|Table of Contents|
Official report of the Commission
Table of Contents
This volume was donated to LLMC to enrich its on-line offerings and
for purposes of long-term preservation by
Collector Wolfgang Windel, Norderstedt,
thicatth tW tit (trumtt adh Vt#lt of ati.
Nearly Thirty Years a Resident Misesionary in the
PUBLISHED BY THE AUTHOR.
TRADE SUPPLIED BY
THE AMERICAN NEWS COMPANY,
117, Ixg, and 121 Nassau Street.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, In the year 1869, By M. B. It,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court, for the Southern District of New York.
JOHN J. REEn, Printer, 43 Centie St., N. Y.
FORMED DY THE HAYTIAN SECRETARY OF STATE, FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE GENERAL MERITS AND BEARING OF THE
PORT AU PRINCE, HAYTI, November 14th, 1867. f
SIR,-The Commission having gone through the examination of the work on Hayti, by the Rev. M. B. BIRD, now forward you their report on that Manuscript.
1st. Although it does not profess to be a full and entire history of Hayti, it begins with the discovery of the Island; gives a sketch of the French Colonial system, shows the difficulties and struggles connected with the establishment of the Independence of our Republic, and continues a line of Haytian history down to the fall of General Geffrard.
2nd. The entire history, as it is given, is in the spirit of a friend, and at the same time, with perfect frankness : the details of domestic manners are evidently given in the sense of one greatly attached-to our country.
3rd. The Republican institutions of Hayti, and their political influence upon the masses, are given as facts, without entering into the supposed motives by which they may have been dictated.
4th. The Commission recommends and encourages the publication of this work, as nsefnl to Hayti itself, as well as to its foreign friends. We wish its author to receive every support, and we do not hesitate to say that its publication would be to the interest of our branch of the human family,
iV OFFICIAL REPORT, ETC.
first in the English language, which is so widely spoken both in the West Indies and on the American continent.
5th. Hayti has great need of Immigration, hence it is desirable that the seven or eight millions of African descendants in the new world, which speak the English language, should understand the merits and resources of Hayti.
6th. The Commission, under the influence of these views and convictions, sincerely desire the publication of this work, and they earnestly hope that Mr. BIRD may be assisted in every way in his good intentions.
The Commission, Mr. Secretary of State, beg to assure you of their highest consideration.
W. G. SMITH, M. D., Chairman of Commission
GENERAL ST. LUCEN; GENERAL J. LAMOTHE
JUDGE Boco ;
J. B. DEHOUX, IM. D.;
A. AUDAIN, M. D.;
S. PRESTON, ESQ.;
J. J. RIEE, Ex-Mayor of Port an Prince,
GENERAL A. TATE, Secretary of State
P. ETHEART, Under Secretary of State;
J. B. HEPBURN, Esq.;
D. BOWLER, ESQ.; C. PRESSOIR, Esq.; 0. RivwnE, Esq.;
JUDGE LACRUZ, absent by sickness
G. LOPEZ, Editor, etc.;
G. LAFONTANT, Esq., called away.
VARIOUS views having been entertained, even by the friends of Hlayti, as to the real merits of its Independence, it is only due to the Haytian Republic, that a fair statement should appear before the world on this subject ; hence, one of the leading purposes of the present work is, to show what that Independence has been ; nor has it been thought that this could be fairly done, without bringing out both the merits and demerits of this interesting question ; the national faults, therefore, are brought out in, the sense of true and sincere friendship, and pointed to as rocks to be shuuned. in the nation's future course.
Hlayti herself makes no pretensions to superiority ; her enlightened sons are conscious of national defects ; it must, however, be acknowledged that injustice has been done her, especially when the great and extraordinary difficulties of her career are fairly considered from the beginning ; difficulties which must have rendered Independence, in her case, impossible, had there not been real stamina somewhere.
From the title-page of this work it will be seen that it desigrns to show what Hlaytian Independence has been, rather than what it might or ought to have been ; its real merits, after a candid examination of what is here advanced, must be left to the fair and honest judgment of mankind.
It is of the highest importance to remember in Haytian history, that although the ilaytians fought for the maintenance of their freedom, they did not themselves choose or seek Independence ; this was rather forced upon them by circumstances which they never sought, and which were utterly
beyond their control. The wish of Hlayti, evidently was, to remain faithful to France, but the history of the case will show that this ultimately became impossible ; in fact, the ease is clear, that Toussaint L'Ouverture would have remained faithful to France, but he was convinced at last that her purpose was to re-enslave his people.
The purpose of the present lproductioln is neither eulogism nor censure, but rather to make a fair statement of facts and circumstances as they have occurred, and thus to bring out a picture which has been the production of extraordinary Providenees, ruling in the storms of human passions ; a picture made striking by the great Master of events ; ini fact, the whole case of Hayti seems to indicate something altogether unusual, a special purpose onl the part of Providence in rendering her independence inevitable, seems to be singularly manifest ; it will, therefore, be easily understood that the hope of rendering service to Ilayti herself, constitutes one of the leading motives of the work now before us, and may ultimately lead to its translation into the French language. But the fact of seven or eight millions of the descendants of Africa in the new world, speaking the English language, seems to render it desirable that it should first appear as an English work, the more so, as one of the leading objects is, the general interests of the Black M~an."
Reasonings and opinions of different shades and bearings have indeed been expressed and pursued in the course of this work, as the result of long experience and continuous observation, arid with an earnest desire for the welfare of the descendants of Africa in the new world ; but they must, together with the general subject in which they have all originated, be left before the tribunal of a Christian public.
The present volume might be considered as a plea for independence, whenever the indications of Providence seem plainly to point to it, for whatever reasons, hence the present work is preceded by an introduction, having for its object the
general development of this important question, and especially as it is here meant.
It will, therefore, be seen that independence, as it regards both Hayti and Liberia, is here considered as a vital point, not indeed in any exclusive or isolated sense, yet still, in the strictest sense of national identity, which might, and should be, compatible with the same liberality towards foreigners, as is practiced by France, America, and England, and as unquestionably will ultimately be imposed, by the power of universal light and interest, upon the human race at large, &9 the natural and inevitable result of that close contact, into which all the nations of the earth must ultimately be brought, by means of electricity and steam.
It has been thought that the present moment is peculiarly adapted to the appearance of these Historical Notes," etc., for it is undeniable, that the course of events with regard to the descendants of Africa, has brought out, by extraordinary means and circumstances, the clearest and strongest proofs of a Divine rule in human affairs, that were ever made visible to mortals ; hence we have recently seen, both in America and Europe, some of the greatest struggles which have ever been known among men, followed by such an extraordinary remodeIinr of nations, as was never before recorded on the page of human history, the well pronounced supreme will having been, that some should entirely disappear, while others should stand fast, with even great acquisitions Many are the indications which might be regarded as expressions of the Divine will, that Hayti should remain an Independent Nation ; this, however, will not binder the coming on of a power of circumstances, which will compel her to develop and practice those true principles of Liberty, which alone can secure her destiny, independence and permanent prosperity.
It will be seen, both in the introduction and also in the body of this work, that the formation of national independ-
encies, by the Black and Colored people of the American continent, is freely entered into, as a question which can now involve no injury to any interest or community. Political Justie having finally placed all shades of complexion on the same level, this question is made both an open and a fair one, and like every other, is to be either received or rejected, as opinions may prevail.
The subject of Independence, in the sense here advocated, is not of recent adoption by the author, as may be seen by the Liberia Herald," under the title of A Voice to Liberia," for 1858 ; nor are the convictions which constitute the subject of that piece, iii the slightest degree lessened by passing events.
It will, however, he seen that isolated independence is not here advocated, but simply that which constitutes the glory of France, England, and America, compatible with time strictest identity, and at the same time with the most unbounded intercourse with the whole human family, without which, these last named nations never would have been what they now are.
The discovery of Hayti and its aboriginal inhabitants are but glanced at in this work ; nor has it been possible to enter very extensively into the Colonial system under the French, although it should not he forgotten that the leading minds in the Haytian Revolution had been fostered under Colonial rule ; and it is due to Hayti to state here, that one of her ablest and most worthy citizenS,* has done justice to his Colonial Black and Colored predecessors, in the great work of Haytian Independence, by transmitting to posterity both their names and deeds.
The following extract, from the author just referred to, will become this preface
"1Before the proclamation of Independence, or the final organization of the Country, there were men among us who did not
0 Beauvais Leepinasse.
PREFACE. iXhesitate to sacrifice themselves for the future happiness of the African race, and it would be impossible not to admire the courage shown, by some of them, in the midst of slavery and prejudice, while the volunteered, and self-inflicted hardships and privations of others who sheltered themselves from despotism, in inaccessible mountains, is worthy of note.
"What anguish, what tribulation prepared men for the hour of bloodshed in the cause of liberty and independence I
"Would Julien Raymond, Ferrand de Baudieres, Ogk, Chauvannes, Boury, Pinchinat, Bauvais, Lambert, Rigaud, Villate, Boukman, Jean Francois Biassous, Polverel Santhonasse, Toussaint L'ouverture, Moise, Charles Belar, Sylla, Sans Souci, Lamour Derance, leave us at rest in our work of 1804 if we did not acknowledge the services they rendered us?"
The author himself admits their excesses ; it must, however, be confessed that but few of the noted leaders of mankind have come out of the great battle for human liberties unstained.
It will doubtless be evident that it has been the design of this work to bring out the religious and general moral bearing of Hayti. This, to the sincere Christian, will be deeply pairfnl and distressing ; it is, however, hoped that this question is made sufficiently clear, not only to show the national character in this sense, but also to convince the Evangelical Churches of America and Europe, that if Hayti had had the attentions which were unquestionably due, not only to her peculiar and extraordinary circumstances, but to the spirit of religious liberty which she has so long manifested, her position, in a moral point of view, might at this moment have been wholly different to what it is, as may be easily and justly inferred from the statistics of Protestantism, here given, showing an extent of success which, in so Roman Catholic a country, is certainly worthy of special notice ; the more so, when the very limited means by which it has all been accomplished, are fairly considered.
But we now leave this production, with all its defects, be-
fore the world, as having originated in a desire to maintain right principle, and render it triumphant, by doing justice to HlaytLi ; for, whatever may have been or still are its defects, they have resulted from that depravity of fallen man, which is so fully recognized by the Christian Chiurch, and which she binds herself to correct, by her declarations to the world that she possesses all that is necessary for the healing of the nations I
A residence of nearly thirty years, among a newly formed nation such as ilayti, as in some sense a Teacher, will perhaps be a sufficient apology for a didactic toue, now and then seemingly assumed, sincerely meant as a friendly warning of those rocks ahead, on which so many nations have already wrecked.
ON TH ADVANTAGES OF
AS A GENERAL QUESTION.
The realm of liberty alone, I call
My home I
THE present production on Hayti is by no means intended as a fall history of that country, altliough the events recorded are generally placed in chronological order, and it is presumed that the main out-lines of its history may be found embodied in the work.
The main design of the present effort is to bring out one great and important fact, which the great Ruler of all things bas so manifestly established, by those various divisions of the human race, which at present make up the great family of man.
The fact in question is, simply, that the spirit of emulation, which doubtless has designedly resulted from the divisions and independencies which at present exist among mankind, is most salutary and powerful, bringing out as it does and must, not only the capacities of our being, but also the vast resources of nature in general ; this same principle is also ac. tively and perseveringly developed between families and communities, and is evidently intended to keep the entire human
Xii INTRODUCTORY REMARKS.
family in the most productive activity ; hence history has made it manifest that this great moving principle has evcr been the most active and powerful among the most advanced nations in all ages of the world ; nor is it less powerful at present than it has ever been in any former age of human history ; in fact, never did this principle work with such driving power as in the present advanced state of everything.
We find yet that the most distinctive peculiarities attach to all the great divisions of mankind. The Angrlo-Saxon, Celtic, and Teutonic branches, as well as others, have their various arid distinctive peculiarities, while at the same time this is to be understood, simply in the sense of fact, not at all in the sense of excluding barriers, or in the slightest degree interfering with mutual and cordial intercourse.
That Africa, therefore, and its descendants should form a distinct branch of mankind, would seem to be only in the natural order of things ; nor does it follow that this should be understood in any exclusive sense, but simply in the sense explained by God himself, in what is so plainly to be seen in the various ranks and orders of human beings, scattered over the face of the earth, in the forms of families, tribes, and nations, all of which have ever instinctively recognized a universal brotherhood I
Hence Independence, as it is distributed by Divine Providence over the world, shows a just and salutary principle; there is nothing in it exclusive, arid its useful working among the nations is evident, yea, the hope we derive from it is great and good, serving as it does as one of the mainsprings in the general welfare of the world.
We may, therefore, take it up as a great fact, that the civilized divisions of man never would, or could, have been what they are hut for their independence, and that as a whole, the grand spectacle of human activity and develop-
iNTRODUCTORY REMARKS. Xl1
meant, commercially, scientifically, and even religously, would never otherwise have been what they now are. The emulating power which has ever existed among them all, has produced that admirable and ever working whole, which now offers to the general gaze of universal intelligence.
With these views before us, it will be seen that the work in question, bearing the title of the "Black Man," etc., has for one of its objects, to show, that the divisions of the human race are only a part of the order of things, and that, therefore, Africa, and her widely spread children, constitute one main division in this great whole.
That Iayti should be at the head of an African subdivision cannot be any matter of surprise, nor can the design of her independence fail of being recognized.
Hence our present direct purpose is to bring out the fact, that the Haytian Republic possesses in itself every material, and resource of every kind, to place it on a level with any other nation as to general merit, and at the same time to show what the IHaytian people are, mentally, morally, or otherwise.
It will also be the aim of the following pages, to demonstrate from the history of Iayti itself, that she never could have been what she now is, but for her independence, whatever may have been, or still are, the defects of her Government, or the management of any of the departments of tle national interests, which it need not be concealed are many.
Tie great imperfections of Hayti stand out before the world, and although the intelligent Haytians themselves are ever ready to recognize them, yet they justly demand that the exceptional circumstances of their origin as a nation, over which they had no control, should be fairly considered, not indeed in the sense of justifying error of any kind, but rather as explanatory, especially as the Haytians, as a people, can only be considered as simply on their way to understand the true principles of free Government, they never
xivs INRODUCTORY REMARKS.
having been transmitted to them by their wiser French predecessors.
The present volume is also intended to remind all who are disposed to think fairly and dispassionately on the national character of Hayti, that nations, as well as individuals, invariably receive the stamp of the circumstances Ahich gave them birth, and which, should they have been unhappy, cannot be effaced but by long years of every kind of improvement.
With this fact in view, it will not be difficult to understand the peculiarities and characteristics of the people in question, for Hayti must, after all, be judged by the depths of error and injustice from which she, as a nation, has risen into existence ; she did not, like some, spring from free institutions, notwithstanding they were her aim-she indeed rushed toward them, but to arrive at the accomplishment of her wishes, she had to make her way through fiercely conflicting elements of every kind ; the instinctive lon 4gings for liberty were there, but bow to use it, when once seized, was yet to be learnt.
It is not, however, intended by anything here advanced that nations, as well as individuals, never create their circumstances, or that they are not responsible for their need of reformation, whenever progress and amelioration may have been at their command, nor is it pretended here, for a moment, to justify the present condition of the masses of the Republic of ilayti ; guilt is unquestionably at her door in this matter.
