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S T. DOMI1NG OE
NUMAN AFFAIRS AR IN NO I1NSTANWCE GO VERNED NT STRICT PFOSITIVE
IN TWO VOLUMES.-VOL. I.
WILLIAM MARSHALL AND CO.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1836,
BY JONATHAx BROWN,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of NewHampshire.
I L DQ A Y
OCT -6 19A
DUmRIG a residence of more than a year in St. Domingo, in the course of 1833-34, I availed myself of the opportunity that my .situation and leisure afforded, to collect the most authentic intelligence of that island's eventful history, as well as to investigate the condition and operation of things under the present dynasty of the blacks;
Having' gathered together these materialS, I have. deemed- it not unadvisable to communicate to the public the result of my labors. I was the more inclined to such a step, as but little is accurately known in the United 'States of the early progress of that brilliant French colony, or of the train of events, all dependent upon each other, which gradually brought on the fierce struggle of the Revolution, terminating in the death or expulsion of the whites, and the emancipation and independence of the blacks.
I have confined myself, throughout, to a simple recital of facts, having no system of politics to establish, more than a decided penchant for order, humanity and moral principle.
In my account of the earlier fortunes of the Spanish colony of Hispaniola, I have closely followed Mr. Washington Irving, in his Life of Columbus-conscious that I could add nothing to the extent or accuracy of his historical facts.
I have adhered to the elaborate work of Moreau de St. Mery for most of the incidents appertaining to the
French colony previously to the Revolution; and for an account of the troublous times immediately succeeding that epoch, I have consulted a host of French authors, few or none of whom seem to me to possess much merit except Dalmas, whose history extends to the burning of Cape Francois.and the emancipation of the blacks; and Lacroix. who, in his excellent work upon the expedition to St. Domingo under General Leclerc, combines the merit of an accurate observer of the scenes around him, together with that of one of the most elegant of narrators.
For intelligence of the time subsequent to the Empeo ror Dessalines, I found myself compelled to rely, chiefly, upon tradition, or, at least, the oral accounts of those who. were actors in the scenes they described; as the few pretended documents that have survived the fierce wars of Christophe and Petion are so wretched in their nature that it would be folly to depend upon them as materials for history.
I might add, that a moral is perhaps to be drawn by us from *the events here described; namely, that political abuses are sooner or later repaid by popular vengeance; and that we should not, by ignorant or unnecessary legislation, disturb that arrangement of the social order under which experience has assured us that our national prosperity is safe.
Greenland, June 15, 1836.
".-" I.., "
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
Geographical position of St. Domingo-appearance of its coast-mountains-. plains-rivers--boundaries of the French territory-lakes--the cacique Hlenriquillo-bharboure-anecdotes of Tiburon-appearance of the interior-geological formation--extensive inland prairies--climate-land and sea breezes-dry land-wind--earthquakes-arrival of the Spaniards and the establishment of fort Navidad--4ts destruction-settlement of Isabella-Indian hostilities-establishment of Santo Domingo-Roldan's seditionadministrations of Bovadilla and Ovando-subjugation of the Indians--administration of Diego Columbus-internal agitations-Las Casas-introduction of negroes-first negro rebellion-sources of the colony's decayconquest of Santo Domingo by Drake-expedition of Newport-buccaneers
-western part abandoned by the Spaniards.
THE island of St. Domingo lies between Cuba on the northwest, Porto Rico on the southeast, and Jamaica on the southwest. Its nearest approach to either of these islands'is at its northwestern extremity, which stretches into a long and narrow peninsula, at the farthest point of which, called the Mole St. Nicholas, there is situated a town, which is twelve leagues distant from the most southeastern extremity of Cuba.
Ships from the United States or from Europe usually approach the island by its northern coast; particularly that part of it which lies in the immediate vicinity of two prominent headlands, which arise bold and mountainous from the country around them, and project far into the ocean which washes their base. One of these, which is called Cape Isabella, was the spot selected by the Spaniards whereon to establish their first permanent settlement in the new world; though they afterwards abandoned it from the superior attractiveness of the southern coast.
The outline of the coast is every where imposing and magnificent. There is ever the same continuous succession of bald, rounded summits of limestone mountains, now running high and precipitous to the very water's
HISTORY O ST. DOMINGO.
edge, and then retreating farther into the interior, with a long sope of green impervious underwood or tall grass intervening between the mountains and the shore. But the spectator from the vessel's deck is afforded but a faint and unsatisfactory glimpse of the natural exuberance which he has been taught to expect in a land so famed for its fertility. He finds nothing in the whole sweep of his vision but mountain piled against mountain, the bald, clayey elevations of which have all the dreariness without the magnificence of Alpine scenery; and while they are lashed by tropical tempests or stand burning and quivering in the hot sunshine, they form a picture of desolation which withers the very soul; and this is the very coast that rose before the eyes of Columbus. '
A nearer approach landward soon begins to disclose, amidst the numerous projections of cape and headland which shoot in coral reefs far under the surface of the tranquil sea, a multitude of picturesque openings into the interior, through which are seen plains which sweep far inland, covered thickly with a crowded mass of vegetation; among which may be distinguished lofty forest trees, which, shoot up to a vast height above the thickets which surround their root; groves of bamboo or mangrove bushes which hover along the shore-and now and then a smoke that curls up among the trees, denoting the existence of human habitations.
The island, as seen from any direction, seems in the distance a mere concourse of barren mountains. There is ever the same unvarying outline of conical elevations and high insulated peaks, which are so numerous and crowded upon one another as to form a continuous ridge. [n the interior +he traveller finds himself shut up and lost amidst a maze of mountain summits, which arise around him without order and without end, shutting in his gaze on every side by inaccessible heights, which contract the horizon to a mere vista upwards.
The loftier peaks are grouped in distinct lines, which run parallel with the, sea shore from the Mole St. Nicholas to Cape Isabella on the northern coast, and from Cape Tiburon to Cape Beate on that of the south. The latter, which are called the mountains ,f La Hotte, are .the highest elevations in the island. Their acclivity corn-
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 7
iiences at the distance of a few miles from the sea shore 'on the southern coast, and their highest peaks attain an elevation of nearly seven thousand feet above the ocean attheir base. They divide the waters of the Caribbean sea from those of the Bight of Leogane for the distance of two hundred miles along that coast, to Cape Beate, the most southern extremity of the island. From this cape the direction of the chain is turned northward in a zigzag course across the island, until it terminates at Monte Christe, a place midway on the northern coast. There is a central mass of mountain summits which spreads barrenness and desolation over an immense extent of the interior, and from it all the different chains and spurs of mountains seem to diverge and pass off to diversify the surface of the whole island. These are the mountains of Cibao, so famed for the golden hopes Which they offered to the early Spaniards of Hispaniola. They are an immense group of high, bald, limestone summits, huddled together in untraceable confusion, as if some tremendous convulsion had torn the whole region from its foundation, and scattered it in disjointed fragments around, in masses proportioned to the fearful energies of the shock.
Between these different mountain ridges there are immense tracts of level country, which extend for hundreds of miles, crowded as they are with a vast wilderness of vegetation. They are immense alluvions, formed by the gradual disintegration of the neighboring mountain sides, and their deep, fat soil, acted upon by the prolific influence of a sun that is always vertical, teems with a productiveness that is most exuberant. The larger extensions of level country are denominated plains, while those of less extent, but which are still in a state of primitive wildness, are called savannas. Of the former class is the great plain of the Vega, which spreads from the mountains of Cibao to the eastern extremity of the island. Here was the scene of the earliest planting in the island, and here still exist the remains of many Spanish towns, once the flourishing residences of that people who led the van of European emigration to America. Near the head-waters of the river Yuna and under the eastern declivity of the mountains of Cibao, stands the ancient town of Vega, built by Columbus himself on the
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
spot where an Indian cacique once held his capital, and ruled in "naked majesty."
In the plain of Santiago, near the northern coast of the island, is the inland city of Santiago de los Cavelleros, with an appellation worthy 6f Homer. It was here that the stately Ilidalgoes of the Spanish colony held their residence at a suitable distance from their plantations in the Vega on the one hand, and from the mercantile transactions of the sea coast on the other. All claiming to be patricians theywould not defile their place of abode with the toils and vulgarities of business, and they spent life swinging in their hammocks and reclining indolently under a perpetual cloud of tobacco smoke. After the treaty of Basle had ceded to France the Spanish territory of St. Domingo, the inhabitants of Santiago, as of the whole Spanish part of the island, quitted their ancient homes to seek others in places which still remained to the Spanish crown, and since that epoch the city of Santiago has been but a waste of untenanted and ruinous habitations.
Upon the southeastern coast of the island there is a wide range of level country, where the Spanish popula. tion was once chiefly clustered,, and many towns still exist with sufficient magnificence in their ruins to attest the wealth and luxury which were once enjoyed in that part before the fortunes of the Spanish colony had become extinct. Westward, -within the territory of the French part of the island, besides a multitude of scattered tracts of smooth country, there are four considerable plains, those namely of Cape Fran2ois in the north-of the river Artibonite and the Cul de Sac in the west, and of Aux Cayes in the south.
Most of the rivers are but empty ravines in the dry season, and during the continuance of the periodical rains are swollen to overflowing; sweeping every thing before them in their furious course to the sea. Some, however, are of a size which, were it not for their frequent rapids, from the great inclination of the soil over which they have their course, would render them navigable far into the country. The first in size is the Yuna, which origiziating in the mountains of Cibao winds through the plain of the Vega., and empties into the bay of Samana at the eastern extremity of the island. The next is the Artibonite, which
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
flows iest, and near the middle of its course receives a branch large as itself, and swollen by the confluence makes its embouchure into the Bight of Leogane after a winding course of three hundred miles. A large river flows into the sea on the northern coast, just below Mansanilla bay. This is the Santiago, or Rio del Oro of Columbus, and the scene of many a fierce adventure. The Neybe is a large river which flows into the sea on the southern coast, and eastward of it upon the same coast there are three other rivers, which empty themselves into the Caribbean sea-the Nisao, the Higuey and the Ozama,upon the banks of which stands the city of Santo Domingo, once the metropolis of the American world, but now a city of palaces, with scarcely an inhabitant but the sluggish negro, lounging in abodes which the haughty Spaniard erected not for such a use. The: surface of the island is every where diversified by smaller streams, the numbers of which justify the truth of Columbus's description, "that every valley and glen has its stream of water."
The French territory of St. Domingo was but a strip of country extending across the broad and indented western coast, which, leaving out of calculation the two prongs that form the sides of the Bight of Leogane, did not exceed thirty miles in depth. An exception, however, obtained in the northern part, as on that coast the French settlements extended to the extreme eastern part of the plain of Cape Francois, more than one hundred miles from the Mole St. Nicholas.
Southeastward of the town of Port au Prince, and on the confines of the Spanish territory, there are two salt water lakes of considerable extent. One of them, which is a broad sheet of'water, is the ancient Xaragua, though it was named by the Spaniards in later times, Henriquillo from the following fact:
Among the Indian caciques burnt alive by Ovando at Leogane were the father and grandfather of a young Indian who had been baptized under the name of Henry, afterwards changed, through the peculiarity of the Span. ish language, to the diminutive Henriquillo, or little Henry. He had been educated by the Franciscans of Santa Maria de la Paz Real, near Leogane, but he was subsequently included in the repartimiento, or portion
10 HISTORY OF sT. DOMINGoO.
of Indian slaves falling to the share of a Spaniard, nan I Valencuela, of that place. His education and the ki i treatment he had received at the convent, joined to I e free and indolent habits of his race, made the enduran e of slavery a condition of horror to the young India ; particularly when the son of Valencuela added to t e poignancy of his miseries by inflicting upon him eve y species of insult and unkindness. To escape from tl is two-fold source of wretchedness, slavery and cruelly r, Henriquillo fled to the woods, and in those wild solitud -s where his ancestors had been all-powerful, the youi g cacique gathered to his standard a band of his countr rmen, who were flying from the same oppressions as tho e which had goaded their native chief to abandon his master. All the attempts of Valencuela to recapture Henriquillo were skilfully eluded or fiercely resisted. The young cacique's party had a daily increase from tihe continual desertion of Indian slaves belonging to other repartimientos, until Henriquillo saw himself in a condition to set at open defiance the feeble resources of the Spanish authorities in that remote part of the island. An obstinate petty warfare was the consequence, in the course of which the life of Henriquillo was checkered by a thousand diversities of success and misfortune, and he persisted in maintaining his independent and hostile attitude for a period of fourteen years. In the year 1532 he was in sufficient strength to make incursions not only upon the Spanish settlements in his immediate neighborhood, but to set out upon a distant expedition against the Spaniards of Caracol, upon the northern coast of the island. Finding hostilities of no avail in subduing the untractable character of this rebellion, the Spanish government of the colony resolved to have recourse to negotiation to procure the restoration of peace and tranquility to the best portion of the island under its jurisdiction, and power was granted to Francisco de Borrio Nuevo, the lately appointed governor of Golden Castile, to hold a conference with Ilenriquillo, in order to make some arrangement for the cessation of the war. Borrio Nuevo, having had an interview with the admiral, Don Luis Columbus, and with the authorities of Santo Domingo, sailed from that port to proceed on his mission. Landing
HISTORY OF S'. DOMTNGO. 11
at Aquin he penetrated into the wilderness: crossing the mountains of La Hotte, and directing his course northeasterly, he traversed a wild and trackless extent of country, until at last he came to the shores of a large lake, where he found the warlike cacique and his followers encamped. The Spaniard was received with respect, and the overtures of peace, of which he was the bearer, were promptly accepted by Henriquillo. A treaty was soon adopted, much to the advantage of the young Indian, and Borrio Nuevo, ignorant as he was that the lake before him was the real Xaragua, re-baptized it out of honor to the Indian chief who was now his friend, and proceeding to Jacmel he sailed from that harbor for Santo mingo. Henriquillo proceeded by land to that city, where a definitive arrangement was concluded between him and the Spanish authorities. Henriquillo was permitted to choose a place of residence for himself and his
followers. He was acknowledged hereditary prince of the latter, and was to be forever exempted from tribute, on the single condition that he did homage to the representatives of the emperor who were in the island. A little time after, he retired with his followers to a place called Bahia, situated northeast of the city of Santo Domingo, where, as far as it is known, he died in the full enjoyment of liberty and his native independenceleaving his name to the lake upon the shores of which he had maintained his long hostilities, while his name and memory were preserved in many a subsequent legend of the province.*
The northeastern coast of St. Domingo is but thinly inhabited, and the facilities for approaching its rugged shores are few and dangerous. Midway between Monte- Christe and Cape Isabella is situated the harbor of Porto Plata, and within this harbor there is a small Spanish c town whence small exportations are made of tobacco and mahogany. After proceeding westward beyond Mansanilla bay, the boundaries of the ancient French territory are passed, and here a multitude -of harbors and small maritime towns are discovered. Fort Dauphin, now, in better accordance with the new system of things,
S,*Moreau de St. Mery.
12 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
called Fort LibertY, was the scene of many a fierce struggle for the possession of its frontier situation, between the hostile parties of the Spaniards and buccaneers. The bay of Caracol comes next, where the caravels of Columbus were shipwrecked in his first voyage, and the place of the establishment and subsequent disaster of Fort Navidad. Then comes next in order cape Haytien, the ancient Cape Frangois, now greatly dwindled from its former greatness,-but once the opulent rival of Havana itself. The bay of Acul, Port de Paix, the ancient capital of the French colony, and the Mole St. Nicholas, the natural Gibraltar of the Antilles, are successively passed in coasting along, and last but not least, comes the great Bight of Leogane, with its wide expanse of smooth water reflecting from its glasy surface the beams of a -vertical sun, or glittering with phosphorescent ripples in the calmness of the starlight. At the extreme depth of this bay lies the town of Port au Prince, and scattered along its sides are the towns of Gonaives, St. Marks, Leogane, Petit Goave, and Jeremie.
The southern coast is less forbidding than that of the north, and is better furnished with inlets and harbours to render an approach safe and easy. Proceeding westward from Santo Domingo, one arrives in succession at the old Spanish towns of Nisao, Baini, Candelaria, and Azua, which is upon the bay of Ocoa. After Cape Beate is passed, the French towns of Jacmel, Aquin, St. Louis and Aux Cayes are left behind in succession, until at last the voyager reaches the most southwesterly point of the island, and enters the harbor of Cape Tiburon.
This place, from its remote situation mad the conveniences of its harbour, became at a very early period the favorite resort of piratical adventurers. It was, here that the famous buccaneer chief, Pierre of Dieppe, landed the vice admiral and crew of a Spanish galleon which he had been hardy enough to attack; mid notwithstanding a vast disparity in the relative strength of the twe armaments, he succeeded in capturing almost within sight of this harbor. Pierre proceeded to the attack in an open boat, with but twenty-eight men and four small cannon; and while his associates were climbing up the sides of the huge vessel, he gave secret orders to the
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 13
surgeon to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat and sink it. The Spaniards, unconscious of the danger that was so near, were surprised and vanquished almost with.. out a struggle.
The fleet of admiral Vernon made its rendezvous at Tiburon while on the expedition against Carthagena in 1741; and it was to this, place also that the miserable remains of that armament returned to mourn in sadness the fate of so many of their comrades, who had been smitten by a pestilence which has but few parallels in history.
In the year 1744, a French corsair, called Le Balanqu6, having captured off the island a London vessel with a cargo of immense value, entered the harbor of Tiburon to divide the spoil. Guns were fired through the day to manifest the joy of the pirates at the capture of a prize sufficient to enrich them all. But of all rejoicing, that over ill-gotten treasure is the most inauspicious. The noise of the firing drew the attention of a French cruiser off the harbor, and the pirates were driven from their booty with the loss, of their own vessel, which was burnt by the cruiser.
According to tradition, the first Inhabitant of Tiburon was an old Frenchman, whose name was Devineau, who established himself there about the year 1745. He was the owner of a boat, and went from inlet to inlet to sell tafia.* Having, by following this traffic, gained a sufficiency to purchase three negroes, he proceeded to open a clearing and establish a plantation of his own. For a bed he had four stakes driven into the ground, upon which was stretched an ox-hide. Planks nailed 'upon stakes formed his table, and all his other appointments corresponded. But the aptness of the climate and soil, together with an indefatigable industry, enabled this rigid economist to bequeath to his successors an estate of a million and a half of livres. Such was his success in agriculture that the negroes ascribed his extraordinary gains to magic. They for many years held his name in deep veneration, and whenever a drought prevailed in the country, they asserted that should the bones of Devi.. neau be taken from the church and carried in solemn procession, fertility would be restored to the district.
'Aguardiente, the mean rum of the country.
14 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
During the war of 1756, Tiburon, though furnished with but six small cannon, and in a wretched state of defence, maintained a stout battle against an English frigate which had entered the -harbor to cut out some transports which were on their way with reinforcements to St. Jago de Cuba. Both the attack and the defence were long and furious, but the action eventuated in- the defeat ot the English with great slaughter. During the continuance of the French colony, from the exposed situation and almost universal notoriety of Tiburon, the inhabitants were chiefly those- accustomed to brave fortune and maintain themselves by the sword; and while they themselves were artillerists they made even their negroes soldiers.
The interior of the island is marked with a thousand varieties of sylvan beauty, gorgeously flowering or green with perennial verdure. Amidst wooded hills and bald and furrowed mountain peaks, spacious tracts of level country spread themselves over a wide extent, and are strewed with the very prodigality of vegetation. The wild glens and rich bottoms are true flower gardens, where nature decks herself unseen, and mocks at the meagre\ effects of the very highest cultivation, when it is bestowed under circumstances less favorable to productiveness. Those plants and shrubs which are natives of the tropics, and which in our colder atmosphere cannot be reared but by artificial cultivation, here spring up spontaneously, and attain a degree of luxuriance unknown to them in less natural situations. The traveller at every short interval of his progressmeets with a stream of cool, clear water, that winds its way between banks of wild flowers to irrigate extensive tracts of rich soil, teeming with a thousand varieties of rank vegetation. These Arcadian scenes are from time to time replaced by those of bold and startling magnificence. The traveller, placed for instance, at a noted mountain defile, called the Coupe de Plaisance, looks with indescribable sensations at the immensity of every thing around him. Mountains, With all their rocks and precipices, seem piled upon, others equally abrupt and precipitous, or split from their summit to their base to form chasms which seem immeasurable. The mind is crushed back upon itself, and man, P -
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 15
such vast magnificence, feels himself an atom plodding his obscure way through immensity, and content to hide his weakness in insignificance itself. Amidst this maze of mountain scenery the cataract of Grande Riviere raises the deafening chorus of its waters, as they tumble from crag to crag to arrive at the bottom of the steep declivity.
