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ISLAND OF ST. DOMINGO,
FROM ITS FIRST
DISCOVERY BY COLUMBUS
the present period.
LONDON: :: ;
PRINTED FOR ARCHIBALD CONSTABLE AND CO, EDINBURGH AND REST FENNER, LONDON.
Printed by S. Curtis, Camteruxli Press,
The island of St. Domingo presents an object of interesting' contemplation to every observer of the past and present state of the world. The circumstances which invest it with peculiar interest are,the fertility of its soil, the beauty of its scenery, and the general advantages of its situation;its distinction as the firstspot colonized by Europeans in the western hemisphere;the barbarous extirpation of its original inhabitants;the importation of Africans, forcibly dragged from their native shores;the oppressions and cruelties endured by one generatiea after another of these hapless beings;the signal vengeance which it pleased divine providence to permit them, at length, to inflict upon their tyrants; and, above all, the acquisition of independence, the introduction and progress of civilization, and the establishment of social order and regular government, among a people whom their oppressors had denounced as incapable of these benefits: With such claims to attention, it is hoped that the following attempt to furnish a sketch of the History of St. Domingo, derived from authentic sources, and condensed into a more commodious form than has yet appeared, will not be unacceptable to the British public.
Page 2. For the native country of Columbus, read, the country Achich sent out
the squadron under Columbus. Page 103. Note. For a typographical view, read, statistical tables relating to the French part.
FROM THE PERIOD OF THE DISCOVERY OF THE ISLAND, TO THE YEAR 1600.
Situation. General description. Disco-very by Columbus.State of the inhabitants. Anecdote of Guacanahari.A settlement formed* Its demolition and re-establishment.Battle with the natives. Subjection of the island. Dissentions among the colonists. Bovadillo sent as governor.Superceded by Ovando. Columbus refused admittance.His second visit. Spanish oppression of the natives.The Lucayans seduced into slavery.Diego Columbus obtains the government,Opposition of the Dominicans to the treatment of the natives. Albuquerque's administration.Account of Las Casas.Attack of Sir Francis Drake. Demolition of the seaports and wretched state of the
FROM THE YEAR 1600 TO THE PEACE OF RYSWICK
The English and French go to the West Indies. Expelled from St. Christopher's by Toledo.The remnant of those dispersed settle at Tortuga.Account of the Buccaneers'. The English party expelled from Tortuga, and the French retain possession.Anecdotes of Peter le Grand. Michael de Basco and others. Montbar and Morgan. The French colony settled in 1665, under the judicious government of Bertrand HOgeron.His character and conduct.His wish to subdue the whole island for France.His death at Paris.Account of his successors. First regular cession of the western part of the island to the French at the peace of Ryswick ....................................... 54
FROM THE YEAR 1697 TO THE YEAR 1789.
Company of St. Louis.M. Auger succeeds Ducasse and Deslandes. Destruction of the cocoa trees on the island.Commotion in 1722. Increasing prosperity of the French colony. A view of the ecclesiastical and political constitution of the French and Spanish divisions of the island previous to the year 1789 ............ 99
FROM THE EARLIEST PERIOD OF THE REVOLUTION OF 1789 TO THE DECREE OF MAY 1791.
States General summoned* in FranceSociety of Amis des Noirs. Declaration of rights. Confused state of the colony.Decree of March Sth, 1790.Colonial assembly meet at St. Marc. Decree of 28th of May.Proceedings of Peynier and Mauduit.Rebellion of Oge*. Committee for the colonies in France.Death of Mauduit. Decree of the 15th of May, 1791..................... 114
FROM THE MONTH OF MAY, 1791, TO THE CONFLAGRATION OF THE TOWN OF CAPE fran9ois IN 1793.
Resentment against the decree of the 15th of May. Revolt of the Negroes in the North. Anecdote of the extraordinary fidelity of a Negro.Insurrection of the Western division. Concordat of the llth of September.Proclamation of the general assembly.New disturbances. Civil commissioners sent by the national assembly.Decree of the 4th of April, 1792.A new governor and other commissioners appointed.Their violence.M. Gal-baud made governor. Disputes with the commissioners, and dispossession of his office. His brother unites with him to oppose th&
commissioners by force.The latter call in the aid of the revolted negroes.Conflagration of the capital, and massacre of the white inhabitants .....,.............,..................................... 141
FROM MIDSUMMER, 1793, TO THE EVACUATION OP THE ISLAND BY THE BRITISH TROOPS IN 1798.
Emigrations.Overtures to the British government, Strength of the republican party. Negro slavery abolished by the French commissioners.Jeremie and the Mole at Cape St. Nicholas surrendered to the British.Failure of attack on Cape Tiburon.A second attempt succeeds. Further operations of the British troops.Reinforcements under General Whyte. Conquest of Port au Prince.Further rein-forcement.^Great mortality among the troops. General Whyte succeeded by Brigadier-general Horneck.Leogane taken by the negroes.Sue-* cesses of Lieutenant-colonel Brisbane in Arti-bonite.Insurrection [of mulattoes at St. Marc. Rigaud attacks Fort Bizotton, takes Fort Tiburon.Conspiracy of the French against the British at St. Marc, and at Port au Prince. Lieutenant-colonels Brisbane and Markham killed. British reinforcements.Ravages of disease. Major-general Williamson, commander-in-chief, succeeded by Major-general Forbes.The Spanish part of St, Domingo ceded
to the French republic.Reinforcements under Brigadier-general Howe.Leogane fortified by the mulattoes.Major-general Simcoe succeeds to the chief command. Toussaint appointed by the French government general in chief.Gene-ral Whyte succeeds General Simcoe, and is soon succeeded by Brigadier-general Maitland.St. Domingo wholly evacuated by the British troops 163
FROM THE EVACUATION OF THE ISLAND BY THE BRITISH IN 1798, TO THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE IN JULY, 1801.
Several Negro chiefs.All superseded by Toussaint.His birth.His early character. His kind treatment by his master.His diligence and proficiency in learning.Not concerned in the first insurrection.His gratitude and generosity to his master.Joins the black army, and is appointed an officer.Soon advanced to the command of a division.His talents for warand government.His prudence, benevolence, activity, and veracity. First espoused the cause of royalty,but afterwards acknowledged the republic.His kindness to General Laveaux.Forgiveness of injuries. Honourable conduct towards General Maitland. Promotion of agriculture.The increase of
population.State of society.Tour of Toussaint through the island.Constitution formed.Declaration of independence............................... 187
FROM JULY, 1801, TO THE SEIZURE AND TRANSPORTATION OF TOUSSAINT IN JUNE, 1802.
Peace between France and England.The Trench Government resolves on the re-conquest of St. Domingo.Sailing of the expedition.Its arrival at the island, and formation into several divisions. Capture of Fort Dauphin by General Rochambeau. Le Clerc with the main body arrives off Cape Francois.Correspondence with Christophe.Proclamation of Bonaparte.Landing of the French. Cape Francois burnt and evacuated by the blacks. Toussaint in the interior.His letter to Domage. Mission of Coisnon to Toussaint.Letter to him from Bonaparte.His interview with his sons.He prefers resigning them rather than betraying his country.Le Clerc s attempts to produce defection among the blacks.Commencement of the campaign.Operations of the different divisionsBattle with Toussaint.Defection of the negroes.Toussaint driven to the mountainsSuccessful operations of the French in the s6uth.Le Clerc orders the restoration of slavery.The blacks renew the war with fresh
vigour.Great reverses sustained by the French__
Le Clerc deceives them by a new proclamation.
Negotiations.Peace with the negroes.Retirement of the chiefs.Toussaint seized by order of Le Clerc. Sent to France with all his family.His separation from them,imprisonment,and death.......... 213
FROM JUNE, 1802, TO THE EXPULSION OF THE FRENCH FORCES IN DECEMBER, 1803.
Colonial regulations ofLe Clerc.The blacks again take up arms.Distressed state of the French, from disease, and defection.Their cruel attempts to exterminate the negroes, by massacres, by drownings, and by blood-hounds employed to hunt them down.Death of ^General Le Clerc.The chief command devolves on General Rochambeau.Further decline of French affairs.Several skirmishes.Battle of Acul. Five hundred prisoners murdered by the French. Retaliation of the blacks. War renewed between Great Britain and France.A British squadron appears on the coast.The French in Cape Francois blockaded by sea and land.Their extreme distress, capitulation, and final evacuation of the island........................................ 273
FROM DECEMBER, 1803, TO THE SIEGE OF THE CITYOF ST. DOMINGO AT MIDSUMMER, 1804.
Preparations for the new order of things on the departure of the French.Proclamations. ^-Revival of the name of Hayti.Dessalines appointed governor for life.Measures to increase the army, and the male population.Inflammatory Proclamations of Dessalines against the French.General massacre of them.Attempt to conquer the Spanish part of the island......291
FROM MIDSUMMER, 1804, TO THE DEATH OF DESSALINES IN OCTOBER, 1805.
Dessalines takes the title of emperor.His coronation.New constitution framed.Outline of it.Remarks.State of the cultivators. Productions.Population and military force. Plan of defence. Religion. Education. Character and anecdotes of Dessalines.His tyranny and death.. ..................................... 319
FROM OCTOBER, 1806, TO THE ACT OF THE COUNCIL OF STATE ESTABLISHING ROYALTY, ANDN CONFERRING ON CHRISTOPHE THE TITLE OF KING, IN 1811.
Christophe assumes the government at Cape Francois.Character and anecdotes of him.Proclamation on his accession.Petion assumes the government at Port au Prince.Some account of him.Fierce contest between these two rivals.Battle.Petion defeated.Christophe besieges Port au Prince, but soon retires.Calls a Council at Cape Francois. New constitution formed.Outline of it.The title of president given to Christophe.His proclamation on the publication of the new constitution.He frustrates a conspiracy for the disturbance of Jamaica. Sanguinary war between Christophe and Petion. The surrender of the Mole of St. Nicholas to Christophe, followed by a cessation of hostilities. Friendly communications between the Spanish part of the island and the part under the government of Christophe.The French expelled from the city of St. Domingo.The title of king given to Christophe by an act of the Council of State ...................... 332
fjiom march, 1811, to the end of the year 1817.
Christophe and Petion suspend hostilities, and apply themselves to the improvement of their people. Coronation of Christophe. Regular organization of his dominions, and those of Petion.The French, on the accession of Louis the Eighteenth, entertain thoughts of attempting to recover the island.Absurdity of their ex-pectations. Sentiments and feelings of the \ Haytians on hearing of the peace in Europe, and afterwards on being informed of the designs of France against their independence.Manifesto of Christophe.Commissioners from France to gain information concerning Hayti, and to sound the dispositions of the chiefs.Correspond deface with Christophe.Resolutions of the Council.Negociations with Petion.Answer of the public authorities.President's proclamation. French preparations for an expeditionfrustrated by the return of Bonaparte.Overtures from Bonaparte,and from the cabinet of Louis after his restoration,all rejected with disdain. Patriotic labors both of Christophe and Petionf Progress of education, and prospect of its general extension........................................... 353
ST. DOMINGO. CHAP. I.
FROM THE PERIOD OF THE DISCOVERY OF THE ISLAND, TO THE YEAR 1600.
Situation.General description.Discovery by Columbus.State of the inhabitants.Anecdote of Guacanahari.A settlement formed.Its demolition and re-establishment.Battle with the natives,Subjection of the island.Dissentions among the colonists.Bovadillo sent as governor.Superceded by Ovando.Columbus refused admittance. His second visit.Spanish oppression of the natives.The Lucayans seduced into slavery. Diego Columbus obtains the government.Opposition of the Dominicans to the treatment of the natives.Albuquerque's administration.Account of Las Casas.Attack of Sir Francis Drake. Demolition of the sea-ports and wretched state oy the islanders.
Between Porto Rico on the east, and Jamaica and Cuba on the west, and at the distance of about three thousand five hundred miles from
2 HKTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
the Land's End in England, the island of St. Domingo, the abode of fertility, and the scene of important political changes appears upon the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. It extends one hundred and forty or fifty miles in breadth, from north to south, and about four hundred in length from east to west, and lies in the latitude of 18. 20. north, and in longitude 68. 40. west from Greenwich. It is surrounded by rocks and dangerous shoals, with the Bahama islands not far distant in a northerly direction, while it is bounded on the south by the Caribbean sea.