The history of this Republic has yet to be written, and whenever it is fairly brought out it will show that the intensest fervor in the cause of Liberty-without that wholesome moral power-which is to be found in Christianity only, places a nation on a dangerous track.
The bare events, making up this general history, are already well recorded and detailed by several ilaytian authors of deserved celebrity, particularly by T. Madion (Fils), and B. Ardonin ; but to bring out all the lights and shades of that
=NRODUCTORY REMARKS. XV
phase of humanity, which a full and entire history of Hayti in all its bearings must present, remains yet to be done, and doubtless will be accomplished by some able Ilaytian pen at a future day, to the advantage not only of the great African family, but to man at largre-a work the more to be desired from the fact, that the enemies of the African race are not yet entirely silenced.
The dark shades of Slavery, which for many years have hung over mankind, withering and concealing so much of real worth in man, and especially as to the true character of the African, are now rapidly dispersing, and the clear light of simple truth is breaking forth, which shall ultimately expose all false reasoning and demonstrate that man is man, of every hune. Clouds, indeed, still roll over us, and long will, but the glorious sun of truth is, nevertheless, rising to its zenith I
The forming power of Independence upon nations and individuals, is too evident to need any reasoning ; those who have well noted the influence and power of national institutions upon collective masses, as well as upon individual character, will be prepared to understand the difference, between the Black Man independent, and, in a national sense, in his own house, under a Government of his own formation, and the one under the influence of a foreign elemeiit, although probably with vast advantages.
It is not intended that there are no advantages to be derived from contact with a superior element, but it is maintained that there is an ennobling power in true and well-managed Independence ; and that general contact, in this sense only, has its full effect, when the soul of Independence is present ; hence the manly bearing of the Haytian, which is unquestionably the result of his own national institutions, independence, and education.
It will, of course, be understood that we are not here speaking of the ignorant masses of the people, although even with them an air of conscious independence is manifest. The
XZi INRODUCTORY REMARKS.
ilaytians, however, have more than ever to learn, that their independence must fail in true dignity, without sound moral principle universally diffused.
We have, indeed, pointed out the Black Man as especially benefiting by independence ; this has been done in the sense of a general principle, and is, therefore, as applicable to him as to the rest of the human family ; perhaps, indeed, there are peculiarities in his case, as relating to the present age, which might make this great principle specially applicable to him, and repder the designs of Providence, as to his independence, yet more clear and striking.
Already the Haytian commerce, as resulting from idependence, is comparatively great ; nor should it be lost sight of, that the public revenues are created by the same organized and legalized system of Patents, Customs, Licenses, etc., as in all other civilized countries.
It is an interesting and important fact, that Hayti is at this moment, and for a long time past, has been carrying on an extensive and increasing commerce with the United States of America, which, for some time past, has been said to be worth three millions of dollars per annum ; this is to be understood as relating to the French part of the Island only. Also, with England, France, and Germany much is doing commercially ; and it is not to be supposed that the extensive correspondence, and constantly calculating intercourse with foreign nations, can be without its general and powerful results upon the interests and civilization of this nation, especially when it is remembered that Scriptural education has, during the last quarter of a century, widely sown the seeds of truth, while at the same time thousands of Ilaytians, although not converted to God by a new birth unto righteousness, have nevertheless opened their eyes to see that true religion is, God in man, and that alone ; and as far as convictions are concerned, have shaken off the iron yoke of error in many things, as incompatible with real moral progress,-
INTRODUCTORY REMARK8. Xvii
that all these powerful elements should have been so long at work without effect, is not to be supposed.
Let the thinking part of mankind open the details of these facts, and it will most certainly be seen that national Independence is the road to dignity ; this, it is true, has never been doubted of tile White Man, nor has there ever been any real reason to doubt it in the case of the Black Republic of Hayti, notwithstanding much error, and the fact that she has yet much to learn.
Time was, when the idea of the formation of an African Independency, in any sense, from the Yast Black population of the United States, was looked upon with suspicion and a frown ; fear was felt that tile great cause of Justice before the law would suffer, by weakening the ranks of those who would thus be left to struggles for rights supremely dear, but the arm of the Almighty has now been revealed, right has triumphed over wrong, and all Independency under present circumstances would, therefore, be simply another competitive power in the earth, bringing out and completing the boundless resources of human beings ; showing also, that the sons of Africa are not sent back to savage life by Independence, as both Hayti and Liberia attest, where wealth and learning have at least, commenced their elevating power, and will, doubtless, by the aid of general knowledge, true religion, and commercial intercourse, raise them ultimately to rank With the most civilized and prosperous nations of the age.
Truly, the great principles of Liberty and Independence, rightly understood, are the glory of our times ; so much so, that, Liberty a failure I bas now become too absurd, both as an expression, and even as a thought, for use ; rather it is Despotism and Slavery that have proved to be utter, and, let us hope, eternal failures I Men are now beginning to see what they long refused to see, or understand, viz., that universal freedom is universal wealth I
Bat the burden of our son- is Independence I Nor does
xviii INTRObUCTORY REMARKS.
the admitted fact that Hayti ought to, and might have done better, in any way diminish either its glory or its dignity. If Hayti has at all risen from her starting point, as she unquestionably has, then has she demonstrated to the world, that she possesses both the elements and capacity for Progress.
The fact of Law, Mathematics, Literature, Commerce, etc., forming fields, where intelligence has unquestionably shown powers which do honor to this branch of the human family, demand just notice ; while at the same time, Independence in this case, having placed the nation in official initercourse with the leading Governments of the day, has brought out state-documents not inferior to those of other nations, as will appear from the following "Historical Notes," while the Haytian Bar, with the Medical Faculty, show men of all shades worthy of their professions.
In fact, the wealth already accumulated, both in intelligence and gold, afford ample proof that Independence in Hayti is not, and cannot be a failure ; swarming evils, indeed, abound, which even seem to threaten every good ; the fact of the utter corruption of human nature is as evident with Independence as it is under the greatest despotism, hence the great stress laid on the necessity of moral culture, as applying to every individual in a nation, rich and poor, high and low.
Let it not, however, be supposed that the Independence advocated in these pages, in reference to the Black Man," is in any sense exclusive ; it is rather that which belongs to man as a social being, and which forms the glory Of En1gland, France, and America ; an Independence which, while it extends shelter to all, retains at the same time a perfect national* identity, while it tells upon every child in the nation, stamps its character upon each family, is seen in the peasant's gait as he strides his mountain tops, and in the more developed townsman is visible as lie paces his own streets.
Unconscious, bold, instinctive are the airs,
Of those who feel as if the earth-were theirs!
INTRODUCTORY REMARKS. XiX
ITlayti and Liberia have, indeed, been exclusive in their Independence ; but this, it must be admitted, has been rather from necessity than choice, as the history of each country will show ; this necessity, however, no longer exists ini either ease, and it is for them to judge whether they will not, by perpetuating such defiant attitudes, in excluding those who now freely open their doors to them, expose themselves to the sarcasm of the age ;-excluiueism cannot belong to man as a family ; hence all walls of separation between mankind must everywhere speedily fall ; the utmost intercourse, or legitimate amalgamation, being in no way incompatible with the most complete national Independence and identity.
It may be thought by some, both Black and White, that the tendency of the present work, in favoring a separation between two of the main branches of the human race, is more lowering than otherwise to the dignity of the Black Man," the contrary, however, is most unquestionably the aim of the author of these pages ; in fact, it would be difficult to show that Independence is, or can in any way be, degrading, nor could any one sincerely entertain such a thought ; most certaiinly, Haytian Independence does not mean, or even suppose, separation, in any isolating sense ; hence her capitalists are mainly foreigners, who may be viewed as among even the greatest supporters of the national Independence.
If we enquire into the origin and cause of the various divisions which have taken place among men in former ages, we shall find that in most cases they have been nearly the same ; hence, the case of Lot and Abram's herdmen is highly illustrative of the question before us ;--circumstances which men call accidental, havc doubtless mostly originated their needed and salutary divisions throughout the earth, and we are probably right in concluding that one great law of Providence is, that the interests of the earth should be developed and worked out, upon the principle of national Independence ; nor have the divisions among men, in this sense,
IX ThTTODUCTORtY REMARKS.
ever involved the idea of degradation ; they have rather been upon the instinctive supposition, of each and all acting indapendently for themselves, each thus exploring for himself, and bringing out the general resources and wealth of nature.
Still the question might fairly be urged, has not a man a right to remain in the land of his birth ? To which question the only possible reply is or can be, that hie has I But if there did not, with this great truth, exist ihe right in every individual of the human family to change their place of residence, or their -circumstances, and, if possible, better them, either by emigration or any other fair means, it would be most unhappy for the world.
On this principle, the island of Great Britain, had long since been too small for its cver increasing population ; and, in fact, many other places in the world would, long ago, have become intolerable from density of population, had there existed no right to change.
The undisputed right, therefore, to remain in one's native land, is indeed poor, compared with the right to be unrestrictedly at large-at full liberty, to make the best of the world, and, so to speak, lay it out to the best advantage I
fence the question of right, even to abandon one's birth-place, needs no further consideration. This not even forming any part, properly speaking, of the subject now before us, the right of all men and all communities to do and act for the best for themselves and their children, in the course of public events, is universally recognized ; and they are wise and happy who know how thus to appreciate true freedom for themselves and posterity. This is that true Independence which becomes every man upon earth.
It was upon this sound principle of independence that the immortal founders of those Colonies which ultimately terminatedi in the formation of the present great North American Republic, wrenched themselves and their families from their native shores. Notwithstandingr their entire rights in the
INTRODUCTORY REMARKS. xxi
beloved laud of their birth, they simply, from motives which appeared to them sufficient, preferred the bleak and cheerless wilds of the New World, to what they conceived to be the despotism of their native land, which they felt destroyed the happiness of their homes and ancient fire-sides ; hence they literally flung themselves upon the world, and even wandered about ini the dens and caves of their new-found land, to save themselves from the fury of untutored man ; and yet this painful exchange was even sweet to them-of oppression for liberty I as the free and spontaneous praises of Jehovah, which rose from their noble hearts, breaking the long silence of the primeval forests now before them, attested-although they were not insensible to the endearing sweets of their ancient homes which they had left behind. Nor is it to ho wondered at, that the grandeur of such a genuine spirit of independence should have impressed itself upon a nation, which may now be said to be one of the glories of the age.
The principle, therefore, here advocated, is one which must and does command the attention of mankind. There may, and indeed will be, various views as to its present application to the black man of the United States ; but the fact that national independence is the highest dignity to which either hie or any other branch of the human family can attain, is not to be controverted.
Nor ever did it occur to any of the descendants of the Pilgrim Fathers, that their great progenitors iii any sense ignored either the cause of freedom or their friends, by thus departing from their country, and leaving behind them the great struggle for liberty in which they had so long been engaged ; or that they in any sense descended from their dignity, in leaving the land of their birth, for the carrying out of the great purposes which they had in view. Rather their own fathers applauded them, as they wafted from their ancestral shores, and voluntarily gave up all right to their own birth-place ; while they themselves were cheered with the
Xxii INTRODUCTORY REMARKS.
hope of establishing their own just principles of religious liberty on those far-off shores, towards which they bad now set their faces. And great have been the results of their bold and daring energy-results which have amply demonstrated the soundness of their principles, thus annihilating all doubt as to the carrying them out in modern days, by the simple force of preference and principle, for whatever reason might be deemed sufficient.
It is not meant here to insinuate in the remotest manner, that either the ruling power or people of the United States intend in any sense the oppression of the black man." Nothing can be more evident, than that at the present moment honesty and justice are in the ascendency in the great American Republic, on the African question ; nor is it to be supposed that the rivers of blood which have been poured out as the purchase-price of justice, laid down before God and man, in awful conflict, will be in vain. But the fact is before the .world, that the slavery and degrading bondage of past ages, so fertile in every conceivable evil, and so ruinous to all ranks and conditions of men, giving even to liberty itself a sickly hue, and perverting noblest minds, have left behind them false views and unhappy effects, from which independence would prove a shelter. Such were the noble Lincoln's views. Such, too, were those of Toussaint L'Ouverture ; and if all Africa could speak on such a subject, it would be with no uncertain words. Nor will it be surprising that the thought of a black independence, rising out of the great numbers of the sons of Africa in the United States, should have found birth in a Haytian element, or that it should appear here, although only in the form of a question.
Astonishing as it may seem, it is a fact that political strife in Hayti has sometimes laid hold of the question of color, between the blacks and those of mixed blood, for the accomplishment of base purposes ; nevertheless, the man who would presume to think more of his lighter hue, and in any sense
DNRMODUCTORY REMARKS. Ixii
act upon it, would, in the land of Toussaint, find himself greatly mistaken, and would soon feel himself undcr the necessity of concealing his empty vanity, iii the presence probably of his darker .superior, whose education might possibly have left him in the shade. In fact, it is seen in ilayti that a complete education is a withering power to the vague hate of color.
But men in all ages have been guilty of absurdities; hence the justly celebrated Macaulay informs us, that in an agre not very remote from our own, the Irishman was looked down upon with absolute contempt, by his lordly and conceited Engrlishl brother ; nor does the great historian fail to make this singularly plain. And such, too, has been the course pursued in all ages ; shades and straws have been the causes of rivers of blood, and peace has often come about only from sheer exhaustion.
Nor would it be difficult to understand that thousands of, recently freed men, from similar circumstances, might gladly avail themselves of an open door of deliverance from elements which are in contact with, God himself, and cannot but be productive of anguish. It might, indeed, be said, Live them down I But there are various ways of doing this ; nor can there be any doubt of thc effectual power of a Christian and well-ordered independence in such a case. We, however, are here reminded that the social question is not settled as a mere matter of right. The "black man"1 must command, intellectually and morally. His well-formed soul must be the power. This must be his demonstration that "all men are equal I" This, too, is the great truth which would justify a constantly open door to a well understood independence, for all who might wish, from any consideration, to change either their place of residence or national style of life, where the black man might rise in independent freedom.
Hayti and Liberia-whatever their past history may have been-are now free and independent nations, and arc both
Xxiv INTRODUCTORY REMARKS.
advancing in all the interests and prosperity of the age. They are giving proof of the soundness of the great principie which it is the aim of this volume to illustrate, and which constitutes the glory of their national existence.
An exodus in any sense is not here meant. All that is thought of in the present reasonings, should he the result of unconstrained choice, whether for or against. "1Let each one be fully persuaded in his own mind." All motives being. entirely Christian, all will be safe.
The black man, or any other, who might wish an element of yet greater freedom in any respect thtan that which hie now realizes, is only the renewed case of thousands of every past age. Like his predecessors of all the past, he withdraws to wherever he pleases, and from whatever motive lie pleases. He does not ask about his right to remain here or to go there, He, as a Christian, follows his moral instincts, and what may seemi to him the leadings of Providence.
Let even millions move. Nothing need he feared from the utmost liberty of action, while the houor of man of every shade is the sole motive and aim.
It will be easily understood that the ground-work and elevation from whence all these views are taken, is IHyti; nor can anything be more certain titan that the reasonings here adopted, as well as the feelings here expressed, are very decidedly those of the enlightened and educated portion of the ilaytian people ; while it cannot be denied, whatever be the national defects of Hlayti, that the present educated classes of this country are sufficiently numerous and powerful, fully to establish and demonstrate the great question before us, that independence is its true dignity.