It is among these mountain districts that, during the season of rain, immense masses are detached from their sloping position, and glide fearfully, with all their woods and rocks, into new situations. This has been known to happen without the least rupture in the body itself of the avalanche, and without injury committed upoh the regions in its neighborhood. But it is not always thus harmlessly that such immense phenomena take place. The avalanche is sometimes made into the bed of a river, the course of which is changed, and the surrounding low country laid under water. It is sometimes even more calamitous, and flocks, herds and negroes are buried under the huge mass which has overwhelmed the whole neighborhood. The aspect of the landscape is changed. Old springs are dried up, and new ones open themselves. Wet, swampy lands become dry, and elevated situations become swamps. Salubrious places become abodes of disease, and the reverse, and the immense disruption seems to have operated a change upon the fixedness of nature itself. No where are the marks and ravages of time and the violence of tropical tempests shown so manifestly as upon the perishable material of these mountain masses; as the disjointed and broken precipices, the unfathomable chasms, and the multitude of winding caverns, all testify.
Like all the islands in the West Indian Archipelago, the formation of St. Domingo is chiefly calcareous, intermixed occasionally with red sand-stone, and beds of marl and salt. In the mountains there are found porphyry, serpentine, tale and freestone. The heights surrounding Cape Haytien afford pudding-stone, marine deposits, and in former times small quantities of copper and iron are said to have been found there. There is a very good sort of marble found in some places, and in the southern mountains there are quantities of puzzolana earth; and between the different strata of calcareous deposits, there
.16 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
exist immense caverns. Mineral springs abound every where, and at a spot called Port a Pimeilt, there still exist the ruins of commodious residences, baths and shaded promenades, where the infirm and gay among the ancient French colonists spent the more unhealthy months of the year.
In the wilderness of the interior the wide plains are often found destitute of trees for leagues in extent, if we except the occasional occurrence of an oase of mahogany or wild fig-trees, that redeem a small spot from the parching fervency of the continual sunshine. These plains, like the prairies of our own country, are overgrown with a species of tall grass, and filled with wild animals-hogs, goats, horses and cattle -.which, imported into the island by the original Spaniards, were left by them td breed in the woods, where, favored by climate and abundance of provision, their numbers have augmented to such extent as has afforded an unexhausted source of game from the time of the Buccaneers to the present.
The climate of St. Domingo is of course that of the torrid zone, but the heat is modified, not only by the very strong influence impressed upon its temperature by the surrounding ocean, but by a thousand local peculiarities of mountain and plain, latitude and degree of exposure to the sun's rays. All attendant circumstances being the same, the heat is never so great as on the same meridian upon the continent of America. The mean heat throughout the year might be assumed at 85 of Fahrenheit within those situations. least subjected to cooling influences. But upon the highest elevations of the mountains of La Hotte it is said that the negroes from Africa could not at first endure the severity of the cold. However the thermometrical indications of temperature may be, the heat is rendered endurable and pleasant by the temperating influence of the sea-breez'e. This usually begins to make itself felt at about 9 o'clock in the morning, and it goes on gradually augmenting in strength until 3 o'clock in the afternoon, when it often blows with great force, bringing with it a freshness and moisture from the ocean, which most powerfully counteracts the parching, enervating influence of a glowing vertical sun. All persons now throw open their heated apartments, and give them-
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 17
selves to the luxurious indulgence of sitting or reclining in a current of this delightful wind, which continues to blow, though with less violence, until sunset, when there is a period of sultry oppressive calmness, to be succeeded within an hour by a wind -that blows dry and cool from the land, and is felt with more or less force through the night, till another calm takes place, to continue through the morning. This is the common course of things, though from time to time this agreeable vicissitude is replaced by occurrences less conducive to the comfort of the inhabitants. Occasionally from November to April the northeast trade-winds sweep so fiercely along the shores of the island as to break up this regularity in the succession of land and sea-breezes. Then there occurs what is called a Norther-a wind that much resembles, in its sensation and effects, the dry land-winds of India, or a tramontane at Naples. During its continuance every thing is dry, parched and dusty, and every body ill at east, and filled with catarrhs, cramps and rheumatisms. In every place there is the same unvarying picture of bleak, dreary- desolation. The sky, instead of the usual softness and delicacy of its tints, has a hard, cold aspect of wintryness. The air is filled to suffocation with clouds of fine dust, in which the sun's rays are refracted into a thousand brilliant hues, that glitter for a moment and pass slowly away to the westward. Every house is closely shut, and its inmates crowd themselves into every corner that affords a shelter from the pervading influence of this pernicious wind. It does not continue long.* After a few days the hazy clouds that hang over the northeastern horizon sweep over and disappear in the southwest-and the sun brings in its ascent the usual seabreeze to revive the usual gladdening appearance of the landscape.
The seasons are divided into the rainy and dry. The rains begin sometime in April, and continue to fall, in occasional showers, till October, when they begin to decline, and in December the dry season has fairly commenced. During its continuance the fields and wooas lose in a great measure the vivid appearance of their verdure, and put on a more russet and dull aspect. The 2*
1S HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
leaves fall from some of the trees, and all vegetation stands still till the return of the season of showers.
During the prevalence of the latter is the time when earthquakes commonly happen. Though hardly a season passes over without the occurrence of one or more shocks, none hasvbeen so peculiarly disastrous in its effects as that which happened on the 3d of June, 1770, and which nearly annihilated the towns of Port au Prince and Aux Cayes. An intense heat is said to have preceded it, and a thick, suffocating atmosphere attended it. A rushing noise, as of subterraneous currents of air, continued to be heard at intervals, while shock followed shock during a period of fifteen days. The earth gaped in horrid fissures, and amidst the terrible convulsion the greater part of the town of Port au Prince was ingulfed in the sea. It is a peculiarity of these phenomena that they always occur at that particular epoch of the season when the periodical rains are at their height. This would seem to give confirmation to the received opinion that they are caused by the conversion of the water that falls in such torrents into immense quantities of steam within deep subterranean caverns below the surface of the island. Certain it is, that formerly if not at present, there were subterranean noises heard along the plain of Port au Prince like the distant lowings of a bull, even when no earthquake was in occurrence.0 This sound was so frequently heard 'and well known as to be designated by the term, le goufre.
A phenomenon that occurs during the height of the dry season, merits a notice, as being the best of all substitutes for a veritable volcano. This is a spontaneous fire which burns upon the sides and summits of the mountains. It rages and spreads among the parched herbage of the inaccessible mountain tops. How these fires originate no one professes to know. They are doubtlessly enkindled by the sun's rays drawn to act in a concentrated manner upon a mass of vegetation dried to a requisite degree of inflammability. Once enkindled the fire spreads rapidly among so many materials to assist its progress. In the darkness of the night the spectacle is glorious. The whole horizon of mountain is lit up with lurid flames, and the high and jagged outline grows fearfully red against the
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 19
distant heavens. It seems some immense conflagration raging in its course of destruction, belching forth its huge eddies of smoke, and flinging around its startling gleams of red, baleful light dn sky, earth and air,-the awful portraiture of not one, but twenty volcanoes in full eruption.
The first settlement made by civilized man in St. Do. mingo, or in the new world, was in what has since been called the bay of Caracol, on the northern coast of the island. In this bay Columbus had the misfortune to lose one of his caravels on the night of the 24th of December, 1492. One of the three vessels which composed his fleet had not been heard of forsome days, and the only caravel which now remained to the admiral was insufficient to contain both its crew and that of the shipwrecked vessel. In this dilemma the admiral determined to leave a party of his men on the island to await his return. A fort was built of the wreck of the caravel, and named Fort Navidad: the garrison of which was left under the command of Don Diego de Arana, and Columbus sailed for Spain.
Arana soon found it beyond his means to maintain a due subordination among such lawless spirits as composed his garrison. They were not only deaf to his warnings and commands, but they soon set .his authority at defiance, and scattered themselves over the country, the natives of whien they exasperated against them by a thousand acts of profligacy and injustice. They were watched by a warlike Carib chieftain, who had the penetration to dread this encroachment of white men into a land which had been in the secure and independent possession of its native race through so many successive generations. Assisted or countenanced by i few other caciques, Caonabo approached the little fort of Navidad by night, surrounded it with his forces, set it on fire, and put-to death every one of the Spaniards.
A few months after this catastrophe the second expedition of Columbus arrived at Hispaniola, the vessels of which were filled with fifteen hundred adventurers, who had been allured to the newly discovered world by the glowing and exaggerated accounts of its wealth and magnificence that were now circulating in every part of Spain There were aboard the fleet all things that might be
-quired to form a settlement in a new rind unknown
20 HIIsTIY OF ST. DOMINGO.
land. Domestic animals, fowls, and the seeds of fruits and vegetables had been sent out, that the richness of the soil might be made immediately available to the resources of Spain. But the dismantled fort of Navidad and the festering bodies around it were sad spectacles that chilled the ardor and sanguine hopes of the Spaniards. Grieved for the fate of his companions, though not disheartened at the event, Columbus proceeded in search of a new situation whereon to plant his colony. The spot selected was in the plain of Santiago, as that of Navidad was in the plain of Cape Francois. It was chosen for its vicinity to the mountains of Cibao, then the Ophir of golden promise to the Spanish adventurers. The site of a future town was marked out, and the admira. named it Isabella, in honor of the amiablq queen who had ever been the chief advocate of his great enterprize The walls of the town and the buildings of state were soon finished, and high mass was said for the first time in a church of the new world.
But man can never change the home of his nativity to tenant the wilderness of another climate, without encountering physical difficulties, which by their influence on his natural energies and the integrity of his being, subject him to evdils he did not anticipate. The upturning of the virgin soil developed disease, and the minds of the Spaniards were depressed by disappointment and thoughts of their distant home. They found not in their new abode the facilities for sudden wealth which they had so fondly doated upon, and but little of that gold whose magic had'led them through a formidable navigation to the regions of another hemisphere. They began to accuse Columbus for thus leading them to their destruc. tion, and loudly demanded permission to return to Spain. The bickerings of the moment were, however, appeased, and Columbus, to employ their restlessness, made an expedition to explore the interior of the island. It soon '-ached the mountains of Cibao, and Columbus set immediately about constructing a fort to secure that important region to the throne of his sovereign. The fort, which was a little stockade built of mud and logs, was named St. Thomas, and given in charge to Pedro Margarite and fifty-six men. To Margarite and Don Alonzo de Ojeda
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 21
orders were subsequently given to explore the island still farther-aand Columbus sailed from Hispaniola to prosecute his discoveries among the neighboring islands.
Margarite and his followers, instead of obeying the commands of the admiral, scattered themselves over the rich plain of the Vega, quartered themselves upon their Indian purveyors, and repaid the most devoted kindness by acts of profligacy and crime, which soon banished every particle of friendship from the bosoms of the Indians. The latter, though a patient and gentle race, were soon goaded by a treatment of such studied cruelty to a point beyond which endurance was no longer possible. The cacique of a large Indian town in the Vega put to death ten Spaniards who had quartered themselves upon him? and outraged his hospitality by acts of the most insulting licentiousness. He followed up his success by setting fire to a house in which forty-six Spaniards were lodged, and even besieged a small fortress which had been established in the Vega, and called by the Spaniards La Magdalena.
Occasion was eagerly taken of these partial successes by the stern and suspicious Caonabo. He flew from cacique to cacique to form an. alliance of the natives against the intruding Spaniards, and. his exertions were soon successful in mustering an army of ten thousand men. with which he immediately invested the fortress of St. Thomas. But a post situated as that was upon the high bluff of a river, and commanded by such a man as the intrepid and sagacious Ojeda, would have little to apprehend from a horde of naked savages, armed only with bows and arrows. Terrified by the furious sallies made every day by the Spaniards, and despairing of success over such formidable opponents, the Indians soon stole off to their homes, and the little garrison of the fortress were thus left free to resume their communications with the settlement of Isabella.
Famine and sickness were still in formidable activity at the latter place, when another expedition arrived from Spain, in four ships, under the command of Antonio Torres. In this there was much to minister to the immediate wants, and furnish supplies to the ulterior growth of the settlement. There were provisions, medi-
22 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINO.
cines and physicians, and what was of more consequence
-mechanics and husbandmen. The inveterate and enterprising Caonabo was no longer a source of dread to the colony. Alonzo de Ojeda had played off a chivalrous joke, which placed that formidable naked warrior in the power of Columbus. But the brother of that chieftain, during the next year, 1495, roused the Indians to new hostilities, in order to gain a riddance of the odious intruders on their territory, and the admiral felt the imperious necessity of making them feel the whole weight of the Spanish power, in order to secure the future tranquillity of the colony. With his whole disposable force, which. however, so great had been the ravages of sickness and despair, did not exceed two hundred infantry, twenty cavalry, and as in any dogs, Columbus marchedlo encounter the hordes of the enemy. He came up with them in the -plain of the Vega, where to the number of one hundred thousand they were ranged in battle array. The attack immediately commenced on the part of the Spaniards, and had hardly begun before the issue of the battle was decided. Aifrighted at the onset of the cavalry, and bewildered at the invisible causes of death that were felling their 'warri.9rs on every side, the Indians fled with yells and howlings, or thrust themselves forward to implore the clemency of their conquerors. The Indians were completely subdued; nor, as a consequence of their hostilities, was their condition left unchanged. Columbus determined to make the misfortune of the natives an occasion for imposing a tribute, to augment the revenues of the new colony. Those of the mountains of Cibao and the plain of the Vega, over the age of fourteen, were required to pay individually, every three months, the measure of three hawk's bells of gold dust, and the cacique of Cibao had to deliver half a ca-labash of gold, amounting to one hundred and fifty pezos. Those districts in which there was no gold were required to pay an arrobe of cotton every three months.
While these arringements were in progress, a Spaniard returned to Isabella f'romn the southern coast of the island, whither he had strayed, and where he had become enamoured of an Indian girl who resided in that quarter. The latter, to allure her lover to remain permanently with
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 23
her, told him of the superiority of that part of the island, of its mines of gold, which was so much valued by his countrymen, and of its much greater salubrity than the sickly fens around the vicinity of Isabella; and urged the removal of the Spaniards to a residence on that more favored coast. The Spaniard reported these things to the admiral. who was now on the eve of his departure for Spain, and had placed the government of the colony in the hands of his brother, Don Bartholomew Columbus. The latter was immediately ordered by the admiral to explore that part of the island during his absence, and ascertain the truth of the Spaniard's report. From this origin, so casual and domestic, arose the first permanent city of the new world. Don Bartholomew had already made an .expedition to the southern coast, when he received letters ,from his brother, ordering him to select a site for the establishment of a town in that region. A place was chosen .on the banks of the river Ozama, where the mouth of that river spreads into a broad expanse of water, of good anchorage and easiness of access, the banks of which are of singular beauty. The settlement was named Santo Domingo, in honor of the father of the admiral, whose name was Dominick.*
The seditious population of the colony was treated with .no mitigation of authority by the stern and just Adelantado, who perhaps had not enough of the weakness that retreats in necessitous cases before the outbreakings of popular discontent, as he would not suffer the imagined grievances of the mass he had under his command to interfere with the systematic march of his government. One Francisco Roldan, the Alcalde of Isabella, was now busy in stirring up evil among the population of that place which remained undcr the command of Don Diego Columbus. Roldan urged arguments against the right of the two brothers to the couunand which they held in the colony, and insisted upon the injustice of subjecting Castilians to the tyranny of a foreign family whom nobody knew, and who had no sympathy or common interest with Spaniards. These machinations in such a soil soon ripened to open mutiny. Some seventy disaffected persons put RoSIlcrrera.
24 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
dan at their head, and leaving Isabella, spread themselves over the interior, to make proselytes to their sedition both among Spaniards and Indians. Roldan knew what choice spirits he had to operate upon, and touching chords that responded from every bosom, soon spread his -principles of insubordination far and wide.
Surrounded by open and secret foes to his authority, the adelantado knew not whom to trust. He proceeded to Fort Concbption, then under the command of Miguel Ballester, a veteran who had refused to yield to the arts of Roldan. When vice is predominant, even the sternness of virtue is sometimes obliged to waver and temporize. The adelantado granted an interview with Roldan, on the guarantee of his person,-d safety. It terminated in nothing, and Roldan's suggestions and revolt continued to make fearful advances. While the adelmntado was shut up in Conception, not certain of the fidelity of those around him, Roldan was at Isabella preparing to seize the vessels then in port and sail for Xaragua, that province in the west of the island which by its beauteous scenery had most enchanted the minds-of the Spaniards. Here, in a luxurious climate and a soil of singular productiveness, Roldan and his companions looked forward to a life of sensuality and idleness.
In this state of disorder was the colony, when, on the 3d of February, 1498, intelligence came to Conception that two ships had arrived from Spain at Santo Domingo, containing supplies for the Colony, a reinforcement of troops, and the tidings that the admiral was on his way from Spain to resume the command. The adelantado repaired immediately with new hopes to Santo Domingo, but had hardly begun to breathe from his difficulties, when he learned that Roldan and his companions were in Xaragua, safe from his new means of power, furnished with a point d'appui whence they would act with efficiency against him, and maintain themselves in their career of vagabondage secure from the arm of justice.
The charm of novelty and the hope of rapid enrich. ment from enterprise -in the new world, had nmw lost their influence in Spain. The impoverished individuals of former expeditions, had many of them returned, and spread the story of their hardships and disappointments
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 25
through every province of that country. It is hard to sustain for a long time the excitement founded on unwar. ranted hope. If the fulfilment does not equal the prodigality of the expectation, the indifference and disgust which follow more than exceed the foregone enthusiasm. No emigrants could now be enlisted to furnish a new expedition to increase the population of Hispaniola. Columbus was in a situation to see the favorite object of his hopes dwindle and perish for want of materials to its sustenance, and suffered his anxiety for present success to outrun his good judgment in policy. He recommended in this dilemma the commutation of the punishment of condemned criminals to that of embarkation for Hispaniola. "A general pardon was published for all malefactors at large who should within a certain time surrender themselves to the admiral and embark for the Indies. Those who- had committed offences meriting death were to serve for two years, and those whose misdeeds were of a lighter nature were to serve for one." The consequences of peopling the colony with such a population were made appallingly obvious almost at the moment of its arrival. Some of the ships freighted with these hopeful emigrants making Hispaniola by the southern coast, and landing in Xaragua, there encountered Roldan and his accomplices in the very scene of their guilty independence. Nothing was easier than to gain over the refuse of the prisons of Spain to active and congenial companionship with the rebels. Roldan now saw himself in a situation to defy the efforts of Columbus against him, and the latter not only had the mortification to see Roldan reinforced from his own ships, but had reason to suspect the faith of those even who still maintained the form of obedience. He thus had no resource but to condescend to negotiate with Roldan for the pacification of the colony. The tone of the rebels was insolent even to threatening. After months of protocoling on the part of Columbus, and of doubledealing on the part of the rebels, the two parties came at lust to a definitive arrangement. Roldan dictated his own terms as conqueror, and the admiral, crushed by the difficulties of his situation, was obliged to hush his indignation, while open mutiny was thus in power, and the loyalty of
26 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
his own followers so ill assured. It was stipulated that those of the rebels who wished it should have permission to return to Spain-to those who remained, lands were to be assigned instead- of pay-the government engaged on its part to proclaim all previ-6ii charges against them to be falsely grounded, and sustained by malicious testimony. Roldan was himself reinstateAI in his office of Alcalde major, and what must have been more than all humiliat. ing to the proud spirit of Columbus, a concluding article was added, allowing, in the case of failure to perform the stipulations, the right of the rebels themselves to unite and compel their performance. All this was submitted to, and a general pacification of the affairs of the colony took place at the end of August, 1499.
The prosperity of the colony, that had been severely checked by the year of rebellion, now began to revive. Attention now began to be turned to the rich susceptibilities of the soil, and the sober reality of things to take the place of the fond search after gold. The true sources of the island's wealth began more. and more to disclose themselves. Indian slaves taken in war had already begun to be appropriated as laborers in agriculture. The tribute of the caciques was now commuted to the supplying of parties of Indians to labor upon the soil. This was the first origin of the repartimientos, or distribution of Indians to cultivate the lands of the colonists, which continued till the more profitable system of negro slavery was introduced. The Indians were now a. conquered people, and as such subjected to the control and arbitrary disposal of their conquerors. A police was instituted to patrol the island,t6 superintend the interests of the colonists, and maintain a due subordination among the Indians. Every thing wore an aspect of prosperity. The mines were wrought with'success and profit, and agriculture, carried on by means of the repartimientos of Indians, began to show the favorableness of the climate and the singular fertility of the soil.
