History of the United States of America during the first administration of Thomas Jefferson


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History of the United States of America during the first administration of Thomas Jefferson
Portion of title:
Toussaint Louverture
Physical Description:
1 online resource (p. 377-398) : ;
Adams, Henry, 1838-1918
Antiquarian Press
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New York
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Subjects / Keywords:
History -- Haiti -- Revolution, 1791-1804   ( lcsh )
Colonies -- France -- America   ( lcsh )
Foreign relations -- United States -- Haiti   ( lcsh )
Foreign relations -- Haiti -- United States   ( lcsh )
Haïti -- 1791-1804 (Révolution)   ( ram )
Colonies -- France -- Amérique   ( ram )
Relations extérieures -- États-Unis -- Haïti   ( ram )
Relations extérieures -- Haïti -- États-Unis   ( ram )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references.
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by Henry Adams.
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"First published 1891-1896 by Charles Scribner's Sons"--T.p. verso.

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centred in St. Domingo; its combined exports and
imports were valued at more than one hundred and
forty million dollars; its sugar, coffee, indigo, and cot-
ton supplied the home market, and employed in pros-
perous years more than seven hundred ocean-going
vessels, with seamen to the number, it was said, of
eighty thousand. Paris swarmed with creole families
who drew their incomes from the island, among whom
were many whose political influence was great; while,
in the island itself, society enjoyed semi-Parisian ease
and elegance, the natural product of an exaggerated
slave-system combined with the manners, ideas, and
amusements of a French proprietary caste.
In 1789 the colony contained about six hundred
thousand inhabitants, five sixths of whom were full-
blooded negroes held in rigid slavery. Of the eighty
or hundred thousand free citizens, about half were
mulattoes, or had some infusion of negro blood which
disqualified them from holding political power. All
social or political privileges were held by forty or
fifty thousand French creoles, represented by the few
hundred planters and officials who formed the aris-
tocracy of the island. Between the creoles and the
mulattoes, or mixed-breeds, existed the jealousy sure
to result from narrow distinctions of blood marking
broad differences in privilege. -These were not the
only jealousies which raged in the colony; for the
creoles were uneasy under the despotism of the colo-
nial system, and claimed political rights which the
1 Paniphile de Lacroix, Mbmoires, ii. 277.

was believed to have watched them from a look-out
in the mountains while they lay for a day making
their preparations for combined action. Then Leclerc
sailed for Cap Frangais, where Christophe commanded.
After a vain attempt to obtain possession of the town
as a friend, he was obliged to attack. February 5
Christophe set the place in flames, and the war of
races broke out.
The story of this war, interesting though it was,
cannot be told here. Toussaint's resistance broke the
force of Bonaparte's attack. Although it lasted less
than three- months, it swept away one French army,
and ruined the industry of the colony to an extent
that required years of repair. Had Toussaint not
been betrayed by his own generals, and had he been
less attached than he was to civilization and despotic
theories of military rule, he would have achieved a
personal triumph greater than was won by any other
man of his time. His own choice was to accept the
war of races, to avoid open battle where his troops
were unequal to their opponents, and to harass in-
stead of fighting in line. He would have made a war
of guerillas, stirred up the terror and fanaticism of
the negro laborers, put arms into their hands, and re-
lied on their courage rather than on that of his army.
He let himself be overruled. "Old Toussaint," said
Christophe afterward, "never ceased saying this, but
no one would believe him; We had arms; pride in
using them destroyed us." Christophe, for good
1 Pamphile de Lacroix, Mimoires, ii. 228.