It was originally called Hayti by the natives, and afterwards Espagnola or Hispaniola, in honor of the native country of Columbus its discoverer.
The general salubrity of the climate, the productiveness of the soil and the beauty of the scenerycomprising mountains of prodigious altitude and plains of magnificent extent, every ^where well watered, and in consequence spread over with the most luxuriant vegetationrender this island a most inviting spot; and we do
* Edwards states the length of the island at three hundred and ninety, Rainsford says it is more than four hundred and fifty; the Abbe Raynal represents it as two hundred leagues in length, and sixty, in some places eighty, in breadth; the reader must judge between these discrepances,
THfe BfcAUTY Of THE ISLAND. 3
not wonder that Columbus boasted of having discovered the original seat of paradise. In these delightful vales, all the sweets of spring are enjoyed without either winter or summer.' There are but two seasons in the year, and they are equally fine; the ground always laden with fruit and covered with flowers realizes the delights and riches of poetical descriptions. Wherever we turn our eyes, we are enchanted with a variety of objects, coloured and reflected by the clearest light. The air is temperate in the day-time, and the nights are constantly cool." The land is generally considered as best in the vicinity of the city from which the present name of the island is derived; the interior is now occupied by large savannahs or plains, scattered with wild swine, horses, and horned cattle, which have been introduced by the Spaniards, who having exterminated the natives allowed their domestic animals to run wild, and people the wilderness. From the situation of this island, it might be supposed to suffer from intense heat, during at least one half the year, but this is provided against by an easterly wind which blows with great regularity at certain seasons, and refreshes what would otherwise prove a sultry
* Raynal's East and West Indies. B 2
4 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
and oppressive climate. This wind is not much felt till about nine o'clock in the morning: it then encreases as the sun advances to his meridian, and decreases as he descends again to the horizon, and sinks with him.
St. Domingo is also extremely benefitted by-frequent rain, especially during the months of severest heat: the same kind provision for the comfort of man is observable in most countries within the torrid zone, and Providence has generally proportioned the supply to the ardour of the climate. While this remark, however, applies generally to our island, it is notorious for the variety of its climates .as well as of its soil. In two adjoining districts, the one is continually inundated with showers, the other almost as destitute of them. The clouds stop at a certain point as on the line of boundary, whence they disperse into vapours, seldom bestowing more than a few drops upon the thirsty region beyond this divison. This difference regularly takes place between the north and south sides, and at the end of November the south side, and even the we$t suffers extremely by drought, while the northeast continues to be favoured with abundant rain.* Thunder, which during the sunjmer is often tremendous, is seldom heard between
* Charlevoix, Hist, de F Isle Espagnole, Tom. 1.
ACCOUNT OF THE CLIMATE. 5
the months of November and April. The nights are very clear, and the moon is not only sufficiently bright to enable a person to read, but frequently powerful enough to exhibit the rainbow.* Whenever the rain ceases at any place, the dew descends in the greatest abundance, which is of material consequence to vegetation. Sometimes the cold is considerable, so that a fire is by iio means unwelcome.
But notwithstanding what we have remarked on the different temperature of the air in different places, the inhabitants can scarcely agree upon what periods of the year ought to be designated winter and summer. Those who live to the west and south, and midland parts, consider the time between April and November as including the winter months or season of storms; the inhabitants of the northern districts reckon just the reverse, but neither of them speak either of spring or autumn, so sudden are the transitions.
It has been found by experience, that the island is not favourable to European constitutions, which usually decline under the combined influences of heat and humidity. Another cause, indeed, unhappily exists to prevent their attaining that longevity for which many of the natives are distinguished. Instead of that
6 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
disciplined temperance which is beneficial to^ life in all places, particularly to those who have removed from cold to warmer climates, most of the settlers in the West Indies have indulged in luxury and dissipation, in consequence of which, apart from the direct effect of the elements, they have been usually hastened to a premature grave, or have exposed themselves as a prey to weakness an4 disease.
Although a considerable proportion of the island is mountainous, it is every where capable of cultivation, in most places even to the very summits of the loftiest hills. None are abso-* lutely barren, though steep, and rising to a great elevation; especially towards Cape Tiburon. Some of them serve as embankments against the ocean, and ascend from its waters in high perpendicular crags to the extreme danger of the mariner.
In some places, after digging a few feet, wo meet with soft gravel or sandy stone, in others with clay, potter's earth, or a bed of sand; and frequently the best soil is of a considerable depth; bnt what at first sight appears astonishing, this last soil is often found destitute of trees: but the reason is obviousthe excessive drought which prevails during three or four months in the year over the greatest part of the island; in consequence of which the soil cannot
rivers and mines. 7
supply vegetation with sufficient nutriment. It might be imagined from this statement, that none of the larger species of trees were to be found upon the island: but it is otherwisefor the roots seldom striking deeper into the soil than two feet, diffuse themselves in a horizontal direction, according to the superincumbent weight they have to sustain. The fig-tree is the most remarkable for the extension of its roots, which sometimes reach to seventy feet. The palm, on the contrary, pushes its roots to a much shorter distance, but they are so numerous as equally to answer the purpose of giving firmness and stability to the tree.
The rivers are numerous, though most of them ought to be rather regarded as torrents or brooks, which flow with greai rapidity. The water is usually wholesome, but so cold that it ought to be drank with care, and is dangerous for bathing. There are fifteen large streams, besides the six most important rivers: of which latter, the Ozama forms at its mouth the port of St. Domingo, the Macoris is the most navigable, and the best stocked with fish, the Yaquey is remarkable for a gold mine at its source, and for the particles of that precious metal to be found amongst its sands, the Una has a copper mine at its source, and is very rapid, the Hattibonite or Artibonite is the
8 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
largest, and makes the longest circuit. In the interior are several small lakes.
The island is pre-eminently distinguished for its mines of gold: it possesses also some* of silver, copper, and iron: and besides these a variety of marble quarries and mines of sulphur, talc, and various ehrystallized substances. Numerous species of stones are also found, some of a valuable kind. The most common are fire-stones, some of which are white, and formed into diamond points capable of cutting glass, very bright and clear. In many places there are natural salt-pits along the coast, and in one of the mountains that enclose the lake Xaragua, a mineral-salt, harder and more corrosive than sea-salt. The Spanish historian Oviedo states, that the whole mountain is in fact a rock of salt. The island furnishes a variety of shells. Its birds, insects, fishes, and other peculiarities, are either too w;ell known to need enumeration, or myst be left to the ornithologist and others, to whom it belongs to classify and describe them.
The sixth of December, 1492, is the memorable date of the discovery of this remarkable island. Columbus landed at a small bay, which he named St. Nicholas, whence he sailed along the northern coast till he arrived at a harbour which seemed to offer him better ac-
DIVISIONS OF THE ISLAND, FOOD, &C. 9
commodations than St. Nicholas, and where he obtained an intercourse with the inhabitants by means of a female whom his people had conciliated with a few presents; he called it Conception.
The island was at this period divided into five considerable kingdoms, united in perfect amity. Their kings were denominated caciques, and seemed to have acquired an ascendancy over their subjects, which might be called the tyranny of love. The Spanishroadventurers found the male inhabitants naked, and like most other barbarous people, addicted to painting their bodies: the women were clothed in a kind of cotton petticoat, reaching down to the knees, but the girls wore no article of apparel. Having already, since the month of October, become acquainted with the neighbouring islands, they had an opportunity of comparing the complexion of their respective inhabitants, and found that those of St. Domingo were the fairest. Their food consisted of maize, roots, fruit, and shell-fish, in the use of which they observed great temperance: but though naturally nimble and active they were averse to all laborious employment, which may no doubt be accounted for by considering the soothing warmth and benignity of the climate, and the richness of the soil, which superseded
10 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
the necessity of any great exertions. Reclining therefore in the lap of ease, and on the couch of indolencfe, diversion was their only business, and sleep their recreation.
It can excite no astonishment, to find that the Spaniards represent them as of a feeble understanding, for what opportunities did they possess for mental cultivation and improvement ? Mere ignorance, however, in a people divested of the means of acquiring information by books, op by an extensive connection with the world, is no just criterion of their intellectual incapacity; and it has been actually seen in various remarkable instances, that the de^> gradation of mind and character which has too hastily been imputed to nations placed at a distance from those sources of knowledge which abound in civilized and enlightened countries, has resulted from no other cause than their unfortunate circumstances. True philosophy disdains to adopt those prejudices against nations which have no better foundation than accidental diversities of colour, and refuses to determine without substantial evidence and incontestible fact, as the basis of her judgement.
Most of those amiable qualities which adon* human nature in its. improved state were exhibited by the Haytians. It appears that-
character of the inhabitants. 11
all the islanders were .soon conciliated with presents and were so susceptible of the kind treatment of the strangers as to appear on shore without armsmany of them venturing onboard the ships, giving fruits to their visitors, and assisting them to get on shore. In all their conduct they evinced the very reverse of the malignant passions; in fact they were gentle even to indifference and dullness, and the worst part of their mental character was, that they manifested no desire for improvement. All their history was comprised in songs which they had learnt in childhood, and in fables which while they amused the idle hour furnished no authentic information. Some persons would pronounce them happy, and so far as the nature of their situation tended to preclude a multitude of evils which thrive in the less retired and less peaceful abodes of civilization and refinement, the term may be admitted, supposing it to be employed only in its negative sense; but as to all positive enjoyment,-arising from the enlarged exercise of the faculties and the knowledge of the great principles of morality and religion, they must be pronounced destitute and wretched. They possessed the ease of lassitude, but knew nothing of the pleasure and reward of successful activity.
12 HISTORIC OF ST. DOMINGO.
Properly speaking, therefore, they were only, not miserable.
Their domestic economy does not seem to have been much adapted to promote comfort. They had a plurality of wives, although their affections were usually concentrated in one, who was beloved above the rest, yet without possessing any superior authority. This dis^ tinguished favourite would sometimes immolate herself in the same grave with her departed husband: but this was considered merely as a sacrifice to affection, and not practised as it is in some other parts of the world as a matter of honour or conscience.
Of their religion little can be ascertained: they are represented as paying adoration to a number of malevolent beings, which, if true, probably resulted from motives of fear and superstition. It is certain also that they had sorcerers among them.
An incident related by Columbus in a report to Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, merits insertion. When that celebrated navigator was wrfecked on v the eastern coast of the island, Guacanahari, the cazique or king of that district, being informed of the disaster, immediately expressed the greatest sorrow, sent all the people of the place on board in a number of
THEIR HOSPITALITY AND BENEVOLENCE. 13
large canoes, who in a short time secured every thing which could be saved from the shattered vessel. He himself," says Columbus, with his brother and relatives, took all possible care that every thing should be properly done both aboard and on shore: and from time to time he sent some of his relations weeping, to beg of me not to be dejected for he would give me all that he had. I can assure your Highnesses that so much care would not have been taken of securing our effects in any part of Spain; as all our property was put together in one place near his palace, until the houses which he wanted to prepare for the custody of it were emptied, he immediately placed a guard of armed men who watched during the whole night, and those on shore lamented a$ much as if they had been interested in our loss."
An interchange of^ mutual esteem and friendship was continually carried on between the islanders and their visitors; the former regarded the latter as preternatural beings, and the cazique was extremely courteous, presenting Columbus with numerous articles of curious workmanship: while the Spaniards availed themselves of the opportunity of exchanging their trifles of beads, knives, pins and other articles for pieces of gold, of which they were in eager pursuit, and which the inhabitants,
14 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
without any knowledge of their value to the Europeans, procured from the beds of rivers, whither they were brought down from the mountains by the stream.
While, however, the islanders were made sensible of the friendship of the strangers, (a friendship alas! of whose interested motive they could form no adequate conception) they were overawed by the display of the effects of artillery which was given in their presence as a measure of necessary precaution. The policy of the Spaniards was to induce the natives at once to love and to fear them, and they so far succeeded as to produce the conviction that what they presented to them were sacred things; an idea which their subsequent conduct could not eradicate. But we must not too heartily condemn the Spaniards, unless we are willing to comprehend in the well merited censure the prodigious multitudes of the designing and the wicked of every age and country who are perpetually practising upon the credulity of mankind, and congratulating themselves but too justly upon the skill with which they circulate delusion and inflict pain.