Meantime the enemies of Columbus, always numerous and always inveterate, so far succeeded in their intrigues at the court of Ferdinand, that in the summer of 1500, one Bovadilla was despatched to Hispaniola, entrusted witi a heterogeneous sort of power in the colony. It
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 27
was conditional, yet absolute, and defined, yet paramount. Half judge, half inquisitor, and half governor, he was deputed to ascertain and circumvent the suspected ambition of Columbus, which Ferdinand feared, and to insult 14is virtue and supersede his authority, both of which Fonseca hated. The first events that followed his arrival justified the wisdom of the selection. Within a little month Don Diego Columbus, then governor of Santo Domingo, was in prison-the city itself in full possession of the mob-Columbus and his brother Bartholomew in chains and in danger for their lives, and a saturnalia of disorder and crime in full career throughout the colony. Columbus was sent home in chains, and now Bovadilla fairly commenced his administration. Like all who acquire power through intrigue, and who by sustaining the opinions and catering to the perverse appetites of the rabble, seek support from that laudable source, Bovadilla commenced a course of administration the aim of which was in all points the reverse of that of Columbus. Where the government had been firm, he made it accommodating; where it had been strict and severe, he held the reins loosely; and the effect was soon apparent. To remove the restraints of wholesome authority from such a population was to burst open the prison-house of every unclean spirit, and permit a thousand noisome shapes of evil to emerge from the darkness of their confinement and disease, and poison the vital breath of the colony. Every gOod citizen was soon tired and disgusted with the lawessness and disorder that pervaded the colony and loQked back with regret upon the prosperity, the vigour, and virtue of the admiral's administration. Every measure was tried by Bovadilla which might produce the most wealth in the least possible time-and, as if conscious of his incapacity and mismanagement, and that every mQr ment was precious, every nerve was strained to make the most of his power. The miners for gold were required to pay less into the royal treasury than under the rule of Columbus, but by this very means, which added to their own profits,the public revenue from this source was greater than at any preceding period. The Indians were tasked beyond their strength, and died in despair, wondering at the strange eagerness for gold, in the search for which
28HISTORY OP ST. DOMING ).
they wasted their last energies. They were all put in requisition, and. each cacique became but a slavedealer in his own subjects.
This course, which bid so fair to annihilate the colony, fortunately did not continue long. In the spring of 1502, Bovadilla was superseded in power by Nicholas de Ovando, who arrived with the largest fleet and most extensive outfit of men and materials which had yet been sent to Hispaniola. It consisted of thirty-five ships and twenty-five hundred men; many of whom were of family and respectability. Some were married, and accompanied by their wives. They were destined to form the nucleus of a solid and permanent population to the colony. There were artisans of all kinds, a surgeon and apothecary. There were also live stock, arms and munitions, and all that might be called in request by the wants of the colonists. Ovando had been instructed to revoke the indulgences given by Bovadilla. One third of all the gold already collected was to be sent home to Spain, and one half of all in future. Ovando had been empowered to build towns with the rights ofsuch corporations in Spain, and to order.that the soldiers and citizens inhabit them, instead of scattering themselves over the country.
Many of the towns that now exist, and others that grew to a size of importance before their final abandonment and decay, were founded by this governor of the colony. Vega Real was built on the site of the capital of the cacique Guarionex, and Porto Plata, or the port of silver, was commenced on an inlet of the northern coast-and a Spaniard by the name of Rodriguez Mexia, acting under the orders of Ovando, renewed the settlement of Navidad, on the same coast. As was usual to a later period, before the true nature and interests of commerce were better understood, the trade of the colony of Hispaniola was carried on by royal factors, who, as commercial agents of the crown, exported the necessary supplies and received the productions of the colony in return. For the benefit of the Indians there came with Ovando twelve Franciscans, who were also to advise the colony in spiritual matters.
At this time another impulse had been given to western enterprise by the extension of discovery to the neighbor- ( ing islands and to the coast of the continent beyond.
HISTORY OF Uir. DOMINGO.
Allured by these new and vast accessions of empire that opened to their view a dazzling field of hope, crowds of romantic or avaricious adventurers had thronged to embark in the new expedition of Ovando. They had been unwarned by the fate of their predecessors at Isabella, and like them they were doomed to a bitter disappointment. Their hopes of gold, when tried by the touchstone of reality, proved but tempting, treacherous visions. They saw before them but a wild waste of woods waving in primeval solitude, uncultivated and unclaimed. The gold was scarce, and not to be attained but by a series of the most patient exertions. As in the former expedition, sickness followed close on the footsteps of despair, and in a little time one thousand of the adventurers had perished.
The luckless Indians were now fast melting away before the hard exactions of their task-masters. Divided into repartimientos, they were forced to the utmost exertion, and received but a nominal stipend for the most disproportionate labors. As if the unfortunate race were not perishing fast enough under this inhuman toil, the sword was put in requisition to accelerate the crisis of their fate. Rather to reduce more territory to the power of the Spaniards, than in credence of a vague rumor, Ovando invaded the province of Xaragua in the year 1503, and though the Spaniards were entertained by the gentle natives with marks of affection, and a respect that bordered on reverence, the female cacique of the province with her chiefs and subjects were captured or burnt in the huts where they had just feasted their ungrateful visitors.
Next followed a more lingering, though perhaps not less bloody war, in the province of Higuey, in the southeastern part of the island. Here the Indians had been taught fierceness and war by the yearly inroads of the Caribs of the neighboring islands. But their superior. sagacity and courage availed them nothing over the skill and iron armour of their civilized adversaries. They were hunted from mountain to mountain-tortured to betray the haunts of their compatriots-wantonly mutilated in sport or anger-hung, gibbetted or slaughtered in masses. At last, by the capture of the fierce and indomitable cacique of the province the war was brought to a 3*
30 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
termination-and the chieftain gasped out his last hatred
of the Spanish name on a gibbet at Santo Domingo.
All the five sovereign caciques of the island were now
no more, and the Indian population was nearly annihilated.
Those that remained settled down in despair, performing the hard requisitions of their taskmasters, and sullenly awaiting the short interval of time to elapse when their
toil should cease, and their race become extinct forever.
The administration of Ovando, for good or for evil, now
drew towards a close; and though his memory must rest forever under the'imputation of unnecessary cruelty to the aboriginals of Hispaniola, yet his was the administration of power under which an impulse of prosperity and of sound and healthy advancement was first given to the colony. Perhaps the pernicious fever of extravagance in hope and expectation had then begun to give place for the first time to a wiser estimation of the capabilities of the island, and Ovando was more indebted to the mere contingences of fortune than to the suggestions of his own prudence or sagacity. While other and wiser heads had groped in the dark, he, perhaps, was the favored one whose destiny was cast amid the clearer light which dawned from
the errors of past experience.
The great discoverer was now dead, and had left the
bequest of his rights and possessions in the new world, as well as the perplexities by which they were fettered, to his son, Don Diego Columbus. This inheritance was coupled with the ungrateful condition that its enjoyment was to be solicited from the doubtful generosity of such a monarch S as Ferdinand. After a long and anxious suspense, which
was terminated only by the successful issue of a law suit against the crown, Don Diego was invested with his rights, and sailed for Hispaniola with the most respectable and brilliant cortege that had yet embarked for the new world.
He was accompanied by his wife, from one of the noblest families of Spain, by his brothers, uncles, and a numerous retinue of both sexes, whose birth and education were to give eclat as well as vigor and numbers to the colony.
4 7The city of Santo Domingo had just been nearly demol,
ished by one of those violent and destructive tornadoes that occasionally sweep so fearfully over regions within the tropics. The admiral entered upon his command
HISTORY OF ST. DOMTNGO. 31
with the alacrity of youthful entjiusiasrm, and with an eye to the permanent prosperity and increase of the colony. He set about-building up and embellishing the capital city, Santo Domingo; and the foundations of a new palace were laid, the magnificence of which was to be correspondent to the greatness of the new world, and to the fame and dignity of the family of Columbus; The court of the vice queen was thronged by a gay circle of attendants, who were, or professed to be, Hidalgoes of the best blood of Castile.
To augment the empire of Spain and make the vast discoveries of his father more available to himself, Don Diego despatched many expeditions to conquer and colonize the neighboring islands and the shores of the continent. Juan Ponce de Leon was sent over to the island of Porto Rico, where he effected a lodgment, and soon gathered around him a flourishing colony. Alonzo de eda, in an attempt to settle the shores of the continent, was less fortunate. Establishments had been made both at Carthagena and Nombre. de Dios, where for the first time in the new world the Spaniards were compelled to flee before the fierceness and courage of the natives. An enterprize was set on foot in the year 1511, to conquer )he island of Cuba, the command of which was intrusted to Diego Velasquez, whose banner was followed by many persons of note in Hispaniola. With a force Of three hundred men Yelasquez succeeded in completely conquering that island, which was annexed to the empire of Spain, and Velasquez appointed its governor.
The old leaven of sedition and discontent still continued to fester within the vitals of the colony of Hispaniola. A creature of the infamous bishop Fonseca, whose-name was Passamonte, had been sent out in the capacity of royal treasurer. This man, in obedience to the opinions, and no doubt to the instructions of his patron, while he set up pretensions to the exclusive office of superintending the affairs of the king, announced also that his personal feelings and interests were widely sepa rate from those of the admiral. The industry of a demagogue will always secure a party to sustain his opinions an=4 conduct. There soon existed two parties in the colony--the one headed by the admiral, and the other by
HISTORY OP ST. DOMINGO.
the treasurer. -The latter affected a dread of the designs and growing encroachments of the former. Letters were continually on their way to Spain, filled with distorted accounts of the admiral's policy. Acts of treason and disloyalty were manufactured from the simplest movements, and the picture of the errors and faults of his administration was drawn in colors of darkness. The new palace of the admiral was deemed no trifling matter when viewed as a castle whence he, in te independence of his power, might defy the efforts of his king to restrain him within the limits of fealty and subjection.
These representations wrought their full effect upon the dark jealousy of Ferdinand, who began to think that more restraint should be placed upon the governor of a province so distant from his sovereign power, and thus so favored by circumstances to plot schemes of ambition, and succeed in bringing them to a prosperous issue. As a balance to this danger, a sovereign court called the Royal Audience, was established at Santo Domingo, with supreme judicial powers ovor the whole colony, and with appellate jurisdiction over the acts of the admiral himself. The latter became in a short time a mere puppet at the head of the administration: insulted by faction, and crippled in. the free use of his authority. Amiable and artless Diego Columbus seems to have been little fitted to grapple with the malign spirits that surrounded him, though when left to himself his exercise of power was generally just and equitable. He was opposed to the repartimientos, though the necessities of the colony, or the thraldom in which he was held, did not allow him to abolish them. He, however, corrected many abuses which had been practised in the management of them, and the agents who had abused their trusts by cruelty or oppression he removed from their employment-an act to gain him no popularity but among that race whose good wishes could avail him nothing in the support of his authority.
The cautious Ferdinand still continued to limit the power and influence of the admiral in the colony by the multiplication of new agents of authority, or by diverting it into new channels,-till nothing remainedto him but the distribution of the Indians among the colonists. At last even this was taken from him, and Rodrigo Albuquerque
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 33
was despatched to Hispaniola, With the royal commission of Distributor of the Indians. Aroused by this last act in the long succession of injuries inflicted on his interests, Don Diego left his wife, Donna Maria, to rule in his absence as vice queen, and sailed for Spain to regain from the monarch that authority which had been so often and so solemnly guaranteed both to his father and himself.
A chief difficulty in the way of the colony's prosperity was now the want of laborers -to cultivate the soil. The unhappy aboriginals had dwindled to a mere remnant. Of a population of a million found on the island by Columbus, scarcely twenty-four thousand now remained, and these were fast sinking into the grave under the destructive influence of cruelty and hardship. In this emergency expeditions were fitted out to the Bahama islands, in order to decoy from their homes the gentle and confiding race who inhabited them, to be sold as slaves in Hispaniola. They were but too successful. Availing themselves of the fond superstition of the natives, that the departed spirits of their friends, after an expiation of their earthly defilements by a purgatory of cold in the mountains of the north, passed to more sunny realms under a more tropical sky, where they enjoyed an indolent paradise forever, the crafty Spaniards alleged that they came from this land of their departed relatives, and invited them to go thither and rejoin them. The simple Indians trusted the tale, and went to inevitable -and' deadly servitude. Like their predecessors of Hispaniola, they died at their tasks, or in despair put an end to their own existence, while new cargoes.of their race were arriving daily at Hispaniola to the same wretchedness and death. The trade was long carried on among the islands, and even extended to the main, in order to supply the increasing demands of the colony of Hispaniola.*
Before Don Diego Columbus reached Spain, Ferdinand was no more. His demands were, however, granted by the emperor Charles, and he returned to his government.' But the change in the government of Spain operated no change in the intrigues and factions of Hispaniola. The party of Passamonte, to which was now added the rival authority of the Royal Audience, still continued its
* Peter Martyr.
34 HISTORY OF ST, DOMINGO.
machinations against the admiral, and with equal succes&. If the government of Charles had not the narrow-minded jealousy of that of Ferdinand, his ignorance of the nature of power And of its functionaries in the Indies was readily excited to distrust and suspicion by a continued succession of accusations, all tending to one object. Don Diego was soon summoned back to Spain to answer the charges of usurping authority over the Royal Audience, and of making certain changes during his administration in the nature and agents of his government. The admiral never returned, his death taking place soon after.
Meantime Albuquerque entered on his duties with eagerness. A census was taken of the Indians, and in the ardour of his zeal or cupidity he imposed such cruel modifications in the system of repartimientos as hastened fearfully the period when the race of Indians was to become utterly extinct. ,When the census was completed they were divided into lots, and sold publicly to the highest bidder. Thus not even the appearance of freedom was left them any longer. To the honor of the ecclesiastics of the colony, their exertions were unremitted to ameliorate the condition and retard the ultimate fate of the natives. Of the two orders of clergy to whom the spiritual interests of the colony had been committed, the Dominicans had ever manifested a zeal and unyielding ardor that left their brethren the Franciscans far behind. In the ranks of the former, but by the warmth and energy of his enthusiasm animating the exertions of both, was Las Casas, the celebrated bishop of Chiapa. To save the interesting and gentle race of Hispaniola and the new world from the destructiveness of slavery was with him more than a passion-it seemed the ruling and guiding principle of his soul. In consequence of his pious appeals and representations to cardinal Ximenes, then, in the absence of the emperor, regent of Spain, three commissioners were sent to Ilispaniola, with full powers to make a due- investigation of the system of repartimientos, and a final adjustment of the condition of the Indians.
The Dominican friars were bold and unqualified in their denunciation of the repartimientos, and the slavery of the Indians. The Franciscans, though opposed to the actual treatment received by the Indians, were less unlim-
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO 35
ited and unreserved in their opinions as to the right of the natives to perfect freedom. When mens' passions are enlisted to support their opinions, the more moderate will soon come to adopt as principles of action the extreme sentiments of which their more violent opponents are sure to accuse them, and from lukewarm friends will be changed to real enemies. There were soon two parties in the colony. The Dominicans, acting from conscience and in accordance to what they esteemed a law of heaven, denounced the right and impugned the justice of enslav. ing the Indians. The interested colonists and the Franciscans, who were for a modified servitude, sustained themselves against their opponents on grounds of expediency and the right of conquest. To the deputation appointed by cardinal Ximenes were added a lawyer of distinguished probity, whose name was Zuazo, and Las Casas, upon whom had been conferred the high-sounding but empty title of Protector of the Indians. The first act of the commissioners was to set at liberty all the Indians that had been granted to the Spanish courtiers, or to any person not residing in the island.
This achievement of the commissioners, which was looked upon but as the earnest of a more extensive emancipation of the Indian slaves, spread consternation and anger among the colonists. The Spaniards were exasperated or discouraged. The lands could not be cuutivated without laborers, and those who had by patient perseverance broken through the first obstacles of settlement, now saw their painful enterprise on the point of becoming a total failure. Panic, discontent and discouragement were general through the colony. The commissioners soon began to doubt the solidity of their policy, and yielded to the universal storm of passion that was beating on them. The subject was maturely reconsidered, and the question and the colony set at rest by the final decision of the commissioners, that the state of the colony rendered .the abolishment of the repartimientos impracticable, and that it was expedient that the Indians should remain in subjection to their masters.
After the departure of Don Diego Columbus for Spain, his vice queen, Donna Maria, exerted herself to obtain the assent of the Royal Audience to. fit out an expedition
36 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
to colonize the province of Veragua on the Main. After the death of her husband she sailed for Spain, to maintain before the emperor the rights and privileges granted to the family of Columbus in the Indies. She was accompanied by her son, Don Luis Columbus, whom she put forward as the lawful heir to the possessions of his family. The title of Admiral of the Indies was immediately con. ferred upon the young man. But the emperor demurred to the possession of vice regal powers by the descendants of Columbus, and after a long solicitation Don Luis' retired from court, unsuccessful in procuring a full investiture of his rights. With an augmented revenue he sailed for Hispaniola in the year 1540, as captain-general of the island, though with such limits and balances to his power as made the title a mere name. Don Luis soon became disgusted at playing an empty pageant without authority or influence, and he wisely resolved to prefer the solid realities of a private establishment in Spain to the emptiness of mere title in the colony. A compromise was effected, by which he transferred to the crown all his hereditary rights in the new world, with one tenth of its revenue, for the annuity of a thousand doubloons and the title of Duke of Veragua and Marquis of Jamaica to him and his successors. About a century after this transfer these rights and dignities reverted to the crown of Spain.*
The enthusiastic philanthropy of Las Casas had not been turned from its object by the unfavorable decision of the commissioners. Not discouraged at the obstacles he had to encounter, he now ranged his eye through the whole horizon of possibilities to seek in some quarter for a gleam of hope to illumine the dark destiny of that unhappy people which occupied all his sympathies. A small number of a hardier race, the negroes of Guinea, had been imported into the island so early as the year 1503. They were found stronger than the Indians, and more robust to endure labor under the burning heats of the climate, so much so that it was computed the labor of one negro was worth that of four Indians. "The Africans," says ierrera, "prospered so much in the colony of Hispaniola that it was the opinion unless a negro should happen to be hung he would never die, for Alcodo.
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 37
as yet none had been known to perish from infirmity. Like oranges, they found their proper soil in Hispaniola, and it seemed even more natural than Guinea."
The farther importation of negroes was forbidden by Ovando, from the notion that they corrupted the Indians. The Portuguese had for a long time been engaged in a traffie to the Guinea coast for slaves. Antonio Gonzales~while in the service of Prince Henry of Portugal in 1442, made prisoners Qf two Moors near Cape Bojador, and brought them home. Being ordered to restore them to their country, he exchanged them on the African coast for ten negroes and a quantity of gold dust. The avarice of the Portuguese was awakened by this gainful transaction, and expeditions were fitted- out with the express design to traffic on the Guinea coast for slaves. This soon grew to a large and profitable commerce, and for forty years the king of Portugal assumed to himself the title of Lord of Guinea.* Availing himself of these facts, Las Casas proposed the substitution of African for Indian laborers in the colonies of the new world. His representations were received with a favorable ear by the emperor, and a patent was granted to a company of Genoese merchants, allowing them to introduce four thousand negroes into Hispaniola, and a regular traffic between the Guinea coast and the colony was soon established. All casuistry out of the question, this scheme of Las Casas deserves praise for sincerity and good intention; and though by it what some call an evil of fearful magnitude has been entailed on our hemisphere, the good father should be judged with. lenity when it is recollected that he substi. touted the hardy, stupid African, for the frail and sensitive aboriginal of America. The, one race was annihilated by slavery, while the other has ever since continued to thrive and fatten upon it.
. The -true sources of wealth in the island were now ascertained not to consist in digging for gold among its barren mountains, but in cultivating the rich soil of its plains, and agriculture was now pursued with as much ardor as had been formerly the search for gold. The sugar-cane had been introduced into the island, and was now in extensive cultivation. In the hard labor necessary
38 HISTORY OF ST. DOMJINGO
in rearing and manipulating it the hardiness of the negro was shown infinitely superior to the fragile organization of the Indian. Plantation after plantation was put sue. cessively in cultivation. The business of sugar making
was vastly lucrative, and prosecuted with too much improvident eagerness for permanent profit. Both Indians and negroes were tasked beyond all reasonable bounds; and goaded on to such toil the former died in performing it, while the latter rebelled. The first negro insurrection took place on the 27th of November, 1522. The negroes on an estate belonging to the admiral joined their countrymen on two or three contiguous plantations, murdered their overseers, and in possession of arms rushed forth on the country. Their object was to seize on the town of, Azua, situated to the west of Santo Domingo, or in failure of that to escape to the mountains. The Spaniards soon rallied, and with the Admiral at their head hurried to the scene of the rebellion. The owner of one of the plantations associated in the revolt, whose name was De Castro, put himself at the head of seventeen mounted soldiers, and leaving the ranks of the admiral pushed forward and rushed upon the rebels. The latter fled in confusion and terror, leaving six of their number dead on the field and several wounded. A hot pursuit was kept up by the forces of the admiral, and the fugitives were'soon overtaken, and when captured hung on the nearest tree.
The rebellion was effectually crushed, and the terror of the example was efficacious in securing a lasting subordination.
The greater stability and steady advance of the colony's
prosperity had now given a new impulse to emigration from Spain. New towns were settled and new forests cleared, and turned to a rich productiveness. There were at this epoch fourteen thousand Castiliers in the island, established as planters or engaged in mining, the gold region yielding an income to government of $500,000 annually.* With a few hindrances to prosperity-, arising from the excessive rapacity and avarice of the Genoese monopolists, all things flowed in a smooth and prosperous stream-the planters reaping golden harvests from a soid of immense fertility, and the government at home deri* Edwards.