That there ever should have been an entirely uneducated class in Hlayti, is to be deplored ; but this evil is now recognized, and its sole cure is now well understood. The Christian Churches, therefore, that have ears to hear, "1let them hear I"
With regard to the great mission of Hayti, as given it by
INTRODUCTORY REMARKS. XXV
God, in a Christian, national sense, and in the order of Providence, which we may presume was to prove that man of every line is man, many Christian men, to whom great deference is in every respect due, have seemed to hesitate as to the success realized in this respect. Whether this hesitation has been well founded, or whether there has been in all such cases a sufficient knowled-,-e of Hayti, to warrant the conclusions arrived at, remains to be considered. Much, in such cases, would depend upon the amount of expectation which may have been entertained. If the class of persons referred to have expected of Hayti a model Republic, in which all the details of free institutions and free government should be entirely developed, then there might well be hesitation. The question, however, is, whether such an expectation was fair and reasonable. Can we fairly overlook the inevitable distance which there must, in the nature of things, be between national infancy and national maturity ? This overlooked, disappointment would become certain.
LA, then, the law of nature and plain truth be here carried out, and all difficulty in the case will cease ; by this law it will be at once evident that we only reap that which we sow ; and without any reasoning, we understand that that which was never sown at all, can never appear.
The question, therefore, which naturally arises in this case, is-What has been sown in Hayti, morally, politically, or otherwise ? This question demands fair and serious attention ; for if the evil seeds of false and pernicious principles, religiously, intellectually, and politically, have been sown broadcast, all further hesitation must evidently cease.
Nevertheless, the mission of the Haytian nation was, it may be presumed, to develop and establish the character of the black man. This may not have been done as probably many expected it to be ; but it is certain that the great law of God and nature, as we have just referred to it, has been carried out and fulfilled.
Xxvi INTRODUCTORY REMARKS.
An Anglo-Saxon ancestry might have placed everything on a different track in Hayti ; yet it would not be difficult to show that the land of Toussaint has not been the least amongst its sister Republics in the new world, whose origin has been more or less similar.
Hayti has already demonstrated the fallacy of much that was once said of the African, and to our great astonishment, is still persisted in by a deservedly distinguished traveler of our own day, who has perhaps immortalized his name by his African discoveries ; but whose views as to the African as a man, do not appear to harmonize with those of the great Livingstone.
To one who has resided long in Hayti, it is somewhat amusinrr to hear that the Negro, after a certain age, is worth little in literature or mental power. It would be a curious enquiry to examine on what ground this is said-how and why is this vitality lost ? and is it in harmony with the experience of five and twenty years educational labor in Hayti ? Men that have had romance enough in them to face black savages, and sometimes tremble for their lives among them, are not always the best judges of the mental powers of such branches of the human race.
The blacks of Hayti, who have received a good education either in France or in their own country, know how to prize it. Those who think differently might make many a test in that country, where some well educated blacks might be found who, mentally, are yet youthful at sixty I
In fact, such reasoning is simply the abandonment of truth and in the case of the great traveler just referred to, goes to show that it is possible for even great men, of a certain mental style, to travel amongst the savages of Africa until they arrived at the conclusion that they were, in their origin, It pre-Adamic I" or as impious mortals might suppose, a preliminary essay of creative power, intended to produce a man of inferior order. Can this be seriously meant ? Rather is
INTRODUCTORY REMARKS. Xxvii
It not an empty freak of an irreverent imagination ? It is not, however, uncommon for the reasonings of able men to lead to erroneous conclusions.
The conclusions of the traveler in question, as to African incapacity, were doubtless those also of Julius CEesar and his attendants, as to the ancient Britons, when they first landed on their shores. Whether, therefore, the final decision of the class of men now referred to, that all attempts to raise such branches of the human race is useless, either by Chris. tian missions or otherwise, is well founded, may be very safely left to the results of experience. The facts on this subject, both in Hayti and elsewhere, are indeed stubborn, nor do they leave any doubt on which side the real visionary is found on this question.
Most unhappy would it be for uncivilized humanity to be left to the tender mercies of those who are quite undecided as to whether human beings, under certain circumstances, are men at all.
Hayti has at least demonstrated the existence of sound mental material in the African ; and although this is a great and triumphant step, it must nevertheless be admitted that she might and ought to have done better still.
OFFICIAL REPORT OF THE HAYTIAN (GOVERNMENT COMMISSION...... 3
PREFACE ......................................................... 5
INTRODUCTORY REMARKS.......................................... 11
Discovery of Hayti.-Native Indians.-Gold discovered.-Indian and Negro Slavery. -Arrival of the French -Case of Ogb.-First French Expedition.-" La Cr~tj A Pierrot."-Exports.-Vandouism.French Revolution, Spirit of, in Hayti.-Toussaint faithful to the French.-Toussaint declines being King.-He Rules the whole
Island.-He is captured by the French....... ................... 31
French Cruelty to Haytians.-Dessalines proclaims Independence.Eight hundred Whites fall at St. Marks.-Ferrand's Proclamation.Dessalines marches on Santo Domingo.-Viet flogged to death.Dessalines retreats.-He is shot.-', L'Assembl6e Constituante."Christophe marches on Port au Prince.-The Republicans roited.Christophe retreats.-His Laws on Marriage, etc.-The two States compared.-Gen. Borgella joins the Republic.-Christophe proclaimed King...................... ......................... 58
Distribution of Lands.-Petion a Dictator.-Republicanism the choice of the Educated.-Ardouin on the Distribution of Lands.-Christophe attacks the Republic. -Desertion to the Republic.-He builds Laferriere.-His Palaoe.-Candler's Deoription of it.-Caue of
Medina.-Christophe's Schools.-He is smitten with Apoplexy.Fails in mounting his horse.-Commits Suicide.-Indemnity to France.-Presidency for Life.-House of Represeiitatives.-Esmongart to Christophe.-Petion offers Indemnity.................... 93
First Wesleyan Missionaries -Pressolr Persecution.-New Representative Body.-Mackenzie on the Courts, etc.-Amount of Exports in 1818.-Petion's Funeral.-Boyer President.-GreatPublic Fire.Boyer takes the North.-He takes the Eastern part.-The Age blameable, not Hayti.-The Newspapers published............. 121
The Indemnity.-Arrangements with France.-First American Immigration.-Camp Meetings.-Boyer's good negative.-Code Rural.Blowing up of the Arsenal in 1826 -Question of Population.-All started from Europeans....................................... 149
The Executive Sovereign an error.-Periodical Presidency considered.--Source of Revolutions. -Cayes Revolutionary.- Herard Dumesle and St. Preux.-The House expels them.-Rev. J. Tindal arrives.-Iis health fails.-Revs. W. T. Cardy and W. Touler arrive.-Offer to make the Yaqui navigable.-J. Candler.-Boyer altogether French.-Freemasonry in Hayti.-Candler on the Military System ................................. ....... ............... 167
Arrival of M. B. Bird at the Cape.-Arrival of J. T. Hartwell at Port an Prince.-J. Candler and the Priest.-Different classes of Funerals.-A National University desirable.-The Earthquake of 1842.-Opening of the Wesleyan Church at Port au Prince........ 192
Herard Riviere revolts.-The Government without the means of transport.-lInyer sends forces.-They fraternize.-The alarm
gun.-Boyer abdicates.-Riviere enters the Capital.-Ten thousand troops in Port an Prince.-The new Government inaugurated." L'Assembl4e Constituante."-Bad elements creeping in.-The government Provisoire deserving.-M. B. Bird's journey to the South.-He preaches- in a Catholic Church....................... 222
Remarks on the Journey.-Provisional Government attempts the Education of the Masses.-Gurrier proclaimed President.-Postal Arrangements.-Death of Guerrier.-Pierrot President.-He enters Port an Prince.-Baptist Mission founded at Jacmel.-Rich6 pro claimed President.-Wesleyan School opened at Port an Prince 263
Rich4 arrives at Cayes.-His Proclamation.-His Death.-Soulouque
President.-Ile leaves for the Spanish part.-J. T. Hartwell builds at the Cape.-Faustian the I -M. B. Bird's memento to the Government.-J6r6mie Wesleyan Church finished by C. H. Bishop.Opened by M. B. Bird.-Final Coronation.-Cannibalism.-M idnight Imperial entry to Port an Prince.-Dr. Smith's Pamphlet........ 280
The family is the nation.-Boys and Cigars.-Woman in Hayti.-The Freedmen of the States.-Wooden cross not Christ.-Haytian Costume.-Haytian table.-Haytian furniture.-A native Artist.-Music in Hayti -Funerals, Baptisms, Marriages.-Masonic Funerals Sitting at doors.-Public roads.-Mothers absorbed in Commerce.Divorce ..... ............................ ...................... 317
Soulouque falls.-Geffrard slips into Port au Prince.-Hayti Representative.-The masses as they ever were.-Cannibals executed.Steamers now familiar to Port an Prince.-Water works commenced.-Blowing up of the Arsenal.-Introduction of Gas.-
Improvements in Music.-Prisons.-Penitentiary.-Belgious Liberty. Concordat. -Protestant Statistics -Methodist Financial Committee .................................................... 363
The Immigration.-Ita failure.-Assassination of the President's
daughter.-Intended public meeting on the death of Lincoln.Quarrel between the English and Salnave.-Geflard's last Message.-Geffrard embarks for Jamaica.-New Government........ 387
The cause and cure of Haytian Revolutions........................ 412
African Character as developed in Hayti .......................... 437
Discovery of Hayti. -Native Indiana.-First rupture with the Spauiards.-Gold discovered.-Indian and Negro Slavery.Arrival of the French.-The American Colonies rise.-Case of Og -First French Expedition.-'La CrAte A Pierrot."Exports. -Religion in the Colony. -Vandouism. -French Revolution, Spirit of, in Hayti.-Liberty proclaimed in France.Toussaint faithful to the French.--Toussaint declines being King.-He Rules the whole Island.-His rule severe.-He is captured by the French.
The great Columbus, star of modern days,
Went westerly, and glowing, stood, over
A new found world!
IIArn was discovered by Christopher Columbus, on the 6th of December, 1492.
The name of the island is said to have meant, in the native Indian language-among many other things-" High, Mountainous Land," but Columbus, on discovering it, thought it greatly resembled Spain, and therefore gave it the name of "Hispaniola," or little Spain: subsequently, St. Domingo, or St. Domingue, was for many years the name by which it was generally known in Europe; since, however, the Declaration of Independence by the Haytians in 1804, the ancient aboriginal name has been revived and adopted. This large and important island is
32 HAYTIAN INDEPENDENCE,
now, therefore, generally known by the name of Hfayti.
The entire island is upwards of four hundred miles in length, from east to west, and about one hundred and eighty miles in breadth. It is situated between 17 and 18 degrees north latitude, and between 71 and 79 west longitude from Paris. Its situation with regard to the adjacent Antilles, is peculiarly central, having Cuba twenty-two leagues to the northwest, Jamaica forty-five leagues to the southwest, and Puerto Rico about twenty leagues to the east-southeast.
The native Indian population, at the time of the discovery of the island, has been variously estimated at from one to three millions. The aboriginal tribes have generally been represented as a mild and hospitable race, and were governed by chiefs, bearing the title of Caciques.
The whole island appears to have been divided into five different States, each one being ruled by a Cacique.
With regard to the primary origin of these ancient races, but little or nothing can be said with certainty. It is, however, evident, that on their discovery by Columbus, they were not what might be termed savages, but were rather a mild and interesting people, possessing a certain type of civilization ; and although greatly astonished at the sight of their new visitors, they were quite disposed to receive them well. We can, however, here only refer to history for the full details of all the facts and circumstances connected with the discovery of this island.
It would appear that the first rupture between the
FROM HISTORICAL NOTES. 33
Indians and the Spaniards took place in 1493, at the garrison left by Columbus some few leagues from Cape Haytien, on his first departure for Spain.
History informs us that the Spaniards, having illtreated the Indians, were fallen upon by them, and utterly exterminated. This unhappy event led to all the rest of bloodshed and murder which afterwards took place between the Spaniards and aboriginal habitants of Ilayti,* thus showing how utterly vague is all merely nominal Christianity,. either iu the form of national creeds or otherwise.
Various indications of gold having presented themselves, the love of that idol was soon vehemently developed, and the unhappy Indians were ere long dragged forth from the quiet of ages past, and as slaves, to which state they were soon reduced, were comyrelled to huilt the worshiped metal, either in the streams or mines. But the Indians of the tropics soon sunk beneath this weight of woe, and even speedily disappeared, to the perpetual dishonor of their rapacious, although nominally Christian masters.
The use of the blood-hound, it would seem, contributed much towards the bringing about of this fearful result; hence we are informed, that even Columbus, on the 5th of April, 1494, when the natives of Jamaica opposed his lauding there, let loose a bloodhound upon them. Justin Martyr, also, a well known name of those days, observes: "1Our people availed themselves of the blood-hound, in their struggles with natives." t
Such were the perverted views of Christianity in
T. Madiou. t Scheleher on Hayti.
34 EAYTIAH TNDEPENDEXCR,
that age; and yet it must be admitted, that there were good Christian men among the Spanish clergy of that time, who had found their way to the new world, and who also were faithful in their remonstrances against the wanton cruelties then practiced.
The great scarcity of bands for the working of the gold mines which had been discovered, and other exhausting toils, which were quickly imposed upon the Indians, soon originated the idea of seeking help elsewhere; hence, Africa was thought of, from whence the white man delayed not to drag by thousands the unhappy Africans from their ancient shores; and having shackled both soul and body, promptly set his more hardy limbs to work, thus soon lashing from him unbounded wealth. But the horrors of both Indian and Negro slavery have now long been before the world, and it will not be necessary to recapitulate them here, except as incidental circumstances, in the course of narration, may render necessary; suffice it to say, for the present, that the wealth and splendor of St. Domingo, as the result of French slavery in after days, were beyond compare, as to anything the West Indies had ever previously known; but injustice of every kind ever carries with it the elements of self-destruction.
The arrival of the French in Hayti was gradual, and according to the united testimony of history, commenced with a few adventurers, who settled themselves on a small island,* about opposite the town, now called Port de Paix. They were a class of men called fillibusters, or buccaneers. Their numnbers gradually increasing, they soon came into con* Latortue.
FROM HISTORICAL NOTES. 35
tact with the Spaniards, who now had long been masters of the whole island. Conflicts, fearful and destructive, were the result. There is, however, reason to believe, that the French government sent out in the end men capable of protecting their subjects ; hence contests for territory soon came on, which at last ended in taking possession of a portion of the main land, and the ultimate establishment of the little town of Port de Paix, already alluded to. This point once gained, it will be easily understood that encroachments went on, until in the end, limits were formally agreed upon between the Spanish and the French governments, and the island thus became divided into two colonies, the French part bearing the name of St. Domingue, understood in English as St, Domingo, which at that time was less than a third of the whole island.
The elements and resources of every kind of wealth beinc, found on these fertile Shores, the active spirit of the French soon turned all to good account, and the result of their industrial powers became a subject of both wonder and admiration, although to the philanthropist, the whole of the West Indies and all the nations interested in them, bad tarnished their honor by the use of slavery.