- ----~LUr

Domingo. He recognized a general allegiance to the
French Republic, and allowed the Directory to keep a
civil agent the Citizen Roume- as a check on his
power; but in fact Roume was helpless in his hands.
Toussaint's only rival was Rigaud, a mulatto, who
commanded the southern part of the colony, where
Jacmel and other ports were situated. Rigaud was
a perpetual danger to Louverture, whose safety de-
pended on tolerating no rival. The Act of Congress
threatened to create distress among the blacks and
endanger the quiet of the colony; while Rigaud and
the French authority would be strengthened by what-
ever weakened Louverture. Spurred both by fear and
ambition, Toussaint "took the character of an inde-
pendent ruler. The United States government, count-
ing on such a result, had instructed its consul to
invite an advance; and, acting on the consul's sug-
gestion, Toussaint sent to the United States an agent
with a letter to the President containing the em-
phatic assurance that if commercial intercourse were
renewed between the United States and St. Domingo
it should be protected by every means in his power.
The trade was profitable, the political advantages of
neutralizing Toussaint were great; and accordingly
the President obtained from Congress a new Act,
approved Feb. 9, 1799, which was intended to meet
the case. He also sent a very able man Edward
Stevens -to St. Domingo, with the title of Consul-
1 Toussaint to President Adams, 16 Brumaire, An vii. (Nov. 6,
1798); MSS. State Department Archives.


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is made available courtesy of the

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done so, the sceptre of the new world would sooner
or later have fallen into the hands of the blacks."
No such explanations were given to the United
States, perhaps because no American minister asked
for them. Livingston landed at Lorient November
12, the day before Bonaparte wrote these words;
Leclerc's expedition sailed from Brest November 22;
and Livingston was presented to the First Consul
in the diplomatic audience of December 6. Caring
nothing for Toussaint and much for France, Living-
ston did not come prepared to find that his own
interests were the same with those of Toussaint, but
already by December 30 he wrote to Rufus King:
" I know that the armament, destined in the first
instance for Hispaniola, is to proceed to Louisiana
provided Toussaint makes no opposition."
While the First Consul claimed credit with Eng-
land for intending to annihilate the black government
and restore slavery at St. Domingo, he proclaimed to
Toussaint and the negroes intentions of a different
kind. He wrote at last a letter to Toussaint, and
drew up a proclamation to the inhabitants of the
island, which Leclerc was to publish. "If you are
told," said this famous proclamation,1 "that these
forces are destined to ravish your liberty, answer:
The Republic has given us liberty, the Republic will
not suffer it to be taken from us!" The letter to
Toussaint was even more curious, when considered
Correspondence, vii. 315; Proclamation, 17 Brumaire, An x.
(Nov. 8, 1801).


Perhaps audacity was Louverture's best policy; yet
no wise man would intentionally aggravate his own
dangers by unnecessary rashness, such as he showed
in Bonaparte's face. He was like a rat defying a
ferret; his safety lay not-in his own strength, but
in the nature of his hole. Power turned his head,
and his regular army of twenty thousand disciplined
and well-equipped men was his ruin. All his acts,
and much of his open conversation, during the years
1800 and 1801, showed defiance to the First Consul.
He prided himself upon being "First of the Blacks"
and Bonaparte of the Antilles." Warning and re-
monstrance from the Minister of Marine in France
excited only his violent anger.1 He insisted upon
dealing directly with sovereigns, and not with their
ministers, and was deeply irritated with Bonaparte
for answering his letters through the Minister of
Marine. Throwing one of these despatches aside un-
opened, he was heard to mutter before all his com-
pany the words, Ministre! . valet! . ." 2 He
was right in the instinct of self-assertion, for his sin-
gle hope lay in Bonaparte's consent to his indepen-
dent power; but the attack on Spanish St. Domingo,
and the proclamation of his new Constitution, were
unnecessary acts of defiance.
When Jefferson became President of the United
States and the Senate confirmed the treaty of Mor-
SStevens to Pickering, May 24, 1800; MSS. State Department
2 Pamphile de Lacroix, Memoires, ii. 52.

First Published
Charles Scribner's Sons

Reprinted 1962
Antiquarian Press, Ltd.
New York, N.Y.

Edition Limited to 750 Sets

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 61-8054

Printed in the U.S.A.