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGOO. 3
ing a prosperous revenue from the gold district of Cibao. But still the scarcity of' laborers was enough to constitute a serious obstacle in the way of the settlement, from the augmented -demand arising from the daily establishment of new plantations. The little remnant of Indians that now remained were hal exempted from their toil and hard .treatment through sheer insignificance, when they were,-compared in value with the hardy race which had been substituted in, their place. The Genoese merchants were exorbitant in the prices at which they held their importations, and few of the Spanish colonists had sufficient wealth to form an establishment so expensive. But these were small difficulties in the way of the colony's growth when compared with the injurious influence of other and greater events, that were in progress at this epoch. The island of Cuba, under the energetic rule of Velasquez, had now grown to be a formidable competitor of Hispaniola. Whether the opinion was well based or not, the mind of every Spanish emigrant was now fixedly determined in favor of the asserted superiority of Cuba. If the adventurers from old Spain were hurrying to Hispaniola, those of Hispaniola were hurrying with the eagerness of that sanguine race to share in the bursting opulence of Cuba.
But events were now# in action on the continent of America, the splendor of which attracted every eye, while every bosom was filled with eager longings to participate in the rich stores of wealth just disclosed by the march of conquest. While the mines of Mexico and Peru were in their mind's eye, the Spaniards looked with scorn upon the scanty revenues, gained so slowly and by such effort, from planting in Hispaniola. All who had not acquired possessions to fix them as residents in the islands now hastened over to the continent, to share in the rich spoils of the conquered nations. These influences were pernicious to the growth and prosperit~ of the colony, but they were natural and inevitable. nfortunawely Spain in the jealousy of her spirit added to them other causes of decay which were purely artificial. In accordance with the ignorance and selfishness of the age, and of the court of Spain in particular, commercial relations were enacted to control the colonies, which
40 RISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
entangled in the meshes of an over-cautious and malign policy every free movement of trade. The commerce of the colonies was all confined to the unwise arrangement of a government counting-house called the Casa de la Contratacion, through which all exports were sent out to the colonies and all remittances made in return. By this order of things the want of free competition blasted all enterprize, and the exorbitant rates of an exclusive traffic paralyzed industry. Trhe cultivation of the vine,, the olive, and other staple productions of Spain was prohibits. ed. All commerce between the colonies was forbidden, and not only could no foreigner traffic with them, -but death and confiscation of property was decreed to the colonist who should traffic with a foreigner-slave vessels alone being excepted.
The cattle that had been brought to the island by the first expedition thither, had increased, in its state of par-. tial abandonment, so as to form vast herds, which now run wild amid the solitudes of the interior. In addition to the fabrication of sugar, the exportation of which had been so great as to draw forth the sarcastic remark, that the numerous palaces and works of architecture built by Charles V. had been raised by the sugar of Hispaniola and Cuba, the hunting of cattle for their hides was now added to the regular employments of the colonists, and contributed largely to the exports of the island.
The embarkation of the English in the trade to Guinea had a slight influence on the sinking fortunes of Hispaniola. John Hawkins being informed ar the Canaries that* slaves were in great demand at that island, made his first voyage to Guinea in the year 1562, with three ships fitted out by an association of gentlemen in London. Hawkins arrived at Hispaniola, with a freight of three hundred slaves, which he sold at Isabella, Porto Plata and Monte Christe. Hawkins was not only the first Englishman who engaged in the traffic for negroes, but excited much interest and wonder from his being the first of his countrymen who had sailed a ship to the West Indies.* This successful voyage of Hawkins encouraged other adventurers to follow in his footsteps, and the planters of Hlispaniola and Cuba felt the benefits flowing from the free competition
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 41
in the reduced price of slaves. They were now introduced fast into the colony, and the readiness with which laborers were procured served to retard its decline.
Meantime the capital of the colony had grown to the size and brilliancy of a large city. In addition to the magnificent vice royal palace, built by Don Diego Colum- V bus, it contained a great number of public buildings of durable material and superior elegance of construction, "better," says Oviedo, "then any in Barcelona." There was a cathedral, and a hospital which had been built by the treasurer, Passamonte, and three monasteries; those of St. Dominick, St. Francis and St. Mary. This city divided the suffrages of the richer proprietors of the colony with the inland town of Santiago de los Cavelleros.
Hitherto the colonies of Spain in the Indies, from their distant situation and the infancy of navigation, had been left secure from hostile inroad during the frequent wars of Europe. Though Charles from his accession to the throne of Spain had been almost continually engaged in war with the other powers of Europe, none had ever yet dared the unknown seas to attack his possessions in America. But the time had now come when that nation which had grown to be a formidable rival of Spain on the continent of Europe, was preparing to attack its best colonies beyond the sea. The sceptre of the seas had already begun to pass slowly but irresistibly from the grasp of Spain into the hands of its northern rivals, and Iispaniola was destined soon to feel the bitter effects.
Amidst the hostilities carried on between Elizabeth of V England and Philip of Spain during the wars of the Low Countries, Sir Francis Drake was despatched to the West Indies with a-fleet of twenty sail and two thousand three hundred men, fitted out by private adventure, half through patriotism and half through desire of gain. Drake sailed in September, 1585, and arrived at the Cape de Verde islands in safety. After a short Atay there he steered his course for Hispaniola, and arrived off Santo Domfngo on new-year's day, 1586. With the characteristic energy of this half admiral and half pirate, a party of men was immediately landed at the distance of ten miles above the city, who were, in obedience to Drake's system of strategy, to make an assault by land while he with the fleet 4*
42 HISTORY OF ST. DOMiNGO.
co-operated by sea. The party that had been landed arranged itself for the attack, and pressed forward to the city in two columns directed on different points, thus to avoid the guns of the castle. Panic and disorder had paralyzed all effort on the part of the Spaniards, and the assailants to their wonder found the gates of the town open to their entrance. They rushed forward sword in hand, and found nothing in the way of their progress till the two attacking parties met at the public square. The garrison of the castle did. not stay to fire more than one volley before they fled with precipitation, and gave up their fair city to the mercy of its invaders. The English immediately set about securing their conquest by entrenching themselves, turning the guns of the town so as to sweep the approaches from the country. A portion of the Spanish inhabitants were still shut up in the castle, too much unnerved by fear to make any exertion to save their city from being plundered by a mere handful of enemies. When night closed in they glided by stealth from their stronophold, seized the boats that lay at the water's edge, anA crossing the river fled to join their panic struck countrymen in the interior. Thus Drake without striking a blow was left in undisputed possession of the oldest and richest Spanish settlement in the new world. The next day Drake took farther measures to secure his conquest, which he held in absolute possession for a month, alternately plundering its wealth and carrying on a slow negotiation for its ransom. Drake's demand for the latter was more than the citizens were able to pay, and for that consideration, or to give more decision to the other contracting party, he ordered the city to be destroyed. It was set on fire, but, being built of stone, it would not burn. In this sad dilemma the patriotic admiral was forced to send his men on shore to demolish the city by manual effort. Two hundred seamen and as n.ny soldiers were employed every day through the cool of the morning in trying to tear down the edifices. But the building was thick and massive, and their utmost industry produced but small results. Finding his object beyond an easy attainment, and the heat of the climate pressing heavily on his men, Drake reduced the exorbitance of his first demand to the moderate sum of 25,000
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 43
ducats, as a ransom for what remained of the city. Negotiations were again commenced, but the occurrence of an untoward event exasperated Drake, and suspended 4., their progress for a time. Two Spanish cavaliers meeting a negro boy belonging to Drake, who was the bearer of despatches from his master to the Spanish authorities, in the exasperation of the moment struck him and afterwards run him through with a lance. Dreadfully wounded as he was; the poor boy crawled back to his master, and while giving him an account of the affair fell dead at his feet. The rage of Drake at this occurrence was terrible. He ordered that two unfortunate monks, who were his prisoners, should be taken immediately by the provost marshal to the place where his flag had been violated, and hung on the spot. He then sent a message to the Spanish municipality, informing them of the circumstances, and that two Spanish prisoners would be hung every day till those who had perpetrated the cruelty were given up to his justice. They were sent into the city the next day, and Drake by a refinement in severity forced some of their own countrymen who were his prisoners to be their executioners. Active exertions were now made by the Spaniards to rid their city of such stern and unceremonious conquerors. The money was paid for its ransom, not however without much disappointment on the part of the English, who expected much more booty. They found in a public hall in the city an escutcheon on which were the arms of Spain and below them a globe over which was a winged horse with the motto "non sufficit orbis." Drake's patriotism was aroused at this vaunt, and the Spaniards were informed that should the queen permit the war to be continued, instead of the whole globe not being sufficient, Philip would have some difficulty to retain what he already possessed. The English, assured that they had collected all the booty which could be gained at Santo Domingo, sailed from that place, to play the same game of conquest and plunder on the Spanish main.0
The immediate losses of the Spaniards by this inroad are not to be compared in any general estimate, with the Appalling fact that by it a way was made open for similar
44 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
aggressions in future. The spell 'of loneliness and mystery, which Spain had always contrived to maintain around *her possessions in America, was now in a fair way to b6 dispelled forever. Navigators from England, Holland and France-piratical plunderers and adventurers of every description now began to throng those seas which Spain had heretofore claimed as her own exclusive realm.
Scarcely six years had elapsed since the inroad of Drake, when the colony of Hispaniola was subjected to the scourge of another invasion. Christopher Newport sailed from Dover with a fleet of three ships and, a tender, to cruise against the shipping and possessions of Spain in the West Indies. In the month of April, 1592, he attacked with this force the town of Azua, on the bay of Ocoa, which was taken and plundered. After remaining there a few days to refresh his men and collect his booty, Newport sailed for the town of Yaguana, (Leogane) which then contained about one hundred and fifty houses. The English immediately commenced their attack with impetuosity, but the Spaniards defended their town with such bravery that Newport's squadron was repulsed. Either discouraged or for purposes of deception, he put to sea, but returned at night to the attack, landed his men, and in a violent assault carried the town by storm. The inhabitants fled into the woods, and the town was set on fire and burnt to the ground. Newport after this landed at many other points of the colony, carrying destruction wherever he went: thus by one day's inroad destroying the hard earnings of many years' industry, and throwing a blight upon the prosperity of the colony which no future p. effort could overcome.
The Spanish colony of Hispaniola, after many vicissitudes of prosperity and misfortune, now began to yield rapidly to the deadly influences that assailed it. Like the light caravels of Columbus, it had answered its purpose as the first rude attempt to open a path of enterprise to the new world: subsequent success had increased the daringness of men, and opened a wider hope to their vaulting ambition: and now in the full career of discovery and colonization they despised the feeble pioneering of the age which had preceded them, and having crossed the continent of America and launched themselves on a
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 45
new ocean, they looked forward with the highest hope to a richer field of discovery and a more extended scope of enterprize than had been dreamed of in the philosophy of their boyhood.
A war of bitterness and ferocity now began to be carried on for the sovereignty of the West India seas. A jealousy that would allow no rival had ever characterized the colonial policy of Spain in relation to her possessions in America. Other nations had how found their way thither, and were unanimous in nothing but the desire ,and fixed determination of being made participators in the bounteous profusion of those "climes of the sun." The contest was carried on with every cruelty that tenacity of privilege on the one hand, and the trained courage of a warlike and desperate race on the other, could perpetrate. Spain filled those seas with Guarda Costas and other armed vessels to protect her possessions from hostile inroad, ad guard her colonial commerce from the encroachments of those who were' ready at every point to set her regulations at defiance-while the intruding nations, English, Dutch and French, were hovering in swarms on the coasts, thirsting for plunder and the golden rewards that were to compensate them for encountering danger and death in every appalling shape, and for doing deeds of daring that have in subsequent times been the wonder of the earth. The argus-like jealousy with which Spain watched over her interests in America, and the unsparing severity with which she visited the least encroachment on those rights she deemed exclusively her own, gave origin to the appalling maxim of the Buccaneers, "no peace beyond the line." The Guarda Costa subjected the prisoners it captured to immediate death, often in its most cruel form, and the revengeful and desperate sea rover sacrificed to his hatred of the Spanish name by horrid acts of retaliation, and wrote down the direness and ferocity of his vengeance in fearful characters traced in flames and blood. A constant succession of expeditions and destructive inroads were in progress. Spanish towns were plundered, the inhabitants treated with every form of cruelty, and that which had been a flourishing settlement was left a mass of blackened, deserted ruins. Such a contest was unequal. The Span-
46 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
iard, bloated with luxury and enervated by climate, could not contend with the hardy and vigorous desperadoes who despised danger and would not- be vanquished, and he
yielded to his destiny.
The towns and settlements along the coasts of Hispaniola were now in continual danger from these lawless plunderers of the sea. The restless and untamed spirits of the old world were now congregated in formidable unions to ravage the towns and rob the wealth of Spain in the West Indies. Not a settlement was safe, the situation of which was far from the main body of the colony. While the city of Santo Domingo, the head of the colonyny. was in daily expectation of a mortal blow, the
members were lopped off successively in detail. The towns in the 'western -part of the island, few in number and far from the support and assistance of their countrymen in the older part, were peculiarly exposed and subjected to the paralyzing influence of a continual panic. To secure their safety and to augment their profits, many of them were the secret allies 'of their dangerous visitants from the sea, and thus in danger of calling down upon .heir own heads that vengeance which the mother country intended for the foreign interlopers on her commerce. Spain no longer regarded thie island of Hispaniola as one of her most favorable possessions amid such boundlessness of wealth and fertility as was now opening upon her .from her conquests an the continent of America. The mines and plantations of the island grew more and more neglected and ruinous, while the colonists were hastening to swell the tide of emigration to New Spain. Yielding to the principles of her olicy and the necessity of the times, the government of Spain-determined to bring about a greater concentration of the population of Hispaniola, both to give it more security from the Buccaneers, and establish a more effectual check on the practice of contraband commerce, which for a more rapid gain these distant colonists were busy in carrying on, secured as they were by their situation from the espionage of the functionaries of the colony. In the year 1606 the order was issued that all the settlements in the western part of of the island and on what has since been called the Bight of Leogane, Should be abandoned, and the inhabitants
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 47
united to the population of the eastern, or earliest settled part. The town of Yaguana, or Leogane, was tile principal settlement of those included in the order for abandonment, and had just begun to recover from the disas. trous invasion of Newport. Its inhabitants were joined to those of Puerto Real and Bahia (Fort Dauphin) on the northern coast, and sent to form the population of a new town built in the interior .of the island. The desertedt habitations of Yaguana, after the retirement of the Spaniards, were almost immediately seized upon by the Dutch adventurers in the West India seas as a place to furnish wood and water to their ships,-an occurrence that should have pointed out to Spain the error in her policy which left such an extent of territory unoccupied for the certain establishment aid growth of a rival colony within her own borders.
But -a few years elapsed after the abandonment of the western towns before the Spanish colony of Hispaniola sunk into utter insignificance. Being the first spot where civilization planted its footsteps amid the unknown wilds of another continent made it a sort of connecting link between the old world and the new: but the high hopes and golden fancies, the misery and despair, disease and death that checkered its earlier history, were only remembered as the deedss of the days of other years," or forgotten forever.
Tortugas-Buccaneers of St. Domingo-their habits and mode of life--Spanlards attack Tortugas-Willis, an English adventurer, made chief of the Buccaneers-massacre of the French-Le Vasseur arrives from St. Christopher's
-superseded by Fontenay-Tortugas taken again by the Spaniards-restored to the French by Du Rausset-administration of Ogeron-attack on Santiago-introduction of white females-administration of M. Ponancey-a negro rebellion-M. Cussy-projects to subdue the whole island-Spanish and Dutch hostilities-another attack on Santiago-battle of Limonade and death of M. Cussy-succeeded by M. Ducasse-expedition against Jamaica
-invasion of the French territory by the English and Spaniards-expedition to Carthagena-western part of St. Domingo ceded to France by the treaty of Ryswick.
Just off the northwestern coast of St. Domingo there lies a little wooded island called Tortugas. It is low and fertile, and stretches itself across the entrance of a fine harbor on the neighboring coast of the main island, called by the French name of Port de Paix; hid by bold headlands and overhung by bald or wood-crowned mountain peaks. That the celebrated freebooters of this century selected this convenient spot as their refuge from danger and retreat from toil, but proves the deep forethought of this enterprising race of adventurers. The sea-rovers had now increased in numbers far beyond the supply of booty to be taken, and their profession was overdone to an extent that rendered success in its pursuit too much a problem of chance to satisfy for a long time the activity of their impatient natures-and many of them abandoned their
old employment for new modes of life.
Become attached to the mild regions of the tropics, and incapacitated, by a long life of wild adventure, for the restraints of civilized society, some went to the bay of Campeachy and became cutters of logwood, while most of them remained at their old retreat, Tortugas, and employed themselves in hunting wild cattle on the coast of St. Domingo.* This coast was a wilderness, and the
* This name of the island came in use from the Buccaneers, who called the whole island by the name of its capital city, Santo Donmingo. It was afterwards adopted by the French and all other nations but the Spaniards.
IIST4RY OF ST. DOMINOO. 49
business of hunting -the wild cattle that roamed in herds through its solitudes became profitable from the sale of the hides and tallow to the ships visiting the West Indies for purposes of traffic. The flesh was converted into sustenance by smoking it on hurdles, or as they were termed, boucans, a word used by the Carib Indians to express that apparatus for curing their meat. From this term and the business they followed these hunters were called Buccaneers.* They called themselves brethren of the coast--an appropriate term when their mode of living is considered. As they were without wives or children, it was a custom with them to live~together in couples, that the various duties of a family establishment might be performed with more completeness and order. While one was engaged in hunting, the other commonly remained at home, engaged in curing the beef of yesterday's hunt, or in cooking their meals against the return of his fellow lodger. All property was held in common between the two, and it descended, in case of death, to the surviving partner. Theft was unknown, though locks were never used for security. What one did not find at home he proceeded immediately and without ceremony to take from the cabin of his nearest neighbor, without other word than to apprise the owner of it if he was at home, or in case he was absent to inform him on his return. Disputes were unfrequent, and when they did occur were easily accommodated. If the cause was grave, or the parties not to be reconciled, instead of a lawyer and jury they employed the musket to bring about a decision of the question. The ground was chosen, and the whole fraternity were made spectators of the mortal arbitrement. The word was given to fire, and if the ball took either party in the back or side, it was adjudged to be unfair dealing, and the head of the murderer was cleft in two on the spot. The laws of their native country went for nothing among the brotherhood. They pretended that they had been emancipated from all allegiance to them by the baptism of the sea, which they had each undergone in passing the tropics. Even their family name they abandoned, and noms de guerre, chosen to suit each one's
* At the present time the word boomer Is used in St. Domingo in the ig. WaficaUon of to bake, instead of the legitimate French word, eire ufebur
50 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
whim or fancy, were the appellations by which they were known, and which in after times descended to- their posterity.
Their usual dress was a hunting shirt dipped in the blood of the animals they had slain in the chase-coarse drawers, yet more foul-for a girdle a strip of raw hide, in which were stuck a small sword and several knives-a cap with a small portion of brim in front for convenience in removing it---,-and shoes without stockings.
Thus dressed and equipped this hybrid race, the product of civilization and the wilderness, limited all their ambition to having a gun that would carry an ounce ball, and a pack of twenty-five or thirty hounds. Thay had no other occupation than hunting in the woods of St. Domifigo, which since its abandonment by the Spaniards had become filled with immense herds of wild cattle. They proceeded immediately to skin their game when they had killed it, and then hurried forwards to bring down others, till, they were possessed of the requisite number for the day. When fatigued and hungry they proceeded to cook a portion of the meat they had strip. ped from the wild carcase, and with the pepper and orange juice they found pletitifully around them, made a meal to satisfy all the wants of their appetite. They had no bread, and drank nothing but water. The description of one day's mode of living is that of every day, till they were in possession of the number of hides they had contracted to deliver to the vessels of different nations which visited their settlement. They then proceeded with the trophies of their success to the harbor or inlet where the ship was waiting her homeward cargo, and received in exchange such commodities as their wants and situation required. The employment soon became comparatively profitable, and above all had infinite charms to those wild spirits who alone at that time ventured into the seas of the West Indies.
The community of Tortugas soon increased so as to extend itself to the neighboring coast of St. Domingo. Bold adventurers from almost every European nation were already congregated among them, and not a year passed away but it brought large additions to their number. The jealousy of Spain was now turned against the island of
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 51
St Christophers, and Don Frederic de Toledo being despatched, in the year 1620, with a fleet directed on the Brazils, was instructed to touch at St. Christophers on his way, and expel the English and French who had settied on that island. These orders were carried into full execution, and the refugees who survived the attack fled to join the settlement at Tortugas. This occurrence added largely to the effective strength of that community, and they now began in earnest to spread themselves along the coast of St. Domingo, and from their augmented numbers, and the greater boldness of their depredations
within the territory, to give alarm to the Spanish authoriities at Santo Domingo.