Horned cattle bad now long been introduced into Hayti by the Spaniards, and were, when the French commenced their career in the island, quite abundant.
The Spaniards had already commenced the importation of Africans. Slavery had begun its horrid course, and the French, like their predecessors in this foul scheme, from equal thirst of wealth, drove
36 HAYTIR IDEPE14DENOE)
on the fearful system with dreadful energy, so that from about 1650, which was soon after the commencement of African slavery in Hayti, till about 1737, the entire population of the French part of the island, including all classes and colors, amounted to 600,000; and this, too, in an age when the means of traveling and general transport were very far from the facilities of the present day. Such, too, had been already the development of the unbounded resources of this fertile land, that it soon acquired the distinguished title of "I Le Faradis des Franqais !"-so great was the wealth that had been wrenched from the now annihilated Indian, and from the still lashed and groaning African.
But slavery had by this time become a thoroughly consolidated system. The Spanish, English, French, and other nations, had forced its galling yoke upon the whole of the West India islands.
In the French part of the island, the increased activity arising from an intense eagerness for wealth, brought on all the cruelties peculiar to slavery, and this passion became more and more intense: the exhaustless resources of the country were brought out, until in the end, riches and luxury assumed a scale of even grandeur, as may be seen at the present day in the northern part of the present Ilaytian Republic, by such remains of ancient seats as plainly indicate the style of former days, when the positions of both high and low 'were almost fabulous in their extremes of misery and ease.
It is true that the French c0ooists frequently resided on their foreign properties, and their homes and general establishments, therefore, corresponded
FROM HISTORICAL NOTES. 37
with their wealth and rank-a babit exceedingly advantageous to the colony, making it as it did superior in production to the British colonies, where absenteeism, as to land-bolders, was the general rule.
French and other writers unite to give a glowing picture of St. Domingo, of which the details would doubtless be interesting here; it will, however, for the present, be impossible for us to enter into any of the particulars of the internal management of this Splendid colony, under the French; suffice it to say, that as to slavery, it was carried out in all its fearful and revolting details, while at the same time, the most rigid order war, maintained throughout the entire system of things, civil, military, and religious, as it then existed. But amidst all tbis luxurious ease, so much sought and adored in the relaxing beat of the tropics, the instinctive throes of oppressed humanity would sometimes shake the foundations of society, a fact which ought to remind all posterity that ruth and justice alone can render our homes safe, or make the future bright.
During the eighteenth century, the seeds of fearful principles had not only taken root, but had risen up and borne their awful fruit. France broke her ancient chains, but in her fury, she confounded all order, and for a moment let loose upon herself overwhelming ruin.
The North American Colonies, under British rule, also rose,and asserted their solemn resolution to be free, and constitute themselves an independent people. The convulsions necessarily associated with these gigantic efforts amongst mankind, are always great; nor was it possible that such bold and mighty
38 HAYTIAN INDEPENDENCE,
struggles for liberty, of every kind, should have been without effect, on such a population as that which was now found in St. Domingue, especially when it is remembered thAt the materials which made up the general state of society at that time, were peculiarly liable to ignite and explode, as will be easily understood when it is remembered, that in so many cases, the sons of the white colonists had been sent to France by their fathers, for their education, where they had acquired not only the general elements of literature, but where they had imbibed the political life and spirit of the times, from which such fearful and overwhelming storms broke forth.
The simple but important fact of an European education having been given to many of the sons of the French colonists, should by no means be lost sight of in the history of this country, for it may be truly regarded as a hinge, on which so much that is interesting and important turned, in the general course of events which followed; it was, in fact, the root and spring of Haytian manhood as a nation.
It was in France itself, therefore, let it be remembered, that the colored sons of Iayti learnt to know what they were ; there it was that they were taught, at the expense of their own white fathers, residing in their native land, that they were men, and that righteous heaven had made them heirs of liberty, without reference to color or any other condition ; and yet, on the return of these well-prepared sons for liberty, their own fathers refused them those common rights of men, for which they themselves had fitted them, and even despised their darker hue.
That flames of discord should burst forth from such
FROM HISTORICAL NOTES. 89
conflicting elements, cannot be at all surprising to any who have read human history, or studied human nature.
The case of Og6 will throw a melancholy light on this deeply interesting part of French colonial history in St. Domingne.
This individual, the colored son of a white colonist, bad, by his education in France, acquired a full sense and consciousness of his dignity as a man, and on his return to his home, boldly demanded of the colonial government his rights as such. It should be understood that this demand was not simply for himself, it was in the name of his fellows ; but it was received by those on whom it was made, both with contempt and indignation. A mock trial was the result of this demand, and the end of this iniquitous proceeding, in the name of law, was, that this unhappy, although noble minded man, was, with another, led out to execution, and in open day, before the great church of this noted city, was publicly, and with the most humiliating ceremonies, broken on the wheel, his thighs, legs, arms, and loins, being broken by blows, inflicted with heavy bars of iron. This disgraceful scene took place in the city of Cape Haytien, on the 25th of February, 1791.*
It is not surprising that the general course of oppression, which led to the barbarous execution of Og6 and others, should at last have roused and set fire to the fiercest passions of our nature. This was, indeed, the case. Struggles and contests came on, and the passions rose to fury, until opposing armies of mutual hate were formed. Nor was it to be sup* T. Madion's History of Hayti.
40 HAYTIAN INDEPENDENCE,
posed that France would lose so splendid a colony, without making the utmost effort to keep it. We therefore here give a statistic sketch of the great armaments, and immense expense, so promptly and unsparingly put forth by the home government, as the beginning of this dreadful struggle, which has taken its place upon the page of history.
The following statement will enable us to form some idea of the forces sent from France to St. Domingo during the years 1802 and 1803:
Troops of all sorts,, sent from Brest, under command of
Vilaret Joyeuse, on board eighteen-men-of-war ......... 6,600
On the Lorient, and two others ....................... 900
A squadron, by Admiral Gauthcaume ................. 4,000
A squadron, by Admiral Latouche .................... 4,000
A squadron, by Admiral Linois ....................... 21000
A squadron from Havre ............................. 1,000
A Dutch squadron, Admiral Hurtzwitch ............... 1,500
In June, "Expeditionnaire .......................... 1,600
On board the Formidable and Annibal ................. 1,600
On board three men-of-war, in August ................ 4,000
On board the Vautour ............................... 700
On board the Lodi .................................. 2,000
On board the Egyptian .............................. 2,570
On board the Prudent ............................... 512
On board the Jeanne Edouard ........................ 227
A division under Rochambeau ........................ 6,000
A division under Admiral Bedout ..................... 6,000
On board several men-of-war ......................... 4,000
-On board several vessels ............................. 1,500
On board the frigate Infatigable ...................... 1,000
FROM HISTORICAL NOTES. 41
LOSSES UNDER GENERAL LECLERC,
During nine months, according to stat isties given by the French
General, Pamphile Lacroix.
Whites of both sexes, murdered in various ways .......8 ,000 General officers of all Sorts, by sickness or war ........2,000 Soldiers slain in battle............................ 5,000
Soldiers lost by sickness.......................... 20,000
Sailors by war and sickness ....................... 8,000
Sailors of merchantmen, by war and sickness .........8 ,000 Men in Government employ, civil and military ........ Lost by war and disease.......................... 2,000
Men engaged in commerce ........................83,000
Natives killed in war............................. 01800
Natives lost by disease in Government service ........1,800 Blacks and colored by war........................ 7,000
Blacks and colored, drowned and murdered, judicially ... 4,000
In these harrowing details, we see the price which it cost, not to retain, but to lose this splendid colony The elements themselves fought against the Europeans ; in fact, that which sheds so deep a. gloom on this already dark and melancholy picture, is the unhappy fact, that the leading purpose of this mighty armament, involving suchl an immense expenditure of gold, life, and suffering, was, not to liberate mankind, and thus carry out the great principles of liberty, for which France had convulsed all Europe, but it was a gigantic effort to re-enslave those who, having already drank the gall and bitterness of bondage, were now beginning to taste the sweets of liberty-France herself having declared all men free and equal!I So uncertain are even the greatest gusts of political winds, which are raised by hollow and exaggerated principles.
Doubtless, the climate, which was so unfriendly to
42 HAYTIAN INDEPENDENCE)
European constitutions, became a powerful weapon in the hands of the Haytians against their enemies; and, like men of war, they knew how to turn every means to their own advantage, which they most certainly did in every conceivable manner. Yet it cannot be denied, that they fought bravely, whenever necessity placed them in the front of their enemies, notwithstanding their army was composed of men who had but just come forth from the withering darkness of slavery. In fact, that an army composed of almost chaos itself, should have shown phalanxes of good order and rigid. discipline, was not to be expected ; still it is not to be denied that thme Haytian arms, in connection with the fiery elements of the tropics, etc., did confound and triumph over sonic of the best troops that ever left the shores of France. But the fact is, that neither intelligence, discipline, or bravery, can successfully maintain war against such deadly powers, especially when they are at the command of those who are at home in them, who0 know well how to use them, and above all, who have right on their side.
Although it is not the design of this volume to enter fully into the details of those sanguinary wars, by which the Haytians won their liberty, it is; but just to the memory of the brave that fell in this great struggle, and also to those who nobly stood by them when they fell, to record those deeds of valor, which in all ages have ever been appreciated and applauded. One narration of this nature may be due to H-ayti. This was the attack of the French army in the affair of what is called "1La crete a Fierrot."
The place thus named, was a fortification in the
FROM HISTORICAL NOTES. 43
northern part of the island, which in itself was said to have been comparatively insignificant, and was originally built, it would appear, by the English, being situated about a mile from the village, in the plain of the Artibomte, called "1La Petite Riviere." One side of this fortress is nearly perpendicular, while from the north and south the approaches are difficult, and are covered with a considerable quantity of underwood, and some large trees, under cover of which, the French made their attacks. Three unsuccessful. assaults were made by the French, in their attempts to take this memorable fort. According to General Pamphile La Croix, who commanded one of the divisions of the French army on that occasion, the attacking, force amounted fully to twelfVe thousand men, while the native garrison could not have been more than twelve hundred, under the command of Le Chief de Brigade Lamartini~re.
The amount of the attacking forces in this affair would scarcely have been credible, had not the account been transmitted to us by an evidently generous enemy in the French army.
The little army holding the fort against such fearful odds, being sorely pressed, and very naturally despairing, resolved at last to sell their lives as dear as possible, and therefore came to the final resolution of cutting their way through the superior forces of the French ; hence they rushed forth-their dash was furious; nearly one-half of them fell as they drove through the ranks of their enemies, the remaining half victoriously joining the main Black Army beyond.
This feat is justly celebrated as a great and deadly
44 HAITIAN INDEPENDENCE,
one in Haytian history, and is admitted to be such by the candid French military historian, already named, who was present at the time, and who relates this extraordinary case, with a frankness which commands admiration. This event took place in March, 1802.*
Men of renown in arms, although many of them without any other education than that which was imprinted on their souls by the existing circumstances which surrounded them, had now risen up in Hlayti. Toussaint, IDessalines, Christophe, retion, itigaud, with many others, were already high in military fame, and in that cause of independence which long has been the glory of ilayti. They had all shown themselves to be no ordinary men, havin g secured thle liberties of anl oppressed people by feats of valor and renown. It May indeed be said, that they were men of fury and of blood, nor is it to be denied that such was the case, although certainly not more so than their opponents, whose arms, in this case, were tarnished by the defence of an unrighteous cause, as well as much needless cruelty.
Nevertheless, such were the leading Haytian spirits of this remarkable epoch-mien who had been raised to their elevation in the affairs of their own people, by circumstances over which they had had no control. Nor is it to be denied that they were singularly fitted for their times, and circumstances. They were indeed men of wvar, and therefore they used the sword unsparingly, and without hesitation, whenever it was needed. Nor let it be forgotten, that whatever barbarities were practiced, when the passions rose, they
Mackenzie's Notes on Hayti.
FROM HISTORICAL NOTES. 45
were only the imitations of an enemy with which they had to contend, whose pretentions to superiority iii all respects were sufficiently great. It were, indeed, an easy task to show that the provocations of the Europeans of those times, in too many instances, consisted of the most barbarous atrocities that ever tortured human nature. But the white man's provocations doubtless commenced in the theft of human beings on the coasts of Africa, and were continued through generations of such slavery as was never Surpassed in cruelty and oppression by either Egyptians, Greeks, or RIomans.
Here doubtless will be found the root and origin of all IDessaline's fury and cruelty. Here, too, was the false starting-point of those who brought superior minds adld arms to this great contest; and if the dignity of independence is to be judged by the extent of life, blood, and treasure, laid down for it, then indeed will the merits of Haytian independence appear to be great. But injustice and oppression have never, in the whole history of mankind, failed ultimately to work out their own destruction.
The Haytians, therefore, in their wars, have simply shown themselves to be as other men, nor will history fail to do them justice, for the leading minds among them at their national birth, were evidently, in many respects, equal to some of the most advanced spirits of that age, on the great questions of human rights aid general liberty.
Buit war has not always been the only phase of Ilaytian existence; although, like many other nations, this was the fiery element through which it rose into form and power.
46 HAYMIAN ThTDPENDKNCE,
For a moment, therefore, let us turn our thoughts back to the commercial, educational, and 'religions interests of this remarkable community, during its colonial existence, especially as many of the elements of the present national peculiarities of Hayti are derived from the colonial regime, which was certainly not without some few good and interesting features.
With regard to commerce, it can easily be understood that the great and exhaustless resources of an incomparably fertile soil, together with an insatiable desire for wealth, would certainly, with the power of life and death in hand, drive on industry at a rapid, yea, fearful rate. In fact, the sum total of the produce of-St. Domingne became the wonder and admiration of Europe, although the thought but rarely occurred in those days, that this was all iniquitously drawn from Africa. But with this power in band over a population of about 700,000, the result of industry would be immense. It will not be astonishing, therefore, that in 1801, the produce wasSugar of all sorts .................18,585,112 lbs.
Cocoa-Chocolate ................ 648,518"
Sirup ........................... 99,419
Indigo ........................... 804
Mahogany........................ 5,217 ft.
Besides which, an immense traffic was carried on in skins and a variety of woods.
In this year were found in the French part of the islandIforses ......................837,782
Mules ....................... 48,852
Horned cattle ................ 247,612*
FROM HISTOMCAL NOTES. 47
Such, in fact, was the amount of wealth, resulting from the tremendous pressure of oppression, which the system of slavery brought to bear upon the great mass of the slaves, that the aristocracy of the colony lived in splendor seldom equaled, as may be seen by some of the French historians of that day, as well as by the mansion-like remains, which are still Standing in the northern part of the present republic.
But a System which outraged every feeling of human nature, could not, in the nature of things, consolidate; sooner or later, in such a case, all must change, either by reasonable or violent means.
On the subject of edu cation, under the colonial dispensation, it will be easy to conceive that anything like a really developed, or widely extended system of tuition, would not even be thought of, simply because it was not compatible, or even possible, with the existence of slavery. In fact, with any kind of despotism, the one thing needful is ignorance. The elevation and instruction of every and each individual in a community belongs rather to our own day.