Columbus was soon placed in circumstances which rendered it important to him to form a settlement upon the island, and to depart for Spain. Having lost one of his ships, and re-
COLUMBUS LEAVES THE ISLAND. 15
ceived no intelligence since his arrival of another, the third was insufficient for the whole of the crew, a part of which, therefore, he was anxious to leave during his voyage home. In this he found no difficulty; and selected accordingly thirty-eight or thirty-nine Castilians, whom he entrusted to the command of Roderigo de Arado or Arana, of Cordova; promising to recommend th6m to European patronage and protection. The simple-hearted Haytians assisted in the erection of the fort which was to give the mastery to their wiser discoverers; and Columbus after reconnoitering the island, quitted the colony on the fourth of January 1493, and arrived in Spain the following March. Proceeding instantly to Barcelona where the court resided, he w^s welcomed with extraordinary demonstrations of joy: the nobility and people went out to meet him, and accompanied him in crowds to his sovereign, to whom he presented some of the islanders who had voluntarily attended him to Europe. Birds, cotton, and various curiosities were exhibited as the fruit of his discoveries; but above all, as most attractive to avaricious eyes, pieces of gold, which immediately convinced every one that he had found inexhaustible riches, and was at once the most fortunate and the most honorable of mankind. It was not enough to load him -
16 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
with caresses and praises, their enthusiasm allowed him to sit as a grandee of Spain at the public audience of the sovereigns.
The stay of Columbus at Barcelona was not prolonged a single hour for the purpose of indulging himself in an inglorious ease. When the purpose of his visit was accomplished he felt anxious to depart; which however he was desirous not to do, till the-natives who had accompanied him to Europe, among whom was the father of the cazique beforementioned, were baptized into the Catholic faith, and publicly received into the Communion of that church. "This was accordingly done in the presence and with the co-operation of the royal family. The Catholics carried their zeal still further, and chose a number of ecclesiastics *>ut of the religious orders, who were deputed to go abroad under a superior, to whom the pope entrusted extraordinary powers, with a view of proselyting the inhabitants of the new world to their religion.* At the expiration of about six months, being furnished with a fleet of seventeen sail, under the papal sanction, containing fifteen hundred persons, most of them gentlemen, and some of distinguished rank, with soldiers, artificers and missionaries, with abundant provisions, instruments for working the mines, the seeds
* Charlevoix Hist, de I'Isle Espagnole.
the fort and colony destroyed. 17
of all the plants considered likely to thrive in the climate, and with the domestic animals of Europe, which were unknown in the newly discovered region. Columbus set sail in the autumn from the Bay of Cadiz, and arrived at St. Domingo on the twenty-second of November. But how extreme his disappointment to witness devastation instead of prosperity, and silence instead of notes of welcome and congratulation!
During the interval of his absence, and indeed very soon after his departure, the garrison revolted from the authority of their commander, and in defiance of all wholesome restraint as well as of every prudential consideration, indulged in riot and licentiousness, seizing the provisions and the gold of the natives. The evil becoming past further endurance, the cazique of Cibao destroyed the fort and colony; so that in the expresssive words of the Abb6 Raynal, Columbus found nothing but ruins and carcases upon the spot where he had left fortifications and Spaniards." Instead of uselessly wasting his time in retaliations he induced his companions to begin the erection of a city in a spacious plain, conveniently situated with respect to a bay, and at length dignified with the name of Isabella, in honor of the queen his patroness. A fort was also built on the moun-
Vol. I. c
18 HISTORY OF St. DOMINGC).
tains of Cibao, where they collected gold in considerable quantities from the torrents, and where they determined to open mines. .
Intent on the great purpose of mlaking further discoveries, Columbus appointed his brother Diego to govern during his absence and debarked on the twenty-fourth of April; but after a disastrous navigation of five months, returned to witness new calamities. The soldiery had been placed under the command of Don Pedro Margarita, and were commissioned to undertake the establishment of the Spanish authority in different parts of the island. They committed similar excesses to those which had previously produced the destruction of the first colony; and Columbus was necessitated to take up arms to repel those attacks which had before proved successful. The battle was fought in the^ plain of Vega Real, and notwithstanding the extreme disparity of numbers, there being a huhdred thousand Indians, and only two hundred foot, twenty horse and twenty dogs to compose the Spanish armament, it will not appear surprising that European discipline should obtain an easy conquest over the military incompetence of the Haytians.* The prisoners were condemned
* Ces pauvres insiilaires, accoutumes la pluparta se battre en se poussant a forte de bras, ou tout au plus a coups de Macanaa
ENTIRE SUBJUGATION OF THE ISLAND. 19
to the mines, excepting three hundred who were sent into Spain as slaves; but to the immortal honour of the
These orders, however, arrived too late. The entire subjection of the island was the natural consequence of this victory, which was at-chieved in March 1495. A tax was imposed on all the natives above the age of fourteen, to be paid in gold every three months by those who lived in the vicinity of the mines, by others in cotton; the consequence of which was an attempt on their part to reduce the Spaniards to starvation, by tearing up the roots of vegetables, and retiring from the labors of the field to the inaccessible parts of the mountains. By
furent etrangement surpris de voir les Espagnols a battre des lignes entieres avec leurs armesafeu, dontaucun coup ne portoit a faux sur des corps tout nuds et qu'on approchoit.aussi pres qu on vouloit, enfiler trois ou quatre hommes a la fois avec leurs longues epees, les fouler aux pieds des chevaux and lacher ,sur eux de gros niatins qui leur sautant a la gorge, les etrangloient d'abord ct les mettoient en pieces."Charlevoix.
* Charlevoix. c2
20 history of st. domingo.
this means, however, they became themselves the victims of their own inconsideration and inexperience, and upwards of a third of their number perished. Previously to this terrible disaster they were estimated at a million. It was not, however, famine merely that occasioned their destruction; the ferocious colonists pursued them to their fastnesses, and even trained up dogs to hunt and devour them. It has even been said that some of the Castilians bad made a vow to massacre twelve Indians every day in honour of the twelve apostles!!*
Should an unlucky moralist here interpose the question, What right had the Spanish adventurers to the soil of St. Domingo, and the service of its inhabitants ? Should he further inquire by what authority they, or the European masters under whom they acted, plundered their possessions, shed their blood, and taxed their families? The reply must be given in that single word which comprehends the entire policy of half the nations of the earth, and which is so legibly written in the annals of every countryPower. The well-known feelings of Columbus himself, upon this subject, who only aimed to gratify the avaritious spirit of his court,% exempt him in some measure
* Abb6 Raynal's Hist, of the East and West Indies, Book 6.
new difficulties await columbus. 21
from that unmingled sentiment of abhorrence which must fill every enlightened individual at the recital of such detestible enormities.
" Man is to man the worst and surest ill."
Had it not been for the actual proceedings of these servants of Spain, we should have said that they had in trust the arts of civilization, and the elements of superior character to convey to these barbarous islanders; and to communicate them should have been the legitimate object of their missionshould have been the delight of their existence. If discovery be not made subservient to the promotion of human happiness it may well be deprecated as an evil; for if misery follow in the train who could wish for the extension of our geographical knowledge at the expence of the comfort and the peace of millions of our fellow creatures ? And who can help burning with indignation to see the demon of Avarice binding St. Domingo in chains, in order to rob her of her gold ?
In the mean time difficulties of a new kind awaited Columbus. His adversaries in Spain bad intrigued to procure Aguado, a groom of the bed-chamber, to be sent out as commissioner, and our great discoverer felt compelled to return to Europe to meet and obviate the accu-
22 HIStOAV OF ST. DO&INGO.
nations which \frere contrived against him. Hid brother Bartholomew was left lieutenant-governor upon the island, and soon began the building of the town of St. Domingo. Francis Roldan, a man of rank, was chief justice. This was in 1496.
The precise causes of the dissentions which instantly arose among the Colonists, it may perhaps be somewhat difficult to explain. A pretence was unquestionably afforded by the removal of the settlers to the opposite side of the island, that is, from Isabella to St. Dto~ mingo; which Columbus had considered a more eligible situation, and whither his brother after his departure transferred them. Instead of maintaining order, Roldan encouraged insubordination ; and thinking that Columbus wag not likely to return, he formed the design of seizing the government. For this purpose, he insinuated himself into the confidence and affection of the people, misrepresenting the conduct of others. Having* been commissioned to head a band of soldiers to enforce the payment of tribute from one of the refractory caziques, he availed himself of the favourable opportunity of disseminating rebellious feelings, and upon his return openly seized the keys of the royal magazifte, distributing the arms and provisions to his party. Don Diego was obliged to shut
roldan's revolt. 23
himself up in the castle, and procure defenders from Conception. Bartholomew was of course on his side filled with apprehensions at the progress of the revolt, especially when he found that several persons of consideration were engaged in it. He obtained an interview with Roldan, but the latter was resolved to carry things to the utmost extremity. The troops began to desert from the garrison, and Bartholomew was beginning to despair, when he received information of the arrival of two ships at St. Domingo laden with provision. Instantly he hastened towards the capital, followed by Roldan, who halted at the distance of five leagues. Here the rebel chief received new proposals for peace through the commander of the vessels, who entreated him to desist, but in vain. Withdrawing into the province of Xarangua, he told the cafcique that he came to release him from the tribute which had been imposed by the king, and that for his part he did not desire the possessions, but the hearts of his allies. He held the same language to other caziques, while in fact he made them pay dearly for his friendship.
News very soon reached St. Domingo that a chief named Guarionex, had fled with a considerable number of his subjects to the protection of another chief named Wfayobanex, who ruled
24 history of st. domingo.
over a warlike district in the vicinity of Cape Cabron. Disappointed of his expectations from these tributaries in consequence of this movement, the governor immediately went in pursuit. He met an army of the natives in the plains, and instantly dispersed them into the mountains, whither however he did not deem it prudent to follow. Some days afterwards, the Indians perceiving that the Spaniards were off their guard, rushed upon them and slew many, but the troops recruiting, abundantly retaliated upon their enemies, whom they chased unto their defiles. Mayobanex was at no great distance from this field of action, and Bartholomew having discovered the place of his retreat, marched upon it with his entire force.
Before the commencement of actual hostilities, he sent to offer terms to the cazique upon condition of his delivering up Guarionex. The brave Indian replied, that Guarionex was a man of honour, who had never done an injury to any person; while the Spaniards were thieves and murderers, who adopted every unworthy method of despoiling others of their possessionsthat he would never suffer himself to abandon an unfortunate prince, who was besides his benefactor and his friend, and had cast himself under his protection." He spoke in a similar manner to his courtiers, who seeing the
noble-spiritedness of mayobanex. 25
ravages made all over their country by the invaders, and affected by the complaints of the people that the war would be their ruin, represented that he would destroy himself and not save his friend. Let what will happen," said he, "I am resolved rather to perish than deliver.hint up to his enemies." To the prince himself he repeated the same resolution, and they sealed their mutual attachment with vows and tears.
After this, Mayobanex took care to occupy all the defiles of the mountains, and to issue orders to his army to fall upon their enemies whenever they could do it with any probable advantage. The governor considered it of great importance in the mean time rather to gain than compel the islanders, and with this view he sent three prisoners whom he had just taken, and drew near himself with ten foot soldiers and only four horse. All the reply of the indignant cazique consisted in killing the prisoners and preparing for battle. It was hence obvious that no further conciliatory measures would avail, and force must decide the quarrel. The natives were soon routed, and two days afterwards the governor having learnt by two prisoners the hiding place of Mayobanex, .he made use of the following stra-
26 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
tagem. Having chosen twelve of his men whom he disguised as natives, he sent them with the two already mentioned as guides, and concealed their swords in palm-leaves. In this manner they proceeded to the cazique's retreat^ where they found him surrounded with his wife, his children, and many of his rela-, tions. He was instantly secured without resistance, and conveyed to the general, who carried him as his prisoner on his way to Con* ception. One of the cazique's daughters was in the train; she was in the highest estimation among her father's subjects, the Ciguayans* and had married one of the principal lords erf the country. Her husband, upon hearing of her captivity, collected his dependants together, and hastened after the Spaniards, \frhom he overtook in a few days. Instantly he cast himself at the feet of the governor, entreating with tears the restoration of his wife; which was granted without exacting any ransom. This act of clemency, however, was greatly subservient to the interests of the ambitious foreigners, by impressing upon the mind of this man an eternal sense of gratitude. In a few days he came with four or five hundred of his subjects with the sticks they were accustomed to use in turning the soil, and requested to
execution of mayobanex. 27
mark out a space for them to cultivate and! possess. His offer was accepted, and in a few days the ground was cleared.