The Spanish herdsmen had for a long time viewed the new species of encroachment on their territory and customary employments with feelings of anxiety and suspicion. What they considered their prescriptive rights of chase were daily diminished by the bold and lawless encroachments of these amphibious huntsmen. The little nest of intruders was deemed a sufficient object to call down the vengeance of the Spanish power on the settlement-and the growing extent and boldness of their inroads became reasons for immediate hostility. Accordingly an expedition was secretly fitted out in the year 1638, which landing on Tortugas at a moment of security carried the place at the first onset. The poor buccaneers were all'put to the sword without ceremony, their cabins were burnt or razed to the ground, and their property, earned by months of toil and danger, was taken to reward the success of their ruthless enemy. The settlement seemed totally annihilated, and the Spaniards fondly thought it would never be attempted again; but they did not consider the irrepressible nature of the race with whom they had to contend. A remnant was left of those resident on the coast of St. Domingo, and those who had been absent in the chase, who sooil returned to gaze with wonder and regret, but without discouragement, on the ruins of their favorite settlement. They had already set about rebuilding their cabins and bringing order out of the desolation, when they were joined by an Englishman named Willis, who with three hundred followers had come down from the island of Nevis to join their frater-
52 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
nity. When hope bursts from the darkness of despair it awakens an encouragement to activity that more than equals the preceding despondency. The little community immediately rallied around Willis. He was unanimously chosen the chief, where before a chief wap unknown, and soon attained a weight of influence and authority that was almost unlimited. Guided by the wise policy, and impelled by the energetic character of the new leader, the settlement at Tortugas was soon in a state of complete restoration, and every thing connected with its concerns in a bright career of prosperity. But the national prejudices of Willis were too active and too implacable to rule a community whose tranquillity, and even existence. demanded the sundering of every tie but that which bound the individual in unreserved loyalty to the cause of the fraternity of which he was a member. For some alleged violations of propriety, real or supposed, Willis and his companions ungratefully fell upon the French portion of the inhabitants, disarmed them, murdered part of them in cold blood, and sent the remainder across to the main island. These exiles, thus deprived of their homes, scattered themselves along the coast of St. Domingo, dejected, and many of them in despair. The scene of their former happiness and the place of their early enterprize, seemed forever wrested from their possession by an English refugee, whom in the ebb of his fortunes they had taken under their protection, and in an evil hour made the ruler of their fraternity. Theydreaded his power and wrecklessness, should they hazard a return to the home whence he had expelled them; and around them was nothing but a wild waste of woods, claimed with a cruel jealousy by the Spaniards, to whom their little handful were in danger of falling a sacrifice to expiate old sins and new. In this state of misery and hopelessness many of them embarked for the island of St. Christophers, which had been repeopled, and had be. come the chief settlement of the French in the West Indies.
They were favorably received by the chief of that colony, whose name was Du Poincy, who, as if by a special agency of Providence, was at that very time busying himself to bring about the occupation of St. Domingo
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
by a colony of French residents. From the accounts of the actual condition of that island given him by the refugees, this Catholic chieftain conceived the double design of expelling the English intruders from the scene of their ill gotten power, and of aiding the church by sending thither all the Huguenots in his government, together with his second in command, who was the leader of these heretics. The latter was a navy officer of considerable talent, named Le Vasseur, a Huguenot whom persecution for his faith had driven from France and made the leader of a band of companions in misfortune to the islands of the West Indies. They had been received and protected by the chief of the colony of St. Christophers; but two religious factions would not at that period live in mutual forbearance, and the zeal of the propagandists of either faith much embriled the peacefulness of Du Poincy's government. Le Vasseur -was the man to whom the whole body of the Huguenots looked as their leader and champion, and his warlike ability was correspondent to the influence it had given him. He was immediately commissioned by Du Poincy to fit out an expedition for the gulf of Mexico, and to land all who should volunteer themselves to accompany him, on the islands of Tortugas and St. Domingo. The Huguenots of St. Christophers all joined his standard, and Le Vasseur in a few days landed at a place called Port Margot, on the coast of St. Domingo, near Tortugas. Here they commenced a settlement, and Le Vasseur felt that his power and influence were drawn from sure sources, as he was the first chief of St. Domingo whose authority was derived from the marine bureau of France, and his'moral- influence over his followers was founded on the sympathies of a kindred faith in religion. He soon paid a visit to Willis in Tortugas, and the mutual suspicions of these two leaders were cloaked under the external forms of amity and reciprocated pledges of assistance. Every thing proceeded in settled peace and security for a time-but where distrust and secret hatred are uppermost in the thoughts it is impossible but some irrepressible action will burst forth to provoke to open rupture. Willis made an attack upon some of the followers of Le Vasseur, who were visiting the settlement of the former; and though it was not attended by fatal
* 54 hmSTORY OF ST. DOMiNGO
consequences, yet the act was sufficient to draw forth a complaint and remonstrance from the veteran Le Vasseur. Complaint and remonstrance from Le Vasseur but drew forth insult and defiance from Willis, till the mutual recrimination brought on actual hostilities.* Le Vasseur immediately rallied his forces, and with admirable celerity of movement landed on Tortugas in the month of August, 1640, and at the head of forty-nine followers attacked Willis with fury, carried his settlement by storm, and made a prisoner of his antaonist. The English were now in turn expelled from Tortugas, and sailed for the island of St. Catharine; Le Vasseur strengthened in his power by success, and far from the control of his original patron and the restraints of the government at home, reigned in absolute authority over the ettlements on either coast. DuPoincy and the French West India Company were both forgotten or defied, and his followers, in voluntary subordination to his rule, pursued their business of hunting and their trade in hides.
The hostilities of the Spaniards were again provoked by the growth and extension of the new settlement on their coast; but bold and.well trained to arms themselves, and led by a veteran commander, the buccaneers now repulsed the attack with much loss to the assailants. New vigor and courage were given to Le Vasseur's men by this success, and they believed nothing now existed to prevent their carrying their settlements to the interior of the island, and driving the Spaniards from those hunting grounds which the latter considered their national right. The French West India Company, now more than ever suspicious of Le Vasseur's growing independence, sent peremptory orders to his patron, Du Poincy, to fit out 4n expedition from St. Christophers, and take possession of Tortugas himself. The unsettled state of the latter in his own government forbade the attempt, but Du Poincy despatched his nephew with a small complement of men, to make trial of persuasion to induce Le Vasseur to submit to the Company. Le Vasseur, secure in his distant retreat, and conscious of his power over his followers, bade open defiance to this Company, and gave a downright refusal to the summons of Du Poincy's Moreau de St. Mery.
UIBTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 55
nephew. The latter, unable with his scanty armament to enforce his orders upon the lawless recusant, returned to report to his uncle the failure of his mission: but Le Vasseur still remained unmolested in the enjoyment of his independence, in consequence of the disturbed condition of Du Poincy's own command.
An expedition was at length fitted out in the year 1652, which was placed under the command of the chevalier Fontenay, who was ordered to seize upon the person of the usurping Le Vdsseur, and bring the colonies of Tortugas and St. Domingo under the legitimate control of the French West India Company. Fontenay found on his arrival, that Le Vasseur had, a few days before, fallen in a private quarrel with two of his own officers. The new functionary took immediate and undisputed possession of his power, and is ranked as the first of those governors of St. Domingo whose authority was derived J immediately from France. An augmentation wis made to the population of the settlement by the arrival of Fontenay's expedition, and his followers readily incorporated themselves with the former residents, so as to add much to the efficiency of the colonys resources in war. Its attitude towards the Spaniards had already become threatening and formidable, and the latter were again troubled by the heartburnings of their old jealousy towards their intruding neighbors. They viewed not only with anxiety but with absolute horror the fearful growth of this nest of enemies within their own limits and felt themselves urged by the desire of self preservation to drive them from the territory.
A new expedition was set on foot of a force sufficient to ensure from defeat, and the French were attacked with fury in the head quarters of their settlement, Tortugas. The Spaniards succeeded, and Fontenay was forced to fly before them to the coast of St. Domingo, whence in dismay he soon sailed for France. The Buccaneers were driven from their old asylum, and a Spanish garrison was placed on Tortugas to prevent their return, as well as to preserve that region to the power of Spain. The buccaneers scattered gong the coast of St. Domingo were humbled and subdued but not annihilated, and that with such men was sufficient for them not to despair. They
HIISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
continued to follow their usual employments in defiance, or rather in recklessness of the Spanish power.
Among the old companions of Le Vasseur was the chevalier Du Rausset, who after the fall of his chief had joined the standard of his successor, Fontenay, and he accompanied the latter to France. Deeply in love with the wild amenities of the life he had led in the freedom of the wilderness, and still sympathising with the fortunes of his companions in adversity, Du Rausset proposed to the West India Company a plan to retake Tortugas, if a sufficient force should be put under his command. His proposal was listened to, and an expedition of five hundred men was fitted out and placed under his command. On the coast of St. Domingo they were joined by the scattered remnant of their countrymen, and with this reinforcement were soon prepared to give battle to the Spanish garrison of Tortugas. The attack was made in the enthusiasm of the moment, and the Spaniards were compelled to fly before their fiercer opponents, leaving the settlements strengthened by a new accession to its numbers, and the much contested island of Tortugas again in possession of the French. This signal success secured to the French a lono tranquillity from farther Spanish hostility, and the colony began to assume by degrees a character of permanence, in consequence of the dawning of an agricultural spirit among the settlers, who now began to unite the business of planting with the more precarious employment of hunting. The land which had hitherto been left wild and unappropriated began to be enclosed by boundaries, and assigned to individual possession. The colonists grew dissatisfied with Tortugas, and crossed the narrow strait to fix themselves on the more inviting lands of St. Domingo, and in its state of partial abandonment Du Russet set up a claim to the entire possession -of Tortugas as his own. This claim was contested by some of his compatriots, and the governor sailed for France to lay his pretensions before the parliament of Paris; leaving his authority in the mean time in the hands of one Deschamps, his nephew. A lettre de cachet sent Du Rausset to the Bastile soon after his arrival, from which he extricated himself but by
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 67
consenting to sell his claim over Tortugas to the West India Company.
The hardy and restless adventurers who composed the population of the western coast of St. Domingo soon spread themselves far and wide over that peninsula which forms the northern shore of the bay of Leogane, and even crossed that bay to the deserted Spanish town of Yaguana, on the southern coast. Among those who attempted a renewal of that settlement was a gentleman of Anjou, whose name was Bertrand d'Ogeron, who by his personal qualities as well as the energy and intelligence of his mind, was well adapted to the situation which he so long and so admirably occupied. The old French colonists revered the name of Ogeron, and from the epoch of his power in St. Domingo they dated its first rise to the dignity of a colony of France. When Ogeron passed for the first time into the new world in the year 1656, he had already served fifteen years as a captain in the' French marine. But as no wisdom or forethought is a sure preventive of misfortune, he was destined to fail in all his earliest enterprises in the West Indies. The first circumstance known to the world as connected with these enterprises is, that in the year 1655 he was a member and employ of a company m the south of France, which had for its object the formation of establishments on the continent of America. The next year he sailed for Martinique in furtherance of the designs embraced in the company's charter. In leaving France Ogeron had directed that the other preparations of men and merchandise fitted to the object he was to have in view, should be sent to Martinique, which was the place of rendezvous Through accident or bad faith, Ogeron waited at Martinique without gaining any intelligence of the supplies that were to be sent to him, and which never came. Convinced that the main object of his voyage much exceeded his limited means to accomplish, he sailed for St. Domingo, to attempt a settlement on the shores of that island. Doubling the Mole St. Nicholas, he entered the B ht of Leogane, and made for the deserted town of Ytguana. But he was shipwrecked on a reef at the entrance of the harbor, and lost his entire cargo of effects and merchandize. This event obliged him to take up his
58HISTORY OP SIP. DOMtNa.
residence for a long time with the buccaneers, over whom his sagacious and intrepid spirit soon wrought an ascendancy which made his influence great among them, He, after some time had elapsed, sailed for his'native country, which he soon quitted again in a ship loaded by himself, But on his arrival in the West Indies, having entrusted his cargo to a man who was to proceed with it to Jamaica, Ogeron, through the faithlessness of his agent, lost the whole of his property. These disasters, which reduced him to poverty, did not, however, impair his reputation; on the contrary, his address in extricating himself from the embarrassments of misfortune gained him new honors among a people with whom heroism of character had such respect and veneration. On his second return to France, Ogeron entered into the service of the French West India Company, and was immediately despatched as governor of the colonies of Tortugas and St. Domingo, with instructions to extend the possessions of France in that quarter of the island so as one day to expel the Spaniards from the territory they now occupied. Ogeron was peculiarly skilful in reading the human character, and his temper was bonyant and enthusiastic. He knew when to-yield, if he could not stem the tide of popular passion in attempting a public measure. His policy was broad and extensive, and his exertions irrepressible in the fur. therance of a measure from which he thought good was to flow. He entered upon the duties of his new employment with a full knowledge of what was the true interest of the colony, as well as of the peculiar character of the people whom it was his lot to govern. The latter was a task of no easy performance. Men were to be subjected to the permanent restraints of law who had for most of their lives roved the world in all the independence of a total insulation from their kind. Respect for the rights of property and order was to be taught to pirates, who had drawn their subsistence from plundering on the high seas, and civilization and humanity instilled into the bosoms of banditti perfected in crime. But Ogeron, by long acquaintance with the peculiarities of those who were placed under his government, knew the nature of the material furnished to his skill, and did not despair from its intractableness. He began by encouraging his col.
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 59
onists in their attempts in agriculture, as an employment that would give more wealth as well as a greater fixedness to the settlement than the precarious business of the enase. Plantations of cocoa, tobacco, and in a short time of indigo, were established along the coast. At former epochs of the settlement a few negroes had been introduced into it, among the spoils gathered by the expeditions of the buccaneers against the Spanish colonies. They were now found eminently useful in the agriculture which had been established; and as the wealth of the
-colonists advanced by the teeming harvests they gathered from their small plantations, the demand for slaves created a steady traffic in that species of property.
There soon arose another kind of laborers in the colony. This vas that of the engag66s, or whites, who sold themselves to servitude. A rage for emigration and enterprise in the new world had now extended itself to France, and crowds of adventurers were eager to seek on any terms the realization of those bright hopes of wealth which were imaged forth in the excitement of the hour. These enthusiastic emigrants, in default of means to pay their passage to America, sold themselves to the ship master for the term of three years, on the single condition that they. were to be furnished a passage to the place of the ship's destination. On his arrival in the West Indies the ship-master sold them to the planters for the remainder of their term of servitude, and they were employed as laborers to cultivate the land. St. Domingo soon abounded in this species of servants, and together with the negro slaves they performed all the labor of the colony. But it soon became apparent that the white laborer could not long endure exposure under the burning heat of the climate, and the severe toil of clearing up the rank vegetation of a primitive soil ; and as the increasing wealth of the colonists furnished them with more abundant means to purchase negroes from the slave vessels, the white engage6s fell into a low estimation as laborers, and becoming planters themselves in turn, the class was in a short time extinct.
Ogeron felt the importance of preserving to the colony those even whose restlessness of character withheld them from all fondness for the arts of peace. This object he
60 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
effected by gratifying their propensity for war and adventure. He obtained from the government of Portugal commissions to make attacks uponthe Spaniards, though the latter were in a state of profound peace-with France, and he employed with efficiency and success the restlessness of his followers, by acting on the offensive against the frontier towns of the Spanish territory. After this an expedition was set on foot directed against the town of Santiago, which was eminently successful. The town was carried by assault, given up to pillage, and afterwards set on fire. The Spaniards fled to the interior, leaving a great amount of booty, in negroes and productions of the / island, to repay the enterprise of the French, and add to
the resources of their settlement. While such kind of encouragement was offered to the more warlike spirits of his colony, Ogeron did not neglect those whose inclinations tended towards the more peaceable employment of agriculture. To encourage those who were struggling with the difficulties always encountered in setting up a new establishment in a primitive soil, he granted them loans, to furnish the means of forming their plantations, often without interest, and to be-repaid or not according to the success or disposition of the borrower. Nothing that would benefit the recent changes in. the nature of employment within the colony, that would excite a fondness for them, or give them stedfastness and growth, was overlooked in the vigilant policy of this celebrated leader.
The cheerless and unprofitable celibacy of his followers came next in his thoughts, and a plan was soon matured to remove it. With his characteristic decision he embarked for France, and after a little absence returned to the scene of his labors with a cargo of high attractiveness to the buccaneer Benedicts of his colony, as well as with a large number of new male emigrants to add to its strength and population. Fifty young female orphans had embarked with Ogeron,,to become the wives of the colonists. They were destined to minister to the graces and amenities of domestic life, to tame down the rough qualities of their future lords, and stamp a new character upon the population, which was to extend far into the future history of the colony. Ogeron distributed them among his followers more as the rewards of successful
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 61
industry than the objects of a kindred sympathy appropriated by a free selection. They were put up at auction, and amid a host of admiring bidders, were knocked down to him whose soil had been the earliest in cultivation, or was the most productive in actual wealth to minister to the wants of its owner. Marriage was thus made a matter of pure merchandize, but among such impetuous and heady spirits the wars Ogeron by this proceeding saved the integrity and peacefulness of the colony, in giving no room for jealousy and revenge, which among such a population was so ready to end in disaster and bloodshed.
Thisfirst importation to supply the matrimonial market of the colony was followed by another, but of a coarser kind. The rapid sale of Ogeron's adventure, when it was known in France, became the signal for the embarkation of a large number of females whose characters were less pure. When arrived, these latter engaged themselves for a period of three years at a time, as wives to the colonists. This was a severe blow to the morals of the colony, but by the active superintendence of Ogeron it became ne iertheless a cause of giving fixedness as well as population to the colony. The latter arrival of female emigrants was soon all appropriated, and those female adventurers became the maternal ancestors of many a proud colonial family in later times. The buccaneer was too much of the sailor to be over fastidious in his choice of a wife. It is said that each one, when he received to his cabin the female who had fallen to his lot through the contingencies of the market, addressed her in these words: "Whoever you are, I take you. If you had belonged to another you would have never come hither to belong to me. No matter for the past, I demand of you no account of that, for I have no reason to blush because you may have committed errors before you belonged to me. Be attentive to your conduct in future, that is all I demand :" then striking with his hand the barrel of his musket, he added, "if you are unfaithful, this will avenge me; if yeu deceive me, this will not."
Such had been the wise spirit and enterprising policy of Ogeron's administration, that the wild and unproduc. tive settlement, composed of a few hundred hunters, had now completely changed its character to a populous and
62 HISrORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
busy colony, advancing in the way of peace to rapid civilization and wealth. Even now the population had been tripled, and industry and prosperity were giving it a rapid and permanent increase. Tortugas was no longer an important part of the colony, and the town of Port de Paix had risen to the dignity of a considerable capital.
The Spaniards still maintained a hostile attitude towards their intruding neighbors, the French, and the frontiers of Ogeron's colony were subjected to a continued and relentless harassment by their armed parties. The French had spread themselves along the shores of the Bight of Leogane, and a small colony chose a spot situated on the shores of a fine harbor formed by an arm of the main Bight, and called Gonaives. This settlement had grown to an importance sufficient to awaken the hostility of the Spaniards against it. General Vandelmof, a distinguished officer in the wars of the Low Countries, had been sent from Spain to assume the command of the Spanish forces destined to drive the French from their settlements on Tortugas and St. Domingo. Seizing a favorable moment, he marched on Gonaives at the head of five hundred men. The buccaneers were then engaged in the chase on the banks of the river Artibonite, but they were apprised of the meditated attack by one of their number, who had seen the Spanish forces in motion. Gathering in haste to the number of one hundred, the French met Vandelo mof's detachment in a mountain defile, and attacked it with fury. The veteran found himself completely outgeneraled by the rapid movements of his irregular adversaries. Before order could be restored to the Spaniards, Vandelmof had fallen, and what was left of his army fled in the utmost consternation.
While these events had been in progress in the, western part of the island, the Spaniards of the eastern portion had suffered from the descent on their coast of a powerful armament, which, however it might fail in the attainment of its object, threw the Spanish colonists into a fearful panic, and subjected a long range of coast to devastation. The English fleet under admiral Penn hav. ing aboard a large and effective land force, under General Venables, which had been fitted out by the Protector Cromwell, and destined to carry war and conquest amonw
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 63
the settlements of Spain in the West Indies, arrived off the southern coast of Hispaniola. A descent was made by landing troops at two different points, above the city of Santo bomingo. But from the fault of putting ashore one of the columns too far above the city, it lost its way in the woods, and, overpowered by the heat of the sun, and unable to find any water to quench its thirst, it became dispirited and quite inefficient before it could form a junction with the other column. The delay caused by this mishap gave time to the Spaniards to rally from their panic and prepare themselves to act on the offensive against their invaders. The Spanish cavalry charged the advance guard of the English with their lances with such effect that the latter, overcome by severe fatigue, and unused to that strange weapon, broke and fell back in disorder, leaving their- commander and fifty men dead upon the scene of the conflict. The English commander, having rallied the fugitives and refreshed his men, made a new advance on the city. Through the treachery of their negro guide the English were now drawn into an ambuscade, and attacked by the Spaniards with a steady coolness that soon threw the whole army into complete disorder. The troops could not be recovered from their panic, but soon fled in consternation, leaving their commander in chief and six hundred men dead on the field of battle. The invaders were unsuccessful in every thing
-they counted upon the assistance of the slaves against their masters, but they proved themselves devotedly faithful towards those to whom their faith was due, and the stragglers and foraging parties from the Enolish camp were attacked by gangs of armed negroes. distressedd by the heat, and dispirited by ill luck, disease came to aid in their destruction. They soon re-embarked, with a thousand men less than when they landed from their ships. The expedition sailed fbr Jamaica, where it was destined to wipe out its present disgrace by wresting that beautiful island forever from the power of Spain.*
Though Ogeron had been commissioned in his power by the crown of France, in the exercise of his authority he was likewise the agent of the French West India
-Company. Anxious to increase the profits of his employ, Clarendon.