monstrate against any recognition of Toussaint, and
to cause Lear's want of diplomatic character which
offended Louverture.'
Rarely has diplomacy been used with more skill
and energy than by Bonaparte, who knew where
force and craft should converge. That in this skill
mendacity played a chief part, need hardly be re-
peated. Toussaint was flattered, cajoled, and held
in a mist of ignorance, while one by one the neces-
sary preparations were made to prevent his escape;
and then, with scarcely a word of warning, at the
First Consul's order the mist rolled away, and the
unhappy negro found himself face to face with de-
struction. The same ships that brought news of the
preliminary treaty signed at London brought also
the rumor of a great expedition fitting at Brest and
the gossip of creole society in Paris, which made
no longer a secret that Bonaparte meant to crush
Toussaint and restore slavery at St. Domingo. No-
where in the world had Toussaint a friend or a hope
except in himself. Two continents looked on with
folded arms, more and more interested in the result,
as Bonaparte's ripening schemes began to show their
character. As yet President Jefferson had no ink-
ling of their meaning. The British government was
somewhat better informed, and perhaps Godoy knew
more than all the rest; but none of them grasped the
whole truth, or felt their own dependence on Tous-
1 Pichon to Decrbs, 18 Fructidor, An ix. (Sept. 5, 1801); Ar-
chives de la Marine, MSS.

as a supplement to that which had been written to
the British government only five days before. "We
have conceived esteem for you," wrote Bonaparte to
the man he meant to destroy,' "and we take pleasure
in recognizing and proclaiming the great services you
have rendered to the French people. If their flag
floats over St. Domingo, it is to you and to the brave
blacks that they owe it." Then, after mildly disap-
proving certain of Toussaint's acts, and hinting at
the fatal consequences of disobedience, the letter
continued: "Assist the Captain-General [Leclerc]
with your counsels, your influence, and your talents.
What can you desire ? the liberty of the blacks ?
You know that in all the countries where we have
been, we have given it to the peoples who had it not."
In order to quiet all alarms of the negroes on the
subject of their freedom, a pledge still more absolute
was given in what Americans might call the Annual
Message sent to the French Legislature a week after-
ward. "At St. Domingo and at Guadeloupe there
are no more slaves. All is free there; all will there
remain free."2
A few days afterward Leclerc's expedition sailed;
and the immense fleet, with an army of ten thousand
men and all their equipment, arrived in sight of St.
Domingo at the close of January, 1802. Toussaint

I Correspondence, vii. 322; Bonaparte to Toussaint, 27 Bru-
maire, An x. (Nov. 18, 1801).
2 Ibid., 327; Exposd de la situation de la Rdpublique, 1 Fri-
maire, An x. (Nov. 22, 1801).

II _

reasons, told but half the story. Toussaint was not
ruined by a few lost battles, but by the treachery
of Christophe himself and of the other negro gen-
erals. Jealous of Toussaint's domination, and per-
haps afraid of being sent to execution like Moyse -
the best general officer in their service-for want
of loyalty to his chief, Christophe, after one cam-
paign, April 26, 1802, surrendered his posts and
forces to Leclerc without the knowledge and against
the orders of Toussaint. Then Louverture him-
self committed the fatal mistake of his life, which
he of all men seemed least likely to commit,--he
trusted the word of Bonaparte. May 1, 1802, he put
himself in Leclerc's hands in reliance on Leclerc's
Surprising as such weakness was in one who had
the sensitiveness of a wild animal to danger,-Le-
clerc himself seemed to be as much surprised that
the word of honor of a French soldier should be
believed as any bystander at seeing the negro be-
lieve it,-the act had a parallel in the weakness
which led Bonaparte, twelve years afterward, to
mount the deck of the "Bellerophon," and with-
out even the guaranty of a pledge surrender him-
self to England. The same vacillations and fears,
the same instinct of the desperate political gambler,
the same cowering in the face of fate, closed the
active lives of both these extraordinary men. Such
beings should have known how to die when their
lives were ended. Toussaint should have fought on,

_I I I I

expense of the mulattoes than because they felt any
love for him or his race. In return they flattered
and betrayed him. Their praise or blame was equally
worthless; yet to this rule there were exceptions.
One of the best among the French officers in St.
Domingo, Colonel Vincent, was deep in Toussaint's
confidence, and injured his own career by obstinate
attempts to intervene between Bonaparte and Bona-
parte's victim. Vincent described Toussaint, in colors
apparently unexaggerated, as the most active and in-
defatigable man that could be imagined, one who
was present everywhere, but especially where his
presence was most needed; while his great sobriety,
his peculiar faculty of never resting, of tiring out a
half-dozen horses and as many secretaries every day;
and, more than all, his art of amusing and deceiving
all the world,--an art pushed to the limits of im-
posture,- made him so superior to his surroundings
that respect and submission to him were carried to
Gentle and well-meaning in his ordinary relations,
vehement in his passions, and splendid in his ambi-
tion, Toussaint was a wise, though a severe, ruler so
long as he was undisturbed; but where his own safety
or power was in question he could be as ferocious as
Dessalines and as treacherous as Bonaparte. In moro
respects than one his character had a curious resem-
blance to that of Napoleon, the same abnormal
energy of body and mind; the same morbid lust for
Vie de Toussaint, par Saint-Remy, p. 322.