At the same time, the various historians that have written on St. Domingue, inform us that education was not altogether neglected in the colony, and that here and there were individuals of both the clergy and others, who manifested more or less interest on this subject. But in all such matters, we have simply to bear in mind the tendency and spirit of the age. Still, there were even in those days, some few establishments founded, for both monks and nuns, with doubtless good intentions; but the centres of real good were indeed few, and their aims were
48 HAMnAN XflEPENflENCE,
limited. This indeed, at this time, was the case throughout Europe; in fact, up to the end of the eighteenth century, even in the most advanced portions of the civilized world, the education of the masses was rather dreaded than sought.
The great movement in Hayti did not, therefore, begin in a thirst for knowledge, nor was it the offspring of a widely diffused or national education ; it was rather the effect of the French revolution, which was the great event of that day, and which, notwithstanding all1 its horrors, nobly declared all men to be free !
Whether the fierce leaders of that astonishing convulsion of humanity remembered that the descendants of Africa in St. IDomingue had ears -to hear, and hearts to feel, on this great question, need not now be discussed; although it must be admitted, that the colored people of the French colonies were honorably treated, and well received in France, as the representatives of their people.
On the subject of religion, although it was much more widely diffused than education, yet that it was such as really regenerates the heart, may be fairly questioned. On this subject, two things are to be noted:
First, that the ceremonies and general ritual of the church of Rome prevailed, as far as Christianity was concerned.
Secondly, that African superstitions were believed and practiced to an awful extent. In fact, to enter fully into detail on this question, would require a volume of no ordinary size, and would most certainly bring out soine awful developments. Certain it is,
FROM HISTORICAL NOTES. 49
that the presence and pernicious influence of African superstitions was the constant complaint of the colonial writers. Doubtless there were in this colonial community many well intentioned people. Bat the foundations of society here were wrong, and the very structure of things was incompatible with true Christian principle.
One of the leading superstition 's introduced from Africa was Vandonism, of which the presiding god is called Yandoux. The disciples of this creed are generally formed into organized and united societies, which are bound by solemn oath to secrecy.
We are informed by a French writer* that the word Yandoux is said to mean, in the African sense, an almighty, omnipresent, and omniscient being. We are also informed that this being is represented by a snake or serpent, not venomous. But whatever may have been the original meaning of the word in question, it is impossible to suppose it to have been so understood by the Africans themselves, unless we are to understand it as a proof, that an advanced state of civilization at one time existed in Africa-an idea in perfect harmony with much that has beeu Said of the main divisions of the human family.
But the ceremonies and rites connected with the Yandoux worship, are minutely detailed by the author last referred to. They are painfully interesting, and lead to the inevitable conclusion, that the climax of the system is immorality and perdition.f
*Moran St. Mry.
f The Vandoux dance, in which both sexes engaged-frequently under the influence of intoxicating drinks-would lead on to a sort of religious phrcnzy, which terminated in the greatest obscenities.
50 HAYTIM INDEPWDENCE,
Such was the general state of things under the colonial system in St. Domingue. Commerce and wealth were abundant, but all was the effect of brutal force, and not the happy fruit of spontaneous industry ;-literature and education, with very little exception, being excluded.
The details of this unhappy state of things, as here given, are not indeed minute. But perhaps enough has been said, for our general guidance, in forming our ideas on the question in band, and to enable us to see that the forming materials for this nation consisted principally of masses of human beings, which had been brought over by ship loads from Afiica, each mind being steeped in foul and gloomy superstitions, which bad been handed down from generation to generation, for many ages past, unaccompanied by any ray of light, on any really good and useful subject.
True, the imported Africans now found themselves in contact with light and intelligence, which they bad never known before. But in the case of their now white masters, the melancholy fact stands clearly out, that religion and knowledge were wielded as
ighty powers, to awe the enslaved masses into the degrading belief, that they were really inferior beings. Nor is it to be questioned, that this ruling idea, so essential to the security of an unrighteous power, was worked out and acted upon, until all sense of manhood was at last annihilated, together with every noble feeling, even of their former savage state; all was degradation, both to the high and to the low. Hence the whole course of things was ruinous to all parties ; the master dared from
FROM HISTORICAL NOTES. 51
fear, and the bondman submitted from the same base motive, until all was error, tyranny, and corruption.
Such a people seizing their liberty, and wresting it by force of arms, from an enemy vastly superior to themselves, would inevitably involve the necessity of a military system, as the only means under such circumstances of protecting their liberty. They bad indeed beaten off their enemy, but there was reason to believe that his purpose was to re-enslave, as was evident in the case of some of the other French colonies, where slavery had been recommenced.
Hence the Sword, which had become the deliverer, became the protector, and ultimately, the ruler of the nation. Justice, therefore, compels us to admit, that the character and style of the Haytian Republic, as to public institutions, were formed under the most unhappy circumstances; and it might perhaps safely be said, that this nation stands alone as to the circumstances of its origin and formation. Nevertheless, there were among the originators of Haytian independence, minds well formed, and of enlarged views, as to what a free people ought to be, as may be understood from the fact already mentioned, that many of the sons of the colonists had received their education in France. Yet it will be easily understood, that these men, with their educational advantages, were greatly embarrassed by a mass of ignorance, of which they were greatly in advance, and yet without which they could not act, although they could not in all cases control them.
It is, however, an extraordinary fact, that even from the uneducated masses of those days, men would almost suddenly appear, who often seemed
52 HAYTIN INDEPENDENCE,
to be singularly fitted for the work, which divine Providence evidently meant them to accomplish in behalf of their people.
The spirit of the French revolution, with its general bearing, became well known to and understood by the Haytians; but the details of its influence and general working upon this infant people, must be left to the future historians of events relating to IHayti. We, however, must not lose sight of the revolutionary spirit, which thus innoculated this nation from its very birth, and which, from want of the habit of free and open discussion, political or otherwise, have been, in a certain sense, the only safety-valves of the nation.
From the general working of circumstances and events, rose that remarkable man, Toussaint L'Ouverture, whio as a slave, faithfully served his kind master, Mions. Bayou, as coachman. Toussaint, in gratitude to his benefactor, who had given him more or less education, not only aided him in his flight to the United States, but also in supporting him in his exi le there; and being then at liberty, joined the insurgents under Jean Franqois, by whom he was rapidly promoted.
Toussaint, in this case it would seem, simply fought for royalty, under the impression that it was the form of government best suited to his people. This royalist party was then in connection with Spain. But Toussaint L'Ouverture soon left the Spanish service, and was accepted by the French General Laveaux, by whom he was made a general. Toussaint was soon recognized as a man of great ability, and as such, his influence over the blacks would
FROM HISTORICAL NOTES. 53
naturally be very great. He now promoted the French interests, and soon drove the Spaniards in all quarters.
Ultimately Toussaint L'Ouverture was invested, by the French Commissioners, with the office and dignity of General-in-Chief of St. Domingue.
The conviction that the French were sincere in their declarations as to Liberty, doubtless won Toussaint back to them:
On the 14th of February, 1794, entire liberty to all men was proclaimed by the French Republic, intentionally involving the abolition of slavery, and this was ratified by the reception of Black and Colored Deputies, which were sent from St. Domingue to represent that branch of the French Empire; nor should this remarkable circumstance, connected with the groat French Revolution, be lost sight of, or slightly passed over; for it ought to be remembered that nations, which in those days made far greater pretentions to Christianity than Revolutionary France, then, and even long after, held men in chains.
The declaration in France of universal liberty, was, in this case, practically carried out; and the proof of sincerity, at least in the dominant party of the day, with regard to the entire equality of mankind, was seen in the great fact that all Shades of color, as Representatives from St. Domingue, took their seats with their White Brethren, now their recognized and acknowledged equals, as in fact they were in intelligence, civilization, and education.
Whatever horrors, therefore, distinguished the unparalleled convulsion produced by the French Revolution of the latter part of the last century, the
54 IIAYTIA INDEPENDENCE
recognized equality of mankind, on the subject of color, was an honor which no other nation, however Christian, had at that time acquired, and which, even at this day, we are compelled to applaud, at least as to all who were really sincere in this matter; for, it must be admitted that subsequent events proved but too clearly that they were only a portion, however powerful, of the French nation whose views were thus liberal.
The French Commissioners in the Colony of St. Domingue, it should be stated, had, in an hour of alarm, proclaimed the Emancipation of the Slaves, who were now in great excitement from fear of being again re-enslaved; but, under the power and influence of Toussaint, as General-in-Chief, they were soon marshalled into a, body of industrious free laborers.
Up to a late period of his life, Toussaint remained faithful to the French, who long were indebted to his unlimited influence over the masses ; but he was also inflexibly true to the great cause of Liberty; yet his fidelity to France is seen in the fact, that while he served the French, he maintained and kept up the produce, prosperity, and general industry of the country; a fact which, in connection with the undeniable injustice and oppression of the White Coloinists, throws the guilt of all the blood which was shed in the Revolutionary struggles of St. Domingue upon the Whites; who, by plain honesty and impartial justice, might have saved their lives, their country, and their fame.
During the time of Toussaint L'Ouverture, the English had been called in from Jamaica by the
FROM HISTOEZOAL NCTE5. 55
French White Planfters, and they soon began to display their power, ultimately establishing themselves at Port-au-Prince and other places; but their military force was always comparatively small, and they at last evacuated ; to this day, however, several forts, in various parts of the country, are pointed out as having been built by the English.
It is said by a French author that the British, daring their stay in the country, offered Toussaint to create him King, and to sustain his Independence ; this, however, lie is said to have declined, notwithstanding he was, like most men, ambitious, of power; while at the same time the sending of his two sons to France for their education, strongly indicated his entire fidelity to that country, and that he did not aspire to anything beyond the honors which lie then enjoyed, and of which lie had shown himself worthy.
In 1805, Toussaint decided on extending his rule through the Southern part of St. Domingue, where General IRigaud had long presided as -Military Chief. Toussaint having- the masses with him, and being. himself popular, it was, perhaps, to be expected, that Itigaud's party should disappear, although headed by a man of no ordinary character.
Toussaint prevailed, and having thus made himself master of the whole of the French part of the Island, lie now marched upon the city of Santo Domingo, the ancient city of the Spanish part of Hlayti ; here also his arms were victorious, so that the extent of his Empire was the entire length and breadth of the Island; his rule was severe and rig-id; in deed, one Hlaytian historian speaks of him as having, been exceedingly cruel. t
Pamnphile ]a Croix. t St. Rony do Cayes.
56 HtAYTAN INDEPENDENCE,
There is, indeed, something sig-nificant in the two last named campaigns; a full narration of them would, doubtless, be exceedingly interesting; that they had a definite object in view is not to be doubted, hut notwithstanding the well demonstrated honor of Toussaint, the suspicions of Napoleon were probably roused by his great successes and power, as in fact became quite apparent in the end.
After the conquest of the city of Santo Domingo, Toussaint convoked an "1Assembl6e Constituante," composed of the leading Generals of his army; from this body emanated a document in the form of a Constitution, the proclamation of which was offensive to Napoleon I., who, on hearing of it, declared that Toussaint, by this act, had thrown off the mask and drawn the sword from the scabbard for ever. How he could have arrived at such a conclusion, is difficult to understand; Toussaint having, in all good faith, sent him a copy of all the proceedings for his examination and approval ; the French, however, from this time ceased to consider Toussaint true to them.
That the rule of Toussaint L'Ouverture should have been harsh and severe, is not astonishing, for lie had resolved to keep up the produce of the Island, and having himself been trained to do this by brutal force, he probably deemed it the only means of accomplishing his purpose; nor are we to lose sight of the fact, that lie could not be expected to have had any really correct idea of free Institutions or free Government.
Toussaint, however, remained true to the French as long as they themselves remained faithful to the
FROM hlISTORICAL NOTES. 57
leading principles of their own great Revolution, in relation to universal Liberty ; nor is it to be supposed that his own nature could go beyond this; but on the arrival of the last army sent by Napoleon I., under General Leclerc, the suspicions and fears of the Haytians were greatly excited by the fact, that while the highest pretensions and the strongest assurances were made as to sustaining the liberties of the Haytians, the other French West India Colonies had been again reduced to slavery. Here, then, was fearful reason for any change which might show itself in Toussaint. le was faithful to the liberty which the French Revolution had proclaimed, and he was resolved to maintain it; but the French Islands of Guadaloupe and Martinique having been again compelled to bow to the iron yoke of slavery, he concluded that it was impossible that the richer colony of St. Doiningue should remain free.
There was great dignity in the stand of the noble hearted Toussaint L'Ouverture for Liberty; nor will the true historian of Iayti fail to give him all due honor; while posterity will never cease to deplore that lie was seized by order of General Brunet, put on board a French man-of-war, and carried off to France, where he was thrown into the Fortress of Joux, in the Department of Jura. Toussaint L'Ouverture was taken on the 11th of February, 1802 and died, it is said, of starvation in the month of April the following year, within the walls of the above-named fortress.
French cruelty to Haytians.-Dessalines proclaims Independence.-800 Whites fall at St. Marks.-Fcrrand's Proclamation.Dessalines marches on Santo Domingo.-Viet flogged to death. Dessalines retreats.--Christophe carries off hundreds.-Dessalines shot.-'" L'Assembl6e Constituante"-Report to Christophe on Petion's Constitution.-Christophe marches on Port an Prince.-The Republican's routed.-Christophe retreats.-The Senate provides for Northern exiles.-Laws of Christophe on Marriage, etc.-" Ou'peut on este mieux," etc.-The two States compared.-Rebecca Port de Paix. -Lamarre Gardel, etc. -Gen. Borgella joins the Republio.-Christophe proclaimed King.Christophe's Cruelty to his Servant.-The Constitution read by every Haytian.
The great primeval chaos of the earth
Compared with that which from foul passions bursts,
THE French now having the strongest assurance that the blacks of St. Domingo were fully bent on maintaining their freedom, gave way to every evil passion, perpetrating the greatest atrocities, and the foulest barbarities ; hence the pangs through which this infant people rose to independence were indeed great. They, however, helped to form the nation, and compelled its independence.
The unhappy Haytians were seized, and drowned by hundreds in the harbors; others were shot, bayoneted, or gibbeted, until hate, anger, and revenge had reached their horrid climax.
FROM HISTORICAL NOTES. 59
In 1802, Petion and Clairveaux revolt from the French, and are soon joined by Dessalines, whose superior authority was recognized by Petion, and lie soon became General.
The black and colored people were now finally resolved on liberty, but the horrors of their struggle were great. All parties became furious. The French had now yielded to the despair of their threatened and exciting position, their mortified passions rose high, and this soon brought on the pitiless and retaliating massacre of the whites by Dessalines, whom the fearful circumstances of the times had turned into a fury.
The details of the mutual cruelties of all parties are fully entered into by the HIaytian historian already referred to, whose work has been officially acknowledged by the Ilaytian Government as authentic.*
Nothing could be more deplorable than the state of things at this time, as described by the historian just referred to ; indeed it is impossible not to read in it the simple truth that right, whether civil, political, or religious, cannot be trampled upon with impunity; sooner or later, if not in one generation, in another, a fearful reckoning comes on, for man is destined to rise to the dignity of right, nor can mere shades of color binder it.
The year 1803 was rendered remarkable by the entire breaking up of the French power in Hayti; the now roused indignation of an incensed people, led on by able and daring men, who had justice on their side, and were true to the great and righteous cause
60 HAYTAN INDEPENDENCE)
of liberty, proved to be too much for the abettors of slavery, although backed by all that France could do; nor is it for a moment to be doubted that the utmost efforts of a great people were here brought out, for St. Domingue had now long been the "Paradis des Francais," and it was not to be supposed that it would be given up without a struggle.