64 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINOO.
ers, while he was giving vigor and extension to the colony, he braved the inflammable spirit of the colonists, by restricting their traffic to those vessels alone which were sent out by the Company, By cautious effort, and the power of persuasion, this attack on their long independence was borne by the colonists with a sullen assent, and an exterior of suspicious sufferance. Tranquillity prevailed, and the wealth of the colony was daily augmenting, when Ogeron, too confident in his great powers of government, proceeded to raise the profits of the traffic carried on in the ships of the Company to the extortions of an odious monopoly. The colonists were thus prohibited from trading with the vessels of other nations, and forced to supply their wants out of the productions of France at the most exorbitant prices. Discontent soon burst out in open sedition. A population with arms in their hands, which they had ever been inured to use in the redress of all grievances, immediately taught Ogeron the impolicy and danger of his enterprise. He was insulted and driven from his command, and a long scene of disorder succeeded, which almost hurled from its foundation the fair fabric of prosperity which the governor had been so long and painfully laboring to rear. During these disputes two Dutch ships arrived at Petit Goave, and the colonists forthwith assumed the right to break through the artificial regulations of their governor, by purchasing and landing the cargoes. Ogeron immediately sailed from Port Margot to put a check on this spirit of insubordination, but he had the severe mortification to be resisted from entering the harbor of the insurgents. A severe cannonading followed, and fifteen hundred shots were fired from the shore at the governor's vessel. Finding it unattainable to put down the seditious spirit every where prevalent in the colony, Ogeron returned to Tortugas, and despatched a vessel for succors to enable him to maintain his authority and the interests of the West India Company among the population of the colony. The desperadoes in free trade still persisted in maintaining their attitude of defiance, and continued to traffic with the foreign vessels that lay at-their settlement.
Admiral Galbaret, who was then at the windward islands, received orders to sail to the assistance of Ogeron,
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 65
and he arrived at Tortugas on the 1st of February, 1671. Receiving Ogeron aboard the fleet, it proceeded in a few days to Petit Goave. An attack was made on the settlement with all the forces of the squadron, and the rebellious colonists were soon forced to flee to the woods, and Ogeron, with excessive severity, put fire to their town. From this successful attack on Petit Goave, Galbaret sailed again for Tortugas, but Ogeron with one vessel proceeded to a small settlement in the neighborhood, called Anse a Veau, where also there existed a swarm of insurgents. Ogeron landed here, and was immediately surrounded by a hundred armed men, clamorous to abjure all allegiance to him and the West India Company, and declaring their determination to submit no longer to such rulers as had been imposed upon them in times past. They added, to the dismay of Ogeron, that they had chosen their own officers to rule over them in futureone Nicholas Gairin as syndic of the place, and Jean le Messager as his lieutenant. Even the personal liberty of Ogeron was threatened should he protract his stay, and two of his officers were seized and sent as prisoners aboard the Dutch ships in the harbor. Ogeron, defeated in his attempt to persuade the colonists to return to their allegiance, and glad to get out of their power, went aboard his vessel, and having obtained the return of his officers by a negotiation with the Dutch captains, he sailed again for his capital. The open hostility to the restrictions of Ogeron spread throughout the colony, and the whole settlement was heaving with the throes of an incipient revolution. The efforts of Ogeron to make head against the sedition were incessant and generally well directed. The priest Lemarre, curate of Tortugas, and the syndic of the same place, who had made themselves ringleaders in the insubordination, were arrested and sent to France for trial ; but the fierce qualities of the old buccaneer spirit were now roused into bitter exercise, and nothing would' lay the storm but to give up the obnoxious regulations.
Ogeron yielded at last to the stern necessity of. the case, and it was arranged that any French vessel should be permitted to traffic with the colony by paying to the agents of the Company a port charge of five per cent. for entrance and clearance. Ogeron did more than 6*
HISTORY OF ST. DOMNGO.
yield: he estimated his popularity too highly to suffer it to be dimmed by the least tarnish. After the -arrangement had been made he procured two vessels at his own expense for the use of the colonists. They received aboard the crops of the colonists at a moderate freight, and exchanged them in the ports of France for the productions of Europe, which were returned to the original exporters.
Tranquillity was soon. fully restored to the -colony; and partly from ambition to extend the dominions of France inathe West Indies, but chiefly to give employment to the restless spirit of his followers, Ogeron set on foot an expedition against the island of Curacoa, held by the Dutch. The settlements of Tortugas and St. Domingo were drained to furnish men for the enterprise, and with high confidence in the superior abilities of their chief, and more in their own personal prowess, the expedition sailed from Tortugas, to the number of four hundred men, in the year 1673. But in beating up to gain his point of destination, the vessel of Ogeron was carried in the night on the coast of Porto Rico and completely lost. The French were immediately made prisoners by the Spaniards, and remained in close custody for a great length of time. At length Ogeron, on the faith of making a speedy return to ransom himself and companions from theiT captivity, succeeded in effecting his departure from the island. Embarking in a frail vessel during a season of tempests, he passed through a thousand dangers, and at last reached Tortugas 'in safety. With his usual promptness and activity, he immediately set about raising the means to effect the liberation of his countrymen who were retained as prisoners in Porto Rico.
Another expedition was soon raised and appointed, composed of five hundred men-a number which drained the colony of nearly all its efficient population. The vessels could not reach the island -of their destination, and the unfortunate Frenchmen who were there retained as prisoners continued in their captivity till most of their number died; and none of them ever returned to their homes in St. Domingo. This loss to its population was a severe blow tQ the colony, and a long gloom overhung Nts hopes and prosperity in consequence. But the fame
HlISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 87
of Ogeron's admi nistration, as well as the air of importance which had now been given to the rising fortunes of the colony, attracted a tide of emigration from France to its shores. These almost monthly arrivals of eager and aspiring adventurers spread themselves over the territory of the settlement, and soon renewed another population to occupy the places of those who had been lost to the colony. The business of agriculture continued to extend itself-new plantations were cleared and put in a thrifty cultivation. 'The perpetual sun and deep virgin soil favored the rapid and luxuriant growth of whatever was planted, and the industrious colonist found himself surrounded, with little labor, by exuberant sources of' wealth springing up on every side of him. While private industry was thus daily adding to the importance of the colony, the public prosperity was constantly guarded and ensured by the wise administrator at the head of its affairs. Roads were made, to open a communication between the different points of the settlement; the sites of new towns were selected with a prudent forecast and discernment, -and new tropical productions were introduced, to add to 'the riches of the colony by their growth.
Ogeron had ever cherished the opinion that the French could one day expel the Spaniards from the island of St. Domingo, and extend their settlements over its whole territory. To the interrogations of the French ministry oni that subject he returned the reply that he would answer for the success of the measure with his head, should a sufficient fleet be furnished him to blockade the city of Santo Domingo. Now when the French colony had extended itself throughout the' whole western shore of the island.- and was possessed of ample means within itself, not only for its defene from abroad, but to send expeditions to, make conquests in other parts, he More than ever gave himself to thoughts of his favorite enterprise. He sailed for France to submit his matured plans to the ministry, but his eloquent representations, which were suspected of being too sanguine, failed of arousing the requisite ambition at the court of Versailles. In the still weak condition of the French colony, and the over estimated. strength of the -Spanish power in the island, 4he measure was deemed for the time impracticable,
68 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
Spanish hostility was not now so urgent and formidable as formerly; but the revengeful spirit of the Spanish herdsmen, who hated their competitors in the chase, was often expended in bloody attacks on the defenceless frontiers of Ogeron's colony. A small armament, furnished by the ministry to reinforce the power of the colonists, and led on by Ogeron, it is easy to believe would have soon annihilated the power of Spain in St. Domingo, and spared the French colonists the long succession of war and desolation that was to follow. 'Ogeron never returned to the scene of his authority. Soon after he reached Paris he was seized with a dysentery, of which in a few days he died, at the end of the year 1675, before he had enjoyed the gratification or been mortified by the refusal of an audience of the king.
Ogeron undoubtedly owed much to the epoch and particular situation of the colony of St. Domingo for the fame he acquired by the salutary changes wrought in its character. But with every allowance for adventitious aid, his talents and success have gained him the renown of the founder of a nation. For this character he possessed the necessary qualifications. To a singular penetration into the thoughts and designs of others, he united a spirit that shrunk not before obstacles which would make others pause in their career, and a certain earnest enthusiasm which carried opposition a willing captive to his wishes. His memory was always fondly cherished in the colony, and the epoch- of his administration was reckoned the dawn of its first age, as that of Larnage was afterwards accounted the second. During his rule the colony was first brought to the arts of peace, and began a steady advance in wealth and respectability, which went on without any intermission till its final overthrow. The plain of Cape Franqois became settled with plantations, the shores of the Bight of Leogane were peopled almost through their whole extent, and a colony of French was established even on the shores of Samana, in the eastern extremity of the island. .
It was difficult to find a successor to Ogeron, who possessed as the latter those peculiar qualities necessary to guide the progress of a rising State. M. Pouancey, the nephew of Ogeron, joined to the advantages of a fine
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 05)
person and popular address the favor of near relationship to the idol of the colony. Though possessed of more haughtiness of spirit, he yet participated with his uncle in those arts of captivation by which the latter succeeded in carrying forward the objects of his policy. M. Pouancey judiciously limited himself to follow in the footsteps of his great predecessor, and gave himself no lati. tude but to extend and consolidate the beneficial institutions so auspiciously begun. It was objected to his administration, that his views were too cautious and narrow. The imaginations of the colonists were no longer dazzled by magnificent enterprises. The little settlement of Samana, situated at the distance of three hundred miles from the main body of their countrymen, were so harassed by the hostilities of the Spaniards, that they were forced to apply to M. Pouancey for assistance to maintain themselves from utter destruction. To their regret he ordered the settlement to be broken up, and the population added to that of the plain of Cape Francis. But an expedition was fitted out under his auspices against the Spaniards of St. Jago de Cuba, which, after making a descent on that coast, returned with much booty. Though unendowed with the ambition and activity of his predecessor, M. Pouancey was judicious and attentive to increase the solid growth of the colony, and make its prosperity permanent. He manifested much true judgment and prudent forecast by his endeavors to settle therich plain of the Cape. He saw its great susceptibilities, and looked with the eye of prophecy on the immense agency it would exert in the future fortunes of the colony. The- increase -in its plantations of tobacco, cocoa and indigo, manifest the eagerness with which that fertile and extensive plain was appropriated and put in cultivation. To repel the incursions of the Spaniards and preserve this rich accession to his available territories, M. Pouancey applied himself to fortify it against the depredations of the natural enemy. The Spaniards on their part viewed with deep indignation the daily encroachments of the French on this beautiful plain, and prepared for immediate hostilities. The French were thrown into panic, but M. Poiancey diverted the meditated blow by a counter movement directed on another point of the Spanish
70 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
frontiers, which was effectual for that time in saving his favorite settlement from the destructiveness of a hostile inroad.*
In the year 1679, there occurred an intestine war in the French settlement, from-a negro rebellion, which checked the prosperity, and came near to destroy the very existence of the colony. A negro named Padrejan had murdered his master, to whom he had belonged for many years, and after the commission of the crime took refuge in the island of Tortugas, now neglected and changed almost to a wilderness. Here he, found an asy-. lum from justice, and a fit scene in which to mature new projects of crime. Wedded to evil and wickedness, he proceeded to tempt other negroes from fidelity to their masters, and having gathered around him a large band-of runaways, Padrejan conceived the design of massacreing all the whites of the colony. His stupid followers, blinded to the impossibility of the attempt, hoped by this deed to regain the favor and be pardoned of their old Spanish masters, whose service they had left either as captives in war or as fugitives from justice, and they thus thought to regain their old homes and masters with favor and gratulation instead of punishment. Padrejan had from this circumstance but little difficulty in persuading the negroes to be participators in his schemes of villainy. The latter gathered fast around their leader, in the anxiety and trepidation that characterize their movements of insurrection. They crossed the narrow strait that separates Tortugas from St. Domingo, and invaded the settlements
-Aound Port Margot, putting every thing to fire aid sword. The whites were murdered, or fled before them, and Padrejan, left in undisputed possession of the country, pro. ceeded to post himself on the summit of a high mountain situated between St. Anne and St. Louis. Here he formed a sort of breastwork of the trunks of trees,, and from this entrenched camp carried desolation and death-among the plantations of the neighborhood. All the whites who were taken were murdered, and all the slaves were set at liberty and made to join in the rebellion. The colonists were struck with consternation at the alarming progress of the insurrection and the murderous spirit that followed Malo.
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 71
in the train of its success. M. Pouancey, who was then at Port de Paix, found his situation sufficiently embarrassing. He was not only indisposed to sacrifice the lives of his -colonists in such a warfare, and in an attack on a post that was inaccessible, but with too much timidity he i/ dreaded the fearful event of a failure, which would give strength to the insurgents-and depress the energies of his own forces. With too much blameable inertness of disposition in such d crisis, he allowed his usual caution to degenerate into downright faint-heartedness, and doubted the ability of his forces to carry the negro encampment, and, compel them to lay down their arms. Meantime the revolt was making progress from day to day, and dismay and anxiety were spread over the colony. Fortunately to the indecision of M. Pouancey there arrived at Port de Paix at this conjuncture a party of buccaneers of- the sea. The governor requested their services to repress the negro insurrection, and his offers were embraced with alacrity. The buccaneers began their march immediately for the mountain where Padrejan was posted, and when arrived there, according to their system of warfare, they commenced an immediate *attack. They rushed up the steep acclivity, and were in the camp of the rebels before the latter knew of their approach. The negroes were seized with consternation, and fell an easy prey to their unceremonious assailants. A great number were cut to pieces, and the remainder leaped over their bulwarks and L/ fled.' Padrejan himself was among the number slain.* The latter part of M. Pouancey's administration was characterized by a concourse of evils that seemed to unite themselves to wither the prosperity of the colony. Of the first race of colonists but few now remained, and a new population had succeeded, less united in sympathy of feeling, and more offensively devoted to personal, selfisn aggrandizement. Too eager for wealth for their own
- peace of mind, or' the solid welfare of the colony, the public tranquillity was continually disturbed by bickerings of discontent, and opposition to the laws which regulated the public income. They believed the exactions of the latter too oppressive, and the rights of the colonists to be infringed on by certain regulations which regarded the
* Moreau do St. Mery.
72 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
sale and exportation of tobacco. Discontent was murmuring in the bosoms of the colonists, and they would listen to no accommodation. The buccaneers of the sea, whom the French regarded as their natural allies against the Spaniards, made no attempts of hostility against the enemies of the French colony, while their depredations spread terror and indignation through all the other islands, and called down the vengeance of the sufferers upon the heads of the French, who were known to be in league with the pirates who had robbed them.
Thus the buccaneers were but nominal friends, while the Spaniards and Dutch were real and bitter enemies. The buccaneers were dangerous associates, and yielded no ready obedience to the rules and laws of order in the French colony itself; and the restraints of law and propriety were often outraged in the wild recklessness of their carousals, while spending their plunder ashore. The Spaniards left nothing undone to drive the French from the island, devastating their distant settlements, carrying off their slaves and cattle, and leaving ruin and despair
in their march. They not only regarded the French as interlopers on a territory peculiarly their own, but deemed them the instigators of the attacks of the pirates on the settlements of their nation. To the Spaniards was soon added another unfriendly nation, of more extended and ambitious views. The former would have contented themselves to drive the French from St. Domingo, but the English, with more uncompromising hostility, wished to drive them from-the islands of the West Indies. While this cloud of misfortune and evil was gathering portend.
tous and fast over the prosperity of the colony, M. Pouan.
cey retired to France, where he soon after died, and was
succeeded by M. Cussy as chief of the colony.
The new functionary found his government in a situation quite unfavorable to the growth of its prosperity. A spirit of sedition and revolt had* distilled its poison into its very vitals. License and disorder were every where predominant, and the morals of the colonists had so far departed from the standard of purer and simpler times, that there existed no restraints, either of religion or justice. This state of disorder and crime, under the influence of which the interests of the colonial proprietors
RIBTORY OF ST. DOMIS1 7$
.were severely suffering, called for the immediate interpow sition of the OVeornment at home. The appeal was listened to, and two commissioners were sent gut to join their deliberations to those of M. Cussy, the governor, to devise some practicable plan to ameliorate the condition of things. The chevalier St. Laurent 'and M. Begon were despatched by the ministry to establish law and order within the colony, and these functionaries conducted their mission with wisdom and fidelity. To facilitate the adjustment of the succession of disputes that embroiled the, peae of the colony, they remodeled the judiciary, to be more adapted to the wants of the colonists. At different epochs before this period the colony had been ruled, or oppressed, by a diversity of forms in the structure of its judiciary. Before the administration of Ogerouj the disputes of the colonists had been adjudged in a patriarchal manner by the chiefs of the colony. After Ogeron's accession to the authority .of the colony, this power had been transferred to the governor; but this functionsary being absolute was deemed unfitted to hold the united authority of an executive and judiciary officer in the overament. To remedy this, the power had been trans.
rred to a species of military tribunal, composed of military officers appointed by the king, to whom were joined
-a few of the chief planters. This court having cognizance of all matters, and the power of decision without appeal, ,alled its judgments decrees, and held its sessions at different places in the colony, where there were disputes to be settled, The commissioners and M. Cussy etermined to remodel this court and adapt its organization more to the advanced condition of the colony. A tribunal was created with high powers of jurisdiction, and named the Sovereign Council of the colony. It held its sessions alternately at Petit Goave, Leogane, Cape Francois, and St. Louis.
Theadministration of justice amid the numerous litigations of the time, was by this arrangement brought home to men's business ard bosoms, and a great step was taken in the way to a final adjustment of the frequent disputes about the appropriation of property. With an eye to the real prosperity of the colony, as well as to remove a grievance which was a source of perpetual keart.
74 mSOKYr F ST. DOMIN00.
burning, the commissioners wrote pressingly to the mrei istry on the strong impolicy of subjecting the commerce of the colony to such restrictions as pressed all its enterprise to the dust. The trade in tobacco had been almost annihilated by the high exactions of the government attending its exportation. The farther cultivation of the article was stopped, and the plantations owed their very continuance to the fabrication of indigo, the demand for which was great, and in its cultivation many a fortune had already been made.
During the administration of M. Pouancey the attention of that governor had been turned towards resettling the island of Tortugas, which had been long since deserted of its inhabitants, and had grown into a waste of thicket. With A. Cussy, also, that old nurse of rugged men was a favorite, and he attempted its restoration. But its soil was discovered to be much less practicable than that of the opposite coast of St. Domingo and the rich plain of Cape Fran~ois. It was abandoned to desolation, and in a few years turned to a wilderness. But these reverses in the fortune of Tortugas were turned to the advantage of Port de Paix, which Tad now grown to the dignity of a capital, and was considered the most important place in the colony. M. Cussy undertook a fortification to protect its harbor, as well as to command the passage of the chan. nel which flows between the coast and the island of Tortugas. but the attempt was never carried forward to perfection.
The French ministry now determined to carry into execution the designs of Ogeron, and attempt the entire conquest of the island. Secret instructions were sent to M. Cussy to take measures to effect this desirable object. The letter' of the minister bears the date of January, 1689, and contains the following earnest language. "We would impress upon you the fact that you cannot have a greater enterprise to execute than this, and you may count with certainty, that success in the undertaking will ensure you- the particular regards of his majesty: that the government of your conquest will be bestowed on you there can be no means of doubting. I pray you to give me the earliest information of the plans you will pursue to the attainment of this object
*NMsesm do St. Moy.
ZISTOIt OF ST. JDOMJNGO. 76
The Spaniards on their side, so far from expecting an attempt to drive them from their old possessions, were unremitted in their exertions to harass the French to an abandonment of their portion of the island. They made a formidable attack on Petit Goave, by means of a brigantine and periagua, with eighty-five men. The Spaniards landed at daybreak, and by making a sudden onset at that early hour, obtained possession of the fort that protected the place, and scattered themselves about to pillage and destroy the settlement. The French soon rallied to a sense of their duty and danger. They charged the Spaniards, and in a furious attack forced them back within the fort they had captured. The Spaniards, in the ferocity and confidence of their transient success, had murdered the chief man of the settlement, brutally stabbed his pregnant wife, and in the intoxication of their hatred had refused all quarter to their prisoners. These events were remembered and fearfully avenged in the subsequent events of the day. The fort was immediately stormed by the French, and carried at the point of the bayonet. The unfortunate Spaniards were all put to death, if a few may be excepted who escaped over the palisades of the fort, and were lucky enough to reach the woods in safety.