even though only to perish under the last cactus
on his mountains, rather than trust himself in the
hands of Bonaparte.
The First Consul's orders to Leclerc were posi-
tive, precise, and repeated. ." Follow exactly your
instructions," said he, "and the moment you have
rid yourself of Toussaint, Christophe, Dcssalines,
and the principal brigands, and the masses of the
blacks shall be disarmed, send over to the conti-
nent all the blacks and mulattoes who have played a
rdle in the civil troubles. . .Rid us of these gilded
Africans, and we shall have nothing more to wish." 2
With the connivance and at the recommendation of
Christophe, by a stratagem such as Bonaparte used
afterward in the case of the Due d'Enghien and of
Don Carlos IV., Toussaint was suddenly arrested,
June 10, 1802, and hurried on ship-board. Some
weeks later he was landed at Brest; then he disap-
peared. Except a few men who were in the secret,
no one ever again saw him. Plunged into a damp
dungeon in the fortress of Joux, high in the Jura
Mountains on the Swiss frontier, the cold and soli-
tude of a single winter closed this tropical existence.
April 7, 1803, he died forgotten, and his work died
with him. Not by Toussaint, and still less by Chris-
tophe or Dessalines, was the liberty of the blacks
I Correspondence, vii. 413; Bonaparte to Leclerc, 25 Ventise,
An x. (March 16, 1802).
2 Ibid., 503, 504; Bonaparte to Leclerc, 12 Messidor, An x.
(July 1, 1802).


brother-in-law Leclerc to Paris. Leclcrc was a gen-
eral of high reputation, who had married the beauti-
ful Pauline Bonaparte and was then perhaps the most
promising member of the family next to Napoleon
himself. To him, October 23, Napoleon entrusted the
command of an immense "expedition already ordered
to collect at Brest, to destroy the power of Toussaint
Louverture and re-establish slavery in the Island of
St. Domingo.1
The story of Toussaint Louverture has been told
almost as often as that of Napoleon, but not in
connection with the history of the United States, al-
though Toussaint exercised on their history an influ-
ence as decisive as that of any European ruler. His
fate placed him at a point where Bonaparte needed
absolute control. St. Domingo was the only centre
from which the measures needed for rebuilding the
French colonial system could radiate. Before Bona-
parte could reach Louisiana he was obliged to crush
the power of Toussaint.
The magnificent Island of St. Domingo was chiefly
Spanish. Only its western end belonged by language
as well as by history to France; but this small part
of the island, in the old days of Bourbon royalty,
had been the most valuable of French possessions.
Neither Martinique nor Guadeloupe compared with it.
In 1789, before the French Revolution began, nearly
two thirds of the commercial interests of France
2 Correspondence, vii. 298. Bonaparte to Berthier, 1 Brumaire,
An x. (23 Oct. 1801).












. . 218

. . . 247
. . 261

. . 284
. . 307
. . 334
. . 352

. . . 377

. . 399

. .. 423







fontaine, had Louverture not lost his balance he
would have seen that Bonaparte and Talleyrand had
out-manceuvred him, and that even if Jefferson were
not as French in policy as his predecessor had been
hostile to France, yet henceforth the United States
must disregard sympathies, treat St. Domingo as a
French colony, and leave the negro chief to his fate.
England alone, after the month of February, 1801,
stood between Toussaint and Bonaparte. Edward
Stevens, who felt the storm that was in the air,
pleaded ill-health and resigned his post of consul-
general. Jefferson sent Tobias Lear to Cap Frangais
in Stevens's place, and Lear's first interview showed
that Toussaint was beginning to feel Talleyrand's
restraints. The freedom he had enjoyed was disap-
pearing, and he chafed at the unaccustomed limita-
tions. He complained bitterly that Lear had brought
him no personal letter from the President; and Lear
in vain explained the custom of the Government,
which warranted no such practice in the case of
consuls. "It is because of my color!" cried Tous-
saint.1 Justice to President Jefferson and a keener
sense of the diplomatic situation would have shown
him that such a letter could not be written by the
President consistently with his new relations of
friendship toward France; and in fact almost the
first act of Pichon, on taking charge of the French
Legation in Washington after the treaty, was to re-
1 Lear to Madison, July, 1801; MSS. State Department