The bravery and energy of Dessalines were great; and he was very naturally considered by the tlaytians to be the great hero of the day; but he had been inured to slavery, tyranny, and blood, nor had his mind been softened by education; yet he was the man for the moment, and he had risen to eminence amongst his fellows by military feats which had swept away the enemies of liberty.
This man, fearing neither France nor all the legions she had sent forth, or the yet greater she might still send, on the 1st of January, 1804, in the city of Ganaives, solemnly and fearlessly proclaimed the independence and sovereignty of the Haytian people, and at the same time abolished for ever the name of St. Domingue, as a name which would only bring to remembrance the deepest horrors, and re-established the aboriginal name of Iayti.
Thus singularly did a comparatively weak people triumph by the mere justice of their cause-a people which probably it would have been easier for France to have annihilated than to have subdued.
Thus too may it be said that slavery received its first great blow in modern days; and as far as Hayti is concerned, 1804 may be considered as an epoch of no ordinary note. The fact is, that the honor of the
FROM HISTORICAL NOTES. 61
first great Shock to this gigantic evil of modern times, is due to Hay ti.
Hayti thus dared the fiends of all the earth
They fled before the glory of her birth.
Dessalines, in the giddy whirl of victory, declared himself an emperor. It is, however, worthy of note, that lie created neither nobility nor privileged class of any kind. True, indeed, the vanity of this extraordinary step was quite enough without it. His rule was marked by the fierceness of his nature; nor can it be for a moment Surprising that such a mnan should have been in an exclusive sense fitted for this one great object, viz., that of defying France, by sweeping slavery for ever from the shores of Hlayti, and proclaiming the sovereignty and independence of his country; thus boldly Starting the great principle that independence is the dignity of any people, to which God has given in any sense or manner a special destiny.
The barbarous drowning and gibbeting of the Ilaytians by the whites, doubtless provoked their wholesale murder by the infuriated IDessalines, under whose relentless sword men, women, and children, in the town and neighborhood of St. Mark's, fell-both the provocation and revenge remaining as foul blots upon the page of history ; so true it is that in all senses we reap that which we sow.
Eight hundred of all ages, and of both sexes, are said to have been swept offl at one fell swoop, by the ever-memorable Dessalines, at the last-named place.
These dreadful events are ininutely brought out
62 HAYTIAN INDEPENDENCE,
by the faithful historian ; nor will truth and justice spare the guilty, of whatever color or people.
In 1805, the French General Ferrand, then coinmanding the city of Santo Domingo, the capital of the Spanish part of the island, issued a proclamation, by which all Spaniards living on the frontier were empowered to reduce to slavery any of the Itaytians which they might be able to capture. The natural effect of this iniquitous measure was the wrath and indignation of Dessalines, who immediately decided on marching against the ancient Spanish capital, and without provisioning his army, lie arranges everything for departure ; pillage, therefore, would become the only means of subsistence for this army of 30,000 men. This too was intended by Dessalines as in some sense punitive, although it unquestionably suited the poverty of his resources.
The country through which this mass of men had to march, was in many places mountainous and rugged, and frequently without anything worth calling a road. The troops from the extreme west end of the island had not less than 193 leagnes to march, before reaching Santo Domingo.
In addition to other difficulties, it must be remembered that, in the Spanish part of the island, several formidable rivers would have to be forded, or crossed in large ferries, bridges being out of the question; but this numerous army was driven through every difficulty and privation by the brutal proclamation of Ferrand, which, as might be supposed, had produced a fearful effect.
In due time they arrived at the well-known pass between two mountains, in the neighborhood of
FROM HISTORICAL NOTES. 63
Azua, where a few well-directed cannons might defy even a powerful army. Here Ferrand considered that the Hfaytians would certainly be entombed. Instead of this, however, to the great astonishment of the French and Spaniards, they took the Fort, which it was thought would have commanded everything, in such a position.
Many prisoners were taken by the Haytians on this occasion, and among them the commandant of the Fort which commanded this pass, named Viet, who was brought before Dessalines, and was recognized as an old colonist, who had been exceedingly cruel on his plantation.
This unfortunate man was ordered by the Emperor to be flogged to death, which was no sooner done, than a Haytian soldier opened his breast with one stroke of the axe, and taking out his heart, devoured it before the army. The man that did this abominable deed, was from a cannibal tribe in Africa. Such an act was indeed horrible to think of ; and yet it is a humiliating fact that during the French Revolution of 1792, cases of furiously devouring human blood are recorded.
Dessalines entered Azua on the 1st of March, and on the following 4th of the same month, he challenged Ferrand under the walls of Santo Domingo.
Christophe's division had had to contend with the French and Spanish forces, before reaching the main body of the army.
The force of all arms in the city could not have been more-if even so many-than 5,000; but the Haytians had no artillery, and could not therefore contend with the heavy pieces of this ancient Span-
6- HAYTIAN INDEPENDENCE,
ish fortification, which the besieged did not fail to use furiously against the besiegers.
Soon, however, great murmuring commenced against the French General in Santo Domingo, in consequence of a great want of provisions in the city. But help soon arrived, and Dessalines hearing that Ferrand still expected more, called a council of war, in which it was decided that the assault on the city should be commenced on the 26th of March, which indeed took place ; but Dessalines, fearing that French forces were landing on other parts of the island, and despairing of success against an artillery to which he had none to oppose, raised the siege and withdrew, laying everything in his retreat under fire and sword.
Christophe, as be advanced with his retreating columns to the north, set fire to St. Jago, it is said with his own hands, and ordered the butchery of twenty priests, who were found in the buryingground of the place.
The Haytian historian also informs us that this General, during his retreat, took with him 349 men, 430 male children, and 318 girls, who had been doubtless captured wherever they could be found.
The siege had continued some twenty days.
But the empire of Dessalines-which had begun on the 8th of October, 1805-was destined to be of short duration. Although lie had been the most daring friend of his country against its enemies, disgust and impatience at his tyranny soon ripened into revolution, respecting which Dessalines is said to have declared that the entire south-where in all
T. Madiou (Fils.)
FROM HISTORICAL NOTES. 65
probability this revolt against him originatedshould be drenched in blood, and left a desert, where not even a cock should be heard to crow
On the 17th of October, 1806, Dessalines left Arcahaie, where lie had arrived from Marchand, his favorite retreat, in the neighborhood of the town of St. Mark's, on his way to Port au Prince, his object being to put down the rebellion against his governinent which had just commenced, not doubting for a moment of success.
Arriving at "Pont Rouge," a bridge within half a mile of Port au Prince, and which lie reached about 9 A. m., on the last mentioned date, be found himself surrounded by a revolutionary army, which had decided on his destruction. When the two parties met, a confused conflict took place, in which lie was picked out by one in the opposing ranks, and shot.
Thus fell the founder of Ilaytian. independence, and it will be for posterity to judge the case of this first revolution recorded il Iaytian history.
The death of Dessalines, just or unjust, was doubtless brought on by the despotic course which he had pursued with his own people, who, had he only been just, would have made him their idol. Ills very looks are said to have inspired terror. Daring to the utmost, he doubtless was the right man to defy France, and break its iron yoke.
After his death, some cut off his fingers; others took the ornaments from his person; such was the eagerness to have some relic of this extraordinary man.
A Constitution had been drawn up under Dessalines, which was considered to be suited to the times and circumstances of iayti. The main thing, or
66 HAYTIAN INDEPENDENCE,
rather the most prominent feature, in the National charter thus drawn tip, was the article which was then justly deemed indispensable to the national identity and independence of Hayti, viz., that the whites should be excluded, as land proprietors, from the territory of IHayti-a measure only in harmony with that day, and can now be viewed only as a necessary evil.
Exclusiveism can never, indeed, be considered as the order of God, and hence can never be perpetuated, without ultimately bringing on the ruinous effects of stagnation; free moral currents must sweep through all the earth, nor can it be doubted that this .grand day of safe, healthy, and universal freedom is coming on.
It is indeed to be deplored that the internal storms and conflicts of this small, but now independent nation, did not terminate with the political exectuion of Dessalines. This, however, was not the case. Yet far greater difficulties were in the future. The epoch now before us seems to have been a hinge upon which the hopes of the nation turned. It was indeed a critical moment. Nothing, however, is more deceptive than human nature. Peace might have been looked for even at this critical juncture of affairs; but so long as it is not a principle in the human heart to covet the lowest place, rather than the highest, the assurance of peace musf remain shaken. The highest place in this young nation, which was but just starting into life, was even already too much adored, and there were many who thought themselves equally entitled to and capable of all the power, dignity, and honor which this country could offer.
FROM HISTORICAL NOTES. 67
General Christophe was now a prominent character on the stage of Haytian affairs-he also having been renowned for his daring against the French. Hence, after the death of Dessalines, lie was named by a military council, not only as commander of all the forces, but as the provisional chief of the nation. This honor was conferred upon him provisionally, until the National Assembly should be called. This great meeting was to be called L'Assemble Constitnante," and was invested with authority by the same originating source as clothed Christophe himself with the power and dignity which he had received-which was doubtless the first Senatorial body.
This great "Assembl6e Constuante," which must be considered, historically, as one of the starting points of free and constitutional government in Hayti, took place on the 18th of December, 1806, in the cathedral church of the capital, which at that time was Port au Prince.
Christophe's residence was in the northern part of the island, at Cape Haytien. His ideas of government were well known to be in favor of great powers and prerogatives confided to the Executive. In fact, it is probable that lie had inherited from Toussaint L'Ouverture the idea of a monarchical form of govern ment ; for although the latter is said to have declined a crown of British offer, and under British protection, yet it is probable that if lie had remained in Hayti, he might ultimately have become an independent monarch-tTiere having been great reason to believe that his ideas ran much in this channel. On this subject, Christophe's views had been gathered from his general conversations. But in the West, where General Petion
68 HAYTIAN INDEPENDENCE,
resided, all was enthusiastically in favor of Republicanism. In these two great facts-the difference of political views and principles between Petion and Christophe-doubtless commenced the unhappy division between the northern and the western portions of the French part of Hayti.
Republican views and feelings, it would appear, prevailed in the National Assembly, notwithstanding the agents of Christophe were many, and his power and influence very great.
After much warm and even violent discussion, a constitution was finally drawn up, on the most liberal principles, and Christophe was chosen President of the Republic of Hayti, for four years.
In this constitution, the articles excluding the whites as land owners, was continued, and the Roman Catholic religion was recognized as being that of the Haytian nation, without any reference to other creeds, in the way of toleration.
During the framing of this constitution, one named Juste Ugonin is said to have written to Christophe, and to have observed to him that if he accepted it, he would have no more power than a corporal I
On the 27th of December, 1806, the final meeting of" L'Assemblke Constituante" took place. All was anxiety; and au ably drawn up Introduction to it was read by General Bonnet, who was a man of known ability; and this highly important national document, which had absorbed the attention of its framers until after sunset, was by them, amidst high hopes and expectations, signed by candle-light.
It is a remarkable fact that it had been proposed to hold this important National Assembly at Cape
FROM HISTORICAL NOTES. 69
Haytien ; but Christophe, having all confidence in ]iis own power and influence, opposed the proposition, lest it should afterwards be said that he had in any way influenced their decision ; yet lie never scrupled to make it known that if the new Constitution should not suit him, hie would reject it. In fact, his love of rigid and oppressive rule was already known, and even felt, as will appear from the fact that desertions from the northern army to the western had already commenced, and were not even uncommon, which Christophe hearing of, would, as cornmander-in-ehief of the forces, send to Petion, at Port an Prince, requesting that Such men should be sent back to join their regiments; but his messages were generally coolly received, and severe letters passed between these distinguished Generals on the subject.
Christophie was kept well informed of all that wvas passing at the capital ; and on hearing the general character and bearing of the Constitution just drawn uip, he unwisely concluded, that being the responsible President of a Republic, hie might at last, like Dessalines, fall under the power of the people. His rash and final conclusion, therefore, was to march at once upon Port an Prince. This decision formed, hie issued a proclamation, in which hie accused Petion and the Generals of the western part, of having so arranged matters with regard to the framing of the Constitution, and organization of the Republic, as to have all power in their hands, with a view, ultimately, to reduce the whole nation under the yoke of their own power, hence lie calls upon the people to take up arms in defence of their liberties, and at the same time promises full and free plunder to the army.
70 HAYTIAN INDEPENDENCE,
We therefore find ourselves here at the starting point of innumerable evils for Hayti. Christophe was legitimately at the head of the nation ; this was fully and fairly recognized by all ; there was no disposition anywhere to deprive him of any honor that was due to him. But the plain fact seems to be that he had resolved to hold all power, and to be without control, notwithstanding there were many at tnat time who were his superiors as to mind and education. Posterity, therefore, must and will blame this man as a despot, both in his principles and passions. Hayti as a nation cannot here be blamed. All had been well arranged ; in fact the nation had in the most open and legitimate manner chosen a Republican form of government, and they had accorded to the right man its highest honor; but lie chose to be a despot, and rose in arms against his own people; nor is there anything here but what was in harmony with the general history of mankind, however much to be deplored.
On the 26th of December, 1806, Christophe was at St. Mark's, about half way to Port an Prince from the Cape, with an army of 18,000 men.
Petion left Port an Prince on the 1st of January, 1807, with some 3,000 men. He probably reckoned on increasing his army as lie proceeded through the country ; but arriving at a place called Sibert, which was a plantation, these opposing armies met, and a contest fierce and terrible commenced, between men and brothers, who not long since had been firmly united against their common foe.
Petion was entirely routed, his General's hat rendering him a mark at which the enemy had already
FROM HISTORICAL NOTES. 71
eagerly aimed. A young officer named Jerome Coutilien Coutard, snatched it from Petion's head, and putting it on himself, saved his General, who had seriously began to think of committing suicide, under the impression that he was about to be taken prisoner. The young officer, however, fell a victim to his noble feelings of devotion,-while Petion, with one'or two more, escaped, and reaching the sea shore, a canoe which was standing off came at his call, and took him from the Arcahaic side of the great bay of Port au Prince, to the oppositb side, within a few miles of the capital, where his fate was not yet known. Some feared he had been killed, while others feared he had been taken prisoner.
In the mean time, Petion's army had collected at Port au Prince, having been hotly pursued by Christophe, so that the battle now raged outside of Port au Prince. General Yayou had taken (provisionally) Petion's place, and maintaining his ground, had kept off the enemy during the whole of that day; but the next day Petion himself appeared, and was received with great joy and enthusiasm as their beloved head.
The struggle between Christophe and the Republicans was great, but all turned and was decided in favor of the latter. Even women and children are said to have helped, from sheer dread of the name of Christophe, so entirely was this man's name associated with the idea of horror.
This great contest commenced at 3 A. m., on the 6th of January, 1807 ; and on the 8th, the arms of Christophe having totally failed, were on their way back to the north, leaving the Republicans in posses-
72 UAYTIAN INDEPENDENCE,
sion of their capital, their constitution, and their liberty.