Conceiving hopes from the conduct of the Spaniards on this occasion, the subjects of Mayobanex indulged the expectation of procuring his release, and they spared neither tears, prayers, nor presents to procure it; but it was determined to make an example of this chief who exercised an entire influence over many others; his family was restored, but himself detained in bondage. This refusal filled the poor islanders with the utmost resentment against Guarionex whom they considered as the occasion of this calamity: but in vain did they deliver him up to the Spaniards. Mayo* banex was taken to the capital, where after a formal trial he was convicted of rebellion and publicly executed. Let not the year of this transaction be forgotten: it was in 1498,
At this juncture Columbus arrived from Spain, he was received with every demonstration of joy in the capital, but his own gratification was spoiled by the melancholy state of affairs. He advised and adopted every conciliatory measure to gain the malcontents, and the commandant of Conception was dispatched to Roldan to obtain terms of accommodation. The rebel was still inexorable, Co*
28 history of st. domingo.
lumbus afterwards sent him a kind letter by a messenger whom he had wished to see, which seemed to make some impression upon his mind and induced him to express a wish to see his admiral; to this his followers strongly objected, so that he was necessitated to content himself with sending a letter, in which he threw all the blame of the revolt upon the governor, and wished for a safe conduct for himself and associates to the capital. This occasioned great embarassment.
On the ninth of November he adopted the measure of publishing a manifesto, in which it was declared that all persons who returned to their duty within a limited time should receive a full pardon for past revolt, and that all who desired it should be conveyed into Spain. In addition to this, a safe conduct was transmitted to Roldan, who at length repaired to the capital; not however for the purpose of re-establishing union, but of secretly exciting dissatisfaction and encreasing his own party. As soon as he returned, he sent an insolent letter and marched upon Conception. The place being well defended, he attempted to subdue it by a prolonged siege; but an officer named Carrajal coming up, dexterously entered into nego-ciations with Roldan, who gave his signature to terms in a few days, of which the principal
DISTRIBUTION OF LANDS. 29
one was that those who wished to return into Spain should be allowed to do so and be provided with the means. The vessels which were provided for this purpose having been wrecked, in a violent tempest, on their way to the port where they were to have received their passengers, Roldan availed himself of the circumstance to refuse adherence to his agreement, but upon fresh ships being provided, he was at length, with difficulty, brought anew to his engagement. After every preparation was made, Roldan presented a request on behalf of a hundred and two of his companions who wished to remain in the island, and they were ultimately allowed to disperse themselves in distinct settlements in the Vega Real, at Bonao, and beyond St. Yago. The neighbouring caziques were obliged to send their subjects to cultivate these lands, so that instead of tribute the Indians were reduced to labour for these new masters, who were the refractory portion of their European invaders. Hence originated the names of repartimcntos, or departments, distributions, commands and concessions. In the meantime, Roldan continued to behave towards Columbus rather like a conqueror than a pardoned rebel; but the latter felt it necessary to dissemble his resentment,
30 HISTORY OF ST. DOMlNGO.
hoping that-the affair would be ultimately investigated and adjusted in Spain. *
The conduct of Columbus had been so shamefully misrepresented, that Francis de Bovadillo, a knight of Calatravia, was sent over in 1500, to supercede him, with orders to dismiss him to Spain in irons. He found considerable difficulty at first in establishing his authority as those already in possession were disposed to retain it: but having obtained k by a sort of invasion, which the resistance of the present occupants rendered necessary, rather than by a dignified entrance conceded to him by general affection, he acted with great indiscretion. Instead of suppressing, he cherished Roldan and the other malcontents, bestowing upon them marks of high distinction; while Columbus, his brother, and their friends were treated with every indignity till the dis-coveror and rightful lord of the island was in fact dismissed to Europe in a disgraceful manner.
It was the incessant aim of the new governor to aggravate the detestation of every one against the whole family of Columbus, especially the natives, and his misconduct drew around him
* Charlevoix, Hist, de PIdle Eapagnole, Tom. J.
bovadillo and ovando. 3t
and placed in his confidence the refuse of society. His unworthy care was more completely to enslave the inhabitants; for which purpose he contracted with the different ca-ziques to furnish every Spaniard with a certain number of his subjects whom he was to make use of as his beasts of burden; and in order to prevent any possible escape from the infamous servitude, he numbered the native population; and reducing them into different classes, distributed them among his adherents, by whose affection he was well aware that he held the precarious tenure of his new authority.
This proceeding threatened their total extinction, and Bovadillo was in his turn superseded by another knight of the name of Nicholas de Ovando, who carried with him the largest armament that had ever yet been witnessed, consisting of thirty-two ships with two thousand five hundred settlers; and upon his arrival, the former governor with Roldan and his accomplices were ordered back.
Ovando is represented as a man of merit and capable of inspiring others with respect; modest, and disinterested: but his employment was infectious, so much so as to transform the very greatest of men into tyrants. None of the governors of this unhappy island appear to have been sufficiently principled to resist the
32 history of st. domingo.
combined influence of the love of rule, and the love of money. *
In the mean time Columbus remained in a state of irksome inactivity, soliciting attention in vain, till he commenced a fourth voyage to attempt discoveries in the East, May 1502. Having steered to St. Domingo to obtain of Ovando the exchange of a vessel, he requested permission to enter the harbour, which was denied. Twenty-one ships were at the moT ment departing for Spain, nearly the whole of which were lost in a tempest, then evidently gathering, and of which Columbus in vain forewarned them: Bovadillo, Roldan, and most of the persecutors of Columbus and the Indians,
* Ovando 6toit un homme de merite, fort sense, d'un abord gracieux et qui inspiroit en m&me-t&ms un grand respect pour sa personne: modeste, jusq6 k ne pouvoir souffrir les marques de distinction, ni les titres, qui lui etorient dus, grand amateur de la justice, et fort desinteresse. Le Nouveau Monde eut ete heureux d'etre gouverne par un homme de ce caractere, 6'il Yett soutenu tout entier jusqu au bout. Mais il sembloit que l'emploi, dont on le revfctit, fut contagieux, et transform^ d abord les hommes les plus doux et les plus modrees en tyrans suscites pour la destruction des malheureux Indiens: a 1'egard meme des Espagnols, il ne parut pas se comforter toujours avec ce desin-teressment et cette equite, qu'on lui avoit connus, ni tre asses en garde contre les rapports de gens mal intentionnes: cey qui le fit quelquefois donner dans de grands 11^6^" Charlevoix^ Hist, de Plsle Espagnole, Tom. I.
importation of americans. 33
with the whole of their wfealth, amounting in value to upwards of fifty thousand pounds sterling, perished in the general wreck; the effects of this tremendous stoi*m were not limited to the ocean: thfc city Of St. Domingo was almost wholly destroyed, but in a short time afterwards was rebuilt with considerable improvements.
Notwithstanding the' humanity of our great discoverer, he had very much increased the miseries of the island by fixing Americans upon thev lands distributed to his soldiers, a plan which was extended by Bovadillo, but destroyed by Ovando. The latter relieved the Indians from a toil which had been sa utterly income patible with their habits and tempers, but it was soon found that the claim of expedience and the plea of necessity superseded that of justice. The natives wandered up and down through the island without any regular employment, and relapsed into a state of indolence which was produc- tive of famine. Their oppressors soon again demanded their services, and urged upon the court the consideration that they would always be disposed to revolt unless prevented by sufficient dispersion. After several discussions it was resolved to divide the island into a greater number of districts, which the Spaniards obtained in proportion to their rank or interest:
34 history of st. domingo.
the Indians attached to them were slaves, whom the law was in vain bound to protect.
In 15(>C Columbus again visited St. Domingo, after having been stopped in the career of discovery by shipwreck and detention in the island of Jamaica twelve months. Though cautious of receiving him,. Ovando at length procured his escape and admission into the island with every public honour. Here he remained but a single month, and returned with difficulty and in tempest into Spain, where; instead of being welcomed in a manner suited to the greatness of his character, and the magnitude of his discoveries he experienced coldness and injustice: he died in May 1506, at Valladolid, only fifty-nine years of age. Such was the end of this uncommon man, who, to the astonishment of Europe, added to a fourth part 6f the earth, or rather, half a world to this globe which had been so long desolate and so little known. It might reasonably have been expected that public gratitude would have given the name of this intrepid Seaman to the new hemisphere, the first discovery of which was owing to his enterprising genius. This was the least homage of respect that could be paid to his memory; but either through envy, inattention, or the caprice of fortune even in the distribution of fame, this honour was reserved
REVOLT IN HIGtJEY. 35
for Americus Vespucius, a Florentine \ who did nothing more than follow the footsteps of a man whose name ought to stand foremost in the list of great characters."*
Ovando is represented by all the historians as exercising a considerable degree of wisdom and justice in his administration, so far as regarded his countrymen, while he swayed a rigorous sceptre over the poor natives. His constant aim was to promote the prosperity of the settlement, and with a discretion that does him credit, he endeavoured to excite the attention of the Spaniards to the cultivation of the land, the forming of plantations of sugar cane, which 4ie had obtained from the Canary isles, and the establishment of sugar works.
Various symptoms of dissatisfaction, with Spanish oppression, from time to time presented themselves in different provinces. In the year 1502, exasperation had led to the assassination of a few Spaniards in Higuey, which led to a more extended manifestation of a spirit of revolt. The governor considered it important to adopt instant measures to check this growing evil, and accordingly dispatched an officer with four hundred men to the spot. He met however, with much greater resistance
? Abbe Raynal. D2
36 history of st. domingo.
than he had anticipated, and some detachments of his force were cut off; upon this, Esquibel* the commanding officer, acting upon instructions which he had received from Ovando, offered the Indians conditions of peace, but they were rejected with disdain, and continued for a time to wage successful war with their invaders. But the tide at length turned, and they were vigorously pursued into the mountains, the usual place of their retreat after disastrous engagements. Here they were slain in such numbers that their well-peopled province appeared afterwards like a desert: the chieftain who had formerly refused, was now reduced to the necessity of soliciting peace; and Esquibel erected and garrisoned a fortress upon his territory.
A still more formidable insurrection was in 1503, beginning to display itself in the province of Xaragua. Ever since the affair of Roldan, a considerable number of his accomplices had remained in this part of the country, who were perpetually sowing the seeds of impiety and discontent. Anacoana, the princess who governed this district, had bfeen at first extremely well inclined towards the Spaniards, but their misconduct converted her affection into hatred, at least so they persuaded themselves, conscious that there was too much cause for the existence of such an altered state of feeling. Information
ovando goes into xaragua. 37
was accordingly communicated to the capital, that the queen of Xaragua was meditating some rebellious project; and it was suggested that no time ought to be lost in taking measures to prevent it.
Ovando was too well aware of the character of his informers to place implicit reliance upon their representations, and too little confident in them to feel much disposed to adopt their quarrel; still he deemed it a necessary precaution to undertake a journey into the neighbour-* hood; and after a public announcement of his intention to visit the province of Xaragua for the purpose of receiving the tribute which was due to the crown of Castile, a,ud of seeing a princess who had always professed the greatest friendship for the Spanish nation, he set out at the head of three hundred foot and seventy horse, upon the expedition. Anacoana publicly testified the utmost joy at the honour of this visit, whether from motives of policy or affection it may be difficult to determine. She went forth to meet Ovando, attended by the entire body of her nobility and an incalculable multitude of people, dancing and singing as they proceeded, After the first compliments the governor was conducted to the royal palace amidst the most rapturous and universal acclamations, and a feast was prepared which was
38 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
kept for several successive days in the most magnificent manner.