FORTUNATELY for the Prince of Peace, the world con-
tained at that moment one man for whom Bonaparte
entertained more hatred and contempt, and whom he
was in still more haste to crush. The policy which
Talleyrand had planned, and into which he had drawn
the First Consul, could not be laid aside in order to
punish Spain. On the contrary, every day rendered
peace with England more necessary, and such a peace
was inconsistent with a Spanish war. That Bona-
parte felt no strong sympathy with Talleyrand's policy
of peace in Europe and peaceful development abroad,
is more than probable; but he was not yet so confi-
dent of his strength as to rely wholly on himself,-he
had gone too far in the path of pacification to quit it
suddenly for one of European conquest and dynastic
power. He left Godoy and Spain untouched, in order
to rebuild the empire of France in her colonies. Six
weeks after he had threatened war on Charles IV.,
his agent at London, Oct. 1, 1801, signed with Lord
Hawkesbury preliminary articles of peace which put
an end to hostilities on the ocean. No sooner did
Bonaparte receive the news1 than he summoned his
1 Correspondance, vii. 279; Bonaparte to Berthier, 16 Vendd-
miaire, An x. (Oct. 8, 1801).


saint's courage. If he and his blacks should succumb
easily to their fate, the wave of French empire would
roll on to Louisiana and sweep far up the Mississippi;
if St. Domingo should resist, and succeed in resist-
ance, the recoil would spend its force on Europe,
while America would be left to pursue her democratic
destiny in peace.
Bonaparte hurried his preparations. The month of
October, 1801, saw vast activity in French and Span-
ish ports, for a Spanish squadron accompanied the
French fleet. Not a chance was to be left for Tous-
saint's resistance or escape. To quiet English un-
easiness, Bonaparte dictated to Talleyrand a despatch
explaining to the British government the nature of
the expedition.' "In the course which I have taken
of annihilating the black government at St. Domingo,"
he said, "I have been less guided by considerations
of commerce and finance than by the necessity of sti-
fling in every part of the world every kind of germ of
disquiet and trouble; but it could not escape me that
St. Domingo, even after being reconquered by the
whites, would be for many years a weak point which
would need the support of peace and of the mother
country; . that one of the principal benefits of
peace, at the actual moment, for England was its con-
clusion at a time when the French government had not
yet recognized the organization of St. Domingo, and
in consequence the power of the blacks; and if it had
1 Correspondence, vii. 319; Bonaparte to Talleyrand, 22 Bru-
maire, An x. (Nov. 13, 1801).

I_ __


finally established in Hayti, and the entrance of
the Mississippi barred to Bonaparte.
The news of Leclerc's success reached Paris early
in June,1 and set Bonaparte again in motion. Imag-
ining that the blacks were at his mercy, orders were
at once issued to provide for restoring them to sla-
very. The truth relating to this part of the sub-
ject, habitually falsified or concealed by Bonaparte
and his admirers,2 remained hidden among the manu-
script records of the Empire; but the order to re-
store slavery at Guadeloupe was given, June 14, by
the Minister of the Marine to General Richepanse,
who commanded there, and on the same day a simi-
lar instruction was sent to General Leclere at St.
Domingo, in each case leaving the general to act
according to his discretion in the time and manner
of proceeding.
"As regards the return of the blacks to the old
regime," wrote the Minister to General Leclerc,' the
bloody struggle out of which you have just come victo-
rious with glory commands us to use the utmost caution.
Perhaps we should only entangle ourselves in it anew if
we wished precipitately to break that idol of liberty in
whose name so much blood has flowed till now. For
some time yet vigilance, order, a discipline at once rural
and military, must take the place of the positive and pro-
1 Moniteur, 24 Prairial, An x. (June 13, 1802).
2 Correspondance, xxx. 535 ; Notes sur St. Domingue.
Decrbs to Leclerc, 25 Prairial, An x. (June 14, 1802); Ar-
chives de la Marine, MSS. Cf. Revue Historique, "Napoldon
Premier et Saint Domingue," Janvier-Fdvrier, 1884.