The Spaniards were not the only people who charged the French with intruding on their prescriptive rights to the soil of St. Domingo. The Dutch had held the harbor of Leogane as a rendezvous for their ships for half, a century, and they regarded with indignation the late seizure of that port by the French, Admiral Binker was despatched with a squadron of five ships to compel the relinquishment of the place to its ancient occupants. A naval action was fought in the harbor within gunshot of the town, till darkness separated the combatants, when the French ship the Dauphin was discovered to be on fire, and soon blew up. The next day the Dutch took possession of the seven French vessels that- remained, and drove the inhabitants of the town to take shelter in the woods. The Dutch admiral having succeeded in his main attempt sailed from the harbor, leaving the Trench to return immediately to re-occupy the deserted tenements
7T HISTORY OF-ST. DOMINGO.
which the honest Hollander thought he had forever secured to the power of the stadtholder.0 Amid these repeated attacks of foreign assailants, the colony was made to suffer by a suicidal. attempt on its prosperity from a domestic source. The ministers of Louis XIV. had granted to a mercantile company of St. Maloes an exclusive privilege to traffic with the Spanish colony of Hispaniola. By this unwise policy a' weapon of destructio was put in the hands of the enemies of the French colony that was far more formidable and certain in its effects than the sword. The trade of the French colonists was reduced almost to utter annihilation by the successful competition of their enemies in the articles that composed their usual traffic. 'They could no longer sell their tobacco-to advantage, and lessened in resources to maintain their indigo establishments these also fell into embarrassment and unproductiveness. This evil policy of their rulers again drove the colonists to discontent an insubordination. A fearful revolt burst forth in the neigh. borhood of Cape Francois, which but for the prudence and decision of the' magistrates threatened to overwhelm the whole colony. Through the active exertions of the governor and M. Franquesnay, the military commander of the north, the tumult was appeased for the time, and by the institution of juster measure, quiet and tranquillity were at length restored.
When these formidable obstacles were fully overcome, M Cussy began to turn his attention to conquest. An attack was meditated on'the Spanish town of Santiago, which the governor designed as an earnest of the greater enterprise of subjecting the whole island to the power of France. Orders were issued during the summer of 1690' for the colonists to prepare themselves for the expedition, and rally at the point designated as the place of -rendezvous. The forces of the expedition amounted to four hundred cavalry, four, hundred and fifty infantry, and one hundred and fifty negroes, who had been ordered to fQllow in the rear of the column, which immediately commenced its march into the wilderness of the interior. By the 6th of July the French had arrived without striking a blow at the banks of the river Yako, within half a Moreau do St. Mery.
HiSTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 77
league of the town of Santiago. Here there was a defile so narrow as scarcely to admit two abreast. The Spaniards, who were in ambuscade upon the heights which overlooked the defile, allowed the van of the French column to pass ummolested, and while the centre was slowly threading its way along the narrow-path, they commenced a well aimed and deadly fire.into the ranks ofthe French. The Spaniards were well posted, and the French were mowed down by an invisible enemy. In this galling fire the volunteers of Cape Francois perished almost to a man. The presence of mind and military talent of the governor succeeded atlast in drawing out his troops to more open ground, whence he pushed on boldly for the city. To his astonishment he found its gates open in abandonment or treachery, and the French were for the second time in possesmon of the place. They found all the churches open, and the private dwellings left unfurnished; but what excited their astonishment was to find immense quantities of food and drink prepared with the utmost skill, and displayed in the most tempting manner. Suspecting treachery from this unusual providence in a vanquished enemy, M. Cussy ordered that the provisions should not he eaten, and it was soon found that a few who had unwittingly partaken of the food and drinks, had become almost immediately ill. The report spread among the French forthwith that the provisions had been poisoned, and terror at the danger they had escaped, soon changed to the wildest indignation at the cowardice of the enemy. They clamorously demanded of their commander that the order should be given to set the town on fire. This request was granted, on condition that the churches and convents should be spared. The town was soon wrapt in a general conflagration. and soon became a heap of smouldering ruins. As the rainy season had commenced, and the mountain streams were beginning to overflow, so as to threaten the detention of his forces in the enemy's country, M. Cussy gave the, order for a retreat, and the French hastened from the Spanish territory, proud of their success, and loaded with the spoils of the vanquished town.
Scarcely had the French returned from the expedition above related, when by the seizure of St. Christophers
79 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
by the English, the colony of St. Domingo received a large accession to its population from the conquered island. The French who had been forced to abandon their homes to the invading enemy, fled to Martinique and St. Domingo. More than eighteen hundred persons arrived in the latter colony during the month of August, and were received with a gracious welcome by their countrymen. They were distributed in the neighborhood of Port de Paix, in the plain of Cape Frangdis, or on the shores of Leogane. If misfortunes never come singly, good fortune itself is sometimes the forerunner of adversity. The joy and hope which arose on the colony by this sudden increase in its population, was destined to give place in a short time to sensations bof grief and terror. In consequence of the scanty accommodations in which to receive such a body of emigrants, and the sorrow and depression into which their sad fortune had cast them, a sweeping pestilence soon broke out among them, and numbers made the scenes of their new residence their final abode. An ifflictive drought spread itself over the face of the island, and famine, disease and death were busy in its trair. A large number of the population of Port de Paix were swept away by this scourge, and anxiety and despair were spread like palls of darkness over the colony. The cares and exertions of the' governor to watch over the welfare of his people in this alarming crisis, were unceasing-. The deserted island of Tortugas was fitted up with places of residence, and applied to the pse of a retreat for those who were recovering from their malady, anid a 'shelter for those who were flying from its ravages,
The next year the Spaniards, to revenge the sack of S.antiago, put every thing in movement to make a counter invasion on the French territory, directed particularly against the plain and town of Cape Franois. They mustered a formidable armament of three thousand men, and prepared to penetrate into the settlements of Cape Frangois by approaches both by sea and -land. The French governor in the weakened state of his colony could not raise more than one third the effective force of the Spaniards, but he marched to the scene of action with a determined heart, It was the plan of the governor
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 79
to march on a place called Jacquenzy, ano with one column to dispute the enemy's landing in the bay of Caracol, while another column was -to harass the approach of the enemy by land by making an attack on his flank. But the opinion of M. Franquesnay, military commander of the North, prevailed. This was to act upon the defensive against such superiority in numbers, and to wait for the enemy in the plain of Limonade. Subsequent events proved that there was little wisdom in this, though at the time it seemed a dictate of prudence. The French took up their position in a savanna on the night of the 20th of January, 1691, and awaited in silence and anxiety the approach of the enemy. Their right was supported by a little eminence that overlooked the plain, and their left by a thick wood that bordered the sea. A small ravine separated the two armies. On the morning of the 21st the Spaniards began to advance, and the French centre was almost immediately borne back by an amount of force three or four times superior to their own. The French fought with desperation, but with nothing to support them against the charges of an overwhelming force they were soon thrown into irremediable confusion. The frequent and rapid charges of the Spanish cavalry, with their- long lances, heaped the field with dead, and M. Cussy and M. Franquesnay, the first and second in conmand, fell at the head of the French column. Such a contest couldnot last long: the French broke and fled in the utmost disorder, leaving three- hundred of their countrymen dead upon the field. The borough of Limoujade was destroyed, and Cape Franois left exposed to the advance of the victorious Spaniards. Their very tender mercies were cruelty itse. All the settlements along the track of their march were laid waste, and neither men, women-or children were spared on the plantations. None of the French escaped but those who sueceeded in concealing themselves in. the thickest of the woods, whither many of them had fled with their families, effects and negroes. Cape Francois was at length entered bythe Spaniards, and that recent though thrifty settlemeat was given up to pillage for eleven hours, and afterwards wholly destroyed. The Spaniards, after spreading desolation and ruin through the whole line of their
0 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
march, returned at last to their own territory loaded with booty. This invasion was a severe blow to the French colony, as in addition to the governor and chief commander of its troops, it -cost the destruction of nearly all the men of note among its population. The flourishing settlements on the Spanish frontier and in the plain of Cape Francois were made a mass of ruins, and the wealth of the proprietors was found on their 'return to their plantations all scattered to the winds of heaven.**
The story of these disasters soon reached France, accompanied by pressing requests for immediate relief. The first thing to be done was to select a proper person as governor of the colony. From the peculiar situation of the latter-its heterogeneous population, with all its wrongheadedness and habits of insubordination-this was a task of no little difficulty. The French ministry at last made choice of M. Ducasse, a native of Berne, to undertake this difficult employ. Ducasse had been one of the directors of the company of Senegal, engaged in traffic to the African coast for gold dust, ivory and slaves; and from his intimate acquaintance with the peculiar nature and situation of the West India colonies, his knowledge of business and determination of character,was tolerably fitted for the station in which he was destined to act. On his arrival at Cape Fran~ois in 1091, he found the' colony in a condition of deplorable wretchedness. Its finest settlements were in ruins, its population reduced to a scattered handful of empoverished desperadoes, its fortifications unmanned and in desolation, and the inhabitants of the coast trembling with fear and anxiety from the expected descent of a large Spanish fleet that was hovering in those seas. M. Ducasse commenced his arduous duties with an alacrity and decision which proved the wisdom of, those who had selected him for the government of the colony. He sailed immediately for Leogane and Petit Goave aboard the same vessel in which he had made his passage from France. The fortifications of those places and the other means of defence he hastened to put in a condition to repel the expected invasion, and every measure of prudent foresight was carried into effect with such skill and resolution that the
*Mor doe U. Rery. Hldo.
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 8
colonists took heart from their des p air, and, the enemy for that time dared not to attempt a landing.
Scarcely had the urgency of this danger passed over when the governor was assailed by a new difficulty. The buccaneer part of the population, incensed at certain acts of firmness on his part, and too much accustomed to being a law unto themselves, set the constituted authorities at open defiance, and in flagrant disobedience of the orders of the governor, put to sea with five or six of their corsairs. Many of the young men of the colony had beep seduced to accompany them, panting high for the romance of their new employment. The weakened and torn state of the colofiy forbade the employment of force to bring back these wayward citizens to their allegiance and industry, and the governor was compelled to have recourse to negotiation. By the most cautious manage. ment, and a display of the utmost prudence and address, he succeeded at last in winning- them back to their duty.
The league of Augsburg in 1687 had created a new power in the West Indies, whose hostilities were even more formidable to the- French colonists of St. Domingo than those of their old enemies, the Spaniards. This new power was England, which now in alliance with Spain threatened St. Domingo with an invasion from the ied fleet that was already hovering along its coasts. Scarcely a despatch could sail from the ports of the colony without an interception, which informed the enemy of every new movement of things among its population. M. Ducasse was held in a state of complete insulation from all assistance from France, and his prospects were gloomy and forbidding in the extreme, when a gleam of nope shot over- his desolation like a sunbeam in a tempest. Tne archbishop of Santo Domingo fell into his power, and the governor seized the papers which contained the correspondence of the archbishop with the Spanish Couns cil 'of the Indies. These contained expressions of fear that the French might attempt the conquest of the whole island to their power,'-in event of which the writer disclosed'the utter inability of the Spanish forces then in the island to its defence. These papers were despatched to the French ministry, and to defend his- colony from attack by carrying the war into the enemy's country, M.
HISTORY OF ST.. DOMINGO.
Ducasse began in haste to make preparations for a descent on the island of Jamaica. Every exertion was put forth to make the armament sufficiently formidable, and ensure its final success. Volunteers were invited from all parts of the colony to join the standard of the governor, and every small vessel and shallop was put in repair to convey the troops. At last, all things being in readiness, the governor sailed from Petit Goave on the 11th of June, 1694, with his whole force, amounting to twenty-one sail of vessels and fifteen hundred men. After a long and sluggish voyage, the French at length came to anchor in a small bay about fifteen miles distant from Port Royal.
They immediately landed and advanced across the country, destroying the plantations, seizing the negroes, and driving the English before them, till they arrived at Morant Bay. An attack was immediately made upon the forts that protected this harbor, which were soon carried, I and the town taken and given up to pillage. More than
fifteen hundred negroes -were taken from the town and its neighborhood and sent back to Petit Goave. A detachment of the fleet, under M. Beauregard, was ordered to proceed with two hundred men to Port Maria. From this place they proceeded to devastate an extent of country of twenty or thirty miles in circuit, after which the detachment returned to Morant Bay. The whole French fleet now sailed for Carlisle. Bay, and here they found an English vessel, which they immediately attacked and burnt. The governor ordered M. De Graeffe to land the next morning at the head of a thousand men, and commence an attack on the. fortifications of the town. These were mounted with twelve cannon, and manned by a garrison of fourteen hundred men. The French under De Graeffe made a furious onset, and were as hotly received by the English within the trenches; but the former were at length successful. After a sharp and bloody.
contest of an hour and a half, the French forced the outer line of defence, and the English retired, leaving three hundred and sixty of their number killed and wounded within the lines. The losses of the French
- were small, and De Graeffe pushed on to encounter a detachment of two hundred English who were hastening to the assistance of their countrymen. These also were
ISTORT OF ST. DOMINGO.
driven before the victorious French,-who were left in undisputed occupation of the country.- The following day was spent in ravaging the ports in the neighborhood; the fleet was drawn nearer the, shore, and M. Ducasse landed, and sent forth fresh detachments to destroy and lay waste in every direction. Grand mas was celebrated within the fortifications of the vanquished town by the curate of Petit .Goave -father Gery. The town of Carlisle was the last destroyed in this wantonness of devastation, and the cannon of its forts spiked.*
Having finished the objects of the expedtition, and .created much unprovoked and unnecessary misery in this beautiful settlement, the French put to sea again, and arrived safely at Petit Goave freighted deep with the spoils of their victory-ef -which no inconsiderable part was the number of three thousand negroes taken from / the English plantations, together with great quantities of indigo and other valuable -productions of the island. The increasing business of planting cane and fabricating sugar made this importation of slaves a valuable acquisition to St. Domingo; and the wealth gained by the late expedition gave an immediate impulse to the affairs of the colony-an impulse which was continued by the encouragement given to agricultural enterprise through the enlightened policy of M. Duoasse's administration.
But prosperity which is based on the sword of conquest must, in the revengeful nature of human feelings, be maintained or lost Iy the same means. The English, as was to be expected, prepared to take ample vengeance on the French for the invasion and destruction of their finest colony, and M. Ducasse was not slow in learning that preparations of the most formidable kind were in progress against him, sufficient to annihilate his little colony at one fell swoop. Nor was the French governor idle in the appalling crisis that threatened. He flew from point to point of his colony, to rally, encourage and fortify. In this fearful conjuncture nothing was left by him undone to perfect all his means of defence. The first attack on the colony was made by the English from Jamaica, and directed on the town of Leogane. With a flotilla of three vessels and three bateaux they came to anchor off weomu de 8t. Mery.
84 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
the town, and commenced a cannonade which lasted till night: but the bravery of the defence was sufficient to discourage from a renewal of the attack, and after burn. ing a French vessel in that harbor the English weighed anchor and returned without the accomplishment of their purpose. This petty failure was not sufficient to divert the storm of war and desolation that was gathering over the French colony. A formidable armament.of the allied English and Spaniards at length made its appearance min Mansanilla bay during the summer of 1695. This point of attack was well chosen by the enemy, for the hostilities of-former years and the disastrous campaign of Limonade had nearly annihilated the resources of the North, and torn from it almost all its means of defence. Limonade had been rebuilt and resettled, but did little more than totter on in a state of utter decrepitude and decay. The allies to the number of three thousand strong .arrived at the latter place on the 27th of May, and thence advanced rapidly on Cape Frangois in two columns, driving the French before them. While the English fleet was sailing into the harbor, the French saw on the other side the united forces of English and Spaniards advancing to the -attack on their works by land. The outposts, after blowing up these works one after another as they were reached by the enemy, retired into the town. At this stage of the attack six hundred marines and sailors were landed form the vessels, and commenced their march to attack a post beyond the town, at a place called Haut du Cap. The approach of a detachment of Spaniards from the opposite quarter placed the garrison of that post in, the cross fire of the enemy, and M. De Graeffe, who commanded at the Haut du Cap, saw himself obliged to fall back on the parishes of Morne Rouge and Acul. The allies were thus in possession of the cape almost without striking a blow, and now directed their detach. ments on the road to Port de Paix, the capital of the colonyv-the English proceeding by way of Acul and Limbs and the Spaniards by Plaisance and Gros Morne, the fleet in the mean time accompanying them along the coast. The latter penetrated into the harbor of St Louis. and hazarded its reefs to land five hundred men to attack that settlement. M. Bernanos, who held that place
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 85
for the French, was obliged to fall back before this force, and took up a position on a small river in his rear. Here he defended himself successfully, and a party of the enemy which attempted to cut off his retreat into the I interior, was held in check by a charge made by a detachment of French and negroes under M. Paty. On the 18th of, June the Spaniards had arrived within sight of Port de Paix, but were held in check by a- small- detachment of French posted at a place called Trois Rivieres. Meantime M. Boulaye, whom M.Ducasse (who had retired to Leogane) had left in command of Port de Paix, ordered the evacuation of all the posts in the vicinity, and on the same day the town itself was set on fire by his orders. The forces, of the French were all concentrated on a projection of the harbor called the Point des Peres; but on the 30th June the enemies' fleet entered the harbor of Port de Paix; the Point des Peres was stormed and carried, and the French were driven to take refuge within their entrenchments in- the town. On the 3d of July the Spaniish forces cane up to join their allies, and they opened their batteries from the Point des Peres and the surrounding heights upon the French, who still gallantly though hopelessly maintained a resistance. The following night they began to make preparations to evacuate the ruins of the town; but the enemy gaining intelligence of the movement were ready to fall upon their retreat with a force sufficient to crush this feeble remnant at one blow; but one Archambaud directed the French to a ford in the Trois Rivieres, which still retains his name, where they crossed, and soon gained the mountains in safety.
The entire northern coast of the island was now in possession of the enemy, and with it a host of prisoners V and immense spoils in negroes, and productions of the island. From the insufficiency in the defence in this the oldest and best port of the colony, one is astonished that the alliesstopped here, without proceeding to the con. quest of what remained. The governor had retired to Leogane at an early period of the invasion, where he had been engaged in making the most formidable prepa rations to repel any attack in that quarter; but the enemy penetrated no farther. Wearied by long and painful marches under a burning sun, and satisfied with success,
86 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
and the English probably deeming they had sufficiently avenged the inroad into their'colony the preceding year, they collected their forces; and having destroyed, according to the fashion of the time,-every thing in their line
of march, they left the colony.
This invasion left the whole coast swept with desolation. The petty attacks of the Spaniards in their yearly incursions upon the French territory, were but trifles light as air to the wide sweep of destruction brought on by this terrible inroad. Of the stores of agricultural produce, the crops in growth, the plantations, towns, settlements and negroes, nothing or 'nearly nothing, was left. All was one wild waste of ruin---one unmixed scene of wretchedness. The inhabitants were left no shelter from the storms of heaven, and no provisions to sustain their decayed energies. Misfortune often succeeds misfortune, and events of a modified good are not always sources of joy. To add to the miseries of the colony there arrived orders from the government at home to receive a portion of the inhabitants of St. Croix -an island which had been wrested from the power of France, and to incorporate them with the population of St. Domingo. In other circumstances an event like this, which adding to its effectiveness and population, would have likewise added joy, and proved an impulse of prosperity to the colony. But at this epoch, when all its resources and means of subsistence had been destroyed, and the emigrant people were refugees from their homes and possessions,instead of comfort and gratulation the -order for their consolidation with the colony of St. Domingo brought with it only additional causes of distress,"
and induced the dreariest anticipations for the future.
From a condition of peaceful security, and the silent lapse of years spent in gathering in a rich harvest from the soil, "and following a career of soft enjoyment sustained by increasing wealth in a joyous climate, the colonists of St. Domingo were now thrown by the miseries of war, of which they had been the victims, into a course of unsettled employment in -which war alone constituted
their chief hope of gain.
.The hostilities of the rival nations still continued, and
an expedition was set on foot directed against the city of
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 87
Carthagena on the Spanish Main. This was regarded as one of the richest and most powerful cities in the new world, and every needy -and desperate adventurer looked upon its hordes of wealth with the longing eye of poverty, and upon the owners of this wealth with all the bitter recollections connected with the Spanish name. The sanction of the French government was obtained, which authorized certain private adventurers to fit out seven vessels of the line, with others of a smaller size, to proceed against the city of Carthagena, under the orders of commodore Pointis. Great numbers of the colonists of St. Domingo flocked to embark in the expedition, and were headed by their governor, M. Ducasse. The -latter never was well reconciled to act as the subordinate of De Pointis. The expedition was completely successful, and the Spaniards of Carthagena purchased on hard condi. tions of their captors that their town should be spared from plunder. The adventurers from St. Domingo were dissatisfied that their share of the spoils of the ransomed, town did not exceed forty thousand crowns, when M. Ducasse, with. true mercantile sagacity, maintained that the whole amount of plunder drawn from the Spanish city ought to exceed forty millions of pounds, of which one fourth was the stipulated share due to those who were from St. Domingo. Indignant at the real or imagined dishonesty of De Pointis, the unceremonious buccaneers made ready to board the commodore's ship, the Sceptre, and to avenge themselves for the iniquitous affronCby his death; when one of their number cried out to his companions, "why do we waste our time on that execrable dog, while our portion of the wealth of the city still remains in Carthagena, and it is there we must seek it." This suggestion was hailed with a burst of applause, and without a moment of further reflection, they turned their course back to the town. Here they assembled all the male inhabitants in the principal church, and addressing them in a conciliatory speech, while they loaded De Pointis with every debasing epithet in their vocabulary, they demanded as a small indemnity for leaving the city untouched, the sum of five millions of pounds. The Spaniards could not raise this sum to oblige their modest and gentle conquerors, and were in consequence subjected
88 HISTORY OF sT. DOMINGO.
to the penalty of their displeasure. The buccaneers gave themselves up to every excess of cruelty and extortion till they had gleaned every remnant of wealth that remained to, the fMlen city, when they set sail for their homes. They were not -suffered, however,. to gain them in safety. They were encountered and attacked by some Dutch and English ships, and many of their smaller vessels were captured or sunk. Those that escaped. arrived safely at St. Domingo.