The historian Herrera, states, that Ovando was soon convinced of the existence of a conspiracy against the Spaniards, but by what evidence it doesnot appear: Oviedo represents a confession as having been extorted from three hundred caziques, who were the queens vassals, by torture, a proceeding which has been strongly condemned by most of the other Spanish historians. The governor accordingly adopted the following mode of sacrificing the accused to the security of the colony. Having invited the queen to a feast, which he said should be celebrated after the manner of his country, with all the pomp of his assembled nobility, the whole Indian court, as her attendants, were thus collected on one spot: the Spaniards at length appeared in the order of battle, the infantry marching before and occupying all the avenues to the place as they advanced: the cavalry followed, with the governor at their head, and moved on to the queen's residence, who was not a little alarmed to see them approaching sword in hand. In obedience to a preconcerted sign, the multitude were instantly put to the sword, while the unfortunate queen with her whole court were secured: the caziques were fixed to the stakes used in the temporary con-
massacre of the xaranguans. 39
struction for the feast, and perished in the flames in which the building was Consumed, while the queen was reserved for a more disgraceful end, being coqducted to the capital, and there tried, condemned and publicly executed on a gallows. Of the people who were thus treacherously assassinated, the numbers of all ranks and conditions cannot be reckoned;high and low, rich and poor, men and women, the innocent and guilty were alike indiscriminately massacred. The few who escaped fled of course in every direction, and some of them settled in far distant places.
After the conclusion of this military visit, Ovando gave his attention to the establishment of towns and villages, selecting the most advantageous situations for their erection, so that in 1504, the Spaniards possessed fifteen cities or towns filled with their own population, besides two fortresses in Higuey, Isabella, and other places, formed at first for the mines of Cibao and Christopher, but which had now been some time abandoned.*
In the year 1506, the province of Higuey where it was supposed tranquillity had been fully restored, was again in a state of open revolt. The bad faith of the Spaniards having
40 HISTORY OF ST. domingo.
led them to violate the conditions of the treaty which had been concluded with Esquibel, the Indians after preferring many useless complaints attacked and burned the fortress and massacred the garrison. A resolution was instantly taken to revenge this proceeding in the most signal manner, and Esquibel was again dispatched to chastise the insurgent district. Having subsi^ dized a number of Indians of the* neighbouring / province, he hastened to the place destined to feel the weight of Spanish indignation. With little resistance he overran the country: the despairing natives slew themselves with their own weaponsin other instances, prisoners who were compelled to become guides through the defiles of the mountains, threw themselves down headlong to avoid the treachery to which they were compelledin many cases the islanders displayed prodigious courage and equal skill.
At length the seizure of the cazique, Cotuba-nama, put an end to the war: he was brought to the capital and executed as other rebels against the government had been before; and in him terminated for that age, the race of native Haytian kings.
The lamentable success of this contest, and the death of queen Isabella in Spain, completed the misfortunes of the islanders.
reduced state of the population. 41
Oppression now laid an iron hand upon the Indians ; their labour was increased, and they became exposed to the unrestrained cruelty of those who with a singularly ill grace called the islanders savages. They were given as property by Ferdinand to his grandees and favorites, whose agents treated them as so many animals destined to work for the sole purpose of enriching their European lords. What was the consequence ? The accumulation indeed of treasure, but the destruction of human life. In less than six years, sixty thousand American families were reduced to fourteen thousand; and of the native population in the course df fifteen years, there remained only sixty thousand out of a million. How could it be otherwise, when they were worn out by excessive fatigue, being compelled to labour, chained together and lashed to tasks, under which their untrained constitution inevitably sunk; and when desperation excited them to suicide as a refuge from oppression ?
Roused to a sense of danger from the rapid decrease of the population, not by the cries of humanity or the requirements of outraged religion, their oppressors began to study some expedient which might remove or mitigate at least the existing calamities; and the one they adopted tends to display even more than
42 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
any previous transaction the diabolical principles which influenced their whole conduct. Arrested in their cruelties only by the overwhelming conviction that in thp tot?d extinction of the native inhabitants they were hastening their own ruin, did they retrace their impious steps, adopt measures for ameliorating the condition or prolonging the lives of the islanders and thus eventually multiplying the population ?Did theysmitten by a rebuking conscience within, or alarmed lest the tempests that frequently burst around them in that sultry region, should be commissioned by indignant Heaven to launch the thunderbolt or dart the lightening upon their guilty headsaim to heal the wounds inflicted by the chains of servitude, ypith which they had galled and destroyed unoffending thousands, who, but for them, might have been at ease in their native wilds? 0 no! It was the miserable policy of their ruler to supply the waste of human life in St. Domingo, by adopting a system ofwhat shall it be called ?a system of man-stealing, practised upon the unsuspecting inhabitants of neighbouring islands which had been unfortunate enough to be discoverednow to be sacrificedto the Moloch of Spanish avarice. This was in the year 1607.
It might seem a mere anti-climax to talk of
the lucayans enticed to st. domingo. 43
treachery after recording scenes of atroeious murder, but in fact the conduct of the colonists to the Lucayans involved both; and the treachery was so much the more detestable, as it was committed under the sacred name of religion. They were persuaded that in being transported to St. Domingo, they should meet their departed ancestors, and participate with them in the blessedness of that happy region; and in consequence of this statement, more than forty thousand were seduced to share the blessedness of starving in the happy region of avaricious and sanguinary Spaniards.*
In the year 1509, Diego Columbus, the son of the great discoverer, after encountering a variety of obstacles to his promotion, at length obtained the government of St. Domingo, whither he repaired with a splendid retinue. Ovando of course retired: the natives experi-
" On n'imagineroit pas les fourberies, qui furent mises en usage, pour engager ces pauvres insulaires k suivre leurs Tyrans. La plupart les assftrerent qu'ils venoient (Tune region d&icieuse, ou etoient lea ames de leurs parens et de leurs amis defuncts, qui les invitoient k les venir joindre. 40,000 de ces barbares furent aasez simple pour se laisser seduire; mais quand ils virent, en arrivant k l'Espagnole, qu'ori les avoit abuses, rls en con^urent un chagrin qui en fit perir un grand nombre et porta ptosieurs k entreprendre des choses incroyables pour se sauver." Charlevoix Hist de flsle Espagnole, torn. 2.
44 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
encing no other effect from the change than a confirmation of their slavery. But this occasioned a powerful re-action upon their masters, who, finding the supplies of wealth proportion-ably diminish with the waste of life, had long been engaged in other speculations. They had established a pearl-fishery at the insignificant island of Cabagua, and formed a colony on the continent at the gulph of Darien. Diego proposed another similar establishment in Cuba, an island which was discovered in 1492, but not subdued till the present period of 1511, when Diego de Velasquez, one of the companions of Columbus in his second voyage, came with four ships, and landed on the eastern point.
This district was under the .government of Hatuey, a native of St. Domingo, who had fled thither with multitudes of his countrymen, as to an asylum from the despotic dominion of the Castilians. Having observed their approach from a distance, he collected together the bravest of his followers and allies, and used every argument to urge them to a vigorous defence of their liberties. He suggested at the sajne time the necessity of endeavouring to propitiate the God of their enemies. Behold him there," said he, pointing to a vessel filled vyith gold, behold that mighty divinity, let us invoke his aid." Upon which the people danced
ANECDOTE OF HAGUEY. 45
and sung before the rude ore, and resigned themselves to its protection.
But Hatuey again v addressed them and the caziques in these words, We must not expect any happiness so long as the God of -the Spaniards remains among us. He is no less our enemy than they. They seek for him in every place; and where they find him there they establish themselves. Were he hidden in the cavities of the earth, they would discover him. Were we to swallow him, they would plunge their hands into our bowels and drag him out. There is no place but the bottom of the sea that can elude their search. When he is no longer among us, doubtless we shall be forgotten by them." The effect of this appeal was to induce every one to throw whatever gold he possessed into the sea.
The Spaniards advanced, and having soon dispersed their opponents, pursued the fugitive Haguey through the woods, where they took him and condemned him to be burnt as a rebellious slave. When-he was fastened to the stake previous to the kindling of the flames, a Franciscan friar advanced to try to convert him, and promised after being baptized, that he should a3cend to the joys of paradise. Are there," said he, % any Spaniards in that happy place ?" The friar of course answered in the affirmative,
46 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
adding, but there are none but good oneSf." The best of them," replied Hatuey, are good for nothing. I will not go to a place where 1 should be in danger of meeting any one of them/ Talk no more to me of your religion, but leave me to die!"This story is instructive it needs no commentbut appeals at once and most forcibly to every enlightened mind in behalf of practical religion.
Political artifices at home perpetually obf structed the measures of Diego in his government ; and at length Roderigo Albuquerque, a relation of Zapata, one of the king's confidential servants, was appointed to the newly created office of distributing the repartimientos; upon which the governor determined to return to Spain for the purpose of obtaining redress, which, however, he soon found was not likely to be accorded. Albuquerque was, as might be supposed, a being of extreme selfishness, for no one of another description was likely to be a court favourite and to obtain a commission to St. Domingo. He ordered the Indians to be again numbered, and sold them in different lots. They now amounted only to fourteen thousand, and the miseries necessarily consequent upon such a proceeding, which separated them from their habitations and families, and exposed them to any encreased labour or in-
bartholomew las casas. 47
human treatment which their purchasers might impose, were highly calculated to hasten the period of their extermination.
To the honour of the monks, be it remembered, that they raised their voices against the practices of their countrymen. The Francis* cans indeed, were silent, or acquiesced in the existing system of barbarity, though they were sent to preach what indeed they did not understand or feel, the enlightened principles of Christianity; but the Dominicans advocated the righteous cause, and anathematized from their pulpits the authors of such bareness, injus-stice, and cruelty. Both parties appealed to the king: the Franciscans triumphed, and, Albuquerque continued to be the curse of the island, and a blot in creation.
This application, however, excited the benevolent exertions of Bartholomew Las Casas, a clergyman, who was worthy of a better age.*
* C'etoit un homme d'une erudition sure, d'un esprit solide, d'un naturel ardent, d'un courage que les difficultes faisoient croftre et d'une vertu heroique rien n'etoit capable de lui feire changer de sentiment, quand il 6toit persuade qu'il y alloit de la gloire de Dieu de le soutenir; et comme ill avoit rendu k la religion et k l'estat des services essentiels dans l'isle de Cuba, son credit etoit grand dans toutes les Indes. Son seul defaut 6toit
avoir Timagination trop vive et de s'en trop laisser dommer. Un homme de ce caractere ne pouvoit gueres manquer d'entrer
48 HISTOEY OF ST. DOMINGO.
He had originally come to the island at the period of the second voyage of Columbus, and had even manifested a deep interest in the state of its aboriginal inhabitants. No notice being taken by the governor of his representations, he returned to Europe for the express purpose of appealing on their behalf to the emperor Charles V. with whom and with cardinal Ximenes, the regent, he was so successful, that three superintendants of the colonies were appointed in conjunction with Zuazo a lawyer, and Las Casas himself, distinguished by the flattering but well merited title of protector of the Indians. Upon their arrival in 1517, they immediately commenced the liberation of those natives which had been bestowed on the Spanish courtiers or persons not resident in America; but when the rod of power ceased to compel them, they naturally ceased to labour, and the colony suffered proportionate disadvantage.
Las Casas still anxious for the more complete emancipation of the natives, deemed it necessary again to repair to Spain, and prevailed on the emperor to recal thje superintendant and Zuazo, and substitute Roderigo de Figuerra or
dans les sentimens des PP. de St Dominique, et personne n etoit plus propre k pousser vivement cette attaire comme il fit, sans se laisser jamais, jusqu'& la mort." Charlevoix.
project of las casas. 49
Figueron as chief justice of the island, with orders to mitigate their sufferings. Thus as the Abb6 Raynal remarks,* "Jie was continually hurrying from one hemisphere to the other, in order to comfort those for whom he had conceived such an attachment, or to soften their tyrants. The inutility of his efforts convinced him that he should never do any good in settlements that were already formed; and he proposed to himself to establish a colony upon a new foundation.