U- -- I -- --


sion, the Spaniards and English came in, hoping to
effect its conquest. Feb. 4, 1794, the National As-
sembly of France took the only sensible measure in
its power by proclaiming the abolition of slavery; but
for the moment this step only embroiled matters the
more. Among its immediate results was one of great
importance, though little noticed at the time. A
negro chief, who since the outbreak had become head
of a royalist band in Spanish pay, returned, in April,
1794, within French jurisdiction and took service un-
der the Republic. This was Toussaint Louverture,
whose father, the son of a negro chief on the slave-
coast of Africa, had been brought to St. Domingo as
a slave. Toussaint was born in 1746. When he de-
serted the Spanish service, and with some four thou-
sand men made the sudden attack which resulted in
clearing the French colony of Spanish troops, he was
already forty-eight years old.
Although Toussaint was received at once into the
French service, not until more than a year later, July
23, 1795, did the National Convention recognize his
merits by giving him the commission of brigadier-
general. Within less than two years, in May, 1797,
he was made General-in-Chief, with military com-
mand over the whole colony. The services he ren-
dered to France were great, and were highly rewarded.
His character was an enigma. Hated by the mulat-
toes with such vindictiveness as mutual antipathies
and crimes could cause, he was liked by the whites
rather because he protected and flattered them at the


supplies and materials by land; a suspicious or hos
tile French agent and government; a population
easily affected by rumors and intrigues; finally, the
seizure by English cruisers of a flotilla which, after
his promise to abandon all shipping, was bringing
his munitions of war along the coast for the siege, -
made Toussaint tremble for the result of his civil
war. He wrote once more to the President,' request.
ing him to send some frigates to enforce the treaty by
putting an end to all trade with the island except such
as the treaty permitted. Stevens again came to his
assistance. The United States frigate, "General
Greene," was sent to cruise off Jacmel in February
and March, 1800, and was followed by other vessels
of war. Rigaud's garrison was starved out; Jacmel
was abandoned; and Rigaud himself, July 29, 1800,
consented to quit the country.
Toussaint's gratitude was great, and his confidence
in Stevens unbounded. Even before the fall of Jac-
mel, Stevens was able to inform Secretary Pickering
that Toussaint was taking his measures slowly but
certainly to break connection with France.2 "If he
is not disturbed, he will preserve appearances a little
longer; but as soon as France interferes with this
colony, he will throw off the mask and declare it
independent." Hardly was Rigaud crushed, when the
1 Toussaint to President Adams, Aug. 14, 1799; MSS. State
Department Archives.
2 Stevens to Pickering, Feb. 13, 1800; MSS. State Department


first overt act of independence followed. Toussaint
imprisoned Roume, and on an invitation from the
municipalities assumed the civil as well as military
authority, under the title of governor. In announc-
ing to his Government that this step was to be taken,
Stevens added : "From that moment the colony
may be considered as forever separated from France.
Policy perhaps may induce him to make no open de-
claration of independence before he is compelled."
A few days afterward Toussaint took the Napoleonic
measure of seizing by force the Spanish part of the
island, which had been ceded to France by the treaty
of Bale five years before, but had not yet been actu-
ally transferred. In thus making war on the ally of
France, Toussaint had no other motive, as Stevens
explained,2 than to prevent the French government
from getting a footing there. Bonaparte had given a
new Constitution to France after the 18th Brumaire.
Toussaint, after the deposition of Roume, which was
his coup d'6tat and 18th Brumaire, gave a new Con-
stitution to St. Domingo in the month of May, 1801,
by which he not only assumed all political power for
life, but also ascribed to himself the right of naming
his own successor. Bonaparte had not yet dared to
go so far, although he waited only another year, and
meanwhile chafed under the idea of being imitated by
one whom he called a "gilded African."
1 Stevens to Pickering, April 19, 1800; MSS. State Depart-
ment Archives.
2 Ibid.

