be astonished to see them stopped suddenly, as if struck with inertia, after having taken a rapid stride. Of this number is the rural code. It has fallen, and its fall has crushed agriculture; although, it must be confessed it has only experienced the fate of all institutions that are opposed to the spirit of an improving age. Deprived of the support of public opinion, interest itself cannot keep it from falling into desuetude ; but we think we may assert without fear of contradiction, that this very code, if so modified as to meet the wants of the present ,ae, would produce the happiest results.