" His colonists were all to be planters, artificers, or missionaries. No one was to be allowed to mix with them without his consent. A particular dress, ornamented with a cross, was to prevent them from being thought to belong to that race of Spaniards which had rendered itself so odious. He reckoned that with these kinds of knights he should be able without war, violence or slavery, to civilize the Indians, to convert them, to accustom them to labor, and even to employ them in working the mines. He asked no assistance from the treasury at first, and he was afterwards satisfied with the twelfth of the tributes which he should sooner or later bring into it.
* History of the Settlements and Trade in the East and West Indies, Book 7.
60 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
" The ambitious who gbvern empires, cor*-* sider the people as mere objects of trade, and treat as chimerical every thing that tends to the improvement and happiness of the human species. Such was, at first, the impression which the system of Las Casas made upon the Spanish ministry. He was not discouraged by denials, and at length succeeded in having the district of Cumana ceded to him, to put his theory in practice. This man of ardent genius immediately went through all the provinces of Castile, in order to collect merl accustomed to the labours of the field and to those of manufactures. But these peaceful citizens had not so eager a desire to leave their country as soldiers or sailors have. Scarce could he prevail upon two hundred of them to follow him. With these he set sail for America, and landed at Porto Rico in 1519, after a fortunate voyage.
" Although Las Casas had only quitted the new hemisphere two years before, yet he found a total alteration in it at his return. The entire destruction of the Indians in the islands subject to Spain, had excited the resolution of going to the continent in search of slaves, to replace the unfortunate men who had perished fr6m oppression. This cruelty disgusted the inde-pendant minds of the savages. In the height
DECLINING STATE OF THE ISLAND. 51
tof their resentment they massacred as many of the Spaniards as fell into their hands by chance; and two missionaries, who probably came to Gumana with a laudable design, were the victims of these just retaliations. Ocampo immediately went from St. Domingo to punish an outrage committed, as it was said, against Heaven itself; and after having destroyed all by fire and sword, he built a village upon the spot, which he called Toledo.
" It was within these weak palisades that Las Casas was obliged to place the small number of his companions who had resisted the intemperance of the climate, and the attempts made to seduce them from him. Their residence was not long here. Most of them were pierced with the darts of an implacable enemy; and those who escaped were forced in 1521 to seek an asylum somewhere else.''
The impolitic cruelty of the European settlers who regarded the blood of humanity as nothing in comparison with the accumulation of wealth, together with the rapid progress of the smallpox, continued to hasten the decline of the island; so that by the middle of the sixteenth century scarcely a hundred and fifty of the natives remained. The city of St. Domingo presented however a splendid and prosperous appearance amidst the surrounding desolation
52 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
of the empire. It is described in 1528 as not inferior to any in Spain; the houses being built of stone and fit for the reception of any nobleman, and the palace of Don Diego adapted for the reception of an European monarch. The cathedral was of exquisite workmanship, and well endowed; the dignity of its bishop and canons well supported. There were three monasteries dedicated to St. Dominic, St. Francis, and St. Mary de Mercedes, and a hospital founded by Michael Passamont, the treasurer-general.*
In 1586, Queen Elizabeth of England, desirous of crippling the power of Spain, especially in the West Indies, dispatched the celebrated admiral Sir Francis Drake, who seized upon St. Jago, Carthagena, St. Domingo, and various other places, and captured many valuable ships. Qf St. Domingo he held possession a month, during the latter part of which terrible reign every means were adopted to effect the destruction of the most beautiful buildings, till one-third of the town only having been ruined, the conquerors accepted of seven thousand pounds sterling as a ransom for the remaining part.
The Government of Spam becoming extremely negligent of this and other colonies,
* Account of the Spanish writer Oviedo, with whom the other Historians perfectly agree.
CLOSE OF THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY. 53
they sunk into a state of inactivity, having neither the spirit to quit their situation, nor to pursue any kind of improvement. In consequence of their licentiousness a race of people sprung up of every degree of colour, and only worthy of being called semi-barbarians. The mines were unused,the cultivation of the land altogether abandoned ; and the inhabitants be-, came habituated to piratical depredations and illegal trade; and the Spanish court sought its revenge in the demolition of the seaports, instead of devising a remedy by a renovated system of government. The islanders were consequently driven into the interior where they lived in mean habitations, without clothes, and upon precarious methods of subsistence. Jn this state they beheld the close of the sixteenth century.
from the year 1600 to the peace of ryswick in 1697.
The English and French go to the West Indies.-Expelled from St. Christopher's by Toledo.The remnant of those dispersed settle at Tortuga.Account of the Buccaneers.The English party ear* pelted from Tortuga, and the French retain posses* sion.-Anecdotes of Peter le Grand.^Michael de Basco and others.Montbar and Morgan.*The French colony settled in 1665, under the judicious government of Bertrand D'Ogeron.His character and conduct.His wish to subdue the whole island for France.His death at Paris.^Account of his successors.First regular cession of the western part of the island to the French at the peace of Ryswiek.
After making some efforts to subdue the Caribs or inhabitants of the Windward islands which were not always successful, and finding that no gold mines were to be obtained, and that the people died when reduced to slavery, the Spaniards contented themselves with stopping all European ships that sailed beyond the
ENGLISH AND FRENCH IN THE WEST INDIES. 55
tropics, determined that no other nation should share in their adventures or possessions. The English and French, whose mutual jealousies have so often kept them asunder, united however upon this occasion to check these piratical settlers; already were they acquainted with the Windward islands, but had never yet adopted any measure with a view to occupy them. At length some Englishmen, headed by a leader named Warner, and some Frenchmen under the captain of a French privateer, named Des-nambuc, landed at St. Christopher's on the same day at two opposite points of the island, and divided it between them; while the natives retired before their invaders, bantering them for coming to such a distance to seek land among savages, which they intimated must of course be very scarce with them.
These transactions excited no little alarm in Spain; and Frederic of Toledo, who was going with a powerful fleet to attack the Dutch in Brazil in 1630, was ordered to destroy these new settlers in his way. This was not a very difficult undertaking. They had no adequate means of resistance, and they were all either killed, taken prisoners, or dispersed. Of the latter most returned, after the immediate danger, from the neighbouring islands whither they had fled. Spain, probably from the belief
56 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO*
that they were pretty well annihilated, or at least, redueed to tptal insignificance, no longer interfering with them, a few remained at Tor* tuga a small and barren island to the north-west df St. Domingo, within a few leagues of Port de Paix. The Caribs were usually considered, at the earliest period of European settlement, as the common enemy, against whom both French and English united; but artfully availing themselves of subsequent disputes, they sometimes joined one nation and sometimes the other, by which means they had only one enemy $t a time instead of two. In the mean time the mother countries continued to neglect their subjects in the new world, in consequence of. which, in January, 1660, an alliance was formed, securing to each those possessions which war had thrown into their hands. This was accom* panied with an offensive and defensive league to compel the natives of the country to join them. France obtained Guadaloupe, Marti-pico, Granada, and some others: to England were allotted Barbadoes, Nevis, Antigua, Montserrat, with a few inconsiderable islands* St. Christopher's belonged to both. The Caribs were confined to Dominica and St. Vincent's, and did not at this period exceed in number six thousand men. The French and English planters, whom we
OCCUPATION OF TORTUGA. 57
have just mentioned as occupying the small island of Tortuga, after their expulsion from St. Christopher's, were joined by a number of Dutch emigrants from Santa Cruz, who had been compelled in the same manner to roam the ocean in search of a shelter from Spanish vengeance after their numbers had been considerably diminished. Companions in adversity," says Mr. Edwards, their misfortunes probably taught these poor exiles, mutual forbearance ; for although they were composed of three different nations, they appear to have lived for some years in perfect harmony with each other. Their mode of life contributed to produce the same beneficial effect: finding a country of immeasurable extent in their neighbourhood abounding in cattle, their time was chiefly occupied in hunting; an employment which left no leisure for dissension, and afforded them both exercise and food. The plains of St. Domingo were considered, however, merely as their hunting grounds: Tortuga continued their home and place of retreat. Here their women and young people cultivated small plantations of tobacco, (a herb, of which in hot and moist climates, the practice of inhaling the smoke seems to be poihted out by nature); and as the coast was rugged, and of difficult approach, they fondly hoped that their
58 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
obscurity would protect them from further persecution.
" If the government of Spain had been actuated at this time by motives of wisdom, it would indeed have left these poor people to range over the wilderness unmolested. It ought to have known, that the occupation of hunting diverted them from projects of vengeance and deeds of greater enterprize; but tyranny is without foresight, and the restless and remorseless bigotry of the Spanish nation allowed the fugitives no respite. An armament was collected, and preparations made to effect their utter extermination; the commanders of which, taking occasion when the ablest of the men had resorted to the larger island in their usual pursuit, landed a body of soldiers at Tortuga, and making captives of the women and children, the old and infirm, causedthem all to be massacred without mercy.
" It does not appear that tte miserable people who were thus pursued to destruction, like beasts of prey, had hitherto been guilty of any outrages or depredations on the ships or subjects of Spain, which called for such exemplary vengeance. Neither was it imputed to them, as a crime, that they had possessed themselves of Tortuga, or that they roamed about the desarts of St, Domingo in pursuit of cattle which had
TJHE BUCCANEERS. 59
no owners. Their guilt consisted in the circumstance of being born out of the Spanish territories, and presuming nevertheless to venture into any part of the new world; for the arrogant presumption and extravagant selfishness of this bigotted nation, led them to appropriate all the countries of America to themselves. They claimed even the sole and exclusive right of sailing on any such part of the ocean as, in their judgment, constituted a portion of the newly-discovered hemisphere; and strict orders were issued to all their commanders, by sea and land, to seize on the ships and subjects of all other people that should be found within the boundaries which they had prescribed, and to punish the intruders with slavery or death.
" It is evident, therefore, that no alternative remained to the occupiers of Tortuga, but to turn on their pursuers, and wage offensive war on those who would allow of no peace with them. If the justice of the cause be still a question, let the records of time be consulted: let an appeal be made to that rule of conduct, which (to use an eloquent expression of Lord Coke) is written by the Jinger of God on the heart of rnan ; and let history and reason determine whether any instance of hostility, in the annals of mankind, can be defended on better grounds.
60 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
To such men, in such a cause, no dangers were too formidable, no obstacles too great. Inured by their mode of life to the vicissitudes of climate, united among themselves, and animated by all the motives and passions which can inflame the human mind to great exertion, they became the most formidable antagonists which the Spaniards had ever encountered, and displayed such deeds of valour and successful enterprize. as (all circumstances considered) have never been equalled before or since."
These people were called Buccaneers* because they imitated the custom of savages in drying the food they lived upon by smoke over fires of green wood, in places designated from this practice by the Spanish term Buccan. They are described by the Abb6 Raynal in the following manner. As they had no wives nor children, they usually associated two in a com-
* This term is commonly used as synonymous with freebooters, but in strict propriety they apply to different classes of people. The former name is particularly applied to the French inhabitants of St. Domingo. Anciently the island was peopled by four descriptions of men1. The buccaneers, whose employment was to hunt the bulls or wild boars in the woods.2. The freebooters who roamed the seas, and were in feet pirates; both these classes of people were of a warlike character.3. The husbandman who devoted themselves to the cultivation of the land.4. The slaves.
THE BUCCANEERS. 61
pany, to assist one another1 i family duties. In these societies property was common, and the last survivor inherited all that remained. Theft was unknown among them, though no precautions were taken against it; and what was wanting at home was freely borrowed from some of the neighbours, without any other restriction than that of a previous intimation, if they were at home, if not, of making them acquainted with it at their return. Caesar found in Gaul the same custom, which bears the double character, both of a primitive state, in which every thing was in common, and of times posterior to that in which the idea of private property was known and respected. Differences seldom arose, and> when they did, were easily adjusted. If the parties, however, were obstinate, they decided the matter by fire-arms. If the ball entered at the back or the sides, it was considered as a mark of treachery, and the assassin was immediately put to death. The former laws of their country were disregarded, afcd by the usual sea baptism they had received in passing the tropic, they considered themselves exempted from all obligation to obey them. These adventurers had even quitted their family name to assume others, borrowed from times of war, most of which have been transmitted to their posterity.