At an early period in Haytian history, a military chief named Goman, in the South, occupied an important position, and occasioned much anxiety and trouble to the legitimate rulers of this Republic. But the details of this matter would be impossible; for the present it must suffice simply to mention the fact of such a case, and refer for the details to the larger histories of Hayti.
Here, then, we come to the complete, and for the present final division of this small, and but lately self-liberated nation-a separation which was evidently occasioned by the determination of one man to subdue a nation to his own views of government. No unknown rock, this, of pride and vanity, but one on which many of the mightiest of the earth have dashed themselves to pieces.
Christophe not unnaturally thought that his adversary, Petion, would have pursued him. This, however, was not the case; and for this the conquering General was severely reproved by General Gerin, who declared that had Petion appeared in the North at that moment, the people would certainly have joined the arms of the Republic. But Petion's opinion was, that Christophe's ferocity would soon ruin him, and that any further effusion of blood was needless. Christophe, left thus to himself, re-took Arcahaic, by a division under General Larose. The people of this place were wdll known to be altogether Republican in their preferences, and therefore by this monarchical General they were given up to be pillaged, and several among the most prominent of
FROM HISTORICAL NOTES. 73
this village were sent on to Marchand, where Christophe had halted with his troops, and were there executed by his orders.
Christophe, intending to make his seat of Government at Cape Haytien, transported all the wealth which Dessalines had amassed to his intended capital, from whence lie issued an address to the inhabitants of the North, in which lie promises liberty, warns the enemies of his cause, and urges the people to give themselves fully to industry of every kind.
At Port au Prince, the Senate had assembled, and appointed General Petion to the maintenance of order in the Western Departments; General Gerin being at the same time, and by the same authority, charged with the command of the South.
Several of the representatives from the North, having voted in "L'Assemblc Constituante" for the Republic, could not consequently return to their homes; and being therefore involved in loss and difficulty, their cases were taken into consideration by the Senate, and suitable provision was made for them, while at the same time Christophe was declared to be entirely outlawed, and the Constitution which he had rejected was adopted, and proclaimed with all due solemnity. This important and memorable event took place on the 27th of Dec., 1806.
The power of the Senate thus established, they at once sent a military force, under command of Petion, to re-take Arcahaie for the Republic, for which it was well known that place was inclined. This undertaking was successful; and many of the Northern troops, who had been taken prisoners on this occasion, became citizens of the -Republic. But Petion
71 HAYTIAN INDEPFDENCEhearing of a revolt in the Southern part of the Island, deemed it prudent to return promptly to Port an Prince; notwithstanding the army demanded to be led on from Ascahaie to St. Mark's, which lie considered would simply involve the shedding of blood uselessly, and therefore persisted in his purpose to return to the capital. Petion, however, did attempt to win over Christophel's principal General, Larose, by addressing him a letter, but the Northern General tore it up without even reading it.
Petion being now returned to Port au Prince, the Senate sent a strong force to subdue the revolt in the South, and to re-establish order there; after wAhich this legislative body proceeded to the regulation of the general finances of the State, on which subject General Bonnet read to the Senate a long and able address.
During this time, Christopho sent back a military force to Arcahaie, the only object of which was to entirely destroy that place. The inhabitants fled to the woods, but were pursued by a furious soldiery, whose orders were nothing less than extermination.*
These unhappy people had fallen victims to the fury of Christophe, simply because they were well known to be sincerely attached to the Republic. General Gerin and his party, in this case also, reproached Petion for having suffered this massacre to take place, while lie had 10,000 men at his disposal ; nor indeed is it easy to understand such a seem.ing neglect.
Christophe now began to organize his affairs, and a Constitution promptly appeared, in which Havti is
FROM HISTORICAL NOTES. 75
declared to be a State, with a rresidenit at the head. This Constitution was inaugurated with great pomp and ceremony; and General Christophe, who was now Chief Magistrate of the new State, attended the Te Deum which was sting in the Church at Cape Haytien, at the close of which the new functionary received the most flattering felicitations of the people at large, and especially of his Generals.
It is indeed remarkable that a man whose fierce and unfeeling character had already manifested itself, should have become so popular; but hie was known to have enlarged views of things, hence, with all his defects, lie was at that time considered an extraordinary man; and what ultimately in him degenerated into ferocity, was in the commencement of his career great and unusual energy.
On the 25th of February, 1807, Christophie's Council declared its power and authority over the entire Island, not only in opposition to the West, but in defiance of Spain and France. The same was done by retion and his Republic, in the West; while General Ferrand, in the name of France, at Santo Domingo, in the East, declared his power over all Hlayti. Here, then, were three claimants for this Island, and each one pretending to unlimited power. These, however, were mere declarations; for although they each led to their separate consequences ultimately, yet for a moment all were anxious for a pause. Breathing time from past exhaustion was Dow needed by all parties; and by the time the needed pause bad ceased, views, feelings, and circumstances underwent important changes.
Christophe, during 1807, established regulations,
76 HAYTIAN INDEPENDENCE,
the object of which was the promotion of morality in the State. One was, that public functionaries, military and civil, including public schools, should be expected to attend public worship. Another was, such lawson inheritance by legitimate children only, as should cover the issues of concubinage, adultery, and incest, with shame and disgrace. Such regulations must indeed have been keenly felt by a population, the vast majority of which must have been at that time out of the pale of honorable marriage, and tends to show the fearful evils which must have been entailed upon that generation by slavery.
In the meantime, the Republicans in the West proceeded to organize their now fairly started Republic. A more definite Executive was necessary, and the two principal candidates, it would appear, were Generals Gerin and Petion. The former, it would seem, was so certain of his election, as history informs us,* that lie actually ordered and directed the making of his official coat! It turned out, however, that the votes were very decidedly in favor of Alexander Petion, who, on the 9th of March, 1807, became the first President of the newly-formed Republic of Hayti, then confined to the Western part of the Island.
On the 10th-the following day-General Petion appeared before the Senate ; the Senators receiving him sitting, with their hats on. The General at that time was suffering from rheumatism, and was therefore leaning on crutches. Receiving the newly-elected President thus covered, was indeed significant, and seemed strongly to indicate that they considered the Executive to be the servant, not the master, of the people.
T. Madion (File.)
FROM HISTORICAL NOTES. 77
Uncovered before the Senate, President Petion took the following oath of fidelity to the Constitution, which had been accepted by the people, who were understood to be represented by the Senatorial body :
I swear faithfully to fualfil the office of president of Hlayti, and to maintain, to the utmost of my power, the Constitution.
"May those arms confided to the people for the defence of liberty, be pointed to ray breast, if ever I conceive the audacious and infamous project of violating their rights; or if ever I forget that it is after having punished with death a tyrant, whose existence was an insult to the nation, and after having aided to proscribe another, whose ambition has lighted up civil war among us, that I now find myself president of IBayti.11
Certainly it must be admitted that, on all sides, true republicanism is here fully recognized, and is yet more completely sustained by the following Statement, thiat, at the invitation of the presiding Senator, the now accepted President took his seat on his right hand, while the band immediately Struck up"On peut on etre mieux,
Q'aa sei da sa faifa T'
Joy beamed in every countenance, both among foreigners and natives, and the speeches of the Chairman, the Senate, and also of the President of Hayti, were ordered to be printed.
With the great majority of the Republicans, the choice of Petion was decidedly popular. There was, however, one whose influence was considerable, and whose mortification at the loss of the great honor of presiding over the Republic, was the more deeply
*Where can one happier be,
Than in one's family?
78 HATIAN INDEPENDEI Cr,
felt, because of his entire confidence that he would have obtained it himself.
Few, perhaps, had ever felt greater assurance in their expectation of such an honor, than had General Gerin and his party ; nor could anything be more deplorable than the fact that jealousy, with its many evils, should have been the result with the losing side in this affair, which ultimately developed itself in the form of a conspiracy. All, however, was useless. Petion Was the man of the people, and it was want of dignity of spirit in this case to oppose him.
The following is a comparison made by a Ilaytian historian, between the Constitution of the Republic in the west, and that of the "State" in the North :*
In that of the "State," the Chief Magistrate commands all the forces, naval and military, and also could name a successor, but only among the generals of the army.
In the Repubiic, of that day, the President at the head was under the control of the Senate.
The President of the "State" was for life.
The President of the Republic was for four years.
In the "State," the Legislative Council was confided to a Council of State.
In the Republic, this was confided to a Senate chosen by the people.
In the "State," the President nominated to all offices and honors.
In the Republic, this was done by the people, through the Senate.
A wide field of discussion as to the merits of the two Constitutions, is indeed open. It is, however, worthy of note, that the handling of such subjects, in such a manner, is strongly indicative of an ad* T. Madiou.
FROM HISTORICAL NOTES. 79
vanced intelligence, at least on the part of those concerned.
That the masses of ilayti were at this time really prepared for the unbounded freedom of a genuine Republic, cannot for a moment be supposed. The reins of power held by one leading mind, of good faith, and of thoroughly patriotic feelings, might probably, have been better. If, however, the necessity of good faith is to be admitted in one case, it must be in the other; and hence we are driven to the conclusion that where righteous principle and feeling reign, the form of government is but of secondary importance. Justice and good faith in any administration, will secure the public weal. Time and experience, however, have shown in ilayti itself that the abuse of any form of government, although good in itself as to theory, must and does lead to confusion and unhappiness.
On the 12th of March, president Fetion was allowed by the Senate to nominate all his civil and military officers-reserving to itself the power of refusal or change.
On the same day was proposed the law relating to the administration. The document drawing up this great measure was an able production, by the justly celebrated General Bonnet, who evidently was a man of very comprehensive mind and views, as may appear from the fact that, with but few modifications, the same general law has been in force ever since, notwithstanding' all the revolutions and changes which have subsequently taken place.
The first and vital point relating to the tenure of landed property, which, at such a time, and under
80 HAMlAN INDEPENDENCE,
such peculiar and trying circumstances, must have been singularly intricate and difficult, appears to have been ably settled, as may be seen fully detailed in the pages of the historian already spo often named ;* and affords another amongst many other proofs in the history of this country, that European education has furnished leading and able minds for the manageinent and direction of national interests and circumstances, which even in general history will appear as of no ordinary character.
About this time it was decreed by the Senate that, in ease of a siege, the Senators should appear on the ramparts of the city in full costume,t to encourage the energies and activity of the people. At the same time, all who bad submitted to the authority of Christophe, were declared to be rebels against the Republic. The case, however, of those who were living on the frontiers, and who by fidelity to the Republic had lost all their property, was considered ; such in many cases having been driven from their homes, it was decided that gifts of land should be made to them, in compensation for their losses.
About this time also, Boyer was promoted to the rank of colonel, and attached to the staff of the President.
In the meantime, Christophe was not inactive. It is, however, to be deplored that even at this early period of his power, notwithstanding many wise and good measures, symptoms of severity, and even
f To this day the Senators, and also the Representatives of the people, wear a uniform, consisting of a blue coat, with yellow buttons, a cocked hat, and sword. The Judges wear cocked hats, black coats, and swords. The real simplicity of Republicanism has yet to he learned in Hayti.
FROM HISTORICAL NOTES. 81
tyranny, began to appear in his general proceedings. His institutions were in may respects good, and upon the whole adapted to the charactor and circumstances of the people; but he did not conform to them himself; and it is complained of him that the laboring classes, under his power, were more in the position of serfs than otherwise. It is not, therefore, surprising to learn that a rising against Christoplie took place at Port de Faix, where the Republic under Petion was decidedly preferred.
An officer in Christophe's army, named Rebecca,* having been reduced to the ranks, under the influence of' revengeful feelings, availed himself of what he knew to be the dominant preference of the people of Port de Paix and its neighborhood for republicanism, and raised the standard of revolt; but notwithstanding all his reasonings on the tyranny of their Chief, he failed to win over to his own side Christoplie's officers.
One very singular and even extraordinary feature in this rising was, that none sought posts of honor or emolument. Rebecca, it is said, commanded in this affair simply as a grenadier private; and the same simplicity appears to have been manifested by all who had attached themselves to him: a rare but interesting exception to the general rule in such cases, both in Iayti and elsewhere. This man, however, persisted, and succeeded in raising the whole population of that neighborhood against Christophe.
After taking Port de Paix, Rebecca learned that Christophe was near at hand on one side with his
*It is singular that the name of a woman should be borne by a man; this, however, is still to be found in the Haytian army.
82 HAYTIAN INDEPENDENCE,
troops, while one of his generals, named Romain, was approaching with his forces on the other side; but strange to say, Rebecca's men had so abandoned themselves to pillaging the town, that as the only means of gathering them, he set fire to the place, and even then he could only muster some forty of them. Instead of flying, however, notwithstanding great odds, he attempted battle with Christophe's superior forces; and, falling wounded, was taken alive and brought before General Romain, who inquired of him why he had taken up arms against Christophe. "Because," said lie, "I consider him to be a tyrant, who, in the name of liberty, is re-establishing slavery ; and I consider you, General Romain, as the vile instrument of a monster !" At this the General became furious. and asked him what lie meant, and what he wanted. Rebecca's reply was, "Death !" upon which his head was immediately severed from his body, and carried to Christophe, who ordered that it should be put upon a pole, and placed before his army.
The Senate at Port au Prince had raised Rebecca to the rank of Colonel, but his death occurred before the brevet reached him. The Senate, however, on hearing that lie had fallen a victim to his love of liberty, voted a pension to his widow, and one also to his bereaved mother.
President Pction, without loss of time, issued a proclamation, calling upon the people for military aid, and at the same time commenced collecting a land and naval force, with the design of attacking Christophe at various points; but the base and unhappy thirst for plunder on the part of Rebecca'.
FROM HISTORICAL NOTES. 83
men, had already ruined their cause. Had they remained honest and united, they would doubtless have been able to present a bold front; at least they might have held out until the republican forces from Port an Prince had arrived, when in all probability the power of Christophe might have received a severe blow, and possibly might have been entirely broken up. This, however, was not the case, and the unhappy people who had revolted were compelled to fly to the woods and mountains ; but Christophe, acting both humanely and with good policy in this case, sent some of his men into the woods, to endeavor to win over the insurgents. In this, however, he failed ; for the very name of Christophe, and the bare sight of his men, filled them with terror, and the wretched people therefore persisted in their flight.
Christophe's troops continued their course untilthey reached the Mole, which is the western extremity of the Island on the north side, where it would appear that many women and children had taken refuge; but the historian of Hayti informs us that on the approach of Christophe's army, many of the unhappy mothers who had fled here for safety, preferred throwing themselves into the sea, to falling into the hands of the northern despot.*
The forces of the Republic being now organized, General Bazelais was sent, with a naval armament under his command, and with orders to take St. Mark's; or, if that was impossible, to proceed to Port de Paix. Bazelais, on reaching St. Mark's,
.The details of the whole of this affair were related to the historian Madiou by General Alaire, who commanded Port de Paix at the time of Rebecca's revolt.
84 HAY'fIAN INDEPENENCE,
found it so prepared for an attack, that be decided to continue on to Port do Paix. Here lie entirely succeeded; and soon also took Gonaives.
During the interval of preparation at Port an Prince for the defence of Port de Paix, Colonel Nicolas Louis, of the latter place, who was an ardent friend of the Repu'blic, hearing of the decision of the Senate with regard to the rising at Port de Paix. and being thus encouraged with the expectation of the speedy arrival of Petion's forces, entered the Fort of that place with a few men during the night, Christophe's party having neglected to place a garrison there ; the surprise, therefore, of the northern soldiers was great, on hearing the 4 o'clock drum the next morning from the Fort.