During the absence' of the governor the command of, the colony had been in the hands 6f the count de Boiy, who had governed with zeal and much ability. Hrisited in person the principal towns, and put every thing in the best condition of- defence that circumstances rendered possible. This officer came to his.end by a disaster that was afflictive. Not having met with M.- Ducasse since his return to the colony, he embarked at Cape Francois, with the design to go to Petit Goave. Just without the harbor he came in sight of six ships. Believing them to be enemies, he leaped into a boat, attended only by three negroes and a 'soldier. The boat was not more than a league and a half from the shore, yet it could not reach it, but was drawn by the current into the open sea. After beating about for nine days without encountering any land, they were cast on the coast of Cuba, near Baracoa, and after wandering about in quest of food for five days, the whole boat's crew perished of famine.*
The contest still continued between the rival nations, but while both stiU maintained a hostile attitude, their exertions in war had been lately confined to the neighboring seas, rather -than-Within the limits of their respec. tive territories in St. Domingo. But though the- war had dwindled to petty skirmishes, there was no abatement of the fell and deadly hatred which still continued to animate the spirit of hostility between the rival countrymen. The river Massacre, that separates the plain of Cape Francois from the Spanish territory, derives its name from the mul,titude of fierce and murderous conflicts that were fought on its banks, in which the belligerents fought for the pos. session of their homes on the one hand, and to repel encroachment on the other. Scarcely a spot can be
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. S)
pointed out on the confines of the territory of the two nations but has its tradition of blood and massacre, and frequently its name from some deadly strife of the olden time. The inviting solitudes of every sweeping savanna and rich primeval forest in the interior of the island, and the calm, glasslike surface of every inlet that indents the coast, witnessed the struggles of fierceness and hate between the desperadoes of that period. When- the French territory had grown too populous' with colonists, and too extended in its limits to leave'a hope to the-Spanlards to eject them from the scene of their increasing greatness, the inveteracy of the latter was still manifested by continual inroads to harass the settlements, and without the power to subdue, they directed their efforts to distress, their neighbors.
Their attacks were so frequent and so destructive on the southern coast of the French territory, that M. Ducasse wrote to the ministry that if aid was not promptly afforded them, it would become necessary to abandon that rich portion of the territory, in spite of all exertions to the contrary. -1
The Spanish galleys in the boldness of their attacks even entered the harbor of Cape Franqois, and cut outvessels that were awaiting their cargoes in that port. A large French merchantman from Harfleur was at anchor in the harbor of the Cape, when it was furiously attacked by a Spanish periagua, and had it not been for the efficacy ot the captain's orthodoxy it had been forever lost to the owners. In the heat of the attack he made a vow to the Virgin, to be paid off in the church of Harfleur in Normandy, and thus by this lucky thought the Spaniards were foiled of their prey.
Th9 French colonists, amid such a long succession of hostilities, and the devastation or decay of their plantatioIs, many of them gtew despondent for the future, and prepared to abandon the island forever. The Spaniards of Santiago were already fitting out another expedition against the settlements of Cape .Franqois, when the news of the peace of Ryswick arrived to put an end to the war. By an article in this treaty Spain acknowledged for the first time the rights of France to the western part of St. Domingo, that lay beyond certain boundaries.
COsepany of St. Demingo-progress of the French colony-riot against the West India Company--Admintetration of M. Lanage-settlement of Port auPrince-ceonquest of St. Louis by the English-Colonial judiciary-power of the goverpor general-oigin and condition of the free colored population
-petits blancs-M. de Belzunce-Count d'Estaming-Acadian and Germaq emigrants-M. d'Ennery-the hegro Macandal-Maroons of Bahoruco-, magnificence of the colony-popular tumults.
WHEN the long succession of hostilities, for so many years the bane of the colony's prosperity, had at last terminated, the inhabitants of St. Domingo took immediate encouragement to resume the arts of peace. That part of the southern coast, which by the terms of the late treaty had been included within the limits of the French territory, had hitherto been a sort of debateable land. claimed by both nations, but untenanted and in fact unknown to either. A few years before the period of which we treat, M. Ducasse had sent home a glowing description of the singular beauty of the plain of Aux Cayes, which was then a wilderness, spreading in solitude its wide waste of luxuriance; and the governor strongly recommended the immediate occupation of that region by an emigrant population from France. The disturbed condition of France at that period depressed all enterprise directed towards the furtherance of these.plans of the governor; but now when commerce and the spirit of foreign adventure had received a new impulse from the restoration of peace to Europe, measures were adopted to make this part of the island available to the increase of the colony of St. Domingo, and to the commercial interests of France. For the purpose of occupying this new territory, a commercial company was formed at Paris, under the name of the Royal Company of St. Domingo. Its rights and privileges were distinct from those of the French West India Company, the business of which had been. confined exclusively to the northern part of the French colony. The Royal Company of St. Domingo was originally composed of but twelve persons, in whose number was M. Ducasse, the governor. They associated
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 91
themselves with a capital of 1,200,000 livres, and obtained letters patent conveying to them the exclusive right of commerce for a period of fifty years, over an extent of country that reached from Cape Tiburon to the river Neyb6 on the Spanish frontiers, and which was to be of three leagues in width from the sea to the mountains of La Hotte. This was conveyed in fee simple, and with the right of entire sovereignty, without either rent or service than free homage to the king of France and the bestowment of a crown of gold, of six marks in value, on each occupant of the throne at the commencement of a new reign. The government of France engaged to construct, at its own expense, such suitable fortifications as would protect this part of the colony from hostile invasion. The Company promised to introduce during the term of its charter, fifteen hundred whites and twentyfive hundred slaves within the territory of its jurisdiction, without taking them from the other parts of the colony. After the expiration of the Company's charter, it was stipulated that two hundred negroes should be introduced annually within the limits of that portion of the colony. The courts of justice and the internal police generally,
*were to be formed on the model of those institutions in lFrance. To the Company was granted the liberty of having a seal of its own, and the privilege of carrying on a contraband trade with the Spanish possessions in the
ilf of Mexico. In- the year 1699, the royal decrees which guarantied the rights and privileges of the Company were registered by the supreme court of Petit (f-oave-, and M. Bricourt, who had been appointed by the Company its agent and director in St. Domingo, entered ,on the duties of his office. M. Bricourt selected for the ,chief place of the settlement a site on the shores of a fine harbor upon the southern coast, and he named the future town St. Louis. M. Beauregard had been sent the year before, with forty-five persons, to commence an establishment at this place, under the auspices of the colonial government, but they were now obliged to abandon the settlement which they had begun, to give place to those to whom the territory had been granted by charter.
-M. Renau, a distinguished officer of engineers, was seat from France, to superintend the construction of fortiflca-
92 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
tions to protect the harbor of St. Louis. The skill and expense bestowed in their erection were sure guarantees of their future adaptedness to all ordinary purposes of defence, and in five years they were finished and pronounced-the best in the colony.
But the final success of this magnificent plan of colonizing, bore little proportion to the extendedness of its original outline. The Company for a long time manifested little ambition more than to watch over the exclusiveness, ard to preserve the integrity of its barren monopoly; and its agents,, instead of directing all their exertions-to the present prosperity and eventual success of the colony under their charge, limited all their efforts to the selfishness of urging forward their own individual interests. When five years had elapsed from the epoch of the Company's formation, so little vigor had been infused into the spirit of its operations that a population of but forty-two whites'and six hundred slaves had been gathered to occupy the wide extent of its territory. So far were the agents from creating facilities and means of encouragement to all those Who desired to become colonists under the auspices of the new company, that by a refinement in bad policy they reserved from occupation the whole of the rich plain, around the chief town of St. Louis; and those who had become occupants of the lands within the territory were defrauded of their just gains, or at the best subjected to vexations and inconvenience, by ,being compelled to receive payment for the productions of their labor in bills of exchange drawn on the treasurer of the Company at Paris. It was impolitic to establish a separation of interests between this part of the colony and that on the northern coast. From this source of cvil there soon arose the bickerings and jealousies of sectional prejudice to poison the tranquillity of the; whole colony. Notwithstanding the faulty management of the rulers and agents who held its control, the high attractiveness of this rich territory soon gathered to its occupation a large' and increasing population of colonists. When their numbers had attained the amount of six hundred whites and two thousand negroes, these southern colonists, in the pride and exclusiveness of their ambition, prayed the government at home for the establishment
HfSTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 93
of a judiciary of their own, and the presumption of the agents of the new colony maintained a perpetual strife between themselves and the colonial government at Petit Goave. The regulations established by the Royal Company of St. Domingo for the rule and guidance of its colony, were in the main judicious, but not sufficiently extended and prospective in their scope. The colonists were required to prove their title to the lands they occupied before the town clerk of St. Louis, and they were forbidden to sell them till at least two thirds of their extent were cleared and in a state of cultivation. The larger plantations were each reduced in size to contain but one hundred carreaux, (about three hundred acres.) Every proprietor was required to pay to the agents of the Company, on St. Martin's day, the very reasonable tax of sixpence for every hundred carreaux of the land he occupied, and where the boundary line was irregular this tax was doubled, and amounted to one shilling. The width of the great roads was fixed at sixty feet, and that of the cross roads at half that admeasurement. Every one was required to reserve upon his plantation one carreau of woodland, and of Brazil wood, of fustic, of cocoa, of cotton, and of guiac, one hundred trees of each. Of other wood more suited to purposes of building, a similar number of trees was likewise ordered to be preserved, as marble-wood, iron-wood, oak, cedar, and mahogany. Each colonist was ordered to support upon his land, for every one hundred carreaux, twenty cows and fifty sheep, a white man for every ten negroes, and to make at least ten quintals of tobacco every year.
One cannot but be struck with the fact that these regulations were better adapted to rule a pastoral nation in the south of Europe, than to guide the fortunes of a colony of slaveholders within the exuberant regions of the tropics. Much discontent soon came to be enkindled against the Royal Company of St. Domingo, from its soliciting and being put in the enjoyment of a privilege which more than any thing else called its patriotism min question. This was a treaty called an assiento, which was made with the king of Spain, by which a right was secured to the Company of importing negroes from the coast of Ginea into the Spanish colony of Hispaniola or
94 HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
St. Domingo. The French colonists of the north looked with unmeasured indignation on the selfishness of a mercantile company which held large possessions in the island, and yet employed itself in ministering to the growth of a rival nation on their borders, the relentless hatred of which had ever been involving the French colony in the evils of war. The unpopularity of the Company of St. Domingo at length extended itself to France and gained the ear of the ministry. A decree of the council of state was issued, declaring that in consequenee of the pressing wants of the colonists of St. Louis on the coast of St. Domingo, and the little care taken by the Company of the same name to remedy these wants, which produced frequent contentions between the agents and the.subjects of the Company: and as it was not just that those inhabitants should suffer from such palpable misrule, permission was granted to all subjects of France to trade at the port of St. Louis for six months." This was a blow to the Company's monopoly from which it never recovered. A succession of edicts continued to curtail its privileges till they were hardly worth preserving, and in the year 1720 the Company ceded back to the king all the rights and privileges of its charter.During the twenty years of this Company's existence, the southern coast of the island had become settled along much of its extent, and among its industrious and thrifty population there were numbered many of the adventurers who returned from the expedition to Carthagena. With the negroes they had captured in that enterprise, and their share of the spoils of the captured city obtained in so ambiguous a manner, they settled down in the flowering bottoms of the plain of Aux Cayes, and became peaceful agriculturists.
By the alienation of the charter of the Company of St. Domingo, the whole territory of the French part of the island reverted to the authority of the colonial governor. M. Ducasse had been appointed to the command of the French naval forces in the West Indies in the year 1703, and had been succeeded in the government of the colony by M. Auger, who had distinguished himself during the late war, by his brilliant defence of Guadaloupe. The colony of St. Domingo had now grown to a degree
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
.of wealth and importance that plainly betokened how magnificent were, to be its future fortunes. The administration of M. Auger was the first in which the authority and responsibility of the colonial government were shared between the chief of the colony and another functionary associated with him in power, and called the intendant of the colony. The appointment of this officer was in, accordance with an established custom in the French colonies, and it was employed as a means of balance -in the powers of the colonial executive; and while it outwardly professed to separate the military from the civil authority, it established, a check upon the ambition of both. The French colonial system has always been faulty, and at this epoch was peculiarly so in relation to St. Domingo. The centralization of all power in Paris, and the attempt to rule a new and peculiar people, who were inhabitants of a country within the tropics and in another hemisphere, by laws adapted only to govern the maritime towns of France, was productive of unbounded'mischief to the colony. The vexatious enactments to regulate by law the cultivation and exportation of tobacco in St. Domingo, operated to depress and destroy almost all culture and trade in that article, and the planters in despair of any enlightened policy in regard to-their peculiar business ceased from any further efforts to burst the shackles that bound them to perpetual and unproductive toil. Others by happier fortune betook themselves to another species of agriculture, which was destined in the end to open a deep and wide source of wealth to the colony, The sugar-cane was introduced, and in places where from the ready access of water to irrigate the plantations, it was placed beyond the contingencies of those seasons of drought which so often afflicted the colony, the profits which arose from its cultivation raised the planter to almost immediate opulence. But as more extensive tracts of soil were reclaimed from the wilderness and devoted to this new species of agriculture, in consequence of the augmented labor necessary to cultivate the cane and man. ufacture it to a form of exportation, a new. difficulty arose from the scarcity of slaves. The Guinea traders were still monopolists, and the price for their cargoes was exorbitant beyond the ability of the'colonists to pay. To
96 MsTORY OF ST. DOMINGO.
remove this drawback on the prosperity of the colony, many Indians were drawn from Louisiana, South Carolina and the Canadas, to be employed as slaves on the sugar plantations. At different times and through differ.. ent means more than a thousand Indians were imported and sold in the various ports of the colony. But they were always much less valuable than the negroes, and from the surly, indolent habits of the North American savage, and his frequent acts of daring insubordination, they soon came into bad estimation as property, and aD farther trade in them fell into desuetude. From intermixture with the blacks the distinctive characteristics of
-their race are now entirely lost, though some of the mixed
-bloods of Hayti still trace their origin to an Indian in preference to an African ancestry.
The plantations of cocoa-trees, a fruit introduced into the country by Ogeron, had now become the source of -a considerable year income to the colonists in many parts of the island. That tree seemed to find its natural soil in the rich alluvions along the .oast, and amid the mountains of the interior grew to a magnificent height. It was common at this epoch to find twenty thousand of them growing upon one plantation. But as if to drive the colonists to the cultivation of the sugar-cane by the destruction of all other means in which they had placed their hopes of wealth, during a severe drought which occurred in the year 1715, almost all the cocoa-trees in the island perished by one dread calamity. To the empoverishing effects of this affliction, arising from the unpropitiousness of the seasons, there was soon after added another and a severer one, which sprang fromL the vicissitudes of trade. Great numbers of proprietors within the colony by years of toil and enterprise had reaped,-a rich reward from that virgin soil, and furnished with the means of easier life, they now prepared themselves to retire to France and spend the remainder of their lives in dignified and -opulent leisure. But the payment for their remittances of colonial produce had, in a moment of too unbounded confidence, been taken in the bills and securities of the Mississippi Company, a bubble that was soon to burst, but not harmlessly. These bills having lost all value by the total bankruptcy of the scheme that
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 97
upheld them, the unfortunate holders saw all the avails of their labors and personal deprivations scattered to the winds of heaven, and reduced 'in one moment from opulence to the utmost destitution and distress, they were forced to solicit employment of those whose services they had commanded in the zenith of their more prosperous fortunes.
From this misfortune the colonists learned to hate all mercantile companies, and the West India Company by its extortions had earned the hatred with which it was now visited. This Company by the rapacity of its operations had verified the proverb "that he who hasteth to be rich cannot be innocent." Many of the obnoxious privileges for the possession and exercise of which the Company of St. Louis had been detested, were now by exclusive right the property of the West India Company. It held the monopoly of making all importations of slaves within the ports of the colony, and through this means maintained the price of negroes far beyond any reasonable valuation. Nor did the privileges of the Company stop here. To it belonged the exclusive right of all traffic between the mother country and the ports of the. colony, and the benefits which would have flowed from a free competition in trade wve all sunk in the -wide abyss of a vast, and rapacious monopoly. The injured colonists had long complained of the injustice as well as impolicy of allowing the existence of such odious privileges, and they now manifested their hatred of this chartered system of oppression by a thousand acts of petty violence. The whole colony as one man burned with eagerness to rid themselves of the monied source of the multitudinous extortions that were busy in consuming 'their wealth, and the arrival of the agents of the Company at Cape Francois in the year 1722 became the signal for a general outbreaking of popular fury, that spent itself in scenes of violence and tumult., The factories and magazines of the Company situated in a quarter Called Guinea were set on fire and burnt to sthe ground amidst cries of, "vive le roi" and a bas ]a Compagnie." An immense mob was soon congregated, which gaining fresh fury from every new outrage, rushed forward to the plantation of M. Baum din, one of the Company's agents. The plantation-house ,9
98 HISTORY 6F ST. DOMINGO.
and magazines were immediately set on fire, and were soon wrapt in conflagration. After this act of vengeance the conspirators crossed over to Petit Anse, where there was another storehouse of the Company, which was likewise burnt to the ground., During this season of effervescence some slave vessels, arrived off the harbor from Africa, but they were refused an entrance to the town of the Cape, and forbidden to sell their cargoes in any other port of the colony. The governor, in attempting to put down this' alarming revolt, was himself taken prisoner and kept in close confinement. In this- state of things the political -structure of the colony seemed on the eve of entire dissolution. The spirit of insurrection spread like electricity, and the insurgents were soon- in possession of all power in the colony. Such was the earnestness and determination of the colonists in the matter which they had taken it upon themselves to bring to a crisis, that the government at home was forced by necessity to yield to their desires. Negotiations were set on foot for a reconciliation between the parties in this bitter strife. Many of the most obnoxious privileges of the West India Company were immediately abolished: but the difficulties of the time were not to be overcome by any half measures. The colonists had felt their strength and would no longer yield passively to acts of government which they deemed obstacles in the way of their success, or downright encroachments on their natural rights. A multitudinous succession of conferences and new demands, of concessions and renewed petitions followed, and two years had elapsed, in tumult and disorder, before tranquillity was again restored to the island.
The administration of M. Larnage, which commenced in 1737, has been called the second age of the colony, as that of Ogeron was the first. A formidable obstacle to success in the cultivation of the sugar cane arose from the long and destructive droughts, which in the pulveru.. lent soil of the plains parched and withered the green herbage, and annihilated the hopes of the planter by the entire destruction- of his fields of cane, as by a devouring conflagration. The great length of time requisite for bringing the cane to maturity was almost sure to bring it at somie stage of its growth within the blighting influ.
HISTORY OF ST. DOMINGO. 99
ence of these seasons of dryness. No soils but those situated on the very banks of a perpetual stream of water, or subjected to the oozings of subterranean springs, could with the least hope of success be devoted to the cultivation of the sugar cane. These difficulties had ever constituted serious obstructions to the growth of the colony in the business of sugar-planting. To M. Larnage the colonists were indebted for the happy idea of irrigating their plantations by means of canals, to conduct water through their grounds from the bed of the nearest river. The immense benefits of this fortunate plan soon made themselves obvious. A sufficiency and ,perpetual supply of water was insured to every part of the largest plantation, and the remotest cane patch was furnished with means to render its growth independent of the seasons. From this epoch the onward march of the colony to the extreme of opulence and luxury was made with 'the strides of a giant, The stream of prosperity flowed deep, smooth and unencumbered. The superb plain of Arcahaie, deep in the Bight of Leogane, and checkered by the windings of nine fresh water rivers, which till now had served but to variegate and adorn an untenanted wilderness, rich however in the adornments of native beauty, now became studded with plantations, and every corner of its teeming soil waved with fields of cane. Immense fortunes were now gathered in a few years, and a tide of emigration and capital ffowed from all quarters to add to the swelling fortunes of the colony.
The applauses of his contemporaries, and the gratitude of their successors, continued to bless the name of the fortunate originator of this prosperity. Charles Brunier Marquis de Larnage, was of a noble family of Dauphiny. He had been bred to arms, and had already served in various capacities in the armies of France, when he came to the West Indies in the train of the governor of Martinique in the year 1711. Here and at Guadaloupe he continued to reside in different employments until his appointment to the government of the colony of St. Domingo, in which he remained till the time of his derth. His plan of internal policy, whether discovered by a happy blunder, or the result of a deep sagacity and tiresome investigation, it matters not, brought benefits to the colony