62 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
" The dress of these barbarians consisted of a shirt dipped in the blood of the animals they killed in hunting; a pair of drawers dirtier than the shirt, and made in the shape of a brewer's apron; a girdle made of leather, on which a very short sabre was hung, and some knives; a hat without any rim, except a flap before, in order to take hold of it; and shoes without stockings. Their ambition was satisfied, if they could but provide themselves with a gun that carried balls of an ounce weight, and with a pack of about five-and-twenty or thirty dogs.
" The buccaneers spent their life in hunting the wild bulls, of which there were great numbers in the island, since the Spaniards had brought them. The best parts of these animals ^hen seasoned with pimento and orange juice/ were the most common food of their destroyers, who had forgotten the use of bread, and who had nothing but water to drink. The hides of these animals were conveyed to several ports, and bought by the navigators. They were carried thither by men who were called engages, or bondsmen, a set of persons who were used to sell themselves in Europe to serve as slaves in the colonies during the term of three years."
During the time in which the French and
SEPARATION OF THE FRENCH AND ENGLISH. 63
English buccaneers were united, they appointed a leader of the latter nation, of the name of Willis ; but no sooner was a Governor general sent to the French Windward islands than he fitted out a force from St. Vincent's, which being joined by the Frenchmen on the island ordered the English to quit it. They instantly obeyed and never returned, but pursuing their former career they finally obtained regular commissions from the British government to act against the common enemy.
At length after alternate reverses and successes in their contests with the Spaniards the French retained the island of Tortuga, and spread themselves on the northern coast of St. Domingo, of which they retained a firm possession : the English went to Jamaica. These banditti were formed into companies consisting of fifty, a hundred, or a hundred and fifty men each, who took their predatory excursions in boats, generally of a very small size. It waft their custom to board every ship they could discover, of whatever size, and such was the terror they inspired that the moment they had fixed the grappling the ship was almost certain of being captured. Their enmity to the Spa* niards was implacable; they attacked them at all times: if the cargo proved to be a rich one the crew were suffered to live, otherwise they
64 HISTORY OF ST, DOMINGO.
were frequently thrown into the sea. Several anecdotes are preserved respecting them, of which we shall select the following.
Peter le Grand, a native of Dieppe, with only four pieces of cannon and twenty-eight men in his boat, attacked the vice-admiral of the galleons. Having first given orders to sink his own vessel, he boarded that of his antagonist, and the Spaniards were so astonished at this boldness that they were para-lized into inactivity. When he came to the captain s cabin, he presented a pistol to him, and demanded an instant surrender. The terrified and unresisting commander with the greatest part of the crew, they landed at the nearest cape, reserving only a sufficient number of sailors to work the ship. x
Michael de Basco, Jonqu6, and Lawrence le Graff, were cruising before Carthagena, with three small bad vessels,- when two men-of-war sailed out of the harbour to attack these freebooters and bring them alive or dead. The Spaniards, however, were miserably deceived in their anticipations, for they were taken prisoners themselves; the ships were retained, but the crews sent back with scorn and bearing all the shame of so mortifying a defeat.
Another singular specimen of daring courage
DEJECTION OF THE SPANIARDS. 65
is recorded. Michael and Brouage having heard of a valuable cargo being shipped from Car-thagena, in vessels carrying a foreign flag, for the purpose of preserving it from their rapacity, attacked the ships and plundered them. The Dutch captains exasperated at being captured by such an inferior force, told one of the buccaneers, that if he had been alone, he would not have ventured upon the attack; then replied he, "let us begin the fight again, and my companion shall remain a quiet spectator of the engagement. If I should conquer again, both your ships shall also be mine/' This challenge, however, was not accepted, and the Dutchman very gladly made off.
The Spanish colonies were reduced to a state of despair by these hordes of desperadoes, which only tended to inspire them with encreasing confidence; and no longer confining their depredations to the sea, they laid waste the richest and most populous countries of the continent. The spirit of the haughty Spaniards was at length so depressed, that they maintained no other communication with the mother country than that of a single ship, which alone ventured upon the perilous navigation. Of the three most distinguished heroes of this piratical history, the reader will accept
66 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
a brief notice: the subject being intimately connected with an account of St. Domingo.
A gentleman of Languedoc, whose name was Mont bar, acquired particular distinction among his people. From his earliest youth, he had imbibed the utmost detestation for the Spaniards, as the authors of those enormities which had been so long practised in the West Indies. When at college, he is said to have manifested this feeling in an extreme degree, for being called to act the part of a Frenchman in a play, in which he was to quarrel with a Spaniard, he was transported so suddenly from fictitious representation to the exercise of real hatred, that the poor youth who personated the Spaniard was almost strangled before he could be rescued from his fury. This feeling encreased with his years, and nothing could at length satisfy him till he quitted his native shores to join the banditti of buc-* caneers, of whom he had heard as being confederated against the objects of his own in* veterate abhorrence. Having met a Spanish ship on their way, they instantly attacked and boarded it. Montbar was the first to rush upon the enemy's deck, sword in hand. Nothing could resist his impetuosity or arrest his progress till he had twice hurried from one end of the ship to the other, cutting down every
thing that opposed him. The booty, rich as it proved; was no temptation to his romantic spirit, which only hovered with satisfaction over the many Spaniards that had fallen before his victorious sabre.
Soon after this encounter they arrived upon the French coast of St. Domingo, where the buccaneers apologized for the small supply of refreshments they furnished, that the Spaniards had laid waste their settlements. This was sufficient to enrage Montbar, already enough excited by a knowledge of their inhumanities; and he indignantly demanded why they suffered uch insults? To which they replied, "we do not; the Spaniards havd experienced what kind of men we are, and have therefore taken advantage of the time we were engaged in hunting. But we are going to join some of bur companions who have been still more ill treated than we, and then we shall hare warm work." If you approve it," said Montbar, I will head you, not as your commander, but as the foremost to expose myself to danger." To this they readily assented; and having overtaken the enemy on the same day, Montbar displayed such bravery, that they were struck with astonishment and admiration. He was more than bold, he was furious, and drove on with irresistible impetuosity. Nor was this the
68 HISTORY OF ST/ DOMINGO.
only occasion wherein he manifested such a determined and enthusiastic character, his whole remaining life which he passed among his new friends was marked by a similar energy, and the Spaniards, sufficiently terrified at his per? formances, distinguished him ,by the epithet of exterminator. His zeal inspired the buccaneers with a resolution of attempting more than merely repelling the Spaniards from their settlement; they henceforth determined to attack them in their own territory, which, as it required superior forces, led them to form more extensive and numerous associations. In these, Lolonois who was named from the Sands of Olone, the place of his birth, and Michael de Basco, were the two most celebrated leaders. The former, from a bondsman, had raised himself to the command of two canoes, and took a Spanish frigate on the coast of Cuba; and soon afterwards, four other ships lying at Port-au-prince, which had been fitted out on purpose to sail in pursuit of him; the latter captured a Spanish ship, under the very cannon of Porto Bello, valued at five or six millions of livres, that is, between two hundred and two hundred and fifty pounds.
These two adventurers having united their forces, and being joined by four hundred and forty men, sailed to the bay of Venezuela, and
put the whole garrison consisting of two hundred and fifty men to the sword. Thence proceeding to Maracaybo, built on the western coast of the lake of that name, at ten leagues from its mouth they found it deserted by the terrified inhabitants who had retired to the opposite side of the bay. Enraged at the disappointment they set fire to Gibraltar after considerable resistance; but the inhabitants had availed themselves of a fortnight which the banditti had devoted to dissipation, to remove their most valuable property. Maracaybo was saved by a sum being paid for its ransom; besides which, they carried off all the crosses, pictures, and bells of the churches, in order to furnish, as they stated, a chapel which they intended to erect in Tortuga. Banditti consecrating a place of divine worship with the spoils of sacrilegeO temporal O mores!!
We are here introduced to the first exploit of Morgan, a Welshman, and one of the most famous of the buccaneers. He was descended from respectable parents in Glamorganshire, whence he soon went to Bristol in the spirit of adventure, and apprenticing himself to serve a planter for four years, he sailed for the West Indies. At the expiration of his time he joined the brethren of the coast as the buccaneers designated themselves, and at the time when they
70 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
larere rioting amidst the spoils of Venezuela and the neighbouring places, he sailed from Jamaica to attack Porto Bollo, which he captured by surprize. The fort, however, was not yet in his power, but he attempted to gain it by the artifice of compelling the women and priests to fix the scaling ladders, from a conviction that the Spaniards would not fire at persons so loved and reverenced. But the garrison were not to be deceived into submission, and were only conquered by force of arms.
Panama was the next object of Morgan's ambition; to secure which, he deemed it necessary to procure guides from the island of St. Catharine, whither the Spaniards were accustomed to transport their malefactors. This place which was capable of resisting for a long time even the most skilful commander, was treacherously given up to onr adventurer. Hence he steered to the river Chagre; at the entrance of which was a fort built upon a rock, and well defended by a garrison which had an officer of distinguished abilities. The freebooters, however succeeded in consequence of the commander being killed and the fort accidentally taking fire.
Morgan sailed on in boats to Cruces, and then proceeded by land to Panama, then distant only five leagues. In the plain before the city, he
ADVENTURES OF MORGAN* 71
instantly put to flight a large body of troops, and entered the place without further resistance. Here he found prodigious treasures secreted in the wells, caves, and adjacent forests : but the short residence of his party was disgraced by outrages and barbarities, exercised for the purpose of extorting from the Spaniards, Negroes and Indians, the places where they had concealed the wealth of their respective masters.
" In the midst of such scenes of horror the savage Morgan fell in love. His character was not likely to inspire the object of his attachment with favorable sentiments towards him : he was resolved, therefore to subdue by force the beautiful Spaniard that inflamed and tormented him" Stop," cried she to this savagfe, as she sprung with eagerness from his arms, stop: thinkest thou then that thou canst ravish my honor from me, as thou hast wrested from me my fortune and my liberty ? Be as* sured that I can die and be revenged." Having said this, she drew out a poignard from under her gown which she would have plunged into his heart had he not avoided the blow.
" But- Morgan still inflamed with a passion which this determined resistance had turned into rage, instead of the tenderness and at* tention he had made use of to prevail upon his
72 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
captive, now proceeded to treat her with the greatest inhumanity. The fair Spaniard immovably resolute, stimulated at the same time that she resisted the frantic desires of Morgan; till at last the pirates expressing their resentment at being kept so long in a state of in* activity by a caprice which appeared extravagant to them, he was under the necessity of listening to their complaints and giving up his pursuit. Panama was burnt. They then set sail with a great number of prisoners, who were ransomed a few days after, and came to the mouth of the Chagre with a prodigious booty.
Before the break of the day that had been: fixed upon for the division of the spoil, Morgan, while the rest of the pirates were in a deep sleep, with the principal freebooters of Tiis own country, sailed for Jamaica, in a vessel which he had laden with the rich spoils of a city that served as the staple of commerce between the; old and the new world. This instance of treachery, unheard of before, excited a rage and resentment not to be described. The English pursued the robber in hopes of wresting from him the booty of which their right and their avidity had been frustrated. The French, though sharers in the same loss, retired to the island of Tortuga."*
IMPROVEMENT OF MORGAN'S GHARACTER. 73
After this period, the character of Morgan seems to have considerably improved: unless as Mr. Edwards believes he is before greatly traduced. The Spanish writers no doubt, in the language of exaggeration, represent him as a most inhuman monster; but the probability is, that after he disengaged himself from the society with which he had hitherto acted, better sentiments and feelings gradually took possession of his breast, till he became worthy of the recommendation of the earl of Carlisle as his successor in the government of Jamaica, where he was appointed lieutenant-governor in the absence of the earl. He had previously purchased a plantation in the island which he cultivated with great industry. The duties of his new station were discharged with the utmost zeal and fidelity; Charles the Second conferred the honor of knighthood upon him; and Mr. Edwards states, that by the kindness of a friend in Jamaica, he had an opportunity of perusing some of Sir Henry Morgan's original private letters, and this" he adds, I will say, that they manifest such a spirit of humanity, justice, liberality, and piety, as prove that he has either been grossly traduced, or that he was the
* Historical Survey of the French Colonies in St. Domingo, 4top. 128, note.