At daylight, Colonel N. Louis mounted the wall of the Fort himself, and calling to General Romain, told him that lie begged to hand him a proclamation from President Petion, at Port an Prince ; to which Remain very significantly replied, "I am just getting ready to come and take it I" and immediately moved forward with a couple of columns, to take both the Fort and the proclamation. In this, however, lie failed. Three violent and fierce attacks were made, and even a fourth, in which lie not only failed, but was wounded, and returned to the Cape, pursued by Nicolas and his few men for a considerable distance.
By this time, great manifestations of feeling appeared against Christophe, in the plains of the Artibonite.*
A beautiful and extensive level country, through which a river of that name meanders, in what is called the northern part of the Island.
FROM HISTORICAL NOTES. 85
In fact it is easy to understand that the contrast between the two States must have been great; and in the nature of things, the working of a free system by thesideof real despotism must have told powerfully upon the latter. In the one reigned a freedom which could not string up the energies of an uneducated people to a sufficiently high tone of industry ; and in the other, a discipline which amounted to oppression, was becoming gradually insupportable to an untrained, uncultivated, and but recently liberated mass. Christophe's system, therefore, rapidly ripened, rotted, and fell.
On the 26th of May, Petion left the capital for the North, and on the 28th and 29th was himself engaged in bloody conflict with Christophe's troops; nor had he much repose until the 10th of June following, when the Republican Generals Bazelais, Lamarre, and Lanoix, were driven from Gonaives by the northern forces, and even narrowly escaped with their lives.
Petion, who about this time was in the neighborhood of St. Mark's, recognized his own fleet off that port by which he knew that the Republican army had been compelled to retreat; and inferring from what he knew must have happened, that Christophe's whole force would therefore soon be upon him, with his comparatively weak numbers, he immediately decided on returning to Port anu Prince. On his arrival however at the capital, he found that intrigues had been carried on in his absence against General Yayou, who had been left in command; but the presence of the President soon made all right.
But the inhabitants of Port de Paix, who had
86 HAYTIAN INDEPENDENCE,
shown such attachment to the Republic, could not be abandoned, Petion, therefore, promptly organized another expedition for the north, and confided the command to General Lamarre, who was instructed to hasten to the succour of Port de Paix.
Lainarre set sail with 800 men; and the Senate having addressed the people on the necessity of flying to the help of their brother Republicans in the North, their number was soon augmented.
In the meantime, Christophe himself reached Gonaives, and from thence, on the 20th of June, arrived at Cape Haytien, where lie was received by the most enthusiastic welcome of the people.
Having now a few days rest, the Chief of the Northern State set to work about commercial arrangements, and the formation of other laws which were needed for the general welfare and prosperity of the nation.
Meantime, Colonel N. Louis was still contending with Christophe's army, when on the 2d of July, General Lamarre announced to him his own arrival, with Colonels Gardel, Weillard, and Adjutant General Delva; on the same evening of their arrival, they commenced their march to join Nicolas Louis, and came up with him at a place called Moustiques.
The united forces of the Republicans amounted to about 2,000 men. Ttis, however, was a long and tedious struggle, and lasted from 1807 until 1810, when Lamarre died, and Christophe became master of the Mole.
History informs us that on one occasion of great peril, Souloque* stood faithfully by the side of Limarre.
Who subsequently became Emperor of Hayti.
FROM IIISTORICAL NOTES. S7
During all this struggle, Goman, in the South, disturbed the public peace, and both himself and party declared themselves in favor of Christophe.
In 1810, Rigaud arrived in Hayti, and finding a party, under Gerin, ready for revolt against Petion, lie placed himself at the head of it; the following year, however, he died, and the Republic gradually gained strength.
General Borgella, whose name is celebrated in Ilaytian history, as a brave and honest man, was elected as Rigaud's successor in the Government of the South. Ie, however, ultimately sent in his adhesion to the Western Republic.
During this year, Petion was re-elected for four .years as President of Hayti; nor can there be any doubt that this distinguished individual, notwithstanding a seeming want of energy, which was felt throughout his administration, was worthy of the high esteem in which lie was held by his countrymen ; for whatever may have been his errors, he was honest and brave, having enlarged and liberal views of government.
On the 2d of June, 1811, Chistophe became king, under the title of Henry I., and surrounded himself
-by a privileged nobility of princes, dukes, barons, etc., who assisted him in carrying out his own harsh views of government, and compelling activity and industry by an insupportable oppression, which ultimately lost everything they aimed at ; it must, however, be admitted that an amazing amount of industry was thus wrenched from the people, by mere terror of their Chief.
It is indeed to be lamented that less than half the
88 RAYTIAN INDEPENDENCE,
Island should have been thus divided into two small nations, and especially that they should so repeatedly have been brought into fierce and deadly conflict with each other, whatever may have been the motive of either party. Such, however, is human nature, for our business here is not so much to judge of motives, as of facts and principles, with their tendencies, as shown by the light of history.
Independence, which is the element and dignity of any distinct branch of the human race, is frequently only gained at an awful cost; yet it is this cost, in the form of daring feats of valor, and triumphant struggles with mightier foes, which constitute the glory so boldly sought, evenn at the cannon's mouth." Nor can we refuse to any nation which has victoriously passed through the dreadful ordeal of arms and blood, a fair amount of dignity-whatever may be the opinion as to military systems, or even as to the use of arms at all.
In 1810, this comparatively small territory, of less than 500 miles in length, and of less than 200 miles in breadth, was divided into not less than four different governments. The Spaniards in the east, Christophe in the north, Rigaud in the south, and Petion in the west. Christophe's regal sceptre, to all human appearance, at one time seemed to be held by a firm hand. His capital was Cape ilaytien, which at that time was, notwithstanding many ruins from fire and war, rather a handsome little city; but the favorite retreat of the newly-made king, in the north of Hayti, was his palace at "1Sans Louei,"' a few miles only from the city of the Gape.
"1Free from care !"A name certainly very far from true in this case.
FROM HISTORICAL NOTES. 89
Cape Haytien is described by an English traveler, who visited it in 1809, as a beautiful city, and as being a most agreeable residence as to climate, etc.+
With regard to the government of Christophe, it must be admitted that there was much that was good in it, and that he really did raise his kingdom to a high degree of industry and wealth; it must, however, be remembered that the system in operation for the accomplishment of this, was such as to render its overthrow inevitable. The white colonists before him, whom le had so powerfully aided to drive out, had also succeeded in winding up the Colony to a high pitch of energy and wealth, by sheer brutality.
Some have indeed said that Christophe erred on the right side; but how can that course be in any sense right, which at last plunges the man who pursues it, with all who are dependent upon him, into utter wretchedness and ruin ? All, therefore, that was good in the system of Christophe, was neutralized by overwhelming evils, which will send down his name to posterity as a sanguinary tyrant; so much so, that to enter into a full detail of his cruelties, in floggings, executions, imprisonment, etc., would be far too sickening and disgusting. One case only we will state here, which will suffice to show the man ; and this is stated by the traveler last named, who was informed of the abominable transaction by one who was an eye witness of the whole affair.
One of the king's servants, it would appear, had stolen a quantify of salt fish. The case having come to the knowledge of Christophe, the man was ordered t Mackenzie.
90 HAYTIAN IRDEPENDENCE
to be laid down in the kitchen, and in the presence of the monarch, was literally scourged to death, notwithstanding earnest entreaties in behalf of the culprit.*
That a government impregnated by the spirit of such a man should perish, is only natural ; nor, in fact, can it be any matter of regret that slavery, whether crowned or ini the name of liberty, should be abolished.
It is true, we are not to forget that this king had become what lie was, not only from his own natural ferocity, but from a system under which lie bad been ,born and trained, and under which hie had seen men, far superior to himself in education, etc., practice the most horrid and barbarous deeds.
In fact, Christophe's whole system degenerated into low oppression; its ruling power became absolute, and the liberty of both pen and tongue was annihilated ; while the general bearing of the western Republic, and the presiding spirit of Petion, may be seen in one of his splendid mottos:
"Let every I1nytian, with the Constitution in his hand, know what he can do, and what be ought to do."
Here it is fully seen that the leading aim of this ruling and noble mind, was to raise the people to the .level and dignity of an unsophisticated liberty. Had this great and good intention only been carried out, and accompanied by well-timed, well-placed and persevering energy on the part of Petion himself, there can be no doubt but that the Hlay tian Republic would have risen rapidly in civilization of every Mackenzie.
FROM HISTORICAL NOTES. 91
kind, and prospered to the entire Satisfaction of its best friends; while at the same time it would long ago have confounded much empty reasoning on the African character in general, which to develop and demonstrate doubtless constitutes the great mission of the ilaytian people, in their existence as a nation.
Every Ilaytian, with the Constitution in his hand, and the ability to read it and make it his national guide, necessarily involved that every Ilaytian Should have sufficient education at least to be able to read; from this, therefore, would result the primary instruction of every man, woman and child in Hayti!I so that the entire nation would have been placed on the high road to that dignity which it must be confessed it has never yet reached, and which it never can, but by the elevation of the entire mass of the people.
Such a measure, carried into effect in the spirit of true republicanism, would have superseded the necessity of degrading rural codes, which inevitably Supp)ose a degraded and sunken people. In fact, th'e education of the masses, as here supposed by retion, is time only true law by which real wants, and therefore real industry, can be created, and at the same time the dignity of a nation secured and promoted.
It must, however, he 1)oth admitted and deplored, that the grand defect of Petion's government was want of energy ; hence the best plans and soundest principles were frequently paralyzed in their execution. Could tihe energ(,y of Christophe, the humanity of retion, anid the daring of itigaud, have been brought into united action, under one government Hlayti might have won the admiration of the world.
92 HAYTTAN UO3EPENDEWCE.
But the demon of discord broke loose in this land of freedom ; and notwithstanding every means and element existed in ilayti to sustain the dignity of an an elevated, wealthy and praiseworthy Independence, disappointment has afflicted both ilayti and its friends; but these same elements still exist, nor is it by any means too late to bring them out into full and successful development.
Distribution of Lands.-Senatorial Plan.-Petion a Dictator.Republicanism the choice of the Educated.-Five Carreaux of Land given.-Ardouin on the Distribution of Lands.-Petion Re-elected.-He is envied. -Christophe attacks the RepublicDesertion to the Republic.--Christophe fears.-He kills the Colored People at St. Mark's.-He builds Laferriere.-His Palace. -Candler's Description of it.-$30, 000, 000 lodged at Laferriere.-Idea of Purchasing the Spanish part.-Case of Medina. Chistophe's Schools.-FaUs out with his Bishop.-Is smitten with Apoplexy. -Fails in mounting his horse.-Commits Suicide.-His Biography.-Indemnity to France. -Commissioners from Louis XVII. -Presidency for Life.-House of Representatives.-Esmongart to Christophe.-Petion offers Indemnity.Bolivar in Hayti.
The nation rises, power and form assumes,
When plains, hills, mountains, with their boundless wealth,
To her brave sons are fairly meted out.
TIaE distribution of lands by Petion was doubtless one of his master-strokes of policy, as to its genera 1 effects upon the Republic over which he presided, particularly at a time when the nation needed some such popular measure for its final organization and consolidation. In fact, it is almost' difficult to conceive how this small nation, which had just broken loose from law and order, had existed up to the present moment. By this means, however, it soon began to assume a definite form ; and the contrast which the free and simple western Republic formed with Christophe's more pompous and almost feudal system iu the north, was great ; nor were the northern people blind to this.
94 HAYTIAN INDEPENDENCE,
The measure in question, relating to the distribution of lands, doubtless told well in its influence and power on the nation: in fact, it created a con-. sciousness of national existence; and yet it is a singular fact that this great measure did not pass through the Senate without great difficulty. Why this should have been the case, we will not now enquire, especially as the measure itself was a great, good, and vital one.
Petion's proposal was, that lots of land, of from thirty to sixty or more acres, should be distributed to such individuals in the army as had in any way distinguished themselves in the service of their country. This, doubtless, would have reached a great number of deserving persons In the nation, and would have bad a powerful effect in diffusing strength throughout the entire Republic; but the Senate, from some mysterious cause, either did not or would not see this, and the consequence was painful and unhappy throughout the nation-dissensions and conspiracies being the result.
Such is human nature, that to avoid differences of opinion appears to be neither desirable nor possible, either in politics or religion, and yet common sense ought to preserve peace. The measure in question was undoubtedly one of paramount importance, and if carried with unanimity, would have raised the nation, both in strength and dignity. Whether selfish and ulterior aims really operated in this case, we will not say ; but certain it is that the question itself, important as it was, offered nothing intricate: it was plain, straightforward, and simple.
The Senate, however, drew up a plan of their own.
FROM IIISTORICAL NOTES. 95
Why they should not have adhered to that of their President, or why the president himself should not have sought some understanding with them, rather than disperse them, whether by military power or otherwise,* will be for posterity to consider. The Executive, ruled by the majority, has yet to be understood in ilayti.
The leading idea of the Senatorial plan was thus expressed :" That those fathers and mothers who should have the greatest number of legitimate children, resulting from honorable marriage, should be favored with concessions of land."
The measure of the Senate was unquestionably good; yet when we place before it the fact that the entire population which bad fought for the liberties of the country, bad been taught by men of superior acquiremnents vastly different things, and that there bad not been time or opportunity yet for the formation of domestic order, or the establishment of morality, in a national sense, we are compelled to pause before this measure, although in itself good.
Concubinage and libertinage had been taught the blacks by the whites, and it would be useless to shun a truth which reveals the fact of the almost total absence of honorable marriage at that time in the country; hence, notwithstanding the measure was
S. Larnour, still living, who was attached to the Senate at that time, denies that military power was in any sense resorted to by Potion in this case.
L. Ardonin, in his Essay on Haytian History, declares that the Senate dissolved itself involuntarily. Mv. B. Ardonin, in his Studes sur l'histoire d'Hnyti, declares that Potion threatened military force, and that the Senate then dlissolved.
06 HArTIAX INDEPENDENCE,
good and laudable in itself, yet neither the practice or neglect of marriage could lessen the desserts of those who had fought and bled in their country's cause; while the execution of the Senatorial measure must have produced great embarrassment, by circumstances which had resulted from causes over which no one had had any control, and for which no one was or could be responsible; but the main object of Petion was, a prompt and immediate effect upon his own people, and also upon those who were under the pell and power of Christophe. It is not, therefore, surprising that the measure of the Senate should have become unpopular with the people, or that it should have been decidedly opposed by Petion.
The whole measure, consequently, was postponed; and in the meantime the Senate demanded of the President, their Executive, a general account of his administration. The President, in reply, takes up the position that he was not responsible to them for his proceedings; we have, however, seen that it was this Senatorial body, as the representative of the people, which had created both himself and his power, as President of the Republic, and that it was to them, as such, that he had sworn fidelity to the people.
But things now rose to so high a pitch between the parties, that Petion dismissed the Senate abruptly. The consequence of this measure was, that Petion rose immediately to the power of a Dictator, which for a short period he certainly exercised, until it was feared that General Rigaud, who was now in the Southern part of the Island, might sympathize with the violently-dissolved Senate, and by this means sap the foundations of Petion's Republic.