I I ~i-----~----rp









New York



General, and with diplomatic powers. At the same
time the British Ministry despatched General Mait-
land to the same place, with orders to stop at Phila-
delphia and arrange a general policy in regard to
Toussaint. This was rapidly done. Maitland hurried
to the island, which he reached May 15,1799, within
a month after the arrival of Stevens. Negotiations
followed, which resulted, June 13, in a secret treaty 1
between Toussaint and Maitland, by which Toussaint
abandoned all privateering and shipping, receiving in
return free access to those supplies from the United
States which were needed to content his people, fill
his treasury, and equip his troops.
To this treaty Stevens was not openly a party; but
in Toussaint's eyes he was the real negotiator, and
his influence had more to do with the result than all
the ships and soldiers at Maitland's disposal. Under
this informal tripartite agreement, Toussaint threw
himself into the arms of the United States, and took
an enormous stride toward the goal of his ambition,--
a crown.
Louverture had waited only to complete this ar-
rangement before attacking Rigaud. Then the fruits
of his foreign policy ripened. Supplies of every kind
flowed from the United States into St. Domingo; but
supplies were not enough. Toussaint began the siege
of Jacmel, a siege famous in Haytian history. His
position was hazardous. A difficult war in a remote
province, for which he could not bring the necessary
1 Treaty of June 13, 1799; MSS. State Department Archives.


power, and indifference to means; the same craft and
vehemence of temper; the same fatalism, love of dis-
play, reckless personal courage, and, what was much
more remarkable, the same occasional acts of moral
cowardice. One might suppose that Toussaint had
inherited from his Dahomey grandfather the qualities
of primitive society; but if this was the case, the con-
ditions of life in Corsica must have borne some strong
resemblance to barbarism, because the rule of inheri-
tance which applied to Toussaint should hold good for
Bonaparte. The problem was the more interesting
because the parallelism roused Napoleon's anger, and
precipitated a conflict which had vast influence on
human affairs. Both Bonaparte and Louverture were
the products of a revolution which gave its highest re-
wards to qualities of energy and audacity. So nearly
identical were the steps in their career, that after
the 18th Brumaire Toussaint seemed naturally to ape
every action which Bonaparte wished to make heroic
in the world's eyes. There was reason to fear that
Toussaint would end in making Bonaparte ridiculous;
for his conduct was, as it seemed to the First Consul,
a sort of negro travesty on the consular regime.
When the difficulties between France and America
became serious, after Talleyrand's demand for money
and sweeping attacks upon American commerce, Con-
gress passed an Act of June 13, 1798, suspending
commercial relations with France and her dependen-
cies. At that time Toussaint, although in title only
General-in-Chief, was in reality absolute ruler of St.


home government denied. Like all colonists of that
day, in the quiet of their plantations they talked of
independence, and thought with envy of their neigh-
bors in South Carolina, who could buy and sell where
they pleased.
When in 1789 France burst into a flame of universal
liberty, the creoles of St. Domingo shared the enthusi-
asm so far as they hoped to gain by it a relaxation of
the despotic colonial system; but they were alarmed
at finding that the mulattoes, who claimed to own a
third of the land and a fourth of the personalty in
the colony, offered to make the Republic a free gift
of one fifth of their possessions on condition of being
no longer subjected-to the creole tyranny of caste.
The white and mulatto populations were thus brought
into collision. The National Assembly of France
supported the mulattoes. The creoles replied that
they preferred death to sharing power with what
they considered a bastard and despicable race. They
turned royalists. Both parties took up arms, and in
their struggle with each other they at length dropped
a match into the immense powder-magazine upon
which they both lived. One August night in the
year 1791 the whole plain of the north was swept
with fire and drenched with blood. Five hundred
thousand negro slaves in the depths of barbarism re-
volted, and the horrors of the massacre made Europe
and America shudder.
For several years afterward the colony was torn by
convulsions; and to add another element of confu-


nounced slavery of the colored people of your colony.
Especially the master's good usage must reattach them to
his rule. When they shall have felt by comparison the
difference between a usurping and tyrannical yoke and
that of the legitimate proprietor interested in their pres-
ervation, then the moment will 'have arrived for making
them return to their original condition, from which it has
been so disastrous to have drawn them."