74 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
greatest hypocrite living;a character ill-suited to the frank and fearless temper of the man.
The French colony first attracted the attention of the mother country in 1665, at which period, though the adventurers were numerous, the regular planters who were, properly speaking, the only colonists, were extremely few, amounting, it is said, to not more than four hundred. The multiplication of these settlers was perceived by the government to be an object of the first importance, and the difficult undertaking was very wisely confided to a gentleman of Anjou, named Bertrand D'Ogeron, who was endowed with all those personal qualities and comprehensive views which fitted him for the post to which he was appointed.
At the period of his first emigration to America in 1656, he had served fifteen years as captain in the marines: but as the bfest concerted plans do not always prosper, he was first deceived, and finally shipwrecked, with the loss of the principal part of the merchandize and provisions; which calamity reduced him to the necessity of living, during a very considerable period, with the buccaneers, who did not fail to cherish for him the highest respect. His misfortunes continued to multiply; for on his leaving France he had directed his
BERTRAND D'ogerok. 75
correspondents to send their communications and merchandize to Martinique, whither he repaired in vain to receive them. D'Ogeron was under the necessity of proceeding to France, where having collected all his property together he embarked in a vessel which he had equipped and laden: but unfortunately confiding the disposal of the cargo to a faithless servant at Jamaica, he had to sustain the entire loss. These and other calamities however, though they created great embarassment, did not produce despondency; on tye contrary, his fortitude in supporting, and his skill in extricating himself from difficulties, acquired him the highest reputation in St. Domingo and Tortuga, and induced the government to give him the superintendance of* the colony.
This situation was obviously critical: he had to establish the authority of government amongst a lawless and irregular tribe of men, whose wandering and piratical habits rendered them peculiarly unprepared to submit to the restraint of laws. Habituated to crimes they were not easily to be inspired with humane sentimentsaccustomed to idleness they were not readily to be brought to industrious and laborious occupationsand trading freely with all nations they could not without the utmost care and prudence be led to respect the privileges
76 HISTORY OP ST. DOMINGO.
of an exclusive company, which had been formed in 1664, to include all the French settlements.
The intercourse which he had previously maintained with his new subjects, enabled him to perceive their peculiarities of character, of tvhich knowledge he availed himself with great sagacity. It was of importance to detain the freebooters who were resolved to go in search of new and more advantageous settlements, by remitting the share of the booty to which he was entitled, and by procuring commissions from Portugal for attacking the Spaniards even after the conclusion of peace with France : by which means he secured their friendship instead of exposing himself to the danger of encountering their hostility. To the buccaneers or huntstnen he advanced money, or procured it without interest, "to enable them to erect habitations; and to the planters he conceded every possible privilege and encouragement.
There was another advantage which be seized-with judgment, and procured with promptitude. j was of material consequence to maintain and encrease the population, by a measure which would diffuse present comfort and secure future stability to the settlement. In vain could he expect internal prosperity, unless he inspired a relish for domestic habits, which became therefore an object of most solicitous attention.
WOMEN SENT TO THE COLONY. 77
Fifty young women were sent from France, and afterwards an equal number, to supply the colonists with wives, but they were disposed of without any regard to [the choice which affection might,be induced to make, and with a chief view to political expediency. A certain sum was required to be paid for them, which, while it tended to encourage industry in order to procure the requisite deposit, must have reduced the character of marriage to a degrading merchandize. This was however found to be the only means of preventing quarrels and bloodshed; but it opened the way for an importation of females, of a more unworthy cast, who were engaged to their new masters for a period of three years :* but this allowance
* The declaration which each of the buccaneers was accustomed to make to the woman that fell to his share, was in the following terms:" I take thee without knowing, or caring to know, who thou art. If any body from whence thou comest would have had thee, thou wouldst not have come in quest of me; but no matter. I do not desire thee to give me an account of thy past conduct, because I have no right to be offended at it, at the time when thou wast at liberty to behave either well or ill, according to thy own pleasure; and because I shall have no reason to be ashamed of any thing thou wast guilty of when thou didst not belong to me. Give me only thy word for the future, I acquit thee of what is past." Then striking his hand on the barrel of his gun, he added, This will revenge me of thy breach of faith; if thou shouldst prove false, this will certainly be true to my aim.
78 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
proved inexpressibly prejudicial to the interests of the colony: it had the effect of driving from the island many brave youths who might otherwise have been its ornament and defence, but who found it impossible to live in comfort amidst universal profligacy. Notwithstanding this error,' the number of planters were encreased by the management of D'Ogeron, from four hundred to the number of fifteen hundred, in four years.
Although this judicious governor had only prevailed upon the inhabitants to submit to his government at first by the promise of opening all the ports to foreign commerce, yet he had succeeded by degrees in establishing the exclusive privilege of the India company, which at length secured the entire trade; but they were so elated with success as to venture to raise the price of their goods two-thirds, which produced an immediate and dangerous insurrection. Accustomed to deeds of violence they had no difficulty in taking up arms, and were at length only conciliated upon the promise that all French ships should be free to trade with them, paying five per cent, to the company on their arrival and departure. Having effected this accommodation, the governor generously procured two ships, apparently for his own use; but really intended for the benefit of the
d'ogeron's anxiety to conquer the island.79
colony* Their destination was to convey the crops into Europe, and every one shipped his own commodities at a moderate freight. On their return, the cargo was exposed to public sale for prime cost; and in addition to this, no interest was taken for the longest credit, and even no security was required. This was a proceeding founded in a thorough acquaintance with the human heart, and highly calculated to inspire the loftiest sentiments of gratitude and affection.
M. D'Ogeron had for a long time meditated the conquest of the whole island for France, and even pledged his life to the ministry at Versailles for the success of his enterprise, provided they would send him a squadron sufficiently powerful to blockade the harbour of the capitals In the year 1675, he went into France for the express purpose of urging this design upon the consideration of the court His representations, however, did not produce all the effect which his ardent mind had anticipated ; it Was considered as an impracticable undertaking, while the danger to which the colony was exposed by the perpetual hostilities of their neighbours was overlooked. The Spaniards, however, were usually foiled; but the spirit of retaliation and plunder, checked the progress of agriculture and indisposed the
80 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
people for regular labour. Under the direction of so sagacious a mind as that which distinguished the projection of this conquest, it can scarcely be doubted that its atchievement was at least highly probable, and would have prevented many calamities which the French afterwards suffered.
When at Paris, M. D'Ogeron was seized with a flux, Which terminated his career there, at the close of this year or at the commencement of 1676, without having seen either the king or ministry; it is honorable to his character that notwithstanding the opportunities which he had of accumulating riches, he died poor; but left behind him, virtues not unrecorded in the hearts of the colonists, or in the memory of an admiring posterity.
Difficult as the virtues of the last governor had rendered it to succeed him, the post was occupied with considerable honor to himself by M. de Poiiancey, who, to his personal qualifications united the claim of relationship, being the nephew of M. D'Ogeron. Although somewhat more haughty than his predecessor, he possessed a similar power of attracting the universal affection and confidence of those by whom he was immediately surrounded, or over whom he had to exercise authority. Instead of adopting new and speculative plans of ad-
REVOLT OF THE NEGROES. 81
ministration, the whole of his proceedings were designed to consolidate and complete the judicious system which had be*n previously arranged. His views, however, were considerably limited, perhaps by the circumstances in which he was placed ; for he seems only to have contemplated the preservation of the colony in its present state of prosperity^ not to have thought of extending it. As the peninsula of Samana was much exposed to the incursions of the Spaniards, he ordered the removal of the inhabitants to the plain of Cape Francois, who reluctantly obeyed. This new residence he took care to fortify; and it was ever after regarded with jealousy by the rival nation. At the beginning of 1678, M. Poiiancey received advice of an intention having been formed to attack it, which he prevented by a timely and well concerted movement.
In 1679, a revolt of the Negroes which took place at Port de Paix, occasioned the governor considerable trouble. The circumstances were, in brief, as follow: a black slave called Pa-drejan, having killed the Spanish master i whose service he had been for many years, fled for refuge to Tortuga, where he was allowed to be at liberty; and going afterwards into the neighbourhood of St. Domingo, he there cultivated a piece of land now called St. Louis,
82 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
opposite the eastern point of Tortuga. Still bent upon wickedness, Padrefjan seduced some of the slaves, to whom he proposed to massacre all the French inhabitants, hoping, that such an action would sufficiently recommend him to the Spaniards, from whom his crimes had previously driven him away. There were at this period, but few Negroes in the colony; and most of them had. been originally among the Spaniards, to whom they felt some inclination to return. Padrejan consequently found: little* difficulty in arranging his plan; and having speedily assembled his partizans together, overran the county as far as Port Margol, pillaging and massacring in every direction. At length he posted himself on a lofty mountain, between St. Anne and St. Louis, entrenching himself with trees; and from this fortress made' perpetual and desolating excursions in the neighbourhood, destroying all the Frenchmen he could find, and releasing the Negroes from their servitude.
Poiiancey, who was at Port de Paix, felt himself prodigiously embarassed by these hostile proceedings, for not only did he feel reluctant to expose his troops to these ihfuriated re-volters who were in possession of an almost inaccessible post; it was even doubtful whether he had sufficient force to subdue them, should
DEATH OP PADRE J AN. 83
he resolve upon the hazardous experiment. In addition to this, he perceived an universal reluctance among his people to engage*in the enterprise, although the evil daily and hourly encreased. At this critical juncture, a small band of buccaneers came into the Port de Paix, to whom the governor proposed the labour of terminating the revolt. This they readily accepted ; and instantly repairing to the mountain, they climbed it with so much resolution, and attacked the fortress with such vigor, as to put the poor Negroes into the utmost con? sternation, many of whom, and among them Padrejan, they killed, dispersing the rest.
Such was the restlessness under oppression, and such the indications of the love of liberty,' so natural to the human bosom, which from time to time, broke forth in this much injured island. It would have been well for their rulers, had they duly considered how much the instigator to crimes, who becoifies such no less by a severity of conduct that occasions them, than by direct encouragement and dictation,, is himself a participator in their guilt, and answerable for their consequences. However we must condemn wickedness wherever practised, and under whatever circumstances of temptation, we cannot but pity those wretched people, who in seeking deliverance from un-
84 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. *
merited degradation, were treated as rebels and miscreants.
In 1681, Poiiancey went into France, whence he returned in the spring of the following year, and about the close of it, died, much and deservedly regretted by all who knew him. With regard to the colony, notwithstanding all his care, zeal, and persevering attention to its interests, he left it in a very deplorable condition. The buccaneers were almost reduced to nothing, while the other classes of the population were infected with an untractable spirit, owing to their dissatisfaction,with certain commercial regulations respecting the cultivation of tobacco, by which they considered themselves aggrieved. The piratical freebooters were of little service in opposing the enemies of the colony, though they spread universal terror through the Indies by their depredations; and on the other hand, they prevented the interchange of trade by the alarms their conduct spread around, and exposed the settlement to the continual retaliations of exasperated foes. At the same time, they scarcely acknowledged the government, and submitted but imperfectly, and with a very ill grace to its regulations. Besides these evils, the Spaniards refused ,to allow the right of the French to form any establishment on the island of
DE CU5SY. 85
St. Domingo, where they not only regarded them as intruders and robbers, but as the encounters of rebellion and piracy. It was their anxious wish to confine them to Tortuga; while the English who were settled in Jamaica, carried their views still further, by wishing totally to expel them from the West Indies.
It was not till 1683, that de Cussy was ap* pointed as successor to M. de PoiianceyDe Franquesnay having commanded in the meantime as the kings lieutenant; and upon his arrival, the new governor found enough to do in order to tranquillize the mutinous dispositions of his people. The freebooters had spread disorder in every direction, and the colony was throughout in a very depraved state, neither religion nor justice being administered. Two commissioners were therefore sent in 1684, to concert measures with de Cussy, for the better regulation of the internal policy, and the chevalier St. Laurence and M. Begon who were deputed to this important work, executed it with judgment and fidelity. Courts of Judicature were established for the several districts, responsible to a supreme council at Petit Goave, Other points were adjusted by means of a little address, without any serious disagreement Negociations were entered into with the government at home, in order to obtain relief from the